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Time for a Change

I think the blog should reflect the new elements to my “makings” and the new year is a good time for it.  I will probably try several before deciding on the one to use.  Please comment on the pros and cons of what you see.  After all, you are the ones I write this for and it should be easy for you to see and read.  I do like the darker ones because they make my photos look better.  I just hope I don’t wreck the thing diddling around.

One of the big changes is how many arts and crafts I’m playing with.  This is a direct effect of my Australia trip.  I got to revisit some fun things and I took them up again.  An unanticipated effect is the number of stashes I’ve developed.  No one will ever want to photograph my workspace for a magazine, but I took some pics to share with you.

Knit library, paint stash, bead area

This is organized.  I’m rather proud of all the boxing and labeling I’ve done recently.  I have also down sized my knitting library significantly.  No, you don’t see any yarn.  There is a huge double closet full of it, and all the fabric and weaving yarn is on shelves in the attached attic.  The good news is I am working from both those stashes.

Beads, design wall, top of my chair

The white flannel on the wall holds a paper painting piece, a fabric print design, stamped fabric, a pattern, and some quilted leaves.  The fabric covered chair in the foreground is a real favorite.  Many years ago it belonged to a very special friend; when I decided to take over upstairs and create a studio, she gave it to me.  It is an old fashioned comfy chair that is smaller than what you buy today.  My feet actually reach the floor in it.  I sit there with Bella and watch my 14 inch TV while doing hand sewing or knitting.  It is cozy and just mine.

Sewing and ironing area

This is the sewing area.  I’m too cheap to buy a sewing machine cabinet when I have an old corner desk and a 1960ish typing table from the school system’s attic sale.  The typing table is the perfect height for me, and the adjustable desk chair works with it.  The cord in the left lower corner is to the iron; the ironing board is in front of two windows that overlook the back yard and lots of neighbors.

It isn’t beautiful and the amount of stuff up there sends my daughters away screaming.  Too much clutter.  Clutter indeed!!  They got a lot of gifts from that clutter this year.  I just love the space.  The dogs have beds and I have the tiny refrigerator from my classroom days.  It is filled with Diet Dr. Pepper.  The TV will play VHS tapes and CDs as well as our taped TV shows.  There is a bathroom and two attics to store things I don’t want to look at.  Frankly, it is wonderful and I love it.  Everywhere I look is inspiration.  I’m a lucky woman.

Some day I’ll show you the Bat Cave.  That’s Steve’s area in the basement.  Workout machines, multi-bicycles, washer/dryer, souvenir wall art from his bike races.  He’s pretty lucky too.

More later–Don’t forget to weigh in on the blog design if you have an opinion.


More making news–Socks!!

Breaking Hearts–designed by Cristi Brockway (http://turtlegirl76.com)

I finished the socks and they are great.

top to toe

the gusset side

Combo sole which is perfect

Cristi’s heel cups nicely around the bottom and when I added my shaped arch structure to it, it creatds a sock that caresses and supports the foot greatly.  I love this fit; makes all my others not quite so great.

This is a new fabric bead necklace.  I used a colored artwire and made all the connectors and jump rings.  Still not a great wire worker, but I do like bending it into different shapes.  Probably some deep seated psychological problem.

T-shirt folding machine

This was Lanny’s gift from me.  I saw this T-shirt folding machine tutorial on YouTube and was hooked.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqq8eAl5Xyk&list=FLEg08N2NYsW8KazTKCGa2Kw&index=1&feature=plpp_video] I added some Green Bay Packer pictures to it with DGS Evan’s help.  Evan learned to use it and cheerfully instructed his dad on Christmas morning.  Lanny laughed and that was the effect I was going for.

I hope your holiday was fun and fulfilling.  Make something this weekend just for you.

More later–


Happy Holidays.  Mine have certainly been.  Yes, I’m still frantically making things as fast as I can.  Look on it as a science experiment.  I have definitely proven my hypothesis that you don’t have to be good at something in order to make something pretty and have a blast doing it.  I call it Prater’s Law.

Here’s the latest news—

Some stencilingGears stenciling

Steve, my engineer husband, likes it.  He even gave me some more of Julie Fei-Balzer’s stencils for Christmas.  Check out her website.  She offers a free class in stenciling that is quite good.  I like her work.  She isn’t afraid of messy.

Some hairpin lace–

Sandy Harris at Charlotte Yarn showed me how to do this.  Stitch Diva website has some trendy patterns that use this technique.  I still have it on my cheap and not so easy to use “loom” and it will probably stay there until next Christmas.  I’m not a good candidate to wear this; I’ll catch it on everything I pass.  But I’m glad I’ve tried it.

