Friday, January 30, 2015

The Minions have spoken!





Yes, Daenerys, Brienne, and Myrcella have decided the giveaway winners. I listed everyone and numbered them. Then I wrote all the numbers on torn up paper napkins. Then I hovered each gerbil over the batch and they grabbed a number. I was originally just going to do one each of SK Fragile and SK Malifiqueen but then Myrcella seemed a bit put out. Poor little thing, her sisters are much more extroverted and she gets ignored. So . . . I decided with this 50% off sale, I could do 2 SK Malefiqueens. Yes, I know the name is actually SK Evil Queen . . . but she used to be SK Maleficent and her name was changed. I like calling her Malefiqueen.



So . . . Myrcella picked the first QS Malefiqueen . . . and picked #46. Jan Doran

Brienne picked the SK Fragile . . . and picked 34. Becky Stitchy-Sheehan

Daenerys picked the other SK Malefiqueen . . . and picked #24. Lee-ann Bender



Congratulations!

Friday, January 23, 2015

"Evil Queen", yarn, giveaway

My favorite Disney villain is Maleficent. I didn't realize this until after the 2014 Angelina Jolie movie came out. But the more I think about it, she is. And I'm quite chuffed that somehow they've found a way to bring the character back to Once Upon A Time. I have Lady Purl yarn called Once Upon a Dream that I'm so going to knit me some socks during this second half of this season. I hope they can explain the huge plot hole of "she died in her dragon form in Storybrooke and she was some sort of undead" but either way, Maleficent! Her name has been changed to "Evil Queen" but she's still the same magically villanous lady.

So . . . on December 18, 2014, I see this beauty in my newsfeed.



I lasted a whole two days (I think) before I broke down and bought the chart. And then I realized, oh wow wouldn't she be great as a storykeep (SK) or a quick stitch (QS) or a mini? I decided I didn't want to wait about for someone else to request it . . . so I did. Someone else also got her without the background, but I'm not as sure on that point. The example was on some hand dyed fabric, but part of the beauty is the background. (Might still get it to go with the others.

So . . . yesterday, the SK, the QS, and the mini (along with the "no background") were listed on the site. Squeeeeeee!

And they look like:



Well the SK and QS at least. The mini is a smaller version of all of the big one.



And while I was looking on the "new charts" page I noticed a new SK. I love SKs, there's something about the shape, I think. So . . . SK Ice Princess, which I adore the colors of her, had to come along with SK Maleficent. Since, you know 50% off sale.





So . . . onto the next topic, yarn. I finished spinning and plying the Feather colorway of the Spun Right Round merino I'd bought to do during last year's Spinzilla. I didn't have the oompf to get a 3rd braid done, so that one was still sitting about. (I added another 3 to it - in the colors of Human Fly, Phosphorous Pixie, and Mint Me.) And I also was busy with both drop spindles. I did more on my top whorl "eclectic" yarn and realized when I wound it off, that I'd left it too long. Oooops. I'd gotten 9 1 ounce bags of superwash merino on eBay and it's going to be quite eclectic once it is all spun/wound/etc. And the other spindle (the bottom whorl) has been hosting some more of that "sweet tarts" yarn - 1/2 of the 4 ounce braid of Malabrigo Nube in baya electica. And again, I'd left it too long on the spindle. sigh But I have finished that one and wound it onto a cardboard wrapping paper tube. And I've started the 2nd half of the braid. It's soooo pretty. And a lot thinner than the previous spinning. (I have a pair of red braids, called Cereza, that is always out of stock on Paradise Fibers it seems like.) The only thing I don't particularly care for about the Malabrigo Nube is it seems a bit felted. If I had a drum carder, I'd probably run it through before spinning.





Ok . . . onto the giveaway. I've done a couple of giveaways before. One was in honor of my friend's birthday and the other was in memory of my Uncle on the birthday after he passed away. Usually I like to do a guessing contest. And there's clues and all that. But this time, I'm doing it a bit differently. Partly because I've left it too late to really have a proper guessing contest thingymy and partly because it's for my birthday. (plus some people already know what the "prize" is.)

So how does it work? Very simple. I'll be posting here and on my fb and in a few of the groups I'm in. And if someone wants to have a chance, just comment either there or here (or both) or message me. Then next Friday, January 30, 2015, I will pick a name for each chart. (And then RAK the chart) Actually, I'm not picking, my furry minions, Daenerys, Myrcella, and Brienne, will be doing the picking.



So . . . it's my birthday, but you're getting the gift! lol

So . . . what are the lovlies I've picked out to giveaway?



They're both storykeeps. The first I picked is one I've stitched. He's still my favorite SK - I was able to stitch him in 17 days. Plus, dragon. Yes, if you're thinking SK Fragile, you're right!

