Monday, February 13, 2017

Inspired By Pinterest In February

Since I started my monthly Pinterest attempt, I've learned so many new techniques and have made many fun projects. A long-ago goal of mine was to learn how to crochet things that were not square or rectangle shaped. I think I've accomplished this!

I like warm scarves even though we haven't had much need for them this winter. Well, yet. There's still time. Crocheting them was something I could do easily because they were basically one long rectangle. So for something new and different, it was time to try an infinity scarf.

I found a tutorial on Pinterest that seemed like a good place to start. The first problem came when I realized that the instructor never said what size crochet hook to use. Not good! I chose what I thought would work (I think it was a "K") and I quickly figured out that this scarf was going to be too short to double over my head in infinity scarf form. I was also unhappy with the way the "join" looked. By this, I mean where a row is completed and a new one is started.

Luckily, crochet is often easy to undo! A search for another tutorial was successful when I found Melanie Ham's Easy Crochet Infinity Scarf video on Youtube. You can find this tutorial HERE. Yay - easy-to-follow instructions and a clear view of how the scarf is made!
I used bulky yarn (another first for me) by Yarn Bee from Hobby Lobby. It's easy to work with and feels soft when worn. Melanie encourages you to make the loop (chained row one) nice and big so that you can double it easily, and even triple it around your neck if you wish. I don't know how many stitches I chained for row one, but the circumference of my completed scarf is about 76".
It's done in single crochet and I used an "N" hook. I'd like to try this same scarf using the "P" hook for a looser stitch and a slightly different look.
I am very happy with this infinity scarf and would definitely make more. It's a fun, quick project and would make a great gift. And you can achieve unique looks by using different yarns and different size crochet hooks. I will be happily be wearing this scarf until spring!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Following Instructions Pays Off!

Stitching pretty Christmas ornaments is fun and rewarding, but you have to do something with them when the stitching is done, right? I mean, they're not doing anyone any good packed away in the "completed stitching" box.

I've finished stitched Christmas ornaments before, but never thought they looked as good as they could. So I took an informal "class", meaning that I devoted some time to watching (and paying attention to) a Youtube video by Vonna, The Twisted Stitcher. This particular video is called "Floss Tube Finishing School - Pillow Ornament W/Cording.  Going into that "completed stitching" box, I found exactly what I needed - my little finish of "Cardinal Winter" by Little House Needleworks.

And here's the result of following all of the steps provided in this tutorial.
There's just something about finishing an ornament that's so satisfying. It's like a "look at what I did!" moment. And now I can actually use my stitched piece for what it was intended - an ornament!

Adding cording that you made yourself is an extra added touch. It's easy to make when you have a Kreinik Custom Corder. This little device allows you to take ordinary embroidery floss and make your own custom cording. 
Yes, it's easy, and yes, it works. Just look.
And even though I tried very hard to be a good student, I did have a bit of an issue. My cording came out too short and I had to improvise a bit for the hanger. I probably just didn't measure correctly. That's where that "measure twice and cut once" advice comes in!

Vonna's video is easy to follow and very detailed. You'll learn all of the tips needed to make a beautifully finished ornament. And she shows you how to make the cording. It's all there, from start to finish. So give it a try. Go on. You will be glad that you did.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

January WIPocalypse Post!

Joining this WIPocalypse group has been the best thing I could have done, stitchingwise. I was so motivated to stitch this month because of it.

I don't have a set stitching rotation, but instead worked on what I felt like working on. It may seem random, but I did actually pick up three of my WIPs during the past month. Two weeks ago, we had our Sisters In Stitches stitching day and I made some progress on Tulip's Praise.
I'm stitching this one over one on 18 count fabric. I just don't remember what kind of fabric it is, but it is an evenweave. This one is fun to stitch with pretty spring colors.

A lot of stitches have also gone into Kaleidoscope.
This is the one I have been stitching at our stitch days, but decided to change things up a bit and worked on it at home. I'm seeing the wisdom in changing projects once in a while.

The one I've made the most progress on is The Joyful World monthly series. I hadn't put any stitches into it for quite a while and was thinking that maybe I wouldn't be so enthusiastic about working on 25 count fabric over one again! Wow, was I wrong! I am having fun making these tiny stitches.
I got a new camera for Christmas and can't figure out how to turn on the close-up feature. I plan to use some time this afternoon to do that so that I can get a better photo of my little stitches next time. But isn't this cute?! I really don't have much more to do on it. Then "February" will start! I'm stitching this one on Davos fabric in an oatmeal color.

