Tag Archives: Craftsy

Yarn Along – Post Traumatic Knit Disorder Cured!

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So, as I mentioned on Monday, I’ve been doing some serious Craftsy binging as a result of a crazy $10/all you can watch month of October.  So much so, that I even started to feel guilty that I was watching too much . . . but then I got an email from Craftsy reminding me that I only had 11 days left of my open month, and that I should eat up.  So, there you have it – more Craftsy!

As part of  strategy to get the most out of my $10 (and believe me, I’ve definitely gotten the most of my $10), I decided to watch the classes that were not on my wish list, but classes I woudn’t have thought to buy – and for the purposes of this yarn alongy post, I’m just going to talk about the knitting classes.

First I dove into Cut Your Knitting, Strand and Steek with Confidence.  Now, I’ve cut my knitting several times, but the last time I cut a steek, it went horribly awry, and I ended up having to cut an extra inch out of the cardigan to straighten up the I don’t know how it got so crooked cut I made.  Huh, maybe I’m not the clever knitter that I thought I was.   After that bad experience, I developed a little post traumatic knit disorder about cutting my knits, and when I finished Kate Davis Bliathin well over a year ago, I put it away to cut another day.  And, that day came after watching Strand and Steek.  I immediately turned off the Craftsy and pulled out my burried cardigan -thinking, it’s now or never.

The class covers three different ways to secure your stitches before cutting – sewing with a sewing machine, and two different crochet methods – a slip stitch crochet method, and a single crochet method.  I opted for the single crochet method.

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Success!  At this point it was 10:30 p.m., and the common sense knitter in me said, it’s late, cut tomorrow.  The devil knitter on my shoulder said, no! it’s now or never!  Get the scissors!  So, I did:

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Ta da!  Easy peasy!  I sighed with relief, and undertook the rest of the finishing the next day.

Stranded and Steeked then goes over three methods of finishing the steek, including sewing decorative tape over the folded back edge, securing the edge with an overcast stitch, or tacking it down with a blanket stitch.  Kate Davies, however, provides her own method of securing your steek, which she calls the sandwich.  So, I went with her method, figuring she’s the expert.

For the sandwich method, you pick up stitches on both sides of the work, first the front, then the back.  You knit 6 or so rows, and then, when the fabric has  grown over the crocheted edge, you knit the two flaps together, sandwiching the cut inside.  This took a long time, and I’m not sure it was worth it.  The stitches are definitely secure, and the edge is very neat, but it seems a little bulky, since there are now three layers of fabric – the two pieces of “bread” and the steek filling.  If the edge had been folded back and sewn, there only would have been two layers.  But, it’s a bulky sweater (Bartlett Worsted yarn), so it’s all good.

And, here it is:

There’s that bulk I was talking about – and the icord bind off.  Kate Davies loves her icord.  The entire cardigan is bound of with applied icord.  I definitely had a repetitive wrist injury (I was just stiff and sore) after finishing it.
  
Because the sweater is so heavy, it took forever to dry.  But, once it was, I bought some nice wood buttons, and I’m ready to sew them on.

But, um, where did they go? I have misplaced the buttons I just bought, darn it! I’m sure they’re going to turn up. Right? They’re just in the house somewhere. Yes, they are.

Anyway, Steeked and Stranded definitely put me back on the cutting horse.  I have to admit, I didn’t watch the colorwork section – I know how to read color charts, and how to knit with multiple colors and get a nice fabric.   And that doesn’t mean I’m doing it the “right’ way, I’m doing it my way, and I’m happy with my way.  I know that there are faster ways, but I’m ok with my pace.  In fact, there are a few classes on Craftsy about knitting faster – one on continental knitting (I pick and throw) and one on Portuguese knitting – but you know what, I don’t need to knit faster.  It’s not a race.  I’m not test knitting for anyone anymore, and I’m not on any kind of deadline.  I don’t need to knit faster, it’s all good.

So, once I finished my project, it was back to the binge.  Here’s a run down of the other knitting classes I slurped up:

Design Your Own Cowl.  In this class, Laura Nelkin explains how to design cowls that are knit flat, cowls that are knit in the round, and moebius’s.  I have to say, this class is filled with generosity – she not only does she provide the  math for you for every type of cowl you want to knit, she provides templates for creating a pattern, so that you can use her math with your creative idea, and sell your own patterns.  If you’re interested in design, and what goes into creating your own pattern, this class is for you.  This class lead me to two other classes – Moebius Knitting with Cat Bordhi and Getting Gauge, Perfect Knit Fabric Every Time.

