Frosted Pumpkin Stitch-a-Long August

Well, this is a little embarrassing. I think I finished stitching the August installment of the Frosted Pumpkin Story Time Sampler in the first week of August, but it has taken until now to make it to the blog. Better late than never?

August’s scene features the Phantom and Christine from The Phantom of the Opera.

The Phantom of the Opera cross stitch

The Phantom of the Opera was the first large-scale, musical production I ever saw. I actually saw it twice in Toronto when I was a kid (I believe both in the same year – once with my family and once as a school trip), so it can be credited with helping inspire my love of musical theatre. Sadly, since I’ve now seen many, many more shows, it actually ranks among my least favourite overall. I don’t know why, but the music and the story just do not speak to me.

I also remember reading an adaptation of the novel while I was in elementary school but really don’t remember much about it. I’m guessing it was a version aimed at children and likely had very little in common with the original text. Since I have (so far) read all of the stories in this sampler, and since English translations of the original novel are readily available online, I’m trying to convince myself to read the original. But, I’ve clearly been trying for almost two months and it hasn’t happened yet, so I may decide that the children’s adaptation counts and I’m off the hook! This one is obviously in my “stitching it is way more fun than reading it” pile!

Crochet Snowflakes

A few weeks ago I stumbled across a page on the Crochet Crowd’s website soliciting crocheted snowflakes to help Diva Dan build a full size igloo at this year’s Creativ Festival. The festival runs from October 15-17 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I’m planning to spend all three days at the festival (and I’m insanely excited since I’ve never been before), so how could I resist whipping up a few snowflakes when I’ll actually get to see the final result?

It turns out that snowflakes are super fun to make (even in the Summer!), and I had a blast varying the pattern, hook size, and yarn to make each one unique.

Here’s the final set:

Group of crocheted snowflakes

And close-ups of some of my favourites:

Crocheted snowflake Crocheted snowflake Crocheted snowflake Crocheted snowflake Crocheted snowflake Crocheted snowflake

Oh, and did you know that October 17th is I Love Yarn Day? What better way to spend the day than at a craft conference?

Mondrian-Inspired Baby Blanket

Wow, I’ve been crazy busy crafting but haven’t been posting any of my projects here. Time to start making up for that!

The first one is the Mondrian inspired baby blanket from Stacey Trock’s Modern Baby Crochet. I was immediately taken with this blanket when I saw it, and intrigued by the way it was created, so I had to give it a go.

It’s single crocheted in seven long vertical strips which are then mattress stitched together. I’ll be honest: The mattress stitching was a pain in the *b*. I actually might have preferred to mitigate the colour changes as I went than to have that much finishing to do at the end. But, it made for a really nice way to stitch an afghan during the heat of the summer without having a huge pile of blanket in my lap.

I didn’t have a plan for this afghan when I started it, but the son of a good family friend just had a baby, so my “Aunt” (who may in fact be the proudest new grandma in the world) was also quite taken with this blanket and thought it would be a great one to have on hand for when new baby Audrey comes to visit. And since it’s made from easy care acrylic it should be able to withstand all the wear and tear and washing a baby blanket will require.

Mondrian inspired crochet baby blanket

A Very Merry Christmas Town Update #1

I finished the first instalment of the Frosted Pumpkin Christmas mystery stitch.

Frosted Pumpkin Very Merry Christmas Town Stitch-a-Long Part 1

It really is adorable (Frosted Pumpkin’s speciality) and I love how the overdyed threads turned out (the red used for the door and Santa, and the green used on Santa’s bag). I don’t have a lot of experience using overdyeds so it was a bit of a challenge to remember to stitch one stitch at a time, and to not use the loop method to start my threads, but in the end it was worth it.

The only thing I don’t like about this stitching so far is the fabric colour. I would have picked a darker colour so the white of the snow would pop a little more.

The next part of the pattern (there are four parts in total) arrives on August 26th. I can’t wait!

Frosted Pumpkin A Very Merry Christmas Town

I really didn’t need a new cross stitch project since I already have two on the go, but the Frosted Pumpkin A Very Merry Christmas Town mystery stitch-a-long is simply too adorable to resist. I ordered the aida kit and it arrived in the mail late last week.

Frosted Pumpkin Christmas Kit Unopened

The kit came with 1/8 yard of 14-count hand dyed aida (there’s a 28-count linen version available as well), ten colours of DMC floss, two colours of The Gentle Art floss, metallic gold Kreinik braid, and a six-pack of size 26 tapestry needles.

Frosted Pumpkin Christmas Kit Opened

I’m super excited to try the floss from A Gentle Art as it isn’t a brand I’ve used before. The BOHIN needles are new to me as well. Most of mine are John James or DMC since that’s what seems to be available at the stores I shop in. I am, however, already giving the metallic braid the evil eye. I can’t stand working with the DMC metallics, so we’ll see how the Kreinik compares.

The hand dyed crystal aida from Picture this Plus in Arctic is some of the prettiest fabric I’ve seen. The muted shades of blue and the opalescent thread woven through the fabric really do evoke thoughts of a beautiful winter day.

Frosted Pumpkin Christmas Kit Close-up

I jumped right into stitching but don’t have much to show yet. The second instalment of the pattern arrives on Aug. 26, so I better stop typing and start stitching!

