Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Refuge Blanket 2012

I started my Refuge cot blanket on Sunday. I took inspiration from the existing Simply Knitting pattern book to design my own.



I designed my own letters to crochet inside a 15cm x 15cm blanket square (the required size of the squares).



It's going to be an incredibly bright cot blanket as I'm not the kind of girl to use subtle baby blues and pinks, and besides some mothers will love a bright rainbow blanket.



There is also a pattern for a cool teddy bear which I am itching to knit. The deadline isn't until December 1st later this year so you have plenty of time to organise to knit or crochet a blanket. If you like to crochet more than knit when it comes to things like blankets like I do you could always get a blanket book out of the library and seek inspiration that way. Or you could crochet the pattern in the pattern book on the Simply Knitting blog like I did last year. All you have to do is make sure the square is 15cm x 15cm.

You can find the pattern book and all the details here.

Have fun!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Embroidery Hoop Art

I had a lovely afternoon on Sunday watching the Queen's tennis final (before it came to an abrupt end) and doing some unusual stitching.


I love embroidery hoop art and wanted to see if I could create something simple but effective with my new water soluble pen.

My first attempt to stitch without aida happened in September 2008 but since then I've been so obsessed with knitting and crochet it's kind of been neglected.

I'm planning to do a range of these with different words stitched onto the fabric with basic backstitch. The 'freedom' hoop featured here is in my etsy shop and folksy shop. More will be added as and when I create them.

I love the fabric I'm using for these mini projects - I bought a lot of plain fabric a few years ago which had been put in a cupboard and forgotten about so I'm itching to stitch words onto it!



This is the arm of Big Ted who will look after the hoop until its sale : )

Friday, 15 June 2012

Book Review: The Stitching Book

The Stitching Book by Search Press is an unusual guide to traditional and historical stitching techniques which you may not have heard of. It's an exhaustive encylopedia of surface stitching techniques.



I loved reading through this book. The introductions to the history of each technique is fascinating. Blackwork is thought to have been brought to England by Moors and Arabs in the thirteenth century with soliders returning from the Crusades in the Holy Lands.



Later on the Spanish Princess, Katharine of Aragon, brought the technique to England in 1501, and after marrying Henry VIII, heavily influenced the English court with her passion for embroidery. I felt excited after reading this when I stitched one of the patterns from the book above.



The book covers eight major sewing techniques. Silk shading, Crewel Embroidery, Mountmellick, Stumpwork, Hardanger, Blackwork, Drawn Thread Embroidery and Goldwork



Within each section there is advice on materials, fabric, the basics and then some patterns to get you going.



The step-by-step instructions are very slow and clear. It's so accessible and gives you that itch to stitch.



Personally I cling to aida and cross stitch when I sew by hand as if for safety! So this book was a breath of fresh air which may shake my addiction to aida. I'm attracted to satin stitch and padded satin stitch in particular looks very clever.



Satin stitch means drawing an outline and filling it in with lots of long stitches from edge to edge. It looks easy but I have never tried it.



The basic advice in here means any questions you have had like how to frame or transferring a design onto the fabric is outlined in full.



This book is well worth the money and you will refer to it time and time again.

The Stitching Book is out now and available to buy from Search Press.

Thanks to Search Press for sending me this book to review.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Book Review: Granny Squares by Barbara Wilder et al

'Granny Squares: Over 25 creative ways to crochet the classic pattern' by Barbara Wilder, Melanie Sturm and Stephanie Gohr is a wonderful guide to the traditional crocheted granny square.



There are 23 granny squares at the start of the book which vary widely in the stitches they use. There are over 25 projects in the book which then use a granny square from the front of the book in a project.



There is a project for four bags or pouches (mobile phone, colourful bag and a spectacle case), six 'covers' (wall hangings, covers for coat hanger rails), five clothing projects (hat, slippers and wrist warmers), five 'kitchen' projects (mug cosy, fruit basket), and eight projects for the bedroom such as blankets and cushions.



It was published last year in Germany but has now been translated into English by Search Press. I think in all honesty there are only a couple of projects I wouldn't make.



I love this bag and am itching to put it on my project list as a knitting bag!



What's so wonderful about the granny square is that it's so versatile. It speaks a universal language so a German book is much the same as an English book.



There are four pages of instructions at the back of the book if you are new to crochet. There was no problem at all with the pattern translation.



This is a great introduction to granny squares if you are new to them or a fantastic addition to your collection if you already have a few books on them. It's a great 'first crochet book' to buy as the granny square practices a lot of stitches and makes you learn magic ring!



'Granny Squares' has just been released and is available to buy here.

Thanks to Search Press for sending me this book to review.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Hang the bunting up!

It's the Jubilee Bank Holiday Weekend here in the UK and to celebrate I'm offering a 25% discount in my etsy shop until midnight GMT on Tuesday 5th June.

It's easy to save - just use the code SCREAMINGQUEEN when prompted at the checkout after choosing which items you want to buy.

Here are some of the items you could be saving 25% on:

Pick your own felted balls in a wide range of colours:


My small lower case felt alphabet letters:


My bag of felting wool - ideal for those new to the craft of felting:


My large lower case felt alphabet letters:


My light pink felt flower brooch:


Happy shopping : )
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