Friday, January 10, 2020

Organization - January 2020 Aurifil Artisan Challenge

It's hard to believe it's January again, but here we are nonetheless!

The start of a new year is often a time that people make resolutions, and one that is fairly common is to get more organized.  I love organizing, so our January 2020 Aurifil Artisan Challenge is right up my alley.

When I first started sewing, I didn't have a cabinet that held my machine and supplies, so I pulled out my machine, supplies, and cutting mat every time I wanted to sew...and then put it back immediately after I was done.  I still do not have a dedicated sewing room, but I do have space in our 2nd bedroom/office where I can have my sewing machine cabinet set up all the time (and my husband has been gracious in his acceptance of my sewing stuff encroaching onto his side).

I'm going to approach this from a few different directions, so hopefully one (or more) will apply to your situation.  Please keep in mind that this is what works best for ME, and one solution will NOT work for everybody.  It's also important to note that I'm pretty obsessive about organization, but it may not be for the reason you think.  I use organization as a way to manage some of the chaos in my head.  If I can go to a place/room/container/location and find what I need, that hugely reduces my stress and frustration.  For me, it's worth taking an extra minute or two at the end of each project to put my thread back into its proper location.  That way it's easy to find the next time I need it.

My philosophy on organization in general
I used to work for a beloved organization company, and the thing that I would consistently tell customers is that they need to figure out what works for them, especially as it pertains to storage of personal stuff.

As an example, let's say you wanted to alphabetize your movie collection.  You've got The Avengers.  Do you put it under T for "The" or A for "Avengers"?  This is YOUR movie collection, so if you're more likely to look for Avengers, put it as an A.  If you always refer to the movie by its full title, put it under T for The Avengers.  

The same thing goes for storing fabric.  Do you store by color, collection, designer, manufacturer, or something entirely different?  It's your stuff, so thinking about how YOU work really does matter.  Struggling with something that just isn't working can make things feel even worse and more out of control which isn't any fun.

With that out of the way, let's get into it!

Storing and organizing thread (AKA where I keep my Aurifil)
When I first started sewing, I was told that thread is best stored away from light, heat, and dust, so my primary thread storage area is a narrow 10-drawer cabinet that I purchased from The Container Store.

My thread cabinet
This solution also works well for me because it's on wheels so I can move it around, and the labels on the drawers make it easy to find what I'm looking for.  Here's how I came up with my system - when I am going to pull thread for a project, I think about what I will be making which, in turn, determines the weight of thread that I want/need to use.  I primarily use 50 weight thread (it comes on an orange spool) for all of my quilt piecing, 40 weight thread (on the green spool) for quilting, binding a quilt, and bag making, and floss (on a wooden spool - note that 80 weight also comes on a wooden spool) for cross stitch.

With that said, this was a good place to start for me.  Once I know which thread weight will be appropriate for my project (if you are unsure which weight is best suited to your project, I suggest checking out this handy guide from Aurifil), it's time to look for the perfect color of thread.  Like many people, I have certain colors to which I gravitate.  I put those colors right up front because I use them frequently.  From there, I grouped similar colors together and worked that way down the line.

A peek inside the top 2 drawers
For storing bobbins, I take a slightly different approach.  My primary sewing machine uses different bobbins than my travel/backup machine, so I store the bobbins separately from my thread.  The large bobbins for my main machine live by my sewing cabinet while the bobbins for my travel machine live in the bag with that machine.

Like my spools, I store bobbins by thread weight, but I have them split up by neutrals, warm colors, and cool colors.  I added labels to each of the boxes to make them easy to identify.

I've tried other styles of bobbin storage, but this is what I always come back to using.
The exception to all of this is my Aurifloss.  I really like to have my floss be super portable, and I found a storage box on Amazon that holds ~100 small spools of thread and snaps closed.  

This Slimline Storage Box is great for helping me keep my Aurifloss tidy and accessible

Organizing my sewing space (AKA things to hold stuff that I've made with Aurifil**)
This is a constant battle for me because I like to make quilts, bags, and occasionally some sort of garment (mostly PJ pants) or home dec item (mostly pillowcases).  I also became hooked on cross stitch last year, so that's another thing to manage!  The solution that seems to work the best for me is to keep what I need within arm's reach.  Without further ado, let's get into this!

