12 November 2019

Build a Flake


I've always thought it would be cool to "build" a snowflake in Photoshop with a genuine wind-fractured spoke. The cold snap at the end of October gave me the perfect specimen!

Done manually, with no automation. I hope I get many more opportunities to try this!

11 November 2019

Starflake Monday


My Veteran's Day Starflake II came out exactly as I saw it in my head, with just a couple of modifications after the prototype!

You may do whatever you'd like with starflakes you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!






Finished Size: 4.5 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 7 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, water soluble school glue or desired stiffener, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line

Veteran's Day Starflake II Instructions

SPECIAL STITCHES:

Popcorn Stitch (pc)

Work 5 dc in designated st, take loop off hook, insert hook through top loop of 1st dc and replace loop on hook, pull loop through top of 1st dc.

Front Post DC (fpdc)

Insert hook into right side gap next to post of next stitch from front of work (hook side), bring hook back to front of work from behind post, to the hole on the left side of the same stitch, yo and draw up loop, yo and draw through 2 loops on hook, yo and draw through 2 loops on hook.

Octuple Treble (octtr)

Yo 9 times, draw up loop, [yo and draw through 2 loops on hook] 10 times.

Make magic ring.

Round 1: 10 sc in ring; sl st in starting sc. Don't pull magic circle too tight.

Round 2: 1 pc in same sc as sl st, [ch 3, 1 pc in next sc, ch 3, 1 pc in next sc, ch 3, 1 pc in same sc] 4 times; ch 3, 1 pc in next sc, ch 3, 1 pc in next sc (same sc as starting pc), ch 1, 1 dc in top of starting pc to form 10th ch 3 sp of Round.

Round 3: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc over post of dc directly below, [3 dc in next ch 3 sp (shell st made), in next ch 3 sp work (3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc)] 4 times; 3 dc in next ch 3 sp, 3 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 5th ch 3 tip of Round.

Round 4: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), [1 dc in each of next 9 dc, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 1 dc in same ch 3 sp] 4 times; 1 dc in each of next 9 dc, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 5th ch 3 tip of Round.

Round 5: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), [1 dc in each of next 11 dc, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 1 dc in same ch 3 sp] 4 times; 1 dc in each of next 11 dc, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 5th ch 3 tip of Round.

Round 6: 2 sc over post of dc directly below, [1 sc in each of next 6 dc, 1 trtr around post of middle dc of Round 3 shell st below, 1 sc in each of next 6 dc, 3 sc in next ch 3 sp] 5 times, omitting last 2 sc of final repeat; sl st in starting sc.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.




Round 7: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), [2 dc over sc and into Round 6 ch 3 sp directly below, 1 fpdc around post of each of next 7 sc, 1 sc in next trtr, 1 fpdc around post of each of next 7 sc, 3 dc over sc and into Round 6 ch 3 sp directly below, ch 3, 3 dc over same sc in same ch 3 sp] 5 times, omitting last 3 dc and last 2 ch of final repeat, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 5th ch 3 tip of Round.

Round 8: Ch 2, (counts as 1 dc), [1 dc in each of next 19 st, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 1 dc in same ch 3 sp] 4 times; 1 dc in each of next 19 dc, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 5th ch 3 tip of Round.

Round 9: Ch 2, (counts as 1 dc), [1 dc in each of next 21 st, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 1 dc in same ch 3 sp] 4 times; 1 dc in each of next 21 dc, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 5th ch 3 tip of Round.

Round 10: 2 sc over post of dc directly below, [yo 9 times, insert hook beneath top of next Round 6 trtr, draw up loop, [[yo and draw through 2 loops on hook]] 10 times (octtr st made), sk dc directly behind octtr, 1 sc in each of next 21 dc, 1 octtr around top of same post of Round 6 trtr, sk next dc directly behind octtr, 2 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 2 sc in same ch 3 sp] 5 times, omitting last 2 sc of final repeat; sl st in starting sc; bind off. Weave in ends.




Finish: Tape wax paper or plastic wrap to top of empty pizza box. Pin starflake to box on top of wax paper or plastic wrap.

If using glue, mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint starflake with glue mixture or desired stiffener. Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow starflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel starflake from wax paper or plastic wrap. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one point, weaving in end. Wrap fishing line around tree branch (or tape to ceiling or any overhead surface) and watch the starflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Starflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.



07 November 2019

Owl Never Get Tired...


Or more like... Owl Never Sleep!

Right before my Raptor Photo Safari, I noticed this gem of a panel and didn't think it would last long (and it didn't!!!), so I immediately snatched one up. I knew I would be too busy editing photos to sew that particular weekend, and I didn't know at the time the editing process would hog up my entire next week of leisure time. Prior to my shoot of a lifetime, I'd been trying to finish up eyeballs on 90-something miniature little owls, one in each color of thread I have dyed in the last couple of years. There were days when I doubted I'd ever be able to finish the amigurumi project.

