Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The New Doctor

Have you seen the recent costume reveal for the new Doctor, Peter Capaldi?  The 12th, 13th, or 14th Doctor, depending on your counting system:

  • 12th Doctor if you don't count John Hurt's Doctor - he didn't call himself the Doctor during that regeneration, and had also been called The War Doctor so that the other Doctors didn't have to be re-numbered
  • 13th Doctor if you do count John Hurt (who was a pretty awesome Doctor if you ask me)
  • 14th Doctor if you include the 2nd regeneration for David Tennant
I quite like the new Doctor's costume.  Very refined, simple, but with a hint of colour.  Some people have been comparing it to John Pertewi's outfit, while others have been complaining that there is nothing "distinctive" about it.  

Photo from drwho-online.co.uk

Personally, I like it.  I enjoyed Matt Smith's "bowties are cool", Tennant's long flowing trench coat, and who could forget the 4th Doctor's scarf; however sometimes I think costume designers can go overboard trying to be "cool" or "different" or "distinctive", remember the 6th Doctor's technicolour dreamcoat?  Sometimes simple, elegant and classic is the best.

Past Doctor costumes from The Day of The Doctor cross stitch pattern, available from Fangirl Stitches

As Peter Capaldi himself has said "He's woven the future from the cloth of the past.  Simple, stark, and back to basics.  No frills, no scarf, no messing, just 100% Rebel Time Lord." (bbc.co.uk)

Now who could argue with that?

I'm really looking forward to Capaldi's era as the Doctor.  While David Tennant stole my heart, and I'll always have a soft spot for Chris Ecclesten, Matt Smith irritated me most of the time.  He did grow on me towards the end, and he did have some spectacular moments, particularly during the 50th and every story with River; however I spent most of his tenure wishing for Tennant to come back!  I'm also hoping Capaldi helps improve Clara for me, who I personally don't like.  I'm over the whole companion-has-a-crush-on-the-Doctor storylines.  I think that's why I didn't really like Amy Pond either.  And why I miss Rory and Donna. 

I'm getting off topic.  As I said, I'm looking forward to Capaldi's era.  I'm looking forward to a bit of gravitas, and maybe a little bit of "acting like grown-ups".  I'd have enjoyed some more of John Hurt too (Big Finish audios perhaps?).  Ooo, I'm also looking forward to his voice - will he be Scottish or English?  Or maybe Northern?  Providing he's not Essex, we're all good.

I'm also really looking forward to some new monsters, new quotes, and to designing new cross stitch patterns for the Rebel Time Lord.

It Is Defended cross stitch pattern from Fangirl Stitches

What do you think of Capaldi's outfit?  What's your favourite Doctor Who moment?  What would you like to see in cross stitch?

Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The Joys of Plastic Canvas

I love plastic canvas.  It is amazing, magical, awesome stuff.

But best of all, it is firm.  It is self-enforcing.  It is 3-dimensional.  And you can't rip or tear it, unlike perforated paper.

If you haven't come across it before, plastic canvas most often looks looks like a sheet of thin plastic.  It's a clear, pliable plastic, full of regularly spaced holes.  I tend to work with the 14 count canvas - holes spaced out at 14 holes per inch, the same size as 14-count aida. 

It is also available in 7 or 10 count, with much larger holes, and can come in pre-cut shapes (circles, stars, crosses, dinosaurs).  Some places even sell it in different colours.

You can't stitch between the squares, which does mean that some patterns need to be adjusted to remove the half and quarter stitches.  On the plus side - no pesky quarter stitches!

Have I mentioned that I love plastic canvas?

Plastic canvas gave me my first experience of taking cross stitch off aida or evenweave and doing something else with it... something besides making wall hangings and cards.  I made a 3-dimensional nativity scene, with little figurines that had a front and a back side, and could be displayed anyway you like.  One year the shepherd might be standing on the left, the next year maybe he's hiding the camel.  The chance to change the design and layout of a cross stitch picture after it was finished was a new, eye-opening experience for me.  I was introduced to a whole new world of cross stitching opportunities.

Plastic canvas nativity scene.  Patterns from early issues of CrossStitcher magazine 

And what a world it is.  I have been blown away by the different things that people do with plastic canvas.  It is a great way of introducing kids to needlecraft and you can create so many different things:  tissue boxes, bags, ornaments, light boxes, toys for kids... the possibilities are endless!

Dolls furniture - picture from
A plastic canvas bug catcher - picture from

An amazing caravan light box in plastic canvas!  Need to find/make a pattern for this.
Picture from - http://makezine.com/craft/plastic-canvas-needlepoint-rv-lamp/
It's a plastic canvas TARDIS tissue box holder!!!
Picture from - http://www.zibbet.com/AuntCC/artwork?artworkId=1158213

My adventures with plastic canvas haven't been as extreme as some of these, but they have been fun.

When I first came across Wee Little Stitches' designs, I decided I wanted to do something different with them.  I didn't want just another wall hanging.  (I also decided there weren't enough Potter or Doctor Who characters and that I needed to design my own, but that's another story)  Instead I decided to turn them into Christmas ornaments for the children of a friend of mine.  And for myself.  I now have over 60 characters to try and work out what to do with!

They work very well as Christmas tree ornaments.  One idea is to find an old branch, paint it silver and hang the decorations off it.  Or buy one of the oriental style trees - less greenery to obstruct the figures.

I've bought plastic playing stands to display them in and have used the figures as playing pieces for Monopoly and other boardgames.

