Saturday, 26 March 2016

Supernatural pattern now available!

The Supernatural alphabet pattern, which I am stitching for the A to Z blog challeng, is now available from my Etsy store!

Visit Fangirl Stitches on Etsy to check it out.

Not long now till the start of  the A to Z challenge... I really need to get organised. Good thing I'm on holidays this week so have some spare time up my sleeve.

Happy stitching!

Friday, 25 March 2016

Stitching the A to Z Challenge - fabric prep

This blog was originally written to go up before the Challenge reveal post.  But then I moved into my new place (which was last minute because of furniture delivery dates) which took up a lot of my spare time, and I had no internet, which really affects the ability to upload blog posts!  

Now that I've chosen my fabrics (and patterns) for the A to Z challenge, it's time to get them ready.

I like to have a 10x10 grid on my fabric when I stitch.  I find that it helps me keep my place when counting, I can stitch a single colour rather than having to constantly change so I don't lose my place, and all in all there is less un-picking (or frogging as it's known).

Stitched 10x10 grid lines for the Supernatural Alphabet
I used to stitch the 10x10 grid, using long stitch (or just really long back stitch - usually 10 squares at a time.  I'd pick a contrasting colour (one that wasn't going to be stitched in the pattern) and go for it.  It would take me a good few hours depending on the size of the pattern, but I always figured it would save me time in the long run.  My favourite part at the end of a long stitching project was pulling out the grid lines - hoping that I hadn't managed to stitch through the thread, making it a lot more difficult to remove.
The drawn 10x10 grid for the Pokemon Pattern
These days I use a wash-out fabric pen.  It is so much quicker!  A table/flat surface, the pen, the fabric, a ruler... and within about 15 minutes the job is done.  The pen I use is from a quilting store (it doesn't have the brand name written on it!) - it washes out in cold water, or air-fades in about 30 days.... which can mean you have to redraw the lines if your project is a bigger, or takes you longer to stitch... but totally worth it!  Just make sure you test it out on a corner of your fabric first - the last thing you want is to get to the end of your project and discover that the particular pen you're using doesn't wash out of your particular fabric!

When I was drawing up my fabrics a couple of days ago, I was using a fine-point one.  I thought "oh, this will be neater, less bleeding".  Slight problem - it faded within about an hour! Where I'd drawn the lines a bit thicker it was still (slightly) visible, but predominately there wasn't a trace.  I don't know whether it was because it was particularly humid that day, or particularly sunny... whatever the reason, I had to redo the whole thing with one of my older pens.  Oh well - you live and learn I guess!  I also had to stitch the grid-line onto the Supernatural pattern - the fabric just seemed to absorb the ink, and with the darker colour it wasn't really showing up.

Next I'm going to stitch the background lines.  The Pokemon pattern I've chosen has dividing lines between the letters so I'm stitching these ahead of time - to save me time during the challenge, and to help with the counting.

I've changed the colours a bit from the original pattern.  It always amuses me when I'm stitching one of my own projects and think "I don't like that colour choice, I'm going to change it."  I'm the one who came up with it in the first place, you'd think I'd be happy with it!  Oh well, colour choices/preferences change with time, and it really can depend on the fabric colours too.  Again - the joys of cross stitch - it's open to change to suit individual preferences.

How's your A-Z prep going?

Happy stitching!

Monday, 21 March 2016

A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal

It's finally time for the A to Z Challenge Theme reveal!

This year for the challenge, I am going to be cross stitching two of my alphabet patterns, and sharing my progress each day for each letter, as well as any thoughts I have about the character/figure.

The patterns I've chosen are:

The Supernatural Alphabet and

The Pokémon Alphabet.

My choices were based on a number of things
  1. The Pokémon pattern should be fairly easy to stitch in an evening as the figures do not involve any backstitch or fractional stitches - whole stitches all the way.
  2. The Supernatural one has a lot of simple figurines - as in most of the characters are just wearing jeans and a t-shirt, rather than long flowing dresses with several colour changes (like the Amidala patterns) - which also means they should be fairly straight forward stitching-wise.
  3. The Supernatural pattern is a new one to my design catalogue and I haven't had a chance to test-stitch it yet!
  4. I've been living with two of my brothers for the last couple of months.  They are into Supernatural and Pokémon, and I thought these might be good additions to their unit - make it look a little less uni-student-ish
The Pokemon patterns is available from my Etsy Store if you wanted to get your own copy and stitch along.

The Supernatural Alphabet should be up on my Etsy store this weekend.  I was hoping to have it up before today, but I moved house last week (more on that later) and am still waiting for the internet to be connected.  No internet means no new Etsy patterns.  I'm visiting my parents this weekend so will have internet and be able to load the pattern.  Promise.

 The Supernatural pattern and Pokemon patterns - starting phase

I have been cheating a little bit and have already started stitching the alphabets so I don't fall too far behind!

Because I'm a bit of a sucker for punishment, I am also going to be writing a second blog over at Travel Like A Geek.  This is my other blog, where I am planning on sharing various adventures and geek-related travel ideas/plans.  On that blog, my theme is going to be an A to Z travel guide to the locations used in the Harry Potter films.

There's still time to join the A to Z challenge - head on over to for the details.

I'm looking forward to having you all join me for this crazy ride, visiting your blogs, discovering new friends and like-minded individuals.

Happy stitching!

Friday, 11 March 2016

A to Z challenge - choosing the fabric

I've finally worked out which cross stitch to do for the A to Z Challenge.

I'm actually going to be stitching two.  One I'm planning on starting soon because it's a little more complicated.  The other I'm planning on stitching each day.  We'll see how it goes!

Choosing the patterns means it's time to choose the fabric.

