28.2.07

WIP Wednesday - Razor Cami V3

As I mentioned on Monday, I've started my third attempt at the Razor cami. I'm already into the razor shell pattern, and since I've already done it so many times, I could probably knit this one in my sleep! LOL Well, maybe not - but it's fun to try and picture! I got a great deal on 5 balls of Microspun at my local Michael's - just 2$ each! (If I end up using all 5 balls, that'll mean it's a only a 10$ sweater! Just fyi, the Sirdar Snuggly is 4.35$ a ball, so 3 would've only been 13$!)

Razor cami V3 - WIP

I keep stitch markers in, just so I know I haven't lost a stitch anywhere. I made these myself with vintage & swarovski crystal beads. The Microspun is particularly splitty, so the markers catch a little. No biggie, I'd rather be satisfied there's not a lost stitch anywhere! I lost 2 on my Squiggle shawl, and I only found one of them! LOL (I picked up this great tip, but I can't remember where; put your pattern in a clear pageholder, and then you can write on it with a dry-erase marker, to keep your place & other notes!)

I'd highly recommend this pattern to any beginner looking for their first sweater pattern. No shaping, and no seaming means it's for knitters of all skill levels! Now I have to decide which pattern I'll work on next, because I can already tell this one won't take very long! (At least compared to other projects of mine!)

27.2.07

Interweave Knits Spring 07 - Arrived!

Interweave Knits Spring 07

Yeay! I finally got my copy of IK Spring 07! I'm totally excited, my Mom got me a 2-year subscription for Christmas! Lucky me! The first page I opened to (pg14) had an article comparing bamboo yarns - how totally perfect! I'm trying to pick which bamboo I like best for an ultra soft Clapotis!

IK Spring 07 - Entrelac Socks

IK Spring 07 - Cable Top-Down RaglanThere's also a great feature on entrelac and a pattern for entrelac socks! How fun! I have yet to conquer entrelac, but it's really more that I just can't decide which yarn I'd like my Lady Eleanor in. I want something soft, but my LYS is a Hobby Lobby. Seriously, they don't even have computerized check-out; so it's not surprising that their yarn selection is rather lacking. (I'm sure I could find something, but I'm waiting til I find the perfect yarn! LOL) The top-down cable raglan from Stefanie Japel is simply elegant and lovely. I only wish it was a v-neck instead of square. I wonder if I could alter it? I especially love the color used in the magazine, a soft seafoam blue green.

26.2.07

Moody Blues

Meh. No sun, all weekend; in fact all we got here in Chicago was snow, rain & more snow. Oh, and wind - big surprise there! I really hate the weather here… they say it only averages 88 sunny days out of the year for Chicagoland. So, no new Squiggle pics, and no pics of the just-finished ripple scarf either (yet, at least!) And I've had a crampy leg for a couple days now, so I just sat and knit most of the weekend. I've gotten past the ribbing for my third attempt at the Razor cami, and because I've done it so many times, the razor shell pattern is very easy.

My first try was with the reccomended yarn, Sirdar Snuggly. I only bought 2 balls of it, and ran out before I finished the straps. To boot, it's a bit too small - to the point where I don't think I'll wear it, even if I could figure out a good strap option. The second try was with Lion Brand Microspun, and I added 2 extra repeats instead of 1. When I checked the yardage, I realized I had less of the Microspun than the Snuggly, and I was trying to knit a bigger garment. Oh well… I bought 5 balls of Microspun for this attempt; and I'm quite confident it'll go better than the first 2. The Microspun is soooo soft, and I'm really looking forward to having a real garment to wear (up til now, I've only knit scarves, wraps & a few other accessories.) Yeay first sweater!

23.2.07

FO Friday - Squiggle Shawl

Ok, so I'm probably the world's slowest knitter. It took me over a month to finish this shawl, but I was working on Sampler goodies, and the cast off edge really had me thinking for a bunch of days. I wanted to match the cast on edge, which was just twisted loops. I actually cast on first with long-tail and the chenille, but when I tried to gently stretch it out, I ended up breaking the yarn, and had to start over again.

Squiggle Shawl

It worked out ok, I'm very pleased with the outcome - even if it did take a while for the simplest knit project ever! LOL It's just garter stitch (horizontally,) and clip each end to knot & fringe. Easy Peasy! (I actually ended up sewing the cast off edge, if anybody's interested I can post pics of how I did it. It was kind of painstaking with the hairy Suri Dream yarn, but I imagine it would be easier with non-hairy yarn.)


