Busy Bee at work

If you have been reading my blog for long you know I struggle with finishing projects.  I get so excited about something new I want to make that I often times drop the current project to start another. Thus, too many projects half done to count.  Over the last month, however, I have managed to finish a couple projects (see On Pins and Needles post). I’ve also started and finished a couple projects and have one on the way to completion.

I cam across a cute unicorn crochet pattern from a site called Little Yarn Friends. I posted it on Facebook and said something like “I want to make this simply because it’s so adorable”. Which it is: tumblr_m53spxzhzu1r9eyk1

My brother said he would like one in Frankenstein colors with stitches and everything. So….. challenge accepted.

I was trying to decide if this little guy should be called Frankencorn or Unistein or something else.  But, when my brother received his little box in the mail with this guy in it he called it “Baron Hoofenstein, Undead Unicorn”. I like it.  He is definitely the more creative of us two  : )

Another little project was some crochet cabin boot slippers.  My brother shared it on Facebook and my daughter said she wanted some.  So…. I got out some flip flops, and aul, yarn and crochet hook and made these for her.

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The pattern comes from a website called Make and Do Crew. If you like crochet, they are worth checking out.  Anyway, what makes these slippers nice is that you use a pair of flip-flops to make the sole.  That way if you need to you can wear them outside.  I used Lion Brand Thick and Quick in the color Hudson Bay and buttons from one of my mom’s button boxes.  The flip-flops I got for $2 at Old Navy.  Oddly enough the first boot went really well and really easy but the second one I struggled with.  I think the reason for that is there is a right and left so it was a little difficult to get my head wrapped around the direction for the second one.  Anyway, put them in the mail on Thursday this week and my daughter got them yesterday so I can finally publish this post : )  She loves them by the way!

I just got back from Michael’s where I picked up some yarn (as if I don’t have enough) for a scarf project.  I’ll talk more about that later as it is a gift for my sweetheart.  And, I have promised myself I’ll finish up the needlepoint I’m working on before I start it.  More on the needlepoint in my next post.  I’ll just say it’s nearly finished and couldn’t be happier to be able to get it done soon.  Where I like the design I’m not overly fond of working with Persian wool.  So, to get it done would make me really, really happy!

So, off to a birthday party at a place where you paint and drink wine….what a great way to spend the afternoon.

Have a lovely rest of the weekend and do something creative!!!

Your stitching friend,

Tracy

 

 

Field Trip with Mom

My mom and I used to take “field trips” often.  Our field trips were usually to a scrapbook, craft or needlepoint store.  Those days have become few and far between with a full time job for me and all the things that go into raising a very school-involved kid.  My mom doesn’t drive into unfamiliar areas anymore so my Mother’s Day gift to her was to take her on a “field trip” to a needlepoint store in Alameda that we really like.  Both of us are trying to finish up some canvases we have so this was something I knew she would like to do.
The store we like is Needle In A Haystack.  We haven’t been there in a long time but every time we go we’re able to get what we need. They have everything you need for needlepoint, crewel, cross-stitch and more.  There are stretcher bars, fibers, kits and canvases.  It’s a beautiful store.
Today I bought what I needed to finish up three Christmas stocking cuffs.  I started them quite a few years ago and just recently got them out to finish.  One of them just needs a hand full of stitches (ran out of the fiber I needed) and some beads added.  Another one is about half finished and the third one I have not even started.  They work up quickly but I have kept them in a closet and just never really thing about getting them out.  So, now I have all I need to complete them.  When they are done I’ll send them out to be finished.  I think I could probably do it myself but with all the work that has gone into them I don’t want to chance messing them up.  There are people out there who can do it and do it right.  So, that’s the route I’ll go.
These are the cuffs:

This cuff needs just some little blue stitches and beads added.
This one is about half way done.
Not started yet.
The fibers I have used for these consist of 15 and 25 mm DMC, Frosty Rays, Treasure Ribbon and Flair. I like using more matte fibers with the sparkly ones to give the piece dimension.  I also picked up some Mill Hill glass beads to use where the gold lines intersect.  Should be nice when I get them done.  So…my stash for today was:
I also treated myself to some gold tapestry needles.  I have some that are smaller for counted cross-stitch but have not had them for needlepoint.  Gold needles if you’ve never used them are nice because they slide through what you’re working on very nicely and easily.  It’s my preference.
Mom got just about as much as I did.  She’s working on a turtle in pinks and salmon colors.  It’ll be beautiful.  She was the one who got me started with needlepoint by buying my first canvas which was of a swan.  It turned out beautiful and I was hooked.

