Wednesday, 28 December 2011

We have a finish!!

Finally managed to get some time to sit down and get this one completed! 

Now, I just need to find the box that I packed my Lion in when we moved and I might be able to get that finished to!

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year,
Bye for now


Sunday, 13 November 2011

More Creepy Stitching

Hi there,

This is a Slime.  It's another character from the online game Minecraft.  This one is even easier to make than the Creeper.  It's literally just a cube with a face on it.

The Slimes come in different sizes so you can make large ones or small ones.  This one is an 8" square.   

Isn't it sweet? 
In the game, they bunny hop around the place making a strange sort of slurpy squelchy noise.

This one is a birthday present for another of Youngest's friends.  They all seem to be Minecraft potty.

Now I'm off to make one for Youngest. 

Bye for Now


Sunday, 18 September 2011

Creepy Stitching

Hi there,

These slightly strange looking guys are Creepers.  They are the monsters from the online game called Minecraft.   Youngest is a bit of a fan.  She and her friends play it all the time.  Apparently, Creepers are miserable because they don't have any arms so can't hug anyone.  They are so upset by this, that should you get too close to them, they explode!  They give a bit of warning though, they make a strange sssssing sort of noise. Here's one that exploded earlier... not a pretty sight!

Youngest decided that a cuddly creeper would be an ideal present for her friend's birthday... so managed to talk me into making one for her - and her friend!

I did a bit of research on the trusty internet before I started on this project.  I came across a website called which has some hints and tips about how to go about making a creepy... er.. I mean Creeper Plushy.

It's fairly straight forward.  The Creepers are just lots of cubes stitched together and stuffed with toy stuffing. 

 Cute in a very creepy sort of way! 

Youngest?  What's that strange ssssSSSSing noise? You're not hugging that Creeper are you?

Bye for now


Thursday, 25 August 2011

Gettin' there

You might remember from my last post on this blog that I was having a bit of a crafty block with nothing going right.

Well, I think the block is starting to lift!  Here is my current progress on Winnie the Pooh. 

Nearly there!

Bye for now


Sunday, 19 June 2011

Relaxing Crafting

Do you ever have one of those days when nothing seems to go according to plan? 

Its Father's day here in the UK and the girls and I decided to take T out for a pub lunch as a bit of a treat.  Unfortunately, everywhere was booked up so we ended up at the local KFC.  That was also full so we used the drive through.  As always, they forgot the milk for the tea, the straws for the cokes, the sugar, the spoons for the coleslaw so we ended up going in anyway to get the missing parts of the order.  Still, at least they remembered the chicken!

The weather hasn't been that brilliant so after the KFC, we came back home and T spent the afternoon watching the remake of King Kong.  The girls were busy with homework so I decided to spend some time catching up on some projects.

First of all I sat down to so some knitting on a pair of socks that I have been working on.  Well, when I say a pair I mean one sock.  Actually its just the top of the first sock. By the time I had finished the first row I had lost count of the number of times I had dropped stitches so decided to save my sanity and work on something else.

I thought I'd try working on my lion next.  The picture above is from the last time I worked on it. I decided to stitch some more of the greenery - working out towards the bottom right of the picture. I was feeling really pleased with myself as I had done a fair bit.  Until I realised that I had miscounted and had started stitching in the wrong place. Yep - you guessed it - it all had to come back out.  

Ok I thought I'm not having much luck with stitchy type things today so what else can I do that's crafty?  I know, I'll make a start on the Victorian Purse kit I got from Jane over at World Embroideries a few months back.  Thinking about it, I think it might have been before Christmas. 

The first step in the instructions was to transfer the beads to the perle cotton.  Now what could be difficult about that?  Ok, the next step was to undo the knot at the top of one of the hank of beads and gently pull on one of the strings and secure with scotch tape.  I think the instructions at this point should also have said remember to hold on to the other strings.  It wasn't easy picking all the beads up off the floor - they are so tiny and re-threading them on the strings was very fiddly.

Anyway, I managed it and having tied one string from the hank to the perle cotton, got some of the beads transferred over.  Cool Eh?

So I was on a roll.  Finally something was going OK... Until that is I came across one pesky little bead that seemed to have a smaller hole than all the rest and simply would not move from the string to the perle cotton.  No amount of coaxing or shoving would get it to budge.  So I resorted to brut force, broke the string and ended up back on the floor picking up the beads.

