Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Spring Things

Hello!

Well Spring has definitely arrived where I am, but it has been cloaked under grey and mostly rainy skies.  I thought a little crafty update with some colourful things might be the best rememdy at the moment.


 My daughter bought me this lovely transferware jug for my birthday.  I was especially happy to put these sunny daffodils in it:  I think blue and white transferware was made for yellow daffodils, don't you?


On My Hooks

These scarves are thankfully not needed at the moment, but I was happy to complete them and use up some more yarn for my stash reduction challenge:


A simple crochet linen stitch and two chunky 'mystery' yarns went into this one.  It's a bit skinnier than I would have liked, but I used up every bit of both yarns.  I wish I knew the brand name because it is really soft and lovely.



 This is my Ravenclaw-Inspired scarf I made for the Harry Potter CAL/KAL on Ravely through the Victorian Podcast Studio.  I used Red Heart Soft yarn, and the pattern is called the 'Mindless Scarf' by Knotted Nicole on Ravely.  This is probably my favourite scarf pattern as it is so easy to work up.  The scalloped sides happen as you go, so once you reach the length you want you are all done.

Moving to something more Spring-like, I hooked up this crescent shaped shawl from the book,
Poetic Crochet by Sarah Kay Hartman.


The pattern is called 'Avalon'.  I used a yarn called Bamboo Pop, in the colourway 'Soothe'.
The yarn is 50% cotton, 50% bamboo, and is really soft and has a lovely drape.


 I wouldn't say this is my favourite colourway, and it was a bit difficult to find the right pattern for it, but now that it's all done and ready to wear I feel more happy with it.

My last hooked project is another mesh shawl using ribbon yarn.  I had this left over from the crochet mat in one of my last posts.  While these are very quick to work up, I have to say I am done with ribbon yarn shawls!  This is my fourth, and this is the last!


While I have been working on lots of different crochet projects, I have been trying to be more disciplined with my cross stitch.  Since January I have been trying to work on one or two projects only, just to to get some of these WIP's completed.


 I was happy to get this one finished, just because I was tired of working with all that DMC 310!  I stitched this on a light pink evenweave fabric I dyed myself, and made a few colour and design changes to the chart.  While it did seem I was just slogging it out for a long while, I am really happy with the finish.  The chart is from the May 2012 issue of Cross Stitcher Magazine.



This project is a gift for my son, who turns into a teenager in July.  I bought the pattern from Holly's Hobbies on Etsy, and changed up the floss colours to some that were a bit brighter.  I don't know which I'm happier about:  the fact that I completed another WIP, or the fact that I have it ready three months before his birthday!

As a little reward for finishing two projects, I did start something new!  This is 'Spring Bird' by Jeanette Douglas.  I bought this chart while on vacation in March.


 The whole time I thought I was stitching on 40 count linen and was feeling very impressed with my advancement as a stitcher.  Well, pride does come before the fall, and it was only when I could not find a frame that I realized I could not have been stitching on 40 count linen:  I was stitching on 28 or 30 count!  Thank goodness there were enough silks in the embellishment pack to finish the design.  Now that I won't be able to display it in a pretty, vintage looking frame, I will have to turn it into a flat-fold or something.

Keeping with the Spring theme, I then stitched this Sheep Sampler from Elizabeth's Designs:



 There is a companion piece to this, but after all those specialty stitches from this design and Spring Bird, I think I will leave it until next year!

Every once in a while I like to do just plain embroidery.  I guess it's not really plain, because some of the stitches can be quite complicated, but all I wanted to do was make a few straight lines with thread on fabric.  I found this embroidery in a past issue of Bustle and Sew magazine:  I think maybe 2015.


 Originally I was planning on painting the hoop white, but I found some white seam binding that belonged to my grandmother and thought I would try wrapping the hoop instead.

Just for the record, here is another picture without that piece of fuzz between the 'P' and 'R' that I only just noticed!



Moving on to sewing, I wanted to make some things with some of the pretty fabrics I also brought home from my March trip.

First up is a small, quilted patchwork table topper using two packages of mini charm squares:


There is no batting between the layers:  just some white flannel on the back so it lays nice and flat.


 I couldn't resist this photo:  the colours just went together so well!

And lastly, (phew!) another project from Bustle and Sew using some of  my new fabrics:



I have a hard cover for my sewing machine but it's so bulky to have hanging around.  This is much prettier, and gave me another opportunity to play around with free motion embroidery.

I started off with a birthday picture so I'll end with another.  We had Afternoon Tea at home and it was just perfect.  The treats came from the local bakery; sandwiches were made by me, and a good time was had by all. The kids even dressed up so that was a gift in itself!


 The floral tablecloth was definitely overkill, but it was my birthday party!

