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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

In the Bag...

I finished part of the bags for my nieces last night. Their names are stenciled and painted, leaving me with decals. Once those are done they are set for Yule. We bought them crafty little knickknacks to put in which will make them happy. Yule gifts may seem premature, but considering how large our families are, last Yule would have been a good place to start for this year.

And other than the bags, I am pretty much craft-dead. We are too broke to buy any more craft supplies this month, and until I borrowed the paint from my mother in law, I couldn't even finish the girls' bags. I also found a spool of fishing line at my parents' house too, which is exactly what I needed to make the curtain that will ultimately go across the back of the wedding canopy's frame in our ceremony. With the wedding in eleven months (almost 10) it doesn't seem like I have enough time. I plan on making one string tonight, so I can show the ladies at my Meet and Greet what I have in mind. I'm not even sure if I'll like it, so tonight will be my first night stringing the beads and flowers. I hope it turns out well!

Not being able to buy new crafting supplies has really increased my rate of completion, I must note. I have finished several knitting projects, organized both my craft and my knitting areas, and have set aside the materials for several projects. My next project, set for this Friday or Saturday, is fusing together the plastic bags that I have been collecting for some time now. I have the instructions from a friend on Ravelry, so I intend to get it done soon. It will be nice to have the most complex project for my bridesmaids out of the way, I still have so much to do for them!

Being tight on cash has also made me think about purchases I have planned for the future. Do I really want to buy the wood and paint for my Yule boxes if I can't finish my wedding projects? Do I want to make the chuppah if the veil isn't done? With all these questions in my mind I sat down and really thought about my priorities. Yes, I do indeed need the yarn to knit my veil with. But I could hold off on buying the fabric for for the quilt. Eventually there will be a sale and I can get it even cheaper, right? So I came up with this list to keep track of what projects I would like to finish before I go gallivanting off to buy new materials. There are, of course, knitting projects listed but I suppose I can't keep the blogs separate forever!

1. Totes - With only decals left, I have fabric paint and hard plastic used to make personalized stencils. It shouldn't be hard to come up with the proper designs from the Internet.
2. Garters - I have quite a bit of crochet thread ready to be turned in to garters and the necessary materials to complete them (Dye, bias tape, elastic, etc)
3. Second Handkerchief - All I need to do is put the initials on the corner and I'll be done
4. Third Handkerchief - I can't buy the yarn for the edging but I can certainly finish knitting the body and weaving in the multiple ends my lovely cat created when she broke the yarn in several places. * Grumble *
(She's fine btw, I made sure!)
5. Hope Chest - It would be nice to have this done by my wedding, and we're very close. We have all the necessary paper, we just need to finish scraping the old paper out from inside and apply the new stuff.
6. Invitations - My fiance is designing our invitations, and I can't wait to finish them!
7. Giraffe - I promised my cousin a knit giraffe for Yule and bought the yarn last month
8. Sample Strand - I need to make a sample strand for the curtain
9. All my No-Knit Night projects - These are knit projects that only need sewing done, thats it.

And because I am in a list making mood (I usually am) here are the projects I would like to compelte this year, prefarably before the Yule season.
1. Veil - I will be buying the yarn next month or in August
2. Garters - All 6 (I'm a dreamer)
3. Handkerchiefs - Given that this is a great car & social project, I hope to have these done before the end of the summer!
4. Invitations - Yeah, I'm getting pushy on these LOL
5. My sister's tote - I need new paint, so I will raid my MIL's house again (I already checked my mom!) and see if I can find her favorite color. If not, I'm off to the craft store next month.
6. Quilt Design - At least. Part of the quilt itself would be nice.
7. Bracelets - I don't know what style yet, but I would like to finish the memorial bracelets
8. Memorial candle - How do you put a picture on a candle again?
9. Hope Chest - One good weekend of work and its done!
10. Altar Table - My fiance could probably do this in a few hours, then I get to paint it! =D

I'm pretty excited to see what all we can get done before Yule!!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Inaugural Address....

