Category Archives: Crafting

I keep my promises — it’s giveaway time!

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I came across this awesome giveaway today, just in time to enter! Craft bloggers are so generous, aren’t they? This is a lovely blog, too.

not your average crochet

what the winner will receive

A beautiful yarn bowl handmade by my lovely and very talented friend Lauren:

yarn bowlA full skein of KnitPicks Billow (100% Pima cotton) in the shade Ice Lily:

billow bulky pima cotton in ice lilyA full skein of KnitPicks Brava Worsted (100% acrylic) in the shade Mint:

brava worsted acrylic in mintAnd finally a thread/yarn cutter keychain (I have one and have put it on a necklace chain):

thread cutter keychainI have tried both kinds of yarn previously and enjoy working with them very much, particularly with a yarn bowl made by my friend!

giveaway info

The giveaway is open from right now until November 25, 2013, when I will randomly draw the winner.  It is open to anyone, regardless of where in the world you are located.

giveaway rules

To enter in this giveaway, you must do ALL of the following:

  1. Follow this blog (can be via WordPress, e-mail, or Bloglovin’)
  2. Share this post by reblogging it…

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How Do I Know When it is Done?

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About a year ago, when I first started thinking about being creative every day, I was very excited about collage. I saw a lot of mixed media art that I loved and wanted to emulate in some way–not to make the same projects, but to take the idea of creating something new out of disparate parts and make my own projects.

I wasn’t sure where to start, so I just dove in. I painted a canvas with a an abstract grass and sky theme.

painted canvas

I really liked this canvas, and I didn’t want to mess it up by just diving in with no plan, so next I spent some time experimenting. I glued yarn to a practice canvas I had laying around. I tried a couple of different glues to see what would hold the buttons best. I got out a few different colors of yarn and experimented with making the trunk. I tried crocheting a trunk, but it came out too big with the multiple yarn colors I wanted to use, so in the end I decided to just twist the colors together and glue them down that way.

I worked on this over several weeks, working for a bit, then leaving and coming back the next day. The original plan for gluing the yarn down was  to make the roots relatively shallow on the canvas, trailing off, with a huge tree above with lots of button leaves. When I stepped back and looked at it after I got most of the yarn in place, though, I realized I had done it completely backwards–the long branches were in the green ground part, and the shorter roots were in the blue sky part of the canvas. D’Oh!

I certainly wasn’t going to try to take the yarn off and re-glue it. After I thought about it a bit, I decided that long roots are better anyway–much of a tree really is in the root system. So, I started gluing on buttons.

collage in progress

I  really enjoyed the process of coming back to this over and over again, sometimes stealing just 10 or 15 minutes out a busy day to glue on some buttons and look over the project. Sometimes the canvas would sit for days at a time without me looking at it all (which reminds me of the need to get more of a studio space than the corner of my dining room table…), but I found that valuable, too. When I came back, I had fresh eyes.

This week I got it out and looked at it again, and I find myself not sure what the next step is. Is it done? Does it look a bit barren at the bottom? Should I put a few button-leaves along the trunk?

current collage

I am not sure if it is done or not, but I don’t see anything that it needs, if that makes sense. Always before I would look at it and think it needed more leaves or something at the ground level, but now I look at it and nothing jumps out as necessary.

I am still pretty new to collage, so I am not sure exactly what I want, but I am enjoying the process!

Some Finished Pottery Pieces

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The pottery classes I have been taking include unlimited studio time during the class for building pieces, and plenty of time after the class is over to finish glazing and firing pieces. I have been concentrating on building things during the class time with the plan of underglazing, glazing and firing objects after the class is complete, but a couple of weeks ago, I decided to get a couple of test pieces done so I could see how they would turn out.

3pottery

The first piece I did was an underglazed Christmas tree. I actually painted this one day while I was working in the studio, waiting for a slab of clay to dry out a bit to make it easier to finish. I had a picture of this on my last pottery post:

Coil tree with underglaze in leaf green, dragon red and ivory

Coil tree with underglaze in leaf green, dragon red and ivory

This was completely unfired, with just the build done and underglaze painted on. Since then, it went through an initial firing, then I dunked it in a clear glaze and had it fired again. The colors are very different than the pre-firing colors, but they did turn out very close to what I pictured when I was envisioning the finished project.

tree

I also glazed one of my little plates, and I am very pleased with how it turned out. Because of the stamped pattern, I was thinking that I would need to underglaze the plates in order to ensure that the color got down into the grooves. I made a ton of these plates, though, so I decided to try the regular glazing on one and see what would happen.

chrysanthemum plate

As you can see, awesomeness happened, ;). I am still going to underglaze a few plates–I have at least 30 of these things–but I will be doing more like this as well. This plate has celadon as a first dip, then it is topped with lime green. I love the way it turned out!

