Making Progress on My Stitching Projects

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Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

This morning I took my latest cross stitch project with me to the Philippine Bureau of Immigration and finished a major element while my visa renewal was being processed. It’s a geometric repeating design (destined to become a bed cushion) and I’ve been working on it for over a year — so it feels amazing to finally be making some progress.

If you’re wondering what I was doing at the immigration office it’s because I’m an Australian citizen but spend most of the year in the Philippines. Almost eight years ago I met a little boy while doing a volunteer placement in the Western Visayas and have been taking care of him ever since. But more about that in a future blog.

Today’s post is a bit of an introduction to me — Melinda J. Irvine, the founder of Cross Stitch Patterns Online — and a way of beginning a regular blog about cross stitching. I’m actually a professional writer and eCommerce consultant and have been working on this this website in my spare time for nearly 3 years now. But alas, very little writing.

As you can imagine, it takes a whole lot of work to build an online shop, design all the patterns then create all the product descriptions, and sometimes it feels like there is never enough time for the fun stuff.

So I’m determined to make 2023, the year where I take back my creative power and actually make some of the beautiful projects inside the digital patterns. And even write some blogs too.

So here goes.

An Introduction to Mel

I thought a great place to start would be sharing some photos of me and the Art Nouveau floral cross stitch I’ve been working on since February 2022. I figured a photo would be in order so you could see there is a real person behind all the patterns – and that I truly love cross stitch, sewing, needlework, and fine art.

Oh, and I also love cats.

melinda j. irvine with cross stitch

Don’t you love it when a large, circular border connects up perfectly? I was thrilled to get the dark-grey border section finished this morning.

I gained so much weight during the pandemic lockdowns I haven’t allowed photos of myself in ages, but was so proud of this milestone tonight I had my son take a photograph for the blog.

Progress.

Looking at the (above) photo of me in front of a section of my artwall — a collage of fine art clippings and unusal design pieces — you won’t be surprised to learn that the #1 category in the online shop is fine art cross stitch.

Why?

Getting up close and personal with a master painting or sculpture is a pipe-dream for most of us, and I love the idea of using cross stitch to build an art gallery of your very own. Plus it’s a glorious to have all those beautiful motifs and symbols and incredible colour palettes in our own two hands.

When you consider that a 100 years ago, artists and painters left their homes and travelled across countries and continents to study under a master painter, or just gaze upon their handywork — isn’t it incredible that we can now cross stitch Van Gogh, Botticelli, Monet, and Cézanne? Without even leaving the house.

Transforming fine art into cross stitch patterns is my way of living my best life — using all my business skills plus reigniting my childhood passion for sewing and needlecraft.

It’s also pretty cool to have a job where you can work from home and hang out with your cats while your doing it.

Sewing Again

There’s a fire starting in my heart, reaching a fever pitch it’s bringing me out the dark. That fire for Adele was a red-hot lover, but for me (at almost 55 years old) is a sewing machine, and maybe even an overlocker (aka serger). Probably sounds a bit boring compared to Adele’s stirring song of heartbreak, but the fire I have for sewing again is white white hot 🔥🔥🔥.

There is a fire starting in my heart, reaching a fever pitch, it’s bringing me out the dark.

Adele21

When I decided to stay in the Philippines and formally adopt the little boy I met on the streets of Estancia in 2015, I sold nearly everything I owned. This included all my cross stitch floss, books, patterns, fabric, and sewing machines.

It was totally worth it (it’s only stuff after all) and I’ve spent the last few years slowing restoring everything that was left behind. Everything except the sewing machines — and I do miss them terribly.

So for my 55th birthday this year (March 2023), I am buying a new sewing machine and (hopefully) an overlocker too. With sewing machines again, I can finally start transforming my finished cross stitch projects into fantastic home decor, tote bags, and wearables.

Even better, I’ll be documenting my progress and creating tutorials so you can follow along at home.

These are truly exciting times and there are so many fun times ahead. If you are actually reading this post (maybe someone is) I’m so glad you’re here with me to share the joy.

Progress on the Art Nouveau Floral

Ok, enough about me. Let’s take a look at the cross stitch.

About a year ago, I charted this pattern from an antique pattern book that was originally published by Friedrich Fischbach (circa 1900). I fell in love with the incredibly bold colour tones (blood red, teal, and pewter) and knew immediately I wanted to stitch it into a beautiful cushion. (Gonna totally need that sewing machine.)

I’m sure you can relate when I tell you the project has been cast aside on many occasions to make way for work, kids, cooking, housework, and family responsibilities. It sat untouched for months until I moved it into an accessible place a few weeks ago and made a promise to stitch on it every day.

And it’s finally starting to look like something.

Every cross stitch project starts with just a few stitches and isn’t it an amazing feeling when the first remnants of the design start to appear? This piece has so many cool elements that it could be stitched hundreds of different ways. Even better, it’s perfect for airports, queues, and waiting rooms, because you can stitch the filler areas without having to carry around the pattern.

I was so excited by this idea I decided to bring my cross stitch through Sydney airport at the end of last year, but (still kicking myself), forgot to pack those cute DMC stork snips (above left) in my checked bags. Yes they were tragically confiscated at the security screening area and are now part of landfill.

I still can’t believe I did that.

That’s a Wrap

Thanks for taking the time to reading this blog post and getting to know a bit more about me and the fun stuff that’s coming soon to this website. I plan to be blogging regularly now and doing my best to create an inclusive community of cross stitchers from all over the world.

And if you haven’t been stitching lately, I do hope this post has given you the inspiration you need to pick up the needle and get back into your latest cross stitch project. You know you want to.

Love our Art Nouveau Floral?

If you love my latest cross stitch project as much as I do, why not stitch it for yourself. It’s a super-fun design and the digital pattern can be downloaded within seconds of making your purchase.

making progress on the cross stitch blog banner for social media

PS: here are store links to some more cool patterns that feature geometric shapes, symbols, mandalas, borders, and repeating tiles.

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