Evenstar Start

I started the beautiful Evenstar shawl last week. This is a ‘mystery shawl’ project, meaning: I signed up on the designer’s blog, and she is sending out clues every two weeks. Each clue is the next section of the shawl, so you knit that clue, and eagerly await more emails. You don’t know what your finished project is going to look like! The clues started in February when I was busy with work, and trying to get rid of a few other projects that have been hanging around. Clue #6 was just released. I 5 days, I’ve managed to get this far (this is clues #1 & 2):

Evenstar Shawl

Not too bad! The first part went very quickly, and I got very excited, but the thing to remember about this shawl is that the stitch count will double every so often, so it makes a flat, circular object when finished. I have to keep explaining to people that I am not knitting a hat, or a bag, but a flat thing. It’s just got too many stitches on a short circular, so it is scrunched up. Currently, my rows have 280 stitches in them. Tomorrow I am expecting to finish clue #3 – that’s when it doubles again.

When it changed from 144 to 280, it took some time to adjust to the new longer rows, but I eventually felt like I was knitting at a respectable speed again. I’m scared for 560.

Evenstar Shawl

You might ask, why would one go through all this knitting without knowing what the finished project will look like? Some designers just know how to play on the strengths of people’s obsessions:

Evenstar Shawl

Yes, that would be the Evenstar Shawl and all the yarn (Yarn Chef Creme Brulee, colour ‘Dusk in Provence’) on my Tolkien shelf. The little grey edition of The Hobbit is the one that dad read to me at age 4, which I then read by myself at age 5, and is the book that started it all. The pages are brown, one falls completely out (the one with the ‘attercop attercop’ song), and there’s obvious tea stains, but I love it. I love all those books up there. The yarn is sitting in front of LotR, The Silmarillion, and Unfinished Tales. There’s also a whole bunch of other related stuff behind all those books.

Obsession? Moi?

A Year in the Making

Linen Market Bag

My linen shopping bag is done, a year and two weeks after I started it! (Ravelry Link)

I originally started this project with the idea of finishing it and taking it to Sock Summit to hold my purchases. I got partway through, and abandoned it for some socks that I also didn’t finish for Sock Summit. I think it turned out for the best, because I don’t think the haul I got at Sock Summit would have fit in the bag, stretchy as it is.

Linen Market Bag

The yarn makes me happy – I traded with someone on Ravelry for it, so it was essentially free, which is always good. This is also the project that I told myself I had to finish before I started on my Evenstar Shawl, and I’m ecstatic about being able to start that tonight. I’m about to get out the ballwinder and swift – I couldn’t even wind the yarn before finishing this, it would have been too tempting.

I did make a modification to the pattern, based on some comments other people had made about the project on Ravelry: when making the handle, I only cast on 70 stitches, instead of the 145 recommended, which I think made the handle just the right length. I am pretty short, after all.

Birthday Cake 2010

2010 Birthday Cake

This year, I had a task: to make a birthday cake for myself and my friend K, as our birthdays are 4 days apart. The deal was that she’d make dinner, and I’d make the cake.

My birthday was Good Friday this year, and cake day actually ended up being Easter Monday, so I decided against anything with chocolate in – we’d all be chocolated-out. I looked through my favourite cake book, Sky High, and picked out a couple choices. After consulting with K, we decided on the Marbled Lemon-Blueberry cake.

2010 Birthday Cake

The first step of the recipe is to make jam for the filling. I love that ‘make jam’ was the first step, it made my day. And then I made jam! It was also a good thing I had to blender-ize the blueberries, there’s been a rash of food tampering at supermarkets around here, pins and tacks and the like. People are scary. I made the jam on the Saturday, when cake day was Monday.

2010 Birthday Cake

I find it is so helpful to divide up recipes like this into multiple days. Sunday was cake-baking day:

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You use some of the jam to make some batter purple, and swirl that in to the cake pans.

2010 Birthday Cake

Monday was the part I’m always least confident in: icing the cake. This recipe had you make a buttercream icing, which I’ve never done before, and I’m not exactly sure what sort of texture buttercream should even be. When time eventually came to eat the cake, I scraped all my icing off, because it just tasted (and felt) like eating butter. Everyone else seemed to like it though, and I generally scrape the icing off store bought cakes too.

