Thursday, January 27, 2011

January - Drawing to a Close

I've been a bit under the weather for the last week and busy wrapping up all my January projects. At some point mid-month, I was approached with 3 or 4 offers for new jobs or projects, and I took them all on.

Lesson learned: you do not have to say yes to everything. 

I did, however, finish up a ton of felt brooches and list them in the shop:

Owl Brooches

Mustache Brooches

Folk Felt Heart Brooches

I've been working a lot on my photography, and I feel like I've definitely improved in the last 6 months, but I would love some input. Are you drawn to a clean, white background when shooting photos of your work? Or do you prefer to experiment with colors and textures?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Valentines! Or... Anti-Valentines

Yesterday I listed a ton of Valentines in my Etsy shop

Sweet Valentines

However, let's face it - Valentine's Day is kind of dumb, right? I mean, yes, it's sweet to celebrate love, etc, but shouldn't you do that every day of the year? Plus sometimes you're just not feeling up to it. 

Which is why these are my new favorite:


A bloody arrow through the heart. That's more like it. 

All of these are available in the shop.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Meghan's hat & mittens

When my family came to visit for Thanksgiving, my sister wore a hat I knit her for her birthday in January 2009. I only had one measly WIP picture of the hat, and asked her to take some more of her modeling it.

She agreed, but told me, "I need some mittens to match!" I asked her what kind she wanted - gloves, mittens or fingerless gloves?

She responded that she would like the kind of mittens where the top folds over so they can be fingerless gloves. Otherwise known as the most difficult type of mittens. 

Meghan's Hat & Mittens

I started with a pattern that matched her hat - BonBons - and modified it. I made the cuff longer, closed the thumb and added the flap over the fingers. I winged it with the flap, picking up stitches on the back of the hand and using even decreases with the cable pattern. There's a loop at the top so they can button back to the wrist.

The hat, by the way, is the Slouchy Copy Cat and both are knit in Wool-Ease.

So it only took two years, but now she has a matching set!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


So as soon as I came back from "Christmas break," I jumped right into rehearsal for a new show. It's a new original musical called "Escape from the Haltsberg Boys' Choir," and I'm playing in the band. 

What am I playing? My accordion, of course. 

Can you see me on the left, bent by the weight of my giant accordion? Don't feel too sorry for me - I only come on stage for about about 5 minutes, and the rest of the time I sit in a chair off stage. This is my first public accordion performance, and it's been quite the learning process. Video soon! 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

a custom mounted owl

Before Christmas I was contacted by my good friend Allison, who wondered if it would be possible to buy a gift certificate for her cousin, Jen, for a custom mounted mustache. On Christmas eve I sent her the certificate with links to my work, saying that she could "pick anything!"

She wrote back to me and said that although she loved the mustaches, she loved the owls more, and would it be possible to make an owl that looks like her cat?

Of course...

a custom owl

I am so pleased with how he came out! I made him to look like her cat, "Owl," so of course I named him "Cat." He's a little bigger than the mustaches, and much bigger than any other owl I have ever made. 

And there's the adorable Jen and Owl. I think Owl & Cat will get along fine!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A little bit of sewing : the Anna Maria Horner scarf

So I mentioned last week that I was gifted the fabric to make one of Anna Maria Horner's Figure Eight Velveteen Scarves. The perks of reading the same blogs as your mom!

Anna posted instructions on how to make it here on her blog, and I sewed my scarf up on Saturday. It could not have been better timing, since we got 6" of snow on Tuesday.

sewn scarf

I love this scarf! The fabric is super soft and easy to work with, but because the velveteen is a bit heartier, it stands up to cover my face in the wind. This is a must in Chicago - I spend most of the winter walking around looking like this:

it stands up on its own!

Yeah... attractive. 

Speaking of being attractive in the winter... it always amazes me how guys will still check one out in the winter despite being covered by a giant, puffy, blue coat with a scarf wrapped around one's head. Just a little observation. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

planning my selfish knitting

So after I catch up on my Christmas knitting, I have a few selfish projects in mind.

bella's mittens

First up, a pair of Bella's Mittens, knit from subliminalrabbit's pattern. When I pulled out all my long gloves in December, they were completely worn through, and they had already been mended and then worn through the mending! So if you ask me, it's time for new ones. I bought some bulky Lamb's Pride for these in Denver, so I'm ready to roll.

Next, a Beatnik.

This was my very favorite pattern from Knitty. Honestly, I haven't really been inspired to knit any of their patterns in a long time, but this one is perfect. Challenging but hip with a great neckline. And then Allyson from The Sweatshop of Love announced that she was doing a knit-along... I'm in, albeit I'll be casting on a little late. They started Monday, but I'll probably join in two weeks or so. I have faith I can catch up!

And lastly, I got a Sock Cocktail Kit for Christmas. Don't stone me here, but I don't really like to knit socks. But this winter, all that will change. Or I'll have a lot of left-over sock yarn. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

two little mermaidens

About a week before Christmas I decided that the matching mittens were not enough of a present for my two nieces. They needed dolls. Chalk it up to pre-Christmas insanity.

Little Mermaids

I've been thinking about making softies all year, and dabbled a little with a few puppets. I used the lovely (and free!) Mermaiden pattern from Wee Wonderfuls. The construction was really interesting - you sew the fabric pieces together before cutting them out, and then finish the whole thing by hand - and I thought they turned out quite cute. I had a bit of a problem with the green maid's face (a bit squashy), but the brown maid came out much more even. 

