Friday, April 30, 2010

Archery in Simi Valley CA

We are about to leave for the archery shoot. Lots of last minute stuff to be done...dishes, setting up the catfood for the housesitter, feeding the fish, getting the fresh food for the weekend into the truck. But we are about done with that.
Whatever the rest of you are doing this weekend I hope it involves some fun family and friend activities.

Tom Mills with an atlatl and dart.

Gray fletched feathers.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Camping and Knitting

Woo, today was busy. We are packing for a three day camping archery crafting trip. Even so I snuck in some knitting with a multicolored pattern that's a lot of fun. But right now I better get my bin packed and into the truck while there is still space or all my lovely projects will get left at home where I can't work on them. I'm taking my knitting, my Japanese braiding kit, my tatting, my needle punch, and some crochet to work on. Not sure I'll have time for any of it but I'm going prepared. I need to leave some time to shoot arrows though.

Oh and I made peach cobbler and cherry cobbler to take.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Colored Knitting and Some Tatting

I saw an interesting knitting demo on TV which lead me to grab my book on stitch patterns and getting to work on a multicolored bit of knitting. With any luck I'll be able to use my swatch for a hat or something when I'm done. I like it so far but as it's getting late and my eyes are tired I set it down for another day.

Today consisted of cleaning and shopping for our camping trip this weekend but I did manage to get some tatting done.

I also got started on a green and gold cord with the Japanese braiding. I hope to take that camping with me. I may take my knitting loom as well. I'll never get a book written on loom knitting if I don't get some more projects designed. Every time I see a book on loom knitting I can't help thinking that could have been my book.

shuttle tatting

spiral cordage

Tatting, Japanese cord weaving and Illumination

The first spiral cordage I made with the Japanese braid weaving circle.

Working on my illumination skills. The pyramids on the far right are the finished ones.
The rest haven't been shaded yet.

Tatting with pale green crochet thread.

Me holding the scroll.

The portable Japanese disk for cord braiding.

It's 2:20 AM and it's been raining for a couple of hours now.

Today I worked on illumination for about 2 hours trying to paint little pyramids on a scroll. That can make me pretty batty so 2 hours is about all I'm good for.

Later in the day I worked on some tatting in a pale green. My muscles still aren't used to that motion so I don't really have a flow yet. Hope springs eternal. I just need to do it more consistantly and I'm sure my skills will improve. I can't really make cool stuff until I get better. Other than a chain of daisies I don't really know how to make anything else yet.

Oh and I started on another Japanese braiding project in gold and green. I should take it camping with me this weekend. I can do it at the craft booth between customers.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Shirts 4 and 5

Yesterday I made not one but 2 appliqued t-shirts. I was hoping the bonding material would form a secure bond so I could be done with the project, but it's not holding as well as I would like. So now I'm going to have to go around all the edges with fabric paint. In the meantime I've thought of some ideas for some more shirts. Soon I'll have to buy more shirts. It's not like I own enough t-shirts to make another shirt every day for a year. I sure wish I knew a publisher who could turn all this into a book. In the meantime at least I have blogger.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Nine Patch Embellished T-shirt #3

In my first college quilting class back in the '70's we did a 9 patch block. So I've always been fond of them. I decided to put one on a t-shirt today for my third shirt. It came out okay, but next time I'll use fusible interfacing to position it before sewing. I used straight pins and I think it shifted a little. I had in mind to zig-zag stradling the edges but my machine refused. I guess it was the combination of stretchy t-shirt fabric and non-stretchy woven fabric. So I ripped that out and did a straight 1/8" edge stitch instead. Then I stitched an 'x' through each square for the quilting. I look forward to doing more like this.

This was a new shirt, but if you have stains in the center of an old shirt, this is a great cover-up.

Chatelaine Made From Japanese Braiding

I've been trying to think of good uses for the Japanese braiding I've been working on. So today I thought it might make a great chatelaine to wear around my neck and carry sewing supplies like scissors, pins, needles and thimbles. In the Victorian days before pockets, women kept their tools close at hand by hanging them from little chains. I just bought some green and gold pearl cotton to make it out of since the SCA Gyldenholt colors are green and gold. It is nice being able to make things in the baronial colors. If you don't know what the SCA is visit

Update: Guess what? Gyldenholt's colors are blue and gold. D'oh.

Paleoplanet T-shirt

Yesterday I worked on t-shirt #2. It was a Paleo theme for It was hand drawn with Sharpie markers and a Marks-a-Lot permanent marker. This time I used an older t-shirt that has seen better days to give it some new life. That way it stays out of the landfill, I can still wear it, and I don't have to worry about the drawing not being perfect. Shirts like this are a good choice for parties, where you can hand them around to each other and everyone can add a doodle or two. They are great for going away parties too. Everyone can sign them and add a little art.

