10 February, 2014

Tech Style Sewing

I recently did a class with Cheryl Sleboda through the North Suburban NeedleArts Guild called Tech Style Sewing. What a FANTASTIC workshop it was! Cheryl was well organized, certainly knows her subject and the hand out was EXCELLENT! I would highly recommend taking a workshop with her. Think of all the possibilities! Flashing art work, flashing clothes, sound sensor lights, lights when you move, the list goes on! Here are a couple of shots from my workbook.
 This is a parallel circuit.
 This one is a satellite circuit
This is a push circuit. To get the cats eyes to light up, you have to push his tummy. Great gift idea for kids!

05 May, 2013

I finished the cape from the Craftsy.com Entrelac class. I used the yarn that the pattern was written for: Twisted Fiber Art - Queen Evolution. It is a beautiful yarn to work with and I would highly recommend it! It was like knitting with butter! But if you are making this cape, make sure that you don't change your mind after you order the yarn on the size you are making. I originally was going to make a medium but then, after ordering the yarn, changed my mind to a small. This yarn is dyed to order in one of the colourways that they offer. After getting most of the cape knitted, I realized that if I continued the pattern as written, I would not get a lot of the orange colour at the top of the cape, so instead of doing two rounds of double decreases, I did 4 rounds of single decreases. This made the cape a little longer & allowed me to get more of the orange colour into the cape.

I love working with entrelac and have already designed a couple of projects I'm working on. 

I also absolutely LOVE!!!! the yarn and I'm trying to figure out how I can make a coat or jacket using this yarn. Maybe learning how to do steeks is in my future!  

04 March, 2013

I finished not only my first Entrelac neck warmer but an Entrelac Infinity Scarf as well! I'm loving the technique so much that I've also started working on my own design.

The brown neck warmer is knit with Knit Picks Swish Tonal in the Kindling colour.  I like Knit Picks because the yarns are decent and fairly inexpensive. Knitting can get very expensive, especially if using hand dyed yarns.

The second piece was knit with Kollage Yarns Riveting which is a worsted weight cotton yarn made from recycled jeans. A very interesting concept. It has a bit of weight to the yarn. I like this yarn but I will warn you, it can be a little more difficult to knit with as it is not as forgiving as wool can be. This infinity scarf is about 60".

My third piece I'm making is also an infinity scarf but I'm using Knit Picks Chroma Worsted. Stay tuned for finished pictures!

16 February, 2013

Knitting Entrelac

My journal project with my friend continues. For the month of February, we are working on a grid. A knitting technique that at least appears to be worked in a grid is Entrelac. Here is what I have going so far:
It can be a little confusing but I'm plodding along. I'm working through a Craftsy.com class which is very helpful. One of the fun things I've learnt is how to knit backwards! This piece is supposed to be a cowl. Will post photos when it is done.

01 February, 2013

I have been working on a conceptual knitting project - a temperature scarf. You can get a copy of it on Ravelry here. Here is my January 2013 temperatures knitted into the scarf.

13 January, 2013

For 2013 I am working with a friend on a journal page a week. Each month we will choose a theme & work within that theme. These pieces do not have to be big, works of art or labor intensive - unless we choose them to be. They are a way to work on a new technique or to practice an old technique that needs work. They are for fun. Here is my piece for the first week of January.
I created a 5"x7" frame so that I can "frame" my pieces. Here I was practicing free motion. You would think that circles are easy. They are not! It was fun working on this. Now to go finish my second weeks piece.

I also finished a knitted hat yesterday. I make a bunch of these throughout the year and give them to a friend in December who gives them to the shelters with Christmas gifts. It feels good to be getting a head start on them.

10 January, 2013

Photos of work I have done in 2012.

03 September, 2011

I completed my shawl. Actually it is more of a neck warmer. It wouldn't go around my shoulders but I like it. It was my first attempt at a shawl.

I'm now doing a class at Craftsy.com called Mastering Lace Knits. It is a great way to learn how to knit. I get to following along with the instructor (Laura Nelkin) and just hit the pause button to knit to the point she is and then continue. It's like having a knitting instructor in your living room! I'm using a fingering wool with some nylon yarn that I hand dyed myself. Here is a photo of my beginnings:

11 August, 2011

Holden shawlette

I started working on a shawl called Holden Shawlette. It is a free pattern and there is a knit along for it at Craftsy.com. It has a beautiful lace edge. The cast on was a bit tricky but once I got started, so far, it is working beautifully! A nice change from constantly knitting socks.

I'm using a Knit Picks yarn called Chroma Fingering in the Pegasus colour. I bought it when it was on sale & now wish I had been able to get some of the brighter colours. I'm not sure they have it any more. I originally bought this to make socks as it has some nylon in it but when I saw the words "hand wash", it was promptly removed from the "Socks To Knit" pile. I DO NOT hand wash socks!

