Wednesday, October 31, 2007
This is the card I made for Meital today. The central image came from a website with lots of great free vintage Halloween images. I filled the envelope with stamped candy corn, which fell out all over like confetti when she opened it. This afternoon she and I prepared sugar cookie dough, and after dinner we'll make cookies. Then we're going to make Halloween-themed ATCs. Should be a fun evening! Liat is invited, but doesn't want to miss "Grey's Anatomy." Maybe she'll join us after it's over.
Here are my niece's birthday socks, in the Oh So Nikki pattern, free at Knoxsocks Designs. I got the birthday package off to my niece Kim today. Last night I started a pair of 2x2 rib socks for Meital in Opal Feelings. It always seems to work out that Meital gets socks in Opal yarn! These are going to be very bright and cheerful, but because I'm doing them on 52 stitches, the stripes are very wide. She seems to like the way it looks so far, so I'm happy.
I'm nearly done with Meital's surprise gift, and it's beginning to look fairly likely that I will be able to give it to her on Friday, as promised. I'm looking forward to sharing it with all of you, too!
Yesterday, Liat and I went to a nearby store called Art Center. It's a great shop that I've been to several times before, usually with Meital. Liat browsed in the bead department and brought home some cool stuff. I found metallic alphabet stickers in Hebrew, and a nice-sized Hebrew alphabet stencil. I also got some skeleton leaves, something I am pretty sure is called German scrap, a jar of something that seems to be the same as gel medium (a kind of glue and lacquer together), and a small kit that makes things look like verdigris. Can't wait to try that out! Since I needed to wait a bit for Liat to make her selections, I had lots of time to really explore and see all the goodies there. When I go with Meital, I always end up keeping an eye on her and don't concentrate as much on what I might be interested in getting.
And the fun didn't stop yesterday! This afternoon I got a box of goodies from Sunday International, purchased with the $50 gift certificate they gave me for having a card made with stamps purchased from them published in RSM. I got a great winter-themed EZ Mounted stamp set complete with snowman, two ink pads, and two single EZ Mount stamps: a clown stamp and a leaf stamp set that comes with both a solid image and an outline. You can use them together or each alone. I love this EZ Mount system, because I don't have the bulky wood mounts and the storage problems they pose (not to mention added shipping expense!). They are so easy to use, too. No special cling film or other products needed, just a basic set of acrylic blocks.
So now I have tons of great new toys to play with! I can't wait.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Here's a photo taken this morning of Liat's Doll Bag (free on the Berroco website - look under "felted or fulled" projects. For some reason, a seach of "Bags" didn't find it). I've started the third band of fair isle (there are four different bands, then the first band is repeated at the top of the bag).
It's easy enough to follow the chart, but I am still having a difficult time with the two handed method. I absolutely cannot understand how someone who knits Continental style can keep an even tension! Of course, my friends who knit Continental don't understand how I manage with the "throw" method, so it's all in our perspective I suppose.
We've changed the yarn for the project, and some of the colors are very different from those called for in the pattern. This photo gives you a good idea of the actual colors (unlike the last progress photo I showed you).
I'm close to the toe decreases on the second sock for my niece. I think I will work on that tonight, rather than the bag. I'd love to get Kim's birthday package in the mail tomorrow. The gift for Meital is coming along. Now I'm at the sewing together and embroidering part, so I don't approach the project with the same enthusiasm I do for the knitted portions. I'm saving some of the fun knitting parts for the very last, to get me through this next day or so.
I've been thinking about my ATC swaps, trying to come up with ideas. I tried out a sample today, but wasn't pleased with the result. Meital likes it, though, so I am going to trade it to her for one of her recent creations. A new idea is in the works on my stamping table.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
I've worked on Liat's Doll Bag, too, and it's progressing nicely. I will try to show you a progress photo tomorrow.
I've also been trying to work alot on Meital's surprise gift, and today I got quite a bit done, especially when you factor in the major headache I've had all day. I'm hoping I'll feel better tomorrow and be able to finish it all up by Friday.
And that's about all that's new around here.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Here is the finished Baby Surprise Jacket. I added a collar and cuffs. Joansie advised me, and I also looked at a couple of patterns for baby sweaters and saw what the recommended sleeve length was for the chest size I had. I hope it will fit someone! Now, how many of you recognize the yarn I used? (Hint, if you've read my 360 blog in the past, you likely will recognize the yarn). I only had three buttons in the size and color I wanted to use, so I closed up the bottom two buttonholes.
