Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wallaby Love

After all my whining these past few months about the wallaby that ate all my yarn and the wee wallaby I thought I had better show you all what makes it worth it.

My guy and nephew in their matching wallabies on Christmas Eve. Coincidental, the wallaby is the ideal sweater to wear to a supper stuff meal.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Wee Bit of Snow

Brooklyn is under a blanket of snow right now and I feel a bit like a little kid on a snow day. It seems to be all I think about. Of course I am thinking about some adult snow issues like will my street ever be plowed and will the F train manage to get me home tonight but rest assured I am also thinking about fun romping in the snow. And my guy and I had a lovely mandatory snow day on Monday where we snuggled up on the couch and drank hot coco.

I hope everyone had a warm safe week. Here are a few photo's of the wilds of Brooklyn.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Last Minute Handmade Gift: the mini sweater

This is the first year in a very long time that I will be spending the holidays in the city. It will also be the first year that I will be spending the holidays with my in-laws. To mark this occasion I decided to break my only one handmade gift a year rule (you all knew I was going to do that anyway, didn’t you?)

The mini sweater ornament is one of my all time favorite holiday handmade gifts. I loosely based the pattern off of ornaments we had growing up. Because I hate sewing in ends with a passion I designed it to be made with no thread breaks and the ends can be used to sew up the sides. My families original mini sweater ornaments all have their initials beaded on the front which make them very sophisticated. But you can leave them plan or embroider something too.

As a little holiday gift to you I thought I would give you all the pattern. Once you get the hang of the pattern each sweater takes about 30 minutes. There is no gauge for this project, I use up the bit and pieces left over from other projects. I usually use a worsted weight yarn and about a size 6 needle. But Bulky is fine too or you can double DK weight. WARNING: this is an oddly addictive project!

Row 1: Cast on 14sts
Row 2: knit
Row 3: knit
Row 4: knit
Row 5: purl
Row 6: knit
Row 7: purl
Row 8: knit
Row 9: purl
Row 10: knit
Row 11: add 7 stitches with loop method, purl across 21 sts
Row 12: add 7 stitches with loop method, knit across 28 sts
Row 13: purl
Row 14: knit
Row 15: purl 10 sts cast off eight purl 10 sts
Row 16: (right arm) knit 10
Row 17: turn purl 10
Row 18: knit 10 jump over to other sleeve and knit 10 sts for left arm (leave approximately 1 ½ worth of yarn between the two arms, this will become the hanger for the sweater- see photo below)
Row 19: purl 10
Row 20: turn knit 10
Row 21: purl 10 add 8 sts with the loop method purl 10 sts of other arm
Row 22: knit across 28 sts
Row 23: purl
Row 24: knit
Row 25: purl
Row 26: cast off 7 sts knit to end (21 sts total)
Row 27: cast off 7 sts purl to end (14 sts total)
Row 28: knit
Row 29: purl
Row 30: knit
Row 31: purl
Row 32: knit
Row 33: purl
Row 34: knit
Row 35: knit
Row 36: knit
Row 37: cast off

the one tricky bit to the mini sweater is the jump over in the middle (row 18). Basically you have created two sleeves with a neck whole in the center of the sweater, by jumping over the neck whole from the right sleeve to the left you are creating the hanger for the mini sweater.

In order to assure that you have enough yarn as you hanger I usually wrap the yarn over my right hand an then pick up the sts on the left needle creating a long loop in between the two sleeves.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

CraftSanity Magazine Review

I have found myself on a quest for a new craft magazine. Recently, I have found myself staring longingly into the whole where Craft magazine once was. Don’t get me wrong, I am always excited to see Ready Made in my mailbox but it’s not quite the same. For one thing, although I enjoy reading about the projects in Ready Made I rarely want to actually go buy the table saw or other special piece of equipment required to make them. I have been looking for a craft magazine that has a wide range of projects from knitting to ukulele making with a trend towards the do-it-youselfer practical gal/guy.

Along this quest I stumbled upon CraftSanity out of Grand Rapids, MI. You can find the first edition here. The cover promises to be “a magazine for those who love all things handmade” and includes patterns, recipes interviews and other assorted goodies. It is created by the loving hands of Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood who some of you might know from her CraftSanity podcasts. It is currently sold in both print edition and PDF format.

I love that she is offering a print edition, I see the merits to selling izines but I have to say for me there is nothing quite as good as getting a lovely piece of craftiness sent to me in the mail. Plus the print version comes with an extra special bonus hexagon template and fabric.