Pattern available from www.fangirlstitches.etsy.com
A good friend (and fellow Potter-head) has announced she is pregnant, so now my head is full of ideas of using the figures to create a very unique mobile for the cot!  I also have a plan for Potter-themed party, where I adjust the skin, hair and house colours of the student figures to match the guests - a unique idea for table decorations and place-cards all in one.

Pattern available from www.fangirlstitches.etsy.com
For Christmas last year, I made myself a pair of Christmas-themed Tardis earings, using plastic canvas and jewellery hooks.  They were very cute, and much admired by others at the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary exhibition in London, and the Doctor Who experience in Cardiff.

Tardis earrings - pattern available from www.fangirlstitches.etsy.com

Plastic canvas - the possibilities are endless!

Enough for now - I'm off to design my own 3D TARDIS.

Happy Stitching!

P.S. Some other plastic canvas sites I found with some pretty cool patterns:

Free plastic canvas patterns

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Radio silence...

Apologies for the radio silence this last week.

When I started this blog, I had hoped to post weekly, maybe twice a week.  After I posted my initial blog, I had to stop myself getting straight back on and posting again.  I tend to do that - get very involved in something for a period of time, burn myself out and then give up.  So I tried to slow myself down and space my blogs out.

And then I moved.

I moved into a house-share with two teachers I'd never met.  It's all arranged through work, really good deal in regards to rent prices and not having to pay bills, but you don't get a say about who you live with (unless you've lived here awhile and apply for a specific move/swap).  It can be a bit hit and miss - sometimes you get great housemates who you get along with fantastically, and sometimes you get ones who you clash with or have a different value system to, or different interests to, or it just doesn't "click" for whatever reason.  Just like most flat/house shares really.

This time I've got phantom house-mates.  One house-mate I haven't seen yet, and one I've exchanged about 10 words with... over about 8 days!  It makes for an interesting move experience.  I'm not the chattiest person when meeting new people, and it turns out neither are they.  Doesn't make for a very lively household!

It also means I haven't managed to ask about internet arrangements.  It's on the urgent "to do" list, but I do need to actually see the house-mates in order to ask the question!

After I moved I started a new job.

No internet, and a new job (using up all my spare brain power) - not the  most conducive or helpful things for starting a new blog... or posting updates regularly!

However I will persevere.  An unsecured network in the neighbourhood (frequent dropouts) and parents who live nearby help.

Stay tuned folks - I aim to be back on track within the next week.... or two.

Happy stitching!

- Fangirl Stitches

Friday, 10 January 2014

In the beginning...

Welcome to my Blog - what will become the home of stitchy news, geek-dom trivia, fangirl squeels and other general ramblings.

Who am I?

I'm Ros, the owner, designer, stitcher, photographer, curator, PA, media advisor  and general dogs-body of Fangirl Stitches - cross stitch patterns for the geeky stitcher.  I'm Australian, an OT, a Christian, a theatre-lover, a reader, a traveller, a little OCD, a sister, a daughter, a nice, a cousin... not necessarily in that order.

I'm a cross-stitcher

I learnt to stitch when I was (almost) 13, at a Christian summer camp for girls the month before I started high school.  What started out as a passing interest soon became an obsession and I was "borrowing" my mother's kits, patterns and other stitching supplies to create what soon became a pile of cross-stitched pieces.  I soon learnt the art of gifting them to family and friends!  I stitched just about anything I could get my hands on, even happily finishing patterns and kits for friends and family that they had bought but never started/finished.  These days my stitching tastes are a bit more focused, with themes including mythology, fantasy, science-fiction, early 20's fashion, and increasingly my own designs.  I still stitch a lot of presents for friends and family - wedding and birth samplers are becoming more common.

One of the first kits I stitched - 2000-ish
My first foray into dyed fabrics - Dimension's Angel of Dreams - 2006 

I'm a Geek.  Loud and proud.

I get it from my parents.  And my younger brothers.  Predominantly Doctor Who, Discworld, and Harry Potter, but I also love Sherlock, Firefly, Buffy, Angel, Charmed, Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars.  I'm slowly learning the world of Star Trek through the new films.  There are probably plenty of others that will come out over time.  While in the UK: I went to the Harry Potter studio tour (twice), Wincanton (the town officially twined with Ankh Morpork, walked on the set of the TARDIS, and followed the steps of the Potter film crew from western Ireland to northern Scotland to south-eastern England.

Dressing up as Harry Potter for a Uni event in 2004

With David Tennant's TARDIS in Cardiff, 2013

On the set of Diagon Alley at the Warner Bros' Studio's Making of Harry Potter

I'm a geeky stitcher.... or is a stitching geek?

It was only natural that these two obsessions of mine would eventually merge.  The first really geeky pattern I remember stitching was one of Death from Discworld, which I designed for my brother using one of Paul Kidby's designs.  I really struggled finding sci-fi patterns that fitted my interest, and looked good!  So many I found didn't fit the picture in my head.  It wasn't until I moved in England in 2011 that I discovered the world of Etsy and on-line patterns.  But there still weren't enough that I wanted to stitch, either for myself or my friends.  So I started designing my own: larger designs, kitch designs, designs that came together quickly yet still looked impressive, designs that were fun to stitch!

I designed and stitched this for a friend and fellow Whovian when her baby was born

 Now I sell my patterns on Etsy.

People admired my stitching and my designs.  People said they'd like to stitch them too.  Thus, Fangirl Stitches (the shop) was born.  And now the Blog, so I can share my passion for stitching and geek-dom and fangirl-awesomeness with the rest of the world.

For these and more of my patterns, check out Fangirl Stitches the Etsy Store, follow me on twitter, or find me on Facebook and Pinterest.

Happy Stitching!!