A spot of cool cross stitch

Cross stitch moustache pattern from Cross Stitcher magazine

Over the years I've stitched pretty things, nifty things, impressive things...  but very rarely COOL things! I've been cross stitching since I was about 11 years old - starting off with Country Companions hedgehogs & mice, and graduating over the years to family gifts, seaside scenes & quick-stitch cards. But now I can add a project to my repetoire that is super cool - and I love the results! Here's a pic of my latest stitching project - proudly on display in the June issue of Cross Stitcher.

Calendar Bunnies sale at Bustle & Sew!

We love the adorable new Calendar Bunnies pattern book at Bustle & Sew - it gives you all the instructions and templates you need to create a vintage-look quilt, including an adorable embroidered rabbit for each month of the year.

My first applique

Hooray! After much swotting up & stitching, I've just completed my first ever attempt at applique - this red & white gadget cosie, complete with home-sewn bird & flower details. I made it using a free kit I've been hoarding for months now - from an early issue of Mollie Makes magazine. It's made using linen, red-patterned fabric, a wooden button and my trusty needle & thread. 

Applique gadget cozy - sewing pattern

I think I still need quite a bit more practise before I can call myself an applique pro, but I did enjoy how simple this was - and I've been hooked on red & white craft projects for a while now, so was chuffed to discover this worked well against a linen backdrop. Read more to find out where to get the free shape templates...

Our Mollie debut

Mollie Makes coverOooh we're thrilled to bits as one of our patterns has been featured in Mollie Makes this month - happy days! We're so chuffed to see our cross stitch kitties pattern - Flopsy, Topsy & Mop - starring in their news pages. Especially as our editor Zoe stitched the original set in this photo!

Mollie is one of our biggest craft crushes... hop on over to their blog for all sorts of lovely ideas to make & treasure. Or to nab a copy, check out Mollie's digital edition or why treat yourself and subscribe!

Flopsy, Topsy & Mop

Stitch a 2012 Tea Towel Calendar

Soooo we're well-fed, rested, relaxed and looking ahead to our new year of making. Obviously we've packed in a fair bit of crafting over the holiday season, and have over-flowing 'must make' lists for 2012.

This embroidered calendar tea towel kit has to be top of our stitch list for January...

It's one of a range of contemporary embroidery kits from Curious Doodles' Etsy store. Each kit comes complete with a screen-printed linen tea towl, needles, thread, hoop and instructions for how to add a few simple embroidery stitches for super-stylish results.  Something to brighten up the kitchen chores this January then!

Cross stitched flower cushion

As 2011 draws to an end, I can finally share with you all my favourite craft project of the year. Of all the things I've made over the past 12 months, the winner for me is a project with a very personal nature. 

Christmas flower cushion

When I saw this flower cushion cross stitch pattern by Maria Diaz I thought of my mum instantly, so when her birthday came around I set out to stitch it for her. 2 months later, nearly 6 weeks late (I'm always a little over ambitious when it comes to my craft-timing-estimates!), it was finished. I gave it to her just before Christmas, so I can finally show it off here on the blog!

Art meets cross stitch

This made me smile today... artist Nils Viga Hausken makes art from cross stitch... love it! His cross stitched QR code does actually work when you scan it...

His blend of stitching and artwork also includes public embroidery exhibition (where visitors who came along each embroidered secrets in braille) and a self portrait in cross stitch on linen.

Cross stitch QR codes

Nils' artwork got me thinking about some of the art-inspired projects we've got on offer over on The Making Spot. With our downloadable charts you can cross stitch some of the world's most famous masterpieces...

Stitch your own sunflowers with this chart by Maria Diaz...

Free pattern: Liberty Cross Stitch Needlecase

Looking for something new to make this weekend? Good news fellow crafty pals... we've arranged for a free taster project for you from Helene Le Berre's new book - Liberty Cross Stitch: 24 designs to sew. Read on to find out how to make this charming needlecase - and download the free cross stitch chart. Stitch this sweet needle case on to linen for a classic feel, then sew up the results with lovely Liberty print fabric for a classy way to keep track of your needles!

3 ways to cross stitch - country-style!

Lately I've become a bit obsessed with queing up my next cross stitch projects - I've got about 4 on the go at the mo - a secret gift (more details later!), some plastic canvas Christmas decorations, a metallic set of Christmas cards and a 2-year-old (now nearly complete) birth sampler.

So naturally I'm already on the hunt for my next-stitch project. Luckily I've just discovered one of our designers over on The Making Spot - Annette Eriksson - has zillions of cross stitch kits & charts over on her chock-a-block site anetteeriksson.com. She's got some great shabby chic stitching projects with a vintage feel.

Here's 3 few of my favourites..

1. Stitch your own santa sacks...

Stitch-up sweet 3D kittens

Meet Flopsy, Topsy & Mop! I cross stitched this trio of feline friends when they made their grand debut in Cross Stitcher magazine. This cute set of cats by Diane Machin are one of my favourite cross stitch projects from the magazine that I've stitched over the years. I love them for their vintage feel and the fact they were really quick to stitch up - I like to mix up the pace of my stitching projects so that some are decade-long marathons while others, like this one, can be completed in an evening.

I recall stitching them fondly for two main reasons. Firstly they were my first every project where I stitched on to linen. At first I was a bit daunted but I've since gained confindence and got to grips with stitching on linen and evenweave - now I much prefer it to aida as the fabic is softer and stitches have a lovely vintage feel.

Secondly they're memorable to me as I cross stitched them while commuting into London on the Met line tube last summer (there's nothing like a spot of train-stitching to get people staring!). I used to have a long journey to work so would help the time pass by bringing my latest cross stitch project with me. These cat charts were an odd one to stitch as you stitch each cat on a flat piece of linen so it's hard to picture them once made up! But so worth it when you're done and have sewn them up into 3D toys. Now they sit on my desk here in The Making Spot offices and make me smile whenever I look at them.

If you fancy creating your own versions of Topsy, Flopsy & Mop,  I'm happy to reveal you can now download the cross stitch chart to stitch up your own set (along with instructions for making them up your kittens) over on The Making Spot.