Simpilicity (and not just the pattern)


I have been doing some thinking over the weekend in addition to doing some laundry and knitting, and the word simpilicity came to mind.  I suppose the word came to mind after the few posts I have wrote last week about repurposing and reusing clothes and leftover fabric.  While I was reading Sewing Greeen and other blogs discussing refashion, I wondered if I could refashion my life along the way.  I am in need to simplifying my life.  I thought about it for years in what ways I could make my life as simple as possible.  I read an article this morning from the April issue of Figure Magazine.  Figure Magazine is a publication that focuses on full-figured women with the slogan real women, real style.  Know back to the article, the article highlighted five women who are working in businesses that not only good for the environment, but has a simplicity that is sometimes lacking in some people’s lives (I am one of those people).  All the women had a common thread of using things are that are local and reducing waste.

Actually, these are really new ideas if you think about it.  I remember my grandmother always telling me about wasting anything such as food and cooking oil.  My grandmother would save the cooking oil that she cooked chicken to reuse to chicken at a later time.  Now I do not think saving used cooking oil is a good idea because the cooking point diminishes after the first use.  However, I do remember my grandmother using handkerchiefs.  She would carry one in her purse particularly when we attended church on Sundays.  I will let you in on a little secret, I like reusing furniture.  My mother use to buy used furniture.  She purchased a couch that probably was from the 1920s and had it reupholstered to a more contemporary fabric.    I loved that couch as it sat four people because it was about 90in long.  I would have had that couch to this day if my brother decided to toss it out for trash while I was out on vacation.  He had no appreciation for things that were old.  He was one of those people who loved new and trendy things and couldn’t see anything lasting longer than a year.  However, I have a different feeling when it comes to furniture.  If it is a piece that you like and made well, then keep it and have it reupholstered or refinished.  What can I say, my brother did a betise thing particularly when he it was not his to throwaway.

I am going to the Fat Girl Flea Market coming up April 4 in New York City to see if there are any jems.  I could find a coat and refashion it.  I want to find a black plain coat and embellish by sewing on a border and adding some embrodiary and hope to find something at a reasonable price.  I found out about the flea market while reading a blog that attached an article about a vintage shop with clothes sizes 14 and up in Brooklyn, a place that I hope to visit in the summer.  If you are interested about ReDress, you can follow them on Twitter http://twitter.com/redressnyc.  I intend to find more thrift shops to visit to look for quality clothese to refashion and reuse.  There are probably some leather pants and skirts from the 80s out there that could be refashioned into a bag.  I now can say that I am recessionista because it is about saving money, creating, sewing, and looking great at the same time.

I also enjoy shopping at the farmer’s market because the food is grown locally, and it’s important to support local farmers along.  I love getting fresh herbs, honey, cheese, and even meat.  New York City has a great farmers market located at Union Square and I have even brought a couple of fresh turkeys.  Did it cost more to purchase?  Yes it did, but it was good to know that they were free range turkeys and shot up with hormones.  It also tasted better.

Well, I think I have come to the point where it is time end this blog post.  Enjoy your day.

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A Quick Post


Over the holiday season, people found alternative ways in gift giving by creating. Craft places such as Joann’s and Michael’s were of few business that received a traffic of customers and made a profit. No one knows when the recession end and some ecomonists believe that the country will see growth until next year.

I do not I am alone by saying cash is a little short and have been looking resourceful ways to save money. I too will be making some gifts. I have a niece graduating from high school, and before you know, the holidays will come upon us again.

I suppose it is the reason for writing previous post on fabric/yarn snobbery and sewing green to discover how to save money while creating things doing the crafts we love to do. We can save money and things that look great at the same time.

Another thought I have is support more indie crafters like the smaller yarn makers. I’m looking at few people who create their yarns and will post about them in the future.

Today is perfect for some reading and knitting today. Also doing laundry while doing other activities because it is a rainy day in neck of the woods. I do have a question before closing. In what ways do save money on your craft? Share your ideas. Enjoy your day!

Magazine Review and other Going-ons


I am sitting at my computer this morning.  I finished up some work so that I could listen to on-line town hall meeting with the President.  I think it is amazing to have someone in the White House is curious, intelligent, and willing to use technology to keep in touch with his constituency.  I am actually writing a blog entry while listening to the town hall meeting, and it is my hope that I do not begin transcribing his words into my blog.  Talk about multi-tasking.

