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!

17 February 2011

A belated introduction

The blog isn’t really “brand new” any more, so I think it might be about time to introduce myself a little better.

As it says over on the right column of the page, my name is Linda Williams. I live in Sydney Australia with my husband and daughter. I’m 32 years old, and I work from home in financial planning.

That’s the boring stuff out of the way. 

I have been cross stitching so long that I can’t remember what my first cross stitch design was (but it probably had something to do with teddy bears). Sewing of one type or another is ingrained into my family. My Mum learned to quilt when I was a baby, and has developed into a textile artist whom I respect a great deal (more about her later!).  Both my grandmothers quilt, and I have a set of hand-made cloth alphabet blocks that was made for me as a child. My aunt quilts and embroiders, my cousin embroiders … 

I think you get the idea.

And that’s only the women in the family. My dad is also an avid cross stitcher. He designs his own geometric patterns and stitches the most beautiful and unique bookmarks you’ve ever seen. I have quite a collection!

So it really was inevitable that I would get into stitching. I stitched a little when I was a kid, and then lost all interest in high school (“Ew, cross stitch?? How uncool!”). 

But when I was 16, I had a nasty break-up with a long-term boyfriend (long-term being six months at that age), so I was searching for something to distract me. I found a pattern in a Dutch cross stitching magazine my parents owned which immediately caught my attention. It was the biggest design I had ever seen, and it was guaranteed to keep me entertained for ages!

I finished it in three months.

From there, I was hooked. I stitched every angel or Mirabilia pattern I could get my hands on. I think my parents were a bit concerned around HSC time, particularly when I started an origami phase at that point and decided I was going to fold 1,000 cranes instead of studying, but I got through okay. 

After university, having come to the conclusion that a career in Egyptology wasn’t for me, I lucked into a job at a craft magazine called Homespun. Seeing other people’s work published inspired me to start designing my own patterns, and Stitches by Kryss was born! My first design was published not long afterwards (more on that here), and then I opened up my first website. Of course, no one knew it was there, and I didn’t know the first thing about publicising myself! But I kept stitching and designing, and then discovered the wonderful world of Etsy

Which pretty much brings me to today. I’m constantly looking at the world around me and seeing potential designs, some of which work and some of which don’t. I’m working on a few new designs based on vintage Australian magazine covers which I’m pretty excited about. More on those soon!

See you around.

13 February 2011

New Designs!

Hello everyone, and I hope you had a lovely weekend. I spent mine busily finishing up my two new designs, which I'm launching today! I hope you like them.

As with all my patterns, these are available with clear colour and symbol graphs, DMC colour key, and a photo of the completed work. They will be sent to you as a PDF file within 24 hours of ordering, so it's very easy!

These can both be found in my Etsy and Artfire stores. Let me know what you think!

11 February 2011

How to ... get published!

I’ve been asked by a few people how I have managed to get my designs published in magazines, so I thought I’d write about it here for anyone who was interested.

First, a little background on me. A few years ago, I was an editorial assistant and then editor for craft magazines in Australia, so I’ve seen the process from both sides – as both a contributor and an editor.

I’ve had my cross stitch designs published three times before this year: once in Homespun magazine in 2003, then twice in Australian Country Threads in 2004 and 2005. I’m being published this year in Australian Country Craft and Decorating, so this will be my fourth and fifth times.

Homespun from 2003. That's my Double Wedding Ring design on the shelf!
With each magazine, the process has been different. With Homespun, I actually worked there at the time so I knew the editor personally (if you’re reading this, you know who you are, thank you!). I knew what sort of project was usually published in this magazine, so I designed something with the magazine style in mind.

A year or so later, I sent some photos of my work to the editor of Australian Country Threads. She picked two of my designs, and that’s how I was found in that case.

And more recently, I was contacted by the editor of Australian Country Craft and Decorating  through my Etsy shop.

And that, in a nutshell, are the three main ways to be found by a magazine: 

1)       Know the right people.
2)       Contact editors directly.
3)       Be out there and available to be contacted.

It really can be that simple. From an editor’s point of view, sometimes they are inundated with submissions and can pick and choose from those. Other times, they have to go out and search for their projects, at craft shows or on the internet.

