Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Sampler Nearly Finished

I have been working on my sampler again. Yes, this is the same one that has been going on for nearly 10 years! It it that long? Well, considering it started way back in 2006, the maths does add up!

Beginning as a Counted Thread Round Robin that travelled the world, this sampler has had a little hic-up along the way. The main one was the broken threads, but that can be read about here.

The broken threads have been fixed for a few years now, and every now and then I pull the sampler out and add another band to it. At the beginning of this year, I made a resolution to myself that it would be finished this year. Mmmmmm............ maybe not finished, but it will be close.

Over the last few months I have added a few new bands, some narrow, some wide, trying to add some interest as well as light and shade. I have kept with the original pink and green colour scheme as I think it looks fabulous.

So far I have added in a Wessex band to cover up the fixed broken threads, a fine back stitched border with contrasting four sided stitches, a counted zig-zag band with back stitched border, another row of  back stitch with contrasting intermittent cross stitches and half cross stitches, a row of coloured needle weaving, and finally another row of back stitch spaced with back stitch diamonds that have been filled with a contrasting four sided stitch.

I started yet another band on Saturday, only to find yet another broken thread! I wonder how many more I will find? This broken thread was nowhere near the last group, and so far seems to be the only one. It's been fixed now, an easier fix than the last group, so I can continue on with my stitching. This row will be the final one on the right, then I have a space of about 8cm to fill at the other end before it is finished. I have even found some fabric to line it with and turn it into the bag that it was always intended to be. So watch this space, this sampler will soon be finished!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wild Socks

How are these for my new socks? A little wild for me but under my jeans and in my boots who will see?

These socks are my latest finish. Made from Schoppel Wolle Crazy Zauberball 4ply, a 75% wool 25% nylon yarn from Germany, which I purchased from Morris & Sons. They will be so warm!

The pattern is the Lupine Lace Socks, put out by Fiber Trends, which I purchased from The Wool Inn.

I had a lovely time knitting these socks. I had also purchased a new set of double pointed needles made by Knit Pro while at The Wool Inn, and I must say these needles are a dream to knit with. Much better than the bamboo ones I used for my last pair of socks. These will be all ready for when the snow hits nearby again. Now I will be able to get on with my shawl.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Pretty In Pink

This pretty pink scarf came about from scraps. One of the ladies in my local sewing group was having a de-stash, and I found this lovely piece of pink embroidered cotton voile. It was long and narrow, perfect for making a scarf, so I tucked it away in my stash with a little note as to what was to be done with it. That was way back in the beginning of last year.

Then a while back, I needed a quick project to do one group day, so pulled this pink fabric out, found some matching thread, took it to group day and proceeded to hem it.

The hem is a very fine turned zigzag, to me it is much quicker and easier to do than threading the over locker to do a rolled hem. As I was hemming it, I was thinking of what to decorate the ends with. It did come to mind that I could add some free standing digitized lace flowers, to match the flowers in the embroidery. More work, but hey, I could handle that, and it would be a good challenge.

When I got home, I searched through my stash and found a ball of crocheting cotton, that was the perfect pink. So rather than going to all the time and effort of digitizing some free standing lace, I decided to crochet some flowers instead.

The flowers add another dimension and some weight to the scarf, even if they do get tangled. I crocheted the flowers first, then added a chain length to add them to the ends of the scarf. I had previously added a little edge in crochet all the way around to help give it more strength and weight, and this is what I attached the flowers to.

Pink is not a colour I normally wear, but it may jazz up a navy or white top in spring or even jazz up a hat in summer. Whatever it goes with, it is finished, and I have something off my to-do list.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Fingerless Gloves

Behold, my new, made to measure, fingerless gloves. I would prefer to call them half fingered rather than fingerless, after all they still have fingers, just not to the tips.

I have never really wanted a pair of these until our last cold snap. There was snow on the mountains not too far away, and although the sun was shining, the wind was icy, and I was trying to sew. My sewing space is at the back of the house which loses the sun fairly quickly in winter, and my hands were so cold they could barely guide the fabric under the machine.

 Light bulb moment!I needed a pair of fingerless gloves! I had never needed a pair before, my theory being my fingertips are the first to get cold, so I prefer full fingered gloves. I had seen what they call "smokers gloves", where one hand is full fingered, & the other has the thumb, index and middle finger short, but I needed all the tips clear so I could guide fabric under the machine.

Made in 100% pure wool in 4 ply, I have made them to fit my hands and my fingers, leaving from the first knuckle free to grip whatever. When I finished the first one, I wore it knitting the second one, so all should be good. I should be able to guide the fabric through the machine, thread the machine, and yes, I can even type on a keyboard with them! They might just become my new winter accessory.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Blue Socks

Another pair of hand knitted socks to the collection.

