Smalls SAL 2018, January Edition

All You Need is Love January 2018
“All You Need is Love,” a freebie from Drawn Thread worked in random silks from my stash. Fabric is 28-count Belfast linen in “Blush.”

While it may already be February, I have just completed stitching for the January Smalls SAL Challenge run by Stitching Lotus (see link on right). And I got it in just under the wire! The design is “All You Need is Love,” a freebie from The Drawn Thread. The original design called for Gloriana Silk Threads, which I have found nearly impossible to find here in Southern California. So, I just went with the silk threads I currently have in my collection and threw in some DMC embroidery floss and perle cotton just for kicks.

The ultimate result isn’t quite the color combination I would have chosen (too bright, too loud) if I had gone by my preferences instead of what was available in my silk thread collection, but I’m happy enough with the result. Once finished-finished, this will make a fine gift for my nieces; this will make four years in a row that I’ve stitched them a heart-themed design for Valentine’s Day. Here’s a little peak at the others:

Now that I think about it, my nieces (E. and L.) would probably prefer the brighter color combo (why do I keep wanting to call it a “color flavor combo”?). It’s much more vibrant.

I’ve already picked out my Smalls SAL design for February, a pretty little blackwork biscornu with an acorn design. Stay tuned for all the cross stitch excitement!

April 2015 Smalls SAL — Special Apology Edition

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:

Because he's fancy, that's why!
Because he’s fancy, that’s why!

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.

Valentine’s Day Wrap-up

While I don’t currently have a significant other in my life, I do have two cute-as-a-button nieces who will always be my Valentines. I live in southern California and they live in northern California, so I decided to send them some candy and little gifties for Valentine’s Day. My sister-in-law’s birthday is on the 17th, so I can conveniently send everything in the same (only slightly late) package.

Below are some pics of the two coffee cup cozies I made for my sister-in-law to accompany her Starbucks gift certificate. As the mother of two kids under four, she appreciates a good cup o’ joe. To quote Dave Foley’s character in NewsRadio: “I don’t know what caffeine is, but I’m pretty sure that without it, your head explodes.”

The one on the left is the “Reusable Hot Coffee-Cup Sleeve from Joelle Hoverson’s More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts and the one on the right is the “Boxy Cozy,” a free Ravelry download pattern from Leah Michelle Designs.

For my niece Lauren, who is currently sporting an adorable “Cindy Lou Who” topknot, I crocheted a bunch of little ponytail holders in a variety of colors, some with flower buttons attached. Basically, you just take a regular elastic ponytail holder and crochet around it in a shell stitch, ruffle, loops, or even a simple single or double crochet (click here for a video tutorial). If you string the buttons (I used ones with shanks) on the yarn before you start crocheting, you just slide them up to the ponytail holder when you want to attach them. Easy. The finished holders were super cute, but, sadly, you’ll have to take my word for it since I forgot to take photos of them before I put the package in the mail.

For the family, I made this (very badly photographed) crocheted heart garland they can hang over their fireplace or the entryway to the living room, or wherever. I used three different heart patterns and multiple yarn scraps either from my “remnants bag” (I can never bring myself to throw out yarn until there’s only a microscopic bit left) or from several years ago when I subscribed to the Yarn of the Month Club for awhile. Details below. (Again, pardon the photography — I was running out the door to make the post office cutoff time and I underexposed the photos.)

Crocheted Heart Garland
This is the Heart Garland, gathered and tied together in loops. Peeking out on the left, you can see one of the small white hearts at the ends of the garland.

[Note: the following paragraph is only for the hard-core crochet geek. Welcome, kindred spirits!] If you’re at all interested, here are the details on each heart, from left to right (all the patterns are free on Ravelry):

  • “Modernes herz — Modern Heart” by Carmen Rosemann: one strand of Lily Sugar ‘n’ Cream (color: hot pink) and one strand Conjoined Creations Pastimes (color: “Clue”), size H hook
  • “Modernes herz — Modern Heart” by Carmen Rosemann: two strands Tahki Cotton Classic (color 3447) and one strand Suss Perle Cotton (sugar pink), size J hook
  • “Crocheted Hearts Motif” by Luba Davies: one strand Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky (color 16002), size J hook
  • “Valentine’s Day Heart Crochet Pattern” by Petals to Picots, size large: one strand of Rowan Cashsoft Chunky (unknown color, deep red), size J hook
  • “Heart Crochet Pattern” by Petals to Picots: Rowan Cotton Rope (color 063, lavender), size J hook
  • “Heart Crochet Pattern” by Petals to Picots: two strands of Exceed Wool L Print by Hamanaka (color 402, variegated light pink/white, red, purple, self-striping), size I hook
  • “Crocheted Hearts Motif” by Luba Davies: two strands Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (color 340042, raspberry) and one strand Conjoined Creations Pastimes (color: “Clue”), size I hook
  • “Modernes herz — Modern Heart” by Carmen Rosemann: two strands of Lion Brand Wool Ease (color 139, “Dark Rose Heather”) and one strand of Suss Shine (color: “rose quartz”), size I hook
  • “Valentine’s Day Heart Crochet Pattern” by Petals to Picots, size large: one strand of Crystal Palace Puffin Print (color: 0204, “Dotty Grapes”), size H hook
  • “Valentine’s Day Heart Crochet Pattern” by Petals to Picots, size large: two strands of Tahki Cotton Classic (unknown number, deep red), size I hook
  • “Modernes herz — Modern Heart” by Carmen Rosemann: two strands of Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille (unknown color of coral pink), size J hook

The mini-hearts at the beginning and end of the garland were the “small” version of the “Valentine’s Day Heart Crochet Pattern” by Petals to Picots. The rope was chained using two strands of Lily Sugar ‘n’ Cream in ecru with a size J hook; there were 42 chains in between each heart. Phew! Over and out.

And wishing you all a belated Happy Valentine’s Day!