Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Follow me while I blog hop!

Does this happen ever happen to you...You start visiting the blogs you "follow" and one link leads to another which leads to another and then your head feels like it will burst because there is so much inspiration and ideas on your journey?  It happens to me a lot.

This happened to me last week, starting at the blog, Pimp Stitch.  This blog focuses on crafts, sewing and embroidery; and, it often has links to fun tutorials.  I am trying to work on my embroidery skills, so I was enticed by a new entry on Friday, "Boy + Girl Pocket Pillows".  What are pocket pillows you ask.  Well, they are toddler sized pillows that can fit into toddler sized pockets!  And, they are really cute.  Since I love really cute kiddy stuff, I decided to hop over to Lauren's blog, goody-goody, for little girl and boy pocket pillows free PDF pattern.

With my new pattern printing out below, I decised to check out Another website I love,  Illustration Friday.  This is one of those sites where a member suggests a topic and then everyone who reads can submit an illustration in the medium of their choice on the topic.  I love it because many talented artists submit each week and there are links to their blogs which are full of inspiration!  The topic for this week was "poise".  Interesting, I thought, and I began to look at what artists were submitting.

I started with Golly Bard, who suggested the topic.  I headed over the her blog, Golly Bard's Drawing Room, and was blown away by her wonderful drawings! What talent!  She has her entry for Poise, "A Voracious Appetite", available in her ETSY Shop.  

So, I ask myself, what inpires Golly Bard; and, I click on the first name atthe top of her list "Visual Feast".  And, that would be, Cathy Cullis's Etsy Shop.  When I arrived at Cathy's shop, I realized that I had been there before.  Cathy is a talented mixed media and textile artist.  Her work evokes classic simplicity, and I had been awed by it when I happened upon her in another of my blog hopping episodes.  

So, with my head full of ideas and images, I decided to try and machine embroider the little girl PDF that I had gotten from Lauren.  The first picture above is what I came up with.  It is really cute, and I am going to make it into a pocket pillow for a little girl I know.  

Then, I decided to take it one step further.  I remembered some silhouettes that were posted by a contact of mine, Suzee Que, on flickr.  Suzee Que often posts vintage artwork to share for use in art projects.  She had posted this silhouette

Some are Vintage..some are not, originally uploaded by Suzee Que.

Here is my interpretation of it:

silhouette embroidery

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Learning how to Paint?

sunflowers atc, originally uploaded by poketypatch.

Moving into untested waters, I decided to try my hand at watercolor painting an ATC. I quickly learned that, like most art, this type of media is more complicated that it looks and probably requires years of instruction in order to do it right. One website I looked at stated that the first 100 or so paintings don't even really count.

So, I am really going out on a limb here posting my first attempts at watercolors.  I may have overdone the sunflower theme, but I found that it helps to do it over and over until you figure out the best way to get good results. 

Sunflower ATC

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

dreaming of spring

butterfly in black and white, originally uploaded by poketypatch.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Traveling and Knitting Hints for Socks

There haven't been too many posts lately because we were off college tripping again! This time we went up north and saw Princeton, Yale, Connecticut College, and Wesleyan

One thing we learned, it is really cold up north!  We are so used to the mildest of winters in Maryland, that neither one of us was prepared for cold.   There is hope for us, however, as one friend indicated that it takes two weeks to adjust to a different climate.

There was a hint of spring in Connecticut. There were crocus blossoms in Redding; and,

witch hazel was blooming in New Haven.

Since the trip was spur of the moment, I forgot to take along a "travel project".  Usually, I try and bring some knitting for the car ride, and for quiet moments on vacation.  Once I was allowed to do a little sightseeing on my own, I headed out to find a local yarn shop.  Luckily, A Stitch in Time, located in nearby Bethel was easy to find!  The yarn shop was full to the brim with yarn and needlepoint supplies.  I decided that starting some socks would be the easiest thing to do, so I picked up 2 skeins of Summer Sox by Classic Elite.  I find socks are the easiest thing to knit while away.  The yarn and needles can fit right into your purse! And, once you get used to knitting simple sock patterns, you will find that it doesn't take a lot of brain power or planning to knit them!

