Sunday, 31 December 2017

17 ufo's in 2017 - December update

Hello there!
This is the final report of the year for the 17ufosin2017 challenge and this month I have two projects to share with you from The List. The first is the Santa stocking for my grandson. I am very happy to say I finished it with about a week to spare and we delivered it to him on Christmas Eve just before bedtime! The look on his face and the gasp when he first saw it made it all worthwhile :-)


I lined it with royal blue cotton and backed it with matching blue felt, the red hanging ribbon says "Love from Santa x" on it which I thought was a nice finishing touch. I have decided on a stocking to stitch for his little brother and plan on starting it early in 2018!
The other project from the list that I have made substantial progress on this month is number 14, the black cross stitch Christmas decorations. The designs are by Amanda Gregory and when they appeared in an issue of Cross Stitch Collection magazine back in 2012 I fell instantly in love with them. It was the first time I had worked on black 28ct evenweave but I finished the first in the set of four in time for Christmas that year and it has hung in the same spot above our angels and nativity each year since then...


Unfortunately by the following year when I tried to work on the next one in the set I found that my eyesight had gotten worse and the black evenweave was a nightmare to see! I tried a bunch of different things and started looking into magnifiers. After struggling with three different magnifiers over the next few years, I found one that works brilliantly for me in the Black Friday sales last year and I was able to finish stitching the second one. This month I stitched the third one and finished numbers two and three into ornaments...



I have used a slightly different finish on these for a couple of different reasons; I prefer the results from using this tutorial for circular finishes over the original instructions in the magazine, and I discovered I didn't have enough of the red and gold cording to complete all four decorations and (unsurprisingly after 5 years!) couldn't find it still on sale locally. I plan to hang these two and the one remaining one together as a set of three on a different wall to the original one anyways so I don't think it will look too odd. The last one in this set is my current WIP, this is where I have gotten up to...


So from my original list at the start of the year I have completely finished twelve projects and seen substantial progress on two. I am really happy with this and would like to say a big thank you to Meredithe and Anne for organizing this challenge, it really helped me stay on track and not get tempted off into new projects so much! I am going to carry my remaining ufos over to the new challenge for 2018 which is 6 & 6 in 2018 and I hope you will come back and see how I get on? Of course it would also be lovely if any of you wanted to join us in this challenge too! (Follow the 6&6 link for details). Thank you for visiting with me today and for all your comments throughout 2017, I love hearing from you all :-) I would also like to wish you all a brilliant 2018!

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Christmas 2017

Hello there!
Sorry it's been a bit quiet around here lately, like many of us I have been spending every spare minute working on/finishing off projects for Christmas! I hope to be able to catch you up properly on what's been going on in January when all gifts have been received and opened and things have calmed down a bit! I can tell you that there has been a lot of knitting and on the crochet front I finished my Hydrangea blanket but have no big enough floor space till after Christmas to spread it out and get a photo... I have even managed to fit in some stitching! Yes the stocking is finished and tonight we will take it over to my grandson!! I have even had a little time to stitch on some other small projects. Instead of making cards for my sons and my sister - in - law I stitched them ornaments. I started this last year by stitching an ornament for my sister-in-law and I hope to be organised enough to do this for more folks on my list next year. This is the little house I stitched last year...



The design is from Just Cross Stitch Magazine Christmas Ornaments issue 2008 and each side is only an inch and a half wide! This year I stitched something a little bigger...


Angel for my sister-in -law and her family, design from Just Cross Stitch Magazine Christmas Ornaments issue 2014. I changed some of the thread colors and adapted it to the materials I could get hold of here in the UK.


Flat ornament finish, design from a recent Cross Stitch Crazy magazine (sorry I can't lay my hands on it at the moment to find the issue number!) for my younger son who has this kind of sense of humor ;-)


Little hoop finish for my son and daughter-in-law, it's an Emma Congdon design that came with the last issue of Cross Stitch Crazy magazine.
Well I'm going to hop off (more Christmas baking to do!) but I would like to say a big thank you to all of you who have visited me here over the last year and to wish you and your families a very happy and blessed Christmas. See you in the New Year!


