Sunday, 31 August 2008

UFO updates

As promised here are the photo updates on the UFO's. The above picture shows where I have come across to the left of the canvas and started on the main water section. I've also filled in a lot of the "missing" stitches in this section on the right. The dark brown stitching was also done this week. I think this week I'll be concentrating on the water and trying to bring it up to the same level as the rocks.
With the cross stitch, it has been green all the way. Several shades of green in fact. The stem has grown upwards, the right leaf is almost complete and a new leaf has started on the left. This was quite hard to get going again because of the closeness of the colours, but I am beginning to get into this now. It may even become a work in progress if I can get to finish some of these jumpers finished and off the needles. Talking of jumpers, I am happy to say that I completed knitting the back of D's jumper. He was quite pleased when he came home and saw what I had done.
I've even gone quite a way on the first sleeve too. I may even manage to complete this one this week. Weyhey!

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Retail Therapy and Knitting

Retail Therapy always makes you feel better, so I have spent some money, but will have to wait to see the benefits. I have ordered three lots of wool. This is so I can finish the three jumpers and cardigans I have stuck on needles because I ran out of yarn. I think it will make me feel better being actually able to finish a few of these projects. It has been rather frustrating having nothing to show for my time!

I am trying to work out if it is the charts or if age is beginning to have it's effects. I've had to order a magnifying glass as it is getting very difficult to distinguish the half stitch symbols on some of these charts. I suppose it happens to the best of us and I expect the boys will have a field day when they find out. Mums are not allowed to get old!

Oh, and I had to buy some linen to redo my blackwork sampler. Yes, I've made a booboo. When I started, I had the fabric ready to stitch right way round. Then something in my brain told me to turn the fabric around so the selvedge was at the side as it felt neater. All well and good, but it meant that it was now the wrong way round. The full design will not fit that way. At least it is only 3 days stitching I have to redo. I will probably use what I have already stitched for cards, so not all is lost.

I have done something right today though. I have finished the front of D's jumper, even though the rugby Challenge Cup Final did get a bit distracting. I like the 2x2 rib especially as D is quite narrow around the hips. It just seems to suit him better. I have also managed to knit quite a bit of the back. If I can finish knitting the back tomorrow, I'll be quite pleased.

This week I have stuck to my resolution of doing one thread a day on the pansy cross stitch and on the tapestry. Tomorrow I will post update photos.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Lap Quilt

What a couple of days. What with trips to doctors and emotional mother moments, I don't seem to have got very far. I felt so drained yesterday evening, I just sat and watched television. Now, that doesn't happen very often, but I just didn't have the motivation to do anything.

Yesterday wasn't a total waste, and I was very pleased to get the lap quilt put together. These are all the blocks that I have been doing with TAST. Hopefully, I will get you a better picture when the boys get home and they can hold it up for me.

For the back of the quilt, I chose a very pale green fabric with little white flower print. I am pleased to say I have some left over. It is so pretty, I will be happy to use it for something else.

I have been sat doing the hemming today, but guess what? I have run out of thread after I got three quarters of the way round. Another thing to add to the list when I next go to town.
I am quite pleased with this as a first attempt, but I know it is not perfect, and I have a list of things to adjust for the next one. I even enjoyed putting it together. There is something about quilting and what it does to the fabric that is quite satisfying. Also, hemming the quilts is going to be an ideal occupation for the winter, one way to keep warm.

I have managed to knit a couple more inches to D's jumper. The pattern is now more obvious, so I will try and remember to take a photo to show you next time.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Too Tired

I got woken up early hours this morning by a noise. Still haven't worked out what it was, but once I was awake I couldn't get back to sleep. This meant that when I sat down to stitch, my eyes didn't want to stay open. All I managed was part of this line of stitching. Then I had to have a nap.
Does mean this evening, I'll do some knitting. Don't have to concentrate on that.
The postman was kind to me today. The fabric arrived to finish the quilt, so guess what I will be doing tomorrow?