One of my favorite ways to organize is with the handy multiple spool holder that attaches to the back of my sewing machine.  This particular one is made by Bernina, but I also have one that I used on my old Pfaff. It's also super handy because it is capable of holding thread on cones when you use the adapter. If you look closely, you can see part of the cone adapter on the far right.  When I don't have this many spools on the rack, I usually keep a cone of my favorite piecing thread - 50wt Aurifil in color 2600 (Dove Grey).  While the spool holder is really marketed toward people who do machine embroidery, but I love it as a place to stage the thread and bobbins that I will need for a project/series of projects.  After each project, I put all of the thread and bobbins back into their proper locations for storage.

My Bernina Multiple Spool Holder keeps my thread easy to grab as I need to change colors

Other than thread, I keep my MVPs (the things I use very frequently or are likely to get misplaced) next to my machine in a In Control caddy (pattern from ByAnnie*) that was a gift from a friend.  It's the perfect size to sit on the windowsill next to my machine (the blinds and window shade are always closed on that part of the window).  I keep tools like my favorite air-soluble and water-soluble marking pens, a stiletto (plus a backup), the oil for my machine, my bobbins, my 8" dressmakers shears for cutting fabric (plus a pair for paper), an old pill bottle that I use for holding bent pins and old needles, my magnetic pincushion, and a few 1" x 6" rulers.  It's also a great convenient place to keep a backup pair of eyeglasses that is fairly close to my current prescription, a small notepad, and some sticky note pads.

All the pockets of In Control keep the supplies managed so they are super easy to access.
I also have a "go bag" that is always ready for a class or a day spent sewing with a friend.  Who hasn't been to a class and forgotten something essential?  Maybe it's something simple like pins, a rotary cutter, or a marking pen, but I'm pretty sure we've all done at it some point.  I'm also pretty notorious for being the person who has the thing that somebody else has forgotten.  Maybe it's a something like a bandage or maybe it's different size or type of machine needle, I'm usually the person that has the item.  I've tried to pare it down so it will fit in to a smaller bag, and that seems to work for now...until it doesn't. ;)

My Running With Scissors "go bag"
At present, I'm using a Running With Scissors bag (pattern from ByAnnie*), but one of my all-time favorite bags is Annie's A Place for Everything bag (not pictured).  Running With Scissors is significantly smaller, but maybe that's not a bad thing!  The nice thing about having a second set of supplies ready to go is that I know where I can quickly find a spare if I've temporarily misplaced an item!

When I'm working on a cross stitch project, I keep the floss I will need and a few essentials (mini scissors, a needle threader, and some extra needles) in this small case from Thread Dispenser/Sewing Case 2.0 pattern from ByAnnie*.  It makes it easy to keep what I need ready for when I want to sit on the couch or in a doctor's waiting room.

I love this little Sewing Case for holding my essentials when I am cross stitching. 
This is probably a good place to stop because I could go on for days about storage and organization, so don't tempt me! ;)

Before I end, I want to reiterate that there is no single solution that will work for every person.  It's just not realistic.  I also want to acknowledge that yes, I do have a lot of thread, but I've been building my collection since I first discovered Aurifil in 2013. Here's the blog post I wrote about it back in 2018!

*If you think you've spotted a trend with a certain pattern designer, you'd be right.  With that said, I want to be clear that I am NOT paid to make or promote her patterns, but I do some independent contracting work for her as a technical editor.  In short, I try to find errors in the patterns and try to ensure that terms and verbiage are consistent and correct from pattern to pattern.  The first pattern that I made of hers was the A Place for Everything bag back in 2013!  I started doing editing work for Annie several YEARS after I was already making many of her patterns because they are sturdy, well-designed items that suit my needs.

**When I make bags, my thread of choice is 40wt Aurifil.  If you actually scroll back through my Instagram feed, you will find posts with information about the bags I make including specific thread colors and fabrics used.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Holiday Project - December 2019 Aurifil Artisan Challenge

I'm in denial that it's December, but my calendar insists that it's true.  Eek!!!

