Archive for April, 2013

KaCBW Day 7: Looking Forward

Today’s post for the 4th annual  Knit and Crochet Blog Week is about the future, and sadly is the last in the week for this year. The question in the prompt is: where do you hope your crafting will have taken you to? What new skills, projects and experiences do you hope you might have conquered or tried?

This one is hard for me, I’m not really a planner in my crafting. I definitely hope to have finished the cardigan from Day 2. Although really, I have been known to have projects on the needles for several years before finishing them (I started a Dr. Who scarf for my brother more than 6 years ago, when I was still in highschool, which isn’t even close to finished) so that could be a bit of a challenge. I also want to work a lot more on my Fiber Catan board, which I’m pretty sure will involve lots of new needle felting challenges. But no matter what I plan now and whether I actually achieve these goals or not, I’m sure I’ll be doing lots of new fiber things and will definitely share them with you along the way.

KaCBW Day 6: A Tool to Covet

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KaCBW Day Five: Something a Bit Different

Today’s post is in a different format than usual.

50 posts

Stupid program I used to create the graphic didn’t tell me they’d put their name *all over* my entire picture, grumble grumble

KaCBW Day 4: Colour Review

The prompt for today: “What are your favourite colours for knitted or crocheted projects. Have a think about what colours you seem to favour when yarn shopping and crafting.” I think I tend toward two different sets of colors when I’m just buying yarn because it’s pretty and when I’m making a project. (I think I’ll leave needle felting out of consideration for this one cause the colors I use in needle felting tend to be based on the colors of objects in the real world, not my own choices.) When I’m just buying yarn because it’s pretty, which is most of my stash, I think I tend to go with mostly blues and greens, and the occasional bright red or yellow, if it jumps out at me. Blue is the color I wear most, so I think that affects my yarn buying because there’s always that rationalizing voice in the back of my head saying something like I could make a hat out of this, or this would be great for that mitten pattern I found on Ravelry. Not that the theoretical projects get made very often.

So now I’m supposed to go look at my stash and see if I was right! *five minutes later* Ha! Just as I thought, mostly blues, although a surprising number of oranges, and lots of random single or pairs of balls of a big range of colors. There are especially a lot of partial balls of various jewel tones from the Hedgehogs.

Now in colors for projects, I think there’s a much bigger variation. Very few of my projects are clothing items, and of those even fewer are for myself, so I can be more adventurous and indulge my love of color. I really do enjoy bright colors, and will gladly put together a set of colors that make your eyes water but I think looks good, but I prefer not to call attention to myself so I don’t wear many bright colors. That just means I have to use all the bright colors in non-clothing items! Now let’s take a look at some of my projects and see if I’m right.

I’d say there’s a pretty good range of color there. The bright colors are mostly in the hedgehogs I guess, maybe that’s why I like them so much, but there’s even lots of colors in my first quilt! Yay for lifelong consistency!

So there you are, my color preferences, and a nice little review of my projects in the bargain.

KaCBW Day 3: Infographic

 

 

Today’s challenge is to create and post an infographic. Man did I have a hard time coming up with something for this one. I went with just a graph rather than a big fancy infographic, like some awesome ones I’ve already seen for today’s post, because I just can’t think of anything to make a full infographic about. Also I seem to have no drawing programs on my computer other than paint, I need to find a free one to download somewhere. Below is my graph/infographic, you can pretty much ignore the numbers, the program I was using to make the graph had to have them and I couldn’t make it not label the y-axis. The important part is the proportions of the bars to each other.
graph

 

As you can see, I’m a bit yarn obsessed, but slow to knit. Needle felting however, I’m very quick at and do a lot more of. But the yarn is just so pretty, and cuddly, and pet-able…shut up, I don’t have a problem. Okay, maybe I do, but I control my yarn buying, it doesn’t control me. I really mean that, I’m not just trying to justify, until I bought the yarn specifically for the sweater in my post yesterday, which I bought partially with a gift certificate remember, I hadn’t bought myself any new yarn in years. Although I may have occasionally weaseled one of my parents into buying a pretty yarn for me… 😀

Anyway, there’s my infographic. I don’t think I’ll be using infographics a lot on here, but it was interesting to play with.

KaCBW Day 2: Mascot Project

Today I am supposed to find a project that represents the House of the Monkey, either the animal itself or the characteristics. I considered finding a monkey project, I have always enjoyed sock monkeys, but decided that was too obvious and just not a challenging enough task for this monkey! We don’t have to actually make the pattern but really, it’s pretty easy to find a pattern online for a monkey or sock monkey, there’s just no challenge. So instead I am going to tell you about a pattern I do plan to make which is a challenge for me.

So I have the yarn for this pattern, but haven’t started it yet. I’m making a cardigan/sweater from the book Knit Kimono Too, which happens to be filled with lots of amazing looking patterns that I would love to make. I am specifically making the one called Tokai Tomoshibi, and even the name of the pattern is a challenge for me! Here’s the picture from the book.