First, Moebius Knitting.  I really had no idea that moebius knitting had its own cast on.  I thought, it you put a twist in kntting in the round, you had a moebius.  I am wrong, as Cat explains.  In Moebius knitting, you learn, and visual understand the construction of moebius, the moebius cast on, and applying moebius construction to not only cowls and scarves, but baskets.  The biggest a ha moment however, came when Cat was demonstrating how to bind off a continuous edge on a cowl, so you don’t get that nubby thing when you pull the yarn through the last loop.  She reveals that that method is really a crochet thing, not knitting, and to finish knitting, it’s no more complicated than pulling open the last stitch, and pulling it tight – because only your working yarn is actually moving – and you can pull it into a knot with the last stitch.  Voila!  It was really a miracle like moment.   Anyway, I am totally motivated to design my own moebius now,  and I’m definitely going to watch the moebius cast on part of this class again before I lose my access to the class at the end of the month.

To further supplement and reinforce what I learned in Design Your Own Cowl, I took Getting Gauge.  This class was just ok.  There are a bunch of little projects designed to show you what a pattern looks like in different weight yarns, different size needles, etc. to give a visual demonstration of gaugue.  This, to me, is a waste of yarn.  The only section of the class that I really had a lot of takeaway from was the actual lessons on measuring gauge, which included two different methods and accompanying worksheets.  So, I got what I needed from the class to help me overcome my magical/wishful thinking getting gauge nonmethods, and get the right size fabric.

Sticking with the design classes, I then took Amy Singer’s Plug & Play, Custom Scarves and Shawls.  So, I didn’t like this class, and I can’t really put my finger on why.  Amy Singer is the editor of Knitty, and I really respect how’s she’s managed to stay afloat with a free online publication in the age of Ravelry.  I just didn’t like it – I don’t know, maybe her snarkiness that I didn’t find funny.  I watched the whole class though, and there are valuable lessons in the material, and I think, based on the class, I could pretty easily use her plug and play method to something  make a straight scarf, but that’s about it.

I followed Amy Singer with Stephen West’s Shawlscapes.  First, I have to say, I’m not sure what they were aiming for in this class.  It’s kind of a how to class, it’s kind of a technique class, but at the end, it’s really a showcase class.  What I mean is this – it was a showplace for Stephen West’s shawls, a little insight into how he designs, and a geometry based analysis on how his elongated triangle shapes grow.  I came out of the class with a new respect for his work.  Before the class, I just thought his stuff was frankly ugly.  After the class, I thought, you know what – you be you dude.  You’re dragging knitting into modernity, and you’re stuff is unique, and special, and not for everyone, but its fun, surprisingly thoughtful, and knit with love an excitement.

Next up Knitting on the Bias.  If math is not your thing, this class isn’t for you.  So, it wasn’t for me – mind numbing math right out of the get.  Onward.

Then, Custom Knit Yoke Sweaters.  Eh.  The teacher is a disciple (assistant) of Meg Swanson, and everything is Amy says this, or Elizabeth (Zimmerman) says that.  It’s an ok class.  You can definitely design and knit a yoke sweater by the end.  But, you could also save your money, and read Elizabeth Zimmerman as well.

Slipstich Colorwork, Mosaics and Beyond.  I took this class after Shawlscapes because almost all of Stephen West’s shawls incorporate slip stitches, and he never really explains how they work.  This class was simply a survey of different slipstich patterns, and I think I finished the class because I didn’t want to admit that I struggled with the instructor’s thick accent.  Faina Goberstein teaches the class, and I am a big fan of her designs.  But, it was hard . . . and I felt like a really bad person.

I finished up my knitting class binge with Wee Ones Seamless Knitted Toys.  I watched over a half hour of it, and Susan Anderson hadn’t stopped talking about herself yet, so I turned it off.

And, that’s where I am.  Currently, I’m watching some embroidery classes, and before my 11 days are up, I’m going to hit up the crochet.  I also watched a few of the photography classes, but since I was a member of Scott Selby’s site for a good two years, these classes were so similar, they were repetitive.  So, free form crochet, here I come!  Also, I know there are two classes starting on Monday that I’m going to have to squeeze in before the end of the week, and my $10 is up – Sew Sweetness has a handbag class, and Maureen Cracknell has a quilt as you go class – definite must takes!  Hope I can squeeze them both in under the gun!

