Sunday, February 19, 2017

Dimensions Gold - Elegance of the Orient, Nearly There!

Hey guys, I've a new post up on my new blog. I'm very excited. Link Here

Sneak Peek of the piece:

Sneak Peek of Elegance of the Orient Progress. Click the link above to see the rest of this post, including more pictures.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Hand Knit Slouch Socks Finish

Hey everyone, Sunday has rolled around again and that means it's time to share what crafty thing I have been up to. However I would like to start this post with an update on my new blogging home. Last week I set up the hosting and made a start on the layout of the new website. I have kept it quite simple for now but there will be changes to it over the coming months, as I get to grips with the Wordpress software. I would love some feedback from my awesome readers on it, so if you get a chance, check it out and let me know what you think, link here.

So now that is out of the way, we can get back to the fun stuff. While in my local craft shop recently I found a gorgeous yarn call Tivoli Haven. It is super chunky and soft so I bought a couple of balls to make some nice comfie slouch socks. However having gotten my yarn I couldn't find any patterns online that used Aran (8wpi) weight with 8mm needles. At first I was despondent but then I decided I could make them myself, if I knew how to calculate the number of cast on stitches I needed!

Hand Knit Socks, Knitting, Tivoli Haven Yarn, Chunky Slouch Socks

As it turned out there was a bit more to it than that, especially in the heel turn and the toe decreases but all I needed to know first was how to figure out the number of cast on stitches. Luckily the internet came to the rescue and I found  great instructions on how to work this out, here.

So I now knew the cast on, based on the yarn gauge and foot size, was 24 stitches. I was delighted, so I made a start on my ribbing. I decided to go with 2x2 but I think it would have been better to use 1x1 instead, due to the size of the needles.

Hand Knit Socks, Knitting, Tivoli Haven Yarn, Chunky Slouch Socks
These socks knit up extremely quickly and before I knew it I had the the length I wanted and I needed to do the heel flap. So back to the internet I went again to find out how long this should be. I discovered another great site called Hands Occupied, which I would end up using for the rest of the math on this project. Soon I had one fully completed sock, I felt so proud. The second sock was just a matter of repeating the same steps, luckily I had kept notes for each stage on the Knit Tink app, so it was very straight forward.

Hand Knit Socks, Knitting, Tivoli Haven Yarn, Chunky Slouch Socks

Now I am the owner of a crazy comfortable pair of slouch socks, that have been hardly off my feet since they came off the blockers. If I could get away with it I would wear these to work! I was so delighted with the result that I am now making another pair for my OH in earth tone yarn. I can't wait to finish them for him.

This was a tricky project and I did make a few mistakes. When picking up the gusset stitches on one of the socks I didn't pick up one of them correctly and there is a slight hole. The other issue is with the gusset size, I think I made the heel flap a bit too long and picked up too many stitches for my size feet, making them a slightly too big. This is something I will research, but for now the fact that they are a bit large doesn't really matter.

So that's it for my super comfortable slouch hand-knit socks, what do you think? Would you ever try to make something without a pattern? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Lavender & Lace: Celtic Spring Cross Stitch Progress

Hey everyone, welcome to February, hopefully we will start seeing some nice Spring greenery soon. Speaking of Spring, in my continuing attempts to avoid working on Elegance of the Orient, last post here, I have some progress to show on my Celtic Lady! I really do feel bad that Elegance has once again been passed over, however at least I didn't start something new, that makes it ok, right?

I was looking for a project that had some nice areas of block colour and no back stitching that needed to be done immediately. I wasn't really in the mood for a HAED project, even though Bridge of Wings has some large sections of just one colour. I wanted something that made me feel like I was making tangible progress and Celtic Spring fit that requirement perfectly.

I worked on the swirls of metallic stitching, using 1 strand of the treasure braid instead of 2. I started filling in some of the gaps left from my last session with this piece and worked my way down towards the bottom of the gown. I also got to stitch the shoe, which for some reason I really like. I think it's that it really conveys she is in motion.

I also finished all the cross stitches in her bouquet and I love how it turned out. The yellow roses look so delicate. There is still some more beading to do under the flowers but I'm happy with the progress I made. I was very tempted to fill in her head piece but it's mostly beading and I wasn't in the mood for bead confetti so that will have to wait.

These pictures show the colour of the fabric I'm using quite accurately, which was an issue I was having with my other photos. It's a very delicate pink colour and the evenweave is so soft and comfortable to work with. I even find that the metallics don't shred that much with this fabric, making them much easier to use.

When I manage to get around to this project, it stitches up quite quickly. Hopefully when I start the other season ladies, I won't leave them wallow unfinished for so long.