I actually have a book and magazine review on knitting today.   I mentioned in a blog entry last week about a new book published by Interweave entitled “Simple Style” , which is a part of its style series and added a link so you get a sample of projects in the book.  I wanted to have a knitting pattern book in my collection where I could have some simple things to knit.  Of course, I want to learn more stitch patterns and other details, but for the moment it’s more about building a wardrobe.  The book contains 19 projects with simple knitting techniques.  The book discusses about how to make your knitting easy and at the end of the book is a “design notebook that cover ways to maximize style while simplifying knitting and finishing techniques”.  I put that in quotes because they are not my words, but of the publisher’s words describing the design notebook section.  There are a couple of skirt patterns that seem simple to knit, and one of the skirt has a very nice cable pattern.  I recommend that you should try knitting a project with a cable pattern because you are love way it turns out.   I suggest you might want to purchase the book online Amazon or Borders which is cheaper than going to the bookstore, and you might want to try Overstock as the delivery charge is only $2.00.  There is always the library as well where you can borrow the book, copy what projects you want to knit, and return it (Hey, I don’t judge).

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Now my review of the spring/summer issue of Knit Simple.  For those who are not familiar with the magazine, it’s published four times a year plus a holiday issue.  I love the magazine because it is so informational with book reviews and noteworthy notions, accessories and more sections of new products to try.  The magazine has expanded to include crochet projects with a woman’s mesh cover-up that you can knit or crochet.  There are two articles in the magazine that I found very interesting.  One is article on 101 top knit tips from expert knitters like Nicky Epstein and Ann Rudd.  Another article is about the new technique of hairpin lace.  Here is the definition from Reader’s Digest’s Complete Book of Needlework: 

Hairpin lace is a crochet  technique done using a crochet hook and a hairpin lace loom, which consists of two parallel metal rods held at the top and the bottom by removable bars. Historically, a metal U-shaped hairpin was used, from which the name originates.

Hairpin lace is formed by wrapping yarn around the prongs of the hairpin lace loom to form loops, which are held together by a row of crochet stitched worked in the center, called the spine.  The resulting piece of lace can be worked to any length desired by removing the bottom bar of the hairpin and slipping the loops off the end. The strips produced by this process can be joined together to create an airy and lightweight fabric. Various types of yarns and threads can be used to achieve different color, texture and design effects. Examples of items made with hairpin lace include scarves, shawls, hats, baby blankets, afghans, and clothing. Hairpin lace can also be added to sewn, knitted, and crocheted works as a decorative accent.

I apologize for the technically definition, but thought it may be important to anyone who may be interested in learning a new technique.  I may want to try creating a wrap with the hairpin technique.  Stitch Diva has a tutorial on the hairpin technique, and I think it is a nice website.  Jennifer Hanson is the lead designer and contributing designers include Wendy Benard of Knit and Tonic, and Stephanie Japel of Glampyre Knits.  I think that is all the time I have for today, it’s lunch time and I am meeting my co-workers for a stitching session today.

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 I forgot one thing, I knitted this hat back in the fall and there is still the matching scarf that I have failed to knit with winter being over, but here it is:

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I know the photo is huge and now we can see the white lint that seem have made a home on my hat.  You are also looking at my work desk with my work mug and part of a mini-knitted sweater that I made from some scraps a few years ago.  It was when I getting in the process of knitting and wanted to see if I could really knit a sweater.  It is definitely lunch time now as I could eat a small calf (but I will not, grilled cheese is the preference today).  Enjoy your day!

A Sewing Book Review, Nice Finds and What’s Wrong with Repurposing


It’s a beatiful day and the only unfortunate part of it is that I suffer from allegries during this time of year.  I am allegry to just about everything such as grass and tree pollen, dust mites, roaches, ragweed, horses, dogs, cats, feathers, and a few others things I do not even remember anymore.  However, let us just say that from the months from March to November can sometimes give me some difficulty.  I also have a weird allery to rice, mustard, and green peas which means I can not eat these particular foods very often, and grains like quinoa, amanath, wheatberries, and barley have become my new staples.

Well that is my little side note before getting to real purpose of what I want to write about today.  A couple of blog entries ago, I mentioned that I purchased a book called “Sewing Green” by Betz White.  The book has 25 projects made with repurposed and organic materials along with tips and resources for earth-friendly stitching.  Betz gives very useful and old-fashioned advice on repurposing materials as way not only to save money, but be kinder to the environment.  If you or I thought about it, our parents and grandparents would constantly tell us about the importance philosophy of waste not want not.  We can refashion a skirt by adding embellishments to give it a second life.  I will tell you a little secret, I do not have a problem with going into a thrift shop and finding a good quality coat or jacket and creating something new from it.  Is that not the point of being crafty and creative?  We do not always have to create something new, but create something different as well.  In addition, I do have scraps of fabric and yarn that can be used for other projects.  There is one project in the book where you can make a auto sunshade from empty drink pouches such Capri Sun or Kool-Aid Juicers.  Actually, I think that is a very good idea if you have children who drink those juices, just save them and make the sunshade.  This way you have less trash and your carseat can remain cool, it’s a two-fold solution.  Betz also recycled pillow cases by making them into either skirts for women, or sundresses for little girls.  If you have an old denim skirt, you can create a shopping bag as people are beginning to bring their own shopping bags to supermarkets.  I do not know if anyone knows this, but Whole Foods Market will deduct 15 cents from your grocery bill if you bring your own bag.  I think Sewing Green is a good reference book to have for those who like or want to recycle and reuse.  I have a question, does anyone reuse, buy secondhand, and recycling clothes?  If so, how do you do it?

