A few months ago, I reorganised my atelier a little bit, shifting my sewing and painting supplies around. During that time, I found a large cut of fleece I had purchased a very long time ago to make a blanket with for when we go camping. That started a flurry of blanket-making, ending with a total of four – two for us humans and two for the furry ones. I even knitted one of them.
All the fleece blankets I made are double-layered. I love cold-weather camping in the High Sierras. Even with 0F-rated sleeping bags, a little extra warmth is very nice to have during the chilly nights. This is going to be our camping blanket. That is, of course, not going to stop me from using it at home dreaming of the camping days.
The second blanket I made was a present for my husband for his birthday. It’s a Marauder’s Map fleece print I found at JoAnn. I purchased 3 yards of the fleece, and for the backing I got 3 yards of the snowflakes print. I used 2.5 yards of each for the blanket.
Unplanned, it fits the day bed in his home office perfectly.
I kept the remnant of the Marauder’s Map fleece for another project. With the remnant of the snowflake fleece I made a little blanket for the kitties. As I was attempting to take a photo of it, Charlie showed up and claimed his blanket and I was unable to move him.
For the fleece blankets – after rounding off the corners with an old CD, I stitched all around the blanket with 1/4″ seam allowance, keeping a large a gap on one side to turn it over. I clipped the corners, offsetting the top and the bottom pieces. I think the corners lie a little flatter that way. I was too lazy to take the serger out. After turning the blanket, I used a zigzag stitch on my sewing machine to stitch around the edges to give it a nice finish.
I also made a knitted blanket specially for Charlie. He loves to sleep on my yellow pullover. I used the same bulky gauge yarn I used to knit my pullover for his blanket. I think, it’s a great alternate pattern to the stockinette stitch.
You will need to cast on (multiples of 4) + 3 stitches. Alternate these two rows –
Repeat to the last 3 stitches – knit 3, slip 1 with yarn in front. Knit the last 3 stitches.
Knit 1. Repeat to the last 2 stitches – slip 1 with yarn in front, knit 3. The last two stitches – slip 1 with yarn in front, knit 1.
These are all very easy to make whether you knit or sew, or do both.
Oil painting was definitely not an option for me because of the odoriferous fumes generated from traditional oil painting products. So for the longest time I shied away from oil. When I learned about water soluble oil where the paint washes off with just water, I had to give that a try. I thought I’d share my approach and experience with you in case you have wanted to try oil paining but, just like me, didn’t take the plunge due to the fumes.
My oil painting supplies
Daniel Smith Modified Water Soluble Linseed Oil – This is the ONLY oil paint medium I purchased.
Canva-Paper by Canson – Canvas textured paper. At 290g it has a nice weight. I did not have any problems with paint seepage in the back. Great for practice, acid-free, and a space saver over using canvas
Da Vinci oil and acrylic brushes – These are synthetic brushes. Don’t use soft watercolour brushes for oil.
Palette knives – For mixing paints
Masterson’s Sat-Wet Handy palette and liners – It is a lidded box that comes with a few sheets of palette liner paper included. You can buy extra liners.
Daniel Smith Water Soluble Oil Paint
I decided to invest in Daniel Smith oil paints. There are less colour choices in the water-soluble oils than the traditional ones. I started with primaries to mix colours, along with a few neutrals. I recently added a few more tubes to my collection.
Daniel Smith paints are of professional quality. The paint flows and glides over the painting surface without any effort. They stayed vibrant even after drying.
I usually start my painting with a sketch, denoting the dark and light areas. I keep a little room on the side to write down the paints I use for the painting.
I forgot to take a photo of the prep of the current painting, so here is one from an old painting. Since I am using paper as opposed to canvas, I needed the paper to have a solid backing.
I used painters tape, the same one I use for my watercolour paintings, to tape the paper to a smooth MDF board before placing it on an easel. Masking tape works well too.
In the beginning, my base paint layer was really thick. So when I tried to paint clouds over that, all I got was ruts cut into the base layer with my brush. I wiped the area and started with a thinner base layer. Once I learned that lesson, all was well.
A tiny little dab of the modified linseed oil was enough to rejuvenate the paint when I found my brush or the paint to be dry. Water can also be used for painting and mixing, but water dulls the paint a little.
I used palette knives to mix paint instead of a brush. The paint tends to collect in the brush without really mixing properly.
I love the fact that I can paint light over dark with oil.
Oil is extremely forgiving. The paint stays wet for a long time and can be moved and manipulated. If I did not like an area, I was able to carefully remove the paint and the brush strokes and start over. It smears very easily though, so be mindful of that as well.
Another thing to note is that the previous layer needs to be somewhat dry before the next layer can be applied. Otherwise, the existing paint shifts and moves around along with the paint for the new layers.
The finished painting takes a long time to dry completely. So don’t touch it for at least a few days after you have painted your final stroke.
Charlie Experimented With Me
Unbeknownst to me, Charlie wanted to participate in my oil painting experiment as well. I made a few swatch cards which I moved promptly to the table in my atelier and cleaned all the tools before dinner. Next morning I found the clean palette had somehow moved on top of the still-wet swatch cards. The cards had smeared paints on them as well as the calendar, which lay next to the cards. At this point I was not only sure that a cat got on my table, I also knew which one.
Right at that moment Charlie walked up to me. He was sporting Ultramarine Blue paws and a Quinacridone-Magenta tail-tip. He is exceptionally sensitive to smells and runs away from orange peel and potato chips/crisps!! Considering that he got on the table to check out the paints told me how non-odoriferous they are.
The ultramarine blue from my gently protesting kitty washed off completely under running water. I used a little soap for safe measure. Quin. Magenta washed off too, but it dyed the white tail. I trimmed his tail a little where the white tip took on a reddish tinge.
I am always very fastidious about cleaning up my table. Now I know putting away freshly done paintings needs to be part of the repertoire as well. Water solubility of Daniel Smith’s oil paint worked out really well!! I thanked Charlie for his participation with lots of kisses while he purred.
Many of you already know of my fondness for Impressionist/Post-impressionist painters, specially Monet and Van Gogh. Earlier I did this Wild Flowers In The Park painting with oil pastels, which by the way is a fantastic dry oil medium.
I wanted to paint the Hay Bales Of Aberdeenshire with similar small soft brush strokes, which I found almost calming even though I was working with a new painting medium. I had a marvellous time painting the warm rich colours of the hay bales against the woods and the deep blue sky with floating clouds from one of my favourite places in the world.