I didn't work on the "Angel of Divinity" stocking at all. I did find it, but the fabric was rolled up when it was stored, and then got flattened. Now there are all kinds of horizontal fold lines going across the fabric. I want to find out if I can get these out before I start stitching. It's been stored for a long time so I'm hoping it's not a lost cause.

The last WIP on my list was the English Cottage Sampler. I sat down with this one and started to stitch, but realized another problem I was having with it: the chart itself. It appears to have been hand written and (for me) is difficult to follow. Excuses, excuses. But really, it just adds to the un-fun-ness of this project. Sigh. I don't know if I'm going to be able to pick this one back up. Do you have any projects like that, or is it just me?

You can read all about the WIPocalypse SAL by going to Measi's Musings. The question of the month is: What Stitch-a-Longs (SALs) are you participating in this year? My answer is that this is the only one! And that's okay. I'm not the world's fastest stitcher (ok, I'm a slow stitcher.) and this is pretty much all I can handle with the other crafting endeavors I am working on or planning.

So that is my stitching progress for January! I'm thinking about adding a new project soon, but as of right now I don't know which one to start. But that's the fun of it, right?

Friday, January 20, 2017

Pinterest Inspiration For January

It's a new year and I'm going to continue with my crafty Pinterest pursuits. If you're new to my blog, I'll explain. Each month I choose a project that I saw on Pinterest and attempt to craft it. It could be something crocheted, a beading project, something sewn, or a general crafty type endeavor.

Last January, I wanted to create a winter door decoration and chose to make this pinecone door hanger. I like the way it turned out and it stayed on the door for the duration of the winter months. But we had a lot of wind and because the pinecones hung on ribbons, they got blown around a lot and hit the door. They took a real beating and the whole thing didn't look as good at the end of winter.

So this year, I chose a simple winter wreath as my January Pinterest attempt. If you go on Pinterest and search "winter wreath", a whole bunch of suggestions come up. I mean, a LOT. So what I did was look through the photos and ideas and came up with my own.
Steph and I went to Hobby Lobby right after Christmas when all of their Christmas decor was 66% off. They had lots of greenery and floral picks left and I found exactly what I wanted.
I bought a simple grape vine wreath, some pine greenery picks, a few white and silvery berry picks, and an owl. The small pinecones, of course, were already in my craft room stash. I painted them with white acrylic paint and sprinkled the wet paint with epsom salts to look like snow or ice.
Aside from that, all I needed for supplies were a pair of wire cutters and some hot glue. And there you are: a cute winter wreath! Just look at that adorable little owl. I think that the whole thing cost me less than $10.00. And this is funny - I saw a similar wreath online for $99.00!!
It's been on the door for a couple of weeks now and is holding up well. And it will stay there until it's time for a springtime decoration.

This has inspired me to make more wreaths. I learned that with wreath-making, less is more. Additionally, it doesn't have to take a lot of time to create a pretty door decoration.

I hope that you like this Pinterest inspired project. Maybe it will inspire you to make your own!
Come back and visit my blog soon!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Few Questions For A Sunday Afternoon

As I've continued my craft room organization and decluttering this week, several questions have come up. Nothing earth-shattering, just things that have popped up while going through things.

1.  What is this for?
I found a zip lock bag with these four items in it: a piece of 25-count Jobelan in pale blue, and a skein each of DMC 3889, DMC 115, and DMC 3051. What's going on here? At some point in time I put these things in a bag for.........what? Was there a chart that went with it? Why was it so important to place it in a bag? Did I mean to kit up something? If this combination of colors/items looks familiar to you, please let me know.

2.  What should I do with this?
We received a really cool goodie assortment at Christmas and it was all packed in this basket. As soon as I saw it, I called dibs on it thinking it would be a useful addition to my craft room. The question now is how should I utilize it? It's about 21" wide, 8" deep, and 6" tall. It's very sturdy and has a cotton liner.

3.  Does DMC floss ever get too old to use?
Good question, huh? A discount fabric store near me was selling all of their DMC floss for ten cents each a while ago. All of the floss had the old-school floss tags on them, but I didn't care. Ten cents each? Load up a bagful! And I did just that. So during the floss organization portion of my project, I saw that I still have a bunch of these oldies but goodies. Does DMC floss ever "go bad"? I keep it in containers, so it's clean, and each skein still feels soft and has that DMC luster. But is there any reason why I shouldn't use them?

4.  Why are there birds on my blog? Go to the very top of my blog. Look all the way to the right. There are birds flying.....somewhere. Why are they there? Did I put them there unintentionally? I have seen them on other blogs, so I am guessing that they have something to do with Blogger. I don't know. I mean, they aren't bothering anything, and they're cute. Just look how my cat is watching them. (That was unintentional!) And at least they're not spiders or cockroaches or something. But I'm just curious as to why they're there.