Well that's my cross stitch project post for this week, hope you enjoyed it. Don't forget to follow me on the various social media. I pop up a sneak peep of what my post will be about on Twitter and Instagram on Fridays, so check that out to get an early clue of what's coming up.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Pretty, Patterned, Cotton Socks

Hey everyone, hope you are all getting in lots of creative time. We have been pretty busy here but I have managed to do some crafting here and there. Since I knit my first pair of socks, see here for that post, I have been a bit sock mad. There are just so many amazing patterns out there, many with really beautiful designs. I was itching to try a decorative pair but wasn't too confident in my sock knitting skills.

I did finally pluck up my courage and settled on a free pattern that looked relatively straight forward, link here. The pattern called for 100% cotton yarn, luckily I had a bought a couple of balls of pastel variegated cotton yarn fairly cheap, so I decided to make a start. I went with the medium sized pattern, as I have long but narrow feet. They turned out fairly well, even if I did make a huge number of mistakes along the way, so here they are!

Hand knit cotton socks, finished knit socks
Finished 100% Cotton Hand-Knit Socks, Blocking

At first I tried the k3p3 ribbing for the cuff, but didn't like how it turned out so I changed to the optional ribbing pattern instead. This worked out much better for me and I was happier with how it looked. The next step was the 4 row repeat for the design, here is where things got tricky. I'm not sure how many times I had to rip back and re-do sections because I made a mistake, but it was a lot.

Hand-Knit Socks - 4 row repeating pattern

It was really nice when I got past the heel turn and was only doing the pattern repeats on the instep rather than the whole sock. I kept track of my rows, using a great app called Knit Tink. This meant I knew exactly how many I needed to do for the second sock. Unfortunately I did made a big error when I was closing the second sock. I use kitchener stitch to finish off the toes and I did it in the wrong direction on the second one. You can see the difference in the photos below, the first was done correctly, the second incorrectly.

Correct Kitchener Stitch Close

Awful Kitchener Stitch Close

They both should have a rounded toe, opps. I didn't want to start trying to rip back the closing stitches, so I left it alone. These were fairly challenging to knit, I needed to constantly pay attention to what I was doing, otherwise I ended up making errors in the pattern repeats. However all the stitches are knit or purl, just the order changes to create the design. I'm pretty happy with the result and the mistake in the kitchener stitch doesn't seem to affect how comfortable they are.

I have continued to add so many more amazing sock patterns to my Pinterest boards so I'm sure you will be seeing more on my blog in the future. If you want to keep up with some of the patterns I'm adding to my to-do list, follow along with me on Pinterest. That's all for now guys!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Blossoming Spring Cross Stitch Finish

Hey all, I hope everyone is making it through January alright. As many of you know, Blogger has undergone a number of changes recently and I have found a lot of them have made the blogging experience extremely frustrating. As a result of this I will be moving my blog to a paid hosting service over the next few months. Not to worry though, I will give plenty of notice of everything that is happening and I hope you will all continue to follow along with me in my new blogging home.

Anyway back to crafting, I'm delighted to report, I have my first cross stitch finish of 2017! I took out Blossoming Spring the other day and was shocked at how little was left to be done. I thought that there was a fair amount of stitching left on this piece. However only the top cluster of blossoms needed finishing. The last progress report on this project can be found here for those interested. 

Cross stitch finish, blossoming spring, sheila hudson, The Ultimate Forest Friends Cross Stitch Collection, stitching
Blossoming Spring - Japanese Crab Apple - Sheila Hudson

This piece was stitched on 28ct hand-dyed evenweave from Sparklies, using DMC threads 2 over 2. Usually when I stitch on hand-dyed fabric I keep the bag so that I know the name of the colourway for it, however I can't seem to find the one for this fabric and I can't remember what this is called. It's a very subtle combination of pale blues and greys.

Cross stitch finish, blossoming spring, sheila hudson, The Ultimate Forest Friends Cross Stitch Collection, stitching
Chart from 'The Ultimate Forest Friends Cross Stitch Collection'

I have really enjoyed this project, even though it has taken me over 2 years to stitch it. I actually feel pretty bad about how long this has been a WIP, because realistically I could have finished this project fairly quickly if I didn't keep jumping from piece to piece. However that's one of the things I love about being creative, matching a project to my mood.

Cross stitch finish, blossoming spring, sheila hudson, The Ultimate Forest Friends Cross Stitch Collection, stitching
Can't believe this took over 2 years *hangs head in shame*

I'm delighted to have been able to cross this project off my to-do list and I adore how it looks. It will now go with my other finishes waiting to be properly completed. I think this one will be going into a frame, if I can find one that suits. I have also been working on some more pairs of hand knit socks, see my first ones here, so they will be showing up soon. I think I may be addicted to knitting socks, have added so many patterns to my Pinterest, opps.

Well that's everything, don't forget to follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest for other stuff from me, links on the top right of the page.

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.