Monday, February 01, 2016

New Directions in Sock Knitting

It thrills me to no end to announce that today, February 1, in bookstores everywhere, you can pick up this fantastic new sock knitting book, chock full of marvelous designs "knitted from every which way"!

New Directions in Sock Knitting - Cover
Photo courtesy of Interweave publishing

Inside its pages, you'll find such wonders as Crystalline - a cuff-down sock designed with biased stitching and interesting angles to mimic the faceted growth patterns of rock crystals. And who designed it, you may ask? Why, it was me! That's right! A for-realsies, paper book with my name in it!

Crystalline SocksCrystalline Socks
Photos courtesy of Interweave publishing

But wait, there's more! A second pattern by yours truly in the very same book! Meet Cumulus - a modular, toe-up design that brings to mind billowy clouds and plays ever so well with semi-solid, tonal colorways.

Cumulus SocksCumulus Socks
Photos courtesy of Interweave publishing

So what are you waiting for? Hop on down to your local bookstore, or order your copy on Amazon now!

Disclaimer: I have already been paid for my designs and will receive no royalties from the sales of this book. I just really think you'll like it. :)

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Leather and Wool

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen a teaser of this project last weekend - a black and white houndstooth, 100% wool, men's suit jacket which I got for free via my local Freecycle group a couple years ago.

Houndstooth Messenger Bag - Before

You see, I've been using my upcycled leather fold-over messenger bag almost exclusively since I made it back in August. But there have been outfits which I've felt, despite my growing comfort with mixing brown and black, really needed a black bag instead of a brown one. And though I have a couple black handbags, what I really wanted was an over-sized bag that could carry all my stuff - cell phone, wallet, car keys, house keys, sunglasses, phone charger, earbuds, knitting project, lip balm, lotion, nail clippers, emery board, feminine hygiene products, pen and paper - you know, the essentials. I had seen tote bags on Pinterest made of men's suit jackets, so I thought, why not get a little fancier and make a messenger bag instead?

Houndstooth Messenger Bag - BeforeHoundstooth Messenger Bag - Before

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Totally Rad

Last week's denim and lace project got me thinking about another denim jacket patiently waiting in my refashion closet for its turn to shine. This vintage Levi's jacket from last autumn's clothes swap was in pretty good condition other than the dirty and damaged collar. The sleeves were also a little baggier than I would have liked.

Denim & Leather Jacket - BeforeDenim & Leather Jacket - Before

I started brainstorming about how I could replace the collar and sleeves while salvaging the body of the jacket, and then it hit me. Leather! So I pulled out this long black leather skirt from last spring's clothes swap and set about recreating a Veda X Madewell jacket I saw on Pinterest.

2015 Spring Clothes Swap Haul

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Denim and Lace

Some of you may remember this white denim jacket, which had some unfortunate stripey action going on until almost two years ago when I introduced it to a bucket of bleach. Sadly, and not surprisingly, I think the bleach probably weakened the fabric, and one fateful day, rrriiiiiippp went the side panel when I raised my arm. Not to worry! I've got a too-tight lace tee that'll fill in that hole nicely.

Lace Panel Denim Jacket - BeforeLace Panel Denim Jacket - BeforeLace Panel Denim Jacket - Before

Sunday, January 10, 2016


Apologies, dear readers, for my absence. I'm afraid the hustle-bustle of the holidays and an acute case of The Plague (or maybe it just felt like it) have kept me away from the blog for a couple weeks. I'm feeling much better now though and plan to get back to your regularly scheduled programming soon. But first! Knitting!

Exsanguine Shawl

Take a gander at my newest knitting pattern, the Exsanguine shawl, now available for purchase and download through Ravelry. Its upside-down hearts and aptly namely colorway - "My Bloody Valentine" - call to mind the darker side of human emotions. So whether you're commemorating the upcoming anniversary of the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre or secretly dreaming of that guy who dumped you on February 13th last year meeting a slow, painful death, you can do so in style and warmth with your very own Exsanguine shawl.

Exsanguine Shawl

Or hey, maybe you'd like a cheerier accessory for upcoming holiday of romance. Worked up in a solid red or pink, the lacy heart pattern would take on a whole new aesthetic. You could even use a fun rainbow gradient yarn to celebrate the USA's first Valentine's Day with nationwide marriage equality! #LoveWins!

Exsanguine Shawl

Span: 48 inches
Height at center: 19 inches

Vice Blurred Lines [80% merino, 20% nylon; 457m/500yd per 150g skein]; color: My Bloody Valentine; 1 skein
US #6/4mm needles
Tapestry needle

20 sts/32 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch


Exsanguine Shawl

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Craftmas Part Four: A Little Something Eggstra

The final piece of the holiday puzzle was what to hang on the tree. Since our dog seems to have a proclivity toward eating glass, I knew my ornaments needed to be shatterproof. I remembered some plastic Easter eggs that have been in my craft stash for years now. I don't even know where they came from originally, but I thought they would be a nice alternative to the glitter encrusted shatterproof ornaments I'd seen at the craft store. Because, seriously, why does everything have to have glitter on it? I picked up some silver spray paint while at the craft store, using my 50% off coupon. When I got home, I realized I'd probably need to use a primer to get the spray paint to properly adhere to the plastic, so back to the home improvement store I went. I grabbed a cardboard box, to contain any over-spray, and headed out to the driveway.

