Saturday, December 24, 2011

             The Magi Carol

Sheep of the fold, fowls of the storm,
In chill the child, chaste in his manger--
The kings are coming to crown a King
And here we are, waiting to welcome
                           them together:
              We wish you joy again--
                   Gale, oak & heather,
              Mistletoe & pine--
                   In any winter weather.

Bearing gold, gifts of myrrh,
Of frankincense--seed of thyme,
Vervain and thorn, horn at the gate--
The Magi move among the snows 
               We wish you joy again--
                    Gale, oak & heather,
               Mistletoe & pine--
                    In any winter weather.
Reap the heart of the hoar oak
With a scythe of ore, open the gate
Of the golden bough, bend to dream
Before the stable, the stall of fortune
                            all together:
                We wish you joy again--
                     Gale, oak & heather,
                Mistletoe & pine--
                     In any winter weather.

                                       ------Wesli Court

Friday, December 23, 2011

Busy, Busy

I finished my Feather & Fan scarf. I made so many mistakes and probably ripped out 12 inches total, and had to re-knit. I am going to block it now.

We are having a Christmas brunch on Saturday because my daughter (the nurse) works a shift on Christmas.

I have my Mill Hill Button & Bead Santa kit to work on as soon as I block the scarf.

No snow here--only rain.

Others are celebrating Hanukkah, and a friend observed the pagan Yule on the solstice. Whatever your beliefs, I hope you are enjoying the company of family and friends.

Happy stitching!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Daydreams Kit Finished

I finished my Dimensions Daydreams kit "Hummingbird and Wisteria." It is lovely, but I forgot to take a picture of it before I wrapped it up.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sewing Sets Finished

I finished the sewing sets, added some new needles and boxes of pins, and sent them off by Priority Mail. I forgot to add delivery confirmation. I really wish I would have insured them--at least I'd be paid for my time, if anything goes wrong. All of my packages sent via USPS have gotten to their destinations, so I believe these will also.

This is a matryoshka-themed set, based upon a biscornu freebie by Alexandrina.
and the backs:

The next set is a spring theme from Biscornu #509, by The Floss Box:

and the backs:

I'm ashamed that the motifs on the needle cases are not centered. Yes, I did measure , find the center, and count the threads, but I forgot to allow for the margin of fabric that gets turned under. The next time I will write down my plan on paper. Measure twice, stitch once!

The two "L's" are from charted design books by Dover Publications.

Oh, I learned how to make a humbug!
Happy stitching!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Scissor Cases Finished

Yesterday I finished the two scissor cases  and applied some matching trims. I'm not that happy about them. They are pretty, but next time I will cut out a wider, more V-shaped design.

The scissors were purchased from Anita's Little Stitches. I wanted two different pair that would complement the theme of the sewing accessories.

Now I must make two needle books and  two scissor fobs. The package has to be mailed tomorrow.

I see that I have acquired some new followers. Thank you! As soon as I can get all of my Christmas/birthday projects finished, I will overhaul this blog and put my free charts on their own page. I have some things half-charted to finish as well.

Happy stitching!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Box for Lynn B.

 Here's the box that I created for Lynn B. in the HOE Christmas Box Exchange 2011:

Chart: an adaptation of Christmas Pattern #17, by The Floss Box
 Stitched with overdyed & DMC floss on 32ct. antique blue(?) linen

I painted a lightweight wooden craft box Christmas red, then brushed Mod Podge on the sides and the bottom. The "snowball" trim was a lucky find of a couple of months back. I then filled it with an assortment of goodies that I thought she might not find in England.
Happy stitching!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Biscornu Finished

Spring Biscornu #509, by The Floss Box ($1.50 PDF)
stitched with DMC on white Monaco (not sure of count)

This biscornu is finished, and the accompanying scissor case needs to be stitched together along the sides:

The red "L' is a mess--it turned out too narrow because I added a very stiff piece of polyester lining. I will embroider another "L" case, using a smaller (and more recognizable) "L" today. I omitted the stiff stuff in the spring case, so that will be wide enough. I don't like the directions that I used and should have trusted my instincts from the beginning.

Happy stitching!

A Reindeer Ornament

 Christmas Pattern #17, by The Floss Box ($1.75 PDF)
stitched with overdyed and DMC floss on 32ct. antique blue(?) linen

Edgar received the ornament I sent him in the HOE Christmas Ornament Exchange 2011, so I can finally show you a picture of it. Emily's patterns are really cute and fun to stitch. I have a good supply of them still yet to stitch.

Happy stitching!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Scissor Cases WIPs

I embroidered  the fronts of two scissors cases. The left is a fancy "L," from a Dover charted design book. The one on the right is from a biscornu pattern by The Floss Box.

