Throw Back Thursday – Mirabilia Crystal Chandelier

Mirabilia chandelier

Funny note: I couldn’t remember which magazine printed this pattern, so I looked for it in Google Images. The first picture that came up was from my blog post about the design on May 18, 2005 from my old blog. That’s when I finished it, for my father. So, instead of rewriting the post, I thought I’d copy and paste from my old post — there’s some efficient blogging for ya!

“He fixes chandeliers and sells them on eBay and I thought it would be nice for him. I left off the heart treasures as I thought that was a bit fancy for him. I was having a big problem getting enough of the Mill Hill glass teardrops for it. I went to a bead shop and they didn’t have what I was looking for, either. Finally I bought these cylindrical crystal beads and I think they work well. I actually think they’re better in the end because they’re less feminine than the glass teardrops, if that makes sense. You can barely see them in the picture as they are clear, but in “real life” they show up better.”

If you like the design and want to stitch it, see if you can get your hands on Just Cross Stitch Magazine, April 2001.

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WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday 2-25-15

 

New yarn for CAL

New yarn for CAL

CAL  square #1

CAL square #1

I’ve only been working on a few projects since last Wednesday. Much of my craft time went to Moogly’s CAL. As usual, I am unable to leave well enough alone, and restarted it. I stitched the first two blocks (she’s up to #4), and got stuck on the third block. I was going to move onto the fourth block and come back to #3, then I realized that I just wasn’t very happy with the bulkiness of the squares. I think next year I may go with a DK yarn, but since I was in a hurry to replace my yarn for this one, I went to Michael’s and – lo, and behold! – Caron Simply Soft was on sale. That pretty much clinched it, since Caron Simply Soft is a tad thinner than the worsted I was originally using. I also changed the colors and how I’m stitching them: Each square will have a variegated center with one color for the rest. I think that will be easier for me, as this is my first blanket made of elaborate (for me) squares.

So, I have finished the first block and will eventually get caught up on the rest. I will use the old yarn for some pretty scarves, as I really do like the color combinations. I’m using a similar combination for my new one, as you’ll see. I only bought one skein each of the old yarn, which is good. I’ll continue buying the Caron as needed.

Chinese dragon - full - 2-24-15

Almost a picture of the full canvas. The side borders are identical, so you get the idea.

Chinese dragon - closeup dragon - 2-24-15

Detail of the small amount of dragon I’ve stitched using various metallics. I love it!

Chinese dragon - border - 2-24-15

Detail of the border, stitched in Planet Earth silk. It’s mostly basketweave but I’ve used a few special stitches to give it a little added interest.

Other than that, I worked one night on my needlepoint Chinese Dragon. I haven’t worked on him in quite some time and forgot he beautiful he is. I’m looking forward to seeing him stitched in all his metallic glory. I took a few pictures so that you can see the whole project and some detail. I’m using Planet Earth silk for the border, Threadworx cotton floss for the inside background, and Kreinik, Threadworx, and Rainbow Gallery threads for the actual dragon. I don’t want the background to have too much of that stripey look you can sometimes get when working with variegated floss. So, using four strands at a time, I reverse two strands when I separate the strands, and skip around in one area just a little to give it more of a natural look.

Blossom Harvest 2-24-15

Second day on Blossom Harvest

 

Finally, I got a little time in on Blossom Harvest last night. I finished her face, except for the backstitching of her lips and a little of her hair because I don’t have those colors at the moment, and that always helps me to move on to the rest. I know other people are the opposite, preferring to stitch the face last, but there’s something about those pretty faces that inspire me to (eventually) finish the designs. The fabric I’m using is a little more blue than it appears in the picture. I’m looking forward to finishing the stitching so that I can add the big beads to her hair and get rid of those holes.

This is the first time in years that I’ve been able to do a little in all three of my main hobbies, mainly because my job hours are so low. So, while I hate having to look for work and not having much money, it’s given me more time for my hobbies. I’m very thankful for the part-time job I have that keeps me working in my field of choice.

Spring Scarves – Free Patterns

Spring scarves collage

Much of the country is dealing with ice and record lows as I write this. Except for Sunday, which was gorgeous here in the Philadelphia area, I have become used to wearing a thin scarf under my heavy winter scarf under my coat but over my t-shirt and hoodie, as well as two pairs of gloves. However, I know spring will come around again and I am looking forward to it — not summer so much, with its humidity, but I always welcome the warmer but not obnoxious temperatures of spring. In honor of that hope, I have found some pretty spring scarves you can make for those days that still have a little chill in the air but you can see the flowers blooming.

spring scarf - spring fling infinity

Spring Fling Infinity Scarf from My Merry Messy Life

The Spring Fling Infinity Scarf from Sara at My Merry Messy Life looks like a quick stitch that you could make in plenty of time for warmer weather. It’s a great way to keep your neck warmer while not having to worry about ends of the scarf hanging down and getting in your way. It uses 230 ounces of worsted yarn. The pattern calls for variegated yarn (which I prefer), but it would look lovely in a solid color or in stripes of solid colors as a stash-busting project. I think Red Heart Boutique’s Unforgettable would work nicely if you decide to go the variegated route.

green-sheen-scarf

Green Sheen Scarf from Caron.

