Thursday, May 31, 2012

Keep Calm and Carry Yarn

Mitred squares and a Treasure Book
 Despite the fact that I have to knit a wee gifty for a Creative Escape friend (wink, wink, Michele!), I continue to carry this with me and am still obsessively knitting on it whenever I am presented with a delay (soccer game, kung fu lesson, stop light...j/k on that last one!) I have been trying to start a pair of wristlets to match my Amelia Earhart cap, but picked a pattern that has repeatedly flummoxed me (good Lord, how DO you spell that?!). I thought the third try would be the charm, but alas...I'm on the FIFTH. Guess what gets picked up when I set it aside? Yup, mitred squares. Ahh...

More than halfway through my mini skein stash. My fellow knit-nighters and swappers were generous, I have enough of each to repeat colors, and enough of my own stash to add in, but I need another swap SOON to feed my yarn variety appetite.
Library pocket for I.D. tags
The other project that has eaten up some creative time is this traveling journal, for an art journal swap. Goodness, I hope this one comes back to me (filled with arty goodness, no less). I have been burned in more circle journal/scrapbook page/basic swaps than I care to count (not knitters...never knitters...a responsible bunch!). This swap came about through a mixed media Yahoo list that I am on. The moderator asked the swap organizer to take it offline, because she does not want to be responsible for swaps. Can't blame her. There are only 6 of us all together, though, so that should keep it speedy.

My journal is a small gift book that I covered with gesso (originally a Christmas book, it had a deep red cover and bright green pages) outside and in, then spray inked the cover and used a bit of heavy-duty embossing powder recently purchased at Mega Meet. Should be easy to mail, even as it gets heavy with art.

Had terrific fun this weekend (briefly) with dd, attending the World Steam Expo in Dearborn, MI. My friend Sal was a vendor (and High Tea sponsor). It was so much fun (and so inspiring) to see all the costumes and characters. I purchased some books (from Sal, who runs Off The Beaten Path Books -- a steampunk-themed store) and trinkets...steampunk is a DIY-based movement, as well as a literary-based one, so I was more interested in things I could use to develop my own character-in-progress. I've never been much of a Con attendee, but the spirit and camaraderie of the steampunk world is a very intriguing one for me. Read Scott Westerfeld's young adult steampunk series, starting with Leviathan, and see if you don't get hooked yourself...also Kady Cross's Harlequin Teen (I know, right?!) series, starting with The Girl In The Steel Corset. Fun reads. No vampires! Hallelujah.

In the next week I am having more medical procedures than I've had in a looong time, so you might not hear from me in a while (no surprise there, right? business as usual, LOL). Nothing serious -- an overdue followup to my mammograms and ultra sounds from 2 years ago, and a new twist...apparently my gall bladder is more trouble than it's worth. That will be done as a laproscopic surgery, so I'll be in an out in a day. If you have any experience with gall bladder disease, please let me know what to expect, especially in dietary restrictions. I already miss cheese, ice cream, and cream in my coffee. At least I haven't been kicked off the caffeine wagon! That would be the end of life as I know it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Truly obsessive knitting

Mitred squares...finally figured out!
It wasn't until I was at soccer practice tonight tonight that I realized I NEED knitting. I've never really been a social mom, and although this soccer club is more relaxed than most (which is why we joined it), I still have trouble making small talk with other soccer parents. I'm so glad I have knitting, and I have found the perfect take-along project.

I've been considering the Beekeeper's Quilt, but wanted to see how hard hexipuffs (yes, that's a word!) were to make before committing to the pattern. I found 2 free hexipuff patterns, and had a hell of a time with both of them. 

Eventually in my wanderings around Ravelry I found a (free) pattern explaining a triangular mitred square wrap, and gave that a try. These were wildly popular about a year ago (I'm behind in the knitting world as well as socially!), but the hexipuffs had more recently caught my attention. Having given up on those, I went back to the pattern that originally caught my eye. I wasn't completely sold on the stuffing-and-sewing together aspect of the hexipuffs after all.

Mitred squares have you picking up edges of already-completed squares, and so the only sewing is end weaving. I'm sold, and after making the above sample (I think it's going to be a tiny pillow for my daughter's dolls), I figured out where to pick up and where to cast on to get the diagonals going the same way.

I have a lovely bag of mini-skeins, as they are called, from my knit night group. I brought in my own sock yarn and eagerly wrapped 30-45 yard minis to trade. I started my 2.5 inch square wrap this morning, and I'm on square #4 (of who-knows-how-many squares, as I'm doing mine smaller than what is pictured in the pattern). I started wrist warmers to match my recently finished Amelia Earhart cap, but those have been set aside in my unending curiosity to see what mini skein comes next out of my collection and into my wrap!
Made of very soft City Tweed from Knit Picks...I have a whole skein left for wrist-warmers

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Let the wild rumpus start!

Ears on, crown felted, bobby pins in the points...
Yay! It's done. Almost. I need to add feathers to the back...still trying to figure that out. I purchased beautiful pheasant feathers from Solkat, and she included lagniappe (bonus) feathers, but the quills are quite delicate and I'm debating whether to sew (with fine, fine thread) or glue them in. Happy to take suggestions in the comments.
I wanted to try a fishtail braid, so I needed 4 strands of yarn. I seamed up the crown shoelace style with 2 strands of yarn (giving me the 4 I needed), figuring early on that the easiest way to accomplish this was with 2 tapestry needles going at the same time.

fishtail braid...feathers ready
I added some leftover oatmeal yarn from the hat for contrast in the braid. There is a wonderful tutorial here (I need visuals) on the fishtail braid. Tess just had her hair cut, not short, but shoulder-length, so that it grows out better over the summer. Hopefully by the time she goes back to school she will have length enough for one of these. So pretty!
October Afternoon "Go Fly A Kite: Ice Cream" bg paper
Good Friday, 2011. Yes, a bit cheery for Good Friday, but our kids' service is during the day, and involves coloring eggs (handed out at our church's Easter breakfast), a craft (I was in charge last year, and had them make a "He Is Risen" banner, a photo of which I cut out for the upper right here), storytime (the Good Friday story is never an easy one; we keep it simple and use Resurrection Eggs to illustrate the story), and an egg hunt. Last year we had about 8 kids and over 300 eggs...everyone went home happy and well-sugared, LOL.

I used pink Glimmer Mist on the Pink Paislee architectural elements (same set I used on my Palm Sunday LO) and a leftover scalloped oval that didn't work with that layout, but worked fine here. I have loving hoarded this paper (from a long-ago Studio Calico kit) and it felt good to finally use it. I embossed egg-shaped stamps on glossy cs and put them over folded yellow flowers for my visual triangle. Overall, though, this LO feels like it deserves that famous Salieri quote from the movie Amadeus: "Too many notes." Ah, well, done is better than perfect, in my book. 
"Too many notes!"
Shut UP, Salieri!