Thursday, December 28, 2006

Hello, stranger.

My my, it's been a long time. My first semester of grad school took up a whole lot of my time. Oh, I still crafted. But there was no time for a proper blogging about it.

I finished my 6 week sewing class. The projects I have to show for it seem kind of plain and minimal in comparison to all of the things I learned. I learned some great hand sewing techniques, which actually greatly improves my enjoyment of the task. (If I can manage to take better pictures, I'll share the techniques I learned for those interested) I learned a great deal about my machine & a whole lot about the magic & importance of prep work in sewing.

Our first project was a pillow & pillow cover. Simple, but enjoyable.
Then we did a lined tote bag. The end result is pretty nice actually, but I wasn't a fan of the project. It was a lot of work to get it to fit properly & I'm not enough of a fan of bags to justify that kind of work. But I must say, I still learned a lot & have a great appreciation for those that do make bags so well.
Our last project was a wrap skirt. And thanks to my fabric purchasing, I learned about the skill of making the most of a piece of fabric when you've bought juuuuuussst enough (but barely). It's a little big, but I love it anyway. And as silly as it sounds, my favorite thing about it is that it has pockets. I think everything should have pockets.
Note: you'll have to excuse my picture taking. You should know that I don't even own a full-length mirror. Thus, photos like this need to be taken in the laundry room of my building in quick spurts so as not to appear like a crazed ego maniac to the other tenents.

This is a better shot of the colors though...
...with my new boots, which by the way..ahem, also have pockets.

Of course there was also holiday crafting to be done. I started making fabric ornaments like the ones my mom made for our tree when I was a kid. I always liked those best. But for reasons I won't go into now, I didn't end up giving them to anyone this year. So instead they are going into the fund of christmas crafts for next year.

But I did make myself some fabulous soft trees for my apartment, using the pattern by Little Birds. I love everything this woman makes. They are so simple, but beautiful & gratifying.
I also knit my brother a cabled hat around thanksgiving, as modeled below by my nephew. It's the "Basic Cable" hat from Stitch 'n Bitch Nation. You can't even really see it very well in the photo, but seriously..with a face this cute, who cares about a damn hat?!

Friday, November 10, 2006

knit this.

Some log cabin knitting (which seems to be all the rage these days):
It's quick & fun & is using up spare bits from a baby blanket.

A second attempt at making socks....using yarn I got at Rhinebeck.

And speaking of Rhinebeck, here's a blurry picture of some of my spoils.
Oh the things I shall knit!

I also started my sewing class. I was pretty darn sure of myself thinking I wouldn't really be learning anything at first since I've managed to make a thing or two on my sewing machine already. Turns out I wasn't threading it properly! Well, that explains why my bobbins weren't filling tightly.

I'm also learning how to do some cleaner techniques & finishing as well as the importance of doing the prep work (a lesson I so desperately need to learn). We're only making the insert to a pillow right now, so I don't have much in the way of photos to share. But needless to say, I'm still very excited about the possibilities this class has to offer.

An alarm keeps going off in my head that says I better start thinking about holiday gifts ASAP, but umm..I'm hitting the snooze button.

Friday, October 27, 2006

first cables!

I just finished this cable knit sweater & I absolutely love it. So excuse me while I gush about it a little bit.
Pattern: a modified version of Platinum, from Knit Scene Fall 2006
Yarn: Karabella Aurora 8 in Rust color (just a little over 6 skeins)
Knit time: Done in about a week and a half (and during midterm week no less!)

I just loved knitting this! It was my first time knitting cables. I was rather intimidated by cables. I'm always intimidated by the idea of something & then find in actuality it's really manageable, & cables were no exception.

There are some imperfections on one side of my cabling, but I kept them in there cuz I loved the imperfections too. Plus, there is definitly one specific cable that commemorates my attempt to cable while watching an amazing CSI:Las Vegas episode directed by Tarantino. Geeky? yes, yes it is.

I also absolutely love this yarn. In case there was any impression otherwise, let me declare that I am no yarn snob. I picked it up because I loved the color, it was super soft, and on sale for $3 a skein. I had never even heard of Karabella yarn until Heather identified it for me. And now that I am so smitten with it, I discover that it usually retails for $8.50 for a 98yd skein! Yikes!! I don't know about you, but that's expensive for me. Now I shall be scouring sale bins with direct purpose.

