Monday, November 29, 2010

Making my way toward being a bag lady...

The sunflower purse I made for my mother was a big too big for her, she tried to use it and couldn't find things. So I took that one back (hurrah! perfect size for my notebooks for school) and she bought fabric for two more purses.

This is the first, for fall/winter. It's 9" wide, about 8" tall. Same construction as the other one, except the magnetic snap is on the inside this time.

Two small pockets and a zippered middle compartment on the inside, two pockets -- one skinny for pens and such, one bigger for keys -- on the outside.

Started this yesterday after work and finished about 20 minutes ago. I'm ever so slightly addicted to the construction methods of purses.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Crafters take their Black Fridays very seriously...

This is the first time that I've actually ventured out early in the morning on Black Friday. In the past, my mother and I might go out in the afternoons once the crazy dies down... but today JoAnn's had some good deals going on from 6 am - noon so I decided to venture out.

It wasn't too bad. There were racks of snuggle fleece usually $5.99 a yard that were $1.29. Several women filled two shopping carts full of them, got a yard cut of each, and had stacks a few feet high at the cutting counter. Ridiculous, but hey... if you quilt, you quilt.

I got three different prints of the fleece, a cute bird one I intend to make a throw pillow cover out of, a giraffe spot one, and a palm frond one. Alex and I's guest bathroom is a bunch of giraffe stuff (I collected giraffes as a kid and some of them made their way into my new home) so I'll figure out what to make with a combo of the giraffe and palm frond fabrics.

My mother picked out some fabric for me to make her a Christmas tablerunner with, and then we picked up some odds and ends. I didn't go fabric crazy like most, and I didn't buy any yarn because overall I'm unimpressed with most of JoAnn's yarn. Some of it is good staple stuff to turn to for scarves and projects for friends, but I wouldn't make a sweater out of most of their yarn.

And Hiroki is enjoying his stay at Grandma's, hurdling up and down the stairs every five minutes.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Yes, I'm a part of the true Harry Potter generation...

The Harry Potter books came out when I was in 3rd grade, so I was one of the original kids waiting for my owl to come with my Hogwarts letter. Such disappointment.

Tonight I'm seeing the seventh movie at 12:20 a.m., and my friend requested a scarf. Unfortunately I only had two days to work on this, and while I knitted and knitted and knitted... it was driving me crazy and it's nowhere near as long as a proper scarf should be. But this is Florida and we don't take our scarves too seriously, so a 52" scarf is perfectly acceptable.

I prefer Ravenclaw... but Slytherin is definitely better than high school when a Hufflepuff scarf was requested and I walked around crocheting a scarf everyone presumed to be for a bumblebee. Of course... now those are pretty much my school colors (ahem... gold, not yellow).

And this is the progress I've made on my Tappan Zee Cardigan:

I'm on row 7 of the first diamond pattern. Now a whole lot to show, but I've had two presentations for school, the above scarf, and lots of reading for the last few pop quizzes of the semester to undergo this week.

About a week ago I got an e-mail from the Criminal Justice department at my school talking about a study abroad opportunity to Russia this coming summer. And I think I might pursue it. It's two weeks, a few days in Moscow and most of the time in Volgograd/Stalingrad. Unfortunately it carries a $3500 price tag. I'm advertising to my friends and others around me that I'll make scarves, beanies, and sewn purses in an attempt to make money for this trip.

Realistically I'm not sure if I can make that on the side, considering most of my money right now is going straight to rent and utilities. My father has offered to help, but that kind of offer has come in the past and usually ends up pretty fruitless so I can't rely on that. The first payment is due the end of January, so I don't have much time to make up my mind so I can save up.

Kind of unsure whether I want to go or not. I want to go, but I've never traveled anywhere without someone I know with me (this trip is about 20 students and some faculty, no one I have met yet). I'm not sure how hectic it would be.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My dog is fashionable and my homework is... well, not so done

Finished Hiroki's sweater in time for his Friday dog park date. Now he can be nice and toasty after his bath.

He's such a funny model. Like a deer in headlights. He is often mistaken for a deer, though.

