How I make cross stitch work in my fringe minutes

I judge books by their covers so when I first started seeing this book making it's rounds on the internet, I thought it wasn't for me because I don't have any hours to spare. Months later, I realized I do indeed need more time for me so I decided it was time for a read.

The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You
$10.40
By Jessica N. Turner

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The Fringe Hours may be a bit of a misnomer. It's really more about the fringe minutes and I've got plenty of those.

"Five minutes here, half an hour there— these little chunks of time are all too easy to waste without even noticing. However, when fringe hours are recognized for their collective potential and leveraged for pursuing passions, life change can happen. The aspiration you thought was just a dream begins to take shape."

Yesterday Luke was down for a morning nap. I got some laundry going, started a loaf of bread in the bread machine, and then sat down to do some cross stitch.

I cut a new length of thread, plied off two strands, threaded my needle, and then got maybe 10 stitches in before Luke woke up from his nap. I stuck the needle, mid-stitching, into the edge of the fabric, shoved everything into it's Ziploc bag, and put it away for later.

Ten stitches a day may not seem like much but those stitches add up a lot faster and are a lot more satisfying than lamenting that I don't have free hours to do more in each sitting.

To make these fringe minutes work, I have to keep set up and clean up time to a minimum.

I don't use a hoop or frame when I cross stitch, I just hold an inch or two taught with my left hand while I stitch with my right hand. Getting the frame out of the picture makes it so much easier for me to get my project out and put it away for a short period of time. A gallon size Ziploc bag is easy and keeps my work in progress clean with a toddler running around.

I keep my embroidery floss, scissors, needle threader, and needles in a mini floss box that fits inside my gallon Ziploc bag. I only have one box and about 5 different charts in progress. Printed chart and fabric go in a bag per project and the box moves around depending on what project I'm currently in the mood to work on.

Supplies: The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery Patterns (specific fabric and threads indicated in each pattern), Needle MinderDarice Mini Floss Organizer, Gingher 3.5 inch Stork Embroidery Scissors, Clover Needle Threader, Bohin Needles

How I make cross stitch work in my fringe minutes
How I make cross stitch work in my fringe minutes
How I make cross stitch work in my fringe minutes
How I make cross stitch work in my fringe minutes
How I make cross stitch work in my fringe minutes
How I make cross stitch work in my fringe minutes
How I make cross stitch work in my fringe minutes

What the heck is an ort jar?

You know when you're browsing Instagram and everyone in your feed is posting with a new hashtag and you have no idea what it means?

That's how I felt with the #ortjar.

From looking at the photos with the tag, I could clearly tell it was a jar you put your embroidery floss scraps in but I could not figure out what an "ort" was.

A quick Google search filled me in that an ort is a leftover bit of thread and might be an abbreviation for old ratty tails or odd remnants and threads.

But what I found most curious was the inspiriation for the ort jar:

The practice of making ort jars was probably inspired by witch bottles displayed in museums that contain knotted bits of thread and string. The saved fibers were intended to ward away evil spirits or protect the home from evil spells cast by enemies. via embroidery.about.com

I don't really believe in witches or evil spirits but I think it's a fun history.

My current work in progress here is Christmas Celebration from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery and for my ort jar I'm using a Ball wide mouth pint jar with a plastic lid.

How to make cross stitch Christmas ornaments

This year I have been really into cross stitch so I wanted to use that technique to make some ornaments for my tree.

How to make cross stitch Christmas ornaments

I started out by cutting my cross stitch fabric down to 3 inch squares and then using my sewing machine to do an overlock stitch around the edge. If your machine can't do an overlock stitch, do a zigzag. I do my cross stitch in the hand. If you need to use a hoop or frame, you may want to do your cross stitch first and then cut down your fabric.

How to make cross stitch Christmas ornaments

I selected some characters from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery's Kawaii Winter Sampler (which is now discontinued but they have other Christmas-y patterns here) and stitched them up in the center of each square. I used 3 strands of white to make those parts extra rich.

How to make cross stitch Christmas ornaments

Earlier this year, I purchased a fat quarter bundle of cute little Christmas character fabric so I selected my characters so they'd match up. Snowmen with snowmen, owls with owls, penguins with penguins, and reindeer with reindeer.

I cut out a 3 inch square of coordinating fabric to go with each cross stitch square.

How to make cross stitch Christmas ornaments

Then I cut down some red glitter ribbon to 6 inch lengths and folded those in half. I layered my pieces cotton fabric facing up, folded ribbon with the glitter side facing out, and cross stitch character face down.

How to make cross stitch Christmas ornaments

Here's my little sandwich with the ribbon pinned in place.

How to make cross stitch Christmas ornaments

Then I pinned all around.

How to make cross stitch Christmas ornaments

Sandwiches ready to sew up.

How to make cross stitch Christmas ornaments

I sewed around the edge about 1/4 inch in. I started about half an inch from the bottom left corner and then went up the left side, across the top, down the right side, and stopped about half an inch in to the bottom right.

How to make cross stitch Christmas ornaments

Turn your ornament right side out. The cross stitch fabric is quite stiff so I found it easiest to push the cotton through first and let the rest follow.

How to make cross stitch Christmas ornaments

Push out the corners with something pointy but not so pointy it'll poke through the fabric. I used my Clover Finger Presser.

How to make cross stitch Christmas ornaments

Front and back of the snowmen turned out.

How to make cross stitch Christmas ornaments

I stuffed my ornaments with a bit of ancient polyfill from my mom.

How to make cross stitch Christmas ornaments

Then I sewed the bottoms shut. I did the penguins by hand but then I decided that I'm not all that great at sewing by hand so I did the rest by machine.

How to make cross stitch Christmas ornaments

Here's the back of the owl done by machine.

How to make cross stitch Christmas ornaments

Here's the front of the owl done by machine. I used an oatmeal colored thread that's basically invisible on the cross stitch fabric I selected.

Supplies: DMC Stardust Aida cross stitch fabric, DMC embroidery floss in assorted colors, Timeless Treasures mini series cotton fabrics, red glitter ribbon from Michael's, Aurifil thread in #2325 "Linen", sewing machine, embroidery needle, polyfill, pins