Monday, 27 April 2015

Caspians

Tools of trade. We, crafters can't go without them and if they are somehow special to us, it makes the whole thing - crafting - even more pleasurable. Personally, I'm a real sucker for good quality craft tools. I'd rather have a few quality ones than a bunch of cheap and unreliable ones. It's not a secret that card makers have their own favourite papers, punches and stamps, crocheters have their own favourite crochet hooks and finally knitters have their own favourite yarn brands and knitting needles. I'm no different in this respect. Caspians from knitpicks.com  - is a luxurious collection of knitting needles and crochet hooks I've been wishing for months. Finally an Amazon packet carrying two types of Caspian knitting needles made its way to my door :) I'm on cloud nine! 


Naturally when buying them I couldn't decide which set I wanted more. I'm using DPNs (double pointed needles) more at the moment but I've always wanted to have a go at circulars too. So I gave myself a real treat and bought both :) 


They are beautiful and I'm so excited to use them. They arrived nicely packaged in the clear pouches with the American and European sizing on it. 


A nice surprise was also the fact that Knitpicks give you six dpns in each size set rather than 5 like most producers do. Just in case if you lose or accidentally break one ... somehow but it is rather unlikely to happen. These laminated birch needles are so durable and with a a bit of TLC they will last you a long time.


The circulars look really intriguing with all these extras included. Everything is nicely colour coordinated. I will have to learn how to assemble and disassemble them. The shiny metalic elements give the Caspians a nice luxurious finish. 


This Caspian wood is so nicely polished, warm and pleasant to the touch. The yarn doesn't slip off it easily yet it slides along nicely as you knit.  Oh and the colours! Gorgeous aquatic hues, just as I love!
This is how Knit Picks describe their product :)

Oceanic waves of sea green, teal and marine ripple across Caspian - the newest addition to the Knit Picks Options family! Boasting the same strong and smooth layers of laminated birch that you know and love, Caspian shows off a sea-inspired colorway along with a distinctive emerald cord to complement its oceanic hues.

* * *

 The burnished surface of Caspian delivers just the right amount of grip to easily manage slippery yarns while warming quickly in your hands for hours of comfortable knitting.

In a nutshell - poetry! :)


So below here is my little private premier league of the knitting needles :) KnitPro Symfonie and KnitPro Karbonz and now the Knit Picks Caspians too :) I just love the knitting / crocheting experience with these quality products. KnitPros are very similar to KnitPicks, I'd say, a kind of European equivalent of Knit Picks in America. Their range is great so do check their websites for some lovely knitting tools.


I couldn't wait and switched to my new needles straight away :D Now the pink bunny is being knitted with Caspians. Doesn't he look a bit creepy with his head open like this? ;)


Alongside I'm also knitting a beige bunny. Sometimes I need a rest from sweet pink colours :) It's coming on slowly :)


For this spring season I'd also like to knit some new spring eggs and balls :) Patterns printed out and ready. These are always joy to make. I'm hooked on knitting these balls and thanks to who? Arne and Carlos from Norway.


And here is my latest bargain shopping from The Works :) I love all sorts of craft bibles and this quilting one is a particularly tempting one. I'm not ready for taking up quilting yet but it's my dream to be able to quilt and patchwork in the future and of course a good reference book will always come in handy. As for the second book - Mollie Makes series of books I just love to have :)


Have a good week folks :)
Greetings x x x

Martha

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Happy Easter


Celebrate this Easter with a heart filled with love and peace. 
Have a blessed and wonderful Easter!

As for me, I'm celebrating this joyous time in a folky style ;)




These wooden horses and the cart were brought to the UK from the Ethnic Museum of Countryside in Lublin. They keep reminding me of my country, Poland :) I thought they would make a nice folky display for my knitted eggs.

Hope you all have a great spring break. The weather here in North Wales is just perfect - sunshine, warmth, daffs and blossom. Gorgeous!

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Mishmash :)

Hello. A few things to blog about today. When the latest issue of Cross Stitch Card Shop came through with the post last month, there was a letter attached for its subscribers. Basically the publishers dropped a bombshell announcing that they are stopping publishing this magazine due to marketing difficulties. I'm gutted. I really am. I liked it. Entirely devoted to cross stitched cards and with a variety of motifs to choose from. One of its kind on the market and now taken away while other similar mags still sell alongside. I will miss this mag definitely.


