Thursday, July 30, 2009

A free weekend!

I've just looked in my diary - and I have nothing to do this weekend! Well, okay, I have the usual chores, and probably The Hermit and I will have breakfast or lunch out at some point, but other than that - I'm free!

So - what to do, what to do? Do I try and make a head start on upcoming exchanges? Do I finish off one or more of my current projects, especially as a couple are close to finishing? Do I dig out a UFO? Do I start a totally new project? Decisions, decisions ...

Actually, I don't think I'm going to do any of the above. I went into our local framers this week - to talk about cutting a new mount for an old sampler - and I'm inspired to not only try him out as a framer (I usually frame my own stuff, but I've got a heap of stuff that isn't an 'off the peg' size) but to get some of my own framing and finishing done and displayed.

And now I've said that in public, I have to do it, right?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Three Days to Go to my Blogoversary!

I've raided my stash for a number of items to giveaway, so check back on Saturday for details!

Lack of Comments

Just to let you know - I read blogs in Google Reader, and then click through if I want to leave a comment.

This normally works okay, but at the moment, several blogs crash my browser when I do this. I know that The Twisted Stitcher is one of these, but it's not the only one. So, if I'm not commenting, it's because of this - I'm still reading!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Knitting or Stitching Book Recommendations?

I've got some Amazon vouchers to use from filling in surveys, and I wondered if anyone has any recommendations for books that they'd like to share.

With knitting books - please say if they use charts or write out instructions. Oddly, for someone who stitches, I don't really get on with knitting from charts - at least, not yet!

Knitted Poetry

I'm going to be taking part in the first ever attempt at a gigantic knitted poem, to celebrate the Poetry Society's centenary.

It's going to be fun, and I'm going to be doing it with some other of the SnB group I belong to. And what's really cute is that I'm going to be knitting the letter N!

None of the knitters know what the poem is we're working on. I hope it's not someone awful like Wordsworth or Tennyson!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sheep in the Meadow - Shepherd's Bush


Design: Sheep in the Meadow (freebie)
Designer: Shepherd's Bush
Threads: DMC as charted
Fabric: 28 count evenweave, unknown colour

I stitched this for the Hooked on Exchanges bookmark exchange. It's a design I've stitched before - and lost, the Round Robin I did it for never returned home - and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I didn't have the called for buttons and charm, but found substitutes in my stash.

And here's a picture of the entire exchange I sent to Maria:


Bubby Rabbit


Design: Bubby (bunny variant). Pattern available here.
Designer: Vanessa Carter for Knitty
Yarn: Sirdar/Hayfield Bonus 100% acrylic, double knitting
Needles: 2.5mm

I needed a handmade gift for my niece's birthday, and I needed it quick. I'd made her a stuffy bunny last year and foolishly thought a little knitted something would be quicker. To be fair, this was done in a day, but it was rather more fiddly than I really should have chosen!

I worked it on finer needles than called for, to ensure a nice firm fabric, and that didn't realy help with the 'fiddle factor' but it did mean the stuffing was more even and the finished product firmer.

The yarn is not something I would use for myself, but as it had my niece's two favourite colours in it, it was a hit with her - and she is critical in tha way only assertive three year olds can be!


After being on the site for over a year, I've finally decided to make more use of Ravelry, instead of just using it as a repository for patterns. If anyone would like to friend me, I'm beebarf on there.

Speedy Cable Beret


Design: Speedy Cable Beret - Ravelry link here to free design
Designer: Paulina Chin
Yarn: Rowan Spray (60% wool, 40% acrylic) Colour 005 Mood
Needles: 8mm and 9mm

One of my local charity shops provided the yarn - I think I paid £0.50 for the ball, which is rather less than the RRP of £7.95 - but there was only one ball of this colour. So, what to make?

Well, of course a quick search of Ravelry provided the solution, and I got to work on this pattern. The pattern itself is great, but I think the yarn is really a bit too busy for it, as it doesn't really show up the cables well. And the yarn was *horrible* to work with. For something that was 60% wool, it was like working with a really bad acrylic. For such a "name" yarn, that sells for so much, I was very disappointed. And I think the project looks a bit like a sea anemone, or perhaps a jelly fish, if you take into account my hair acting as tendrils...


If I'm looking a little anxious, I was balancing my (then new) camera on the windowsill in the bathroom to use the self timer. Oh, and I don't have a vicious blemish on my nose - it's a diamond stud :o)


I have another ball of this yarn, in a green colourway. I'm not sure what to do with it - possibly a plain version of this beret, to show off the yarn better. And this beret may yet get ripped back - what do you think?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bookmark Exchange Photos

I'm not going to apologise for the number of posts I've made today, catching up with my blogging, because this really deserves to be seen - I'm going to show you all the wonderful exchange Irmeli sent me all the way from Finland!

Although she has no blog of her own, she's obviously been reading mine, because my bookmark featured not only one of my favourite motifs - a beehive - but was stitched in my favourite colours!


Here is the whole exchange - with the bookmark, a sweet postcard, cute buttons, ribbon, fabric in my favourite colours - and a piece with sheep on!, and chocolate (very yummy!)


Here's a close up of the front - isn't it pretty?


And there's the back, personalised too. The piece is beautifully stitched and finished, and way too precious to go into a book, so it sits in a basket on one of my bookcases, where I can admire it without the risk of losing it!

