Friday, December 26, 2014

catching up....

I always take this time of year to catch up....finishing up some projects, starting some that have waited in the wings, new techniques I haven't had a chance to learn and some organizing. This doll pattern was brought to my attention months ago and I've wanted to try it. I'm using the Lion Brand bonbon cotton yarn that I have left over from some other project and I'm making a few changes to the design. The doll is not meant to be stuffed but I'm going to stuff it for a more substantial doll. It's almost finished. Still missing one leg and a little ruffled skirt and the hat. The pattern is on Ravelry.

click on the images...

a doll for a little girl

I talked about Tambour Stitching last time. I have been practicing every day for almost two weeks and I think I've finally mastered the chain stitch. It's the only stitch needed in tambour stitching but not one that's easy to master with the tambour hook.

the chain stitch on netting using the tambour hook

It was a matter of experimenting with different threads, different fabrics, and learning when to release tension on the hook and how to pull it through the fabric. The instructor (online class) says to use organza but i didn't have much luck with the organza.....lots of big holes and constantly snagging the fabric with the edge of the hook. Mary Corbet's video was a tremendous help. You can see it here. I'll go back to the organza once I've had more experience but the netting is actually what I prefer to make some pretty lace. I'm now ready to try the next step which is making the chain stitch while picking up a bead or sequin that will be pre-strung on the thread.

....and yes, I have made some progress on the Downton Abbey coat. The front and back have been blocked. It took a couple of days for the pieces to dry. Still have to block the sleeves and the collar and there is some more knitting to be done to join the shoulders to the back. I have to re-read those instructions.


 If you celebrate the holidays, hope it was fun and festive. The weather has been mild here except for yesterday morning. We went from 27 degrees F in the morning to 65F by afternoon. We are expecting some cold days this weekend, but our winters are very mild here so it probably will not last long. Stay warm and cozy and see you next time.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

little things....

I've always loved things in miniature. I played, a bit, with the bow-tie block I showed you last week. It is HERE, if you missed it.....way down at the bottom of that post. I have a small stack of 3" squares so I started playing and the bow-tie block turns out to be 2" square. I love the way it looks and I think it would make a sweet little a new project has been started.

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2" bow-tie blocks

Another inspiration when I saw these napkin ring pincushions HERE. She used napkin rings but I used some small wooden rings I had and made them in miniature. I cut circles from some vintage linens. I just noticed that she gives the instructions of how to make them in the comments so if you're inspired to try it, the instructions are easy to follow. Mine turned out 2" in length and they are perfect for working projects on the go.

2" long pin cushion

I added a bell on each one just for fun.

During this slow time of year....for me....when everyone is busy with holiday fixings and classes are canceled until the new year, I try to fit in the things that I've been wanting to do for a while. I signed up for a class, a few months ago, at to learn Tambour Beading. I love the classes where the videos and instructions are available forever so I can do the lessons whenever I have the time. My hoop is set up right in front of my computer and I'm ready to begin. Hopefully, I'll be able to show you some progress next time. Here's a short little video showing what beautiful work can be created with this technique. It is an excerpt from the movie Sequins which, i believe, came out in 2004.

ready to begin learning

The Downton Abbey coat is ready to be blocked and stitched together. The pieces are large so I will have to be blocking them one at a time for lack of space.... it will take a while but the end is near.

The weather has been just a bit wet but mild so not bad at all. Winter hasn't hit us yet. Hope you all enjoy your holiday fixings and gatherings.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

making paper stencils....

I never did finish the scrollwork on that collar for the Downton Abbey coat in one day. It took several. Just printing the pattern and making it into stencils took hours....and then i basted through the stencil onto the knitting. Working on the cuffs this weekend.

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paper stencils...don't know if i'll ever use them again but after all that work, i'm not throwing them away.

scrollwork on the collar is completed

basted the design on the cuff....ready for the scrollwork.
The scrollwork is done with a crochet hook and a slip stitch. you pull the yarn up from the backside while doing the slip stitch on the right side so it's a bit tricky.

I decided to make a triangular shawl to match with the leftover yarn. I had ordered one extra skein....just in case something went terribly wrong.

triangular shawl pattern....easy

started the shawl

I found the shawl pattern HERE just in case you are inspired to make one.

....and since this has all been about knitting, I thought I'd share a fun block to make if you are a quilter or a stitcher or just want to try something different..... A quilting friend shared the instructions for making a bow tie block from one piece of fabric just by folding and a bit of stitching. It was fun to do and I found a you-tube video that takes you through it step by step. The video is HERE.

you can do some embroidery or applique in the spaces to accentuate the bow tie if you don't like the solid color. i like the texture it creates.

Have a fun week whatever it is you are doing.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

I've gone over the deep end.....

don't really know how this happened but once I got started, I just had to continue until it was 'finished'... I started out with a print of an optical illusion and it took off from there... the finished piece measures 9"x12".

click on the images...

I cut out a triangle...added a zipper, some bullion knots, french knots and some snippet cloth in the background.

cut out sections and backed with cloth and embroidery

more french knots all around to enhance the circular motion. bordered with a silver shiny fabric and some gimp.

a fun experiment with paper and stitch
This was the final piece created in Karen Ruane's class....Doodle, gather, much fun.

....and now I must finish my Downton Abbey coat. All the pieces are complete and I steam blocked the collar so I could do the scrollwork but it will need to be wet blocked when that's completed.

collar steam's huge as the front of the coat is a deep v-neck.

scroll work completed on one side. determined to finish the collar today.

....and there's a new 'toy' to play with. I've been thinking of buying one of these kick spindles and one of my lace friends was selling hers. I tried it out and I love it. It's much easier to use than my drop spindle so hopefully I'll be spinning a bit more in the days to come.

Little Meggie kick spindle
Here's a link to the Woolery website where there's a video showing how it works for those of you HERE

Stay warm and have a good week.

Friday, November 21, 2014

it's a wild one....

I had some bulky yarn that I had found at a thrift store quite a while ago. I really wanted to do something with it so I decided to knit another one of those Multi-directional scarves. I knew it would be kind of wild considering the colors I had.....but I do love it. I added some crocheted flowers on one end. It's very warm and cozy. This one is for me.

click on the images...


and After....

wishing for a cold day so I can wear it...

Karen Ruane's Doodle class continues to be lots of fun. Wish you could see what inspiring work is being done there but I can show you my work...

beginning second piece

acrylic paper, hand dyed fabric, shell beads, hand dyed perle cotton, stencil, ink pen

I've started a third paper project. Will show you that next time.
Hope all of you who are having snow and extremely cold weather are staying safe and warm.
See you next time.

Friday, November 14, 2014

mostly about paper this week....

Having so much fun in Karen Ruane's class that started this week, Doodle, gather, create. It's not too late to sign up. Great instructional videos that you have access to forever and a wonderful group of students who share and inspire each other on a dedicated Flickr group.Read about the class HERE. Here are some pictures of what I've created so far...

click on the images...

started out with some pen and ink doodling over a pattern printed on paper from fabric

building on the base with another layer

another layer with fabric and embroidery stitched onto mulberry paper

adding more pen and ink and embroidery

getting a peek through the openings to the different layers below

I didn't want this piece that you've seen before to be forgotten so I did some planning for the next section...a sun setting over a bridge.

hope to do some embroidery on this piece tonight

I did try painting with those huge brushes I showed you last week but the onion dye bath was not strong enough to give any color. I will have to buy some proper ink.

I read a very interesting book that I'd like to recommend. It has recently been made into a Broadway play and gives great insight into the mind of a special needs child.....The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. You can read about it HERE.

We had our first freeze last night and the temperature went down to 25 degrees (F). It will warm back up in a few days but it looks like winter is here.

Wishing you all a great weekend and a productive week.

Friday, November 7, 2014

stars and pockets and phases of the moon...

I've made some progress on the crazy hanky patchwork block. There is now an area with stars and phases of the moon created by coloring in parts of the circles with a black inktense pencil.

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phases of the moon

the stars are out and the grass has grown

There is a little pocket created by an open edge of  an embroidered cloth bit and i decided to hide a couple of stars inside. A friend reminded me of the song from long ago....CATCH A FALLING STAR....and it follows with...AND PUT IT IN YOUR POCKET.  so appropriate here and I used to sing that song all the time. I know I'm dating myself here. A wonderful's HERE.

created 2 stars with sparkly beads all along the edge

Hope to finally use these brushes this week using a left over onion skin dye bath. I figure if I tell you about it here, it will force me to do it. I've been wanting to for a long time.

hand made in Asia for Chinese Calligraphy

...and this is on the way to the birthday girl. I do love it and may have to make one for myself.

made with Noro Silk Garden Lite yarn

Have a great weekend.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

the first cold morning....

It was 48 degrees (F) this morning and i couldn't resist....i turned up the heat just to take the chill out of the air....and to make sure it is in working order. The cold front came in right after Halloween which was celebrated here in the US last night. I'm not much of a holiday person but I heard this one thing that I'd thought I'd share with you....
....a little girl was asked what she was going to dress up as for Halloween. she said, "I'm going to dress up as a lion that looks like a giraffe."  isn't that wonderful. what an imagination.

I finished up that Noro scarf I showed you last week and am now trying to finish up the Downton Abbey coat since it will soon be cold enough to wear it. I'm working on the last piece which is the collar and then I can start putting it all together. I can't wait to finish so I can start on some other knitting projects that are waiting in the wings...

click on the images....

the collar for the Downton Abbey coat

I did a bit more stitching on the crazy hanky patchwork piece that will become a pillow. I cut out some circles from a  linen embroidered doily but didn't want to waste the scrap left so I did some free motion stitching in the spaces and will add some stitching embellishment so it can be used on the back of the pillow.

the left over of a linen doily

added scrim and hanky scraps with free motion embroidery

a flower garden created on one corner of the crazy hanky patch

....and finally, I've decided to create a dress out of this top I've had for years but hardly ever wear. I removed the bottom ruffle of a black and white skirt that I do not wear and will add it to the top and it will be the perfect length for an easy slip on dress. The symbol on the dress is for the word OM which is used in meditation to create a vibrational frequency of harmony in the body. You can read about that here.

the top with the OM symbol

ruffle taken off of the bottom of a skirt.

Hope you all have a great week.

Friday, October 24, 2014

trying to give each project a bit of my time....

I started a new scarf this week that will be a gift. Just love using Noro yarn. This is the Noro Silk Garden Lite, color 2090. The pattern is the Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf found for free on Ravelry. It can be made any width or length you choose and is quite easy to accomplish.

click on the images...

Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf

The shawl I showed you last week now has a crocheted edge and has been blocked. I steam blocked it and it was quick and easy. I used one of those fold out cardboard cutting boards. I covered it with a large bath towel and pinned the scarf down, one half at a time, and just hovered the steam iron over it. I let it sit for an hour or so before removing the pins and then did the same to the other half. It measures 18" x 72".

blocking the scarf one half at a time

crocheted edge...measures 18" x 72"

I decided to put together the scraps left over from the hanky stitching into a crazy patchwork block. There will be lots of seams to embellish and there are large sections for some embroidery. The block measures 12½" and I'm thinking this might become a 14" pillow by adding a border.

hanky scraps formed into a crazy patch block

started embellishing with a flower inspired by Karen Ruane

I still struggle with learning bobbin lace. It's the only craft I have not been able to master I have repeated this pattern several times in different colors and learn something new each time. It will probably become the edge of a small pouch.

bobbin lace edging. measures 9" x 1.25"

The weather has been so pleasant the past couple of mornings in the 50s and 60s and warm afternoons in the 70s and 80s. It's delightful to be outdoors.

No matter what you believe, I hope you will go out to vote if it is that time of year in your part of the world. A nice reminder here.
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