Knitting, Cross Stitch, Karen's Korner

A Busy Start To 2018

I don’t know about you but I have had rather a busy start to 2018. It has involved family, friends, knitting and cross stitch, so it has also been a very good start.

One of the special things about Christmas is being able to catch up with family, and this year was no different. Following that, on the 6th of January, our elder son arrived with his two little dogs to stay with us for a few weeks. He has just completed “The Longest Walk New Zealand” during which he walked just over 5000 km around the country to try to help raise awareness of animal welfare organisations. You can find out more about his adventures on his website (see link above).

A Busy Start To 2018I have been spending quite a lot of time in the last few weeks with two of my grandchildren who live locally. The weather has been lovely for most of the time and we have been on a number of “adventures”. These have ranged from a paddle in the local stream accompanied by a crowd of curious ducks, to a bush walk and a walk along the shoreline of the local harbour. It is great when kids enjoy doing simple, outdoor things. I feel very blessed to have this involvement with them.

A Busy Start To 2018On the crafting front, I have knitted a couple of little hats for some twins girls who were born prematurely to a young couple from our church. I also made a larger version for their three year old sister. It was fun to do such tiny knitting, especially knowing that the twins and their mum are all doing well.

A Busy Start To 2018Over the last couple of months I have also been busy with three more cross stitched cushion covers. These are for the three grandchildren who live locally. They all have their birthdays within a few weeks of each other at the end of January / beginning of February, so it is good to have them finished. I just need to put the backings on them all now.

I hope you have all had a good start to the year and look forward to sharing more with you soon.

Cross Stitch

Christmas Cross Stitch Ideas

Christmas Cross Stitch Ideas
Christmas Minis in Fox Collection catalogue

Continuing on the theme of my last three posts, albeit a little later than I had planned, I am now going to look at Christmas cross stitch ideas. I have recently received the latest “Fox Collection” catalogue (see “Are You On Track For Christmas?”) which had another full page of Christmas ideas in it.

I have included some photos I have taken of items in the two Christmas catalogues. I thought you might find some inspiration from some of them. In previous years I have stitched a few personalised cards for some close friends. There are some cute ideas in these photos along with a number of other projects.

Christmas Cross Stitch Ideas Christmas Cross Stitch IdeasSomething I noticed for the first time in last year’s catalogues was the wine bottle aprons. These are just a bit different and would make a nice personalised gift for a special friend or family member, especially if it was on a nice bottle of wine. There are several different themes in my catalogues, but you could choose any design of your own that was a suitable size.

Christmas minis as decorations are always a popular idea, along with Christmas sachet bags. Sachet bags can be used to contain fragrant material such as lavender or pot pourri, or edible treats like chocolates or lollies.

Christmas Cross Stitch IdeasOther cross stitch projects for Christmas include things like cushions, table runners, place mats, and tree skirts. These are all a bit bigger and probably not practical for the time frame left for this year. They would be good ideas to put on your “to do” list for next year though.

Happy stitching and best wishes for your holiday season preparations. I have included a list below of some of my affiliate sites if you would like to check them out for kitsets or more ideas.


Affiliate sites:

Leisure Arts, Craftsy, Annie’s, Knit Picks, LoveKnitting, Creative BugConnecting Threads

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Karen's Korner

It’s Hard to Say Goodbye

It's Hard to Say GoodbyeIt’s hard to say goodbye to people we love. Recently my very special friend Heather turned 60. I designed and stitched a special cross stitch piece for her (see “The Magic of Outlining”). At the time it was very special to be able to give her such a personal gift, but I am even more thankful now that I did this for her. Heather died on the 1st of July and I attended her funeral on the 7th, along with hundreds of others whose lives had been touched by her.

Heather and I had been friends since we were 12, nearly 48 years. We went through high school together, got married and had children at around the same time, and shared a special bond. As life became busier, and we both shifted around a bit, there were often times when we did not see each other for quite a while. Each time we met up again, though, it was like we had only been apart for a week. There was a strong thread that wove through both our lives and now that thread has been broken.

I created my “Karen’s Korner” page to have somewhere on my site to share significant events or inspirational happenings. At the time I never dreamed that this would be the first thing I would be sharing with you, but somehow it seems the right thing to do. We all have a few very special people in our lives and, at various times in our lives, we all face the loss of loved ones. How we work through these times determines how we continue to live our lives.

Heather was a very special person with a wonderful gift of friendship which she shared generously with everyone around her. She was always cheerful, in spite of battling with several painful illnesses, and always eager to help people. Her family were her treasure here on earth and she loved them dearly. She was a gift to all who knew her.

