Friday, August 31, 2007

Wrong Blog..

I put today's post on the Monkey Bus Pass by mistake, and as I can't drum up enough Tuits to work out how to move it lock, stock and pictures over here where it belongs, you will have to go over there if you want to see what I got today..

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I'm slowly dissolving... this hot muggy heat. I feel like one of those toffees that get forgotten and ooze out of their paper wrapper as they absorb moisture from the atmosphere...

I haven't been completely idle. I have finished the
Shetland wool socks. I have made them slightly big as they are 100% wool that should be hand-washed in cool water, but the chances of that happening are slight...

This is a WIP on a scrap of rust-dyed fabric (actually the sleeve of a cast-off shirt) with a little dilute acrylic paint dribbled on. The blob above the embroidered flowers looks like a mushroom, but somehow I don't think that will work! I may do more embroidered foliage, or I may paint in a bit of landscape...

The next two are 5x7 inch pieces of the same shirt, also rust dyed using a wrought iron curl that fell of a candlestick, a choke chain and a couple of washers. This was my second attempt at this process. I had three pieces under the metal, and three pieces on top. It is interesting how one gives the positive, and the other the negative...I intend to use these as the basis of a set of PCs. There were a couple of scraps in the mix as well, that will be used for a trial run as ATCs.

I had a play with my watercolours this afternoon and made two ATCs. I am not sure what they need, but they need something...
Edit: It's obvious now ....I forgot to put in a calyx...that's what comes from drawing on one's memories...memory fails!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Postcard from Corina

The Quilters' Delight swap on ArtWeMail. It is a trapunto flower with appliqué leaves. I posted mine to her on the 2nd August and it has not yet arrived, so I think I shall have to make another one, and this time I shall put it in an envelope, not send it "naked".

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I got flowers in the post!

My Fold of the Month Swap from Ellen of TFT2 had three perfect tiny medallions showing different arrangements of the July FOTM. Inside the card, Ellen put a packet of the pretty gems she had used in the centre of her flowers. Thank you Ellen!

Three Sunflowers from Renska's Swap. Don't they make a lovely group? The colours all fit together so well. The stencilled sunflower below was Renska's "Thank you for swapping" card, and she sent me a piece of pretty printed cloth. Thank you Renska!

Monday, August 20, 2007


The latest versions for the "Travel Around the World" wall of ATCs in Belgium. I've cut off part of the frame of the second one in the scan, and I can see bits I shall have to retouch. I really do need new glasses; I don't realise how bad my eyesight is until I see things magnified on the screen.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Boids

I've received my share of the Bird Swap off FaPATCs. The top one and bottom right are printed fabric, and the bottom left is an origami crane on a highly textured and painted background.

Edit 22nd August; Faye who made the Origami crane has sent me the link for the background technique.

This little fellow was embroidered for the "Travel the World" wall of ATCs at a Belgian Craft Exihibition. I was asked to do something that represented Spain, as up to now I am the only one sending from this part of the world. I decided to do a series on modern Spanish artists; Miro, Dali and Picasso. Not copies of their work, but in their style. I've had this little fellow sitting on my desk for a week now, and have grown rather attached to him, so I think I'll keep him, but I need to get my head down and do the others.


The first pair are finished. The photo shows them after I had given them a dunk in warm soapy water, because I had used some wool on one that had been knitted up as a glove, and I hadn't steamed it first, idle woman that I am...
The next pair are on the needle. The tan Shetland wool feels quite harsh to the touch, but I cut a length and washed it, and it softens up considerably. They can always be worn with a thin pair of cotton socks underneath I suppose. I'll wash them in hair shampoo and conditioner when they are finished!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Tweet has legs, and so do the socks

I decided against the felt feet, and gave Tweet dangly legs with buttons to give him enough weight to balance on my monitor.

0j0's socks are now waiting for feedback on the length of the leg and whether to stripe or not to stripe. I finished another crazy quilt postcard and shall send it on its way tomorrow. When I went to the PO on Saturday, they had run out of stamps again, so that hand franking was the order of the day, rather than a special request!

Now that the socks are on hold, I shall try to finish the broomstick crochet blanket that is sitting in a bag on the sofa. It may take a while, as there seems to be no end to the blue yarn that Dolly gave me back in September. I had a look in the bin bag of 1980's wool downstairs, and found four 20gm balls of 4ply Shetland. Something has eaten the labels, but the wool looks fine. I have noticed that my camera doesn't reproduce colours accurately. This is a much more orange-y tan than it looks here. I thought it might do for ankle socks; I fancy doing something with a lace pattern, and this is a light enough colour for me to be able to see to work by artificial light. I only managed the navy socks at night because it was plain knitting.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

In the round...

