Monday, July 24, 2017

A Big Finish

I hope you didn't expect some kind of giant cross stitch project when you read "A Big Finish". This one is relatively small in size, but was a lot of work. It took me quite a while to finish it up as well.
It's Kaleidoscope, and it's all done! To be honest, I don't know how long I've been working on this, but let's just say that it's been years rather than months. But as you know, I have been working on other projects at the same time. So there's my excuse.

It's meant to be finished up into a cushion, but I'm leaning toward framing it. What do you think?

I also talked about this on my Flosstube channel, CraftyCat Stitcher. I made a second video! I think my Flosstube experience is going pretty well so far. Being a slow stitcher, I won't be making videos every week with amazing finishes. I'll probably be posting there every couple of weeks.

Now I want to find another Sheena Rogers design to stitch! I really love these stitch-filled squares!

I'll be posting here on Sunday (I can't believe that it will be the last Sunday in July!) with my WIPocalypse progress. At that time you'll see another start, maybe two!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

I Took The Plunge

Yes, I finally did it. I became an official Flosstuber. In case you're not familiar with Flosstube, it's a community of stitchers who do videos on Youtube. If you told me a year ago that I'd be doing this, I would have laughed and said "yeah, right". But here I am, CraftyCat Stitcher. As I say in my video, I didn't know what Flosstube was until about eight months ago. I started watching and was pretty surprised at how many stitchers create little videos and post them on Youtube. I've only done one so far. If you want to see it, just go to Youtube and search "CraftyCat Stitcher".

In my last post I mentioned my stitch group's stitch day a couple of weeks ago. This was our annual birthday celebration and I made each stitcher a bracelet. I had fun making each one unique, with different combinations of beads. Memory wire bracelets are easy to make. You basically only need wire and beads, and sometimes a charm if you want. But the important thing is to have the proper cutters for memory wire! That stuff is pretty tough!
I also wanted to wrap them differently than I usually do. I found some cards in the clearance section at Hobby Lobby and devised my own way to attach the bracelets.
Here they are all packaged up.
Thea also got crafty and made us all these cute key wristlets.
As you can see I've already attached my keys and have been using this wristlet every day! I always keep my house keys separate from my car keys (for some reason), and this makes it easy to find my keys in my purse. It's especially handy when I have a bunch of stuff to carry into the house from the car, like when I get home from work. I have a purse, a lunch bag, and sometimes books and grocery bags. I just pop this on my wrist and no more fumbling around for my house keys! Cute and functional!

As far as stitching goes, I haven't done much in the past week for a couple of reasons. I've had some good books to read, and I've also been out of town visiting our son and daughter in law. It was a whirlwind trip, so no time for stitching. But I did get a little more done on Kaleidoscope before I left.
My goal is to complete this one soon. It's been in the rotation for a long time, so it's about time to get it done! I'll be making it a priority.

That's about it for now. I will be continuing my blog, even though I have discovered the world of Flosstube. I like the process of writing and posting photos. So keep coming back for visits. I also plan to get back into my Pinterest attempts at some point. See you soon!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

June WIPocalypse - No Rotation?

I know, I know. The purpose of this WIPocalypse was supposed to help me to keep up on ALL of my WIPs by rotating. Well, June was not my most stellar rotation month. But I can still be positive about my stitching progress. I have an actual finish and a good start on a new WIP! Yay!

I finished up "June" in the Snowflower Diaries Joyful World series in time to display it in the month it's supposed to be displayed in! Success!
Not only that, but also mounted and framed. I am using a regular picture frame with a removable back for these. This way I can just change them each month. OK, I can change them each month when I actually complete them. I do like this finish a lot. Now the big question is: Which month should I start next? I'm thinking October or November. I'm pretty confident that I can get one of those done before that month begins. This will be a definite start for July or even this week.

Remember last month when I had about 5 stitches in Rainbow Row? More progress has been made since then.
So far so good. I am enjoying stitching this. It's going to be really pretty stitched up. Yesterday was my stitch group's monthly stitch day get together and this is what I worked on. I hope to have a lot more to show you next month.

Melissa's topic for June: Show us your stitching space! Where do you sit, and what is going on around you while you stitch (TV, audiobooks, etc.)?
I usually stitch in my living/family room. My spot is on the end of the couch with my light source on my right.
My scissors in their holder and my ort dish (aka "thread bucket") are right at hand also. Also at hand is usually a cat. Or two. I almost always watch TV when I stitch.

