Thank you all so much for your input on Vintage Monday! There shall be a wee difference next Monday for a change!

Show and tell first:

02.05.08 {ellybeth neckwarmer 2}

This was a very quick knit–the perfect project for working on in spare moments during the afternoon and evening on Monday! I started a little after 3pm, and was finished up by 9! (And yes, that does include breaks!) The pattern is a modified version of Ellybeth’s “Pip-squeak Inspired” neck warmer pattern knit from a lovely terracotta-hued Cotton Ease (the photos on my Flickr have details of the changes; as does my Ravelry profile). I had been fingering the yarn for some time, and its on sale at Michael’s this week, so I decided to give it a try. So much silkier and drapey than many of the other cotton yarns I’ve worked with! Now I have the perfect multi-season cowl… hurrah!!

02.05.08 {ellybeth neckwarmer 3}

I’m trying so hard to keep focused on my current works-in-progress. But sometimes its rather difficult, you know? All the little fiddly bits at the end; a simple hem here, working a couple buttonholes, knitting ears on the elephant… Trying not to let the siren call of new fabric and “new” (really vintage) patterns lure me away from the tasks at hand! I’m so awful about bouncing from one project to another; one of my goals for this year it to try and limit myself to only a couple projects in each category at a time. I “have to” finish them before I can allow myself to start a new one. So far, it has been a helpful rule; I’ve finished more things this year already than I did in the first 6 months of 2007! But oh dear… I keep gazing on the lightweight denim that is waiting to be cut into a pretty dress… lol! And Ravelry… we shan’t get into the woeful amount of temptation this has proved to be!!

I’m off to do some art and knitting this afternoon… both of which I sorely need to do! But before I go, look at this little curiosity I spied in the yard this afternoon. Quite unusual considering its been so cold!!

02.06.08 {more of the winter anomaly}

Have a lovely, creative Wednesday, friends!

Cheers & Creativity,
Casey [ email me ]

p.s. Don’t forget the sale at the Shoppe ends tonight! Hurry to snatch up a goodie and save 20% on your purchase!


I feel like a hippie in this...

Ooops… it seems I quite dropped off the face of the internet for a stretch of days, doesn’t it? Oh dear!! lol. In all actuality, fabric pirates did not kidnap me, nor did I wander aimlessly into an antique store and get lost forever! Rather some personal stuff came up during the weekend; namely L. having an extra day of leave (quite unexpected!), and I decided to just spend those last couple days with him. So please excuse the complete and utter lack of posting from this quarter!!

ignore the goofy grin!!

I have been a busy, busy gal, and been up to much creative mischief-making! The green skirt I showed last week is still unfinished (need to find buttonhole twist of the appropriate color, since I got it into my head to handwork the buttonholes on this one, and the decision can’t be undone now!), but I did whip up a deliciously warm and elegant corduroy wrap version. I found just the right amount of fabric in the clearance aisle at JoAnn’s, and it was such a lovely black herringbone weave that I couldn’t say no (especially at $1.50/yard). So home it came and soon was washed up and cut out into a lovely, full-length skirt (or “dress” as L. liked to tease me about the quantity of fabric it requires). I’ve worn it two days in a row, and can say that I forgot how lovely, toasty-warm a long skirt can keep one in the dead of winter! Plus, it gives me the impression of being a bohemian artist-type, which is always fun to play up. hehe!

a new cap!
new cap (+ looking quite imperious! eeek!)

My knitting needles have been busily clacking away as well… Sunday morning I quickly whipped up Ysolda’s “Urchin” cap using some leftover, bright strawberry smoothie pink yarn (I know, an odd way to characterize a color, but that is what it reminds me of!). I’m quite smitten with its geometric shape, and the fact that it stays on my head very nicely (I wore it most of yesterday because I was scurrying back and forth so much). Now I’m working on Ysolda’s “Elijah” elephant out of the loveliest, soft pink yarn! Its a gift for my Pastor and his wife’s new, baby girl. I figure little ones can never have too many squishy, fuzzy toys to drag around. This project is taking a bit longer, if only because it uses a quantity of double-pointed-needles, which can be a little fiddly and cumbersome (at least for me!).

So… I have lots more to report, but for the sake of not boring you all, I will close here with the belated Vintage Monday feature. I must be off to reply to all the lovely emails and comments that have popped up in my inbox over the last week (thank you all for your sweetness!! I’m trying to reply to all your communications, but its taking me awhile!). Eeep!!

vintage monday goodies!!

[ click on the image for a larger view and description! ]

Until my next post, stay snuggly-warm if its cold where you are, dears!!

Cheers & Creativity,
Casey [ email me ]

The beginning of this week has been up and down, mostly because I’ve felt a bit overwhelmed lately with the thought of everything I want to, or need to do. Darn my strict, Yankee work ethic; even when I’m supposed to be “recovering” I feel a need to work, work, work! lol. Today I’m busy working on advertisements, new packaging, new business cards (since my blog address changed…), and some secret Holiday stock for the Shoppe! I’ll be posting more about that later, but lets just say I’m quite excited!!

