Monday, May 29, 2017

May WIPocalypse!

I may be a day late with my WIPocalypse post, but you can expect the same awesomeness you've always experienced here at the CraftyCat blog! Ha ha! I had such a discombobulated day yesterday, starting with a huge downpour when I was supposed to get up and going. So I'm blaming it on the rain.

If you're not familiar with WIPocalypse, you can find more information about it on the Measi's Musings blog. Click HERE to get the details. Then you can go to Melissa's most current blog post to see what other bloggers are doing. It's a lot of fun to see what other stitchers are doing and watching their progress on their various projects.

I hope everyone had a good stitching month. My main project this month was my "June" from the Joyful World series by Snowflower Diaries. I am now very confident that I will have this done and framed so that I can display it in June! Or at least some of June. Congrats to me!

In fact, if I give myself enough time today to stitch, I know that I can get the stitching done on this. Did I tell you how much I love this series? I did? The charts are so thoughtfully done, with pretty details, and the color combinations are beautiful. You can find a link to the Facebook group (which contains all of the free charts!) right HERE. Just look in the photos section. And if you scroll down, you'll see other stitchers' work and finishing ideas.

I didn't pick up any of my other WIPs this month, but I do have another start! So let's add "Rainbow Row" to my WIP list! And, yes, I'm considering this a start even though I have only put a total of 5 stitches into it. That counts, right?
Look closely. See, it's a start!
It's being stitched on 32-count Jobelan and the fabric size is a lot larger than what I'm used to - about 13" high and 36" wide. I'm going to have to figure out how to "tame" the excess fabric while I'm working on a section. I don't use any kind of frames or q-snaps when I stitch. I either stitch in hand or with a hoop. I will be using a hoop for this, but what do I do with the fabric I'm not working on? Any ideas? All suggestions will be welcome!

Question Of The Month:  Which designer's projects do you absolutely love, but are too intimidated to try?
That's easy. It would have to be Heaven And Earth Designs. I've been seeing their designs up close since I helped out a friend in her LNS a while back. People would come in and show me their projects and to be honest, I always felt a little overwhelmed. But at the same time, I thought they were gorgeous. And I just saw THIS and was tempted for about five minutes. Wow. I still may be tempted.

Plans for June: I'll continue to work on some kind of rotation, even though my rotation style lately has been pretty wacky. My goal is to start another Joyful World month after completing "June". In doing a little organizing, I found some smalls that I've kitted up and have never started, so I may be introducing another start next month as well.

So that about sums up my month of May. I have to say that being in this group does inspire me to stitch more. Have a great June, everyone!

Monday, May 22, 2017

I Think I Can!

In an attempt to complete some of the Joyful World monthly designs in a somewhat timely way, I chose to stitch "June" after "January". That way I'd have it done in time for June and could display it, right? Well, here we are, speeding toward the end of May, and this is what I have done.
So here's what's left: The border and the apricots on the tree. Not too bad. I think that if I get it done before the middle of June, I'll be doing pretty well. These charts are so much fun to stitch. First, they're all adorable. In addition, the Gentle Arts threads are so nice to work with and you can see the subtle shading as you stitch. I am also very happy with the fabric that I chose for this project.

I guess the big question will be which month to stitch after I complete "June". Maybe "December"? Ha ha. So I can have it completed by December.

I finally kitted up my new project.
It's Rainbow Row by CW Designs. Steph, my daughter-in-law, picked this one out for me when she and Matt visited Charleston SC last year. I'll be stitching it on 32-count ivory Jobelan. I had most of the threads in my stash, and only had to buy two colors! There are maybe 60 different colors, although I didn't count. But what a pretty combination of colors. And guess what! Mark and I went to Charleston this past weekend and I got to see the Rainbow Row in person! Yes, I can see the inspiration for this beautiful cross stitch chart. This will be fun to stitch.  I think I'll put the first stitches into Rainbow Row this week and officially add it to my WIP collection.

Thank you for visiting my blog today, and thank you for all of your kind comments. I enjoy hearing what you have to say. I'd also like to say "Welcome!" to my new followers. I appreciate each one of you and hope that you'll continue to come here and see what I'm up to!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Oven - It's Not Just For Dinner Anymore

I found out something today. Get this: you can bake fabric in your oven! Yes, you heard me right. Baked fabric! We stitchers are always looking for new and different fabrics to use in our projects. I've been wanting to try my hand at dyeing my own fabric for some time now. Looking through Pinterest gave me some ideas, as did my imagination. But I haven't just gone and done anything about it until today.

Somewhere on the internet or Youtube, I saw a reference to The Twisted Stitcher's "Basted and Baked" dyed fabric, and had to look it up right then. Yes, I thought, this is the perfect way to test out my fabric dyeing skills. You can find the instructions HERE. 

I picked up some of the MCG Textiles fabric that Vonna mentions in the instructions, and also decided to use the coffee AND tea combination.

"Before" picture of the fabric, along with foil-covered cookie sheet with sides.
Above you see my strong tea and coffee mixtures. Mmmmmm, both of those look good enough to drink. My fabric went into the pot and then I poured the coffee and tea over it. The fabric stayed in the pot for about 10 minutes and then went onto the cookie sheet all bunched up. Then into the 250 degree Fahrenheit preheated oven.
Here's the fabric after two 15-minute go-rounds. Note the singe-y parts.
Yes, parts of the fabric started to get a little singed during the second 15 minute go-round in the oven. It's important that you keep an eye on your fabric because it can burn just like food can in the oven! Remember that! Vonna mentions that she is not responsible for destroyed or burned results that the reader may have when trying out this technique, and neither am I. Pay close attention to what's going on and don't get distracted by headless-drivers-going-through-the-drive-through videos. Or what your neighbor is having delivered. You know what I mean.
After three 15-minute go-rounds in the oven. Looks good to me.
I did three 15 minute go-rounds in the oven, watching the fabric very carefully. After the first and second go-rounds, I drizzled a little of the coffee/tea mixture onto the fabric. Not too much. I also re-wadded the fabric to get more of the mottled look. After the three 15 minute turns in the oven, I let the fabric cool a bit for easier handling and then rinsed it in cold water. Next I went to the ironing board (which I covered with an old, thick towel) and gave it a good pressing on both sides.
And there's my fabric, all pressed and hanging to dry! It's a very cool antiqued color and has a mottled effect, just like I was hoping for. And both sides are slightly different. I proclaim this as a success and want to thank Vonna, The Twisted Stitcher, for posting the instructions on her blog.

Things to remember if you're doing this:
--Different types of fabric will hold the dye differently. Natural fibers like linen and cotton tend to dye a little darker than fabrics containing synthetic fibers. I was wondering about putting a fabric with synthetic fibers into the oven, and then I saw that Vonna had used Lugana, which contains viscose. How about Jobelan? If you know the answer to that, please share!
--The cold water rinse does wash some of the dye out. Expect your finished product to be a little lighter in color after that rinse than when you took it out of the oven.
--Watch your fabric carefully when it's in the oven! Oh, did I already mention that? Yes? I can't say it enough! Be careful, just as you would with anything in the oven!
--This is indeed colorfast. Please see the comments section of this post.
--The whole process took me a little over an hour total to complete. 

Will I be doing this project again! Yes, definitely! I am very happy with the result and now only have to figure out what to stitch on it. I did see a really pretty chart online........