Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Micro Organizing The "Bits"

Okay, so I'm really, really not fanatical about organizing, but I have discovered a few helpful tools to help with the challenge!
I love when my design supplies are neat and tidy, "like-things together", my mother advised me when I was a kid. She was delightfully organized and I was artistically messy!!
My daughter added another interesting twist to the organizational mix when she insisted that her beads were organized in "rainbow color order" when she was about 6.

Wow, that's a lot to live up to! I find myself sandwiched between two great organizers attempting to use tips from each of them.
This is one of the two ways I organize my beads.

Finding the right organizational tool is another tip! I like to find the perfect container for the item. It takes time and doesn't happen in a day.

Organizing, like knitting is a process. Right now, I'm enjoying the process.

I found boxes I really like at the Container Store. I ALWAYS use clear or see through boxes and I like it when they have lids that snap closed (no beading accidents, please!)

I know that I'm visual,
so if I store my stuff in opaque or decorator boxes, it absolutely disappears and I can't find anything. So see-through is for me.

I find that organizing by color also works for me (since I can never remember the "rainbow" color order like my daughter), I usually just organize from lights to darks.

In the case of my buttons, and I have quite a collection, I find that the large antique ones need to be carefully contained, so I chose this box from the Container Store. I can see them all and they are protected from any rubbing or scuffing.
I used to contain my buttons like everybody's grandmother, in cookie tins, but I found that rectangular containers work better when stacking inside cabinets.

I use a lot of embroidery floss (many of my patterns contain floss in the materials list), so the best way for me to keep it wrangled, is by using a clear box that has sections that seem to fit the skeins and a lid the keeps everything in one place.

Magazines are quite a challenge if they aren't contained in magazine holders. These are VERY inexpensive from Ikea and I've got a bunch of them for the Interweave Knits, Vogue Knitting, Rowan, Threads, Filatura and every other magazine I can't seem to part with. They line up easily on book shelves or in cabinets.

I like to see my Knitting needles, so I arrange them in attractive bottom heavy "vases". These are kitchen cookie jars, again from Ikea. They go with the decor in my office and I organize them by size. I'm still looking for the PERFECT circular needle organization, but I've got a pretty good one which I'll share next time.

Well that's all for now. I've got to get back to my... organizing!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Organizing The Stash!

I'm sure we're all in agreement that times are challenging right now and utilizing what we have is a good idea.

With that in mind, I've been organizing my design materials to the "inth" degree.

The remodel of my office is almost complete and I've started moving in. This has given me an opportunity, yes, I said opportunity, to go through every single bit of my stash, fabric, buttons, ribbons and YARN. I've purged any unnecessary "bit" and made donations to the High School Fiber Arts Class.

The photo above is one of two cabinet sections where I have organized my fabric (for lining bags mostly). I've arranged it by color, which makes me happy. The two diffused white laminate glass cabinets at the very top also house fabric, but I left them closed so that you can see how nice they look.

The cabinets are 8 feet tall and are from Ikea, my new favorite place to shop!

At right is what my Ikea cabinets look like closed. There are no handles, they are push-latch to open. So it becomes a clean wood-paneled wall.

The pieces at left are my favorite of all!

I think I've finally found a way to organize my yarn. And believe me, I've been trying to find the perfect yarn organization furniture for decades!

The drawers not too tall or too deep, they are handy, keep my yarn lint and dust free, make viewing yarn easy and just as easy to access.

These drawers are also from Ikea (no, I don't work there---but I should!) I have 5 banks of them all together (three are shown above).

I put Ikea kitchen cabinets on top of the drawers and they are anchored to the wall in studs. The top cabinets house "crafty" stuff and things like handbag handles.

Here's an open drawer of yarn! Happily organized!

I hope this provides a bit of inspiration. Cleaning out and clearing out is good for the design soul! I'll share more as I organize the rest.

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Ravenna Satchel Available August 1st, 2008!!

I just finished designing the Ravenna Satchel.