I have a couple of nice finds today.  Last week, during my weekly knitting club at work (there are some crafty people at my job and we meet on Thursdays afternoon to knit or crochet for an hour) one of my co-workers went to Rhinbeck, NY a few months back and purchased some yarn from Brooks Farm Yarn.  It’s called Four Play which is 50/50 blend of fine wool and silk (it is so soft), approximately 270 yd/4oz. worsted weight (7-9 US needles).  It is $18.00 a skein, but less than $100, you could knit a nice sweater, or just brought two skiens for a scraf or cowl.  Yesterday, I picked up a copy of Sew News to read the article about sew green ideas.  There were a couple of articles, one on sewing with bamboo, and what does green mean.  Sewing with bamboo gives the basic on how to sew with bamboo with choosing fabrics, benefits of using bamboo, and some resources of where to find bamboo fabrics.  One website I like is The Bamboo Fabric Store which had a selection of knit, knit with loop, and flat woven fabrics, and if you like working with hemp fabric, there is The Hemp Fabric Store with a selection of hemp fabrics.  Another website for bamboo fabrics is the Bamboo Textile Store which as a selection of fabrics as well. 

Here is some information about bamboo and hemp fabrics:

Bamboo fiber is softer than the softest cotton and has a natural sheen to the surface and feels similar to silk or cashmere.  It has a very high soil release value and is so durable that you can throw it in the washer and dryer.  Bamboo is breathable, comfortable and thermal, so it can keep you cool and dry.  It absorbs and evaporates perspiration faster than any other fabric.  Bamboo is anti-bacterial and order free which prevents cultivation of yeasts, molds, and fungus on your clothes.  That remains me, I am allegric to mold.  With people who have allegries like me, it’s hypoallergenic meaning it’s non-irritating to the skin (I have asthma and eczema), and something I did not know bamboo fabric protects you from UV rays (who knew).  In addition, it’s environmental safe as it does not require pesticides, insecticides, and fertilizers, and it’s biodegradable.  Bamboo fabric does cost more, but it is a very durable fabric so it lasts for a long time which is a long-term savings.

I am going to end on this note.  Considering that I do have some medical issues, it may behoove me to check out different types of plant based fabrics such as corn, soy, lyocell, and tencel.  I am not fabric or yarn snob, but I think it is a good thing to check out other fabric options and work with them.  I will do some more research on the plant-based fabrics and write them in future blog posts.  This also means that I should stop writing because my entry is getting a little long again, and if you are like me you have more blogs to read with subscribing to goole reader.  Enjoy the day!

Blogs and other Ramblings


I use Google Reader to keep track of all the blogs I am interested in reading.  There some many of them and I subscribe to different types from cooking to politics.  Most of the blogs about knitting, crocheting, sewing and crafting, and it seems that I add a couple blogs a day.  I am addicted to reading blogs, but it keeps me touch with what is going on.  I even have a word a day blog to increase my vocabulary.  I kid about being addicted to blogs, but I am an information hound and love learning something new.  I feel that I have wasted day without at least learning one thing.  In addition to reading blogs, I have read magazines because the articles are more in-depth then a daily newspaper.  In many ways, technology is a good thing, but I still like reading book or magazine and blogs just adds onto my reading.

I am still working information about knitting and sewing green, but wanted you to know that Red Heart has even got on the green bandwagon.  The company has created to two brands with Eco Ways and Eco Cotton Blend.  Eco Ways is made with 30% of recycled polyester, and Eco Cotton is made from recycled t-shirts and arylic.  I forgot to mentioned yesterday that Lionbrand also has a recycled t-shirt yarn.  Getting back to Red Heart yarns, both yarns are reasonable priced, eco ways is $3.19 a skein and is 186 yards worsted weight, and eco-cotton is $3.49 a skein and is 145 yards worsted weight.  I think it’s a great price and you could knit or crochet a sweater without breaking your budget, and it is easy to care for by washing it yourself.  For information about these yarns go to www.redheart.com.  You can register, subscribe to the newsletter, and look at the free patterns.

