Monday, January 7, 2019

First Finish of the Year!

I saw a little kit that was on sale on Craftsy.

I have wanted to practice my fair isle knitting because I have in my stash some yarn and a pattern for a sweater. This kit was on sale, and I couldn't resist the price.

The pattern itself was very easy, but there was something wrong with the gauge. I read all the reviews and everyone said that it came out too large. So, I decided to drop down one size on the needles. Well, it was still too big, so I ripped it all out and came down one more size on the needles. I had to add some rows to it because it was coming out to short, but I finally got something that was wearable.

I am not too thrilled with the acrylic yarn. I prefer natural fibers, but it will be good as an extra hat.

I also have this hat that I knitted last month. I forgot to put it into my 2018 finishes.

This one was also knitted of acrylic yarn in my stash. Ha! The pompom kinda got away from me on this one!

Stay warm!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

What I have been up to . . .

For most of the past year, I have spent my energy on home improvement type jobs.  I finally finished painting my 1980's orangey oak kitchen cabinets a new white color. That was a much bigger job than I thought it would be. I also painted an old table and chairs that we had in our cellar. I painted them to match the cabinets. Then I painted the kitchen walls, and made curtains. Phew!
I am hoping my husband will paint the ceiling.

Here is a pic of the new (old) table and chairs.  Mickey loves sitting on the tablecloth and looking out the window.(The radiator is right under the table). He's no fool! Sorry about the blurriness, but the auto-focus was off on my camera when I took it.

While I was getting ready to do my 2018 update, I found a few from 2017, that I neglected to include.

I finished up The Industrious Bee Sampler.
I like the way it looks on the  raw linen.

Industrious Bee Sampler
28 ct Irish Linen using DMC

Next I stitched The Mini Bunny Egg from Waxing Moon Designs. This was intended as an ornament. I bought some trim for it, but never got around to making it up. I was disappointed that the stitching didn't show up better.

Mini Bunny Egg - Waxing Moon Designs
40 ct hand dyed raspberry linen and DMC threads

Then I finished up my Victorian Velveteen Rabbit.

Meet Sebastian . . .


He has movable joints and poseable ears. I like how his face came out, but ooooh those ears!
The pattern said to use pipe cleaners. I didn't have any. I used the only wire I had which was very very thin, too thin! It either broke, or popped right out of place. I fussed and fussed with it, but I really couldn't do anything about it.
I would like to revisit the situation someday, but I really don't have a good idea how to fix them without taking the whole head and ears apart.
It was a disappointment after all that work!

He mostly looks like this now. His ears are floppy and no longer poseable.

Oh well, I still like him.

I knitted a linen stitch scarf, which I actually finished last December 2017, but I never took a picture of it. I used Kougi hand painted merino yarn. this was a fun project to do, and it came out just the way it was supposed to for a change!

 After this, I know I worked on several beaded Christmas ornaments, but I don't have the photos here.


I started 2018 with an old stamped sampler that I have had in my stash for ages.

Give to the World Your Best Sampler - Paragon

These stamped samplers are great when you just want to relax and not think too much!

Next, I stitched Counting Magpies from Birds of a Feather.

This is an old English rhyme that goes:

1 for sorrow, 2 for mirth,
3 for a wedding, 4 for a birth
5 for silver, 6 for gold,
7 for a secret, not to be told.
8 for heaven, and 9 for hell,
10 for the devil's own sel.

I stitched it on overdyed linen using weeks threads.

Counting Magpies - Birds of a Feather
28ct overdyed linen with Weeks Threads

Next. I stitched Americana Sampler from The City Stitcher. I have long been a fan of The City Stitcher!
This one worked up quickly. I like the primitive look of it on the 28 count raw linen.

Americana Sampler - The City Stitcher
28ct raw linen and DMC threads
After that, I worked on Dragonflies, an arts and crafts style pillow cover.

Dragonfly Pillow Cover
It is worked on linen using gold and olive DMC perle.
The body and wings are worked in satin stitch. Other stitches used are stem stitch, and French knots.

Please forgive the wrinkles!

I have not gotten a chance to make the pillow, but it will work up to 21" X 21".

Then, I started my new project.

Flower Power - Crossed Wing Collection
32 Ct Antique White linen with DMC and metallic threads
This design is HUGE, an absolute monster. I knew it was big, but I didn't get a full sense of it until I started it. It will take me forever to finish this one!

I put it aside for a while to work on the Christmas stitching. This is what I have so far.

Please forgive the wrinkles.

I left off working on the nasturtiums on the lower right corner. I love how realistic everything is.
I love the bugs the best. Notice the caterpillar on the leaves.

I love the bee on the Shasta daisies below too!

