Of Rats and Jen

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Freebie Friday, Oct. 12, 2007 – Counted Cross Stitch!

Filed under: Announcements,Contests,Stitchery — folkcat at 3:51 pm on Friday, October 12, 2007

Here’s something a little different for Freebie Friday – a pair of counted cross stitch kits that have been sitting in my needlework stash!

Because of the size of this week’s prize, I’m afraid I must restrict entries to mailing addresses in the United States and Canada only. My apologies to my international friends – there will be opportunities for you again soon.

We’ve talked in this blog about how I do many, many different crafts. Currently, knitting, quilting, and a little beading and spinning are at the forefront, but lurking in the background are counted cross stitch, needlepoint, and other forms of crafting.

Like many, I’ve developed stashes for each of these crafts. Sitting in the needlework stash are a number of counted cross stitch kits bought over the years, usually on sale. I’m mostly fine with keeping them for the “someday” when I will get around to taking the time to stitch again.

Looking through them, however, I realize that my tastes have changed since the purchases, or that I have more designs in certain categories than I really need. So I thought that this week, rather than let some kits that have fallen out of my personal favor continue to stagnate in my stash, I’d offer a pair of them up as the Freebie Friday prize.

Freebie Friday, Oct. 12, 2007 - Cross Sttich Kits

On the left, we have a Bucilla kit that I’ve only had for a year. I bought it at an amazing bargain at a yard sale last year.

Bucilla Kit - Cats In The Sewing Room

The theme is cats, and I have many, many more cat-based counted cross stitch designs in my stash. I think this purchase was more for the low price I paid than a personal need to have and stitch the kit.

The package is completely sealed, and therefore contains all the supplies that originally came with it – 14 count aida cloth, cotton floss, floss separator(s), and gold-plated needles. The finished design is 12 inches by 12 inches.

NeedleMagic Kit - Happy Hearts Sampler

The other design is a traditional style sampler from the NeedleMagic company. The copyright date on this is 1980. I believe I purchased it a few years later than that, but probably no later than 1983 or 1984. The package this time is open – I had a habit at the time of being so excited about a new kit that, even if I didn’t plan to stitch it right away, I’d open it up and examine all the contents. I can assure you that everything is in the package and in good condition, though the front cover paper with the finished photograph has been crinkled and torn at the top.

This has been in my stash for some 23 years, at least. At the time I purchased it, I was fascinated by the history of cross stitch, and particularly by vintage samplers. Now, not so much. I still have a profound respect and admiration for the roots of the craft, but no longer feel a desire to decorate my home with samplers in this style.

Do you do cross-stitch? Have you thought about taking it up, but been intimidated by the cost of the kits? This pair of kits could be yours if you enter and win this week’s Freebie Friday drawing!

Each contestant can have as many as two chances to win – just read and follow these simple rules to get yours!

  • Only mailing addresses in the United States and Canada are eligible for entry to this drawing.
  • Enter by commenting to the contest post before Noon, Eastern Time, on Monday, October 15th. Only one entry per person for commenting.
  • Earn a second entry by posting about the contest on your own blog, and linking to this post. E-mail me at fiber AT folkcatart DOT com to tell me you’ve done so. Don’t forget to post soon enough that your own readers have a chance to join in the fun!
  • Have you won a prize at Crafting Jen before? No worries, you can enter again!
  • The winner will be chosen by a random drawing from all entries received before the deadline.
  • I’ll announce the winner on the blog on Monday, and will also e-mail them for their mailing address.

It’s that simple! One of you will have a chance to be stitching soon – will it be you?

Best of luck to everyone, and have a great weekend!

Transitional Living

Filed under: Daily Life,Knitting,Rats!,Stitchery — folkcat at 12:20 pm on Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Okay, so I’m a bit stuck for posting today. Lots of pieces of reality are in transition, and it’s sometimes hard to write about moving targets.

I did get some work in on the sock last night. You know – the one I had expected to finish over the weekend? It’s still not finished, but I’ve got less than two inches of leg to go now. They’re still in transition, though.

