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61  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / embroidered Sailor Jerry Tattoo Napkins - part 2 of 3 on: May 14, 2010 12:00:25 PM
Finally the continuation of the project I first posted here:  

I'm making a set of 12 embroidered Sailor Jerry tattoo napkins.  This is the second set of 4.

Pinup Girl.  I added the stars to kind of balance out the composition, and I really like how she turned out.

"Death Before Dishonor"  I went a little crazy shading this one:


Another pinup

Thanks for looking!  

eta: fixed link to original post.
62  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Needing clarification about what wool pickers are used for on: May 11, 2010 01:06:39 PM
I am kind of confused about wool pickers, like the one shown here: http://woolpickers.com/welcome.html .  Do folks use these wool pickers in place of combs?  Is it an alternative to carding?  Can wool pickers be used to blend fiber?  I don't have hand carders yet, and though I would love a drum carder, they are just way too expensive for me to consider at this point.  The wool picker is something I could afford, but I'm not really clear on how it's used.  I have a fair amount of leftover fiber from spinning projects, and I'd like to be able to card it or blend it for future spinning.

The wool picker in the link looks like a pretty cool gizmo, and it's so much more affordable than a drum carder!  But I'm pretty confused about what exactly the wool picker accomplishes and whether it can be used to blend colors and fibers.

What I'm imagining is that someone would use the wool picker instead of combs, and then you could maybe use a DIY hackle and diz to create roving?  Does this make sense?

If anyone can set me straight, it would be awesome.  Has anyone used one?
63  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Alabama Chanin stye coat -- what is this type of coat called? Swing coat? Update on: April 17, 2010 09:34:12 AM
I absolutely adore Alabama Chanin clothing.  I would love to have one of her embroidered coats, but I do not have $4,000+ to buy one.  I would like to try to make one for myself.  I'm thinking if I could make the coat out of cotton jersey, I could slowly add the embroidery over time.

Here's a link to the style of coat I like:  http://www.alabamachanin.com/store/Annas-Garden-Coat

To try to find a similar pattern, I need to know what this type of coat is called.  It's not really a swing coat, is it?  The overall shape is like a dress silhouette, but I don't know what it's really called.  Anyone know?  Is there a particular pattern manufacturer that might be more likely to have patterns like this than others?  My body size is on the border between regular sized patterns and plus-sized patterns, if that makes a difference.


update:  I think they do refer to it as a "swing coat," at least at Alabama Chanin.  The link I used before is gone, probably because they update their product lines regularly, but here is one similar to what I posted before, except a different collar:  http://www.alabamachanin.com/annas-garden-long-coat
64  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Homemade Black Walnut Syrup (same method for making maple syrup) on: March 28, 2010 09:41:42 AM
Ooh, my first post in the cooking forum!

I had to show off my batch of homemade black walnut syrup.

I had wanted to make maple syrup, but don't have a maple tree in my yard.  But I learned the little-known fact that you can tap and make syrup from black walnut trees!  (I think you can also tap birch trees.)    So I tapped my black walnut tree and here are my results.

First, here's a pic of the finished product.  The garden gnome seems to approve of the golden syrupy goodness:

I had a nicer collection vessel for the sap (an official maple sap collection plastic bag) but the bag sprung a leak, so I have gone with a free low-tech replacement, a gallon milk jug.  My syruping book, called "Back Yard Sugarin'" by Rink Mann, calls the milk jugs "Idlenot Dairy Low Fat Sap Buckets" which cracks me up. 

I won't reinvent the wheel with a huge tute, because there are lots of good instructions for tapping trees for making syrup.  Here's a good link:  http://ohioline.osu.edu/for-fact/0036.html  And here is a link to the book I have:  http://www.amazon.com/Backyard-Sugarin-Complete-How-Guide/dp/0881502162/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1269793990&sr=8-1

Basically, you tap a tree, collect the sap, then boil the sap down to the desired sugar content.  Syrup needs boil at a temperature that's 7 degrees fahrenheit higher than the temp at which water boils.  This temp can vary from day to day due to barometric pressure, so you'll want to boil a small pot of water, measure that temp, and then make sure your syrup boils 7 degrees higher than that.  If you can't boil your sap the same day, keep it cool, because it can spoil just like milk.  I kept mine in the fridge for about 5 days, until I had enough to make it worth boiling.

Here are a few pics from the tree, showing the spout in the tree, and my fancy sap bucket.  About 2 gallons of sap boiled down to a pint of syrup.  I feel quite proud of myself knowing I have my own stash of homemade syrup to enjoy this year, and it was fun including my 3 year-old son in the process.

