Sunday, March 15, 2015

Easter Egg Sampler of Stitches - free pattern

This is a bit of fun I am having with stitches and colours to make up into a quick card for a friend for Easter. I am going to whip the stem stitch outline to smooth out the curves and then stick it into a window card. If you are in Cape Town, Merripak keep packs of window cards.

I changed the stitches slightly as I stitched, but here is the original pattern I started with. For a free copy of the pattern below, right click on the image and choose the 'save as' option. Print it out, then use a photocopy machine to enlarge it or make it smaller to suit your card or project.

Easter egg sampler of stitches - Lyn Warner
I used a blue tailor's pen to trace the pattern and mark the position of some guide-lines for stitching. The blue lines washed out well in plain cold water afterwards. The embroidery for the card was done on a 32 count linen, but any firmly woven fabric like calico would be fine.

Colours are DMC 3844 & 3845 (blue); 726 (yellow); 3348 (green); and 349 & 350 (red). I used mostly 2 strands of thread.

Suggested stitches for the pattern were from the top:
1. Chain stitch
2. Back stitch, laced running stitch, back stitch
3. Horizontal fly stitch. Turn the work 180 degrees to work the second row of horizontal fly stitch.
4. Tied herringbone.
5. Lazy daisy flowers with small French knot centre . Make centre with 1 thread and 1 wrap.
6. Stem stitch, large French knots made with 3 threads and 2 or 3 wraps, stem stitch.
7. Laced running stitch
8. Chain Stitch.
9. Outline of the egg: stem stitch or whipped stem stitch.

If you need any stitch instructions or ideas for stitch variations, visit either Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread or Sharon Boggon's Pintangle and search for the stitch you want. Both websites are excellent.

Let me know if you embroider a little sampler by leaving a comment below, or email me at lynette [dot] warner [at] gmail [dot] com, using the usual format of I'd love to see your stitched version of the pattern.

'Till next time, happy stitching!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Kaffe Fasset visits South Africa

Kaffe Fassett will visit South Africa again in June-July this year. I first came across his work in his book Glorious Knitting and I was immediately hooked by the wonderful colours and designs.

With the new book Glorious Needlepoint recently out and a visit to London coming up I wrote (snail mail back then!) to Kaffe's publisher and asked if he'd be giving any lectures at the time of my visit. Yes, came the reply, at the Albert Hall in Nottingham.

Albert Hall, Nottingham
To book my ticket, we had to phone the organizer in Nottingham. When she heard we were phoning via an international call from Cape Town South Africa there was just a long stunned silence. Later when I collected my ticket from her - at this lovely knitting shop - she told me that she was so surprised by the call she had to sit down.

My biggest surprise was when in a packed hall Kaffe opened by welcoming everyone and then welcomed the 'lady who had travelled all the way from Cape Town'. Not just that, he then asked me to stand up and thanked me for coming! Overseas travel for South Africans was fairly unusual back in 1989.

Albert Hall interior
While my new stitching friend Janice Jowett very kindly kept my seat in the third row from the front, I dashed to the back of the hall to capture the moment. The gentle classical guitar music was hair-raisingly beautiful. And then, after checking his watch Kaffe, on the left in the photo above, began by sharing the story of his introduction to knitting with us.

The lecture was inspiring and there were long queues up on the stage afterwards for the book signing. My accent must have stood out because when I thanked Kaffe for signing my book, he stopped, looked up and we had a few words. I wanted to know if he had any plans to visit South Africa. But at that time he said no, not yet but maybe one day.

Kaffe Fasset

Since then Kaffe has visited South Africa a number of times and on one occasion my daughter and I were lucky enough to see some of his marvellous quilts at a lecture here in Cape Town.

Together with Brandon Mably, Kaffe Fasset will be present both knitting and patchwork workshops and lectures at the South African National Quilt Festival in Durban. He has scheduled visits to Johannesburg and Pretoria too and you will find more about the tour in the calendar of events on his website here. How I would love to be going to Durban in July! A quilt festival and the opportunity to hear Kaffe speak and see some of his work are not to be missed.

Till next time, happy stitching!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Egg Cosy and Table Mat

These are the egg cosies and table mats I have been working on for Easter. The embroidery was quick to do, but getting the pattern ready took a little longer.

One of things that I always find challenging when putting together a pattern are the photographs. This time I set everything up on the end of the kitchen table where the light is good for my little point and shoot camera in the afternoons . For about four afternoons in a row, the cloud was heavy over the mountains in the west and at just about the time when the light is usually fairly good, the sun would disappear behind the thick clouds. I took a number of photos which were just too dark to use, but eventually the sun shone brightly at the right time and I was able to take some reasonable photos.

The lacy border of Australian Cross Stitch on the egg cosies and the place mat is quick to embroider and the pattern I have drawn up is suitable for both beginners and more advanced stitchers. You can find the pattern in my Etsy shop Lynlubell.  

Till next time, happy stitching!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Australian Cross Stitch for Easter

An egg cozy may seem like an unusual thing to embroider but with Easter coming up that's what I have been working on - egg cozies and place mats embroidered with Australian Cross Stitch.

If you are not familiar with Australian Cross Stitch, it is a simple form of embroidery worked on gingham - like the typical design on the pincushion below.

Australian Cross Stitch

The concept of using the squares of the gingham as guides to lay out evenly spaced stitches is similar to the more well known Chicken Scratch, but the end result looks rather different. I have written about some of these differences in a previous post and you can read about them by clicking here.

Chicken Scratch pincushion with simple design
The egg cozies and place mats are done and I plan to put everything together into a pattern. Drawing up the pattern has taken much longer than I thought it would but I am almost there. I am aiming at instructions detailed enough to enable a total beginner to tackle the project with ease. The pattern will be making it's way into my Etsy shop in the next few days.

On a personal note, I have started doing the set exercises to get my foot back into working order. Its going to take a bit of time but it certainly is nice to be able to put weight on my foot and to get all the joints moving again. I have also been able to return to Shine, the literacy programme where I volunteer to teach reading. Its good to be out and about again.

Till next time, enjoy your stitching!

Cape Town fires and heat wave

In Cape Town this week the news has been all about the dreadful fires and the heat wave - when temperatures reached a staggering, record breaking 43 degrees. 

We have experienced 5 days of absolutely devastating mountain fires. Its been one of the worst fires that I can remember. 

Constantiaberg and Tokai (Photo sent to News24 by James Puttick)
A number of friends have had to evacuate their homes in the middle of the night as fires raced down the mountains towards them in the strong winds. Thankfully they have now been able to return safely. Others were not so lucky and there has been some heartbreaking loss of property. 

Fires have raged through Muizenberg, Noordhoek, Tokai, Constantia and Hout Bay. The mountains are blackened and devastated and the fire fighters, scores specially flown in, continue to fight the fires. The weather has now cooled and there were a few light showers of rain yesterday and this together with the relentless water bombing by helicopters and planes and the work of the fire fighters on the ground has helped to bring the fires under control. 

It is very sad to see the mountains go up in flames. The only positive thing to say about such a disaster is that the natural fynbos vegetation requires a fire every 10 years or so for its long term survival and regeneration.