Friday, November 30, 2007

Unearthing Irish knit coats

There is a chest of drawers here full of scarves and sweaters and softball gloves and leftover computer hardware. Around this time of year we dig through it when we are cold. This year, a lucky small Lear will wear the mini-Elizabeth Zimmerman Irish knit coat. Somewhere I have two prehistoric fish carved from ancient dinosaur bone (sculpey). These will become toggles.

At the hat shop I saw beautiful vintage postcards with cityscapes decorated with glitter that said Happy Holidays. I love this idea. Any old postcard scene can be turned into Christmas with a little well-placed glitter and glue!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thursday shrug

The cat's paw shrug continues as I sit with the Thursday readers - and Edmund continues to betray Lucy.

Look Kay and Cristina! I tripped over the kitchen toweling at the fabric store today. I also found some iron-on sheets - I'm going to give this custom iron-on recipe tea towel thing a try. I've been sketching out recipes like Richard Scarry illustrations.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Snow moon or holiday crafting moon

Almost a sixth of the way with the Crosspatch vest.

I saw a beautiful idea at Body Time today: bars of soap enclosed in felted balls. It's like a felt washcloth ball with soap inside. Here's a tutorial, but these are bars; spheres are cooler (egg shapes for Easter).

Saturday was the Snow moon, and every full moon I try to gauge the stash situation. This month I will be using some leftovers for felted holiday projects and I must do something with that Pringle/Anne Boleyn fiasco! I have a lot of single skeins of aran weight yarns, the kinds that don't felt well. I think I'll use them on a Kaffe pillow. I like doing Kaffe projects in strips and then sewing them together.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A crosspatch comedy

I see that this vest will only succeed if I have enough Cary Grant screwball comedies in the Netflix queue to last until Christmas. I'm going to track my knitting by the lighting of the advent wreath candles.

Crosspatch vest

I've been trying the Crosspatch vest from Kaffe Knits Again a couple different ways. The scarf swatch I did was 3 across, and that's about as many as I can manage. I tried a version skipping the vertical stripes, but I don't like the way they look embroidered on afterwards. So I'm down to trying one flag at a time, from the waist to the shoulder. I don't know if this project is going to make it off the swatch table.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Noro stripe scarf

What a lovely holiday weekend! My Noro scarf is all finished. I gave it a nice conditioning rinse. I finished the Damask vest just in time for Thanksgiving. I'm going to add just a bit to the bottom and redo the neckline.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Damask and an icebox canvas

I keep trying this on and slouching, hoping I can start the ribbing. I have about an inch to go and then 2 inches of ribbing. The new fridge was delivered yesterday. It is so very white. It is begging for a Charleston makeover. I am looking through my books for inspiration.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Crosspatch flags

The Noro scarf has inspired me to start a scarf for Mr. Lear based on Kaffe's Crosspatch pattern in the brown colorway in Glorious Knits. I would like to back this with pieces of brown suede and velvet and canvas. My fallback plan is to make a glasses case, because I cannot imagine knitting 6 feet of this! Another plan is to knit one vertical strip of flags at a time and then sew them together.

I love this pattern in the new Kaffe Knits Again as a blue vest. I just don't think I can carry that many yarns without going nutty - vertical strips may be the answer for me. I could also start throwing in larger patches and get more of a crazy pattern as in his Glorious Knits Crosspatch coat. Knit some squares, lay them out, sew them up.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Noro scarf and bird sculpture

For the rest of my life, I am only going to knit Noro stripes. My little clay bird whistle didn't work out - his sides were too thick. So I've carved a whole in the bottom where you can attach him to a tree. I'm going to paint a little white slip on him and his five brothers. I should go out in the yard and find some leaves and acorn caps to make feather marks.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Days of tea and polenta

Lots of polenta and tea but not a lot of REM sleep. A long time ago this week, I was in Aachen for the Christmas market. I have been daydreaming of the type of holiday booth I would have up against the South side of the cathedral - small, fronted by a wooden counter with all my goods stacked on shelves behind me. There's a small converted camping stove to warm the booth and keep the coffee and bacon sandwiches warm. The booth to my left has a victrola playing Christmas ditties from the 1920s and the booth to my right sells cider in small buckets.

On the shelves wait quilted heating pad covers, hobo teapots with wire handles and cork lids, oven mitts with embroidered recipes, sand dune mitten kits, ceramic necklaces that resemble a string of mushrooms, paper mache primeval seed pods filled with candy, penny whistles shaped like Dutch houses, and cheeseboards shaped like violins. My big ticket item is a vintage tin picnic basket filled with Manos yarns and a watercolor blanket design. These go fast, but I also have a line of tobacco tin lunch pails with smaller pillow kits inside.

