Monday, March 24, 2008

Remember this?

I started this Pomatomus sock way in February 2007. I had bought the yarn at Wool and Company's amazing sale after Christmas, and started the sock after I finished Lady Eleanor. Well now, that sock looks like this:
That's right. I've finished one sock. In an entire year. Isn't that terrible? I am sure that I will get second sock syndrome as well. I finished the first one a few weeks ago and I haven't even cast on for the second. And I don't know why! I mean I am busy but I've been able to finish other projects. Also, the needles are so small. They are US2 or US1 (I cannot remember) and that is the smallest I've ever used. I really like the pattern though. They will be great socks for my boots as well. Maybe someday, I'll actually have two. Until that day...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Raise your hopeful voice

I have been expanding my crafting skills, to embroidery this time. I have always been interested in some kind of needlework. When I was younger, my grandma taught me how to cross stitch with plastic canvas, like the kind you'd see on tacky tissue box holders or coasters. I still have a half-finished project in my sewing box. I also remember cross stitching my initials onto a handkerchief during a day camp at Mahaffie Farmstead, a living history museum in my town. There is something so historical about cross stitch, I think that is part of its appeal for me. Not that knitting isn't historical, but I love looking at historic samplers. They are so intricate and I can just imagine some young girl sitting in her parlor, slaving away over her sampler. For Christmas, my sister received a sampler kit from Colonial Williamsburg which I promptly stole for my own. Add that to the list of summer projects.

But anyway, last summer, in a fit of inspiration, my sister and I rushed to Hobby Lobby and Michaels to procure some embroidery floss and tshirts. I think she wanted to make an "Omaha is for lovers I don't have to love" tshirt (a la Craftster and Conor Oberst) but our plans took off from there. She embroidered her shirt with little help from me and started on her second design, a cherry tree with little penguins nestled in its branches. She has not completed it as far as I know.

Inspired by this Joanna Newsom album cover, I decided to use the ship design and make a Joanna Newsom shirt. Joanna Newsom being a great harpist, although some may consider her voice to be an acquired taste.

I am pleased with it for the most part. The ship came out nicely, but the text is a little too small for the tshirt. Additionally, the tshirt itself does not fit me very well. It is too short and the sleeves are unflattering. But it gets the occasional wear and the even more occasional compliment.

Delving back into cross stitch, I decided to make a small present for my friend Ashley's birthday. She is a big fan of, well, her vagina. So inspired by Subversive Cross Stitch, I designed this:

It was quite a fun project. It is gratifying to see something you designed yourself become an actual object. I made good use of the color function on Excel to create a pattern. I mostly just estimated for the sizing, which you can tell if you look at the bottom right corner. But Ashley was quite happy with it, which was nice. The really cool, and I guess obvious, thing about Subversive Cross Stitch is that it seems like an oxymoron. No one expects cross stitch to say something inappropriate. It really helps break the classic stereotype that crafters are old women and that is awesome. And did you see the limited edition Natalie Dee valentines? So cool!

Over spring break I was able to break out the embroidery floss yet again. I saw a drawing by my boyfriend's sister's friend of a whale with flowers growing out of its mouth and that put me in a whale mood. I sketched out this drawing one night while watching Lars and the Real Girl and decided to embroider it onto a plain tshirt I had laying around, waiting for a moment like this.

It is simple, but I liked its box shape and its knowing smile. I have such a hard time trying to make things that are "cute." Although I think of myself as crafty, I am not artistic. Creating original things does not come easily to me as it does to others. This whale was firstly inspired by someone else's drawing, but I also remembered this shirt that my sister and I made a few years ago.
Where does your creativity come from? Is it possible to be completely original? To create in a vacuum without other influences? Does it take practice or is it one of those things you either have or you don't? I don't know myself.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Oh goodness.

Oh it has been so long. I am the worst blogger. I have such high hopes and aspirations and I admire so many other bloggers, but I just can't keep it up myself. Usually I have no problem with people making excuses, but there is no point for me to do that here. I will just keep reading other awesome bloggers and hope that they inspire me to keep going.

Just because I have not been blogging does not mean that I have not been knitting and crafting over these last 11 months! I will try to give an overview of the highlights.

First, in reference to my last post, a mere 11 months ago, I bring you my new bedroom:

The walls are a lovely blue and the contrasting yellow chair fits right in. My stash is neatly organized, as is my personal library. These pictures show my nonfiction collection on the built-in/makeshift shelves on the left. On the right is the young adult section. I have plans to paint those bookshelves, but that did not happen last summer. The piece of art on the floor is a Monet print, which will be hung eventually I am sure.

I strayed from my original color scheme because I could not find the right comforter. Trust me, I looked everywhere. However, I eventually found this lovely comforter set on sale at Kohls. There is a small bit of yellow which ties in the chair perfectly. I now have matching green curtains and a "Shabby Chic" curtain rod from Target. I also have plans to knit some covers for throw pillows. Another ones of those ideas that never quite became reality.

But despite the unrealized plans, I am quite happy with it. I hate my room at school now because it just does not compare to this. I love coming home from a stressful week at school to this soothing blue, comfy bed, and my hundreds of books. The literary critic Wayne Booth thinks that readers should be in relationships with books and friends with their authors. It's true! I really do love my books, both their physical form and the ideas contained within. /English major and Librarian love fest

Last summer I also had a lovely lunch with my friend Hannah. We are pretty much soul sisters. Every time I see her I am reminded of how much we have in common. She came over one afternoon for an outdoor meal of french bread, chilled berry soup, and chicken and tortellini salad with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

And Hannah made this delicious blueberry cheesecake. And lucky for me she left it at my house so I got to devour the leftovers.

After lunch, we sat in the shade in our new patio furniture and talked about The Feminine Mystique, while knitting. It was quite a delightful afternoon, hopefully to be repeated this summer.

My final treat is this felted bowl. I made two for my grandma for her birthday. The other one was in a nice burgundy but was smaller and shallower. I used Lamb's Pride Worsted for both. They were quite fun actually. Nothing in the round stockinette. I had never felted before either, so that was an interesting experience. They did not shrink as much as I had hoped, but they were still enough when they dried. I pulled this one over plastic bowl while it dried to keep some shape. The ridge at the top came from the bowl as well. I think it is a nice touch.

I hope my grandma liked them, as I was not there when they were given to her. She has enough good things to say about my cousin's pottery bowls that she made in middle school so I am assuming she liked these as well.

That was my summer. I suppose the embroidery will have to be another post, this one has gone on quite long enough.