Another thing I got done was this ATC for a swap at ATCards.com. The theme is penguins, but I'll bet you guessed that. These stamps are all by Dee Gruenig Signature Designs (formerly Posh Impressions). I call this The Dispute, because I think the penguins look like they're arguing over whose fish dinner that is going to be! Once I get these ATCs on their way to the swap hostess, I need to get started on the next swap I signed up for. It's called Play on Words, so I really need to put my thinking cap on!
I had another great day at the community center. The kids are so sweet and enthusiastic. I wish I had time to spend with each of them, every visit. But there are at least 14 kids there each day, and only one of me. Today I helped Ortal (5th grade) with a math worksheet and a worksheet on Yitzhak Rabin, the former Israel Prime Minister who was assassinated 12 years ago.
Now that the BSJ is finished, I'm going to get to work on Liat's Doll Bag. I'm about halfway done with the leg on the second sock, and I've been working on another surprise for Meital. It is alot more elaborate than Bun-Bun, and I think she will be very surprised and delighted by it. I would estimate I still have another 4 - 5 days' work ahead of me, so I'm shooting for a week from tomorrow for the big "reveal."
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
That's it. Done. Neegmar. Finished. Finito.
One sister. Two months. Fifty cards. And a whole lotta love.
When I got the idea back in August to send my sister 50 cards for her 50th birthday, I didn't really understand just what an endeavor I was undertaking. There were times when I felt overwhelmed, uninspired, and lazy. Then the cards started arriving at Linda's house, and her response to them kept me going. In the end, I tried alot of new techniques and even dug out some stamping books I hadn't looked at in ages.
This morning, when Liat took the package containing the last card, the scarf and the socks to the post office, I felt relief. Now it's starting to sink in that I have time to get back into Artist Trading Cards. I have time to make cards for other people. I have time to not make anything at all, if that's what I want!
This is the ATC I made for Meital out of my test piece, which I made to be sure the products I have at home would yield similar results to those called for in the stamping book, before making the card at the beginning of this post.
One of the things I had time to do today was work on the Baby Surprise Jacket. It's nearly done, and I hope to have a photo of the finished sweater tomorrow. Now, I need to get back to that... and the socks for my niece.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
I finished the reward I promised Meital for reading 8 books in English. We have a sign taped up on the door to the playroom, and the girls list the books they've read, in English and in Hebrew. Meital recently finished her eighth book, and I told her she'd get a surprise soon. It took about three days, with minimal knitting time per day. I could probably have made the whole bunny in one evening if I'd had a few free hours. Meital has named her Bun-Bun.
The pattern for this little cutie is found in the booklet called Jean Greenhowe's Toy Collection. Jean has a website where you can see all the booklets she has available (and all the designs contained in each booklet), learn where to buy them, and print out an adorable free pattern. It was the free pattern that convinced me to order four of her booklets. Now I want them all! Her instructions are very clear, and detailed, so that you know exactly how to put the toys together (and embroider the faces, always a problem for me before now).
I sent out a few Halloween cards today, including the one I showed you earlier. I was glad to be able to use that as a Halloween card, and not one of the 50 cards for my sister. Now she and the girls will have an extra card! I also started on the final card, but we got a rush translating job at about 5 p.m., so I haven't had time to work on it more. I really hope I can finish it up and get the package in the mail by tomorrow!
My younger niece, the one I'm making the blue striped socks for, (the yarn is called Aktiv Effekt, Bobbi), has asked if it's possible for me to knit her knee socks! I promised her I would, though not in time for her birthday. I think I'll send her photos of a few possible patterns, and see which one she likes. Heh, heh! Another convert to the joys of handknit socks!
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
This is what I get for trying to take photos in natural light, without a flash, in a room with light blue paint on the walls. Or so I assume. These are the projects I have actively worked on over the past few days. There is actually one other project, but it's a surprise for Meital. We're going to draw the veil of secrecy around that until it's done and has been given to her. What you see above are, from left to right: the Doll Bag from the Berroco website for Liat, the Oh So Nikki sock for my niece, and a Baby Surprise Jacket for the community center.
Here's a close up of the bag. Please bear in mind that there is a definite blue-ish cast to the photo. For example, the towel the bag is resting on is, in fact, white. Since I took this picture, I've finished the hot pink stripe and started the second fair isle section. I feel very insecure about the fair isle; I'm keeping the floats as loose as I can, but still the colorwork pulls in a bit. Is that something that would work itself out after blocking, if this were going to be a sweater instead of a felted bag?
