Posts Tagged 'crafting'

Knitting: Miami vice socks

Crockett and Tubbs’ wardrobe (from the 80’s show, not from the remake/movie), have nothing on these….


I knit up a small pair of Adult Socks by Deirdre Wallace using Regia Flusi das Socken Monster yarn (1800 zottel), and dubbed the pair “Miami Vice sunrise“. These will go in for a soak, then once they’re dry, they get stored in the gifting drawer for later on in the year. It’s taken me a little under 6 months to knit these, mostly because certain holidays (that I thought would be the deadline) and then family moving, and other family events got in the way. Interestingly enough, these socks are the right width in front for me, but too long, with a somewhat different heel from the one I normally do, even though they’re “small”. The recipient has slightly larger hands, so I’m guessing… and if I’m wrong, I’m wrong. When I named them, I almost called them “Tequilla sunrise”.

Counting down the hours

It’s the last day of 2014, and we’ve:

Sunset on the first day of January 2014.

Sunset on the first day of January 2014.

  • Sent out charitable donations
  • Sorted the clothing closet (found some shirts that magically fit again)
  • Made ham soup with beans and squash cubes
  • Made a new batch of granola

Unfortunately, I’ve caught a cold so I’m staying indoors away from crowds.

I am holed up with tea, and reading The Women by TC Boyle (a novel about Frank Lloyd Wright and the women who surrounded him, or got sucked into his strange world through obsession or plain luck (good or bad, you decide). So far, it’s interesting, although a I’m a bit put off by Wright’s character and the narrator’s introduction.

Normally I’d want to be at a museum today, but I’m staying in. I’ve been exploring museums online, looking at examples of needlework. For instance, The American Museum in Bath, England (difficult for me to get to, but someone else in the UK might have a wonderful time) is putting together an exhibit that looks lovely. When I worked in the museum industry, people loved exhibits that dealt with mourning clothes, or wedding garb, or christening dresses and gifts. This one explores all three with historic costumes and quilts.  Another resource for needlework is the Permanent Collection of the Embroiderer’s Guild of America. I’m inspired and daunted by the floral basket on black silk, which was stitched by Edith Martin, circa 1890, and eying details of the National Tapestry Project (the fox is great). I’m also intrigued by this online exhibit about the lacework of St. Gallen (I did not know about chemical lace before).

So, I’m entertaining myself with the last day of the year, and gearing up for a new one to come. I wish all of my blog visitors a happy and healthy 2015.

Shopping small day 3: for artists

My local art store (Utrecht) has changed its name to Dick Blick art supplies, but shopping there still feels a bit more intimate than a big crafting store in the suburbs. I look at the Aquarelle Arches paper, and my heart skips a beat (no, I don’t need more. It’s worse than my inability to leave sock yarn in a store.). But grown up artists and dilettantes (and young artists in preschool) all need:

  • Sable brushes are nice and these look luxurious for watercolor work (the set I want is out of stock, Santa).
  • I don’t think I’ve ever used badger brushes for any of my oil painting. But synthetic bristle brushes are sturdy, and offer flexibility for young students who are just starting to choose either oil or acrylic (set of 3 brushes). Round the set off with a stack of disposable paper palettes, a palette knife, and you’re done.
  • Drawing and sketching pencils, colored pencils, sharpeners in funny shapes. Consider jumbo crayons that are easy to grip for young artists (great stocking stuffers).

Other local art stores and craft stores: Artist and Craftsman. Love them. I’ve been to their Philadelphia branch and their Baltimore one. Service at both was excellent, and the ones in Baltimore were able to explain which things I could get as a gift for a young person who wanted to try cartooning. Shopping for people who do pottery can include lovely time poking around at: Clayworks Supplies (three locations or online), or at Dick Blick — shaping tools are helpful and welcome to potters and sculptors. Happy hunting!

Modern artists and craftspeople

These days, when everything seems to be going digital, there are people still working time-honored crafts, wielding a paintbrush, or creating pottery. They’re creating art, and managing to make a career or vocation out of it.

Recent finds:

  • Check out Pellinore Press for their Greeting cards. There’s a lovely one of two owls, made with wood engraving.
  • An artist in London is crafting cans of Spam and sticks of Wrigley’s Chewing gum out of felt to stock an abandoned corner shop. Read about Lucy Sparrow’s Corner Shop at FastCoDesign.
  • Detroit has a Craft Map. No, honestly — this is seriously cool. Check out Handmade Detroit for info about where to buy supplies, meet indie artists, and more. (Do other cities have the same thing? Let me know!)
  • If you’re ever in Racine, Wisconsin, visit the RAM and its fabulous American Craft Collection. Prints by Frank Boyden are really amazing, and on view until early June.
  • J.M. Syron and Bonnie Bischoff create furniture inlaid with polymer clay. It’s more interesting in real life, but worth a visit to their website.

I’m sure there are artists and craftspersons in every city putting their brushstrokes on the world. These are just a few things that I noticed. I’ll probably be focusing on Spring in the next few days. We might have seasonal weather, someday. The snow’s almost gone, at least.

For crafters who are Whovians

What does this remind you of?









