Archive for the ‘sewing’ Category

Ok, I know I’m lame, but I’m finally getting around to posting my contributions to the Sweater Surgery book. (Disclaimer: I purposefully blurred out the instructional text because of copyright issues. Besides, that way, you can go buy the book. 🙂 Or, if you’re interested, I’d be willing to teach any one of these projects at your shop or party. I also teach knitting and dyeing.)

Book Cover

The instructions are just for the Twiggy Headband (page 63)…it’s the rainbow colored one. The other two headbands are featured in the book’s Gallery section on page 131 and do not include instructions.
Twiggy Snow & Ski

Nine-to-Five was also flashed in a quick 1-second clip on DIY Network’s “Uncommon Threads.” Originally, my friends and I were also supposed to demo this project, but the producers realized that they didn’t have enough time, so we just worked on Shelly.
File Cozy

Everyone loves the Hippie Chicks! I came up with the idea when I was experimenting with dyeing a recycled angora sweater. I love the way the publisher styled Opal and Sunshine. Recently, I sold both of them to a very cute and enthusiastic Taiko drummer named Susie.
Hippie Chicks

Violet Flower was such a labor-intensive project. Well all of the featured projects are, but this one takes the cake with the size ratio. This is made from a recycled, upcycled sweater sleeve that I felted. Then I dip-dyed it (not as easy as it seems because you have to hold it to get saturation and try to control the colors to make sure that it seemed more fluid), hand-stitched the purse and the lining and did the embroidery edges. Each petal is also individually laid out and sewn. The center of the flower also is the closure.

Shelly has an extra cameo on page 14, and has her own Gallery photo on page 127. I had posted about Shelly before and my experiences on Uncommon Threads in September 2006 (Geez, has it been that long?)
Shelly again Shelly

These two hats (page 130) are featured in the Gallery section as well and do not have any accompanying instructions. Gwlana was originally intended to be an artsy-ish woven bowl, but then Zona commented that it could be cute as a kid’s hat — and I agree! Cosmopolitan is made from cut pieces of a felted wool sweater. I used the texture of the sweater fabric to create interest in the hat.


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Since I forgot to photograph the Hunter’s Orange hat that made for Linh’s husband, she took some for me. It turns out that Nick’s head is huge. I had already made it big, but apparently I erred.

Being a hunter who grew up in a village in Arkansas, I guess I half-expected that I’d get a photo of Nick posing. However, this photo really makes me cringe and uncomfortable, no matter how much I love Linh and Nick. That’s one large hunting arrow — too big for this former 10+ year vegetarian who still has problems eating some meat.

On a lighter note, my sister and her friends were sweet enough to model the reversible headbands they had bought from me. Thanks!!

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Just when I thought I was finally nearing the end of my recovery from Aubrey’s wedding, I got hit with some crafty deadlines.

First of all, the wedding, veil, and flowers all turned out fabulously. Of course, the bride was glowing, gorgeous and flawless. We were all relieved and elated that the famously klutzy bride did not fall or trip on the uneven grounds of the nature preserve — not once! Whew! Seriously, this is a lady who trips on air on a flat level surface. However, the bride did not lose a special Aubrey touch: She lost her garter, which slipped off her leg somewhere, and she lost an earring, which she later found with a flower from her bouquet inside her bra.

Above: me and Linh. I don’t have any photos of the gorgeous arrangements. I hope Linh blogs them soon!

Above: The knitters! It was really nice seeing some of the knitters dressed up for a change. We rarely see each other looking spiffy and not covered in yarn and fiber fuzz.

Soon after the wedding, I realized that I had an upcoming deadline for a contest that I wanted to participate in. Did I ever mention that I’m trying to do something for an Etsy contest? I had originally planned on entering the 3 maximum allowable entries per person, but it looks like I will only be able to do one before the June 15 deadline.

As I was planning out the contest entries, the author of an upcoming book on recycled sweaters contacted me about some of my project/idea submissions. She and her editor liked the things I submitted and they requested that I send them finished projects and descriptions ASAP. So I spent the week after the wedding getting the projects finished and mailed off. In all, I think I sent in about 6-7 projects. From what I can tell, it appears that the book will be some sort of anthology of projects from various crafters/artists. Hopefully, they will select at least one of my projects.

Wish me luck on both (I think the Etsy contest is a longshot though.)!