It looks pretty simple from a distance but it has a fancy fan stitch that you can see better in the close-ups. The yarn I got for it is beautiful, pictures will be coming when I start swatching, and of course is hand-painted and ridiculously expensive. Luckily I had a gift card…which covered about a third of the cost :-/. Anyway, this will be the first project of this size I have ever made. Yes, you read that right, I have never made a sweater before. In fact the largest project I’ve ever made was a simple stockinette stitch afghan that ended up being about half the size originally planned and it useful for pretty much the top half of your legs. I’m just not good at sticking with a big project once it’s not challenging anymore. But I’m hoping the stitch pattern in this one will keep me interested enough to finish the piece, cause it’s a more complicated pattern than I’ve done before and should present a bit of a challenge.

This pattern is also interesting because it’s done completely in rectangles. All the patterns in the book are built that way, which just fascinates me. One reason I’ve been hesitant to try making a sweater is because they tend to be done at least partially in the round and with lots of increases and decreases, which won’t work if not done just right. And I’m just not precise enough in my knitting to trust that I would get the increases and decreases in just the right place, and I really hate pulling my work out, especially when I only want to pull it part way back. I just have so much trouble finding the right row to pull back to and then I tend to be lost in the pattern, and it’s all a mess. But rectangles I can do. Nice, simple back and forth, so the stitch pattern can be the tricky part, and  I can be reasonably sure my finished piece will look right. So now I just need to start the gauge swatch so I can get the right needle size.

This post was supposed to also be about my process of choosing a project, and I think this was a pretty good example. Generally it’s pretty much random, I look at patterns online or in books and make the ones that jump out and grab me. Other times I see things in life, animals, space ships, chocolate, etc, and it just hits me that I have to make that in fiber. Then I figure out which fiber technique it would work best with, although usually that ends up being needle felting because it’s what I’m most comfortable improvising in, and start finding every picture  of the object from every angle that I can. And then I just get working! Cause planning doesn’t really work for me when it comes to art stuff; once I have it planned it feels close enough to finished that I lose motivation.

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week

I discovered on one of the blogs I follow that it is Knitting and Crochet Blog week, where there is a theme/prompt for a post for each day this week, and I’ve decided to participate. You can find the details over at Eskemimi Makes, if you’re interested, or just read my posts this week and enjoy!

 

Today I am supposed to choose a house for the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, and explain my crafting style/outlook and why I chose that house. The choices are:

The House of Bee: Bees are busy and industrious, but can flit from one interesting project to the next as bright and shiny things capture their interest.

The House of Manatee: Manatees are gentle, calm and cuddly. Relaxed and unflashy they represent the comfort and soft side of knitting and crochet.

The House of Monkey: Intelligent and with a fun loving side, Monkeys like to be challenged with every project presenting them with something new and interesting.

The House of Peacock: Peacocks take something good and make it brilliant. Buttons, embellishments and a bit of sparkle prove that perfection lies in the details – like a Peacock’s Tail.

I had a hard time choosing between the House of the Bee, because I do tend to jump around between projects, and the house of the Monkey, because I love a challenge. But I decided on the House of the Monkey.

I went with the House of the Monkey because my favorite part of all the crafting I do is trying new things and giving myself challenges. I figure that’s actually why I jump between projects so much, one challenge gets boring, or easy because I’ve gotten good, and I move on to the next. I think that’s why I tend to do so many different crafting techniques as well; I get intrigued by the challenge and the newness and get excited to try it. But of course I refuse to admit that the only reason I’m trying something is because it’s new so I purposely get deep into it and stick with it, and inevitably discover more challenges in it. Of course sometimes I want easy and familiar so I start a simple project, but those are the projects that rarely get finished, or that take me years to finish.

Stick around all week for some fun, silly, and informative posts.

So how about you? What’s your crafting style?

Finished Book!

Well mostly. There are a few things I want to clean-up on it, but it’s finished enough that it’s on display in the show, so those things will have to wait. All of the pages are together now and the covers are on, and it shouldn’t fall apart. So, pictures first.

The pictures aren’t the best cause I was taking them quickly, so I could get out the door. First I did the pages that are back to back, just the basic right sides together, sew three sides and flip back to right sides out. Those went pretty easy, the most difficult part was making sure to line the pages up correctly. All the pages were different sizes to begin with and the words and illustrations took up different amounts of space so it was a little tricky but I got a system worked out. Once those were all sewn together I used the un-sewn sides of all the pages to connect the sets. Basically I sewed the fourth side of the facing pages together. It worked quite nicely, but darn was it tricky to sew it on the machine once I started getting a pretty big stack of pages. This created a stack of connection points at one edge of the book that would basically be where the spine of the book is. The connections still seemed kind of flimsy so I went back and added some stitching along the top and bottom edges of the stack of connection points, just to secure everything. That helped quite a bit but I think I want to figure out a way to stabilize that area even more once I get the book back.

