Friday, September 13, 2013

Kitty Art Prints for charity this weekend 9/14-9/15

Just trying to get the word out on a wonderful artist who is donating half the proceeds of her weekend cat print sale this weekend 9/14-9/15 to a nearby cat shelter in need. Shelters are always in need and every bit helps. The folks at this shelter do good work. (Their facebook page is here)

It's a good time of year to buy a nice Cat art print for yourself or as a gift for the upcoming holidays. You'd be helping to support an artist AND a bunch of kitties in transition, so it's a two-fer! (or a two-fur! har har)

and here is the jump to the shop (Toadbriar on Etsy)  if you'd like to take a gander.

Cat Art Prints for Charity

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Three things

This spoon kills me.

 It's the simple things in life sometimes. A spoon. So basic. One of our first learning tools as babies. This old antique spoon was yelling for me from an old box in a wonderful store. Look at all the detail in the design. The flowers are exquisite! Who ate with this spoon? Did it see a lot of oatmeal or was it more of a bisque kind of household?

It even defies gravity:

Sunday, February 24, 2013

My Singer 15-125 named Sally

You know those moments when you feel very fortunate, and are grateful for being so lucky? That is how I felt when I came across this beauty at a local thrift shop. I bought her for a song and gave her a good, well-deserved cleaning. I found interesting information online about this model, but what is really important is she is built like a tank from the glory days of US manufacturing and she sews beautifully.

My first project is a felted (fulled!) wool sweater fabric. I put in a new needle, worked out the tension on a piece of scrap, and set to it. 

The only tricky bit was getting used to the pedal (no pic sorry). It's one of those that has two buttons. You are supposed to rest your foot on the stationary button, and lean your foot to the left as much as you need to to get the speed you want. Part of my problem was I wasn't wearing shoes.

Very thick fabric. The machine blew through it LIKE. BUTTAH.

From the back. 

Pulling the work away after finished. The take lever needs to be up or your threads/bobbin will lock up.

A finished seam on the right before cutting threads. I know it's hard to see anything - that's the point. The fabric was that thick and Sally Singer was like, "this all you got?"

All done. Pose for the cam!

"What is it?", you say? 

It's a handy dandy pouch necklace thingie to keep crochet hooks and needles nearby while working on your project. I made this for a friend but I think I'll make one for myself because I am forever misplacing my DPN's during projects. (Get up, put needle behind ear, do whatever, get back to knitting, needle has fallen off from ear somewhere, begin cursing while searching house) Having a crochet hook handy for dropped stitches is nice too. And you KNOW you're going to drop a stitch. 

The neck cord is knitted i-cord in cotton. I hand sewed them on the inside before waking up Sally.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Line-Up

I have been hitting thrift shops for the past several weeks, grabbing all the 100% wool sweaters I could find that were of a "winter palette". Soft blues, soft pinks, grays, off-whites. I even scored some great cheap cashmere. It was nice coming across so many vintage sweaters with "made in the u.s.a." and union labels. Quite a few sweaters that are out of fashion, and/or with stains and holes will be able to repurpose themselves in my project.

I have been felting. A lot. Just a note: you CAN felt in a front-load washer. There is a myth it cannot be done. It can.

Only 2 sweaters of the bunch would not felt. I'm not sure how the manufacturers do it, but they can treat wool so it does not felt. There is no way that I know of to be able to tell if the sweater has been made with this process, but since I only ran into this problem twice out of probably what - 40 sweaters - it's not a big deal.

My project is going to involve cutting the sweaters into squares, zigzag stitching them together side by side (not 'right sides together' or overlapping. there will be no seams). Then I'll probably put a backing like a regular quilt. No batting needed.

We'll see how it goes. I'm kinda winging it.

Broomstick Lace

Inspired by the Broomstick Lace Scarf from episode 3-106 of the PBS show "Knit and Crochet Now!", I could not resist giving this old-fashioned approach a try. Very pretty and very fun. The stitch groups are large, so  it whips up pretty quickly.

Right Side:

Wrong Side: (just as pretty as the front)

Don't they look like the ends of peacock feathers?