But I'm sure it will make a very nice shawl.

16 November, 2010

30 Days 30 Lines-Day 2

OK, some of these I've done on the same day but I'm not sure that I will get to it every day but I figured if I can do 30 pages, I will have done well.

I was concerned that looking at Melanie's drawings & other people's drawings that I might be too influenced by them to be able to come up with something original. I figured that was OK because sometimes the best way to learn something new, to feel comfortable in what you are doing & to find your own voice is to copy what others have done before you until you feel comfortable. I needn't have worried as I'm starting to feel that I am finding my own.

I actually love this piece. It just came to me & it is all the same type of line - just different lengths and directions.

Excuse the fingers but the book wouldn't lay straight!

Draw a line-1

I loved Melanie's class so much that when she gave a challenge on her blog to draw 30 lines for 30 days I thought why not. She is doing hers on fabric but as I will be traveling soon, I decided to do mine in a small moleskin journal (you can't beat a moleskin).

Now, I am not a drawer although Melanie keeps insisting that anyone can do it. I'm starting to believe her. Her line drawings are turning into works of art. I'm still sticking with one type of line per drawing but it is coming together very nicely for me. I will come up with an idea and I just have to draw it. I am challenging myself, trying something new. I've always wanted to draw & be better at it. I know it is practice. I've been lazy.

But my Dad was a great artist. Why can't some of those genes have come through to me?

So, here is my first page. I'm using Pitt pens at the moment and oh, they write so beautifully!

Been awhile

OK, yes, it has been awhile. So much has happened over the last few months & most of the time I just wanted to crawl into myself. But I've started trying to work more & it is helping. There is light on the other side.

At the end of August I took a workshop at Create It! with Melanie Testa. She is a fantastic teacher & every time I think of journaling, things she said in class come to mind. I'm finally getting there. It is all about layers but learning out to put those layers together in a way that works - I'm working on it. I'm also realizing that I need to find my voice. Not other people's voices. What works for others does not necessarily work for me but if I keep trying, I will find it.

I finally finished my journal page I did in her class. Took a bit & I couldn't quite figure out how to get it to come together but I finally got there. That is not to say that I won't make additions but for my first piece, I think it is not bad.

11 May, 2010

"Outback Wanderings"

I was inspired by the quilts of Ann Brauer. She uses a quilt as you go method with all different types of fabric to create beautiful landscape style pictures. Something about the lines & the colours just spoke to me. I had to give it a try myself.

But I did have to be different! I do need to make it my own.

I love the colours of the Australian outback so I decided to start there. I sewed strips of fabric to a paper square. Why, I'm not sure. I like the stability that the paper gives but it is a pain to remove. I may have to figure out another method that works for me.

I haven't decided how I'm going to quilt this yet. I may just quilt in the ditch or I may actually embellish it with thread & beads, etc. I also had to work with the colours I have on hand. I obviously could do with more fabric! Oh dear!

But I loved the process & I LOVE the look! I'm going to have to work further in this style.

18 April, 2010

Third pair completed!

I finished my third pair of socks while here in Hong Kong. Have started a new pair now & hopefully it won't be another year before the pair is finished. This pair of socks is a very good example of why you should finish the pair you are working on before moving onto another one. The yarn I was using for this pair of socks I purchased at Hobby Lobby. It has aloe in it. It was very nice to knit with & the skein was a little larger than normal sock yarn. So on the first sock I had knitted an extra 10 rows in the leg. Well, with it being nearly a year until I started the second sock, I had forgotten that! So one sock is slightly longer than the other. When I'm wearing them, only I will know & I always wear them under pants but they will be a reminder to always make sure I double check & measure the first sock & not just assume that I have not made changes to my pattern!

04 April, 2010

2 Down 1 to go

I have finished my second pair of socks within a week. Mind you, I only had half of the second sock to complete on both. I still have one more pair to finish but it will take me a little longer as I have only just started the second sock.

These socks are made with bamboo yarn purchased from The Yarn Workshop that I dyed quite some time ago. You can see more about that here. This yarn has been a dream to work with. It feels nice on the foot so I'm looking forward to wearing them and seeing how they hold up to my huge feet!

I have found that I always seem to go through the bottom of the heel on my socks & through the toes before they wear out anywhere else. With that in mind, I have started adding strength to these areas but knitting just across the bottom of the heel part with a second strand of yarn. When I'm done with the heel part, I cut the thread to continue knitting in the round, I then start a new thread when I come to the heel section again. The picture below shows these cut threads, before I have trimmed them. I don't trim them right the way down but do trim to about 1/2 to 3/4". So far I have found that this helps the socks hold up better and those extra little bits of thread seem to get worn into the inside of the sock. For the toe area, I use two strands of yarn on the complete round of knitting, starting with where the decreases for the toe start.

