Monday, December 17, 2007
First up, the sewing project for a good friend that is part of her Xmas gift. The whole package has a cupcake theme...a cupcake cookbook, a cupcake carrier and a handmade apron with coordinating towel. The apron was assembled using two linen kitchen towels I found at Target.
There were two other coordinating towels, but only one matched well and it will also go in the package.
And the knitting...
1. Fetching fingerless mitts (pattern on Knitty)
2. Neckwarmer for Dad (my own experimental pattern)
3. Danica Scarf (pattern on Knitty)
4. Le Slouch (pattern by Knit and Tonic)
5. The Unoriginal HAt (pattern by Yarn Harlot)
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
I was living in NYC and the people that I knew who were working at World Trade were still on their way to work when everything happened. I am most thankful that my best friend since kindergarten, who had worked in the Twin Towers for several years, had left the city to go to law school and was far away from the destruction. I am also thankful that the day before I was released from jury duty as the court house is a short walk away. I am sure I would have been fine, but I am grateful there was no reason for me to be anywhere close. I was home, just getting out of bed when the first plane hit. I looked out my window when I heard the news on the radio. At that time they were unsure what kind of plane had hit the first tower. I gravity of the situation had not hit until my husband (at that time we were only engaged) and I turned on the tv, where I stayed glued, un-showered, crying and stunned all day long.
My best friend called me at some point in the morning when she was finally able to get through (the phone lines were jammed with calls for hours) and just cried and asked me, "why?!? why would someone do this?!?" I had no answer then, and I had no answer today when discussing it with some of my 5th grade students.
Now that I am a teacher, I see students who were born AFTER 9/11...they do not know NYC before. They know what happened, but it is far into the past. It was actually watching children play that helped me process all that had happened and make me realize that life would go on. I can't recall if it was one or two days after, but I went for a walk just to get out of the house, away from the news reports and just try to do something normal.
Nothing was normal anymore really. I ended up in Washington Square Park near a playground. I sat for over an hour watching small children swing, go down the slide and most importantly...laugh. When I finally stood up, I had a feeling that if children can still laugh innocently, then perhaps things will be ok someday.
There was an email I wrote to friends and family in the days after, I can not locate it at the moment, but if I find it I will share it. I remember the community of sadness that I witnessed. Never before had I felt NYC to be so tightly linked. Those links have loosened in the years since. The feelings of shock and sadness are still there, just below the surface for me and many others. Even if we are living our lives as separate, there are still the emotional ties to that day that lonk all who remember.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Actually it has been several since I last posted. I have been less focused on crafting and more focused on finding a job...and I have! Yeah!!!
After another rejection last week I hit an emotional rock-bottom with the whole not-finding-a-job issue. I have had several interviews over the summer and it was only rejection after rejection. A girl can only take so much! I took a break and scored two more interviews this week in NYC. The one I had yesterday in Brooklyn offered me the job on the spot. Yeah! The principal is very war and welcoming, the school is nice, the art room is amazing. The only down side is the commute to Brooklyn. However, the positive's more than make up for the long haul. And hey...I can use a good 30-40 minutes of commute to plan, write lessons or take care of personal interests like knitting, reading, etc.
Before I dashed out the door yesterday I worked on my next Sunday Collage Challenge from A Girl and Her Journal (as seen above). I am pretty pleased with how this turned out. The scan of my sketchbook page does not do the color justice at all...but you get the idea!
As I was working the phrase that I wrote on the bottom kept passing through my head. I am not super thrilled with how I wrote it, but it sums up the idea of life, rebirth, change and not waiting for change to happen that is swirling around my life these days.
Monday, July 30, 2007
I was fooling around on the web and found a site where you can "Simpsonize" yourself! I had to get my geek on and give it a try. Unlike the Avatar you can create on the Simpson's movie website on this site you upload a photo and customize the simpsonized version of yourself. This is a pretty decent likeness considering the new haircut don't you think?!?
(Now to go see the movie this weekend...)
I have a feeling I will work on this a bit more. I really was possessed by the need to put these images together which is often how my works of art begin...with an obsession. To see a better image it is in my flickr.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Not only have I found unusually large strawberries lately, but there have been big things going on here.
First being that I have been staying on task with a new eating plan to help me loose weight and lower my blood pressure (thus more fruit, albeit big fruit!) and combined with my fitness bootcamp things are going well!
Next on the list is big changes in hair! I have been growing out my locks for the last two years in order to donate my hair to Locks of Love. I was inspired by my Dad and my sister who came up with the idea. A few weeks ago I got 11" of donatable hair cut off and I am sure another inch or two lost in styling. Here are some before and after shots...
