Happy Friday to you!
Thanks for all the steeking tutorial links - I read them all, debated which way to go, and then got busy. Originally, I thought I would definitely use the sewing machine to secure the stitches because that is the way I did it long ago. After reading the different tutorials and because I was a tad concerned about shoving a handknit pullover through the machine without distorting the fabric, I got out the crochet hook. I spent over an hour last night while watching the Olympics getting the first side crocheted. I was a little worried that the crochet wouldn't hold well after cutting. But, I don't think I need to worry any longer. I had to tear out my first 3 inches of crochet due to an error on my part and wouldn't you know that the yarn was super grabby and very hard to get out. Phew. Now for the second crochet row which should happen today or tomorrow. Then I'll cut.
I've been sewing this week, too. While cleaning the sewing room, it dawned on me that if I just made the projects that I bought all this fabric for, then I'd have a cleaner room and much more space. I started doing just that and have already gone through the better part of 10 yards of fabric. It feels good.
I hope you have a great, relaxing weekend. I'll be back as soon as the steeking is finished.
I love any reason to pull my colored pencils out of the art cabinet and use them. Charting the fair isle pattern for my sweater was the perfect excuse. As I sat and knitted the first few rounds of the yoke, I thought just how much I love fair isle knitting. And then I remembered that I said the same thing the last time I did it and wondered why I don't do it more often.
I have received numerous emails and comments asking me about whether or not I will sell guitar straps like the one I made for Jane. I really want to and I am looking into figuring out just how to make that happen. I'll let you know as soon as I make a decision either way.
I enabled threaded comments a week (or two?) ago. I really like it this way because it allows me to respond to people quicker and more efficiently and it allows you to comment on other peoples' comments, too. A virtual conversation, of sorts.
I haven't forgotten about the snack pdf. I just haven't had the time to get it together. But I will soon. We have added smoothies to the mix and they have been well received.
Staying up late to watch the Olympics is making me super tired and a bit crabby. I am going to do my best to go to bed early tonight. Or take a nap. Or both.
I wish I had a personal organizer who could come over and help me sort out the studio. The mess is epic and there is a lot of fabric and other stuff that needs to go, but I feel paralyzed every time I look at it.
The sun is out and I am happy for that.
My copy of Alabama Studio Style written by Natalie Chanin and published by STC Craft|Melanie Falick Books arrived last week. To say I had been anxiously awaiting its arrival is an understatement. Natalie's first book, Alabama Stitch, is among my favorite craft books. It is jam-packed with inspiration and projects unlike any other craft book I own. I was hoping that Alabama Studio Style would be just as wonderful and I am not disappointed. It is absolutely beautiful to look at and the range of projects and recipes is fantastic. They include a skirt, tunics, dress, tops and many items for the home. I am already dreaming about what I am going to make first.
Erin: How did you decide on the projects that make Alabama Studio Style so beautiful?
Natalie: I think that we learned a lot about putting a book together with Alabama Stitch Book. There was just so much that I didn’t know that first time around and I was very naive about how difficult it is to make a book! With Alabama Studio Style, I knew that we wanted to include a dress, more home furnishings and recipe sections. From there, I made a layout board on the wall that pretty much indicated each page in the book – this was something I did not understand the first time around. With Alabama Studio Style, I feel that the book as a whole was very thoroughly planned. I collected fabric swatches, colors and techniques together for almost a year before ever starting to make the projects. After I felt that we had a good flow from color and style, we started making projects, writing instructions and putting together the recipes sections to go with the projects in the book. From there, everything just started to fall into place.
Erin: One thing that I absolutely adore about the new book is that there are a few projects with little or no embellishment (like the plain tank). Did you make a conscious decision to include some simpler pieces this time?
Natalie: That’s a great question! It was a very conscious decision to include the plain garments – we call them Basics in our studio. The garment patterns included in Alabama Studio Style are really my favorites and the pieces that I wear everyday and work into my wardrobe. While I love very embellished tops, skirts and dresses, I also love the simpler pieces for everyday living. For example, the camisole tunic is one of my favorite pieces at the moment. I love to wear it over pants or a skirt and then to layer other pieces over and under it for these colder days. A little secret: I sleep in the camisole tunic – very comfortable and looks great.
Erin: Oh, now I am going to have to make one for a nightgown too! That's brilliant. Alabama Studio Style has stitches and techniques that compliment the ones covered in your first book, Alabama Stitch, but that also work really well on their own. Was it important to you that the techniques in both books could be used together as well as separately?
Natalie: Thank you, I am so happy to hear you feel this way! It was really important to me that the books work both as individual books and as an intimate part of one another at the same time. We worked really hard towards that goal. I can’t wait to see how people interpret the two, take the information and then move beyond.
Erin: The possibilities do seem endless! I think that is why your books are so inspiring. Just like Alabama Stitch, Alabama Studio Style is a visual treat. What inspired you to chose the color palette for these projects?
Natalie: I wanted the projects to really feel like part of a whole. I did tear sheets, and fabric swatches and thought about this for almost a year. Alabama Studio Style is also such a part of my home and personal life – most of the book was photographed in my kitchen and living room - that many of the color palettes are also very personal to me and the colors that I choose for everyday living.
Erin: It's very obvious to me that you love what you do - it's evident in both of your books. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions. Thanks, Natalie!
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You can also have a chance of winning a copy of Alabama Studio Style (or the STC Craft book of your choice) by visiting STC Craft|Melanie Falick Books and commenting on this post. To read more about Natalie's book, follow her on her blog tour and visit her blog.
Thanks for visiting. Back here soon.
