Saturday, October 19, 2013

Stitching Saturday: Owl pillow frenzy

Last week I received the super-adorable Sew and Stitch Embroidery by Alyssa Thomas of Penguin and Fish to review. I received it on a Thursday and had to have my review done by Saturday, so time was very tight.

In spite of all logical time considerations, this little owl pillow called out a siren song to me:

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I wasn't about to trying sewing a pillow, but I might have enough time to do the embroidery, if I hurried... I went to the mall that night and picked up a pre-made pillow that looked stitchable and two hemstitched linen napkins, in case the premade pillow was a bust.

The premade pillow was a bust.

first try

I did everything wrong - my problems started with the transfer process. I had to enlarge the pattern (easy enough, my printer does that) and trace it onto my fabric. I didn't have tracing paper, so I tried an elaborate system of poking holes and marking every so often and connecting the dots with a charcoal pencil. But as I stitched, the faint lines disappeared - argh! The material seemed soft, but it had an almost impenetrable backside - getting a needle through it was worse than stitching through jeans. I was also silly enough to try to stitch it while stuffed. I finally unstuffed it and had better luck stitching, but not much better. The fabric was also a little stretchy, so all my satin stitch and long and short stitch areas buckled. I was beyond frustrated.

I reached despair and acceptance and tried the linen napkin instead. I'd never tried long and short stitch successfully before, and I was afraid it would be even harder with yarn - but yarn and linen were a perfect match!
face detail

I really love the soft texture it made on the face:
owl teaser...

Instead of that terrible charcoal pencil, I tried one of my Prismacolor pencils and it showed up perfectly. If you use one, I'd be careful - I'm not sure they wash off, and the blue color transferred a bit to my white yarn, but I was so happy that I was past caring.

Everything just worked better on linen - these are the yarns I used:
yarns I used
From left to right: Caron Simply Soft, white; Caron Simply Soft Light, Capri; Caron Simply Soft Light, Heavy Cream; Caron Simply Soft Light, Black; Patons Beehive Baby Sport, Delicate Green; Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted, Orange

Here's my finished owl, ready to be stitched into a pillow:
my pillow

I really love the subtle simplicity of this owl on linen - just a gorgeous project. If you love cute, simple designs, I recommend the book, for sure.
even more owl detail

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Stitching Saturday: still with the knitting

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Yes, I know, August is over, and so is September. I spent a nice few days organizing all my projects and plans... somewhat. Up above is a color scheme I was thinking of for a future Log Cabin knit quilt.

I've already started on this quilt, as I mentioned previously, it's already a perfect size to warm my lap in the cool South Texas winter. Yes cool, it's never really cold here. :)
Log Cabin quilt

Here's the back - I like the bumpy look - I'm hoping my toes won't catch on the edges, though:
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Here's a project I finished ages ago, but didn't photograph (this is becoming a bit common for me, sigh):
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It's a combination of two Katie Kutthroat patterns I love: "That's what she said" and the border from "You're a Hooker"

Aside from that, I've been doing the normal: reading voraciously, teaching people to knit, buying too much yarn, and wishing I had time to stitch everything. Hope all are well! :)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wildlife Wednesday

spider and bee

Here's a huge bee-size garden spider I encountered last month, in the middle of rolling up a honeybee. Awesomely creepy.