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21  CROCHET / Crochet: Discussion and Questions / Tunisian crochet questions on: October 25, 2010 06:00:33 AM
Last week I started with Tunisian crochet. My mum has done it before and she liked it. Plus, I really want to make a blanket with our logo, and while browsing Craftster, I discovered that tunisian crochet would give me the prettiest results.
I practised a whole week, with two different kinds of yarn, one cotton, the other wool. My first attempt looks very much like a cigare... Rolled up! The second attempt started like that as well, until my grandmother (who is a knitter) told me to loosen up. I did, but it still had this twirl... Is this always the case, or am I still working too tight (that sentence construction is wrong, halp)?

And... How do I end this? It looks finished when I got all my 20 stitches unto the needle, it looks unfinished when I finish that row. *still struggling with the tunisian crochet language*
22  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Irish (dance) swap *new conditions!* on: September 13, 2010 03:25:17 AM
It's getting pretty obvious by now, for the one who know me, but I am an Irish dancer, as well as my sister. We have our own dance troup for almost two years now: www.taradance.be. We are not teachers, far from it, but we both love to dance. I have been dancing for a bit more than a year now, and thanks to our great teacher, I know two soft shoe dances, one ceili and am close to learning my first hard shoe dance. I even won a medal at my first Feis (8th place, but sshh Wink.
Currently I am unable to dance because of persistent, if not chronic, shin splint, in both my legs.

I'm wondering if there are more crafty Irish dancers outside, and if they would love to swap with us. I say 'us', because I am sure that my sister will help. I would organise, but so far I have only participated in one swap, and I'm unsure about it all.

So, would you be interested?

23  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Discussion and Questions / Got some ideas for a strange bedroom? At wit's end! *lots of pics* on: August 16, 2010 03:57:45 AM
I'm almost 24, still living with my parents, and so far no plans of moving out. It's way too expensive in Belgium to buy/hire a place for just one person, and I still haven't got a decent job. Plus, we have a great relationship, we love to be together, so no problems there.

On the other hand, it is getting difficult. My mum and I get along, but we have our moments. She goes berserk over stuff in het living that is not hers. Yep, even my dad's stuff isn't allowed there. To avoid endless discussions, and stuff missing (mum even throws it out) I end up taking everything that belongs to me to my bedroom. This has been going on for your years, to the point where I actually don't feel at home in the living room anymore, because all my stuff is so quickly removed. Agreed, I get to keep some things there, and I am slightly messy, but still...
For years, I have been fighting the mess in my (rather small) room, but I'm at wit's end now. I have even made some pictures, because I am beyond the point of shame, I just want help. I have literally everything up here:
My jigsaws from when I was little, that I wanted to keep, but that HAD to move upstairs to be saved.
Tons of books, half of the collection technically not mine...
Small amounts of food (don't like that, but had to).
Dance stuff (Irish dancer). It isn't much, but heck!
Personal clothing (drawer is overflowing).
Tons of university stuff (that I have to keep close, because I'm a teacher myself now).
Crafting stuff (and I want to do so much what that stuff)

I understand that this stuff is mine, and that I have a bedroom. I don't really blame mum, but too much is too much. Everything downstairs is mum's. Dad once emptied some shelfs in the garage, for each child, but mum just threw everything in there, and now it's a complete mess too. Mum also is the only one with a desk downstairs (dad had a brilliant idea for a crazy shaped desk, with room for them both, as he is a teacher too, but mum said no), and only her stuff belongs there. Dad wants to change the garagde into a crafting room for as all, but he isn't allowed... Dad works with wood, brother is a table top gamer, I want to learn how to sew and my sister loves to paint all sorts of stuff. *sigh*

Part of my problem is the shape of my bedroom. Really, it's the shape of the house, but I got the worst part :p. We live in a pyramid. Yep, we really do. Want to see?



This is our house. Guess where my bedroom is... Right up there, in the top part! Technically the attic too...

Don't get me wrong, I love my house, and my bedroom, but the shape of it... Well, let me tell you, it's not ideal. Our house is big! Grond floor of 11m2, first floor with four rooms, and an attic plus my room (it's one room, dad made a wall, but yeah). The walls are not extremely steep. I mean, we don't walk crook all the time :p. But's it is problematic in my room. I have one, artificial, vertical wall in my room, which is used up completely by a bookcase unit. That unit is filled with books that belong to my dad... Youth books, but still, his books. I don't blame him, at all, because he too was a 'victim' of mum. But it sure limites my space, let me tell you. Want to see that too? I have no shame, so there I go!



