The tiniest crafting.

Last week I shared this photo on my Instagram:

It got plenty of attention both there and on Facebook so I thought I’d blog about it. In the picture there are 10 pairs of bootees, 16 cardigans and 57 hats all in tiny sizes for premature babies. They were knitted by me and my mom over the last couple of years – I’ve got one storage box of baby yarn and and grab some out periodically to add a few more items to the pile.


The patterns all came from Bliss a few years ago. They’re not there any more, there are new patterns on the website instead, you can see them here.

On Saturday I went to my local Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to deliver the parcel of knitting. While I was there they mentioned that their current priority wish for crafters is crocheted octopuses. These have been in the media quite a bit in recent weeks, I first heard about them and their benefits when a friend sent my this link from the Bournemouth Echo and had added them to my ever growing project list. Hearing how wanted they are has made me move them right up towards the top.

The link to the English language crochet pattern PDF is here. The nurse at the NICU told me that they’re best crocheted in 100% cotton yarn – this is both so they can be made sterile and because cotton yarn has a smooth finish which is a preferable texture. I’ve ordered some yarn so will have photos to share soon once I start making.


(False) Starts.

Over the weekend I started, finally, the year long stitchalong that I’ve subscribed to. I’m three months’ worth of patterns behind but getting the materials together and my move home have both delayed me. The delays aren’t over though, the fabric I’d ordered is far too light and now I need to order more – it’s dyed to order so it’ll be another few weeks before I can properly get started.

Today my cupcake themed mini stitchalong from the Geeky Stitching Company arrived and so tonight I got stuck straight into it.

It’s a decent sized project – I think it’ll be my crafty escape for the whole week at least. I’m looking forward to seeing the design grow, it will be framed in an oval hoop which will be something entirely new for me.

Craft · Libraries

Reading craft.

I spent this morning at The Hive, Worcester’s combined public and university library, poring over an armful of craft books:

I wasn’t entirely sure what I was looking for. There were two books I’d seen online but wanted the opportunity to check them out before I bought them. I grabbed a load of other books that grabbed my attention too, most of them pattern and technique type books but a few more theory type books. I feel very much that I want to be learning more about the history and background to the crafts I do – they’re so steeped in history and it feels important to understand where they’ve come from as well as be working out what I want to do with them. The options for this were pretty limited, the ones I grabbed weren’t really what I was looking for, but I’m only just starting to look at this so there’s plenty to do yet. 

The two books that I wanted to see – 100 Cross Stitch Card Designs by Joanne Sanderson and 1000 Mini Cross Stitch Motifs by Sharon Welsh are both ones that I will now buy (I have vouchers left from my birthday that have been waiting for me to choose something like this). They both look like they’ll add a lot to my cross stitch library and have some really nice, contemporary ideas. I’ll also be buying 100 Colourful Ripple Stitches to Crochet by Leonie Morgan at some point in the nearish future – it has 50 different ripple stitch patterns (each is shown in 2 colourways which gives the 100 stitches in the title) and a small number of projects that use the stitches as examples of how you could use the stitches. There were quite a few stitches that I liked the look of – I can see plenty of smaller projects like cushions in my crocheting future.

In the meantime I’ll keep looking for my history books (any recommendations will be gratefully received), and look forward to plenty of time planning new projects. 


Stitch by stitch.

I’ve had such a quiet day today. I spent the morning reading, then some friends of my parents came for a catch up this afternoon before I spent the evening cross stitching in front of Netflix (and a bit of YouTube). It was lovely, the last couple of days have been pretty hectic so slowing down properly was necessary. 

I’d been knitting this afternoon, but by this evening knew I needed to switch across to cross stitch. When I’m overly tired, or stressed, or anxious, or my brain’s just too loud or busy it’s cross stitch that I come back to. I’ve been thinking more recently about why this might be. The best I can come up with is that it’s a combination of the relatively instant achievement of being able to see the picture forming with your stitches, and the fact that at every stage the only thing you can focus on is the very next stitch. The latter holds true for all of the thread based crafting that I do (it’s where my mantra thing of stitch by stitch comes from) so I can only assume there’s more to it that makes cross stitch the thing I want to do most when I need something to properly sooth me. 

It still feels like an under thought out thing at the moment. Trying to work it out at the moment is probably counterproductive when I’m trying to quieten my brain down but it’s something I’ll come back to. There’s no doubting the fact crafting is great therapy, there have been plenty of things written about it, but I think for me I’d love to understand better just how and why it works for me.


Endings and beginnings.

Today I have finished one cross stitch project, a birthday card:

and started another, a bookmark kit which will be a gift later in March:

I’ve nearly finished a couple of other projects but they’re for me so they keep getting put to one side while I get on with things that have to be finished by certain dates. It’s still a novelty making things for me so patience is fairly easy to come by. I think March is also going to be filled with stitch-a-longs, I’ve nearly got all of the supplies for the year long Clouds Factory one that I’m signed up for and I’ve signed up for one with Geeky Stitching Club that’s due to arrive soon.


Handmade thanks

I mentioned last Monday that I’d been designing and working on a small cross stitch project. I posted it off on Friday and it’s been received today so I can share it here.

The project was a thank you card to send to my former colleagues (along with some biscuits for the treats table). I wanted to thank them for being brilliant and for the great send off they’d given me, something like that definitely deserves a handmade effort.

It was fun to make, and I found that while I was stitching I kept them all in mind which made the making experience all the nicer. 


Cast on.

I cast on a new knitting project this afternoon. The one I bought the yarn for on Friday (it arrived just before 8.30 yesterday morning, excellent customer service from Love Knitting as always). 

I’m not strictly working from a pattern, when I clicked through from the photo I’d saved on Pinterest I discovered the pattern had been removed by the original poster. It’s straight forward enough though that from the photo I’ve been able to sketch out my own version of the pattern.

It’s nice to start knitting again. So far this year I’ve exclusively cross stitched, finishing a few projects. Knitting though feels so comfortable in my hands, and watching the fabric grow row by row makes me feel like I’m really achieving something with what I’m making. 

It’s a gift, so I won’t be sharing my progress as I knit. I will be taking photos though, I’ll do a write up when I’m finished. For now though, here’s my customary first project pic.