In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, my Breast Cancer Ribbin’ Scarf pattern will be free on my two Moon & Sixpence shops for the entire month of October! The scarf pattern is automatically free on Ravelry while you will need to use the coupon code “CURE2017” for Etsy. This pattern was designed in honor of my mother who passed away from breast cancer and all the other strong women I’ve known who have struggled with this disease. Please feel free to post this link to other social media sites to spread the word about this pattern and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Thank you!!
First let me offer apologies for not keeping up with the blog as well as I should. A combination of a stressful semester teaching and a general pessimism about the state of my academic career left me with, simultaneously, too much to do and too little motivation to work on the blog. Again, many apologies to my dwindling number of faithful readers. Your support and interest in my assorted ramblings matter a great deal to me.
Second, let me offer apologies to those of you who are checking in from the 2015 Smalls SAL Challenge. I’ve not been participating very consistently (or at all) so far this year, but I’m hoping this month will turn things around. Here’s this month’s entry, “Winston the Snowman” by The Trilogy:
I’ve had this chart and the button charms for almost twenty years now (yikes!), along with the chart and charms for the companion piece, “Cromwell the Snowman.” I plan on stitching his buddy Cromwell later this year as part of the Smalls SAL. I switched the color of his jacket (Weeks Dye Works “Lancaster Red”) with the color of his mittens (Gentle Art “Tarnished Gold”); you can see the called-for color combination here. For some reason I can’t explain, I just preferred a red jacket to the mustard color. The other threads called for are WDW “Deep Sea,” “Onyx,” and “Whitewash,” and Gentle Art “Nutmeg” and “Old Blue Paint.” Any bets on how long it will take me to finish-finish this?
Speaking of finish-finishing, here’s the small I stitched for February that I never got around to posting (bad Kate!); it’s “Antique Hearts” by Charland Designs (another chart, this time with charm and threads, that I purchased twenty years ago (double yikes!):
I stitched this ornament as a Valentine’s Day gift for my two nieces, Ella and Lauren (hence the initials on the back), and finished it in typical pillow-style, which is practically the only style I know. This is the first time I added beads along the seam and I lucked out finding the matching white ribbon in my stash. It came out pretty well, if I do say so myself, and the girls liked it, which is what counts the most.
I hope to be back on track soon with the blog, which should be a lot easier now that the semester is over. I hope you will all stay with me — I have some exciting new plans for the future! Happy stitching to all!
Giveaway: If you would like the pattern for “Antique Hearts” with some of the leftover hand-dyed floss, leave a message below and I will send it to you along with another complementary pattern from Charland Designs.
Sorry I haven’t been posting a lot lately. The semester began and I got so busy correcting my five-thousandth “its/it’s” error that I have neglected this blog. I can’t believe this month is already over and I haven’t updated you all on my Christmas craftiness or on my New Year’s goals (preview: 2014 was a mixed success). I can tell you that I have made the pledge to continue the monthly Smalls SAL in 2015.
I have not been remiss, however, in collecting lots of links just for you. Please to enjoy the following:
A small Canadian hand-knit sweater company makes a pretty compelling case that Forever 21 is ripping off its designs. An interesting commentary on the differences between hand-knit (20-25 hours, 100% wool, approximately $400) and machine-knit sweaters (? hours, acrylic, $39.95). Bonus — Wyatt Cenac makes a cameo appearance!
A cheeky article from the HuffPo blog called “Bros and Rows” about the history of men knitting. Sadly, knitting seems to have followed the same gendered trajectory as every other skilled profession: when men do it, it’s a respected, well-paid craft; when women do it, it’s an oft-dismissed, underpaid hobby. Granny count: one.
It’s raining men! I don’t know quite how I feel about this, but I do know that the comments are disturbing on so many levels. At least they’re not wearing these. I mean, I want to support all things Etsy, but no. Just, no.
