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Jacko's Crafty Corner

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2016!! Welcome Ya’ll…

Firstly thank you all so much for your positive comments on my previous blog, it’s that nail biting moment when you think, "what have I just done"?  We had a couple of “technical issues” but it has thankfully been resolved – so all good - thank you so much, keep it coming.  I hope everyone had a good break if you managed to get one.  I had a wonderful time off and am missing it already.

So I have a full fun packed blog for you this month, (I have just had 3 weeks off!!)  I have a special feature on “those silky threads” there is also a competition to help us find a name for one of the colour-ways…  in case you are eager to participate you’ll find this under “Name that Thread” further down, so i warn you; pull up a cuppa; you’re in for a treat!

 

As is true of this blog title, I am going to talk about some gorgeous threads that will soon be sold exclusively on my website courtesy of De Haviland Embroidery; it’s an extremely exciting time for us here. For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I have been busy showing off these hand-dyed silky threads (although not as busy as my friend Carolyn) I first came into contact with the owner of these threads at the Knitting and Stitching show back in 2013, held at Alexandra Palace in London or Ally Pally as it is known affectionately.   I had been introduced to the event by a work colleague who lives nearby and at the time I was just getting started with cross stitch so we were having a banter and she mentioned the show; well I went to check it out immediately, and before lunch had decided the date I was going, but who to take along?  Well dear ole sis, she is ace and will accompany me most places but I needed someone who was not going to say “have you finished yet?” So I decided my mate who is an awesome crafter -who is just as mad about yarn and crafts as I am, was the perfect companion so off we went.   I was on such a cross stitch vibe, that I bought only 3 balls of yarn and everything else was cross stitch related. My first stop found me gasping at these gorgeous threads, I couldn’t believe my eyes or ears when I was told the price, so I grabbed a handful and was very pleased I’d bagged a bargain and so beautiful.

As you can see they were so special, I simply could not justify breaking into one of these hanks, so I put it away for a thousand years…. LOL it was only when I decided to make a colleague of mine a keep sake cushion/pillow (you decide) that I opened my cabinet and decided to take the plunge and go for it… well I tell you no lie, I was not disappointed, it was the smoothest most gorgeous couple of stitches I had ever made, this was simply the best, I rushed to find a number and my phone, I just had to have more!!! I called and got through to the seller (Grace) and I purchased 10 of her best sellers!  Well we quickly became connected by these threads; she came along to several craft club sessions that we hold at work.  Grace and I continued to talk; then we became serious about sharing this awesome product with the rest of the world- the rest, as they say, is history!

(Pillow made using 14ct Aida and 2 strands of glorious rainbow -silky thread)

To give you some more flavour, for the type of things you can do with the silky threads, I’ll jump into my “Prick and Stitch/Pinbroidery” projects I’ve been working on.

After practicing with my DMC cotton threads and feeling confident on using the big guys, an opportunity came up, I overheard two of my colleagues talking about having trouble finding an engagement card that wasn’t too “girly” as the person who we work with is a dude, so I jumped in and said, “Well maybe I can make one!” I’m not sure what they truly felt inside, but I was given the go-ahead, they must have been scared…. fortunately I did not disappoint and ended up making the card below.

I then went on to make a card for my wonderful occupational health nurse who has been my rock through tough health times… it was supposed to be a “Thank You for all you’ve done” card but was sadly turned in to a leaving card (Boo Hoo)  I love the design so perfect.

I’m still rolling…Next up is a card for my mum’s friend who has also been a rock to her through some hard and stressful times.

I volunteered to make this little beaut… I’ve discovered Rhinestones so I have gone a little la la with tons of the stuff- oops.  I had fun using them with my new fancy tool – I purchased a 4PC Professional tweezers set, I looked like a pro sticking on the Bling!!! (Sucker for accessories)

Lastly – this little project goes back to November 2015, it was my 7th Wedding Anniversary card for my hubby, I feel this design still looked beautiful with just normal DMC threads but the possibilities that the silky threads would have produced, I am sure would have been “mind blowing”. 

