Maui Sketchbook

August 7, 2013

Jun 18, 2013

Pattern: My own. I drew inspiration from two sources: a Japanese knitting book, and the Speckled Hatfrom Hetterson’s collaboration with Frolic.

Materials: Madelinetosh hand dyed yarn, bulky weight. I really love this stuff; the colors are gorgeous! But, the yarn itself has an unusually unpleasant smell, a residual from the dye bath perhaps? It's the one (and only) thing that I dislike about this yarn.
The white yarn is from Sue Reuser's sheep less than 200 miles from here. It's also lovely to work with, traveling through my fingers very softly off the needles.

This hat was a speedy knit since the yarn is fairly bulky. It turned out smaller than I would like;  I intend on giving this one away, and making myself another big enough to comfortably cover my ears and not ride up during windy bike rides. The green Madelinetosh yarn above is what I intend to use for the second attempt at this hat. 

Doesn't my blue hat look like a true result of what would happen if the red speckled hat and green tree mitten made a baby? 

May 23, 2013

The shimmer and warmth of gold! Gold-filled faceted beads on silk cord, cinched at the back with a coconut button.

My smallest madder plant, and a new air plant: tillandsia ionantha guatemala. The colorful tips are fun!
Have a great weekend. Cop and I are flying down to San Diego for a quick vacation. B) 

March 28, 2013

Sketch of a tiger I was working on today, to flex my drawing muscles. 
Biked past the neighbor’s fence yesterday and spotted all of their blooming nasturtiums.    
Lovely, lovely shades of warm yellows, oranges and reds. I will spare you and show only two photos of the mini bouquet I picked.

Yeah...I really like cats. I swear I draw other animals!

In other news, I’ve picked up some drawing pen nibs and also am trying linoleum block cutting (e.g. stamp making!). The dip pens are to replace my usage of Sakura Microns and Faber Castells. I find that I get a much wider range of line widths with a single nib, and they’re a much more environmentally friendly alternative to disposable pens. I won’t oust disposables altogether because they are convenient in the work place, and when I travel I probably won’t want to bring my ink bottle(s) and nibs along, but for drawing at home I am doing away with the disposables. I attended a conference and heard Beth Terry of My Plastic Free Life, which re-ignited my interest in decreasing the amount of plastics I use and buy. 

Feb 4, 2013

Gingham inner pocket
"Bridge" stitching

Silver and blue contrasting threads

I seldom carry a purse, preferring to jam my pockets or my boyfriend's pockets. ;) However, whether you’re a lad or a lass, sometimes you need somewhere to put your lunch, big DSLR, and/or library books, darnit.

I’ve wanted to make a tote for a long time, and this one took an entire day plus breaks because I was meticulous about each step. Unfortunately, I normally rush through sewing projects, which means lots of mistakes, but plenty of learning opportunities, riiiight? As careful as I was, it still contains little flaws but I am very much at peace with imperfection. 

Gingham scrap fabric
This thread (highly recommended; such great quality)

Pattern: My own

Due to lack of planning, I now have leftover fabric. Oh well, it's always good to have fabric scraps around. One can make something else useful, like a wallet?

Jan 23, 2013

I haven’t taken this off my neck since I finished it! This is also because of our chilly weather lately.

Materials: Madelinetosh hand dyed yarn, wooden buttons, cotton embroidery floss (to sew buttons onto cowl)
Pattern: Adapted slightly from this.

This yarn is cushy soft. I even have leftover from the skein. Above are some lovely warm photos of butterflies I have on my craft table, bought during a trip to Đà Lt, Vietnam.

Jan 9, 2013

Seat Cushions

Quite flattened from lots of loving usage

My first sewing project on my Singer 127. 

Materials: Cotton ticking, cotton ribbon as ties
Batting: Polyester, from Joann's. Synthetic is not my favorite. 
Pattern: My own 

I'm often impetuous with projects. I did bits of research with this one, and basically winged it. Measured two squarish pieces, sewed those together, then sewed 2 inch gussets for the corners. It was quite a lesson on cutting fabric straight, among other things! It definitely allowed me to become more familiar with my vintage sewing machine. 

