Our Correspondents News and views from CrossStitcher readers around the world
Ever wondered what stitchers like us are up to in different parts of the globe? We’ve asked readers from near and far to become correspondents for us and share with us their cross stitch news…
Heather Gibson, Fort William, Scotland
The Festival of Fire, signals the herald of May Day in the Highlands. It’s a pagan festival which essentially celebrates the end of the cold winter to a return of all things summer. We celebrate with bonfires and May Queens – it’s a celebration that is a feast for the eyes and food for the soul.
The Highlands are described as the Scotland of your imagination, with a steady flow of visitors from across the globe, all drawn to the land of Harry Potter, Bonnie Prince Charlie and Braveheart. The longer and lighter evenings means stitching can be accomplished outside while listening to the wildlife on the loch.
Our season picking up has turned to a competition season and season for fishing on the riverbank and on the pier. Spring also brings the mountain festival to town, with workshops to learn new climbing skills, watch pioneering mountain films, meet famous climbers and view the work of local artists.
‘Hogwarts Express’ – the Jacobite steam train that travels from Fort William to Mallaig on the West Highland line going over the famous viaduct in the films Progress on my labrador project
Heather is 33 and a watercolour artist. She lives in the Scottish Highlands on a stalking estate on the banks of Loch Eil. www.hgartist.com
Michelle Yeoh, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Apa khabar (How are you) from Malaysia? Every May, we celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday and Teacher’s Day on the 16th. So, it seems apt to tell you about my first cross stitch teacher – my mum! My mum is very into crafts. She started off with cross stitch, then picked up crochet and knitting. I believe she even tried punch needle embroidery.
Way back then, the internet and e-commerce hadn’t really taken off yet so we didn’t have that many choices when it came to cross stitch charts. Initially, they were mostly hard copy charts and you had to buy the fabric and floss separately. These designs were usually very large and suitable as wall hangings. Honestly, they looked really intimidating to a beginner like me! We also mostly used 9 count fabric and the entire six strands of floss.
Fortunately, when I was ready to try my hand at cross stitch, the choices were more varied. They now had smaller kits by the Thai label, Pinn, which were easy to complete. I then stumbled upon the Dimensions kits at a local needlework shop.
Life got in the way and cross stitch took a back seat. When I re-discovered it a couple of years ago, online shopping is now the norm and I’ve learnt about so many other labels and designers! When I got back into cross stitching, my mum professed that she missed it and so I set her up with her own kit. She finished it last year and it’s going to be framed and displayed in my kitchen. She is now working on a DMC design. Thank you, mum for sharing your love for crafts with me! Happy
Mother’s Day – I love you! First cross stitch done for my mum Mum’s masterpiece for my kitchen
Michelle runs her cross-stitch businesses, Little Pink Factory and MiRuMakes, via Facebook and Instagram. The former produces custom stitched pieces whilst the latter is focused on Malaysian-themed designs.
Alesya Tyshkevich, Moscow, Russia
This week has been a difficult one for me, as my flat was flooded by a neighbours! Stitching is my hobby and, of course, I try to spend every free minute with the canvas and threads, but this week I have not been able to enjoy my hobby so much. When I can, I stitch along with watching TV – my daughter doesn’t accept this way of us spending our free time. If she’s watching her favourite cartoon, I need to be nearby paying attention to what is happening on the screen. This means – no stitching. So, I have only about two hours a day.
Why not stitch my daughter’s favourite characters? If we fall into the world of Anna and Elsa from Frozen – it’s not a problem for me, because I know that Vevaco released a variety of kits with these Disney characters. When we are in a mood for ‘Masha and The Bear’, I take one of the four RIOLIS designs and start a new one. I could never imagine myself stitching cartoon characters but I have a plan for the whole 2018 connected only with them. Nowadays it really makes me happy! Masha and The Bear Olaf from Frozen!
Alesya is 29 years old and married, with a daughter. She works in a school and has been stitching for four years. Find her YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/ricamatrice.
Charlotte McFall, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK
Hello again everyone, I hope you have all had a great start to 2018. As normal mine was a little hectic as I have had my boys 24 and 21st birthdays at the beginning of February and a flurry of doctors appointments. I haven’t stitched as much on Aurora Cabin, one of the reasons is that although I had a piece of fabric for it, I didn’t measure it! So once I’d ordered some that was the correct size I had to wait for it to come before I could start. Which it did finally in the last week. I’ve taken a few photos of my start and will update you fairly regularly with the odd picture or two.
One of the symbols calls for six strands, (three strands off two shades). It took me ages to try and thread the needle which is why it is still threaded and stuck into the fabric!
A friend told me a tip for using six strands of the same colour, which was use three strands and double it up. Although I have done a tree which isn’t much, I decided this time to get the sky done first. I also copied the symbols chart onto a sheet of A4 which saves me unfolding the chart and refolding each time I want to check a symbol. You do get lots of strands of some of the colours, these I have placed in
everyday freezer ziplock bags. That way I can keep them separate and just use the colours as and when.
My husband has already chosen a place in the living room where it will hang and if I finish this one before my birthday in June, I will get my other much-wanted kit of Dimensions European Bistro. So I have a great incentive to get this finished by then. Hopefully in the next week or so I can have a full page finish and then move on to the water or cabin. A lot of the sky is half cross stitch, I think threading the needle will take longer than the sky!
I’ve ordered a project bag from Etsy. I thought it was so cute all those unicorns and would be big enough for all the thread, my Q snap and needles. My Unicorn Project Bag from www.etsy.com/uk/shop/LousCrossStitch Aurora Cabin at the start My freezer bags of thread
Charlotte writes under the name of Misty Shaw, and pens romance for My Weekly Pocket Novels and Mills and Boon. She was the winner of the Carina Mills and Boon Christmas in July Competition.
Vikki Climpson, Hastings, UK
I was made redundant last year, and took the opportunity to retrain. I have just started out as a freelance proofreader. Most of my ‘work’ so far has involved setting up my home office. I think it deserves to have a touch of gorgeousness! I am currently stitching a cushion for the sofa in my office; it is from CrossStitcher March 2013, and is a picture of a retro red telephone. I was planning on finding a gentle floral pattern, but this one jumped out at me!
The picture that I stitched of ‘If Life Throws You Lemons, Make Lemonade’ depicts my motto for life. I adopted this motto about 17 years ago, not long after I was diagnosed with MS. It has mainly been my legs and mobility that have been affected by the MS. There are perks, though – with my disability Blue Badge, I can park in super-sized parking bays or on double yellow lines. If you have seen my attempts at parallel parking you would agree that it is very sensible to give me the extra space, away from other cars!
I have just finished stitching for my cousin’s new baby, Elizabeth-Rose. I wasn’t sure whether her initial was just E, or should be ER, so I stitched E and a rosebud. I hope she likes it!
I feel like my life is branching out all over the place at the moment, but I am managing to fit in a lot more cross stitch than I used to!
Gifts for my cousin’s new baby girl My CrossStitcher cushion design for my office If life throws you lemons…
Vikki Climpson lives in East Sussex, is 46 years old, married to Mick, and has two children, who are both at university.