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Archive for the ‘Fiber Arts’ Category

I’m taking just a few minutes in the midst of coughing (yep, sick again…sigh.  I think because of the kidney stone I  had on Sept. 16 I got really worn out and easily caught this terrible cold) to write about my children’s latest obsession: cross-stitching.

I learned cross-stitching when I was probably 12 or 13.  My mother had a nice pile of Aida cloth and lots of magazines  full of patterns.  I didn’t finish very many projects—just a Lady and the Tramp pattern which I entered in our local county fair, a bird/window picture for my high school choir teacher, a small self-designed project for Young Women, and a cute picture for John’s birthday right before he went on his mission.  (John’s picture featured two mice, a boy and a girl, and one was holding a candle.  Underneath it said, “You light up my life.”  I was afraid he would  think it was cheesy but he actually really liked it and to my surprise, took it with him on his mission.)

The “Start Each Day” design on the right is the same as the one I gave my choir teacher, Mrs. Domek.  I found this  the other day on the internet and enjoyed showing the kids the design (via Stonehillcollectibles).

I’ve been thinking for a while that my kids would really enjoy cross-stitching, especially the girls.  (I didn’t know if Bran would have the patience for it.)  So we went to Michaels a few days ago and bought some Aida cloth and printed off some patterns from a “kids craft” book. 

They LOVED it!  All of them—even Bran—worked hard at their designs for four hours before they stopped.  I couldn’t believe their concentration and attention span.  The girls are already on their second designs (Ciara’s is here; Nia’s second one, here).  I spent a while searching the internet and found some good cross-stitching websites with free patterns:

http://www.better-cross-stitch-patterns.com/

http://www.cross-stitch-academy.com/

http://www.craftsitedirectory.com/crossstitch/index.html

http://www.dmc-usa.com/majic/pageServer/1z010000ky/en_US/Free-Cross-Stitch-Designs.html

http://www.freepatternsonline.com/xspatterns2.htm

http://shopping.originpublishing.com/charts_category.asp?category=5

http://www.alitadesigns.com/

This one has  more cartoonish/kid-themed patterns:

http://www.dltk-kids.com/type/crossstitch.htm

I like this site and the matching blog:

http://www.countrycrossstitchkits.co.uk/acatalog/free-cross-stitch-patterns.html

http://cross-stitch-addict.blogspot.com/

More free patterns:

http://www.allcrafts.net/needle.htm#cross

This one has some super cool bird patterns, including adorable hummingbirds:

http://www.birdcrossstitch.com/crossstitch/guide2.html

Jan Brett artwork done in cross stitch:

http://www.janbrett.com/cross_stitch/cross_stitch_main_page.htm

There are also lots of gorgeous ones for sale.  Some of my favorites so far, for humor or cuteness:

“Mad Blue Bird” from 123Stitch.com.  Doesn’t his expression—plus the title—just slay you? 

“Dog’s Day Out” from CrossedWing.com.  I love the collie!

“Autumn Cats” from Herrschners.com.

“Achoo!” from Herrschners.com.  This little puppy accidentally sneezed off his spots—so cute!

Adorable bird bookmarks, again from Herrschners.com. 

You can tell I was looking specifically for bird and animal ones the day I found these. :) 

Well, I could go on all day, but this is already long enough.  Let’s just say that the cutest thing of all is this picture here, of three new cross-stitching fanatics:

cross stitching kids2

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My goodness, it’s been quite a while!  My world has been quite busy these days…ballet class problems, 4-H club meetings (5 weeks of cooking, 1 week of tying a quilt, 3 weeks of sewing), Cub Scout meetings and trainings, school with the kids, etc….

I don’t have anything earth-shattering or profound to blog about but I do have a few things to share.

First up: my boy is now a Bear in Cub Scouts (*sniff*…he’s leaving my den!  Not grand).  Here’s a rather washed-out picture of him getting his Bear book last week at pack meeting:

 Bran is a bear

The kids did a wonderful job during the 4-H sewing meetings.  The first two weeks we made long fabric hair ties and toy bags for the LDS Humanitarian Center, but last week the kids could make whatever they wanted.  Ciara drew a shark picture on paper, cut it out, and used that for her pattern.  She made a stuffed shark toy for her cousin Ethan’s birthday, coming up soon:

Ciara's shark

I’m so proud of her!! She did a terrific job!