It’s worth noting that part of the problem is that, with Gryphon working two jobs, I’m doing more of the household chores than I used to. We’re still in transition with regards to adjusting to this new reality. Doing more housework myself takes more time away from crafting than you’d think. For instance, standing in front of the sink doing dishes not only uses time I would otherwise have been crafting, it tends to make my back sore, which means when I’m done with the dishes and theoretically could craft again, I actually need a little more recovery time before I feel like picking up the needles.

But it makes the whole “Gryphon working two jobs” thing doable, and that’s a good thing in the long run. So it will take me a little longer to finish the socks – big deal! Think of it as a little longer before I have to buy yarn for the next pair, and that’s good for the budget – right?

I’m a little worried about the Rattie Sisters, too. They’re going through an uncomfortable transition. Star has an unidentified bulge developing on her abdomen, and Sable has a worsening problem with scabs on her back. When they first appeared, we thought it was just the result of the sometimes aggressive dominance grooming the girls do to each other, but it’s clear now that’s not the case.

We’ve been working diligently over the last few weeks to improve their diets, and it is helping. Their energy levels have increased, and they seem to be enjoying the new diet better than the old. But the scabs continue to get a bit worse, so today we’re going to call a vet’s office and see about getting them both in for an appointment. I’ll be sure to let you know how we do.

Otherwise, I’m off to A. C. Moore today to take advantage of their 5/$1 sale on DMC floss. The dinosaur I showed yesterday is going to take more than one skein. Besides, I’m getting notions about other projects using the blanket stitch technique. I have a feeling I should be stocked up on variegated threads as I transition into this embroidery technique taking more of my time.

So, nothing much to show today. Lots of things in transition, like socks and rats and dinosaurs. I hope we see some progress on all of them later!

Think good thoughts for the Ratties for me, okay?

Edited later to add: The consensus in the phone call to the vet’s office was that Sable should be seen first. So we’re bringing her in tomorrow afternoon. Star’s issue is a less urgent matter and can wait until another visit. Which is good, because this will cost enough that we have to space things out for the budget.

No Socks For You

Filed under: Crafting Miscellany,Knitting,Stitchery,Television — folkcat at 1:47 pm on Monday, June 11, 2007

Did I finish the socks I was working on? The ones I promised a modeled photo of today?

That would be a “no.”

Gryphon and I got going great guns on errands and things this weekend. And while it means we got a lot done, it also means I didn’t really turn my thoughts to knitting when I got home.

I did, however, start working on another project that’s been calling me since I finished the last embroidered rock.

SIP: Dinosaur

He looks impressively large in this picture, with nothing to give you a proper scale. In fact, it’s about 8 inches from the tip of the tail to the front of the piece, and it stands about 5 inches tall. Not too bad, though it will be the largest piece I’ve done yet.

The thread in this case is DMC floss, color #69. When I work with floss at this scale, I use all six strands without separating them. The technique is the same, basic blanket stitch embroidery that I discussed in my How To Embroider a Rock post.

SIP: Dino Detail, First Band

In this close up of the side, you can see that the first part I stitched, on the left, the color bands go completely around the body. It was only after getting to the second light colored band that I realized I could work short rows and keep the shades in the areas I want. As you can see to the right, the second dark band doesn’t completely circle the body – it sits as a stripe on top, with lighter color thread at the belly.

It’s going to be fascinating to watch this build. Unlike the rocks, I want to have more control over the placement and direction of the color patches, so I’ll be watching the shape of the body carefully and making decisions about stitch direction based on what I see happening as I go.

Once again, I found myself completely sucked in while I worked on this piece. I stitched during the Tony Awards broadcast, and was able to pay some attention to the show. Don’t worry, I caught all the important bits. It was just as well I was stitching along, though, because the Awards captured my interest less than usual this time. All the big buzz – and most of the awards – went to shows that I’ve not been seeing hype about over the course of the year. As a Broadway fan who doesn’t get to be right in Manhattan seeing what the theaters are up to, if a show doesn’t make much splash on the general news, I know nothing about it. It’s hard to get excited about shows you have no connection to, even if that connection only comes from news stories.

