There are some great freebies on Pinterest for cross stitching Christmas gifts. I have always loved cross stitch mainly because of the methodical neatness of the process but also because it is so versatile. I have embellished cards, kindle covers, phone cases, hot water bottle covers and made gift tags all using cross stitch techniques.
I love that you can go super large size to cross stitch on wool or teeny tiny on a 32 count linen, all with lovely effects. I also get excited by the neatness of my storage boxes that hold the silks I use for stitching.
However, I wish there was some similar way of storing my wool tapestry threads though, as these are all in a jumbled tangled mess in my plastic storage box.
I suppose it's that time again where we all seek to find ways of keeping warm.
I am no exception, but alas, I do not have the luxury of living in a modern house that is totally insulated from the outside elements. When we moved here over 4 years ago our Edwardian Town house had stood empty for over 7 years, the central heating system was antiquated and it was very cold and in need of a complete renovation. As fate would have it our first winter was the worst the country had suffered in over 20 years. Brrrrrrrr it was freezing back then... but as they say every cloud has a silver lining and I discovered wrist warmers.
I made a pair out of a 50g ball of DK Pure wool and they have been my winter staple ever since. This year however, they are looking a bit worst for wear and I am determined to make a few different styles. The ones you see shown in the above photos are made up in my all time favourite pattern and also a popular choice on many blog sites see here and here- the design that I have been wearing for the last 4 years. I love this style and always receive loads of compliments whenever I am wearing them, the pattern is so easy to complete but looks very complicated doesn't it?
So this year I have crocheted a new pair, a bit longer than the last pair - for info see my notes on Raverly which also has the link to the free pattern. However, on my Pinterest board here there are many patterns I would like to try this year and obviously the ones I blogged about on my Outlander post here.
I just wanted to mention a further addition to my antique sewing notions collection. I really love antique sewing things (many have very intricate designs crafted on them) and this sewing bobbin holder is certainly beautiful. They are still available to buy through auction sites but are becoming increasingly pricey.
Why don't they still make objects like these any more, its such a shame.
I also like miniature antique china cups, I'm not sure if these are from a children's tea set but I tend to find these as an odd item at car boots etc. for 25p. They sit dotted around the house having various functions, a scoop for my bath salts or a holder for a tiny brush. If I was left to my own devices I would probably collect loads more things...the internet has a lot to answer for!
Finally, I wrote up a pattern for an Outlander style snood yesterday...let me warn you it is very, very chunky. The great thing with chunky is that it only takes an hour or so to knit up!
I am really pleased with this one and my next post will include details if anyone would like the pattern. I am also working on matching wrist warmers to go with the snood, very chunky also but these are going to be very long too!
Do you ever buy yarn because you love its colour or texture, of how it feels in your hands, of the potential possibilities of a future garment you can see so clearly in your minds eye? I am often seduced by such yarns and nearly always fight the urge to succumb to this temptation.
This yarn you see in the above pictures has been with me for nearly five years. I bought it on a whim because it was reduced (which always helps in the decision making process) and it was so unusual as yarns go.
Try as I might I just couldn't find the right pattern to do it justice. Whatever the finished design, it had to be simple, rustic and specifically work for a very chunky type of yarn. First I made a scarf - terrible, it was heavy with no drape. Then I unsuccessfully fashioned a kind of waistcoat/bodice - this was truly awful, it made me look like a yeti, the bulk of the fabric doubling my body/frame.
Dejected and utterly forlorn, my beautiful yarn was abandoned, buried in a supermarket plastic carrier bag hidden in the back of a cupboard for the next three years. With the approach of Autumn and chillier times this year, my mind has started to think of thicker chunky yarns and the possibility of making cowls and wristies to keep me warm over the coming months.
Then I remembered my dream yarn and possible patterns I could use, found the carrier bag (I felt a bit guilty about leaving such said yarn hidden away) and started to unravel my previous knitted disaster.
Don't they say 'third time lucky' - lets hope so for this yarn, eh?