Well once again that was an extremely long post, so thank you for making it this far.  I hope warmer  weather is at your doorstep (or cooler, depending what hemisphere you're in) and your flowers are blooming.

 Until probably next month,  Happy Days to you and thanks for stopping in!

xo  Jenn



Friday, March 24, 2017

March (February Too!)

Well Hello!
  I think I jinx myself everytime I say I am going to update my blog more often.  Gosh I was surprised to log in today and see it's been two months since I last updated.  I know I had been thinking of a blog post for a long time, so I suppose that brain of mine just assumed I had done it!



Has Spring come your way yet?  I suppose it has here, in that we are experiencing typical Canadian March weather.  Sunny skies for days; gloom and rain; below freezing temperatures, and today, snow.  Sadly these little daffodils are not gracing my yard, but are a memory of our recent trip.

My kids had their March break last week, so we chucked in the freezing temperatures for what we hoped would be a balmy break.  Sadly the weather at our destination was cold and mostly rainy, but at least there was NO snow and we did not have to wear full, outdoor winter kit!


We were able to have some nice walks in the forest;


...and on the beach looking for treasures.


We were commenting that we could be in Ireland...



Not Ireland, but our own beautiful British Columbia.  As I look at the snow coming down outside right now it seems like I have never even been away, and yet I was there only last week!  Shovelling snow will do that to your brain I guess.

So, crafting.  It has been a wooly winter here.  I have been having so much fun with the yarn stash reduction challenge.  I feel like I have been more creative with my yarn stash, and yet I have been able to hook up a lot of things without having to buy more yarn.  Here are some things I have finished since we last talked:


Another linen stitch scarf using Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable in 'Tidal' and what I think is 'Bistro'.  These are so addicting to make!


This cloche was made up with a chunky mystery yarn I got at the thrift store.  I had exactly enough for this project.


 Baby cardigan made with King Cole Splash.  Again, I had just enough of the yarn.  How cute are those little bunny buttons?


Not a huge stash buster, but it turned out awfully cute!


This was probably my favourite project:  I was about to de-stash this yarn, and when I had them in a pile together I thought they went together perfectly.  I couldn't just get rid of it then, I had to use it!  Now I have a new rug for the downstairs bath:



I held the ribbon yarn and the cotton together and hooked rows of single crochet.  It's very soft, and the other yarn is cotton so it will be washable.


Libby Approved!

You will be happy to know I finished that darn wrap!


I used the darker yarn for one of the edges.  I have since taken it out because the wrap was too long for me so I don't miss the length.  That part also sits underneath, so you would not notice that both edges are not the same.  One down, two to go!


This was another great stash-buster and a joy to work up.  I just love these colours and they have been sitting in my stash for way too long.


Much prettier than the original cover of stained cotton twill.


Another photo bomb by Libby:  I think she suspects I love yarn almost as much as I love her.


This next project was a work in progress for much too long.  It started off as the Blossoming Bag by Sandra from Cherry Heart.  I wanted to make my flowers to mimic cherry blossoms, and subsequently only felt inspired to work on it when the cherry blossoms were in bloom.  We all know how fleeting that time is, so four years later I was only at the half way point.  I realized as well that the finished size of the bag would not be practical for me at all, so I had to have another think about what to do.  A pillow it is, and ready for this year's cherry blossom time!


In another episode of stash serendipity, I had two balls of a cotton yarn that were an almost exact match for the purple in the blossoms, and just the right amount to make the pillow backing.

Not quite finished, but  I have been working away on my Moorland blanket, and am now just beyond the half way point.  This is nice to work on as I love the colours and the texture the stitch pattern makes.  I am not making so many mistakes so it is moving along much quicker than before.


So you can see the wintery weather has been good for my stash reduction challenge this year!  I have lost quite a bit of yarn weight and it has been lovely.  I did have to purchase a skein to finish off a project, but that has a purpose so I don't feel badly about it.  I also bought some yarn while on vacation, but it is also ear-marked for projects so I didn't just buy it only because I thought it was pretty!


In cross stitch news I don't have much to report:  I have been working away on some of my larger WIP's so there isn't anything to show. Here is a rather bad picture of one of them:


I am very close to a finish on one of them so next time there will be something to show.  I did pick up a few stitchy things while on vacation and that is helping to motivate me to get stitching!


A few charts, a magazine and some pretty fabrics for finishing.  The Violet Fancy chart is an early birthday gift.


Of course I had to sew some more bags for all my crochet projects.  These are also very addicting to make, and great for stash busting your fabric stash.


Lastly I will leave you with a picture of the wreath  I made for our front door.  I hung it up on the first day of Spring, and we promptly had minus 30 degree Celsius temperatures and five inches of snow a few days later.  Yes, Spring has definitely arrived in my corner of the world!


