Knitting

Christmas Knitting Ideas

Christmas Knitting Ideas
The last post in my Christmas series is Christmas knitting ideas. I have rediscovered a wonderful pattern book on my shelf called “Jean Greenhowe’s Christmas Special”. All the photos I have taken for this post are of pictures in this book. It is a Sirdar book (number 236).

Christmas Knitting IdeasI am not usually overly keen on knitted Nativity scenes, but I find the one in this book quite delightful. I won’t have the time to make it for this year, but plan to give it a go next year. I really like the way the figures all seem to belong together.

Christmas Knitting Ideas Christmas Knitting IdeasThe book has a great selection of knitted toys too. They come in a range of sizes and would all make lovely gifts for children and maybe even some bigger people too. There are several versions of Santa, including a Mrs Claus, and several different snowmen too. They are joined by such things as an upside down doll, a teddy, a reindeer, an elf, and even a fairy for the top of the tree.

Christmas Knitting IdeasChristmas Knitting IdeasAnother thing which interested me was a collection of small Christmas stockings. They look like a great idea for putting just a few small treats in. I find that a lot of stocking patterns seem to be a bit big. I find that a lot of stocking patterns seem to be a bit big. It can also be fun to use up some of your yarn scraps knitting little tree decorations.

If you are looking for a bit more inspiration for projects to add to your Christmas craft selection, I suggest you check out some of my affiliate sites listed below. Enter “Christmas” in their site search bar and you will find a treasure trove of ideas. Enjoy your browsing!

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.

Crochet

Christmas Crochet Ideas

Christmas Crochet Ideas

I mentioned in my post “Are You On Track For Christmas?” that I have rediscovered some books with Christmas patterns in them that I had forgotten I had. They contain a number of fun ideas for a range of projects which I thought I would share with you. I have taken photos of some of the projects and hope they will provide you with some inspiration.

Christmas Crochet IdeasOne book that had a number of crochet ideas in it was the Patons book 304 “Traditional Christmas”. It contained knitting projects as well, but I am going to focus on crochet in this post. (This photo is of the back cover.)

Christmas Crochet IdeasThere is a lovely pattern for a Christmas afghan in this book. As we are now well into November it would be a big ask to get the afghan finished for this Christmas, but the pattern is done in squares which would be well suited to being adapted to a smaller project. It might be a nice idea to make cushions instead using different combinations of the square patterns.

Christmas Crochet IdeasOne pattern which really caught my eye was for a wall hanging Advent Calendar. This is probably not a possibility for this year either (unless you are a much quicker crocheter than I am), but I am definitely filing this away as an idea for next year. I will have a look around to see if I can find any patterns for similar projects too.

Some other ideas which might appeal to you are things like crocheted wreaths, table centres, or even a complete table setting. The possibilities are endless, you just need to look around a bit for inspiration. I suggest that you check out some of my affiliate sites listed below by just entering “Christmas” in their site search bar. Enjoy your browsing!

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

Are You On Track For Christmas?

Are You On Track For Christmas?
Image courtesy of Pixabay

Wow! October is nearly gone already! I don’t know whether it’s because I’m getting older (I turned 60 recently) or whether it’s just a sign of our society today, but the years seem to go by so quickly now. Ideally I should have started on Christmas projects in early September, or at least have some projects organised, but I’m afraid I’m running a bit behind.

I recently received my second Christmas catalogue from “Fox Collection” and am having as much fun browsing through it as I did going through the first one, which arrived in September. I am not in a position to buy much from the catalogue, but it is really interesting going through and getting ideas. They have kitset projects for a number of different craft areas, plus some gift ideas.

A number of my affiliate sites have Christmas hand craft kits available. You might like to check out Leisure Arts, Craftsy, Annie’s, Knit Picks, LoveKnitting, Creative Bug and Connecting Threads. If you enter “Christmas” in the site search bar of any of these sites you will be shown great selections of kits, patterns and products. Again, even if you don’t end up buying the actual kits, it is a great way to get ideas and inspiration. That being said, I would also recommend kits as a convenient and cost effective way to get all the materials you need for a project when you do decide on something.

