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11  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / Do you crochet & knit? I have a question... on: February 23, 2017 06:38:56 AM
I only crochet a little but even still I'm most comfortable with the hook in my right hand & the yarn in my left. I joined a group to learn how to knit & am finding it so awkward to hold the yarn in my right hand. I'm told there's a technique for holding it in the left, if anybody has any links to share I would so appreciate being pointed in a fruitful direction rather than looking at dozens of youtubez trying to find the right thing.
Thanks folks!
12  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Basque stitch on: February 14, 2017 10:26:53 AM
I get regular emails from pintangle's TAST (take a stitch Tuesday) site. Not that I actually stitch along, I hope to eventually and in the meantime I just enjoy the offerings.

This week's example is so gorgeous, I thought I'd share.
13  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Feather mini quilt, paper pieced. on: February 14, 2017 09:12:19 AM

Made for the mini quilt swap. My partner's favourite colours are cool purples, greens, blues & greys and I wanted to incorporate lots of shades. I came across this free pattern and thought I'd give paper piecing a try.

I'm told it gets easier the more you do it. That's good to hear because it is weird and backwards, everything you know about putting fabric together is wrong since it's assembled in reverse. My sense of spacial relationships got a bad case of vertigo, lol.

It's far from perfect and I wish I'd had the nerve to try one of those beautiful swirly quilting patterns but after the frustration of putting the feathers together I didn't want to risk messing them up and having to start over again. Since it's a mini quilt I think the radiating lines highlight it well without being too busy.

14  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Love day shrine on: February 08, 2017 10:10:16 AM
Made for the Mixed Media Valentine's Day swap. This is my first crack at an assemblage, I really enjoyed it and will try my hand at it again in future.

I started with the bottom of this old singer sewing machine parts box, it is quite sturdy. It got painted and paper glued all over it then layers and layers of mod podge, so many layers...

I don't usually work with paper so it was interesting including that with all the glue and darkening edges of cut outs and such. I used a lot of stuff I've learned here, there are such excellent tutorials on covering altoid tins with paper, cutting and gluing, etc etc. Tons of inspirational projects too.

The frame, oh boy. I was looking for a heavy chipboard but couldn't find any so I took apart one of those photo frames that are just glass and clips with a backing. It's very difficult to cut :/. I used a dremel but the friction was too much, it nearly lit on fire and smoked me out of the studio for the rest of that night. Oops.
It turned out OK though, a little texture paste, paint, glitter with many layers of mod podge to make it stick (my partner's pet peeve is loose glitter!).
The winged eye is from bead stash, I glued them together with a little flower shaped sequin I found on the floor of the studio, probably one of the kids or fell off something. I have no idea but it looked like it would make good lashes so there you go, use everything!

My cutting and pasting was not perfect so to disguise where the edges met I used a shimmery texture paste in the corners that I smooshed around to make look more organic and part of the design rather than a fix.

The metal heart is a cookie cutter from our childhood. My mom had them at the cottage and brought them all to me. They are awesome but too rusty for cutting cookies with, no way! So, make art out of them, yay! I drilled holes and wired the pink guitar pick and hand & heart finding. The lace trim is to cover more imperfect cutting and gluing and there's a bit of vintage doily stuck to the top for interest.

It looked a little not-quite-finished to me so I added a scroll to the bottom. It's just paper with a singed edge, ribbon, a bit of wood skewer and beads.
15  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Tiny cottage needlebook on: February 06, 2017 06:15:37 AM
Made for my partner in the OTT24. She asked for something useful with white, silver, gray, purple, & blue that was whimsical and mentioned a liking for fairies & gnomes. I saw a small house in her pinterest boards which gave me the idea to make one into a practical object, a needlebook!

Here it is all folded up, it closes with a snap at the roof peaks.

The door handle is a gold seed bead.


2 pages of wool felt for needles. The sides could have elastic bits added to hold small scissors etc but I have found the sort I use the most myself just holds needles and is very useful to me. Coincidentally, I received my needlebook in a swap here years ago Smiley.

I've made a little house with lots of french knots for flowers in a previous swap and thought they'd look nice on this one too. I had an upsetting moment when I folded the seam allowances in and found that one window was very off centre but the addition of a trellis fixed that and even made it better I think so yay for happy accidents!

If she doesn't find it useful for that purpose it can be stitched into a little home that might suit a fairie. I'd like a cottage covered in purple roses, wouldn't you?
It's just pinned in place here and could use a pressing to get it crisp and square but you get the idea.

I wouldn't have come up with the idea if not for the swap but I will certainly keep making tiny houses now. I found it so much fun to plan and work on, it was a great winter pick me up for me and now I'm eagerly awaiting the flowers of spring Smiley.
16  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / I <3 Craftster on: February 02, 2017 08:29:22 AM

So many of the best and most fun things I do would never come to be without this lovely website full of incredible people. Those who share their ideas and techniques, others who give so much time thinking up and organizing swaps, the participants who are so incredibly generous with their talent and skill... There is not a lot I do online but I check in here nearly every single day. There's nothing like this place anywhere else that I've ever discovered. Unique and amazing. Love you guys <3.

