Tuesday, 29 December 2015

FAL 2016 Hosts!

There is big news for the 2016 Finish - A - Long!

For those of you who are new to the FAL, it is a place to find motivation and encouragement to complete those unfinished projects that are hanging about becoming UFOs. Every quarter you post a list of projects you hope to finish in the next three months, and then at the end of the quarter, you post a link (from your blog, Flickr or Instagram) of each successful finish from your original list. Each finish is an entry for wonderful prizes from our sponsors.

The FAL has grown and grown since Rhonda - now Rhonda's Ramblings - started it in 2012 in the USA. It moved to Canada in 2013 where Leanne - She Can Quilt - hosted it, then in 2014 it was off to Scotland in the UK where Katy - The Littlest Thistle - was in charge, and in 2015 it moved to New Zealand where Adrianne - On the Windy Side - has been doing the honours. And it really has become too big for just one blogger.

So the 2016 FAL is going global - a community of bloggers across the world will be jointly hosting the FAL. Our hosts will be:

There will be shared link-ups that you only need to join on one blog for your links to appear on all the hosting blogs. Otherwise, the FAL will remain mainly unchanged and we are hoping that everyone will join us.

Please link up your Q4 2015 finishes with Adrianne at On the Windy Side, from December 31, 2015 through to January 6, 2016.

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

And please plan to join the 2016 FAL. The Q1 link for your proposed list of finishes will open on January 7, 2016, on all of the new community hosts.

In the meantime, you can grab the 2016 FAL button and follow along with everyone in the hosting community. 
(This will take you to the 2016 FAL page on my blog - if you want it to take you to another host's blog then please alter the code!  I use http://www.mycoolrealm.com/sandbox/gbgen/)

FAL 2016

FAL 2016

For 2016, please use the hashtag #2016FAL on Instagram and other social media and follow the FAL IG account @finishalong.  (I'm not on Instagram but am on Twitter (@Archiewonderdog), feel free to tweet me!)  There's also a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/2016FinishALong.

Archie is also looking forward to being a host but what he's looking forward to even more is being able to eat his hedgehog!  The vets' receptionist gave him it as a Christmas present but he isn't supposed to eat anything other than his special food, so every few days I'm using secateurs (the only thing strong enough!) to cut off a little bit.  He's being very patient but after this photo was taken and the hedgehog was back in his hidey hole, Archie searched the downstairs of the house for him!  (He didn't find him...)

So far I've had two feet and a leg - when do I get to eat his head?!

Don't forget to link up your Q4 2015 FAL finishes with Adrianne between 31st December 2015 and 6th January 2016!

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

FAL Finish: Lace Wrap

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

One of the knitted items on my Q4 2015 FAL list was a lace wrap.  This is how it looked when I wrote the list:

Lace wrap

It's knitted using Sublime extra fine merino (2ply) and is a free pattern (find it here).  I'll be honest, it was really boring to knit and I ended up forcing myself to do at least one twelve row repeat each day before I was allowed to do any other (more interesting) knitting or sewing!

This is how it looked once it was off the needles but before blocking:

Off the needles!

Blocking it was also tedious - I've never blocked something that's supposed to be completely straight but has stocking stitch (and therefore curled) borders and it's not something I'm going to rush to do again.  I don't have a picture of it blocking but I ended up cobbling together a Heath Robinson-type affair with pins stuck in the carpet and crochet cotton.  Here it is after blocking:


The yarn is gorgeously soft and lovely to knit with - I'd use the yarn again, just not with this pattern!  Here's a closer photo of the lace pattern, not the most interesting pattern in the world, I think you'll agree!  However, the person I knitted it for is very happy with it and that's what matters!


This is likely to be my last post before Christmas so I hope you all have a happy, healthy and peaceful time.  I'd like to thank you for all the lovely comments you've left and support you've given me this year - I may not blog often (hoping to change that next year but I'll believe that when it happens!) but I do enjoy it and I hope you do too!

Archie also likes the perks of blogging: the biscuits!  (Note the difference in his co-operation level when biscuits are included in the photo-taking process!  If you're in any doubt, have a look at the photos of him in my last post, taken sans biscuits!!)

Come on, biscuit, come to me!  You know you want to...I can hear you calling my name!
You've just come in carrying a turkey and a ham, what do you mean 'None of it's for you!'?  Who are you trying to kid?

Thanks for popping in!!

