Category Archives: Cross stitch

And the winner is…

I got a phone call yesterday morning, of all times, from my Auntie En, of all people, during which I mentioned I’d entered stuff in the village show but I couldn’t bring myself to say I’d entered her doll in case she didn’t win.  Not because she would have been disappointed, because she is really modest and was embarrassed the time she entered some dolls in a St Johns Ambulance show and won the first three prizes, and certainly not because I didn’t think her doll worthy of winning but I didn’t know what would float the judges boat. And there had been an entry of two rag dolls of a more contemporary nature.  So I ended up wanting Auntie En’s doll to win more than anything else.  However not only did Auntie En’s doll win first prize win but I won a couple of things too…

Auntie Ann came with me in the afternoon for a shufty round at the other stuff eg, photographs, vegetables, flora displays, backing some of which have junior categories which I think is a good thing.  (B spied an opportunity to get out of it and jumped with both feet and without the aid of a safety net.)

In the interim I’d decided to get through the backed up ironing pile and this caused Bud a bit of a dilemma as in my sewing room he doesn’t have an allocated or even available comfortable area in which to lie down.  Yesterday he contemplated the clean laundry basket, with the laundry still in and despite my pair of cream linen pants being on top I had to see if he managed it.  However after getting his two front paws in he decided it wasn’t to be.  Let’s take a look at Bud and the basket together for dog to basket size comparison…

(Okay the basket it not really just three times the size of Bud’s head – the angle’s made it look that way but he could just about stand in it if he breathed in – enquiring facial expression is due to being posed for a photo – this has never really happened before (excluding trying to get him to wear antlers or a birthday hat) and being woman-handled to a suitable position got him a bit wary.  This was soon rectified by the consumption of a dog treat.)

Anyhoo back to the show – I was heard to say to B and Auntie Ann that I didn’t know if I would win the Handicrafts Trophy this year (jointly or otherwise) – not out of modesty you understand but just because there were two categories I hadn’t entered and after seeing the Handmade Toys I thought my Buddies and Bunny, although cute, wouldn’t cut the mustard.  However…

It’s mine, all mine!

And ‘we’ (B and Bud included I suppose) got a bonus prize.  One of our neighbours entered in the baking, flower and jewellery sections and also won things.  One of her winning entries was parkin (now we all know I love parkin – but not parking – and that my Auntie En makes the best parkin in the world, nay the galaxy) and I may have asked whether she was giving away samples while we were at the show.  And what do you know she turned up at our door today with a selection of apple pie, parkin and bread – mmmmmmm!

Needless to say I will not be available to comment on the deliciousness or otherwise of the parkin.

Let’s finish up with a prize by prize breakdown.

Category – Cross Stitch Picture

Third Prize – I’m ashamed to say I didn’t take note of what won third prize.

Second Prize

Carousel Horses in Cross Stitch – October

First Prize

Mirabilia – Mermaid of the Pearls #26

Category – Knitted Garment

Third Prize

Rowan Magazine 41 – Peony

Second Prize was an Norwegian style jumper in a muted palette with colour areas above the ribbing and a coloured yoke that appeared to be worked in the round – I didn’t pick it up and give it the once over like but when I saw it in the morning I thought ‘Ohhhhhhh – that’s nice!’

First Prize

Debbie Bliss – New Baby Knits – Aran Jacket with Large Collar

Category – Crochet Item

Third Prize was a lovely lemon baby blanket embellished with self coloured crocheted flowers.

Second Prize

Comfort Knitting and Crochet Afghans – Greenway

First Prize

Jane Crowfoot Crochet Club 2011 Mystery Blanket

I’m embarrassed to say, but not so much that I’m not saying it obviously, that when I went up to collect the trophy the show co-ordinator suggested that anyone who hadn’t seen this should take a look before they left.

Now I have to go as there’s a cup of tea wating for me and I have a big decision to make – Do I start with the apple pie, parkin or the bread with some butter on it?

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My crafty entries

Here’s the stuff I’m entering in tomorrow’s Village Show.  You’ll have to excuse the doll’s somewhat un-chaste demeanour – I wanted you to see her underskirt (which is a full one) and her bloomers.  I have to admit I didn’t make her – she is my Auntie Eleanors’s creation.

Please bear in mind if you comment that I don’t want to read the words ‘over the top’!  I was going to cut it back and save some for next year but then I thought ‘Hey, seize that carp, you might get hit by a bus before then.’

Tiny beads everywhere

My Spring Queen design by Mirabillia is all finished.  I started beading it yesterday and had to call it a day at midnight, surprisingly since I’d been up since 05:25 I thought I’d pass out around 22:00.  However B alerted me to the fact it was past our (mine and Bud’s) bedtime just at the point where I sewed the wrong colour bead on and knocked over the little container of cream beads.  Now I would like to say that B was suggesting I went to bed for the good of my health but it’s really because Buddy generally goes to bed too and that means that B is able to stuff his face with anything and everything in sight without a little face looking at him longingly and him having to share.

