Crowdsource Blackwork Pattern!

Kim posted the final Crowdsource Blackwork Pattern update. Lot’s of great little designs… go check it out!

Kokeshi Doll Finished

Last week I posted a sneak preview of my latest creation. I’ve now finished the first in a series of 3 Kokeshi dolls.

I am really happy with how this one turned out…

The Beauty of Stitching is Open!

It was with very little fanfare that I opened my Etsy store on the 27 of August! It happened so quickly and unexpectedly that I didn’t even realise I had reached one of my goals until just now.

Late in the evening of the 27th I thought I would go into Etsy to see what I would need to do to open a store. Next thing I know I had done it. It isn’t exactly polished and there are only 2 patterns available. Over the next few weeks I’ll try to add more to it. I have a few little designs underway.

More Crowdsource fun – Blackwork Scarab Beetle

Kim hinted at a need for more insects in the Blackwork Crowdsource project.

I decided to try to design an insect and added the extra challenges that it needs to fit into the frame provided for the project and only uses vertical, horizontal and 45 degree lines. This was the result, a blackwork scarab beetle (inside the Crowdsource project frame):

Not bad for my first attempt at designing an insect!

Needle in a Haystack

Needle in a haystack is the thought that kept going through my mind as I looked for my lost needle this past weekend. Completely ignoring my own tips for stitching with toddlers in the house I left my current project out. I was only going to be away from it for a few minutes after all. A few minutes turned into the rest of the afternoon.

As we were putting my daughter to bed I noticed that my stitching project had been messed with. A quick check detected the missing needle. Calling my daughter over I pointed at where the needle had been and asked if she knew were it was now. She helpfully told me “Gone”.

Now having confirmation that she had indeed played with it, I asked if she could find it. She helpfully looked around and found me some dog hairs on the carpet.

After I had her in bed, it was time for a more through search. Armed with a mini torchlight I searched on hands and knees around my toddlers favourite hang outs. I found many more dog hairs, a few beads and eventually I spotted the missing needle right in the middle of one of the main activity areas of our apartment. Relieved I had found the needle I promised myself to put a little bit more effort into practicing what I preach… I did only have 1 needle out and no scissors… but leaving the project out when I stopped working on it was a big no-no, not to be repeated again!

Tip: Stitching with toddlers

As all mothers know, stitching with a toddler in the house is a challenge. They manage to get their sticky little hands on everything. Have you noticed that toddlers hands are almost always sticky?

Even if a mother finds the time to stitch, there are those needles and scissors to worry about…

With a toddler in the house I thought my stitching days were over. I was wrong! I actually manage to put in some quality stitching time.

Here are my tried and tested tips for stitching in a home with a toddler in residence:

  1. Use only fabric and threads which you can wash when you are finished. No more worrying about sticky fingers or spilled food and drink!
  2. To ensure there are no scissor accidents: Use an empty dental floss box to cut the threads instead of scissors. Or get a thread cutter, like the famous Clover Thread Cutter. I am not on their payroll, I just happen to own one and love it.
  3. Needles are easily lost. Make sure you only have 1 out at a time.
  4. If possible, use only cross-stitch needles – they have a blunt tip.
  5. Make sure you know where your needle is at all times. Have a storage place for your needle when not attached to thread. Check regularly that the needle is not lost. Tips 3 to 5 will save you and your little one from being stabbed by a sharp needle. They also work if you have a special other who is paranoid that you will loose your needles on the couch.
  6. Work from a copy of the chart. Toddlers like to draw!
  7. Only have the threads and supplies you need to work with out. Toddlers love to tangle up thread.
  8. Have a rule that the project is yours and not a toy. Be consistent about this.
  9. Let the toddler look at and touch your project when they show curiosity – only under supervision, remember it is yours! More often than not they’ll quickly loose interest.
  10. Have a safe and out of the way storage place for your stash.
  11. Have a place to store your project that is safe from the toddler and easily accessible to you. Always put your project away when you are not working on it. I keep a couple of decoy items in the same drawer with my project, just in case the toddler does manage to stage a raid. I use some of my own things that my daughter likes to play with as decoys. At the moment one of my plastic frames is the favourite.
  12. Stitch only for a few minutes at a time and make use of the times when your toddler is sleeping. The household tasks can wait. I like to alternate stitching with those tasks. Stitch for 5 to 20min then go do something else… repeat!

If you have time to be reading stitchy blogs, then you have time to stitch… Turn off the computer and pick up that needle!

Blackwork Sampler SAL

One of my favourite finishes of all time has to be this Blackwork Sampler. I wanted to learn how to do blackwork and so did 2 of my friends, and this was the perfect project for it, lots of different motifs to try out. We decided to do it as a SAL. Each of us picked different fabrics and threads and got to work. Being the traditional girl that I am, I decided to stitch mine all in black, except for a touch of metallic in the middle to break down all the black.

As it turns out the sampler is quite large for a first time piece but it was well worth the effort.


Fabric: cream 22-count Oslo from Zweigart
Threads: stranded cotton DMC310 and a touch of metallic “light effects floss” E301 (copper)
Design: by Lynne Herzberg and published in The Gift of Stitching

This is it finished:

And here is it framed, where it hangs on proud display just above my desk:

Blackwork Crowdsource Fun

Last week while randomly clicking through blackwork sites I came across STRING OR NOTHING. The wonderful lady that owns this blog had the idea to make a Blackwork Crowdsource project.

I immediately put pen to paper or should I say needle to thread? Actually I did it all on the computer… so fingers to keyboard and hand to mouse? It just doesn’t sound the same! Anyway, I quickly came up with these 2 little motifs to fit in the frame provided for the project.

The first one was a cross doodle type design, which Kim named Mesmer-Flower a mind bending cross-style flower – love the name! The second is an anchor, inspired by the nautical sub-theme within the project itself and by the fact that I was watching Deadliest Catch at the time I was designing these two motifs.

The two little designs have now been added to the main project. Lots of pretty little motifs to stitch up on that project… go take a look! While you are there, checkout the amazing blackwork samplers Kim creates.

I am back!

It’s been a long time since I posted or spent anytime on my “Chanda Belle” activities. I had a few good reasons… but the most important one was that I was busy adding a new member to our little family.

Things are settling down now and I feel inspired to create a few beautiful things. Here is a sneak preview of my latest creation… under the working title “3 sisters”.

I’ll be back with more soon!