Archive for the ‘general’ Category

Name that sheep!

So my mom got me this adorable stuffed sheep at a rummage sale recently, and gave it to me today. Isn’t he cute?


But I need help naming him! So, any ideas? Let me know in a comment, and I’ll let you all know what I decide.

Also, while we were still at my parents’ house, the sheep got a quilt top thrown over him like a blanket and it was adorable. Somehow it sparked the idea of dressing him in different outfits and taking pictures of him in the backyard in different seasons. Then I got home to take the first picture, and we decided to take an adventure, so here are the highlights from that!


The first investigations into our grass, he seemed less impressed than one would expect from a sheep.


He decided to see if the bird feeder had tastier food, but discovered he is not a fan of sunflower seed shells. Incidentally, I’m not either!


Then he got into a tree to try for some leaves, and it went so well that he tried to go higher.



Getting out of the tree was a bit uncomfortable for him though, face first at the ground is not an ideal climbing position. I don’t think the giraffes need to worry about sheep eating all their leaves any time soon.


Then we got back up on the deck to go back inside, and he discovered Andy’s “living salad bowl” and that seemed to go over quite well.


Don’t tell Andy! Does he look a bit sheepish here? (I couldn’t resist the pun!)

The adventures may continue, and he may start getting accessories, it all depends on how long my silliness holds out. Now, what to call him?

T-shirt Tiles

In junior high and high school I did technical theater for a lot of plays. And, of course, we got a t-shirt for every play we were in, so I have a lot of them. (Add to that the fact that the BF was in most of those shows with me so he has all the shirts too… that’s a lot of t-shirts!) I’ve been saving them for years, and my mom had sort of vaguely agreed to make me a t-shirt quilt or something with them, but neither of us ever got real excited about it. Then, in prepping for the Fiber Arts Festival, my mom started playing with t-shirt yarn and decided she wanted to demonstrate re-using t-shirts for the Festival. So we pulled out my old t-shirts and she said she’d work on them. Then she asked me if I really wanted a t-shirt quilt or if I wanted something more interesting. Well, I just want to be able to hang them up and show them off so I told her to do whatever she can come up with, as long as you can see the designs. And this is what she did!

It’s hard to know what to call them, but I think t-shirt tiles works quite nicely. They’re much more interesting, and feel more sophisticated, than a t-shirt quilt, and I can intersperse them with pictures on the walls! Of course, I haven’t put them up on the walls yet, but I’m just really bad at committing to wall decorations. No other commitment issues, just with wall decorations. Also, I’m pretty sure there’s at least one show shirt missing, and I may see if I can get her to do something like this with some of my other commemorative t-shirts, if we can find them that is. They’re kind of missing.


A little bit about the construction of the tiles. Obviously they’re the front of t-shirts that have been cut up, but because t-shirts are very stretchy (and they’re going on stretcher bars) she put a stabilizer on the fabric before she mounted it. Then it’s just wrap it around the stretcher bars and staple like crazy! I’m quite amazed at her skill at getting things on the stretcher bars just right, I know I’d be messing it up 5 different ways, and there would be a lot of swearing before anything got finished. Anyway, here are some details of the back of the pieces, to give you an idea of the construction.



I’m back and the reading binge has been taken care of! And now I’m furiously working on preparations for the Fargo Fiber Arts Festival, which is just 3 weeks away! I’m getting people signed up to volunteer at the Sit and Knit/Crochet tent, getting needle felting demo supplies together, writing up directions for the Sit and Knit/Crochet, working on yarn bombing things, and so much more. And that’s my excuse for not having any new projects finished, or even started. I do have a bit of decoration, for the Knit and Crochet tent, that I made to show you. I also have a cool little craft apron my mom made for me, which she is making for all the volunteers. And I’m working on finishing up these kumihimo, Japanese braiding, kits that she and I make. So I’ll give you pictures of those.







Sorry about the bad formatting. I also happen to be out of town for a wedding so I’m working with the wordpress mobile app, which doesn’t deal well with pictures. When I get home I think I’ll take more pictures of the kumihimo kits, and probably post about those.

At the Fiber Arts Festival we also have a non-juried, non-judged exhibit that I’ll be putting the needle felted Serenity and an array of my knitted hedgehogs in. Did you know that the technical term for a group of hedgehogs is an array? I just discovered that, pretty cool. So I’ll give you some pictures of all the hedgehogs together, which may be part of a post all about the Festival.

We’ll call it a progress report

I was in Wyoming last week for my cousin’s wedding, we got back to town Wednesday, and that’s totally my excuse for not posting sooner. Then I got home and got lazy, *sigh* sometimes I just feel like being a lazy bum. But now I’m going to post! Cause I need to clean off my dining room table so I can do more crafting, and if I tell you guys I’m gonna clean, then I’ll probably do it! Anyway, I did some fiber stuff on my trip, and got some new fiber and fibery things, to tell you about. And then I have an update on the Dreambird project I’ve been working on!

First, my fiber acquisitions.

