Friday, 30 November 2012

Sweater Heaven

Someone once told me that they would never buy me a sweater (say, for an all important holiday that happens to be coming up soon) because they know I could knit something similar or better. I was so saddened by this because while I could probably knit any of these yummy sweaters above, it would take ages and cost a fortune. I find myself thinking the same thing when I'm browsing shops, and the result is that I have maybe three sweaters in my entire collection. I have set down my cabled aran jumper that I'm so hoping will be finished by the holidays to work on a baby cabled cardi for a coworker. And as long I have projects on the go for other people, my sweater knitting need will go unfufilled. So friends, family, dear husband... feel free to buy away!

1.  Acorn Intarsia Jumper
2.  Proenza Schouler Sweater
3. Komodo Crema Cardigan
4. Marsha Animal Print Jumper
5. Lottie Sweater by A.L.C.


Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Crochet Peter Pan Collar

Detachable collars. A thing of the 80's? And the 60's before that? Perhaps. But they're back. And I just made one! I'm not sure how I'll style this yet. Not being a huge fan of crew neck anything, I don't have many of the right tops that could be accessorized with a collar. But now I have something to watch out for in charity shops. The pattern is by Emma Escott and is available as a free Ravelry download. I used some leftover Debbie Bliss DK cotton in a soft champagne colour that I picked up at Loop in London a few years ago. This isn't exactly a stash busting project, but it's a good way to use up about 20 grams or so. And it's quick! Incidently, those the last photo is of the curtains in my bedroom. I wasn't sure about them at first. They were put there by my landlord. But I'm really loving them and their vintage funkiness right now. I find myself staring at them blanking while I daydream and scheme more crafting projects, so they must be calmly inspiring.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Ikat Cushion Cover

I did a bit of sewing this weekend, as I'm on quest to expand my eclectic collection of homemade cushions. This cushion cover is sewn from a lovely woven ikat fabric that I picked up at John Lewis on Oxford Street a couple of weeks ago. The fabric was originally intended for a cape that I'm dreaming of, but I read the pattern envelope wrong and didn't buy enough yardage. So now it's a pillow! And I added some embroidery for extra eclectic goodness.

I love all of the embroidered pillows at Athropologie and would buy every last one of them were I rich. But I'm also having fun fabricating my own stuff too. I envision my eventual pile of colourful cushions on my eventual distressed leather sofa. Said sofa has not been found or purchased, so I've taken pictures of my latest creation on my bed once again. No one would want to see our existing sofa - the mint brocade monster that was left behind by our landlords' last tenant!

I'm very grateful to this tutorial on how to sew a cushion cover with a zipper featured on Design Sponge. This was my first attempt at putting in a zipper, and it would have come out swimmingly were it not for my ambition to also include a bobbly border! I actually purchased the funky trim several weeks ago at Sew Vintage in Wells. I seriously love that shop and encourage you to visit if you're in the area.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Knitted Sugar Skull

Halloween came and went with very little excitement this year, but I am looking forward to Dia de los Muertos. More closely related to the Catholic tradition of the All Saints's and All Souls Days than to Halloween, the Day of the Day is a Mexican celebration that "scholars trace the origins of the modern Mexican holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl." That is according to Widipedia. Iconogrpahy associated with the holiday has become popular - sugar skulls, dressing up like a calavara (skeleton) for Halloween. And somehow the celebration has spread to Glastonbury, England, where we intend to join the party if my stomach bug will go away! Read more about the holiday and check out the line up of events in Glastonbury here.

There were so many great Halloween competitions this year that I fully intended to enter. Pumpkin carving - we never even got around to carving the pumpkin, much less entering it into a contest. So now I'm gathering recipes for pumpkin muffins, and I might preserve some puree to have on reserve when the shops run out after Christmas. Canned pumpkin seems to be scarce in these parts anyway. Please recommend recipes if you have them!

The month came and went, and I didn't manage to finish my little sugar skull creation until Wednesday night, literally at the 11th hour. She is based on Chauncey, a felted skull pattern that is available on the Tangled Laces blog or as a free Ravelry download. Rather than felting my lady, I knit her up in chunky wool with double pointed US 9 needles. She is stuffed with the innards of a cheap grocery store pillow that I bought when the nearest haberdashery was a 40 minute bus ride away.

Yesterday I blogged about overcoming my fear of following crochet patterns. I enlisted the help of a coworker, who kindly let me borrow her copy of 100 flowers to knit & crochet by Lesley Stanfield. All of the patterns in the book are given in words as well as charts/diagrams. I can only follow words when it comes to crochet! Most of the flowers used for this project came from that book. I just sort of free handed the rest - including the crochet eyes, the knitted nose, and the stitched mouth and tattoos. 

She might not get entered into any competitions this year, but my little sugar skull has encouraged me to crochet more - and to start amassing a collection of holiday decorations! When one makes a trans-Atlantic move and then house-shares for as many years as I did, one tends not to collect holiday decorations. So now that Olly and I are more settled in Somerset, I'm going to be holiday crafting up a storm. Watch this space!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Tea and Mollie Makes

Here's a quick post today. I'm recovering from a frightful Halloween tummy bug, and thank goodness I have plenty of crafty goodness around to keep me occupied at home. After months of drooling over Mollie Makes at the local shop on my lunch break, I finally treated myself to a copy. Any disposable income we have goes towards bits and pieces for the house, trips to London to support Olly's music habit, and materials to support my crafting habit. So to just read about crafting is luxurious! I believe a subscription has already been added to the Christmas Wishlist.*

This month Mollie Makes featured a crochet coaster pattern and supplied the cotton yarn and a brief introduction to crochet stitches as well. Now, I can crochet in a sort of freehand way as you can see from some of my posted projects. I'm sure I was taught at summer camp or something. I can also follow an American pattern in words. But put one of those diagrams in front of me, and I freeze! I really want to conquer my irrational fear of crochet though. So I was grateful for a chance to practice my skills on these adorable coasters. They made up in minutes, and they gave me the confidence to add some crochet details to the Dia de los Muertos project that I will reveal tomorrow on the blog! Thank you Mollie Makes.

*Note to self: Email all blog posts to husband in December.