Monday, July 21, 2008

To the Library and Market Bag and Back Again!

I finished the second Library-Market bag last night. The strap takes longer than the bag to make! I made the second strap even tougher and more reinforced. It hardly stretches at all. In the photo I stuffed the bag with my yarn. It's huge! I can't believe how much the bag stretches.

Below you can see just part of my doornob'd bag collection. The mirror doubles it. You can't have too many, right? Have I mentioned I'm partial to green, orange, and blue?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

To the Library and Market Bag

I'm a huge fan of market bags and (apparently given the number I've now got) a collector of tote bags. I've developed a real hate for plastic bags and I find that carrying a tote bag with a market bag stashed inside seems to meet most of needs as I run around town. That said, most of the market bags I see are really plain. Very functional and wonderful, but a bit boring. The number one most important thing about a bag like this is it's functionality. It has to be up to hard everyday use.

Taking this into account, I considered this my design challenge! How to make a market and book bag that would look unique and follow with my Modest Ambition aesthetic while being really tough. I choose to start with acrylic yarn because it has lots of body and is very starchy - and I have a surplus. I crocheted with two strands at a time, crocheting through, then wrapping around, each time I connected. The shape is a long rectangle with the straps woven through the long sides the 1/3 of the short side before connecting them together. At that joint, the yarns are tied together before being crocheted over then wrapped in a long chain. I experimented with the strap quite a bit before coming to a satisfactory solution. After wrapping the strap I stitched back through it with yarn to make it extra secure. It's very cushy. 

I really enjoyed making this bag and I've started a second one with the same colors, but different orders with the strips.  

Here's what's in the bag in the photos and what I'm currently reading: Richard Florida's Who's Your City, Naomi Novik's Victory of Eagles (just finished it), Peter Brinckerhoff's Mission-Based Marketing (reading for work), and Christopher Paolini's Eldest (just borrowed it from my sister).

Monday, July 14, 2008

Coral Reefs

Todd and I went to the Dallas World Aquarium Saturday. After much fidgeting with my three year old camera I came away with these images and many more. I am fascinated by the shapes, colors, and textures like these found in nature. They are so similar to what I have created in own crochet and what was presented in the IFF's Hyperbolic Crocheted Coral Reef project.

They are so beautiful and intricate and fragile and just gorgeous. I still can't believe how great my photos came out! I definitely have more ideas for crochet projects. 

Of course the point of the IFF's Hyperbolic Crocheted Coral Reef is to draw on community activism (the crochet social networks that make the reefs) and their public exhibitions to call awareness to the plight of the real coral reefs.  

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Buying, not Selling, Today

I just bought a really adorable new necklace from yaelfran on Etsy and realized I'm quite the world shopper. I have now purchased items on Etsy from Buenos Aires, Gloucestershire, Finland, New Zealand, Canada, North and South Carolina, California, and here at home in Dallas. Trust me, I would buy so much more if I could! 

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Baroque Golden Flutter Shawl

Whew, talk about drama. This piece took me from here to there and back. I was frustrated with it almost as much as I was delighted by it. After completing the Austen Flutter Shawl I decided that there was so much with this format that I hadn't tried. The Austen Shawl alternates with big and little holes, meaning more or fewer stitches before attaching. What if I didn't do a nice gradual progression, but instead dramatically changed the stitch ratios suddenly! What if it got really tiny and very frequent? There are parts of this shawl that appear to be solid, but are actually very small stitch counts of 1 and 3. Then, for the drama, it gathers up tight, then releases with counts of 7 and 9 and back down again at the very bottom with counts of 3. Maybe I'm the only one that will know what I'm talking about here... I created a problem. I tried to make the shawl defy gravity and it slumped. It sagged. I had to fix it.

Here, you can see what I did. I gathered the point of greatest contrast - where that tiny tight point meets the big expansive stitch - and crocheted them together from the back. Okay, that's good. But it still looks like a lump from the front. So I stitched the front 1/5th of each side into place forming closed pockets. I crocheted over that 1/5 section so often I made it stiff with yarn, now making the piece more structured. Not slumpy. In fact that entire fold has become a ridge and gives the whole piece its backbone. 

So I call it Baroque because it is dramatic; it is bold in its attempt to defy or challenge nature's gravity, it is a decadent pale golden hue, it is delightfully soft to the touch, and it wraps the wearer in a kind of theatre in which you are center. My t-shirt and khakis don't do it justice.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Toot! Toot! That's my horn

Look! That's me on the front page of Etsy, in the green capelet on the bottom left. I can't take a complete page in my screenshot, so pardon the composite. I was in shock this morning when I pulled up Etsy and saw my item. For those of you not as familiar with Etsy, it's a big deal to be on the front page! Tons of exposure. They even have  button for you to add to your item page that brags about being featured on the front page. My item sold later in the afternoon so I didn't have a chance to add that, but I would have. 
Which brings me to my other toot, toot moment today -- a sale! A nice big one. Feels good. And, I passed a milestone with my Etsy hearts; I'm over 200 now. That means over 200 other people have hearted my shop. All in all, a good day. So pardon me for tooting my own horn. :)

UPDATE: More to brag about... EtsyDallas selected ModestAmbition for a Member Spotlight profile. I don't know what to say! 
Also, you can see my contribution to the July Jewelry Sampler at The Sampler here, if you scroll down a bit.