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Weekend Happenings: Rainy Days Means New Projects!

I’ve been having issues lately with knitting.  I can only seem to knit for a very short while before I have to stop due to achey wrists and elbows.   I know one of the culprits to my issues is the chair I use for work.   I find myself resting my elbows on the arms too much during the day, which keeps them in the same position too long causing a bit of a strain.

Yesterday as I sat knitting my sock, I realized it was time for a break from knitting.  Besides that,  the yarn I was using, my lovely Squishy by Anzula, was far too pretty for socks.  So I decided to frog the sock I was working on, re-cake the yarn and start a crochet project.

I started a simple shell crochet pattern and plan to make a scarf.  This yarn is so soft and will be a lovely accessory item to wear in the cooler months.

I also caked a newly acquired fingering weight yarn by a local Phoenix yarn dyer, Less Traveled Yarn, in the color Monument Valley and started The Emily Scarf by designer C. J. Brady.  I love C.J.’s designs as they are always well written and so lovely to make.    The yarn is a blend of 75% SW Merino and 25% Nylon and the colors remind me of sandstone cliffs.

I am also working on my pen and ink bird, as well a small drawing in my art journal.  Yesterday I made a bit more progress on my bird, creating the start of the wing.  This will be a slow project as I am thinking about how I want it to look finished, which means I am pretty much designing it as as I go.  I think I always work better drawing on whim rather than a planned project anyway.

I still need to work on my embroidery piece and I have a couple of quilting projects I want to tackle too.  Hubby has asked for a small patriotic wall quilt for his side of the bed and I think I have found a great pattern, the One Star One Nation mini quilt by Red Rooster Quilts.  

Courtesy of Red Rooster Quilt
I love this little quilt and think it will be perfect from what my hubby is asking for and plan to order the kit soon.  I am also starting another topper and plan to hand stitch and hand quilt this project.  For me, hand stitching is just as soothing and satisfying as knitting, crocheting or spinning.  My squares are ready to go, all pinned together and now I just need to start stitching.

What have you been working on this past week ? 
Any fun weekend projects happening ?

Until next time, be creative 

Throwback Thursday..... Art

Zentangle Inspired drawing of the state of Kentucky
“Heaven must be a Kentucky kind of place.” 
― Daniel Boone
I’ve been missing both art and Kentucky, so today only seemed fitting to re-share a piece I finished about a year and a half ago. Kentucky has always been home to me and I hope some day to be able to return home.  This finished piece measures 18" by 24" and was drawn on Strathmore mixed media paper.  I have it framed and it is now hanging above my New Home Treadle sewing machine.

I love drawing but often put it aside to do other crafty things like embroidery, knitting or sewing.  I have found myself in a bit of a “crafting funk” lately, and while I have socks on my needles, fiber that needs to be spun and an embroidery piece to work on, I just am not in the mood to work on any of these projects.

So out came my paper and pens, and I have decided to finally work on the mate to a piece I finished last year.  I think I have missed drawing and I am totally enjoying what I am working on.  I will get back to my other projects that need to be finished, but meanwhile I’m going to just enjoying drawing again.

Pen and Ink - finished last year 

Progress photo of the mate

I love pen and ink, and plan to draw more this year.  Who knows, I might even get back into watercolor too!

Until next time, be creative!

A finished Piece

I can say that sewing with a hand crank sewing machine is extremely challenging but so worth the challenge.  When using a hand crank, you are guiding your fabric with one hand and of course cranking with the other.  The funniest thing about sewing on a hand crank for me is the fact I keep wanting to do a reverse stitch and my foot keeps reaching for the foot pedal.  

One tip.... go slowly and make sure your layered pieces are pinned together.  It takes concentration to guide your fabric and crank at the same time, not to mention lots of extra patience.

My finished topper is slightly wonky on the top right, but that’s ok as it will be hidden nicely by the lamp on the chest of drawers. My first set of squares are a perfect match and the second is a tiny bit off, but all in all I am thrilled with how it turned out.

