Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Spring Cat Cross Stitch Completed!

When I wasn't working on Firefly cross stitches this is the major project that has been keeping me busy for the past few months. It is called Spring Cat and was designed by Sherrie Stepp-Aweau. I started working on this in February and managed to get it finished by June. Not a bad stretch of time I would say.

It's a birthday/Christmas gift for my Mom which we were able to give to her on the weekend. I did all the stitching and the boyfriend, who is both wise and witty, helped cover the costs of getting it professionally stretched and framed. Needless to say my Mom was very happy with it. Her cat, who happens to look like the kitty in the picture, was also intrigued. He stared into it's eyes for a good solid minute, started to quiver and even frizzed his tail at it. Once it's hung on the wall I'm sure my Mom's either going to encounter him meowing at it and trying to make friends or hissing and spitting at it.

I stitched this on a black 18 count aida cloth, and thankfully most of the black space in the picture is just the fabric showing through, which cuts down the number of stitches I had to make. The border with its many open spaces was truly a lot of fun as it seemed to go by very quickly...Look I'm done one side...Look I'm done another. There's also a minimum amount of backstitching which makes me very happy. The finishing off backstitching always makes a picture pop and look wonderful, but it's my least favourite part of any design.

I have the pattern in a leaflet from Cross My Heart that also includes the Summer Cat. Unfortunately I'm fairly certain the pattern is out of print now, even though you can find a couple of the designer's other cat patterns at PatternsOnline. I managed to snag the last copy from my local cross stitch store and all the supplies I needed to make this, only a few months before it went out of business.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Not a Dinosaur!

My boyfriend, who is both wise and witty, is obsessed with dinosaurs, and while I'm not the expert he is, I think they're pretty great too. So we were both really excited to hear that June of PlanetJune had reached 1o0 sales with her first set of dinosaur patterns and was releasing a new set of three in celebration.

The boyfriend, who appreciates accuracy when it comes to all things dinosaur, was also impressed that June had done her research and knew, "neither Plesiosaurs nor Pterosaurs are actually dinosaurs! The term ‘dinosaur’ correctly covers only a certain type of terrestrial reptile with an upright stance, so Plesiosaurs and Pterosaurs are simply related reptiles that lived in the same time periods as the true dinosaurs."

That sold us and here before you is Pterry who was made using June's wonderfully easy to follow Pteranodon pattern. For this one I used Vanna's Choice Baby Yarn in Little Boy Blue. Later I'll have to make a smaller one in a variegated Kroy Sock yarn so that our stegosaurus can have a matching friend.

Want the Pattern?

The Pteranodon pattern is available as a pdf download from the PlanetJune Store for $5.00 U.S. or you can save money by ordering the new set of 3 dinosaur patterns for $12.50 U.S.

Monday, July 19, 2010

It's so Fluffy!!! My First Slicker Brush Project...

I know penguins are a little out of season for July. Maybe if you're sitting somewhere hot right now then just seeing this sweet little guy will help cool you down. This is my first crochet endeavor made using Roman Sock's Brushed Crochet technique and I am so happy with the results. Would you believe this yarn is just Vanna's Choice brushed out with a pet slicker brush? At first I wasn't sure if it would work, but as you can see it turned out pretty fluffy!

I accidently got a little carried away and brushed the body so vigorously that it tore a couple holes in the crochet. Ironic since the body was the last piece I brushed. You'd think I'd have been more likely to damage the first piece. Overconfidence, I guess. The wings are set a bit further back on the body than I would have liked so they cover up the holes and so I could use the attaching yarn to sew the holes shut. I wouldn't want poor Penny leaking stuffing everywhere.

The pattern comes from Brigitte Read's (aka Roman Sock's) amigurumi book Super-Super Cute Crochet . I borrowed this one from a friend for a while, but it's definitely on my "to buy" list. There are a lot of designs in here and the photography is wonderful, showing most of the animals from several different angles. That's always an asset when you're trying to figure out the placement of wings, limbs or tails. Many of the patterns are the ones that Roman Sock sells individually online, but there is some new stuff here as well.

I was also pleasantly surprised to find out that not all the patterns in the book are brushed crochet. There are some terrific regular crochet amigurumis in here like this dragon. In hindsight I wish I'd crocheted his legs (yep, those are legs sticking out at the front) in the same colour as the body rather than using the iridescent cord I used for his spikes. Ah well, next time. He's pretty cute this way too, just a little stranger looking.

In the book the dragon is red and green and described as a being similar to a Chinese Fire dragon. I'm thinking of mine more as a water dragon. The body was crocheted using some of the James C. Brett's Marble in Amethyst I had leftover from this afghan.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Firefly Patterns in Action

I thought this would be a nice follow-up to yesterday's post. Here for your viewing pleasure are two crafty projects that were made using the Firefly character cross stitches that I designed.

To the left is a Firefly bag that Paula made for a Firefly-themed swap on Ravelry. I have to say, she has a very lucky swap partner! I'm definitely putting a bag like this on my wish list.

Pictured below is a Firefly afghan stitched up by Happyhooker. This was made using the Tunisian style of crochet and I have to say I'm in awe of anyone who finishes a large project in tunisian. It took me over two weeks to finish a single square for a large project I'm planning and I haven't gone back to it since...

You can see the patterns lose a bit of their detail when converted to crochet, but the characters are still recognizable. It looks cozy and who wouldn't want to curl up with this band of bad guys!

A bonus project! I discovered this one when I was checking out happyhooker's blog. Want to make your own crocheted Serenity? Of course you do! The patterns available free here. Thanks happyhooker for creating this one and posting it to share with everyone.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Firefly Fundraising Success!

Readers may recall that I was donating some of my Firefly cross stitch pieces to various Can't Stop the Serenity screenings throughout Canada.

After successful screenings in Vancouver, Edmonton and Toronto, I can now happily announce that my cross stitches raised a grand total of $438 for Equality Now and the other sponsored charities in each city.

To say I'm overwhelmed by this total would be an understatement. I'm in awe of how generous my fellow Browncoats were in their bidding and really pleased that my cross stitch pieces were able to bring in this much money for our charities.

The Big Damn Heroes cross stitch above was the highest seller. It was in the auction at our Vancouver screening and went for $110.

Also at the Vancouver screening, this Wash piece sold for $85 and the River one went for $63.

Here in Vancouver Jayne was paired with a Jayne Hat tea cozy and sold for a total of $60. The Jayne cross stitch that I sent to Toronto was included in their Jayne package which also contained a Jayne Hat pin and Blue Sun T-shirt. That package sold for $80.

Edmonton had a smaller screening than the other two cities, with just under 100 people in attendance. They were pleased to raise $40 through the sale of this 3 character Big Damn Heroes cross stitch.

I wanted to share how well each piece did in case there are any other crafty Browncoats out there who were thinking of making something for a screening in their area later this year or even next year.

In general supplies for each piece cost me under $15 each and all the pieces I made earned far more than what I put out on supplies and shipping. As to the time I spent stitching and framing, I consider that my donation to the cause.

So if anyone is on the fence about making something like this for their own charity screening, I highly recommend it. All three organizers told me that the unique homemade items are always a high seller at their auctions.

In closing, another big thank you to everyone who bid on these pieces and to everyone who provided me with feedback about the designs through the blog, on Craftster or in person at the Vancouver screening. To anyone interested, the patterns for cross stitching the Firefly cast members are all available free on the blog under the My Free Patterns heading.

Enjoy and stay shiny!