News!

I am a little annoyed today because after a surfing the web a bit last night I came across a blog host that I think I like more than wordpress.com. Mainly because it is more customizable than this one, but it also seems a little more user friendly. I have a vision of what I want this blog to look like, and sometimes it can be a bit difficult with only pre-made themes available. Since I really only just got started here, I am thinking I will move over there sooner rather than later. It is irritating, but the less posts there are to transfer the easier the move will be. I am having flashbacks of when I first started my Etsy store. I had a cute name all picked out and was so excited to start that I jumped into it without fully exploring the details. Turns out there was at least one other small business selling things under the name that I had chosen, not on Etsy, and not selling anything to do with knitting, but I needed to switch and start over all the same. I guess we are all learning as we go. It might take me a few days to fully transfer everything and make a nice cozy site over there.

Here is the link: http://fortheloveofearth.weebly.com/index.html

Keep in mind it’s still under construction, but I’d love to know what you think 🙂

 

 

 

Getting Crafty

Cactus pin cushion

I came across a creative pin cushion challenge from All Free Sewing. Since I was looking to make a pin cushion or two anyway, I decided to give it a go and post it for the challenge. I got my idea from http://www.gleefulthings.com/blog/?p=471 and simply made a few modifications. I didn’t have a spare flower pot anywhere, but I did have this votive candle holder, and I think it works just fine. Small projects like this are perfect for using up my scrap yarn stash. If you want to make your own pin cushion or check out the other submissions, the challenge can be found here: http://www.favecraftsblog.com/allfreesewing-presents-the-creative-pincushion-challenge/.

Knitting needle case

The other thing I did today was sew this case for crochet hooks and knitting needles. I have tried a lot of different cases and cups for my needles but I didn’t have one that was both easy to transport and easy to access. This one was actually a pattern for a pencil case, but the size fits crochet hooks perfectly, and is pretty close for most of my knitting needles. I am still pretty new to sewing and this was my first time ever sewing in zippers- I think I am getting over my fear! Does anyone else have cool ways to store knitting supplies? I would love to hear from you!

Coordinating lining and zipper

Lazy Summer Days

Lily from my garden

What a lovely weekend it has been. I have really been enjoying watching my small shabby garden that I planted last year start to pop up again. Let me tell you something about this garden. I was truly shocked that anything grew there in the first place, let alone grow again the next year. It is planted in a small corner of the yard; a yard that opens up to the alley and is more gravel than dirt. In a pathetic attempt to make this horrid space look pretty, I threw down a couple bags of soil and threw some wildflower seeds on top of that. The soil I had gotten for free from a classified ad and there seemed to have been some bulbs mixed in with it. I didn’t expect them to do anything, but I have seen some flowers which I definitely didn’t plant.

Park in the Loop

I also planted sunflowers last year, and boy did those grow! I wish I had taken pictures of them, but alas, I am not one to remember to photograph things. I have been trying really hard to remember to take pictures these days. They grew to be taller than me, which means they were probably a good 6 feet or so. I have seen the beginning of them sprout up again, but they are pretty slow it seems right now. This is the first garden I have ever planted myself, although I have kept lots of potted plants inside, with various results. For awhile I had a monstrous aloe plant that kept outgrowing every pot I put it in. We decided to take the dog for a walk downtown since it was such a nice day outside and the gardens there were in full bloom as well.

Awesome!

The second part of my weekend was seeing one of my favorite bands play in Milwaukee. We got free tickets to an Against Me! show while standing in line for the last concert we went to. This is not the first time I’ve crossed state lines for a concert, and it probably won’t be the last. Driving 2 hours for a show can get a bit daunting, but it was totally worth it this time. The venue was much smaller than anything in Chicago, and so we could see everything up close. The band was super happy to be there and the lead singer could not stop smiling the whole time, it was awesome! The venue also lacked any bouncers near the stage and as a consequence several guys were leaping up on the stage towards the end and singing with them.

I love you Tommy Gabel

Tagged!

Bike rack bomb

Last night my friend Steffe and I yarn bombed some things at IIT. If you don’t know about yarn bombing, you should check out a couple of blogs who have dedicated themselves to yarn bombing like http://yarnbombing.com/ or http://streetcolor.wordpress.com/ . There are a lot of really cool projects on those sites. Basically, it is knitters and crocheters making art graffiti out of yarn. It is gaining a lot of popularity and last week was International Yarn Bombing Day or it’s also been called Knit in Public Day.

