Archive for the ‘Cross-Stitch’ Category

Yay! It’s Christmas!

December 3, 2011

It isn’t Christmas really, not for another 3 weeks, but this is the point when I start to feel Christmassy.  The feeling will evaporate completely by the time I’ve worked my way through a couple more weeks, but for now I’m enjoying it.

We have started our advent calendar (and one full of doggy treats for Muffin), people are putting up decorations, the Sky TV guide has that annoying jingly xmas music in the background and there has been xmas knitting.

Starting with a gift for A’s Uncle:

It’s a tree decoration, just a few inches high, and the Father Christmas poking his head over the top is made of chocolate.

Next up, a little cross-stitch:

These are more decorations, for Rachel at work and her husband and son.   Each one has an initial on one side and a tree on the other and is occupied by a chocolate Father Christmas.  He’s really getting around at the moment!

And…drum-roll please…this is what I’m really excited about:

This is the Advent Garland by Frankie Brown, available for free from Ravelry.  The decoration patterns are being released one-a-day throughout advent, so every day I get to knit a decoration and hang it on the garland.  It is really fun, but also could get challenging.  So far we have a mitten and a candle…I haven’t yet looked at today’s pattern, but it is really exciting.

In other news, work has been really busy, lots going on.  Last weekend we visited Alan and Kat for dinner, which was lovely.  Sunday turned into a lazy day, with pyjama-wearing and television-watching and reading all morning.  It was good to relax.

This weekend we have Gethin overnight, which will be challenging but fun, as always.  In the coming week, work work work, plus frantic knitting of advent decorations.

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Finish! And Photos!

September 24, 2011

It has been a busy week, for various reasons, with ups and downs and lots going on.  A few highlights:

  • On Sunday we went to my bro’s house to try the cheesecake we ordered for his birthday.  And it was good.
  • We also delivered my Mum’s birthday present, which she seemed happy with.
  • On Sunday night I got almost no sleep, suffering a terrible pain in my face and head.  I thought there was something terribly wrong, it hurt so much.  NHS Direct diagnosed a sinus infection at 4.30am.
  • Monday I couldn’t work for ongoing pain and lack of sleep.
  • Tuesday night we had Gethin over, as Sam had planned a surprise birthday dinner for David.
  • Couldn’t see a doctor until Weds, but then got confirmation of the sinus infection and antibiotics.
  • Thursday in Bristol, including lunch with the boss-lady.
  • Friday was peaceful, working at home with no dramas or crises.

This weekend includes another of the secrets I’ve been struggling to keep…enlightenment will follow in my next post.

In knitting/cross-stitch news, I have finishes to show off.  Starting with this simple baby-grow for Mum to give to someone she works with:

Then I finished my shawl for our anniversary party.  I’m really pleased with it:

It’s Aeolian Shawl, from Knitty.  It’s slightly complicated to knit and I decided to leave out the beads, but it looks really pretty once it is blocked and I’m really excited about wearing it next April.  The pattern gives two options for different sized shawls – this one is somewhere in between the two.

My third finish (and I think it really is finished this time) is my leftover sockyarn blanket:

I have run out of leftovers again and remembered that this was only meant to be a lap blanket to keep me warm on the sofa in the winter. I was a little sad at the thought, until I realised that this means I can start a new leftovers blanket next time I have any oddments!  Hooray!

So, this week coming is a busy one work-wise. I have to go to Birmingham for meetings and Bristol twice as well, but I have Friday off, which is good news. We are now in the countdown to our October holiday, so it is getting exciting. We’re starting to plan stuff like bird-sitters for Billy and writing lists of things to take/do/buy on the way. I can hardly wait – a holiday seems so necessary right now.

Cross-stitch is back!

September 10, 2011

It has been a while since I was inspired to make any cross-stitch goodies.  I’ve done a few projects because they were necessary, but haven’t really felt it and have just been itching to get back to the knitting.  This has finally turned around.  I’m still itching for the knitting of course, but it’s not currently all-consuming.

I made this little pretty for my cousin’s baby:

Somewhere in the middle of the stitching I moved from slightly grudging to actually enjoying it.  Once it was finished it took me the usual week to find a frame, put the picture in the frame and send it off, but that’s nothing new.

Then I got an e-mail to say one of my colleagues is leaving.  I really like Chloe, she’s lovely, and I’ve made gifts for both of her baby girls when they’ve arrived, so of course I offered to make a customised leaving card.  The message came back that Chloe’s going to work as a project manager and could I possibly cross-stitch a flow chart?!  That was just too good a challenge to resist and so…

Technically, I didn’t cross-stitch the flow chart as it is all back stitch, but it’s close enough.  I became a little bit obsessed with it and didn’t knit a stitch for two until I had completed it.

Anyway, now I’m back to the pink anniversary shawl.  I have just started the border, which is massive and complicated and keeping me occupied.

