Monday, February 28, 2011

another finished object and a new beginning

another finished object

since my back has been hurting me for the last few days I've been spending more time in my recliner with either ice or heat on it

which means more knitting time!

this is the alpaca hat

the band (which is a strip of ribbing that runs around the head) is the hand spun alpaca

the top (which is created by picking up stitches along the band and worked in moss stitch) is a commercially spun alpaca yarn

the buttons are a pair of vintage shank buttons that I picked up at Lambspun when I was in there back in January

when I make this hat again (I'm thinking positive that this one will sell) I'm going to make one little change to the pattern -- instead of picking up an even number of stitches for the top, I'm going to pick up an odd number -- just one little stitch more or less would make for less "tinking" along the way
and as I said, as soon as one project is done another one comes in to take its place

I had dyed this yarn about a year ago and then spent a whole year working on other projects!

and I was a little nervous about this pattern as I've not done a whole lot of lace knitting

but I was really happy about how quickly I was able to go from 10 stitches at the cast on to the 143 stitches this is right now

(also really happy that I had that really long cable for my Denise needles!)

I'm hoping to be able to do fabric auditioning for the Hawaii quilt sometime this week -- it just feels like its time to get that project out of the "thinking" stage and into the "stitching" stage

I was chugging right along on the Hoffman piece until I decided on Saturday morning that I just don't like the look of the fabric I was going to use as the table cloth that the hat stands are on -- the black is just too stark, and takes away from my whole plan for the black and white look to be beyond the window while the things inside are color (think about the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy opens the door for the first time after the house lands in Oz -- only in reverse!).

so maybe today I'll get over to the fabric store and pick up something else to use for the table cloth (there is a Hoffman co-ordinate that is sort of purple that might work) then I can get back to working on this piece!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

finished objects and gratuitous cute baby pictures

ta da!

finally got the red handbag finished

I really like the way this came out, and I'm looking forward to putting it to use

I'm thinking I may want to create a couple of small zippered bags to hold small objects inside, but the things I always want to have in an easy to locate spot (cell phone, keys and business cards) already have built in places


mittnz #10

the completion of this pair means I have only one more pair to go to meet this year's goal

whoo hooo

and of course I already have another knitting project waiting in the wings to step into this time slot of daily knitting

35% of the Christmas project complete!

this pattern was pretty easy to do, so I got it done in just two evenings

the hat I've been working on that will be for sale is getting really close to being complete -- just need to do the button hole flap, the weaving in and the attaching of buttons

and I worked on the hoffman piece yesterday -- I wanted the drapery next to the window to have the look and feel of an open curtain -- the "pleats" should be thicker -- my solution was to take some narrow strips of cotton/bamboo batting and put them inside each fold of the curtain for some depth -- I haven't stitched it yet, but I like the way it looks

gratuitous cute baby picture #1

love the matching smiles on the grandson and the son in law!

gratuitous cute baby picture #2

more smiles!

and matching hair lines

and gratuitous picture #3

he's just so adorable!!

hope to get to see him in person again soon

ok, time to go ice my back (it's getting better slowly)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

real progress!

the sign is finished!

right now it looks like its just floating in the air out there, but when I do the seam down the side it will be fine

the hanger from the sign is a design I used on a quilt I made for my daughter a while back, and all I had to do was pull out the folder that had all the paperwork from that quilt and make a copy of it -- makes me happy that I keep those files!

and once the sign was done, it was time to pin the window fabric to the top

so today I hope to start attaching the panel that goes at the bottom and then the panel that goes to the left

(and I'm already starting to contemplate what sort of pattern I'll be using for the quilting)

I've been working on some designs for the redo of my website -- this was actually kind of fun!

lots more work writing html code to do, but the graphics part is fun

need a pencil?

I use regular ol' #2 pencils for sketching, writing, transferring patterns, etc., etc.

this week I found that I was down to about half a dozen 4 inch long "stubs" and decided it was time to get new pencils

my plan was to pick up a package of a dozen pencils when I was in the office supply store picking up cartridges for my printer

heh, well

a package of a dozen pencils was $2.99 -- $0.25 per pencil

this package of 72 pencils was $4.99 -- only $0.07 per pencil

now I ask you, how obvious was that?

