The woman who owns and operates a website I belong to, Stitchin’ Fingers, also hosts a stitch challenge on her blog, which has just begun for the year. It’s called “Take a Stitch Tuesday,” and each Tuesday of the year she will post a new stitch to experiment with. Since I know I don’t already know 52 stitches, much of it will be more learning how to do the stitches in the first place than really getting crazy with them.

Since yesterday was Tuesday, and since part of the participation requirements are to post photos of the work and link back to Sharon’s blog, I’m going to document my progress here!

Week 1‘s stitch was “fly stitch,” a new one for me. I’ve stitched with similar effects before, but haven’t used this technique — I like it!

Fly Stitch, Week 1

It’s pretty basic for now, but as I get more experienced,I’ll find new ways to play with it. One thing I noticed is that, while a tight stretch of fabric on the hoop generally makes stitching easier, the way you insert the needle through the back and then back through the front in one fell swoop (whew!) for this stitch would likely be a bit easier on the ol’ fingers (I had to use a thimble to push) if the fabric had a bit more give.

Stay tuned for weekly updates on the challenge! It’s one of my 2012 goals to fully complete it, and I’m going to work all the stitches on a single piece of fabric so that when I’m finished, I’ll have a nice, colorful fiber “document” of my work!

-Erin

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I know, I know–it’s been far too long since I’ve posted on this blog!

This is what I looked like the last time I posted...

...and this is what I look like now.

But Regan and I have collectively resolved to be more consistent with our posting, and we’re shooting for a post a week. We’ve also discussed starting a tumblr blog for quick, daily updates. Do any of you use tumblr? If so, would you recommend it? Any advice??

Ok, enough of the apologetics! I want to share my newest stitching project. As Regan mentioned in her last post, I have just (finally!) finished a large project involving seven tea towels featuring adapted designs I created, based on Alberto Vargas pinups from my buyer’s personal collection.

All seven of the girls, strategically positioned for those with delicate sensibilities.

That was a delightful project, and thoroughly rewarding, but needless to say, it basically consumed my craft-life for quite some time. That said, I’m embarking upon my first new stitching project in months, and it feels gooood!

I’ve had an idea for confusion-free cocktail napkins for months now, and finally, last week, officially set the ball in motion. My big idea was to number the napkins. No two are alike, and as long as you can remember your number, you never have to worry about wiping your mouth on anybody else’s napkin and, perhaps more importantly, protects your napkin from devious “nakkin thieves” (that’s what they call themselves–I didn’t just make that up).

First, I had to identify the font I wanted, and then I sketched the designs.

Then I reversed the patterns and scanned them. From there, I resized them appropriately to fit the napkins (it took a few tries).

A little trial and error.

Then I traced my scans with the wonder-pen, which turns any design into an iron-on (the SuperSweet Sulky pen!), and then fill in any gaps in the pattern with the OTHER wonder-pen, which disappears magically with just a dab of water (the blue pen in the background, made by various companies):

The Sulky pen, in all its glory.

Then…..I stitch! I’ve chosen to outline all the numbers in black and use six different jewel-hued duo-tones for the accents.

Just the beginning!

Keep your eyes peeled for more progress! And, in the meantime, here’s a recent shot of our old friend Judy the Orts Jar, who is getting rather full…

My little Judy's growing up!

‘Til soon!

Well, it’s been a good, long while since either Erin or I have written anything on the blog here at wordpress. I’m feeling a bit guilty, so I thought I’d write a quick little post to update you on our crafty goings-on.

Erin and I now have a facebook page for Artes domésticas.  We’d love to have you as a fan if you aren’t already! We’ve been selling on etsy for a while now, and we’ve had relative success. Take a look at that link too for some fun stuff!

After a very long time listed on our etsy site, I finally sold my Day of the Dead quilted pillow sleeve! I couldn’t be more pleased. It’s been featured on at least 4 etsy treasuries lately, and someone finally decided they wanted it for themselves. I’m planning to make another similar pillow, and this time I’m going to do a tutorial as I construct it. I’ve been invited by Jessica and Ali Rose of Rag Bag Artistry to join their Day of the Dead link party, so I’ve jumped at the chance (of course)!

It finally sold!!

I recently made another sale, and I’m quite pleased about that as well. I made a precious baby set for my friend Jessica’s baby, Jude, and with the leftover fabric, I made a couple of sweet little burp cloths.

Booties from Jude's baby set (2009)

The sweet burp cloths that just sold!

Erin, however, is the one who’s been doing the majority of selling these days. She got a great commission to stitch a series of tea towels with the images from some of Vargas’ most famous pinups. Here are a couple of photos of Erin’s work. They’re just gorgeous!!

The Original

Erin's version just started

Erin's gorgeous finished version

Glam pinup with beads

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the little update. The next post will probably be my quilted pillow tutorial, so keep your eyes peeled!

Neither Erin nor I have posted in quite a long time. Don’t fool yourself by thinking it’s because we don’t have time. It’s because both of us struggle with making time work for us.