The coaster shows me why it is good to do a test glaze. I used deep purple topped with celadon here, and how a dark purple topped with a pale green yields such a blue coaster, I don’t know. I kind of like it, though.

coaster

So, that’s all I have for finished pottery for now. What do you think? I will be making many more trees and plates, and probably some more coasters, along with a few other things. I am probably nearly finished with building for this Christmas, but I will have more things coming, too, as I still have about 45 pounds of clay to use. Any suggestions for a not-terribly skilled hand building potter?

Making Things: Blue Waves Blanket

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I have had my eye on the Neat Ripple Blanket by Lucy at Attic 24 for some time now. I always have a lot of projects going, though, so I was putting it off until I had a few things finished.

Last month, I was making good progress on my Christmas projects, and I decided this would be the perfect pattern for a blanket for one of my giftees. It is so much fun to do, too! I would pick this up in the evening, thinking I would just do a few rows, and find myself unable to stop stitching. It came together really quickly, too–I finished it in under 4 weeks, even though I was working on other projects at the same time (I simply cannot work on only one project at a time!).

Blue waves

Blue waves 2

I am particularly pleased at how squared off the folded blanket is–I am not always that consistent with my stitches. I often start out a bit too loose, and the first few rows are a bit wider than the rest of the blanket. I knew I could improve, though, because the rest of my blankets are usually fairly consistent after those first few loose rows. I guess all the blankets I have been making lately are actually paying off in increased skill, :).

Ravelled here.

What I did last weekend

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I’m taking a pottery class! Actually, I am on my second one, but I just brought home my first finished objects last week.

I started in a wheel throwing class, which was not really a success for me. I wasn’t too upset about the fact that I wasn’t very good at it, because new skills take practice right? At least, I wasn’t upset in theory–in practice, I was simply not interested in taking the time to get better. I wasn’t enjoying the process enough. My hands felt all slimy, and I was really pretty terrible.

I stopped when it looked vaguely like something useful...

I stopped when it looked vaguely like something useful…

The instructor did most of this one.

The instructor did most of this one.

The lady teaching the class is very smart, though, and she started showing me some hand building techniques, which I enjoyed quite a bit more. So much that I signed up for a second session to learn more hand building techniques, and actually make something I like and can use (and give away for Christmas presents!)

Coil tree with underglaze in leaf green, dragon red and ivory

Coil tree with underglaze in leaf green, dragon red and ivory

This past weekend I spent a lot of time in the studio, because it takes time to get these things done. I have a ton of clay to use up, because I got 50 pounds of clay for each class, and the first session, I used maybe 10 pounds. Since I started doing hand building, I have been going through it much more quickly, but it still takes a lot of time. I can roll out a slab or a coil pretty quickly, but to get it looking like I want it to? That takes some time.

Last weekend I spent about 8 hours cranking out plates and medallions. A couple of years ago, I did button magnets for my family, and I think the medallions will make a fun addition–another kind of magnet. I didn’t get any pictures of the medallions, but I did get some pictures of the plates:

photo 1photo 3photo 4

As you can see, these are all in progress, but I you get the general idea. They were fairly easy to do in concept–roll the slab, let it dry out a bit, roll a stamp over the whole slab, use giant cookie cutters, place in mold, take out and sit on the table to flatten out the bottom in the middle. It takes a while to do though, between waiting for the clay to dry and polishing off the piece. I have not gotten any of these back from the initial firing yet, but I am cautiously optimistic that they will be awesome, ;).

Anyone else into pottery?

De-Stashing Update

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I feel the need to report my de-stashing progress now, while all the news is good. I am fairly certain that won’t last much longer, because I forgot to consider one thing: my birthday is August 22. How can I not buy myself yarn for my birthday? It is the day after payday, too!

On the plus side, I have done really well on the de-stashing so far. I even went to one of my favorite local yarn shops, Knitorious, last weekend but I held strong and walked out without any yarn. I had to go to the store, you see, because I was spending the afternoon with my closest local crocheting friend, who I haven’t seen since she had surgery on her wrist about 5 weeks ago. We went out to lunch, and the LYS was only half a mile away. I suggested it, and then said no, I am not buying yarn right now. Then it occurred to me–my de-stashing challenge didn’t say anything about BOOKS! (Maybe it should, but that is for another challenge….)

I only got one book, Crochet Noro.

It has several beautiful projects, including one I would like to make my mother for Christmas, so I am happy to have it. I did look at the yarns I would need for some of the projects, but I really think it is better to do some planning before purchasing anyway.

I have also done several rows on my Ribbon blanket. This is one of my long term WIPs–I started it last summer, I think. I am falling in love with it all over again, even though there is a nagging voice in my head talking about all the Christmas projects that need to be started. I don’t have an updated picture, but it is looking good. It is a great way to use up some of those partial skeins, too!

In that spirit, I am planning to start making more granny squares. I want to make a granny blanket with a non-traditional color joining them, like hot pink, or turquoise, or maybe a spring green. Or yellow or purple or orange. Just not black or white–not that I don’t like the black or white grannies. I just want to do something different.

How is everyone else doing on de-stashing?