Friday, March 28

Crafty Loot

Yesterday was a day off for Gordan, so we set off, delightedly enjoying each other's company to an almost ridiculous degree, to run a couple of errands; one of which was to buy a certain book on embroidery that had been slowly and quietly working in the back of my mind.

This is what I ended up with:

Doodle Stitching by Aimee Ray. Most craft books I seem to love either for the introductory chapters, or the projects in the back. In this case, it's for the introductory chapters. And that's what this book is really about anyway: turning your own simple art and doodles into embroidery.

Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson. This book, on the other hand, I got for the projects. I'm not sure if it even has introductory chapters. Oh right, there is one, but it's stuck in the back; pretty good, though. There are exactly seven projects in here that I absolutely, deeply love. The first one is the little birds which are featured on the cover photograph. And all the projects are sorted and labeled with the amount of time they take, so you know exactly what you're getting into.

The ultimately fantastic thing for me is that (a) most of these projects are meant to be handsewn, and many are small enough that this is quite easy and quick. This is so great because frankly I am still completely intimidated by the sewing machine and not yet ready to start there. (I'm keeping my eye out for nice basic sewing classes.) (b) These projects can also be embroidered, making them all the more exciting, and also giving me the opportunity to practice two new skills at once.

Lately I've been wearing an old scarf that I made several years ago. (Oh, now I'll have to take and post a picture. Here it is.) It's been reminding me how much knitting was, for me, about playing with color. It also remind me of the first scarf I made, in garter stitch, but using a gorgeous rainbow of yarns dyed in multiple colors; it was really beautiful, and I gave it to a friend. In fact I think this garish pink-red scarf is made primarily with leftovers from that first scarf. Right now I'm stuck on a vest with a burgundy yarn... it's all right, but it's not an inspiring yarn for me. As these project ideas were churning and combining in my head yesterday, I realized that color and sometimes concept are basically why I do (or don't do) this. Now the idea I'm most excited about will have to remain a secret for the time being. But it's exciting! Gordan says that I talked about all this for eight hours in total yesterday. Yep. Pretty exciting. For me anyway.

Bend The Rules Sewing by Amy Karol. This book, meanwhile, I got for the introductory chapters. And there are, I must admit, some patterns I like inside as well. Her clear and practical approach, and the descriptions of stitches and supplies, are just what I need. (And I'm tired of requesting and renewing this book from the library!)

And last but not least, Embroidered Textiles by Sheila Paine. Now this book is the big find of the day! I don't even know where to begin. Except perhaps that yesterday evening was spent at a Dragana's, passing this book around so everyone could spend some time looking at it and reading it--and these are people who are far more interested in religious studies than embroidery. It is full of amazing pictures, and also covers the symbols and signs used in traditional embroidery, and their origins in ancient religion. Just a fantastic book. And good for some unusual ideas, as well. There are two links in the title because one shows the apparently out of print copy I have, with reviews, and the other seems to link to a new edition that's coming out soon.

And then today, my delivery from arrived...

These are all Amy Butler fabrics, except for the quilt backing fabric on the far left. These might be for a quilted pillowcover project to do later on. 

At this point I'm basically collecting fabric that I love, as I mentioned recently. They don't have to get used in a project right away.

And these are some selections from a "Moda Simplicity 5" Charm Pack" with which I'm quite impressed. I wasn't expecting much at all, just something to practice on. Instead there are these very pretty patches. There are pink, white, yellow, green, and blue patches, roughly eleven of each. In this picture I laid out most of the pink ones, then two whites, two yellows, one blue and one green.

I'd get this again, happily; these are just the kind of pretty classic patterns that I really like, but not enough to buy that much of. Next time in fact I'll get bigger patches, if they are available.

Then, last and least, we have these large tie dyed... velvet pieces? How did I miss that these were velvet? I also got these just to practice on, so I wasn't expecting much, but they won't do. I'll have to give them away to some very happy velvety hippie. Or, I don't know, maybe someday they'll have a use... maybe someday I'll develop a hankering for a pair of flashy velvet pants or something...

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