Stitch from Stash 2015 – April Check-In

It’s that time again!

Stitch from Stash 2015A

Month: April
Spent: $30.29
Earned: Not tracking

This month I spent $30.29, which is above the monthly limit, but I believe I am okay because I had $57.77 unspent from January-March. All told, I am doing well. I’ve spent $47.52 on cross stitch supplies so far this year, which includes this month’s purchases of floss (the the baby sampler) and a couple of kits from AliExpress (more reviews?).

I am up to approximately $144 on all craft supplies for the year, plus around $50 spent on Perler beads for the little man. He has become somewhat obsessed with them, and has actually made some pretty cool creations (most influenced by Minecraft…).

CreativFestival_2014LogoWhich brings us to tomorrow… I’ll be heading over to the spring Creativ Festival and I know I will be spending a fair little bit of money. I vendor that I really like, Quilt-a-Bag, will be there and I will likely pick up a couple of kits. I’ve also got a small list of chainmaille supplies I would like and I plan to look at the yarn too. (Would you believe that I haven’t bought any yarn this year?!)

For those of you taking part in Stitch from Stash, I hope your year is going well too!

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Babies Don’t Keep

You might remember that a little while ago I mentioned that I planned to start working on a baby sampler. A couple of weeks ago I got out some of my fabric and tried to pick a nice piece.

Picking Fabrics

Picking Fabrics

I wanted something muted but not white. I like hand-dyed fabric a lot, although I am very aware that not every design looks good on hand-dyed fabric. I always try to keep in mind that the design is the focus, not the crazily-dyed fabric. With that in mind, I tried a whole bunch of options. In the end, I settled on Meadow from Enchanting Lair. This particular piece is mostly a light blue with some light purple and pink variations throughout. It is very subtle, but still quite attractive.

Vintage Baby Sampler (WIP)

Vintage Baby Sampler (WIP)

The design itself is Vintage Baby Sampler from issue 225 of World of Cross Stitching magazine. I’m stitching it as charted using DMC floss. I had thought about changing the colours a bit to make it look a little more girly, but I ultimately decided that I liked the unisex look of the design.

It is working up very quickly, so I shouldn’t have any trouble getting it done in time for the baby’s first birthday. (Yes, I’m serious. I showered the baby with gifts when it arrived, so I’m not behind. 😉 ) I think I may add some beads though, just to make the design a little more fancy. I did a bunch of ribbon embroidery on her brother’s sampler (below), so it is only fair that she gets some beads.

Guardian Angel Birth Record - completed 2006

Guardian Angel Birth Record – completed 2006

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Little Pink Flowers

Round 3 of Sock Madness has ended and round 4 is in full swing. I did manage to finish the round 3 socks and make it into the next round.

Longing for Spring socks

Longing for Spring socks

The pattern is Longing for Spring, designed by Caoua Coffee, and the yarn is Panda Cotton in colourway 2301 Rosewater. They are knit toe-up, and use a pretty standard heel turn and flap.

Although the pattern wasn’t particularly difficult, I made several very silly mistakes that really slowed me down. The biggest was not checking my row gauge (and I should know better since I knit very tightly) and ending up with a sock foot that was much too short. I had started the gusset increases where the designer suggested when I should  have added more length to compensate for the fact that I was getting more rows per inch. That mistake set me back several hours, and also sent the sock into the naughty corner for an evening.

So, as for round 4, well…

Broken Needle

Broken Needle

Unfortunately, I broke one of my needles on the second round of the first sock. And, that’s it for me. I don’t have any more needles that size and if I used smaller needles they would only break too. The sock uses a tricky stitch that is hard to do with wooden needles because you really need to dig your needle in to grab and manipulate all the stitches. Sadly, I don’t have any metal needles because they hurt my hands. Oh well.

Nonetheless, I still had fun with this year’s Sock Madness. And I feel better good since I made it through rounds 2 and 3 with lots of time to spare, and based on how the stats strand right now, I think I would have made it through round 4. Of course, there is always next year!

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Happy Hedgehog

The happy little hedgehog I was working on is all done. Isn’t amazing how much difference backstitching makes?

