Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Quilting Crash Course

Well after buying the quilting and embroidery patterns from my last post, I decided to just go ahead and make a practice quilt just to "get my feet wet." I know it will probably not have lines matching up and be a little wonky in some places, but at least it will be mine and I know I'll love the fabric I put into it. The first line of fabric I chose was from Tula Pink called Night Shade. It has apothecary jars bubbling with brews, stars and moons, clockwork ravens on lace, and flowers with spider webs and skull and crossbones hidden amongst the greenery. It has soothing cool colors with 5 fabrics patterns that come in 3 color palates: vapor (blue), absinthe (green), and nightshade (purple). One of the fabrics with the three witches on it is sold out in most places and if you can find it, it's on etsy or ebay for $50 a yard. No thanks, I don't like it that much. I have most of the other 4 fabrics in all 3 colors and am waiting for the rest to come in the mail. Since that wasn't enough fabric to make a quilt, I decided to supplement with some of Alexander Henry's Ghastlies fabrics. which have a very similar color palate and are also Halloween/witchy in feel.

Here is a photo of the fabrics I've gotten so far:
Photo: Here are the fabrics my first quilt will have in it. I'm waiting for two more fabrics to come in before assembly. Each of these is a 10" x 10" block.

I've got all of these pre-cut into 10.5" squares and will make hourglass quilt blocks for most of the quilt. I haven't quite decided on the final layout yet as I'm waiting to see how these fabrics look when combined with a solid gray. I'm hoping I can make these into a queen sized quilt top, but will settle for a throw if necessary.

I'm so anxious to get started! I'm afraid I'll lose my impetus to get this done if I can't work on it now. I've still got to wait for the rest of the fabric to come in though. *sigh* Still waiting for 5 more fabrics to come in. *tick, tock, tick, tock* I haven't even picked out a backing for this yet since it all depends on how big the quilt ends up being. Another reason I'm in such a hurry is that I'm having surgery on my wrist soon. No date scheduled yet, but I anticipate it being done within the first two weeks of August and I REALLY want this part done before that happens.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Halloween quilting and embroidery

I'm still looking for the perfect quilt for the bedroom. I stumbled upon Crabapple Hill Studio which has lots of lovely patterns for fall and Halloween themed items. I have chosen a couple to start with to see how long it takes and whether or not I can stick with it. The first one is Calendula Patterdrip's Cottage. *LOVE*
Is is fairly large at 66.5" x 72.5" and combines both quilting and embroidery. The designs are fun and witchy themed, which is just perfect. My only issue with completing this masterpiece of art? If I put that on my bed, my dogs would ruin it. So, what will I do with it you ask? I suppose I'll either make it into a throw blanket to display in the living room or a wall hanging for the kitchen. It would kill me to have it ruined by the dogs after putting what will most likely be months of work into it. The floss used for the embroidery is also available in a kit from the studio here.

The other pattern I decided to buy is a little different, but still Halloween themed. It's called Dance by the Light of the Moon (go here to get it). It has a very festive feel to it that makes it a light-hearted piece.
The kit for the embroidery part is here.

Don't those look like fun? I will be so proud if I can manage to stick with them long enough to finish them. Apparently I have this tendency to stop working on a craft if it gets too boring (read: I have a few projects that I've never finished.)
They have several other patterns that I was really trying to decide if I wanted to buy them or not. I erred on the side of caution and just bought the two above. If I can manage to get one of them done, I will buy the others I want just to make sure I have the pattern available. I have this almost irrational fear that if I don't buy it when I see it, it will be discontinued and I won't be able to find it anywhere. Anyone else ever feel like that?
This one is called Spellbound.
This one is called Hocuspocusville
I didn't link the one's I didn't buy, but you can find them all on the link at the top of this blog. You can also use a magnifying feature to see the details of each of these designs on their page. 
Maybe since I'm right handed, these won't be so hard on my left wrist until I can get it fixed. I know weaving takes both hands equally, so I won't be able to do that or knitting for a long while it looks like. As for what I did to my wrist: Last October 30th, I was catching an IV pump as it was falling off an IV pole at work with just my left hand. I had a bunch of IV tubing in my right hand, so couldn't grab the pump with both. I felt a sharp pain in the ulnar side of my left wrist and it has been giving me fits ever since then. I'm finally getting to see a hand surgeon next week about it and I'll see how long he tells me recovery is going to take. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Quilts and Venetian Plaster

I have been searching online for a new bedspread for the past few weeks. It's time to do an overhaul of the bedroom and I'm tired of the leafy green faux paint job I've got. After 9 years, I think it's ok to paint over it, no matter how many hours it took to do. I loved it when I first did it, but I'm so ready for a change!

I have newish furniture that my grandmother gave me for my wedding present 3 years ago that is victorian style cherry, so I want a victorian feel to the room this time. I've been thinking orange, copper, gold, burgundy, or browns for the walls in possibly a venetian plaster finish. That will take just as long (if not longer) to do than the faux painting I've got now. Here are some examples if you're curious:

I want a warm feel to the room where I can have some low lights on and have a warm glow from the reflection of the light off the wall, as you can see in the 3rd pic above. That's why I was thinking a copper or gold sheen of some kind like in the 2nd pic above.

