Friday, January 16, 2015

Just off the Needles

The alternation of yarns for cowls, scarves, and shawls has really captured my heart this winter. Here are two recent additions to the shop.

First up is a pretty shawl of two different luxury yarns. The lightweight one is a two-ply alpaca yarn, and the heavier weight one is wool blended with silk and cashmere. It super soft, and can also be worn as a scarf. The color is perhaps pear custard or perhaps dijon mustard, depending on your taste.

Knit Shawl or Scarf by KnotChaCha

This next item would be a great Valentine's Day Gift for someone in a cold climate. It's a pretty cowl knit of wool/acrylic blend in a variety of pink colors.

Hot Pink Cowl by KnotChaCha

Monday, January 12, 2015

Found: Golden Globes for Knit and Crochet

While watching the Golden Globe Awards on television last evening, I spent some time searching on Etsy.

With the search terms golden, globe, and crochet I found these cool bead crochet earrings:

Gold Globe Earrings by Donauluft

Here are the results for the search terms golden, globe, and knit--some pretty stitch markers

Stitch Markers for Knitting by Gerschubie

and a pretty shawl slip:

Golden Globe Shawl Gem by TixTrinkets

Friday, January 9, 2015

Crochet Covered Stones: The Paintings

While searching for the best Etsy examples of stones for the last post, I happened across two Etsy artists who have made fantastic paintings inspired by crochet-covered stones. Follow the photos' caption links to each artist's shop.

Watercolor Painting, Mauve Crochet Stones by ArtistaStyle

Watercolor Painting of Crochet Stacked Stones by ArtistaStyle

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Crochet-Covered Stones

Honestly, I have never done this, but it looks so cool--yarn bombing river stones with pretty crochet. Check out these rocking specimens from Etsy!

Red Crocheted Lace Stone by KnotByThreadAlone

Cactus Crochet-Covered Stone by TableTopJewels

Blue Flowers Crochet River Rock by KnotKnotShop

Lace Stone Pebble Beach by astash

Crochet Lace Stone with Curlicues by Laughingneedle

Crochet Lace Flower Stone by Monicaj

Pretty Posie Crochet Lace Stone by Laughingneedle

Tribal Crochet Stone by KnotByThreadAlone

Wouldn't this be fun?  What if all of us who crocheted made a few and left them lying around in the city or on the beach for people to discover. It would probably brighten their day!

Crocheted Linen Lacy Stone by LineStudioRG
And if you don't crochet, you might consider a purchase from one of these talented sellers on Etsy. Then keep the stone yourself, or leave it somewhere.

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year Moon in the Khan's Kingdom

Sometimes a simple word or phrase or a series of unrelated things leads you down a surprising path.

For example, last week I came upon a pretty photograph of the moon, taken by Ginger at Ginger's Photography and titled "New Year Moon". This happened during a search for ideas for a treasury to enter in a weekly challenge that is held by one of my Etsy teams.

The inspiration item for the challenge was a beautiful hammered copper and silver leaf-motif ring with a leaf-shaped garnet setting. It was created by JooniJewelry.

Something about the two items, the new year moon and the striking garnet ring, and the fact that Mr Cha Cha and I have been watching Marco Polo on Netflix, started me on an imaginary trip to the kingdom of Kublai Khan.  Here is the resulting collection of items I gathered on Etsy:

Hope you enjoy this little journey to the land of the khan. To see the actual treasury with clickable images and details, click on the photo.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Same Fiber; Different Projects

In November and December I finally put new inventory in my shop. You see, I was frantically knitting my way through grief again. After each of my parents passed away, knitting became a solace.

This series of items are all from the same type of fiber in similar colorways. All were fun to make and cheered me.  The cowl, or infinity scarf, unwrapped:

Vineyard Celebration Cowl

It was designed to hug the neck closely, so it is practical in cold weather. Don't you get annoyed with cowls that hang down too far and do nothing to protect your neck from the cold?

Here how it looks wrapped twice around the neck. Compact, snuggly, soft, and warm.

Then, there had to be the scarf/wrap version. Same design only longer, and no weaving together of ends for me. Hooray! I could just knit and knit!

This scarf is knit in stockinette stitch (jersey). You have to continually switch sizes of knitting needles to accommodate the two different yarn weights if you do not want the thinner yarn to have large holes like in scribble lace. This is the same idea as scribble lace, but, the scarf's thicker yarns create a denser product for winter warmth.

The thinner yarn for these two projects has sequins. (Love them!) They cheered me up while knitting, and if you are knitting your way through grief, you get help wherever you can.

Because the scarf is jersey knit, the edges tend to roll towards the back. You can shake it out from the long sides and wear it as a shawl or wrap:

Finally, this twisted rib scarf was made by alternately two different colorways of the fat yarn every two rows. Same idea as Brooklyn Tweed's Noro Scarf, but a much thicker and softer yarn and cool twisted stitches. One of the colorways was the same as the one used in the Vineyard Cowl and the Vineyard Scarf.

Twisted-Rib Colorplay Scarf

It's fun. Super thick, soft, long, and skinny. I may need to knit one for myself.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Counting Inventory and Taking Stock

The title of this post describes how my new year begins, and it's how the old one ended last night.