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Sampler Espanol-Part 2

This is part two of the Sampler Espanol. It's almost half completed. I may have got a bit further if I hadn't got the placement of one of the patterns wrong by one thread! Unpicking seems to take forever.

Thank you for all the compliments about this piece. Blackwork isn't difficult to do, but I don't think I would want to do copious amounts of it. This piece isn't so bad as there are so many varieties of patterns, though stitching over one thread does take a long time. I love the overall look of blackwork, so it will be worth it in the end.

To give my hands a break I did get some knitting done. At the moment, it is difficult to see the pattern on this jumper, but it will show up as I get further along.

I am using quite an old pattern. I think I have knitted one of these before. It is Sirdar pattern 4004. I am doing the round neck sweater. I am using James C Brett Stonewash double knitting, shade SW1 as chosen by D. It is a wool acrylic mix.

The colour doesn't really show up well on here. I'll try and get a photo in daylight and see if it shows up better, but it knits up with a tweedy effect which I like.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Part 1 Complete

It's taken a bit longer than I hoped, but part one of the Sampler Espanol is now done. I'm going to wait until tomorrow to start part two.
I am going to spend a couple of hours doing D's jumper this evening. I have thumb ache from holding the embroidery frame. My hands are in need of different exercise.
In an effort to get some UFO's finished, I have decided to do one length of thread or yarn a day on the tapestry and the cross stitch. I'll post progress pictures at the weekend. I can't really get into the tapestry at the moment so at least by doing this, it will be slowly moving to completion.
Now for a peaceful evening.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Blackwork SAL-Stitchers Heaven

I think the knitting gods have it in for me at the moment. As I was waiting for supplies for D's jumper, I thought I would finish mine. It wouldn't have taken too long as it was such a quick knit. Seemed good in practice until I ran out of wool! So frustrating as I usually end up using less than the recommended amount stated on the pattern.

Never mind, it's not as if I am left with nothing to do.

Today was the start of a week long blackwork SAL. I eventually decided to do Sampler Espanol found here- Quite a few on Stitcher's Heaven are doing this and I thought it would be fun to join in. Just seemed appropriate too, as D starts Spanish lessons the first week of September.

I didn't intend to dress to be coordinated with my stitching, but that is what happened. Skirt and blouse matched the thread I was using.

I am stitching on a pale grey 28 count linen, over one stitch. I am using one strand of Anchor 873 for the stitching.

This is what I have managed to stitch today. I was hoping to have completed the whole of part one today, but it wasn't to be. I certainly know that this project is going to take longer than a week to stitch. I am almost three quarters the way through part one.

I haven't done much blackwork before, but I do like to see the variety of the stitches you can achieve. It's great not having to be restricted to just using black thread.

I have a couple of blackwork projects here to do as well, one is to be started, the other is an UFO, so I may just be inspired to get them finished too.

Last night, I did start D's other jumper, managed to knit a few rows of rib before a power cut put paid to anything practical. I will show you details when I have got a bit more to show.


I've been privileged to have been nominated for a couple of awards this week.

The rules of the award are:
1. The winner can put the logo on her blog.
2. Link the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Put links of those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs of those you’ve nominated.
The blogs I nominate for this are:
There are so many blogs out there that I visit daily and I enjoy. Very hard to to get down to just 7.
The other is from Patty
I would like to pass this one to:
I really appreciate everyone that comes to visit and leave a comment. Some have been a real encouragement to me and one especially, though she doesn't know it yet, has in a little way been a "mother" to me. She has given me the little boost of confidence you sometimes need, to know that you are doing something right.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Ups and Downs

It's been a frustrating couple of days as far as stitching and knitting supplies go.

I went to get another ball of wool to finish D's jumper to find they had sold out and weren't going to get any more. I ended up buying 5 more balls of a different colour and have to start knitting for D from scratch.

I did, however, find somewhere on the internet where I can get some more, but I have to buy a full pack. Fortunately J likes the wool so is happy to have a jumper knitted from it, so not all bad. Just means my knitting list has got longer.

