2 December 2011

There goes November too.

Whoosh, there goes November. In the first week I was even planning on posting everyday. That didn't pan out very well did it. Hrm. This is the time of year that work starts to get nuts. Everyone starts their Muppet style freak outs (running around with arms flailing in the air). Again, there has been plenty of crafting and I've been working on the photo backlog. There's no excuse really, just need to make the time to write.

I leave you with a pretty picture of the first snow of the season here in Montreal. It has since melted but there will be more someday soon.

1 November 2011

Where did October go?


I know I've been slacking in posting (Heck, I haven't even uploaded any pictures since Thanksgiving), but to miss October entirely? Hrm. Not cool. Rest assured there's been plenty of crafting going on. And I even dressed up for Halloween this year and it only required the addition of fairy wings and sparkly make-up.

23 September 2011

Accidentally on purpose

I'm helping a friend by checking over a pattern she's just finished writing and knitting up some samples. Just last night I finished putting together this lovably lumpy Teddy Rhino specimen.

Teddy Rhino

And as it turns out, it's just in time for World Rhino Day (which I knew nothing about until today, I swear).

12 September 2011

September Spin-in

I realised during Labour day weekend that I really haven't spun very much yarn this year. Other than this, this and some other non-documented singles, I really haven't spun at all this year.

And those rolags were made in March. I'd STILL NOT finished spinning them up and they are only half the bump of fibre. So I got to spinning.

Banana Split Singles

And managed to finish up spinning the rolags (2 oz. down, 2 oz. to go).

Then I remembered that I had a acquired quite a number of mystery cakes of handspun singles in need of plying:

Mont Filé-a-main

And realised that now I have a wheel so these will be relatively quick work. Suddenly I had a stack of skeins all ready to wash.

Spinning again

I missed out on the Tour de Fleece this year. I forgot all about it until it was basically over. So I'm declaring September for spinning!

My September Spin-in is already begun. I'm going to try and spin everyday, weather permitting. Fiona and I better get to work.

7 September 2011

Thread reaload

My needle has been reloaded.

Thread reload

After finishing my previous spool the other day, I decided it was time for a new spool. A notions sale at Fabricville led me to a load up on thread, including this 1,200 yard wonder should get me pretty far in hand piecing this beast. It should last a bit longer than it's predecessor at least.

6 September 2011

Instant Baby Sweater

There are another batch of babies coming up this winter and I decided to get my needles started for them during my last 4-day weekend of the summer. I had started knitting something else with this skein of last year's handspun but decided what it really wanted to be was a baby sweater.

Instant Baby Sweater

Or more precisely, a February Baby Sweater (a.k.a. Baby Sweater on Two Needles). This is the first time I've knit this sweater, and the second time I've actually followed an Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern all the way through. Last time didn't end so well.

Gull Stitch Detail

But fortunately, I've knit my way through all the bad sweaters. Also, the baby who's going to wear this is still in utero, so no one can say that it doesn't fit. The baby will grow into it and guaranteed won't care about gaping necklines (or about much at all).

Garter yoke detail

P.S. This sweater is impossibly soft.

31 August 2011

Unexpected Treats

My roommate and I finally had our housewarming party this past weekend and we were very please that the Fuzzy Mitten family were able to make their way into the city to attend. Barbara was kind enough to give us some gifts as well. I'm very tickled pink with what she brought me.

Housewarming Presents

We each got a copy of this fantastic doodle book and do-it-yourself sticker kit for hours of our own entertainment. I also got this lovely package of precious fabric scraps curated especially for the ever-growing-beast.

Fabulous Fabric Scraps

Check these babies out. A couple of awesome vintage fabrics (appeals to my history crush), some fantastic small scale Japanese fabric prints including awesome awesome wolves (I don't have enough small scale prints in this quilt, mental note when next I refresh fabrics), and finally some of the most excellently named goldfish. I'm going to do my best to fussy cut the fishes into their own hexes.

I have to work up the courage to cut into these precious scraps. So far all I've done is take them out of the bag, look and stroke them, then put them back again. I think I'll get to it this week. I'm getting close to needing a full hex recharge (by which I mean baste a bunch of hexes onto papers). I have to remember to take some pictures. The scale of the recharge is kind of impressive.

29 August 2011

International Baby Friends

There have been some cryptic sneak peeks of this project over the past year, but FINALLY I can share the things for reals. So last fall, a couple of friends announced they were pregnant so a group of us decided to make them some quilts. This scheme was initially thought of to reduce our individual efforts, but in the end, the quilts had about the same gestation periods as the babies themselves. Amanda posted the timeline of events over here.

Madeleine's Quilt


The jumping off point was receiving a parcel from one of the international baby's mother-in-waiting over in Amsterdam. She sent us some fabric and other goodies, so this that was our starting point.

Kyr's Quilt


These babies are destined to be friends, even if at the moment they are only quilt buddies at the moment. But as you can see, Professor Hammy Cheeks has already put his to work in his mobile satellite office.

