WOYWW 591 – much improved!

Hello WOYWWers!

Well.  What a difference from last week!  MUCH BETTER overall, even if the actual desk is less than pretty.

The tiny little stamps are from a printing press stamp set I got decades ago.  I use it all the time, and the tiny storage pots from Tiger work great to sort the letters – even so I bet I’ve lost half of them to the floor and then eventually the Hoover!

This is a little art journal that has mostly political venting in it.  This will ultimately be the last page and you can see it better here:

That is before I stamped what I am arranging, which is the URL for VoteSaveAmerica.  I HAVE already voted. Hopefully it will count. Just a reminder to anyone from any country, at any point in the election cycle….

And now a few shots of the cleaner areas of my desks, cause the contrast from last week should be noted!

The mask is on my desk because I had to hot-glue the little frame inside, to make breathing easier.  I don’t dare allow my glue-gun out of my office or I might never find it again.  Like my mini-sander….no clue where it got to.

My Cricut desk has some stencils on it and a big pile of collage stuff that needs sorting into the little tray/drawers.  It’s a real mix of magazine stuff, vintage ephemera, and other found items. That is going to take a LOT of time.

My Gelli-desk is not too messy – I have the paper towels and the journal base I will cover with them set up, a bin of some old prints, and my mop-up journal.  Pretty sure that was a gift from a WOYWW person from a long time ago. Does the name Deckled Edge Bindery mean anything to anyone?  Do let me know!

Have a great day!


Little bottles of colour.

My room is much cleaner than it has been, thank goodness.  Or maybe I should say at one point this week it looked pristine but as soon as I started working on something it swiftly went to hell in a handbasket.

One thing I have been super keen on is using up old supplies.  No, using UP is not what I mean, just USING.  I bought stuff a while back that I never even opened.  And in the intervening months (years) there were newer, maybe better, similar products.

I spotted a video on using Colour Bursts I think they were called, and I immediately thought Those seem very like the Brushos I bought ages ago.  I think I went to the trouble of poking a hole in the top of one or two of the little post to test them and then… nada, zip, zilch.  But while I liked the squeezy bottles as applicators of the newer product, I ALREADY had something similar.

I dragged them out, and also dragged out some tiny bottles I had with dropper tips, that I used when I made alcohol inks by soaking old marker pens in, well, ALCOHOL.  I decanted the Brushos into them and now they work with a squeeze to scatter grains of pigment over whatever.

I tested them out on a partially coloured mop-up paper towel that I have a plan for (ooh look! you can just see my very colourful facemask there by the towels)

And about those paper towels/kitchen roll… we ordered some from Costco and hubby accidentally ordered the American version.  We’ve done this before. I recall when we first moved over to the UK lamenting the tiny paper towels.  Now, 20+ years later, the bigger version seems wasteful and less appealing.  Go figure. Having said that, they do mop up more….

A few of the items that I used in my current project, that I have not used either at all or in a very long while. I must work harder on making them an actual design choice rather than  forcing them into a project where they may not actually fit…

AND my sadly neglected Gelli plates have been utilized finally for making some background pages for a project I am using to vent my spleen in.  More on that tomorrow.

The new placement of stuff is working out pretty OK. Again, more on that tomorrow for the desk crowd.

Back to cutting stencils…


2021 Calendars – oddly prepared….

I was taken by surprise when I got a comment on my blog from Debbie asking about 2021 calendars!  In the chaos of 2020 it had totally slipped my mind.  I went hunting in my full-to-bursting folders of calendar files on my Mac and imagine my surprise when I found not one, but TWO circle calendars already ready to go.  What the hell?  It is totally unlike me to be that prepared.  I am a very much last-minute kinda gal.  Anyway, I had a quick check of the start end end days of the month, on two online calendars, to make sure when I made them I had gotten the dates all correct (and I will NEVER forget the time I used an online calendar and IT was wrong, so I was too) and can add them now.

Why I made two versions I don’t know, but I did.  This one is more like the original:

and this one is an update version, bolder and more modern, maybe?

Hopefully one of them will appeal. Both will fit a standard cd case.  Click on the Calendar Making menu at the top to see the drop-down menu with loads of calendar projects for inspiration.


WOYWW – out of practice!

