WIPs Wednesday – All Hearts Home Home

Good morning, Stitchy Friends! I’ve decided to jump on the WIPS Wednesday bandwagon and show you what I’m working on.

All Hearts Stocking, designed by Dimensions (WIP)

All Hearts Stocking, designed by Dimensions (WIP)

I am still stitching away on my dad’s Christmas stocking, slowly but surely. My goal is to have the door finished and to have made significant progress on the greenery swag above it by the end of the week.

Creative Persuasion, designed by Carolyn Mitchell

Creative Persuasion, designed by Carolyn Mitchell

If you follow me on Instagram (@stitchinglotus) you have probably seen pictures of this piece. It is Creative Persuasion, designed by Carolyn Mitchell. It was taught as a class at the fall 2012 Creativ Festival, and, to be totally honest, had been sitting almost completely untouched since then. I’m so glad I got it out again because it is just lovely. The different textures of the fibres look wonderful together, and the colours are perfect. I can’t wait until it is finished and hanging on my wall.

That’s it for this week! I know you know I have so many other WIPs, but if I shared everything we would be here until next Wednesday! 😉

Happy stitching!

10 Comments | Posted in Canvaswork, Cross Stitch | Tagged , , , , ,

Tool Review – FriXion Highlighter

How do you handle your chart when you stitch? Do you work off a digital chart on your tablet? Do you work from the original, or do you make a working copy? Do you mark your chart or just keep track of where you are mentally?

How do you mark your charts?

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Generally speaking, I work from the original chart and don’t mark it. When the chart is complicated (or I’m having trouble concentrating), I will occasionally mark the chart with a pencil. I can’t stand the idea of leaving a permanent mark on a chart. Yikes! 😛

When it comes to my knitting patterns, pencil is really hard to follow, and I like to use a highlighter, but I’m worried about marking the wrong instructions and making the wrong size. (It has happened…)

FriXion Highlighter

FriXion Highlighter

This is my new favourite tool. It is a Pilot FriXion Light Erasable Highlighter. It works just like a regular highlighter. (The chart is Dragon Love, a freebie from Jennifer Aikman-Smith of Dragon Dreams.)

Highlight your chart just like normal...

Highlight your chart just like normal…

Except you can erase it.

...and erase your mistakes.

…and erase your mistakes.

The end of the highlighter has a little soft plastic nib that works as the eraser. That’s because the secret to these highlighters is that the ink is ‘removed’ by friction. What is actually happening is that the colour disappears when you rub it with the nib. (There is still a clear residue on the paper, but you can’t see it.)

More highlighting, including over pen ink.

More highlighting, including over pen ink.

And you can write over that area again with no problems.

There are also FriXion pens, in a few different sizes and colours. They have quickly become my favourite writing tool, and helped to sooth a few of my perfectionist tendencies. I’ve been using them for around two years now, without any issues developing because of their erase-ablility. (I do, however, use a “regular” pen for writing cheques, filling in important forms, etc.)

So, what do you think? Will FriXion highlights find a place in your workbasket? Do you think they are a useful stitching tool? Or, do you use something even better to mark your charts? Let me know in the comments.

19 Comments | Posted in Tool Reviews | Tagged

Shuttle Tatting Giveaway

Have you ever bought anything thinking that one day, one magical day, you will use it and become so great at whatever it is for that life will be amazing. No? Me either. 😉

Tatting Christmas Ball Cover (WIP), designed by Kim Beamish

Tatting Christmas Ball Cover (WIP), designed by Kim Beamish

Seriously, though, I’ve been trying to learn to shuttle tat since the last century. Waaaaaay back in university, sometime around 1999 or so (gosh, that looks like ancient times now, doesn’t it?), I took a shuttle tatting class at my then-LNS Golden Threads. I did okay, but I never really caught on. I tried books, YouTube tutorials, and even a class at Craftsy, but I still never got it. Thankfully, there is needle tatting and Kim Beamish. (You may recall I took a class from her at this past fall’s CreativFestival.) I am clearly meant to needle tat, not shuttle tat.

So, what to do with my shuttle tatting supplies? Why not give them away!