And, what am I reading – that would be a big nothing – I have Craftsy coming out of my eyeballs, and I will resume my regularly scheduled nonprogramming in November!

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Thread Art Project Done!

And, she’s done!

I thought there was a gigantic possibility that I was going to mess it all up once I tried to color her in, but I think it went ok.

So, what to do with her. I could cut her out, bind her, and hang her on the wall. Or, I could make her part of a tote bag. Decisions decisions. I have a minute (my clients always refer to time as “like a minute” – how long did you wait for the detective to come in? Lke a minute (2 days). How long were you in the store? Like a minute (a half hour) to think about it because I had to order textile medium to seal the color. So, while I wait for the finishing magic to arrive, I’ll think on it. I’m leaning towards turning her into a decorative pillow – round, with piping. I’ve never made piping, or applied it, so that could be an adventure.

And, for my next project, I’m thinking Frida Kahlo, since my doll was a big fail. I’m thinking that I’ll stitch her, but then, instead of stitching the flowers, I may do some ribbon embroidery -I think that might be pretty cool. We’ll see.  Maybe I’ll do her as a doll.  I have a few minutes to think on it.

In the meantime, here’s a gratiutous pic of Olive – look at that face!!!

More Tildas


I had off Thursday and Friday for no other reason than “just because.”  Well, Thursday night we did go to see Van Halen in Camden, and I did feel like sleeping in on Friday, so it wasn’t totally for “just because” although sleep probably falls into a “just because” like cateogry.  In any event, I spent Thursday, busting out 2 more Tilda’s.   Tracing, sewing and cutting out the pieces takes literally no time.  The time suck comes from turning the tiny pieces and stuffing them so that they’re not lumpy.  Don’t want a tumor riddled Tilda.  I find the whole stuffing process pretty relaxing though – it’s one of the things I like about doll making.  I put on a podcast, and mindlessly wiggle little bits of fiberfil into the teeny, narrow limbs.How cute is my Tilda substitute fabric – thank you Craftsy – I bought nearly 45 fat quarters (2 different bundles) for under $40 during their last sale.  Can’t beat that!    Two fisted Tildas – easy peasy to make more than one at a time.   But now the question is, how many to make?  These two are for my age appropriate nieces – one is nearly 2 and the other is five.  I think I’m going to make one more – for my 8 year old niece.  She’s still into stuffed animals, but I don’t think dolls so much – so I think I’ll make her a Tilda Bunny.    And then, the dilemna – do I leave the two older nieces out?  The first was easy – I just asked Danielle if she wanted one, and she said she’d get back to me, which I took as her way of politely saying no.  I suspect the other niece would feel the same way, but I don’t want to leave her out – so she may be getting a tote bag instead.   I know that even at my age, I like having Tilda hanging around my craftroom, but I can see where 12 year olds would think she’s totally not cool.


I sent this photo to my mother-in-law to show her what I was making the girls for Xmas, and she thought I was making prototype clothes for them, and this was a mannequin.
Once I showed her this photo, though, she thought they were sweet.   I just hope the two year old doesn’t pull the ponytail right out of Tilda 3’s head.

Now, I’m taking a break from Tilda’s, and I’m back to art dolls, cloth and clay.  Yesterday, I did some free motion stitching and face painting – and I kind of like the results, but it’s way too big, and I don’t have enough stuffing to make a proportional body.  So, I think I’ll chalk it up to experimentation, and go smaller this time, with more of a pattern in mind than a total wing it job.  And, this weekend, I’m finally going to make Gritty Jane’s Cloth and Clay Doll from that workshop I took two years ago, but chickened out of making.  And I’m kind of obsessed with Danita Art’s cloth and clay dolls. She did a class on how to make them at Studio Creshendoh so I’m hoping that she turns the content into an online workshop – although I’ll probably be out of dollphase when that happens. She already has an online doll workshop – but those dolls don’t involve clay – just paint and cloth, and I’m not so intrigued with those – although I do like them. The class however, is over my normal online class pricetag, so for me to sign up it’ll probably take a few glasses of wine and a what the hell moment.

