Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fetching Fingerless Gloves

We were very lucky in the DC area to escape the monster snowstorm that wreaked havoc along the East Coast. But it has been very cold with extremely high winds. So I am delighted that I finished knitting a pair of fingerless gloves to cope with this weather. I love wearing them at the keyboard, when I'm reading and when I do needlework. They make me feel warm all over.

I used the free Fetching pattern from Knitty.com. This is a very popular pattern among knitters and I can see why. It's fun to knit and fits pretty well. The name is based on the fact that the cables on each glove twist 'fetchingly' toward each other. I love the picot bind off edging at the top too. This is my first foray into gloves knitted in the round on DPN's. The thumb was the trickiest part and I still need to work on that. These are done in Knit Picks worsted weight Swish yarn, Amethyst Heather.

I signed up to grant a mini-wish on the San-Man board. One of the members wanted a heart-shaped coaster. I planned to crochet one, but I didn't like the results. So I stitched this little freebie heart from Mausimom and added a crocheted rick-rack border. The fabric is a piece of hand painted 18 ct Khaki Aida from Sassy's Fabbys. I'll back it with felt or maybe fun foam.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Harry Potter Altoid Tin

Teenage boys are never easy to stitch for, but I had an idea for a Harry Potter lover who read all of the books faithfully as soon as they came on the market. Hope he hasn't outgrown the franchise!

I started this Altoid tin top by stitching a cute little Harry Potter cartoon-like design. My first plan was to stitch it over-two on 36 ct linen. But it came out exactly the size of the top and looked way too big for the space. So I went back and re-stitched it over-one on tea-dyed Monaco and liked it much better.

For the inside, I stuck with the over-one approach and stitched the Hogwart's Crest. The crocheted owl is a motif from the Crochet A Little blog and makes a great Hedwig. I added the ribbons since I plan to enclose a little Hewlitt-Packard (initials HP, just perfect, huh?) flash drive and it will get tucked under the ribbons.

For good measure, I crocheted a teeny little golden snitch that can fit in the box as well. The pattern is done in knitting worsted. I used #10 thread instead.

I couldn't let the bigger version of Harry go to waste, so I made him up into a companion bookmark.

All of these patterns were freebies and there is a link to each one in this post. I'm so grateful to all those designers who are so generous with their talents.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Little Lulu Bag

I finally got around to finishing the Little Lulu cross stitch piece. I made another one of those simple zippered sling bags that I find so useful. Hope my friend will feel the same. I modify my method each time I make one, but I'm never 100% satisfied with the results. This has some extra batting. I thought my last one was a bit flimsy. The two tatted motifs were part of the gifts I received from Wendy. I've beeen keeping my eyes and mind open to ways to use them and I think they look nice this way. The fabric color is somewhere between what you see in the two photos.

My Jazzercise friend Maggie tucked a cute little package into my hand the other night just before class started. I didn't open it at the time and I've yet to thank her, but it turned out to be a sweet little holiday ornament. I don't think Maggie is a stitcher so I'll be interested in finding out where she picked this up.

The other fun thing that happened was I reached the 20 class attendance goal that meant I got to take home this cute Jazzercise patent leather zippered clutch. Of course, my incentive to attend classes in this cold weather is gone now. I'm hoping I can continue to rally!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Knit/Crochet Fingerless Gloves

My hands are freezing at the keyboard as I type this. It's a great winter for those trendy fingerless gloves, whether for texting on the subway, working at your desk or even for stitching. Before I dared try the double-pointed needles, I made this pair for Kirsten. These are a combination of knitting and crochet. They are stitched flat and seamed on the side leaving a space for the thumb to poke through. I first saw them while watching the Knit and Crochet Now tv show. You can find the pattern on the site, but you have to register. It's shown on Episode 222. The pattern as designed included beads at the cuff, but I omitted those.

They are done in Knit Picks DK weight Swish yarn in Marble Heather. This is a soft super-wash wool. I'm becoming quite a fan of Knit Picks.

They turned out a little large, but Kirsten has worn them already outside so I guess they stayed on! The hand in the photo is mine, not Kirsten's.

I sent them with this holiday card made from the Sweetheart Tree design in the JCS 2010 Ornament issue.

Yea for the international mail! This package took less than a week to go from DC to Germany.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Signs of Winter

Seems like every blogger is showing photos of early snowfalls this year. It's cold here, but we haven't seen the first flakes quite yet. So this altoid tin top I stitched will serve to keep us on the lookout. This a Bent Creek design, one of the four for each of the seasons. Not sure if I love it in the over-one stitching on the tea-dyed Monaco or not. But I know I like the crocheted penguin inside. This one is just tailor made to be another winter survival kit with some Burt's Bees goodies added to fight the winter dryness.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Holiday Cards

Over the years, I've stitched a variety of small winter holiday designs, just to have them ready when I needed them. I used to make little gift tags and small ornaments for co-workers when I went to an office every day. Now I was wondering if I'd ever use what I stitched. So I picked four of them up and turned them into greeting cards. I felt like I was working on some kind of assembly line, but it was fun to finish them up and be able to finally use them.

