Wednesday, December 30, 2015

My Favorite Projects of 2015

Here are some of my favorite projects that I worked on this year. Some are complete, some still need work. If you want to see the complete gallery of finished works, please click on the 2015 Gallery tab at the top of the page.

I've ideas for yet another new start but I'm holding off until New Year's Day.

Thanks for all your comments and kind words this year. May your next year be blessed and full of joy. God Bless, see you in the New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Last of the Dragon Quilt

Finally put the binding on this baby quilt!

It's being donated and will go into the mail hopefully before the end of the week but next week for sure. 

It was a really fun quilt to make and if I can ever find a few yards of rainbow batik, I'll probably make a few more. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Embroidered Christmas Gifts

I wish that I could say that I had a productive and crafty Christmas vacation but the truth is that I've been so cranky and out of sorts that I'm just counting myself blessed that my husband rolls with the punches so well.

I am not looking forward to going back to work on Wednesday, as my work will be overdue and my workload increased due to the exit of another coworker. I think that may be casting a bit of a damper on my mood. My department normally staffs about 22 people but we're down 7 people in the last four or five months because life, but we aren't being allowed to replace any exits until "sometime" next year because budget. Never mind that things are going to start getting out late, cranky customers, etc. I can look forward to as much overtime as I can handle but I'm not too thrilled about it.

I'm hoping to get over it long enough to make the most of the two days I have left but in the meantime, here are some previously completed projects that I haven't posted because they were Christmas gifts.

I decided to make my family embroidered ornaments as gifts this year. The ones not already received should arrive in the mail today, so I'm going to go ahead and post about them now.

This set went to my in-laws.

I made several for my siblings and their significant others. I needed five but I made seven so that hopefully everyone can pick out one that they like.

The skull one is destined for my friend who loves everything Halloweeny

And these two were for my parents. I also made them three other frames that they can put pictures of my siblings in to finish the ornaments. I searched for good photos but I couldn't find any that I liked, so it will be up to them to pick ones they like.

We're currently about an hour into our first major winter storm. My area is expecting about half an inch of ice over the next few hours. I'm praying that everyone that had to be out today gets home safely and in the meantime, I am going to bunker down, eat leftovers, play video games, and try to cranky less.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with this little gem that flew across my Facebook feed yesterday. Meet Ichabod the Optimistic Canine. The artist who created this is pure genius and I've included a link to Ichabod's website so you can revel in all the happy there.

When in doubt, take a nap.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Heartmade Gifts

Oh Happiness! I managed to get all of my planned Christmas gifts done and wrapped before Christmas. 

A water bottle carrier for my brother-in-law

And one for my niece, whose favorite everything is Harry Potter related.

 Also, a knitting needle holder for my sister-in-law.

 It has this inscription inside.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2015

A Fuzzy Weekend

 A road trip this weekend to see the Grand Rapids Griffins stomp their opponents 6 to 1 meant that I had plenty of car time to crochet my fuzzy scarf. This is four skeins. Only two more to go!

And after I ran out of yarn again, I went back to the other scale stitch scarf, the one from Grandma's Stash. I have almost a full skein completed on this one.

Lastly, here is an update on The Fairy Spell.

It might actually start to look like something soon.

We still haven't made it out to see the new Star Wars movie but we've got it scheduled for this Wednesday. I only have a day and a half left of work this week and only two days next week. I still have a couple of Christmas presents to finish up but I should be able to get to them on Christmas Eve without too much drama.

The presents for the family go in the mail tomorrow. I don't think they'll quite make it on time, but they should arrive before too long. After I've received confirmation of delivery, I'll have some more crafty things to show off.

Merry Christmas to all, see you after the Holiday!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Windowpane Scarf

Oh dear Ravelry, you endless source of inspiration....

Meet the Windowpane Scarf, a free pattern available at Ravelry

I needed something to keep me busy until I pick up a few more skeins of Apple Orchard for the Dragon Scale Scarf, so I poked around on Ravelry for inspiration and whipped up this Windowpane Scarf in a few days. The yarn I used is another color from my Grandmother's Stash. I'm planning on making a matching hat, and then after that it will go in a box until I decide what to do with it.

My Ravelry library of patterns is quickly reaching critical mass. :)

Friday, December 11, 2015

Two Skeins Down, Four to Go

 I'm making good progress on my Dragon Scale Scarf. Two skeins stitched and I'm working on the third. So far I've picked up four skeins in four different dye lots, because I couldn't find the same dye lot. The slight differences in color will add a nice dimension to the scarf - if you look at the right half, the colors are just slightly darker and more intense than the left half.

