12 August 2006

carried away

It's a surplus of bags around here lately. I guess two counts as a surplus because I am a purse-fiend and I already have more than I need. Can't carry more than one at a time, right? Or, at least, shouldn't!

So, Bag One, the infamous blue thing:
vintage paisley pleats

So this is from this Craftster tutorial. The inside is lined with bright yellow gingham. For a first time pleating project I think this turned out pretty okay. The mouth is a little narrow, but the overall shape/size fit under my arm in a pleasing way. So, yay.

Bag Two is a gift. Remember the stash donation of reproduction Revolutionary War fabrics? Well, it was a very generous donation, and I felt the least I could do was make the donor (one of my coworkers) something in return. She had told me that she had purchased the fabrics and the services of a quiltmaker over eBay, because she isn't too crafty herself. Some of the remnants were leftover quilt squares, and there were six squares of one pattern in particular that was her favorite, an ivory/cream with a print of green and pink flowers. I decided to use those patches as the focus in a patchwork bag with a shape similar to a bag of my own (this one, except mine is reddish and has a painted wooden button rather than a tassel) that my coworker had admired. Here's what I came up with:
patchwork bag-long strap
This pattern also came from a Craftster tutorial. The strap is adjustable:
patchwork bag-short strap
The whole bag is reversible, too, which is a nice option for patchwork because sometimes you don't want to go somewhere with a big hippie-ish patchwork bag. (My bag is bigger than the one in the tutorial; the strap is 48 inches long and the dimensions of the bag itself are about 16 inches by 13 inches.) There are no inside pockets (which might be a pain, but the bag was so simple overall I didn't want to clutter it up), but I did make a teeny tiny card pouch out of some remaining patches. I didn't get a big picture of the pouch, but to make it I used some very (ridiculously) simple Seminole patchwork, and then embellished the closure with a super cute chick button:
patchwork pouch detail
This coordinates with two other buttons sewn onto the non-tied end of the purse strap:
patchwork bag-detail
I don't know if my coworker likes chickens but how could you resist these adorable little things?
Well, that's all I've been up to lately. So what have you been doing?

26 July 2006


So...hot...can't move without sweating. Can't think without getting brain cramp. Can't craft, supplies become grody and sticky. Can only...faff about on the computer...

The Ceremonial Sharing of Random Bookmarked Pages with The Blog Readership

Cherry Coffee Cake recipe from Creampuffs in Venice

Drool. Cherries. Coffeecake. If only it wasn't hot enough to bake this out on the stoop.

Portrait of a Textile Worker by Terese Agnew
Humbling. Moving. Thought-provoking. A little bit confrontational. All the things art should be.

Water Bottle Holder from Pink Chalk Studio
Wow! This will be a perfect present for lots of people I know! I am loving Whipup and Whiplash, they are such great resources.


Head Huggers
I've got 3 hats knit already to send to this charity, but the heat is taking a toll on my knitting. However I've got a bunch of flannel that might make great baby hats, too.

Jeans into skirt Tutorial from Savvy Seams
The perfect thing for hot days? I am envisioning a cute knee-length skirt with a little contrasting cotton ruffle at the hem, although I like the punk rawk look you get unhemmed.

So this isn't text only, here's some weird blue retro paisely thing I am working on:
blue thing
The fabric is from a very generous stash donation I recently received. Sedate cottons, wacky poly blends, small scraps, hefty yardage, unknown fibers...it was a very interesting stash infusion with which I am still coming to terms. It was followed, quite unexpectedly, by another generous donation, this one of all (a moment of awed silence here) reproduction Revolutionary War prints. They are b eautiful and mind-boggling, and demand I get better at sewing straightish lines. Anyway, what is this blue thing with the pleats? I'll tell ya later.

Finally...something I could have used after last weekend's adventures in New York City:

Pepto Bismol Ice Cream
Via MAKE:Blog

16 June 2006

the ground beneath our feet

recycled t-shirt rug
Recycled T-Shirt Rug
Gather together

-One set size 15 needles (or whatever giant needles you've got lying around)
-A bunch of shirts in various stages of disrepair (bring me your stained, your holey, your stretched out, your too-grody-to-wear-but-too-sentimental-to-throw-out)
-One pair pinking shears
-Patience. Sweet, sweet patience.

