Saturday, April 19, 2014

Hello again! / Loom knitting

Hello again folks! I've been taking break from blogging too long. After the long long severe Winter, I decided to spend more time on cleaning and reorganizing our home this Spring. Then Spring break began soon. My husband went out of country to meet his brother in Amsterdam for about a week. So I got pretty busy to spend time with my daughter while he was gone. Finding kids' activities, taking her to play dates and having her friends come over to our place, etc. Meanwhile, the weather finally have been getting nicer and warmer. Now It's the time to start yard work. Mostly cleaning the patio and around the house yet. Soon, I will be going to start planting.

I didn't spend much time to make stuff, but you know that I cannot live so long without making something! Also I am always ready to learn something new. I started to study a new technique recently. That is "Loom knitting". This has been in my mind awhile and I've been curious about the technique and what I can do with those looms. I watched a bunch of Youtube videos of how-to loom knit. Got out the circular knitting loom set which I gave to my daughter last Christmas. Then I tried things I learned from the videos.

I was more interested in double knitting than single knitting so I ran to Michaels to get some long knitting looms.  I am not going to talk about stitches and details here today. Just tell you that Circular looms can only do single knitting and you will need Long looms to do double knitting as far as I know. This is what I purchased. Martha Stewart Crafts "Knit & Weave Loom Kit".

I will write my review about this product sometime later, but anyways, I knitted a scarf with this loom using the very basic twisted stockinet stitch.

It took me a little while to get used to stitching. But once I got the hang of it, it went so quick and was fun! The fabric it makes is fairly thick but very soft since the stitches are quite loose.

I finished this scarf in one day! Spent one ball of Lion Brand "Vanna's Choice".

I am going to make some more small items for practice with different stitches.  I have a feeling that this tool and technique have lots of possibilities. When using thick sturdy yarns it will make very firm fabric which is good for bags and home goods. With soft thinner yarns it will make nice scarves and shrugs. I found the way to make large blankets and that technique seemed very interesting. 

If you are a loom knitter and you have something to share with us, please leave a comment. If you know any good patterns for loom knitting please let me know! 

Thank you so much, and I hope you all have a wonderful Easter weekend!! Happy loom knitting!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Azuma-Bukuro Bag Work Shop

 I taught a sewing class at Junk Evolution in South Bend last Wednesday. The project was sewing a Japanese Azuma-Bukuro Bag with pillow cases. It was a beautiful day and I was so happy that we all had a fun time in a very cool atmosphere in the shop! I am grateful to Char and Linda from Junk Evolution who organized this event, and my participants who are so fabulous and delightful!

I made some sample Azuma-Bukuro Bags for the class. These are two of them. The bag is reversible and made of two pillow cases. An amazing fact of making this bag is that you only need to sew three straight lines to finish this bag.

 With vintage flower print and gingham check.

 Another vintage flower in softer color and stripes.

Ready for loading stuff that I need for teaching into my car. An ironing board and sewing machines etc.

 We had four sewing machines from four different eras :-p. One of my machines is 20 years old and one is about 10years old ( I assume). Linda's machine was only hi-tech computer machine which is only a couple years old. The last one was Char's grandma's and it definitely has a vintage and heavy duty looking! ( Still works fantastically! )

Ladies working hard with the machines.

Very cool environment for sewing!

One very happy thing about this work shop for me was everyone was able to take home a finished bag and told me it was fun! There are photos of their master pieces (and portraits).

 Love the shabby chic flower pattern.

 Zebra print x pink. Stylish. Cannot believe this was made of pillow cases!

 Purple gingham check and soft flower print. I love the sweet spring colors.

There are more options of combinations of patterns and colors in photos below.This one I used two fabrics for exterior.
 Those two photos (above and below) are of the same bag's outside and inside (reversible).

 This is another sample of using two fabrics for exterior. Cool and sophisticated look.

 Look at these smiles. Well done ladies, well done. (by the way, the wall color which they change every month and the cabinet they refinished, aren't they so beautiful? JE is such a cool store in this town. They always surprise me with their ideas and good taste.)

The finished bags look so different. Fabric choice gives personalities to it. Some are sweet or chic, and others are modern or stylish. I hope everyone will enjoy their new bags for coming warm season. Happy sewing!

Friday, March 14, 2014

A bit of detail how to stitch "Juuji Hana-zashi"

I made some new sashiko goods for consignment lately. I want to share some photos and a bit of detail of one of fabulous traditional Sashiko stitches "Juuji Hana-zashi (cross and flower stitch)" .

The combination of cotton Kasuri and simply modern Sashiko stitches. (It is a table runner.)

Asian themed batik and Sashiko cellphone cases.

This is the Sashiko stitch called "Juuji Hana-zashi" which means "crosses and flowers stitch". I would like to show the process of making this beautiful stitches. I wish I had enough time to explain that amply. I am hoping that those photos will help you to get general ideas of how the stitches are made.

This is how it looks like when it is done.

First you draw 0.5cm guiding grids on your fabric with erasable fabric marker. Using a Sashiko needle (you can use other embroidery needles but using tools exclusively made for the certain use always makes your work easier and faster) make running stitches vertically and horizontally to shape alternate crosses as shown in the photo.

