Tag Archives: Cape Cod

I’ve expanded my “project” for making patterns for my knitting and crocheting!!

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Banner for Cape Cod Stitchery; where my pattern designs will reside.

Cape Cod Stitchery; where the information regarding the knitting and crocheting patterns designs will reside.

Hello to my faithful followers!  I haven’t been around for a little while, because I’ve been a bit busy working on my latest project; not only have I been creating more baby blankets but I’m now actually writing down the patterns for the projects that I’ve designed and am in the process of creating PDF’s from them for publication and putting them up for sale (for a reasonable price even though they take quite a bit of time to create) on Etsy and Ravelry.

There are two main reasons for why I decided to finally make my own patterns.

First, and most importantly, I’ve discovered that the patterns that I see published in knitting/crocheting magazines look very complex and more time goes into deciphering the pattern than goes into creating it.  I guess that’s why I decided to start designing my own creations…it was just easier to do. Fairly recently, the software to create professional looking knitting and crochet charts has become obtainable, by people like me, who have enough of a working knowledge of graphics design to be able to make written charts and patterns clear and easy to follow.  This is so anyone that has a basic working knowledge of knitting and crocheting can accomplish them without frustration.

Secondly, I’ve discovered by looking at my own creations, that making something beautiful doesn’t need to be ridiculously hard to do.  I’ve had several people tell me, over the years, “That blanket looks so difficult to make, I can never do that!” even after I assure them that the projects are actually easy to do.  Since the “pattern” was in my head, trying to explain how to do it was nearly impossible.  I’ve resigned myself to making patterns that are not only clearly explained, with a chart provided if the project can be simplified by creating one, but to also provide step by step instructions (with images) of how a stitch is made.  I’ve also figured out how to create videos, for posting on YouTube, explaining the process as well.

With that said, designing and publishing simple and easily explained knitting and crocheting patterns is my objective.

I’m very close to posting my first pattern, that hasn’t been posted yet but will be shortly, so I’ve created another blog specifically for knitted and crocheted projects that I make, and sell, patterns for: http://capecodstitchery.com/; please pop over and take a look!  This is an image of the first blanket that I’m making a pattern for; a herringbone stitch baby blanket in sage green and off white stripes with an I-cord edge:

cropped herringbone blanket

I will still post my personally made projects here on Etch Stitch and Burn so please continue to pop in, from time to time, to see what I’ve been up to.

Thank you for all of the support!

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Another long absence but I’m back!!

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Remember when on the last day of December, New Year’s Eve, when you’re sitting around with your family and waiting for the new year to come, the discussion always heads towards “I hope next year is better than this year!”

Well, it hasn’t been so far.  Actually, it’s been one step left of brutal.

The first of the year kicked off with a massive snowstorm that hit the New England and then I deployed to the Midwest for four months.  The time within the four months consisted of:

1.     Unyielding snow storms and bone chilling cold that didn’t let up.

2.     Complete homesickness being away from my husband (and my dogs) for so long.

and the worst one…

3.     My precious father passed away before our eyes.

Needless to say, I haven’t been feeling all that creative and crafty lately.  However, as it is said, “when God closes a door, he always opens a window”; a window opened after being consumed in the fog of loss and grief for my Dad.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still hurting but a spark of my former self has returned, thanks to my husband, friends and family.

The first shot in the arm was that I decided to go back to college, thanks to the provocation of my friends.  I’m 6 weeks into my first class and I’m pulling a 98.2%; not too bad for an old lady such as myself.  The second is that it’s come to my realization that I’ll be eligible for retirement in the next 4 – 5 years and that I’d better start laying the foundation for what I’m going to be doing once retirement happens.  Knowing that once retirement occurs, my hubby and I will escape into the wilds of somewhere but a concrete fact remains that we are both technology geeks so wifi will be there…so I’m returning to the world of blogging.  I don’t know what I’m going to do with it but it’s time to give it a go again.