Frosted Pumpkin Christmas Town Aug 8 update

Sprite Stitch Stitch-a-Long Update 8

Next up in my Sprite Stitch stitch-a-long is Yoshi’s Island. This one is yet another blackberrybear creation. She and I clearly have the same taste in games since I’ll be stitching a few more of her creations before my stitch-a-long project is over!

The original pattern (which you can find over on Sprite Stitch) used pastel colours, but I changed them to match the image on the front of the Yoshi’s Island DS game, since it’s the only one I’ve played. To be honest, I only played a bit of this game. I didn’t dislike it, I just get easily distracted by new games so games often don’t hold my attention for very long unless they are truly exceptional. I simply thought that baby Mario was too cute not to stitch and the character shot makes for a nice contrast to the many squares that use a more traditional, multiple-motif, sampler style.

Yoshi's Island Cross Stitch

Next up is a seriously fantastic Minesweeper square, so be on the lookout.

Frosted Pumpkin Stitch-a-Long July

July’s instalment of the Frosted Pumpkin story time stitch-a-long is from the ballad The Lady of Shalott by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. I’ll sheepishly admit that I’d never read it. I’m a huge fan of the painting by John William Waterhouse, on which this cross stitch is clearly based, and even got to see the painting at the Tate Britain in London many years ago. But poetry just isn’t my thing. That being said, since it’s the first story in this stitch-a-long that I hadn’t read, I sat down and read it. Three times. Poetry still isn’t my thing.

But cross stitch sure is! Isn’t she adorable?

Cross stitch Lady of Shallot

Book Review: Modern Baby Crochet by Stacey Trock

Book cover of Modern Baby Crochet

Confession time: I don’t have kids. I don’t have anyone I currently need to make a baby gift for. I just couldn’t resist buying this book based solely on the rainbow pillow on the front cover. In the end, I’m so glad I did.

Stacey Trock’s Modern Baby Crochet: Patterns for Decorating, Playing, and Snuggling is full of patterns that will appeal to anyone, not just babies. In fact of the 21 patterns in the book I’d really only classify five as true baby patterns (two mobiles, a play mat, a crinkly toy, and a rattle). The rest are simply fresh, fun designs that even a childless girl like me can enjoy.

The book is organized into three sections based on colour themes: Bold and Bright, Pretty in Pastel, and Naturally Neutral, making all of the patterns wonderfully unisex. In fact, there are only two patterns in the entire book that do the pink for girls, blue for boys thing. Within each section the patterns span a range of difficulties from beginner to expert. The vast majority of the patterns, however, fall into the beginner or easy classifications (16 of the 21 patterns) so the book is best suited to new crocheters or experienced crocheters looking for quick, easy projects.

Each project is beautifully photographed and the instructions are clear and simple to follow. For the only difficult stitch used in the book – the wiggle stitch to make the rainbow pillow on the cover – detailed step-by-step images are provided. Stacey also includes a detailed introductory section with clear drawings of all of the basic stitches to help any new crocheter get up and running.

Most of Stacey’s yarn choices are standard yarns that can be found in any craft store, with an emphasis on easy care, washable fibres (the patterns are meant for babies after all!).  Brands like Cascade, Bernat, Caron, and Lion Brand all make multiple appearances, which also means that none of these projects will break the bank, making them ideal gifts for any mom-to-be.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of the types of patterns in the book:

  • Eight afghans
  • Three stuffed plushes (monster, owl, bird)
  • Two mobiles
  • Two pillows
  • Bunting
  • Play mat
  • Crinkle toy
  • Rattle
  • Pouf
  • Bear bookends

In my opinion, afghans are a little over-represented, but all in all the variety of projects is fairly good. Overall, I am quite pleased with the book and I highly recommend it to any crocheter looking for some fast, easy, modern projects.

Sprite Stitch Charity Quilt 2015

Every year the great group over at Sprite Stitch cross stitch scenes from their favourite video games to create a one of a kind quilt to raise money for Child’s Play.

This is the first year that I’ve been able to contribute. Here is my finished square – a scene from Adventures of Lolo 3.

Cross Stitch scene from Adventures of Lolo 3

So many great folks contribute to the quilt each year that there are typically enough squares to create more than one quilt. One of the quilts always goes to the Penny Arcade Child’s Play Dinner and Auction, while the second quilt is typically sold in a way that allows more people the opportunity to win it. The second quilt created last year is being raffled right now. See pictures of the quilt and buy your tickets at RaffleRiver.com. Tickets are $3 each or 5 for $10 and the draw will occur on August 8.

The time to contribute squares for this year’s quilt is almost up, but if you’re a cross stitcher, keep a look out for work on next year’s quilt to start. The squares are a lot of fun to stitch and help support a great cause.

Sprite Stitch Stitch-a-Long Update 7

Square number 7 in my Sprite Stitch stitch-a-long project is another blackberrybear creation, and likely requires no introduction. At least if it does, you definitely weren’t a child of the 80s.

Duck Hunt cross stitch square

I sucked at Duck Hunt. I mean absolutely sucked. I saw a lot of the laughing dog. Stupid dog. The only way I could even attempt to play the game was to exploit the trick where you hold the gun with the tip only an inch or so from your TV screen to mess with the light sensor. But it makes for an adorable cross stitch square!