Monday, 30 April 2012

All our Yesterdays

I love the "All our Yesterdays" cross-stitch design series!
Ok, not all of them - there are some in the series that aren't so appealing to me - but, basically, if they are good, they are adorable!

I've so far finished two, both came as kits, produced by DMC.
The first I made, ten years or so ago now is this one:

I seem to remember that the strands weren't sorted in this one - you had to try to identify the colours, which took me quite a while. Nowadays, it seems that kits typically come with the colours sorted, which is a real improvement.

You might notice that I did very little backstitch although the original requires a lot of it. I'm not a great fan of backstitch - a painting doesn't have outlines either. I'll do it if it seems necessary to distinguish shapes or to achieve an effect, but will leave it out wherever possible. As the colours here were very lively and created sharp contrasts on their own, it didn't need much.

This second one I made was pleasantly quick work, a real summer project:

As you can see, there was more backstitch necessary here, but I still didn't do all that was suggested in the pattern.

And, yes, you can see where the fabric got dented from holding it and I don't know how to get rid of these (or also of creases from folding sometimes). The reason here is that these kits come with a very stiff fabric that lends itself to working without a hoop, especially if the design is so small - so pretty much my own fault, I guess. Still, I wonder what other stitchers do about this problem.


Don't you just love the word "doily"? It sounds so charmingly quaint, I think. :D And I guess it's true that in terms of use and usefulness, doilies are a quaint bit of silliness. Still, I think they are ever so pretty, good fun to make, and can look rather pretty underneath an item on a table or so - enhancing both, even though the former will cover up part of the pattern. Also protecting the table from scratching, I suppose. :)

I first started making doilies almost 30 years ago and tend to get phases in which I make a few of them, followed by years of not touching a crochet needle. One of those phases came upon me last year, and here are two results I gave away as Christmas presents.

They are both from "Diana Spezial, Filethäkeln" (D 168, published in 1996).

The first is Modell 8, which I chose because it's quite small - I wanted to use some yarn I'd found in my yarn box, so needed to make sure there would be enough. However, it turned out that the numbers of stitches as given in the pattern didn't work out for me. It's possible that this is because my yarn and needle-size differed from the one used in the pattern, although I'd have thought that if you use a thinner or thicker yarn, your stitches are accordingly bigger or smaller, too, so it should work out either way.
I used a 0.75 or 1.0 size needle, so pretty much as recommended (1.0 for the pattern) I don't know what gauge the yarn was, only that it was what I'd used with the same needle before.

Anyway, to make the chains in the outer part fit in length, I had to use 26 chain stitches, instead of the 14 suggested by the pattern!
I used 18 gr of yarn, and the diameter of the finished doily is 23 cm (as opposed to 20gr and 15 cm diameter as stated in the pattern - a very curious disagreement, to my mind).

The second doily is Modell 9 from the same magazine, but only two thirds of it. The second and third segments (if you look at the different basic shapes in the design as three different segments) would have been repeated, but as it was exactly the same and - again using a different yarn from the one used in the pattern - it was beginning to look critical whether the stitch counts would fit, I decided to stop it at that point.
The yarn is Anchor Aida, plain white (col. 00001), gauge 20.

Another reason was that this way the diameter is similar to the one before, so I could give them both away as similar sized presents.

Baby bib

A friend of mine had a baby girl in November 2011, which gave me the opportunity to make something for a baby.
I found this bib in the needlework department at Kaufhof or Karstadt, with an Aida field for cross-stitch, and I thought I'd stitch the baby's name together with something decorative.

So, yes, the baby is called "Ada" - which is short enough to make it very little work to stitch, but also so short as to need something to make it interesting.

I got the idea with the building blocks pretty quickly but was sure I'd seen something like that in one of my many pattern magazines. So I looked and looked, but no luck. Maybe I imagined it. After a couple of hours I concluded it would be quicker to design the blocks myself. (Which explains why they look a bit crooked. ;) )

As usual, it took me ages to decide on the colours (and I've now forgotten which ones I used), but I do like the result.


I made this Amigurumi panda for Christmas 2011. 

The pattern is a free online pattern I found here:

I found the pattern while googling for panda-pics and thought it was so cute, I had to try it. The description and what I generally found about amigurumi sounded fairly easy, especially as I consider myself a halfways experienced crocheter. It didn't take me long to find out, though, that this was annoyingly fiddly work.
The first problem for me, of course, was translating all the crochet terms and then following a written description - I'm used to working from charts.

I used a basic polyacrylic yarn, mostly because I wanted plain white and black for colours and the only other option at the local haberdasher's in these colours was cotton, and I doubted if cotton would stay in shape. 
This wool turned out a bit awkward for fiddly work, though, as the single strands of it came apart too easily.

I was also unable to find small enough and black buttons for the eyes - I finally settled for the slightly large copper-coloured buttons I found at the local market.

All in all, I find it cute and idiosyncratic, and it was fun to see it take shape, but overall, it was too fiddly to be enjoyable work for me, so I can't see myself trying more amigurumi in a hurry.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012


I found this pretty ribbon material at Karstadt or Kaufhof last year and bought the last approx. 130 cm they had. It's really meant for making decorative bows etc, of course, but the width of the stitching area is exactly what I like for bookmarks, the colour is pretty and neutral, and the thread count an ideal medium, making stitches small enough to look nice while being easily visible. The margin is pretty, too, I think, even though it makes the bookmark a bit wider than normal.

Thread count allows 31 stitches at a 2x2 stitch, and 63 at 1x1.

Here are two bookmarks I made as Christmas presents for the ladies named in the stitching. 


Both patterns are from cross-stitch magazines - I'll have to see if I can find which ones. I did replace colours, but don't remember what I used.
The "J" is Anchor 401(anthracite, not black) and consists of line-stitches like the style used in blackwork, while the flowers are cross-stitch.

The next two were planned to be Christmas presents, too, but I didn't get them all done, so as both these friends had birthdays in March, I made them for birthday presents. They were for guys, so I was looking for something less floral and more geometrical/abstract.

The pattern used here is from Anna Special, Kreuzstichmuster, issue E719, with a slight change in that I left out an additional bit of green in the corners of the crosses - at five stitches in two colours for each of the twelve corners, it seemed way more trouble than it was worth, and I'm quite pleased with how it turned out.
Colours used are Anchor 22 and 894 (for the dark red and pink, resp.) and 940 and 977 for the dark and light blue, resp.

This is made from a pattern found online (at Needle Artistry, googling for "Celtic pattern"), except I didn't fill the background with stitches, as suggested there, but only made the Celtic knot, using my own colour choice, too. The colour used is Anchor 22, and the pattern used up most of a skein.

There's just enough fabric left for one more - guess that might be one for me, then. ;) :D

Monday, 16 April 2012

A new blog

I thought I could do with another blog I can feel guilty about not updating. ;)

Other than that, though, this blog is to keep a record of my needlework - I've been doing some more needlework again recently, including some small gift projects that were finished quickly, and have been thinking that it's a bit awkward how shortly after finishing a project, I forget where I found the pattern, what materials I used or, most importantly, what changes I decided to make to the original.

I've also started following a number of other needlework blogs, and found it's a great way to get ideas and inspiration.

So this is to record needlework projects with pictures of the results.