For example, using
Sheepblue's stumpwork tutorial: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=441007.0
Pottermouth's binding a hoop tutorial: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=450157.0

I made this for EdelC in the I Love Valentine's Day swap organized by lindyv321.

First I tacked a wire heart shape down like in Sheepblue's stumpwork tutorial but I put it on the reverse side. Then I cut the centre of the heart shape, folded the edges over the wire (folded over to the back side of the fabric) and stitched into place with the sort of stitches Sheepblue shows for making petals. The wire helps keep the shape stable, especially the top point which would otherwise be just hanging there in space and probably curl under and look bad instead of lovely.

It's a little cut out window so you can see the paper insert with "love" written on it. That's a circle of scrap-booking paper pasted to card stock sitting against the back of the inner hoop then held in place with the backing fabric so it won't shift.

There are lots of tutorials here on stamp carving, this is where I learned how to do it. Also tutes for making a perfect circle of fabric to back a hoopla, this is certainly where I learned how to do that. And how to cover the hoop in binding and use piping trim to make it look extra special, that's Pottermouth's tutorial.

I added a little ring of ribbon for hanging and to cover the screwy closure bit. It's tucked between the 2 circles of wood but also stitched into place and a key hot glued to the front for interest.
17  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / LOOK WHAT I FOUND!!! on: February 01, 2017 08:38:49 AM
We already have a set of these made by a great aunt many years ago so I don't know why I have had this kit on my wish list for decades but I've always wanted one and LOOK!

$2.99 at the thrift store the other day, I could not believe my eyes. I didn't cry, amazingly, but my hands did start shaking and wouldn't stop for at least 5 minutes after snatching it from the shelf.
It's been started by it's former owner but all the pieces are there. I am so excited to make these, I AM SO EXCITED TO MAKE THEM!

I'm going to photo copy everything and make ornaments to give away. I know there are people out there lusting after this classic set as much as I have been. Boy, I am a happy stitcher right now Smiley.
18  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Golden apple cornbread, or sometimes experiments turn out great! on: January 28, 2017 12:26:33 PM
I make cornbread often but the other day I started mixing things up before checking we had all the ingredients. Nobody thought to take another bag out of the freezer when it got low so there was only a smidge of milk. There was some apple sauce so I subbed that in for the balance of the milk and boy howdy I baked up the best cornbread ever! Here's the recipe as I made it, next time I'm thinking about throwing in some roughly chopped apple since it was such a hit with the sauce flavour in there. It would be good with fresh corn kernels too, or even both corn and apples. And jalapeos, or cumin, cayenne, paprika, mmm. I used unsweetened sauce and it was plenty sweet enough but you can use sweetened or add 1 TBSP of sugar to the dry ingredients if you wish.

Golden Apple Cornbread:

Preheat the oven to 425F

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour (whole grain, white, or a combo)
1/2tsp salt
1 TBSP baking powder
1 egg
1 cup of milk and apple sauce, roughly half of each or to taste (combine these just before adding to flour to prevent any sort of reaction between the dairy and the fruit!)
1/4 cup melted butter (or oil of your choice or a combo)

Sift together dry ingredients.
Beat together egg, milk, and apple sauce and stir into dry ingredients.
Beat until smooth, adding butter partway through. Do not over beat.
Bake in a greased 8' square pan 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Cool before trying to take it out of the pan unless you're going to serve it warm straight out of the pan in which case it will likely be quite crumbly.

19  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / More stitchery on: January 09, 2017 10:58:55 AM
I finished this one last night.

After piecing it I didn't think it looked quite done so added the small stitches in plain white thread. It gives a textural element that I quite enjoy, it's interesting to touch and all that sewing makes it durable enough for handling.

While the studio's been in post-xmas chaos I've had to entertain my itch to stitch with a basket of scraps and some random embroidery thread stashed by the bed.

As much fun as it's been to do this mindless piecework and stitching I think I'd better stop soon. I'm still not sure what to do with all the patches, or the fabric beads I've been making. There are quite a few.

They could be added to something else but what? Maybe framed for an exhibit. At least they are small and don't take up much room, lol.

20  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Crafting with kids, fabric bookmark on: January 07, 2017 06:50:16 AM
I'm not sure where this should go, it's fabric with some stitching & applique but not stitch work or quilting exactly or entirely.
In any case, it was made by my daughter who is 9 & I'm so impressed with her creativity & skill. She chose the design & the fabrics, cut the shapes, then stitched the dolphin in place. I did help her a bit but not much, advice, the machine sewn edge.

The back is a purpley pink colour.
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