Saturday, February 27, 2016

Cutting Out Fabric to Make Lots of Bags and Crocheted Embroidery Hoops

   I'm making a bunch of Two Kates Project bags.  I love this beautiful bag pattern and I thought this would be a great project to use up some of my fabric stash and I need some new project bags for my knitting and crochet projects.  This bag is perfect to store my yarn projects because it doesn't use a zipper  or a drawstring and it's a nice size.  The link to the .pdf pattern is here. 

   Tonight I cut out fabric to make thirteen of these bags.  The picture of the bright green lady bug fabric at the end is a bag that will be given to dear daughter.  She loves lady bugs.  Most of these bags have the same fabric for the lining as the outside but a few of them have different lining fabric because I didn't have enough fabric for both.






   I'll be sewing on these bags for the next few days.

   I finished crocheting the borders on the rest of my 3" embroidery hoops for my Christmas tree project.  I did all of these crocheted borders with embroidery thread.  It was a lot of fun to do.  To finish these hoops I still have to add some embroidered trees.





Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Start of My 2016 Christmas Tree Project

   I made two crazy little Christmas tree decorations to start off this project that I will be working on all year.  These are going to be my substitute for a regular Christmas tree during the holiday season.   I don't put up a regular tree because of my kitties and I miss a Christmas tree, so I decided to make some trees that they can't destroy and put them around the house during the holidays.

    This is the first one I made a a couple of weeks ago.  This idea looked prettier in my mind than it actually does made up, but I like it.  My idea was to crochet a long piece and shape it into a tree and secure it on fabric.  To make the crocheted piece, I used embroidery thread with a 1.7 mm steel hook, crocheted a chain of about 64 stitches, crocheted a round of half double crochet around the chain and then added a picot edge.  I attached it to the fabric, added sequins, and bound it.

     



   This is the second tree I made.  I crocheted a border around this 3" embroidery hoop using embroidery thread then I added the small embroidery.  I found the border idea here.  I have five more of these embroidery hoops, so I'll be using those up and crocheting different borders in different colors.

     I used a skein and a half of embroidery thread with a 1.7 mm steel hook.  I put the border around the outside hoop so I could add the embroidery.  The designer uses the inside hoop for her borders because she is using them as picture frames and doesn't need the outside hoop.




    The third Christmas tree will be a larger appliqued piece.
   

   

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Daydream Doily Finish

   I finished this late last night and blocked it overnight.  This is a picture of the pretty half.  The other half has a couple of boo boos on it and I'm not going to fix them.  This is a 16" doily.  It's too big for me to use on top of furniture because I know my cats would claw it to death if it were sitting out, so I'm displaying it on my quilt ladder with my quilts.

   I wish I could say that I loved this pattern but like most crochet patterns, there were times when I thought some instructions were missing and I would have appreciated a little more detail in the instructions.  I did refer back to the picture on the first page to figure out some of the rows instructions.



Saturday, February 20, 2016

Crocheting A Doily.

   I forgot to post this picture of the beginning of the Daydream doily I started this doily a few days ago.  This is my progress after round 4.  The instructions for this doily are pretty straight forward and I'm not having any problems with it.  I wish I had made my center circle a little tighter, but I can fix that with the next one I make.  This is like a practice doily for this pattern.


Knitting While Watching Knitting Video Podcasts on Youtube

   I'm still knitting on my practice socks.  I've started them several times and each time I start them the cast on gets easier and I understand it better.  I'm currently up to step 25, increasing for the gussets.   While I have been practicing these socks I've been listening to and watching knitting podcasts on youtube.  I've found a lot of neat stuff on youtube and it's where I go to get entertainment when I'm on the computer lately.

   Here's a picture of my progress currently.  Not much to look at, but I have been working on them, I'm just not in a hurry to finish, because I want to make sure I understand the construction and the knitting instructions so I can eventually knit real socks, not just practice.




    The knitting podcasts I found on youtube are videos and they are lots of fun.  It's like a little radio show that you can watch.  The hosts talk about what they are currently making and what yarn they are using. They discuss designs they are interested in or have created.  I've seen some lovely projects in the last week.  They may even have a guest that they interview.

  Here are the links to four knitting podcasts on youtube that I really like and the brand new quilting podcast that is being done by Mary and Marianne Fons.  The quilting podcast is audio only.

  Knitting:  Along the Lanes.  Link here.

