Saturday, August 27, 2011

Stormy Weather ... in More Ways than One!

I know, I know.

This week, I was hoping to show you some of my "experiments" in making itty bitty bags.

But the week kind of got away from me; most of my sewing time this week was spent doing special orders ... and ... well, ok ...  gifts for special friends.

And then, there was all that time that I should have been sewing, instead spent preparing for the impending hurricane. All the outside furniture had to be moved in, or secured to railings. Everything had to be moved up off the basement floor.

Like people all up and down the coast, the anxiety just kept building. An earthquake and a hurricane in one week? Yippee for us!!

So instead of a sneak peek at what's going up new in the Etsy Shop, here's one of my favorite movie clips ever. With the hurricane rains beating down on us, it's particularly apropos. The first few lines break my heart every time -- the pureness of Lena Horne's voice, the look on her face.


Honestly, it just don't get much better than this!

I'll check back in a couple of days, assuming we have electricity. And give you a little peek at whatever's new at

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What's Shaking Here?

I'm glad to report the shaking has stopped! Most of you have no doubt heard about the 5.8 earthquake here in the DC area yesterday. It was scary, I can tell you.

We had lots of minor mess, but no serious damage -- a medicine cabinet popped open and spilled forth a selection of health and beauty aids, several framed photos were jiggled off shelves and dressers, wall-hung prints went askew, etc. A couple of vases were tipped from their shelves, spilling water and generally making a bit of mess.

But anything that broke will be easy enough to replace ... the phones came back online relatively quickly ... and all in all, we were really very lucky and I am seriously grateful.

I was in my sewing room when the earthquake hit, so I thought I'd share a sneak peek at what's shakin' there:

Here's a cinch sack I'm working on, a study in black and white with a French Couture theme.

And here's a charming little dress I'm taking apart to upcycle; I love this vibrant purple and acid yellow Java print, and hope to get a couple of bags from it. It's slow going, the seamstress who made this garment was a fine technician, and very careful about backstitching seams, etc. But if I work on it a little each day, I hope to re-purpose the fabric so it can have renewed life.

And finally, because I can't get enough of 'em, more monkeys! This time, in red and black. And spots. And polka dots. And squiggles. I tell ya, these prints make me feel like I'm having more fun than a barrel of monkeys ...

I hope your day goes well, and that the only rockin' and rollin' you have to deal with is what's coming from you iPod!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Oh, No, Mr. Bill!

Oh, no.

Say it ain't so!

There I was, late last night, plugging along on my Different Lines(by Veera Välimäki.) Loving it, I tell you, just plain loving it. And the end was in sight! I was just going to do two more garter ridges, then switch to larger needles and bind off.

Look how purty! Sure, it needs some aggressive blocking and the edges are all cattywampus (from the ends not being woven in yet, just hidden for your viewing pleasure.) But, as I believe I might have mentioned ...

I. Love. It.

And then ... oh, no, Mr. Bill ... catastrophe hit.

Notice anything odd about my beloved Size #6 ChiaoGoo Red Lace Needles in the next pic?

Right. One end of the cable is sans needle.

And thus, I am sadly sans a finished shawl.

I was able to rescue everything that went kerflooey when the needle separated from the cable ... eventually.

And I will find a way to finish this ASAP, probably using a different needle. I truly love all my Chiaogoo needles, and have never had a problem before this.

And this project, slightly jinxed though it might be?

I. still. kind of love it.

Friday, August 19, 2011

As Promised, a Little Sneak Peek for Your Shopping Pleasure

Hot off the presses!

(Well, hot off the ironing board, anyhow ...)

Six nifty new Snapdragon Pouches will go live in the Etsy Shop on Saturday morning, 10am EST. Just $10 each, and so handy for notions, cosmetics, etc.

I usually end up with at least three in whatever purse I'm toting - one for make-up and a comb; another for candy, mints, and gum; one for my pen and mechanical pencil and (nerd alert) some post-it notes.

Next week, I'm setting aside some time to work on some new design ideas; I'm obsessed with little bitty bags -- like change purses, or glasses cases, or that perfect size for your cell phone, driver's license, and a $10 bill as you dash around town.

