WIP Wednesday – Capital

Hello, Stitchy Friends! It has been ages (okay, like a month) since I’ve posted anything for Work-in-Progress (WIP) Wednesday . Truthfully, I’ve been spending a lot of my time crocheting lately because I am working on a couple of great (but really big) projects. Of course, I have been making time to pick up my stitching needle once in a while.

O Canada! Sampler, designed by Thea Dueck of Victoria Sampler (WIP)

With Canada’s 150th birthday just around the corner I’ve been giving O Canada! Sampler a bit of attention. I completed some of the pulled work between the alphabet bands this week. I need to do a little bit more below the UVW and XYZ but I don’t like the charted stitch. Hopefully I can come up with some sort of substitute.

O Canada! Sampler, designed by Victoria Sampler (WIP) – close-up of pulled work and alphabet band

My goal for this coming week is to chart out the “150” to add to the alphabet band, find a new pulled work stitch, and finish up the smyrna cross row I’m working on right now. And then it is back to my crochet projects! 😉

Don’t forget: the next Smalls SAL check-in takes place this Friday! I can’t wait to see your finishes!

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Mandalas With Mikey

If you are a crocheter who frequents Facebook or YouTube, then you probably have heard of The Crochet Crowd. Started several years ago by Michael Sellick (who was later joined by his partner Dan Zondervan) as a little website that provided crochet tutorials, the Crowd has now grown two include two more team members, a very busy Facebook page, hundreds of YouTube videos, a partnership with Yarnspirations (and more), and a series of very popular crochet cruises.

Mikey and Dan are actually based in Southern Ontario, not too far from me, and have taken part in the Creativ Festival in Toronto many times. Somehow, though, I never got around to taking a class with them. I managed to remedy that just this past weekend when they taught a mandala crochet class at the Markham Guild of Craft.

Ceiling Tile Mandala (WIP)

We spent several hours discussing a brand new pattern Mikey had just finished creating, a pretty squared-circle mandala-inspired afghan square. (Yes, it will eventually be released, for free, once it goes through a little more testing and tweaking.) Dan shared some thoughts on mandalas and colour choices, and Mikey spoke a lot about crochet diagrams and why they are so handy to learn. (I’m a convert now, for sure!)

Bernat Mosaic Yarn in colourway Pink Poodle

Mikey and Dan brought a whole pile of yarn with them, and we picked three balls to work with. Since I am boring, I decided to get three of the same colour–Bernat Mosaic in colourway Pink Poodle. (I love Bernat Mosaic, and I was super disappointed when it was discontinued.)

Ceiling Tile Mandala (WIP)

The pattern itself is not too hard, just a bit fiddly.  There are front- and back-post crochet stitches, bobbles, and more. Once the circle is completed, it is squared off using a mixture of single, half, and double crochet stitches. The resulting square is very pretty and full of texture. Some of the ladies changed their colours nearly every round, and they we stunning. My square is a little more plain, but still attractive.

Mikey and Dan are a great team. The class was loads of fun, and they really know their stuff. Both were patient and happy to help anyone who was having trouble. They definitely deserve their popularity and good reputation, and if you love crochet, I recommend taking a class with them if you can. Even better, go on one of their cruises.

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Soft and Squishy Knitting

While not an adventurous person in my regular life, I do love trying out new needlework stitches and crochet and knitting techniques. (Check out the combo crochet and cross stitch project I’m working on right now.) When a friend of mine mentioned that she was taking a Craftsy class on something called brioche knitting, I decided I needed to give it a try too.

Jacki Scarf, designed by Nancy Marchant (WIP)

I’m about a 1/3 of the way through the first project for the class, the one-colour brioche stitch Jacki Scarf (Ravelry link). I’m using Stylecraft Special Aran in colourway 1019 Cloud Blue (a very soft acrylic yarn).

Brioche stitch – close up of right side with increases and decreases

Brioche knitting doesn’t look too special in pictures, but in person you can see and feel that it is soft and squishy and absolutely lovely. The stitch is done, essentially, by making a yo around a slipped stitched and then knitting a stitch together with its yo that was itself slipped on the previous row (so it takes two rows to actually knit a full row). I’ve embedded a little video from Very Pink Knits below so you can see how it is done.

Although I haven’t tried it yet, I do know that the brioche stitch really shines when it is done with two colours. One colour floats to the top as knit stitches and the other recedes as purl stitches, and the colours switch roles on the other side. The effect is stunning.

Italian Cast On

Along with learning this new stitch, I also learned a new cast on: the Italian Cast On. It makes a rounded edge that flows into ribbing perfectly. It is also stretchy, making it great for mittens and socks. I can’t wait to try it in some other projects. (Check out this article from New Stitch a Day to learn how to do this cast on yourself.)

What new stitches (needlework, crochet, or knitting) have you learned lately? Have you tried any Craftsy or other online classes? What did you think of them? What did they teach you? I’d love to know! Please be sure to leave a comment below.