That sums up my current question list. If you have guesses or suggestions for any of my queries, please comment! I'd love to hear your ideas. I'll be posting soon with more about the craft room progress and my WIPocalypse rotation. Thanks for visiting today. Check back again sometime!

Friday, January 6, 2017

WIPocalypse Time!

I mentioned in my last post that for me, this was going to be the year of the WIP. I've got some pretty nice projects going and it would be nice to finish one for once. A kind commenter, Kay from the blog "Kitten Stitching" suggested that I join the WIPocalypse SAL at Melissa's Measi's Musings blog. Great idea! So here I am writing my first post for this adventure. I liked Melissa's description of the SAL as "a very easy-going, low-key stitch-a-long". That sounded perfect to me.

So let me introduce myself to the group. I'm Cathy and I've been stitching for about 35 years. I live in Georgia, just north of Atlanta with my husband Mark. We have a grown son, Matt, who just got married to Steph and they live in the Boston area. I work for our local library system. Two cats live in our house and think they're royalty. Besides stitching, I like to crochet, make beaded jewelry, and do general craft projects. I belong to an amazing stitching group called the Sisters In Stitches which meets once a month for a day of stitching and talking.

While Matt and Steph were here for Christmas, I found my old, old WIP, "English Cottage Sampler" by Teresa Wentzler to show Steph. I told her that I really liked this project, but stopped stitching it for several reasons. One of those reasons involved blended threads. But now, just looking at it made me want to forge ahead and complete this gorgeous piece.
I've also identified the other projects that I'm including in my WIP quest. Here goes:
--Tulip's Praise by Gracewood Stitches
--Kaliedoscope by Sheena Rogers
--The Joyful World monthly series by The Snowflower Diaries. (This project is available on Facebook HERE. Look in the files. All of the charts are free courtesy of the talented designer Maja. Go on. You know you want to. I'm such an enabler.)
--Angel of Divinity stocking kit by Dimensions.

I'll be showing photos of the rest of my list in future posts. 

Will I start anything new? It's not out of the question. If When I do, I will add it to the above list and stitch happily away. It's all for fun and maybe, just maybe completing some stitching projects during 2017. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Year End Wrap-Up And New Years Plans

Looking back at 2016, I think it was a pretty good year for crafting. I managed to post a Pinterest-inspired crafting post each month and made some pretty cool things. I wasn't as busy a stitcher during the year however. The wedding piece was completed, as were the four squares I pledged to do for the Rainbows For Peace and Comfort group on Facebook. But that's it. No other stitching completions.

So this year I plan to do things a little differently stitching-wise. I pronounce this as the Year of the WIP! I'm going to identify and yes, even unearth, all of my stitching works-in-progress and put them into some kind of rotation. I will put more thought into this and update you soon.

As I said, I'm happy that the squares for the Rainbows group are finished! I'm going to get them packed up and into the mail this week.
As soon as those were finished, I picked up my Kaleidoscope and continued working on that.
I like this chart so much. The designer is Sheena Rogers and it's meant to be completed as a little cushion. The chart has a lot of different colors so artfully blended, and that's what makes it so pretty. And happy. This will be one of the projects in my rotation.

Other People's Creations alert!! We had a wonderful Christmas. Our son, Matt, and his wife, Steph, came to visit us for about 10 days. It was so nice to just hang out with them. Steph is a talented knitter and worked on two projects while they were here. She also knitted me a pair of socks for Christmas!
She made these! For me! Just look at how beautifully made these are.
The color is gorgeous, and they're so soft. As I always say, we crafters/stitchers/knitters/quilters, etc. know how much love and work go into projects, and we are especially appreciative of the special-ness of a handmade gift. I just love these!

Back to 2017 planning. I've come to the realization that my craft room has gotten a little out of control. I need to get better organized and get rid of stuff I don't use. Do I really need that serger that I bought used and only worked for about 5 minutes? What about the miscellaneous junk that I never use? Yes, it's time to tidy up.
Really, does this look like a good way to store ribbon? No. No, it's not.
Above is a photo of my "inbox" which is a shallow basket where I put stuff before I put it in the place where it needs to go. Did that make sense? Looks like that would be a good place to start. I've been watching "craft room tours" videos on Youtube for organization ideas. There are a lot of them, and even though most of them are geared toward paper crafters, I'm getting helpful ideas for organizing my necessities. Plus, they are pretty fun to watch.

Other than that, I do plan to continue my Pinterest quests because they have been enjoyable and educational, craftwise.

So check back from time to time. I think this is going to be a good crafty and stitchy year!