April WIPocalypse – Stitching progress

I have been mostly crocheting and cross stitching lately, not getting far on my needlepoint projects. I’ve made a lot of progress on some charity projects, which is a good thing. I’m looking forward to going to Celebration of Needlepoint at the end of the month where I will start a project not on the list – Northern Expressions’ Twisted Bank Sampler.

 

Projects to start in 2015 – progress since 3/7/15

Woodland Fairy 4-4-15

Woodland Fairy by Mirabilia on 32ct. Misty Blue linen

Cross Stitch
2001 Mirabilia Cherub – none
Blossom Harvest – none
Mermaid of Atlantis – none
Queen Mermaid – none
Woodland Fairy – several hours
Touching the Autumn Sky – none
Amethyst Fairy – a few hours
Christmas Wishes – a few hours

 

Crochet
10 infinity scarves for gifts or to sell – not started
Temperature scarf – ongoing (but no recent progress)
Moogly’s 2015 Crochet-Along afghan – restarted with new colors and yarn, only block 1 is finished (but no progress this month)
special project I need to finish with a friend in February – FINISHED! It was a rainbow stole a friend of mine and I at church stitched for our pastor’s first commitment ceremony.

 

Projects to finish in 2015 – progress since 3/7/15

Garden Verses - 4-4-15

Garden Verses by Mirabilia on light blue linen

Cross Stitch
Garden Verses (Mirabilia) – several hours
Angel of the New Dawn (Mirabilia) – not a stitch since 2/10
Sleeping Beauty (Mirabilia) – not a stitch since 2/10 (OMG, this one’s taking for-ev-er!)
Mermaids of the Deep Blue (Mirabilia) – a few hours
Quaker Diamonds (Rosewood Manor) – several hours

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 – none
St. Basil’s – none
Santa stocking – none

Crochet
Tim’s afghan – not a stitch
Temperature scarf – ongoing, but no recent progress
Moogly’s 2015 Crochet-Along afghan – restarted with new colors and yarn, only block 1 is finished (no recent progress)
Baby blanket (soooo close, can finish it in a night or two) – finished in February, but gave it away before I got a final picture

Mo shawl 4-4-15

WIP – shawl for my sister using Berroco Modern Cotton (color – Bluebird)

Other projects (there will always be some!)
Three charity scarves – finished in February
Four more charity scarves — finished in Feburary
Receiving blanket for charity – finished in March
prayer shawl for charity – finished
prayer shawl for charity 2 – started
prayer squares for charity – 27 stitched in March-early April
Chain stitch infinity scarf for a friend – finished
Fairie Treasures – no progress since 2/10
shawl for my sister – made some progress after starting over using different design

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Crochet – Keyhole Ripple Stitch

prayer shawl - keyhole ripple stitchI’ve tried a few ripple stitches, but this is my favorite because I don’t have to worry about increases and decreases. I also like the look of the “keyhole,” as it adds a little airiness to project. I quickly finished this prayer shawl using the Keyhole Ripple Stitch, a solid yarn and a variegated yarn. I plan on using this a lot in the future, and I think it would also make pretty scarves using various types of yarn.

NSAD-Keyhole-Ripple-Stitch-EX

I found easy instructions at New Stitch A Day. The blog provides a plethora of crochet and knitting tutorials and allows fellow bloggers to share them. If you haven’t checked it out, I highly recommend it.

St. Patrick’s Day sampling

Photo by kkmarais on Flickr

Photo by kkmarais on Flickr

If you are in the mood to do some green or Irish-themed stitching these days, I found just a few items that you may like. As you know, a Google search will turn up a ton of such designs. I thought I’d share a few that I found that I liked.

Letters Leprechuans Luck

Letters, Leprechauns, and Luck from Blue Ribbon Designs

The cross stitch design I chose is Letters, Leprechauns, and Luck from Blue Ribbon Designs. The model is stitched on 40ct linen with a mix of DMC and Sampler Threads. It could be easily stitched on 32ct or 28ct linen, it will just be bigger. The Sampler Threads could be switched out for similar DMC, but you’d lose some of that hand-dyed effect.