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My blog find for today is Neoknits (http://neoknits.blogspot.com), her name is Melissa and she is a sweater designer from New York.  She designs some great looking cardigans and sweaters, and has posted her patterns on her blog for sale.  If you are interested knitting a cardigan or sweater, Neoknits has some nice designs for you give a try.  Another blog I added to my blog list to read is called Fabric Worm (http://fabricworm.blogspot.com), and there is also a shop called (http://www.fabricworm.etsy.com ) to see all the fabrics for sell.  I think the fabric is lovely and can imagine making curtains, tablemats, and pillows.

 I picked up an issue of Craftstylish a few weeks ago.  The issue focused on refashioning your wardrobe and it had some great ideas making something old new again.  Of course, there are some things I would not do, but it does give me inspiration in recycling some of my old clothes and giving them a more updated and contemporary look.  There is also a blog called Refashion Wardrobe (http://www.nikkishell.typepad.com/wardroberefashion/).  The creator, Nichola Prested based in Melborne, Australia decided to stop purchasing new manufactured clothing to do her part for the planet, saving money and improve her sewing.  Wardrobe Refashion is an online community with several contributor sharing their ideas and projects with blog entries on the site.  I actually heard about the blog from reading the book “Sewing Green” by Betz White that I mentioned in yesterday blog entry. 

Did you know that it was March Mending Month?  Craftzine.com is doing a month long of things that you can mend such as that old in your sweater that the moths had a nice meal with.  Yesterday’s Craftzine blog entry was how to mend a sweater by crocheting a patch.  I thought was very cool thing to do and no one will know that there was once a hole, and you can save the sweater you love so much.  So now you can visit their blog and learn how to mend just about anything.

I am getting the feeling that I am writing another long blog post, but wanted to add this information I received from my cousin Kimberly today.  It is a summer program at Morehouse College and I am going to paste the information if anyone who as a son, nephew, or younger brother (or a neighbor)  who is a 10th or 11th grader can take advantage of this opportunity:

 MOREHOUSE SUMMER PROGRAM FOR MALES IN HIGH SCHOOL
       
       
                MOREHOUSE SUMMER PROGRAM – 10th & 11th Grade        
               
        *       You may know someone . . . Please pass on this opportunity for our young men. . . .
               
                Any Brothers or Sisters who have Sons, Nephews or younger brothers please read….
               
Morehouse Summer Program @ Morehouse College in Atlanta , GA –  will be offering a Summer Institute (Proje ct Identity) for African-American males entering the 10th and 11th grades.
               
                Three weeks at Morehouse – June 7 – 28

        *       Creative Writing –
        *       SAT Prep –
        *       Debate –
        *        Pre-Calculus –
        *       Leadership development  –
        *       Enrichment activities –
       
        $400 fee (includes meals, housing and activities).
       
PROJECT IDENTITY is a federally funded program designed to stimulate interest in college attendance and the awareness of college entrance requirements for African-American and other minority males attending middle school. The Project a ims to help to develop and sustain the capacity of middle schools to prepare these young boys for high school and post-secondary education. By providing a network of support, particularly for the adults who influence middle school students, specifically, their counselors and families, Project Identity strives to channel and direct more minority males to higher education. Project Identity will give special attention to boys from backgrounds and communities that  historically have not encouraged large numbers to pursue, enroll and succeed in post-secondary education.


OUR VISION
The vision of Project Identity is to expose middle school male students to the best academic resources and cultural activities so that learning becomes a source of inspiration to not only pursue the college option but to do so with enthusiasm and vigor. By assisting both parents and school counselors, Project Identity will create a learning environment for participants that extends beyond the classroom.
       

FOR MORE INFO GO TO: http://www.morehouse.edu/projectidentity/index.html

Well, that is all have for today.  If the Morehouse link does not work, let me know and I will get it for you.  Enjoy your day!

Is it Spring Yet?


I woke up 6 this morning and turned on my radio to listen to NPR with a discovery that it was 31 degrees outside.  I know it is spring, but 40 degrees are not yet behind us in New Jersey.  I write to mention that I visited the Lionbrand Yarn Studio to pick up some yarn.  SinceI was going to the studio, co-worker asked me to pick up some yarn for her as well.  Lionbrand just put out a line of yarns within the past three months called the LB Collection.  One of the reasons for liking Lionbrand Yarns is the price factor, the company manages produce yarns that does not break your budget and still has quality of nice stitch definition.  In my blog about fabric and yarn snobbery, I am not a snob just as long as it is good quality.  In fact, Lionbrand has this mircospun yarn that I like because it creates a nice stretchy fabric.

