|April 28, 2015||Posted by Emily under Embroidery, Quilting, Sewing|
I’ve been working on this hexagon and embroidery wallhanging for years. -Years.- But 2015 and April are for finishing things. This is the second year I’ve made a goal to not purchase any craft supplies during the month.
I’d done the embroidery from my own pattern for the tree, then the leaves and other bits were freehand. It floated around for months while I tried to decide what to do with it.
I wanted to try some English Paper Piecing, so I made a page of 1″ hexagons then printed it out on the paper side of freezer paper. I then carefully cut them out and ironed them to the backside of my chosen fabrics. If I were to do this today, I’d let the Silhouette Cameo do all the cutting work. I then spent probably another year and a half working on the hexagons on and off-at the lake, during lunches, or when nothing else seemed interesting.
Sometime last year I sandwiched the pieced portion with batting and a muslin background and hand quilted around each hexagon and around the tree. I thought about doing more quilting on the background of the tree, but I decided to leave it simple. (Also there was the chance it would get done sooner-hah!)
Last week I was digging around in the cabinet where I keep unfinished projects and I ran across this. I took the finished quilted piece, squared it up (technically my mom did this because after so much work I was afraid I’d mess it up), and sewed on the binding. I finished it up by hand sewing the binding to the back and sewed on a hanging sleeve.
I have no idea what I’m going to do with this, but it was fun to make and I’m really happy with the finished project.
|April 5, 2015||Posted by Emily under Paper Crafts|
My day started with church at 7am for a sunrise service followed by breakfast at church. Afterwards my parents and I made grilled meat and vegetables. It has been a nice, relaxing holiday.
For Easter crafting I created a new set of boxes for the holiday as well as a chipboard cutout of a rabbit to either sit on the mantle or hang on my front door forsythia wreath. The boxes are a mixture of different papers, some are Echo Park, but I’m not sure about the rest. The doily/lace paper on the rabbit is Crate Paper.
|February 26, 2015||Posted by Emily under Emily's 2015 Projects, Spinning, Yarn|
I’m beginning to spin. Beginning to learn anyway. For years (since high school) I have owned a vintage Ashford Traditional that was not in working order…it always seemed like one of those things I would like doing, but it never had enough draw to get me involved. One year at A Wool Gathering I saw a spinning wheel like mine and the thing it was missing..just a bit of fishing line with two springs. I bought some fiber and thought I’d finally fix it. And I didn’t. Then last year when I attended again, I thought maybe I’d pick up a drop spindle. Start slow-right?
The spindle in the picture above is from ‘The Rouge Lucet’. I don’t remember what the wood is, but it is very pretty. The fiber on the spindle is from Valhalla Acres. The roving is from a BFL Cross lamb and is 90% wool and 10% rayon thrums.
I love spinning on the drop spindle. I love it in the sense that I think I will sit for 15 minutes and spin, and two hours later I’m forcing myself to stop. I’m not a big fan of the fiber, but after messing with some other fibers-I think it is specific to that roving. It is just so felty. You can get a nice smooth, thin thread then suddenly it’s all felted and won’t separate. Also the bits of added thrums annoyed me and I picked out all the biggest bits. I realize I’m also probably being harder on myself than I should be as this is the very first yarn I have spun. But meh. If these are my results I could just go buy yarn.
After I spun 2 ounces (1 ounce at a time) I wound them into cakes and plied them pulling one thread from the outside and one from the inside. (This might have a technical term, I just ran across it by googling.)
I don’t hate the finished yarn-I ended up with around 175 yards at a DKish weight..the thick/thinness makes it hard to tell for sure. My only fear with this yarn is that it already looks felted and worn. If I knit something with it, is it already going to look worn? I need to ball it up and start knitting to see. I still have 2 more ounces of the fiber. I also have 4 more ounces of another roving from Valhalla Acres in a rich red (I have tested this and it doesn’t look felted once spun) and an unknown brand of New Zealand Merino in a silver color.
