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Thanks for stopping in! I hope you enjoy this blog. I'm writing about things that I love and pray you'll share in the joy and creativity I try to bring. We're talking knitting, crochet, sewing, quilting, and crafts - plus a few random musings. Leave your comments and I promise to respond!

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Collecting the Shabbiness

Shabby chic is in full blown collection mode. I have scoured Pinterest, made new boards, collected paint samples, planned so many new things to do with the furniture and additions to make, and I went thrift store shopping. Yes, I know, it was very dangerous. But I made it out with less than $50 spent and a really great collection of new projects.

Probably the one I am most happy with and love is the little bunny doll. I don't think she's very old or even vintage, although she was covered with a good bit of dust. But everything from her flowery dress with lace collar, to raffia ears and bows, to her little wooden body and missing basket made me fall in love with her. And for $1.99, how could I say no? She will become a permanent fixture in the sewing room. 

My new bunny
wire cage
My other finds include what I believe to be a plate cover that will become a hanging lampshade, a little wire and stick birdcage that will be filled with mosses and fabric roses, a clock with a Celtic knot (that will probably stay just the way it is, with new hands), a basket for the bathroom, 3 little buckets I'm hoping to make into light shades for the other bathroom, and a hat rack. 
rose lights! For the bedroom






soon to be lampshade with butterfly, basket, and the buckets for lampshades. 
The Celtic Knot Clock. (Please forgive the messiness of my crafting table!)
I love the hat rack almost as much as the bunny. Almost. I plan to paint it and distress it first. Then it will become a plant hanger for the craft room. I love my greenery. 
Hat rack destined to be a plant hanger




Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Cupboard Door Knob Backplate

It's my first legit crafting post of 2015! I have decided that THIS is the year that I will finally decorate in the shabby chic manner that I so love. This means lots of little crochet pieces and a blog filled with shabby stuff. So I hope you're prepared!




The first thing I wanted to do is fix the paint chipping off the cupboard doors behind the knobs in the kitchen. I have looked at many different backplates for this solution, but nothing really struck my fancy. The ones that did were too pricey for the amount I needed, too!


So I decided that I would try to crochet some lace doilies and use those as backplates. The biggest challenge was trying to find a small enough doily pattern to use. I only had about 3" of room. I finally decided to just look at the center of some larger doily patterns and chose Curlique from the book Irish Lace Doilies on e-patternscentral.com. I just made the first 4 rounds, which, as indicated in the pattern, would measure 3" perfectly.












It took me a couple of nights, but I made the first 7 to go on the upper cabinets, where the chipping was the worst. First, I removed the knobs and repainted the chipped areas after a light sanding. After that was dry, I starched my doilies using a 1/2 white glue, 1/2 water ratio and letting them dry after blocking.







Once they were dry I applied them to the cupboards using Loc-tite Crafter's Indoor Safe Adhesive. It is non-yellowing, acid free, and low odor. It also says it is water resistant after curing and creates a permanent bond. This was exactly what I wanted.



So what do you think? I think that crochet can be used in so many different ways. All it takes is a little ingenuity. On my way to glorious shabbiness.



Thursday, January 1, 2015

A look back and a glance ahead!

2014 was a really good year for me. I didn't mean most of my resolutions, but who does? I did, however, learn to use a spindle and I spun some yarn with it. I decided that I really want to work with a wheel. I don't think the spindle and I get along too well.

I have decided that I will just let the year carry me through and not forget to try new things and do more stuff that makes me happy. The only thing my heart is really pushing for is to continue working on this blog, reading my Bible daily, and being more involved in helping others. And with that I will include helping animals as well.

I started the day out yesterday making some scrap pillows for shelter/rescue cats. I ended up with 12 of them before I had to stop for the day. Basically, I'm just stitching together some squares from fabric I need to use up and stuffing them with strips of t-shirt materials from the quilts I've made. They're not the fanciest, but I think the kitties will like them!


I also finished up a fair isle knit sweater I've been working on since December 6. My daughter really wanted a pair of fingerless mitts because her hands stay cold. I found an amazing pattern on Ravelry http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/fingerless-gloves-musica. I was always a little hesitant about doing color work of any kind, especially fair isle. The look has always appealed to me, but dropping one yarn, picking, up another, working a few stitches, repeating the process sounded boring and intimidating. Now, though, I had to try it. 

I picked up continental knitting while working my two-at-a-time hats . So I used the technique of holding one yarn in one hand and another in the other hand and I did it! I made another set for a friend and then a third set with a different pattern for my daughter's boyfriend. 


