June 2016 Update

I haven’t really been stitching this month. To tell you the truth, I’ve spent almost every waking moment playing a game called Overwatch, it’s probably the most fun I’ve had playing games online with my friends for years.

I did manage to complete most of a Christmas ornament:

Christmas heart oranment

WP_20160618_20_55_00_Pro

WP_20160618_20_54_22_Pro

Unlike the Teddy and the Tree, I haven’t included the border on this one. I think it looks fine without it and that the border doesn’t really ‘go’ with the picture, but I’m having doubts now that maybe I’m just being lazy!

What do you think? Should it have the border added or not? Should I do a different kind of border? I was thinking maybe a few star shaped sequins with the gold beads to hold them in place, perhaps. I think this one will end up as a card rather than a hanging ornament, as I have a specific recipient in mind.

Please lend me your crafting wisdom!

Advertisements

A Tapestry and A Teddy

I never did find a frame I liked for the tapestry kit I did last month, so I’m just going to post it here bare!

I haven’t done any tapestry since primary school, so this was a fun little project. My Nana has cleared out a ton of her old cover kit stash and turned it over to me, and I loved this little countryside scene so I stitched it up immediately. Obviously it’s much quicker to stitch than cross stitch or embroidery, but the quality of the wool was pretty poor so I didn’t totally love making it up. I’ll go have a trawl around some charity shops later this weekend to see if I can chance upon a correctly sized frame for it, I would like to give it back to my Nana to go on the wall of her new bedroom.

I’ve also been working on the third of six Beaded Elegance Christmas ornaments, which is this cute little teddy bear:

Christmas Teddy WIP

He needs some backstitch, couching and beading but I want to get him finished this weekend too. I’m not 100% sure yet if I want to make him up as another ornament or if I think he might be better as a card for a young neice – but then I’ll have an odd number of ornaments!

Braiding – First Attempt!

I’ve just finished the second ornament from the Dimensions ‘Beaded Elegance’ kit, and I was looking for a slightly more professional looking finish than my last one (the Snowman, here). While hunting the internet for inspiration, I found Pinwheel Ponders, a blog almost entirely dedicated to a huge variety of cross stitched Christmas ornaments in dozens of shapes and finishes, with incredibly detailed instructions and helpful pictures for every step.

I followed  Ms. Pinwheel’s instructions to the letter, and was really pleased with how much better this ornament looks than my last one!

Finished Christmas Tree- front

Finished Christmas Tree (2)

Look at those sharp corners! Ms. Pinwheel’s instructions truly are foolproof if even someone as inexperienced as I managed to achieve these results! I even had a go at making my own braid to go around the edge and hide the seam, which was a bit of a trial-and-error sort of affair in terms of making enough braid to go all around. I tried triple, then quadruple the necessary length and still came up a little short. Unfortunately, by my third try I had run out of thread so I had to make do with what was left, and do my best to hide the joins with the big white ribbon loop.

Overall, I’m really proud of myself and I know what to improve for next time – there are four more ornaments to go and by the last one, I hope to be an expert! Many thanks to Ms. Pinwheel and her wonderful blog too!

Now, for a change, I’m going back to work on my Pokemon project for a bit – I’m really in the mood to get stuck back into something big and challenging for a while.

Happy stitching everyone!

Tiny Greek Islands!

My islands are finished and mounted onto a canvas, placed on a tiny easel – Greek Islands Finished

I had used a different count of evenweave to that suggested in the pattern, so the design actually turned out quite a bit smaller than the model. I was lucky enough to find a canvas that was almost the right size, so I stretched and mounted it on the ready-made canvas rather than making a new one especially for it. I’ve got too much to do leading up to Christmas to be starting any woodworking!

Anyway, I love looking at the colours in this, it’s like a little ray of sunshine in the middle of Winter. I hope it reminds the recipient of our lovely holidays together in Santorini.

