Monday, September 28, 2015

Upgrading my Technique: Waste Knots Awaaaaay!

As life would have it, I am constantly researching and learning about different ways to improve my art. Cross-stitch is no exception, especially when loking at other pieces of work and wondering "WOW, how do they get their backs so neat like that?" Which then leads me to ponder "How can I get my work to look like that? What am I missing? What do I need to do?"

Those questions are then answered by the lovely thing called the World Wide Web. After many questions and wondering, frustrations and longing, I finally looked up online on how to get a clean back on cross-stitch. It provided some very informative results, more specifically videos. I watched them in awed silence, taking notes in my notebook when needed.

Because a girls back be looking like-

And I'm starring at it like-

Because when you take a really close look at this-

You really end up feeling like-

So what exactly did I take away from this learning session?

My research produced to me something called the Waste Knot or Away Waste Knot. I looked at several videos and posts on the subject, and these down below were the ones I found the most helpful:

Advanced CrossStitch (this one has pictures and explains the steps)
Cutting the lose Ends (a video the shows the technique)

Looking at these, I thought to myself "There is so much information out there about cross-stitch. It's ri-donk-cu-lous! And some of these techniques have been tweeked and twerked too!"

.....though I'm pretty sure not everyone twerks their stuff. One thing is for certain though, my next cross-stitch lesson will be very fruitful.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Another Christmas Gift and Christmas Preparations

As everyone knows, that big wintery day is coming soon. Well, 2 months or so, which can be a long time for people. But for us crafters it really isn't that long to get our gifts together for our loved ones. Especially if you are doing BIG projects for them.

My other nephew requested a Zelda piece as well. It's 17"x25" on 14 ct. I'm going to put that sucker on 16ct thread just to make it smaller (or 18ct but I don't know how to convert the sizes). Of course, Etsy will be my go to for this project.

Then my third nephew wants a blanket made from green yarn. I have a pattern already set aside for him and a butt load of green yarn from previous sales.

My niece still hasn't decided. I told her she has until the end of this week to let me know what she wants, because I have to start prepping and organizing the projects. At first she wanted a blanket with pink, blue and purple in it. Then she changed her mind and said she wanted a cross-stitched Evee  Pokemon piece. Then My Little Pony, then back to Pokemon. See why I gave her until the end of this week?

Because its MANLY!


It is a lot of projects and I haven't even asked my sister what she wants. She probably will say just give to the kids, but I want to do something special for her. I just need to look in my stash and see what she wants.

I have spent a lot of time organizing my floss. With all these projects coming up I ended up bying bobbins and labeling them. Now I know why people love these things. It helps a lot and I don't have to dig through bags of floss.

Welllll, I don't have bags....maybe a few.

I've also been keeping a hawks eye on different sales. I get all my floss from AC Moore because its a few cents less than Micheals (those cents add up you know). I go for the one item discounts or the entire purchase discounts. That let's me buy a lot of thread one time and save money. Because with all these projects, I need to save as much as I can. Both in money and time. I figured a few hours on each project a day will get me closer to Christmas.

What are your Christmas Gift plans?


PS. My weekly Zelda Map update will be late because my phone isn't working. So bunch of pictures when it is fixed!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Zelda Map Week #1: Pg 1

IT'S HERE!! That's right folks, I bought my very first cross-stitch project from Etsy and I'm well on my way! Everything is a new experience for me. I usually work with 14ct projects, but this is my first 18ct one on softer fabric. If you haven't been keeping up with me on my Instagram (VanaQB) then fyi, the woes of fraying fabric have haunted me. Even broke two sewing needles on my Singer sewing machine too trying to fix edges.

How? Effort. Teamwork.


On the bright side of things, the Instagram cross-stitch community have been very supportive. They have given me ideas on how to fix my fraying problems, on how to organize my thread (thanks and love from those who gave me their preparation methods when I asked, much appreciated), and just keeping me positive!

Love that community. Just love it.

So back to my work. I have been updating regularly on my Instagram and I have decided to post weekly for my Zelda map on my blog. It's easier for me and you really get to see whats happening over seven days. That said, without further ado, here is WEEK#1 progress!!!!

