Monday, March 31, 2008

wish you were here

this chickadee is heading west! my roller skates, sunscreen and steely dan albums are packed and ready to fly. the left coast migration is only temporary but should help to bring my hibernation to a close. i'll return next week ready to radiate sewing sunshine. sorry that there isn't enough room in the suitcase to bring you along. please accept this sweet little song instead...

Friday, March 28, 2008

a month of saturdays

great news! this chickadee and dandelion blu have been selected to participate in the 2008 ballston arts + crafts market. every second saturday we'll be setting up shop in a tidy little tent on a beautiful suburban square just a few steps from the ballston metro stop in arlington, va. the market begins in may and runs through october.

here are a few pictures from last year's inaugural season:

we are scheduled for four dates so far:
  • may 10th
  • june 14th
  • september 13th
  • october 11th
updates and more information will be posted as the market day draws closer. until that time, check out the ballston arts + crafts market blog. you'll find a wealth of information about the market including a list of the vendors/musicians and the dates that they'll be appearing.

we are so excited about this opportunity and can't wait to see all of you there. many thanks to kristina, the woman with the plan.

p.s. sorry for the slow posting of late. this chickadee is suffering from the sniffs, sneezes, aches, sleeps and freezes of a springtime cold. hooray for tea, old movies and good books.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

a tisket a tasket...

...three more hats knit in basket(weave)

remember this patchy pattern?

it's back! thanks to one adoring fan who just can't seem to get enough of the snug fit and soft fiber. knit with the same jo sharp silk road aran tweed yarn as their predecessor, these triplets deliver on style and substance. the tweed tints are rich and deep. they are ready to round out any wardrobe and ward of any remaining winter chill.

together they remind me of the pac-man ghosts:

(the dark blue or "enamel" color)

(in brown or "bark")

and clyde
(complete with cool brim, in red or "poppy")

hmm...that means that the green hat (above) is pinky. looking good, pink.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

wise old quilt: we go together

excitement is in the air at the owl quilt nest! after a day full of pressing and pinning the strips and sashing, the major sewing is complete. our owl friends are all snug as bugs in rugs as they lie properly placed on a sea of green. the backing piece has been put together and the batting cut to size. all three components of the quilt (front + batting + backing) are layered and clipped in place, awaiting the ties that will bind them.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

fruity pebbles

placemats! meet the placemats! they're a modern mitered family...

these 16" x 12 1/2" mats are full of fluff and fun. the fruity front panel is accented by ovals of coordinating colors. stitching just inside the border makes the apples and pears pop right out and provides some contrast to the back panel of pebbles. the meat of the sandwich is provided by extra loft batting to ensure that china is cushioned and cozy. also note the mitered corners on the front side...just a little something new that i managed with help found here.

there are six in the set and they are ready and waiting for the dinner bell to ring.

p.s. happy first day of spring! no more from me until next week. enjoy the blossoms and the bunnies.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

you make me feel like dancin'

back when this chickadee was but a baby bird, a tiny tot, i spent several years stuffed like a sausage in pink tights and a black leotard, the uniform of every hopeful ballerina-in-training. dipping my twinkle toes into rosin and prancing across the well worn wooden floor of the ballet slipper (my hometown training ground) , i dared to dream of stage lights and curtain calls. alas, as the shortest one in the class i realized my limitations early on and my parents mercifully yielded to my demands to play softball instead. i may have left the barre far behind, but my love of the leg warmer stayed with me forever. so practical. so chic. so much fun to make.

as leg warmers go, these are tasteful and refined. the pattern for these again came from one skein. thanks to that book there is no excuse to sit around and twiddle thumbs or walk around with bare gams. instead of using the prescribed yarn, these were knit with debbie bliss baby cashmerino. because of the difference in yardage, two skeins were required to complete the project.

leg warmer (rib end) leg warmer (eyelet detail)

here is a look at the ends of the leg sleeves. one is finished off with a subtle knit three, purl one rib. the opposite was done up fancy with yarn overs that produced a frilly little eyelet. you choose which you'd like as the top and bottom. or get crazy and mix them up. or get super crazy and thread a ribbon through the eyelet and tie them up in a bow.

nothing beats a great pair of leg warmers.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

sparkle and bloom

until yesterday, chickadee central was all quiet on the sewing front. the iron was cold and bernie was bored beyond belief. but the break was purely physical, as for days this chickadee has had in mind certain swatches of fabric and has been plotting the pinning and pining for a few precious moments to put them together.

the combination of gold trimmed floral fabric and golden flecked fiber makes this 12" x 14" bag both bold and beautiful. for this one, the more traditional tote shape is turned on its side and asymmetrically assembled. an inlaid zipper pocket on the outside is accompanied by two inner slip pockets. interfaced and stitched together solidly, she's ready to catch the eye of the spring sun and give back some shimmer and glimmer.

we all shine on...

