Wednesday, September 29, 2010

it's getting dark outside

So I have to tell y'all - it's rough in Chicago right now for picture-taking. I have 3 or 4 projects to show you, but I cannot get enough light to take good pictures. I can feel winter creeping in already. Take this accidental self-portrait, for instance. I took this one a few weeks ago when trying to capture a vintage brooch. Look how dark it is, and that was August!

So on the docket for this weekend: friends' wedding, drive through Michigan, apple orchard & take photos of a few projects.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Second Hand Gift!

We received a package from Chris' family last week, and inside we found this:

Can you tell what it is? How 'bout now:

It's a vintage covered wagon lamp! It is totally amazing. Chris was the one who opened the package, and when he showed it to me later, I could not believe that it was real. You turn it on and off by the stick part in the front, and it's my favorite color! My 8-year-old self would have totally died over something like this. I was crazy for all things Laura Ingalls Wilder and anything prairie. I mean - I had a bonnet.

I wish I had a picture of me in a bonnet to show you right now.

Instead I'll show you the terrible failure that was the photoshoot for this vest:

Yes, the vest is supposed to be for me, and yes, that was the best picture...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Stash Busting :: Knitting Squares (plus an easy pattern)

If you haven't noticed, lately I'm all about knitting my way through my yarn stash. Taking left overs and making something better out of them. But what do you do when your left overs are just kind of... icky? Like when someone gifted you a skein of acrylic yarn in a garish color, or you bought a ball of yarn that you later realized was made out of plastic bag?

Robyn, from Minimalist Knitter, has the answer. Knit squares and donate them!

After reading Robyn's post on knitting for worthwhile charities, I picked up my needles, picked out some garish yarn, and started knitting. My friends - this is the perfect take-along project - simple and small. 

And then something awesome happened: I took my knitting to a rehearsal for the play I'm in, and another actor asked me what I was knitting. When I told her, she told me that her mother gathers squares to make blankets that will go to people here in Chicago! So I switched it up, and told her I would donate all the squares I made to her mom and her group, which is run through St. Edward Parish in Chicago (the little section called "Yarn Works" towards the bottom). If you're located in Chicago and would like to knit squares as well, comment below or send me an email and I'll give you all the info. 

Here's a quick pattern:

Diagonal Knit Square

Skills needed: knit stitch (k1), make 1 (m1), knit 2 together (k2tog), cast on (CO), bind off (BO)

CO 3 stitches, leaving a tail of at least 12"
Row 1: knit across
Row 2: k1, m1, knit to end
Repeat "Row 2" until you have 35 stitches on the needle. It will grow like a little triangle, and look like this:

After your triangle is 35 stitches wide, begin decreasing.
Row 3: k1, k2tog, knit to end
It should look like this now:

Repeat "Row 3" until you only have 3 stitches on the needle
BO the last 3 stitches, leaving a tail of at least 12"

You can then use your tails to sew the squares together into a blanket. I knit this on size 10.5 needles using worsted weight yarn, and it made a 7" square. You can experiment with different needle sizes, yarn weights and total stitches (instead of the 35 stitches) to make bigger or smaller squares.  You could also knit this pattern in a cotton and use it as a washcloth! 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Music of the Month :: Mitch Mead

I skipped the Music of the Month last month due to vacation, but I'm back this month with an artist who is very close to me. Like, he lives in Chicago. Ok, and he's my friend. 

Mitch Mead is a dream boat of a singer/songwriter, and although you've probably never heard him, once you start, you're a little doomed. His smooth voice and complex lyrics draw you in, and he is equally rockin' whether his guitar is acoustic or electric.

This month Mitch has challenged himself to the "September Song Project" - I love personal challenges like this. He will write one new song a day for the month of September, and document it in video form. Here's his offering for today:

Keep your eye on his YouTube channel and his Facebook for the rest of September to watch his progress.

At his last show, Mitch played an exceptional cover of Supergrass' "Alright," and it completely blew my mind. Remember my love of Clueless? Mitch knows where it's at.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

the girl scouts return

So I'm still working on the finished products from my screen printing class back in July, but I did finish up this little pillow for myself. 

