Friday, September 30, 2011

Frightening Hair Day

Nightmare fine art print by Jennifer Jacobs at EstroJennDesigns

And you though you were having a bad hair day! How would you feel if you had spiders, birds, ships, and whole villages in your hair?

Check out the entire collection!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Misty Dream Collection and Some Good Reads

Will You Dream of Me? print by chanyeevon on Etsy

There is a lovely collection of items that is perfect for this time of year that I found on Etsy. It's misty and grey just like it is in the Pacific Northwest in the winter months that lie ahead.

Grey & Black Semi-circular Shawl by MadelinesWardrobe
Wouldn't you want to curl up with a good book while wrapped in this pretty shawl?

Knee High Socks in Dove Grey by Pick Candy Studio

I'd also be wearing these lovely knit stockings to keep warm and I'd be drinking a cup of deliciously spiced hot chai.

Ruffled Linen Bag by sraige

Out of my bag I would pull ones of these two books that are currently on my nightstand:

Both of these books are excellent reads that are delightfully perfect for Fall. They are a little spooky without being downright bone-chilling scary. Neither gave me nightmares and both are magical. They will take you down misty roads of your imagination.

Spooky Road Print by Maddenphotography

Check out more items from the collection curated by Gemlali.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Current Darkness in Art

Have you noticed it? Been attracted to it even?

Creepy Doll: Red Queen Alice Wonderland by CreepyDolls on Etsy

On a recent stroll through our favorite Labor Day weekend art show in Portland, Mr. Cha Cha observed that a lot of the art there was creepy this year, and I said that for a few years now I have noticed the same thing happening on Etsy. There seems to be ever more and more ghoulish photographs, prints, sculptures, dolls, etc. Movies and television shows have also been trending toward vampires, ghouls, zombies and worse.

That started a discussion between us about whether this might be a sign of the times. Perhaps in troubled times or periods of uncertainty, artists create more morbidity in their work.

What do you think? Have you noticed this creative creep toward darkness? Any idea why that might happen? Do you find it edgy and attractive? Do like your dark art straight up or do you like it served with a little humor?

1950s Housewife with Grenade Killer Jello by thestapella company on Etsy

(With Halloween coming up, I'll be featuring some artists' work that you might find a little scary. I'll try to balance it with some Fall features of some more cheerful creations so we all don't get nightmares.)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

More Swatching

You've got to learn to love making swatches if you want to design knitted or crocheted items. I don't really love it, to be honest, but I am learning to like it because is saves time and heartache in the long run.

Some hand knit and machine knit swatches.

When you are knitting someone else's pattern, you make a little swatch (4 inches square at a minimum) because no two people knit or crochet at the same tension. Even on a good day, you might not be able to match the tension in a project that you had when you were working on it the day before. That's because we can be looser or tighter with the hooks and needles depending on our mood and physical state.  If you want your garment to come out the right size after spending all that time knitting, it's a good idea to make a swatch. Maybe even two.

In general, I tend to knit tightly and usually have to go up a needle size or two to match someone else's pattern gauge, and if I am tense or hassled or tired, even three sizes bigger.

Machine knit swatches are faster to make but pile up quickly.

Okay, it makes sense to swatch someone else's design, but why do you swatch your own? Well, the ideas that seem the greatest in your head don't always end up working out so well in the hand. A swatch will show you where your thinking was off and help you to modify a design idea.

Accessories are often smallish in nature, and it can be argued that one might as well make the whole item right off; however, if you are making anything larger than a breadbox, or even a toaster, a swatch is a good idea.

Swatch for a current project that's way bigger than a breadbox.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Wandering Head Model Returns

Valerie's back!

What a girl. She spent her summer cavorting around Europe with the circus midgets. Sounds like they had a wild time! (A whole lot of partying if the truth be told.)

The little ones joined up with a small three-ring venture in the Czech Republic so Valerie had to make her way back home alone. They were sweet enough to ship her by Federal Express with plenty of packing material so she got back quickly and safely.