I bought the fusible interfacing to iron on them, as well as some stiffer interfacing.  The scissors that will go inside them are very sharp, so I want the padding to be thick. I have to finish these two sets and mail them.

Happy Stitching!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Hummingbird WIP

I'm about 2/3 done on this Dimensions Daydreams kit. The coordinating mat is very beautiful. It is a Lena Liu design.

Today I am embroidering and assembling two scissors cases that will be part of three-piece sets (fob, biscornu, scissor case). They are stitched on white Monaco.

I'm making as many things as possible for family and friends because having cancer made me realize I want to leave them all with something beautiful from me. I was told if the cancer does not come back within three years, then it won't. I still have to be very careful and wear sunblock every time I go out. I got sunburned in the car in the afternoon last week, after only a 10-minute drive to the store!

Happy stitching!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Made Pecan Turtles

I made pecan turtle candies for my son and wish I would have watched the video online first. My caramel is hard because I didn't know to thin it with cream (or water).  Oh, well, they are still edible.The caramel part will just be chewy, like regular caramels.

I have to finish my Dimensions Hummingbird Grace because it's for a Xmas gift. I found a clear plastic easel stand for it at Walmart today. It comes complete with a glass frame but needs to sit on an easel stand, not hang on the wall.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fantastic Kindle Touch

My son and I gave my granddaughter (12 1/2) a Kindle Touch for Christmas. We let her open it yesterday because she has had some difficult with her academics this year and this is so that she will read more and improve her spelling and vocabulary. Due to mom's work schedules and our distance from the public library, she hasn't been able to borrow books from the library very often. She hasn't read much outside of school for over a year.

We purchased a Kindle Store gift card to go with it, so she picked out about six books and we downloaded them to the computer (don't have WiFi). She is really enjoying this (much lighterweight) version of the Kindle, and was happy to find the dictionary. Plus, she can download music to it as soon as I get a program to convert her files to MP3s.

This Kindle Touch shows you exactly how much space is left on the memory, as well as how much battery life is left.

I put on two free books--Kidnapped & Little Women, and will download many more this evening. I'm happy because she has something that can be accessed, even if she has only 20 minutes of free time. She can't use the excuse "I have nothing to do!"

Started Another Scarf

I started a quick scarf in Fleece Artist 2/6 Merino,, Blackberry color. It's being knit in (please don't laugh) the Feather & Fan stitch. Why?

I have so much to get done and this is a fast stitch. Since the yarn is variegated, the simple pattern won't be noticed by the recipient, who is not a knitter. Oh, and when this yarn is washed, it becomes nice and soft. All of the stiffness from the spinning process disappears, leaving it with a cozy feel for the neck of the wearer.

I've finished about two inches and will take a pic later, when the sun is up.

The Dahlia Shawl WIP

The Dahlia Shawl
"Shadow" Merino Laceweight , by Knitpicks
"Summer Blooms" color
I finished the body yesterday and am on the second row of the border. This one will have to get blocked on a sheet!

Xmas/Birthday Presents for Others

Here are some of the handcrafted items I've been working on. Some are for Christmas presents, and some are for a post-Christmas birthday.

The Gambit Scarf, from Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders
Fleece Artist 2/6 Merino in Victoria

A view of the it being blocked. I don't have those nice blocking pins of a board, so it's improvise, improvise!
There was too much light on this pic.

Next here are some unblocked mitts:

Spring Garden Shorties, from Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders
Panda Superwash (bamboo, wool, nylon) by Crystal Palace
Lake Trail color

 These are so soft! I'm going to knit myself a pair in a different color.

Been Busy Creating

Where have I been, you are wondering? I spent much time hunting through CDs of all my old pics in an attempt to find the missing picture files from the early days of my blog. I just realized that there is a whole stack of CDs in a container here on the computer desk, under a pile of other things. I won't have time to go through them until after Christmas. I have several projects in the works.

"Merry Christmas," by All Through The Night
Victorian Motto Sampler Thread on 32ct. linen

This is what I stitched originally for my HOE Christmas Box Exchange partner, but had to abandon it because I couldn't find a suitable box for it.

Michaels used to have really nice, heavy, unfinished, chipboard boxes to decorate. I got one trip up there to the store and the quality of the boxes was poor. I had to stitch a smaller design to fit onto a lightweight wooden box that I painted red. I glossed the sides & bottom with Mod Podge. I can't post pics until it gets to it's destination.

Christmas Box Received

This is the wonderful box that I received from Lucy H. in the HOE Christmas Box Exchange. She transformed a shoebox with this design from By The Bay Needleart.

 This is a photo of the contents: a bag of assorted teas & coffee; "Santa Paws" chart by Twisted Threads; a 7"X9" piece of linen; two fat quarters; a framing hoop; DMC tapestry needles #26; a pkg. of snowman buttons; a book about Christmas; and a handmade needlecase that looks like a Christmas ball ornament when unfolded. See below:

I will treasure this beautifully finished box. Thanks so much, Lucy!

Monday, November 14, 2011

On A November Day

 "My Sorrow, when she's here with me,
    Thinks these dark days of autumn rain 
Are beautiful as they can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
    She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
    She talks and I am fain to list:
She's glad the birds are gone away,
She's glad her simple worsted gray
    Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
    The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
    And vexes me for reason why. . ."

-----from "My November Guest," 
                         by Robert Frost

My Spring Garden Shorties

I started these fingerless mitts twice and had to rip them all the way out and start a third time. I did not understand the directions. Knitting is like math--if you get one step in the process wrong, everything after that will be wrong.

This is my third attempt, and it is succeeding because I read and reread the directions, using my copy of Vogue Knitting to help me figure out the pattern.

My gripe: the person who wrote the directions in this book (Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders) should have made them as explicit as possible, not just "work in pattern," because the K (even) rows were deliberately omitted in places. If designers and editors want more people to knit, buy yarn, and knitting books, they need to write out the patterns line-by-line as well as give the symbols and charts. I'm keeping track by crossing off every step in a notebook.

This is a Panda Superwash yarn, but not exactly the one in the book. I have to find the label.

Working On Exchanges

I've been working on exchanges--the HOE Christmas Box and the HOE Stitcher's Choice Ornament. I finished the cross stitch for both, but have not bought the box yet, nor finished the ornie. I chose a pattern for the box that is really nice (IMHO) but is not one I've seen around the blogs more than twice.

I need to work on this blog, and I have been avoiding it for a long time. I've been concentrating on other things, but now want to address this issue. I have to go through all of my backup CDs of oictures and get them downloaded on here. I have to put my own (free) charts into my PC Stitch, and then make them into PDFs on Google Docs. When I tried to make PDFs before, it was with an outdated computer.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Need Advice

I finished stitching my HOE Stitcher's Choice ornament and will finish it today. I also finished (finally) the stitching of Boo Jack.

Yesterday I received a bunch of stash fabric in different counts and colors from Jennifer at Needlework Plus.

I haven't decided upon a chart for the HOE Stitcher's Box yet. I bought a Mill Hill kit but now think that it will not meet the HOE guidelines as it is over 50% beaded, and it is stitched on perforated paper, not fabric.  I wanted to try something different and special for this box, but now I'm thinking maybe I need to get a new chart. Opinions?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

On A Rainy Day

It's a rainy autumn day here. I am almost finished with my HOE Stitcher's Choice Xmas Ornament, but I can't show pictures of it.

My materials for the HOE Xmas Box Exchange are on their way from a supplier. I need to go to Michael's this weekend and buy a box. I'd like to buy some Halloween and Christmas buttons as well, if they are not already sold out. It's been my experience that the store only stocks a certain amount and does not reorder them.

After I finish the Xmas ornie today, I plan to start an LK "Spooky Time." I stitched one for an exchange before, but not for myself.

I still need to buy some more candy before Sunday, our local trick-or-treat day. I'm only buying chocolates that I like, just in case it does not all get given out and I am stuck with finishing it off.

I purchased two books on sale from Crafter's Choice. One is a quilting book by Edyta Sitar: "Friendship Triangles," and the other is "Two-at-a-Time Toe-Up Socks," by Melissa Morgan-Oakes.

I want to make a book cover and a tote bag right away. I have lots of fabric stashed away and these two projects only require quilt batting, which I have. I don't have 100% cotton Aurifil thread, and need to see from where I can get it. I just love the clear directions and layout of Edyta's book.

I'm not starting socks until after I finish some hand knit fingerless mitts and other knitted projects.  I am behind on Christmas gift projects and need to make a detailed daily project list, so that I work some on each gift every day, or alternate days.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Give Thanks Finished

I finished "Give Thanks," even though I've been suffering from a bad cold all weekend. Now I need to iron it and find a nice frame.
a freebie from Heartsring Samplery on 28ct. Lugana

This is the first large-count piece that I've done in quite a while. I'm happy with it and want to display it for Thanksgiving. I changed some of the colors. I like it so much that I might do one more and give it to a friend.

My Vacation Wrap-Up

Well, I was so invigorated and inspired by my brief vacation in Oregon!

