zaterdag 15 november 2014

Things my grandmothers stitched for me

I was planning to do this blogpost for a while, but all the stuff that I want to show in this blogpost was at my parents house. Both my maternal and paternal grandmothers were avid stitchers. They both stitched me stuff that I hold dear to my heart and are examples of great craftmanship.

First, lets start with my maternal grandmother. I don't really remember her stitching, because she was already pretty ill by the time I started remembering stuff.

This is the border of a baby blanket my grandmother stitched for me. I think it is a really cute and bright pattern for a little baby girl, so I really liked seeing it again. 

She also stitched me a growth chart, that hung on my wall. My mom told me, that after she had changed my diaper, she always sung a song with me she made up herself about all the characters on the chart. She still remembers it, and it is pretty cute! 

It was pretty hard to photograph this properly because of the elongated size, but hopefully you can see the full effect. 

My other grandmother was probably an even more avid cross stitcher. In the year I was born, she also had two other grandchildren, and they all received a stitched work about the same size. So imagine working on three pieces this size, in a year! I do remember her cross-stitching, because my final cousin was born when I was 12, and she wanted to stitch him something as well, and she did, even though it became harder when she got older. 

This piece is very neat, with very even stitches. I really like the pattern as well, and my mom said it matched my nursery quite well. The funny thing is, when I tried to look for patterns to stitch a few years ago, I stumbled upon this pattern as well. So it is still sold (or at least was until recently) and probably stitched too. 

My mother has never really been into cross stitching, but she did sew me a doll when she was pregnant with me, that has cross stitched features. I wanted to photograph that one too, but I forgot, so maybe next time. 

I really like looking at these pieces, and seeing I really inherited the stitching bug from my grandmothers. In Holland, cross stitching nowadays is more of an old ladies thing, while I think it can be very fun, relaxing and it gives a great result, and it is a nice old craft that has been done for years. I like that I following in the footsteps of my both grandmothers, and hope to stitch for my grandchildren, one day!

woensdag 12 november 2014

WIP Wednesday #4

This week I got a lot of stitching done. I am actually quite happy with myself! The cat is really coming to life now, next to a face last week, I actually can see the start of a paw and tail, its entire chest and quite a lot of back. This part is pretty fast to stitch, because it consists of bigger surfaces of one color, so that's nice.

With the cat going really fast now, I did decide I needed to do some more backstitching, so I got some done last light. I still find it an annoying job to do, but what needs to get done. I hope I will finish the cat and the backstitching around the same time, so I can start on backstitching the cat. But that will not happen by next week.

I ordered some yarn to start on two small projects, but I still need to order a few more colors. So maybe I can show you the start of a new project next week. I also tried to crochet a bit, but I wasn't satisfied with the results so I frogged it.

zondag 9 november 2014

What I bought at the KreaDoe

Last Wednesday, I went to the KreaDoe fair in Utrecht. This is the largest, or at least one of the largest creative fairs in Holland, with two enormous halls filled with sellers of all kinds of crafts. You can find stuff to cross stitch, knit, crochet, sew, make cards, scrapbook, make jewelry etc. I don't go there every year, but at least every once in a while, I do visit it. I live in Amsterdam myself, and there are not that many shops that specialize in cross stitch stuff here.

I had planned to buy boxes to keep my floss in, some fabric to cross stitch on and some cute patterns. And I succeeded in finding all of those, and then some!

These are the boxes I bought. They were 5E a piece. I think one box would be enough to fit all the floss I have at the moment, but I expect my floss collection will expand over time, and I don't want to have different boxes, so I bought a second one for future expansion. It also came with 100 cardboard bobbins.

I also bought two pieces of fabric, a black 18 ct aida and a forestgreen piece of jobelin (don't know the count but pretty fine). I wanted a piece of black fabric for a while, and I loved the green color as well. 

I bought these two patterns. The first one is the follow up for the cat pattern I already have by this designer, I liked this one as well. The second one I bought with a specific project in mind. 

This magazine and this pattern with a skein of floss I received for free, as they were selling a new floss brand, and you received this pattern to try it. I think I will definately try the floss, and maybe there is a nice pattern in the magazine as well!

