Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas embroidery

If you're like me and subscribe many newsletters about the subjects you like the best - and we're talking craft things here -, you've probably seen this article all around. But it's so simple and pretty, I think it's worthy showing it here.

The design is by Noelle Corcoran, and she made the graphics available at Craft's blog. They're simple and can be a great gift, isn't it? Imagine getting napkins embroidered like this! The little bird, by the way, can be used despite the Christmas season. You can also use the same motif with different stitches, filling or not the designs. You can make a whole kit for your dinner table, with table top, napkins... Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Drift Scarf: how to make it

As promised, today I show you how to make the Drift Scarf point. I have to say it's really easy, and if you can get thick yarn, like in Betz White original project, it's really quick to make.

I found the pictures I took right at the beginning, which will make my life easier! ;-)

The pattern is quite simple: cast on the number of stitches enough to make a rib stitch 6x6, in a way you start with purl and end with knit. In my case, it's 8 times 6, adding up to 48 stitches. After that, knit 10 rows in rib stitch 6x6 - 6 purl stitches, 6 knit stitches. On the back, follow the stitches (knit over knit, purl over purl).

On the 11th row starts the scarf motif: in the beginning of your left needle you'll have six purl stitches. Count 6 rows on the back:

Look at another angle:

Now, on this 6th row, grab a few stitches (to keep the pattern uniform, I always grab the first, third and fourth stitches on the back):

I find it more practical to use a double pointed needle, which I already had because of the set of 5 I used for the socks. It's small and fits the pocket in my Tricoteiras tote, but you can use any other needle - just try to use one with a lower number than the one you're using to knit the scarf, so it doesn't make the stitches stand out. After grabbing the stitches, knit as usual, but also grab the stitches on the smaller needle when you knit the first 3 stitches:

The remaining 3 stitches are purled as usual, as well as the 6 following stitches are knit. Do the same and grab stitches 6 rows below every time you have to knit stitches on this row.

After you finish this row, make another 10 rows like in the beginning and keep going, making the pattern I described until the scarf is long enough for you.

A great advantage of this pattern is that the scarf doesn't have a wrong side - which makes it very charming!

Right side Wrong side

Like I said, the original pattern uses yarn and needles much thicker, but hard to find in a tropical country like Brazil - so I'm using Sedificada, which is a very smooth and relatively thick yarn.

If you decide to make a Drift Scarf too, don't forget to tell me! ;-)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Competition: The Book Depository

I have no idea where I put the photos that show how to make the stitch for the Drift Scarf, so today I'll tell you something else! :)

I recently bought some books at the website The Book Depository, following Méri's recommendations. Actually, I was a little scared, because the store sent my books separately, one package for each one, and the last to be sent arrived first. I contacted the website, and they asked me to check with the local post office if the other packages weren't there - but books do not get hold in the local office, only packages containing items that may be taxed. In the end, since it's been a while since I placed my order, the store gave me a refund for the items I still haven't received.

For my shame, two books arrived the next day.

In the knitting list, I got to know that many people are having problems with the post office lately. I believe that the amount of packages in the end of the year is bigger, which may cause late deliveries, but I also think there are internal problems there: one of my packages came with a hole, as if someone wanted to know what was inside.

I contacted the Book Depository again, and they kindly told me I could keep both the books and the refund. The last package arrived a few days later.

For all that, I think The Book Depository is a great option for people who want to buy just a few books - since the delivery is free worldwide! And their service, doing justice to the British online stores fame, was excellent.

And taking advantage of the story, the website is giving away a craft kit! Check out the information here. It's a beautiful gift, and you can take part until January 7th. Who knows you'll be the lucky winner? ;-)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

WIP: Drift Scarf

Today I'll show you what my Drift Scarf is looking like. Check out how it was in October 6 (almost two months ago)

And now, after some work, it looks like this:

I'm on the second skein now, and I'll probably need to finish it so the size will be right. Maybe I even start a third skein! The scarf now has 70 cm (~105 inches). It will be really warm! :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

No more broken windows!

Another day, I decided to listen to all Outro dia, resolvi ouvir todos os podcasts de Sew ~ Stitch ~ Create podcasts that were missing. In one of them, Brye Lynn tells us about a very interesting idea: WIPs are like broken windows.

She used the idea by former mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani, about broken windows: he said that, if you have an abandoned building and don't fix its broken windows as soon as they come out, in a little while there will be more vandalism - and the building will be used as a meeting point by drug addicts, then drug dealers, and so on. In other words, a problem that started small soon becomes something hard to control.

(I find this notion absolutely perfect, especially when I think of all the tiny things we leave without fixing at home, and later we realize everything needs repair.)

