Sunday, December 11, 2005

Finished! :)

I just ironed the last of three hems on my dress, and I finished my shrug earlier this afternoon, so my outfit is COMPLETE! I'll post pictures in a week or so.

For now, I'm getting into high gear on Christmas stuff.

Despite my six impending finals in the next four days, life is very, very good. :)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

dress and shrug update

Very exciting news: my dress is almost complete! I've been working on it every chance I get, and now all I have left is hemming. That'll be easy, but time-consuming and very tedious.

The dress has three layers: the black lining, the green satin underdress ($2/yd at Jomar), the printed sheer overdress ($1.96/yd on clearance at JoAnn's. Can you believe it??), plus the black satin cuff and straps ($3/yd at Jomar). All in all, I estimate that I spent $15.00 on this dress, including all of the notions and the pattern itself. Not too shabby!

I'd forgotten how much I love making formal dresses. :) The lining is boned, which helps the garment retain its shape. It's McCalls 2954, and I give this pattern two thumbs up. Easy to follow, and with beautiful results.

Although I wanted to keep it a surprise, the boy's already seen it so I can post a picture (or two) just for you, my faithful reader. :)

I've also made great progress on my Anthropologie-Inspired Shrug. Unfortunately, I ran out of yarn while binding off the bottom, so I need to get another ball. A *whole* ball, just for 8" of binding off and 5 rows of 1x1 ribbing on both sleeves...breaks my heart. I'll use the rest of it for a hat and mittens, or something.

So the sleeves are on scrap yarn and not finished yet, and there's a cable needle hanging from the back...but I still think it's gonna look great. :) It's not too bulky, and it makes the dress look a little less formal and very winter-y. I'll be sure to post some more pictures after graduation.

I've been saving this fabric for years, for something really special, and I'm glad I did. I know I'll probably be a little dressy for the occasion, but I don't care. It is a hugely important day for the boy, and he deserves the best...I plan on at least looking the part. :)

Let me know what you think...I have two main questions:
1) Should I leave the hem as long as possible, or take it up to knee-length?
2) What do you think of the shrug? Too cutesy? Too short? Or just right?

Unrelated, but exciting: We (mom, Andrea, and I) just recieved 8 30-gallon Tupperware tubs full of yarn!! Our first job over winter break is sorting it all among the three of us. :-D *drool drool drool*

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

New Knitty

There's an update on the way of my dress and shrug...but I have no pictures yet. It's surprisingly difficult to get a picture wearing a full length dress all by one's self. Later tonight, maybe? :)

In the meantime...Winter Knitty is up!! I'm absolutely thrilled with this issue. It's the first time in a while that I've been moved to try more than one or two of the patterns. Here are some of my favorites:
- Knecklace: I have a partial skein of Manos [left over from Hot Lava Cardigan] that is yearning to become a knecklace.
- Namaste Yoga Mat Bag: Now, IF I decided to actually use my yoga mat and IF I made it all the way to the White building for a yoga class, this would totally be the bag I'd use.
- Tempting II: This is a sister pattern to a sweater I've already knitted (seventh picture down). I had a lot of fun with the first one, and I'm considering starting this new one sometime in the spring.
- Tubey Sweater: very cute.
- Blanche-Neige Jacket: This is a very (dare I say it?) 'grown-up' piece that might be good to have when I go out and get a real job. It's cashmere...which is good, because cashmere is lovely and awesome, but bad because it's most likely pricey. We'll see.
- Urban Rustic Gloves: I've been looking for a funky glove pattern for a while now and I think this might be the perfect one. I'm hoping that the wool yarn from the sweater I unraveled ages ago will be of a comparable gauge so I can start these ASAP!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Dress Progress

I took this picture when I was installing the zipper. This is the first time in my decade of sewing experience that I've *ever* hand basted a zipper before sewing it in. Usually I'm too damn impatient, but I'm very concerned with how this dress will look when I'm done, so I took the extra time.

I also managed to cut a hole in the back of the overdress as I was just about to put the whole thing together....GRRR! With some quick thinking, I put on a barely noticeable patch, saving myself the monumental time and frustration of re-cutting and re-assembling the pieces. I was very pleased with myself for salvaging a pretty bad mistake.

Once the zipper was in, I tried it on and it fits perfectly. For once, the dress looks exactly as I pictured it before I started sewing it. I cannot *wait* to wear it! I still need to hem all three layers, put in the facing, and add straps. There's no reason I won't be able to finish it in time.

