Shopping at Hancock Fabrics recently I came across this box of LOVE letters in the Christmas section. 50% off! They came home with me because I thought they could be out all year in my studio. However…they looked a little plain.
This entire summer, I’ve been bitten by the sewing bug. Every moment I haven’t been; taking child to swim team practice, or swim meets, or ballet classes, or cooking classes, cleaning, laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, appointments, yard work, and sleeping…I’ve been cooking. Sometimes reading amazing blogs. How do these women do it ALL? Apparently, I sleep way too much! Anyway, here are some bags I’ve designed and made. The design is nothing special. But the fabrics are antique or vintage material with antique laces to match. I tried to design them so someone could display something special in them, like a little collection of lace hankies, or MOP flatware, or even use them on the dinner table holding napkins or bread…I sold them to a darling local store, Katrina’s, she specializes in lace and linen up to the 1950’s. I think I spend more than I make there! Ha! I am going to make some out of contemporary fabric and sell them through my Etsy site. Oh yes, I made the tags too!
Do you like the design?
I tried to upload these two cute cards I made on the 14th…but the computer gods frowned on me, and I wasn’t able to publish these two cards. A little info on these two cards; the one with the heart shaped balloons is for my daughter. What 7 yr old doesn’t like balloons? in retrospect, I wish I had inserted a patterned paper behind the center heart. I think the balloon strings would have popped a bit more. The other card is for the husband. The layout idea came from the Papertrey Ink blog. I really like the way the angled paper and buttons looks a tiny bit like the cuff on a man’s shirt! My husband loves to bike ride, so I felt the tandem bicycle stamp was appropriate.
Hope everyone had a very Happy Valentine’s Day!
I recently gave myself a Big Shot die cutter/embosser, and I admit I am addicted! I can’t seem to resist making all kinds of cards, and other items for gift giving, or for storing small items. Thanks to the Big Shot, I also find myself “needing” to acquire all sorts of dies, embossing plates, and of course matching stamps. Thus I stumbled upon Papertrey Ink, a wonderful online store. Thus far I have only a few of their products, and they are lovely! Excellent quality, with wonderful matching products, and tips, both in the super packaging, and online in their blog. If you enjoy making cards, art, or scrapbooking, I suggest you check them out! I made this card to give to one of Amalie’s dance instructors, who has devoted a lot of time and effort to her recently. I utilized the Hands Of Time stamp set, and the Clock Hands die. Enjoy!
Silently I slipped into my clothing, and grabbed my suitcase. Headlights flashed briefly in the shadowed windows. I eased out of the house and into the waiting van. “Good Morning!” grinned my partner-in-yarn-crime, AnneLena. “Early enough for ya?” Here we come Portland Oregon, for the Sock Summit 2011 convention!
We had several activities in the works. Friday, tour the Marketplace, take a class and attend the Sock Hop. Saturday, explore Portland, take another class, and go out to dinner. Sunday, explore Portland some more and fly back home.
The Convention Center.
A contemporary, light filled building offered a huge room for the Marketplace, and many smaller classrooms. Unlike Stitches West, there was plenty of room to peruse vendor offerings. Granted, it was perhaps 1/3 of the number of vendors and fewer attendees, but 6,000 people signed up for classes, so there must have been quite a few shoppers touring the Marketplace. My goal was to check out the vendors that don’t make it to Stitches West.
Into my bag slipped several skeins of stunning sock yarn and fiber rovings.
Plucky Knitter was next, with an almost overwhelming selection of sock yarns. This one came home with me, the gray an excellent match for the more detailed socks I planned on knitting from my new Cookie A book, Knit. Sock. Love.
Although The Sanguine Gryphon does go to Stitches West, I could not pass up her delightful booth, and discovered two matching skeins of Gaia Lace in the Goblin colorway, which I have been dreaming about ever since spying a sample at the A Verb For Keeping Warm store in Oakland CA.
A Verb For Keeping Warm
Speaking of AVFKW, I headed over to their booth, both to say “Hi!” to the darling owners, Adrian and Kristine, and to check out the specials they had dyed especially for Sock Summit. This little beauty “Aster” cuddled right next to the Gaia Lace.
With my shopping completed, AnneLena and I headed off into the wilds of Portland, via the MAX, Portland’s free transportation system. Yes, free! Within city limits, this electric, above ground rail system takes you pretty much anywhere you need to go, or at least takes you to a bus line that travels through out the city. Every 20 minutes, a train shows up, and they are clean, and safe. What an impressive city! I thought California was Green, but Portland is far and away more Green that any place in California I have ever been. Every restaurant has multiple bins for recycling. Even street corners had bins for recycling! Billboards promoted Recycling, Reuse, and various other ways to keep Portland Green. The Zip Car really captured my interest. You can rent an electric Zip car by the hour, day, or overnight. No need to own your own car if you live in the city.Food Pods are another unique feature of Portland. Tiny, portable sheds and pop-ups surround entire city blocks, each featuring a selection of delectable foods, from ethnic to doughnuts, freshly made for you, with low, low prices (and no sales tax)! I bet you can almost taste the Turkish Wrap I’m enjoying!
