woensdag 29 oktober 2014

Kits and patterns I like

There are several things I would love to stitch in the future. I am not much of a pack-rat when it comes to cross stitching, I don't really see the point in having a million kits and no time to work on them. So my collection consists of small patterns that can be done quickly, and the only big thing I own is the Cat in the Window kit I am working on right now.

But ofcourse, a girl can dream, right? There are many things I want to stitch, someday. So today I will show some of those patterns and kits.

The first one is a free pattern from the website spritestitch. You can find many cross stitch patterns on there, most based on video games. I used to be a big time Pokemon fan in my early teens, and I still hold very good memories to that. I even stood in line for almost two hours when I was in Paris last spring to visit the PokeCenter that was there for two weeks. So this pattern really attracted me from the moment I first saw it.

You can find the pattern (for free) here!

Another brand I really love (in a totally different style) is Chatelaine. Most of their patterns are quite complicated Mandala motifs, with loads of beading and specialty yarns. I really want to do one one day, but on some websites you can buy all the supplies together (the specialty yarns and the beads) and the full price of that comes up to 200$ or more. This would be way too much for me, and I don't know if you can also do it with DMC yarns or without beads, and I'm hesistant to buy a pattern and find out you can't, so maybe some day. The one I love best is this one, the Hawaiian pattern.

I already stitched the All you need is love pattern by Stitchrovia as a wedding gift, but I do like to stitch another pattern by this designer just for myself. I especially like these patterns.

On Etsy there are more fun designers, as I prefer a more modern style. I love the patterns by Satsuma Street like this modern interpretation of my city, Amsterdam.

There are also several kits by Dimensions that I really love to make one day. I am already working on Cat in the Window at the moment, but they have two other patterns with cats that I really like. These are more standard cross stitch pieces, but I just love cats. 

There are many more cross stitch patterns and kits I could show you that I love, but for now, this is enough. Maybe I will do a part 2 on this someday. If you see any patterns that you think I would like, feel free to recommend them in the reactions, I would love to see your picks!

WIP Wednesday #2

I decided to do current WIP-updates on Wednesdays, and name it (quite surprising) WIP Wednesday. I may not have much to show each Wednesday (especially in summertime), but I'll try to stick to it for now.

This week will cover two weeks of work, as I didn't show anything last week. The first few days, I cross stitched a lot. Then, I had some really tiring days of work, and felt like being creative, but I was too tired to cross stitch. So I picked up crocheting, and continued doing so until I ran out of yarn.

First, my cross stitch piece. I worked on the cat's head some more, and decided to start on his back as well. When I finish a certain piece, I always look for the color I can stitch without counting a lot. I also continued the backstitching, and found out some of the backstitching went into the border, that I hadn't stitched yet, so I stitched the yellow border around the entire thing too. Very easy, but quick work. Next up is backstitching some more, because I really want to get that done asap.

Then, onto my crocheting work. First of, I am going to show you all my other creative hobbies besides cross stitching in a separate post. Cross stitching is my main thing, but I do enjoy other crafts as well. I am a mediocre crocheter, I am always struggling with following patterns, so I mainly do very simple things.

I had bought two bolls of yarn at a Dutch chain that sells cheap stuff called Wibra, on a whim because I loved the colors. They were only €1,79 a piece, so I figured I wouldn't break the bank on that. Then, I decided to make a blanket to sit under on the couch. As I can´t read patterns for crochet, I always turn to Youtube when I want to crochet something. Most blanket patterns are either for granny squares, or with really thick yarn, and I wanted neither of those, so I looked on. Then I found a pattern for a very easy granny square, that can be continued to form a blanket. This is the video I used.

After two evenings of crochet, I almost finished my yarn, but I hadn't finished the blanket by far, so I asked my roommate to go back to the store to buy more for me, while I was at work. She bought two more bolls, and I happily stitched on. Later, that yarn was almost finished so I wanted to buy more, went back, and it was gone. I looked up some info on the yarn online, turns out it is one of the most popular yarns available, since it is so cheap and such fun colors. The store sells it once or twice a year, and it always sells out amazingly fast. So now I have a blanket that is almost 1m x 1m, but I want to make it bigger. 