Thursday, 7 December 2017

17 ufos in 2017 - November update

Hello there!
At this stage of the year more than any other I feel the truth of that old saying "life is like a toilet roll, the further along you get the quicker it goes!" Substitute "life" for "year" and that about sums up how I feel! Anyone else feel like this too?! This morning, as Storm Caroline howls around the house, it's time for another quick update on the 17 ufos in 2017 project. November was a challenging month here but I did manage to get this little guy finished in time for Little C's birthday!


There were more mistakes in the pattern to sort out but finally Rory the Lion came together and I think he ended up pretty cute - I do love the tip on his little tail!


So that's number 6 on The List done, now back to number 8, the Santa stocking. November did not grant me a lot of stitching time but I did manage to complete all the cross stitch on this...


Sorry for the rumpled look, this was snapped on my phone fresh out of the hoop when I had worked the last little x! *Happy dance!* But of course this is still pretty far from a finish and we are getting closer and closer to Christmas Eve... at this stage I would be really mad at myself to not get this delivered in time for this Christmas!! So this week I have been plodding on with the back stitch (of which there is a never ending amount!!!) - please keep your fingers crossed for me that my migraines behave and I can get some good stitchy hours in?! 
Thank you for visiting me here today, I hope you also enjoy visiting the other participants in this project at The Linky as they are sharing some stunning projects! Wishing you a lovely rest of your week :-)





Wednesday, 15 November 2017

17 ufos in 2017 - October update

Hello there!
Due to internet problems experienced by Meredithe, our organiser, this month's 17 ufos in 2017 update is running late, but better late than never! In October I worked on three of my ufo projects off the Revised List. Firstly I finished number 4, the Yo-Yo Pumpkin. We named him Jack and here he is hanging out with some pumpkin friends...


The little yellow gourd is one of two that we managed to grow here this year (I really think this will be my last attempt at growing gourds and pumpkins while we live here as they really struggle with our climate, I can keep them warm but I can't make the sun shine for them!!). The white (ghost) pumpkin is named Casper and he was bought last year a couple weeks before Halloween. We were not long back from the States and I used a sticker from Joann's to decorate him, wondering whether I would manage to peel it off to reuse when the pumpkin died. Well he has sat either on this little table in front of the window or on the floor all year. Every few days I turn him upside down to check he's not going squishy underneath and I was really surprised when he was still firm at Christmas! Then he made Easter... he was still going strong when June arrived (which led to a perplexed 5 year old asking "Gran why do you have a pumpkin in the front room?" LOL!!!) and now he has made it to his second Halloween!! I have no clue why this ordinary pumpkin is still on the go! I don't imagine he would still be good to eat but, having shared a year with him, that would seem a bit like eating one of the family now ;-) 
The second ufo I worked on this month was the stocking for the aforementioned grandson. Here is where I had gotten up to by months' end...


I am very hopeful I will see a finish on this this month!! I'm not even dreading what I think will be about a week's worth of back stitch because I am so excited to get this done! Of course next year I will need to get moving on a stocking for his little brother... 
Said little brother has a birthday in November and number 6 on the list is an amigurumi that I started for his birthday last year...


I decided I really should pull this out and decide whether or not I was still going to finish this as I had been having some issues with the pattern and was not that happy with it (which is why it got banished to the cupboard last year). This is where I had gotten up to...



While I am still not totally happy with it I decided I would persevere. I finished his body, reworked part of the leg pattern as there is a mistake in the book, and made his arms. Now he just needs ears, a tail, nose, two cheeks, and all sewn together so that has been my priority for the start of this month. Please keep your fingers crossed for me that there are no more mistakes in the pattern!! 
If I can get the lion and the stocking finished this month then that will leave me with 5 ufos (although that includes number 9 on the list which has seen substantial progress this year). At this point I am planning on carrying number 9 (The Wave cross stitch) and number 2 (the dratted Popcorn cross stitch ;-)) over to next year and am hoping to still finish the other three ufos by December 31. That is if I can stay focused and away from temptation!!!!
Thank you for visiting with me today, do pop over to The Linky to see what everyone else has been working on through October! 

