Sunday, January 29, 2012

Craft Domination

I guess I operate under the expectation that there will usually be problems in making the vision in my head manifest in the world. I mean, why should that be easy? Usually the creative process involves angst, so I have come to expect it now. There's always a row that needs ripping out. Or a seam that the machine goes wonky on. Or some error in my understanding of the pattern that means I sew the handles of the bag totally the wrong way in, so that they are encased between the two layers of the fabric and not poking up and out, like you need them to be. Usually whatever it is, it's fixable. We're talking about craft, not organ surgery.

or in this case, snow jump creation:
realizing that the jump was placed too high on the hill,
not enough momentum to get over it.

Remember how I was tentative about sewing with wool? My concerns were about how it would iron, sew, how hems would feel, would it be bulky, etc. Clever Joanie suggested I make a small project to test it out. Her exact words were: "I think you'll find the wool to be a willing participant."

I liked the idea that wool would be a willing participant. And Joanie always has good advice.

So, driving home yesterday, I thought of a Keyka Lou little modified pouchlet (one pocket only), like these. Except not with a magnet closure because I need a carrying pouch for my little device; I have been concerned about the health of the device longterm in the pouch I made for myself with the magnet (because of magnets and electronics not being friends).
Nice aqua wool exterior and a little hedgie appliqué for practice.

The wool was indeed a willing participant. Hello? Dream to iron (with press cloth)! Like, one second with the iron and zoopzoop---as though it had never thought of a wrinkle! Love that.

The wool was easy to cut and easy to sew. It looked adorable with a little zigzagging edge stitching.

OK, but the button hole. I have maybe done 2 before, and it always makes me hold my breath. How does this thing weird attachment for my sewing machine work again? Did I measure my button properly? What is the appropriate amount of "ease" in a button hole, i.e. not too loose, not too tight???
I did a tester and it worked. This felt like a big accomplishment. Rocking the buttonholer!

The best part was knowing the Keyka Lou pattern well enough to modify it, when to sew in the button, and now, being a good enough sewist now to try something new, eyeball that button placement, do the button hole, and ----voila---little pouchlet!

I'm proud of myself.

And here is what happens if you lay the chia paste on too thickly on your Chia Obama:
Check out those hot eyebrows! And the hardened chia crust afro, with the little green shoots coming out!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

~fabric therapy~

I see that I am right on target with my January Fabric Therapy trip to Alewives. This year, it is only just now looking snowy enough to pass as winter which I am loving. I also loved my bright sparkly ski through the forest this afternoon through the fluffiest sparkliest snow ever.

But still, the pull of fabric is strong in January. The need to see all that color and lusciousness. I went with the idea of making a birthday project for a February gal.

Once there, I started thinking about how I don't have a single winter skirt made by me. I went over to the corner of the shop where there is yummy colorful wool fabric. I admit to being a little bit afraid of working with wool fabric, a new sort of animal and all.

At first I was being boring and practical, looking at neutrals. But my eye kept going back to this nice vintage-y aqua and imagining a lovely toadstool and hedgehog appliqué. I recalled the Kate M. theory of ordering at restaurants which is that you can dispense with the notion that you "Should" get a particular something, and just get what you want. Goodbye boring and practical neutrals. Hello, aqua wool delight.

And then there was the impulse buy.

I spied this little layer cake while I was nearing checkout. Little foxies. Little toadstools. Little Red Riding Hood. I knew that if I left the store without it that I would have non-buyer's remorse AND that it would get scooped up by other sewists in less than a millisecond. Carrie B. and I once discovered the perfect vintage Astrakhan wool coat in a Goodwill in Chicago, left the store, quickly realized we made an abysmal choice, returned to the store and BAM. Gone. Poof.

It will make a throw-sized quilt, is decidedly girly, and you know what? I say great. I will even share it with the gents around this place if they care to be swathed in pink Red Riding Hood and little toadstools. To heck with neutrals.
If you have not become acquainted with Vi Hart, let me invite you to discover her inspirational math/art doodles. We all have a little crush on her.

