Tossed Cookies

Archive for the month “April, 2010”

The Spirit-Star-Wars-Gnome Lady

I just finished my last exam for the week!  One more on Monday morning, and I will be officially halfway done with college.  Terrifying.  But as I’m still not quite coherent from too many late nights and fact-cramming, we’ll be looking at another blogger again today.  (Last one, I promise.)  Have you met Lucy Ravenscar?

You’ve probably seen her adorably fuzzy Nature Spirits on Craftster (or Etsy, Craftzine, and even TrendHunter..), but did you know she’s also the brilliant woman who made the (best) Star Wars amigurimi?  How about the adorable cork characters for her kids’ bazaar at school?

Seriously, I had no idea these were all from the same person.  And, while I think her work is wonderfully original, my favorite part is how much personality her spirits have.  I think my favorites are the Mother and Child Earth Spirits, although I like to think of them as Fire Spirits.  So pleasantly autumn-y…

If you’re curious, her patterns, as well as some of her creatures, are for sale on Etsy and if they’re anything like her blog, they’re extremely well written and detailed.

Man, brushed crochet has been looking appealing recently.. >.>  *Makes a mental note to buy a pet brush when she gets home*  Anyways, I hope you’ve enjoyed our little depart from the usual.  Anyone have any suggestions who I should cover in the future?

– Cristy

PS – I’ll be posting again in the near future about Lucy Ravenscar.  Get excited!

Currently Listening to: “Mamma Mia” from the play Mamma Mia

The One, the Only….

Next in my mini other-blog series (just until exams are over!) is Jared Flood, better known in the blogging world as Brooklyn Tweed:

He (oh yes, a male knitter) writes possibly the most aesthetically pleasing blog I’ve read, not to mention the gorgeous pictures.  I think his lace work is my favorite (pictured), but all of his patterns look so beautifully complicated!  Every time I look at one of his shawls, I want to make one too.

As far as I can tell, he’s been knitting for years, started a blog 5 years ago, and I think that’s how he got a book deal.  If I could, I’d buy it just for the mitten pattern.  Or the lace stole… or the sweaters…  >.>  But if he wrote a book of just lace shawls, I think I’d have to give in to the temptation!

Did I mention he spins too?  Oh yeah, gorgeous, fine, perfectly fingering weight yarn…  As well as thick-and-thin yarn, worsted…  Great color choices too, they tend to be either soft and mellow or rich like the shawl to the left.

Anyways, it’s always been one of my favorite blogs; I think it was actually one of the first ones I found when I started knitting.

– Cristy

Currently Watching: House on Hulu.com

Excuses, excuses…

What with exams this week, I’m going to be insanely busy.  But for whatever reason, I’ve been in a blogging mood with nothing to talk about!  So this week, I’m going to try to highlight a few different blogs I’ve been reading recently.  First, New Dress a Day:

This blog is like the much thriftier cousin of A Dress A Day and The Uniform Project.  Except, unlike those two, Marisa creates clothes I’d actually dare to wear!  And, since she’s been at this for about 200 days now, there are plenty of archives to get lost reading.  I particularly love watching something so frumpy your grandma wouldn’t touch it turn into a dress malls would charge $50 to buy.

My personal favorites have been an apron (recon pictured at left), a men’s tuxedo shirt, and the classic trench coat.  She’s also limited herself to just $365 for the entire year, including supplies. >.<  Crazy!

Anyways, I seriously recommend checking her out, she definitely deserves some of your attention!

As for me, I’m planning a trip to the local secondhand stores once I get out of exams.  Hopefully I can find something interesting and it will end up half as good as her recons…  Cross your fingers!

– Cristy

Currently Watching: Good Eats on the Food Network

Planner 2010

Have you ever tried to buy a planner in April?  It’s impossible.  (Apparently, I managed to buy an academic calendar, which only went from August 2009 to April 2010..)   As I’m completely hopeless without one, I bought a blank notebook to fill out with months, weeks, etc.  And of course, I just couldn’t leave it alone; the blank, blue cover was too boring!

It was a bit nerve-wracking at first, especially since I really didn’t want to screw up my first Moleskine notebook…  (At least it was on sale!)

Would you like a (very, very brief) tutorial?

1- Design the general outline in Gimp/Photoshop/Paint.  I suggest starting with an image that is the size of your notebook and don’t bother making every line for every stitch, just enough to get the placement right.

2- Print and cut out the image.  Using tape, stick it to the cover of your notebook.  (Plastic notebook covers are best!)

3- Using your pointiest needle, poke every hole for each stitch.  They don’t need to be huge holes, just enough to get through the cover.  Open the notebook to the first page and lay the cover on a roll of toilet tissue to keep the needle from going through all the pages.  (It’s also comfortable to grip the roll between your thighs.)

4- Embroider just as you would normally!  Don’t worry about tying knots though, you can secure the ends with a dot of glue when you’re finished.

The back:

That’s really all there is to it!