..both knitting and crochet. I've made a start on a pair of socks for 0j0. When I have tried to knit socks before, it has been on four needles and from the top down. I was never happy with the way I got a loose ladder of stitches between needles, and found juggling the needles took away the pleasure of knitting. A couple of weeks ago, I came across an article on the use of circular needles to knit socks. I love circular needles for flat knitting, as they allow the weight of the knitting to be on your lap, rather than on the needles, and have occasionally used them "in the round" to knit hats, but I had thought that the number of stitches in a sock was too few to make this practical. Now I know better. If you would like to know how, have a look here. The reason I am not knitting the pair together is that my needles are not long enough, but I do have a longer set in a size down, so if this pair of socks turn out, I'll adapt the pattern to the change in tension. I have two 50gm balls of this navy blue Paton's Beehive that traveled out from UK in 1986. It's 25% wool, 25% nylon and 50% acrylic, so it should wear well. I think it should be enough, but if it looks to be running out, I can always start striping the cuff; another advantage of starting at the toes and working up! Once I've had this practice run, I have 4 balls of King Cole Superwash wool waiting in the wings, also from the 1980's! I shall get through my stash eventually...
In case you are wondering what the white thread is for, it is so I know which side is the start of my round.

A link on Craft Gossip led me to an article on Amigurumi, and following the leads, I wound up at BitterSweet's blog. She's a writer after my own heart, and a generous one as well, as she offers free patterns to those who enjoy her work. As there was a crochet hook in my pen tub, and a ball of knubby cotton on my table, I made this little fellow. I didn't have any toy stuffing, so I used cotton wool from the bathroom. He has turned out egg shaped rather than the sphere of the originals, but I don't suppose that matters, and I have used felt for the eyes, rather than the safety eyes that Hannah used. The head tuft was my addition.

I always have to think when using crochet patterns from the web. Single crochet in an American pattern is double crochet in an English one. I assumed that this was American, but I may have been wrong, and that could account for the elongated shape....or maybe I was just mean with the stuffing? Looking at him sitting on my desk, I have almost decided to give him some orange felt feet.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Teabag card and two ATCs

Rejoicing in the fact that my printer is functioning again, I printed off the bits for this card. The paper piecing geisha and the tiles are from Ita. I like to use a small 6" metal ruler when I cut teabag tiles, but as usual, couldn't find it when I wanted it. I lifted my cutting mat to see if it had slipped underneath, and found these two ATCs that I made ages ago for the August Collage swap on CSnATCs. When the last call came to put my name down for the draw, I couldn't find them, so I didn't enter. Oh well, I'll put them in the trade box, they might come in for something else one day!

Another PC finished

The lilac thread ran out before I had finished zig-zagging around the edges, so I changed colour, then went over a couple of places where the machine had stuttered.

I'm feeling pleased with myself this morning. I have got the printer printing pink! I can't claim to have it printing red yet, but I spent hours yesterday with a syringe and a length of aquarium tube pumping window cleaner through the magents ink nozzle of the print head. I had left the whole caboodle soaking up to the brass contacts in Aldi window cleaner since Monday morning. I got it to the stage where there were no more traces of pink ink coming out of the jet holes on the bottom, so after soaking overnight again, this morning I ran the print head under the hot tap, to rinse out the cleaning solution, then flushed each nozzle with hot distilled water, gave it a good shake, then reloaded it in the printer. The first nozzle check test showed a trace of pink, so I printed an A4 sheet of magenta I concocted in PS. This came through as a ladder...magenta lines at ¼" spacing, so I tried again, this time with the printer set at high quality, and I got a sheet of pink! The effect was ever so slightly stripy, but acceptable for printing teabags, which is what I need to do this week; I'm behind with my swaps.

Monday, August 06, 2007


..yesterday's clear table? Just look at it already! I've been embellishing the crazy patchwork postcards I put together last week, at least, I've made a start on them. I did Jeri's last week in order to post it together with the "Quilter's Delight" PC, as we have come out in the same group for both of them. I have made them all using the same material, but each one is different, and will be finished differently. This is the one I posted last week.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sunday morning means cleaning...