Then make running stitches again but diagonally this time. These stitches shape flower petals. It is amazing this design which seems pretty complicated on first sight is made with only "running stitches" that is the most simple one.

That's it!
I hope you all have a lovely Friday. Happy stitching!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

French/Asian Fusion Style @ JE!

It's March! It is March, everyone! I yell that just in case you have not realized that. ;-) Well, hearing the word "March" usually makes me feel the approach of Spring, but this year I do not have any of that feeling yet. At all. We just had about three inches of snow last night and there is thick ice remaining on our roof. I don't hate Winter. But I think we had more than enough "Winter" until now for longing to feel a hint of Spring.

In the meanwhile, many Spring themed events will be coming in town this month. I will be featured as a guest artist at Junk Evolution in March again. They change their theme every single month (that must be a lot of work for them. And that makes their shop so awesome!)  and this month's theme is "French/Asian Fusion Style". I will bring in many of my new work and also have a sewing workshop there on March 26th. If you are close by and interested in the workshop, please contact Junk Evolution asap because a number of seats are limited and it goes quickly. Their contact info is in their website and facebook page.

I am going to share some items I have been working on for selling at Junk Evolution this month. I made both "Spring" and "Japan" themed items.

There will be some cute jewelries which bring a sweet smell of early spring to you. I hope.

Very delicate crocheted necklace.

There are more of different kinds of crocheted motif necklaces.
So tiny motifs! I used very fine lace thread imported from Japan.

Say farewell to snowflakes. I made them in sugary pale colors. I also put tiny flowers, shamrocks and little hearts (beads) together.

In "Japan" theme, I did a bit of modern Sashiko embroidery stitching too. I have been introducing Japanese traditional handwork in modern style.

I stitched traditional "Juuji Hanazashi (cross and flower stitch)" and made iphone cases with them.

The case has a crocheted handle which is detachable on one side so you can attach the case on your bag handle! I often lose my phone in my bag. This function would rescue you form that issue if you have the same problem as mine!

These items will be available to purchase at Junk Evolution from First Friday on March 7th. You will see these pretty kiss lock purses (picture below) made with antique Kimono silk as well! There will be more of my stuff. They are all one of a kind. So please do not miss the chance if you are interested in them!

I hope you started your new month happily whatever kind of weather you have. There is no Winter which never ends. I am telling that to myself!! Happy making!!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Writing in "KNIT MARCHE" the Japanese magazine

I started writing serial columns in "Knit Marche" the Japanese knitting and crocheting magazine. I am going to write about various fun topics about crafting (mainly knitting and crocheting) in the US. My first work is already issued on Valentine's day in Japan. This time I wrote a little about reading knitting and crocheting patterns in English and some of my stories with photos which are taken in my studio.

"Knit Marche" is well known among Japanese knitters as a very informative magazine with cute, quality designs and clear instructions. (most Japanese craft books have good instructions, though.) In this 2014 Spring issue (Vol.17) there are so many pretty projects which I wish to start working right away! There are many beautiful lacy cardigans, shawls. Also attractive small items like bead-crocheted pouches and jewelries. You are able to see the projects in this issue here in their website. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Last minute St.Valentine's day craft

Until a day before yesterday I have never been aware that St.Valentine's day is reaching that close! Nina needs to bring cards to school for all of her classmates (and her teacher). We always take something handmade every year. We do not have to, but you know, I always say "Hey, let's make something by hands! Just for fun!" I didn't have much time so quickly searched fun stuff on You Tube and I found this whimsical Origami Heart with Wings. They are much harder to make than the last ones, but it is not impossibly hard. (Nina made one. So you absolutely can make one!) I made one, then I sorta got addicted to it! Try it! They look awesome. \(^o^)/

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Catching Up. Productive Month!

I had a pretty much productive month. I finished a couple of knitting projects and items for consignment, and it seems I have not gotten exhausted yet (Amazing!) Got more energy to keep going!!

I love the result of this scarf pattern! I used up all of these grey balls in my stash which has been resting for many many many years. I think there were six 50g balls. I am hoping to have a chance sharing this pattern here sometime.

Also finished another pair of leg warmers in ballet pink for Nina. They are very soft and sweet (material is acrylic yarns for babies). Perfectly fit her legs. She loves them and is using them twice a week at her ballet class. I am so glad I finished these before the weather here got insane. School already had seven snow days after the winter recess. Because of extreme low temperature. I am tired of cold weather, but meanwhile, we also are enjoying cross country skiing, building icicle sculpture (I will show the photos of it soon), sledding and so on.

I'm working on my Japan themed items for next month consignment for Junk Evolution. Also planning a sewing class as well. These are mini kiss lock bags made with antique Kimono silk. Perfect when you go out only with your cellphone, credit card and some cosmetics like lipsticks. I've been using one for a few weeks and it is very handy and convenient (and of course, beautiful!).

My new Sashiko project is in progress, too.
There are some other projects going on all at once. Not only sewing. Since it is so cold out, I think this is the time to make stuff!

Hope you have a beautiful productive day. And don't forget to check the new UK embroidery magazine Hoop-La here!