chicago

a little addiction

I think I have a problem. Not a big one – actually, it is very small. Teeny tiny, in fact. What is it, you ask? Teeny-tiny MochiMochi!! I had been following the MochiMochiLand blog for a while and then on a whim I decided to buy the Teeny-Tiny book. (Secret: I really want to make the giant squid from the Huge and Huggable book, but I think that would be the finished object to break the camel’s (aka David’s) back in terms of apartment real estate that is devoted to knitting. Also it would scare CeeCee and Bess too much. Alas/alack – in the meantime, it’s just me and the Tinys.) Shortly after getting the book, I had the privilege of meting Anna Hrachovec at Sifu! Needless to say I was an awful shy fangirl and it was hugely embarrassing and David had to start up the conversation because I was too nervous. I am the worst person. However, she was awesome and so was Sifu.

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ANYWAY. Behold some of my Tinys! Why do I have them? No clue. What will I do with them? Probably make them into Christmas ornaments. Or construct elaborate and ridiculous dioramas and stories (living with a TV editor does have its perks – free animation services!). Or slowly amass such a collection that we’re wading through stacks of tiny gnomes and mermaids to get to the kitchen. In the end, it’ll probably be the final option.

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(Cats, which look more like mice – these were my first efforts and are admittedly a bit rough)

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One really fun way I found to make “use” of these little nuggets of cuteness is to make them into customizable tableaus and give them as gifts. My Feinberg big sib Phoebe celebrated a birthday recently, so I made her one. I knitted some gnomes (see above), flattened out some Sculpey (before I baked it, I poked holes where toothpicks could go) and glued toothpicks down onto the surface. The gnomes got impaled (sorry gnomies) and ta-da!

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Given the fact that Phoebe and I share the same passion for a) things that are a bit weird and b) signs, I thought I’d make this the gift that keeps on giving by including some blank signs. She can write on them as she chooses and put them into the gnomes’ arms. This is obviously the best way to convey any important message.

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Ultimately, someday, you know with all my copious free time and whatnot, my big dream would be to design medical knitted stuff. Obviously not as a big money-maker, because there are only so many lovely weirdos that want to knit that stuff on Ravelry, but more of as a hobby. At first I was thinking normal stuff like scarves or mitts with cool anatomical designs on them, but maybe doing knitted toys would be fun too. Welp. I’ve just bared my deepest darkest wish to the Internet! Time to make it come true?

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knit-me-up pick-me-up

Every now and then, you just have a few days where you wish the universe would pay you back by dropping something nice and happy and soft and cuddly your lap. Most of the time the universe drops CeeCee in my lap (while she is all of those aforementioned things she also has teeth so sometimes that doesn’t work out), but today the universe dropped Yarncon (and hence new, soft, cuddly and very nice yarn) into my lap. Phoebe accompanied me on this most fanciful foray into the fiber world, and hoo boy did we have a wild time.  I haven’t bought yarn in FIVE MONTHS (um, what) so I didn’t feel too guilty about these purchases (which were really not even all that numerous!!!).

First up is the yarn of my dreams – a DK superwash merino in the Tango colorway from Daizie Knits. I am definitely making it into the Marble Falls Cowl.

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Next up is a fingering weight yarn from Fleur de Fiber. The yarn-lady (what do you even call these folks?) is Chicago-based so I’m guessing the fact that this colorway is called Green Mill is not a coincidence.  I need a pattern for this still so if you have any suggestions (cowls particularly, ones that you could picture Al Capone’s girlfriend wearing) please send them my way! (:

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This was just what I needed to pick up my spirits, which will now be lifted for the rest of the week while I contemplate all the fun knitting that awaits me after I finish the boards. Yay yarn, yay soft squishy fiber, yay universe, yay for being on vacation in eight days, yay for sesame & red bean paste balls tonight! Okay back to work.

 

peace, love and SWANTS.

Sweater-loving denizens of the internet, I bring you possibly the best thing of all time: SWANTS. I spotted them on WordPress earlier in the week, and these babies just spoke to me.  I was a goner. And so was my friend and Feinberg big sib, Phoebe.  We each went to Unique (a great thrift store in the Uptown neighborhood, if you’re in the market for just about anything) and found some delightful/hideous/etc sweaters.

After following the tutorial, we ended up with what can only be described as magnificent works of art. I can hardly wait to wear these in just about every public venue possible. Photos below.

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I know that you’re sad that this is the end of the illustrious swants photoshoot. Never fear – Phoebe and I still have more sweaters.

more beads! finally

Remember that bead-making class I took at Lillstreet this past summer? No? I don’t either, because it ended what seems like eight jillion years ago.  Due to having a terrible schedule that never aligned with the new glass classes, I couldn’t find a time to pick up my beads until just the other day.

The silver lining of not seeing my beads for so long was since I hardly remembered what they looked like, picking them up was like a magical surprise.  Here are a few of my favorites:

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beginning attempts at flowers

beginning attempts at flowers…

...and encasing!

…and encasing!

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CHICKENS.

I really enjoyed the class, and Lillstreet is an awesome place for art (and pie. definitely pie).  I am excited to go back and see what my next endeavors will be! (:

calling all chicago sewing folks

(If you even exist?) ANYWAY – I just found out that Groupon is offering a deal to my most favorite fabric store in the Chicago area* – Textile Discount Outlet!  The coupon is $20 for $40 worth of merchandise.

The store itself is ENORMOUS and has a ridiculous inventory.  If you’re looking for hip quilting cotton prints (or just super hip prints in general), this probably isn’t the store for you.  The store stays pretty close to its outlet name with cheap prices, but has some good apparel and specialty fabric (sooooo many sequins and ruffles and strange spandex prints).  Their affordability + the Groupon (which I bought for the first time last year) really helped me branch into apparel fabrics beyond quilting cotton – thank goodness.

The link to the Groupon can be found here. I’m not sure for how much longer it will be available, but I thought I’d alert people to its existence while it lasted.  Happy sewing!

*I’m not receiving any compensation for promoting this store/Groupon – I just think this is a good deal I wanted to share with y’all (:

something different

I do a lot of arts and crafts. (Duh.)  Most of the time, I do those arts and crafts alone in my apartment, talking to myself (now I guess I talk to my cat), usually when I’m not wearing any pants.  While I do love this arrangement (because who loves pants? not me), sometimes it is nice to leave my hermitage and go do something artsy with other people.

As you can probably guess, I’m writing this blog post for a reason – I recently did do something in public/outside my zone of comfort (but let’s be honest, most things in public are outside my zone of comfort). I tried a Monday Masterpieces class at Bottle and Bottega with some of my classmates.  I was initially really apprehensive about doing it, because I feel like I can be overly critical of the things I make, and having those feelings in public around strangers is generally not an enjoyable experience. And really – trying to recreate a literal masterpiece is kind of intimidating, especially when you’re trying to do it in 2.5 hours.  However, I failed to factor in the most important factor: I would be doing this with wine (hence the Bottle in their name).  And you know what?  It was actually FUN!  And I liked what I did, enough to even want to hang it up in my house!  Very (pleasantly) surprising.

(photo from bottle and bottega's facebook page)

(photo from bottle and bottega’s facebook page)

If you’re in the Chicago area (or actually any area with Bottle and Bottega locations), I really recommend trying it out, alone or in a group!  It might have been the wine, but I was definitely in a really good mood when I finished, and I even have something to show for my evening (:

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