Tuesday, January 10, 2017

First Pair of Hand Knit Socks!!

Hey everyone, hope you all had a lovely holiday season and New Year. Have you made any resolutions? I haven't made any concrete craft plans for this year but I'm really hoping to get Elegance of the Orient finished. I would also like to make some progress on HAED QS Clara. You can find my last posts on these pieces here and here. Another project that needs some attention is my Sirdar Blur cardigan, it only needs to be blocked, stitched together and the decorative piece around the front knit, last post on this is here. 

Now enough about all the projects I haven't finished, today's post is about one I did complete. For a long time now I have been seeing hand knit socks online, and they always look amazing. However the pictures of them in progress made it look so complicated, just so many needles at once! Well I decided to get myself some yarn and a set of double pointed needles (DPNs), look up a tutorial and give it a go. Why not, right?

Hand Knit Socks Knitting
Hand Knit Socks, my very first pair!

Well to my surprise it actually turned out to be some what easier than I thought it would be. I had to use a few different tutorials but the main one was a YouTube video you can find here.
The only things I found difficult to follow on this tutorial were how to do the long tail cast on, joining the round together, and picking up stitches for the gusset. I ended up searching for other videos to clarify these steps.

Hand Knit Socks Knitting
Don't be afraid to try something new, I did and now I have hand made socks!!

I used sport weight, acrylic/cotton blend yarn, on 3mm DPNs for these socks, knitting them top down. They are so warm and cozy, as well as being lots of fun to knit. It felt really great to learn something new and get a finished product out of it. I have now saved a number of other patterns I want to do and can't wait to try out different yarns.

This project was a great reminder to me to try new things and not be afraid to make mistakes. I had to rip back the start of these about 9 times before I managed to get it right. However once I got into a rhythm they were straight forward enough, even the heel turning wasn't that difficult. I did make a mistake in picking up the stitches on the gusset and there is a slight hole there, but it's very small and not a huge issue.

Have you tried any new things recently? I would love to hear about them in the comments below!!

Well that's all for today!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas Secret Cross Stitch Finally Unveiled

Hey everyone, well Christmas is just around the corner and I think I am pretty well prepared at this stage. Presents have been bought, decorations are up, most of my gift wrapping is done and a super special secret Christmas project is done. This is a piece I had been planning to do for most of the year and now that it has been received by the new owner I can finally share it. I am ridiculously excited to show this off.

Cross Stitch Christmas Stocking Finish, Handmade Christmas Stocking, SamSarah Designs, Just Cross Stitch Ornament,
Handmade Christmas Stocking with Cross Stitch Piece Cuff

Here it is, my handmade Christmas Stocking for a very special member of my family. The cross stitch piece is from Just Cross Stitch Ornament Edition 2014 and it's a SamSarah Designs pattern called First Star. When I saw this piece I fell in love with it, and it is perfect for this project. It is stitched on 28ct antique white evenweave using DMC threads I had in my stash, 2 over 2.

Cross Stitch Christmas Stocking Finish, Handmade Christmas Stocking, SamSarah Designs, Just Cross Stitch Ornament
First Star by SamSarah Designs - Just Cross Stitch Ornament Ed. 2014

Once the cross stitch was done I started putting the stocking together based on a template made from an old stocking of mine for size and shape. The inside of the Stocking is lined with the grey Christmas tree fabric that I used for the cuff, and there is a layer of batting between the outer layer and the lining to make it nice and squishy. I really took my time with this, carefully cutting out each piece and stitching them together. I even made a practice one out of cheap material and I am grateful I did! Based on the practice run, I decided to stitch the cuff into the sides of the stocking which made it much neater and easier to put together.

Cross Stitch Christmas Stocking Finish, Handmade Christmas Stocking, SamSarah Designs, Just Cross Stitch Ornament
Stocking nearly ready to send to its new home

I thought that putting the majority of the stocking together would be fairly straight forward but the one thing that I couldn't figure out was how to stitch the lining to the inside so it wouldn't get pulled out. Thankfully the Internet came to the rescue and I used this tutorial to put it together so the lining would stay in place.

I am so delighted with how this project looks and I really hope the recipients love it too. It was super fun to make something so different and figure out the best way to put it all together. Hopefully this will encourage me to continue trying new ways to use my sewing machine and cross stitch finishes.

I want to wish all my readers an amazing Christmas and a wonderful New Year as this is my last post before the Holidays.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Sirdar Yo-Yo Jumber - Re-Photographed

Hey everyone, how are the Christmas preparations coming on? Well, I hope. I have managed to get most of my gift shopping done but still have the decorations to put up. Will probably go get our tree this weekend. I was super irresponsible lately but I spied an amazing offer on 2x 400g balls of Sirdar Yo-Yo yarn in Caramel on Ebay and I couldn't resist getting them. This reminded me that I have been meaning to post some pictures of my purple yo-yo yarn jumper that were taken recently. The original post I made on this project can be found here, and I think we can all agree the pictures are terrible.