Bran and Nia decided to make themselves toy bags, modeled on the Humanitarian ones:

bran's toy bag

nia's bag

I never would’ve thought it was possible to teach a 6-year-old to run a sewing machine.  Nia and Bran did so well!  I have to watch them carefully, of course, so they don’t hurt themselves, but all three kids wowed and amazed me.

Friday night I checked the weather for Saturday and it was supposed to be quite cold and snowy.  Since I don’t have a hat yet, I gave my fingers a workout getting this done in time:

Cees headwarmer

The fast, fun and warm Calorimetry from Knitty.com

I got up at 6am Saturday and worked like crazy until 7:45, finishing it just in time for Ciara and I to leave for the Twilight Lexicon New Moon party.  (We thought we’d be standing outside in the cold for an hour, but that’s another story for another day.)

Speaking of knitting, I finally finished Bran’s stocking hat (after three tries…size was either too big or too small…third time was definitely the charm with this one!), made some matching fingerless gloves, and a scarf.  I am not thrilled that the scarf isn’t longer.  I measured it carefully but somehow it shrank while I was making it.  The gloves are okay; not the best, but definitely better than the first pair I made last year (and since I didn’t have a pattern, I’m glad I managed to figure them out).  The hat is grand and I know he’ll love it but I wish it was longer.  He wants a really, really long one.  I still need to make the pom pom for the end.

Bran fingerless gloves

Bran’s been wanting fingerless gloves for a year

Bran bday pres

Ciara, modeling Bran’s matching set

Bran's hat

The now-infamous “3rd time” hat

The kids and I got up early to shovel the snowy driveway this morning.  I’m looking very much forward to a relaxing week…no ballet, no Cub Scouts, no 4-H.  My brother and his wife are down from Idaho and I’m excited for all the upcoming family time.  I hope you’re all safe and warm and enjoying family!  Happy Thanksgiving!

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Yesterday we had stake conference, and as I was looking around before we left for a knitting project to keep my hands busy, I decided to make yet another Booga Bag.  It’s super-simple and by now (after 5 bags!) I have the pattern memorized.  It’s also mindless knitting—no concentration required, so I could easily listen to the speakers at church and take notes as desired.

My love affair with this bag is a long one…I first saw the pattern and picture at least three years ago, long before I really learned to knit:

  

Gorgeous drool-worthy bag.

“That,” I said to myself, “Is one beautiful bag.  I must, at some point in my life, learn to make it.” 

I thought this was impossible, since I had only had two knitting lessons in my whole life…at age 10 or so, from a grandmother.  I still vaguely remembered it but the pattern for this bag was so much gibberish to me. 

A year ago, a friend at our homeschool co-op re-taught me basic knitting again (thank you, Chris!!).  I never thought I could learn anything beyond basics and was convinced I would never be good at it, but lo and behold, I improved quickly.  No one was more surprised than I was!  Knitting quickly became my latest obsession.  (My ten years’ worth of crocheting kinda took a back seat for a while…knitting was new and exciting and I couldn’t get enough.)

So a month later I was beyond thrilled when I printed off this pattern and finally set about making this bag on the long drive to Arizona. 

                                              

Behold the Boogas!

Anyway, you can never have too many bags. 🙂 Especially when you’ve got plenty of yarn on hand.  So yesterday during stake conference I started another one.  I think this time the body of the bag will be done in cream and green.  And I finally have a chance to use my beautiful birthday present!  I’ve been too busy to really use them at all. 

Not my picture, but I have this exact set. 

Oh, they are grand!  So pointy and smooth…the BMW of knitting needles.  They work like a dream and they’re everything I imagined they would be.  And they’re so pretty that my eyes feel good when I see them.

In short, knitting with them is bliss.  I hope everyone has as much fun with something they love this week as I am having with these.

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