Shuttle Tatting Supplies - These could be yours! Leave a comment below.

Shuttle Tatting Supplies – These could be yours! Leave a comment below.

If you are interested in learning shuttle tatting, this is actually a really great book. Working with it was the closest I ever got to actually understanding what to do. And that is saying a lot. I’ll also send you three shuttles, two of which have never been used. (The metal shuttle is the one I’ve been trying to use for lo these many years, but it is still in absolutely excellent shape since I didn’t practice too much…) I will also include a lovely little ball of very fine tatting thread. And, lastly, I will include a little surprise.

If you’d like to enter, please leave a comment below. I will close the comments on Friday, February 12th at about 9pm Eastern and draw a winner. The winner will be notified via email, so make sure you fill out your correct email address. (Don’t leave it in the body of the comment, just put it in the proper field in the comment form.)

If you’d like a second entry, just post about the giveaway on your blog, Twitter or Instagram. You can tag me on Twitter as @silverlotus and on Instagram as @stitchinglotus. Then, hop back over here and let me know you’ve posted.

Good luck! And I hope you have more success with shuttle tatting than I did. 😉

13 Comments | Posted in Giveaway, Tatting | Tagged ,

Goldwork Dragonfly – Part 2

I really enjoy trying new types of needlework, but there are some kinds that I find more intimidating than others. Stumpwork, for example, scares the pants off of me. Goldwork is another technique that I’ve wanted to try, but have been both afraid and not sure where to begin.

Goldwork Flower (class from Alma Laidlaw)

Goldwork Flower (class from Alma Laidlaw)

Actually, several years ago I took a little “teaser” class at the Creativ Festival and made the little piece above. We learned a bit about the types of materials used and a few techniques, but since it was pretty easy I figured that either I was missing something or that the instructor had left a lot out.

This winter I decided to try a beginner goldwork class from Alison Cole. I was really intimidated, but after the first lesson was complete I felt so much better. (I shared my progress in this blog post and on Instagram.) Having all the supplies and great instructions full of pictures was so helpful. It made me much more brave.

Here is the final result:

Goldwork Dragonfly, designed by Alison Cole

Goldwork Dragonfly, designed by Alison Cole

It isn’t exactly like the model. Unfortunately, I placed the ribbon flowers a little too low on the bottom wings and made the petals a bit too large. So I had to change the position of the sadi flower, and only make one instead of two. But, if you didn’t know that they were “wrong”, I think it looks fabulous.

I’d really love to try some more goldwork in the future. Alison has some really lovely kits and a couple of other classes I’d like to try. She also has a stumpwork book that looks very interesting…

 

17 Comments | Posted in Goldwork | Tagged ,

Book Review – Crochet Stores: E.T.A. Hoffman’s The Nutcracker

Crochet Stories: E. T. A. Hoffmann’s The Nutcracker by Lindsay Smith is the first book in Dover Publication’s new Crochet Stories series. Each book presents a story (or series of stories) and interweaves it with crochet patterns for the story’s characters. So far, the two books released have had different crochet designers taking the reigns, meaning each book has a very different feel from the other.

crochetstoriesnutcracker

The Nutcracker book, unsurprisingly, focuses on that beloved Christmas story. It uses the text of the story from another Dover book (The Nutcracker and the Golden Pot), which seems to me to be an excellent version of the story. Each section is followed by a pattern for one of the characters, beginning with Marie (aka Clara), and moving through Godpapa Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker, the Mouse King and more. Lindsay Smith also includes patterns for the clock, a Christmas tree, and a few other Christmas goodies.

The patterns themselves are very straightforward and easy to follow. Each round is worked continuously for most patterns, which is my preferred method by far. She also includes stitch counts for each row, making the patterns very accessible to novice crocheters. A quick rundown of stitches is included at the beginning of each patterns, and a small section of techniques is included at the back. I did have to look up one stitch online, but isn’t that what the Internet is for?

