Sunday, June 28, 2009

Pocket Pocket

My sister and I have been wanting to start a joint venture on Etsy for some time now, and the day is finally here! Introducing, Pocket Pocket! Although there are just a few things in the shop right now, we're expecting to make a major update towards the end of the month. Eventually, our lineup will include everything from yarn, roving, and accessories, right up to jewelry, housewares and clothing. I'm really excited about it!

One of the things that I wanted to have in the shop was a 'different' variety of yarn pouch. There are a lot of neat bags out there already, but I wanted something lined, and a little bit of a different shape, with cute buttons and fabric. The shop is named Pocket Pocket, so these knitting bags were naturally.... YarnPockets!

Please, check out the shop and tell your friends!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

In Preperation

As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm working on starting a store on Etsy - all of that will be revealed shortly - however, my room and workspace needed some serious updating and organization before I could even get started.

I had a pincushion, one of the little red tomato ones with a strawberry (who originally decided that generic pincushions would be tomatoes? And why is the needle-sharpener a strawberry? I'm not complaining, mind you.) The thing is, they just aren't big enough to hold all the pins I've been using, nor are they big enough to hold the new heart and leaf corsage pins I picked up for 50¢ apiece at the local Ben Franklin's going out of business sale.

So I wandered aimlessly through the binder of to-be-done sewing patterns I have at my house, and rediscovered Anna Maria Horner's Wildflower Pincushion Pattern, which is pretty darn huge. Like, three inches across at the top and up to five or six near the middle. Yeah. It'll hold whatever I need. Now, to find a spare strawberry....

Friday, June 26, 2009

Embroidery Candy

I feel a craze coming on. After winning a prize package from Feeling Stitchy, I searched the house and found my grandmother's old Whitman's box of embroidery thread. All the threads were tangled and you couldn't really see what you had, so I took some time organizing it.

There is something wonderful about a candy box filled with little gleaming thread-cards.
Now all I need to do is sit down and start a real embroidery! Do you think my mom would understand if I quit my job to 'work' from home? I am starting an Etsy shop soon...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The New Addition

So, apparently, this month is Sew Mama Sew's Sewing Machine Month - which is lucky, because I just got a new (old) one! My grandfather, sweet fellow that he his, went out of his way to purchase a used Bernina 931 Record machine that I'd been looking at the day before at a local shop. Since then, I haven't had much time to work on it, but I've set it up quite nicely on my desk. Starting yesterday, though, I'm on vacation from work, so the machine's activity level should go up nicely.

To go along with sewing machine month were some fun questions, which I'll answer as best I can!

What Brand and Model do you have?
I've got a Bernina Record, 931 Electronic.

How long have you had it?
Just a few weeks, really - maybe two? But it is pre-owned.

What types of things do you sew? How much wear-and-tear will the machine get?
I'm going to be sewing stuff for a new Etsy shop I'm setting up, as well as a bunch of stuff for school - clothing, home and knitting accessories. This machine is pretty sturdy - one of the reasons I wanted it, and it will see a LOT of work. The next step up will be when I graduate, and get a Juki or Janome.

Do you love/hate your machine?
She and I are just getting to know each other, still.

What factors are important to you when buying a machine?
I definitely need something sturdy that can handle most fabrics, including lightweights and heavyweights. I prefer a metal-bodied machine to a plastic one, since I'm not going to be transporting it much. It should have a pretty good arm reach, which this one lacks a little, but for anything I need that this machine won't do, I'll go to the school's industrial labs. So basically, I need all the features of an industrial without the actual industrial capacity. Oh, and the machine should be fast! And easy to change the feet on! And have lots of feet! And a buttonhole feature!

Do you have a dream machine?
Yes, someday I'd like to own an industrial machine, probably a Juki or a Janome, with a long arm lockstitch, as well as an industrial serger. I think I could get on without the machine as long as I had an industrial serger.

Monday, June 1, 2009


There are few things in nature that are generally agreed upon by all people as perfectly acceptable to admire. Butterflies have to be one of them - everyone from young children (who can quickly become obsessed, and collect them, and maybe ask for them for christmas, cough, cough) to older men (especially those equipped with cameras) seem to love butterflies. One of the fortunate things about going to Iowa State University is that, as a student, I have full access to the Reiman Butterfly Gardens. For free admission (although I suppose it could be part of my tuition), I can go and look at the butterflies all I want, and, of course, spend however long I want photographing them. Although taking pictures of butterflies is sort of cliche, they are a lot of fun to capture on film! So photogenic! 

Reiman Gardens is really cool because they show the chrysalis case out front, so that you can look at all the chrysali before they hatch. Some of them were hatching while I was there - I have pictures in my flickr, in addition to the luna moth picture I've got to the left of this. They have well over thirty or forty species of butterfly at the Gardens, and they don't just have a butterfly house, either, but a whole host of indoor and outdoor displays.

The best part was trying to capture a Blue Morpho butterfly that kept flitting around - no luck, though. They close their wings as soon as they touch any surface! One of the 'butterfly handlers' informed me that some of the moths don't even eat during their life cycle. They hatch as larvae, eat then, and once they emerge from their cocoons, the larger moths sometimes don't eat at all - they live only a few days, and only live to breed. For me, there's a sort of loveliness in that very purposeful existence.

I especially love the moths. I know, as a knitter, that 'loving moths' is probably a taboo. It's an unspeakable - we pray that those horrible little clothing moths never get into our houses, and eat all our yarn, and ruin all our hard work. Believe me, I don't feel any differently. But how can you hate a moth that is almost twice the size of your hand and fuzzy all over it's little round body and antennae? You can't. Because they're awesome.