August

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July was a scarce month for posts, and I’m not sure August will fair much better – life is pretty busy at the moment. Again I’m writing this post from Chester and I have a holiday at the end of the month which should be a good time out.

Current Projects:

  1. Oven gloves – Quilting has been done, I just have to hand sew the bindings
  2. Socks – I’m past the heel of the 1st sock. This pattern has not been very beginner friendly
  3. EPP Cushion – I finished all the diamonds, chose a layout and have half attached the 1st two diamonds
  4. Fringed Handbag – I did maybe another inch
  5. Bead Embroidery Purse – This is still in hibernation for the moment
  6. Learning Curve Sampler Quilt – again I’ve not managed to make any new block

Finished Projects:

  1. Beaded bead necklace – I finished this and gifted it to my sister
  2. Knitted dishcloth – It’s been through the wash already
  3. A weaving and free motioned case for my hard drive

I’m actually feeling better about the last month having seen what I finished. Especially because I started the weaving and turned it into a thing within a month.

One other thing to mention, is that this week is national beading week and I’m giving a brief introduction into my beading beginnings on Instagram, seeing as I am surrounded by them while back home. Feel free to check it out and tell me your introduction to beading.

Wefts and Weaves

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I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, but while I’ve still been making things, I’ve definitely got less mental energy at the moment so even basic things like cooking and cleaning are only barely being done. And I’ve opened this page to type this post several times, because I am really excited about this project.

I can’t quite remember why but I suddenly became really interested in trying weaving (it was probably instagram inspired). So I did a fair amount of reading and looked up whether or not I could use my beading loom. It was fairly easy to set up, I put the weft threads on slightly differently to how I thread it for my beading – so that there was a cross over point. This makes it much easier when actually weaving, as I only had to go up and down over the threads in one direction. I used a pretty weft thread so that I didn’t mind when it was visible.

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My tiny loom, with my legs in the background

 

Once I had the weft threads set up, the weaving was very quick. My loom is little so I can do it on my lap while watching TV. It was considerably slower to tie off all the ends and make it finished. I looked up cheat techniques but there didn’t seem to be anything that still looked good.

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I used a satin stitch to attache the weaving to the fabric

I always intended to turn this piece of weaving into a case for my hard drive. I’m currently backing up my thesis on it and carrying it around in my bag everyday, so its getting a little bashed. For the other side, I did some free motion quilting. There was quite a lot of unpicking but I think I finally got the hang of it.

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Simple wavy lines for my first attempt at free motion quilting 

Halfway gone – July 2016

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This year is going fast. I’m really starting to feel the pressure of my thesis, both in terms o the workload and the amount of my brain it requires, there doesn’t seem to be enough brainpower left to function fully. This has resulted in me doing a lot of looking at crafts and planning but not much actual doing.Which for the time being is fine, this is a temporary situation.

That being said, my drive to finish stuff has meant I achieved quite a bit in June

  1. EPP Cushion – I finished a couple more diamonds and I have a fair bit of travelling this month so I reckon more will get done
  2. Bead embroidery purse – this hasn’t been bought out of its container last month, I’m finding it difficult to make decisions so the freeform nature of this isn’t really suitable at the moment.
  3. Learning curve sampler quilt – I’ve not been able to get my machine out and its not looking to promising this month either
  4. Oven gloves – See above
  5. Sea glass necklace – I need silver chain but i’m also trying not to buy too much at the moment so I’ve put it to one side for a little bit
  6. Fringed handbag – I’m on the third and final row of fringing
  7. Another knitted dishcloth – these are just so soothing to knit
  8. A beaded bead necklace – I finally figured out a pattern and picked some colours for a necklace, I’ve done one of three beads

This is still a pretty long list but I’m feeling more positive about it than this time last month.

Things I managed to finish:

  1. Hawaiian Quilting panel – this will need quilting at some point but for now it is done
  2. Sunglasses Case
  3. Intarsia Purse
  4. The Blanket – again it will be picked up in the winter but for now it is done
  5. My ATC has been posted and I received a brilliant one in return.

Say Something -9th Very Berry ATC swap

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I have now posted and received my ATC’s from the Say Something swap. I had a really strong and actually quite negative response to the phrase say something, when I first heard it. In my head say something is said in two contexts arguments and therapy, neither of which are very positive experiences. I thought about quotes but I’m not a person who collects quotes and couldn’t come up with anything I liked more than my original reaction. (I’m currently writing my PhD thesis, and its common to put a quote at the beginning of each chapter but I could only come up with quite negative ones, so I vetoed that idea.)

Actually as my ideas developed, the idea softened a little and my ATC has ended up being about lost opportunities to say something. I’m neither a chatty person or a particularly open person so it can be quite hard for me to say something, even when it needs saying. So when someone asks how are you? I will always say oh I’m fine, rather than any admission of what’s really going on, even to people who really do want to know whats going on and care about how I’m doing. I’ve become more aware of this over the last couple of years and do now try and be a little more honest with people when they give me the opportunity to say something.

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The front of my ATC

Technique wise, I made heavy use of my frixion  pen to write out the words and then embroidered them on. I used chain stitch, which I remember from my brownie days even if I’ve not used it since. I really like the way it looked and I’m definitely a big fan of hand embroidery. I’m on the look out for an interesting skill building project if anyone has any suggestions?

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The back

I used the elephant fabric for the back as it elephants were one of the things my partner had specified she liked and I’m aware the front was very much about me.

