Sunday, November 30, 2008

elastic shirring tutorial

hope you had a happy thanksgiving! just wanted to let you know that my latest CS post is about shirring with elastic, a handy and very cool technique. i can think of so many ways to use this, and i love how 'pro' it looks.

i think i'm going to have to whip up a few more shirts like this one for the BUST Craftacular, which you should come visit me at on sunday, december 14! come early to beat the crowds!

Friday, November 28, 2008

black friday-cyber monday DEALS!

i know that times are tight, and we are all keeping a close eye on our wallets. but if you will be shopping this weekend, please consider buying handmade and supporting independent artists and makers, rather than greedy corporations...

on that note, i am running a special sale this weekend in the shop, in conjunction with etsy's black friday/cyber monday deals promotion. here are the details of my specific deal, but you can find all kinds of sales and free shipping here. also check out all of the amazing gift guides, organized by price, who you're buying for, the occasion, or what you believe in. especially take a peek at the winter accessories one, for lots more good crochet and knit stuff!


buy one item, second item (lower price) will be 25% off!

plus FREE SHIPPING on all U.S. orders over $50.
(half price shipping on foreign orders over $50.)
from 12:00am on friday nov 28 thru 11:59pm on monday dec 1st.

NOTE: i will be away weds 11/26-sun 11/30. if you make a purchase during this time, hold payment and i will send you a Paypal invoice with revised shipping on sunday evening. all orders placed over the holiday weekend will ship monday morning, december 1. thanks!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

beans to spill

sunday was my 40th birthday. how can it be i've been on this earth for 40 years? wild. some of my favorite ladies took me to High Tea at a little tea shop in the East Village. the scones with rose petal jam and lavender Earl Grey were lovely. thanks xine for the photos!

while on the subject of Momentous Occasions, there are two big announcements i've been meaning to make for quite a while now. they are both so Big, and so Good, that i just wasn't sure how to go about it! i'm not good with fanfare. but now's as good a time as any, so here goes:

Announcement #1: i have written a book. yes, really. it still won't be out for nearly a year (september 2009) and i am not allowed to say yet what it's about, but let me tell you, it's looking gorgeous! my publisher is the highly esteemed Potter Craft, and it all seems more like a dream than for reals.

Announcement #2: i am moving upstate. yes, really. remember this? you didn't think i was serious, did you? or that i could pull it off? well, it's kind of funny but i will actually be moving all of my stuff in a truck on DECEMBER 31, 2008 so just by the skin of my teeth am i making the deadline! it's truly miraculous how things work out. hodge podge farm, the FARM, is becoming a reality! i will elaborate on the details of this in the upcoming weeks, but there, i've said it. wow.

two dreams in one year!

Friday, November 21, 2008

embellish with crochet

this week on CraftStylish, i give a step-by-step on how to add crochet inserts to clothing you make or already own. this is one of my favorite techniques for tops and dresses, as you may have noticed! it's a great way to customize basics, or to make one-of-a-kind gifts.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

all-crochet etsy mini!

i keep forgetting to mention that for the rest of this month and all of december, in keeping with my pro-crochet campaign, my *etsy mini* that features my 'faves' (as opposed to the one that shows items from my shop, at top right) is gonna be ALL CROCHET ALL THE TIME. i don't know if anyone even notices it down there in the sidebar, but it's always there, showcasing a constantly evolving group of my favorite things for sale on etsy at any given moment. i will try to keep it freshly updated and remove things as they sell, too!

also, this week the lovely etsian julie (queen of the Labs) wrote an article about warm winter crochet and knit accessories in the Storque, and featured lil' old moi in the big photo! yay!

crochet genius: margaret oomen

my first honoree of the *crochet genius* title is margaret oomen of resurrection fern. i discovered her blog a few months ago through one of the others i read, and was instantly hooked (pun not intended)! i mean, anyone who crochets sweaters and halloween costumes for snails is automatically on my list of favorite people! margaret takes crochet in unusual, organically innovative directions, and her nature photographs are other-worldly. you must check out her mushroom, ice, and slime mold photos which i didn't have room to include here! she also writes up many a detailed tutorial for her incredible projects. i asked margaret five questions to which she graciously responded:

1. how and when did you learn to crochet? I am completely self taught. I taught myself how to crochet when I wanted to make some crocheted hats for my children when they were young. I think I went to the library , took out a basic crochet book and mastered the basic stitches. The hat was beautiful blue hand dyed wool and I made it to fit her head exactly in circles of single crochet. I embellished it with felt and embroidery. That was when I first noticed it is much easier to embellish crocheted items than knitted ones. I still have this hat and should take a good photo of it one day.
2. what is your favorite stitch? I only use the basic stitches so I would have to say double crochet. It is easy and versatile and I love how when I cover natural objects they peak out from underneath the stitches between the small openings.

