Sunday, May 19, 2019

Starting things...

Recently I seem to be about starting things.  

Hopefully, soon, I'll be about finishing them. 😉

Shortly after posting last week's YOP post I started on this Blue Tit Cushion:

See the legs and the tip of its tail?  This is a fun project and I hope it doesn't take me long to finish it, but honestly...  I've gotten seriously distracted with cross stitch this week.  Last week Jo-Ann Fabrics had a coupon for 40% off everything that was full price and I just couldn't let it go to waste.  So I made a list of several cross stitch projects I'd like to make, surveyed my collection of floss and fabric that was already in my possession, and made a list for some cross stitch supplies to purchase.

I came home with some Aida and Evenweave cloth in natural colors (I only had white and cream in my stash), and some beautiful floss colors.  Finally having everything I needed, on Thursday I got started on this Partridge in a Pear Tree design:

I like the original design (in the little oval picture frame), but see what looks like gray in the wings in the original design?  What appears to be gray in the original is actually two shades of blue - lighter shades than what is used on the head and underbelly.  I liked the gray.  And I didn't want my partridge to have country-blue wings.  So I'm substituting a couple of colors I had in my stash, and so far I think it's working.   I'm committed at this point, so I'm pretty determined to like it.  Hopefully I'll finish it soon.


And finally... feeling a little regretful that I hadn't even picked up my crochet hook since last weekend, I quickly made a little Sun's Out Coaster:

I've been keeping a crocheted coaster on the computer desk, so this will be a fun one to switch to once it heats up.  Wait a minute...  that would be now!   This is the third day in a row it's been in the 80's here.  And it's humid.  Hopefully, we'll get rain today as the weather pattern pushes through and there'll be some cooler air behind that.  I am not ready for 80 degrees in mid-May.  Come Memorial Day we can expect that kind of heat, but I want me some breezy crisp mornings for another week at least!

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Sunday, May 12, 2019

My first pillowcases are finished!

After pulling out my floss and various unfinished projects last week I set my mind to finishing up the pillowcases that I had started...I don't even remember when.  Well over a year ago, I'm sure.  

It's a similar pattern to something I remember embroidering when I was young and once I got back to them I enjoyed the nostalgia factor as I worked on them.  I'm so happy with how they turned out.
These pillowcases had a serged edge and attaching a crocheted edging to them is done differently from how one would attach a crocheted edging to say, a deeply hemmed pillowcase.  I referred to this example to get me started, but then created my own edging.  I've written down the pattern for the border and have shared it below. 

I found it helpful to have a mark at each spot where I needed to punch through the fabric with a crochet hook to make the single crochet base.  I found this Dritz Marking Pen at Walmart and it worked great:
You can barely see the small dots I made on the fabric, but I think the picture shows what I did with the marker.  And the disappearing ink truly does disappear within about 24 hours.  

Let me say, even though my little marks were uneven in relationship to the edge of the pillowcase, they still were very helpful in my keeping some consistency in where I made these stitches.  That said, I'm not sure how important true consistency is when doing this foundation row.   It's just not the part that anyone is likely to focus on once there is a pretty border to look at.

So here's the pattern for the crocheted border:

The following stitches were used:
chain (ch) 
slip stitch (sl st) 
single crochet (sc) 
double crochet (dc) 
picot (sc, chain 3, sc into the front/bottom of original sc, sc)
Rnd 1: Using a 1.0 mm (or smaller) steel hook (to punch through the fabric), crochet sc’s all around the edge of a pillowcase that has been serged or rolled and hemmed. Join first sc with a sl st.
At this point I changed to a size 1.5 mm hook (because it’s easier to crochet size 10 thread with).
Rnd 2: Ch 3, dc into same first stitch (this creates a “v” shape); skip next 2 stitches; *dc, ch-1, dc in next stitch, skip next 2 stitches*; repeat * to * around and join to top of beginning ch-3 with sl st. If fudging is required, so be it. It will not show.
Rnd 3: Sl st to first ch-1 space. Ch 1, *picot into ch space; 5 dc’s in next ch-1 space*. Repeat * to * around. Join to first sc with sl st. Again, if fudging is required it won’t show once the pillowcase is finished, and definitely won't be obvious once it is laundered.

