I’m doing this!
I was kind of dubious at first, but then I checked Untangling Knots out and realized the writer is actually a designer I’ve been admiring on ravelry. Her cardigans are to die for, and I’m a sucker for a good cardigan, so through that unbreakable logic I’m now participating in the month of craft photos. I’ll only post the best of them here, but the rest you can find on instagram (my username is thrifted) and on my flickr.
This, my first entry, is of me working on a piece for this awesome art project (that you should totally participate in if you’re inclined to stitch) and wearing my beloved Aidez. I don’t think I’ve ever given this sweater a proper FO post, and I likely never will. But I do so love it.
Another day, another custom piece. You’ve probably heard already, but I’m currently offering an extreme discount on custom embroidery – I’ll design and stitch anything that can fit in a 6″ hoop for you for only $20. That’s right! $20! I’ve only got four spots left, so if you’re interested let me know here in the comments or over on etsy asap.
I really enjoyed making this lovely thing for my friend Natalie. It was stitched on a lovely vintage napkin with cutwork in the top right corner, using hand-dyed cotton floss. Stitches used were satin stitch, backstitch, split stitch, and a few one-loop french knots. Pretty simple.
I thought the napkin itself was really lovely, so I kept it intact, tucking the excess fabric in the back, so Natalie can choose how she’d prefer to display it. I just used a modified version of this tutorial to do it.
So I’m watching the original Star Trek, after finishing and absolutely adoring Next Generation and Voyager. There are parts of the original series I like (Spock, episodes written by Mr. Roddenberry) but for the most part I’m actually pretty disappointed. In my opinion, TNG and Voyager’s strengths were in how they rose above petty boring typical conflict and actually talked about interesting important ideas. But more often than not, the conflicts in the original series are just a tool to talk about sex. Which is boring and limiting and kind of infuriating. And also the first season is just so incredibly sloppy. And also Kirk is a boring ass.
Anyway, one thing I like about the original series is this thing the doctor says in the episode where Romulans (seriously, SUCH a typical and boring adversary) are introduced. I like it so much that I want to change the last word and embroider it for miss Grady Edna Isabel:
“In this galaxy, there’s a mathematical probability of three million Earth-type planets. And in all of the universe, three million galaxies like this. And in all of that, and perhaps more, only one of each of us. Don’t destroy the one named Grady.”
It’s spiritual but not religious, it’s honest but loving, and I really really love it. Reasons why I shouldn’t make it:
- Because those figures are probably totally inaccurate.
- Because what if Grady grows to resent Star Trek and eventually hates me for making it.
- Because I should focus my time on actual practical things.*
But you know what? I’m going to do it. Granted, it’s going at the end of my very long list of things to make, but I’m going to make it. I think I’ll embroider the Enterprise in light blue on white, and then embroider the words in dark blue over the ship.
*Psh. What am I talking about, that’s all the more reason to make it. Time-wasting as a form of revolution?
After writing this post I combed the internet, twitter, books and my refrigerator for an idea of what to stitch next. I kept gravitating and then getting repulsed by negative ideas for stitching – like those cancer cells I mentioned. I think I couldn’t get them out of my head because the freeform shapes I made are so reminiscent of atoms and cells. Finally, I heard Grady cough in her sleep and remembered that she’s really all the inspiration I need.
I had no desire to stitch up a birth announcement after she was born, but now felt like the right time. I’m really excited about how it’s turning out, but unsure of how to display it. I don’t want it framed, but am concerned about just pinning the fabric up because I used quilt batting to back it. And I think that kind of takes away from the simple beauty of the handkerchief. Anyway, I’m sure I’ll figure it out.
What have you been making lately? I so love learning about what readers have been working on.
Last night, after running into dead ends on several projects*, I haphazardly started this little freeform guy. With absolutely no idea of what I was doing, I made these shapes in french knots and chain stitch with hand-dyed embroidery floss on a vintage hankerchief**. I’m not sure I like it, but I guess that’s not the point. And I really have no idea where to go from here. I was going to make the shape of a cancer cell or some type of germ next, but it turns out they’re not shaped like what I thought they were shaped like. Any thoughts on where I should go from here?
*ran out of yarn for a blanket, yarn in the mail for an infinity scarf, unreachable iron for an embroidery transfer, total lack of desire to work on a Valentine’s Day gift.
**Relax, I have a bajillion of these. I have no concerns about wasting the lovely fabric on something stupid like this.
A couple months ago Amy of A is for Ampersand (who took this gorgeous photo) asked me to knit her two pair of fox mittens, and I jumped at the chance. Instead of adapting a plain mitten pattern like a sane person, I made the pattern from scratch and these are what I wound up with. And I’m so happy with the finished product that I’m now selling custom fox mittens in the shop!
These will be made to order in any size from 2T to adult large. They’re 100% wool, with a tight fit so you don’t completely lose use of your hands like you do with loose mittens.
Eventually, when I get the nerve to tidy up my pattern and send it to a test knitter, I’ll be selling the pattern in the shop, as well. And then maybe even adapting it to make other cute kitschy mittens like kittens, pencils, and whatever else I can think of.
So what do you think? For more details and pictures check out the listing here.