I also cleaned up the spinning wheel, bought an Ashford maintenance kit, and played on spinning on it. I don’t hate it. I don’t love it. That’s really where I’m at with it. I listen to podcasts that talk about spinning and they get technical-I’m not sure I’m in to all that. For me I think it will always be a ‘novel’ thing to do and not something I really get deep in to. I think I’m going to give it a year and if the wheel still holds no interest for me I’m going to sell it and purchase a cricket loom. At least that’s what I’m thinking now.
|February 14, 2015||Posted by Emily under Interweave's The Unofficial Harry Potter Knits, Knitting|
I don’t normally go for internet memes, but “Blocking all the things!” was what went through my head last Tuesday. One of my yearly goals is to finish all of the unfinished projects that I had as of December 31, 2014. So far I’m doing pretty good-and even a lot of the new projects I have started are finished.
Top to bottom, left to right in the picture are:
–“Easy Cowl in Any Gauge” by Ann Norling out of “Have You Any Wool Luxe Sock” in the Scout’s Honor colorway. I have one more skein of this yarn in the color Rage. If she still dyed yarn I’d have more, but sadly it isn’t available any longer.
-A very long skinny scarf my mom crocheted for me out of a Chamomile Connection yarn. I could never figure out how to wear this, so I seamed it up so it is now a big loop. I can loop it three times around my neck for a loose cowl. I’ve already worn it a couple times. The yarn is nice, but it did fade a bit when I washed it.
–Hat/Cowl by Steven Berg from Knit Simple Magazine Winter 2012. This is knit out of Malabrigo, I don’t remember the color. This has been done for over a year, just not blocked (I was wearing it anyway). Blocking it made it a bit bigger which it needed. This was the second time I knit this pattern, and I just recently improvised the same hat out of a worsted yarn. I’d highly recommend this pattern as I’m sure I’ll be knitting it again.
–Sword of Gryffindor Mitts from the Unofficial Harry Potter Knits out of Madeline Tosh DK in the Cove colorway. I have a love/hate relationship with these things. I want to love them and they want to hate me and we met somewhere in the middle…maybe a little closer to the hate side. You can read my notes on Ravelry, but I reknit them multiple times. Even now there’s an error-one lace panel is closer to the thumb than it should be. I wore them the day I sewed the buttons on, but they are not for really cold weather-at least not for me, the lace is too drafty. The buttons are mother of pearl and belonged to my grandmother. I’ll try wearing them again in spring and see if I like them. If not they might end up gifted to someone. Mom is already hinting she wants them.
-This is a hat my mom crocheted for me out of Malabrigo. It too needed to be a bit bigger to be as loose as I like a hat to be. She made this similar to the Hat/Cowl that I like, so you could wear it either way.
–Giftie Slouchy Beanie by Tanis Gray out of an unknown alpaca yarn. I was gifted this yarn a few years ago and hadn’t done anything with it. I’ve been decluttering a lot and it was bugging me that I’ve never figured out what to do with this yarn. I picked a hat pattern and went with it. It actually turned out well-I’d never worked with alpaca before.
I also finished my brown sweater (finally!) and it needs blocked. It has gotten really cold though and it will never dry without a fan. I have a fan, but this old house doesn’t need more drafts than it already has.
If you do not block your knitwear I’d highly suggest trying it. It helps you to shape your knitwear if it didn’t come out at the exact size you were hoping for and if it has lace it really defines the pattern. I don’t have fancy tools for blocking-the picture above is just towels on the counter. The fingerless mitts had a piece of foamcore board under them that I was pinning into, but otherwise, nothing special.
|January 30, 2015||Posted by Emily under Chickens, Organizing, Paper Crafts|
I’ve been working from home a lot more this month-only going into the office two days a week. It’s a really nice change of pace to not have to get up, rush to get ready, then leave for an hour’s drive (and during this time of the year worry about the weather). Instead I’ve been getting up around 6:30 to make breakfast, get ready, then do a few things around the house. I think Gurney likes it too, even though I get stared at a lot, along with thoughts which I imagine to be, “You are home, but we aren’t going anywhere or doing anything.” Monday he kept that pose until he fell asleep. The chickens have also enjoyed it as they get their frozen water refilled multiple times a day and when it’s really cold they get hot oatmeal. I’m told they don’t know they’re chickens, but I’m ok with that.