The other one I picked was of course, SK Maleficent. Since she's the my favorite Disney villain. I was hoping she'd get released in time for my birthday so I could include her.

So . . . here are the pictures of SK Fragile and SK Maleficent:



So . . . good luck!

Update

Well . . . it has been a while since I blogged . . . I've been busy with things like work and knitting and gerbils and spinning and forgetting to blog. What can I say? Oops. Plus, you know, working 2nd shift seems to suck up all the time. And I have discovered the cuteness of gerbils taking sand baths . . . they roll in it. Soooo cute! Plus all three of my girls bark. Yup, my gerbils bark.

Let's see . . . the alpaca shawl is done, but not yet blocked.

Expecting has like 4 more colors to go to be done with that row of pages. The date on the last pic I've taken is 7/27/14.

I requested a QS (quick stitch) of Ice Wind I - lol I seem to have problems remembering if it's 1 or 2 - I've liked this one since I picked it to be the picture of what Corsira, who is the daughter of Tannith & Corsaire, will look like when she's all grown up. Now I've got the QS of both Ice Winds (the other one is Tannith's little sister, Piper).

I also discovered etsy. And in particular, two specific sellers. Neeley's Knits has 4 different Babylon 5 colorways - I do love me some Babylon 5. I had her do a custom order of her Marcus yarn, which I had my mom put away so I could open it on Christmas morning. Hmmm . . . I've still yet to "receive" my yarn . . . mom put it in a "safe place". The other seller is Lady Purl Designs - her blog is ladypurl.blogspot.com. She has some fun, nerdy colorways and I love her descriptions. The first yarns I got from her were a lace weight color called Mermaid Tails (for The Little Mermaid) that I "made up" a shawl pattern I'm calling Mermadia. I've yet to get far on it. And I got a fun sock yarn colorway made of 80% wool and 20% angora, called "Twixt My Nethers" - created for the Firefly/Serenity character named Kaylee. I knit some socks out of that to dress like Kaylee and I had enough to make fingerless mitts as well (and still have more of that yarn).

Speaking of socks, I got several pairs done . . . well more than several pairs. Let's see . . . Christmas socks for my sister, me, my mom, my sister's boyfriend (as he was there on Christmas morning, so therefore, he must have new socks) . . . and Girl on Fire socks (yes more Lady Purl yarn!) for my sister and I to take to watch Mockingjay part 1 . . . and I had to have some Hobbity socks too. I used another Lady Purl yarn called The Shire (or There and Back Again). I started the Smaug socks while watching the movie . . . but I messed up on the ribbing, so I'll have to start them over. Which is good since I have to watch the movie again as the movie seemed to be on fast forward or something. Oh and the blue Cascade Heritage yarn I "got" for Christmas 2013, I knit that up into socks and some wristlets. And socks for my sister too for Christmas.

I've also made some fingerless gloves. I found a free pattern on Ravelry (oh that place is soooo bad for finding neat things to do!) - it's called Te Ara and it's got a neat cable portion. Fairly simple/straightforward, but look complicated. I used the Multipass yarn (LP) for mine and another LP yarn called The Capitol for my sister's. I just finished a pair using the Kaylee yarn that I adapted to be shorter/no cables. And still have a lot of yarn left lol. Edit I forgot the name of the pattern is Te Ara Fingerless Mitts not "Te Avanna" . . . lol I guess I was remembering that tea company, Teavanna, or something.



I also got a lot of spinning done. I went to a spinning workshop at the Vinton Public Library. I got to learn corespinning as well as beehives and lace. I want to make some more of the b&l yarn in "Drazi colors" - green for the beehives part and then purple for the inner core bit. The one on the left is the corespun, I got to use pom fur for it. And the other is the beehives & lace. And then in October, I got to participate in Spinzilla. What is that? It's a week where the idea is spin as much as you can. There are prizes and things like that and people compete to see how much yarn they can spin. Last year (the 2nd year) it was October 6 - 12, this year it will be the 5th - 11th. I have that week as "vacation". My goal was to spin a mile. I juuuuust made that. It was funny, I would tell the gerbils "it's spinning time" and they would start digging about. I decided to spin as a Rogue Spinner (mostly because I waited until the last minute, but also because I don't know enough about which team to pick.)

And because of this Spinzilla, I was introduced to Mirkwood Arts and the Mirkwood supported spindles. And I waaaant one. Actually a couple. That's something I want to get to expand my skill set. I also want to try other sorts of fiber (banana, rose, angora, silk, etc).



Ok . . . onto the cross stitch. I got lot of that done too.

I did get some done on Tannith (poor thing, looks like another year before she'll get done or something like that). At least I'm on the second row now.