03 April, 2010

One down 2 to go

I love working on socks because with traveling, they are small & compact and easy shove into my bag. Generally I don't have to think about them but the heel part is always a little tricky, especially as I do something different to what is written in the books. I use double the yarn when knitting the heel across the bottom part. It requires constant cutting of the thread so that the double thread is only on the heel part. It is more of a hassle but worth it because it makes the bottom stronger. I do the same thing for the toe.

Because of the fiddle factor, I like to work on the heels when I'm sitting at home. The problem is that I usually have tons of other things to do at home so I rarely sit & knit. So, I have brought to Hong Kong with me 3 half finished pairs of socks. I finally finished the first pair. Yeah!!!!

25 March, 2010

BJP 2010 January

I have now almost finalized my January 2010 Bead Journal Project piece. I was in Australia for January where it was summer while being winter back in my home in Chicago. I wanted to show that here between the sun & the snow.

I have a question. The journal has a rough edge to it with almost a plastic feel although it is paper. The bead work has been mounted on an interfacing which is about 1/8" think. I decided to frame the work by putting a piece of ultra suede behind it. I really like the way it looks. At the moment these are just sitting on top of one another. Obviously I have to attach it somehow. I was thinking of using E6000 glue. Can anyone see why that would not work? I would use the glue to attach the stiff interfacing to the ultra suede. Once that is try use the same glue to attach it to the journal.

Suggestions? Any other options? I had thought about sewing the beadwork to an ultrasude band that I then slip over the cover but I do like the look of the framing.

All suggestions or comments appreciated. Thanks

16 February, 2010

Green Craft

A few months ago I sent in a garment made out of dryer sheets to be considered for the magazine Green Craft. Today I found out that I have a 2 page spread in the magazine! I can't wait to see a copy. If you are in the States, check it out.

07 February, 2010

A Year A Day

I may not be real good about getting a blog post every day but I have been good about posting to my flickr account a photo a day for 2010.

Check out my pictures here.

I will try to start posting them here as well. Here is the latest picture that I had posted.I'm at Port Macquarie NSW at the moment and the pelicans are here! I love them! This is just one of the many photos that I took.

January BJP

This is the beginning of my BJP for 2010. It will be placed on the front of a small journal for me to write thoughts & happenings for the month. As I am in Australia this January instead of cold Chicago, I decided to try to blend these two differences together by starting with the yellow of the sun above and blending into the snow at the bottom.

31 December, 2009

Happy 2010!

The beginning of a new year. I always love the beginning. All the hope for making changes and doing things differently than the previous year. A time to start fresh.

May your year be as peaceful as this photo taken on the first day of 2010.

04 November, 2009

BJP 2008 Finished!

OK, it has been awhile since I have posted but life keeps getting in the way. I seem to be traveling so much that I'm not sure if I'm coming or going! I knew that if I didn't give myself an absolute deadline for getting by 2008 Bead Journal Project completed it could sit around for some time! So, I entered it into the Fine Art of Fiber show at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

For this past BJP project, I have been focusing on colour and the memories it brings to mind or the feelings that a specific colour evokes. I decided to work through the colour wheel and work on one colour a month. I was a little surprised by some of the words, thoughts and memories that came to mind while beading. Some of the words may not make sense to others but to me, the colours brought to mind specific memories so I tried to include those with my words for each month. I became very surprised at how I seemed to be drawn to the colour green. Red has always been my favourite colour but the green just keeps calling me!

31 August, 2009

Tsukineko Inks

This photo doesn't do the colours justice but I will explain what I have done. I have the full range of Tsukineko Inks. Looking at the jar is not always a good indication of what the colour of the ink will be like on fabric so I decided to make myself up a colour chart. I based this somewhat on a colour wheel. I took each colour & painted a little circle of it & then wrote beside it what the colour was. Although it is not photographing the exact colours, it really is a good resource to know exactly what a colour is going to look like.

And it was fun to do!

13 August, 2009


Well, it has been a while since I posted. It is summer and things just seem to get busy. My daughter is in South Africa learning how to tranquilize big game so we have a house full of animals at the moment. When I do get a chance to get some work done, I don't have time to post photos. Everyone is back to school next week so hopefully I will get a chance to get some things posted.

But one thing I really wanted to get figured out this summer was my camera. My youngest takes great photos and I wanted to know how to do the same. I have a decent camera but I wasn't sure what I was doing. I see photos on the web all the time that I LOVE but didn't know how to take those sorts of photos myself.

