Monday 1 March 2021

2019 Needlecrafts Review

One last annual catch up post: We've made it to 2019!  I seem to have photos of all the finishes from this year, except one super chunky knit cardigan, which photographed very badly indeed.

The first one, above, was a wedding handbag I made for my bestie when she got married in June, just 6 days before our 20th wedding anniversary.  I designed the floral embroidery myself and painted the appliqued silk, all based on the floral design on her bridal gown, but in the colour of her afternoon dress.  The bag construction wasn't stellar, but it did the job and I was pleased to see her using it.

And now, after being in progress for around five years, we present:

The completed Paradise Island cross stitch!

I was really pleased with how it turned out, especially as I'd had to design quite a bit of the lower sky myself (it was designed on blue Aida, but I'd done it on black Jobelan instead).  It looks great in a gold frame with a white mount.

For the above mentioned 20th wedding anniversary, I made this card for Sir, which he was pleased with.  Each part was cut out and the fabric stiffened before being glued to the paper sky background.  It was something quite different for me to do, so it was enjoyable - even if the kite tails didn't quite behave as I'd hoped.
This last cross stitch piece for the year is one I'd been drooling over since I saw it sparkling in the lighting of a stand at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate a couple of years before.  I finally bought the kit and stitched it up.  I haven't framed it yet, but I'm thinking a small silver frame with bright white mount.  The fabric is actually a pale lilac.  It would have been the perfect match for the early February weather, no?

Part cross stitch, part hardanger and part other counted thread stitch work was this rose cushion.  This was a quick stitch and I'm pleased to say it took first prize in the cushion class at the 2019 Bingley Show.  It now lives in our bedroom.

The final stitchery piece for the year was the 'Hardanger With Bling' bellpull that now stands out nicely against the red of our living room feature wall.  This is only the top section as I don't seem to have any full photos to hand, but I will share some more later on.

If embroidery is your only interest, then this is where you exit as we now move on to knitting and no less than seven adult garment completions this year, although two were begun (including one almost finished) in 2018.  The five chunky jumpers are worked in my favourite King Cole Tweed Chunky, three of which were for friends.  It's virtually impossible to get actually warm woollens, so I take orders from close friends.

My first adult DK finish was the  lilac shoulder cable jumper for me.  I love this one and wear it a lot.  Some of it was a challenge to do, but I love that I learn something new with each garment.

The grey cardigan was worked in Brett's Chunky with Merino and, again, was for a friend.  Jenny had admired my black cardy I was making with the same yarn and kept stroking it, so I ran her one up in a colour I was sure she would like.  It made a nice surprise for her when we met in the summer.

The dark green here was one of the woolies for cold friends, as was the cream one below and the violet one near the top of this section.

That's all for the catch up posts.  The next annual needlecrafts review will be at the end of this year or the beginning of next.  Hope you've enjoyed seeing some of the things I've been busy making.  Some will be featured in their own right with more detail, so look out for some of those in Friday Finish and Sunday Yarn posts, as well as ongoing projects in Work in Progress Wednesdays.

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2021

Wednesday 24 February 2021

Work in Progress Wednesdays - 24 February 2021

Anyone who knows much about my embroidery work knows I love hardanger.  It's quite quick, it looks great and is deceptively simple to work.  So, when I saw this kit going on, I instantly fell for it and bought it with my anniversary money last summer.

At first I thought I'd make the square mat up as a dining table centre or something like that, but it really didn't feel right.  So, I decided to omit the edging and make it up as a scatter cushion cover for the sofa, even though it will work out as a rather larger one than I'm used to having.

Naturally, starting out with the white diamonds and the linking segments, then moving on to the coloured work in cross and back stitching.

Below is all the surface work completed.  As you may be able to see, I changed some of the colours in the cross stitch.  I didn't really like the blues in and around the flowers, so replaced them with pale yellow and a light yellow-lime.

Beginning with the cutting and removing of the threads.  I know a lot of stitchers find the very idea of this part quite unnerving, but I'm OK with it.  You just have to bear in mind the traditional carpenters' saying: 'Measure twice, cut once'.  In this case, count twice, cut once.  It really helps to avoid mistakes if you double check at every stage of a counted thread project - especially when it comes to things that would be hard to hide, like taking out one thread too many!  It's possible, but I don't recommend it. ;)

More on this one soon.