I finally got SK Logan framed for my mom (she goes "I trust your judgement when it comes to framing") and SK Forbidden Doorway for me. SK Logan is hanging in the dining room right above the little triangle/corner desk and Doorway is over top of the gerbils in my room. She's really easy to forget it's stitched and not a print or something.

And . . . in October . . . finally, after a lot of work from a group of us, I can finally reveal the "secret project". It is a quilt of The History of HAED that a group of us made for the owner/designer, Michele. We divided the chart into 12 parts and each part got a stitcher to work on it. Mine was what I called "Left Facing Dragon". And we each used the 25 ct Magic Guide lugana fabric and 1 strand over 1 for full crosses. And then we all sent it to one of the ladies (I included some purple fabric as it just seemed appropriate for this project) for her to quilt it all up. She also included a patch with our names on it. We also sent in pics and hand-written notes to be turned into a scrapbook of the journey. We had a simply marvelous time being sneaky. And Michele was so touched and moved by it, it made it all worth the effort. (Plus, it was just fun planning/making it happen!)

So . . . here's Left Facing Dragon and the finished project:



So . . . I'm a sucker for a HAED SAL. I mention this because I got "suckered" into doing a Halloween SAL. And it was a good reason to finally start the first of The Very Long Term Project (which I started a facebook page to under that name). What is TVLTP? I want to stitch all the Faces of Faery that have been charted. Hmmm might be a bit longer to do than I thought. So I started with Faces of Faery 99 (or as I call her 99.)

And speaking of SALs, this year (2015) there is a HAED BB SAL. I picked the QS Frogs Kissing. It was the most fantasy like one and I don't fancy Santa. Here's what I picked and how far I got on the 16th (mom's foot surgery). And in the big cross stitch group I admin, they decided to do a HAED SAL. So I was like ok I'll participate. And rather than being cheesy and having it do for both SALs, I decided to pick something other than QS Froggies. I went with QS Nostlagy, which was from the 2013 BB SAL and was my second choice for that one. I haven't gotten far, but still. She's one of those character pictures. I picture her as a Human necromancer. She is more of a science/see if it can be done (almost innocent) rather than evil "I play with dead people" sort of way.

And I decided yes, I will participate in the once a month (1st weekend) SAL for the Mystic Stitch group. I'm doing Night Shade II.

And then, for some reason, I decided Melena ought to have some attention too. I just don't have an updated pic yet of her. I got distracted by spinning yarn on my spindles.

Almost done . . . next time, I am going to announce a new giveaway. But we'll save that for later.

Monday, July 14, 2014

progress

I've made some great progress on my lacy 100% alpaca shawl. I think I"m starting to remember the pattern now with a lot less help from my notes. Which is nice. I had to wind the rest of the yarn into a ball as the football shaped skein sort of started falling apart. I think I've knit like a good foot or so. It's so pretty and warm, I know it's going to be lovely once it's done. I've also been working on the counted cross stitch piece Expecting (HAED) and think I might be able to finish the top row of pages soon. Yay! I started a new project, but I'll wait to go into detail later on, other than to say it's one of the two projects I'm making for friends - same pattern, different fabric, this is the one that I dyed. Oh and I got some more lace yarn. I found a lace malabrigo yarn on the Woolery that is tardis colored . . . so I'm thinking perfect for the lace shawl with the tardis-es on it. (Or is that "tardisi"? Oh well don't care.) But unlike the alpaca I'm using, which is 2-ply, this is single ply. So . . . they had some at Mosaic, so I decided to get some to test out. I was thinking "hey, why don't I make another shawl like this . . . but make it wider!" and now I'm not sure if I want to do that or not. I think it might be fun to try another lacy pattern. Heh . . . I do have a lot of the varigated blue color I picked out, called "Oceanos". Each skein is 470 yds. But I've got time. I still want to go by Yarn Explosion before work one day to see what sort of lace (and possibly sock) yarn they have. And I still want to try out a couple of sock-weight patterns I found on Ravelry. One is a cowl they called something like Irish cable and the other is a baby shrug jackety sort of pattern called "vertebrae" which is designed to hug the baby's back snugly. Not that I know of anyone who is having kids ath this moment, I just like the idea of it. Plus, I do have another lace shawl to try out. Tho I'm not sure if I want to try the Oceanos on it or not. Plus . . . I still haven't gotten far on my sister's second sock for Christmas. (Or mine or my mom's.) Should be interesting!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Blackwork

I was in a cross stitch group on Facebook and one of my little pet peeves happened.



One of the ladies in there said that blackwork is where you fill in a pattern using backstitching.



No. No it is not.



Blackwork is a specific technique. It most definitely is not backstitching. It is a specific technique where the back looks almost exactly like the front. You use a double running stitch. They're two different techniques.



