Best Smartphone Apps for Cross Stitch, Knitting and Crocheting

My work can have a very technical side and when it comes time for me to unwind I like to let my creative side come out. For me that is very often picking up some knitting or some kind of stitch work. If I can merge the technical with the creative in my crafting then so much the better. My smartphone is often at my side and I have found it to be an invaluable tool for craftwork. I would love to share some of the best smartphone apps for cross stitch and knitting that I have found.

Any reader here at Stitching the Night Away should have the Cross Stitch Calculator app for their iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. There is also a version for Android phones too. You enter in some information about your pattern and it tells you how big your fabric should be. No more starting a project and realizing half way in that your fabric is too short. This a free app with a no-ad version for 99 cents. [Read more…]

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Stitching

This blog post has been sitting in my mind for awhile now. I’m sure you noticed my recent lack of posts… that has been because my carpal tunnel is flared up quite a lot lately. I even had to write this blog post in shifts, so I haven’t been stitching. And the truth is that makes me really sad and very frustrated, literally. Stitching is very therapeutic for me, it’s my stress relief and relaxation. I tend to get a little cranky when I’m not stitching. [Read more…]

Craft Gossip Added a Cross Stitch Section!

When I read this today I nearly jumped out of my chair I was so excited, and then I got really double excited when I realized that it’s being managed by Connie G. Barwick, who you might recognize already from our Facebook community as the About.com Cross Stitch Guide, and the wonderfully generous new site she just started at Connie Gee’s Designs. Yeah, shes kind of famous here in the needlework world!

Take a minute now to hop over to the new Cross Stitch section at Craft Gossip, say hello to Connie and subscribe to the feed so you don’t miss any awesome stitching goodies :) [Read more…]

Taking Your Stitching When You Travel

I go away for a few days on a business trip next week, I’m attending a marketing conference in Atlanta the 18th – 22nd. Usually I take a stitching project with me when I travel, and the few times I’ve flown I haven’t had a problem with my tiny travel scissors being in one of my checked bags.

However, this trip it’s just me and I don’t plan on paying $50 to check my one suitcase since it’s carry-on sized. I’ll have my suitcase and my totebag/purse with me and that’s about it, I travel pretty light. So obviously a carry on bag with a pair of scissors isn’t going to fly – literally. I know some folks have mentioned using nail clippers or cuticle scissors in the past. I’m actually thinking about picking up or ordering a Clover Thread Cutter this weekend just so I don’t have to think about.

I know they are really being picky about what passes security these days – I don’t even want to think about the TSA pat down on the way through security in Atlanta *shudder* So all of this has me wondering today, what do you take with you when you travel? I’d love to hear everyone’s travel stitching stories and tips, please leave a comment below. [Read more…]

Printable Floss Bobbins from Wild Olive

We had a little discussion last week when I mentioned Annette’s floss tags and some folks wanted to make bobbins instead. I appreciate that and I wanted to share one of my favorite sources for printing out bobbins on your own card stock at home.

Wild Olive Printable Floss Bobbins

Image Credit: Wild Olive http://wildolive.blogspot.com/

Aren’t these bobbins from Wild Olive adorable!?! If you’re not familiar with Wild Olive yet and you enjoy embroidery I strongly recommend you hop over there and check it out, it really is a great blog.

To get these cute bobbins to help you organize your stash just go to http://wildolive.blogspot.com/2009/11/printable-thread-bobbins.html and you can save and print out your own set. Don’t forget to leave a thank you note over there to Mollie for creating and sharing such a nice resource!

Happy Stitching!
Loretta

Want a quick way to make your own floss tags for projects and stash storage?

I’ve got a few big projects coming up in my to-stitch pile and I was thinking of making some floss tags like this to help keep me from making a mess. I used a floss box last time I did a big project (think HAED) but I didn’t like the whole winding and unwinding of bobbins.

So the idea of using tags really appealed to me since this is already how I store my specialty threads. I have two big binder style rings that I keep over-dyed and extra special threads on.

