Crafts · Cross Stitch · Knitting

Carry on Cowboy

Way back in September I posted about all my unfinished projects, my craft projects:

  • I have some cross stitch I have not picked up in months (if not over a year) and it has not that much to do on it but yet it remains untouched.
  • There is a bookmarker which I enjoy making which has yet to be finished. Trouble is I started another. I think I might need to sell these
  • An ornament I made just needs its ribbon re-stitching on there.
  • There  are some knitted hearts that I need to do something with
  • Knitted juggling balls just need finishing off and bells attached
  • A purse needs finishing off and the crochet by my mum needs attaching Cannot show a picture as it is a present for someone. 
  • A pom pom explosion has happened and I have had a fanciful idea of making a rug… it has waned somewhat.
  • Then I saw some entralac knitting and wanted to have a go….. The picture of this on my earlier post has been abandoned, it was my test piece. I have started another bit, but that is languishing. I might finish off the ball of wool and add it to my bag of test pieces! 
  • But I am in the middle of knitting a cowboy and here he is 

It started way back here

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And then progressed to what you saw back in September

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Luckily he is now able to speak and hear

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Of course he cannot do much without the appropriate chaps!

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It needs to be fixed on correctly all the way round

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Although he will never be able to stay on his horse without arms

IMG_0597And to make him look like a rather sophisticated we need a scarf and hat to complete the ensemble

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He is rather taller than other dolls that I have knitted, but apparently John Wayne did not wear hats like this!

I am pleased to have ticked some things of my ever-expanding list – so the list looks like this now

  • I have some cross stitch I have not picked up in months (if not over a year) and it has not that much to do on it but yet it remains untouched.
  • There  are some knitted hearts that I need to do something with
  • Knitted juggling balls just need finishing off and bells attached
  • A pom pom explosion has happened and I have had a fanciful idea of making a rug… it has waned somewhat.
  • Finish Entralac knitting square test piece
  • IMG_0625Finish the gloves which I started to  – A. to see if I can remember knitting on four needles and add a cable into the mix as well. B – to stop me snacking. Christmas present?IMG_0627
  • Of course I have a Christmas Decoration that needs finishing. A kit I bought when I went on my annual outing to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace. IMG_0628
  • I did but some snap fasteners at the show and have actually used some material I bought from a previous year and made two little purses. Rather pleased with these as I am not really a machine sewer and only tend to do the basic things.IMG_0629

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So plenty to keep me busy and I must get on with it really so if you will excuse me………

Crafts · Cross Stitch · Jottings · Knitting

Unravelling….

It is a yearly outing in October that mum and I head to the Knitting and Stitching Show held at Alexandra Palace. I have mentioned many times on this blog and looking back it is almost like Groundhog Day.

2010 Visit

2011 Visit

2012 Visit

I won’t bore you with the same old details – but rest assured there were some very familiar noises on the coach. The two ladies adjacent to us, commented on every bit of driving, direction of travel, journey, the M25 and gave the poor coach driver earache no doubt. These coach drivers at the particular company we use have the patience of saints. They did come unstuck at one point when they were asking him personal questions and he said he did not see his children anymore…..silent did ensure….but no for long. Their main complaint was that there was not enough cross stitching.

Well to be fair to them, they were correct. However, everything has fads and is cyclical I am sure and therefore if you know that is the case then don’t bother coming if only to save my ears! In the years that I have been going I have seen it decline, and it is definitely knitting and other wool related crafts which are coming back in fashion. One particular stall used to be huge, as they sold so much cross stitch material, both aida and evenweave. Now though you could have walked past them and not noticed, it was that small and also they had branched out into selling other things. The lesson is if you want to stay in business then you have to go with the changes and what the market wants. The market wants at the moment, wool and material.

I will say there was a plethora of sewing machine stalls, nicely complemented by where you could by plenty of material and some wonderful material at that. I blame the Great British Sewing Bee and in fact one contestant (male) was there from that programme. I am sure this has something to do with the current economic climate and in trying to make do and mend, or create something which is unique.

Creatures of habit we did exactly the same thing we do every year, go round the outside then up and down the stalls in the middle and then split up buy what we want and then meet back together and get a second opinion on some of the things we have seen.