So Brye Lynn, thinking along this line, came to the conclusion that our WIPs follow the same rule: you start a project, then you fall in love with a new technique and start using it in some other project, then you go to the store and buy some fabric to make something else, then you get tired of what you're working on and start something new...

I found the idea BRILLIANT! And, worse, I realized I have the horrible habit of creating "broken windows" in absolutely everything in my life! You just have to notice that I was writing daily and then I vanished for a few weeks. I've been reading a book (great one, by the way) for 2 years, and it's not even mine, I borrowed it! At the same time, I have at least two other books started, and my list of WIPs, as you already know, is quite big.

And with this, it came the action plan "No more broken windows!". Every time I have to read a book, I go back to the one that needs to be returned to the rightful owner. After this one, I need to go back to one of the books I have already started! And regarding the WIPs...

Actually, I have a good reason not to have written here in the last weeks: I was finishing a project for a book! Yes, that's right! Some crazy girls invited me to take part in a book with them, and for that I'd have to create a knitting pattern - which proves they really are crazy, since I'm very new at knitting! But as I was saying, they invited me and I said yes - so when the due date for the text was close, I had to use all my free time for that commitment! Now I finished it, I can go back to my projects... and since the idea is to go back to my WIPs before they become UFOs, I'm only working on my Drift Scarf.

I believe that, just like for everything in life, this plan will work as long as I'm disciplined enough to put it into action. Sometimes it's hard, I admit it - I feel like going after something new. But since I myself made the rule, it's got exceptions: I currently need some things I intend to make myself, sewing. In these cases, since they're usually things I start and finish in the same day, I won't be breaking new windows!

Wish me luck! ;-)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I'm late! I'm late!

... but just like Lewis Carroll's white rabbit, I'm getting there!

Behold the first part of Paisley des Quatre Saisons:

I loved embroidering these stitches! When I saw Anne-Gaëlle's picture, I got my Embroidery Stitch Bible and started looking - I was sure I'd already seen this stitch like a triangle there. And I found it, it was Closed Blanket Stitch. But when I read the explanation in the blog, I saw that she actually used stem stitch first, and then she embroidered Fly Stitch (which are also in the book, of course). Méri's dictionary surely has all the names, Portuguese, English and French, I'll check them later!

I've made the first part yesterday, during the holiday, and today I've made the second one:

I think it's looking nice, but I had to make a few changes. It's been a long time since I got this mad when embroidering! Do you know why? The ribbons! Ah, it was really frustrating to embroider with them. First, they're not silk, but satin (Méri had already told me that the silk ones, despite being much more expensive, make a lot of difference - of course she was right!). Second, I think they're wider than the ones used by Anne-Gaëlle. Putting all this together, it was really difficult to embroider with these ribbons. Oh, sure, there was also the problem with the threads - anyone out there, besides me, thinks there should be a kit for this stitch-along? Actually, if the embroidery supplies could be bought here in Brazil, it would already be of great help...

For the contour, I've used a perlé (coton a broder) thread that I'd bought many years ago to embroider vagonite (that I can't figure out how to call in English... and it's not in the book!), but I never did. The color is DMC 798, a very nice blue! um azul muito bonito! For the flowers stems, I used regular thread (stranded cotton mouliné), Anchor color 228. And for the little flowers details, color 290. Not that these things make any difference for anyone reading this, but if I end up forgetting which colors I used, it's noted here! :-D

The next part is embroider little roses around the motif. Guess what, with ribbons! Ah... wish me luck!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Things that make the day better

Tomorrow is a national holiday, and because of that great part of the people isn't working. My husband is, so this is just a regular day here at home.

Of course, since I'm not working for now, the day can be rearranged the way I want. Which should be an invitation to productivity in all areas - chores, general to do's, crafts.

But then what happens?

A gray day. Sad, ugly and depressing. Lately I realized how much gray days affect me, and I must say that's a little scary. When we're working, we don't have much time to pay attention to the weather outside, let alone the effects it has upon us. So something had to be done!

My solution was to start a project that was around here annoying me: a SAL, or stitch-along. Anne-Gaëlle, from the blog Au bonheur de mains (I read French, don't you know? Sometimes with the help of Google, but I do! ;-) ), came up with an embroidery project for us to make together. The links are in the right column of her blog, with all the files for download.

Today, reading the blogs I follow with Google Reader, I saw she was asking people to subscribe again - very few of them were giving feedback about the project. Nothing like a tug of ears to get us moving, huh?

I printed out all the files she had already sent us by e-mail (the same that are available for download), and I started to look for some fabric to embroider.