The insects are all done one over one, so they take quite a while, but it does give them great detail.

I will go back to this after the holidays.

Next I turned my attention to some goldwork.

For the longest time, I have wanted to stitch the goldwork Christmas ornaments from Benton & Johnson. For those of you not familiar with Benton & Johnson, they are an English company that has been providing the gold metal threads for the Queen of England's Wardrobes and badges. They have been around for ages and ages!

They are now part of Toye Kenning & Spencer. Their website is not very easy to use, but if you do a search on Christmas ornament kits, you will find them. There are three of them, a Dove, a Snowflake, and an Angel, and best yet, they are on sale.

All things considered, these kits are really quite a good value considering the quality of everything included. The problem however is with the shipping from England! OMG! $$$.
Because of this, I thought about it for a long time before I decided to go for it.

These kits are all designated for beginners, but I would say that it would be good to know something about stitching. None of the stitches in themselves are difficult, but working with the metal is, well, fiddly at times.

The Dove looked the easiest, so I decided to start with that one.

The kit included the pattern with a little instruction booklet, the calico (ground fabric), the backing fabric, the felt padding, red wool felt, the spooled couching, the sewing threads in yellow, red and metallic gold, and all the gold threads, and the spangles. There aren't a lot of photographs in it, mostly drawn diagrams. Also included is a heavier gold thread for hanging the ornament.

There are directions for tracing the design and transferring it to the ground fabric. I traced the design onto some waxed paper and basted over the design.

After that I carefully pulled off the waxed paper to see the design on the red felt.
Then I  couched the gold perle on top of the stitching. This part is a little tricky. The gold has to be stretched a little so the yellow thread will go inside the coil, and will not show. You have to be careful not to overstretch it.

It was a pleasure working with all these materials. They were clearly of very fine quality.

 I made the snowflake next, saving the angel, which seemed the hardest until last.

The hardest thing about the angel was using the gold plate. It had to be folded back against it self over and over again, all the while minding the direction and shape of the angel's wing.

Well, I'm certainly not in the same league as the Benton & Johnson people, but I got it done!

Here are all three of them.

I am glad I got them done. We will enjoy them for years to come!

After these, I worked on some Mill Hill beaded ornaments. I have been working them double, and then whip stitching them together so they can be seen from both sides. Some of them I had done one side last year, and just had to finish them,

I worked the Aqua Crystal this year. It is the 5th of 6 in the series of crystals.

Aqua Crystal Snowflake - Mill Hill

There is one left in the series. I will save for next Christmas.

I also finished a few others:

I made a few others but I can't seem to locate the photos.

WOW! I feel like I have been writing for hours! That's what I get for not updating more often!

I hope everyone has a very Happy and Peaceful 2019!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Catching up

Last year sort of got away from me, so I thought I'd do a quick wrap up here, before I start with this year.

During the Christmas season, I worked on several beaded ornaments. I was planning to complete the entire Mill Hill Crystal series. I got the first one, Ice Crystals, done earlier and showed the photos in a previous post. There are 6 in the series all together. They take a while to finish, because I am doing 2 of each, and stitching them back to back so I can hang them in my bay window, and have them displayed on both sides. I have 2 more left to do. They will be this year's project.

I also did a kitty ornament and a Santa ornament which are only one-sided.
These are quick little stitches that display well when finished.
I took a few photos.

I get such help with my photography!

That second photo brings me to another bit of news.
Our house seemed very quiet after the loss of our cats last year, so we went to the local shelter, and brought home some new friends.

Meet the new kids on the block:
Mickey on the left, and Freddy on the right.

If you ever go to a shelter to look for a pet, please consider getting an older one. Everyone loves the kittens, but all too often these guys just languish there. The two of them were just so happy to get out of those cages! They act just like kittens, chasing each other up and down the stairs. There was a bit of an uproar in the beginning of course, but now the old and the new cats are all getting along just fine!

There were so many cats at the shelter, but unfortunately, we could only bring these two home.

Most of the winter I spent working on this little lap/couch quilt.

Emma & Friends - Dimensions
 It took longer to finish this than I planned, but that was my fault. I didn't like the way the pre-quilted fabric looked with the cross stitching, so I added a backing to it, and quilted it. I picked a blue binding to bring it all together,

It seemed like spring was late for us this year, but it is definitely here now!
I have resolved to try to same some money on garden plants this year. Hope springs eternal!

Behold my little tomato seedlings:

My next project is a bit of a departure from the usual. It is only just coming together. I haven't worked out all the details yet.

I always wanted to make a velveteen rabbit. It was a favorite book as a child.
I never quite liked modern stuffed animals. Yes, they are child-safe, and very plush and cuddly, but somehow they don't seem to have the personality of the older ones.
It took me a long time to find a pattern that was not so cutesy, and was more realistic.