Annette posted a quick tutorial on her blog (Annette’s Acre) about how she made her own floss tags since they weren’t readily available for her to purchase. It’s a quick and easy solution using some card stock and hole punches that I’m sure you’ll like.

Annette's Floss Tags

image credit: Annette at Annette's Acre http://www.annettesacre.com/?p=743


You can check out the full tutorial and get started making your own set of floss tags with Annette’s instructions at http://www.annettesacre.com/?p=743 Hop on over there, check out the floss tag tutorial, and don’t forget to say hello to Annette and leave her a comment thanking her for sharing this handy floss solution. [Read more…]

Making Small Changes to Your Cross Stitch Pattern Or Cross Stitch Kit For a Big Difference

Sometimes you pick up a cross stitch chart or even a cross stitch kit and even though you love the design you just want to make a few changes to it or give it a bit of your own pizzazz! I don’t think I’ve personally ever stitched anything exactly to the charted key, I always add some little something, whether it’s a floss change, a bit of blending filament, or maybe a few beads here and there for texture just to give it that little extra bit of me.

So, let’s talk about a few things you can do to jazz up that new project to make it a little more your own. [Read more…]

How to Use Counting Pins in Your Cross Stitch

So we had a discussion on Facebook and here about using counting pins, especially on larger projects. I mentioned that I was looking at ordering some and wanted to hear everyone’s experiences. In an effort to better understand the whole concept of using counting pins in counted cross stitch I turned to Tommye J Bunce (aka TJB Designs) and asked for a brief explanation of how these beautiful tools worked to make our stitching easier……

(by the way, hop over to http://facebook.com/tjbdesigns and give her fan page a “like” if you haven’t already)

—–TJB counting pins explanation for cross stitchers—–

Counting pins are a must for anyone who does counted thread embroidery. They will scare away that ugly frog!! The tips are blunt like tapestry needles, so they won’t split the threads of your fabric. Rubber earring nuts are used to hold the pins in place.

The most common way to use them is when moving from one stitched area to another spot where you want to start stitching. For instance, if your next stitching point is 12 stitches left and 15 stitches down from completed stitch “A”, using the counting pin to count 12 stitches to the left of stitched point A. Insert the counting pin into that hole, bring it back up 2 or 3 stitches away and put the nut on the pin to anchor it. Take a second counting pin and count down 15 stitches from where the first pin was inserted. Insert the second pin at that point and anchor it. Then you can thread your needle and start stitching.

TIP: if you are truly paranoid, pick a completed stitch “B” in a different area, and figure out how far your new stitching point is from point B.

Repeat the counting and marking process, as before, from point B. If you come up in the same place as you did when counting from point A, you’re ready to go. If you don’t, recount. If you still don’t, you probably made a mistake in your previous stitched area somewhere between A and B. (you probably weren’t using counting pins then. LOL)

Another popular use is when stitching long bands or rows. Insert a counting pin every 25 or 50 stitches, or whatever number you are comfortable with. That way you don’t have to count the whole row over and over again trying to figure out when you are done.

This photo isn’t a good demonstration of the counting and marking process, but it does show how to anchor them.

And, of course, all are welcome to visit my Etsy shop for more counting pins, many of which are color coordinated with (super pretty) scissor fobs. http://etsy.com/shop/tjbdesigns

And to keep up with new products, be a fan of TJBdesigns Facebook page. http://facebook.com/tjbdesigns


A special thank you to TJB Designs for this great explanation and for getting me off the fence about ordering a set of counting pins. Actually, two sets. I ordered these and these from TJB Designs Etsy shop on Sunday afternoon. I figured if I didn’t get to stitch I could at least shop for stitching goodies!

I grabbed both the large and small size because even though I usually stitch on evenweaves and would be using the small size pins, I do have a project coming up in my stash that I think those large pins will come in handy for – besides that they were pretty and they matched! You know how that goes 😉

As always, happy stitching everyone!
Loretta

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