Friday, November 28, 2014

Knitting: Take 2

Sometime last year, I attempted to learn how to knit. The reason for this, I had bought thread for a crochet project but quickly realized it would be impossible to crochet with and so I decided: why not just use the thread and make a simple scarf. That lasted for about 3 weeks and then I dropped that project in a tin box and left it there.

I've decided to give knitting another try. Not because I really want to learn (no offense against knitters, I just have a have a hard time maneuvering the needles with both hands), but because I want to make a shawl for a friend for her special day. We won't say who or what just in case she finds this blog ;) 

I did some research, selected a bunch of shawls that attracted me and showed them to my mom for a second opinion. Right off the bat, I knew I was in trouble. All the shawls that I picked where knitting patterns and what you'd call patterns for the experienced knitter or the adventurous beginner. But that's okay, we all have to start somewhere.

My mom and I have very similar tastes and both picked the same pattern as our favorite. And out of ALL the patterns that were there, we had to pick the one that wasn't available to download online. I've placed an order for the book (which comes with a DVD) on Amazon and I really hope this knitting excursion will be a success because there are some gorgeous patterns in that book.

I have approximately 5 months to finish it. Plenty of time, but I really don't want to wait till next week for the book to come. I found some videos on YouTube that are samples from the DVD. One of them shows you how to do a cast on with two needles. I thought: "Easy! Let me try it out with this mystery thread I have and these knitting needles that are approximately the same size I would need for the project and practice."

Boy, was I wrong.

Now, I don't know if it was the bamboo knitting needles (although I'm not too crazy about them) or the mystery thread (or maybe just me), but I couldn't get more than 3 stitches cast on. The more stitched I'd cast on, the tighter the thread became. The only thing I got out of it is how to do the slip knot, which I already knew.

I think I'll get another thread and another set of (metal) knitting needles to play around with. I don't want to buy the good thread and then ruin it trying to learn how to knit.

Monday, November 24, 2014

November TUSAL

Late again. My TUSAL this month is really great. I made lots of progress on both my projects and you can see it in how full the vase is. Most of it is from Spirit of the Southwest and I also threw in the ORTs from the Creative Festival in there (I think).

Monday, November 17, 2014

Octagon H Completed

But wait! That's not all! I also managed to finish Octagon H, which is the last one in the pattern :)

Check out what Google Photo enhancement did to my progress photos. I'll have to figure out how to do this on purpose later and plan ahead to take advantage of it. It would make an awesome stop motion video.

The first layer, as always is made using tent stitches. After that there is a layer of diagonal stitches on each side using the Threadworx thread. I just noticed as I'm writing this post that the bottom side is darker than the others. I'll have to check that out in person when I get home.

The layer on top that looks like a bracelet with beads is stitched using Rainbow Gallery Flair, which is a stretchable ribbon. These are actually large cross stitches (2x4) which are then anchored with an "=". After that Panache thread (which is a dark grey) is stitched in between them. They look green in the picture.

The layer of green stitches on top are vertical long stitches with the center stitched over a layer of trame padding.

More diagonal long stitches. I like the left side, but am not 100% satisfied with the right.

This next part was fun. I've seen the spider stitch in pictures, but never got the opportunity to try it out. This particular one is the Ridged Spider Stitch. The instructions pointed to a page of Christensen's "The Needlepoint Book". However, not everyone just happens to have that book in their library. I ended up googling for the instructions. Luckily the ANG covered this stitch in their Stitch of the Month back in February lol.

The final touch is covering everything with the horizontal brick stitch. It was interesting but got boring after a while. Especially since I was so close to the end.

Here are all Octagons stitched. The next step is the string art followed by the outer border.

In other news, I have been working on Flower Patch, trying to get all those leaves filled out. I already have one side done. This took about a week, so I will be optimistic and say I will be done by December. We'll see how it goes.

Octagons G & I Completed

When I came back from the Creative Festival I was really eager to start some new projects, but I told myself I couldn't until I finished Spirit of the Southwest and Flower Patch. So I went back to my "rotation" and am happy to say that it's progressing VERY well.

Octagons G & I are exactly the same but mirrored, so I worked on both at the same time. They start with the same tent stitch row.

Which are followed by alternating rows of diagonal stitches and french knots. I really like how these came out.

Then there were 3 rows of Rhodes half drop using Threadworx. I tried to start both Octagons the exact same way so they would be mirrored. But you'll notice that the last row doesn't match the sequence of the other rows. That's because there was one less Rhode half drop in that row. I didn't realize till after I finished both Octagons and it didn't really bother me enough to undo it. Still something to make note of in case I want to restitch this pattern.

 The rest of the pattern is filled with basket-weave tent stitches (a lot of them). By the time I finished the tent stitches in the single color, it was Sunday night and time to stop for the weekend.

Saturday I picked up where I left off with the tent stitches. The last ten rows are mixed color threads. Doesn't it look like an ocean wave?

