Thursday, February 26, 2009

Prairie Boots and toasty toes

These spunky pair of Prairie Boots come from a pattern designed by Coco Knits, here, and were a must have when I saw them being made by my friend, Mary, in December as a Christmas gift. We both ended up making a pair for our sisters, who, coincidentally, were born on the same day and prone to having specific demands where their slippers were concerned. Needless to say, the Prairie Boots were a huge success.
But I found myself envying their toasty toes, and decided to make a pair for myself. I used Lion Brand Yarn's Thick and Quick. I also improvised a suede leather sole, which I made from a thrift store skirt purchase, which I then cut to the size of my feet. With a little stretching and pinning, I then used a sharp darning needle and sock yarn to hand stitch the sole into place. A little work, but much cheaper than purchasing a pair online for twenty odd bucks - and I have made two pairs of slipper soles and have suede left for next snow season.
The only improvisation I did make on the pattern was that when it came time to decrease the stitches prior to working in garter stitch for the cuff of the slipper, I kept in the rib stitch for those additional 4 rows. I liked the feel and fit better.
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I love the fact that the entire slipper was crafted by myself - so don't be put off by the additional effort. Scavenge some suede - repurposing has such an invigorating charm to it - and definitely leads to other ideas (wink!).

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Life of a Knitting Anarchist can be a frustrating one....

Lone pom poms hanging way out on limbs, dancing in the breeze of oncoming traffic and curious pedestrians.
"The Man" in the guise of the Parks Dept. coming to talk turkey about the dos and don'ts of artistic expression in the streets of our town. He finally got his way.
Knit Up Kit, Arting Out manifesto written in fiber, anarchy of the knitters tools of trade - we have a lot more where this came from = there are those amongst us who have yet to feel the thrill of defying the rules and lashing out creatively. The tree, as of this morning, has been shorn. Hear tell 4 big Park Dept. guys had to climb the tree to bring the yarn to it's knees - to snip the ties of the collaborative work that bound us together for whimsical moment and remove the traces of art.

There will be other days - there will be other trees -

Monday, February 23, 2009

Yarn Bombing in my zipcode

Yarn Bombing in Renton - are we finally getting "ahead of the curve" ? This fiendish fiberness was found at South Third Street in our downtown - what used to be our main drag and the home of "The Loop" - where juiced up cars would cruise in circles and people would socialize while behind the wheel. Now there be new shenanigans here on the street - arting up the environment. Letting the locals know that we have not all gone to sleep or forgotten how to occasionally act out.
Knitted and crocheted beauties adorn this tree of choice as well as some good ole yarn wrapping on some lone branches and tree trunks.

No incriminating photos can be shown here. Word is, the Parks Department were johnny on the spot of the Art Out and asking for said art to be taken down asap. Humph!
The beauty of Arting Out is the people that come by to interact with the work. Folks exclaiming their delight and support, the smiles from passersby and the honking of horns as the work brightens someone's day with the unexpectedness of a colorfully dressed tree. It's still considered a crime - an act of knitting graffiti, a bit of art anarchy. For a gray and still overcast Monday - I think it is more like a scenic blessing.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Incredible Street Art

On the eve of my presentation to the local Craft Club about Yarn Bombing and my intention to rally the local troops to get a street art project done, joining the ranks of Yarn Bombers across the globe in a "Global Guerrilla (K)nit Up" called for by Grrl +Dog, I saw this video and felt - well - inspired...had to share...

More "Princesses" need footwear...

Ahh, the Princess Slipper - I found yet another pair that needed to be finished and shipped out to an as yet, unsuspecting "Princess" who is in need of cozy foot coverage. As I said in my previous post, I have this pattern from an old school knitting pamphlet. Double strands of worsted weight yarn and a pretty straight forward design.

I have sorted through my button collection - which took me ages to organize, I might add- and now I am all about accessorizing with buttons. This is a pair of semi-vintage buttons that are finally making their way out into the world. Pom poms are always a good call on these silly,oh so retro slippers to die for...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Cupcakes Anyone?