So, for my loyal followers that wondered what happened to me, I’m back and will do everything I can do stay relevant again.  Please forgive me, it’s been a really tough year…

I really don’t like winter…

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My apologies, I haven’t had the ability to be very creative lately.  Don’t get me wrong, the ambition is there and I’m  still thinking about my newest project on an hourly basis but the stars haven’t alined properly for me to do so.

Shortly after finishing my last project, I started another one (a different style of snowflake ornament) in order to try and expand a color pallet for the inlay.  However…it was really cold!  Unbearably cold actually! It was impossible to be comfortable enough in my workshop to put in any time at my scroll saw.  That lasted for few weeks.

Once the clouds were parting on the arctic blast around here, I felt the pull towards the workshop again.  But alas…we got a blizzard here on Cape Cod last weekend!  I hadn’t been in a blizzard for a really long time so I’d forgotten how frustrating they could be.  The 1 1/2 feet of snow was frustrating enough along with the limited mobility (even though my husband and I both have 4-wheel drives) but losing power for 2 1/2 days was massively annoying!  Granted, we did better than most; we had heat, hot water, radio and light (in a limited capacity) due to the generator.  So many people had to leave their homes because they had nothing.  We even had one evening where we ran an extension cord from the bathroom, into the living room, in order to watch the movie “Army of Darkness” on my laptop with long retired speakers (I’m not even sure where they came from, only that I still had them) while cooking Ramon noodles in an old pan on the woodburning stove.  It wasn’t an ideal evening but we were cozy.

Anyway, the power returned and life went back to normal again so I’m hoping to get some saw time in this weekend.  I’ve been experimenting with different mediums to color resin with and I think I may be onto something.

Hopefully, I’ll have another entry coming soon.

I did it!!! My vision is a reality!!!!

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I did it!!!  My vision is a reality!!!!

So, maybe I’m overreacting a bit but I’m completely ecstatic about what transpired for me today…allow me to explain.

I explained in my last entry that my hubby had given me a scroll saw this past Christmas.  After much frustration (the people that scroll saw the signs at county fairs make it look incredibly easy!), I finally produced a completely jacked-up snow flake Christmas ornament.

my pathetic first attempt at scroll sawing anything

my pathetic first attempt at scroll sawing anything

Yea, it’s horrible…I know it.  It frustrates me that I didn’t do better at scroll sawing on the first attempt (normally, I can pick things up with little effort…not this time) but, I had to start somewhere.  I’m going to have to practice in order to take this further but it’s so worth it after what I was able to accomplish today!

After I took this picture, I put clear packaging tape on the back side (the worst side, actually…) and burnished it down so the resin wouldn’t leak out when I poured it.  Then I placed it on a paper plate with the tape on the bottom leaving the top open.  Then I mixed the clear resin and tinted it with oil pigment and poured it into the openings.

the resin is still wet and incredibly stinky!!!

the resin is still wet and incredibly stinky!!!

So I mixed, and I poured…and I stunk up the house with noxious fumes.  In this picture you can barely see the tape peaking out of the parameter of the ornament but that’s the only thing keeping the resin from pouring our all over the place.   In very simple terms, I’m trying to create a sun catcher (even though my end product is going to be much more elaborate) because I want to be able to back light the resin to make a stained glass effect. Well…it worked!!!!!!!!!

the ornament holding onto the resin without a tape backing!!

the ornament holding onto the resin without a tape backing!!

I put a fairly high ratio of hardener into the resin in order to get a really solid cure so after about 2 hours (it takes about 24 to completely cure) I carefully removed the tape backing to see if the inlay would fall out and it didn’t.  Sometimes the resin shrinks when it cures but so far so good.

I also wanted to be sure that I could maintain an element of transparency  (necessary in order to be able to have the desired effect in the final project…this was only an experiment) and the transparency remained!  I kept two of the sections open as a comparison to the filled sections to see if there would be a notable difference (I was only going to leave one section open but I ran out of the opaque blue and didn’t want to mix any more…the fumes are intense) and there was an obvious difference.

a different lighting, I'm very happy that the colors stayed vibrant after curing

a different lighting, I’m very happy that the colors stayed vibrant after curing

In closing, I’m blissfully happy about the results!  There are still a few bugs to work out (most notably my complete lack of skill in using a scroll saw at this time…) but I think I’m getting closer to being able to create a “stained glass effect” inlay in wood.

More projects to follow….

My crafting ways take a back seat to life way too often

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but still needs a button...

It just dawned on me, as I sit at the computer drinking my morning coffee and trying to wake up, the things I enjoy seemed to have taken a back seat to factors of my life that are necessary.

I make lists in order to make it through my life somewhat organized.  The lists contain bullet statements to remind me of what I need to do once my “stage one” activities take place.

What are the stages that rule my life??

  • STAGE ONE: work and sleep; the things that I have to do in order to exist with some level of comfort in this life but leave very little wiggle room for extra activities or accomplishments.  No list required in this stage.
  • STAGE TWO: necessary things that can be put off for a little while but not for long.  These items include house cleaning, grocery store visit and going to the dump.  Depending on how hectic work is, this can also be an elective category for a list.  Sometimes if I create a list for this category, there are spaces in time created for an element of creativity but normally STAGE THREE items find their way in.
  • STAGE THREE: necessary things that can be put off for a while but not forever.  These things include cleaning fish tanks in the house (we’ve got three), giving dogs hair cuts (again we have three and accomplishing this in a timely manner cuts down on hours of having to chase dog fur balls around the house with a vacuum), weeding the garden and general household organization.  This category also requires a list because I never know when I have an extra window of time available to take care of these things and I have a horrible memory so a list is handy.
  • STAGE FOUR: this category contains the things I actually enjoy doing but sadly find their way to the bottom.  Crafting, creating, going to craft stores, putting in a good movie and just finishing a project that was started months ago…writing a blog entry (I’m breaking protocol today because a dog fur ball just went scooting across the hallway floor…)  These items don’t have a list because there’s only about 5% of my time that I can give to them and I only address what will make me happiest at that particular moment.

So, here’s my quandary…life seems to have taken over my creative side.  I’ve tried to make STAGES 1-3 as efficient as possible but I seem to get really tired when I’m done with what needs to be done.  Sort of makes me sad sometimes but I guess that’s better than feeling guilty.  The sad thing is that I have an incredible husband that’s very helpful around the house but there are always lists to be made and crossed off every day.

In a bigger picture, I dream of having my own little shop on Etsy where I can sell my crafts.  Actually I have a shop built but there’s nothing in it.  If for some reason I do ever load any items on Etsy, I don’t think I’d have time to take care of it and keep it updated at this point in time.  God forbid I actually sell anything!  How in the world would I make it to the post office to mail it out?  So, almost in a defeated manner, I’m a forum lurker on Etsy…continuing to dream about a day where I can just create things for hours one end…

Am I the only one?

Grievous Crafting Blog Neglect…GUILTY!!!

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Yes, I know…I’ve been neglecting my blog horribly.  I actually stepped away from it completely for about a year.  It’s kind of strange because, with what little free time I have, I’ve actually been experimenting with new crafts lately.  I’m surprised that I haven’t been updating more.

ANYWAY…

After being away from my blog for so long I’ve discovered something rather interesting; somehow my blog got 3000+ views while I was away and I wasn’t even trying!  The second rather interesting thing I’ve discovered was that the Internet isn’t nearly as random as one hopes; you actually have to line yourself up to be seen.  I bought this book about keyword SEO and have been applying it to this blog as sort of an experiment. The third interesting this that I’ve discovered is that I’ve dragged my feet long enough when it comes to establishing my on line presents with my “crafting”.  Many times I’ve been told that my goods are worthy of sales on line and since I’m absolutely running out of room…it’s time.  I’ve been reading up on how to open a store on Etsy so the story shall continue.

Anyway, I’m curious how my experiment goes with the SEO…very curious as to if it’s going to make a difference.

I’ve been feeling a little crafty lately…

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Under The Sea via Ostrich Egg

I have been known to get very bored from time to time.

