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.


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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Pumpkin Faces

I’m pretty sure I haven’t carved a pumpkin in about twenty years. But, now that we are in a house and have a lovely little boy, I figured it was time to give it a try. So, a couple of days before Halloween we gave it a try!

Two little pumpkins sitting on a counter.

Two little pumpkins sitting on a counter.

We decided to start big, getting two lovely pumpkins to turn into masterpieces.

Back in the day, we carved pumpkins with kitchen knives. Now, you can buy these cool kits that come with patterns. No more jaggy faces, I guess. The little man picked out two, and I picked out the final one.


Little man carving the little pumpkin.

We craved a face designed by the little man onto the first pumpkin, and used a pumpkin stencil on the larger one.

Two carved pumpkins

Two carved pumpkins

I think they turned out okay, all things considered. Most importantly, we had lots of fun!

Did you carve pumpkins for Halloween? Do you have any tips for us to help next year go a little more smoothly? I’d love to hear from you!

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Two-Coloured Socks

A few weeks ago I whinged about how annoyed I was at myself for not being able to match the dye lot for a pair of socks that I’ve been working on since March. Well, I bit the bullet and finished them up a little while ago.

Diamond Shreddies Socks

Diamond Shreddies Socks

There is very definitely a line where the dye lot changes, but I don’t think it is too awful. If it is, please don’t tell me! I’d prefer to live in ignorance. ;)

Two-colour toes

Two-colour toes

The pattern is Diamond Shreddies by Carrie Van Kessel, and it is available for sale through Ravelry. The yarn is two different dye lots of Berroco Comfort Sock in colourway 1713 Dusk. The pattern is very clearly written, and the resulting sock is just lovely. The cables look very complicated, but are easy to knit if you take your time, and the ribbing that flows down the sock makes for a great fit.

I’ve got two other pairs of socks on the needles right now, plus a super cute pair of tiny socks that are part of a class from the Creativ Festival. Hopefully I will have more socky finishes to share shortly.

2015 SAL – I’ll be announcing the plans for the 2015 SAL by Friday. Stay tuned!

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Smalls SAL – October Check-In

The final Wednesday of October has arrived, and that means it is time for the Smalls SAL check-in. Currious about what the Smalls SAL is? Check out all the details here. There is still time to join in, and for every month that you complete a small and leave you link on the check-in post you get an entry into the end of the year draw. What’s the prize? It’s a surprise!

SmallsSAL2014I’ve had a busy month, as evidenced by my lack of posts and, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to completely finish my chosen design. I was doing pretty good at the beginning of the month, before things got hectic, but I didn’t have two colours that I needed and, so, I wasn’t able to finish.

Dragon Rampant, designed by Teresa Wentzler (WIP)

Dragon Rampant, designed by Teresa Wentzler (WIP)

This month’s design is a nearly-finishes Dragon Rampant from Teresa Wentzler. It is available as a freebie on her website. I stitched it as per the design, but left off the side borders. I intend to personalize it for my son’s room when I get the chance and find an alphabet that I like.

So, what did you stitch this month? Please leave a link to your blog post in the form below. And, if you have the time, leave a comment here too and visit a few other participants. We all  love to have visitors!

November Check-in: The penultimate check-in for the 2014 SAL will be on November 26th.

What about 2015? I’m still finalizing plans for the 2015 SAL. I’ve been running a poll for the past several weeks, and the results are pretty clear. However, the poll will remain open until October 31st. If you have voted for your preference yet, please do so. I will announce the results and the plans for 2015 in early November.

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I did it again, ladies. I disappeared for far too long. I’m back though! It has been a busy two weeks, with Thanksgiving, family things, the Creativ Festival and more. Over the next little while I’ll be share what I did at the Creativ Festival. But, for now, here are a few pictures I took.


I had a great time even though Jennifer Aikman-Smith of Dragon Dreams was not there this year. I hope she comes back in 2015, beacuse the festival wasn’t the same without her.


In other news, Wednesday is the next check-in for the Smalls SAL. My piece is almost done. I was short a floss colour or two, but my floss boxes have finally made their way to the new house and I should be able to find what I need.

And, lastly, don’t forget to vote in the poll for next year’s SAL. 2014 is quickly coming to an end and it is time to plan your stitching for next year! I see the way the poll is going, and I think I know what I will work on next year. I’ll reveal all the details in earlier November. Be sure to vote before Halloween!

What would you like to do for a SAL in 2015?

  • Let's keep stitching smalls! I have so many more to do. (52%, 27 Votes)
  • Let's do a finishing SAL. I've got lots of things that need to be finish finished. (29%, 15 Votes)
  • Let's go back to ornaments. Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and more! (15%, 8 Votes)
  • I think I'll just sit next year out, thanks. (4%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 52

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends! (And happy Monday to the rest of you!)


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