I am excited to see how CraftSanity grows. Compared with some other indie craft zines this has a solid professional feel. The patterns have clearly been proof read and the photographs are well done. It has a little something for everyone, knitters, crocheters, paper doll lovers, bakers, quilters and even old school pot holder makers. The interviews are well done and not from the same list of crafter that you have heard from before, although she does have a bit from Debbie Bliss which is quite fun. I think it is solid choice for a beginner crafter, the projects are small and manageable, well laid out and easy to follow.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Slow and Steady Progress

I had some time this week for a moment of crafting bliss: I sat at the sewing machine for several hours and worked on my holiday quilting project while listening to an audio book. Really is there anything better than being read to while crafting?

By now you have glazed you eyes on the picture of the quilting in action and had a moments pause wondering when all those blue lines got added. Ahh painter’s tape: a crafters best friend. I really can’t begin to tell you how useful the stuff is. It is sticky without being too sticky. It is great for tacking a stencil down to a shirt, creating a clean paint line and as a quilting grid.

This is my first large scale quilting project and I needed a bit more handholding then a fading line of wash-away fabric makers. I set the grid of painters tape using my ruler and have been following the line to the end. So far so good. I know I am not the first person to use this technique and it is so easy that I know I won’t be the last.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holiday Etsy Giving

The holiday season is upon us again. What could be better than some handmade goodness? Even though I don't make everything by my hands anymore i do try to buy handmade things from crafters for my loved ones.
Here are some etsy ideas:

recycled licence plate earrings by wearwolf found here:

linen reusable sandwich bags lined with nylon from country life naturals found here

hand printed linen napkins by madder root found here

mustache pints (I own two) by bread and badger found here

darling necklace by foundling found here

upcycled skateboard necklace (i heart these, hint hint) by seven ply found here

rigmarole's lovely star ornament found here

and lastly for that cook in your life fork tshirt by xeno tees found here

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Quilt Top for *****

Several exciting things happened in my world over the long weekend post thanksgiving. 1) I caught up on sleep, not so exciting for you but really needed in my world. 2) My guy managed to straighten out our ongoing home internet problem which had left us with intermittent phone, internet/wifi (hence no blogging) for a week. 3) I finished the Wallaby to end all Wallaby’s. 4) I got started on a quilt.
For many years I spent Fall cursing my loved ones under my breath as I madly tried to make them all handmade goodies. Depending on your point of view, in the last few years, I either wised up or bailed out. I made the general decision that I would only make things for those who would appreciate it or for those who were so supper special to me that I wanted to make things for no matter what. Of course this didn’t really cut down on Mahka’s little sweat shop pre holidays because most of my loved ones fall into one if not both of the categories above.

But truth be told I wasn’t having that much fun making so many super special things in such a short time. So I stopped. Now I only make one thing per holiday season, sometimes I make more but mostly I stick to it. So far so good, I don’t lose my mind pre holidays and I get to put extra attention into the project I do pick to make. As for my other gifts, I try to buy things only from small crafters via shows or etsy so everyone in my life still gets something made with love and my money goes to supporting people that do good stuff.

This year the gift is for: ***** Okay, I am not going to tell you yet. I am going to do what I can, while still blogging about it, to keep it a secret. Thank you in advance for being understanding.

Last weekend in an afternoon of the great crafting stars ailing just right I managed to make the top and with the extremely appreciated help of super crafter Molly I got it sandwiched an pinned too. I followed Oh Fransson’s advice on making a quilt sandwich, which can be found here. Her technique for rolling the top and batting onto the back is fabulous. It went a lot smoother than usual.

Next up: machine quilting!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Great Wallaby Revealed

I guess I am officially married. What, you think that happened over a year ago with the shoes and all those people? Well you might be right but I think I sealed the deal late Sunday night when I sewed the last end into my guys Wallaby. It is official I made a sweater for boy! It must be serious!

For those wondering about the yarn shortage crisis, I alternated the new sheep and wool yarn with the last of the original. I alternated every two rows instead of one because I was at the opening for the neck working in stockinet st back and forth rather than in the round. It worked fairly well. I can still see the change but I think that may be my super crafter powers. As you can tell from the above pictures I haven’t seen it in the light yet.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sweet and simple.
I finished my postcard for the swap this weekend and it is traveling to the UK as we speak. I spent some time pondering this card, and actually I was going to go a totally different route with old metrocards as buildings. But something about a stitched postcard spoke to me. And after I received my lovely postcard I knew I needed to stitch it. My guy things it is pretty funny that my cards sentiment home sweet sewing machine is all hand stitched except the edge. I kinda like that about it.

