Friday, January 30, 2009


Design: Regia Socks Pattern (60 stitch)
Yarn: Regia Jacquard 5269 Las Vegas
Needles: Knitpicks DPN - 2.5 mm

These were the socks I challenged myself to finish for Christmas - and I did it! I grafted the toes on Christmas Eve and wore them on Christmas Day. And then my mum gave me a pack of plain black cotton socks - LOL!

These were the very basic recipe that comes with the yarn, although I make them slightly shorter than the pattern calls for, both in the leg and in the foot. For this pair, I did make the attempt to match the stripes, but that could be because of my perfectionist tendencies ...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lizzie*Kate Exchange Received

And what a lovely piece it is - and so appropriate!


Angela chose the Cross Stitcher in Residence chart - surprisingly, one I didn't have :o) - and finished it as a beautiful pinkeep/scissor pouch - you can see a picture of the reverse on her blog. I especially liked the cheerful ribbon on the top.

Angela also crammed in a heap of flosses, both DMC and Six Strand Sweets as well as a new Lizzie*Kate Snippet chart too - Good things come to those who stitch - and they certainly did today!


Thank you Angela!

PS Loved the Canadian Flag parcel tape - and so did my partner - he was a native of Ontario before moving to the UK!


I have been busy, honest - it's just that a lot of my stitching and knitting has been for gifts, so I haven't been able to share.

Add to that a camera that just doesn't want to hold a charge and adding pictures to this blog has become a bit stressy!

The good news is that my parents are going to buy me a new camera for my birthday next month. The bad news is that I'm getting a 'bigger' present than usual as it's a 'big' birthday - I'm going to be 40! But I digress...


This is how close I am to finishing Prairie Schooler's O Christmas Tree. I really like this - it's seasonal without being over the top, although The Hermit hates it because it mentions the "C" word. Tough - I'm in charge of decorating and come next Christmas, this will hopefully be framed and on display!


This are my current socks in progress - the yarn is something Little Sister gave be for Christmas - it is Regia Wool Cotton and it's lovely and soft to knit. The colourway is a bit too blue for me but it looks very pretty. I might ask my LYS if she is planning to stock this yarn in addition to the other Regia.


This is my mindless knitting project. Underneath all the fluffy bits is a basic garter stitch scarf, like the one I made my Mum for Christmas. In fact, it is the same yarn, just a different colourway. The picture is a bit blurry because the camera is having trouble focussing on the scarf due to the metallic threads. That's my excuse - otherwise I'll have to admit to just being a rubbish picture taker!


And finally, this is my latest shawl project. It is a pattern called Kiri, which can be found here. I'm using a Noro yarn to knit it and I love how it is looking. My Dad asked if I was making a Technicolor Dream Coat... The lace pattern is so easy to knit, too. Unfortunately, I think it's going to be smaller than I thought so will need more pattern repeats ... already it takes me 15 minutes to knit one pattern row, so it might grow very slowly from here on in - but it has only taken me just over a week to get this far.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Paying it Forward

Cathy had a PIF offer on her blog which I signed up for.

Cathy is going to stitch something for me in the next 365 days. In return, I promised to post this on my blog and "pay it forward" to two other stitching bloggers out there. So, if you are interested in receiving something stitched from me within the next 365 days AND you are willing to post this on your blog and "pay it forward" to two other stitching bloggers out there, leave a comment on this post. I will draw two names on Thursday 29 January.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Christmas Exchange

Meg organised the exchange
and this is the lovely ornament I received before Christmas from Amy. Amy enclosed a chart, thread and some Hershey's Kisses in different flavours, which I gave to The Hermit as he misses North American sweeties :o)

Thank you ladies!

Snowman - Lizzie*Kate

Design: Snowman (from Tiny Tidings IV)
Designer: Lizzie*Kate
Threads: DMC
Fabric: 28 count evenweave

The snowman originally had white metallic snowflakes, but I don't think they stood out very well. Rather than frog them. I stitched white beads on top before making the ornament up as per the others.

Noel - Lizzie*Kate

Design: Noel (from Tiny Tidings IV)
Designer: Lizzie*Kate
Threads: DMC
Fabric: 28 count evenweave

Another ornament made up - done in exactly the same way as the snowman, but a few threads different in size.

