Silkscreening My Dreams Into Reality

Many months ago, more or less out of the blue, I was struck with the idea to make thank you cards with a bunch of tanks on the front. They were to say “Many tanks” inside. I talked about them to everyone I know. Everyone said that would be adorable! (My friends are nice people.)

When Groupon offered me a half-price class at Gowanus Print Lab, it was clearly destiny. I got the Groupon, signed up for the class and eventually found myself drawing tanks in MS Paint. Actually, that’s probably the single most impressive part of this whole endeavor. Behold:

You guys, I’m just so tickled by these! They’re obviously a little off kilter. But it turns out silkscreening isn’t a terribly expensive hobby. I can do it at home and get good at it and open an Etsy store for great profit! The screens are the most expensive part, so I’ll stick to this design for now, but who knows what the future holds. Tank tops! Fish tanks! Septic tanks!!!! Crafts 4-eva.

Simple Sewist Succeeds with Stripey Slipcovers

Ah, nothing like alliteration on a Sunday morning afternoon. I’ve gotten back to sewing and learned something valuable. I wish someone had told me this from the beginning! Striped fabric is the way to go for those of us who are straight-hem challenged. Specifically, an upholstery-grade striped canvas. No stretching, no slipping around and built-in guides. I had a lot of fun making these pillow covers (I also made the tapestry-looking one) with about $10 worth of fabric from Fabric Guru, and frankly I think they look pretty good.

“But Layla,” you say, “that’s such a light stripe! Surely your cat and dog will ruin your beautiful hard work!” I thought about that and put these foldover slits on the back. I can just slip the covers off and wash them, and I didn’t have to deal with the hell that is installing a zipper.

This whole project came about because A and I wanted to have a curtain up in the doorway to our living room, from the little entry way. There have been a few break-ins in the building, so we didn’t want all of our business on display when the door is open or when a delivery person comes. The tricky thing about sewing a curtain is just maneuvering a massive quantity of fabric, but it turned out fine and looks pretty nice. Yay sewing!

Bjork’s New Video Inspires Crazy Lady to Knit

All morning, the internet was talking about Bjork’s video for “Crystalline.” Friends were linking and commenting. All the music types are in a tizzy.

I’m going to be woefully uncool for a second here, guys: All I could think when I saw the screengrab was oh, how I’d love to knit that thing around her neck!

It looks like a bunch of ruffles (you know, where you cast on a bunch of stitches and then decrease half on the first row and half again on the next) just bound off after two rows and sewn together willy-nilly, no? I don’t know that I’m bold enough to pull off such a look, but what a great kids project! And bonus, it uses scraps.  Any knitters done one of these? Have any insight?

I predict these will soon be all over Etsy. Maybe Courtney Love can pull it off.

[If anyone else was similarly inspired to knit by this video, no offense! The “crazy” is self-referential for a variety of reasons.]

Knitting for Your Neck (Summer Edition)

This was a post originally written for’s 30 Days of Creativity. But ReadyMade is no more (seriously sad news), so here it goes. I-cord necklace!

As a knitter, there’s some expectation that I make things for people. I’m fine with the occasional baby hat or booties. They’re quick! But to be totally honest, there aren’t many people I actually want to spend six-plus months crafting gifts for (you’re welcome, Dad). These necklaces are easy gifts and are great for using up leftovers, as you only need maybe 10 yards, depending on the weight of the yarn and the length you’d like the finished piece to be. The thinner the yarn, the thinner the necklace, so I used a lace-weight (superthin) wool mixed with something sparkly that I got at a swap. I knit one piece of i-cord* long enough to be the main part of the necklace, then four short pieces to drape around the center. Then I just sewed it all together and tied on a clasp. The nice thing about i-cord is that there are no ends to weave in! Just tuck all the ends into the center of the tube, and you’re good to go.

So the big question is, do I start an Etsy store?

*To make i-cord, a little knit tube, you just cast on three stitches using a double-pointed needle. Every row, instead of turning your work, you slide it to the other end of the double-pointed needle, so that when you start your row, the yarn is at the end farthest from the tip of the needle.