As you can see, I still have some yarn left, but it is not enough to do an entire round. I decided to just leave it hanging, because I am hoping I will find some more yarn soon. My mother went to several Wibra-stores for me, and it was sold out everywhere, and I went to another one myself, but I was not able to find it. The employees told my mom it was returning in January, so I hope to find some then. There is some yarn available on Marktplaats, which is the Dutch version of Craigslist, but they are going for twice/three times the normal price, and I don't want to pay that much. 

So for now, my crochet-blanket is on hold, so I will return to cross stitch. Hopefully I will have some good progress to show next week. 

maandag 27 oktober 2014

Flower market

After I had finished my Mucha piece that I showed in this blogpost, I immediately wanted to start a new piece. I didn't know the internet was full of cross stitch patterns and kits back then, so I went to the one store I knew stocked cross stitch kits, and choose the one I liked best. Turned out I didn't really like it in the end. I finished it, but I never really loved working on it, and I don't really love the end result. It hangs in my kitchen, where I rarely really notice it. About a year ago, I dropped the frame and the glass is broken in the bottom, and the piece has moved and is not framed correctly anymore, but honestly, I don't care enough to frame it again. And nobody notices because it is in my (tiny) kitchen. But I will show you anyway.

The kit is by Lanarte, but I was not able to find it anywhere for sale online, so I guess it is no longer in production. The purple background is printed on the fabric. 

The point of this blogpost, besides showing you the second biggest project I finished until today, is to be careful in choosing your projects. I don't regret stitching this, but I could have spend all that time on a piece I really loved and cherished.

Edit: I wrote this blogpost a week ago, took the framed piece of its hook in the kitchen to take pictures, and I probably didn't hang it back up correctly because... I dropped it the day after. And the frame shattered this time. So no more piece-I-don't-really-love in my kitchen anymore. Now I am kind of sad about it!

dinsdag 21 oktober 2014

Wedding gift by Stitchrovia

Today I can finally show my latest semi-big finish, because I finally gave it to the lucky couple. Last summer I was invited to the wedding of two of my friends. It was the first wedding I was invited to, my friends and family are all not the marrying kind apparently. So I was really excited, and wanted to stitch something for them. Most wedding samplers or kits really don't suit that couple, or their style, so I looked on Pinterest to find something more modern and better suited to my wishes. And is stumbled upon Stitchrovia. She makes modern designs, mostly based around words in different fonts and I really liked it. I decided to buy the All you need is love-pattern.

I really liked the fact that I had the pattern straight away in PDF form, so I could start immediately. The pattern only uses 7 or 8 colours, but has a colourful effect in the end, so that is very convenient. I decided not to print the pattern but work from PDF on my iPad, and that was a great way, as I could zoom in or scroll to a different part very easily.

I decided to stitch the names and the wedding date of the happy couple in the bottom, to make it a real memory to their wedding. Stitchrovia didn't provide me with a fitting font, but I found a free font to my liking online and tweaked it a little bit so it was totally to my liking. I blurred their full names because I don't want to show them on my blog, but I can tell you it looks great.

This is what it looked like when I finished the entire pattern, without the names.

This is what the finished piece with names and date looked like, to show you the size and placement of the names.

And this is how the piece finally looked framed. It was the first item I framed myself (well, the first one I really cared about ;)). I bought the frame at the HEMA. I am pretty pleased with how it looks, considering I did it myself. 

I think they liked the gift. I gave to them at the wedding, with all these people standing around to congratulate them, so it was hard to see their true reaction, but I think they liked, and appreciated it. I really enjoyed the wedding, so I was glad to give them something they will hopefully cherish, as I do with the memories made by being there.

I really liked stitching something from Stitchrovia, and I may buy something else from this store. There are several other designs I really like, and I would recommend buying from this store to other stitchers.

woensdag 15 oktober 2014

Stitchy things around my home

There are a few things in and around my house that are cross-stitched, but not made by me. I want to show them today.

The first item is a foot-stool. My parents bought this on on a market, it was made by a lady who collects old cross stitched items, and makes them into furniture. I know she makes couches as well, but those are pretty costly. When my parents bought it, they always told me they were going to give it to me one day, when they grew tired of it. Of course, I didn't complain. A few months ago, they finally decided to give it to me. I love it a lot, it really fits the decor of my house, and it is very practical too, as you can open it up, and store stuff in it.