So, yesterday we went to Brookfield Zoo and spent the day taking photos. Our last stop of the day (before getting our Dippin' Dots) was the butterfly section. Finally, I took a photo like I've been trying to take & I love it! Now I have to remember how to change the settings when my youngest isn't around! :)

03 July, 2009

Fish Star Book

I recently did a workshop with Melaine Terasaki at the North Suburban NeedlesArts Guild Summer Seminar. We made star books. I spotted the paper above for the cover and how could I not use it! My boys are big into fishing! So, I printed out a number of pictures of the kids & Bill with fish and added them to this book.

I even managed to a picture of the Blue Marlin Bill had caught some time ago. Here you can see clearly the picture that I printed onto cardstock to use as the background image. It was a picture I had taken of a pond that had hundreds of Koy fish in them. When you threw food in, they would swarm.

This is what the book looks like when you open it & tie the covers back. This is where it gets it's name of Star Book.

01 July, 2009

Taste of Chicago

Yesterday Bill and myself went to the Taste of Chicago. This was the first time EVER that I had been. It is something that I've been wanting to do for a long time but we just never seemed to be able to get there.

It was an overcast day which actually worked out well as it was also cooler than it had been. So much cooler that I had to wear a cardigan!

Before we left, we had picked up a map so there were two things we wanted to try: Bill wanted to try the corn and I wanted to try something called Pork filled Banana Dumpling.

Here is Bill eating his corn. It wasn't too bad.

For my Pork Filled Banana dumpling (which I'm trying to eat here) I was actually a bit disappointed. Maybe I was thinking more of a Chinese dumpling. It wasn't too bad but it didn't really seem to have much taste.

Here is a close up picture of it.

We walked around trying all sorts of different things. New this year is what they call "Taste". For between 3-4 tickets, you can get a small version of one of the items that the stall offers. Where we could, we did get this. It allowed us to eat more things than we would have otherwise eaten. Actually, from what I could see, it was a big hit as most people were getting the Taste version. Unfortunately the stalls didn't have all of their items in a taste portion, otherwise we would have stuck to that size.

We had a great day. I'm glad we did it.

Here are some pictures of some of the other items we ate:
Potato pancakes with apple sauce
Pulled Pork Sandwich
Sweet Potato Hashbrowns
Funnel Cake (this was not as good as I would have hoped for as it was a bit tough. While we were sitting on the curb eating it we figured out why, in the back of the stall they had boxes of these that were frozen. They were not making these fresh but instead heating up pre-made funnel cakes. Funnel Cakes are ALWAYS best when made fresh.Here is a picture of Bill taking a picture of the food for me. I was making such a mess of my eating that he took the camera away from me :)

25 June, 2009

October BJP

OK this is my October piece. Some of the words that came to mind while working on this piece are the same as the previous month and actually the same as November. But that's OK. These colours are in the same colour family.

The reason Vitamin C came to mind was because I remember eating Vitamin C tablets that were this colour. They actually had the words "Vitamin C" written on them.

This is still on of those colours that makes me smile. Happy colours.

18 June, 2009

BJP September

For all of you who think you are way behind, I'm here to make you feel good! :) I have FINALLY totally completed my September piece. I have been working on other months but they are not in that "final, post on the web, show to the world" stage.

My goal/theme/journaling has been about colours & how they make me feel and the things that come to mind when I'm working on these colours. As I've been beading my butterflies I have been writing down these words and thoughts. For some words they may not make sense to others but they do for me.

If you had seen earlier posts, you would note that I was originally going to put these butterflies onto a patchwork background. I loved working with the patchwork and pulling out all of the fabrics to give me all the colours of the rainbow was just a joy! But when it came to completing the piece, I just couldn't get the words conveyed that I wanted, plus the butterflies were disappearing into the background. I like this format. Yes, I'm very visual with the words but I like that.

Here is a close-up of the butterfly.

I have also been working on other projects this past year and decided to continue with my theme of colours; the things that pop to mind when I look at a colour, or how different colours make me feel about different things. I will try to start getting some of these things posted. I know, I've been slack about posting. sorry.

I have more butterflies to add but I still have handwork to get done. Now that I know how I'm going to finish off the pieces, I'm rolling them out. Once I get the handwork finished for the edges, I will post more of these.

So, if you are behind, you can't be as far behind as me! But I'm catching up quickly! :)

Oh, and I love the idea of doing a new project. I already know what I'm going to do. Make journal covers for each month and use the journal to write my thoughts for the month, using it from year to year. I thought it would be interesting to see how my thoughts during a particular month change from year to year, particuarly when the first 3 months of next year I will be in Australia! Who knows where I will be the following year during those same months.