Friday, December 23, 2011

Its Beginning to Smell a lot like Christmas...

Truly, nothing says Christmas for me more than the smell of cookies. Candy Canes-
 
Grand Marnier-
 
Spritz-
 Its just all delicious!

Here's wishing you all the best of holidays and a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 19, 2011

White Winter

I've been hoping for it, but all we've had thusfar is a dusting of snow and some frost. But I did finish this earlier this year-

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Knitting and Stitching Show

The yearly K&S Show was on a few weeks ago and I went as usual. It wasn't as big as usual, I thought, but it still was fun and goodies were bought.

I had been looking for threads to match my blanket project, but sadly they were not to be found.
I did get a beautiful Liberty cotton as a backing for the blanket though.
Coleshill were back, and I bought a new, big frame for a project I've been thinking of ( inconveniently, right before I realised the Millenium frame existed).

Monday, November 7, 2011

Scissor Nazi

Ok, yes, I may be somewhat protective of my scissors, but I'm not sure I'm quite to Third Reich levels just yet.

Upon moving in with my other half, I proceeded to warn him not to use my good scissors for anything that wasn't fabric. I explained my very simple method of him determining what were good scissors or not. Did it have a ribbon on it? Then it's good scissors. But when you're in a tiny apartment and you have more good scissors than not, I guess some people still get confused, especially if they can't find the non-good ones at a moments notice and all the good ones are just lying around waiting, begging to be used.

Cue several years of "May I?" "NO!" This was eventually mostly solved buy the purchase of multiple pairs of scissors with plastic handles from IKEA for a song. Plastic = boy toys. Ribbons = girl stuff.

I love my sewing scissors. I picked them up while working with the Santa Fe Opera making costumes. Gingher really does make quality stuff. They've held their edge beautifully over the years and even just the feel of them in your hand, the weight of the proper metal throughout makes me happier. I've got three, really, that I keep exclusively for sewing.
I have these which I use for just about anything. Fabric, Velcro, multiple layers of stuff- they just work.
 

These big guys are an absolute joy to cut fabric with. If you're a rotary person and never tried cutting with big luxurious scissors, these will make you reconsider. They glide like a knife through butter, and the weight in them actually helps keep straight line.

But these are my favorites. They're Tailor Tips. I know many folks have beautiful fancy little snips for threads, often ornate things that are ever so cute. But I LOVE my tips. They're tight so you get that lovely snick sound when they cut. They still have some weight to them which feels lovely in my palm. They've never let me down, and they hang really easily around my neck on their ribbon.

I once got to an airport and the scanner found I had scissors in my bag. Much to my horror, I'd forgotten to take my tailor tips out. Unable to bear parting with them, I rented a locker for two weeks just to hold the scissors until I got back rather than have them be destroyed! Yes, I may be a little too attached. But they really are fabulous.

Having the right scissors can make all the difference in the world with what you're doing. I can hardly imagine cutting fabrics without my big shears anymore. And with better cuts means easier lines to follow which means beautiful projects.

I may have my other half over-trained now though. Today's incident involved the cutting of ribbons. He wanted to use some as bookmarks and I said go ahead and "you can even use the good scissors". But he still slunk over to the drawer and produced his plastic handled scissors to cut the ribbons. As I watched him put uneven cuts across the ribbons because the crappy scissors wouldn't cut all the way through, I thought maybe I've done him a disservice.

So I think I'll go get our crappy scissors sharpened.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

)(&$Y*J£)(*^(*&Y!!!!

(Yes, my inner voice was terribly censor-worthy)

I ordered extra tapestry wool for my blanket, because I don't have enough. I ordered more of the blue border thread, the purple-y flower colour, white and the light pink. Well, they may be the same numbers as what I ordered, but they are definitely NOT the same colours.




Ok, you may not be able to see it well in the photo, but the puffy ones (the new one) are definitely not the same! The white is too creamy, the blue is too blue-greeny and the purple is just a hint off. I swear I can see it!


