sewing & needlework
…gnome time + my tiny house needlework setup…

…gnome time + my tiny house needlework setup…

Never let it be said I don’t learn from my mistakes. Of all the things in 2021 I expected to still be haunted by, my inability to accurately visualise what five inches means for a completed cross stitch was not on my bingo card. Somehow though, my ridiculously poor spatial awareness has plumbed new depths, and my Christmas gnome fail has become quite the running joke.

It’s quite rude, really, of five inches refusing to be the same size as five centimetres. I put the gnomes away for nine months, and pulled them out again a week or so ago, and they still refuse to accept inches and centimetres as interchangeable measurements. I’ve admitted defeat, and have learned my lesson. 12 gnomes in 24 days is very much not a realistic goal in the lead up to Christmas.

I’ve managed to get three done, leaving me nine to go. Even with the smaller number, I doubted my ability to keep up and get them done by Christmas. In the end, I decided the end of the year was racing up towards us, and if I started on the 25th September, a neat three months out, that could conceivably be considered a reasonable time frame for Christmas crafting. Not that I’m overthinking it at all, of course, but merely wishing to respect the season at the season’s time. Especially when the shops were replacing fathers day displays with Christmas displays – two days before fathers day. It was almost more offensive than hot cross buns appearing on Boxing Day.

In the process of pulling out my project and checking my very neat, very colour coded spreadsheet of patterns, I came to another measurement-related realisation. With the gnomes being larger than anticipated, I am not going to fit 12 across a fat quarter. I wish I was joking when I say that yes, my mental measurement skills are truly that poor. A wise crafter would have measured and calculated and planned accordingly. I, on the other hand, decided to wing it, and it’s well and truly bitten me on the backside.

With the three completed gnomes laid out on the table, I pulled up my gnomey spreadsheet, and printed the front covers of the remaining nine gnomes on my initial list. Once they were all laid out in the correct order, I was able to see clearly how the various styles worked together, and it mostly easy to decide on the gnomes that needed to be dropped. Eight gnomes left standing – three stitched, five to go, and four to stitch as stand alones to make up the original goal of twelve.

Then I started looking at the gnome I was due to stitch. He was the only one with a pointy hat, when the rest had slouches. Back to the drawing board. The hat had to slouch. It needed a visible face. It had to be one of the simpler styles, not the fancy ones like the centre, as pretty as they are. I picked a couple of options and took it to the chat. It was reassuring that my top pick was ratified by my enablers. As well as starting that fourth gnome, I’ve also started watching Girls5Eva on Stan as I stitch. One is progressing faster than the other… I’ll let you guess which!!


Closing in on Christmas, also means we are closing in on the end of our third year in our little cabin on our farm. Oh how I laugh at the innocence of January 2020 me, thinking covid was a media beat up and we’d be in our house within the year. Ha. Hahaha.

Our time here has been an adventure, and we’ve become very adept at managing a large+creative family in a small space. Longer term projects especially have been tricky, but we’re finding ways around that too. These gnomes are the perfect example. I’ve pulled it out, and will work on it over the next three months. It won’t go back to the storage container in that time, but instead be floating around the house.

To set myself up, I have a small box I use to store and organise project specific flosses. There’s also a spare white and black floss that stays in there permanently, along with empty bobbins & winder, and a pack of my favourite Itchy Stitch cross-stitch needles. I do also keep a tube of the fabulous Jen Kingwell chenille needles in there, but they’ve currently migrated to my sewing box after last weekend’s embroidery adventures. To round out my box, I like to pop in my thread catcher to try and keep my mess to a minimum. In a small house, even a little mess takes over quickly!

The project itself lives in one of my many project bags – this one is is my favourite linen+corduroy pouch I made a million years ago. Between hand oils, and general movements, there’s the risk of the extra fabric getting dirty, so I roll it up and tuck it in my hoop cover. This is a project I actually want to revisit, as I am finding it a fraction too wide. It shouldn’t be a hard fix, as soon as I get a spare minute. With everything fitting in either the small box or the project pouch, it doesn’t take up much of our limited space, and will end up living on my shelf of the raskog trolley for easy access and to keep it out of the way.

This system also works brilliantly when it comes to travel. Tomorrow, the children and I head to Sydney for a week of workshops. All I need to is throw the box and pouch in my handbag, grab my knitting, and I’m out the door ready to go. Well, almost. Aside from the esky full of meals I’ve spent the afternoon cooking. And the backpacks full on entertainment for a 7.5 hour drive. Probably should ensure I get the suitcase of clothes in as well, shouldn’t I?

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