Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mortem's Tricks or Treats: A Looming Feeling + Putting Bats on Things

It's fairly obvious by now that the coming of the winter season has put in high gear the desire for warmer crafts.

Knitting has always been something I have aspired to learn, and it took me a while to teach myself how to do it (I want to say 10 months, but I am never sure-- I'm constantly learning)... though I often wonder if I have too many hats and scarves, by now.

It wasn't till a few months after completing my first project that I found out about looms for knitting...
Boy, the ease of use with these-- I can't help feel like a cheater sometimes! Heheh.

I have two sets, one circular and one rectangular. You can guess from the shape what it essentially produces-- though there are many kinds of looms by now, not nearly as many as were easily available when my younger brother and mother purchased me my sets.
The first project I ever made on a loom was actually posted in the past, though I am still so new to loom knitting even now, that I continually discover new stitches and ways of using the two basic types of looms.

Where there's yarn...
I'm secretly hoping santa brings me a Martha Stewart modular knitting loom set (I know, I'm greedy! I already had presents!)-- it's the only one of its kind currently, and the potential crafts are exciting to say the least.

During my myriad of hospital and clinical appointments for my gallbladder and subsequently my surgery, I was taking my looms with me... but it was apparent I was missing something-- an easy way to carry everything on the go.
And so began the quest for the perfect knitting travel kit.

It first began as a humble altoid tin, but as the need for specific tools increased, so did the need for a little more space and flexibility in a carrying case.

The lining is purple, the zipper teeth are pink and the zip purple! But it was missing something...

I remembered a travel makeup case my mother sent me that I absolutely love, but was missing the final and pleasing element it so desperately needed.

So, I ... put a bat on it!

I betcha it's flying all over the cave....

I don't actually like the show Portlandia, but this skit gets me hollering with laughter quickly-- probably because I do the same with bats...

Everything is made better when you put a bat on it-- fact!

And now, I have an awesome travel knitting case, and I even included the oh so humble altoid tin-- in miniature form!

What's in the bag:
  • Mini altoid tin full of handmade stitch markers
  • Panda shaped retractable tape measure
  • Purple silicone needle tip covers
  • Stitch counter
  • Stitch and needle gauge
  • Cable needle
  • Burt's Bees cuticle cream and lip balm-- for chapped lips and fingers!
  • Stitch holder
  • Mini bamboo crochet hook and darning needle
  • Bean shaped mini snip scissors (I attached it to the bag)

Since I don't think I'll be slowing my knitting till spring, and since all my friends and loved ones are covered with gifts, I am going to be making available the purchase of some of my surplus knitted goods.
It would help me raise money for the supplies needed to begin the steps towards making my aspirations for a small craft business come to fruition.
Without further ado, here's the first item up for grabs.

Kawaii Kitty (or bat if you prefer...) Headband

Half loom knit, half needle knit with thick/bulky acrylic yarn. It's super soft and especially warm for the coming winter months. I decorated the ears with a bow and a few acrylic pearls.

I am asking $25.00 U.S. with $3.00 shipping within the U.S.
International buyers, please email me (address located on right side bar) for a shipping quote.

Care Instructions:
Gently handwash, don't wring dry-- gently squeeze excess water, and continue patting with a towel. Do not tumble dry-- air dry flat on a towel.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Mortem's Tricks or Treats: Santa Came Early

When speaking of material gifts, there are 3 things that you're guaranteed never to go wrong with:

  1. Gifts made from your own two hands
  2. Gifts made for their hands... aka, hobby supplies.
  3. Gift card to their favorite, or most frequented place of shopping-- that can even be the grocery store (hell, I would love it if someone foot my grocery bill, heh)
And the second isn't necessarily things like craft supply, it can be anything from a multi-socket car adapter for that tech gadget savvy person, maybe a brush holder either for the painter or make up aficionado in your life... things you know they'll likely use because it targets what and where they love to spend their time.

From the above, you'd almost assume I was a good gift giver... and sadly, you'd be mistaken. I talk a big game when it comes to finding perfect gifts; in most cases, I have just purchased gift cards. Not that they weren't appreciated, but I really wanted this year to be really special, and I know when I receive something that someone else has personally made me, it elates my little heart straight into the cosmos.

It seems only fair to reciprocate that feeling.

This year I handmade every gift I gave... granted, half of them were of one specific type.

For my husband, and father-in-law... I made

Cord Holders
For my ASU grad
The one in the photos was made especially for my husband; my father-in-law's is plain black, but I painted a four leaf clover to one side. My husband is crazy about the university he graduated from... and I literally mean crazy. There will be no talk of U of A or even Tuscon in this house, lest you bring out some serious demons.


For my sister-in-law I had intended on knitting her a bookmark (scarf), but well... something went wrong...

Gryffindor "Tapestry"

It grew and grew and turned into a tapestry...
I didn't finish the top checker pattern, because it would've been too long to hang and too short to wear, haha.
I used this pattern, which utilizes the double-knitting technique I briefly mentioned in a previous post. It is my first and mostly successful attempt at this method of knitting; it uses two colors and reverses on each side, as shown. It can be confusing at times, but once you get the hang of when to switch colors to create the mirrored contrast, it's fun! You can see near the bottom that I kind of botched the switching of colors, and didn't actually notice till I was finished... bummer.

