Work In Progress – La Gran Stole

originally posted June 20, 2011

There are many unfinished objects (UFOs) around my craft room. In fact, I believe I’m the queen of unfinished objects. There’s the embroidery project I started well over a year ago, several incomplete jewelry pieces, and a handful of knitting projects. This wrap is one of those unfinished knitted objects. It’s the La Gran Ribbed Stole, a pattern I found by way of Classic Elite Yarn.

I started it back in January, and as you can see I haven’t gotten very far. It’s not that the pattern is complex – it’s very easy, in fact – I just happen to be a slow knitter and a generally unfocused crafter. I start one project and midway through I see another nifty project that I get all excited about. As a result, the current project gets shelved for awhile so I can start on an entirely new one. I’ve decided to put the brakes on starting anything new (somewhat anyway) and really work on finishing up the old ones.

The yarn I’m using for this wrap is Bernat Sweety, an acrylic, mohair, wool blend. I’m not even sure they make this yarn anymore. I managed to score a nice stash of it a couple of years ago. My aunt found the yarn hidden away in her cellar. She bought it around 1987 for a sweater she never made. So on one of her annual trips to Florida she brought the yarn with her and was kind enough to give it to me.

This particular pattern is an incredibly easy 2 x 2 rib, something that a fast knitter can probably complete in a day or two. I’ve modified my wrap a little bit by casting on more stitches than the pattern called for to make it a bit wider, simply because I’m a bit wider ;-). The goal is to get it done by winter, which is January or February in south Florida. I think if I do a little bit each night, it’ll be done in no time so I can move on to another UFO and get some of these projects finished.

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Weekly Work In Progress – Embroidery Project

originally posted February 26, 2010

By now, I was hoping to be finished with my little bumble bee project and happily working on the next project – another bee or possibly the embroidered day-of-the-week kitchen towels. But time for crafting lately has not been an option. On Tuesday, I picked up where I left off and finished working on the stripes of his body, which I outlined in stem stitch and filled in with satin stitch. Then I moved onto the flower, outlining it with split stitch and filling in the center with orange French knots – my favorite stitch! The next night, I started stitching his legs. So far I finished two of them using padded satin stitch.

I’m hoping this guy will be finished this weekend and then eventually sewn into a potholder – not by me though, I haven’t learned how to sew yet. Maybe sometime soon I’ll find the time to actually sit down at the sewing machine and figure out how it works.

Happy Crafting!

Learning Embroidery – Work In Progress

originally posted January 2010

This year, instead of coming up with New Year’s resolutions to try to accomplish, and most likely fail, I decided to make a list of Things To Do In 2010 – seems less stringent than a resolution list. If I procrastinate and don’t get something done on the list, no biggie, I’ll just add it to 2011’s list . The beauty of procrastination is there’s no pressure.

In my creation of said “to do” list, several craft-related items have come up that I want to accomplish, one of which is learn to embroider. As a kid, and early into adulthood, I had dabbled with stamped cross stitch projects. In most cases, I never finished any of those projects – which is in my nature anyway – and I also never learned any other stitches other than filling in the X’s on the stamped patterns. My mother, who is a member of the Embroiderers’ Guild of America, does very intricate counted cross stitch designs that as far as I’m concerned look way too complicated. So counted cross stitch is out for me. Now don’t get me wrong, I think counted cross stitch is quite nice, but it’s not my particular style. I’m more interested in old fashioned embroidery – the kind you’d find on your grandmother’s (or great grandmother’s) old kitchen linens or pillow cases. You know, kitchen towels from the 30’s and 40’s with dancing fruits and veggies telling you what day of the week it is, or cutesy potholders with kittens, puppies, woodland animals and insects.

Well, a couple of weeks ago my sister and I spent a rainy afternoon wandering around Joann Fabrics, my sister in search of quilting fabric and me in search of something to do. We were hanging out in the yarn department when it dawned on me that I should get some embroidery supplies, which happened to be a couple aisles over. They had a fairly good sized selection of Aunt Martha’s iron-on transfers in cool vintage motifs. I picked up a pack of vintage bee patterns as well as a pack of fruit/day-of-the-week patterns. My ultimate plan is to do a set of kitchen towels with the fruit/day-of-the-week transfers.

I decided to start off with one of the Busy Bee patterns on muslin for practice. If all goes well this will actually end up being a potholder, which someone else will have to sew together for me because learning to sew isn’t on the 2010 to do list. The transfer was easy to iron on, although next time I’ll use more than one pin to hold it in place on the fabric. In the midst of my ironing, the transfer moved slightly at the bottom and I ended up getting a faint double transfer, but that should be covered up by the embroidery, so in the words of Lita Ford, “it ain’t no big thing” (those of you who were into 80s hair bands will understand that).

My mother let me borrow a couple of her stitching books and I’ve also been watching the totally awesome how-to videos from Mary Corbet’s Needle ‘N Thread website. If you’re interested in learning embroidery, watch these videos. Often times it’s much easier to watch someone else doing the stitch rather than trying to figure out a diagram in a book. So far I’ve learned how to do the stem stitch and the split stitch.

I outlined the bee’s shoe with stem stitch and I’m filling it in with the split stitch. As you can see, I’ve gotten real far. I figure it should probably take me the rest of the year to finish my practice piece – hopefully not! I’ll periodically post my progress either by way of blog post or in a Flickr badge on the sidebar of this blog. If you want to learn how to embroider, I suggest checking out Needle ‘N Thread as well as Sublime Stitching for great instructions. Pattern Bee and Needle Crafter have a nice selection of vintage patterns that you can buy as well as some free patterns.

Happy Crafting!

Work in Progress: Fern Leaf Blanket

originally posted June 2009

This fern leaf patterned blanket is my latest knitting project. I actually started this about 2 or 3 years ago and got side tracked with other projects. This is also the 3rd time I’ve started this blanket over, and I’ve gotten a bit farther along on it this go around than I did the first 2 times. Now mind you, it’s taken me since about February of this year to get only this far {almost halfway, but not quite}. I’m not the fastest knitter in town or the most savvy knitter. I had a lot of Lion Brand Wool Ease yarn from a project my mother started and decided against finishing, so I went on a search for something I could make with it. I knew I wanted to make a blanket but it couldn’t be too complicated.

I went to Knitting Pattern Central and found this fern pattern lap robe listed under the Afghan category and decided this would be perfect, and I had plenty of yarn to complete the project.

Now, hopefully I’ll finish this before winter so I can use it this year. Lucky for me I live in south Florida, which means winter is the equivalent of the annual 1-week long cold snap sometime in February – so I think I should have plenty of time to finish.

Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what projects you’re currently working on.

Happy Crafting!