My son and I walked part of the trail along the Willamette in Skinner's Butte Park. It was wonderful to see so many people of all ages walking, jogging, biking, and enjoying the outdoors. I know that Eugene is a college town, but half of the people I did not look to be traditional student age. When I walk here at home, I am the only one, except during the hours that people walk their child to the school (and they are mostly going from the car to the school).

We visited the Perkins Peninsula Park bordering the Fern Ridge Reservoir.  I was happy to see a family of quail, as well as two white egrets (or herons) in the marshy area before we reached the park. I think I may have even spotted a loon swimming. It was cold and we were the only visitors, but the lake was beautiful.

One day we traveled east into the mountains to the Blue Lake Reservoir, only to find that it had been nearly all drained since it was after Labor Day. On the way home, we enjoyed a picnic lunch at a park on the bank of the beautiful McKenzie River.

We visited Dorris Ranch and were fortunate to see the workers harvesting the hazelnuts (filberts). I love hazelnuts in any form, especially mixed in chocolates, but visitors were not allowed to pick up even a single nut. There was no gift shop on the premises but we purchased some hazelnuts from another local grower at the Eugene Farmer's Market. We enjoyed the brief sunshine and the sight of the thousands of hazelnuts under the trees and in crates.

Across the street from the Eugene Farmer's Market was the Eugene Saturday Market. Although the sky was completely overcast and the air was chill, everyone was having a good time. I watched the performance of a father & daughter violin duo and threw a dollar into the little girl's case. I purchased a gorgeous pair of delicate ss & crystal earrings by Nome May for my daughter, and a hand thrown ceramic rice bowl from Bluff Cove Pottery for her S/O.

No trip to Eugene would be complete without a trip to Sweet Life Patisserie! He got a slice of decadent chocolate cake, and I chose the chocolate silk cake. We shared 1/2 and 1/2 so we got to taste both. Mine turned out to be a silken tofu cake on a crust. The chocolate overpowered the tofu, but I liked his regular (vegan) chocolate cake better. Alas, there was no carrot cake. The selections change, and it was supercrowded when we went on a Friday evening.

And I have to praise Laughing Planet burritos! They were delicious.

We visited the U of O's Jacobs Gallery at the Hult Center, where we saw the incredible photography of Katsui Shibata and the finely crafted woven sculptures of Sally Metcalf. I saw a hand-carved wooden log bench that was inlaid with smooth,black, round (ocean or river?) rocks. I've seen a lot of gallery furniture, but this topped them all. It was a nature lover's dream of a bench! 

We also visited the U of O's Museum of Natural History where I was happy to view the Susan Pavel exhibit of Salish weaving (I am a former weaver). The museum had a lot of exhibits on the native peoples of Oregon, and the building itself is constructed of huge logs and adorned with spirit carvings.

Last but not least, I became a member of REI and got some warm wool-blend REI socks.

I did not bring my heavy dinosaur of a camera, and son took the pictures. He is supposed to send them to me on a flash drive, so I hope to update this in the future.

I feel so fortunate to have seen so much of beautiful Oregon! As my son may be moving to another state next year, I probably won't get to visit there again. I encourage anyone with the time and means to travel to Oregon and enjoy its natural beauty.

Oh, and my airline ticket was free--it was a Chase bank promotion that I signed up for two years ago!  I had to take three flights there and three flights back, but I did it, sometimes with only 15 minutes to spare before boarding.

The strangest thing about my trip was that I only saw one deer, although we traveled for miles through the countryside and the wilderness. I guess the cougars keep them in check, unlike here, where they are as prolific as rats.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Oregon Vacation

I'm on vacation in beautiful Eugene, Oregon!

I'm visiting my son. Yesterday we went to Mt. Angel Abbey  and to Silver Falls State Park. We lunched at a little reservoir before seeing the falls. We were lucky to get a mostly sunny day. We hiked under the falls and sat a few minutes. There was a good stream of water rushing over and the falls were loud.

I flew here via DC and San Francisco. On the flight up from SFO I saw a wind farm, Mt. Lassen, Shasta Lake and the huge dam, and Mt. Shasta. I was disappointed not to see Crater Lake, but there were too many clouds obscuring the view over Oregon. I might have caught a glimpse of it , but not sure. 
I brought my knitting but so far haven't done any.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Petal Shawlette

I ordered some Fleece Artist yarn from Simply Socks Yarn Company because I want to make three of these Petal Shawlettes, from the book "One Skein Wonders." The one pictured is in color "Hercules."

I chose Cosmic Dawn, Blackberry, and Victoria. One will be for me and two will be Christmas gifts. This book is so awesome!