Over the past few months, I have done quite a bit of crafting but I think I’m going to break my posts down by craft. That said, and as evidenced by the title of this post, knitting’s the jam–at least for today’s blog.

I decided in October that I needed to use up some of the yarn that has been languishing in my stash as either unfinished projects or projectless balls.  I found this partially completed, but totally wonky, scarf that I started who knows how long ago using a yummy lilac-toned Tabali yarn.

Yummy yummy delicious

I frogged the scarf (**for those of you not versed in knitting terminology, “frogging” means pulling out already knitted work. It gets its name because in order to pull out your knitting, you have to rip it, rip it. Get it?), and because I only had one skein of the yarn, I headed over to good ole’ Ravelry to look for a pattern that I could use that would be a quick and easy way to repurpose this yarn. I ended up choosing “Slouch Cap Redux” by Melissa “Missa” Mills. It only took me a couple of hours before I had a finished product. I look silly in hats because of my curls so I used my trusty styrofoam head and a sweet ex-student to model the hat.

Looks alright on my styrofoam head

Looks much better on Allison

I still have it, and I’ll certainly never wear it, so if you’re interested…

I also rediscovered an old FO (**finished object in knitting lingo) that I’d never bothered to block. It was knit with leftover Rowan kidsilk haze, a beautiful but rather frustrating yarn.

It comes in tons of gorgeous colors

Pinned to blocking mat

"All right Mr. De Mille, I'm ready for my close-up"

This scarf is also available for anyone who’s interested…

In October, I also got a commission from my close family friend, Kathryn, for a cowl.  Instead of stash busting, I made a little trip to one of my local Austin LYS’s (Little Yarn Store), Hill Country Weavers, to pick out her yarn. With the help of smart phone technology, Kathryn and I were able to pick out the yarn for her cowl via picture messaging.  She chose this fantastic variegated yarn, Cascade Yarns Eco Duo, a butter-soft alpaca-merino blend.

Seriously, you just want to rub it on your face. It's that soft.

After a few hours of plain ole’ stockinette stitch, my hank of Eco Duo transformed into Kathryn’s cowl. I don’t have a 100% finished photo of the cowl, but 90% will do…

I love the way the variegation created a subtle striped effect

While I was shopping for Kathryn’s yarn, another alpaca captured my attention. I didn’t have a particular pattern in mind, but I bought a hank of Cascade Yarns Baby Alpaca Chunky anyway.  This particular yarn is bulkier than the Eco Duo and is 100% alpaca rather than a blend. I knew I could whip up a quick, scrumptious cowl out of it, so it seemed worth it at the time.

This yarn comes in a number of lovely, natural colors

It turns out that it was worth it. A friend purchased the final product for her mother for Christmas.

In all its slouchy, alpaca glory

A shot of the cowl flat that demonstrates the pretty eyelet detail

As Austin’s “winter” approached, another friend solicited handknits from me, so I started to work on a traditional watchcap.  It worked up relatively quickly with the Cascade 220 that I used, and I think it turned out quite nicely.  I don’t have a photo of it on its recipient, so you get a pic of me in it instead…

As I mentioned earlier, hats don't really suit me but you get the idea

Last but not least, I finished a long-standing project just in time to bring it to its recipient.  I started this sweater before my best friend’s baby was born and didn’t finish it until she was about three months old. Turns out, that was pretty much perfect timing. It’s a frilly little pink baby sweater, and baby Faith wears it well.

Sweet sweater for a sweet baby

As per usual, I have a zillion UFOs (UnFinished Objects) on needles. Back to work!

It’s been quite a while since I blogged. I’ve been letting my little sis take up the slack for the last month or two as I go through some serious life changes. This doesn’t mean I haven’t done anything crafty at all. Quite the contrary. I’ve done a decent amount of embroidery lately, and I just bought some new yarn on Monday. Happy happy joy joy!

I recently took a trip to Toronto for an academic conference. While I was there, I got to do some sightseeing, and my touristy excursion led me to the Bata Shoe Museum. As soon as my friend Vero suggested we go there, I was on board. I’m a shoe-lover, and anything related to zapatos makes me a little giddy inside. The exhibit on the history of shoes was fascinating and at times more than a little horrifying (foot binding anyone?). I was particularly impressed with the early Indian shoes.

 

So, they don't seem like they'd be particularly comfortable but they sure are pretty

 

 

Fully articulated fish toe ring--sign me up!

 

 

Shoes for Chinese women with bound feet. Note the scale denoted by Vero's hand. No wonder they had to "lotus walk".

 

Strangely (or not) enough, my favorite part of the shoe museum had nothing at all to do with shoes but rather focused on what we wear inside our shoes. That’s right: socks. As the primary knitter in this partnership, I spend a lot of my time either knitting, thinking about knitting, or examining other people’s knitting. There’s nothing I love more than taking a good, hard look at a knitted object and appreciating the artistry. The exhibit was tiny, but nonetheless impressive.  There was a knitting tutorial video playing and needles and yarn so that museum patrons could try their hand at this handicraft. I, of course, couldn’t resist the temptation to knit a little something and so I knit a tiny little swatch that I’ve decided will be used from now on as a bookmark.