Here’s a few other useful tips:

1)       Do some research. Speaking specifically about the Australian market, there are actually only five or six publishing companies out there who have craft titles (there are certainly many more in the US or UK). However, no matter where you are, you will find that the larger publishing houses put out a variety of magazines with different targets and styles. For example, one publisher may have a cross stitching magazine, a country design magazine, a quilting magazine, a beading magazine, a scrapbooking magazine, a card-making magazine etc. Therefore, consider finding a larger publishing house for submission, as they may be happy to pass your projects to the magazine which is most appropriate. Alternatively, just pick your favourite magazine and send in a submission.

2)       Don’t be afraid! Send a letter or email with a few photos to the editor of your chosen magazine. The worst thing that can happen is a rejection. It is disappointing when it happens, but you haven’t actually lost anything. It can be worth the effort!

3)       Know the style of the magazine. In my case, I wouldn’t send photos of my Ancient Egyptian designs to a Homespun-style magazine, because they just wouldn’t be interested.

4)       Don’t expect to hear back quickly. Editors have to plan their editions months in advance, and are often flat out! So if you put in a submission, you may not hear back for weeks or even months. It depends on the editor. Don’t be discouraged, but be patient. If you don’t hear back at all, chalk it up to experience and try again later.

5)       Be organised. If accepted, an editor will need a lot of information from you in regards to your design/project, and will need it promptly and with minimum fuss. If it goes well the first time, you’re much more likely to be contacted again in future!

But really, it can all be summed up into one piece of advice: just go for it! Rejection can be disappointing, but it’s not fatal so give it a try.

Australian Country Threads from February 2005.
 If anyone has any other questions, please ask!

09 February 2011


I've finished my second cross stitch due to be published in Australian Country Craft and Decorating (you know, the one I was agonising about here). I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, in the end.

And now the shameless plug: if you can't wait for the magazine to come out, this pattern is available in my Etsy and Artfire stores. 

So now I'm working on finishing my Gabriel and Mary project (this one), and I'm also designing a couple of new patterns which I'll tell you about in the next couple of days. Busy!

06 February 2011


Ask anyone who knows me. I’m a sci-fi geek. So these just really tickle my fancy:

Serenity Crew - weelittlestitches
Shaun of the Dead - weelittlestitches
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - weelittlestitches
There's a whole shop of these awesome little pixel people. Check them out at Weelittlestitches' shop

03 February 2011

Gabriel and Mary

I wanted to share with you my biggest, and still ongoing, cross stitch project ever.

The first thing you should know is that I love anything with wings. Birds, butterflies, dragonflies, fairies, but particularly angels. I’m not religious myself, but there's something particularly elegant about an androgynous figure with radiant outstretched wings. 

I also love the vivid colours in pre-Raphaelite art. So many years ago, when I found this artwork, I was immediately in love. A match made in heaven (no pun intended)!

Edward A. Fellowes Prynne (1954–1921), “Ecce Ancilla Domini” 
Years later, when I had access to a cross stitch conversion program (I use PM Stitch Creator), I converted it into a cross stitch graph. It is 500 x 500 stitches, contains 162 colours in DMC cotton, and is being stitched on 18 count white Aida.

So I started stitching in September 2007. I wasn't working exclusively on this project, I often stopped to do other cross stitch, knitting or crochet projects. But whenever I just wanted to cross stitch, this was always there.

This is my first work in progress photo, from June 2008.

By this time, I had figured out that I had to work within a grid, or I would quickly go bonkers (well, more so than usual). So the yellow stitch lines are 10x10 grids, and the red stitch lines are the outside of each page of the pattern I'm working off. It has 36 pages! (Although it's really only 32 pages once you discount the corners of the circle.)

The next work in progress photo is from November 2009.

Sorry for the slightly dodgy photo. The only digital camera I had at this point was a camera phone!

By this time, I had finished the angel's robes, which were the hardest part of the picture. Lots of creams and pale greens, which were a bit monotonous after a while. But I was happy with the finished effect, so I guess it was worth it.

After starting to stitch in the middle, I had purposefully decided to stitch the bottom section of the design first, as the fun bit was going to be the top section, with the wings! There were a few tantalising little wisps of wing on the left of the picture, so it was very exciting once I finally started the top portion.

I got a lot of sewing done last year, because my pregnancy confined me to my couch for the last few months. So here's where I am now.

It's getting very close! I'm hoping I can get it finished in time to enter it into the Sydney Royal Easter Show Arts and Crafts exhibition in April, but I need to get moving if so! If I can finish it in the next few months, it will have taken me three and a half years, but worth every second! 

My only problem is that I've now gotten used to having a giant fall-back project. What will I stitch next??