Handmade With Love

When I was growing up it was the norm to make gifts for Christmas. It could be because we lacked the money to buy store-bought presents, but I like to think that it was a sweet way to express our affection through our imagination and creativity.

Now, over the years I have been a maker of things and have become addicted to gift-making for holidays. I’m not sure that they were always appreciated or even that good of a gift, however it’s helped me save money and keep my mind and hands busy.

I almost wish I had taken a picture of the gifts I’ve made over the years so I could go back and see how my skill and taste level have grown (it would surely make a funny “wall of shame” photo collage), because I know darn well that I was not good at sewing or knitting or crocheting at one time but that didn’t stop me from giving a wonky looking handknit dishcloth or a badly sewn item of clothing. And I know for sure I used some crazy colored yarn that I was gifted from an aged knitter to make my dad a scarf and I never have seen him wear it, and for good reason; it was ugly as hell! But I used what I had and I really never stopped to consider the fact that he actually doesn’t wear scarves and he really didn’t need one that had every shade of 70’s green in it.

Now I am a proficient seamstress and knitter/crocheter and my taste has been developed by European travel and exposure to fashion outside the realm of the country town I dwell now, so I’m finally getting better at this. But as years go by I realize that gifts are not the only way to show our affection for someone we care for and sometimes it’s the more random and less tangible things that have the most heart, like sending a hand-written note when it’s not a holiday or birthday or stopping by to say “Hi!” and give a quick hug or calling up to tell them you were thinking of them and hope they are doing wonderful. Simple stuff, but super powerful way to show your love.

Shopping is fun, don’t get me wrong! I do enjoy that too. I just get a little thrill from making things. This year I haven’t made many gifts though. Seems I waited a bit too long to get started and I had to make a choice: go crazy trying to do more than humanly possible or choose to relax and do less. This year I chose to give myself the gift of peace and decided to focus on keeping it simple. Less truly is more.

Here’s a sneak peak at what I made for someone, not saying who, but they’ll find out in 9 days!

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The Smitten Mitten, for holding hands and staying warm on a winter wonderland walk.

This is a pattern I found on Ravelry. It works up fast on large needles and I used worsted weight yarn but held double strands to make it a bulky weight. My friend, Gwen, taught me how to use one skein of yarn to make it a double strand by grabbing the inner tail and outer tail and using together. I never had thought of that before! When patterns called for holding two yarns, they usually said to use two skeins but then you end up with two partial skeins when your done. With Gwen’s method you can completely use the skein and move onto the next with very little yardage waste. I’m thrifty and this pleases me to no end!! So if you want to make this cool lover’s mitten set go here: Smitten Pattern

Enjoy your day and happy crafting!

~Tillie

Art For Sale

It’s that time of year when everyone is out shopping for their loved ones and I want to share that I will be a part of an artist Holiday Sale on December 3rd in Seattle!

I’m making knitted children’s hats/hoods. They are the cutest things ever! I found this book at my local Joann’s store and have made almost every hat for different charities and for family and friends.

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It’s called “Monster Knits for Little Monsters” by Nuriya Khegay (click on her name to go to her Etsy shop where she has all her designs for sale). She is also on Instagram. Nuriya is a talented knitwear designer. Her designs are imaginative and simple to follow. I enjoy creating these kiddie hats!

This will be my first time at a Holiday Sale in Seattle. I’m exited to be a part of it! My friend from Pilchuck Rozarii Lynch  (check out her photography, she’s simply amazing!) invited me to show in her studio. I look forward to meeting fellow art lovers and spreading some holiday cheer!

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Come say “Hi” if you are in the area and support local living artists when you can!

Cheers,

~Tillie

 

Ta-Da! Behold: the coolest chair you ever did see.

We did it! We finished yarnbombing the chair at the WA State Fair and, oh my, is it awesome!

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The card has the artist’s signatures. I’m in the process of negotiating the sale of this fiber art with the fair. They buy a piece of art every year for their private collection. It would be amazing if they did purchase it, because the money would go to student’s negative lunch accounts in the Eatonville School District. The group I am a part of is called Yarnbombing For Lunches and last year we raised $400 with our fiber art to donate to the school on behalf of students with negative lunch account balances. This year our goal is $1,000 and this sale could get us a step closer to it. We’ll hold an online auction starting December 3rd…I’ll keep you posted on the details in case you would like to help us and also score some unique usable fiber art!

One last thing, I met a really cool kid as I was packing up my demo. His name’s Will and he sat down to wait for his Mom who was looking at all the home arts. He said he liked the chair and asked what it was and who made it. He asked if I ever yarnbombed a person and I told him “No, but a famous Polish fiber artist has, Agata Olek. I don’t think it’s been done in the states. Do you want to be the first?” to which he responded “Yes!  And I’ll wear to a sporting event and get on the Jumbo-tron.” Will’s Mom came over and said her son was serious and gave me their contact info so we can get started. I’m excited to have a life-size model to yarnbomb!

Thank you to the WA State Fair for having me out to demo my art and to all the amazing people I met along the way! We’ll be in touch.

Yarnbombing At The Fair

Last Saturday was my first ever Fair demonstration and it was AWESOME! I had a great turn-out of people who came by my yarnbombing demo to knit and crochet with me.

 

fair demo It was so much fun! There were people from all walks of life joining in to yarnbomb a chair. I love the collaborative nature of fiber art!! It truly brings people together.