Friday, January 20, 2012

~owl love~

Owls. Love them up. I made these ones out of felt, from an idea I saw here. I think I'll hang them somehow. No doubt you have seen this video where I learned that lovely owls can smile.
On their backsides they needed something else. To hide the knots and such and send a message of love. A little Stitch Witchery Fusible Web on some linen, some hand-cut stamps, and these little owls are ready to spread their love in the world. Valentine's Crafts can't be beat.
Yummy, dense bread, and easy too. Full of all things wonderful and lots of different kinds of flours, currants, pumpkin seeds, molasses, and nutritional yeast. Best. Toast. Ever.

Here is what it looks like this morning.
Like winter!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Nature Inspired by Andy Goldsworthy

~photo by Mr. Crafty, taken in Canada this summer~

Didn't you need to see green, people who dwell in the northern hemisphere? This is the January photo from our family calendar.

I was going to show you the beautiful pork dumplings I made (with a much more generous approach to spices, including garlic, ginger, tamari, and scallions) but iPhoto crashed during the transfer from the camera and the photos were lost.

I was also going to show you some cute little owls I sewed. Another time. Technology plagues me lately.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

~Making and Mending~

We had a mild conflagration last weekend. During a filmmaking session a halogen light was leaned up against the big puffy pillow that goes inside of Sylvan's Huggle Pod. It was noticed pretty quickly, but not before a hole had been burned.
So I thought: what would Kim do? Make a mushroom patch for all that green, of course!

I have not very gracefully been learning and playing with the New Camera. I am not very patient with myself and easily frustrated. But I still feel lost sometimes and annoyed with myself that I am not wildly overjoyed every minute I am using it.

The light outside this time of year is less than inspiring, mostly gray. Occasionally there are beautiful moments that I see on my way to or from work, but I don't always have the camera, or if I do I am usually rushing. I am taking the New Camera with me more often and trying (trying!) to leave a little early in the mornings---already early enough at 7 am!
The Lacy Baktus is coming along well. I am adoring the Good Karma Yarn: a delight to handle and the colorway is gorgeous. And for all of you knot-haters out there, I can tell you that I haven't had a single one in this whole skein. I have decided to keep on knitting, past the 23" the pattern specifies (before beginning the decreasing), because I want it long enough to be drapey and wrappy.

Oh and this bag? Adorable, yes? From dear Joanie, purchased at Nest, which looks like a must-visit destination. The fabric is light, like a pillowcase, with these sweet embroidered birdies on it. Perfect knitting bag because I can sling it over my shoulder and knit on the go, or sling it over the arm of my chair by the fire.
Like right now. At home, on my very first snow day as a teacher!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Impulse to Make

When the spirit moves me, don't try to hold me back. Last week I saw the Lacy Baktus shawl on a friend and loved it. I was immediately obsessed. It's long enough to do a generous wrap-around, or worn over a coat, or on the head and tucked around.

The pattern had just the right mix of interesting, but not too interesting that I couldn't chat. This is important criteria for me as a knitter right now. I knew just who I wanted to knit this shawl for and knew just the right yarn for the project. The right yarn is a merino and alpaca blend from my friends at Good Karma Farm, in a colorway called Peacock Feathers: so beautiful, soft, and perfect for a recipient who wears emerald green like a queen.

While I awaited the yarn's arrival, I was itchy and twitchy and ready to start the knitting! It's my favorite moment of anticipation, of imagining the making, thinking about the pattern, yarn, any modifications I might foresee, etc. It makes the actual making that much more delightful.

Now I am knitting and loving it.

little fairies made by my friend B.
I am knitting for this friend because I miss her. The knitting makes me feel closer to her: I carry her in-process-Peacock-Feathers-Baktus-Shawl in my bag and it brings my thoughts and attention to her. I think about places we've been together and moments and ideas we have shared. Yarn stores we have visited!
There's no timeline on this knitting. It's just happening and will be finished when it is done.

As you can see, it is the season for cinnamon rolls.