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1  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Robots and Aliens on: June 20, 2016 08:33:06 PM

I like robots. I like aliens. Would anyone else be interested in crafting either? Or both? If both, maybe 2 smalls? If one or the other, maybe 1 medium?

If there's interest I am willing to try my hand (first time) and organize/facilitate. Personal preference is a month craft time.
2  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / "Nod" to Land of Nod - maricor/maricar on: July 28, 2015 07:03:36 PM
I saw this amazing work of embroidery several years ago, saved the image, and promptly lost the inspiration link. Recently, I found it again (*sigh* via pinterest, of course), and made sure to grab that sucker:  http://blog.landofnod.com/honest-to-nod/2011/12/the-cover-story.html

My friend is getting out of the Air Force and moving back home to Wyoming to go to school and begin her next adventure.  She heard me talk about swaps many times and suggested we do a little mini one between us!  She was in need of a case for her small sized circulars & dpn's, and I was in need of an organic little cuff for my arm - the exchange was on!

She has a small business named "Knit-A-Bulls" (in addition to knitting, she is a bull rider) so I had a great idea to start:

She already had all the fabric, so I just had to figure out a pattern and incorporate the two types of needles.  Inside the front cover is storage for her dpn's, with a snap flap, to keep those puppies inside where they belong:

The circulars store in the middle, each with their own snap closure, and alternating fabric:

Inside the back cover, she can keep her notes or printed patterns (we both still use hard copies of some patterns):

Originally, I designed it to be closed with a zipper - which went in REALLY well - but it left all the fabric really loosey-goosey, and the more I fought to make it work, the worse it got.  After days of "fixing" my latest problem, I finally just sat back and thought about what I would tell someone else.  So I ripped it all out and came up with a new closure plan.  I added the flap on the inside cover (which frankly I'm not thrilled with), as well as some fun buttons and elastic to the front in order to accommodate a full or semi-full case, but still keep it all secure.  Her brand name is in satin stitch, but everything else is in backstitch:

Here is my gratuitous embroidery shot - which is pretty much my favorite piece on the whole case!  I kept running my hands over the threads to feel the texture.  It is a different stitch than maricor/maricar's, but I like it anyway.  I used 6-7 different shades of blue, which I alternated while marathoning Top of the Lake on Netflix. My mother taught me to embroider when I was young, and I still love to color with thread:

Final notes:  Stabilizer can save a project. When angry, walk away. And not everything needs a zipper, even if you have the perfect one.
3  SEWING IN GENERAL / Machine Embroidery: Completed Projects / Much Ado About Nothing - free motion exchange on: July 28, 2015 06:15:55 PM
I signed up for the Whedonverse swap in the Nerdy Swaps group on Ravelry.  My partner is not on Craftster, so I'm throwing caution to the wind, and posting photos here prior to sending.
(if you're interested:  http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/nerdy-swaps/3222874/1-25)

My partner indicated she is a huge Shakespeare fan, and chose Much Ado About Nothing as her favorite Joss Whedon film. She loves the characters Beatrice & Benedict, who are a sassy couple pivotal to the play, so I found a wonderful interchange between the two of them and decided to try my hand at free-motion stitching.

Joss Whedon shot the film in black and white, and at first I was going to use black thread on a white background to reflect his version, but it was going to be such a tight fit, I decided to just change thread between her two favorite colors to represent the different voices (grey & blue).

The title and citation is done in two layers of black, which worked out well as I was able to go back and correct (read: fudge) some beginner mistakes made with lettering:

Everything else is done in single stitch. Benedict is in grey, Beatrice is in blue:

I outlined the area in painters tape, and used each strip as a line.  This is where I would recommend giving yourself more easement:

The tape is flexible so you can grab it in your hands and manipulate it, and you can also stitch over the top of the tape, for the tails on "f's", "g's", and "y's".

I read a lot of tutorials on how to stitch free-motion, but liked the one where I could just set my stitch length on zero (as opposed to dropping the feed dogs completely) and was able to move it about as I liked.  I made sure to practice several lines before starting on the actual piece.  I also recommend making sure you know how to SPELL the words you are writing!  Sounds silly, but Shakespeare did me no favors on this one!  Zero stitch length is a sheer beast to rip out - which I had to do, twice!  Hateful little thing.  Also, plan ahead!  Decide approximately how many letters/words you are going to try and fit on each line prior to charging ahead.  Finally, when dotting 'i's' and crossing 't's' remember to HAVE FUN!  

As I continued on, it was less stressful, and more enjoyable.  I will definitely do another project like this again.  

And, if you like, here is the back:

It's a little warped on the right where I needed to pull it more taunt, but it was also incredibly cramped (again, where I should have allowed for more ease).  Live and learn, right?
4  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions / Babylock Companion 713 on: July 04, 2015 05:51:05 PM
Does anyone happen to have the users manual for a Babylock Companion 713?

I've checked the Babylock site, various manual sites, and dug through gobs of internet search pages. Figured I'd throw it on the boards and see if someone has one.

I picked it up for a steal! Fixed the thread holder, replaced the light bulb, and it chuggs along like a dream! So, if you run across one, I can recommend it.

I still love my basic Kenmore, but the 713 has more stitches and is all metal. Heavy little sucker.
5  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Octopus Pajama Eater Nommed My Dog on: April 17, 2015 10:30:40 AM
My little friend likes (fairly) realistic invertebrates/aquatic life, and I like functional objects. An octopus to store her pajamas seemed perfect!

I worked the pattern out for a couple weeks in my head before sitting down to cut, crochet & sew. I made a total of 81 suckers in small & medium for the legs and hand stitched each on.  Everything else was machine stitched.

The eyes were tough, as I wanted them kind and appealing, but not cartoony.

Unfortunately, the inside fabric to store her pajamas is a pink/coral.  I'm told it is NSFW.  (Haters gonna hate, 'cuz everyone wants a place to keep their pajamas!)

As I was taking photos, my sweet puppers photobombed me. Too bad she was nommed on for her trouble!

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