Monthly Archives: March 2012

Kami Hat in Los Angeles National Forest

Without planning for one, a professional Kami-Hat-photoshoot landed in my inbox…

WHaaa??? Are these not the most beautiful pictures?! That one of Molly making her way down the fallen tree is so cool. Especially with that bird flying through. It’s embarrassing to put it up next to my stand-in-front-of-white-door-wearing-hat pictures.

I’ve been working on a couple more knitting patterns that I hope to put out this year. And I was probably going to rely on the camera’s self-timer and a solid horizontal surface to take them. But Brandon’s photos, which are of a better composition and quality than I could ever hope to create,  have got me thinking about how I could possibly enlist the help of a professional.

How do others handle this?

For those who knit, how do you take your photos? Into a mirror? Helpful partner? For those who design patterns, do you do your own photography? Have you thought about paying (or bartering) to have it done professionally?

It may have been too early to plant peas…

…which means Read was right. Dangit.

The temperature will be around freezing every night this week. I brought the pots into the house, where they’re only safe from the cats inside the bathroom.

19,104th Clapotis Knit Wrap

I usually hold off on blogging a knit gift until it’s been gifted, but since my mother-in-law is a blog reader I thought it might be just as fun to read this and be surprised as see a package in the mail and be surprised. So Sally…here’s your long overdue Christmas present + your not-quite-overdue birthday present!!!

It’s a Clapotis wrap made of laceweight wool in a coral/blue/periwinkle color. The dropped stitch pattern creates these fun see-through channels, and it can be worn as a scarf of a wrap. I hope you like it! I’ll put it in the mail tomorrow.

In the eight years since it’s been published this pattern has been made 19,104 times, which is nearly twice the population of my hometown. That’s crazy! It’s officially the most popular pattern on ravelry. The stitch repeat is simple to memorize, the pattern works well with both solid and variegated yarn (no easy feat), and it’s so breezy and light that it can be worn indoors without overheating.

I like it. I might make a 19,105th for myself!

Among the many projects are some neat innovations, including this clapotis-inspired top…

(c) silvi

…a bunch of contrasting 2-stripe scarves in Noro, like this one from LaNina..

(c) La Nina

…and a host of big cozy XXL wraps…

(c) Brown Berry


A virtual yard sale

Our neighbor Peter knows the names of nearly everybody within a two block radius. Knowing all of your neighbors is the norm in my hometown but something extraordinary in Boston. His wife has nicknamed him “The Mayor” and she gripes about how long it can take them to walk around the block in the summer since he wants to stop and chat with (as my mom would say) “everyone and their brother.”

Last week I saw Peter working on his truck in the driveway and asked whether or not he knew anything about another neighborhood yard sale this spring  (last May we picked up some real steals). Peter says he knows the woman who organized it (of course he does!) and he can ask her (sweet!). The Mayor does not disappoint.

But just in case there isn’t another sale, I’m going to post a few things on here that I came across when re-organizing for my new sewing space. If you want something, email me at foxflat (at) They’re free if you’re willing to pay for shipping or send me something for a trade. It’ll be fun!



1. Seven white dinner plates with a Mad-Men inspired motif of teal, navy, and aqua thing-a-ma-jigs.


2. A small lot of seed beads, wooden beads, polymer beads, and sequins.


3. A vintage pattern book and a Noro knits pattern book. I’ve photocopied what I need and am happy to spread the kitschy-and-noro love.  These have been claimed already!


4. Four women’s sewing patterns: Simplicity 2885, McCall’s vintage 6745, New Look 6643, and Simplicity 3673.


5. And a bunch of bias tape in various colors, with some lace edging thrown in for fun:


I also found the first skein of yarn I ever spun and plied. The woman who taught me to spin was adamant that I hold on to this…”no matter how ugly you think it looks!” Aww…I actually think it’s pretty cute in its chunkiness!

A simple poncho

We used to host these great outdoor movie nights in Oregon where we projected the movie onto a bedsheet and everyone stretched out on blankets. It was my favorite. The best warm weather activity. In Boston we bemoaned our lack of a backyard for over a year before realizing that we could project the movie in the living room if we turned the couch around. So last night we grilled with friends and enjoyed a double feature – Hugo and Be Kind Rewind…very different stories but both about the magic of movies.


By the time the credits rolled, I’d finished my poncho! About a month and a half ago I was inspired to make an updated poncho, and I perfectly synched its completion with the weather. Walking to the bus stop this morning I was cozy but not sweaty. Just enough wool to cut the chill.

Pattern: Easy Folded Poncho by Churchmouse
Needles: Size 7
Yarn: more of the frogged yard sale sweater
Mods: Increased the width by 2 inches and the length by 4 inches
Ravelry Link 

What do you do for these kinds of photos? Clearly my go to move is to fiddle with the hem or my hair.

A New Sewing Nook

After bringing all that fabric back from Los Angeles I’ve been hell bent on creating a sewing station. Wall space is at a premium here, but there’s a connecting door between our bedroom and the spare bedroom and I figured that by permanently shutting it I could carve out a few feet. To the left of that, where Read has his keyboard set up, I wanted to make a cutting table out of two used kitchen base cabinets and a big board covered in cork… like this.