So what comes after knitting 3 pairs of fingerless mitts? Why, a sweater, of course! So that's what I did. I had been eyeing a pattern by Natalie Moreva for months. Her foxy sweater was gorgeous, and I wanted one. So I made one. I finished it with about 35 minutes to spare last year. So I think I will revamp my original resolutions and say that I was successful at learning to fair isle knit and add it to my repertoire of knitting skills! 


So what did you learn this year? Were you successful with any resolutions? Let me know in the comments! 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Three Months?

Yes, it has been three months since I was able to post on my beloved blog! Honestly, most people haven't even noticed or cared, but it is something that grates on my nerves in a big way. I started out great this year and kept it going for about 6 months. That's longer than most New Year's Resolutions.

But now we're approaching the end of the year. And the beginning of a new one. Christmas is always busy for me, but especially since going back to work and trying to finish up my final quilt. Yes, I said that too. My final quilt.

I was so excited to get it finished and out of the way! I could finally say, "I am done," and not have another bag full of t-shirts waiting for me to cut, starch, cut again, plan, sew, sash, quilt, and bind. No more worries about what the final product will look like, if I messed something up, if I couldn't find 100 t-shirts into a quilt designed for 20, and time for other pursuits. I can knit and crochet, craft and bake, clean house, shower, exercise, and live without guilt about what I SHOULD be doing in the sewing room.

And I'm also on to new pursuits. I'm hoping to have some exciting information to share in the next few months. One thing that has changed drastically since September is that I am now home educating 3 of my 5 children. This changed a lot of things for me, and one of those is that I will be returning to full time mom and business owner. I'm eager to return to what I do best: teaching. So after the first week in January my life will once again turn course. It's exciting, and a bit scary, and a little sad. I'll miss the munchkins at the art center. Kids really have a way of getting in and burying themselves in my heart. I'll go back to visit, but I'll also have more time for my own children, which always take precedence.

I also have another blog. This one will go along with the home education AND art. I have a passion for creating, as you may or may not be able to tell. This blog helps me to plan and show what we can do to integrate art and education. It is www.littlelyonshomeschool.com. I hope you'll take a look at it! Even if not for a homeschool, it is still going to be filled with crafty ideas and some art journal pages!

So what are the plans for Eclectic Technique? I'm going to continue with what I started at the beginning of the year. I will focus on completing and continuing with featured days. Maybe not one every day as in the beginning, but at least 3 a week.

What were your favorites? What did you like best? To get an idea, please use the page tabs up top and tell me what you would like to see in the future or continued from the past.

I will also be designing my own patterns and hoping to do something even more exciting. I can't reveal it yet until all is finalized, but once it is, I'll let you know!


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Craftsy's Big Fall Course Sale

It's that time again! The time for hot cocoa, crisp and cool mornings, walks along paths littered with colored leaves, and knitting. If you're lucky enough to live in one of the cooler climates, you can knit by the fireside or bundled up in a blanket. Or maybe you like to sew, decorate cakes, crochet, and a variety of other crafts to keep you occupied on those chilly fall and winter days. If not, but you've always thought you might like to learn, now is the time!



Craftsy
Craftsy's BIG Fall Course Sale!
(sponsored post)

Have you heard Craftsy's BIG Fall Course Sale is happening now? Learn from the world's best instructors in the comfort of your home, when you shop up to 50% off ALL online classes! Once you enroll you can watch your classes anytime, anywhere, forever. Hurry, offer expires September 22, 2014 at 11:59 PM MT. Shop Craftsy's BIG Fall Course Sale and save.

You can never go wrong with a Craftsy class. Great for watching on those days you just want to be creative, or any time you feel the need for more crafting. Get inspired! 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Circular Lace Knitting Needle Review: Hiya Hiya

This is the third and final installment in my list of knitting needle reviews. Today we're looking at the Hiya Hiya interchangeable needle sets.

