Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015 - My Crafting Year In Review

 I'm counting down to the New Year. Tomorrow is my birthday, then we have New Year's Eve, then we celebrate New Year's Day.  This week is always just as special to me as the week of Christmas.

   Short Review of 2015

       It's been quite a crafting year for me.  I made a lot of projects this year.  I painted, knitted, crocheted and sewed.  I made yard art, built a quilt ladder, fashioned jewelry and I have more pincushions than I will ever need.  I learned a lot this year about what I'm good at, what I like to do, and what I should not try a second time.  I made some lovely projects and others just didn't turn out like I expected.

     I did a lot of organizing this year to make sure I could find my crafting items more easily.  I replaced some of my old tools with new ones.  I added three sewing machines to my collection and re-homed two machines I wasn't using.  

  I made a lot of projects this year with my sewing machine that I love, but my favorite project would have to be the hanging dishtowels with the button closure.  They are so freaking cute and so easy to make it's hard not to love, love, love them.  This post from November has the link to the tutorial I used and some information on how I made my first, but definitely not my last, hanging dishtowels.

   My biggest fail had to be the bathmat I tried to make in January.  The three posts about that fail started here on January 12th, with another on January 13th, and my complete resignation on January 15th.  I ended up buying a bathmat.  I don't know if I will ever try this one again.

   My favorite quilt would have to be the disappearing hourglass in black and white.  I started it on June 3rd and finished it on July 29th.  It's a nice size quilt and I love the pattern the blocks make.  This is a link to pictures of the finish.

   There were so many projects and I had fun with all of them.  I'm working on my updated crafting to do list for next year and I'm looking forward to lots of  projects in 2016.

Friday, December 25, 2015

She Who Sews Panel Quilt Project

     I'm working on another quilt top using two panels of She Who Sews (by Janet Wecker Frisch).  I received a partial panel in a Christmas swap last year and I bought another panel because some of the blocks are really cool and I'm only going to use the ones I like.  I'm supplementing the panel blocks with trimmed up leftover disappearing hourglass blocks that I made last summer and some yellow polka dot cotton.

   Here's a sneak peek at the fun:

Merry Christmas And Happy New Year!!

   I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Granny Square Dishcloths Made With Cotton Yarn

       I had a bunch of cotton yarn in my stash (Peaches and Creme Yarn) and it was time for new dishcloths.   Instead of small squares of closely crocheted stitches, I made eight traditional granny squares with lots of open spaces.  I make them with with 6 rounds of crochet and a size G hook.  They are easy to make (each square takes about 45 minutes), very absorbent, good for scrubbing, and last a long time.  You do have to wring them out really well after using and let them dry or they will get mildewed because the cotton yarn hangs onto moisture.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Faux Redwork Free Motion Free For All

   I had fun doing free motion with my Janome 7700 today.  I figured out what my problem was the last time I tried to do free motion with this machine.  Once I got going I had a free motion free for all.  I tried to make the quilting pretty and neat, but I couldn't.  I was having too much fun with the free motion.

   I outlined all the redwork pieces very simply and I went a little crazy on the four patch blocks.  I started with hearts then I started making uneven figure eights, squares, crazy looking bows, loops, zig zags, spirals, spiky leaves, long loops, scribbles, loops, thread spools, buttons, and something I wanted to look like scissors.

   The binding is a white fabric with little tiny hearts on it.

  So this is this quilt is done.  Not one I would give as a gift, but it's perfect for my room, my cats or even my dog.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Mini Doily Earrings

    I crocheted these beautiful doily earrings in less than an hour.  I found this free doily earring pattern on Ravelry.  You have to be a member (it's free to join) on Ravelry to get the pattern.  The pattern was written by Emily Forrest and it's a fun pattern for a miniature doily to put on your ear wires.  I used #10 crochet thread in white and a 1.5 mm steel crochet hook.  These were fun to make and I can't wait to wear them.  I would love to make some more and tea dye the doily to make it a more natural color.  Fun.

    I wet block* these mini doilies after I finished them.  They dried overnight and were ready to wear the next day.