Sheep - Lizzie*Kate

Design : Sheep (from Tiny Tidings IV)
Designer: Lizzie*Kate
Threads: DMC
Fabric: 28 count evenweave

This sheepie had been hanging around for a while, and finally this Christmas, got beads on the wreath and finished into an ornament. I used the method that The Drawn Thread use for their fobs, as there was a lot of spare fabric round him.

Friday, January 16, 2009


This interview comes courtesy of Stitch Bitch - thank you!

1. The local news media shows up on your doorstep. It turns out your neighbor is a serial killer. You cannot say, "He was so quiet. This is such a shock. This kind of thing doesn't happen here." What do you say? (You can choose the neighbor.)

" Really? I did wonder why she was always digging around in the planters. She's 91 you know. I hope to be that active at her age. She always looks so smart too, mascara, lipstick ... er, I think it's lipstick..."

2. What's the greatest invention created in your lifetime?

Although silicon chips pre date me by about ten years, I suppose I ought to say the computing revolution - in particular the world wide web (the pre cursor of which was created in 1980, so it is younger than me!)

3. What was your best job?

I think my last two have both been pretty good, working in the arts. I currently work for a community circus theatre company.

4. Over the next 18 months, we're all likely going to have to cut back. Where will you make these cuts? What luxury will fight to save? Will you actually come to blows? (That last one is a joke.)

Fortunately, we're used to frugal living here, so we probably won't see much difference. The Hermit works in a care home for the elderly, and they always need care. And it seems likely that the project I'm working on will get funding for the next 2 years - hopefully I haven't jinxed that by saying it.

That said, I am watching more carefully what I spend, and trying not to get more 'stuff'. So I'm not buying books (even second hand) and reading through the huge library I already have. And I'm not buying needlework stash until I complete a few more projects.

I think the 'luxury' that I would miss most would be the monthly meetings of my knitting and book groups - being able to order a nice hot chocolate at the meeting place, or having a meal there.

5. Are you a good speller?

Yes. And I always have been, I think because I have always been a reader.

1. If you want to participate, leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.” (And your e-mail address if I don't already have it, please.)
2. I will respond by e-mailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Christmas Ornament Exchange

Design: Joy Needleroll
Designer: Jeannette Douglas Designs

Threads: DMC (own choice)

Fabric: white evenweave

This is the needleroll I sent all the way to New Zealand to Margaret. Margaret does such beautiful work, I was rather nervous about my half of the exchange - I wanted something a little 'more' than just cross stitch and this mini needleroll seemed to fit the bill, as it has a number of other stitches in it.

The design is from a JCS ornament issue (2002?) but if you don't recognise it, it is because I radically changed the colour scheme!

Oh, and I don't think the pictures are playing nice today, so apologies if you have to crick your neck!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Christmas Ornament Exchange - Received

This is the little sweet chap I got from Marjean on the Hooked on Exchanges blog. He's been jollifying one of my smalls baskets (I don't put up a tree) this holiday season, and I think it's appropriate to blog about him today, as we actually had snow - just in time for most offices and schools to re-open after the break! I think the design came from this year's JCS ornament issue.

He came with some snowman chums on the towels and air freshener too - the whole package was very sweet! Thank you Marjean!

French Country IV: Pumpkin - JBW Designs

Design: French Country IV: Pumpkin
Designer: JBW Designs
Threads: can't remember, I think it was a GAST
Fabric: 28 count jobelan, off cut (unlabelled) from stash

I realise I haven't posted a lot of cross stitch this week, and that most of my readers are stitchers, not knitters :o)

This stitched up fairly quickly as I recall, and it was a lot of fun, working out each of the little motifs. There's a lot of almost instant gratification with this project, as each of the motifs is so small and work up so quickly!

I've added the other charts in this series to my wishlist, although I'm trying to stay on the no-stash wagon for a while - at least until my birthday next month!

Christmas Tree Dishcloth

Design: Christmas Tree Dishcloth
Designer: From the Dishcloth Knit-a-long group on Yahoo
Yarn: 100% cotton dishcloth cotton
Needles: 4mm (probably, can't rightly remember)

I knitted this a while ago, and meant for it to be a Christmas gift, but put it in a safe place and promptly forgot about it ... oh well, there's always another year!

