Sunday, February 26, 2017

February WIPocalypse Post

February has been a month of very little rotation when it came to WIP stitching. That is actually okay because a lot of progress has been made on two of my works in progress!

I concentrated on stitching "Kaleidoscope" at our group's stitch day this month. One of my fellow stitchers even noticed how much I had gotten done on it.
The other project that I spent a lot of time on is the Snowflower Diaries Joyful World series. I started stitching January last January. As in January of 2016. Now I'm happy to say that the January design has been completed!
I even found a frame that will look good with all twelve designs as I interchange them monthly.
I'm stitching all of these over one on 25-count Norden Pearl linen. At first, I was a little afraid that I had taken on too much by stitching over one on this fabric. But pretty soon, I realized that it was no problem at all. The hard part comes when (or if) I have to frog. Luckily, not too much of that so far.
I was all ready to begin stitching February when I saw a suggestion from Nicole, a fellow stitcher on Facebook. She has started stitching the month of September so that she'll be able to begin displaying her finishes this year. Her reasoning is that she knows that she'll get September completed by September of this year if she starts stitching it now. Great idea! So I started June with the hope that I get it done by then and can pop it into its frame and have it displayed in well......June. And maybe by then I'll have progress made on July, then August, and so on. I'm treating all twelve months of this as one big project.
Here's the start of "June".
I did not touch any of my other WIPs this month, but am very happy to get as much done as I did on these two projects. I'm still not sure about the English Cottage Sampler. It was suggested to me that I purchase the printed chart (as opposed to using the hand-drawn one I have), which may makes things easier for me. A lot of thinking has to be done as to whether to even continue this one.

I'll also be adding a new project to my WIPs, but I'm not sure when. I received a beautiful chart for Christmas and want to start it soon. It will require a piece of fabric about 33" wide. I have to figure out what kind of fabric to stitch it on. I'll reveal the details next month.

The question of the month is: "What is your favorite stitch other than the standard cross stitch?"
That's easy. It's the French Knot. I know. You think I'm crazy, right? I don't know many stitchers who actually like these, but my mom taught me how to do these waaaaay back when. Here's a little video with instructions. Try not to get too distracted by her fingernails!

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.