Thursday, January 31, 2008

Last Day of January

My family knows very well that the last day of anything will usually find me frantically trying to finish some kind of project or another! All those time management courses I took over the years have just resulted in me being late in a more organized way!

Anyway, these two projects are supposed to be "January" submissions. They will be done by January - 2009, at least! The first one is Patti Culea's Tome pattern for the cover page. The Stargaze Yahoo group is attempting to do a page-a-month. So many people have gotten started and then did not finish all the pages for one reason or another. I am one of those people! I have four pages done, but they are two or three years old. Besides, I have learned a lot about fabric techniques since I did the first version and I'm going to see if I can do better. Not necessarily faster - but better.

The second photo is my TIF tribute piece. Now, I have already done the color TIF for January, so this doesn't count against me by not being done. Right? I've finished all the "work" and now what's left is the fun part. Embellishments! When SharonB announced the options for January, I chose to start working on the color, but my mind went right to work thinking about people I admire and how I could do a tribute piece. Once a project takes root in your mind, you have to do something to let it out, you know? I have actually chosen a group of people to represent in this piece. I think they have certain traits in common and each element in this picture represents - to me - one of these people. When I have finished this project, I'll post more about what and who and all that stuff.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

This Week's Mail . . .

I've been pretty busy the last couple of days and have not paid much attention to what arrived in the mail. Omigosh! All my magazines are coming at the same time. I've never had this happen before. Aren't the covers bright and pretty?

Now the dilemma - which one do I read first? Oh dear. If I had hundreds of readers for my blog I would put up a survey and see what everyone thinks. But, on the other hand, by the time I had an answer I probably would have already read them all!! Who wants to wait? I'll probably just close my eyes and pick one.

I'm off to my favorite easy chair and a cup of tea. Oh boy!

Friday, January 25, 2008

A Hat and A Goal

On my January 11 post (here), I mentioned I've made some personal goals for this year - mainly to get caught up on things I planned to do and never finished! One of those was to finish (or actually start properly!) an online class on making Hats. I signed up a couple of years ago and, although I have made a few hats, I have never gone through the course in proper order!

So the first hat is a simple pillbox hat. I chose a satin fabric so I could practice mulling. Mulling is using felt or padding to cover the edges so wiring and stitches do not show. Is is supposed to help insure the outer fabric is smooth. Well, I suppose it did help - if you don't look too close! The hat model is my friend Haggard Hattie. I introduced her a couple of months ago so no need to show her face this time.

Lots of new projects on the list, but for today I am recovering from a trip to the dentist. It's the pits when life gets in the way of sewing!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Finished! - I think

Ta da! Here is my January Take It Further piece. I'm calling it finished, although recognizing when a piece is complete is sometimes hard for me. I do have a tendency to overwork them on occasion. For example, I had pictured lots of beadwork on this one, but when it came to that step nothing looked really right. So, just a few beads and done!

While most of the stitching is simple daisy and outline, I did use some stitches that I would not have known about without the Take A Stitch Tuesday challenge (also from SharonB). I used a bonnet stitch for the side hanging ferns, Pekinese stitch for the line between ground and wall, and some wheat ear stitch for - uh - wheat!

Doll club meeting was just cancelled due to weather, etc., so I have a free weekend. I may start on the concept part of the challenge. I have wrapped my head about a "group" of people I admire and have planned a design to represent some of their characteristics. More to come.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

About YoYos

After I posted about Yo-Yos, curiosity got to me. I know this form of fabric manipulation has been around for a long time. I remember a clown doll made of different size YoYos when I was little. I also remember being shown how to make them - maybe as a Girl Scout? The details are lost to the years in between. So I went for a stroll along the internet and here are some of the things that I found. has a nice page of information *about* Yoyos. Three pages in fact, including how to make a Yoyo and put together for a quilt. Another page of interesting info is on Suite 101 .

I found lots of tutorials for yoyos - some with templates - some for circles - some for squares - and some for heart shapes like the one above. Here a just a few:

Heather Bailey's How to Make a YoYo is beautifully photographed.
Red Dawn has a template and tute for a SquareYo - and an interesting web site as well.
E-How has a quick and easy tute, too.
How too make a heart-shaped Yoyo from Penny Sanford.

I suspect that is only the tip of the iceburg! And don't forget the new Clover YoYo Makers. I like not having to worry about cutting it just right. The stitching is what counts!

While you are visiting Clover, check out the free projects for ideas on how to use these YoYos. Once you have a sack full of these little lovelies, browse through some of these sites for more ideas:

Decorate thumbtacks using this tute from Aesthetic Onion.
Or how about this cute angel pin from Family Corner.
If you crochet, add a lacy edging by reading the FreeNeedle blog.
For some more ideas - or if you prefer to buy - check out Etsy and Kinderware.

Whew! That's a lot of surfing! Now, if you've stuck with me this far, I have a question. Like so many handcrafted items, YoYos seem to have multiple names. Some of these links refer to them as rosettes and Suffolk Puffs. What are they called in your part of the world?