I also bought this crochet yarn, and a crochet hook in the right size to go with it. I am planning to crochet from my book of animals with this. This is a little bit above my normal crochet level, but I will see how far I get, it is always good to learn, right.

The final thing I bought is this coloring book. I already have one coloring book, maybe will show my colorist one day. I really love art nouveau (like you couldn't tell by my choice of cross stitch pieces), so this book immediately caught my eye!

donderdag 6 november 2014

WIP Wednesday Thursday #3

I'm late on my WIP update today, because I was away for the entire day yesterday. I didn't get that much stitching done. I felt I needed to do backstitching, but I didn't feel like doing that, so I procrastinated some more. When I decided I could continue stitching the cat, it was easy and I got quite a lot done. '

My cat finally has eyes! And a nose! Almost all his face is finished by now. I always stitch quite randomly, because I try to look for a color I can finish without counting a lot. So I work on his back for a bit, on his face and on his belly at the same time, depending on where the stitching is closest together. I also did a little bit of the outer border, because his eyelids were done in the same color and I though 'why not?'.

Hopefully, next week I will have some backstitching done, because that definately needs to happen someday! The cat also has quite a lot of backstitching, so there is loads to be done still.

woensdag 29 oktober 2014

Kits and patterns I like

There are several things I would love to stitch in the future. I am not much of a pack-rat when it comes to cross stitching, I don't really see the point in having a million kits and no time to work on them. So my collection consists of small patterns that can be done quickly, and the only big thing I own is the Cat in the Window kit I am working on right now.

But ofcourse, a girl can dream, right? There are many things I want to stitch, someday. So today I will show some of those patterns and kits.

The first one is a free pattern from the website spritestitch. You can find many cross stitch patterns on there, most based on video games. I used to be a big time Pokemon fan in my early teens, and I still hold very good memories to that. I even stood in line for almost two hours when I was in Paris last spring to visit the PokeCenter that was there for two weeks. So this pattern really attracted me from the moment I first saw it.

You can find the pattern (for free) here!

Another brand I really love (in a totally different style) is Chatelaine. Most of their patterns are quite complicated Mandala motifs, with loads of beading and specialty yarns. I really want to do one one day, but on some websites you can buy all the supplies together (the specialty yarns and the beads) and the full price of that comes up to 200$ or more. This would be way too much for me, and I don't know if you can also do it with DMC yarns or without beads, and I'm hesistant to buy a pattern and find out you can't, so maybe some day. The one I love best is this one, the Hawaiian pattern.

I already stitched the All you need is love pattern by Stitchrovia as a wedding gift, but I do like to stitch another pattern by this designer just for myself. I especially like these patterns.

On Etsy there are more fun designers, as I prefer a more modern style. I love the patterns by Satsuma Street like this modern interpretation of my city, Amsterdam.

There are also several kits by Dimensions that I really love to make one day. I am already working on Cat in the Window at the moment, but they have two other patterns with cats that I really like. These are more standard cross stitch pieces, but I just love cats. 

There are many more cross stitch patterns and kits I could show you that I love, but for now, this is enough. Maybe I will do a part 2 on this someday. If you see any patterns that you think I would like, feel free to recommend them in the reactions, I would love to see your picks!

WIP Wednesday #2

I decided to do current WIP-updates on Wednesdays, and name it (quite surprising) WIP Wednesday. I may not have much to show each Wednesday (especially in summertime), but I'll try to stick to it for now.

This week will cover two weeks of work, as I didn't show anything last week. The first few days, I cross stitched a lot. Then, I had some really tiring days of work, and felt like being creative, but I was too tired to cross stitch. So I picked up crocheting, and continued doing so until I ran out of yarn.

First, my cross stitch piece. I worked on the cat's head some more, and decided to start on his back as well. When I finish a certain piece, I always look for the color I can stitch without counting a lot. I also continued the backstitching, and found out some of the backstitching went into the border, that I hadn't stitched yet, so I stitched the yellow border around the entire thing too. Very easy, but quick work. Next up is backstitching some more, because I really want to get that done asap.

