Monday, December 15, 2008

Crafty Happenings

Hello all,

I hope everyone is well and enjoying the Christmas season. Can you believe that the solstice is almost upon us? I am happy about that, as I am ready for the days to start getting longer. It is hard to leave for work in the darkness and drive home in darkness... I feel like a vampire at this time of year...

I've been up to a lot of crafting lately, and I thought I'd show you two of my works in progress. I can never seem to get my mind straight for writing, so I'm trying to still be productive with my knitting and my cross-stitching.

My friend Meowr gave me a set of size 15 knitting needles for Christmas. They are HUGE! My hands can barely hold them, but they are fun to knit with. You can create inches and inches of scarf in no time with these. I decided to create a prayer shawl for her with my new toys. I bought 2 skeins of Lion Brand Homespun yarn in the Fiesta variegated color. It changes color from turquoise to burgandy and everything in between, but there is a constant thread of gold throughout it, and it is gorgeous! And it feels great in my fingers. Basically, the Homespun is a yarn created from many threads loosely bound together by a single red thread. It is wavy in texture and makes for lovely stripes. Here is a picture of the shawl in progress, still on the needle:

The pattern is pretty simple.

I cast on approximately 60 stitches. I don't remember the exact number, but it pretty much filled up the needle!

I knitted the first 5 rows for a border.
Then I alternated rows of K1, *yo, k2tog* K1 with rows of straight knitting to create a lacy fabric. I thought it would be too heavy of a shawl with just straight garter stitch. My friend lives in a more tropical climate than I do, and I didn't want the shawl to be too hot!

I have 2 skeins of the yarn. I haven't finished the first one yet. I'm going to knit until I either decide it's long enough or I run out of yarn, whichever happens first! I'll try to put up a picture of it when I get it finished. I hope it turns out.

My other project... for you Gar/Raven shippers... I present a cross-stitch rendering of the pencil version of "The Kiss" from Teen Titans #30:

The original was, of course, pencilled by the wonderful Tony Daniel. I pulled the pencil picture into my cross-stitch rendering software to create the chart. This software (PC Stitch) does a wonderful job of rendering pictures into charts. It's the same software that I used for my other Raven cross-stitches earlier this year. It's far from done. I'm alternating working on it and on the shawl, so it will take some time to finish. It is HUGE: 200 stitches wide! It's so wide that I had to mount it on my scroll frame sideways, and I have to hold it sideways to stitch as well! Plus, there is a lot of detail in it, and the color-switching makes me crazy sometimes. It's not as simple as the monocolor Raven ink sketch. However, I think it will be worth it in the end. I'll post the final on this one as well, whenever I get it done. I'm halfway done with Raven's hair. Once that is done, I will tackle Beast Boy's hair and the rest of Raven's hand along his jawline.

The mister has been busy as well. He is learning about leatherworking. His initial goal was to create his own bracer for his archery practice. He used his wordworking skills to create a "stitching pony" to make stitching the leather safer... awls can be pretty dangerous! He built it using plans from a book by Al Stohlman, The Art of Hand-Sewing Leather, and it is officially called the "Al Stohlman (Quarter Horse) Stitching Pony". I am very proud of what he's done. It took him several days to build it, but it works very well. (I'm hoping he'll make some yellow bracers for my Speedy costume... I'd love to have REAL LEATHER for that costume!) Here are some pictures of his "pony":

The pony can be detached from the chair and moved about. It is very light and portable. The artist sits astride the wooden column in the front. The leather item is held tight in the clamp, and the artist can sew with an awl from side to side. He started with a simple lock stitch, but he can also do saddle stitch (using 2 needles, one on each side) using this setup. He can manage about 100 lock stitches in an hour... which is great considering the amount of effort it takes to make a single stitch in this craft! He is still testing it out, but it seems to work well so far.

I am thinking of learning some leathercraft myself some day. So many costuming possibilities... elf, barbarian... and BOOTS! lots of BOOTS!

Until later, have a Merry Christmas!

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