On the way to Wyoming we made a stop at this great fabric store in Billings, MT, called Fiberworks. They had some of the neatest fabrics I’ve seen, and definitely the best collection of animal print fabrics I’ve ever seen at a store, along with lots of cool patterns. That’s where we got the penguin pattern. My cousin Colleen wants me to make a penguin for her, and I’m thinking I may start playing with colorful penguins… sometimes I’m a bit too ambitious I think, we’ll see how that goes. I also got the blue felt there, which I plan to use as the background for a couple pieces I’m doing for another show with the Designing Quilters, called Beauty and the Breast. It should be an interesting show, and those pieces are what I want to work on when I finally get the table cleared off. We also went to a fabric store in Wyoming which is where I got the plaid fabric. I just loved the colors, and it was on sale, so we got it for me to use to make an apron dress for SCA stuff. It is cotton, which isn’t exactly accurate for the time period and location, but it’s so pretty! And I figure it will be nice to have a somewhat lighter-weight apron dress.

The quilt blocks have a fun story behind them. I like to geocache, which is like a worldwide treasure hunt where people hide little containers (called caches), sometimes with little knick knacks in them, sometimes with just logs, and then post the GPS coordinates to the cache online and other people try to find them. It’s lots of fun actually, although when I first heard about it I thought it sounded strange and boring, but it’s not! The point is, there was a quilting themed geocache in the town where we were staying! I got my mom and my aunt to come with and find that cache which is where we found the quilt blocks, and then left a few buttons in exchange, because the rules are that if you take something you leave something of equal value. I’m not totally sure what I’ll do with the quilt blocks, but my mom suggested making them into a box of sorts to store/display the stuff I find from geocaches, and I like that idea. Then, on our last day in Wyoming, we stopped at a thrift store in town, which had great prices, which is where we found the pattern for the cute little sheep (I want to say it’s a counted cross-stitch pattern). It was actually a kit, but it looks like it’s missing the thread at least, unless it came with almost no thread, but it’s cute and it still has the directions and chart, so I’ll have to try it one of these days. Counted cross-stitch is one of those techniques I’ve never tried, and only been marginally interested in trying.

And now, the dreambird shawl!

I’ve been moving almost painfully slowly on it. I’m not quite sure why, cause it always feels like I’m making great progress as I work on it, and then it just feels like I stall out and suddenly it’s taking me a couple hours for each feather. And I can’t quite pinpoint a certain section that’s taking extra time, cause each section separately seems to go quite quickly and easily. Maybe I just have a weird sense of time when I’m working on it, although there is the saying that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. So maybe extra time is just disappearing… yeah, doesn’t make sense to me either. But I think I’m almost half done with the shawl, so maybe just another month or so, I hope.


Now, I need to go clean off my dining room table. It’s where I take most of my pictures and I seem to just pile up the stuff I’m taking pictures of all over the table. And the sewing machine is set up there. The poor table is just not that big, so I need to do something about the mess. And now, because I’ve told you that I’m going to clean, I might actually do it!

messy, messy table

messy, messy table

Mother’s Day

A little while after I started actually writing here again, after the crazy year of craziness (yes, I totally just called it that), one of the blogs I read posted a sort of “how to blog better” list of tips for new bloggers. One of those tips was to make a list of 100 (I think, don’t remember exact number) post topics to write about on your blog so that you’re never trying to come up with something when you want to post. Thinking this sounded like a great idea, but not expecting to come up with quite that many ideas, I started making a list of things I could post about when I didn’t have a current project to post, and promptly wrote down about 5 things. That was rather disappointing, but I did manage to expand the list to 15 or 20 items, and still add to it occasionally as ideas occur to me. I mention this because one of the topics I came up with was my mother. I talk about my mom a lot when I talk about my crafting, which makes sense to me for reasons I’ll go into in a moment, and it occurred to me that I could easily write a whole post on why she is so awesome, and of course including a bit about the crafting she does. So I’ve been thinking about that post in the back of my mind and when I realized Mother’s Day was coming up (and that I didn’t have a present for her, although I hope I’ve gotten her a card by the time I post this) and that would be just the perfect time to tell you all about my mom and the wonderful effect she has on my life.

In terms of crafting, I think of my mom primarily as a quilter as, I think, do most people who know her. Not surprisingly then, she got me started sewing at a young age, in fact I don’t even remember when she taught me to sew. But I do know that in kindergarten we had a place where we could sew little pieces of fabric together and I was already ahead of everybody else in that department, so it was probably before that. Her workroom is on the third floor of my parents’ house (yes it has a third floor, it’s a pretty big house) and I’ve loved going up there as long as I can remember. She’s got shelves of fabric on the walls in lots of different colors, and boxes of all kinds of crafting stuff, and when I was a kid I loved to look at it all and always wanted to play with it, which I think I did sometimes. Of course, half the fun of her workroom is seeing what project she’s currently working on, cause she does some awesome stuff. (She’s gonna kill me for some of these pictures…but they’re some of the stuff I love about her workroom and growing up in a house surrounded by her art)