Squiggle Shawl FlatYou can find the pattern at here at Magknits. Super simple, and I'm sure you can substitute just about any yarn combinations your heart desires. The original pattern calls for 3 yarns, but I was happy with just 2 (that my Mom gave me for Christmas - Thanks Mom!) And I significantly changed the pattern repeats since I was only using 2, but I love my version and isn't that the point of knitting for yourself?!?!? LOL I'm soooo looking forward to bringing it with on my next cruise - Hawaii in October!

Please forgive these photos... I just had to get to the grocery store before sunset; and that means these are lit with a flash (ick!) Sorry! I'm hoping the sun peaks it's head out over the weekend, so I can shoot another round of pics. Cross your fingers for me!

Specs:

21.2.07

WIP Wednesday - Quilted Patchwork Bag

I finally got some time to work on my sister's belated Christmas present - the Amy Butler Patchwork Bag. At first I was hoping the book would have pattern pieces for this bag, but upon closer inspection the only pattern piece provided was for the zipper pull charm (which is just 2 circles, folks! LOL) The bag itself is all right angles, so I'm left to measure out all of my rectangles. It isn't too tough, but the AB pattern pieces are on nice paper, instead of tissue paper; and I was hoping to get the chance to work with a non-tissue pattern. (Tissue's really not that bad, but it can be tricky!)

Patchwork Bag Work-In-Progress

I must also add, that I purchased a clear quilting ruler for this project, and boy, I couldn't be MORE pleased with it. It seemed expensive, at 12$ for a 4 1/2" by 12 1/2" clear ruler, but with all of the markings it has on it, and how well it works with my cutting mat, it saved me tons of time cutting & scoring packaging for The Sampler. If you don't have a quilting ruler, I'd HIGHLY recommend it! It's going to make cutting 1" squares for tsumami kanzashi flowers even easier and more precise than with my cork-backed steel ruler. And, more precise squares of fabric mean they're easier to fold into each petal, and less hassle to handle & sew together. Hooray!


I'm also happy to announce that I'll be adding patchwork bags to my Etsy store soon, of course with tsumami kanzashi flowers on them! I really like making bags, I think it's so much more fun to carry something unique, rather than something there's 18,000 of out there!

20.2.07

A Death in the Family

This past week has been particularly hard, my grandmother passed away last Wednesday. She was 85, and had been sick for a very long time; but I'm still surprised at how much it hurts. I'm also surprised at how differently I'm dealing with it than the rest of my family; even though I was raised Christian, I don't believe everything I learned in grade school. I'm left questioning what's next after we die, and because I have no solid answer, there's fear in my mind.

I think everyone has to go through it and deal with death on their own terms. I don't doubt that faith gives a lot of people security, and comfort; but I don't believe in heaven and hell the same way most people do, and I struggle to define those concepts for myself. For me, they're much more abstract, and most of the time I'm happy with my own definitions of those concepts. But this week, abstract consructs give me little comfort. I'm thankful though, that my Mom understands how differently I deal with things, and that she still knows what I need when I hurt. I love you, Mom!

16.2.07

Blogger Spotlight - Wee Wonderfuls

Hillary's blog was actually the first craft blog I ever visited last year! I was looking for toy patterns, I'd already made a bunch of home d├ęcor items, and wanted something 3D that wasn't too big of a project. I found her Pointy Kitty pattern, and knew I had to jump (headfirst!) into the crafty-blogging community. She's amazingly talented, and her toy & embroidery patterns are adorable! If you haven't seen her blog, quit reading & go now! It's that good!

She has a wonderful freebies section in her store, and her items usually go like hotcakes! I've been wanting her robot stuffy pattern ever since it came out; but I have so many projects going on right now, I just couldn't add one more to it! (It's totally on my wish list, I just know I'll spend a while picking fabrics out, though! LOL) She's also one of the judges for the Softy Awards, which I'm super excited about. I don't envy the judges task of finding a winner in each category, though! There's tons! (I threw my Pointy Kitty, and his lil sis, Wee Curvy Kitten in the mix - wish them luck!)

Her store is packed with fun crafty items, including these Stitchette embroidery patterns, the Robot stuffy I mentioned, and much, much more! Go take a look!

13.2.07

Happy (early) Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day Cupcakes! Well, normally I'm not one for such commercial holidays, but I've seen so many awesome cupcakes around Blogland lately, and I had cake mix & frosting sitting around… So, I thought I'd throw my hat in, and whip up some V-day treats. These are made with a butter white cake mix and cream cheese frosting. I tried to make heart templates from paper to dust the red sugars on in a fun pattern, but only 2 came out heart shaped! LOL Can you tell which 2? Bwahahaha!