We shall see. I have made stuffed animals before, but I have never made any with the old fashioned glass eyes and jointed head and limbs. Hope it doesn't turn out to be too difficult!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Yesterday was a terrible day!

We lost our little Furrytail.

I have been through this all too many times, but it is even harder with Furry.

He was so much a part of my life. He followed me from room to room. If I went out to the garden, he had to go with me. He watched everything I did. Every time I took a photo of anything, he would jump up to be in the picture. I know he was old, but he didn't act it. He didn't sleep all day, he was active and interested in everything I did.

We thought we would have him longer, but his health deteriorated very quickly from the week before Christmas. Yesterday, he could no longer walk. We knew it was time.

2000 - 2016
I keep looking for him everywhere.

My heart is broken.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Catching Up

This posting is more than overdue!

This year has not been without challenges and sorrows. It has taken me a while to be able to write about it.

In a year's time, we have lost 3 of our cats,


Hermie enjoying the sunshine

Hermie was a stray. He made up his mind that he was going to live with us, and wouldn't take no for an answer!

He had cancer in his intestines, and also on his face. By the time it was found, it was too late for him.
I feel very bad about him because I think he was in a lot of pain and we didn't know it. Cats are very stoic.

Several months later, McGruff was diagnosed with heart failure. He was a stray who had a very hard life. He had been living outside for quite a while. He was missing teeth and had other health problems. He warmed up to us very quickly, but unfortunately it was some time before we could let him in the house because he always wanted to fight with our cats. We have a cat-door going into our cellar, and he spent about a year coming and going. Finally, he stopped fighting with the cats so we could let him in. Unfortunately, soon after, we lost him.

McGruff, the tough guy
About a month after we lost McGruff, our Furrytail was diagnosed with lung cancer. We made an appointment with the vet to get an ultrasound done on the mass. While we were waiting for the phone call from the vet, to come pick up Furry,  I noticed that Blue had started acting odd, turning in circles. First, I thought he was playing, but I soon realized that something was terribly wrong. We rushed him to the vet, but there was nothing they could do for him. He had to be put down. We have been just reeling from this!

The shy Blue
Our cabinet cat Blue
Blue's death was so unexpected. He was our youngest cat about 8 years old, also a stray. He wandered into our yard, and was living under our shed. We would see him coming and going, but it took us months to coax him out to get food. We started putting the food closer and closer to the deck. He got to know the time we would feed him, and would wait on the deck for us. During a snowstorm, I threw a towel over him, grabbed him,  and brought him inside. Blue never quite got over his shyness, but he did like to follow us around and peek at us from the top of the cabinets. He was just becoming a real member of the family when he had the stroke.

So now, we are watching poor Furrytail like a hawk. Furry is all over my blog. He always has to be in all my photos! He is older now, 16-1/2 years, but he seems to be doing ok. We decided against surgery because of his age. The vet thinks that because the cancer is fairly slow growing, that he may be able to live out his normal lifespan. I certainly hope so. I cannot stand the thought of him being in pain. 
UGH! As I said, quite a year!

I will remember these little faces forever!

Ok, on to some stitching.

I finished up Cape Cod's Girls.

Cape Cod's Girls - The Primitive Needle 36ct linen

Then I decided to stitch the companion piece, Cape Cod's Boys.

Cape Cod's Boys - The Primitive Needle

 Here is the completed stitch:

Cape Cod's Boys - The Primitive Needle 36 ct linen

Next, I started work on one that I have had in my stash for ages!

The Industrious Bee Sampler - Theron Traditions
I have been plodding along on this one. This is what I have so far.

 It is very slow-going. The two yellow flowers, under the birds took forever. They are done in Queen stitch. The visibility gets very limited doing this stitch, especially towards the end when it is so crowded with stitches, but it does give it a nice 3-d type effect.

I took a little break here to work on some holiday stitching.

I am stitching The Ice Crystal ornament from Mill Hill.

Mill Hill Ice Crystal

I am designing this to be hung in my bay window. I love the Mill Hill ornaments, but in the past, I haven't liked how they looked from the back. For that reason, I decided to make two, and put them together.

I finished the first one, and attached the charm at the bottom and the hanger at the top.

I am working on the second one now. I have finished all the stitching. Now I have to finish up sewing on all the beads. This should go faster because I will not be sewing on another charm, or making another hanger.

Mill Hill Ice Crystal - Front and back 
After I finish up the beading, I will whip-stitch them together, and hopefully they will hang nicely in the bay window.

This has been a very long post. I will leave it at that. I will be back to show the finished ornament soon.