Monday, December 31, 2007

Why I Love Break

Because it gives me time to put together ideas that have been percolating for a while. I saw an idea for sewing fabric leaves onto floral stems a while back. I don't have floral stem wire laying around, but I have been looking for a way to reuse the wire hangers I get from the dry cleaners which I can't ever throw away (I once tried to return them at the dry cleaners figuring they could be recycled - - they looked at me like I was nuts.) So here is my contribution for Valentine's day, up in the shop. Andrew helped me figure out a way to get lavender buds into the design, so they smell purty too:)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Morning Breakfast

And my Dad won't admit to table-feeding the cat.

Lots of positive kitty vibes being sent to Nancy and Bo:)

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Holiday Spectacular Post!

OK, I'm going to get over the fact that I'm posting about gifts, and let you see what I've been up to lately. Now that I'm finally done with crafting for the holidays, I'll be knitting some sweaters for myself (I have a hefty bill from Webs to prove it!) so here's what's been taking up my time:

Three Koolhaas hats (by Jared in Interweave's holiday edition...such a fantastic pattern that it's being offered here now!):These were actually simple to knit once I got the hang of the pattern. For some odd reason I felt it necessary to knit without a stitch marker the first time which made the process a whole lot longer. When you knit it, use the dang stitch marker (I did on the second and third hat and they whizzed off my needles.) I'll probably be knitting more of these in the future:)

Two aprons made out of a reproduction German fabric:
I also dried some herbs from the garden and the farm to go along with this gift (going to the cooks in the family). The aprons are from a pattern from this book here.One dragon hand puppet (Interweave holiday again) which will be huge on the recipient, but I think that'll make it cuter:One superhero cape for a superhero nephew (made it up as I went along):
The superhero, revealed:A pillow made out of the softest yarn in the world (picked out by Sophie). I also put a little heart from recycled cashmere socks that finally died on me this year. And a necklace for my mom:
And, whew! That's my interpretation of the Handmade Pledge! And I finished it all with a day to spare!!! Now, where is that sweater I'd started for myself a few months ago???
Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Deadlines Are A Good Thing

I was fully prepared to not send out Christmas cards this year. I got too wrapped up in making all of my gifts and hadn't even thought of a design for this year's card. My Gocco looked pleadingly at me, but I just decided it was one thing I was going to have to let go this time.
But we have family friends who we get together with on Christmas and one of our time-honored traditions is judging all of the cards they have received. It's a silly event that some people can't stand (after all, we are judging the taste of others through their card choices) but I love it. Last year, my submission was my first handmade holiday card and word on the street is that there is a new category for this year's contest: handmade. Being as how I am probably going to be the only card in this category, I thought I'd better get on it.

So I woke up this morning (first day of winter break!) with an idea to draw a pair of hands knitting because knitting brings me peace. In my half-awake state, I also decided that I'd draw a pair of hands holding a book open for Andrew because reading brings him peace. Or at least, as far as I was concerned at 6:30 this morning: reading brought Andrew peace. Before jumping out of bed I verified this --
me: "Reading brings you peace, right Andrew? Right?"
Andrew: "Huh? What? Um, yeah, reading brings me....uh....peace....snore"
(edit: Andrew has reminded me that I also tried to foist "playing golf" on him as a suggestion for something that brings him peace. His response? "Sometimes.")
and then drew up a design and Goccoed a bunch of cards (which I had to hand cut). It's important to point out that I heard last night that today was the last shipping day to guarantee Christmas delivery. Andrew thinks that's wrong, but at 6:30 AM today, I was convinced that these cards must get done NOW. Anyway, here's what came out:
I printed them in gold because the line drawings reminded me of diagrams that I used to see as a kid in books from the 70s....and for some reason they were always in weird colors. I'm pretty sure that no one is going to understand the meaning of reading and knitting with the word peace, but that's the kind of stuff that my brain thinks up in those moments before completely waking, so there you have it. Many of the cards we sent have some sort of hint written inside as the message like: Wishing you the time to do all of the things that bring you peace this holiday season. That, or something equally clunky.