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The ATC I received from Debbie

The ATC I received was made by Debbie. It has the quote ‘dance like no one is watching on it’ and was inspired by the fabric she found. The quote is one of my favourites and I have it on the wall above my bed. I love dancing and have danced all my life. As a child, my Saturdays revolved around my ballet classes and trying to fit everything in. I continued ballet until I went to university and passing my grade 6 ballet exam is still my biggest achievement. During my undergrad, I discovered latin and ballroom dancing and used to fit ~10h of lessons a week around a full time schedule. I don’t understand how I ever had time to do anything. These days I only really do salsa, but I love a good opportunity to dance.

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My bedroom wall

I really love participating in these swaps. Receiving post is just the most exciting thing and I love pushing my own skills and creativity as well as seeing everyone’s different interpretations of the theme.

 

A Week of Finishes

I carried on with my mission to finish things over the last week and I’ve managed to actually finish a few things this week.

First of all I finished off my knitted purses, the green sunglasses case and also the purse from my intarsia course. The sunglasses case is just what I wanted, and this time I wrote down the number of stitches and rows etc. in case I want to make another. The intarsia purse I’m less keen on. I like the design, but its not very me and I don’t need a purse that small. Also the clasp shows all the stitches used to fix the panel in on the outside rather than the inside, which makes it look very a little amateur. But I’ve learnt a new technique that I have big plans for in the future.

 

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Sunglasses case and a coin purse

 

I also finished my blanket, although I got half way through casting off and ran out of wool. This blanket is a pretty good example of why you don’t start a full blanket as your second ever knitting project. I decided I was going to knit a ‘square’ and then add borders, but being a beginner I didn’t do a tension square. I just cast on – onto joined needled – until I thought it looked long enough. Which is why my blanket it 2.1m long. It is considerably longer than me. Another problem, is that it’s all knitted in stocking stitch, before I learnt how to stop it curling, so it has considerable curl along all the edges.  And then because its so long, it took a lot of wool to make it a reasonable width. In the end its 0.85m wide, and that took nearly 20 balls of wool. Oh and I didn’t really know (believe) about how different dyelots can be so I just bought the wool from all over the place.

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The ‘sort of’ blanket

However, it is beautiful colour, it’s unbelievable soft and cosy, while casting off I was so warm underneath it. For the mean time it’s been put down and come the winter I will figure out how to add border to bring it to a usable width.

Other things I’ve been trying to finish are another knitted dishcloth, my epp diamonds for a cushion and the beaded fringed handbag – I’m on the last row of fringing now. All are coming on nicely and I have big plans for several new projects and new techniques I want to try.

A Weekend of Half Finishes

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I had a quiet weekend and I’ve spent it doing a lot of little bits and pieces. As I mentioned last time, I’ve been working on hard on a few projects in order to get them finished soon, and with another two days I’ve managed to get quite a few projects to a semi-finished place.

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This is definitely a slow method, but isn’t it beautiful

I finished all the needle turn applique on my Hawaiian quilt. I really like this technique, even after starting  with something that was definitely not beginners material. All of those tight concave curves and points are really tricky, and you can definitely see which half I did first and which I did later on. I’m planning on trying out some hand-quilting on the panel (and maybe turning it into a tote bag), which I figure will help hide some bits and secure it as well. I’m still thinking about colours as the current blue/white isn’t really my thing.

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Such a cool shape

I’ve been remaking my knitted sunglasses case, as I lost it somewhere in India. I’ve finished all the knitting but I need to buy a zip before finishing. I love this colour though.

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This is how I work

I finally attached all of my bezelled seaglass pieces together. I attached them together two at a time, to try and keep it balanced. It ended up being a curve, and know I need to figure out if its stable enough to just add hoops for a chain at the ends or if I want to put hoops and chain all the way along.

And I finished stitching both sides of my artist trading card for the Very Berry ATC swap. It’s a slightly different take on the phase ‘say something’ to most peoples interpretation, but hopefully my partner doesn’t mind too much.

And despite having achieved lots there is still plenty to do. Isn’t there always.

June 2016

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The month of may has gone fast, and I spent another two weeks back up north writing. It feels like I’ve not done much crafting this month, I think because I’ve been working on only a couple of things to get them finished. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with stuff to do and I’m keen to try some new things so I was trying hard to get some of my longer term projects finished off, or at least at a pause point.

So projects on the go:

  1. The blanket (I have 2 1/2 balls of purple wool to add before I cast off and decide what to do next)
  2. Hawaiian Quilting panel – I’m ~2/3 of the way through the applique
  3. Bead embroidery purse
  4. EPP cushion – all full hexagons are basted
  5. Learning curve sampler quilt – I made another two blocks
  6. Seaglass necklaces – 1 down 2 to go
  7. Intarsia purse – I’ve been putting off finishing this
  8. Oven gloves
  9. Fringed handbag

So it’s still long but more things are more complete so that’s a bonus

And finished projects:

  1. Knitted dishcloth, I finished it just before I left em flat so haven’t had the chance to test it yet.
  2. A tooly tool easel, to store some of my sewing equipment. I’m reasonably happy with this one. It’s a little less rigid than I’d like but I did improvise on the cardboard lining (I used a cereal box) so its probably my fault

June is looking like an odd month with concentrated busy patches but I know I’m going to busy with work, so lets see what happens.