Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin

Saturday, March 21, 2009


The skirt:
I took my self-drafted (shouldn't it be draughted?) A-line skirt pattern from Sew, What, Skirts and turned it into a straight skirt by simply folding the pattern at the hip to make a vertical line from hip to hem instead of the angled "A" shape, then I added three rows of ruffles at the bottom. It's my new favorite skirt. You've already seen the one I made one for my sister.

The slippers:
I love them, too, but I didn't love making them. Most of the Ravelry reviews of the pattern are favorable — I'm not sure why it vexed me, it could be that I have small children distracting me. Why there are no stitch counts for the soles, or, why the step numbers do not correlate to row numbers, are two of my questions about the pattern. Having said that, I think they are totally cute and comfortable and it looks like many people have had success with them.


Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Crafty Community

These are almost all the toys that I have made in the last couple of years. They are all the result of being inspired by the work, swaps, and suggestions of other craft bloggers. Some are my own design, some are online patterns, and some are from books.

Here's the list of my inspirations — I hope you find some, too.

Top row (left to right):

Middle Row (left to right)

Front row (left to right)
Phew! Now that was a lot of links. Enjoy!

Labels: , , , , ,

Saturday, September 27, 2008

On Top of Spaghetti...

all covered with crochet meatballs.

It's what I woke up thinking about today. I think I was inspired by the felt food (check out this flickr group!) that I see people making. My big boy, H, cut all the noodles for me. I wasn't sure how to make sauce. Call it a work in progress.

The meatballs inspired H to want to learn how to crochet. [Jumps up an does a jig of joy] We started with hand crochet, then he did a hooked chain with me doing the work of the left hand. He really got the concept! I can't tell you how exciting this was for me, since he tends to show no interest in anything that involves fine motor skills.

Yesterday I was working up a little Green Kitchen embroidery for a possible new header, and my littlest guy wanted to try it out. He learned how to turn the hoop to pull the needle through the other side. Really, it couldn't get much better than this — both of my children wanting to learn crafts. I thought it might never happen.

Another exciting thing that happened yesterday was a blogger meet up. Bethany, from Bitter Betty (Have you checked out her Gourd House tutorial, yet?), and I got to meet J (I don't think she posts her name), from Ruched, who recently happened to favorite one of my flickr photos > which led me to her blog > where I discovered she was vacationing locally > which led to the meet up. We got to see some nice jewelry work she's been doing, including some PMC pieces that were castings from vintage button molds and other interesting objects. She also has the cutest, mellowest lap-baby I've ever met. Thanks for the visit, J.

Labels: , ,

Friday, July 04, 2008

Red, White, & Blue Clothes



Happy 4th of July. We're just back from the World's Shortest Parade. I thought I saw Anahata Katkin, but was too shy to ask. I wouldn't mind if it was actually her, but, I have asked people before if they have a blog, and feel silly when they say no with a funny expression. Apparently it wasn't Anahata — looks like she went swimming.

The photos are of my sister modelling the shirt that I just made for her. Photos by Becktress.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Found Object



I was going through my box of vintage lace the other day, looking for some trim for my future embellished tunic dress, when I found this already-been-crocheted bodice. Somehow, I didn't even know I had it — probably didn't care about crocheted bodices before I went and made some. It fit my sister, so I paired it up with some nice vintage feedsack-ish fabric and sewed it up. I used the same pattern as previously. A couple of flat fell seams and a little seam binding and it was finished. Sweet. Did I mention how much easier this was than the ones that I had to crochet myself? I can't imagine using crochet thread. It was hard enough with the yarn.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, June 06, 2008

Real and Imaginary Friends

I have my first, actual, real-life knitting circle friends as of today. [Hi, new friends!] A mom from our preschool found me on Ravelry and invited me to her monthly group. We hadn't said more than hello all the school year — but, after she recognized my avatar in a local Ravelry group, she sent me a nice note. You know when you meet up with one of your imaginary online friends it's as if you've always known that person. Well, it was like that, but even better, because they live in my town!!!! The night had all the best things: good food, funny stories, sad stories, felting lessons, and best of all, good folk. I worked on my Vintage Vertical Stripe afghan — only thirty or forty more rows to go. See that copyright date on this old photo — 2006! It's been a long time coming.