LOL! I am SO out of practice doing WOYWW that last week I totally forgot to add the link back in my post.  THIS week I was so consumed with cleaning and reorganizing my space to move all the beads and things I had front and centre for making knitting stitch markers and shifting my art journaling supplies to a more usable location and FINALLY (after only 4 years!) trying to get the rest of my stuff under control that it kinda slipped my mind that I should pre-prepare a post for today.  Shocking.  I almost skipped it totally, but what kind of track record would that be, a run of ONE?

So I have not one, not two, but THREE desks on show, none of them in good shape.  My knitting friend who was here yesterday for a quite cold, socially distanced knitting session out in the garden, asked me what the heck WOYWW was.  I explained.  Now, if she sees this, she will realize the full horror of my craft room. Words are inadequate to describe it. (waves to Kirsty….)

Desk ONE:

Not as bad as it could be – my desk where my monitors sit.  Usable, just about.  You can see my 2nd hand Cricut, a first gen one that still has 1.1 firmware so I can still use SCAL on it.  Yes, yes, I could probably buy a new Silhouette and be the better off for it, but frankly, I have this one and it works well enough. Mostly I cut the occasional paper stencil or mask. To be completely honest, the Cricut is actually on desk 4, but right now you can’t actually see that.  Maybe one day….

Desk 2:

Holy crap.  This one is what I might call my primary desk.  At the moment it is littered with stencils (bought ones and my own) and things like the texture plates I made AGES ago from textured wallpaper stuck to cardboard.  I am in the process of sorting them out and organizing them into usable storage, like binders, etc. It’ll take me the rest of the week, I’m sure, to accomplish that! Much of my art supplies have moved there, but they are just out of frame.

Desk 3:

This is the one in front of the window.  My plan is to have it ready for Gelli plate printing and deli-paper stamping and Copic colouring.  The lighting is crap at the moment but the little unit on the window ledge is full of texture tools and foam stamps, etc.

With any luck at all, next week will reveal a much more organized and tidy space.  I can dream, right?

Apologies in advance for visiting without commenting to any who have their Blogger blog set to disallow ANONYMOUS comments (or ones where you can comment with a name and, if desired, a URL) – I could comment if I wanted to create a Blogger account and log in to it, but frankly, Google gets enough of my personal data that one more cross-reference point for them is just a step too far.  Feel free to click away if reciprocal comments is your requirement.  Trust that I enjoyed seeing your desk even if I wasn’t able to say so!

Have a lovely Wednesday! Off to examine desks much more organized and full of actual creativity than MINE….


RBG – notorious, iconic, gone

When I woke up yesterday to the news that Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died and I have to admit it, made me well up.  She was a feminist icon, lived a long and amazing life, and will be sorely missed on the US Supreme Court.

I have been playing around, old school, with my 1st generation Cricut and Sure Cuts A Lot.  It worked well enough for me to cut a stencil of RBG and make an art journal page.  Simple, focused, and will probably carry on making me get a bit teary as I page past it at least for a while.

The stencil is in two parts, because it was too hard to join up the bits and still have the image look enough like her to work.  Limited colours, as red, white, and blue are all that it needed – anything else, save black and white,  would muddy the waters.

Still a bit wet.

As a side note, I am finding that working on the crumpled paper bag pages of this journal do offer great texture, but the thinness of the pages and the lack of stability when wet, even with a coat of gesso, limits the techniques I can do.  At this point I am 90% done with a thicker card journal I am anxious to move on to but I have 8 or more pages in this original one.  I know many people have multiple journals on the go, but I really am not ready to jump to that, given I had already set journaling aside for, let’s be honest, YEARS.

Should I have waited to make this page, or leapt into it as I did when it was a fresh, as I did?  Not sure. Is it the best, most artistic page I could have made? Probably not.  But I do love it anyway, and it speaks to me.  I think it always will, possibly BECAUSE  I didn’t wait around and overthink it.  It looks as raw as I feel. It’s hard to know what more to say.

May the Almighty comfort all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

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Are two pages “a roll?”

Impossible to overstate how much fun I am having with my paints and inks and stamps and stencils.  I keep coming across things I bought years ago that I have barely touched.

I was actually looking for some tissue paper and came across an old Starbucks flyer that had some text on it which sparked this page.

I also found a couple of other things – a Teesha Moore stamp, a graffiti stencil book, and a bit of non-skid rug underlay stuck to a piece of cardboard.  The 2020 stencil I cut on the fly from heavy card.

Some of the text from the flyer I used as it appeared – well, close to anyway.