Since I haven't blogged about knitting for a while, I thought I might walk you through the process of making these socks.


I chose this yarn for several reasons.  First, for it's fiber content:  40% cotton, 40% superwash merino, and 20% nylon.  I thought that the cotton/wool blend would be a bit cooler for spring socks!  Second, I believe that superwash wool (wool that you can wash in your regular wash) is key when knitting socks (especially if you are making them for someone else!).  Socks always find their way into the wash and dryer, so 9 times out of 10, if you use 100% old fashioned wool, and someone else does the laundry, your beautiful knitted socks will be beautifully felted tiny socks! Another reason I chose this yarn was for the nylon.  Nylon in the yarn gives it some elasticity, so it stretches better.  Depending on how much yardage is in the ball of yarn you may need 1 or 2 balls.  The general rule of thumb is that you need anywhere from 350 to 450 yards of yarn to make one pair of adult sized socks.  Some companies sell all the yardage in one ball or skein, but for others (like this one) you will need two.

From summer sox

DECISION #2 - Needle Size

This type of yarn calls  for size 2 needles and says gauge should be around 7 stitches to the inch. Since I have knitted tons of socks, I know my gauge works for this type of yarn with this size needle.  I also know that I DON'T LIKE to knit on needles any smaller than a size 2 (I knitted some lacy socks on size zero and it wasn't a pleasant experience).  So, just in case, when I purchase sock yarn, I always check with the knowledgeable sales staff to make sure the yarn will work with Size 2.   

DECISION #4 - Type of Needle

A lot of the cotton/soy/natural fiber sock yarns are slippery.  So, I think that bamboo double pointed needles grip the yarn better, and you are less likely to drop stitches.  Sometimes, midway, I might change to one extra long addi turbo circular and do the "magic loop method" to make the knitting go a bit faster.  But,  I like turning the heel and doing the toe on double points.  I have also knitted socks with two circular needles, but this is my least favorite method.

DECISION #5 - Pattern Choice

This is where it gets tricky.  Since I have bought the yarn and needles before I chose the pattern, I have to come home and figure out what to do with the yarn!  Usually, I have three choices:  1.  I can search for a pattern in my many knitting books and magazines; 2. I can search for a pattern on line; or, 3.  I can make one up myself.  To make it interesting, I decided on #3 - Make it Up!  WARNING:  I don't recommend this option if you are just starting out with knitting socks! You must remember that when choosing a pattern, make sure your yarn weight matches that of the pattern you decide to knit!  

DECISION #6 - How many stitches to cast on.

I think that 60 is a good number because it can easily be knit on 3 or 4 needles (with stitches divided equally on the needles).  I started these by casting on 60 stitches onto bamboo double pointed needles (size 2). Also, I find that 60 stitches gives a good women's (or boy's) sock size.  

DECISION #7 - Stitch patterns for Ribbing and Body of Sock

With 60 stitches, I need to choose a pattern for the sock that will have a repeat that is a multiple of 60. 

For the ribbing I decide on an easy K2, P2 ribbing.  I decide that about 10 rows will be what I need (I eyeball it - but it's about 1 1/4 inches). 

Now the fun part, choosing the stitch pattern.  Actually, you should choose this before the ribbing, because you might want a ribbing pattern that goes well with your stitch pattern.  I didn't do it this way - I am not good at planning!

To choose the stitch pattern, I pulled an invaluable resource from my bookshelf, The Complete Book of Knitting"  by Barbara Abbey.  I found mine at a secondhand book shop - it is the original 1971 hardback version.  It has been reprinted and is available on Amazon in paperback.

From summer sox

This book has instructions for pretty much anything you need to know about knitting.  I wanted to search for a stitch pattern that will give me a multiple of 60.

From summer sox

I didn't have to look too far until I found one that would be perfect!  I chose the Herringbone Lace Pattern.

Here is what I have so far

This is one round of the 12 row pattern.  

TO BE CONTINUED....More choices like how long to knit the sock body, how to turn the heel, how long for the foot and knitting the toe!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday #7: One Happy Pig!

One Happy Pig!, originally uploaded by poketypatch.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday #6 - Welcome Spring!

triplets, originally uploaded by poketypatch.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Blog Swapping

I am in my second round of blog swapping on swap-bot.  I think that cittylou is to be commended for organizing another successful swap!  

