Jun 202014

I finished stitching my foxy phone case!


The day I wove in the very last ends, I showed the photo above to a friend on my phone. Then I remembered I was holding the actual completed case, and so I flipped the phone over to reveal the case itself. Mind blown! I’ve since had lots of fun with my serendipitous new party trick.

What would a project be without a few trials on the way to the finish line? A needle broke as I was trying to weave an end in behind other stitches. And then it was totally stuck. No amount of pushing, pulling, or cussing would make it budge. I left the needle there til the end of the project, finally resorting to jewelry pliers to get it out.

Shortly after the needle-breaking incident, my right thumbnail broke below the quick (ow). Since my technique involves my thumbnail rather than a thimble, it was much harder to push the needle through the case and practically impossible to weave in the ends. This slowed me down for a couple weeks, and I pulled out my knitting projects instead to keep my hands busy.

Here’s the inside:

cross stitch foxy case back

When I was stitching in public or sharing my work-in-progress with friends, several people suggested I sell the case. While a flattering notion, selling a finished case doesn’t feel financially feasible. All these tiny stitches take a long time, and I doubt folks would be willing to pay over $100 for a non-bulletproof phone case. Instead, I’m considering putting this project together to sell as a kit with the case, floss, and pattern.

Overall, I love this project. I’m digging the tactile contrast of soft cotton and hard futuristic gadget. And now I get to see and hold a brightly patterned fox every day!


Dates worked: April 16 – June 7, 2014. I mostly stitched on this project while commuting, with occasional evening stitching as well.

DMC embroidery floss colors:
333: very dark blue violet
3849: light teal green
3843: electric blue
718: plum
318: light steel grey
3341: apricot
white sewing thread (4 strands for the eye)

Previously: weekend crafty roundup and cross-stitch in progress.

May 042014

My favorite Friday night activity is some variation on the following:

Crafty still life

Crafty still life

Candle lit, notebook out, and crafty supplies at the ready – a lovely way to end the week and start the weekend.

Rounding up where I’m at with my current crafty projects:

-I’m almost done cutting out interfacing for the Dorothy bag. Since moving to NYC and getting rid of our dining room table, I’ve yet to figure out a good setup for cutting fabric. Instead of continuing to avoid the bag project, I remembered that interfacing isn’t nearly as wide as fabric, and so less intimidating to cut. I made do on my cutting mat and sewing/crafty table, which is wonderfully long but not very deep – the 24″ axis of my mat hangs off on both sides. I picked up some heavy washers to act as pattern weights, and am digging this no-pin rotary cutting.

-My cross-stitch phone case is coming along nicely. I’m stitching daily on my commute, assuming I can get a seat or a good “standy-spot” – one where I can brace myself against the subway doors for balance and keep my hands free for stitching. Last weekend I was this far, sharing my work with a friend:



Now I’ve finished the fox face but for the eyes, and am on my third chevron stripe. I’ve decided to leave the black chevrons blank rather than stitching them, both to save time (ohman this grid is tiny), and for textural interest. My progress is going along faster now that I discovered I can cross stitch while watching a show (catching up on Mad Men season 5).

-In crafty dabbling news, I started an advanced papertcut project yesterday while volunteering at Brooklyn Craft Company. Some photos here. Our instructor, Annie of Bmorepapercuts, brought some of her amazing work to show us, including part of a huge piece – practically my height – cut out of Tyvek. My papercut is still very much in the early stages, since I spent lots of (too much) time customizing my design and getting the lettering right (you write it out backwards in this process). Also because I listened to my body and took frequent breaks when my hand/neck/back/shoulders starting aching. I need to learn a less claw-handed knife grip! The tip of my right index finger still feels vaguely tingly. I’m going to pick up a pack of exacto blades so I can continue this project at home.

I’ve been riding my newly-tuned-up bike more often, the cherry blossoms are in full bloom in the botanic garden, most of my sweaters have been put away in exchange for shorter sleeves and the occasional bare legs, and spring looks like it’s finally here to stay. Happy May!

Apr 232014

When I started thinking about upgrading my phone, I got unreasonably excited about finally having a phone that would fit in one of the cross-stitched cases I’ve been eyeing for years. (Since 2011, apparently! The Purl Bee got me hooked.) I picked up my case on Etsy and started stitching over the long weekend.


At the point in the stitching where it looks more like a thong than a fox face.

My interest in stitching non-fabric surfaces started when I got some pendants with laser-cut grids from Beadeaux. The design element has been a fun challenge, both conceptually and technically. I learned new skills in Illustrator for how to make grids, copy design elements for maximum efficiency, and more. (Marnie Maclean’s Illustrator tutorials were super helpful here. A couple years ago I drew on them for creating cable and lace knitting charts, and the concepts translate well.)

I played around with a fox head design for the pendants, and decided to use a larger version for my phone case – with its wide, 36 stitch grid. The apricot-neon-pink-orange thread color is a bright pick-me-up in New York’s fleeting, indecisive spring, and I love the way it plays off other cool brights, black, and silvery grey.

I’m excited to have a new project for my daily commute!