16 June 2011


I think everyone has a few UFOs (Un-Finished Objects) in their craft room. I've been on a bit of a campaign recently to finish a few off. So here's what I'm up to at the moment.

I started this blanket when I was pregnant last year, and obviously got distracted by something else. 
I had wanted to try out domino knitting for a while, but finally got around to giving it a shot with this blanket. It started out as a good reason to use up some of my wool stash, but then of course I had to go buy more wool so that sort of defeated the purpose. Still, I plan on finishing it now, and possibly even expanding it further. (Aw, then I'll have to go buy more wool!)

My crochet granny square rug was started even longer ago, about four years.
I know that looks like a lot of squares, but I figure it's only about a third of what I need! My biggest problem with this UFO is that I don't have enough of the green coloured wool and the colour is now out of production! So I'm just spreading it as far as I can.

I'm being really obsessive compulsive with this blanket. I had this idea that the colour combination on every square should be different, so I charted up all the possible combinations and I'm marking them off as they're done. Really, I need to get a life!

Lastly, I bought this kit at a craft show last year from Morris Yarns. I need another scarf like I need a hole in my head, but the colours and pattern were just too tantalising!
You never know, I might actually wear this one, it's so beautiful! Either way, it's good practice at crocheting.

So, all of that is keeping me off the streets at the moment. It's actually very satisfying to finish off a few projects which have been sitting around for so long.

13 June 2011

Messy but fun!

It was my husband's birthday yesterday, and he's notoriously difficult to find good presents for. We both have rather expensive hobbies (craft for me, collectable Bloodbowl miniatures for him) so we tend to buy a lot of our own things as we need them, rather than waiting for birthdays. 

But this year was easy. I had seen this brilliant link on Pinterest (I was right, all my free time is going into that site at the moment, it's so much fun!) and knew it was a great idea. So here's our attempt.

It came out really well, especially since I seriously underestimated just how difficult it would be to get a 10.5 month old to place her palm on a piece of paper without making a mess! But we both had fun making it, and my husband loved it.

As for my craft projects, I'm still having a break from cross-stitch and currently crocheting granny squares for a rug I started years ago. I'm basically going back and cleaning up some old UFOs (Un-Finished Objects) while I figure out what my next big project is going to be. I'll post some pictures of the granny squares later on in the week.

Until then!

26 May 2011

Pinterest - There goes my free time!

I recently found a new website which has definitely captured my interest! Pinterest is a clever site which allows you to "pin" photos from all over the internet and collect them into albums. A friend told me that it sounds a lot like Tumblr (which I've never really used before) but Pinterest seems to have a particularly feminine, crafty and artistic bent to it which I'm loving.

So I've spent the last couple of days looking around the site, putting together albums of my own interests (including gorgeous homes with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, which you can see here) and of course, a collection of inspirational craft ideas (which you can check out here). The site allows you to follow other people's albums as well, so you can find collections which suit your interests and have pictures from them pop up whenever you log in.

The site is currently invite only, but as a new member I have six invites to give you, so if anyone is interested, drop me an email and I'll send one over to you.

I'll give you one tip however: turn off the email alerts! Everyone is looking through everyone else's albums and repinning, and you don't need an email every single time that happens!

I get the feeling that I'm going to be spending a lot of time on this site, just seeing all the beautiful things that the world has to offer! I've already found a bunch of cute craft projects and a really clever idea for my brother's birthday this year.

And now, to drag myself away from the internet and go do some grocery shopping. *groan*

19 May 2011


Before my daughter was born, I went on a cross-stitching and knitting frenzy. We had been trying for a while, and I had been restraining myself from making lots and lots of baby things before we finally fell pregnant, just in case we never got there. The day I found out I was pregnant, it was on for young and old!

She's 10 months old now and she's grown out of most of her newborn clothes. It's coming up to winter here, so I thought it was time for a new hat. Here's what I put together.
Purple, of course, but I actually bought more balls of this wool (Lincraft Surprise) in pink and orange/red shades, so she might just get more hat/scarf sets! It was a lot of fun to make, and didn't take too long at all. 

My husband called it "froofy". But he's a boy, so what are you going to do??

