Lace Making

Christmas Snowflakes and Other Ideas

Christmas Snowflakes and Other Ideas

Last week I wrote about some “Christmas Crochet Ideas”. This week I want to pass on some more ideas from the same book, Patons book 304 “Traditional Christmas”, but these one fall more into the category of lace. They are still all crocheted, but are a lot finer and more delicate.

Christmas Snowflakes and Other Ideas Christmas Snowflakes and Other IdeasThere are several different versions of snowflakes in this book, a larger one and a smaller one. If you have any doily patterns at home, you will probably find that at least one of them has a centre pattern that you could use to make snowflakes Christmas decorations by using lightweight white crochet cotton and a fine hook. It could be fun to experiment and see what you come up with.

My book also has patterns for two different bauble covers, a heart decoration, and an angel. I have had a look on “Ravelry” and, predictably, they have patterns available for all these things plus many more Christmas ideas.

Christmas Snowflakes and Other Ideas Christmas Snowflakes and Other IdeasOne thing to remember if you are going to make some crocheted lace decorations, is that they will need to be starched. This is a lot easier to do these days as there are spray cans of starch available. You will need to pin out your finished item, spray it, and allow it to dry. (Follow the directions on the can.) This will make the snowflake, or other decorations, hard so that you are able to hang them up.

If you would prefer to look for kits to use for making decorations, you should check out some of my affiliate sites. Have fun with your decoration making!

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.

Cross Stitch

Birthday Cushions Completed!

Birthday Cushions Completed!

I am pleased to report that both the birthday cushions have been completed. (See “Two Extremes of Cross Stitch”.) This is the first time I have used this kind of kit and I have found it very enjoyable and satisfying. The coarse canvas and the printed design have made the projects easy to follow and quick to finish.

New kits or projects often come with learning opportunities, and these kits were no exception. My first surprise came when I opened the kit and took out the yarn. Previously I have used a number of counted cross stitch kits and have been used to the threads being sorted into colours, usually also organised on a card or cards. When I took out the bundle of yarn from the pony kit I found I had just that – all the pre-cut yarn bundled together.

Birthday Cushions Completed! Birthday Cushions Completed!This being the case, my first task was to sort the yarn into colours and tie them together for ease of use. This took a while, but was well worth doing.

Stitching the projects was relatively straight forward, particularly where there were big blocks of one colour. I did find, however, that I needed to be more careful with individual or small numbers of stitches. The much larger holes in the canvas meant that isolated stitches were more easily pulled out of shape if the yarn was pulled a bit tighter. I became more familiar with what worked best as I went along.

Birthday Cushions Completed!Birthday Cushions Completed!I hit a slightly steeper learning curve when it came to making the backings for the cushions. Again, this was something I had not done before. I managed to work out how to put them together without too many problems. I have made them with a zip running across the middle horizontally for ease of removal.

There were a couple of “note to self” moments during the process though. The first one came after I had successfully attached the backing piece to the first cushion. I turned it over to turn it out the right way and discovered that I had sewn the backing on with the zip fully done up. Note to self: make sure you leave the zip undone a couple of inches because it is very difficult to open it up otherwise!

Birthday Cushions Completed! Birthday Cushions Completed!The second “note to self” was a more general one. I got nearly three quarters of the way around sewing the backing on the second cushion when I noticed that the cotton was lifting behind the machine as I went. I discovered that the bobbin had run out halfway along the previous side so had to go back and repin it, then resew it after filling the bobbin.

I am very pleased with how these two covers have turned out. All I have to do now is buy some inners to go in them and wrap them up for the birthday children.


Cross Stitch

Getting Started With Cross Stitch, The Easy Way

Getting Started With Cross Stitch, The Easy Way
Cross stitch is a form of embroidery that’s been around for thousands of years. It involves making hundreds of tiny cross shape stitches – hence the name cross stitch – on special fabric. Once completed, these thousands of tiny stitches, form a picture or symbol.

Cross stitch can be used to make or improve on delightful wall pictures, beautiful hand embroidered clothes, dishcloths, household linens, doilies and more. These days, it’s more often used to create decorative wall hangings.

Although many people who’ve just touched on the art of cross stitch will only know of one stitch, there’s actually several other stitches that can be used. They include the Celtic, Italian, Ukrainian, long-armed, Irish and Montenegrin cross stitches. The basic pattern though will be enough for most people to achieve the design that they’re looking for so there’s really no need to learn about the rest.