I wear one of Kaffe Fassett's Romeo and Juliet coats over a red linen apron lined with sheepskin. My pockets are filled with ribbons, tissue paper and little hand pressed holiday cards as well as hot potatoes, a pocketknife, chocolate, duct tape and cash. I sit there on my stationary bike, peddling handmade goods and generating enough energy to power the Christmas lanterns and work off the bacon sandwiches.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Lovely Noro Silk Garden

There are so many lovely Noro striped scarves on and I've pulled out all my Noro so I can put together one of my own.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


God as my witness, I am going to line that Yahtzee cup with felt. The refrigerator died today.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Apron Sewing

A while back I was so inspired by Mariko's skirt that I bought a half yard of this wonderful Echino "wasps" fabric. I am going to copy my Vera apron, using some golden yellow cotton for the bias tape edging and the apron strings. I've been scrolling through all the great apron ideas at Tie One On and all the Flickr apron groups. There are so many great ideas out there. I love the wrap-around dress aprons.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Technique of Handbuilt Pottery

Mollie Winterburn's The Technique of Handbuilt Pottery contains so many great project ideas from her experience teaching school children. Above is a mural of bird tiles set in plaster. Each part of the birds is textured with things from nature like corn and nuts and twigs.

The penny whistles are simply pinch pots with a hole for whistling and a sharp slit where the air escapes. She mentions the many Native American whistles that were shaped like animals and simply painted.

This gives me more projects to do with all the clay I have twisted and slopped while trying to center on the wheel!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Cat's paw shrug

Another Thursday, another group of readers, a few more inches on the cat's paw shrug. It's cold here. I need a scarf, but I do not have enough knitted tiles to make a scarf. I need to whip up something fabulous.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

First Wednesday Homesick Drill

The emergency sirens were tested today at noon reminding me of the St. Louis tornado sirens. This month I would like to ask, "What the heck happened to the Mercantile Library?" I see it has moved out of the city. I see I could not even take the Big Bend bus to the old Mercantile Library anyhoo. I sound like an old person. I'm sure there's much more room out there for all those lovely folios and books about rivers and sandbars and neighborhoods where the highway is now - "just 12 minutes from Clayton via the Innerbelt."

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Chair weaving

Ten years or so ago, we were picking our way through Urban Ore when we found two lovely chairs for $10, one with an interesting seat that needed some repair. The kind man at the Caning Shop told us we had a Hans Wagner and insisted we buy Danish cord to repair it. A decade later, the entire seat needs replacing. I've just run out of cord, but I am looking forward to buying more and redoing the knock-off as well. My side wraps are a little loose and I'm miserable at loosening the L-hooks, but I bet after six more of these I'd be pretty good. I am going to look at chairs with busted seats in a whole new way now.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Pots and Damask

Apologies for the dim picture - it gets so dark so early now! Slowly the stack of olive pit bowls and Damask grow, very slowly.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Basket book

I've been working on baskets today. I keep a lot of #2 and #4 reed on top of the armoire so when out of the blue I need a toothbrush basket, it's there. I use Mara Cary's Useful Baskets, a pair of kitchen scissors and a dishpan of warm water. Coffee or tea is helpful.

I'm planning a wash basket that can be stenciled. A long time ago I saw a college laundry basket stenciled in black with a house name and then a string of room numbers. I love that combination of reed and stencil - not tulips, not Easter bunnies - harsh black numbers.

One day, I'll be able to throw teapots on the wheel and I will weave them reed handles with a set of reed-handled cups. I'm still making olive pit bowls.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Mackintosh quilts and window shades

Dorothy Wood's Rennie Mackintosh Inspirations in Embroidery was sitting on the craft shelf at the used bookstore last night. I really just bought it for the cover - it reminded me of you, Cristina! Think of a huge quilt of pink velvet covered with those roses!

My favorite embroidery "inspiration" is the Sophie Wilk quilt based on a Mackintosh painting of houses. The organdie window shade stitched like a stained glass window is a good idea too.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Graffiti pig

There are some really lovely examples of template graffiti around our neighborhood. I chose this one because on top of all the Halloween candy, I have eaten all the carmel apples. I would like to use chalk to graffiti my own porch and front walk. I read an article about an artist who decorated her black front door with chalk drawings throughout the year.