Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fresh Dyed Yarn

Hand Dyed Wool Yarn

I've been making felted wool flowers and came to the point where I needed more colors. One 40% off coupon at JoAnns, a large skein of Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool, and several packets of Kool-Aid later and I have this fruity scented colored yarn. Yummy!

Here's the mess of dyeing supplies. Kool-Aid is a bit neon, so I toned down the colors a bit by splashing in diluted drops of complimentary colors. I also used vinegar and the microwave:
Wool Dye Supplies

Dozens of people have already done this and blogged tutorials, so I'm not going to bother with that. This is a great thing to do with the kids, but my kids are at school and I still think it's pretty fun! Knitty did an article about the process HERE. Note that Kool Aid and food dyes only work on protein fibers like wool or silk. It will not dye acrylic or cotton. It will also dye your fingers, but not permanently.

Here's a pic of the stuff I recently used up:
Wool Yarn Balls

I'm making flowers like these:
wool crochet flowers PinkRed Crochet Flower Pointsettia Crochet Flower Green Crochet Flower BlueBrown Crochet Flower Fall Crochet flower

I never get tired of flowers! These are stitched to safety pins because I like those much better than jewelry pin backs. They will be for sale at a craft show right here in Chicagoland. Check it out HERE.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Pile of granny triangles, originally uploaded by wardi.

I've been interviewed by the wonderfully talented Carina over at her blog, I first spotted her blog awhile back when she posted these gorgeous triangle crochet granny squares. Aren't they fantastic?

My interview is HERE.

She also contributes lovely embroideries to our Flickr Embroidery group. Look at this happy summertime pincushion:

Pincushion challenge - Summertime, originally uploaded by wardi.

Here is another embroidery that suggests the changing seasons:

Seasons embroidery, originally uploaded by wardi.

She is also a talented softie maker. These went to the recent Plush You event:

The three Quapos, originally uploaded by wardi.

Thanks, Carina for interviewing me. I admire your work very much!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Jitterbug Dancers

I just finished my last motif for my Tea Towel Tour and mailed it off to CupcakeGuru.

Her towel came with embroidery from 4 other stitchers. They all chose pretty ladies and a pinup style. I don't have many of these sorts of transfer patterns and THIS ONE is a bit too um... suggestive.
I chose these Jitterbug Dancers:
Jitterbug Dancers

Floresita has graciously provided these patterns for free along with many others at her Vintage Transfer Finds Blog HERE.

The original pattern had pretty goofy faces, so I tried to redo them. I made them a bit more serene than I'd imagine a lively dancing couple would look, but this is embroidery floss after all...
Jitterbug Dancers closeup

Here is her whole towel: It's all finished!
Tea Towel Tour Towel

Friday, October 19, 2007

Halloween Swap Goodies

Here's the package I received from my second partner in our Mascot Swap. Meet Jack the Fruit Bat created by Wildfyre:
Fruit Bat and Pumpkin

Bat info card
Wildfyre shared her pattern links. Bat pattern HERE. Pumpkin pattern HERE.
Isn't he fab? Just when I think I'm getting better about working in 3-dimensions, my swap partners go ahead and make awesome things like this! I've always wanted to make fabric pumpkins and I even collected pumpkin colored fabrics, but I never did ever make any pumpkins with it. I'm so glad to have this. Also I do love bats.

My Mom and I once flew down to the San Antonio area to witness the emergence of the largest colony of bats in the world at Bracken Cave in Texas. Estimates are that there are between 25 and 60 million Mexican Free-tailed bats in this cave. They summer in Texas and winter in Mexico. It was a stunning and memorable experience. They all swirl out of this large hole in the ground with has a strong acrid ammonia smell from the bats. The odor kicks up when they begin to emerge and they fly off all in the same direction in one giant ribbon in the sky.

(This video has really cheesy music...)