I did a piece years ago (that my dad still has) of an iris done in counted cross stitch in front of a field of various blackwork patterns in geometric areas. Those areas were partitioned off by lines of satin stitch/couching. Each one of the patterns had specific stitch diagrams. They were really fun to stitch. And the way you could easily tell which was the right/front side was to look at the iris. I also added blending filament to the iris - 1 strand each blue and purple for the flower area. And I think I might have used iridescent for the yellow bits. (I thought I used green on the leaves, but I don't see it in the pictures.) I want to stitch it again in the original mushroom lugana/taupe/gold color combination, but also using black/grey/silver. So I'd have a day vs night. (one day . . . )



Here's a bit closer up:





And the other thing that sort of irritated me is the person (same one who answered the question of "what's blackwork" with "designs and fills done in backstitching") was also saying "I have heard alot of people say it is using black floss but I use any color i feel like." Um. Ok. Use whatever color you want, but the term "blackwork" comes from where the only color used was black. Just like "redwork" is the same as blackwork, just with red instead of black.

And is not backstitching.

Lace shawl knitting is badass

No really, it is. And I dare you to do it if you think it isn't.



I think I figured something out about my lace shawl. I feel kind of like a badass, not just because of the teeny tiny yarn and the holes that are supposed to be there and not dropping stitches, but also because it's just harder if you make a mistake.

I was knitting along nicely during last Saturday's game. I decided I'll not work on Melena during Book 2 of our campaign, as I'm playing a different character. I'm playing Sayyadina, who is my aasimar Bard/Cleric of Sheylin. And she's a fiber artist too . . . she spins and knits, both socks for the poor and lace shawls. Since she's a badass. (ok that remains to be seen) But Clerics of Sheylin are expected to create something beautiful every day. Hence, the knitting.

So, what happened?

The lace shawl alternates pattern rows with plain purling on the backside. I was on the wrong side . . . and started knitting the 5th row of the pattern. Crap.

It took me 30 minutes (well from the "I'll fix it" to the actual "I did fix it") a few days later to frog aka un-knit . . . one . . . little stitch . . . at a time that wrong side #5. And then re-knit it. Ok, so I thought. Now I'll do the purling . . . and onto row #5 on the correct right side. We're good, right? Right?

Nope. I'm missing 2 stitches.



Really?

Really?



Craaaaaaaaaaaaap!

So then I have to un-knit the row 5 I just did. And then . . . the hard part.

Time to figure out where is the oops?

Turns out I dropped a stitch near the left side when I frogged. And then didn't actually keep a yarn over, which is basically another dropped stitch. Bother.

So . . . after all that, I finally got to re-knit that and go on with it.

I was actually kind of exhausted after all that. It was rather mentally taxing.



Hence, this is why lace knitting is badass.

And I'm only on the 3rd repeat . . . I think it's like maybe at the most 4" long so far . . . this is gonna take a while.



But I do want to get some more lace yarn . . . I keep going "oh my gosh this is sooooooo pretty!"





I think I figured out a way to avoid the "do I have the correct number of stitches left for my repeat?!" mess . . . my pattern is 17 stitches wide. I could do more repeats than 4 across if I want a wider shawl or even a blanket. There's a garter stitch border on all sides, so if I want a wider one, I do a multiple of 17 (ie 2 repeats or 10 etc) plus the border.

So . . . my solution?

I added stitch markers at the end of my pattern! Woooo!

Ok so they're a bit annoying, but not nearly as annoying as not being sure I have all my stitches. So far, I can deal with the stitch markers and I love not worrying as much about dropping stitches. I like using colorful paperclips as my stitch markers. They're a lot easier to replace in case something happens.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Short update

There was a contest (ending today) where if we post a WIP pic with a sign (name/date) to the official HAED fb group, we'd be eligible to win a free chart off our wishlist. It ends tonight, so I need to scoot over to fb to post my pic. My intention was to work on Daddledore and post a nice WIP pic of that. Evidently, my projects had other ideas. Since My pregnant fairy piece - "Expecting" - decided I would stitch on her a while. I was hoping I'd get all of the top row of pages done . . . um . . . not quite. But I did get another color done and into the next one. There are a total of 10 colors, including the sparkly #4 braid in 032. Few colors, but so effective in where they're placed. But the trade off is confetti. Lots of confetti. But for some reason, and maybe it's because each one is used so much, it doesn't feel like confetti. Yeah, I'm going with that.



So . . . here's my fancy, new, updated pic:



I really like how I can really see her face and all the outlines I'm going to be filling in. I decided with this chart, I would only print off a row at a time (heh I had 3 out of the 5 (I think) pages done on this row without even trying!) . . . so I'm rather looking forward to being able to print off some more of this chart. I think I get to baby next row of pages.