The crazy part of the hair cut was the wavy/curly action that happened once so much hair was cut off! I have always had straight hair that had fullness but not like this! Even when I had it short before this it would not take curl to save my life! Even perms barely worked. Crazy!!!
And the sewing is coming along well (the last big thing to report). I finished a reversible apron, a drawstring skirt, and a bag for a swap (which I will post after it has been received).
I love my skirt...especially the polka dot ribbon drawstring. How cute is that. I have another skirt or two I want to sew up, another bag and who knows what else! I heard that Rag Shop is going out of business so I am going to see if there is anything left at my local store. We shall see!
Monday, June 18, 2007
This weekend I went home to visit with my parents for Father's Day and see my 4 yr. old niece's first dance recital. I can't even begin to describe how cute (and hysterical) it was to see all of the little wee dancers perform for an audience of hundreds. Maximum cuteness factor!
Speaking of cute...my Dad acquired this cute little blue fan at a yard sale of people he knew growing up. He got a cowboy hat and they threw in the little fan. It works, but Dad had no interest in it. Me...love it! It does not oscillate or have multiple speeds, but it is a small fan that is perfect to have blowing on you while you are sewing, blogging, and that sort of thing. I want to see if I can take it apart to clean and oil it. It is a tad loud.
I just love the shape and more importantly the color of this little guy. It is inspiring a theme for my art & craft studio I hope to create someday. This fan coordinates nicely with the amazing stapler I got from my aunt's house after she passed away earlier this year which is from the same era. I thought I had already written about it, but apparently not. It is a sweet little red Swingline complete with original refill staples for 29 cents!
I figure the robin's egg blue and the rich red would be a great combo with perhaps antique white for my studio decor. I almost wish I had not made the sewing machine cover because I could have made a nice one using these colors. Perhaps later when I actually have a studio I will revisit the idea.
I still need to photograph my skirt and apron I finished...perhaps tomorrow.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
This is what I was able to pick up today at a Japanese bookstore I happened upon during a trip out with a friend today. I had gone with her to this Asian supermarket/food court to find out what she consumed last week to bring on an allergic reaction. Also in the same plaza was the bookstore.
Recognizing the chance to pick up a copy of a Japanese craft magazine I had been reading about I had to stop in and see what I could find. Yes indeed I did find one copy of Cotton & Paint there were a few others that looked like crochet magazines, but this made my day!
I have drooled over it a bit, but have decided to savor it a bit before I jump in and try to make something. There were definitely a few that looked promising!
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Here is the gratuitous pics of my handiwork...the fabric ended up looking a little more country than is usually my style, but I love the color combo of the fabrics overall. I have a few more fat quarters I bought just in case so there may be more use in the future.
My favorite part...the handle. I made a stinkin' handle. Crazy! (Yes I am a little excited by all the new things I am learning)
The handy little organizer I made in the same fabric is the most useful. The padding makes a nice temporary pin cushion too. I do not quite have enough accessories/tools to fill the pockets but I love having a space to put anything I need right there while I am sewing.
Yesterday I also crafted a tasty dish to take to a roof garden party at a friend's apartment in NYC. This apartment would be my dream home if I was still in NYC. It was spacious, nicely decorated, and the roof garden was wonderful. But back to the food!
I started with some lovely tomatoes...
Cut them up into bit-size chunks, added some chopped cucumber and some Good Seasons Italian dressing and that is it. A simple, yummy summer time side dish. The longer it marinates the more the flavors blend and in my opinion the best way to eat it is at room temperature. Chilled in the fridge means alot of the flavor gets muted. After all there is nothing tastier than a sun-warmed tomato!
Friday, June 08, 2007
Now, I do have a mediocre Rag Shop within easy driving distance and a relatively far away JoAnn's Fabric. I have already made one trip to the Rag Shop and was not impressed. So today I was determined by yesterday's mission impossible to find this far off JoAnn's and procure fabric!
Not only did I find it but I spent two, maybe three hours wandering the aisles dreaming of future projects and seeking a few things to take home. I bought patterns for a skirt and a sewing machine cover & other sewing organizer type stuff and of course the fabric and supplies to complete these projects. I am pretty psyched! Granted this was not the mother of all JoAnn's (probably no where close) but it was a relatively easy drive and they had decent fabric. No complaints so far.