I've decided to stitch on aida rather than evenweave.  Although I prefer the finish of evenweave (it looks smoother in my opinion), I find aida quicker to stitch on because it requires less counting.  There's also less chance of missing a line or two, so less frogging (unpicking).

Rather than order fabric especially for each project, I'm delving into my stash.  I have quite a collection of hand-dyed and coloured fabrics.  I love hand-dyed fabrics.  I find they give added dimension to projects, without having to add a lot of extra background stitches.  They're also more fun to look at than plain white.
Just some of the colours in my stash
I find choosing the right colour can be tricky - there's either too many "perfect" choices or no "just right" choice.  I cheated this time - I handed my stash to my youngest brother and said "which do you think will work best for these projects?"  He's not the most artistic of my brothers, but he made a choice, and I'm going with it.

Both of these fabrics are from Sew It All, an Australian company that specialises in hand-dyed and opalescent (sparkly) fabrics.  I love their colour ranges, and their prices, and that they're Australian.  Most of my more recent projects have been stitched on their fabrics.
For Project 1, I'm using "Bluescape" from the 'Colours of Australia' collection.  There's a lot more greeny-blue than is showing in this picture.
 For Project 2 I'm using "Stormy Sky" also from the 'Colours of Australia' collection.  The second picture shows the colours better.

I'm itching to get started, but I need to sort threads first.  That's a job for Future Me.

Happy Stitchin!

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Getting ready for the A to Z Blog Challenge

As motivation to get back into the whole blogging regularly thing, I've decided to participate in The A to Z Blog Challenge again. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not - I did get serious blogging burn-out after April last year.  But it was fun and I want to do it again!

For those of you who don't know, the A to Z challenge is where you post each day in April (except Sundays), working your way through the alphabet.  Some people blog on a theme, some people just post randomly.  It's a lot of fun and a great way to discover new blogs.  It's how I met a lot of you. The host blog page has a lot of useful information about the challenge, how to sign up, a list of people who have signed up, and lots of information to get you ready or decide if it is right for you.

My favourite blogs last year, and the ones I'm looking forward to finding again this year, are the people who cross stitch from A-Z (particularly those who were/are stitching my patterns!).  I'm going to be joining them again this year - just making the final decision/s on which alphabet/s to stitch.

Now is a good time to start planning if you are thinking of cross stitching your way through the A to Z Challenge.  You'll need time to get your supplies ready, rule up your fabric, stitch any boards/backgrounds/fancy bits, and of course choose your pattern!  Depending on the pattern you choose, you may also want to get a head-start stitching the letters so you are not stitching until midnight to try and make the deadline!

Alphabet patterns available from Fangirl Stitches
There are a lot of great A to Z cross stitch patterns out there.  A search on Google or Etsy will turn up thousands of different ones in various themes, colours, styles, and degrees of difficulty.  It can be a good place to start though and help stimulate the thinking process while you choose a theme or style.

I'm biased of course and think the ones in my shop are pretty fantastic ;)  To make things easier for people getting ready for the challenge, I've added an extra search category, and now you can find all the alphabet patterns in one handy location.

Alphabet cross stitch patterns available from Fangirl Stitches.  Can you name them all?
 I'm going to be sharing as I get ready for the A-Z challenge, although I'll leave the "big reveal" until the actual Theme Reveal date (21st March).  If you've got any tips or suggestions for stitching your way through the challenge, I'd love to hear them.

Alphabet cross stitch patterns available from Fangirl Stitches
Are you stitching for the A to Z Blog Challenge?  Leave a comment below and I'll drop by your blog to say hello and add you to my "to follow" list.

Are you stitching a Fangirl Stitches pattern?  Let me know that too - I love watching people work on my designs!

Happy stitching!

Monday, 7 March 2016

The 13 Doctors - It's a New Pattern!

When I had a stall at Oz Comic Con last year, I lost count of the number of people who asked if I had a pattern of all the Doctors from Doctor Who.

I didn't.  I also wasn't sure why I didn't.  This is one of my favourite TV shows.  I LOVE Doctor Who.  Why on earth did I not have a pattern of the 13 Doctors??!

I think it was because when I first started designing there were a couple of other patterns of all the Doctors, one of which I had stitched myself, so I didn't feel the urgency of needing to create my own.

Whatever the reason, I didn't have a pattern and you were asking for one, so I needed to design one.

It's taken another few months to get it finished, but at long last I can reveal The 13 Doctors, my tribute to this long running, fantastic television show.

The 13 Doctors, available from my Etsy Store
Enjoy people!

P.S. Keep an eye out next week for some more Doctor Who patterns.  They're very... companionable... ;)

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

WIP Wednesday

It's Wednesday, which means it's time for WIP Wednesday.

Currently I'm working on a name plate using the Star Wars alphabet (available from my Etsy store). A friend has asked me to stitch it for a friend of hers. I've got about 1 1/4 letters to go, and I'm loving how it's turning out.

I've had a lovely evening of much-needed stitching therapy tonight. I've finally found a place to rent (yay!) that will let me have cats (double yay!) and I pick up the keys on Friday (yay again). However I've been having issues with the removalists. Work is meant to be paying to move me as part of my transfer, however there's been dramas getting it approved - originally I was told "no", then "oh we made a mistake, yes you are entitled to moving expenses", then they told the removalists "no she's not entitled", and then finally today (5 days later) they agreed that they'd made a mistake (again) and I was entitled to moving expenses. All this has meant that it's very unlikely my stuff will be picked up this week, and since they say it takes 7 days to be delivered (which I don't understand) it's going to be at least a week (if not 2) before I can actually move into my place, meaning I'll be paying rent for it to sit empty. Which I'm not happy about.


All in all, some very much needed stitching therapy happened tonight and I'm feeling much calmer and "it'll happen when it happens" about the whole situation. 😊

Happy stitching!