Sep 282014

Last weekend I had the joy of gifting one of my dearest friends and her now-spouse with a framed handmade papercut for their wedding. Now I can reveal the full scene of where the sneaky bunnies from this post live!


Click to embiggen for more detail

Since I had plenty of time to work on it over the summer, this was my go-to project whenever I had a few minutes to craft at my desk. With longer cutting sessions I developed the infamous claw-hand, so I was pleased with myself for not procrastinating and being able to keep my sessions short.

I picked up the distressed gold-painted frame at Brooklyn Flea on the same outing where I found the teal frame for my embroidered hedgehog.


A few detail shots:


The design is by Bmore Papercuts, all cut out with an X-acto knife by me. I hand-lettered the central part of the design, which included the bizarre task of figuring out how to write a block ampersand backwards.


And a final shot of the piece, before I adhered it to the green backing (cover weight paper chosen from the many shades of green I picked up at Paper Presentation):


Here’s the card I made, photographed while sitting outside of Looking Glass Cafe in Carrboro, NC. It was lovely to visit my old stomping grounds the day before the wedding, and to get some work and play done at one of my favorite hometown spots.


We received some very touching handmade gifts for our wedding, including cross-stitched pieces and a sewn patchwork rendering of our wedding website (which had in turn been handcrafted by Charles). I felt so loved and special that people chose to make us gifts with their very hands, and so it felt natural to channel my love and creative energy into crafting this piece for Lauren and Ryland. Lauren’s sweet reaction to the gift couldn’t have been more gratifying.

Have you ever received or given any handmade wedding gifts?

Sep 192014

The fall/winter issue of Vogue Knitting from 1985(!) fell into my lap through work, and I gladly took it home to immerse myself in the handknitting culture of the mid-80s.

The first thing I noticed (well, after the 80s styling) is that almost all of the outfit shots for the sweaters incorporated garments made from Vogue sewing patterns, and the pattern numbers were included. Multi-crafting must have been much more common 30 years ago. Way to go, multi-crafters! A couple of patterns for machine knitting were also in the issue.

I like this cropped cable sweater, and it would totally fit into my wardrobe today – sans shoulder pads, and in a bold jewel tone or dark neutral.


I like the use of color here, with the white cable on a bright solid background.


Elizabeth Zimmerman wrote an article for this issue! (For the non-knitters reading, EZ revolutionized the modern world of knitting.) In exploring Bohus knitting and Emma Jacobson’s legacy, while she provides tips on knitting your own versions, EZ implores readers to avoid trying to recreate original Bohus sweaters verbatim. “You must resist the impulse to copy. Emma and her designers must be left to rest in peace with their lovely work.”


The magazine includes patterns by capital-F Fashion designers such as Adrienne Vittadini, Calvin Klein, and Perry Ellis. I’m not that tapped into today’s knitting mags – does this high fashion publishing still happen? [Update: I got my hands on a recent issue of Vogue Knitting, which features designs from Eileen Fisher…so, yes. Not so surprising – it is Vogue, after all.]


Click to embiggen and see the full effect of the comedy/tragedy pullover, and the greyhounds frolicking on the turtleneck.vogue-85-perry-ellis

Acknowledging the circular nature of style, the magazine republishes a Vogue sweater pattern from 1962 in the “Then and Now” feature.


And bringing us right back into the mid-80s – knit your own shoulder pads!


One of my main takeaways, leafing through the pages and reading the ads, is realizing what a fortunate time we knitters live in with our easy access to information – with the internet in general, of course, and Ravelry in particular. Since I started knitting 11 years ago, I wasn’t in the yarn world at the time when yarn-crafters had to send in mail orders to receive yarn samples and swatches. Now we just pop on to Ravelry to find out about yarns and patterns, and to get inspired and informed by other knitters’ projects. Even projects from a Vogue magazine from 1985!

Sep 052014

After months of living in a cigar box with my embroidery supplies, and with a little help from the mini iron I mentioned last time, this embroidered hedgehog is ready for a new life on display!


I finished stitching the hedgehog over a year ago, but the right frame eluded me. A trip to one of the frame vendors at Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene earlier this summer turned out this teal frame, and I’m so pleased with how it coordinates with the fabric and stitching.

The hedgehog design is by Sublime Stitching from the Forest Friends pattern pack, and the plaid fabric is from one of Charles’ old shirts.

Framing process. I used the glass from the frame itself as a template to position the design. Then I traced around the hedgehog with tailor’s chalk, marked a 1″ border all the way around the square, and cut the fabric with a rotary cutter. To make the backing, I cut a piece of foamcore the same size as the glass using an X-Acto knife. I stretched the fabric around the foamcore, and pinned it into place with flat-head dressmakers pins. (These pins were unreasonably difficult to find locally – probably because I didn’t feel like making a special trip to the garment district with nothing else on my shopping list – and I ended up ordering them online.)

Then I folded the edges over the back neatly (channeling my gift-wrapping skills) and taped them down. I felt a little squeamish about using tape on the raw edges rather than something cleaner or more fancy, like lacing the edges together with thread. But honestly, getting the project DONE was way more important to me than making the back pretty this time around.

Thank you, crafting, for providing yet another opportunity to practice letting go of my perfectionist tendencies. So, releasing the last, tiniest sprinkle of my residual shame, here’s some tape!

It feels so satisfying to have this project framed and ready to go on the gallery wall!