08 March 2021

Snowflake Monday

I turned my blog into a cranberry shrine last week and attempted cranberry-colored dye. I thought cranberry-colored thread might inspire a snowflake.

My first cranberry dip (made from vintage red and a tiny bit of imperial purple) looks a bit like boysenberry to me. I do love it, but it wasn't the color I was trying to brew. The second dip also is lovely, but it looks like the homemade cranberry yogurt I made to get through the week. A hint of cranberry with all that plain yogurt!

The new threads definitely do inspire, but I'm not sure I've come up with the flake I could see in my head yet. All three flakes have something I love, but none of them are what I was trying to accomplish.

As a result, I've written the pattern for the white flake. I may write one of the others, or I may try again and see if I can bring to life the image I see in my head.

Here's my original inspiration. I hope to do all of Mehgann's flakes one day!

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

Finished Size: 6.5 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

Cranberry Ice Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: 6 sc in ring; sl st in starting sc. Don't pull magic circle too tight.

Round 2: Ch 6 (counts as 1 dc and ch 3), [1 dc in next sc, ch 3] 5 times; sl st in 3rd ch of starting ch 6.

Round 3: Ch 7 (counts as 1 tr and [[ch 3), 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook] 4 times (4 dc picots made), 1 tr in next dc] 6 times, omitting last tr of final repeat; sl st in 4th ch of starting ch 7.
NOTE: Pink snowflake includes an optional (ch 2, sl st in 2nd ch from hook) picot in middle of each 4 dc/picot group in each of Rounds 3-5.
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 4: [Ch 7, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, [[ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook]] 3 times (4 dc picots made), ch 4, sk over next 4 dc picots, sl st in next tr] 6 times.

Round 5: [Working up next spoke, skip next ch, 1 sc in each of next 3 ch, ch 7, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, [[ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook]] 3 times, ch 4, sk over next 4 dc picots, 1 sc in each of next 3 ch, sk next ch] 6 times; sl st in final sl st of Round 4; bind off. Weave in ends.

Finish: Tape wax paper or plastic wrap to top of empty pizza box. Pin snowflake 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 snowflake with glue mixture or desired stiffener. Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow snowflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel snowflake from wax paper or plastic wrap. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one spoke, weaving in end. Wrap fishing line around tree branch (or tape to ceiling or any overhead surface) and watch snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.

04 March 2021

Time for Me to Dye

A cranberry theme spontaneously blossomed on my blog this week, and I was trying to figure out something fiber-related I could add for today. I don't have any cranberry-hued quilting projects in the works, although the color family has been very tempting all week. But no more new quilt projects (except my neighbors' new baby at the end of this month) until I finish up a few more existing WIPs!!!

I did recently finish up a three-month avocado dye jar and a three-month avocado peel-dyed hank of wool yarn. Avocado peels and pits create a pigment sort of similar to the color of cranberry, at least before the entire natural dyeing process is done. I have six finished avocado peel- and avocado pit-dyed wool yarn hanks (shown above), and I'm hoping to finish six more, which I hope will be enough for a poncho design I've had in my head since about 2013. Hank #7 is almost ready to be wound into a ball; it's drying in the sun! I will begin the hank #8 three-month dip this weekend.

Natural dyeing with avocado pits and skins is a long process. I do all my natural dyeing via the sun. I use solar pigment extraction to obtain the glorious avocado dyes I use. In solar avocado pigment extraction and solar avocado dyeing, the longer you let a dye jar stew, the better the color will be. Some of my previous dye jars (not my current project) have solar-brewed for up to two years. Last year my jars got to enjoy the outdoors much longer than their predecessors because we didn't have extended overnight winter temperatures until about November. (I bring my jars inside when there's a danger of overnight freeze, then put them back out again the next day. I learned the hard way about nine years ago why you don't leave a glass jar full of dye outside -- or even in the uninsulated garage -- during an overnight freeze. So much fun to clean up!) Since November, my dye jars have been in my living room and bedroom windows, soaking up the winter sun.

The avocado pit and skin dye looks a bit like cranberry juice, right? It's amazing to watch a dye jar turn from clear to color in the sun in less than 48 hours.

Of course, the final fiber color is several shades lighter than the dye, so the finished color is not quite cranberry. But breathtaking, nevertheless. As far as I'm concerned, anyway.

I thought perhaps I could make something with some hand-dyed cranberry-hued thread. But, alas, my stash is seriously red-impaired.

Okay, so perhaps there's enough time to dye one hank of thread in the desired shade. I didn't have cranberry-hued dye, so I mixed a tiny bit of imperial purple with vintage red.

I solar-steeped for a day, then let the color set for another day. I washed the thread, and it dried all day Tuesday. Yesterday, I wound it into a ball. Looks a bit like boysenberry to me, but I love how the color crocked!