  Happy Days Friends!  Thanks for visiting!

xo, Jenn









Tuesday, January 24, 2017

January

Hello!  How is everyone?  De-Christmas-ed, de-cluttered, etc?  I have been working away the past few days getting my pictures and projects in order to load onto my blog.  I wanted to make sure I had some finished things to show, and not just a parade of works in progress that seem to be trailing all over the house!

I have been fortunate to be able to spend a lot of time with my crafts lately, and I have to tell you I love it.  My mind is consumed with what I am making or want to make, and it is a nice change from thinking about light fixtures, and hardware store sales, and scouting out all sorts of trades people.

My kids went to school right up until the 23rd of December, so pretty much all of their time off was after Christmas.  While it felt weird at first, it made the break seem extra long as none of the time was taken up with pre-holiday preparations.  We spent most of that time at home, mostly in our pyjamas I'm afraid, but we all felt really rested when it was all over.

I wanted to get some up-coming card occasions taken care of, so December 26 found me with needle and thread stitching away.  My friend moved to a new house on December 27 (can you imagine that?!) and I wanted to stitch a New Home card for her family.




I used a design from a French magazine and I loved the bright colours of the birds.  The original pattern only has two birds charted, but I added a third because they are a family of three.

This same friend celebrates a birthday in February, and I knew if I didn't stitch something now it was likely not going to get finished and mailed on time.  She loves to garden and I know she is spending this time dreaming of what she can do with her new yard.  I thought this little gnome motif from a previous issue of Cross Stitch Crazy was just perfect for her:


I happily started the New Year with a new cross stitch project:  Country Cottage Needleworks 'Winter Welcome'.  This has been on my wishlist for a long time and I am really happy how it turned out.  The frame is one I found at a thrift store, and given the amount of compliments I received on it in my Instagram feed, I think it was the right choice!


I took a bit of a break from cross stitch when I re-discovered a Cath Kidston book on needlework in my collection.  I stitched up this pretty little pin pillow with bits of thrifted tapestry wool I have.


I filled it with polyfil and a bit of dried lavender;  the backing is the fabric you see underneath.

While I could have spent all month stitching away on new things, I realized I have quite a bit of cross stitch on the go already, and it was time to finish some things off that have been languishing around in bins and baskets.


 These stars are not so old, but they were started before Christmas and I thought it would be better to get them finished before next Christmas!  I haven't glued them to the wooden stars underneath yet, because I am still deciding whether or not I want to put something gold between the fabric and the wood.  Once I decide, they will be attached to a garland to spell 'Peace' and decorate my craft room next Christmas.

This little heart only needed a few more stitches to be completed.  I wonder why I ever put it away when it was so close to being called a finish?


Same goes for these two:  I started the spool this summer and only finished it the other day.  The second design only took an evening or two to stitch up, so what was I waiting for?


Getting things off my plate has been applied to my other hobbies as well.  After many months of sitting around I finally finished off my crochet linen stitch scarf:


Becki of Field Lilies had shown some of these last year and I was so excited to make some.  If only I could be so excited to finish things!

In an effort to work down my yarn stash a little bit, I joined a Ravelry group called  'The Biggest Loser Stash Reduction Challenge'.   After each finish you weigh your project and record the grams lost.  You also have to record the grams gained through purchases.  It has been a motivator for sure, and I have had fun hooking up some quick, stash busting projects:



114 grams lost so far!

Finally, as if I didn't have enough crafty goodness to keep me happy, I have taken up knitting!  I had learned the stitches before, but never made anything.  I discovered a cross stitcher on Youtube, who is making knitting tutorials for beginners.  We start off with knitted cowls worked in the round, and move our way to ribbed cowls; house slippers; socks; a pull over sweater and finally a cardigan.
 So far I have to say I am not in love with knitting:  I find it slow and I haven't really seen any projects I am gung-ho to make that I couldn't replicate in crochet.  I keep going because I really want to make the socks:  if those turn out to be a bust then I will retire my needles!

  Here are the two cowls I have made so far:


(Charisma yarn in 'Mulberry Bush' colour way.)


(Charisma yarn in 'Chocolate Cupcake')

And with that, we have come to the end of another lengthy blog post!  I have hopes to update here in tandem with my podcasts, roughly every two to three weeks,  but I will just have to see how that will all work.  I am still finding the right balance between the social media outlets I use, but I know I definitely do not want to walk away from this space.

Thank you all so much for dropping in: I really appreciate the time you take to do so.
 I am anxious to get back to my projects so I will have lots to show you (again!) next time!

Happy Days!

xo, Jenn

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