pacific northwest

Ugh.  I love it out there.  We've been back for days, but I've been too busy feeling sorry for myself for the simple fact that we're back, to acknowledge it here with a post.  Poor me. 


This was my first tiled picture - I know it's not very good, but I just figured out how to do it in Picasa and I'm very tired so that's it.  I'll keep practicing.



Hello blogsphere.

Does anyone out there have any recommendations for must-visit yarn and fabric stores in Portland and Seattle?

Tell me, tell me, tell me!

(Alright, OK, I'm not actually there yet, this is me in Seattle last year - and not one craft shop visited!  Aah!)


swingback scout tee

Scout tee, by grainline, altered to swing back version following grainline instructions, vintage plaid cotton from What Cheer?.  Sized my pattern down to a small (my last scout tee was a medium).  Next time I'm going to add more curve to both the front and back hems.

Not good at photographing the swing back for you.  Sorry.  I should say I'm not good at modeling it - Mr. Smunch tried his best to photograph it.  What is wrong with me here?!


photo touring

Back in April I took a street photography tour with Photo Tour DC and I LOVED it.  And it scared the heck out of me too and I never got the courage to do more on my own.  Last weekend, Kim and I did another one, this one a little more basic so we could get to know our cameras better.  Our teacher caught me though - I had to admit I hadn't tried again since the last class.

This did help me start to learn... but wouldn't you know it rained halfway through!  We were all stuck in the Lincoln Monument and after clicking away so much I found myself drawn to the people again.  I'd like to learn to have a better eye for non-people subjects, but people are what I'm drawn to (as I think most people are). 

This one is my favorite... makes you think there's more to the story, you know?

 Look, it's Kim!

 OK, I did a couple non-breathing subjects too... I just didn't like them as much.

Not as overexposed as last time, but this time a little dark (well, it was dark in there). I've got a lot to learn about technique, but I love playing paparazzi.

Probably the biggest piece of advice was to force myself to more purposefully spend time taking pictures.  Realistically, I'm going to start with an intentional hour every two weeks to go out on my own.  And I'm saying it here so I can live up to it - another helpful piece of advice.  Will you be seeing any more pictures from me?...  (Uh, I started a daily drawing journal in August and haven't done it for almost four weeks.  We always have the best intentions, don't we?)


slouchy jane

OK, OK, so I know I was just knocking "trendy" hats, but I have to admit I love the slouchy hat trend.  I got this beautiful cotton yarn from The Yarn Spot.  It's Mariposa Organica and it is organic and fair trade and so soft and probably the nicest cotton I've ever knit with.

This took 3 skeins and it has a nice weight to it.  The pattern is Jane by Jane Richmond - I've since discovered that she has a lot of nice patterns, including several good slouchy hats, and I actually might have made a different one if I caught that first!

By the way, a couple of dresses I have made have caught someone's eye!  My Chloe was chosen as one of the Best of August 2012 and my Kooky Gabby was featured on Tessuti's blog!  Sooo cool!  I know I was lamenting not being worthy of their blog - I actually just have to be PATIENT.  Along with that not-so-gentle-with-my-sewing problem, I have a patience problem.  I sound like a scary person, huh?!  I promise, I'm not ;)


my first, last, and only quilt

Phew!  These things are a lot of work!  All the quilters out there are probably chuckling right now - I have a newfound respect for you guys!  I made this quilt for my cousin's wedding (in July, but this took me a while) and it is pieced with scraps from our Nonna's fabric stash (she passed away in 2003).

I am ashamed to admit that it took me a minute to contemplate parting with those scraps, but now I'm glad I did so that I could share something of hers, hopefully something that my cousin and her husband will pass to their kids as an heirloom.  I'm also ashamed to admit how much I began to really not enjoy making this, but that is how much I love her I guess!

OK, you're really going to laugh now.  All my moaning and groaning?  This quilt is like, 45"x 60".  Uh, it's really small.  Like lap blanket or baby blanket.  88 4"x"4 patches with a 5" border and thin bamboo/cotton batting.  It felt like a king size battle!

Since the patches were kind of all over the place with colors and patterns, I attempted to use a checkerboard pattern with darks and lights to make it somewhat cohesive. 

I think my cousin likes darker pallets and I didn't want to make it too cutesy, so I used a gray pinstripe linen and an olive binding.   I have to say I'm really pleased with the colors and contrast.

Hated:  Cutting the squares, sewing the binding (I machine stitched it), and jamming the thick parts through a machine that didn't want anything to do with it.  And the length of time I spent on this project!

Loved:  Connecting the pieces, making the sandwich, and sewing the quilting.  Aside from the corner above, I did a decent job aligning seams.

OK, I guess it wasn't all bad.  But this is my favorite part:

I hope they like it!  Because they will be the only ones in the history of man possessing a smunch-made quilt!


is it an addiction?

When you make something you know you won't like, with yarn you don't like, in a color you don't like, just so you can knit?

Strange, yes.  I won a prize basket at the Rhode Island Yarn Crawl last year (pretty cool!) so I've had 5 skeins of purple Berroco Vintage DK and the pattern booklet for the Shibuya pattern on hand for a while.  However, I was really unhappy with Berroco Vintage when I used it for Kaari (it pills and fuzzes a lot) and I don't really wear short sleeve sweaters (it seems like an oxymoron) and I don't like the color purple very much.

So I cast it on a few times then pulled it out because I knew I wouldn't like it.  But then last month I guess I just wanted to plow through my stash and see what happens.  There is nothing wrong with this pattern - just something wrong with me.  This is a really nice pattern actually, I made no modifications, it knit up quickly, and I love that you don't block it to keep the texture.

It took me forever to style this, and the shirt ripped when I put it on!  Boo.  I think I would like this paired with something mint though (which I don't own), so I'm not going to give up on it.