Then, onto my crocheting work. First of, I am going to show you all my other creative hobbies besides cross stitching in a separate post. Cross stitching is my main thing, but I do enjoy other crafts as well. I am a mediocre crocheter, I am always struggling with following patterns, so I mainly do very simple things.

I had bought two bolls of yarn at a Dutch chain that sells cheap stuff called Wibra, on a whim because I loved the colors. They were only €1,79 a piece, so I figured I wouldn't break the bank on that. Then, I decided to make a blanket to sit under on the couch. As I can´t read patterns for crochet, I always turn to Youtube when I want to crochet something. Most blanket patterns are either for granny squares, or with really thick yarn, and I wanted neither of those, so I looked on. Then I found a pattern for a very easy granny square, that can be continued to form a blanket. This is the video I used.

After two evenings of crochet, I almost finished my yarn, but I hadn't finished the blanket by far, so I asked my roommate to go back to the store to buy more for me, while I was at work. She bought two more bolls, and I happily stitched on. Later, that yarn was almost finished so I wanted to buy more, went back, and it was gone. I looked up some info on the yarn online, turns out it is one of the most popular yarns available, since it is so cheap and such fun colors. The store sells it once or twice a year, and it always sells out amazingly fast. So now I have a blanket that is almost 1m x 1m, but I want to make it bigger. 

As you can see, I still have some yarn left, but it is not enough to do an entire round. I decided to just leave it hanging, because I am hoping I will find some more yarn soon. My mother went to several Wibra-stores for me, and it was sold out everywhere, and I went to another one myself, but I was not able to find it. The employees told my mom it was returning in January, so I hope to find some then. There is some yarn available on Marktplaats, which is the Dutch version of Craigslist, but they are going for twice/three times the normal price, and I don't want to pay that much. 

So for now, my crochet-blanket is on hold, so I will return to cross stitch. Hopefully I will have some good progress to show next week. 

maandag 27 oktober 2014

Flower market

After I had finished my Mucha piece that I showed in this blogpost, I immediately wanted to start a new piece. I didn't know the internet was full of cross stitch patterns and kits back then, so I went to the one store I knew stocked cross stitch kits, and choose the one I liked best. Turned out I didn't really like it in the end. I finished it, but I never really loved working on it, and I don't really love the end result. It hangs in my kitchen, where I rarely really notice it. About a year ago, I dropped the frame and the glass is broken in the bottom, and the piece has moved and is not framed correctly anymore, but honestly, I don't care enough to frame it again. And nobody notices because it is in my (tiny) kitchen. But I will show you anyway.

The kit is by Lanarte, but I was not able to find it anywhere for sale online, so I guess it is no longer in production. The purple background is printed on the fabric. 

The point of this blogpost, besides showing you the second biggest project I finished until today, is to be careful in choosing your projects. I don't regret stitching this, but I could have spend all that time on a piece I really loved and cherished.

Edit: I wrote this blogpost a week ago, took the framed piece of its hook in the kitchen to take pictures, and I probably didn't hang it back up correctly because... I dropped it the day after. And the frame shattered this time. So no more piece-I-don't-really-love in my kitchen anymore. Now I am kind of sad about it!

dinsdag 21 oktober 2014

Wedding gift by Stitchrovia

Today I can finally show my latest semi-big finish, because I finally gave it to the lucky couple. Last summer I was invited to the wedding of two of my friends. It was the first wedding I was invited to, my friends and family are all not the marrying kind apparently. So I was really excited, and wanted to stitch something for them. Most wedding samplers or kits really don't suit that couple, or their style, so I looked on Pinterest to find something more modern and better suited to my wishes. And is stumbled upon Stitchrovia. She makes modern designs, mostly based around words in different fonts and I really liked it. I decided to buy the All you need is love-pattern.

I really liked the fact that I had the pattern straight away in PDF form, so I could start immediately. The pattern only uses 7 or 8 colours, but has a colourful effect in the end, so that is very convenient. I decided not to print the pattern but work from PDF on my iPad, and that was a great way, as I could zoom in or scroll to a different part very easily.