I printed in a few different colors on this grey felt, and for the most part I loved the result. But this yellow color... it just doesn't really show up. It was too light for the darker fabric, but if you look closely you can see its the girl scouts print. So this little pillow is for me!

I backed it with my favorite vintage sheet and trimmed it with some vintage fringe trim, procured from a friend's grandmother. Those grandmothers - they know where it's at.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Renegade Run-Down

This weekend was the craft fair to top all craft fairs - The Renegade Craft Fair! I hit it up on Saturday when the weather was less than stellar - cold and rainy - but that meant that we got to the photo booth first! I saw a lot of inspiring stuff, but took home a surprisingly small haul:

I finally got my hands on a small print from Berkley Illustration, and my impulse purchase was that adorable little fawn cup from Soda by Amy. I bought a few other things, but they're gifts, and therefore must remain in a secret chamber until the time of giving. 

Part of the fun of Renegade is getting to meet all my favorite bloggers & etsy-ers. I met Elsie from A Beautiful Mess and Katie from Skunkboy Creatures. They were super sweet and took a picture with me. 

I had a funny chat with Megan from The Binding Bee about how cool it is to be featured on Etsy - but how people in 'the real word' don't quite understand. She was just interviewed for the "Quit Your Day Job" feature, and I think Chris was coveting one of her lovely hand-bound journals. 

I also grabbed a lot of business cards, but this one from Soda by Amy was by far my favorite. It's a little ceramic coin stamped with her info, and it really caught my attention. Amy joked that it was her best-selling item!

There is another renegade craft fair just before the holidays, and I am excited to see the differences between the two fairs. I have to admit that this trip was part reconnaissance - I hope to be a vendor some day. A girl can dream!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

a new sweater vest - maybe.

After I sorted through my knitting magazine stash, there were a few patterns that I decided to knit right then and there (the first being the winter hat). The other pattern that caught my eye was the Provincial Waistcoat, from Interweave Winter 2006. I had about enough yarn in my stash, so I cast on with fingers crossed. 

Here's a progress shot, and I have to tell you - I don't think I'm going to make it. I think I'm going to run out of yarn before I'm done. A knitter's. worst. nightmare.

I'm hoping I will at least get through all the knitting, and then I can do the i-cord finishing in another yarn. Since - you know - the point of stash-busting is the whole not buying yarn part. Wish me luck!

ps. I hit up the Renegade Craft Fair yesterday - I'll give you a full report tomorrow!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mustache Giaganticus

Don't even think of looking at what I made last week....

My old roommate and best friend, Melissa, left Chicago for LA on Wednesday. A few months ago, after seeing my mounted mustaches, she requested that I make her a large mustache. A huge mustache. The biggest possible stuffed and mounted mustache!

I presented it to her on Tuesday at her going away party, and suffice it to say - she loved it. It's made in pretty much the same way that I made the small mounted mustaches (hand sewn and painted), everything is just a lot bigger. It was kinda fun to work on such a large scale! It will hang proudly in her new apartment in LA, which she will share with two guys. I think they'll approve. 

These gorgeous photos? Courtesy of the lovely and talented Emily Hoskins

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

technical difficulties....

Sorry for the lack of blog-age around here. We have been very unhappy with our ISP for awhile (who shall remain nameless...) so we've been trying to switch for the past week or so, meaning we have not had any internet at home, a sad situation.

Ooo, and these little labels. I ordered them awhile ago from a rather generic label website and I just looove them, but I keep forgetting to sew them on things! The next batch of stuff will have them, I promise (myself).

Also in the past week or three I've noticed a little bump in followers - Welcome, new friends! Thanks for all the kind comments, I'm glad you're here!

I'm counting down to 100 posts now (this should be 92?), and I'm thinking about a doing a 100th Post Giveaway! What kinds of things would you like to win? My creations? Craft Supplies? Vintage... something? 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Stitch in Public!

Tomorrow is Stitch in Public day! Huzzah! Take your craft outside - stitch on the bus or train, stitch at a coffee shop, stitch at lunch!

I did a little stitching on the beach while I was on vacation. It was sandy, but I wanted to get that sucker done. I'll show details you as soon as I find the perfect frame.

If you have pictures of yourself stitching in public, post them to this group on Flickr, courtesy of the folks over at Mr. X Stitch.