In a nutshell: cut the shirts into (really) long strips. I recommend pinking shears. Start at the bottom and just cut around in a spiral, keeping the strip a couple inches wide. The edges will roll up so you probably don't want to cut too thin. (Depends on fiber content of shirt, how much it will unravel, how much you care about gauge--if you are a gauge fiend you might want to try another project!) You can keep cutting over side seams, if it is a shirt constructed that way. (Most t-shirts seem to be seamless from the botttom hem up to the armpits though.) Be prepared for cottons to get lint all over the place.

At this point you can sew the ends of the various strips together (by machine or by hand) if you want (to make "yarn"), or you can go all crazy freeform and just change colors the same way you would when knitting. I did half and half. Sewing the ends makes it more neat. But hey you are knitting a rug out of t-shirts, you might not be a big neat freak.

If you want to, determine a stripe pattern, or decide to go freeform. My stripes were determined by how much yar
n I had of that particular color. As you can see I half-assed some symmetrical sort of deal. I was thinking about doing some kind of circle thing but stripes seemed easier (and they were).

Cast on. The width of my rug was determined by the length of my rather stubby needles. I ended up doing a weensy garter stitch border that barely showed up in the finished project, but did keep the edges from rolling. Your call.

Knit! This will take arm strength and hand strength! I do not recommend using a cut up Army shirt for yarn, like I did, that almost killed me. I could barely get the stitches off the needle and the knitting was not even that tight. The thinner, older cotton t-shirts worked the best. I used a stretchy nylon blend dress shirt for one of the yarns and it was nice and slippery on the needles, so maybe give those a try.

This thing will get heavy in your lap as it grows. Cast off when it's too fat, ugh, nothing worse than getting squashed by your knitting. Can you block cotton? I don't know, but I fake-blocked this by dampening the rug and putting it between two bath towels and then covering it with heavy books.

Now it keeps my feet comfy while I'm washing dishes!

Closeup of stitches:

rug stripes

Gauge (hah!) averages about 2-3 stitches per inch.
Moderate Googling will get you some interesting links about the topic, if you're inclined.

23 April 2006

while you're over there in no man's land...

So yesterday the knitgroup was winding down, there were just two of us left in a drafty little corner at Wegmans. A woman approached (if you KIP, this probably happens to you a lot. People come near, fascinated by those pointy sticks and that yarn and what you are doing with them. A lot of times they are children, completely baffled. A lot of times they are older women who gave it up, and they have stories.)

"I don't know if you'd be interested," she said, holding out a flyer. "But I saw you were knitting and thought I'd ask."


The flyer was for a group that knits specifically for veterans. She said the items that are most needed are stoma bibs, warm hats, blankets, colostomy bag covers, socks, mittens, and suchlike. The items are donated to the local VA, and passed on to hospitalized, homeless, and other needy veterans.

It's the least we can do, right? No matter our feelings about the war, we can help those who have been involved in it. I wrote down her email address, if you want it, let me know. If you're not in the Syracuse area, here's a link to find your local VA hospital. (Also? Hi!)

This got me thinking (and Googling) a great deal about charity knitting. Afghans for Afghans (itself worth investigating in your search for a charitable organization) tells us a little bit about the Red Cross' knitting tradition. Do you know anyone who learned how to knit because of the "war effort?" Do you know any recipients of charity knitting, or have you been a recipient yourself? I'd love to hear any stories from people on all sides of the issue, or if you have a favorite charity/pattern/etc. As shallow as it makes me sound, I have to admit that just finding out what a "stoma bib" is for helped really crystalized what a lot of veterans have sacrificed so I can sit here, safe at home, updating my blog and holding down the couch like it was my job.

Anacleta's Knitting For A Better World Page includes tons of links on charity knitting.


(Images in this post are from Knits N Bytes' War Knitting Page.)