Friday, January 11, 2008

TIF Update and a Giggle

Two postings in one day. There's a first for me! I decided I am far enough along with my January TIF to show a progress shot. This is the color part of the challenge. (To see details of the Take It Further Challenge, go to SharonB's blog here.)

I have set a personal goal to go along with Sharon's challenge. That is to use some of the techniques that I have gotten new tools for or purchased a book or whatever, and then never used. My first one is to use the YoYo templates that seem to be everywhere these days. I have three of them - a small heart, a large circle, and a large flower. I've made up several from fabrics that match the challenge. In this photo, they are not stitched down, so they could move quite a bit in the final version. I started some hand embroidery this afternoon that will come from behind the YoYos. I plan to do more embroidery as I attach them and after. And yes, YoYos are a lot easier to make with the templates!

The bowl is cut from a fabric collage of bits of fabric and fibers with a layer of tulle free motion stitched in place. Many layers of stitching until it is pretty thick. I won't by doing very much hand stitching through that!

On another note: I had to share this picture with you all. Hubby has started painting the office/den/whatever and we cleared all the shelves and stacked some of the furniture in the guest room. I happened to walk by the door and noticed this fellow peering over the edge of the box. Apparently he does not like being left out of where it's happening! The doll is from Judy Skeel's Wee Whimsey class that I took a couple of years ago. She calls them "funny looking men with big noses." Not that you can tell from this picture! He did give me a giggle, tho.

A Farewell to 2007

This is the project I've been hinting at for the past week or more. I made a box to hold my Dayplanner pages for last year. I am a compulsive list maker and my day planners tend to have a lot of information in them. I can't just toss it away! And for those who doubt, I have gone back to confirm a date in previous planners.

So, last year I decided that just stacking them on a shelf with rubber banding is not acceptable. I created my "annual" New Year's project. It counts as annual after the second one, doesn't it? I used a stiff interfacing like Vilene or Timtex and started with a piece of plain muslin this year. I stitched the letters with a piece of craft foam behind so they stand out just a little. Then I scattered snippets of fabric around the letters and covered with a piece of tulle. The fun part is all kinds of free motion stitching. Multiple times and colors! Once all six pieces were finished, I hand stitched them into a box using a buttonhole stitch. Last year's was assembled with the sewing machine which is definitely quicker! I used my braiding around all the edges and added some beads and there it is! Taking a decent picture was almost as much work as making the box in the first place! We had some bright sunshine this afternoon, so I took advantage of it!

Now that I've put 2007 to rest, I am ready to really get into this year's projects.

Monday, January 7, 2008


What is a lucet? Well, it's a tool used to make a braid-like strand. What I've read about it says it was used a lot in the Middle Ages to make lacings. Buttons and zippers and velcro were rare and non-existant in those days. Apparently there's no proof that this tool was used before then, but it's quite simple to use - and you can even do the braid on two fingers - so I would not be surprised if the craft is MUCH older! It makes a nice strong lacing with just a little stretch to it. Beware, though. It takes a lot of thread/yarn. Exactly how much would depend on the nature of your thread, but I did one piece that came out one-tenth of the original length!

I bought my lucet from Patti Culea a couple of year's ago. I have practiced with it several times, but this week was the first time I made a braid that I have used on a piece (more on that tomorrow). To the right of the tool you can see the two balls of yarn I used and to the left is the braid that resulted.

You get different results depending on the character of the yarn you use. In this second picture you can see several samples I have. The top is from a tubular ribbon. The next two are from twisted perle cotton. I believe they are both from two strands of the cotton. The purple one in the center is actually three different yarns - a soft purple ribbon, the same blue whiskered yarn as in the first photo, and a lavender perle cotton. The yellow is from satin ribbon, and the bottom piece is plain old worsted weight yarn - probably more than one strand - I don't remember.

I now have a plan of action for my TIF project. Just need to get moving on the actual work! I know how it should look now, so it should go very quickly. Ha! So when has that ever happened in real life?

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

January TIF

Yesterday, SharonB posted the first "episode" of the Take It Further Challenge - or TIF. Option 1 of the challenge for January is to create a piece representing someone you admire or look up to. That is a pretty tough assignment. First I will have to narrow the field to one person/group or one trait; and then decide how to represent that in fiber or paper. Option 2 is to use the color pallette at the top, left.
I decided to start with the colors, while I am thinking about Option 1. I printed out the pallette, but of course my printer did not make them come anywhere close! So today I have spent some time pulling out colored threads and fabric, taking photos, and running upstairs to put them on the computer and compare the colors! Whew! Not exact, but not bad either. I think I can do this! The dark purple grape color was no problem - I have more purple in my stash than is decent! But that pale yellow green on the right was pretty tricky. I don't believe I've ever used that color in anything. Time for me to try it, huh?
As for someone I admire . . . . that will take some more time. I have always been fascinated by Tudor England and Elizabeth I - not just because we share a name! And I share a birthday with Abraham Lincoln who is definitely someone to look up to. Then while reviewing blogs I realized how much I admire the many fiber artists who continue to create beautiful and new things. They look at everyday items and see them in a whole new light and come up with something I find amazing! Why didn't I think of that? And how in the world could I ever create a representation of that??! Sharon, you have certainly given me things to think about.