Here's the Oh So Nikki sock. I love those little floats and the way you can see definite vertical columns of knitting. I think this pattern is wonderful for striping yarns, because the design doesn't fight for recognition over the color changes. It just kind of goes with the flow...
"Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my closeup!"
And lest you think I'm slacking in other duties whilst I float peacefully on the Sea of Pleasurable Knitting, I present for your viewing pleasure:
Thursday, October 18, 2007
It's getting a bit weird around here. I've got card #3 on my stamping table... My sister's knitted gifts are washed and blocked... I've turned the heel on the first sock for my younger niece... Things seem to be in pretty good shape.
So why do I feel like I'm in the eye of the hurricane, just waiting for those winds to come blowing back through?
I need to make the big push and finish the cards up, get my sister's gifts and final card in the mail. I need to get my father's gift ready and in the mail. I need to make my niece's birthday card... With all those "I need to's" I guess it's no wonder I'm feeling like things are about to get really, really hairy.
On the other hand, I've enjoyed taking the time to work on the Baby Surprise Jacket I started several weeks (months?) ago. It's coming along quickly, and I'm eager to see it when it's finished. I can't wait to figure out how to fold it up, then unfold it and show my family the surprise. I've also had fun working on Liat's Doll Bag, with all the bright colors. I'm nearly ready to start the next fair isle band, and that looks like it will be both fun and challenging.
The girls and I went to the community center today to help the kids with homework. They are such a pleasure to be with! But they need so much help, and there are at least 14 kids there on any given day, often more. Liat and Meital were able to help several kids with math and other work, and I assisted with English as usual. We really need a volunteer who speaks Russian to help the newly-arrived girl from the Ukraine, and several of the kids, probably more, need help with basic reading and writing skills in Hebrew. How I wish I could help them! So this work is rewarding and pure pleaure, but also frustrating, since I always leave knowing there was alot that didn't get done.
I'm hoping to take a progress photo of my current projects, as well as a close-up of the current sock, the Oh So Nikki pattern available free at Knoxsocks Designs. It's a great pattern, and really looks good in a self-striping yarn. I always worry that patterns in self-striping yarns will fight with the color changes, but this design works perfectly.
* The title from today's post comes from a fictitious comic strip mentioned in a book by Nora Roberts. I've always thought it was a good, all purpose response.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
I'm sorry I haven't posted in so long, but as you might imagine, I've been concentrating on wrapping things up. Since I finished the scarf for my sister today (I will post a photo after I've blocked it), am halfway through the foot on the second I Love Gansey sock, and am working on card #8, I'd say things have been moving along!
I wonder if, after all this is behind me, I will feel relieved, or a bit let-down. Will I be eager to move on to new things, and back to making ATCs (Artist Trading Cards), or will I feel a little blue, like something is missing?
I've also been wondering how my sister is going to feel, once this card shower has run its course. I started sending her these cards almost two months ago. By now, she's gotten used to coming home from work and finding a card or two waiting for her, like a smile and a hug from her younger sister. How will she react once she opens the last card and realizes there won't be cards from me waiting for her at the end of the work day?
Monday, October 8, 2007
I had hoped to be finished with the first I Love Gansey sock today, but it doesn't look likely. I have about 2" more to knit on the foot before I reach the toe decreases. Since it normally takes me a week to knit a sock, I'm really not behind schedule. But I know if I worked exclusively on the socks, I'd get the pair done in a week to a week and a half.
But, I *do* need to work on the scarf, too. It's past the halfway point now, and works up quickly once I sit down and work on it.
One of the things that cuts into my knitting time is, of course, the cardmaking! Here's a card I finished today. Not sure if I'll send it right out, or wait a bit and send it so that it will arrive closer to the end of the month:
I had a blast with this card, and it doesn't even use any stamping! On a folded base card of black cardstock, I added a layer of orange paper that I "painted" with crackle medium, then added a plaid with black paint. On the left, I glued down a piece of black cardstock, on which I had sort of flicked some orange arcylic paint. (Actually, what I did was load the brush, then "knock" on it with one knuckle to get those little flecks and specks of paint). The central image is a free vintage Halloween graphic I printed out from the Internet, mounted on black cardstock. I love the way this card turned out, but it was one of those complicated ones that took several days to complete. I need to remember to balance these complicated cards with some quick and easy ones. I actually have a q&e one on my table, just need to finish up the inside and sent it on its way.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
This card is not quite done; it still needs a photo and a numbered item from my list of 50 things. But the front of the card is done, and here it is. Stamps are by Posh Impressions; the background is what I consider to be a failed attempt at the String Fling technique I found on Splitcoast Stampers. I like the way it looks, but it doesn't look anything like the backgrounds the other folks came up with by using this technique.