I am WitchyCrafter, though Witchy will work for short. I have started this blog to chronicle my various crafting projects. I have another blog, Twisted Yarns, which follows my knitting adventures. Most of the next year's blog posts will be wedding related, as I am getting married in May of 2011 and we are doing most of the work ourselves. I have several projects in mind that I will be working on, most starting at the end of the month. Most of them are either gifts for my Bridesmaids or decor items for the ceremony and reception. I will also be posting about crafts that are not wedding related, but those are going to be fewer than those that are for my wedding. What can I say, a wedding is a lot of work!

Since I have yet to really start any of them, I think a list would be best. Most of these are simple projects that shouldn't take me long once I get them figured out, and some will require a lot of help. A few have already been started but most are on hold for various reasons. I hope that I can share a lot of my crafty joy with any who read this blog, and I plan on posting often and at great length. So, here we go!

  1. A "Wedding Curtain" - the area behind our officiant is not the most attractive space, sporting an old fire pit and a few benches. Campers also frequent the area we have chosen to get married in, so a beaded curtain featuring silk flowers and petals will be hung behind the officiant to block such views.
  2. A Chuppah and Frame -I am not Jewish and neither is my fiance, but the idea of a canopy to cover us during the ceremony is a great one. My fiance burns easily and I don't like to squint LOL. We hope to make the canopy out of a handmade quilt we will use as a wedding quilt and the frame will be reused as something else once the ceremony is over as well.
  3. Wedding Altar - In the ceremony space there is a water mane, covered by a not-very-attractive green dome. My fiance has promised to make me a cylinder shaped table to place over it, which will serve as the altar at our wedding.
  4. Fused Plastic Bags - These bags are cute, environmentally friendly and are intended as gifts for my bridesmaids. A friend of mine has shown me how, and I can't wait to get started. I will certainly link her blog when I post the project itself.
  5. Memorial Candle - My sister in law, who was also one of my best friends, passed away earlier this year. I plan to make a large memorial candle, including her picture, to be placed at our ceremony.
  6. Memorial bracelets - In addition to the candle, I am making a bracelet for each bridesmaid to wear, I will also wear one, and I plan to put an additional charm on my bouquet.
  7. Personalized Totes - This project is not for the wedding, but for Yule. Last year I made one for each of my nieces and they have effectively used them to death since. I am going to make them new ones this year, so it should be interesting to see if they want different decorations!
  8. Christmas boxes - On top of being a crafter, a witch and a student, I am an environmentalist. The amount of wrapping paper used every Christmas bothers me, especially since most of it is non-recyclable. Until I can find a gorgeous recycled wrapping paper, I have decided to use a more permanent solution. I got the idea from the Make it Green Girl podcast, which is no longer on the air, but she had some great tips. One was to designate a specific box and wrap it in fabric or reusable paper, thus creating your Christmas "Gift box". I am taking this a step farther and painting wooden boxes to appeal to each child in my family, and a catch-all for the adult I choose in our Christmas Lottery.  Certified wood and non-VOC paint of course!
I'm sure there are more but that is all I can think about at the moment. Hopefully I can get cracking on some of these before too long, though there is another wedding in my family this month, so I've put most on hold until after that. I may work on any that I won't require assistance on, but there are a few I need help with and those will have to wait!

I got a Knitting jones...



I am at work and all I want to do is get home and put the border on my second handkerchief, cast on for the third, work a row in my Rainbow Baby Blanket, and sew the appendages for the dolls. Rumor is that employees were allowed to knit a few years back but they vetoed the right after someone ignored patrons while knitting. I would like to know who so I can kick them in the arse. There is very little to do at work, so I lurk on Ravelry and add patterns to my favorites and my queue.






After a year of putting it off, I finally embroidered the initials on my first Handkerchief. I have discovered that thinner paper works better, as do letters in a connected style. I originally tried a font that formed letters from disconnected lines, known as Ductus, but it didn't turn out well at all. I've also decided not to add flowers or other embroidery because I think the initials add classic elegance and need no other embellishment.







