Thursday, April 30, 2015

Like a Box of Chocolates

Life, like my blog, is like a box of chocolates, "you never know what you're gonna get". One day you can be up smiling, skipping along, humming a happy tune, and the next day some nasty little piece of news can have you crashing back down again, wondering where the song in your heart has run off to.

Lazy Daisy, Pyramid Buttonhole, Split Stitch, Couching, stacked beads.
(Lazy Daisy, Pyramid Buttonhole, Split Stitch, Couching, stacked beads)

My blog seems to skip around like that too, primarily because that's the nature of my crafting muse as well. One day the weaving will have all my attention, the next I can't get enough of the knitting --- ideas flood my head and I can't knit fast enough to bring all the ideas to fruition. Then, just like a switch has been flipped, I'll find myself abandoning the knitting to do some marathon sewing, pulling an all-day-er, barely taking time to eat while in pursuit of some exciting new idea. Then, in the blink of an eye, the sewing is dropped and I pick up the embellishing of the Crazy Quilt once again.

Curved Buttonhole, Herringbone, Straight Stitch, beads.
(Curved Buttonhole, Herringbone, Straight Stitch, beads)

Does the revolving content around here have your head spinning at times? Me too! But follow the wandering muse I must for resisting is futile. Once the muse has moved on any attempt to stick with a spurned task is hopeless. I have the pieces cut out for a cute little top for Elfonda but today I spent what little crafting time I had completely absorbed in the embellishing work again.

Bosnian Stitch, Couching, lazy Daisy, French Knot
(Bosnian Stitch, Couching, Lazy Daisy, French Knot)

Of course there is always housework and cooking to be done too. If only I could feel as enthusiastic about that as I do about the creative stuff! Sometimes I have to resort to bribing myself by setting up a reward system: One hour of "must do" for 20 minutes of "wanna do"? 

I am so thankful for a loving, tolerant husband who acts as my "patron of the arts" in that he is supportive of my creative pursuits.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Dark and Dreary

Elfonda's a little bummed about the gloomy lack of light today.

Gloomy Day

She has a new pair of vibrant pink pants she wants to show off.

Pink Pants

They even go well with a top she inherited from one of her predecessors,

Sitting around waiting for better light.

but the rainy weather means the light isn't good for a proper fashion photo shoot.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Not Afraid of Colour

Elfonda has no fear of colour.

Elfonda's new yellow pants.

She is thrilled with her new, shocking yellow pants.

Nothing mellow about this yellow.

In fact, the fit is so nice she has requested more!

She's not afraid of colour.

If the fabric she dug out of the stash is any indication I think the next pair will be vibrant pink.

Because a girl can't wear flame tights every day.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Beginnings of a New Wardrobe

Elfonda wasted no time going shopping for material in what she deems "her colours" and apparently I am now to scurry about creating the wardrobe of her dreams.

Elfonda can't wait for me to get started on her wardrobe.

Luckily while she was away at Ban's Boutique I got a good start on this red vest for her. It only took a little additional finishing and a good blocking.

Elfonda's Red Vest

It's from the free Daniel Bingham Design Studios pattern, "Knit Tunic Vest". I knit it using 10/2 mercerized weaving cotton and size 1.25mm and 1.75mm needles (US sizes 0000 and 00).

Red Vest

The knitting biased terribly while in progress but a good soak and blocking fixed that problem.

New Vest

Zen can't keep his eyes off her.

Can't take his eyes off her.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Mauled at the Border Crossing

Elfonda's home, but she had a rough trip. Canada Customs had their way with her and they were NOT gentle!

Customs Canada had their way with her.

The box arrived with the terrifying "opened for inspection by Canada Customs" tape all over it. And, by the looks of her, Elfonda went through quite the ordeal. Clearly the person or persons doing the inspection had no understanding of the delicate handling require for expensive customized dolls.

Elfonda had been shipped well cushioned and with a face protector. When I opened the box I found the face protector crammed in beside her and her face was tightly wound with tissue that completely smooshed her eyelashes, threw her custom made alpaca wig into disarray and deposited white tissue fuzz all over her Soft Glas eyes.

Luckily I have her all sorted out now and it doesn't seem any really permanent damage has resulted from her rough handling and inappropriate repackaging.

Loving this girl!

