Friday, January 29, 2010

More pictures

I thought it was about time I posted a few projects I've worked on and completed. I've been lazy when it comes to getting pictures posted. It's such a process (or at least I feel like it is) to get th pics on the computer, edited, and then posted to the blog. And of course putting it off just means the pictures pile up when I finish another project. So here we are with a lot of pictures to get through.

First, this project is Painted Turtle. I made this hat for a Itty Bitty group swap on Ravelry. The hat is from Itty Bitty Hats by Susan B. Anderson. The original pattern calls for an orange based hat, but since this is meant for a little girl, I thought the soft yellow would make it a little more feminine.
My cute little model
The turtles are crocheted (something new for me) and then embroidered. I stuck with different hues of green - I wanted the turtles a little realistic. I think the colors compliment one another nicely and are soft. The pictures are a bit dark since I took them in the evening. I was anxious to get pictures and didn't want to wait for daylight. :)
The turtles
The second set of pictures are of a project bag for knitting. The design is from Sew What! Bags. It's a fairly basic drawstring sack with a shoulder strap. The nice thing about this book is that it gives a basic template for making your bag, but identical measurements aren't necessary. Leslie (author) really teaches you how to design and create your own, unique bag. This was a fun project. It's the first bag I've ever attempted. I had to rethink the way I pieced things together, especially since I decided to line it. But I'm very pleased with the overall design.
Finished bag
The drawstring enables the knitter to keep her project, notions & yarn contined in the bag without running the risk of snagging the precious yarn or project on a zipper.

Drawstring top
I also added a few small embellishments. I used a decorative stitch on the strap to make sure it was extra secure and I also added some decorative quilting stitches to the bag, just for a little flare.

Can you see the stitching?
And to top it off I decided to make a matching pouch. This pouch is meant to be a notions bag, to hold such things as needles, stitch markers, ruler, scissors - anything little that you need to help you accomplish your project.
Completed notions pouch
I don't know much about different size projects, but this bag could easily hold a couple different projects: socks, hats, scarves, mittens - small projects to possibly medium sized projects. I was able to fit 4 skeins of yarn, notions, knitting needles, finished hat, and a small amount of stuffing. There may be more stylish things out there, but this is a nice, simple bag.

Finished project
So that's some of what I've been up to.  It's nice to finally get this pictures up!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Okay, corny title I know!  I couldn't help myself.

Yesterday I tried and successfully blew out 2 eggs!  Now, you may ask, why in the world would she do that?  Simple answer: because I could. :D  Lengthy answer?  I've always wanted to learn - for no other reason than to know how it was done.  I've always marveled at decorated eggs and could never figure out how they emptied them.  No one wants a raw egg stinking up their house just because it looks pretty!  And I've finally found a couple projects that would lend themselves to using blown out eggs.  The process is surprisingly simple. 

Most eggs are blown out using one of two techniques: 1 hole vs. 2 holes.  I used the 2-hole method since I did not have a syringe & needle needed for the 1-hole method.  So in case anyone is curious, I thought I'd share how it was done.  (There are links in the post to direct you to more official explanations if you'd prefer).  (Pictures to come later tonight!)

Needle, pin or tack (anything to puncture the egg)
Water source

1. Wash your hands with warm, soapy water.  Remember that raw eggs can carry salmonella and no one wants to deal with that issue.  So be sure your hands are clean and you have a clean work surface.
Clean Eggs

2. With a clean egg and your puncturing tool (in my case a push-pin/tack) puncture one end of the egg.  I start with the more rounded end as the tack didn't slip as much.  Hold the egg in your hand while puncturing.  Placing the egg against a hard surface will crack the shell when pressure as applied to the egg.  If filling your egg with an item make sure the opening is large enough to fit the item through the hole (I made one egg large enough to fit seed beads through the hole).  The resulting hole should be large enough for the contents to filter through out. (e.g. least twice the size of the original hole)
Punctured egg
Larger hole - 2x original size

3.  Turn your egg over and repeat on the other end. Don't worry about the hole on the bottom - the egg will not leak out.
Second hole

4.  Insert your pin or needle into the hole to pierce the yolk.  By doing so, it allows the yolk to flow more easily through the hole. If your piercing tool is not long enough to reach the yolk, this can be done after all the egg white has been blown out of the shell and the yolk is sitting on the bottom of egg.