Sunday, January 29, 2012


I needed to make a little something special for a birthday friend. Who couldn't do with a little fairy godmother? From Kajsa Wikman's adorable "Scandinavian Stitches" book, I found this darling pattern. I had no tulle for the wings, no tiny beads for the eyes, and no polyfill stuffing, but one of the most challenging things about homecrafting is making do with what is on hand. I'm not the most resourceful person, but found some scrap organza that worked fine for the wings, I did a simple stitch for the eyes, and used some scrap wool/pillow stuffing to fill her up. I tossed in some dried lavender for good measure.

There is something particularly "spiritual" -for lack of a better word - about making dolls. I've made a few, and it's not only that they come to life as you are piecing them together, their little characters materializing before you as you go, but if you listen closely to them, they'll tell you if they want a bow in their hair or a flower. They'll tell you if they want flowers on their leggings or stripes instead. They'll tell you if they would like to hold something in their hands or be free. Most of all, they'll tell you whether or not they want a little heart stitched on their butt.

LuLuBell and I have become fast friends, but her home is somewhere else, and she'll be very happy there.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Finished Jovie Hat

Phew! That took a bit of doing but it was worth it. So many lovely cables. I want to use these honeycombs in other projects.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

WIP Update Jovie Hat

After 6 inches of K1P1, I'm into the cables. After the first set, I realized that one of the 6-stitch cables goes right to left and the other goes left to right. I'm not sure if this was intentional with the pattern, but I'd like for the cables to be symmetrical (the honeycomb cables on the hat are symmetrical), so I'm going to frog back and change one so it matches the other, and keep them that way for the rest of the hat.

Frogging back to fix a cable mixup like this is a bit frightening. If you run into something like this, Yarnharlot has this spectacular tutorial on how to fix them.

Honeycomb cables:

6 stitch cable leaning R/L
The other 6 stitch cable leaning L/R

Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

WIP Jovie's Slouchie Hat from the move "Elf"

Getting a skein ready to make Jovie (from the movie Elf) hat. A very kind person by the name of Megan Ortmann replicated the pattern from the film and posted it on Ravelry for free here. Isn't that sweet?

Lots of cables and my first pompom-to-be (and what an impressive pompom it is!)

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Mason Dixon Washcloth/Dishcloth

From "Mason Dixon Knitting", by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne. These two ladies are so funny, and their books are full of lovely patterns and inspirations.

I had a skein of Lily's Sugar n' Cream cotton worsted, so I took an idea from their book - the washcloth - and inserted a locally, homemade soap in it, tied up with ribbon. A tidy little parcel gift.

Right side:

Wrong side:

Insert soap and ribbon:

Tidy tidy!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Did another Tiny Owl Knits Cowl

Like my needles? Yes those are corks on the ends. I needed size 7 for gauge and I didn't have any straights, so I pulled out my DPN's and corked them. I had tried using the DPN's straight up but the cowl is wide enough that it kept falling off the ends. Thankfully the corks did the trick!

I'm guessing needle point holders would work the same way - ? But I don't have any.

In progress...

Another lovely skein of Manos del Uruguay....



Hot water bottle cover

Oh how I love Misti Alpaca Chunky! So soft and squishy and warm. "Buttery soft" is how Yarnmarket describes it. If you've never sunk your hands into a skein of Misti Alpaca Chunky, you're really missing out on something good. Perfect for a hot water bottle cover for my neighbor.

I had some in my stash. I'm not sure how much I used but it was more than one skein. Maybe about 1 1/2 skeins.

I found the free patten here. Very easy. I knitted an i-cord (nice how-to video here on youtube) for the tie instead of a crocheted chain.

I didn't completely sew up the bottom seam in case her bottle has that little tab at the bottom like mine does. The bottom seam was done in overcast stitch on the right side. I had a little trouble with keeping the beginning and the end consistent. One corner is kinda rounded, the other kinda pointy. It bothers me but I couldn't seem to re-shape it. I suppose blocking would do the trick, but I really don't have the time. I seriously doubt anyone will notice except me.

It is SO SOFT! I wish i could show you in squish-o-vision.

I've only got a few more things to make for the holiday, and I'm running on schedule. This Christmas has been the biggest handmade Christmas ever for me, and I'm really feeling pretty good about it. Go handmade!