It's a baby in a basket!

P.S. These are officially my first ever finished quilt projects. I was surprised at how little fabric was needed for the binding. It's quite magical.

22 August 2011

The slowly growing beast

And another section added

This past weekend I finished and added another section onto the slowly growing beast that is the Hexagonal Quilt.

This is a section

I've highlighted where the new section and I'll explain a bit my process. It's become fairly systematic to achieve a seemingly random quilt. I really started this project with random evenness in mind. I started with a small smattering of fabrics and repeated them randomly as I was piecing.

The piece of quilt top started to become somewhat unwieldy so I stopped working on the main piece, and begun working on smaller sections that then get added to the "big piece". As the chunk of quilt top grew, I started to become aware of how many hexagons I would need to get a quilt that would fit my double bed.

Current Progress

Each section has 126 hexagons. These sections are attached together side by side to make a larger strip. Each strip has 707 hexagons. I figure I need about 5 of these 14 hexagon-tall strips to get the quilt size that I want. That's 3,535 hexagons folks. That's a lot of hexes.

Hex-a-flower

I have about 50 fabrics from cut up fat quarters that are included in each "repeat" of a section (2 repeats per section) plus a smaller selection of "wild card" fabrics that there are 4 per repeat. 4 each of solids, random scrappy hexagons and Liberty hexagons (as begun by the kit of hexes I got in awesome swap). The wild card fabrics are pulled out of some individual zip loc bags (only the highest of technology here) and then added to the randomizer (a smaller empty plastic container) where the hexes get tossed for a bit before being laid out in their final configuration.

25 fabulous Liberty prints

There are a few rules. I try to keep the fabrics from lining up or being to close to themselves in other repeats. This is much easier now that I have an army of hexes to work with. The polka dots are not allowed to be next to each other. And I try to keep from any one dominant colour to be too dominant in a specific location. Sometimes it takes a surprising amount of time to arrange the hexes to my arbitrary tastes but I try not to be too fussy about it. Once they're arranged, I start sewing the gazillion seams.

Almost out of thread

There are so many seams. But I kind of like the mindlessness of taking a stack of 63 hexagons and sewing them together. It's most satisfying to finish up a section and sew it to the big piece. So satisfying. Especially now that I've just about finished the first spool of thread that was dedicated to this project. Very satisfying indeed.

20 August 2011

And the hex continues

As an omni-crafter with a penchant for starting (too) many projects, I sometimes find myself overwhelmed with concurrent projects. As I work full time, I tend to start a bunch of projects when work's especially busy, but without the energy to advance them as much as I'd like.

And so it continues

So lately I've found myself drawn to the simplicity and methodical practise of the slowly growing hexagonal quilt. I work on a relatively smallish section at a time. Here I've just laid out one repeat of hexes in anticipation of getting stitched up. I do two of these sections before I attach it to the larger pieced top. It's getting quite sizeable and tricky to document.

Quilted coffee table

For several days, there was a quilted coffee table in our apartment. My roommate commented that it would be really cool if it were REALLY a quilted coffee table. But that project will have to wait for another time.

15 August 2011

Bye bye t-shirts

Pretty t-shirts

Things kind of got paused craftwise lately. My parents came to town. Whenever they come for their summer visit, there is a rash of home improvements that go on. Previous years have involved painting my kitchen and putting up many shelves. So it naturally follows that new apartment means new opportunities for home improvements. Especially if I hadn't quite managed to unpack everything since moving. My brother even got in on the home improvements and had my dad finish up some final details in his bathroom. Home improvement for everyone!

Old t-shirts

My mom made me helped motivate me to finish unpacking. Including sorting through my clothes, shoes and some of my fabric into "keep" and "donate". She must have started watching that show now that I think about it.

Old t-shirts

This is my stack of old t-shirts. I used to be a real t-shirt fiend, but about a year and a half ago I switched to dresses and haven't really looked back. But I had an idle plan to use these shirts to make a quilt. Like simple squares combining all the lovely shades of grey that I loved so much. But my mom had none of it as I have much more fabric with quilt plans than finished quilts. So away the t-shirts went.

bye bye t-shirts

I took some pictures before the shirts disappeared forever so at least I can recall the lovely colour combinations.

27 July 2011

Another few days, another few letters

So it hasn't really been so long since my last post about this Daisychain Sampler business, but it's chugging along at a nice pace. Here's a few more letters I've finished up since Monday.

Daisychain K

I wasn't so sure about this K, but now I think it's super cool. It took me a little bit to figure out how this long & short stitch thing worked but I think it worked out pretty well.

Daisychain L

I realised partway into stitching this L that I was using the wrong colour of yarn. So I kept with it and used a lighter shade for the center French knots. It's a little more delicate this way. Yeah, lets go with that.