Our household errands weren’t purely utilitarian. One of the items I came home with was this little girl:

Sunnie Doll

The box names her “Sunnie,” but I don’t think that’s going to stick. She’s an “Our Generation” doll, made by the Battat Co. and sold at Target. Our Generation dolls are meant to be an inexpensive alternative to the 18″ American Girl Dolls.

Sunnie is the same size as the 18″ standard girl dolls, and will wear the same outfits. No, she’s not a gift for some little girl I know. Unless you count me as a little girl. I’ve just been wanting a doll to create outfits for, and finally spotted these at Target the other day.

There’s a distinct quality difference compared to a more expensive collectible doll, but for the price I paid ($19.99), she’s not bad at all. And anything I make for her will still be usable if I find a chance to get one of the better quality options in the future.

My brief foray onto the web to find knitting patterns for her has been disappointing, however. Everything seems to be knit with worsted weight yarn, and looks ultra chunky and lacking in style. The scale of worsted is just all wrong here – imagine if you knitted a cardigan for yourself holding a couple strands of bulky weight together? That’s the effect I’m seeing out there so far.

I’ll keep looking – I may just need to dig deeper to find the patterns that are meant to make nice, elegant outfits, instead of quick knits for grandma to knit that will wear hard for a child at play. Eventually, I may even create some of my own patterns. Who knows?

Another Rock, More Sock, and Schaefer Anne

Filed under: Knitting,Stitchery — folkcat at 3:20 pm on Thursday, June 7, 2007

So what does Folkcat do when she has to rest her hands from knitting? I suggested yesterday that I wouldn’t be able to just do nothing. And I was right.

Back when I posted my guide to How to Embroider a Rock, the example I used was a small rock I’d picked up in the parking lot at NH S&W. I got the rock covered that day, but never went on to the embellishment phase.

Yesterday, I decided it was the perfect project for my hands to take on. The fingers wouldn’t be sitting in a nearly immobile grip the way they do when I’m knitting – they’d be darting this way and that, weaving a tapestry needle through the various places I wanted my blanket stitches to land.

Embroidered Rock 2: Side 1Embroidered Rock 2: Side 2Embroidered Rock 2: Side 3

I find the process of creating these objects fascinating. It’s one of the few crafts I do where I get so absorbed in my work that I lose all sense of time – I look up between stitches, and realize that a couple hours have passed and I barely noticed.

Obviously, this is something I should keep pursuing. Anything that puts you into that deep a contemplative state while you’re working it is worth doing more.

So, what does one do with an embroidered rock? I think I have to categorize these as whimsies for the time being. They’d be suitable as a paperweight, or desk jewelry, or some such. Beyond that, I’m just going to wait and see where my style and designs go from here.

I promised the other day to show the progress on Socks for Folkcat/Pair Two (SF/P2). Here’s where I’d gotten to by the end of Tuesday night:

SF/P2S2

About halfway through the foot on the second sock, I’d say. I’ll be working on these again tonight, and with luck, could have them finished in time for a modeled shot on Monday. To prevent further aches in the hands, I’m going to dig out my Hand-Eze gloves to wear while I knit.

Meanwhile, buoyed by my satisfaction in the Cherry Tree Hill Pair 2 is knit from, I’m starting to branch out slowly to explore more premium sock yarns. Gryphon and I pried enough money from the budget today to pick up this at the LYS:

Schaefer Anne Sock Yarn

That’s a skein of Schaefer Anne. It’s also the most expensive sock yarn I’ve ever purchased. The cheek test (rubbing the skein against my cheek) suggests that despite the mohair content, this will be soft and comfortable on my sensitive feet. I have to wait a bit to knit it, though – I promised Gryphon the next pair of socks!

How To Embroider a Rock

Filed under: How To,Stitchery — folkcat at 1:10 pm on Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I promised I’d give, not exactly a step-by-step how-to for the freeform embroidery I did to cover a rock, but at least some guidelines to help you get started.

