Friday, September 19, 2008

Snowflake Dishcloth

I've found that knitting dishcloths is a great way to pass time during my evening commute when I need a break from reading/thinking. It's a quick project that can easily fit into my bag and there are many interesting free patterns available on the internet. Above is a snowflake dishcloth done in lavendar cotton yarn.

One of the best stories from my public knitting escapades came out of a recent evening ride on the el. I had mostly memorized the pattern, but occasionally needed to refer to it to be sure I wasn't making any errors. After I had pulled out the pattern a couple times, a fellow traveler leaned over and asked me if I was teaching myself how to knit at that time. I replied that I already knew how to knit and was just referring to the pattern to confirm next steps. He then said that he could relax now . . . he was worried that I was trying to figure out the project as we were riding the train and that apparently stressed him out.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Keychain and knitting needle holder

Although the two items are color-coordinated, I can't imagine a time when both would be used simultaneously. Here are two quick plastic canvas projects. The keychain is based on a pattern I found in a plastic canvas pattern book from the '70s that I picked up in a garage sale in northern Minnesota this summer. The book has a lot of projects that are so '70s and so tempting. If I had the time, I'd probably end up making quite a few of them.

The knitting needle holder is not from a design . . . just something I came up with using some different bargello stitches. The light colored thread is silver, not white. I wish it showed up better in the picture because it really pops in person.

Both items are going into a "magic yarn ball". I love this concept. Little trinkets are wrapped into a skein of yarn, making a large ball of yarn. As the recipient unrolls the yarn, little goodies are throughout the ball. I've also seen this done with crepe paper as a party favor.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Iris Painting

In an effort to diversify these posts, I am posting a picture of an Iris I painted earlier this summer. I am not an artist, I'm more of a crafter; however, I was working on a project for someone who really wanted wall art, so I bought a canvas and some cheap paint. This is the result. I like the way it turned out and realized that I could approach a painting in a similar way that I approach embroidery. I started out thinking that the flower would not have too many colors and it would be very straightforward. As I continued painting, I saw areas that needed highlights and adjustments. For the background, I had originally intended to paint everything yellow and call it a day. After I did that, it was much to bright/harsh when set against the flower, so I went back over the painted areas to add bits of green and soften the yellow using water.
I say that this is similar to my approach in embroidery because I also usually end up embellishing a picture or opting to use different color combinations or stitches as I work through the design.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Boston Red Sox Pincushion

I'm not much of a baseball fan (I attend the obligatory Chicago Cubs game each year when offered a ticket by friends or associated with work), but I recently had a need to make something that had to do with the Boston Red Sox. After investigating their logo (red sock!) and colors, plus finding a fairly clear picture of said logo, I decided that it would be possible to turn the logo into a pincushion. I bet there aren't too many pincushions available at Red Sox home games!
I used what was labeled as craft floss for the yarn/thread (thicker than embroidery floss and very easy to use - doesn't get tangled or knotted) and fairly small gauge plastic canvas. On the sides and back, I created a geometric design of cross and half cross stitches. After putting the pieces together and stuffing with regular pillow stuffing, the pincushion is very sturdy and should hold up to many years of service.
This project highlights my mild fascination with plastic canvas. I love all of the crazy things people decide to make with plastic canvas and find myself turning to it to make items like boxes, bookmarks, coasters, and knitting needle or chopstick holders. One of my favorite plastic canvas finds is a portable wine carrier, so you can carry a bottle of wine to your next dinner party in a nifty plastic canvas holder. Genius!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Art deco tree of swirls

I embroidered this art deco tree onto a corner of a pillow top and am very pleased with the way the swirls with their different textures and colors represent leaves. This was the first design placed on a pillow top that is now sweeping the nation in a tea towel/pillow top swap. Sadly, the tree doesn't get to come back to me. After 5 more designs are added to the pillow top, the tree is traveling to California.

I must take some pics of some of my knitted projects soon or else this entire blog is going to be of embroidery! I usually knit a few rows on something every night, but am less likely to take a picture because the finished products (scarves, dishcloths, pillows, etc) don't seem as special or time-intensive as my embroidery projects. Right now, I can think of at least 2 dishcloths and a pretty ribbon scarf that were completed at the same time as the tea towels.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Rosemary Tea Towel - third in a series of seven

This is the Rosemary tea towel. I had a potted rosemary plant for a Christmas tree last winter, so can vouch for the leaf design. Sadly, the plant didn't live long enough for me to see it blossom -- I'm not a very good plant owner. In this picture, the pot looks kind of wonky. I think there must have been a wrinkle in the cloth when I took the picture. I promise that my straight lines aren't that crooked!

