Christmas Ornament Exchange

Christmas is just around the corner. No, really! Check your calendar. To help me get in the Christmas mood, I signed up to take part in Angela of Hooked on Stitches‘ Christmas Ornament Exchange. I’ll admit I’m a bit behind schedule and haven’t sent my ornament out yet (I still have time!), but I have received my ornament.

Tree Reindeer Ornament, designed by Its Daffy Cat, stitched by Lynda Ruth

Tree Reindeer Ornament, designed by It’s Daffy Cat, stitched by Lynda Ruth

My spoiler was Lynda Ruth of Purple Pixie Dust, and she sent me a lovely ornament featuring It’s Daffy Cat’s Tree Reindeer. She used lovely Christmas fabric on the back and fussy cut it so the picture was nicely centre.  All in all, it is a wonderful ornament and I can’t wait to hand it up.  Thanks, Lynda Ruth!

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Little Pouch

Now that I’ve got my craft room more or less organized, I’ve been working on a couple of small projects.

Mini Cosmetic Bag, designed by Quilt-a-Bag

Mini Cosmetic Bag, designed by Quilt-a-Bag

This is a mini pouch from Quilt-a-Bag, and the kit was a birthday gift from my friend Erica. You may remember that I made a larger version of this pouch a while back, and I love it. It is perfect for storing my needlework supplies, like my scissors, needle book, laying tool, and even a small tube of hand cream.

Mini Cosmetic Bag interior

Mini Cosmetic Bag interior

This smaller bag is great for storing cables and charges. I used it when I went to the Creativ Festival to corral my phone and Kobo cables and other miscellaneous pieces.

I think I need to get my hands on some more purse frames and make up a few more of these, in both sizes, since they are super useful and very cute!

 

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A Good Day

This has been a big year for limited edition kits. Lizzie*Kate, Just Nan, and several others have released a whole pile of them through out the year. And, I’ll admit, I’ve fallen for this false sense of scarcity and snapped up some of these kits.

Today is a Good Day, designed by Sweetheart Tree

Today is a Good Day, designed by Sweetheart Tree

This is Today is a Good Day from Sweetheart Tree. The kit includes everything you need, including fabric, floss, and beads. If you decide to pick it up (and a few shops still have it), be aware that some kits come with the bow charm that is pictured on the cover and some come with a heart, like mine did.

The finished design is pretty small, but very sweet. I’m not sure how to finish it. I’d like it to be somewhere that I can see it often, since it is a nice reminder. So, I may hunt down a frame, or maybe I will finish it on a tin.

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Yellow Dragon

My floss boxes made it home; my craft room is unpacked; and Dragon Rampant is finished!

Dragon Rampant, designed by Teresa Wentzler (WIP)

Dragon Rampant, designed by Teresa Wentzler (WIP)

Okay, he isn’t 100% finished. I decided to leave off the side borders and, originally, I was going to turn it into a sign for my son’s bedroom door. However, this is what his bedroom door looks like right now:

Little Man's door

Little Man’s door

He likes his good luck charm (upside-down because it is sort of pun that way, in that the luck is entering, or at least that is what my husband tells me) and his stuffed Ox that his grandfather brought him from Hong Kong. (The fact that the little man was actually born in the year of the pig, just barely, doesn’t matter.)

The Beijing Palace-City Scroll (北京宫城图), now held in the National Museum of China, Beijing. Painted in the mid-Ming Dynasty (c. 15th century), depicting figures including the chief architects of the Forbidden City. (From Wikimedia Commons)

The Beijing Palace-City Scroll (北京宫城图), now held in the National Museum of China, Beijing. Painted in the mid-Ming Dynasty (c. 15th century), depicting figures including the chief architects of the Forbidden City. (From Wikimedia Commons)

So, that has left me to come up with another plan for my pretty yellow dragon. I have a craft room now… and it has a door… a door without anything on it. Ah!! Now the yellow dragon will become a sign for my room! And I know just what to put on it. Earlier this year I attended a series of lectures at the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) dealing with the Forbidden City exhibit. In one lecture several of the room names were given, and I just loved them. I mean, who wouldn’t love a room called The Hall of Mental Cultivation or Palace of Earthly Tranquility? I had picked out the perfect name, but unfortunately I’ve lost the note that I wrote it down on. Ugh. So, Dragon Rampant will hibernate until I manage to dig up that piece of paper.

