Monday, September 10, 2012

Paradise, Re-evaluated

Last week we talked about how excited we are that autumn is just around the bend and all the creative projects we're looking forward to doing.

What we didn't talk about is that after a long hot summer the pressure to suddenly transform yourself into some kind of domestic artisan can be slightly intimidating (I'm raising my hand). Yes, I love knitting and sewing and getting busy with my hands, but sometimes all my big plans can leave me feeling slightly overwhelmed.

And then I just sit paralyzed by fear and indecision and do nothing. 

So here's the mantra for this month:
(via Flickr)

In other words, you're going to start small and take it from there. 

This month, choose a simple easy project that isn't going to get you all "flustrated" (flustered +frustrated). Then, once you've successfully tackled that, you'll be ready to take on a more ambitious one. 


1. I have long been a fan of Wool and the Gang and their DIY knitting kits. They use super thick Peruvian wool and big needles and their patterns are all super chic and super easy. Just check out this insanely sexy wool collar. 
(Jane wool collar HERE)

Doesn't it transform this denim jacket into something totally runway-worthy?


I am also completely crazy about these woolly shoulder pads. Aren't they so Arcadian rock-and-roll? In my fantasy time travel mash-up, one of the Bronte sisters would wear this to the Glastonbury Festival.
(Over My Shoulder pads HERE)

I love how they're so unapologetically in your face, unlike the '80's versions which we hid underneath our shirts and tried to pass off as our own shoulders (and fooled no one).


This iPhone 4 case is a perfect needlepoint project for somebody who wants something that can be finished in a week or so.
(Via Miniature Rhino HERE)

Jessica Marquez from Miniature Rhino created this design for her boyfriend and has been kind enough to share the pattern with all of us.
(Details HERE)

Another option: Scoot over to Purl Soho and get yourself the Leese Cross-Stitch iPhone 4 and 4S case and choose one of their patterns. 

...OR THIS...

Say you already have a basic pattern for a sweater you want to make but that you'd like to spice it up a bit. Why not just change colors at the neckline and cuffs? (I can't remember where I found this sweater but I saved it because those two little details make it feel so classic and noteworthy.)
(Photographer unknown.)

...OR THIS...

As amazing as this bag is, how great would it be with a color palette and  pattern of your own choosing? 
(I'm pretty sure I spotted this bag at Anthropologie 
but it's no longer on their website.) 

Take one straw shopping bag (I found a bunch HERE) and choose a simple cross-stitch border (I found some free ones HERE, HERE and HERE) and go to town. 

Note: Just make sure the straw bag you buy is unlined inside -- you don't want to be sewing through fabric. (You can line it afterwards.)

...OR THIS...

This chain knitted bracelet from Marni's fall collection got my undivided attention because of the dynamic tension between that brass chain and the wool. Apparently, it got a lot of other people's attention too because it sold out on Net-a-porter in like two seconds.

I don't know how to crochet, but I'm definitely motivated to learn via a Youtube tutorial if something like this can be the end result. A length of brass chain (found at any hardware store), three colors of wool and a black cotton ribbon to tie the ends together are the only materials you need. It looks like you work a few rows of basic crochet on either side of the brass links and then bind off (ask your neighborhood knitter to be sure).

So embark on a project that excites you.
Something that has you itching to get your hands all over it.

And remember... take it one step -- or one stitch -- at a time.

Because stitches have a way of adding up...
(Me with one of my burlap samplers.)

...and they can take you to some crazy places.
(My solo show at ACME, 2010.)




Lily said...

All lovely projects, but most important is the spirit of creativity behind them all! Now I'm not a knitter but check out Mary Jane Mucklestone's site, she is always chasing down textiles in Peru and Iceland and learning firsthand from the people there how to create their native pieces. And by the way, the last photo in the post of you is so beautiful!

Chic Delights said...

I agree with Lily that you are beautiful. I love your hair and your knit projects. Thank you for the encouragement through your blog. All the best on your upcoming projects.

Tricia Rose Rough Linen said...

Read Tirra Lirra by the River by Jessica Anderson for a lifetime perspective on creativity - it made me suspend judgement once and for all.

Alika said...

Love the idea of cross-stitch cover - so feminine and funny!
By the way, the green sweater is Zara two-tone sweater. I couldn't find it on their site but it can be seen here -

Sue said...

I think yours might just be my favourite blog.And this Autumn I am definitely going to finish off my Fine Cell Work artichoke cushion cover - it's soon going to celebrate its second Birthday...

Brooke said...

A wonderful mantra, indeed. Lovely Fall sweater inspiration :)


jessica/miniature rhino said...

thanks for sharing my project. it's nice to think of someone making it to give a thoughtful gift...

Hollywood forever, Kevin said...

I'm listening! said...

So undeniably right....I will make a chain & wool link, one stitch at a time.
Thank you for some inspiration & contemplation..can't wait until next week!

jro said...

Thank you so much Lisa! You summed it up! Flustrated! Now at 5.30 am in London I am feeling so inspired. The collar would be great but for starters, it's a cotton knit dish cloth like I made at school when learning to knit at the age of 7 in the mid 1960s! I have the yarn, the needles,the pattern so.........jump in!!!!

Unknown said...

Since I've started writing full time I don't do anything else creative any more, and I should definitely change that. As a student in Finland I'd make my own clothes, knit and even paint. Your post has definitely given me ideas, that knitted collar looks fab.

Great autumnal post.

Helena xx

Unknown said...

Hi Lisa, Love your Fall projects, but alas, I do not knit. I am looking forward to some Fall cooking though as soon as this California weather turns a little cooler! When will the cool rains come? Barbara Lee

Unknown said...

Ah, such an awesome message, Lisa. Yeah, it's true I too can get flustrated. Hahahahhaa. I love that mash up. Thanks for sharing these lovely project ideas. Hope everyone has fun doing just one stitch at a time!

KSL said...

I'm in the middle of a knitted blanket, that I put away for the summer. Will be starting it again when the weather cools down in LA. I love that knit collar too.
You're right, one stitch at a time, will remember that when the blanket is overwhelming me.


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