This pair was started because I needed something crafty to do on a recent weekend away. I always have to think about where I will be going, how long for, what's the reason I am going, etc etc to know what to take with me to do. If I know I am going some place where the lighting is good, I can take stitching. But if I am not sure about the lighting, then knitting is always a good choice.  Depending where I am going and for how long, I have been known to take lighting with me.

My original plan was to knit a very plain pair of socks, that way I wouldn't have to think. To begin with it was just a rib, then plain stocking stitch. As it was only a weekend away, the harder thinking of the heel would happen when I came home.

When I did come home, I found this pattern from Knit Picks and it was free.  I am always a bit wary of free patterns, I tend to think they have a problem somewhere, but hey, I am clever & could overcome any problem. So I pulled my started plain sock undone, and started on this pattern.

Mmmmmm.......... my instinct about free patterns is correct. It wasn't that there was mistakes, it was just hard to read and I feel it could have been written clearer. The fact that I left the pattern digital, and worked from my tablet may have something to do with it too, swiping back and forth to read the pattern wasn't fun.

There were a few other issues along the way, some pattern related, some needle related, some yarn related, but in the end I got there. They are made from a 4ply pure wool, and I didn't quite have enough for my socks, so hence the toes are a slight different colour. But who will notice? They will be hidden inside my boots keeping my toes warm.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Baby Accessories

This is some quick knitting I have done for a new little baby girl.

The yarn is Shepherd Baby Wool Merino 4ply. The pattern for the booties and mittens came from an old book in my library called "Payton's Babytime", while the pattern for the hat is one I made up by myself.

In the pattern book the hat was a bonnet, and I am not sure that babies seem to wear bonnets any more, the fashion seems to be little hats or those horrid elastic head bands with flowers. To me, little hats are much more practical and comfortable for tiny newborns.

So what did I do to arrive at this little hat? I had a collection of baby hat patterns that I had found on the net, and I searched through them until I found one in 4 ply. Most of them were in 8 ply believe it or not! Who knits things for little babies in 8 ply? Anyway, once I found a basic pattern, I adjusted the stitches slightly to accommodate the pattern. It was only a change of a few stitches larger which wasn't a big deal, better to be too big than too small. From there I followed the pattern in my book to arrive at the pretty picot edge and rows of patterning. Then I jumped back to the basic hat pattern for the height and shaping at the top. The shaping was off at the beginning by a few stitches, but cannot be noticed in the finished article.

This cute little set is now with it's new owner.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

A Baby Mobile

A cute little baby mobile that I made for my new great niece.

The inspiration for this mobile started two years ago when another of my great nieces was born. I had made her this baby shawl, and when visiting, asked her mother if she needed anything else. The answer came back "a mobile". My niece had been trying to make one, but with a new baby she was having difficulty. So the conversation started about colours, and what she wanted on the mobile...... ........owls. I possibly would have done something different, but owls were, and still are,  very poplar.

I needed inspiration, so hunted around on the net for owl pics. Of course there were heaps, I just had to pick one. Once I chose a pic, I had to work out fabrics and how it was actually going to be constructed, etc etc. I had fabrics of course, that was no drama, and working out the pattern for the construction of the owls was no big deal. The eye area and the chest pieces were to be appliquéd, but what about those half moon eyes, the beak, and the feet? They were all so tiny! I thought about using  felt but how to apply? Glue is messy and I thought they would be too fiddly to hand stitch on. Then one day I had a brain wave that I could use my digitizing program and machine embroider them!

Digitizing is a whole different world, and these little eyes and beaks needed to be an exact size and spacing. It took me two attempts, the first one being slightly too big and slightly too far apart, but I eventually got there. Scanning my pattern and placing it as a backdrop in  my digitizing program  certainly helped. Thank goodness for testing first! I also digitized the eyes and beak in two different colours. This would stop the machine so I could put whatever colour I wanted in the needle.

So once I had the eyes and beak sorted, I could make a start. The owls were going to be double sided and slightly padded, six hanging, so that made 12 owls total. I wanted them all the same, but all different, if that makes sense. So they were all the same shape , size and design, I just changed the colours around and put different designs on their chests.

The designs on the chest were just fancy machine stitches, stitches I very rarely use. I started playing to see what effects I could get if I mirrored or flipped the patterns. Yes, my sewing machine has this wonderful feature available. At first I had picked out sewing threads and machine embroidery threads in plain colours to match the fabrics, but then I dug out a variegated machine embroidery thread that I had dismissed previously and tried it on a sample. Why didn't I use this before? It looked so good!