Cake Building Process

As you can see, I had a bit of a structural integrity problem here. You’re suppose to trim off any domed bits from your cakes, so you have perfectly flat surfaces. If I’d done that, all the marbling would have been cut off! So, I decided to glue it together with jam and icing, which mostly worked. I found the icing ended up looking pretty sweaty in the end, even after being in the fridge. I feel like the lemon juice didn’t like mixing with the butter.

I’m not sure how the cake in the book has swirls so dark, and icing so white. My swirls were much paler, and I followed the instructions for how much jam to add to the batter. I also don’t know how you get white icing out of yellow butter, and eggs with yellow yolks.

Cut Cake Cut Cake

Some cell phone photos of the cake at the party, after slicing off everyone’s pieces. Yes, I made a cake that is labeled ‘serves 16-20′ for a party of 8. It was delicious!


Purple and Pears

Still having fun with the dotty backgrounds, but this card is for a challenge! Kraftin’ Kimmie is sponsoring this week’s CPS challenge. I love so many of the Kraftin’ Kimmie stamps (the Moonlight Whispers are my absolute favorites – and the punny sentiments they have too!), and another great thing is that they’re a Canadian company! Go Canada go! Whoa, total Olympic flashback there….

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I wanted to “pear” this stamp with this great Basic Grey pear paper, so I coloured most of her dress with colours taken from the pears, then I decided I wanted to do a purple dot background. The background is: BV04, BV02, BV17, V12, V15, V17, RV10, RV93.

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I chose a deep purple to use for mats, and also some pale doily-print paper from the same Basic Grey collection. The ribbon was white, but I coloured it with my V17 Copic so it would match. The sentiment is from Flourishes’ strawberry stamp set.

This stamp is going to get a good workout in my cookbook-scrapbook, I can tell. :) First task: Mum’s scone recipe.

Recipe Book – Cornmeal Muffins

A while ago, a few years actually, so well before the papercraft supply binge of ’09, I decided to give myself permission to buy scrapbooking products. I gave myself very restricted guidelines, because I didn’t want to make a scrapbook – I just loved all the papers and other supplies! I decided to make an 8×8 recipe book, so I could only buy food-related supplies. That has obviously gone out the window now, but I did use some of my new techniques to make my first recipe page in a long time.

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These are the cornmeal muffins my mum always made when I was a kid. Nice and simple, great for showcasing homemade jams. :) Here’s an online link to the recipe too. We obviously made them without the jammy centres. The recipe is from an old Canadian Living book mum said.

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I made a dotty background again, and loved it! Again, I used some of my newest Copics. Skin: E00, E02 / Apron: RV93, RV95 / Dress: R27, R29, R59 / Hair: E59, E15, E17 / Background: YG03, G25, BG75, G28, Y26, YG95. I’m happy because I think I managed to have the red dress and green background, and not make it look like Christmas.

This stamp (from Kraftin’ Kimmie) usually has a teapot in her hand, and she did up until this morning. That’s when I remembered my stash of kitchen stickers, and pulled out this one and stuck it over the pot.

Dotty Backgrounds

I think I’ve discovered my new favourite technique:

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That background was inspired by Crissy Armstrong’s tutorial video on how she does her fabulous backgrounds (you can findĀ  it here). I was made aware of the video by Happy Thoughts & Inkspots.

A rather large order from Paper Garden Projects arrived yesterday, 15 minutes before I had to head to work, so I was itching all day just to get back here and play with my new markers! I used BV04 &BV02 for the dress, and YR16, YR02, YR04, YR07, & YR09 for the dots. The thank you stamp is also from PGP. I love it, but the only purple ink I had was a dew drop-sized one, and inking that stamp felt more tedious than the dots! I loved doing the dots, I think I’ll use that technique a lot!

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I really like orange and purple together!

(almost) Start to Finish

So last year, I bought myself this:

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Eventually I managed to turn this:

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into this:

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Which then turned in to this:

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After sitting for about 10 months, it took 2 days of knitting in the evenings after work to transform in to this:

Handspun Hat! Those ends hanging down are exactly how much leftover yarn I had. They don’t end very far out of the frame! (I have since woven them in and trimmed them off).

Handspun Hat!

It’s in the water

I bought the VIP kit from My Favorite Things when it was up for sale in March. That meant I got one of April’s stamp sets weeks for everyone else will have a chance at it!

