Saturday, February 21, 2015

Started a couple of new things....

I have started knitting a button down short sleeved sweater. I'm not liking the sheen on this yarn but I do love the color. I wound the yarn so it would fit perfectly into my new wooden yarn bowl by Furls. I'm following a chart for this section which is the waistband and I'm sure you can see I've already made a mistake on one of the cables....I do have an idea of how to fix it so that it is not so noticeable but I will not be taking out all those rows.

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started with the waistband

I've been enjoying crocheting these tiny yarn motifs. I do love all the colors but haven't yet decided how I will stitch them together.

crocheted motifs with 1 ply needlepoint yarn

Also started a new bobbin lace project that is a real challenge. I couldn't do it without the help of my wonderful lace teacher Karen Hickman.

that's a picture of what I hope my tree will look like but I'm doing it in purple, green and lavender.

The Modern Quilt Guild Show is in Austin, Texas this weekend and I went with a few of my quilting friends yesterday....lots of vendors and lots of quilts. Here's a link to their blog where you can see some of the quilts as well as a list of the winners and their quilts. Some very inspiring and creative entries. I only bought a couple of pieces of fabric but ordered a couple more of the ones that were sold out when I came home. Carrie Bloomston is the designer of these Windham Fabrics. It will be fun to cut into the different patterns in these designs.You can see the whole line of her fabrics here.

bought the paint brush fabric and ordered some of the other two.

My front yard is full of double Narcissus and I can see some buds on the Salvia. We are having really comfortable days but a cold front is due in tonight so winter is not quite over. I am so lucky to live where we are not having all the snow, ice and cold that I know some of you are enduring. Hopefully it will be over soon. Have a great week and see you next time.

Friday, February 13, 2015

I DID IT.....

This is the last you'll see of the Downton Abbey coat. I have worn it twice and it's cozy warm. It will be a long time before I take on such a huge project. I started it in November of 2013. It didn't actually take that long to knit....just had to stop and give myself lots of breaks due to boredom.

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scrollwork on the with 2 buttons

close up of the scroll work done with a crochet hook through the knitting

2 buttons on the marks are in the wool

I've been playing with mosaic tiles this week...It all started with this video. You can see the tiles about 40 seconds into the video. I was able to get a couple of samples of mother of pearl tiles and I'm doing some sampling with embroidery.

mother of pearl tiles on a mesh grid. each tile is 3/4" square

I took the hammer to some of them and did some embroidery

added some grass through the cracks

and did a bit of weaving

Time will tell where all this will lead....I have some ideas. Sometimes, too many ideas.

We've been having Spring like weather but more cold days are predicted. My double narcissus bulbs are blooming so I know that Spring is not far away. Wish I could send those of you inundated with snow some of our weather. Stay safe and warm.

Friday, January 30, 2015

I really am trying....

to finish my Downton Abbey coat. I have spent the last couple of days stitching the side seams and the sleeve seams using the mattress stitch which gives such a nice clean finish. You can hardly find the seam on the right hand side....but it's slow going. It takes time but it's worth it. I still need to set in the sleeves, and do a few rows of knitting around the neck edge before I can attach the collar. My plan is to have it finished by my next blog post. I did try it on and it actually fits well.

click on the images....

so close to finishing...not the true color here....too much light

Hope to get someone to take a picture of me wearing the coat when it's finished. It's a much deeper color as you know from previous posts. Just couldn't get the right lighting today.

I've done a bit more collage and doodle work inspired by Lisa Congdon's class on

cut up business cards and flyers, micron pen, black stitched french knots

The doll is finished and both dolls are now on their way to two sweet little girls. Hope they will enjoy them. They were such fun to make.

A while back I purchased several bags of Bucilla Needlepoint & Crewel Wool packets from the thrift store. I couldn't imagine why anyone would give such beautiful yarn away.....well when I started unraveling it, i understood. The moths had gotten to it but not all the packets were damaged so I've been unraveling and separating the 3 ply to one ply balls. I plan on crocheting small star shaped motifs and joining them together for a shawl or maybe a blanket. It will be a good 'take along' project to have in my many pretty colors. I did make one motif but I need to try it with a larger crochet hook so the pattern will show up better.

100% wool in beautiful colors

Lots of other things going on but I will save them for next time.
Have a great weekend and stay safe if you are in the midst of snow and bad weather.

Friday, January 16, 2015

there has been improvement....