 

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Smalls SAL – March 2017 Check-In

Hello, Smalls Stitchers! It is time for the March check-in. Are you excited? I sure am!

Easter is just around the corner. And, although we had snow last night and cold, cold rain this morning, spring is actually here. So, of course I wanted to stitch something that is bright, cheerful, and brings to mind the season.

Hip Hop, designed by Lizzie*Kate

The design is Hip Hop, a limited edition kit from Lizzie*Kate. The kit included the fabric (both the cotton and the linen) and the ribbon. I stitched it using the DMC conversion rather than using over-dyed thread, and I left out the words “hippity hoppity”.

I am very happy with how it turned out. Although it is hard to tell from my terrible picture (which I blame on my procrastination and the very overcast day), I finished it into a very cute little pillow. And, without even trying, I manged to line up the stripes on the front and back fabric perfectly! Yay!

So, what did you stitch this month? I honestly can’t wait to see. Please add your link to the list you will find at the bottom of this post. Please remember to use the permalink for your blog post and to use an image of your finish as your thumbnail. Also, please either use your blog’s name or your own name in the Name field on the form, whichever your perfer. If you run into any problems at all please feel free to email me.

The link list will stay open to new entries until about midnight Eastern time on April 8th. So, you’ve still got lots of time to get your small finished up. Remember: you get one entry into the end of the year draw for every month that you share a link to your finished small.

Next Month: The next check-in will take place on Friday, April 28th.

Thanks again, Stitchy Friends, for taking part in the Smalls SAL! If you have a little bit of time, please consider visiting some of the other participants and leave some comments.



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Cross Stitch and Crochet: Very Hyggeligt

I’m sure you’ve heard about the new trend sweeping the world. People everywhere have discovered the Danish idea of hygge–the cozy, homey way of living. Hygge brings to mind tidy spaces full of soft textures and wood, burning candles, good friends, and favourite hobbies. Around here we’ve been trying to live very hyggelit for years without knowing there was a term for it.

Hygge has become so popular that it is even seeping into the crafting world. Scheepjes, the Danish yarn company, is running a crochet-along (CAL) called Hygge. And you are going to love it! It combines crochet and cross stitch into a beautiful shawl.

Hygge CAL swatch

I’m a bit behind with the CAL. So far I’ve finished the swatch (above) and the first six or so rows of the shawl. Essentially, a base of single crochet (or double crochet for those who use UK crochet terms) is made and then cross stitch is done on this fabric. The base yarn is Scheepjes Stone Washed (an acrylic/cotton blend) and the cross stitch is done with Scheepjes Catona (a cotton).

Hygge Rainbow Kit

You can find out all the details and get the free pattern from the Scheepjes site right here. Even if you aren’t interested in making a Hygge shawl for yourself, be sure to check out the teaser pictures of the project. Right now I’m working on the rainbow kit, and eventually I will also make one using the Girls Night In kit.

So, tell me, have you ever combined cross stitch and crochet? Have you ever combined any two of your hobbies like this? I’d love to hear all about it! Please leave a comment below.

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WIP Wednesday – What I’ve Been Stitching

Hello, Stitchy Friends. It is time for another Work-In-Progress Wednesday. I may not have been posting much lately but I have been doing my best to keep up with my stitching.

Joyful World SAL, designed by Maja Matyas of Snowflower Diaries (WIP)

 

I’ve made a bit of progress on the October square for the Joyful World SAL. I adore this piece, but the fabric is so big and hard to work on. Still, it will get done, just a little behind schedule.

Speaking of schedules, I’m doing pretty good with Victoria Sampler’s O Canada! Sampler. I want to be able to finish it up on or before Canada. (July 1st for you non-Canadians.)

O Canada! Sampler by Victoria Sampler (WIP)

There is some pulled work beneath the letters in the upper section, but it is hard to see since it is essentially tone-on-tone. I’ve got a bunch more to do at the bottom, and I also still need to chart out the 150 for the upper section. Thank goodness I still have a few months until my self-imposed deadline.

Canadian Beauty, designed by Joan Elliott (WIP)

Joan Elliott’s Canadian Beauty is also coming along nicely. I was in a rush to finish her head because I was afraid I cut her fabric too small. But, nope, it is just right. Thank goodness! The fabric is a beautiful piece of Meadow from Enchanting Lair.

I’ve been doing a lot more crochet and knitting than stitching lately, though, and tomorrow I’d like to share something special and very interesting with you.

Smalls SAL – Don’t forget, the next check-in for the Smalls SAL takes place on Friday, March 31st. I can’t wait to see what you have stitched. 😉

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Patience

I feel a little like patience is the word of the month around here. So, February’s section of Stitchrova’s Quotes to Live By SAL was the perfect thing to work on.

Quotes to Live By -Part 2, designed by Stitchrovia

It is stitched as per the pattern on white Lugana using DMC threads.

Quotes to Live By, designed by Stitchrovia (WIP)

And here it is as a whole, so far. As you can see, I did go back and redo the border. Everything is working out fine, finally!

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