You know how Oprah does her giveaways? “You get a car! You get a car! You get a car!” and everyone goes nuts. Well I have learned how to finger knit and I’m walking around my house like a finger knitting Oprah on a giveaway bender. Looking over at long-neglected yarn, “I could knit that!”; the string we use to tie up recycling, “I could finger knit that!”; striped holiday twine, “I could finger knit that!”; a rope in a sad corner of the basement, “I could knit that!”; and even thin wire for jewelry-making, “I could KNIT that!”. Dude, I am knitting and the audience in my head is going wild and looking around at the world in a whole new way. I have the new book Knitting Without Needles by my friend Anne Weil* to thank for this madness. Did you even know you could knit WITHOUT needles? I had no idea! And, Anne’s book also includes projects for arm-knitting as well as finger knitting. Arm and finger knitting is crazy good. It totally changes things. For one, you can knit so much faster and for another the scale is shifted…projects become big, chunky and modern. I love it!
On top of the benefits of learning this new skill, the book is just flipping gorgeous. Beautiful, inspiring and artistic all in one craft book. I mean, look at that floor poof up there! That’s next on my project list. And the basket on top of the stool, that is another project! See what I mean, for real, I want to knit everything!
And, it was in this knitting-happy mindset that I took a second look at my leftover knit jersey scraps and started making knit jersey fabric yarn…and knitting and knitting and knitting it. Eventually, I had a long, long string of finger knitting and was able to transform it into a fabulously, stretchy infinity scarf. A completely spontaneous project made entirely of fabric I had no use for.
It’s just so much fun. And, especially satisfying for me because I had given up on learning to knit. I’ve tried a few times and always ended up with such tight, completely uneven stitches. Every single time. I eventually gave up deciding that knitting was not my medium. But Anne insisted that finger knitting would work for me and she was right! Her book is really straightforward and simple to learn from. I picked it up right away, which is saying a lot for a failed knitter! I’ve even started teaching J how to finger knit!
I’m looking forward to making a bunch of the things in this book, they are perfect for cozying, beautifying and warming up our new house.
Isn’t it all stunning! I’m really hoping for some time in front of the fireplace with yarn (or twine or wire!) this Thanksgiving and am already trying to figure out who needs this book as a Christmas gift. I’ve already given a copy to a friend.
Photos from the book courtesy Anne Weil.
Note: Affiliate links are included in this post. Thanks for your support. I really appreciate it. I was given this book as a gift from Anne and enjoyed reviewing it but wasn’t asked to. As always, my opinions are my own.
If there is one thing missing from my closet it is date-night dresses. I’ve got casual wear covered but I don’t have many let’s-go-out-without-the-kids outfits. So when I saw the Adelaide dress from Seamwork Mag I thought I’d have a go at dressing it up. Now the pattern calls for a heavier fabric like linen or another bottom weight but I made mine in silk. I went to an estate sale this summer for a woman who was a prolific sewer and I walked away with 4 yards of 100% pure Italian silk fabric for $2. Such a score! I’ve never sewn with silk before but given how little I paid for the fabric I didn’t have to feel nervous using it.
It was a bit of a gamble to sew my first dress, no muslin, in precious fabric that is the wrong type for the pattern. But hey, what’s life without a little risk? And, for the most part it paid off.
I made the medium and I was worried it would be tight in the hips but it fits just fine. If anything it’s a wee bit tight across the upper chest and arm scythe. The silk is glorious to wear, it feels amazing.
I did shorten the length, it hit at my knee and that length looks very frumpy on me with this style of dress. It does mean, of course, that the dress is a date-night only outfit because I can’t be bending over and dealing with kid-stuff in this shorty-short! I also added french seams. With the silk fabric I knew the dress would need some added structure and the potential for fabric fraying is pretty high, french seams would accomplish both so it was an easy decision. I’m a big fan of french seams, so elegant and they sound so fancy and difficult but are really so easy…just two stitches instead of one.
The one thing I don’t like are the belt loops, I’m going to have to down-size them because they really stick out a lot. Thankfully, that is an easy fix.
Isn’t this fabric great?! I was concerned it looked a little old-lady, I guess because I got it an estate sale, but it’s fun. Sewing with silk wasn’t actually that hard. I definitely used more pins that I normally do but it wasn’t too slippery.
Now, I realize this dress isn’t super fancy and probably ranks as awfully casual to many people. For me, though, a simple silk button-up dress is dressy and when my husband and I go out we go for dinner and drinks. I think my style, in general, leans toward dressy-casual. Date night dresses rank as ‘special’ in my world when they are a little flirty and something the kids would ruin if I wore it near them. My Adelaide in silk, therefore, qualifies! Boom! Closet updated! Now throw a cardigan over this cutie and I’m ready for some beers with my man.
The always classy, super sexy Kristiann Boos has a new sewing book called Boundless Style: A Mix-and-Match Sewing Pattern Workbook (published by Fons & Porter/F+W for $32.99). I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this groundbreaking book for review.
Kristiann is the talented designer and sewist behind Victory Patterns, a pattern company whose trademark is modern design, skillful women’s clothing patterns. I’ve made the Lola and the Ava Top. I need to confess at the outset that I love the style of Victory patterns but always have fit problems with them. The bust is designed for someone with a little more oomph up top. As a result of their very fitted style, I always end up with too much fabric up top, which is just a fitting issue I need to work on with their designs. That said, there is so much to love about this book. (more…)
The Tula Pink Coloring Book: 75+ Signature Designs in Fanciful Coloring Pages
By Tula Pink
Fons & Porter/F+W; $15.99
On occasion I get emails from publishers inquiring about whether or not I want to review a book. Most of the time the books aren’t relevant to my kind of sewing or my aesthetic and I politely decline. Recently, however, I was asked if I wanted a copy of Tula Pink’s new coloring book and was offered the opportunity to interview Tula Pink. Interview Tula Pink?! Um, yeah, it took me all of ten seconds to reply with a big, fat YES!
If you don’t already know Tula Pink, you are in for the delightful experience of meeting her. She is a fabric designer, quilter, illustrator and all-around creative woman. Her fabrics are positively, uniquely intricate and recognizable for their hidden animals and vividly alive colors. More than likely, however, you have come across some of her fabrics and, in that case, you are probably nodding your head because you know I’m right. Tula is well-known for working alongside her whole family and designing lots and lots of things. I’m over-the-moon honored to have the opportunity to both play with her coloring book and interview her. (more…)
The International Quilt Market started on Thursday and runs all weekend long in Houston, Texas. It’s an insane industry trade show that happens twice a year. Fabric companies and quilt shop owners attend to view new fabric lines and show off and sell/buy like mad. They transform a huge warehouse into a fabric mecca. I’ve never been to Quilt Market but I’ve followed it (read: stalked it) on Instagram and it looks insane and amazing. Quilt Market also involves an incredible amount of behind-the-scenes sewing (what better way to sell fabric than to see it sewn into something fabulous, after all?). For the last few Quilt Markets I’ve sewn for the lovely Cloud 9 fabrics folks. But, this time around it was extra exciting because they have released organic knit fabric. Knits!! Organic Knits! I die. In classic Cloud 9 style, they are super soft and the designs are so sweet and classic.
I made a tank top in each of the newly available prints, 22 in all. Here’s a little sampling: (more…)