Unnecessary Accessory
I don't know if this will even look right, but I'm making myself an Anthropologie-Inspired Shrug in Wool-Ease Chunky. It's actually a dark gray heather, much darker than it appears in the picture. Even if it doesn't end up going with the dress, I think I'll have other opportunities to wear it.

Liesel Scarf
Sadly enough, this was the best picture I could get of it. :-P

I finished this scarf while I was on Thanksgiving break, but didn't get to block it until I got back up to school. The damp State College weather has since furled it up again, but I'm happy with the results. The scarf is light and airy, but surprisingly warm. And the color, which I wasn't sure of in the beginning, has grown on me.

text-only update

The craft show last week went really well. Unfortunately, I'm a doofus and forgot to take any pictures of my booth. It was a neat setup, though...My mom surprised me with a blown glass mannequin head to display hats, and it was too cute for words.
I should make a pretty decent chunk of change right before the holidays, which is always nice. Of course I ended up spending some of my hard-earned cash on items from the other booths, but as you know, counterproductivity is my middle name. ;)
My mom and sister each contributed some knitted items this year, namely some lopi hats, sari yarn hats, and purses. They were very popular and we sold quite a few. I got rid of almost 2 dozen pairs of earrings, plus a bunch of necklaces and bracelets. All in all, it was another good show.

Christmas is approaching rapidly, and as such, I've started planning some crafty gifts for a few people on my list. Due to their sensitive nature, I can't post any pictures here (though I'm itching to do so!) Today I made up a pattern and then cast on something cute and cable-y for one of my good college buddies. I'm also in the beginning planning stages of a sewing project for someone special. Unfortunately, the fabric choices here aren't stellar...[don't worry, you'll laugh later. ;)] I have to wait till I get home to start that one.

In the meantime, my dress for the upcoming graduation is coming along really well. I've got the lining and main dress completely put together, and I'm in the process of assembling the overdress. I'd forgotten what a pain in the ass sheer fabric can be! I'd post pics, but (and I know this is silly) I kind of want it to be a surprise.
On a more personal note, I'm astonished by how quickly the end of the semester has crept up on me. There's a flood of mixed emotions right now, but I have faith, and that will get me through. :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I hope everyone had a safe and happy Thanksgiving! Yours truly went to Slaughter Beach in Delaware with my family for break. Good food, good fun, and four wheeling on the beach! Sweet...

I spent a good chunk of my time there working on stock for the 2005 Winter Craft Show, put on by the Center for Arts & Crafts here at PSU. The show starts tomorrow! I'm psyched. Pictures to follow soon-ish.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

BIG update

I finally got around to photographing 12 projects that have been done but not posted. They're in rough chronological order. I apologize for funny poses (I have zero attention span) and picture overload.

A quick disclaimer: I am/was not drunk, stoned, or insane when any of these pictures were taken, no matter *what* they seem to insinuate. Let's chalk it up to the fact that I'm a dreadful model and I turn into a deer in headlights whenever a camera's around. Now...on to the stuff! :)

This is my first knitting project *ever.* It's a simple basketweave scarf done in three skeins of Noro Kureyon (100% wool). It was a bit pricey for a learning project, but it turned out very well. My mom and sister coached me through this scarf, which I worked on while we were in Canada. Finished Summer '03.

I made this scarf up, using a fan-and-feather lace pattern. I used the leftover purple mohair from my Colinette AbFab throw, and some blue mohair that my mom had lying around. Very pretty, but it sheds like woah. Finished Winter '03.

Another scarf, from this Multidirectional Scarf pattern. It's a really interesting technique: you knit on the bias to create gradated triangles. Used 2 or 3 skeins of Noro Silk Garden, which is a dream to work with. Finished Winter '03.

A scarf and hat set, using a thick white/tan Sirdar wool and a tan ribbon yarn held together. My sister calls this my 'condom hat' because with the rolled brim and point at the top, and she says it looks like one. Much to my dismay, she's probably right. Still, it's toasty warm and very comfy. Finished Summer '04.

A very ambitious first sweater. Made with a Sirdar pattern and 100% Ontario wool, this sweater took FOREVER to finish. It's not as fitted as I would have liked, but that's probably a good thing because the wool is a tad itchy. It's very very warm, and perfect for cold winter days. I'm quite proud of this sweater/hoodie because it introduced me to several new techniques: cables, bobbles, pockets, and shaping. The wood buttons came from my mom's stash. Finished Fall '04.

