cowl countdown to christmas week 4: button up cowl


welcome to the final week, everyone!  i’ve had a lot of fun knitting from the hip, so to speak, for the last few weeks, and you have no idea how happy it has made me to get your comments and feedback.  to know that i’m in some way helping people realize the joy of knitting and handmade gifting (for yourself or others) is awesome–i told you, knitting is easy!  and so rewarding!  i foresee this becoming a tradition, and i’m already thinking up other series we can complete together in this space.  suggestions strongly encouraged! (more…)

cowl countdown to christmas, week 3: criss cross cable cowl


so, now that you’ve got two weeks of fairly simple construction under your belt, are you ready to amp it up a little for week 3??  i knew i wanted to do some sort of cabled cowl, and after a few false starts, this is what i went with.  if you’ve never cabled before, don’t be intimidated.  i took a million one-handed pictures (that’s hard even when you’re not holding knitting needles) and am going to walk you through it every step of the way.


a simple wreath

wreathcollagebefore this project, my only experience with wreath making was as a young child, ambling around michigan wilderness with my dad cutting down dried grapevines.  that probably wasn’t legal, but such are the risks we take in the spirit of diy.  fortunately, that clever martha put out a version in her november 2012 issue of living that requires no breaking of laws or wielding of knives, and won’t die at the end of the season.  all you need is: (more…)

cowl countdown to christmas, week 2: mustard seed cowl


are you mustarded out yet?  i promise, PROMISE this is the last time i talk about mustard here for awhile.  i just had so much mustard material left over from my intended grown-up projects turned kid projects.  the lighting is so bad in these  pictures, i probably could have fooled you into thinking this wasn’t mustard anyway, but i couldn’t resist the name. (more…)

adventures in silk screening


sometimes when i’m in between planned projects, i like to experiment with odds and ends i have on hand and see where it takes me.  still brainstorming holiday gifts, i decided to try out a couple of purse-type projects.  i am by no means a pattern tester, in fact, i’ve made more than one gift on fabric i picked exclusively for that purpose only to work it up full of mistakes.  we hear about making muslins for garments, but inexperienced seamstresses like myself should really do the same for all sewing projects. (more…)

cowl countdown to christmas, week 1: venus cowl

update 1/11/15:  hello friends, i have succeeded in transferring my blog content to a new server with unlimited storage space (hurrah!).  unfortunately, this post in particular has photos that could not be recovered.  i am leaving the content available for those intrepid knitters willing to have a go without pictures, but will have to knit and photograph a new sample to replace the lost photos.  in the meantime, please have a look at the other which are either restored or in the process of restoration.  thank you for your patience!


welcome to cowl countdown to christmas!  for the next four weeks, i will post a weekly cowl tutorial in the spirit of giving.  i find handmade gifts to be a gift both to the recipient and to the maker, so i want to encourage as many people as possible to get in on this gift-giving loophole!  these cowls will all be at beginner level knitting and use one skein of yarn–fast, easy, affordable.  what else can you hope for during the holiday season?!  so get on board!  and email me a picture of what you make :)

now listen up, because this little number is the easiest thing you’ll ever knit.  for real.  it is composed entirely of knit and purl stitches, no increases or decreases, knit flat in one piece, and see all those buttons?  not a single button hole to speak of.  not one.  with super bulky yarn (one skein!) on big old needles, it’s shorter than a scarf and easily works up in a single afternoon.  check one gift off your list! (more…)

simple dress and venus cowl: blog bartering!

this is a post i’ve been really excited to write, because i think it brings to light a lot of great aspects about blogging that many people fail to appreciate, so sorry in advance for the text heavy blog!  people blog for all different reasons, related of course to the themes of their blogs, and their personal fulfillment.  i myself keep a blog about our family for our far off friends relatives to read as well as to record our own history, one about cooking to share recipes and musings about food and feeding small children, and now one about crafting.  blogs are a space to think, share and create, and in our increasingly digital world, a place to cultivate community among friends you might never have the opportunity to meet in person, which is especially nice when you’re somewhat homebound and meeting warm bodies is a challenge. (more…)

thanksgiving outfits: a study in the evolution of craft thought

these outfits are the unexpected product of a confluence of events.  it’s interesting tracking how a certain project comes to be.  some of them we plan for exactly, obtain specific materials, and execute the idea thoroughly and precisely.  others, many of mine, come about very circuitously, a combination of something i saw, something i already have on hand, the season, the occasion, any number of things. and existing ideas tend to morph significantly any time i take a long run, the single, unique time i’m left alone with my thoughts and in that rare silence, they finally have an opportunity to develop. (more…)

family silhouettes

do you remember these from elementary school?  my mom still has mine from second grade, frizzy bangs and all (ah, the early 90s).  i have always thought these are pretty neat looking, but docile as my toddlers may be, there is no way they could sit still in one position for a full 2 minutes to trace their profile.  several months ago, i read this post about making silhouettes out of photos, brilliant! (more…)

my first jacket(s)

shortly after becoming acquainted with my sewing machine, i checked out handmade beginnings, by anna maria horner, from our local library.  she is one of my favorite fabric designers and her blog provides endless inspiration.  many projects caught my eye (and i’ve really beat her reversible pant technique into the ground), in particular, the “baby in the hood” jacket.  however, she warns in the introduction that it’s more involved than the other patterns, and the thought of making a jacket just seemed too complicated.

but, i kept sewing and sewing and sewing, and quickly it seemed i might be ready to take on the challenge.  a quote by eleanor roosevelt always seems to pop into my head when thinking about sewing projects:  “what could we accomplish if we knew we could not fail?”  apparently, we can sew a jacket. (more…)