Singular Stitches

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Recycle and Reuse

I'm so glad it's the weekend!

This past week has been so busy at work. I'm on a team that's designing/testing/implementing a new business system for our manufacturing floor. We go live in April, so it's been crazy. Usually, I cross stitch or knit during lunch to help chill out, but I haven't had time for that. They just don't seem to feel that my crafty therapy is a higher priority than Oracle. *sigh*

So, in the absence of astonishing numbers of Xs to share, I thought I would share my new project containers.

The brands of skin care and cosmetics that I use periodically offer those lovely GWPs, and so I wait to buy anything I need until there's an offer. Most of these come with cosmetic bags, and over time, I've accumulated more than I'll ever use for my cosmetics, so I thought I would upgrade my normal project case of a Ziploc bag to one of these nifty (and much prettier) freebie bags.

Way better than Ziplocs!!

And (and I have no affiliation) if you do buy the brands that offer GWPs, I found a fabulous blog that lists which department stores are offering them. It's called My Gift With Purchase.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

And a Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2011, Everyone!!

Ready to start a fresh new year? Yes? Good to hear!!

Though it's going to be incredibly hard getting used to being at work, focusing for 8 hours, no Farmville, Farmtown or Frontierville for hours, after over two weeks out of the office. And dressed - no sweats, with makeup and hair somewhat styled.

Oh, shiver.

I sort of, kinda tried to start the blog back up last summer, but it just didn't go, so I'm using the new year as sort of a kick start to get back out there on the blogging circuit. Yay, me. :o)

Anyways, another incentive is that I'm cross stitching more than I was previously, and other than my own blog, there's really not a good place to offer up what I've been working on, and quite honestly, it's even more incentive to keep stitching, because, otherwise, it would make for very boring progress photos.

Here's what I've been working on recently, and since I didn't realize I was going to blog about it, you'll just need to take my word for it that I've actually made progress. It's called Live With the Creatures (you'll need to scroll down a bit on their website) by Carriage House Samplings:

Any of you who may have read my blog previously might remember (because I know you all remember what I've blogged about maybe 3 or so years ago...), DH and I love BBC tv, miniseries, and movies. Since we've been off over the holidays, we've watched a bunch that I've stitched along to:

Lark Rise to Candleford - Yes, I love British period pieces, and this one is probably one of my favorites. I want Dorkas Lane's wardrobe!! And I loved Julia Sawalha as Dorkas (Lydia in A&E Pride & Prejudice). It's uncertain if this series is going to be canceled or not, but we're keeping our fingers crossed for season four.

French & Saunders - It took me a little bit to get into these two, and only after seeing Dawn French in Lark Rise, did I give them a try and I'm glad I did. Dawn French is a little much for me, but Jennifer Saunders is a great balance (and actually my fave of the two), and we've worked our way through this set of DVDs. Hysterical!!! I'm terribly bummed that the BBC said they could no longer work together. Anyone know why??

Cranford - We watched Return to Cranford a couple years ago, but didn't realize there was a second part. It was less happy than the first part, but it has an overall happy ending. There are SO many of our favorite British actors in this one, too many to mention, but it's got one of my all-time faves, Dame Judi Dench.

Sherlock - I must admit, I'm a Jeremy Brett diehard for Sherlock Holmes, but oh. my. gosh., Benedict Cumberbatch is the next best updated version of Sherlock since Mr. Brett left this earth. It's funny, Benedict was in a BBC series we recently watched (no surprise there) called Fortysomething with Hugh Laurie. He was Hugh Laurie's oldest son, so it's funny to have seen him as a college-aged kid to being the next Sherlock Holmes. Unfortunately, this series debuted in 2010, and there were only three episodes in series one, so we'll have to wait a while 'till we get to see series two. Maybe they'll put it on BBC America. Oh, pretty please......