Hurry Up Spring Armwarmers and Headband, both from Stitch 'n Bitch. Done in Katia's Mexico (I think). Unfortunately, the yarn is a little on the fuzzy side and all my hard work cabling doesn't quite show through. The are bright and cheery, though. Finished Winter '04.

Knitty's Tempting, made on the cheap with Wool-Ease. Nice, simple pattern. Finished Spring '05.

Spiderweb Capelet from Debbie Stoeller's book Stitch 'n Bitch. Used Katia's Ingenuia in chartreuse. Also sheds like mad, but I love it anyway. I made another one of these in red, with a red ribbon tie, that I'm going to be selling at December's craft fair. Finished Spring '05.

Knitty's Cleo, done using two strands of DK weight cream colored cotton. I did the full back version, and I'm pleased with the results. I've blocked it twice already, has an extreme tendency to curl. Finished Summer '05.

This is another Multidirectional Scarf, done in recycled Sari Silk yarn from Nepal. Finished Summer '05.

The only non-knitted item here...just a simple dress using a pretty bottomweight fabric and some white piping. Finished Summer '05.

Lace Leaf Pullover from Teva Durham's 'Loop-d-Loop,' free in Interweave Knits magazine. I used Sirdar...something...for this sweater, which was really difficult. It knitted up quickly, but the top and bottom were knit in separate pieces which were grafted together using something called the 'kitchener stitch' -- which was the bane of my existence. But I absolutely adore this sweater! Finished Summer '05.

projects from the archives: sewing!

This was my first foray into adding embellishments to purses under a sewn-in layer of vinyl. These are various postcards by Anne Taintor about how much men suck...I call it my 'breakup bag'. :) I used this huge tote to lug around my art supplies for my brief time as an art major. Denim, vinyl, and postcards. Finished Fall '03.

I love this pattern and I've used it about a billion times since. It's the prefect size and shape, the straps are a great length, and it comes with a really cute little pouch. The awesome fabric is another piece that I inherited from my grandmother's stash. She certainly had a thing for frogs... Frog cotton and yellow cotton. Finished Summer '04.

Made with leftover brown cordoroy and paisely lining from a blazer I made ages ago. The postcard says '...and then she realized: they were all alike.' Cordoroy, lining fabric, brown satin ribbon, vinyl, and postcard. Finished Fall '04, and sold at a craft fair.

Made using scraps I had laying around, with a Vogue pattern whose number I can't remember. Text: 'He was not a fascinating as he had once appeared.' I love this one. Brown wool, striped cotton, vinyl, and postcard. Finished Winter Break '04.

Same pattern as the frog purse above. I was inspired by an incomplete deck of tarot cards. The model is none other than my twin sister. :) Denim, vinyl, and tarot cards. Finished Spring '05.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

dorm sweet dorm

Anyone who has ever lived in the 10 X 12' cinderblock cell that is a college dorm room knows that decorating can be a serious challenge. After spending three years compromising, I *finally* have a room of my own. All my hard work in student government has afforded me a two-bedroom, one-bath suite that I share with one roomate.

I spent the summer working on a plan to make my collegiate prison into something home-y, yet practical and storage-friendly, and I think I've accomplished my goal.

First, here's the BEFORE:



And desk. A little spartan, don't you think?

And now...AFTER:

This red canopy is my favorite part of the room -- thank you Ebay! It's dramatic, and just a touch trashy, which is why I love it. The lanterns at the tiebacks were purchased on clearance ($1.95 ea) from Crate and Barrel online. The square pictures on the very top of the wall are from the book 'I Feel A Sin Coming On' by Anne Taintor. They form a border all around the room.

The entire 'bedroom' design was worked around the comforter set, which I got on super clearance (less than $8, not including shipping) from It included the comforter, the two shams, a flat sheet, a fitted sheet, and the throw pillow in the middle. Using the flat sheet and some fabric that I got on sale at IKEA ($5.99/yd), I made the two other throw pillows and the body pillow cover. The square cushion in the back is made of some red striped cotton bottomweight that I got at Jo-Ann's. You can *never* have too many pillows...
Under the bed are Tupperware containers that hold all my extra purses, scarves, gloves, mittens, hats, etc.