I've been waiting to start work on this bag for almost a year (that's how long my queue is). Finally it's here.
The Ravenna Satchel was knit in Zitron's Classic Loft (from the Skacel Collection) using the Intarsia method. The front and two sides are knit as one continuous piece. Then the front piece is felted and needle-felted afterwards.
The top, bottom and back are knitted in black, to avoid bleeding onto the light pink background of the front Intarsia flowers, they were felted separately and then the bag is sewn together.
I used amazing bag hardware from do check out their gorgeous rings, feet, buckles and buttons---true art!

I'll be hosting a knit-along for the Ravenna Satchel at in late September, they are taking sign-ups now. Please join me, we had such fun on the last knit-along for the Needle Felted Bucket Bag!

The pattern will be available at on August 1st!
Do visit me on Ravelry!! I've just updated all my designs and info and photos there.
The construction goes on in my office (yes, we're very, very late). I'll post photos soon. It's been a difficult process! I guess what they say about construction is true!!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Needle Felted Bucket Bag Knit Along Tonight

Tonight from 6-7PM (PST) I'll be hosting the first live chat
knit along at
for the Needle Felted Bucket Bag, pattern available from

We'll be getting together every Monday night for six weeks at the same time.

Join us!!

I'll be knitting two more Needle Felted Bucket Bags.

One in Cascade's Pastaza white (#002) with contrast heather gray (#026),

the other in Cascade's Pastaza red (#6003) with contrast orange (#50).

If you're in Portland, Oregon, sign up for the "live" class at Abundant Yarn starting Saturday, May 31st from 10:15am-12:15pm for 3 weeks.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Welcome Spring!

The pink plumb tree is blooming in my front yard. A breath of Spring for those of you who are not yet experiencing it. The daffodils are up, too, in Portland, Oregon. Next we'll see the tulips start. I saw my first fat yellow and black striped bumble bee in the plumb tree today, as well.

Speaking of pink..... the swatch above is a hand-painted ribbon which I knitted up in a cat's eye stitch. I really like it because it looks like crochet (which I don't do). I've got a few ideas gestating. Hmmmmm.
Aren't these bracelets cute? I can't remember where I found them, but I think they're really inspirational. Don't you think we could knit (and/or felt) something like these and embroider them up in Spring colors?

One more swatch above to inspire your design. I'm still working this one out, but I'm thinking about a summer jacket. The yarn is a ribbon in silver.

Now go knit, draw, design!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Look What We Found!

The ewwww factor! The construction crew opened a wall and guess what! The biggest paper wasp nest that anyone of us has ever seen. Although it looks pretty big in the photo, I'll tell you that it was a lot bigger in person! At least 3'x3'x3'! Thankfully, abandoned. But the guys know to come and get me for a photo op. So here it is. We can't even imagine how many wasps it held when full! Yikes!! So the re-model goes on.....
Moving on,
I'll be hosting a live knitalong for the Needle Felted Bucket Bag at in about 6 weeks. I'll update you when we have an exact date. In the meantime, if you've wanted to knit this bag with a worldwide group, here's your chance! The pattern is available at:

I'll be teaching a "live" class to go with the on-line class at Abundant Yarns in Portland, Oregon. We're still figuring out the timing. I'll keep you posted.

Coming soon will be the Needle Felted Bucket Bag yarn pack kit. I'll let you know shortly on that, too!

Also, that secret project I told you about.......

I can now tell you that it's for Ann Budd's upcoming book entitled KNitted Gifts published by Interweave Press. Probably out in the Fall of '09. The project is The Perfect Ballet Flat.
They are soft knitted slippers with Intarsia flowers, outlined in an embroidered stem stitch and a few beads sewn on for the fun of it. There's also a velvet ribbon detail sewn around the opening of the slippers and suede pads sewn to the bottoms for traction. I've worked out the basic slipper pattern this weekend in three sizes to fit practically everyone.

Here's the drawing I did to go with the swatch. I've been wearing the slipper prototypes around this weekend and they are cozy and warm!

Now, more remodel! Here's Bary doing a high-wire act on the beam that goes across the new raised ceiling! So Cirque du Soleil!

