My First Cross Stitch – A Review

I have long been searching for a crafting hobby, a hobby that creates a result that appeals to both me and my family. I like to have a reason for spending time on things, which has limited me in the past (and still), so something that has a use is preferable to me. Last year I decided to get stuck in to knitting. I loved the idea of making jumpers and other items of clothing for both me and John as we as family. But it was not to be. After making a few things, including a blanket you will get to see in one of the following pictures, I noticed that my wrist hurt quite badly. So that put a stop to my knitting dreams.

Next I took a stab at needle felting, but the fibres get everywhere, I couldn’t quite get the hang of creating the result I wanted.

So nearing the end of the year I was feeling at a loss, I love to create things and give handmade gifts but I was just struggling to figure out what I wanted. Until, while watching a TV programme I saw something that tickled my fancy, cross stitch. It was on an episode of Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas, a contestant was making an advent calendar made of little hoops of cute cross stitch. And that was that, it triggered something and I knew that it was something that I could get my teeth into. But first I had to test whether my wrist was up to the task and that is where this kit comes in.

John, the wonderful husband that he is, took me to Hobbycraft and let me wobble back and forth for a long time between the many kits until I settled on this little Alpaca.

The kit plus an embroidery hoop

The kit comes with the threads (aka floss), a needle, the fabric flag and the wooden rod with which to hang the finished flag, as well as a little booklet containing the pattern and some instructions. Oh, and six little orange tassels to adorn the finished item.

The beginning of the project was a little difficult. Finding the middle proved to be tricky and the chart was a little unclear for me but once I was started it went well (though, I miss calculated the middle and had to shorten the legs!).

alpaca cross stitch in progress
Working on a cross stitch alpaca

Initially I used a hoop, but found it very annoying to use my needle inside such a small diameter and the design was a pain in the arse to get on. So after a little while I went freehand.

The finished Alpaca

It took me a few days to finish the kit, and it was fun. I got a bit excited an popped on the tassels before ironing it so I couldn’t get the ring out but, to be honest, I quite like the placement of it, I might add a ring of flowers along the line at some point.

And the best bit of all was I had no pain in my wrist! Which means that I can get into cross stitch fully! Although the product of cross stitch is decorative, I love the range which can be accomplished and I have ideas for my own patterns.

Now, to the kit as something that others may want to buy, I think that it is a cute design and the idea is great. However, the quality of the kit is a little lacking, well my particular kit. The flag was glued a little sloppily and fraying at points and there was a black mark I couldn’t get off. The outer packaging was also damaged, but that could be customers rather than the kits fault.

For a first kit, I think it would be good for someone who has watched videos on cross stitch and doesn’t mind fudging the design a little if they get it a little wrong. It’s good practise.

So that is my first cross stitch and my first review. I hope that it was somewhat informative and interesting to read. Let me know if there is anything that you would like to see, or format changes etc.

Coming up in 2020 are more reviews, short stories and my adventures into bullet journaling. I’ll see you soon!

Going Forward – Notes From J.A.Steadman

This will be my first slice of life post on the site, and it will serve simply as a way for you to get to know me a little bit better. Me and Emma started the site because for many years we have returned time and again to writing – we absolutely love to write and to read and to explore the endless possibilities of things like fantasy, mystery, horror and scifi (well that’s just me, Emma is a fantasy purist).

So throughout all of our adult life, we have been involved in many and varied hobbies; I love to play games, craft things, I have streamed on twitch in the past, I play DnD etc. Lots of interesting hobbies that I love doing, but they aren’t writing – that’s the curious thing about putting pen to paper, even metaphorically, it gets its claws into you to the point that it’s almost impossible to not do it eventually.

The difficulty comes when you have no direction and are so obscure as to render any attempt to get your writing “out there” impossible – that’s really where the site comes in; for a long time we have wanted to make a positive step in that direction, we really wanted to be able to push people to a place where our stuff is just sitting there, easily accessible and categorised so people could pick and choose easily the kinds of things they wanted to read from us.

Eventually we want to grow the site into a community – either writers or people who just enjoy our writing and I personally would like to experiment with making some of my writing collaborative; I did say that I had been on twitch in the past and writing streams would be really fun, especially if I could involve a fanbase.

Anyway, that’s enough for now right off the top of my head, so go and be merry and hopefully the stuff we’re posting here will be interesting enough to you that you follow or in some other way track what we’re doing, because we’ve got some plans and we’re very excited with how things will go in the future.

Thanks for reading!

John.