A Stitcher’s Dictionary: Table of Contents

Stitcher's Dictionary Image

Each week on Little Thread Crafts I do a Term of the Week article, where I pick a common word or phrase among cross-stitchers and explain its meaning.

Below you will find an alphabetized list of every term I’ve done so far. Think of it like a cross-stitcher’s dictionary, and this is the table of contents.

Click the word to read the article. Happy Stitching!

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NaBloPoMo Is Almost Here!

NaBloPoMo November 2014

NaBloPoMo for the month of November is almost here! I’m so excited! We all had such a great time last year and I was able to get an article up every single day for 30 days. I’m really hoping I can do that again!

Don’t know what NaBloPoMo is? You can read about it on the BlogHer site here: NaBloPoMo Is Here! But the short version is that it stands for National Blog Posting Month – an event for bloggers that goes alongside National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Rather than finish a novel in 30 days, bloggers commit to writing or posting at least one new thing to their blog every day. That’s new content every single day. It’s quite a challenge!

I didn’t discover it existed until the day it started last year, but I did participate and we all had a great time. It was the highest view count in a month I’d had on my blog to date at the time! You can read the first and last articles for the month for 2013 here:

A Quick Update! The First NaBloPoMo Article

The End of November and NaBloPoMo

I’m going to sit down tonight and write out my goals for the month. I expect this year will be easier than last year as I won’t be working full time and trying to get content for the blog. I am in school, though, so I suppose that will prove to be its own challenge.

I really hope all my readers will join me again this year and we’ll have a great NaBloPoMo. I’m gonna go figure out my goals and I will see you all on November 1st!

 

Why I Stitch (And Why You Should Too)

I’ve thought a lot today about why I stitch. Not for any particular reason, I just tend to get introspective sometimes. Why do I stitch? What enjoyment do I get from a craft that forces me to sit still for several hours, entirely focused on needle and thread, counting and making small ‘x’s on fabric to form a picture?

The answer to this is different for everyone. For me in particular, it comes with a story.

I’ve cross-stitched since I was eight years old, but during the teenager years I didn’t do a lot of stitching. I had better things to do with my time like play video games or surf the Internet. Typical teenager stuff. And when I was 16, I hit a rough patch like a typical teenager does. Except mine was anything but typical.

It was a chemical imbalance that caused a whole host of problems: I was under high levels of stress and unable to manage it effectively, I was constantly ill with one thing after another, and I sank into a depression that lasted more than a year. I ended up seeing a doctor for one of my problems and the medication they gave me helped right the chemical imbalance and the rest went away on their own, with a few relapses every now and again.

But for that year, it felt as if my world crumbled around me and I lost passion for every single hobby I participated in up to that point. I no longer enjoyed anything. I didn’t feel as if I liked anything I use to like. I had nothing to turn to as a pick-me-up or a distraction. I dropped all my hobbies and activities. When I came out on the other side of the depression wall a year later I was at square zero with nothing to keep myself occupied.

Stitching has always been an activity at the back of my mind. Something I always thought about but rarely did. Since I had nothing else to do, I dug out my stitching stuff and went through it to see what I had left from when I was a kid. I didn’t have much, but I did have a few mini-kits. And I picked up the needle again.

When someone asks me why I stitch, I tell them it’s a stress reliever. That’s true for a lot of people. When you make any sort of craft – and I feel this is especially true for cross-stitch – you fall into a mindless rhythm. If I’ve got my count down and I’m in a block of color my fingers move on their own. But when I’m counting or I’ve got to watch my stitches, it’s the only thing I can focus on – it physically prevents me from other thoughts. I’m a dweller, a worrier; I have mild anxiety where a thought or action can leave my stomach in knots for hours. But when I stitch, I don’t overthink about things. I can’t. I’ll mess up my count.

When someone asks me why I stitch, I tell them it’s an art where you don’t have to be an artist. I definitely have mastery over the keyboard more than the pen. I can’t draw a straight line. I barely color within the lines, and I never liked to use paint. I can’t dance, I can’t create professional music. When I see beautiful works of art I feel envious: I wish I could do what they do. And yet, cross-stitch is one of the oldest forms of needlework on the planet. Cave people sewed ‘x’s into cloth while others painted the cave walls. I create a work of art made of needle and thread with every up and down motion of the needle, with every ‘x’ I make. I don’t have to have a steady hand or a keen eye or a healthy body. I just need patience, fabric, a needle, and thread.