My alternate stitching spot is in my craft room.
I like this comfortable recliner, and again, my stitching supplies are right there. Scissors in the little holder that my husband made, cat ort holder, etc. Snowball is not usually there. I just thought he would look cute in the photo. I also have an Ott Light floor lamp that I can use if the light isn't right. I have a little TV in there too.

My goals for July: 1. Keep working on Rainbow Row. 2. Get Kaleidoscope back into the rotation. 3. Start another month in the Joyful World series.

Many thanks to Melissa at Measi's Musings for hosting WIPocalypse. Please click on the link to find out more about WIPocalypse or to see her blog.

Thanks for stopping by! Please leave a comment or better yet, become a follower! I appreciate each and every one of my followers as well as all comments. See you soon!

Monday, June 12, 2017

A Framing Refresher

I've had a few requests to give the instructions for how I frame my cross stitch, especially after I finally framed my Kitty Kalendar a few months ago. So I placed my order to American Frame for supplies to complete "Quaker Star" by Bent Creek. This is a project I stitched maybe three years ago and it had been in the "finished stitching" box just waiting for the day when I would display it. This is a pretty picture-heavy post, so be forewarned.

I chose a whitewash frame and a narrow red mat. Also in my order was a piece of foam core board for mounting. When ordering your framing supplies, measure and measure again to make sure that you're allowing enough space to accommodate your stitching.

Now here's how I do my framing. First of all, I center my stitched piece as best as I can, measuring as I go, and then I start pinning. I use silk or satin pins (about 1") that you can get wherever sewing notions are sold.
I start out placing the pins about 1" apart, but will add more to tighten everything up. At this point you will notice that I didn't put any batting or anything on the foam core board like a lot of framing tutorials show. This is personal preference. Sometimes I want that padded look, but for this piece I opted to just pin the fabric directly to the board.
Now you can see the edge completely pinned. Hint: you can use a thread in your fabric to line up with the edge of the mat!

As you pin, keep measuring to make sure that your piece is where you want it. Now is a good time to place the mat on top (or the frame if you're not using a mat) to make sure that everything looks centered and nice. Push those pins in as far as you can if you're going to leave them in there.*
Looking pretty centered! 

The above photo shows my stitching pinned all around. Turn your work so you're looking at the back. You have to make a decision now. Do you want to lace your edges or tape them? As a rule, I will only do lacing on a small project. I'm talking really small. So I'm going to tape my edges. Don't yell at me. I saw a professional framer do this. I like this method and I've used it many times.
*I have seen people lace the edges and leave the pins in, but some framers take the pins out. Up to you. I tape and leave the pins in.

OK! It's time to secure your mounted stitching into the frame. I use a Logan point driver to do this. You can also use glazier points. American Frame sends these clip things for this purpose, but I have never been able to figure out how these work. And there may be other good solutions that I don't know about. But I like my Logan point driver. A little too much.
But seriously, this device makes this step soooooooo easy. How many points you'll use is dependent on the size of the frame. You be the judge. I bought my Logan driver at Hobby Lobby (use that coupon!). You can buy point refills there or on Amazon.

I cover the back with some brown craft paper. I cut it about a half inch larger than the frame back opening and simply glue it on. Brush the glue on with a paint brush. You don't need a lot. Then I lightly spray the paper with water. When it dries, it will tighten up.
Put on a hanger of your choice, like a saw-tooth, and you're done!
What do you think? Pretty nice, huh? It's all ready to hang up for the July 4th holiday, but I'll probably leave this up all of the time.

Some things to think about. I didn't use any kind of glass or plexiglass for this framing project. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. If you use glass, and don't use a mat, you will need to use spacers to make a space between your stitching and the glass. You don't want the stitching in direct contact with the glass. If your stitching has any kind of buttons, jewels, or beads on it, you have to make sure that you'll have enough room for them if you're using glass.You may have to use more than one mat or use spacers AND a mat.

This tutorial is intended to give you a general idea on how to do basic framing. American Frame is the company I order framing supplies from. There are many others. Look around. Find one you're comfortable with. If you have specific questions, contact them. They may have suggestions that I did not give in this tutorial. It's always great to learn something new! The whole idea here is to do your own framing, save a little money, and have a finished product you'll be proud to display!

