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1  Re: ONGOING ATC SWAP - FEBRUARY 2014 GALLERY in The Swap Gallery by Mostly Harmless on: March 07, 2014 09:20:43 AM
Received the following from My_RubySlippers for the "your favourite children's book" theme. I'd never heard of Shel Silverstein before, I'll have to see if I can track down Where the Sidewalk Ends and read it some time!

The text creates a really powerful atmosphere and the little candle at the foot of the card is a sweet and clever little suggestion of that. It's also deceptively simple looking because it's so neatly inked and finely shaped.
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2  Re: ONGOING ATC SWAP - FEBRUARY 2014 GALLERY in The Swap Gallery by Mostly Harmless on: March 04, 2014 06:44:21 AM
Ack, so many interesting cards! Wish I had more time to go through and comment on them individually...

In the meantime, feast your eyes on these beauties La Chapa sent me for February! Meant to post them much more promptly. Feels quite greedy not having shared them yet!

These are both worked in pastel and I'm amazed at those tiny precise lines: in Pudgie Budgie's marking's; around his watchful eye and defining his beak and cere and the detailing on Goldie's fins and her round little mouth and her spaced out eye highlights! When I'm working with pastels I can sometimes get a quasi-fine line but it's never anywhere near where I intended it to be...  Shocked
It's funny how the textured grain of the paper works so well for both feathers and scales too... I guess the direction of the grain makes all the difference?
Pudgie Budgie has something of that look on his face which my birds tend to assume when my mother comes into the room where they live. For some reason they seem to think it's quite important that she doesn't realise that they're in there and they stop whatever activity they're up to so that they can sit entirely immobile and waaaatch her.
Meanwhile with the Goldie card La Chapa's managed to perfectly capture the way that goldfish (fantails like all the ones we've kept at least - how did you know?) often don't swim so much as just sort of drift ever-so-slowly upwards and give a vague shrug of their side fins when they think they've moved just a little too much. They have this way of almost just 'looming' in the water, which Goldie definitely seems to be doing on the card.  Grin
And I love the colours on both too!*


*Looking at my preview it seems like the scans picked up the details pretty well but washed the colours out a little.  Sad May try and get better colours later.

(Og. That paddling tiger is genius, bluepaisan)
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3  Re: Ongoing ATC Swap -- January 2014 Gallery! in The Swap Gallery by Mostly Harmless on: January 28, 2014 04:43:37 PM
...so many exciting cards...

I've had something of a hiatus from Craftster before coming back for this swap, so it'll be interesting to see if I manage to actually post this photo first time around...

I have received my first ATC from the talented cmarion3! She chose the "textures" theme and sent me this lovely collage of a bird behind a nest made of bits of milkweed pods - I'm not sure we even get these over here, but the white bit at the front is so soft and fluffy... The card is safely propped up on my pinboard where I can see it.



The scan is a little bit peelie-wally so I might see if I can get a slightly clearer picture from my camera later if people can't make out the details.
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4  KAS (Knit A Square) pullovers with link to pattern (charity knit) in Knitting: Completed Projects by Mostly Harmless on: March 30, 2011 09:42:00 AM


I try to do my bit for charity here and there. We sent these off in January and Febuary around half are my Mum's and around half are mine.



mmm... complete with uncropped-out sections of photographer...
That's all of the little jumpers together. The pattern is available here: http://www.knit-a-square.com/easy-knitting-pattern.html
We could have done more exciting things with stripes etc. but they're nice and bright and should hopefully keep some kids warm at some point and there's a nice variety of sizes thanks to the differences in gauge! Believe it or not my Mum and I used the same size of needles for the ones at the top... (and for all the others, but those were the biggest (Mum's) and the smallest (mine))

For those interested in construction, here's a photo from before sewing up:

(please excuse the couch)
They're nice and simple and fairly quick: great for stash busting (as are the squares) and simple enough for the bolder beginner's first project.
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5  SANDS memory blanket (charity knit) with Pattern Errata in Knitting: Completed Projects by Mostly Harmless on: March 30, 2011 09:29:40 AM
My mum found out about this charity from the Rural (a Scottish version of the Women's Institute) and brought home a pattern. So many people are affected by the loss of babies so when I was offered an opportunity to do something small to help people going through this I decided to give it a shot.

They really wanted all the blankets to be white seeing as that is quite neutral and respectful so I tried pretty hard to keep it white which made working on this all the slower, unfortunately.



The charity's website is here: http://www.uk-sands.org/Home.html I hope that doesn't count as advertising!
The pattern can be found here: http://www.oxfordshiresands.org.uk/images/blanket_pattern.pdf

My copy of the pattern had an error in the border which made it look very different to the border in the photo but my Mum helped me to correct it.