So, in a whirlwind of inspiration, design, printing, and writing/addressing, Andrew and I managed to get handmade Christmas cards out on the supposed last-possible-shipping day and not a tear was shed in the process. Have I mentioned recently that I work well under pressure?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hoodie, Reconstructed

I haven't been blogging for a while because the wrapping-up of school stuff gets crazy before winter break. That, and I'm busy making Christmas gifts (which I can't blog about just yet). But last night, I spent a few hours reconstructing a hoodie (finally). I think I blogged about doing this months ago, but I needed to do it last night because today was Winterfest. Don't ask what Winterfest's enough to know that it's a random/ unique holiday/ celebration that my school has developed over the years that incorporates as many faiths and cultures through their winter holidays (including Ramadan, which is only applicable when it falls during a winter month, but whatever.) It's goofy and zany and I love it.

Each year the juniors design a hoodie that has Winterfest written on the front and a theme word (like peace, light, hope, or faith) written on the back in as many languages as they can find. As Winterfest was today and I had been planning on converting my hoodies into zip-ups for months, last night was the night. Having a deadline and a limited amount of hours that I could actually stay awake for this task was an important aspect of my success. Not having any time to mess around, I just dove in. Usually I hem and haw. A lot. But last night, I grabbed my scissors and cut the whole thing up. I used a favorite-fitting zip-up hoodie as a template and cut the arm holes in, refitted the sleeves and made them bracelet length, took off the weird elastic ribbing part of the bottom, and released the hoodie from the neckline, lowering and widening the neckline as a result. I used bias tape on the bottom hem and the sleeves with mild success.
(This is a shot of the good part, there are some lumps and bumps elsewhere.) I had some vintage tape in an old sewing basket that I bought at a yard sale (filled to the brim with gobs of vintage notions - best 10 bucks I've spent in a while) but the color tape I wanted to use was pretty narrow. So I slapped the tape onto the hoodie and just double stitched it to make sure it was really on. I decided I'd be going for the deconstructed Free People look pretty early on, so this gave me room to just stitch and restitch over things until they stayed put. Putting the sleeves in worked fine except for dealing with the armpit where the sleeve and side seems met (again lots of random stitching and just trusting that it would all work out,) and I took the sides of the hoodie in while I was at it. I chose to put the zipper on the front (that sounds funny, as opposed to in the back?), leaving the raw edges of the sweater visible so that I didn't lose any of the Winterfest logo.
Again, think: Free People, loosey-goosey, weird seams are hip. I used my cute star stitch on my machine around the brim of the hood, and that was it.
Many hours later I had a perfect-fitting hoodie that didn't make me feel like a lump of oatmeal when I wore it. Of course, this completely took time away from getting Christmas presents ready (perhaps procrastination was an important ingredient in getting it done too.)

There, Megan. I posted.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Light Issues

Winter is a nightmare for trying to keep up with my photography. I need to work through all of my etsy goods because I'm sick of the old photos and I know that I can make them better. But it seems that no amount of racing home after school is getting me enough light to get it done. I have two giant cardboard boxes saved at school to bring home and make a light box out of, but I'm worried about having to find a place to store the gigantic I need to design it so that it can compact into something we're talking major craft effort during the holiday season when I have no business doing anything but knitting. Oof. Well, I couldn't get enough shots today, but I got a few of this new necklace that I made. I'm not thrilled with this one, because it's not showing the sweet little red button that I threw into the curly Q, but you get the idea at least.I had found the little red buttons at that immense 4-H fabric sale in the summer but there were only three. I made the necklace and then was ready to put the two remaining red buttons away when they yelled "make us into earrings!" Luckily, the buttons are plastic so I just snipped off the backs and filed them down and stuck them onto some ear posts.

