Creepy Craft Corner- Spooky Holiday Edition!

By Angela Sylvaine

Welcome to “Creepy Craft Corner,” which features horror authors who are also artists, crafters, makers, or creators. I hope to provide you, the reader, with the tools and inspiration to try creating something new!

While we are approaching the winter holidays, and some crafters may encourage you to make cheery, winter themed crafts, I say, “Not today, Santa!” Spooky crafts have a place in my home all twelve months of the year, and my guest this month agrees. Today I welcome the multi-talented PL McMillan, who has made a custom cross stich project with an included pattern just for you, my lovely readers (plus there’s a bonus cat- awww). Now, let’s get stitchin!

Hi, PL. Welcome to Creepy Craft Corner! Tell us about what you write and any upcoming projects you’d like to promote.

Why hello, dearest reader. Welcome to my introduction paragraph, where I give you my PLM-flavoured spiel about me! So relax, have a cup of tea, and off we go!

P.L. McMillan, writer of the dark and despicable, the creepy and crawly, the sinister and the spooky! I am known for my cosmic horror and my sci-fi horror in particular. My work has appeared in various anthologies and magazines, like Hinnom Magazine, Howls from HellStrange Lands Short Stories, and Cosmic Horror Monthly – as well as some podcasts such as Nosleep and Nocturnal Transmissions.

Even better, my debut collection, What Remains When the Stars Burn Out, came out in March 2022 and my debut novella, Sisters of the Crimson Vine, comes out December 6th! It’s been a spicy year for me, that’s for sure!

Besides writing, I also do digital art (you can check out my collection to see twelve custom illustrations I did), play video games, hike, and dabble in various crafts. 

If you want to check out more about my writing, you can find me on my website: https://www.plmcmillan.com/ . I’m also active on Twitter (@AuthorPLM) and Instagram (@authorplm). 

What creepy craft or creation have you decided to share with us today? (Make this personal- what inspired you to make this or why do you enjoy this craft? if you sell your work or skill, please include links here to where it can be purchased or you can be hired. Please attach one or more photos of your finished craft)

Stretch your little fingers, readers. We’re about to dive into the magical world of cross-stitch! Originally, I was drawn to cross-stitch after seeing beautiful finished projects on Reddit. It also seemed really approachable as a beginner. In essence, you make little Xs on special grid fabric. 

So, for me, it’s a super enjoyable hobby because it is simple. Sometimes you just want to shut your brain off, binge Buffy, and cross-stitch a dancing skeleton, you know? It’s time consuming sometimes, especially if the project is large, but there’s no real stress around cross-stitching. I also find a lot of enjoyment in designing my own patterns (one of which you’ll see today!), though there are tons of free or purchasable patterns out there as well!

Currently, I don’t sell my cross-stitch work. I usually make these projects as gifts! But I am open to commissions if someone needs something! 

But let’s chat about what I am going to share today. Based on a custom pattern I made especially for this article, I call this “Angry Skelly Yells at Moon”:

Materials

You’ll need:

  • Embroidery hoop
  • Cross-stitch needle
  • Aida cloth – 14 count (this means that there are 14 squares per inch)
  • Thread/floss. See DMC codes and colours below:
    • 666 – Bright Red
    • 326 – Very Dark Rose
    • 744 – Pale Yellow
    • 727 – Primrose Yellow
    • 975 – Dark Golden Brown
    • 3031 – Very Dark Mocha Brown
    • 613 – Drab Brown
    • 904 – Very Dark Parrot Green
    • 375 – Off White
    • B5200 – Snow White 
    • 406 – Black
  • Tea or coffee (optional)

Note: I chose to use black Aida cloth, you can use white or any other colour you want! Just make sure to use a colour other than white for your skelly friend. For the sizing, I used 14 count, which makes for a smaller design. If you buy a different count, you will end up with either a larger or smaller sized image so be careful! 

Pattern

Here is the pattern I made for this project. 

Please note the colour guide on the right. Also feel free to use your own colour palette – the pattern is flexible! If you want hot pink mushrooms, go for it! 

Let’s Get Going!

First step is to get your fabric situated in the hoop. I would recommend leaving a bit of excess around the edges in case you need to re-center (which I did, haha). 

You can start with whatever colour you want. I started with white so I could finish the skeleton first, since it was the center of the design and could help me with placing the other parts. 

Cross-stitch floss (or thread) comes in ropes of six strands. 

For my pattern, I used two so you’ll need to separate two strands from your floss and thread it through your needle. Then knot! This effectively makes a four strand thread. 

Start from the back and push your needle through the corner of one of the many tiny squares. Then, from the front, push the needle back through via the opposite diagonal hole. 

You now have a diagonal line

Repeat to make a square (excuse the flash).

That’s it. That’s pretty much all you do. The exception are the half stitches. These, you will only do half the square, so just one diagonal line matching the pattern. Like so:

Continue on! At this point, it might have become clear to you that I started a wee bit too close to the upper side of the frame. Oh well, that’s why I don’t trim excess fabric, which will allow me to re-position the pattern later. 

Hello, says Skelly! It’s normal to see some cloth showing through.

Also optional to this activity is a judgemental cat!

Once your cross-stitch is complete, it’s time to finish it off! It’s up to you how.

You can cut all the excess fabric away, or you can sew it flush to the back. I went with sewing it. This is helpful in case I want to re-frame the design in something else. 

And there you have it! A finished cross-stitch project!

If you end up using this pattern, I hope you have tons of fun! 

And this has been the PLM-flavoured Creepy Craft Corner! Be sure to let me know what you thought and check out my debut novella, Sisters of the Crimson Vine – order now!

x PLM

Thank you so much to PL for sharing your work with us this month! I hope it inspired you to create something new. 

Until next time, keep it crafty, readers!

Would you like to be featured on Creepy Craft Corner? Email me at angelasylvaine@gmail.com

Angela Sylvaine is a self-proclaimed cheerful goth who writes horror fiction and poetry. Her debut novel, Frost Bite, is forthcoming from Dark Matter INK in October 2023. Her novella, Chopping Spree, an homage to 1980s slashers and mall culture, is available now and her short fiction and poetry have appeared in over forty publications, including Apex Magazine Dark Recesses, and The NoSleep Podcast. You can find her online at angelasylvaine.com.

Special thanks to our logo creator, Maria Abrams abramstheauthor.com

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