The great thing about cross stitch is that it is not very hard to do, so it’s something that almost anyone can do – young and old.

So how can you get started with it? Go down to your local craft or fabric store and ask if they have any cross stitch patterns. Just start with a small one initially – you don’t want to take a couple of weeks to finish your first project. All good cross stitch patterns have instructions on how to complete it. While you’re there, make sure you get all the thread, needles and cloth that you’ll need.

When you get started, make sure you find the middle of the fabric first and allow at least three inches on each side for framing.

People will often try to tell you that you have to start in the middle, but this isn’t actually the case. While it is important that you take the time to locate the centre of the fabric before hand to avoid running out of room for your design, you don’t have to start sewing there. You can start at the bottom, top, right or left, it’s completely up to you.

An easy way to find the middle of the cloth, is to double it over one way, then double it over the other way. The place where the two creases that you’ve created in the fabric cross over will be the middle. It’s also a good idea to place a small pen mark in the centre so if it takes a few weeks to complete it, you still know where the centre is.

Once you’ve finished it, you might be wondering what to do with your piece of art. The obvious option that most people choose is to just frame them and hang them on the wall, but what if your walls are already covered in cross stitch hangings or you just want to do something different with this lot.

Don’t worry, there are heaps of different things you can still do with them. You could:

Turn them into napkins.
Join some together to make a lamp shade.
Put some on the coffee table as decorations.
Make place mats for the dining table.
Sew them in half and turn them into little purses or bags.

The possibilities are endless with what you can do with them, it’s all up to your imagination. So go away and brainstorm a list of ideas for your latest pieces of work – I’m sure you’ll come up with many more.

Discover more great cross stitch tips & cross stitch kits at Craft Boutique. Craft Boutique is one of the largest cross stitch sites on the net with stacks of free resources, plus the biggest range of cross stitch kits & accessories online.

All About Loom Knitting

All About Loom Knitting
Image courtesy of Google

Knitting is a well-known art form which has regained popularity in recent times, and so have knitting looms. Knitting on looms is much easier than knitting on needles. Different manufacturers produce knitting looms that can be used by knitters at home. These are delightful and convenient items that can help to make knitting interesting. These knitting looms range from plastic looms to the heavy duty wooden looms.

Knitting looms that are available in today’s marketplace come in different shapes and sizes, these including oval, round and rectangular. There are also looms you can purchase that are shaped like a butterfly. This design is helpful in creating knots and crochets. Many manufacturers have made fun filled looms which glow in the dark. You would find these knitting looms helpful if you required to work in a dimly lit room.

Parents can even get a knitting loom set for their children. The child set includes a set of four plastic looms, as well as a full set of instructions. All possible steps are taken for the safety of children, but it is recommended they are not used by children below five years of age.

By giving your kids a set of knitting looms you can develop this art at an early age. It is also said that knitting is a really great recreational activity. These looms can also be used for worsted and bulky yarns.

Round knitting looms can be used to create objects like hats, wrist warmers etc. Looms also come in single rake or double rake varieties, meaning they have a single row of pegs or a double row. A single row can be used to produce objects with one right side and a wrong side, while the double row is used to create a garment that can be used both ways.

Rectangle knitting looms are great for creating scarves, afghans, and other large designs. This loom has a single rake and it is simple to work with. If you buy a set of these, you will also get a pick and hook tool and the necessary instructions.

These knitting looms are good for every beginner, and for amateurs in the world of knitting. People who are unable to knit using needles will definitely be able to use a knitting loom. By using varying methods of wrapping the yarn on the pegs, you can make knit works of various stitches and patterns.

The projects produced utilizing knitting looms are as pleasing as the ones made using needles. Thus with out wasting a moment, get yourselves a knitting loom, with the aid of which you can create glorious knitted items at a much lesser effort.

This article was written by Gina Williams, an up and coming expert on knitting.

Related Knitting Articles

Cross Stitch

10 Good Reasons to Take Up Cross Stitch

10 Good Reasons to Take Up Cross Stitch
Image courtesy of Google

There are numerous reasons for taking up the beguiling, blue-collar craft of cross stitch, ten of which are shown below. So continue reading then pay a visit to your local craft shop and start your cross stitching career today.