I know all you want to see is what I have bought, so here is the obligatory photo

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So what do we have –

To the left of the picture there are some weaving boards. You wind the wool round the jagged edges then you weave with something contrasting. I have made an attempt but I want to get it right first, as one of them is going to be a Christmas present. There is also some lovely Oliver Twist threads there too.

Then following across the picture is a pin cushion from Sue Hawkins who has been a favourite of mine (and mum) for many years. It is thanks to here I have made oodles of the bookmarkers she does that have been sold and also given out as presents for many years. I have got many of her items over the years, and this is another one to add to the collection, which was bought for an early birthday present.

Then it is a plethora of felt. Two bundles of different felt sizes in different colours. Felt Fantastic is a book I have had my eye on for a while as it comes from the lovely people at Blooming Felt. There is also some felt bird shapes, a bag of felt balls and a felt iPad cover.Not sure if you can see the little black dog at the bottom right of the picture – he is a Scottie dog. He could look good on my  cover although not to be mistaken for a Radley I am sure. I need to get on the website and buy some more stuff with the 15% voucher I got at the show too! I need to buy some more red circles to make poppies with. I like the felt things, although I am not interested in needle felting or sticking my knitting in the wash to felt that up.

Not bad considering, but what I have come away with is oodles of ideas and an itch to want to try them all. Always the way, but in the meantime I will keep plodding along. I have some items that need finishing and I must crack on with the Christmas presents for this year to.

I did make a list of things to look up at home, one particular stall there sells all the wonderful Lizzie Kate, Waxing Moon Designs, Twisted Thread, Pine Mountain designs as well as many other American designers. Trouble is they are priced quite expensively and the two ladies that run the stall are very snooty – they always look down their noses at you and it puts me right off! They are a bit pushy in their sales technique. It is funny what puts you off buying from different places.

I wonder if the show in 2014 will be exactly the same? Of course it will.

Books

The Tapestry of Love – Rosy Thornton

Catherine, now divorced with grown up children Tom and Lexie, a sister Bryony a workaholic lawyer  and a mother who sadly has Alzheimer’s and is in a nursing home makes the decision to move to France. Not to a bustling city or town but a very small rural community with very few people where Catherine is exposed to the elements and the landscape which she uses for own new start.

Catherine hopes to create some sort of business working with fabrics and threads and sells to the locals, in the markets, with special commissions where she can cover furniture and make curtains. Her house Les Fenils is the place to do it and whilst she settles to this work and establishes herself in the community. The community also help establish her as a local. Neighbours help where needed, inform of flooded telephone lines, drop off produce and advise on when to plant and when to harvest. As Catherine settles in to her new surroundings and the seasons, she encounters Patrick Castagnol her nearest neighbour further up the mountain than herself. A strange sort of friendship develops and goes away when her sister Bryony arrives. Bryony is suddenly on a second visit wanting to escape from the ‘rat race’ as she can see the benefit this life is having on her sister. Does Bryony have the right sort of self sufficient personality to cope with such isolation and peace? Can Catherine hold on to the idyll that she has created and not let anyone interfere?

Rosy Thornton has created a wonderful book, with such a rich description of the surroundings, the seasons and weather that you actually can hear the heavy rain as it resonates all the way round the valley that Catherine is in. In stark contrast the heat has the same oppressive effect as described when Catherine adjusts her days so she is working at the coolest point outside and retreating somewhere with her tapestries when the heat becomes too much.  Rosy has brought to life a landscape from the page with words but also with her descriptions of the tapestries which I can actually feel from the descriptions of colours and silks.

All the characters are well rounded, with probably the exception of Bryony who has something artificial about her, although I think this adds to her character flaws and I sense a sibling rivalry between them both throughout the book which is never quite settled. The book is gently paced and has you turning the page to see what happens but also to just enjoy the experience along with Catherine in her new community. Towards the end of the book, I had a horrible feeling that Catherine was going to give up all that she had and make a change to this life which I had fallen in love with; I had to keep reading until I knew everything was going to be alright. If you pick up this book you will want to know as well.

I received this book directly from the author Rosy Thornton for which I thank her but it has not influenced my review. 

I will be honest here as I was with Rosy that I had tried to read one of her previous novels Hearts and Minds and had given up on it. I was rather lost with it and felt it was not a book for me. I therefore picked this one up with a little bit of trepidation. Was I going to like it? And was I going to upset the author if I did not?