In other news, I went for a scan and it looks like I do not have a hernia.  I also possibly don’t have an endometrioma.  In fact, the scan didn’t show up anything out of the ordinary at all.  The only explanation given was that the lump and pain I feel sometimes could be ‘a bit of my liver sticking out’.  Well that’s reassuring!  I’m seeing the surgeon again on Monday, so I’m hoping he can offer enlightenment.

This week coming…work (still under a lot of pressure) and I can’t think of much else.  That’s got to be good news, right?

Photo Saturday returns!

August 27, 2011

Last week’s post wasn’t easy to write, suffering as I was under a massive hangover.  Seriously, the hangover was out of all proportion to the drinking that caused it…I think it was probably the switch from lager to really cheap wine somewhere around the half-way point.  I haven’t suffered that badly after drinking in a very long time 😦

Still, this week I’m under no such cloud and I have even transferred some photos from the camera.

Firstly, this is me with Monty, Tim’s 23 month old…we’re writing!

There’s also some quite serious discussion about colour going on.

This next picture is of A holding Poppy, Alan and Kat’s baby:

Such a serious face!  And then suddenly a smile breaks through and she beams at you 🙂

Next, on to knitting.  I have one finish to report, the Matilda shawl:

Of course, I actually finished knitting it about two weeks ago, before our week off.  I just didn’t get around to blocking it until this week.  It’s nice and big, and the slightly rough yarn has softened nicely after washing.

There is also progress on the Forest Path Stole, which is turning out to be a really, really long term project.  It’s so easy to knit one section at a time and abandon it for long stretches between, that it tends to get left alone whenever something more interesting or urgent comes up.  I’ve taken an in-progress pic anyway:

Not much to look at now, but when it’s finally finished and blocked it should look good.

Also on the needles is my sock yarn leftover blanket, for which I have accumulated lots of odds and ends again.  I’d forgotten how absorbing the damn thing can be.  “I’ll just knit one more row.  I can’t put it down on an inside row, have to knit one more so it’s on an outside row.”  Repeat to fade.  Or long past bedtime.

For train journeys I’m still knitting blanket squares – slow progress at the moment as they only appear for train journeys, but not quite abandoned.

I have also just started a cross-stitch picture for my cousin’s new baby.  Yes, another new baby…arrived a month early at the beginning of August…weighed just over 4lb so spent almost a week in an incubator but is now flourishing 🙂

So, this week coming…we have Gethin overnight tonight, for what seems like the first time in ages.  Monday is a bank holiday so I’m off work 🙂  Other than that…hopefully just a peaceful week at work!

Getting busier

May 21, 2011

After a frustrating week at work, which I won’t go into, I have just one thing to show today:

The photo doesn’t do it justice – it looks quite spectacular in real life, including the mice on the foot and squirrels on collar and cuff.  I could have gone on adding small animal designs all over the place, but decided to call it a day and hand it over at this point!  Sandra was really pleased as it is just what she wanted as a gift for her baby grandson.

In other knitting news…just plodding away at the travel socks.  The forest path stole and jumper I had started are both hibernating as I am not quite happy with either.  But I guess I need a new project now, as I’ve only got the travel socks and they are nearly done.  Perhaps I’ll make a simple shawlette-style scarf type thing using sock yarn.  I’ve got some alpaca sock yarn which shrinks in the wash…rather than waste time making socks I can only wear a couple of times, I could do something with that.  Hmmm, we’ll see.

This week coming: we are taking Gethin shoe shopping…visiting Theresa in Plymouth to meet baby Mia…working…Morgan is staying over next weekend, as her 13th birthday present…and all of the usual in between!

Happy Birthday Dad!

February 19, 2011

Today is my Dad’s birthday, and I’ve already made contact to establish when we can go and see him.  He is notoriously hard to track down, and even when he says he’ll be somewhere specific at a particular time, that’s no guarantee. 

Next year is his 60th birthday, so may take a little more planning/involvement on our part. 

Anyway, this week has been a quiet one.  I made it to Bristol on Tuesday, but came home early as I did not feel well.  I sat through two meetings, almost back-to-back, with no chance for a lunch break and I think it hastened the bug I had been fighting off.  I ended up off sick on Thursday/Friday, when I slept a lot, watched snooker and skiing (which I have recently discovered is fascinating) and knitted. 

Last weekend I finally got on with the card for Theresa which I was supposed to do weeks ago:

Frustratingly, it was done in time to take in to the office on Thursday, but then I wasn’t well enough to go.  It’ll go with me on Tuesday instead, and Rachel will start passing it around for signatures.  That leaves about a week and a bit before Theresa’s last visit to Bristol before her maternity leave starts. 

Also finished this week, were the socks I seem to have been knitting forever! 