Lionbrand is getting on the green bandwagon and has in its collection organic wool, recyclable cotton, and bamboo.  It is all about sustainability and reusing old materials to create something new.  I have an old wool sweater that has a hole in it and resusing to make either a bag.  Let us face it, we have to make our dollars stretch as much as a possible.  I think the recession has taught us an important lesson that it is not wise to waste anything and we need to not only saving money, but reuse.  My grandmother use to recycle old jars, and I am doing that now with reusing them as containers for buttons, ribbons, and grains that I purchased in plastic bags that I need to store.

I am digressing a bit, but let me get back to my visit at Lionbrand.  I purchased five skeins of the LB collection of cotton bamboo yarn.  Initially, I was going to crochet a shell that the company created to use for the bamboo cotton yarn, but I changed my mind about the pattern.  I have a pattern in mind and just think about it until I purchased the yarn with thinking about it over the weekend.  The Favorable Cardi from the September/October issue of Crochet Today.  I like the shape of the cardigan and probably can wear it for three out of the four seasons and think the cotton bamboo yarn from LB will be great to use for this project.  This will be my first crochet cardigan project, and crochet a sample gauge last night to see how it will look.  Since, I only purchased five skeins, I have to go back and get the contrasting color.  I purchased the hyacinth which is a dusty blue color, but probably get four more skeins, one more of the dusty blue, and three to four skeins of the snapdragon or spring green yarn.  I am not going to do three colors.  I think two colors are enough for the cardi, and just use contrasting color for the buttons.  I think if can if this project, I can wear with the nice blue cotton fabric I purchase for the Michelle Obama dress and just use a contrasting color for the ribbon on the dress.  If you do not mind, I am actually thinking out loud and writing into the entry.  There are times while I am writing, I am also editing, but this is not one of those moments.  Lion Brand’s LB collection includes, LB 1878, LB Collection Cashmere, LB Collection Organic Wool, LB Collection Superwash Merino, and LB Wool Stainless Steel.  You can go onto www.lionbrand.com to see their yarn collection, and www.crochettoday.com for more information about the magazine and its projects.


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Of course the week could not go by without visiting the bookstore.  I purchased two books one entitled “Sewing Green” and other “Simple Style”.  I knew that first book was going on sales a couple of months ago, and decided it may be a good book to have because I do want to re-work some of the pieces in my wardrobe.  I also wanted to experience with working with organic fabrics such as bamboo.  Adrienne from Real Life: Live & Unscripted http://adrienneslittleworld.typepad.com/ and she used bamboo fabric to make tunic dress.  She told me that it was nice and soft.  I have a confession to make, I like knit fabric because of its drape, easy to care for, and you can dress it up or down.  Back to Sewing Green, I looked through the book and like some of the projects.  There is a lunch bag and sandwich wraps that I would like to make for myself as I need to save money.  Working in New York City, you can spend as much as $15.00 for lunch.  That is a lot of money and I can take that lunch money to purchase other items such as fabric and yarn (lol).  I really like  the project on the cover.  I have some leftover yarn that I can knit into a simple scarf, find some felt fabric from Joann’s, and a nice whimscal scarf.

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The other book I purchased is a knitting book from Interweave Publishers and part of the style series.  There is Wrap Style, Color Style, Scraf Style, etc.  Simple Style is based on patterns that are simple to knit and even have a couple of skirt patterns.  There is a wrap project that I would love to knit from the book, but there is a cardigan that I thought would be good to have my closet.  I really need to just go to the library and borrow these knitting pattern books, then I can just make copies of the patterns I would like to knit and save my money to purchase yarn to knit the project (yes I am thinking aloud again).

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I was going to write about some current knitting and sewing magazine with a green theme, but I think I am on the verge of writing more than thousand words on this post again and you the reader my be a little tired of reading at this point because I am getting tired of typing.  I am going to write a blog about green sewing and knitting by the end of this week as this will give me enough to do so more research, reading, and find resources in case you may want to green your world.  Enjoy the rest of your day.

Fabric or Yarn Snobbery?


I have a friend of mine who only believes in purchasing clothes of natural fibers.  That is right no polyester other synthetics for her.  However, she does not like the facts that people wear jeans and has an aversion to corduroy which are incidently made from cotton (a natural fiber).  Needless to say she has dubbed herself the fashion queen and believes natural fibers are the way to go.  I love natural fibers and purchase or make pieces from them.  However, I have a practical side to me as well.  I have to ask myself what kind of lifestyle do I have.  What kind clothes do I need for work and home?  How many functions do I attend during the course of the year?  These are the questions people will or at least ask themselves when choosing clothese for their lifestyle. 