Monday, May 29, 2017

May WIPocalypse!

I may be a day late with my WIPocalypse post, but you can expect the same awesomeness you've always experienced here at the CraftyCat blog! Ha ha! I had such a discombobulated day yesterday, starting with a huge downpour when I was supposed to get up and going. So I'm blaming it on the rain.

If you're not familiar with WIPocalypse, you can find more information about it on the Measi's Musings blog. Click HERE to get the details. Then you can go to Melissa's most current blog post to see what other bloggers are doing. It's a lot of fun to see what other stitchers are doing and watching their progress on their various projects.

I hope everyone had a good stitching month. My main project this month was my "June" from the Joyful World series by Snowflower Diaries. I am now very confident that I will have this done and framed so that I can display it in June! Or at least some of June. Congrats to me!

In fact, if I give myself enough time today to stitch, I know that I can get the stitching done on this. Did I tell you how much I love this series? I did? The charts are so thoughtfully done, with pretty details, and the color combinations are beautiful. You can find a link to the Facebook group (which contains all of the free charts!) right HERE. Just look in the photos section. And if you scroll down, you'll see other stitchers' work and finishing ideas.

I didn't pick up any of my other WIPs this month, but I do have another start! So let's add "Rainbow Row" to my WIP list! And, yes, I'm considering this a start even though I have only put a total of 5 stitches into it. That counts, right?
Look closely. See, it's a start!
It's being stitched on 32-count Jobelan and the fabric size is a lot larger than what I'm used to - about 13" high and 36" wide. I'm going to have to figure out how to "tame" the excess fabric while I'm working on a section. I don't use any kind of frames or q-snaps when I stitch. I either stitch in hand or with a hoop. I will be using a hoop for this, but what do I do with the fabric I'm not working on? Any ideas? All suggestions will be welcome!

Question Of The Month:  Which designer's projects do you absolutely love, but are too intimidated to try?
That's easy. It would have to be Heaven And Earth Designs. I've been seeing their designs up close since I helped out a friend in her LNS a while back. People would come in and show me their projects and to be honest, I always felt a little overwhelmed. But at the same time, I thought they were gorgeous. And I just saw THIS and was tempted for about five minutes. Wow. I still may be tempted.

Plans for June: I'll continue to work on some kind of rotation, even though my rotation style lately has been pretty wacky. My goal is to start another Joyful World month after completing "June". In doing a little organizing, I found some smalls that I've kitted up and have never started, so I may be introducing another start next month as well.

So that about sums up my month of May. I have to say that being in this group does inspire me to stitch more. Have a great June, everyone!

Monday, May 22, 2017

I Think I Can!

In an attempt to complete some of the Joyful World monthly designs in a somewhat timely way, I chose to stitch "June" after "January". That way I'd have it done in time for June and could display it, right? Well, here we are, speeding toward the end of May, and this is what I have done.
So here's what's left: The border and the apricots on the tree. Not too bad. I think that if I get it done before the middle of June, I'll be doing pretty well. These charts are so much fun to stitch. First, they're all adorable. In addition, the Gentle Arts threads are so nice to work with and you can see the subtle shading as you stitch. I am also very happy with the fabric that I chose for this project.

I guess the big question will be which month to stitch after I complete "June". Maybe "December"? Ha ha. So I can have it completed by December.

I finally kitted up my new project.
It's Rainbow Row by CW Designs. Steph, my daughter-in-law, picked this one out for me when she and Matt visited Charleston SC last year. I'll be stitching it on 32-count ivory Jobelan. I had most of the threads in my stash, and only had to buy two colors! There are maybe 60 different colors, although I didn't count. But what a pretty combination of colors. And guess what! Mark and I went to Charleston this past weekend and I got to see the Rainbow Row in person! Yes, I can see the inspiration for this beautiful cross stitch chart. This will be fun to stitch.  I think I'll put the first stitches into Rainbow Row this week and officially add it to my WIP collection.