5.  Place your bowl in front of you.  Place your lips over one of the holes you have made (I prefer blowing into the smaller hole and letting the contents flow out of the larger hole) and steadily blow air into the egg, forcing the contents out of the shell.  Be patient as this may take a few tries before any egg pushes through the hole.  If you cannot get the contents to come out, make your hole larger and try again.  The egg white will exit the shell first, then the yolk.  Consistent air pressure ensures your egg will not crack and the shell will remain intact. 
Blowing out egg into bowl

6. Rinse your shell under cold running water, making sure water gets into the shell.  (Hot water will result in cooking the protein in the shell).  I use the sprayer to fill the shell with water.  Place your fingers over the 2 holes and shake well. 
Filling & rinsing w/ water
Shake well

7. Place your mouth over the hole and blow out the water.  Rinse 3 times.

8. Bake the uncovered, empty shell at 300F for 10 minutes to harden the shell for handling. (This will also dry the interior of the egg!)  Alternatives: place in microwave for 15-30 seconds or drain dry for 2-3 days. 

Now you're ready to start your project!

  • Keep a washcloth or paper towels nearby and regularly clean the egg of any raw contents.  (Sometimes it's necessary to resituate yourself and the egg.  I don't like slimy eggs!)
  • Room temperature eggs are easier to use because the contents are less stiff and flow more freely from the shell.
  • This seems like common sense, but use a dry towel, paper towel, or oven mitt to remove the hot egg from oven or microwave!
  • Place in bowl when heating in microwave, or small dish when heating in oven to prevent the egg from rolling around.

  • Don't waste the eggs!  Cook them up and enjoy!

Click on the links below for additional how-tos:
One-Hole Technique
One-Hole Technique 2
Two-Hole Technique

Learn something new every day, right? :)  I don't know why, but doing this last night made me extremely happy.  I felt so accomplished! :)

Slowing down

Recently my knitting has become a bit more relaxed and less "hurry to get it done."  The stuff I wanted to accomplish for Christmas was finished a couple weeks ago, I've finished the hat I was working on for the swap on Ravelry, I'm about halfway finished with the 2nd hat I'm working on in the January Paper Bag hat knit-a-long, etc.  So that's nice.  I've enjoyed working on all these things, but there are more important things I really need to buckle down on and focus on for a little while.  There are also other crafts I'd like to try my hand at, which is hard to do if I always feel like I need to be knitting something to get it completed.

Knitting is something I want to do because it's fun and relaxing, not because I feel like I have to do it.  And up to this point, I've done pretty well.  In the near future I may be choosing a few project to work on that will be long-term projects, which I will work on and dabble at here and there, but there will be no pressure to finish them. 

I've also compiled a bunch of supplies to start working on some polymer clay projects.  Again, just doing a little bit of this - if I let myself get engrossed in it, then I will neglect other, more important things.  Just little things to keep my appetite for hobbies satisfied.  The month of February will be a pretty sparse project month.  Hopefully in March I'll really be able to concentrate on sewing, knitting and claywork.  I have so many ideas in my head!!

As I said before, I'm half-way through my second Paper Bag hat.  I've chosen different stitch patterns than the pattern called for on this one - hoping to create a more boyish appeal.  We'll see how the two hats compare when I'm finished.  I hope I like it. 

Last night I practiced my hand at blowing out an egg.  I've always been intrigued by how this is done (obviously no one wants decorated raw eggs sitting in their homes!  Overall, the technique is pretty simple.  I blew out two eggs and have chosen the project for them.  Pictures to post after I'm finished.  :)

That's about it for now.  Life has been kinda busy recently and that means less time for stuff like this.  I got the project bag completed for the swap and I can't wait to use my sewing machine again. As I said - so many ideas!  I may have to prioritize my list of projects.  :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Paper Bag

Did you ever think it would look cute on a baby's head?  I don't know about anyone else, but it's usually not considered a good habit to put bags on baby's heads! :)

Really, though, this time there's an exception.  I just finished an adorable little hat called Pink Paper Bag.  This hat combines several different stitch patterns (stockinette, seed & garter stitch) as well as a few techniques (picot edging - crocheted & knit; I-cord, eyelet), really adding some character to the hat. 

The top is scrunched up so that it is like the top of a paper bag when closed.

It's closed with an I-cord strand tied into a bow. I went stash diving to complete this hat, so it's white & pink instead of dark pink, light pink & white. I like that way. :)

The top and bottom have a picot trim edge.  The bottom edge is knit while the top edge is crocheted.  I was running out of yarn and the crocheting took less yarn and less time.  :)
Top edge
Bottom edge
I made the hat for a friend's baby.  I'd like to make another paper bag hat soon.  There are so many people having babies!  But it's fun to make things for the little ones. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sewing, sewing, sewing

I've finally had the chance to use my new Brother sewing machine.  It's nice. :)  I got everything I needed for my project out yesterday, sat down to sew, and realized, I didn't really have my machine ready to go.  Bobbins weren't wound, needles had no thread, I didn't even really know how to operate the parts of the machine (other than the basics). 