Things finally appear to be slowing down a little from the recent flurry of miscellaneous crafty activities. Maybe now I’ll have more time to devote to knitting and spinning. I haven’t done much of either. I had been making great progress on a double knitted hat and was near-ready to decrease. Then, I realized that my image was not right. I failed to check as I knitted and knitted. What’s more is that I lacked foresight in planning the design image, so I ended up with a backwards design on one side. *sigh* That’s the Zen of Knitting.

Not having time to knit also means no time to spin — I still don’t think I have more than 6 yards of the alpaca lace I started nearly 4 weeks ago. I DO have some new spinning-related news though! I will keep you all in suspense until I can photograph the great news. 😉

Well, before I get to do more spinning and knitting, I do have to do more sewing. I need to make more headbands for the shop. In the next couple of weeks, I will also be making more of my Fortune Cookie purses (like this one I made for Aubrey) for the shop and for two custom orders I received at the wedding.

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My apologies to my swap pals for being a little slow to post the goodies I’ve been receiving. I received this earthy-color themed package from my Secret Pal 10 swap pal a couple of weeks ago. I absolutely love the fancy fabric, and the colors of the cashmere yarn! The chocolate is also to die for — I actually bought and ate a couple bars of this chocolate when hubby and I went to Belgium for the Soccer World Cup last summer.
From my Dye-No-Mite swap pal, I received an adorable and thoughtful card with cute and furry sheep on it.

Since Aubrey’s wedding is fast approaching (this Saturday!!), I’ve been helping her with wedding sweatshop (photos here) and other wedding things. I just finished making her chapel length veil, made of silk chiffon trimmed with a rat tail lace at the bottom and a pearl and rat tail trim to match her fancy lace dress. Aubrey hired my friend Linh, who’s staying with me, as the florist, so we’ve been running flower-related errands as well. The wedding is days away, and I still have yet to alter my bridesmaids dress. I have to shorten the straps and take it in near my armpits. Luckily, the empire waist means that I don’t have to take in the rib/waist as well. I had to buy a size larger to accommodate my abnormally endowed bosom, which my friend Tedd claims that I stole from all the other Asian girls we knew in college.

As far as my other crafty activities, I’m trying to be an overachiever and spinning lace weight alpaca as my 3rd spinning project. Needless to say, the yarn keeps breaking on me — I keep underspinning or overspinning and somehow failing to spin somewhere in between. This spinning project is testing my patience and tolerance! I don’t think I have more than 15 yards on the spool at this point, and I started about a week ago.

I’ve also been dyeing the past two weekends. Last weekend, I painted some yarn and rovings for by of my swap pals in the Dye-No-Mite swap and Secret Pal 10 swaps. I also handpainted and listed this in my shop:

Then, this past Sunday, I hosted my 5th Wine, Dye and Knit party. No one got drunk, but my klutzy talents did not fail me — I spilled half a bottle of red dye on my blonde bamboo floors and all over Robert’s (from my knitting group) shoe. Oops! Luckily, I didn’t spill on anyone else — I guess it was a good lesson on what not to do for the 3 dye virgins that came. I’m fortunate that only one tiny spot on the floor turned a little pink, but it’s barely noticeable. I’m actually pretty proud of myself because this is only my first major dye accident.

And last but not least, I finally remembered to photograph the purse I made for Aubrey’s bridal shower gift.

The inside has 2 pockets, 2 magnetic snaps and a key ring hook.

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If Only for a Moment

I woke to this morning to find one of my items featured on the front page of Etsy. Unfortunately, being on the front page can last from a few hours to 1-2 days, and I think mine was a few hours. It’s no longer on the front page, and I failed to capture the image. Darn! Here’s the image of the collection that was featured though:

Lately I have been sewing away, not just in Aubrey’s sweatshop, but also in my own. I’ve spent the last 2 weeks designing and tweaking a couple of purse patterns. I made one for Aubrey, but I forgot to take photos of if before giving it to her.

These two bags below are for my godmother and my stepmother. I decided to let them decide between the two of them which one they want:
"Gigi" tote  w/ paisley lining
"Gigi" bag with paisley lining
"Gigi" tote w/ paisley lining"Gigi" tote w/ paisley lining

"Fortune Cookie"
"Fortune Cookie" bottom view"Fortune Cookie"

I’m call the first design “Gigi” and the second one “Fortune Cookie.” I currently have another “Gigi” in the same striped outer fabric but with a fun martini print lining in my etsy shop.