   I have the faux redwork quilt top sandwiched and ready to quilt.  I bought a Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 crib size (45" x 60') batt and it was the perfect size to use with this small quilt top. I want to free motion quilt this quilt on my Janome 7700 and the last time I tried to free motion quilt on this machine it was not working for me, so I'm determined to figure this machine out and get this quilt done the way I want.   We'll see.

*To wet block my doilies I wet the doily in cold water, gently squeeze out water, 
place in towel and gently squeeze some more to try to get as much moisture
 out as possible.  Place the doily on a dry towel and gently stretch it, pat it, and shape 
it until it looks even on all sides.  For these little mini doilies, I tried to make sure 
all my loops on the edges were pulled out and visible. Leave it to dry.  
I don't use any starch because I'm afraid of bugs.
I learned this method from lacycrochet blog.   The link to her page is here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Button And Cat Charm Earrings

    I finally made some earrings with the lever back ear wires I found at Fire Mountain when I bought my elastic cord for the elastic button bracelets.  For this project I also had to buy 24 gauge non tarnishing silver wire and I got that from an Etsy seller.  I found the cat charms on eBay a couple of years ago, they still sell them.  They come in a group of 50 and I have a bunch left even thought I've made other jewelry with them and given some away.  The cat charms are Tibetan silver and come from China.  They remind me of Laurel Burch cats without all the colors.  I found the blue and white buttons on Lots of Buttons.com.  I had the small beads and the jump rings in my small jewelry stash.

  To make the button earrings I had to have some on line help.  I used a tutorial from youtube by Potomac Bead Company to get me started.  The link is here.  The cat charms are just attached to the ear wires with gray thread.  So simple.

   These were fun to make, but they took me a couple of hours because I'm not very good at making jewelry and I had to take the button earrings apart several times before I was happy with the finish.

  I have a couple more pair of lever backs that I'm going to pair up with more buttons and I'm also in the process of making some button brooches with felt and pin backs.

2016 - The Year Of The Christmas Tree Wall Hanging

       I just went through pinterest and found nine applique designs for Christmas tree wall hangings that I want to make to decorate my home next Christmas.

     I don't put up a Christmas tree anymore.  I love Christmas trees, the lights and the decorations, but ever since I got the cats 10 years ago I gave up Christmas trees.  I never wanted to find out just what they would do to one.

  So next year I will spend some time making small wall hangings featuring appliqued Christmas trees.  I'll be shopping for lots different shades of green fabric, some red fabric for bindings and decorations, muslin for background and backing, small beads, sequins, and maybe some green yarn because I have an idea for a tree that involves crochet.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Easy Paper Ornaments

   I just found this tutorial about an hour and a half ago while I was surfing the net.  Here is the link.

    I pulled out my small supply of scrap booking paper, my buttons, my stash of tiny glass beads, my floral wire and proceeded to make two of these in less than an hour.  They were fun to make.  I substituted buttons for the big beads in the tutorial.  I don't have a supply of big beads.  The buttons worked fine.  If I were going to make these to give as gifts I would definitely use Christmas papers and get some big beads to give them lots of bling.  These are done in my favorite colors of pink and green.  These would also be fun in some one's school colors.

My Favorite Wonky Christmas Tree Wall Hanging

   This was one of the first raw edge applique projects I ever did.  I hand drew the Christmas tree pattern (love the wonky branches) and cut the trees out from three different fabrics.  Each tree has a bunch of little colored beads on it.  I wanted sequins but could not find any so I settled for beads.  I made this originally to hang on my front door for the Christmas season.  It has been replaced on the front door with a cardinal decoration and the trees now hang on the inside of the door.

My First Proper Round Doily

   I used the videos by Crochet Jewel on Youtube, link here.  This was an easy project and it came out so pretty.  I love doilies.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Project Bag for Crochet Thread Projects

    I needed a project bag to keep my thread and my doily project safe from kitty claws.  All I had available were large grocery tote bags, so I went on the internet and found a tutorial for a drawstring bag which turned out to be perfect.  You can make this bag as big or as small as you want.  This is the link to make it-love it tutorial.