It's really nice to feel good about the things you make. And I think I'm a bit addicted to recreating that feeling as well.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

oh me oh my

Sooo, Rhineback sheep & wool festival was fantastic. It truly was an indulging of the senses. I got to go with two of my loves, Heather & Meaghan. We haven't hung out all together in almost 2 and a half years. So, that in it's self was a treat. But oh wait, my friends...there is more.

Like gorgeous foliage because the hudson valley was in it's prime..
And magnificent yarn that I was allowed, no encouraged, to fondle. (Yeah, I'm still bitter over that Italy experience) It was just tents and tents full of colorful yarns in varying textures..

and there were adorable angora bunnies, leading me to add "start a llama & angora bunny farm" on my to-do list...

and cutsey sheep...

and lots o llamas!
Oh, but it was so much more than that! It was delicious food! (Lamb ravioli, who knew?) And beautiful spinning wheels, and hundreds of people who make crafting & fiber arts a vital part of their lives, and cute fat headed babies wearing hand knits, and recognizing peoples sewing & knitting before realizing that I was looking at people whose blog I read. Ugh, it was just so damn good.

For the most part, I only allowed myself to buy yarn that I had specific projects in the near future for. I'm making that my stash goal. But I indulged in a tiny bit more than that too. I got some very soft and luxurious alpaca to knit myself a peak cap. And some sock yarn, because I'm determined to learn how to knit socks. And I got some merino wool in an amazing turqoise color to make myself the hot lava cardigan. I also got my self some rasberry colored merino, that I have no idea what i'm going to do with, but needed anyway. I was hoping to take some photos of all of this yarny goodness, but alas..I am back to my regularly scheduled program of interning & classes & not seeing very much daylight.

Besides living it up in Rhineback, I also taught myself how to cable knit one sleepless night.

It's a little wonky on the bottom left side. I figured out what I was doing wrong though. Maybe I should've gone back to fix it, but I wanted to keep it as a signature or something. Who knows, maybe it's just the novelty of accomplishing it & as I get better at it this sweater is going to annoy the hell out of me. But I'm willing to take that chance.

The final product from the pattern I am using it actually intended to look like this, but am extending the length. The color of my yarn is actually a rusty orange brown too. I'm just loving it. After only a little over a week I'm about 85% done & I can't wait till it's finished.

I'm also EXTREMELY excited about the 6-week sewing class I signed up for. It starts in the beginning of November. And I have a feeling you are going to see more from me in the way of sewing.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


These photos are rather blurry, but you get the general ideas. I'm starting to think it's a combination of a sucky digital camera & poor natural lighting in my apartment.
I finished the Ruby pattern pretty quickly. Then I tried it on and realized even quicker that I'm going to have to frog & redo the front. Even though this is a layered piece, it emphasizes my boobs waaaaayyy too much. I didn't think it would so much. It's just not my style.
I finally finally FINALLY finished the Pinwheel Baby Blanket. It feels like I've been working on it for a life time. It was a boring knit. In hindsight I would have used a yarn with variated color to make it more interesting. I didn't realize until I uploaded this photo that it has a stripe around it from when I used a skein from another dye lot. And all and all I'm just not all that crazy about it. I liked the idea of a round baby blanket, but now I just kinda feel like the baby is gonna be wrapped up like a burrito in it. But you know what? What's done is done. (Um, excuse the crankiness, people. It's midterm season.)
This little fella makes me feel more at ease with sending a baby blanket I'm not crazy about. Cuz the zebra is the other part of the gift and I just LOVE him. In fact, I'm having a bit of a tough time with the idea of parting with him.
Quick knit, stash buster, and a cute smile to boot! Made from Fiona McTague's Knitted Toys.
I think I need to make more toys in my crafting.

Friday, September 22, 2006

urban romance

I suspect that if you are reading this blog, you probably know me already. But, in the off chance you don't, I'll tell you something about me...

