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1  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Production Spinning on a Drop Spindle? on: February 12, 2012 10:19:47 PM
Hi all,

I learned to spin last year by taking a five-session crash course at my LYS, and just loved it. I haven't spun much since then because I moved to another state and have not found a place to rent a wheel locally. I own a Schact Hi-Lo drop spindle and know how to use it, but for the life of me can't seem to gain enough proficiency with it to actually spin high volumes of yarn.

Any proficient drop-spindlers out there with any feedback? I would love spin enough yarn for a sizeable project, like a large shawl or even a cardigan, but the task really does seem daunting considering the pace at which I spin with my spindle. Any tips, tricks, or suggestions would be greatly appreciated, because unless I find a miraculous deal on a used wheel on craigslist, I won't be purchasing a wheel anytime soon and I have quite a few ounces of fiber begging to be spun!
2  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Round-Robin ArtJournal Swap? on: October 16, 2011 08:50:37 PM
I haven't seen a swap like this posted on here in my perusing, and I am not able to organize a swap myself (yet), but I thought I'd throw this out there for some feedback:

How about a Round Robin art/journal swap? Maybe make groups of 5-8 people... everyone starts with their own journal/sketchbook of 50+ pages and fills out the first 5-10 pages, then everyone sends their journal to the next person to fill out another 10 pages, then on around the circle until you get your own journal back with several different artists/craftster's work in it. It could be on a particular theme, or each person could start their journal with a different theme, or something of that sort to keep each journal cohesive?

It would cost a bit in shipping because participants would be shipping a book off every few weeks, and would need to be a loooooong swap (I'm thinking 2-3 weeks per person before shipping to the next?), but I would consider a journal like that a real treasure. Any thoughts or interest?
3  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Stained Glass Afghan *updated with deets on the fleece backing!* on: September 15, 2011 12:58:18 PM
... or, the bane of my existence! I finally finished this a couple of months ago for my cousin's college graduation gift. It was almost 2 years in the making!

Obligatory, pseudo in-use fashion shot!

The whole shebang, on our queen-sized bed:

Close-up of the squares:

Aaaand the backing, a zebra-print polar fleece:

The pattern is the Stained Glass Window Afghan from the book Sensational Crochet Afghans and Throws (I purchased my copy on Amazon). I had to go down several hook sizes (I used a G hook instead of a K, as recommended in the pattern) to get my squares to look tidy. Since they were a tad smaller than indicated in the pattern, I made mine 5x6 squares large instead of 3x4. I followed the pattern exactly up to the beginning of the black border rounds; I noticed that my squares did not lay flat when I followed the pattern exactly and thought that the blanket would bunch oddly when seamed.

I used Caron Simply Soft in in Raspberry, Caron Simply Soft Brites in Limelight, Blue Mint, Mango, Lemonade, and Watermelon, and Caron Simply Soft Heathers in Charcoal Heather (about 11 skeins of the charcoal, about 1 skein each of the other colors).

The fleece backing!

A couple of craftsters asked about the backing, so here goes my attempt to explain how I attached  it. Please keep in mind that I'm not a sewer, so my verbage may not be correct... and please let me know if this needs clarifying!

1: I laid out the backing, right side down, and smoothed it out carefully so that the fabric was not stretching. I then laid out the afghan, right side up, and made sure that it also was not stretching. It's crucial to make sure that nothing is stretched, because it will cause it to bunch up once they're attached.

2. I cut the backing with a 1" seam allowance.

3. I started to affix the afghan to the backing from the center outwards. At each interior corner where motifs met, I used an 8ish-inch length of the Charcoal Heather yarn and a sharp tapestry needle to join the back to the afghan. I just went through both layers from the wrong side, then back down through both layers about 1/8 in apart. I imagine you could do this just about as frequent as you needed to, if you felt you needed more reinforcement, instead of just the corners of the motifs... but it is a good place to hide it on the afghan side... a lot of seaming going on in that area anyway! I just knotted my yarn on the wrong side and trimmed the ends to about 3in and called these good.

4. To secure the edges I also used the Charcoal Heater, and I just folded the fleecing edge to be in between layers and used a blanket stitch to hold it all together. I used this tutorial http://stitchschool.blogspot.com/2009/12/blanket-stitch.html.

Here is a diagram, if it helps at all! Cheesy

The backing makes the afghan much warmer and, in my opinion, gives it a little added durability. After all, I want it to last a long time without warping out of shape or coming apart!

Again, let me know if that info helps or needs revising!

4  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Damask Patterned and Octopus Mosaic Side Tables on: September 14, 2011 01:20:18 PM
I finished these tables a few months ago, but only recently took pictures!

The first is my damask patterned table:

I bought the table at a thrift store for super cheap, sanded it down, and gave it a couple of coats of black. I transferred the damask pattern to the side insets with white graphite transfer paper and painted it by hand with Apple Barrel metallic paint. The pattern was one that I nabbed off the internet and manipulated to fit the space. I then coated the entire piece with diluted iridescent medium and a couple of coats of varnish, and voila! I am planning to change the little doorknobs at some point, when I find the right pair. Cheesy

Below is my octopus mosaic table:

This is also a thrift store find, though not as intricate as the first table. It has a small drawer on the side that has yet to be lined, but the orientation of the image puts the drawer away from the viewer. I did the mosaic first on this one, transferring the image with graphite paper and then laying down the tiles. I used a small tub of Dorian Grey indoor/outdoor grout on it... and am still wondering if I should lighten or darken the grout color because it hasn't been sealed yet Tongue. After the mosaic was complete, I painted the table with the same process as the first one. And done! A mismatched but similar color palette pair of tables.
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