Embroidered Rock - Side One

Materials

The things you’ll need are:

  • a small rock – I recommend something that fits easily in the palm of your hand. And believe it or not, an irregular shape is actually better than a very regular one – the curves and edges of the rock will help your stitching to stay in place in the early stages.
  • your choice of yarn, perle cotton, or embroidery floss. This doesn’t take much yarn – scraps will do the job! I suggest something with a smooth finish – that seems to stitch more easily – and with variegated colors to lend the maximum interest in the finished stitchery. Larger yarns will cover the rock more quickly, but may be harder to add beads to; smaller yarns will give a finer detail and allow more subdividing of the surface, but may fray more quickly and will take longer to cover.
  • a tapestry needle of appropriate size for the thread or yarn. Don’t use your best quality needles – they will get scratched as you work against the rock’s surface.
  • (optional) beads that will fit over the threaded tapestry needle. If you really want to use beads, test this out before finalizing what thread and needle you’ll use.

The technique is blindingly simple. Everything you see here is stitched using the blanket stitch. (I used to think I was using buttonhole stitch until I went looking for that link and learned the difference!) I use variegated threads and yarns to highlight the changes in direction of my stitching.

Getting Started

Take a length of about 2 yards of your chosen thread. This will be getting dragged regularly against the rock, and will wear and fray, so you don’t want to use a piece any longer than this. In fact, as you work you might find you want a shorter thread to avoid breakage of your yarn.

Click any picture for a bigger image if you want to see the details better. Also, please note the rock being stitched on is not the same one in the finished pictures, so the shape is quite different.

Embroidered Rock - Starting Line
The Starting Line

Find some point around which you can securely tie the beginning of your yarn or thread. Tie the yarn with a square knot. Leave one tail about 2 to 3 inches long. You want this starting line to be tight, but not so tight you can’t get your needle under it.

Embroidered Rock - First Stitch
Your First Stitch

Thread an appropriately sized tapestry needle on the long tail of your working yarn, and begin making blanket stitches to cover the line around the rock. Snug this first stitch up against the right hand side of your square knot.

Embroidered Rock - Several Stitches Done
Several Stitches Along

Continue working stitches down your starting line. Don’t snug them up tight against each other! Eventually, you’ll be stitching a row of blanket stitches along the other side of this line, and you need a little space between the stitches you’re making now to be able to fit those new stitches in. See the picture above; you want to leave about a yarn’s width of space between the upright legs of your blanket stitches.

Embroidered Rock - Covering the Tail
Begin Covering The Tail Yarn

About an inch before you get back around to your square knot, begin working your stitches over both the starting line and the short tail. Once you feel the tail is sufficiently anchored, cut off the excess close to your stitching.

Embroidered Rock - The Second Round
First Stitches of Second Round

When you’ve come back to the square knot, work your last stitch or two right over it. Then, simply continue around, only now you’re working each blanket stitch into a blanket stitch from the previous round. Your needle will pass under the horizontal, upper thread of the stitch, just as it passed under the starting line for your first round.

My camera batteries died at this point, so unfortunately I don’t have images of any subsequent steps.

Go Wild!

Once you’ve stabilized the starting line with a row or two of stitches, you can start to work intuitively. I frequently start to throw bridge lines across other parts of the rock. These bridge the openings in your stitch work, making a connection from one side of the gap to the other. Wherever you want to put a bridge, just carry your working thread over the gap to the stitches on the other side, and anchor it by working blanket stitches into the existing stitches there.

You can increase (work two stitches into one) and decrease (skip a stitch) as needed to conform to the shape of your rock. Most of the pattern in my rock is created by a combination of the variegated yarn, and by further subdividing the unstitched areas of the rock with bridges.

Most areas are filled by simply working around and around until there’s no more room. Some small sections might be filled by working back and forth (simply reverse the direction of your stitching). Sometimes I’ll do that to change the shape of a large opening, sometimes just to fill a very small one.

Embroidered Rock - Window Showing Detail of Stone
A Window

With an interesting rock like this piece of granite, you might not want to completely cover the stone. Openings can be left wherever you like – I try to find odd bits of patterning in the rock that I want to feature.

Embroidered Rock - Side Two
Ruffled, Beaded Frames

Add Dimension

The body of this rock is covered with a DK weight baby yarn. The beaded ruffles around some of the openings are also blanket stitch, but worked up from the rock’s surface. I stitched them with variegated DMC embroidery floss, in colors to complement the baby yarn.

