6 month wrap up!

Oh dear – I’ve just realised it’s been 6 months since I last posted.  I have no idea how it got that bad – I’ve still been crafting, and have had the intention to post, but then just kept thinking I’d do it later and then all of a sudden it was October.

Here’s a quick snapshot of what I’ve been working on since my last post, though…

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I pulled the Lion Huggable latch hook out of the craft room to try and do it again. I’ve got to say, I’m really not loving this project. I remember why I got rid of it in the first place – I’m at the stage where I need to sew it together and it is driving. me. crazy.

I’m currently stuck trying to sew the ears onto the head and think I may have to pull apart some of the stitching I’ve already done – I’m really hoping though that once I get the head done, the rest of the body won’t be as bad. I need to finish this by Christmas for my nephew, so I’m working to a bit of a deadline.  I tell you, it’s a lot easier to work to a deadline when I’m enjoying the project…

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I attended Stitches In Time with my mum (hey, remember how last year she took me to one of these and it started my stitching obsession? At least this time I didn’t pick up a new hobby).  It was a great day, we got 4 projects and they’re all in Cottage Garden Threads – this was one of the ones designed by Ramona that I have finished. It’s in “Mistletoe”, from memory. I’m dying to start the others, but I need to finish others first.

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I started a new cross stitch (because I clearly needed more…) – I’ve been working heaps on this one as the pattern is the spitting image of our late sausage dog who sadly had to be put down a couple of months ago. He was almost 18 so had a fantastic life, but I miss him quite a bit and I’m hoping that this will be a fitting tribute to him. I’ve done quite a bit more of this, so I’m hoping to put a separate post up with some progress shots.

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I am…incredibly behind on the Frosted Pumpkin Bakery “Once Upon A Time” cross stitch. I’ve still not finished April – and yes, I’m well aware that it’s almost November! I keep meaning to go back to this but just keep getting distracted by other projects.  I really do need to make a move on this one, particularly as I signed up for their 2014 Christmas sampler that starts next month, as well as purchased a few other patterns of theirs – plus I’m sure they’ll put out a 2015 monthly sampler!

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I finished the stitching for one of my Christmas presents..

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And bought a new sewing machine! I’ve got a ton of projects in mind for this for when I crack it open (hopefully tomorrow!) I bought this from a local sewing store and I’m in love with all of the fancy features that it has!

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I finished the stitching for this one, too!

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Block #2 of Rosalie Quinlan’s “Simply Blessed” BOM is complete – I am loving the blue/brown colour scheme on this one.

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As is block #1! Rosalie’s designs so often feature satin stitch – I’m still not a fan although I’m getting relatively decent at it. They also feature a TON of chain stitch, but I’ve luckily come across a different method of chain stitching which I found a lot easier to do, and it means that I can do it quicker with the added bonus of making the stitches tinier.

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I made a bit more progress on my Hogwarts Crest – this is a project I’m going to be stitching forever, at this rate – it’s nearly been 2 years since I started it!

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And lastly, I finished Leanne Beasley’s “Enjoy Today”. I haven’t worked out if I’ll frame these or wrap them around canvas as I need to finish the companion “Live Simply” which is sitting in my stash awaiting to be put into my rotation.

What have you all been up to?  I promise I’ll be making some more posts soon about specific pieces and more regularly as hopefully that’s going to keep me on my kick of making quite a bit of progress!

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It’s finished!

The giant epic latch hook? It’s finally finished!

I am so proud of myself for pushing through and finishing this one – shows how dedicated I can be if I really put my mind to it! I’ve actually found that I’m making a lot more progress towards quite a few different projects, so something I must be doing is working.

I started this one about 18 months ago – and then promptly put it away. I pulled it out again about 6 months ago (if you’ll remember, I made a ‘bet’ with my husband to finish this before August), and finished it a couple of days ago. It still needs binding, and I still need to work out the best way to hang it, but the actual hooking is done.

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Some stats for you: this is approx 75cm high by 125cm high. There’s 16500 pieces of wool in there. And I don’t want to think about how many hours, or how many episodes of trashy TV shows I watched whilst doing it.

In typical fashion, I immediately jumped into a new project.

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I don’t want to post too much, because it’s going to be a gift, but I have about 3 weeks to do this! I’m well on track – 2/3 of the stitching is already done, and I’m just waiting on a mini charm pack of fabric to arrive in the mail so I’ll be able to finish this one. The design is absolutely adorable, by Janelle Wind, so I can’t to share it once it’s finished and gifted.

I also pulled out my mum’s light box (which I apparently borrowed a few months ago, and we both forgot I had), so I could start tracing the above one, and a few others while I still had it.

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Another Christmas present – I probably won’t start stitching this one for a while, but it’s (seemingly) a small and quick one, plus this way it’ll be ready when I want to start.