Anyway, I thought I would post up the pattern so you can knit this too. The wool doesn't need to be variegated, but I would suggest doing the crochet flower in a contrasting colour so it stands out.

“Froofy” Hat/Scarf Combo
For a 12+ month old (my little one has a large-ish head, so I stitched it big with lots of room to grow)

100g 8 ply wool (I used Lincraft Surprise in Aubergine Mix)
4.5mm knitting needles
4.5mm (size 7) crochet hook
Large needle for sewing in ends/attaching flower to hat

Method – Hat:
Cast on 80 stitches.
Knit first 6 rows in Moss Stitch as follows:
Row 1 (RS): *K1, P1*, repeat * to * until end.
Row 2 (WS): *P1, K1*, repeat * to * until end.
Row 3: Repeat Row 1.
Row 4: Repeat Row 2.
Row 5: Repeat Row 1.
Row 6: Repeat Row 2.

Continue knitting in stocking stitch (knit right side (RS) rows, purl wrong side (WS) rows) until hat measures approximately 13cm from bottom.

Shape crown as follows:
Row 1: *K6, K2tog*, repeat * to * until end.
Purl all WS rows.
Row 3: *K5, K2tog*, repeat * to * until end.
Row 5: *K4, K2tog*, repeat * to * until end.
Row 7: *K3, K2tog*, repeat * to * until end.
Row 9: *K2, K2tog*, repeat * to * until end.
Row 11: *K1, K2tog*, repeat * to * until end.
Row 12: K2tog until end.

Cut yarn to leave a long tail, and thread tail onto needle. Pass threaded needle through remaining stitches on the knitting needle (there should be 10 stitches) and pull tight. Use remaining thread on needle to stitch up the back seam of the hat. Sew in all ends neatly.

Method – Crochet Flower:
Please note: instructions are in English crochet terms.

Ch8 and join with a SS.

Round 1: Ch3 (counts as 1tr), work into ring 1tr, *6ch, 3tr*, repeat * to * 4 more times, 6ch, 1tr, then join with a SS in the third chain of the 3ch at the beginning of the round.

Round 2: *1ch, then 1dc, 1htr, 7tr, 1htr, 1dc into the chain arch, 1ch, skip 1dc, SS into next dc,* repeat from * to * 5 more times.

Fasten off with a tail, and thread tail onto a needle. Use remaining tail to sew flower onto the hat in desired position. Sew in all ends neatly.

Method – Scarf:
Cast on 15 stitches.

Work every row in Moss Stitch as follows:
*K1, P1*, repeat * to * until end, K1.

Cast off once scarf is at desired length (mine was 82cms).

Method – Crochet Edge (Large Picot):
Please note: this edge should be worked in multiples of 3 plus 2.

Row 1 (WS facing): Work a row of dc along the edge of the scarf. Try to create 17 stitches.
Row 2 (RS facing): 1ch, 1dc into next dc of previous row, *ch5, SS into first ch of that 5ch, skip next dc, 2dc*, repeat * to * until end. Fasten off and sew in all ends.


15 May 2011

What's new, Pussycat?

I promised I'd show you my latest stitching project, so here it is. I am stitching up one of my newer designs from a vintage Australian magazine cover, The Rose.

And here's what it will look like when it's finished:
I've also been knitting a bit, just making a few new cosy warm beanies for my little girl. They're so quick and fun, so I think I'm going to make a few of them! More on those as I make a bit more progress.

I hope your projects are going as well as mine! Have fun.

10 May 2011

Excuses Excuses

So, anyone who reads blogs regularly will be very much familiar with the post I’m about to make.

I’ve been slack about updating the blog. Sorry everyone. Here’s the shortlist of excuses:

1) I’ve started managing a blog for my husband’s practice, and they’ve been keeping me busy! I’m hoping I can start up a small business running blogs for people who are interested in having one but don’t know the technological know-how to do it themselves. (And yes, that was a blatant piece of self-promotion, so contact me on cynosure.linda@gmail.com if you’re interested in something like that for yourself or someone you know!)

2) Sick grandmother, check. (I wish that was a joke, but my grandmother had a couple of heart attacks and has had to be moved out of her home into a nursing home, so that resulted in a trip up north for a while.)

