Sunday, 9 December 2012

The tricks of my trade, and a new jazzing up of the diggs.

I changed it up a bit and added my own wallpaper.   I think it looks a lot better.

So, like every stitcher out there, I have slowly collected "things" over the years that make my stitching easier, organized and overall, more enjoyable.

Here are some of mine!

My darlings!   I don't know if I have mentioned it before, but I have a bit of a fetish for scissors.  Particularly Gingher Designer scissors.   They have the quality of the Ginger brand and twice a year they release two new designs.  They only release a limited number, so if you want them, you have to jump fast, otherwise you will be at the mercy of Ebay, and trust me, the prices can skyrocket for the rare ones.  I would LOVE to own a pair of "Leah" but they were released in 2003, and when they do pop up on ebay, the seller always asks for some ridiculous price, like $200 - $300.  I'm quite sure "Leah" will forever elude me.  (The scissors I have are "Charlene" - which are the purple ones, and "Alicia" - which have blue peacock feathers on them.)  Both are beautiful!

My little hidey boxes.  These are made by Just Nan. They are perfect for holding needles (Bohin needles are the ONLY kind I use. I know, I know, how the heck can needles make a difference, but Bohin's have a high shine, and they slide through the fabric like buttah!)  Anyway, these clever little boxes contain all the little bits and bobs that are so easily lost.

My needle threaders.  The silver one is the one I use mostly. But the green is FANTASTIC for threading Krenik thread - especially the braids.  It was a bit on the expensive side, but completely worth it.  It works by smooshing the braid flat so you can thread it through the needles eye.

My Q-snaps and ring. I used to have several other rings, but this one is the only one that remains now.
Q-snaps, in my opinion, are much easier to use. They are a bit heavier than a ring, but they hold the fabric much tighter.

My beloved bead box.  Officially, this is a tackle box for fishing, and honestly, it kinda smells like it should belong among dead fish. Something about the plastic here really .... well, to put it bluntly, stinks.  But every now and then I Febreeze it, and the smell goes away.  BUT, this is seriously the best bead box I've EVER had. And trust me, I've had a few.  They are easy to read, easy to organize.  I put a sticky of the number on the outside of the vial, and I also cut the number from the package and place it inside the vial, should the outer label fall off.  And the lid snaps on nice and tight, so no lost beads.  If you can put up with the rather interesting smell of the plastic, then I recommend these.  Just keep that Febreeze on hand.

This is my box of stuff - affectionately called "The Stuff Box that holds my thingies".  When I refer to it to my husband, he knows exactly what I'm talking about.  I keep pretty much everything in there.  Beads, all my threads (and finally, I can brag to you all that I have EVERY SINGLE THREAD that DMC has ever made.  (Checks one item off the bucket list.)

When it comes to being organized about my stitching supplies, I can be a touch ... um ... anal, I guess the apt description could be.  But trust me, it's the only thing in my house that is well organized.  I wish some of this deep down need for organization would transfer to other areas, like my fridge, and my pantry, but apparently it stops at stitching.  Much to the chagrin of my husband.

More boxes where I keep odds and ends that otherwise would be homeless, and likely end up in the belly of my cat.

My current project box.  I have no idea where I picked up with particular plastic box. It would have been sometime in the early 90's, likely in Eastern Canada, but I love the fact that there is no barrier in the middle of it, and I can fit full size pencils and highlighters in it.  The only ones I can find today don't have any such space.  If anyone knows where I could find this exact case, I'm all ears.

Speaking of highlighters, I used to use a mechanical pencil to color in my chart as I followed it.  Now there is an erasable highlighter! Yes, you heard me right! It's a highlighter - THAT ERASES!  It's soooo much faster than a pencil, and it doesn't bleed on to your fabric if you accidentally lay your fabric down onto your pattern.

Of course, the old eyes not being what they were, I need help.  This is my light when I travel.

I also have a big floor stand magnifier.  I love that light, and would be hard pressed if I had to choose between it or my husband.  My husband would only slightly edge it out, and only because he cooks.  But trust me, it would not be an easy decision to make.