This is about 10-12 hours of work for one week. I started out strong doing a little something every night. There are only 66 colors, but even that I find challenging. I normally do 10-20. Have you seen my fish piece? That's a 20 color set. I'm just so excited for this, I really am, and the learning process is amazing. Can't wait to finish this page :3


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Just work out while you stitch! Do-do do do do do do~!!

Don't know about you guys, but when I sit down for long periods of time I get leg cramps, feel my blood in my leg acting weird (maybe I should get that checked), and my neck cramps up. Oh sure, I get up every hour or so and stretch my limbs, but what about real exercise?

"Stitching is essential, but so is your health." -said Work-out Kitty.

I thought. "Let me look up online and see what they have." Of course, everyone knows how much stuff pops up when you search for something on google. I even got exercises for pregnant women. That was interesting. So after searching for a little bit more, I found something that was simple and easy.

And they're in pictures!!!(Don't forget to read my CAUTION before you proceed with these exercises).
CAUTION: Please be careful and know your limits. If a previous health situation prevents you from doing one of these, please skip and do the others. You don't have to do all of them.
Then I thought, "I can do these, no problem!" Even I hate to set down my cross stitch once I pick it up, but I'm determined to try and add these exercises to my routine. Heck, I will put on a timer if I have too!"

Yahooo, mind power.

And then a whisper said to me, it said, "Let me share my findings with my fellow crafters. They might find it useful." Thus this post! And I realized something. Not many craft blogs mention anything about exercise or that much health. Which, I can understand since you're dealing with crafts, but still!

Long periods of sitting, bending over, moving your wrists, keeping your legs in one position....OMG, it sounds like a desk job!!


Craft magazines should really put one or two of these exercise photos in their stuff. If they do, kitty power to them. It could be very useful and extend the health of their audiences. That, and encourage people to have a bottle of water (juice, sometimes wine woks well) to hydrate themselves as they craft. Sometimes getting up to use the bathroom is the only relief you get after a few hours of work.

Best potty breaks evaaaa~!!

Good luck stretching that beauty ladies (and gents). Next update will surely be the start of my Zelda Map Piece!


Saturday, September 5, 2015

Prepring for my 1st BIG PIECE

It's finally come to this. After years of cross stitching, I will breach out into an unknown terrain, where the hills are rocky, the rivers fast and the wildlife acting like a bad hanghover. That's's...


Oh, wait a moment. Wrong one. Let me here and-

And why, do you ask, have I dared to risk life and needle for this piece? The answer is very easy. My 14 year-old nephew wanted it as his birthday present. That's right, my male family member requested a cross-stitched piece of his favorite game.

Aunty was so proud of him. My inner gamer and crafter gave him four hearts.

Get it? Four hearts? Because Link uses heart containers and four pieces make a whole one? Get it??

I'm going to order the piece from Etsy. People have some really fun prints on there. And though its not an HAED piece, I think since its for someone I love it counts as the 1st. Defiantly not the last.

So I wanted to ask. What do YOU DO to prepare for a big piece? It just comes with the pattern and I have to buy the thread and fabric separately. I'm going for 18ct and wondering if I should use DMC floss or another kind, if I should buy in bulk and if I can just stock up at a local Micheal's (cuz that's like, my heart-throb store). I want to hear what you have to say. And if you haven't already started following me on Instagram (VanaQB) then make sure you do. I update on the progress of my pieces whenever I can.

I'm really looking forward to hearing from everyone. Thank you in advance.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Picture Dump! \(o.o)/

It's time again! Time for another collection of my WIP's. Serisouly, its like a miniature photo shoot when I take photos of my work. Right angle this, left angle that. Add more lighting here, filter that. As if I'm a cross-stitch photographer :D

I have to say, its progressing very nicely. I finally reached column 100 for Sebastian's Under the Sea one (not really called that, but I like my name better). It's taken me about 5 weeks, on and off stitching progress. You know, maybe I should try that stitch count thing that I've seen some people do. Where they do 100 stitches a day or something like that. Hmm, something to marinate on.