Sunday, May 27, 2012

another bag and a new project to put in it

I just couldn't stop embroidering yesterday!  I finished this second project bag!  I realized after the fact that it was supposed to have 3 colors, but i think it looks good in a single color too (I'm probably only saying that because I screwed up!)  It says "knit fast Die warm!"  pretty funny. 

Because this one has a flat bottom, I did a lavender patch inside like this:

Then I did this one, but haven't made it into a bag yet.  See the little bandaid on his rump?  it's because he sheared himself to knit a sweater - pretty cute!

Oh, I also did a kitchen towel, but forgot to take a picture - it's got a Fiesta Cat on it!  it's a cat with a mexican hat and maracas - perfect for mexican night, or a breakfast ole' (not that I'm getting out a special towel to go with a meal, but still cute!)

Because I'm getting kind of sick of working on nothing but my chevron scarf with the wolle cotton, I decided to start on this summer tank.  I have some mill ends flax/linen blend in orange, tangerine, and yellow so I'll make it a striped, color block version.  I'm going to make it longer too - more of a tunic length, which i think will be more flattering with its flared shape - a short flared tank will look not great on me!  I've had this pattern in my queue for some time and the though of trying to find a 2008 issue of interweave on my bookshelf was kind of daunting - but believe it or not, I put my finger on one issue in the magazine organizer and it was THE ONE!  can you believe that?  never again will that happen.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

I didn't even want one until you had one!

I, like everyone else, I'm sure, voted for my favorite design to be put on Ravelry's new project bag, but when it was announced, I was kind of like "hmm, i'm not sure I'd actually buy a muslin drawstring bag.  My friend Catherine and I were emailing back and forth about it and I realized that while I may not buy one of those, I could sure as hell use the excuse to buy some machine embroidery designs and make my own!!  I've been buying up a shit ton of designs because Urban Threads is having a huge sale for their 4th Birthday - woohoo!  Let me just stop for a minute and tell you that I can't say enough about Urban Threads - they have great designs for those of us who want to machine embroider but aren't into borders of country hearts or teddy bears, and their prices are unbelievable.  Other sites have way less detailed design for at least double the price.  I love that place!!  I'd even say that you should buy a machine JUST to buy designs from Urban Threads!  haha!  

Anyhoo, I started on this last night and finished it today.  It's going to be 90+ degrees all weekends, so i plan to not step outside for even a minute, and therefore won't feel guilty for sewing!  I think it's a great size, and it'll be super useful.  Even if it's not - it's pretty cool looking!

I had to chuckle a bit when I bought this pattern though, because honestly i barely feel like machine embroidery is very "handmade" - i just listen to my iPod and change thread colors whenever it's finished with a section.  In fact, I don't even have to sit in front of it - I let it go to town while I sit at ol' Alice and actually sew something!  it's a pretty sweet deal!  Oh, I did choose the colors, so i suppose there's a hair of creativity there.  i'm grasping at straws now.

Here's the little bit I'm actually proud of thinking of though:  i made a loosely filled sachet of lavender and sewed it to the bottom of the bag where it'd sit flat and repel moths and make my knitting smell lovely!  it's like a secret in the bottom of the bag!  Sometimes I'm a genius!

This will be my next bag - it says "Knit Fast Die Warm!"  haha!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Read this!

I know this is supposed to be a crafty blog, but I feel like I've been reading like crazy lately and I personally love, love, love, book recommendations - so I'm going to give some based on some of my recent favorites!

I picked up one of Ann Patchett's non-fiction books somewhere (half-price books?  i don't remember) for just a couple dollars and totally fell in love with her style.  I'd also recently heard a piece on NPR about her opening a local bookstore and I know she's not a big fan of Amazon, to put it mildly.  I can totally understand that.  I don't shop at Walmart for the same reason.  However, I haven't been able to give up Amazon.  so sorry, Ann, for the Amazon links.  This non-fiction book of hers was Truth and Beauty and it was about her lifelong friendship with Lucy Grealy, also an author.  I loved it.  Because of that one, I got the  kindle version (actually I checked it out of the Dayton library electronically) of State of Wonder and it was amazing.  It's one of those books that you just don't want to end.  It's about a researcher who goes to the Amazon to check on a drug development cell there and lives with the natives.  The women there chew the bark of a rare tree and it allows them to be fertile far longer than normal.  Of course it's also about the relationships between all the characters, which is what Ann Patchett does so well, in my opinion.  So after that I bought Patchett's Patron Saint of Liars for my kindle because it was only $2.99.  It's about a woman who runs from everything in her life but ends up living at an old hotel converted into a Catholic home for unwed mothers.  Again, the story of the relationships - told from her point of view, her daughter's, and her husband's, is super.