It seems that in Europe it's easy to find linen to embroider. Here in Brazil, Ao que parece, lá na Europa é fácil encontrar linho para bordar. Aqui no Brasil, who knows why, linen is a product of the highest level, costing around 40 dollars. Too expensive for embroidery!

I headed to my embroidery box to see what I already had, and I found some fabric - I think it's fine hemp. I'm not sure it will be suitable for the project, but I'll try.

The next step was transferring the design to the fabric. Since I don't have a light box (yet), which makes this step of embroidery a lot easier, I had to improvise the simplest way:

See how gray the day is?? And the street is too calm, only in the middle of a long weekend you see this in São Paulo...

Very well, design transferred, the embroidery starts tonight. The first stage is the contour, I've already seen the steps to make the chosen stitches and I'll pick the colors later. I decided to make each of the 4 parts of the project in separate fabrics. Later I want to frame them and hang them in the original distribution. I think it will look really nice!

I love paisleys. Or cashemire, or however you know this design. I simply l-o-v-e them, and I thank Anne-Gaëlle for the beautiful design! :)

Now I have to go... it's getting dark and the wind is so strong outside. I don't feel like doing anything other than this embroidery today, but I have to be stronger than that and head to the gym. That's another thing about gray days: they totally ruin your diet, and this fat is not going to burn itself!

Friday, October 8, 2010

So long and thanks for all the fish!

After this post I doubt anyone keeps visiting this blog. You're about to know my crazy level.

Very well, yesterday I got to the (recurring) conclusion that I needed to organize my craft supplies. And I didn't avoid the task, even not believing it could turn out good.

Months ago, I bought a desk, three drawer thingie and a book shelf, to boost my home office. The shelf was strategically chosen because of its two doors on the lower part, which I decided right at the store (mentally, with no comments to the poor husband) it would be where I'd keep my craft stuff. The rest of the shelf was for my books, of course.

(The shelf right above is the home of my craft books and magazines: did you notice the little lamb? It's the one I got at the patchwork fair! So cute!)

So there was the problem that needed to be solved TODAY! Look at the situation before:

Starting with the upper shelf, from left to right, we have:
  • box for cross stitch and embroidery
  • the tote I bought at Paris, with fabric to make "fur" toys, like the little lamb
  • the plastic package with the gray knitting inside is a pullover that a friend of mine asked me to add some buttons - so it doesn't count in my mess, I jsut need her or myself to buy the said buttons
  • below the package, a ball of yarn
  • on the next pile, the yarn I'll give my friend as a gift, the yarn she gave me as a gift, plus two more balls of yarn
  • next to it, packages of... well, yarn
  • below all that, the kits of candlewicking embroidery I bought (yes!) a long time ago (months, I think)
  • you can't see it, but behind that wall, there's a bunch of other yarn packages
On the other shelf:
  • the numbered box above all has - guess what! - yarn
  • a box of buttons to cover
  • my "gather-all" box, which I got as a gift from my friend S., full of varied things - needles, threads...
  • my machine to cover buttons (it's also for other things, but that's the function I'm most attracted to)
  • two metal buckets, which I got when I bought paint for the apartment (in the remodeling a while ago - last year, I think). They were free if you got that brand of paint, and when I saw them I logically thought of them filled with craft stuff - too bad I just got two of them, there were four colors (do you like having all things from a collection? I'm obsessed with that kind of thing.)
  • a lost yarn, which I used for some tests
  • a magazine holder, with many things beside magazines inside
  • and again you can't see it, but my sewing machine is behind all that, and also a couple of little bags with thousand things in them
Of course that for tiding all this up I had to take almost everything out of place. The biggest packages of yarn I already knew I couldn't move around, so I just tried to group them together. Inside the bags, totes and plastic bags, I found many UFOs, which headed back, of course, to the closet without me thinking a lot about them (but with a sting of remorse for not having finished them yet).

In the lower part, the sewing machine couldn't move anywhere either. What I did was take all the sewing supplies and organize them inside the "gather-all" - it has three pockets in the front, where I put the sewing pencils and the fabric scissors. Ok, I also put crochet hooks, the double pointed knitting needles and a pack of elastic. And I also put there the pincushions and the buttons. And the buttons to cover. And the matrix to cover buttons. Please don't judge me.

I have a problem (well, another one!): I can't throw away sewing remains. Threads too big that were left behind, strips of fabric... that's what the bucket below had. I decided to discard everything, except for a big scrap of fabric that remained from a bag I made. It was empty! Who knew... In the other bucket, were my paper punches (I only have two, I still can't get the hang of scrapbooking, but I love the punches), velcro, a big piece of string and strips of fabric that I didn't want to analyze at the time. I already managed to throw away a bunch, I left the rest for some other time. Or not. It's that idea that you might need something right after you decide to throw it away. I'm getting better.