Less than 2 weeks to Halloween! I better get the rest of our decorations out!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Halloween in Felt

Both of my partners received in our Mascot swap. Take a look at what I made:

Felt Mascots for my 2 partners

Peihan17 got the Halloween Kitty and Ghostie. Kitty has a rempoveable leaf pile costume seen above. A leaf pile was one of the favorite matching costumes I made for my daughter and husband when she was about 3 years old:
Halloween Kitty and Ghost

Wildfyre got the Mouse as Pumpkin and the little acorn seen in the top photo. I've made this mouse before in Valentine's Day colors. I really like him:
Halloween Felt Mouse and Costume

I also had little stories for the mascots and I included some candy, a card, and some wooden Halloween cutouts from the craft store

Tomorrow is our meeting for the Chicagoland Craft Collective! Northwest Suburban Chicago crafters can join us at the Schaumburg Portillos restaurant . I'm bringing little mascot kits and we'll make those ghosts and the acorns as our optional craft.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

More Books, 280 Yen!

These little Japanese booklets are a pretty good buy. They were about $4.00 at our Chicagoland Japanese Bookseller at Mitsuwa Marketplace.

The prices are slightly better at YesAsia, but a real life bookstore has obvious other advantages.
This one is a felting instruction booklet, ISBN 4277490050
ISBN 4277490050

I know you can probably find all these sorts of instructions on the internet, but I like having them in my own pretty little booklet. Here is a lovely flower. Step-by-step instructions are provided in detailed photographs:
ISBN 4277490050 detail1
Any book that I buy has to have some pages of cuteness and this one is no exception:
ISBN 4277490050 detail2

I also got a second book, ISBN 9484277490306. This one is adorable beaded lovliness.
ISBN 9484277490306

Here are some Christmas beading ideas:
ISBN 9484277490306 detail1

And summertime critters:
ISBN 9484277490306 Detail2

Last year I got this felt mascot book, ISBN4277490549:
ISBN4277490549 Japanese Felt Mascot Book

It has these patterns for you Francophiles out there:
ISBN4277490549 Detail

I also stitched this mouse from that book:
Mascot Swap 2 Mouse

That mouse went unacknowledged by my swap recipient all the way over in New Zealand. Alas.. that's the way swapping goes sometimes...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Halloween Mascots

I got this sad, sad note today from YesAsia:
Change of Expected Ship Out Date
Dear Susie Ziegler,

Thank you for shopping with!

With reference to the following item 'Patchwork no Nunokomono -Square Patchwork ' in your order 4------, the expected ship out date has been revised to Oct/25/2007.

Oh the agony!

Only moments later, however, one of my swap packages came in the mail! These adorable stuffies were made for me by peihan17 in our mascot swap over on Craftster. It turns out that we totally thought alike for our packages, but my items are still a secret!

Meet Paka, a cute black kitty who adores Halloween and her vegetarian owl friend, Stav. She also made a pretty beaded hairband and tossed in some yummy candy:
2007 10 12 003
Peihan explains that Paka means "little cat" in Swahili and Stav means "autumn" in Hebrew. They are both a bit mischievous and love caramels and zombie movies.

Check out the cute embroidery details and the adorabel fall fabric on the owl:
2007 10 12 002

Here's a picture of the Halloween card she included. On the back it says it''s made by an etsy seller
2007 10 12 001

Thank you so much, Peihan! I love it all!

The kitty is a Pointy Kitty by Wee Wonderfuls. HERE
I think the owl is from a Japanese book that is out of print. I'll have to ask Peihan.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Go Bears!

The Bears beat the Green Bay Packers yesterday. I'm the bandwagon sort, so I'm pleased that they won, but not so interested that I actually watched the game. Last year when the Bears were in the Superbowl, I was unhappy with the t-shirt choices for girls. We also purchased a cheap t-shirt that was the wrong size for every person in our family . I decided to cut out some of the elements of that bad shirt and applique them onto this orange shirt for my daughter.
Bears T-Shirt

Working on t-shirts is tricky. You have to be very gentle and keep a looser tension on the thread to accommodate the stretchiness of the t-shirt fabric. I think it would be a good idea to use a hoop. I didn't, but I cross stitched for years and years with no hoop and, well.. old habits die hard...