In the meantime, I did sign up for the subscription site, Brave Girl’s University.    At first, as I mentioned in a previous post, I thought the $25/month pricetag was on the high side.  The site bills itself as the Netflix of art and soul classes, but Netflix is only $7.99/month.  Of course, the form of access to content is comparable, but the content really isn’t, which is what moved me to try it out.  Once we got a list of teachers and some of the classes, and I saw that Stephanie Lee’s Homesteader’s Metalsmithing class was part of the package, I was in – since that class is over $100 to take alone.   It’ll be interesting to see if the whole class is part of the site, or just bits of it.   And, there are a few other big ticket classes as well, like Flora Bowley’s Brave Intuitive Painting.  But, there’s some content that I’ve taken before – Mindy Lacefield’s Paint Your Story, and Jeanne Oliver’s bit from Studying Under the Masters (and boy, am I NOT going to sit through her Van Gogh lecture again – that was interminable).    So, I’m in, for a few months at least.  And, I’m out of Craft Daily, Interweave’s subscription service online workshop site.  You can read my previous post, but I really wasn’t impressed with it, at all.  Especially, when an instructor said, you can refer to your worksheet for this or that, and the worksheet wasn’t available, which happened repeatedly.

So, I’ll let you know my thoughts on BGU later in the week, as the doors open tomorrow.

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To Crafty Daily or Craftsy? Or Creativebug? That is the Question

There is just not enough time in the day for all of the things I want to do. So, some projects get put on the backburner, some get ditched all together, and some move to the top of the list.

Right now, my current Fiddleknits shawl, Water, has moved to the backburner. I subscribed to Craft Daily, and I really want to cancel after a month, so I’ve been binge watching craft videos on my ipad, so I can’t use my ipad for KnitCompanion, and my shawl’s chart. Very bad timing, this binge watching subscription idea, since I’m so close to the end of the chart – about 20 rows to go. But, since I don’t really need a wool shawl/scarf in this 80-90 deg. weather, this project can safely drop down on my list without causing any fuss. So, instead, while watching videos, I’ve been doing some English Paper Piecing (more on that another day), but I’m about to switch over to my knit sock project (time sensitive, see below), which means that embroidery has also been moved to the backburner, although, I really do want to start my bird shading project, and this sew-a-long from Bustle & Sew. And, that run on sentence is how my brain is functioning these days – I have these socks on needles, but I want to start the sew-a-long, but to start that I have to stop doing my EPP, and if I stop doing my EPP, I’ll never make any head way with it, but do I really want to make head way because it will never really get done, and it’s such a fabric suck, maybe I should abandon it, even though I enjoy it? Maybe I’ll start my bird embroidery project, oh, but I really want to sew . . . argh, and when am I going to get back to my 2 Sophie afghans, and I’d really like to crochet those little guys from Inside Out, and what about my Color Dive quilt that just needs to be quilted and bound, and on and on it goes!

So, I did ditch one project, and erase it from the stream of conscious crafting paragraphs that run through my mind before I go to sleep, the Crazy Quilting. I got halfway through the free class, I looked at my project and thought, you know, I really don’t like this, I think it’s ugly, I don’t want to do anything with it, and it’s really really time consuming. So, done. I didn’t even finish the class. I was at peace with my decision to toss it, and I never looked back.

Forward! Onward. So, one sewing project did jump to the top of the list, out of necessity. Crafty Gemini Creates, the Crafty Gemini’s new video channel in partnership with Missouri Star Quilts, released a video on a quick and easy insulated lunch bag. Hey, something I can make that I actually need. Perfect. That makes prioritizing much easier. The tutorial was super simple to follow. I did run into a snag, literally, because I bought the wrong Velcro. I should have bought the sew in kind, but instead, I bought the kind that has adhesive on the back. My sewing machine did not appreciate being gunked up with glue. Luckily (or not so luckily, because I’d really love an excuse to buy a new machine), I didn’t break the machine, I only ruined the needle. And then, instead of waiting to order the right kind of Velcro, I decided I had to have my lunch bag now, and I decided to hand sew the gluey Velcro. Two hand sewing needles ruined, and a blister on my index finger from fighting the needle through the fabric and the glue later, I had a lunch bag. Ta da!