This was from a Sam Hawkins book of holiday designs. I don't know why I didn't use this earlier. It looks so cute to me now.

Not sure where this design came from. A web freebie maybe? A magazine design? Anyway, I like cute Rudolph's.

Here's another design I can't place. But he's a sweet little bear, I think.

And the final one is from a Donna Kooler book of designs. I've stitched a ton of designs from that book, and I can never resist a cute snowman.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bent Creek Flatbed Fridgie & Altoid Tin

I just discovered the adorable Bent Creek Flatbed series of little designs when I was searching for a cute turkey to stitch for Thanksgiving. This Flatbed Turkey looks so unaware of the fate that lies ahead. I feel kind of sorry for him. He's on my fridge at the moment merrily rolling along on sequined wheels, stitched on off-white Monaco.

One of my friends just passed her U.S. citizenship test and I thought that called for a little stitchy gift to help her celebrate. The Flatbed Uncle Sam was perfect for an Altoid tin top. I used button wheels on this one. Not sure what will go inside. I'm thinking red, white and blue hair accessories like barrettes and elastics topped off with a bit of chocolate. This one is stitched on Bay Rum Jobelan.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Consumed by Gifts

There is something so special to me about Brittercup designs. Those sleek kitties that don't require a lot of stitching to get the effect are just so darn clever. I loved the colorful ornament in the JCS 2010 issue. It's stitched here on 32 ct bone Lugana with some DMC color variation substitutions. Finished with more hand-crocheted rick-rack.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Magic and a Knitted Owl Cup Cozy

I can't resist a cute fairy design so I had to stitch up the Magic ornament from Charlotte's Web Needlework in the JCS 2010 Ornament issue. The suggested DMC colors came out a little lighter than the model photo in the magazine so I modified them for a little more contrast. For 963, 3716, 3731, and 3733, I substituted 3716,3733,3831, and 3731 respectively. I'm not a fan of metallic threads, but the silver wings and smyrna x-stitches on the dress called for it, so I suffered through it. And I just used some embellishments I had in my stash.

I've stayed away from knitting patterns that use double-pointed needles after my one attempt on a dishcloth some time ago. But it made me mad that so many people seemed to do it so routinely, so I decided to tackle it again. The incentive was this super-cute owl coffee sleeve pattern. This was a test run for practice. I had read on Ravelry that a lot of people thought it turned out too large, so I knit one fewer owl than the pattern called for. The yarn is just some left-over Red Heart that I had hanging around. After a few false attempts, I kind of got the hang of it and I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. I added French knot eyes and duplicate stitch beaks. Now I can get some nicer yarn (maybe that Knit Picks Swish super-wash wool!) and make another. I finished it easily in one evening including all the frogging and re-starting. A nice quick gift. Here's a photo on a porcelain cup I bought as a gift that looks like the Starbucks take-out version.

The final bit of sweetness for today are two thank you notes I received on Friday. These came from the daughters of a co-worker to whom I sent the Day of the Dead ornament I made this year. These drawings are just too adorable. I like the way Cecilia turned me into a 60's hippie! This was quite the unexpected treat!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Snow Love

I believe I was the last subscriber to receive the JCS ornament issue. Finally I had to call them when it didn't show up and they re-sent it. That took an extra ten days. But I do like the issue and the Nov/Dec issue has already arrived too so I'm caught up.

I decided to stitch the Sam Sarah snowman 'Love' ornament first. So many pretty colors and such a fun design. I used all DMC so it looks a bit different from the magazine model. I didn't have those L-O-V-E buttons to attach to the gifts so I just used some little buttons from my stash instead. I like the way she used couching for the heart border. Very effective and original. The ribbon hanger is a deep purple. Not sure if the color is showing up well in the photos. I took one inside and one outside and, of course, I'm not really happy with either one.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Little Lulu

I have a friend who loves Little Lulu. You have to be of a certain age to remember the comic book character, but she was beloved by many little girls at one time. My friend believes she even looks like Lulu. She has long, dark, naturally curly hair that tends to hang in corkscrew curls, but I think that's really where the resemblance ends. For quite a while, I've wanted to stitch her something Lulu-related, but apparently that character has not been licensed by the x-stitch pros. So I bit the bullet and adapted a drawing myself. My method is just to trace the design onto tracing paper and then tape it to graph paper printed with the same number of squares per inch as my fabric. Instant chart! Here's the result with plenty of back-stitching to help get the shapes right. She's stitched on 25-ct Vikki linen. I used some DMC color variations for the dress so the color wouldn't be so 'flat'. And that ice cream cone is from the skein of pink Princess floss that I won a while back. I think I'll make it into a little bag of some kind with some cute backing fabric I found today.

