Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Sunday, 27 July 2008

It's too darned hot!

It's been too hot to do anything but try and stay cool in the South-West of England, so knitting and sewing sadly has had to be packed away for a few days. 100% wool is supposed to be cooler to knit with but I disagree. So last night I opend up my stash of cards and had a bit of a play...

This is the cat card I was making in one of previous posts. It's cross stitched with metallic thread on black aida. I thought it was going swimmingly until I finished off and the thread wouldn't stay put on the reverse side. So I dug out my masking tape, pulled the ends tight and stuck them! This also gave me a handy paper base for the sticky fixers to go on to glue them to the card.

This is part of my stash of silver stickers...once I bought one I wanted to own the whole collection...took me back to collecting stickers for sticker books as a child.

These cards are decoupage - layering ready printed bits of images until they are 3D on the card...each one took about 10 minutes and I could easily make a profit of £1 for each card.

I'm off to sit out of the sun and eat some ice cold salad from the fridge...

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Green Pins

This months issue of Simply Knitting Magazine carries a free gift of knitting clips. At first I didn't know what they were but have bought the mag for the last couple of months and am finding it very helpful so bought it anyway.

They are used for holding two pieces of knitting to sew together. This was great for me as I hate sewing my blanket together, which explains why only half the many squares I've knitted so far have been sewn up. Towards the end I was so bored I started rushing the job and ended up with two or three squares sewn together so badly they lift in the middle and look awful when you turn the blanket over. I also didn't know whether to use pins or not so just held the pieces together and hoped for the best. There may be a lot of unpicking going on before I resume the project with these handy clips...

As you can see I tried them out on my squares and they were perfect. They'll really help to keep the blanket flat and neat as I sew it all together...from now until December probably!

Saturday, 19 July 2008

(Not quite but nearly) barefoot in the park

Strange how having a camera in your handbag can make going for a walk through the park such an enriching experience. I normally walk through and don't notice the flowers, but today every flower was carefully inspected to see if it would make a good photo, gawped at for a while to assess which angle to approach it from and photographed in all its splendour.

The sun was so bright I couldn't see how these had worked out properly but when I just transferred them to my computer I was most impressed! More practice needed but boy will I have fun practicing! There are so many settings on my camera I need to read through the extended instructions to take better photos I think...but not bad for my first foray into outside photography...

Sunday, 13 July 2008

A bit of a mish mash (miaow!)

After finishing my scarf whilst watching the Wimbledon final last sunday I think I've had enough knitting for a couple of weeks! That was quite a marathon knit-fest! So in the last week in the evenings to wind down from work I've been cross stitching till my fingers ache...

The pictures in this post are of projects not quite finished yet so you will probably see them again in all their finished glory soon. This is why I've only snapped a glimpse of the material. I got the idea for the above from the DMC website.* The cats were in the perfect size for a card. I was orginally going to stitch them in black thread on white aida as recommended, but I saw some black material reduced in my local sewing shop and decided to use some glittery thread I had in. I went a bit mad on metallics a couple of years ago and bought loads.

This was another DMC free pattern that I downloaded and printed from their fab website. I'm very excited about this one and may even give it as a present for christmas or a birthday. In which case you may not see it again in my blog until after it has been sent - although I don't think the people in question will have time to read a sewing blog!

This one came out of my cross stich book that I found in the charity shop - I thought it would make a nice card for a relative. It's not really a card that I would like but then I am 27 and sometimes you have to stitch something that isn't quite to your taste when making cards and presents!

*If you join the DMC club for free you get loads of free patterns which would cost you a few quid each in the shops. I would say about 30% of them are to my taste which is not bad going saying they are free. Of course DMC want you to own their patterns so you'll go out and spend on their thread!

Sunday, 6 July 2008

My first knit!

I've actually finished my scarf this weekend. It took 2 and a half skeins of sirdar's Juniper wool which I got in the sale at my local knitting shop. The overall price of the materials was £7.90. I think you would certainly pay more than that for a scarf this nice in the shops. I have one a similar colour and happily paid about £18 for it I think...

This was my very first project and I made two false starts. First of all I started knitting it on 7mm needles with only a row of 10 stitches! The result was awful and I found the wool so hard to knit with (if you're a beginner don't start with this wool) as it has three strands of wool loosely wrapped together with a thin line of cotton. I knitted this for quite a few rows until I finally admitted defeat and unravelled it.

I then cast on 20 stitches on 9mm needles and found the effect much more suitable for a scarf! It's all stitched in garter stitch although it looks more special due to the wool. I think I'm going to stick with scarves for a while as my foray into baby hats isn't going so well. I found a tip in one of my books quite helpful and it's so true of this project...if you are going to stick with garter stitch make sure you pick a really funky wool to knit with so it makes up for the boring stitch!

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Organising my DMC stash

I've taken some time out from sewing to organise my threads and materials. As you can see they look very neat and professional now, and are now in some little drawers I bought next to the sofa where I mostly sit to craft. They cost me £1 for a set of 3 drawers from a pound shop and they've come in so handy for little items that I want quickly such as needles, knitting row counters, pincushions and ball bands from balls of wool (for the washing instructions). Also in there are coloured pencils for when I think of an idea for a pattern and random stuff such as buttons.

My knitting stash has to be organised too, although as a beginner I'm still deciding how to store my ever-growing selection of knitting needles - perhaps a bag or wall hanging.

As you can see from the picture below, they look a lot better now I've spent a few hours organising them. (Blurry picture was intentional...honest. It's to make you see just how messy they were! Adobe Photoshop will make an appearance on my laptop soon! Not sure if it will steady my camera though!)

The list of DMC threads run to about 600 I think so I'm not sure if I'll ever own them all. I have less than I thought, at around 60 or 70, so I own 10% of the entire selection! Not bad! One tip I have if you have DMC threads still in their skein packets and you want to organise them with stickers and cardboard holders like me is to hang the skein in mid-air which helps it unravel...if you have it in your lap it will get knotted. As an experienced cross stitcher by the way, when you get a knot in the thread just go with it and cut it out. If the knot is close to the fabric leaving you not much thread left just unpick the last few stitches then finish off. I've wasted many minutes trying to undo knots and it just isn't worth it. As the thread is composed of 6 strands it just gets in such a mess you're better off admitting defeat. I lost a good 50 cm of thread today but that's life...

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Girl on a Swing

I realised with horror today that I hadn't posted here for nearly a week, so I thought I would show you why. I have about three cross stitch projects on the go, in different sizes and variations. This one above is quite large (for me). I find the length of time you are required to look at the same picture while you stitch it (I'm a slow and careful stitcher) to be sometimes really rather dull! I think that's why I'm lately so drawn towards stitched cards...they suit me very soon as I'm bored with the picture it's done and I can finish the card!

Anyway, the picture above is from the 'All Our Yesterdays' range by Faye Whittaker. I would say this is the cross stitch range I've bought most of lately. I have another one upstairs somewhere of two children in a poppy field with a lighthouse in the background waiting to be stitched...I just think they're so wistful and cute!

I'm also working on a couple of cards which should be finished this space!
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