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21  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Craftalongs / Make for a Charity Unswap Craftalong Round 1 (Through March 15, 2009) on: January 15, 2009 05:24:52 AM
Over on the Crafting for Good and not Evil board, we've been discussing an ongoing Craftster initiative to craft for charities.  We're starting, and here is the first charity that we want to be the beneficiary of Craftster generosity.  http://www.preciousawakening.org/ was started by Craftster member sweetnightmare to help parents grieving the loss of premature babies.  sweetnightmare creates memory boxes for the parents, and also includes blankets, hats and clothing for micro-preemies.  Our crafting window is through March 15 (although if this touches your heart, please feel free to continue crafting after that).  After March 15, we'll select our next recipient (suggestions welcome here: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=276297.0)

I asked sweetnightmare to talk a little bit about what Craftster members can do to help her out, and this is her response.

There is a lot of stuff that can be made..

Crocheted, Knitted, and Sewn items..
Small stuffed animals, Buntings, blankets, gowns, dresses, booties, hats, and bonnets.

Yarns should be soft.. My favorites are Caron simply soft, Bernat Berella 4, Bernat Softee, Bernat Satin, Lion Brand Baby Soft.. Use your judgement about the yarn you use. The colors should be pastels. White, baby pink, and baby blue are wanted the most but I also use pastel yellow, lilac, and minty green though not as much. I'm not picky about patterns so be as you want, but simple is usually best. I have used printed yarns but I save those of blankets instead of using them for clothing items.

When it comes to hats, I make them in all kinds of different sizes. I never check the gauge because every size can be used. The smallest hat I have made was only 2 1/2 inches and fit on my thumb. Very small hats and booties are in high demand since most people make larger sized items.

This chart is good for reference.. It's from another organization with a similar cause.. http://knitsforsanity.typepad.com/preemieproject/MeasurementsGuidewithCategoriesNEW.doc
The smallest blanket measurement they give is 15X15" but I would go as small as 10X10" using two strands of fingering weight yarn, or one of baby yarn.

Memory boxes..
These are papier mache boxes medium, large, and x-large boxes are best. Though I have even used small ones because they come sold in the sets, the hospitals always appreciate them in any size. They should be painted using craft acrylic paint. The base color should painted at least two to three times before you begin painting on the design. After the design is done the box should be sprayed with glossy or matte finishing spray (I prefer glossy).

Please tell everyone that everything they make should be tasteful, keeping in mind that these items are going to grieving parents and will be cherished for many years. The handmade clothing may be used as burial clothing for babies that are too small to fit into regular sized baby or even preemie clothing.

 encourage everyone to attach a small note to each item with at least their first name. Optionals: They can add their last name or intial and state. They can also say they made it in memory of someone they love).
For example:

"This was lovingly made for your child by Liana S. in NY
In memory (In Honor, In Memorium) of Alana S."

I usually make cards using card stock. It can be printed or neatly hand written in print. I punch a single hole in a corner and thread a piece of yarn/thread through the hole and then attach it to the item by threading the yarn/thread through a stitch or the fabric with a tapestry needle

When you are ready to ship, please PM me for the address.

Please consider joining us to help a very good cause. 

22  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Twin Peaks Swap? on: January 11, 2009 04:52:24 AM
We mentioned the other day on another thread that it might be fun to do a Twin Peaks swap- pie, dead girls wrapped in plastic, dancing dwarves, silent curtain runners, One Eyed Jack's, BOB, diaries, and so forth.

Any interest?  What kind of time frame seems right, and how big a swap would people want to do?

I'd love to make someone a Laura Palmer diary, or a Nadine Hurley eye patch, or an apron from the Double R Diner!
23  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Happy Birthday Tea Towels on: January 10, 2009 06:26:28 PM
One of my dearest friends turns 50 tomorrow, so I threw together these for her.  The patterns are vintage Aunt Martha's, from a huge score I made on craigslist a few weeks ago. 

I probably wouldn't have bothered to post them except that I'm so tickled with how the cake came out.  My friend's favorite colors are turquoise and lime, so I used those for the lettered towel, but a blue and green cake would be pretty icky, even if it wasn't edible, so I ended up with tons of pink and just incorporated blue and green where it made sense.  And the halos around the candles have some glow in the dark thread in them, just because it was silly.  It was also tons of fun to get to do a zillion French knots.  (Apparently I'm the only person around here that loves to make them).  The towels don't work that well as a set, but they're made with love, which makes them a lot better, right? 

On to the pictures:

24  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / My New Year's week project on: January 03, 2009 09:10:49 PM
I wanted to ignore New Year's as much as possible and the best way to do that is a big project.  Since for Christmas, my parents gave me a cutting mat, a rotary cutter and a gorgeous Rowenta iron, I figured it was time to try another quilt.  I'm just totally thrilled with the result.

Details-- The pattern is adapted from the Amy Butler Lotus Brick free pattern on her website.  All of the fabric (with the exception of about 10 blocks and the backing) is from my stash.  I didn't take a picture of the back, but it's a super-soft turquoise corduroy with a little bit of lurex to make it sparkly.  It was on half price to make it even better.  I think my total investment in the whole thing was under $25, including the batting and the backing.  It's about 6 feet square.

