Hello and welcome to my little corner of the internet. I intend to use this blog as a showcase for my latest crafting endeavours and to provide detailed reviews of patterns, kits and accessories on the market along with details on where to find everything yourself, should I inspire you to try it out. Please feel free to comment on my posts, provide your own thoughts on the subject, answer questions and even suggest posts.

It has always been my goal to add a post every Wednesday, but due to current circumstances posts may be as scarce as once a month. Appologies and I hope to return to my weekly posting shortly.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Pink Dahlia

Brand: Katia
Item: Air lux
Available from: Love Knitting
Price: £5.99

Designer: Andrea Jurgrau
Pattern: Blue Dahlia
Available from: New Vintage Lace: Knits Inspired by the Past
Price: £15.99
This project is not one for the faint of heart, it's not a bad project and the results are well worth the effort, but it still warrants a caution. Both the yarn and the pattern required effort, and using both together prooved to be...well...hard work, but I would deffinately do it again because the results are phenominal! Even if I do say so myself.

First things first... the yarn. I can see where the name comes from! It's like working with air! It's super soft and just drapes beautifully around you in a comforting embrace. It's luxouriously soft and has a magnificent shimmer that make this my new go to accessory for formal events. Surprisingly, despite the light, comforting touch, it's also quite warm and that comes from the merino wool that the rayon has been blended with, but that's also where the problem comes. The merino sheds like crazy! It obscures the stitch pattern as your working, and it's also quite un nerving to be working with a yarn and be able to just scoop clumps of it off your project. My husband walked in on me picking up one of the balls of shedding (the fibres clump like dust bunnies on your project) off the lace so I could inspect it and he was horrified! He thought the project was disintegrating in my hands. He wasn't far off.

The pattern is well written, clear instructions and yes there was an error (row 49, Chart B) in it, but on the whole it was a fantastic charted pattern. The problem is there are four charts and the repeat sections don't line up and they're very complicated in places. So with doing this on holiday, with a shedding yarn that partially obscured the knitted sections I actually struggled in places and had to re-knit several sections on several occassions.

The bind off was a new one for me and has become my new favourite frilly bind off!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

My Vintage Doiley Beret

Brand: Patons & Baldwins
Item: Nylox 4ply
Available from: Discontinued
Price: Discontinued

Designer: Andrea Jurgrau
Item: Giverny Beret
Available from: New Vintage Lace: Knits Inspired by the Past
Price: £15.99
Working in a needlecraft shop it's not unusual that a lot of the time I spend at work is spent discussing cross stitch and knitting; what we're working on, what we've finished, what we've bought, what we're going to buy, etc So when I finished my last beret it should come as no surprise that I decided to take it in for show and tell. This led to one of my wonderful co-workers telling me about a new book that was coming out. It reminded her of one of the patterns in it and it was mentioned that I would perhaps like the beret pattern there as well. One quick look and I had it on order.

With it being a vintage doiley pattern that had been re-worked into a beret it seemed appropriate to use a "vintage" yarn. I don't know exactly how old the yarn actually is, but Patons hasn't put the second name on it's labels for quite some time now. It's an 80%wool 20% Nylon mix that comes in 1oz balls. I think it came from my grandmothers stash, I'm not in the habbit of buying vintage fibres.

The pattern was surprisingly easy to memorize and I barely even looked at the book once I'd got going. I mean, no two lines are the same but it's a logical progression that just clicked in my head. It was a good thing because I swear I worked half of the beret in the car heading out to Goathland where we were staying. There's not a lot of room in a ford focus fully loaded with four adults luggage for a week, especially when that luggage includes two craft bags, three laptops, a camera bag and a coffee machine, so I'm glad that I didn't have to keep the book out all the time. I think it would have been ruined by the time we got there if I had.

The most annoying part of the design was the ribbing, not for any fault of the pattern, but because I found it repetative and annoying as I do all ribbing I'm afraid.

