Stitchable Santa (Review and Finish)

I love the idea of wooden stitchable pieces. In fact, this is the third wooden piece I’ve done. (Check out my butterfly here and my keychain here.) I haven’t been very happy with my experience with any of these project, but sadly this most recent kit was the worst of the bunch.

Bucilla Stitchable Shapes - Santa

Bucilla Stitchable Shapes – Santa

The wooden piece itself is nice. It is surprisingly thick, and the holes are all drilled completely through. Everything is finished nicely, so there are no rough areas for your floss to get caught on. The instructions, though, are barely adequate. It is difficult to decipher which holes you need to be using for the stitches zigzagging across the hat and the moustache. And, weirdly, the translation into French and Spanish is patchy. (E.g. Step 3 is repeated in English for all three languages.)

Ooops, no more white but all kinds of other colours are left.

Ooops, no more white but all kinds of other colours are left.

Where the kit really falls down is in the supplied cotton floss. Not only is the floss poor quality (DMC it is not), there is both too much and not enough. It seems like the same bundle of floss is thrown in all the kits in this series, so you are given lots of colours that you don’t need. However, there was nowhere near enough white to finish off this piece. (See the picture above. That is all the floss I had left, and all the empty areas needed to be stitched white.) Thankfully, I was able to more or less match the white included in the kit with some old J&P Coats floss, and then I finished off the swirls in the beard using DMC E5200 Light Effects. (I used Light Effects because I was feeling masochistic that day.)

Santa and his sparkly beard

Santa and his sparkly beard

I’m happy with the finished product, but I will not buy another one of these kits. For the price, I most certainly expect to have all the materials I need to finish the project as it is charted. :/

(This is an edited and expanded version of my review for this item on Amazon.ca.)

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

Florentine Fancy Finished

I’m so happy! I put the final stitches into Florentine Fancy just about an hour ago. It feels great to have it finished.

Florentine Fancy, designed by Carolyn Mitchell

Florentine Fancy, designed by Carolyn Mitchell

Florentine Fancy was designed by Carolyn Mitchell, and is currently offered as a correspondence course through The Embroiderers’ Guide of Canada (EAC). The pattern was very detailed (nearly 30 pages!), but I had to choose my own colours.

Florentine Fancy, designed by Carolyn Mitchell (detail)

Florentine Fancy, designed by Carolyn Mitchell (detail)

It is stitched on white mono canvas. I used a wide variety of threads:

  • DMC Perle Cotton #3
  • DMC Perle Cotton #5
  • Watercolours
  • Soie Cristale
  • Neon Rays
  • Flair

I also made a couple of choices with regards to filling stitches for the background around the centre flower and the outer border. I also chose to have the corner motifs face each other, rather than all point in the same direction.

Florentine Fancy, designed by Carolyn Mitchell (detail)

Florentine Fancy, designed by Carolyn Mitchell (detail)

It didn’t turn out exactly as I had envisioned. I had planned to do the background around the centre flower in the same shade as the background as the outer border. Unfortunately, my dye lot disaster meant I had to look for another solution. With the help of some ladies at one of my monthly stitch nights, I decided to go with a very pale grey. And, I think it looks pretty nice. Overall, I’m really happy with how this design turned out.

I’m going to take a break from EAC correspondence classes for the time being because I just have too many projects that need to get done! But I do plan on signing up for Shockwave by Lorene Salt sometime in the near-ish future. I can’t wait!

17 Comments | Posted in Bargello, Canvaswork | Tagged , , , , ,

May Kitty Cats

I mentioned a little over a week ago that I’ve fallen pretty far behind on the Snowflower Diaries Joyful World SAL. Well, I’m one step closer to being caught up!

Joyful World SAL - May, designed by Maja of The Snowflower Diaries

Joyful World SAL – May, designed by Maja of The Snowflower Diaries

This is May, which features two lovely kitties, some strawberries, and some bright spring flowers. Some of my favourite things, which is perfect for my birth month. 😉

I’ve gotten started on June, which is the month I’ve been dreading. Unfortunately, there are two splotches on my fabric where the dye broke, and they are smack in the middle of the area for June. Thankfully, though, I’ve mostly been able to cover them up by moving around a motif and adding a lone stitch.

Covering up dye splotches

Covering up dye splotches

What do you think? The diamond shape that has the yellow splotch in it will be filled in. And, I think the pink splotch will be mostly unnoticeable from a distance.

If you are interested in joining in for the Joyful World SAL, you can find all the details on Maja’s blog The Snowflower Diaries.

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

Book Review – Crochet One-Skein Wonders for Babies

It seems to be baby season around here again. Two friends of mine, who just happen to be sisters, are both due to have their second child; one in June and the other in September. (In a weird bit of coincidence, their first children are only a month apart.) So, what is a crafty lady like me to do except make baby things!

Crochet One-Skein Wonders for Babies is the latest addition in the excellent One Skein Wonders series. (This is a sister series to the equally good One Yard Wonders series.) Edited by Edie Eckman and Judith Durant, this book contains over 101 crochet patterns for babies, toddlers, and children.