1. Why “blue-collar” you might ask? Well! When compared to most other pastimes, cross stitch is truly inexpensive; there’s no fancy or expensive machinery. When you have bought a kit or the thread and fabric for your own design that’s about it for outlay (well, until you buy the next one anyway). Simple kits start from a couple of dollars and you’re guaranteed something at the end of it to show for your efforts.

2. Whatever you produce, be it a tiny picture of a mere few inches in diameter, or a sampler that stretches the length of your wall, you will always have it to keep. You can even hand it down to your children, thereby creating an heirloom.

3. Even beginners can make cross stitch works that look both beautiful and professional. Starter kits don’t need any previous experience and as you develop your skills you can progress to evermore complex patterns. You will never have to scour the shops for that special gift again.

4. Everything you make will be unique and very personal; the perfect gift for every occasion.

5. Cross stitch is great for stress relief and relaxation. Just sit down with your favorite radio program or CD on and stitch away to your heart’s content.

6. Cross stitch is a truly “portable” hobby. You can stitch while sitting in your armchair watching the TV or alternatively you can take it with you on holiday or on long train journeys. Boredom will surely be a thing of the past.

7. The huge number of cross stitch designs available today means that there will always be something you like, regardless of your ability. Simple designs for beginners incorporate a small number of colour threads and very basic stitches so that you don’t need to go and read a manual before you make a start. However, as you progress and learn a few more stitches and techniques you can attempt more complex patterns until you really are the professional cross stitcher.

8. There are literally hundreds of websites that offer free patterns to cross stitch. You will have to buy your own threads and fabric but that is half of the challenge! There is absolutely no way on this earth that you will ever run out of things to cross stitch; it really is a hobby for life.

9. As you become more confident and proficient, you may be able to sell some of your creations thus making a bit of pocket money while doing something that you love to do. You can even advertise your talents and design patterns for individual customers. Given a few years you could have a nice little business venture as well as a great hobby.

10. Outdoor hobbies such as hill walking and bird watching aren’t much fun in the rain or in the middle of winter, but cross stitch can be done at any time of the year regardless of the weather. In fact it’s a great feeling to sit in a nice warm, cozy house on a dull winter evening and happily stitch the hours away.

Overall, cross stitch really is a universal hobby anyone can master and if your curiosity does get the better of you, you will undoubtedly become hooked in no time. Historically, cross stitching has a rather vague stigma attached to it as being thought of by many as just a “pensioner” activity. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. People of all ages cross stitch, even teenagers and children… and yes men too! And hey! if you don’t believe me, have a go yourself. You’ll soon find out why cross stitch really is universally popular.

John Wigham has been a professional author and editor for 20 years and is a co-founder of, an online cross stitch club dedicated to counted cross stitch. The website has a small team of writers who are devoted to our cross stitch club and enjoy writing about their hobby.

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Cross Stitch

The Wonderful World of Cross Stitch

The Wonderful World of Cross Stitch

I love counted cross stitch! That statement may sound a bit strong, but I really enjoy watching a picture emerge on a previously blank piece of material. There is such satisfaction in being able to see what you have achieved and in being creative as well.

Don’t get me wrong – there can be plenty of frustration as well! I doubt you will find a cross stitcher who hasn’t put at least one project to the side after finding they have made a mistake which can only be remedied by significant unpulling. For me though, the relaxation and satisfaction far outweigh the setbacks.

Cross stitch can be anything you want it to be. You can choose a simple motif to decorate an item of clothing, or make a personalised card, or you can immerse yourself in a large, complex picture. In between these two extremes lies a huge range of options. There is also an unlimited variety of themes to choose from. If there is a particular theme you are interested in, you can pretty much guarantee there are cross stitch patterns available on it.

The materials available today also cover an amazing range. From the finest even weave and Aida fabrics through to rug canvas or plastic, and from finest silk thread through to heavy yarns or even leather strips, the possibilities are really only limited by your imagination.

The growth of the internet has given people the ability to share patterns, tips and ideas online. It also provides access to a huge online market of materials, kits, patterns and accessories. There are now quite a number of computer programmes available as well which allow you to convert your own photos and pictures into cross stitch patterns for completely personalised projects.

As I said before, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Where will yours take you?