The second Handkerchief needs the edging and embroidery done, but now that I know what I am doing neither should take me very long. I plan on having the entire handkerchief completed by Sunday night at the latest. Handkerchiefs three and four will be started soon, though they make great car projects so I may save them for later in the summer, when we will be traveling. I can also knit them in public without anyone asking what I am making, which is a bonus because I would like them to be a surprise. I think my mom knows by looking at my Ravelry page, but I have other surprises for her!







The Baby Blanket has become my least favorite project. It takes so long and is becoming obnoxious. I have decided that I will not buy any more yarn for it, particularly since I started the project as a way to eat through my myriad acrylic yarns. I hope to have it done before fall, but it is not a priority.







My other WIP that I am really excited about is my pair of dolls, intended for my niece's Christmas present. I meant to give them to her last year but I ran out of time, underestimating the amount of time and energy my job would take. Word to the wise: If you're going to work for a fast food joint, make sure they are a properly functioning one. If something big has gone wrong, the little people have to pay for it. The store I worked in was falling apart, and I ended up working two months worth of ten hour shifts, starting on day one. Needless to say that took all my energy, and then I came down with the (dreaded) Swine Flu to boot. I was too burnt out to finish the dolls by Christmas so I put them away to restart this year. I will certainly have them done in time, especially since I could finish them tonight!







The wedding garter has become an elephant in the room, so to speak. I would like to finish it but I am terrified of messing it up when I sew on the bias tape and elastic. I should really do it, but I think it may wait until my next No-Knit Night. In the meantime I have cast on for a second garter and I plan on getting at least three more done before the end of summer.







As for the No-Knit Night, it was s smashing success, as I wrote yesterday. I think I will try to get one every two weeks, though that depends on what I have going on and if any event requires a knit gift. I know I have a box full of half-finished projects somewhere, and it would be nice to see all those washcloths finished.







On a more crafty note, I think I will start yet another blog, this one to detail my non-knitting crafts. I have seen many project pages on Ravelry containing the details of these projects, but I think my blog will be enough for me. I hope to fill it with all the wedding related projects I have waiting for me, which will more than likely take most of the next year to complete LOL.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Success!

My no-knit night was a success. I got the embroidery and sewing done on my two dolls. I will be knitting the arms and legs soon and sewing them on during my next No-Knit Night. I also finished all the seaming on the garter pockets. Its a great feeling to have them done. Leaving long tails was especially helpful when seaming, as was going along the same seam more than once. I closed a lot of gaps that way.

When I resumed knitting tonight I resumed work on my Rainbow Baby Blanket. I used yarn that was much too thick and I have gotten tired of working on it. I started the project to work on a blanket but I am not pleased with the way it has turned out. I plan on donating it to a friend's charity, I Love My Blanky, which makes and donates blankets for the homeless. Its a tedious blanket, and I will certainly pick a more interesting one next time.

I also restarted the Hopechest Handkerchief project tonight. My first handkerchief is complete except for the lettering and embroidery, which I have checked out a book on. At first I tried to freehand the lettering, but that did not work. The original pattern suggests using tracing paper pinned to the handkerchief, and I recommend doing so. Freehand is a lot harder than it seems! Hopefully I will have it done by next week, after almost a year of hibernation. It was one of the first projects I put on Ravelry and it will be nice to see it finished.

As of tonight I am down to four WIPs, five hibernating projects and one frogged project. I eventually intend to complete them all, and to redo the frogged item. With things as crazy as they are at the moment, that may take a while.

I still have all the other crafts to do, seaming took more time than I thought it would. Sunday is my day off, however, and I plan to make the most of it!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The No-Knit Night

I have decreed that tonight is a No-Knit night! Over the last three or four days I have knit quite a bit, completing my last pocket garter, two doll headdresses, and beginning another lace garter. As a result my hands have started to hurt and there are several "completed" objects in need of attention. This attention can range from embroidered embellishments to crocheted trimming to the weaving in of ends and the sewing of seams.