Having got the beads back on the string, my cat Pat, decided that now would be a good time to play - with the string of beads.  Have you ever tried to detangle a cat from a string of beads?  Not easy.  He thought it was a great game - bless him.  I put him outside and he watched me through the window picking up beads from the floor.  I'm sure he was smiling.

You'll be pleased to know that all the beads are back on the string - and yes back in their packet in the sewing box.  I've given up on crafting for today - way too much excitement!

Bye for now


Saturday, 21 May 2011

Too Many Starts and Not Enough Ends

I can't believe it's the middle of May already.  It's been a hectic few months and I haven't had much time for doing any stitching. I've recently moved house - again.  That makes twice in a little over a year.  So it's been a busy few months of packing boxes and then unpacking boxes at the other end. 

I thought I'd give you a quick update on the stuff I was working on before I moved. My stitching stuff was among the first bits to get packed up so I haven't had a chance to look at any of these since the end of February!

First up, my little lion:

Last time I worked on this, I was concentrating on filling in the gaps in his body.

Next up a half knitted sock:

Well, its more like less than a quarter of a sock really. 

And lastly,  poor old Winnie The Pooh:

I've made no progress whatsoever with him.  I got off to a flying start as its such an easy kit. The bit above only took an evening so I was sure I would have this finished in no time. It's easy to see the different shades in the colours and it's on 14 count aida so the holes are easier to see.  I can't really blame the lack of progress on moving house as I'd stopped working on him before that.  He just isn't grabbing my attention. 

Just lately it seems that I am starting more projects than I am completing. I'm going to need to knuckle down and get some of these projects finished or I'm going to get swamped under a pile of UFOs!

Bye for now


Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Lion Update

My Little lion has moved on in leaps and bounds since my last post.  His head is pretty much done. All I need to do now is the last few remaining bits to fill in on his body, the grasses at the base and the backstitch. Then I just need to decide what to make it into!

Bye for now


Sunday, 6 February 2011

Having The Right Tools

Winston Churchill once said "give us the tools and we'll finish the job" and he was so right.  Getting stuff done is just so much easier when you have the right tools.

I've been working on my Born Free kit by Pollyanna Pickering for a few months now. My main problem was not being able to see the different colours unless it was natural daylight.  Even then, as the lion is being stitched onto 28 count linen, it's a wee bit small to see.   

T heard my pleas for help and came to the rescue.  He got me this magnifying glass with built in light for Christmas. 
It's amazing the difference it makes.  It means I can now cross stitch in the evenings, at weekends,  in the wee hours of the morning when I can't sleep.  It's brilliant.  Now all I need are more hours in the day! Te he!

This is the latest picture of the lion. 

Since taking this shot, the lion has progessed even further.  I've done a bit more on the nose, his right ear and down the right side of his face.

In fact, I'm so back into cross stitch that I've even made a start on Youngest's birth sampler.  It's a Winnie the Pooh design called Piglet, also from DMC. 

This one is on 14 count aida.  I've finished Winnie's head already. It'll be finished in no time :).

Bye for now


Monday, 31 January 2011

A Valentine Chart to Use

I'm a bit of a hopeless romantic at heart and decided that this year, instead of buying the usual commercially produced cards and gifts, I'd have a go at making something myself.

I've designed this cross stitch chart to be simple and easy to make.  It's free for you to use if you want, as long as its for personal use not commercial.  The stitching measures about 4" x 4" when completed on 14hpi aida, so you will need at least a 6" square of fabric.  Each cross stitch uses two strands of embroidery cotton.   I only used two colours - Red and Black.  A downloadable chart can be found on my Deviant Art page

This is what I made with it:

Let me know if you use the chart - leave me a comment.  I'd love to know what you make from it. 

Bye for now


Sunday, 23 January 2011

Counted Cross Stitch Kits

I was in need of a bit of retail therapy last week so popped into my local fabric shop for a bit of window shopping on different yarns and some kit-gazing. Kit-gazing is what I call it when I just go in and check out what cross stitch kits are available and which ones I would like to do next.  (I don't buy any T, just look, honest).

Anyway, there I was head down in the bargain bucket full to bursting with cross stitch kits, when I overheard a conversation between two women standing next to me. They were also looking at the cross stitch kits and were awe struck at some of the beautifully designed and detailed kits that are available these days. The main problem they had though was having never done counted cross stitch before, they wouldn’t know how or where to start.