So here she is in all her glory – sorry the picture is a bit dark…

I particularly like the ones around the bouquet.

Here’s a close up of the beads at the edge of the dress.

And here’s the things I’ve learned about adding beads to cross stitch

1)  Don’t use a beading needle, they are way too bendy and sometimes don’t make it through the fabric without buckling.  Use the smallest regular sewing needle you can find – if the holes in the beads are big enough you can even get away with using your cross stitching needle

2)  If you intend to iron your work after finishing it never, I repeat NEVER, use invisible polyester thread – need I explain – okay then, linen/cotton like a hot iron, introduce a hot iron to polyester and you’re introducing yourself to looking all over the floor for the escaping beads.  Yes I know you’d think the penny would have dropped before I took a hot iron to it but it didn’t.  What was worse was I used the polyester thread to speed things up, because it’s not pleasant to work with, but it enabled me to sew different coloured beads to the same section – and then I got to sew them on all over again – you live and learn – fortunately

3)  Never let your husband and dog near the box lid containing the two colours of beads you are currently using otherwise this happens…


I felt the need for two photos because as the beads are so teeny, tiny I don’t think one does it justice. And yes of course it was MY fault.

1st of June

Way back at the beginning of the year I committed, even though no one promised me a decorative gourd or even a carved radish, to blog every day.  As we all know this didn’t happen – what can I say, no excuses, it was obviously a case of severe cba!*  So in an effort to shake off the cba’s let’s give it a go for June, this June that is, starting today.

I have finished the cross part of my stitchin’ – Spring Queen.  Here she is before the back stitch highlighting…

Okay a little frightening.  And her she is after…

One of the things I like about Mirabilla designs is that there isn’t much back stitching, there is however a fair amount of beading.  She’s currently drying on a radiator before being beaded.

Now I can’t dally I have to go and check the powder drawer in the washing machine as B has just used it.  A couple of friends are calling round tonight and one of them texted this morning to ask if it was okay if she brought some washing (as her machine is broken).  I texted back ‘No worries’, then got out of bed and before even getting breakfast put the powder drawer in a bucket of hot water.  Now I’m not blaming B, who puts the majority of the washing in the washer, I’m just pointing out that washing is his responsibility and fortunately the washer is in the garage so there’s no chance of anything crawling into the food chain from there.  If Pat had seen the state of said drawer Bud would no longer have been the scariest thing in our house to her, she’d have taken her washing and beaten it against a stone in the little stream through the wood.  I would have been well and truly off her Christmas card list.  After  boiling water, Star Drops, a toothbrush and even a touch of bleach the drawer is acceptable for polite company.

Cross Panel Ironing

This week my creative space comprises…

 

a crumpled looking cross stitch (that would be because, Lorna, I don’t use a hoop as  it slows me down)

a fence panel I painted today and for which I got chastised by B as he had expressly forbid me to paint any of them, and

the corner of my sewing room is ironing free!  It had to be done, I think the hankies had started breeding.  That Levis Strauss bag has been there since March and I haven’t, as yet, mithered B about moving it – as yet.  Once the baskets are back in the garage I might have to start.  The ironing board is back in the cupboard for the first time since early February.  I won’t lie I didn’t do it all, B said I didn’t need to do his works T-shirts so I didn’t, however I did tell him not to take his sweat shirt off at work.

AND Bud has had two walks today since I was up early-ish we were both breakfasted and walked by 9:40 – that’s AM.

However it is now 17:38 and I’m already showered and in my jim jams, but that’s okay because we’re only having soup for tea as B has been for a tooth filled, so when I sit down later if I keel over for a sleep I won’t be creasing anything that will need ironing.

Other creative spaces are here.

My cross stitch had a boo boo!

Never before in my many, many years of cross stitching (over 20) have I had a mishap like yesterday.  It may be said, generally by B, that I can be clumsy and the odd little mark may have marred the cloth I’ve been working with – actually I can only think of one occasion involving a tiny bit of tea on the very fringe of the material nowhere near the area to be stitched.  However adding in our small furry family member proved to be too much for my untarnished record.

Basically Bud wanted a walk from the minute he got up, which was about 20 minutes after me.  This works out well, having a dog who likes a lie in.  Generally I get to carry out my morning ablutions without a happy waggy addition to the bathroom – generally!  When he did make it downstairs his tummy was making funny noises so we spent five minutes snuggling on the settee with the occasional look by Bud towards his middle which was holding a conversation with itself.  Now although we have a fairly big ‘garden’ for him to ‘go in’ he prefers to take care of business on his walk which resulted in me attempting to have my breakfast whilst ignoring his hints about walkies.

