Friday, October 22, 2010

Witch hat, a little more progress

Here's the caldron:

The "potion" bubbling away inside it is a small scrap of funky textured yarn that I picked up off the floor at the retreat. It was blue, but I was able to dye it a weird green using my new set of alcohol ink dyes. With the addition of some slime green glass beads, viola! you have a gurgling, seething, and probably poisonous potion fit for witch! Hurry away, little frog, or you go in the pot too...

All I added here is the jack-o-lantern button, but he seemed to have the right facial expression for the saying.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Halloween hat progress

I worked on my witch hat all during the retreat. Even though I accidently forgot to bring my sewing bag that contained ALL MY THREADS, EXTRA NEEDLES, AND SCISSORS! When I discovered my error soon after we arrived at the cabin, I didn't panic. I didn't cry. I didn't go upstairs and throw myself down. I didn't rub honey on myself and walk out looking for bears. I didn't go out and tease an elk (though I was sorely tempted to do all those things). I just figured I'd throw myself on the mercy of my fellow CQers and beg a piece of thread here and another there, and I'd stitch as I could, borrowing scissors as I went.
I did have one needle with me, stuck in the cone-shaped piece of the hat, as I'd been working on it when I left and had packed it in the large plastic tub I brought. Well, that first evening, we exchanged our little "gifties" (small tokens for each member of the group; mine was some buttons and beads). Diane M from Ontario gave each of us a small baggie with several skeins of rayon floss (thanks again Diane!), so I was no longer destitute! The next day, I begged a bit of floss from Gerry H(Gerry, you rock!), and worked on the circle design on my hat. That afternoon, we each got a "door prize", and I got a cute glass jar filled with 6-strand cotton floss. Later I discovered a ball of white perle cotton (my favorite thread) that I'd thrown in for the dyeing session, along with white lace and silk ribbon (for which I had no needle).
When we did the dyeing, using Leslie's Adirondack alcohol ink dyes (thank you for sharing again, Leslie, I missed out on this last year), I dyed some of the lace and a bit of the ribbon, but I dyed almost the whole ball of perle cotton (I shared some with others). I did a blue and purple variegation, and a shades of olive green, and shades of grassy green. I did a pale to intense orange, and a pale to bright yellow. I did a white to hot pink that is pretty enough to eat. I did a pink and pale orange that I dubbed "tequila sunrise". Then I got really wild and did a purple and orange variegation specifically for my hat (can't imagine what else that combination would be useful for!). See below; the purple/orange is what I used for the wavy wheat ear chain. The blue/purple is in the "flowers" on the seam to the left of the fly button. The yellow is the broom straw.

After I got home, I did the "wicked" wording, and put the little glass cat head bead that Gerry gave me on the lace motif with the lavender roses that Ingrid gave me.

At the retreat I did the backstitched caldron, and gave it some orange leaf beads for its fire. The metal piece to the left is an earring I found at a second hand store.

During the stash dash, I found lots of pieces of black fabric to add into my brims, which I hadn't pieced yet. I'd been trying all the week before retreat to find time to piece them, but it was better that I waited till I got there; I got so much more variety in the fabrics by waiting!

The bit of orange ribbon is also from Ingrid. I think this brim is the underside, as that large expanse of black fabric is going to have a part of a crocheted doily placed over it as a spider web, with the spider hanging down by a thread.

To do the wording, including the "wicked" phrase, I used waste canvas that is made for counted cross stitch. It gives you a grid on which to stitch a motif or words. In this case, "Hocus Pocus". The first thing to do is sketch out the words on graph paper that is approximately the same size as the waste canvas (14 squares to the inch). In this photo, the stitching is already done.

Stitch the wording; I used a back stitch and some of my blue/purple variegated perle. It's good to have large unused margins on the canvas; those long threads are easier to grasp when you start to pull them out.

The stitching is done and I'm beginning to take out the waste canvas. This can be done easier if you dampen the canvas, but it's not absolutely necessary. If you're working on satin or other water-stainable fabric, it's best to do it dry.

Almost done. The threads that are actually under your stitches are harder to pull out than the marginal ones, so pull them carefully. Maybe hold a slight pressure on your stitching to keep it in place as you pull.

And the finished motif; HOCUS POCUS! Ooops! Did I turn you into a frog? Oh, good!

Homecoming dance

Michaela and her friends decided that they'd go to the Homecoming dance this year. Rachel came over to fix Michaela's hair for her (I would not have been able to do much more than a ponytail or curls...or a curly ponytail).

The master at work...

Corbin stayed out of the way by hunting dinosaurs on our computer. His hair was styled by his Uncle Cole.

The finished hair style

The shoes.

And the trio of dancers, ready to be off. Michaela, Marissa, and Norma.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

More photos from the retreat: Chinese auction

If you've never done a "Chinese auction", here's how it works. Each participant brings a wrapped gift; in this case either a CQed item or some stash for CQing. All draw numbers from a hat. The person with #1 begins by selecting a gift to open (and she'd better not get too attached to it!). The #2 person can either steal that gift from her or open another from the stack. If #2 steals, then #1 gets to open another gift from the stack. This opening and stealing continues until all the gifts are claimed, with each gift being stolen a maximum of 2 times. The second person to steal it gets to keep it.
Kerry went first and opened this incredible bear made entirely of CQ'd patches by Lauri B.

Kerry knew she wouldn't be able to keep it from being stolen, so she hugged it goodbye, and Hideko took it from her.

But little did Hideko know that her new friend Josie also wanted the bear!

And she took it and got to keep it.

Here's Gerry H, Cathy K, Ingrid, Kerry, Juli, and Hideko.

Josie, Diane, Connie, Shari, and Jacquie enjoying the action.

Colleen, Lauri, and Leslie.

Lauri got Gerry's dress form.

Connie was a victim of theft more than once (I even stole a gift from her and didn't get to keep it either).

Gerry and Cathy.

Hideko ended up with a lovely needle book.

Retreat photos with comments

The retreat was such great fun! Here's a few images of things we did and saw. This first is a photo of the main cabin. It was incredible inside; plenty of space and just really nice!

Each evening the elk would come out down near the administration buildings. There were some huge bulls that seemed to like having their picture taken and would even "spar" a bit with each other. They didn't seem very serious; they'd jostle a bit and then stand side by side and eat some grass.

They are literally 10 feet from the window of this cabin, so the folks inside really got a great show. I just hope they didn't need to go outside for anything.

Cathy K. brought loads of fabric and trims for the stash dash, along with some pieces that the rest of us threw in. There was a whole wedding dress to dismantle! Here are Lauri B, Ingrid, and Gerry H cutting into it. Lisa B is in the background.

The best part of the retreat for me is meeting new friends and getting to see old friends again. First timers this year, Freda B, Juli L, and Colleen A are sitting at the dining table where we were all able to either eat or stitch in one room.

Josie T and Leslie E during the stash dash.

Cathy K brought an antique quilt that we enjoyed viewing.

And Ingrid brought a quilt from Piecemakers for us to enjoy.

That's Diane M on the left foreground, and Ilyse on the right. Ilyse assembled her very first CQ block at the retreat, and she's off to a great start!

Leslie showed us her finished quilt. This was made from blocks done in a DYB round robin with CQI ladies.