I have a deep deep love for street art. It's a serious romance. And I pretty much look for it wherever I go. Some of the best pieces are the ones that find you though.

This is a random little something I found in Italy & liked a whole lot for no particular reason. I think it might have been in Florence. It sounds strange but things like this renew me, especially when I start to feel weighted down by a city.
I saw a ton of other amazing graffitti when I was in Italy this summer. I didn't really get pictures of it though because I usually found the best stuff when I was on a moving train or speeding boat.

When I was in New Paltz this past weekend, I was standing around waiting & looked up to see a post-it note on the remains of a phone booth. It said something to the effect of.."It's perfectly okay to be lonely." It was definitly one of those things that finds you.

a resurfacing

Don't believe the rumors. I have not been swept up into the bermuda triangle. Nor have I run away with the circus. I'm not ruling out these opportunities to disappear, but maybe I'll hold off till spring at least. No, folks..I've just been....without internet. (insert collective gasp here)

Despite the lack of communication, classes & sifting through a sea of boxes, I have managed to craft. I even finally finished Diamonique!!! Albeit with some mistakes here & there. The most annoying of which is the front armholes. As was instructed for the back, I was supposed to knit on both the "wrong" & "right" sides so the armhole didn't curl & I neglected to do that. I'm the type of gal who needs to be reminded of such things once I get to a new section. Anyway, I had to go back & pick up stitches to do some minor ribbing. I'm hoping it won't stick out so much once I've layered clothing underneath it.
Now I'm working on the Saunshine pattern that came with the Diamonique pattern. I didn't initially have intentions of making it, but decided to in the interest of using some of my yarn stash. However, the problem with my stash is that I don't have enough of any type of yarn to complete a project. It's just a large assortment of one or two skeins of random things. So sometimes I end up collecting more yarn to be able to finish "stash busting" projects. It makes no kind of sense, I know. But I don't really want to have a stash! I really need to get in gear & have a craft swap.

Aside from that, I'm still working on a baby blanket which continues to be the bane of my existence. I also knit a stuffed zebra that I'm quite proud of, but I'll post pictures when I get around to giving her eyes. It will be soon though. For real, it will! Baby shower is next weekend so it's gotta be done.

I also recently attended the NYC Knit Out & Crochet. I had a great time, but the event itself was kinda...ehh. I think it always sits so warmly in my mind since it's an excuse to hang out with one of my close friends from college. Sitting on a park bench in NYC, knitting & catching up with Meg= awesome. Large yarn companies trying to give me advertisements for their overpriced yarns & books= eh..not so much. Plus, there's always the risk of getting trampled by a stampede of aggressive old ladies when they are giving out free stuff at a booth. But I must say, I did also see some cool stuff & learned intarsia knitting.

On another note, I took this random shot on the way out to school the other day because I realized I hade made most of what I was wearing. And I don't think I can really describe how amazing that feels. I knit that top, made that skirt out of a pair of old jeans, and sewed pieces of one of my favorite shirts to that canvas bag. Yay me!

Saturday, August 26, 2006


I got this delicious handspun yarn, made from recycled silk scarves, at YOTG. I have no idea what I'm going to do with it just yet, but I'm in love with it all the same.

welcome back

My goodness. It's been over a month since I've posted!Life has just been busy busy busy. Quiting my job, moving, starting graduate school, going to Italy. I feel lucky to have snuck in any crafting at all!

Italy was beautiful & there's a lot to be observed in the way of fashion, crafting & trends. I could usually pick out who was American by their shoes & accesories alone. Sick, I know. There were countless gorgeous knitted pieces in the new fall lines in the windows. Mostly, knitted dresses.

I was overjoyed to find a yarn shop in Florence, only to be instructed by the owner, "it is very important not to touch the yarns". What?!? Don't touch the yarn?! Surely, I had to have heard her wrong. Maybe it was a language barrier. But no, she was speaking in english & there was no mistaking the scowl on her face as she eyed the skein I had just picked up.

That's like inviting kids into Willy Wonka's chocolate factory & then telling them they can't taste the candies! I just don't get it. And I left the shop flustered, dissapointed, and yarn-less.