And finally, for my brother-in-law, I painted him:
A Graphic Novel-Inspired Elephant

He adores elephants, but I thought it wasn't enough to just paint him a still life... it needed edge. So I took some graphic inspiration from Frank Miller... I like his work, but I'm not overly fond of the man, is that weird? Eheh...

 I ran out of time and couldn't quite make something elaborate for my mother-in-law, which I felt utterly crappy about. I knit her up a gradient colored cellphone/camera strap with acrylic pearls sewn into it, and told her it's a place-holder IOU. She liked the cord holders I made for the men, so we agreed that's what I'll make for her.

Making gifts and giving them is a fantastic feeling (even though most of them were cord holders)! I'm already conjuring ideas for next gift-giving events, heh.

What do you have in mind to give to your loved ones?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Spooky Basket: A Thanksgiving & Black Friday Tale

Twas the day of Thanksgiving, and all through the town, not a creature was stirring-- too afraid to go out.

Indeed, the town was blanketed by a fog so thick and a chill most bitter, one could almost believe they were in the set of Silent Hill...

Mind you, this was around 9am-- it puts perspective on the amount of fog denying much, if any, sunlight to pass through...
But the in-laws were counting on us to make it to Phoenix for our Thanksgiving /early Christmas day.

Ironically, the fog ended right at the town limits-- it cleared once we cleared the town! It was also really warm and beautiful from there on out... coincidence? I think not. This town should be renamed 'Hellbrook'.

Anyway, I digress.

Thanksgiving was spent with joy and wine a'flowing.
First thing I was thankful for was being able to see my in laws and get out of Hellbrook for a while. One such instance where my husband and I actually got to spend some time with his father-- which is super rare considering some not so pleasant circumstances in our lives.
Secondly, I was very thankful I was recovered enough to enjoy the entire weekend with nary a hitch or a pill!
I'm quite thankful for the health and love of all my family and friends.

After a hearty and bountiful dinner (which I was actually able to enjoy and digest, surprisingly) we sat around the living room and handed each other presents...
You're probably asking yourselves "early Christmas day? Why?!"
These were also my exact thoughts... but since the in-laws are spending their Christmas and New Years in distant and exotic places, they deemed it necessary to celebrate a little early.

All of the gifts which I have presented were handmade (which I promise I'll make a post about). I had far more fun making these gifts than I ever do browsing catalogs and web pages for presents... I am going to make this a habit, which I hope won't fizzle out for the rest of the family.

I received many sewing notions and sewing related trinkets along with a rather large gift card to my favored shopping temple Joann's.

I was faced with the biggest decision of my life... to shop on Black Friday and attempt to make the most of this gift card... or not to?
The decision practically made itself...

And so, I strapped in for my first ever Black Friday shopping day.

And... y'know what? Aside from one pushy lil' old lady I encountered at the cutting tables, Black Friday at Joann's was super civilized, albeit it busier than I've ever seen a Joann's.

Mixed in with the items already given to me.
I spent really close to the amount of my gift card (spending a mere $6 from my own pocket), and managed to save a whopping $110.31 just from the visit alone ...
My jaw literally dropped. I've never saved that much when going into Joann's, haha; I had 3 50% off reg priced item coupons  that were applied to the ham holder (normally $30), tailor's ham and seam roll (both normally about $12). To top it all off, I had a 25% off entire purchase including sale items coupon, that lasted only 4 hours during Black Friday sale.

There are some items missing in the bunch, as they have yet to arrive; I purchased them online from Joann's online only sale during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
I don't quite feel so guilty shopping on the "dreaded day" because of how utilitarian the items I purchased are; can you really blame a budget seamstress for desiring to refurbish her sewing equipment on the cheap?

With all of what I purchased, and how much I saved... it's easy to see why people get themselves in a frenzy over Black Friday... but I am proud of my crafty gals and guys; you've made my first Black Friday an enjoyable and courteous one! Go crafty people!

Item List (** stocking stuffer, *online purchase):

  • Tailor's ham
  • Seam Roll
  • Ham Holder
  • 26 spool Gutterman thread box  
  • Large vary form curve ruler (aka styling design ruler)
  • Pin wand
  • Embroidery Scissors
  • Pink tomato pin cushion**
  • 4 Kanzashi flower makers: 2 kinds of flower, two sizes each
  • Desktop wood thread holder**
  • 3 sets of double point knitting needles: US size 8, 6, and 1
  • Purple bobbin box**
  • Black and white set of universal bobbins /w thread**
  • Dressmaker pins**
  • Pearlized pins**
  • 1 yard of pleated chiffon
  • 1 yard of ribbon decorated velveteen
  • 1/2 yard of purple lace
  • Rowenta Effective comfort iron*
  • Ironing board cover, caddy, tailor's ham, seam roll pattern*
  • Flex ruler*
  • Grid ruler*

It's a shame that such a day usually has a tendency to bring out the worst in people, because it's obviously a great time to be able to save a lot of money on items you usually go through or need to replace. It was quite refreshing to realize that not all places go topsy turvy! Heh.

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend, 
whether it was spent traveling, shopping or at home!

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