I received a lovely surprise gift from Kirsten. It's a luminary made out of card stock with a cross-stitch design. You just put a tea light (battery-powered for safety!) inside. This is so cool, but so difficult to photograph. This photo is showing the light from the lamp behind it. There is no light inside yet. Kirsten used an opalescent fabric so it's really sparkly. And it folds flat so it can be mailed like a greeting card. You can see better photos on Kirsten's blog, the 10-16 entry.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

I never saw a purple penguin Altoids tin

This must be the year of the penguin for me. My latest finish is the Workbasket "Mr Quaker Penguin" stitched on 28-count white Monaco over one. This will be a gift for a purple-lover (who may or may not be a penguin lover). I used Sassy's Strings hand-dyed floss in "Royalty", a rich color with lots of variation. This floss is a very reasonably priced alternative to some of the other hand-dyed threads on the market. But I just read that she is discontinuing this product. Apparently it just doesn't make economic sense for her to offer it. Sigh.....

I added lots of purple trim to the Altoid tin both inside and out.

Plus I made another crocheted penguin motif in purple thread to live on the inside.

The project took a bit more time than I thought it would due to the arrival of my seasonal headaches. But doing just a little bit each day adds up to a finish before your know it!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Crochet Ric-Rac for Ornament Trim

After a long-need rainy day yesterday, the sun finally peeked out long enough to let me take some photos of two ornaments I just completed. My crochet guru Kirsten pointed me to this tutorial to make ric-rac by crocheting. It's easy and fun to do and the ric-rac made this way is very flexible. I'll definitely be using this more in the future.

The first try combined the ric-rac into the trim and hanger for the "Cool Christmas" design by Fresh Threads Studio from the JCS ornament preview magazine. This style seems similar to Monster Bubbles designs and I was expecting it to be one of theirs. I liked it because the color scheme is so unusual. I think it will make a perfect gift for someone in Florida.

Next I made this Day of the Dead design that really is by Monster Bubbles from the JCS Halloween issue. This time I used the ric-rac for the edging only. Then I added a couple of crochet motifs on the back. The crocheted skull pattern can be found here.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Thanks to Lazy Girl

I feared that the sampler I stitched was going to become one of those 'stitch and stow' items, the kind you put in the closet and never really turn into something useful. For inspiration, I ordered the Lazy Girl Runaround Bag pattern even though I've made a couple of different variations on this type of bag and really didn't need it. I was curious to see if there might be some helpful hints in a real pattern. Pink Chalk Fabrics turns out to be a good online store that I never knew about before. Fast service and decent pricing. Sure enough, the zipper insertion technique is so clever and easy. Didn't even need a zipper foot. It's one of those, "why didn't I think of that" ideas. I didn't follow the rest of the pattern exactly, but the pattern directions did provide a few other construction tips. I used fusible craft fleece to give it a bit of padding and cut it small enough so it isn't in the seam to reduce bulk. I could really have used a walking foot to make sewing through multiple layers a bit easier, but I hate to buy one for my machine since it's so old and the only one available was made my a third-party, not the original manufacturer. But they aren't very expensive, so I may decide to try one anyway for next time.

I finally decided to go with the darker fabby on the outside and the lighter one as the lining for the stitching side. And then since it looked a little bare, I added two little butterfly beads from my stash that had been quietly waiting for the right moment to make an appearance. The photo of the back makes the print look blurry, but it's fine IRL.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Marquoir Annie

I had hoped to have a completed project to show by this time, but only the stitching is complete on this. Dany designed this lovely sampler for someone named 'Annie' (see the Aug. 25, 2010 entry). She stitched in the name and the birth date. The date was not all that much before my birth date. So I considered it my destiny to stitch this piece. I used 32 count "Mottled Magpie" linen from Vikki Clayton. It's not quite as bright a blue as in this photo. And I didn't stitch in my own birth date! I'm still trying to figure out how I want to construct a zippered bag from this. You can see the two complementary fabrics I bought last weekend that will be used in some way. Hopefully I'll get inspired to do the finishing soon.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Halloween Greetings

This design by Paulette Stewart of Plum Street Samplers from the Halloween issue of JCS just reminds me of the place where one of the 'Real Witches of Salem' would hang her hat. This is not a color palette that I am generally attracted to, but it was so perfect for this piece that I really enjoyed working with it. I love the look on the 36-ct linen from Vikki Clayton. It was from a grab bag of assorted colors and sadly, no longer available. I stitched it all in DMC and the main change was to replace the date on the lower left with a flower that is more or less in the same style as the other motifs. The little leaf buttons came in handy to dress it up after a quick finish.

The colors are more true to life on the indoor photo, but the flash insisted on making an appearance, so I took and an outdoor shot too.

My crocheted elephant and giraffe motifs found new homes. I appliqued each of them onto a batik fabric and sewed each one up as an envelope style needlecase. If you call your blog "Giraffe X-ing", as Theresa does, you clearly are meant to own the giraffe needle case.

And if your son is fascinated by elephants and is also learning to x-stitch like Dawn you are perfect for the elephant case.