Bouffant Mermaid!

I really love her and think her hair looks like Loretta Lynn with a huge bouffant! I like to imagine that instead of singing like Ariel under the sea, she's singing with a twang!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

a set of three matching mittens

After seeing a post from Katie, I had to make a pair of simple mittens like hers. I wasn't sure who they would be gifted to, but then I had an idea...

tiny, little, big!

A set of three matching mittens for my sister-in-law and my two nieces! 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Black & Lace

I'll tell you what's hard to take a picture of - anything that is black and lacy and hand knit. Unfortunately this Christmas I knit two presents that were both black AND lacy, so bear with me. 

The first was the Foliage Lace Mitts that I made for my friend Kathryn (rav). I hit up Joann's for yarn and found that Vanna's Glamour was a good substitute. This yarn is FANCY, people. It's glittery! If you click on the picture you can see it close up and you can tell which part is lace and which part is glitter.

lacy fingerless mitts
check out my hand modeling!

The pattern is lovely and simple (and free!), with an easy lace pattern and it only used one ball of the Glamour. I had a little issue - mainly knitting two right hand mitts, but that was completely my fault. That's what I get for furiously knitting without paying attention.

Then I knit my Mom a Talia sweater vest (rav). I absolutely loved knitting this sweater. I used the recommended Lamb's Pride Worsted in black, and it was awesome and a bit fluffy. 

Mum in her Christmas sweater

I knit this in a whirlwind right before Christmas, but - remarkably - didn't have any problems. The bottom and center panels are lace and pretty easy to memorize, and other than that there is some simple shaping. I only used 2 skeins of Lamb's Pride as well, so I have a whole skein left over. After I finished it, I tried it on and it was very flattering... I kinda wanted to keep it. But I didn't, as evidence by the photographic evidence above!

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Books of 2010

I love reading. Although I don't post about books, I'm almost constantly in the middle of a book, usually Science Fiction or Historical Fiction. Right now it's Jane Eyre, which I'm listening to on audio book that I downloaded for free from I swear, audio books and crafting were made for each other.

Each year I keep track of how many books I've read and try to top the year before. This year I came in at 35 books completed. Although I could bore you with a review of most of them, I'll just say that of all 35, the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins was the most memorable. I loved those books and couldn't stop reading them. 

Without further ado, the books of 2010:
  1. Barbie & Ruth by Robin Gerber
  2. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
  3. High Society: The Life of Grace Kelly by Donald Spoto
  4. Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher More
  5. You Suck: A Love Story by Christopher More
  6. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
  7. The Stranger by Albert Camus
  8. Practical Demonkeeping by Christopher More
  9. A Dirty Job by Christopher More
  10. Interworld by Neil Gaiman & Michael Reaves
  11. Hobo by Eddy Joe Cotton
  12. Jonathon Strange & Mr. Norelle by Susanna Clarke
  13. She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb
  14. The Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally and On-Line by Kari Chapin
  15. Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Peterson
  16. The Lady in the Tower by Jean Plaidy
  17. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephanie Meyer
  18. The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani
  19. The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee
  20. Benny & Shrimp by Katarina Mazetti
  21. The Nazi Officer's Wife by Edith Hahn Beer
  22. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
  23. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  24. Virgin by Robin Maxwell
  25. Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos
  26. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
  27. The World Below by Sue Miller
  28. Burning Bright by Tracey Chavalier
  29. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  30. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson
  31. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson
  32. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Steig Larsson
  33. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  34. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  35. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Thursday, January 6, 2011

2010 in choice pictures

2010, you have come and gone.

la moustache marron

a proper picture


folksy hearts

lounging in the parfait

my new accordion

close up of the owlie

stitchin' - check me out!

little girl - big mustache

coasters all tied up

a huge pile of Christmas ornaments

(for one thing - I think my photography has improved!)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy New Year!

I had quite the enjoyable holiday break. After arriving in Michigan for Christmas, I was showered with crafty presents, including Heather Ross fabric, a Knit Picks sock kit, and one of Anna Maria Horner's scarf kits.

Christmas knitting and Christmas present!

Unfortunately, as you can see in the above picture... I still have Christmas knitting left to do. Apparently I'm extending the holiday season? I'm knitting the Season-Spanning Cardi in Knit Picks Shine Worsted for my great aunt Mary Lou, and despite starting it a few days before Christmas, it's been coming along.

Chris and I took a little New Years trip to Denver to visit my friends Annie and Tom. I had never been to Denver, so of course I had to go directly to Denver's biggest attraction, Casa Bonita:

Casa Bonita!

Wow, this restaurant was amazing. Terrible Mexican food, cliff divers, a mariachi band and a guy in a gorilla suit - what more could you want? We had a great time in Denver, Casa Bonita aside, and ate a lot of good food, shopped in cute shops, and visited the history museum. 

It was a great holiday, but I'm happy to be back in Chicago. I've already jumped into my next show, Escape from the Haltzberg Boys' Choir. I'm playing accordion in the band, and it's been challenging, to say the least. I'll be back later with some holiday project wrap-ups, goals and other fun stuff. Yay, 2011!