I did manage to bang out the sewing machine cover and a nifty little pocket organizer that the sits under my machine. They were pretty easy, although not exactly beginner projects with all of the padded interfacing, pockets, etc. Me...start with an easy pattern...nah! Even with knitting I jumped right into a sweater because knitting a garter stitch scarf was killing me. Actually that is not completely true...I did finish a ribbed scarf before I finished a sweater, but both were started around the time I abandoned my starter scarf I was taught to knit on.
Anywhoo...the sewing machine cover is a bit large and the pocket organizer is pretty good. I will take pics tomorrow. Not terrible for a beginner. I am just glad that the JoAnn's is decent and not a million miles away like it originally looked to be. How is it possible that the one on Staten Island is closer...maybe if I was a bird.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Yarn: Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Columbine Blossom
Another finished object to report...my Green Gables is done. I finished the sleeves and wove in my ends this morning. Since I worked around the house today I did not get to wear it out and about, but you know the next time I have to go any where it is the focal point of my outfit for that day!
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
When I made my first trip to the Rag Shop (the only place close that sells fabric and it is not all that great mind you) I picked up a few fat quarters to experiment with and I knew one of the things I wanted to make was an "on the go" knitting pouch. I wasn't entirely sure how to go about making it nor did I find a pattern at the Rag Shop that would work.
I then remembered a knitting blog I read posted a tutorial several months ago. After finally figuring out which blog it was I used Yarnmonster's fabulous tutorial to create a pouch for my knitting!
It is even reversible!
I even figured out how to make a drawstring since I did not have any ribbon to use as recommended! Go me!!! Here is my knitting pouch in action...
And yes, that is my Green Gable in hand...or my blue gable. It is coming along nicely as you can see...
It won't be long before I can count this is a finished object, just as soon as I get the body length to my specs. I will try it on again soon to be sure I like the length since the sizing is pretty good.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
I haven't sewn anything on a sewing machine since high school...perhaps jr high. I got out my manual, my sewing machine and some fabric remnants I got at the Rag Shop the other day and got myself sewing. I practiced on some large index cards to get a feel for how the stitch length and different stitches work and then on to a mini-project!
Using this tutorial on Craftster I made myself an ipod cozy. It was re-sewn once or twice but that is all part of the learning curve!
Things I learned today:
1. Keep your manuals in places you will find them. (With your craft books is a good place)
2. Buy a pair of good scissors and a nice seam ripper.
3. Always read and re-read your instructions...be it for treading your sewing machine or a pattern.
4. Have fun!
Yes indeed...I finally finished my first pair of hand-knit socks. I am so excited!
These are the socks I mentioned that I started in this post using a skein of Cherry Tree Hill Superwash Merino in the "Foxy Lady: colorway. For a first pair they went pretty smoothly. They might be a tad big but I love them just the same. And now for more gratuitous sock-oggling!
There was a nice little ball of my Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn left. Hmmm...what to do with this little bit. I am not sure exactly how much I have left. This means I may need to get a nice little scale for such approximating. Oh how the knitting wish list grows (mental note: add swift and winder along with a scale, lots more sock yarn, etc.)!
Upon finishing my socks I picked up my green gable sweater that is still on the needles. I got to to try on point in the pattern and it fits soo much better this time around. Hooray! Finally...geez. I seem to have bizarro gauge issues with this sweater.
I am still trying to figure out what my Rowan Calmer wants to be since I have abandoned the Tempting II pattern. I was hoping that once I finish green gables this would be what I work with next but I have yet to make up my mind. It may want to be one of these...
Since I have yet to make up my mind I decided I will definitely be making a Picovoli out of some Lion Brand Microspun I picked up the other day in black. I have yet to use this yarn for anything, but it feels really soft, a similar guage to Cathay and umm cheap. Stay tuned!
Sunday, April 08, 2007
However, I have been plodding away on my Green Gables sweater. I think (hope and pray) that I have my gauge right now. I am not far from the try-on spot in the pattern so we shall see. I am not confident, but I am going to trust myself for now.
In other areas of production, I have been working on my "idea book" for my teaching seminar. It is a book that we are asked to assemble a book of inspiration for our future teaching process. This includes traditional and non-traditional materials, processes and ideas. Creating my book has been fun so far. Right now I am working in the materials section. I have been adding bits of materials with notes on uses potential and characteristics. It is inspiring. I want to be able to use the materials I am sampling for a bigger project. There isn't time for all I would love to do and there may not be any time to finish if I do not get cracking. I have collected so many bits and pieces of art supplies. Plus there are so many ideas that pop-up that I do not have the materials I need. I may just need to make a trip to the art store! That would be a shame (note: heavy sarcasm).
