Play Kitchen Stuffed Toys

Speaking of Spoonflower and belated Christmas presents –

From FO’s

Here are half of the Kawaii Kitchen plushies by Bora, sewn for my niece. They ended up being a birthday present – and played with at the party! – and I still have the tea set left for her next present-requiring occasion.

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Handspun T-Rex Dice Bag

From FO’s

A 2011 Christmas present, finally finished.

The T-rex intarsia is a free chart by Ivy Kim, to commemorate Dinosaur Comics. The blue base yarn is my handspun aran-weight merino dyed by Yarn Chef in “Little Islands”, the most gorgeous saturated blue and the third skein I ever spun; the neon green is slightly thinner handspun superwash merino dyed by Crazy Monkey Creations.

From FO’s

I lined the bag with a fat quarter of “Really Old Cameos” by sammyk, from Spoonflower. Spoonflower is a very dangerous place, by the way. I fused the top, front, back and bottom lining to some scrap Timtex leftover from a quilting class to give the bag some structure – leaving the sides soft for some squishability. The handle is extra-wide double fold bias tape.

Rough pattern details after the fold.

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Window Quilts

In an ongoing effort to achieve Pioneer Home Maker, I have (almost) completed a set of three Window Quilts for the north rooms.

I say Home Maker as the lowercase version of the noun has become so commonplace, people forget it takes a great deal of skill to optimize one’s living space without paying others to do it for you. It is a skill I aspire to but have not yet achieved. Total achievement in the insulation arena would involve quilted door hangings, draft dodgers (an amazing faire-goer in Ohio has shared detailed plans for these two, not yet implemented) and wall-to-wall tapestries. These last will probably not happen as I feel like I would have to weave them or something similarly absurd, and to cover that amount of square footage would take years; and unfortunately that look really only goes well with 100-year-old farmhouses or stone castles, and I have a tiny-ass 50’s suburban ranch house. I can just see the visual incongruity exploding visitors’ brains.

I say almost completed because the quilts are completed to the point of hanging on the windows, but I have not yet attached the velcro round the edges to properly seal them. They were hanging nice and flush, and I could tell the difference in heat retention the first day, but then the cats discovered they could climb them to the ceiling like jungle gyms and now the quilts need some additional help to lie flat.

From Crafts

I apologize for the horrible pictures but it’s rather hard to take pictures of curtains that show their actual colors. Sun glows through in the day; at night we have to live with ze flash.

I am proud that all of the fabric and backing for all three came from stash.  Although with the pair of blue sequined poinsettia velvet,  I have to say “what was I thinking when I bought that?” I am sure it was on deep sale and I vaguely remember liking the back side more than the front, to coordinate with some holiday sweater. It makes much better curtains than a skirt. It matches an existing blanket; and while the color does block a lot of light, that actually helps a great deal with my rotating night shifts.

From Crafts

This is my overstuffed office, including some stash overflow looking for a more permanent home. (I am happy to say that the bookshelf has since been cleaned out.) This quilting stuff is much harder than it looks at first glance – unfortunately this stash fabric was a knit, and the sheet of clear plastic I put inside to help block air movement stuck to itself like crazy as I was trying to turn it rightside out after sewing.  It’s light enough to let some light in, so I don’t feel like a total cave-d hermit at work.

I am looking forward to a bit of rearranging now that Ancient Male Family Dog of Incontinence has succumbed to congestive heart failure and been put to sleep – no more need to worry about good wooden furniture being warped by inappropriate moisture. I’d rather not have made that particular trade, but now that it’s done it was probably for the best.

Warped.

Measuring 402 ends of 8/2 cotton on my shiny new warping board? 7 hours.

Sleying 402 ends of cotton through ~250 dents? 3 hours.

Threading 402 ends of cotton through 402 heddles? 5 hours.

The fact that I’m the type of person who can get excited about threading 402 ends of string through approximately 650 tiny holes? Makes me very happy.