A couple other changes between the two halves are that I switched to a different, more comfortable crochet needle but due to the differences in the heads of the needles, my weave isn't quite as tight, so the right half is a little wider than the left half. It adds character. About two thirds of the way through, I also managed to figure out how to "tack down" the edge scales so that they aren't sticking out oddly.

I calculate that I'll need six skeins total to make this scarf about 60" and I'll stitch it in two halves and join them together in the middle so that the scales will all go in the same direction when I'm wearing the scarf.

While I was waiting for a chance to pick up more yarn, I dug through my yarn bin and came up with these ten skeins of Bianca by Lion's Brand that I had found in my Grandmother's attic when we cleaned out her house to sell. I'm guessing this yarn is from the 90's, because it has price stickers from Frank's Nursery and Crafts which started closing stores in the early 90's and officially went out of business in 2004.

A lot of the yarn in her attic was sold at garage sale or donated, but I kept a couple dozen skeins of various colors and I'm sure she'd be thrilled that I am using them. I only have a few rows done as I went back to the first scarf as soon as I acquired more Apple Orchard yarn.

I honestly don't know which one I like better. I maybe be able to get two scarves out of the Bianca yarn, but I'm not sure as I was finally able to determine after some internet research that each skein only contain 110 yards. 

I have also been working on some Embroidered projects to give away as gifts this year. My embroidery machine seems to be working overtime and I'm hoping to finish those this weekend so that I can get back to working on my Confessor's Dress. I have five left to do but some are two pieces and so will require extra time. You'll get to see most of them after Christmas, but in the meantime, here are a couple that I'm gifting to Dan's aunt and uncle this evening at Family Christmas. 

Merry Christmas to all!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Dragon Scale Stitch Scarf

For some reason my usual hobbies aren't quite holding my interest, so this weekend I reverted back to one that I only flirt with on occasion. 

I've been seeing photos of the Dragon Scale or Crocodile stitch floating around for a while now and I really wanted to try it, so I busted out my dusty crochet hooks and got to work. 

My first few attempts were rather messy and promptly discarded after a few rows but eventually I felt that I got the hang of it and delved into this gorgeous jewel tone skein that I picked up just for this project.

Lion Brand Landscapes: Apple Orchard
Each row of this pattern is worked in two steps: The first is the post stitches that form the solid foundation for the scales and the second is the scales.

 The biggest issue I had with this pattern is that I couldn't get the scales to lay flat. If you look at the bottom five rows or so, you can see that they curl up and are slightly misshapen. I had initially thought that this was due to needing more practice but after a few rows, it wasn't getting any better.

First scarf section, approximately 10" x 7"

I was able to mostly fix this after some research by changing the way I did the post stitches. After stitching the first row of scales, turn the project so that the back is facing you and work the next row of post stitches right to left from the back. Flip it back to the front to work the scales, again right to left. I don't know why this worked but it did.

This pattern EATS yarn like crazy; I used up the entire skein of yarn (150 yards) yesterday and only got about ten inches of scarf out of it, so I'll need to pick up four or five more to make a decent length scarf. It's a very dense pattern, heavy and sturdy feeling, and will probably be very warm and toasty. If I was to make a whole blanket (60" x 70") using this particular brand of yarn (which is honestly soft and smooth and a joy to work with), I calculate that it would require about 60 skeins or 9,000 yards of yarn. o_O Time to dig up those JoAnn's Coupons.

I've included the short video I watched on how to do this stitch. It was much more helpful than reading the patterns.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Upcycle Experiment

The search for the correct color of embroidery thread for my Confessor's Dress continues. I did test out two new colors and they are much better than the last two I tried. I'm leaning towards the metallic (on the right) but waiting to see if I can come up with something a little better before I decide for certain.

In the meantime, I had decided to work on a new Ranger coat for Jack, but the pattern is missing. So I determined to work on a new ranger hood, but the fabric I picked up was missing. This is what I get for cleaning up my sewing room. 

I finally settled on an upcycle experiment, which is something that I have wanted to attempt for a while. 

I started with an old t-shirt that was still in decent shape.

Added a v-neck and some trim.

Then to finish it off, a little embroidered medallion at the crease of the neck.

I'm quite happy with the way it turned out and am planning to experiment with a few more items of old clothing.