And, last night, we just finished up series two of Clatterford (AKA Jam and Jerusalem) - This is another French and Saunders series, and they're both in it, and I think Jennifer Saunder wrote them. It's about a group of women in a branch of the Women's Institute (Remember Calendar Girls?), and they're really a bunch of misfits from totally different walks of life, and the only thing some of them really have in common is membership to the ladies' group. It's really grown on us, and we're hoping to get the third series shows up at the library. I heard they may cancel the series before they film series four, which is really a bummer.

Wow, didn't realize we watched so much over the holidays! Oh, well. It's cold outside and what's better than to curl up in a warm family room with DH, a kitty on your lap, watching good BBC tv while cross stitching??

And, I'll leave you with a recent photo status of the kids. They're going to be 15 this year. It's hard to belive they were just little balls of fuzz when we adopted them so long ago. They're doing well, still active, still in good health, but slowing down.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Keeping up the cuteness

I won't bemoan the weather. It's hot and miserable, and I'm trying to move on. Soon it will be September and it will be 'all good'. OK, done.

To fill the time until then, I've been busily knitting and stitching in the dark coolness of The Bat Cave (what my sister calls my house). Below are some updates. The kitties felt they had much to offer and took it upon themselves to help with improving the overall cuteness of my projects.

First up, the 'before' of my Batch of Pumpkins:

And the 'after' with a nice dose of cuteness, thanks to Abner:

Onto some knitting content. I finished the first and started the second of my Dad's Christmas socks. Here's Itchey to increase the cuteness quotient by at least 10X:

I thought it would be fun to join the over 4000 other knitters on Ravelry who are already making their very own Citron shawl. It's a half circle shawl with varying rows of increases and decreases to make rings of puckery knitting. I just started it last night, using a variagated yarn of mid to dark purples. The colors remind me of blueberries. Mmmmmm.

Abner wanted to help add to the overall cuteness of this project, but suddenly became enamored with the needles and decided they'd make a good chew toy. I didn't quite care for *that* kind of cuteness, so he was removed from the photo shoot.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I feel like such a heel...

Perhaps a poor try at humor. :o)

I've finished the heel part of Dad's first sock. I've finally had the mental capacity to sit down to comprehend the instructions. It's not that they're hard, but it just requires concentration, that I just wasn't able to give it until yesterday evening.

Now, it's just the same until it's time for the toe.

Onto happily knit in the cool darkness of The Ladies' Parlour with a kitty or two...

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Christmas Knitting in July

When I begin knitting a pair of Christmas Socks, I get the sensation that I'm in a little black bikini, jet skiing in the Arctic Ocean just off the coast of northern Greenland, with fine ice crystals spaying up and hitting my...


I've decided to try mind power to keep cool with the current hot, muggy and oppressive weather plaguing the Mid-Atlantic. I'm hoping that by imagining how nice and cold it will be outside when I present Dad with his yearly installment of hand knitted socks on Christmas Morning, it will make it feel like 32F instead of 92F. Yeah. We'll see.

I just don't like how any of the socks fit that I've knitted for myself. So, I've stopped making them for me. I've tried different patterns, adjusting those patterns, using different sized needles, etc, but I still don't like how they fit. They just feel wrong. Since I'm able to knit socks for my parents that fit them perfectly, they can benefit from my love of sock knitting.

Typically, I make Dad patriotic socks. He loves all things American Flag or some combination of red, white and blue. Part of the fun is hunting down yarn that fits the bill, but looks different from anything I've made him previously. This year, I found yarn, that by the colorway name alone, I've opted to briefly forgo patriotic.

The colorway is called Poison Ivy, and it's varying shades of green. It's just so perfect for my dad. Hard to explain, but if you knew him, you'd totally agree.

The pattern is from Knitting Vintage Socks. It's called Maddler Ribbed Socks, and is a simple (6X1X2) ribbed pattern, which is great to show off the variagated color way. You do notice, however, that I am using a patriotic row marker...