Anyway-I did a lot of knitting on my diamonique. In fact, I'm almost done! But in true knitty digital fashion, I ran out of yarn. Go figure. But now I have a good excuse to go back & visit Year of the Goat. My favorite yarn shop. Where they let me touch the yarn! (Okay, I promise I'll stop harping now)

I managed to do a few other minor crafty things before packing all my stuff up in boxes. My favorite of which was making shorts out of these oh-so-unflattering long capris to your left. I used to love these, though after trying them on again I had a hard time remembering why.

A little snip here, and some added fabric in the waist, and they were liberated into comfy long shorts (to the right) that have again become my favorite thing to wear. Now that I can breathe in them, I can appreciate how comfortable the fabric is as well.

I also finally found my halo fauna patch while packing, and used it to cover a hole in a shirt. Simple alteration, yet very effective in making the shirt wearable again.

I was also doing silly little things. Like gluing pins onto big buttons to make..well, a button I guess.

Even the smallest of "crafts" or alterations keeps me sane.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Seasons change

Despite all of my stress lately, I suppose my disposition has improved more than I've been willing to give myself credit for. I came to that realization after flipping through my journal quickly. Here's a collage I did sometime in February....
And here's one I did earlier this month...
Ahh, expressive arts.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

sew what

My life has been devoid of knitting lately. It's not even the sweltering heat that's kept me from it either. I've just been too busy & stressed. But I'm making a date with my knitting needles this weekend, and that's for sure.

This evening, I did make a little time for some sewing though. Right now it's all just reconstruction work, which I think makes pretty good practice since I'm such a newbie at it. I feel a bit impatient though. I want to be making things from scratch. Simultaneously, I really appreciate being able to utilize garments at hand that would otherwise go unworn.

I made these denim capris from old jeans I had lying around from heavier times. I really like them EXCEPT that the crotch bugs me. It's too long & baggy. Unfortunately, I don't know enough tricks of the trade to fix that just yet. Luckily for me, long tops are in so I can cover the long crotch.
This is (obviously) a skirt from old jeans too. I really love how this turned out.
And last, but not least, I reconstructed this vintage skirt I thrifted. The picture doesn't really do it justice at all. But I lovelovelove this skirt. Luckily, the blunders from the last skirt I made, taught me how to enlarge this one. It's got this spanish style to it, but the pattern on the fabric seems more nordic to me. Makes me feel like a fancy lady. And in fall, I'll throw some tights on under it, and it will be perfect.

Friday, June 30, 2006

apples & oranges

I never feel more complete than when I make certain to incorporate art into my life. I've been doing that more lately, and it feels fantastic. I've also been inspired by a lot of fantastic work by folks I come across on the internet as well, and they inspire me to push my work further & to make it more frequently.

I've always done drawings of some sort for expression. Occasionally I'll make collages or sketches in my written journal when articulating things through words feels too heavy. Recently, I came across this livejournal which reminded me how good it feels doing those types of sketches. These are just two random ones I've done lately...
So I don't really ever drink anymore at all. I've never been into drugs, and I don't even like taking asprin unless I have to. But after taking Vicodin for my wisdom tooth removal...well, it's was just nice to have an excuse to feel so mellow after all the stress I've been under.
I did this the other day. It's just a question I've been asking myself. Maybe I'll color it. Maybe I won't.

And while I've never considered myself particularly fashion savvy, knitting has really allowed me to admit to myself how much I love the "fiber arts" (as Melissa would say). What it comes down to is- I really do love fashion (shhhh...don't tell). I'm getting better at admitting that to myself by learning that fashion doesn't have to be just a rich person's passion.
I've been reading blogs like this one, and dress a day (on top of all the knitting blogs, that is).

Yesterday, I thrifted this amazing skirt. I love the fabric. With my new found confidence after making that skirt with Moira, I bought this even though it's got a 26inch waist (pssshhh, yeah, as if). Luckily, after the last resizing, I know precisely how I'm going to resize this one.

And this (scary) beauty on the left is the dress form with the additions I mentioned in my last post. She freaks people out whenever they walk into the room. Some call her terrifying. I think of her as my watch dog.

