“ Brand: Mouseloft / Type: Cross stitch sets / Available in various styles and themes „
~~~ Mouseloft Stitchlets ~~~
I'm really into all types of crafting, and have been since I was a child. I've done glass painting, making Faberge style eggs from real egg shells, knitting, crochet. You name it, I've done it. My favourite pastime though is cross stitching. I find it so therapeutic and relaxing. I love seeing a design which looks like nothing on earth on paper, come to life as you add shading, detail, backstitching and/or French knots. I can't hand stitch or machine stitch to save my life, but give me a cross stitch pattern and some flosses and I'm your girl.
Seeing me sewing, both my daughters (21 and 9) often join me stitching away. Together we sit, enjoying the peace and quiet, and each other's company, and having some mother daughter time. Both my girls started stitching from the ages of around seven or eight, when I felt they could handle the strictness of following a rigid pattern; prior to that, I'd just give them some binca, and they'd just sew merrily away.
There are many kits classed as 'my first' cross stitch. These are usually completed with fewer stitches per inch. This enables the kit to grow incredibly quickly and kids can see the results with less effort. Kid's attention spans aren't as long as ours and they tend to get fed up easily. The designs on these kits are extremely babyish, and are now far too easy for my nine year old; therefore I have recently introduced her to Mouseloft Stitchlets.
~~~ The Kits ~~~
As the name suggests these are little kits. They are just a miniature of the kits I use myself. Mouseloft make a huge range of designs which makes it extremely difficult to choose. After much deliberation my daughter decided upon the one with a Unicorn design. She loves all things mythical so it was perfect for her, but there are designs and patterns to suit every taste, be it animals, flowers, seaside themes, and even ones for mounting on cards - saying congratulations new baby, happy birthday, and the like.
The kit comes in a plastic envelope for keeping your stitching clean and tidy between sewing sessions, and included is everything you need to get started straight away. All the relevant coloured threads, a needle (not all kits provide one), and a clear, easy to follow chart. The kits that are for celebrations, also come with a little card and envelope on which to mount your creation and send it to the recipient.
~~~ Detailed Design~~~
As mentioned before Binca (for kids stitching) is done with 6 stitches per inch. The Mouseloft Stitchlet kits are mini versions of the ones I complete, and are 14 count (14 stitches per inch). As such, although this is a very small design, there are more stitches per pattern, and is more of a challenge. The design is still very basic, but it perfectly suits an older child, an adult new to cross stitching, or a quick stitch for a seasoned pro, between larger projects.
We found the design very easy to follow and it contained more than enough of each thread. I do think though, that as these are generally aimed to people new to stitching, that the design sheet could have been made a little larger enabling you to more easily keep your place. As an old hand to this, I simply scanned it into my computer and enlarged it a little. My daughter could then mark off rows without ruining the original copy.
~~~ Completing The Project ~~~
My daughter made up this kit over several days, maybe even a week; she'd pick it up for a while and then put it back down again, as and when the mood arose. It would take me around two hours to finish in one sitting though. The finished result was brilliant, and just like the design on the packet (hurrah). In the range there are extremely simple designs and something a little harder. This one (the unicorn) contains only six colours; some contain three, and some considerably more than that, so it was relatively easy to accomplish, but the end result was fab.
~~~ Warning ~~~
The kit does say it is not suitable for children under the age of seven due to the sharp needle, but in my opinion a child this age wouldn't have the patience or the ability to cope with this kit anyway. They look perfectly suitable with the tiny and appealing diagram, but due to the higher thread count are that little bit more difficult to master.
~~~ Price ~~~
We paid £2.49 for this kit from Hobbycraft, and looking online there are 64 designs available to choose from. I only ever buy my cross stitch kits from Hobbycraft as there are no craft stores near me; but having done a quick check they are £2.99 ish on Amazon, including postage and packaging, at the moment. It might be worth doing that and avoiding an expensive trip to Hobbycraft, as you can never just go in for one thing, you come out with a bag full.
All in all this has been a fantastic little kit, and has given my daughter a brilliant sense of achievement. It comes most highly recommended for passing the time, and/or learning a new skill at a very affordable price.
Five stars from me (and Elysia) x
I really enjoy crafts and I have cupboards full of craft materials. The problem is, I find myself easily bored, so I'm always looking for something new to do. A couple of years ago I decided to get back into cross stitch as it was something I had done as a little girl and enjoyed.
Although there are lots of cross stitch magazines on the market, and you can find patterns online if you look (or even design your own if you're creative enough), I prefer to buy kits. The main reason is simply that you get everything you need - aida (the fabric you stitch onto), threads, charts and even the needle in some kits. If you were to buy everything separately, you'd need to buy full packs of threads which can be expensive, especially as some designs will only require one or two stitches of certain colours.