Funky!  I have, of course, cast on another pair…almost finished the first one already. 

Now that the blanket is done with, the knitting seems to be happening really fast.  I have made loads of progress with the rosebud shawl, although it still takes a lot of concentration and I can’t get through more than a few rows at a time.  Next I have to get a few more baby things done. 

On the subject of babies, our friends Tim and Jenny in New Zealand welcomed their second baby into the world this week.  Dexter is their second son, a brother for Monty.  Alan and Kat’s baby is now due very soon, then there are 2 more due in April.  It’s all babies this year! 

So, this week coming…work as usual I suppose.  A has an unusual shift pattern at work, as he needs Weds off for a hospital appointment.  That means he’ll be working Monday (usually his day off) and his Saturday shift is an evening instead of a morning.  I guess that means my weekly post will be late next Saturday.

Designing my own…

September 11, 2010

This week has been a weird one.  I wonder how many times I’ve started a post with that statement?  Probably best not to count! 

I haven’t recovered as well as I’d hoped from the last round of day surgery, in fact I’m still struggling slightly with a bad bout of IBS, but that’s almost under control.  I ended up having another two days off work sick though, which is not good. 

Apart from the dull health stuff though, this week has been mainly about crafts.  I’ve made a card for when Chloe at work goes off on maternity leave:

That is now doing the rounds at work, collecting signatures and money to buy presents. 

I made it to Knitting in the Library, which was good. 

And I’ve been bitten by a bizarre ‘design it myself’ bug.  I’ve felt particularly inspired to design my own stuff, there are just so many lovely patterns out there, what could I possibly contribute that would be new or original?  I have played with cross-stitch design, but usually only to the extent that I take small elements of other designs and arrange them into a complete end product.  Or printing an existing picture onto graph paper and converting it to squares for stitching – that’s easy stuff.  If I could draw, it would be a whole different story, but there’s no use wishing for the moon. 

Knitting-wise, I’ve spent many hours on Ravelry, exploring the many thousands of patterns available – loads of them for free.  I’ve bought a few magazines and a few books.  I’ve improvised a few sock patterns.  But while I feel the need to produce, I don’t feel inspired to create.  Usually. 

This week however I have started and re-started the same two projects at least four times each…and I will figure them out eventually! 

Firstly, these are my mittens:

The first picture is the back, the second one the front, including thumb hole.  I’m not entirely happy about the placement of the thumb, or the method I’ve used to create/separate it.  I think it’s too high up on the hand, but I’ve never made mittens this shape/style before so I’m uncertain where it should go.  I’m planning to rip back as far as the thumb anyway so I’ll give it more thought at that stage.  I have already changed yarn completely, changed needle size a couple of times and amended the stitch count at least once. 

In the process of knitting this mitten I have also learned a new technique – I can now knit continental style.  This makes managing the two colours very much easier, neater and (now I’ve got the hang of it) quicker. 

My second creation is a complete re-make of my sunshine socks.  I got almost to the end of the first sock and realised I hated the combination of pattern and yarn.  The sock felt stiff and scratchy and didn’t look as I expected.  So I frogged the whole thing and thought about what I really wanted…which it turns out is cables.  Small, repetitive cables. 

Progress so far is like this:

The vision I have is for three narrow cables to run down each side of the sock, with plain knitting at the front and back.  Where the cables meet the heel, one will stop, the middle one will continue down the side of the heel flap and the third will continue down the top of the foot. 

So far I only have the cuff, thanks to several re-starts.  I am also knitting these continental-style, to get the practice. 

So, this coming week:

  • Bristol twice as usual
  • Hospital appointment to discuss test results and op dates
  • Baby brother and Mum’s birthdays

Not much to tell

September 4, 2010

This week has been a wash-out, as predicted.  I did get to catch up with my best friend, Mrs Jarge, last weekend, which was great.  Apart from that though, there was work, there was surgery and there was an attempt at recovery. 

The good news is, the doctor-man didn’t see anything worrying while he was operating, so is fairly certain I’ll be able to have a keyhole hysterectomy.  That means a much shorter recovery time, and we can plan it around holidays.  Fingers crossed the biopsy results don’t show up anything unexpected. 

In knitting/crochet/cross-stitch news…I’m back onto socks.  I’m making a pair of ‘Sunshine socks’, in bright yellow, for when it’s grey in the winter.  I’ve sent my crochet squares off to be made into blankets.  I’ve made a few more Pocket Bunnies.  And I’ve started a card for Chloe at work, who is going on maternity leave soon. 

No photos at this stage as nothing is looking interesting as yet. 

So, this week…work as usual, including a team day on Tuesday.  Doctor’s on Friday for the next dose of treatment.  I really want to get to Knitting at the Library on Weds.  And hopefully nothing much else!