This is the corrected version of the border pattern:

Row 1: As given
Even-numbered rows: slip one, knit to end
Row 3: slip 1, knit 1 (yarn fwd, knit 2tog) twice. Yarn fwd, knit 3 (10sts)
Row 5: slip 1, knit 1 (yarn fwd, knit 2tog) twice. Yarn fwd, knit 4 (11sts)
Row 7: slip 1, knit 1 (yarn fwd, knit 2tog) twice. Yarn fwd, knit 5 (12sts)
Row 9: As given.
This is a 10 row repeat

I suppose I really should have blocked it but I'm really not great at blocking yet so I just pinned it so the points were a little flatter and so that it was roughly square shaped instead...
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6  Sisterly Pride.... in Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General by Mostly Harmless on: March 30, 2011 08:41:40 AM
It occurred to me recently that my big sister has made me rather a lot of things over the years. I decided to collect as much of it as I could find quickly and "display" it in the photobooth she got online... turns out my photography skills leave a little to be desired but I think it gives about the impression I was hoping for. I've got pictures of most of a lot of the pieces on their own that are clearer...



There's a cross-stitch in there too which she painted the frame for as well when everything else is jewelery but I love it too much to have left it out!

A close up of the most recent necklace:



Featured objects include: seed beadwork dragon necklace(terribly fancy so I'm usually to scared to wear this!); signature necklace with bright chunky beads (this was pretty much a one-off but it's highly envied  Grin); fluorite and rose quartz string necklace; stranded fluorite necklace with matching earrings; blue and green bag charm (goes everywhere I go essentially, it's nice to have it right by my hand because I'm a fidgety person); green spring necklace (my birthday present this year); a seed bead cake with itty-bitty fork (one of her first forays into the world of seed beads and with an absolutely titchy raspberry on the top that I can't imagine being nimble fingered enough to put together); a turquoise anklet; a hematite dolphin pendant; green jointed fish earrings and necklace and a gameboy advance charm.  Cheesy
This picture is a quick and easy way to remind myself that I'm loved.  Roll Eyes
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7  Meg Swansen Entrelac Tams in Knitting: Completed Projects by Mostly Harmless on: February 28, 2011 03:12:56 PM
...I'd say I've knitted at least 10 of these over the past three years. They knit up quick and the adult sized hat is knitted in the round in Chunky weight yarn though I've knitted at least one with two strands of dk, knitted one to the same pattern in dk for my sister's bear and my practice one in a smaller version of the pattern from the same magazine also with one strand of dk. It's a Meg Swansen pattern from the Summer 1992 issue of 'Knitter's' magazine (my mother's copy, not mine as I was 2 years old when it was published).

The first full sized tam and the second entrelac item I ever knitted. (The first was the practice mini tam). The yarn is Wendy Mode Chunky and I chose colours to match my coat, then knitted the ribble mbius scarf to match the coat and the hat.

Slouchy hat is slouchy. The hats are made up of four tiers and I used a different colour for each tier. It may or may not look goofy but this is very much my favourite hat that I own (not that I have many) I knitted it in the winter of my first year at university which was my first year living away from home so... sentimental hat.

The most recent hat I've knitted from this pattern. It's for a friend of a friend who I don't know although the friend I do know was kind enough to pay me for my troubles! ...Or was this the one for the friend herself?? She 'comissioned' me to make a lot of these hats! This is probably the hat with the most (small) departures from the original pattern and even then I only adjusted the ribbing for a closer fit round the head and did a teensy bit of colourwork in the final tier (my friend wanted one similar to mine but since sentimental hat is sentimental I wanted it to be one of a kind so I incorporated one of her favourite colours - pillar box red - into the design) I was thinking working a similar dark border on every tier may have resulted in a vaguely tartan-esque look but have yet to experiment further. I was given "Entr to Entrelac" for Christmas this year though so there are plenty of entrelac projects to come to experiment with, I'm sure!
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8  Ribble Moebius Scarf in Knitting: Completed Projects by Mostly Harmless on: January 28, 2011 09:38:37 AM
I got fed up with the regular scarves I had because I couldn't get them to 'tie' nicely, stay round my neck and not be all lumpy under my coat so I decided to make a moebius scarf since I'd heard they stay well. This was my first cabled project, though I made it at least a year ago. I used version 1 of knitty's elbac for the stitch pattern with an extra repeat of each cable for a little more width.

I can wrap it round my neck twice and not have it too snug, or I can wrap it round my neck once, twist it and wrap it round my head to keep my ears warm, although that tends to look quite silly but to be honest, when the weather requires it nobody's going to be looking at the side of my head too closely!  Grin

^ not coiled up round the banister. It's striped like that to compliment an entrelac hat I knitted which was supposed to go with my blackwatch tartan coat... It's a bit different but I like it.

....aaand a blurry close up of the cables/ribbles to finish!
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9  My First Quilt. With free motion quilting and quite a lot of pictures! in Quilting: Completed Projects by Mostly Harmless on: January 14, 2011 11:29:46 AM


At least a year ago I suddenly decided I wanted a sewing machine. The poor thing sat dormant for several months as I had no idea how to use it and didn't know quite where to start Roll Eyes. Then last summer my mum decided to take a machine quilting class and asked if I wanted to come with her as she believed quite a few people in the class were going to be new to quilting and some were even going to be new to sewing (like me). I took her up on the offer and the result can be seen below:

The finished article

(Sorry for the picture quality, I'm really not much of a photographer!)

