Friday, January 1, 2016

2015 Finishes

Clearly, from these photos, 2015 was the year of the sock!

I didn't count in here the unfinished Christmas ornaments. I guess they will be early 2016 finishes.

Have a Happy New Year everyone!

Sunday, December 27, 2015


What a blur!

I had always heard that time passes quicker when you get older, but this year went by at a dizzying speed!
I felt that if I turned my head, I would get vertigo!

I did keep working steadily on my projects though. Warning! This is going to be a long post to catch up on 6 months!

I finished Sarah Elizabeth Brooke.

I love the verse on this one. A girl after my own heart!

No glory I covet no riches I want
Ambition is nothing to me
The one thing I beg of good Heaven to grant
Is a mind independent and free

She is still not framed of course.

Next I decided to work on a few Christmas presents. I had planned to knit the Winter Wonderland socks for Martha, my mother-in-law.

This one took a lot of planning. I had to find just the right color yarn, and send away for the miyuki beads. The pattern called for a cream color, but I didn't think the mohair "snow" would show up well enough against it. I chose a gray-blue cashmere blend yarn. Unfortunately the "snow" didn't show up as well as I had hoped on this color either.

This is a very interesting pattern that presented quite a few challenges. All the beads all had to be counted out and placed on the yarn (backwards in order of use) before the knitting could start. I had to string 1144 silver-lined clear beads, and 480 green-lined crystal beads! I was in fear the whole time that I hadn't counted right, or I had placed the wrong color bead in the wrong place!

The next challenge was the provisional cast on. I had never done this before. The top part of the sock, with the crystal snowflakes, is knitted sideways in stocking knit stitch.

The piece is then sewn together. Then the stitches are picked up to complete the body of the sock.

The mohair is knitted along with the blue yarn to create the snow drifts. Again, I was a little disappointed that it didn't show up better.

So far, so good. Now all I needed to do was knit my way down the foot.

It went well. The only thing was, now I had to do it all over again for the other foot!

In the end, thankfully, they turned out very well.

Now, it they only fit!

Next, I knitted a simple pair of socks for Keith using an Opal self-striping yarn.

He liked these. He wore them on Christmas day.

Then, I knitted him another pair in brown merino wool.

Hard to tell from the photo, but this was gorgeous wool, very luxurious to work!

Then, I knitted this tan pair for Martha.

After all the knitting, I decided to finish A Crossed Wing Christmas.
I had been working on this one off and on for a long time, and it felt good to have it done.

It is hard to tell from the photo, but there are many pearlescent beads sewn all over the snow.
This also has yet to be framed.

Next, it was time to stitch some Christmas ornaments. I picked Merry Christmas by Samplers Not Forgotten, from the 2015 JCS Ornament issue.

I am still working on the finishing.

This is the backing fabric I chose.

This will be finished up tomorrow.

Also, I stitched the cat from Prairie Schooler's Christmas Past.

This will be a quick finish too.

After that, I stitched two of the Old World Santas from Prairie Schooler.

I love these old Prairie Schooler designs. I may hold off finishing these two because I would like to stitch the whole collection, and have a similar backing on them.

After that, I made myself some socks! I used Opal Yarn's Neon yarn to make these.

During the last few days, I have been plugging away on Winter Watch. This just might be the year I finish it, although I can't think of many things more boring than filling in a large background with gray stitches!

This year has had losses for us. About a month ago, we lost our little Hermie to cancer.
He came to us right around this time back in 2008. You do not pick a cat. The cat picks you!
 We hadn't gotten over that, when a week later, our McGruff was diagnosed with a very serious case of heart failure. We are taking care of him as best we can. Hermie and McGruff were the youngest cats. My others are older, so I worry about what is to come of course.

Well. lets hope next year will be full of good things for all of us!

If you have made it all the way to the end of this post, you deserve a medal! That's what happens when you try to put 6 months into one post!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

My Projects

I can never seem to find the time to post, but I have been busy.

Last November, I began stitching A Crossed Wing Christmas.

