Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Goode Family

This video on the NY Times website about the new show on ABC, The Goode Family made me laugh out loud. I won't catch the premier, but I thought I'd make a bag in honor of it. I always carry a couple of cloth bags in my purse for any shopping I might do. This way I never have to use plastic or paper! I do sometimes, however, pile my groceries in my arms!

Yesterday, my aunt gave me an old kurti (tunic) and a bedskirt to recycle. Since it isn't a whole lot of fabric, I thought I'd make a small purse rather than a shopping bag. I've settled on the Buttercup Bag. It is a free pattern that I recently found on the Made By Rae blog. Head over to the flickr group if you want to see some of these cute bags!

Fabric: to be recycled

An old tunic and some linen fabric to be recycled.

Close up

Close up of the print

Now I can feel particulary "Goode" about my final product, since not only am I recycling fabric, but I know that it isn't made in a sweat shop!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sew, Mama, Sew! May Giveaway

Oh, and don't forget the May Giveaway over at Sew, Mama, Sew! There are some wonderfully generous crafters out there. Goodluck!

Not-just-crafting Thursdays

The NY Times recently featured an exerpt from Matthew B. Crawford's book Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work. The book has not yet hit the stands, but I plan to buy a copy when it does. I enjoyed reading the New Atlantis essay written Mr. Crawford, published in 2006; below is an exerpt:

"Hobbyists will tell you that making one’s own furniture is hard to justify economically. And yet they persist. Shared memories attach to the material souvenirs of our lives, and producing them is a kind of communion, with others and with the future. Finding myself at loose ends one summer in Berkeley, I built a mahogany coffee table on which I spared no expense of effort. At that time I had no immediate prospect of becoming a father, yet I imagined a child who would form indelible impressions of this table and know that it was his father’s work. I imagined the table fading into the background of a future life, the defects in its execution as well as inevitable stains and scars becoming a surface textured enough that memory and sentiment might cling to it, in unnoticed accretions. More fundamentally, the durable objects of use produced by men “give rise to the familiarity of the world, its customs and habits of intercourse between men and things as well as between men and men,” as Hannah Arendt says. “The reality and reliability of the human world rest primarily on the fact that we are surrounded by things more permanent than the activity by which they were produced, and potentially even more permanent than the lives of their authors.”"

As a crafter, I often find that I can purchase items at the store for much less than it costs to make them. (Granted the price of the store-bought product probably doesn't take into account externalities, fair wages, etc.) I am still willing to spend the extra money to make a handmade item. I have my reasons - not the least of which is the joy the crafting process brings to my soul. Why do you like to craft?

As for crafting news, I'm going to sew a little pencil case for a friend's daughter. Most schools in India re-open early June, and I think she'll enjoy organizing her color pencils/crayons. I'll let you know how that goes.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ode to Basil

Lunch - Creamy pesto pasta

Come summer, pesto is one of my favorite things to make. Fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts (or walnuts), Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. So simple, yet flavorful and delicious. In the U.S., we would grow a lot of basil and always have fresh pesto at hand during the summer months. In India, the common variety is Holy Basil (Tulsi) which is distinct from Italian basil. It is worshipped in India (thus Holy), and is also known for its ayurvedic properties. While it is delicious in tea, it doesn't really work for pesto. So I was especially chuffed to see some Italian basil at the grocery store. I made up my standard pesto and added it to a simple bechamel sauce. I served the pasta tossed with the creamy pesto sauce with some roasted veggies on the side. The simple salad was dressed with a honey-yogurt-dill dressing. It made for a satisfying lunch.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A box bag and some knitting

Monkeys in progress

Hope you had a lovely weekend. We got back yesterday evening just in time for dinner. It was wonderful to relax by the river and knit. I managed to work a little more on the second sock. I bought the yarn several months ago on a trip to Santa Fe. This is my first time using Koigu Painter's Palette Premium Merion yarn, and I love it! I think it really goes well with the pattern.

Instant gratification: box bag
I managed to finish a little box bag using Drago[knit]-fly's easy-to-follow tutorial. I also used these simplifications and clipped the corners before sewing down the sides. It made it a lot easier to line up and sew accurately. I plan to make a few more of these as presents. I plan to make a tea cozy next. I'm not yet sure what pattern I'll use. Any ideas?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Road trip


We were invited on an overnight picnic yesterday. I still need to do laundry, so I'll keep this short. In crafting news, I'm working on a pair of Monkey socks - my first pair of Monkeys, if you can believe it! I've already cast on for the second sock, and should be able to turn the heel on the trip. I'll be back tomorrow with some pictures and an update.


Sewing Machine

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