After hearing all the memories people have shared about Heather, and knowing how she lived her life to the full, it is very tempting to think “I should try to be more like her and live more like her”. In some ways this might be a good thing, but something else has been becoming clearer to me over the last few days.

It is right that we should be inspired to live better by the example of someone like Heather, but it is not right that we should try to become them. Only Heather could be Heather, I am the only person who can be me, and you are the only person who can be you. The best way that we can honour the memory of the special people who have passed on from our lives is not by trying to be like them, but by striving to be the best version of ourselves that we can be.

I believe we are each unique and have been created to fulfil a role that only we can play. Heather has fulfilled her role here, and now I must strive to fulfil mine. It’s hard to say goodbye, so I choose to say farewell to my special friend until we meet again in our eternal home.


Toy Crochet Patterns For That Special Someone

Toy Crochet Patterns For That Special Someone
Image courtesy of Pixabay

The joy of crocheting often compels us to make all kinds of useful garments, place mats and tablecloths, in all manner of styles and in various colours. This fantastic use of yarn is however not used so much in the making of toys. There are a great deal of crochet patterns out there for a huge range of soft, cuddly bears and other outlandish characters.

Toy Crochet Patterns For That Special Someone
Image courtesy of Pixabay

If you’re on the look out for some fun toy crochet patterns, the internet provides lots to choose from. (Check out “Ravelry“.) Little teddy bears are often the preferred choice – coming in a bewildering array of styles – with or with hats and clothing; girls bears, boy bears. You can also find bears with specific occupations, so if you know someone who’s recently graduated from University, for example, you could crochet them a teddy in a graduation uniform! Police and firemen also all have lots of great crochet patterns to choose from.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even adapt one of your favourite soft toy crochet patterns to make it look like a member of your family! You should make sure it’s flattering though. Making a good likeness of someone you know is not always easy, even in the versatile medium of crochet, so it might be a good idea to create a prop that that person is normally associated with.

For example, if you’re partner is a plumber, then why not create a small plunger or spanner? If you’re not sure how to make such a prop and there are no crochet patterns detailing how to create such an item, you could perhaps visit a toy shop – those specializing in dolls house accessories are particularly good for little trinkets and props. Remember – the whole toy doesn’t need to be crocheted – so you’re not cheating if you use another material!

Often, when creating props using crochet, you’ll need to have some kind of solid interior to support the wool. This might be cardboard or plastic, but it certainly helps to create the shape of an object, as crochet itself can lack structural integrity.

Using one of the many crochet patterns out there you will be able to create any character you can think of. And if you can’t find one, why not try and adapt an existing pattern to your needs? It sometimes only takes a few changes to the face and clothing to make a likeness (a rough likeness admittedly) of someone you know.

For those with a great deal of experience this should prove to be no problem. But equally, it is important not to try something too demanding – so it’s worth checking through a few crochet patterns thoroughly, before you start.

Wherever you source your toy crochet patterns, there is a great deal of fun to be had in creating one of these fun items. A brief search on the internet reveals an exciting range of toys, for both children and adults. In these days of mass produced factory gifts, it is special indeed to receive a hand-crocheted toy from someone special. The time, energy and thought that goes into such a gift really tells someone how special they are.

Anna Stenning is an expert on crochet patterns having crocheted many a woollen item.
Crochet, Karen's Korner

Easter Eggs and Baskets

Easter Eggs and Baskets Easter Eggs and Baskets
It seems a bit strange to be talking about Easter eggs and baskets when it feels like we have not long had Christmas, but Easter is now only a few weeks away. I have come across a number of free patterns lately with an Easter theme and thought I would do something a bit different for my grandchildren this year.

I decided to get started a bit early, so over the last couple of weeks I have been busily crocheting multi-coloured mini Easter eggs and baskets. The first batch, pictured above, has been finished and sent away. Needless to say they were accompanied by some chocolate eggs as well. I also sent the two jerseys I had recently finished (see “Using Patterns as a Guide”) which I had decided to hold back so that everything could be posted together. Now I need to keep going with the rest of them.

I know I shouldn’t be, but I am constantly amazed by the variety of things which people are able to make with crochet and knitting. The patterns I have seen for Easter projects include baskets ranging from simple to very ornately decorated, all sorts of eggs and egg shaped items, and a large number of bunnies. One thing which comes to mind that I would never have thought of is Easter egg shaped dish cloths. I guess they add a bit of fun and colour to the rather mundane tasks of cleaning and washing up.

I have to admit that I struggle with the commercialism of Easter (and Christmas). The true meaning and significance of Easter has been pushed into the background. Sitting down and spending time hand making gifts provides an opportunity to also think about the reasons we celebrate Easter. This is something very important to me and I hope that you find time for some quiet contemplation whilst making a few special gifts for some of the special people in your lives.