Something I feel is worth noting:   My pillowcase was a blend of polyester and cotton.  So I did not expect it to shrink much at all when laundering it.  The thread I used to crochet the edging was 100% cotton.  I did expect it to shrink somewhat.  

As I crocheted the edging, it produced a little bit of flare.  One way to minimize that was to skip three (instead of 2) stitches occasionally in Rnd 2.  But mostly I decided to not worry about it and trust that the process of machine washing and drying would shrink the cotton thread a bit and the flare would reduce.  And it did.  Perfectly, I thought.  

So my thoughts about this (if using 100% cotton thread and a synthetic/cotton blend pillowcase):  a fair amount of flare is acceptable, but if it gets too ruffly, adjustments should be made while crocheting to tone it down a bit (unless you like a ruffly edge, of course).  It's all subjective, but I hope mentioning this helps someone else not to worry about it much if they give this crocheted edging a try and they see it start to flare out.  If you work with acrylic yarn or a 100% cotton pillowcase you'll have different issues.  Just be aware of what you're working with it and accommodate it.  
Please let me know if the pattern written above doesn't make sense anywhere.  I think this may be the first time I've tried to write a pattern down.

And that's all there is to it.  The first round of sc's (punching the hook through the fabric) was the hardest part - and I'll make no bones about it, it was tedious.  But after that round it was kind of fun.

And I just love how it turned out!

To see what other YOPers are up to 

And finally...

I hope all who celebrated had a 

Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Show and tell on myself...

This is the post that almost wasn't.

Last week started out with such great intentions.   

And it ended with not much to show for it.  😟

Enthused about the Stitch Mayniacs starting new cross stitch projects this month and me sort of thinking I would follow along and maybe even join in, I went to pull out my embroidery floss and Aida cloth to see what I had to work with.

I found this small plastic tote box with a number of projects I had started (some decades ago) and never finished:

As I began pulling them out, I thought, why on earth am I thinking of starting new projects when I have all these that really ought to just be given some love and get finished already.


In no particular order, I found all sorts of things..

These pretty little strawberries are actually finished.  I think I've decided to make a small pillow (maybe a pincushion) with this. I just need to find some coordinating fabric.  So, while I don't want you to hold me to it, it is certainly within the realm of possibility that this might get finished sometime in the next decade...


These little Amish children have been finished and hiding away in this box for a while now.  The date I stitched on it is 1985.  For the record, that was...  a loooong time ago.  I'm not into decorating with Amish children anymore, but it seems a shame to not do something with this.  A sofa pillow, maybe (fencing the picture in with strips like a quilt)?   I'll need to find more coordinating fabric...

Okay, now this is interesting...
I know this project is at least 20 years old - maybe 30.  I bought this kit once upon a time thinking it  a great idea to embroider an angel tree-topper.  She has a whole dress and wings. And a halo!   Every single piece has embroidery work to do, and then it all gets stitched together with the skirt left open at the bottom so it sits atop a Christmas tree.  

I was so eager and full of optimism when I started her.
This is all I got done.  Sigh...


These cute little Christmas bags are all done except for some detail work on the Stocking one.  I actually finished one of these (meaning I turned it into a sachet and have used it for many years as a Christmas ornament).  The finished one is a partridge in a pear tree.  It's in the attic with the other Christmas decorations or I'd have taken a picture of it, too.  I mention it just in case anyone is beginning to doubt I am capable of finishing stuff like this.


And before we put Christmas away, here are some ornaments I started once upon a time:
I made a bunch of these - I'm sure also more than 20 years ago.  At the time, I gave several away as small gifts to family members.  I think last Christmas my MIL (who is a quilter) returned the ones I gave her - when she began downsizing her Christmas ornaments.  I think my MIL being a quilter is the whole reason I even started making these way back then...


