My cross stitching journey…guided by social media

Throughout this semester, I successfully taught my-self about the art of cross stitching. As stated in my previous blog, I always wanted to learn how to cross stitch but never really got around to doing it. As a child, I remember watching my older sister cross stitching on her sofa and thinking, “How can she just sit there and stitch for hours at a time…she must be so bored”? Now, as an adult I understand why she enjoyed it. Cross stitching is a skill that requires a steady hand, dedication and above all patience. Cross stitching can also be very relaxing as its process is not designed to be fast paced, although I can see experienced cross sticher’s cruise through patterns. Moreover, as an elementary teacher I can appreciate how cross stitching also includes numeracy skills as it involves counting and patterns. In fact, its original name is “Counted Cross Stitch”.

As an adult learner, I have learned that through the use a of social media sources and online sharing, you can just about acquire anything, really. Within today’s digital world, social media can be a useful tool for educational purposes. Furthermore, there are a wide variety of social media sources that act as valuable learning tools. For me, I relied on the use YouTube, Google, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Screencastify and Instagram to assist in my learning as well as to showcase my work. Specifically, I learned about stitching techniques, threads, aida fabrics, and the assortment of cross stitching patterns available online.  Utilizing these social media tools in order to learn about cross stitching was relatively easy for me, simply because I use many of these tools on a daily basis, for both personal and professional use.

Overall, I am thankful for social media and open networks for being so resourceful. At first, I was somewhat hesitant about relying solely on social media to teach me a new skill. Why? I suppose it is because I have always learned best by hands on instruction. Moreover, I absorb more when I am able to communicate through face-to-face interaction. This experience has lead me to contemplate, “What does it mean to be an online learner”? To me, being an online learner is to understand that you have options to learn beyond traditional instruction practices. It is becoming skillful at selecting and filtering digital content and applying it. Furthermore, to recognize that there isn’t only one way to receive information.

In conclusion, I am grateful for EC&I 831 and its content as it presented me with an opportunity to discover a skill that is enjoyable and meaningful to me. Without the major digital project, I would not have had a reason or perhaps any motivation to learn about cross stitching. To be honest, I’m not sure if I’d ever take time to learn. As a wife and mother, my priorities have changed and it is difficult to take time for my-self with such a busy schedule. However, I am thankful for this project as it challenged my ability to learn using open networks and to share in my learning. Also, I would like to thank all of my EC&I 831 colleagues for being so supportive throughout my cross stitching journey. Your encouragement and kind words inspired me to keep on stitching, even when my eyes were tired and sore.

Thanks for stopping by!

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The backstitching begins!

Hey everyone,

This evening, I wanted to share my first attempt at backstitching with all of you! So, I created a video using Screencastify! If you have time, please check it out!

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Slowly but surely, I am making progress!

As most of you already know, my cross stitching journey has been going well. However, at this point in time I do have some concerns regarding my project’s completion date. Although enjoyable, cross stitching has proven to be a very lengthy process and I can only accomplish so much in a day. With having a seven-month-old baby and a husband that works out of town, I am somewhat stressed about whether or not I will be able to have this cross stitching piece completed by the end of the semester.

Now, don’t get me wrong…I am not making any excuses for myself. However, I do have some regrets about selecting a larger piece for my first cross stitching experience. Perhaps, I should have chosen a smaller piece to start with. I suppose my excitement for learning this new skill took over and I wasn’t thinking realistically. Either way, I will continue to work at it and hope I am successful in getting it finished before the end of the course. That way, I am able to show off my new talent to all of you! Here is a photo of what I have completed so far!

Although I am still in the process of stitching the coloured thread throughout my pattern, I decided to jump ahead and investigate how to perform a backstitch. I will need to backstitch/outline my pattern in black thread to complete my project. So, I researched “How to do a backstitch” using Google and Youtube. Through my search, I came across these two very helpful resources!

