Friday, February 29, 2008

there's a party goin' on right here

when this chickadee's fourth grade softball team won the championship, we went roller skating! at the rink we were celebrities spoiled with all-you-can eat pizza and enough sodas to make our parents cringe. they announced our victory, cleared the rink and invited only members of our team out onto the pine to skate to "celebrate" by cool and the gang. if i had it my way, that would be my preferred method of commemorating this chickadee's 100th post.

(ok i'm a couple of posts late with this...but the spirit is the same)

since a group skate-around with kool and his gang would be logistically challenging, this chickadee has decided to give one of you lucky readers a little prezzie. the strawberry lemonade scarf is snipped from the same skein as dr. octagon. sweet and sour strands were held together and worked in a nice knit one, purl one pattern. then the pucker princess was finished off with a bit of fancy fringe.

this softy is sure to help with the transition from winter into spring. she'll brighten things up and keep that lingering chill away. so if you'd like to own a piece of chickadee history, simply comment to this post or (if you are shy) send an email to, subject: 100th post prezzie! please be sure to provide some sort of contact information so that i can get in touch with you when you win. here's the fine print:

  • one entry per person please (simpson, i'm on to you)
  • shipping is on me, but i'll most likely choose the triftiest option. friends all over the world are encouraged to enter.
  • the winner will be chosen at random, basically i'm going to write everyone's name on a scrap of paper and pick one out of a hat
  • the contest is open until midnight sunday, 2nd march.
  • the winner will be announced tuesday, 4th march. shipping will commence ASAP.
best of luck to all of you! may the best bird win.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

bright lights, big city knitty

ma petite amie morgan has introduced me to many great things in our nation's capitol and beyond. our latest adventure brought us to redeem in the district of columbia, ultra-fashionable store by day....knit party by night. way back on february 7th, redeem hosted its first knit night. it was in honor of this evening and some first attempts at knitting that the dr. octagon scarf was created.

the name refers to the shape of the scarf's segments...the shape is reminiscent of a scarf begun that night, a first attempt that seemed to magically grow and shrink into the familiar shape of a stop sign.

redeem is hosting knit night the first thursday of every month from 6:30 to 8 pm (click here for more info). the next one is scheduled for march 6th. it was great fun for those with some knitting experience under their belt and those just make stop signs...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

wise old quilt

(designed by barbara brandenburg of cabbage rose quilts)

this chickadee recently became a member of the joint owl quilt task force, an organization dedicated to creating the 45" x 45" flight of fancy that you see above. membership is exclusive and limited to myself and my mother, the team previously lauded for their work on the top secret watermelon apron project of 2004.

our first official day on the job was this monday, 25 february and we made great progress in a short amount of time. those cute little owls were our focus for day one. they are appliqued to the quilt and required a bunch of tracing, cutting, peeling, placing, and more cutting.

the task force plans to meet several times over the coming weeks and/or months. we will not rest until these owls nest! updates of our progress will be published at this location and readers will be informed on a need to know basis.

Monday, February 25, 2008

blau lagoon

summer of 2007 is long gone, but reminders of that summer vacation are as close as a basket full of yarn. a very lucky chickadee flew to germany and iceland and returned with great appreciation for the reinheitsgebot, geothermal energy and a suitcase stuffed with european yarn. how is one expected to resist? especially this blue beauty.

lana grossa
, an italian yarn favored by wool-wise germans, is responsible for this double fantasy. piccolo features billows of merino wool woven together with sparkly thread. early attempts to transform its pillowy plushness into a poncho lacked proper execution. after agonizing over what to try next, i decided a simple knit one, purl one scarf might just be the ticket. and i think this one is a show stopper.