After I got all the pages together I needed to finish up the cover. I knew I was going to sew the two halves of the cover together by hand but I hadn’t realized that I would want to connect the two sides a little bit on the top and bottom as well. It didn’t occur to me that you would be able to see the ragged ends of the pages and all the stitching and thread tales to keep them together, and man was that ugly. So I basically just extended the seam between the front and back covers to cover a bit of the top and bottom edge. It’s not the most elegant solution, but it works.

All in all it turned out well. And I got it done in time for the show which we did hang today, the winter storm held off just long enough for us to get it put up and scurry home. Everybody loves my book, and the whole show looks just great. There are so many neat books, and now I can appreciate the construction of the books more as well. Here are a few pictures of the show, I may have more later. And there are a few more pieces that may get put up later, but the artist lives out of town and didn’t want to brave the weather, I don’t blame her.

Book Illustrations

The book is almost finished! Which is good because theoretically the show it’s for goes up tomorrow :-/. I say theoretically because we’re sposed to be getting a winter storm starting around 4 am tonight and continuing all day tomorrow, so if there’s a storm the library will probably close and then we won’t hang the show until Monday. I wouldn’t mind that, I’m pretty sure I can get the book presentable by tomorrow but if I had the extra day I could get it really polished and to the point I want it at for display. I realized today that this is the biggest fiber project I have ever made. Not sure if that says more about the size of the project or my previous work, but there it is.

 

On to the progress. I got a LOT of work done today, and a bit over the last week. I’ve now finished all the illustrations in the book and have sewn the first two pages together! First, the one set of pages I haven’t posted about at all, the set that was supposed to have satin stitch lettering. I realized this week that there was no way I was going to get them finished with satin stitch so I pulled out what I had done on those pages and printed the words on fabric. It actually turned out looking rather neat.

The last few illustrations took the most time because there was a lot of couching and one is an actual embroidered piece to itself, but I’m quite happy with how all of them turned out.

The illustrations took most of my time today, but I did manage to get the first two pages sewn together. Assembling the book is something I’m very much improvising, so I’m quite pleased at how the first two pages sewn together turned out. But, by the time I was done with those it was 11 o’clock so I figured I better wait till tomorrow or I’m going to start really messing up.

And now time for bed so I can get up early (well early for me) and finish the book! Hopefully before it needs to go in the show…

Book progress report

This was a busy week for me, I picked up a lot of extra time at work so I didn’t have much time to work on the book until today. But boy did I get things done!

First, the wording on the last page is done! This is the second of the pages I did with free-hand machine stitching.

IMG_3164

This page has the same puckering problem as the first, although I accidentally discovered that 4 layers of the paper does decrease the puckering noticeably. That’s a lot of paper, but it’s some pretty thin paper so it didn’t seem to trouble the machine at all and it wasn’t any harder to remove after the sewing was done.

Next I did the outlines on the satin stitch pages, yay for free-hand machine stitching again, which should make those go much faster. I still haven’t even finished the first of those pages, and no pictures of the partially done one, but I think I can get them done pretty quickly with some solid sewing time. If I can’t get the pages done I do have the contingency plan of printing the words out on fabric and sewing that the to pages, not as fancy but faster and a do-able alternative since I’m low on time.

And finally I started on the illustrations for the pages! The first three pages of the book are now completely finished! And the fourth one is almost done.

I’m pretty happy with how the needles turned out, and very pleased with the “thread”, which is actually yarn that I’ve couched on. I’ve never really done any couching, but the learning curve has been pretty steep, and I think I’m getting better at it. The couching is kind of slow going, but I like the results so much I don’t mind. I have decided that I need to work at a table to do the couching, rather than in front of the TV like I was doing today. It works alright to basically work in my lap but I think it would be easier and faster on a table. So much for laziness in front of the TV, I’ll just have to stick to working on the satin stitch letters when I watch TV. The fourth page is also going to have a smaller needle and thread on it, next to the piece of fabric. I’ve been waffling back and forth between just loving the piece of cloth ripply on the fourth page and thinking it looks stupid. One of the later pages is going to have what is supposed to look like a pattern drawn on paper which I will be doing on white cotton so I wanted to make the piece of cloth illustration look noticeably different by having it look ripply. Now that I think of it I could have just made it look like a folded piece of cloth, but I like the implied motion of the ripple. I’ll have to see how it looks with the rest of the illustration on the page.

These ones were the simplest illustrations, but even the more complex ones are rather small, so they should be pretty quick to put together. The show that the piece is for goes up this Sunday, so it all better be pretty quick to finish! Luckily the most complex of the illustrations are just going to be small simple embroidered flowers, and I should be able to do those pretty easily in an hour or so. And I think I just need two of those, actually, if I work it right I might only need one, we’ll have to see how that goes. It is so exciting to see, and feel!, the pile of the finished pages. It’s starting to look like a book, and like an actual piece of art too! I don’t generally think that highly of my own pieces, I’ve seen too many really good pieces by my mom and her friends and mine don’t even compare, but I’m already pretty proud of this one, and it’s only getting better.

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