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, though...it 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 UrbanOutfitters.com. 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 happens...my 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 least....my 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.