Friday, February 23, 2018

Starlight, Starbright Dishcloths

These were the final project I made for StudioANF in the Hookers Only Swap.  The requirements were 1 Medium item to help that person crochet, which did not have to be crocheted itself, and 1 Small crocheted item for them to enjoy.  Since I saw she was a Bob's Burger's fan, I had originally intended to make her a Kuchi Kopi doll, but we're having some work done on our house, and when contractors suddenly changed dates on us, we were forced to empty my studio with just a day's notice.  Every single craft supply I own was unceremoniously shoved into the guest room, where it is currently piled to the rafters.     
All I had outside that room was the yarn for an afghan I'm making my husband, and 4 skeins of dishcloth yarn.  Fortunately they were bright happy colors, and I decided to just go with it.  The pattern is free, and can be found HERE
The yarns are all I Love This Cotton in vintage teal, banana, mulberry, and brights (the rainbow multi color).  Hopefully they will make the boring task of doing the dishes just a bit more cheerful. 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Hooker's Helper Necklace & Scrappy

I promised yesterday to share the yarn cutter & stitch marker necklace that I made to match the Scrappy Quilt As You Go Basket.  Each individual charm hanging from the pendant is actually a crochet stitch marker that can be removed and replaced via a lever-back earring hook. They are clipped to a pendant consisting of two sizes of metal hoops, and the large disk is a yarn cutter, perfect for NOT losing your scissors in the couch cushions.

Here are each of the stitch markers laid out individually.  They include Vintaj charms, Czech glass beads, and freshwater pearls. The color scheme was chosen to match the scrappy quilted basket. 

Here's a view of the pendant, when the stitch markers are removed.  I love how it came out, and have ordered a copper toned pendant to make one for myself soon.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Scrappy Quilt-As-You-Go Basket & Scissor Sheath

I recently organized a Hooker's Only Swap on Craftster.  My partner was the very talented StudioANF.  She requested a rectangular basket for keeping a few skeins of yarn in.  This one was made with this pattern from the Bernina Blog, but instead of making the fabric sandwiches, then quilting, I did 2 large quilt-as-you-go panels, then cut the basket pieces out of them.

The basket holds about 4 skeins of average yarn, in this case Caron Simply Soft.  The color scheme came out of one of her Pinterest boards, which was filled with fabrics she liked.  I noticed that most of them were turquoise or teal, with bits of flamingo pink thrown in.  So I dug through my stash for anything that fit. 

I have to say that I'm thrilled with how the basket came out, and I'm glad my first attempt didn't work out, because this is much cuter. 

Studio also had a pair of scissors on her wishlist, which I picked up for her.  Since I made my quilted panels pretty big, I had a little leftover, and made a scissor sheath to match.  It is cut out as a heart, then folded in half, with one of the tops folded down and sewn in place, with some buttons as embellishment.  Tomorrow I'll share the stitch marker and yarn cutter necklace I made her to go with it.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Fairy Godmother Dreamcatcher

While working on a few other projects for the Fairytale Swap, I bumped into some ribbon in my stash that reminded me of the Princess Tote I was working on for my partner.  It was so pretty, I wondered what I could do with it for her, resolving to at least use it to wrap her gifts up.  A few hours later I dug through one of my containers of charms, and saw a magic wand charm, and it came to me.  Fairy Godmother Dreamcatcher!  Full of cute fairytale charms, and beautiful ribbons and fibers reminiscent of princess gowns and gossamer Fairy Godmother wings.  

The hoop is wrapped with the original ribbon, and he web is strung with a few strands of metallic silver and lilac embroidery floss held together.  In the center is a light purple Swarovski crystal heart, with a silver Fairy Godmother on one side, and a pocket watch on the other.  Below that, hung among the ribbons are a rhinestone encrusted angel wing, filigree crescent moon with a pumpkin coach hanging from the center, a magic wand, a crown, and several antique gold stars.  The fibers are a mix of ribbons, seam binding, yarn, threads, etc.  I'm really happy with how it came out, but none of the pictures quite captured the colors correctly; deep sapphire blue, bright lilac purple, burnt pumpkin orange, and a rich magenta. 

The Purple Chairs & Step Stool of My Dreams

Just before buying our house in 2016, I bumped into an Etsy seller, called Nature Inspired Crafts, that made the most beautiful furniture, and promptly fell in love with all of their dining tables.  It was an extra nice surprise that they are here in TN too!  (Kent, the owner and designer was incredibly helpful and very easy to work with.  Fantastic customer service.)  So when we moved in, I started saving for a small table for the breakfast room, and was able to buy it last summer.  The table is made from reclaimed wood, and inset with stunning iridescent tiles in deep purple and blue, that shimmer with hints of olive green, magenta and gold.  Only problem?  The fantastic artist who made it, doesn't make chairs to go with it.  What's a crafty girl to do, besides make them her own damn self?!?! 

Originally I was going to stain whatever chairs I found a solid brown, in the same stain that Kent used, but while looking around for the chairs, I bumped into some on Target's website, that had the back and legs painted in a vibrant color, with the seat in a brown stain.  Clearly the internet was telling me I needed to add some color to the chairs, to stand up to the beautiful color in the tiles.  I searched for unfinished chairs, and finally found some that I liked the shape of, from made by International Concepts for sale on Amazon for $130.  They come in pieces, which was actually perfect for me, as I could stain them all individually before assembling them. 