Then again, maybe I could just call the room my Library Annex. ;)

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Lest We Forget

poppy

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

For the Fallen by Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943), published in The Times newspaper on 21st September 1914

1 Comment | Posted in The Outside World |

Plans for 2015

We are nearly through the first week of November and the end of the year is creeping closer. We still need to make it through Christmas and all that surrounds it (and my American friends still have Thanksgiving to survive too), but there is no denying that 2015 will be here before you know it. And, as we all know, I love to plan. Which means it is now time to discuss our 2015 SAL.

I ran a poll throughout the month of October asking what you all were interested in stitching for next year’s SAL. Here is how the votes broke down:

2015pollresultsSo, by a small margin, Smalls win for next year. That is good news for the ornaments voters too, since ornaments absolutely count as smalls! As for those of you interested in a finishing SAL, I propose posting a finishing tutorial every other month (hey, I know my limitations), and possibly doing some sort of round-up or check-in post on the alternate months for finished pieces. What do you all think? I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments below or to email me.

So, what will the rules be for the 2015 Smalls SAL? Super simple: stitch a small in a month (approx. 50 x 50 stitches, but you decide what is small to you), post a picture on your blog, and then come here and post your link on my check-in post. Just like this year, there will be a draw at the end of the year, and every check-in gets you one entry. I’ll also be sticking to the final Wednesday of the month as the check-in day.

I will be posting the official rules, sign-up form, email reminder form, sidebar graphic, and all that other fun stuff in about two weeks. By then I hope to be able to share what I plan to stitch next year. You may remember that 2012 was dedicated to one ornament from each of the then published Just Cross Stitch ornament issues, 2013 was the year of Dragon Dream ornaments, and 2014 has been the year of Teresa Wentzler smalls. I won’t deviate too far from my past themes for next year, and maybe I’ll offer a couple of bonus points to anyone who can guess what I plan to stitch. ;)

Anyway, I’d love to hear from all of you about how you feel about the plans for 2015. I hope you all join in, for all 12 months, or for just one or two. All of us stitching together is lots of fun, and sharing our smalls provides encouragement and motivation. And, goodness knows, I can use all the encouragement and motivation I can get!

 

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2014 Fall Creativ Festival – Part 1

Last month I spent five great days at the Creativ Festival in downtown Toronto. I took several classes, ranging from sewing a huge craft bag. to knitting socks two-at-a-time, to ribbon embroidery.

Continental Knitting

Continental Knitting

Perhaps the hardest class I took as Introduction to Continental Knitting. It was absolutely like learning to knit for the first time, but worse because you are fighting your muscle memory the whole time. I’m pretty pleased, though, with the result. This swatch looks no worse than the knitting I did back when I was learning in 2008. And, while I don’t think I will become a Continental knitter, I hope to become proficient enough to do two-handed colourwork.

Two mini socks

Two mini socks

I also took 2-At-a-Time Top Down Socks. Now, I’ve knit 2-at-a-time socks before, and I didn’t really enjoy the process very much. But, I was hoping by taking this class I might  learn something new that would make this a technique to turn to more often. Unfortunately, I discovered that I really, really don’t like this technique. I guess I’m more about the process than the finished product.

I did, however, learn a cool new heel technique.

twosocks2

Shadow wrap short row heel

It is called the Shadow Wrap Short Row heel, and it is a method of working short rows that doesn’t involve any wrapping. Essentially, you twin up stitches by making a stitch while you work the decrease section of the heel, and then you triple the stitches and then work them together again when in the increase section of the heel. Cheryl Toy of Little Church Knits (who taught the class) explains is so much better than I do.

Now, this is a technique that I will definitely be using again! It produces such a smooth and attractive heel, and it works up quickly too. I can’t wait to give it a try on a full-sized pair of socks.

Next Up: Canvaswork at the Creativ Festival

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