....but when it's tidying my room it doesn't really count as housework, because it is not a constant process. Email can be checked, blogs can be hopped. Items that have been missing for months are discovered. New things come to light, such as this piece of singing referred to in someone's blog (I'll edit this post when I find it again and give her credit!). For months now, this monitor and keyboard has been balancing on two melamine planks on top of a trolley base: Lean a little too heavily onto the mouse mat and the router flies up into the air...after an appeal for an improvement, I now have one piece of melamine that fits snuggly between desk and window, and because I can no longer open that half on the French window, the fly screen has been moved over to the other side, and I can now sit in a cooling breeze! The change over meant that I had to sort out the stuff that had accumulated. Most of it turned out to be scraps of paper I had made notes on, and could be binned, so before I start the process over again, I thought you might like to see a clear, well, clearish table.

The card is my June swap from Winnie. It says "Happiness Always", and I think that is a good thought to keep in front of me. The little doll in front of the monitor came in a goodie box from Lois. She is called "Miss Wire" according to the writing on her underside. Her base is a wooden heart, her body a wine cork painted with grapes and vine leaves, and her head is a wooden tassel form. Her hair/headdress is made of beads threaded onto wire...hence her name I guess.

I am gradually working my way around the room. The top of the desk is fairly clear. I have sorted out the photo paper packs that are under the printer, and the printer is showing its innards, because I am making one last effort to clear the blockage in the magenta print head. It is sitting a centimetre deep in Aldi window cleaner, and will stay there for at least 24 hours. If that fails to shift it, then I'll have to buy a new printer. The local shop has sold out of the cheap Epsons that take individual carts, but I think they still have some in Carrefour. No more dear printers for and cheerful it has to be, but I still need one that takes separate colour carts. Oh, and do you like Barmpot's beetles; Boris, Bernard and Benjamin?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Christmas in August

I found these in the cupboard. I knitted them years ago from a pattern in a woman's magazine, but never got round to making more than one king. Mind you, I think he looks more like Hagrid as he is head and shoulders taller than M&J! I haven't decided if I'll give them to Anne-Marie next door, or give them a season ticket for the Monkey Bus...

Mucking out the pigsty

No crafting whatsoever done today, but I do have a better idea of what was lurking in the craft room cupboard behind the door that I couldn't open because of the big cardboard box full of mags for cutting up....I have moved that box so I can now open the doors and pull the boxes off the shelves without twisting myself into a sciatica attack. The mag box now severely restricts the movement of the chair at the small table, but I can live with that.

After a sort out that took all morning and half of the afternoon, the bottom two shelves now have boxes of reclaimed cloth sorted roughly by colour, and a basket of mixed bits left over from quilts. I found a bundle of wedge shapes in two different patterns of brown that someone gave me. I think maybe she had the idea of making fan or Dresden plate blocks, but they will need something with them to lighten the colour scheme. I put them back into hiding. It will be good to have access to this cloth, and not just whatever happens to be in my sewing room bit-box.

The third shelf now contains mainly painting equipment of one sort or another. Oil paints, acrylic paints, poster paints, watercolour paints, glass paint, and fabric paints. The pots of Dylon fabric paint were dried up, but I do still have Dylon powder and some felt tip fabs that are usable. Large bottles of PVA, wall sealer, and floor sealer are also on this shelf, along with punch needles, patchwork templates, stencils, shells and other odds and ends in shoe boxes.

By now I had the fourth shelf almost half free of clutter, so decided to fill the available space with the plastic fruit crate that holds my few stamps, and the plastic box containing ink pads and embossing powder. This has been behind the room door, and the move will enable my tea-man to get through the gap bearing cup and plate, rather than standing outside and demanding I collect it from there! The other boxes on that shelf contain embroidery cloth, half finished embroidered tablecloths ( started by my Mum in the 1950's) and odd balls of wool.

The top shelf I have left as I know that there is only old Christmas cards sorted into colour schemes, and boxes of new cloth. Well it's not new in age, just new as in un-used.

I've given up for today. My desk and computer table are piled high with bits I want to keep, but haven't yet found a home for, but I did one last thing before calling it a day. The last time I had a major clear-out and reshuffle in here, I somehow or other managed to get a castor cup under the carpet in the centre of the room. I don't know how it got there, but I'll tell you how I got it out without removing all the furniture and lifting the carpet....I just kept wacking it on the side with a hammer until it edged its way over to the wall where I was able to manouevre it out. The carpet now has an interesting embossed snail trail, but what the heck..
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