As you can see, I do have to be very strict on the cats to not sharpen their nails on the fabric. It is Nemo's favorite place to sleep on, and he really wanted to sit on it while I was taking pictures.

I use it as a place to store my crocheting stuff. I don't crochet very much, but yarn takes up a lot of space, so it is a very convenient storage bin. 

The second item I want to show you I bought on Queen's day a few years ago. Queen's day (now called King's day because we have a king instead of a queen nowadays) is a yearly holiday on the birthday of the monarch. All over Holland it is celebrated, with games, concerts and in every city is a big flea market. It is called de 'vrijmarkt', which translates to 'free market' since it is free to sell your stuff anywhere. This celebration is biggest in the capital, Amsterdam, and I live in the area with the biggest flea market, and since I love buying second hand things, it is my favorite holiday!

I am also a big fan of our monarchy, I like having a king or queen and I love our royal family. So when, on Queen's day, I found an embroidered piece to celebrate the coronation of our queen, I needed to buy it. It hangs proudly on my wall since then. I think I only paid 1 or 2 euros for it too.

When our King was coronated in 2013, I looked for a similar pattern, so I could honor him as well. But I didn't find it, and haven't looked for a while. So if anyone knows where to buy a pattern like that, please let me know.

The last thing I want to show you are some placemats my father's aunt embroidered. He gave them to me after she died, because he found them when emptying out her house. I assume she made them herself. They are very pretty, and made on an amazingly small count. 

I think it is stitched on linen. The x'es are all very neat and very tiny. I hope I will be such a great stitcher one day. I really regret I only started cross stitching after all the old ladies in my family died, it would have been so much fun to talk about our hobbies with my grandmother and great-aunts. 

And of course, I want to show you a picture of Nemo being a silly attention seeker. I think he was thinking 'Why are you taking pictures of that, I am way cuter!'

dinsdag 14 oktober 2014

WIP update

I am on a small break from school, autumn weather has finally kicked in and I am totally feeling the stitching vibe. So I worked a bit on my 'Cat in window'. This is where I left you last.

I was wondering then if I should do backstitching (boring) or work on the cat (fun) first, but I decided to switch it of, and that is going quite well. So here's where I am today.

I have finished stitching the cat ears/top of his head, and have worked quite a bit on the backstitching.  This way really suits me, so I will continue, although I do have to move my embroidery ring around a lot. But that is okay.

I am trying to face all my x's the same way in this piece, because the entire background is half stitches so I showed myself I am able to do it. So far, I think I succeeded!

maandag 13 oktober 2014


After I had stitched up Nemo and Keesje, I wanted to stitch Kornelis. Kornelis is the Siamese cat of my friends N. and M, and since they both celebrated their birthdays recently, I wanted to give them their cat in cross stiches. Luckily, my 35 cats pattern also had some Siamese cats to choose from, and there was one that really looked like him.

They really loved the little gift, but I forgot to take pictures after I had finished, so I asked N, who is great at photographing to take some pictures of my finished product so I could make a blogpost about it. He did, and I love the endresult. Maybe he will be the main photographer for my blog from now on, if I can lure him into that job ;). 

As you can see, the design really does look like him, and the blue of the fabric matches the blue of his eyes quite nicely (which was a total accident, because I stitch most of my designs on the same blue fabric). I am very pleased with the end result. If you look closely at the detailed picture of the design, you can see that my x's don't face the same way. This is something I have trouble with, I had been stitching for about 4 years until someone told me you were supposed to do that. I had never thought about it. And old habits die hard. On my Cat in Window project, I am trying to have them all face the same way, and succeeding so far, but on little projects like this, I just keep turning the fabric and forgetting about my resolutions to do so.

dinsdag 7 oktober 2014

Stitchy questionnaire

1. When and why did you start stitching?
I don't remember exactly, but I believe it was when I was ill and bored one day, and asked my mom to bring home a cross stitch kit. It was around the time I was 15. It was out of boredom. When I was really young, I did some stamped cross-stitching with wool, just a children's craft.

