A Seasonal Finish

When I last posted, I was optimistic–about my ability to finish projects & my dedication to regular blogging. Ha to both!

Well, mostly. I’ll post about the knitting…hiccups…at another time, but for now I wanted to share the entirely seasonal cross-stitch I DID manage to finish on time!

Cross Stitch Merry Christmas Santa with Cat and Mouse

Although this Santa isn’t quite as colorful as the first two I made, I do find the little mouse adorable–I even saved him for last. This marks the end of the cross-stitch kits–just in time to hang the trio of Santas up on the kitchen coat rack (an entirely spontaneous location that works really well). Now…what to make next?

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Of Productivity and Completions

Yesterday was an unusually productive day. Unusual not just because I typically treat Sundays more of a day to relax than a day to get things done, but because I accomplished more than I often do on any individual day off. I wish I actually was this productive more often. I think it’s due to the fact that yesterday I actually had specific plans/goals rather than the more generic “I need to get things done” that usually rules my life. But I did some blog reading, some blog writing, baked some breakfast bread, read, and blocked a shawl. I didn’t really get around to looking through Ravelry for ideas for my next project. My les Abeilles is almost finished, and I’m guessing that I could have my mom’s Monkeybread Hat done in short order if I put my mind to it. And then…nothing on my knitting needles! (Although, paging down through recent posts, I’m reminded that I did have it in the back of my mind to return to the Lerwick Lace Shawl…hmm…a good possibility, but I think I’d like something else for knit night…)

I’m almost down to nothing on the cross stitch needle as well. One of my goals for the year was to finish out, finally, the various Christmas kits I’ve had around and been working on off-and-on for years. And thanks to the need for some mindless projects last winter/spring and for not-so-warm projects during the summer month, I’m down to one kit left. It looks like I’ve not yet presented the recently completed projects here, though.

Cross stictch snowman on navy aida - finished

This first is the bigger accomplishment – although the physical size of the snowman is not very big, all things considered, there are many details and shadings in the pattern. The trickiest part was the use of blending filament–those fine strands often want to fly away. The most frustrating part happened when I began the backstiching to outline the characters, specifically in the dark brown. It was only then that I realized how inferior the embroidery floss included with the kit actually is–it kept breaking as I was stitching. I finally gave up on the dark brown included in the kit and substituted something similar from my own stash of floss. Otherwise, I enjoyed the stitching but am very happy to have it done. Now I just need to frame it up in time for the holidays!

Santa Ornament - Nice List

This Santa was much quicker – and oh so cheerful! He’s the second I’ve finished in a group of three; the third is the last kit I have left–and is already about half-way finished. I should have a nice little trio of Santas ready to hang out together decorating a shelf edge or some such come Christmas! (Which somehow seems wrong–I’m never this prepared for the holidays!)

Finished: Winter Set (Since It’s Spring…)

So….according to my notes, I first started what I’m calling my “winter set” back in November of 2011. And I finally finished the last piece, the scarf…in March of 2015. Two hard winters in a row, yet I didn’t get this finished until after the second one was over! The problem is that I can find scarves very long, tedious knitting projects. It was always so much easier to pick up something else. Until the cold hit at the start of this year. That plus my need for a project that I didn’t need to think about–pretty much all of 2015 this year has been busy work-wise, which has translated into less brainpower for the knitting–meant that suddenly the scarf seemed much more appealing. And even if I didn’t get to use it more than once or twice this year, there’s always next year. (Unless of course having a super-cozy scarf means the winter will be mild. A trade-off I would take!)

Monkeybread Scarf (1)

Monkeybread Scarf (2)

Monkeybread Scarf (3)

Pattern: Monkeybread Scarf by Anne Hanson (Ravelry)
Yarn: MinkYarn.com Chamonix, 70% Mink 30% Cashmere DK. 4 ply (+/- 2 skeins – whatever was left over after knitting a hat and mittens from the 4 skeins I purchased)
Needles: US7/ 4.5 mm

True to all reds, the color is hard to photograph. On my monitor, I’d say the color is really somewhere between the brighter red at the top and the “bluer” red at the bottom. It’s a nice rich red (which doesn’t seem to be available in this yarn any longer, pity.) Taking indoor photos probably didn’t help, but these are from when the weather was still iffy, and I must confess I’m too lazy to try for better!

I made the “infinity” version of the scarf and it’s only just long enough to wrap twice on a really cold day, so my row gauge is probably tighter than the pattern’s. If I recall correctly, I knit the number of repeats the pattern called for, and didn’t have enough yarn to knit any more. It wasn’t one of my more enjoyable knits–the super-wide cables, while fun to look at are a bit tricky to work with just a cable needle (retrospectively, I should have sought out a US7 DPN to make it easier). I also had a tricky time with the graft, because I was trying to keep the pattern (garter stitch edges, reverse stockinette between the cable sections). I finally had to take it off the needles so I could see the stitches clearly. (I also watched Anne’s free Craftsy video on grafting–the bit on textured stitches was very helpful.)  But it was the perfect winter project.

A Little Snow Indoors

Happy New Year! I know, I know–I’m a little late. I’ll blame the weather. I’ve had on my list for the past week,  “blog post about snowflakes,” but the weather hasn’t been cooperative: I wasn’t able to get a decent picture until today. While yes, late sunrises and early sunsets play their share in the difficulty, this past week was also complicated by real snow–I spent a couple extra hours on commuting this week thanks to the snow on the roads. (Which seems always “conveniently” timed to the morning drive in–has snow never heard of “midday?)

So you’d think I’d be sick of snowflakes–and of the real stuff, I am–and it’s still the first half of January! But I still like my thread snowflakes.

Tatted Snowflakes

 

These are more of the tatted snowflakes that I’ve shown off in the past. I think I’m going to count this project as “done” now. For one thing, it’s the sort of project that could go on indefinitely–how many snowflakes on a tree is too many?–so if I don’t call an end point it will never be done. For another, I’d really like to cross it off my list. But I might still continue to make some of the small ones–they go fast.

The patterns come from a variety of sources–I don’t even remember where I found the small snowflake now; it might have been an old issue of McCall’s Needlework. The big star shaped one, which probably took the longest was from a book of my Grandma’s. And the large square one–which wins the “most fiddly” award–comes from a back issue of Piecework (Nov.-Dec. 2004). If you look closely, it doesn’t want to lie flat–there’s simply too many knots too close together for it to do so. The picture in Piecework lies flat, so either I didn’t quite make it correctly–knots bunched too closely together perhaps, or the pattern as written and the picture shown aren’t quite the same. Given that the pattern leaves a bit to the tatter to work out (it doesn’t actually specify the number of repeats, for instance), it really could go either way. (The large star-shaped doesn’t lie flat at the moment either, but that’s a storage error.)

To finish the snowflakes I soaked them in a 50/50 water and white glue solution and let them dry. I can’t wait to add them to my snowflake tree next year!

(And yes, I did see Stephanie Pearl McPhee’s knitted lace snowflake–I was briefly tempted, but the fiddlyness is more than I want to attempt….um…I hope!)