May 31, 2009

Beaded Fan Pulls

I'm not sure where or how I got this idea. I had a difficult time deciding on colors, but I'm very pleased with the finished results. There might even be some in my Etsy shop at some point. The picture on the left is of the set I made for myself. On the right, the ones I made for my Mom.

May 30, 2009

Inspired to Tat

I've been inspired to tat recently, by this lovely heart that TattingChic made, and those little spinning wheels that Lace-Lovin' Librarian seems to turn out every week. (How could anyone tat that fast?) I ordered the book with the heart from Handy Hands Tatting. Since they were having a spring cleaning sale, I ordered some thread, too. When the order came, I liked the thread colors so much that I promptly ordered some more, and a beaded tatted earrings booklet. I'm still trying to figure out how to tat without breaking the thread. (It's size 50) Any suggestions would be appreciated. The yellow thread in the picture on the left is from JoAnn's; I bought it for a special bookmark design, along with some extra tatting shuttles.

 I'm planning to make several Minor Norwegian Dragons with the thread. The link should take you to the PDF file. Last week I made this little dragon. I got to learn a few new techniques, like tatting with beads, Lock Joins, and Lock Stitches. Where the pattern says 'tension to curve', pull the chain tight so that it will curve as much as possible! I had to do a lot of starching on this little guy. Before I starched him he looked like a cow with wings. After I free up a couple of shuttles, I'm going to try him again in a gold thread.

May 29, 2009

Knitted Glove-Mitts

 I finally finished these Glove-Mitts Wednesday Evening. They still need a button and loop of some sort to hold the glove-flap down when it's not being used. A friend of mine has a loop and a pompom. I'm still thinking about the best way to do it. The pattern is from the January 2008 issue of Creative Knitting. I didn't quite like the way the first one fit, so I made some changes to the second one. The cuff is 1/4-1/2" longer. I picked up a few extra stitches around the thumb/thumb gusset. I also added two extra stitches to the pinky finger.


May 12, 2009

Fibromyalgia Awareness Day

*Today's guest post was written by my wonderful Mom. Thanks Mom!*

Today is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, which was created to bring attention to this misunderstood illness that affects between 2 and 5% of the population, most of them being female.  Patients often say they feel like they have the flu, or wake up feeling like they've been run over by a Mack truck.  Sometimes an illness or accident precedes the diagnosis. 
When I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia (FM) 15 years ago, it was largely believed to be a sleep disorder.  Thus, the goal was to improve the quality of the patient's sleep through the use of antidepressants and muscle relaxants.  Today, we know more about this disorder that is characterized by widespread pain in the soft (fibrous) tissues - muscles, ligaments, and tendons - as well as severe fatigue, and sleep disturbances.  Researchers have discovered that the central nervous system of patients simply does not work properly, sending improper messages to the fibrous tissues.  For instance, a slight slip of a hammer hitting a finger can feel like the pounding of a sledge hammer to a FM patient.  Other symptoms may include Irritable Bowel Syndrome, chronic headaches, TMJ, morning stiffness, cognitive or memory impairment, muscle twitching, and irritable bladder.  Many patients are overly sensitive to noise, light, and odors.  Yet despite all these symptoms, on the outside, a person with fibromyalgia looks perfectly fine.
In June, 2007, the FDA approved the first drug specifically for the treatment of fibromyalgia.  You have probably seen ads for Lyrica on television.  A year later, Cymbalta was approved.  Both of these drugs work to minimize pain.  Additionally, three new drugs are poised for approval.  These drugs are designed to help treat nocturnal awakenings, a common problem in FM sufferers.  These drugs, however, are not without side effects:  patients are often hyper-sensitive to medications, meaning that side effects are magnified, and it's not unusual for a sufferer to be unable to tolerate a medication, even at a low dose.
A diagnosis of fibromyalgia will change one's life, but to what extent varies from person to person.  With medication, some patients are virtually unaffected, or may actually improve.  Others, though, get worse, and their lives are severely changed.  I fall into the latter category.  I have to micromanage my time, making certain that I don't have many activities scheduled in one week.  I need a tremendous amount of sleep, and am unable to get up until at least noon (usually later), which makes scheduling appointments and other outings difficult.    The pain and incredible fatigue are often debilitating.  (Imagine your worst fatigue, then double or triple it, and you may have some idea of what an FM patient lives with day after day, year after year.)  Simple activities such as weeding the garden, painting a room (one wall a day), or cleaning my house can leave me stiff and sore for days.  People often do not understand why I would choose to pursue some projects, knowing what the consequences will be.  I respond by stating that I cannot sit around and do nothing all day, that pursuing pleasurable pastimes is often the best therapy, despite the consequences.  "If you are cheerful, you feel good; if you are sad, you hurt all over."  (Proverbs 17:22, CEV)  Frustrating?  Yes.  Still, I have learned to sympathize with those who have even more serious disabilities.  And I'd like to think that being forced to slow down has been beneficial.
Want to know more?  An excellent analogy of what it's like to live with a chronic illness is the Spoon Theory.  The Fibromyalgia Network is, in my opinion, the best source for information on symptoms, treatment options, and the latest research.
"Fibromyalgia - it's REAL"

May 11, 2009

Doll Clothes

I was organizing my sewing space a couple days ago, and found this doll's blouse that needed snaps and buttons. The skirt had been made eons ago, as well as the blouse. So, here is Katrina modeling her newest outfit:
The pattern is Simplicity 8654, one size, view D. The skirt was very simple to make. I did have some trouble with the blouse, although I don't remember exactly with what. I would advise reading the directions for the collar carefully, since I managed to mess it up pretty grandly.

I wanted to share another outfit, but your browsers would probably never load. I've created a photo album at Flickr, with some of my notes about the patterns in the descriptions. Just click 'show info' on the sildeshow page.

May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Today I want to thank all the Moms out there for making the choice to become a mother. I also want to thank all the moms who take the time to make handcrafted items for their children, and teach them various skills. Most of all, I want to thank my Mom for being a SAHM, full-time homemaker, and teacher, among other things. The pictures today are of an outfit Mom made for my 18" doll. The pattern is Simplicity 8654, one size, view A.
Happy Mother's Day Mom!

May 3, 2009

Lady of the Thread Cross Stitch

This is my current large cross stitch. The design is by Lavender and Lace, and is called Lady of the Thread. I mentioned it briefly here. I am stitching it on 28 count black linen. For some reason I'm having more trouble with stitching over two than I have with my previous linen projects. My mini-goal for this week is to have the Ecru section at the bottom of the picture on the right finished by Thursday night craft night.

May 2, 2009

Cross Stitch Fingertip Towel

After finishing my Ruth 1:16 cross stitch, I decided to finish several smaller projects before starting another big one. One was 'Welcome Friends' from my last post. This was the other one. Many years ago I asked for (and received) some fingertip towels to cross stitch. I had planned to do both of them, but have had some trouble with the colors on the second one. This design is the Mission Blue Butterfly from the booklet 'Bordering on Extinction' Designs by Harry D. Hedgepath. I enjoyed stitching the butterfly, and have done the dolphin design from the book as well. Someday I plan on doing the seals. Anyway, here's the picture.
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May 1, 2009

Welcome Friends Cross Stitch

I finished 'Welcome Friends' a month or so back, but still have not found a heart-shaped frame for it. Despite several mistakes, I'm very pleased with the way it turned out.