I went with floss (and a smaller tapestry needle) partly for the visual contrast with the baby yarn (though the yarn is glossy, the floss is glossier), and partly because the size 8 beads I was using needed a thinner thread and needle.

The first round is stitched one blanket stitch into each stitch around the window. For subsequent rounds, I caused a ruffling effect by stitching two blanket stitches into each stitch of the previous round. After about two rounds, I started adding beads.

Bead It

The beads are added as you go – before inserting the needle into the stitch below to begin your new blanket stitch, simply thread a bead and slide it down to the work. I added beads in two ways – either I slid them down and left them laying on the top, horizontal thread in the stitch, or I passed the needle through them again in the opposite direction from the first pass, leaving them positioned vertically on a pair of threads to form the leg of the stitch. I always did at least one round of thread only stitches after a round of beads, to help frame the beads themselves and make them stand out a little better.

Adding Thread

When you need to add in new thread, first lay the starting tail of the new thread along the top of the stitches you’re working into, then stitch over it along with your base stitches for about half an inch. Then, thread your needle onto the new yarn, and draw it through your last made stitch from the back. Now, begin working over the end tail of your old yarn as you begin working with the new. After several stitches, you can clip the loose ends short.

Sometimes you’ll need to end a thread without adding a new one. In that case, I run my needle under the already stitched areas, coming up a half inch or so from where I went down. I then go down again exactly where I came up, and change directions before coming up again. I’ll do this about two or three times before trimming the yarn as close to the surface as I can.

If I want to add a new thread without also ending an old one, I’ll start the thread the same – by running under the work a little before coming up where I want to stitch.

Where From Here?

Claudia was delighted with her little rock – she said she has a pile of papers she keeps from blowing away by putting a watering can on them, and this will be so much better. As for me, I picked up a second rock in the parking lot on the way back to the car at the end of the Festival, and I’ll make myself one that coordinates with Claudia’s for my own souvenir of our meeting!

I’m also starting to get ideas for other objects to cover – a nicely dried tree branch with the bark stripped, for instance, or found objects from a flea market or yard sale. I find the process very satisfying, and the results are beautiful.

I hope this little guide inspires you to try the technique for yourself. It’s not that hard, requires very little in materials, and has no pattern to follow. Pick up a rock at the beach on vacation, or a piece of driftwood, or anything, and craft a nice memory piece to treasure!

NH S&W

Filed under: Blogfriends,Craft Shopping,Shopping Adventures,Special Events,Stitchery — folkcat at 1:26 pm on Monday, May 14, 2007

One of the big reasons for going to NH S&W this year was Claudia. We’ve become good friends via our blogs, exchanging small gifts, always there with a supportive comment or a giggle. When I heard she was going to be a vendor at the Festival this year with her Heal My Hands products, I had to go!

Me and Claudia

So here we are, together at last. Unfortunately, since Claudia was working, we only had the briefest of encounters. We were left wanting for more – a chance to just hang out, knitting and crocheting together, talking, sharing good food and drink, maybe some shopping adventures. I have a feeling we’re going to make an effort to bring our paths together again for a more extended visit.

BTW, over my left shoulder you can see some of Claudia’s awesome freeform crochet. The sidebar of her blog has a link to a gallery of photos, too. Inspired by Claudia, I tried to wrap my brains around freeform crochet – I’m as good a crocheter as I am anything else – but just can’t seem to feel the changes.

So I fell back on the freeform fiber art I do indulge in, and made a gift that I presented to Claudia when I saw her – a little piece of New Hampshire to keep in memory of our first meeting.

A Freeform Embroidered Rock for Claudia
Freeform Embroidered Rock

Yes, that’s embroidery. The rock is a piece of granite that spontaneously appeared in our driveway a week ago Sunday – we went out for errands and it wasn’t there, we came back and it was. Why one gets these ideas, who knows, but I decided to pick it up and make this little object as a gift. I’d done this freeform embroidery before (pre-blogging) to make pendants out of a couple of carved or tumbled gemstones. This was the first time I did an object this large.

I’d tell you just how I did it right now, but there are other places I need to go with this post and it will get too long. Tell you what, though – I promise, by the end of the week I’ll put up as much of a how-to as is possible, okay?