If you’re looking for a lacier scarf that is a bit more intermediate in difficulty, the Green Sheen Scarf may be your answer. Of course, you don’t have to use green yarn, but whatever color you like. The scarf is a free design from Caron and is available at Fave Crafts for free. The pattern is older and calls for Caron Spa yarn, which is no longer available, but any DK-weight yarn will work. Personally, this color green doesn’t work well for me (looks horrible with my coloring), but any color would look wonderful for this pattern. Knit Picks has some beautiful colors in Diadem, for example. The combination of alpaca and silk gives this yarn a beautiful sheen.

Dainty Shells Scarf

Dainty Shells Scarf from All Free Crochet

Another scarf that uses thinner yarn is the Dainty Shells Scarf, available at All Free Crochet. This is an easy scarf that uses sport weight yarn, so it’s even lighter than the Green Sheen Scarf. There’s that green again, which I know is a very popular spring color, but I think I’d use a subtle variegated yarn for this. Keep in mind I’m a big fan of variegated yarn, so I’m a bit biased. I performed a quick search over at Yarn.com and found a few variegated sport-weight yarns made from different materials that could work, depending on your preference and budget. There’s also some gorgeous Highland Wool blend sport-weight yarn at Knit Picks that could work.

journey scarf

Journey Scarf from Kim Guzman

Finally, here’s the Journey Scarf. Originally featured on Caron’s website as a free design, it is now available as a free pdf download on Kim Guzman’s website. This is one for which I’d use a solid color, as a variegated yarn may take away from the design, but to each her or her own. This also calls for Caron’s Spa yarn, so instead you can choose any DK-weight yarn. Caron’s Simply Soft Light is nice, but it has more of a twisted/braided look than other DK yarns. Some people like that, some people don’t.

Hope you like the few spring scarves that I’ve shared. If you Google “free crochet spring scarf” you will find a ton! Also I mentioned some yarn here, but I’m not affiliated with any particular retailer or yarn-maker, just noted a few that I like. There is so much yarn out there, made from a plethora of materials and available at different price points, that I’m sure you will find just the right one for you.

Cool! Yarn changes color in the sun!

ABRACADABRA yarn

As you know, sometimes I see something that I just have to share here, and this is one of them! HiKoo Abracadabra is like magic. Walk into the sun, and this natural-colored yarn transforms into either pink or purple, depending on the color you choose. It’s a slightly shimmery DK-weight yarn, a blend of merino wool, polypropylene (this is the part that creates the color change), and nylon — and it’s machine washable. I’m hoping they get more colors in, but these are beautiful. What a fun idea! (They are currently on back order, but should have some more stock in soon.)

Scotch, Hold the Ice

My timing with this is interesting — coldest weather on record for so much of us, and I’m sharing Christmas designs. Well, they are beautiful, and the Scotch stitch is a great base stitch to learn. You may want to imbibe in a different kind of Scotch if you are stuck inside during this crazy winter, but I also hope you will check these out. 🙂 I also found a project that is not affiliated with winter and is a great stash-buster.

Scotch is one of my favorite box stitches; it is easy, covers ground — er, canvas — quickly, lends itself to many variations, and is easy to compensate at the edge of the stitching area. I found some great legitimately free designs that use Scotch at Nuts About Needlepoint. The first two could be quick stitches for your Christmas tree next year, or for someone else’s tree. The other is appropriate for any season. All three designs have great instructions, just follow the links.

Mini stocking

Design by Janet M. Perry

You can stitch the Learn a Stitch Mini-Sock in the colors shown or whatever solid and/or variegated colors you wish. The outline, stitch directions, and materials used are all available for free. It’s a great little project for learning variations on the Scotch stitch.

patchwork-xmas-tree

Design by Janet M. Perry

Another opportunity to use a variation of the stitch is the Scotch Stitch Needlepoint Christmas Tree. This uses a pretty cool version of the stitch, called Genny’s Scotch, in honor of Genny Morrow who designed beautiful quilt-like needlepoint designs. It also includes a reverse version of the stitch to make the tree and add some additional interest to the background and border. Instead of all the stitches going across the full square, the longer stitches are divided into two shorter stitches, which gives this design an interesting texture. You could stitch the whole project in standard and reverse Scotch, but this version adds just a little “something” to the look of the project.

wedding-day-quilt-portrait-300x291

Design by Janet M. Perry

Finally, here’s the non-winter stashbuster project I mentioned, Wedding Day Quilt Portrait. It’s a pretty and simple quilt design and you can use whatever colors you’d like. Sometimes I start stash-buster projects with the intent of truly getting rid of extra threads in my inventory, but I end up wanting specific colors and end up buying more. Hopefully, you are more strong-willed than I. You could also make it larger or smaller or more rectangular to fit a specific project you may have in mind.