Back to square one...
=(

Monday, October 31, 2011

JumpTech Costume

So this past Saturday, I attended Gaelcon to play in a LARP called JumpTech. I've been doing JumpTech for 2 years now, and it started out as me kinda being a NPC/PC and it became a proper PC role. I've enjoyed it quite a bit. My character was (for most of the time) the only one of her race in the game- the aquatic Tarn. I was given a brief of what the writer wanted and he very kindly let me loose.

Well, this was the last time I'll play this character and I'm a bit saddened (and relieved) by it, but the costume was, I think worth showing off and documenting for time immemorial.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cut Nerves

So hardanger is not for the faint of heart I've decided. It was bad enough cutting threads out from the central part of the design I've been working on, but when I got to the outsides? Whoo boy.

The outside edges of this had more of my favorite- needlewoven bars. It was going great! But cutting the threads? URGH!! Nightmare.
Eventually, my normal lunacy broke in and I counted wrong, and well. Let's just say that its ending a couple of layers short >.<

At least it still looks fine, but there's a wonky bit or two where I literally had to keep some threads together that very much wanted to be apart forever.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Reboot

Yes, I admit it. I have been failing with blogging of late. My excuses are many, my reasons sound, but irrelevant. So I'm starting again fresh. No guilt!

I thought I'd start by taking stock of my projects that are on the go. And from there, we'll see how things go...

Gir
This was supposed to be a quick and easy project just to get me back into stitching. I still like the plan, but shockingly it hasn't been worked on in ages. 


There's actually more done on it than this, but I don't like what's done. Probably going to rip out what's there and start anew.

My Quilt!
My beautiful scrappy rainbow. I love these fabrics soooo much.

But I just can't quite figure out how to border it. I bought a couple of options for borders, but when I put them down next to it, it just doesn't "fit" yet.

Wool Embroidery
This is my next plan actually. Its getting cold outside, and the idea of sitting under a nice toasty wool blanket is quite appealing.
But, before I can make any serious progress, I'm going to have to get more thread =(

I'll have to see what I can find, although I'm flying away at the weekend, so I may see if I can find anything there! It should be a nice quick vacation for someone who has been WAY too busy of late!

Oh! You might notice that something ISN'T on this list... More updates will follow on that!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Upgrades

Minor tweaks to the site.

Added better commenting system. If you got told there was a comment waiting for you, its probably something you've already seen and I was just messing around mostly!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Crafty Weight Loss... or Not

So I've been very uninspired to do anything the last week. And as a consequence I've put on part of what I'd lost.

So here's the thing. When I craft, my hands are full. When I'm not crafting, my hands need something to do and out of sheer boredom, I will eat if there's something available, which there usually is once you've moved out of Mom & Dad's and have a full time job. So you eat to cure the boredom, or even to keep your fingers happy.

At least I do. So really, I should, in my attempt to lose weight, be throwing myself full force into craft-mode with the hopes that my desire to not get anything on or in my project will win out against my willpower and the bag of crisps. But I have these allergies, ya see. (What are you allergic to? Why everything, dear reader!) They make it difficult to want to do anything and sometimes even to DO anything- like breathe.

But I've decided that these allergies shall not best me anymore. I shall procrastinate the snacking until something gets done instead of vice versa. And then maybe I'll stop feeling so crappy (although not without prescription antihistamines apparently).

Maybe I should make a handkerchief...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Quilting Guilds

So the saturday before the fire, (isn't it odd how things get stuck in a timeline in relation to something else sometimes?) I did a brave thing. I went to a quilt guild meeting.

Now, you have to understand. I've never gone to a quilt guild meeting before in my life. I have been warned of these things and the crazies who stalk them by my role model, The Bitchy Stitcher. I thoroughly expected to be jumped upon by A) the Quilting Police B) Some old bat who would take me under her wing and not let me do anything on my own forever and/or C) be about 10-20 years younger than anyone else, sitting playing on my iPad wondering how long I have to wait before it would be impolite to just look at the stock that Fabric Matters brought along and leave without looking like so much of a schmuck that if I needed to come back that I couldn't.

Because really, that was the only reason I went.

And... I was a chicken. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Generation Q

BWS tips button

Generation Q is a new online magazine done by the brilliant minds behind Quilter's Home and my very favorite Bitchy Stitcher.  Its all about quilting for the "modern" and "contemporary" quilts and quiltists.