Hand Knit Sirdar Yo-Yo yarn Jumper/sweater Pattern 9082

So here I am wearing my super comfie Sirdar yarn jumper. My OH's father very kindly did the photos of this for me and I am delighted with how they came out. I think it really shows off the gradient of colour on this piece.

This is made from pattern 9082. I decided to make the sleeves longer than called for in the pattern as I have fairly long arms and I don't like jumpers that are slightly too short in the sleeves. In fact I added on enough that they come down over my hands, which I adore.

Hand Knit Sirdar Yo-Yo yarn Jumper/Sweater Pattern 9082

It is a real shame that Sirdar have discontinued this line because it was really fun to knit. This jumper was done using a single 400g ball so the colour changes flow really nicely. I have a couple more yo-yo patterns and a few balls of the yarn in a different colourways. I am definitely looking forward to knitting them up. I have a Sirdar Blur cardigan that is waiting to be blocked and a Blur jumper on the needles so once those are done I think I will tuck into one of the yo-yo patterns.

Hand Knit Sirdar Yo-Yo yarn Jumper/sweater Pattern 9082

I would love to hear what you all think of the jumper, let me know in the comments below. I am working away on a surprise cross stitch piece at the moment, so hopefully I can share that soon. It is Christmas themed but needs to be given to the recipient before the big day, keep an eye out for that.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Be Jolly Cross Stitch Finish - Mini Cushion Style

Hey there, hope those of you who celebrate Christmas are enjoying the start of the holiday season. To all my American buddies, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. I have finally made a start on getting ready for Christmas, don't have my decorations up yet, but will sort those some time over the next few weeks. I have been doing some gift shopping, and also made a Christmas ornament finish! This is actually really exciting for me as I have no handmade Christmas decorations! I usually give away most of my pieces.

Be Jolly, Just Cross Stitch, Mini cross stitch finish, Christmas, Mini Cushion Finish, Stitching, Handmade
Be Jolly Cross Stitch finished as a mini cushion
Looking back through my blog I was fairly appalled to find that this piece was stitched in Feb 2014 and been awaiting finishing all that time. Want to see that post, it's right here! The chart is from Just Cross Stitch Ornament edition 2013, and as far as I can remember I changed all the colours to the DMC equivalents. It was stitched on a piece of 28ct evenweave fabric from a Polstitches grab bag.

Be Jolly, Just Cross Stitch, Mini cross stitch finish, Christmas, Mini Cushion Finish Preparation, Stitching, Handmade
Be Jolly Mini Cushion Prep
This ornament was a very straight forward, simple finish. I used the snowflake fabric for the backing, ran it through the sewing machine, leaving an opening for stuffing. Once I had filled it with polyester soft toy stuffing, I used an invisible ladder stitch to close it. It is a bit too large to hang from the tree so I didn't bother adding a ribbon. I will just pop it on a shelf in the house somewhere.

Be Jolly, Just Cross Stitch, Mini cross stitch finish, Christmas, Mini Cushion Finish Preparation, Stitching, Handmade
Be Jolly Cross Stitch - Just Cross Stitch Ornament Edition 2013
While I was searching my blog for the original post of this mini project, I was surprised to see how much my photographs have changed. They still aren't perfect by any means but they look a good deal better now than they used to. Don't believe me? Here is the original photo of this piece and a recent shot. What do you think? A big difference?

Old Terrible 2014 Photo
Be Jolly, Just Cross Stitch, Mini cross stitch finish, Christmas, Mini Cushion Finish, Stitching, Handmade
New Less Terrible 2016 Photo
I am currently working on another Christmas mini for a very special project, hopefully I will be able to share that with you soon.

That's all for now!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Bent Creek's Bird Seed Cross Stitch, Finished as a Cube!

Hey everyone, hope you all had a great weekend. Winter is definitely starting to settle in here, temperatures have dropped noticably and the heating is back to running regularly. I'm also making good use of my hand-knit yo-yo jumper/sweater, it's so snuggly warm, just perfect for Winter. I posted a picture of it on my Facebook page recently, click here to check it out and like my page to get updates! I will do a blog post on that in the future, as it recently got a proper photo shoot and I have have lots of lovely pictures of it.

Anyway back to todays post, I have my very first cube finish to show off. I have seen lots of this type of finish around on other blogs and just love it. I have been wanting to try one myself for a while now, so I finally took the plunge and used my Bent Creek Bird Seed finish, posted here, to try it out. I had checked out a few posts showing how to put these together in the past, so I had a good idea of what I needed to do to complete it.

Cross Stitch Finish, Cube Finish, Bent Creek Bird Seed Finish
Bent Creek Bird Seed Cross Stitch - Cube Finish

I had two styrofoam blocks I had bought some time ago in my stash. One of these was too big for this project so I used the smaller one. Unfortunately it was too deep, so I ended up cutting it in half with a bread knife. Not the easiest thing I have ever done but it worked. Next time I think I will raid my partner's toolbox and use his saw. Also I will do it outside and not in our kitchen on the chopping board!

I searched through my stash of fabrics and selected a few different ones, before I settled on a tan piece with white polkadots. I pinned the cross stitch to the styrofoam block using flat headed pins, and did the same for the backing fabric. The back of the block was uneven from being cut, so I pinned a piece of batting to the back of the cube under the fabric to even it out.