My husband keeps reminding me that they still taste just as good; but I still wish they'd come out a little better. Oh well! The cake mix made 2 dozen cupcakes, but I only have a dozen left! I knew I should have taken the pictures when I made them, but it was dark, and I was hoping for some sun to photograph them. (I should have done it Saturday, it was sooo blue and sunny; Sunday rolled around and it went back to grey! So, sorry for the crappy lighting!) I hope everyone has a nice Valentine's Day!

12.2.07

FO - Sampler Contribution

Crafty Ginger Tsumami Kanzashi

Double whew! I mentioned last week that I'm contributing to The Sampler for March; well, what I neglected to mention was how bad I procrastinated a lot of the hand sewing. By a lot I mean I had 19 flowers to sew buttons & snaps to, and I totally made my life harder by using waaaaay too much fabric glue; making all 19 real buggers to sew through. Oh well, my fingertips are a little abused, but I can rest them now - because I'm done! I finished all 30 flower snaps with accessories over the weekend, and will be dropping them in the mail later today! I'm super excited and nervous, I don't really know what to expect from the experience. But I'm hoping it will make at least one more sale for me (bringing my grand total to 2 sales!) Or maybe just get my name & product out there… *crosses fingers* Here's to hoping!

Crafty Ginger Sampler Contribution

Have you contributed to or subscribed to The Sampler? What was your experience like? Did it do anything for your sales? I'm really interested, so I'd really appreciate any thoughts. (If you don't want to leave a comment, please email me!) I could only contribute 30 items this first time around, and I only have about 50 business cards to send in, because my laser printer's on the fritz, and I didn't have time to get cards printed on such a tight deadline. So, I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much, but it's hard not to dream of someone liking my flowers so much they'd rush over to my store and buy loads! A girl can dream, can't she? LOL

9.2.07

Blogger Spotlight - Girl On The Rocks

I found Girl On The Rocks through Whiplash, and I knew I had to add her to my RSS reader. She makes cute and very practical items, and I just love her style! Her atari themed altoid tin had me doubled over with laughter when I saw it - I knew it'd make a comeback sooner or later! LOL Seriously, though - the detail on the tin is awesome! It's even got a faux wood-grain interior! Check out her Etsy store for it and lots more - including bacon buttons! You'll love these Shirley! :P

She's also written some cool patterns, I love the Drip coasters made from leftover sock yarn; and Shirley recently made a tissue cover from her Sniffles tissue cover pattern. I'm contemplating sizing up her beer cozy pattern, King's Cozy, for a wine bottle - my husband and I love full bodied reds!

I also had to bookmark her because we share the same name (even if she spells it differently than I do, it still starts with a K! LOL)

I really like spotlighting blogs I enjoy, and I'd love to hear about your favorite blogs too! I'm always looking for new ones, so please send me an email or leave a comment with your suggestions! Thanks!

8.2.07

Six Weird Things

Shirley, from Warm Fuzzies, tagged me for the "6 Weird Things" meme, and although I seem to be about a month behind everybody else, I'm happy to share my weirdness. I'm just not sure if there's anybody left who hasn't done it yet! LOL

RULES: People who get tagged need to write a blog post of 6 weird things about them as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names.

1. At meals, I must have something crunchy, or I won't eat very much. I have issues with soft foods, and I'm very picky about eating them. Pasta is ok when it's hot, and with rolls or bread; but if it cools, or I don't have a side, I'll just push it around the plate. (Consequently, I microwave freshly made pasta, so it stays hot extra long.)

2. When I was 13, I worked at a comic book shop. I got paid in comics and Star Trek; The Next Generation trading cards. I'm not kidding! I think I'm only missing 7 cards out of the 300+ card set!!! LOL Yes, I'm a total geek... I stil watch ST;TNG fairly often!

3. In high school, I used to dream in German. By my junior year, I'd taken 6 years on German and was pretty fluent. I even spent some time translating Grimm's Fairy Tales. Now I wish I could understand the few words I hear on tv every so often.

4. I crack my joints, a lot. I mean a lot! And not just my hands and feet, I crack my neck, back, knees, hips and well, if I can twist it enough, it'll crack. Teachers and parents have been telling me to stop for as long as I can remember, saying I'll get arthritis, or worse. But honestly, it hurts worse when I don't crack them.

5. I wanted to own and run a jewelry gallery/store when I was younger. All together I've had 5 years of silversmithing, and I really miss it. It's been about 3 years since I had access to a jewelry lab, and although I still do some metal work, it's not as involved or detailed as my work used to be. This isn't that weird, but I thought it was interesting anyway!