I also pulled out my other patterns I have waiting for the fabric to be cut up and designs traced onto, because I’m planning on tracing out all of these ones on my days off, so they’re easily ready for me to pull out.

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I have a lot of patterns. Thankfully, a couple of them are iron on transfers.

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Look what else arrived in the mail! Block two of the Best Friends Forever block of the month. Oh dear – two months in and I haven’t even started either instalment. I probably won’t for another month, at least, so they’re piling up (and calling out to me), but I’m loving receiving these and looking at the patterns, and the gorgeous Candy Bloom fabric.

I haven’t forgotten about my cross stitch, either… (although “50 shades of grey is on a temporary hiatus – I need to work that back into my WIP rotations).

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The February block is nearly finished in the “Once Upon A Time” sampler! Which is a good thing, as we’re 1/3 of the way into March and I’d love to get a start on that. Still adore the design, although now I’m down to all the little fiddly bits that require 3-4 stitches in each colour. This is currently my immediate goal, to finish this block, and then move back to another stitchery project.

I have far too many projects on the go, but I’ve been making decent amounts of progress on all of them. Here’s hoping that keeps up, I’d love a couple more actual finishes this month!

I need a Fabrics Anonymous

What have I been up to lately? Well, work has been keeping me busy, so I haven’t had much to post yet. But I’ve been working on a few things here and there…

A bit more of “Enjoy Today” (satin stitch is still doing my head in, but it’s getting there!)

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I finished my Merry Snowmen latch hook…

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And I took another trip to Spotlight because they had 30% off printed fabric!

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I’ve acquired some cream and red fabric for all those Christmas stitheries, as well as a couple of different options for my “New Beginnings” that I want to start soon. And of course, no trip would be complete without a couple more fat quarters!

I also ordered some hanky linen online for some of my projects that are in a set, just to make it easier if I choose to do the other ones – with my track record, it’ll be years and then I won’t be able to find the old fabric! I also grabbed a couple of pieces of wool felt that I need for another project I’m doing as a present.

It’s been a bit of stash building, but in my defence almost all of it has plans – now I just need to set up my study/craft room and give myself some space to put it all!

Tutorial: How to finish a Latch Hook

Well, I did it! My first official finish for 2014 – and it’s a project that I’ve had, on and off, for the last 5+ years (most likely more – I can’t remember when I first bought this kit).

I finished the Snowmen latch hook off on Saturday, but this one below I’d actually finished around about 18 months ago, and never fully completed the whole thing. Which.. was just finishing off the edges and sewing it up. In retrospect, very easy.

The latch hook kits all seem to have the same directions for finishing off a completed latch hook, and are all rather useless, hence me putting this off for so long. I tried to search YouTube, but for once it’s let me down in terms of tutorial videos. I did come across a couple of blog posts, but they were a bit tricky to follow. So, trial and error ensued, and thanks to a couple of requests, I’m detailing the process. It’s by no means perfect, but I think I did a pretty decent job for my first go!

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Decent scissors were a must, to cut through the fabric. I also used some larger needles (Chenille, Size 18, according to the packet, although it doesn’t really matter), and some DMC Perle 5 thread. Perle 8 would work just as well, I think, it’s just that Spotlight only had the colour I wanted in Perle 5.

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I started by cutting about two squares up (just under an inch?) from the edge of the completed rug area. The straight side was obviously the easiest part, and so I started with this side. You could probably go a little closer, but in the end, it didn’t make a huge difference.

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I knotted off at one end, and tucked the fabric over. Then, it was just a simple matter of going through each square, one by one. I’ve tried to get a good picture to show what I did – basically, go on the diagonal, and make it loop over. Don’t worry too much if you catch the wool – I did this quite a bit and you can’t see from the other side, as long as the needle & thread are pulled through securely.

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Sometimes the canvas can be quite thick, and doesn’t move with the stitching (see above). Just fold it down as you get to the area, and it’ll stay in place as you stitch nearer to it.

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The rounded sides were a little trickier for me, but I continued with the rough pattern of two squares around the edge.  Less is more – you can always trim it if a certain bit gets too fiddly to work with, like I did.

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I did the corners in different ways, although I didn’t get a picture of the second one. In this one, I cut it down and folded it over, to try and make it a bit neater, however it didn’t really make a huge difference – the next one, it was 2 squares on either side and folded up nicely. As long as both sides are equal, and you keep them flat when sewing, they’ll sit quite nicely.

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I admit, the rounded areas aren’t the prettiest – when it went down 1 square each row, it was neater than when it went down 2 or 3 squares. Either way, the canvas is fairly easy to manipulate, and you should be able to do some kind of stitch on each diagonal square to catch the fabric. Don’t be worried about doing extra stitches, sometimes they are needed.