Keep off the grass bomb

There is a lot of talk about yarn bombing, which is one of the reasons why I really like it. Almost everyone has an opinion about it. I was crocheting this piece at Steffe’s house and some of our other friends were there with us too. One guy thought yarn bombing was a waste of yarn and told me and Steffe we should just make him scarves and gloves instead. He asked where we were going to be putting our art and how we were fastening it. We both will be watching out for him wearing our yarn bombs if they disappear! We thought it would be funny if we tagged at night, like real graffiti. We are pretty sure that no one would mind if we did it during the day, but being mysterious and anonymous is fun sometimes.

Piles of scarp yarn

We are not the first ones on our campus to do yarn bombing. Another student last year started some small projects; a bike rack, a light post, and a big boulder outside of the architecture building have all been tagged already. It’s such a fun thing to look at when you are walking around campus, and I think most people like it too because none of the installations have been taken down. It adds color and creativity to a campus that is pretty void of all of that. IIT is a tech school with a lot of bright students, but apart from the architecture department, the campus looks pretty darn ugly. Let’s change that! Any other thoughts on yarn bombing? Feel free to leave a comment!

Zoe laying in our yarn. This project I don't have to try to keep hair free!

Vinyl Love

Awhile back I saw something on the internet about melting old vinyl records into new shapes and purposes. Today I came across a box of old records and wanted to try it myself. Yes, I am a couple of generations too young to own any vinyl records. I have never owned a record player. These were some of my dad’s that I had pulled out of his collection when he was getting rid of them. I was probably about 12 at the time and records were something very mysterious to me. I didn’t know how record players worked or why when my dad would listen to them, he would get upset if my sister and I played too rough around the record player. To me, records were just a part of the rock ‘n roll scene, a piece of artwork, a window to the world of Led Zeppelin and Tom Petty. Something I was just discovering around that time as well. So I kept a handful of old records because I thought they were cool, and years later I finally found a use for them.

The instructions I followed are here: http://www.favecrafts.com/Green-Crafting/Vinyl-Record-Bowl#

For the most part, it was very simple. You just need an oven safe bowl and an old record.

Heat your oven to around 400° F. Place bowl upside down on a cookie sheet and set the record centered on the top of it.

Put this in the oven, and make sure you keep a close eye on it! The instructions I was following said around 10 minutes, but my record looked like this after only a minute and half:

Once the record is floppy enough to touch the bowl on all sides it is probably ready to mold. Take everything out of the oven. I found it was easiest to mold the record on the inside of a bowl, so I quickly flipped the record over and stuck it on the inside of a different bowl and pressed all the sides up. The record will be pretty toasty, but I found it safe to move around because the vinyl cools off pretty quickly and you want to form your shape as fast as you can. Here is my final product:

Originally I pictured these as good bowls for candy or keeping random things on my desk organized. But the hole in the middle is making me think of planters? I’m not sure how that would work just yet, maybe these particular records aren’t exactly the right shape for planting. But its definitely something I will keep in mind. Any other ideas for these retro bowls?

Biking!

The past week has been packed with crazy summer activity! The weather has been in the 90s one day then drops 40 degrees in one night and now we’re all freezing. I’ve been getting in lots of biking though, which has made me very happy. My dad came up for a bike ride last weekend because he likes to bike on the lakefront train every so often. I get spoiled on the lakefront trail because I find myself on it at least two or three times a week these days. I love how diverse the trail can be depending on the weather. On rainy days or even just dreary, cloudy days it can feel like we have the whole lake front to ourselves. To just watch the dark lake wash violent waves up against all the boats in the harbor. But on this particular day it was hot and sunny, and also a weekend, which means lots of traffic because every Chicagoan knows to take advantage of nice weather while it lasts.

Skyline from Navy Pier

My favorite part of the lakefront trail is near the south loop, right next to the McCormick Place. The scenery is so nice and the pace can be as fast or as slow as you want. There aren’t lots of families going to the beach and standing around on the trail like there are on the north side. The trail can get downright dangerous on warm days when kids and tourists aren’t paying attention. They don’t realize that the lakefront trail means serious business to some people, and if you’re not careful, a spandex-clad sweat-storm on two wheels just might fly by and ruin your day.

