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Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Handspun

For the last couple years, my sister has taught me a new craft during the Christmas holiday. Two years ago she taught me how to knit, last year she taught me to spin yarn. And guess what? I’m hopelessly addicted to spinning. I never thought it would happen. I was perfectly happy buying readymade yarn. But the ability to have complete control over the finished product (and very often save a little cash at the same time) was too tempting to pass up.

In the last ten months I’ve done more spinning than knitting, partly because spindle-spinning is a slow process and partly because it’s so relaxing. You let your arms and fingers do the thinking; no worrying about patterns or stitch counts or fit. And once you’re done it seems like a skein of yarn has magically appeared in your stash. With the exception of a skein or two of single-ply, I haven’t bought commercial yarn in the last year, which (at least for me) is an empowering thing. Now that the cold weather is here again, I can’t wait to put it through its paces and knit up something soft and warm.


Friday, October 1st, 2010

Darn

Recently I ran across a call for submissions for the upcoming show For Keeps, hosted by City of Craft in December. The show is all about mended goods, objects with enough value to fix or repair. Now that fall is in full swing I was pleased to pull out a well-made and well-loved thrifted sweater I cared enough about to mend.

There’s something special about second-hand purchases, they come broken-in and have a personality not often present in new items. I found it while on vacation two winters ago, visiting family. When I returned home I discovered the sweater had a few small holes in the back, which were probably there when I bought it. The holes annoyed me. I felt like I had wasted my money on something broken. But it was such a small imperfection, I decided to take a stab at fixing it.

A long time ago I bought a beautiful Japanese book called Darning Notebook. It has these incredible photographs of modern clothing that has been darned. Many of the pieces — a linen workshirt, pair of socks, all pretty unremarkable — seemed much more interesting after they had been darned; suddenly they had stories to tell and took on a kind of natural beauty. The book had diagrams of some simple darning techniques, so I decided it was worth a try.

This sweater isn’t valuable or very old, but I think that’s what makes it special. Things don’t have to be old in order to be worth saving. All it takes is a little imagination. And sometimes, instead of making something seem ugly or tired, a simple repair can give an object new life.


Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Jumpers

jumpers

Another project from the recent archives: jumpers! Seems like everyone I know has a toddler, the vast majority of which are girls. And is there anything cuter than a little girl in a jumper? I think not.

Making these was a ball. They were easy and fast, and because the pieces were fairly small I could mix and match smallish scraps of fabric I’ve been saving. The pattern (which I modified to include a seam along the back) was a free Burdastyle download. Unlike adult-sized downloadable patterns — which usually require about twenty pages to print and an hour to cut and assemble — this only required a handful of pages and came together quickly. Best part, I was able to upcycle about half the fabric, most of which came from thrifted bedsheets and Ikea curtains. Now that fall is almost here, it would be fun to throw together a few back-to-school outfits. Any girls out there who can fit into size 2T, you’ve got my number!


Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Shadowplay

Shadowplay, "Theo"

I just stumbled across the most amazing jewelry collection, Shadowplay. The textures and subtle colors are incredible. They manage to achieve a difficult balance, seeming light and muscular at the same time. Makes me want to sit down with my yarn scraps and a handful of beads and start knitting, right now.


Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Allan Gardens

I took a short walk in the park early Saturday morning. I should do it more often.


Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Mentioned: Vogue Knitting

I was thrilled to learn one of my knitting patterns received a mention in the Spring/Summer 2010 issue of Vogue Knitting magazine. Thanks to Carol for pointing it out; I read so few knitting publications it would otherwise have passed me by.

I’ve been surprised and really gratified by the pattern’s popularity, especially since I’ve been knitting for such a short time. There is so much complexity hidden in the humble knit and purl, and still so much left to learn. Although knitting is a fun hobby I thought it would take years before I was able to contribute anything to the community. I’m glad others have found the cowl fun to make. Hopefully more patterns are in store this winter. In the meantime, you can go to the cowl pattern’s Ravelry page or download it here.



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