November 19, 2013

Collaborative Projects

This past Sunday with my two best friends, I started a collaborative project... It's a project bag that the birthday girl made the foundation and then the body of the bag each of us is responsible for two colors (6 total) where each color stripe is one row of single crochet. This bag can only be worked on while we are together since each row is completed so quickly but it looks beautiful. The results are worth it. The memory behind making this bag with stick with all of us and each time someone asks about it. We've decided that we're enjoying making this bag so much, that we would like to repeat the process so that each of us has one in colors we enjoy. Some have made collaborative scarfs and others blankets. Whatever you make, love goes in each stitch. The beauty of this pattern is that we all crochet different tensions even with different hooks... One even the opposite direction but it doesn't negatively impact the project. Try it. You will not be disappointed. Here's a peak; my colors are the dark purple and green. Fusia and white is one friend and the blues are another friend.

The pattern is based on "Colorful Carryall" by Kj Hay in "Crochet Today! Quick and Easy Gifts 2009." Modifications so far include finer yarn and 6 rather than 8 colors. Eventually planning on braided handles that start at the base with a scallop and picot trim. Final photo to follow.

August 14, 2013

Among the unpacking was a book on tatting for both shuttle and needle. It was something I was playing with before I started packing. A very crafty friend asked me about it and at this point I had only tried needle tatting. I purchased a shuttle years ago... shortly after my four year old son was born but never learned. So today I took the time to find videos and sites to learn just that. The tatting page with links and resources is the result. Youtube has been great. On Pintrest I have discovered MANY useful links, images and videos. God, I can easily loose time on that site.

I'm finding shuttle tatting has it's perks. You never need to determine needle size because shuttle will turn out perfect every time (unless technical issues prevail). Hell, if you're trying it out you don't even need a shuttle. A plastic thread holder or piece of cardboard is enough to start learning on.  Shuttle tatting is flexible whereas needle tatting can be tricky in some patterns. Shuttles are beautiful and customizable. Shuttle tatting can be done on an airplane whereas needle tatting isn't allowed. You can use finer beads. There is potential for less joining threads to weave in at the end and less misgauging how much working thread vs tail is needed. Most importantly, for me I feel my tension is better even though I have less experience shuttle tatting than needle tatting. I honestly didn't think I would enjoy it so much, but I do.

If you're starting something new, it's great to see how others have interpreted the same pattern (like on Ravelry). You never know what patterns you would have passed because of color, gauge or original shaping but if you look at what others have done, you might fall head over heels with someone else's modifications. I have also found others leave useful notes to improve upon technique or typo fixes that would have otherwise left me frustrated.

Bottom line, give shuttle tatting a try.

August 08, 2013

Knitting with Friends
We just moved into our new place and sorting through and reorganizing craft supplies has brought out so many forgotten projects I intended to finish but hadn't or have not even started. Among them was a baby pinwheel blanket I promised to knit for a retirement home gift shop. It's going to be white, yellow and green. All pastels. My goal is to finish it by the 20th. I had to refresh on the disappearing loop method but I'm now going strong on it. After the first few rows, the rest of the pattern repeats. This is a fabulous pattern to knit with others because you don't need to pay attention to details.

I still have a fair amount of stashed yarns left in storage. I found an old chenille blanket I started for one of my boys but never got to finish. Since the required hook is ginormous, it's a quick stash buster project that I'm thinking will be soon on the horizon. I want to finish what I started. Get it all done. Clear out space for new inspirations.

Poppy Fairy
Last month I managed complete 25% of the pattern (beading, outlining and finishing not included). It's looking great and more like a fairy. I discovered I find cross stitch relaxing, especially if it's blocks of color rather than intricate constant color change. There is a pattern in a British magazine that I absolutely adore, that says "Life is just peachy when you're as cool as a cucumber but sometimes it's fun to just go bananas." I think it will suit my style well while looking good in my kitchen.

I subscribe digitally to "Cross Stitch Collection" on my ipad. I love that I have patterns while I'm on the go so I can easily get supplies I need as well as zooming in on hard to see areas of a pattern. If you haven't tried getting magazines digitally, it's great. You can also print out single patterns that you can mark up and modify.

Anyway, Happy Stitches! Picture updates soon to follow.

Edit: added project photo of Pinwheel Blanket.

January 19, 2013

Poppy Fairy by Joan Elliot

Marriages hit their rough patches especially when there is a lot of change to cope with. My husband and I had a bit of a break just over a year ago. Our reconcile date was 11-11-11, Remembrance Day. In honor of that date that we really committed to change, for Valentine's Day I'm sewing Poppy Fairy by Joan Elliot.

As an aside, if you haven't tried getting magazines on your tablet, I highly recommend it. Easily bookmark and zoom in on patterns. You have access to your thread stash list and more on the go so you don't over buy. International and back issues can be a few dollars cheaper or even significantly less than buying in print. You always have access to them to download, and supplemental freebies are now being added to the end of the magazine. If you have young children or are prone to coffee spills, this is great. You can also print just the patterns you need. Cross Stitch Collection (awesome fairy patterns) and Cross Stitcher are two brilliant magazines from the same publishers with different themes that offer a free back issue to test. I can't remember the last time I went on such a magazine spree.

Fabricland sells Aida to cut. The roll was a smidgen dirty where she cut so she added a bit more fabric to cut around and marked it half off. It worked out to paying $2 for the fabric for this project and I have plenty left for two more. Membership for students is available and membership is significantly worth it. I saved what I paid for it in one trip.

If you're local to Kelowna, Kelowna Yarn and Needle Crafts ( had all the colors I needed (Michaels sold out half the colors I needed and are better organized with better quality notions - no substitutions needed). I was given some really good pointers to keep my project sewing smoothly.

It's been so long since I've cross stitched. I started a project page. I got my threads all organized. I bought all my notions. I've posted a picture of what I've done so far. I'll post more pictures as I go along. Wish me luck!

January 01, 2013

My Sewing Circle and the First Cut

So cool discovery. There is a Ravelry equivalent for sewing in the works. It's still in early development and the community is still building but it's worth checking out if you haven't already. Seeing different color or alteration ideas for sewing and tracking my tools, library and notions is fabulous! My username on there is the same as Ravelry so look me up :)

That aside, Christmas break was short and needed. I thought I was going to get a ton of crafting done but all the holiday preparations, visiting and relaxing took over. So today in the new year I'm getting getting organized for my first patterned project since sewing classes as a child. My fabric is washed and air drying. Almost ready to iron. I've done some reading on machine sewing. I chose some cheap fabric so I wouldn't be upset if it didn't turn out right but that backfired; I love the fabric! I'm nervous cutting it. It's like that blank canvas a painter stares at before the first stroke. I will post pictures later. So here goes!