Saturday, December 31, 2011

"Country Side" Brambles and Seeds

I don't know what to call this one, honestly.  I really wanted to try out the bramble stitch, but I tend to work with my yarn so tightly that it didn't really go well for me--even less so considering I used a variegated yarn that didn't show off the intricate pattern.  So the brambles turned into a small "band" at the bottom of the hat, and I finished up with a much easier double seed stitch.  Funnily enough, with the variation the yarn makes, you can hardly tell the difference between the two stitches right away, and it looks like one really texturized blob.  Oh well; at least they're pretty colors?!

"Country Side" comes from  name of the Sugar'n Cream yarn I used. And as usual, I used my size 10 round needles, though I didn't knit this in the round (they're just so much easier to use!)

"Country Side" Brambles and Seeds

I only have one more old hat (el oh el) yet to post about...which is good I guess, because I just picked up my needles again and have about two more to show when I get around to it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Blogger's Choice Fat Quarter Bundle

Two posts in one day... what's happening to me?

But I do like mixing and matching my own fabrics, so I figured, why not try out this "contest"?!

Fat Quarter Bundle Idea

The Fabrics (Hopefully these links won't expire!)
One Two and Three
Prints, by color:
One Two Three and Four
One Two Three and Four
One Two Three and Four

This started with the three "Delighted" fabrics, but of course I wanted to mix in some simpler prints and such.  Since I tend to like working on small things,  I chose a lot of smaller prints, but the larger prints would be perfect for mixing in larger blocks to fill things out.  I always like mixing and matching--big with small, old with new, etc.--so I think there's a bit of variety here.  I've had the color palette in my head for a while: turquoise and red is so popular, so why not make it an almost-perfect primary trio?  I think the color palette is very summery, not to mention it works for many ages... I tried to pick fabrics that weren't overtly floral, too, so it's a bit more gender neutral, as well, I think.

I'm quite the novice at this kind of stuff, so I'm not sure how I did... Not to mention, since I can't see the fabrics in person, I'm unsure of how all the subtle differences in the individual reds, yellows, and blues will look.  In any case, I know I want to make something featuring a similar palette in the future.

On a related note, I'm totally considering getting this from their store... It's even on sale right now!  And because... arggg, they're pirates!

One more... and then I'm DONE!

This is the last stocking; it's made for my boyfriend's mother, who loves Egyptian-like things.

Egyptian-Inspired Stocking

I'll have to ask you to excuse horrible lighting from the dark walls and yellow lights, the brush ends and jar of glaze, the CDs, the woot monkey in the background, the fact that this is being hung on the ear of a stethoscope....and uh... everything else.   I just wanted pictures before I gave this away, and it was already Christmas Eve! 

Here's one more picture of it standing straight, just because I haven't gotten used to the charms dangling while the stocking is hanging yet, haha. 

Egyptian-Inspired Stocking (from a different angle)

My boyfriend picked out everything for this one, and of course he's not a sewer, so he picked out the slinkiest, hardest-to-work-with polyester lace weave for the decorative side of the stocking. It looks nice, but I had  to utilize some old wrapping paper to stabilize it while making it!  We bought the snake from the bead department of the craft store, and it's held on with some gold wire... as is the ankh, which I think turned out a little too gold for the stocking in comparison with the snake, but oh well.

I made the ankh myself, by the way, out of polymer clay that I had pressed some glitter paper onto to give some texture.  It also just happened to have some nice authentic "cracks" from when I was folding it to warm it up--perfect!  Add a stippling brush and some paint to make an uneven, mottled layer of gold all over, and it came out pretty neat looking...but unfortunately, I have no great pictures of it because of the lighting and flash. 

Here's the thing that I find the funniest of all about this stocking: the ankh symbol is associated with death/eternal life.  Perfect for a Christmas stocking...uh...right?!?!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

And back to knitting again....

This is another older hat I never got around to posting about.  It's actually the hat full of black thread that caused all the problems I talked about in this post back here.  If I ever use Sugar 'n Cream's black yarn again (and I do have about half of it left over!), I'm definitely doing a vinegar bath or something.