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Woodland walk

Hello there!
Would you like to come on an autumn walk with me? As some of you know Hubbie and I started a new regime last year where we go for either a walk or a cycle every day, we are blessed to have many beautiful places to explore in the area around us and over this winter I thought I would share some of them with you. Today we're going to Evanton Community Woodlands, a 150 acre woodland about 6 miles up the road from our house. Sometimes we cycle up here as there are mountain bike trails around the woods and it makes about a 16 mile round trip (depending on how long we play in the woods for!). But today we're on foot which makes taking pictures much easier! We park the car in the village and walk up the hill to the chapel. Right turn onto a narrow footpath into the trees then scramble up the smaller path to the left and we're on the ridge...


One of the residents whose garden borders the woods has a bonfire going today and the smoke drifting up through the trees smells of wood and wet leaves and adds to the magical atmosphere. There are lots of different trails to pick from up here, and although we have our favorite walking route we decide to take a side path and explore today. It leads us to a different ridge with a different mix of trees to our first ridge, here we are submerged in Autumn!
 

Across the forest floor down to our right a deer suddenly springs through the clearing. He was much too fast to leave anything but a blur on the camera! The one downside to going off down unknown trails in these woods is that sometimes a path that looks well used and clear suddenly comes to an abrupt end. Today's path stops above the horizontal tree root which means a bit of scrambling to get down!


At the bottom is a path we know, we cross it and take the smaller path across the stepping stones...


This is one of my favorite parts of this woods at this time of year...


At this point the climbing path with the rooty bank on our left always reminds me of the hobbits' first encounter with the Black Rider in The Fellowship of the Ring...


Can you imagine him sitting on his black horse at the top of the bank there? Thankfully we are untroubled by Nazgul today! As well as remembering to look behind us we must look up too...


Just look at those colors!! They truly make my heart sing 💛💚💛


Turning right at the top of the hill we soon pass the path leading down to Black Rock Gorge, as the link says back in 2004 they spent 10 days filming here for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Most of that must've ended up on the cutting room floor because even though I know where in the film it's supposed to be I find it really hard to recognise any of it! We're not going down to the Gorge today (maybe another day if you want?) and soon we take a path on our right that leads down to the dipping pond...


It's very peaceful here today, but there are picnic tables and an info board all about what you can expect to find in the water and I think it's rather busier and noisier here on Saturdays in the summer holidays! The path winds around to the left and we crunch through a thick carpet of leaves...


Once again we are in a part of the woods where there are more pines than decidious trees, this isn't so noticeable in spring or summer but now the splashes of color that the beech and oak bring really stand out...


The breaks in the clouds are growing and the sunlight suddenly streams through the trees ahead...


We reach the broad path that runs parallel to the ridge and we look up...


We walked along up there at the start of our walk but now the smoke has gone and the trees are silhouetted by the late afternoon sun. We turn left down the broad track that leads to the woodland classroom and the childrens' play area...


Well who else would you expect to see in a Highland play park?! 
The woodland gives way to fields on our left and we spot two more deer grabbing some late tea...


They don't stay long before they bound away back to the trees...


Tea sounds like a good idea! We take the tree-lined track back down to the village and the car...


I hope you enjoyed your walk! See you soon!





Monday, 23 October 2017

October stitches

Hello there!
Today I thought I would share with you some of the projects I have been working on since we returned from our trip. Firstly, I spent some happy hours in the sewing room enjoying the seasonal color in my Autumn wallhanging while I sewed. On this project I decided to try out a different fusible than the one I usually use for my applique. I had heard good things about Steam-A-Seam 2 so picked up a packet last year when we were in the States. To see how it compared I used my regular fusible (Heat N Bond Lite) on some of the shapes and the Steam-A Seam 2 on the rest of them. Result? I think I might be a convert! I definitely liked the repositionable aspect of the Steam-A-Seam and, when finally fused, it held better than the other shapes when I left the project sitting for a few weeks. I blanket stitched around some of the applique shapes and I have left some of the Steam-A-Seam ones alone so I can see how well it holds over time. I wouldn't do this on an item that would be going through the laundry but, as I don't have small people throwing food at the walls anymore, this should be fairly safe ;-)


I echo quilted the main panel around the shapes and stitched diagonally across the patchwork blocks. In the green right hand border I used my flexible curve ruler to draw and then stitch a stem for my sunflowers...