I hope to post the rest of the tea towels pictures as soon as I figure out a mysterious glitch with my picture uploads. For some reason, some of my horizontal pics are uploading vertically, so the images are standing on their side. I don't think I could be comfortable with the entry if the pictures weren't upright.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Oregano Tea Towel - second in a series of seven

The second of the herbal tea towels - oregano. While stitching this one, I learned something new. I didn't know that oregano flowers were a combination of purple and pink. My version uses purple as the outline with pink french knots in the center. That seemed to be the most appealing option, even though it may not be herbally correct. I really like how the bow turned out on the pot.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Beaded Goddess

Another new craft technique! I was making something for someone who is interested in "goddesses." I didn't know anything about goddesses and was, at first, a bit stumped re: what I could do with this theme. After a bit of research, I found a free online pattern for the above stuffed Bird Goddess. The body is turquoise cotten. I cut out the two sides of the goddess and handstitched them, not worrying about the seam or stitching inside-out since I was going to bead the sides after stuffing. Once the body was stuffed, I started adding beads.

This is my first attempt at beading so I wasn't sure what would happen. After beading around the circumference of the doll, I focused on embellishing her front. The final step was to add beaded hair. From the back, you see beaded loops of hair, which look pretty good and give a nice effect to the goddess.

I'm glad that I didn't spend too much time up-front before embarking upon the beading because I definitely changed my mind about bead placement throughout the project.

After making this goddess, I saw an amazing tree goddess with every part of her body covered in beads. That would be something I'd like to try the next time I have the urge or need to bead.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Basil Tea Towel - first in series of seven

Over the past three weeks, I've been working on a set of herb tea towels. This is the first in the series. For all of the towels, I used the same color palette of medium brown for the pots and writing, a mustardy yellow for pot embellishments, light/medium/dark greens for the herbal leaves, and appropriate colors for any flowering herbs. I used an Aunt Martha set of transfers that was very helpful because it described the coloring for each herb.
There were more than 7 herbs in the transfer set, so I selected my favorite herbs from the bunch. Basil is something I use quite often in cooking and in salads.
All of this stitching made me wish for an herb garden. I currently live in a 3rd floor walkup without a balcony, so no herb garden for me right now.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Knitted Parrot

This funny little guy is traveling to Canada along with the robots from last Friday's post. I think knitted toys are so cute and fun to make. He was a fairly straight-forward project . . . the most difficult parts of the craft were the stuffing and assembly. For example, the toes are three separate tubes of knitting, joined together to make feet, and then sewed onto the body.

It's a fairly large parrot - probably 10-12 inches high.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Kawaii Robots

Last night, I completed the final step in my first polymer clay project -- baking the little robots. I've always admired the miniatures others make from polymer clay, but didn't think I'd add this craft to my list of crafts. I changed my mind when I was presented with a problem -- the need to make something using robots with limited options around the type of finished project that was desired.

In the end, the experiment went very well. I was surprised at how easy it was to manipulate the clay. Since robots are just squares and circles, I didn't have any difficulties forming their little bodies. A quick scan through the polymer clay section on craftster gave me pointers on securing the hooks to their heads so that the hooks don't fall out after baking. The little guys are lightweight and I don't think they'll be annoying on a bracelet.

I'm pleased. I don't believe this will be something I use often; however, it is a nice, quick project that produces very cute results.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Entering the blogosphere

After years of bookmarking blog after blog after blog and spending countless hours learning all sorts of things from said blogs, I'm taking the plunge and starting a blog. The current vision is for this to be home to my hobbies - crafts, books, cooking, travel - and a record of different projects. We'll see how it evolves!

This little paisley sits on a small blag tote bag and found a home in Colorado. It was a lot of fun creating the design because I didn't know how it would evolve. I started with a general paisley outline and then decided colors and stitches as everything took shape. I'm really pleased with the outcome and think I'll be creating paisleys again in the near future