I thought I would also show you how I set up new projects from charts. Kits are easy – everything is there for you already! Charts require a bit of preparation though, and some sort of organisation too. I know everyone has their own methods, some of which I’ve tried in the past, and I’ve evolved my own over time.
New project setup

I like to use a binder to keep all my work together, and have a separate plastic wallet for each page of the chart and key, and one for the work itself. These are great for preventing wrinkles or dirt getting on to my charts or embroidery. I use cigarette card holders for the threads I need also, and I tend to arrange them in the order I’m likely to need them. If I lay them all out together like this, I find it easier to see which colours go well together and which I want to replace before I actually start stitching. These card holders are the perfect size for paper bobbins and full skeins alike, I bought an absolute ton of them and I use them so often.

This way, my project materials are all together, with a pouch in the front of the binder for some small scissors, spare needles, highlighter and a needle threader. I can just grab the whole binder and stick it in my bag to take it wherever I happen to be going, and I know everything I need will be there. No worries!

Lastly, as I’ve now finished this project, the original chart (not a photocopy or scan) is now up for grabs. If you want to stitch this yourself, I’d be happy to post the chart and key on to anywhere in the world, first response will get it, just leave a comment and I’ll get in touch. It’s got a few numbers scribbled on it next to the key, but there are no marks on the chart at all.

Snowman Christmas Ornament

This week, I finished my first Christmas ornament of the year – late by a stitcher’s standard, but early for the rest of the world! Here’s Mr. Snowman

Snowman Ornament  Front

Snowman Ornament Front

My lazy daisy stitch hasn’t been used since, I think, Primary school – so I’m a bit out of practice with that and it looks quite messy. Other than that, I just love everything about this design – the gold couching for his tartan scarf, the shading on his face and the little stripes on his vest are all details that I think really make this guy something a bit special. I can’t wait to stitch the next five in the series!

Finished Snowman Ornament Detail

Finished Snowman Ornament Detail

And just look at this adorable fabric I found for the back of the ornament!

Snowman Ornament Back

Snowman Ornament Back

Festive owls! I am utterly in love with this fabric, it’s such a shame I only ordered a bag of off-cuts because now I want Christmas owls on EVERYTHING. Mr. Snowman and his owls will be taking pride of place on the tree in a few months time, and hopefully he will have a few matching pals to join him by then.

In a bizarre change of pace, I’ll next be working on a Summer vacation scene. In October. Yes, I know that’s ridiculous. I’ll show you next week, and hopefully there will be an explanation for this unseasonable nonsense!

Floral Earring Keeper, or, More Things to Make with Cover Kits

After last week’s foray into Christmassy, wintertime things, I’ve returned to the land of bright, Summery florals, just in time for the English weather to perk up once again and bring a last blast of warmth before Autumn sets in.

I had a little root through the old cover kit stash to find something small enough to take to work and discovered a lovely padded ornament kit. I duly stitched it up and even managed to stick to the instructions this time, but when it came to making up the ornament, I just couldn’t do it as I was told! So, instead of a hanging ornament, I now have an earring keeper:
Earring keeper front

I added some sequins and beads, because everything has to be as shiny as possible or I am dissatisfied. I also did NOT add enough wadding – as you can see, it’s not the most circular circle in the world! It doesn’t help that my sewing machine is AWOL being borrowed by a relative, so I stitched it together quite hurriedly by hand, but with the pretty backing fabric and the shiny sequins, I’m pleased with it nevertheless 😀 Now it can hang on an arm of my jewelry tree and keep all my earrings in nice neat pairs for me!
Earring keeper Side

April 2015 – Mini Projects

I have had such a busy April – spring cleaning, attending concerts, new clients at work and effectively re-learning to drive – that I have had hardly any time to stitch or craft for myself at all. I have experimented in the kitchen a little with some new recipes, and had equal parts success and catastrophic failure (don’t mention the rock solid flapjacks, for example), but very little to show for myself on the stitching front.

I’ve been stitching cover kits and tiny projects in my little gaps of free time though, as well as plodding on with my Magnum Opus, which will be ready for an update soon I think. Here’s a few of the cards I’ve made up for birthdays and so on in May (click for bigger)

The apples card will be for Father’s Day, as it reminds me of the smell of my Grandad’s house – he used to make his own cider in the garage, and had an apple tree in the back garden which I would often climb as a child. My Nan still makes delicious cinnamon crumbles from those apples!

I’ve gone a bit overboard with ribbons and bows and thrown on a few sequins for good measure, as there is no such thing as too much sparkle on a card…Probably.