One of my pets is a cockatoo, who loves to sit on my knee and look at me through the magnifier, line her eye up with the super powerful extra magnifier, then growl at me.   Normally I wouldn't flood this blog with pet pictures, but this is pretty funny, and kinda, sorta on topic.

What can I say? She's silly.  I've looked through the magnifier to see what she sees, and it looks normal to me, so I don't quite understand the obsession with it, but this happens almost daily.

Silly bird is silly.

Now for the latest project!!!!!  I started a Christmas stocking for the son of a very good friend of mine.  It's the "Treasure Dragon" by Myles Pinkey.

It's been 6 days since starting it and I'm nearly 2000 stitches in.  I know with Heaven and Earth designs that they recommend you do a grid of 10 at a time, but I get waaaay too confused this way, so instead I do a page at a time and a color at a time.

Here's the progress so far....

It's not making much sense yet, but it will eventually.

And I'm also stitching it on "Magic Fabric". It comes with the grid stamped on. OMG, love, love, LOVE IT!  I had to purchase from a lady in the UK because I'm not sure if you can get it in the States or Canada. But my cross stitch supplier is looking to see if she can carry it.

Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed my weekly post. I'll see you all next Sunday with a project update.

~Rai Rai


  1. Wow you are a very organised lady!
    How cool is your cockatoo! I like pets that have little weird idiosyncrasies, actually I like people that are like this too!

    Great start on the Chrissy stocking, looks great!
    xox Alicia

    1. Thanks, but trust me, the organizational need stops with the embroidery.

      The bird is hilarious! She once got out of her cage while I was at work and absolutely trashed my apartment. I thought I'd been burgled.
      The cat is no different. I have to hide my shoes at night, because she likes to rip the insoles out and drag them up on the bed. They are an endless source of entertainment, for sure.

      I'm loving the stocking so far. I have another project on order that I will have to interrupt this one for. I traditionally only work on one at a time, but this will be an exception. I hope it comes this week. It's an afghan. I can't wait to start it.

  2. What a great blog post! I didn't know about the new Gingher scissors every year. The hidey boxes sure look handy. I don't use a needle threader yet, should get one some day. I love my Q-Snaps too. Your bead box looks fantastic! What a smart idea to put the number inside the vial, too. I have also thought of ordering Magic Guide Aida from the UK. The stocking will be an amazing gift that will be treasured forever. What a masterpiece!

    1. Thanks! I actually forgot a couple of items, so I'll post them next Sunday, time permitting.

      You should go to ebay and search "Gingher desigher" There are so many pretty scissors! I think you can order them through Joann Fabric, if you are in the States. Sadly, they don't ship to Canada, so I am at the mercy of my cousins, who I harass relentlessly when I see a pattern I like.

      I've actually taken a few days off from the stocking as I've got an annoying twitch on my left hand, middle finger. Yes, you heard me right, I have a twitchy middle finger. What are the odds of that? So I'm resting it up. I think I've got a bit of repetitive strain. I find the cloth a little more stiff than linen, so I've been really having to pull the needle through. I think it's nothing more than needle fatigue. In any case, best not to push it.

      Hopefully I'll have some updates to show you come Sunday.

  3. Well I THOUGHT I was organized! Nice storage for all your beads, I don't have enough to worry about that yet. Although I do love having all the floss too, so nice to start something straight away!

    Your cockatoo is so cute, she just doesn't want to be left out!

    And the dragon stocking, way cool. Looking forward to seeing your progress on it.

    1. LOL - I just hate having to look for stuff when I'm stitching. It's merely so I can dive into my stuff box that holds my thingys and get what I need, so I can get back to stitching all the faster.

      The cockatoo is a character, let me tell you! Between her trying to look at me through the magnifier and the kitten trying to steal my threads, it's a wonder I get anything done at all!

      I can't wait to see the dragon stocking come to life. I think it will be beautiful!