so, I won't need to buy pencils again for a while

so today I won't have to go anywhere and I hope to get some work done on the quilt -- and there's a new beading design forming in the back of my head -- all things I can work on while I rest my back (which I threw out yesterday -- ouch)

lets hope that all works

Friday, February 25, 2011

hoffman hat

finished the hat yesterday

after looking at it very close up for days (a lot of those petals are needle turn appliqued all around) its amazing to look at it in a photo

so now its on to attaching the sign to the "building" and starting to put the whole piece together

its sort of amazing that this is now starting to come together

I still haven't decided if I'll be adding a couple of hats to this -- one of those design "rules" is that odd numbers of items work better than even numbers -- so the question will be if one hat is enough or is there room to add 2 more without crowding the picture -- can't tell yet

and this is also one of the reasons it would be nice if I could actually draw something that really looks like the objects I have in mind -- I could do all of this design fiddling on paper first -- ah well

in the end we like the results, so I guess it's ok!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

and the loser is.....

I had to make that final decision about which of the four quilts under consideration I was not going to include in the final entry

(if you missed the original post about this you can read it here)

in the past few months I've been doing a lot of reading of things that have been written by people who have actually been able to get into some of the big shows or competitions in an effort to figure out how to do just that

reading those things made it easier for me to decide that the light house was the right quilt NOT to include

it has to do with presenting a cohesive body of work

while the light house is the newest quilt, and it is more the size of the fantasy fish and the leaf, it is a totally different style

it is a watercolor on fabric that is embellished with colored thread quilting

the other three pieces are basically applique with a lot of embellishment, including three dimensional flower petals on the fence piece and beading embellishment on all three of them

hopefully this was the right choice and at least one of the three that I did enter will actually make the cut

and in other "loser" news, I recently learned that a local co-op gallery had an opening for a "wall art" artist

after checking it out, I have decided that this is not the right time for me to pursue being a part of that -- there is a considerable commitment required in terms of both financial contribution (a yearly "membership" fee plus a monthly payment that is even more) and of time -- I'm just starting to take "baby steps" to getting my work out there where it can be seen, and I need to have time to actually work on making art

I'm working under the belief that if I'm supposed to be there another opportunity to do so will present itself

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


yesterday was not a good day -- I just didn't feel well -- sort of queasy most of the day

which explains why this didn't get opened as soon as the mail man left the fat squishy envelope in the mail box

my daughter sent me this -- its one of my all time favorite candy bars ever

it was surrounded by two pair of pj bottoms - one flannel pair that she got for me for $3 (love those "past season" sales), and a pair of knit ones that are a "hand me down"

I've sent her a number of unexpected little "squishy" envelopes over the past few years -- its fun to have her return the favor!
in the evening I was feeling better, so I've finished another pattern section on the Christmas afghan

it is now 30% complete

today, being pay day, we'll be out and about doing some grocery shopping, the monthly Costco trip, etc., etc.

hope to get some other things done when we return

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

hat shoppes and knitting

after I fiddled with the layout of the Hoffman piece, I decided that I would stick with a small sign that could be seen through the "window" instead of trying to put the letters right on the "glass"

so I set up the sewing machine and whipped up this little sign

I originally was going to call it "Run for the Roses Hat Shoppe", but I like this better

the big hat is coming along nicely -- after figuring out how to make a firmly corded edge around the brim (I enclosed some very firm linen cord inside a very narrow bias)
knitting on the hat is moving right along

the band is a strip of ribbing that goes around the head, which is a bit different from the usual up and down ribbing

the yarn I used for this is alpaca hand spun that I got last year at the Alpaca Roundup

when the spinner did the plying she used one ply that is the sort of beige tone that is natural to alpaca and one ply which is the darker alpaca color that she over dyed with Koolaid -- one of my favorite dye stuffs!

the band looks really good -- next step is to pick up 80 stitches around one long edge and do the crown
and another pair of mittnz is complete

these are sort of bland in comparison to some of the brighter colored pairs I've been making

they have a certain classy look to them

so I have 2 more pair to do for this year's goal

yesterday I took the DH to the surgeon for his one month check and he is now allowed to be out of his sling when he's around the house -- the therapist gave him one additional exercise to do and he goes back in another month -- slow but steady progress!

Monday, February 21, 2011

A new look

For the last few days I've been fiddling with the idea of opening a new shop on Etsy that actually has the same name as my blog and my website. I've been reading a bit about branding and using a consistant image, and I'm convinced that is a good idea.

One of the things that has been hanging up this idea is the whole "make a banner" issue -- this morning I decided to take on the idea, and this is what I came up with.