As stated before, I will not be able to start the process of backstitching until I have completed stitching my coloured thread, but by watching the backstitch tutorial video and reading the article “Cross Stitch Tips- Basic Stitches”, I feel confident about attempting a backstitch. My plans for this weekend and next week are:

  • Continue stitching the coloured thread throughout my pattern
  • Reach out to the Facebook community in hopes of discovering new cross stitching “friends”
  • Attempt one area of backstitching on my pattern

By the way, Marley and Jaque…how is the back of my cross stitching piece looking? I’ve been working hard at keeping the back of my fabric neat and tidy by using shorter threads to avoid knots!

Until next week’s update, wish me luck! Hopefully, I am able to make more progress than I have been able to this past week!

Thanks for stopping by!

Cross stitching update!

So far, my major project is going quite well. Cross stitching is definitely a lengthy process but I am enjoying it. Learning to cross stitch is a skill I do not regret doing. I am surprised with how much I have learned and what I have been able to do, simply by watching tutorial videos on YouTube and using Google to read online articles about cross stitching. Based on my twitter account and conversations with my co-workers, it appears I do not have many cross stitching enthusiast within my PLN. Although I was very excited to learn that Jaque and Marley enjoy cross stitching and have offered their guidance and support, if I need it. So, thank you Jaque and Marley! I appreciate the positive comments I have received thus far from my EC&I 831 colleagues! Your kind words motivate me to keep on going, even when my eyes are sore and tired from cross stitching for hours at a time!

Some of the challenges I still encounter often are knots! Man oh man, I feel very frustrated when I notice a knot in my thread while stitching. If I’m lucky, I am able to untie the knot and continue stitching. Other times, I am not so lucky and usually have to cut my thread and remove some of the stitches before threading a new needle and continuing where I left off. However, I received some helpful tips from Dana Batho, the author of “Beginners cross stitch: the ultimate tutorial” . She recommended I keep my thread shorter to avoid knots. Another challenge I experience often is miscounting. The squares on the Aida fabric are so tiny that sometimes my eyes play tricks on me. Even with my glasses on and lots of light, I still make mistakes. I suppose making mistakes are fine and will only improve my cross stitching talent in the end.

Here is a photo I posted onto my Instagram account to display my progress. After I have finished stitching the coloured thread, I will need to learn how to stitch the black outline in order to complete the pattern. So, wish me luck and stay tuned for my next update! Thanks everyone!

Thanks for stopping by!

Cross stitching is awesome!

Hello, everyone!

It’s official…I have finally started my major digital project! Last week, I spent some time watching tutorial videos about cross stitching on YouTube to figure out the materials I would need in order to start the cross stitching process. Sapna had sent me the article “Beginners cross stitch: the ultimate tutorial” which was also very helpful and a great resource! So, after a trip to Michaels, I purchased the materials I needed and got myself organized. Luckily for me, I discovered we have a couple professional cross stitchers in our class! So, if at any point in time I am stuck and in need of some assistance, I can contact Jaque or Marley!

The next step was to decide on a cross stitching pattern so that I could purchase some coloured thread. After browsing for patterns using Google and Pinterest, I couldn’t really decide on a pattern because the selection was so huge! Instead, I decided to reached out to the Twitter world to see if anyone could recommend some great websites for cross stitching patterns! Unfortunately, I received no responses. So, after browsing through about 100 different patterns online, I decided I wanted to cross stitch a Christmas pattern! I thought to myself; wouldn’t it be great to learn how to cross stitch for my major project while also making an authentic Christmas present? I had returned to Michaels to browse through their cross stitching booklets and found a Christmas/Holiday pattern booklet! I figure, if I enjoy cross stitching after this project, I can always stitch Christmas tree ornaments!

IMG_1807

Design by Ursula Michael- Ornaments Galore Volume 2

After watching Cross stitch for beginners- a quick preview on YouTube, I learned how to tie a small knot using the loop method, how to properly read a pattern, a technique for locating the middle of my fabric, and how to properly stitch in the form of an X (top and bottom stitches should always be going in the same direction). Here are some photos of what I have accomplished so far!

Turns out, I am quite the natural at cross stitching! After my first few stitches, I developed a decent rhythm and ended up stitching for 3 hours in one evening! Of course, this was after my son was asleep! I must admit, cross stitching is somewhat addictive and very difficult to put down once you have started.

