Sunday, August 30, 2009

September is back to school ;)

First off .... ::happy dance:: ..... the kids are back in school!!!

Next ... a sock to celebrate that 'apple for the teacher' feeling :) This is another of Meg's awesome little patterns. Join us on Ravelry in the Wee Tiny Sock Club group and have fun with us and mini socks all year round!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Incense burner

Still pretty utilitarian, but eventually I'll get around to painting, stenciling or otherwise embellishing it. Meanwhile, it does the job it was intended for - the inner area holds the unused sticks of incense, the upper part holds the burning stick & catches the ashes.

Not bad for a scrap piece of 2x4 lumber and some time.

Scottish mittens :)

This morning I received a package from Scotland. Besides the mittens pictured, I got some Scottish shortbread cookies (I *love* shortbread!), some hot cocoa packages & a magazine from Scotland.

The mittens are a wool/silk blend and so soft!

wee sock swap :)

Pictures of my 'goodie envelope' from the Wee Tiny Sock Swap ;}

Fantasy Creatures swap arrived :)

I received my swap box from the Fantasy Creatures swap, part of The Odd Duck Swap group on Ravelry. Oh, my, such a box!!

First, a book - about a fairy called Prilla, who arrives in NeverLand quite unaware of what her talent might be, and of how large an impact her unknown talent is going to have on a place that is beloved by many of us.

Then there's a hand-crafted fairy - dressed in crocheted entrelac, and done in my favorite autumn colors, she sports one of the last sunflowers of the summer. Also included were 2 flowers pens - one with a sunflower, one with an eggplant purple spider dahlia.

Then there's the dragon rubber stamp - I had to laugh ... I found this stamp years ago & bought one ... then the next time I saw it, I couldn't remember if I'd purchased one or not, so I bought a 2nd one ........ now I have 3 of them! Just below the dragon is the phoenix charm that was tied to the box of stitch markers - appropriately called 'tears of the phoenix' and shown just below the charm.

Then comes my very favorite part of the box.... TWO balls of hand spun yarn! Described as 'hand spun unicorn mane', one ball is in soft shades of brown, the other in soft shades of greens & browns. Both have a strand of gold sparkle spun with them. They are lovely, lovely, lovely!! I'm not sure what I'll make with them ... but it will be something very special!!

Also shown in the picture is my 'dragon's egg' ... a bath ball that I must put in hot water to 'hear it sing' ... which I'm sure is going to be quite an adventure! LOL

Friday, August 14, 2009

New technique :)

I recently tried a new quilting technique, and I'm quite pleased with the results.

The technique is fairly easy. You start with a base fabric, which will show in your final fabric. Then you layer fabric on top of it, leaving the edges of these fabric pieces raw, i.e. unfinished. You can cut or tear your pieces - I chose to cut mine. On this project I used pieces of fine netting in shades of blues, purples, black & greens. Any fabric that is sheer, transparent, net, or sparkly (like metallics) will work. Any fabric that is not see-thru, like the metallics, should be used sparingly and probably kept in the bottom layers, tho, as the whole idea of this technique is to create new color play by the way the various fabrics shift the colors of those over them. Since all (or at least most) of your fabrics are see-thru, fabrics in layer #1 actually effect the way your eyes see fabrics in all the layers above them, even if you have 3 or 4 layers in some places, as I do in this piece. In some places, I layered a color over itself to deepen the color. The nets I used here were all cut into small pieces - none of them more than 2" x 3" - since I knew the finished product (the purse) was not large .... my finished front flap was only 7" tall.

Once I was happy with the way the colors looked with the layered nets, I used a piece of very fine white net (bridal net) to cover the whole thing. Then I pinned the piece - all over. Net tends to cling to net, so I didn't have a big problem with shifting, but if you use fabrics that may slide against each other & move when the piece is lifted, be sure you pin *every* piece as well as all around the outer edges so the base fabric & the top fabric are well pinned together.