If you haven't signed up for Ravelry, I apologize for all the linkage. Now go over there and sign up for an invite, so you can make some friends, be they real or imagined.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, April 06, 2008

I *Heart* Red & Aqua (pt 2)

The purse is the result of a fascination with graygoosie's crochet bolero. I was wondering how the hell to crochet something with motifs and no real pattern. Then, I sat down and actually read a book, instead of a computer — I know, wacky stuff. I turned to the section about Irish Crochet and had my answer: first, motifs are basted onto fabric templates; then a crochet chain is basted to the edge of the fabric; finally, random lace is worked from the outside toward the motifs.

So, I tried that with this purse, but the lace was *too* much. I had made a spider's web connected to the flower. The weight was too bulky and loose — I knew I'd be catching things on it all the time. So, I frogged the web and embroidered on some western-style loop decoration.

The real breakthrough for me was making a bag. I know, y'all make bags all the time. But, I haven't wanted to make one since my first attempt, which was a sorry lopsided thing made with a reclaimed polyester patchwork quilt, vinyl backing, and polkadot lining. It was a mixed-media nightmare and I never finished it. (see picture at right)

The other blue and red goodness, from left to right: metal bird ornament made by Regina at Creative Kismet; handmade pincushion and imported gnome-ish ribbon from Kristin at Kleas.


Just found this great series of tutorials for making modern clothing with Irish Crochet. Wish I had found this first, but, then, if you don't even know what it's called, it's hard to google.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Crafts of Yore: Knitted Hats

I don't really knit much these days, because poke-y sticks are just too attractive to the littles. But, I used to knit, for a short time — made some hats, some dolls, a blanket. Ravelry inspired me to take these pics of past projects, and it's also tempting me to knit again. I kinda, sorta want to make a sweater for myself. [Insert nervous nail biting here.] I'm thinking about the Sophisticated Rustic Jacket over at Interweave's Knitting Daily. Has anyone made it? Suggestions on another sweater type garment that would flatter a big breasted, big waisted gal like me?

The beehive hat is from Stitch 'N Bitch Nation. The stripe-y hat is Tychus from Knitty. And, the baby bonnet is from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. I added the fuzzy crochet border. The weird baby head is a leftover Bedfellow head that now gets used as a ball. I left the yarn string on it and the kids love to chuck it. The eyes and nose were done in Photoshop. Sorry, I don't remember too much about yarns and needle sizes.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, January 21, 2008

You think... you wink... you do a double blink.

One year and five minutes later a WIP is finished. I just had to add the already made flowers. It's for my sis — she just opened an etsy shop, by the way.

I made up the pattern for the hat (just a single crochet) and the flowers were from this scarf that I made from Needlebook's free pattern. After enjoying wearing it a couple times, I ended up taking the scarf apart because it curled (not sure of the official knitting term for that rolling thing that happens sometimes). The hat yarn is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky — so super soft. The flowers were scrap, thrifted acrylic and cotton.

Because this blog is not yarn fiber biased, here is a sewing WIP. The little guy saw Archie and Olive at Wee Wonderfuls and wanted one. I'm a sucker for this guy — I'll sew him anything, anytime.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Post something interesting already

You know your blog is sucking when your comments are down — and, when you mention this to your husband, he let's you know that your blog hasn't been all that interesting lately.* Nothing like a little tough-love to kick your butt into finishing a long-time WIP.

So, without further ado, let me introduce to you:

The Original Butt-Kicker Crochet Bodice Dress

Crochet Bodice Dress (detail)

This dress fought me the whole way. If it wasn't for blog suckage it probably would never have been finished. I won't bore you with the gory details — I tried writing them, and I almost fell asleep.

Crochet Bodice Dress II

Props to Linda for the original inspiration, and to my sister for taking such lovely photos of her lovely self. More photos over here.


*His comment was before yesterday's post, which he thought was nice.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I Heart Aqua & Red: A Crochet Bodice Dress






Mama and sons can match, too. :)
Click on photos to see my notes about making this dress.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Crochet "Crazy Quilt" Afghan

Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.
Wow! Have you ever seen something so crazy good? Does my mom know me, or what? She picked up this old McCall's leaflet the other day, specifically for this afghan pattern — not really a pattern, more like loose instructions. I must make one. Now, if I could just find the two unencumbered weeks...

Labels: ,

Sunday, June 17, 2007

New Vintage Wardrobe: Crocheted Bodice Top

Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

Close Up
Originally uploaded by becktress.

