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 

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Scandi gift tags. The last blog post this year.

Hi!!!! I'm alive and I'm back. It's going to be the last post of 2014 and I didn't want to miss this opportunity to write a few words to you. I hope you all have had a magical, cosy and warm Christmas and looking forward to the New Year. 
Looking back, it hasn't been a particularly good year for me and that can explain some periods of silence on my blog as I've had not much blogging motivaton but I do hope that with the New Year some bright sunny days will come too and my creativity will be back. 

In the weeks coming onto Christmas I stitched these cute Scandi-tags from the Cross Stitcher magazine. My kind of thing - little, quick, easy and cute :)

And what have you been up to recently? I've got so many blogs to visit for some catch up :) Hope to see you soon x
And for the coming New Year 2015 I wish you all lots of health, happiness, plenty of love and joy and sunshine, days full of creativity and may all your dreams come true in 2015! 
Hugs, x x

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Knitted Bags - Scandi style and KnitPro Spectra Flair

Hi everyone. It's been a very "knitty" week for me as I've been working hard on my current knitting projects and trying to finish them asap. Today I have finished my 3rd knitted bag and they are ready to be presented to the public :) So here they are: the three Scandi-style knitted ... bags ... pouches ... favour bags ... gift bags, name them all...

The knitting pattern for these pouches comes from Knit-and-Crochet Garden book by Arne & Carlos. I've kept my eye on this knitting project for months and finally I got round to do it! I even managed to buy the recommended yarn - Vipe from Dalegarn. It's a thin mercerized cotton with a sleek satin touch. It knits well and smooth and creates that nice knitted pattern so typical of cotton yarns. I just love it! 

I'm pleased with how they turned out. When knitting your colourwork, you have to stretch your knitted fabric every so often so that it doesn't pucker on the surface when you've finished. I tried to avoid that at any price otherwise the pouches wouldn't look nice. 

The bags are knitted on double pointed needles. It took me well over a week to knit all three with 2-3 hrs knitting daily. They are about 12-13 cm in height and larger than the Christmas balls (julekuler) I knitted in the past. The Vipe yarn is thinner than Heilo wool and there are more stitches to work through but all is done in almost the same way as you knit the balls. The pouches are finished off with a crocheted frill on top and a string / ribbon drawn through the yarn-over loops.  

I really love the floral designs on these bags - they are my favourite and there's a Scandinavian vibe in it. It's the whiteness and simplicty of the design I love in them most.

This what the bags look like when spread flat. You can use a crochet chain or a decorative ribbon or even a tape according to your preferences.

These cute bags are very versatile. You can use them for many purposes. They can be scented pot pourri bags, seed bags, jewellery bags, gift bags, favour bags, Easter treats bags, bags to keep coins or beads or spools in or even any beach treasures - sea shells, stones, sea glass etc. In my case, they are going to hold my jewellery pieces safe. I already know I will be knitting more of them. Would love to try out new colour combinations and perhaps use different patterns on them. Oh, I may even try knitting some festive ones and give them away at Christmas. My mum is a keen gardener and a fan of scented sachets, she's likely to ask for a couple of them too!

I really enjoyed knitting those bags. It was great fun trying new yarn and working out the new patterns. There will be some more coming in the future.

Now on the shopping-tool front line, this is what my postman left for me today in the mailbox - a set of 5 funky pink double pointed needles! :) I love them! So girly.

They are the KnitPro Spectra Flair Acrylic needles :) I love all KnitPro products.

I didn't even know such existed! I only came across them as I was browsing through eBay offers searching for some 9mm dpns. This is my first acrylic needle set from KnitPro and my first acrylic knitting needles ever. Hope it knits well with them. If you have got any of these yourself, please, feel free to share your opinions in the comments. I'd love to hear from you.

Girls love pink. I'm gonna have fun knitting with them! :D

Thanks for reading and even more thanks for your comments x X x

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Hand-made Moday Blog Hop no. 182 :)

Monday, 18 August 2014

Arne and Carlos - Knitting Scandinavian Style - a new book!

This is a great news for all Arne and Carlos fans - their new book Knitting Scandinavian Style (the English edition) is out on the market and can be purchased on Amazon. When Amazon had sent me their email saying that the A & C book is on its way, I was on tenterhooks for the next 3 days checking out my mailbox a few times a day! Finally last Friday my postman brought me this:

... a package from Amazon with my long-awaited copy of the book. Woohoo! It really made my day :)

This is a paperback and as all Arne & Carlos books, it is published by Search Press. It's the fifth book by this Scandinavian duo and as a great fan of A &C I'm lucky to have all of them including their Advent Calendar and a magazine with some Easter eggs, both published in Norwegian.

Looking back, the whole Arne and Carlos mania began for me with their first book: 55 Christmas Balls to Knit. I even learnt how to knit on dpns just for those gorgeous festive balls. This is also the moment when Arne and Carlos became the knitting stars in Europe (esp in The Netherlands, Germany and the UK), obviously excluding their own country where they have been known for years now. Each of their books is full of vibrant, colourful projects to knit or to crochet. Many projects have lots of child-like and dream-like character and perhaps this makes them so attractive and tempting. There is also that Scandi flair looming in the background in each of their books, which I just love and I'm always amazed at the abundance of the Scandinavian patterns and colour combinations. Lots of their projects is based on double pointed needles so if you know how to knit with them, you're half way there! These books are rather for intermediate and advanced knitters, beginners may struggle a bit as sometimes their instructions are not entirely clear and straightforward. I remember how I struggled with knitting the bunny's heel, the bunny being from their "Easter" book. In the end I worked it out but it required a lot of patience, trial and error method, consulting some other knitting books and a bit of frustration and swearing from my part. Anyway, with a bit of will and persistence you will be able to work through their patterns and instructions. 
Now, back to the new book. For those who are interested in this book, here are some photos of what you can expect inside. Prepare yourself for lots of photos :)

The contents:

Lice sweaters - this one made me laugh and cringe at the same time. What an awful name for such nice knits! I googled it to find out what this is all about and Wikipedia says that lusekofte, the Norwegian name for this type of sweater translates as lice jacket and it refers to those small single dark stitches scattered over the knitted fabric and reminding the Norwegian people of insects. Ewwww!  

