Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!!

Hope the year gone by was a good one..
I wish all my blog readers a wonderful and a successful year.
Hope you all have a fun-filled artsy-crafty year with miles of yarn and oodles of time!
Hope you stick to your crafty resolutions at least for the first month in the New Year! ;-)

Happy 2010!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Star of the East - Aestlight!

If you know me through Ravelry or Facebook, there is a heavy chance that you might have seen my Aestlight already.. but, here it is for my blog readers! This is one clever pattern to knit.. a rare method to create a triangular shawl. The centre garter triangle is mindless and just when it starts to get tedious, the lacy border starts and keeps you interested! I had an enjoyable photo shoot with Aestlight and I kinda went camera-crazy! Aestlight means 'east light" in Shetland dialect, perfect for the Chritsmas season! So, here is the eye-candy:



The yarn is Sandnes Garn Lanett in a mauve colorway and was done on 4mm circular. This project is because of the kindness from a fellow Raveler half-way across the globe! Thank you, Helena for the yarn and the needles! She sent this yarn to me back in Feb,2009 and I've been waiting for the right pattern to knit it with. I am glad I waited till Aestlight came into being.



This shawl is perfect for a photo shoot on a warm and sunny morning! I spent almost an hour on a Monday morning clicking away photos to my heart's content! whatta way to start a work-week! The yarn is 100% merino wool and the garter softness makes for a lovely shawl!



I am realizing slowly that yarn and photography is a deadly combination. Its like yarn p0rn! I am no photography buff but I like to take good pictures of my finished yarny objects! I like to photograph 'em in natural light and we had a bright and sunny morning last week! So, I made the most of it! I took the shawl to the terrace in my apartment and propped it between to wrought iron doors for pictures of it fluttering in the cool breeze!






It was a nice shoot but not a satisfactory one. I felt that something was missing in the photos and the beauty of the shawl was not captured fully. So, after clicking a few more pictures,I headed back downstairs to think of a different prop and a location. I finally decided to pull the dining table near the window and use a casserole dish as a prop and it worked! I finally got some pictures that I really love! I just couldn't get enough of photographing the shawl. I didn't care that I was running late to work! :D My Hubster had to literally pry the camera off my hands. gorgeous.shawl.for.a.photo.shoot!!


I am on a 2-week vacation for Christmas and New Year and its a craft-free vacation on my choice! What was I thinking!?! Here I am twiddling my thumbs, getting restless. No.more.craft-free.vacations.for.me! Instead of loading this page with the images, here is a link to the Picasa album of the photos of the entire photo-shoot: Aestlight It has photos that range from gorgeous to not-so-gorgeous to down-right ugly! I am not a professional photographer but, I try! Here is a wonderful tutorial on photographing yarny objects by Eskimimi.

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to all my readers! May you all have miles of yarn and oodles of time to knit and crochet! May all your crafty pursuits be a success!

-Josie

Friday, December 11, 2009

Easy-peasy Baby Cardigan!

Babies are fun. There is no contesting this fact! Knitting for babies is even more fun! So, when my colleague and friend Nutan had a baby boy recently, I jumped at the chance to knit him a cardigan. Since Viru was born in July and it wasn't cold enough then to wear warm clothes, I made the cardigan in 6 months old size. Nutan says it fits Viru perfectly well! So, let me introduce the Cardigan for Viru to y'all!



It took me a week to knit this after work as I was real slow with it. This was my first time working with 2 colors and I took help from friendly Ravelers. Though it is a top-down seamless raglan cardigan, I had umpteen ends to weave in and I was procrastinating it till last week when I realized, winter is already here and I still haven't given the sweater to the wee one! here it is after blocking and before weaving in the ends.



I found very cute iron-on patches in General Bazaar here and binged on them when I went there a few weeks back! I was lucky to find a teddy-bear patch of the right color for this cardigan! I put the patch on the left front, put a cloth on top of it and pressed a hot iron on it. I was lucky that I didn't singe the yarn beneath but it worked like a charm. Here is a close-up of the patch!



I love the moss stitch collar and the edges. I think the collar gives a grown-up look to the baby cardigan! I am itching to see Viru modeling this sweater but his dear Mommy is playing lazy! Did you hear me, Nutan?? ;-)



Here are the stats of this cardigan:

Pattern: Easy baby cardigan from Knitting pure and Simple
Yarn: J.Sagar wash n wear Blended wool in Purple and Mauve
Needle: 4.5 mm circular knitting needle and DPNs.

-Josie

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Clapotis Saga!

I had a 3-day weekend a few weeks back on account of local elections! So, I decided to finish something on the knitting front for a change. If you've been following my blog, you would've noticed that it's been a few months since I posted about a finished yarny object! ;-) So, without much ado, I will present my bright and vibrant clapotis here! My ravelry notes for this project says that I started it on Feb 26,2009 and I completed it on Nov 24th,2009. I knit one half of it in the 3-day weekend. So technically, I should've knit this in 6 days whereas I took 9 months to complete it! Gaahh!!



It is a mindless pattern..very logical.. appeals to the geek in me! ;-) It was my go-to project between complex lace projects! Its perfect for watching a F.R.I.E.N.D.S. or a Grey's Anatomy marathon! I will not say I enjoyed knitting it as much as I enjoy the finished wrap! I've been knitting it on and off for the past 9 months! I sincerely admire people who have knit their 'umpteenth' clapotis! They can give Socrates a lesson in patience!




I thought the yarn was DK-weight when I started the wrap.Along the way, I realized that its worsted weight.I am still a yarn-illiterate! The yarn is soft for a acrylic/wool blend and provides instant warmth when wrapped in it. The color is bright and delicious! It reminds me of ripe papaya!



I used 4 skeins of the yarn: 1 skein for the set-up rows, 2 for the 'straight' rows and 1 for the decrease rows. The wrap is knit on a bias, by increasing from point to the desired width, then keeping the stitch count constant by increasing on one end and decreasing on the other end in alternate rows, and finally, decreasing after the desired length is reached. A very logical pattern but, mega tedious!



This wrap makes for an interesting subject for a photo-op! I kinda went camera-crazy and clicked quite a few snaps! I love the play of light through the dropped stitches! Unfortunately, I am hard-pressed for space in my balcony and I don't have any natural props to take better pictures! SO, I had to made do with my clothesline in the balcony! See.. this is what I mean..



I used the only 4mm circular knitting needle I had for this wrap and it was completely monopolized for 9 whole months. Everytime I needed the 4mm needle, I will knit a few rows on this urging the wrap to near completion soon. I know that if I put the unfinished wrap on a stitch-holder, it will never see completion in this life.. ;-) The only thing that kept me going on with this project was the look of the finished object!



The yarn has a light fuzz about it which makes dropping the stitches a pain! some day, when I forget just how tedious it is to make a clapotis, I will make this again with a silky yarn! The wrap curls a lot and the edge is not properly defined giving it a rustic look. I wanted to do a crochet edging with beads to add drape to the wrap but unfortunately, I didn't have enough yarn. I had exactly 2 inches of yarn left after I knit the last stitch. Nothing like yarn-shortage to make this otherwise-boring wrap an exciting and exhilarating project!! ;-) Oh yeah! I like living dangerously!! ;-)



Here are the stats of this project:

Pattern: Clapotis by Kate Gilbert
Yarn: J.Sagar Wash n Wear blended wool
Needle: 4mm circ RAKed by Helena aka ignorantbliss
Started: Feb 26, 2009
Completed: Nov 24, 2009



Here it is all folded up, waiting to go into my denim tote to travel with me on cold days!



I must say that the weather in Hyderabad is pretty cold these days warranting the use of a wrap or a cardigan and this wrap came about just in time for this winter! Its finding good use in my office where the AC is always on high! Someday, I will tell the SOB story of my attempts at knitting/crocheting an adult-sized cardigan. But, that's for another day.

Hope you all are having a lovely holiday season!
Seasons' greetings to all my blog readers!

-Josie

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Reuse-Reduce-Recycle!!


I love this concept! It makes me look at old clothes and other items in a different perspective! So, when I chanced upon this tutorial to recycle a pair of old jeans into a tote, I fell in love with it! Once upon a time, not so long ago, I used to be much thinner than I am now! Really!! I don't fit into any of the clothes from that time frame anymore but, I was still hung upon them! I didn't have the heart to give 'em away and was using them for a while to motivate myself to lose weight and get back to my old figure.But, 4 years down the line, I have resigned to the fact that I may not be using them again at all. So, this tutorial motivated me to chop up my most fave pair of jeans! I literally lived my out-of-college,with-a-job,on-my-own 'bachelorette' days in it! and, it became this:



The only things freshly used for this bag are the zippers. I recycled an old and unused 'nightie' for the lining. I love the batik fabric so much that I didn't have the heart to give the nightie away and so it sat in my closet for two years waiting to be turned into lining for my denim tote! Here is a picture of the innards of the bag:




The only improvisation I did was adding a zippered pocket in the lining inside. I prefer to have a few pockets in my bag to keep important things secure and in place. I missed that in the bags I made previously. So, I decided to give it a try this time and I used this tutorial from U-handbag. I am getting the hang of working with the zipper foot of my sewing machine though I still need more practice. The outer pockets of the tote are the back-pockets of my old jeans. Here is a close-up of the zippered inner pocket:




Its a BIG tote. Its very roomy so that I am never without a knitting or a crochet project and a book anywhere I go. The tote is 14 inches wide at the top, 10.5 inches tall with a 9 X 4 inch bottom. I reinforced the bottom by sticking a denim sleeve with acrylic sheets with fabric glue to the inside of the outer denim fabric before sewing the lining. The acrylic sheets were recycled from the outer covers of old spiral-bound study books. I am glad that the tote can stand on its own. Here is a picture of it standing on its own to give an idea about the size:



So, this tote came to work with me today and here is a picture of it at my desk along with my Tupperware lunch bag!! Sorry for the grainy picture..it was taken with my mobile camera.



This tote is special to me as it reminds me of my days in Bangalore, of the shopping sprees I had with my friends, of the fun times I had while at work there! I am glad I made this tote to make this jeans a part of my day-to-day life now! :-)

-Josie

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The return of the Tatting Shuttle!

I organized my craft closet! I enjoyed doing it! and, I came across my tatting supplies.. So after a long hiatus from tatting, I got reacquainted with my tatting shuttles! I think the last time I tatted anything was more than 2 years ago when I wanted to make edgings for my niece. Tatting is my oldest hobby and I learnt it from Mansha during our college days. She was my room-mate in College hostel and she had the patience to teach me tatting. I am glad I learnt it then as I don't think I could've learnt it without a demo in real life.

So, I tatted a bookmark as a comeback and it went very fast.The pattern is from Be-stitched.com by Nancy. Here is the link to it: Tatted bookmark! I always thought of tatting as a slow craft.. you spend hours on it and you end up with a few inches of an edging.. but, this time around, I was able to finish the bookmark in 3 evenings after work. The bookmark measures 9.5 inches long and 2 and 1/4 inches wide. I feel that tatting makes the sturdiest form of lace and I love to use it on clothing. Here is a picture of the bookmark modeling on a book!








Speaking of the book in the picture,its a good read.I am not sure if I believe zodiac or not..but, I like studying people based on their zodiac signs. I like finding similarities between their real life personalities and their zodiac personalities.But, I am not prejudiced against anyone just because they come under a particular zodiac. That is why I am not sure if I believe it or not. I am a Gemini and I am proud of it..though it not my achievement! ;-) So, here is the bookmark modeling on my page!!



I have made the bookmark from the same pattern previously as a b'day gift for a dear friend of mine who has received the most handmade items from me! ;-) I was thinking of Mansha all the while I was tatting this..going back to my college days in my hostel when I learnt tatting from her.. how I struggled to get a hang of this craft. So, I dedicate this bookmark to her and I am gonna send it to her as a token of thanks! :-)

So, tell me about your experience of learning your hobbies from your friend or your family and if you are still in touch with that person and the craft.. I would like to hear from you.

-Josie

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A girl can never have too many bags!

I LOVE bags! Of course, every girl does. Since I have started sewing, I've been scouting for easy-peasy bag patterns to make. And, I came across a few patterns that caught my eye and I gave 'em a go! So, after a few weeks of working on my sewing machine, I have two bags to show you guys! The first on is a handbag made of fabric from my stash. I used the tutorial I found in a LiveJournal community here: Handbag tutorial Its a very concise tutorial which doesn't give you any measurement details and such. So, I used the measurements from my favorite handbag and made this bag. It came out pretty good for a first timer at bag-making! I've been taking it to work and my team mates are impressed! So, without much ado, I will introduce my first bag here!



The next photo was taken before I put a zipper closure on the top. I didn't have enough foresight to learn how to put a recessed zipper and I struggled a lot to put the zipper closure in.



Can you see the matchy-matchy mittens on the needles?? I got the yarn as a RAK from Bebere from Ravelry. Its Rowanspun DK in a lovely shade of green. The mittens havent progressed from what you see here as I have been busy spending more time with my sewing machine. Here is a snap of the bag after I put in the zipper!