The endtable was purchased on sale from IKEA ($11.95) and matches perfectly. The Japanese Government Railways poster was an afterthought purchased at PSU's annual poster sale. I didn't think I'd be able to find anything to match my wierd colors (sky blue and red?), but this fits perfectly.

My 'office' area. By changing the alignment of the desk unit, I created a makeshift wall that separates my room into a 'bedroom' area and a work space. The chair was the most expensive part of the room, but I think it was well worth it. IKEA once again.

I don't remember who I stole this idea from, but these are just wire crates ($9.99 for about a gazillion at Target) attached to picture molding with hooks. I wouldn't fill them with anything super heavy, but they're just perfect to hold my sweaters. The lantern in the middle is also from Crate and Barrel, and the two on the sides were purchased at an end-of-summer sale at Joann's.

This is where the magic sewing table. This aspen and metal table and four chairs were a steal at IKEA ($79.99). I bought them last year, and they're still the best investment I've made. I've got a huge Tupperware storage container filled with fabric underneath, a little organizer on top for notions, and a larger organizer to the side for miscellaneous stuff.
The curtains are hideous, I know, but apparently they're flame retardant and Penn State says I can't change them. Grr...

This wall drives me crazy...olive is just too gross for words in here. Unfortunately, I can't do much about it. Have you looked for contact paper recently? I couldn't find a single better alternative. The hanging organizer (IKEA, $4.95) holds all my yarn and needles. The triple arm light helps a bit with the dismal lighting. Excuse the very sad plant. I don't think I spend enough time in my room to warrant having something living in here.

And last but not organized-within-an-inch-of-it's-life closet. Can you tell that storage is an issue here? Everything possible is hung up, drawers are filled to capacity, and I *still* can't find anything to wear on a Friday night. :-P The top Tupperware container holds more fabric, and the bottom one is full. of. shoes. I love being a girl. :) Miscellaneous junk is kept in the wire organizer up top. All in all, a very efficient (though not terribly pretty) use of space.

...and that's the grand tour. What do you think? Leave a comment and make my day. :)

Bless this mess! :-D

where in the world is amanda?

Haven't updated in a while: the conference I mentioned in my last entry kind of ate my life. It was a very good time, and I met a lot of interesting people, but I was really too stressed out about the whole thing to fully appreciate how fun it was. We did, however, show over fifty schools from the central atlantic region just how awesomely Penn State rocks out. Mission accomplished.

On the craft front, I splurged and bought myself one ball of TLC's Cara Mia to start a Liesel scarf (see Knitting Pattern of the Day, below). I didn't allow myself to even think about starting it until CAACURH was over. The second I was free, I grabbed all the necessary accessories, collapsed in bed and started it. As much as I liked the 'melon' colorway it was done in, orange washes me out, so I chose 'aqua' and I'm very pleased with the results.

Making progress...


The lace pattern is complex but not hard -- i.e, I don't think I could memorize it, but this scarf could be done by any advanced beginner. All it requires is k, p, yo, ssk, k2tog, and sk2po.

Hopefully later tonight, I'll have time to post a few pictures of my dorm room. I spent all summer making and buying stuff to get it exactly the way I wanted it. I figured that I wouldn't have a lot of free time this year (*major* understatement; student government is holding my social life hostage), so I wanted my room to be as relaxing and home-y as possible.

I'm also noticing that I have at least three sweaters, a knitted tank top, and a capelet that I haven't shared on here yet. Once I find a photographer, I'll post pictures of them as well.

Knitting Pattern of the Day: Liesel scarf [PDF file].

Sunday, November 06, 2005

not quite crafty...

...but here's a little graphic design that I've done.

It's a conference bid (very exciting, I know), for a regional student government leadership conference held every year. Through the bidding process, different colleges and universities in the conference compete to hold the conference at their school.

Basically, I took information from all of our gazillion chairs, put it together in a cohesive form, and made it look professional. It was a *huge* job. Every graphic in the bid (excluding trademarked items and an obvious clipart or two) was created individually by yours truly, working from images of famous musicians.

Another university -- who shall remain nameless -- dropped out of the process because they were so intimidated by our bid. :-D I'll admit it, that gives me the warm and fuzzies. I put blood, sweat, tears, and more hours than I care to mention into this bid, and I love that it made another university shake in its boots. needless to say, we got the conference for this year (it starts Friday -- eep!).

I don't expect you to last through all 66 pages of it, so here's some images I created for the front and back of the conference binder.

