Monday, June 13, 2011

Knitting for Charity

Last week I spoke to my Mother-in-Law on the phone and she commissioned me to make lots of knitted tea cosies and bags to sell at a booth in August.  My in-laws do a lot for different charity organizations and it's nice that they include me in their good work even though they live across the Atlantic!  So, I've got about 1.5 months to create as much as I can to help benefit Watoto ,which is an organization that was initiated to help women and orphaned children in Uganda.

So far I've made 3 tea cosies and a couple of handbags.

The cosy pattern is free from Ravelry and designed by Alexis Layton.  Best part about it is that it looks great and knits up very quickly!  I haven't yet attached the buttons to the ones in the photo...

I have also had the opportunity to knit up several hats for "Shoebox Appeal" for Blythswood Care which gives shoeboxes full of needed supplies and gifts to those who live in desparate conditions.  Had it not been for my mother-in-law I would have no idea that these charities exist!

As much as I talk, I don't really do enough.  But, with everyone doing just a little part, it's possible to make a BIG difference.

Want to help?  Send me a message!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

World Wide Knit in Public Day

I've just returned home to find an email from Joann Fabrics advertising sales for the World Wide Knit in Public Day.  So funny that this has come up, especially since my post on knitting in public a few days ago.  Not understanding more about this event, I did a Google search and that led me to the Home Page of World Wide Knit in Public Day.  It's actually not just a day - it runs from June 11th to June 19th!  A whole week of knitting in public.

I have to acknowledge what better way to get over my reservations about public knitting than this!  Yesterday, on my daily pool excursion I once again took my knitting and low and behold, created a whole handbag!  Admittedly I used large needles and extra bulky yarn, but still, I finished something and didn't have any negative responses.  It helps to sit in the shade next to a table with an umbrella - that way I could have my pattern right next to me and not sweat all over my work (gross)!

I still need to add handles and a lining, but I am pleased with the way it's turned out so far.  I used a basic pattern from The Harmony Guides "Knit and Purl", which is full of knit and purl patterns - edited by Erika Knight and published by Interweave Press.  This one is called "Maze Pattern" - it's very easy, quick and only a 20 row pattern.

Knitting at the pool is a good balance between being lazy and getting something done!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Poolside Knitting

It's been a long time since I last posted.  After April's craft show, I was burned out a bit - then the end of the school year came and I haven't had much time to get going on my sewing.  Yesterday I decided to take some knitting up to the pool.  My friend the "craft guru" was telling me before, that she always knits at the pool and most of the time people respond positively and that she even spends time teaching others how to knit.  I've always felt a bit weird knitting in public.  Don't ask me why - it's strange given that I am such an advocate of keeping this art alive!  I have this deeper insecurity that somehow knitting = old lady or young person with no life.  This isn't true AT ALL!  Most people I know who knit are SO not that way - and plus, it's knitting in public that helps to get rid of this silly stereotype!  Why then do I still have this hesitation?

I was up at the pool in the sun and had some looks from a threesome of college girls, one of which said that she wouldn't be any good at it (knitting), and another comment from some other uniformed pool-goer (who I'm sure thought I couldn't hear her) who said that I was doing something that I shouldn't be doing at the pool.  I had a moment of feeling old and distinctly not cool, but gave her a look and continued with my cable knit.

I like how much I got done on my knitting yesterday.  Who says you have to be locked up inside on your couch to knit!?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Poolside Crochet

Yesterday I spent the morning doing some gardening and general yard work at my school, and I remembered how much I enjoy spending time outside.  I then spent the early afternoon hours lazily laying on the couch thinking how I needed to get up and complete some of the projects that I have been working on.  Namely, the Pineapple Blossom scrappy quilt that I began in mid April.  In all this thought to help motivate myself to get going I imagined this scenario:  Shifting everything outside onto the grass and patio just outside my flat, or toting along my machine, materials, and extension cord up to the pool.  The gently breeze through my hair (fabric staying in place), the soft green grass under my bare feet...

I can imagine it now just writing about it!  My whole sewing set-up right outside my flat!  The sewing machine on the patio table (except there isn't any pollen or holes), the ironing board in the soft grass, the TV nearby with my favorite movie playing, the wind blows but somehow the fabric doesn't move... wow, it would be great!