The cutest cupcake you'll never eat - the Cupcake Hat, which looks good enough to put on any one's head, I guarantee it. I first saw my friend Mary, of Happy Delusions store fame, working on this hat pattern. So adorable I needed one in time for Valentine's Day to give to the little special person in my life. When she couldn't find her pattern, I realized that (duh!) I could find it online - which I did right here, free pattern and all.
I made the size recommended, but my caveat to that pattern would be to make the rib more than 2 inches wide and to increase the length before decreases to over 5 1/2 inches - especially if the child you are knitting for is beyond a year old. As you can see, in what I like to call the "Apple Pie" Hat that I made with the little gingham buttons sown on, our little model will not be able to sport it for too much longer :(( My second important addition to this pattern is when you come to the portion that requires you to knit the "nubs" hold strong, don't over think it. Remember the chain cast on? Where you stick the tip of the needle into the stitch on the left hand needle, make a stitch and put it back on the needle? Now, after 5 of those, just bind off until back to the original stitch. Those darn nubs can cause some unnecessary hardships, if you know what I mean. And this is a confectionery creation - it is meant to be just silly fun
Good models are hard to come by, as are the very best of Grandmas too - but I am lucky that I have access to both!!
Yeah for cupcakes and silly head gear and lovey dovey Valentine's Day gifts - and yeah to all of you - a big holiday hug !
(PS - stay tuned for my adult version of the Cupcake hat - yeah for big kids!)
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Friday, February 13, 2009

The best handmade soap - ever

I know I didn't make this - but Nan of Aunt Nancy's Soaps did. All wonderful, natural ingredients that you can read and understand, like olive oil, goat milk, aloe vera juice and lovely essential oils.There is nothing better than starting the day with a lovely scent on your skin and in the moist shower air. Everyday I come back to my bar of soap and it still smells great, which I can hardly say for myself and most likely, not of you either.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Perfectly Pinky

When good friends and knitted scarves collide - this is what happens. My dear friend, Celeste, a.k.a. Pinky, is the best model and a constant source of wonderment to her friends. She is get-outta-town talented and superbly photogenic.
I am desperately trying to figure out this "etsy" thing, my supply of knitted goodies for sale - prodigious. My good photos to upload within the parameters of, dismal.
These are the glorious photos that will not translate onto the etsy website. But, per usual, Pinky is awesome.
My scarf is my own design, made from upcycled/recycled sweaters that I felt, always of a nice fiber and softness quality. I then crochet the edges, pick up stitches, create a multi hued ruffle from a handful of gorgeous yarns, and viola! instant rufflemania at your beck and neck.
Pinky began this very day her first solo trip about the states - her very own "walkabout". This is a tribute to her - may she make it back safely into the arms of her awaiting friends and family with great stories and a new perspective on her little place in our cosmos. We adore you, Pinky!
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Friday, February 6, 2009

It's a Boy!

Tomorrow is the baby shower and I have just finished this little labor of love in the nick of time. A dear friend has a new addition to her family - due to arrive at any moment now, and this is my donation towards the newborn fund. Babies need a lot of nurturing and their parents need a lot of support, in both the emotional arena and the accumulation of all the necessary stuff that little souls need to make it in this world. Every little bit helps, because, in truth, babies need so much.
I used my Vogue Dictionary of Knitting Stitches to help look for some interesting textured stitches to add surface interest to this patchwork afghan. (My earlier post talks about the particulars). It turned out to be roughly a 45 inch square, and I did a couple of rows of garter stitch at the beginning of each square and at the edges, to add some further definition. An additional border would really be gilding the lily here - and the mother-to-be is a firm believer that she is going to be in labor any minute now -
This was a lot of fun to make - and became rather all consuming of my interest and time these last couple of weeks. Ah, sweet release - now onto other creations to be consumed by.
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Monday, February 2, 2009

Princess Slippers for a Birthday Girl

Who doesn't love a pair of handknit slippers for their birthday - especially when heating bills are still ludicrously high and paychecks painfully small. These pink beauties were made from an old school pattern I had from my days of managing a yarn store in SF. The pattern called them "Princess Slippers" (or maybe that was the Canadian yarn they called for?) and I like the name, so it's staying.

I did try to look online to find a similar pattern so that I could post a link with this, but I could not find one. Okay, not exactly true, but there was one with Swedish music playing in the background and fake snowfall obscuring my thoughts, let alone the reading of the pattern, and well, I just couldn't do that to you. So, look for a pattern that calls for 2 strands of worsted weight yarn, and this is very important, K2tog toe decreases. Some patterns have you just string up a lot of remaining stitches at the end of the slipper, leading to the Big Toe poking out and getting severe cold damage, or at best just stuck outside the slipper, alone.

I put to contrasting buttons on the top as decoration and to help distinguish the right slipper from the left, which is ridiculous, as you well know, as they are knit exactly the same. My friend liked them and everyone who saw them thought that to be a very clever design addition, but they are all just sweet like that. They oohh and aahh every time I make something for someone and I am spoilt to have such a great receiving crowd to play too.

The "Princess" who will sport these babies loves pink and black - both in the boudoir and out - so these should be a cozy and cute addition to her nighttime wear. And a special Happy Birthday to all of you Aquarians - so many have made it into my inner circle in the last couple of years - I never knew!

PS - WOW ! new followers - I am honored

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