Saturday, December 30, 2017

Weekly WIPs

It's amazing how much easier it is to keep on top of doing these posts when I actually have weekly progress to show.  I don't have as much as I did last week, but I have some stuff to show.  Holidays will get in the way like that, and I spent a few days favouring one piece over any others, which also lowered the number.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Winter 2017 MadXStitchalong Day 5

Halfway point!  How's everyone doing?  Keeping up?  Got any good guesses yet?

Patterns are going to start to get a little bit bigger after today.  But this one's still pretty small.  So let's get going.

Day 5
Day 5 - Ghost

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Winter 2017 MadXStitchalong Day 4

Wow, wasn't day 3 fun, with me forgetting to post the pattern before I went up to go get snowed in on a mountain?  Ha.  haha.  Yep.

Anyway, here's day 4, right where it ought to be, when it ought to be.

Day 4
Day 4 - Ghosting

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

2018: A Year of Many Finishes

2018 is going to be a big year.  A year of many finishes.  Or at least, many attempted finishes.  I have roughly 40 cross stitch patterns that have been charted and printed out, and I've not even started on most of them.  But this year, I'm going to.  I'm going to start on them, and see how many I can get finished by December 31st, 2018.

Here are the rules:

:bulletyellow: I cannot print off any new patterns unless I have fully run out of other patterns in my box*.
:bulletyellow: I cannot start any new piece until I have completed a piece that is currently in rotation*.
:bulletyellow: There is no set schedule for when I work on pieces.  If it's currently in-progress, I can work on it as the mood strikes me.

2018 is going to be a wild ride.  Let's see how many projects I can finish in a year!

* An exception is made for speed art videos, which will only use postage stamp patterns or smaller.

Group Participation

I encourage anybody with a growing WIP stack or pattern stash to join in on this challenge as well.   I'll put a widget on my deviantART page to keep a running total of all finishes over 2018.  Just send me a note when you've finished something, and I'll add it to the collection.  Let's make 2018 the Year of Many Finishes.  If you're on deviantART, I encourage you to submit your finishes.  Let's see how big we can make the collection by the end of the year.

All of the patterns for the projects I'll be listing will be released upon completion.  Patrons will get them as soon as I start.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Shop Has Closed

After a lot of thought and deliberation, I've made the decision to close the shop down now, rather than wait until next year.  This is primarily to make next year's taxes a little less of a clusterfuck, but there are other reasons as well.

I reached a realisation this month that for most of the last year, the store only did well when I was regularly releasing new products.  This meant I was constantly stressing out about making new things that I don't have the space to store, and that the older products were just piling up.  Short of having a rotating stock where I just stopped making older items, this wasn't really very practical.

The issues with offering international shipping were also becoming a nightmare.  Because my point of sale system wouldn't accept foreign bank cards, I had to use the whole PayPal thing, which messed with my inventory something fierce, and often took longer than it needed to for orders to process because of misunderstandings over how the ordering process worked.

Digital items were also a growing pain in the ass.  For whatever reason, Square has the built-in ability to offer digital items, but not to actually distribute that.  So even orders that were 100% digital were still taking up to 24 hours, or even more, to process and go out, because I had to handle every step of the way manually.

So what does this mean?

Well, for a start, things like flosses and fabric are just no longer offered.  What I have on hand I will keep or give away as I see fit.  Since I will no longer be spending the majority of my time making these items, I will have more time to focus on what I wanted to be doing in the first place: making really awesome patterns and projects.  I'll be focusing the majority of my energy into my channel on YouTube, though I will probably not totally stop making things like floss and fabric.  These items started out as kind of a hobby, to see if I could even do it.  I can, and that's awesome.  But I simply lack the facilities to do it at the scale that the shop has grown into requiring.

You can still get things I create, too.  I am working on uploading all of my patterns, both free and purchasable, to deviantART.  Patterns on deviantART are instantly downloadable.  Though, to be honest, I can take or leave pattern sales.  They are being uploaded for people who want them, but I will not be promoting them after today.

I also have my Patreon page, which offers all the patterns that appear on my YouTube channel.  Patrons also get additional perks, and may occasionally get new items as I decide to make them.  The first 50 new patrons will also get a needleminder set their first month.  I may also give away books and other random supplies I have lying around the house.