Raw Materials

Finished Goods: The Giverny Cowl

Taking inventory is an organized, controllable event. Taking stock is not.

You may have noticed my glaring absence in the past year. You might even have given up stopping by here because there were never any new posts. How to win you back is one of the things on my list in the "taking stock" category.

First, a little explanation.

In the spring of 2013, my elderly mother finally decided she wanted to move to Portland. After lots of refusals to come here, she finally decided, in her eighties, that she wanted to leave my home town in the Midwest, where her whole life had been centered. At the time she lived in the best continuing care facility in that town, and it had taken some doing to arrange her residence there. Oh, and she had some serious health problems.

A lot of you might use good common sense and encourage someone in that situation to stay right where they are. But some of you, like me, my sister, and my brother, would feel like you must move heaven and earth to make such a relocation happen.

You will be spared the details of our six months of planning, the next 10 months of our personal caregiving, and the sorrowful last two months of end-of-life care. The remembrance of every day in the past year is still so vivid in my mind and the pain of losing Mom three months ago is so raw, that I cannot speak of it, and you, dear reader, likely have your own grief to process or problems to solve.

So that's why my absence from this blog, why no new things got added to my Etsy shop for a year, why pageviews for my Etsy shop have plummeted, and why it's a perfect time to take stock of things.

How to move on? That's a good question for us all at this time of year. We examine our beliefs, relationships, career, and health. We set goals for the new year and make promises that we try to keep for a while.

It's still a little mystery how I will continue with this blog. What will be the content? Should I write more tutorials, or should they perhaps go in a newsletter for those who are interested in them. Should there be more writing on costume history? Information about Oregon?  Current fashion opinions? It feels like I've lost my voice, so there may be some experimentation. I'll need your feedback.

Happy New Year! I'll be here counting until it's time for the Rose Bowl game. (Go Ducks!)

Monday, September 1, 2014

New Fiber Print Magazine: Knit Wit

If you are a fiber enthusiast, you might want to check out this kickstarter campaign for a new biannual print magazine called Knit Wit. For only $20 you can become a backer and receive the premier issue in November. Act now, because the campaign only lasts through September 10.

Here is the description of the magazine from the kickstarter campaign page:

Knit Wit is 108 full-color pages of inspiring photography and immersive text. We’re constructing a place where readers can dive into the dynamic and rich world of contemporary fiber and textiles, whether they’re enthusiasts, masters or newcomers.
The Knit Wit format is similar to what you would see in most lifestyle-driven magazines, seen through the lens of the fiber art and craft community. Each issue of Knit Wit features market shopping pages, interviews and Q&As, photo stories and editorials, essays and travelogues.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ready for a New Year? You Betcha!

Wow, some years can really knock you on your butt! This was one of those for me. There have been many demands on my time with many obligations to fulfill. It's not been a year to remember with fondness.

Happily, a new year begins tomorrow, and rather than dwelling on the challenges of the past year, I want to look forward with hope to the next one and express thanks for the good things that came my way:

  • My elderly mother moved to Oregon and now lives nearby. I have gotten to spend quality time with her and with my brother and sister. 
  • Some wonderful customers found their way to my Etsy shop, purchased some lovely one-of-a-kind items, and left marvelous reviews.
  • All the extra hours I've had to work at my day job this year have provided some needed income.
  • There are still quite a number of you who stop by the blog in spite of the fact that I've written such a scarcity of posts this year.
  • Mr. Cha Cha has been my absolute rock, especially today when we found our sweet Samba had passed away.
May your new year be blessed, and never give up hope.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Regaining Equilibrium

It's going to be a hot Saturday today in Portland. (There are so few of these hot days here anymore that it's easy to forget how the sun can quickly go from comforting to blistering.) I am not a sun fan when it gets over 85 degrees. According to the weather projections, I might get a little cranky over the next few days if not indoors.

Today I am working on a machine knit shawl, a hand knit hat, and two bracelets between recycling some beautiful emerald green cotton yarn, making a red quinoa salad for dinner, juicing some raw beets with apple, celery, kale and lemon, grocery shopping, and planning a salmon BBQ for dinner.

The quinoa salad became a metaphor as it was being made. You can put just about anything in red quinoa and throw some dressing on it and have something yummy. You don't really need a recipe--just grab what is on hand and looks good. Toss it in there and you have made meta-art out of nature's artistic bounty.

Today's salad started with a cup of cooked red quinoa. Also in there:

1/2 apple (leftover from the beet juice I was making)
3 radishes, finely chopped
3 small tender ribs of celery from the heart of the stalk, finely chopped
4 or 5 tablespoons of organic chia seed (Whole Foods 365 brand)
1/2 orange, peeled and diced
1 handful of dried Montmorency cherries (dried cranberries work well, too)
1 small (2-inch) red spring onion, thinly sliced and diced
2 Tbsp of fresh lemon juice
1 medium-sized cooked beet, diced
4 oz. (approx. 1/2 bottle) of Cherry Balsamic & Rosemary vinegrette*

* made by Lucini Italia

Life has been throwing some unexpected ingredients my way lately. That's why I haven't been blogging for a few months. My mind has been busy thinking of ways to blend life's ingredients into something not only palatable, but also tasty. You probably know the old saying about what to do when life gives you lemons.

You are owed a tutorial and a giveaway. So stay tuned.