How cute, right? The Crafty Gemini posted my photo on one of her pages to promote the tutorial, and someone left a comment regarding this Singer model, the Superb, and whether I had troubles with the bobbin. Well, since you asked – YES! I’m really not a fan of this machine, at all. Originally, I bought a Singer 74sometingQ, which was their HSN quilting model. It had a nice sized throat space, the extension table, etc, but it didn’t have a needle down position button, and there were a few other simple things it was missing. So, when I broke it (I tripped over the foot pedal, yanking it out of the connection, and busting the computer board), I was upset because I was mid project, a Hanukkah gift for my niece, and I ran out and bought the most affordable machine I could – it was the holiday season, and I wasn’t really flush. This model was on super sale at Sears. It does have more bells and whistles than the quilting machine, but it has its problems too. First, the bobbin – the bobbin is tempermental, and having googled the problem, I know it’s not just me. 9 times out of 10, when you begin stitching, the first few bobbin stitches are clumped up, a stitchy mess. After the first couple of stitches, it stitches fine. My solution has been to use a leader fabric, and move into my real project. But, that doesn’t always work – sometimes the seam starts with a curve, and it’s very hard to start anywhere but right at the beginning point. So, the bobbin is a drag. The second problem is bizarre – my backstitch button only stitches at half speed. So, I can’t just move the fabric back and forth to back stitch – it’s like a tortoise hopping backwards, one slow stitch at a time. Very annoying.  Steer clear of this machine if you’re in the market for a crafting machine – there are plenty of other ones on the market at this price point.  Anyway, obviously, the real issue is the bobbin, and I may just need a new machine for the holidays.

But, that’s enough complaining for one blog post.  I had another sewing project gelling in my mind. Last month, I think, during one of the Crafty Gemini’s Quilt Cams through Quilt Club, she mentioend she was going to eventually do a tutorial for Missouri Star using glue in, purse frame handles. That reminded me of a pattern I’ve had in my queue on Craftsy for awhile, the Tammy Bag from Mdm Samm at Sew We Stitch. I became intrigued with the Tammy bag after she hosted a blog hop for a special version of the Tammy Bag, a Tammy for All Seasons, which featured vintage cross stitch designs based on the four seasons.  I don’t have any real desire to do cross stitch (although that has never stopped me from investigating, trying, and then abandoning – see crazy quilting), but I think I could do something similar with embroidery, like this bag from Bustle and Sew.

So, with the project in the back of my mind, sparked by the Crafty Gemini tease, I saw a video on using purse frames from my binge watching on CraftDaily, and decided that it was time to try it.  I bought the pattern, and found sew-in frames on Amazon.  For this particular pattern, she used the sew ins, and since I couldn’t actually find glue ins, I decided to just go her way.

And, voila, I give you Tammy!
And my sock project.  As you can see, the sock yarn – Chargers colors – moved to the front burner because of the approach of football season! Anyway, the Tammy bag pattern is . . . fine.  The written instructions are a bit confusing, but there are a ton of photos – so it was easy to figure out.  The only part, I guess, that was really confusing from the written instructions was about lining the pockets – the pockets were clearly lined in the photos, but there weren’t really any instructions about doing the lining of the pockets in the written pattern – but you could extrapolate pretty easily from the photos.   The difference between the Tammy bag, and other similar metal purse framed bags is that the Tammy bag is constructed from four pieces – two fronts, two sides with curved seams, rather than from two pieces of fabric, front and back, that sit upright from boxing the corners.  Anyway, I love it, and I see more of them in the future.  I’m picturing a denim one with really bright embroidery on the front.  Or a classy vintage one with the embroidery from the Lady Bird purse.  We’ll see.  I definitely think everyone is getting change purse sized ones for the holiday.

And as to the question, glue or sew?   Sewing was easy peasy.  It’s really a matter of taste I guess, and whether you like the look of the stitching on the top of your bag.  I’m good with it.

And, for my last sewing feat of the week – a project that came out of nowhere, just inspired by a video I saw on Craft Daily – a Tilda Doll.

A doll? Yeah, I don’t know why – it’s certainly not on any need list, nor has it been waiting in my mental queue like the Tammy Bag. I just saw it, and thought it would be fun to make.

I had never heard of a Tilda doll, although I had heard of Tilda fabric. The Tilda brand is the work of Norweigan designer, Tone Finnanger, and it is distributed by a British company throughout Europe, Australia and New Zealand. I follow a few Australian bloggers, and they’re always diving into their Tilda fabric stash, especially for subtle vintage florals perfect for needlework and patchwork. But the Tilda doll was new to me through Craft Daily, and when I went looking for additional tutorials on youtube, I found tutorials mostly in Russian and Ukranian.

