Saturday, July 31, 2010

Baker Allegan Studios Rocks!

So I've been playing with the idea lately of spinning and dyeing my own yarn.  In an effort to learn how to do this I searched for a place in Michigan that could teach me and stumbled across this amazing studio.  I saw that they give weaving classes, so Margaret (the art teacher I work with) & I immediately signed up.  It was a 2-evening workshop and I loved every minute of it.
Debbie & Joe, the owners, are great people who truly love what they do and are completely committed.  The first night Debbie taught us how to use 7 different types of looms and create patterns while we're weaving.  These are a couple of pieces that I worked on.
The second night I brought my favorite skirt from high school.  It was one of those long hippie skirts (I pretty much wore hippie skirts exclusively for about 2 years).  I have always loved this particular skirt, but it's totally out of date and way too big, so I hung on to it hoping I'd find the right project for it.  Debbie taught me how to rip it into one big long strip of fabric.  Then we loaded it on to the shuttle and I made myself a laptop bag/knitting bag . . .
The thing I like best about my skirt into bag is that, while I can't see the detail from afar, I can still see all of the things I loved the most about this skirt when I look at it closely.  Not sure how I feel about those long tassels, but I'll give it some time and decide whether or not they need a trim.  Margaret cracked me up trying to take this video with my phone, but here I am working on the loom.
Finally, at the end of the night, these are the things I had accomplished and got to take home.  None of them are official projects (except the bag), but a great sample of different weights of thread and fabric and looks that one can get from weaving.
On a side note, Debbie had just gotten 6 new spinning wheels, and when Margaret & I walked in, she whipped out her credit card.  She bought an amazingly sweet, modern-looking new wheel.  I didn't spend much time spinning, but I got to try it out.  AND--Margaret let me take her old wheel home so I can practice!  Fun stuff!
If you find yourself anywhere near downtown Allegan, I encourage you to stop in and say hello to this great couple at Baker Allegan Studios.  Their studio and art gallery are fabulous!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Workin' On This

I thought a few updates were in order.  You'd think I'm obsessed with this frog hat, but I'm not, I promise.  I just wanted to post my redo, because I think it's so much better than the original.  Learning how to embroider, for real, made a big difference.

My latest project is Arielle, by Kim Hargreaves.  We are doing a knit-along in one of the Ravelry groups I belong to, "Sexy Knitters."  We have to be finished by September, so hopefully I can make the deadline.  Here's my start.  It looks a little rough in this picture, but really it looks gorgeous in person.  No, really!  This is the back.  I have it about 3/4 of the way finished . . .

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Love Combining Crafts

Embroidery has been my "new" craft of the summer.  I started to embroider tags to add to my knitting projects and today I decided I should embroider a card for my Australian niece who is turning 19 next month.  The thing I love about these cards is that I can be as creative as I want to be and they look so complex, but it really isn't that difficult!

 I started by sketching out a quick design, then I did a little revising.  Doing my best, I copied my idea onto a piece of card stock and threaded the needle!  
I made 2 Eight Petal Daisies using the Detached Chain stitch and a Bullion Loop in the center of each flower.
I made the stems using a Back Stitch, the leaves using a Seed Stitch, and the embellishment with simple French Knots.

I put the card together using scrapbooking eyelets and then used some of those Pop Dots to affix the embroidered piece to the card.  The Pop Dots are great because they leave a bit of space between the 2 pieces so all of my back thread doesn't make it appear wrinkly.

Happy Birthday, Miss Emma!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

My niece was here visiting this past week.  She modeled my frog hat for me and looked so stinkin' adorable I decided I had to make her one too.  So, I showed her the animal hat options and she (of course) chose the pink bear hat--which is perfect since I nicknamed her Princess CareBear.  ;-)  Here it is!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

How Sweet Is That?

Since I'm on a roll with baby hats, I thought I should post this one I made awhile back.  I actually made this Nautilus Hat for myself, but made it way too small (1st hat I'd ever made).  I added the little flowers and made a pair of mittens to match for my adorable little friend Calla.  I could never have done justice to this hat like she does anyway.  

Thank you to Calla's mommy for letting me post these pics.  I absolutely love them.  It's like seeing a commercial--the girls are so stinkin' cute.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Help, Please! I Need Your Opinion

So I posted my frog hat the other day and then I had this crazy idea that if one is going to have a frog hat, they need frog mittens, too.  I set to work looking for a pattern, but could only find sock patterns (thank you to my friends at Ravelry who helped).  Here is what I came up with in trying to alter the sock pattern into a mitten.  I need your opinion, and please be honest.  Does this work or should I keep trying?
(Made for a baby, hence the small mitt.)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

As If I Don't Have Enough Projects . . .

As I mentioned in my previous post, my embroidery skills definitely need some help.  So, that was the project du jour.  I found myself at Jo-Anne Fabrics where I stocked up on supplies and even found a couple of baskets 50% off.  Then with my adored Barnes & Noble gift card in hand, I purchased The Emroiderer's Handbook.  This book is awesome!  While I know just about everything can be found on the Internet, sometimes it's nice to just have a handy reference book close by.  In my basket, you can see that I started a little sampler using the Algerian Eye Stitch, the Backstitch, the Bullion Loop, and a Chain Stitch.  So far, so good.  Definitely need to keep practicing, but it's a fun start.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Frog Hat for a Friend

I'm lookin' a little rough first thing in the morning when I took this pic, but hey, if you can't love me in the morning, then you just can't truly love me.  I made this frog hat for a friend's little one.  I finished it this past weekend.  I think my embroidery skills definitely need more practice . . . He was super fast and easy to make so I'm going to try again and see if I can improve.  I finished several other projects this weekend, so I keep watching for more!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Hangin' On To Those Dutch Roots

I originally saw this idea posted by Dottie Angel.  I thought it was a perfect way to store and organize all of those knitting needles, but to also use those wooden shoes I've had since I was a child.  I had no idea what to do with them.  We used to attend Tulip Time and I've had the "tulip shoes" for a long time.  Because I now live in Southwest Michigan (a very Dutch area), it was nothing for me to run out to the Wooden Shoe Factory and pick up these adorable little shoes.  I painted them with a mixture of Liquitex colors and finished them with a gloss polyurethane.  Getting them to hang straight on the wall was no easy task.  I finally went with some of those extra 3M hook adhesive labels (you know those hooks that you can remove from the wall--they always come with a few extra tabs).  I stuck those to the bottom of each heel and they seem to work perfectly.  I popped the bottom of a button off and hot glued it to the screw so that it gives it more of a unique push-pin look. Sorry the pics aren't very clear.  One of these days I will get a new camera so I can stop relying on my phone.