I had spare lashes laying around from an earlier purchase. and they worked out far better for Elfonda than they had for Peanut. It was a very fiddly hassle to install them, but I'm pleased with the way they look now.

Custom faceup and wig

I'm really happy with her! Zenawii couldn't wish for a prettier wife. I love her unique look.

Elfonda's back!

Her wig was custom made by Ban Sidhe from the fibre of two different alpacas. Even within those two sources there were subtle variations, so Elfonda has a lovely natural look to her hair colour.

Needing a wardrobe enhancement

She informs me that, as Elfonda Schelf the Christmas Elf, she needs a wardrobe of bold, bright, cheerful colours even in her off season (which is from January 15 to November 15). My other Minifees were more inclined to wear pastel, muted, or earthy colours, so this is going to be a challenge and requires a bit of sewing and knitting. Lucky for me she is content to remain in this one outfit while she recovers from her Customs ordeal.

Recovering from her Customs ordeal.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Sampling of Laces and Trims

Here is a sample of most of the trims I used in my first Crazy Quilt block. In some of the cases the trims are almost unrecognizable in their finished form.

Trims I embroidered over in the first block.

For instance, that trim at the bottom was used as the base for my row of sunflowers.

Her web -- and a potential meal!

I. Can't. Stop.

No, seriously, this new obsession is becoming a bit of an addiction. It's hard to walk away! I'm loving every minute of working on this, and when I'm not working on it I'm thinking about it, dreaming about it, and planning my next 'move'.

I guess it could be worse. At least other than the occasional pricked finger this addiction is not dangerous or unhealthy.

Since my last post on the subject my first Crazy Quilt block has had a few visitors arrive.

I think Spidee needs a web.

First Spidee moved in. She's hanging out there on the second yellow flower from the right. I made her with 3 tiny beads and a few straight stitches. She's a lot smaller than she appears in the picture. 

Apparently it's traditional to have a spider present somewhere on a Crazy Quilt. It's supposed to bring good luck to the stitcher. Some sources even go so far as to say that a Crazy Quilt is not complete without one. 

So I had a spider, but she did not look 'at home' without a web, so I added a web in her little corner of the world block.

Her web -- and a potential meal!

I also provided Spidee with a potential meal -- or three. They are sitting on the next two flowers over. They are super tiny BEADles. >snork< Pun intended!

This morning I have finished the final seamline in the first block with a ribbon decorated with Featherstitch and a simple flower motif trim couched in place and then decorated with Ermine stitch.

Couching, Featherstitch, Ermine stitch.

With all the seams covered the block was potentially "finished", but could I stop there? No. As I said, it's become a bit of an addiction. After fussing trying to keep my row of Featherstitch straight and even I couldn't help but eye the lightly striped fabric in one of the other sections. Yes, yes, there was much potential there for working Featherstitch. Behold --

More Featherstitch.

And of course you know, doing that made me look at all the other sections and start pondering those too! Now they look sort of incomplete and naked 'er somethin'.

Anyway, I'm not quite ready to call this first block "finished", but I will admit that it's time to move on and get the second block started. I may yet be back working on 'filling in' this first block later. Here's how it looks for now though.

The whole first block.

If I've remembered to record everything, this block includes:

  • Straight stitch
  • Back stitch
  • Stem stitch
  • Lazy daisy stitch (detached chain stitch)
  • Blanket stitch (buttonhole stitch)
  • Herringbone stitch
  • French knot
  • Basque knot
  • Chain stitch zigzag
  • Scroll stitch
  • Cretan stitch
  • Colonial knot
  • Fly stitch
  • Vandyke stitch
  • Double knot stitch
  • Feather stitch
  • Ermine stitch

Monday, April 20, 2015

Crazy Obsession!

I got the pattern for the first Crazy Quilt block enlarged by hand using the old fashioned grid method. It wasn't too bad since the first block is all straight lines.

1st block

After getting the block sewn I spent the remainder of Saturday and pretty much ALL of Sunday working on the embroidery. I LOVE this type of work!

New obsession in progress!

It's very, VERY slow going though. Hours and hours of work have gone into this first square and I still have a long way to go.

Vandyke, scroll, chevron, French knot, straight, and Cretan stitches.