I think I must have spent a lot of time bugging her in her workroom cause that’s how my first quilt got made, she wanted me to leave her alone enough for her to work, and I remember her teaching me to embroider because I was hanging out there with her and I needed something to do. But her teaching me new techniques, and encouraging me to learn them on my own, definitely didn’t stop when I got older and didn’t spend as much time in her workroom anymore. When I first learned to knit I was only taught the knit stitch, so I was doing lots of garter stitch scarves (garter stitch is what you get when you just knit) and was convinced I couldn’t do anything else unless I had somebody to teach my how to purl (which is the only other stitch in knitting). At that point I didn’t have anybody to teach me because I didn’t know any other knitters, and my mom just kept telling me to try it cause I could figure out how to purl by myself. And what do you know, it worked! And she even let me teach her to knit when I was so excited about knitting that I would have even tried to teach the dog to knit if he’d had thumbs, even though she didn’t enjoy knitting at all and didn’t really want to learn. But my favorite story of her encouraging me to try different crafts is when she got me started on needle felting. It was actually a Christmas present, I had a box from her and I opened it up and it was several balls of roving and this tool for a technique I had never even heard of before. She said she had heard a lot about it and thought I would like it, so when she saw the tool and wool at Hobby Lobby she got them for me so I could try it. Now I think plenty of people would look at that gift and be disappointed, but I was so excited, and I know that it never even occurred to my mom that I wouldn’t like it, because she would have loved a present like that too. And I just love how we can be on the same wavelength with crafting stuff like that so well.

I say my mom is a quilter, and she definitely is, but that’s not all she does, and she doesn’t really do your traditional bed quilts. She makes art quilts, and art not-quilts (I have no idea what else to call them), that are some of the coolest pieces I have ever seen. She just sits down to play with a piece of fabric, often that she has hand-dyed herself, and maybe some beads or some embroidery thread and ends up with this amazing piece of art, and I just don’t know how she does it. She will still do more traditional quilts if she has a reason to, she made me a quilt in college, cause I asked her to, that I just love, but mostly she does the art quilts, I think she gets bored with the traditional patterns. And she does so much other fiber crafting. A few years ago she got interested in natural dying and spent the next couple years experimenting with all kinds of things. She ordered indigo powder and thought about trying to grow indigo of her own, but decided it wouldn’t work, she tried growing woad to dye with, she collected hundreds (maybe thousands) of marigolds from her friends with gardens to use for dying, she used the rhubarb from the backyard, and I think she even tried dying with the vines that grow on my parents’ house. It was so fun to see the results, even though lots of them ended up being different shades of browns and yellows, and it was even better to see her get so excited about it! Her excitement for crafting is just contagious. Although my dad wasn’t real crazy about all the natural dying, boiling all the plants and stuff tends to smell pretty terrible and stunk up their whole house, but he’s gotten used to not really having any say when my mom gets started on fiber stuff.

She learned to crochet when she was younger, and recently she started crocheting again. I’m  not sure what sparked her interest again, but I do know one of the things she started doing with crochet pretty quickly is yarn bombing. She has made lots of different crocheted sleeves for the lamp post outside their house, usually changing them with the season or holidays, and has made a couple for friends as well. She’s made sleeves for all the lamp posts on their block that she’s going to put up for the local marathon this year, because it goes right past their house. Every sleeve is different, and many are quite fancy looking, including some crocheted flowers she’s sewn onto them. For a while she was making a lot of crochet flowers and leaves from a book she had gotten, one of which I wore in my hair at my college graduation, and which she’s added on to random other things she’s made.

She does, and has tried, so many other fiber things I could go on and on about it all, and that’s just the stuff I’ve seen her do, but I think the best part of it all is that she shares, and wants to share, all her crafting with other people. She’s part of a group of quilters who get together once and month to share what they’re doing and create challenges for themselves to try new things. She gets together with her friends all the time to try new things or share the new techniques she’s been playing with. She is always happy to show me how to do stuff, and is the first place I think to go when I want to try some new technique or do something weird with a technique I know, and she has always been happy to teach my friends too. She teases me sometimes about how I wanted to teach everyone to knit when I first learned, but I think I got that urge to share from her. But I think the biggest way she shared her love of fiber is by starting the Fiber Arts Festival in our home town 4 or 5 years ago (I honestly don’t remember how long it’s been now!). The website has a much better description than I can give you here, but it’s basically a place for fiber artists to get together and play with fiber, while sharing the techniques they love and learning new ones. And of course there’s a little shopping too. Sometimes I look at it and can’t believe that my mom started something that’s gotten so big, it just feels surreal, but I love it.

So happy Mother’s Day mom, I love you, and if I haven’t made you tear-up a bit with the post, I’ll try harder next year ;-). And since I should have tried looking at my mom’s facebook pictures before I was most of the way through this post, here are some more pictures of her stuff that I found on her facebook, quite a few of which I had never even seen before. She is just full of surprises even after I’ve know her for 23 years (or maybe 20 that I really remember).

Since I couldn’t post a link in the picture caption, here‘s a link to the Periodic Table project from the picture.

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

Continue reading

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.


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.

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