I still have another two cards on my table, and hope to get those done tomorrow.
The first I Love Gansey sock is about midway down the foot now. Since I'm doing plain stockinette, it's knitting up very quickly. I slacked off last night and didn't work on the Besotted scarf, so I need to get back to that tonight.
Friday, October 5, 2007
This has happened to me before. I get so wrapped up in what I'm doing, I lose track of time, even so far as what day of the week it is! I don't leave the house, I just stay in and focus on my knitting, crafting, or whatever. I guess it says alot about me that I actually don't mind at all not knowing what day it is, as long as I haven't let anybody who was depending on me down.
Above is the card I put together today for my sister. I made the backgrounds several days ago, using my Posh Impressions Rainbow Sponge. It's a really fun technique, and I just love bright colors! The pink card base is, in reality, a match for the hot pink you see in the sponged backgrounds. Don't know why the scanner read it as pale pink.
The socks (and card) for my niece went in the mail today. Her birthday is the 20th, so I have a fair chance of the gift reaching her on time. Now I'll just have to wait and see!
The I Love Gansey sock is working up alot faster than I thought it would. I'm already on the third repeat of the main cable pattern. In other words, I'm nearly to the heel! I've been scanning the Internet for photos, and weighing pros and cons as only a Libra can do, and I think I'm going to skip the pattern going down the heel and instep. I'm going to do my regular heel flap and a plain foot, and I have two reasons for this. First, of course, it will knit up alot faster that way. Second, I'm not convinced that cables and moss stitch hearts will truly be all that comfortable inside a shoe. I will probably make these socks again, for myself, and when I do I may try extending the pattern as the designer intended. We'll see. After all, I wear clogs in the winter, and those cute little Gansy hearts down the heel would be pretty sweet, don't you think?
Last night I worked on the Besotted scarf, and finished two 16-row repeats of the pattern. I'm nearly done with the first ball of Cascade 220 Superwash yarn, so I'd say I'm nearly halfway done. Once I get to about 48" in length, I'll see how much I have left of the second ball of yarn.
I experimented today with the crackle medium I bought at our local art store. The results weren't as dramatic as I'd hoped, but I wonder how much of that is operator error, and how much is due to the fact that I probably should have used a thicker surface than paper. We'll see, because now that I've tried it on paper, I'm going to experiment some more on other things, like cardboard.
I also tried out a new-to-me technique I read about on Splitcoast Stampers, called String Fling. I'll post a scan tomorrow, most likely, but again, I wasn't delighted with my results. I think maybe I used too much ink on the strings. Maybe tomorrow I'll have a chance to try again. I need to get busy on cards, because if today is really the 5th, I am already one card behind my schedule. Now that I have a better sense of how long these I Love Gansey socks take to knit, I can spare some time in the crafting room.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Lots to show you today! Above are the completed Better Than Vanilla socks for my niece. Naturally, I finished them during a holiday, when the post office is closed. Tomorrow I hope to get to the post office... Wait, that's not right. Tomorrow, I hope to send Liat to the post office
Here you see the start of the first I Love Gansey sock for my sister's birthday. I'm using Fortissima Socka, again. It's really a sort of pale, almost periwinkle, blue. The pattern is free to members of the Six Sox KAL Yahoo! Group. They have fabulous patterns there. I never feel obligated to knit them when everyone else is, but I've built up a lovely supply of patterns for whenever the mood strikes me.
And this is the second stage in the boxes project. Yesterday Meital and I had a blast sanding and painting our laundry soap boxes. At first she thought hers was going to become a jewelry box, but this evening she told me it's going to be an apartment for one of her favorite toys, a small stuffed bee. By tomorrow, it might well be a time machine, or a storage container for Barbie paraphenalia. Heck, it might even be a jewelry box! Has anyone guessed what my boxes are going to become?
Now I need to get busy on the Besotted scarf for my sister, her socks, and of course, make the 18 cards I have yet to send. Once all that is done, I will be immensely relieved. I'll still have socks to make for my other niece's birthday, but that won't seem too bad after all I'm trying to accomplish right now.
Later, I'll worry about December holiday gifts!
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Guess I needed all that bright color as an antidote to the cross stitched card, with its subdued shades. And I've got another card in progress on my stamping table. So I feel alot more settled about that situation. If I can average a card a day, I'll be done in plenty of time.