I think hopefully you can tell from my review that I liked the book. Something about it appealed to me, in fact many things about it appealed to me. The crafts stuck out and being someone who does a lot of stitching, knitting and other craft things I could relate to what an achievement it is to see something come to life but also a dream of being able to do it for a living. When you first start out with a blank canvas and lots of colour and no pattern it is daunting (although I do love a pattern!) but soon it begins to over take you and then something appears and time has passed and you have forgotten many things that were bothering you in the first place. That for me is the joy of being creative.

Reading also gives me that joy and this book also allows that passage of time and forgotten problems. I was in love with the place and could have quite happily up sticks and gone out for a few weeks to just be. Although I would have lasted less than 5 minutes because my French is somewhat non-existent. However the ideas give you that little bit of pleasure and keep dreams alive. 

I have certainly got the stitchy bug again since reading this book! It was on a little break I feel. I am so tempted to do some tapestry as well! What I also have the bug for is more of Rosy Thornton’s other novels and I will go back and read the one I abandoned. 

To learn more about Rosy Thornton see her website here or on Facebook.

Cross Stitch · Knitting · Witterings

The Knitting and Stitching Show

Friday saw my annual trip to The Knitting and Stitching Show held at Alexandra Palace. A very long but satisfying day as the exhibition is full of all knitty, stitchy, beady, quilty and crafty things! Thank goodness for coach trips and not having to worry about facing London transport and the trek up and down the hill.

So after a very quick journey up (where was the traffic on the M25??) we were there just before 1200 and went in an attacked every stall! Plan is the same, go round the edge and then up and down all the rows. There was loads of stalls there, a lot more beading stalls than in previous years plus a lot of what I call ‘other’ stalls. Those stalls selling chocolate (messy business with wool and thread), handbags, shirts and scarves and of course the ‘wonder’ stall where a mop will just about clean everything in half the time with the half the effort?!!??? Weed all of these out and I will come to my favourite ones and where I made a couple of purchases. I did not spend the money I took with me and I certainly did not hit the plastic! All of which I am pleased about! Despite many offers there, some things are much cheaper online.

So first purchase was some wool to make a ruffle scarf. This wool was so popular at the show that many stall holders had sold out on the Thursday and there were a few disappointed people. Once knitted up, it has now been wound into a ball (thanks to my  mum) it will look something like this.

My other wool buy, was some more Aran for the blanket I am knitting which I showed progress picture of a few days ago. I had done my research for this one, and knew one of the stands there The Black Sheep would carry the wool so if I got nothing else my aim was to get this wool. This is the same brand of wool in Ivory Cream and will make the second strip of knitting – only once I have finished the first!

The other purchase was ribbon so I can make some more Christmas Decorations and perhaps in these economic times make them as gifts for presents as well.

These are from Springwood House Designs (the website is not fantastic but you get the idea) and last year I bought the kit for the Christmas Tree and the project book and have made many of the egg-shaped hanging decorations. Now the ribbon seems to be a special sort with wire in but not so stiff you cannot bend the ribbon and I have tried other sources for the ribbon and come up with some differing results but nothing beats the ribbon I originally got from Springwood. Hence why I have stocked up

Now I could have spent a lot more – I saw a couple (or more) of Little House Needlework Designs which I love and would like to stitch, but I was sensible and realised I have plenty at home that needs doing before I embark on buying anything else.

I have come away with some good ideas, but I need the time to do them all and try to fit going to work in as well! The first was decopatch. The website can be found here and goes into some detail about how to do it – but I have to say it appealed to me. Especially the letters, I have a thing about letters and words as decoration and have in the past decorated letters for friends for presents (I can see another Christmas Idea) but this was decorating anything and everything with these papers which are similar to tissue paper but made so that when you put the PVA glue on them, they do not disintegrate and the colour remains. At the show they were working on a giraffe and it looked just fab! Here is a picture of a cat  which I just love. The fact it is a cat but also the colours. A lot of these were done on paper mache boxes and letters (all available in Hobbycraft) and something which I have used in the past for many decorating and crafty things. This is just the next stage – I think it is going to be the letters for me but I am not sure what I am going to spell!