I still think it's cute, though... but obviously this photo is pre-washing:


Knit in the round, size 10 needles with Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn--I forget the color names, but it's basic black, white and yellow. I did an I-cord for the antennae (which I can vaguely remember not liking to make), and I winged (lame amirite?) the design for the wings.

After washing, it  turned out to be grey, yellow, and off-white. :(  I think it just passed being donate-able!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Finally!  Save for one or two one-off stockings, I'm done sewing for the holidays. Just in time, these need to get in the mail soon, anyway. :) Not to mention, I was getting soooo bored of sewing Christmas stuff, only Black Sabbath and Slayer could keep me interested!

Unfortunately there was no sun at all today, so my photos might look extra shadowy.

Here's the first set of stockings that I didn't get photos of before (the last one might look extra funny because it's a bit full already!):

Patchwork Stockings

Patchwork Stockings

And a detail shot, maybe this will be better than the first one:

Patchwork Stocking Detail

Now, if you remember, the insides of these stockings as well as my Horde stockings look like this:

A Stocking Lining...

But the other eight stockings (the ones in the last post, and the ones I'm about to write about next) have a lining and a backing that looks like this, which is quite a bit more busy!

Another Stocking Lining

You see, the fabric I bought before wasn't on sale again when I figured out I bought way too little, so this Christmas fabric ended up being a bit cheaper.

Anyway, the last set of stockings were particularly inspired by my dad, who loves old Christmas stuff. I made what I thought looked like some old-ish ornament shapes and cut out my pieces--I just appliqued them on freely using an almost-satin stitch and my metallic thread.  I say almost-satin because I didn't want to pull the fabric too much, as I didn't use any stabilizer, fusing or starch, and I didn't want the pieces to stretch out of shape.  So instead of using a zig-zag stitch at "0", I used it halfway between 0 and 1.   To make them look like they were hanging, I used the same stitch to make lines (before I appliqued the pieces on, of course).  There's even a line on top of the big center ornament, but unfortunately the fur covers it up--that's a lack of planning on my part!

Retro Ornament Appliqued Stockings

Retro Ornament Appliqued Stockings

Retro Ornament Appliqued Stockings

Aaaaaaand that's all for now. :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

More Stockings!

Here's my second set of four stockings, all completed.   The last set of four is halfway done, and I still need to take pictures of the full first set that I gave a preview of in my last post (I got a new camera as an early Christmas present, by the way, so hopefully my pictures will improve!)

Wacky Stripe Stockings

Wacky Stripe Stocking

The toes look a little funny in these photos, but it's mostly the angle and my fiddling with them to make them all lie in a nice direction to photograph. They're not all 100% the same shape, either, but they're supposed to be all unique, so that's ok!

As with the first set, I laid out the pattern pieces I made on top of my stack of four fabrics, and cut out the pieces for all four stockings in one go with the rotary cutter. :)

I added some gold ric-rac and trim to these, so they're a little more bling-y than my first set. The hanging tabs also have ric-rac on them, as you can kind of see in the first photo!

And my favorite part--I added some hexagon appliques!

Wacky Stripe Stockings--Appliqued Hexagon Detail

I'm particularly thrilled with how they came out--I just cut out the shapes and ironed down the edges by eye, then sewed as close to the edge as I could manage. The only thing I would do differently again, however, is not use two threads on the top! You see, my metallic thread is a little more prone to breaking under stress, so I wanted to reinforce it by threading a strand of metallic and a strand of red thread through my machine at the same time... but I nearly caused tension and alignment issues when the red thread got too loose compared to the metallic and started bunching up in the bobbin area. Does that even make sense? I don't know, I'm just glad they look ok! You can see that stitching on the last two hexagons in the top picture look much more metallic--that's because I finally got fed up and took out the red top thread.

I'm also pretty impressed with these last macro photos: they're taken on my new camera with no flash! I'm not used to having the ability to toggle the flash on macros. Usually, I'm so shaky that without flash, macros come out a blurry mess. They were taken in quite blue-ish natural daylight (not quite sunny, but not overcast), so I did have to color edit them a bit to get them to look a little more true.