Thursday, 15 March 2012

The Craft List

What do you say we stop talking about jobs and redundancies and leaving Hull and all that kind of depressing stuff and focus on something totally frivolous? I can sense your wildly nodding heads from here.

There was an awful lot of crafting that's been going on these here parts. Well at least there was until the R-word came up and during all the uncertainty I seemed to develop a complete crafting paralysis. I would have thought that crafting would have been great as a way of channelling my efforts away from thinking up various job scenarios but instead my coping mechanism seemed to consist of a regimen of sitting and staring at the TV and a lot of sleeping.

But before that there was a lot going on and I feel it would be remiss not to document it in some way.

Now. Who else saw Heather's baby blanket and went into paroxysms of delight? Me too! I developed an overwhelming urge to just crochet these filled in granny squares, using any spare wool I could get my hands on. I was a woman possessed for some time and I swear at one point I became convinced that I was in the crochet version of The Red Shoes and I was literally going to not be able to put my crochet hook down until I died from exhaustion.

They are now sat in a stack where they shall remain because I really have no idea what I'm doing. I feel this might be something I have a flurry of activity on before it lies dormant. Perhaps I should call it the Mount Etna blanket.

I feel I've been bitten by some kind of embroidery bug lately and there is so much I want to do that's embroidery based. My head is bursting full of ideas about various things I could do. So much so that I might have to buy shares in the stock of embroidery hoop manufacturers if I ever actually carry out all of the things in my head.

Mostly in my head however is that I really want to learn how to do some new stitches. Especially inspired by the fact that one of my Not Really Resolutions this year is to learn how to do French Knots.

Whilst all these vague notions were spinning round my head, the Feeling Stitchy blog launched their January Stitch-along which was all about couching. I had bookmarked it to come back to later and when it was suddenly a few days away from Valentine's Day and I realised I hadn't made a card for The Person I whipped out some aida, yarn and thread and made something up on the spot. It was far from perfect and most definitely resembled something a child would do but it wasn't bad for a first attempt I thought. Especially a first attempt which probably took a grand total of 30 minutes, if that.

But then this sparked off something in my head and out of nowhere it came to me. I could quite easily do one piece of work and demonstrate lots of different stitches....

Now granted the picture below doesn't look like anything. That's because it was started in a flurry and I haven't picked it up since, but the idea is to fill the fabric inside this hoop with many many hearts of different sizes and shapes and in different embroidery stitches. There will be a stem stitch heart and a chain stitch heart and a running stitch heart and a backstitch heart...get where I'm going?

I got so incredibly excited about my idea that I had to start on it immediately and I thought that it would be cool to have, as a centre point, a fabric heart, which would be stitched in place. Now I realise why people are always bleating on about bondaweb. I decided to just cut out the heart and stitch it straight on. Not a good idea, you can see it's kind of wrinkled and baggy. I should have not been cheap and got hold of some bondweb, adhered it properly to the fabric and then stitched round it. I'm kind of undecided whether to start again with this one. But the idea is still bloody awesome and I'm getting it down now in case someone else thinks of it (which I'm sure they have by the way, it's highly unlikely I would have an original idea).

Cross Stitch
The biggest piece of cross stitch I've ever worked on is coming along very nicely. As you can see from the picture below I am officially finished cross stitching the main design and I am over the moon crazy in love with it.

I was actually dreading the back stitch part of it because it's really detailed in places and let's face it, backstitch is a pain in the proverbial at the best of times, let alone when you're doing it all over a piece like this. Plus I decided I would be a good girl and would backstitch over each individual square, instead of taking it over a few like I might be tempted to do for a card.

However, once I began the backstitch I could see the design really come to life. The windows immediately looked darker and stood out more. The brick work, which kind of made me want to die when I was doing it, makes the tower on the right look amazing.

This picture was taken at the end of February and I've done a lot more since then, but I think I'll wait until I'm done for a big reveal.

I also immediately began cross stitching the needle felt case which came with the January issue of CrossStitcher magazine. It's got soluble aida in it - brilliant! I went all kinds of wrong though in the beginning. Like I can't even explain to you how wrong I went. But thanks to my experience as a cross stitcher I didn't lose all faith and have a fit about it, I just made efforts to work around it and now I'm just pretending it never happened.

One bad thing though, that kit had absolutely nowhere near enough thread to complete the project. I'm a pretty frugal stitcher when it comes to thread and the red that was part of the kit barely did half the design. Luckily I had the matching colour already in my thread box but it seems to defeat the object of having a free gift if you don't provide people with the materials to actually stitch it.

I'm looking forward to finishing this because then I can finally stop finding needles stuck in random pieces of aida all over the place.

Oh and in between all of this I've also been working on another couple of mobiles that someone at work has asked me to do. Busy busy busy.

Now all I need to do is actually pick some of this stuff back up, instead of just sitting and staring at it and feeling overwhelmed. I'm almost feeling the need for another Gantt Chart here.

So. What have you been doing lately you crafty little lot?


  1. I flippin LOVE that castle!! It's awesome! I am not a sewer. (So-er) :o) And your squares are very pretty too.

  2. What do you think of the soluble aida? I want to do some blackwork heart embroidery on linen for a quilt, i tried waste canvas and hated it.
    Love all your crafting.

  3. Funny you should ask... :)

    I bought some crochet stuff online recently because I wanted to do something crafty and I could crochet when I was a kid so thought i might be okay at it... I have no idea what i'm doing. I tried watching youtube clips and I don't understand how to actually even begin!

  4. I haven't really been crafting as I have recently joined a mundane office environment and been swept away with the tide of accustomising myself to a new atmosphere. HOWEVER, there is an epic shortage of tea cups in the kitchen and, as the patron saint of perfect tea making, I have decided to buy mugs for everyone on my desk and some ceramic paint and have a mug painting day!

    Hoorah for personalised mugs and tea!!!!

  5. That cross stitch is amazing, I would never have the patience to do that!! Looks like you've been a busy crafty bee!

  6. Love the hearts and the castle!!
    I am super lazy and still havent done the tag thing from a while ago that you were kind enough to tag me in, but hopefully will do so this weekend. Hope you have a good weekend

  7. Love the hearts and the castle!!
    I am super lazy and still havent done the tag thing from a while ago that you were kind enough to tag me in, but hopefully will do so this weekend. Hope you have a good weekend

  8. Wow you are cross stitch queen!! Envious! I really need to put my artistic hat back on. I have some ideas...just need some tracing paper and some

  9. WOW..holyfrikkinmoly..You are GOOD..that cross stitch is amazing!
    You being so crafty is making me want to make loads of things, can I now just have a few extra hours in the day and some more skills please!xxx

  10. This all looks amazing. The castle cross-stitch is particularly wow! I like cross-stitching but have never done anything that extensive. Look forward to seeing the finished project.


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