I've also been painting, though I have nothing finished to share right now. Miles & I spread the paint supplies all over the living room floor and just play. It's really refreshing to have a friend that I am comfortable enough to paint with & enjoy their company even if we aren't talking at all.

And, of course, there's still knitting going on here & there.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

when you're living in the ghetto it's do or die

So I have been slacking, yet again, on the blogging. But believe me, it's not for a lack of artistic explorations. You's the picture taking that's getting to me. Whatever photography skills I may have once possessed have been allowed to settle in the dust, so to speak. My digital camera's not that great. And last, but not least on the list of excuses, is the lighting. Of course natural lighting is best for picture taking of this sort. Problem is- there's none to be had! It's been rain, rain, rain here. To make a long story short- pardon the crappy pictures folks.

Diamonique has been restarted for don't know. I forget how many times I've taken this puppy apart. But somewhere along the way I made the decision to switch yarns. Perhaps it was the color. Or more likely, the comfort in knowing I had enough of that last yarn. I just have to make things difficult for myself; knit on the wild side.

The piece has grown considerably. I have most of the back done. Along the way, while decreasing for armholes and whatnot, the diamond pattern got a little mish-moshed. But I've decided it's just going to be one of those unique quirks that makes this garment a lovable hand-made. (read: I was going to poke my eyes out with the knitting needles if I frogged it again)
I also painted this picture about 2 months ago. The photo does the colors absolutely no justice. The background is a royal purple, and the flowers are gold. Apparantly, I'm in a purple phase. But it's a simple painting based off something or other that I had come across and decided was better to make myself than purchase.
In the world of sewing, I finally got over my anxiety enough to attempt making a garment from scratch. So with much help & guidance from the illustrious Ms.Moira, I made this skirt. I am super super proud of it. I resized it twice and even put a zipper in!

The skirt is also a great accomplishment because it fulfills the goals of my challenge. And the challenge is this- I will probably need professional type clothing to wear to my field placement for graduate school. However, I am pretty damn poor & just added another $18,500 to my current debt. Thus, I am going to attempt to compose a small, modest, professional wardrobe full of things I have either made, or aquired second hand. The Diamonique project is included, as is the black jacket I'm wearing in the above photo ($4 at a yard sale).

I don't know how well it's going to work out. I'm a very novel sewer, but I'm going to try. It's very possible I've just overestimated what is feasible after watching too much "Project Runway", but wish me luck anyway!
Last, but not least, in blogging news- I got myself a dress form! I've been wanting one cuz I think they are cool & have high hopes that I'll one day do so much sewing that owning one will be an absolute necessity. I found her on the side of the road as a tailor was disposing of her. The old gal looks quite good for having been made in 1960. In this photo she is modeling items for sale at my recent yard sale.

Now that she's been in the house for a bit she's really been evolving. She has since aquired more attire, as well as a paper face & a hat that sits properly. My house guests like to debate her name & set her up with the single fellas.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Babies, babies everywhere

I've sort of been on hiatus. Luckily, I haven't accumulated too many readers just yet, so not that many people have been affected by this knitting drought.

I finally, finally finished Wild Stripes. I am a reluctant sewer so this puppy was completed the morning of the baby shower. I was happy with the finished product & I think the Momma liked it.

The baby Pinwheel blanket is growing, but continues to be the bane of my existance. It's cute, but terribly boring to knit. Also, in hindsight, I wish I would have done it in a varieted yarn or something. But oh well. You live. You learn.

Also, I recently discovered that one of my closest friends from high school is also pregnant. Needless to say, I'll be making her something other than a damn blanket. But this new development leads me to an ultimatum: you people need to stop. Stop having babies! There is only so much baby stuff I am willing or able to knit. So if you are having a baby in the near future, we might have to stop being friends. So consider that before you decide to conceive.

That is all. Carry on.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Don't be fooled by the calendar. I'm not counting down the days until I finish this; I actually only just started it yesterday. Eventually, it will be a Pinwheel Baby blanket, & it's coming along quickly (and beautifully I might add).

This is actually a picture of me looking longingly at my knitting that I could be doing instead of the paperwork I am drowning in at work. Ho-hum. It's a hard knock life.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


So I did it! I finished Orangina (again!).