Apologies to anyone who has got bored by this point, I promise I will not go on much longer about all things crafty. My next big spend *could* have been at a lovely new company Blooming Felt they have some lovely bunting which seems to be the ‘in’ thing at the moment, I have to say I would not be averse to such a thing in my home. And I know exactly where I would like to hang it. (Another idea!) They had some Halloween bunting and whilst I may be late for this year there is always next! I think I am going to start with some simple triangular bunting and decorating before I progress to something like this. The website is so bright and colourful and it is nice to see a business that started as a hobby has progressed into something else. Sometimes you have to just have that drive and determination.

The other thing I saw was a peg loom which just looked so therapeutic – I do not know what I would do with the stuff I weaved but I would like to have a go, at the show they had torn up old shirts into strips and were weaving that onto looms. I would just be being creative and creating something different!

A long day and back on the coach at 1700 I was glad of sit down and where was all the traffic on the M25 on the way back? My only wish is that whoever was on my coach insisted that they knew exactly where we were on the road, and basically we had a running commentary of every car and bike that overtook, cut up, did not let us through for most of the journey. Everyone is suddenly an expert. However, when the said voice from somewhere in the middle of the coach (I was sat in the front seats of the coach) said we were on the M1! I wanted to scream – if we were on the M1 we would be going North and we live South! It is a simple journey, A3, M25, North Circular then oddly enough to some people’s surprise the reverse on the way home! M1 for goodness sake if you do not know where you are then just say nothing!

Cross Stitch

15 Side Biscornu

I have finished something! Following my nearly finished post  on 20 September. I got into the rhythm of a finish.

So this is how it all started

Now this is on 18 count canvas, using Perle 5 Thread. A mixture of these threads; some DMC, some Anchor and Needle Necessities which have now been taken over by Threadworx. This was all left over from other projects I have done, so in this thrifty time I thought I should use them up.

You have to cut out all the squares and then stitch up first of all 5 squares – those in the purple and pinks.

Next is to then attached the next five separately around the edge of the this first section and the result ends up like this.

Then to make the remaining five squares, in this case the yellow and orange ones made up like the purple ones and stitch that to the green squares – resulting in this.

So there it is finished – and just so you can see it all the way round I have included a final couple of photos, so you can see varying angles and the colours.

They are easy to make up, but it is quite difficult to get your needle and thread through the canvas, and it has made my fingers quite sore. It was worth it though and I am glad it is finished. I am pleased with the colours, knowing I turn it around depending on my mood! A great Sue Hawkins Design, and I look forward to having a go with her next creation.

Books · Cross Stitch · Witterings

Nearly Finished

At the moment, it may seem that I have done nothing crafty wise – well part of that is true and part is not. I have done plenty but it is all nearly finished! However, I thought a nearly finished post was just as good as a finished post. There are some items which I have not touched in ages so I will not bore you with those they do deserve to go in a finished post.

However, I have been working on a Sue Hawkins 15 Side Biscornu featured in the latest Stitch magazine. Mine is going to look nothing like this one, in terms of colour, thread used and the decorations. However, craft and creating is about your own imagination. I have used up old perle threads from old book marks that I have made in the past (more about them another day). This is what the 15 squares look like before being cut out and made up

I hope to see Sue Hawkins at the Alexandra Palace ‘Knitting and Stitching Show’ in October, where she will probably have a 15 side biscornu as a kit.

Next up is material you may recognise from previous posts –

I used this to back my lavender bag I made. Well I knew what I wanted to do with the rest, and that was make a doorstop for the bedroom. Currently have a piece of folded up cardboard keeping the door open, which was there when I moved in! So I cut out 6 squares but thought they were too small, then I cut out another 6 squares bigger. The result having sewn them together on my mums sewing machine is above. Now I need to cut out a bag of some fairly strong material to put the sand in (that is the weight) and then I can finish the large one-off with stuffing and sew together. Voila – one door stop! The smaller one, well I still have a lot of lavender, so it will be filled with that (in a small organza bag) and stuffing, sewn together and I thought would look good placed on top. A stack of doorstops! Job for next Saturday, finish this off!