And this little bookmark I've shown here before (I'm thinking... 3... 4? years ago):
Seriously, I ought to be able to finish this in a couple of hours - including hemming, or stitching up the sides and fraying them.  Fray or hem...  which should I do here?


And there are the truly guilt-inducing items:
My needle didn't slip.  The photo is pixelated where personal info was stitched.

This sweet little sampler above was for my middle son.  It was to go on his nursery wall.  He turned 27 in February.  I'm now saving it for my first grandchild (being the optimist that I am), and will only feel a little regret when I rip the original name and date out.  

FWIW, those two needles were in this when I unfolded it.  Let's assume I worked on this after my son was born - for at least a year or two.  That means those needles have been stuck in that fabric for at least 25 years!  

FWIW, every project that wasn't finished had a needle left in it.  Most threaded with floss or wool.  Ready to pick up where I left off, I guess...

And I wonder why I can never find a needle when I need one.


And finally...  I believe I made this last one around 1988-89.  I was into sheep then, too.  Amish children and sheep.  In fact, I liked sheep so much I decorated my first born's nursery with sheep and this was meant to be a pillow for his nursery.  He turned 30 last month.
I think it would make a nice pillow, still.  Since we're overdue for getting some new furniture, though, I think it ought to be tucked away until I know what color of fabric(s) I ought to trim it out with.   As always, I'm open to suggestions...


So what did I actually accomplish this week?  Well, if you think I got sidetracked pulling out all my finished-but-not-finished, and partially-finished needle projects, you would be correct.  But at least I did something with floss and needle.

I started back up on my simple embroidered pillowcases and I am determined to get these finished!

And I plan to trim them out with some simple crocheted edging like this, I think:

Aren't those swans pretty in their simplicity?   I think this is from a set of pillowcases my husband's grandmother embroidered for us 39 years ago.   That, or my grandmother embroidered them and that would make them at least 56 years old (because she died when I was just 4).  Either way, the pillow cases are not usable anymore, but they inspire me to want to make more so I hang onto them as a reminder of how sweet it was to sleep on pretty pillows.  Once I finish some myself, I think I can let the old, tattered ones go.

Oh yes...   And I got a little crocheting in, too.   I began a Bertie Baby Blanket.  Here's just a peek:

To see what other YOPers are up to, 

And if you're at all inclined to join us when we begin a new year on July 1st, please do!  While everyone is a knitter and/or crocheter, other crafts are highlighted, too.  All you need is a blog and to be a member of Ravelry (membership is free)!  Come check us out and see if this Year Of Projects thing looks like fun.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

I've got a finish!!!


It's hard to tell from the photo, but the colors are 
a minty green, white and light gray 
(the edge and long stitches are in gray)

This Hexagon Baby Blanket ended up being a happier project to work on than the one I started out doing a month or so ago.    I'm so glad I switched.  It's a very easy pattern that went fairly speedily when I applied myself to it.  I will probably make this pattern again some day.  

I don't know if I mentioned this before, but I recently found a place that was a ready recipient of my baby and child-size blankets.  I've made a number of them over the years with no recipients in mind - just because I love making blankets.  That said, I was starting to feel a bit burdened about having so many around.

Well, I finally decided to get serious about finding a place to donate them, and after calling several places that didn't have need of them I began to think my blanket days might just be drawing to a close.   And then I was talking with a friend from Michigan who'd recently begun serving on the board of a Foster Closet, and she suggested that idea as a possible donation site.  That hadn't occurred to me!   Within a few minutes of searching on the internet I was able to find several foster closets within a 30-miles radius.  But digging deeper I found a fairly new one just up the road from me.  I e-mailed them, and within minutes they responded with a hearty "Yes! We'd love to have your blankets!"   