Same pattern I used for his first coat, with a different decorative stitch going down the back this time. I used some wool that I recycled from an ugly gray sweater from the thrift store and dyed with Kool-Aid.

I've gotten back on the dyeing and recycling yarn train this past week. The above wool I already had measured and skeined out, but I've been wanting new yarn lately to make something nice and found a misshapen and sad cardigan at the thrift store that desperately wanted loving. It was a really thin yarn after being unwound, but there's enough of it to double up and make a Tappan Zee Cardigan by Amy King.

It was a strange mustard baby poop yellow, I wasn't sure it would dye because it was 70% acrylic, 30% wool. But it did work well with the Kool Aid, so now it's a more orange and orangey-red color and drying on my porch. I'm very tempted to start knitting with it damp, I'm so excited because I think I'll actually be able to wear this creation. But alas... I have homework that needs desperate attention after being ignored these past two weeks for work and crafty things.

And then...

This has been my on-going project for the past three or four weeks. For my Cultural Approaches to Tourist Arts final, we had to do a project -- anything we wanted to do -- that related to the course objectives. We talked a lot about authenticity and how cultures change their cultural items to be more tourist-friendly, so I made a pseudo-Amish quilt and am going to present on what makes an Amish quilt Amish.

It's not a full size quilt, it's only 3'x3'. But my first proper quilt where I did the three layers, hand-quilted the layers, and bound it. Yes, I hand-quilted those. First time I've done that, and I think I really like it. I did not so much enjoy the hand-binding. In fact, this would have been done over a week ago if it wasn't for procrastinating on the binding. I'm presenting it in class this Tuesday.

And since Sakura has been missing from the blog lately... here's a really early picture I found of her on my camera. Probably taken in the first two months after we brought her home.

Stay tuned for some sewing things... a friend and I have recently made Tuesday nights our sewing night and JoAnn's had Simplicity patterns 5 for $5 last week.

Monday, November 8, 2010

chilly weather... in Florida?

The past few days it has been chilly here. Lows in the high 40s, highs in the mid 60s. Which is kind of ridiculous for Florida in November. But very welcome.

I had to bring out Hiroki's sweater I made him last spring so he wouldn't get cold after his bath at the dog park. I made it out of acrylic because I was thinking of washability and practicality... but unfortunately he had to sleep in it several nights when we went camping and it is terribly stretched out. Still useable, but not quite as adorable as it once was.

So I'm in the process of making him a new one out of wool so it holds its shape better. I'm trying not to spend money lately, and I remembered I had a whole bin of yarn I recycled and dyed a few months ago.

This is the collar, I made it long this time to go around his ears. A greyhound turtleneck. And I'm doing a leaf lace pattern down the back of it so the rounded part that sticks out past the cast on edge will sit jauntily on his head. He's going to be the most stylish dog on the block. I'm really liking how the colors work up, a combination of reds, purples, browns, and a few spots where the natural grey the yarn originally was comes through.

And since I was winding yarn in little cakes, I pulled out my favorite color I dyed called Sea Glass and started making a beanie for myself.

I don't wear hats often, but they're so satisfying to make. And now that I'm working outsider, I'm going to need hats this winter. Mostly stockinette stitch, but every 8 rows I'm doing a purl row to mix things up a bit so there's ridges throughout.

In other news... I managed to find away to fit crafting into my Humanities seminar. For our final project we can do just about anything, and one of the ideas we talked about a lot this semester was authenticity and how cultural items change when they are mass-marketed to tourists. So I'm making a mini-quilt in a mix of Amish and modern ways. I'm using traditional Amish colors, but with soft patterns to make it a bit modern. I used electricity, of course, to piece the top... and then for the first time in my life ventured into hand-quilting the layers.

Sneak peak (full post to come later):

It's mostly done, I just have to finish hand-sewing the binding to the back of the quilt in time for my presentation on November 16. And I made two side panels that mimic the design so I can hang it on the long wall behind our long boring beige couch when the class is over. Those will have to wait to be quilted and bound probably until finals are over. I'm definitely feeling the stress of school and work combined this semester.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Now it's time to get political...

I'm so disappointed in Florida right now. If I didn't have free school, I'd get the hell out of here in a heart beat.


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