I'm pretty pleased with it over all, although it was quite a steep learning curve and because I'm slightly pernickity I'm now pretty well versed with the seam ripper. Matching the points and getting the bias bits to work out was tricky, but the most ambitious part of the quilt was probably the free motion quilting. Free motion quilting is fun and I would encourage anybody who's curious about it to give it a go, but I would reccomend that you pay very close attention to what you're doing while you're sewing...


...or you could end up with a problem like this! Grin

Yep. That was probably the biggest mistake I made on this quilt. I was a little too free and easy with my free motion and I ended up quilting some of the excess batting from one of the corners to the back of the quilt! My mum's first reaction was "Wall hanging!" but I had been pretty pleased with how the back was looking, up to that point and was really pretty disappointed that this fluffy stuff had wrecked it. After much pulling and prodding at the batting and contemplating quilting a patch of extra blue fabric on top, I took it in with me to a quilting shop. The picture above is after I hacked it away from the corner and tried snipping some of the excess away.

The back of the quilt now:

Unfortunately that batting had been sewn down really well and the lady at the quilt shop said that the only way to really get rid of it that wouldn't show would be to rip out the quilting in that whole section and do it again. So that's what I ended up doing. It wasn't as painful to do as you might think.  Undecided

So that's my quilt. I used this site for my free motion references and would reccommend it to people who are wanting to try free motion, the videos are clear and quite easy to follow, there's loads of designs to choose from and the designs are ranked by level of difficulty. I used 'swirling feathers' in the blue background areas, 'lemonade' in the green border and the design in the outerborder is based on 'trailing spirals' I think, although it doesn't show up very well in these photos which is just as well because it's the design that worked the worst for me! For all the problems I had with free motion, I did enjoy it more than I enjoyed stitch in the ditch (which I attempted for the patterned diamonds) which I found trickier than I thought I would!

And here's a couple of close ups:


The fabrics in the four main diamonds are by Amy Butler. The colours aren't quite right here (a little too yellow I think) but they're really pretty fabrics.


A close up of one of the corners to show all the different quilting designs. Photo was taken before binding but after my little batting disaster.

I learnt a lot through this project and found the class really helpful. It helped that the teacher was willing to explain different methods and wasn't at all strict with us. Our finished quilts were meant to have the blocks laid out like this:

But when I decided I wanted to lay mine out with a diamond pattern after playing around with the bocks, she gave me a lot of good advice on how to sew it.
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10  Fairy Mouse Christmas Ornament (Now with Second Mouse) in Knitting: Completed Projects by Mostly Harmless on: January 02, 2011 02:18:50 PM
As anyone who's been following my posts (all three of them, including this one) will know, I quite like making things from Alan Dart patterns. When I saw this pattern was available to download for free I was eager to give it a go, especially since it made me think of a couple of friends of the family. I've only made one so far but I'll probably update this post with others later. This pattern is fiddly but fun!
This one is for an old school friend I've lost contact with a bit who was my best friend all through primary school. At that time she used to keep gerbils and loved rodents of all shapes and sizes, I've seen her plenty of times since and some things have changed but I'm pretty sure she's still a big animal lover.
She's never been much of a girly girl so I switched the white mice with pastel skirts in the pattern to a brighter coloured skirt and a brown mouse but she's always had a good sense of humour so I think she'll still like it despite the tutu and the wings.
Here's an endearing front on view:

The pattern reccommended that you put it together with sewing thread because its so small and fiddly but I managed quite easily just using the ends from the knitting instead. Here she is with a pound coin for scale:

I threaded her up on a loop of 'invisible thread' so that you can dangle her by the ornament loop and it looks like she's flying... (sorry, this last photo's a bit blurry; she swings about quite a bit so we couldn't get one of her staying still!)


The pattern can be found here: http://www.alandart.co.uk/products/product/87 it calls for hairspray to stiffen the star and wings and to shape the tail into a curl but I've found that hairspray doesn't really work well for keeping knitting in shape and the star and wings were plenty stiff on their own without any.

POST UPDATE:

In addition to my 'tips' above, I should probably add that the mice pictured here both have two rows less in them than Mr Dart's mice. This is because I missed a line when reading the pattern to knit the first mouse, but I actually prefer them this way. The two rows that are missing would have been the last two rows of the bodice.

I also knitted a second mouse. This one is for a good friend of my mum's. I've tried to make her more winter themed than specifically Christmassy:

I need to tug that black bit of embroidery floss by her right eye into the head, but aside from that she's ready to be sent away. She's not got a loop in the pictures, but I put one on her after taking the photos.

And there's the two of them together, just for added cuteness.  Wink

I've knitted the bodies for two more and am contemplating making a little fairy mouse mobile, but until either I do that, or perhaps when Christmas rolls around again, I won't be posting any more mice like these as they're fairly similar to one another!
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