As you can see, I have two rows of books on the shelfs. I cannot take a front shot of the unit, because the room is too small, but if I could, you would see that she shelfs are actually bending. Ever so slightly, but bending! The books in front are really mine. The shelf where you can see Miffy, is one row that also belongs to me (kicked some books out) and the right upper shelf are mine too. That shelf was empty when I started, ten years ago, but you see... I love books, and I cannot help but buy them. I really don't want to be held back by my room, but that trully happens. I go to the library too, and I cannot even store the books that I pick up there. I end up throwing them somewhere and they get lost (oh, the bills).



This is a side shot from the bookunit, and a view of my bed. The cd unit is a new addition, one I begged for. I only have one for this one Benno (Ikea anyone? :p), and it's almost full. The rocking chair was a birthday gift three years ago, because I wanted it so badly, but it is always covered up. If I want to use if, I have to throw everything on the bed, and change afterwards... *shiver* I feel so icky now... The strange wooden thing you see, with the blue/greenish bag on, is my personal clothing space. One day, mum decided that I had to many clothes and I have to throw a lot of stuff out. The stuff on the wooden thing is mostly fantasy dressing, or historical. No room in the closet, until I clean it out. But when I do, she is pissed because I throw perfectly good stuff out... Oh, I love it... The three drawers that you see are to no use. Imagine a A4 paper, regular size. They don't fit, unless you turn them sideways. That's a lot of room in that drawer lost... So I use the upper one for photographs (I really want to fit them in a book, but that's another extra book!), the middle one for clothing and blankies (corset, satin gloves, shawl,...) and the lower one for... junk... Old binders really, that I cannot throw about, because they are still okay. *aaaargh!*
You know, my younger brother used to dump his stuff in my sister's room, until she would get rid of it. I never did it, but I so regret it now!



End of the bed... I have no heating, so I use this electric thing. Awful, let me tell you. Under the stereo, craft storage! These pictures are a bit old, but I recently bought a plastic boc for all the yarn. Overflowing now, alas... The wooden shelfs are from Ikea, but although I love them, I cannot seem to use it. One drawer holds future embroidery projects. One for patterns then? And what about the small ones? I never learned how to organise myself, although if angered my parents that I was so messy, so it's hard to change an old habit. When I made this picture, I had some room for candles, you see. That's gone too... *really wants to cry now*
The plastic bags shattered on the ground hold other projects, or just stuff that I cannot store away. Fun!



The desk... What you see in that picture is a clean desk, for me! It's horrendous now... I can't keep a clean surface clean, for whatever reason. As you can see, I have several stuff to store papers. But I cannot use them... I have a collection of some magazines, and they are so heavy that they even broke one of the plastic shelfs, making them bend. I do have a new computer now, desktop, so less space for my legs, but it doesn't change anything. Oh yes, it does, I get to hide some stuff behind the screen...
Literally everything is on that desk. Uni stuff, craft stuff, handkerchiefs, yarn, books, stuffed animals, dvds, you name it, it's there... My clutter is an organised mess, but it is a mess nonetheless. The drawers in the desk, same f*cking story. Too small for everything, and falling apart. One drawer is currently closed, yet open, because the front came off... I don't even use the drawers on a daily basis. Because they are small, and because they are filled with stuff from my past. Oh, I threw away tons when I moved here, but still... After all, there is always stuff you want to keep, but cannot store, yes? *please, yes?* I use every horizontal surface for storage, because I just don't know where to put it anymore... *brother has to drawers UNDER the bed, very jealous of that*



'Door' to the attic. I used on old sheet, because cold came from that room into my carefully heated room. It looks insane... Door is made out of cardboard, yay. Here you can also see that the cd unit is pretty full now, because I keep old cds that I don't listen too, but what to do with old cds?!