Monday, March 17, 2008

look ma, no fingers!

arm warmers

around here, spring is springing but the morning chill is lingering. while many of the woolliest woolens can be packed away, this chickadee is still keeping some hand knits at her fingertips...including these new fingerless arm warmers. how nice to knit (and type) with cozy carpals and fancy forearms! a single twist on top provides the flair to an otherwise straightforward rib pattern that bundles up the bones from just below the elbow to just above the palm of the hand. a handsome arrangement for the fingers, leaving them free to float about in the manner that phalanges favor. this project was knit with the january installment of yarn from the stitch dc stash club, adorn sock yarn from three irish girls. a fitting finish for st. patty's day.

arm warmer and yarn

the fingerless arm warmers were still on the needles when the latest stash club skein showed up on this chickadee's doorstep. marvel at the mermaid, a beautifully dyed ocean of blues and greens that gets its gloss from 70% silk and 30% seacell = natural sea kelp fiber. voila! voile de la mer from tilli tomas.

february yarn

how nice that the colors complement those in the previous package. stay tuned to find out what sort of creation arises from the depths of this deep sea.

Friday, March 14, 2008

wise old quilt: applique day

day two of quilting was a real hoot. once we finished cutting out our applique pieces, we then had to construct our owls. ten feathered friends flocked to our cutting room first, all in pieces. but with patience, they were assembled into their stocky shapes and stuck to their squares.

fact of the day! together, a group of owls is known as a parliament. not to be confused with a legislature....or george clinton and his fraternity of funk. perhaps a reason why owls in groups prefer to make their funk the p-funk...our owls are funkadelic indeed.

p.s. this project is a work progress. to see the previous post, click HERE.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

happy housewarming: dinner is served

for the final component of the housewarming set, this chickadee went out on a limb. instead of using the lovely and informative tutorials from the purl bee, i used my own bird brain to design the decor to grace la mesa. no one wants to place their plates on a naked table. so why not purty it up with some patchwork squares?

a place for everything and everything in its place: the placemats

to make the set, five inch squares were stitched together to form the front. a fitting fabric was selected for the back. then a fluffy filling of fiber was sandwiched between the two outer slices. rows of sews were then added along the borders of the boxes and a binding basted to the edge.

behold, the back

finally, the entire array (coasters, cocktail and dinner napkins, placemats and apron) was packed up and shipped down south. working together with my friend in denver was delightful. in the end, our combined efforts made a fitting prezzie for a friend who has flown south to build her nest in the carolina pines.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

happy housewarming: the wine and dine

claps all around for our operative out in colorado! thanks to the hard work and dedication of the denver omelette, our southern belle can throw a shin-dig for ms. o'hara herself. her cocktail party needs taken care of, time to move from the parlor to the table. the task of dressing the dining room was left to this chickadee. a two pronged attack was undertaken with much attention paid to variety (that essential spice).

the first course...the dinner napkin:

once again, a million thank yous go out to the people at purl soho. their pattern, molly's handmade napkins, was just right for our porridge and purposes. it also featured an excellent tutorial on making and attaching bias tape. well worth reading if you find yourself up nights wondering how in the world the whole thing works.

16" x 16" in size, these squared off sweeties will look prim and proper as part of a place setting. and they will provide a lot of love in the lap as they shield southern seersucker from spills and carolina cotton from crumbs.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

happy housewarming: the meet and greet

now that drinks are resting comfortably on their cushy coasters, this party needs some snacks! since we all know that it is no fun to shake someone's hand that is covered with cheeto crumbs. please welcome on the scene...

the cocktail napkin:

dainty and delightful, and again engineered by the colorado branch of operations. the denver omelette placed a call for back-up on these that was fittingly answered by the purl bee. the bee provided the pattern inspiration and the omelette was off on a quest to zig and zag her way to an environmentally friendly towelette. your fingers will appreciate her precision crafting and nicely turned edges. the entire party will appreciate how good they look together, thanks to the coordinating prints in this set.

Monday, March 10, 2008

happy housewarming

for the past couple weeks, this chickadee has been engaged in covert operations. my partner in crime was a friend and fellow sewer in colorado (code name: denver omelette). together we coordinated coordinates, put together patterns, and sewed in secrecy...all to protect the integrity of the surprise that we had in store for a very special someone.

the target: a mutual friend who has recently set up her nest in north carolina.

our mission: to outfit her new dining area.

our approach: divide and conquer.

our choice of fabric was made easy by our target's previous endorsement of blossom by moda. denver omelette, the resident entertainment expert, scouted out perfect patterns for cocktail napkins and coasters. this chickadee, already adept at the patchwork placemat, added the dinner napkins and apron to complete the set. (part of the project was previously leaked to the public, see exhibit a). now that "the package" has been successfully delivered, we are free to reveal the fruits of our labors and the juicy details about each one.

let us begin with the smallest in size: the coasters.

denver omelette did a bang-up job on these sublime squares. her first order of business was to find an appropriate pattern. for that she turned to the purl bee, the blog for purl soho/purl patchwork. there she selected the pattern for the party prep coasters and executed them to patchwork perfection.

four of the eight coasters, front /back

check back all week for more posts on this project!