Alas, aside from knitting and crochet and the occasional handpiecing, there isn't really a way to sew outside.  I didn't do much sewing yesterday, but I did prepare/wash some new fabrics and got started on a new experiment:  crocheting with wire and beads.  Using a very malleable silver wire (.25 mm) with a size F hook and some glass beads from the Czech Republic, I quickly made up this cool little bracelet.  I can see this becoming a great poolside hobby!

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Yesterday I spent most of the day out at the Virginia Polo Fields at the 1st Annual Polo Against Cancer Event.  My Craft "Guru" from Silver Sage Crafts and I had a table set up with about 10 other vendors who came out for the cause (Might I also mention my new favorite handbag came from her... it's fabulous!)  Aside from the low turn-out, which I attribute to sharing yesterday with one of the biggest events of the year in this town, I had a great time trying to sell my goods and spending time with a friend.  I also got to see my first polo game and heard some music from some locals.

I didn't sell much, but being my first craft table, it was a start.  I got some great feedback from the various people that came by for a look and felt like this was the perfect event to begin my adventures in craft fairs.  We'll see what happens in the coming summer months!

Today was actually the first Sunday in a long time that I didn't have any sewing to do.  So, naturally, after a couple of movies I decided to pull out that baby shrug I started on all that time ago.  What happened?  I ripped out the ribbing work I had started for the 3rd or 4th time.  I'm going with a crocheted edge now.  What's up with this knit ribbing?  I can't figure out why this is so difficult to get the result I want.  Perhaps it's my obsession with getting things just so, or perhaps I suck at this skill.  Whatever the case, I can't wait to get this thing done and checked off the list!

I still haven't bought my 20's Vintage Patterns yet... Friday is pay-day - not long now!  I can't wait to be on summer break so I can create uninterrupted!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Roaring Twenties Fantasy-Land

In the midst of all my frenzy of late I found a moment to sit down at my computer to look at patterns from the 1920's era.  I love looking at project ideas and thinking "when can I begin this!" - but with all that is going on at the moment, I hardly need another project to add to the pile.  Here's what I learned:  

One book that I came across again was the " The One Hour Dress" by Mary Brooks Picken.  Apparently, it was all the rage in 1924.  I read somewhere that ladies would actually demonstrate making a dress in an hour to prove that it was possible, thus marketing the book.  

What I didn't know is that there were 3 books published.  Two in 1924 and one in 1925, and all are great books for beginner dressmakers - even today!  What I like particularly about The One Hour Dress, is that it gives detailed instructions on how to take measurements, prepare the fabric, cut the fabric, make the dress and even put sleeves on it so you aren't just cutting out a pattern with a specific size, you can learn to make adjustments for your own body.  I don't yet own this book, but perhaps it will be in my possession at some point in the near future (wink, wink)!

So, all this looking around led me to the Amazon Dry Goods website who sells period outfit patterns, costuming stuff, you name it!  I was continuing this twenties dressmaking fantasy and discovered that the company is up for sale because the owner passed away.  How sad!  This company is a wonderful thing for people who like this kind of stuff, and I can only hope that someone will buy it up and treat it with as much love as the previous owner.  I need to get going on my dressmaking... make several thousand to sell so I can buy up this company and move to Illinois...  Another thing to add to my TO DO list.

On a more serious note, I do really hope the business doesn't go bust - it's too wonderful of a thing!  And on lighter note, here's what I've decided to make:

The "Tango Dress" -  Folkwear Pattern #237

The "Monte Carlo Dress" - Folkwear Pattern #264

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Adventures in Sewing

It's been awhile since my last post, mostly because I have been ultra-busy getting ready for the Polo Against Cancer Event this Saturday (see my previous post).  The past few weeks have been hectic but great for bonding with my sewing machine.  I have learned a lot about what works and what doesn't, what takes longer and what sews up quickly and why my machine does all sorts of funky things that used to frustrate me.

I am developing a love for applique and ric-rac. both of which can be creatively used.  Plus, it can be an inexpensive way to dress up a dress, shirt, bag, you name it!  So far this weekend the focal point of my crafting has been embellishing onesies with just that.  Very young children often live in these, so I thought, "why not make one-of-a-kind onesies for the sale next week?"

Here's some of what I've been busy making...