3. what do you love about crochet? I love the freedom it gives the artist or craftsperson. I never follow a pattern . I always make it up as I go along and sometimes remember to write down what I did so that I can share it with others. I love how you can stop and start where ever you want. Impossible to do with knitting. I love the sculptural aspect of it as you can tell from my work. The one thing I don't really like about it is that I have to look at what I am working on . With knitting unless I am doing a complex lace pattern. The other little pet peeve is that because I am working with fine fiber and a tiny hook I need to wear reading glasses when I work.

4. do you have any special/favorite materials or tools that you crochet with? It is probably pretty obvious that I love working with natural fibers and things like stones and wood. Almost all my crochet hooks come from the thrift stores as well as most of my fiber. Some of it is very old , quite apparent when you see the price of the spool if it is still attached. The colors are softer and sometimes a little yellowed with age. I love that. My new love is any fiber from Habu textiles.

5. any interesting plans, projects, or new directions in your crochet future? I really want to try to make some more sculptural pieces like the roots one I did recently. I am always looking for new natural things to cover and I am very fortunate to have a store that sells rocks and minerals about 10 minutes from my home. I also want to do some natural art and photography with lace , snow and ice. A beautiful wintery combination I think.

thanks again for sharing, margaret! you really are a creative genius, whether you agree or not ;n)

Monday, November 17, 2008

more tutorials

as usual, i have fallen behind on keeping you updated with my latest tutorials for CraftStylish, so you might want to take a look at these last three if you haven't yet: tiered tea dress restyle (a super-cute way to transform old T's into sweet dresses), bias tape facing (perfect finish for skirt waists, armholes and necklines on wovens), and fold-over elastic (an excellent way to treat necklines and cuffs on your knit tops). also, you can always see the complete, up-to-the-minute list of my tutes here. and i'm working on a project for the print magazine too, for early spring. happy sewing!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

new in the hodge podge shop

i've been crocheting like crazy for the past couple of months, to be ready for the holiday gift/craft fair season. since i teach nearly every weeknight, i have a good bit of time on the subway which is where i get most of these done. i have some new styles this season, as i was getting a little tired of the helmet earflap hat. so i hereby introduce the coral reef cloche, hairdo hats, and bobble hats. all of these are currently in my shop, and more are listed nearly every day...

and did you notice i have a new photographer?

also, i have been thinking a lot about crochet since i wrote that post the other day, and i've decided i'm going to start a campaign to promote the beauty of crochet! there are several inspiring bloggers/designers i plan to contact to ask a few questions, and to get permission to post photos of their work in an effort to make everyone want to crochet... if you would like to nominate anyone for my Crochet Geniuses series, please leave me a comment!

i heart mexico

i returned from mexico last week, and let's just say it was love at first sight. i was overwhelmed by the beauty and simplicity of life, and the kindness of the people everywhere we went. i am so excited to write about the stories and adventures and share my photos. however, since i took nearly 600 of them, it's going to be a process that i will have to tackle bit by bit, so bear with me! in the meantime, gertie is very relieved that i didn't bring her back the new baby brother she's never wanted... but it sure was tempting! jasmine (pictured above) nearly caved as well, but then she already has three chihuahuas at home!

Monday, November 10, 2008

more mending

i inspired a mender! lovely valerie of dear birthday repaired her knit hat after reading my tutorial. amazing! which reminded me of this post from back in january when i fixed another hat...
what are you mending?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

underdog of the craft world

i don't know what it is about crochet. i mean, it's one of my two favorite pastimes (along with sewing) and i find it incredibly beautiful, fun, creative and satisfying. it is also one of my favorite subjects to teach, and the first craft i taught back at my shop in 1999. but for some strange reason, very few people ever sign up for my crochet classes! (i would take it personally, but since most of my other classes sell out, i don't think it's me). knitting classes always seem to fill, but crochet is the outcast stepsister. figures i'd be drawn to it ;n) i do have some theories about this, but it's truly still a mystery to me. any thoughts?

i have a crochet class starting tomorrow (monday 11/10) at Brooklyn General, that would have been cancelled if not for the heroic p.r. efforts of the fabulous Lulu, who's already taking two other classes from me, patternmaking and sewing 102. she single-handedly brought the number of students from one to four, and for that i am very grateful. thanks Lulu! if you'd like to join us and learn to crochet, the shop is closed tomorrow so you won't be able to sign up by phone, but feel free to meet us there by 6:30 and we'll register you.

there's also another session of sewing 103, pants beginning on tuesday. see all the details here.