And I was going to try to get a photo of how pretty the dusting of snow was this morning, but it was so cold that I just dove into the car. So here is the downside of the snow, from the warmth of the car, while my dear Andrew is scrape scrape scraping the windows.
It really was pretty. Honest.
Oh! And we are going out ON A SCHOOL NIGHT to see Michael Hollinger's play An Empty Plate in the Cafe Du Grand Boeuf which I missed the first time it came to the Arden and I'll be damned if I'm going to miss it again.


Monday, December 3, 2007

You Spin Me Right Round, Baby

Well, here it is: my first attempt at spinning:I used my new kick stand spindle and my Hobbledehoy fiber and went to town. I think I'm getting the hang of it. These photos show the product of one fiber batt, I've since spun another and I think I've loosened up a bit and so the colors aren't striping so much. There are a few lumps and bumps that I'm learning to handle, but I think I've got the basic idea (and anyway, knobbly yarn is more fun if you ask me.) I had help from this you tube link that was sent with my spindle and also from this site.

Do you remember when Tetris was REALLY big and you'd play it so much that you'd go to bed at night and SEE all of the little shapes falling in the darkness? Well, I found myself looking at everything that I saw and wondering: can I spin that? No joke. I discovered last night that I have many hours of free video-watching on Netflix last night so I downloaded an Office episode (the Dundee Awards episode, so freakin' funny) and I actually looked at Pam's hair and had thoughts about spinning it. And a colleague of mine has her chinchilla in my room this year and I've been eyeballing it all day, wondering what'll happen if I give it a really good, thorough combing 'cuz, you know, its fur looks

Oh man. Am I showing early signs of being a spinning addict or what?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

A Homemade Day

Yesterday was spent manning my table at my school's first (hopefully annual) craft fair. There were about 50 vendors there and a few of them were from the school community. I spent the night before in the Theatre with April making some things to display goods on. She helped me make this board that I stuck all kinds of vintage door knobs, pulls, and hooks on (I absolutely HOARD this stuff....I'd rather a glass doorknob over a diamond ring any day!) and then over my usual bed-of-rice box, we created a stand with a wooden dowel so that I can hang some stuff up behind the items laid out on the rice. I'm trying to make things to get people to look up, and I'm happy with the way things turned out. I need to find a better way to display all of my flower pins though, and that answer hasn't come to me yet. I did pick up another mini hat stand like thing (I think it's really for teacups) from a white elephant sale this weekend. It was 25 cents and every peg unscrews out of it so it was literally meant for my travelling shop box. Here's the table in its entirety with my lovely assistant warming up to the customers.The evening was spent visiting with our Fulbright exchange teacher from Argentina. She found a store that sells Argentine products and needed to share some homemade empanada goodness with someone...we got lucky and even took some home for today. We had wonderful conversations about culture and traditions (Mummers parade versus Carnival!) and I said a silent thank you to whoever set up this teacher exchange program. It not only enriches the two teachers who are traveling, but also anyone they come in contact with, and so I feel lucky. We also experienced the pleasures of dulce de leche in many forms. Yay for international food!
Today will be spend figuring out how to use my knew kick stand drop spindle with my insanely lovely yarn from Liz. There is a dusting of snow on the ground telling me not to go anywhere, so I will happily oblige by learning how to spin. Hot cocoa first.....

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Fall Flowers

Well, we've come to the end of a glorious long weekend...tomorrow it's back to school. I had a bit of a rough time as I've had a cold brewing since Thursday and it looks like it's all coming to a head just in time for my Monday morning first period class. Ugh. Yesterday I stayed in bed all day knit knit knitting for Christmas. I bundled myself up and put a smile on so that we could go out and see They Might Be Giants at the TLA. I have often said that once I hit 30, my standing-up-at-concerts time was over. I didn't have any choice at the TLA, and cold be damned, I made it through both sets. Once people were stomping for an encore though, I told Andrew I'd had enough.

Today was spent with Ginger making crafts to sell a show we're doing together next Saturday. I had it in me to try using resin for the first time, but ended up getting overwhelmed with it. I wasn't keen on the idea of risking a failed craft experience RIGHT before a show. Ginger is the best person to craft with because she's really bold and isn't as paranoid as I am about screwing everything up. We decided that we'll get together soon to try this resin thing...I just need to have my hand held through this process, I think. Either that or a really big drink before I get started (which could get ugly with resin).

So here are the latest felty hair clips I've made (see above). They are fun to put together because I have scads of vintage buttons and lots of great colors of felt, so seeing new combinations is always fun (although can be a little time consuming). I while back I started a "ribbons" box which I throw all of my odds and ends into. Little ribbon fragments that packages come tied up with, stuff like that. I found the loveliest little bit of vintage tatted lace in there today, and it sweetened up one of the clips here:
And Ginger ended up leaving with a clip that she fell in love with and realized that she can just stick it on her lapel if she'd rather have a pin (she's an outside of the box thinker, that girl!)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Hint.

It's driving me a little bonkers that I can't write about what I'm knitting now since it's mostly Christmas gifts. I CAN show the yarn I'm using though, right??! All from Knitpicks.I'm also pondering getting a drop spindle or this slight upgrade to a drop spindle. Liz worked up some more of her Neptune yarn for me and I think I'm going to buy these fiber batts from her (or these) and learn to spin (whew...that was a lot of links....did you keep up??!) Something about being able to spin yarn anywhere has me quite happy...which is interesting since, to date, I've spun yarn nowhere.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hell Week

It's here. It's ugly. It's wonderful.

It occurred to me that choreography counts as creativity, so here's where my creative energy is going to these days:

Sunday, November 11, 2007


I found a new favorite seller on Etsy today. She was featured on the front page and she makes these fabulous shoes. I've ordered them in Ultramarine and am so thrilled about them (and as always I owe my ability to finally make a color choice to Andrew.) Being able to clothe myself through Etsy is a good thing.And while at the Philadelphia Craft Show, I picked up this Lily Yung necklace which is my New Favorite Thing. Little felt circles sewn up with red thread. It has me thinking about using more fabric in my jewelry...

I also fell in love with Anna Torma's embroidery there. Stunning. I need to let it sink in and them maybe I'll be able to write about it.

I'm waiting on an order from Knitpicks that will allow me to start on some Christmas presents. I'm excited to start knitting for Christmas, but it REALLY irks me that stores already are doing the Christmas thing. Hawking Christmas before Thanksgiving should be illegal. Yesterday, in two separate stores, I had to listen to CHRISTMAS CAROLS. Ugh. I am a huge Christmas fan, but I hate Christmas when it's not Christmas. Don't even get me started on holiday special reruns in the summer.
Anyway, while I'm waiting for that yarn and since I finished Andrew's sweater, I'm starting a sweater for myself. This sweater involves size 5, 2, and 0 needles. Any bets on whether I'm going to finish it? I'm seriously worried that as soon as my holiday yarn comes in, this sweater will be dropped never to be seen again. The one thing it has going for it is that I'm knitting it up in a superwash wool. I've never used it before, but it's so soft and I'm enjoying puzzling over the magic that allows it to be machine washed and dried. That's reason enough to knit the whole thing up. Anyway, here I am humbly starting the bottom trim. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Felted Stress

It's crunch time at school. Grades and comments are due on Friday (a beast of a job in the first quarter when you have 18 extra hours of hard work on top of continuing to be an engaging teacher) and the school play (which I choreograph) goes up a week from tomorrow (read: Hell Week). The school day exhausts me and I fall asleep by 9:30 and then am wide awake at 5:30Am. Sheesh. The good part is that I take this hour to putz around on the computer and so I'm a blogging fiend!
I've taken the handmade pledge this year, which means I'm going to make all of my gifts, or at least buy handmade. I think that the handmade pledge has been an ideal of mine for the past few years, but I needed a pretty icon to help me make it happen. With Etsy as my backup, I'm pretty confident that I can make it happen. Of course, I can't blog about anything that I'm making, so after the holidays, I suppose I'll have a craftacular post showing all the handmade stuff. So for the next few days, I have some free-ish crafting time because I'm waiting for a Knitpicks order to come in (by the way, the best company know my amazing needle set? One of the number 5 needles wouldn't thread onto the cords, I called them and they just sent me a new set...without making me return the old ones...I'm not sure the last time I've been trusted like that by a company. Very cool.), so I actually picked up my book club book (A God of Small Things) and loved the first 20 pages and now I'm going to have to juggle reading with knitting. If only I could mix those two hobbies, I'd be set (I'm lukewarm about books on tape if that's what you're thinking). So this month might be my first time going to book club without having finished the book. The inner student in me has MAJOR trouble not completing her homework, but there it is.

