Thursday, April 30, 2009

Felt and flowers and fun

Yoyo asked me if I was going to post a tutorial on how to make the felt flower I used on my sister's wedding pillow.

Ring pillow

Because the flower was based on a free pattern designed and published elsewhere, I hadn't planned to. However, I've come across tutorials for several kinds of felt flower recently, so I thought I'd post links for reference (mine as much as anyone else's!).

Here's a pic now of something else I've been working on over the last couple of weeks.

What did you say your name is?

It's inspired by some of the things I've seen on Flickr recently. It was meant to be for Iona's birthday, but thanks to the pillow I made for my sister, I've been running a bit late with it! The lettering is finished, I just have to find some suitable backing fabric as I don't like any of the stuff I have lying around at the moment. I'm going to put it to one side for the moment as I suspect I'll find something useful in my stash, once I can get at it again. (We have made a small dent in all the stuff in the bedroom, but not enough to be able to get at the things that are supposed to be in the room!)

And can anyone tell me where to find some more time? Some days I feel like ideas and plans are bouncing around inside my head, fizzing out my ears. But with no more than an hour or two stitching/crafting per day, I just can’t keep up - it gets sooo frustrating!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Read this post

When I started crocheting more last year, I had a good rummage around the Internet to see what I could find. I was disappointed not to find the same sort of community as we have with all the stitching bloggers around.

Kim Werker has written a fascinating post on this subject. She doesn't necessarily have all the answers, but she's asking the right questions!

I'm curious about the point about not just blogging about a single narrow subject. Opinions please? Is the subject of my blogging too narrow? I'm not sure. Is there anything anyone would like me to say more about?

Thoughts on stitching magazines

Thanks for all the detailed and interesting feedback on my post on British and American stitching! It’s really fascinating to get such detailed comments.

Everybody who commented seemed to agree with my opinion of the British stitching magazines – limited in their scope and designs. They also tend to repeat themselves. American magazines do seem to be a little better and offer a bit more variety.

This brings me back to something else that has crossed my mind a few times – who are the British magazines aimed at? I’m thinking here of the Cross Stitcher and World of Cross Stitching type of magazine. (There are others concentrating on smaller designs and stitching for cards but I look at them even more rarely than the other two.) What is the market for UK cross stitching? How does it work? All I can think is that the magazines are aimed at a static, unambitious market.

It makes me come over all evangelical and want to go out and beat people about the head with ideas of using stitches other than basic crosses, designs other than cutesy animals, cartoon characters, landscapes/views or traditional flowers. There is so much more to the wonderful world of stitching – so much more you can do with a basic cross stitch and so many more simple stitches and variations that are also easy to use.

However, there is another side to British magazines – I wonder whether it doesn’t intimidate people who might otherwise be interested in going beyond the simple cross. There are a couple of magazines, Stitch (from the Embroiderer’s Guild) and Classic Stitches. Both sometimes include designs based on cross stitch but taking it further and using other stitches and techniques. However, I wonder sometimes whether these magazines aren’t rather intimidating to the cross stitcher who might want to take things further. Both Stitch and Classic Stitches include designs and projects using other (not counted) techniques such as patchwork, felt, stumpwork, canvaswork, cutwork, whitework, goldwork, Brazilian embroidery and all sorts of cutting edge, arty techniques that I too find intimidating. I wonder sometimes whether this kind of magazine doesn’t scare people off. Stitch in particular intimidates me, Classic Stitches I have subscribed to in the past, but even then felt there were too few designs that I would actually stitch.

New Stitches magazine tries to bridge the gap, including designs and techniques which encourage readers to look beyond the basic cross, but still many of the designs are too unadventurous in their content, verging too far towards the cutesy, ‘traditional’ designs favoured by the main cross stitch magazines, even though they may incorporate other techniques

Everyone who commented on my previous post did agree, though, that the Internet is a wonderful place to find inspiration and a wide variety of designs using different techniques and stitches. As such, it allows you to grow as a stitcher however you choose, whether it is in the type of designs you choose to stitch, or in the techniques you use.

Could DianeH and Jessica email me (email in my profile) with your snail mail addresses? I'll send each of you one of the kits from my previous post.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A little something

About 10 days ago, I was temporarily forced to abandon my existing crafty goings-on as I was suffering from withdrawal symptoms!

Withdrawal from what? Ummm, cross stitch and making biscornus?

I hadn’t planned to stitch a biscornu this month as I already had enough going on, but as usual, things didn’t go entirely to plan. As a compromise, I decided to make my biscornu smaller than usual, but that led to me challenging myself to see how small I could go!

And the end result?


It actually has me wondering whether it would be possible to make tiny mini sized biscornus and use them instead of buttons on a ‘normal’ sized biscornu. Hmmm ……

The design is very simple. Part of my inspiration for the larger biscornu was this photo from Loreta – I love the way the buttons stand out.


