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i think i just blew my own mind

Before knitting, I was a crocheter.  Ok, that’s kinda untrue…I DID learn to knit as a kid, but stopped probably as suddenly as I started.  I’ve always been crafty, though, and can draw, paint, etch, sculpt, sew(-ish),etc…  When I was in high school I used to charge $5 to redraw a photograph onto 9×11 paper, in pencil.  Call me Kinkos.  I only took up the needles again once Yannick and I started dating.

Well the sweater I tried knitting for Yannick for our first dating anniversary didn’t get past 4″, probably because I’d found old needles at home, random acrylic from Wal-Mart, and a pattern from a book at the library, and none of the 3 had anything even remotely to do with each other.  I instead taught myself to crochet, and his gift sweater led to toys, shawls, home accessories and more.  I found my way back to knitting thanks to the fun fur trend of 2004, when I made a hostess gift for a friend and had to knit it because trying to crochet in fluffy black boa (feather) yarn was rediculous when you couldn’t see a single stitch.

But before getting my heart spiked on a knitting needle and fueling the last 8 years of my life, and after the months-long crochet obsession ending in 2 giant sampler blankets, there was cross stitch.  I won’t get into my eBay spending, my binders of print-outs, or the time I filled the cash register tape at 120 items and had to start a new transaction when buying one of every color of Anchor floss.  Here are some of my proudest xstitch items:

This was an ornament I made for an ornament exchange.  The original pattern had an American flag inside, but my swap partner lived in Australia so I charted my own flag for her.

This is a little (4″ square) pillow I made of our cat Sam, using X-Stitch photo software to convert the pic to a pattern.  The back was just lined with a piece of flannel cut off an old shirt.

This is a little piece I made for Robyn when she moved into her first place.  (Not my design, it was from a cross stitch magazine I used to subscribe to).

My mom’s name is Betti, and everyone always buys her Betty Boop stuff.  This is a vest I’d made her back when she was still teaching.  There’s a product called “waste canvas” that is disolvable in water, so you baste it onto your fabric/shirt/etc, do your cross stitch, then wet it and remove the strands of waste canvas, and your cross stitch remains on the fabric below.  Here I’d bought the zippered vest and used the photo software to convert a picture I’d found online.

I used a fun, football-jersey-style font to create the “letterman’s jacket” writing on the back, with more waste canvas.

That same year we were getting together with Yannick’s family for Easter, and I made the hourglass picture for his grandmother as a “thank-you” for hosting all of us.  The original pattern (from the same cross stitch magazine I’d subscribed to) said something in English, like “time with the family is time that counts”, so I translated it to French since Yannick’s family is French-Canadian.  I really enjoyed doing the beading in this piece.

Finally, my most “epic” cross stitch HAS to be this one.  My dad isn’t sentimental, but he loves his family, and I always liked this pic of him, my sister and me.  (My mom and two brothers were in another photo).  I used the photo software to create a pattern using only black, white and shades of gray, and enlarged it to 9×11.  I stitched it on black Aida and framed it with a plaque reading “Daddy’s Girls” and a copy of the original photo on the back.  I love that from far away it looks like a real photograph and you can’t even tell it’s stitched, but I don’t see myself recreating a project like this any time soon, ‘cus it took 192 hours of stitching!  (Luckily I was home on sick-leave at the time, but still…)

Why am I bringing this up now?  Well a few days ago I was watching weaving videos on YouTube and saving them in a playlist (yes, I AM that kind of nerd), and a lightbulb struck when I saw a woman making floats for decorative Christmas trees, and checking her “pattern” she’d drawn with Xs on graph paper.

That was when I realized that weaving, unlike most knitting, is square.  (Assuming you’re using the same weight yarn in warp and weft, and your tension is even).  Maybe I should rephrase to say “plain weave” is pretty darn square.  And I suddenly realized that all those cross stitch patterns snoring away in my office could be put to use if I wanted to practice using a pickup stick and weave with floats on top to “draw” designs.

But today it wasn’t a lightbulb that went off, it was a whole fireworks display.

I don’t need to weave the pictures- I can weave my fabric, a scarf, a shawl, placemats, etc…and then CROSS STITCH on it!  Using my patterns and my floss stash…after all Aida and linen that you buy for cross stitching is nothing more than woven fabric at a certain number of threads to the inch.

Whoa.  Mind-numbing expansion of cross-crafting possibilities here.


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over the weekend and into the week

This post was originally just titled “over the weekend” but I got delayed in posting and now have an extra two days to catch up. I don’t know where the time goes but I can’t seem to get anything done!