I was able to get some batting for the lap quilt. I am just waiting for the fabric that I ordered to arrive. I'm not going to have it for the bank holiday though, so I hope I don't have to wait long into next week for it. I'd like to finish it before the boys come home.

The DMC threads I ordered arrived this morning so that means I can get on with the poppies and the blackwork SAL.

I now have two projects for the blackwork SAL as I like the pattern a lot of the other stitchers at Stitching Heaven are doing. I am using fabric from my stash for it, and got some anchor threads for it yesterday. I'll give more details when I decide which one I am stitching first.

As I couldn't do D's jumper, last night I got on with knitting mine. I have now completed the front and one sleeve. I'm hoping that later on today I can get the second one knitted. Just need to get the boys organised for the party they are going to and ready to go away.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Tuscany and Lakeland

As I couldn't carry on with D's jumper yesterday, it was out with some more wool and a new start. I used the Sirdar Tuscany that I bought for 50p a ball a few weeks ago. This is what it looks like, and I love it.

I am using Sirdar pattern 8611, the round neck sweater. As it is knitted on 8mm needles it knits up really quickly. I was able to complete the back before I went to bed last night.

This evening, I have almost completed the front. I just have to do one side of the neck.

I have also found a tapestry that has been forgotten for a couple of years and have begun working on it.

As the colours painted on the canvas are so close, I will only be able to stitch on this is good natural light. As the heavens opened this afternoon, the good light didn't last very long. All I managed to do was to fill in the brown area. I am looking forward to being able to stitch using a different colour.

Today I ordered the DMC threads for the poppy cross stitch and they will be in the post to me tomorrow, so hopefully, they may arrive before the bank holiday. I also ordered some material to make the lap quilt, but I am not sure when that will arrive. Tomorrow I have to try and find some batting as well as the wool for D's jumper.

Cross Stitch Card Swap

I can now show you the cross stitch card I did for Karen in Australia as it has now arrived safely.
Most of the stitching was cross stitch using one thread, but in some areas on the leaves and petals, it was two threads of two colours. The centre of the sunflowers are french knots. Don't you just love them! I did the french knots after the back stitch detail was added.
Once all the stitching was completed the flower pot button was added. The card was then ready for assembly.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

TAST-Barred and Alternating barred chain stitch

I was doing so well last night with D's jumper. I finished the first sleeve and was ready to get stuck into the second one. I knitted to the end of the ball and then found, I had no more. How frustrating that is! I now have to wait until Friday until I can go and get some more.

This is how far I managed to get done.

I did my last green CQ block today for TAST. The stitch this week is barred chain stitch and alternating barred chain stitch. This one took a bit of practice to get, but once I got the rhythm, it wasn't too bad. Definitely a stitch with plenty of potential.
This is the finished block. The photo is not that clear, sorry. On the close up, it's easier to see the stitches.I used barred chain stitch on one seam, another had two layers of barred chain stitch. The last seam I used alternating chain stitch.
Next week is a free week, so as long as I can get the materials I need in time, I will use next week to make all these blocks into a lap quilt.

Once I had finished stitching this weeks block, I thought I would get my blackwork piece ready for a SAL at the weekend. Just as well I did, as I found that the packet had come open, and I was missing the thread for stitching. I will have to try and find a replacement on Friday.

As I couldn't do that, I then decided to get out the cross stitch UFO out for the SAL on Stitchin Fingers. I was trying to work out where I was on the pattern for about ten minutes, then came a flash of inspiration.

I turned the stitching the other way up, and it was so obvious. I had been wondering how I could have got it so wrong.

Having sorted that out, I sat down to stitch only to find I didn't have the correct threads. This may have explained how it became an UFO in the first place. However, I am determined to remedy the situation later this week. So,although,full of good intentions, nothing achieved!

This evening I will start another knitting project. It will be a jumper for me. Details will follow tomorrow.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008


While I was looking through my fabric for the wall hanging, we came across a coaster kit. It seemed perfect for the butterfly embroidery, and it is so easy to put together.