Look how it turned out:

I know that looking at it like that it seems like I didn't organize anything, but believe me, it's MUCH better. Now I can see everything it's there! The embroidery box is still there, with the little bag of origami paper right behind it, then all the yarn, with some UFOs and WIPs on top of them - now it's easy to see what needs to be done. In the front, I left the embroidery kits I bought from Lee Albretch (they're small, I think I can make them quickly, so I wanted to leave them in sight). I also left things that I bought because I thought they were so cool but until today (oh the shame...) I haven't tried them out yet: kits to make yo-yos and fabric flowers.

On the lower shelf, now with much more room and tidier: the "gather-all" with the sewing stuff and other small things (all together, at least), the machine to cover buttons with the fabrics for toys in front of it, and back to their places, the sewing machine, with the buckets and the magazine holder. This one now holds many things that are not magazines, but it's easier to find everything now.

To prove to myself that the organization was surprisingly a success:

The door closes! :) (that small gap is normal, believe me)

I think knitting is what takes up the more space, isn't it? I'm holding myself not to buy any more yarn, no matter how many sale news get to my inbox!

Mission accomplished! Who knew...

But here goes the crazy part I talked about in the beginning: that is not the only place in the house where I have craft supplies. To the general despair of my husband, of course. But since he doesn't read this blog, I'll show it only to you the other places. Don't you feel so special now?

Here is where my stuff was before. Clearly all that yarn came after. This is the corner in the home office closet where we keep backpacks - and right away you see my Drift Scarf coming out of a tote! There is also part of the cross stitch nativity scene materials. Please don't mind the mess in the back.

Up in my wardrobe. The blue boxes are of sewing (filled of patchwork fabrics and acrylic blanket for filling) and embroidery (fabric, ribbons, many and many things!) supplies. The candy can I got as a gift (I think I already told this here...), filled with embroidery threads. The white box with a heart and the other colored one were gifts. Can you see that the area below needs some space? My clothes need ironing twice: before and after going to the closet.

Hmm I forgot to take a picture of the upper part... that's where I keep a bag full of stuffing. Oh, it's just a bag.

This is the chair in the TV room where I usually craft at night. My Tricoteiras tote is the one around now, with the cross stitch nativity scene and a knitting project inside. (If you want a bag of these too, you can get it here. I love this tote!)

Did you notice the patchwork cushion? It was the result of my first class of this technique! :)

On my way to photograph other places with lost, I mean, stuff put away, is my project for a scenario (that's how this wooden box with glass on the front is called over here). I wanted it to look like a corner with vases of flowers. I left it over the fridge, and every time I pass by I start thinking about what I could do to make it better... I haven't even glued the flowers in the little vases yet, so much lack of decision. The patina I made it myself, and in the background there's a decoupage napkin. I'm acception ideas!

My laundry room has a small room , where I put the old home office desk, which now supports the basket of clothes for ironing (fun for the weekend!) and the tote I made to go to the craft classes. That tote is awesome! Inside there are brushes, paint, and many other things. I got plans for all of them, but art is something you can't just force, you know? (HAHAHAHA so many excuses... but really, I mean to use everything I have - there's too much money spent, oops, invested in there).

There's a small closet to keep brooms and cleaning products next to that desk - and on top of it, more craft stuff! Ai ai... on the left, napkins for decoupage (including some with Christmas motifs!), a box in which I spent a LOT of time and products for cracking effects, and which cover turned out horrible - and on top of the skating boxes (I just went to one class with my friend S. months ago, and they have been bought YEARS ago - I also intend to learn and use them a lot - trust me!)... where was I? Ah, yes, up there you see a tray I'm painting slowly (I have to wait for the paint to dry out and I don't have patience for that) and a box I'm also painting and I wanted to use for the sewing stuff. Or embroidery, now that the sewing stuff got a home. Which proves that the painting materials are actually being used, just like I said I planned to do.

Need more proof? Look the brushes in the water (or what's left of it). They're being used alright!

Very well, I think that after all that you're not likely to come back here, are you? Muito bem, acho que depois de tudo isso você dificilmente vai voltar aqui, não é? I mean, if someone read this so far... anyway, I'm always excited to start project, but sometimes it's hard to finish them. But I'm determined to put to use everything I have here!

Feel free to push me! :)

Ah, yes... yesterday I forgot to show the yarn I got for my friend! Here it is:

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I completely forget to show you some pretty things I saw during my vacation!

