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.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

My Journey to Improve My Photography - Soda Stitch Harvest of Love

Hey everyone, I hope you all had a lovely weekend and that the week is off to a very creative start.Today's post features a cross stitch finish that has appeared on my blog before. I am re-posting it because I was always unhappy with the photographs I used. In fact there are a number of finishes and WIP's which require new pictures. So the first of the re-photographed finishes I want to share is, Soda Stitch Harvest of Love.

Soda Stitch Cross Stitch Harvest of Love Finish handmade embroidery
Soda Stitch Harvest of Love - New Photo Shoot

Soda Stitch Cross Stitch Harvest of Love Finish handmade embroidery
Soda Stitch Harvest of Love - Original Photo Shoot

The first picture is from a recent photo session, the second is the original I posted. As you can see the second picture has a blue tint, which doesn't represent the piece correctly. This is because the light at the time I took the picture had a blue cast to it that came through in the photo. This probably could have been corrected if I had changed the white balance setting on my camera but alas I still haven't quite gotten the hang of that, although I am learning.

Soda Stitch Cross Stitch Harvest of Love Finish handmade embroidery
Recent Photo Shoot
Soda Stitch Cross Stitch Harvest of Love Finish handmade embroidery
Original Photo Shoot

While the original pictures give a good idea of what the finish looks like, the blue tint doesn't show the colours correctly. The new pictures are more accurate and I am much happier with the results. Seeing these photos together, I am actually fairly surprised by the difference between the old and the new. I hadn't realised how significant the blue cast was on the originals.

Soda Stitch Harvest of Love - Love that big grin!

There are lots more projects that will be re-photographed in the near future, however there are some that I don't have access to as they were gifts. Hopefully my photographs will continue to improve as I learn more about my camera, photography in general and of course get in that all important, practise!

What do you think of the new photos? Is there a big difference between them and the originals? Let me know in the comments below.

That's all for now!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Blossoming Spring Continues to Grow - Cross Stitch Progress

Hey everyone, hope your week is going well so far. Last weekend I got in some down time, played Dark Souls 2 for a little while, once I got it to work on my laptop & connected it to the TV, no small feat I can tell you. I also spent some time stitching away on Blossoming Spring, Elegance of the Orient unfortunately was left neglected.

Blossoming Spring Cross Stitch Work in Progress, WIP, Sheila Hudson, The Ultimate Forest Friends Collection, Cherry Blossom
Blossoming Spring - Japanese Crab Apple - Sheila Hudson

The top right cluster of blossoms was the one I had to rip out last time as it was in the wrong position, so I was delighted to get that re-stitched correctly and moved on to the other two sections of blossoms to the right. There is now one more row of flowers at the top to do, as well as some sections down the right side of the tree. You can find my previous progress post here, if you want to see the difference.

Blossoming Spring Cross Stitch Work in Progress, WIP, Sheila Hudson, The Ultimate Forest Friends Collection, Cherry Blossom
Blossoming Spring - Close Up

This has now out grown the hoop I was using and the fabric is too small a piece for any of my other frames to use comfortably. Therefore I will be finishing the rest of the stitching in hand. This isn't ideal as the fabric is hand dyed and can't be cleaned, as the dye isn't colour fast. I will have to be very careful not to get this dirty, she says as she remembers she left it sitting out on the bedside last night and it's still there uncovered!

Some of my readers will know that I am not a fan of putting frame clamps or hoops over stitching as I find it can mark or distort the stitches. Other than using a piece of felt under the Q-snaps clamps I have never found a solution for this problem, other than working as much of a chart as I can in hoop then finish off what's left in hand. Does anyone else have this problem or is it just me? I would love to know, so leave a comment below!

That's all for now guys, talk to you all soon.