On Saturday morning I awoke to hear Jakob crying in his sleep…sort of “fussing”. I know that sometimes he rolls around and winds up with his arm or legs hanging through the bars of his crib (I almost typed “cage” LOL), so I thought maybe he’d rolled around and gotten stuck. I went in to take a peek…

…he’d rolled onto his stomach! In his sleep he’d managed to roll onto his stomach then realized he didn’t know what to do once he got there, so he started to cry. I immediately rolled him back onto his back. He was still crying and I knew if I took him out of bed he’d want to be fed, so I went to the washroom first to wash my hands. I heard him fussing again and when I came back he’d rolled back onto his stomach! I called for Yannick to come, and to bring the video camera. Thank gd he didn’t question why- it was around 5:00am! I rolled Jakob back over and as we watched he promptly rolled right back onto his stomach. We managed to catch it on video. Unfortunately Jakob still didn’t know what to do on his stomach and began to cry in earnest so I took him out to feed him.

I spent the morning with him at a brunch and old friend threw as a sort of “reunion” for lost friends. Over the years we’ve all drifted apart so she set up a little group on Facebook and invited everyone from her friends list who lived in Montreal. I didn’t know most of the people but I hadn’t seen that friend in a long time so I went. Jakob was such an angel- he slept the entire time! He was so good that I was able to take him to the knit-out in the park that was also scheduled for the same day. It was a bit disappointing because only 3 other people were there. I’d gone at the very end, just for a half hour, but they were the only ones who had shown up all day. Then Jakob and I went to FutureShop to pick up my repaired Palm. I was very bitter because Palms aren’t supposed to be repaired, they get replaced and I’d received MY original unit back (I’d marked it).

Finally Jakob and I wound up at my parents’ house where Yannick was doing some brick work for them. Julie came over to see us then my parents took us to Jade Palace for some Chinese buffet for supper. Yum! Once again Jakob was behaving himself like a perfect little guy and slept the entire time.

When we got home I was worried about how to put him down to sleep. We had been swaddling him but I was afraid that if he rolled onto his stomach he might find a way to get the loose fabric into his mouth. I remembered that I’d bought a sleeping blanket that time we were at Fairview, so I took it out to try it.

It’s like a soft flannel sleeping back with shoulder straps.
I knew Jakob would be a bit fussy because he liked to rub the blanket against his cheek, but safety is the priority so we’re trying out the sleeping blanket now. I will still swaddle him during the day when I’m able to check on him, but not for over night.

Sunday was spent running around doing errands. First we went to Walmart for a few things and to have lunch at McDonald’s. Then we went to a really cool gift store in Pointe-Claire. Yannick had bought me a charm for my bracelet to commemorate our son’s birth, but I was afraid the little emerald birthstone might fall out, so I wanted to find out about their warranty. When we left there we went right back to FutureShop since my Palm had died again over night. I complained and said it wasn’t easy for me to run around with a newborn, and they were really nice and exchanged it for me right away. My Tungsten T5 wasn’t available any longer so they switched it for a Palm TX which came with a cool wireless keyboard and built-in wifi. Finally we went to Fairview because Yannick needed some socks and running shoes, so we went to see my brother Mike at Sports Experts.

Sunday night we went to Yannick’s sister’s house for cake and coffee for William’s birthday (last week) and Alex’s birthday (at the end of the month).

We dressed Jakob in this cute little outfit. It had a special meaning- it was part of Brigitte’s gift to us at my baby shower.
That night I heard Jakob fussing again and finally went in around 6:00am Monday morning. The little stinker was folding himself in half again but was too tired to roll all the way onto his stomach so he’d make it to his side then pass out. The little cutie. 🙂

Yannick’s parents had to move his grandmother into a new residence and in the process were helping her empty her old place. They came across this framed cross stitch:

This was my first ever attempt at cross stitch. Back in 2003 I was trying to find a gift idea for Yannick’s grandmother for Easter since all the cousins brought her gifts but everyone usually brought alcohol. I wanted to be different and found this in a magazine. I loved the image and had Yannick’s mom help me change the quote into something in French. I bought all the supplies, did the stitching and beading and had it framed for her just in time for Easter. Now that she’s not as well they gave it back to me so we could keep it.

Later on Monday Yannick and I took Jakob back to the Shriner’s Hospital. Good news- there is nothing wrong with his hip (last time it looked under developed) and he’s just fine. Yay!

Today my mom and I both went to have our hair done so one could watch Jakob while the other was occupied. He was such a little cutie and flirted with all the girls there. We brought him to surprise my dad at work too, then went to Loblaws for some dinner groceries. The little guy woke up when we got there and didn’t stop talking out loud the entire time. After dinner with my mom and Yannick, we came home and I had just enough time to feed him before he passed out. I’m going to follow his example now, since we have another busy day tomorrow.