Thank you for visiting my blog today, and thank you for all of your kind comments. I enjoy hearing what you have to say. I'd also like to say "Welcome!" to my new followers. I appreciate each one of you and hope that you'll continue to come here and see what I'm up to!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Oven - It's Not Just For Dinner Anymore

I found out something today. Get this: you can bake fabric in your oven! Yes, you heard me right. Baked fabric! We stitchers are always looking for new and different fabrics to use in our projects. I've been wanting to try my hand at dyeing my own fabric for some time now. Looking through Pinterest gave me some ideas, as did my imagination. But I haven't just gone and done anything about it until today.

Somewhere on the internet or Youtube, I saw a reference to The Twisted Stitcher's "Basted and Baked" dyed fabric, and had to look it up right then. Yes, I thought, this is the perfect way to test out my fabric dyeing skills. You can find the instructions HERE. 

I picked up some of the MCG Textiles fabric that Vonna mentions in the instructions, and also decided to use the coffee AND tea combination.

"Before" picture of the fabric, along with foil-covered cookie sheet with sides.
Above you see my strong tea and coffee mixtures. Mmmmmm, both of those look good enough to drink. My fabric went into the pot and then I poured the coffee and tea over it. The fabric stayed in the pot for about 10 minutes and then went onto the cookie sheet all bunched up. Then into the 250 degree Fahrenheit preheated oven.
Here's the fabric after two 15-minute go-rounds. Note the singe-y parts.
Yes, parts of the fabric started to get a little singed during the second 15 minute go-round in the oven. It's important that you keep an eye on your fabric because it can burn just like food can in the oven! Remember that! Vonna mentions that she is not responsible for destroyed or burned results that the reader may have when trying out this technique, and neither am I. Pay close attention to what's going on and don't get distracted by headless-drivers-going-through-the-drive-through videos. Or what your neighbor is having delivered. You know what I mean.
After three 15-minute go-rounds in the oven. Looks good to me.
I did three 15 minute go-rounds in the oven, watching the fabric very carefully. After the first and second go-rounds, I drizzled a little of the coffee/tea mixture onto the fabric. Not too much. I also re-wadded the fabric to get more of the mottled look. After the three 15 minute turns in the oven, I let the fabric cool a bit for easier handling and then rinsed it in cold water. Next I went to the ironing board (which I covered with an old, thick towel) and gave it a good pressing on both sides.
And there's my fabric, all pressed and hanging to dry! It's a very cool antiqued color and has a mottled effect, just like I was hoping for. And both sides are slightly different. I proclaim this as a success and want to thank Vonna, The Twisted Stitcher, for posting the instructions on her blog.

Things to remember if you're doing this:
--Different types of fabric will hold the dye differently. Natural fibers like linen and cotton tend to dye a little darker than fabrics containing synthetic fibers. I was wondering about putting a fabric with synthetic fibers into the oven, and then I saw that Vonna had used Lugana, which contains viscose. How about Jobelan? If you know the answer to that, please share!
--The cold water rinse does wash some of the dye out. Expect your finished product to be a little lighter in color after that rinse than when you took it out of the oven.
--Watch your fabric carefully when it's in the oven! Oh, did I already mention that? Yes? I can't say it enough! Be careful, just as you would with anything in the oven!
--This is indeed colorfast. Please see the comments section of this post.
--The whole process took me a little over an hour total to complete. 

Will I be doing this project again! Yes, definitely! I am very happy with the result and now only have to figure out what to stitch on it. I did see a really pretty chart online........

Sunday, April 30, 2017

April Wipocalypse

So not much stitching has gone one during the past month. In fact, not much of anything creative has gone on either. You may already know this if you read my last post. No big complaints or excuses. That's just the way it was lately. I think I was more in the reading mode which is not a bad thing.

I did pick up my stitching this week and decided to work on my "June" from the Joyful World series by Snowflower Diaries.

I like this chart a lot and have made a bit of progress on it. I am just loving these tiny stitches with one strand of floss! I'm stitching it over one on 25 count Norden Pearl linen. The finished size fits nicely into a 4 x 6 frame.

And that would be it for stitching this month! No stitch day for me with my group of stitching friends in April either, but I am really looking forward to getting some good cross stitch time in next weekend when the Sisters In Stitches meet. I should have a lot more to show in May's Wipocalypse post!

Want to join in the Wipocalypse? Just go to the blog Measi's Musings and to the April Wipocalypse post in particular.