Finally it all proved too much and I thoughtlessly said ‘Look Bud, we’ll go out shortly, when I’ve finished my drink.’  Bud heard ‘out’ and trotted forward excitedly kicking my full glass of orange juice and soda all over the floor.  In my haste to get up I jarred my coffee cup and splashed some of that over the floor to the other side of me.

Bud, who had backed off, rushed forward to apologise in that wagging tail, ears back way that dogs have and looked all dejected when informed it would be a really good if he would sit on his mat.  He decided that as he hadn’t been bad, it was all an accident, he would take refuge on the other settee and lay there producing extra wag whenever I looked his way and gave him reassurance that he was indeed a good boy.

After ensuring Bud wasn’t going to walk orange juice through the house I went to get the kitchen roll but noticed on my re-entry of the room that my cross stitch had been juiced – arghhhhhh! Obviously I had to get my priorities right and taking into account the items affected – the floor, some cushions, one of the feet of the settee, the knitted throw on the settee, a logic puzzle book – I picked up my cross stitch and gave it a quick rinse leaving it on the draining board to well, drain.

Thus Buddy’s wait for a walk evolved from five minutes to – I don’t know how long.  After moving items out of the pool, it’s amazing how large an area a 500ml glass of liquid can cover, I wiped them down and put them in the sun coming in through the French doors to dry further. 

I went through a whole roll of paper towel (must remember to tell B not to buy such a cheap brand next time) mopping the puddle up and then had to wipe the floor down with cleaner so that we didn’t end up with a furry rug when Bud’s hairs stuck to the residue.  I even had to throw some embroidery thread away!  I did contemplate ways round it but couldn’t actually see me washing each skein and drying it off. 

So then I turned to soft furnishings – if I’m popping one throw in the wash I might as well do the other and the cushions – well if I’m doing two, I might as well do all six, and I might as well do Bud’s cover and filling whilst at it and the cover on his other duvet to make up two full loads.  So one load of washing went in whilst I undid the cushion covers.  When I made them I decided it would be a wonderful idea to sew the reindeer antler buttons (no, no animal cruelty they are from the Cairngorm Reindeer herd and were made especially for me from discarded antlers) on with cotton yarn and with knots on the backside of the cushion.  This may or may not have something to do with avoiding machining button holes.  They looked lovely but obviously meant that a big job brakes out when washing the covers with the buttons having to be cut off and then sewn back on.  I decided later in the afternoon that I might as well omit the buttons and just do cotton yarn knots as I have a sneaking suspicion that at least one of the buttons has scratched the new settee.  Fortunately they blend in with the distressed finish of the leather.

After hanging the cross stitch in the window to dry we went out for our walk.  When we got back I noticed that there was a tide mark on the linen.  After saying things like ‘Oh goodness’, etc I had to wash the whole thing and now I’m unsure if any new stitches will blend in unnoticeably.  Whilst contemplating whether to carry on with it or start again I did continue with my attempt at a patchwork crocheted blanket…

And I found another cross stitch I started a while ago…

I may finish this one first anyway, not least because I am finding the white linen much easier to work with.  Although know I’m not yet at the point of needing reading glasses as B is still relying on me to read any fine print!

Randomness is hard

With all the orange Buddies finished I decided to get back to the cross stitch I started earlier this year.  As you can see it’s really taking shape – what’d mean it could be anything, such as the start of a swirly whale.


However I also need a portable project for the car.  I have tried to cross stitch whilst passengering and, despite seeing two other women with work in hoops (something I don’t do), find it nigh on impossible.

So I decided to make a baby blanket from these.  My leftover Snuggly baby yarn that I keep segregated from my other leftovers due to their snuggly softness and the fact that it does seem to turn out slightly thinner than regular double knitting weight.

I wanted to do something completely random with the colours and initially intended to knit the blanket in garter stitch with each row a different colour, then I decided to crochet random coloured small squares to end up with an almost patchwork like finished effect.  I intended to edge this with a contrastingly fancy border.

I crocheted them together as I went along (per a technique shown here at Attic 24 – except I seem to need to insert my hook differently, hence the little blanket stitch type joins on mine).  BUT randomness is hard!  I have found this before – when I tried to randomly stencil squares on the living room walls.  It’s so much harder than a strictly adhered to preplanned pattern.  Or even crocheting a bunch of squares and them deciding how to put them together by spreading them all out on the floor and avoiding complete randomness which ends up with similar coloured squares next to each other and areas of light and dark colours bunched together.

So I can’t decide whether to proceed with the randomness by picking a colour without looking and them just deciding which square to attach it to or seek order by using colour combinations such as…

 or

 I’m beginning to think that randomness is best obtained not by using the completely random selection of colours to hand but by using colours purposely selected to then appear random.  I don’t know whether it’s hard for everybody or I have the type of mind that craves order.  I think it might be the latter.