Here below Arne (on the right) is modelling such a lice sweater :)

More "lice" patterns, they are really nice and so detailed.

With this book you are in for a cultural treat - there's plenty to read about the knitting traditions in Norway esp about patterns from Setesdal region. Arne also goes back to his roots reminiscing about his knitting grandmother from whom he learnt his skills. 

There are female and male jumpers to knit :)

Plenty of pillow covers to knit. Personally, I just love this red and white pattern. Would love to have a go at knitting this cushion cover sometime.

There is also an absolutely sweet teddy to knit. Doesn't he look great in those knitted patterns?

Expect also hats and mittens, all with beautiful geometric patterns, so characteristic of the Scandinavian knitting tradition.

Another pillow to make. Simple patterns and great colours make a lovely project.

Just love this cosy hat and mitten set!

Can you already feel the Scandi atmosphere of a wooden house by looking at these pictures? :)

Knitting mittens and socks is always what I wanted to learn. I hope this book will finally motivates me and gives me confidence to take up the new knitting challenges.

And another lovely pillow to make :)

Aren't they just beautiful? Pointy shape, lovely pattern, cosy yarn? :) Get your yarn stash ready guys!

There's also a quilt-type blanket to make. This one has got unusual colours. How do you like it?

More cosy geometric goodness :)

I just love this hat. So cosy, so warm, so distinctive. How do they do it? The Norwegians, I mean...

Another great pillow to make. I feel temped to try it  sometime in winter :)

Another great pillow to knit in interesting colour combination :)

And how about this draught excluder? Isn't the pattern beautiful?

There is also a smaller project to knit - a tea cozy with cheery pompoms. Could you resist that?

Socks, socks, socks... fabulous colours and patterns.

They would even look good as Christmas stocking hung by the fireplace :)

Some gorgeous redness to knit :)))

Perhaps a project for the festive season?

A Christmas tree skirt - if you want to celebrate in Nordic style from the top to the bottom :D

Snuggly, cosy, warm, bliss... Roll on winter!

there are also cowls and wrist warmers to knit :)

And something for home too - checkered pot holders...

... and pretty festive coasters with 2 patterns to choose from :)

Oh, and a knitted mouse pad. You haven't expected it, have you? :P

Well this is more or less it what you can find in the new A & C book. When compared to the previous books, this one is definitely more about the traditional Norwegian knitting rather than toying with some playful childlish projects. What I like about is that the fact that Arne and Carlos included both bigger and smaller projects in it. Some will require a good knitting experience, some will take you only a while to make. Everyone should be able to find something for themselves. So if you think this is the book for you, head to Amazon and treat yourselves to some Scandi love. 
In the meantime as the book arrived at my doorstep, I have been working on a new A & C project from one of their books. This time it's not going to be a knitted ball or an egg. Shh.... I won't tell you yet. You will find out soon!

And the last piece of news - well, Arne and Carlos are not spending their time wallowing in the success of their previous books. They are already working on the next one! It is going to be a book about knitting cozy house slippers and this is what the Dutch edition cover is going to look like. I guess we will have to wait a while for the English edition of this book. In the meantime let's enjoy our Knitting Scandinavian style

 In Dutch:
Arne & Carlos zorgen voor een warme winter met gebreide sloffen voor jong en oud. In Arne & Carlos breien op hun sloffen passeren ruim 30 sloffenparen de revue, gemaakt met 1 basis breipatroon met hierop 3 variaties. Van hoge sloffen met pompoms tot sloffen met een Noors dessin en in bonte kleuren; veel vormen, maten en motieven komen aan bod. Arne & Carlos staan garant voor uren breiplezier. Brei de sloffen met pure breiwol en vervilt ze vervolgens in de wasmachine. Het resultaat: heerlijk warme gebreide sloffen. Inclusief stapsgewijze breipatronen en sfeervolle fotografie.
Arne & Carlos zijn bekend van hun breiboeken en breipatronen. Het Scandinavische breiduo ontketende een ware breihype in Nederland met hun eerste boek Kerstballen breien met Arne & Carlos. 
Google Translate:

Arne & Carlos provide a warm winter with knitted slippers for young and old. Arne & Carlos knitting on their slippers passing more than 30 pairs of slippers in review, made ​​with one basic knitting this pattern with three variations. High slippers with pompoms to slippers with a Norwegian design and bright colors; many shapes, sizes and designs are discussed. Arne & Carlos guarantee hours of knitting fun. Knit slippers with pure yarn and then felted them in the washing machine. The result is wonderfully warm knitted slippers. Includes step knitting patterns and atmospheric photography.
Arne & Carlos are known for their knitting books and knitting patterns. The Scandinavian breiduo unleashed a knitting hype in the Netherlands with their first book Knitting with Balls Arne & Carlos.

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