In August, I spent a week in Bariloche, Argentina. The place is wonderful, with lots to see and get to know, and for the first time I've seen snow! Here in Brazil snow is very rare, and only down the south, far from where I live. In Bariloche I finally could play with snow, admire while it fell down and the next day, when the world was white - and even the mess it leaves behind when it melts! I'd love to live somewhere where it snows...

But what I wanted to show you is the yarn I found there: the region has lots of merino sheep, and because of that there are lots of hand spun and dyed yarn. The price is the problem... to make a pullover, for example, I'd have to buy many skeins. Not to mention the luggage space to bring them home. So I just brought pictures! But look how gorgeous:

This was the corner of a real tourist shop - souvenirs, t-shirts - that had this treasure hidden in the back. Aren't the colors beautiful?

I found a skein of Bariloche among them - this yarn is also sold over here, by Aslan, and the girls from the knitting group have used it a lot this winter.

This is a close up of the first picture: many and many skeins hand spun! Each with 1450 grams, at 350 pesos (around 88 dollars). Remember what I said about the price? But I value the work of the artisans, and I think it's a fair price. It just doesn't fit my travel budget! :)

The natural colors are very pretty, and I noticed they use leaves, tree and onion peels to dye the yarn.

I was lucky (maybe my husband disagrees...) and there was a craft fair while we were at Bariloche. Most products for sale were finished, and few artisans were selling yarn. But of course I found some (you just need to know where to look, right?) and I bought a skein for my dear friend L. and some kind of brooch for shawls. Maybe my friend gets them both, we still couldn't arrange to meet!

I just took a picture of the skeing to post here at the blog. And I found that from August 22, when I came back from the trip, until today, October 7, the brooch for shawls is lost somewhere. This says two things about me:

1. when I come back from trips, or visits to craft/patchwork fairs, or anything like that, I simply hide the things I brought from myself. No matter how much I think about blogging about them. Who knows why.

2. I urgently need to organize my craft stuff. Again. Which probably means they won't fit back where they are. Physics does not apply to craft supplies, that's a proven fact. If I try to organize my stuff, they simply don't fit back where they were!

Very well, I guess I already have another task for tomorrow... wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It's alive!!!

Very well, as I said before, I haven't been writing a lot, but the works are in progress - slow and steady, right?

In the last couple of weeks I've been developing a website as a freelancer - oh, I just love building websites, especially working from home! And just like it happens every time something changes in my routine, it's difficult to put the end-of-day-fun in its own place. But I'll get organized some time.

Meanwhile, look what I made while I wasn't writing in the blog!

Remember the Drift Scarf? Well, it's kinda big now... sort of. Around 40 cm, right? (~25 inches) The thing is, every time I make the point that makes the knitting look so nice, the scarf shortens. So it doesn't grow very fast... but I think it's coming along pretty nicely and, hey, if you can't wear it this winter, there's always next year's!

And speaking of next year, we're really close to Christmas again and my nativity scene is practically at the same point. I'm not even commenting this, it's a work worth of Greek mythology, and I don't care when it's going to be finished. It will someday.

It's even further than in this pictures, because it's been days since I started writing this post. The word is: organization. It seems like I can never get organized!

I think I commented in the previous post that during this absence time I made a case for the new laptop at home (here in Brazil we say "notebook" much more frequently - the americans I've worked with always found this very odd). Look how it looks closed:

It looks like floating in a white background because the picture got too much light in it... it looked gray, and in fact it's black! Now look how it is open:

Ah, isn't it cute? I closed it with velcro, and I was careful to leave the softer side on the lap, so it won't scratch the little thing. Because after all, Apple makes gorgeous stuff, mas they get spoiled so easily...

My husband wants me to embroider the case. He's even chosen a motif: a pineapple. Because there's an Apple inside, you see? (eyes rolling...) I still haven't felt like doing it, especially because it's not going to be easy to embroider right on the case, now it's done. There's a layer of stuffing, and where would the laptop be while the embroidery was in progress? Maybe I'll embroider some other fabric and then do some applique. Or maybe I won't do anything. Personally, I'd rather do this case in soft pink, with beautiful patchwork fabric... but I don't think my husband would have liked it so much.

To wrap up, when I decided to take these pictures the day was sunny (it is again today, after days-and-days-and-days of gray sky), so now you'll meet some of my little plants:

Estas são minhas mini-Kalanchoe (I don't know if that's how it's written... and I'm too lazy to ask Google) (I couldn't hold myself, and asked - and I got it right!). They came with red flowers, which looked adorable in the white vase - but they've never shows again! :( I'm still hoping they'll come back some day.

And here's my vase of african violets! After the first bloom, it took a long, really long time, for flowers to show up again. It was worth it, wasn't it?