BTW, after the needlepoint store we had lunch at Spenger’s Seafood Grotto in Berkeley.  Forgot how much I liked that place.  Spenger’s is also a place we haven’t been to in a long time.  Glad we stopped there. Mom had New England clam chowder and I had seafood gumbo.  Really was a nice treat and I nice way to celebrate Mother’s Day with my mom.

I think I’m going to make some tea and get to stitching.  Have a happy Mother’s Day and keep on stitching.

~ Tracy

Birthday Crochet Afghan

Just got back from a weekend in Reno.  My friend Lori cooks at the Genoa Cowboy Festival every year.  She’s told me so much about it I just had to finally make the trip and go with her.  She belongs to a Dutch Oven group in Reno. The whole group had an area where they cooked and offered samples to people who came to the festival.  So many talented cooks and really fabulous food.  Lori even got me to make an apple pie in a Dutch Oven.  Wasn’t really sure how or if it would work but it did turn out nice.  I was super pleased and the pie was gone in minutes.  I got a lot of nice comments on it and am planning on going again next year.

Me with my finished pie.

The apple pie itself

This is how it was baked.  Cast iron pot with coals underneath and on the lid to give the effect of being cooked in an oven.  It took longer than baking it in a kitchen oven but turned out just as nice.  
While I was there I took the opportunity to give Lori a birthday present I made for her.

This last month I took a break from finishing up projects to make her an afghan for her birthday.  I used  Red Heart yarn.  Some of it came from my yarn stash that included some that her mom gave me about a year ago.  It is in Heather Gray, Burgundy and White.  I didn’t have a pattern but just did it granny square (rectangle actually) style.  It was came together really quick and I like how it turned out.  Cool mornings and evenings I hope will be a little warmer with this. She really liked it.

Next Saturday I’m going to take my mom to Needle In The Haystack in Alameda so we can get more fibers for our needle-points.  Then I can get back to working on those.  In the meantime I’m going to make some socks.  I came across some sock yarn in my stash and thought that would be a nice diversion from finishing up projects.
Hope you are working on some great handcrafts.  Would love to know what you like to do and what you are working on.  Feel free to comment or pass this blog on to someone who loves needle-crafts as well.
Stitch on my friends!

Project Finish UP

One thing I know about myself is that I’m a good starter.  What I wish I was, was a good finisher.  Therein lies the reason I have this:

This is a rather large basket that my mom gave me a while back. Hmmm. What can I do with this? Well, I had recently decided I was going to gather all those projects that needed finishing a put them together with what they need to be finished. If the project needed fabric, I’d put that in it. Fibers? I’d add those.  If I didn’t have what I needed to finish the project I wrote on an index card what I needed and put that with it.  This way, when I was ready to tackle it I had a immediate list of what I needed. Just grab the index card and head to the nearest craft store. It was quite a big job to get it all together because living in a tiny apartment I have stuff in many nooks and crannies.  Most people spring clean. Maybe? I do a New Year’s cleaning.  I just feel like if I start the year off with things clean and organized then that sets the pace for the year.  This year, I had a four day weekend to do it in and with the exception of being with my mom in the ER because of a fall (she’s totally o.k. now : ) whew!) I got everything done with the help of my son. Even repaired earthquake cracks. So… back to the basket. What’s inside.
A pillow cover my youngest made with latch hook that I’ve been saying I’ll put together for her. Technically it’s her project but I made a project to make it into a pillow.  Three baby wildlife counted cross-stitch pieces that need frames. A pig needlepoint that I want to have put in a coffee table tray. Need the tray. A black Halloween counted cross-stitch piece that is half done.  Not sure what happened to all the floss but I do have the pattern so just need thread.  A hexagon blanket that was made to be the Dr. Who wormhole that shows at the beginning of the show.  There was a felt Tardis on it that melted when I tried mount it with fuseable webbing.  Need felt for that.  It was a gift for my youngest and she’s never really had it because I’ve been lame in getting it fixed.  Then I have 3 needlepoint stocking cuffs. One is stitches away from being done, one is half done and one not even started. 3 kids, 3 cuffs, Then I’ll need to figure out a pattern for the stocking or have them made up for me. 

