Cross-stitch and Embroidery

And I say, “It’s all right.”

Oh, George Harrison…[sigh]  I had Beatles tunes running through my head a lot while working on my latest project.

A few weeks back, I decided to participate in my first organized swap on Craftster.  I had always felt a little intimidated before: what if what I made wasn’t good enough and looked like the efforts of a dexterity-challenged preschooler?  Some of the crafters on there are crazy talented, and fill a swap box like nobody’s business.  The pressure!

When I saw the Box of Sunshine Swap open for sign-ups, I knew I had found my swap.  This was to be low-cost and low-stress: five or six items, a few hours of crafting, nothing too outrageous.  The only other guideline was that items – crafted or otherwise – should ideally be in warm, sunny shades of yellow and orange, so that the recipient might open a box of sunshine to cheer up a gloomy winter day.  I could do that!  And who doesn’t love getting cheery mail?

Although I dabble in a variety of crafts, longtime readers of this blog will know that needlework, and cross-stitch in particular, is my area of expertise (?).  I spent ages trawling through Etsy (of course) until I found this design by Sewingseed.  Whole stitches only, no backstitch?  Yes, please!

herecomesthesun

I didn’t much care for the steel grey fabric used in the original stitched piece – but I get it, it’s to illustrate the sun breaking through a grey sky – and instead substituted some 28-count Summer Sky hiding in my stash.  I also altered the colours oh-so-slightly, on “comes the”, since the original ultra-light yellow would have been lost on my fabric.

I love how this turned out!  It’s the perfect harbinger of spring days ahead, and I had a lot of fun stitching something that I might not ordinarily stitch for myself or for someone in my usual circle of craftiness (although I do have more Summer Sky, so one never knows).

Have I opened a Pandora’s Box of swapping?  Stay tuned…

Thanks for looking! 🙂

craftmas, General Sewing, Other Crafts

On the third day of Craftmas…

…my true love gave to me: a hedgehog to hang on the tree!

I’ve probably mentioned on here before that my mother collects all things hedgehog.  As such, I try to accommodate her on special occasions: there have been hedgehog birthday cards, Mother’s Day cards, cakes, t-shirts…

Fast-forward to the Christmas crafting season, when I realized the project I had originally picked out was simply not going to be finished by December 25.  (That’s okay, folks, her birthday is coming up shortly, so I like to think of it as having a head start on that.)  While entering random keywords on Etsy at work one day, I stumbled across trellis & thyme, who, wonder of wonders, boasted a PDF hedgehog ornament pattern in their shop.

img_0862

It’s difficult to tell in the photo, but he has little prickles embroidered all around his front side.  The pattern instructions indicated these should be placed randomly, but…I can’t handle random.  So instead, they run in two staggered-but-kinda-concentric circles around his underside.

As always, thanks for looking – and may your holiday crafting be running on-schedule.  🙂

craftmas, Cross-stitch and Embroidery

[Insert bad Jerry Lewis impression here]

(Typical Millennial: “Jerry who?”  Just Youtube “jerry lewis typewriter”, kids.)

It all started like this: my friend Jeanette is a writer by trade – and yes, I am terribly jealous – and has a writerly affinity for typewriters.  As the weather turned cooler and one could utter the word “Christmas” without being pelted by tomatoes, I started searching about for a suitable gift.  I had two criteria: it shouldn’t be too grand, so as to not embarrass the recipient or strain my budget; and it should be easily and inexpensively shipped internationally.

My first thought had been a Christmas ornament of some sort, but a quick search revealed that most available were either overpriced or underwhelming, or both.  Also, while a hard clay ornament might have been okay to ship internationally had an appropriate one been found, the thought of a blown glass one made me nervous.  I did see a cute necklace online, but that seemed just a little personal.  Could I make something instead?

Thank heavens for Urban Threads.  I found a simple hand embroidery pattern on their site, and a charcoal-gray tea towel in my stash.  And all households need at least one hand-embroidered kitchen linen, right?

typetowel

The picture makes the towel look lighter than it really is.  I chose the colours I did to really pop against the gray, with just a hint of silver metallic on what I believe are called the typebars, plus the little doohickey on the right hand side.  It came out looking really great, but my stars, the 39 little keys just about killed me!  Also, for any embroiderers or aspiring embroiderers out there: watch the surface you choose.  This particular towel has ribbing (or cabling?), and although it adds to the tactile appeal, those darned keys came out a little wobbly looking if they happened to fall on a cable.

And now, for a little comic relief:

baking, Cross-stitch and Embroidery

I shake de tree.

Sshhhh!  This is a top-secret sneak preview of a little something I whipped up for Mother’s Day, so think of this as an advance screening.