So just like that - I'm back in the blanket making business!  I'm glad, too, because blankets are a great way to burn through stash.   I'm happy making them, and hopefully children in trauma and experiencing terrible upheaval in their lives are in some small way comforted by a fresh new soft blanket of their own.


On a different note...  last week I  became the temporary holder of  I-can't-even-count-how-many vintage cross stitch magazines.  Here's just a sampling (seriously, I don't even want to count how many there are):

Eventually, they will be on their way to a fund-raising event, but being the transporter of them I get to enjoy the eye candy for now, and have picked out a few patterns I think I might like to make. 

And wouldn't you know...  just this week Sandra of farmgirlsam, and Jenn of Jenn's Crafty World, mentioned in her latest Flosstube video Stitch Maynia (a cross stitch challenge during the month of May).  All kinds of cross-stitchers are posting about this right now, but these two ladies in particular have inspired me as they include cross stitch into their various projects.

So...  While I'm not officially participating in Stitch Maynia, I am hoping to start some small cross stitch projects.   We'll see how far this interest really goes - and frankly, we'll see if I actually cross stitch anything.  But starting May 1st, I'm going to be following along - mostly just watching other Mayniacs as they start new projects, and hopefully gathering inspiration from them.

Since it's the last Sunday in April, here's a picture of ten dishcloths I knitted up this month:

I've been in a pastel sort of mood...

And now, I have a confession to make...  I had to make a trip to Hobby Lobby to get some more gray yarn to finish the blanket above, and when I saw on their weekly flyer that crochet thread was on sale, I told myself I could buy a few balls of it.  And I did. I bought 6 balls of pretty colored thread.   And one skein of yarn for the blanket.   I know none of that matters to anyone but me, but it has set me back a bit in reaching my goal.   That said, overall I'm still ahead of the game so I'm not hanging my head too low.  😉 

To see what other YOPers are up to 

2019 Yarn Stash-Down progress:  39.4/100 skeins

Sunday, April 21, 2019

A happy birthday it was...

I want to thank everyone who commented last week with warm wishes for a happy 60th birthday.  Thursday was the big day and a good one it was.

Hubs had spilled the beans to everyone who might be interested, so I was treated to lots of well wishes.

The funniest thing, though, is that first thing Thursday morning I received a phone call from my bank with a personal Happy Birthday wish.  Now, that has never happened before.  

I should have asked the caller to sing to me.  😄

I got the nicest messages from friends and family via e-mail and Facebook, was sung to at Bible study, ate lunch with two girlfriends, had flowers and Shari's Berries waiting on my front porch when I got home, and in the evening enjoyed supper with my husband and two of our sons at The Bosphorus Cafe in Indy.   What fun.

After sharing a large appetizer plate of Hummus, Ezme (a finely chopped tomato and pepper salad), Tabouli, Turkish Salsa, Babaganush (eggplant, tahini and yogurt salad), and Dolma (stuffed grape leaves), we each had a different lamb dish.  Husband and youngest son ordered the Adona Kabob and the Beyti Kabob.  But the best, in my opinion was my other son's Lamb Shish Kabob.  I also enjoyed my Lamb Mediterranean.  So many things to sample!  And their rice and warm, soft flat bread (looked like this Bazlama) was amazing.  Mmmmmm...

We discovered this restaurant last year when my son (pictured with me above) suggested it for his celebratory meal after his college graduation.  It is such a happy, bustling place with so much character.   It immediately came to mind when my husband asked me where I'd like to go for dinner.  It did not disappoint!  

I wish I had taken more pictures, though.  I  always wish I had taken more pictures...

And that was my birthday.   It was the best.

(happy sigh here)


And now I suppose I should share my latest yarny project since this is a YOP post.  I didn't accomplish a whole lot in that department, except for starting on a blanket redo.    

Here's a peek:

I definitely like this project better than the blanket I had started a week earlier.  I suspect I'm going to need to buy some more gray yarn to finish this, but hopefully I can do that and get the border finished this next week.


And that's all I've got!  

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