This is a deceptively large sampler, with lots of 3/4, and blended stitches. I think it will be very pretty when it is finished, but it is a slow-go.
I got to the point where I just couldn't look at any more snow and ice after the winter we had, and I put it aside for a while.
This where it was when I left off:

It is a little hard to see the details on the light blue linen. There is a lot of snow, as well as the many birds of course, and some apples, pine cones and an orange.
I will get back to it in a few months.

Next, I picked The Sarah Elizabeth Brooke Sampler.

Sarah Elizabeth Brooke 1842 Sampler
I have had my eye on this one for quite a while!

The linen is 40 count, and I am using the suggested Belle Soie silk threads.
I am currently working on this one, and have made some more progress. I will post a new photo soon.
Those bricks are taking forever! I feel like I am actually building the house brick by brick!

In between these projects, I knitted a pair of socks for Martha, my mother-in-law. Unfortunately I neglected to get a photo. I hope they fit, but I suspect they might have been a bit large. It is always hard to knit socks for someone else.

Also, I completed 2 other projects! Because they are secret, I cannot post the photos just yet, but I will in a few months.

I am spending a lot of time in the garden these days. I got a late start and didn't get my seeds going. Next year, no matter how cold it is, I am resolving to start my plants from seed! The nurseries and farms around here are all disappearing to make room for more developments. It is a shame to see them go. The result is to pay higher and higher prices for plants from the remaining nurseries, or be satisfied with the paltry selection of plants from the big box stores. Not great alternatives!

As soon as it stops raining, I am going to take photos of my garden. I will come back to post them along with my progress on Sarah Elizabeth.

Enjoy the Spring everyone!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

I have been busy.

I haven't been blogging, but I promise you, I have been very busy.
The dreaded kitchen cabinets still have me in their hold! At this rate, I will be lucky to finish them sometime this summer!

I finished up the year with my hand-painted socks. I was on a roll. I was determined to refine my sock-knitting skills. The first pair, I knitted the traditional way on 4 double point needles. This time I wanted to try knitting them on a circular needle.

I was lucky enough to score a free box of yarn. Most of it was leftovers from other projects, but I did find some purple yarn that caught me eye. It was only a lace weight, so I had to double it up to get to a sock weight.

Last time the socks came out too big, so I made them smaller.

My purple socks from mystery yarn

The yarn was not so good, but atleast they look like socks! The circular needle was a little tricky at first, but I got used to it.

Keith saw me knitting all these socks, and said "Where are my socks?"

Well, I was hoping to refine my skills a little more before giving anyone a present, but what the heck.

I set out to knit him some socks. The green wool is a very nice, super-washed merino.

I found out that knitting socks for men takes a lot longer than knitting socks for me.

Thank goodness they turned out ok. Of course I still didn't know if they would fit. They seemed very big to me.

They were a St. Valentine's Day surprise.

He says he likes them! Yay!

We need lots of warm socks this winter! It's cold here!

2014 Finishes

Better late than never!

I didn't have that many finishes in 2014.

There was the hat and scarf set I made for Keith:

The Birdkeeper:

Celtic Heart:

The Knox Family Sampler -The Scarlet Letter. (This one took a really long time to finish).

Autumn Harvest

Down Jinglepot Road:

Socks for me:

Long Overdue Update

The Fall and the holidays came and went in a flash!

I really was getting some things done, but I have also been working on re-doing my kitchen. I have taken on the difficult task of painting my old oak cabinets. Normally I do not believe in painting woodwork like oak, but these were from the 80's, and had seen better days.
I decided to paint them white. What a job! I am still not even half way through!

I finished Autumn Harvest.

Autumn Harvest - Chessie & Me, 32ct linen, Weeks and GAST threads

I love Chessie & Me designs. They always have a little cat in them.

Next, I worked on my 2014 Christmas Ornament. This year's was Down Jinglepot Road from the 2014 Just Cross Stitch Christmas Issue.

Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to finish it into an ornament, but here is the stitched piece.