And lastly, I've just finished making a few hair clips. I have been wanting to make hair doodads with those alligator type clips (mostly because I've bought a few hair clips in the past, and those are the best on my long, thin hair) and here they are! They are made using that lovely bundle of hand dyed wool that I got this summer in Lancaster and some vintage wool scraps that I found at an amazing 4-H giHUGIC fabric sale. They are up in the shop if you want to take a peek.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Andrew's Sweater is Finished!

Yippee!! Laurel was lamenting the fact that knitting is so not instant-gratification. So true. But if you stick with it, you are in for some MAJOR satisfaction when you're done (that is if it all works out). I'm happy to say that Jared's Cobblestone Pullover was super-simple to knit (hello?!?! From now on, ALL of my sweaters must be knit in the round) with only ARMPIT seams to sew. Not kidding!!! I used to think weaving in ends was what I hated about finishing a sweater...nope, that was actually a nice, methodical way to say goodbye to this knitting project. Sewing seams is just a stressful pain in the arse if you ask me, and so I was happy to be able to avoid the whole mess with this project. Anyway, here it is modeled by my lovely guy:Almost as soon as I handed it off to him, Andrew said "could you..." I knew what was coming next ("knit me another?") and if it had been any other big project, I would have smacked him upside the head for asking me so soon after working it up. But I swear to Swiss cheese, this pattern worked out so well (I didn't even BLOCK the thing) that I had already made a decision to knit him another at some point (I'm thinking in blue, Andrew thinks the garter stitching should be in a different color than the stockinette.) THANK YOU, JARED!

Back in Time

I made breakfast for the troops again this morning, but this time I remembered my camera. I focused today on photos that looked as non-contemporary as possible. I especially love seeing kids involved in reenactments.

The British Troops (they win for bestest outfits):
Some of the decorations on the British uniforms was spectacular...little hearts at the corners where the coats were turned upwards, pretty ticking tape. And don't even get me started on the woman selling women's clothing (complete with taffeta BONNETS!!)
Boy, Drum, Tent, Port-o-Potty (so much for historical accuracy):
Andrew learns about colonial drugs:

Little girl collecting kindling:

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Colonial Handles

Pre-read warning: pardon the crap-ola cell phone pictures. I left the house REEAALLLY early this morning and forgot the camera... Andrew and I helped out in the kitchen at Hope Lodge's annual encampment this morning. Perhaps it's because I love the theatre and dressing up in costume, but there is something so fun about watching the historic reenactors all running around in their capes and jackets and hats and boots. We drove in early while everyone was still asleep in their tents and then got to see the temporary town come to life as the sun came up. There's nothing quite like serving coffee to guys carrying muskets, and it never fails to tickle me when you look out and see them all hanging around looking pretty darn authentic and then a car drives by or someone shows up with a Starbucks cup. So here are some wonderful juxtapositions from my view inside the food tent.
After our shift was up, I checked out the folks selling goods. Oh, if only I was a colonial reenactor and could justify spending hundreds of dollars on dresses and petticoats and capes. But as luck would have it, I did manage to find some hand woven tape that was THE material I was waiting for for one of my UFOs. The tape is made from a lovely sky blue cotton.
And here it is finishing up my decidedly un-colonial project as handles for a bag. The Rice Tote is up in the shop!

made. by k.d.