I used the back of the coaster as a template to cut the fabric to size. Once the fabric was in face down, I was able to push the back in until it clicked into place.
They say small things appeal to small minds, but I love the non slip feet that are supplied with the kit.
I am sure I have some paperweights somewhere, unless I have given them away. Just another way of putting embroidery to good use.
Not sure there will be another finish today. If there is, it will only be the sleeve to D's jumper. I have only one more increase to do on the first sleeve. I hope to be able to have a quiet evening knitting. I am determined to get this one finished by the time the boys return from their dads next weekend. Yes, next week is another child free week for me!

Wall Hanging Complete

It was back to finishing my wall hanging today. First of all I machine stitched the edge bindings in place to the front of the stitching. I then folded them over to the back and pinned them in place ready for handstitching.

Here you can see it all ready for hand sewing.

Although I say it myself, I think my mum would have been proud of my blind hemming stitch. I found it quite relaxing to sit and hand sew. I was able to enjoy the high jump competition on the Olympics too.

After attaching a hanger I was able to hang it up next to the front door on a convenient nail that was already in the wall. The landlord must have had great foresight to know I would find something to hang on it!

It catches me by surprise every time I walk out there. Wonder if the boys will notice when they come home.

I am very pleased with this as my first attempt. The lap quilt I am planning, doesn't seem quite so daunting now.

Next time, I will see if I can conquer mitred corners-I hope!

Monday, 18 August 2008

Summer Embroidery Challenge Update

I am in the process of "finishing" the pieces from the Summer Embroidery Challenge. I have decided to use the three crayon tinted pieces to make a wall hanging. This is a first for me, so I apologise to any of you that see all the things I have done wrong. Any tips will be thankfully received, if not in time for this project, definitely for future projects.

The three embroideries were joined together with fabric between, and then long strips down the sides. This formed a whole piece with the embroideries "framed" with the fabric.

I have used a complimentary fabric on the back, with some lightweight batting between.

As I started this late this evening I am going to wait until tomorrow to finish it. I don't want to ruin it by making mistakes because I am tired.

I like the look of it so far, it has really brought out the colours in the embroidery, and it looks so cheerful and summery. It's a shame the weather outside doesn't match the mood.

After getting a new printer today, I was able to scan my samples and send them off. I have never done this before, so I was so relieved to find out that they were liked and just what the author wanted. It might not be such a nerve wracking experience next time.

Yesterday I finally finished the front on D's jumper, which means there is a small matter of sleeves to be knitted.

I have made a start on the first but still haven't finished the increase rows yet. I'll just have to see how much I can get done before I go to bed tonight.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Satin Stitch Butterfly

It's been two weeks since I had done any embroidery for the hand embroider SAL on Stitchin Fingers. Today I thought I would make up for it and do satin stitch.

I looked out one of my vintage iron-on embroidery transfers and chose a butterfly pattern. Here are all the materials gathered together. Threads used were all DMC stranded cottons-310 for body and antennae. 550,552 and 553 for the outlines and wings.

I used a light blue linen to stich on. Here you can see the transfer on the fabric. I made sure it was only a light transfer so the outline didn't smudge and would easily be hidden by the stitching.I used back stitch for all the outlines and the antennae. The body was stitched using padded satin stitch and then satin stitch for all the wing parts.

I love the smooth feel of satin stitch, it's always been a favourite of mine. I think I will probably use this piece of embroidery to make a card.

Last night I didn't manage to stay awake for the marathon, but I did manage to knit up to the neck shaping on the front of D's jumper. I am going to spend the rest of the afternoon and evening knitting and see if I can complete the front.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Ready for Dispatch

I've had one of those days where I have been on the go all the time and don't seem to have much to show for it. A bit frustrating when in theory, I should have had lots of time for knitting.

I did get to finish knitting the other bootee and get it sewn up this afternoon. The buttons and ribbon have been sewn on and the set is all packed up and ready for the boys to give to their friends.

I also got the buttons sewn on to the jumper and cardigan that I knitted for my friend's little girl. They can be posted this week.Now with these out of the way, I can now concentrate on other things. I have almost knitted up to the neck shaping on D's jumper so by the beginning of the week I may get to start on the sleeves.

