Monday, May 31, 2010


I've been working on a shawl for my best friend's wedding.  She showed me a picture of this and I had absolutely no idea how it could possibly be done.  It was tagged crochet, but it certainly didn't look like any crochet I've ever seen. Could it have been made with an extra large hook?  Or is there some sort of drop stitch technique?  Finally, I found another, similar shawl that was tagged with 'solomon's knot' and that opened up a whole new world of fancy open crochet work.  While I still can't figure out that square pattern in the photo, I can mimic the general open, lacy style.  And oh the yarn.  I was looking for mohair in cream or ivory--or even a light, earthy color, but apparently mohair only comes in bright colors or metallics--I was somewhat disappointed, until I found this beautiful, luxuriously soft blend of baby suri and merino wool.  It is so, so soft--Suri is definitely one of my new favorite fibers.  So the shawl will be extra long and bulky and so soft.  I haven't decided how I'm going to edge it, whether I'll do bobbles, like the original, or maybe some fringe like this.  I'll definitely post the finished shawl!

Friday, May 28, 2010

New Photographs

We've been re-shooting some of the items to get an overall more consistent look.  I'm happy with these new photos.  They are more engaging and just a little it more enigmatic--I like the darker wood background with the visible grain, and the light in this room is generally better.  I really like the new photographs of the brass tassel necklace compared to the old ones.  These new ones make it look much more exciting and fun to wear.  And the rings now give an overall feel of the different styles.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

October Doily in May

Remember Graceful Autumn?  Well, it's finished now!  This is actually my first ever piece made completely from a pattern, from start to finish.  Usually I'll start from a pattern and then freehand when I get bored or something doesn't go well.  In fact, I didn't actually use the correct size hook in this case (in my defense I started it while on vacation and only had one size crochet hook with me) and towards the outer edges it does tend to get a little but ruffled.   But overall, I am very happy and excited to have made a proper doily, all by myself.

See?  It looks just like the picture!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My Grandparent's house

My grandma lives in a very large house on a mountain in Arizona.   Their house is always a crazy mess full of fabulous eclectic objects and a lot of great furniture, and of course, that Arizona light everywhere.  My grandmother graduated college with a degree in landscape architecture and has always had an eye for design.  They were always going to auctions and buying office furniture and fixtures. I distinctly remember office chairs 'decorating' our living room on multiple occasions.  Paintings, desks--definitely rolling chairs, we even have cubicle walls in one room in the house. They all came from offices or auctions. Growing up, I never realized that this wasn't common.

These were definitely bought at an auction.  I like them.

I love that the painting is sitting on the floor. Next to an Eames eiffel chair.

That dish set.  Those salt and pepper shakers.

They have another similar table in the kitchen.  I love that everything is haphazard and there are piles of clutter everywhere. Amazing, fabulous, old, clutter.  Throwing things away is totally overrated.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Lucky Me!

Yesterday, as I was out walking Mason, I happened upon a small bunch of clover.  As I was looking at them, thinking to myself how I've never found a four leaf clover, and wouldn't it be "totally amazing" if I found one today, I really did spy an actual, true life four leaf clover.  Needless to say, I was very excited and made sure everyone I spoke to knew about my good fortune.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Flower Loom

I'm working on a special project for which I needed a flower loom.  So I've taken a flower making detour, and it's been fun.  I think my favorites are the ones made with the thin cotton twine and the little black daisy. This site has tons and tons of tutorials for making all kinds of flowers, with different centers and petal styles.  I really had no idea what I was getting myself into when I bought this. 

What I have figured out so far is that, to make simple flowers (like the ones below) all you need to do is be consistent when wrapping the yarn around the spokes. The pattern isn't as important as wrapping each one in the same direction.  There are lots of different techniques; I still haven't quite figured out the fancy woven centers, but I am having fun experimenting with different yarns.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fabric Burning

Sometimes I'll get a scrap of fabric without knowing it's content.  It's not always very easy to tell the difference between a real silk satin and a polyester satin by touch alone, so I'll test burn fabric to determine the content, and surprisingly, it's not nearly as hard as it seems.  I snip a small piece of the fabric to be determined and burn it over a metal plate.  Depending on how easily it ignites, what the flame looks like, and how the charred ash looks and feels, you can determine the fiber.  It helps to first test a piece of fabric which has a known fiber content so that you'll have an idea of what you're looking for.  I also keep an inventory of fabrics I've already tested so that I can always have a test scrap on hand if I'm unsure of a piece's content.

Here's a basic guide, but the internet is full of information, if you want more.
-Polyester or acrylic fabrics will melt (much like plastic) and harden into a black, melted mess.
-Wool smells like burning hair and the burnt fibers become crispy. It's also a bit harder to light than cotton.
-Cotton smells much like burning paper, lights and burns easily, and the fibers will become a fine powder when rubbed between fingers.
-Silk smells much like wool, but the burnt fibers are slightly less crispy and they don't ball up as easily as wool.  The fabric seems to char and then burn, so it leaves a larger charred section on the scrap. I don't know if this is because of the way it's woven, or if it has to do with the content, but that's been my experience.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New Old Things

There is a distinct lack of thrift stores in the city.  Luckily, we were able to take a detour to a Savers (in New England?!) while we were out of town last weekend. It was very exciting, and even though our time was short (only 30 minutes!) I was able to find awesome old things.

The doily pattern books are fabulous.  I've already started making October's (it's called graceful autumn. yes.)  Every time I'm in Michael's I pine over books like these but they run twenty dollars each (!)  Luckily, I bought these for twenty nine cents each.

This was my favorite scarf. I love the printed tassels on the end.

I've been collecting wooden boxes for storage, and I can always use more.  I definitely scoured the scarves for silk ones.  There were so many that I had a hard time choosing my favorites.

But these shoes were the find of the day:  They were completely unworn, and they fit me perfectly.  They were also nearly exactly the same as the shoes I was wearing, except the colors were different.  The colors make them amazing, and now I am slowly trying to break them in.

Monday, May 17, 2010


We went to Boston this weekend, and among many other things, watched two roller derby games.  The first game was the Wicked Pissahs against the Cosmonaughties. There were some massive lead changes during the game, and a crazy comeback at the end.  Boston lost the second game to the other team, and it was sad.  I had fun playing with the camera settings.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New Things--Necklaces

Three new necklaces in the shop!  I'm very excited about the copper and brass pendants.  While I was in Arizona I was able to visit my dad's machine shop and cut the pieces.  I love the sawed texture on both of them and I can't wait to make more.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Crazy Cat Lady

I am fully aware that this many photos is overkill and definitely pushes me over the edge into 'crazy cat lady' status but how can you overlook the unbelievably adorable kitty rolling around on the table in the patch of sun?

Monday, May 10, 2010