I even learned how to make a quilt binding and hand stitched it of the back side.  This quilt finishing technique will take a little extra practice and maybe an extra dose of patience, but I like how it looks.  I used a great YouTube tutorial by Jenny Doan of the Missouri Quilt Co and a YouTube tutorial by Heirloom Creations.  

I decided against hand quilting this piece as it is small and will have a few things sitting on it, so the quilting would be hidden.

So what’s next in my vintage sewing adventure ... another round of batiks that I plan to sew on one of my treadle machines.  This will be another topper and will definitely be hand quilted, and I may even add a touch of embroidery.  

July 22, 1914 (manufactured in Elizabeth, New Jersey) Singer 66

Singer 9W7

Once this project is finished I have plans of making a patriotic wall hanging for hubby’s side of the bed and one for our pantry door in the kitchen.  I bought Moda’s Mackinac Island Prints and Timeless Treasures Freedom Tonga Batiks this weekend and now I’m on the hunt for the perfect patterns. 

Do you sew on vintage machines?
If yes, what machine do you enjoy sewing on the most ?

Until next time, be creative!

Sunday Musings ... Let the Mending Begin!

I have fallen hard for Sashiko and visible mending.  To me it’s not only a practical way to mend garments but it gives beauty to once worn, or torn, pieces.   

Sashiko (Japanese刺し子, literally "little stabs" or "little pierce") is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching (or functional embroidery) from Japan that started out of practical need during the Edo era (1615-1868). Traditionally used to reinforce points of wear or to repair worn places or tears with patches, making the piece ultimately stronger and warmer, this running stitch technique is often used for purely decorative purposes in quilting and embroidery. The white cotton thread on the traditional indigo blue cloth (said to recall snow falling around old farmhouses) gives sashiko its distinctive appearance, though decorative items sometimes use red thread.
Sashiko embroidery was used to strengthen the homespun clothes of olden times. Worn out clothes were pieced together to make new garments by using simple running stitches. These clothes increased their strength with this durable embroidery. By the Meiji era (1868-1912) sashiko had been established enough that it had evolved into winter work in northern farming communities, when it was too cold to work outside. - From Wikipedia 

Recently I discovered two awesome books on Sashiko from an Instagram post by Amanda of Amanda Loves to Create.  Amanda co-hosted a Sashiko Stitch Along with Krista of Surrur_Sunday from January 19th to February 9th using Susan Briscoe’s books,  The Ultimate Sashiko Sourcebook and Japanese Sashiko Inspiration.  The photos and information shared during this stitch along hooked me even more and I had to learn more about this beautiful and creative method of mending, and of course I had to buy the books.

Needless to say I needed supplies, so I purchased a variety of Sashiko threads, patches and Sashiko needles from Snuggly Monkey, which by the way I highly recommend for stitching supplies.  The threads are very strong,and colorful,  and the needles are extremely sharp.  The mending patches are stamped in traditional Sashiko designs on cotton fabric that comes in colors of medium denim, dark denim and dark taupe.

These threads are so awesome!

My hubby even let me try my hand at fixing a nasty tear in his favorite jacket that he likes to wear in the mornings to work.  I used two pieces of batik fabric and a beautiful hand dyed thread by Fujix  in the color Dust.

My patching is not perfect but it turned out as I hoped it would and hubby is happy with it, which is all that counts. I have a lot to learn about this form of stitching and I am so excited to not only incorporate it in mending, but in quilting too.

Until next time, be creative!

A New Book Has Been Added to My Knitting Library

I am a huge Harry Potter fan, so much so that I still have the Unofficial Harry Potter Knits Speical Issue from Interweave magazine and Charmed Knits  in my knitting library.  

Today I added a new book to my library, Harry Potter Magic Knitting by the very talented Tanis Gray.

This book is awesome and filled with a wonderful collection of hand-knits for every level of knitter.  I will honestly say there are a few things I personally wouldn’t knit but that’s because I do not have kids or have friends with small children.  However, the sweaters and accessories are fantastic and I can’t wait to cast on many of these designs.