Cross Stitch Finish, Cube Finish, Bent Creek Bird Seed Finish
Cross Stitch Cube Finish - Back

I used a strip of the same tan fabric to cover the sides and top of the cube. I wanted it to go all the way around but alas I didn't have a long enough piece, so I folded in the edges at the bottom and pinned them in place. The whole thing is finished off with a wide green and narrow tan ribbon.

I'm delighted with how this turned out, it was actually a relatively simple finish. There are a few things I would change the next time I make one of these. I would add in a piece of batting to the front under the stitching, as it adds a bit of dimension to the piece. Also the stitching on the front is slightly tilted, so on the next one I will have to make sure it is straight when pinning it in place. I think it just needed to be stretched slightly to get it to sit properly.

Cross Stitch Finish, Cube Finish, Bent Creek Bird Seed Finish

I'm really looking forward to doing more of these cube finishes. The next one I have in mind is the Soda Stitch Harvest of Love, seen here, and I think I have the perfect fabric for it but will have to wait and see. Does anyone have any tips or tricks for these finishes, anything you do differently? If you haven't done one before would you like to try it out? Let me know in the comments below!

That's all for now!

Monday, October 31, 2016

A Cross Stitch Halloweeny Finish, in time for Halloween!

Hey everyone, here we are on the 31st of October, the spookiest night of the year. Hope all the Halloween preparations are done, for those who celebrate it. We will be having some friends up this evening to watch some cheesy horror movies and munch on junk food. What are your plans, spooky or otherwise? Let us know in the comments below.

Well seeing as it is Halloween I have an appropriate cross stitched ornament to show off. You might remember this from my previous post here. It's a super cute freebie from Durene Jones, and I decided I would make it into a cute hanging ornament to be the first of, hopefully, many Halloween decorations.

Durene Jones Cross Stitch, Mini cross stitch finish, Halloween, cat, stitching, handmade
Durene Jones Halloween Freebie - Available here

The first step was to look through my fabrics and pick out something for the backing that would match the cross stitch. I have a selection of 4" and 5" square pieces for quilting, I bought on Ebay just for this purpose. These small pieces are perfect for cross stitched ornaments as there is a large selection of colours and patterns included for a very reasonable price. This way I don't have to store a ridiculous amount of fabric, but still have lots to choose from for small finishes. I also have the option of stitching a few together if I need a slightly larger piece for a bigger project.

A thorough search through my collection later, and I had a combination of pieces I thought would go great with my Halloween Cat. I was torn between purples and oranges but in the end orange won the day.

Durene Jones Cross Stitch, Mini cross stitch finish, Halloween, cat, stitching, handmade
Halloween Cat Ornament Preparation

The next step was to make up the back panel using the three squares I had chosen. I calculated how large I would need each piece to be, including the seam allowance, so that it would be the right size. Off I went with rotary cutter and mat, cut the three pieces and stitched them together.

Durene Jones Cross Stitch, Mini cross stitch finish, Halloween, cat, stitching, handmade
The back panel stitched from 3 pieces of fabric

All that was left was to choose a matching ribbon. I decided to go with purple rather than orange as it gave the piece a bit of contrast. Once it had all been assembled correctly it went through the sewing machine. As is typical with me I didn't leave a very large opening to turn it the right way and stuff it with the polyester filling but I managed it, with some difficulty. I closed with an invisible ladder stitch, and I now am the proud owner of my first Halloween cross stitch decoration.

Durene Jones Cross Stitch, Mini cross stitch finish, Halloween, cat, stitching, handmade
The Finished Ornament. How Cute is that?!?

I am delighted with this and it is now hanging up above the TV. If you like this cute Halloween Cat make sure you head over to Mii's blog and check out how she finished this piece off as an awesome cube, you can find it here.

Hope everyone has a great Halloween night, enjoy and stay safe.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Giveaway Winner!!

Hey everyone, I hope you all had a enjoyable and creative weekend. I managed to get some finishing work done and will have a few posts on that in the future. This is a post that I have been meaning to write for a while, the lovely blogger over at Southpaw Stitcher had a giveaway a few weeks ago and I was one of the very lucky winners. Make sure you go check out her blog if you haven't before.

Awesome happy mail from Southpaw Stitcher

What a super lucky stitcher am I? I was so excited to receive this amazing package. I'm really looking forward to trying these out as they have lots of new techniques that I have not tried before. I really want to stitch the Rose Motif Sampler on some hand dyed fabric and with variegated thread, I think it would look amazing!!

These pattern booklets are quite substantial and a bit intimidating but the instructions look like they are clear and complete. I'm pretty sure I will make more than a few mistakes but that's to be expected with anything unfamiliar.

I haven't made much progress on my cross stitching WIP's but hopefully will get some more crafty time soon. In the meanwhile, have a picture of our fluffy kitty who was keeping me company during a photo session recently. I'm really happy with how this picture turned out, hopefully it's a sign my photography is improving. I just adore how bright and large his eyes came out in this.

That's all for now, see you soon.