You may recall that a couple of years ago I embroidered a Swedish Chef towel for my mother’s birthday.  He still gets a lot of use, but it’s seemed to me that he could use a companion towel – most of our other tea towels come in pairs, except for the poor, lonely Chef.  So, bork-bork-bork, I decided to embroider the squirrel design from Sublime Stitching’s Forest Friends pack.

At this point, you’re probably questioning the connection.  Why not another Muppet, or something more kitchen-y?  Well, it all started like this: the very first episode of The Muppet Show that I remember seeing was the one guest-starring John Denver, with a camping theme.  In this one, the Swedish Chef has traded his kitchen for a little set-up in the woods, and has decided to make squirrel stew.  I can’t do it justice; just watch the video.

Now that it all makes a little more sense, on with the towel:

Here it is, posing on the oven door.

A better view of the stitching.  It’s done mostly in stem stitch with the little tufty fur bits in backstitch, and a hint of satin stitch to keep it interesting.

I also got some baking done!  (Although this is not for Mother’s Day.)  Behold, the Applesauce-Oat Bran Muffins from Veganomicon:

Truly, I have no future with the Muppets, as I didn’t haphazardly fling a single ingredient while making these.  🙂

Cross-stitch and Embroidery, General Sewing

The best thing since sliced bread? Toast!

I made my parents a toaster bag for their anniversary.  A what?  Toaster bag.  Due to a severe lack of counter space in the kitchen, the toaster lives in the pantry when not in use.  In the interest of keeping dust off it and keeping crumb-tray detritus off of everything else, it was generally stored in a repurposed bag from some store or other.  And, you know, the plastic bag worked just fine, but it lacked pizazz, so I decided a sturdy, washable fabric bag was in order.  When I presented it to them they were pleased (really!), and then my mom made an offhanded comment about having a cute toaster embroidery pattern “like the pot you did” (referring to the Aunt Martha’s “Animated Kitchenware” pattern I did on an apron for myself).

Aunt Martha’s “Animated Kitchenware”, alas, is limited to pots and pans and their ilk; no fancy plug-in appliances.  I checked out Sublime Stitching’s “Krazy Kitchen” sheet, but no toaster there, either.  Boo.  And then…I remembered downloading a peanut butter and jelly pattern from Urban Threads some time back.  Of course!  A bread-based design would work just as well, wouldn’t it?

The hearts make it so anniversary-appropriate!  This was my first attempt at crayon tinting, and I’m really pleased with how it came out.

For a better idea of the whole project and its dimensions.

Being used for its exact purpose.

Cross-stitch and Embroidery

I love my wife, but oh, you kid!

So, over the winter I took a Swing Dancercise class through the city’s leisure guide…basically, an hour of aerobics with swing-based footwork and a little choreography thrown in for fun.  I won’t be winning any dance contests anytime soon with what I’ve learned, since this was a no-partner-required deal, but hey, it got me off the couch for an hour a week.  The instructor made it really fun, too, always kept things upbeat.

When I rediscovered Sublime Stitching’s Roaring Twenties patterns in my stash, I decided she needed a little goodbye present, since our last class was rapidly approaching.  One of the dances we had learned was the Charleston, and that appeared to be just what this dancer was doing, so onto a tea towel she went!  (Besides, no kitchen should be without one of these!)

Action shot on my stove:

And a close-up of the stitching:

It’s mostly backstitch, with a little satin stitch and a few French knots thrown in for good measure.  Her dress and gold accessories were done in Petite Treasure Braid metallics, which are honestly the best metallic threads I’ve ever used.  Pricey, but worth it.

And her garter matches her shoes….eeee!!

Cross-stitch and Embroidery

Hey, good lookin’ – whatcha got cookin’?

Somehow, National Embroidery Month (known to the non-crafty types as “February”) almost slipped right by me with nary a stitch in sight.  Oops.  I started this on the 27th, and although I did not manage to finish it before the month was up, that was easily accomplished this past weekend (the first of National Craft Month – that still counts, right?).

Nothing too fancy, I’m afraid.  It started its life in my household as a rather plain white apron with inexplicably yellow pockets.  The bib needed something, though.  One Aunt Martha’s Animated Kitchenware transfer and a few old movies’ worth of embroidering later:

Action shot.  The bowl is empty, but I assure you, I did bake cookies later on.

Close-up.  Mostly comprised of stem stitch, with a little backstitch and satin stitch thrown in for interest.  Please excuse the distorted colours; thin white fabric over a red t-shirt will tend to do that.

I can’t help but feel it would make a lovely accompaniment to Rachael’s tea towels.  Too bad I’m not giving it up!