So, I’ll digress here for a minute. Big problem with Craft Daily – none of the videos, at least that I’ve watched, and I’ve watched quite a few, provide the original pattern from which the tutorial video is based. There are no downloadable PDFs, either of patterns or supplies necessary to complete the project. This is really annoying – and had I bought these classes individually, which you can do, rather than through the monthly subscription, I would be pissed. This is a huge difference from Craftsy – which not only provides a supply list, all patterns used in the class, in some cases, you get an entire book – as I did with Crazy Quilting and Allie Allers books. But of course, that’s why there’s a different price structure. And of course, the Craftsy classes go beyond simply tutorials – they’re really entire classes that if you went to them live would cost you easily over $100 per class. As it is, the general price per class is usually somewhere between $29-49, and I have to say, I’ve never paid full price for anything on Craftsy. You put stuff on your wishlist, and then when they go on sale, Craftsy notifies you – so for the classes I’ve taken, I’ve paid either $14.99 or $19.99 – a total bargain for what you get. Anyway, comparing Craft Daily and Craftsy is probably unfair – the fairer comparison is probably Craft Daily and Creativebug, both monthly subscription services.

Creativebug is under $10 a month, provides downloadable PDFs, and has a platform for asking questions, and posting photos of your projects. CraftDaily, at $20/mo (unless you commit to a year, then it’s $17) – nothing. Craft Daily is definitely bigger – but if you binge watch for a month, like me, you’re then in same position as you’d be on Creativebug, waiting for new content. Creativebug has a schedule, and lets you know what’s coming. Craft Daily – not so much. When you search for “New” five videos come up. At least 2 of them were on the site when I joined two weeks ago. So, new content isn’t really coming in any faster than Creativebug, which posts at least one longer, work-a-long class a week, and several smaller tutorial videos on Tuesdays. And “new” is new to the site – not necessarily a new tutorial – it might be something recycled from an affiliate site – and therefore, the quality of the videos isn’t nearly as good as the quality of the videos on either Craftsy or Creativebug. And, these videos that come from an affiliate site, don’t even provide the link to the original site, which is always referred to in the video, so you can get the written instructions or the pattern. You have to google what you catch while watching the video – and then you find out, you could have watched the tutorial for free on the affiliate site. Anyway, as I mentioned above, I went into Craft Daily planning on canceling it after a month, and I’ve seen nothing in the last two weeks to change my mind. Creativebug is a total bargain, and even if a month goes by and I don’t get a chance to watch anything, I’m ok with paying my fee because I like the idea of supporting the site, and it’s independent makers and designers.

So where was I – ah yes, the pattern for the Tilda doll. So, I watched the Craft Daily walk through tutorial, and of course, since they don’t provide the pattern, I had to buy it for $6.00 from Amazon. There are plenty of photocopied patterns on pinterest, but I never feel right doing that. Anyway, from the time I ordered my pattern, until I got it, of course, I went into the Russian/Ukranian sinkhole of looking at Tilda blogs, and was totally jonesing to get started.

So, here she is – well, so far!

The sewing is really easy. You just trace the pattern on doubled up fabric, sew on the traced line, and then add a 1/4 inch seam when you cut it out. The stuffing, actually, is the time consuming laborious part – you don’t want to have a lumpy doll, so you have to stuff with little pieces, and be careful to make sure the little pieces don’t get balled up, and your doll ends up with vericose veins.

i did make the mistake of overstuffing the body, because I used a satin fabric for her bodice, I wanted to stuff out any creases or wrinkles. So, I had a hard time attaching the legs – but they’re in there. The satin fabric came in that box that I bought for crazy quilting, and since that’s abandoned, I have to use up the scraps with something. The skirt is going to be made from the same fabric I used to upholster my dining room chairs – I didn’t want to use anything “real” in my stash until I knew I could make the doll. This is kind of like a rough draft, sort of. But, she’s turning out! And, she’s really fun. Look, she doesn’t even have a face, or clothes, and she already has kind of a personality just sitting there, arms in her lap.

Speaking of personalities, the Tilda doll patterns come with wings to make them angels, but I have no desire to make an angel. That means they’re dead, right? Who wants to make a dead doll?

So, this post is all over the place – but so am I. And, as long as I want to do all of my projects NOW – I don’t see focus coming into play any time soon.  Eh, focus is over rated right?  If I focused, I’d only have one project at a time – who wants that?  And, I’d never make a useless, cutey patootie doll.  Where’s the fun in that?

