Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Breaking out of the coccon

Coccon... that spelling doesn't really look correct to me. Dictionary.com says it is, so who am I to argue? :-p

I don't normally post pictures of my WIPs, because I think no one will take much interest in seeing them... although I love to see other bloggers' progress, it's not like I come up with amazing, beautiful, original designs like Eunny Jang, or really have any other reason to think anyone would take interest in my work... but I just have to post a photo of the incomplete back of Butterfly, because I am so in love with the colors! I was going to wait to start on the sweater, since it's not going to be cold here for a loooong time, but I really wanted to see how my Noro knit up. It's beautiful! See for yourself:

The colors are actually pretty accurate, but the actual yarn is richer than in this photo. I took this picture with the photo settings adjusted for flourescent lighting, and left off the flash. The bunchiness of the piece is due to my having to use size 8s that are too short, since my size 8 circulars are still holding the not-forgotten Delphine-inspired sweater. I can't believe how quickly this knit is going. I'd forgotten what a difference using worsted weight instead of fingering weight makes!

I'm making a couple of changes, namely in the sizing. I'm too short for the length of this sweater, so I am going to make it right below my waist (hopefully!). I've read a whole lot about other knitters having problems with the sleeves being waaaay too long, so I will obviously be shortening the sleeves, too. Other than that, I really can't wait to see how this turns out, although I'm not worried about finishing it soon.

Rambling Rose is still coming along... although, not as quickly as I'd like. I really want to finish it soon, maybe within the next couple of weeks (yes, that is soon for me!).

I've had a few design ideas lately, so I am going to work at figuring out this designing stuff as well. If I can get any of them to work out, they will look great!! I even have an idea that, if I can figure it out, I think would make it into Knitty!

Also, I picked up this:

Isn't it lovely? It's going to become a knitting needle case.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

(Finally) FO: Chinese Prosperity Fish Bag and Crawfish Purse

Sometimes, it's so hard to make myself finish a project. I can be totally in love with a particular project, but put it aside, unfinished, because I'll think something like "Oh, that's going to be so easy... but so time-consuming... I'll do it later." Then later doesn't come for months, and I find myself looking at that project thinking "Boy, I really, really need to finish that."

That was pretty much what happened with the Chinese Prosperity Fish Bag from Folk Bags. I love the bag! I saw a picture someone else had knitted, and tracked down the book specifically for this one bag. I never saw anything else from the book until I got my copy. It was such a fast knit! I was very happy with it and couldn't wait to have it finished. Then... oh no... the details are EMBROIDERED. Ok, that's not so bad, I learned to draw, crochet, and knit with no problems; I can learn to embrodier. Well, folks, lemme tell ya something. Embroidering is not easy! In fact, I couldn't figure it out at all. A "simple" outline stitch is apparently something Ms. Crystal just can't grasp. I sat there, beside three different descriptions of how to do it, for hours, and it just looked bad on my swatch. Sad and discouraged, I put the beloved Fish Bag away. I picked it up some time later, and tried again. I did no better with the embroidery, but I did think of something else. I decided it didn't really HAVE to be embroidered, as long as it was there. So, I BSed it. I took the needle, cut a long piece of the yarn I was using to "embroider", and just messed around with it until I came up with something I thought looked ok. I actually like how it turned out. I like that it is definitely not store-bought... it's obviously handmade, but (and here I flatter myself) I think it's more like artsy-fun-expensive-boutique handmade, instead of being like the little pins you made for your mom in elementary school, that she wore out of pride no matter how ugly they looked. I also even like that the two sides look different; it's apparent that they are meant to be the same design, but they vary anyway. I think it adds to the purse, instead of taking away.

As already mentioned, the Chinese Prosperity Fish Bag is from the book Folk Bags. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves purses, and particularly to anyone who loves purses that are unlike-the-norm. There are several patterns in it that I would knit.

The bag is knit in Plymouth Galway, on either 10 or 10.5 (I think the latter) needles, and fulled. It was my first time fulling. I did 3 cycles in the (front-loading) washer, and am not quite happy with the amount of stitch definition remaining. The yarn was nice to knit with, and I will probably use it again, although I won't say it's my favorite wool so far. I wasn't sure what a fourth cycle would do, so I stopped at 3. I don't remember the color, but it was the brightest red I could find. The whole bag only took one ball. The yarn I used to embroider was a sportweight cotton yarn I found at Hobby Lobby, called Sinfornia, and I found the buttons and beads used for the eyes there, too. I omitted the tassels because the tail fins are pretty much fulled together, and I didn't want to mess with that. I am planning on making another of these bags.

