Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fiber Arts Trunk Show on Etsy

untitledthing, originally uploaded by sweetyprize.

This poster heralds a fiber arts trunk show that will take place at the Etsy Labs in Brooklyn, New York, on November 16th. Members of the Etsy Fiber Arts Street Team (EtsyFAST) are participating online as well in our individual shops. Thanks, Sweety Prize for uploading the EtsyLabs poster to flickr.

Beginning today (November 1st) and continuing through the 16th of November, Etsy fiber artists are featuring sales on fibery goodness. If you haven't checked out Etsy yet, now is the time.

Once you get over there, you can search using the tag "EtsyFAST" to find delightful items. Please see this very informative post by fellow fiber artist Fearless Fibers for tips on how to create your very own wish list on Etsy for yourself or loved ones.

Happy Stocking Stuffing!

Deep Blue Sea Ragamuffin Mini-Skein on Niddy-Noddy
Tray Full of Ragamuffin Mini-Skeins

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Japanese Tea Cup, Sugar Bowl, and Matching Curvilinear Dish (three)

Here are some more of my tea treasures that I've been documenting lately. This little grouping is probably a child's set; there is a tiny cup, a miniature sugar bowl, and a delightful curvilinear dish. I'm not sure the dish is part of the set, but I found it the same day as the cup and sugar bowl at one of my local thrift stores. The colors matched so beautifully.

They are photographed on a shabby chic tea table that I added to my ever-growing table and chair collection recently. A lovely woman has been shabby-chic-ing furniture here in San Diego for many years (Not 2 Shabby) and I have been happily collecting her whimsical pieces at our local craft bazaar a couple of times a year.

One of these days I will have a proper studio where I can showcase my pieces more elegantly than I can in my small cottage bungalow. But for now, I live with them and love them everyday, even in slightly cramped quarters!
Japanese Demi-tasse or Child's Tea Cup
Japanese Sugar Bowl

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Autumn Tableau

Autumn Tableau, originally uploaded by confections.

I've put together a seasonal table to celebrate autumn and to give thanks that I am currently safe in the face of the horrible wildfires raging throughout San Diego County, California. One of my good friends has been evacuated from her home; she is safe and sound with her parents at the moment, and we hope she and her husband will be able to go back to their home in the next few days. Many have not been so lucky and my heart goes out to them. Blessed be!

In the little hand-thrown bowl here (a thrift shop find) are lady apples, tiny little specimens that my husband calls "one-bite apples". I love anything in miniature, even fruit! The mini-pumpkin and the lady apples came from my local food co-op. The fall leaves, the acorn, and the buckeye arrived lovingly hand-packed with some treasures from my sister in Pennsylvania. She knows that I get homesick for the maple-covered hills of my home state and the essence of autumn at this time of year. Grazie, Cinzia!
Bowl with Lady Apples

Signs of the Season

Friday, October 12, 2007

Miniature Tea Set

Miniature Tea Set (Two), originally uploaded by confections.

The other day we went to tea to celebrate a friend's birthday and to wish her Bon Voyage! She's moving away to New Hampshire from California--our tea was bittersweet--but we know she'll be coming back to visit soon.

Her dear friend's daughter brought along her favorite cloth doll, Kaley, and her miniature handpainted pink tea set. What a delightful addition to our table! The whole day was magical. We cried and laughed, exchanged gifts and cards, and vowed to meet again in a few months.

To Life and Our Next Tea Party! Cheers!
Red-headed Kaley Doll
Miniature Tea Set

Sunday, October 7, 2007

An Easy Triangular Shawl for Fall and Winter

Shawl of Many Colors 2, originally uploaded by confections.

I featured this triangular shawl in my blog last spring, but I didn't include the pattern. I'm going to add it to Ravelry soon, but here is the unedited version that I shared with a friend who is fairly new to knitting:

Here is the pattern which I got at a class taught by Colleen Davis, founder and former president of the North Coast Knitters Guild, which has meetings in San Diego County, California, each month (visit their guild website to see what they're all about). Colleen is a very inspiring teacher. This pattern actually was called "Cardigan Starting with a Pyramid", inspired by Hanne Falkenberg, interpreted by Colleen Davis. (Further interpreted by me....)

