Monday, February 28, 2011

Carrot Bookmark

My next bookmark for the Stitchers for Literacy Challenge is complete. I knew when I saw the 2010 Carrot by Cross-eyed Cricket that I would eventually make it into a bookmark. I stitched it on some white linen from Vikki Clayton that she offered at an irresistibly low price some time ago. It's 36 count and nice to stitch on. I should have used some stiff interfacing though. The grosgrain ribbon I used on the back still leaves it a bit floppy. But a floppy bookmark can still mark a page. It would have been cute to finish this up in a carrot shape, but I didn't think I really could pull that off successfully. So when those two little bunnies caught sight of the white space at the bottom of the rectangular bookmark, they just jumped right on! I added the border too to give a nice finished edge. I think I'll stitch one more design for this project while I wait for an online order to arrive with a new pattern to stitch for Love Quilts.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Alice In Wonderland Bookmark

Time for the Stitchers for Literacy Challenge again. When I saw this free design made especially for the challenge, my needle almost jumped into the fabric by itself. This design is by Ship's Manor - Erik D Shipley. It's a freebie at the Stitchers' Village. Isn't this the most clever tribute to Alice? Look at all those sweet motifs - the rabbit and his watch, the Eat Me cookie, the Drink Me bottle, the Mad Hatter's hat, the chess piece, the talking flowers and the little red hearts. Plus it makes me think of the hookah smoking caterpillar in the Disney version saying 'Who are you' to Alice. I didn't even mind doing the border, something I usually am not so crazy about. This is done over-two on Vikki Clayton's 36 count linen. Comes out to be about 7", long enough that I didn't feel the need to allow any ribbon overhang.

I found a piece of cotton fabric ribbon in my stash. It's been treated with something that makes it stiff and prevents it from raveling. I just cut it to the length of the bookmark and used Stitch Witchery, the iron on fusible web, to attach it to the back. Very simple finish. Not sure where I got that ribbon, but it works great for this purpose.

And February brings new neighbors in a pink house to the San-Man Birthday Village SAL. What kind of people paint their house pink?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Valentine Stitchery and a Red Hat

Seems like everything old is new again. I've seen so many people doing what they call 'stitchery' lately. It's what I used to just call embroidery. I learned to do it in the third grade when my teacher, the marvelous Mrs. M., gave a tea towel to each student with a stamped design of fruit or flowers. Each one was different. She taught us all to embroider the design, and I don't ever remember a word that would imply this was only an activity for girls. In fact the best work was done by some of the boys in the class. My towel was stamped with cherries. This turned out to be one of the more difficult ones because the round cherries required very tiny stitches, and I never really understood that at the time. So my work was not all that great, but my Mom used that dish towel for years until it was too worn to be of any further use.

Today I see many cute whimsical designs that are just so appealing, often incorporated in patchwork quilts. In anticipation of trying this again, I bought a piece of muslin and a washable transfer embroidery pen. I was kind of nervous about my ability to transfer a design properly, but it worked out great. The muslin is almost see-through in the right light so tracing is pretty easy. And the pen markings come out easily with water if there are any mistakes. I found this snowman design here on Elin's blog. It's the perfect size for a trial and great for Valentine's Day or even the December holidays. I chose to use a stem stitch over the outline stitch or back stitch, but I'm not really sure why. The results aren't perfect (just like the tea towel!), but I think this little door hanger is pretty cute. I sent it to a stitcher who I think is in need of a bit of cheering up.

The last time I was at the craft store I saw this really pretty-colored yarn that reminded me of DMC 115, the old variegated red. It was Caron's Simply Soft Paints yarn, and I bought a skein to see how I would like knitting with acrylic these days since I hadn't done that for a long time. I made this hat after seeing it done in such pretty yarn on Karen's blog. It's the free pattern on Ravelry called "Magenta Cabled Hat". I had never knitted a hat in the round, but with my new found ability to use DPNS, I thought I'd give it a try. I changed the teeny 2 stitch cable to a mock cable (knit the second stitch and leave on the needle, knit the first and drop both stitches). And I added the extra knit rows that Karen did as well. I'm actually quite happy with the result. Don't know how it will hold up over time, but it feels soft and warm when I wear it. The first photo is not great, but does show the color well. Its in darker reds, not like the subsequent pictures.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Valentine Birdie

I can't let Valentine's Day go by without making at least one Valentine's card. For this one, I used the Valentine Bird design from Heart In Hand Needleart. I picked all my own colors and added that funky little striped heart.. free form heart stitching. The brown is a little lighter chocolate than the photo would have you think. I like the sparkly stickers too, although you can't see the glitter in the photo. I'm not always happy with my cards, but this is one of my favorites.

With that half skein of Patons Classic Wool blue denim yarn left-over from the last pair of gloves I made, I figured I'd try out a different pattern. These are made from the Honeycomb Wristwarmer pattern. I love them! They are a bit longer than the Fetching pattern and very warm. The thumb gusset fits just right! They worked up really fast too. The honeycomb pattern is an alternating knit one, slip one stitch so you really reduce the number of stitches from stockinette, say, by 25% if you consider the slipped stitch as 1/2 a stitch. Plus the body of the glove is all stockinette so no referring to a pattern constantly and no pesky cables! The thumb didn't require any extras stitches to be picked up and knit so no big holes to worry about either.

The color is more true to life in these photos: