Friday, 17 February 2017

New Starts

Hello there!
I hope your week is going well? February is speeding along and when we are out and about we are seeing lots of little green shoots heralding the approach of Spring. Although I am itching to start lots of new projects I am making a concerted effort to Be Good and for the most part am sticking to working on projects from The UFO List but there have been a few new starts which have snuck in there too. The first one is my finished New Year's Day New Start for 2017. A little kit by Mill Hill designed by Jim Shore called Snowy Owl Snowman (I also have the Evergreen Snowman kit upstairs waiting for me) he is about half and half cross stitch and beads and very sparkly as a result!



Beads in eleven different colors and two different sizes were inside the kit along with two different needles & there is no way I would've been able to get those petite seed beads on there without that thin-as-a-hair beading needle! Yes, the beads were pretty time consuming, but I am very pleased with the end result & he fitted in perfectly at the end of my January shelf...


I also couldn't resist stitching the little Bebunni free kit that came with The World of Cross Stitching magazine issue 251...


Isn't he a cutie?!! He came with a mount to make him into a card but I decided to make him into a little pillow instead...


...and he is currently sitting happily on my February shelf...


The last new start is somewhat bigger and more of a long term project. Last summer my daughter asked if I could make her a new crochet blanket to fit the bigger bed in her new accommodation. We started looking through patterns and finally settled on the Lacy Flower Granny Square pattern (which is available for free here). Then we needed to pick a color scheme. As she lives over a hundred miles away I decided it would be easier to use Pinterest, picking pins I thought she would like & sending them to her. Have you ever used Pinterest to search for color schemes? WOW! There are SO MANY GORGEOUS combinations out there!!! So much inspiration!! :-) In the end my daughter picked this one...


So I got out my yarn pegs and came up with this...


We wanted seven colors for squares in this blanket so on a recent visit home she added in Clematis from the Stylecraft Special DK range - full details on all the colors she picked are listed on my Ravelry project page here. It's been a while since I crocheted anything beyond basic squares & I had wondered how much concentration these pretty squares would take. Happily I have found the pattern is well written with lots of photos & I have most of it memorized now & am enjoying working these up. I don't know exactly how many I will need as I have a few ideas floating around in my head but I will need a pile of squares before I can start experimenting so for now I'm just making a bunch in all seven colors...


The colors are much nicer together in real life, but this will give you a rough idea (as usual my camera is refusing to represent accurately anything of a purple/lilac nature and I would rather crochet more squares than continue to fight with it!).   
Thank you for visiting me here today and a special thank you to those who take the time to leave a comment, it's lovely to hear from you! Have a great weekend whatever you are up to :-)





Friday, 3 February 2017

17 ufos in 2017 - January update

Hello there!
So here we are in February already... Time for a progress report on the 17 ufos in 2017 project. In my last post I had finished off numbers 1, 15, and 17 on The List, this month I also managed to finish number 2 - the Halloween sampler designed by the Historical Sampler Company from World of Cross stitch magazine issue 246. The stitching was completed last year except for the background stitching from four of the boxes which I left off as I had some tiny buttons in my stash which I thought would be perfect instead. So my first job was to find a small needle & sew on those 44 little stars....


... then add the fabric borders & a hanging sleeve & it's all ready for hanging in October... 


I have also been working on number 16 from the list, Hermione's scarf, some of you may remember way back here when my daughter got the mittens? Well she has been very patiently waiting for the matching scarf but now there is a distinct possibility that it might be ready for her next time she's home for a visit! This is where I had left it, half way up the first pattern repeat... 


When I took it back out I decided to break this down into smaller chunks because, much as I love Fair Isle, the thought of eight pattern repeats (which should work out around 72") seemed like a HUGE NeVeR EnDiNG slog! But if I can do half a pattern repeat in a sitting then it's just fifteen sessions which seems much more doable...At the end of the month I don't have a photo for you but I do have two and a half pattern repeats done & will continue working on this through February.
But the biggest UFO I have been working on through January is number 13 from the list - the Santa stocking for Little H. It had been left where there are lots of fractionals to be worked on the 14 count navy aida - not my favorite! - and Santa was looking rather demonic...


Oh my gosh how I would really like to get this finished this year!!!! (I would also like to stitch a stocking for his smaller brother but I might be dreaming on that one ;-)) In an effort to get them done I have decided to try something different & work a rotation system with my big stitchy UFO's this year so each will come out for three weeks. Santa's three weeks are now up so I will come back to this later in the year for another three week block once I have worked on each of these bigger UFO's. So for this month I have "substantial progress" to share on number 13... 

video


Apart from the backstitch the top two pages are finished but most of the bottom two pages are left to do. The next big stitchy ufo on the rotation is number 9, Spring fairy, currently looking like this...


Still a long way to go! So I will be working on this & the scarf & maybe one or two other things over the next few weeks. Thank you for visiting me here today & please remember you can also go here  and here to visit the other bloggers taking part in 17 ufos in 2017- there are a huge variety of lovely projects getting finished out there!! 



Tuesday, 17 January 2017

And she lasted eight days!!!!

Hello there!
This is why I don't generally make New Year's resolutions - I don't stick to them!! I had all good intentions of not starting anything new under any circumstances for ages... of making a really big dent in that ufo list first.... and yup - I lasted eight whole days!!!!
I was being very good... I finished a WIP the morning of my last post..

January wall hanging for the kitchen wall, the applique section of a pattern by Kim Christopherson from Quilts and More magazine Winter 2014 issue. 
This was the first project using machine blanket stitch & free motion quilting on my new sewing machine - oh I am sooooo in love with her (but that is an entirely different blog post!) and whilst it is not perfect I am pretty happy with the results...  

Then rather unexpectedly I finished number 17 on my list on Tuesday...

This is my Giant Little Squares of Happiness blanket, a big version for us to keep of the Little Squares of Happy blanket I made for baby C back here. It has finished up at 53" x 79" so it is slightly smaller than my Giant Granny Stripe blanket of 2013, but still plenty big enough for several of us to snuggle under on the couch :-) I used slightly different colors in the border than for the baby blanket but the same method, you can find the tutorial for the spotty edging at the top of the page under the tutorials tab. 

On Friday I finished off number 1 on my list - Snowflower Diaries February ducks...

All the cross stitching for this was finished last Easter but it got put aside to start time sensitive projects... that seems to be something that happens pretty often round here... anyways it is finished now & will be ready to go out with my February smalls in a few weeks time. The free chart is available here  as part of Maja's Joyful World SAL - her designs are so beautiful! I stitched it on 28 count evenweave I dyed with tea & coffee using the DMC equivalent threads & finished it with polka dot fabric, lace trim, bows, & a button from my stash.

Then yesterday I finished number 15 on my list - the Rainbow Stripe socks...

With not too much effort I have managed to get the two of them almost identical...
So I am satisfied with that! The pattern is Vanilla Latte Socks available here for free & I knitted them with West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in colorway Rum Paradise. I am totally in love with this colorway & have enough left over for another sock so I see another ball of this in my near future! :-)
Four finishes in eight days? Go me!!! :-) I definitely had a bad itch to start something new but I also had a bit of a problem... (Now here come the  excuses  reasoning...) 
For most of us I think crafting has to fit around life; some days I can spend upstairs in the sewing room, some nights I need a project for sitting in front of the tv, sometimes life says "today you're sitting in the car for 8 hours" so I need something to keep me sane in that situation! Also there are two types of  "sitting in front of the tv" projects - ones I can happily work on & mainly listen to various programs, and projects that I can work on mainly by touch while really watching something. Looking down my list last night I realised I didn't have anything left on there that fitted into that last category. I had thought the blanket or the socks would take me longer to finish and I needed something to replace them. I tried working the tension square for a pair of fair isle gloves & then realised I was missing the program & anyways there is a fair isle project at number 16 on my list if I feel the need to struggle with that in front of the tv... Upstairs I have had this gorgeous yarn for almost a year waiting to become a jumper - so despite the voices yelling "you can't start a big project like that!" that is exactly what ended up happening...


I am calling it my Autumn in a Ball jumper, the yarn is James C Brett Marble Chunky in the imaginatively named colorway MC07 ;-) I'm knitting it in the round from the bottom up following this pattern but omitting all the colorwork which means that I am just going round and round in knit stitch right up to the armholes. Once I silenced those objecting voices and settled into those endless rounds it felt so perfect :-) happy place reached :-) Now this is just a wobble, I am going to be good and only pick this up when I'm watching tv & go back to that list the rest of the time... watch this space ;-)

  


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Sunday, 8 January 2017

17 UFO's in 2017

Hello There!
It's been a while huh?! I'm going to give this bloggy thing another try, I know a lot of folks have given up blogging in favor of Instagram & such like & maybe there's noone really reading posts anymore but if you're still out there please drop by & say "hi!" :-)
I've been reading a few blogs recently & came across an idea which really resonated with me - 17 ufo's in 2017 . You can read all the details here but basically I have been trying to tackle some of my UFO's over the last wee while & as this new year starts I have 17 of them (!) left so this seemed made to measure for me! I'm going to join in with this & try & link up each month (although I really don't know if I'm doing the techy bit right??) anyways here's my list:
1) Snowflower diaries February ducks - cross stitched small from last year, stitching done, needs finishing off
2) Halloween sampler - cross stitch finished last year, needs finishing off
3) Little knitted hedgehog - knitted 2 (or was it 3?) years ago, needs put together
4) Yoyo pumpkin - yoyo's made, all parts cut out, needs sewn together
5) Sugar Plum fairy -  knitted 2 (I think?) years ago needs assembled
6) July table runner - pieced last year, needs quilted & bound
7) Lion for little C - partially made amigurumi started last summer
8) Posy layer cake quilt - pieced last year, hand quilting to finish
9) Spring fairy cross stitch - started 2014
10) Crochet bag - squares made April 2015
11) Popcorn bear cross stitch - started October 2013
12) The wave cross stitch - started June 2011 (my oldest UFO)
13) Stocking for little H - started for his first Christmas, he will be 5 in May!
14) Black cross stitch Christmas decorations - set of four started October 2012, one completely finished, another one and a bit now stitched
15) Rainbow stripe socks - started in October last year
16) Hermione scarf for dear daughter - the other part of the set to go with the mittens she got in 2015
17) Giant little squares of happiness blanket - started January 2015, now finally on the border!!

These are not in any order whatsoever as I haven't really set on an order to tackle them in, I've picked a few to work on first and these are number 13, number 17, and number 1. I am allowing myself three weeks per project (51 weeks of 2017 left divided by 17 =3) and where the bigger ones won't be finished in that 3 weeks I will then move on to something else on the list & count that as "substantial progress". I may come back to them later in the year, I'm not making any promises at this stage! Some of them are going to be much quicker to complete (I can see four straight off which should really only take a day if I just get on with it!!!) which will give me some extra time in theory... hahaha! Well we will see how that works out! I will report back at the end of the month with my progress at which point I hope to have before and after pics for you too...
Well I'm off to see if I can work out this linky thing and how to add the button to my blog too... Wishing you a lovely start to 2017!
Helen

Thursday, 10 December 2015

A little break...

Hello there!
Sorry it has been so quiet around here in recent months, as many of you know I have a couple of health issues & since the summer I have had to find a new way of dealing with my chronic migraine. On my better days I have still been making things which I would love to share with you! Sitting in front of a screen writing blog posts is just not possible right now but I have taken to posting project pics from my phone on the Stitchydragon Creates facebook page. I would love if you joined me there by clicking either on the facebook badge on the right hand side of this page or by following this. Look forward to seeing you on the other side!

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Last of the summer crafting

Hello there!
Today I have some crafty pics to share with you because, although it has been rather quiet around here, I actually have been making things! I know I have not been very sociable, I have missed visiting your blogs & I am looking forward to catching up on what you have all been up to too, but this summer has been pretty challenging here so I have spent my available time crafting instead of being online.
So before the month changes again (!) here is Septembers' monthly small...

Stitched on a mushroomy colored 14ct aida with DMC colors, finished with fabric & ribbon from my stash and a cute little apple button that one of my lovely crafty friends sent me a while back! I do so love finding the perfect home for these sweet gifts! The free chart for this is available here.
On to another autumn themed small that has been on my "to stitch" pile for several years... 

This design is a freebie from DMC which you can find here. My version is stitched on 14 count rustic aida using three different DMC Color Variations threads to the ones listed. I tried a new-to-me way of finishing this, using the instructions for a flat ornament finish in a copy of Just Cross Stitch Magazine. (If you are interested in how to do this & don't have a copy handy you can find the instructions here along with a free halloween chart.) I used some pretty ribbon around the edges, it consists of three different strands of ribbon & beads loosely joined & twisted together & I fell for a few different spools of it in Lidl a little while back. I had no idea what I would use it for at the time but I think it goes perfectly with this! It is attached with pins - at first I just pinned it in place to see what it looked like, then I thought if I picked matching pins I could just leave them there!
I have one other stitching project to share with you today. My cousin got married last weekend so I can now show you the complete sampler I stitched for her & her new hubbie...
This design was in the July issue of Crossstitcher magazine and I haven't framed it for a couple of reasons. One, she has a much wider selection of frames available to her & I wanted her to pick the one she likes the best, and two, no matter how much bubble wrap I have used I have had problems with breakages in the mail in the past. To be honest after the postal service losing the last stitched gift I mailed to Canada I was just relieved to hear this one had reached it's destination!!
So on to yarny projects... Well despite it *allegedly* being summer I decided at the end of July that I needed some bedsocks to warm my feet up at night!! (Yes, it has been that cold & miserable here!) There are so many lovely & appealing sock patterns out there so where to begin for my first go at adult sized socks? Well as I love her crochet patterns so much I decided I couldn't go far wrong with a pattern by Stacey from Fresh Stitches & it just so happens she has a free beginners sock pattern right here. I added a few extra rows to give the legs a bit more length but otherwise followed the pattern exactly. I used some snuggly lilac aran weight yarn from my stash & they have been doing a great job of keeping my toes warm! You can see just how grey the light has been from the following pic, the socks are pale lilac & they are sitting on a green comforter!
They worked up really quickly which was just as well because I was meant to be concentrating on a crochet project! A while back Dear Daughter had requested a bath mat for her new student digs along the lines of the one I made back here for our house. With her move to this new place fast approaching it was time to get organised with picking yarn & sorting out the finer details. Luckily this coincided with the lovely folks at Wool Warehouse receiving a new batch of a limited edition cotton yarn at just 80p per ball! This pic is actually the aftermath, the leftovers along with the pile of ball bands, but (along with demonstrating what a yarn hungry pattern it is) it shows the colors she chose...
Now these rainbow colors are along the lines of what I would pick but the way she chose to use them was very different! Where I tend to be very random in my use of color she had A Plan! She took the red out & then sorted the remaining colors into groups, the blue with the yellow & mint green, the forest green with the orange & lilac. Once she explained what she wanted I got started. As before I used Lucy's hexagon pattern which you can find here, the only change I made to it was to keep the same color for rounds 1 & 2 like this...
This bathmat takes 51 of these little 3 round circles but it was surprising how quickly they multiplied! Soon we had enough to play with a layout & this is what my daughter came up with...
Sorry this pic is so dark, ugh! Here is a close up that I snapped on a sunnier day just before she packed everything up to move!
She loves the end result, a very bright but way more organised & orderly bathmat than I had envisioned when we ordered the colors!
Just before I go I want to share some stitchy goodies with you. Earlier in the summer I won a giveaway for a gift voucher for Sew & So from Mii at Mii Stitch (if you aren't already familiar with her blog go check out her fabulous stitching!!!). I also received a gift voucher for the same site from dear Hubbie for my birthday and I have had a lot of fun drooling over  exploring the site trying to decide what new goodies I might buy. In the end this is what I picked...
Two fat quarters of evenweave, two variegated & one neon DMC threads, an assortment of cute little buttons, and a new Lizzie Kate chart! Here's a close up of the buttons...
Aren't they adorable?!!! I used three of them within a couple of hours of receiving my order! Here's a close up of the chart...
I'm not too sure when I will get the chance to start it, most likely next year, but I know I will really enjoy stitching it! So big thank yous to Mii & to Hubbie for my gift vouchers! :-)
Thank you for visiting me here today, I hope you will come back soon to see what else I have been up to! Have a great week :-)


















Saturday, 12 September 2015

Traveling to some blue skies!

Hello there!
Our weather has been so grey, wet, & miserable these summer months that I have been looking back through some of the many photos from our travels last Fall. Today I thought I would share some of them with you so that if you have also been enduring these grey conditions you can enjoy some blue skies with me!
The last three weeks of our vacation were spent with my brother & his family in western Colorado. This is an area I truly love & split between family times, sight seeing & a little crafty shopping the days just flew by! By the first week of November we were beginning to see our remaining time dwindling & one place we were determined to still visit was Arches National Park. It is located just north of the town of Moab in eastern Utah, about 3 hours drive across the state line from where my brother lives. Now my previous impressions of eastern Utah could be pretty much summed up by these two photos...

Not much to see here but desert right? Wrong!! This day would completely change my mind about eastern Utah. About 25 miles south of the interstate the highway dipped into some very different scenery... 
The snow-capped La Sal mountains came into view and the desert began to sport amazing rock formations.... 
For those of you who have yet to visit Arches National Park is 76,679 acres of unique rock formations including over 2000 natural stone arches (the biggest amount in any one place in the world). The National Park Service advertise it as a "red rock wonderland" and they're not wrong!
There are many viewpoints & parking places along the road to stop, get out, & explore but even on a warm sunny day you can feel the chill when you head into the shadows cast by the towering stone walls...
After a little while you start seeing faces & animals in the rock shapes, do you see a buffalo in this balanced rock?
Some of the formations have names like the "Three Gossips" below...
But no matter what you call it it is spectacular....
...across an immense scale...
This is part of The Great Wall rock formation which runs parallel to the road for quite a ways...
On the other side of the road the desert stretches out to more formations in the distance...
Some of them are world famous like Balanced Rock...
Once you get closer you begin to appreciate the scale, the top portion is the size of three school buses!
Probably the most famous though is Delicate Arch...
It's the one you see on the State signs & on lots of tourist info for Utah.
We headed on up the road to the Fiery Furnace area. This is a labyrinth of narrow sandstone canyons that you can hike through on a Ranger guided tour (it's easy to become lost & gps doesn't work in the deep canyons). Hopefully we will be able to do that on our next visit as we were a bit pushed for time this time round. But we were still able to enjoy the area from  viewpoint & also from the road...

We were torn between staying here for sunset (the dying light on the rock here is what gives it it's name) and squeezing in a little bit more of the park. In the end we decided to go for a quick peek at the Windows Section. We passed the Cove of Caves & Double Arch area...
.... Another area we want to explore some more in the future!
This time round we wanted to get up close and look through the South Window...
This is the view on the other side of the window...
...and this is where I was standing...
...do you see the tiny white moon to the left of me? This is the view above my head...
It was just incredible!!! 
As the sun went down the sandstone began to "catch fire" & the colors became even richer. It was difficult to capture on the camera (plus you wanted to put the camera down & just drink it in!) but here's a pic of the North & South Windows as the shadows lengthened (the South one is on the right hand side)...
Behind us at this point was the Turret Arch through which the sun continued to set...
The desert moon rose & began to glow...
It really was a beautiful night...
As the light faded we drove out past Balanced Rock...
We were part of a long procession of headlights winding down the road out of the park & back to the highway. It had been a truly magical day & definitely whetted our appetites to go back another time & explore more of the park (there was a big section at the northern end which we never got to at all). I hope you enjoyed a little trip through it with me! I'm hoping to be back soon with a crafty post, thank you for visiting me here today, have a wonderful weekend!