The stitches I used, from the center: straight stitch, an altered herringbone/cross-stitch, buttonhole stitch, back stitch, two more rows of back stitch, straight stitch radiating from a single point.  (Sorry, I don’t embroider nearly enough to know real names, but if you have any questions, I’ll be sure to answer them!)

Soooo….  what do you think?

– Cristy

Currently Listening to: “Sober” – Pink

Glass Earrings

Earrings are fast, easy, and charming, a perfect project when you’ve only got an hour between classes and nothing to do!

Aren’t they charming?  I love my bead stash, but I’ve realized it contains a lot of “statement” pieces and not so many plain beads…  a result of getting everything when I was much, much younger and prone to begging my mother for the pretties. *sigh*

These definitely put me in a green-gold mood and they match my new ring!  (On sale for $4 at Classics on Franklin St. in Chapel Hill, NC.  The store owner was nice enough to give me a discount on a dress too.)

The green-blue beads are glass.  The gold spacers are recycled from unused ear hooks I re-purposed.

I like these so much, I’m thinking about making a second pair to sell…  I can put it in my Etsy when that gets up and going again!  What do you think?  (And if you’re interested, email/leave a comment!)

Do you sometimes feel like earrings are copping out too?

– Cristy

Fair Isle for Summer

I love traditional knitting color work but, here in North Carolina, there’s not much reason for sweaters or hats, much less doubly thick ones…  But color and I are learning to play nice with each other, finally!  (As a former jeans-and-t-shirt girl, matching colors is admitted not my forte…)  I’ve been trying to add those patterns to my repertoire and give my fingers something to fiddle with.

Yay for cross-stitching!  This is a small piece (7″ x 5″ ?) but oh-so-satisfying.  Some of the patterns are my own; others were found via some intense googling.  I’m thinking the final piece might look good in a frame, or as separate pieces of a set of buttons…  Still considering my options though. ^.^

I love my camera’s macro function to death…  I want to get some macro photos blown up to poster size for my room. ^.^

So what smaller projects are you picking up for the summer?  (Or if you’re on the other end of the world, got something big for winter?)

– Cristy

Currently Listening to: “We Belong” – Pat Benatar

Motif Bolero

Having destroyed my mother’s scarf (>.>) and being in the mood to crochet, I’ve picked up yet another project!  I showed my mother some of the patterns on Ravelry and she immediately picked out the Motif Bolero.  It’s a lovely pattern, once you find all of the directions…  (check other users’ projects on Ravelry!)

Well, I started it, finished 4 square motifs, which is almost half the pattern, and realized it would probably be way too small for my mother.  At least, I think so… It’s had to take someone’s measurements when they’re on the other side of the world!  I’ve restarted with a slightly larger crochet hook, which seems to be working well.  It certainly opens up the pattern nicely, anyways.

(Wow, that’s a crappy photo… Apologies)  I’m definitely going to keep working on it before summer break (only one month away!!) but hopefully I’ll be able to finish it when I’m at home, so i can make sure everything fits correctly.  I’m actually loving this pattern too!  It’s complex enough that it’s interesting and I love having an excuse to make something a little more ornate that I would never wear.  I hope it turns out prettyyyyy!

– Cristy

Currently Listening to: “SI-N+R-JE” by George Acosta via Pandora.com

Socks, finally!

(Just “Sock” if you’re being nitpicky though..)  Remember that shawl I was intending to make for my mother?  Something about the motif was just too repetitive, even for me, and I just lost interest.  But I reused the yarn to *finally* start on my first pair of socks!!

Yes, I just couldn’t help the faux-artsy photo…

The pattern is on Ravelry as the Leyburn Socks and, while it’s not difficult, definitely required some extra research on my part into the basics of sock knitting.  So, if you’ve never knit socks before, I can highly suggest the post on Knitty for beginning a toe and this one for the short row heel.

I’m having a bit of trouble working myself into starting the second sock, but I finally understand why people knit socks at all!  That one foot is so unbelievable cosy!  (The merino yarn doesn’t hurt either…)

– Cristy

Rethink the Shrinky-Dink.

Recently, I saw this great post over at Craftster that has me second guessing my decision to abandon shrink plastic.

I think everyone who’s tried it goes through this phase.  First, we’re enamored that our artwork (or, more likely, something we traced out of a book) can simply be shrunk into tangible, unbreakable plastic.  And that shrinking does more than just harden the plastic, it defines your shaky, Sharpie’d lines and turns that 10-pack of Crayola color pencils vibrant.  But all too soon, the newness seems to wear off and no matter how we try to disguise it, it still just looks like a kid’s summer camp craft and only your mother would be willing to display it on her refrigerator.

And then, you spend some time on Craftster or Etsy and see laser cut acrylic!  Or maybe even brushed steel!  It’s gorgeous, shiny, and monochromatic, but still resembles the long gone, but not forgotten, shrink plastic.  Oh, and those laser cutters?  Yeah, they cost thousands of dollars.

Anyways, Craftster user missfortune86 has managed to replicate laser cut acrylic with shrink plastic, and it’s just tempting me to pick it all back up again…  Maybe this summer. ^.^

– Cristy

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