Down Jinglepot Road
This photo didn't come out that well, but it depicts an old red truck going down a bumpy dirt road with a Christmas tree in the back. When Keith and I were first married we had an old red truck. We went everywhere in it! When we cut our Christmas trees, it is always in a place like this.
On top of everything else, the rooster on it reminds me of our dear departed Walter!

To finish out the year, I finally finished the socks that I bought in a kit from Maine Woods Fiber. I have had this for a while. The yarn is hand-painted merino wool.

I actually made 3 socks. They came out way too big for me. I re-knitted the larger one. Truth be told, the other one also needs to be re-done, but I just don't feel like doing it. After finishing one sock, you really don't feel like doing the second one, let alone doing a fourth one! You can see that one is bigger than the other.

Socks are hard!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Knox Family Sampler is finished!

At long last, the endless sampler is finally finished! Yay!

Here she is:

The Knox Family Sampler - The Scarlet Letter - DMC on 36ct linen

Here is an additional view:

It is hard to see the detail in these photos. There is a variety of stitches used here, long-legged cross stitch, backstitch, zig-zags, and wheatear stitch. The grass is done in a satin stitch. The lettering at the bottom, similar to the top, is stitched one-over-one. My favorite part is the illuminated letters.

The chart states that it is an "ambitious sampler". I would definitely agree with that! I am very glad that it is finally finished!

I wasn't sure what I wanted to work on next, but I needed a little change of pace. I always love the colors of my favorite season, so I decided on Autumn Harvest, a Chessie & Me design from Linda Lautenschlager. I have had this in my stash for ages,

I love that her designs always have a cat in them! The chart called for it to be stitched with one thread, but I decided to make it bolder, and use two over two. I am stitching it on 32ct linen, using Sampler Threads and DMC.

This is what I have so far:

This one should be finished in a much shorter time!

Enjoy the lovely autumn, or the lovely spring if you are down under!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Long overdue update!

I am still breathing! Still here. I apologize for the long absence.

I am among those to have found this to have been an incredibly short summer! I love the cooler temps we have had, but I do hate the now, noticeably dwindling daylight.

Although I have been working on The Knox Family Sampler exclusively, I don't feel like I have made good progress. I think this is the longest it has ever taken for me to complete a sampler.

I finally finished the large letters. The filigree work took quite a while.

Between stitching the letters, I tried to extend the borders a bit. Next, I started on the houses. The first house was brick. There is a straight stitch around each brick which did slow things down.

The next house was smaller and pink. The stitching was quicker on this one.

Then I started on the first tree. I am currently filling in the foliage on this one. The stitch used is a wheat-ear stitch.

This is where I left off. It does seem like this sampler has taken a very long time. Of course one of the things we did this summer was to binge-watch 24, all nine days!
Watching Jack does not lend itself to quiet, careful stitching!

It was hard to get a good photo of the entire sampler so far. This is the best one I could find.

I really hope to finish this one up soon!

I have been busy in the garden, but it hasn't been such a good year. The tomatoes have been very small, and we had no luck at all with the squash or bok choy. Atleast we had a good crop of string beans and peas!

We did have some trouble with the chickens this year. We have a red fox of all things! I have been told they are rare in these parts. Lucky us! Unfortunately he managed to kill 6 of our chickens before we fortified the chicken yard fencing. It is very hard to free-range chickens around here between the hawk, raccoons, foxes, and the like! We let them out every afternoon for several hours, but only when someone is here to keep an eye on them. The worst, the absolute worst, was Bev! She was a mother hen who stayed to protect her 4 chicks. The other chickens ran away, but she stayed. Of course he got her and carried her off screaming! The chicks were very small, and in the following days, we lost 2 of them. The other 2 however, are now thriving! we always forget how violent nature can be. I know the fox probably had kits somewhere, but I sure wish she had picked on some squirrels, and left my hens alone!

Not to be forgotten is my August TUSAL!

Hope everyone is having a nice summer!
Back soon.