However the magazine itself doesn't mention a word about closing off. What's more, there is even a preview of the next issue. I do hope I'll find it in my mailbox 'cause I really love those cute cards with pink and orange owls :) The attached letter says The World of Cross Stitching will be taking over the ideas and it will be sent out to those subscribers whose subscription of Cross Stitch Card Shop hasn't finished yet. 


While Cross Stitch Card Shop is soon disappearing from the Brititsh magazine market, a new magazine has turned up on the shelves - Total Crochet Amigurumi. This is a nice mag full of crochet projects in form of amigurumis. I managed to get hold of the two first issues. I especially love the crocheted bunnies and teddies featured on the cover. The overall style of the magazine differs a lot from the British ones and one can easily guess it is not a product from the UK. It must be American, Candian or perhaps Australian, not sure.


The nice thing about this magazine is the fact it doesn't feature any advertisements (yay!) as opposed to the British craft mags that are excessively padded with paid adverts and wasted pages, which really gets on my nerves sometimes. It contains written crochet instructions followed up by numerous photos which makes it easier to work through the projects. I hope it lasts on the market and we will draw many interesting ideas from it.

My dear boyfriend-o has recently treated me to some Easter craft goodies :) Bless him. Here is what I brought from Hobby Craft - some cute wooden block stamps and springy ribbons. 


I particularly love the ribbons. They are cute and I could adorn my knitted bunnies with them :)


Apart from the stamps and ribbons, a few balls of DMC Natura cotton made it into my shopping basket. The juicy green and the slate grey balls came from eBay though. 


I'm especially craving for something fresh and this juicy grassy green is particularly attracting my eye.


In the meantime I'm knitting a pink bunny :) Currently I'm working on its arms and head :) It's coming on! Bit by bit. I'm thinking of giving it to a little girl who adores everything sweet and pink :)


And here is what has happened recently to my cross stitch project - a disaster. I'm gutted as these were supposed to be the cards finished for February and now this major setback with the threads has cropped up. After washing the stitches in lukewarm water and drying them out on a towel, the red Anchor thread discoloured and left the pink stains. I am really mistrustful of this brand now. My fault, I should have pre-washed the Anchor cotton first. For comparison, I've never been let down by the DMC reds. 


There is no other way than to stitch the background over with a white thread and hope for an improvement. So it's DMC this time. No more Anchor for me please.


Well, I went even a bit further and experimented with a colour catcher. Nope. It didn't really help and it even altered the remaining colours. Will have to stitch this motif again. 


Well that my experimenting with washing the cross stitch done. I always wash my stitches no matter how small they are. Whether it is a motif stitched for a card or a large sampler. I just like to know it is fresh and clean. I just couldn't bear a thought is was stitched, touched many times and just left grubby. 
So, what do you do for your stitches? :) 

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Minty, the rabbit

I've been into knitting lots recently. Now that Easter is approaching I thought I could knit some bunnies. Perhaps you remember my first knitted rabbit. The pattern taken from Arne & Carlos book Easter Knits. Eggs, bunnies and chicks with a fabulous twist. Time I had a go at another Easter bunny :) Actually I started knitting this minty green rabbit months ago, I just couldn't finish it for a long time until one day I told myself: That's it! No more UFOs! No more leaving the unfinished stuff behind.
So here he is! Minty, the rabbit :) Finished and ready to be adopted by a soft toys loving kid :)


All I had to do is to help him out of his rabbity "deafness" and knit him a pair of ears as well as his jumper :)


I'm pleased. I think he came out quite well. The stitches are smooth, the yarn knitted well, the colour looks fresh.


Doesn't he look happy, this little soft fella? :) I'm also happy with this tiny cute stripey jumper :)


Minty has quickly found his companions - the rapping bear from Muller Rice and Monkey from PG Tips :) If you watch the British adverts you must surely know these advertising characters. 