The chair will be complete at my next demo, this coming Saturday from 4-8pm upstairs on the South Stage in the Home Arts pavilion. Stop by if you can and add a stich to the project. I’ll have needles and hooks and yarn, so bring your imagination and nimble fingers! I can even teach those who don’t know a knit from a purl how it’s done.

fair demo2 Thanks to everyone who showed up last weekend! I was blown away by your talents and had the best time getting to know you all, my fellow fiber artists. It’s a wonderful community to be a part of. I look forward to this coming Saturday. Hope to see you there!!

Doggie Style

Now that I have your attention…

I want to introduce my line of knitting and crochet patterns for miniature dogs; quick and easy but big on style.

Bringing sexy back or at least the awesome Granny Square! Behold, my furry baby, Rebel, modeling my crochet dog sweater design. Handsome, right?!
Bringing sexy back or at least the awesome Granny Square! Behold, my furry baby, Rebel, modeling my crochet dog sweater design. Handsome, right?!
It's actually a knit & crochet design. I like to use both methods in my creations.
Crochet granny square dog sweater with a knit collar and tummy panel. Warm and cute!

You can buy this Granny Square Dog Sweater pattern in my Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/petzcouture or through Ravelry here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/retro-style-dog-sweater

Houndstooth is one of my favorite patterns and what better way to use it than in a stylish dog sweater. This little jumper knits up fast and looks quite fetching.

Houndstooth small dog sweater knit in fresh modern colors. You know your pet wants one in every color, right?!
Houndstooth small dog sweater knit in fresh modern colors. You know your pet wants one in every color, right?!
If you have a small dog and like to knit, then this pattern is a must-have. It's quick and takes a small amount of yarn. Your pup will be stylish and warm come winter.
If you have a small dog and like to knit, then this pattern is a must-have. It’s quick and takes a small amount of yarn. Your pup will be stylish and warm come winter.

Get the Houndstooth pattern here on Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/houndstooth-dog-sweater-3 or over in my Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/petzcouture

If you buy my patterns and make your dog a sweater, please share a picture! I love to see cute pets in my designs. I have a Facebook page you can post them to: http://www.facebook.com/petzcouture

I take great pleasure in creating fun designs for pet lovers. It makes me happy to know my ideas are out there wrapping puppies in love and warmth. Added bonus, they look super stylish too!

What I’m Working On Now…aka, YARNBOMB 2015

Last summer I helped organize and install a yarnbomb (a large public display of fiber art made of hand knit and crocheted fabric) in my hometown. It was awesome! And I’m doing it again this year.

It started as a fun idea for a community art project then turned into something bigger and better. We ended up using our art to help raise money for local public school students’ negative lunch accounts. It was successful in putting an end to the practice of trashing lunches over insufficient funds and prompted the school district to enable “robo-calls” (automated calls home telling parents about lunch balances that are low).

My own children experienced the lunch lady yanking their lunch and trashing it over their lunch account balance being in the negative. However, I had no idea the what the balance was at the time since I paid up for a couple months and figured they would send home a notice when the accounts needed refilling. They didn’t and what happened left my kids hungry and upset, with good reason. My mama-bear instincts came out and I had words with the principal, lunch staff, and even wrote a letter to the school board. Yet, I was hearing that nothing had changed in the cafeteria.

That’s why we put our art to good use by starting https://www.facebook.com/Eatonvilleyarnbombers?ref=bookmarks to help make a difference for students who find themselves low in lunch funds. Kids have to eat to learn. Period.

Here’s a few snaps of last year’s yarnbomb and the amazing people who helped pull off such a beautiful and heartwarming endeavor:

Crafty men in my life lending a hand with the yarnbomb install. Rubin and dad, Evan.
Crafty men in my life lending a hand with the yarnbomb install. Rubin and dad, Evan.
Yarnbombing for Lunches crew (most of of anyway).
Yarnbombing for Lunches crew (most of us anyway).
Group effort with this tree. Lisa, Rubin, and I tackle it in no time.
Group effort with this tree. Lisa, Rubin, and I tackle it in no time.
Donna, Karen's mama, putting the finishing touches on this tree.
Donna, Karen’s mama, putting the finishing touches on this tree.
My mother-in-law, Tracey, and my son, Rubin, putting up a funky granny square piece.
My mother-in-law, Tracey, and my son, Rubin, putting up a funky granny square piece.
My daughter, Emma, helping with installing a yarnbomb at the park.
My daughter, Emma, helping with installing a yarnbomb at the park.
Jade with her pom-pom string ready to decorate a tree for the instillation.
Jade with her pom-pom string ready to decorate a tree for the instillation.
My daughter, Faith, and hubby, Evan, attaching a yarnbomb to a tree in the park.
My daughter, Faith, and my hubby, Evan, attaching a yarnbomb to a tree in the park.
Gwen and her hubby working on installing another piece on a lamp post.
Gwen and her hubby working on installing another piece on a lamp post.
Sherry helping Lisa install her yarnbomb piece on a lamp post.
Sherry helping Lisa install her yarnbomb piece on a lamp post.

This was a year-long project in the making, but worth every minute! It was a lot of fun to create, especially knowing how meaningful the outcome would be. We received yarn donations form many different states after I put a request in the Ruralite magazine (our utility company’s publication). The response was amazing! The generosity of complete strangers touched my heart and helped make the yarnbomb better than I could have imagined! Even Lion Brand Yarn Company was kind enough to send us a box of cool yarns. Thanks to everyone who had a part in the Eatonville Yarnbomb of 2014!

*We raised $400 to donate to the school district for negative lunch accounts*