Glitz and Glamour Emerald from DebBee's Designs

Glitz and Glamour Emerald from DebBee’s Designs

 

The needlepoint design I really liked for St. Patrick’s Day is this gorgeous green counted canvaswork piece from DebBee’s Designs. If you visit her site, you will see so many gorgeous designs that you won’t know where to begin. Her Glitz and Glamour designs each focus on one particular shade of a color (for the most part), and this one is Emerald.

Free shamrock square from from FreePatterns.com

Free shamrock square from from FreePatterns.com

Finally, I found this really pretty shamrock square design that is lacier and different from most of the chunkier designs I’ve found. This is a free design from FreePatterns.com, but you have to be a member (it’s free) in order to download it. I’d probably stitch it in a more green and less sage color than is here, but I like the design itself very much.

WIPocalypse – March 2015

March WIPocalypse

March question: If money – and time – were not limiters, what projects would be on your stitching bucket list?

Since money would be not object, I would have the space and proper equipment to work on larger projects. I’d also have the money to buy the canvas and wool for a needlepoint rug – and the time to make it. I’ve always wanted to make one, but can’t imagine how long it would take me and how expensive it would be to stitch and then finish. Then there is no way I would allow anyone to actually walk on it, so I would need the wall space to hang it. I have seen some gorgeous rugs on display at some shops, but – for once – I’m being realistic about my time and money.

Projects to start in 2015 – progress since 2/10/15

Stitching on 32ct. Belfast Misty Blue

Stitching on 32ct. Belfast Misty Blue

Cross Stitch
2001 Mirabilia Cherub – started
Blossom Harvest – started
Mermaid of Atlantis – started
Queen Mermaid – started
South Seas Mermaid Woodland Fairy – started
Touching the Autumn Sky – started
Amethyst Fairy – started
Enchanted Dreamer  Christmas Wishes – started

 

Crochet
10 infinity scarves for gifts or to sell – not started
Temperature scarf – ongoing
Moogly’s 2015 Crochet-Along afghan – restarted with new colors and yarn, only block 1 is finished
special project I need to finish with a friend in February – FINISHED! It was a rainbow stole a friend of mine and I at church stitched for our pastor’s first commitment ceremony. 

Projects to finish in 2015 – progress since 2/10/15

Cross Stitch
Garden Verses (Mirabilia) – not a stitch since 2/10
Angel of the New Dawn (Mirabilia) – not a stitch since 2/10
Sleeping Beauty (Mirabilia) – not a stitch since 2/10
Mermaids of the Deep Blue (Mirabilia) – not a stitch since 2/10
Quaker Diamonds (Rosewood Manor) – not a stitch since 2/10

Using Planet Earth silk, Threadworx 6-ply cotton, Kreinik, and Rainbow Gallery threads

Using Planet Earth silk, Threadworx 6-ply cotton, Kreinik, and Rainbow Gallery threads

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 – some progress
St. Basil’s – some progress
Santa stocking – not a stitch

 

 

Uses Caron Simply Soft

Uses Caron Simply Soft

Crochet
Tim’s afghan – not a stitch
Temperature scarf – nothing in the last week, but progress before that
Moogly’s 2015 Crochet-Along afghan – restarted with new colors and yarn, only block 1 is finished
Baby blanket (soooo close, can finish it in a night or two) – finished in February, but gave it away before I got a final picture

Other projects (there will always be some!)
Three charity scarves – finished in February
Four more charity scarves — finished in Feburary
Receiving blanket for charity – started
prayer shawl for charity – started
Fairie Treasures – no progress since 2/10

WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday 3-4-15

I’ve been getting a lot more done on my needlepoint projects this week, though I started one that I had no intention of beginning for quite some time. Funny how that happens. Long story short, I couldn’t find my threads for my St. Basil’s canvas, so I started another canvas that is similar. Then, I found my hiding place for my threads — a “safe place” I had obviously forgotten — so, I also worked on that one. I also started crocheting a shawl and a new Mirabilia.