Marie from Dover's Crochet Stories: The Nutcracker

Marie from Dover’s Crochet Stories: The Nutcracker

Ms. Smith uses Lily Sugar ‘n Cream yarn for most of her models, a very easily obtainable yarn. There are a few specialty yarns used in a couple of designs, like Bernat Boa for the Nutcracker’s beard, but none are too hard to come by. Her models are well photographed, so it is easy to duplicate the facial embroidery and other embellishments. (My version was made using Bernat Satin yarn.)

I had a minor issue when stitching up my Marie. The instructions for her belt and skirt were a little unclear. But, after a little trial and error and a close examination of the pictures, I think I managed to figure it out. At the very least, my finished product looks very similar to the picture. And, to me, that is the true test of any amigurumi pattern: if I can make it look like the model using the instructions provided, then it must be a good pattern. 😉

All in all, this is a lovely book, especially if you love The Nutcracker. A copy of the storybook (or the movie) along with all the dolls from this book would be an absolutely wonderful gift for any child who is enchanted by the story. (And what little girl or boy isn’t at some point?)

I received a free ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The published version of this book may be different from the version I reviewed. Also, there are affiliate links used in this post.

4 Comments | Posted in Book Reviews, Crochet | Tagged , ,

Joyful February

If you are following me on Instagram (@stitchinglotus), you will know that I was working very hard, up to almost the last minute, to finish up the February section of the Joyful World SAL before the new month began.

Joyful World SAL February

Joyful World SAL February

I’m so pleased with how it turned out! The fabric is still working really nicely with all the colours (Heritage from Enchanting Lair), and I’m also still happy with my choice to use the DMC substitutes rather than the over-dyed threads.

My hope for the year is to begin each month’s section as close to when it is released as possible (generally the 10th of the month), and have it finished before the end of the month. Any good wishes are appreciated. 😉

If you are interested in joining in, you can learn all about the Joyful World SAL over here on The Snowflower Diaries.

Giveaway Coming Soon!

I’ll be hosting another little giveaway at the end of the week. I decided it was time to let something go, and I figured that there may be some interest in the supplies. Check back on Friday to see what it is!

13 Comments | Posted in Cross Stitch, Giveaway | Tagged , ,

Smalls SAL – January 2016 Check-In

Hello, Smalls Stitchers! Welcome to the first check-in day for the 2016 version of the Smalls SAL.

SmallsSAL2016

Hopefully this year’s change to Thursday check-ins hasn’t caused too much confusion. I promise it will get easier as the year goes on.

Byzantium Ornament 1, designed by Teresa Wentzler

Byzantium Ornament 1, designed by Teresa Wentzler

My finish for this month is one of Teresa Wentzler’s Byzantium Ornaments (also known as Christmas Ornaments or Stain Glass Ornaments). I’m stitching from the old Just Cross Stitch kit, produced way back in 1995. It has a hand-drawn chart, and feels like a real blast from the past! Unfortunately, there was an error for the platted stitch directions so I just made up my own version of it before I thought to check Teresa’s site for errata. I got it close enough to correct to not bother ripping it out. But, lesson learned: if you think there is a problem, check to see if there are corrections.

Byzantium Ornament 1, Teresa Wentzler (close-up of motif)

Byzantium Ornament 1, Teresa Wentzler (close-up of motif)

Regardless of my “improvements”, the finished ornament looks wonderful! So rich and fancy! I love Teresa Wentzler designs, and stitching this reminded me that it has been far too long since I worked on one.

So, what did you stitch this month? I honestly can’t wait to see! We have so many returning stitchers and many new stitchers joining us, so I’m sure we will have a great collection of smalls to look at. Please fill in the little form near the end of this post with your link. (Please be sure to link directly to your SAL check-in post, not to the main page of your blog.) Also, if you have time, please visit some of your fellow Smalls SAL participants. We all love to have blog visitors. 😉

The link list will remain open to new entries until about midnight Eastern time on February 3rd. Be sure to get your entry in by then! Remember: for each month you check-in with a finished small you get one entry into the end of the year draw.

Next Month The next check-in will take place on Thursday, February 25th. If you would like an email reminder, you can sign up here.

Instagram – Are you on Instragram? Share your small there too with the #smallssal2016 tag.

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28 Comments | Posted in Cross Stitch | Tagged , , , ,