Feeling grotty

August 14, 2010

It has been another mad/weird one.  Surprised?  No, me neither. 

As planned, we went to Slimbridge last Sunday evening, for an open-air production of The Importance of Being Earnest.  It was really good, we thoroughly enjoyed it.  We took a picnic, and were lucky with the weather, even the late night drive home was smooth and easy.  A had a genius idea – we roasted a joint of beef during Sunday afternoon, then made the freshest, most delicious roast beef and horseradish sandwiches from it, for our picnic.  Better than anything we could have bought! 

On Saturday we managed to deliver Gethin’s presents:

When I first put the knitted elephant down next to him, Gethin turned his head, his eyes widened and his mouth dropped open.  He just lay there staring until he was picked up by his Dad!  The elephant is now living in his cot, which I think counts as a success. 

On Wednesday I had hoped to go Knitting in the Library, but got sidetracked at the doctor’s surgery, trying to sort out prescriptions.  Knowing I couldn’t work on Thursday or Friday, I couldn’t then afford the time out for knitting as well.  😦

So, Thursday.  I went into the hospital for day surgery, to have the Mirena coil fitted.  It was done under general anaesthetic.  I’d forgotten how bad anaesthetics can make you feel…in the past they’ve always been before keyhole surgery, involving some kind of cyst or endometriosis removal, and I assumed that it was mainly the surgery itself that left me feeling miserable and unwell.  This time, the surgery was much simpler and quicker, although not without its own complications, but I still felt terrible afterwards.  I’ve had the most awful cramps ever since, which is my body trying to reject the Mirena.  I’ve got some drugs which are supposed to control that, but they aren’t 100% effective and have caused an IBS flare-up. 

Overall, I don’t feel so good.

Moving on to something positive though…two finishes:

That’s Isla’s picture, all done.  She was allowed home from hospital last Sunday, which is fantastic news. 

And that’s my step-dad’s birthday present.  He already has two bears, this completes the set.  Although I could drag it out for a few more years by making random extras.    His birthday isn’t until October, so it’s ready in plenty of time. 

Now I just have my travel socks on the go, again.  I don’t have any specific inspiration for a next project…I’ll see what takes my fancy next.

This week will hopefully be an easier one.  Provided these cramps go away, I’ll be back at work on Monday.  Bristol Tuesday and Thursday as usual.  Knitting in the Library on Weds.  Maybe this afternoon we’ll go to see our friends’ band, but they’re playing in a park, so it depends on the weather.

So much going on…lots of craft news

August 7, 2010

Firstly, my friend Caron’s baby arrived.  Isla Elizabeth is safe and well, but has a heart defect and will need surgery at some point in the near future.  Probably several times.  But Yay!  for a safe delivery.  That puts finishing her cross-stitch picture up at the top of my to-do list.

First I had to do this:

That’s a birthday present for my friend’s baby boy…well, I say ‘baby’, but it’s for his 21st birthday!  Steven was the first new baby I ever came into contact with, at the age of 14.  I loved him so much, and spent hours with him and his parents – I was almost the only person trusted to babysit.  I cannot believe that my little boy is 21 this week!  This isn’t my usual style, but that’s because I have made it to match the ones I made for his 1st to 5th birthdays.  The space rocket is because he works for the space research centre.  It should make him laugh. 

The next finish of the week is Holly’s picture:

A third finish is the Elmer cross-stitch, which I made for nephew Gethin a few weeks ago…now a cushion, thanks to Auntie Rosemary:

We just have to deliver all these masterpieces now!

In knitting news, I found a bit of a lull, so I pressed on with the travel socks:

Then I remembered that I’d promised my step-dad the rest of his Teddy Bear’s picnic set for his birthday.  For the last two years he has received small bears, but this year he’s expecting the picnic set itself.  I made a start with a third bear first:

Apart from all the making things, it has been a slightly hectic week.  I can’t exactly pinpoint why right now, but there doesn’t seem to have been any time to spare. 

One thing that is happening is Elvis:

Elvis is our nephew’s rabbit, but he’s staying with us for a week or so while Max is on holiday.  He’s cute and all, but just seems to remind me constantly that my rabbit died.  He is NOT my rabbit.  He is not MY rabbit.  How do I still miss that damn rabbit so very much?!  Lesson learned, we aren’t ready for another rabbit yet. 

So, this week coming should be a fun one.  I’m going in for day surgery on Thursday.  Got Friday off sick to recover from the anaesthetic.  Also to get the next dose of the hormone treatment I’m on.  Tomorrow night we’re going to Slimbridge to see an open air production of The Importance of Being Earnest.  I’m really hoping that it doesn’t rain!  At some point we have to go round to my brother’s house with the Elmer cushion and the knitted elephant.  And catch up with Caron, find out how baby Isla is. 

Hopefully I can even find an hour in the madness to go knitting in the library!