Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cute crochet rocks!

I can't believe how cute these are!

Best friends

I bought the pattern as I thought they could be something cute to give Iona for her birthday, but after wandering round town unable to find a birthday gift for a friend I've made them for her birthday too!

Hey - just how long are you gonna keep me hanging around here? Just enjoying the sunshine

The pattern is from stripeyblue on etsy. I still have to make Iona's and now Alexander has decided that he wants one too - I had thought he might prefer a Yoda or some other Jedi, but no, a cute blue bunny it is!

Hanging out together

I'm also having a go at the 2009 12in Block-a-month CAL on Ravelry, and having finally remembered to take the patterns home, I whipped up my Mandala square for January.

January - Mandala

Now the challenge is to try and complete more of the CAL squares before the end of 2009!

I'm just noticing now how much the internet is changing and inspiring my crochet. This happened with my stitching about 3 years ago and now the crochet is catching up. I've known how to crochet since I was a child, but never did much beyond granny squares, and rarely did enything that used a specific pattern. Oddly, I find it easier to make it up off the top of my head with crochet than with stitching. But at the moment the internet is really broadening my crochet horizons!

And the clocks have changed, so I can even take photos during the week now! LOL

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Inspired by Felt!

Felt inspiration

I've been really inspired by felt this week - just look at the above which I found on Flickr! I'd particularly like to show you Kerrin Quall's felt art - it is simply gorgeous!

'Strawberry Sundae' wall art

Sending Kisses closeup

Originally uploaded by Kerrin Quall, a little bit of just because

Aren't they beautiful? When I (eventually) find the time, I'll definately have a go at playing around with felt shapes and sequins.

In the mean time, I'm planning on playing around with felt and sequins anyway! My other sister (not the one who got married last year) is getting married this year and I've offered to make a ring pillow for her too. I was planning on making something from this book but just haven't been feeling particularly enthused at the thought. Then I saw all that felt lovliness and realised I could probably do something quicker and just as nice in felt. Only problem is, guess where the felt is?

And a certain someone has a birthday next month (already!) so I'm planning something girly and felty there too.

And today, I'm actually allowed to show you something I've made recently as Jenna has received her biscornu in the Tiny Treasures Exchange!

Spring flowers

The biscornu is stitched on 28ct yellow checked Graziano linen using a design from the French magazine Mains et Merveilles. I stuck with the charted colour scheme, but changed the flowers to use varigated DMC floss rather than solid colours.

Very cleverly, I managed to completely forget to photograph everything I sent to Jenna, so if you head over to her blog, you can see everything there.

You'll notice that earlier this week I set up Disqus for commenting on my blog after seeing it set up on Chrissie's blog. I really like the way it has the potential to change a casual comment into a conversation and makes it so much easier to respond to comments and keep in touch with commenters!

Off to the shop now to see if I can get hold of a certain magazine!

Edited @ 1.30pm - got it! See page 14 of 'The World of Cross Stitching', issue 150 - it's my Tutti Frutti biscornu!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Life without stash

Well, hopefully this week will return a bit more to normal! Last week just seemed to descend into chaos and I feel as if I'm still recovering from the 3 hours I spent last Wednesday night comforting Alexander while he threw up! Fortunately, he's recovered now and went back to school today.

Consequently, my head feels as if it's stuffed with cotton wool today and I'd like nothing better to do than to stick my head in the sand and wait for today to go away!

I don't have any stitchy pictures to share at the moment - I've stitched and crocheted quite a lot over the last couple of weeks, but everything I've made is being sent to someone else from my biscornu in the Tiny Treasures Exchange (which I managed to send off to my partner without photographing ), to gifts and birthday presents for various friends.

However, I though I'd share with you a couple of photos of my bedroom to illustrate the title of this post.

It really was my bedroom up until 2 or 3 weeks ago! There's still a bed in there somewhere! The room has now been filled with the contents of our loft (at least 15 years of it) as we're having new loft insulation laid today, courtesy of the local council - and who'd say no to that? I'm now sharing bunk beds with Alexander - me on top, him below. (DH won't allow Alexander to sleep on the top, convinced he'll roll out in the middle of the night.) I find to top bunk a bit claustrophobic - the ceiling is too near and the side of the bed sticks up to stop me rolling out in the middle of the night!

As to the title of this post - guess where I keep my stash?

Fortunately, all my floss is stored elsewhere and I managed to rescue my box of beads before it became completely inaccessible. And I have one or two things out that I was planning to work on. But, other than that I won't see my stash again until the room is cleared and goodness knows when that will be!

Finally, as requested, here are the rest of the snowflakes from my biscornu.



I also stitched a variation on this one (above), using Rhodes stitches instead of the eyelets. I think the eyelet version came out better - I certainly liked it better, and, typically, I don't seem to have a photo of the Rhodes stitch version.


So, if you take the four snowflakes described here, the four snowflakes in this post and the four of Janet Perry's December twinchy snowflakes, that makes 12. The other ones I stitched were based on images I found on Flickr, but I don't like them enough to chart them and post them here. So, if your want to stitch the 15 sided biscornu, you'll have to make up another 3 yourself! LOL! Or if the inspiration strikes, I'll make up some more myself!

The tutorial on putting together the 15 sided biscornu is here.