See my sewing corner?  Eventually it will all be moved downstairs to a craft corner, but right now it consumes our kitchen table!

I've never worked on a machine with a start/stop button.  But now, if I want to, I can. :)  I just disconnect the peddle and voila!  I don't trust myself yet to use it, I need to get a feel for the machine first.  It also had a setting for speed, so that if I want, the speed will never increase from the set speed.  This is handy for someone like me who sometimes gets ahead of herself. :)

Start/Stop, reverse & needle position buttons

I think my favorite part of the machine, which I probably won't use for a little while, are the quilting stitches the machine is capable of.  I've quilted a couple blankets in the past, but only a very simple "stitch-in-the-ditch." It does the job, but it's not as visually appealing as leaves or curlies or flowers and the like.  So I'm anxious to give that a whirl.  I have a few projects coming up that I wasn't originally planning on quilting, but now, come to think of it, I could add some batting and quilt. :)  Fun way to practice!

See 43-48?  Yeah, those would be the quilting stitches!

My project last night was for a knitting project bag.  I have some fun fabrics that I picked out and cut into strips.  Mixing shades of teal, cream and pink, the bag has a bright, fun appearance.  It's going to be a drawstring bag w/ a shoulder strap.  The pattern originally contains a pocket on the outside, but I have no solid colored fabric and I think a pocket out of the material I'm using now will be a bit overwhelming.  Once I line the bag, I may choose to use some of the strips of fabric and create pockets on the inside. 

Fabric: pre-assembly

My bag book - love this book!

I'd also like to make a notions pocket to accompany the bag, but I'm not sure if that will work out.  For now, just the bag. :)

It's great to be back at sewing.  I've missed being able to just sit down and work at the machine. 

Once I finish the bag, my next project to tackle is getting back into polymer clay sculpting.  I'd like to make my own stitch markers instead of buying them, and this way I can make them unique for me.  I have lots of ideas - maybe I should create a list of things I'd like to make.  We'll see.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Quick - new photos!

So I've mentioned the Modern Rib Hat on NUMEROUS occassions, so I won't go into that again.  But I finally finished my hubby's hat - LOVE how the colors turned out.  Used 3 colors this time instead of 2 and it made a big difference in the end result.  Here are a few pics. :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Stitch Markers

I've decided that I'm addicted to stitch markers.  The cute kind. :) Not those plastic ones, or the rubbery ones that stick on the needle.  I'm talking collectable stitch markers. :)  

It started innocently enough, just browsing Etsy for ideas for needle organizers and knitting project bags.  Of course, stitch markers came up in the search.  All kinds of them.  From the very basic rings, to more elaborate beaded markers.  Then I found something that really sparked interest - and I was off and running to find more.  I found Sherman the Sheep.  A beautiful glass bead shaped like a sheep.  I thought - wow, what cute way to keep your place.  And so unique compared to just several beaded markers that are all the same.  Every time I logged in to Etsy I'd look at him, but never wanted to spend the money on something so little.  And I thought, well - maybe there's more like it out there at a lower cost.  So I searched through TONS of markers, not even beginning to skim the surface of them all. 

And I came across polymer clay stitch markers.  :) And this is where my resolve in not getting any broke down. There were so many cute ones, I decided to find ones that were just right.  I came across Kyoto Song Designs.  She had a unique selection of markers, and after some lengthy convos, I had what I needed.  She's pretty much open to whatever you can think up.  If you have the idea, she'll make it happen.  So now I'm recieving 3 custom stitch markers that are truly unique for me.  She made one for Evie, Skilar & Jax (our pets).  I'm so excited for them to come in the mail, I can't wait. 

I got a few others as well - a zebra, a horse, a giraffe.  They're all pretty fun.  These pictures are before they're glossed and finished, but I wanted to share anyway. 

Which finally brings me to my final conclusion.  I do believe this is something I can learn to do myself.  I already have the polymer clay from making beads, now I have a second purpose for it!  I already know how to bake the clay, etc.  I'll need to brush up on a few basics, but overall, I think I'll be able to do this myself, for myself, instead of spending the money elsewhere.  And who knows - maybe it'll turn into something I could eventually make money on myself!  (although I better not get ahead of myself.  lol)  So in the end, this is what I'm MOST excited and thrilled about (yeah, I know - one more thing to add to my list of hobbies & crafts).  But this makes the possibilities absolutely endless.  :)