6. I've decided to quit drinking coke during February, and I'm using a really interesting motivation to do it - a Blythe doll! Seriously, I'm very addicted to both the sugar and caffeine, and have decided to kick the habit. I knew I'd need some serious incentive though, and so far, it's working very well! 3 more weeks to go!

I'm tagging Girl on the Rocks, June, my sister Jenn and Laura. I think everyone else I know has already done this one, but if you haven't I'll be happy to tag you too! Weird things are fun and funny!

7.2.07

WIP Wednesday - Sampler Contribution

Whew! I knew it was going to be a lot of work to get stuff ready to contribute to The Sampler; but I had no idea how pressured I was going to feel by the deadline. I guess it doesn't really matter if I miss it, because there will be another Sampler next month; but I can't help but feel the pressure! *insert Freddie Mercury singing Under Pressure*

Tsumami Kanzashi Flower Snaps - In Progress!Right now my laser printer's on the fritz, so I keep thinking about having my business cards printed for me. I need to investigate some prices & options though, I'd like to be able to reorder if I want/need to, and I want to make sure I'm happy with everything. Any suggestions? Particularly in the western suburban Chicago area - I'd really appreciate it! Also online options are totally appreciated, although right now I'm not sure I could get anything shipped to me within my deadline. (I need to get my products to The Sampler by Feb 15th.)

I'm contributing 30 plum blossoms with either a snap hair clip or pin. A handful are pink, just because I got bored making all white. :P

6.2.07

Tree Branch Pendant

Getting things ready for my upcoming Sampler donation has really tapped me out lately, but I've been wanting to get back to my Tree Branch jewelry for a while now - so I did! This pendant is about 6" long, and is made of copper craft wire and round pearls in gold and bronze. The wire is not real copper, only copper colored, but I've had a devil of a time lately trying to get findings to match. Do you think it would look weird on a silver chain? I'm so picky, I always balk at having to mix metal colors when I don't want to. (If you know where I can get findings this color - PLEASE let me know!)

I added an extra loop on the side, so it wouldn't hang completely vertical, but have a swaying, windswept branch-ey feel to it. I'm thinking of adding this to my Etsy store, but I keep going back and forth because it doesn't have a chain right now. Any thoughts? I'd really like to hear them about this piece, I'm a little unsure of it right now.

5.2.07

WIP Amy Butler Patchwork Bag

For Christmas last year, I told my sister that I'd like to make her a bag. I made one for my Mom, and thought she might like a handmade one as well. I let her pick what she wanted, and it turned out that she picked the Patchwork bag in the back of Amy Butler's book, In Stitches. Needless to say, we both procrastinated on picking out fabrics, because I just bought these last Thursday with her! LOL

Blue & Red FabricsI'm really pleased with our selections, even though blue & red isn't my favorite color palette (20 bonus points for whoever can guess what my favorite color palette is! LOL) We started with the Asian girls, and built the others around it, and I'm hoping it will look very nice patched together and quilted.

Now, I just have to decide what pattern I'm going to piece the side panels together with (I'm thinking maybe log cabins,) and the pattern & spacing of the quilting lines! All of the fabrics are cotton quilting, and so I picked up some thick Peltex interfacing to give the finished bag a stiffer shape. The pattern calls for heavyweight upholstery fabrics, but I think the cotton will quilt better, and it's definitely easier to work with!

On another note, I'd love to hear where you buy fabric - especially for Japanese prints! I prefer to buy in person, in a store; but I live pretty far outside Chicago, so trips downtown are usually just a couple times a year. Internet shopping is certainly more convienent, but it can be tricky (somtimes impossible!) to match colors or coordinate prints. My favorite online fabric stores are - Fashion Fabrics Club, Fabric Tales and Reprot Depot, I also love Vogue Fabric (they have an online store too!)

2.2.07

Blogger Spotlight - Betz White

Ok, so admittedly she's already a craft-blogging superstar, but I couldn't resist linking to Betz White's blog this week. She makes the most incredibly delicious looking cupcakes out of recycled sweaters, among many other wonderful goodies. If you have some old sweaters laying around, try her felted brooch tutorial, or her cutie pie! (I'm sooo scouting the right colors for both of these right now!)

If you're lucky enough to live in/around the Minneapolis area, she'll be teaching a couple workshops at the Sewing Lounge this spring - one on recycling sweaters, one on shibori felting. I wish I could attend, I absolutely love taking a sharp pair of scissors to old sweaters! LOL

She also has a new book coming out soon, I can't wait! LOL I believe she's shooting photos for it very soon. Betz, I hope you get lots of awesome photos, and you have a wonderful trip! I wonder when pre-orders start?!?! :D

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