Two squares, each 30 stitches x 30 stitches. Divide each side in 3 to create a grid of 9 squares. I then filled in alternate squares of the grid with cross stitch, using a varigated DMC floss and then attached a button to the centre of each square except the middle one. The biscornu was then made up as usual with further buttons attached to the centre of each side.

The tiny biscornu is based on a square 10 stitches by 10 stitches, each filled with a Jessica stitch. I wasn't sure how the Jessica stitch would stand up to the bending when the biscornu was made up, but it's working well.

April biscornus

I love the way the biscornus look in my Granny's pansy bowl. I thought the pansy colours would look nice with the biscornu colours.

I’ve also succumbed and joined for Totally Useless SAL! I’d been watching for a while, but it was time I joined in.

Here’s my collection for this month. Not a lot yet - there are various bits of whitish floss and thread and some more colourful yarn from the easter eggs I made for Alexander to hunt in the garden.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Cute crochet inspiration

If my crafty plans for the weekend work out, then I should have plenty of my own photos to share next week, but nothing's yet at the stage that I'd be ready to share.

I also need to go through all the great comments I had on my last post and draw together some thoughts on that. I need a bit more time and space to do that than I get here at work, so, hopefully again, I'll come up with something over the weekend.

It would be just my luck if nothing got done!

So today, I thought I'd share with you some of my cute crochet inspitation.

Cute crochet mosaic

I really want to make one like little Rosita up there (centre, top row) - I can't get over all that 'hair'!

I was disappointed that this one didn't have the right permissions to appear in the mosaic.

precious baby
Originally uploaded by

And of course, as soon as I'd made the mosaic, I realised I'd missed out these too!

Florence - Amigurumi White Bear Originally uploaded by Pepika

Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil
Originally uploaded by Chiwaluv Chi's

Some of the patterns for these are available in various places like the designer's blog, website or etsy shop. I've been wondering a bit recently whether I'm just a bit lazy, I mean, it can't be that hard to work out a pattern for something like a lot of these, based, say, on a basic amigurumi bear. But I'm the mug who falls for the designer's original every time and I have to buy yet another pattern!

My biggest problem with these patterns is the yarn. As I'm sure many have said before, and many more will say in future, most American yarn brands aren't available in the UK! Although I did find out today that I can get Lion Brand Yarn in the UK (bit pricey!), I normally try and work out some approximation. But with something like Florence or Rosita, the appearance of the yarn is half the attraction!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

British and American stitching and a giveaway

I found it interesting to see my letter published in World of Cross Stitching issue 150.

Tutti Frutti

One of the things I’m most curious about is the way that my original email has been edited for publication. Here’s my original email.

I appreciate that when I originally wrote the email, I was not thinking of it being published word for word. I’m not entirely sure what I thought, the pictures I attached were more important. Under these circumstances, the email was almost certain to be edited.

The language used in the edited version, however, does not, to me, sound like me! To be honest – I hope I sound more intelligent and slightly less over-enthusiastic! And it’s got me thinking about UK cross stitch magazines. I don’t often buy magazines for two reasons – the designs don’t often appeal and the style in which they’re written.

And I was reminded me of an article by Patricia Bage in Classic Stitches towards the end of last year (I can’t check as it’s stored with the still inaccessible stash) in which she commented on the differences in the British and American markets. Apparently, in the American market, designs using mixed stitches are far more popular, whereas the British market prefers cross stitch alone. I think also that kits were perhaps more popular in the British market, whereas in the American market, there was much more interest in ‘manually’ kitting up a project and selecting the fabric and flosses.

Now, I realise I’m generalising very much here, but I’d be interested in the comments and observations of others on this.

I wonder how unusual I am for a British stitcher and I wonder about the role of the Internet in this. In some recent British magazines, biscornus seem to be being sold as new and exciting. I first discovered biscornus around 3 years ago when I first got into stitching on the Internet, so they don’t seem quite so new to me (but still exciting) and the magazines seem to be out of step.

The stitching interests of the British stitchers whose blogs I read also seem to be far broader than just cross stitched pictures and I suspect Patricia Bage, in her article, missed out another market (as well as other parts of the globe), an international, perhaps internet-driven market, where people, perhaps like me, find the ‘home’ market too limited and are inclined to shop online and potentially internationally.

Anyone like to comment? And how typical are the American stitchers I encounter online of American stitchers? What's it like in other countries?

Finally, a giveaway. As a prize for having my letter published in the magazine, I've been sent a couple of small cross stitch kits, neither of which I am ever likely to stitch.

If anyone would like one or other or both of them, leave me a comment saying that you're interested!