Oh, I thought, that’s not good. Now, I’ve been cross stitching for years, so it never occurred to me that to anyone one who doesn’t know how, cross stitch kits, especially counted cross stitch kits, can be a bit daunting and can look a bit too intricate and complicated. As I explained to the women in the fabric shop, it’s really very simple.

As the name suggests this kind of cross stitch is counted. The fabric is plain.

The stitches are positioned by counting the squares on the chart and matching these to the fabric. The kit will tell you how many squares on the chart equal one stitch. It’s usually one square equals one stitch. The kit will also say how many strands of cotton to use for each stitch.

Stranded cotton, also known as embroidery floss can be split into single strands. The number of strands used will alter the thickness of the stitch. Most kits I have worked on ask you to use two strands for the cross stitches with other stitches such as back stitch using just one strand. Back stitch is used to define edges within a design. Keeping the back stitch finer or thiner than the chunkier cross stitches helps to make them stand out.


To centre the design, fold your fabric in half and then in half again. Pinch the middle. Open it out. Where the folds cross is the centre. Check the chart. It should have arrows on it. Where the arrows meet in the middle is the centre of the chart. This stitch needs to be in the centre of the fabric.
I tend to start here and work outwards. So with the red design below, I started with the top cross and worked my way downwards from there.

A cross stitch is literally a cross or an X shape.  It's normally worked on an evenweave fabric like aida or linen.  Evenweave means there are the same number of fabric threads going up and down as there are across.

Basically, a cross stitch is - up from the back in one hole (say, bottom left), down in the opposite hole (top right). Up again from the back in the top left hole and then down in the bottom right.  This makes one individual cross.

It doesn't really matter how you form your stitches.  There is more than one way to make an X.  The only thing you need to bear in mind is that the top strand of every cross stitch must go in the same direction all the time. Doesn’t matter which way but it must always be the same way.

You can do whole rows by doing half of the stitch and then coming back over them with the top strand.

If you finish a row of stitches and the next one is a few rows away – don’t stretch across the back of the fabric to reach it.  It will make the back messy and wastes thread.  Always cast off and re-cast on at the new place if you have to jump more than two squares.

Don’t use knots. Knots can cause little bumps in your work. When casting on, if it’s the very first stitch - catch the end of the thread on the back of the fabric into the loop of the stitch as you pull the thread through the holes.

If some stitches have already been made, pass the thread under a few of the nearby stitches on the back of the fabric. Cast off in the same way, by passing the thread under nearby stitches on the back.

I always use a highlighter on the chart to tick off the cross stitches that I have completed. This not only helps with counting but also, as I have a memory like a sieve, it helps me remember where I am.

It also has an unexpected advantage of showing T that I am working on all of my UFO's - not just buying cross stitch kits for my stash.  (As if I'd do that....Te he..)

Bye for Now


Sunday, 9 January 2011

The Bottom of my Sewing Box

My sewing box is crammed full with all sorts of odds and ends. Threads for general mending, needles, embroidery skeins, buttons, safety pins, the quilting foot from my sewing machine, rotary cutters, scissors, beads, bits of aida, yarns of wool, knitting needles.  The general bits and bobs that stitchers tend to accumulate over years of crafting.  In fact I've managed to accumulate so much stuff that the first sentence should read "my sewing boxes" as I actually have two.

I recently had to empty them both out as I couldn't find my needle threader.  Now, the little red one is a relatively new addition so I sort of knew more or less what was at the bottom of that one.  Not my needle threader unfortunately, only some rather nifty dressmaking pins with hearts on the end and my glow in the dark embroidery skeins.

The blue box has been with me for the best part of twenty years so is slightly fuller and the finds at the bottom of that one were a lot more interesting. 

My very first stitched item ever.  A sampler that I stitched at school way back when I was 8 or 9 years old.  I had completely forgotten I still had this.  It's in fairly good condition for its age but could do with a bit of a clean.  Any hints and tips on how to clean old embroidery would be gratefully received as I'm really not sure if I should wash it or not.

This next picture is one that I finished in the early 1990s.  It's stitched onto a printed canvas.   This one needs blocking as it's kind of a lopsided rectangle at the moment.

This next one is the birth sampler I did for Eldest when she was born. Which reminds me, I have a Noddy birth sampler in a box somewhere that I still haven't stitched  for Youngest yet...  I really need to get around to that. 
Amazingly enough, I can remember stitching every one of these.  Just a shame I can't remember where I left my needle threader.

Bye for now