I particularly like the way the cave horse and the mammoth came out. Remember to click on photos to see the larger view and details. To make fabric easier to draw on, I put foam core inside (or cardboard) and then secure the shirt in the back with a few rubber bands to hold the surface taut.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day Peace T-shirt Batik Project

I'm starting a new t-shirt project after being inspired by a t-shirt designer on Etsy whose shop is called OddManOut Press and by another t-shirt artist named Dylon White, who is more well known for his chainmaile books.

Since I'm doing a peace project and today is Earth Day my first shirt is going to be a batik and tie dye combo with a peace sign on it. I already applied the wax and dropped it into the procyon dye bath. I can see that the shirt is now Lapiz blue but I can also see the waxed part is still hot pink. Last time I tried something with wax I forgot the dye bath had to be tepid not boiling and all the wax melted off. So I have confidence that the wax didn't melt this time.

Putting wax on fabric can be tricky. I found a heat gun very useful in melting any wax that hardened too fast. I don't have any fancy batik tools so I'm just doing the best I can with what I have.

In 20 minutes I will add soda ash to the dye bath. Updates to follow.

Update: I took an educated guess that if I used the blue dye over the hot pink shirt, I'd get a lovely purple, and after everything was rinsed out that indeed was what I had. I've very pleased with it, but have opted to give it one last good rinse, and then wait until tomorrow to iron the wax out. I can't wait to see what the end results will be.

The t-shirt with the wax on it before dyeing.

The lapiz dye premixed in a glass jar.

They dye bucket is yellow so it's hard to tell the dye is blue.
The bright spots are the pink areas still covered with wax.

Taking the rubber bands off the tie dyed portions.

Back view.

I haven't ironed the wax off yet, but here you can see
basically what it will look like.

Update 2:
I spent about 30 minutes this morning ironing the wax out of my t-shirt onto some brown paper. Then I gave it a run through the washing machine. Right now it's in the dryer. Looks great!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chickens, Ducks and Quivers

I have so many new ideas swimming in my head I don't know where to start. I have days like that sometimes so I keep a handy sketchbook or scrap paper near by. My writing teacher once said, "Ideas are like ducks. If you don't shoot them down when they fly overhead you'll never see them again."
Anyway I had an idea for a chicken hat. It would look like it's sitting on an egg, only the egg is your head. And it's long legs would dangle down to you shoulders. It would be knitted or crocheted.
But I haven't even finished the rubber chicken I was crocheting. I definitely have way more ideas than time.

I'd also like to make some quivers. I was thinking leather but my boyfriend is trying to push me in the direction of basket quivers. But my motivation isn't running in that direction. So now if I start a leather quiver he'll think I don't value his input. It's not easy to steer an artist, but he keeps trying. I have almost zero experience with basketry. I have more with leather, but he doesn't know that. I did the leatherwork before I met him. It's tiresome trying to prove myself to others.

Anyway, I have to run to the store so I can't work on crafts at the moment. Later today I hope I can get something done.

Japanese Braiding and Quivers

Well I made some progress with my Japanese braiding. I got the bobbins untangled, and now each time I move a thread I'm really careful not to let it tangle again. It's pretty slow going. Yet another labor intensive craft I won't be fast enough at doing to make any money at it.

I was thinking about making some quivers for archery. I had in mind leather quivers but then my boyfriend said I should do basket quivers. No reason to just do one kind though.  I really like the bamboo ones too. And yucca quivers are very lightweight, durable and look nice. Decisions, decisions.

My roses just started to bloom too, and I'm way behind on my gardening blog.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Illumination and Needlepunch

I just started doing SCA things a few months ago and now I remember why I quit. It's expensive. It's not that much if you just want to hang out, but everything I want to do in the SCA requires a monetary investment. I spent almost $100 on supplies to do illumination. Did you know that when you make a scroll for someone, no one is paying for your paper, paints, brushes and so on? I feel like doing those things is satisfying artistically and will help me grow as an artist, but now I'm thinking I should have spent that money on something a little more practical, like food.

But now that I have all the supplies, I can scroll to my heart's content. I want to go to the meetings to learn more, but there again, gas costs money and I'm back in the same boat. It seems the only way to get ahead is to stay home, do nothing, and go nowhere. But that's not much of a life is it?

