Friday, November 18, 2016

Friday Inspiration - The Dolls of Mimi Kirchner

I wasn't particularly doll crazy as a child - I did have a couple of favorites and liked to plan outfits for my Barbie, but that's about it.  I watch Charlie with hers and marvel at all the back stories they have!  She is seldom without one of them as a companion.  My fascination with dolls began in my adulthood.  I have sketches of dolls I plan to make someday - however I've been gathering these sketches for a few decades now!  Maybe next year I'll make it a priority to get at least one actually made .....

I also love to look at what doll artists are doing and one of my favorite is Mimi Kirchner.  This Boston artist has a talent for bringing her fiber art to life - one can imagine her creations carrying on with a full lives after their photo shoots.  Not that they're photo realistic, because they're not.  It's more that they are so full of personality and have wonderful little details that give you clues as to who they are, what they do .... maybe what they're thinking!

An good interview with Mimi is here on Bibelot that gives some insight into her processes.

And Purl Soho has a free pattern and instructions for creating a doll she designed here.

Be sure to check out her website here for a blog, links to where you can buy her dolls, and announcements of classes she teaches.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, November 11, 2016

Acts of Kindness

"Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people.  A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough."  Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1935.

Kindness without any intention of benefit has become known as a random act of kindness.  There is an intention to be kind, a desire to brighten the day of another, to show others they are valued.  It is the opposite of selfishness and shows what is possible.  Kindness can reshape negative emotions.  We can all take a stand for kindness.

I was once given a beautiful glass heart by someone I didn't know - in fact, I never even saw this person.  Almost every day I looked at it and wondered who they were.  It never failed to make me smile.  After 15 years, I in turn passed it on to someone else - she probably knew it was from me, but that's okay too.  It was someone I knew I would most likely never see again - an acquaintance someplace I was moving away from.  And I smile when I think of her looking at it ....

While I would love to make glass hearts, I'm not a glass artist!  In case you are also not a glass artist, I've found four free patterns for fiber hearts you might like.  And maybe you'll make one and give to somebody who will then smile whenever they look at it - and feel a little happier than before.

A crocheted heart from Red Heart.

A knitted heart from Anna Hrachovec at Mochimochi Land.

A quilted heart by Emma Thomas-McGinnis.

A felt and fabric heart from Beverly McCullough.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Copper Star Cowl (or Scarf)

One of my favorite things about autumn is all the oranges, rusts, and coppers - one of my favorite color groups!

I've been loving knitting with Madelinetosh's Brick Dust and put together this simple cowl/scarf pattern in a heavily textured stitch that highlights its gorgeous copper hues.

*2 skeins Madelinetosh Tosh Chunky
*size 10 circular needles (you can use these even if you're making this as a scarf)
*stitch marker
*tapestry needle

There are several different ways to make a star stitch, each looking a little bit different.  This is the star stitch I used for this project:

Star Stitch - Knit through three stitches but do not drop them from the left needle.  Yarn over and then knit through the same three stitches, this time dropping them from the needle.  

This is not an especially easy stitch on one's hand joints - but .... it looks awesome and does get easier if you keep a little loose in your knitting and as you get down a few rows!

Note:  I find it easier to avoid twisting the yarn on large cowls if I knit a few rows first and then join.

Finished size - about 7 inches wide and 25 inches long after blocking.

Cast on 241 stitches.
Row 1 - Knit the row.
Row 2 - Purl the row.
Row 3 - *Star Stitch, knit 1*  Repeat between stars to the last two stitches.  Knit these.

If you are making a cowl, continue working into Row 4 without turning, thus starting to work in the round. Be careful not to twist the rows, unless you want to make a twisted, infinity type cowl - which does work with the nice textures on both sides of this pattern.  If you are making a scarf, keep turning at each row's end.

Row 4 - Knit the row for a cowl, purl for a scarf.

Row 5 - Knit the first two stitches.  *Star Stitch, knit 1*  Repeat between stars to the end.

Row 6 - Knit the row for a cowl, purl for a scarf.

Repeat Rows 3 - 6 until fabric measures about 5 1/2 inches, or 18 star stitch rows.

Next row, knit for a cowl, purl for a scarf.

Final row, knit.  Cast off and weave ends in.

Doing a moderate block helps smooth out the edges and open the pattern up a bit.  Yes, this is difficult if you are blocking a twisted cowl!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, November 4, 2016

Friday Inspiration - Gift Planning

I really do get inspired planning out the gifts I'm going to make each year!  I seldom get even half of them ready for giving the year I planned, but they eventually get to their new owners.  I can't say which ones I'm definitely doing this year, as there are family members who read this blog, but here are some ideas that look like they could definitely be completed before Christmas.

These quick coasters have added benefit of being able to be made from yarn scraps, making them a thrifty gift also!  The color combinations are endless .... Get the free instructions at Marie-Lucienne's blog here.

After making my first pair of fingerless gloves, I've become a big fan!  You can keep your hands warm while using your phone, working on knitting, sewing, ..... These look like they will knit up quickly and are a simple enough style they'll appeal to many different tastes.  Ana Campos' pattern is on Ravelry here - you do have to buy it, but if you plan on making up multiples of these it'll be worth it!

Book pocket books!!  These are great!  See Kate Sew has a free tutorial here.

Who doesn't love little zippered bags?!  So many things to do with them, so many cool fabrics to make them from!  The Eternal Maker has a free tutorial here.

Bernat offers a free pattern for a cotton tie here.

This great crocheted tape measure cover uses scraps of yarns and leftover buttons.  A free tutorial is on the Simply Notable website.

Sarah Shepherd's textured shawlette/scarf only uses one skein of sock yarn and a pattern that looks simple enough to make it a quick knit.  Buy the pattern here on Ravelry.

And last but not least, Lia Griffith offers a free tutorial on making traditional stick horses from felt on her blog here.  There are so many ways one could customize these!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A Short Pause ....

I'm taking a couple of days to breathe - the pause between finishing Halloween costumes and getting serious about what I'll actually be able to finish making for Christmas gifts!  I'm also finishing up a simple hat I've been working on the instructions for ....

Stay tuned!

Charlie went deep into her psyche for this year's costume, a Crazy Cat Lady.  This girl was born cat obsessed!  If she had her way, the house would be home to dozens of the furry critters.  I got off easy - the only part to sew was her cat themed fleece pajama bottoms.  The robe was bought and the stuffed cats pinned to it are only part of her vast collection.  

Henry was a little more of a challenge ... a two year old Jedi knight!  It had to be realistic as this boy loves and knows his Star Wars.  No patterns were published this year for the real thing (in size 2), so I went with a grim reaper cape and flared the sleeves out, a karate top (adding dark brown at the top edges to look like a layered shirt), and making a wide velcro belt from fake leather (with chain stitched along the front).  The blurry in motion shots ....

... and his serious contemplation of the Force.

I'll be back Friday with some ideas for quick but nice Christmas gifts to start working on.

Happy Creating!  Deborah