Thursday, December 27, 2012

After Holiday Sushi Sale!

As I'm cleaning up around the home, and putting things away after the holiday explosion, I'm realizing that I have the supplies to make a couple of sushi kits.

Sushi is one of my very favorites.  Both for eating and for knitting.

So, first come, first serve - Who wants an adorbsy (custom made and one of a kind) sushi roll set?  $25, shipping included.  Whattya say?

The set could look something like this one, but I'll make whatever kind of sushi you like.  Hell, I'll even do brown rice if you're a health nut.

Let me know, baby.  I'm on a roll.  Get it?  Oy.

Unwrapping presents

Hello, my little buddies.  I hope you all had a great Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanza, Winter Solstice, Secular Celebration of Consumerism and American Gluttony, or whatever other Pagan ritual I may have left out.  

Mine was great.  Thanks for asking.

We took a trip away from New York and into the country, where we spent a nice, quiet few days resting and eating and spending time with my glorious spitfire of a grandmother inlaw.   Plus we listened to heavy metal on satellite radio in the rental car for four straight days.  It was really the best winter holiday I could've asked for. 

I hope you've had a good year.  I hope you got everything you wanted in terms of gifts, whether material or otherwise.  I hope this year you saw fit to use all your powers for good instead of evil.  I hope you'll remember in the new year all the hard and wonderful lessons you learned this year.  Does this sound patronizing?  I hope not.  Because I really mean it, for me, and for all of you.  

Okay, so now that the holiday is behind us, I'm going to share with you some of my holiday crafts.  As much as I love crafting and knitting and taking my own photos of them, I love receiving photos of people enjoying the things most of all.  Here are some of the greatest hits of this far.  

I made some neck warmers for my favorite little women.


And they promptly showed me the various other uses they found for them.  Including nose/chin warmer:

And fancy oversized headband:

Beautiful.  Understated.  Reminds one of the elegant composition of the Girl With The Pearl Earring, no?

Last week I wrote a blog about the chicken and elephant I had knit for my sweet friend Rachel.  Here are some action shots of her mother opening her Christmas presents.

Really, it's the anticipation of gorgeous, happy faces like that that keep my fingers knitting busily all my waking hours.  Truly.  I can't hardly stand how adorable those photos are.

Last month I wrote a blog about a cat bed I had been commissioned by my friend Michael to make for his cat Dragon.  I sure hope Dragon gets a turn in the bed, because it looks like he's got a selfish roommate who has usurped it.

So rude.

A couple of months ago, when I first moved to Brooklyn and all my yarn was still stashed in moving boxes, my first official craft project in my new crafting headquarters was a "T" ring for myself (in honor of my foxy manfriend T-Bone).  I loved it so much, I decided to make a few more for some special ladies I love.  Here's one that I sent to my sweet friend Melissa, who's married to my equally as sweet friend Matt.  

I wish I could eat that ring and the hand it sits on, I love it all so much.

And last, but definitely not least, my good old pal Aaron asked me if I would be interested in making a present for his sweet wife.  Now they are both friends of mine from the waybacks, so no matter what it was, there was no way I could say no.    

The task was to make a ski mask - or a balaclava, if you want to get all uppity about it - that Maggie could wear on the chilly Los Angeles evenings when they enjoy sitting on their back patio.  The specifications were to make something that would keep her nose warm, but had an opening for her mouth.  I searched and searched for a pattern I liked, but nothing quite fit the bill, so I tweaked an existing pattern to come up with one of my own.

The result was so fun, I think I may need to make one for myself.  It's very Pussy Riot, don't you think?

Here are some photos of me modeling the ski mask before I sent it off.  And, yes it's true, I'm not wearing a shirt in these photos.  Because there's nothing more absurd than a shirtless person in a ski mask.  (Also, my apartment gets boiling hot in the evenings.)  So, now that I have burned the image of me knitting topless in your brain, let's consider that my belated holiday gift to you and move on to the photos:

Granted, I am pretty adorable in the photos above.  And clever and completely casual and unaware of my own amazingness.  But even better, infinitely better!, was getting a Christmas Eve email from Maggie entitled "OMG!!!! Best present ever!!!" with the photo below attached. 

