Sunday, November 28, 2010

I am thankful for owls

Before I get rolling on all my holiday jewelry projects, I had to get this little guy out of my head and into the physical world.


Needle felting is FUN and cathartic.  I was having a panic attack while trying to order my son's Christmas pressies on (his fave is sold out EVERWHERE), and when I could take no more, I started Sir Owl here.  Presto chango, I am no longer stressed.  

Lotan's Playmat, and my first finished quilt!

Finally finished, and right now hopefully being ravaged by Lotan!

The pattern is based on one in the book Play Quilts by Kristin Addison.

I tried to design my own quilt for Loti, but since I have never made an entire quilt before, I found it to be, well, bad.  So, to the book shelf I went.

The little pockets hide owls and other surprises.
The animals were sewn in two pieces (head and body) then assembled.  They are tied on with ribbons and fully detachable.

I did machine free motion quilting for the first time, which was super duper frustrating at first but ended up being addicting and fun.

I also did some hand applique on the owls and some hand embroidery. Hoot.

You can see the kid-ready texture that the machine quilting gave this mat.  Yay, Kenmore home sewing machine!  It can be done.  It was hard to manage all the bulk of quilt with so little space, but I just did a little section at a time while trying different ways to secure the rest of the fabric.  The best way at the end was to use these cool circular clamps to hold the rolled up quilt while I worked on a small section.

I am especially partial to the technique of using the features of the fabric to free quilt, like on the milky way!

The only hand embroidery is on the signature label (which I realized later was missing a date) and the Big L sun below.

My son was very disappointed that I did not "make this up" (that I used a pattern) but I assured him that I departed from the pattern often and there was a lot of Jobi in this gift to Lotan.
The sun is the only bit that is 100% Jobi, not at all based on the pattern.

I hope this mat provides as much fun for Loti as the ones Fiona made for my kids, which are true treasures.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Knotting madness

I started knotting the other night and now I can't stop.  I have even made two pretty horrible macrame pieces.  Egads.

This site got me started with some great free tutorials.  They are total dealers - "hey, try this for free!" and then WHAMMO, you are hooked.

These lovely lampworked beads came to me from a bead-swap with the fabulous Suzanne.

Monday, September 6, 2010

My Monday night's labor.

This is going to be a very fancy pantsy necklace that I will never, ever wear. I hope someone out there wants it! It is brown agate, with hand stitched beaded bezels on the two flat stones, and an experimental chain that is inspired by Cynthia Rutledge's lattice weave that may or may not work. The beads are a great example of stash use - the top left were brought back from Mexico 3 years ago by my sister-in-law (there is a funny story about my brother trying to say beads in Spanish, which I believe translated to the horrified shop keeper as "small balls"), the middle top were from a sale at Caravan Beads 4 years ago,the next around the clock bead show, silvery ones at the bottom from a wholesale shop close to our NYC office (I cannot remember which one, there are way too many). The flat stones came 1) from the bead show and 2) from a mix package I got from Fire Mountain Gems. And why do I remember every single bead gift or purchase made over the past 5 years? Insanity. Plain and simple.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Atlantis charm

The picture is kind of scruffy, but I swear the necklace isn't! The pendant is a hand beaded bezel around a vintage pressed glass button I found at the Bead Show in Milwaukee in June. I am slowly making my way through the stash from that 2-day bead fest, having pledged to myself I will work with at least 25% of what I bought before I get to next year's Show to blow the bank once again.

The rope is a plain kumihimo braid with some very pretty silky yarn from Close Knit in Evanston.
Tom thinks it either looks like a birthday cake or something from Atlantis. Can't lose either way.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The only things I made on vacation

I was not my usual self on vacation in RI this year.... no late night crafting after all the wild things went to bed. I did fascinate my nephews by practicing my needle felting. These two dry needle-felted beads were my first experiments at three-dimensions with felt. I discovered last night a better way to do it so these lonely creatures will be the first and last of their kind.

What does one do with silly felted beads, you might ask? Please, offer suggestions, as I have no clue! I think I turned "on" comments so it should work now. These are about the size of a nickel or quarter each, and their Achilles heal is that I did not do the base properly so they are a tad too squishy for The Judges, whomever they are.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

First bag I've designed (for Aunt Frannie)

OK, if you define "design" as "cut out matching rectangles."

First felting project...

...because what I REALLY need is another craft.  This is needle felted, and the little off spots of read are probably my blood from poking myself.  Is it wrong that I can't wait to do it again?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Prize for committee member...

I am going to give this necklace to one of my 2010 Dinner Committee members today - all you have to do is bring in a new member!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Warped Chevron...

So, while I dig this thing, I am sad it does not hang right. I think the thread/bead size/tension combo led to some warped shaping.  Learning as I go - I am not using silamide anymore, and will add a heavier, drapier row to the bottom next time to pull the collar down and out so maybe it will drape right.

The base row is Chevron and the rest is netting... size 15 gunmetal and size 11 red delicas.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It took an extended edition FOTR viewing to finish Cynthia Rutledge's Antonia's Adornment kit...

But I did it!!!  Want to try?  Well worth the money for the kit.  Like having a master class with Ms. Rutledge herself.  The beads in the kit were of good quality (she includes 2 needles and One G thread, too), and I finished with quite a surplus.  The "lattice weave" technique is very very cool and will be fun to use in a variety of other projects.  I've already started a basic lattice strap on my own.  Her instructions are detailed and personal ("Let's add a picot while we are over here").

I was not sure about doing a kit as it felt like I was somehow being uneconomical, or cheating.  But I really learned a lot doing this bracelet, and as a result I have an excellent bracelet, extra beads and the instructions to use again and again.

