Monday, June 29, 2009

Celebrations & a Dress

I hope you will forgive me from skipping out on posting last week, my husband defended his PhD thesis in Chemistry and there were many celebrations to be had! Here he is, just finished and looking pleased as punch:

I'm so proud of him.

And since I'm posting a photo of him, I'll post one of myself in my new shirred dress:

I put up a video on making a shirred dress a few posts ago and finally got around to making one the other day. It was an incredibly simple process, though working with the elastic thread was... interesting. However, I really like how the dress turned out and will probably make another one soon, despite the annoyance.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Crafts On My Mind

Since I'm devoting all of my knitting time to the cardigan, I thought I would share some of the other crafty things that I have been thinking about recently:

Needle Felting

I just purchased a Clover 5-needle felting tool and am having lots of fun using it on my small stash of felt. I'm amazed at how incredibly simple and quick it is to fuse felt pieces together (and even put felt onto other fabrics). The hardest part about making the flower pin below was actually cutting everything out! I'm excited to explore the other things I can do with this tool.

For more info on needle felting, here's a nice tutorial from Betz White.


I think that I'm on a mission to learn about all of the fiber arts. Having just crossed off weaving and needle felting, I'm ready to tackle embroidery with a little help from Jenny Hart at Sublime Stitching. I just picked up her Stitch-it Kit and can't wait to get started!

An Inspiring Book

And lastly, I thought that I would share a very cool book that I found recently, My Favorite Felt Sweets. It is a Japanese (translated) booklet on making plush desserts out of felt. Even if I never make anything out of this book, it's worth having it as eye candy!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sewing A Shirred Dress

Ever since it got warm here in Madison, WI, I've had dresses on my mind. This soon led to pondering how to make a very simple, summery dress using my small stash of cotton fabric. I thought that a shirred dress would be the simplest to make (it is just a big tube with rows of elastic near the bust), but I did not know of an easy way to sew in all of that elastic. Enter CRAFT blog's recent post on elastic thread!

And since I found the included video to be so helpful and interesting, I'm posting it here for you!

Expect to hear more about this as soon as I acquire some of this magic thread!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Sweater and The Sweater Maker

This seems like a perfectly good time to cast on a sweater. I just got over my knitting funk, I need a challenging project that is not my lace shawl, and I recently purchased three skeins of Cascade Eco Wool. Really, this is all the Eco Wool’s fault—all 478 yards per skein of this gorgeous, comforting 100% wool. This bulky yarn is such a great deal at $15 per skein, but when Webs was practically giving it away for $10 a skein during their anniversary sale, I really had to exercise restraint and only buy 3 skeins. So with bulky yarn in hand, I went looking for a pattern.

Bulky yarn is a difficult weight to plan with, as your average bulky sweater can make you look like a giant woolly pillow if you are not a size 0 and eat only celery. But thanks to Ravelry, I hit upon a nicely shaped bulky cardigan from Winter’s Twist Collective: the Vivian cardigan. Designed by young Scottish knitter Ysolda Teague, this pattern makes use of cables and waist shaping to make a flattering and beautiful sweater. I’m only 12 rows in and I already have big plans for this sweater (including converting the hoodie to a stand up collar).

And not three days after casting on this sweater, I found out that Ysolda was state-side and planning to visit Wisconsin! So last Saturday, I rode my bike over to my nearest yarn shop and met the designer. She is really a stunningly beautiful woman with absolutely beautiful knitwear designs, many of which I was able to see (and feel) in person at the event. I got to try on my cardigan-to-be and even fell in love with a few of her patterns that I had never seen before. And to top it all off, she autographed a copy of Whimsical Little Knits, her new pattern booklet which I purchased at the event! I’m now even more excited about this cardigan and can’t wait to try out some of her other patterns.