They have even had their photos taken at a photographer's :D



Cool, huh? :)
Have a happy crafty weekend x x x
Martha

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Scandi-style knitted bags (2)

Hi all. Hope you are enjoying your weekend :) I'm trying to catch up with my long overdue blog posts so here is another one, this time about the knitted bags I made last autumn. 
Perhaps you remember these - my first ever 3 knitted pouches from Arne and Carlos crochet / knitting book. I found them very enjoyable to knit so I made some more! Floral theme is definitely my favourite and I just fancied seeing some colourful patterns on them. 
I tend to knit the bags in threes then take a break and move onto something else as I get bored easily and need frequent changes in my crafting. This time I made 3 floral ones and one extra pouch using my own pattern and colours. I was very pleased with how they turned out. 


I used various types of yarns to knit them - Vipe from Dalegarn (mercerized cotton), DMC Natura (DK Cotton), Sublime Egyptian cotton and a mercerized cotton yarn called Wendy. They all give slightly different textures and thicknesses. I like to see these knitted pouches in various colour combinations. 


DMC Natura cotton seems to be working really well for these kind of knitted bags. The thinner yarn, the better because as it always happens in colourwork, the thickness doubles depending how many colours are used in the pattern and it's just nice when a bag is nice and flowing rather than overly thick and puffed up from the yarn. 
For the knitted bag below I used the well know Marius pattern and combined it with my own colours. Sort of wintery hues. The Ivory shade of DMC Natura looks so ... natural here and I like how it combines the with ashy blue shade.


My mum ordered some of the pouches and some have already been sent home. They have so many uses. You can store anything you like in them.


There is always a dilemma for me: should I crochet a string for the pouch or just use a ribbon. Actually I like both ideas so I do a bit of both. 


These seashells in the photos make me really want to go to a seaside now! :)



In the meantime a new knitted pouch is coming on on my needles. To be seen soon on my blog! :)


Have a great weekend and enjoy your crafty time. 
Thank you for your comments and feedback. 
Martha x x x

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Christmas Cards of 2014

Hi all. I'm alive but still struggling to find more time for blogging but hey, here I am here today with some more crafty news. I know, I know it's way past Christmas and most of us are already thinking of Easter days but I still wanted to show you my festive cross stitched cards into which I  had put lots of time and effort so it would be shame not to mention them. 
So here they are. Ta Dah!


A set of 6 Christmas cross stitched cards. Patterns for the motifs come from an archival issue of Cross Stitch Cardshop, issue no. 81. I liked these as soon as I saw them and knew I'd have to stitch them one day.




It takes at least 6-8 hrs to stitch a single motif. There are satin and metallic threads in them too. They give  those nice shiny light effects. Buttons add an extra dimension too. A few close-ups:



I think the Christmas tree with tiny cute buttons is my favourite in this card collection :) I may feel tempted to stitch this motif again sometime.


The elf boots are sweet too, I think.




All in all it has taken me 2 years to finish these cards. I lost my motivation and patience half way through and came back to finish them off 2 Christmases later. I'm very pleased how they turned out.



I obviously couldn't resist embellishing the aperture cards as well. Not too much though otherwise the embellishments would overshadow the cross stitch itself.







And this is what they looked like when put on my still festive window. They look quite good as a group, don't you think? :)


In the meantime I couldn't stop myself from starting another big project - a gorgeous Christmas sampler. This one will be stitched throughout the whole year and hopefully finished by Christmas 2015. 


The canvas is navy which means stitching this piece of work requires a great deal of sunlight and I can only stitch it while I'm sitting in my conservatory without risking an eyestrain. Too cold at the moment but it will be more pleasant later in the year and I'm really looking forward to see how this sampler is coming on. The pattern requires a lot of Anchor Reflecta metallic thread so I predict some battles with fraying threads. The stitching with metallic threads is slow but the design is stunning so eventually it will be worth all the effort. 


Currently I'm busing myself with knitting some Easter bunnies as gifts and a bit of crochet too. I'm thinking of trying some new projects, some being a little out of my comfort zone. Lots in plans, just need to stretch my day a bit... by a few hours at least ;)

Hope you are all ok and thanks for stopping by here x x