For this swap, we were given three blogs to go take a look at and leave comments.  Three bloggers got my name to do the same for me!  I have been trying to be a good swapper and return to all the blogs I was assigned and leave comments.  It isn't hard to do, because the blogs are fun to read!

Today, I visited Ros at the Hmm. blog where there was a tutorial for a newsprint covered shopping bag.  What a fun idea! 

                                                               Originally uploaded by hmm.  

She also had a link to a blog, Molly Likes to Draw, that has a nifty tutorial for making packing tape transfers!  Did I say NIFTY?  You bet!!!  I couldn't get this little project out of my mind, it seemed so, well, innovative!  Especially for the ATC chic design wannabe that I want to be!  

In a nutshell, you take packing tape, cut a piece and tape it on top of a magazine picture that you want to transfer, cut out the taped picture, drop in a bowl of warm water, once wet peel off the paper, and VOILA - you miraculously have a transfer.  Yes, the ink just sticks to the tape.  Its magical!

I decided to try right when I got home.  I just couldn't wait.  But, unfortunately, I couldn't find any packing tape.  Not to be thwarted, I did put my hands on some scotch tape, which worked amazingly well!

Here is a quick one I did of James Dean

Posted by Picasa
What a great way to add some life to ATC's!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Museum Fun

I was lucky enough to visit the Smithsonian's American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery on Friday afternoon, following a college visit trip to American University with my 17 year old son.  We were going to visit the exhibit, 1934:  A New Deal for Artists.  The exhibit features the paintings commissioned by Franklin Roosevelt when he created the Public Works Art Program in 1934.  Artists from all of the United States were asked to create art that depicted the "American Scene" in hopes of uplifting the spirit of Americans during the great depression.  It is a wonderful exhibit, and worth the trip to catch a glimpse of life in the 1930's!

We had a little extra time, and decided to venture over to the Portrait gallery which is in another wing of the museum.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that Shepard Fairey's poster of Barak Obama is now on display at the museum!  That poster is so ingrained in everyone's mind as the iconic  image of the 2008 election.  It is AMAZING to see the original, which is actually the screen print on an ornately collaged background.  

Here is a link to hear Mr. Fairey discussing his poster at the Gallery. It is pretty interesting to hear him speak about the process of making this piece of art!

There are tons of other wonderful portraits and photographs - everything from Abraham Lincoln to Andy Warhol!  Speaking of Lincoln, there is also a wonderful exhibit, One Life: The Mask of Lincoln.  It features many photographs, as well as two "life masks" made of President Lincoln.  I was taken aback at how big of a man that he must have been!  

If you are in the DC area, you should definitely put this museum on your list to visit!  It is at 8th and F Street, NW - so you have to travel a little further away from all the main Smithsonian museums.  It is right across the street from the INTERNATIONAL SPY MUSEUM, which I will be heading back to DC in a couple of weeks with my 12 year old.  I hope that I can sneak back in to the Portrait Gallery to look at the Fairey poster again! 

Also, if you go, you should definitely check out the website before you go.  You can now download the audio tour onto your MP3 player.  So, you don't have to rent the earphones anymore (am I dating myself...it has been a couple of years since I have been to the museum!)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday #5: just a broken star

broken star, originally uploaded by poketypatch.

Monday, March 2, 2009


Ouch!, originally uploaded by poketypatch.

We had our first real snow storm today. It was absolutely frigid outside. The wind here is horrible on a normal day, but today with the snow it was like WHITE OUT! We had the mother of all icicles on our back porch. It was about a yard long and very SHARP!

Fun in the Snow

Snappy, our miniature schnauzer, had fun running in the back field.  There were loads of birds at my kitchen window  feeder.  The cardinals are especially beautiful with a backdrop of white snow!


I stayed home on my first real snow day in such a long time!  Inspired by the birds at my window, I added to my painted bird ATC stash.

Flying Crow ATC
Bird Collage Atc

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Red Bird

Red Bird, originally uploaded by poketypatch.

This was my first attempt at doing a little folk art painting for an ATC. It was fun to do, but it looks pretty primitive!