There are a lot of free needlepoint designs out there, but I caution you to use your discretion, as there are also many designs that are “free” from websites run by people who have stolen them from the designers. It’s important to our art that we honor the designers who create our lovely needlepoint, crochet, knit, cross stitch, and other designs by only downloading charts that are truly gifts to us from the designers, and purchase those that are not meant to be free.

Throw Back Thursday

Ewephoria

This is a piece I made a few years ago. It was for a class I was teaching about stitching on linen at Rittenhouse Needlepint. The finishers there made it into a cute little hanging pillow, about six inches wide. They have it hanging in the shop as a cross stitch sample. I may make it again for myself, it’s so darn cute! I thought that it was a good time to post a reminder of spring, as so many of you are inundated with snow and ice at the moment.

Ewe-phoria is a free chart from Mosey ‘n Me, and is still available online if you want to download it. This chart may not appeal to everyone, as it has symbols but not a color scheme. I loved picking my colors from threads I already had in my stash. I don’t remember exactly what I used, but I know it was a combination of Gentle Arts Sampler Threads and Weeks Dye Works threads. You can see that there is a subtle variegation in the threads. I just chose a piece of fabric that I had in my stash, but I think the pink gives a nice spring/Easter feel.

She was a very fun and quick piece to stitch.

WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday 2-18-15

It’s a long story, but starting this week I’m only working 10 hours a week. Of course, I am looking for full-time work and have some other irons in the fire, but I can use this (hopefully short) time to catch up on some stitching, as well as some other projects around the house. However, for my first week of working less, I sure seem to be busy. Funny how that works.

Emerald Mermaid comparison 2-18-15Queen Mermaid comparison 2-18-152001 Mirabilia cherub comparison 2-18-15Since last Wednesday, I started more of my Mirabilias slated for 15 Miras in 15 Days. I usually don’t take pictures of projects I have just started because they just look like weird blobs of color, but I will do so for the blog. I think it will also help me see when I’m making progress. I’m stitching Emerald Mermaid on Desert Island 32ct. Lugana from Sugar Maple Fabrics, Queen Mermaid on Aquarius 32ct. Lugana from Sugar Maple Fabrics and the 2001 Mirabilia Cherub on mystery fabric that looks like white 32ct. Lugana. (I believe Sugar Maple Fabrics is no longer in business, but please correct me if I’m wrong about that and I will add a link.)

I made more progress on my temperature scarf, which has some different colors this week due to the extremely cold temperatures we’ve been experiencing. I may make another one of these next year, using the same colors and temperature ranges, but basing the color I use on the lowest temperature of the day, rather than the highest.

receiving blanket 2-18-15I also made some progress on a receiving blanket I’m making for a charity group I recently joined. Based in West Philadelphia, they make all sorts of projects, depending on the need of organizations – hats, scarves, blankets, etc. They recently made scarves and hats for my employer, the Pennsylvania Prison Society, to give to returning citizens. A friend of mine invited me to join them, and I’m so glad she did. The blanket is stitched with Red Heart Soft in a small granny stripe pattern.

charity scarves 2-18-15

I finally finished off a few more scarves for my women’s group at church. All of these were in some form of progress: The two cream and brown ones just needed the tails sewn in; the wine-colored scarf was half done, so I finished it; and the black and grey scarf I found in a bag – I had forgotten all about it – and only needed a few more rows added to it. In case you are interested, the cream and brown scarves were made by using two colors at once (Knit Picks Brava Worsted); they are both worked in double crochet, one stitched vertically and the other stitched horizontally. The wine-colored scarf is one I featured a while back on the blog, using wine Knit Picks Brava Worsted. The grey and black scarf is half-double crochet, and I changed yarns every two rows (Red Heart Worsted).

I’m embarrassed to say that I’m already behind on Moogly’s CAL. I keep saying I will start that second block, but I keep finding something else to do. She’s already posted block #3, and will soon post #4. I have to be careful to not let this bother me too much, as I’m a bit of a perfectionist sometimes turn my hobbies into something I feel obligated to work on, which does not help my anxiety levels that have been raised a bit lately. It’s amazing, the things we allow to bother us, isn’t it?