 

 I’ve got a couple more lined up but I’ll save that for next time, but in the meantime if you would like some more creations to drool over then check out my amazing cross stitching friend Carolyn Mazzeo she has a fabulous podcast just on its own, I can’t tell you how much I’ve learnt from this awesome person and words simply  wont do her podcast justice, so go and  see for yourself.  I recently gifted some of the silky threads as my way of saying thank you and believe me when I say she has been busy, and is, as hooked as you like. (Play time approx. 1hr 27 minutes in for Prick and Stitch/Pinbroidery)

 

Name that Thread.

So..... are you  ready for a little competition?  We thought, in preparation for the launch of De Haviland’s Embroidery silky threads, it would be good to host a little “something something”- In the way of a competition.  We want you to “Name That Thread”. The thread you see below has been holding out for a little identity. Can you tap into your creative thread juices and give us a name?  The successful winner will not only have given us a colourway name but will receive 2 complimentary hanks of the newly named thread (200m each) names on a postcard to… just joking.  Please get in touch using the form "Name That Thread". The closing date is January 31st 2016 23.59pm (GMT) the winning name will be announced in February. Make the name as funky as you like, it’s preferable (but not compulsory) that the name  also reflects the “ look” of the thread . All the best!

WIPS/What’s on those needles?

I heard a phrase that I liked –one podcaster said she was going to “WHIP her WIPS” so I decided I was going to do this too. I have a bad case of “cast on-i-tis” I want to knit all the things,  in my Ravelry library as of today I have 2,281 patterns and I’ve only knitted 82 – the truth is I’ll continue building up my library but I’ll never be able to get through them all – that’s just the way it is…. So anyway I decided to “Whip” my Faberge shawl into shape. I’ve been working on this beautiful shawl since August 2015 and the product knitter in me, wants this done so I can wear it. I plan to knit a Green Beret to go with it – I’ve seriously loved the madness of this shawl.  I’m not normally a swatch type person but on this occasion I will say to any interested persons wanting to complete this shawl, do the recommended swatch test – it’s a teeny tiny sample that’ll take no time at all, you get the chance to mess about with beads and really get to see what your shawl will be looking like if you have a couple of colours in mind.   After some ridiculous fudging due to a silly blip on my part, I'm finally back on track and I have a lovely shawl that’s not got far to go -  I hope it’ll be finished by the next blog.

What else….. My  faux plaid poncho has been knit and I am in the zone of surface crocheting the vertical lines,  some people make it look  easier than others I find it a faff with the crochet hook so I might search for a stitch that is identical to the crochet chain stitch  and use my good old  tapestry needle. I’m pushing for this to be finished by the end of January as part of my “Whip those WIPS” operation.

What's off those needles/Project bags?

So if you haven’t worked out, podcasts are literally my TV programmes (excluding Luther of course) You can find some amazing podcasts in the “Useful links section” of this site, there are podcasts that relate to each specific craft. So I know that the majority of knitting pod-casters have a pair of socks constantly on the go, of course multi-tasking with other WIPS but it’s just mad and I kind of understand the madness. It’s been a long time since I knit a pair of socks but I can honestly say I’ve had “sock-i-tis” fever. I’ve been itching like a dog with flea’s to knit another pair of socks and as I seemed to be wearing my long boots a lot recently I needed to knit them even more so.  I whipped up a foot in about 2 days – but I was overthinking the heel turn and made a sock over an inch or so too long so the contrasting heel looks crazy and out of place when properly pulled up, but it’s all good, it was the first time I used German Short Rows (GSR) it’s a toe up knitted sock and it’s a pattern by my Knitting Guru Staci Perry - I’m calling this sock my practice sock. I have another on the needles – new colours of course but I’ll save that till next month’s blog 

2 down and 2 to go, it was “1 to go” but I’ve recently found out my friend is having another baby in August so I’ll have to get my summer knit head on, but for now, I’ve been working on a baby romper suit called Rascal Romper on Ravelry, it’s such a cute little addictive knit – it calls for the pattern to be seamed – not my usual thing, but the pattern notes failed to mention this fact; in a way I’m glad I tried it, every year I like to push myself just a tad.  For special effects I added an iron/ sewed on alphabet letter of the little princess’s name.  The yarn choice was good – Merino wool, my new fave yarn in the house, so soft and squishy!!