DIY Christmas Tree Ornaments

I sprayed the eggs with primer, waited for it to dry, rolled them over, sprayed again, waited some more, rolled again, sprayed again, waited, until finally they were well-coated with primer. Then I repeated that process with the silver paint.

DIY Christmas Tree Ornaments

Once the paint was completely dry a few days later, I pulled out the drill and the tiniest drill bit we have - 1/16" - and made a small hole in the bottom of each egg since I intend to hang them upside down in order to minimize their egg-ish appearance.

DIY Christmas Tree Ornaments

Then I grabbed a handful of paper clips and started making my hooks. I bent the inner loop downward, then used my flat-nose jewelry pliers to straighten out the small end, and finally used my round-nose jewelry pliers to make a tiny hook at the bottom. Each tiny hooked end was inserted into the tiny hole in an egg, and they were all done!

DIY Christmas Tree OrnamentsDIY Christmas Tree Ornaments

I started with four dozen eggs, but once I got about half of them all the tree, I was afraid any more would start to look a little overwhelming. So I placed the other half of the eggs in a big glass vase as a table decoration.

DIY Christmas Tree OrnamentsDIY Christmas Tree Ornaments

To fill the blank spaces on the tree and add some variety, I quickly converted some snowflake tins to ornaments as well, using more paper clips for hooks. My husband runs a small business and bought Amazon gift cards for their largest clients. However, he wanted to give them out with company swag, so I got to keep the tins! Happy days!

DIY Christmas Tree OrnamentsDIY Christmas Tree Ornaments

Well, it took me until December 24th, but I think our house is finally ready for Santa's arrival!

DIY Christmas Tree OrnamentsDIY Christmas Tree Ornaments

The keen observers among you may notice the tree topper is not quite the 8-pointed star I showed you how to make last weekend. Cute as it may have been, it just wasn't big enough for a tree topper on our 6-foot tree. So I made a 12-pointed star to replace it. I still only had 2-inch long wooden beads though, so the points aren't quite as pointy compared to its overall size, making it look more like a ball than a star, which I actually rather like.

DIY Christmas Tree Ornaments

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Craftmas Part Three: A Star Is Born

What's a Christmas tree without a star, right? I'd seen a nifty Himmeli-inspired tree topper on Pinterest and thought I could DIY something along those lines from materials I already had on hand. I dug out these 2-inch long wooden beads, originally salvaged from a thrifted placement years ago, along with some fishing line and a pair of scissors, and I got to work!

Himmeli-Inspired Tree Topper

I cut a piece of fishing line about 2 feet long, strung two beads onto it, and slid them to the center (top left corner of photo below). Then I threaded the two ends of the fishing line (denoted by blue and red arrows) through a third bead in opposite directions. A fourth and fifth bead were then added, one on each end of the fishing line. And finally, both ends of the line went through a sixth bead in the same direction.

Himmeli-Inspired Tree Topper

I then folded this shape in half and tied the two ends of fishing line in a knot around the fishing line between the original two beads.

Himmeli-Inspired Tree TopperHimmeli-Inspired Tree Topper

I repeated this process to make a second pyramid, and then repeated it again for a third one.

Himmeli-Inspired Tree TopperHimmeli-Inspired Tree Topper

I placed two of these pyramids next to one another and threaded a new 2-ft piece of fishing line through the adjacent legs of each pyramid as shown. Then I added four more beads following the same pattern as above.

Himmeli-Inspired Tree TopperHimmeli-Inspired Tree Topper

These last few beads were folded upward and the fishing line was tied in a knot around the same corner where the original pyramids' knots were (green circle). Then I rotated this piece so the newest pyramid was pointing to the left (green circle still shows where knots are) in preparation to join the third of the original pyramids.

Himmeli-Inspired Tree TopperHimmeli-Inspired Tree Topper

A cut another 2-ft piece of line and threaded it through adjacent legs of the large piece and the third pyramid as shown. Then a new bead was added across the top of that triangle.

Himmeli-Inspired Tree TopperHimmeli-Inspired Tree Topper

I added three more beads in the same pattern as before and knotted the fishing line at the bottom to complete this pyramid.

Himmeli-Inspired Tree TopperHimmeli-Inspired Tree Topper

I rotated the whole piece to close up the ring of pyramids following the same pattern as each of the previous pyramids.

Himmeli-Inspired Tree TopperHimmeli-Inspired Tree Topper
Himmeli-Inspired Tree TopperHimmeli-Inspired Tree Topper

To add the uppermost point to my star, I got a new 2-ft length of fishing line and threaded it through the inner triangle of the top edge as shown. Then three new beads were added, following the same pattern as before.

Himmeli-Inspired Tree TopperHimmeli-Inspired Tree Topper

I knotted the fishing line at the opposite corner to form the last pyramid. All that was left was to clean up all the bits of fishing line sticking out. I simply threaded each of them into a nearby bead and snipped the excess at the other end.

Himmeli-Inspired Tree TopperHimmeli-Inspired Tree Topper

In the end, I used 33 beads total. I decided not to add an 8th point on the bottom of my star, so it will sit nicely on top of my tree, but you certainly could if you wanted to do so.

Himmeli-Inspired Tree Topper
Himmeli-Inspired Tree Topper