The bag is roomy with two outer pockets that close with magnetic snaps and an inner pocket. The only misgiving I have about this bag is that its very floppy. The fusible interfacing available here is not a good quality one. So, I used cotton flannel fabric between the outer and the inner fabric. I used a cardboard to give stiffness to the bag bottom! I've been looking for a place to buy these bag-making hardware in Hyderabad. If any one has any pointers to these shops, please drop a comment here. I will be more than grateful.

The next bag I made is a tote! Its called a poochie bag and here is the pattern: poochie bag It uses 3 fat-quarters.I got 4 coordinating fat quarters from Christine from Ravelry in a swap and I've been hunting for fat-quarter friendly patterns. I found the perfect pattern in this poochie bag which uses 3 fat-quarters. The only modification I made was adding a zipper closure. I prefer my bags with secure closures and I was lucky I had the perfect colored zipper for the fabrics I was using. I used cotton flannel fabric between the outer and the inner fabric for some stiffness. Here is the bag in all its cuteness!



I will risk the apparent perfection of the bag by presenting a close-up of it here. The bag has two outer pockets and a zipper closure. Its 10 inches wide, 9 inches tall with a 4 inch wide base. Its perfect!!



Here is a close-up of the innards and the zipper detail. I'm loving this bag just too much to use it! I think I will use it to carry my knitting/crochet projects around. I might make a small zippered pouch for the notions to go along with this bag with the fourth fat-quarter that's remaining. Now, that will keep me busy for an evening!



I've been gushing about this bag ever since it came off the sewing machine! Its too cute for words! I see more of these bags in the future. I am also toying with the idea of opening a shop in etsy for my handmade items. Let me see how much time and energy I can spend on it.. The idea is still in the budding stage and let me see how it goes..

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Yarn and kisses Malabrigo Giveaway!

Salihan is having a giveaway in her blog! Here is the link to her blog!

clickety click!!

Awesome yarn for the lucky one!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Alvin turned two!

The apple of my eye turned two on Saturday(Oct 3rd). My parents were visiting us for his birthday. He enjoyed their visit as he had them at his beck and call the entire week. I can't believe two years have gone by. It feels like just yesterday when I went into labor, screaming bloody hell! He has grown into a fine boy..very intelligent and aware of his surroundings. He is picking up everything from our conversations and is interested in automobiles like crazy. A very typical toddler boy!

He is starting to frame meaningful sentences and has a stubborn mind of his own and gets his way by whining or crying. He must have inherited this trait from me!(Ask my Hubster for evidence!!) He is cute when he smiles, cuter when he is naughty and the cutest when he naps! ;-) He is a cleanliness freak..is almost potty-trained, very obedient most of the time. Knock on wood!! The above-said traits have been inherited from his Daddy dearest! Here is my fave snap of the guy when he was jus 10 days old! I feel a peace everytime I see this snap!



His birthday made me nostalgic about the past two years and the journey he is taking us along with. Here are a few photos from the past two years!

Here is a collage of his first year!

Clockwise from top left: (1) His day 1 in this planet. (2) Day 9 , jus back home from hospital. Tired and sleeping! (3) 2 and a half months into this world and smiling! (4) Sleeping on his side curled-up against the world! (5) Crying his lungs out in his GranPa's arms! (6) The think-tank in action - Penny for you thoughts,Alvin!!

..and his second year in photos!

Clockwise from top left: (1) Enjoying a toy car ride (2) Standing on his own (3)Enjoying the pool with Daddy (4) His first head tonsure! Kiss for the Dad! (5) Another toy car! (6) The Big Picture!

A few shots from his second birthday!

Center snap: Daddy trying to make him bite the b'day cake!

On the crafty side, I made Alvin a birthday banner. Since I got my sewing machine, I've been enjoying it and when Alvin's b'day was nearing, I got this idea to sew him a b'day banner. I liked the idea of a b'day tradition to put up a permanent banner every year on his b'day! I browsed the Web and took inspiration from a few tutorials and made the banner. All the fabrics are from my stash. I got the alphabet applique pattern from FourTwinSisters.com I am glad it came out well, though I had a tough time making the banner stick to the wall!Here are a few shots of the banner!



It was a lovely day from the start to the end. My parents' stay made it all the more special. We had a few friends come over in the evening for a small tea-party. Alvin was happy that he got cool toys as gifts! Not surprisingly, all the toys he got as gifts were automobiles! He couldn't have been happier! :-)

ETA: For those who want to look at close-ups of the banner, please visit this album:B'day Banner!

