Sunday, December 22, 2013

and meanwhile

...I'm still knitting. Sort of, kind of. I'd forgotten how hanging out with a 23 month old can really eat into your knitting time. (stop laughing at me,  all you moms of young kids).
That, up there, is the Valdai shawl I'm knitting from Berroco Cirrus held double.  Loving every stitch of it, and loving the yarn too.  Totally clever pattern, with an unusual construction. The silliest thing is: this could easily be a knit  in a weekend.  Specifically, I could easily knit it in a weekend. Yet I am entering week 2 to finish it.  Moreover, I'm guilty of making  gifts and gifting them before I'd even taken any photo of them.  
Clearly I am off my game.

 I've got plans to get the shawl and an as-yet-unstarted hat done this week and properly documented.  If you're thinking about a last-minute gift knit, or a project for this holiday week, and if I were you, I'd be looking at Kay's Biggie Cowls. Some seriously sizable style, and an entertaining knit, too. Not just plain old rib on big needles, nuh-uh. win-win-win.

While all the knitting wasn't getting done, I'm pleased to report I found time to choreograph (Bob Fosse just spun in his grave..two..three..four) ) a mini flash mob during my mom's 80th birthday party last weekend.
this was near the start of it
we got everyone in and up
We like funny hats and boas. I mean, who doesn't?
 We actually pulled it off. What a hoot. Without a shred of dignity. But, y'know, dignity is overrated.

Happy solstice, to all--and merry xmas if you are celebrating this week! I'll be back with more giveaways in a couple days.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

book reviews & giveaway #5 think I'm spending the month blabbing & mailing books? Nuh-uh.  Here's shorthand for "yes I am still making stuff and even finishing them.

A sweet little pile o'ends.
I'd show you the actual piece but the giftee visits here sometimes.
Ahem back to the Giveawayathon! There's still time for Wear With All, ebook version, and for Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting  essay collection. Clickk the links to enter at the end of those posts.  Not to mention the new added giveaway below. Enter 'em all, once each. Today's addtion is
Uncommon Cards: Stationery Made with Found Treasures, Recycled Objects, and a Little Imagination by Jeanne Williamson
Though I haven't mentioned it here, I love paper arts, bookarts, and mixed media crafting. I guess that’s not too far a stretch for a photographer, especially one who started out in black and white pape fiberbased prints. As we used to call'em. Many years I make my own cards for the holidays.  The whole scrapbooking phenomemenon, though?  Not so much--way too preformatted, and mostly too cutesy.
This book is neither of those. It is full of cardmaking ideas of simple beauty, with straightforward instructions, that yield sophisticated, and very special handmade stationery.

Most involve the use of a sewing machine on paper (adore!) and many involve natural materials, or found elements. The instructions are varied enough that you may learn a new skill, like printmaking using onions, or erasers, or recycling materials to use as decorative ingredients, or mixing nature with paper . The book definitely appeals to the CraftActivism side of me, thanks to those approaches. 
The layout is simple and clean. Each card design is featured on a two page spread,  with easy-to-see  details in the photos of the finished cards.  It feels quite jump -in and doable. At the back of the book are several pages of cardstock in the colors the author shows for her examples, so you can get crafting right away. Isn’t that a lovely lagniappe?

To enter the giveaway for a copy  of Unusual Cards, leave a comment below telling me what craft you play around with or might like to try , along with knitting/crochet.I'm giving away this book by mail , leave a comment below, by midnight Sunday night December 15th , with  your email address* or your Ravelry name.  I’ll choose a winner by random number generator.  
If you are a last minute person, maybe you’ll have it in time to do your holiday cards! 

___Stop by again soon, I'm going to keep reviewing and giveaway-ing all month.__________   *my blogging platform doesn’t reveal your email address with your replies normally, so I need it. if you are worried about it attracting a ‘bot scanning for addresses, feel free to leave it as JaneSewAThotstuffDOTCom  ok?  ___________________________ 
Another  plug for classes I am teaching at Vogue Knitting Live in NYC on January 17th! A hands-on workshop,  Photography for Your Ravelry Page (limited seats left) and a fast, fun and functional slide lecture,  10 Tips and Tricks to Fabulous Photography , from noon-1. Sign up now.