Thank you so much for this gorgeous exchange!

Drawn Thread Exchange

I'm a member of a small group of people who are very talented and love to exchange some wonderful pieces - I feel very privileged to have been invited to join them. This is the piece I received from Marie - I had to use her photo to show the whole exchange as the package arrived when my camera was out of commission. Marie stitched a portion of the Brown Ranch sampler and mounted it on a photo album - which was just so perfectly co-ordinated, and the finishing and stitching is just perfect. You can see a bigger picture below - now I have a functioning camera!

I will use this album for treasured family snaps - most likely of my niece - and one day, I hope a very long time in the future, I will pass this on to her as an heirloom. She already loves crafts so would treasure this as much as I do already.

This is one of the pictures that I will print and add to the album - The Tot on her third birthday. She adores cake - especially chocolate cake - but isn't allowed it very often. I love the look of concentration on her face - she's very expressive!


Cable Fingerless Mitts



Design: Cable Fingerless Mitts
Designer: Me! It's a free pattern too...
Yarn: James C Brett Marble Chunky
Needles: 4.5mm

This third pair of fingerless mitts was made for the Hermit, to go with his stupendously long scarf. This was the last incarnation of the pattern, and the one I was most happy with, so I wrote it up and offered it as a freebie here.

Double Cable Mitts


Design: Double Cable Mitts
Designer: based on a pattern found on Ravelry, but I amended it
Yarn: James C Brett Marble Chunky
Needles: 4.5mm (I think)

I knitted these mitts as a gift for my B-i-L at Christmas - this was one of three pairs knitted as a variation on a theme for the men in my life. I've raved about Marble Chunky before and although time has shown it has acrylic's tendency to pill a little, I like it for quick, cheap to make knits that don't look cheap and nasty. Yes, okay, I admit - I'm a yarn snob. Horrible shiny acrylic just doesn't do it for me, I don't think it ever did, but I am getting worse - sucked into the natural fibres section ...

Trick or Treat - Lizzie*Kate


Design: Trick or Treat from the Hallowe'en Sampler Leaflet
Designer: Lizzie*Kate
Threads: DMC as charted
Fabric: 28 count evenweave

Another 2008 finish. It's still waiting to be made up into something, but I should be able to get it made up this autumn - I have a lot of suitable backing fabrics in my stash, given my fondness for autumnal colours! The colours in this photo don't really show up the background fabric very well, it's a bit more yellow. It's rather an odd fabric, I don't know where I acquired it from - possibly a trade or an exchange - as it's rougher than normal evenweave. I like it though - it gives the piece a rustic homespun appearance.

Winter - Trail Creek Farm


Design: Winter (freebie available here)
Designer: Trail Creek Farm
Threads: DMC, own choice
Fabric: 28 count linen oddment

I stitched this in 2008 and haven't blogged about it. I know I made it for the HoE Christmas Exchange, and then realised that as my partner was in the southern hemisphere, where it was summer, it perhaps wasn't appropriate!

I will be making this up into a scissor fob, hopefully for this winter!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Holly Berry Sampler - Bent Creek


Design: Holly Berry Sampler
Designer: Bent Creek
Threads: DMC conversion with red substituted
Fabric: 28 count evenweave, unknown colour

This is the Holly Berry Sampler without the berries - I have buttons to add, b ut I appear to have misplaced them!

This stitched up pretty quickly and completes the set of three - I've already stitched Plum Berry Sampler and Pumpkin Flower Sampler.

So - two posts, two Christmas trees! :o)

O Christmas Tree - Prairie Schooler


Design: O Christmas Tree from the out of print Christmas Samplers chart
Designer: Prairie Schooler
Threads: DMC as charted
Fabric: 28 count evenweave, unknown colour

I finished this back in January, but it looks like I didn't blog about it!

This had been a UFO for a couple of years, but when I set to, it didn't actually take a huge amount of time to finish - or at least, it didn't feel like that, because like most Prairie Schooler designs, it was a joy to stitch.

The Hermit is not a huge Christmas fan, and doesn't like ornaments and such, but I'm afraid I'm just going to have to ignore him and get this framed and displayed prominently this Christmas!


As we don't have room for our own Christmas tree in our flat, I think this is a good substitute, and it can preside over the baskets of ornaments...


Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Why I Don't Have Time to Stitch...

I passed my work this academic year with flying colours*

Has the stress and struggle been worth it? - actually, yes. I feel that I'm just getting into my stride now, and I'm more confident about the work. I learned a lot this past year, not just about theory and academic stuff, but about myself. Yes, it does take over my life to a large extent, but at least I'm seeing results now.

So, excuse me while I have a little brag, I'm pretty pleased ...

*If I keep this up for another three years, I could get a First. For US readers, it's broadly equivalent to magna/summa cum laude, as far as I can tell.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Happy Canada Day!

There are times when I wonder if the Hermit misses his home country. And then there are conversations like this morning's when I realise he doesn't ...

We were talking about Canada Day, and I asked him - because I'm merely an ignorant colonial oppressor - what the National Anthem of Canada was. Apparently it's something called - strangely enough - O Canada. And then the Hermit started to sing. And managed two lines. This is the man who knows albums-worth of obscure lyrics off by heart....

Happy Canada Day, eh!