I finished my first cross stitch sampler!! I had to made a few modifications due to my inexperience measuring and cutting fabric to fit specific design sizes. When I noticed the original design was not going to work, I made the decision to omit several rows and move motifs around.
Nowadays, I use an online cross stitch calculator to get an accurate fabric size. The Yarn Tree calculator is a reliable online tool.
The pattern is a digital download of Flamenco by Papillon Creations. I stitched the sampler on 14 count Zweigart Aida in light blue/gray using two strands of DMC cotton embroidery floss in colors no. 924 and 926. Overall, I am pleased with the final result and look forward to framing the piece.
Yarns are accounted for in my Ravelry “Stash“. Each skein lists a number/location in my crafting room. The skeins are kept in labeled, clear plastic bags that are then stored in fabric buckets that I sewed myself . The XL buckets fit perfectly on the two bottom rows of my IKEA Kallax storage unit.
Patterns, either digital format or hard copies, are logged into my Ravelry “Library“. I also went way overboard cataloguing my books on the free and wonderful website My Library Thing. The books are stored following My Library Thing’s catalog.
PS: I have limited experience with my lovely sewing machine and still had success following this free pattern/tutorial.
PS no.2: Photograph here is a section of my stash [ modesty first :-)! ]
What’s next? How will I plan for a new project?
I will try to go to “My Library” when looking for the next cast on. My Ravelry “Queue” will include projects that intend to knit in the near future. Those projects will be matched with stashed yarn.
What is it that I am trying to accomplish? What will success looks like?
In 2023, I look forward to continue enjoying my craft using what I have in stash. Success will be refraining from buying yarn that I would not immediately use. Success will also mean letting go the thought that special yarn must be saved forever until I find the absolute perfect project for it.
Perhaps sharing my thoughts on stash management inspire another knitter out there! Drop me a line to send your encouragement, to knit along or make suggestions!
Thanks to countless hours watching FlossTubes (YouTube cross stitching podcasts), I have learned that cross stitchers call a project “finished” when they are done with the stitching and “fully finished” when they project is framed, sewn into a pillow, etc. With this project, I found both stages equally satisfying as I practiced relatively new to me skills such as backstitching, lacing and framing.
Thanks Emily Bolduan from Maker Maker for designing this cute free pattern. I have made just two modifications: (a) used worsted instead of recommended sports weight yarn and, (b) changed needle size to US 6 (4.5mm). With these changes my gauge was 20 stitches vs 21 stitches in 4 inches as suggested in the pattern with the recommended yarn..
The after blocking measurements aligned for the most part with a Medium size :
Bust circumference=34 in (approx. 86 cm)
Lower body length=18 in (approx. 46 cm) ** longer than suggested **
Upper body length=8 in (approx. 20 cm)
Neck width=9 in (approx. 23 cm)
The cotton & wool blend yarn, O Wool Balance, is lovely to knit with. It has great stitch definition and is very light weight wise. All the project details are also documented in my Ravelrypage.
Even though I have plenty of projects that could keep me busy for a year or two, I thought it was a great idea to cast on a new one. Blame the North American heat waves for the lack of common sense.
I cannot put this project away! The pattern is easy to follow and the yarn, despite being a cotton blend, does not hurt my hands. There were no warranties that a cropped tank would look good on me. Go figure! Therefore, I am performing sweater surgery now that I am confident that I have enough yarn to complete the tank. I cut the sweater at the ribbing band, pickup stitches and am adding length to the whole thing. Love how is turning out.
The fine print….
Pattern: “Tip Top Tank” designed by Emily Bolduan from Maker Maker. There are plenty of free patterns on the designer’s website.
Yarn: O Wool Balance Worsted Weight (50% Cotton & 50% Merino wool). Color is Butterstone.
Needles:ChiaoGoo US 7 (4.5 mm). Changed needle size to get gauge as pattern is written for Sports weight yarn.
These mittens traveled across four states over the past weekend. But, despite my good intentions to finished them on the road, the weather was too hot to be working with wool. They were done inside my home with the comfort of air conditioning a drink and a podcast.
The paid pattern is well written and even includes a picture tutorial of the Latvian braid. I also used a YouTube video as additional help (linked below). Unfortunately, the mittens are too snug for me. All my fault as I did not get gauge nor had enough yarn to pick up all the stitches required for the thumbs. I might to re do the thumbs entirely with the contrast color (handspun yarn).