3) I finished my giant cross stitch, so I’ve been a little burned out on stitching for a while. It went well in the exhibition I talked about (it won third place!). But I have started a new project which I’m tentatively planning for next year’s exhibition. 

4) Most of all, my little girl is nine months old and on the verge of starting to crawl. She developed her first tooth last week! She’s a little angel, but she still runs me ragged. That said, I’ve already started planning her first birthday party, which I’m really looking forward to!

Shameless baby picture, check.
 5) And my own health went haywire this week, which is hardly an excuse for my not having updated the blog up until now, but hey, I get some sympathy, right?

I promise I'll (try to) do better in the future.

More on my latest cross stitch project later in the week. 

29 March 2011

Status: Cross Stitch finished.

I think I'm just going to let the pictures speak for themselves, because I've run out of words when it comes to this project.

If you're going to the Sydney Royal Easter Show, it will be exhibited in the Arts and Crafts Show. 

27 March 2011

The Creative Breakroom

Hi everyone, just a quick little note today.

A fun new forum has just opened up for people who are interested in all things crafty. Originally a part of the Etsy forums, and then the Unofficial Etsy Forums, the Creative Breakroom is going to be a fun place to hang out. Come find us over there and say hello!

23 March 2011

My Palette Cleanser

I had a whole post written to update everyone on what was happening with my Gabriel and Mary project (discussed here and here). Last week, it was looking like a total disaster. I had finished stitching, unpicked all the guide lines, washes and ironed the cloth … and the creases were still there. It was looking pretty dire.

So I had a post written about how I was giving up, and seriously considering starting the whole thing over again (which everyone thinks is crazy and, frankly, IS crazy). I was just about to put the post up when I was reading the CrossStitch Forums, where I’ve been talking about this project a lot. A lot of people offered suggestions for my problems, which I am very, very grateful for, but one in particular, Sadpingu, linked an article on another forum which exactly described my problem, and how to fix it. In short, by weaving some thread through the back of the stitches where the creases are, I could fix the tension problems which were causing the creases.

And it seems to be working.

So I would like to take this opportunity to send out a big THANK YOU to Sadpingu, whoever you are, especially given that you registered for the forums specifically to pass on that advice to me. As I said on the forums, if I knew you in real life, I would give you a big, fat, sloppy kiss right now.

Meanwhile, I found myself a lovely little project to take my mind off my other cross stitch dilemmas. Another poster on the CrossStitch Forum, Offe, has a link to her website with some very pretty little designs for free, and I just loved this one.
I’ve been calling it my Palette Cleanser. And it has been very nice to have something quick and fun to do while I’m in denial about my gigantic cross stitch problems. So thank you also to Offe!

 I’ll put up another post once I’m completely done with Gabriel and Mary. But it’s looking good!

15 March 2011

I won an award!

I’m very excited, I just won my first blog award!

And apparently there are rules to this, so I’ll do my part. Here we go …

1. Thank the person that awarded you:

            A big thank you to Planet Treasures.

 2. List 7 things about myself:

              1. I play World of Warcraft when I’m not cross stitching.

2. I married my boyfriend from high school.

3. My favourite musicians at the moment are Muse, Imogen Heap and Disturbed.

4. I spent two months working on an archaeological dig in Egypt in 1999/2000.

5. I’ve never broken a bone in my body.

6. I have recurring nightmares about tsunamis, so I really, really feel for the people in Japan!

7. My favourite season of the year is spring.

3. Pass the award to 15 other stylish bloggers -

4. Let those bloggers know

            All done.

Thanks again to Planet Treasures!

09 March 2011

New Designs - Vintage Home

I've been busily working on a new collection of cross stitch designs based on vintage images from 1920s and 1930s magazines. I'm very pleased to release the first two of these, The Rose and Parisian Elegance.

I'm working on lots more like this, so stay tuned in!

In other news, I've created a Stitches By Kryss Twitter page, so you can follow blog updates from your Twitter feed. You can find the link on the right of the page, along with links to Facebook, and my Etsy and Artfire stores (where you can also find my new patterns!). 