THAT, my wonderful friends, is the true meaning of Christmas.


Friday, December 21, 2012

I'm a busy holiday elf

Dudes.  Whoa.  WHOA.  I feel badly about how I've neglected this blog lately.

But the last few months have been a bit of a whirlwind, what with moving and hurricane recovery and holidays and visiting relatives don't care about my excuses.  I know that.

But, I assure you.  I've been crafting and snapping photos all along.  Now I'm just trying to find the time to post.

I've had a good mix of holiday commissions from other people and my own crafting projects to complete, which is exactly how I like it this time of year.

A little while ago, my sweet friend Rachel asked me to make her a chicken and an elephant.  Here they are.

Above is a moody silhouette of the chicken.  Beautiful.  Introspective.  And below is an action shot (which should explain the blurry quality of the photo) wherein the chicken is caught just at the beginning of her leap off the coffee table.

Below are photos of the elephant, taken before the eyes were attached.  But don't pity this blind beauty, she did indeed undergo a procedure that gave her the gift of sight.

Requisite profile view.

Below is a closeup of my favorite part, the delicious berry-red foot.  Mmmm.

Happy holidays, little lovies.  I have more to post, but in an effort not to spoil any holiday surprises, they may have to wait a few days.


Friday, November 30, 2012

Knitting for Dragons

My friend, and former co-star, Michael asked me to do a cat bed for his sweet kitty Dragon.  He let me know that Dragon is a big boy, and has outgrown his current bed.  And he provided photographic evidence to support this claim.

And photos don't lie, folks.  

So, who am I to deny a sweet sleepy kitty a place to lay his cat head?

I whipped up another of my cat beds - in grey/green fuzzy fur, with a yellow/green base.  According to Sadie, it's suitably comfortable.  

We hope you enjoy it, Dragon.

Not bad for someone who knows nothing about sports

The other day, my friend Anthony asked me to make a basketball hat for a new baby for a friend of his.    I said yes because I never say no, but the truth is I spent a maddening amount of time pouring over Google images of basketballs before I could figure out how to do it.  

Even thinking about the basketball conjures memories of gym class despair and humiliation.

When I was 14 years old, I got knocked out cold in gym class and had to go to the hospital.  That's how not good at sports I am, and it's probably the seed of the reason that I have zero interest in watching sports, to boot.

However, having said all that, I have to say, I don't think I did too shabby of a job putting this hat together.   My old pal, Crystal Skull, modeled it for the camera before I sent it off to Ant.

What do you think?

Patience. Forgiveness. Pushing my rage inward.

Whoever said moving can be quick and stress-free is crazy.  What's that?  No one said that ever?  Huh.  Then I guess it's time to get the wax out of my ears.

So.  Okay.  I moved about a month ago.  I'm still trying to figure out what's going on, where I am, who I am, and where all my damn stuff is.

But, rest assured, I've been knitting my face off the whole time.

Right before the move, I endeavored to make a felted tote bag for my sweet friend Heather.  Heather is a lighting designer, and she gave me free range to design the bag however I wanted.  I came up with what I thought was a pretty cool design and set to work.

However.  Unbeknownst to me, some of my 100% wool - which is the most important component of a felting project - was evidently treated with something that made it unfeltable.  And I didn't know this until the tote bag was finished and I attempted to felt it.  One side felted beautifully, and the other side was just an enormous, floppy, soggy mess.

I gave myself a day to swear and kick dirt before I came up with a plan to take it apart, discard the floppy side, re-knit the side I needed, and felt it separately before attaching it to the rest of the bag.

And unfortunately, it happened again.  I thought I was going to lose my mind.  But instead, I took some deep, cleansing breaths and tried to channel my calm determination.  (I know that sounds totally ridick but I'm working on patience and forgiving myself these days.  Stop laughing.)