  Knitting.  Kay Jones or Bakery Bears.  Link here.

  Knitting.  Susan B. Anderson.  Link here.

  Knitting.  Knitting Ex Pat.  Link here.

  Mary and Marianne Fons Quilting podcast called  "Quilt Your Heart Out."  Link here.


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Practice Sock Knitting And A Doily Update

   So I finally started my practice socks.  I'm making the practice socks from the Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Sock book by Melissa Morgan-Oakes.

    Sock knitting fascinates me because knitters who make socks make it sound so super simple.  There are several ways to knit socks, you can make them cuff down one at a time or cuff down two at a time or toe up one at a time or toe up two at a time.  The possibilities seem endless to me.  When I found out you can knit them two at a time on one needle, I wanted to learn.

  The practice socks in this book are great because you get to practice all the different techniques you have to learn to knit socks.  This is my progress so far, this is the cast-on and where I start the increases for the toes.  I had to re-knit the cast-on several times to get it right.  I'm using Peaches and Creme cotton yarn with size 8 (5.0 mm) Knit Picks Harmony wood needles with a 40" cable for these practice socks.  I'm not in a hurry to get these done.  I may have to re-do them several times before I finally finish them.




    My crochet doily project that I started at Christmas has been frogged.  The pattern that I bought was not written very well and I had some trouble on round 5.  I tried to contact the designer to ask her about the directions in the pattern through several different channels but I never heard back from her.  I figured out the problem with round 5 and fixed it, then I got to round 12 and the instructions were really vague and I knew that I wouldn't be able to work around it, so I took my work apart to reuse the thread and I'm deleting the pattern from my library.  By the way, that pattern was the Gossamer Doily by Priscilla's Crochet (Priscilla Hewitt).  It was a really pretty doily.  I paid $1.00 for it but that was $1.00 wasted.

    So I bought a new doily pattern from the Leisure Arts website yesterday.  It's called Daydream Doily by Ocie Jordan.  I hope to start that pattern in a few days.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

6 New Drawstring Pouches

   I've been making these for the last few days.  I love this pattern [link to the tutorial is here] and I really enjoyed making all of these for myself.  All of these pouches were made with fabric from my stash.




    I think my favorite is this one with the cute winter camper fabric that I found several years ago.  I couldn't resist it when I bought it, and there was also a summer camper print that I had to have as well.



      I also did a little organizing.  Yesterday I labeled all my thread containers.  I have had all my different threads separated into different containers for a while, but I wanted to slap a label on the boxes to make sure anyone else looking would know what was in the box.




    The top boxes are those plastic boxes with the spikes and they hold all my multi-purpose polyester thread.  That's the small collection of thread from the last 15 years or so of garment, accessory, and home dec sewing.  

    When I started quilting 4 years ago I wanted to use only cotton thread in my quilts and I bought lots of thread from connectingthreads.com for quilting and it's all in the middle box.  I even organized it by color in the box and laid the spools on their side to make it easy to see.  

     The bottom box is my messy collection of polyester embroidery thread I purchased in the last year to do embroidery with my Brother PE 770.  I bought all those small spools from threadart.com.  They sell them in sets so you can get a nice variety of color without having to shop individual spools.

    I think I have enough thread to last me quite a while.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

I've Been Busy

   I finished the polyester quilt refurbishment.  It took me about 6 hours to quilt the darn thing.  It was super thick and I didn't want to break a lot of needles doing this one so I took it slow.  I finally figured out that I would do better to use my dual feed foot instead of the flimsy walking foot quilting this baby.  So with about 5 rows left to quilt I changed my presser foot and the last little bit of quilting went a lot more smoothly.  I followed the seams and did a grid quilting.  I stayed away from the puffy centers of the string blocks.  I didn't want to crush those pretty polyester blocks.  I also didn't square this quilt up when I trimmed it for binding.  Some of the rows ends were quite wonky, but I wanted to keep as much of the quilt top as I could so there is one bit that is seriously curved.   This whole project took me about 19 hours to complete over the last 2 1/2 weeks.  The quilt measures about 52" x 50".  Here's a picture of the front and the back.






   After I finished the quilt top I made my daughter a couple of items.  One was a padded tablet sleeve with button closures and the other is this cute, cute drawstring pouch using the tutorial here.  I really like this tutorial and the pouch is a nice big size.  Perfect to carry the cords and accessories for a tablet.  I think I'll be making a couple of these for me.