Anyhow, on to the pictures!

The finished quilt

Starting out, I taped all of the blocks to my wall to make sure I liked how they were arranged.

Then I sewed all of the blocks into strips.

The finished top.

The back of the top.

And a closeup to show some of the fabrics.

Finally, how the quilt looks on my bed.

It was a great learning experience, and has me revved to make more quilts.  Thanks for looking!

25  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Anti-Valentines Day Swap? on: December 12, 2008 06:14:25 AM
Is anyone else interested in doing a Down With Love/Up With Singles swap?

After the year my love life has had, I'm pretty sure that I'll be wanting to smack anyone who is running around extolling the virtues of romance, and channelling that bad attitude into some crafting might be good therapy.

I'm thinking a smallish swap (4-5 points) with sign ups in early January and mail about February 10, although I'm flexible on things and am certainly open to suggestions.

What do y'all think?
26  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 33 ENTRIES / The princess nightgown to end all princess nightgowns on: December 05, 2008 05:36:10 AM
One thing we've learned from my soon to be 4 year old niece is that you can never be too purple, glittery, frilly or princessy.  Apparently, it's very difficult to find nightgowns that are fancy enough for our little princess, so for the second year, I've made her one for her Christmas present. 

And here it is:

And a close up of the fabric and the 3 (THREE!) rows of ruffles at the bottom.  I bought 5 yards of the trim and was bound and determined to use as much as I could-- I think I have about 10 inches left.  Just enough to do a doll nightie with.

The fabric is that obnoxious kind with glitter attached to it, so my clothes will come out of the washer and dryer with glitter specks for weeks now!  It's the bonus! Roll Eyes  And seriously, all of the princess look a little bit creepy, if you ask me.  Belle has a strangely come hither look there, doesn't she?

I may have to go to the store and find a big, sparkly rhinestone button to put at the neck, just to make it that much fancier, because you can never be too fancy for a four year old who when asked her favorite princess replies "Me!"

Anyhow, thanks for looking.  It's not worth voting for when there are so many lovely projects out there, but I wanted to show it off a minute anyhow.
27  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Schoolhouse Rock Tea Towels on: November 30, 2008 09:04:24 AM
I made these for my sister for a Christmas present.  We grew up watching Schoolhouse Rock together, and now she watches it with her kids, so it seemed appropriate.  I'm not sure I love them, but I'll post them anyhow and you guys can tell me what you think.

It was a lot harder to find images to use for this than I imagined, so I don't love them all.  And the color palette and cartoony style are pretty far removed from what I usually do, so it was a real step outside of my comfort zone, even though it was all split stitch.  I made them on Target flour sack towels because Hobby Lobotomy was out of my favorite Aunt Martha's when I wanted to get started.  Never again, I tell you!  It was like stitching on cheesecloth.  To make them functional as towels, once I was done with the embroidery, I backed each towel with another and used one of the decorative stitches on my sewing machine to help hold the layers in place.  You'll see.

Anyhow, on to the show:

I'm Just A Bill

Conjunction Junction

Figure 8

The backs of the towels, with quotations from the songs

The decorative stitching.  (Man, is that ever crookedy!  It's hard to do straight lines on woodgy fabric!)

And a bigger view, just so you can get the idea of how the decorative stitching is functioning

Thanks for looking, y'all.  Any suggestions on what I can do to these suckers to help them out a bit are much appreciated!

28  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Silly Christmas Apron on: November 30, 2008 08:42:49 AM
I banged this out the other day for one of my sisters for a pre-Christmas pressie.  It's sort of a throwaway project, but I thought it was so funny that I had to share it.

And a closeup of that pocket with all of its silly ric-rac.

I doubt she'll ever wear it, but I had enough fun making it that I don't even care.
29  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Miniature book Christmas tree ornaments on: November 22, 2008 02:52:31 PM
I made these sweet baby books for my swap partners in the Ornament swap that's going on right now.

Each one is about 3 3/4" square, and has a hand sewn textblock that has 64 pages.  The idea is that one can write holiday memories in the book (or wedding memories in the white one-- the recipient asked for a wedding book), and hang them on the tree to reread every year, and add to until the book is full.

Anyhow, enough yakking-- on to the pictures.

I like these darlings so much that I may even open up that etsy store I've been talking about next year to sell them.  Maybe.  That would be mighty ambitious.   Roll Eyes

Thanks for looking. 
30  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / He sees you when you're sleeping on: November 10, 2008 04:10:59 PM
These Santa tea towels are for my mother for Christmas.  She collects Santa Clauses, so they should fit right in.  They were just a little bit labor intensive.   Wink  All the white on white (actually 2 strands of white and one of light grey) was just hell on my poor eyes!  The border was an afterthought because he was too hard to see with all the white in his beard.  The stitch there is Eskimo edging stitch accented by a zillion French knots.  (It's multicultural  Smiley)

The pair

A close up of one towel

A super-close up of my first attempt at long and short stitch, plus the fur on his hat that I'm really smitten with

And the little surprise on the back

Thanks for looking!!!

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