Bloggers’ Meet-up

My first ever, you know, even though I’ve been blogging for over two years now. I got to meet so many of you, and I’m afraid I won’t remember everyone. Gryphon was a good do-be with the camera, though, and did his best to get a picture. It’s like herding cats, you know, so we didn’t manage to get everyone. But he did capture a number of the group in this frame!

Blogger Meet-up, NH S&W 2007

I just noticed – we’re almost exclusively wearing blue, aren’t we? That’s a little freaky!

Somewhere in there you may, or may not, see JessaLu, Wanda (in red), Cynthia, Laurie, Helen, Habetrot, MamaCate, Lynne, Lucia and more. If I missed you on this list, my apologies – please do drop me a note to say hello!

It was actually a little intimidating for me. It quickly became obvious that almost everyone already knew everyone else, and had many shared experiences to draw from for easy conversation. Me, not so much. This was only my second wool festival (third, if the Wool Arts Tour counts), and my first blogger meet-up. I didn’t have much to contribute as everyone reminisced about previous festivals, events they went to together. Hopefully, I can start to change that as I get to know some of you better. Maybe even, dare I say, meet off-blog now and then?

JessaLu made my day, I have to say. She was the one who looked over at me, said “Are you Jen?”, then said, “I’m JessaLu!” and gave me a big hug. Thank you so much, JessaLu!

Jen’s Purchases?

I did buy something, yes I did. Two somethings, even. But I think I’ll wait until tomorrow to tell you what. Suffice it to say, it’s something I’ve been wanting for a while; it’s durable goods (tools) rather than expendable (fiber); it introduces a new variant on fibercraft into my repertoire; I started playing with them almost as soon as we got home; Gryphon even did a little; I already have big plans for big projects with them.

More tomorrow! 😉

Distraction Therapy

Filed under: Crafting Miscellany,Knitting,Papercraft,Sewing,Stitchery — folkcat at 1:52 pm on Monday, April 30, 2007

I’m just so tired and crappy feeling these days. Is it the stress of wondering if Gryphon will find a part-time job soon enough to count? Have we had some low-level bug pass through us? (Our bathroom habits this weekend would suggest that’s a possibility!) Is there a general malaise in Southern NH in the wake of floods, college shootings, and other miserable events dominating the news?

I’ve somehow managed to continue being productive, in spite of it all. Crafting helps to distract me from the aches and pains. The sad thing is that I have to lift my consciousness out of the creative process now and then, if only to eat and sleep. It’s at those moments that my brain has time to notice that I feel like hell.

Truthfully, I’m not too worried about it. I know that whatever it is, it will pass. And with good progress on a number of crafts, it’s hard to feel impaired by anything.

For instance, since Friday I have:

  • Cut out all the pieces for another 8 to 9 inch tall Maneki Neko papercraft model. The new one will be a different pose than the one pictured at that link, with a medallion focusing on wishing for money.
  • Stitched the stems of the vines along the sides of a path on the miniature knotted rug.NIP - Mini Knotted Rug, First Vines
  • Worked several inches of foot, the short-row heel, and a couple inches of leg on Gryphon’s Socks, Pair Two, Sock Two.
    WIP - Gryphon's Socks, Pair 2, Sock 2, Into the Leg
  • Knit the Nearly Endless Edging as far as the center of my Carnival Glass Shawl. I put it down at this point because the next step involves changing which rows attach to the live stitches for a few repeats.
    WIP - Carnival Glass Shawl, Edging to Center Point
  • Sewed a complete dogbone pillow for Gryphon. He was so taken with mine, and went shopping in my fabric stash to see if anything appealed to him. What he came up with was a discontinued Egyptian print fabric from Jo-Ann’s. Being my second dogbone, this one stitched up in no time, and Gryphon got a better made pillow than I did. (Pictures later – he’s taking a nap before work, and the pillow is in use!)
  • And I have officially turned over the rest of my portion of the PixelHobby craft to Gryphon. He’s just enjoying it too darned much, and he has precious few crafts that appeal to him the way this does. It’s not like I don’t have other things I can be working on, after all!PIP - PixelHobby, 5 done, 7 to go

You see? It’s hard to find time to feel crappy when you’re doing all this. At least the time spent feeling achy and tired is far outweighed by the time I spend successfully distracting myself from it! So, I’m planning to continue this course of distraction therapy. One day soon, I’m sure I’ll be surprised at how much better my body feels when I get up from my crafting.