Kate has been asking for a knitting lesson for a few months. On our second snow day last week, I took the girls to our local yarn store and with their help (thank you Jane and Cindy!), Kate learned to knit. I cast on for her and she used knitting rhymes to help keep her remember exactly what she was supposed to do. The rabbit goes through the hole, around the tree, peek back out, and off we leap! Within a half an hour, she was doing it all on her own.
As a mom that loves to sew and knit, I have found that if I am over-enthusiastic about any one craft, my kids tend to drop it like a hot potato. To that end, I played it really cool, giving Kate a few pats on the back and patiently fixing every little mistake that she made. I quietly encouraged her and let her do the rest. Every day, she has picked it up, knit a few rows and put it back away. She took it with her to Jane's guitar lesson and the two of us sat in the waiting room knitting and chatting. She pulled it out and worked on her scarf while watching the Olympics last night. Even Jane, who hasn't knitted in well over a year, decided to pull out her yarn and needles. I cast on 15 stitches for her and after a quick lesson, she was knitting away too. It was one of those moments that I will never forget - all three of us sitting on the couch, watching Olympics, knitting in hand.
I have no idea if this will last so I am enjoying every dropped stitch and unintentional yarn over that needs fixing while I can. Back here soon.
I've just updated the shop with some camera straps including some made with my dwindling stash of Flea Market Fancy. If you feel inclined, please take a look.
Now I am running off to the 4th grade valentine party and then to run some errands before the weekend. I hope you have a good one. We plan on watching the Olympics! Yay!
The girls and I made some cute valentines for their parties at school later this week. I think I saw this idea somewhere last year, or maybe even the year before, but I can't remember where. If someone knows where the idea originated, please tell me so I can give that person credit! Here!
To do this yourself, take a photo of your child with their hand(s) held out from their body. The girls stood in front of a white wall so the background would be neutral - a red or pink wall would be super cute, too! We took many photos with lots of different poses. I let the girls choose their favorite. After uploading the photo, I added text in Photoshop. If you don't have Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, there are other photo editing programs like Picnik that are free. Make sure you take into account where the lollipop will be on the card when you put the text on it!
Once I was satisfied with the layout, I printed the photos 2 up on card stock. I made them 4" x 6", but you could certainly print them smaller, if you like. After cutting the photos out, I used a craft knife to make an X above and below the hand. You could use a hole punch instead of the X's if the hand is close enough to the edge of the card. The girls wrote their friends' names on the back of the cards and then threaded the lollipops through the X's.
They were fun to make, easy and pretty fast, too. I had everything I needed on hand with the exception of the lollipops. I think the large bag cost about $3 making them one of the most inexpensive projects I have done in a long time. For other ideas, valentines that we have made in the past can be seen here and here.
Anyone have a good game for a 4th grade valentine party? We are playing Bingo, but are looking for something else to do as well. Maybe something a little active, but that doesn't take too much space (the classrooms are small)? I was thinking some kind of relay, but I'd love any suggestions.
Here's a sneak peek of what I've been working on for the shop. It's snowing here and school has been canceled today. Most likely, it'll be canceled tomorrow, too. I was counting on sewing all day today and now, with my girls home, that's unlikely. I'm going to change the shop update from tomorrow to Friday, February 12th at 12:00 noon EST.
I'm also working on the after school snack cheat sheet. I hope to have that posted for downloading soon, too.
Fatty and I are big Threadless t-shirt fans so I was very flattered and incredibly excited when they asked me to be one of the judges of their latest contest. Threadknits is a contest for knitters and crocheters. The gist is that you take your favorite Threadless t-shirt design and knit or crochet it in to something fabulous. Pretty cool, huh? The contest is running now through March 1, 2010 - still time for you to whip something up. You can read the rules and how to enter here. There are great prizes that included cash, t-shirts and knitting goodies. The number of entries right now stands at 48 so the odds of winning are looking good! Follow Threadknits on Twitter for the latest information.
I am looking forward to see what everyone comes up with.
Here it is. My tea leaves cardigan. It's not the best photo, but I took a bunch and wouldn't you know that this is the best I got? Now it's dark so there is no chance of a re-shoot until tomorrow and I am afraid tomorrow I won't have time.
I like this sweater a lot. The sleeves are a funky length - not 3/4 and not really full - but I'm okay with that since I ran out of yarn. I do wish it were a little smaller. The pattern goes from a 36 to a 40 and of course, I am a 38. I knit the 40 which was definitely the right choice, but a 38 would have been better. I added about an inch of length - maybe a mistake as the sweater grew when I washed it (I'm sure the sleeves did, too). Leslie told me I could throw it in the dryer for 5 minutes at a time to shrink it a bit, but I was too freaked out to have it in there for more than 3 minutes total! I used Berroco Ultra Alpaca in Park Bench. I originally bought this yarn for the February Lady Sweater, but didn't like it for that knit. I love it for this. I used somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 and a half skeins and size 6 and 7 needles. I liked knitting it too - a lot of mindless stockinette which is perfect for knitting on the go.
I'm excited to share some other fun knitting news tomorrow.
And a small number of camera straps will be in the shop on Wednesday, February 10 at 12:00 noon EST.
Ok, then. See you later.
I have one sweater blocking. It should be ready for buttons tonight. And because I need a portable craft to work on while in the carpool line or music lessons, I cast on another sweater this afternoon. It, too, is for me. I debated between a charcoal gray and a medium brown for the main color. It was a hard decision. My first instinct was gray, but then I took a look in my closet and I have three gray sweaters and only one brown one. So, I went for the brown. It was an uncharacteristic choice, but it is going to look so good with the main contrast color: green. No surprise there.
Tomorrow I am going to finish quilt top number two. I am also working on some camera straps for the shop. There will be a small update sometime next week. More on that and other news tomorrow.