When someone asks me why I stitch, I tell them I can create a work of art that will last for centuries. It may never hang in a museum like a Da Vinci or a Picasso, but if time and luck and fate permits it will hang on someone’s wall long after I’m gone. I don’t expect my piece of a cutesy butterfly to go down in history but it’s already been proven cross-stitch is an artwork that stands the test of time. Women and men have practiced the art since before we had words to write about it, and I am proud to say I can carry on that tradition. It may seem unpopular or unknown, but the art of cross-stitch and other needlework will never die out.

When someone asks me why I stitch, I tell them it’s because a needle and thread doesn’t care you who are. The stitching community doesn’t care who you are. Man, woman, young, old, thin, fat, healthy, sick, formally educated or self-taught… the people are as diverse as the craft. We all have different tastes and there is a piece that will suit you. I am a young, twenty-something woman with a myriad of health issues and no formal secondary education. The needle doesn’t care. Cross-stitch and the community built around it is so remarkably accepting in a world that divides itself over pretty much everything. Anyone can learn the craft or pick up a needle. It doesn’t matter who you are.

Stitching certainly isn’t for everyone; nothing is. But I personally have fallen head over heels in love with all of it. It became my pick-me-up, my distraction from reality. I have pushed myself above and beyond what I expected when I made my first stitch after so many years. The power of creation is in my grasp. I want to share this joy with everyone! And if I’ve encouraged even just one other person to start stitching again, or enticed someone to look into starting… then that’s a victory for me.

This is why I stitch. Why do you?

My kitten and I working on my latest project.

My kitten and I working on my latest project.

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“Random Corner” is a place for all articles related to all manners of cross-stitchery and the cross-stitch community that don’t fall into the topics covered in the regular segments. There is no set schedule for Random Corner articles, they’re just random!

By the way – to keep up on Little Thread Crafts stitching news and get pictures, updates, and more that don’t appear on the blog until much later, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! I would greatly appreciate it!

Progress Report: God Sent Special Things – Part 4 – Vacation Stitching

Read The Previous Articles:

God Sent Special Things: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

My wrist is feeling pretty crummy today and I’ve got class tonight, so I really don’t feel like doing anything… since the chance of me doing any stitching to cheer myself up is low, I thought it might be nice to write some articles for the blog instead!

Funny story: when I first started this project I was about to go on vacation to Florida for a week… that was almost two years ago now! I took it with me to stitch on and ended up spending all my time in the ocean so I don’t think I got more than 10 stitches done on it? Fast forward two years later, I’m going on vacation to Florida, and having completely forgot that this was the project I took two years ago, I brought it with me to stitch on!

So this is where we left off last time:

I didn't actually count but I'm guessing that's around 50 stitches.

I didn’t actually count but I’m guessing that’s around 50 stitches.

Again, I spent more time in the ocean and on the beach than I did inside with my stitching so I didn’t get much done. But, we spent the night at my boyfriend’s grandpa’s house on the way back home and there was a nasty storm, so I stitched some while the power flickered, and I stitched some more as we finished the last half of the drive. I don’t know how many stitches I finished… but I feel like I made some progress!

This is the sum total of all the stitching I did on vacation:

Slowly starting to take shape!

Slowly starting to take shape!

I finished the stitches on the left kitten where I had run out of thread, and I started on the basket both kittens are sitting in. There are a lot of fractionals in that area! I seem to pick the projects with the maximum amount of fractionals in one area. It drives me crazy! I don’t mind doing fractionals but I do mind them on aida, and that’s all I seem to stitch on. I debated starting on the white on the right kitten so it didn’t look like a zombie ate part of its face, but my philosophy is always to save white on white for as close to the end as possible! I was happy to work with darker thread and different colors. I don’t like confetti stitching but working with the same colors can get so dull after awhile.

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Progress Report is an update on all my stitching habits, from the kits to the stitching to the finishing process and more! Right now I am featuring one of my cat-themed projects and several of the mini kits I’m currently working on, along with other pieces I like to pull out and work on at random.