I also made these 2 headbands for the shop, but of course, I also made 2 additional ones for myself to wear. 🙂

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Unfortunately, that’s not his name. His name is Cinnamon, and he’s a bonafide camera hog. Cinnamon (right) is one of several llamas that Aubrey’s future mother-in-law has on her property. The news on the grapevine is that Cinnamon and all his friends are due for a haircut soon. You know what that means, right? Llama fleece and fiber to play with and spin!! Lots of fiber! The other llamas are pretty friendly as well, or so they seem. I was a little wary of making any sudden movements, because getting spat on by a llama is certainly not on my to-do list.

This past Thursday, hubby and I went to a Galaxy game with JayJay and her spouse, and my friend Linh and her spouse. It was in the middle of a sudden cold windstorm, only we were all too stupid to bring a jacket. If it weren’t for all the freebie t-shirts, we would’ve frozen. It was a nasty windstorm that knocked out the power in many areas. We really could’ve used a llama fleece for warmth! While the boys enjoyed the game, the girls without the sexy David Beckham to oogle, turned our attention to knitting — well, as best as we could with our frozen fingers. JayJay and I both worked on baby hats, and Linh (right) worked to finish her very first knitting project, also a baby hat.

Halfway through her visit Linh decided that she wanted to learn, so of course, I was more than happy to oblige. She wants to be able to knit clothing and accessories for her future children. She’s a pro already– here stitches are all pretty even and she really only dropped a 3-4 times. Not bad for a first time, especially working on dpns!! And as you can see to the left, Linh resorted to wearing her unfinished baby hat due the sharp winds. Good thing wool is stretchy!

As far as my own recent crafty endeavors, this past week, I made 3 baby hats for my inventory stockpile for future craft fairs. I’m otherwise stuck in between knitting WIPs. I ran out of one of the yarns for my entrelac stole, so I can only admire it in its unfinished state for now. I’m also working on a lace stole for a friend, and am attempting to write my first lace panel design. We’ll see how that goes — it doesn’t seem very promising at this time. If I am itching to knit, I guess I could always try to tackle the many old UFOs….nah!

In shop activity, I also recently listed these:

Left: Reversible fabric headband featuring different Asian prints on either side. Right: Fabric -covered buttons

Left: Fabric covered keychain with a genuine Indonesian batik fabric. Right: A fully lined and stabilized wristlet clutch with 2 interior pockets.

Left: Another Liana kit in Hot, Hot, Hot! colorway. Right: A Dye-No-Mite Surprise Yarn pack. I’m offering people a handpainted yarn package deal If you buy, what you get will definitely be at least 25% less than buying it separately. Details here.

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Needle Organization

As I get more involved in this “little” hobby of mine, I have discovered that my needle supplies need better and more efficient organization. When I first started knitting, I made this needle roll below, which was more than suffice and fit all my stuff rather well. It was made of various remants I had from my curtains.

Then when I joined my knitting group, I needed something portable, so I made this green one out of some sari fabric (bought on ebay) and some batik (bought in Indonesia). The white thing in the picture is velcro, so that I can keep little things like cable needles safe, but also be able to take the pouch out.

But as my “little” hobby grew, my needles started falling out of my larger needle roll and my travel one started becoming overflow storage. I also had a problem of always needing to search and search for the right sized needles. Whenever I tried to look for needles, everything would get caught in the circulars and selecting needles was like playing your luck in the lottery. Also, I had to sprawl out to do this so my needle roll took up prime real estate on my sewing tables. I needed something better. The first thing I did to solve that problem was to make a holder for my circulars. This one below is a prototype, but the idea is to hang it on a wall or hanger with the grommets. I need to make a better one.

Well adding the circular needle case to my organization still did not help much, as you can see below. All this obviously does not include all the needles on the many many UFOs any dedicated knitter has.

So, I decided to make a better needle roll for all my straights and DPNs that could be portable, if needed, and save surface real estate. The orange dotted one was the prototype, but I had made the pockets a little snug for the more commonly used sizes, where you’re likely to have duplicates. This prototype now belongs to Aubrey, who desperately needed something to help her organize her needles.

So after making some adjustments, here’s the final one. Yay! It has pockets low enough to fit both 5″ and 7″ dpns, and pockets wide enough to fit extra pairs of same-sized straights. The roll accoommodates a full set of needles sizes 000-19, up to 13″ in length. Now, all I have to do is make a pattern out of the specs I used for this so that I can make some to give friends and to put up on my etsy shop. Ooh gotta go shopping for more fun fabrics too. Yay!

Here it is hanging on my craft room wall. The little zippered pouch is detachable.

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