   I did make my bag a little different.  I made my bag a couple of inches bigger all around, I did french seams so there are no exposed seams inside, I made my drawstrings out of 1 1/2" cotton strips folded and sewed, and I left my drawstrings free since I won't be wearing mine.

    I love it, and I love the fabric I used.  I forgot I even had this fabric.  The instructions in the tutorial were great and this was a really easy project.  I know I'll get a lot of use out of this bag and my doily projects will be safe.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Crochet, Crochet Thread, And A Doily Video Tutorial

   I think I love youtube.  I was browsing through youtube the other day and I found a tutorial on how to crochet a doily from start to finish.  I found this last week when I was making my braided ear warmers.

   I love crochet but I have never actually crocheted a doily because the instructions just seemed so complicated, but I think I can follow along with a video to get this done.

    Here is the link to the first part of the doily instruction video (there are three parts), the other two parts will show up on the right hand side of your screen for you to click when you are ready for them.

    I have a set of steel crochet hooks and I'll be using a size 1.65 mm hook to make the doily and I bought some crochet thread for this project.  I bought two 1,000 yard skeins of Aunt Lydia's Classic Crochet Thread Size 10 from Amazon.  Each skein was $6.40.

   Before I start the doily project I wanted to get used to using a small hook again so I started a granny square using the thread and a 2.25 mm hook.  I enjoy crocheting granny squares and this will make a nice doily when I get it to a decent size.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Packaging That I Can Recycle To Hold Needles and Pins

   I've been trying to find a decent container for my used sewing machine needles and bent pins.  I had a pill bottle that I filled up over the last four years which I disposed of last month.  I currently have two pill bottles that I prepared and are ready to fill with old needles and bent pins.  Today I found some packaging that would work really well for this job.

   Burt's Bees makes a tinted lip balm that comes in a plastic blister package.  The blister package holds a cardboard tube that then holds the separate plastic tube of lip balm.  I bought the lip balm because I wanted to try it.  I had no idea that the packaging would be this cool.  The cardboard tube is closed on both ends and is the perfect size to store old needles and pins or you can even use it for your traveling sewing kit.

  The lip balm was $6.62 at the store.

   Here's a picture of the tube.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Modifications To Simplify

    I had to modify the braided ear warmer pattern to simplify it for me.  I just couldn't handle some of the fussy parts the designer wrote into her original pattern.  I love the strands of half double crochet so I kept those.  I ended up making 5 strands of the half double crochet, braiding them and joining the two ends with slip stitches.  It worked great.  I had the measurement from my original braided ear warmer and I now know how long each strand has to be to fit my head because the original stitch count in the instructions did not work for this yarn and I had to modify it to make it longer.

   I used a skein of Knitpicks Chroma Worsted in Mid Winter colorway.  I've had this yarn since 2011 (the colorway name has changed to Hollyhock, yuck) and I think this project was perfect for it.

   Here is my newest braided ear warmer.  Easier for me to make and just as cute. Just to let you know I did try to take a picture of me wearing this but it turned out really bad.  I think my head model does a nice job.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Secret Santa Revealed

   Today was opening day for our secret santa packages on the Quilting Board.  Wow, I can't believe all the goodies I got.  It is definitely a Quilty Chritmas day today.

  Here's a list and a couple of pix:

three beautiful postcards showing the area where my secret santa lives
a pack of Vine in Frienship stickers that have a design that look like birds using the drunkards path pieces,
a magazine "Yukon, North of Ordinary" the official inflight magazine of Air North with lots of interesting information about Yukon and the people that live there, can't wait to read this,
a snowman tin,
a half yard of beautiful fabric with sewing notions on it,
jingle bells, to add to my collection,
a beautiful J. Wecker Frisch panel, Sewing Seeds,
a tin of Snow Now, Snow in an Instant, just add water to the snow powder,
a fat quarter of fabric with thread spools on it in orange, yellow, and red,
a magnet with art on it from a Yukon artist, Jim Robb, Secret Santa says the artist dated her Mom back in the day, cute, the name of the art work is Gold Mine in the Sky,
a fabric basket made by secret santa with sewing notions fabrics, love it,
a note pad with cover art by Lynn Blake, the art is called "Small Town Days" and secret santa told me she used to be a daycare teacher at her niece's school before she left to pursue art full time,
Filigriee Fat Quarter Sampler containing 15 fat quarters,
Literary Fat Quarter sampler containing 10 fat quarters,
a package of Insul-Bright for potholders (not pictured),
and last but not least, 1 yard of fabric called "My Hometown" by Cat Williams with quilts pictured on it,