I began searching for colorful stain, and discovered a company called Unicorn SPiT that makes incredibly bright gel stains.  I admit that this took me a bit of trial and error to get right.  I wanted to be able to see the woodgrain through the stain, and according to their website you can dilute the stain which is VERY thick and goes on like tempera paint. I diluted it to about 80% stain and 20% water, and used a brush to apply it.  Sadly, I didn't like the results.  It was a greyed out purple, and was very streaky.  So I sanded it all back down, and bought another bottle of the stain.  (All of their colors are available on Amazon, and a few of their colors available at Home Depot.)  This time I kept the stain undiluted and used a rag to apply it.  It took 2-3 coats to get good solid coverage, and it dried a bright poster paint purple that was kinda terrible, and had me worried.  (My husband was eying them dubiously at this point.)  After everything was dry and assembled (and sanded and buffed with steel wool several times between coats), I started in on the polyurethane coat.  They got 3 coats of an oil based finish, with a day between coats to dry.  This took the bright (kinda awful) purple into a deep rich tone that I love.  Seriously, I keep going into the kitchen, and just stand there staring at my sparkling new chairs.

After finishing the chairs, I had a bit of the stain left over, and wanted an excuse to use it.  Enter the boring little step stool that lived in the corner of that room.  My husband bought it for me back when we were dating, when he started to get sick of me asking him to reach things for me in the tall cupboards.  About 12 years ago?  The poor thing is used constantly, and had gotten a bit dirty and stained, so I scrubbed it down with soap and water.  Then I sanded it with my new sander and set to work re-staining it.

I wanted it a bit rustic looking, so I sanded a little heavier in some areas, and a bit lighter in others.   It got two coats of Purple Hill Majesty on the body, and 2 coats of Dark Brown on the steps, then 3 coats of oil based finish.  Now it's in the kitchen ready to be of help again, and no longer ashamed of it's shabby appearance compared to the new cool furniture in the room. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

We Can't All Be Princesses Tote

This was a nice quick project made for itsmereba in the Fairy Tale Swap on Craftster.  I found the sentiment repeated on one of her Pinterest boards several times, and decided she needed it on a tote.  The design was cut on my Silhouette Cameo from hot pink, lavender, and gold glitter heat transfer vinyl. 

I worried some other wannabe princess might try to walk off with it when Reba was busy with important matters of her realm, so I added a monogram on the back for her.  The cut files are both from the Silhouette Store online.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Briar Rose Scarf

I recently participated in the Fairytale Swap on Craftster.  My partner itsmereba mentioned that Briar Rose was one of her favorite fairy tales, and I got the idea of creating a scarf reminiscent of the rose vines that surround the castle in the story.  I wanted it to be something she could wear in the mild winter of TX, but that could also be displayed decoratively like a garland in the summer.  I searched around, certain that someone had created a pattern like I was dreaming of, and found the Belle Fleur Scarf by Michele Wilcox/Stitch Nation.  The roses are made from Bernat Satin in Bordeaux and Yarn Bee Soft Secrets in Rosebud, and the vine and leaves are Lion Brand Heartland in Joshua Tree.

I will warn that while the picture makes the scarf look simple, it was actually much more fiddly than I was expecting.  The vine and leaves are created with a foundation chain, then slip stitching all the way back down, making leaves along the way, then slip stitched again back up the other side, again making more leaves on the way.  While none of it was difficult per se, I find slip stitching in such a skinny area a bit tedious, especially when the yarn wants to turn around on itself.  The roses were just plain crazy.  I read the pattern, and tried to follow it, but it didn't make sense at all, so I checked other users comments on Ravelry, and discovered that most people didn't understand what the pattern wanted you to do.  After a lot of frogging and retrying, I did finally figure out the pattern as it was written, but I wasn't very impressed with the finished rose.  It wasn't as big and full as I'd like, so I dug around on Youtube until I found a tutorial I liked by simplydaisy, then altered her method a bit to make the roses just a pinch bigger by adding 6 more petals made from triple crochet stitches.  I've included my rose pattern below.

Rose Pattern (US Terms):
Leaving a long tail (about 10”), chain 54.

Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook. Sc all the way across. (52 sc)

Row 2: Ch 1, turn. Skip next ch space, and trc into 3rd st. 4 trc in same space. (This makes 1 triple crochet shell.) Skip next ch space, sc in next space, skip next chain space, 5 trc in next space. Repeat 4 more times for a total of 6 triple crochet shells.

Skip next ch space, sl st in next space, 5 dc, sl st. (This is 1 double crochet shell.) Repeat double crochet shell 5 more times for a total of 6 dc shells.

5 hdc, sl st. (This is 1 half double crochet shell.) Repeat half double crochet shell 4 more times, for a total of 5 hdc shells.

5 sc, sl st. (This is 1 single crochet shell.) Repeat 2 more times, for a total of 3 sc shells. After slip stitching in last space, fasten off, and leave another long tail.

Working from the sc shell end, start twisting the work into a flower spiral. Use the long tails of thread to sew the petals in place.