Ultimately, I made this decision for my own mental health.  I would have loved to keep going with this, but the stress of keeping on top of everything was outweighing any benefits of keeping the store open any longer. 

Thank you guys for all your support and inspiration over the  years, but now it's time to move on to something new.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Weekly WIPs

So, I've started a thing where I'm working on about a million things at once.  I realised that I've got a huge stack of WIPs, and I'm making zero progress on any of them.  So instead of making zero progress across the board, let's make slow progress on many projects.  There are also a couple of new ones in here, either as restarts or just something I felt like doing.  So let's take a look at all of them.

Winter 2017 MadXStitchalong Day 2

Day 2!

Remember, you can share your progress in a variety of ways.

I want to see your progress and look forward to seeing your guesses.  But what you guys want is probably the pattern, isn't it?

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Winter 2017 MadXStitchalong Day 1

Welcome to the first day of the Winter 2017 MadXStitchalong!  Just a few bits that didn't make it into the video:

  • Gridding your fabric is recommended
  • White fabric is recommended
  • Total stitch time: 8.5 hours with tent stitch - expect to double that for full stitches

Patterns are released every other day, over the next 20 days.  There are ten patterns in total.  Starting on day 2, ghosted patterns will be available (there's nothing to ghost on day 1).

Day 1 Pattern
Colour Key

Monday, December 18, 2017

Giveaway Winner - Flosstube #10 | Livestream Stuff, deviantART, and Stitchalong

Flosstube #10 is up!  Actually it was up yesterday, but it was late and I just wanted to go to bed.

  • The Freddy Fazbear giveaway winner was announced
  • I clarify some shop-related stuff
  • I talk about livestreams a little bit
  • I'm on deviantART.  Go check me out over there!
  • Free patterns are also available now.  I've been trying to find a good way to do those, and now that I have, I'm slowly releasing stuff
  • I talk about changes that are going to be made to my Patreon next month
  • I show off a new finish and a few WIPs

Links to all of this are in the video description.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Free Patterns!

This is just a quick little heads up that I'm posting a bunch of patterns up on deviantART.  I mentioned before that I wanted to use this account more, and this is part of how I'm using it.  I know it's not "for" embroidery, but frankly the gallery options are superior to any site out there that was designed specifically for the craft.

I'm trying not to spam too much, but I'm also trying to get stuff up quickly.  Right now, I'm mainly focusing on the free patterns, but everything will be up there eventually.

The free patterns are pretty much all my fandom stuff.  I'm just working on getting them saved in a format that's actually useful, instead of the YOLO FUCK IT way I tend to print them when I do them for myself.

Anyway, if you follow me, please let me know who you are so I can follow back. Otherwise, you're likely to get lost in the crowd.

New Patron-Only Project

A new project just for Patreon backers is going to be starting in about a half hour.  Patreon streams are ad-free and the projects remain exclusive to patrons until completion.  If you want to join in on this new project, head on over to my Patreon page and pledge $5 to join in.

The current pattern and information is up on my page now if you want to stitch along with me!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Winter 2017 MadXStitchalong

The winter MadXStitchalong starts later this month, on the 21st of December.  It uses 45 colours in total, all DMC.

So, to make sure you have everything you need, you can get the full colour chart here.  Save this PDF, because the patterns will be uploaded a bit differently this month.  That chart will be the colour key for the entire duration of the stitchalong.

Like last time, there will be two versions of each pattern: one with just the new colours, and one where all the previous colours are printed very lightly in addition to what's new.

For those who like to grid their fabric, and doing so is highly recommended, the full design is 75x50 stitches.

The stichalong uses several colours from the 2013 new colours pack.  If you don't have this pack and can't get it easily, this page will give you some alternative colours to use.  It does not use any colours from the 2017 new colours pack.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Product Review: Creative Options Thread Organizer

Last week, I bought a Creative Options Thread Organizer off Amazon and did an unboxing video of it.  If you missed that video, you can watch it here.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

November Faves

This is up a day late, but the November Faves are here!  And it's a big list this month, because I've actually been home to enjoy it!

So what have I enjoyed this month?

