Wednesday, September 26, 2012

One Man's Trash is Another's Treasure

Have you heard of the Little Free Library project? It's a project that started in Wisconsin but has sites across the country. The idea behind the project is that people put a little cabinet filled with books out near their sidewalk and their neighbors can borrow and exchange books. It is nothing formal, just book sharing based on good faith that you'll bring the book back or exchange it for another.

I passed by the Little Free Library near my apartment one recent evening and, on a whim, checked out the selection. Happily, I found this little gem of a macrame book, Macrame: Creative Design in Knotting. Needless to say, this book is staying with me and I left a different book in the library as a repayment.

Macrame is one of the fiber arts that is terribly out of fashion right now, having gone through a heyday in the 1970's. Still, I'm really intrigued by how you can use knots to make fabric. There must be a way to utilize macrame without making a project look kitschy or dated to the 70's. It's an interesting challenge.

Despite never wanting to make anything in the 1970's macrame style, I find the photos of such projects in this book endlessly amusing. What's not to love about a macrame poncho? Just don't ask me to wear it.

So I'm enjoying my 'new' book on macrame. The book contains a nice blend of techniques and delightful examples, so it's part tutorial and part 'inspiration'. I'm not sure I'll ever use any of this information, but I'm enjoying learning about the technique in the meantime. And maybe someday I'll find an interesting modern application for macrame.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I wrote about being an obsessive crafter a few months ago and am proving that to still be the case with my latest obsession: Colette sewing patterns. I just finish my second Colette design, Sorbetto, and have now finished pattern number three, the Sencha blouse.

This project was a fun one because it was my first time working with silk. I learned that silk charmeuse is fussy to cut, reasonable to sew with, frays very easily, and doesn't like to be ironed. I would have loved to make my seams more crisp (especially the seam around the neckline), but didn't for fear of melting my fabric. I also learned that you need to use a small, very sharp needle when sewing with silk or else it will snag. Boy did I learn a lot.

I also brushed up on making buttonholes, which is something I vaguely remember doing once upon a time. (I used these two tutorials to refresh my memory on making buttonholes.) Unfortunately, I have no special buttonhole features on my sewing machine so I had to adjust all of the settings on the fly. The buttonholes came out well, though I had to rip out and fix parts of 3 out of the 5 of them. :-\

This blouse was a slow-and-steady project, though at times it was a comedy of errors. I definitely sewed one of the front ties into a seam, which took forever to rip out without damaging the fabric. I also wore this at work for a few hours before realizing that I never finished the bottom hem. Hopefully, now that it's done I can just enjoy wearing it without worrying something else crazy will happen to it!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I married a wonderful man. He gave me the most perfect birthday gift this year: plants and dirt. It's not a glamorous gift, but it is just what I needed to finally build the terrarium I've been dreaming about for almost a year. My beautiful glass house from IKEA has been waiting empty for far too long.

I used this guide on building a terrarium as the basis for assembly. Most of the ingredients are straightforward and easy to source--rocks, moss, dirt, and succulents--but husband made a special trip to the pet store for activated charcoal, which keeps the water clean. I love how beautiful all of the components look layered in a glass vessel.

Husband actually bought me enough supplies to make two terraria and I was lucky that my gallon-sized jar was no longer needed in the kitchen. Now I have two lovely terraria to add some happiness to my apartment! They are so beautiful already, but I might add a few figurines as finishing touches; I can't help thinking that a couple tiny dinosaurs would be right at home among the succulents.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Sherbet Lemon

I finally finished the Ysolda wristies I've been working on for months. The pattern is Sherbet Lemon worked in the luscious Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk. I honestly can't wait for it to be cold so that I can wear these mitts and my new cowl. I have so much soft knitwear to keep me warm this fall!

I'm in love the cable on this pattern. The beauty of the cable actually makes me overlook the few issues I have with the fit of the mitts. Perhaps my gauge is off, but the gloves are a little loose throughout and I find them rather short--they hardly cover my knuckles, which I find slightly annoying. Despite these deficiencies, their beauty and wear-with-all cream color means that they'll probably get a lot of wear once it finally turns cold.

This might be my last knitting project for a while, as the fall semester starts this week. It's my final big semester and a bit of a push for me. I hope to get a little crafting in edge-wise, but apologize ahead of time if my posts aren't as regular as usual over the next few months. Thanks for understanding.