I thought this pregnancy set was adorable, and once again all the sentiments make me smile. I know a bunch of people having babies, so I thought it would be a handy set to have. Last night I stamped the main image a few times on white, and then went through my scrap bin for good shirt patterns. Once I had all the panels coloured up, I made them in to cards. It was nice to do it production-line style like that. I’m experimenting with E Copic markers for skin, I had been using Rs. When they’re that pale though, it’s hard to tell.

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Deep breath in…

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I just had to buy this yoga set (called ‘Serenity Now’) from My Favourite Things when I saw it. I love it when I go to yoga, I just sometimes have trouble motivating myself to actually go to yoga.

I think MFT stamps are perfect for paper-piecing. I paper-pieced the girl’s top using a very large flower print from the same package as the background paper. As you can see, the flower was so big, it just shows up as an abstract design on her shirt.

I usually shy away from pre-packaged ‘ephemera’ because really, isn’t part of being ‘ephemera’ being found stuff, thrift-store stuff, vintage stuff? I tend to think so. That still didn’t stop me buying an ephemera pack from K&Co. As you can see from how well the flowers match, it is in the same line as the background paper I used (the strip with the text is MME).

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I made three yoga cards in one night, all using various bits from the ephemera pack, and one of my other loves of paper crafting: mixing and matching paper collections! I’m not generally one for the matchy-matchy (no matter how nice the first card in this post looks!). This card uses K&Co for her shirt, K&Co ‘ephemera’, DCWV ‘Old World’ (pink paper), and KaiserCraft ‘Devonshire’ (text paper).

To keep everything neat on the image, I stamped it twice on white paper, once on the patterned. I coloured just her chest on one layer, then cut shirt and arms as one piece from the patterned and glued that to the piece with just her chest coloured. Then I coloured her arms on the second piece of white, cut those out and glued down.

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This one is my favourite – I spiced up the green dot paper by stamping the little ‘Ohm’ dot from the stamp set in a similar-coloured ink in a pattern guided by the dots (it’s not quite a subtle as it seems in these photos). Again, I paper-pieced her shirt and coloured the rest with Copic markers. I coloured my ribbon (it was white) with a Copic marker so it matches, and wove it through a paisley.

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How do YOU emboss?

Paper Garden Projects has a challenge to use your favourite type of embossing on a project. While I love the dimension and texture you can get by using embossing powder, I don’t do it a whole lot. I think this has something to do with the fact that I tend to use a stovetop burner as my heat source. I remember using the lightbulb in my desk lamp as a kid, but my current little lamp doesn’t get hot enough. I did figure out that I could use the toaster, but the toaster lives in a cupboard, and the oven is right there….

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So I made a card that used my Cuttlebug, and an embossing folder, a technique known as ‘dry embossing’. I used the dotty folder to pick up the dots in the the papers, and sanded the embossed paper a little, to pick up the texture.

There is no end to the love I have for these pirate stamps by Kraftin’ Kimmie, and the text stamps always crack me up too!

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I decided not to fussy-cut (cut around the very edge of the stamp) this image. Instead, I trimmed the top of her hat and sword, then got out my Nestabilities Labels 7, slipped that on to the image with the hat and sword out of the way of the blade, and cut it that way. She’s too tall for any of the cutting dies I have.

How did that Knitting New Year work out?

Well, it’s April 2, my birthday, and the day I said I’d have all my WIPs done. None of them are done, but one is much more on its way to being an actual knitted object!

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My Euroflax linen shopping bag has gained a few more tiers of squares since it was last seen on the blog (a shameful almost 12 months ago). I stopped working on it soon after that photo (about 8 squares after, to be precise), and only picked it up again this March. It is such a satisfying knit, I don’t know why I put it down! The most stitches you ever have on your needles is 29; and each square is fast to knit, giving you the feeling you’ve accomplished something!

As you can see, my Revolutionary Stitch Markers are doing a great job of holding the live stitch each square is left with. The pink one on the bottom of the bag signifies square #1 (there’s also one on square #5) which helps me figure out where I am if I get lost.

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I was expecting to have most of March off, but I lucked in to a job that was just supposed to be for a week, and ended up being stretched out to almost 3 weeks. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing – I just didn’t get as much knitting done as I thought I would this month. That’s why I’m not too mad at myself for not meeting my goal.

The bag just needs that triangle (the top 6 pale squares) put on the other side as well, then the handle knit. I think the handle might take a long time, but it’ll be great to be done.

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