From the Publisher:  Channel the magic of the Harry Potter films from the screen to your needles with the ultimate knitter’s guide to the Wizarding World. Featuring 28 magical knits pictured in gorgeous full-color photography, this book includes patterns for clothing, home projects, and keepsakes pulled straight from the movies—and even includes a few iconic costume pieces as seen on-screen. With yarn suggestions based on the true colors used in the films, projects range from simple patterns like the Hogwarts house scarves to more complex projects like Mrs. Weasley’s Christmas sweaters. A true fan must-have, this book also includes fun facts, original costume sketches, film stills, and other behind-the-scenes treasures. Harry Potter: Knitting Magic is sure to have fans everywhere summoning needles, conjuring yarn, and practicing their best knitting wizardry.

Here are my absolute favorites..... and even though I am not on Ravelry, you can see all the patterns here.

Courtesy of Insight Editions

Wizarding Transportation Scarf  by Tanis Gray 

Hogwarts House Cardigans by martaschmarta

Show Your House Colors Quidditch Socks by SpillyJane

Mirror of Erised Cabled Cowl by Tanis Gray

Owl Post Pullover by Joan Forgione

I am totally in love with the Wizarding Transportation Scarf.  This design is completely knitted in the round and finished with fringe at each end.  I  need to go through my stash to see if I have anything that would work for this design, if not, it might require a trip to Fiber Creek up in Prescott.

As far as the other four designs, I have yarn in my stash that will be perfect for them and something may be casted on very soon!!

Until next time, be creative!

Hand Crank Love With Batiks

1938 Singer 99k Hand Crank

I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my day off than with my Singer hand crank.  My goal this year is to use a few of the machines in my collection for small projects, such has mini quilts, table runners and mug rugs.

I am in the process of making a new table runner out of batiks and truly loved sewing my squares on this lovely old girl.  I have to say it is a bit challenging only having one hand to guide your fabric, but I do love how my squares turned out.

I need to give my finished piece a good ironing and then I will be all set to start hand quilting it. I have enough fabric like I edged it with for the backing, so it should be a quick project to finish.

I am so excited about the Robert Kaufman fabric I found today at my local shop, Arizona Quilts.  It’s perfect for the embroidery project I am getting ready to start, a design by LiliPopo calledThe Stitcher”, and I am also excited about using Cosmo thread, the colors I bought match the fabric!  

It has truly been a wonderful day today!

Until next time, be creative.

Hot of the Needles: A Finished Pair Socks !

I’m starting the week off great with a second pair of finished socks!    I casted on my first sock January 20th and finished the mate over the weekend.  These socks are ribbed toe-up with a cable down the back of the leg.  They fit wonderfully and I absolutely love the colors ... reminds me of faded blue jeans.

Needle Size:  US 1.50 , two 16” circular needles
Heel:  I used the heel from Socks on a Plane
Leg: 4”
Bind-off:   Double bind-off from a post by Karen Frisa in 2017 for Socktoberfest.

There has been a discussion about Patons Kroy in a sock knitting group I belong too on Facebook, which I have found very interesting.  Let’s face it, there are “yarn snobs” out that there that often scoff at the use of Patons, Lion Brand, Drops, Red Heart,  Premier and even Opal.  In their eyes these yarns are below their standards and should never be used for socks because they didn’t come from a yarn shop, they don’t wear well, have too many knots and heaven forbid, they are “cheap yarns” because they come from Joanns, Michaels or even Wal-Mart.

So what do I think ?  Like your knitting needles, what your use for your hand knit socks is a personal preference.  What you might consider the best yarn, others might disagree. For me, it’s about what works the best, wears the best and will last the longest.  It’s also about care.  I machine wash most of my socks on the gentle cycle and lay them flat to dry.  For those socks knitted in expensive yarns, I tend to hand wash and lay flat to dry.  I honestly can say I have had only two pairs of socks in my sock knitting life ( 12 years now ) that didn’t hold up well and were chucked, both were from Indy dyers.  