Daisychain M

This M is pretty marvelous if you ask me. I'm tempted to extrapolate a bunch of letters and make a header graphic of it (finally, a header graphic). Or something. We'll see how things develop.

25 July 2011

Kewel Crewel Continues

Daisychain Sampler - in progress

So my stamina on the Daisychain Sampler is continuing rather unabated.

Daisychain E

I think I like this sampler business with different stitches being used for different letters.

Daisychain F

There's enough variety to keep things from being monotonous and each letter is completely quickly enough that I can't really get bored.

Daisychain G

So yeah. I've already got a whole much more letters done since last week.

Daisychain H

Daisychain I

Daisychain J

Though stem stitch hasn't really been a favourite stitch, I do quite love the ropey effect it has here. Plus I think I like stem stitch more now that I know how to stitch it properly (reading instructions is a good idea).

Daisychain K - in progress

Even this K was finished by last night. I'm sure I'll have more to show before long.

21 July 2011

Crewel is kewel

Daisychain Sampler Progress

So I've been reading the blog Posie gets cosy for quite a while now. I'm not much of a commenter on other people's blogs. Mostly I read things through Google Reader and all in a batch so it's extra effort to click through and comment (especially frustrating to do on mobile readers). And to be honest, I don't always feel like I have something to add what people are posting about. But whatevs.

What was I talking about? Yeah, so I read Alica's blog. And when she posted a while back about these Daisychain ABCs Crewelwork Sampler Kits she was going to put together, I figured I'd give it a try. I'm quite enjoying the embroidery these days and crewel has interested me in theory but there aren't a lot of cool (or kewel) projects kicking around in this old school technique. I have a couple of modern takes on it but have yet to jump into the wool & needle thing until now.

Daisychain A

My sampler kit arrived in the mail last Thursday. Despite working on other ongoing projects I immediately started playing crewel embroidery after opening the package.

Daisychain B

And I kept stitching.

Daisychain C

And stitching all weekend in a variety of air conditioned locations.

Daisychain D

And stitching my way through the weekend.

I finished up H last night. I have a whole slew more photos to take of the letters. I especially love the E which I opted to make REAL puffy. I like to thing that it's so puffy, it's in 4D (or at least IMAX 3D).

Oh and the question that I've been asked a few times now. The kit was a pre-order sort of thing and there are no more to order BUT you can buy the PDF of the pattern (which includes the outline guides for all the letters.

I think I'll embroider the phrase "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" next. Why yes, I AM a graphic designer. How'd you guess? ;)

18 July 2011

Hex-a-still

Liberty hexagon

It's probably been a while since I've mentioned this hexagon quilt I've been working on for a while now. Wel it's still going. I work on it here and there.

Liberty hexagon

I really love when I can fit in another little Liberty hexagon into the piece I'm working on.

11 July 2011

Officially Finalized

A very good friend of mine just became an aunt. I decided to send along some baby goodies. But procrastination and a Canadian Postal strike has meant that I just sent out the package today (shh, don't tell San Francisco).

In digging for suitable baby things, I came across a looooooong languishing unfinished project. An entrelac baby blanket I knit during a holiday break back when I was in University. I knit the whole blanket, and the whole border (with improvised mitered corners!) but never quite made it to finishing it. No ends had been worked in and the border was only attached with safety pins. And it sat in a box pretty much since then. Likely 6 years or so. And maybe the reason it stayed unfinished was mostly because I thought it was maybe kind of weird to be a 24 year old with a finished baby blanket that had no baby causation.

But the opportunity of being able to send this blanket to a real live human child in a far off distant land became too appealing. Especially since the recipients will really enjoy it. So I made myself finish it off during the postal strike.



And this is the only picture I managed to take of the blanket during its life with me. Partially obscured by Diva, a friend's cat who merely sat on it long enough to pose for this picture and then wandered off.

Hurray for finishing long long long overdue projects! It feels super awesome to have this thing finally finished and on its way to getting drooled on! Huzzah!

Anyone else have a scary old thing lurking around in the back of their mind/knitting basket?

5 July 2011

Ceçi n'est pas une diskette

Back in February I got a little focused on cross stitch. Particularly in stitching personalised cross stich floppy disks for all my geeky friends. Well one friend got left out. She's not as big a technology geek as the rest of us. Though she was excited about having a personalised cross stitch, a floppy disk really did not suit her. She's much more into music than computers.

Midnight Cross Stitch

It took me a while to figure out what object would work better. Then longer still for me to finalise the cross stitch chart and finally start stitching. But I managed to find the perfect musical equivalent to a floppy disk. A cassette tape.

Finished by Monday

I even managed to cryptically get her to finalise the colour choices without revealing what I was stitching. She really liked it (and maybe even squeed a little?). It currently lives in a prominent place in her living room.

HIP_331699537.103589

It turned out so cool that I want to stitch one for myself maybe. But I'm still excited about this quilt thing, so it might wait.

Non-hipstamatic Cassette Tape