05 March 2011

How To … Publish Your Own Book

My super-clever Mum asked me a couple of months ago about a website she had heard of where you could publish your own books. I’d never heard of it, but we went to check it out.

It’s called Blurb, and I was extremely impressed with how user-friendly it is. You can write your book online with Bookify, or you can download the software to your computer with Booksmart. Then you upload the photos you want to include in your book, and just use the uncomplicated tools to lay everything out. It can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. You order as few or as many copies of your book as you want, and it’s posted to you very quickly. Even the prices are pretty good! As methods of self-publishing go, it’s really very straightforward.

And you can write your book about anything. If you browse around the Blurb Bookshop, you can see the books that other people have uploaded. There’s everything from children’s picture books, photo albums, art and photography books … all completely unique. 

So one day in late January, Mum and I put together a book of her designs, specifically about her inspirations around her home and her photography, drawings and embroidered artworks which resulted. The result was brilliant, and we had a lot of fun working on the project together. 

For myself, I’m thinking of putting together a photo book of my daughter’s first year. She’s seven months old now, so I’ve got time to consider it!

I would really recommend Blurb to anyone who is interested in showing off their work in a book. With just a little computer savvy and a bright idea, you could be a published author!

P.S. If anyone is interested in a copy of my Mum's (Carolyn Sullivan) book, you can email me at stitchesbykryss@gmail.com.

28 February 2011

Status Update: Almost done

Very big milestone today! I have finished cross stitching my very big Gabriel and Mary design.
So my next steps are to:
1) Unpick all the guide lines.
2) Wash it within an inch of its life (because after three and a half years of work, I'm certain it's pretty grubby).
3) Iron and hope the creases in between the guide lines come out!

I'm very pleased with it, and I'm well within my deadline for the Easter Show Arts and Crafts exhibition in April. A part of me can't really believe that it's (almost) done!

Meanwhile, I've also just picked up my Pieced Star from the framer, and delivered it straight to the publisher. Very exciting!
No idea as yet when my two projects will be published, but I'll let you know!

So now I've (almost) finished my giant cross stitch, what's next? 

Well, first off, I have a super-secret project I've been working on with my Mum which I can't talk about yet, but which I'll talk more about in the next week or so. 

I have a domino knitting project half-finished from when I was pregnant, which I really should get done. It'd be nice to knit something about such a long time cross stitching.  

I have a few new designs on the go which I need to finish off. I'm very excited about a new range of vintage cross stitch patterns I'm working on at the moment (more on those soon!).

And, you know, look after the baby and do my day job. 

It's all go around here!

24 February 2011

Let’s be six years old for a moment …

Purple is my favourite colour.

My wedding had a purple theme (and thank you to my husband for going along with it!). 
My house has purple feature walls (which I’m not responsible for, the previous owners painted them, but they were a big selling point for me!). 

My garden has a giant mass of lavender in the front yard, which tends to surround my mailbox and make it impossible to grab my letters.
And I’m finding that I buy purple clothes and toys for my daughter, so I hope she likes it too!

So it’s no big surprise to anyone that I tend to feature a lot of purple in my embroideries. I actually find that the DMC colour range is a bit limited in the purple department, but 3740, a deep dusty purple, is one of my favourite shades to use.  
Double Wedding Ring - Stitches by Kryss
Star Medallion - Stitches by Kryss
Amish Shades - Stitches by Kryss
What’s your favourite colour?

21 February 2011

Maintaining sanity

One of my early challenges with my huge Gabriel and Mary cross stitch pattern (more about that here) was how I was going to keep the 160+ colours organised. I originally had a chart which interpreted the numbers on the chart to the DMC numbers, but I realised I was spending most of my time flipping back and forth between pages.

It took ages. So eventually, I hit upon a much better way of keeping myself organised (and sane!).

These are simply just post-it notes, cut up and stuck onto the top of each bobbin. This way, I could have my thread box organised according to the numbers on the chart, not the cotton colours themselves. I didn’t have to look up separate charts, and no flipping between pages on the book.

It’s been great! It's very simple but it's been a lifesaver, and has probably contributed a great deal to my actually (almost) finishing this thing!