 

Call Me Crazy Quilter

As you may remember, I’ve been working on this Rebecca Rinquist sampler:
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Pretty, right? The buttonhole stitch is finally sticking!

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And, I’ve added the chain stitch, and the detached chain stitch/lazy daisy to my repetoire.

Great!

Now what?

Well, I am always a sucker for a sale, so when Crafty’s put all of it’s classes on sale last week (and it’s still going on – I’m not a Craftsy affiliate, just a fan – and the sale goes through midnight tonight), I decided to check this one out –

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This class seems like it would be a crazy choice for me.  Crazy quilts are not my aesthetic at all.  While I do love all things vintagey in theory, that love translates practically into modern design with a dash of nostalgia.  For instance, I have no problem pairing the modern furniture in my living room with antique picture frames, nostalgic memorablia, and retro cameras.  But, I’m not a lacey, beady, ribbony kind of girl.

On the other hand, what doesn’t quite fit with my aesthetic, completely runs paralell to what I’m doing craftwise.  I love quilting, and especially foundation pieicing, and I’m really enjoing my hand sewing/embroidery.  Crazy quilting combines these things, along with other textiles I’ve used in the past – like beads and charm embelishments, and the process of creating, designing and stitching a crazy quilt appeals to me.

So that begs the question – is it worthwhile to pursue something that appeals to my process side, but not at all to my product side?  For me, the answer is yes, for once I master the process, I can turn it into my own product.  While for now, I am making a wall hanging (or maybe a pillow) as a I follow along with the class, I have ideas about making journal covers – and I think this crazy quilt look will work for me in that medium.  Who wouldn’t want  a beautifully quilted and embelished journal cover – a pretty place to store memories, thoughts and dreams?  Hopefully, everyone will want one  -because if this works out, everyone’s getting them for the holidays!

In any event, I started the class, and I was really inspired.  Again, by the process.  I’m not all that inspired to have a crazy quilt on my wall, but eh, maybe it’ll be a gift.  I have taken many many Craftsy classes – yes, I am a craft class addict.  Some are better than others.   This class, with Allie Allers, has to be one of the best.  Much like Sarah Fielke’s class, Big Tehcniques from Small Scraps, which is also awesome and also covers a gazillion skills related to applique, this class covers so many techniques and skills it will make your head spin.  Not only does Allie cover four different techniques for piecing a crazy block,  she also teaches I think fourteen basic embroidery stitches, and how to combine them.  And, just when I thought class was over, she moved into beaded embroidery, and then ribbon embroidery.  Done?  Not yet, there’s still a whole lesson in finishing and displaying your quilt.  Piecing, embroidery, beaded embroidery, ribbon embroidery and finishing, all in one class.  I have to say, by the end of the class, I was exhausted.  And, then, I watched it again.  I took advantage of Crafty’s 30 second repeat button, and stitched along with Allie – not only while I pieced my blocks, but while I learned the embroidery stitches.  And, today at lunch, I’m going to pick up some beading supplies, so I can rewatch those sections, and stitch along with her.

And speaking of picking up supplies, since crazy quilting has never been on my radar before, all I had in my fabric stash was quilting cotton.  Well, I had to do something about that.  I found this store on Etsy, AnnDanCes and bought her listing for Fancy Scraps.    Buying fabric like this is a crapshoot.  Generally, the photo is generic – a representation of what you’re going to get.  So, you just have to cross your fingers, read some reviews of the seller, and hope for the best.  And, my – was I pleased!  The shipping was super fast – I ordered the box on Wednesday, and it arrived, from Texas, on Saturday.  And, when I opened it, I was literally gleeful – I think I even clapped my hands and exclaimed – goody!

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I dumped the box out on my table, and sorted the fancy scraps into color piles. Not a crazy quilt thing to do, I guess, but a Wendy thing to do, and I made the first two blocks from the class.

This one is flip and sew foundation piecing:

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And this one is the same method, but the pieces are curved –

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Very proud of myself!!

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And these two blocks are perfect examples of how jam packed this class is – I learned how to flip and sew (which unlike paper piecing, involves tracing your pattern onto muslin, and using the diagram as a guide, rather than sewing on the backside of paper), stablizing these fancy fabrics, how to care for these fabrics so you don’t crush them, and curved piecing. If I had just stopped at these two blocks, I would have gotten my $19.99 worth. But, the next two blocks take things even further. The third block is freezer paper applique, and the last block is improvisational piecing. I’m telling you, each block could be a stand alone class.