Ysolda’s “Briar Rose” bolero pattern is knitting up nicely; I’m just doing bits here and there, mostly in the afternoons around tea time when my energy is at its lowest. Yesterday I sat down with my cup of tea, watched the last of North and South, and knit most of the first sleeve! I’m so excited; I love seeing knitting projects come together right before my eyes–its almost like magic! I recently found a book in the library system (I trawl through the online catalog every-once-in-awhile; yes, I am a library geek!), Working from a Master Pattern to Fashion Your Own Knits by Sharon Turner, that intrigued me. Besides the fact that the book is part of a series called “Teach Yourself Visually” (how great is that–finally someone got the idea that not everyone learns the same way! lol), the idea of learning how knit patterns are designed sounds very interesting. I have a hold request in and can’t wait to get it!

sneaky, sneaky...

Today I spent a lot of time working on some new things for the Shoppe. As I mentioned I’m preparing for the holiday season, and thus am designing and making some winterish delights! I can’t wait to share them with you, but I’m keeping most of it a secret until early November! (Because the best holiday things are always kept [mostly] secret!)

Its been raining here all day long; which is great since we’ve been under drought conditions. Dreary, autumn weather always makes me want to curl up with a cup of hot cider, a movie and my latest handwork project. I think I’ll go dig up my favorite pair of wool socks (in sore need of replacement… hmm… perhaps my next knitting project?) and see if we’ve got any cider in the ‘fridge…

Have a lovely Wednesday evening, everyone!

Cheers & Creativity,
Casey [ email me ]

p.s. Abby is doing a whole week devoted to “beautiful books”! Be sure to check out her blog, where she’s already featured two gorgeous tomes.

playing hide-and-seek with the camera

Obviously this is not the rummage sale treasures post that I promised! My Sunday has been quite full; L. was up for the weekend and we spent a lot of time together because I won’t be seeing him for the next two weekends. So the next two Sundays I dare say I’ll be posting entries with a little more “umph”…So as not to make this a totally useless entry (eeek!), here are some pictures of my finished Gretel beret!

all the pretty cables

I know; this is not the Azeala pink yarn I posted a picture of earlier. As much as I love that yarn (it is really pretty), it just wasn’t thick enough. The hat I envisioned would be dense and warm (especially because I get so cold come winter!), and with the pink yarn it was turning out a bit more open. I set that aside and bought a red, worsted weight instead. Its the same yarn I used for my sister’s mitts I knit last winter, and worked perfectly for this project!

pleased as punch!

Ysolda’s pattern was a lot of fun to work with; very clearly written and included a lot of helpful notes! What surprised me was how quickly the beret came together, despite all the cables and the fact that I still am very much a “knitting infant”. I daresay I shall be buying another pattern from her very soon; the Briar Rose bolero has been calling my name for months!

looking cool

The only thing I didn’t realize is how big the beret would be. I wanted slouchy, but after finishing the piece I wasn’t sure I wanted something this full! However, after trying it on I’m absolutely in love with the size and shape–I really can’t wait for the weather to get cool enough!!

Have a lovely evening and I shall be posting the Vintage Monday inspiration tomorrow morning!

Cheers & Creativity,
Casey [ email me ]

p.s. Alright… it only took me the time of writing this post to break down and just buy the Briar Rose pattern! lol. I think I know what my next knitting project is…

The first snowflakes of the winter fell much of yesterday afternoon. It was really pretty to watch, although bitterly cold and I dreaded having to deal with the campus lot today with the aftermath. :p It wasn’t much accumulation though, so that was good! I snapped a couple, quick (and very badly done) pictures from inside the warm house. 🙂

Walk into my room on any given day and you’re sure to see little piles of clothes that aren’t my dirty laundry. Most are recent thrift finds, waiting to be sorted between washing and sending to the dry cleaner, but still others are earmarked for alteration. I admit that, as the old saying goes, my eyes are bigger than my time, so the average wait time is about 4 months (at least). Recently though, spurred by the desire to have a short jacket (since all I seem to have accumulated are coats… hmm… must remedy this!), having spied several fetching ones on a recent shopping trip, I went through my “stash”. My hands pulled out a vintage Bill Blass bomber-style jacket in a black and white houndstooth. I bought it because I liked the material and thought I could possible work with it (and if not, I still liked the fabric… lol), but the style was decidedly dated. Huge shoulders propped up with even bigger shoulder pads (I kid you not; these things were massive when I pulled them out!), the back waistband gathered with elastic and shiny gold metal buttons on the breast pocket flaps and closure. See for yourself:

b&w trapeze jacket - before- 01
So I started to pin, dart, rip, take out; generally wreak havoc with my seam ripper and stash of pins. I pinned my first ideas in place, namely darting the shoulders and shortening the sleeves:

b&w trapeze jacket - before- 02
Those changes just weren’t doing it for me, so I took out the elastic, ripped off the pocket flaps (those were actually just for show, there were no breast pockets) and decided to loose the cuff for the sleeves and shorten those to slightly above the hem of the jacket. Suddenly I had the swing topper I had been coveting! Here was my second “pin fitting”:

b&w trapeze jacket - before- 03 b&w trapeze jacket - before- 04
A little stitching here, cutting there and lots of ironing, and voila! Much improved, don’t you think?