My brother and his family moved to Glasgow over a year ago and while I was saddened that he had moved away from here, I was secretly pleased as to where he had gone. Glasgow you see is placed at the foot of the Highlands, one of my most favourite places in the world. His property overlooks the Trossachs and Loch Lomond, which while beautiful, only hints at the delights of what is beyond.
We decided on a large family holiday this year and the Isle of Harris was picked as possibly the most beautiful place on earth. It didn't disappoint. Our accommodation was superb and the journey there a small adventure as we drove through Fort William then onto Skye (my daughters namesake) and finally, the ferry ride to Harris. To fill our days we walked the beaches, visited local tweed mills and walked the many desolate wild mountains unique to the Isle, by night we cooked our cod, grayling and mackerel caught from fishing just outside the cottage, drank single malt by the log burning fire and gazed at the stars (there is no light pollution here and the nights are the blackest of black - when your eyes do grow accustomed to the dark you start to see the whole of the constellation as never before, tiny pin pricks of brilliant light carpeting the sky).
The place was truly magical and it even had a stone circle. Local tourist information informed me that this place had been used in a film set and hundreds of fans would flock from America to visit this special site. This place was Callanish, Isle of Lewis but was better known as Craigh na Dun from Diana Gabaldon novel Cross Stitch. Always fascinated by Highland stories I looked it up on the internet and found that this book has a huge following and is one of a series of novels. I also discovered that the filming had finished and the film was in fact a TV series called Outlander. Why it isn't available here is beyond me but through some searching online I found and watched all 8 episodes so far. It really is well filmed some great directing/acting, but with also two other surprising characters Scotland and knitwear, which brings me on to the point of this post. Scotland has been captured on film beautifully and is just as how I remember the Highlands, but the knit wear is equally as breath taking.
In fact I was so caught up with these items that I had a look online to see if anyone else had thought the same. I was looking more for ideas on creating my own patterns as the design are straightforward but instead found that some had already been written. I really wasn't disappointed, there is a wealth of articles and information, so I have collected the best FREE patterns and posted here for any knitwear fans wanting to have their own shrug, shawl, cowl or wrist warmers like Claires if you are a fan and if not maybe you can appreciate its simplistic beauty.
This beautiful chunky infinity cowl really caught my eye and is my favourite. I found this pattern here Outlander Cowl using a Debbie Bliss yarn. Another is here and think these are the best on the many that are on offer through the internet. This pattern adds a twist of ribbing, giving even more texture to the infinity cowl... beautiful x
This one is worth a mention as it is so straightforward. Basically you are looking to make a rectangle knitted in garter stitch, with both corners sewn together. Simple but if works well. This is also do-able as a crochet stitch too.
These wrist warmers work lovely with the shawls don't they. I found this pattern from little cotton rabbits here. which would work just the same depending on the yarn you use. I would recommend using a 4 ply to achieve a similar effect. Also another free link to Raverly here for equally as lovely. Those of you who are ok with cables this pattern would certainly look the part. I personally am going to go for these long woolly slit wrist warmers, just the ticket for this coming winter, can't wait to hook them.
The costume department for this production have a blog here It makes for fascinating read and gives an in depth insight into how research/design and production work in film. I want her job!
My other favourite Etsy sellers who stock beautiful inspired hand knitted capes are here:
From time to time I come across other peoples unfinished work for sale. They are either on the internet or in charity shops or antique fairs. I have quite a few now, all which I intend to complete at some point. I know, its mad isn't it! In a strange way it makes me sad that these pieces were never finished, some of them are even quite beautiful.
I intend to go back through my posts and tag them with 'second hand finds' to catalogue my purchases and remind me just what I have.
Today I am writing about the most exquisite evening bag that I purchased from the internet. The stitch count is tiny and I didn't realise this until it arrived in the post ( the many pitfalls of buying from the internet). It really is a mess, the threads are so badly ravelled up I don't think they will ever be untangled again. It is probably 50% complete but it would be nice to do the other panel and maybe back it in a glamorous fabric as a way of adapting it to a modern day style.
The kit also came with the bags clasp which make up the handle.
I have a really great pile of books and mags that I am enjoying reading at the mo, I especially love the knitted gloves from this months Mollie Makes.