By the way – to keep up on Little Thread Crafts stitching news and get pictures, updates, and more that don’t appear on the blog until much later, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! I would greatly appreciate it!

Welcome to the Little Thread Crafts’ Youtube Channel!

It’s finally here! I spent a week learning basic editing and hunting down pictures to make this video… the trailer for the YouTube Channel! Didn’t know we had a YouTube Channel? Now you do!

I plan on being much more active on the blog and on the Channel now that I’m off work! Expect many more videos to come!

By the way – to keep up on Little Thread Crafts stitching news and get pictures, updates, and more that don’t appear on the blog until much later, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! I would greatly appreciate it!

My First Knitting Project!

Remember how I mentioned that I want to be the Stitching Guru, and just know all the different needlework crafts? (I could also be called the Needle Guru, or the Needlework Guru. Take your pick! As long as Guru is in their somewhere.)

Our Joann store reset the entire yarn/needlework department, and while I was stocking yarn I spotted this book by Leisure Arts:

Learn To Knit By Leisure Arts

Learn To Knit By Leisure Arts

I was really impressed with the supplies explanation and the first few pages of instructions, so I decided to take the plunge! I had a three day weekend and I said I wanted to learn how, why not teach myself?

My years of cross-stitch and DMC thread was painfully obvious; I followed the directions and got a Size 10 (8mm) needle, but went with a thinner yarn, since I thought less strands of embroidery floss equals easier to work with, so thinner yarn equals easier to work with. It’s actually the exact opposite in knitting. The bigger/heavier the yarn, the better, for beginners. Oops.

I also got a darker variegated yarn when I was told to get bright. I couldn’t find any colors I liked and I figured it wasn’t actually THAT dark.

And I very quickly learned I am a VERY visual learner. As I said, I was initially impressed with the instructions in the book. I got the Cast On part of knitting very quickly just from the pictures. And… that was all. I couldn’t figure out from the written instructions OR the included online video tutorials how to do the Knit Stitch or the Purl Stitch. I got so frustrated! My brain knew how it was supposed to work but it wouldn’t translate to my hands. The yarn would get all tangled up, and I didn’t know how it was supposed to look, so I couldn’t tell if I was doing it right or wrong.

Luckily, the Youtube Channel GoodKnitKisses came to my rescue. She has a great tutorial on needle knitting, and after watching her videos a few times and working for a few hours, I got my first few rows done!

My first two knitted rows!

My first two knitted rows!

And then after four more rows I cut the thread and threw it away.

The pattern the book uses as the tutorial is a pot holder/coaster type of deal. Honestly, that is too small to learn from AND it wanted me to switch between Knit and Purl mid-row. As a beginner, who still can’t grasp the concept of Purl Stitch. So after a few attempts I said “Yeah no” and decided to just toss the book aside completely. I will revisit when I am less of a total beginner.

I decided instead to do a scarf! I can already tell I’ve made it too wide. But hey, it’s good for a beginner! And it’s just the Knit Stitch until you’re done type of deal. Cast On, Knit until you think it’s long enough, Bind Off, finish. So I’ll get lots of practice!

I’ve already lost count of my rows, though.

Check out those lovely rows!

Check out those lovely rows!

Finally Settled In!

My new office!

My new office!

Well, the move is finally complete! It was a lot of work and a pain in the butt, but we were able to get the apartment a week and a half ago and I got the rest of the boxes unpacked last night. The last to get unpacked and put together was my office area! Which is to say, my boxes and boxes of craft stuff.

It took some wiggling and moving around – the built-in bookshelf included with the apartment is just slightly too small for my fabric boxes – they’re too long and too wide, so I had to do some push and shove to get it all to fit. But it did!

Now that I’m all settled in, I’m excited to get back to crafting, and the blog! My last day of work is the 27th and after that I’m hoping to take a few months to get my wrist fixed and get into crafting full-time. The goal is to be able to work from home by the time my rent savings runs out!

Watch this space – you’ll be seeing a lot more articles in the future!

By the way – to keep up on Little Thread Crafts stitching news and get pictures, updates, and more that don’t appear on the blog until much later, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! I would greatly appreciate it!