This month's Aurifil Artisan Challenge was to make a holiday themed project.  I decided to go out of the box on this one and make drawstring bags.  If you're wondering how this is holiday themed, it's because these bags would be great for reusable packaging for folks that like to retain their special packaging from year to year or as part of the gift itself.  I also love that they aren't necessarily bound to a particular event or holiday just by choosing different fabrics!  Plus, they are super cute, functional, and they can easily be customized to suit the tastes of the recipient.  Just to show how great they could be, I made 8 of them in a variety of sizes and styles.  Two of the bags (the black and blue) were made in non-holiday themed fabric just to show you the project with a slightly different look.

These Lined Drawstring bags are perfect for any holiday, not just the ones in December!

My favorite drawstring bag is Jeni Baker's Lined Drawstring Bag pattern.  She has a free single-size pattern available on her blog, but the paid pattern gives instructions for 8 sizes PLUS instructions for making your own custom-sized bag.  Jeni recently released an expansion pack for the Lined Drawstring Bag that includes a bunch of fun options that include how to turn the bag into a backpack, changing it up to have the accent at the bottom of the bag, a cute mini accent, and even how to make the pattern from a single fabric (plus a few more)!  I love how the bag is lined so that it's pretty on the inside as well as the outside, and the extra fabric improves the durability of the project.

In the interest of full disclosure, I did make a very slight adjustment to the pattern.  I decided to topstitch all of the seams 1/8" from the edge before I assembled the majority of the bag.  So, it isn't actually stitched through all layers, but it looks like it is!  This isn't really necessary or even visible from a distance, but I love the little bit of extra detail that I get when I topstitch in a matching thread.

I may have gone a bit overboard with making 8 of them, but they really are a super cool project.  After selecting my fabrics, I decided to use 40wt thread (Aurifil uses green spools for their 40/2 thread) for all of the bags.  The extra bit of thickness it has over the 50wt (the more commonly seen orange spools) makes topstitching and quilting look extra fabulous!

40wt Aurifil thread in colors (L to R): 4020, 5002, 5022, 2021, 4241, 4093, 1148, 1320, 2735

So, without further ado, here's a breakdown of what I made (including which fabrics, thread colors, bag styles, and sizes):

Clockwise from top: 1, 2, 3, 4
  1. Bottom Accent Backpack in Artist Size - Decoupage in Ink, Embroidery in Charcoal, Quilt in Magenta from Handiwork by Alison Glass for Andover using 40wt Aurifil in 4241 (Very Dark Grey) and 4020 (Fuchsia)
  2. Easy Going (2 fabric) in Project Size - Kitschy in Brite and Ornament in Merry from Holiday by Alison Glass for Andover using 40wt Aurifil in 4093 (Jade) and 4020 (Fuchsia)
  3. Mini Accent in DVD Size - Crossed in Fruitcake and Holly in Star from Holiday by Alison Glass for Andover using 40wt Aurifil in 5002 (Medium Red) and 5022 (Mustard)
  4. Bottom Accent in Everything Size - Stripe in Pine, Diamond in Candlelight, and Chorus in Jade from Holiday by Alison Glass for Andover using 40wt Aurifil in 1148 (Light Jade) and 5022 (Mustard)

Clockwise from top: 1, 2, 3, 4
  1. Original bag in Project Size  - Sew in Cobalt and Quilt in Sapphire from Handiwork by Alison Glass for Andover using 40wt Aurifil in 2735 (Medium Blue) and 1320 (Bright Teal)
  2. Original bag in Snack Size - Chorus in Tradition, Holly in Star, and Crossed in Snowflake from Holiday by Alison Glass for Andover using 40wt Aurifil in 5002 (Medium Red), 5022 (Mustard), and 2021(Natural White)
  3. Easy Going (2 fabric) in Tiny Size - Ribbon in Peppermint and Ornament in Merry from Holiday by Alison Glass for Andover using 40wt Aurifil in 4020 (Fuchsia)
  4. Mini Accent in Snack Size - Ribbon in Garland and Holly in Wreath from Holiday by Alison Glass for Andover using 40wt Aurifil in 4093 (Jade)
There are so many great things about this bag and so many ways they can be used.  I've made them to hold my travel sewing machine's foot pedal, but my favorite thing is  to use the Artist size (the size of the black backpack) as a shoe bag when I travel.  It's perfect to hold any of my shoes (I wear a size 9.5-10 in US women's sizes for reference), even my bulky running shoes and my 8-eye Dr Martens boots!  As a comparison, my mom's smaller size (7.5-8) shoes fit in the slightly smaller Project size bag. If it gets dirty, it's easily washable because the bags are made with quilting cotton, and I'm pretty confident that we've probably all washed that before!

