Category Archives: Crafts

Basic Stitches used in Cross Stitching Embroidery

cross stitchOne of the easiest and interesting stitches to learn is Cross Stitching. It begins with a simple X shape stitch that is repeated several times forming a design. Counted cross stitch designs are made with the help of a chart or grid where each square has a symbol that represents one stitch. Once you learn this kind of stitching, you will simply love the rhythm and endless opportunities that it offers. There are different kinds of stitches used in cross stitching embroidery. Amongst them, quarter stitches, half stitches and three-quarter stitches are known as Partial stitches since they are a part of cross stitching. Fractional stitches, on the other hand, are recommended for experienced stitchers and these are called advanced stitches. Read on to know about basic stitches for cross stitching embroidery.

  • Half stitch – This type of stitch moves from one corner of the fabric to the opposite corner. Half stitch is diagonal in shape and some designs use this stitch for adding texture to the shadow and background.
  • Quarter Stitch – Quarter stitch is somewhat similar to half stitch, however it is half in length and extends into the center of stitching square. These stitches are used to complete a three quarter stitch or form details that has been stitched in other colors.
  • Three Quarter Stitch – Three Quarter stitch can be used to form curved design lines. This type of stitch makes it easier for adding detail to the “blocky” look of traditional cross stitching.
  • Back Stitch – This type of stitch is a straight stitch used for lettering or outlining. These stitches are used for adding finer details to the design, forming lines and outlining shapes.
  • French Knot – The French Knot is known as a popular decorative stitch used in cross stitch to add more details. French knots look superb when clustered together for creating texture, or serving individually as a center of a flower, or animal eyes on the design you are stitching.

Make sure you are aware how to use necessary tools and supplies to make your cross stitching project successful. If you are a beginner or an experienced stitcher, seek advice of an expert when learning cross stitching to master these skills within a short time.

Crafty Finds At Work

My boss had some crafty books on her desk.  She said she found them in the lunchroom across the hall.  One of the people from another office had left them there and were free for the taking.  So I took two.

The first one is how to incorporate flea market finds into decor. It includes some lovely instructions in the back and looks like it may spark a few ideas.

The other one is a book of purses to sew.  I may have to give one or two of them a try, but tailor them to my style.  Luckily, fabric comes in all sorts of colors and patterns.

When I tire of these books, they will have a home at Art of Recycle, as a way of passing them along to the next person when I’m done with them.

Still, right now, yay for free books!

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Three Projects

I am behind on updating my FO’s, and here are three that I have completed and want to share with you guys.

1.  Murky Waters Scarf

I’ve knit this scarf a few times, and I felt like doing it again for a Ravelry project.  I also spun the yarn a while ago.  I think it turned out quite nice!  I’ll probably put it in the pile to sell at a craft show.

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2.  Raven Collar

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I love it when I can knit something out of Vogue Knitting, or at least adapt one from there.  In the Spring/Summer 2013 issue, there was a series of collar that looked fun and fashionable to knit.  I gave on a shot, and here it is!

Below is a closeup of the actual lace pattern.  This one is modeled after “Tango.”

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3.  Lovegood Square 3

I always thought owl cables looked difficult, but they really aren’t and I gave on a shot for one of my Hogwart’s squares.  I had some lovely yellow Plymouth Encore Worsted that made for nice knitting and made a lovely background for my owl here.

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Well, those are my three projects that I wanted to share with your this evening?  What have you finished recently?  Tell me!

Knitting Lessons

Deb arrived last night with a pair of US 8 needles and a bright multicolored skein of yarn. I was going to teach her how to knit.

Deb’s grandmother had taught her how to cast on and knit Continental style, rather than the English style that I use. As with learning any new craft, it’s best to do what comfortable for you, so she’s going to be Continental knitter, and that might encourage me to learn that style, too.

She’s pretty good! I gave her a ball of Lily’s Sugar and Cream and started her off on a garter stitch washcloth. Basically, I’m going to be showing her how to read a pattern, decreases and increases, and how to fix stuff.

I’m very happy to have a new knitting buddy! Deb and I have been friends since high school, and I’m glad that she’s joining me in knitting. We knit for a while, and then she left to pick up the kids, with needles, yarn, new project, and one of my books in hand.

