Cross Stitch – Native Blankets

Typically, most of my cross stitch is done at continuing education seminars. I need something to do with my hands so I can pay attention to the speaker. Sometime in 2019 (before COVID), I started cross stitch on “my own time” in addition to keeping my hands occupied during seminars.

Ironically, during COVID when I attended continuing education seminars entirely virtually, I couldn’t manage cross stitch and attention to the online speaker at the same time – probably because I was at my desk, and my brain felt that it should be working (and/or paying attention to the seminars).

The three pieces in the photo below were all done over years of seminars. The patterns were purchased on a vacation to Nevada and Arizona, with a visit to the Grand Canyon as part of the trip. I picked these up at a “Trading Post” tourist store around the rim of the Canyon. I like the colors, the symmetry, and the patterns.

I was pleased to find the rustic frames at Barnwood USA, and happy with the quality and style of frames (I used another Barnwood USA frame in another cross-stitch piece found here.)

While I’m satisfied with the overall project, I have noticed that I need to improve my skills in framing cross-stitch. I know what I need to do – can you see the flaws in the project framing?

I purchased all three of the above projects as kits, but I’ve since found and purchased patterns (only) from the same publisher. I have several cross-stitch projects in the queue – we’ll see if I get to another “blanket” project.

The designs are all from Southwest Decoratives, and you can purchase both kits and patterns here: Southwest Decoratives.

Experimenting with Mosaic – ZINA

Trying some new things, and trying to use some of my stash. The colored yarn is left from an earlier sweater, Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted Yarn – Christmas at Downtown color, available from Jimmy Beans.

I like the pattern, and I think I like the way the yarn works up. There are some issues – the contrast of the colors is a little muddy, and – do you notice? – there is pooling of like color going up the sample. While this might be an interesting effect, it will last only as long as that small ball of leftover yarn lasts. When I add the next color, the pattern will be lost or obviously out of sync. I have an entire skein of the colored yarn, so I could unravel the sample and cast on the full skein. That might work.

The yarn is fairly lightweight and soft – I’m using a slightly larger needle, so there’s not a lot of body to the sample. This suggests that the scarf might not display the mosaic pattern well.

I’m also not sure about the obvious slip stitches on the right side of the piece. I’m not sure why you don’t see a similar extension of the slip stitches on the left side – it might have something to do with the color in that section.

I’m inclined to change directions and work toward a wrap (like the picture – but in a different color palette). For now, I’ll continue to work on the sample to get the rhythm of the mosaic pattern – it’s not difficult, but it does require my attention.

Casting On – Campfire Cozy

Requested by Daughter #2, who likes to wrap up in oversized, cozy wraps. She picked out the yarn (Wool of the Andes – Worsted) in Camel Heather, and the pattern, Campfire Cozy, published by Espace Tricot and available on Ravelry.

This worsted-weight shawl is an easy knit, though as it gets bigger, it become a little unwieldy to manage. Circular needles (with a long cord) are a MUST to manage this project. This project is suitable for a beginner, thought the lace pattern took a little to get used to. I’m in the very-long-block of garter stitch and ready to switch to the next stitch.

Cables & Crowns – Baby Afghan

I had been pondering a baby afghan for a friend’s new baby, but was stuck on the yarn (which should not be a difficult decision). I was going through my stash and ran across this nice Cascade Superwash 220 that was the perfect weight, and nice color, and I had enough quantity for the afghan. I originally purchased it for an afghan, but went in a completely different direction, and simply forgot about the yarn. Cascade Superwash 220 is a great yarn for worsted-weight project, including afghans.

Color is 1944, or Westpoint Blue Heather. Pattern is Sunny Cables and Crowns by Carole Prior from the Leisure Arts book “Our Best Knit Baby Afghans,” which is (surprisingly) available as a PDF download from Ravelry

I’ve used patterns in this book several times. The book is a good, solid, easy-to-navigate book with easy-to-knit patterns. This particular pattern was fairly easy to memorize with a 6-row repeat.

No WIP pictures – while it took longer to knit than I wanted (the baby was born in October – which is when I started the project (yes, I knew the baby was on the way, I just haven’t been very organized this year), and it’s now early December), but I think it worked up, nicely, and I hope the happy new parents like it.

Vernetzt Complete

I thought I was never going to get this one done. Technically, I had a little more yarn left in the colored skein, but I was out of black, so decided to end it. You can see – it’s plenty long for a scarf.

Double-knitting is enjoyable but can get tedious. This pattern was easy enough that I kept trying different techniques to hold the two colors of yarn to keep them separated (for me – the two yarns tend to wrap around themselves), but never felt smooth or comfortable with any of the techniques. I simply hold both skeins together in my “yarn hand,” and separate them with my fingers at the needle.

I was disappointed in the “Shawl in a Ball” color from Lion Brand. The color changes were not symmetrical or regular – for example, there is a lot of maroon in the scarf, but not much yellow and orange. The color is “Restful Rainbow,” so I expected a better representation of the colors. I’ve had good results from all the other colors (and I have used a LOT of the Shawl in a Ball skeins – it’s a fun yarn to use in new techniques and two-yarn projects). It almost seems that the skein started winding in the wrong spot at the factory.

Ugh – this is not intended to be a “downer” post. I’m pleased with the completed project, although I don’t think it suits my original intended recipient. It will go into my stash of completed projects, for now.

When I got to the end, I realized that I wasn’t sure how to bind off in double knitting, so I checked out some resources. Turns out, Kitchner is about the best way to invisibly bind off this kind of project.

You can learn more about the project (pattern and yarn resources) here: Adventures in Double Knitting – Vertnetzt.