And the third time was the charm.  Kind of.  The side turned out great!  And I stitched it back together, and felted the whole thing together again - which shrunk it down a little bit more, but no big deal.  And then....I realized that one of the handles was twisted.  So, I had to snip the handle and fix it before sewing it and felting it once again.  Shrinking it a bit more.


I realized that the handles were off center, so the whole bag couldn't lay flat.  SO.  I HAD TO CUT THE HANDLES AND FELT THE GODDAMN THING AGAIN.

By now, it's no longer a tote bag, but a cute little handbag.  And I'm doing some serious deep breathing about the whole debacle.

But it's still pretty cute.

On the upside, this is the first project that I was able to sew in my new custom knit labels!  I was so excited to get them!  Don't you love them?

However, it seems like - for now at least - this is also the last project to get one of my custom labels, because they appear to have been lost in the move.  FML.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Don't Call It A Comeback

Hello puppies.  So....I'm finally in the new apartment.  Jesus Chreesus, what a crazy month it's been.  I don't know if you've heard, but there was a hurricane, and it hit the week we were trying to move.  And then another major storm hit this week, too.

Honestly, the last few weeks have been a blur.  I don't know if I've ever been so stressed and tired and worried for such an extended period.  My right eyelid has been twitching for two weeks, no kidding.  Maybe I should see a doctor.

As far as New York goes, we were some of the lucky ones.  We never lost power, and we didn't sustain any hurricane-related damage.  Although I lost my beloved ukulele in the move, but compared to how much other people lost, I feel like an asshole complaining about it.

I'm still unpacking.  The new apartment is amazing, but it's still a wreck.  And right now, sadly, organizing my craft space is not the highest priority.  But soon, SOON, it will get done.

This week I donated a bunch of scarves and hats that I had knitted years back.  And I frantically knitted some new hats to donate as well.  I wish I could've done more.  I think I'm having some survivor's guilt.

I did have time for one sweet little craft for myself.  I made this little metal and glass ring for myself with a T on it (for my sweet T-Bone).

Okay, guys.  I gotta get back to work.  More to come soon.

Friday, October 12, 2012


I guess someone got wind that there was a white girl up in Harlem knitting and playing the ukulele, and I've been sentenced to imprisonment in Brooklyn with the rest of the hipsters.  I almost feel relieved to have been caught.  I've been on the run so long, living a lie in upper Manhattan.  It feels good to finally be honest about who and what I am.

No?  Okay.

So, my cats answered a Craig's List ad about a sunny top floor brownstone apartment that overlooks a park with lots of squirrel activity and that has a layout which allows for premium run-sprints-around-the-joint-crazy-go-nuts action.  They stole my cellphone and disguised their little kitty voices and forged my name on the lease.  I'm not very happy about it, and I'm considering legal action.

No?  Okay.

Something about ninjas and an evil otter and for some reason Brooklyn is the key to saving mankind from utter destruction.

The truth is boring, but the fact is I'm moving to Brooklyn in two weeks.  My posts may be a little sparse until then, but rest assured, my yarn will be packed up last of all.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Coping with my failures

I believe I've expounded several times in the blog on my love of felting projects.  So it goes without saying I was excited when I found a (very simple) pattern online for a felted bathmat/kitchen mat.

I used some sunny pinks and yellows and oranges and purples.  It knitted up quickly and I could hardly wait to see how it would look in my kitchen.  Below is a pre-felting shot of the rug after I finished knitting it.

The only problem was that I didn't have immediate access to a washer to felt it.  Not usually a problem, I've felted lots of stuff by hand.  Once, when I was working on a show away from home, I felted a project in the hotpot I had set up in my hotel room.  God, I'm such a dork.

Anyway, the trouble is the bigger the project is, the harder it is to felt it by hand.  And this rug was pretty big.  

The thing is, if I would've just been patient I would've had access to a washing machine and it wouldn't have been a problem.  But I am an impatient jerk.  And I get too excited for the finished product - especially the finished felted product.  