Lest you forget (tee hee), you can check out Snappy Snapdragon Pouches, Loopy Lulu Small Project Bags, and Cindy Sue Cinch Sacks at: 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Coloring Outside the Different Lines

We've had a little break from the intense heat this week -- and with it, the rain came! We've really needed rain ... and we got plenty of it this time. There's been a good bit of flooding, and lots of power outages in the area, but we are safe and sound and (ahem) staying out of trouble. 

I've been busily knitting Veera Välimäk's "Different Lines" shawl, and I'm lovin' it. I always think her shawl patterns are exceptional - very contemporary and graphic, not at all like "fusty grandmother" shawls. You can find her patterns through Ravelry, so to learn more, treat yourself to a peek at

Her original design for this shawl was in two colors. As usual, I'm "coloring outside the (different) lines," so I'm using four colors and switching it up a bit.

Here's a pic of my work-in-progress, using one of my faves, Madelinetosh merino light yarn.  For this one, I picked jade, thyme, and antler, with the skinny stipes in hearth. I think jade and thyme are really interesting together - there's a tension between these two shades of green. Jade definitely incorporates some yellow in the colorway, so it's kind of "warm." (That's the top right color in this photo.)  Meanwhile, Thyme leans toward the "cool" greys. In general, I don't think they go together all that well -- but for colorwork, or a striped project like this, I find it a very interesting pairing.

If you aren't already a MadTosh fan,  check out:

If I get a nice sunny day tomorrow,  I'll be doing photos, and will post a Sneak Peek of Saturday's update. Watch for some new Snapdragon Pouches at on Saturday!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Here's a sneak peek at the Monday, August 15th Update!

I hope you've been having a great weekend! I just had a nice visit with friends from Virginia, and now I'm looking forward to a soon-to-be-arriving house guest from California.

But even with all that going on, I've managed to get some photos of the four new large project bags that will join the mix at tomorrow afternoon.

I've had a blast working with these retro fabrics -- space cadets, martini glasses, kooky lamps, and ... well ... let's be generous and call them "homemakers."

I hope you'll enjoy these as much as I have; there will be Snapdragons in these same prints available at a later date.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

It's Been a Busy Week, Which Means ...

... that there will be at least two, and maybe even three updates this week!

For Sunday, August 14, there will be three new Loopy Lulu small project bags.

Stop by after 9 am EST, to see what's new!

I hope you've been accomplishing a lot this week, too. Isn't checking things off your list one of the Best Things Ever?

Monday, August 8, 2011

So How's That Workin' Out For You??

I'm pleased to report that I finished Laura Aylor's "Litchfield Shawl." (See July 29 post for an introduction to the project.)

And I love it!

It's blazing hot here, so there won't be any modeled shots for you this time around. But here it is, in all its MadelineTosh merino light glory: three colors (well water, grasshopper, and antler).

Not the greatest photo (indoors, not much natural light) but I am excited to share it with you nonetheless. If you want one of your very own, you can find Laura's patterns via Ravelry, or visit her website

The pattern was really well written, and it's making me think that maybe my next shawl will be Laura's new "Stella Luna." What do you think?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sunny, Summery Handbag

Sometimes a gal's just gotta do what a gal's gotta do. Right?

I am soooo in love with this cheerful yellow caged bird fabric, I decided I wanted to whip up a sunny, summery handbag for myself. (Some of you may recognize the fabric, it showed up in a recent Cinch Sack over in my Etsy shop (

I had some fun grey and yellow fabric, and several other coordinated-but-not-matchy-match prints. So, uncharacteristically, I sewed up a shoulder bag for myself!

Purses have been on my mind a lot lately, as I've been experimenting with a few different kinds of clutches, and adorable little change purses that just might be showing up soon in an Etsy update. But a shoulder bag? THAT is something that I haven't done in years.

I had an especially fun time making the bag's handle. Wouldn't that make an adorable belt??

So, important lesson learned: I guess when the inspiration strikes, you just need to run with it ... right?

This bag was made using Anna Graham of Noodlehead's adorable 241 Tote Bag Pattern: