Archive for January, 2008

$131 on 1/31

So, as luck would have it, my only class was cancelled today. That meant exactly one hour and 15 minutes more that I could spend schlepping around the internet doing nothing. Only today I took the initiative to try a new idea while drooling over the wares on Etsy. In honor of January 31st I would find $131 of merchandise that I would snap up if I actually had that money. So, really I guess it was fake initiative to go with my fake money, because yeah, I do this all the time. Anyways, here is a collection of lovelies for you.

If there’s anything Etsy has, it’s jewelry sellers. Of course, this is a good thing for all of us because it means we have access to the best selection at reasonable prices. For instance, this green and brass necklace from vickiorion ($42).

Or rouge earrings from PinkfireDesigns ($14).

Or something to appease my lust for natural textures like this wooden-bead tassel necklace from scuddlebabymama ($19).

For ambiance, let’s try a Blue Moon print from Lillian‘s shop ($13).

And last but not least, an amazing hand-bound journal from Kreativlink ($43).

Now for the math:

$42 + 14 + 19 + 13 + 43 = $131 

Not bad for a first try, and look at all the lovely handmade presents for me someone! It reminds me of $40 a Day. You can set any budget you like and still find a million things that you can afford and fall in love with. These just happened to be sellers already in my favorites list. I might do this more often because I had so much fun and it’s a great way to show off inspiring products. I’m also incredibly, stupidly proud of myself for figuring out how to put make the pictures links back to the seller’s page. I amaze myself sometimes.


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This is the official start of a (hopefully) weekly link round-up. Things I’ve been inspired by, things I want to rip off, and things I would buy if only I had the dosh. Winks stands for Wednesday links here (weekend links there)  and is blantantly stolen from the incredible blog, Desire to Inspire. So here’s what’s fresh this week.

I’m starting to get obsessed with the idea of making soap. Like this tiramisu soap that she dusted with cocoa powder (genius) or these cupcakes that look real enough to eat. Why don’t you learn how to make this apple cinnamon tart soap while you’re there?

Iryna’s store on etsy sells many original knits including this Rag Doll Bonnet which is essentially a knit wig. Or how about this incredible free-form crochet hat in Woolmountain’s photoset. Speaking of free-form, have you seen the 365 knit pics at Velma’s World? Got yarn scraps? Then why don’t you whip up a pair of mary jane slippers?

Flickr in general is becoming a dangerously obsessive habit. I hardly understand how to use the thing, but I do know right click button and my favorites list is feeling the weight of it. You should go check out all the pictures I’ve found there. Of course, you could just wait until I start overloading you with more mosaics.

If you’ve got an old CRT monitor, you can turn it into a fish tank. Just make sure to read the comment advice about safety precautions. After all that hard work, you might want to lounge on your comfy jean couch.

Eventually, I will get off my ass and finally make those quilted postcards I’ve wanted to try. I’ll use these two tutorials as guides and this list as inspiration.

Plus, I’ve neglected some blogs I love. They’ve been wallowing in my “blogs I watch” list while I’ve been too lazy to welcome them aboard. You should already know Design*Sponge and if you don’t than take the time. Not liking it is a crime. Creature Comforts is chock full of eye candy at both the new site and the old one. I’ve hearded you to Bugs and Fishes before, and if you haven’t already seen Moonstitches you’re out of the loop.

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Book Recommendations

Now this is something I’ve wanted to do but have shied away from since now. For one thing, I don’t have a whole lot of experience and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to point someone towards a book that actually explained things like it was supposed to. Of course, I tend to miss the point sometimes.

A lot of times, I’ll head somewhere to pick up a knitting book and instantly be bored. How many are dedicated to making sweaters even your blind grandmother would be ashamed to wear? How many have patterns in adult sizes that no-one over the age of 5 would be caught dead in? Plenty, but there are still gems out there. I spent a few hours yesterday in Books-a-Million, lounging in the middle of the isle with a stack of knitting books and a cup of coffee. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t buy any of them, but I did find three that I loved enough to write down and remember. <hint>These might make nice presents. </hint> Also, I want to be upfront and say that these links go directly to the amazon.com webpage for the books. If you happen to buy one through the link, I will receive a percentage. I do not link to things I would not buy myself. There are also many other places to buy them, so shop at your own discretion. Now to the books.

Son of Stitch ‘n Bitch by Debbie Stroller

Okay, who hasn’t heard of her? Now, her other books may be well and good, but do they have illusion scarves with strippers? I think not. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the model wearing it is incredibly hot. If there’s a man in your life who wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a fluffy, fringed, or pom-pommed anything, this is your book. It’s dedicated to patterns that the average guy would wear without getting his ass kicked. There are scarves, sweaters, hats, gloves, and even stuffed beer bottles. Do you see why I want this book? It’s geared towards men, but I would wear damn near everything in it, so don’t be afraid of the angle. Flip through it the next time you see it. You won’t be disappointed.