The dreadful corner... *crawls away in shame*
This is one unuseful corner of my room. The book unit there is filled with comics. Huge fans, we. I don't mind having them there, because part of the collection is indeed mine. But the unit makes the corner too small to actually use. When I first started here, that corner held an old tv, for the Nintendo and Sega (old school!). That tv is gone, game units are still there (where would we put them, it's an attic, no? *shakes head*). Blue boxes hold uni stuff I actually had three of those, filled to the top, but I managed to reduce it to two. One is in the garden shed, filled with books. The bean bag is gone from my room, not yet from the house. The black cabinet is my altar (I'm a witch). I don't use it that often *oh, the shame and the guilt* because of the mess in front of the cabinet. Plus, my messy room doesn't really inspire me anymore. I want to write a proper book, but I hate it here (sometimes). I already use an extra shoe box for pagan stuff, because the cabinet holds my pagan books. Plus clothes (oh yeah), incense, candles, you name it...
On top of the book uni, you can see my main reason for anger. All stuff that I HAD to bring upstairs, while mum fully well knew that I didn't have the room for that... A microscope and a Make Your Own Mosaic Set. Gifts that I never used (ungrateful, you know the deal) and that I thus had to take with me. I have quite a collection of holders for waxine lights, but no room, so they gather dust up the unit.

I'm ranting, I know that very well, and I wonder if anyone will ever get through all these amounts of text. But, really, I'll say it again, I'm lost and to the point where my room depresses me. I love to be here, because it's MY personal space, but it's too much. Every few months, I get the heebies, and I clean like crazy, but it is never really clean. I keep hiding stuff, putting is somewhere where I know that it will be a bother. But because of the lack of space, that's all I can do.

So, here's the deal... Inspire me! The main problem in my room are the walls. I cannot just bang some shelfs against the walls, because the are not straight! I was wondering if some of you are so creative to find me a solution... I'm willing to throw a lot out, but there is a lot I want to  keep. Yesterday I made a not with stuff that need (that I would love to have): storage for important papers (I'm about to start working life, so I need something), a crafting box, a box for junk, a small box for medication. But then I realised that more boxes won't help me, because I cannot even store the boxes... Maybe I just wanted to whine, and you don't know what to do... Oh well, I had my say, I'm just curious if there's anyone willing to play Clean House with me :p
24  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Stenciling: Completed Projects / First stencil, without freezer paper on: August 09, 2010 03:24:04 AM
For those who are not yet tired of my stories, I am an Irish dancer, and a year and a half ago, we started our (my sister and friends) our own dance troop. So far, things are going great, though we would love more jigs. The hardest part are the dresses. Most of us are girls (Male Irish dancers are so scarce!), so in the end we bought a bunch of very simple black dresses. They are great, and with sashes, underskirts and braids, we managed to create different looks. Last dance year, two little girls joined the troop, both ten years old. Antonio Pacelli had some great dresses for kids, but we ordered them too late...
So, after browsing Craftster, I thought stencilling would be ideal to pimp the plain black t-shirts we bought for the girls (to match our plain black dresses :p). What an ordeal was is to find freezer paper. I still haven't got a clue what I might be in Dutch. But after explaining what I was after to the lady in the craft supply store, she gave me something different, but super as well! Apparently, it is paper for sand art... It is a bit to plastic for my liking. I had to push the drawing I wanted to transfer together with the special paper to the window, because I couldn't trace the drawing otherwise. Kinda hard on my arms :p. And the drawing was really tiny... After drawing, I cut the stencil out (thank you brother for loving table top gaming), and peeled the paper side of. The other side was sticky, and I could stick it right unto my shirt. I experimented with the colours, because the blue is the colour of Taradance, and purple is the colour of the our underskirts. Now everyone wants me to use both colours... Yikes... I love it to pieces, and can't wait to get started on the real shirts.



The purple wasn't try yet when I took this picture...



Closer...

I'm really proud of the result. According to the bottles of the paint I used, I should fixate it with a hot iron.

If anyone has some great celtic stencil designs, you are very very welcome! I'd love some inspiration!
25  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Filet crochet: Finally a success! on: August 09, 2010 02:46:19 AM
Ever since I started crocheting, I wanted to try filet. Using all sorts of cotton that I took from my grandmother's old statsh, I tried my best. I used a white sort of cotton, that I had used for Christmas angels. I always failed... Mum told me to crochet IN the chains, and that was a major mistake.
So, after one of my trainee-teacher jobs, I bought two crochet books. One with flowers, the other one filled with filet patterns. Again, no success, with whatever yarn.
Until I found the perfect cotton in Germany. White, firm and just perfect for filet. Back home, I realised that it was that exact kind of cotton I had been looking for, to make this wonderful blanket of which I found the pattern in a German/Dutch magazine. Schachenmayer, Catania. I went back later, to gather all my supplies, but they didn't have the exact kind of green I needed (550 g, which is a LOT). Either way, mum and I agreed that it was perfect for filet, so I bought more white, and some flashy colours. This heart pattern was the very first thing I made. Not yet blocked, but I was still on holiday after all  Tongue. Later I crocheted the name of the farmer's wife too, in bright blue, but that picture is not yet uploaded.
I know it's nothing special, but I'm pretty proud and want to tackle more complicated filet patterns now!