I had heard that some people actually prefer to do their felting in a big pot on a stove, but I'd never really had much experience with that.  I just happen to have a giant pot because I like to do canning, as well (of course), so I popped the rug into the pot with some water and set it to boil.

And before long, I realized that the dye had begun to run and leech out of most of the yarns.  What I had hoped and dreamed would be a brightly colored multi-striped mat, turned into a drab, two-tone peach and mauve POS.

And I hate it.  But I'm stubborn and I like to get into fights with inanimate objects.  I enjoy treating mishaps as if they were actually signs that the universe hates me, and therefore I refuse to do the logical thing and throw the POS out and start over.  Because that would be admitting defeat, you see.  And I will not do that.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Maybe I'm Not An Actor Anymore....But I Could Knit You One.

Sometimes I think being an actor was the worst idea I have had.  For example, when I think about the fact that I've done one play in the past five years.  Or when I think of the soul-suckingingly depressing act of having your sense of self-worth filtered through the lens of a bleary-eyed and bored casting director.

Boo-hoo-hoo to me.

Seriously, the less I think about how fucked up and counterproductive the business of being an artist can be, the better I feel - not just about myself but the world.

That being said, if you have a line on an audition you think I'd be right for, let me know.  It's a little like what I imagine a being a crackhead is like.  I'll keep saying I can give it up, but man, oh man, next thing you know I'm sucking a dealer's dick for a role.  I mean a rock.  Either way.  You get the metaphor.


My sweet friend Michael asked me if I would be interested in making some dolls for a short play that he's producing for another sweet fella, Jonathan.  And I was all, "Hell yeah, I would."  The only specification was that one of them should be a one-eared cat.

So, here are my new actor friends that I just made.  In alphabetical order (as per their contracts):

Above is Bobby Blobby.  He's sort of your overly-serious, slightly schlubby but chameleon-like actor.  Basically, he's Knitted Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Introducing, Freddy Fingers.  He's kind of ugly and weird, but also sexyish? and non-threatening, and definitely a character actor and not a leading spider.  He's knitted Peter Lorre, or Willem Dafoe, or Steve Buscemi.  

And our leading lady, Paco.  She's beautiful, in an unconventional sort of way, and exotic, her accent is thick and her features are slightly asymmetrical, but she as a ne sais quoi.  She's knitted Audrey Tatou or Marion Cotillard.

Here's the cast publicity shot.  Bobby's got a well-documented drinking problem, even though his PR guy says it was a bout with exhaustion, either way, that should account for his rough appearance.

If these fuckers hit it big, I'll be expecting my ten percent.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Hat For A Baby Skull (And A Crystal Skull)

I have been with my husbot for almost 11 years now.  What the WHAT??  That's what I think every time I realize it's been that long.  He's the best - the BEST of the BEST, the best AROUND - and I'm grateful to have such a kick-ass loverpot of a best friend and man friend.


You know, 11 years is a long time.  These days, I derive great pleasure from living vicariously as various friends find a spark and fall in love.  And when the person they find is also hip and groovy, it's even better.

So, my very good longtime friend - who in fact performed our wedding ceremony - has fallen in love.  Hooray for him!  And his lady friend is a smart and groovy lady.  So, hooray for me, too!  I can always use more grooviness in my life.

Anyway, slowly segueing into the subject of this particular blog entry, this particular groovy lady - my new friend Gianine! - asked me to knit up some fun for a friend's soon-to-be baby.

Well, chilly weather is swift approaching, so what does a brand-new lady baby need?  How's about a fuzzy pink deerstalker?  Yes.  That's exactly what a lady baby needs.  Modeled below by my crystal skull. 

Sidenote about the skull:  So a couple of years ago, remember when Damien Hirst caused a stir in the press for covering a human skull with diamonds with an asking price of $100 million?  Well, it both fascinated and infuriated me, so I decided to make one myself.  One trip to the craft store for a Halloween styrofoam skull and $50 worth of plastic crystals later, I succeeded.  Mine's 10,000% cheaper and has a gold tooth.  So there.