2. Who taught you to stitch?
I guess my mother did, but she doesn't really do it herself. I am not a very neat stitcher, which stems from being mostly self taught. Both my grandmothers were really avid cross stitchers, but they both died before I got a passion for it, so I never really shared it with them.

3. What was your first finish?
I am not really sure, but it was a small Winnie the Pooh kit with Piglet next to a letter.
I think it looked a bit like this, but it was just something quick my mom picked up for me, and I 
wasn't really impressed by the end result so it got lost, I don´t have it anymore.

4. Which type, colour, etc, of fabric do you prefer?
As I am a self-taught stitcher, I do not have any idea of what fabrics are good. So far, I have only stitched small things from patterns without kits, so I have bought fabric only twice. And I just asked the shoplady, and she gave me advice. I bought blue fabric a few years ago, and I still really like how cross stitched items look on that, I think I have enough blue fabric left to do at least 3 more small projects on.

5. Do you prefer large or small designs?
Large, but I am getting more into small things because I love gifting something homemade, but it is pretty hard to gift a project that took you several years.

6. Do you like designs with lots of colours, or a small selection of colours?
Lots of colours, because I like everything colourful. My wardrobe, my food, my home decor. 

7. What is your favourite/least favourite specialty stitch?
I do not have that much experience with specialty stitching, but doing two half stitches of different color with backstitching over it can be a real pain.

8. Are there any particular techniques you use when stitching, or do you have any handy tips?
I always mark my larger patterns with a neon marker, to keep track of what was stitched. I usually put that marker between my boobs when stitching, to make sure it doesn't roll away. Haha.

9. What size and type of needle do you use?
I don't really care, I usually use the first one I find, and very often it is not a needle for stitching but a regular sewing needle.

10. What type of hoop(s) and/or frame(s) do you use?
I only use wooden hoops for now. It suits me just fine.

11. How do you store your stitching and accessories?
For my current project, I use a tote my mom made for me. My floss and all other stuff is crammed into a box, my collection is small enough to fit into one box.

12. Do you like stitching particular objects, such as bookmarks, cards, tablecloths, pictures for tuck cushions - or do you prefer to frame your pieces?
I have never made anything that wasn't meant to be hung in the wall. I don't own a sewing machine, so it is hard to make different objects.

13. Who is your favourite/least favourite designer and why?
I bought a pattern from Stitchrovia on Etsy, and it was very nice. Most cross stitching doesn't really fit my taste, because I find it a bit old fashioned. I don't think I will ever stitch a fairy or a dragon. I see things by Lizzy Kate on other stitching blogs that are definately not for me. Also HAED designs has nice things, but I do not really love the end results, I miss the backstitching. 

14. What is your favourite/least favourite theme?
I am not religious, so I do not like religious pieces. I do not like Halloween pieces that much either, as Halloween is not celebrated in Holland, and I would never stitch as much christmas stuff as some people do. It takes me too long to stitch to dedicate all that work to something so seasonal.
I do really love stitching cats <3.

15. What have you completed most recently?
An electric guitar. I made it for a friend and will show it very soon.

16. How many pieces have you completed?
I would say, around 10-15.

17. What are you currently working on?
Cat in the window by dimensions, that I showed in my last blogpost.

18. What will you be working on next?
I have some small things in mind I want to stitch, a half finished present for a friend, and a card to celebrate a birth.

19. How many UFO's do you have?
2 or 3, because I am not sure if I still have one I started a long time ago. I might have tossed it, with only around 50 stitches left to go :(.

20. How many kits and charts do you have waiting to be done?
Kits, none. Charts, a few, and many freebies I've downloaded.

21. What kit or chart are you planning on buying next?
I might want to buy another chart from Stitchrovia on Etsy, because I love her designs. Other than that, I do not have an idea now. 

22. What is your favourite part of stitching a design? (E.g. Starting, watching the picture building up, finishing, getting it framed?)
I truely love all aspects, but finishing a certain part of a design always feels nice. Or reaching the outer edges of a design after starting in the center. Those little achievements in between.

maandag 6 oktober 2014

My current BAP

I can't seem to find this kit for sale online anymore, but 3 years ago I started on my current BAP. It is by Dimensions, and is a full kit. I was looking online for a nice kit, that was both nice to stitch, and pretty enough to hang on my walls, because for my previous BAP (which will be shown soon), I loved the colors and stitching it, but didn't love the end result too much, It just didn't go with my decor.