26  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Celtic knots & Irish dance dresses *lots of Qs!* on: June 27, 2010 10:33:47 AM
Right, prepare for a long thread, filled with a lot of questions.

Two years ago, my sister left her current Irish dance troop, because they were horrible. Nothing was official and the main purpose of the troop's leader was to get as much money as possible. After looking to all our options, we (our family) decided to start our 'own' troop. We are a smaller troop under an official school here in Belgium, called Taradance. Many of our dancers are training for their grades too.
After almost two years of dancing together and trying to get ourselves organised, things are starting to look up. We did a pancake afternoon and earned a lot of money from that, plus, we have another jig in August. Things are going great, so great even, that we are thinking about proper dresses. We have plain black dresses, and we just spiced them up with some colour for jigs. But we want something that is truly ours...

So... Recently, exams over and waiting for the summer holiday to start, my sister took up some sewing, and she has made some great drafts for dresses. With an old sheet she was even able to make a decent example. The idea is simple... It would be a bodice, very corset-like, that can be laced in the back, just to make it tighter. Plus a skirt underneath. One of my father's colleague's is a seamstress, but nevertheless, I want to ask your opinion too... So, unto question 1, what would be the best fabric? The idea of the bodice and the skirt seperately is for the washing up. Washing just the bodice would be easier... *my mum's job :p* The fabric of the bodice has to match the sleeves... Now, the sleeves are a bit special. My sister wants something see-through, nice flowing. Not attached to the shoulders, but to the armpits of the bodice... *does that make sense? I'll look for pictures later!*
So, the fabric has to match the special sleeves, it has to be washable and it has to be pleasant for the skin. After all, we dance in it for quite some time...

Next part... We would make something vest-like for our boys. Very simple. To spice it up, and to make it match out outfits (despite the obvious colour-latch of course) my sister wants some celtic inspired embroidery. On both the dresses and the clothes of the boys. I can see why, and it would be really pretty. But expensive too, no? To be honest, I haven't got a clue... The kind of embroidery we would need (that I personally love) and that would present the best is the satin stitch embroidery. I have never stitched anything like that, but just by the look of it, I'm guessing this is extremely time consuming. I mean, our troop is still growing, and there are up to 15 dancers just now. This all leads to an awful lot of questions... Here I go...
1) How can I best practice this satin stitch? Are there small packages out there, or do I just buy yarn and fabric (what kind of fabric?)? This would be just for me, maybe for smaller embroidery, if ever needed! For example, on our black dresses, but that's some kind of stretch fabric.
2) I know this kind of embroidery can be done with a machine. Does it have to be a special sewing machine? Or can you just use a regular one too?
3) I can imagine we cannot do this ourselves. How expensive will professional embroidery be? Anyobody out there who does it? Or maybe you have done it already?

I think I have forgotten half of the questions I wanted to ask, but I'll be back soon. I'll try to make a picture of the bodice that my sister has already produced. Ow, I do have a picture of other crafty work with did before.


I'm on the right :p. We made the sashes and the hairbands. This isn't the colour scheme we want to stick with...


Other brilliant idea. Blue stockings (over the flesh coloured ones, ieuw) and a blue shrug!

Peeps, I would to hear c&c, we need it so much!!
27  CROCHET / Crochet: Discussion and Questions / Can I avoid this? [yarn twisting as you work] on: February 08, 2010 05:15:55 AM
I've been fascinated by filet crochet ever since I started crocheting. My mum loved it, and my cousin made a birth cloth for my brother, in filet. I'm slowly getting used to the process, but the yarn just doesn't want to co-operate. In the beginning, everything works out fine. But the more yarn I pull from my ball, the curlier it gets. Until it is all twisted, and I have to unwind (funny faces on the train and all that). Even with the unwinding, it makes my work sometimes ugly, because it's twisted. I'm crocheting something for a swap (can't tell you exactly what) and it keeps happening. It annoyes the hell out of me, to the point where I refuse to continue. I made a picture, to make it clear. I just hope someone knows a little crochet trick...


--> You can see the yarn and the twisted part. This is only the beginning. If I do not unwind at that point, it gets messy.

Anyone?
28  NEWS AND DISCUSSION ABOUT CRAFTSTER / Craftster Itself / Where to post this? on: November 27, 2009 01:49:20 AM
Hello everyone! I apologize in advance if I have misplaced this topic. I'm just unsure if I can post it here, or if I should make a Helpdesk ticket right away.