I'm off now to see if I can keep awake to watch the marathon. It starts at 12.20am our time and I think I may be struggling. Looks like it may have to be the highlights tomorrow.

Friday, 15 August 2008

A few snatched minutes

It's been a glorious day here today, so most of the day has been spent out with the boys and having a barbecue this evening. All very enjoyable, but it has meant that time for stitching or knitting has been limited.

I have managed to do another needlepoint sample and have started knitting the last bootee.

While we were out today, I got buttons and ribbon which means that the baby set can be completed and on its way to it's new home at the weekend. Also my friend's daughter should get her jumper and cardigan next week.

Tomorrow, I am going to concentrate on sewing on the buttons etc, and then getting some new projects set up ready for starting. Next week I can make some headway on a cross stitch UFO I discovered last week.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Baby Knickers!

I had some fun doing some cross stitch samples today, certainly easier on the thumb than needlepoint. It is still a bit tender after yesterday.

I also managed to clear some stash!!!

No, I haven't stitched it, someone on freecycle was looking for some threads etc for cross stitch. I had a container of anchor threads, some charts and freebies from magazines I was able to give her. It was lovely to be able to send them all to a good home.

This evening, I turned my attention to the baby set. I knit the other mitten and sewed them up and then started on the bootees.

The boys came in whilst I was in the middle of knitting the bootee, so I lifted it up to show them progress. "Baby knickers!" exclaimed J. When I turned the needles round to have a look, I can see what he meant.

It didn't look that way once the knitting was completed and sewn up. Now I just have to hope that I have enough yarn to do the second one.
This is D showing what the baby will look like with the bonnet, bolero and mitts on. He is adding the bootees tomorrow. How unnatural does that look!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Been busy but not a lot to show

Well last night, I wasn't feeling too good so I wanted something to do, but didn't really want to have to think about what I was doing. D's jumper was perfect. I could sit and knit, no complicated pattern to follow, and just relax before going to bed.

Here is where I have got to on the front. I still have at least four inches to knit before the shaping for the neck.

Today has been quite frustrating. My admiration goes out to all those designers out there. I have been working on the samples today. Not sure if it was the rude awakening at four this morning that affected my brain, or it was just me. I lost count of the number of attempts that I stitched and unpicked before I got one that worked for me. Even then, I wasn't that happy with it. After that, something clicked, and once we had had tea, I stitched another one in a tenth of the time. This one was a lot better. I just can't understand how it took that long to work out!

That is just one of the samples done and I have a real pain in the thumb to prove how hard I have worked today. I hope it feels better tomorrow as I have another one to stich. Even more importantly, I hope inspiration strikes before I've had too many attempts.

One good thing has come from this exercise though. I have come across some needlepoint stitches that I would like to use and I may have a go at doing some small samples to use for cards as practice.

I've also come up with n idea for a quilting project that I would like to attempt.

I have a full length, narrow window in the hallway that faces into the porch. I would like to cover it , especially with the winter coming, and thought that a quilted hanging would provide an attractive focal point to the hallway and have a practical use too. I will have to give this some thought over the coming weeks. Maybe it won't be this winter, but one day.....

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

TAST-Cross Stitch

This was my canvas for this week's stitch. I felt as if I knew what I was doing this week as the chosen stitch was cross stitch. A pleasant afternoon was spent having fun with these familiar stitches.
I used tiny cross stitches on this beaded edging to couch it into place.
In this section the print of the fabric was the basis of the large cross stitches. I then used beaded cross stitch on the legs and in the centre.
A couple of the seams I just used a line of cross stitches. On the one above, I used hand dyed varigated silk and on two seams I used narrow ribbon.
I just used simple cross sitches on this section, the printed flowers deciding the positioning of the stitches.
Here I have again used cross stitch for couching this flowered edging.
I also added some larger "beads". These ones are irregular in shape and size and just add a bit of interest.
This is the finished piece.
I think I have one more green block to do next week and then I will make my first ever lap quilt. D has already claimed this for himself.