  • The Dog:
  • :Dryvrs:
  • Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond
  • Godless
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Frontier
  • TheRealSullyG:
  • NovaGalaxia:

And an honourable mention, because it will be over by this time next month:
  • Yogscast Jingle Jam 2017 Humble Bundle:

Thursday, November 30, 2017

December Livestream Schedule

I've mentioned before that I'm trying to get on a decent livestream schedule.  Well, December's a crap month for it, because of the Jingle Jam.  If you don't know what the Jingle Jam is, every year for the month of December, the Yogscast host a massive charity drive with livestreams happening all day. 

In fact, if you're looking for some charities to donate to, and do some Christmas shopping at the same time, check out their Humble Bundle.  This link will not go live until December 1st, but the charities included are as follows:

The Yogscast also work closely with game devs to make this something even more special.  Donations over $35 will also get an advent-style gift packages of games and DLC for the month of December.  This year, the total value of the package is $600.  Every day, you'll get an email with a new set of Steam codes, for you to keep or give away as you choose.  This has been my husband's Christmas gift for the last couple of years, and will be again this year.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

WIP Wednesday and Microphone Woes

What have I been working on lately?  Well, not much, like always.  Mostly I've been busy with the livestreams, and working on the horses.  They're coming along really well so far, but they have some issues I'm struggling to figure out how to fix.

That brown horse in particular is killing me. I'm not sure why it wound up so stripey, but it did.  The grass is also killing me.  Not so much the yellow, but the fact that the shadows are all blending right in.

Doing multiple layers of stitching was always in the cards, but I'm starting to think that maybe there will need to be three layers: a second to bring out some of the details that got lost, and then a third to smooth them back down again where needed.  I'm also still really torn on backstiching.  I'm thinking that by doing three passes, instead of two, I'll be able to avoid it.  I hope I will anyway, because backstitching this thing and making it look good will not be easy.  Mostly because of that brown horse.  I mean, what is it even doing?

I might be able to have the first layer done by this time next week, so we'll see what needs to be done to get some of this stuff looking nicer.

Also worked on and completed in about two and a half hours was the final piece to a kit I've been teasing for months.  I have finished the final cat!

The two shades of grey I used really wound up blending into one another, but I kind of like it.  I've been trying to decide whether or not I should adjust it in the final pattern, but I don't think I will.  Some of the other cats are full of obvious colour changes, so I think something subtle to round it out works well.

But in finishing the kit, I also did something else!  I got a speed stitch done!

Look at that!  Not the most exciting speed stitch, but it is one!  I'm amazed.  I'm going to start doing these a little more, but they won't be the flagship series like I'd originally planned.  Just something fun I do every now and then, since it usually takes just as long to put the video together as it does to film them.  This video, in terms of recording and editing, took almost five hours.  And it could be better. But it is what it is.

And speaking of things that could be better, after wrestling with my input sound all year, I've finally solved the problem.  Sort of.  Mostly.  I'm waiting on something to arrive from Amazon.  I'm well aware that the audio on my livestreams sucks like hell, but that's because the lav mic I use for filming my to-the-camera videos doesn't work with my computer.  I've spent countless hours messing around with settings, drivers, ports, only to find out last night that my PC doesn't recognise my lav mic as a microphone.  So, I decided to take the plunge and invested in a cheap but well-reviewed condenser mic last night.  It should be getting here on Friday, giving me just enough time to learn how to set it up before I do Friday's stream.

Speaking of which, livestreams aren't going to be in the mornings anymore.  Or at least, not primarily.  A series of circumstances surrounding how my day works has led me to decide to mainly stream in the evenings now, though I'll probably do some morning streams on days when my husband is home.  In theory, he gets three days off a week.  So in theory, I'll still do morning streams three times a week.

In practise, it may be more than that.  Or it may be less.  It will probably more often depend on how I feel.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Crayola vs Embroidery Pens

I've been hearing a lot about people using Crayola markers to do their gridding.  And my reaction was one of horror.  Why would you even do such a thing?  Crayola is synonymous with staining and tears.

But enough people are saying they're doing it that I felt compelled to check it out.  Either it really does work, or there are a significant amount of people out there who don't care about weird stains on their work.  But that's absurd, right?  Surely the answer is that they work?  But how well?    So I got a whole bunch of different varieties of Crayola markers and decided to run them through a whole variety of tests.  And wound up being a bit surprised.


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