Day 137
Originally uploaded by becktress.

Some crafting/sewing does still happen over here. This week I worked on this New Vintage Wardrobe shirt project for my sister, as well as a pattern for a stripey patchwork cat, which I will have available for download soon. Man, patterns take a bit of time — a heartfelt thank you to all who have posted free patterns.

About the crocheted bodice shirt:

I fell in love with this shirt that LindaMade. Like her, I used a pattern for the fabric part — mine was vintage Simplicity 8025 from 1968. I only had about a half yard of fabric, so the length was determined by this. I basted together the three pieces (two back, one front) of fabric, expecting to put a zipper in the back. Then, made sure it fit my sis. Since it seems to go over her head without too much wiggling I decided to leave out the zipper and just make it a pullover.

After getting a few tips from a talented park-friend Claire (alas, blogless), I bias tape finished the top edge of the fabric. Claire's tips included: whip stitching around the top of the fabric; picking up crochet stitches along the whip; then, working a single crochet into the back of the first round of stitches. This allows you to work from the bottom up. Then, in order to hide the seam between the fabric and the yarn, work a single crochet into the front of the original foundation chain, this time working down. This makes a little yarn flap that covers the seam. I did a shell stitch, which kept rolling up, so I ended up tacking it down with some hand sewing. My whip stitches were on the inside of the fabric, which made the bias taped edge roll outward, contributing to the rolling up of the shell trim. Both problems were fixed by stitching down the row of shells.

Originally, I tried using Classic Elite Bazic Wool because I have a bag of it, generously given to me by my LYS owner (thanks, Khristine!) after I finished that mixed block crochet baby blanket. I knew the wool wasn't going to work, but tried anyway — it ended up being too bulky and winter-ish — a perfect excuse to shop for more yarn. I ended up using a Rowan cotton. I'm not sure which one, but it might be this. The thinner cotton yarn was just right.

For the bodice design I tried to work in some of the motifs from the Day of the Dead fabric (flora de los muertos by Alexander Henry) that I got from Alison at Starlit Nest. I didn't feel up to trying to make a skull, but spiderwebs and flowers are pretty simple to crochet. I only used a few stitches: chain, single crochet, double crochet, and shell stitch.

I had several fittings with my sister to make sure that the bodice covered all the appropriate parts and to make sure the straps were long enough. Overall, I'm really happy with how it turned out.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Strawberries in the Sky — My Valentine to You

Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.
Love is in the air, or on the wall, perhaps? Ever since I got this vintage crochet afghan for Christmas I've been looking at the red squares and wondering what I could do with them, without taking the blanket apart. So, I scanned my favorite blocks from the blanket and this garland is what I came up with — inspired by the wonderful freebie from Jenny at Allsorts.

To make a garland: download file (see options below); print (use photo paper for better quality); cut out hearts (I left a little white around the outside); cut little slits on the widest part of the hearts(see photo); and thread some yarn through the slits (I used a tapestry needle). I hung my garland up in the window and the daytime back-lighting makes the images a little hard to see. My oldest said, "What are those strawberries in the sky?"

To download: you may, go to my Flickr, choose "All sizes," and pick the size of your choice. Or, download it directly from my server as a JPG (1.3 mb) or a PDF (4.4 mb). You will need to right click these to get them to download to your computer. These files are designed to fit on an 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of paper. There are two of each color, making a total of six hearts per sheet.

This heart garland download is for personal use only, please, no commercial usage. Copyright 2007 Michelle Russell

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Stained Glass Afghan

Grandma's Afghan circa 1935
Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

Mom's Afghan circa 1975
Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

Mom's Window circa 1980
Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

Corner with Carlo 2006
Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

Family History
Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.
The idea for this post started when I asked my mom to get her old afghan out of storage — the one that defines my Partridge Family era childhood, the one that always covered the back of our huge vinyl couch. I thought that I would compare her afghan to my crazy stripy one. But, when she also pulled out her mom's crocheted afghan another story developed.

There is an afghan that has been waiting to be made by me. It's primarily black with bright colored accents, probably a granny-type square with a circle in the middle and black edges. I've been thinking about it for some time now, saving online photos for inspiration. What I didn't realize is that I will be continuing a craft tradition with this future afghan.