I think originally it was Terrifying? Perhaps and Thrilling? Definitely but I think my re-shuffle works more accurately for 2020! And the Are you ready for a challenge? was cobbled together from other text as well.

The waving tentacles from the Teesha stamp might not be a biologically correct depiction of the virus, but the slightly unsettling movement implied gives the right sort of feel for me.

Better use of white on this page, although it could be a better photograph.  No matter, I am enjoying the process and that works for me, for now.



WOYWW – OMG it has been so long…

Wow.  I can’t even think when was the last time I joined in with WOYWW.  I think about it often, read the posts when I have the time, and miss the community that was built around it.

Medical issues forever altered life.  Now there is the Covid.  Ugh.  It’s all just a bit much.

I won’t dwell on that.  There is little point.  ALL the WOYWW folk have had their struggles over the years.  Some soldier on, some drop out, drop back in, drop out forever.  We all deal in different ways.

When we moved, and I was diagnosed with a debilitating and rare myositis, my strength and energy levels were nil.  Getting up to my craft room was harder and harder.  I basically shifted completely over to knitting.  Something I could do sitting on the sofa and even on very low energy days.  I recently had a small window of improvement (sadly, now heading in the other direction, but with another new treatment to try perhaps soon) and it made me anxious to take up my art journaling again.

AGES ago (2018!) I made a journal based around inspirational quotes to do with strength and illness and the like.  It was prompted by the Permission to Play workshop by Carolyn Dube (there is a link in the sidebar if anyone is interested – I loved it BTW!) and you can see more about that here. That was really one of the last times I did anything arty.

Last week I made TWO (!) pages.  Wow am I out of practice.  The first one had a couple of elements I really liked but overall was a hot mess.

Too many colours, too dark, overwhelming text… I loved the stencil I cut from a magazine image.  Just lucky the wingspan matched the sides of the page pretty well! The figure also will work as a mask.

I scanned the photo and changed the contrast and saturation before printing on heavy cardstock to make a more substantial stencil.   The other item I loved was the stamp. Made up of the numbers for the whole family’s birthdays, cut from sticky-backed fun foam and mounted on a strip of plastic placemat.  Some of the numbers are a little wonky but overall I love it and expect I will use it a lot.

Those of a sensitive disposition, click away now.  Warning of a rude word on what I see as the better of the two pages:

Happy with the more limited colour palette, the limited stencils and stamps, the increased white space.  Not perfect, nothing to crow about, but not bad and not hot mess.  A few more pages and I will reclaim my style…maybe.  Pretty sure the leafy stamp is from a Scrap Magic crop class about a million years ago, the Anyone Home? bit is a section of a Teesha Moore stamp, the circle of numbers is from…Banana Frog, maybe? The Mona Lisa is from ….can’t recall the name! Some mail order only online stamp maker.

Not having taken part in a long, long while, I will have to see what happens as I try to comment.  I have a dim recollection that one of the reasons I stopped was commenting issues, but I’m hoping that has been sorted.  It will be quite nice to catch up on the work of some of my favourite WOYWWers. Fingers crossed.


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Still slipping….

What a weird day it has been.  I have been carrying on with my slipped stitch sequences and testing out a few so-called jogless joins.  While they work OK for stripes, none work in a way I like for the slipped stitch helix knitting I am doing.  So far, adding one stitch and alternating between slipping it and knitting it looks best to me.  But I am now thinking maybe I add say three stitches, maybe even three stitches between the font and the back needles when working magic loop.  Sort of setting off the strips of the sequences by bands of solid colour – maybe in purl  or even twisted knits!  Purl, Ktbl, Purl is something that occurs in the Japanese stitch pattern I am using for a pair of socks at the moment and it looks interesting.


That would serve to set off the slipped stitch sections quite nicely, I think. I might have a go at that and see. It probably rather negates the value of the repeated sequence but only by inserting a break, rather than completely reworking the sequence (more on that later.)

OK but here is the weird thing.  I was mapping the patterns with coloured blocks, just to get an idea of some of the variations, and to see where they might differ.  All of these are actually assuming you are working in the round.  Here is a selection:

I noticed a couple of weird blocks, that made no sense to me.  Look at these:

The bottom one explains – the slipped stitches should be getting lighter and lighter with each slipping.  You can see that in all of these charts, you get a round of your sequence: Knit 4, Slip 1, but when you move to the next round in helix knitting, knitting in the second colour and slipping the stitch from the previous round, all the slips stack up.  What is stranger, for at least one of them, does not act like what I have always been told with regard to patterns.

