I know I've been stitching my QS Mermaid Treasure and my Fairy Idyll has been eyeing me balefully from my floor stand. But I had to take a break from both so I could practice the TUCK AWAY back style. Trying to improve my skills.

This is the pattern I decided to work on. Felt like I needed it.

A lot of you might not know but I'm Christian. And something has been calling to me to do something like this for awhile now. Actually, there's a feeling in me that I NEED to teach someone how to stitch... in order for them to find the peace I've found when I stitch. Maybe that's why I want to keep writing on this blog. Who knows? I may touch someone. Sigh... this is going to be a more serious blog than my usual I guess. 

As a Christian... we're taught to have QUIET TIME. Where we read the Bible and just be quiet. Pray and commune with God. I've always been one of those who cannot be quiet. My quiet times before meant my popping in headphones and listening to  music. Now.. I stitch while I pray.

Sometimes I have an inner dialogue where I ask Him stuff. Every stitch helps me focus and turn inwards. Especially with this piece. Yes, I do mermaids, fairies...and you don't find those in the Bible. SO WHAT. I find them pretty. That doesn't make me less of a Christian. 

But now that I'm concentrating so much into making the back so straight and clean-- it helps me focus and makes me reflect. It's a weird thing, but it works for me. 

Stitching helps me be at peace with the world. With myself. With others. It keeps me calm and centered. And I'm taking the time NOW to thank God for helping me find this. This 'hobby' that helps keep someone as noisy, extrovert and a regular jitter-bug like me be STILL. 

Slow going because I'm concentrating so hard on keeping the back neat. I'm hoping someday it'll become 2nd nature to me. 

This is my  back. Not as neat because of all the loop starts. But better than anything I've ever made before. 

Finding cross stitching has helped me settle down and be happy with being by myself. Of being STILL without having to keep going out. It's helped me be HAPPY and at PEACE. Hope it does the same to others.

I have wiccan friends...even relatives. And I know they believe in this too. Of being happy with oneself. It goes through all faiths and beliefs. And I wish ... no, I pray everyone I know achieves this. 

The Lord is MY Shepherd. And I offer  him every stitch I ever make. :)



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Hi all. I recently went to a stitchers reunion here in the Philippines. And as always I had a lot of fun. This time around I was able to beg and plead for one of the expert cross stitchers to teach me her trick of having a neat back.

Previously, what I’m going to teach or try to share with you was just called “neat back” but I know there are a lot of ways for this out there. So, just to make this slightly different, I’m going to call this TUCK AWAY BACK. But before I begin I want to thank HONEY for teaching me. Henrietta Refe, all honor for this is yours.

I'll be taking you on my journey of figuring this thing out. I've actually been practicing on a smaller pattern but my stitchy friends have now demanded a demo. They actually wanted a video but I'm like... uh...sure. Once I figure out who's going to hold the camera while I stitch. Some of the pics here are wonky. I'll try to take better in future. But just to show them how it's done...here it is.  

We'll start off with the basic solid block to get the hang of tucking away. Then I think once you get the hang of it, you can get on even with more mixed colors and finally the dreaded confetti. 

Of course by this time, you should have cloth, needle and thread already… oh and scissors.
Let’s begin to learn about the LOOP START and TUCK AWAY BACK: The Basics. By the way, tuck away is usually done on aida. I haven't yet figured out how to do it on linen. 

Step One. LOOP START. If I knew how to do the pin stitch start, this may be neater. As it is, this’d have to do. There are two ways to do the loop start… from the front or from the back. I prefer the front. (the lesser flipping of my cloth, the better).

You take your needle and thread. Go through the upper right hole of your little square, go up on the lower left and thread your needle through the hoop. Then lightly tug on the loop to tighten it. Now go back down through the same upper right hole and gently pull down your needle. Tada! You’ve anchored your thread and you can start.

From the front of your cloth...insert needle at top right hole and up through lower left hole.

Pull thread through until a small look is left. Insert your needle through there.

Gently pull your needle through and tighten the hole.

It should look like this once the LOOP has been tightened. This is the front of the fabbie.

Now insert your needle through the SAME upper right hole you started from, essentially, pulling your needle through to the back of the fabbie.

You should be left with this.... basically your starting stitch. Ta-da!!

This is the back. Just in case you wanted to see.

Step Two. GO AHEAD AND STITCH. Continue stitching in one direction for as long as you want. You can go by rows or by solid blocks. (here, I'm doing 3 rows...hence a "block". Always picture in your mind that you’re creating nice neat vertical lines in the back. (Go ahead and peek at your back if you want... we're all stitching learners here).  After you’ve done your first layer, you can now go back and cross over. When you’re done, lookit the back of your cloth.  Nice and neat. 
I basically went like this: TOP ROW: from UP lower left hole DOWN upper right hole. The UP lower left hole then DOWN upper right hole. Until I finish my first row. SECOND ROW (since I'm going towards the left now) I start UP Upper Right hole then Down Lower left hole... and so on and so forth. This should be easy for those who've already stitched before. If you're really just starting.. umm... try just copying this. 

Ok, now you're done. 

Now this is where we do the TUCKING AWAY. 

Step Three: INSPECT YOUR CLOTH. Check your cloth... there are usually lines that are vertical and horizontal threads... WE are going to pay close attention to the VERTICAL threads. The ones that go like this III (not the ones that go ==). Insert your needle through your stitch, under the III threads and out the other stitch. Then gently pull it through.  You're basically, TUCKING AWAY underneath the threads of your CLOTH and not just your STITCHES. 
Tuck under your stitcher and the vertical strands of your cloth.