I didn't remember that my maternal grandma (the one I never met, not to be confused with the mean one) crocheted an afghan much like I want to make. She made it back in the 1930s or 40s. It's probably been twenty years or more since I've seen this afghan. My mom's 1970s afghan is a nice complement to her mom's and tells the tale of a generational shift. She made a design contemporary to the time with its brightly colored rectangles, mixed-and-matched like a crazy quilt. So, it seems in our family that every thirty or forty years a new afghan must be made of bright colors and black. I'm ready to keep up my end of the tradition, just waiting to get through the season of holiday crafts.

I picked this corner of our home to photograph these legacy afghans because it's full of family history and because I liked the light cast by the stained glass window. It took me awhile to realize that the afghans look a lot like stained glass. Duh. On the wall behind the baby hangs a genealogic map that is almost eight feet tall — it's a photographic chart of my children's ancestors. It's fun to have daily access to these photos. My older son likes to ask who the people are and how they are related to him. He gets to *see* the British grandma who was one of the first members of the Salvation Army, or the Native American grandma who was the mother of "the first white child" in their part of the Oklahoma Territory, as well as, the grandmas who made the afghans. Maybe someday he will fulfill this colorful legacy and make his own version of the stained glass afghan — Kaffe Fassett look out. A mother of sons can wish, right?

Labels: ,

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Crochet Baby Blanket Finished

The last 200 ends were worked in this week (see WIP posts here and here). Man, how I hate the very end of a project. One of the things that kept me from finishing sooner was that I didn't really have a good solution for working in the bobble threads — they're colored on a white background and were showing through in a way I didn't like. I settled on working them in as circles, sort of of mini sphincters if you will. This also helps keep the bobbles from falling through to the back.

At one point in this project I thought that the blanket would be too precious for our rather grubby family, but in the end I think it will work fine. It has a good weight to it, which I like. And, it is washable — Classic Elite's Bazic Wool. Hey, Alicia, do you recognize the edging? It's the Bella Baby Dress edge with a couple rows of single crochet.

Thank you my bloggy readers. If it wasn't for you I don't think I would have finished this one. Really, this blog motivates me to finish, where before I had many an unfinished project.

Coming up next: a Leftover Lamb Giveaway for all the wonderful comments and community.

P.S. I'll post more photos to my Flickr later, got to go.


Friday, September 15, 2006

I Yam What I Yam: A Colorful/Colourful WIP Tale

Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.
Inspired by Yarnstorm's most excellent photo of a English beach cottage interior I decided to crochet a stripy afghan. I love Jane's photos, especially her colours. There's always some coral or pink jumping out of a minty background, or something equally exciting. Jane is so famous for her colours that she even gets bloggy gifts that are inspired by her palette. After examining the photo of the afghan I worked up a couple swatches and decided on a double crochet, working into the spaces instead of the stitches. It might not be exactly the same pattern in Jane's photo, but at least it's similar and very easy, too.

The fun part was trying to find a Yarnstorm-based palette in my stash. My stash is perfect for this kind of project because I'm the queen of the individual skeins. I have three big totes full of single skeins. The majority are thrifted (acrylic and blends, some wool), but some are new (wool). It has just starting to sink into my thick skull that you have to buy six skeins for a toddler dress or twenty skeins for a baby blankie. I had no *idea,* especially about how much people are spending on all this knitting going on—I digress. So, I dug out some of my colors and referred to the photo for her colours. Each row (250 stitches = 8 feet long, 2.4 meters), crocheted lengthwise, brought heightened anticipation of choosing the next color. It was quite fun. I tried to include as many corals and mints as I could. I *heart* picking color combinations. Then, I got lazy and stopped looking at Jane's photo and just worked any ol' way I wanted. I found myself fighting the urge to make a rainbow, but the pull was strong, so I included a bit of the ol' ROYGBP. Next thing you know I had something straight out of the 70s—the ladies at the yarn store made polite grandma jokes. It's not at all the cool, British seaside colour palette I anticipated, but in all honesty it is very me. I am a bit 70s—you know, you can take the kid out of the 70s...

I've failed in the past at trying to emulate someone else's palette.
Remember when I tried to recreate the sophisticated Nordic-inspired colours of Swedish designer Camilla Engman and her Bedfellows? Now that I think about it, in the olden days of yore, I used to make purple and orange bouquets at my first job. Hmmmmmm? I guess I should just stick to my own wild color ways.