One of the fabrics had a small pattern of circles on it. I had to be careful which machine stitch to use on it so that it enhanced the circles, not conflict with them. So I chose an eyelet that I found in amongst all the buttonholes. I think it worked well on the printed fabric.

Once the chest pieces were decorated, I could appliqué them to the background, appliqué the eye sections, then stitch out the eyes and beaks. At this stage they were still on squares of fabrics and they were screaming to be made into a quilt, but this was not the end purpose, so I soldiered on.

The owls were then carefully placed back to back with padding in between, so everything matched, then carefully stitched around the owl outline, and cut to shape.  It was at this stage that I placed the feet . I had agonized over these feet the same as the eyes and beak. Once again  I had thought of felt, but as the feet were hanging, I thought the felt may pull out, it was very tiny. So another brain wave said digitize! This time it was the feet outline, in a small stitch length, stitched onto two layers of fabric vlysafixed together. I felt that this would be stronger than felt. Once digitized, stitched and cut out, they were stitched onto the base of the owl, then satin stitched in place as I satin stitched the edges of the owls. Finito!

Well not quite. Once again I had agonized over how to hang them. My initial thought was dowel, painted to match, with tiny holes drilled to tie the owls to the dowel with fishing line. I wanted them to turn and swing, another problem to solve. DH to the rescue with his  fishing and hardware knowledge. 

I had found an old lampshade ring in my stash, so ended up padding it and covering it with matching fabric, This saved drilling holes in tiny pieces of dowel and messy painting. My part done, the rest was up to DH who supplied fishing swivels to let the owls spin, fishing line to hang, and the knowledge of how to tie knots so they didn't come undone.

This is a one of a kind mobile which is now entertaining is new owner. Would I make another one? Maybe, but it would have to be different. At least I now know about the uses of fishing swivels.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Filet Dragonfly

Behold my filet dragonfly! I am very proud of him as he is my own. Drawn on paper, transferred to a graph, then worked onto my own hand made mesh.

The mesh is made by drawing two threads, leaving two threads, in a pattern, both vertical and horrizontal. The remaining threads are then whipped together for strength. Making  this mesh takes time.

Using my dragonfly graph, I then worked out a weaving plan for linen stitch. This weaving plan has to be precise, as one incorrect turn of the needle, or one skipped over or under, will throw the rhythm of the linen stitch out.

Watch this space as there will be more filet to come.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Wessex Band

Lately I have been moving on in my counted thread band sampler. This is the same one that has travelled more than me.

For this band I have chosen a Wessex band from the book "Wessex Stitchery" by Gay Eaton. I chose this band because it looked like little flowers, and was not quite as heavy as some of the others in the book. Using the pink as also helped to make it appear lighter, and it fits well with the other colours already in the sampler. Another reason I chose a Wessex band is to help cover up the "fix" I had to do. With lots of reweaving of broken threads. the tension of the weave has changed slightly. All these little flowers will help to hide them.

I have yet to finish the band, but is well on the way. I have one more row of flowers to finish, then I can outline them all and add in the green "trellis".

I love counted work, but this one had me stumped for a while. I found the counting a little difficult and hard to follow as a pattern, but I have now worked out my own  system of working so there are less mistakes. Hopefully this band will be finished soon and i can move on to the next one.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Sampler Continues

This sampler began way back in late 2006 when I joined in on a round robin with an on-line stitching  group that I belong to. I have blogged about the beginnings, the trials, the fixes, & the additions before if you would all like to read the back story.

I have decided that 2015, (8 years since the beginning!) will be the year to finish this sampler and turn it into the carry bag that it was designed for. So I have pulled it out and am very slowly working on it.

Last year I added another very narrow band of needle-weaving. I had been working another sampler featuring needle-weaving borders, and thought I could work one on here. The ones that I had been working on the other sampler were a little wide to work in the space I had, so I just narrowed it down. I have worked it here in the same  hand dyed green that I used in my hardanger band.

Further up the sampler is my hardanger band, sitting alongside the gorgeous seahorses that were stitched by Margaret. I feel the two bands sitting side by side are a little heavy, and there is still quite a bit of white fabric between, so my aim is to fill the white space. I have always felt that the triangular spaces left by my hardanger needed to be filled, but with what? A spur of the moment decision led me to eyelets, so I added them in pink. Still a little heavy so I have started outlining them in green to help soften them. I will wait until I work them on the other side before I make a decision to add anything else. My mind is playing with ideas, including a very narrow straight band of some kind between my eyelets and Margaret's seahorses, and maybe something else light between the eyelets. Ideas from outside in the blogging world are welcome. Watch this space!