The crawfish purse I sewed was also a cast-aside project. That instance was out of laziness, not frustration. I just never bothered attaching the handles. I finally did that yesterday, so now I can post pictures and tell a little about the bag.

This was the first thing I ever sewed. Mrs. Nancy helped me figure out how to put it all together, and let me use her machine to sew it. The bag is from a McCall's pattern, Easy stitch n' save M5082. I am really pleased with it, although I'm not quite happy with my placement of the handles. I think they are supposed to be lower, and they may end up that way. The fabric is a crawfish-on-newspaper print I just had to get when I saw it on eBay. I only had one yard, but that's enough for 2 purses, so I am going to make a purse for my mom out of this fabric as well. The lining is a heavy black fabric Mrs. Nancy had left over. There is interfacing to give it shape, but I omitted the cardboard called for in the pattern for the bottom. I also gave my purse two pockets instead of one, and for the pockets I used the crawfish fabric, again lined with the thick black. I really love that detail! I still need to add snaps of some kind - I hate bags that don't close.

I feel it still needs something. Perhaps some corn and potatoes? ;-)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A Creative Encounter

You may or may not have noticed a new link on my sidebar. It says M. Douglas Walton.

This story begins, as many do, with an open door. This time, literally, an open door.

At least once a day I visit the basement of GTM, going to the Micro lab, since I am lab assisting this quarter. I pass a certain room on my way. The door is always open, and inside is a table full of curiosities - ornate fabrics, masks, models of boats, umbrellas, and more. Beyond them, you can see people inside, but I could not tell what they were doing. Every time I passed the room, I would look and wonder why it was there. Yesterday, I could contain my curiosity no longer. I walked inside, and discovered that beyond that table is a very large room, full of paints. I asked what exactly this was for and whether it was a class. A nice woman replied that it was a workshop, so pretty much a class, but the instructor was out. She said I should come back to talk to him, and I did.

He was very nice, entertaining, and friendly, and liked that I came in to satisfy my curiosity, saying that most people never take that step. I loved the random, unique, interesting, and colorful style in which he painted and taught his class. He invited me to come in this morning to watch him do a demonstration, and so I got up earlier than usual to go. I watched, fascinated, as he showed the class what he wanted them to do, and stayed as long as I could. Finally, I had to leave for class, but not before he told me when he'll be offering another class. I really hope to take it in September... I feel it will be a wonderful experience! I visited again in the afternoon, and sat in on his critiquing students' work, which he did in a very nice manner. Anyway, his art is so beautiful and interesting. There's not a lot of artwork posted right now, but keep checking! It will be worth it.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Why I Am Not Trendy

Today, on a post in the Craftster forum, I read that the new style, which is predicted to be around for 10 long, horrible years, will be tight, straight legged pants and loose blouses. What is wrong with clothing designers and fashion gurus?! Didn't this look awful during the 80s? Why would it be any better this time around? Seriously, I adore much of the music and even some of the tv shows from the 80s, but please, please do not bring back the fashion! What else will this new trend include? Perhaps using a whole can of hairspray every time you fix your hair? Whenever this style begins, I will whole-heartedly revolt. I REFUSE to wear blouses that make me look like a cow, and I don't see that tight-fitting, straight legged jeans will do anything to flatter my short, dumpy curvy figure. I can barely pull off the current fashions!

Anyway, the left front of Rambling Rose is nearly complete. I think I'll finish it tonight or tomorrow, and then take a break from the sweater for just a few days. I need to do a quick, little project.

I'll post something interesting eventually. I promise.

Edit: I went ahead and put Rambling Rose down for the day, and tried messing with the hat I've been working on for my nephew Dustin. I still don't know how I feel about what I came up with. He made such a difficult request to such a newbie!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

What do you think?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

First sewn dress!

That's right, I made a dress! I'm really excited and happy about it. I actually love how it came out. It's a big deal for me, because the only thing I've ever sewn before was a purse that I still haven't put the handles on. Anyway, without further adieu, here it is:

Any information you might like is right here: Sewing Pattern Review

And yes, the picture is horrid.

I have enough of this fabric left to make either a purse, or (I think) a knitting needle case. I can't decide on which!

Expect a picture of the first purse soon! I'm going to get the handles on it soon.

On the knitting front, I have completed the back of Rambling Rose, and am now working on the left front. It's the side with the chart, so it is going rather slowly. I have actually been working only on this project! I can't believe it. I usually can't stick to just one for so long.