Labels: ,

Sunday, March 26, 2006

If Camilla and Hilda Had a Bunny Child

Bedfellow Bunny
Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.
This is what happens when you use what you have at my house. Not a bad thing, just different than I had planned. I've been wanting to buy a Camilla Character for some time now, but never seem to catch them when they hatch (damn no RSS feed haver ;). Since I knew Camilla had a pattern published, I went out and bought Happy Hooker thinking I could make one of her creatures—even after reading Hillary's lament. Originally, I wanted it to be some cool, Swedish-inspired color combo, but what came out of my stash was pure Portugal. Seems I'm more naturally inclined toward Hilda's color palette.

Bedfellow Bunny with Art
Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.
Now, Hillary, don't feel so bad about not conquering this animal—it was a bit of a beastly bunny. The already large amount of respect I had for Camilla's work has now increased at least twofold. The asking price for her Characters is by far an excellent deal. Remember, it takes her about 10 hours to make one of them—it took me a couple days. Not to mention the materials costs, mine were around $30 (red yarn, Noro = $22; pink yarn, thrifted vintage Aunt Lydia's rayon and cotton rug yarn = $1; green yarn, some mystery cotton = $4; half bag of polyfill = $4).

My biggest challenge was probably my own fault since I didn't use the recommended yarns. And, then, I didn't even use the recommended yarn weights. I reversed them, using the heaviest yarn for the face and paws, and the lightest weight for the pants. I had to improvise the pattern to adjust for the different yarn weights (i.e. reducing the amount of stitches and rows for the paws, and increasing the stitches and rows for the pants). My first attempt at a head taught me the basics: how each body part is started, how to increase, and how to decrease.

I compounded my struggle with yarn weight because I couldn't find all my crochet hooks. I only used an H hook for all the weights of yarn. Things got really tight, my wrist and hand strength were tested and still haven't recovered. To get the hook through each stitch I had to improvise an insertion technique. Instead of pushing the top of the hook through the back of the stitch, I turned the hook around to catch the stitch and then rotated the hook back to normal holding position. A bit of crocheting acrobatics, but it worked.

I'm sure with the correct materials this project would have been a lot easier. I know I tend to be a tight knitter, so I'm probably a tight crocheter as well, and I aggravated my retentive ways by using the wrong materials. Ayurvedically speaking you would understand this as classic Pitta Kapha behavior. I wanted the stitches to be perfect. I had high expectations for quality. But, I was too lazy to get up and find the right materials, which would have made things easier. I made my way through to the end of the project by shear force.

Labels: , ,

Monday, March 20, 2006

Crocheted Cake Hat

Crocheted Cake Hat
Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.
This was the pattern that I learned to crochet hats from--originally, though, it wasn't a cake hat. When I added the fuzzy blue yarn it changed the drape of the hat, it made a 90 degree angle, which created a top and sides. The fuzzy yarn made me think of frosting, so I went for it. I added a popcorn flower to the top to hold the felt candle. The candle is just stuck into the center of the flower, so you can remove it for a less conspicuous look. This one went to our friend Noé for his third birthday. Happy Birthday Noé!!!

Labels: ,

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Amigurumi with Flowers

Amigurumi with Flowers
Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.
This is my first attempt at amigurumi. I started it last summer and am happy to have finally finished it--seems this blog gives me a little extra incentive to get things done, which is exactly what I need. For the longest time this gal had no arms or legs because each time I crocheted some they looked like tampons or tampon cozies as it were.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, January 16, 2006

Crocheted Flower Scarf

Crocheted Flower Scarf
Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.
I crocheted this scarf after seeing it posted on needle book. Thank you Claire for taking the time to post the instructions. I was suprised at how, when wrapped around the neck, it looks like a choker. It's definitely more delicate and feminine than your average scarf.

Now, about the original scarf costing $10 (This is not a criticism to you, Claire, I would have bought the scarf, too). This scarf took me a week of evenings to produce. What poor soul got paid pennies for that much work? Making our own crafts and clothes, as well as, growing our own food are important ways reconnect with how much effort "handmade" takes and to be reminded of the true costs of the cheap import or the cheap pesticide-laden food. Something or someone suffers when things are under priced/under valued. Buying locally or paying "fair trade" prices is another good way to stay connected to the real costs.