Another question I tend to ask myself do I really want to spend a great deal of money having my clothes drycleaned.  Cashmere or wool sweaters are not difficult for me because I can wash them by hand and make sure to wear a t-shirt or undergarment pads underneath my arms to shield away from staining my clothes.  My friend likes linen, but linen can be a problem because it wrinkles if you look at it and you need to take to the cleaners with almost each wear, in addition, it’s not a year round fabric.  I guess I have the belief in making your clothes last as long as possible.  I was wearing an article where it stated that conventional about women wearing something once within a week or month is no longer the thing to do, if you like then wear it again and we are seeing that with Michelle Obama because let’s face the average woman does not have the money to purchase a wardrobe where you will see her wear the same outfit in six months.  When one think about you will also need a use closet to keep all that clothing and some of us do not have the space for it.

I do use synthetic fabrics and yarn for more comfortable wearable pieces particularly for the weekend where I can just wash in the laundry with very little ironing.  I actually wash these pieces and dry them by hanging them so I do not have to iron.  I received an email the other day from Pattern Review promoting Jalie’s new patterns to order.  Two of the patterns are new 2908 and 2909, a stretch denim and classic trousers.  Jalie has the 2561 which is a pant patterns, but think it would great to get fabric made from lyra/polyester blend to wear for a casual work place and weekends.  You could use a cotton/lyra blend fabric for pattern 2909 or perhaps a wool gabardine, but thinking about fabric that has stretch.   I am also interested in finding some tops using cotton/lyra blends because one can never have enough of them to wear on the weekends where you just wash them and go on with the rest of your day.  I love cashmere/silk blend sweaters because I can wash them myself and it’s not difficult care.  Real Simple (www.realsimple.com)  has a few articles about caring and maintaining your wardrobe with some great advice.  However, I do not think that there is anything wrong with have some synthetic pieces of clothes in your wardrobe.  I think I will do a blog on the different type of fabrics both natural and synthetic, and even organic with references of articles and websites.  Let me know if this is a good idea.  Ciao.

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New Stuff to See


I subscribe to a lot of blogs containing various information and tips from cooking to knitting to sewing.  Today, I read a blog entry from Skamama, Julie Armstrong Holetz who wrote the book Uncommon Crochet that I mentioned in a previous blog entry.  I love her crochet patterns because they are so hip and modern.  Now Holetz is the editor of a new crochet magazine from Great Britain called Inside Crochet Magazine (http://www.insidecrochet.co.uk/issue1.html) and the first issue goes on sale March 27, but you can go onto the website and pre-order.  Inside Crochet also on Facebook and Raverly.

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Burda Fashion has its April issue preview online and saw this dress that pique my intererst.  I noticed that the dresses for the spring and summer are long.  It’s a gown without being formal, but stylish and yes the c word comfortable.  I can see myself going out to dinner with friends or a nice outdoor party.  I am thinking about getting the April issue and add this dress to my inspiration notebook of things to sew.

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I read a comment that someone left me yesterday.  Her name is Maranda Burke and her blog is (http://mandmstudio.blogspot.com/).  I took an opportunity to visit her blog as she visited mine and realized that she has a shop online (http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6837291) with some great fabrics that takes you into a world of crafty imagination.  There is a print that I thinking about purchasing to make that Sushi Apron from “The Perfect Apron” I purchased last week.  I also see that tunic in my fabric.  Maranda is also have a giveaway of some fabric, so just visit her blog and entry.

My last thing to see is from www.burdastyle.com.  It’s called the Paloa Dress.  It’s a nice wrap dress and the pattern cost $4.00 which you can download as a PDF file.  I see this dress with a pair of trousers if some us have knees that have gone south.

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I guess that is all I have for now with stuff to see.  Enjoy everyone!

Inspiration and Saving Space


There are times when I watch Clean House on the Style Network.  The show gives me inspiration on cleaning organizing my space as I live in an apartment and have to make the best of my space.  This means I can not keep large stashes of fabric and yarn in my apartment due to the limited space.  I am moving in the next few months and have to begin the process of purging and packing.  Talk about spring cleaning.  I confess that I am a ratpack and tend to keep things longer than I intend.  There is some truth that we get attach to our things for sentimental reasons or we paid a lot of money on an item that we do not use, but cannot bear to throw it out or give it away.  My biggest things are books and CDs in which I have over 300 books and probably over 300 CDs as well.  This means going through the books and CDs and make a decisions of what to keep, donate, or chuck.