Right, here it goes...

My parents collect nativity scenes. Ever since I was little (I'm 23 now). It started out with two scenes, one in blue Venetian glass, and another one from France. We try to collect special scenes, from all over the world. Currently, we have close to (or even over) 80, and we just bought three extra scenes, plus a gift for my dad (Habba nativity scene, in wood). I want to make this collection grow!
And that's where Craftster comes in. There are member of Craftster all over the world, so I want to give it a go and ask everyone here, if they are willing to help. But I have no idea where to post this kind of topic. Or if it'll be appropriate, of course... I will post pictures of several scenes in the thread when I have a place, for sure. There are some nativity scenes that we LOVE to show off.

So, can anyone tell me where this question thread would fit?
29  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Discussion and Questions / Painting the stairs on: September 26, 2009 03:27:10 AM
Well, technically, not really the stairs... Let me explain myself.

We live in a pyramid shaped house (I'm not kidding) and I sleep in the attic. The stairs to my room are in my sister's room. Not a problem there, we love each other dearly. This past summer, we have redecorated her room. The last paint job was over ten years old and the colours were not really suited for a 17-year old (baby pink and pastel yellow). The new colours: Deep pink, flashy green and even more flashy orange. And yes, it works damn well.
The staircase is a bit of a problem. We have tried to make it look elfish, a couple of years ago, but failed miserably. So made her a promise that I would paint/draw a Celtic knot on the side of the staircase. We are both Irish dancers, hence the knot.

A couple of weeks ago, I've drawn the inside of the knot. This part will be erased (I work with pencil for now). I'm ready to start the outline if the knot, the part that will remain and has to be seen. Dad has adviced me NOT to do this in pencil. According to him it's close to impossible paint over crayon.
I'm a bit stuck now... I can finish the knot in a couple of years, but I'm not allowed to use pencil. The general idea was to design the knot unto the wood and pain it afterwards. Should I do the outline directly in paint? And what about painting straight lines then? Or is there something else I can use?

I really want to finish this... And yes, I'll post pictures!
30  CROCHET / Crochet: Discussion and Questions / How to become a good/better crocheter? on: September 17, 2009 05:20:32 AM
I learnt how to crochet was I was about 8 or nine years old. I grew up in a household where my mother used to make us clothes and my nan was an amazing knitter. When I was little, she was always knitting in her sofa, so incredibly fast, talking to her sons and grandchildren in the mean time. Over the years, her eye sight got worse and worse... She still knits, though she cannot see it anymore. She simply counts every stitch.
My first crochet work ended up as a (famous) triangle. I crocheted very tight and I missed a couple of stitches along the way too. This blankie eventually ended up as a cloak for that same bear...  Roll Eyes

Two or three years ago, it seemed like the world plotted against me to start crocheting again. Nan, the fervent knitting lady, also had a craft store when we were little. We used to play there all the time, though it was forbidden and we loved to rearrange the yarn. *those were the days* From that store, closed down years ago, she gave me an old book, about knitting and crocheting. She has still has loooooads of yarn and wool from that old store, plus needles in all the right sizes.
Together with the book, some girls form uni approached me with the question to start our own girl 'party'. We would come together every Wednesday afternoon to knit, crochet or embroider. After all these years, Purl & Stitch, our little group is standing strong and we stimulate each other to try out new patterns and stuff like that.

Sadly, my mother cannot help me with my crocheting. She actually avoids it, because if she tries to correct my work, she complains she gets tempted to start her own work again. Odd, I know...
Now, I've tried a lot, from the book, from old and new magazines, I worked with all sorts of yarn, yada yada yada... But my work is never consistent. I have made several flowers, and mostly, the work out just fine. When something goes wrong in that pattern, it's not so difficult to start over. I have tried several squares too, including the granny squares and I LOVE those patterns. Getting down to something more complicated, that seems to be impossible. I've seen several awesome hat patterns on the forum so far and I'm dying to try them out...
But I'm a bit reluctant to buy brand new yarn, because, what if I fail... So far, I have worked with left overs from nan's store. Plus, a hat is a very differtent technique... So far, I have tried to crochet a simple ball for over 10 times, and I still can't do it...

So, how can I improve my work? What are easy patterns to improve the crocheting? It's never easy to see if a pattern will be easy or complicated... Any ideas, tips or tricks?
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