I've been practicing every day and I am becoming more comfortable with that tambour hook. I worked up this design on cloth with a variegated #20 thread and the cloth didn't fight me as much this time round.

click on the images....

I've ordered a larger hook....I think it will be larger....It's hard to tell by the numbers. I really enjoy working with the thicker threads.

Still working on the doll I showed you last time. She's turning out to be about 20" tall. Just finished her dress which needs to be blocked. Hopefully, it will be completed by my next post so I can mail it off.

I started doing a bit of collage work in a book I was about to put in the giveaway pile. It's about 2" thick and gluing or stitching some pages together makes it a great medium for paint or collage work. Need to make a cover for it.

collage work with paper, micron pen, paint pens and stencils.

....and I did pull this wrapping cloth out this morning. I worked on it in Karen Ruane's wrapping cloth class and it is so close to being finished so maybe if it's staring me in the face I'll actually finish it.

It's warmed up a bit. We start out in the 30s (F) in the morning but it gets close to 60 by afternoon and the sun is finally shining again. Have a great weekend.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

back to a normal routine....

I have caught up with lots of things during this, somewhat free, time in December and the beginning of the new year. My one great accomplishment was learning tambour embroidery. I will show you my progress but I'm also heavy into knitting projects....even though the Downton Abbey coat is not yet finished. Another doll is in the making....

click on the images...

she will be about 18" tall and her dress will be white with a lacy edge...

A lace friend was wearing a sweater I admired so I decided it would be my next project. I will not start it until the coat is finished....but I am anxious to get it started.

the yarn is wool and bamboo and the color is Jasper...

....and some images on my tambour work. I have ordered more hooks to do some more experimenting. I like working with the thicker threads but the biggest hook I have is not big enough. I don't think tambour work is meant to be done with thicker threads but I will attempt it nevertheless.

some tambour beading in a tic-tac-toe pattern

working with sequins....they need to be closer together....more practice needed

and am attempting a real design with a variegated thread

It is still too cold here for me but there is a promise of warmer days this week.
Wishing you all a good week.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

practice, practice, practice....

...that's what it takes to learn tambour embroidery. I've been practicing the chain stitch all week and then tried working with some beads. It is becoming more comfortable to handle the hook and thread. The next task is working with sequins....those slippery things that tend to stick together. It would be a bit easier if you could see what you are doing but the sequins/beads are worked from underneath the cloth so it's done by feel. The back of the cloth is the right side when working with the beads or sequins so if you want the chain stitch and the beads to be on the right side, you have to reverse the cloth when doing the beadwork. I don't imagine I'll be doing lots with the sequins but I still want to learn the process.

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the tools

just practicing

trying to work with a pattern....a bit messy....still need more practice

I did finish the doll I showed you last time. I decided not to stuff it.

made with cotton yarn

That's about all I did this week. We've been having some cold, wet trying to stay warm. I know it's a lot colder elsewhere so I will not complain about the cold. Wishing you all a magical New Year.

Friday, December 26, 2014

catching up....

I always take this time of year to catch up....finishing up some projects, starting some that have waited in the wings, new techniques I haven't had a chance to learn and some organizing. This doll pattern was brought to my attention months ago and I've wanted to try it. I'm using the Lion Brand bonbon cotton yarn that I have left over from some other project and I'm making a few changes to the design. The doll is not meant to be stuffed but I'm going to stuff it for a more substantial doll. It's almost finished. Still missing one leg and a little ruffled skirt and the hat. The pattern is on Ravelry.

click on the images...

a doll for a little girl

I talked about Tambour Stitching last time. I have been practicing every day for almost two weeks and I think I've finally mastered the chain stitch. It's the only stitch needed in tambour stitching but not one that's easy to master with the tambour hook.

the chain stitch on netting using the tambour hook

It was a matter of experimenting with different threads, different fabrics, and learning when to release tension on the hook and how to pull it through the fabric. The instructor (online class) says to use organza but i didn't have much luck with the organza.....lots of big holes and constantly snagging the fabric with the edge of the hook. Mary Corbet's video was a tremendous help. You can see it here. I'll go back to the organza once I've had more experience but the netting is actually what I prefer to make some pretty lace. I'm now ready to try the next step which is making the chain stitch while picking up a bead or sequin that will be pre-strung on the thread.

....and yes, I have made some progress on the Downton Abbey coat. The front and back have been blocked. It took a couple of days for the pieces to dry. Still have to block the sleeves and the collar and there is some more knitting to be done to join the shoulders to the back. I have to re-read those instructions.