I have bought many different kits since I took up cross stitch again, but I regularly find myself buying the Mouseloft stitchlets kits. The two main reasons these appeal to me, are that firstly they are very cheap, and secondly they are relatively small, and my attention span can cope with them...I find with larger designs I'll get part way through, become bored and move onto something else, so it takes a hell of a long time to get one finished!
My boyfriend took me to the Team Valley recently and we had a mooch around Hobbycraft, an amazing store that I absolutely love. I wasn't planning on buying anything, but ended up coming back with a mouse loft cross stitch kit and a few ribbons for my card making.
Mouseloft make a huge range of designs, the one I bought this time was a dog holding a sign saying 'Happy Birthday' and others I've done in the past that spring to mind are a cat eyeing a goldfish bowl, and a Scottie dog wearing a tartan coat. I've just done a search online and found that you can get absolutely allsorts - a seahorse, a cupcake, teddy bear, sheep, penguin, a train, a wizard... you're sure to be able to find something that appeals to you.
The kit I bought came with a small square of aida (I didn't measure but it was pretty small - around 4 inches), all the relevant coloured threads, a needle (good, as not all kits provide one), a clear, easy to understand chart and also a small card and envelope. Not all of the kits come with a card to my recollection, but the ones that do are clearly marked on the packaging.
I found the design very easy to follow, the only thing that I think could have improved it, would be if they had put the chart in colour rather than black and white as I find the colour charts a little bit simpler.
The kit contained just the right amount of thread for each design - I once bought a kit from another brand that had a teddy bear design, and there wasn't enough brown thread to finish the bears face, which I think is pretty poor.
I made this particular design over three days, as I was picking it up for a little while and then putting it back down again. I don't think I've ever managed to finish a kit in one day - even a small one like this as I just don't have the patience. I'll take a rough guess that I completed it in about three hours altogether.
When I'd finished it, I thought the design looked rather good, although I did manage to make a bit of a mistake with the nose, as I used just one strand of thread rather than two, but that was my fault, nothing to do with the kit!
The kit says it is not suitable for children under the age of seven due to the sharp needle. If you have a child who is interested in cross stitch, these kits may be ideal once the child has mastered the basics. There is a lot of counting of stitches involved, and it can be a little bit fiddly due to separating the embroidery threads into separate strands, but if you think your child can cope with this, then these kits would probably be an ideal way to start.
I paid £2.49 for this particular kit from Hobbycraft. I normally get mine from Fenwick's where they cost about the same price, but I have seen them online for as little as £1.79. You can buy directly from mouseloft at www.mouseloft.co.uk
Overall, I think these are lovely little kits and would recommend them. If you are a beginner at cross stitch, or like me hadn't done it since your school days, these are fantastic kits to get started with. I find cross stitch really relaxing and these are good if I want a little project that won't take too much time or effort. Recommended!
Outside of my working/family life, I really have very little time for hobbies, with my writing reviews and reading being my main ones, though after I dabbled in a couple of festive cross stitch decorations last year I seem to have sparked an interest at least for my daughter.
After much asking, my husband finally relented, and took us over to our local craft store for my daughter to pick her own design, though it did take us ages as she only has restricted funds to spend (she has pocket money for tidying her bedroom, which of course doesn't happen too often, so she doesn't get much money!), so she insisted on getting the cheapest available!
She finally decided on a design made by a company called "mouse loft", these designs in particular were small singular pictures, and mostly cartoon or funny pictures, ideal for my daughter to have a go at doing, without worrying about having to unpick a design to start again.
The particular picture my daughter chose in the end was a meerkat, her intention was to cross stitch it and give to her nannan as a present (my mother in law collects them due to the advert....simples!).
Within the pack you get everything you will need to compete the picture, which includes a large, blunt and large eyed cross stick needle, all of the threads in the appropriate colours (with usually enough to spare incase of mistakes), a picture of the compete picture for reference, a picture of the unstitched pattern (almost like a paint by numbers picture, with each section having a particular symbol to correspond with a coloured thread) and finally a piece of cross stick material, which the name at present eludes me!
After a little help to decipher the colour or I should say, symbol coded pattern, my daughter quite easily completes' the picture (with a few elaborations and changes in colour, she says they were deliberate, but I think it was to cover a mistake!), not bad for a nine year old, which in fairness is another reason these pictures are so ideal.
These particular patterns are quite simply the easiest one's I have come across, so therefore are the best one's to practise on, especially if you are a young novice like my daughter, this being the case they are quite cheap to buy too, with them starting at 99p a picture at "hobby craft" and around the £1.30 mark on www.amazon.co.uk, with there being every design under the sun to choose from, my daughter is currently fashioning a snowman as her newest project!
These are a lovely starter kit for practising a new hobby, with the end results being actually quite professional, recommended!
Thanks for reading x