I was reading a blog this morning called the “Ferral Knitter” by Janine Bajus who came up with a simple idea to keep track and store her clippings and swatching.  She calls it her inspiration journal and I think it’s a good idea.  I keep a notebook of all the knitting projects that I want to knit (I am up to 40 knitting patterns).  It’s in a lime-green three-ring notebook with plastic protector sheets that I slide in the patterns and separated into different sections of cardigans/sweaters, hat/gloves, scarves/wraps, and dresses/skirts.  I am thinking about doing the same thing to my sewing patterns, but a notebook isn’t going to do the job and going to need a storage box.  I probably will follow the scapbooking path as a way of organizing and chronciling my creative adventures.

I just discovered that the new Knitty www.knitty.com and Twist Collective www.twistcollective.com spring magazines are currently online with some very interesting knitting patterns to try.  I am also waiting for the new Spring issue of Knit Simple which should be coming out soon, but the website as a preview of its projects online www.knitsimplemag.com.  Well I am going to continue to be inspired.  Write to you soon.

Wednesday and It’s Still Cloudy


This is the third day and it’s still cloudy in my area, but at least it is not cold.  I made a realization yesterday as a knitter that I have been knitting from the back loop ever since I started knitting.  I think it’s because I am southpaw or left-handed person and just completely saw it differently, but I can say that my projects turned out fine.  However, I person in my knitting circle could have told me, lol.  She just left telling me she noticed a while ago, but I am not bitter.  Some of you may know that I crochet as well, and read from one of the message boards I subscribe wrote a post about prejudice against crocheting.  I have everyone know that I am an equal opportunity needle crafts person I like knitting and crocheting and it really depends on the project I like to do.  This hating must stop!  I am being facetious. 

I made a trip to Barnes and Noble Tuesday evening after work and discovered a new craft book  entitled “The Perfect Apron”.  I know that there are a few books published devoted to making aprons with “A is for Apron” the most current prior to the aforementioned.  However, I did not like those books because they just not capture my attention, but “The Perfect Apron” somehow did it for me.  It may toes curled and wiggled my nose.  Well that is not entirely true, but the book pique my interest to purchase it.  I love the apron featured in the book and probably will be inclined to make a few of them including the Japanese inspired apron shown below.  A silk apron?  Why not.

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I was also glad to know that the spring issue of Burda Verena Knitting magazine is out, and found some interested projects to knit.  I probably will end up choosing one of the projects to knit, and Verena website has the yarn recommended to knit these projects for people to purchase at the site.

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I purchased this book a few months ago (I think it’s time to see the public library) because it was interesting to crochet with different fibers such as jute, hemp, and leather.  It’s really a great book by Julie Armstrong Holetz of http://skamama.blogspot.com/.  I find the designs really hip and modern.  I am a little upset that I could not find the handle she used for one of her bags, the company no longer has it in stock ugh!

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I purchased another crochet book a few months ago as well entitled “Blueprint Crochet” which also have some very cool projects with plenty schematics to follow.  There is one project I do have mind my for me niece because it fits her personality and style.  It’s called the Rachel Swing Jacket which is a `60s inspired swing jacket.  The jacket is worked in the round from the top down.  This jacket will be in my project queue to crochet.

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Wednesday may be cloudy, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from finding some ray of sunshine with the promise of creating fresh and bright to create a little happiness every now and again.

It’s Monday and Rainy


After a weekend of 65+ degrees, Monday has rolled in with clouds and rain on the East Coast.  I think it’s the worse when I have to go to work on a Monday and it’s raining, but one have to look at the bright side of life and realize that the clouds will eventually roll by with the sun shining.  That phase remind me of a time when I told my grandmother that it is cloudy, and she told me that the sun is always there just behind the clouds.  Hey what I did I know then, I was about about six or seven at the time.  However, my grandmother gave more than just a scientific lesson, but an existential life lesson as well and that is be optimistic.  Of course, I did not understand what it meant to be existential or optimistic at the time, but as I became older I understood the importance of knowing the difference between being optimistic and pessimistic.  So giving this somewhat gloomy and cloudy day, there is a ray of sunshine waiting to come into its place.

So what I can I optimistic about?  When I think about being optimistic, I think about inspiration and creativity like a day on this one.  When I read the Knitters-Delight blog today and realize that when I asked Susan a question about what kind of yarn is she using for her circle shrug, and I had the answer all along to use a bamboo yarn.  I went to one of my favorite websites www.yarn.com and search for bambo and found Ella Rae Bamboo Silk which comes very closely to what I wanted.  Susan mentioned that the yarn has a nice sheen and it is the look that I want, hooray.  I actually found the color green that is almost close to what the designer used for the circle shrug.  I wanted to use green yarn as I purchased some fabric on Thursday that is a lighter green with a 75/25% blend of cotton and silk that I want to make a top with a slash.  Spring is in the air even on a rainy Monday, and okay to be little goofy.