Friday, February 22, 2008

frills and chills

here is another delightful project from the book, one skein. this lovely, lacy little scarf was crocheted with just one generous skein of vanna's choice yarn, made by lion brand. anti-acrylic artistes won't be big fans, but it is surprisingly soft and supple. a great value for the penny-pincher and a great yarn to get started with. vanna, you scamp. all of those years turning letters in glitzy gowns and super stilettos...who would have guessed that you were back in your dressing room crocheting doilies and granny squares?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

project panda

oh spring, you are so close but yet so far away. even on this 33 degree day, this chickadee is beginning to feel the first signs of spring fever! there is so much to look forward to: the chirps of the cheepers, the buds on the branches, the posies in the peat moss...and the new panda head!!

if you aren't already familiar with the panda biscuit, allow me to introduce you. panda head is the blog that belongs to morgan hungerford. it started way back in 2006 as a dc fashion blog -- a chronicle of the district "scene."

the panda-keeper in repose, a shot from february's edition of dc modern luxury magazine

not content to be just another pretty picture, panda head grew to include interviews with fashion forward locals, tips and tricks from mo's d.i.y. treasure trove, and links to her contributions to other sites (like brightest young things and threadbanger). now she's revamped the site and is just about ready for the reveal!

the down and dirty on the genesis of panda head and a paper bag skirt tutorial!

as a friend and admirer of morgan and her panda project, i couldn't be more pleased with the success that she has achieved in a short amount of time. the kid's got talent and pizazz. and she works awfully hard to do all of the eight million bizillion things that she does and does so very well. if you haven't already, check out panda head's posts and plethora of links. and stay tuned for the site relaunch may 12.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

curtain call

the inspiration for this tote came from a tiny bit of fabric in a bag full of scraps. there wasn't much of the kitchy kitchen print but there was enough to get started! magically it matched with some other solo fabrics in the stash and became this cute combination of curtain, dot and flower. no pockets adorn the 16" x 12" exterior, but plenty can be found inside including one zip and three slips.

these shots show the zig zag stitch that was also used to top off the tote and trim the handles. interfacing throughout gives a sturdy shape and allows the bottom to be boxed a bit more than usual. this bag comes complete with thoughts of warm spring breezes blowing through an opened window, fluttering the drapes and filling the room with fragrance. how delightful.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

flour flowers

hot on the heels of the cupcake triumph comes this culinary assistant. the kindred floral motifs on either side look lovely no matter what mess comes their way. there are convenient central pockets on both reversible fronts for whatever the chef needs to have at hand. wipe the pancake batter off your palms and throw this cotton queen right into the wash. she's made of sturdy home decor weight cotton and will stand up to the toughest cook in the kitchen.

Monday, February 18, 2008

savage beast

just a short little note of thanks to my friends sherry (dandelion blu) and kelly (made by tj and kelly). without them, six hours on saturday would have dragged along, slow and uneventful. however, thanks to their charming air and pleasant conversation, the time flew right by. make it rain!

Friday, February 15, 2008

jammin' on the one

a riddle: what do you get when best intentions and poor execution collide?

answer: about 30 strawberry jam cupcakes, a mega mess in a mini mess hall, sugar shock and not much else...

let's just say there's been a lot of bag building but not much baking going on around here. and yesterday's strawberry jam cupcake creation was a comedy of errors indeed. this chickadee is much better at hand stitching then handling a hand mixer. it is probably safe to say that bits of sugar covered butter are still lurking in the far reaches of my tiny kitchen. along with some splashes of icing (the white chocolate cream cheese variety). and somewhere amid the silverware and small appliances still shaking off their light dusting of flour, lie the misplaced measuring spoons that would have come in really handy.

click here to get a pictorial play-by-play of this five hour misadventure. ok, maybe five hours is an exaggeration. but the 55 minute batter to bake time the cookbook advertised has to be an understatement.

p.s. even with all of the mishaps, they've managed to get a yum's up from testers. i've personally volunteered several times and have so far confirmed these findings, but it is better to be safe then sorry so more extensive testing will have to be carried out.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

they're all bold as love...just ask the axis

happy valentine's day. this chickadee loves all of you! a great big gracias for the support and kindness that you've shown a little bird like me and my little baby blog. let us celebrate this day of love with the highly anticipated debut of our very own axis: bold as love blanket. this was an exciting project from start to finish. i am truly tickled by all of the interest in this project and the encouragement from everyone. and while we're throwing around thanks, i'd be remiss if i didn't give credit where credit is due. this all started when a love of knitting became tangled up in a soulful song by jimi hendrix. my complements to the composer. also, a debt of gratitude is owed to my gramma. she's the one who started me on the road to short rows in the first place.

hooray! the axis turned out to be a great blanket. it is a bit larger than expected but it is the perfect size and weight for snuggling.

now for some details: this blanket is knit with the same short-row technique that is used to make dishcloths. the yarn is knit picks shine worsted (60% pima cotton / 40% modal) and as the name suggests, it does have a bit of a sheen.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

all in the family

check out these tiny little treasures made by my mom! she has been a consummate crafter for years. embroidery, cross-stitch, sewing, knitting, crochet, name it. for years i've watched her make magic with needles and thread. she is just beginning to explore the world of quilting and armed with assorted fat quarters, she stitched together these "wonder wallets." with plenty of room for essentials and a specially designed pocket for loose change, you don't need to leave home with anything else. field testing has shown them to be ingenious ways to transport ipods and small cell phones as well.