b&w trapeze jacket 01 b&w trapeze jacket 03
(I did take some pictures of me modeling the jacket, the lot of which overall didn’t turn out. I uploaded one to Flickr, just in case you’re curious to see how it looks on a person. 😉

b&w trapeze jacket 02 b&w trapeze jacket 04
What I love best about revamping old clothes is not only breathing new life into something formerly demode or just plain ugly, but the fact that I’m taking part in a centuries-old tradition of remodeling old clothes. It not only helps fill my closet with clothes that I otherwise couldn’t have, but remodeling is a form of recycling (which is one of my pet subjects lately anyway…)!

cable bolero 02
The cabled bolero from the current issue of Vogue Knitting is coming along very nicely, despite frogging the first pentagon twice. First time I dropped a stitch and couldn’t find where, second time I decided after looking at the finished garment sizes I need to choose another size (note to self: pay attention to the text before the pattern next time! lol!!). Its actually a quick, easy knit; I like the rhythm of the decreases every-other-row. I have to say I’m excited to see this finished. 😉

trapeze jacket (sneak peek!)
Winter has set in. Its leaving me chilled to the bone, envying all those Australian bloggers who are in the midst of warm weather!! lol. Its been blustery too, which means I’ve had to bundle up!! I recently made something that keeps me nice and cozy, but I’m going to hold off showing you for a couple more days. hehe. But the above is a sneak preview! 😉

pattern trio
One of my first assignments in a design class is to create a series of three geometric-based motifs for a repeating, all-over pattern we’re eventually going to execute in Illustrator. I want to do something fun and whimsical–a bit more “me” than anything I did last semester. I suppose this is due to the fact that I’ve finally gotten serious about university-hunting and have realized I need to get my act together and start putting really good work out to eventually compile a portfolio! Eeek–it makes me queasy just thinking about it! lol. So anyway, back to the patterns: I started playing around in Paint Shop Pro (not as nice as Illustrator, but hey–it works for now!), and came up with one pattern I really liked. I have to say I was inspired quite a bit by the amazing textile designs that Amy recently posted about. This is too fun–addicting possibly. lol.

I hope if you’re like me, in a chilly place, you stay warm and cozy this weekend! (And if not, enjoy the warm weather!) This is how I shall be spending my weekend (besides *coughcough*homework*cough*):
cable bolero 01

‘Till next week, take care!! 🙂

hanging over my desk...

Thank you to everyone who bid on my pieces (as well as all the other lovely items!) in the Kim Family Benefit Auction! I am very humbled to see how much my two bags raised. I was certainly blown away when I pulled up the auction page shortly before it ended to find that my squirrel bag had shot up over $200! I’m just so happy that the bags were able to raise a sizeable amount to donate to the James Kim Memorial Fund. I have to admit I’ve been downplaying my role in this all week, not really telling anyone about it, Dad having to drag the latest details out of me… My sly sister and mother though have been throwing a monkey wrench in the whole thing and doing everything from Googling for press coverage to going around the house loudly talking about it. Its not that I’m embarrassed, but I don’t feel that I have any place to brag about my involvement. I just donated some handcrafts; Lisa, Stephanie and Gerrie are the real superstars in this. 🙂

knit bag 03 knit bag 05
Otherewise, my weekend was really bizarre. Things just kept happening strangely or badly: it was like I was in an episode of The Twilight Zone. :p I didn’t feel really at ease, like things were back to normal until I sat down to knit Sunday evening. I finished up my cabled bag from Philo’s pattern! I made mine slightly longer, and I think it ended up slightly wider as well, but it was a super-quick knit (I would have had it done sooner had I not taken a four-day break from all knitting)! I used the same black handles that Philo used, because all the other ones at JoAnn’s had bad cases of serious ugly or season/material-inappropriate. I added a black satin ribbon and vintage pin to the front for some extra “pow”. My mother is in love with this, and has been eyeing it jealously. Should I be worried that it might mysteriously dissapear? lol. I think I need to make another one though. In black yarn though, since I love black accessories. 🙂

vintage "make-it" book 01
I went thrifting today, only to find that two of the three shops I wanted to visit were closed on Mondays. Ugh. Seriously dissapointing! Pickings were very slim at the one that was open; I only got a handful of bits and pieces (better than nothing though, right? lol!). But my favorite find was this children’s craft/activity book from the 1950s. I paid 50 cents for it, which was a steal, imho. The illustrations are just too fun!! The endpapers are my favorite aspect of the book though. 🙂 I have a few more photos of it on my Flickr thrift finds stream.

Oh, and as a side note, I updated the list of “Inspiring Blogs” on my Blogger side bar. Lots and lots of new blogs to peruse! 🙂

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