Both 15 and 19 are multipes of 4 +3 stitches.

15 = 12 (= 4×3) + 3 stitches

19 = 16 (= 4×4) +3 stitches

And yet the charts are totally different.  Look back up to (k3, s1) on 15 or 19 stitches.  They look THE SAME.  Read any stitch dictionary – they all specify pattern repeats as “multiples of x, + y extra stitches” and 99.9% of the time, it works.  For this method it does not.  The true weirdness came when I tried to explain slipped stitch helix knitting to my husband.  OMG.  He just could not get it.  He eventually created his own little chart, I grabbed my knitted sample, I talked him thru the way knitting, and in particular SLIPPING when using two colours and alternating rounds, works.  He just kept saying “But if you just add another slip HERE you can make it work!” and I kept saying “But adding stitches makes it not a sequence!” and he would say “It IS a sequence, just not the same one!” and I would yell “LOOK AT THE BOOK! It is called SEQUENCE KNITTING! It has to be the exact same sequence, over and over. The clue is in the title!” and so we sent, round and round, making no progress.

So that has been my Saturday.  <sigh>



Slip Stitch Sequence Knitting

Sometimes I get an idea and carry on with it, trying to see it to s good resolution, far past the time I think I really should give up on it.  I am not quite ready to say that I am at the end of this exploration yet, but I am close.  Even so I thought it was worth posting about it in case someone with a bigger more mathematical brain than me can make it work!

The book, Sequence Knitting, is one I got last year while in the US for a wedding.  Remember air travel? Weddings? Hugs from family? Yea. Well.

The concept is pretty amazing – knitting a “sequence” of stitches, let’s say (k4, p1) according to a set of rules (each row, in a serpentine way, or as a spiral) produces effortless, but amazing fabric.

I have been reading the book and looking at the samples for a very long time.  My hope was I could turn the patterns into socks.  But that wasn’t really working out for a variety of reasons.  The spiral sequences, which are the only ones that work in the round as true sequence knitting, are interesting but not amazing FOR SOCKS.  And I haven’t yet worked out a way to convert the serpentine versions into simple sequences – sure, you can make them two or more row patterns rather than repeating sequences but that rather defeats the point of it all!

I have made a few pair of socks from leftover yarn, using the helix knitting method, where you knit a round with one yarn then WITHOUT TWISTING you knit the next round with the second yarn.  I love the effect, especially with two self-striping yarns (that do NOT share a common colour) and it sparked an idea.

I wondered what might happen if rather than knit 4, purl 1 I instead did knit 4 SLIP 1, on alternating row helix style knitting?

Well, At first it seemed like magic! Check out these mosaic style patterns:


All of these were done in the round, alternating the light and dark blue.  All of them are pretty cool.  The key is doing the sequence on multiple of some number + additional stitches.  The only tricky bit (I thought at first) was to remember where you were in the sequence when rounding the magic loop – so if knitting (K5, S1) and you completed K3 on the back needle in light blue, the front needle had to begin with K2 in DARK blue.  That was easy enough to get into a rhythm with after a few rounds.

At some point, My brain went Well crap.  I am knitting a HELIX! I mean OF COURSE I am, but what are the implications of that?  That the rounds do not line up.  Nope, they sure don’t. In some sequences, it’s pretty rubbish.

In others you are aware something is not quite right but in similar colours or in fine yarn, it might not matter a lot if you place the beginning of round someplace that makes sense (the back of the neck of a cowl, maybe the back of a sock, etc)

And in reality it wasn’t too hard to come up with a way to make it more of a design feature – adding a single extra stitch at the beginning of the round that you slip on the alternate colour rounds and knit with the same colour gives you a sort of braided line of stitches dividing the helix beginning of round and end.

Not perfect, especially in these high contrast colours and in a small sample, but not horrible either.

So then I looked at it in different colours and I REALLY liked that effect a lot

But it just doesn’t seem like it will work for SOCKS, which was my initial goal.  The slipped stitch fabric is thick, even on sock weight yarn.  It draws the fabric in – not as much as stranded knitting does, but it does.  Maybe a hat would work, doing the slipped stitch after the brim and before the decreases for the crown (much like the hat patterns included in the book) as long as the divider stitches are something you can place at the back and be happy with, like the line of black stitches here

It might work on the cuff, say, of fingerless mitts, below the thumb gusset.