I decided to stitch the names and the wedding date of the happy couple in the bottom, to make it a real memory to their wedding. Stitchrovia didn't provide me with a fitting font, but I found a free font to my liking online and tweaked it a little bit so it was totally to my liking. I blurred their full names because I don't want to show them on my blog, but I can tell you it looks great.

This is what it looked like when I finished the entire pattern, without the names.

This is what the finished piece with names and date looked like, to show you the size and placement of the names.

And this is how the piece finally looked framed. It was the first item I framed myself (well, the first one I really cared about ;)). I bought the frame at the HEMA. I am pretty pleased with how it looks, considering I did it myself. 

I think they liked the gift. I gave to them at the wedding, with all these people standing around to congratulate them, so it was hard to see their true reaction, but I think they liked, and appreciated it. I really enjoyed the wedding, so I was glad to give them something they will hopefully cherish, as I do with the memories made by being there.

I really liked stitching something from Stitchrovia, and I may buy something else from this store. There are several other designs I really like, and I would recommend buying from this store to other stitchers.

woensdag 15 oktober 2014

Stitchy things around my home

There are a few things in and around my house that are cross-stitched, but not made by me. I want to show them today.

The first item is a foot-stool. My parents bought this on on a market, it was made by a lady who collects old cross stitched items, and makes them into furniture. I know she makes couches as well, but those are pretty costly. When my parents bought it, they always told me they were going to give it to me one day, when they grew tired of it. Of course, I didn't complain. A few months ago, they finally decided to give it to me. I love it a lot, it really fits the decor of my house, and it is very practical too, as you can open it up, and store stuff in it.

As you can see, I do have to be very strict on the cats to not sharpen their nails on the fabric. It is Nemo's favorite place to sleep on, and he really wanted to sit on it while I was taking pictures.

I use it as a place to store my crocheting stuff. I don't crochet very much, but yarn takes up a lot of space, so it is a very convenient storage bin. 

The second item I want to show you I bought on Queen's day a few years ago. Queen's day (now called King's day because we have a king instead of a queen nowadays) is a yearly holiday on the birthday of the monarch. All over Holland it is celebrated, with games, concerts and in every city is a big flea market. It is called de 'vrijmarkt', which translates to 'free market' since it is free to sell your stuff anywhere. This celebration is biggest in the capital, Amsterdam, and I live in the area with the biggest flea market, and since I love buying second hand things, it is my favorite holiday!

I am also a big fan of our monarchy, I like having a king or queen and I love our royal family. So when, on Queen's day, I found an embroidered piece to celebrate the coronation of our queen, I needed to buy it. It hangs proudly on my wall since then. I think I only paid 1 or 2 euros for it too.

When our King was coronated in 2013, I looked for a similar pattern, so I could honor him as well. But I didn't find it, and haven't looked for a while. So if anyone knows where to buy a pattern like that, please let me know.

The last thing I want to show you are some placemats my father's aunt embroidered. He gave them to me after she died, because he found them when emptying out her house. I assume she made them herself. They are very pretty, and made on an amazingly small count. 

I think it is stitched on linen. The x'es are all very neat and very tiny. I hope I will be such a great stitcher one day. I really regret I only started cross stitching after all the old ladies in my family died, it would have been so much fun to talk about our hobbies with my grandmother and great-aunts. 

And of course, I want to show you a picture of Nemo being a silly attention seeker. I think he was thinking 'Why are you taking pictures of that, I am way cuter!'

dinsdag 14 oktober 2014

WIP update

I am on a small break from school, autumn weather has finally kicked in and I am totally feeling the stitching vibe. So I worked a bit on my 'Cat in window'. This is where I left you last.

I was wondering then if I should do backstitching (boring) or work on the cat (fun) first, but I decided to switch it of, and that is going quite well. So here's where I am today.

I have finished stitching the cat ears/top of his head, and have worked quite a bit on the backstitching.  This way really suits me, so I will continue, although I do have to move my embroidery ring around a lot. But that is okay.

I am trying to face all my x's the same way in this piece, because the entire background is half stitches so I showed myself I am able to do it. So far, I think I succeeded!