So far, I'm quite enjoying it. They've discussed what such terms mean, given us plenty of humour and on top of that, some truly excellent recipes like the one for this green chili cheese quiche.
Ok, yes, they gave me a quiche recipe that involved green chili and therefore have my undying love, but seriously, they're good! Check them out if you get the chance.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Wool Embroidery Classes

You may have noticed I talk a lot about the Inspirations magazine by Country Bumpkin. I like it. A lot. They have quality projects and great discussions about a wide variety of embroidery stuff. Their fluff I can often take or leave, but when it comes to the actual embroidery stuff, they're top notch.

About 2 months ago an email arrived saying that one of their lovely embroiderers was going to be in Ireland giving lessons. I ignored it, until a few weeks ago when I realized that I already had the time off and that to hell with it, whatever the cost I could afford the once off treat of getting taught by someone who knew what they were talking about and who I actually knew existed. I can't think of anyone else I'd rather take a class from besides Trish Burr.

Anyway, I chose to just do the wool embroidery classes, which involved the blanket Ode to Winter from their Inspirations magazine. It was my first attempt at wool embroidery, and you know what? I think I like it.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Fabric That Seduced Me

The weekend before the fire, I went out looking for stuff for various projects. I found nothing that I was looking for. But I did find this fabric.

It seduced me. It really did. It screamed at me that I had to take it home. And I resisted it- until my other half decided he wanted to head into town himself, and did I want to come, and yes, yes he was going to a store right next to the fabric shop... He totally didn't know what he was getting in for.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Burnt

Sometimes, Smokey is wrong. From the way it seems right now, I don't think anyone really could have prevented this. Mother Nature had the place too damn dry. And there are reports of other minor fires being started in ways that sound like bad comedy like squirrels electrocuting themselves. The fire is now over 110,000 acres and still spreading. My heart goes out to the Santa Clara Pueblo and everyone else affected by this. Its heartbreaking.

So here's the thing. Yes, my family is safe right now. Yes, it looks like my house and all our belongings are going to be safe from the Las Conchas fire. But no, everything is not ok. It really, really isn't.

Its hard to describe what happens to you when you're affected by a forest fire of this kind of magnitude. I have the unfortunate luck to have had this happen to me twice. Several years ago and probably 2 harddrive deaths ago, I started a piece on this. I likened the effects of the Cerro Grande fire to having my soul ripped out. No, I don't really think that's all that much of an exaggeration.

This time started for me with a phone call. "If we have to evacuate, what do you want from the house?" Its easier to say that now, having not lived there for 10 years. The quilt my mother made for my bed that I grew up sleeping under, the family photos, and my first teddy bear are all that's left that is truly special to me that I own personally as opposed to my folks. It wasn't like that for me in 2000 though. I remember the moment I got off the phone with my mother who'd tearfully told me it had burned through Western Area and that it was likely we didn't own a home anymore. I looked around my 8'x10' dorm room and realized I didn't own anything that wasn't in that room, which was only what would fit into 1 suitcase for the plane plus my computer. This year I'm more worried about their things. Tuesday, I bought a kit to make a Christmas ornament thinking "this may be the only ornament they have this year" and crying deeply inside knowing how much my mother's lifelong collection of Christmas stuff meant to her.

But its not really about the possessions at all. People keep saying to me "at least everyone is safe and alive and the rest is just possessions." They don't understand. They don't understand this at all. I have shocked myself with how well I can tell people facts and numbers and explain where the fire is and how its moving and behaving. But to try to explain what this all means to me? That's when I can't help but break down.

"Home" is more than just a house for me. I spent at least as much time growing up in the forests and canyons that are on fire now, as I did anywhere else. I didn't play at friends houses nearly as much as I ran around in the forest. I could tell you exactly how to find the faerie rings in the canyons nearby. I knew the scarred tree for the turn off to the Cave of the Winds by smell. I could move silently over the pine needles and had probably built up a tolerance to whatever bugs and bacteria grew in the streams.

The Cerro Grande fire destroyed much of that. Most of my memories, of the landmarks, the smells, the animal homes- all gone. But it knocked me sideways more than you might imagine. My mother has kept me up to date with the gossip over the years, talking about those who grew up there and had to move away after the fire. She may as well have been talking about me.

