Autumn Is A Great Time For Stitch-A-Longs
Musings about autumn in New Zealand and some cross stitch-a-longs I'm currently stitching.
As a cross stitcher, reader, occasional jigsaw puzzle finisher, and a self-confessed Netflix addict, autumn is very much my favourite season. You can happily start to enjoy your indoor hobbies without feeling guilty that you should be ‘making the most’ of the sunny weather!
When I lived in the UK, autumn also meant the start of all the end of year occasions such as Halloween, bonfire night and of course Christmas. It meant the start of Christmas market season and all the great decorations and food hitting the shops.
In NZ, it has a slightly different feel, but living in Hawke’s Bay - home to many orchards and vineyards - the autumn colours contrasting against the sunny blue skies are absolutely stunning.
My husband and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary a few weeks ago and last weekend were lucky enough to have a child-free weekend down in the Wairarapa. Doing this in autumn meant that sipping wine in the vineyards in the afternoon wasn’t too hot, and pottering about the lovely towns of Greytown and Martinborough wasn’t too busy.
Stitch-A-Longs (SALs) I’m Enjoying
I always find I pick up my cross stitching projects more in autumn and winter too. At the moment I am in the middle of two stitch-a-longs - one active one and another that I should have finished a long time ago! These are my first two ever and if you haven’t joined one before, I strongly recommend it.
For those that don’t know, a stitch-a-long or SAL is when you join other stitchers from all over the world to all complete the same cross stitch project at the same time. What’s great about them is that they usually have a dedicated Facebook community group where you can share your progress and journey with other stitchers. The SAL project is usually available as a pdf download that is sent to your inbox in stages at regular intervals (such as fortnightly or monthly). Some designers also make up supply kits for you to buy at the start, or you can make up your own from your stash.
The great thing about SALs is that lots of people with add their own spin to the project. The designer gives recommended fabrics and thread colours, but you can choose to use different versions of everything or tweak things.
For example, I am currently doing the ‘How Does Your Garden Grow’ Stitch-A-Long from Caterpillar Cross Stitch in the UK. I was a bit impatient to start and instead of ordering the green fabric that was recommended, I chose a pale blue one that was in my stash instead. When I jumped into the FB group, I found that loads of other stitchers were using blue too, so I didn’t feel so bad! If your new fabric clashes with any of the threads, you can just change those out too. This design has a cute garden gnome called Norman, and lots of stitchers have been changing out the colour of his clothes. Other people are adding beads and buttons to customise their projects. The best thing about it is that one of my best friends in the UK is doing it too, so we can share our progress.
Stitch-a-longs are a great way to be inspired and connect with other crafters who are into the same style patterns as you. I will put together a roundup of designers who regularly put together great SALs for you to follow.
Most importantly, SALs are fun and if you can’t keep up with the frequency, there is no judgement from the cross stitch community. If you desperately want to join a particular one, but it’s a busy time in your life, remember that most designers will turn their SAL into a pattern download or kit once the official project has finished.