I haven't been able to find a picture online anywhere that I can try and imitate like they show on HGTV programs. The last time I decorated my bedroom, I chose the wall colors first and had a devil of a time trying  to find a bedspread to match. This time I'll do the bedspread first and match the paint colors to it. Live and learn, right?

I have one item that is a recent purchase that I want to be able to integrate into the theme of the room, if possible, and that is a black handira that looks like a night sky. This is it:
Night sky wedding blanket. My ultimate desire! *covet*

I just LOVE it! I will turn it sideways and use it as a headboard, but you can see how that would be a challenge to incorporate this in a victorian theme. I got this from The Red Thread Souk and it was pricey, but exactly what I was looking for.

I've tried to see if I can go with a night-time theme, or celestial theme, or even dark blues. Nada. No luck finding anything that looks good. If I get the rest of the room the way I want it and find that this just does not fit, I will put it in my craft room so I can look at it as inspiration. I have found some stunning work by quilters, but WAY out of my price range.

This one is by Susan Brubaker Knapp at Blue Moon River. It's gorgeous (and sold), but is strictly for wall decoration.
Yggdrasil-Queen size quilt by Crow Woman Quilts
This one is queen sized and available, but $2200. Made by Crow Woman 88 on her etsy store.

There are many more, but I just can't post everyone's stuff. Just go look up quilts and pick a topic you like and see what comes up! Here's a couple of Halloween quilts I found that I love:
Halloween Quilt at Heritage Park
Photo taken by Nancy Chow at Heritage Park from her Flickr page.
Queen Size Quilt "Gothic Ghastlies" Handmade by Kristen Symons
Queen Size Quilt "Gothic Ghastlies" Handmade Halloween Bedding
This one is by Kristen Symons and had been in her Etsy store. (this one has been sold, but I believe she will make custom quilts if you ask her.)

As you can see, there are a wide variety of quilts available for purchase. I have one on my bed now, that is mostly (of course) green. It's been slightly chewed on by my pups, but it has been well loved while we've had it. Thankfully, it was store bought and not someone's hard, back breaking work that got nibbled on.

I've had a mind to see if I could stick with making a quilt of my own and even have a couple of patterns already. I'm not much for sewing, although I can and have a sewing machine. I have to be in the right mood to want to sit and cut out all that fabric. Even the thought of that makes me cringe. I may just have to stick with knitting and weaving for now... Hopefully, I'll find the right blanket soon.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Big Damn Knitting Needles

So in an earlier post I made reference to the big knitting needles that The Bagsmith offered here in size US 35 and US 50. I also found a site by Ingrid Wagner that sells big needles that are 25 mm (US 50) and 30 mm (US no idea, but it's 1.18" in diameter). The 30 mm ones are 4 feet long! You can find hers for sale here, but these are overseas so shipping is probably a bunch. These are some whopping big needles!

Well I didn't want to pay $50 for a set of basswood needles when I can buy dowels myself for a whole lot cheaper and in a wood I find beautiful. If you are going to be looking, handling and working with wood tools, why not make them pretty too? I went to a local wood shop down the street from me and bought 2 walnut 1" dowel rods for just under $10 each that are 36" long, which is roughly the same diameter as a US 50 knitting needle (which is 25 mm or 0.98"). I also bought 1 cherry 3/4" dowel that I plan to cut in half to make 2 - 18" long knitting needles that are the same diameter as a US 35 (which is 19 mm, or 0.748"). For the 3 dowel rods it only cost me $24. All I need to do is cut the cherry rod in half, then shape one end of each of the tips into gentle points and sand the crap out of the shafts to make them smooth.

I already have a piece of ebony wood that I will get my husband to machine down into either a donut, or a square and then drill a hole that will fit on the ends of the needles and them wood glue them on. Ta da! Super sized knitting needles for a fraction of the cost that you could buy them online. Here are the dowel rods before any work has been done and you can see the difference in color:

Here is the scrap of ebony I'm using to make the end caps with. The color really shows up well next to the walnut and cherry dowels.

Here are the designs laid out on the ebony.

I'll post pics when I'm done with them. :)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Budget cuts

It seems as though the rather large trip I was planning on taking at the end of the year is not going to happen. The Affordable Care Act has put such a stress on hospitals that budgets cuts need to be made everywhere. Including employees. With that thought in mind, I can't justify spending the amount of money it would take to fly to AZ and CA and back home for both me and my husband, then spend the amount of money it would cost to board three dogs and a cat for over a week. I need to have at LEAST a few months worth of money for bills saved in case I were to need it. That means a lot of cuts need to be made for expenses this year aside from what I've already committed to spending. *sigh* No Dragoncon for us this year. No trip to see my friends or my dad for Christmas. It really sucks to be an adult and be responsible sometimes.