...and thanks to their nifty name, you'll have the song "wonderwall" running round in your head. ..

"maybe / you're gonna be the one that saves me / 'cause after alllllllll / you're my wonder waaallllet"

savage snowdrop this saturday!

oops, i almost forgot to mention that this chickadee will be making an area appearance at the savage snowdrop craft show on saturday, 16 february (that's this saturday, nothing like advance notice). if you happen to find yourself in the vicinity of beautiful savage, maryland between 9am and 3pm saturday, stop on in and say hello! this chickadee will be sharing a table with friend and fantastic jewelery designer, dandelion blu. take a peek at her latest and read all about her HERE.

p.s. if you check out the website, don't be alarmed that this chickadee is not listed as a vendor. this is an event sponsored by etsy c.r.e.s.t. and i'm not up and running on etsy just yet. but i'll be there!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

down-to-earth messenger man

what do you get when you cross an array of bold browns, a striated earthen palate and a certain chickadee? well...after factoring in the recipient's love of patchwork and functional pockets, you end up with something like this:

to make this daydream a delightful reality, brown twill, canvas and corduroy were squared up to fashion the outer shell. inside, these three fabrics were used in combination to create a complementary lining. then, asymmetrical stripes in terrestrial tones like chestnut, cocoa and cream came together to provide pockets and places to stow away necessities. they also provide contrast to the fold-over flap. the functional 14"L x 11"H x 3"W was then finished off with a sturdy strap and a few unexpected touches. coverall clasps provide closure and adjustability up front, while on a coordinating snap keeps it together out back.

there are plenty of pockets to highlight. a zipper compartment lies hidden beneath the front flap. the interior is host to several slip pockets, even some specially designed for pens and pencils (see left picture, below this paragraph). and a sneaky, slender slip on the back is paired with a petite pal on one side.

so...what can brown do for you?

Monday, February 11, 2008

one skein wonderful

this is a fantastic book that hasn't been spending much time on the shelf. there are many reasons for its recent popularity. inside are thirty projects (mostly knit but some crochet) and i want to make just about all of them. the projects range from socks to scarves, bibs to bowls and totes to tank tops. there are even two rug recipes. the ones that i've tried so far have indeed been quick, as advertised on the cover, and they've also been fun to work on. a great way to utilize lonely skeins of yarn...a great excuse to buy one skein of something perhaps too pricey for purchase in multiples.

my first foray into the book yielded great results. in fact, i liked the asymmetrical cable hat pattern so much that i made it twice. for the initial attempt i used blue sky cotton from blue sky alpacas yarn in a minty green...the second, andean silk from knit picks in cranberry. both worked great and encouraged with the success, i tried another pattern. the single cable scarf is one of four patterns for twisty neck warmers. knit with the same blue sky cotton, it turned out to be a great complement to the cap.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Friday, February 8, 2008

big momma

when this chickadee was asked to make a special bag for the mother of a little one, this chickadee went BIG. small as they might be, those babies sure live LARGE and pack accordingly. diapers, wipes, bottles, toys, books, booties, burp cloths, back-up outfits....the list of necessities goes on and on. thinking about all this tote needed to tame, there seemed no other choice but to give it some girth and an array of artful pockets. after several hours of labor, the big momma bag was delivered!

meet the chickadee version of the diaper bag. a healthy, happy, 18" x 14" bouncing baby-bits bag. the outer slip pockets will accommodate potables for mother and child. inside, asymmetrical slips are ready to corral wipes and whatnot. there is even an interior zip pocket for smaller items, like those plastic baby keys or maybe some real keys. both equally entertaining when the need arises.

the bag is interfaced and the handles received extra tlc to make them stable and secure. tough enough to carry a toddler, tender on the eyes. a labor of love indeed.