But in the end, I am not as wildly enthusiastic as perhaps I was when I did my very first sample.  Like I said, I am not quite done playing, because I still believe the simplicity of the sequence knitting is pretty darn nifty, the colour effect is likewise pretty nifty and the thickness of the fabric could be a benefit in certain situations.  I’d be super curious if anyone has thoughts on this – something blindingly obvious I missed? some method to match the helix better that I have not stumbled on? and ideas this concept sparks that are worth exploring?

Let me know!


Another Nearly No-Sew Knitted Heart Pattern

I was keen to make another no-sew heart, with slightly different proportions and with a bit of texture.   It took me a few sample knits to get it to where I wanted it to be, but I am finally happy with the results. The original No-Sew Heart is very simple, a pair can be whipped out in and hour or two, if you do the two at a time, as you would socks. It looks like this:

I will add the NEW PDFs right at the beginning then get on with the explanation so I don’t get 100 comments or emails asking where they are!

The Nearly No-Sew Textured Heart

The Nearly No-Sew Subtle Textured Heart

The new, textured version has a few more rounds, and a few special tricks to make closing the gap in the middle a bit easier. Here are a couple of samples (the subtle version sample photo is right at the end):



On the last pattern I talked about the KFSB (knit front, slip back) alternative to KFB.  I explained how knitting into the front of the stitch, then inserting the needle into the back of that same stitch as if you were going to go ahead and knit into the back, but instead slipping that stitch over to the right  needle still produces two stitches but omits that little bar across the front you get with KFB. I offered the KFSB as an alternative to KFB, and said feel free to KFB if you prefer, it would be fine.

This one? Not so much. In order to make the pattern work, the increases need to be on the first and last stitch of the increase rows rather than one stitch in.  The KFSB give a far neater and snugger line of increases.

Can you see the KFB stitches (on the left) are just a little baggy and open?

This is the KFB seen along the edge – see the gaps above the “braid?”

and this is the KFSB seen along the edge – much tighter and neater!

I hope I have convinced you to give this a go!

One other small change.  When dividing for the heart bumps, in this version you will have an uneven number of stitches.  The round has 21 stitches and can’t be divided evenly.  This makes for a happy accident, I think.  When you begin heart bump #1, you will knit 10 stitches from the front needle, then slip on to waste yarn the heart bump #2 stitches.

You will move 11 from the second half of the front needle and then 10 from the beginning of the back needle. You will then begin heart bump #1 with a K2Tog, which brings the two halves together, beginning to close the gap.

Once you complete heart bump #1, and are ready to begin bump #2, you will need to join your yarn in the middle.  Re-organize your stitches so there are 10 stitches on the front needle and 11 on the back needle,  BUT you must then move the extra stitch in the middle from the BACK needle to the front, to then K2tog in the same way.

This seems like a bit of palaver but it helps to both simplify stitch pattern AND results in fewer sewn stitches needed to close the gap.

Now, I don’t have an issue stuffing the heart nicely thru the open bumps and the centre gap, but it IS easier if you fully stuff the tip and lightly stuff up to the gap then do bump #2 and finally fully stuff the bumps before you fully close the gap.

I was lucky enough to get a fellow Ravelry user, who knit the original, review the pattern and knit a sample.  I think her sample photos show the superior look of the KFSB along the side edge as well!

Many thanks to  MingleYarns  for her help. It is much appreciated!

As a bonus, there is yet another way to make this pattern that you might prefer.  The texture is more subtle, but if you hate purling then this will be better. All you need to do is read every PURL stitch as a KTBL (knit thru the back loop, or make a twisted knit stitch, as you prefer.)

With this very simple change, and making only knit stitches (well, sort of!) you get texture like this:

I went ahead and did a replace P with Ktbl  edit and created what I am calling A Nearly No-Sew Subtle Textured Heart Pattern.  Just know that that is quite literally the ONLY CHANGE in Subtle Textured vs Textured – just substituting a knit thru the back loop for a purl.

Lastly, if the proportions of the textured versions are more pleasing to you, you need only add 5 knit rounds after round 18 on the original No-Sew heart pattern.  The original is as streamlined as I could make it for charity knitting, but the textured versions (and the + 5 rounds version) are great for any other heart-as-gift.