Thursday, March 31, 2011

3 Gates, 12 urns, and a border

I don't seem to have gotten very far with Knotgarden the last two weeks, but here's what I've done. Still lots to do, but I am putting it away to work on a Mirabilia or two and give myself a break.

A couple of weeks ago, I also started keeping an Ort jar....why not, right? I had a spare jar, I certainly have lots of ends. Here it is thus far:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

More Knotgarden

It's been a busy week and I don't seem to have gotten much done on Knotgarden at all...ack! I have however finished off the third gate and am currently working on the flowers/greenery at either end. Confetti stitching. How do I love thee. NOT!

And no, your eyes are not deceiving you - I have finally started filling in some of the specialty stitches, starting with some of the Algerian eyelets in the border. The pattern calls for using just a single thread but I didn't care for how that looked, so two threads it is. The eyelets are fairly simple to make as long as you can manage to get them started properly AND keep the tension even throughout since you want to open a small hole in the middle (hence, an eyelet!). I just did a few down the one side so far, but they're fairly quick to bang out. Hopefully the rest of the specialty stitches will go that smoothly.

You may recall in previous posts that I debated for a long time whether to spring for the hand dyed silks for this project or just substitute DMC. I ended up going with using the Caron Waterlilies conversion rather than Thread Gatherer mostly because they were just easier to get. I've also used Waterlilies more in the past and there was a better chance that I'd be able to use any leftovers since that's what Mirabilia uses. While hand dyed silk fibers ARE gorgeous and bright and have their own luminescence, I will say that if you wanted to use DMC, the final product would still be gorgeous.

I pulled out the baggie of beads for Knotgarden as well. Specifically I wanted the Kreinik so I could start adding that to the gate. I'd forgotten how many beads are in here! A lot of those are the Treasures, so it's not like they're all the tiny seed beads that need to go on. As always, I won't start beading until all the stitching and specialty stitches are in.

And as always, when one project is nearing an end, I'm thinking about the next project. It's been 2+ years since I decided to do a couple of the Chatelaine garden mandalas, and I still think I got it right with three I picked to do (Knotgarden, Watergarden, Alhambra Garden). I still love all three designs, to the point where no other Chatelaine is going to line jump. I appreciate that I went with projects with no over-1 stitching and had reasonably affordable materials lists. Every time I look at the patterns...I'm just so in love with them still. Good call, if I do say so myself!

I have decided that I rather like some of the architectual Chatelaines mandalas and will probably do some of those after I've worked on these Gardens. But that's what - 4 years before I will finish the next two? No rush to decide!

I am very much looking forward to getting Watergarden started. I have the DMC floss for it, as I got a piece of blue fabric in trade a while ago and wanted to do a floss drop. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll end up using that fabric - the blues of the center don't pop enough off it, and I need to get a piece of antique white instead. Rather than piece together all the beads/specialty threads like I've done with Knotgarden, I'm going to go ahead and order the kit from European Cross Stitch. That should make my life a little easier!

I'm debating a little bit whether or not I'll just work on Watergarden until it's done or get started on Alhambra and work on both at one time...what's another BAP, right? I'm at the point where Knotgarden HAS gotten a little repetitive, but at least it's a couple of weeks out from being completed.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Baby Afghans

Off to a family baby shower today, so you know I had to make something special for the little one. With baby afghans, I typically chose to do simple designs in highly washable yarns - they're meant to be used, washed frequently, etc. These are for a little boy, hence a lack of ruffles or other florishes.

This one is just a simple shell pattern. The yarn is a super-soft acrylic sport weight in a pretty yellow/turqoise/white ombre, and I used a little solid white for the border.

I opted for a reasonably tight repeat shell pattern so while a lighter blanket, it will still be quite warm. Also, as it's a lighter yarn, it took quite a few extra hours to crochet a blanket of substantial size, and it's a pattern that's easy for me to hammer out.

The other one I did is my favorite of the two.

I fell in love with the yarn, which is Red Heart's "Ocean".

I love the swirling blues and purples in it, so I let that guide me to a pattern. I chose a slightly more open pattern because it's a heavier yarn - standard worsted weight - and I wanted to have kind of a wave pattern to again pull out the ocean theme.

Size wise, it's quite a large afghan so it can cover Mom as well if she's cuddling the baby or be spread out to play on the floor.

I'm really pleased how this one came out, and have tucked instructions away because I could see making it again at some point in the future.

Here's a little detailing of the wave pattern and the edging:

And so, they are off to their new owners today and will be enjoyed.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring is coming!

Or coming along, anyway!

I opted to work on Celtic Spring for a little while this week and made some great progress with her skirt. I need to pick up some gold metallic for her skirt, as there's quite a bit of it throughout and I would prefer to fill some of it in as I move along.

I really like the blending of the lavenders - the 200 series in DMC - and might opt to steal those colors for the lavender conversion of Rose of Sharon I have planned for sometime in the future. I haven't quite nailed down the colors I wanted to do for that, so I might make it simple on myself and just swipe them from Celtic Spring.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Oops....wardrobe malfunction!

Of sorts, anyway. I was trucking along with my #4 peacock Kreinik, filling in a lot of the body area that I'd previously skipped. Ran through the one roll, reached for my backup roll and realized that instead of another #4, my ONS had accidentally sent me a #8....ack!

So here is Queen Mermaid, not quite covered up:

I'll have to order another roll so I can finish her "top".

I'm fairly pleased with my progress overall this week, wardrobe malfunction aside. Finished her tail, filled in more of her body, got started on her arms, hair.

The interesting thing is that depending on the light (day, night, OTT lite, etc), the color of the fabric (Sterling Silver by Silkweaver) keeps changing between gray and blue and somewhere in between. It has a really interesting depth of color and luminosity that I can't seem to quite pick up on the camera (as per usual).

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Mirabilia Mermaid SAL

Towards the end of last year, I joined up with some fellow Mira mermaid enthusiasts on the Mirabilia Stitchers discussion board for a Mermaid stichalong (SAL), where we'd work on our chosen Mermaid the first week of every month.

I opted to do Queen Mermaid, because I had just started her anyway. I ended up not working on her in February because I was cruising along with Garden Verses and enjoying working on her (what can I say - at the end of the day, this IS a hobby to enjoy above all else!). I put away Knotgarden yesterday and got a head start on Queen Mermaid for March.

Here's where she is as of yesterday:

The fabric is Sterling Silver by Silkweaver.

I definitely will finish up her tail fin this week, and probably get some work done on her back and arms. I'll post another picture at the end of the week so I can see how far I got.

As with most Mirabilia mermaids, she seems to be working up fairly quickly. I'm looking forward to having both QM and her companion piece, Deepest Love, finished within a reasonable amount of time.