Still bent on cranberry, I hanked another 100 yards of thread and did one more dip. The second dip is always lighter than the first dip. The newest hank is not quite ready to wind into a ball yet because it's still drying. But I think it's pretty darned close!

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

02 March 2021

Cranberry Power

The clip below came up in our suggested videos after we watched Fleetwoood Mac singing "Hold Me" (and marveling how much the backdrop favors my youthful stomping grounds of White Sands National Monument -- Whoa!!! Now it's a national park!!!) ("Hold Me" was filmed in the Mojave Desert). I don't know how I missed out on the video below when it went viral, but we found it at the perfect time. I just re-incorporated cranberry juice back into my daily routine.

I have not been a huge fan of Ocean Spray because the plethora of tempting flavors each have too much sugar. However, what Ocean Spray did for the boarding guy has converted me. I see Ocean Spray does have a pure, unsweetened variety, and I will be purchasing that next time I grocery shop.

01 March 2021

No Flake Monday

I had a snowflake photo picked out to interpret in crochet for today, but, well, let's just say cranberry juice and probiotics have been incorporated back into my daily routine.

Something happens when you become a full-time caregiver. You forget to take care of yourself.

I rested all weekend, and I slept most of the day on Saturday. I can't even tell you when that last happened.

It felt so refreshing to give myself permission to chill and meet no deadlines for a couple of days. I'm hoping to be back to full strength next week. Here are a few snowflake photos to entertain you until then. And no, none of them are from our recent 17 inches. I slept right through it. No regrets.

26 February 2021

Friday Fortius

This video made me admire Lizard even more because his journey with Parkinson's is like that 100-mile desert marathon. He just keeps trying, keeps on going, putting one foot in front of the other, refusing to give up. No matter how hard the path gets.

25 February 2021

Charming Painterly Petals

March is just around the corner, quite literally, so it was time to get serious about finishing another quilt if I want to achieve my goal of one WIP finish each month this year.

Because the two Painterly Petals charm packs and the Royal Blue Cotton Supreme yardage that went into the front of the quilt were not my favorite fabrics, I decided one of the Moda Gradients II I'd bought in a five-yard bundle because I loved the other four would be the perfect "time out" panel backing for this quilt. When I pulled out Parfait to look at it, it actually looked, to me, as if it was made to go on the back of this quilt.

The yard of Parfait flowers wasn't quite big enough to fill the entire backing, so I sliced some five-inch strips from the Painterly Petals yardage I'd bought specifically for the backing and the Cotton Supreme Royal Blue remnants, then sewed the strips together on both sides to then slice into exactly enough HSTs to go all the way around the panel, with two leftover blocks, which I might try later to incorporate into a pillow to go with the quilt.

I did not measure the panel before I began making the HSTs. I thought if the panel was an inch or two too big in either direction, I could simply slice off enough to make the HSTs fit. I didn't have to slice. They fit so perfectly, I was stunned! That NEVER happens to me!!!

The back still wasn't big enough, so this time I measured, then cut six 2.5-inch strips from the remaining Cotton Supreme Royal Blue... because that's all I could get out of it! All that remained when I got done was one mostly 2-inch strip. I thought I could piece it into more 2.5-inch strips if I ran out. Fortunately, I did not.

After adding the 2.5-inch borders, I had roughly 35 inches of a 2.5-inch strip of the Royal Blue left. I thought I could craft that and the mostly 2-inch strip into two more blocks to later add to the future leftovers pillow.

I didn't have much steadiness of hand with the longarm for the first half of the quilt, but in my opinion, I got better as I went. I freehanded curves into the Royal Blue triangles with blue thread on top and white on the backing. I free-motion quilted the outer round of HSTs and the borders with my little domestic machine with blue thread on both the top and the bottom. All quilting was finished in one weekend day.

Before I even though about what I would use for the backing, I had thought I would use rainbow leftovers from my Hoffman Spectrum wall quilt binding. After I finished the back, I decided the rainbow of batik leftovers wouldn't look as good with the back of the quilt as they would with the front of the quilt. I had exactly enough of the Painterly Petals yardage left to cut six strips for binding. Once again, I didn't measure, but I didn't think it would be long enough. I pieced the binding, then made random cuts and spliced in some Royal Blue diamonds, then went to work on binding the quilt.

Upon completion, I had one Royal Blue diamond and one Royal Blue remnant left. The amount of extra binding I had to cut off was exactly the same size diamond!!! This quilt literally was a mathematical miracle for me because I'm not that good at math at all, and everything worked so smoothly! Plus, almost all the (mostly) ugly fabric is gone!!!

We snapped a few photos of the quilt in front of some gorgeous red rock we had not been able to visit since... so long ago I can't even remember. Suffice it to say, Lizard had not communed with sandstone in at least 15 months, and probably longer than that. So he was in heaven. Snowflakes began dotting us as we returned to the car, and we're supposed to have around eight inches of heavy, wet snow by this morning! That put me in absolute heaven. We SO need the moisture.

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

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