Anyway, back to the hat.  That damn hat was so cute, I wanted to eat it.  The only thing that would make it better is a pair of matching boots.   So, I had no choice but to make those, too.

Husby gives the whole thing a big thumb's up.

This ensemble has been shipped off to Gianine (minus Crystal Skull, sorry, Gianine), but not before I spent about an hour dancing the boots around under the skull and singing the "Invisible Baby With A Crystal Skull" theme song.


Mercury-Free Sushi

Despite my small town, Republican, God-fearing, beef-eating, conservative Midwestern upbringing, I knew from an early age that I was - in fact - none of those things myself.

Besides turning into a lefty, commie pinko,  and a raging feminist with a healthy skepticism of the big business of religion and an ally for gay rights, here's the final insult to my Kansas pedigree:

I effing love sushi.  I cannot get enough of it. 


Additionally, sushi is one of my favorite things to knit.  It's beautiful and simple and instantly recognizable.

This is a tuna sushi/sashimi set that I did for my lovely friend Heather to give as a get well gift to one of her friends.

Above is the way I packaged it for shipping.  It's a little hard to see through the plastic lid, but I added a couple of pieces of pickled ginger and a dollop of green wasabi on the side.

I'm getting hungry now.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Knits For Naps

I got a message from a childhood friend the other day asking if I would make a cover for her kindergartener's nap mat.  Now, as long as I have enough information, I'll knit anything I can figure out how to knit.  I'm knit-fearless. 

But, I'm a childless woman (cue: sad violins) and while I can imagine or perhaps even recollect what a "nap mat" is, I actually had never heard of a cover for a nap mat.  However, with a little sizing info from my friend on the particular mat that her son uses, we decided to do a sort of duvet cover style sleeve for the mat.

She hoped for something super-snuggly and therefore nap-inducing.  My favorite snuggly yarn is the lumpy-bumpy homespun variety.  And after a quick trip to my local Michaels, with the babe's favorite colors committed to memory, I was able to whip up this little number.

Not bad considering it's the first one that I have ever made, huh?

So, it got shipped off to its new home in Oklahoma, and upon it's arrival, this happened:

And my friend told me that her older son declared that he wished he was back in kindergarten so that he could have one to nap on.  How's that for a ringing endorsement?

And in closing, I'll leave you with this photo of Nappy the Naptime Nap Mat Cover cuddling up with his new little man.  They make a cute couple, don't they?

Knitting for Little Heads

Jeezy Chreezy.  I feel like a bad blogger.  I should be posting more.  I'm trying, I'm trying.

Here's the thing(s):  I went on vacation, got really sick, had a really heartbreaking friendship breakup, and then struggled for a little bit to climb out of the K-hole that the aforementioned things left me in.

Any Swayze, I'm back!  I'm knitting!  I'm blogging!  Hooray!

I've got a metric crap-ton of commissions that I'm working on right now - as well as a few special freebies that I am cramming into the mix, so rest assured, my fingers are busy....even if I'm not busy blogging about how busy I am.  

Por ejemplo - Below is my sweet-faced friend Eleanor.  I mean...just look at her.  What a little beauty.  And, for the record, the smartest 8 year old I've ever met.  Her favorite color used to be purple, but when she told me that it's now green, I couldn't resist knitting her a little brain warmer for the upcoming chillier months.

Okay, that's all I got for now.  I'll be back soon, though.  I promise this time.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Knitting For A Rock Star, Part 2

Remember yesterday when I  blogged about making some hats for the lovely rock and roll icon Jane Wiedlin?

Well, feast your eyes on Jane's lovely pixie head in very close proximity to my knits.

Seriously.  This woman.  I cannot get enough of her.

I want to bite her sweet little face.

Lots of love to Jane for sending me these super adorbsy photos.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fuel For Sick Crafters (And The People Who Love Them)

Oh, it's good to be home.  To see The Wizard sleeping in the sunny windowsill.  To be surrounded by all my stuff.  It's real nice.  Especially when I'm sick.  I don't know if you've ever had the pleasure, but being sick when you're away from home, away from your stuff and your creature comforts is no bueno.

