Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween, my crafty ghouls!

From October08

I used templates for the Halloween garland from The Toymaker.

From October08

Orange fish?

From October08

Not fish. Someone is peeking out.

From October08

Many are peeking out.

From October08

Wide awake.

From October08

This is the nightmare that woke them.

I wanted to take one more picture of the eyes but my boy wouldn’t have it. The eyes are reverse appliqued onto a t-shirt. I shamelessly copied it from The Creative Kismet. I only have one– no! –two warnings: they are creepier in person, and don’t be surprised if your sensitive-skinned child rips it off faster than you can say seam ripper. Make a tee for yourself instead!


Slo-mo knitting and sewing

Crafting is going really slowly now. My daily schedule changed when BC started kindergarten and I don’t have as much free time. That seems backward, I should have more free time with him in school.

I have made a little progress on my quilt top using the rose fabric.

From October08

And I knit the Galway yarn till I ran out.

From October08

Then I felted the piece. You can see from the dog’s feet that it shrank quite a bit.

From October08

I washed the rectangle piece two times in hot water (with regular loads of laundry… trying to be moderately green). I am really pleased with the texture of the Galway felted yarn… so nice and nubbly, and not too frizzy.

Current projects

I have had this pretty rose fabric for a while now.

[This photo doesn’t really show the colors very well. The rose fabric is pretty close but is prettier in person.  The solid fabric is a light yellow that coordinates with the background yellow of the rose fabric.]
I was looking for the “perfect” project for the rose fabric. It sat in the closet for a long time. I realized that there is no “perfect” project, and that any project was better than no project. I broke out my beginner quilting book and picked out a pattern.

There was one critical criteria for the pattern… I only had 1 yard of the rose fabric. I could have cut it up and used it in a scrap quilt but I really wanted to have something that showcased this fabric. I found a pattern, bought some coordinating fabric, and started chopping and sewing.

I didn’t get too far along before my back started screaming. I don’t have a very good set up for sewing. I sit at the dining room table on a dining room chair. The ergonomics are excruciating.

I tried adjusting the sewing machine height with yoga blocks.

It was better but my back still hurt.

After much research, I ended up putting the sewing machine back on the table. I put the yoga blocks under my feet and a lumber pillow behind me. Raising my feet and supporting my back was a 80% improvement. I think the final 20% will require tilting the sewing machine somehow and using an office chair. Also, better lighting would be lovely.

And, just in case you think I’ve forgotten how to knit, I started working on this:

I don’t know what “this” is going to end up being. Does anyone else ever knit for the sake of knitting? No pattern just knitting? I do have some ideas for it but it is definitely a “I love to knit for the sake of knitting” project.

Finally: and I did this 5

The pillows on the couch were all wrong once I painted the living room walls. I created new pillows to make my couch and my walls a harmonious blend of cool, calming colors. I also put up new curtains (no pictures until the wrinkles fall out!).

See how I glossed over the big jump in blog time like it didn’t happen? That’s because I’m pretending it didn’t happen.

This is the last in the series of “I did this” posts.  I did do more stuff but I don’t have pictures of the remaining projects.  Also, I like working in the present.  Next post, what I’ve started doing recently!

The tote bag made me do it

I’m sneaking in… thank you all so much for your well wishes.  The cheesecake, both virtual and real, was fantastic.

I made a tote!   An old client requested it, and I didn’t want to disappoint her.  I already had the machine out for another project so I made the tote.  Here it is:

From September08

And the inside:

From September08

I’ve done some other projects too. If I can track down the pics (or take new ones), I will post them.

Bag versus bag… bag wins.

The weather this past Friday was awful… there were tornado and thunderstorm warnings all day. We spent the day inside… BC spent his time grousing about what was on tv while I groused (to myself) about grocery bags. Plastic grocery bags are wonderful and awful at the same time.  Wonderful because they are so thin and utile.  Awful because they are plastic and will never go away.  You’d think I would have already solved my personal grocery bag dilemma seeing as how I make tote bags and such. But, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m lazy. Being stuck inside all day with a ton of unfinished housework finally propelled me 3 feet across the office from computer to sewing machine.

My mission: an easy-to-make but strong grocery bag that MC and I will actually use. I had 2 basic patterns in mind: one based on plastic grocery bags, and one tote-bag style. An additional goal was to use stash fabric or recycled fabric.

Bag #1: This first design was based on plastic grocery bags. I took apart a plastic bag to make the pattern. I used a thrifted bed sheet as the fabric of choice.

(no, that is not my hairy arm in the picture!)

Results: Exactly like a plastic grocery bag… except that the handles are a bit cumbersome because fabric doesn’t squish down like plastic does. The recycled bed sheet was awesome except the color and pattern were too emasculating for any man to carry even with the best of green intentions.  At least that was my interpretation of MC’s reaction which went along the lines of “You made this one for me?! Couldn’t you use more macho colors??”

The pattern was also a pain in my neck (except it wasn’t my neck that was in pain, the pain was at the other end of my spine). Curves and single piece handles were awkward and required too much work for my peace of mind.

On to style number 2 (which I was hoping would not be number 2 like the first style).

Bag #2: This design is a tote bag… but different from the style of tote bags that I usually make.

Results: We have a winner (the man held the bag so it looks wonky but it lays perfectly flat). I modified the bag design because the original tote bag I based it on was made from heavier, unlined fabric. I used newly purchased fat quarters for this bag and some muslin from my stash. I didn’t have enough “manly” stash fabric, and Joann’s was having a sale, and BC was pitching a tantrum about something so I distracted him by asking him to pick some fat quarters for daddy. Whew! That was a mouthful… and then we went to the park for 2 hours where I managed to get a sunburn despite being bundled up because it was in the 50’s and the wind was blowing straight through my clothes and I was freezing, and why was I the only one there wearing something heavier than a sweatshirt including my family? Seriously.  They didn’t get a sunburn either.

Bottom line: This style was quick and easy to sew. The seams are strong. The material is strong because it is lined. The handles may be too short but I won’t know till the man actually uses them for groceries. I didn’t tell him about the handles because I didn’t want to influence his evaluation, and I don’t want to take the bag apart to put longer handles in (lazy, remember?). I did manage to use some of my stash… I can use more stash when I make bags for myself seeing as how I like feminine colors and patterns.  And wear sunblock if you are going to spend 2 hours at the park.

As you can see, I liked the pattern enough to duplicate it.

The colors are still “cute” according to the man but what do you expect when you let a 5yo pick them out after you stirred up a hornet’s nest of a temper tantrum… at least they aren’t emasculating pink flowers.

(BTW, BC insisted on putting back his original choice after MC said how much he liked the fabric… me thinks the boy wanted daddy to suffer.)

The house is still a mess… I’m thinking I need at least 10 of these bags!

When two needles won’t do the job, use one.

Please pardon the quality of these photos… I really did try to take better pictures but my camera was having its little laugh.

When knitting took a nosedive, I picked up my embroidery needles. These works were my first attempts at this type of embroidery… faux jacobean.

I copied the first two patterns from a picture in my embroidery book. I chose different colors and different stitches but the patterns are similar.

This was my first attempt at creating a pattern that is mostly my own (I borrowed elements from other places but the arrangement is mine). I thought it would be cool to do a monochromatic pattern. As you can see, it is impossible to see photos of gold thread on gold lame… brilliant. It was that hard to see the pattern as I was stitching too. I used two different lamps to see the pencil marks… you can just see some of the white marks on the upper right side where I missed a small group of berries.

I need botox to get rid of my new squint lines!