Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Totally radical cross stitch

Okay, kids! Let's play a fun game called "find the mistake."
I think I've mentioned before that although both of my grandmothers (and at least one great-aunt) crocheted, I didn't learn the craft from either of them. (I am kicking myself for that now.) The embroidery and knitting (such as it is) are self-taught as well. But there is one craft in my arsenal that's been "passed down" from a family member, so to speak, and that's cross-stitch.

My mother (and my aunt and a very close family friend) is an accomplished cross-stitcher, so she taught me when I young. I never really picked up her passion for it (or more accurately, I never really had the attention span for it), but once you learn how to do something like that, you never really forget.

So when I found the Wee Little Stitches Etsy shop, and saw their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cross stitch pattern, I knew I had to make it for my fiance's birthday. As a (male) child of the late eighties/early nineties, he is a huge fan of TMNT, and also, conveniently, a huge fan of my geeky crafts.

I'm still not an expert--I had to get my mom's help with stretching* and framing it, and there are a few mistakes in there that the keen of eye can spot--but overall I'm really pleased with the way it turned out. Cross stitch has a unique look that I really enjoy sometimes, especially when it's contrasted with a more contemporary design.

*And rest assured, the final product is much more "square" than the picture, which I took after my unsuccessful first attempt at framing.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Love Grows" embroidery

I completed this embroidery last week, though I bought the pattern from Urban Threads months ago (back when I had--or thought I had--disposable income). I have, as I'm sure I've mentioned, a wild and crazy love for faux bois, and the faux-er it is, the better I like it. This may not be faux bois in the traditional sense, but it's a tree and there's woodgrain and I love it.

Plus I think it will look delightful in our bathroom, which is decorated in shades of brown and has a tree-patterned shower curtain. I'm planning a "cluster" of small tree, forest, and woodgrain themed embroideries in there, as many as I can make and/or my fiance can tolerate. Which is a lot, I suspect.

This pattern reminds me of the "The Giving Tree" a children's book so monumentally sad that I actually teared up a little bit when describing its plot to the Fiance, who apparently did not have it in his childhood library. (He was too busy reading Calvin and Hobbes, I suspect, and I can't criticize--that's time well spent.) But "The Giving Tree" is a happy sort of sad, and this pattern isn't any sort of sad at all--especially not with our initials "carved" into it, and the blooming flowers. (Urban Threads calls this pattern "Love Grows" and I like that title very much.)

Monday, April 25, 2011

It's retro and aqua: what's not to love?

Ridiculous. Ruffled. Retro.
In my last post, I think I said I probably wouldn't be doing much in the way of crafty things for the next few weeks, on account of how I'm getting married in twelve days or something crazy like that.

Really, I should know myself better than that by now. The crazy reality of getting married in twelve days is all the more reason to do crafty things, because they are an unparalleled form of procrastination. The secret to successful and less-guilty procrastination is to do something productive. It's hard to feel as though you've utterly wasted your time when at the end of the day you have a ridiculous ruffled potholder to show off, even if what you were supposed to be doing was making wedding favors.

That little philosophy pretty much defined my senior year of college as well. You want me to write a thesis? What? No, sorry, I have Very Important Afghans to make.

Sure, I may regret this in a few days, when the guests may or may not have favors or table numbers or whatever else weddings are supposed to have, but more likely I'll just look at that potholder, smile, and consider it time well spent.

Because it was.

Technical details: The pattern is from Crochet Today, a free one you can download right here. I used Lion Brand Cotton-Ease in Seafoam and Lily Sugar 'n Cream in Ecru. (Both worsted weight, cotton-blend and 100% cotton respectively.) Size H-8/5.0 mm hook.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I may have to rename this blog "Hooray Fiber Arts!"

If I were the tattooed type, this phrase would totally be on my wrist
I think I mentioned previously that I've begun embroidery. I have also gotten slightly better at knitting than I was last time I posted. Then again, I could hardly have gotten worse. (And "better" is clearly a relative term: I can still only cast on and knit stitch. I haven't yet tried to learn how to purl or cast off.)

The embroidery, though, is going swimmingly, and I am so excited about it that my various crochet projects have been neglected. My creative impulses tend to careen about wildly like that, so I'm sure sometime soon I'll be back to crocheting with abandon. For one thing, I promised a co-worker I'd make him a Superman hat. (New motto: will crochet for beer.)

The little slogan to the left is my most recent completed project, which I will hang over my desk at work as soon as I wash it and get it properly secured in its hoop. I need that daily reminder there, because while I love my job, it's overwhelming if I think about it too hard. Plus, I love the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and I'm interested in seeing who else gets it.

This post aside, the radio silence around here is likely to continue for awhile yet: I am getting married in eighteen days (!!!) and it turns out weddings are a lot of work. Even if you started out your engagement swearing that you will not get stressed out by this, you probably will. Or maybe you won't, but I did. I'm very excited, of course, but that just makes it even harder to care about place cards. Or the cake. Or finding an organist for the ceremony. People keep asking me questions about it, and I suspect I should know the answers, but, um, I don't.

So I just embroider instead. Don't panic!