Woo used 36″ 4-harness floor loom!

How many afghans can you really use?

One of the major reasons I’ve gravitated towards smaller knitting and crochet projects is that they will get USED – baby hats can be gifted at the rate of 5/year minimum especially now that people have seen what I can do; and it’s okay to have several bags around the house, even if their primary purpose is to hold my next knitting project. It’s hard for me to just make something cool whose sole purpose is display (*cough* mochimochiland‘s devastating Resisty the Resistor *cough*). I have too little storage space!

So how did I happen to get excited by four great crocheted afghan patterns at once? Argh! Yes, in winter in ND I use seven blankets in my north-facing bedroom (which is so cold I’m tempted to knock a hole in the wall to check if there even IS insulation), but you still have to put them somewhere when you’re not using them! And awesome ones like these I would want to treat nicely:

In addition to the rare fruit afghan I’m working on myself,

  • The Ankh-Morpork Knitter’s Guild on Ravelry is doing a Pratch-ghan-along, where you read one book per month and design a 6″ square based on it. Sir Terry is so prolific you might catch up in 3 years or so…
  • The Guild of Calamitous Intent has a VB-themed afghan square design project starting soon. I’ll be contributing a square based on Dr. Venture’s prided speedsuit, and likely will be dashing off a quick Phantom Limb containing glow-in-the-dark purple yarn. The designs other people have called are cool enough I’ll probably want to make them as well for a complete blanket.
  • The Dendarii Free Knitters have started a similar Vorkosi-gan design call, and I’ll be doing a Hidden Identities square where Miles’ Dendarii uniform jacket unzips to reveal his Barrayaran uniform.

Plus, while trolling for Naruto AMV on Youtube, I was reminded of this great graphic orange-navy-and-white quilt I had wanted to do…

Well, it’s a good problem to have, I suppose!

Triforce blanket

I’ve finally finished the bed-size triforce blanket that’s been sitting in my wips gathering dust.  Two Christmases ago I bought the fabric, last year I pinned it, and this year I finally sat down and blanket-stitched the whole thing together by hand with embroidery floss. My dislike for cleaning off my work table to set up my sewing machine might be getting a BIT out of hand.

I really really appreciate fleece’s disregard for that whole “hemming” thing.

From Crafts

Man, tool-user

In pretty much all of my fiber crafts, I’m noticing a few small annoying things that could easily be cleared up by the use of a better-designed tool. Unfortunately, each next-generation tool jumps an order of magnitude in price (and storage space required).  Good ol’ crochet – at least once you buy the hooks there’s no further investment needed…

Spinning – *thud* Hmm, so that’s why it’s called a drop spindle. Hey – the $26 Spindolyn has a supported base, so I don’t have to worry about toe injury. Much better! Hmm, I still don’t have enough hands to draft and introduce twist at the same time. Yes, this is the fault of my technique and not the tool – but wouldn’t it be nice to have some way of spinning leaving both hands free? Wow, spinning wheels are worked with your feet – perfect! Let’s see… a lightweight PVC wheel goes for around $200, and the nice solid wood ones start at $450-500. *Sigh.* And I’d have to make significant room in my crafting closet.

Weaving – the table loom from Craft volume 8 was very easy to assemble and the parts cost under $20. It can hold 10″ x 40″ of warp, great for smaller projects. If I want something that can hold longer warp, keep the warp threads from tangling when threading, and has the possibility to add an additional row of heddles for more complicated weave structures, I could ramp up to a rigid heddle loom… in the $200+ range. More complicated still can get to the $1000’s.

Even sewing – you can get a decent all-purpose machine for $60-100 on sale, but if you are intrigued by fancy embroidery or want a free-direction foot for easier quilting, several hundred to a thousand.

*grumble* You mean I actually have to pick one area to practice in at a time, to make sure I get skilled enough to justify the purchase of the next level tools? That’s not any fun!  😉