Monday, April 20, 2009

From here to eternity



in 12 short months!

Where did the last year go? Can anyone tell me? Even Alexander is convinced that Iona arrived only 3 or 4 months ago! So how come we all celebrated her 1st birthday over the weekend?

I know I'm biased, but isn't she just gorgeous?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The creamy white version

Ring pillow

Here it is! My sister's ring pillow, finished on Monday evening. I do like the way it's turned out, even though I did, as usual, change a few things as I was going along.

My sister hasn't seen it yet and I won't see her before she heads off to Florida for the wedding, so I've been out to buy a box and brown paper to send it off to Manchester where it needs to be by the end of next week.


I'm particularly pleased with the way I've attached the ribbons and arranged them to hold the rings - it was an area that was worrying me a bit and for a long time I just didn't know how to do it. I went from ribbon tied in a bow (but where to put it on the cushion?) to single loops of ribbon, to double loops of ribbon, to one long bit of ribbon attached in a kind of figure of eight configuration.


The final piece in the puzzle came when I saw the white felt flower just sitting centred on top of the prototype cushion. In an instant it all came together in my mind and I knew exactly what to do. So the ribbon is attached in the figure of eight (sideways) with two heart shaped pearl buttons on top. The flower is then placed to cover the buttons - the ribbon just hangs out below looking pretty and decorative. In the photos I've got a couple of white plastic rings attached in place of wedding rings so that I can use them to explain to my sister how it works.

Felt wedding pillow

Would anyone be interested in my posting more detailed notes on how I made this? It wouldn't be a detailed tutorial as I don't have the photos to back it up, but I could write rough instructions and give links to some of the things I used.

I have another felty new start as well, but not so much progress on it yet as I gave myself a night off last night! If you look at my felt inspiration, you might get a clue as to what I'm going to do here.

Name banner

A gift for a special little girl who has a special birthday very soon.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


I've been a little distracted recently. I'm supposed to be making a ring pillow for my sister's wedding. About 10 days ago, I finished the prototype.


I'll just emphasise that this is a prototype - the 'real' thing will not be purple and blue and green and yellow! Imagine the above in a creamy white colour.

I made the prototype so that I could see how the felt behaved in being made into this sort of thing and to test the size of the actual pillow and the size of the flower and how the flower and the pillow worked together.

I was rather pleased with the prototype. But now, when I should be working on the 'real thing' I keep being distracted by cute crochet.

Last week I just had to make this.


I saw something similar on Flickr, and just had to work out a pattern to make my own. I'm not completely pleased with it - it needs fine tuning, but I don't know when that'll happen.

Over the weekend these tumbled off my hook.

Albert and Boo

I definately need to make at least another half dozen of these! I have all sorts of yarn and colours that I want to try out on them! The instructions for these little birdies are here, as well as in the book Kooky Crochet.

And I have a number of things I want to make for Iona's birthday, one of which I'd like finished by Friday!

Well, at least I'm going to have a few quiet evenings this week as my DH has gone off to Kuwait for work and Alexander is going to stay with my parents in their caravan for a few days.

So no excuse for not having a good go at the wedding pillow at least!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Lesley is ......

I saw this meme at this blog (after I got Google to translate it into English) and thought it looked like fun, so here we are.

Do this: Google your name plus "is" in quotation marks, that is, "Lesley is" for me. Copy the first five matches in which sentences containing "Lesley is ...." and upload them to your blog.

I was curious to see what Google came up with!

1. "Lesley is stalkin me" - oops!
2. "Lesley is now in a promoted post in administration at the bank" - ooh thanks! Not that I know anything about banking, but who does, these days?
3. "Lesley is 19 stone lighter" - I wish! LOL! Although if I really was 19 stone lighter, there wouldn't be any of me left!
4. "Lesley is about to star on the West End stage" - Yay - fantastic idea!
5. "Lesley is Moore" - Huh??? Roger? Julianne? Demi? I think I'll go for Julianne if I've got to be someone else.

On a different note, Lesley is also dead chuffed with the beautiful biscornu she received from Ronel in the Tiny Treasures Exchange.

Isn't it lovely? Ronel sent some lovely goodies too - some DMC floss, ribbon, beads fabric, and a lovely letter which almost had me blushing! LOL She seems to think I'm some kind of biscornu expert which I can assure you is far from the truth! I just love to play around with different ways of doing things!

And finally, evidence that I have stitched something other than biscornus over the last few weeks.

An icicle in the sun

My first 'icicle'! I stitched this one on my 28ct yellow checked Graziano linen using varigated DMC floss and following a chart from Les chroniques de Frimousse.

This icicle has now been sent off to make a new home elsewhere, but I think I'll have to stitch up a lot more of them - they're such fun and a quick stitch!