Yarns: Mission Falls 100% SW Merino (discontinued) for main color, Merino/Bamboo handspun blend for contrasting color no. 1 and Alpaca handspun for contrasting color no.2. All Aran weight.
This Kromski Polish Merino wool is part of my 2021 Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair (SAFF) stash. The eight ounce combed top was very reasonably priced. At twenty-seven micron count the wool is not the softest Merino on the market. Yet, the fiber was well prepared and spun nicely into approximately 800 yards of two ply DK weight yarn. The color is “Mossy Green”.
I would definitely buy this fiber again. There is additional fiber information and photos of available colors in Kromski’s website.
We are headed north where my daughter will compete in a tennis tournament. These days, for long drives, I require as much entertainment and snacks as the toddler next door.
I am packing a skein of deep stash Mission Falls yarn, some handspun and notions for a new cast on. The pattern,”Ninth River” by Whole Earth Education (Ravelry link), seems to be simple enough to keep me busy on the road and calmed at the courts. Let’s see if magic happens and they bag content comes back in the shape of two nicely finished mittens.
It promises to be a hot weekend. I am also packaging some Vermouth.
I have to confess that I had never worn any hand knit socks despite owing at least ten pairs. It had been against my nature to use something “treasured”. I am working on changing those feelings. I do not want to be attached to objects. What I really want to treasure is the craftiness and experiences creating the objects.
I finished stitching “Bicycle Afternoon” a Dimensions Gold Petit kit. What is left is to add the back stitch to improve the definition of the piece.
A few notes:
Some stitchers recommend doing the backstitch along with the full cross stitch. Once you finish with the full crosses, it takes a lot of will to continue working with the backstitch. Agreed!
I ran out of several colors due to (a) changing the fabric to a higher count and (b) doing all full crosses. I substituted with stash DMC threads and do not think it adversely impacted the final look of the project.
I am a fan of the parking method. It helped me keep track of the project and made it more manageable.
I will be back to show the fully finished piece (hopefully sooner than later).
I have done some research on full coverage cross stitch methods. What follows is what is functioning for me. Sharing is caring. Hope this helps if you are new to full coverage!
The Parking Method
This YouTube video served as a good introduction of the parking method. I am stitching bottom up; from left to right and then right to left in the following row.
This other video gave me the idea to park “leftover” threads. With this, the ends are trapped in the back as new stitches are put in. I then cut any thread excess on the front side. It is a time saver!
I use the “Notes” application to keep track of my stitching. First, I take a picture of the chart. Then I move said picture to the “Notes” application on my iPad where I can zoom in and also highlight what I had stitched. On the same note, I keep a log of the stitches; not too complicated since I work on 100 stitches increments. As of now, I have 69% of the chart completed (7,300 of the total 10,560 stitches). I have not started any of the backstitching.
I finally got my feet wet on stitching on linen fabric. I decided on a fairly simple, geometric chart. It is “Quaker House Samplers” from Carriage House Samplings. For the fabric, I went with a 28 count from Charles Craft in color “Sand”. For floss, I went with good old DMC in colors 169, 730 and 924.
Going from Aida to linen was not easy for me. My stitches do not lay as neat as I would like to. Also, I found difficult to count on such loose woven fabric as Charles Craft. I ended up with a few unintended “personal touches”. Like the house that I modified to align it with other chart motives that I “misplaced”. Oh well, if this end up in the Goodwill someday, it will be easy to track down to the stitcher.
Linen, I will not give up yet. I am stubborn. I am coming back to you….After a little break.
My husband surprised with a yarn advent calendar back in December 2021. My first ever! It was so fun to open woolly packages on random days.
The worsted weight bundle included seven mini skeins (44 yards each) and one full size skein (220 yards). In total, there are 528 yards for a nice size project. The 100% Peruvian wool was naturally dyed with plants by Anastasia from Eco Yarn Studio.
I would love to support this Canadian shop again in the near future and wanted to showcase it here as I believe any knitter would relish working with this amazing yarn.
My goal during the pandemic years had been to stay healthy (mentally and physically). It is not a small undertaking. Frequent exercise and crafts sessions have been extremely helpful.
Still, It is kind of surprising that I managed to finish some projects and not cast on a ton of others. Some of these items have been blogged about, many have not (yet) been documented.