I'll go away now and leave you in peace!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Gifts and Pieces


I’ve been a bit busy over the last week or so, so I’m behind in blogging and even more behind in reading blogs – Google Reader says I’ve still got 178 items to catch up with!

First for the gifts -

I sent a parcel to Deb a couple of weeks ago with some things for her, Jessica and Kellan. Jessica’s been in touch to say they’ve been received and much admired!

Lenny shows off his new friend

The larger lion was for Kellan and his little friend for mum Jessica.

crocheted bowl

I also crocheted this bowl for Jessica. I was really pleased with the bottom, bowl part. I crocheted two bowls, one a little smaller than the other and then put the smaller one inside the larger one and crocheted a row of dc (American sc) around the top to attach both layers together. I’m really pleased with how it worked out – it just makes the whole bowl a little more rigid to stand better and it a really neat way to do it.

And I made this bowl for Deb.


However, when it was finished, I really didn’t like it – the bowl sides weren’t reinforced and lined like I did with Jessica’s, so they were just too floppy. I ended up taking the bowl to pieces and making this purse instead - I like it a lot better!


I’m really glad they all like what I made!

Now for the pieces -

Google reader - I’m reminded of something I meant to mention that I dislike about Google Reader – if I mainly read blogs through Google, then I’m less likely to comment. If I read the actual blog then I’m more likely to comment. And I like to comment – I start to feel kind of out of touch if I don’t comment regularly, but Google Reader doesn’t make it simple! It isn’t exactly complicated, but it’s not automatic, at least for me!

Blogger followers - I think this must be an Internet Explorer problem – I can’t see my followers either at home or at work and both use IE. I should perhaps load up another browser (Firefox?) at home and try it out, but the laptop’s starting to seem painfully slow! I think the people at blogger must know about it, going by the messages posted on their help forum. As usual, however, they aren’t being very communicative about telling anybody what they’re doing about it. At the moment, I much prefer the old way of displaying followers as it made it much simpler to navigate to a follower’s blog and keep in touch. Unfortunately, I don’t have that option.

Software - I asked a while ago about suggestions for software for cross stitch design – thanks for all your comments on the subject. It looks like PC Stitch Pro is the most popular, but it is rather expensive and I’m not ready to commit myself to that expense yet. While rummaging around the Internet, I found this page which compares programs – very useful! I’ve now downloaded and am using KG Chart which is free and which is letting me do what I want to do for now. Unusually for free software, it does allow speciality stitches!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Slightly different (alternative 15 sided biscornu)

While I was off work last week, I finished off my biscornu using the blackwork designs from Anita at Stitch Creations. I still finished it as a kind of 15 sided biscornu, but slightly different!


Following this idea, I attached the top on a different orientation - very simply but a very different result!

I've stitched it on 32ct Vintage Blue Zweigart linen using DMC 3840 (I think) - I should maybe have used a darker blue floss, but I still like it as it is. The beads are Mill Mill seed and pebble beads.

The way to make this kind of shape is very similar to making the more rounded 15 sided biscornu.
  • Stitch your 15 squares, all the same size.
  • DSCF0395

  • Join 5 together to for the top and another 5 for the bottom - you will have 5 left for the sides. Join the five sides to either the top or the bottom - this will give you a kind of bowl shape.
  • I realised something at this point that I could do to illustrate the difference between the two kinds of 15 sided biscornu -

    For the 'normal' rounded version, join the 'peaks' of the flattish side to the 'valleys' of the bowl.

    For the alternative version, join the 'peaks' of the flattish side to the 'peaks' of the bowl.

    Remember to leave a gap to stuff your biscornu and then sinish stitching together. I found the final stitching together a bit more awkward for this alternative version than previously. Of course, it didn't help that it wasn't until I had finished sewing it all together that I decided to add the beads to the top!

I hope this sense - just the simple change in the orientation of the top makes a complete difference to the final item!

Slightly different

My original 15 sided biscornu tutorial with more detailed instructions can be found here.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Fame at last!

Back again - slight hiatus last week as it was my turn to catch the cold that's recently been doing the rounds of the office where I work. (Un?)Fortunately, too, I'm the only one in my family who catches most colds - the others all seem to be disgustingly healthy!

Today I feel like I'm famous as I've been featured on Janet Perry's Nuts about Needlepoint blog! She wrote at the end of February that she wanted to feature the galleries and profiles of needlepointers and stitchers on Mondays in March and I was foolish enough to volunteer! So today my stitching is featured on her blog! I'm not sure now whether to hide or to brazen it out - but it's too late to worry about that, I'm out there already!

Advice please -

1. Can anyone recommend to me software for cross stitch design? I'm fed up messing about in Microsoft Paint, so I'm looking for something that will let me chart my ideas easily and allow me to include other stitches as well as cross stitch, but which won't cost a small fortune. Any suggestions?

2. Bit of a rant! Can anyone tell me how to get my followers back or to set up the Google equivalent? I know that the Blogger/Google people were merging the two, but I can't see my followers buttons on my main blog page and when I investigate setting up the Google equivalent, it wants me to put files on the server where my blog lives - given that this is a Blogger blog, I don't have access to the server! And I've seen the Google thing set up on other blogs, so it can't be that complicated! Has it gone screwy for me or have I lost the plot somewhere?