Did you notice the dishcloth under the vase? I did that too! I'll tell you the story in some other post, ok? ;-)

Monday, August 30, 2010

KAL Mystery Project

A week ago, when I got back from my vacation, I've started the KAL - "knit-a-long" - organized by the knitting group Crazy Knitting Ladies.

The project started 4 saturdays ago, and we only know that it will be a pullover plus size (48 here in Brazil). Since I wear size 40 or 42 (medium), and I already had plenty yarn bought and waiting to be knitted, I was not going to join the KAL. But as time passed by, and the starting date came closer, I couldn't hold myself. Therefore, I once again ran to my knitting master (my mom) and started to put our heads together to find a way to take part in the project, without spending too much money.

I was visiting the master when the first part of the project has been published (there will be 10 parts, one each week). So I started knitting samples with yarn my mom already had, and her needles. I got the combination Cristal yarn, which she uses for machine knitting, and needles 4,5 mm. The problem was that, reading the pattern, it looks like you can't do it without circular needles - which was what we were lacking to start.

In the following week, I was going after my vacation trip - it was all decided in the last minute, unfortunately, but it all ended up just fine. So I couldn't buy the needles! I decided to order them online, so they would be home by the time I got back.

And that's what happened! My husband asked me not to take any knitting in the trip - which made me a little anxious in the first days, but I finally got to finish a book I had started a long time ago. So the pause in crafting ended up well. :)

Last Friday I finished the first part of the project, and Saturday had the fourth part published. Look what I got so far:

The needles are from Aslan. It was the first time I used circular needles, and I found they're ok. Only that I thought they were metal needles (the website says they're made of aluminum), but they're wrapped with plastic. The good news is that the yarn slides well on them, so I didn't care much. I just didn't get in touch with the store because the package sat here waiting for me a few days. The only problem I have with the circular needles is that the cables twist too much, and sometimes they get in the way. I wonder if that happens with all circular needles.

To wrap up, when I visited my mom again, she had a present for me: she asked a friend, who went to Germany to visit her daughter, to bring us two Kollage needles! I can't wait to try them out!

I brought home the 6mm and my mom will test the other one - size 5, if I'm not wrong. It's been years since my mom last knitted by hand, and now she's all excited again - she even got some of her old magazines to test some stitches, isn't that cool? :)

And if you want to join the Mystery Project, go to the website or look for the project in Ravelry. It's sure fun.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Long, long ago... (again?!)

... so much happened!

For instance, now I have lots of time to create - but I don't have money. Funny, because when we have a job it's exactly the opposite, isn't it?

During my absence here in the blog I created a lot. The Drift Scarf has grown a bit, but there still is a long way to knit... I'm still embroidering the first part of the nativity scene... and I got to start and finish a pair of fingerless gloves! I've also made a cover for the new laptop of the house, I'll write a tutorial for that.

Today, however, I write to comment on a case that got to me yesterday. My friend Méri sent me a message regarding the beautiful works of Karen Ruane, because they're being used in a blog here in Brazil, on a slide show on the side bar, without giving the credits to the artist.

For what I know about the internet over here, there are lots of people that create blogs with no updates, to use them as previews - free websites. It seems to be the case, and I also think that the blog owner is not the same person who created it. There's an address and two phone numbers from Rio de Janeiro, but the person did not answer Méri or Karen e-mail messages, and Karen has even sent a text message to the mobile number, with no answer.

In Karen's blog, she seems to be very upset with what's happening. No wonder, right? It's her beautiful work that's out there, with images taken from Flickr, and the quality of Karen's embroidery pieces is undoubtedly much higher than the ones present in that site. Surf around her blog and you'll see what I mean, everything is really tasteful and pretty. The site that's using her images, however, doesn't show anything of note.

I know these things happen all the time, but that's no reason to ignore them. Original work must be credited to the responsible artists, even if they have no interest in earning money from it. Reading the comments on Karen's blog, a suggestion seems to be the simplest one to me: adding her name to the image. It will be some trouble, but I think that, in the lack of an answer from the person who's using the images without authorization, it would solve the problem - and, who knows, it would stop it from happening again.

The only thing that can't happen is the talented people like Karen give up showing us the beautiful things they make, isn't it?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

My adventure with The Simplest Socks in the World

Charmed as I was by knitting, I got very interested on a subject: socks. Reading the messages in the Crazy Knitting Ladies group, surfing the web and all, I decided I wanted to learn how they were made. I started by sending a message to the group, and the girls immediately encouraged me to started a pair at once, instead of keep trying to understand how they were made. And they pointed me the pattern for The Simplest Socks in the World, which is available at and also at Ravelry.

