As you can probably tell, I love counted cross stitch! Like most stitchers, I have a huge collection of purchased patterns, but I take great delight in finding new free charts. I have started this blog as a "Pay It Forward" thank you to all the generous stitchers who have provided free cross stitch charts throughout the years, from all around the world. I enjoy designing simple charts as much as I like stitching, so I will post free charts I have designed here for all to access. I hope you will enjoy the charts as much as I have enjoyed designing them and as much as I have delighted in the charts others have done!
I have gone through and cleaned up the links sections - deleted the dead ones and a couple that had changed to other places than originally intended (!?!) and have added some new ones. I will start working on converting all of the charts to pdf files and setting up the links to them. Hopefully this will solve the problem that some people have had in accessing and printing the charts from the JPEGs. It will take some time to get to them all but it should be a big improvement and worth the effort. If there is a particular chart you are waiting on, leave a comment telling which ones you want to see converted first. If anyone has suggestions for links they would like to see added, please leave them as comments and I will review them for posting. Thanks for your encouraging comments - they do act as an incentive to keep working on the blog!
I have been debating for some time about the future of this blog. Should I just leave it neglected and stagnant but still present for the occasional new visitor or shut it down and end the neglect? I have strongly considered the latter because I haven't got much time or inclination to add to or update all the links and files that all need to be gone through and fixed or deleted. I have hesitated to end it because I know for myself how disappointed I am when I try to revisit blogs and websites that I have enjoyed in the past only to find them missing. It makes me sad they are gone but I do understand the decision to close them down. Can I justify the expense of the online storage account (the free ones seem to come and go creating problems of dead links to photos and files) if I'm not going to continue blogging? So many questions and very few answers....
My job has changed drastically over the past 4 years and certainly not for the better. This is a major factor in my drifting away from blogging, stitching and designing. I have been mentally and emotionally drained most of the time, occasionally rising above it but often just resigned to it. I deal with so much email at work now that I have no inclination to spend any time on personal email, too. I know I have received email about the blog and my charts and I apologize if I haven't answered, but please do not take it personally - I just don't ever seem to get to it. I mean to answer everyone but usually the thought of having to compose an answer is more than I can muster these days. So, back to the question at hand: to be, or not to be?
I had decided to take the blog offline but I have had a change of heart. I will try to add a few charts and start working on the dead links. I am making no promises about progress and updates but I have decided to work on it as I can. Maybe working on it a little here and there will renew my enthusiasm for it. If I disappear again into cyberspace at least the neglected blog will remain as a familiar place for wandering stitchers to revisit when they wish. Thanks to all of my visitors, I hope you will continue to drop by from time to time and enjoy the time you spend here.
A little something to stitch on for all those Olympic Games watchers out there. Hopefully it gives the feel of the Olympics without infringing on the copyrighted symbol of the games. Might be fun to add some sports charms inside the rings....just a thought.
Can it really be that long since I last posted? Funny how time streams along, sometimes so slow you think you will scream and then other times so quickly it's like shooting the rapids. So much in my life has changed since that last post...you think you are back on track and in control and then....suddenly you aren't! It has been a long time since I have charted a design or even stitched anything to completion, have barely even picked up a needle...but things have once again taken a turn and the stitching fever is rising again. It can sometimes recede for awhile but it is a lifelong affliction that can never be cured and will always return when the conditions are right. I am making no promises this time, I will post at will, when I can, or when I want and I will not condemn myself for failing to do more. No one puts more pressure or makes more demands of me than I do myself.
Thanks to all the lovely people who have taken time to visit my blog and especially those who have emailed me through the years and those that left comments here, sometimes I responded, sometimes I didn't. Not because I didn't want to, or didn't appreciate them but simply because depression can be very crippling, paralyzing in fact, and trying to compose an answer was just beyond my capabilities at times. Things are better right now but I know that the shadows are always lurking, waiting to creep over me again. I know now that my form of depression is genetic and will always be with me, treatable but not curable, at least for now. So I will relish the bright times and hope they keep the shadows away.
A really big change in my life has been getting married again - never saw that coming! Very happy to have found a wonderful man who treats me like a princess and seems to handle all my craziness with ease. He really lifts my spirits and manages to keep me well-grounded, which can be quite a challenge sometimes. I'm sure the happier state of mind has a lot to do with the return of stitching fever and new design ideas starting to flow once again.
I have really missed all my online stitching friends - will try to catch up on some blog reading to see what everyone has been up to - I'm way out of date on what's been going on in the stitching community but hopefully it won't take too long to get back in the swing of things.
After many months away, I have finally returned. I thought I would only be away for a few weeks while my leg healed, but I was wrong. Unfortunately, the broken leg was actually the minor part of the injury. Much worse, and much slower to heal, were the damaged ligaments and tendons in the foot and ankle. The time spent in the cast, intensified the damage and slowed the recovery. Several months of elevation, ice packs, traction, ultrasound and physical therapy have put me mostly back together again. Stairs and soft ground are still a challenge and cold damp weather brings a painful reminder, but I can walk again - most days without a limp. So definite progress!
Sadly, the emotional toll was just as great. Keeping the leg elevated enough to reduce the severe swelling made it impossible to stitch or be on the computer, or do much of anything else, for that matter. Frustration over not being able to do what I wanted to do as well as what I needed to do - watching things pile up and not get done, sent me into a major tailspin. (That is my family's name for a severe bout of depression - a lifelong affliction) Once I was physically able to get back to actually sitting at a computer again, I was completely overwhelmed at the thought of trying to go back and catch up on all the emails, blogging and exchanges that I had missed out on all those months. Work was very busy as well so I just stayed away....
I now must thank several people for my return. To all of you who have patiently waited for my return - checking back on my blog from time to time, to those who have continued to leave comments here, to those who have continued to email - even though I didn't respond, to all of you that have continued to think kindly of me in spite of it all - THANK YOU!
And special thanks to:
Beth, for telling me not to worry about catching up, that my friends would understand and just be glad to have me back, to just sit down and begin again - THANK YOU!
Beth and Carla, for a delightful weekend of stitching, laughing, shopping and fun - rekindling my love of stitching and a desire to reconnect with the stitching community and my friends - THANK YOU!
And last, but not at all least, my dear, dear friend, Monique, who went to great lengths to find me again - always there to pick me up, dust me off and give me a gentle kick in the backside to get me going again - THANK YOU!
I have much to share once again, new charts, maybe a surprise or two. I am going to go at a slower pace, not taking on so much at a time so I don't become overwhelmed again, but as I said, progress is being made. As my physical therapist said, "Baby steps, Sharon, baby steps..."
Anyone who knows me at all, will tell you that these titles are richly deserved. I excel in both areas, as my son is so quick to point out. So in typical fashion, these charts are not really finished - they are works in progress - and I will continue to work on them, but in the meantime, I thought I would post them "as is." I would love to see what all the creative stitchers out there can do with them - they cry out for buttons, beads and embellishments! Crowns for the Queen, tiaras for the Princess?