Chiaogoo review

Addi Review


Selections
Chiaogoo
Addi1
Addi2
Hiya Hiya
Tip Length
5”
3”
5”
4” and 5”
Lifeline
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Cord Lengths
24-40 (3)
16-40 (4)
24-40 (3)
16 – 40 (4)
Cord Material
Nylon Coated Steel
Not given
Not given
Not given
Tip Sizes
2-15
4 to 11
4 to 11
2-8 or 9-15
Tip Material
Stainless Steel
Nickel Plated Brass
Nickel Plated Brass
Steel
Cable Connectors
2
1
1
0
Storage Case
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Extras Included (ie. Stitch markers, gauges, etc.)
Yes
No
No
No
Extas available for purchase
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Cost
~ $169.00
~ $169.00
~ $169.00
~ $80/set, $160.00 total


The Hiya Hiya needles were suggested to me in a knitting group I use on Facebook. Since I wanted to make sure I was covering my bases, I decided to review them as well. Again, I purchased a fixed circular set, size 5, from eBay. First and foremost, the Hiya Hiya sets don't offer a lot in the way of extras with their sets. You can choose from a 4" set, either in small sizes (2-8) or in large sizes (9-15) or a 5" set with the same variables. Each set comes with 4 cable sizes of 16", 24", 32" and 40". The sets are approximately $80 each, adding up to a total of $160.00 for a set as complete as the Chiaogoo.

When I first took my Hiya Hiya out of its package, the cable was badly twisted in a loop, meaning that the memory retention was much higher than I cared for. I put it in some warm water and let it set for a while, which released the loop. They still are not as flexible as the Chiaogoo or the Addi. I set about knitting up a cabled shawl in fingering weight yarn, knowing this would test the agility and smoothness of the needles.

The needles are very smooth, and it's almost like there is no join whatsoever. The yarn glides across the cables and slips easily over the needle tips. Sometimes too easily. I've lost a couple of stitches from the needle sliding out. This is something I'm used to from the Boye, but did not encounter with the other two. The tips are very sharp, quite accurate at manipulating the yarn, and I love that aspect of them.

All in all, I have to say that I am not sold on the Hiya Hiya. I don't think I get as much for my money and the memory retention is higher than I like. So what wins? Chiaogoo. In my opinion I just get a lot more for the money I invested, I have a full and complete set available with many extras. I can also get singular cables for the smaller sizes I may need in the future.



I hope this has helped you make some decisions of your own. My opinions are given according to what I am looking for in a circular needle set, and you are free to make decisions based on your own experience and preferences. This experiment wasn't an exact science, but it did give me some guidelines on what to expect from each brand. Happy knitting!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Circular Lace Knitting Needle Review: Addi Lace Turbo

Continuing with my Interchangeable Lace Knitting Needle series, I am reviewing the Addi Lace turbo series.

Today's review:



Addi Sets have a little more when it comes to choices in their interchangeable needles. They offer two different lace sets, one with short 3" tips and one with longer 5" tips. The 3" set includes the same 8 needle tips in sizes 4-11, but they have 5 cable lengths instead of 3 (16", 20", 24", 32", 40"). The 5" set has the cable lengths in 24", 32" & 40".

The long lace also include lifeline holes, an added bonus. The Chiaogoo also have lifeline holes in their interchangeable sets.

Addi on top, Chiaogoo on bottom


So here is a tabular breakdown of the Chiagoo vs. Addi.
Selections Chiagoo Addi Addi2
5" 3"  5"
Lifeline? yes no yes
Cord Lengths 24-40 (3) 16-40 (5) 24-40 (3)
Cord Material Nylon coated steel Not given Not given
Tip Sizes 2 to 15 4 to 11 4 to 11
Tip Material Stainless Steel Nickel Plated Brass Nickel Plated Brass
Memory little to none little to none little to none
Cable connectors 2 1 1
Storage Case Yes Yes Yes
Extras Included Yes no no
Extras Available for purchase yes yes yes
Cost ~169.00 ~169.00 ~169.00
Thoughts: 

I really liked the Addi Needles, but they seemed too light in my hands. I know that is a strange thing to say, but it was almost like holding nothing at all. The memory in the cables seems to be very low, but I don't believe they are as flexible as the Chiaogoo.

Red Chiaogoo cable, Blue Addi Cable

 I love the "extras" that come with the Chiaogoo. Right now the Addi is on sale on Amazon, so that is a huge bonus, and would justify buying the extras available, but not included. The Addi needles did seem to be much smoother at the joins, and the yarn glided over the cables and needles with ease. The Addi needles also don't seem to be as sharp, either, although their tips appear to be exactly the same. 

Chiaogoo tips on left, Addi on right


My biggest dilemma right now is that I really don't like the weight of the Addi needles. However, I really like the smoothness. I wish that the 16" and 20" cables were available in the 5" sizes. You can purchase them as extras, but they will not make a true 16" circular, as stated on the Addi Website. So I'm guessing with either one, I will need to buy 16" fixed circulars (which I already have in size 5). Still not entirely decided yet. Reviewing the Hiya Hiya set in a couple of days. 

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