Sunday, 22 September 2013

Book Review: 1000 Mini Cross Stitch Motifs by Sharon Welch

This is such a cute colourful book full of fun and quirky charm, it's a must-have for cross stitch fans.

It's a book full of cross stitch motifs, but with a cute childish feel to them. There are bunnies and diggers, tractors and teddy bears. If you want to cross stitch for children it would be a perfect book for you, but also if you are into the cute kawaii look you'll love it too.

Motifs are useful to embellish cards and children's blankets. You can get special aida which you sew on to another fabric while you cross stitch which then dissolves in water.

There are twelve introductory pages before the motifs on: stitches, framing, using the charts, sizing your design and preparing the fabric. Sharon has published several books and been in lots of magazines. She knits, sews and felts as well as cross stiches so she is a very adept craft teacher.

Here's my five tips for cross stitch beginners (not necessarily endorsed by Sharon!):

1. Let the thread unwind every five minutes or so by holding the fabric up and letting the needle dangle. It will spin and unwind itself. It reduces knots.

2. Only cut lengths of thread 30 cm long. Any longer and you will get knots.

3. Don't be afraid to shop online - DMC threads at RRP are unsustainable if you want to get into cross stitch seriously and long-term.

4. Never leave the needle in the fabric over a long period of time. Any slight dampness in the air will rot the needle and therefore the fabric. Rust will stain. Don't leave the frame in the fabric either, not even overnight.

5. Try and stick to one colour as long as you can instead of chopping and changing. This gives you a sense of achievement and gives you a good chart to work the next colour against on the fabric.

'1000 Mini Cross Stitch Motifs' by Sharon Welch was released last month and is available from the Search Press website.

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

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Drop Stitch Cowl from Ravelry

I have a finished object to show you*. I have been mooching around a bit more than usual on Ravelry. I've been really enjoying my free time to gaze enviously at other people's expertly knitted jumpers and stash of luxury yarns. I feel like I can find my way round Ravelry much better these days - I know the search procedure a little better and don't stumble across things and wonder how I got there. They've worked hard at making it more idiot-friendly.

So, I found this 'Drop Stitch Cowl' by Abi Gregorio to dig my knitting needles into. I knitted mine from some recycled Big Wool. The wool has now been through three projects - a jumper, a bag and now this cowl. The pattern calls for super bulky weight so mine is a little smaller round my neck. I'm looking forward to it keeping me warm in the coming chilly winter months. I have a lovely hat which I knitted from this shade of Big Wool so now I will be co-ordinated.

What are you making for winter this week?

*My tired clapped-out six year old camera will be upgraded in a couple of months I promise!
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