   This swap was awesome this year.  

A Sunday Crochet Project

  I was cruising on Ravelry the other day and found a crocheted braided ear warmer pattern that I just had to have.  I didn't want to steal any of the designer's pictures from the Ravelry site, so I'm including a link to the designer's etsy store with the pattern:  V. Larios' Etsy Store - Braided Ear Warmer Pattern so you can see the pattern for yourself.

   To make this pattern I bought a skein of Big Twist Value Yarn from Joann Fabrics today.  I've never seen the brand Big Twist Value before.  The package says it's made in India and is distributed by Jo-Ann stores.  I don't know if this brand makes anything other than acrylic yarn, the yarn I bought is acrylic.  I bought the yarn in colorway dark rose.

    This took me about 3 1/2 hours to complete.  The instructions were okay, but they could have been better when it came to finishing.  They were a little hard to follow.  I did finish it the way it was written, but the piece is a little too big for my head.  I would like a tighter fit, so I'm going to modify the area where the braids are joined.  

    I only used about half of this skein of yarn, so I have enough left over to make another.

    It turned out super cute and it's really warm.  I'm going to love this.  I may even make a few more  in different colors. 


Saturday, December 5, 2015

Evening Sewing


      Tonight I made some more hanging dishtowels for me and dear daughter.  I resisted the temptation to use Christmas fabric on these.  Instead I wanted to make something we could use all winter long.  The green fabric has tiny metallic embellishments on it.  I think these will be pretty enough to give those dark winter days a little lift.

    The fabric cost me about $3.00 (I only needed 10" x WOF), I bought two regular size dishtowels at Tuesday Morning for $4.99 and the buttons were $.20 each.  So I made four hanging dishtowels for less than $10.00.  They took me about  2  1/2 hours to make from start to finish.

A Little Featherweight Maintenance

   I read a lot of posts on the Quilting Board about vintage machines and I learned about the vintage sewing machine bed cushions from the folks that refurbish vintage machines.  

    This morning I replaced the bed cushions on the bottom of my new Singer featherweight.  Two of the cushions was flattened on one side and all of them were very dry.  I also replaced the screws because I wasn't sure what condition the old screws would be in.  The old screws are in good condition. I'll keep them in my featherweight tool box for spares.  The machine will sit better on the table and the cushions will absorb some of the vibration from the motor.  This was an easy inexpensive fix.  

    I bought the new bed cushions and screws from april1930s.com.  She specializes in vintage Singer machine parts.  

   The new bed cushions and screws are on top.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Faux Redwork Quilt Top Finished

     I finished sewing the blocks together this morning.  It didn't take long to put the rows together.  There were 30 blocks all together and it makes a smallish lap quilt.  I love the faux redwork blocks and the simple four patches are perfect with them.  I tried to alternate the birds and the flower redwork blocks in each row.  It's hard to see the polka dots in my pictures because I when I re-sized the pictures the polka dots disappeared.

    I have to order a batt to make this into a quilt.  I think I have enough of the red polka dot fabric to make the back, I'm not sure about the binding.  I'll keep working on this until it is done.


    I have to make a correction to my description of the Singer One sewing machine I posted about yesterday.  It does have a drop feed dog switch.  I missed the instruction in the book, it was a short paragraph on a page I skipped and the switch is kind of hidden on the back under the slide out table  I was wrong, you can do free motion darning and quilting with the Singer One sewing machine.