Unlike several people I know, sitting in front of a computer or the TV just isn’t an option for me… I can watch TV but my hands have to do something other than driving the remote.

I began my quest for “weird things to do with eggs” about 5 years ago when I first came to Cape Cod, not knowing anybody and a fairly recent widow (due to a strangely traumatic event; I may discuss some day but not today).  Since I didn’t really have anywhere to go, other than work, I relished in the new freedom of watching whatever I wanted on TV!!

As fate would have it, I was watching the DIY (do it yourself) network and there was a 20 second blip about “how to carve an ostrich egg”.  Some unidentified woman had a blank ostrich egg clutched in her left hand while the right hand held a small drill (it made me clench because it had the high-pitch whine of a dental drill) that danced wildly across the surface.  The scene switched to a beautiful carving of oak leaves intertwining themselves in a loose shape of where an ostrich egg once was…I was hooked!  The infamous words that plague most “crafty” people escaped my lips; “I can do that!!!”

The next step was to find the materials I required to fuel my new obsession.  I hit the internet.  Not expecting to find much on it, I found more than I expected.  There were solidly 30 web sites that displayed varying levels of talent and techniques that fueled my imagination.  So, I had an idea but nothing to express it with.  I surfed to my “old faithful” fallback of everything wonderful; I went on Ebay.

Anenome

Who would have thought that you could by empty and clean ostrich egg shells on Ebay?   I certainly didn’t but I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only were they for sale; there were several people selling them!  So, I bought two.  Not having any clue as to what to do with them, I still bought them.

Then I needed a means in which to create the act of carving.

I referred back to the legitimate web sites for carving and the most obvious thing was that extracted for me was that a Dremel  was the worst thing to use due to the low RPM’s (roughly 40,000 per minute) and the vibrations created by that.  Vibration is not good when you’re carving AN EGG!!  I ended up buying a Turbo Carver (my own personal dental drill at 125,000 RPM’s!!) that had a little compressor that came with it.  Fairly portable and user friendly, according to the web site.  The drill bits were included and there were clear instructions enclosed…again, stated by the web site.

It took about 3 weeks for everything to arrive.  I was so excited that I made sure to tell the 8 people that I mildly knew through work (they were all guys…I didn’t get the desired effect that I hoped for from them) and kept looking at the web sites when I had spare moments.  I learned that ostrich eggs weren’t the only types of eggs that could be carved.  Emu eggs could also be carved!  I wasn’t quite sure of what an emu was but a little research answered many questions.  Instead of the standard “white” color of many eggs, an emu egg was naturally emerald green on the outside.  Once you went through the dark green, a beautiful shade of turquoise blue made itself known.  I admit, the contract between the two was gorgeous! The big surprise was that under the turquoise was the whitest white that was powdery and very thin.  Great skill was entailed in carving that.

Finally, everything arrived!  I had the drill, compressor and two creamy white ostrich eggs that felt like porcelain to the touch (they were much more stout than I thought they would be…I guess they would need to be tough in order to hold up a 250+ lb bird!).  I also had a million ideas of what I wanted to do.  So, what did I do first?!?  I put everything on the dining room table and looked at it for two weeks before I touched it again.  I guess it was a little intimidating for me at the time.

Needless to say, I eventually picked it up again.  I’ve finished several eggs to date;  3 ostrich eggs, 2 emu eggs, 2 giant goose eggs (in a filigree cut) and a brown chicken egg from my refrigerator at the time (I had to be sure I could do it before I started cutting into the good stuff).  Thankfully, I’m very surprised that they’ve turned out very well.  I’ve sold half of them but still have the rest around here.  I’m running out of room…

The pics attached to this entry show my latest creation.  I find that after I finish one, I can’t pick up another egg project right away.  I don’t know if it’s because it’s such a tedious process or just because I get sick of it.  But I’m sure I’ll pick one up again sometime soon because I have two more ostrich eggs sitting on my shelf waiting to be…changed.  I guess I need to start putting them on Ebay again, a woman only needs so many eggs in the house.

I know that this entry is different from my others but this is my interest for the day.  I hope you enjoy it!!!