The joy of starting a new project

startThere’s something wonderful about the first few stitches of a new project.

You’ve opened your kit and laid everything out, or assembled the fabric and threads you need for your chart.

You load your fabric on to your hoop or frame, and you’re off. Whether you’re a corner or a centre starter, you thread up that first colour, pick a point on the fabric to set off from, and start stitching.

You’ve got a blank canvas in front of you on which you know a wonderful image will develop over the next few days, weeks or months. You’re not yet bogged down in counting (it’s hard to go wrong at this point) nor frustrated by a confetti-heavy area slowing you down.

Savour the moment. Unless you stitch a lot of small pieces like cards, it’ll be a while until the next one!

Finished! DMC Spring Cycle (with colour change)


Finishing a piece is a wonderful feeling. Weeks (and sometimes months) of hard work come together. You’ve visualised the end result but there’s nothing quite like seeing it in the flesh.

Stitching this one wasn’t particularly relaxing, for two reasons…

Colour change

spring-cycle-originalIt was my first time doing a major colour change. The bike was green and pink and I wanted burgundy – the finished piece is a gift for my mum who has a vintage burgundy bike. It was hard to tell how the substituted colours would turn out.

Tatty Teddy back-stitch

Oh. My. Word. This was my first Tatty Teddy kit and I’m afraid it will be my last. I’ve been stitching less than a year so am still learning what I enjoy (or not).

I kind of knew that I don’t particularly like stitching back-stitch. Now I’m well aware that I really don’t like it! I love the end result, but I hate having to do the stitching, and Tatty Teddy has a lot of it! Apparently I’m far from the first person to stumble blindly into Tatty Teddy back-stitch hell.


Still, it was all worth it in the end as I’m delighted with the finished piece. As usual, framing adds the finishing touch.


Is this love?

For the first time in my stitchy life, I love one of my current projects. Really love it. I get true joy out of every part of the design as it comes together. Every stitch is fun.

I’ve been thinking about this lately as – also for the first time – I’m not enjoying another WIP, and it’s brought the importance of doing projects you love into sharp relief.

When I started stitching I had no idea how long projects take. In today’s world of instant gratification, completing something that takes weeks – if not months – is starting to feel quite alien. I plan to write a post about guesstimating project completion times as (1) I think new stitchers would find it useful and (2) I’ve already learned that the fun and relaxation soon die when you’re under pressure to complete a gift!

From now on, I’m going to be far more discerning about the projects I choose to do. No more impulse buys after a few seconds thought. I’ll look at a chart or kit and ask myself, “Is this love?”

Update: DMC Spring Cycle worries


I’m about half-way through the cross-stitch on this one. I have mixed feelings about it as (1) I’ve got issues that are entirely my own fault for changing some of the colours! and (2) I’ve had a couple of niggly issues with the kit.

It’s my first time doing a major colour change which, it turns out, has opened a can of worms..!

My current worry is the back-stitch (which I haven’t started yet). I’ve changed the bike frame to burgundy and the tyres to a dark grey. However, the original back-stitch on the bike is grey, so won’t show up well on the tyres. I could change it to black, but Tatty Teddy won’t look right back-stitched in black. I’m going to try a dark grey – darker than the one in the kit and slightly darker than the tyres, but not as harsh as black. I think I’ll need to do Teddy’s back-stitch in the same colour…

Do I regret changing the bike to red? Not yet. It’s a present for my mum who has a vintage burgundy bike. But, I am discovering that changing some colours has knock-on effects later on!

Then, minor kit niggles:

  1. I’ve run out of DMC 415. Not just by a little – I’m probably only a third of the way through the masses of light grey in this design and have about 700 stitches to go. I’m guessing I got a faulty kit with some of this particular thread missing – I’ve contacted DMC.
  2. The greys on the road and Tatty Teddy don’t match between the chart/threads and the photo on the packaging. On the chart there are two greys (DMC 415 and 318). 415 is used for the road and the lighter grey on Teddy (e.g. his tum). 318 is used for the shadows under the bike and Teddy, and for the rest of Teddy (e.g. the outer part of his tum and the bottom of his feet). However, in the photo on the packet the shadow is far darker than Teddy’s feet. There’s a difference between the two areas of light grey too, but it’s more subtle.

All in all, it’s not quite as relaxing as projects normally are but I’m sure it’ll still look good in the end.

Update: Changing the colours of DMC Spring Cycle

Well, I’ve started on my burgundy bike!

I’m changing the green bike in this kit to a burgundy one as a gift for my mum who has a vintage burgundy Rayleigh bike. The original green bike used three shades of green. I stitched some of the background areas first so that I could see how the burgundy looked against it.



The beauty of evenweave

I’m enjoying my first project stitched on evenweave so much that I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to aida! I love the look of the weave and it’s perfect for a sampler-style design which will have lots of non-stitched areas on show.

I’m currently working on Zweigart Murano 32ct (stitching over two) in Sky Blue. The colour is slightly brighter than it looks in the photo.

Stitching over two makes neat fractional stitches much easier to achieve as you have a hole in the middle of the block to use, rather than having to pierce a hole as you do with aida. There are some 3/4 stitches in the G in the picture and I’m really happy with how tidy it looks.