Saturday, May 31, 2014

Stitching Saturday: A little cross stitch

Catching up on a little cross stitch

This weekend and last, I decided to catch up on a little cross stitching. This is one of those pastimes that takes forever. Above was my starting point, last Saturday morning...

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And here she was after a good 6 hours of stitching...

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And here she was after another 6-8 hours of stitching. Can you even see the progress? :) I'm filling in the wings. Reading the graph is one of those things you must have an absolutely clear head for - all those little black and white symbols make your head spin. :)

Any of you working on something huge? Or am I the lone crazy one? ;)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Flashback Friday: The Internet is strange to me

stockings

You know - the Internet, it puzzles me. I've had a Flickr account for a gazillion years - pretty much since Flickr started up. I get a smattering of views here and there from craftily-minded people, and maybe lately, cat people. :)

But for some reason, this one little picture of 3 monkeys I made one Christmas, stuffed into homemade stockings, is garnering the lion's share of views. Flickr stats aren't very clear, so I can't tell where it was posted from, but somebody must have posted about it somewhere, because all of a sudden, it's gotten 8,000 views. Weird.

Well, there it is - I made these monkeys long ago, with a cute little back story for each, and sold a grand total of one in my Etsy store, after which, I decided to keep all the rest and never, ever sell anything again, because crafting for money is less fun and makes me nervous. :)

Does anyone know who linked to these monkeys? I just hope it's not a monkey porn site. Because that would be just like the Internet. :)

Oh, and if you need a cat and kitten fix, check out the cats I photographed at ACS this week: http://catsiveseen.tumblr.com/

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

New Knit Stitch a Week: Double Drop Stitch

Double drop stitch

Teaching myself one new knit stitch a week, from the Complete Guide to Needlework book, c. 1979.

I cast on 14 stitches in Stitch Nation Washable Ewe on size 8 needles.

A bit of a funky look as a swatch, but it looks very nice when stretched out. Working all of the drop stitches was fun, and less tricky than I thought.

Rows 1, 3, 5, 7: knit
Rows 2, 4, 6: purl
Row 8 (wrong side): K00 (winding thread twice around the needle)
Row 9: rep Row 8, letting the extra loop drop
Row 10: K, letting extra loop drop

Friday, May 16, 2014

Feline Friday: Gorgeous Sasha

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I met this beautiful cat at ACS a few weeks ago - she's been through so much, and was very reserved and shy the first times I met her. She gradually came out of her shell - making me laugh one day when she languidly stuck out one paw to lazily bat at the feather wand I poked into her cage.

The last time I saw her she was full of love, and couldn't get enough pets. And those eyes! So beautiful.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Stitching Saturday: Cats and Crafts Experiment

Cats and Crafts Embroidery Experiment

I was lucky enough to take part in the Cats and Crafts Experiment over on Feeling Stitchy, along with all of our other FS bloggers, who all interpreted the pattern in such cute and different ways.

I had a blast with this, and I must say, I love stitching for project-oriented posts - it helps me to have a deadline - so that I can finish and so I don't exhaust myself continually re-imagining it.

Here were my materials for the first cat I stitched, Knitty Kitty:
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One of my favorite things about this project was how the shading came together - I started with the basic outline and filled in some yellowish highlights:
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I  chose a white sport weight yarn and did short, chunky seed stitches all over, letting a little bit of the fabric peek through:

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I used light pink yarn in a sport weight and knit up a tiny garter stitch square on size 4 needles, casting on a teeny 5 stitches. I used the same yarn to create the ball of yarn shape, adding layer over layer until it popped out into a ball-like texture. The knitting needles are couched pink metallic floss.

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For Crafty Cat, I used my zero quilting knowledge to create a teeny crooked quilt top consisting of the gingham square and 4 polka dot squares.

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I couched white yarn in between to look like piping, and filled in the corners with satin stitched embroidery floss in pinks.

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I had some hit and miss moments filling in Crafty Cat - up above is the route to go if you want your cat to look like Hellcat, the Spawn of Satan. :) I dialed it back on the yellow eyes, and filled in a mixture of black yarn and embroidery floss in dark gray and olive green.

Again I wasn't too fussy about a little bit of the fabric peeking through, and I love the texture I ended up with:

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Friday, May 9, 2014

Feline Friday: Ice Cream update

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So, it's been 7 months since I started feeding the cats in my back yard. They have all come such a long way in terms of tameness (at least with me), and one by one they have all let me pet them. Ice Cream, above, was the only holdout. Up until a few weeks ago, she would still hiss if I appeared too quickly, and would never, ever let me pet her. But I was dogged and determined. Every time I fed her, I tried to pet her, and she'd bolt. I'd try to pet her, and she'd bolt. But every time, I tried, and she seemed to know I would never let up.

Finally, last week when I went out to feed the cats, she walked straight towards me and greeted me with a meow, something she'd never done before. When I reached down to pet her, she not only stayed put, she purred. Just like that! She also loves to be brushed, and although it took her forever for her to come around, she is among the most trusting of the cats with me now. She lets me scratch her tummy, and just purrs and purrs.

Her colors have also darkened - she went from being snow white, with little gray tips on her ears, to having chocolatey blotches on her back, and darker points, which confirms my suspicion that she is part Siamese. Also, her meow sounds Siamese, too, and she only uses it to say hi.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

New Knit Stitch a Week: Drop stitch lace

Drop stitch lace

Teaching myself one new knit stitch a week, from the Complete Guide to Needlework book, c. 1979.

I cast on 14 stitches in Stitch Nation Washable Ewe on size 8 needles.

Rows 1 to 4: knit
Row 5: K 00 (winding thread twice around the needle)
Row 6: K, letting extra loop drop

I really liked the look of this stitch, and it looks the same, right side and wrong side. I'm not sure what I would use it for, but it's a nice texture.

Drop stitch lace

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Stitching Saturday: Finished Baby Blanket

Chevron baby blanket finished!

Yup, there it is - my finished Chevron Baby Blanket (free pattern from Purl Soho) - I really like how this blanket came together! As you can see I did thin stripes of ivory, light pink, darker pink, light green, and turquoise in Love This Yarn. I went with thin stripes so I could use up leftover bits of yarn - that's all very well but it meant LOTS of ends to weave in.

The texture is a bit thick and nubbly, but not unpleasant - it would probably feel amazing underfoot in a sturdy cotton - I might try that soon. The only thing I'm not impressed with is how I bound it off - I followed the directions, took it apart, and tried it again, then decided just to leave it and not let it bug me. But if you study it closely, you can see the peaks on the bottom, where I bound off, are not as pleasantly pointy as they are on the top. I bet blocking might help with that, but again, I love it and I won't let it worry me.

I washed and dried it and handed it off to my work friend yesterday, and she seemed to really love it. She says her husband's a shutterbug, so I may even see a few photos with baby on it - yay! Now I need another lap blanket to knit up - this was fun!

My playlist for this blanket was an interesting mix of (fittingly) Call The Midwife - really an excellent show, you should definitely check it out and (not so fittingly) Game of Thrones, which was really just a compilation of guttural sounds (every time I hear a gush or splash, I don't look up), awkward sex scenes, and male on female or male on male brutality. I have tried to get into Game of Thrones, but aside from admiring the author's ability to create a universe of complex characters, I can't get into the constant brutality. The books start off ok, and get more and more graphic and strangely, boring. But I will keep going, if only to see Daenerys rock their world. Her, Arya, Brienne, the costumes, and the dragons are pretty much the only thing that keeps me going.