Powell’s Books was next, bookstore nirvana! I don’t think my local library has as many books as Powell’s does. As I wandered the towering, narrow book filled shelves, dreams of ditching my teaching career and working at Powell’s drifted briefly through my mind…
Urban Fiber Arts
Shaking off the intoxicating book fumes, we next headed to Urban Fiber Arts. AnneLena was recognized as a designer by a shopper, which gave me plenty of time to select a skein of sock yarn for a friend that couldn’t make the trip. Urban Fiber Arts promotes local talent, and the yarn I selected can only be found in Portland.
Energy waning (remember, we have been up since three in the morning), we headed over to a Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream shop. Right next door was Cupcake Jones, the most heavenly odors wafting from inside. AnneLena couldn’t resist this little Root Beer Cupcake with Vanilla Frosting.
Racks of fresh-baked cupcakes sat waiting for their caps of frosting. YUM!
Sock Summit Classes
Sated, we headed back to take classes and get books signed. My favorite class Sock Spinning Luxury Fibers was taught by the well-known Judith MacKenzie. It was an entertaining, and informative class. Judith is a font of knowledge, and I would love to take more classes with her.
The Flash Mob was a fun “secret” display of Sock Summit enthusiasm. 500 participants danced and displayed their dancing skills in front of the Conventions Center. You can check out a UTube video of the Flash Mob.
Had to get a little souvenir for my daughter from Finnegan’s, a charming toy store.
Saturday morning, 5:00 am a firm knock sounded on my front door. I opened to door to darkness and a chill wind then in stepped my partner in yarn crime, Anna Lena. “Ready?” she inquired. Ready? Ready to go to Stitches West 2011? You bet your circulars I was ready!
Off we drove, making the usually long drive in a record-breaking amount of time. Once inside the Hyatt, I set off for my two classes taught by Gayle Roehm, Fitting Japanese Designs, and Challenging Japanese Stitches, while Anna Lena settled down with some design work before the Market opened at 10:00. Gayle Roehm was an excellent teacher, prepared, organized, and informative. My favorite class was the Challenging Japanese Stitches where I learned how to translate symbols that closely resembled a plate of spaghetti or two fishes into actual stitches. My goal was to gain the confidence to attempt a pattern from one of my two Let’s Knit! Japanese books (a deceptively simple sounding title).
However, my favorite part of Stitches this year was meeting the many indie dyers and designers that swarmed everywhere, in what is supposedly the largest yarn and fiber convention in the Western hemisphere.
I was thrilled to finally chat with Gryphon, from the Sanguine Gryphon, whose blog I have been following since she first emerged as a tentative newcomer in the hand dyed yarn market. Judging from the crowd around her creatively designed medieval tent, I would have to say she and her truly unique and beautiful designs are very, very successful. In person she is just as energetic, fun and witty as she is in her blog, despite recovering from a concussion obtained by a falling shelf during set-up.
I also had the pleasure of meeting Alana the designer from the Never Not Knitting blog and podcast. She is just as sweet and friendly as she sounds in her podcasts, and tiny to boot! I’m only 5’4, and towered above her, as you can see from the photo. Additionally, she is as beautiful in person as she is in her design photos!
Alana was sharing a booth with Lisa from Becoming Art, an indie dyer that I had heard about from the Never Not Knitting podcast, but not seen in person. Oh, my, but her yarns and the colors are divine! My only unplanned purchase, I could not resist the two plump skeins Lisa plopped in my hands, perfect for the Cedar Shawlette that Alana designed. Just as promised, Alana had her surprise design in the booth, which also came home with me. Alana’s designed patterns are little works of art. They look like beautiful, illustrated books. Her newest design is for a child/toddler/baby headband, two designs in one pattern booklet, which is filled with fun games for a little one to play. How creative, and perfect for mothers wanting to entertain the little one as they knit up a quick project!
Other people whom I met and enjoyed chatting with were Rosemary, from Romi Designs, Adriana from A Verb For Keeping Warm, the Knitmore Girls, Miss Babs, and all my local pals from our knitting group. Of course Anna Lena, wearing her newest design featured in the Spring issue of Interweave Knits garnered a lot of attention as well.
As well as a modest amount of yarn, I picked up two books, Misty by Kim Hargreaves, and Toe-Up Socks for Every Body by Wendy D. Johnson. You will be certain to see project knit from those two inspirational books posted in the future!
Some tasty yarn I scooped up at Stitches…
A neat find that I was introduced to in Gayle’s class is Highlighter Tape. Far, far better than sticky notes, because it stays sticky longer, won’t peel off when you stick it in your project bag, and its see-thru, so you can refer to rows you have previously knit. If you knit lace or color work, I don’t need to explain why this is a crucial benefit!
In my last post I mentioned that I had begun Paper Dolls for my daughter. It’s now completed, and although it came out beautifully, it’s huge! More a size 8 than a size 5. I suppose she will have to wait until next winter to wear it.
