Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Frosty Start

I went stash* diving yesterday and came up with a plastic canvas project that would like to be done in time for the Christmas season. THIS Christmas season......preferably the beginning of the month, not the end.

Say hello to Frosty. Well, what will eventually become Frosty the Snowman anyway.

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Frosty's hat was completed some time before this project was abandoned in the stash* for other, more pressing (or perhaps just more interesting) projects. A small amount of the head was also started. I picked it up again yesterday and the remainder of what you see was accomplished throughout the day and into the evening. That's a LOT of little white stitches folks. Sitting there for hours producing stitch after white stitch had an element of boring to it, but at the same time it was rather relaxing and meditative.

Is anyone else disturbed by Frosty's lack of eyes and a nose? They are stitched separately and added at the end.

* "Stash" around here means so much more than just yarn, needles, and patterns for knitting. No, around here "Stash" requires a room of it's own (and then some) as I also spin, crochet, embroider, sew, weave, needlefelt, cross-stitch..........if it's fiber related I have probably at least tried it, and more than likely I have been obsessed by it for at least a time.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Beat the Deadline

I wanted this done by December first. I figured I could get it done by Thursday. I amazed myself and completed it ahead of schedule last night.

If you've been following along, this birdie was next in the instructions.

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It was appliqued in place here on Santa's hand.

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With the addition of the trim and sequins at the top, a plain backing, and a hanging loop, it's done. The empty slot at the top is for a name but the stocking is for our daughter, who will become "Mommy" next March so I will just leave it empty for now.

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I still want to add a removable lining but that is not a part of the kit and can be done any time between now and Christmas Eve. With the weather outside being so frightful I am not about to go out today just to buy the material for the lining.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Teeny Tiny Stocking

A teeny tiny addition to the larger stocking.

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It actually opens. Do you think Santa could resist popping a small treat in there?

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The fun little addition dangles from Santa's mitten.

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This photo of Shelby in her "Dog's Breakfast Pullover" was taken early yesterday afternoon. The snow kept falling for many hours afterward. Snow in this area of BC is infrequent. Huge dumps of snow are rarer still. Without the crews or equipment to deal with the snowfall, side streets are nearly impassable, schools are closed and authorities are recommending people just stay at home if possible.

Okay, I think I will.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Am I The Last?

I didn't work on the stocking at all yesterday. I was too busy fiddling with my new toy.

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I now have a cell phone. I think I may have been the last hold out on earth. Up until yesterday I didn't have a cellular phone and didn't want one. When asked to answer someone else's phone I would freak out, not knowing how to answer or hang up and passing it off as quickly as possible like it was the object of attention in a game of "Hot Potato".

Well it seems I have now joined the ranks of those "connected". I can be reached even when not at home. Not that this is a big deal for me as I rarely use the phone even at home and I figure most calls can wait. I can wait until I get home to place calls or I can use a pay phone, and those who need to get in touch with me can wait until I am available (at home).

That was my reasoning anyway. Anything to avoid having to deal with the scary new technology (and yet I am comfortable with a computer, go figure!). The reason for my cross over to the "techno-geek side"? A first grandchild on the way. When the time comes I want to be sure I don't miss the big moment because I was "out" and couldn't be reached. The birth of this child marks the moment that two Grandmas, two Grandpas, an Uncle, an Aunt, a couple of Great Grandmas, and a couple of Great Grandpas are created........Oh! and a Mommy and Daddy too!

I also bought this nifty cell phone pouch. When I carry a purse at all it is this small one and there is no room for a phone. The pouch snaps firmly to a strap which quite handily runs right down the side of the purse. For my more frequent non-purse outings it can snap to my belt.

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Sweet Details

Yesterday I added the final details to the toe section of the stocking. The elf got a candy cane and an arm and hand to hold it with. Both the arm and the candy cane are 3-D and hang free.

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He/(she?) also received the remainder of his hair. The central tuft stands free at the top. At his feet lies a present with a fluffy bow.

Yesterday's effort puts me one full day ahead of schedule, but I will need that advantage over the next couple of days as we have a busy weekend planned.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Ahead By A Head

Not only did I make my self imposed quota yesterday, I exceeded it by a head. An elf head to be exact.

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The elf is by no means finished but I do have more done than I expected. I worked on him diligently for most of the day so that I could reach my goal and still go out in the evening to a spinners and weavers guild meeting.

And look what we have here. Knitting Content! Why yes, those who expect knitterly content on this blog won't be disappointed today. I find the business portion of the guild meetings to be dreadfully long and boring (not the executive's fault, just my personal aversion to that type of thing) so I am very glad that knitting during the meetings is not frowned upon.

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This is the beginning of an eyelet baby hat destined to adorn the noggin' of our first grandchild, due in March. I've done this pattern before when my nieces had their first babies. It's one of my favorites.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

An Arm an' a Leg

Yesterday I got the second arm and both legs/boots done.

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Doesn't look like much but it took me all afternoon and all evening. I finished just shortly before going to bed. The new arm is totally 3-D so the backside had to be appliqued too. It's not the applique that takes forever, it's all those sequins (each with a bead centered over the hole). Doesn't look like that many sequins to you? There are 77 on the white trim at the lower edge of Santa's jacket. The white cuff of his right arm? Another 31 sequins!

