Monday, December 20, 2010

O Christmas Tree

My husband and I have a tradition of adding a personalized ornament to our tree every year. We take turns each year selecting our ornament and try to do something unique. Last year my husband added a lovely hand painted ornament featuring our cats Sophie & Max. This year it's my turn and I was inspired by this lovely print from Spanish artist Blanca Gomez to make our ornament.

I cut the basic shapes from inexpensive craft felt and attached them to a sheet of white felt using wonder under. I added detail using embroidery floss and then to add heft I fused it together with a piece of heavyweight interfacing and backed it with a second sheet of white felt. I cut around the figures and finished the edge with a blanket stitch.

I think this technique would also make great gift tags, sadly there are just not enough hours in the day. Maybe next year...

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Sweater is Famous

My sweater was featured on the Craft blog today!

My friend asked if I would knit him a sweater and mentioned that it would be great if it had zombies on it. I searched high and low for a pattern but couldn't find anything that I liked. Always up for a challenge I decided to try my hand at designing one myself.

I found this amazing site which allows you print knitters graph paper which you can use to design your own intarsia charts. Originally I had a different design in mind but I would have had to use a much smaller gauge to accommodate the complexity and I would have been knitting this sweater for the next 3 years. I think the 8 bit zombie was a good compromise and my friend seems to like it too. More details on the pattern are available on my Ravelry page.

I really enjoyed the process of designing the chart and seeing it come together into a finished garment. I think there may be more intarsia in my future.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oscar Sweater

When I came across this adorable pattern I knew it time to make my first attempst at intarsia. Although the pattern is called "willie" it instantly reminded me of my friend Sara's canine BFF Oscar.

Things started off well enough and I was pleased to discover that the intarsia part was fairly simple. Of course when I got to the yoke construction and attaching the sleeves it was a whole different story. I won't lie, it wasn't pretty and there was much cursing and un-knitting. However, after putting it aside for a time and taking a few deep breaths (and a glass of wine) I was finally able to figure it out and I'm pretty happy with the result.

I went a size up to give her some room to grow. As you can see it's a bit roomy but still cozy enough for a fall afternoon.

For me the ear detail just makes the sweater. It's too cute for words.

Girls Weekend 2.0

I'm a bit late in posting, but I couldn't let the 2nd annual crafty girls' weekend pass without mention. This year we took the show on the road and headed up to a cozy cabin on the lake for some quality crafting time.

There was sewing,

and knitting,

and my favorite fashionista created a new signature style

which we all modeled as we showed off our finished products.

The last weekend of summer cooperated nicely with warm afternoons to practice our synchronized swimming moves in the lake and cool evenings perfect for knitting and gossip by the fire. We were also fortunate enough to have an expert sewist and an expert knitter right next door who were kind enough to offer advice, food and caffeinated beverages.

It looks like girls weekend will continue to be an annual tradition. I'm definitely looking forward to next year!

All photos courtesy of KH & LH

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Twin Set

I'm definitely still going through a knitting phase. I can't seem to stop. I made these sweaters for my friend who is expecting twins -- a boy and a girl. The pattern comes from my favorite knitting store in Portland (Maine, of course!) KnitWit.

I don't normally like hearts as a motif but the heart pockets on this sweater are so sweet I couldn't resist.

I chose a neutral color scheme that would work for both a boy and a girl and just left the heart pockets off the boy sweater.

A simple button closure in the back will make it easy to slip these on and off when the weather gets chilly.
This pattern was quick to knit up and easy enough for a beginner. It comes in a good range of sizes and a different color scheme would totally change the look.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Clean Sweep

I love my swiffer. Let's face it two cats make it a necessity. What I don't love is buying swiffer cloths and throwing them away so I decided to make my own.

A quick internet search shows I'm hardly the first person to have this idea. After sifting through many different versions I landed on this tutorial which converts a ballband dishcloth into a swiffer cover (instructions for the ballband dishcloth can be found here). It was fast and easy to knit up and a good way to use up scrap yarn. And I'm happy to report it works just as well as the disposable cloths on cat hair.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Let's Go to the Movies

I've been hesitant to post this project because I haven't been able to get a decent picture. I guess these will just have to do.

My cinephile husband has turned our extra bedroom into his very own movie theater complete with blackout shades, a giant screen framed by red velvet curtains and a popcorn machine. He lovingly refers to it as "Cinema Zyberdiso." In celebration of his movie palace I made this pillow for his captain's chair.

It features vintage movie monster fabric I found on Etsy. I created a logo and embroidered it using glow in the dark thread I ordered from here. Although I wasn't able to get a good photograph of it, I love the glow in the dark thread. It was easy to work with and the effect is just what I was looking for.

Not a fan of competition, Max shows he can glow in the dark too.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Jewelry Box Redux

I came across this lovely tutorial a few weeks ago and was inspired to give my jewelry box a facelift.

