Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Mary Grayson

My latest crush: littleputbook's Studio Shot Tuesdays flickr group. I love to see everyone's creative workspaces and tools and such. My contribution today is a shot of my dressform/handbag model:

My husband and the kidlings named her "Mary Grayson" (due in large part, I think, to her gray covering). She's almost like a member of the family. I catch the kidlings hugging her all the time.

Mary is currently dressed in a kimono I got at a sale my friend, Emiko, had last week. Emiko just got back from Japan, bringing a suitcase full of lovely kimono pieces with her. This was one of the intact kimonos she had that she assumed would be taken apart and made into something else. The kimono is so beautiful, though, I can't bear to cut it up so now Mary has a new outfit.

Above Mary's head (or lack of head, I guess) is my shadow box of little things I've collected over the years. Here's a close up of some of my favorite tchotchkes:

The white buddha is a chop with my chinese name, the sandpainting is from a trip to New Mexico I took with my best pal Lori and the "bad dog" pin is a gift my husband bought from The Cambridge Artists Cooperative. I got the Terracotta Warrior on a trip to Xian and the little native american was a gift from my mom. The origins of everything else are lost in the sands of time.

Friday, August 17, 2007

It's all about me!

I finished making a knitting bag for myself the other day!

This is the first bag I've made expressly for my own little self in the longest time. Most of the bags and wallets I use are either prototypes or goof-ups. I'd seen so many cute knitting bags like this one on Etsy that I wanted one too. I adapted a commercial pattern to make it capacious enough and I used my serger, which has been sadly neglected of late. There are some things about this design I would tweak if I ever make this bag again (including the use of said serger) but on the whole I'm tickled pink.

Here's a peek inside with the latest example of my sock obsession. This yarn + this pattern = the coolest socks ever....blog post forthcoming.

And for some more me-centric news - the wonderful Dandelion Blu has tagged me a

I get called "rockin' " so infrequently in my current state of perpetual frumpiness that this tag is even sweeter. As a newly instated Rockin' Girl Blogger, I get to dub 5 of my own and I pick

Adornments and Distractions
freckled nest
Jenn Maruska's Blog
Mill Girl

Thanks so much, Dandelion Blu!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Studio Shot Tuesdays

I spent a lot of the weekend cleaning up my studio!

My studio isn't really pretty but it is practical - especially now that it is tidy! I'm quite pleased that my fabric has remained tamed and my notions are still neatly tucked into their drawer.

One thing missing from the above shot is my beautiful spool rack that my husband made for me a long time ago:

He used two different kinds of wood to create the diamond pattern. I have no idea how he drilled the holes for the spool dowels. This rack was my Christmas present the same year I surprised him with a hand-knitted sweater. He still has the sweater but my spool rack gets more use!

My cleaning frenzy coincided nicely with the advent of LittleputBook's new flickr group, Studio Shot Tuesdays. Go check out some other work spaces!

Sunday, August 12, 2007


My latest obsession: knitting socks. It began innocently enough - I was browsing through one of Etsy's Saturday Night Specials forum threads (an excellent way to get extra cool stuff at extra special prices) and I ended up buying some beautiful hand-dyed sock yarn. I've done a lot of knitting in the past but deeply feared socks and their complicated shapes. This yarn, however, just called to me so I rustled around the net for a pattern and Joann's for some double pointed needles and sat down to knit with some practice yarn. It took me two or three (ok, SIX) tries to figure out what I was doing but I eventually untangled myself enough to get some knitting done. Here's what I've got so far:

<--This was my first pair of socks, knitted with some commercially made yarn using these instructions. I love how the self-striping yarn looks and it kept me entertained. The pattern itself is great. It is a wonderful road-map to the anatomy of a sock. I especially loved knitting the heel. It made me feel like my favorite literary heroine, Jo, from Little Women.

So after this pair I was hooked. Socks are such a portable project - perfect to work on while waiting for kids to finish swimming lessons, spouses to finish shopping at Frys or for very long car trips.

Here's another pair in more girly colors --->
These were knitted with commercially made yarn and a commercial pattern. I like the heel and toes for this pattern a little better than the above pattern - they are more tapered and elegant. Aren't the colors fun? I craved a neopolitan ice-cream cone the entire time I was knitting.

(I'm sorry all the socks look so misshapen but I didn't want to subject you to my hobbit shaped feet. I think I need to make some sock blockers.)

<---Here's the pair that I knitted with the hand-dyed yarn. It's from SeeJayneKnitYarns and it was a joy to knit.

I originally used another pattern I got off the web. It had a very simple heel and no gusset shaping. I ended up with an ill-fitting tube with a goofy protuberance for a heel. Perhaps that ugly sock is more a testament to my poor knitting than the pattern, but I unraveled that sock and used my original pattern.

Aren't the colors and shading beautiful? There is so much more subtlety and nuance with hand-dyed yarn! I think I'll be using hand-dyed yarn from here on out.

Now I'm off to make a little knitting bag!

Do you have any knitting adventures to share?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Crafting in Colorado

One of the stops on my big trip was a visit to my hometown of Boulder, Colorado. I got to spend time with my family, eat lots of my Mom's delicious cooking and see my best pal who recently returned from a Foreign Service tour in Sudan.

And I got to try something new! My mom, who is a crafter extraordinaire, had her spinning wheel out and I got to spend some time with it. (Do you know how hard it was to not type, "take it for a spin"?)

I've always been fascinated by spinning wheels. I remember watching Disney's Sleeping Beauty with rapt attention when she was inexorably drawn toward her slumbering fate but I was much more interested in the spinning wheel than the princess. And spinning wheels have such lovely anatomical names like "maidens" and "mother-of-all" and "the footman." So after finally figuring out the scotch tensioner, I sat down to spin. It was quite tricky and an awful lot like learning to drive a stick shift (although I didn't crash into a gas pump my first time out alone-TRUE STORY!)

Here's my results:

Definitely what on author diplomatically called "novelty yarn". I'm not sure it is knit-able but it was delightful to spin. I think I need to practice more with my drop spindle before my next trip to Colorado.