I had the greatest pleasure in giving my friend’s two boys their hats and gloves

Me, hubby and son found ourselves “Down South” It had been such a long time since I’d seen my friend and sadly it was a flying visit as we had another set of friends to say hi to.  These little darlings looked so sweet in their gear, I had fun making them, they were made with 100% Merino wool and was a dream to knit.

I’m a little weird – this will be confirmed you will see.. LOL-  I love Butterflies and Owls but I don’t like seeing the legs of a butterfly in real life and owls in the flesh scare me, but I still have a thing for them… I know…..  any “WOO”  from my previous blog you might just have figured that I’m in love with felt ( the nice stuff) a friend at work has been unwell so a get well soon box was put together by his team and as this guy is such a cool dude I really wanted to add something to the box but I was pressed for time, so after learning he too had a thing for owls – (B I G time) I was able to quickly put together a felt owl that I had on my list of things to make, he turned out pretty cool.

The fabric for his tummy was a last minute decision and the little bow was just a super fit. I will definitely be making some more – I really want to make a lady Owl so look forward to choosing colours for that.

Flossy, is a name that has become well know over the last year, she is a very cute knitted doll – not sure if she is supposed to be a Rabbit or a Mouse … she was made as part of a raffle prize for our end of year stall where my organisations craft club members make hand-made goodies, there is usually a main raffle prize, and everything else is available to buy - this year there were 4 prizes to be won and one of them was this knitted beaut – I’ve made this doll 4 times  and I have promised a colleague that I will make her one, (one day soon) then I think I may just have to retire from making her for a long while…. The knitting is simple it’s the seaming and getting it all attached that is the hardest part for me, I always say you can knit a beautiful piece but if the seaming is not up to scratch you can spoil a garment or item in a heartbeat .

Patterns for her can be found on Ravelry – you’ll find a link via my project page.

Plans for 2016

I have so many plans I might just bore you, but please stay tuned to the blog where you’ll see what craftiness I’ve been up to. I can tell you that I’ve already "kitted up" for a Disney cross stitch piece –

Yes it’s the Seven Dwarfs chart, I'm sure we can all relate to them at some point in our lives… I desperately want to start this but I’m currently working on a “Betty Boop goes shopping” Cross Stitch for my sister and I have promised not to start till I have finished Betty. (progress update next month) The pattern calls for 94 colours –so I’ll need time to get the threads on bobbins before I start because I am funny like that. In general I’d like to get through some of my pattern stash, of kits and charts pertaining to Cross Stitch.

 I want to get back to the sewing machine and get working on some project bags!! I love them I’ve just brought a few off of Etsy here are two that have arrived so far

I know I can make them myself but I needed them now….more cards of course, tons more knitting.

I’m on a mission to get some shawls under my knitting belt, and I plan to knit a Beret in every colour to match shawls/scarfs – I want to be really “rocking” come next winter.  I need to “stash down” too so I’m going to make a massive effort to go to my yarn stock first before buying and make use of the mad felt stash that is building.(she says)  I want to get more creative with ideas – I follow instructions really well (mostly) but I don’t have amazing creativity from the old brain-zilla… can you believe it? – I call it “Structured Creativity”

I’m already working on next month’s blog so I better get knitting or whatever it is I do.

Thank you to my awesome friend Jo for proof reading, the fresh eyes are always appreciated x

Jacko x

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