stitching & knitting

Just so you don’t think I’ve gone off on a tangent with my knitting . . . here’s progress on “Victorian Charm” by Dimensions.  This photo was last month

Victorian charm 02

And this month

Victorian charm 12 05

A third window is almost finished, and I’ve been stitching the pointy roof on this part of the house.  It’s slow going, but I’m trying to stitch on it little and often.

Of course, the new knitting project is also keeping me amused.  I showed it to you only the other day

knitting 01

Well, I’ve just finished the first 50g ball of the main colour, and things look like this

knitting 02

This photo is a better one of the colours.  Main colour, a dark teal, with light aqua stripes.  This is the back of my sweater (or will be).  Three stripes so far, a total of seven to do.

Over the next few days, I need to get back to some sewing . . . that orange sashing on F2F2 blocks isn’t going to sew itself on  without a bit of help from me!  And then there’s the amigurumi tiger, still waiting for legs and a tail . . . it’s all go!  So many projects to work on, and not enough days in the week lol.

like riding a bike

I have discovered, that crafting is like riding a bike!  Once you learn, even if you don’t do it for years, you never forget.  The brain seems to remember what it needs to do.

As a child, I learned the basics of knitting.  My Mum and gran were both expert & prolific knitters, so at some point, it seemed logical they would try and pass on their knowledge.  I just wish now, that I’d been a more willing pupil because all I picked up were the basics: how to cast on, knit, purl, and how to cast off.  I never learned how to follow a pattern, and all I’ve ever knitted in the past has been scarves.

Saying that . . . after having taught myself to crochet, from scratch, these past few months, and gaining in confidence with my hook, I’ve been wanting to pick up some knitting.  Husband is partly at fault here.  Seeing me crochet on my little amigurumi projects, and churn out a few beanies, he unwittingly told me that: “If you make me a sweater, I’ll wear it with pride!”.  Hmmm !!!! 

I wasn’t thinking about knitting at this point.  My brain was locked into crochet mode, so I started browsing the net for free crochet patterns for men’s sweaters.  I only found one.  The rest were knitting patterns.  And the more I looked, the more lovely free knitting patterns I found.

What to do?  Pick up the knitting needles and see if the brain remembers how to knit & purl, I say! 

Husband is going to have to wait a while for his sweater, I’m afraid, because I don’t have enough of any yarn in my stash to make a men’s sweater.  I didn’t even have any long needles to make any kind of sweater, since mine were all 25cm needles (which are fine for scarves, but not much else).  A trip to the shops remedied that.  Several sizes of 40cm needles have been added to my stash.  And I’ve begun work on my first ever sweater . . . for me.

IMGP2953

This is the beginning.  I’m following an easy pattern from Red Heart.   Using a cheap acrylic yarn (I did my gauge swatch).  The main colour is actually a lot more teal than it appears in the photo.  Pattern is easy.  Ribbing, then 16 rows of stocking stitch with 2 rows of knit thrown in for the contrasting stripe. 

Husband is looking on with interest.  If I manage to make something wearable, then I’ll be ordering in yarn for husband’s sweater. 

review of 2014

A very happy new year to you all.  I hope that 2015 will be a good one for you and wish you health, happiness and plenty of time for crafting ^^

It’s a stitcher’s tradition to start the year with a new project, but I’m breaking with tradition this year. I will no doubt be starting some new projects very soon, but not today.  Instead, I decided to do a review of 2014 in photos.

I have grouped pics together so as not to make this too photo-intensive.  First up . . . a medley of free designs by Lindashee that I stitched throughout the year.  You can find all of these designs on Lindashee’s blog. Her “four seasons” and a series of 9 little critters.

PicMonkey Collage lindashee

I also spent quite a few hours working on patchwork projects this year, with several sets of place mats and some bags ^^

PicMonkey Collage patch

And of course, more cross stitch, including some finishings of projects that were stitched in 2013 but only finished off in 2014 and some knitting.

PicMonkey Collage xst

I think “the plan” for 2015 will be to combine more cross stitch and patchwork – possibly more cushion covers over the coming year and most definitely some wall-hanging finishes.

we have a cat tree, not a Christmas tree

Hello folks – Christmas Eve, and children all over the world will be getting excited as presents pile up under the seasonal Christmas tree.  In our house, we haven’t put up a tree this year . . . however I did buy a cat tree ^^

IMGP7916

No cats in sight (typical) . . . you’d have thought with 3 cats in the house there would be at least one lounging around on it.  But no!  Merlin prefers his cardboard box

IMGP7917

Gandalf is curled up on the couch as usual, and Le Bleu . . . well I thought he was snoozing on our bed, until I was trying to take a couple of photos to show you some knitting.

IMGP7920

Spurred on by Avis, who has been working busily to finish off her 100 square blanket, I got out my needles the other night, and now have 4 more squares for my future blanket.