Happy Hedgehog

Happy Hedgehog

It amazes me every time! (Simple minds, right?) The design is the cover kit from issue 225 of World of Cross Stitching magazine. He was fun to stitch up, and looks super cute in his little card home.

And speaking of small designs, don’t forget that the next Smalls SAL check-in day is April 29th. I hope your small stitching is going well.

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Chinese Kit Review

You may have heard of AliExpress. It is a little like Amazon and a little like Ebay. Essentially, it allows you to order items directly from Chinese manufactures at really low prices. You can find just about anything on AliExpress, including cross stitch kits.* So, several months ago (during my “free” month from Stitch from Stash), I decided to buy a couple of kits to see what they were like.

Peacock Cross Stitch Kit

Peacock Cross Stitch Kit

I picked up this Peacock cross stitch kit for only US$14.99. It is pre-printed on quite thick 11 count fabric and is a whopping 77×99 cm (33″x39″).

aliexpress5

Canvas and booklet.

The fabric is huge and very well made. It doesn’t feel either too floppy or too stiff. The printing lines up almost perfectly with the holes, and it will disappear once the finished piece is washed.

Close-up of stitching and printing.

As you can see, the floss gives good coverage, and the printing is very cleanly done. The holes themselves are smooth and the floss pulls through cleanly without any undue wear.

aliexpress4

Booklet and some floss bundles.

The booklet runs to several pages, is printed on glossy paper, and is very detailed. And get a load of those floss bundles.

Floss!!

Speaking of floss: look at what the kit comes with! It is all pre-sorted and ready to go. The large bundles are for the colours that are used the most. There is one stand of each of those colours on the floss holder so that you know which colour is which. Everything is pre-cut to generous lengths and labelled with DMC numbers as well as the numbers that correspond to the chart and fabric. I’m not sure if the floss actually is DMC, but it stitches very smoothly and feels a lot like DMC to me. Also, I checked with my colour card, and the colours seem true.

Colour key on fabric

Colour key on fabric.

Colour key on back of booklet.

The colour key is printed on both the fabric (with the colours used in printing on the fabric) and the booklet (with the symbols used in the booklet). Both keys include the number where you can find the floss on the holders. All in all, it is a very well put together kit, and an absolute steal for just US$14.99.

Perhaps the only issue comes from the instructions being in Chinese. Thankfully, I have in-laws that can translate for me. 😉 The important parts say to use three strands for the cross stitches and 1 strand for back stitching. Other than that, what else do I need to know?

* There is a huge problem with copyright violations on AliExpress, as there is with many Chinese sites. I did not order any kits that were clearly in violation of copyright. But, it is also worth stating that U.S. and Canadian copyrights do not always extend to China, or many other countries for that matter. If you choose to order from AliExpress, be aware of issues surrounding copyrights and only purchase items you feel comfortable buying.

4 Comments | Posted in Cross Stitch | Tagged ,

Playing with Pastels

The little man has never been particularly interested in art. He has been a builder and a reader. But, recently, he has become interested in drawing. So, I read two books from the DIY Bundle, Chalk Pastels Through the Seasons and Getting Started In Chalk Pastels, both by Lucia Hames and Tricia Hodges, and also checked out some free video tutorials available on the Southern Hodge Podge website and decided to give chalk pastels a try.

The little man and his art set.

 

We have a very inexpensive set of chalk pastels that I purchased online, and some nice-ish drawing paper I picked up at Michaels. Since we have a lovely, real wood live-edge table, I thought it was best to cover it with something. A cheap shower curtain from the dollar store did the trick. (Would you believe that I couldn’t find any table cloths?!)

Our beautiful artwork.

 

I think we made some pretty nice art given that neither the little man nor I are experienced with chalk pastels. He drew the top two pieces (mixed media with the addition of markers, water colours, and oil pastels), and I did the bottom two. I’m sure I’ve said many times that I’m no artist, but I had a whole lot of fun drawing with my little guy this afternoon. I wonder if I can convince him to try stitching next?

The proud artist with his work.

 

6 Comments | Posted in Crafts | Tagged

Happy Easter

I hope everyone is having a lovely Easter, full of chocolate, good food, and nice spring weather.

Full-Color Holiday Vignettes - 11

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