Greetings from Knit Cafeby Suzan Mischer

I’ll admit that I want this one for other reasons than the patterns. While the patterns are good, and there are a few I would definitely make, it’s the story that comes along with it that I want to sit down with. It starts with Suzan’s story of Knit Cafe, her own yarn store in California. Now, I’ve written my own plans and dreams should I ever open a yarn store and what she described exactly matched what I’d already laid out. A nice shop with lots of room for people to hang out, beautiful yarn and a cafe. You can’t beat that. Her story with shots of the shop itself, beautifully designed, dragged me in.

The Big Book of Knitting by Katharina Buss

No patterns here, just 240 pages of step-by-step illustrated instructions. With directions from everything to stitch patterns, cast-on methods, and garment construction, you can learn how to make damn near anything. It’s almost like a design your own pattern book. Say you wanted to make a sweater. Choose a stitch pattern, a collar type, a cuff type, and any other number of embellishments and it shows you how to do each with directions on how to tie them together. It makes modifications to existing patterns easy as pie. For anyone who is a visual learner, this is a how-to book that won’t confuse the crap out of you.

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Lazy is Good


I happen to love this new class schedule. It seems like every semester I challenge myself to ever more torturous workloads, I suppose out of sheer spite for college. This is different though. I had to drop a class and now I’m down to 12 hours. Just 12 hours- that’s four classes. No job. No three-hour classes. No odd hours. I honestly haven’t felt this relaxed and hopeful in a long time. I’ve always had to be optimistic despite what I put myself through. This is different. This is good. I think I’m going to shoot for this from now on. Maybe with more classes, but definitely with this kind of schedule.

So right now, I’m cruising the web, having fun playing with my camera. Admiring the plants that are still alive. Chilling out with a good cuppa and grey afternoon light. Watching the cats fall off window sills or trying to be sneaky while laying in trumpet-loud crunchy paper. Knitting slowly while I read because I’ve found knitting slowly is like controlling your breathing in yoga. Very relaxing.

Started on the second skein of yarn for the cardigan. It’s gravy right now because the back is simple. Since I refuse to frustrate myself today, I’m pointedly not looking at the sewing machine. I think I’ll have cake instead.

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Crochet Blocks and Why I HATE My Sewing Machine

Here are your blocks. Yippee.

The red is a repeat of the green because the pattern said they were different, but I don’t think they are.


I hate it. I can’t win. It is an instrument of Satan. Look at all that thread! This is why I didn’t use it for so long. Once we figured out, hey! We’re using the wrong bobbin, it was fine for a while. Now it’s up to its old tricks again. …Look at all that thread!


I finally got my sewing project to the final stages. I was sewing on all the snaps by hand- all 10- on the flaps before they were sewn on, trying to be all fancy so they wouldn’t show on the back. For nothing. I sewed them on backwards. You know when you do something stupid but all you can do is stare at it. Ugh? That’s what happened. So fine. I bought velcro and now I can’t sew the shit on! I hate my sewing machine. I’m going to burn it.

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New Project: Sweater

My mom got me a Leisure Arts Little Book called Touchable Knits. I started a cardigan pattern maybe two days ago. I’ve discovered that it’s not so much learning to knit faster as it is learning to sit still long enough to finish more than one row a night.


Knitting faster would be nice too though.

Also, working on a little sewing project in the craft room and trying for an artsy picture gallery in the living room. More on those later.

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Boyfriend Scarf


This is it. The day that all of… me have been waiting for. After countless froggings, I finally found something that worked and finished this damn thing.


I used Lion Brand Wool- one skein each of black and white. Michael’s had a felted swatch that looked so nice done on 8s. I followed their example and it took so long. For me anyways. I’m currently trying to increase my knitting speed but it’s coming along slowly. Any tips?

I did 13 color blocks, beginning and ending with black. Each had a garter stitch border. I used a stockinette/ reverse stockinette, alternating each block, to prevent too much curling. I was afraid that it would felt in a tube and not a flat rectangle. For some reason, each block leaned to the right so, put together, the whole things zig-zagged. I have no idea how that happened.


My weaving in plan didn’t work out. I left a long enough tail, so I thought, to cover those stitches where I changed color. Well, they weren’t long enough and all it did was make it look messy. It’s not so bad though and only on one side of each block.


I tried to start felting it in the bathtub because I wasn’t sure it would work the first time out in the washing machine. I can’t be wasting too much money on laundry here. Of course, all I did was make it fuzzy and sodden, so I gave up. It did turn out very nicely in the machine though. It shrunk about 2-3 inches length-wise and maybe 2 inches width-wise. I figure he’ll wash it in the machine in the future, so it can felt more if he likes.


It’s much softer than I anticipated too. Not cottony soft, but not nearly as scratchy as I thought either. All in all, a great success. I’m so ready to move on.

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