I drove the streets of Boston for miles yesterday, stopping at Habitat for Humanity’s Restore in West Roxbury, a ginormous Goodwill, and the Reuse Center at Boston Building Resources. Turns out everyone sells used cabinets as a set…you have to want a whole kitchen’s worth.  So sad. The only things I found were random bits of architectural beauty that have no place in our apartment, like this intricate metal gas fireplace for $200:


The trip was a total bust. At home, mopey and disheartened, I searched furniture on craigslist. And there it was.  Two blocks from our house. A kitchen island, solid wood, for $30. YEs! I could feel my project adrenaline returning!

The island had these castor wheels on the bottom so my big plan was to wheel it all the way home. Only the wheels weren’t attached, so every time it hit uneven ground one or more fell out of their sockets. I was putting wheels back in every few feet. The woman who sold it to me looked very confused when I declined her offer to have her husband drop it off on Monday when he got back from his work trip. “He has a truck,” she said. I thanked her politely, but inside I was like, MONDAY?! MONDAY?!!! HAHAHAHA ARE YOU CRAZY? I HAVE TO BUILD THIS THING TONIGHT LADY! I have zero patience when it comes to projects.

Read helped me carry it home. He even stopped watching March Madness to help me carry it home. I know, he’s too nice sometimes.

Here’s what I made with it…

Sewing Nook

I extended the table workspace with a 1/2″ board from Home Depot, and I painted the bottom shelf and the top board a deep navy. Three rattan baskets from Target hold all my fabric underneath and notions fit in the drawer. I put a little cloth on top and hung an IKEA paper light overhead. It needs some artwork on either side of the door, and I may hang a long curtain in front to hide the mess.

Project Budget
$30 – kitchen island
$13 – 2’x4′ board
$39 – three rattan baskets, 17″x10″
$0.50 – a pint of navy paint from the “mess-up” shelf at Home Depot

If I can find a curtain for less than $16, then the whole thing will still come in at less than $100. As for the cutting station, I might just get a big roll-up Xacto mat to lay out on the kitchen table.

I leave you with a portrait of a gentleman:

Easy Folded Poncho

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and Happy Birthday to my little brother!

Last night, over embarrassing amounts of HGTV, I finished the big rectangle for my easy folded poncho. Here it is blocking on the rug in front of a fan:

Tonight I’ll join the seam and add the cowl neck. My big project today is trying to find some used kitchen cabinets to build some sort of cutting station for sewing. And maybe a sewing nook hidden by a curtain. I’ve been collecting inspiration on pinterest

“We have a new pet…

…you’ll have to see what it is when you get home from work.”

That’s what Read called to tell me last week. If you want to watch me go nuts, say you have a secret but you have to wait to tell me what it is. Read knows this and thinks it’s hilarious to hold out on me. All the way home I tried deciphering his clue.

In the middle of the living room was a big box, and inside, a kitten!

Just kidding. It was even better – a wedding present note and a roomba. AUGHHHHH!!!! Do you know how much I have wanted a roomba?! The little round vacuum that cleans your floors for you? It’s swept every floor in our house (one of them twice) since the weekend.

Here it is barreling down the hallway towards a cautious but curious cat…

The #1 question everyone asks is, “Does it work?”

Yes, it works beautifully. It cleans up all the pet hair and navigates really well from room to room. Best of all, it can be programmed to clean at a particular time. It will just roll out from its little charger house, vacuum the floors for 30 minutes or so, and return on its own to the charger.

If you want to watch it carefully navigate a complicated shape, here’s a video of someone’s roomba vacuuming the outline of their sleeping dog:


Week of Projects from L.A. Fashion District – Thurs & Fri

I missed yesterday’s installment! We were busy cleaning the house for my dad, who came in on the train last night for a weekend visit. Sitting for 18 hours on Amtrak is my idea of punishment, but my Dad had the best time napping, reading, and talking to random people. He said when we’re retired we’ll understand.

So here we go! I’ve been saving my two favorites for the end. This is a 1950’s cotton dress I found at a vintage store on Santa Monica Drive.

1950's summer dress

It’s homemade from what I can tell, and many of the seams need re-done. But it fits like a glove.  So I’m going to take it all apart, make a pattern from it, then resew it with nice new strong seams.

With the new pattern I’m going to make a second dress from this watercolor-flower-printed cotton. The flowers will go in a wide horizontal band around the skirt, and the bodice will be white.

Watercolor Fabric

Watercolor Flower fabric

How to make a pattern from a garment? Well, I’ve never officially done it before…but I did find a few helpful tutorials here and here. I think making the pattern out of interfacing, rather than paper, will make it more durable.

The second project is just sewing buttons on a dress I already own. But it’s a dress that’s been button-less for almost a year. Regular readers may recall this shirtdress I found for half off (because it was missing half the buttons).

"Lily" yellow shirtdress
I searched and searched for the right buttons in Boston, but couldn’t find a thing, but found them in the Fashion District! They’re frosted clear plastic with little white-painted flowers.

White plastic button


With this animal print stretch cotton, I hope to recreate my favorite office wardrobe staple – the sheath dress. I live two miles from an Ann Taylor outlet (!) which means I now own about five variations on this theme. … Continue reading