Wednesday, 15 February 2017

A Cross-Stitch Pincushion

Or as my Little One calls it "a pillow" and pretends to sleep on it making a very loud snoring noise. It makes me laugh. Without any planning, I have finished this little pincushion right on time for my Grandma's birthday and it warms up my heart to think that she would have loved it. I wish she could see it... As I wrote back in October, I wanted to make myself a pincushion similar to the one my Grandma used to have. I found a lovely pattern online that seemed absolutely perfect for this special project.


When I finished the pincushion, I took the photo above to bring together four generations of my crafty family. Four women, two of whom never even met (me and my Great Grandmother), but all enjoyed embroidery, knitting, sewing and other types of needle craft. Even though I was not interested in sewing or embroidery until quite recently, I was surrounded by my Mum and Grandma who always had something crafty to work on. Most of the things they made were out of pure necessity like socks, dresses, jumpers, mittens, hats, mending clothes, but some of the makes were simply for the joy of making it. A gift for a friend or pretty things for the house. I am fortunate to have a few items that they made as a reminder of their talents and fine skills, of their love for needle craft. I am happy that while they still were around I was passionate about knitting and we always shared ideas, discussed the progress and made plans together. Even though I did not like sewing, I always hovered around watching, absorbing and fiddling with simple sewing notions.


All these sweet tender memories warm up my heart and inspire me to create more beautiful things and share my new love and passion for sewing and other needle crafts with all of you. If my work inspired even one of you to make something special for yourself, your child or your friend, then it's wonderful.



Please don't laugh, but this it the most complicated cross-stitch design I have ever attempted even though it really is very small. Yes, you read it right - complicated. I could not get my head around how to do all these half crosses and how to handle a few threads at the same time. It was tricky because it's not a traditional cross-stitch, but a half cross stitch technique that I never tried before.


I was going to do this embroidery the traditional way going row by row, but after a couple of rows I became confused and muddled up in all the threads and directions and half crosses. Some of the rows had only two or three stitches in a particular colour, some had almost an entire row filled with different colours. After a few rows I decided to stitch the outer pink square to define the area for the roses, but still it was a bit confusing. I tried the middle square then and it seemed to work better, it pointed me in the right direction. I embroidered the red parts of the roses, then added pink, then yellow, green leaves and then filled everything with the beige background. Once I past one third of the pattern, I found it much easier to continue, all the half crosses started falling into place much easier.


There were quite a few mistakes along the way that probably could have been avoided if I thought the process through before starting the work. I ended up with a very messy back because I kept changing my mind and trying to figure out the best way to approach this piece. I felt like ripping it all up and starting all over again so the back would look nice too, but after three attempts I decided not to do it again and left it as it was. So here it is - a very messy back that you do not see often here. He he...


I began the work using a sharp needle and kept pricking my fingers over and over again. Then I had to get something out from the box I keep my embroidery floss in and noticed a small patch of fabric with needles. Oh! Cross-stitch or Tapestry needles that are very thick, have a large wide eye and a very blunt tip. Oh my! What a difference they made to my stitching! The work went much faster and much easier, and surely pain free. These are very old needles, I have had them for a long time. I don't even remember buying them, so no wonder I forgot to use the right needles for cross-stitching. You can see Tulip Hiroshima Embroidery needle next to the ones I was using for this cross-stitching. Its blunt tip made it much easier to separate the threads at the right places and did not prick my fingers at all. Yay!


For the back of this pincushion I used my not little anymore son's old shirt. I absolutely love how this bright shade of red and white gingham go together with the embroidery. Just like my Grandma's pincushion, mine has a recycled back. It makes me quite happy to think that Grandma would have approved this idea. I also made a little loop for hanging it, just like Grandma did a very long time ago on her pincushion. Now I can hang my pincushion on my sewing machine or next to my sewing table. I have been patting this little creation a fair bit and it makes me think of all the lovely days I spent with my Grandma and Mum growing up, watching them drawing patterns, cutting fabrics, making small stitches, sewing, creating lovely things.


Do you have a special pincushion? What inspires you? What is your favourite type of craft? Did you learn anything from your Mum or Grandma? Do your little ones inspire you to create? Or maybe the nature around you? Whatever it is, I hope you feel inspired and I hope your heart fills with warmth and love when you get a chance to make something with your hands and share it with your loved ones. Happy crafting everybody! Larisa xox

8 comments:

  1. Welll....As an experienced cross-stitcher, I see you seem to need some advice... :} Although, the basics are the same as in traditional embroidery - be rational with material you work with - threads, (right) needles, fabric, and how you change colours and where and why you start & cut off your thread...
    Rational for me is - as little waste and untidiness as possible (put shortly)
    I could write much to comment on everything :}, but ,well, family needlework traditions are a great thing. women absolutely must do some of it :) I was taught some things in my childhood by my grandma, but resuming crafting as an adult I had to teach myself over again, and I loved it. Although there are many helpful ladies who share tutorials online and I learned a LOT from them - crochet and different embroidery stitches and sewing tips,etc etc etc

    PS. As for patting fabrics.... You must be pretty crazy
    But I did that too a couple of times. So, so am I =D

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    1. Thank you so much, Lily for your comment and your advice! I really had to show the back of this piece because it's not a typical picture for me. Generally I am quite careful with my material and the way I use it. I knew that I messed it up a lot even after three attempts. I just had to get it done as soon as possible otherwise it would've ended up being another unfinished piece. I allowed myself to leave it as it was only because it's a really tiny cushion (so I have not wasted much) and serve as a reminder to think things through before I start. :-) I kept hearing my Grandma's voice in my head while stitching telling me to keep my work neat and tidy. Hehe... I do pat fabric, I find it calming and energising at the same time. It also makes my mind flooded with inspirations. So I must be crazy! :-)

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    2. Sorry for long comment. Just have many thoughts... But you don't need advice, just more practice.
      ps. Me,I patted exceptionally cute prints.... :} for inspiration and appreciation, I suppose. And I'm a rescuer/hoarder of every snip&scrap....

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    3. Sorry for long comment. Just have many thoughts... But you don't need advice, just more practice.
      ps. Me,I patted exceptionally cute prints.... :} for inspiration and appreciation, I suppose. And I'm a rescuer/hoarder of every snip&scrap....

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  2. I can just imagine your frustration as you worked on the pincushion. You really must have been fed up to have allowed yourself to create the "design" on the reverse as you worked! It has all come right in the end as your pincushion is beautiful and hearing about the memories that came to mind as you stitched make it even more so.

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    1. Oh, I love the way you called the messed up back "design", Dina! But you are right, I was too fed up with this thing. If I started one more time, it would have ended up in a bin I am afraid. But I am so glad I finished it even with such a "design" on the wrong side. Nobody will know it unless I tell them, right? :-) Thank you for taking the time to read my stories and comment! xox

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  3. Regardless of your frustration, it turned out very beautiful!

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    1. Thank you, Catherine! I am so happy I finished it and nobody will ever know what is on the other side. :-) I ended stitching late at night with not so good light and it only made things more difficult. During the day it was a bit too much counting the crosses and chasing the little one. :-) xox

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