So, I'll wrap this post up (get it?? I'm so punny!!) with this - I would like to wish everybody a happy, safe holiday season.  I'll see you back here in 2020!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Travel Handmade - November 2019 Aurifil Artisan Challenge

Happy November!

I'm excited to share my November 2019 Aurifil Artisan project with you.  Our theme for the month is "travel handmade", and nothing says travel handmade to me more than a bag.  I've made quite a few bags that would fall into this category over the years, so I really wanted to make something that I hadn't made before.  After auditing the bags that I like to use for travel and what I needed/wanted to carry, I decided to make ByAnnie's Bowl Me Over 2.0.  It is a purse-sized bag that will be my "personal item" (aka the bag that needs to fit under the seat in front of you) when I fly, but I also like the size of it to use as a regular purse.

Bowl Me Over 2.0 in Skull Camouflage

Annie released the updated pattern at Fall Quilt Market 2019, so it's hot off the presses.  I think what really sold me on making this bag was that the updated pattern included an option to have handles and an adjustable, detachable strap or the original version's long over-the-shoulder straps.  I really like having the option to hand carry a bag, but I also love the flexibility of being able to wear it crossbody or on my shoulder.  This bag gives me the adjust how I'm carrying it based on what works for me at that moment.

With my fabrics selected (Skull Camouflage by Timeless Treasures, Swiss Dot in Grey by Riley Blake, and a black solid), it was time to select thread.  I chose 40wt Aurifil thread in colors 5012 (Dark Green), 2311 (Muslin), and 2692 (black).

40wt Aurifil in colors 2311 (Muslin), 5012 (Dark Green), & 2692 (Black)
When I'm making bags, I like to use 40wt. It is a heavier thread than the 50wt that I use for piecing quilts.  The extra bit of durability is super important especially when you get into larger bags, but I also like how it looks when it is quilted, especially when it is quilted on Soft and Stable, my favorite sew-in stabilizer.  I kicked off the project by quilting a 1" grid before cutting the individual pieces for the bag as the pattern instructs.

A few months ago, I saw an Instagram post with the coolest skull zipper pulls from Emmaline Bags.  Even though I didn't know what I would use them for at the time, I had to buy some.  When I pulled the fabric for my Bowl Me Over 2.0 bag, I knew that this was the right project for them.

Skull zipper pulls + the gunmetal hardware from

The bag has some seriously great pockets.  There is a full-sized mesh pocket (instructions are included for making the pocket with mesh or with fabric) + a divided 3-compartment slip pocket on the inside and a magnetic closure flap pocket on the front + a 3/4 height zippered pocket on the back of the exterior.

So many pockets!

Here's what I have in my Bowl Me Over 2.0 bag from my regular purse:  a small wallet, cosmetic bag (it's a ByAnnie small Ditty Bag), glasses case, soft sunglasses case, backup battery pack for my phone, and my car keys.  In addition to the regular bag stuff, I've also added my iPad (which I don't always travel with), my Kindle, a phone cable + power brick, and my somewhat bulky Beats headphones.  I admit that I'm pretty good at making stuff fit in bags (put things in vertically rather than horizontally often makes a huge difference), but this all fit without drama.  There's probably a good 3" or so that is empty when measured from the top of the stuff to the top of the bag.

Yup, it all fits!

Overall, I'm super happy with how my bag turned out.  I haven't had the chance to actually take a trip with the bag yet, but I can tell you that I'm happy with how my travel must-haves fit and how well the bag functions as a purse for normal use!

I'm bowled over by my Bowl Me Over 2.0 bag.  How about you?