At the archery meeting yesterday I worked on some of the Japanese braiding and made a great tangled mess. Ah well. And I worked on Needlepunch aka Punchneedle. That went pretty well. Luckily I already own the supplies to do that. Art sure is expensive if you are not selling anything.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Saturday Full of Crafts

When I woke up this morning I got out my t-shirt cross-stitch project and worked on that for about an hour.
I spent a big chunk of today working on illumination. I still have a lot of questions I'll have to ask the teacher. Like on the fine lines between colors, am I supposed to do those with a brush and paint or with a pen and ink? And I'm not entirely sure I'm using the right colors for the knotwork zoomorphics. So much to learn.

Then tonight I got to do some knitting on a maize colored hat that I should have finished long ago.
I also made an Etsy treasury for the first time in ages called Exotica. I loved the spats I found for that. I've been wanting to make spats for ages and haven't gotten around to it yet. I believe there is a Threadbanger tutorial on making spats. I'll see if I can find it in case you don't know what spats are.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Recent Crafts

Here are some photos of my recent craft projects.

Knitted Baby Booties

Upcycled steampunk belt

Beaded spirit doll

So many projects started that need more time and care.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Art and Shopping

The last few days have been so busy I've barely had time to write a word. My daughter, who has an art and design degree, came down for a visit. So of course we had to visit all the art stores like Joann's, Michaels, and Art Supply Warehouse. My wallet is screaming but my inner artist couldn't be happier.

Tonight I worked on crocheting a chemo hat in camo yarn. My daughter sat next to me and worked on a crocheted scarf in mostly black yarn with some color highlights thrown in there for good measure.
I'm using one of those new fangled crochet hooks with an aluminium shaft inserted into a bamboo handle. The bamboo is so smooth and slippery I kept losing my grip on it. I think I finally have it figured out, but I am tempted to sand the handle and wrap it in some sort of friction tape.

I gave my daughter one of the oil paintings I actually did in college when I was pregnant with her. I told her about it and she said, "Oh I remember that painting." I asked if she wanted it and she said yes. I'm glad at least one of my paintings is going to a place where it will be appreciated. So we gave it a good vaccuuming, cleaned the frame and got it ready to go to it's new home.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Recovering from a fun filled and hectic weekend

I had an awesome time at the SCA Collegium. I'll post some of the photos. I learned a lot. I took 3 performing arts classes, and 2 illumination classes and a class on Japanese cord braiding. There are literally thousands of designs you can do with the cord braiding. I'm pretty tired today and have family driving down tonight, so like it or not I better get some unpacking and uncluttering done or my daughter won't fit in the door. Plus we are unpacking from the archery tournament my boyfriend just got back from. He had an awesome time too but I think what we both need is a very long nap.

Lot sharing bardic tips.

The two bardic arts teachers.

Cat taught spinning.

Me with the Japanese braiding contraption

Me on Sunday before the classes begin.

Maeb Renata teaching the diapering class. Is there anything this woman cannot do? She also juggles and knits.

Other students in the scroll diapering class

This was my practice diapering.

Mine is on the left. The designs I got from the teacher are on the right.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

SCA Collegium

I just made a last minute decision to go to the SCA Collegium this weekend. I knew my boyfriend would be at an archery event and it just never occurred  to me to go by myself. But it's not far from my house. But it's almost 1 AM and I'll have to scramble to get together archery gear, belly dancing gear, calligraphy pens and so forth. Eep. But it beats sitting home all weekend knowing I missed out on a great camping trip right?
And I need to get some sleep and get up at least by 7 AM.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Facepainting, Knitting, and YouTube

I had happy news today. One of my crochet videos on YOUTUBE is now popular enough they've invited me to earn revenue on it. I got an error message when I filled in the blanks though that said my application was ambiguous. Leave it to youtube and adsense to give me an error message and no way to figure out how to fix it. I wrote to tech support so now I'll just sit and wait I guess.

I've been designing a knitted bunny. I didn't even realize last Sunday was Easter until I was standing at the door of Michael's and when it refused to open I realized they were closed on Easter. I celebrate Ostera anyway, so I wasn't paying much attention to the actual date of Easter and it snuck up on me. This is the first Easter in about 7 years that I wasn't painting faces in Shell Beach. That's because they didn't hire face painters. Money is so tight I guess they got a bunch of volunteers together and fended for themselves. Meanwhile that means about 5 professional facepainters didn't get a paycheck that day. When people don't support the arts it hurts all of us. So if you can find it in your heart to hire a clown, a facepainter, or a magician this spring and summer, remember you are not just feeding them, but their children and grandchildren as well.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Monkey and Baby Booties

 This is what the booty looks like before you fold it and sew the back and bottom seams together.

Today I was trying to work on my amigurumi monkey but I just couldn't seem to focus. About all I got done was half of the first arm. So I set that aside, and knitted a pair of rainbow baby booties instead. This was the 3rd and 4th booty I've made with that pattern so it was much faster than the first time.

Amigurumi monkey body and head.