When this fire started, and the Friends of LA Facebook page was set up, it was suggested we put up photos of our home in silent support. I couldn't find a picture. 11 years on, and I can't find a single picture that I have taken that is looking back at the mountains except from quite a distance. I have plenty looking east and away, but looking at what the fire did? No, not so much. This is the only one I could find post-fire and its awfully far away.

When the Cerro Grande occurred, I was in Ireland. I chose not to go back to Los Alamos that summer for the first time in my life. Previously, I couldn't wait to go back home. I couldn't wait to see my forests, my ice rink, my trees. But after the fire, I just couldn't bear the sight of the bare mountains. I remember my mother deciding to take me on a "tour" of what the fire had done at the Thanksgiving or Christmas break- going through all the areas that houses had burned. The blackened sticks that had once been trees stood amongst the snow in silent reproach and I remember panicking, desperately trying to get her to give it up and just go home and sitting there crying and crying and crying.

I haven't been able to hike the trails since. I remember trying once to head up to the Cave of the Winds- my favorite hike growing up and reaching a horribly burnt area and just freaking out. I couldn't go any further. I couldn't handle the wide open space where once it had been full of ponderosa trees. I haven't gone home all that regularly either. Maybe once every 2 years. And when I do, I'll spend time in the back yard, looking out towards the Sangre de Cristos, but I spend almost no time in "my" bedroom, which looks out towards the Jemez and when I do go out, its never to just go walk in the woods.

What you can't understand if you haven't lived through it, is how fundamentally changed a place can be by a forest fire. To give you some scale here's a picture shot by LANL on a flyby of the recent fire lines.
I live in the area marked Western Area. Above it, and above the line of the rest of the town, you can see the burn scar from where the Cerro Grande fire went. Its all the brown. All of that used to be forested and wooded and absolutely gorgeous- similar to what you see under the LANL EOC sign. Now, its not. And that creates problems of its own. When the rains DO happen, after fires like this, there's always the worry about flooding and erosion as there is nothing to stop the water from coursing over the land.

After this, that burn scar is going to be over the entire mountain top. Already, it was horrible looking at the mountains. Instead of beautiful trees that took hundreds of years to grow, the skyline will show sticks. Blake Wood who stayed in LA during this current fire has posted some beautiful but horrifying images like this one-
This is what I mean by its not the same. That's the LA Hill. It got hit by the Cerro Grande fire. It used to be heavily forested, with only the signs area open. Look at it closely and you can see the sticks pointing skywards on it and the hill behind it. And then realize that you can't even see the peaks that normally are behind it because of the smoke and that's not the sun in the background, its fire. And if you want to see more, a helicopter pilot shot this video. (warning if you're from the area you'll want tissues)

Monday and Tuesday of this week I had to come to grips with the fact that the forest, my beautiful forest was burning again. I spent most of those days in tears grieving for things that I can hardly put into words. All those places with memories attached, gone. All the joy I had in those forests, the smell of the pine, the freshness of the breeze. The quiet that could always make me feel better (you just don't get that quality in the city). The never ending astonishment of the wildlife from deer to squirrels to horny toads and even the damn coyotes. And then in work on Wednesday the same thing over and over "the rest is just possessions."

No, its not. If it was just possessions I wouldn't feel like I had been punched in the gut. I wouldn't break out into uncontrollable sobs. I wouldn't have eyes so tired from crying that everyone comments on them. I wouldn't have panic attacks and lose my breath as I try to get it under control. I wouldn't be literally grieving already, even knowing that our house was still standing.

And the oddest things set me off. A patient comes in smelling like smoke, even cigarette smoke, and I have to fight the tear ducts. The comfort songs you listen to that you knew growing up don't provide solace because all you can think of is that you hear this first at home, played it on repeat on your tape player having taped it off the radio. Specific "homesick" type comfort food sticks in your mouth. You see an episode of a tv show where the characters are standing in some beautiful spot and the lead talks about it being the same view he's seen since being a child. Fireworks get set off at the end of a show and you know that your family, and so many others won't be able to celebrate the 4th of July like that this year. All the tiny little things that you would never think twice about bring me to the fight for control over my tear ducts.

