Reviews

Pusheen – Cross-stitch kit Review

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Last night, I finished up one of the patterns from the Pusheen cross-stitch kit. I would like to start off by saying that I’m glad this kit exists! There are a few things that warm my heart about it.

  1. Cross-stitch, embroidery, and arguably other needle arts are alive and well! If Pusheen made a cross-stitch kit for the mass market, it must be true.
  2. I have hope that the sheer popularity of Pusheen, paired with the simplicity of the designs will encourage many people to give cross-stitch a try!
  3. I think the designs are charming!

TLDR – With that said, I would give it 3.5/5 stars. For the price, it’s a good deal! It includes 3 (adorable) patterns, 3 pieces of aida, 2 needles, a 3 inch hoop, and 4 skeins. The only additional item you will need is scissors. Where it lacks is in the details, particularly for a beginning cross-stitcher looking to take this on. Even as a veteran stitcher, I had several moments of frustration.

If you’re interested in reading more, I’ve broken the review down by Included MaterialsPamphlet, and Patterns.

Included Materials

The kit included all the basics you need to get stitching:

  • 2 Needles – The included needles were really sharp, and I ended up stabbing my fingers more times than I would like. Additionally, the eye of the needle was jagged, snagging the floss and shredding it. I eventually used one of my own needles, (a size 24 tapestry needle) and quickly my excessive swearing stopped.
  • Aida (the fabric) – The 3 pieces of aida were pre-cut to be slightly bigger than the included hoop. As a beginner, it will free you from worrying how big you should cut your fabric, but generally speaking, you will want to give your self more space around your hoop. I always give myself a minimum of 2 inches so that I can accommodate for mistakes and so I can finish the back using a sewing method.
  • One 3″ embroidery hoop –  You can either use the hoop to keep your fabric tight, and/or, if you choose, use it to frame your piece. If you do use the hoop to frame your first piece, you will need to head to Michael’s, Joann, or Amazon for another hoop of the same size.
  • 1 skein of floss per required color in the pattern -There are a total of 4 colors used in the patterns. As mentioned, there is one skein per color. Pusheen’s body,  the light grey is the dominant color in every single pattern, yet there is only one skein. If you think you’ll need more of that color, be sure to save a little bit and bring into the craft store for a color match.
    • I don’t know what floss brand was used in the kit, but I found it to be very unforgiving whenever I made a mistake. Trying to pull out the mistake with a needle, broke the thread down. On multiple occasions, I had to frog my work, and recut more floss. I know, I know, by now you’re thinking… um “Lady Designypants, those patterns are so easy,” BUT there are some definite problems with the patterns and that will be discussed in the Pattern section.

Pamphlet

While the pamphlet attempts to explain the basics of cross-stitch, the pamphlet is just too small to do it effectively (3″x3″ and not many pages). As a result, the explanations are brief, if not confusing. The Hoop and Thread sections of the pamphlet are sufficient, and the Scissors section is spot on; use sharp embroidery scissors if at all possible. The remaining sections leave a bit to be desired.

How to cross-stitch section

  • There are no diagrams illustrating the basic cross-stitch. I don’t fault them for not including a comprehensive how-to manual, but I think a quick diagram on how to stitch would be far more effective than trying to explain it using words, as they attempted to do.
  • The good news is that the Internet is a beautiful, wonderful resource, chock-full of videos and articles. In particular, I found this video series to be a big help when I was learning.

Fabric section

  • Neither the patterns nor the section about aida/cross stitch fabric mention what weave count you need. Inexperienced stitchers, might not even be aware that there is quite a variety. Why is this a big deal when fabric is included in the kit? Well, if anyone wants to make additional patterns once the included aida is used, or if someone messes up badly, they’re going to need to know.
    • Weave count determines how many stitches can fit in an inch. This, in turn, effects the size of the piece, which effects the size of the hoop you need, etc. For more info, check out this link! I have to be honest. I was lazy and didn’t count myself. I’m also a fairly veteran stitcher and have a nice stash of 14 weave aida and a multitude of hoops, whereas someone starting out would not.

Needle type section

  • Just a quick note here: The needle section does discuss using a tapestry needle, but it does not mention what size to use for this kit.

The Patterns

Again, just want to preface that the kit is a good value and you will end up with a really cute piece of art (or many cute pieces of art) at the end of it all. You may also recall that I said the pamphlet was tiny, thus making the patterns equally tiny (3″ x 3″). They also lacked some basic elements that should be included in all good patterns!