So, my entry for the December 2014 Smalls SAL Challenge is finally done, and, as usual, it’s late (in case you hadn’t noticed). This month I chose a true small — only 32 stitches square — with only two colors — I chose DMC 500 and ecru — and a simple, graphic design that let me spend a lot of time stitching without having to consult the pattern every two minutes. Since I only had the chart, the red button is one I had just lying around in my button tin. It’s probably a little bigger than the design actually calls for, but I’m trying not to let perfect be the enemy of good, as “they” say, and this button is just darling.
This pattern, Bent Creek’s “Holly & White” (from their “One Color” collection), fell into my lap at a very convenient time. I had just completed, at the very last minute, the four Shepherd’s Bush stockings that I stitched for my brother, sister-in-law and my two nieces for Christmas (more about those tomorrow), and I only had a few days left until the end-of-the-month deadline. This design is perfect for a quick and easy Christmas gift. And yet somehow I was still late getting it finished. Sigh.
Looking back at all of 2014, I’m somewhat pleased with my efforts in the Smalls SAL Challenge. I say “somewhat” because, let’s face it, if I were grading on percentages, I’ve only earned 7.5 out of 12, or a lousy 62.5% (it’s 8.5 if you count the “extra credit” small from May — still, that’s only 71%), and I still haven’t finished July’s project, Eileen Bennett’s “Very Victorian… Acorns” (last seen here).
April Smalls Challenge
May Smalls Challenge
Bonus May Smalls Challenge
June Smalls Challenge
July Smalls Challenge, in progress
August Smalls Challenge
September Smalls Challenge
November Smalls Challenge
On the other hand, 71% is better than zero, which is where I was headed without the added incentive of participating in the Smalls SAL Challenge. I have not been doing as much cross stitch in the past couple years as I used to do and this group has been a great motivator. I’ve already signed up for the 2015 Challenge. I’ll go over the rest of my stitching goals for 2015 in a later post.
Here’s to a happy 2015 full of stitching goals met (and even surpassed perhaps?)! I can dream, can’t I? Happy New Year!
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. While my blog didn’t exactly light the world on fire this year, I’ve enjoyed the progress that I’ve made. I look forward to posting more often in the upcoming year and to bringing in new readers and friends. Here’s to a stitching- and knitting-filled 2015!
Here’s an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,300 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.
Above is my belated submission for Stitching Lotus’s 2014 Smalls Challenge (see the icon on the right), the Christmas Treat Bag Kit by Shepherd’s Bush. I think I’ve been late for about 80% of these monthly challenges, and I have yet to finish the July Challenge, Eileen Bennet’s “Very Victorian… Acorns” Sampler (last heard of here). On the plus side, focusing on results instead of failures, I have completed many of the month’s challenges, and I have done more cross stitching in this past year than I have in quite awhile. There’s nothing like a little external motivation, even if it is voluntary.
I grabbed this kit on my way out of town to go spend Thanksgiving with my family in northern California (due to my teaching schedule, I had to leave at the crack of dawn on Thanksgiving day). I bought this kit over a decade ago and it was stored in a plastic bin with all kinds of other kits I bought years ago. When I was looking for a quick kit at the last minute, I couldn’t believe how many old kits full of unrealized potential were in this box. I have, literally (and I don’t use that word lightly) dozens of old cross stitch and needlepoint kits–many I had forgotten about completely.
The whole process was like an archeological dig as I painstakingly worked my way through layer upon sedimentary layer of ancient fabric and floss artifacts. Each kit seemed to inspire one of two polar opposite reactions: “Wow! I had forgotten how pretty this pattern was! Why aren’t I stitching this right now?” and “What was I thinking when I bought this?” It’s funny how our tastes evolve over time — I remember being head over heels with some patterns that I can barely stand to look at now. It’s a good time for destashing.
Overall, this little Shepherd’s Bush kit was a quick stitch except for the beading (again, I had forgotten how long that takes), and the results are quite nice. The kit calls for the design to be made into a little treat bag (see below), but, honestly, I can’t imagine using it as a bag so I’ve decided to make it into an ornament instead.