If you're curious as to what my absolute favorite bag for travel might be, I'm more than happy tell you all about it!  It's the Travel Duffle 2.0 that is also from Patterns by Annie.  I made the original full-size Travel Duffle pattern back in 2016, and I loved it from the very beginning.  It's a bag that I use quite frequently for trips in the car or for using as my carry-on when I fly (as long as you aren't on a small regional jet or a turboprop, I have had zero issues with the bag fitting in an overhead bin).  When I go to Quilt Market, I usually collapse the bag inside my large suitcase so I have an extra bag if needed.  Who am I really kidding?  Of course I will need to use it!

I decided to make the updated Travel Duffle 2.0 bag in 2018 before I was departing for a quilting cruise to Alaska.  Why?  To be honest, I really wanted to use a specific fabric that I had just purchased.  There was nothing wrong with the original bag, so I tossed it in the washer/dryer and passed it along to my mom before we left on the cruise.

My Travel Duffle 2.0 bag is made with fabrics by Alexander Henry, Timeless Treasures, and Alison Glass for Andover using 40wt Aurifil in colors 1154, 2021, and 2692.
My original Travel Duffle bag is made with fabrics by Katarina Roccella for Art Gallery using 40wt Aurifil in colors 2625, 2692, and 1243.
The pair of Travel Duffle Bags as we waited to be picked up from the cruise terminal.  Mom's duffle is actually turned so that the front is toward the handle of her suitcase.

That's all I have for you today because it's time to get back to making plans for my next sewing project!  Thank you for visiting.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

2019 #SewPINK Initiative Blog Hop

Hey, folks!  We are basically halfway through October, and it's finally my day to share the project that I created as part of ByAnnie's #SewPINK Initiative blog hop!

Before I get to that, can we talk about the fact that breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the US according to the Center for Disease Control?  That's pretty significant, and I think it's quite scary.  Mammograms are not on my list of fun things to do, but they are a valuable tool for helping to detect breast cancer early.  In combination with monthly self-exams and being checked by your doctor during your annual well-woman exam, it's worth the few moments of your time.  Please don't be afraid to talk to your doctor about any changes that you may notice.  The chance that it might help to save your life will more than make up for a couple of minutes of a potentially uncomfortable conversation.

Ok, let's get back to the thing you came to see!

To celebrate the amazing strength, bravery, and courage of those women AND men who fight against breast cancer, I made a mini quilt that is ~15" x 20".  I used an amazing pattern from Happy Sew Lucky's Tattoo block series called Courage.  As usual, my insanely talented friend Teresa Silva of Quilting Is My Bliss worked her quilting magic by adding some beautiful custom quilting to give depth, texture, and definition to the piece.  I wanted it to have a little extra bit of oomph, so ByAnnie's Soft and Stable was used in place of regular quilt batting.  Soft and Stable adds a bit of body to the piece and helps to really show off the fabulous stitching.  It's become my go-to "batting" for all of my mini quilts (in addition to being my go-to bag stabilizer)!  If you haven't tried it yet, you really should!

I selected a range of pink and grey solids plus one of my favorite dots for the background just to mix it up a little.  From top to bottom they are:  Designer Solids in Manatee from Free Spirit, Cotton Couture in Ozone from Michael Miller, Polka Dot in Silver from Dear Stella, Kona Cotton in Valentine by Robert Kaufman, Designer Solids in Pink from Free Spirit, and Cotton Couture in Pink by Michael Miller.

The quilt was foundation paper pieced using 50wt Aurifil 100% cotton thread in Natural White (color 2021).  I loved how subtle the grey looked against the quilt, so I also used Ozone for the binding so it would not distract from the design in the center.

I hope you are enjoying the posts from all of my fellow bloggers and the product deals that are currently being offered this month from ByAnnie!  You can find the links with more information about the deals and giveaways below.

I would also like to say a special thanks to the team at ByAnnie for taking BEAUTIFUL photos of my quilt.  You're a star, B!

For now I'll wrap up with a gratuitous close-up shot of the quilting!  I love those swirls!