Everything really got started when my friend L. lent me her set of double pointed needles and even gave me a ball of Bambino as a gift. With all that encouragement, there I went to start knitting. Right from the start, I found it easy to cast on and divide the points by four. But I didn't find it easy to unite the last stitch to the end, closing the circle. It took me a while until I managed it, knitting a stitch over the other, afraid that everything would fall apart. It doesn't, ok? You just need to keep knitting, the second row will hold everything together. Just hold tight the thread/yarn so it won't leave a space. (Yesterday I watched a video from Superziper, which teaches how to knit in circular needles. The trick it shows seems perfect to finish the first row of the socks!).

Something interesting is that right in the beginning I was confused and, when I got to the end of the first row, I started purling the wrong side, going back. It was when I found out that it was circular knitting, and in it you always work the right side - except for the heel, if you're knitting socks. You don't need to be a genius to find that out - but if I hadn't tried, I wouldn't have made that mistake and wouldn't have learned. Today is obvious day, isn't it? ;-)

Following the pattern, the sock starts by the cuff, with 10 rows in 1 knit, 1 purl. After that you enter auto mode, knitting several rows all in knit stitch, until you get to the heel. I've made 40 rows.

The heel is no problem in the first part - as the pattern says, "(...) work with 26 stitches leaving the other 26 on hold. Every two rows leave one stitch on each side on hold. Repeat 8 times". That's what I did, no problem. But when I started going back, I realized I left holes. I tried to close them in many ways, and each foot came out differently. The first one came out better, contradicting my idea that the more I make, the better results I get. But the next pair of socks will definitely be better.

I got little lumps where the rows joined back together. The first sock came out more uniform, but with bigger holes. Heels are not simple, definitely. But that doesn't stop me from knitting socks, no way!

And that's been my adventure. :) I finished it with great joy, having learned a lot about knitting and myself. And also as someone addicted to socks!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A WIP almost in the end

In the meantime I didn't write here, I've been working in one of the WIPs I showed you in the previous series: the shrug.

But this post is not about it.

It happens that I was really excited with the shrug, because, as I said before, I've started it with my friend S., and even though she gave it up later (but she has already made dozens of hats for donation, a beautiful vest and she's almost done with another shrug!) I kept going. I thought I would be able to make my first knitted garment.

The problem was that, after knitting all the parts and sewing most of them, I tried the shrug on. And behold that IT DOES NOT FIT ME.

A pause for you to think about how disappointed I was.

Exactly, I was crushed. I took it for my mom to take a look and tell me what I had to fix - I had already knitted one sleeve twice, because I made the armhole wrong (actually, I tried to follow the original pattern, and it just is of no help). Now I'll have to undo part of the shrug, increase the shoulders and remake the sleeves again.

And then I decided to take a break on the shrug and get back to a WIP that I forgot to mention here! So let's see it:

This was the beginning of my first knitted sock. I thought it would be very hard to deal with 5 needles at the same time, and since they have two points, I thought everything would slip from the needles all the time.

I decided to ask the Crazy Knitting Ladies for help and they encouraged me A LOT. As usual, knitters encourage beginners to "throw themselves" into the project right away, instead of wonder and try to understand all the details without even having cast on.

They suggested me the pattern for The Simplest Socks in the World. The problem was that the pattern, just like the name, is very simple. I had problems right at the beginning, to connect the first and last stitches, so I asked the list for help again, then my mother, and in the end I figured it out myself. It didn't end up very nice, that point is pretty obvious in the sock, but from then on it was only fun.

Oh, I can't forget to mention that if it weren't for my friend L., nothing of this would have happened. She encouraged me so much that she lent me her set of needles and gave me yarn to knit the socks. Note that the first sock was knitted with her set, gold, and now I'm using my own set, green. Of course I bought the needles. And with them 4 balls of another yarn for future socks! A girl must save money on delivery fees.

Knitting the sock was a delight, even with hard times in the beginning and the heel. But I loved the result! I just didn't start the second foot right away because of the shrug, but since it made me sad for a while, I got back to the socks. Look how it was in the beginning of the week:

And today it looks like this:

Now I start the heel. I can't wait to wear them!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Long, long ago...

... in a blog far, far away...

It seems like it's been YEARS since I last wrote something here, and it's really been a long time. But I was trying to catch up with the messages in the knitting list - the Crazy Knitting Ladies - when I found a message really nice from one of the girls to me. The filter I use to separate my mail left it buried among the others, so it was left behind. When I read it, I decided it was time to update the blog.

Meanwhile, I didn't stop crafting. :) That would be impossible to me! Many knitting rows have been completed, some sewing got done and I even got some boxes by mail (which seems that will slow down for a while, but I have enough supplies around here to keep my hands and mind busy for many years!).