Although I enjoy cross stitching so far, I have come across a couple challenges. First challenge is knots! I have learned that when my thread is too long, somehow while stitching the thread will get tangled and create a knot. Let me tell ya…these tiny knots aren’t so easy to undo! The second challenge I’ve encountered so far is miscounting. I’ve made a few mistakes where I have miscounted the tiny squares on the fabric. As a result, I had to remove my thread and start over. Although these challenges are minor, cross stitching is very time consuming. So, I can only imagine how frustrated I’d be if I were to make a mistake and not realize it until later on.

Until next time…thanks for stopping by!

 

Blast off!

Since I made the decision to change my project idea, I have been very eager to start the process of cross-stitching! So, after watching a cross-stitch tutorial for beginner’s video on YouTube, I was able to figure out the basic materials I need in order to get organized before actually learning how to cross-stitch. I recently went to Michaels and was able to find the materials I needed, and much more! I must say, I was blown away by the variety of fabrics, needles, threads, pattern books and embroidery hoops! I could have looked around for hours!

Here are the basic materials I picked up:

  • Aida fabric (14 count)
  • Tapestry needle (size 22)
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Scissors

After purchasing these materials, I realized that I was unable to purchase thread because I have not yet decided on a pattern!! I learned that there are a ton of thread colours available for cross-stitching and these threads are all colour coded! For instance, black thread is coded 310 and green thread is coded 701. At first, I was confused and didn’t understand why the thread colours were colour coded until I realized the threads are colour coded because they coincide with a specific pattern, similar to a map & legend. Therefore, I came back home with the 4 basic materials I purchased and began searching Google and Pinterest for some pattern ideas. Turns out, there are tons of patterns out there! Many patterns are available for purchase and many are free!! I briefly became overwhelmed as many of the patterns are clearly based upon experience level. Well, as a beginner I am looking for “beginner’s” pattern! So, the process of finding a pattern I feel capable of doing may take some time! After I have selected a pattern, I can purchase the appropriate thread colours I will be needing.

Although I am feeling somewhat nervous about getting started, I am still looking forward to this journey! Cross-stitching is a skill that may take a while for me to learn but I am ready to give it my best shot! So, wish me luck and stay tuned for some more progress!

Thanks for stopping by!

Project re-route!

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been debating the topic idea I had originally chosen for my major digital project. Initially, I had planned to design and implement an open classroom blog. As explained in my very first blog post in EC&I 831, I love to blog and for numerous reasons! Although I do not consider myself to be a professional blogger, I enjoy it and learn a lot from it. Blogging has always been an experience I’d love to share with my students. However, seeing as I am currently on maternity leave, many of the ideas I had planned for my open classroom blog will not follow through without the participation from administration, students and their parents.

Therefore, I have decided to change my major digital project idea and focus on a particular skill I’ve always wanted to learn, and that is Cross-Stitching. Cross-stitching is a form of sewing. Cross-stitching is a unique skill to learn because it involves concentration, numeracy, consistency and most importantly, patience! Why cross-stitch? Well, as a child I would watch my older sister sit on her couch and cross-stitch, sometimes for hours! I’d ask her why she liked cross-stitching because it looked super boring. She’d reply “I love to cross-stitch” and offer to teach me, if I wanted to learn. However, at that time I had no interest in sitting on my couch and staring at a piece of fabric while holding a sharp needle and some string! My sister is truly amazing at cross-stitching! Although she does not have much time for it anymore, she has made many beautiful pieces. Now, I regret not learning this skill and spending what could have been some great quality time together. But like they say, “it’s never too late” or “you’re never too old to learn a new skill”!

So, here it goes! I will start my major digital project by figuring out the materials I need to get started. Aside from my sister’s guidance, I will also rely on a variety of social media sources to help me throughout my journey and document my progress. I am looking forward to getting started on my project but I am also nervous as I have never considered myself to be very artsy. This is the first crafting skill I will have learned, let alone taught by myself through the use of social media! For my major digital project, I will create one (medium sized) cross-stitching pattern. Therefore, wish me luck as I set out to track down the materials I need in order to get started on my very first cross-stitching piece!

Thanks for stopping by!