I used a photo of one of my art quilts as the back ground as a starting point, and I've stuck with the lettering style I've been using for quite a while now because it looks "artful" but it is also easy to read

So the new banner is ready -- now I just have to open the store and put in stuff -- "JUST" -- yeah

oh, and while I was at it, you may notice a new look here on the blog too -- and I'll be doing some new business cards too (something I had already decided I need to do)

looking good!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Decisions, decisions

I have received a call for entries and I have four different quilted pieces that would fit the requirements

problem is, I am only allowed to enter three

so here are the candidates:

The Backyard Fence

The Fantasy Fish

The Oak Leaf

The Lighthouse

so which one should I NOT enter?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

a new design

after spending a lot of time yesterday fiddling with the Hoffman piece, I think I've come up with a modified and doable design

I had to make a choice between creating a new background (all those little black and white and gray pieces all over again!) or changing the design around it

since I was not totally sold on the original hat having enough flowers on it, it just seemed like the right thing to do to create a new hat

so now we have a curtain on the left side of the window and a table right up to the window with the hat on its hat stand (which will have to be made longer)

and I think I've figured out the sign outside the window too --- we'll see how that works

but at least for now I have a renewed confidence in the piece
the Christmas afghan is now 26% complete

moving right along

and while I was mentally fussing with the Hoffman piece I started working on that hat that I'm making with the intention of offering it for sale if it comes out well -- so far it looks pretty good

yesterday I discovered that I could enter the competition with the beaded piece all on line -- so instead of having to make a run to the post office to get the envelope in the mail I just sat at my little computer and sent it in (love being able to do that with things that are judged from pictures first) we'll see how that does

so it's now on to the next idea!

Friday, February 18, 2011

One competition piece complete!

finished putting this all together yesterday afternoon

and I'm pretty pleased with how it came out

this morning I took a bunch of pictures with the camera -- which I didn't like, and did this one in the scanner -- and it is the one I'm using for the submission

so I'll be sending this off to Grant's Pass, Oregon, to Fire Mountain Gems for the seed bead competition

the straps for the red hand bag are finally done

I know, you thought this project had either been shelved or finished and no pictures taken -- but not true!

because I was totally frustrated by the quilt project yesterday (shall we say I'm in the process of re-designing), I worked on the hand bag

stitching by hand gives my brain time to work on other projects

(and yes, I have some ideas to translate to the quilt that I'll be working with today)

another pair of mittnz completed last night

these are the small size and this particular yarn is so nice to knit with

only 3 more pair to knit for the 2011 goal

yesterday, while I was just puttering around doing the tidying up after removing all of the Christmas stuff I pulled out some alpaca yarn and a pattern that will be the first piece I make this year with the idea of trying to sell it -- a hat of this style sold at the Lambspun Holiday show last year, and I'm hoping for a similar good result this year

moving along!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

one step forward, one step back

all of the pieces of the bracelet are finished, now I just need to put it together

the bar of the toggle was really easy -- I've done a lot of these

the loop end did present some challenges -- in the end I did a peyote stitched tube and when it got to the length that allowed me to form a smooth ring, I just stitched the ends together -- pretty neat

and I still have a little time before I need to get this submitted, so getting good pictures is the next step

this, however, truly must be a monster

the plan was to put in some lettering (backwards, since you are looking out through the window) between the fused layer and the iridescent "window" fabric

I had already done the individual words using the embroidery feature of my sewing machine, all nicely backward, just needing to be trimmed and attached

except when I started trimming them they simply disintegrated into little tangles of thread

well then

so now I have to decide what to do next

I could probably do the same embroidery right on the fused layer, but I'm worried about doing that because I've already put in so much work on the fusing and stitching and if I make a mistake with the machine I get to start over from the beginning

so today there will be some fusing with it -- I'll probably lay out what I have on the big table and see what I can come up with (this is where it would be helpful if I had an actual drawing to work from on this piece)

but I'm not happy about it right now

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

creating a monster

while I was working on this, I had it folded so that just this much of it was exposed

the DH walking by the table it was laying on said "it looks like a monster"

let me tell you there have been times as I've been stitching BY HAND all around each and every one of the many, many little pieces that I was beginning to think of this as a monster!

in this shot, though, you can see the stitching that I did around the pieces that had been fused down

I can't even tell you how many pieces were involved here -- maybe later I'll count them

so here we are

the spire and the building

this is the part of the piece that is supposed to be beyond the window in the finished work

which is why I did it all in black and white and gray -- its supposed to be on the other side of one of those sun shield windows

so this is the naked pieced after the stitching

my original idea was to put it under a layer of tulle that would be the window glass in the finished piece

this picture is the piece with a single layer of tulle over it

in the picture, and in person, there isn't much difference between this and the naked piece

certainly not really enough to convey my idea of "this is beyond a window"

and while that impression should be improved by the lettering that will be added, it just doesn't look like a window

this, on the other hand, looks like it is beyond a piece of glass

this is a piece of a sort of translucent iridescent fabric that I bought when I was working on the Angel of Music quilt that I made for my daughter

I used this for part of the wings

but I have to say I really like this better than the tulle for this purpose

so I'm thinking this will be what I will use

what do y'all think?

how much quicker it goes when the pattern is simple and only 2 colors!

the orange and white checker board took me only 2 days to do

the next pattern is also a smaller panel, but more complex and twice as many colors, so I'm thinking it may take a bit longer

yesterday the last of the ornaments came off the Christmas tree and went into their boxes -- this morning I will finish hauling them all out of the living room and vaccum the floor -- yippee!!

and there will be a trip to the grocery store and to pick up a prescription before I get back to projects today -- time to get moving!

Monday, February 14, 2011

the cutest Valentine ever!

it came in the mail on Saturday, and its been making me smile ever since

my daughter did the lettering and drawing on the little onesie for my grandson (this by the child that says she has no art talent -- HA!)

then she took the photograph with the wicked cute background (its the back of a quilt that was given to the baby)

then she made the card (I'm thinking she used her new Xyron machine, like I did when I made my valentine cards)

really, really nice job
yesterday afternoon I finished the beading on the bracelet

the DH had been saying there wasn't enough red, but when I finished up he said "you were right, there's just enough red"

so now it's time to trim it and put the leather on the back -- oh yeah, and there's that whole toggle clasp issue to finish too

after all the black and white and gray of the bracelet and the Hoffman piece, I've been wanting to work on something with some color

this is the next project on the drawing board

it is a Hawaii scene that I'm making for a friend's sister

the color rendering just gives me a sort of visual starting point for where the colors change -- not necessarily that they'll be the colors you see here

and this piece is the pattern drawn out on freezer paper

and yes, it is a mirror image of the original drawing because the pieces will be ironed on to the back of the fabrics

these are all numbered, as are the pieces in the color sketch -- that's how I keep track of where things are supposed to go

I'm not sure when I'll actually start on the stitching of this -- I need to do some serious fabric auditioning before I start cutting pieces, and before I can do that I have to finish a couple of other in progress projects that have nothing to do with art work

(we're still taking down the Christmas tree -- too much stuff going on with babies and company and the DH's surgery for me to get to it before now!!)

finally finished the 13 rows that made up the latest section in the afghan

this was a bit complex, but I tried a more refined technique and it worked really well

the next pattern is a very simple 2 color checkerboard of 4 rows, which won't be quite so difficult!

(now if I'll just remember to use that technique again when I get to the next complex pattern)

this Christmas project is now 21% complete!!

and mittnz #7

these are a really interesting sort of heathery pink color -- and they are almost big enough for my hands

tonight I'll be starting on a pair of gray and red striped ones

for today there will be laundry and beading and quilting

and more packing up of the Christmas tree

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

new toys

while my friend from California was here, I did some experimenting with watercolor pencils that she brought with her
during a period of about a week, I created a piece that was painted with watercolor pencils and with thread

and it was a lot of fun

but my friend had to go home and she took her pencils with her (I know, how one way is that?)

so ever since I've been looking in local stores to find a set of my own

(I had already spotted a really BIG set in the Dick Blick catalog, but I wasn't ready to plunk down $70+)

my usual favorite place to get art supplies close to home only had kits with just a few pencils and a really big price

yesterday, just on a "what if" venture, we went into my favorite office supply place


a 24 pencil set of pretty nice quality (Prismacolor) water color pencils in a really nice tin (so I can keep them from getting mixed in with the other assorted color pencils in the house)

so, now I'm getting pretty antsy to get to a couple of projects that have been in the P.I.T. (project in transition) status for a while (no UFOs here!)

meantime, the work on the beaded bracelet is moving right along -- I need to go through some of my old technique sheets and get the toggle clasp figured out so I can just move right on to that as soon as the bead embroidery is done

and the black and gray stitching is done on the Hoffman piece -- started on the white yesterday

slogging along!!