Ammunition: Rowan, 4 ply cotton yarn in Bloom 132

: Crystal Palace, Bamboo Circulars, size US3

Battle time
: I don't know. This time around? I'm thinking maybe it took me 2 & 1/2 weeks while doing other projects? I'm not sure exactly. But it's done and I love it a lot. Except maybe Ill sew up the sides a bit more? I still feel like it hangs off of my shoulders a little more than I'd like it to.

I have a lot of this yarn left now, which I suppose is something new & different for me since I always seem to be running out of yarn mid project. I'm not sure what I'll do with it yet. Maybe I'll eventually make another one as a gift.

Other exciting things- I made over $50 yesterday tabling at Take Back the Night. I sold two sewn bags that I didn't even really like at all. (I almost felt kind of guilty taking money for something I didn't have pride in.) I also sold, and gave away, a whole bunch of zines AND sold one knitted piece and was asked to do commissioned pieces by two people. It was a little bit of amazing. That money will be put away to go to Mexico and learn spanish. And I'm glad I told people that is what it would be going to, because now I feel I need to uphold the promise I just made to a bunch of folks.

And on a related note, one of the bags that I sold was just a canvas bag that I had thrown a patch on. (Not a lot of work at all on my part) But it was a fantastic take back the night patch made by my very talented friend Milez. Check out some of his work!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


I've been a busy little bee...and yet I have no pictures of finished goods to show you. How can that be?

While held up in a New Hampshire hotel during two days of rain, I managed to finish knitting the "wild stripes" baby blanket. I also had time to sew in all of the edges & cut off all of those nubby leftover bits. It kind of looks pretty all on it's own, doesn't it?

The required piping & gingham backing has been purchased. Personally, the stripes & the gingham pattern are a little too busy for my tastes. It didn't seem that way in the pictures. I keep wondering if the mother is going to think I am crazy, or think I am trying to hypnotize her or something. Oh well, too late to turn back now.

This project was my first experience in blocking. I doubt I did it the proper way, but it worked which makes it good enough for me. I just kinda sprayed the hell out of it & pinned it down into my carpet with whatever pins I could conjur up. At some point, I need to invest in some non-rust blocking pins.

Blocking is kind of weird. I felt like I was setting up my cute little blankie for dissection. I was having visions of that poor little adorable frog in Ms. Goldstein's science class...

Speaking of frogging..what I ended up actually dissecting was my way-too-large-orangina. Even though I've already started version 2.0, I had been using spare yarn. But I decided it was time to let her rip.

[WARNING: The proceeding images may be too painful for some. Those with heart problems or weak constitutions are not recommended for further scrolling]



Truth be told, it was actually kind of fun & liberating to take it apart. When I first started knitting (not even a year ago!), I collected the orangina pattern as my "someday" project. I imagined that at some point, maybe years and years from now, I would be skilled enough to knit such a garment. I pictured myself as a sassy old(er) woman wearing this shirt. And here I am just a scant 7 months later with enough confidence & skill to create this shirt, not just once, but twice!! I think that's something to be proud of.

I have more than half of my new one done already. I'm optimistic that I'll be able to complete it in the next two weeks, if not sooner.

In other knitting related news, I received my "Denise Interchangeable Needles" in the mail today! wooha, I am going to be on fire! Mostly this will enable my wandering eye when it comes to knitting projects, which is good because a) there is another baby on the way that I must begin knitting for & I only have about 2 and a half months to do it! (It's a long story why that's so last minute notice) and b) I have just formed a new love for Interweave magazine. My to-do-list has just doubled in size.

Also, my mom got me Mason-Dixon Knitting. I haven't read it all the way through, but I'm really enjoying it thus far. It's got me thinking about breaking out of certain knitting conventions, such as the "preciousness" of everything. So I have a rug in mind & some dish towels planned for some of my cotton stash.

Last, but certainly not least, my partner got me an easel for my birthday! I know what you're thinking-"what the hell does that have to do with knitting?!" My answer is, absolutely nothing. But I plan for this blog to go beyond just knitting & I've been really missing painting in my life.

So the point is- I may not have much in the finished category right now, but keep your eye on me. I'm a gal with big plans.