I worked out a "schedule" last night. If I work most of the day, every day, and get a minimum of 10 more pieces done each day, I will have the stocking complete by Thursday of next week. That's saying other things don't come up that interfere with my available time.

I have a meeting tonight that will cut into my available time significantly. I better get off here and get to work!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Hat, Head

I managed to complete Santa's head and his hat yesterday.

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I'm working on this stocking pretty much non-stop in an effort to beat a December first deadline. I've done 27 of the 97 applique pieces so far. Nine days left for the remaining 70 pieces.

I just love the 3 dimensional aspects of this project. The pompom on his hat, the leaves on the pompom, the mustache and the belt buckle are all only semi-attached. His eyebrows and and nose are double thicknesses so they appear raised as well. Many of the pieces are lightly padded too.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Armed and Belted

Progress so far:

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I have 10 days to do the remaining 87 pieces. Applique pieces that is. If you count all the beads and sequins I would imagine it numbers somewhere around 1,000....give or take a few hundred.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Four Hos

The rush is on. I have until December first to get this stocking done. With almost 100 applique pieces, some stuffing, a lot of embroidery and hundreds of sequins and beads to sew on it will take up most of my spare time over the next 11 days. Possibly longer.

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This stocking is for my daughter and she would like to decorate her home for Christmas on the first of December or thereabouts. You may recall that I finished my son-in-law's stocking a while back. I then took a break from appliqued stockings to knit, spin and weave. It seems my break was too long. Aack!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Paint Chips and Fabric Choices

Our grandbaby-to-be is now known to be a GIRL and the knitting and decorating begins in earnest. I've got something lacey and pink on the needles, as does her Mommy.

The baby's room has been primed and is ready for a coat or two of color. Still waiting on a final decision on that, but it might end up being the one in the paint chip here.

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The curtain fabric has been chosen, it's the printed strip on top. I picked up a few pieces of flannel in colors that coordinate and made three receiving blankets for her.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Handspun Sweater

It's been a long while in the making.

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I bought 1000g of Corriedale roving in the (now discontinued) "Hazelnut" colorway last year at Fibrefest International with a plan to make my husband a sweater. I spent a couple of months spinning it into a 2 ply sportsweight and then started in on the knitting. I designed the sweater myself using Sweater Wizard. I came up with the basic size and shaping using one of his favorite old sweaters and then used the ribbing pattern from "Leo".

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Fiddliness Factor

These are the hardest things I have ever knit.

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Well, maybe getting the "Feather and Fan Shawl" from "A Gathering Of Lace" started was equally difficult.

I have so much trouble starting a circular item in the middle! It's not that I don't understand what needs to be done, it's the Fiddliness Factor. All those points flying about for so few stitches! These little heads (were you wondering what they were?) start off with just 9 stitches. That's just 3 per needle. Just when you think all is going well a needle falls out or twists around backward.

Normally I knit circularly using one long circular and the Magic Loop technique. Didn't work for this. I then tried wooden skewers. Nope. I finally broke down and bought a set of double points. With those, and a diagram I drew for myself showing the placement of the increases on each needle, I was well on my way. The second and third heads took less time together than the first one did.

After I get a couple more bodies done I'll be able to show you what I'm up to. Oh...and wings. Did I mention wings?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Wee Wascally Wabbit

This little fellow was started many months ago and then abandoned when the head went terribly wrong. His forehead was really tall and totally out of proportion for the rest of his face.

I taught a needle felting class for a few guild members this afternoon and while the others were working on the heads for their little jointed bears I gave "Wascally" some needed head surgery. I chopped off the top of his head, removed some length and then needle felted it back together again.

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I think he turned out quite cute.

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He's a wee little fellow, only one and a half inches to the top of his head when seated in that position. That's a standard keyboard he's sitting on.

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Lying down he's three inches from nose to toes.

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Visiting Bug

So I'm spinning away last night, my eyes more on a TV program than on the roving sliding through my hands, when suddenly in my drafting hand I feel something small, cold, and moist. I look down and find this little critter....

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Normally I'm not afraid of pill/sow bugs. In fact I'm fond of the little fellows. I even recall reading a short story to my children that had a pill bug as it's hero. Finding one riding along on my wool roving was a little unnerving though. My first thought was "Do pill bugs eat wool?!" and the second was "How did it get in my wool?". I went scurrying to the computer to look up the subject and be sure that they are indeed the innocent, friendly bugs I had always assumed. I found THIS. What does the phrase "eating both dead and live plant and animal debris.", mean to you? Would you say that clean wool roving would be considered "animal debris"? Would a pill/sow bug seek it out as food or was it just caught in the wrong place at the wrong time?

To avoid uninvited guests I am relatively careful about not leaving any sort of wool directly touching the floor. My full bobbins are kept up off the floor on a little table. My plastic basket of rovings has a solid bottom and sides that are solid for an inch or so. Last night however, I had predrafted a length of roving and that one section was on the floor beside me as I spun. Do you think the little bug just hitched a ride with no intent to stay around for dinner? I hope so. I treated it as innocent until proven guilty and tossed it into the compost pile along with the combing waste you see in the picture.