While I'm fairly handy with a needle and thread I'm certainly no expert when it comes to spray paint. Fortunately for me I know someone who is. Thanks to her expert guidance (and touch up skills!) it looks exactly how I envisioned it.

The only problem is my new Tiffany blue jewelry box is now fancier than most of the jewelry in it.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Happiness Is...

A good read about knitting and obsession,

Chocolate mint tea!

and the They Might be Giants station on Pandora.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Drab to Fab

I picked up a classic folding knitting basket at a yard sale a few years ago and had been using it to store my embroidery notions and pattern books. Sadly, one too many books and the thin cotton fabric gave out.

I pulled apart the somewhat dated original fabric and used it to make a pattern.

Now my knitting basket is sporting a new look with my favorite echino print and a sturdy canvas lining.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Quilting Inspiration

I went to the Thimble Pleasures quilt show a couple of weeks ago and came home inspired. Here are just a few of my favorites. For more inspiration visit the guild's website or Kathleen, Kathy or June's blogs.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

New car smell

My car needed a little pick me up so I was excited to find this tutorial on DesignSponge.

This was a quick project and I had most of the raw materials at home. The only trouble I ran into was trying to find dried lavender. After being told by the salesclerk that they did not carry it, I took a look around and finally found some in the soapmaking aisle of a major craft store chain. A small package was less than $5 and was enough to make 2 sachets with plenty left over to make one, possibly two, more.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Adventures in quilting

I was excited to be invited back to the Thimble Pleasures quilt guild's annual getaway. It was fun but I fear I exposed my quilting incompetence. More on that later but let's start with the pretty pictures, shall we?

I finally quilted the lovely vintage quilt top I got at Brimfield last year and it looks like it's a hit with the both cats.

There are so many pretty and colorful fabrics in this quilt it was a challenge to find just the right fabrics for the back and binding.

I finally opted for blue birds for the back and a pretty red and white polka dot with tiny blue flowers for the binding. Against the advice of the expert quilters in the room, I used simple straight lines and red thread for the quilting. It's not perfect, I'm really happy with the look.

Finally, I suppose I must share this picture as well.

Yes that's me with my quilt sewn to the tablecloth. Not my finest crafting moment but I'm thankful that at least it wasn't my shirt.

If you are in the area this weekend and want to check out some truly beautiful quilts be sure to check out Thimble Pleasures quilt show. Details can be found here.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sweater for Dad

Okay, so it's not for me but Dad really needed a new sweater. I used a Columbia-Minerva pattern from 1969 contributed by Mom. Some people might consider it a vintage pattern--Mom is not one of those people. The wool was inherited from my Aunt Anne and while it is good quality and made a VERY warm sweater, I can't say I enjoyed working with this particular fiber. It was a bit scratchy and rough on the fingers.

Next up, more sewing. I'm happy to report that I've been invited back to the Thimble Pleasures quilting getaway this weekend. Looking forward to a wild weekend adventure and hopefully returning with a few finished projects.

Friday, January 22, 2010

New wardrobe for 2010

One of my new year's resolutions is to learn more about apparel sewing and knitting. First up a new sweater:

This is my first project using a higher quality yarn. I chose Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light and the difference was noticeable both in price and quality. Fortunately, Windsor Button had a good sale. The alpaca was soft and easy to work with and the sweater is very warm. On the downside, it's a little shorter than I'd like and the sleeves are a bit too full. It's not an everyday sweater but I have worn it with a high waisted denim skirt and with black dress pants. The pattern is called Millet and can be found in the Tapestry Collection book by Rowan.

Next up patternmaking. Stay tuned.

Monday, January 18, 2010

As Seen on TV

I was catching up with Ugly Betty on my DVR this weekend and I did a doubletake when I spotted Betty Suarez's fabulous bag.

Do you see the resemblance?

Looks a lot like my knitting bag don't you think?

I'm sure it's just a coincidence (a tote made with IKEA fabric is hardly an original idea) but it was still exciting to see my bag on national TV! Although, upon further reflection given Betty's past fashion choices I'm not so sure I should consider it a compliment.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Christmas Wrap-Up

I was spoiled with quite a few wonderful gifts this year: books on sewing and knitting, fabric, yarn, a stylish McAuley almnae t-shirt and a vintage Vera tablecloth just to name a few. I love all my gifts but I wanted to share a few special handmade gifts from the crafty women in my life:

A ribbon yarn necklace from Mom

Earrings from Aunt Sue

A Girls' Week '09 memory book from Krista & Lydia

A wreath from my cousin Lisa

Yummy homemade relish and strawberry jam from my colleague Mary

I have to admit I dropped the ball a bit on making gifts this year but with all this inspiration to draw from I'm thinking one of my new year's resolutions will be to start working on my Christmas gifts in July.