Weekend Wrap Up

Filed under: Crafting Miscellany,Knitting,Sewing,Shopping Adventures,Stitchery — folkcat at 12:11 pm on Monday, April 16, 2007

My productive streak continued through the weekend. Let’s see if I can remember everything!

First off, a friend and I went out to visit a Local Quilt Shop on Friday for their Friday the 13th sale. The big draw is bundles of 13 fat quarters for $13.

I’d been to a previous Friday the 13th sale entirely by accident, and picked up this stack of retro print fat quarters then:

Fabric - 13 Retro Prints

I’ve taken a notion that I want to make a hexagon quilt, some variation on Grandmother’s Flower Garden, and these fabrics would be perfect. So I went up to the sale Friday hoping to find another stack of the retro prints.

As luck would have it, there was exactly one left on the sale table by the time I got there. I pounced, and it was mine!

Fabric - More Retro Prints

Best of all, there are only three fabrics in the new stack that duplicate fabrics from the old stack. So I have 23 different fabrics here. What fun!

Anya and I kept going after that shop, and visited another quilt shop where I found these friendly-looking cats in the clearance corner:

Goofy Cat Fabric
Psycho Kitties?

Of course, they had to come home with me. No idea what they’ll wind up in, but how could I resist those faces? I bought a yard on Friday, and then when I went into the same shop again Saturday, I bought another yard. (I’ll probably do that every time I visit there, so long as the fabric is still present in the clearance corner.)

Here’s the info about the fabric as found on the selvedge, if you want to try to track it down yourself. Click the picture for a larger image if you need it.

Goofy Cat Fabric, Selvedge Info

While out at quilt shops, I had a chance to show my first quilt squares from last week to an expert or two. Turns out that what I thought was a cutting error that made one piece of each square a little too long, was actually a sewing error. I’m still practicing, folks, and apparently I haven’t nailed the art of the quarter-inch seam yet. All my seams came out just a hair larger than the magic quarter-inch, and though there weren’t that many seams in any given square, the cumulative effect was enough to make that last piece appear too long.

Not to worry – the squares I made will get trimmed, and sewn into a pillow. That sounded like a better idea than picking apart the seams and trying again! When I went back to the quilt shop on Saturday, I bought quarters of the same fabrics again so I can start fresh for the wall hanging I’m working on. And I’ll have a pillow to match!

Enough About the Shopping – How About the Crafting?

Managed to do pretty well there, too. Both Gryphon and I put in a lot of work on the PixelHobby tiles. Four baseplates are now complete, with two more well over halfway done. The entire picture contains twelve baseplates, so we’re approaching the halfway point on the project as a whole.

Having decided that the weekend might offer better, focusable time for needlework, I put in the latest Netflix disc (Veronica Mars, Season 1, Disc 4), and pulled out the miniature knotted rug. At last, the border on that central medallion with the mice is complete!

Needlework In Progress (NIP) Kitty Corner Knotted Rug, Medallion Complete

The next step is to stitch the vines that border the stone pathways radiating out from the center.

I’m beginning to think that there are “Bad Thread Days” in needlework. The previous two times I’d tried to work on this stitching, the thread seemed to misbehave badly, snagging, popping the French knots through the fabric when it shouldn’t, etc. This time, everything was smooth and easy. Humidity? Stitching Goddess? Who knows?

Later Sunday, after my fingers were worn out from tiny embroidery needles and pixelating, I picked up Gryphon’s latest sock and got back to work. The heel was finished in good time, and I began working up the leg. Home stretch, folks, and then I get to do it again!

WIP - Gryphon's Socks, P2, S1, Into the Leg

Into Today

Monday is Spinning Day, and I think the yarn I plied last Monday has sat on the bobbin long enough. I’ll be skeining that up and giving it a wash today. Then I think, rather than start a new project on the wheel, I’ll put some time in on one of the several unfinished yarns I’ve got on spindles.