After careful searching, I found this kit. It is called "Cat in Window", by Dimensions.

This picture doesn't really do it justice, since it has a more subtle color-scheme, and I thought it would fit my Alphonse Mucha piece shown in my last blogpost very nicely. 

I think I started stitching it in the summer of 2012, or the summer of 2011, but I am not quite sure :D. I know I bought it and started stitching straight away, because I loved it that much. I watched all episodes of my favorite TV-show QI while stitching, and got pretty far straight away. I started in the center, as is recommended for big pieces, which means I started with the background behind the cat. That consists of all half-stitches, which makes it a pretty quick job. Here is a picture of the beginning.

This is a picture of how it looked at the end of that summer. 

I lost my interest in stitching pretty soon after, went into crocheting, and stopped doing crafts all together. But throughout the years I stitched some here and there, until I finished the entire background yesterday (there was about four hours of stitching left on that when I picked it back up last week). 

Now I have to figure out what to do next. I think it would be wise to start on backstitching this background, because there is a lot of backstitching to do still, and I would be very annoyed to do this all in the end. But backstitching is a bit boring, and I really want to start working with some different colors than all these pastels. So I am still debating, maybe do an hour of backstitch, and then an hour of stitching the cat. I still really love this piece and I think it would be very beautiful in the end.

zaterdag 4 oktober 2014

My cats

I am the proud owner of two cats. Well, that is not actually true, since one cat is officially my flatmate's, but she still feels like she is mine. My cat is a 6-year old black tuxedo cat named Nemo, hers is a tortoise print cat named Keesje. Keesje is about 1,5 years old.

This is them, the front one is Keesje, the back one is Nemo.

A few years ago, I bought a pattern with several cat patterns and all the DMC colors for it at a Dutch creative fair called 'de Kreadoe'. I wanted to stitch these patterns for a long time, but I never really found a good method to stitch without it being a kit, it just was a hassle. I've figured out how to do that since, and thought it was time to stitch my babies. 

The pattern I used to stitch my cats.

I started by stitching Keesje because for the life of me, I couldn't find my black DMC 310 floss, and I started on a saturday evening so there was no way to get it somewhere. I figured Keesje could be stitched by substituting black for very dark brown, but Nemo really had to be black.

This is how Keesje looks all by herself.

I bought black floss the first moment I could. There was a perfect Nemo-like tuxedo cat on the pattern, but he was facing the same way as Keesje, and I wanted them to face each other, so I stitched the pattern the other way. This was doable, since it was so small, but for a bigger pattern, I would 
copy and mirror the pattern, because sometimes I really had to count out several times to see if I was doing it right. 

The end result

I am very happy with the end result. As you can see, I am a very careless stitcher and leave my needles in my work after I am done with it. I will make a blogpost about my stitching methods soon, I guess. I hope to find a small frame for this pattern soon, so I can hang it in our shared hallway. And I plan to stitch Nemo again for my parents, because they would like this on their wall as well. Or a different tuxedo cat pattern.

vrijdag 3 oktober 2014

First big finish

When I was younger, I did some small projects. I remember I once made a mouse-pattern, and a Winnie the Pooh piece. But I didn't like those patterns, but didn't know where to get nicer ones. Then I moved out when I was 18, to a place without internet. Suddenly I had all this time on my hands, and I found a great kit that I made in the two years that I lived there.

My parents had it framed for me and it still hangs proudly in my room to this day. The kit is made by Lanarte, and it is an adaptation of a painting by Alphonse Mucha. There is a second pattern to accompany it, but I dresd making that one, because it is so similar. Maybe I will some day, because a long time has passed since stitching this one. It is my favorite thing that I have stitched so far, both in stitching it, and the end-result.


Welcome to my Cross Stitch blog. I am a 20-something stitcher from the Netherlands. I have been stitching since I've been about 15, and have had the bug on and off again ever since.

I have caught the cross stitch vibe again recentst, and found out there is a lovely community of cross stitchers that blog all around, so I decided to open up a cross stitching blog of my own. I will soon show my old finishes, my recent finishes and my WIPs here, and maybe tell a little bit more about myself.