Saturday, 18 February 2012

Out of the comfort zone

Hello from a cold & grey north of Scotland! It has been snowing on & off all day so far but although the hills have turned white, it isn't lying in the garden or on the road... yet... Definitely a day for staying inside, finding a job or two that can be done with a kitten curled up next to you! We have a brother & sister duo, Pippa & Felix, who came to live with us last summer from the SSPCA & are now around 10 months old. So while Pippa snuggles up on one side of me I will tell you about my latest crafty endeavor.
Sometimes when we try something new it doesn't go at all how we had envisioned it & that can either be a blessing in disguise or put us off ever trying that thing again (well at least that's how it works with me!). About seven years ago I saw a cross stitch magazine with a free cover gift that I instantly knew would make a perfect gift for my grandmother whose birthday was coming up. I couldn't wait to get the magazine home, get the other materials required & get started. The project called for 18 count aida which I had never used before, but I had been stitching on & off for years by then & I didn't think anything of it. Well - I HATED it! The stitched areas were very small but it took me a disproportionate amount of time to do & I couldn't wait to get it finished & get rid of it!
My grandmother loved them so the struggles were worth it & the rest of the 18 count fabric was promptly relegated to the bottom of my fabric stash.
Earlier this week a chart in a magazine caught my eye, it was stitched on 18 count & initially I had thought I would just substitute 16 count, but I have been having a bit of a tidy & a sort through some of my craft supplies & saw the 18 count lurking. I really should make a decision about it's fate instead of simply ignoring it - rehome it with a crafty friend or have another try? The chart was pretty small so I figured I would give it a go & if I still couldn't get on with it I would rehome the fabric & stitch the design on 16 count. So Thursday night I gathered what I would need & settled down to make a rather apprehensive start. In the last seven years as the children have gotten older my personal crafting time has increased dramatically, both the quantity & variety of stitching projects I have tackled has grown, & a few years ago my wonderful hubbie bought me a daylight lamp :-) It's a clip on one with a flexible neck so I can get it exactly where I want it & it was instantly a huge improvement over the daylight bulb in a floor lamp arrangement I used before. Probably due to a combination of these things I found myself working on the 18 count waiting for the other shoe to drop. You know that expression? The 18 count was definitely visibly smaller than the 14 count I had been working on earlier in the day but it was no problem, in fact I actually started to enjoy it! The design began to emerge finer & with a dainty look about it that I loved & six hours later I was done.
Yesterday I made it into a card for a friend overseas whose second child arrived last weekend, so soon it will begin it's long journey to the Pacific coast.

I hope she likes it, but I must admit I am definitely pleased with this one - I am very glad I gave the 18 count another try & am looking forward to using it for other card toppers in the future. One day I might even get brave enough to try a big project on it! Overall the lesson I have learned this week is give it another try - what's the worst that can happen? You probably still have the materials from the first attempt & you might pleasantly surprise yourself! I hope you all have a lovely weekend, the cat has moved so I'm off to make a cuppa & start something new...


  1. Thank you for visiting me!! I used to do this cross stitch...when we caravanned in Scandanavia I bought a very intricate set of projects from a wonderful shop in Denmark....but oh my were they all so complicated...but I did perservere at that time and finished all of them ( probably because they cost me an arm and a leg! LOL. My eyes just wouldn't like it now - I like to save them for calligraphy....hence I no longer read when I go to bed...I used to read and read and not want to put a book down but I've learned to value my eyesight. It's a lovely card and I'm sure your friend will love it. We've had a few snow/sleet/hail showers today after a very sunny morning but it is so much colder today.
    All the best!

  2. You're very welcome;-) I look forward to seeing your creations, your cards are just beautiful! It's easy to bite off a bit much with needlework kits, as you can't see inside them & often have to make a snap decision, but I bet they looked wonderful when you had finished the last one. It's good to focus on what you love best though. Stay warm! Best wishes, Helen

  3. Wow! Detailed indeed. That small cross stitch would make me cross eyed! Well done!

    1. Thanks Doda ;-) I think the good light really helped.


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