Monday, April 02, 2007
I am creating a plan this week to get my self on track in so many ways. Since I have a week of break I am going to initiate some good habits including (but not limited to):
- adding healthy activities to my day (i.e: fitness, eating better)
- taking my vitamins
- flossing daily
- drawing daily
In general I have noticed my artistic endeavors and healthy self have fallen to the side and need to be a more prominent part of my day. Of course they should be part of the bigger picture which is my life, but if I can focus on my daily existence first then inherently they will be part of my life. I am going to set small goals which will feel nearly effortless in order to progress to the bigger goals.
To get myself on track I have signed up for the Self Challenge (which I have yet to complete for one reason or another in the past) and my goal is to get through one week at a time. After all each week is part of one month and one month is 1/3 of the three month challenge. Baby steps! I am also inserting a 30 min. walk into each day this week. This starts my journey to the Self Challenge and adds time for me to explore the town I have been living in for the last 5 months.
For my birthday I received a copy of The Creative License by Danny Gregory. I have heard fabulous things about this book and how many people have used it to rediscovery their creativity. I know I am creative and I flex those mental muscles often as an art teacher (in training) but I rarely draw for myself. My goal is to read the book this week in daily one hour bites. I will read for a bit and draw for a bit in each one hour increment. I will also carry my mini sketchbook and one drawing instrument with me whenever I go out just in case I have a moment to draw. I will also carry my camera with me in order to "snap" things I find visually pleasing during my day. If I am taking photos I am going to print out at least one each day and add it in to my sketchbook.
The vitamins and flossing falls under the header of taking care of myself but I some how manage to let these easy little items slip through the cracks. I will keep track of how I do this week in order to start a routine.
Wish me health since luck has nothing to do with it!
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
On a less sick note, I am cruising through the cuff of my basic ribbed socks I started last week. Yeah! And I am anxious to start a bigger project as well. Since I frogged my Tempting II I am itching to start some sort of summery tee shirt sort of sweater with the Rowan Calmer. I saw a lace sleeved tee in a book not too long ago that could work except it was a raglan (not a top-down knit) and the lace pattern was so-so. I may just need to get my big girl pants on and design my own!
First, however, I am going to sort out my gauge issues with Green Gables and knit that up. I have a feeling that my yet-to-be-designed lace sleeve raglan will be greatly inspired by the shaping of by Green Gables if all goes well. I am also considering the Top-Down Raglan Calculator I saw mentioned on Craftster. But first, on to my gauge swatch!
Saturday, March 17, 2007
I must also give a squee and a hee hee to my latest and only project on the needles!
Yes...I have started my first pair of socks using Superwash Merino from Cherry Tree Hill in "Foxy Lady." It was a skein I picked up after two visits to Seaport Yarn and both times it called my name. I have been wanting to try knitting socks for a bit and thought that now was the time! The color really is more lovely in person and the yarn is oh so yummy! The colorway has beautiful pinks, magentas, teal and a neutral in-between-shade that is almost lavender.
The pattern I am using is the basic ribbed socks by Kate Atherly published in the online magazine Spun. I did not want to get too complicated on my first pair plus I am knitting them up with the magic loop method. I have a bit more (an inch or two) to go on the cuff and then down to business!
I mentioned this is currently the only project on the needles. I frogged quite a bit lately as I mentioned in a previous post. Unfortunately I made another visit with my nearly half done Tenpting II. Ugh! I was within 3-4 inches of the part in the pattern where you divide for the sleeves and decided I should weave in a few loose ends that were irritating me. While in the process of weaving ends in I discovered a nasty little hole at a point where I joined in a new ball of yarn. At first I thought maybe it was just a stretched bit that I could fanagle back but no...the more I fiddled the worse it looked. I think the real problem was a dropped stitch that somehow snuck in. There was no way I could see to fix it, got mad and frogged the whole thing.
Admittedly I started this project back when I was a relatively new knitter and then set it down for most of the winter. Looking back at how it was turning out I am glad I frogged it. My quality of knitting has greatly improved since I began my Tempting II and honestly I have fallen out of love with the garment. I think it is a beautiful pattern, just not one I think I would wear as often as I imagined. Now I have a bunch of Rowan Calmer that is in need of a new pattern.
Friday, February 23, 2007
by Jessica Fong
2 or 3 skeins of Noro Silver Thaw Color 2 (50% Wool, 25% Angora, 25% Nylon; 220m; 100g)
1 set of US #9 needles (straight or circular)
Since this a shawl the gauge is not crucial. I used the recommended needle size and gauge on the yarn label to calculate the estimated number of stitches I would need for a shawl that would measure close to 20” x 54”.