I told her to look at how to purl with Continental knitting, and then we’ll start a flat hat. It’s getting a little too warm for hats and scarves right now, but they are still good to practice with and can be stored for when the cold weather comes again.

As for myself, I might give Continental knitting a try. Deb says it’ faster, as others who use the style say. What do you think? English or Continental?

Long Lean Sweater: Week 4

IMG_2014_edited-1I’m still working on the back panel of the sweater, but I have finished the back shaping and hope to start the raglan edging tonight.  Then, on to the sleeves!

Otherwise, not a whole lot to report on my progress.  I did take another few days off on the weekend and knit a sock in that fantastic yarn I got from KareDan Farming Initiative.  It’s just a tube sock, but it looks cute on my foot.  I will publish the finished pair probably sometime next week, as I have to start the second one.

I have next week off as vacation, so, between cleaning binges, I will be knitting and working the sweater.  I also plan on sending off some of my charity knitting as well, and I will tell you about that when the time comes.

October Crafting Ideas

October is one of my favorite times of year.  Well, mostly because my birthday is in the month, but it’s when fall really kicks into gear without being too cold and quite pretty with the foliage.  It’s a great time to get crafting, and here are some ideas that I have come across, along with some ideas of my own.

  1. Go beyond the traditional jack o’ lantern.  Get a kit and carve that pumpkin in a creative fashion.   Make a picture or go for a 3-D look!
  2. Check out this Squidoo lens about Halloween knitting crafts.  I got some great ideas from here!
  3. Join in on Socktoberfest on Ravelry.  Even though I’m just doing tube socks right now, I still am going to join in on the fun.
  4. Get some black and orange beaded jewelry and see what lovely Halloween glam you can come up.  I have my beads ready to go!
  5. Get your own Halloween costume together.  Sewers, this is a great time to show off your talents. has some ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
  6. Start your Christmas crafting.  I know, it’s only October, but the holidays will be here before you know it.
  7. Bake something!
  8. Gather some fall leaves and use them in a creative manner, such as putting them under plastic for a decoration.
  9. Make your own Halloween candy to give to the kiddies and your neighbors.
  10. Create a big birthday present for me.  (Just kidding!)

KareDan Farming Intitiative

One thing I love about the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire is all the beautiful artisan products.  Jewelry, glass, blacksmithing, woodwork, they are all at the Ren Faire, but I discovered one place that made me excited.

My friend Joan and I had been at the Faire no less than ten minutes when I saw it:  a line of hanks of yarn drying on a line.  Being that I’m a yarn addict and am attracted to bright colors, I had to go take a closer look.

6190839256_6b2e99305f_mWhat I discovered was KareDan Farming Initiative, a farm where Renaissance farming techniques are practiced.  They are located in Baltimore, MD, and have a stand at the PA Ren Faire.  They have everything from their own honey from their own apiary to soap from the milk of their goats.  Still, my main focus was the yarn.

Their yarn is beautiful.  It is handspun and hand painted, and was sheared from their own animals. There are blends ranging from alpaca to wool.  The hank that my hand went for was a bright blue and orange one of superwash wool sock yarn.  (I know, more sock yarn!)  It came home with me.

Oh, spinners, they sell roving from their animals, too.

Danielle of KareDan gave a quick demonstration of how to shear a sheep using her Shetland sheep, Badger.  Now, Badger’s fleece was too short to be shorn, but she put him through the motions.

I also spent time skirting the fleece previously shorn from Badger, and spent time speaking with Karen of KareDan about their farm and crafting.  I also learned what lanolin is and that is why sheep shearers have soft hands.  I also loved seeing part of the process that shows me how yarn is made.IMG_2008_edited-1

If you are going to the PA Renaissance Faire, please visit their stand.  Other demonstrations are given by Karen and Danielle, too.  There is a lovely herb garden in the back and they have a petting zoo.

I plan on going back towards the end of the season sporting a pair of socks knit from that hank.  In the meantime, I encourage you to take a look at their web site, Facebook, and Etsy site.  These two women are using their animals to the fullest and are preserving Renaissance farming heritage.  I highly recommend checking them out.