I learned the basics of embroidery as a very young child, but with this project I've been trying all sorts of stitches that are new to me. In the last picture here you can see Vandyke, scroll, chevron, and Cretan stitches as well as the more usual french knots and straight stitches.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

More Time Please

I need more hours in my days! This morning I was awake at 5:30am with creative ideas flooding my brain. I enrolled in the oline Craftsy, Crazy Quilting class and spent several hours yesterday, and again today, watching all of the instruction videos, looking through the supply list, and digging through my fabrics, beads, and embroidery threads.

Another hobby pushing its way to the forefront.

Once I was through all the videos today I headed out with the hopes of enlarging the block patterns so I could get started with the various methods (4 in total) of piecing together the blocks. Unfortunately the print shop I like to have do such things for me is closed until Monday. Bummer. I'm so excited to get going though that I may just decide to use the old fashioned method of tracing it out by hand using a grid as guidance.

Not to waste a trip I continued on to various stores in search of additional threads, laces, beads, and embellishments.

Added more fun stuff to the pile.

Gah! Adventure beckons! Must I really cook supper before I get started?


Thursday, April 16, 2015

More Playing

I played a little more on the Lemon Yellow warp today.

April 15, 2015 - 4:50 pm

And I went shopping.

Croc Skimmers

I needed a pair of shoes that didn't look idiotic with the new, super slim, stretchy jeans I bought yesterday. All of this shopping is SO out of character for me! Yesterday's purchase happened when I was out running household errands and just came across a pair of jeans I liked. Today's purchase was -- um -- to go with yesterday's purchase. Can't wear slim ankled jeans in big clunky athletic shoes!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wandering Warp

The Lemon warp has been beamed.


And weaving is well on its way!

Bright and breezy

I hadn't woven far when I started moving threads around in the comb reed.

Wandering warp threads.

I love the interest they add, not only to the cloth, but to the process as well.

April 14, 2014 - 7:52

By combining the spacing of the warp threads with a few turns of the weft I was able to create holes. Yes, on purpose! 

April 14, 2014 - 3:16

Machines do perfectly even weaving so much better than I. Why would I want to mimic one?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Felted Rainbow's End

I don't have an 'inside set' so that I can have two warps going at once, so in order to get the Lemon Yellow warp onto the loom I needed to get the Wool Rainbow warp OFF. I wove off the last foot or so last night and threw it in the washing machine to felt it.

 I wasn't overly attached to the outcome with this warp. The Kauni Effektgarn was SUPER scratchy and unpleasant next to the skin so my only intent for the warp was to make some sort of a colourful yard banner. Well did I have a surprise taking this yardage out of the dryer this morning! It softened up a LOT! Not sure if a simple handwash (without the felting) would have been sufficient, but Kauni is MUCH nicer after felting!

Another pleasant surprise is the rather 'organic' look to the untwisted fringe when it felted.

  Felted fringe

This warp is intentionally quite long; far, far longer than I need for a single banner. I'll likely cut it into several yard banners, and perhaps reserve some of the scraps for other projects. For instance, this rather plain section might become part of a bag once I have done some embellishing on it. Embroidery? Beading? We'll see.

Might add embroidery to this section and use it as part of a bag.

The next two photos are sections woven by my 8 year old granddaughter. She was having such fun experimenting! I enjoyed watching her enthusiasm.

More of the granddaughter's playing.

One of her favourite 'techniques' was to pull the shuttle out mid warp and then tuck it back in again leaving long floats.

8 year old granddaughter's experiments.

Her wild abandom certainly made my experiments look rather tame in comparison!


I do like the way the sequins twinkle. It should catch the eye sparkling in the summer sun as a yard banner.

Thick n thin weft

One of the ideas I experimented with was that of side fringes. These were done using a clasped weft technique and short thrumb pieces that I left exposed at the sides.

Ribbon insertions and side fringes.

I showed the 'Sea Creatures' section of the weaving when it was a work in progress. Here's how it looks now that it is felted. I have unravelled a section of the black polyester fabric I inserted in this section. I think it looks a bit squid like.

Sea creatures

 This undulating weft bit turned out rather interesting.

  Undulating weft.

 I had inserted some short lengths of wool thrumbs and the felted into interesting blobs.

  Felted thrum ends.

 And here we end with the fringe that was actually the beginning.

  Playful fringe.