Topic of the month: What projects are in your UFO pile?  Well, along with the Joyful World monthly series, my main UFOs are Tulip's Praise and Kaleidoscope.
One UFO I don't think I'll worry about anymore is the English Cottage Sampler. I'm pretty sure I've decided to scrap this project. I won't throw it out or anything, but I'm not going to waste any more time fretting about how not-fun this project is for me. Who knows - I may change my mind someday and pick it up again and it will have magically transformed itself into a fun-to-stitch project! So I'll keep it on the back burner (the burner waaaaaaaay in the back, yeah, that one) and not think about it for a while. Oh, and then there's the angel stocking, but I am still trying to figure out whether the fabric will ever lose its fold lines.

In the meantime, the project I'll be starting next is Rainbow Row by Barbara and Cheryl. This chart was given to me by Steph who bought it on their trip to Charleston, SC. I am looking forward to starting this one, but first have to see if I have all of the DMC floss for it. Maybe I'll get this one kitted up this week! That's the plan. Let's hear it for determination!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Crafty Dry Spell

Talk about a crafting dry spell. I've been in one that has lasted about a month. Ugh. Why does this happen? Anyway, I'm thinking that the way to get myself out of this dry spell is to do a little post and then look around the blogs I follow for some inspiration.

One thing I haven't posted about is the little gift I made for the stitchers at our retreat.
They can be used as key rings or scissor fobs. I bought the supplies on Etsy from the shop "PrettyCharmed" and they can also be found on Amazon and other places. Just search for "pendant trays". The kits I bought had the trays, the glass, and the key rings. The instructions for making them can be found on Youtube. There are a lot of instructional videos and the steps vary a bit from video to video.

I had a close-up photo of floss in varied colors and I just Photoshopped "SIS 2017" in different areas of the photo. (SIS for "Sisters In Stitches). Now here's where a potential problem can occur. I have an ink jet printer and the ink will run when the glaze (I used Diamond Glaze) touches it. So I had to get a product called Microglaze and apply it to the paper after it was printed. It worked pretty well, but I still had some color bleeding. My advice is to use a laser printer OR to use pre-printed scrapbook paper for your pendant tray. But they did turn out pretty cute and were appreciated by everyone!

And now we'll got to "Other People's Creations". 

Last weekend was Easter and someone got a little creative. OK, I'll admit that it was Mark, my husband, who decorated this. We had a lot to do on Easter morning, so while I made deviled eggs, he got out the frosting and coconut and went to work. Just a fun Easter tradition in our family.
Look at what Steph made for a fundraiser auction that was held by the band that Matt plays in.
Isn't it pretty? Steph does beautiful work, and whoever won this received a beautiful shawl.

Sheila is quickly becoming a master wire worker.
She did all of the wire wrapping in this beautiful necklace! Love her choice of colors too.

So I'm glad that other talented people got crafty recently so that I could show you something fun and interesting! But have no fear, I'll get back to it soon!

Friday, April 7, 2017

A Stitching Retreat How-To

Last month, my stitch group, the Sisters In Stitches, had our annual stitch retreat. Even though we get together each month to stitch, the stitch retreat is the best time to concentrate only on our stitching and leave everything else at home! So let's take a look at what makes an awesome stitch retreat. Warning, this post is picture heavy!

We've had some good retreats in the past and this one was no exception. We stayed in two cabins at Fort Mountain State Park in Chatsworth, GA. I'd have to say that the first thing you need for a successful stitching getaway is a good place to have it. Fort Mountain's cabins filled the bill.
This may look like a simple, rustic cabin, but inside are two bedrooms, each with two beds and a bathroom. Included was also a comfy living room, dining area, a kitchen (fully furnished with appliances and cookware), and a deck.

The view from our deck. A view isn't a necessity, but it sure was pretty.
The next important element of a retreat is the food. Oh yes, we like to eat and each meal is carefully planned. We divide up the responsibility for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and desserts.
Friday night dinner was delicious, as were all of the meals!
Of course, let's not forget the stitching.
You'll also need a comfortable place to stitch. The dining room table proved to be a good spot for us.
And most importantly, the stitchers. One of our regulars is missing. She knows we were thinking about her!
One more picture of the view:
All in all, a very successful stitching retreat. We stitched, talked, ate, and laughed. That's pretty much all you need to experience a fun time with fellow stitchers. A few members of our group even went on a short hike! I don't know about the rest of my stitching friends, but I'm already thinking of the next stitching getaway!