Monday, January 26, 2009

Imitation is the sincerest...

I seem to get so many ideas these days from blog-reading. I feel like I'm such a copycat! My latest inspiration was seeing this hat
at Be-Stitched with instructions at I assumed this hat was knitted, but was surprised to discover it is actually crocheted. I was intrigued since it's usually so easy to tell the difference.

I find that crocheted hats don't stretch much so the sizing has to be more exact. And hats knit with a single strand of worsted weight yarn are often not warm enough. Plus I have a pretty high failure rate anyway for making hats that fit and look decent, but I really wanted to try making those cables in crochet.

So for a $2.00 investment (including a 20% off coupon), I picked up a skein of Red Heart yarn in a color that I had been thinking about ever since I saw this sweater at Loopy Lou's. (Scroll past the chicken scratch). Not exactly the same, but the same effect. It's called 'Flecked Aran'. Wool has a nicer 'hand', but is too irritating to my skin.

The cool part of this hat is no seam to sew at the end. I made it in one evening (albeit a long evening). I refused to do any frogging so there are tons of mistakes.. but I just think of those as customization. The front and back post stitches made the hat thicker so the single strand of yarn was perfect. I never really quite understood how to do the row following the cable row. It was hard to find the 'post' on the row below.

The beauty part is that this hat fits, and I wore it for a walk in the winter cold yesterday. I'm very pleased with this experiment.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Valentine and more....

On this historic inauguration day in the U.S., I'm displaying the Valentine's card I finished last night in the spirit of love and hope.

The design is another cute freebie from Claire. The fabric is lilac flair from Enchanted Fabrics. I went crazy with eyelets! Much easier to set on a card than on fabric actually.

Here's the little card I made to go with the baby sampler from the previous post. I met the new little prince on Sunday. He's just the absolute cutest! The design is from Prairie Schooler, a piece of Winter Wind.

Still experimenting with heart favor pockets. The designs on these are from Cross Country Stitching magazine. I like the designs, but I'm not at all happy with the finishing on the tops. That's what happens with experiments. Some work out and some don't!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Snowman Baby Sampler

I'm still trying to recover fully from a nasty attack of bronchitis. But at least I've been able to stitch again without coughing after every 'x'. Last night I even did the finishing for this baby sampler so I must be getting better!

This design is by Homespun Elegance, with some modifications by me. Some things about the chart annoyed me:
1) The model for the design was shown in fancy hand-dyed threads, but DMC alternatives were given with the warning that the design would not look the same as the model. I think they should have included a photo of the piece done in DMC as well.
3) There are not a lot of colors, but the symbols are so small and some look so much alike that you had to really refer to the stitched model constantly to be sure not to make a mistake.
4) The chart was one sheet, printed on both sides. So the chart was on a different side from the color key. Pretty much forced you to make a working copy and that would not have been necessary otherwise.
5) The chart was really too large for one page and is very hard to read.

But I do like the design and I think it's perfect for a baby boy born on X-mas eve. I used Zweigart Edinburgh linen in Summer Khaki. The piece looks quite different from the photo on the chart using these colors, but I like how it turned out. The actual design called for snowman buttons in the fours corners (available only from Homespun Elegance!), but no problem.. gave me a place to put the baby facts.

For the finishing, I sewed a section of a wire clothes hanger inside the top of the hanging so it wouldn't sag in the middle. If you just bend the hanger back and forth a few times, it breaks off neatly and you don't need special tools. One of my favorite finishing methods.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Heart favor

I'm experimenting with heart favor pockets in anticipation of Valentine's Day. Here's my first, a free design from PCB. The ribbon at the top is hand sewn. I used DMC 107, the old-style variegated thread.

For the new year, I received an ornament from Kerry for the Stitchin' Fingers exchange. This little guy took his time traveling from Canada, but he has arrived just in time since we are anticipating our first 'winter mix' weather event this week.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Prairie Points

Always looking for new finishing ideas, I googled up a storm a while back trying to find out how to make the arrow-head like edges that are used on some quilt finishes. I didn't know what to call that edging so I never found what I was looking for. But out of the blue, Liz put a post on her blog about doing a variation of 'Prairie Points' and then I had a label to search for. Found several different techniques, so I picked one that looked like the least amount of work, method 2 on this page. Problem is, that one also requires the most precision and is very unforgiving when you don't cut and sew perfectly. Found that out the hard way. I stitched this little fairy from Chez Mounette, "Mariage d'Ariane et Jean-Pierre", for the sole purpose of trying out this technique. It's stitched in DMC 719 on a lovely piece of Miek's hand-dyed fabric. Next time I try this (if there is a next time), I won't use the one-strip method. I'll have to bite the bullet and make individual points so I can move them around in the sewing to make them fit perfectly.

The photo is also featured on the blog, Chez Mounette, on this page.

Happy New Year to everyone!