Gently pull your needle and thread through. Then look for the next vertical (it should be above or below...next to your first initial tuck-away).

See? I'm tucking through the nearest top vertical cloth threads.

Again, gently pull it through.

Went back down a bit to the nearest vertical strands and tucked away there.

Again, gently pull it through. You can't see your 'crossing overs' in the back now, right? 3 tuck aways is good enough to anchor your thread.
Now it's time to end things. Get your scissors and snip CLOSEST to the base as possible (nearest the cloth) without snipping off the stitches you made. After which, ta-da! Step away and enjoy the fact you made a neat back! 
Snip as close as possible to the base without damaging your stitches

Enjoy your neat back
And here's your front. 

Now this is the basics. Those of you who are experts should've grasped the fact by now that in order to have a neat back, you're going to have to travel underneath vertical cloth threads until you get to the place you want to stitch at. You're essentially, TUCKING AWAY your travelling thread going up and down as you go. It's a bit of a waste of thread...  BUT! You get a neat back out of it.

For confetti: You have to have painstaking patience... you just take a small length of thread. Around 5 inches...and loop start on you single confetti then tuck away--- snip. Then do it again for the next stray confetti. As I said, it's a bit of a waste of thread..but if your target is a neat back, this is the way to go I think. 

Heck, I belong to the mentality of I-don't-care-what-my-back-looks-like-if-I'm-framing-it. But if I'm going to make tiny bookmarks or pouches where the back of my cloth can be seen...this is a good thing to know. 

I'm still learning... it's an ongoing stitchy journey. Come travel with me. 


Eye Candy

I just came from the DMC exhibit in our local mall. Every so often (maybe 2 or 3 times a year), DMC Philippines would hold either a contest or an exhibition and with it comes a reunion of fellow stitchers. I still remember my first such event last year. Beginner stitchers then (me!), were treated to an intro lesson to cross stitching.

This time around, I was grateful to realize I was considered part of the "group" already. I had real life stitching friends! Not just folks that I've met over facebook but real life cross-stitching, needle-wielding happy chattering friends. I still consider myself a beginner stitcher...but an expert collector.

It was fun! Finally, a little circle of people who understand the draw...the lure of stitching. How hot the burn for hunting stitching treasure is.

We even had an impromptu lesson after I pleadingly asked someone to teach me how to make the neat  back that I saw last reunion/contest. (Someone had stitched a project whose front of the cloth is as neat as the back of the cloth and vice versa).

Time for me to thank Honey now for teaching me. (THANK YOU!!!)  I'll post pics another time when I take the time to 'practice' what was preached. Right now.. I just want to showcase some of the works our locals have stitched. Each patterns is either an original (from personal photos) or DMC patterns.

At times like this, I'm proud of being Pinoy. Skill, patience, creativity comes shining out... take a gander at the photos...

This is the father-in-law of Arlene Braid (who made this one). He really plays the bagpipes!  WOW.

I'm grateful to our local DMC company. They take the time to host events like this. If it weren't for them? I wouldn't have fallen head over heels for cross stitching. And I give them also a lot of props for keeping the art from dying. They're doing their best to fan the flames so people will get back into it.

I have to admit, here in the Philippines, it was in the 80's and early 90's where people would cross stitch A LOT. It became a fad and it almost became extinct. DMC Phil has been nursing the cross stitching population and bringing it back to life. Thanks DMC! More power to you guys!!

Cross stitching, for me is an art form. A way of making sure something of YOU will last longer than your lifetime. It's therapy-- a way of calming yourself and being happy in your solitude. You become at peace with yourself and with the world when you stitch.

Special mention to this one... I forgot to get the name of the stitcher... but can you see the amount of metallic thread she used!?!?! (**take note: You can't get ThreadHeaven here!) AND she added a metallic gold rosary...and little gemstones to make this an uber special pattern. 


DYEd Laughing

I tried my hand at dyeing today. I now have BLUE, GREEN and PURPLE fingers.
Yes, I had disposable gloves. And I used up 3 pairs. BUT! I hate not being able to feel what I'm doing so every so often I'd rip them off and so.....I now have alien-colored fingers on my right hand.

I plan on stitching up some pixies for Nora Corbett's collection. This particular fabbie I'm coloring is for BLUEBELL.

Materials used for this particular project:
1. Aida fabric in 16ct. (I'm still avoiding linen for now).
2. Thread (that I used to grid the borders of the fairy pattern).
3.Needle (that I used to sew the thread with---duh).
4. Crepe Paper (yup! Not DYE. Just plain ol' school project type crepe paper).
5. A bowl of water.
6. A rug/newspaper/board/plastic (whatever you want to protect your table--in my case, my bed---as always).

First, I gridded my fabric so I know exactly where the fairy will be WITH THREAD. Then..with my washable marker, I marked where her waist and head would be... that was going to be my "highlight".
Then, after protecting my surface, I placed my fabric on top of it and got my bowl of water ready.

I cut parts of the crepe paper, dipped it into the bowl and sponge-applied it to my fabric. Yellow as my center...branching out in shades of pink, then purple then blue.

Can you imagine bluebell here? I can.
Good luck to me when I can finish it though.
Here are some pics that may help inspire you folks who have never dyed before (uhhh... all of us? we're still alive....)  or are scared to DYE.

Grid your border  with thread. Though I marked places with my washable marker (too lazy). I needed to know where the waist and torso would be.

Crumpled newly wet crepe paper.

Sponging the color on.

Additional color.

More color...

Darker color on the bottom to mimic the ground (purple coz it's a magical land).

End result after it got rinsed.

Tada! All ready for BLUEBELL.