Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Flower Power

I'm just dying for spring these days.  To try and help welcome spring with open arms, I recently starting making flower necklaces.  I mostly used the tutorial posted here by Little Miss Momma
These necklaces are super easy and super CHEAP. I used about 3" cuttings of the inexpensive ($3.99/yard) cotton at Joann's and some of the 72" by the yard felt for the backing. The chain and clasps were also in my jewelry making stash, but you could pick up a bag of chain and clasps for just a few bucks.  The ribbon are just spools of grey and cream double-sided satin for $2.99/spool, which were purchased with 40% coupons.  I did fold under the ends of the ribbons and sewed the edges in a box shape to keep it from fraying.  I have lots of ribbon leftover and plan to use them to do more embellishing of cardigans.
Here are what they look like on. Super fun and definitely statement pieces, especially the cream one with those 7 flowers.  For probably less than $5 per necklace, you can't complain.  This tutorial could be used to make any kind of necklace, really, with any kind of flower, or cluster of buttons, or pins or whatever you like.  You could even use scraps of old t-shirts or printed fabrics instead of buying pieces like I did.  Now, bring on the warmer weather!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Felted Lei Cardigan Knock-Off

Last year I saw this cardigan by Field Flower at Anthropologie and completely fell in love.  Then I looked at the price tag: $118.  I do have a small pile of beautiful sweaters from Anthro that I've purchased (all on sale!) over the years, but this sweater looked like one I could try to create myself.
What's a girl to do?  Well, I managed to make my knock-off, though it did take some shopping and perseverence.
As luck would have it, I headed over to Ann Taylor Loft and found this lonely sweater on the sale rack for $19.99.  It was a medium petite, which is not my normal size, but I had to make it work.  It had most of the details of the Field Flower cardigan: long sleeve, slightly cropped, concealed buttons and a ribbon running along the inside of the button band.

First thing to replicate was the color.  I bought a box of Rit Dye in Teal and got to work.  I followed the directions exactly and only used a teeeeeeeny bit of dye, maybe a teaspoon.  I still had most of the dye still in the box.  The sweater turned a lovely shade of pale, minty green.  Now, I was in business.

Next I had to find some cream color felt to cut out flowers.  I headed over to Goodwill and picked up a men's wool sweater from Abercrombie and took it home and felted the crap out of it.  I used a template I found online to cut out what I counted on the original sweater as 14 flowers.
Last item was to replicate the green trim that runs up and down the sweater.  This was the hardest part.  Joann's had nothing that worked.  I went to a great local fabric store and found a roll of chiffon in a not-too-dark green and bought a yard (which ended up being WAY too much).  I cut strips of the fabric, folded them in half length wise and sewed up the side.  Then I turned it right side out, turned in the bottoms to make a long, finished piece.  Then I attached it to the sweater while pleating and bunching along the way.  Using the Field Flower sweater photo as a guideline, I sewed two strips on the sweater.  Then I attached the felt flowers I had cut with some different colored buttons and a bright yellow thread.  The original flowers were attached with some embroidery thread and other small pieces of fabric, but the buttons seemed to work well for me.

I wore it last Mother's day for the first time and love it.  It's a totally fun addition to my wardrobe!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The demise of the knit blog?

When Ravelry was brilliantly created back in 2006 (I think that was the year), many knitters probably began to wonder what additional value their knit blogs would contribute that couldn't be encompassed on their Ravelry project pages.  I know I did.  I've noticed over the years that many bloggers I used to follow no longer publish and the ones that still do publish are doing so less frequently.  It's not that we aren't interested in seeing everyone's WIPs and reading about their stash additions.  It's that we can get it instantaneously on Ravelry.  I love that.  But, at the same time, it is sad to see this era of knitting start to dissolve.  It is the blog, after all, that partly inspired Jess and Casey to create Ravelry.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that.  It's something I've been thinking about and noticing: that the "successful" bloggers out there are the ones who have sponsors and ads and have enough interesting content that they are able to post multiple times per week.  I know I don't have that much stuff to show you to keep you coming back.  BUT!  I have been doing lots of crafty stuff over the past few months and I plan to make this knit blog thing evolve into more of a craft journal for me.  I have a monthly craft night with 2 of my best friends and they have encouraged me to document all the stuff I am doing.  So, this is where I will do that.  I've been embellishing sweaters, making flower necklaces and sewing some things.  Fun stuff.  Hip stuff (I think).

I have also been knitting, a little.  I have to admit I've realized that I only need so many sweaters and that so many of the ones I have knit I don't really wear.  Here's a summary of my knitting progress since the fall.  It's not much, but it is something!