And just when you think you've got it under control there's a new pic like this shot by Chief Wayne Torpy of LAPD shows up. Then the quiet anguish of what this is doing to our wildlife floods back and I have to wonder if its the same mountain lion I met years and years ago at the top of a trail. And then the floods start all over again.

When I have to interact with others, for the most part, I can keep it in check. But leave me to my own devices, or give me the awful aloneness of being in a crowd, and I can't help but just accept that the tears are going to be rolling down my cheeks. My home is forever changed. Its not like the traditional fires in cities where you just rebuild the buildings and in 6 months to a year its like nothing happened. This forest fire will affect me and generations to come. Those trees will probably not grow back within my lifetime. The forest trails my mother loves to take the dog walking on, forever scarred.

So if you want to ask how things are, don't ask how I'm doing please. Ask me how the fire is, how my family is, what the latest on the fire is. I can give you facts. I can show you maps. I can tell you more than I ever wanted to know about fire behaviour and wind directions. But don't try to get me to tell you what this means or how its going to affect me. I can't do it. Its too huge to put into mere words.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright

Sadly, I have lots of crafty stuff I could comment on but I can't bring myself to do so. I'm too busy fretting about the wildfires threatening my hometown in New Mexico.


The Las Conchas fire started on Sunday and has road to cover 60,000 acres of land. My house is likely to be one of the first in the line of fire should it reach town.

The firefighters are doing a great job of keeping the lines, but we all know how fast that can change. After all, Cerro Grande fire was fine, was fine, was NOT fine...

While my family is out and safe, I'd hope that whatever gods you pray you, that you keep all of the affected in your thoughts and prayers. And even if you don't believe in them, please pray to the rain gods for some rain to put this out...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Progress!!

So I haven't been completely non-crafty during this quiet spell, but I have been less crafty, and my wrists are feeling better. And progress has definitely been made on my whitework project.
See? Visible progress!

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Pause Button

So, yeah, there haven't been a huge amount of crafty posts of new things from me lately I'm afraid which is mainly due to the fact that I haven't been crafting.

Its sad to admit, but I may have to slow down and try to cut down on what I do as my wrists are in yet another flare up. Doctors have been consulted who are passing me to other doctors who may or may not be able to figure out what's up. Makes me hope that this advice from  Everyday People isn't what the doctor's actually say-
But the upswing of all this is that I probably won't be posting as much or as often. So ya'll will have to survive without me for longer stretches most likely. I'm sure you'll manage somehow.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

From Stitches to Masterpiece: Frames

Framing projects is a lovely way to show your efforts off, but a badly framed project can actually be as bad as not bothering at all.

Frames for embroidery and cross stitch projects need to be carefully chosen. Not every frame is suitable for this type of work, especially as they require a good deal of room. Your project is not like a photo, paper thin and able to fit every commercial frame out there, but there are good options.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Caterpillar Blanket

My friends are the proud parents of an adorable little boy, so naturally, a quilt had to be made. Its what set me off into the quilting craziness that led to the my Trip Around the World that still needs a better name. But this baby quilt came out gorgeous- so gorgeous in fact, that I had to start the second quilt so I wouldn't want to keep the one for him!

I didn't really follow any pattern, just put a bunch of strips together from a jelly roll in what I call a "half log cabin" but probably has a proper name somewhere and then played around with their layout until I found something I liked. I call it my "caterpillar"- and no, its not an s-word cause I'm scared of those. Its a caterpillar. Dammit.

Monday, May 16, 2011

From Stitches to Masterpiece: Matting

Matting is something that people see all the time but don't know what it is. It is the nice looking outer bits to most professionally framed items.

One of the nice things about using mat boards on your project, is that if you don't have a deep frame, this can help with making your frame work. You can skip the back board and yet still have a project that you don't have to fight to frame as you can use the mat board to hold it all in. Its not ideal, but it works.

Matting can be had in most good photography, art or craft shops. They will cut the nicely beveled edges for you and make certain it is the right size for your frame for a fee usually. I really prefer going to the pros for this, but for argument's sake, I'll give you a beginner's guide to cutting mat boards.