It was quite fun to knit, but I'm not sure I'd do another one, I prefer the patterned squares for washcloths.

Cable Scarf for The Hermit

Design: Chunky Cable Scarf
Designer: FWIW, me - see the pattern on an earlier blog post
Yarn: James Brett Marble Chunky, one 200g ball
Needles: 6.5mm

This is (part) of the scarf I knitted for my partner The Hermit for Christmas. I say 'part' because the whole thing is over 9 feet long. I felt that a trifle excessive, but Hermit is 6 foot, and likes a double wrap around his neck - he's used to Canadian winters, you see. I don't think he truly realises that winters never get much colder than they are currently (28 deg F, -2 deg C) despite him being over here for nearly six years!

This was a nice stitch with my favourite cheap chunky yarn, and is very soft. I was going to knit it in a 'good' natural yarn, but The Hermit has sensitive skin and preferred this, plus he really liked the colours. Blue is his favourite colour, and I don't make much in it at all, as it really isn't one mine!

It was very economical to make, the whole thing took one 200g ball, so cost me the grand total of £3.49 - can't do much better than that!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Christmas Cards

I didn't have the time this year to embroider Christmas cards for the family, so I cheated a little. I saw these die cut reindeer at Hobbycraft - one of the few things I saw that inspired me on my recent visit - and had a little fun with glue and stuff. The joggle eyes, felt and beads all came from stash, and these little chaps worked up very quickly - the most time consuming part was tieing the necklace of beads, they just didn't want to knot in the right place!

Triple Cable Mitts

Design: Based on Delovely Mitts, see text for alterations.
Yarn: James Brett Marble Chunky, 100% acrylic
Needles: 4mm DPN

I made these mitts for my Dad for Christmas. In total, I made three pairs of similar sized mitts out of one 200g ball of yarn, and I still have some leftover - excellent value!

The yarn is 100% acrylic, but it is the nicest, softest acrylic I've ever used. It's very popular in my SnB group, as it's so nice to work with, easily available at the independent department store in town, and above all - it's cheap! £3.49 for a massive ball, which means that each of the pair of mitts I made cost less than a quid to make - you can't buy them for that!

I amended the pattern to make the mitts longer in the wrist(12 rows total) and in the hand (5 pattern rows) and also added some rib (2 rows) at the finger ends. The thumb had 5 knit rows and 2 of rib. Even so, they took less than two evenings to make, as they do knit quickly, especially once I got the hang of the cabling.

I knit three left mitts first, then went back and knit all the right mitts in order to save yarn and to make the colour variations as close as possible on each pair. I'm horribly pedantic at times...

Cable Scarf - Free Pattern Here :o)

Design: Cable Scarf
Designer: Various sources gave inspiration for the pattern, below
Yarn: Stylecraft Life Chunky, Cream 2305. 75% Acrylic, 25% Wool
Needles: 5.5mm

This was knitted to go with the mitts below for my sister for Christmas. Fortunately, the length was a nice length as I just used the yarn left over from the mitts with another 100g ball. The yarn is pretty nice for a cheapo - the 25% wool gives it a good texture and loft.

Edited to add: If you feel so inclined, a donation to the MS Trust for this pattern would be appreciated. Pennies will do - and you can make payment via the link in my sidebar or by clicking here.

Chunky Cable Scarf

(edited 25/12/09 to correct typo and to expand instructions a little)

You will need:
  • about 150g of chunky yarn, depending how long you want the scarf - I've used the James Brett Marble Chunky and Stylecraft Chunky with good results. One full 200g ball of Marble Chunky made an over 9ft long scarf...
  • a pair of knitting needles. Tension isn't important - I've used 5.5mm and 6.5mm needles for these scarfs, but bear in mind I knit loosely.
  • a cable needle

K = knit
P = purl
C8F = cable 8 forward (slip 4 stitches onto a cable needle and hold in front of work, K4 then K4 from cable needle)

Cast on 24 stitches

K 8 rows

Start pattern:
Row 1: K4, P4, K8, P4, K4
Row 2: K8, P8, K8
Row 3: K4, P4, K8, P4, K4
Row 4: K8, P8, K8
Row 5: K4, P4, K8, P4, K4
Row 6: K8, P8, K8
Row 7: K4, P4, K8, P4, K4
Row 8: K8, P8, K8
Row 9: K4, P4, K8, P4, K4
Row 10: K8, P8, K8
Row 11: K4, P4, C8F, P4, K4
Row 12: K8, P8, K8

Repeat these 12 rows until scarf is at required length, or you're running out of yarn. If you are a bit of a perfectionist, you might want to end on a Row 10 so that the scarf is symmetrical ...

K8 rows

Cast off

Darn in ends. Block as the garter stitch border has a tendency to fold in.

This pattern is offered for personal, non-commercial use only. Items made from this pattern may be sold on a small scale basis such as on Etsy or at craft sales. Sales for charity are positively encouraged! This pattern and the text and photos contained within, may not be copied or reproduced for any purpose other than personal use. Please direct people to this blog rather than forwarding the pattern, thank you! Copyright 2009 N M Wray

Shawly Not?

Okay, when the local department store is selling mohair mix yarn for £0.69 (less an a dollar/euro) per ball, and when friends at your SnB group have made gorgeous shawls out of a similar yarn, well, you've just got to get some yarn and try, haven't you? Especially when it's a dear friend's big 4-0 birthday coming up too and you think a lacey shawl would make a suitable gift for her.

But do you know how many pages of shawl patterns there are on Ravelry? 45, just in the 'free' listing alone! I think I've looked at every single one this morning, downloaded several, and I've finally narrowed it down to a choice between four five three. I haven't really knit lace before, so some of the patterns scared me. And despite being a stitcher, I'm not sure about the whole chart thing, British patterns tend to be spelled out more.

I think I'll try this one first, and if I don't get on, the other one on the site looks simpler, and so does this one. Wish me luck :o)

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Review of the Year Meme

Lee put together this meme, and here are my answers:
  1. Did you discover any new (or new-to-you) designers in 2008? And your favorite was? Thanks to the many bloggers who love her designs, I 'discovered' Little House Needleworks, and The Sampler Girl
  2. Same question - New Fabrics? Not really, as I didn't really buy much fabric this year. However, I did use some 32 count Vintage Zweigart Linen from my stash, and was very taken with it,
  3. Same question - New fibres? Stef Francis. Gorgeous colours and lovely to work with.
  4. Same question - New finishing techniques? Oh yes! Floss Tags, Pinkeeps, Scissor Pouches, Biscornu, Mattress Pincushions... all thanks to other stitchers sharing finishes and tutorials on the web! Especial thanks must go to Vonna, I use her instructions all the time!
  5. Did you have a favorite “theme” in 2008? Probably the usual sheep and bees and samplers although Quaker crept in there too.
  6. Did you try any new gadgets? I don't think so.
  7. Did you discover any new (or new-to-you) LNS in 2008? Unfortunately, no. And My LNS closed at Christmas.
  8. Same question: new or new-to-you online stores? Yes, Thread Bear - I was very impressed by the service and helpfulness.
  9. Same question: new or new-to-you bloggers?
    a) stitching bloggers: Gosh, too many to list. My Google Reader is stuffed- I think I need to cut back a bit, as I'm not having time to comment and interact with everyone.
    b) bloggers in general: Not a huge number, mainly coming through links other people point me to. These tend to be people on LJ (as I have another blog there)
  10. Same question: communities/forums? Hooked on Exchanges was the main one, I guess. Oh, and Ravelry, although I've not really got to grips with it all yet. I've come to the conclusion I'm not hugely keen on forums, they are too time consuming.
  11. Whose blog in 2008 was the most inspirational for keeping you stitching?I'm going to say my own, simply because being accountable to myself and to the other people who read it keeps me focussed! LOL
  12. Whose blog was funniest in 2008? A three way tie, I think, between Stitch Bitch, Yarn Harlot and Crazy Aunt Purl. Although SB probably edges it because it's a two way thing, she pops along to my blog :o)
  13. Which blog’s posts did you “star” the most in your reader in 2008?A work related one that posts funding news. Sad but true.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Review of the Year

I think I had a pretty productive 2008, and I was inspired by so many blogs and stitching/knitting friends, both on-line and in real life.

I learned a whole host of new finishes this year - pinkeeps, biscornu, scissor pockets - which have really helped me whittle down the pile in the draw and to get items ready to display.