Emma in Bears shirt
Here's Toothless! She has been "Cutie Snaggletooth" for a couple of weeks while she had one front tooth that refused to fall out. It finally came out just as our pew was getting ready to go up to the altar for communion on Sunday. She's been leaving the Tooth Fairy notes asking for more money for her teeth, but the Tooth Fairy is not budging. She actually knows the truth about the Tooth Fairy, but she's playing along because she really wants the $1.

FInally, I'm doing the craft in a few weeks with the Chicagoland Craft Collective. We'll be making these ghost mascots (not the felt envelopes)
Felt env.and Ghosts
and this acorn which I made into a barrette for Toothless:
Acorn Barrette

I'll provide little kits that will be $1.00 each. If you plan to come, bring some scissors if you can. The lighting is terrible at our meeting place, but the food is delicious!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Tea Towel Embroidery

I'm almost done with another go around of a Tea Towel Tour swap on Craftster. This one is going really quickly thanks to a terrific, prompt group of swappers. We did this first for Sublime Stitching, but unfortunately the last stitcher in that swap went missing and we assume she kept the towel after 12 stitchers worked on it over several months.

Here are the things I've stitched so far. I have one more to go and then I'll get my own finished towel back.

So here's the happy baking chick I did for myself. It's from an Aunt Martha's transfer package. She's serving up a double chocolate cake with raspberries for my 40th birthday which is in a few weeks.
Chick with Cake

This one is for fennifer. She'd done a pretty border around her towel and it was such a sweet color, I chose these romantic flowers and butterfly:
Romantic Flowers Embroidery

I already shared this dancing saucepot, but here it is again:
Dancing Saucepot Embroidery

Our last round ended early and I never got to stitch for my last person. These birds are for chelleyf. I did them as patches on twill so she can use them however she likes. First an Aunt Martha's Hooty Owl with creepy eyes:
Owl Embroidery
Next a Sublime Stitching bird in autumn colors:
Bird Embroidery

This morning I finished up this Sublime Stitching waitress for BlueSparkie. She's serving up strawberry lemonade but has trouble walking in those impossible shoes:
Sublime Waitress

I'm in such a crafting rush right now, I didn't even press these things before photographing them. It bugs me that the real life white backgrounds never come out with my bad camera...

More terrific embroidery HERE in our swap gallery. Click on the tab that says "Show Images Only" to skip all our chit chat and encouragements.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

More Fabric Stash Building

Katie Jump Rope Fabrics2

I've been on a fabric diet for awhile now, but recently I gave in a did some major stash building. This is a sort of Happy Birthday to Me gift, although my real birthday isn't for another month. These fabrics are fat quarters from the new Katie Jump Rope collection by Denyse Schmidt. I think I have a few other designs thrown in there. I think the oranges, browns and blues are a fresh and retro color combination.

I purchased most of these fat quarters from Check them out HERE. I made a special email request for fat quarters instead of long skinny quarter yard cuts and Jennifer was very accommodating and my order arrived very quickly. Thanks, Jennifer!

Katie Jump Rope Fabrics

Purl has an inspiring blog, the purl bee, too which everyone should check out: HERE

Here are some other traditional vintage style fabrics I found at my local quilt shop. They also will cut fat quarters if you ask.
Fat Quarters

I also finally gave in a purchased this sock monkey fabric which I've seen around for a couple of years. They had a several bolts of coordinating fabrics at the local quilt shop. I used the red one to recover our yucky mouse pad. SpongeBob was looking pretty dingy and these sock monkeys are even more cheerful than he is.
Sock Monkey Fabric

I'm still thinking about projects to do with these fabrics. I think I'm saving the Katie Jump Rope collection for a quilt. I also agreed to do a craft fair with a couple of friends. Some of this might slip into those crafts too.