StBasil_full_3-2-15 StBasil_detail_3-2-15I’m using all Planet Earth silks for St. Basil’s, except for the two Kreinik gold braids I’m using for decoration on the buildings. If you needlepoint and haven’t used Planet Earth threads, I highly suggest you give them a try. They have stranded silk, as well as other types of threads. I usually use the single ply, which is ideal for 13ct canvas, and would probably work well for 14ct canvas. I bought all the colors when I originally bought the canvas, though I will probably need to purchase more black, blue, and tan for the borders and sky. Buying all those colors in silk cost a pretty penny, but the threads are so gorgeous and easy to work with that it was worth it. I normally use lots of different stitches, but with all the detailed colors in this one, I decided it made more sense to work in basketweave, with a little texture in the sky using the Byzantine stitch.

Russian_full_3-2-15 Russian_detail1_3-2-15

I’m also using Planet Earth silk for the other canvas that I just call “Russian.” I think it’s a more whimsical take on St. Basil’s, but I’ll confuse them if I call them the same thing. I’m debating whether or not to stitch the “clouds” that look like waves. I bought Rainbow Gallery Flair in two shades of blue and in white to stitch it, but I’m not sure if it will add to the design or take away from it. It adds a flair of whimsy, but I could also stitch the entire sky in navy without the light colors showing through. Either way, I’m not stitching the stars in the sky but will instead use some beads for stars. Some of the building tops will also use Rainbow Gallery Neon Rays ribbon. For example, that’s what I used on the green part of the yellow and green turret. Right now, I’m just playing around with various stitches, but I like it a lot so far.

Mermaid of Atantis 3-4-15

As part of my 15 Miras in 15 project, I started Mermaid of Atlantis on 32ct Lagoon Belfast from Picture This Plus. My Kreinks and Caron Waterlillies are on order, so her hair looks a little strange at the moment. Since I mentioned how much I like Planet Earth silks earlier, I feel I should also say how great it is to stitch with Waterlilies – it’s like buttah! Originally, this was a challenge to start/continue with 15 Mirabilias the first 15 days of January. Well, that ship has sailed, but I’ve decided to keep to the basic idea and keep them going or start them all sometime in 2015. A few are on my WIPocalypse list to finish this year so that I actually make some progress and am not just starting projects (which I tend to do).

blue shawl 3-4-15I also started crocheting a shawl for a gift, using some beautiful yarn I bought at Loop a few weeks ago. This is Berroco Modern Cotton in Bluebird. It’s 60 percent cotton and 40 percent rayon, so it has a nice sheen to it and is a nice lightweight worsted yarn. That was my first time in that shop, which is down on South Street, and it was a great time. A good friend took me, as she is a regular there. The people working there were very helpful, and I will definitely be returning. As for the yarn, I love the color and drape of it, but it’s a bit more slippery than I’m used to — rayon gets me again! I feel like my tension is all over the place on this one and I may take it out and start over. It took me a while to get a feel for the yarn and the areas between the shells, so I think if I start over it will look better. It will be a gift for someone I care about very much, so I want it to look as good as possible. (And now that I got away from it for a day and see the photo, there is something funky going on in that third row. Yeah, it’s comin’ out!)

Fun crochet, cross stitch, and a new book from Erik Larson

By now, you know that sometimes I find something on the Internet that I must share immediately. Today is another one of those times. They are completely random, but I think all are pretty awesome. 🙂

Quick-and-Easy-Crochet-Cowls-600x3381. Petals to Picots is sponsoring a giveaway for an online cowl class from Tamara Kelly at Moogly. Quick and Easy Crochet Cowls includes seven lessons for three beautiful projects. The cost has been reduced from $29.99 to $19.99, and the first 1,000 people to sign up receive a free skein of yarn. However, you may also try to win it for free from Petals to Picots.

Designed by Backstage Stitching

Designed by Backstage Stitching

2. I was reading through one of my blogrolls and found this great post at Backstage Stitching. She has graciously made this available in the Free Patterns section of her blog. This is such a cute and hilarious design that I just had to share it. I think a lot of my fellow stitchers will enjoy it.

dead-wake-larson3. And for something completely different — Erik Larson has a new book coming out on March 10: Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania. BookPeople’s blog features a great review and you may purchase it through their independent book store in Texas (link provided in the blog post). It’s been difficult for me to find time for my needlework and reading, but I’m definitely going to make time to read this. I enjoy his books very much.

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.

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?

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