Diagonal Eyelet Pattern:
Row 1 and all WS rows: Purl.
Row 2: K2, *k6, (k2tog, yo) twice; rep from *, end k2.
Row 4: k1, *k6, (k2tog, yo) twice; rep from *, end k3.
Row 6: K6, *(k2tog, yo) twice, k6; rep from *, end last rep k4.
Row 8: K5, *(k2tog, yo) twice, k6; rep from *, end last rep k5.
Row 10: K4, *(k2tog, yo) twice, k6; rep from * to end.
Row 12: K3, *(k2tog, yo) twice, k6, rep from *, end k1.
Row 14: K2, *(k2tog, yo) twice, k6; rep from *, end k2.
Row 16: K1, *(K2tog, yo) twice, k6; rep from *, end k3.
Row 18: K2, k2tog, yo, *k6, (k2tog, yo) twice; rep from *, end k6, k2tog, yo, k2.
Row 20: K1, k2tog, yo, *k6, (k2tog, yo) twice; rep from *, end k6, k2tog, yo, k3.
Repeat rows 1-20
- Cast on 84 st
- Knit diagonal eyelet pattern until one repeat short of the desired length.
- For the last set of repeated rows:
o Row 1-16: Knit diagonal eyelet pattern
o Row 17: Purl
o Row 18: K2, k2tog, yo, *k6, (k2tog, yo) twice; rep from *, end k10
o Row 19: Purl
o Row 20: K1, k2tog, yo, *k6, (k2tog, yo) twice; rep from *, end k10
- Bind of purlwise
Weave in all loose ends and block shawl. I recommend one gentle cycle in the wash to loosen free flying angora fibers. Sew a button on the bind off corner of end of the shawl (the pattern leaves out a few yarn-overs to give a small solid area of fabric for the button). The button should be large enough to fit through the yarn over easily but will not pull out.To wear... configure folds and drape as desired then use the button in any eyelet to secure the shawl.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Yes, this is the fuel that keeps me going. Since I have had this week off thanks to public schools being on mid-winter break a little home brew has gone a long way.
I have completed some knitting projects that I have been trudging through the last few months. Most of which were not on the "to-knit-list" but that's ok. To be fair there have been a few things that escaped photographing do to the last minute nature of holiday knitting.
Most recently I finished the shawl for my cooperating teacher and friend, Kate. I owe her an eternal debt of gratitude for giving me a wonderful high school student teaching experience. She is amazing so the least I could do was knit her something yummy.
She recieved a shawl of my of design which I affectionately call the Origami Shawl because you can wear it anyway you please and a little button keeps it in place. (Gotta love eyelets!!!)
Some other things I have finished include a tea cozy for the hubby's tea pot (from One Skein Wonders) in yarn retrieved after frogging my very first scarf (Lion Brand Wool-ease)
A "Jayne Cobb" hat from the sci-fi sereies Firefly for a friend (from one of the many patterns online, I'll have to look up which one I used) in Aussi Wool.
From the holiday knitting (mostly completed in December and January, but a few items linger)...
- Two Little Luxury Kimono sweaters (pattern by Lion Brand) in Lano Gatto Baby Soft one for my sister and one for a friend who are each expecting their second daughter this Spring
- One pair of fingerless gloves (pattern in One Skein Wonders) in Pattons SYS for my Mom
- Three scarves for my friends which are very belated x-mas gifts and stages of completion: a Branching Out scarf (via Knitty), a scarf using the lace pattern from Molly's Headband (via Interweave Knits) and a scarf using one lace panel from the Weekend Pullover (via Interweave Knits). All three are using Louisa Harding's Grace Wool & Silk...photos coming soon.
After my last round of frogging I re-evaluated my stash and I am purging some of the misc. yarn that I inherited from relatives, remnants of projects and stuff I do not think I will use anytime soon. What I have now is a bag full of yarn that will go to a rehabilitation program that teaches knit and crochet to it's clients. I heard about the program on Brenda Dayne's Cast On
and since the program is based in Philly and not too far away I thought I would send my extra stash to a place where it will be more appreciated. Now my stash is narrowed down to yarn on the "to-knit-list."
This leaves room for stash enhancement! I procured to skeins of Cherry Tree Hill Sock yarn as incentive to knit up some socks. I will do a practice sock first before I decide which sock pattern I should try. This could be dangerous!!!!