Sunday, September 30, 2007

recycled sweater applique tutorial

i find all different kinds of sweaters at local thrift stores
but i've found the best ones in Michigan.
each sweater speaks to me.
different languages for different colors, materials, styles.

today it is the purple angora lambswool gap sweater i found at the VOA in Lansing. [best thrift store ever]

a few years ago i found a few yards of this beautiful printed chiffon at a fabric store. the entire bolt was on sale for incredibly cheap, so i bought the entire thing, which turned out to be about 2 yards. it's been sitting in my fabric bin, and i have found the perfect thing to do with it.

applique to purple sweater. here is my process.

after cutting the parts of the pattern that i want to applique to sweater, i pin it and baste it before sewing with the machine. basting is very important, as it makes it easier to sew with the machine, keeping the fabric from moving and shifting.

basting is simply sewing the fabric by hand very loosely to the garment, temporarily of course. you can also baste with the sewing machine, if you want to save a bit of time. setting the stitches as far apart as possible. i personally prefer to baste by hand, i find the stitches easier to take out afterwards.

materials for pinning and basting. cheap cheap white thread [or another contrasting color for visibility purposes], pins, small baby scissors.

after basting, you're ready to use the sewing machine! choose your thread. i chose brown so that it would blend in with the chiffon, but it's always fun to use a nice bright contrasting thread!

how you sew the piece to the garment is completely up to you. i chose to follow the pattern as closely as possible. because this is such an interesting print, i want to go back and outline it with hand-embroidery. chiffon comes apart very easily, so the stitches are very close together. i like the straight stitch, but the jagged stitch is also very effective, if you want that look.

be sure to secure the thread on the inside of the sweater, after sewing with machine. if you went back over your stitches, then you can simply cut the thread. otherwise you can bring the thread in front to the back using a seam-ripper. tie them in a knot to secure.

after sewing the fabric on with the machine, you can cut out the basting stitches. using a seam-ripper or small scissors. i prefer small scissors, especially when you have delicate fabric like chiffon. cut in increments. less pulling and tugging.

i cut the fabric around the stitching, for a nice clean finished look. please be careful when doing this. i like to use my little baby scissors [very sharp and precise], helps me have more control, so i don't accidentally cut the stitches or sweater. big clunky scissors = big no no.

i hold the fabric that i'm cutting. makes it very easy.

finished product! i'll be adding a bit more to this sweater, so stay tuned for updates!

any questions?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

perfect fit

ode to summer. this beauty is across the street from my house. i do not know what this is growing all over the balcony. mama?

sitting in my studio
fairly early for a Saturday night
listening to Aimee Mann [singing along]
after a fun day of play and great finds
lately i've been doing a lot of research for my products
finding inspiration and original ideas
flowers have been my main inspiration for a long time
i can't seem to escape it
so rather than try, i am embracing it, broadening my mind and my creative energy.

i stopped by my favorite thrift store today, to rummage around. lately i haven't been finding anything, but today i hit the jackpot.

two books, "Flowers" and "The Forgetting Room". Flowers was printed in 1950, and is absolutely the best find. all full-color illustrations of American flowers. i've already found my favorites. The Forgetting Room is a collection of prose and poetry and collage by Nick Bantock. can you see the prices? what a steal!

fabric and yarn, delightful colors and textures. i love that mustard yarn, great for some of my new lace projects.

a few weeks ago i walked around my neighborhood, hoping to find some inspiration. these flowers are all over Astoria!

so i looked it up in my new Flowers book, since i didn't know what it was either.

Trillium? is that right? so lovely. [mom, you're the expert here.]


in other wonderful news, more sales on Etsy! thanks to Heather and her custom orders.

the finished product! embroidery to match the hat i had posted on Etsy, which Heather also purchased.

both cabled, both hand dyed with kool-aid, both hand knit by me.

i'm really loving the new Stitch 'n Bitch i've been going to. since i'm always knitting with yarn i've dyed, a few of the gals want to learn, so i'm going to have a kool-aid dying party at my apartment in a few weeks!

current knitting projects: lacey scarf for myself with beautiful light blue yarn i received as a gift.

i'm also working on knitting graphics with different colors. equipped with graph paper, colored pencils and as many colors as i can carry behind my work, i embark on the adventure of working with color. please attempt with caution. do not begin as i did. this is a sample of course, so i thought it might be fine if didn't wind the yarn on separate bobbins to carry behind my work. it's definitely making it difficult. the graph paper is needed to count the stitches, to know when to really change the color. otherwise, you're knitting blind.