Do you think, if I bought some from the local fabric store, I would be able to make it into a bubble skirt to look a bit like one of these bug-eyed creatures? And could I work up the nerve to wear it to a Halloween party? (My crafting moves with glacial slowness, so thinking about this in August isn’t that strange.)

Making mud pies

I’m off making mud pies… well, actually it’s a clay class.
Unfortunately for me, my first effort looks rather like a blonde version of the cauldron in Lloyd Alexander’s The Black Cauldron.

So, now I contemplate if I should fire it in the kiln and see if trying cool glazes will make me think less of it as an interesting exercise.

And… I’m making more mud pies. Maybe pictures once something is done.

Crafting Hall O’Shame

And now a few quick notes from my hall of shame of bad ideas and lack of willpower to say “no, there isn’t enough time in the day”.

  • Someone once asked me 1 month before Christmas if I could do a crewel embroidered pillow for her. Since I was short on cash, this seemed like a great idea, because I could get the supplies fairly cheaply (it was the printed pillow front with backing in plain cotton, then I bought cotton yarn in two shades and the pillow form). Note the name of the type of needlework — crewel. Talk about a seasonal killer. I did get the pillow done, but had no joy in giving it, because it ate up EVERY part of the season and I was stitching while in a theater watching the Nutcracker, while baking cookies, on my lunch breaks, etc. (BTW: a crewel pillow is a lovely gift for Mom’s Day, so you have time to start one now to give on May 11th. It just takes time if you’re dealing with fussy yarn/embroidery floss; in my case, more time than 2 weeks.)
  • I still have a cross-stitch, full-size Christmas stocking “in play”. This is the WIP to end all works in progress. Apparently I have a very low tolerance for stitching with the thread provided in the kit (it includes a plastic glittery floss for snow), and purposely somehow I “lost” it in a move across state lines.
  • Beaded cross-stitch, even in a mini kit, can take longer than a large project, because you spend so much time with a flashlight trying to find the beads that escaped. ‘Nough said.
  • Deciding you’re going to do lots of hand-painted ornaments for someone is great. But not if you haven’t thought through what happens when balsa wood gets painted on one side only — eight tiny warped reindeer. I think you need to paint the backs of the ornaments too, in order to avoid this. But I just pitched them, in all their rippled glory.
  • Deciding at midnight before Christmas Eve that you’re going to wax the floor, and then make lots and lots of cookies using a fussy heirloom cookie recipe may have more to do with floorwax fumes than actual planning.
  • Decopauge done in a hurry results in a beautifully lacquered box with slightly decapitated cupids on the lid. One even lost part of its violin.
  • Decopauge done in a hurry also results in hair adorned with bits of glue and a paper violin. Not the look for Midnight Mass.
  • If you’re underweight and someone asks you to help them with a circular sander for finishing the top of a table for their mom, JUST SAY NO — especially if you’ve never used a circular sander before. Now is not the time to learn.
  • If you’re better at crocheting accidental cat toys (ie, if you make a mistake and decide, rather than teasing it out and fixing the problem, to snip the yarn and toss the crocheted round for the cat), you might not want to announce that you’re making crocheted snowflakes for everyone this year. Just keep very quiet and claim you’re “learning” or “playing” with the pattern.
  • Of course, there are all the knitting projects I suddenly start right around Thanksgiving, with the best of intentions. Rabbitch has a better post about Christmas Knitting here: Rabbitch’s Blog. And of course, the YarnHarlot has a schedule that she’s “sticking to”.
  • I’m sure I’m in the process of starting other projects way too late. It’s my modus operandi as a crafter — totally delusional. But I’m an enthusiastic victim of a condition I call ADAP–attention deficit about projects. If it’s shiny and new, I start it.

So, has anyone else have any time crunch projects that Hall O’Shame had a hand in? Feel free to leave a comment/confession. 🙂

Gone Loopy

Well, feh. The Amazonian sock-in-progress did not like all the air travel back and forth to Kentucky. Loops have fallen off the needle(s!) like leaves from an autumn tree. Lets look at this a little closer.*

Look to the right. See those loopy things that look like part of a noose? (Hey, it was just Halloween… I’m still on ghoulish overload.) Each of those little loops were supposed to be traveling along, happily, on the needle while in transit in my little knitting sack within my backpack. (No knitting happened on either part of the airplane ride, because I was sandwiched like a sardine in the middle seat, and didn’t want to run the risk of poking anyone with an elbow.)

This was the dispiriting sight I saw in the early hours of Wednesday morning (I was hoping to work on the sock at lunchtime). That said, the cold weather is really motivating me to finish this sock. I did get the little loops back on the needles, and I only had a few moments of stress when I had to take two of the loops back off the needles and switch them (they’d gotten twisted out of order).

So, if anyone out there has any hobbies they’d like to share… what are the setbacks you’ve met while “enjoying” your hobby? I’ve done evil things with decopage (one headless cupid applied to a box), ripped an edge on a stencil when I was halfway through with stenciling a repeat around the top of a room, sewn my finger with a sewing machine in Home-ec (still have the gingham apron they made me make), and split a  woodblock in printing class. How about you?

*I figure there has to be something that isn’t focused on the USA election out on the Web (besides all the wonderful ex-US blogs that talk about everyday life and their regional politics). In the case of this blog, it’s dropped stitches.