The yarn was nice, well behaved and came up beautifully. It seems to have two seperate colours plied together. One ply is blue, the other is a brown/black/grey colour depending on the light and angle, which gives this subtle marbling effect that you will probably never see in my photography because, even though my dad spent an hour trying to help me improve my skills, I'm not a good photographer :P

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

C dos

.A while back I saw a rather geeky they I thought my husband would love, and began plotting a project based around it. You see my husband is a computer geek, I don't actually know what he does, but at one point he was a programmer and that's one of his hobbies, all I know is that this little black box of doom (otherwise known as ) not only appears on screen regularly, but is so commonplace that it doesn't even have the standard white text, he customized it to be green! I don't know how, but apparently it's nicer in green. So that was the colour I wanted to put the joke in. Black fabric and green wording. I wanted the gift to be as close to the real thing as possible, I just didn't realize how insane that would drive me.

The reason for this? Well there are two.
1) Stitching on black fabric - People often say that black fafabric is a nightmare and that's put me off working with it before, so this was my first. Yes, it was difficult, I struggled to see the holes clearly, but it wasn't as bad as I thought. I'm not itching to do a huge piece on the stuff, but I will use it again.
The alignment - call me ocd but this is killing me. I really wanted to center it but the window is left alligned so i'll live with it, but..... Oh the d's! They dont quite line up, the stalks of the bottom dos is like two stitches further left than the other two, and while that fits with the left alignment thing, it's the most annoying thing ever for me! I don't even know why but argh! 

Still, my husband loves the end result and really that's all that matters.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Kitty craft bag

This design has been on the top of my to stitch list for absolutely years! Since 2008 to be exact, it was one of the designs featured in a magazine called cross stitcher (issue #199) and was featured on white linen sewn onto a grey bag. I always loved the idea of my very own cat craft bag and the project was put at the top of my ever growing list, but I didn't want to stitch it on linen and then sew that to a bag...I wanted to either stitch it on fabric and then make a bag out of that fabric, or to stitch it directly onto a ready made bag, and so the project remained an idea while I worked on other projects. Then, I went to hobbycraft in Sheffield and saw a plain hessian tote bag that would be perfect for my neglected kitty design. 2008 was a fair few years ago though so I had no idea what size my kitty was, and I had no idea what fabric it was stitched onto either! So I made a judgement call and chose the largest size they had!  My kitty fits...with quite a substantial border, but I don't care!

So, as you can see, I stitched directly onto the hessian bag, and let me tell you, this was a lot easier in my head than in reality! That "fabric" is beyond scratchy! And it's a very sturdy bag that made trying to secure my ends a nightmare! But you know...I'd do it again. In fact, I fully plan on adding some more stitching to this bag, starting with some creeping ivy running up the sides!

I wish I could say that was the only thing challenging about this project, but I'd be lying. This was actually one of the most difficult projects that I've ever done, which is quite odd because it's not the largest, nor the most complicated. But as all the colours were so similar I really struggled to tell them apart when it came to putting that sketchy backstitch in, and I've actually had to skip out the odd line because I've obviously put another line in incorrectly and there hasn't been room for it. Also, it's not just the cross stitch that blends together, the white and light grey backstitch are almost invisible in places, which didn't make things any easier! But it's that subtlety that makes this piece so special I think. The fact that I can't tell where the grey becomes white is so realistic and beautiful! And it is a beautiful piece! Worth every difficulty!

And another good thing...three colour changing threads!!! Two for the ball of yarn and one actually in the cats fur! Another reason you can't see clearly where the backstitch goes, the colour changing thread is actually made up of colours already stitched in the design! Just gives a bit more randomness to them. It was fun, and I really enjoyed working it, I was sad to see it completed, but this design has turned an ugly sack bag into my most loved bag, and it works well for both cross stitch and knitting projects, plus, the size is big enough to fit everything for a large cross stitch project inside! I'm so proud of this piece. So happy with the end result!