I may be able to finish my first Hope Chest Handkerchief this week, as long as I can find a good book on calligraphy to trace and copy letters from. Once I have done that, it will be complete!

The second Hope Chest Handkerchief still needs a border as well as embellishment, so that will take me a bit longer. I also need to find my old copy of the pattern so I can read over the notes I wrote the first time. Once I have both of those completed (and I can work it in to the budget LOL) I will order the same yarn the other two were knit from, so I can make one for my MIL and my StepMIL as well. Maybe even one for me and each BM, though that really depends on time and cost.

The cabbage and flower dolls are coming along rather quickly. Since frogging the original flowered headdresses I have re-knit the purple one and completed the cabbage headdress. Tonight I will embroider the faces and sew the headdresses on.

I also have to weave in the ends on two more pocket garters, as well as sew up the seams. I completed one while at a family party on Monday, but seaming takes a lot more attention than knitting and I put it away after a bit so I could be more social. Hopefully I can have them all done by this weekend and they can be checked off my list!

My intention is to complete all my WIPs and at least half of my hibernating projects by the time the semester starts in August. I don't knit much during the school year, and I have lots of other crafts to do as well.

Since this is mostly a knitting blog, I don't really want to get in to the other crafts I am doing. Instead, I will list them below. At least that way I can make sure I won't forget them! =)

Crafts Left To Do:
  1. Wedding Curtain (This will be used to make sure the unsightly things behind our officiant aren't captured on film LOL)
  2. The Wedding Canopy (Large enough to cover my fiance, the officiant, and I as well as our altar)
  3. Christmas Bags (For my nieces)
  4. Christmas boxes (to replace all the wrapping paper and conserve waste)
  5. BM's necklaces
  6. Dusty's Memorial Candle
  7. Memorial Bracelets
  8. Spa Kits (For Christmas)
I also intend to spend a great deal of time tonight baking and preparing some healthy desserts we can eat during the week. There are also some household chores to be done, but they certainly have no place in my knitting blog, they're too depressing!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Organized Knitting? Impossible!

I, like many other knitters, recently got tired of misplacing my patterns and using yarn intended for project A for project B instead! All that was compounded by living with my fiance and two cats in a tiny studio apartment, and I decided to do something about it. Amidst pulling my hair out for unrelated reasons, I struck upon a solution. After two hours, I have a folder for in-progress and queued patterns, which is in a basket with a number of labeled bags and tupperware containers, each containing a single project.

I must say that this system is so effective! It forced me to find as many patterns as I could, put them all in one place, then clean up the messes certain UFOs had become. The dolls intended for me niece had half-frogged accessories mingled with yarn intended for the dolls' arms, as well as extra needles that were not even the right size! My desire for a clean and organized work environment gave me the fortitude to dig through that tangled mess and set it all to rights. In one sitting I frogged a flowered headdress intended for a doll I decided not to make, frogged another flowered headdress that was much too big for the dolls, balled all the reclaimed yarn, stored what I no longer needed and cast on for a resized headdress.

Other projects have finally reached completion, such as the book cozy I knit some time ago. After sitting in various bins for three years I finished seaming the edges and put it to use, holding my current book. I must admit that it is not my finest work, but I am proud that I finished it. The edging will need work as time goes on, I have no idea what I was doing when I first made it. The project reminded me of how many skills I have learned through knitting, and of other skills I have honed. It really is surprising!

I also did one project, start to finish, in less than 24 hours. The Doughnut pincushion is my current crown jewel, because I do not normally knit and I am very proud of how well it come out. I've already used it to hold the pins I blocked my garter with!

My garter is my most complex project to date. While my Tank Top was my first garment, and it taught me a new cast on method, the garter is my first lace work, and my first foray in to sewing a knit item. I purchased the bias tape and elastic last night and hope to have it sewn on by this weekend. It will certainly need more starch, and I need to take more time with it, but that is why I am throwing my first garter at the wedding. LOL The yellow ribbon looks fantastic in it, and looking back on the project it knit up much quicker than I expected.
 
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