The dramatic beams and framing went in this week. The beech wood that will cover the ceiling is being finished at furniture grade and I can't wait to show you! Also the plumbing was moved around the bath to new positions.
Tomorrow electric (and because this will serve as business office along with design space, there's a lot of electric) and Tuesday, the tile man will come and take a look at what's in store for the bath. My designer, Susan and I go search for the perfect obscured glass for the shower and the toilet room wall. Crazy!!
More soon! Keep knitting!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Under Construction: The Perfect Design Workspace

This week construction (more precisely, demolition) began on my new design workspace and office. It has been in planning for about 8 months, and as some of you who have been through the construction process probably already know, once they open the walls and see what you really have to work with, all bets are off!! Above is a view from the landing just outside my office through the double door entry.

Just inside the doors of the office, you are looking at the gutted wall, on the other side of which is the 20x6 foot walk-in closet. The ceiling has been torn out so that a new cathedral ceiling can be built.
This project is quite large. The office and attached bath are about 500 square feet, and to make the room feel even bigger, and because we had immense attic space to work with, the ceiling is being raised from 8 feet to a cathedral peek of 13 or 14 feet. One surprise we became aware of in demolition is the gigantic beam you see, will need to stay in place. So I'll have an exposed beam I wasn't expecting and we'll add a few more to make it look like we meant to do it all along.
Here's the view back the other way from the closet wall to the double entry doors (the lighted opening to the right is the gutted bath.
My glass desk will be placed in front of the windows with such a pretty view of trees (when the windows are clean!!)

So, I planned every minute detail with my friend and Portland, designer extraordinaire, Susan Green, but........a wall in the bathroom couldn't be moved, as we had previously thought, which changed just about everything in that room's design. Design opportunity!! The sad little toilet is the only thing that remains for now (the above photo is about 1/3 of the bathroom). It, too, will be replaced in this remodel.
So, the fastest design re-do (thank you, Susan!) on the planet was done in about 18 hours, so that Jim, custom cabinet maker,
Dale, the contractor (that's him above) and I would have something to work with.

Bary and Casey are the most cheerful workers! I can't help but keep them topped off in french press coffee and cookies.
I am very, very excited about this project and will keep you updated as we move along.
Designing a space, is very much like designing knitwear.
It is certainly a lesson in being flexible and highly creative as each design choice impacts all the rest behind it.
I am grateful to the professional team that "has my back". More to come!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I'm Not A Knitting Purist

As I'm sure you've probably guessed, I like to add lots of elements from other craft disciplines to my knitwear designs.

Nothing is off-limits, as far as I am concerned. The more crafting skills you know, the more amazing your projects can be.

Sewing, embroidery, needle-felting, beading, wire-working, leather-crafting, painting and drawing, weaving, spinning, dying and above all a "can-do" attitude can spice up your knitting repertoire.

I added gold and silver leaf to the felting process in the Silver Leaf Satchel (center top), Zebra Bag (above) and Pebble Beach Bag (above Zebra Bag).

Pearl beads were used to emphasize the zig-zag motif in the Zig Zag Wrap (at right) and real pearls on rings, Felted Purls (below).

Needle felting on the Needle Felted Bucket Bag (left), Cheery O's Pillow (below) and Cheery O's Book Bag (below Cheery O's Pillow).

Embroidery before felting on the Flower Market Bag (directly below).

Wildflower Cushion (below) is also embroidered before felting.

Spray paint on the Barcelona Bag (below).

Shibori on the Rocky Road Scarf (right).

Added embellishments like pennies, polished stones, shells on The Famous Penny Bag (below), Pebble Beach Bag (you've already seen above), and the Hamptons Bag (below The Famous Penny Bag).

Or simply add unusual hardware and buttons, like on the Five Alarm Bag (below left), Beginner's Mail Carrier Bag (below right), Silver Leaf Satchel (top of page), Barcelona Bag (top), Zebra Bag (second from top).

Many more surprises are waiting to be revealed through your knitwear designing. I encourage you to experiment and swatch using your non-knitting skills!
Now go out and design!
All of these designs are available from