Maybe if I was smart, I would have gone into graphic design. Oh, well :)

EDIT: I finally figured out how to recover this post! I was too lazy to re-write it. :-P

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

shiver me timbers

Happy belated Halloween, everyone!

This is definitely one of my favorite holidays: I love getting dressed up, and it gives me a chance to make some seriously fun costumes. All in all, this pirate costume cost me about $30 to make, just because of the number of different fabrics, trims, and notions. As noted in earlier posts, the skirt was a huge pain, and I don't know if I'd reccommend this pattern. After wrestling with it, though, I am very pleased with how it turned out.

Recognize the shirt? It pulled double duty in my Dorothy costume, in a more modest incarnation. These boots are hands down my favorite shoes ever, but unfortunately there aren't many occasions for knee-high black leather boots with a 4" heel.

My direction for this photo was to look "like a pirate." I think I look like a demented squirrel.

This one came out a little more sultry than I had anticipated, but I got no complaints from the peanut gallery (aka my photographer).

And so ends another Halloween...I'm getting old(er), but it's still fun to let the kid inside out to play every once in a while.

Now that I'm done with costumes, hopefully you'll soon be seeing the products of my labor for the winter craft show in December (which I haven't started working on yet...yikes).

Knitting Pattern of the Day: Snowball's Chance in Hell Armwarmers

And you have to check this out -- My favorite color scheme ever, in apartment form. This is something like what I'd want my studio/craft room/amandaspace (assuming I have the square footage) to look like when I get a place of my own.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

there's no place like home...

As promised, here are pictures of my Dorothy costume:

Unfortunately, I didn't get a really great picture of the ruby slippers, but they were fun and sparkly and I got a ton of compliments on them. Some people even stopped me during the parade to ask how I made them!

I know the gloves aren't very true to the movie, but it was 40 degrees outside and I was freezing. But what's the point of slaving away on a costume if you're just going to cover it up with a coat?

I had a blast. :) I was a big hit with the under 10 girls and the over 30 boys. Yay and ick, respectively. :-P Let me know what you think!

Knitting Pattern of the Day: Felted Wine Bottle Cozies

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

we're off to see the wizard...

I spent several hours pomping the 'Wizard of ARHS' float tonight, and I'm getting really hyped up about the parade this weekend.

To prepare, I worked on my Dorothy dress this afternoon. Considering it's the first thing I've ever made completely from scratch (i.e. drafting my own pattern), I'm very happy with it. It still needs a hem, a petticoat, and straps, but it fits very well and looks great -- for a costume. I tried to be as accurate to the original dress as possible under my insane time constraints. I still have two people to assist on costumes before the parade, and one more before Halloween!

I'll post pictures after Friday's parade...then I'm lending it to my sister to wear on Halloween (when I'll be dressed up as Busty St. Clair the pirate ;) ) Of course I'll have to take it in a bit for her, but I'm happy to do it so she can dress up this year.

Now I need to make myself some ruby slippers...hmm...

EDIT: Made the shoes tonight (10/26), and with a little technical assistance from my favorite thespian, they turned out great! They were super easy: $6.44 black pumps at Wal-Mart + red spray paint + craft adhesive + glitter = rockin' ruby slippers.
Unfortunately, on their trial run in my room, I managed to get red spraypaint/glitter/glue gunk stuck on my floor. Sweet! I'm off to find some Clorox so I don't get a housing charge... :-P

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Here's teaser shot of my pirate costume in progress -- hence the pins.

It was coming along really well...until I tried it on. The top and vest turned out great. But apparently the bloomer pattern included is NOT optional: the skirt is SO short it's positively indecent. I tried adding an inch or two to the waistband so it would sit lower on my hips, but it's still skanky beyond belief. I'm going to have to add a 3-4" modesty ruffle to make it wearable in public. Goodie. :-P

I haven't even started Dorothy yet...and Homecoming is FRIDAY! Ugh...

EDIT: I played around with the waistband some more and now it's of a decent length. Still quite sassy, but nothing that's going to get me in trouble. The applique is my *favorite* part. Now all that's left is getting some accessories together to really clinch the look. I'll post pictures after halloween!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

For those of you who aren't familiar with Sam Brown's work, let me introduce you to

Basically, the idea is that you send him a sentence or a phrase, and he draws something about it.

Here's one of my favorites:

'it was an evil kite.'

Browse around a bit. They're a little spastic, wierd, and occasionally poignant. ;)