P.S.  If you never seem to get a reply to your comments then it's highly likely you're a 'no reply' blogger - here is how to fix it.  In the meantime, I've started replying to NRB in the comments section, it's the best fix I can think of when I can't track down an email address.  Recent NRB commenters include Marie, RubySue, Kate Chiconi, and Jessie Aller.  If you'd like a reply from me then please include your email address (in a 'myname (at) provider (dot) whatever' if you prefer) and I'll get back to you!  Thanks!

Saturday, 12 December 2015

FAL Finish: Hardanger Pennants

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Back in July, I put this (very boring) photo on my FAL list (and again in October, on my Q4 2015 FAL list):

Secret project

That was all I could show as it was a surprise make for a friend, I couldn't even show the pattern, just in case she knew I had a blog (I don't think she does but...) and stumbled across the photo!  I've failed to take a photo of the pattern (by Emie Bishop) and have since given it back to (a different) friend but you can see it here (in case you fancy making your own).

After many (many!) hours of stitching, cutting and more stitching, I have finished this project!  I managed to take some progress photos but not many, I'm afraid!  Here's what I have:

I started by cutting the piece of (32 count) linen into four pieces and zigzagging round the edge of each piece (to stop fraying).  I then tacked in the vertical centre (don't think you can see it in the photos but it is there...in pale pink) and then stitched the kloster blocks on each piece, using perle 8 (#712):

Hardanger - a start

I then added the left-hand bouquet, the letter (both in two threads of stranded cotton) and the satin stitch frame:

Hardanger - L in progress

I did the same part on each piece, mainly so that I could get those bouquets out of the way!  As you can see in the photo, there are little bits of colour dotted all over so there was no nice rhythm to the stitching - a bit of light green here, a square of pink next to it, a square of pink thirty threads to the left and ten threads up, etc.  I knew that if I was going to stall anywhere, it would be on those bouquets so I decided to get them over and done with.   The letters and the satin stitch frame, in contrast, were lovely to do!

Next were the satin stitch hearts - these were supposed to be done in perle 8 but I wasn't buying a whole ball just for twelve small hearts so I used three strands of the stranded cotton used in the bouquets (in the same shade as the perle would have been) instead:
Hardanger - progress

Next was the other bouquet (almost the same as the left-hand one but not quite), the blanket stitch border, some pulled thread work and thread cutting (eek!):

Harganger - needle weaving next!

I've failed to get a photo of any of the pieces after the needle weaving (the bit in the middle of the kloster blocks, where all those threads are in the photo above) but after that it was time to cut them out along the edge of the blanket stitch border and create a pocket for the hanger (as well as the twisted cord from which they would hang).

And here's what I've been making:





Secret sewing - not so secret any more!
Excuse the not-very-elegant hanging arrangement!  I'm sure my friend will arrange it better on her Edwardian (and gorgeous!) mantelpiece!

And, because I believe the back of your work should be (almost) as nice as the front and certainly as neat, here are a couple of 'backside' photos:
N - back
 I love the hem stitch used to create the hanging pocket - such a great stitch and one I will use again!
NOEL - back

And a final photo of the front, just because I can!


I'm so pleased to have this finished in time for Christmas so my friend can hang it from her mantelpiece (I think she was going to anchor each of them with a glass paperweight, which I bet looks lovely) and (hopefully!) enjoy it.

Archie has taken to dodging the camera.  He looks straight at me until I lift the camera and then he turns away right at the last moment!  A couple of weeks ago I took several photos of the side of his head (and many, many blurry photos of him turning away!) and these were the best (I/he had a fellow dog walker in kinks!):

No, I won't look at the camera.
There's something far more interesting down there than you and that thing.
All right, then.  I'll look at the camera, but you needn't think I'm going to look cheerful as well.
Go on *sighs* you can have one good photo of me, but only one mind!
I said one.  Do you think I'm daft?  I can count, you know!  I demand an apology...and a biscuit.

I think I'm going to have to re-introduce biscuits into the photo-taking process!  Well, not proper biscuits, he's not allowed those any more.  The vet diagnosed him with colitis (on top of everything else!), so he's on special food and he's allowed that and only that.  Goodness knows how I'm going to break it to him that he won't be allowed those handmade cheese biscuits that Susan brings him...with a bit of his food pretending to be a biscuit/treat, perhaps?!

Thanks for popping in - I have more FAL finishes to share so I hope to be back soon(ish)!

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