Making print fabric–

MacIntosh inspired drawings


Take a Sharpie and some white fabric and make your own print fabric.  Draw, trace, scribble, write sayings—then do something with it.

I used some of mine to make appliques for the black linen dishtowels I made Steve for the new kitchen.  Not earth shaking but he likes them.

Some tag art—

Tag Art

This one used markers and hangs on the kitchen cabinet that houses stuff too tall for the other cabinets—cereal and booze mainly.  I also made my gift tags for Christmas.  Only the 6 year old noticed them; well, actually my son-in-law took a long look at his, but I’m sure he was thinking “What the . . . ?”  I keep him pretty confused.

Matte making—

Framing things

Some of the art for the kitchen—no, it still hasn’t been hung—just had ugly mattes.  I used some natural linen I bought at Ikea and covered them.  They look super.  This Schiele is a fave of Steve’s.  We put it in the den.  Now I’m eyeballing all the pics, most of which are propped against a wall somewhere.  The curse of plaster walls.  You can’t make a mistake or move stuff around too much.


Dawg as in UGA print

Zachary is getting a pillowcase.  Evan got a Santa one.  This is a UGA theme.  Sneaky Nana is setting them up to remember when they go to bed that she loves them.  Of course, you have to be prepared for a less than enthusiastic reception for this gift from the under 10 set.  It gives them a chance to practice being gracious when you don’t really feel like it.  Here’s a link to a simple pillowcase tutorial.

Lots more sewing projects, but they will have to wait til another time.  And some photo taking.

I’ll promise to do better with the blog in the coming year.  I haven’t even mentioned my knitting—and I am knitting.

More later–

Knitting again!

I have tried to blog once since Nov. but the web ate the post and I threw up my hands and walked away. 

I am knitting again.  I’m making socks for me.  The yarn is special; from Miss Babs.  It is the colorway that she developed for the FIRST Sock Summit and I don’t know the name of it.  I’ve obviously had it for a while.  I’m so glad yarn doesn’t spoil.  Or clabber as my grandmother might say.

The pattern is also special.  It’s the Breaking Hearts pattern by Cristi Brockaway aka Turtlegirl76.  I’ve also had it for a while.  Great lesson from knitting this project is that if you knit other designers, you learn stuff.  The pattern is beautifully written and I am determined not to alter it.  (For me, that’s a struggle)  The yarn has about 3-4 inch color patterns.  It is so easy to make yarn like this just knit up dull.  Cristi has mixed some garter st and a slip st pattern that mixes these colors well, doesn’t let them pool or muddy up.  If you have some yarn with a short color pattern like this, this is your pattern.

The cuff is a lovely pattern, a 6 row repeat, that is simple enough to learn quickly, but is interesting enough to keep your interest.  She does a couple of new things—at least new to me.  When I started the heel flap, she had me increase one st on each side of the flap to be the slip stitch selvage.  This prevented the pattern being interrupted and yet set up the easy to pick up edge.  She just gets rid of these extra stitches as the gusset is reduced. 

The gusset reduction takes place on the bottom of the heel which results in a very nice fit.  Next socks I do, I will try this heel in conjunction with my arch wrap that we love so much here.

So I’m knitting, but that’s not all—-

I’m sewing stuff.  I have seen folks wearing cuffs as bracelets for a long time now and have wondered why.  Okay, I really thought it was dumb.  (I need help.)  I made a cuff.  I put it on and wore it.  I loved it.  It is lightweight, doesn’t clang against things, and actually has a warming effect.  Obviously, I made more.  Some are quilted, or beaded, or just stitched, or embellished with beads and buttons.  Some wrap around once, some twice, one three times.  Some are snapped, some buttoned.  Even better————–they have all been made from my stash.  My yarn stash, my fabric stash and my bead stash.  (See, I really need help.)

I’ve also been doing art study.  I like doodling with pen and ink, sort of Zentangle thing.  Now I’m doing it on fabric to make my own print fabric.  Just takes permanent markers and solid color cloth.  It is a great way to make your own appliques.  Fusing cloth together is really empowering. 

I’m also just making all kinds of crafts I’ve seen on the web.  Stationery supplies, tea towels, napkins, travel bags.  It is great fun, even the mistakes.  It’s fast and useful.  It can be done while listening to Books on CD.  With dogs in your lap. 

Don’t get no better than this.

I will start back teaching in January.  Anyone have any ideas about what classes I should offer?  I’m open to new ideas.

Keep the holiday sane; hide in the bathroom and knit.  Just a suggestion.

More later–

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