 

MIne's the orange one...

 

There are two particular pairs of socks that really caught my eye. One is a super-fine almost Fair Isle pair of socks and the other is an exquisite pair of embroidered stockings. Behold the beauty–

 

Aren't they fabulous? Only in my dreams...

 

 

I want these.

The shoe museum was wonderful, but AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) was spectacular. I suppose the artwork qualifies as “handmade”, right? There were two pieces by artist Shary Boyle that particularly moved me. The first is an incredible painting, and I think it’s evocative power resides in the way in which the artist portrayed the eyelashes. The other piece is a sculpture, and it was amazing. When we walked into the room, it was just a white statue with a web-like protuberance but soon an overhead projector and a fan turned on and revealed the complexity of the piece. I’ll let you see for yourself.

Amazing. Look at those eyelashes.

Incredible in white

Out of this world in color and motion. Note the bat. The fan was blowing it around so it looked like it was flying.

All in all, my trip to Toronto was a fabulous experience. My presentation went well, the company was fantastic, and the city and its attractions were beautiful. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it. I’ll definitely be returning in the future.

 

Inspired by a post I’d seen on Stitchin’ Fingers, as well as my own frustration at trying to dispose of snippets of used embroidery floss in any sort of neat fashion, I made up my mind the other day that I wanted an orts jar.

“Ort” is a word defined by Merriam-Webster as “a morsel left at a meal : scrap.” The term has been appropriated by stitchers to refer to these little snippets of used thread and, in fact, some stitchers claim that “ORT” means Old Ragged Thread. I generally trust ol’ Merriam-Webster, but then again, I do like a good acronym so…it’s kind of a toss up.

Now, my orts jar is just getting started (I did, after all, only find the perfect jar just today), so it’s looking a little lonely, but more orts will be added daily!

 

My newborn orts jar. I've named it Judy (Get it??)

 

In other news, I finished the other project I mentioned in the last post–my witch hankie! She’s available now on etsy, and I’m pretty pleased with the way she turned out! Like my Dracula hankie, the design came from Sublime Stitching’s Zombies and Monsters pattern set.

I’ve also got several other projects underway, one of which is still hush-hush for the moment, but I promise to keep you all posted.

One more thing! I’d like to just quickly rave about a wonderful product: the Clorox bleach pen!!

 

The amazing bleach pen!

 

You might recall from a few posts ago that my sister and I had a little mishap with some wet yarn staining some blank tea towels. Despite repeated washings and bleachings in the washing machine, à la Lady Macbeth, those damned spots just would not come out! After fretting about the loss of perfectly good textiles, I finally followed a suggestion from my (always brilliant) sis and tried out one of these little babies. I’m not kidding you–it worked like a charm! I used the scrubby tip of the pen on the blue spots and let it sit for a few minutes, and when I came back, the spot was completely gone! Hallelujah! In short, if you’ve got spots on white stuff that aren’t coming out the normal way…spring for one of these puppies. The excitement you’ll feel at seeing something return to white when you’d never expected to see it spotless again is well worth the $3. Trust me.

Till later! xo

I recently celebrated my 3rd anniversary with three lovely lady friends, and to celebrate, we ate a gorgeous dinner of tapas and champagne. To commemorate the event, I wanted to give them a little “sussy” (my mom’s word for a small, spontaneous gift). Given the occasion, I thought I’d work up something fairly traditional:

I started out with my raw materials:

-three gorgeous boxes (@ $4.50 ea.) and three plastic rings with faux crystals (@$1 ea.) from a little gift shop in Studio City called Razzle Dazzle. The boxes are lovely, but I’m almost positive they were embellished in-house.

-scrap fabric left over from my bathroom curtains

-scrap ribbon used to tie up a bundle of fabric bought at a craft fair

-cotton balls

-needle and thread

I cut my scrap fabric and my ribbon into three equal pieces, then tacked the ribbon to the center of the fabric:

Then I separated the coils of about 3 cotton balls and placed the cotton in the center, and stitched a very loose running stitch around the perimeter.

Then I pulled the thread taut and knotted it, resulting in a sort of rough-looking pouch.

Next I flipped the puff upside down and snuggled it down into the box.

Then all that was left to do was tie the ring on and snip the ribbon’s ends, and voila! A perfect little “anniversary” gift (crystal is, after all, the modern 3rd anniversary gift) that leaves a lovely little box that can be reused as the recipient sees fit!

In other news, I officially made my first Etsy sale! Hooray!! My little waitress tea towel (remember her?) sold within about three hours of listing her! It was a big day for us. Flo made the trip to Maryland admirably, and the nice woman who adopted her left us some very sweet feedback upon receipt! All in all, my first Etsy sale was a success.

I’ve since been working on a few Halloween-themed items, only one of which has been completed yet: a Dracula hankie (he is also listed here, and he veddy much vants to go home vith you).

 

He's ready for his closeup, Mr. DeMille.

 

Till later…xoxo