Again, just over four years since the last Work in Progress Wednesdays post!  I can't promise them weekly from hereon in, but it may be possible, even if I don't fancy doing a full blown multi-photo post, to do a brief one with one image from the Blogger app.  It's quite basic, but will allow for that nicely.

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2021

Monday 22 February 2021

2018 Needlecrafts Review

2018 saw one more embroidery finish tham 2017 with a grand total of six, but some of them were definitely  more labour intensive than those from the previous year.

I had two needlepainting finishes, again from the Trish Burr 'Beginners' book.  I changed the designs slightly in each case (the shape of one rose leaf spray and the purples of the pansies) and I was flattered that my husband told me that my shading skills had improved when he saw the leaves on the pansies.  Do you know, I think he may even be right.  Both pieces ended up in special cards.

Another special card was this window 'look through' one that was my own design for our 19th wedding anniversary.  She didn't have windows like this, but the garden was my idea of what mum's could be like when we'd finished renovating it.  Unlike a few of his cards to me, which contain photo collages of the previous year (and are great!), this one was meant to be a year forward.  Of course, the garden didn't develop to this point, but it was a fun project anyway.

I can't remember who got this card with the ribbon work in, but it was a kit from Crafty Ribbons.  It was quite hard work to stitch and I had to pad the backing in order to make it an even finish (the ribbons bunched up behind somewhat), but I thought it came out well.  I have a red one somewhere.  Poppies, I think....

This last project was these two lavender bags below - one for me, one for my mum.  To be honest, I have no idea where they are now.  Seriously, you can tell I've gone through the change in recent years as my previously flawless memory is annoyingly patchy!

Moving on to knitting, which is all adult garments this year, but still rather lacking some decent photos - or any at all of two projects.

Above is a Brett Marble Chunky cable knit I sized up from a girls' pattern and wear myself.  It's all acrylic, so it's good for mid-seasons rather than winter.

The one you see Sir modelling here is wool blend and this type of yarn has come to be a personal favourite.  It's King Cole's Tweed Chunky and it's 25 or 30% wool and is machine washable.  Both warm and easy care.

Both of the above ended up with sleeves slightly too short, but Sir doesn't mind as he says it's more jacket length and looks good with a shirt.  Later in the year I made him a matching scarf in double stocking stitch, which he gets good wear out of in the very cold weather.

I also did a new black cardigan for myself with simple, directional cables like the lemon baby one I did in 2017.  Again, the sleeves are too short, but it's very usable nonetheless.

This last piece was done for my late mother at her request.  During the last year or so of her life, she wore it as often as she could and loved it.  Medical visitors would often exclaim, "Oooh, I love your waistcoat!",  which was nice for me to hear.  As was her proudly explaining, "My daughter made it for me."  As you can see, it was made from oddments left over from the marble jumpers, and the edgings came from the purple jumper and black jacket that I mentioned in the 2017 review.

During this year I also ran up a couple of simple scatter cushion covers and finally hemmed a black/rose print raglan sleeved t-shirt I'd done most of at a sewing with knit fabrics workshop from the previous summer.  I'd put it off so long as I'm not good at sewing in a straight line, but I finally took myself in hand, but my double needle stuff in order, drew a line on the fabric as best I could and got on with it.  It waggled only once - right front and centre, where the dip actually looks like it could be part of the design!  

Look out for 2019 next Monday.

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2021

Sunday 21 February 2021

The Sunday Yarn - 21 February 2021

It's been two days over four years since my last Sunday yarn post - wow!  As knitting is something I'm doing regularly these days, and plan to get through a good amount of this year, I expect to have a fair few update posts on how projects are going.  If yarncrafts aren't your thing, please feel free to just skip this post.  I know not everyone is interested in knitting or making clothes in general.

Today I'd like to share the completion of a long knitting project.  This first photo I took of this jumper was date stamped 26 November 2019 and it was finally completed last month, in late January 2021.  I wasn't working on it all that time.  In fact, there was a long break between what you can see here and taking it back up in either late April or early May of 2020 after we'd moved and I'd completed all those chunky knits you may have seen in my 2020 Needlecrafts Review post.   There was another break late autumn when I had some pain in my shoulders.

Once I'd exercised that out so that I could knit comfortably again, I finished it up as soon as I reasonably can (when you consider I had 8 needlework projects on the go at one point!) and now it's in use.  I'm happy to say that Sir was wearing it this morning.