By nature, I’m a messy person, but I’ve been working on keeping the house clean. This is hard for me, as much as I hate to admit that. This Saturday will be two weeks that I’ve kept it clean and haven’t completely destroyed any semblance of order with my messes. I’ve even kept up with the dishes which is more of a miracle than an accomplishment.
Because the house has been clean it has given me time to do other things and I’m not stressing and being overwhelmed about getting the house clean. Honestly, it’s weird. Pretty much every day I’ve been picking a small organizational project to do-mostly organizing craft supplies. Monday I took out a box of extra papercraft pieces I make. If I’m assembly lining something, I’ll make more of the parts than I actually need. Stuff happens, it’s better to not have to get everything out again for one little thing. I keep all of the extras in a plastic shoebox. It was a mess. A big mess. I do go back and use these things, but I hunt and hunt for what I think might be there. It’s not efficient.
I took that huge mess and put all ‘like’ pieces in clear plastic bags like the type I keep finished cards in. It took awhile, and I actually threw away a lot of it that had come unglued or that I couldn’t remember why I kept in the first place. It took most of my lunch break, but it was worth it. Everything is now organized and easy to see.
I do believe I can keep my house organized and clean. It is one of my non-crafting goals this year. I spend too much time taking care of things that should be done anyway. I’m taking it a little at a time. If you too struggle with this, you should try little things-like cleaning out a single box or drawer. It all adds up.
|January 26, 2015||Posted by Emily under Emily's 2015 Projects, Silhouette|
About a year ago I took $1 jars from Jo-Anns/Michaels and created spice jars for myself. Over the last year I’ve started using more spices and of course, there were a few I missed. I’ve had the extra jars, it was just one of those projects that wasn’t too important (although it was annoying every time I needed one of those spices).
I didn’t need to buy anything, it wouldn’t be hard, I just needed to get it done-so Saturday I decided I was just going to take care of it. I don’t know why I put off projects like this-an hour or so and I can have something marked off my list.
The first step was to cut the stencils on the Silhouette. I measured the top of the jar and drew circles in Silhouette Studio just slightly smaller. Then I used Arial in all lowercase to write out the names of the spices I needed then sized them to fit in the circles. I then aligned the centers vertically and horizontally so they’d be perfectly center. Three years ago, before even owning the silhouette I bought two clearance rolls of vinyl in pastel pink and blue not knowing what I’d do with them, but they’ve been very handy for stencil making-this is what I loaded in, and they cut with no problems.
Then I sat and picked out all the letters with a straight pin, and carefully kept the centers of letters like “a” and “o”. The next step was to disassemble the jars so I would just have the glass tops. Once that was done I moved the stencils to the jars and rubbed them on with my fingers to make sure there were no air bubbles.
Sharpie Oil Based Paint Pens are the key to making this project work. They can be baked on for a more permanent finish. I’m sure you could still scratch off the paint, but after a year of use with my older jars, I’ve not had a single problem with the lettering getting damaged.
Full disclosure here-I actually did this project twice. (I don’t really like repeating things, but I feel I do it a lot…) I had forgotten that you cannot let the paint pen dry. You Cannot Let The Paint Pen Dry! If you do, all of the paint comes off attached to your stencil and thus the jar lid needs washed off and you have to go make a new stencil. Bah. This picture is what they should look like once you have painted them, but do them one at a time, it saves a lot of grief.
After I did them the second time they turned out great. The letters were crisp for the most part. And if the paint did bleed anywhere a bit? Just take your straight pin and carefully scratch the paint that you want removed. This is helpful on things like the fiddly little ‘a’ and ‘e’ in coriander.
After they’ve dried a bit, place them on a cookie sheet and into a cold oven (it has to be a cold oven or you risk the glass breaking), turn the oven to 350º F, set a timer for 30 minutes once the oven has preheated, then after the 30 minutes turn the oven off and let them cool completely (in the oven). After that you have a baked on finish.
This is my spice drawer (it smells amazing). It can hold seven more jars before I run out of room. After that I’m sure I’ll keep the same jars, but I’ll have to find somewhere else to store them, but for now the level of alphabetical organization in this one small part of my life makes me very happy indeed.