IMGP7922

Makes 14 in total, so I have a very long way to go.  There will be no colour theme, nor stitch theme lol.  I bought some odd balls of wool on the internet and am using this as a knitting pratcise exercise.  Knitting 5” samples and trying different stitches as I go, depending on the yarn. As you can see, I have another full ball of the reddish yarn left so will be able to knit up some more in that colour.  Also have a nice green one in the side-lines

IMGP7923

Anyway – tonight it will be foie gras and yummy Christmas Eve feasting in this house.  Just the two of us, in front of the fire, with a glass of wine. 

I hope you all have a lovely time this Christmas and that you get to spend it with loved ones.

a little bit every day

As you know, we’ll be moving this summer . . . so I’m busy with sorting and “Spring cleaning” around the house. My days aren’t terribly thrilling as I move from one cupboard to the next, filling up binliners as I go – but it has to be done. We’ve already made several trips to the local tip with some of the large items and I continue to plod along with the sorting indoors.

Here’s an example of a day’s haul

IMGP6683

This lot went to the Red Cross recycle bin, but every day I’m ending up with roughly the same amount of “stuff” and I haven’t finished yet ^^

Crafting has been on a go slow because I’m usually too shattered in the evening to concentrate on much. However, I did get my knitting needles out again and do some simple “brainless” knitting to add a few squares to my blankie project. 

Last photo I showed you was way back in February when I had finished 2 squares with a “Pernelle” turquoisey blue & white.  I’ve done another 4 squares since then – so have a total of ten.  And already decided what yarn to knit next: a “Bérgère” Tweedine which is ever so soft.

x10

a Thursday “this, that & the other”

A hotch potch of subjects and photos today. First up – free samples. I went for a search on google the other day to see if there were any free fabric samples for the asking. Quite a few on-line stores allow you to ask for samples – for example Pelenna Patchworks.  For those who live in the UK, samples will be sent for free, but there’s a £3.60 postal charge to France so that’s not really an option for me, unless I’m placing an order for other items (which, at the moment, I’m not) and samples are the tiny 2″ x 1.5″ ones.

I came across another on-line shop in the UK: Dïtto Fabrics.  They allow you to select 3 fabrics and request samples in exchange for a SSAE.  A very friendly bunch of people, because I phoned to ask about orders to France . . . I had some Royal Mail stamps so I sent off my SSAE and received my samples within 5 working days. They measure approx 3″ x 7″.

ditto samples

The “baby leopard” one is my favourite – might find a good excuse to order some of that later on in the year.  Owls are cute, but the motif is too large for any projects I have in mind . . . and the “ditzy leaf” is disappointingly very light-weight.   Anyway, excellent customer service and communication from the friendly people at Dïtto. I will definitely put their address in my favourites for future shopping.

After showing you my beginnings of finishings yesterday, I sat down last night and began stitching “Autumn Feathers” by Lindashee. I decided it is probably best if I have this heart all ready for sewing . . . that way I’ll be able to sew three wall hangings one after the other . . . and then wait for Spring.

autumn start

It doesn’t look very exciting at the moment, but that’s because I’ve only used 2 colours so far . . . it should be quite a quick stitch though, and perhaps finished by the weekend.

And last photo for today, to show you a few more knitted squares for my blankie project.

pernelle x 2

These are with a “Pernelle” ball of cotton/acrylic yarn.  Yarn is quite irregular with all the white bits, so I’m just knitting in plain Knit. After weighing the first squares, I reckon I should be able to get about 6 out of my 50g ball . . . so will carry on with this yarn until there is none left.

knitted squares x4

I know that *Wisher* is busy crocheting up loads of squares this year, and I’ve decided to do something similar but with knitting (since crocheting is an art I have yet to attempt).  I decided to begin knitting squares because I had some leftover yarn after scarf knitting and decided it would be fun to do a patchwork blankie over the year (or probably two years) BUT I also realised I wouldn’t get very far with my leftovers ^^

Nonetheless, I began work . . . first with a nice irregular yarn in black, with blue and white bits (which I showed you the other week)

squares1

and then I did two more squares with the “Pinguoin” yarn I had left over from eldest son’s scarf.

2 chiné squares

Having trouble getting details to show up. The left one is in “seed” stitch (I think that’s what it’s called) and the right one is in “double moss” stitch.

x4

So 3 weeks into my project and I have four 5” (-ish) squares . . . if I can keep up the pace, I should have 100 for a blankie by early 2016 lol.

I’ve sold a few books and crafty items over the internet these past few weeks, so have been recycling money from sales into more yarn for this project.  Here’s what I have to work on for my next squares

new wools

Two (not quite complete)  50g balls of mohair in slightly different shades of blue, a gorgeous reddish ‘’”tweedine” yarn (2 full 50g balls) and a 50g ball of Pernelle which is a cotton/acryllic mix in white & turquoise – that’s what I’m knitting up at the moment.

I also have another 2 balls of the chiné beige which I shall use for this project. I think it will look good to have certain colours repeated quite a few times but with different stitches. That way no two squares will look exactly the same but there will be a certain coherence with colour. That’s the plan anyway ^^

Right – am now off to finish my tiny samples patchwork project. Weather is already grey and overcast outside, I don’t think I’ll be able to take a decent photo when I’ve finished . . . so you’ll have to wait until tomorrow when I will reveal all.