Meet Gustav

Cute, right? His name is Gustav and he and Leonard are shipped off to a new home for some adorable twins I know. He was made from a pattern I found here using the sequin sweater. That magenta material? I found it at IKEA, of all places.

I'd like to think he gives new meaning to spotted pig.

Meet Leonard

Sometimes when I'm having one of those days (or weeks!) I like to lighten my spirit by making goofy things. Like puppets and stuffed animals, possibly a gnome or two. Today I'd like you to meet Leonard. 
He has a little surprise underfoot, er, under-tentacle. 
Rainbow buttons!
Originally based off my first design, Inky who had a more pastel look to her. 

Learning Phase

I am a acid dyer, through and through. I like to dye fiber that comes from animals - protein based fiber - and this is because of the brilliance of color that can be achieved and consistancy of how things are absorbed. I have control. (Issue? What issue?) And I've been doing it for a while, so I get it. I know how the fiber will react.
Recently, I had this crazy idea to get into cellulose dyeing - essentially dyeing plant based fibers like cotton and linen and such. I wanted to make quiltied pillows and even went so far as to model some things in Illustrator:
I know. This is serious. 
Anyway, I dip dyed a bunch of squares in some procion mx dye. Yes, that is a chopstick suspending the squares in the liquid. I couldn't hold them, since it takes a full hour for everything to steep and set properly.
Then when they were all dry and ironed, I sewed them together. None of the squares line up quite right due to the fact that all that water soaking loosened the fibers, the edges frayed a bunch and my neat squares became rectangles. I didn't realize this until mid-sew. Awesome. 

The fabric was left over from a quiling project I had a while ago. The fibers are blue in one direction and pink in the other giving the fabric an overall purple look. Due to this fiber alignment, it can look more blue or more pink depending on how it's oriented. I purposely aligned the fabric in opposite directions so that the color change would come through in quadrants. The effect is pretty amazing:

Blue fibers run horizontally in the upper right and lower left quadrants.
Overall, a great learning project. Need a little more practice on my quilting and cotton dyeing skills!

Stupid Sale...

I went to IKEA in August, and they always put their fabric from the previous season on super sale. I'm pretty sure this was part of last year's winter fabric. Something attracted me to it.

Then I did something I "never" do, I bought 6 yards of it. Yeah. That's a lot. I don't normally do that since I need to have a project in mind, or else it will never get used. But it was cheap, and it's a heavy weight cotton. Don't worry, it's getting used.

I'm making pillows - more on that soon. And maybe a quilt? I'll certainly have enough fabric for that...

Floss. Not the teeth kind...

Oh. Sigh. Most days are fleeting because I get to actually make something. And some days? They're spent organizing. That yarn book I made? I use it all the time. So I'm hoping that what I spent a solid amount of time doing today will pay off in the end.

I've been doing a bit of embroidering lately, something my mother taught me how to do when I was young - maybe 10-ish? I've been using this floss to do some basic embroidery for the notebook style holders, and pillows I've been making (more on those later), and sewing in my tags into scarves and what not.

Except this is how I've been storing my floss.

Yikes, right? It's been in that bag since I was 10 - double yikes. Today I wanted to start another pillow, but when I reached for my "bag o' fun", I couldn't figure out how to get a certain color thread out. [Explitve here.] It's essentially a big Rat King, as you can see above, and although I can untangle everything without cutting, I really needed to do something to reduce the amount of time that takes.

What's funny, is that I had two fixes that I implemented when I was 11 or so (it took me a year to realize that this rat king was going to happen with my new precious floss).

First was the tee solution. My dad is an avid golfer and I'm pretty sure I stole a bunch of his old tees:

Except that there was no where to attach the other end and they would ultimately unravel. The other solution was cardboard, except it was missing the crucial cut in the cardboard to hold the loose end. Yes, both are original solutions from 20 years ago. I was so close. Oy.

I was at Michael's today and found a handy little solution (I really didn't feel like making my own) for a couple of bucks. Winder + cards:

Don't you worry, I'll be making cardboard cards when I run out of those. It's a little ridiculous to be paying for some plastic thing that won't degrade, and cardboard is sturdy enough to reuse in the future. I was just in a rush to get things organized. (Boo, I know.)

Oh, just looking at that picture makes me feel so much better, no?

You'll poke your eye out!!!!

Oh, friends. It is almost close to that wonderful (or hated, depending on who you are) holiday season. The other night I was gently reminded of the famed A Christmas Story, the movie beloved by all, although I still maintain that my family knew about it before yours and before it was played on TBS non stop Christmas Day. Seriously. My folks are from Cleveland. We represen'.

So, I was sewing together some really sweet pillow cases that involved knitted samples and felted wool, when all of a sudden, my sewing foot got caught on the knitting - although I didn't realize it at the time - and BAM! the needle broke into three pieces, with the center piece hitting me one inch from my right eye. 

Dear sweet jeebus. I have this severe worry that I'm going to loose an eye one of these days, either by cat claw or rouge needle.

And of course that was followed by not one, but three separate needles breaking.... One mangled in the base plate:

Took a good amount of force to even get the plate off. Ooof. Guess I was just having a bad day....