Wednesday, March 11, 2009

for the birds

Here I am. Wow! A month goes by fast these days. I've actually been a little reluctant posting because I use an old computer that has reached its max and I don't like to put any new photos on to it. Probably time to back up iphoto and clean things up a bit.

I've been working on a few crafts. First was this pair of wool needle felted birds and nest. I made them for Jim for his birthday a few weeks ago. I had thought they would be a Valentines gift, but they ended up being rather time consuming. Needle felting is fun but it might be hard to appreciate how much time goes into them. It might be hard to see, but the boy is wearing a bow-tie and the girl has a flower in her head feathers and a pearl necklace. They're dressed for an evening out I guess. The nest is made of fabric strips and pipe cleaners. I like the sturdy feel the wires give to the nest.

I've also been doing some knitting. After a lot of time spent trying to learn to continental knit, I've finally figured out something similar. Many years ago in college I went to the library and checked out a few books to teach myself how to knit. I figured out how to do it, but I was not really doing it the way everyone else does. I should say that I had no idea I was doing anything wrong. I came out with the same results, but it was slow. So when I tried to learn the faster continental way, things got really mixed up because I didn't have a proper technique to begin with. Despite looking at a million "learn-to-knit" videos on the web, I could never get the hang of holding the yarn in my left hand. My stitches would always get very twisted. Finally when I was at the end of my rope (or should I say yarn) I decided to try to copy exactly what I was doing in my old (wrong) way and just hold the yarn in my left hand. What I've ended up with is the absolutely BEST way to knit ever. Trust me, I've seen all the videos and nobody does it quite like I do and my way is great! Speedy, perfect stitches, perfect tension, most minimal hand/finger movement. I can do it without looking, switch from knit to purl without letting go of the yarn, switch to a new row without letting go of the yarn. Truly! Crazy! Now I can knit without it taking me forever. I made this cute vest for Tess. The pattern is here. I just cast on more stitches (100?) at the beginning to make it a little bigger to fit Tess. Here she is modeling. I know it is not the best view of the vest, but I picked to photo for other reasons:)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentines Day bookmarks

Things are always busy around here, so I've been doing a lot of starting and stopping on various crafts. I've been trying to teach myself a new and hopefully faster way of knitting, but old habits die hard. I want to start a new quilt, but need to finish one first. The past few weekends have been more about crafting with the kids.

We/I did Valentine bookmarks this year. I thought this would be a fun sewing project to do with the kids. The kids helped with the sewing and then made cards out of construction paper to tie on with ribbon. Joann Fabrics really came through with some great prints. It took a little digging, but both prints I ended up choosing were Alexander Henry. Cute stuff.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Happy New Year 2009!

One last peek at a big project from the end of 2008. I made 9 of these wreaths for all the families on my Christmas list. While they did take a lot of time to complete, I really liked not having to figure out many different gifts for many different people. I think everyone liked them, I sure thought they were cute.
In my spare moments before Christmas, I also worked on another house for my advent village. Since, there was no way I was going to be able to finish the whole thing before Christmas, I think I will just aim for having it done before Christmas 2009. That will give me plenty of time for all the details.
My brother is expecting a new baby soon and the shower is today. I'm not able to go, but I wanted to have a gift there for the special day. I made this baby quilt for the upcoming bundle of joy in this really simple snowball pattern. I went through all my fabric and pulled out only the stuff that I LOVE. I have so many wonderful novelty fabrics and I'm always looking for a reason to use them up.

Taking a good photo of a quilt is next to impossible, especially when the "help" is not so cooperative.

Here is my little helper on one of her favorite Christmas presents from Grandma. In the background is Maria's big present, a Hello Kitty sewing machine. It is so stinkin cute and works great. I found that cute little desk and the consignment shop and painted it red so it would look new. It's her own little work station. Excatly what a busy girl like Maria needs.
Ah! I'm so glad I put this post together. I had been feeling all out of sorts and unproductive for awhile now. Thinking I wasn't making use of my time and not completing anything that I start. Nine wreaths, 3 coats of paint on the red desk and chair, one quilted house, one baby quilts, and a handknit cotton washcloth I didn't even take a photo of is not so bad for one month of crafting. That's why I do this. No time to spellcheck, I gotta go.