This is a longer lesson than prior ones as I'm essentially explaining two things- how to cut your mat boards and how to mount your project on the mat boards.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

From Stitches to Masterpiece: Lacing

So, if you've been following on, and you wanted to just make a pillow or put your project in a quilt or some other option that does not require a frame or your project to be flat, you can skip from here on out. At this point, having cleaned, blocked and ironed your project it is ready to be sewn into whatever other plans you have for it.

For the rest of us, our next step is Lacing. It could actually be Matting (next time!) depending on what you want to use for the back of your Lacing but for now, we're going to do Lacing.

Monday, May 9, 2011

From Stitches to Masterpiece: Step 3- Ironing

So, you've cleaned it, blocked it, dried it. Now you get to iron it! 

Words of Warning
This step is the biggest step that will set your project in ways that you cannot un-do. If you skipped the cleaning step, and there are some oils from your hands, stains from spills, or just tiny bits of dirt you can't see, then this step will SET THEM IN!!! Once ironed (or steamed if you choose to block it that way), you will NOT be able to get out something that should not be there simply by re-washing.

And even if other people can't see it, you'll know its there. You'll see it and realize that if you'd just taken a tiny bit of extra time that you could have had perfection. So if you've skipped the steps until now- I highly suggest you go back to Lesson 1 and clean your project. Trust me, its worth it not to cringe inside every time you look at something.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

From Stitches to Masterpiece: Step 2- Blocking

The basic idea of Blocking is to use water to relax the fabric and stretch it out into the desired shape. After proper blocking, short of re-soaking the project, it will hold its shape well. This can correct a myriad of minor issues and even some mistakes and will make mounting/framing a project infinitely easier.

Knitting and Lace makers find it of particular use as it helps give their pieces the appropriate shapes and once finished will make the piece stay that shape- very useful when you're making clothes! While Knitters and Lace makers will use 3 types of blocking- wet, steam, and spray blocking, I'm only going to cover wet blocking in detail.  Steam and spray blocking involve pulling an item out to the shape you want, and then either spraying it with water or using steam over the piece to relax it into the shape.

However, with cross stitch and embroidery pieces, wet blocking is, in my opinion, just better. Because you're mostly interested in the stitches, and your work is unlikely to be shaped differently from the final product as knitting can  be, its much more likely that you'll be correcting lines and flattening fabric/stitches rather than changing the shape.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

From Stitches to Masterpiece: Step 1- Cleaning

There has been a lot of talk about what to do with a piece of cross stitch once you've finished it on forums I frequent. And considering I had my Tiger still needing to be dealt with, I thought I'd pass along what I know about how to make something that could just look like it was thrown together into something that truly shows off all the work done- well.

The standard way is, of course, to frame the piece which conveniently was my plan for my Tiger anyway! But even if you choose another way to display your project like turning it into a pillow or part of a quilt, there are some steps you really should take.

I will admit to being a bit of a stitchery snob. I think every piece of stitching, whether its embroidery, cross stitch, knitting, lace, and even quilts, are not complete if you cut corners on your finishing. This includes everything from blocking and ironing, to buying good quality frames, and even tidying up my loose threads on the backside.

After all, you don't want to spend a year of your life working on something only to have all its flaws shown off because you couldn't be bothered to go to a little bit more effort, do you?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

From Stitches to Masterpiece: Overview

From Stitches to Masterpiece is a series of tips and How To's for what to do with stitching projects once you finish them.
UPDATE: May 2012. This guide primarily follows me finishing off one single cross-stitch project. I have since added a few photos and tips for other types of projects and techniques.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sprite Stitch Charity Quilts

I've enjoyed lurking on the Sprite Stitch forum for a while now. It's basically full of nerds and geeks who stitch. I love their creativity! So many of the contributors are quite talented in so many different ways. They, like many other groups, are doing a charity projects- in this case, cross stitch projects to become quilts.