After having fallen in love with Budapest, Prague, and Bucarest in Eastern Europe, Valerie is newly enamored with Bohemian fashion. She went straight for the chevron scarf when she got back--before even saying hello. In the photo she is also modeling one of my "Seedy and Twisted" caps in a yummy grape color. Course it's been hot here, so she didn't keep them on for long. (Good thing. I snagged them and put them in inventory while she wasn't looking.)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Day After Labor Day

It's the first day of my psychological year.

The day after Labor Day always brings a feeling of excitement and expectation. The origins surely go back to grammar school. Putting on that newly purchased school uniform and holding the pencil case full of fresh supplies sent thrills through my little Catholic schoolgirl body.

vintage plaid uniform : SCHOOLGiRL eggplant maroon at shopREINVINTAGE on Etsy

Was it like that for you? Did you play "school" with your friend for weeks ahead of time? I liked to play the teacher and give directions, often assigning math homework before the art projects could be started. Such a little tyrant.

Purple Bicycle Echino pencil bag by NeedfulWishes on Etsy

Such aliveness is in the world today. Don't you feel it? It's the day of fresh starts and new possibilities. More the beginning of the year than New Year's Day. Do you agree? What is appealing to you about the day after Labor Day?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Giveaway Wrap Up: the Winners!

Winner Handstamped Necklace in Sterling Silver by Marybeadz on Etsy

Congratulations to Moonlitfantaseas and Lorraine whose names were drawn out of the hat today as the winners for this year's giveaway and a big thank you to everyone who entered!

Please come back for next summer's giveaway, and stop by anytime during the year to see what's happening here.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fall Finished Goods & Last Chance for the Giveaway!

If you have not entered the drawing for the giveaway of two knit wraps, be sure to enter today before 9 p.m. PST (midnight on the East Coast.) I'll draw names and post a winner tomorrow.

You were promised some photos of the finished items from the last post, and here they are:

These bangles are the first batch of Autumn ones to come off my crochet hook. Fall colors are my favorites because they are intense and sensual. Can't wait to make more!

One can not rave enough about baby llama roving! It is way softer than a baby's butt. Most spinners would probably spin this up thinner, but I really wanted a super bulky yarn from it. The finished yarn is about 6 wraps per inch with only 85 yards from 7 ounces of  fiber. Although you cannot tell from the photo, it's thick and ropey--but unbelievably soft. It is destined to be paired with a lace weight yarn (yep, you heard right) in a luxurious winter scarf.

And finally, the Sangria Chevron Scarf:

If Missoni worked with bulky yarn, would they create something like this? I am not sure, but this scarf was inspired by them. It has eleven different yarns, six of which are my own bulky hand-spun color-twist yarns and five are solid-colored bulky commercial yarns. It's wildly bohemian, but super warm and cozy. 

Valerie just got back from her summer in Europe and had to try this scarf on immediately. There will be some photos of her next week. Boy did she have some adventures!

Thursday, September 1, 2011


My work table in the TV room holds an ever-changing variety of projects that I can manage to work on while watching television when I need a break from the studio. If Mr. Cha Cha is not out being a DJ for a dance, he joins me to watch a movie or a cable special. We just finished Season 3 of the Tudors. (We are a bit behind as Season 4 has already aired.)

Two days ago this is what was the table's end-of-month work-in-progress.

A colorful chevron scarf made out of a variety of my hand-spun yarn and some leftover bulky wool. This one will really be warm and cosy.

There was also some yarn in progress. The spool on the right has one of the plies that was spun from the most incredibly soft baby llama fiber that I bought at the Sock Summit marketplace. 

There were also four spools of Autumn-colored beads ready to be crocheted into bracelets.

It is almost all completed. Next post I'll show pictures of the finished goods. 

Don't forget to sign up for the drawing in the giveaway of two knitted wraps.