Please don’t judge me for my embroidered script! Half way through stitching the back I realized that I have spent far too many years writing in block letters and can’t remember how to make that crazy extra loop for the r. I fear I have let my mother down- she has a drawer full of palmer penmanship awards.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Post Card Swap

A few weeks ago I signed up for this postcard swap. It is a great idea where you make a handmade postcard for your swap partner; you also get a handmade postcard! The theme for the cards is "home".
Well B of Sweet Limes is a heck of a lot faster then I am and I already received this yummy bit of craftiness. Aren’t I lucky!
A few weeks ago I signed up for this postcard swap. It is a great idea where you make a handmade postcard for your swap partner; you also get a handmade postcard! The theme for the cards is home.
Well B of Sweet Limes is a heck of a lot faster then I am and I already received this yummy bit of craftiness. Aren’t I lucky!
Well B has inspired me to get cracking and I have been stitching away for my postcard recipient. I hope to have it finished up in the next day or so and in the mail by Monday. I know you all can’t wait to see mine but you will have to wait until I am done, no peaking. In the mean time check out B’s sight here, it is a worth a visit or two, or three…

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Trouble with Paint

The precise conundrum I seem to be in will not be fully appreciated by the world wide web unless we all calibrate our monitors to register the exact same color. This is the only way I can guarantee that you will truly see my problem.
My problem: I keep picking the same paint color. I blame my modern architect father who taught me that white has many shades and who needs more. But seriously, I keep picking the same color. Three different brands and names: pilgrim haze, silver strand, cold steel. Perhaps the trouble is that paint names have nothing to actually do with the color they represent.
To be fair, they are not the exact same color. Our hallway, the first to be painted is a lovely pale blue. Our bedroom the second room to don a coat of paint is darker, although in the same family. But now there is the paint I bought for our bathroom. I didn’t want to go too far, I was looking for a nice gray with a bit of blue in it. And I found it, except it is pretty darn close to the others just a bit paler. And so it seems I am no longer allowed to buy paint in the blue/gray range. Clearly I have a problem. Do they make support groups for this?




Friday, November 5, 2010

Too Intense Revisited

I came home early today to stare at the bookshelf. Actually, I was a bit under the weather and came home in the interest of keeping my germs to myself. But I ended up staring at the bookshelves.

I got a letter from my biggest blogging fan, my adopted grandma Avice. She said I either needed to stop staring at the bookshelves or mix things up a bit. Not staring at the bookshelves might be a good idea but I can’t seem to stop, so mixing things up sounded good. Actually covering things up sounded even better. For a while now I have been wanting to put up more pictures of friends and things that make me laugh, but committing it to the wall has seemed a bit to permanent. Committing it to the bookshelves is perfect. So here is a start. My plan is to eventually have a whole host of pictures, big and little, all framed rotating on our bookshelves. If I can’t stop myself from staring at them at least I can stare at things I like, right? Right!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Last Day of Blogtoberfest

Well I almost made it. We had dinner with my inlaws last night and somehow in my mind I thought I would be home early enough to blog something interesting for the second to the last day of blogtoberfest. Instead I came home full and content and promptly fell asleep. So I guess I owe you all two posts today.
I feel a bit like a lousy crafter because I don't have any Halloween type things to show you. Maybe it is because I don't have kids, or because I grew up in the west village, the hub of all Halloween craziness, but I have never been a huge Halloween party, costume oriented kind of girl. I promise for post two to try to think of something spooky.
Until then I thought I would share a post summer picnic napkin making moment of bliss I had the other morning. I meant to do this at the beginning of the summer. I bought some fat quarters of this great material but some how it also made it to the bottom of the heap. So in the midst of preparing our outdoor space to be winter ready I made some summer napkins.
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Friday, October 29, 2010

Too Intense?

I have been thinking that our world is too cluttered. I decided that maybe some of the problem is that our bookshelf is now directly across from our couch in the living room. Why is this a problem you ask? Because I now stare at it all the time.
I keep looking at photos of other people's apartments and their bookshelves and they don't seem cluttered, why do mine?
I think it might be our bookshelf. It is large and has no back which means a lot of negative space. So I decided to do something radical and go vertical.
I am not ready to pare down my books anymore, or get rid of them all together but I don't pull them out all the time anymore either. So vertical isn't too much of an it too intense?
My other idea is to build little shelves or boxed in areas. What do you think? Too Intense?
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

I Heart These

I have been lusting after these bangles made by Lynda Slade at sew new things. They are made from old knitting needles that she heats and bends. I think they are lovely.




Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Quilt in Action

A good night sleep, some band aids and these great pictures was all I needed to get back on the blogging band wagon. Thank you all for putting up with my disgruntledness. Actually I have really been enjoying blogging on a regular basis. I thought I would run out of things to tell you about but it turns out I still have more things on the list.
It takes a bit of work to figure out how to fit blogging into my regular life. This is especially true because since signing up for blogtoberfest my computer and blogger decided they didn’t like each other so I haven’t been able to upload photos directly from my home computer. This has created a somewhat crazy scenario of my e-mailing photos to myself and having to go to another computer to upload them. And if you all want things spelled somewhat to standard English language it means having my hubby (my god when did I start calling him that?) edit my blog before posting. You may notice that sometimes I post with misspellings and repost corrected texts. So if you really are bored and looking for amusement you could swing by my site and read the same post a couple times and see how it has changed, dear god that sounds boring please don’t do that.

I wanted to show you all some pictures of Amelia playing on her quilt. Cause really is there anything better than seeing crafting in use? A very special thank you to Liz for taking these pictures for me. Thanks Liz, you rock.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Blogging Blues?

Okay, I may have hit a blogging wall. Blogging every day is harder than it looks. I know, I know I have made it look so easy up until now. Well today was a long day, followed by a nasty blister and a crazy bus ride, I won't whine too much though. Instead i thought I would show you one more Sheep and wool find. I went bin diving at a rug stall and came up with these great scrapes of felt. I am thinking about making a felt scarf with raw edges out of it, or maybe several cause I kinda got a lot.
I am off to early bed and I promise to be more chipper tomorrow :)
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Monday, October 25, 2010

On My Needles

Sorry there is no picture today, rather a quick note before I turn into a pumpkin.
Tonight on my needles: my guys Wallaby. What's better then picking a project back up after some time away? The look of happiness I got from my guy when he realized I was working on his project.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Paint Chip Magnet Tutorial

Last week I was making some magnets to put into a belated birthday package. I had all my magnet making supplies out for three little magnets so I started looking around the apartment for other things that might want to be immortalized into magnets. And that is when I stumbled upon upcycled crafty goodness: paint chip magnets.

I think ever crafty person has a bunch of paint chips wandering around their stash. How can you resist the colors and those crazy names like Banana Cream Pie and Red Hot Chili? For those who haven’t made magnets in the past here is a little tutorial.

You’ll need:
Paint chips (with good names)
Diamond Glaze
A brush you don’t care too much about
Glass blanks
E6000 adhesive (you can also use diamond glaze)
I ordered the glass blanks, magnets and glue off etsy but I am sure you can pick everything up at a good craft store.

Last week I was making some magnets to put into a belated birthday package. I had all my magnet making supplies out for three little magnets so I started looking around the apartment for other things that might want to be immortalized into magnets. And that is when I stumbled upon upcycled crafty goodness: paint chip magnets.
I think ever crafty person has a bunch of paint chips wandering around their stash. How can you resist the colors and those crazy names like Banana Cream Pie and Red Hot Chili? For those who haven’t made magnets in the past here is a little tutorial.

1)      I cut the strips into individual colors. This makes it a bit easier to hold and less chance of getting glue all over the place.
2)      Coat the back of the glass blank with diamond glaze and align the glass over the portion of the paint chip with the name. Apply some pressure to make sure that the surface of the glass is making contact with the paper.
3)      Let dry, approximately 4 hours.

    4)      Cut around the outside of the glass with a xacto knife.

    5)      Attach magnet using E6000 adhesive or more diamond glaze. Make sure you space the magnet a fair distance apart or they will actually pull together leaving you a sticky mess.

That’s it. Super simple and perfect for those who can never quite figure out what color to paint their house.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Yarn Bangles

I came across this great idea the other day at See Me Knit. I have a huge box of little odds and ends of yarn that I can't quite throw out but that really are pretty useless. Most of them are even too small for a row of a Baby Surprise Jacket. I guess if I ever wanted to knit doll clothes I would be set, until then I will just have to make these knitted bangles.
I picked up the plastic bracelets for a dollar at a thrift store. I am pretty sure that if I was anywhere other then NYC they would be a dime but here a dollar seemed as good as I was going to find. Then it is a matter of knitting a long strip and sewing it around the bangle. Pretty neat.

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