Move to your sewing machine & sew all around the outer edges of your base fabric, using a 1/4" - 1/2" seam. Now you need to decide if you will use a regular pattern (as I did on this piece) or random quilting (as I did on another piece). Either looks great, which one you use just depends on the final result you want. On the other project, which I can't show because it's part of a swap & I don't want the person getting it to see it, I used random straight lines ... but not parallel to the sides. I used odd angles but a thread that matched my background fabric. Came out with exactly the result I wanted. :)

You also need to decide what color(s) you will use for your quilting. On this piece, I chose to alternate black & white threads, resulting in a pattern that reminds me of an argyle ... almost. On the other piece, I used thread which matched my background fabric.

The best tip I can give on this project .... cut your background fabric only very slightly larger than you want your finished piece. The quilting will pull it in some, but not much, and you want to be able to do no more than trim a bit on the edges, without actually cutting that outer seam if you can avoid it. At least not until the piece is sewn into whatever you are using it for.

This was fun, and I'll probably do it again at some point.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Better pictures will, I hope!, be taken this weekend but this is the latest pattern I've tested knitted for BraveLittleKnitter over on Etsy.

Will be available as kits on her Etsy site or as a pattern download on Ravelry eventually. :)

Reducio 6 mini sock swap package :)

Here's a picture of my Reducio 6 mini sock swap package ... minus the lollipops. They didn't last long, not with 3 grandsons around!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Reducio 6 sock swap

I received my package for Reducio 6 sock swap, and here it is in all its glory!

The wee tiny sock is, truly!, wee & tiny & so cute! My snowy white owl made sure it was delivered all nice & clean, too. Along with a Gryffindor mug cozy (which I'll use for the endless bottles of water I carry around with me constantly), I also got a single serving of hot cocoa and two bags of orange tea .... I love orange tea!

Tiny dragons!

A tiny dragon has come to visit me!! He's already been joined by a red sibling, but I don't have pics of her yet ...... as soon as I do, I'll post them, too!

Created from Ldhenson's tiny dragon pattern, from her Etsy shop, these little guys are completely hand stitched. They only need about 1 1/2 sheets of felt (I used 2 colors, altho the pattern only calls for 1), altho you do have to piece the body & tail together if you use the sheets of felt instead of purchasing it off the roll. I just butted the two pieces up to each other and, using a fine needle & a single thread, carefully sewed between the 2 pieces. I sewed from underneath, into the center of the felt, without allowing any stitching to show on top, so the seam isn't very visible unless you look for it.

While they don't require much in the way of supplies - 1 1/2 sheets of felt, a couple of beads for eyes, a couple of chenille stems, a very small amount of stuffing, the 20 gauge craft wire for the leading wing edges, matching thread, fabric stiffener (I used clear craft glue, watered down a bit) - they also require good hand sewing skills, and *lots* of time & patience! I think I spent about 6 hours on each dragon so far.
The original pattern also has the front of the wings wired only from a little less than half way up the wing. The rest of the wing is shaped only by the hand-sewn ridges in the felt. When I finished this little guy, I decided I didn't like the way the wings tended to droop, so I went back & added some very fine copper wire to the rest of wing edges, and I'm much happier with the way the wings float now.

I also added some wire to the feet - the original pattern has the feet & lower leg stiffened, then glued together, but I didn't think that supported him well enough, so I added the wire.

But overall, I love this pattern. It was worth every penny.

Unicorn horn case & wand

The current Charms assignment in HLBOE swap is to create a wand, and its case.

These are mine. They will find their true home come Yule this year .... most likely in Florida, with my granddaughter-of-the-heart. Her brother will receive a brown wand with a dragon skin case.

Both wands were created from paper, hot glue, acrylic paints and various creative embellishments following directions downloaded from the site back before they started charging admission. As a free site, it was great. I don't know what it's like now, altho I presume the patterns & instructions are still great.

Both wand cozies are from Charmed Knits.