Another completed knit is the Ingenue, from the Custom Knits book, and I have to say, this project has become one of my all time favorites!
Well, I must go lie down and recover from all of the yarn fumes I inhaled at Stitches West. ‘Til next time, happy crafting!
Well friends, it’s been a bit since the last post, due to the usual holiday madness. Let’s talk about crafting!
I crafted many, many gifts, a few of which I am excited to share with you! Amalie looks just like Little Red Riding Hood in this adorable hoodie that I knit from the Raven pattern in the Rowan Story Book of Little Knits. The book itself is adorable, and has a story inside that you can read to your little ones. All the characters are wearing wonderful little knitted items, and the patterns are in the back. I knit Raven out of the QED yarn from The Sanguine Gryphon, in a rich crimson red. I loved knitting with this strong, hard-wearing yarn with super stitch definition. Winter perfect!
In addition to the hoodie, I ventured into knitting a toy. Never having attempted to knit a toy, I was pleasantly surprised at how well it came out, and how quickly it knit up. I knit the Princess and the Pea from the book Itty Bitty Toys by Susan B. Anderson. I did however, make a few changes. Amalie’s little dolly features dark brown hair (just like hers!) instead of red hair. I used mostly my own hand spun yarn for the blanket and the nightgown. I also decided to use up some vintage fabric scraps and sewed the mattresses and feather beds rather than knitting them. My favorite part is the bed my husband and I built. I found some wooden scraps, and cut them to the dimensions of the mattresses. After my husband assembled and sanded the bed down, I glued on tiny pea pods, blossoms, leaves and vines that I molded out of an air drying polymer clay from Michael’s. I then gessoed the entire bed, and painted on a few coats of acrylic white paint. I mixed up a peach-y pink color of acrylic paint and painted all the details. Quickly wiping off the still wet paint left a hint of color in the crevices, adding a nice “shabby chic” look to the bed. I finished up by highlighting with a pearl acrylic paint. At the foot of the bed, I hand painted a replica of a castle from Germany. It really is a wonderful toy that I hope Amalie will someday pass down to her own children, should she have any!
My daughter wasn’t the only one to receive a knitted gift, my brother received a pair of hand knit socks! I used a simple ribbed pattern from the book, Toe Up! Patterns & Worksheets To Whip Your Sock Knitting Into Shape. The beautiful Sanguine Gryphon sock yarn in the Port color way was part of a long-ago color club that I belonged to when I first began knitting. I think the colors in the sock are manly and sophisticated.
Great Knitted Patterns
After finally finishing so many holiday knits, I settled down to some selfish knitting! I quickly whipped up the Tea Leaves Cardigan, knit from the Siren Two Worsted Yarn by Pigeonroof Studios. While I don’t yet have a picture to show you, the final product is satisfying in every way. The yarn, sublime, soft, yet firm and bouncy with great stitch definition. I tossed it in the washer AND dryer (gasp!), and it emerged in perfect condition. The colors are beautiful and subtle, a hallmark of Krista’s style of dying. The pattern itself is a fast, easy and enjoyable knit. A wonderful first knit for 2011.
As well as knitting, I put to use a new skill I taught myself: jewelry making. I crafted pins and earrings for all the female members of the family. I am happy to report that they were well received!
On The Needles
Currently I am involved with a project for Amalie using the Paper Dolls pattern by Kate Davies. It is a sweater, knit in the round, featuring color work, and comes in many sizes. I decided to teach myself how to use The Philosopher’s Wool Method, that my designer friend Ana Lena uses so effectively. It is essentially two-handed knitting, with the main color held in the left hand, and the contrasting color held in the right hand. The knitter knits Continental style with both hands. What a humbling experience! I once again remembered what it was like to learn how to knit for the first time. My right hand, which really is my dominant hand, seemed to have either far too many, or far fewer fingers than usual, and none of them followed my directions. Slowly, I eked out a few rows, only to discovered I was somehow knitting a Möbius! Frogged, and started anew. Second time around I got a bit farther…another mobius! Perplexed, I frogged and started again. By now, my right hand was catching the hang of this two-handed knitting stuff, and I managed to finish the ribbed, two color band along the bottom without any more errors. Phew! Now I am knitting the one color body in the usual method. I can hardly wait to start the color work yoke! One of the reasons I chose this pattern was because I could use yarn I already have. This is known as “stash busting” in the world of knitting. I only cheated a little bit, buying two skeins of yarn for the color work.
I am really excited to be using the Chickadee Yarn from a new yarn company, Quince &Co. Their yarns are produced from American wool, in an American mill, Not only are the colors delicious, but the prices are Oh, so reasonable! The Chickadee yarn is a sport weight yarn and is bouncy, with good stitch definition and some tooth, perfect for color work, just as promised by Quince & Co. What I didn’t expect is how wonderfully springy the yarn is as well. I am really excited to have found this company, and plan on making the Castle top from their line of patterns some day. Here are the two colors I am using for the color work: Clay and Bird’s Egg.
In my next post I hope to show you photos of the completed project! Happy Crafting!