Custom quilting done by Teresa Silva of Quilting is My Bliss

The #SewPink Initiative was created by LLC to raise awareness for breast cancer during October’s Breast Cancer Awareness month. They have pledged to raise funds to donate to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation through sales and to promote action through giveaways.

To see the calendar of events visit:

For more information please visit the official #SewPINK information page:

To donate directly to the BCRF visit:!/donation/checkout

ByAnnie will be donating 30% of profits on all SewPINK items sold at their web store. You can search for SewPINK items on their website or see the list of items here:

Find a screening program near you:

Friday, October 11, 2019

More than 5! - October 2019 Aurifil Artisan Challenge

It's a new month, so Aurifil has set forth a new challenge for the Artisans. Our October's challenge is to use more than 5 colors in a project.  While it is quite common for me to use 2-4 thread colors in most of my quilt or bag projects, I don't often exceed that number (except for once which I will tell you about at the end).  The greatest opportunity I have to use additional colors seems to be when I'm doing a hand sewing project.  I've used 7 or 8 colors on an English Paper Piecing project that I never finished (and no, I'm not showing you that because it is NOT good).  LOL.  Cross stitch, my most recent obsession, has become a great vehicle for using a lot of color.

Because it's October and Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, it seemed timely to make this super cute Vintage Black Cat pattern by Not So Modern Millie (be warned that the stitch chart is only in B&W at the time of this post, so dig out some colored pencils because you may want to color it in).  I've used 8 different colors of Aurifloss, and I'm really happy with how it turned out.

Aurifloss colors from L to R: 1135, 1147, 1133, 4030, 2610, 2600, 2021, 2692

And because I couldn't stop there... what do you get when you find a pattern that would make a perfect gift for a friend and it has more than 5 colors?  That's right!  You get a second Aurifil Artisan project for October!

Aurifloss colors from L to R: 1114, 2892, 1100, 2479, 2105, 1246, 2692
"You Can't Make Everybody Happy. You're Not Tequila" (pattern from @stephxstitch) is the first cross stitch project that I have gifted to anybody.  Thankfully, the gift was a total success and  my tequila loving friend was THRILLED (here's the proof)!  I used 7 colors of Aurifil's Aurifloss to complete the project.  Once it was stitched, it got a quick bath in Soak wash before getting pressed,  hooped, and mailed.

I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention my personal all-time record for the number of thread colors used in a project.  For that we need to rewind and go back to the Sewology quilt that I finished in September 2018.  I pieced the twin-sized quilt top with 18 colors of thread - 17 are 50wt cotton and clear monofilament.  Yes, really!  It seems pretty crazy to do that, right?  Perhaps it is, but if you've ever pressed seams open on a quilt, you may have noticed that you can sometimes see little dots of your piecing thread between the fabrics.  I absolutely didn't want that to happen on this quilt, so I went a little overboard (and my little thread loving heart thoroughly enjoyed the challenge).  I matched thread to the fabrics that I would be using in each block.

Thread colors (2230, 2021, 5004) matched to fabric picks for the Seam Ripper block
The 12 block quilt was originally released as a block of the month program from Pen and Paper Patterns, so I was working in small amounts.  35 fabrics from the Kaleidoscope collection by Alison Glass for Andover and 18 thread selections later, my top was finished and off to be custom quilted by Teresa Silva of Quilting Is My Bliss.

Photo by @pinkdoorfabrics
Do I actually think it was necessary to use as many colors as I did?  Absolutely not, but if you've got 'em, why not use them?  LOL.

That just about wraps up everything I've got for you today.  I'm off to sew something, and I hope you are too!  Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month + ByAnnie's New #SewPINK Initiative (and Blog Hop!!)

I wanted to pop in and take the opportunity introduce you to a special event during the month of October.  My friends at have launched the #SewPink (note that not all posts with that hashtag may be related to this specific event because that's just how Instagram rolls) initiative to help raise awareness for breast cancer and to raise money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

I am very proud to have been selected to join a group of bloggers that have been tasked with creating something to share with all of you.  You can find out more information about the event by following the links below, including a calendar so you can see the list of participating bloggers.  Be sure to come back here on Tuesday, October 15 when I unveil my project.  I will be posting pics on my Instagram account, but you will be able to read more about it here!

