Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Show & Tell

It seems like it has been a long time since I have shown you any of my stitching. Needless to say, that's because for the past several weeks I have been working on Christmas gifts & exchange gifts.  I decided on Monday that enough was enough & I was going to just sit back, de-stress, & work on ornaments for next year.  Although the exchange gifts have been mailed, none have been received yet so I will instead show you what I'm currently working on for next year ... an ornament from the 2013 issue of JCS Christmas Ornaments ... Windy Night by Dames of the Needle.  Here's how it looks in the magazine ...

... & here's my progress thus far.
For whatever reason, my fabric color is looking purple here, but it's actually the same color as the model photograph since I ordered  it especially for this project.  I am also using the threads suggested by the designer.

This is a bit of a challenging stitch for me.  I usually avoid stitching designs that are fiddly ... those that involve a lot of color changes or confetti stitches or, God forbid, specialty stitches.  This tree has what to me is a lot of fiddly stitching, but I am taking my time & feeling surprisingly relaxed through the process.  This is the first Dames of the Needle pattern I have ever stitched & I am enjoying it   : ) 

Next I will show you this scarf I started knitting for John when we were in Las Vegas.
It's pathetically easy ... a rank beginner's project ... but I probably started & frogged this scarf at least a dozen times.  I'm knitting it without a pattern.  You don't really need a pattern because it's all straight knitting ... just plain ol' garter stitch ... but I couldn't get the width right, & then I kept having a problem with the bottom edge resembling a crescent shape with the corners turning up. When we were on our way home, waiting near our gate for our connecting flight in Chicago, I spied a woman in our waiting area casting on to knit something.  I mentioned it to John & he was all "go over & ask her if she can help you with your scarf!"  I just didn't feel very sociable at the time, however, & pointed out to John that she probably wouldn't be able to help me since she was knitting using the English method & I knit using the continental method.  A weak excuse, I know.  A couple days after getting back home, I decided to start the scarf again. Same problem.  I jokingly told John I'd give him the money to buy a scarf, but I really didn't want this thing to beat me.  I retrieved my trusty Cast On, Bind Off book & tried a different type of cast on.  No luck.  I then spied another type of cast on ... a chained cast on using a crochet hook.  With nothing to lose except more time, I attempted this cast on & eureka!  It worked!  A perfectly straight edge!  It's doubtful that I'll finish this scarf in time for John to wear it this winter, but he'll have it next winter   : ) 

Chessie & Me has some great designs, doesn't she?  And they often feature that cute little Chessie somewhere in the design. Sophie likes that   : )   Last summer I joined the Chessie & Me Club offered by some online shop (unfortunately I don't remember which shop) & last week I received the newest club kit ... Winter Wonder.  Although this is another fiddly project (I see some specialty stitches in the design), I am looking forward to stitching it   : )

And speaking of Sophie,  she looked so cute & comfy on the sofa the day before yesterday that I just had to grab the camera & take her picture   : ) 
I hope your week is going well!  As Christmas Day gets nearer, there is a tendency for our stress to increase.  Don't let it!  I found this quote by Watchman Nee, a church leader & Christian teacher who lived in the last century.  

"An unpeaceful mind cannot operate normally.  Hence the Apostle teaches
us to 'have no anxiety [stress] about anything' (Philippians 4:6).  Deliver all anxious thoughts to God as soon as they arise.  Let the peace of God maintain your heart & mind (verse 7)."

Wise words for all of us to remember, not only during these days leading up to Christmas, but every day of the year.


The Inspired Stitcher said...

Love seeing your new start. I'm in awe of anyone that can knit...even the "easy" stuff. My granny and aunt tried to teach me but it just never took. Love seeing your sweet kitty too. Hugs!

gracie said...

Wish we lived close, I would have liked to help with your knitting cast on. Next time take a chance and ask if you see someone knitting! Looking forward to seeing the Windy ornament finished. Sophie sure does look comfy. Thank you for the quote, I needed it... feeling a bit stressed this year.

Linda said...

Great ornaments Shirlee. Glad you were able to figure out the scarf problem.


Kaisievic said...

Ditto! I am often asked to help the young girls at work cast on their knitting. It sure can be fiddly. Love your new start - you are definitely such a talented stitcher, Shirlee. Now, I need to go look up who Chessie and Me are!

Vickie said...

Big smiles here. I saw that ornament in the magazine and thought it was just your kind of ornament. ;)
I love Chessie & Me stuff. I have often wished there were a Poodle & Me!! And that I should design some. HA!
Great advice. I will try to remember it. There has been major stress here lately, not Christmas related, and my stomach is starting up again! =(

Myra said...

Great start Shirlee and I love the color you chose for John's scarf. The hornbook in my Chessie and Me shipment was broken. :o( They were very quick to respond to my email and are sending me another one. I do like this winter design.

Michelle said...

Lovely ornaments Shirlee and very good advice thanks for sharing x

Vonna Pfeiffer said...

Oh golly, I have giggled about the "god forbid specialty stitches..." for about 5 minutes now. Thanks for making me laugh this evening! :)

Carol said...

Good for you, Shirlee, for taking time out and stitching something for yourself for next year! I need to do a bit of the same--the stress is definitely creeping up as Christmas approaches :) Love the new ornament you've chosen to work on and really love that Chessie and Me design--hers rank right up there with Prairie Schoolers on my favorites list!!

John's scarf is such a pretty color--I'm sure he is most appreciative of each and every minute you spend on it :)

Catherine said...

So fun seeing all that you have been working on and will be working on! Your kitty looks so comfy!

Pam in IL said...

Thanks for sharing the quote and advise. I really need that today.

I really like both the Windy Night ornament and the Chessie & Me design. I'm not a knitter, but I do like the scarf so far.

Simply Victoria said...

Have fun with your "fiddly" stitches. Love your new one by Chessie and Me.
Miss Sophie is one gorgeous cat. She looks so queen-like lying there.
Thanks for sharing the quote.

butterfly said...

Oh yes Shirlee it is a stress ful time of the year I start off calm then the stress builds . Oh dear and I have to have my blood test and BP taken today !.

Lovely stitching and your cat is so cute. big Hugs.

Marilyn said...

Cute ornament.
You have a great idea, starting now for next year's ornaments.
The Chessie looks like a nice project.
Sophie looks right at home on that sofa, soooooooooo comfortable. :)

Sarah in Stitches said...

Great start on Dames of the Needle! It looks like such a sweet design, can't wait to see your progress :D

Trace4J said...

Beautiful friend
Love those wise words.
Woolie Christmas Blessings

Julie said...

I loved the look of your new start when I saw it in the magazine, it'll have to wait till next year for me to stitch it.
Gorgeous kitty.

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

You stitch? I thought you just kvetched?

I love Windy Night but I think my 11 year old would find it too amusing for the wrong reasons.

The Chessie and Me design is a great one too.

Maggee said...

I have one more gifty to finish up, then I am going to just stitch on whatever I feel like! Your start is coming along fine...tho the fabrics look so different in the photos. It is winter--bad lighting! Hugs!

Sherry said...

Love your stitches. I need to set aside more time to work on smalls and finishing.

Kevin said...

Your Dames of the Needle ornament looks great so far. You can do it! And I loved the quote you added in this post. Wise words for us all at this time of year!