CrochetOneSkeinWondersforBabies

The book features 8 sections:

  • Little Hats and Caps
  • Little Socks and Booties
  • Little Tops and Dresses
  • Little Bottoms
  • Little Bibs and Washcloths
  • Little Toys
  • Little Blankets and Sacks
  • Little Bags and Accessories

Amazingly, each pattern uses only one skein of yarn. How do you get a blanket out of one skein of yarn you may be wondering. Well, there can be a heck of a lot of yardage on a skein of sock yarn! The patterns absolutely take advantage of all the different weights and yardages available, and the resulting patterns are inventive and very cute. The yarns suggested range from an inexpensive worsted-weight kitchen cotton for a cute military-style cap to a luxury lace-weight wool yarn for an heirloom baby blanket.

Morgan Beanie, designed by Ashley Leither; from Crochet One-Skein Wonders for Babies

Morgan Beanie, designed by Ashley Leither; from Crochet One-Skein Wonders for Babies

I decided to make the Morgan Beanie, the first pattern featured in the book, and a great match for the new BB&Me yarn I recently received. The pattern is by Ashley Leither, and the instructions are both written and charted, as is the case with the majority of patterns in the book. Each pattern begins with information on the yarn used in the sample, sizes and measurements, hooks and other equipment needed, and the pattern gauge. All patterns are also illustrated by clear (and super cute!) photos.

Overall, I think this is a great book. The huge range of patterns, suitable for babies of both sexes, ensure that you will find just the right thing to make for the babies in your life. Clear instructions, and an appendix with stitch explanations, give you all you need to successfully execute the patterns.

Crochet One-Skein Wonders for Babies is now available from Amazon and other book stores.

I received an uncorrected ARC of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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

The Horror of Dye Lots

Yesterday I share with you my progress on Florentine Fancy, a bargello piece designed by Carolyn Mitchell for the EAC. As I mentioned, I’ve gone through a lot more thread than what I thought I would need. Thankfully, it has only been DMC perle cotton that I’ve run out of. Many, many skeins of perle cotton. But, with them there is very little worry about dye lots not matching.

This is not the case with some threads.

The Same Colour?!

The Same Colour?!

These are two different dye lots of Caron Watercolours in shade Cotton Candy. The small skein is what I’ve been using to do the “neutral” coloured background on Florentine Fancy. I’ve nearly run out of it, but I would like to use it to cover the background in the centre as well. The larger skein just arrived in the mail for that purpose, and it doesn’t even look remotely like the same colour. It is mainly salmon pink, while the original skein is more of a light pinkish-white with some blue and green mixed in.

Different Dye Lots

Different Dye Lots

I know there are changes between dye lots, but this is much more than I ever expected. These are two totally different colours. I’m going to have to find a plan B, because this new skein won’t work at all. :/

Have you every experienced such a huge difference in dye lots? I’d love to hear about it, and see some pictures if possible. Comment below and link to your blog post about it, or tag me on Twitter (@silverlotus152) or Instagram (@stitchinglotus).

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

WIP Wednesday – More Fancy

It has been ages since I shared my progress on Florentine Fancy, a correspondence class that I am taking through the Embroiderer’s Association of Canada (EAC). I need to have the piece finished up by the end of this month, and I think I am on track to do that… I hope.

Florentine Fancy, designed by Carolyn Mitchell (WIP)

Florentine Fancy, designed by Carolyn Mitchell (WIP)

The piece was designed by Carolyn Mitchell, who also mentors the students taking the class. She doesn’t offer any colour suggestions beyond the cover picture, but she does provide some suggestions for fibres. I’m using several pink and grey shades of DMC perle cotton, some Rainbow Gallery fibres (Flare, Splendour, and Frosty Rays), and a couple of shades of Caron Watercolours.

Florentine Fancy, designed by Carolyn Mitchell (close-up of corner motif)

Florentine Fancy, designed by Carolyn Mitchell (close-up of corner motif)

I think it is turning out really nice, but I will be happy to have it finished! It is a really big piece (around 14″ or 37.5 cm square), and I have gone through more thread than I expected. But it feels like a really wonderful accomplishment.

7 Comments | Posted in Bargello, Canvaswork | Tagged , , , ,

Joyful April

Contrary to my best intentions, I’ve fallen pretty far behind with the Joyful World Stitch Along. Because the patterns are released around the 10th of the month before, my original plan was to have each month completed before that month actually started. Well, I put the final stitches in April today…

Joyful World SAL - April, designed by

Joyful World SAL – April, designed by Maja of The Snowflower Diaries

In my defence, April has been nearly finished for several weeks. I just needed to find a shade of green to finish off the grass. I’m stitching the charts with DMC floss, following the charted colours as much as possible. But, I was short two colours for April and needed to get up the courage to make decisions about what to substitute. I’d say that I’m happy with my choices.

Joyful World SAL - May, designed by Maja of The Snowflower Diaries (WIP)

Joyful World SAL – May, designed by Maja of The Snowflower Diaries (WIP)

May is coming along nicely. The border, month name (in French again), ground,  and most of the two cats are all stitched. I can guarantee I won’t have it done by the end of the day today, though, and I haven’t even made a start on June! 😉

Hopefully I will be back on track soon. This is such a cute series of patterns, and I am really enjoying the surprise of discovering which new animal is featured every month.

8 Comments | Posted in Cross Stitch | Tagged , ,