Chessboard Design in Progress

Well, so much for my own personal NaBloWriMo… I should have known: November is the absolute worst month for a college teacher to take on new goals. OK, maybe December is worse, but November is a close second.

Anyway, enough self-flagellation… today I’m updating you on all the progress I’ve made towards completing one of my goals, arranging for a model stitcher for my cross stitch chessboard design. (By the way, does anyone know why spell-check doesn’t like the word “stitcher”?) The design is a basic chessboard with sashiko-style squares and borders. Here’s a sample square:

Craft Month Challenge Sashiko Box Cover 001

I’ve been working on this design on and off for ten years. Seriously. Ten frickin’ years. But now I’ve decided that it’s time to stitch or cut floss, as they say. Well, nobody actually says that but me, but you get the gist. I realized that if I waited to do the model stitching myself, it might be another ten years before it gets done.

Last year around this time I did some research on how to find model stitchers and I discovered a couple things: first, stitchers are among the kindest and most helpful people in the world (a special thank you to Jo Gatenby of X’s and O’s who not only responded to me personally but also took the time to give me lots of really specific tips and insider information); and second, there are basically two places to go if you are a newbie looking for reliable model stitchers. The first is the Yahoo group (I know, I know, aren’t Yahoo groups so 2003?) Model Stitchers International, which is where I “met” Jo Gatenby and other designers who gave me a lot of helpful advice. It’s pretty quiet most of the time, but I did get an almost immediate response when I posted my questions.

The second is the Facebook group, Embroidery Model Stitchers and Designers. It’s a closed group of 500+ members, but you can ask to join or ask a member to invite you. It’s very welcoming as long as you stick to the rules (like no advertising, no off-topic conversations, treat everyone with respect, compensate everyone fairly) and moderately busy. There are about 1-2 posts per week calling for model stitchers and about 1-2 updates every week from model stitchers doing work for designers in the group. Don’t worry, it won’t clog up your feed.

If you know any other resources for finding model stitchers, let me know. I’d be happy to test them out and pass along what I learn. Thanks!

So, long story short (too late!), I’ve sent out feelers to both groups and I’ve already gotten a couple nibbles! Yeah! I’ll keep you updated on the design. Wish me luck!

All the News That’s Fit to Stitch — Part the Fifteenth

Well, we’re only five days in and somehow I’ve managed to miss a day during my own personal NaBloWriMo. I could say it’s because I was getting so much grading done, but… I think you see where this is going.

  • Guy Fawkes
    The Guy himself

    Remember, remember the fifth of November… these Etsy shops sell Guy Fawkes cross stitch patterns in the style of V for Vendetta. And here’s one from Sew and So which offers a little history lesson while you stitch.

  • And if you hate doing Kitchener Stitch, here’s a tutorial from Interweave Knits on an alternative. After all these years, I’ve made my peace with the dreaded stitch but I’m still eager to try out this technique which seems to work kind of like a three-needle bind off. Bonus: this includes a link to some free sock patterns from their magazine.
  • A funny riff on the stages of grief with “The 7 Stages Every Knitter Goes Through” from the LoveKnitting blog. Don’t worry; it ends with Joy.
  • The next featured item on Stephen Colbert’s Covetton House: Vicuna Royal.
  • Some adorable Mochi Mochi patterns.
  • Tea at Bletchley Park and a chance to see their famous museum collection of vintage knits while learning about the women who helped break the Nazi codes during World War II? Yes, please.
  • The new Alexander McQueen Fall 2017 collection features outfits with Jacobean sampler motifs (à la Merry Cox or C.A. Wells, for example). I swear that I own some of the patterns they borrowed ideas from. Scroll about three-quarters of the way down the page.

That’s it for today everyone–happy stitching!


It’s the Sexy Setting Goals Song: NaBloWriMo November 2017

Frankenstein, Sherlock Holmes and Coffee--what else does a gal need?
Frankenstein, Sherlock Holmes and coffee–what else does a gal need?

First, let me start by saying that I know that National Blog Writing Month (NaBloWriMo) was last month, but in late September I experienced a close family loss which understandably threw all my lofty plans into the proverbial crapper. Two days before this loss, I had recommitted to my stitching and knitting, to my two design “companies” (Wordsmith Designs cross stitch and Moon & Sixpence Knits), to this blog, and to my moribund writing career.

So, rather than scuttle the whole idea, I’ve decided to move my writing and crafting goals forward to this month.

My writing goals are simple: a blog post every day, 1000 words a day on another project I won’t go into detail about here, and a letter a day (and yes, I know that National Letter Writing Month is April).

My knitting goals are likewise simple: to complete the test-knitting (already underway) and pattern-writing (nearly complete) for my fingerless glove and baby cardigan patterns; and to complete the Thora sweater for my Aunt Janet who has been patiently waiting for it for more years than I care to admit. Anything else is gravy.

The Craftsman title pageAnd my stitching goals are even simpler: to complete the pattern and test-stitching for a chessboard design I’ve been working on intermittently for more years than I care to admit; and to complete the finishing for some Dawn Lewis Christmas ornaments I stitched more years ago than I care to admit. It’s time to stitch or cut floss. Anything else is, as they say, gravy.

These goals are simple but time-consuming and I’ve probably bit off more than I can chew, but a stitcher’s reach should exceed her grasp or what’s a heaven for, right?

And as a “thank you” for anyone who has made it to the end of this list: it’s the “Sexy Getting Ready Song” from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the best female-driven musical comedy series about an emotionally troubled lawyer in West Covina airing on television today (warning: NSFW).