and…..a Father Christmas counted cross-stitch lap blanket that is half done. And some Christmas ornaments that need finishing up. Counted cross-stitch as well.

Then, there are more needle-points. The Celtic Knot which I mentioned in an earlier post which is a little more than halfway done. And my favorite, favorite thing I have is hard to explain.  So, I’ll save the explanation for another post but it is a three dimensional cat.  It’s done with different fibers, in different pieces and when I’m done with it I’ll have to send it to someone who will put it together for me.  Mom has done a couple of these.  She gave this to me about three years ago.  The fibers are pricey so I get a little bit at a time and so it goes.  
My strategy for getting this done is taking the smallest and/or easiest and getting that done first. Then the next and the next.  Probably the ones that require framing only will come first or the wormhole. That way I see some progress and don’t get discouraged. When I get to where there is just the needle-points left I’m going to knit a sweater I’ve wanting to make for about a million years.  That will be my reward for getting that done.
Before I start on those I’m going to finish what I’m currently working on which is an afghan for my oldest daughter.  I have started two different afghans for her and just didn’t feel like they were right.  So, I ripped them out!  And finally got smart and asked her what she would like.  She took the bait and showed me a pattern.  She likes cables. So, the blanket she picked out is from Lion Brand.It is the Cable Blanket Throw and is worked up in Wool Ease Thick and Quick. She wanted it in gray so I’m using Heather Gray.  It is five panels but I don’t like sewing knitting together nor do I do it well.  So, I’m using circular needles and knitting them all together.  It’s going really well.  And the nice thing is that she knows I’m making it.  It’s a birthday gift and her birthday was yesterday but she knows it will take a bit of time.  The pressure is off so I’m really enjoying it and  I love, love, love working with cable needles.
I’ve been home sick for a week, so I’ve made a lot of progress.  I have a cold that has turned into bronchitis. Nasty stuff. But, getting better.  I’ll take advantage of the time and hopefully have this to her soon.
Thank you for reading and Stitch On!
Tracy

Finishing Projects

I am notorious for getting multiple projects going.  Right now I’ve got the afghan for my daughter and 3 needle-points going.  Plus, when I was rummaging through my craft dresser I found two counted cross-stitch projects that I had forgot about.  Oy vey!
So, I’ve made a commitment to finish the oldest one I have started.  My mom bought me a Celtic knot needle-point when I was recovering from back surgery in 2006.  We went to a needle-point store that used to be here in Napa and got the canvas and fibers.  It’s really beautiful but not without it’s difficulty.  Only three colors.  Green, gold and burgundy.  This first difficulty is that it has curves.  Those always mess me up in needlepoint.  Trying to make the decision of what color to use to make the curve come out curvy and not boxy.  The second difficulty is that one of the fibers does not go through the canvas well.  It always gets hung up when I am putting the needle through and it gets to the eye.  It is three strands that I take apart and use just two of the three strands.  I’ve tried one strand and it’s just not enough coverage.  Two is perfect but a little hard on my fingers.  The gold is really lovely to work with.  So, I switch to that when my fingers get too fatigued and sore.
My goal is to finish this one by my birthday next month.  We shall see!  I’m hoping by setting this as a goal I can get it completed.  Still not sure if it will be framed or made into a pillow.  I think it’s perfect for a pillow so that’s what I’m leaning towards.

Some photos of the project:

15″ x 15″ Celtic Knot

Up close of the work I’ve done so far

Half way done.  
So, given that I am half way done with it I think as motivated as I am I can get it done by April 28th.  Wish me luck!!!