As you can see, the kit comes with a star and moon charm too, so that should make a nice addition to the ornament’s decor. It also comes with two satin ribbons, but within twenty minutes of being open in a house filled with five kids under eight years of age, the ribbons mysteriously disappeared. You don’t exactly have to be Sherlock Holmes to solve that “crime.”
Giveaway: if you would like my used “Christmas Treat Bag” pattern and instructions, leave me a message below letting me know, and I’ll send it along. I will also include the leftover floss and beads (the floss is just DMC, so it’s easily supplemented, and there are plenty of beads left to do the entire design again). This is a cute and easy pattern and there’s still time to finish it before Christmas this year, or the next, or the next…
As the weather turns colder and the holidays approach (to my relatives and friends in the upper Midwest and Northeast United States — much love and much respect), my thoughts turn even more to knitting.
And speaking of Sherlock Holmes and knitting, Debbie Bliss has a new book, Woolly Woofers, coming out soon that’s all about knitting for dogs. Here‘s Daily Telegraph preview article with some free patterns, including one for “Sherlock Bones” that’s actually kind of cute and it looks very well-designed (although I don’t know what self-respecting dog would be seen with that deerstalker hat). She’s also selling some dog-themed mugs to coincide with the book.
I haven’t been watching Outlander, but the knits sure make me want to start. They remind me a lot of some of the imaginative accessories available on Etsy.
Sally Gilchrist does beautiful ink prints, including some colorful knitting-themed ones. Skeins!
That’s it for now, but I will be posting an update on my (as usual, belated) Smalls Challenge for November and at least one more special gift-themed version of “All the News That’s Fit to Stitch” soon. Now that the semester’s over, I will have more time to post. See you all soon!
I had originally intended my October Smalls SAL submission to be completed before Halloween in order to celebrate the spirit of the season, but the best-laid schemes o’ stitchers and knitters gang aft agley, as the Scottish bard once said. I actually finished stitching quite a few days ago, but I’ve been so busy with … life? … that I just haven’t gotten around to posting until today.*
I fell in love with this design the second I spotted it on the cover of the 2012 Just Cross Stitch Halloween Issue (bottom row, center, in front of the little pumpkin):
In fact, I bought the issue specifically for that pattern, only to discover, to my surprise, that the pattern isn’t included in the issue. On page 62, the finished design is pictured in a group with some others from designers like La-D-Da, The Stitcherhood and JBW Designs. However, the actual pattern, which should have been on pages 63-69 (or thereabouts) is missing; I looked several times and kept turning the pages over and over again before I ultimately consulted the web page and saw an errata announcement. Fortunately, I printed out the pattern a couple years ago because it has subsequently disappeared from the Just Cross Stitch site without any explanation.
I stitched my version with Gentle Arts Sampler Threads in “Carriage Black” (the pattern calls for DMC 310, pure black), “Adobe” (light variegated salmon color), “Cornhusk” (light green) and “Banker’s Gray” (the pattern calls for “Tradewind” but I didn’t own it and didn’t feel like making a special trip to my unreliable LNS). The fabric is 32-count Vintage Country Mocha linen. I love the mottled look of this fabric and the muted color combinations which just scream of decay and aging.
Speaking of decay and aging… this stitched piece is riddled with minor errors where the stitches are off by one linen thread. This is perhaps most obvious at the very top of the design between the decorative trapezoid (yeah, let’s go with that…) with the skull and wings and the dark gray outline; where there should be a full stitch between them, there’s only half-a-stitch. I really need to do something about my glasses prescription. I find it impossible to navigate between my stitching and watching TV, which I do almost always while I stitch, and I need much better light when I work on linen especially. The only cross stitch projects that are proceeding well are the Shepherd’s Bush stockings with their user-friendly 9 stitches to an inch.