Although they had little self adhesive dots on the back I secured the felt sunflowers in place with fabric glue for a more permanent hold (they were another acquisition from Hobby Lobby last year). I used more of the black solid to bind it and added a sleeve to the back so I could hang it on the kitchen wall...


Although I am trying to be good & focus on projects with a deadline (Little C has a birthday coming up & then there's Christmas) two of the knitting patterns I picked up at Yarndale wouldn't sit quietly in the stash & called to me until I gave in & started them both! Last year I knitted up a lovely orangey pinky ball of yarn into a pair of Fruit Salad socks (named after the sweeties ;-)). Pretty much as soon as I started wearing them I had requests for Hubbie to get his own pair but I had had the yarn for a little while and it was now discontinued. Then at Yarndale I spied some Tequila Sunrise sock yarn by West Yorkshire Spinners -perfect! Also on my shopping list for Yarndale was the Simple Rib Sock pattern by Winwick Mum (in fact it was my first purchase of the day!) and I thought this pattern would make perfect Fruit Salad socks for Hubbie. I also thought it would be a good opportunity to try out my new tiny circular needle - it's just 25cm long and a little like knitting with toothpicks! I got used to it pretty soon though and it didn't take long to go from this...


...to this!!


One pair of Simple Rib Fruit Salad socks! I am definitely going to be knitting this pattern again, it was very well written and seemed to whizz along (even for size 12 feet!), I might try it with the contrast heel and toe next time round?
The other pattern that was begging to be started was the Vinter Votter mitten pattern by Anniken Allis. Spurred on by the success of these fingerless mittens last year I had already bought another ball of Baby Crofter 4 ply and a solid shade to coordinate for a pair of mittens for myself. I knitted up a swatch and decided this was the pattern it had been waiting for. I started happily knitting away, trying the mitten on every now and then until I got to the thumb placement round. I had made a slight gauge change to accomodate my skinny wrists but everything was fitting fine so far. I was having so much fun watching the pattern emerge and the colors change but as I approached the shaping at the top I started having this sinking feeling - it was coming up too short from the thumb to the top of the fingers! Hoping I was wrong I kept knitting to the top and then opened up the thumb hole (it's an afterthought thumb) so I could try it on. Nope. Way too short. Apparently my gut knew what my brain had been trying to deny for the past hour. I measured and counted rows, worked and reworked my math and I still don't understand what happened! Yes, my gauge was different from the pattern but I was getting less rows per inch not more so, if anything, it should have made the mitten longer? Well however it worked the end result was that I needed more rows from the thumb hole to the top and this pattern has a bigger size with a different chart so I took a quick photo of my doomed mitten before I pulled it all out...


Now the bigger size was both wider and longer and I really only wanted to add length as the widthwise fit was perfect so I photocopied the chart and cut out some columns and stuck the bits of paper back together. It would add four more stitches to the width but I could live with that. Based on my math from the first mitten I still needed to add a few rows to get the length I wanted so I added some plain rows after the ribbing and moved the thumb placement row down. Also the colors were reversed on this chart with the snowflakes being worked in the background color whereas I wanted mine in the paler color so I wrote that on the chart too. I started over taking notes as I went. This time it fitted fine down the length of my hand so I picked up the thumb stitches and stared getting hopeful of a finished mitten. But it wasn't to be. After 15 rows of the thumb I tried it on and it really was too tight around my thumb to be comfy. I know I won't wear them like this and the only way I know to fix this is to rip it all out back to the thumb placement round and knit more stitches off onto the waste yarn at this point - arrrrgggghhhh! I am trying to be positive about this and think "well I like knitting and this is just more knitting" right? But that's not what I'm feeling about it right now so the mittens have gone into a timeout.
In the meantime another pair of socks has jumped onto my needles! Do you remember that bright orange skein of yarn I bought at Yarndale? Well it was just what I had been looking for for this sock pattern by Maggie Van der Stok. October is my favorite month of the year, where some folks might wish it could be Christmas all year round I would happily settle for twelve months of October :-) I especially love the rich colors of the trees, the crispness in the air, and if we get a blue sky and sunshine to make those colors really glow I am in seventh heaven. Also I have been known to be a tad obsessed with pumpkins and the color orange ;-) So the other night I started winding that orange skein into a center pull ball. Would you like to see my high tech winding gear?