this is going to be a cute little sample that i get to keep. but i really like this little tree, so i'm going to make a baby hat out of it! that orange for the background is actually the same yarn i used to make Heather's cabled hat. the other yarn i purchased, with color already added. i especially love the lime green Butterfly yarn. i bought 5 skeins of that when i was living in Detroit, and i'm so glad i did.

it's funny to me how pixelated and nintendo-like the original image is on the graph paper, but when knit, it becomes organic and smooth.

time to knit in front of a cheesy movie.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

new listings!

autumn is upon us
altho the weather doesn't quite seem to want to cooperate, as it will be in the 80's again this weekend. i've begun to dive into my fall wardrobe, only to find myself a bit uncomfortable on my lunchtime walks in the sun. maybe only really from the tights.
i want to wear my knee socks. my brightly colored tights. my doc marten boots in comfort.
goodbye hot sticky weather.
helloooooooo crisp dry cool air and crunchy leaves under my feet.

with a few projects rolling around in my brain, i listed a few new items this past weekend! fabric earrings. i love wearing the pair that i made (which i featured a few posts ago), which were made with the same fabric you see here. these were hand-embroidered, using a simple common backstitch. shown here are the front of one earring, with a Graffiti Blossom stitched, and the back of the other earring. i love formal embroidery stitches. they're really worth learning, as they look so clean on the wrong side of the work.

i also listed this pair, which i machine-stitched. these have a clean edge, as i sewed them inside out, then did a top-stitch to flatten them out. these earrings are a great solution to all the scrap fabric i have in my studio. this particular fabric was included in the package of one of my Etsy orders from DearPony. she's printed a crow onto this adorable polka dot fabric. you can see most of the bird on one earring, while the other only shows part of the beak.

i love asymmetry.

i'm seriously thinking about getting some colored eyelets! how fun.


knitting. i finished the turquoise pair of gloves i had shown last week, and sent them off to my best girl M for her birthday. i added a button for a nice detail, as well as a way to keep the gloves together when not being worn. a string of yarn fed through the bottom of the opposite glove, then wrapped around the button works well. then finished them by stitching bare branches with red kool-aid dyed yarn. (Heather, this is very similar to what yours will be! altho the stitch details will match your hat.)

here is Heather's finished left glove! a lovely purple dyed with kool-aid. and very toasty warm. i couldn't resist posting that second photo. my roommate collects the funniest objects, and this is a very fun 70's paper weight which sits on a platform with a light that shines through the bubbled glass. so psychadelic!


i held a very small baby this evening. visited my old boss from the cafe where i worked all last summer, who just had a baby! only 5 weeks old, he was so calm and sleeping and precious in my arms. made my night.


i highly recommend listening to April March. she is bound to make anyone's life more exciting.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

gloved piano fingers

i have been back to work this week
feeling much energized and enthusiastic
a glow has filled my inner being
maybe it's the set of my mind changing
maybe it's the fact that i have taken all pressure off of myself
or maybe it's this.

the photo might not say much to you. but it means the world to me. to have a place where i can spend moments immersed in what i love doing the most.
my refuge.
my atelier.
my studio.

two rectangular work tables, procured from the Depot at a small affordable price (for a poor gal paying her student loans). pieced together with a lovely corner desk piece left by the lady i'm subletting for (of which i am so grateful). makes for the most efficient work space a girl could ask for. these photos were taken a few days ago, i've spread out a bit since i first took these. new projects, old projects, inspirational books. and my new toy.

it makes me almost sad to say this, but it has been over 5 years since i have lived with a piano of some sort. it's about time i had one! a nice man in Ridgewood, Queens was nice enough to sell me this Yamaha PSR-172 for $35 (Craig's List!!). it is absolutely perfect! i had to take like 5 trains to get there from Manhattan (not really only 2) and then 3 (yes, really 3) to get back to Astoria. how crazy is that! but totally worth it.

and oh yes, you can see the finished gloves there!! i ventured down to the West Village last night, to go to the Stitch 'n Bitch party at The Point Knitting Cafe . what an inspiring group. i just sat and sipped my minty jasmine tea, met some new interesting people, and touched lots and lots of yarn. i finished my gloves there, and one of the men knitting there (yes there are men in that group! makes me happy) couldn't help himself but to try them on! i almost gave them to him, they looked good and seemed to fit. that's the nice thing about knitting. it stretches so very nicely. i will definitely be going next week. my friend L might even come! my knitting friend.

my sewing machine, Jewel the Janome, under her cover. henna, cowboys, indians. lots of embroidery floss. the window in my studio looks out onto our balcony. i like to talk to my roommate while she's tending to her garden.

my knitting/reading corner. all i need is a little extra light, and i'm good to knit for hours. my supply basket, with recent projects, scissors, needles, etc. my pink cloth bin full to the brim with yarn and wool fleece. maybe this is a sign that i can stop buying more yarn. problem is, i only like to knit with yarn that i dye myself now.