Here it is so far! I have closes ups of all the Octagons here if anyone wants to look back :)

Friday, November 7, 2014

Travelling Treasure Chest

Kim from Wisdom with Needle and Thread is organizing a Travelling Treasure Chest on her blog. I asked if Canadians could apply (usually these things are only open to the US due to the shipping), and she said yes. So I was very happy to be included in this :)

The idea is, Kim placed some charts she wanted to give away in an envelope and sent it to the first person. That person can pick 2-3 items from the chest and then has to put back in 2-3 items. We are then supposed to post what we picked but NOT what we put into the chest. That is supposed to be kept as a surprise for the next person.

I got the TTC from Shelly. I was actually in Toronto when I got her email and was very excited. Here is what I picked out:

The Ocean Cuff actually comes with everything to make it and Heart To Heart comes with the beads and charms.

Now the next person who will be getting the TTC will be Justine. I sent the Travelling Treasure Chest off to the UK yesterday and she should be getting in a few weeks.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Cupcake Delight

Some have already seen the picture of this on my Instagram, but here it is again.

I did say I would finish it this weekend :) In all honesty, if it wasn't for the fact that Kathryn had us start the finishing in class, it would have probably taken me a long while to gather up my courage to do it. It is a very easy process if you're used to finishing. The hardest part for me was gathering the fabric and stuffing it at the same time to form the "ball" of the cupcake. It was hard to keep my tension and stuff at the same time lol.

By the way, isn't that picture pretty :D My sister took it for me, since mine all looked so bland. And the plate I borrowed from my mom's stash of porcelain. She loves to pretty antique tea cups and plates.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Creative Festival 2014 Stash

My stash from the Creative Festival. First off I can't go anywhere without bringing back a few books. So here are three: a tatting book in Korean from Korea town, and a Silk Ribbon Embroidery book and Floral Patterns book from the Festival. The last two were sold by Grantham Books, they always bring in an excellent selection of craft books.

Tatting book from Korea town

Last year, I complained that there wasn't enough needlework booths. It was pretty much the same thing this year, except the EAC had a bigger booth where some of the needlework teachers had tables to sell their designs. I, of course, bought more stuff from Kathryn Drummond. She had patterns and actual kits which was great.

She was also selling these ORT baskets(?) and emery pincushions that her mom made. I remember seeing one with her stuff during class and just had to get one,

Carol Storie from Heartfelt Designs was another teacher with a booth. She was offering blackwork, canvaswork and hardanger classes. I didn't take any of her classes, but I was passing by her booth and looking at her designs. Now, by then, I had decided not to buy anything more, but I couldn't help it. The price was so low and it was the last one. Plus, it was a kit so how could I say no.

More kits. The one on the left is a Sajou tapestry cushion kit from the Bagsmith. They were selling them at a much lower cost (50% off the listed price on their website) because they haven't been able to sell them online. The one on the right is a kit from Randa Handmade Lace. A lot of crocheters have been buzzing about these kits. It seems we all put their booth on our list of must-see. The kit is an Argentinian Lace kit. Actually to be specific, there is a town ONE town in Argentina that does this type of lace making.

The kit comes with everything you need including the fabric to finish it off (I really like the fabric) and we get the instructions by email.

Dinky Dyes thread from X's And Oh's.

Wool from Wool Gathering that my sister picked for her amigurumi fox (last one on the right) and the one on the left is for a kangaroo that a friend wanted.

Some needles

Before leaving, I made a list of the beads I would need to try out the French bead embroidery book I got. But it was too complicated to find all the beads I would need. That Bead Lady was selling these packs of Miyuki delica beads at their booth. So decided to just get the ones that would match closest with the flowers I wanted to try stitching. Later, if I'm successful, I might expand my stash to include more beads.

Since I bought a gold pass for the festival, I got a gift from Swarovski who is a HUGE sponsor for the festival. It came with instructions for making a bracelet, but I have no idea when I would make it since I don't have any of the wires or tools to make it. I'll just leave them aside for now.

That's it from the festival this year! Now I really need to get back to my WIPs. I'm having a hard time because I really want to stitch the new stash I got. 

Creative Festival 2014 Day 4

Last day of the festival and my last class. This year I decided not to stay until the very end of the Festival. I had already done all my shopping Friday and Saturday, so I left right after my class.

The last class was a pulled thread embroider class called Pulled Thread Miniature Ornate Carpet with Karen Dudzinski (her designs are sold by Ruach Crafts). I originally took the class because I was curious about pulled thread embroidery, but after buying M'Lady's Treasures, I'll really need any tips I can get.

I love the colors in this design, especially the gold against that fabric. My only complaint is that the metallic threads are DMC light effects (which I hate). I will be switching those out for Kreinik, I already put in the order with Gitta's.

Here is what it will look like once stitched. The pulled thread part is mainly in the center part, with partial eyelets(?) around the inner border. The "butterflies" around it look cute from afar.

Karen's Carpet
With the class being only three hours long, we didn't get much done. But Karen really wanted us to at least try two rows of the pulled thread to understand how to stitch it and what it should look like. I was a little hesitant to pull on the thread. We are constantly being told to watch our tension, but here pulling too hard is good. I noticed that I get better results when I use a sewing motion, instead of my usual stabbing. So I guess I won't be using a hoop with this.

I have one last post about the Creative Festival, this time stash. I bought less than last year, but I think I spent just as much money lol