The Never-ending Wallaby

About 5 years IMG_0786ago I bought a cross stitch pattern featuring a wallaby, as these beautiful creatures visit our yard on a regular basis. I thought it would look lovely framed on the wall. When the pattern arrived and I saw that it required 91 different coloured threads I should have realised that this was not going to be a quick job. It has been my ‘holiday project’ over these years. I don’t know how far wallabies travel in their usual territory. But this one has been to Perth, Townsville, Cairns, Charters Towers, St George, Armidale, and Tasmania. Whenever we’ve been away on holidays or I’ve been at a conference, the wallaby has travelled with me.

Months can go by when I don’t work on it at all. But over the last few months I’ve felt a renewed interest in getting it finished. I had hoped its completion could be accomplished before the end of June so I could enter it as an exhibit in our local agricultural show. But the pattern is so intricate that 2017 might be more realistic. Meanwhile the paper pattern is becoming tattered, I’m using a pencil to cross off blocks that I’ve done, and a highlighter pen to mark the gaps to be filled in. This helps me keep track in a pattern that is so detailed you can easily spend 10 minutes searching the 91 symbols trying to find your place!

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I’ve dubbed the pattern ‘the never-ending wallaby’ and tried not to become discouraged when I see how much I’ve got to go. So I’ve implemented some strategies to help keep up the momentum with such a big project. You may also find these helpful if you have a cross stitch project currently on the go:

  1. Buy an organiser so your threads can be easily located. Nothing is more frustrating than searching through a jumble of threads for that elusive one that you need next.
  2. Before calling it a day, work out which symbol you will be working on next time, load up the needle and start the stitch.
  3. Always circle in pencil the stitch you are up to and write it in the margin. You think you’ll remember that you are working on ‘M’ or ‘#’ but you never do! This results in ‘*&!(%@$’ – all of which are also symbols in this pattern!

Is there a ‘never-ending’ project that you are currently working on? Do you have any additional tips or cross stitch advice to share?

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  • Hilary Gallagher says:

    Hi Jo, I think life is an ongoing project – maybe convert your cross stitch strategies to much, much more – then there might be less *$%^&* 🙂

    • Jo says:

      Yes Hilary there’s some Stephen Covey-like strategies in there like being proactive, beginning with the end in mind, putting first things first etc. All applicable to life as well as cross stitch!

  • Penny says:

    Wow Jo – it looks great!!! I can’t wait to see the ‘Never-ending Wallaby’, eventually ended! 🙂

  • Jennifer says:

    I have a quilt called Mick Jagger’s lips – that’s the name my husband gave it, hmmm. It’s been on the go for about the name number of years as your Wallaby!! The only difference is it’s a crazy quilt that defies all rules and instructions. There simply are no mistakes! My quilt has evolved and morphed over the years and continues to amuse me.
    So my recommendation to you is ‘Go crazy? – if you cannot find the right colour or you lose your spot, then turn your wallaby into an obese one legged blue and orange version. And call it ART!

    • Jo says:

      I can’t wait to see the quilt Jen! Funny you should mention not being able to find the right colour. I’ve just realised I have 2 colours missing, but have other colours that look ‘close enough’ so will just use those. Ok, starting to lower my standards now…..

  • Melanie says:

    Hi Jo
    In the days when women spent at least a week in hospital after giving birth and were presented with their baby for feeding every four hours, my mother began to embroider a tablecloth. Obviously there were many other things that occupied her time when she returned home with the squalling child (me) and she didn’t ever finished it. However, I finished it for her more than twenty years later and it is now given an airing when the opportunity for a tea party arises. Don’t give up hope. The story behind these achievements is as interesting as the finished product.

    • Jo says:

      What a wonderful story behind your (and your mum’s!) tablecloth Melanie. The story will travel with the tablecloth to your daughter and onwards, and be kept alive through the generations. So good to hear that you use it too.

  • Sandi Blinco says:

    I admire your patience with the cross stitch Jo – well done. I have also enjoyed reading through your past posts too. Blinky

  • gail says:

    well done Jo, I have something similar, a William Morris!

    • Jo says:

      Now that sounds interesting Gail! I wonder if that’s a pet name for your project, like Jen’s quilt called ‘Mick Jagger’s lips’?

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