I hope you all stayed warm and dry yesterday. Gryphon and I planned well, and were able to stay inside crafting and relaxing. Of course, the Weather Channel is predicting various combinations of rain and snow for nearly every day this week. Yuck! Did we use up all of spring in January, do you think, or is it going to wait until it’s officially summer to make an appearance?

Tuesday is Needlework Day – Unless It Isn’t

Filed under: Crafting Miscellany,Daily Life,Sewing,Stitchery — folkcat at 1:25 pm on Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Because, you know…it just doesn’t seem to be working out.

I thought that needlework would be doable for Tuesdays, but in reality, I just can’t seem to get there. When I sit down to do embroidery, needlepoint, cross stitch, it takes a certain amount of time to set up, and you want to be able to work uninterrupted for a good while before having to set things aside.

Tuesdays are Craft Goddess day. My friends come into my home to sit and craft for a few hours in the evening. In fact, I go out to pick one up and bring her back. Which means that there’s always a change of activity to anticipate within an hour or so of starting anything on a Tuesday.

I’m going to shift things around, then. The way things are currently set up, Monday and Wednesday are already filled with crafts that require the same sort of attention as the needlework – spinning and quilting. Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday all involve outings or gatherings of some sort, and aren’t conducive to needlework. Weekends have been considered “Anything Goes,” but there’s no reason I can’t put a Needlework Day on either Saturday or Sunday.

The new concept, then, is to have Tuesday as an Anything Goes day. I can pick up whatever craft is easy to do while chatting with friends. On the weekends, when it’s just Gryphon and me, I can work in needlework activities among the other things we do quite easily.

The failure of yesterday as a Needlework Day means I have nothing to show you today. I did a fair bit of work on book stuff, but it looks a lot like the last photo of that which I shared.

Wednesday is Quilting Day

I actually got enough cleaning and organizing done on Monday that I think I’ll be able to do this, too. The card table is ready for the cutting mat to be laid out, the sewing machine is up and loaded with the correct needle. Wish me luck!

What I Did Wednesday

Filed under: Knitting,Papercraft,Stitchery — folkcat at 1:18 pm on Thursday, February 22, 2007

No time for fancy story telling today. Thursday is always full of errands, and then, of course, going out all evening for Knitting Around at Panera.

So I’ll just tell you, quickly and simply, What I Did Wednesday.

Pajama Day

I had no need to go out anywhere, so I decided to take a personal Pajama Day, just relax at home, crafting and watching TV.

Mindless TV

My brain was a little fried on the concept of following complex plots, though, so I worked through a pile of The People’s Court episodes I had stacked up in Tivo, then I watched an America’s Funniest Videos, and the two-hour American Idol sing-off for the twelve women. Kept it simple, kept it interesting enough to count, but kept my brain from feeling too slow to keep up.

Stitchery

People’s Court makes for good stitching time, since you don’t have to look at the screen every minute. So I did some work on the miniature knotted rug.

Needlework in Progress: Knotted Rug, Center Border

I’ve now completed the background behind the mice at the center, and have worked about a third of the border around that medallion. Once I finish that, I’ll be stitching the vines up the sides of the four stone paths.

Papercraft

People’s Court is also good paper cutting time, so I scored and cut out the pieces for another small papercraft project.

Papercraft in Progress: Card Boy

He’s called CardBoy, and he’s a desk calendar disguised as either a robot or a space boy – I’m not sure which. It was a limited time free offer from a business website online. Basically, he’s a box on a small body, and the months are on another box that fits inside his head. He’ll be a cute reference to keep by the computer.

Knitting, too

But I didn’t take a picture of it because, well, it’s about 4 more rows on the Carnival Glass Shawl border. Which is still stitching perfectly by using the one chart and mirroring it for the other side. So just go back to the last picture, and imagine the border as a little bit wider.

Today?

Payday for Gryphon, so, lots of errand running. Then, of course, knitting tonight at Panera, which means attention for the Log Cabin Blanket instead of the Carnival Glass Shawl. I mean, the shawl pattern is working for now, but I don’t think I want to risk finding another problem while I’m chatting in a noisy cafe…

Happy knitting, everyone!

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