I have also been looking through a number of my own pattern books which have Christmas themed projects in them. Several of them I hadn’t looked at for some time, and it has been good to find some patterns for projects that I had forgotten I had. I will go through my books and post some photos of interesting ideas for projects in different categories soon.

Enjoy your Christmas preparations. I would love to hear of interesting ideas you may have come across for decorations or gifts.

**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

Two Extremes of Cross Stitch

Two Extremes of Cross Stitch
I currently have two main cross stitch projects on the go, not counting a couple that have been sitting around for a while. These projects are both intended as birthday presents for grandchildren, and they represent two extremes of cross stitch.

Two Extremes of Cross Stitch Two Extremes of Cross StitchThe one I am making the fastest progress with is a kit set cushion cover. It is the first one I have done and I am finding it very enjoyable to be able to race through it. It is worked on 4.5 mesh Sudan canvas using acrylic yarn. The design is painted on the canvas and uses only 13 colours. The big needle is easy to thread, and I seem to be flying through the pre-cut threads at great speed.

Two Extremes of Cross Stitch Two Extremes of Cross StitchThe second project is a huge contrast to the first. It is a birth date sampler which also came as a kit set, but is a counted cross stitch design worked on 18 count Aida fabric. The pattern is printed in a 10 page booklet, and the dozens of colours of pre-cut lengths of embroidery thread are sorted onto two cards. I am really enjoying this project as well, as counted cross stitch is a real passion for me, but I must admit that it is rather a challenge.

One of the things that the counted cross stitch project has confirmed for me is that I should really go and get my eyes retested. I am overdue for a check-up, and the tiny stitches and intricate design are definitely a strain. For this reason it has been great to have both projects on the go together as I can do the more difficult one in the more comfortable light during the day, and relax with the easier one at night.

So long as everything continues to go to plan, I should get both projects, plus a second cushion cover, finished by the middle of August. Fingers crossed!

 

Crochet, Knitting

Crochet and Knitting Proven Stress Relievers

Crochet and Knitting Proven Stress Relievers
A knitted or crocheted tote is something a lot of people simply walk past in tourist shops or push to the back of their closet most of the year. This is not the case in my family. Knitting and crochet have always been a big part of my grandma’s life, and I never really knew why until last week.

For every holiday my grandma would give her grandkids a knitted or crocheted tote along with another little gift. I think she knew I didn’t really use them, even though I always hung one on the back of my door like I would need to use it at any time. Grandma said she made so many that she didn’t need them for herself. I think she always hoped I would start getting interested in crochet or knitting just like she did when she was my age.

I volunteered to drive my grandma to her knitting and crochet club last week, without realizing it was over half an hour away. She walked up to the car with her usual knitting and crochet tote and supplies in tow. We had time to kill, so we naturally started talking about her knitting club meeting that day. She told me how she first began knitting and crocheting and why she continued to keep the hobby for 62 years and counting. She said that with all the stress in her life from working and raising three kids, she needed something to keep her calm. She needed anything constant that could keep her mind off of everything else that was bothering her.

I didn’t believe her at first that each knitting and crochet tote she carried somehow acted as a stress reliever. After later research online, I found out that she was actually right! Activities like knitting and crochet have a calming effect that can help manage anxiety. As a result, these activities even help medical conditions like asthma or panic attacks. Because of the stress relieving properties, knitting and crochet can also strengthen the body’s immune system.

Yesterday when I drove Grandma to her last club meeting, I saw her knitting and crochet tote and had a feeling of admiration and interest. I decided to do something I usually vowed never to do. I went into the meeting. I did go in there very well prepared, though. I looked up a Complete Beginners Guide to Knitting and Free Easy Crochet Patterns. I was baffled on my own and getting stressed just trying to figure out what all of these new terms meant.

At this last meeting I began something of my own. I made a crochet tote bag that was so easy, and I finally had a tote bag of my own for all my supplies. I finally made a bag that I’m going to actually use! After the meeting I decided that I’m going to look into some other stress relieving techniques, like a Ripple Afghan Crochet Pattern for my new apartment. Who knew staying calm and healthy could be so easy?

For even more fun knitting and crochet projects, check out www.FaveCrafts.com! Marly Schuman is a food editor at FaveDiets.com, but has learned a lot about crafting through her experiences working for FaveCrafts too!

 

More Crochet Articles

 

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.