-Josie

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

WARNING: whiny post!

My weekend was not normal! I'd been having episodes of intermittent abdominal pain last week and was diagnosed with an inflamed appendix! I had to go in for a surgery and I got it done over the weekend! Of late, it feels like our life is between home and hospitals! :-( This is why I hate rainy seasons! It throws our entire household's health helter-skelter! My appendectomy went well and my recovery is easy as it was a laparoscopic procedure! But, the restrictions that came along with the surgery almost killed me!

I am not allowed to lift weights heavier that 3kgs for another year. That means, picking up my son is out of question! The doc said I will risk a hernia if I strain myself lifting heavy weights. I was not prepared for that! This is the worst punishment a mom could get. Sigh! I've been fending my son off every time he comes near me whining for me to pick him up! No roughhousing him! No picking him up! He is too young to understand my condition! I am stuck! God help me!!

Before I knew this, I was knitting in the hospital while recovering after the surgery. I had started a feather and fan scarf with a yarn that I won in an online contest. Lovely colorway and the pattern was so mindless, that it fit for hospital knitting! So, here I am knitting on my hospital bed with an IV line on my hand!!



Yea.. I know.. I looked too happy to be in hospital!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

And, a quilter is born!!

I know I have been absconding from this blog. But, I was busy while being away! I think this blog's title should give away the secret. I got a shiny new sewing machine and I am in love with it! I have always been interested in sewing! I remember designing clothes for my dolls using my mom's hand kerchiefs! and, a few weeks back my dear Husbter got me an electric sewing machine! Thanks,Honey for the machine! Its a Usha Janome Stitch Magic machine with all the bells and whistles! :-) here is the beauty:



I got this sewing machine because I have been itching to try quilting! I love fabrics and I love cutting them jus to stitch 'em back! :D what better craft than quilting to try that?!? I was inspired by a few online blogs on quilting , patchwork and sewing. And, me being myself was single-minded to try quilting! So, I made my first quilt! Here are the pics of progress and the final quilt. It took me almost 3 weeks to finish this quilt.



When I started with the quilt, I didnt have my machine and had no plans of getting a machine in the near future. I was planning to hand-piece and hand-quilt the project. and, then came along the machine and made my life so much easier! I didn't bother about the seam allowance and being exact in the measurements as this is my first of the many and I just wanted to get a feel of the craft. I can be a perfectionist later. Here is the quilt hanging in my living room in all its glory!



I had a different pattern in my mind when I started out and changed the pattern on the go.I only had the yellow and purple polka-dotted fabric when I started with the quilt and it was alright for the pattern I started with. And, when I changed the design, I wanted a coordinating fabric for the two polka-dotted fabrics. I got lucky with the teddy-bear fabric. I had to search quite a few shops in my locality for that. Only one shop had this fabric of purple teddy-bears on yellow background! I am happy that all the fabrics worked out!



I had the fabric pieces cut before the machine entered my crafty life. Since the pieces are fairly large, it made machine-piecing go quick! I used the 3/8th of an inch line on the machine's throat plate as a reference for seam allowance. 1/4th of an inch seems too small an allowance for me to be precise! I finished piecing the top in one evening after work.



I used flannel fabric as the batting and muslin cloth for the backing. Apparently, batting is something that is difficult to get in India. Fabrics are aplenty! Then came the quilting part. I wanted to try free motion quilting and referred a few online tutorials and videos and took help from Aparna and was able to finally get a hang of it. I did free motion stippling on the teddy-bear fabric and I did echo-quilting on the polka-dotted fabrics. Here is a close-up of the echo-quilting:



Binding the quilt was tricky. I referred quite a few tutorials on binding which told me to cut along the grain.. on a bias and so on and so forth. I just cut 2 inch strips and folded and pressed them into half lengthwise and stitched the raw edges with the raw edge of the quilt. I tried mitered-binding on the quilt corners and though it didn't come out perfectly,it was not bad. But, I found that I was almost short of the biding fabric at the back to stitch the quilt edges close. I should have cut broader strips for the binding. Valuable lesson learnt! I did binding in two colors. Here is a picture of the backing and the binding:



and, here it is on the floor!



The finished measurements are 66" X 66". I have no idea what to use it as, as it wont cover a queen-size bed and its too big to cover my dining table! One more lesson: Plan the project's finished size beforehand! My son was too happy to enjoy a bite from a banana sitting on my first-ever quilt! Here is a shot of it!



A quilter is born!!
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