The biggest lesson I got was making the little beaded beads that constitute the two buttons at the end.  Cynthia's method was one I have never encountered before and the result is totally darling.  Yes, I said it, totally DARLING.

The next kit I want to do (for my own education, of course, is this one.  Christmas anyone?)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Inspired by Fiona at the Bead Show

This is my favorite thing I have made so far from the Bead Show loot I brought back.  It uses a nice raku bead handmade by Lisa Peters, and some pretty new seed beads shaped like peanuts that I did up in right angle weave.  I put on the clasp backwards which I think was my inner self telling me to keep this one!

Bead Show Booty

These pendants were very simple to put together from handmade beads in discount bins at the Bead Show, paired with these bails (from the McDuck stand that have a ball on the end which screws off and allows you to switch beads out if you get bored of the ones you've got.

Started this little beaded pretty when I was preggers with Stell!

Finally finished, now that Stella is 15 months old... inspired by the Bead Show, this flower has finally found a home as a bracelet!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Slightly less belated May block

This one I like a lot better, it is a String Block and I worked from this string block tutorial which was very easy to follow, and helped me get rid of some scraps (see Stella's curtain in there?) and also use some of the pretty stuff I picked up at the Quilt Show.

Very belated April block...

I am not in love with how this came out so I'll probably have another go at it when I get another 3-hour Stella nap to work with... supposed to be a wonky pinwheel but it is wonky in all the wrong places.  I like the fabrics but it screams American flag at this point which is not where I wanted to go with my Owly project!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

March Block of the Month

Soren has asked for this quilt when it is done, which makes me so happy.  The Target Star Wars Clone Wars comforter on his bed is super cool, but I think the polyester fabric is scratchy.  And if nothing else (competently made, for example), at least it will be soft!

This is the "Liberated Basket" from Collaborative Quilting.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Jason's Upcycled Cashmere Sweaters - Part 1

Stella is modeling the latest in cashmere sweat gear!  Her headband was once the lovely v-neck of one of Jason's now obsolete sweaters, soon to be a baby blanket.  Note the pile of cashmere fuzz to the left of her chair on the floor... 

The blanket itself will be made of the felted sweaters in 5 inch squares (as seen next to Soren to the left, 74 squares or so, 2 X 3 feet, two sided).  I pass the sewing baton on to one of Jason's other crafty friends now, but I'm happy I got to do the cutting!

I have to say it did pain me at first to maim all of those cashmiracles, but in the end I think this will be a much better life for those sweaters than them sitting in mothballs while he basks in Middle East heat.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Stella's Tab Topped Curtain!

I really could not be more pleased with how this project came out - thanks to Fiona, disasters were averted and a bunch of quilting fabric and flannel became a nice new window covering for our little Stell.   I used a nice web tutorial from here, but had to amend it a little with Fi's help.    As with beading, I am learning that even when in a rush, it is better to rip out messed up work than try to hide it later.  Sigh.

Here is the window, during the day.  The yellow band glows a little in the sun and looks like a nightlight at dusk! 

My dad painted a picture to the right of the window, as he does for all new Petersen kids.  The cow loosely is based on a cool pop up book my mom found at the library. 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

February's Block - Liberated Shoo Fly

Again, it seems a little premature to liberate myself from a discipline I have not yet acquired... but here is installment 2 in our Block of the Month exercize.  I've decided to go "all in" and turn these into a real bed quilt at the end, an owly quilt!


I had a hard time with getting this block to end up at 12 and a 1/2 inches, so I had to add borders which look a little more liberated than I'd like, so I may re-do this if I get a chance.   Here it is on my bulletin board next to its January neighbor Owly.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Pouches everywhere...

I sewed the day away today, and have started mass producing these nifty little zip pouches.  Who knows where they will end up, but I am so pleased with the online tutorial (  that got me to the point where I can whip these professional looking little guys out in a heartbeat.  Zipper, I am your master.  Bow before me.

The fabric comes from the quilt shop in Grayslake:

Not Shayna's Bag

I made this bag for my drop-dead gorgeous 13 year old neice.  Of course, I neglected to ask her mom whether she likes bags, or carries them.  I was just all into this blue and brown motif that she carries on about, and being pleased with myself for finding good fabric, on I went.  Well, now it is not Shanyna's bag, it could be yours!
The snap-cover is hand bead bezeled around labradorite, which changes colors in different lights.  The seed beeds in the bezel are from my most recent trip to NY.  The browner more mod fabric is from the Renegade Art Fair this past summer, and the paisley is from Fiona's stash.
Soren wanted to go all out this Valentine's Day - fabric hearts tied with yarn around pieces of candy from his very own stash!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

First Block of Block of the Month Quilt Class

Fiona got me into a monthly quilting challenge called Block of the Month in Grayslake - we decided we may not be able to do all the classes, but would follow the book, which is all about "liberating" the quilting conventions.  Not ever having quilted a stitch in my life, becoming liberated is somewhat moot, but fun nonetheless.  I put this together but am afraid to attempt to "square it up" without expert assistance, so it is hanging on my cork board until I see Fiona again...

Pillows from North Carolina fabric

This lovely fabric came from a shop in NC - the Petersen ladies went grocery shopping and somehow stumbled over a fabric store.  How 'bout that.  I covered our icky Pier One pillows with it, and while they are not terribly fluffy, they look a lot nicer!

Bits and pieces still without a home

These little flowerettes need a home.  I made them over the holidays and cannot for the life of me figure out what to do with them!  The blue and orange one could be paired with some of the little odds and ends you see to the left of it.  The bronze and gunmetal could be earrings (too garish?) or 4 necklaces (too cutsie?) - more than likely they will live on my dresser for a year or so until something strikes me.