As far as the yarns being cheap ... well what is cheap to others isn’t necessary cheap to me.  It takes two skeins of Patons kroy to make a pair of socks.  Unless you get this yarn on sale, you are looking at $15 for a pair of socks.  Opal yarns runs $15 to $25 a skein, and the other yarns can run $5 to $10 a skein.  As far as the quality, these yarns can have knots, but guess what, so can expensive yarns.  I have been very fortunate not to have too many skeins with knots, and those that have, I have returned them, including those expensive skeins from the yarn shop.  

Right: Opal, Premier Serenity, Regia and Lang
Middle:  Patons and Indy Dyed
Left: Patons Dk, Lion Brand,  Cascade Heritage, Universal Yarn, Lang

In my sock drawer I have socks made from Lang, Opal, Patons, Premier and from  expensive hand dyed yarn from Indy dyers.   My oldest pair of socks ( 11 years old) is a pair I made using Lang in a blend of cotton and wool, and they still look brand new ( below ).  I have machine washed them many times and love wearing them in the summer.  My socks made from Patons Kroy are around eight years old and they get a lot of wear.  They are a little felted on the heel (only on the inside) but still wear very well and are in great shape.  My socks made from Opal yarn are anywhere from 8 to 10 years old, have been worn numerous times, have been machined washed and still look fairly new. My socks from a few expensive Indy dyers haven’t worn as well.  They tend to pill, felt, the dye is still bleeding in a couple of pairs I’ve made, and their life span has been no longer than a few years. These socks have been worn just as much as my others with the only difference in washing, I hand wash these socks.

My oldest pair of socks 
At the end of the day you should use what is best for you (wear and cost) and don’t worry what others might think.  If you like what you use, that’s all that matters and again, it’s personal preference. 

Until next time, be creative!

Throwback Thursday .... Art

I really want to get back into art, especially ink and watercolor!  I completed this little robin a couple of years ago and haven’t done to much since then.  I seem to have lost my way, but this year I’m going to find my way back to art.

Until next time, be creative!

Wednesday WIPS ..... Socks and Embroidery

I haven’t been too productive this week as I have been battling a nasty cold.  When I’m sick I don’t really do too many things as I can’t seem to concentrate too well.

With that being said, I have almost finished with the second square for the Block of the Month from Jenny of Elefantz .  All I have left is a few leaves the bottom lettering to stitch and then I will be waiting for Jenny to post the next block in March.  I am still plugging along on my linen vest embroidery project, which I am hoping will turn out like I want it too.  I have also casted on the mate to one finished sock.

I really like what I did on the back of the leg, a cable down the middle gives it a bit of “flair” and it also provides more  structure  around the leg.  I still have a goal to make one pair of socks a month and so far I’m on track!  

I haven’t worked on my spinning but plan to start the second bobbin this week, or at least by the weekend.  I had plans for handspun socks, but I may end up making mitts instead.  I love the colors of the fiber and it’s spinning up beautifully!

Until next time, be creative!

Sharing .... A New To Me Website

Today I stumbled across a new website, well new to me that is, that I wanted to share called Makerist.

Makerist is a source for crochet, embroidery, knitting, sewing and quilting patterns.  While they do not have as many patterns as you might find on other sources such as Etsy or Ravelry (crochet/knitting), I was rather impressed by what I found.

Makerist was founded in 2013 in Berlin, Germany by Axel Heinz and Amber Riedl and is the market leader in Europe for digital patterns and e-learning classes. Axel has a background in digital marketplaces and internationalisation of digital companies, and has worked at Dawanda, 9flats and eBay. Amber came from founding a previous startup for online wedding planning and has a background in PR, Communication and Brand Marketing. Amber grew up in Canada which is one reason she has a particular interest in bringing Makerist to the North American market.  

Here’s a few of my favorite crochet and knitting designers that can be found on Makerist ....

I have been buying primarily from Etsy, but love learning about new websites.   Do you have a favorite go to site for purchasing patterns for your creative endeavors?

Until next time, be creative!