It’s no secret that I love to make ugly things. So when I saw this horrendous yarn at Hobby Lobby, I knew it needed to be in my life. I bought one skein, and it sat in my knitting bag for months waiting for inspiration to hit. Then I bought two more skeins, and then I saw this pattern. The yarn and the pattern ran toward each other in slow motion in a dewy* field while Michael Bolton sang a heartfelt ballad, and soon three baby squares were born:
Three down, 17 more to go. So, yeah. I’m making a 100% acrylic adult-sized blanket in garter stitch. Don’t hate. I figure if I can make one square a day, and apply champagne** liberally while working those tedious borders, I can have this baby done in a month. Optimistically. If I don’t get sidetracked by other projects. And I have a kind of gigantic Valentine’s Day project in the works, so this blanket will probably have to ride the bench*** for a couple weeks.
Also, let me just say that I’m definitely not framing these log cabin squares in black as knitters are so wont to do. That’s one of my knitting design pet peeves – when knitters combine black with jewel tones to try and mimic stained glass. In my opinion it’s hideous 99% of the time. I’ll be framing these blocks in white or a very light grey.
This yarn just makes me giggle so much. I can imagine some yarn designer at Hobby Lobby headquarters saying “I have an idea! Let’s rip off classic Noro colorways in crummy acrylic!” Such a silly idea. It’s like a junior high rock-n-roll band trying to pull off Bowie.
By the way, this whole “I’m going to make an insane huge blanket!” idea is so typical for a knitter in January. Once our Christmas responsibilities are done, we tend to get a bit nutty.
*Yeah, apparently that’s how it’s spelled. News to me.
**Things champagne makes me good at: Boring knitting, pleasant conversation, lipstick application, Tetris. I will never beat my New Year’s Day Tetris score.
***Somebody’s been watching Friday Night Lights.
Have I mentioned lately how much I love to cross-stitch? I’m really glad I worked some cross-stitching into this holidays’s gifts, because it really calms me down and makes me feel more of a sense of accomplishment than other crafts do. Also: Damn, I will probably never gain a sense of color. I’m so so horrible at picking out color combinations, that at the end of each project I usually abandon my hopes of beauty and pretend that I intended it to be polite things like “playful” or “murky” or “outlandish.” Sigh.
I’m really excited to finish making Christmas presents. And there’s a real possibility I might be able to finish everything I’ve planned before Christmas. Just some stitching and some cutting and I’m done. Here’s what selfish crafting I’m planning for after the holiday:
- A bit of vintage crewel, because I recently found an adorable crewel kit at the thrift store.
- Another sweater for myself; this time I’m making an Oblique in a dusty rose color. I remember when this came out more than four years ago; I was a novice knitter right out of high school, and I desperately hoped that someday I’d be skilled enough to make it. Now, it should be a piece of cake! Just looking over the pattern makes me really proud of how well my knitting skills have developed.
- Traditional needlepoint! I’m searching my books for a good 70s pattern and useful tutorials, as I’ve never done needlepoint but always admired it. Only problem: It’s not a popular craft right now, so the supplies are more expensive than I’d like.
- New items for the shop! I’m planning on adding really kitschy mittens (inspired by this commission) soon, and adding a lot more embroidery. I have a lot of ideas I’m really excited about.
- Some lace and other pretty things for myself.
- Experimental embroidery using hand-dyed vintage linens and/or my now sizable collection of hand-dyed embroidery floss.
Surprise! December is a busy time for crafters. Right now just the thought of blogging kind of stresses me out – that’s time that could be spent playing with string! I’m not doing very many presents this year – maybe 3 or 4 total – but I’m up to my ears in commissions. So, I’m spending my days crocheting snowflakes, knitting mittens (oh, so many mittens), crocheting garlands, embroidering everything, knitting a blanket, and retreating into some simple brioche stitch when I need a break from projects with a deadline.
Anyway, a few days ago I committed an entire day to dyeing with a friend, and this is the embroidery thread I dyed. Quite lovely, no? Eliza taught me a great trick for getting a lovely variegation – just tie your skein in a knot and toss it in the pot for a couple minutes. But don’t tie it too tight! The plate of blues was in the dyebath for a bit too long, I think – the variegation is much too subtle. Also, a couple more discoveries:
- Tulip dye powder (usually found in the crafts section) isn’t so great for clothes or anything with even slightly non-cotton fabric composition, but it’s great for dip-dyeing plain white cotton and for dyeing embroidery floss. And often comes in more interesting colors than Rit.
- Don’t try dyeing evenweave. It gets weird.
- But DO try dyeing aida cloth. I was afraid the acidity of the dye would ruin the structure of the fabric and render it pretty useless – but actually it took to the dye beautifully. I’m still not sure how to work ombre aida cloth into a project design, but it’s going to happen.
- Be so careful when dyeing on the stove – I burnt a hole in my evenweave (good riddance! That nasty stuff!) and burnt the straps off of one of my favorite vintage slips just while putting it in the pot.
- Dyeing goes better when you have a friend to supervise. After Eliza left a whole slew of bad things happened.
- Salt and vinegar. Salt and vinegar. Seriously.