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30-something mother, wife, lawyer, writer, design junkie, craftaholic, cook

likes: clever tools, snazzy colors, working for justice, kid wrangling, Meyer lemons

dislikes: inefficiency, civil discovery, most shades of purple, Tori Amos

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Sunday
Jan092011

Handmade Holiday Recap: Of Owls and Cowls

If you are a regular reader of this site, you know that I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder about the inexplicable profusion of owls and cowls on handmade sites like Etsy. It's not that I am anti-owl nor anti-cowl. It's just that I eschew a certain hipster je ne sais quoi that seems to coalesce around these otherwise unrelated partners in rhyme.

And yet, as the handmade holiday got underway Chez Industrialiste this year, I found myself casting on for the first time in years and knitting up a cowl. And I must say, I rather liked how it turned out.

I didn't have a pattern—I just cast on a bunch of stitches and improvised. A little stockinette at the beginning for the soft rolled edge, and then a variation on seed stitch for a little visual interest. Freestyle knitting for the win!

And just as I was putting the finishing touches on my cowl, I received this in the mail:

And that, friends, is what's called paying attention. My friend Courtney is both a wizard in felt and a comedy genius. When I unwrapped this little goodie she sent I laughed until it hurt. He's been hanging on my back door, and I laugh every time I see him. I laugh doubly when my little boy notices him and shouts, "NO OWLS!"

And with inspiration like that, how could I not get into the making mood? Next stop: sewing machine. I'm not the world's greatest seamstress, but I have loads of small pieces of fabric (aka "strike-offs") from my textile design business. I also have loads of women in my family who are famously freezing all the time. So I sewed up a bunch of small warming pillows featuring an assortment of my fabrics—essentially, these are just a couple of rectangles of organic cotton sewn together and filled about 1/2 to 2/3 full with flax seed. A few seconds in the microwave, and voilà! Cozy warmth.

And still more knitting. And paper crafts. And sewing. A lot of things made it out of my grips without getting caught by my camera. And then there's the knitting I'm still working on (oops) (based on this pattern):

Finally, you may be wondering if I managed to turn my pirate snowman drawing into a stocking for my son. I avoided it for weeks for fear that I wouldn't be able to execute the idea that had taken root in my head. And then it was Christmas Eve. I pulled out the felt I had stockpiled from last year, and, miraculously, I had every color I needed. But other gifts had to be finished before going to my mom's house that night. And so later that night, we came home from my Mom's house fat, happy, and exhausted. After making, ahem, preparations for Santa's arrival, I collapsed. No stocking. Not one stitch.

I set the alarm for 4AM. It went off. I actually got up. And by 7:45 in the morning, I had built a snowman:

Whew.

I think this was my favorite handmade holiday ever. Hope yours was great, too.

(And now I'm off to the post office...if you are my little sister and you are wondering where your #@&!* gifts are...the check, I mean, cowl, is in the mail...)

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Reader Comments (5)

Yo ho, yo ho a Cameron's life for me!

I love your snowman pirate! And the necklace?! Only you could bead like that!

Also? Owl Cowlings.

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney!

I want a cowl, too. Now that I'm almost finished with the simple knit-stitch-only scarf I am making to get my fingers back in the rhythm after 40 years, I can't wait to learn how you made the cowl. I suspect if I want one before Christmas after next (just kidding...I am thrilled to get my silhouette, two Christmases late) I had better just get you to show me how to make one for myself. Have you thought about a tutorial on silhouetting?

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjam

I love all your handmade items! The pirate snowman stocking is great :)

Even though I do seem to be liking a lot of owly things lately, your friend's felt owl cracks me up!!

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTerrie

Cameron, you are a woman of many talents!
thanks for sharing them :)

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterClair

Og!! Its gorgeus!!
Each day one sorprise!!!
What blog so creative!! Congratulations
I like so much. Very original. I´ll write about you in mine.
Kisses from Madrid

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNATALIA

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