Biking has become a very integral part of my life now; it is a hobby on nice summer days, and my best form of transportation on every other day. I can’t remember ever not knowing how to ride a bike. As a kid, I always had a bike and my sister and I would ride up and down our long driveway in the summer on roads we had drawn with sidewalk chalk. We used to take “family bike rides” every so often because there was a trail not too far from our house. Our typical path would be to bike to the Creamery in the next town over and we would get to eat a sundae before the bike back. Those rides were one of my favorite things when I look back at summer as a kid. But that was when I was maybe ten or eleven. Somewhere around the age of thirteen going to get ice cream with your parents wasn’t cool anymore and the thought of being seen on a bike was absolutely mortifying. I don’t think I rode a bike again until college.

College made biking not only cool again, but in the city, it’s almost imperative. Biking is the perfect mode of transportation for us fine college folk who are too poor to pay for gas and insurance. Plus when you bike, you can go to as many college parties as you like and not have to worry about a designated driver or parallel parking. I commute to school every day on my bike now, and in the summer I go all around the city too. I love the freedom of being able to maneuver so easily through traffic and “parking” three feet outside of every door I want to enter.

My Olympic Sport, recently new to me

I feel like bikers share a unique bond because we all have to deal with the wrath of angry drivers who are constantly honking and very nearly running us over sometimes. So cheers urban bikers! Because you are part of keeping yourself and your planet a little bit healthier! Anyone else have some urban bike adventures they would like to share?

Knitworthy

I went to a Thursday night knitting club and learned this is a term used by knitters to rate whether or not a person is “worthy” of receiving knit gifts. There are several things that a knitter will use to determine whether a person is knitworthy or not. After everyone had put in their two cents, this is what I found:

1. If a person is seen wearing the handmade item or other handmade clothing or accessories they are more knitworthy.
This is because knitters want to show off their work. They want to give someone a gift that will actually be used and seen by the world.

2. If a person uses a handmade item for something besides its intended purpose, it makes them less knitworthy.
For example, if you find your crocheted afghan being used as a car floor mat the next time your buddy picks you up, you can be assured they won’t be receiving too many more handmade gifts.

Baby Ali

Look at that face. Even I can't stop knitting for her.

3. Babies are generally considered knitworthy.
I have mixed feelings on this one. On the plus side, baby items are small, so they can be pretty quick to make. But in my opinion knit sweaters are just going to get thrown up on or spilled or drooled on. This is probably just my general dislike of babies.

4. The cleanliness of a person’s house can contribute to a person’s knitworthy-ness.
We have all visited that one friend’s house where we don’t offer to take our shoes off. You know who I mean. The one where you usually have to clear a seat off before you sit down. The amount of time a knitter is willing to spend on a project drastically decreases if a knitter is worried about the item getting lost or damaged between uses.

5. The amount of time you have known someone increases their knitworthy-ness.
We’re not knitting sluts! We’re not gonna go around knitting for just anyone. The longer you hang around your knitter friend the better chances you have of receiving a beautiful knit gift.

Why My Dog Makes the Perfect Companion

A dog will always love you, no matter what. You could wake him up at three in the morning and take him for a walk in 20 degree weather, and he will be happier than you about it. A dog will be glad to go with you anywhere really. My dog has his favorite places to go, like the dog beach or to a suburban backyard somewhere where he can run around. But I’m convinced he would be just as happy sniffing around an abandoned power plant or something equally boring to most people. Dogs just have the best outlook on life.

Which brings me to my next point; dogs will never complain to you. Not that they are hot or cold or tired or hungry. If my dog is tried he will take a nap, if he is hungry then he will eat his food. How many grumpy fully-functioning members of society do you know who could learn from this? If every person had these basic survival skills, I believe the world would be a much happier place. This is also probably one of the most prominent reasons why children are not in my future.

A dog will never judge you. Go ahead, eat that third cookie. There’s no one here to impress. Fluffy Wumpkins won’t tell anyone and even if you end up gaining fifty pounds you are still the same loving person to him. Just more cushion for him to lay on. But grabbing midnight snacks is just the beginning. Your dog is also cool with you drinking, smoking, saying stupid things, dropping things, falling down, forgetting to put pants on… the list is endless really. Indulge yourself, you’re not taking advantage.

As long as you feed Mr. Snuggles and let him poop outside a dog will be as much or as little as you need him to be. He’s free companionship, someone to talk to and hug at night. But with the added bonus of not having to close the bathroom door when you pee.

Billy

My dog runs the show