The one who wrote is the owner of the blog Vanilla Babies - thank you from all my heart! I have been able to motivate myself to do lots of things, but it seems like I needed a little push to get back to writing. Thank you so much. :)

And now back to our regular programming, I'll show you what I've been doing all this time. To close up, two suggestions for who wants to learn how to sew:
  • Teach yourself to sew: a sewing course since the basics! The site is rather complete, with tips and projects very well explained. I didn't follow everything available there yet, simply because it's just TOO MUCH stuff!
  • How to Sew with Jenny T.: a podcast I found on iTunes ( She also has a website, teaches paid lessons online, if I'm not wrong. The videos are simple, but they teach well.
I still have a great resource that ended up by chance in my hands. (Wow, the post is big enough and I decide to tell a story...). When I started to have seriou interest on crafts, I found the blog Superziper, very famous around here. And I saw a discussion about a book, that seemed to be the bible of sewing: Complete Guide to Sewing, edited in Brazil by Seleções do Reader's Digest. At the time this book was desired by 10 in 10 people interested in sewing, according to what I read on the web. And talking one day to my mother, I told her that the book cost 100 dollars at Mercado Livre (a national version of eBay). It was then that she stops me and says "but I have this book". Just like that.

Imagine my joy!

On the next visit to her house, I found the book in the back of a closet. My mom doesn't need it, she'a a fantastic seamstress. She got the book from a neighbor, who was moving and knew she liked sewing. And this craft treasure stood there, forgotten... imagine that!

That was how I got the book and the "bonus" that was inside - a leaflet with cheap projects to make. It's fun to see the suggestions, and I think few people probably have this nowadays.

A little time ago, after a lot of pressure from customers, the editors released an updated version of the book - which certainly must have forced its prices down in the auctioning site. But it's story will always be valuable to me. :)

One last thing: did you like the new look?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Finishing this stuff is the real challenge...

Remember the sewing circle? It was a lot of fun, but so far the project stuck at this point:

Like I said, I wanted to applique the tower on a purse. I thought about doing it in a fabric striped in grey and white, which would ihghlight the foundation a lot. I also wanted to embroider "Paris" above it, since I already have tome beads around here...

What's left to finish: make the said purse!

Why I can't finish it: there is no fabric striped in grey and white around here. This can only mean one thing: shopping! Oh, hobbies really cost money...

What I can do to finish it: Try another fabric for the purse. I have enough black fabric, if I make a frame in another color, maybe using the scraps of the grey fabrics I used for the tower... I need to think more about this. Or simply buy the said fabric. We'll see.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Many mistakes together

Here goes another WIP: my purse made in the knitting board.

I've started making this purse exactly because I wanted to start a project I was SURE I could finish fast. Oh the irony... The first mistake was to use black yarn. My eyes burned all the time, because I couldn't see well what I was doing. Then I got the pink yarn to use them together, what made it all better. Ah, freedom is bliss! Since it's for me, it doesn't matter, right?

What's left to finish: the second part of the bag. And probably some lining.

Why I can't finish it: the knitting part isn't the problem. But I'll have to buy straps for the purse - and I've decided I want pink faux-leather straps. Which means, more packages arriving by mail. Not that I don't enjoy them, but... money does not fall from sky, does it?

What I can do to finish: buy the straps, for sure. And probably some fabric for the lining - how about pink satin? Ah, yes, sure! Finish the knitting part too, right?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Proof of UFOs existence

That's exactly what you read: UFOs do exist! Of course the crafty type, the infamous UnFinished Objects (I thought it was prOjects... tsc tsc). This is one of the oldest I have - and they haunt me:

Can you see the parts of a little house showing? Very well, I've started this project YEARS ago! I don't even know how many, but I know I still lived with my parents. Hmmm no... oh, I can't remember! Imagine that!

Well, I started following the project in a magazine (that doesn't even exist anymore, oh my God!). It was the first time I saw the "3D cross-stitch". After that I discovered there are books with entire villages of embroidered little houses. Wouldn't that be just adorable?

What's left to finish: many parts. One just like the one that shows lower in the picture, that would be the opposite side of the house, the roof... hmm what would be that other piece over there in the corner? Sigh...

Why I can't finish it: the original in the magazine was embroidered with more strands in the needle (6, instead of the 2 I've used), because the plastic canvas is much more spaced. The problem with this project is the canvas: the holes are so tiny that the needle ends up hurting the fingers because it's so hard to pass it through. It even spoils the strand, that needs to be very short, and the work becomes even slower.

What I can do to finish it: try a thinner needle. I've bought a kit with needles of various types, maybe there's a really thin one there that makes it easier.