  • I highly recommend scanning the pattern and enlarging it, otherwise it’s just torture.
  • Additionally, none of the patterns have the cross hairs at the center of the pattern, nor do any of them have the thick lines delineating units of 10.
  • The grid lines are also a very light grey, making the patterns incredibly hard to read. This is why I made so many mistakes. 

Summary

Personally, I would have preferred a more expensive kit that included high quality patterns and materials, or a pattern book with a shopping list of what to buy. I think a lower price will ultimately lead to more people buying the product and hopefully getting into cross-stitch… and I can’t be mad at that!

Thanks for reading! Please leave any question for me in the comments section, and should you feel inclined, remember to subscribe!

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geekery

Cats & Videogames: My Obsession

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Ever since my boyfriend brought home my cat, Nona, I’ve developed a rather unhealthy obsession with feline friends. Cats are fascinating, and here’s why:

  • Their behavior is either relatable or completely alien. Both situations are equally fulfilling!
  • They’re ridiculously athletic and ridiculously lazy.
  • They look so freaking adorable and cuddly, but they are also scary hunters.
  • Have you heard the cool noises they make? All of her little noises mean something different and understanding what she’s saying to me keeps our relationship happy.

Yeah, I am a crazy cat lady. I’m ok with that. I embrace it. Because I am tired and can’t think of a brilliant segue, I will just say that the way I feel about cats is also the way I feel about games.

  • Mechanics are generally the same from game to game, within any given genre, which is fine. Sometimes I want to know all the rules/the way things work immediately; it’s comfortable. Then I have the brain power to focus on the story, the art, whatever. Other times, I want to sit down and play a game so different that it changes my life. Both situations are equally satisfying, and both are essential. Better yet, a game that takes something expected and innovates on it is probably my preference.
  • Characters in videogames are ridiculously athletic while *I* am ridiculously lazy playing them.
  • I don’t discriminate against what games I play as long as they’re good. I will gladly play a freaking adorable puzzle game or play a sci-fi shooter. I am also very happy to indulge in an adorable shooter.
  • Sound! My first job in the industry was as a sound designer. Sound is crucial. It is a source of feedback, a tool for foreshadowing and setting the mood, and it draws you into the environment. The fact that we can turn off sound in a game enrages me, but that can be another post. :-p

So… what the hell am I talking about? My cat/videogame patterns. I took old school games, made all the characters cats, and then made cross stitch patterns from them. The 8-bit art style lends itself to cross stitch. I know that my pieces are not always the most relatable, but I hope that there are other weirdos out there in the world who connect with them!

geekery

Jem… the Warrior?

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Life as a game designer is pretty cool. My job combines creativity with logic, and in the end we get to release something into the world that hopefully evokes the emotion we intended.

I work with a spectacular group of engineers, artists, and fellow designers. I have a habit, perhaps an annoying one, of trying to get my team excited/pumped when things might not be ideal. My teammates are enthusiastic about their work, but just like any job there are highs and lows. When I sense a low, I yell out, “Yeah!” at the end of whatever “brilliant” statement I just made. Sometimes I proclaim, “Who’s with me?!?!” in hopes of evoking some kind of Braveheart rally cheer. At first, my teammates (who are also my friends) didn’t respond intentionally so that I would look ridiculous yelling out in the middle of the office, but haha, jokes on them, I am always ridiculous.

One of our amazing, quirky artists made a slack emoji of dear, old Braveheart yelling, war paint on, with arm up in the air. This allowed the silly tradition to move from the analog world to the digital. One day, she noticed that Jem’s makeup looks a lot like that worn by William Wallace … just pink. As you can guess, shortly thereafter, our Braveheart emoji was soon wearing Jem’s makeup.

Inspired by my coworker, the 80s and odd mashups, I decided to design this Jem/Braveheart pattern. I took the silhouette of Jem’s regular performance outfit, added some elements from William Wallace’s battle uniform (such as Tartan), swapped sword out for a microphone, and added a shield that is surprisingly from an ACTUAL JEM episode!

Well, that was a lot of rambling, but I guess that’s what blogs are for.

Have a good Monday!

Free Patterns

Cartoons and Cross Stitch!

My friends and I recently did a Cartoon Network craft swap! My crafting partner happens to love Bubbles from The Powerpuff Girls. I can’t say I blame her, as it was an important cartoon for me, too! In fact, it hadn’t been since the days of She-ra and Jem that I was genuinely excited by the stories of some kick-ass ladies! If you’re interested in the pattern, I have a link below! It’s designed for 14 count aida and has a DMC key.

Here is the file! Bubbles

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