Finished Objects: Six hats, two pullovers, two face towels, cowl
Works in Progress: Vest, cardigan, blanket
Happily frogged: Shawl, mitts
My 2022 goal will remain the same: being healthy. I am also looking forward to many hours with my yarns, spinning wheels, cross stitch charts and any other crafts that float my boat and help with my goal. Happy New Year!!
This is a design from Cecilia Turner, the artist behind Heart in Hand. The free chart can be found in the “Designs” section of her blog. I substituted the call for Weeks Dye Works for DMC threads. And, used three different browns for the alphabet.
I finished it as a big tag. Drawing the template, lacing the back and adding a decorative border took more mental power than the stitching itself. It also required some “Husband, please read the eyelet instructions and follow them. Call me when you are done”.
This lovely pattern was part of a yet another KAL that I started with frenzy but then put aside and didn’t finish by the deadline. I keep getting “F” on my KAL report cards!
I absolutely love this simple hat pattern. But, I don’t enjoy knitting with cotton. Hopefully, the hat will provide some warmth this winter. And, also hopefully, it will be comfortable to wear. If this hat doesn’t work out, my plan is to frog and knit dish clothes with the yarn. I am trying to look at a half full of glass (for a change!).
Here is my new skein of handspun yarn. Despite my good intentions to spin all four ounces on my electric wheel, I switched to my trusty Louet Julia half way into the project. I lost way too much fiber due to breakages and tension issues spinning on the e-wheel. Still, I have a decent amount of yarn for perhaps a hat.
Learning a new skill is tough. Learning a new skill when you are over forty years old (and have little patience) is…an act of love! I am determined to learn color work. What am I doing to make it easier? First, I watched a really helpful YouTube video on color dominance. Second, I picked a fairly small project. Finally, I am using two special handspun yarns. Hopefully all these considerations will make for a nice (painless) finished object.
This small project took a couple of days from start to fully finished. I enjoyed every second worked on it. Most specially, I stitched it to celebrate the life of Barb Adams, one of the designers from Blackbird Designs, who passed away recently. My thoughts are with her family, friends and the cross stitch community.
Back in 2019, my husband gifted me with four ounces of Paradise Fibers Merino in colorway Rust. I am spinning my “go to” handspun: two ply, fingering weight. I decided to practice spinning on my e-spinner. Somedays we have misunderstandings (it’s her attitude, really) and some days we spin along like besties (usually during happy hours).
I have half of the top yet to spin. If the stars align and yardage is appropriate, I would like to knit a Mara shawl . Wish me luck; it is very rarely that I have immediate plans for handspun.
I highly recommend this Anvy Stitch’s easy to follow and affordable chart. It had zero calories. It provided hours of fun stitching. Two others patterns from the same Etsy shop already jumped into my cart (and checked out as well!).
This was stitched on 14 count Aida that I over dyed with Rit Dye colors blue and green. I used most of the DMC’s threads called for except for the red cup that I switched to DMC 321. To fully finish this, I am pondering between a hoop or a pillow. Please comment if you have any other finishing ideas!
There are thousands of Rikke hats in this beautiful and chaotic world. Why is this free pattern so popular? The pattern can be easily adjusted to any yarn weight and looks great in semi-solids, variegated, commercial and/or handspun yarns. Also, the garter stitch makes it for a comfortable and squishy hat.
This is my second handspun Rikke. Doubt it will my last.
Modifications to the pattern:
Handspun yarn wraps per inch = 16. Due to the inconsistency of the handspun, I would it classify as DK weight. Pattern was written for Worsted weight.
Cast on 82 stitches.
Placed marker every 14 stitches for decreases (only 12 stitches following the last marker). Knit two together (K2tog) and knit one after each marker whenever there were sufficient stitches. Started decrease sequence after each marker.
I have been going with the flow lately; starting as many projects as I want. Being inspired by materials and feeling content with all my WIPs.
This week I started the Reyna shawl in my own handspun. I don’t know the exact yardage on hand but my gut tells me it will be enough for a decent size shawl. This free pattern is perfect for variegated yarns. Mine is creating some stripes which I am enjoying while they last. If it starts pooling in a way I dislike, I plan to alternate balls of yarn.
Note: the following are Ravelry links – do not click on them if the website causes any discomfort or sickness.
Pattern: Reyna by Noora Backlund (free on Ravelry)
Yarn: Handspun Merino | Light fingering | Spun in 2014