Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tea Towel Weekend

This weekend it was all about tea towels at our house. They're pretty much my favorite thing ever! They're useful, beautiful and dry quickly, even in high humidity. They make awesome souvenirs from trips (omg, go to London if you want to come home with a million tea towels!) or gifts for pretty much anyone. They can be printed, woven, embroidered or patched. Traditionally they're made from linen (I hate sewing linen) but cotton towels are just as nice (I LOVE sewing cotton!).

I made these tea towels from fabric I ordered from Spoonflower.

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The print is from Heather Ross's amazing book: Heather Ross Prints. The book comes with a CD loaded with image files of lots of her prints. There are a lot of cute projects in the book but you can, of course, print the files onto whatever kind of fabric you want and make whatever you want.

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You can get 4 tea towels out of one (54" wide) yard of fabric. For these towels, I like the linen-cotton canvas from Spoonflower...it feels mostly like cotton, not all springy and gross like linen (I seriously hate linen so much).

I also printed a set of her monogrammed Snow White towels.

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Adorable!!

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And lastly, I made these Liberty of London tea towels using my Freezer Paper trick. It makes perfectly perfect fabric strips every time.

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Do you love Liberty? I do! Looking at these towels makes me so, so happy!

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The fabric is a crisp, thick, bright white cotton with thicker stripes woven here and there. I love the juxtaposition of the calm, orderly stripes against the busy and colorful Liberty.

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See? Tea towels are the best thing ever! Wouldn't you love to get these as a gift? Wouldn't you love to GIVE them as gifts? I know I would, and probably will. I can't keep ALL the tea towels for myself...right? I mean, that would be terribly selfish...wouldn't it? ...maybe I'll just make more...

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Lovely Time of Year

After a long grey winter and a short, murky spring, we finally had a few days of sunshine! And what beauties there are to be seen!

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I know full sun is not the best light to try to take pictures...but after so many grey days, it was impossible to resist trying to capture its radiance.

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Here's our little balcony last week. We've since planted all our little herbs and peppers and tiny tomatoes. I want to put up hanging baskets with waterfalls of leaves and flowers that ripple and swirl in the breeze. Only I don't know anything about plants and don't know which will create the most beautiful leaf/flower waterfalls.

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Our new patio furniture is from Ikea and we've had to keep the cushions in the house (due to rain) since we bought it. So sad! But now there is sun (well, not right now...right now it is raining again) and it'll be warm and dry enough this week to eat dinners out on the balcony. It is a lovely time of year.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tubularity

My Tubularity scarf is coming along nicely. It was so fun to wake up every morning this past weekend knowing this beautiful yarn was waiting for me.

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(Check out the sweet mug I got from Eat.Sleep.Knit for participating in the yarnathon. It's literally the only -athon I'm ever going to run. I'm on team Stitchosaurs!)


My goal for the weekend was to at least finish the first color (Coquette) and start the second (Posy). I knit like crazy for two days until my hands were too tired to knit another stitch.

And I really, really love how it's turning out! The only thing I don't like is that my gauge is off and it's knitting up skinnier than the pattern. I could have added more stitches to make it wider but I was worried that it would stretch when I block it and then it would be too wide.

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Unlike anything creative I've ever done in my entire life, when it comes to knitting, I'm pretty laissez-faire. I can't possibly anticipate what the yarn will do when it's knit up until I get more experience...so I'll just knit it up and see what happens. If it's too small after blocking and if I feel like it would be better with a few alterations, I can just make another one. No big deal.

I'm looking forward to more knitting this weekend...I have a long way to go until the next color but I'm already excited! Rose is next!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Preparing for Winter

I learned a lot about walking in cold weather this year. Like, always check the wind-chill, not just the temperature. And don't wear mascara unless you want to look like the Joker when you get to work.

I also learned a bit more about what to wear, what items worked well and what could be improved. One item I found I was missing was a mid-weight scarf or cowl for the not-quite-so-frigid days.

Before I could even start a Ravelry search, I found the perfect scarf on Amanda's blog. It's called Tubularity and it can be worn as a scarf, cowl or hood. We've had 50 degree temperature shifts over the course of one day before...so flexibility is definitely a plus.

I was also inspired by Amanda's color scheme in the second to last picture...that plumy magenta into grey into honey. Honey! I had planned to just use stash yarn but I could not get this combination out of my head. Very soon after, lots of pink and grey Madelinetosh sock yarn arrived in the mail and I quickly came up with an Extra-cat approved arrangement of colors.

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Extra-cat is saying "I'm just going to touch this yarn a little, okay? I'm not going to bite it at all but I'm only going to touch it a little bit. Is that okay?


I just want to eat this yarn! We have Coquette, Posy, Rose, Onyx, Tern, Candlewick and Astrid Grey.

Even though I love the yellow mixed with the pink and grey, a little voice in my head is still saying "but yellow doesn't GO with pink." But it does and I like it and if this was a quilt, I wouldn't think twice about putting all these colors together. It's odd, this knitting thing. Yarn is a medium that I'm just not comfortable with yet. But I'm trying and someday I hope to be as confident with yarn as I am with fabric. For now, though, I have many wonderful people to turn to for knitted inspiration.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Grey-Green Days

There has been lots of knitting going on in our little house. A plethora of kitty toes and feather and fan borders.

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Multnomah

And a hat for Ian that is taking very long but will be very warm.

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The Boyfriend Hat

And a new shawl from the softest yarn and the loveliest pattern with the prettiest lace.

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Cladonia

I've spent many, many hours in our little living room, conveniently within talking distance of Ian's office. A million times I say "Oh, Ian! Just look how big this shawl is getting! Look at these colors! OMG, something really scary just happened on The Walking Dead! Oh, I'll never get to sleep tonight! OMG, this show is so good. And scary! Just look at how big my shawl is NOW!" And so on.

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But since the weather has changed from snow to rain, from white to grey-green, I've felt a tiny pull from the direction of the studio.

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(All those chips on my sewing table were for a party, you guys...a party! I don't normally have mounds of chips in my sewing room, I swear!)

The downside is that the studio is very far away from Ian's sympathetic ear. True, it is still within shouting distance but that would be rude and I'd never do that. No, that is something I would not do. The upside is that the studio is much closer to my beautiful fabrics which I have just, (like, two days ago) started noticing again. I hope this newfound excitement for sewing results in more frequent posting here on my much neglected blog. I have so many ideas swirling around. I don't know which one will settle first but I already can't wait to show you!