06 April 2006

short-attention-span crafting

First and foremost, check out these stitch markers I picked up from Bean at a craft show the other day.
bean's stitch markers
Aren't they lovely? I've just been using loops of contrast yarn for stitch markers, now I get to use jewelry.

Ooh and ahh at the wonder of the pre-school level crafting:
cat stuff
It's just felt sloppily mod-podged onto a chopped in half hot cocoa mix canister. I was bored and I needed somewhere to stash the cat comb and nail clippers etc etc. The mouse is in leftover LB Landscapes, from a popular pattern. The cat felted it with her tongue.

This purse really did not want to have its picture taken, hence the crappy hung-on-the-doorknob shot.
spring bag
This was flung together willy-nilly with no pattern at all, from things I picked up for pennies at a Joann's that was closing down. The whole thing cost about five dollars...and it kind of shows. I do like the colors, though. And it's the perfect size to carry small projects like..

Intersecting socks:
perpendicular socks
Pattern loosely based on this one. Stripes based on my own whimsy. I like the vertical ribs and the horizontal stripes together. Fantastical people in the background are from an old book (1949 edition, volume 2, "Invention and Industry) which is great fun to leaf through.

Then there are these yummy pizza biscuits, which in macro mode look like the surface of the moon:
glamorous pizza biscuits
Recipe? Crescent roll dough + bit of tomato sauce + some shreds of parm/romano + pepperoni + oven = mmmmm.

Finally (at last) here's this garter belt:
sewing machine garter belt
What, you thought it was for a person? Bah. Doesn't it make the sewing machine sex-ay? Anyway, it's just a little prototype for a handy pincushion, as I'm constantly dropping pins on the floor.

Oh, I better go get some coffee. I clearly need to focus more before I go to work!

19 March 2006

wheat kings and pretty things

Actually, more like wee things. Or, just one wee thing. A sweater, specifically:
wee sweater
This would be a Jane Doe Sweater in good ol' LB Wool-Ease. The color is something like Rose Heather...definitely some stashbusting going on around here lately. Mods to the pattern were to use just size 9s instead of switching between 8s and 10s, and I reworked the lace pattern in the back to something I found more manageable than what the directions called for. This would look really cute with a little ribbon woven through it, I think.
back of wee sweater
I don't know any babies, nor anyone who's going to have one anytime soon, so I knit this sweater mainly as practice. I've never knit an adult-sized one, and I figured a baby sweater would give me a better understanding of raglans and buttons bands and various other sweater logistics.
button band
Final thoughts: a fun, quick project that may have induced ovulation with its cuteness. I have tons of yarn that would be fun to make into lots of adorable sweaters for the children's hospital or other charities.

Some sidebar-cleaning going on, in honor of spring. Some new blogs have been linked, including that of my cousin Kim, who has made her first foray into the blog world by following in the footsteps of those who have gone before her by posting a picture of her cat. Kim makes fabulous cakes and other wickedly delicious treats, I can't wait for some pictures of them!

...and now I'm hungry!

(Oh, and the title comes from here. Best part about that link? The "related tabs.")

09 March 2006

circle the bandwagons

Inspired by Bean and the crafty folks at, um, Craftster, I jumped on the knitting needle case bandwagon. Here's my version:
everything in its place
Hey, that picture's pretty tiny. Oops. Anyway, I used pinks and greens, including the green-and-white print that you see in the header. It's not a very big case, maybe 16 inches square. I don't have the biggest needle collection so at the moment it's enough. Here it is all rolled up:
needle burrito
I'm not sure exactly how the closure is supposed to work. I just wrapped a ribbon around it. How did you do yours, Bean?

In other, extremely random crafty news, I've been cruising a lot of food blogs lately, and discovered a great one, Mahanandi, mainly dedicated to Indian food, which I love. Today I tried a modified version of a recipe for stuffed baby portobello mushrooms that she posted on her site.
stuffed baby portobellas
Very good! I used carrots, red peppers and garlic as the veggies, and Swiss as the cheese. On a bed of yummy basmati rice and peas, this was very filling, not to mention easy to prepare. Highly recommended!