The tufting was a pain on my fingers to do. It's been over a year since I made these, and I kid you not, the fourth cushion remains to be tufted. I can be lazy like that. 

While imperfect, these cushions do the job just fine: keep our bottoms comfortable and warm. 

Ribbon Pillow

Button holes made with my buttonhole attachment!

Notice my crooked stitching? :)

Fabric: Organic cotton canvas, Kona blue 

Buttons: Tagua Nut, or "Poor man's ivory" - one of my favorite parts of this pillow!

I made the “ribbons” with my bias tape maker from the kona blue fabric.
I loved making this pillow. It was also my first execution with the buttonhole attachment; it went well! Aren't those buttons lovely? Swirly caramel mmm food is frequently on my mind, especially sweets.

The texture of raised stripes is fun to run my hands across. At the moment it's covering a goose/duck feather pillow which collapses easily. Not very practical for one's head or back. 

Made entirely with my sewing machine

Scarf on Rigid Heddle Loom

Shopping at the farmer's market in Mainz, Germany

Pattern: Simple weave 
Wove this on a rented 10" Cricket rigid heddle loom. I took a class at A Verb for Keeping Warm and loved it, highly recommend their classes and workshops.

This scarf was made in under 6 hours from my beginner hands - my more experienced knitter hands sure couldn't knit a scarf that quickly at this weight yarn!

For my past birthday, Cop bought me the 15" wide cricket loom (thanks, love). While not as compact as the 10", it's still a good size to easily move around the house and one can weave bigger pieces. Looking forward to more projects with this! 

Wooly Wooly Tree Mittens

Fiber: scrap yarn (mostly wool with blends of nylon, cashmere) 
Pattern: Template taken from Totoro Mittens, and I used grid paper to make the designs 

I made these mittens in 2009 while working at a city tree planting organization. I wanted to showcase my love of trees! 

This is my first color work project, and it may seem intimidating but it's actually manageable, and challenging in a fun, not frustrating, way. Besides, the results are so worth it! 

Front and back
Fair isle knitting keeps hands toasty warm!

My Trusty Singer Sewing Machine

The tea canister is where I store discarded threads :)
Base with serial number

In 2011, I was shopping for a sewing machine and wanted something that could easily last an entire generation. Seems like a lot to ask for in this day and age? Definitely.

So, I went back in time and bought a “vintage” Singer model 127 – its entire construction is of wonderful heavy duty metal (e.g. primarily steel and iron).

According to its serial number and manufacture date, it turned 100 years old last year! There’s a long story behind its acquisition that I’ll share another time. I’m a deal hunter, and paid a total of $150 for the machine head and table (separate purchases).

Reasons I’ve loved this machine for the past year and a half:
  • Gorgeous decals. Mine features Egyptian motifs to commemorate the excavations  going on at that time (early 1900’s).
  • Such a simple machine that I can fix myself.
  • Such a well built machine that I probably won’t need to fix often! I keep it well oiled and frequently change needles for smooth sewing. No problems to date.
What about all those fancy stitches that computerized machines can do? I can do a bit of that, too, with the zigzagger and buttonhole attachment that I bought (both around $30 – deal hunt!). It’s become a versatile machine that’s good enough for my household usage.

I also did a couple months’ worth of hunting to find its hand crank. It may seem overkill to have foot and more hand control, but when you’re doing slow sewing, it’s very handy to have both. The hand crank is better than getting my fingers stuck in the hand wheel, which would happen too many unpleasant times.

A year and a half later of owning it, I have to say that it’s been a rewarding experience and I have plenty more to learn. I can’t imagine that I’ll ever “outgrow” this machine.
Oh, and did I mention that it doesn’t require a single volt of electricity? Hooray for pedal power! 

Bobbin winder
Boat shuttle
Spool  rack - it's collapsible! Gift from a friend

For more photos, you can visit my flickr.