The #SewPink Initiative was created by LLC to raise awareness for breast cancer during October’s Breast Cancer Awareness month. They have pledged to raise funds to donate to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation through sales and promote action through giveaways.

For more information please visit their official #SewPINK information page:

To donate directly visit:!/donation/checkout

To see the calendar of events visit:

ByAnnie will be donating 30% of profits on all SewPINK items sold on their web store. You can search for SewPINK items on their website or see the list of items here:

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Adventures in Cross Stitch - September 2019 Aurifil Artisan Challenge

Have you ever woken up one day and decided that you wanted to try a new hobby?  I've done that more than once.  That's how I started sewing, and now I've done it again with my latest obsession - cross stitch.

Cross stitch seems to be making a comeback as a hot new hobby, and I am super excited to see what designers are releasing.  From the snarky (my favorite) and profanity-laden to traditional designs, there's basically something for everyone.  

This year's batch of Aurifil Artisans have been invited to participate in challenges.  Each month has a different theme, and September is all about embroidery and cross stitch!  Of course that means I couldn't resist signing up to participate.  Without further ado, here's my featured project:

For this project, I used a design by Subversive Cross Stitch with Aurifil's 100% cotton floss (aka Aurifloss) in colors 2692 (Black), 2250 (Red), 2870 (Green), and 2120 (Canary).  To give it a bit of extra flair, I used some tiny sew-in rhinestones that I ordered from Subversive Cross Stitch's online shop.  I was so happy with how the design came out that I decided to get it professionally framed! p.s. If you really want to go the extra mile when you're having something framed, I highly recommend using Museum Glass.  It's a more expensive option, but it gives great UV protection and there's basically no glare.

I am a big fan of Julie from Subversive Cross Stitch (WARNING: some of the designs do have bad words, so it may be best viewed when not at work or when children are present) because her designs probably aren't what you expect to see when you hear "cross stitch."  If you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen several of her patterns that I've stitched out, but I've shared a few of them at the bottom of this post for your viewing enjoyment (none have bad words).

While you can do cross stitch with a couple of different thread options, I've been using Aurifloss, Aurifil's 6 stranded 100% Egyptian cotton floss.  Each wooden spool has 18 yards of floss, and all 270 of Aurifil's colors are available (with the same color number as the other cotton weights).  I've been 3 strands with 14 count Aida cloth (as recommended by Aurifil), and it's worked very well.  As always, I would recommend to test on a scrap piece of cloth and see if you are happy with how things look.

When I decided to try out cross stitching, I ordered a small collection called Flossie.  The Flossie box has 5 small spools of floss in an assortment of colors that would work great to get me started on my adventure.
Image courtesy of Aurifil
After a few projects, I knew that I was totally hooked, so I knew that I would want more colors to choose from.  Enter the Best Selection 2018 collection.  With 45 spools in a lovely range of colors, my little thread-loving heart was bursting with joy and with excitement for all of the fun things that I plan to make.
Image courtesy of Aurifil

Other than Aurifloss, my other cross stitching essentials are a Q-Snap frame (I mostly use the 8"), a small pair of scissors, 14 Count Aida cloth, and tapestry needles (I'm still trying to find which I like most, but I've been pretty happy with size 24 John James Tapestry Needles).  You'll also want to have good light.  I use a Stella Sky lamp next to my living room couch that is great for when I'm cross stitching or binding a quilt.  The Daylight Company also has some good floor-standing options.  I have several of their lamps that I use on a daily basis, but they are mostly tabletop which isn't ideal if you don't have a table next to the couch to put them on. ;)

Here are a few other work-appropriate cross stitch projects that I've made with Aurifloss (information on colors used is included).

Spark Joy Or Get Out pattern from Subversive Cross Stitch made w/ Aurifloss colors 2692 (Black) & 2545 (Medium Purple)

A Cat Is An Angel That Poops In A Box pattern from Subversive Cross Stitch made w/ Aurifloss colors 2692 (Black), 2610 (Light Blue Grey), 2423 (Baby Pink), 2140 (Orange Mustard), & 2815 (Teal)
So, that's it from me because it's time to go sew!