Knit in Wendy wool blend aran from a Hayfield Bonus Aran pattern downloaded from  When I got it, it was free, but later appeared for sale.  You may be able to still get hold of s free copy if you're interested in making one yourself.  The sizes go from child to men's, with a choice of V necked, round necked and collared versions.

I've already begun a soft mulberry pink, round necked one for me. :)  More on that in a future Sunday post.

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2021

Monday 15 February 2021

2017 Needlecrafts Review

Welcome to 2017!!

This is the year the Big Blog Break began in, so those of you who are kind enough to have taken an interest in my creations over the years will have seen some of these pieces in progress.  I don't expect you to remember any of them though, as I had a couple of surprises when I went back through my Instagram feed to see what had been finished during the year!

It was more of a knitting than a stitching year, but I'll present the 4 embroidery finishes first as that's what most visitors are most interested in, I think.  There were only four finishes, all of which ended up in cards, but at least they were all different styles.

First above is the violets thread painting from Trish Burr's 'Needlepainting Embroidery - Fresh Ideas for Beginners'.  I had some trouble with the bud on this one and put it on hold for a while (from 2016, if I remember correctly), but I cracked it in the end and it served well as a baptism card for a Chinese friend.

The green based hardanger piece I believe was a sympathy card, but I can't quite remember for whom....  Anyway, it was nice to work with this colour scheme instead of always on white.

This beaded, coloured blackwork style piece I confess to having copied from a picture I saw somewhere.  Pinterest, probably.  It was quite hard going, but it made a nice anniversary card for Sir.

This last one, a cross stitch 'Forever Friends' bear, was for friends' 10th wedding anniversary.

Onto knitting, which was much more prolific.  If you're not interested in yarn crafts, feel free to exit here. 

In 2017, I knitted no less than seven baby jackets from two in premature sizes for charity, to two 6-12 months sizes.  One had a matching hat and several of them had embroidered trims on them.

There were also three adult garments, but I don't seem able to find any decent photographs of them.  

The first completed one was for a cold friend and was a simple chunky, purple jumper with a basic double cable up the front.  Started before that one, but finished afterwards was a black chunky jacket/cardy for me.  Both were done with budget yarns, but seemed to come out OK,

The third was worked with James C  Brett's marble chunky, which hasn't photographed well so far.  I'll have to try again some time.

Last up is the bamboo cotton scarf that I made for myself, but which really isn't warm enough for winter use.  It's really only useful as a trim,  but it's a glorious colour. 

That's it for 2017.  

Catching up slowly!  Look out for 2018's review this time next week.

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2021

Tuesday 29 December 2020

Review of the stitching year 2020

Well, hello! Here I am, still alive and crawling out of an almost 30 month silence to present a mammoth needlework year review.  I may not have been blogging here, but my needles - of various types - have been busy just the same.

I managed to complete 27 things over this last year, but it's not quite as impressive as it sounds when you realise that 14 were fairly quick sewing tasks, such as finally finishing up 3 of those Lizzie*Kate 'Button Up!' seasonal cross stitch pieces as hangings which are changed with the natural season and hung on our coat rack (and are a lot bluer than they seem here):

The other 11 were 4 Bible covers:

4 quick cushion covers (not the white one, that comes later) - the black ones don't even have zips:

A padded, drawstring bag for my hubby to take his visualizer to work safely in:

And 2 pillowcase liners, which aren't shown here as they're on the pillows!

Knitting was productive too, with 4 adult garments done and 2 small girl's cardigans. 

I'm also half way through the last piece of an Aran jumper for Sir, but that'll obviously come in on next year's list.

Embroidery finishes were 5 cards, all for wedding anniversaries:

One picture that I'd started in Germany on World Embroidery Day 2019:

And, finally, one hardanger scatter cushion cover:

I'll try and get back in a few days to start sharing projects from mid 2017 to the end of 2019, so you can catch up with what I've been working on whilst my tech was sub-functional.  Afterwards, maybe I can get back to periodic updates on current projects as before. I can't promise prolific posting, as I'm really out of the habit now and building up a blog is no longer a priority as it used to be back up to 2015, but I'll try my best. :)

In the meantime, look me up on Instagram, which is much more up to date.  You can click on the link at the top left of the blog, or search @sew_in_love_stitch_art from your IG account, if you have one.

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2020