The big thing for me was taking knitting back up. I've been able to knit since I was a pre schooler, but I pretty much gave it up several years ago, because it was causing me aches and pains in my fingers and arms. I now believe that those pains were probably related to my MS and not truly caused by my knitting. Thanks to the local SnB group and their encouragement, I finally conquered knitting in the round, and am now addicted to making socks and mitts...

So, the final list of projects, stitching first:

65. Holly Berries Miniature Biscornu - Cherished Stitches
64. Angel of Joy - Bent Creek
63. Wish Upon a Star - Wildflower Stitchery and More
62. Merry Christmas - Elizabeth's Designs
61. Winter - Trail Creek Farm
60. Trick or Treat - Lizzie*Kate
59. HoE Floss Tag 2
58. HoE Floss Tag 1
57. Victorian Pincushion - Brenda Keyes
56. Spooky - SanMan Originals
55. French Country IV: Pumpkin - JBW Designs
54. Floss Tag - Prairie Schooler
53. My Thread is Cut - Prairie Schooler
52. P is for Pincushion - Prairie Schooler
51. Birth Sampler 2 - Helen Phillips
50. Needleroll - Cathy Bussi
49. Quaker Hedgehog - The Workbasket
48. Crewel Vase Pincushion - DMC
47. Fit Words - The Sewing Circle
46. Alphabet Sampler - The Sewing Circle
45. Honeycomb Sampler - Meinick Designs
44. Wooly Zipper - Bent Creek
43. Birth Sampler - Helen Phillips
42. Quaker ABC (version 2) - Gencat
41. Quaker ABC - Gencat
40. Morning Song - Just Nan
39. Needles and Scissors - Victoria Sampler
38. Summer House - Little House Needleworks
37. Bloom - Lizzie*Kate Version 3
36. Bloom - Lizzie*Kate Version 2
35. Celtic B - Mike Vickery
34. Bloom - Lizzie*Kate
33. Buzzing Around Biscornu - Barbara Ana Designs
32. Elephant Birthday Card
31. Button Alphabet Sampler - Brenda Keyes
30. Sow Kind Seeds - Bent Creek
29. Rooster Strut - Meme's Quilts
28. Bee My Honey Bee - 4 My Boys
27. Crazy Exchange Piece - Brenda Keyes
26. The Littles: Bunny - Bent Creek
25. Bunny Hop - Brightneedle
24. Tall Trees - Brightneedle
23. June - Shepherd's Bush
22. Land That I Love (Canadian version) - Lizzie*Kate
21. Swirly Sampler - Bent Creek - version 1
20. Swirly Sampler - Bent Creek - version 2
19. HoE Pinkeep Exchange - Brenda Keyes
18. Mallet and Ming - Own design
17. Follow Your Heart - Lizzie*Kate
16. Happy Bunny Bunny Day - The Trilogy
15. Bitty Bird Sampler - Twisted Threads
14. My Favourite Things - The Drawn Thread
13. Bee Hive - Elizabeth's Designs
12. Blackbird Parade - Heart in Hand
11. Spring Basket - Lizzie*Kate
10. January Block Flip-It - Lizzie*Kate
9. Scotland Heart - The Victoria Sampler
8. St Patricks Flip-It - Lizzie*Kate
7. Honeysuckle Mother's Day Card - DMC
6. Make Much of Time - Historic Needlework Guild
5. Love - Birds of a Feather
4. Geo Scissor Fob - MonkeyWorks
3. Wedding Sampler - Angela Davison
2. Om Symbol - Julie Hasler
1. Ruby Wedding Anniversary Card

Last year, I managed 58, so I'm very pleased I managed to squeeze in more this year, especially as I've been working more regularly!

The non-stitching projects were very heavily knitting biased:

43. Cable Neckwarmer
42. Esme Beret
41. Jacquard Socks
40. Christmas Card for Sis/BiL/Tot
39. Christmas Card for Parents
38. Cable Gloves for The Hermit
37. Cable Gloves for BiL
36. Cable Gloves for Dad
35. Cable Scarf for Sister
34. Cable Gloves for Sister
33. Red and Black Fingerless Gloves
32. Cable Gloves
31. Fluffy Scarf for Ma
30. Stripey Socks for The Tot
29. Cable Long Scarf for The Hermit
28. Mostly Black Socks for Best Friend
27. Six sets of Stitch Markers
26. Big Knit Hats - 78 done!
25. Purple ZigZag Socks
24. Hourglass Dishcloth
23. Christmas Tree Dishcloth
22. Elven Leaves Dishcloth
21. Birthday Card for The Hermit
20. Bianca Crinoline Lady
19. Sweet Pea Crinoline Lady
18. Shell Crinoline Lady
17. Easter Bunny Softie - Pink Paisley
16. Easter Bunny Softie - Green Paisley
15. Easter Bunny Softie - Gingham
14. Wire and Beads Knitted Bracelet 6
13. Wire and Beads Knitted Bracelet 5
12. Wire and Beads Knitted Bracelet 4
11. Wire and Beads Knitted Bracelet 3
10. Wire and Beads Knitted Bracelet 2
9. Knitted Pouch
8. Birthday Card for BiL
7. Birthday Card for Ma
6. Birthday Card for Sister
5. Wire and Beads Knitted Bracelet
4. Multicoloured Knitted and Felted Bag
3. XoE Christmas in July Exchange Ornament
2. Grey Knitted and Felted Bag
1. Softie Turtle

A lot of the finishing was for items in the top list, but I did make a dent in the pile of stuff too:

59. Be Merry - Lizzie*Kate - Ornament
58. Sheep - Lizzie*Kate - Ornament
57. Snowman - Lizzie*Kate - Ornament
56. Noel - Lizzie*Kate - Ornament
55. Holly Berries Miniature Biscornu - Cherished Stitches - Ornament
54. Angel of Joy - Bent Creek - Ornament
53. Wish Upon a Star - Wildflower Stitchery and More - Ornament
52. HoE Floss Tag 2 - Floss Tag
51. HoE Floss Tag 1 - Floss Tag
50. Victorian Pincushion - Brenda Keyes - Mattress Pincushion
49. Spooky - SanMan Originals - Treat Bag
48. Thread Spool - Prairie Schooler - Thread Fob
47.My Thread is Cut - Prairie Schooler - Scissor Pouch
46. P is for Pincushion - Prairie Schooler - Pinkeep
45. Quaker Hedgehog - The Workbasket - Thread Fob
44. Needleroll - Cathy Bussi - Needleroll
43. Ontario Heart - Victoria Sampler - Pinkeep
42. The Bees - Eventide Designs - Pinkeep
41. Bee Hive - Elizabeth's Designs - Pinkeep
40. Abigail Adams Sampler - Chartmakers - Pinkeep
39. My Favorite Things - The Drawn Thread - Bellpull
36. Crewel Vase - DMC - Mini Pillow
35. December Sampler Accent - Periwinkle Promises - Mini Pillow
34. Paisley Motif - DMC - Pincushion
33. Hardanger Motif 3 - Thread Fob
32. Hardanger Motif 2 - Thread Fob
31. Hardanger Motif 1 - Thread Fob
30. Make Much of Time - Historic Needlework Guild - Strawberry Pincushion
29. Sampler Bird - Brenda Keyes - Thread Fob
28. Ginger Cat - CSC - Thread Fob
27. Quaker ABC - Gencat - Scissor Fob
26. Quaker ABC - Gencat - Pinkeep
25. Tall Trees - Brightneedle - Pinkeep
24. Fall Into Autumn - Rainbow Gallery - Pinkeep
23. Bunny Hop - Brightneedle - Pinkeep
22. Blue Hardanger - Scissor Keeper
21. Bloom - Lizzie*Kate - Softie
20. Needles and Scissors - Victoria Sampler - Tin Topper
19. Summer House - Little House Needleworks - Pinkeep
18. Goldfinch - Father's Day Card
17. Bloom - Lizzie*Kate - Pin Cushion
16. Bloom - Lizzie*Kate - Scissor Fob
15. Celtic B - Mike Vickery - Cushion
14. Buzzing Around Biscornu - Barbara Ana Designs - Biscornu
13. Wren - Birthday Card
12. Elephant Birthday Card - Card
11. Button Alphabet Sampler - Brenda Keyes - Wallhanging
10. Let It Begin with Me - SanMan Originals - Wallhanging
9. Crazy Exchange Piece - Pinkeep
8. Spring Needleroll - Needleroll
7. July Needleroll - Needleroll
6. Honeysuckle Mother's Day Card - Card
5. Ruby Anniversary Card - Card
4. HoE Pinkeep Exchange - Pinkeep
3. Mallet and Ming - Flatfold
2. Sunbonnet Sue - Drawstring Bag
1. Spring Basket - Lizzie*Kate - Pinkeep

This compares quite favourably with last year's 55 finishing finishes, so I'm pretty pleased!

Of course, I've yet to catch up on getting all these photographed and added to the blog, so you will be seeing 2008 finishes for a while yet!

Cable Gloves - Free Pattern Here :o)

Design: Chunky Cabled Fingerless Mitts:
Pattern: Available below, I adapted it from a number of sources
Yarn: Stylecraft Life Chunky, in cream
Needles: 4mm double pointed

These were a Christmas gift to my sister. I had originally planned to make her some plain mitts with a different yarn I'd picked up, to go with her new red coat, but on knitting, I decided they really weren't her style, and went with something a little more classic.

I had to work with a number of patterns, as none were exactly right - many 'handwarmer' patterns seem to me to be very short in the wrist and/or the palm, or some were too big - a family trait for the entire family, whether blood or married in, are small hands. So, I came up with this pattern and I've made myself a pair too, in a different yarn, as well as the plain version.

Edited to add: If you feel so inclined, a donation to the MS Trust for this pattern would be appreciated. Pennies will do - and you can make payment via the link in my sidebar or by clicking here.

Chunky Cabled Fingerless Mitts

You will need:
  • about 60/70g of chunky yarn - I've used the James Brett Marble Chunky and Stylecraft Chunky with good results
  • 4 double pointed needles - I use 4mm BUT I do knit loosely, and I have small hands. I would suggest 4.5mm or 5mm (the pattern I have adapted these from used US Size 8, which are equivalent to 5mm)
  • a cable needle
  • a small spare needle (a V shaped cable needle is ideal) or some waste yarn

K = knit
P = purl
M1 = make one by picking up the loop between stitches and twisting it as you knit
C6F = cable 6 forward (slip 3 stitches onto a cable needle and hold in front of work, K3 then K3 from cable needle)

Left Hand:

Cast on 30 stitches and distribute evenly across 3 needles. I use a cable cast on, to give a little elasticity. Join without twisting.

Rows 1-10: *K1, P1 repeat from * to end
Rows 11-16: K10, P2, K6, P2, K10
Row 17: K10, P2, C6F, P2, K10
Rows 18-22: K10, P2, K6, P2, K10
Row 23: K4, M1, K2, M1, K4, P2, C6F, P2, K10 (this is the start of the thumb gusset)
Row 24: K12, P2, K6, P2, K10
Row 25: K4, M1, K4, M1, K4, P2, K6, P2, K10
Row 26: K14, P2, K6, P2, K10
Row 27: K4, M1, K6, M1, K6, P2, K6, P2, K10
Row 28: K16, P2, K6, P2, K10
Row 29: K4, M1, K8, M1, K4, P2, C6F, P2, K10
Row 30: K18, P2, K6, P2, K10
Row 31: K4, M1, K10, M1, K4, P2, K6, P2, K10
Row 32: K5, move 10 stitches to waste yarn or spare needle, K5, P2, K6, P2, K10
Rows 33-34: K10, P2, K6, P2, K10
Row 35: K10, P2, C6F, P2, K10
Row 36-37: K10, P2, K6, P2, K10
Rows 38-43: *K1, P1 repeat from * to end
Cast off. I cast off knitwise, but you may want to cast off in rib.

Thumb: Join in yarn. K5 stitches onto one DPN, and K5 onto another. With third needle, pick up and K 4 stitches evenly across the gap (14 stitches). K2 rounds. Work 2 rounds in K1, P1 rib then cast off. Try the mitt on, because you can darn your ends in and tighten up the thumb gusset M1s at the same time if holes appear and you need to :o)

Right hand:

Cast on 30 stitches and distribute evenly across 3 needles.

Rows 1-10: *K1, P1 repeat from * to end
Rows 11-16: P2, K6, P2, K20
Row 17: P2, C6F, P2, K20
Rows 18-22: P2, K6, P2, K20
Row 23: P2, C6F, P2, K4, M1, K2, M1, K14 (this is the start of the thumb gusset)
Row 24: P2, K6, P2, K22
Row 25: P2, K6, P2, K4, M1, K4, M1, K14
Row 26: P2, K6, P2, K24
Row 27: P2, K6, P2, K4, M1, K6, M1, K14
Row 28: P2, K6, P2, K26
Row 29: P2, C6F, P2, K4, M1, K8, M1, K14
Row 30: P2, K6, P2, K28
Row 31: P2, K6, P2, K4, M1, K10, M1, K14
Row 32: P2, K6, P2, K5, move 10 stitches to waste yarn or spare needle, K15
Rows 33-34: P2, K6, P2, K20
Row 35: P2, C6F, P2, K20
Row 36-37: P2, K6, P2, K20
Rows 38-43: *K1, P1 repeat from * to end
Cast off.

Thumb: Work as for left hand.

This pattern is offered for personal, non-commercial use only. Items made from this pattern may be sold on a small scale basis such as on Etsy or at craft sales. Sales for charity are positively encouraged! This pattern and the text and photos contained within, may not be copied or reproduced for any purpose other than personal use. Please direct people to this blog rather than forwarding the pattern, thank you! Copyright 2009 N M Wray


Design: Garter Stitch Scarf
Yarn: Sirdar Vegas (two balls)
Needles: 5mm

This was the scarf I knitted for my mum for Christmas. I think she liked it best of her presents, which surprised me, it was only really a stocking filler.

I bought the yarn on a clearance sale. It cost me £0.49 a ball, so I made this scarf for less than a quid! (a euro, or US $1.50) I think it looks pretty good and doesn't betray its bargain bin origins :o)

The scarf was fairly mindless to knit, as I made it in garter stitch - cast on 20 stitches and knit until the yarn runs out was the general idea ... Ma doesn't like too big a scarf anyway, so this was about the right length (about 60 inches) when it was finished.

The fun bit was getting all the ends pulled through - I ended up attacking it with The Hermit's hairbrush and giving it a vigorous grooming!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Holly Berries Miniature Biscornu - Cherished Stitches

Design: Holly Berries Miniature Biscornu
Designer: Cherished Stitches from 2008 JCS ornament issue
Fabric: 28 count evenweave, cream
Threads: DMC 115, Caron Wildflowers Pine

It is also a tradition that I make an ornament for my parent's tree. As this year was the year I learned how to make a biscornu, I thought it appropriate that I stitch one of those for them, and this design was one of my favourites from this year's JCS ornament issue, as it was simple and tasteful. I simplified the reverse to save stitching time, and then used all the time I'd saved beading the seams LOL - this was a first for me, I've normally just whipstitched the edges, but I've long admired the beaded biscornu seen on other blogs. And I have to say, it wasn't as tricky as I'd feared it was going to be.

I think I will have to make myself one of these, it was a wrench to give it away!

PS don't forget to enter my drawing for the Archangel chart below!

Angel of Joy - Bent Creek

Design: Angel of Joy
Designer: Bent Creek (from the 2000 JCS ornament issue)
Threads: DMC conversions, DMC115 and Caron Wildflowers in Pine
Fabric: 28 count lugana (?) in a very pale blue

It is a tradition now that I stitch my niece (The Tot) an ornament for Christmas. This is the third one I have done. Last year's Santa was pretty much a semi circle, so I looked in my stash of magazines for something to complement it, and came up with this little angel. With her curly hair and generous size, perhaps this is what I will look like if I ever get to Heaven ;o)

The Tot already has very decided opinions, so next year, I think I will just show her the magazine and let her pick. She likes crafts and painting already, so perhaps next year too I can start her with some binca and soft cotton to make her own ornament ...

Wish Upon a Star - Wildflower Stitchery and More

Design: Wish Upon A Star Designer: Wildflower Stitchery and More (from the 2008 JCS ornament issue) Fabric: some pale blue opalescent evenweave found in my stash Threads: DMC

This was the ornament my sister chose from the JCS issue - I wasn't that taken with it initially, but it grew on me as I stitched it. Because of the opalescent fabric, I didn't bother with the Kreinik braid stars in the background - that made my life so much easier and the stitching was really quick! I was lucky enough to find matching beads in my LNS's closing down sale for the garland, and as an experiment, I beaded the seams too - very effective, although time consuming!