And on my first day back in my little part of the world, I'm making the thing that I always want when I'm sick - pho (Note:  It's not pronounced "foe," but rather the same way you pronounce The Mother Of All Bad Words but then stop just short of bringing it on home).  If you're not familiar with it, pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup.  It's got a rich, flavorful broth and noodles and vegetables and fragrant herbs.  It's comforting and satisfying, and it takes care of you like a warm blanket when you're sick.  It's an alternate version of chicken noodle soup.

Traditionally, pho is made with beef stock, and you can get it in Vietnamese restaurants all around.  But me and my boo are vegetarians, so that doesn't quite work for us.

So right now, I'm going to break with crafting blogging for a minute to share with you the recipe that my sweet man found for vegetarian pho.  I'd link it back to the source, but I don't know where he got it.  All I know is anytime either of us is sick, the other person's job is to make this soup for them.

Here it is, straight out of the well-worn page of our homemade cookbook of favorite recipes.


Broth ingredients:

1 small unpeeled onion, quartered
2 unpeeled shallots, halved
8 unpeeled garlic cloves, halved
1 one inch piece of ginger root, unpeeled, coarsely chopped
2 three inch cinnamon sticks
2 pods star anise
4 cloves
8 cups  vegetable stock
3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari

Soup ingredients:

1 lb. rice noodles
8 oz. extra firm tofu, diced into small cubes
6 scallions, thinly sliced
a good handful of each of the following fresh chopped herbs:  mint, basil and cilantro
1 lime, cut into wedges
1 cup each of the following fresh vegetables:  broccoli (cut into small florets), snow peas, carrots (sliced into rounds), cauliflower (cut into small florets)
jalapeno, sliced thin - optional and amount adjusted to your heat preference
Sriracha chili paste - optional (but recommended) Asian spicy condiment

To make the broth, heat a large pot of medium-high heat.  Add onion, shallots, garlic, ginger, cinnamon sticks, star anise and cloves.  Dry roast in the pot, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to char.  Add the vegetable stock and soy sauce or tamari and bring to a boil over high heat.  Turn the heat down to medium-low and cover.  Simmer for 25 minutes, then strain the broth back into pot and discard the solid vegetables.  Keep broth warm over low heat.

While the broth simmers, preheat oven to 350.  Bake tofu cubes on a greased or sprayed baking sheet, checking and turning tofu every 10 or 15 minutes until cubes are golden and slightly crispy.   Set aside.

Prepare rice noodles according to package directions - usually by pouring boiling water in a bowl over noodles and allowing to soften for 10 minutes.

Steam broccoli, snow peas, carrots and cauliflower for approx. 2 minutes, so that they are slightly tender but still have some firmness.

When you are ready to assemble your soup, put a pile of rice noodles in the bottom of each bowl, add your steamed vegetables, tofu, herbs, scallions and jalapeno, and then ladle hot both over the top.  Serve with sriracha chili paste and lime wedges.

Repeat as necessary until you feel better.

Knitting For A Rock Star

Hello lovers.  I'm back.

I took a little vacation and saw some amazing friends, and met some amazing tiny people that have been made since last I saw my friends, and got really really sick, and tried to push through it and have a good time, and now I am exhausted and convalescing back in my tiny Harlem apartment.

Ooh, boy.  A lot has happened since I last blogged a blog for you blog readers.  Mama's worn out, you guys.  But since I'm holed up plying myself with fluids, it seems like a good time to go through my archives for some more of my favorite knits.

On that note, a few of my favorite things are food and hats.  Knitted or otherwise.  Not necessarily in that order, and not necessarily in combination.  However, I was delighted - delighted! - when my friend Jane Wiedlin (yes, that Jane Wiedlin) asked me to make her a sushi hat and a bacon and eggs hat.

Here's how that turned out.

And just for kicks, and to solve the problem of what to do with the sushi brooch I'd previously made, I threw in an extra sushi hat for good measure.