 If you celebrate the holidays, hope it was fun and festive. The weather has been mild here except for yesterday morning. We went from 27 degrees F in the morning to 65F by afternoon. We are expecting some cold days this weekend, but our winters are very mild here so it probably will not last long. Stay warm and cozy and see you next time.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

little things....

I've always loved things in miniature. I played, a bit, with the bow-tie block I showed you last week. It is HERE, if you missed it.....way down at the bottom of that post. I have a small stack of 3" squares so I started playing and the bow-tie block turns out to be 2" square. I love the way it looks and I think it would make a sweet little a new project has been started.

click on the images...

2" bow-tie blocks

Another inspiration when I saw these napkin ring pincushions HERE. She used napkin rings but I used some small wooden rings I had and made them in miniature. I cut circles from some vintage linens. I just noticed that she gives the instructions of how to make them in the comments so if you're inspired to try it, the instructions are easy to follow. Mine turned out 2" in length and they are perfect for working projects on the go.

2" long pin cushion

I added a bell on each one just for fun.

During this slow time of year....for me....when everyone is busy with holiday fixings and classes are canceled until the new year, I try to fit in the things that I've been wanting to do for a while. I signed up for a class, a few months ago, at to learn Tambour Beading. I love the classes where the videos and instructions are available forever so I can do the lessons whenever I have the time. My hoop is set up right in front of my computer and I'm ready to begin. Hopefully, I'll be able to show you some progress next time. Here's a short little video showing what beautiful work can be created with this technique. It is an excerpt from the movie Sequins which, i believe, came out in 2004.

ready to begin learning

The Downton Abbey coat is ready to be blocked and stitched together. The pieces are large so I will have to be blocking them one at a time for lack of space.... it will take a while but the end is near.

The weather has been just a bit wet but mild so not bad at all. Winter hasn't hit us yet. Hope you all enjoy your holiday fixings and gatherings.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

making paper stencils....

I never did finish the scrollwork on that collar for the Downton Abbey coat in one day. It took several. Just printing the pattern and making it into stencils took hours....and then i basted through the stencil onto the knitting. Working on the cuffs this weekend.

click on the images...

paper stencils...don't know if i'll ever use them again but after all that work, i'm not throwing them away.

scrollwork on the collar is completed

basted the design on the cuff....ready for the scrollwork.
The scrollwork is done with a crochet hook and a slip stitch. you pull the yarn up from the backside while doing the slip stitch on the right side so it's a bit tricky.

I decided to make a triangular shawl to match with the leftover yarn. I had ordered one extra skein....just in case something went terribly wrong.

triangular shawl pattern....easy

started the shawl

I found the shawl pattern HERE just in case you are inspired to make one.

....and since this has all been about knitting, I thought I'd share a fun block to make if you are a quilter or a stitcher or just want to try something different..... A quilting friend shared the instructions for making a bow tie block from one piece of fabric just by folding and a bit of stitching. It was fun to do and I found a you-tube video that takes you through it step by step. The video is HERE.

you can do some embroidery or applique in the spaces to accentuate the bow tie if you don't like the solid color. i like the texture it creates.

Have a fun week whatever it is you are doing.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

I've gone over the deep end.....

don't really know how this happened but once I got started, I just had to continue until it was 'finished'... I started out with a print of an optical illusion and it took off from there... the finished piece measures 9"x12".

click on the images...

I cut out a triangle...added a zipper, some bullion knots, french knots and some snippet cloth in the background.

cut out sections and backed with cloth and embroidery

more french knots all around to enhance the circular motion. bordered with a silver shiny fabric and some gimp.

a fun experiment with paper and stitch
This was the final piece created in Karen Ruane's class....Doodle, gather, much fun.

....and now I must finish my Downton Abbey coat. All the pieces are complete and I steam blocked the collar so I could do the scrollwork but it will need to be wet blocked when that's completed.

collar steam's huge as the front of the coat is a deep v-neck.

scroll work completed on one side. determined to finish the collar today.

....and there's a new 'toy' to play with. I've been thinking of buying one of these kick spindles and one of my lace friends was selling hers. I tried it out and I love it. It's much easier to use than my drop spindle so hopefully I'll be spinning a bit more in the days to come.

Little Meggie kick spindle
Here's a link to the Woolery website where there's a video showing how it works for those of you HERE

Stay warm and have a good week.
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