Yet how could I resist this quilt panel?!?

The snowy owl was my favorite model during the raptor shoot. What I would give to be able to see these beauties more often!!! And in snow!!!


I finally finished editing owl, eagle, falcon and hawk photos a full week after the shoot, and I finished off the last little owl amigurumi the following day. I built a calendar and created a few greeting cards, finished the owl eyeballs, and finally was ready to sew! Yes, the owl quilt top is done. But let's look at those tiny little amigurumi owls first!








I started these little darlings back in February after completing an entire set of two-dimensional owls, which I then photographed and created into a quilt and pillow panel for Spoonflower.


I thought it would be cute to have 3D versions of the owls. I never considered the amount of time it would take to make and attach 180-something eyeballs.


I sewed on the first few pairs of eyes. That got really old really fast. I used Elmer's Glue-All to attach the last 160 or so eyeballs. Making and attaching eyeballs wasn't something I could do on the train. I thought! I wound up on an eyeball spree throughout the final week of October trying to get this project finished once and for all!!! I made eyeballs everywhere I went, every time I had a few minutes! I just didn't cut off the tails until I could sit down to put the eyeballs together. That made it easier to keep track of them. I don't think I lost a single eyeball.






And yes, I do indeed use every scrap I can. This collection will form the heart of a larger amigurumi, such as 3D owls made from the full-size yarn I've dyed.




As I got down to the final 18 little owls, I decided I didn't want to count 36 eyeballs as I crocheted. So I adopted a version of a little trick I learned many years ago from master knitter Lily Chin (who credits this gem of an idea to her friend, Claire Gregorcyk): count out 36 (or the number of crochet/knit rows needed) M&Ms and eat one for every eyeball I finish. I didn't want to eat 36 M&Ms, but I knew Lizard wouldn't mind. So I counted out 36 caramel M&Ms (Lizard's favorite), and I put one back in the bag each time I finished an eyeball. I even moved the bag and bowl of candy away and put them down low so I could sort of get a workout while I crocheted! I am so happy to report I did not eat a single M&M!


And now, at long last, all those little owls have the gift of sight, and I don't have to make any more amigurumi until... perhaps after Christmas!!!

safe-keeping




Finally, it was time to slide back into one of the most comfortable seats in the house... at my sewing machine! I still have tons of blue snowflake fabric, much of it in strips I cut myself. Jelly roll-type borders seemed the perfect solution for making the adorable purchased panel bigger.

I ended up cutting gradient slices of fabric from lighter to darker to create a frame with depth. None of my scraps were big enough to go around the entire panel, so I decided I'd do pieced blocks for the corners. I even had to piece four of the strips because I didn't have enough length. As I was assembling the borders, I realized I'd made a mistake cutting one side strip. It was 1.5 inches at the top and 1.25 inches at the bottom!!! Ouch! I didn't have quite enough length to cut another strip, so I decided to whittle the booboo down to 1.25 inches the whole length, and then I chopped a quarter inch off the opposite strip on the other side. You probably never would have noticed if I hadn't said anything, right?


When I finished assembling the strips, the corner blocks were five inches by about 12 to 15 inches. Initially, I thought I could string together a bunch of 5-inch squares to fill the gaps. My mind was spinning with ideas, and I wondered how it would look if I put a solid on each corner with appliqued crochet snowflakes from my stash. Then I got the bright (and fast and easy) idea of matching the darkest border fabric on all four corners. I folded up a solid and placed it in one corner space with a few snowflakes on top, and then folded up a piece of the dark border fabric leftovers and put it on the facing corner. I asked Lizard which he liked best. He liked the border fabric.

Without question, I put all the extra stuff away and cut slices from the border fabric, realizing halfway into the second strip that I wasn't going to have enough fabric. I remembered cutting a bunch of different 3-inch strips and rectangles for half-square triangles for a specific block in my Moda Blockheads project (which has been stalled for several months and is still waiting in the wings), so I raided the Blockheads stash.


There still wasn't quite enough to fill all four corners. I thought I might have one 2.5-inch strip left in the stack of snowflake strips I intend to make into a Christmas dress for me one day. Losing one fabric from the collection wouldn't hurt, right?


After I finished piecing the final two corners, there wasn't much left to go back in the Blockhead scrap box.


But now the quilt top is bigger than a lap quilt but not as big as a bed. Just perfect for a cozy snuggle by the fireplace!


Linking up with Alycia Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

05 November 2019

2020 Calendar


It's here! It's here!

My 2020 Raptor Rapture calendar is at long last finished! Customizable 12-month calendars are available here. (I earn a small percentage from sales using this link, but it doesn't change the price of the calendar.) Individual enlargements are available here. Greeting cards are available here.


Next year's calendar took a lot longer than I anticipated to edit and build, but in the end, I think it was worth the wait. I learned so much about raptor species I'd never seen, and I'm motivated to get out there and shoot some more!

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