Aside from my Ann Patchett spree, I've read some other great books - lots of times I find some surprising stuff on Amazon's list of 100 for $3.99 or less (again, Kindle versions) - things I'd never try otherwise.  World Made by Hand was one of those.  It's by James Howard Kustler and it's a postapocalyptic novel but instead of being all Mad Max-like, it's like the world goes back to colonial times where everything is smaller, if you know what I mean.  Travel isn't possible (and there isn't anywhere to go anyway) and things seem more conservative - people convert back to mores and traditions their grandparents might have lived by.  It's pretty interesting.  There were some bad reviews about the female roles being so weak, but I think it was kind of part of the times, mentally, for the people building a new kind of world based on old ways.  Sure, they're modern folks so you'd think something would have stuck with them, but I just have a hard time getting too political about novels so it didn't bother me.  I really liked it a lot actually.

I'm kind of a cheapskate and usually don't pay a lot for my Amazon books, but I'd heard so much about Murakami's new novel 1Q84 that I had to splurge.  It's about a million pages long, so I feel like I got what  I paid for in terms of bulk!  Aside from that, it was amazing.  Weird and interesting - which is what he does.  It's about a world split into two.  I don't even want to try to explain more than that.  Just read it!

Lastly, a co-worker leant me a copy of The Tale of Edgar Sawtell (oh man, it's only $2.99 for a Kindle edition right now!)  - it's another long one, but I feel like I actually slowed down as I was nearing then end because I didn't want it to be over.  It's about a mute boy whose father dies, and how he slowly figures out what happened.  It's also about his relationship with the dogs that he family bred and trained.  It was so good - I was surprised when I just looked at some people's comments about the ending.  I thought it was perfect and totally unexpected.  I found a copy for $2 at a used bookstore, but it's totally worth more than that.

Ok, those are my recommendations.  What are you reading?  do tell.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

sachets a-stuffed!

I worked on some sachets this morning when I thought it was going to start raining - seemed like a nice rainy morning activity, but then it didn't rain!  Anyway, they're turning out great!  I still have about 10 more to do, but my fingers were tired, and frankly my nose was a little tired of smelling lavender!  

The fabric on the right is from a vintage tie that I bought ages ago.  The designer was Rooster (I kept the cool tag from the back of the tie!) - i should look it up online.  I never did anything with the tie but I couldn't bear to get rid of it so I just deconstructed it and kept the fabric.  I love it!  

Friday, May 4, 2012

paper bow

Use this tutorial and make a paper oragami bow.  do it now!  it's fantastic!

(this picture, however, is not fantastic.  sorry.)

too much, again

Much like my past overzealousness when it came to colorful snaps and gingham buttons, I recently purchased something like a half a kilo of lavender!  

Who needs that much lavender?  well, I do - I'll get to that in a minute.  I also bought that much because I'm frugal and it was way cheaper to buy it bulk than to get it by the ounce somewhere.  I did talk myself out of the 2lb bag, because at some point the per unit price starts being a ridiculous measure.  seriously - i don't need 2 lbs of lavender.  that would be crazy.  

Here's another thing that's crazy - the fact that those folks at Purl Soho can make me obsessed with something like sachets!  It was this recent post - and of course it's because they have a way of photographing things and arranging colors that totally overtakes me!  it could be a stack of unwashed socks and they could convince me that i absolutely needed to make that project!  They nearly had me convinced that I needed that roll of vintage chintz prints, but at $75, i could pretty easily say no way.  Besides I have tons of great cottons.  So i made these:

I'm sure I have places for 20 sachets!  I'm sure you do too, if you think about it - chest of drawers, closets, yarn bins, winter hat/glove drawers - everywhere!  Now I just need to do some stuffing of sachets and hand sewing them closed!  By the way - the lavender smells amazing!  even inside the ziplock bag AND the bag it was packed in for shipping, it made the whole dining room smell like lavender!  I got it from Lavenderluxeries on ebay - she was great!