Wednesday, 5 January 2011

The Never-Ending Lee Cross Stitch.

Anybody who knows me well will know know that I have a bit of a 'thing' for Lee Mead. I think it's mainly his talent on stage that has captured me, but his physique is something to be admired. During his time in Joseph, clothed only in a loincloth, his perfect form and pearly white completely unblemished skin reminded me of the Michelangelo statues. This image led to me to beginning the most ambitious cross stitch project I've ever attempted.

After trawling the internet I decided that the following photograph fitted my needs perfectly!

I uploaded this photograph to Picture Craftwork and converted it into a cross stitch pattern. I wanted to keep as much detail as possible so I opted for a pattern size of 250 x 363 stitches and a gauge of 18 stitches per inch.

When creating the pattern I thought this was a largish project but easily achievable. It was only after I'd started that I realised that this was going to take a lot of hard work. I'd stupidly chosen a project which had to sewn on 18 count black aida which was almost impossible to see in any light other than total daylight. The stitches were so tiny that after a few days I'd switch to doing something else. Sometimes I'd leave it for months. Consequently I'm only 2/5 of the way through despite having started back in Spring 2008!

This is what it looks like so far......

To see the image clearly it is better to stand a few feet away (the finished project is destined to be displayed at the top of the stairs).

The following image shows a close up of the hand on the left; this is illustrate the sheer work involved.

I do have a massive incentive to finish this project as I have this (signed by the man himself!!!!) to frame with it.

I've met Lee twice, the first time I had him sign this 'plaque'. I explained what I wanted it for and showed the stitching; all the poor embarrassed guy could say was 'Wow!'

So what next?

I have decided to make a real effort to get on and finish this project this year. I have bought a standing frame which will help the pain I get in my shoulders and arms when I have to hold it all the time. I've bought a clip on daylight lamp which solves the lighting issue. Added to that I've got some brand new glasses for close work. No excuses left then!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

A Year of Craft

After a busy year of knitting and crochet (and a little bit of cross stitch) I think it's time to take stock and look back at my work.

This year I have:
  • Knitted two cardigans for my adorable niece (I don't have a photo of either unfortunately).
  • Knitted a set of dolls clothes for my daughter.
  • Crocheted a baby blanket, hexagon jacket and knitted a cardigan for a baby due in February 2011.
  • Began a crocheted snowflake afghan.
The Two Cardigans

The first cardigan was my first foray into the world of knitting something that was more complicated than a square. I decided to tackle this cardigan from Patons 'A Princess Tale'

In retrospect maybe I should have started with something simpler. I ended up having to unpick and restart each part several times because I'd made a mistake in the 'flower' pattern. However the finished article looked a lot like the pattern picture so despite the difficulties it was a success.

The arms were a little too long for my niece but come on it was my first attempt!

The second design was a much simpler affair and my niece was carefully measured beforehand this time.

All proceeded smoothly until I had to pick up the stitches to make the border around the neck. I knit quite tightly and ended up giving myself a callus on my index finger. It took 3 attempts to pick up the stitches to my satisfaction.

The completed cardigan was tried on and the sleeves yet again were too long! It appears that in knitting patterns the sleeve length is taken from the armpit to the cuff not from the shoulder to the cuff.

Oh well we live and learn :-)

The Doll's Clothes
My daughter adores playing with her dolls. I decided to be a bit old fashioned and knitted a few items for her; it's a lot cheaper than buying them!

I knitted this little underwear set first from a Sirdar pattern book.

I learned rapidly how to decrease neatly at the end of the row and do a simple heart motif.

The little socks were a bit of a pain and they both took several attempts; a lot of different rows to keep track of. I decided it was time to invest in a row counter.

Next came this lovely cardigan with its picot edging.

A very simple project however I must learn not to drag the contrasting wool too tightly across the back as this cardigan has a pulled in effect across the pattern.

Projects For a New Baby

What can be more traditional than knitting and crocheting for a new baby?

I found this nifty pattern via a link in Crochethook's blog. Crochethook did a variation of the original pattern. However I preferred the original pattern (found here). This jacket is crocheted in two hexagonal pieces; although the hexagons don't lie flat. Each hexagon is folded to make one half of the jacket with the seams running along the top of the arms and in the middle of the back. In the photo the bottom of the jacket looks like one side is longer than the other, rest assured this is not the case. I'm too much of a perfectionist.

The next project was this newborn size mock cable patterned cardigan. I liked the pattern (from Sirdar) as soon as I saw it. Although the mock cabling looks complicated it was fairly easy to do as you could tell if there were any errors by referencing at the previous row.

I do however need to work on my buttonholes. They don't look like buttonholes very much and they're very difficult to find!

The Baby Blanket.
I got the idea for this blanket from Cozy's Corner (here) where it was crocheted from left over wool. I decided to used some crofter patterned wool which I obtained from a local craft show and added a pretty picot edge. The result was this lovely unique blanket.

The Snowflake Afghan - a work in progress.
I fell in love with this design as soon as I saw it; the pattern can be found here. I started crocheting the hexagons back in May. Each hexagon looks like this...

After reaching the magic number of 59 hexagons I placed them on the floor and decided that the afghan wasn't big enough (I'd used a 4mm instead of a 4.25mm hook and I crochet as I knit; tightly). I worked out that I needed to make 111 hexagons in total to achieve the desired size.

I began to crochet hexagons morning, noon and night. One particular 'hexagon' made me laugh; how I didn't notice it before the end I don't know!

The current state of this project is 92 hexagons down 19 to go!!!!

Homage to Crochethook

After seeing this gorgeous Christmas decoration design by Crochethook. I knew I had to make it. The original was made in white but I had this lovely silver yarn that I thought would look awesome. Here is the result.....

After gifting this one to my Mum I now I have to make another for myself.

So what's in store for 2011?

In 2011 I would at least like to complete the snowflake afghan and my Lee Mead cross stitch - but that's 'a whole nother story'...........!