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Getting of a Gift Idea


I have to admit to receiving e-mail newsletters from various yarn companies.  I received an e-mail today from Coats and Clarks which has yarn lines that include Red Heart and Moda Dea yarns.  My niece is graduating from high school this year and I was thinking about a gift for her.  I had it in my mind to make something for her because times are tight and making something is turning out to be the cheaper alternative along with creating a sweater that cannot be brought from a store.

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I like this short sleeve hoodie because it suits my niece’s personality and she has the body to wear (13 years of dance).  The sweater is a great wardrode builder and will fit in with her lifestyle of college student as a well.   I may also make a blouse from some fabric I purchases yesterday at Paron Fabrics.  I love that store and I have Lindsey from Lindsey T Sews blog for recommending the fabric store, and will checking out more of her recommendations in the fashion district in NYC.

The pattern to this short sleeve hoodie is free and you can find it at http://www.coatsandclark.com/Crafts/Knitting/Projects/Apparel/WR1797+Short+Sleeve+Hoodie.htm.  The knitting instruction looks straigt and consider this an easy project to knit.  I thinking about adding a button on each side of the sleeve, but it’s just a thought.

Still Knitting and Buying Plants


As I wrote in yesterday’s post, I have been knitting this cardigan since October 2008 and it’s now March 2009.  Yes for six months I have been knitting this project on and off for the past six months.  I am almost finished by knitting the rib edging at the bottom and hopefully move on to the sleeves.  This is my first top down construction cardigan with cable trim from the top to the bottom.  I do not know why it is taking my so long to complete my cardigan as I love the color and the way it’s turning out.  The sweater is simple to knit with only one button-hole.  With that said, I vowed to finish this sweater and wear until it is too hot.  However, it’s always cold my office, so I will be wearing while at work.picture-005

I picked up the March issue of Real Simple and read an article of spending wisely in a recession.  The article made a suggestion of purchasing flowers everyday, there are some indoor plants that bloom all year around, ever bloom is the garderning term.  I thought it would be a good idea.  I like plants and blooming plants are even better as your working day passes by, you need something beautiful to look at it to let you know that life is not all bad.  So I purchased these plants from www.logees.com.  The plants come in 2.5″ container and were reasonably priced  the first plant is $8.95 and the second is $5.95.  You can sit them in your windowsill as well.  The first plant blooms intermittently through out the well and the other ever blooms. 

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A month ago, I ordered a Simplicity pattern to make that Michelle Obama black and white dress.  The order never arrived and believed that the post office lost it.  Simplicity sent me a new pattern and I finally received it today.  I hate the post office in New York City.  One would that one of the largest cities in the world would have an efficient post office, but that would be asking for too much.  I do not blame Simplicity because the company has sent me patterns before without a problem with receiving them, and thank them for being so courteous.  My next task is to find some ribbon.

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Get Finished Already for the Next Project


I have to admit that I am guilty of starting knitting projects and not always finishing them.  I have knitting ADD from time to time.  There are times I can start a project and will not finish until it’s done, or starting one half of a pair fingerless gloves and still on the needles after six months of starting.  I am not alone one girls from my weekly knitting club at work has been working her first scraf for two years, so I do not feel so bad.  I have been knitting top down cardigan for almost six months.  I started in October and just completing the rib edging then I can move onto the sleeves to complete the sweater.  When I am done with that project, I intend to wear that sweater until it is too hot to wear it.  I can not wait to finish the sweater because I want to start on a shrug from Stefanie Japel’s Glam Knits.  I believe Susan from Knitter’s Delight is thinking of this as her next project.  Two minds think alike because I purchased the book some months ago, and thought about knitting project on the cover (I guess I will finish that in a couple of years).  I am unable to find the recommended yarn for the project in my local area, but there are super merino worsted yarn available.

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I am partial to the color because I am thinking about green silk blouse with a straight blue skirt or wide leg blue trousers.  I like E from McCall’s M5661, but I want it to be sleeveless and the slash.

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I want to move something more challenging, but not too difficult and thinking about knitting this dress/tunic on the cover of Glam Knits.  I am just attracted because I can wear this with a pair of trousers or with another dress.  I haven’t decided on the color, but I am leaning towards green.  I just hope this does not take me four years to complete it.  I think this will be spring project to complete by the fall and at least it’s a top down construction.  I think there is a theme here knitting things from the top down.

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