65  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / crocheted cowl with drawstring - made from yarn I dyed and spun myself! on: March 19, 2010 01:00:04 PM
I'm so proud of this little project.  I spun the yarn on a drop spindle -- I'm just learning to spin.  Then I dyed it with a combo of black cherry and regular cherry Kool-Aid.  Then I made up the pattern for this cowl as I went along.  I crocheted with a Q hook, alternating sections of single crochet and double crochet.  Then I made kind of a scalloped edging on top and threaded through a drawstring with flowers on the ends.  So I can wear it loose or tied tighter.

66  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Kreate-A-Lope! Anthropologie Catalog Becomes Envelopes on: February 24, 2010 12:59:52 PM
I was totally inspired by this post:  https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=334398.0

My problem was I needed a super simple way to make envelopes.  I wasn't going to do a bunch of tracing and cutting.  I found the coolest tool ever!  It's called the Kreate-A-Lope -- it's an envelope template you can use, and you don't even have to use scissors, just rip along the template.  Here's a video of the product in action:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKO2jkSxaI4  (And no, I'm not affiliated with the manufacturer -- I just really liked this thing.)

I've been on an envelope making spree.  I made a bunch from an Anthropologie catalog.  They're A2 sized envelopes.  To round out the gift, I cut some 8.5 x 11 chipboard into fourths to make some little notecards to insert in the envelopes, and some blank white address labels in case she wants to mail them.  I also put lick and stick glue on the flaps, so she can lick the envelopes like regular envelopes.

Now, on to the pics:

Here are a few of my favorites:

This is the whole bundled tied with a ribbon next to the Kreate-A-Lope template:

Here's the whole shebang all laid out.  I showed the backs of some of them in the photo, because I like how the inside of the envelopes contrasted with the exterior:

My friend really liked her gift!

67  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Hooked flyer or sliding clips -- which do you like and why? on: February 23, 2010 04:10:41 PM
Doing preliminary looking into getting a wheel at some point down the road.  I'm wondering if any of you have strong preferences regarding hooked flyers or flyers with sliding clips.  I'm especially curious to hear from folks who have used both.  I like bulky and novelty yarns.  Are hooked flyers better for that in general?

68  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Beautiful video of Tibetan woman spinning with supported spindle on: February 18, 2010 01:30:45 PM
This may have already made the rounds here on Craftster, but I saw this beautiful video on YouTube today of a Tibetan woman spinning by hand and wanted to share it.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynrwcqZzlGk&feature=related
69  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Completed Projects / First Ever Handspun - done on drop spindle on: February 10, 2010 01:56:39 PM
Check out my super-crazy thick/thin and overspun/underspun first ever skein of yarn!  I challenge you not to laugh at it -- it really is crazy looking.  I knew it was uneven  on the spindle, but the underspun parts REALLY got pouffy once I soaked the yarn to set the twist.  I do feel a motherly affection towards it though, because it's my first-ever attempt to spin anything.  It's only about 23 yards of BFL.  I struggled with the fiber.  I know a long staple length is good for beginners, but this felt almost TOO long for me.  I kept wanting to have my hands about four inches apart to draft, but the staple length was longer than that -- that's where most of the underspun parts came in -- they were spots I struggled with the drafting.

I keep picking up this little mini skein and petting it, admiring the luster.  I will probably just keep it in skein form as a reminder of my first attempt to spin.  Hopefully someday I'll be much better at it and I'll look back at this with a chuckle.

70  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Does anyone have a Bellus or Fidelis wheel? on: February 08, 2010 02:08:14 PM
I'm getting WAY ahead of myself here, thinking about how much I might like a wheel.  After all, I've just made my first laughable attempt with a drop spindle.  (Will post pics of my first yarn soon.)  But I can just FEEL that spinning is very likely something I will really enjoy.

I don't have immediate plans to get a wheel, but I'm just starting to research for down the road, if I'm still enjoying spinning and want to move to a wheel.  I will plan to take a wheel spinning class first, but I'm not sure I'll be able to "try before I buy" with a Bellus, because I'm doubting very many people have one.

I've searched all over for reviews of the Bellus or Fidelis, and I'm not finding any.  I've seen lots of folks who say, "it looks like a good wheel" or even found posts from folks who decided to buy one, but no posts from folks who have had one of the wheels for a while and used it.  I'm quite a thrifty gal, so the Bellus appeals to me -- I feel drawn to it.  The other thrifty wheel option seems to be a Babe, but I'm not sure I can get past my dislike of its appearance.  I don't have a separate craft room, so my wheel will be living with me, and if I don't like the looks I'm afraid I might not want to use it as much.

So, does anyone have a Bellus or Fidelis and can tell me how they feel about it after using it for a while?  Here's a link to the website:  http://www.heavenlyhandspinning.com/e-commerce-solutions-catalog.html
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