I used long circular needles (Addi Turbos) for this project; you can start on straight needles and then switch to (increasingly longer) circular needles as the shawl grows to the size you would like. When you cast on, you are actually working from the nape of the neck downward toward the point (apex) of the triangle.

1st Row: Cast on 3 stitches. (Right side)

2nd Row: Knit the row (wrong side), placing a stitch marker on each side of the center stitch.

3rd Row: Increase in the 1st stitch, slip marker, knit center stitch, slip marker, increase in last stitch. (2 increases made)

4th Row: Knit across (wrong side row).

The above 4 rows constitute the set-up for the overall triangular shaping technique. The shaping is as follows and continues until the shawl reaches the size you desire:

[*Row 5: Right side row. (Note: Put a safety pin on the right side so you can differentiate it from the wrong side in the pattern. All increases are done on the *right* side rows.)
*Increase in the 1st stitch, knit to 1 stitch before marker, increase in (that) next st, slip marker, k1 (this is the center stitch), slip marker, increase in next st, knit across to last st, inc in end st. (4 increases made) Whew!

Row 6: Wrong side row. Knit across. (That's easy!)*]

For clarification and in plain English: On every *right side row* an increase is made on the outside edges (i.e., in the first and last stitches of the row) and in each stitch on either side of the center stitch. The *wrong side rows* are knit straight across, with no increases.

Repeat rows 5 and 6 (between brackets) until the shawl is the size you desire.

You can use an additional set of circular needles towards the end to enable you to open up the shawl and gauge its length and drape more easily. After completing a row, use your second set of circular needles to begin knitting. (Cap the non-working ends of both sets of circular needles with tightly fitting point protectors--don't lose all your hard work at this stage).

Knit until you reach the center stitch and again cap your needle ends with point protectors. Now you can get an idea of the length and drape of the finished shawl. But remember, the *point* of the triangle won't be liberated totally until you bind off loosely and end the project. Change colors and textures of yarn to your heart's content. On the back of the shawl you will have a noticeable chevron design, especially if you change colors and make stripes.

Enjoy! If you have any questions, just let me know. It's a lot simpler than it sounds in the pattern.

Note: You may use any yarns that strike your fancy in any size and gauge. The shawl grows organically and you can try it on as you knit and get a rough idea of how it will look.

Shawl of Many Colors 4
Shawl of Many Colors 6

Friday, October 5, 2007

Back to Square One

Back to Square One, originally uploaded by confections.

The simplest of all knitting projects, a garter stitch washcloth of self-striping Sugar 'n Cream cotton is one of life's timeless delights. I've been invited to join Ravelry, and I'm getting my knitting muscles back into shape slowly.

I made this the other day as a sort of meditation on simplicity. I was trying out my new square needles (size 8 US), and I enjoyed the process immensely. As a bonus, I get to use it tonight in the shower with some equally delightful handmade soap. Life is good!
Striped Washcloth Stitch Detail
Square Knitting Needles and Sugar 'n Cream Yarn
Square Needles & Washcloth Collage

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Vintage 1930's Royal Portable Typewriter Collage

Recently my teenage nieces were visiting from back east. On their way to California, they had visited some friends in Pueblo, Colorado, and found this treasure at an antique store. We had fun typing up a summary of our days' activities each night.

Back in March, at the same antique store, my sleuthing nieces had found some 100-year-old letters which they transcribed and researched. We were able to locate a relative of the letter writer through, and share the contents. She, in turn, sent a photo of the author as a child. The letters are available to read at Euterpe, my niece's blog.

Vintage Photo of Anna Caine
Vintage Royal Portable Typewriter
Mechanical Strike Bars on Vintage Royal Typewriter