In keeping with the belated Halloween theme, from Alexander McQueen comes this Aran Skull Knit Jumper. If the $1085 tag gives you second thoughts, this stylish blogger, CreativeHandmadeCONCEPTs, has already recreated the sweater design for free. Here‘s the link on Ravelry so you can knit your own for less. While I can actually imagine a hand-knit sweater being worth that much (after you take into account the price of yarn and pay yourself a decent hourly rate to knit and finish it, it’s not that outrageous a price — and that doesn’t include the added love), I have a harder time imagining paying that much for one. But this kind of designer label pricing really drives me nuts.
*Unrelated note on Google searches: When you start to put “Burns To a Mouse” into Google search, it wants to autofill the response as “Burns to pee.” Make of that what you will.
And speaking of a cross stitch resurgence, I love the Red Gate Stitchery Etsy shop because it’s doing something different with cross stitch. These little necklace, cuff, and earring kits would make wonderful introductions to cross stitch for beginners — big stitches, quick results, and a tangible, wearable reward at the end. The designer’s home page even has a “Resources” link with a cross stitch tutorial for beginners and downloadable templates so you can chart your own designs.
This Etsy shop, stedi, is also doing some colorful and unusual things with cross stitch and wood, and even copper (see below). On a personal note, I have this some copper pot. My mother brought it back with us from Germany where my father was stationed in the 1970s. I have to admit it never would have occurred to me to decorate it with delft blue cross stitch but I admire the kind of “thinking outside the box” that this crafter promotes. It’s hard to think of new ways to display cross stitch.
And I just stumbled upon another Etsy shop, eWood Story, that’s selling some very unusual and beautiful Art Nouveau-style necklace kits featuring a combination of woodwork and crochet. More photos are available on Websta.
And in my own stitching universe… I have started my October project for the 2014 Smalls SAL (icon in the right-hand column). I chose “Not Forgotted” by Plum Street Samplers, from the 2012 Just Cross Stitch Special Halloween Issue. Actually, interesting side note — the chart is actually not available in the Just Cross Stitch issue because it was somehow accidentally left out. Just Cross Stitch used to have a special page on their site where you could download the missing pattern, but that page seems to have disappeared. I happened to have downloaded the pattern just in time. If anyone out there knows where to find it, let me know and I will pass the information along. Thanks!
That’s it for now — I hope you enjoy the new spooky look. Happy stitching to everyone!
Well, it’s that time of the month again! No, not that time of the month — it’s time for the 2014 Smalls Challenge update (you can see the logo in the sidebar to the right). This month I took it easy on myself and chose a pattern — Bent Creek’s “A Merry Little Christmas” — that is a true “small.” Realistic goals are one of the keys to happiness, and I don’t want a repeat of the July “Very Victorian… Acorns” debacle. Shudder.
I’ve had this pattern for almost twenty years now, so I figured it was about time to actually make it!
I’ve made some substitutions from classic DMC (this pattern is from before overdyed flosses were so widely available) to some variegated flosses. For the lettering and the centers of the border boxes, I used Weeks Dye Works “Juniper”; for the pine bough I used Weeks Dye Works “Chestnut” and for the pine needles I used Weeks Dye Works “Seaweed.” For the ornament itself, I used (the sadly discontinued) Needle Necessities overdyed floss in color 153, “Razzle Dazzle Red,” and for the yellow ribbon tied around the tree branch, color 161, “Fool’s Gold.” These small projects like this give me a good excuse to use up these discontinued colors. For the outlines around the boxes in the border, I substituted good ol’ fashioned DMC 611.
I’m very excited to have completed at least one new Christmas ornament this year. It’s been quite a while since I’ve added a new cross stitch ornament to my tree. I have just ordered the new 2014 Just Cross Stitch Christmas ornament issue and the special Halloween issue. I can’t wait to see all the new designs and write a review for you all.
GIVEAWAY: as usual, I am giving away my gently used pattern to the first person who sends me a comment or email requesting it. If you are interested, please leave an email or blog address so I can contact you. Good luck, and thanks for reading the blog!