Throw Back Thursday – Joan Elliott angels

TBT collage 2-12-15

I came across a picture of Joan Elliott’s Christmas Angel, which I stitched for my sister several years ago. Before then, I had stitched Joan’s Angel of Night for my grandmother and Angel of Love for my mother, deciding I would stitch one for each woman in our family. (Luckily, it’s a small family, lol.) One of my current WIPs is Joan’s Autumn Angel, which I’m stitching for my sister-in-law. I thought the red hair was perfect, as she is a redhead. Once that is finished, I will stitch the final angel in the series – Angel of Summer, I believe –  for myself. As I mentioned in a previous post, my grandmother died a few years back, so my mom currently has both Angel of Night and Angel of Love in her home. I also have her Angel of Cross Stitch pattern, which I may stitch some day. Funny how I mentioned before that I’m not a big stitcher of angels. Maybe I’m wrong about that.

February WIPocalypse – Part Two

FebWIPocalypse collage

 

Now for the nitty-gritty of WIPocalypse: all those projects I vowed to work on this year. As I said in my earlier post, I don’t make timelines to finish most projects, but there are a few I’ve been working on for a while that I should be able to finish this year without putting myself out too much. I do like to have a few goals, just don’t want to put so much pressure on myself that I don’t enjoy the journey.

So, let’s see what progress I’ve made, given I haven’t been paying attention to the list I made in January, lol.

Projects to start in 2015 – progress since 1/5/15

Cross Stitch
2001 Mirabilia Cherub – not started
Blossom Harvest – Forgot I had already started, and have made more progress
Mermaid of Atlantis – not started
Queen Mermaid – not started
South Seas Mermaid – not started
Touching the Autumn Sky – started
Amethyst Fairy – not started
Enchanted Dreamer – not started

Crochet
10 infinity scarves for gifts or to sell
Temperature scarf
Moogly’s 2015 Crochet-Along afghan
special project I need to finish with a friend in February

Projects to finish in 2015 – progress since 1/5/15

Cross Stitch
Garden Verses (Mirabilia) –not a stitch
Angel of the New Dawn (Mirabilia) – a few hours
Sleeping Beauty (Mirabilia) – a few hours
Mermaids of the Deep Blue (Mirabilia) – a few hours
Quaker Diamonds (Rosewood Manor) – not a stitch

Needlepoint (I don’t remember designers at the moment) – haven’t stitched on any needlepoint projects
Geisha Cats (picture at top, just need to finish the ribbon embroidery and beading in “hair”)
Chinese Dragon
St. Basil’s
Santa stocking

Crochet
Tim’s afghan – not a stitch
Temperature scarf – going to catch up on this by the end of the week
Moogly’s 2015 Crochet-Along afghan – finished first block, starting second block this week – really!
Baby blanket (soooo close, can finish it in a night or two) – finished, but gave it away before I got a final picture

Other projects (there will always be some!)
Three charity scarves – finished
Receiving blanket for charity – started
prayer shawl for charity – started
Fairie Treasures – made a little progress
Mermaids of the Deep Blue – made a little progress

 

 

February WIPocalypse, Part One

This month’s WIPocalypse question is: How do you overcome that feeling that you’re in a rut with a particular project?

I don’t know that I overcome it, but I work around it. I have many projects going at once so I always have something to keep my interest. If I’m working on a large project, I usually work on it for a while, work on something else, then come back to it. If I have deadlines I try to start early enough to give myself time to do that.

Sometimes, I have deadlines that are looming (holidays, birthdays, commission jobs) and I just have to work through it. When that happens, I make sure I take small breaks so that I don’t overtax my hands and get away from it for a few minutes — take a walk around the block, just chill out for a little while, read, etc.

If I’m truly not interested in a project I started, I will put it away for longer. Sometimes I will get the urge to work on it again, and then I get into a groove and get a lot accomplished. I’ve had a few small projects that irritated me much more than any large projects, and I just got rid of them — life’s too short. I also learned that I really cannot take on any needlepoint projects that are strict basketweave or continental with few colors, because stitching them make me fall asleep – literally. I found I prefer using different stitches because it helps keep my interest. I do use continental and basketweave in many of the projects I have in my stash, but I’m changing colors often and still using other stitches, so it keeps my brain occupied.

I think it really depends on what kind of stitcher you are. Some people really don’t like to have one or just a few projects going because they feel pressure to finish them. For better or worse, I don’t feel a lot of pressure to finish most of my projects anytime soon, except for gifts and some charity stitching, so I’m OK going from one project to another. Once in a while I get in a “finish” mode, and that is helpful.

I don’t want to go on and on, so will update my actual WIPocalypse projects in another post.