There's the video game cross stitch project to become a quilt, which I love. Being a big Secret of Mana player back in the day (hi bro!), I'd love to do a square of the three characters and have even toyed with the idea of a full on cross stitch or needlepainting the classic cover image of the game-

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hearts & Hands for Sendai- Planning

This weekend was once again spent quilting and i managed to finish one of the quilts i started last week, but as its a gift, you'll have to wait to see it!

While I may have been working in overdrive to get my studies done and exams passed, I just couldn't help but think about the possibilities of all the craftiness that I could have been doing instead of studying, because, let's face it, I would have preferred to be crafting!

I have envisaged my block and have a solid idea what I want to do for it. That photo from the ABQ Balloon Fiesta? It may not have inspired you, but it did inspire me! So, after my second to last exam where I got a breather space I went shopping on the web for fabric for the background! I'm not sure that I'll use what I got, but I bought this charm pack from Keepsake Quilts.

And, oh do they have some gorgeous fabrics! I could easily have emptied my bank account just buying a little of this, a little of that. I did treat myself to some quarter yards of some pieces that looked to fit the bill for some other projects as well. I'd just finished three very hard exams, you know. My willpower was weak from all the brain crunching!

But anyway, the design I have in mind is pretty ambitious considering I'm new to this whole crazy quilt thing. I think it's possible it isn't quite crazy quilt material, but embellished sane quilting, but I think it'll be awesome nonetheless.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekend of Quilting

My weekend consisted of two things- Smallville and Quilting. I managed to quilt
not one, but two quilts (okay, maybe one and a half). It was intended to simply be a weekend of me making a present (which I'll gloat about later), but once the quilt top for that project was done, and I was still in the mood for stitching, I decided I'd dive right in to my Trip Around the World Quilt that you got to hear so much about in my Rat Poop post.

This is what I have so far:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Rat Poop Be Damned!

So I got this jelly roll, because well, LOOK at it!!

I just fell in love with the colors and couldn't possibly leave it behind. It's been sitting with my other potential projects for quite some time waiting for me to get the quilting bug. And then it happened.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Once Again in the Land of the Living

I have finally, finally finished my exams for now and you all know what that means, right? Its time for some serious crafting!

While I haven't really been crafting lately, I thought I'd start back with a new site design. Its more of what I wanted the blog to look like when I first envisioned it, although I'm still not certain about the link colours. Once my exam was done I just said fuck it and bought myself the exact image I wanted instead of worrying about how I could find it elsewhere.

I have PLANS. My study-procrastination technique consisted primarily of thinking about all the various crafts that I could and wanted to do. As I posted earlier,  Crazy Quilting International is doing a charity quilt for Japan. It's a good cause, and I'm going to be digging in once the fabric I ordered shows up!

Of course, I couldn't be content with that could I? No, I had to sign myself up for a second charity project! Sprite Stitch has set up the Pokemon Gym to cross stitch blocks for a quilt as well! Yours truly stuck her neck out and said she'd do one- there's much more time on that so hopefully I'll be able to get that done as well.

And then there was this beautiful pile of fabric that's been sitting in my project box since October. I really need to find the right project for it- probably a quilt of some sorts. It just looks so yummy! I'd love to do something with stars or somesuch. And then I decided I really wanted to use this jelly roll I had. And then there was this OTHER quilt idea I had that is probably wayyy too crazy, but well.... Can you tell I'm in a quilting mood? Well, on top of all that my friends just had a baby boy, which means it'll be baby blanket time again too!

But first I have a little free hand embroidery that I think I'll whip up real quick. I want something quick and easy and destressy! What I have in mind should fit the bill.

I hope you like the re-design, I promise I'll be back with actual craft updates soon. Promise.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hearts and Hands for Sendai

Yes, I know I'm on a break, but after reading this I just had to share it. It's a project to create quilts that will then help raise funds for the rebuilding of Japan in the aftermath of the recent earthquake/tsunami. I have ideas and plan on contributing so long as the deadline allows me to. I highly recommend anyone else consider it too.

Monday, March 14, 2011

All Work and No Play...

Exams til April. I'll be trying to keep myself away from craftiness until that is over. I'll give you this lovely shot from the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta last fall that has given me ideas to tide you over.


That is all.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hot Pink on Ice

So, you remember when I posted this about my very first quilt? Well, I lied.