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As you finish each length of thread, knot it off and start another one. The finished product should hopefully end up something like this, roughly even around the whole thing. There is latch hook/rug binding which can be purchased to sew on top and produce a more polished finish, but I didn’t bother on this one – after all, nobody’s going to be looking at the back, and this is a Christmas themed rug anyway.

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The finished product! As you can see, it tucks well under and you can’t see where the stitching has come through. Relatively quick and simple to do, for a nice finished edge all round.

Luckily, I’ve only got one more that is rounded, and the rest of my latch hooks are rectangular or square, so it’ll be a lot quicker to sew along. I do have a couple of the “huggable” latch hooks which turn into a toy which have been proving to be a bit of a challenge – if I manage to work out what on earth I’m doing with those ones, I’ll try and put up a tutorial for that one too.

I can never stop at one thing!

Well, after my post a couple of days ago, I managed to finish off my latch hook yesterday. Which leads to the question – why am I so horrible at finishing my WIPs??

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Now, I have two latch hooks done, and just need to work out how to bind them and finish them off. I’ve had a look around online and pretty sure I have a decent idea, so I’ll be playing a bit of trial and error to see how I go with it. I’ll try and take pictures of the process, as a couple of people have asked about how to bind it. No guarantees it’ll work, though!

So with that, I decided a trip to Spotlight was in order, to pick up some thicker thread.

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As you can tell, I purchased more than the thread. I always seem to do this – trip and accidentally put more things into my basket.

Also pictured – a pile of fat quarters and thread for a project, some buttons that were on sale that I may or may not need (I believe a pattern called for “two” buttons, but they were on sale!), a tin to put my needles in, a pile of Christmas themed fat quarters that were also on sale, a jelly roll that I have no plans for but were great colours, some fat quarters that I can possibly use for those Christmas patterns I keep buying, and because who doesn’t like adding to their stash, some needles, and of course the thread I came into the store to get in the first place!

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A close up of the fabrics I selected for my “Happy Days” needlebook I’m planning as a present, and the matching threads. Technically I didn’t need a fat quarter – I needed far less – but the colours are gorgeous together and I may even make another one.

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I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this one before, but this is my work on my largest latch hook project to date (it’s quite literally as tall as me), and this got put aside for about a year. I’ve pulled it out again, and am slowly working on 10×10 blocks in the theory that as long as I do a little bit of work on a project each day, I’ll get some progress going. It seems to be going well, although the piece is so large I have to do on the bed, as it won’t fit out on the couch. This one isn’t on my list of goals or working towards a deadline to finish, as it’s just so damn huge. Maybe some day!

The completed baby sampler

Last year (back when I wrote a grand total of one blog post), I mentioned that I was becoming an aunt, and was going to be making a baby sampler as a record of his birth.

Well, I’ve since finished that one months ago and given it to the parents, but I’ve never written about it.

It took me around three months to do the whole thing – luckily it had quite a bit of block colour, as this was essentially the first cross stitch in ten years I’d tackled! I was working to a deadline, though, so that kept me motivated. Much stitching was done on the train, and I got a number of people asking me about it. Eventually I finished it, except for the centre, and just had to wait for baby Dylan to be born to get the birth details.

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The pattern didn’t really look as nice with the weight in metric, so after consulting a number of sites (god forbid I get the weight wrong, this thing was getting framed!), I converted it to imperial, and added in the final details.

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The final product, after washing. I just love how bright this is. Now, I just had to get it framed.

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I absolutely adore how this has been framed. I cannot recommend The Framer’s Gallery in Seaford enough – not only did they help pick out the border and the frame, but haven’t they done a fantastic job?? It’s a bit of a drive for me, but it’s well worth it.

We gave the sampler at Dylan’s Christening, and I could finally put a picture up on Facebook to share – before then, I wanted to keep it quiet. It’s nice having a surprise, but it’s painful when you want to show everyone your progress!

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Dylan, a couple of months ago. He’s pretty damn adorable, hey?

One project finished, another to start

I’m proud to say that I have managed to finish the stitchery of my “Love, Hope, Joy, Peace” that I started last month. I’m rather stoked as this is the first stitchery project that I’ve done – and I managed to complete it!

It was surprisingly easy to get the hang of the colonial knots (I’m not sure why I was so scared of them) and I love the finished product.

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I just need to finish off the fabric around the edge and do backing, but I plan on finishing that in the new year.

Next up is “Enjoy Today”, part of a set of two that I plan to complete in the first half of the year. I’ve done the iron on transfer so now I just need to start the stitching. I’m heading up to Sydney next week for a few days and am hopeful that I can knock out some whilst I’m away.

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Like a lot of Leanne’s designs, I love the colours and I can’t wait to have the finished project. Then I just have to work out – frame it, or put it on a canvas??