Anyway, after piecing my two blocks, I did have to try some stitching. I set up a sampler, and practiced some stitches – herringbone, stem stitch, chain stitch, lazy daisy flowers, and using a no fear attitude, I started stitching on the first block:

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And the totally fun thing about crazy quilting – I really have no idea what I’m going to do next.  Each block is unique.  If there are any crazy quilting “rules,” I don’t know what they are – so the only thing limiting me is how fast I can learn my stitches.   And, to help with that, and for additional inspiration,  Allie Aller’s book, Crazy Quilting, is included as a free download with the class.  Crazy right!  The hardback version of the book on Amazon is more than the class itself – bargain!!!

So, if you have any interest in this fun project, check out the class – you’ll definitely get your money’s worth, no question.  And, I’ll be back later in the week with how my blocks are progressing.

You may have noticed there is no Knitting on the Porch today.  I took the weekend off for Mother’s Day, so I’ll be back with a video blog next Monday.

Hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day!

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Let the Stitching Begin!

And I’m off!

Actually, any kind of racing analogy is a bad one when you’re talking about embroidery. Embroidery truly is a slow, contemplative exercise, and if it weren’t for the threading of the teeny tiny needle, it would be completely zen-like.

This is the sampler from Creativebug’s beginning embroidery class with Rebecca Ringquist. Rebecca has a new book out, and sells her samplers, both as single purchases and as part of subscription plan, through her Etsy shop, Dropcloth.  Her stitching style is really unique; often, she works on top of vintage embroidery, or her stitches are a combination of different threads and textures. I haven’t fully decided if I actually like her style (although there’s no question I respect it, and I think it’s beautiful, I’m just not sure if that’s how I want mine to look), but the class is great, her instructions are clear, and the sampler is so cute.

So, what brought on this desire to stitch? I don’t know – I’ve done a few minor embroidery projects before – mostly with just backstitch. I took Craftsy’s beginning embroidery class, Design It, Stitch It,  and thought, yeah, that looks like something I could wrap my head around, and I put it on the back burner. When I saw Rebecca’s book on the shelf last week, I decided to take the plunge. So, yesterday, on my lunch hour, I stopped by Rittenhouse Needlepoint to pick up some embroidery needles, and of course, I couldn’t resist a good sale. They had the above lovely little kit of perle cotton from Finca on sale for half price. Sold! Unfortunately, I was so mesmerized by its prettiness, I decided to ignore that it really was the wrong weight. Rebecca recommends a size 8 thread (it generally comes in size 3-8, with 8 being the thinnest), and Rittenhouse Needlepoint, which specializes obviously in needlepoint and cross stitch, only carries 5’s. I figured, well, since Rebecca doubles her 8, that’ll be like a single 5. Which it probably is when you’re stitching through the fabric, but not when you’re threading the needle. Getting that five through the little embroidery eye – oy! #needabetterbifocal!

And so far, that really has been the hardest part, threading the needle. I have some cheap embroidery floss (although, there really is no such thing as “expensive” thread when you compare it to buying yarn for a major knitting or crochet project) that I bought at Michael’s awhile back, and I may introduce some to the project because I really want to learn the stitches, not give myself apoplexy trying to thread the needle. Rittenhouse Needlepoint does carry DMC Embroidery Floss at .85 a pop, so if I get through this sampler, and move on to the advanced sampler, that’ll be the plan.

In the meantime, I’ve added a few stitches to my aresenal (again, war and ammunition is a bad analogy – it’s so peaceful) – running stitch, filled running stitch, and couching. I really love the look of couching. Rebecca recommends using a thicker yarn for these weaving stitches – the filled running stitching and the couching stitch – and even suggests fingering weight sock yarn – so that could be a possibility for some future project. I do have all of my Koigu mill ends stashed away somewhere.

So, that’s all for now! I’m going to try to record a video tomorrow to post on Wednesday – hopefully my new mic will come, I know it’s shipped. I have some sewing to do this weekend, as well. And, the third, and penultimate clue to Earth comes up sometime today – so I’ll have a busy crafty weekend, and I hope you do to.

But, there’s still Friday to get through, and I’m off to county prison!

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