Technically, these quilted bags were my first adult foray into quilting. (I phrase it this way, as its quite possible I did something under supervision growing up seeing as my mother is a fabulous quilter but if I did, I don't remember it.)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

"Family"

I had wanted to get a Christmas present for both my parents for a while when I got back into stitching. I found the pattern for this piece at the Knitting and Stitching Show the fall of 2009. (Incidentally, it was the same Show I got the pattern for my tiger project)


This piece was my not only my parents gift that Christmas, but its what got me back into crafting after many years of nothing.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Whitework and Gloves

Tonight my whitework project was worked on again and I thought I'd take a moment to talk about working with gloves.

When I started this project, I looked around and thought about things and went, white is really easy to get dirty. I had a pair of gloves and decided to see if they helped or hindered. And I've decided that I really don't like working with gloves on.

The gloves are nice and tight to the skin, and actually quite dextrous. They are, I believe, some kind of poly-cotton blend. However, I find that no matter what I did, I might end up picking up tiny parts of the glove cloth (not full threads, just fuzz) which would then require me disentangling myself from the project. Not fun. I'm not keen on using latex gloves, which would skip that problem, but I know from experience can leave your hands feeling dry and chapped.

So, for me, I've decided to skip on the gloves and simply stitch. Its definitely faster for me. Even though I could feel the threads and what I was doing with them on, the catching of the gloves on the needle and thread just bothered me too much.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My First Quilt

So, I was going through some old photos and found one of my very first baby quilt!

I did it rather quickly, and although the photo doesn't show it well, there are flaws. But, it was my first, and there was much to learn.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Egyptian Inspiration

We went to the exhibition on King Tutankhamen this weekend. While the exhibits weren't as well laid out as I would have liked, it was very interesting and quite inspirational. I found myself thinking of all the Egyptian styled designs I've seen and how they don't compare to the real thing.

Gold work would of course be ideal for replicating many of the designs, although I've never tried my hand at it and am not sure whether I can feasibly get into it with the lack of suppliers in Dublin. I think I'd need to be able to see the gold work possibilities in order to actually figure out what might be possible. Then we hit the gift shop and an entirely different thought struck me as we found ornate boxes for sale.

The picture isn't great, as all I had was my phone, but you can see the pattern. How gorgeous would a quilt blocked in this style be? I'd have to work to find enough different and right white/ivory cloth, and I'm not sure I'll be able to find it until the Knitting And Stitching Show comes back around and there are more suppliers with broader ranges than Dublin has available.

But it's something I'll think about for future projects- not like I don't have enough possibilities already!

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Waystone

So this is a bit of an odd project. I started it in the fall, and just haven't yet figured out exactly what I want to add to it to finish it.

The Waystone is a fictional bar run during the Midway LARP by my character (and yes, I may have stolen the name from a book that I quite adore). I wanted a sign to attract customers, but couldn't figure out exactly what else to put on it, so I did the name part and left it like that intending on going back and finishing it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Whitework Project

Tonight was our weekly game at our house, which for me is a great time for crafting! Much of the work done on my tiger project was done during these games. Tonight I returned to another project.


This was supposed to be done for a wedding back in October (sorry M!), but I haven't had much time to work on it for a while. So I was quite pleased at how it was coming along when I brought it out again.

The pattern is a simplified pattern from Inspirations magazine issue 66, published by Country Bumpkin. It's a beautiful piece and I've got the majority of the range of stitches done. As you can see, I'm working on the middle section now, and can then finish on the outside.

This has been an interesting project. I get nervous every time I have to cut a thread, as I'm not used to cutting holes in my projects, especially when I'm praying that I haven't accidentally screwed up counting somewhere along the way. I'll keep you updated as work progresses.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Jewelry Bag

Christmas came this year and despite my attempts to avoid it, my name got stuck in the Kris Kindle. So I decided to make a jewelry bag for my recipient, and use the spare fabric to make a second one as part of a larger Christmas gift.

It was based on a jewelry bag that my mother had given me some umpteen years ago (the one in the background). Turns out, I ended up making a third recently. One of the girls at the Kris Kindle liked it so much I told her I'd do one for her.