Haha! Yup clothes hangers, pegs, and a cardboard box! I followed the tutorial here with the omission of the lazy susan (I do have one but found it was just as easy to put the box on the gripper mat on the floor and it takes up less space to store my winding gear without it). A little while later I had a yarn pumpkin! 


Yes, I am easily amused... 
I have not attempted toe up socks yet so I'm working these from the cuff down instead (which basically means just reading the charts from the top down) and I'm having great fun watching all the little pumpkins appear. See, easily amused lol ;-) 


Well I am going to go back to my little pumpkins, I hope you have a lovely week however you are spending it!











Saturday, 21 October 2017

Early Autumn at Bolton Abbey

Hello there!
This afternoon Hubbie & I enjoyed a beautiful walk in autumnal woodland locally and it reminded me that I hadn't shared these photos with you from another lovely walk we took a few weeks back! On one of our days down in Yorkshire we decided to go explore Bolton Abbey. This 33,000 acre estate is mentioned in the Domesday Book and it has changed hands several times down through the centuries; since 1755 it has been the domain of the Devonshire family and is still the Yorkshire seat of the 12th Duke of Devonshire. We parked in the village car park and walked through to explore the Priory first. Founded in 1154 part of the buildings have been ruins since the 1500's...


...but one part is still a fully functional church...



These beautiful stained glass windows were in the north facing wall...


...and this beautiful mural was above the altar...


High in the roof of the lobby I spotted a white Yorkshire Rose in the center of the ceiling...


This beautiful stone cross was one of the memorials outside...


We walked down to the riverbank and crossed by the bridge - it had rained heavily the night before and there was far too much water to use the stepping stones today! Can you see where some of them are disturbing the flow of the river?


We picked the path which climbed up into the woods and were soon rewarded with this magnificent view looking back across to the Priory...


It was warm but signs of early autumn were all around us and the path continued to climb through the woodland...


In the dappled sunshine this mossy wall seemed to glow...


There were quite a few benches along the way but, due to the rain, they were pretty wet, so when we spotted this little stone shelter we decided this was our picnic spot ...


It turned out to have a spectacular view through the trees to the river below!


After our lunch we walked on until we could see through the last few trees on our right to open fields and the moors beyond...


A little further ahead of us the woodland thinned and we saw the river again...


The path descended to the grassy banks and we crossed the river at this rather grand turreted bridge. It is an aqueduct and apparently the pipe carrying water from reservoirs at Nidderdale to the towns and cities of west Yorkshire is hidden in the stone work...


On the other side the path followed the river downstream, back into woodland, and soon bringing us to The Strid. At this point the fast flowing 30ft wide river narrows dramatically and in places it really does look like you could jump across, but, as lots of warning signs tell you, people have lost their lives here. The banks are extremely undercut by the water and underneath them lie caverns and tunnels, no one is certain of the extent of these or the depth of the water at this point and no one who has fallen in here has been recovered. It really looks quite innocent on the surface doesn't it?


Below this the river widened again and the path continued down through Strid Wood, an ancient woodland and SSSI. We emerged from the trees at the Cavendish Pavilion which was bustling with people enjoying refreshments in the late afternoon sunshine. On this side of the river the bank was open and grassy and we had sweeping views downstream....


Finally the path started to climb above a large lazy bend in the river...


...and we enjoyed our last views of the Priory before reaching the road leading back to the village and the car park...


It really was a beautiful day and I hope you enjoyed coming along with me!