Well, the mind thing is just not working. I'm still too darn hot, but at least Dad will get a lovely pair of socks, even though right this minute, it's difficult to believe that it will ever cool off enough to need them!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Indoor Activities

I couldn't wait to get some stitching done so I could post! Ooooh, it's so fun to get back into blogging. Facebook is fun, but sometimes I just have much more to type about than a single sentence! :o)

It was even more fun to see that many of my blogging friends are still around! Boy, do I have a lot of catching up to do to read what you lovely ladies have been up to while I was away!

No surprise that with July, the three H's have come again (hazy, hot and humid), so the order of the holiday weekend was to stay inside with the air conditioning and, of course, get some needlework done.

I worked on Black Willow Farm (Carriage House Samplings) this weekend. Lately, I've been drawn towards more primative designs, which I think will look good in my dining room. I'm really liking Primative Needle designs, too (Hornbrooke Angel, and Follow Me).

Here's the before:

And the after:

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Wow, it's been a while

Hello again. Nothing drastic has happened to stop me from blogging, in fact, life has happily moved on as usual. I guess I just wanted a break from the blog.

I look forward to reconnecting with all the wonderful stitchers I've met along the way.

It's nice to be back. :o)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lying face down in a dark room...

For the knitters reading this, Elizabeth Zimmermann mentions in one of her books that after putting steeks (slits cut - with scissors! - into the sweater body so that sleeves can be added), because of the stress of cutting into a knitted item, go into a dark room and lie on the floor face down.

I can totally relate.

I've made almost a dozen cross-stitched Christmas stockings, and every time I go to sew them into a finished stocking, my stress level goes off the charts. Taking scissors to completed cross-stitch just feels wrong.

Since DSis's DH is now 'official', he gets the 'Now-you're-part-of-the-family-and-there's-nothing-you-can-do-about-it-now' Christmas Stocking. Every family member has one made by me. I made DSis a Shepherd's Bush stocking in 1998. The design was Sophie's stocking:

The stocking I made for DSis's DH is Christian's stocking, also by Shepherd's Bush. I did a personal best for completing it in record time. I started stitching it on December 3rd, and completed it on December 20th.

Come, share in my stress....

1. Draw the desired shape of the stocking and cut it out (don't forget the seam allowances!) I'm really, really picky about the shape of the stocking. Just getting the shape right is the most stressful for me. This was even worse, because I also had to make sure it matched the size and shape of the one I already made DSis.

2. Cut out the backing and lining fabric. The plaid is the backing, and the stars are for the lining.

3. Make the piping.

4. Make sure the shape matches DSis's before sewing on the piping.

5. Sew the backing to the front, and sew the lining pieces together. Then sew lining to outside of stocking.

6. Finished!

7. Testing them out on the fireplace.

It's at this time that I realize how much my hands are shaking!

I'll be going to lie face down in a dark room now...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

In the merry old land of Oz!

The Wizard of Oz was on TV last night, so I was looking for something mindless to knit. I've been wanting to make the Bristol Neck Warmer, so I pulled out some Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk, US#6 needles, and cast on.

It's a four stitch repeat across all 120 stitches, and you repeat every row, so it's easy to remember, especially while singing along with Judy Garland.

The yarn is doubled, so there's nice body to it. In the picture, I have about 2" done, so I only need about 3" more to finish. It's such soft yarn, and it's going to be very warm, so I'm really looking forward to getting this done as soon as possible. Next week we're going to have highs in the 30Fs (Snow!!! Yay! :o)

Earlier last night, I was catching up on Grey's Anatomy (how did I manage to get behind three episodes???), and was working on Mum's Noro Vneck Cardigan. I finished the second sleeve and all that's left is the front/neck band. I talked with Mum last night, and she only wants one button at the V, so that will make it even easier to complete.

See you in Oz, folks! (yes, different movie!)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Mr & Mrs DSis

DSis and her husband just passed their one week anniversary, but here are some pictures of the happy couple on their day!