Fully Finished & Happily Displayed

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.

The details…

  • Pattern: “Lazy Days” by Durene Jones, published in Cross Stitcher magazine May 2021
  • Stitch count: 89 high x 60 wide
  • Thread: DMC (22 colors)
  • Fabric: white Aida 18 count
  • Pre framing: project was laced on the back. Sides were secured with 5/8 in. (16mm) bead pins
  • Frame: 8×6 in. hand painted with a mix of teal blue and yellow acrylic paint. Finished it with an antique wax.

Tip Tok Tank is Done

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 Ravelry page.

New Project: Tip Top Tank

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.
  • Ravelry project page

Finished Object: Nith River Mittens

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).

The details…

  • 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.
  • Needle: ChiaoGoo circular needles in US size 4
  • Pattern: “Nith River” by Whole Earth Education
  • Latvian Twist Tutorial by Karen Dawn Designs: https://youtu.be/LFcYJLjrMVs
  • Ravelry: Project Page

I would knit a size up and add length to the cuff if I ever knit the mittens again. Perhaps as well would use a smaller needle size for the cuffs.

Polish Merino Wool

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.

Roadtrip Amusement

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.

Handspun Socks

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.

The simple pattern is “Socks 101” from the book “Knitalong: Celebrating the Tradition of Knitting Together” by Larissa Brown and Martin John Brown. I bought a second hand copy for almost nothing.

I divided 100 grams of the handspun Targhee in half and knit with two strands on size US eight needles. The socks turn out to be rustic, comfy and a perfect fit. They make me happy!

Links:

Ravelry project page

Larissa Brown’s website

Full Coverage Cross Stitch – Part Two

First post about this project can be found: here.

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).

Full Coverage Cross Stitch

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!

Tracking

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.

Project Details

  • Kit: Dimensions Gold Collection “Bicycle Afternoon” Item No. 65077.
  • Cloth: Changed to Aida 14 count. The kit comes with a very stiff Aida 18 count.
  • Threads: Using two threads for the entire piece deviating from the instructions where additional threads are worked on some areas of the chart.

Stitching in Linen: First Impression

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.

Spotlight: Eco Yarn Studio Advent Calendar

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.

2021 Knitting Activity

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!!

Third is (still) a charm

I did it again! I knit another Rikke hat. This one was a birthday gift for my mom, who attempted to steal Rikke no.2. To be honest, I don’t get tired of knitting this pattern.

Enjoying the process and the product is priceless!

  • Pattern: Rikke hat by Sarah Young. Free on Ravelry.
  • Yarn: Malabrigo Rios in colorway Pocion (Spanish word for potion).
  • Needles: US 7 for brim and US 8 for body of the hat.
  • Ravelry: project page.
  • Modifications:
    • Cable cast on – 96 stitches
    • Crown decreases: k12, pm…

Fully Finished Cross Stitch: Harvest Alphabet

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”.

  • Pattern: Harvest Alphabet (Heart in Hand)
  • Cloth: Zweigart Aida, natural, 14 count
  • Thread: DMC 301, 838, 938 and 3782

A hat and its possibilities

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!).

The details:

What is my newest handspun?

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.

Vintage Butterfly

The April 1989 issue of Just Cross Stitch has just couple of patterns that I would stitch and perhaps $1.25 was not exactly a bargain but I couldn’t resist thrifting it.

I stitched just the butterfly of the chart and changed all the thread colors. I also hand dyed the cloth. I am delighted with how it turned out.

  • Chart: “Australian Butterfly” by Kimberly Hattaway, published on the magazine Just Cross Stitch (April 1989).
  • Cloth: Hand dyed Aida 14 count
  • Fabric Size: 6 1/2 x 71/2 (cut to fit my modification)
  • Thread: DMCs 400, 452, 646, 938, 3802 and 3813

Learning Color work

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.

The nitty-gritty…

Cross Stitch: Celebrate Barb Adams

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.

  • Free chart: “Now I Know My ABC’s” by Blackbird Designs
  • Thread: Mostly two strands of the DMC threads listed on the chart with a few exceptions. Comment below and/or contact me if you are interested in the full list.
  • Cloth: 18 count Zweigart Aida in Ivory
  • Needle: John James size 26
  • Frame: 4×6 from IKEA
  • Modification: Omitted last row of the chart so I could fit into a 4×6 frame with mat.


Stash Spinning: Merino

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.

PS: the free shawl pattern can be downloaded directly from the Madelinetosh website.

The Best Cup Ever!

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!

Rikke Hat Is So Popular, But Why?

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.

Ravelry link to project page.

Feeling content…

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
  • Project page: here

There are almost 14,000 Reyna shawls posted on Ravelry and over 4,500 Instagram entries with the hashtag #reynashawl. The pattern deserves its popularity and more. It is easy and enjoyable to knit.

The journey

Look squirrel…and a new project! This is “The Journey“, a small cross stitch kit from Dimensions. I found it at a deep discount in a crafts store.

This design is cute but I cannot help but wanting to add my own touches. I am hoping to incorporate some motifs and fonts from the free DMC charts “Folk Ditsy Flower” and “Point The Marque 3”. Wish me luck!

Stitching and surfing the web:

I should day dream more often. Perhaps also finish some projects.

A Tasty Cup In Progress

I have made significant progress on this cute design. The big red cup is done and I am now working on the top right section of the pattern.

Our family went from nothing planned into a fully scheduled June in a blink of an eye. I don’t want to travel with an almost finished project. So, the plan is to start a new one! I will blog about it next week!

Check this out…

  • Work in progress post no. 1, with all Tasty Cup project details, can be found here.
  • How lovely is this other chart from the same designer, Anvystitch on Etsy?
  • I am participating in D’Nalis Casual Craft Along. Instagram tag: #casualcraftalong

Handspun Hat

I am hoping this small project motivates me to pick up my knitting needles more often. I am using my hand spun and re knitting a favorite design. It’s a win-win!

For this second Rikke hat, I will be looking into adding some soft fabric on the inside of the brim as the yarn is a bit too rustic for my skin. A curious eye will quickly notice the “ridge” on the hat. Let’s call it a design feature (although you and I know that I knit two rows by mistake….ugh!).

The details:

  • Fiber/Yardage: Wensleydale, approximately 150 yards, 2 ply. Find out more about this fiber: here.
  • Rikke no. 1: Ravelry project page: here.
  • Rikke no. 2: Ravelry project page: here.