Heather's gloves are started! i decided to make it easier for myself and just dye the yarn instead of trying to find the perfect color to match the hat. you won't be disappointed. they're still purple!! and they'll smell like grape. with a hint of cherry.

thank you for visiting my studio. i play a tune for you, and goodnight.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

sick days knit days

called out sick for the past two days
ho hum.
life could be worse than laying around on a big black leather sofa all day and night, watching HBO movies, good and bad. but it's no fun when coughing and sneezing.
ho hum again. don't mean to complain. i'm feeling much much better, and will be going back to work tomorrow. good thing i picked a short week to be sick.
i did get some things accomplished while lazying about. i finished lacey scarf for K! there she goes, gone to Ireland for a few weeks, but it will be ready for her when she returns. as i'm sure the cold weather will be upon us as well.

you can see me modeling it above. i added some yarney tassles/fringe for a nice finished look. it's not super long, but i'm satisfied with it.

again, i used the lace pattern on page 126 from The New Knitting Stitch Library, by Lesley Stanfield. a wonderful book full of original and inspiring stitches for the avid knitter.

knitting knitting and more knitting. i have 2 projects going, now that i just finished the scarf. another is a pair of fingerless gloves for myself. AH! i haven't knit anything for myself in awhile.

this pattern i got from Knitty, a great website with amazingly wonderful and free patterns. my first gloves! i chose fingerless to make it a bit easier for myself, but wanted some difficulty, hence the cables. the left glove is done, still working on the right.

you can see the lacey scarf underneath. this lovely turquoise cotton yarn i bought from a lady selling some of her stash outside her apartment before she moved. i was riding my bicycle in Williamsburg, Brooklyn after getting one of my tires fixed, and i had to stop and ruffle through her yarn. some i bought she actually spun herself! trying to think of a project for that.
also, in the very left corner of the photo, you can see the other project i'm working on. a hat made from merino wool i dyed with kool-aid awhile ago. another project for a friend. this is an interesting hat. i'll have more photos of it soon. can't give away the secret just yet!

exciting things going on! i joined a Stitch n' Bitch group, which meets in the West Village on Tuesdays! excitement. i'm also researching getting a tax ID number to start selling my goods at street fairs and flea markets! first things first. i've gotta get my studio going, then kick out the products.

Pink Graffiti on the streets! here i come!

Monday, September 3, 2007

threads for dreads

hello again!

labor day weekend come and gone
and here i am in my apartment, finally with internet flowing through my sparkly clean computer.
thanks to my wonderful and able C, my roommate and i have internet, stress-free.

i am currently milking a weird cold/allergy thing goin on. but was still able to paint my studio!
after a mini-adventure last weekend to the Depot (Home that is), i found 5 quarts of unwanted paint, all different colors ($1 each!!!). 4 for the walls, and 1 for the trim (semi-gloss of course). excitement ensued as i imagined this tiny little guest bedroom/studio (of mine!) in pastel blues and greens. how bright it was in my mind.

after 2 days of pretty intense labor (pun intended), it's done! i am so happy.

walls 1 and 2. the shelves were there, i like them so much. decided to keep them. i took these photos just tonight, so they're a bit yellow with the incandescent light. it's difficult to take good photos during the day, with the light pouring in the window. so yes, you can see wall 1 is a nice light olive, while wall 2 is more blue/green. the trim is a light sea foam green. the lacey curtain you see courtesy of my roommate J.

walls 2 and 3. wall 3 is very similar in color to wall 1, just a little lighter.

walls 3 and 4. looove that blue wall. another cute shelf for goodies. weird thing, as much as i love color, i'm becoming somewhat of a minimalist. my parents are going through a lot of their stuff, and becuz i moved here on such short notice i ended up leaving a lot of my stuff there. the more i think about it, the more i just want to give away or throw out. in the year i've been out here in NYC, i've barely acquired anything. all my belongings still fit into one room.


later this week.
buy some work tables for my studio. (2) 4' x 2' folding tables. very useful when we have guests over and can fold up for sleeping room. J and i are going to pitch in together and get an inflatable mattress for such occasions.

on this note. goodnight.