This is not technically a nearly finished but a nearly start. I have picked up the knitting needles, because I can knit quite happily in front of the television, without having to pay much attention to what I am doing. I found a pattern for a Basketweave Afghan in a new book, apologies but I cannot remember the books name (my mum bought it). Now although I can knit, I cannot do complicated patterns. To test this pattern out, I dug out some needles and wool and did a couple of test pieces. The pattern says to cast on 252 stitches, but ever the creator I have decided to work it in strips, and then crochet them together. So this pictures shows the three ‘test’ pieces I did. The top one, grew really quick but was not right somehow, you can see the pattern but it is too loose for my liking. The second one, was smaller needles and was just right, my mum approved (always important) and I used Aran for this two pieces. The third piece was Double Knitting, and was a variegated colour – I wanted to see whether you could see the pattern using this colour wool. You can but you cannot. I have decided then, that solid colour is the way to go and Aran not DK so, next Saturday is a trip to the local wool shop to purchase the wool (I have chosen the colour – purple!) I might go with two different shades, so the stripes can alternate.

The next Nearly Finished is a Little House Needleworks Needle and Thread which I finished some time back, but I have yet to stitch to the pillow that it comes with. At the moment it is just pinned – I need to find the right colour thread to attach it to the pillow. It was a really quick finish and I do love Little House Needleworks.

As for the reading well I have nearly finished Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love. An interesting read so far and one that has made me think about many different things. I have also been sent Lloyd Jones Hand Me Down World out in November 2010. I have started it and it is rather odd, but something about it has made me want to keep reading it.

Books · Cross Stitch · Witterings

An Update of Books and Crafts

I decided to do a summary post of what I have been up to in regards to books and crafts.

Reviews

Recent reviews I have already published them on my blog. Here are the links

Kate Atkinson – Started Early, Took My Dog

Jane Beaton – Rules

Debbie Macomber – 204 Rosewood Lane

Upcoming Review on Brian McGilloway – Borderlands

Books

Acquired 2 booksLesley Pearce – Stolen & Douglas Kennedy – Leaving the World. Both new authors to me so I will see how I get on with these two.

Amazon Vine – 2 BooksAnne Fortier – Juliet and a non fiction book Mindfulness for Dummies. This is an area which I have an interest in so thought this would be a good start to get into something.

Waterstones Visit – 13 Books! eek!

Alexander McCall Smith – The Miracle at Speedy Motors Book 9 in the No 1 Ladies Detective Series

Alexander McCall Smith – Tea Time for the Traditionally Built Book 10

Kate Kerrigan – Ellis Island Recommended by one of the Waterstone’s staff

Brenda Reid – The House of Dust and Dreams From the blurb and look of the book, it probably will have a similar feel to Victoria Hislop’s The Island

Lesley Lokko – Bitter Chocolate Three Girls trying to find the missing piece in their lives. Based in Haiti, America and London. Daft though it sounds, a good thick book to get lost in!

Kate Atkinson – Case Histories The first Jackson Brodie book.

Victoria Henry – The Beach Hut Another new author of the ‘chick lit’ variety I believe.

Elizabeth Gilbert – Eat Pray Love This has been made into a film with Julia Roberts, and I read about it in a magazine interview with the actress. Perhaps then I might go and see the film.

Mary Nichols – The Fountain I was actually after The Summer House but this was on a 3 for 2 and they did not have The Summer House

Daphne Du Maurier – Jamaica Inn Rebecca is one of my favourites, and encouraged by my mum I would like to read some more by this author.

Katharine McMahon – The Rose of Sebastopol Having loved The Crimson Rooms, I wanted to try another one by this author.

Philippa Gregory – The White Queen Fancied a bit of historical fiction and you cannot beat PG! I thought I better start with the beginning of her next series.

Katherine Webb – The Legacy A past and present story based with two girls and a house that connects them.

Now I cannot say I will not buy any more books for a while, because you never know. But this will be my last big haul before Christmas that is for sure!

Crafts

I have had a few finishes this week, so this is what I am showing, as opposed to my works in progress. No point taking pictures of something that have not changed since the last picture!

This is a Sue Hawkins Biscornu, done in canvaswork using perle thread No 5 two different colours, and I alternated them as you can hopefully can see by the first picture, which I took before making the biscornu up which is then shown in the second picture below. Not the easiest things to photograph I suppose. I hope this gives you an idea at least.

This is Waxing Moon’s Simply Seasons Spring.

I am currently working on Simply Summer. Always trying to find different ways to make up stitching, I decided to make it into a pinkeep. Which is a popular way of finishing. I am now after getting some hooks or the like so I can hang this on a door, and then change it when the seasons change. It does stand up independently as the pins make quite good little feet.  I will try and finish Simply Summer before it is over, although with the weather and temperatures here at the moment it may already be over!