Barking Bird Art: Hello! My name is Rebecca and I live in Portland, Oregon with a baby, a teenager, a husband, two nice cats and a REALLY stubborn dog. I like illustration, cute things, and a strong cup of tea.
Washington DC is the nation’s capitol, the center of government, and headquarters for dozens of international organizations, but it many ways it is really just a small town. So small, in fact, that it only has one yarn store. That haven for local urban knitters is Stitch DC, owned and operated by Marie Connolly on Capitol Hill.
I remember my first visit to Stitch DC, not long after it had opened. I was strolling along 8th Street SE, what the guide books like to call “Barracks Row” (because the Marine Barracks are at the corner of 8th and I streets), while a friend of mine was browsing the bike shop down the street.
Back then, I wasn’t any more of a knitter or crocheter than I am now, but I was nevertheless enthralled with the store. Upon walking in, I was greeted by cheerful and enthusiastic staff and customers, and was immediately surrounded by beautiful fiber in bright colors and enticing textures. When I visited the store just last week, I was happy to find that none of that had changed. If anything, there were even more pretty things to look at. In addition to the lovely variety of yarns for knitting and crocheting, Stitch DC now also carries a small collection of colorful quilting cottons!
As I consider myself a much better sewer than knitter, this was excellent news for me. However, just because I’m not good at knitting doesn’t mean I don’t love to look at beautiful yarn, and pine after all the samples of pretty knitted things. Stitch DC offers a wide range of knitting and crocheting classes for all skill levels, and there are samples from the class projects all over the store. Samples that are so pretty you want to buy them right off the shelf! Since Marie started offering fabric in December in 2009, she’s started to offer sewing classes as well.
The birth of Stitch DC is a story about serendipity. Back in 2004, Marie was inspired to pick up knitting again in order to make her three-year-old daughter a sweater. Although Marie had learned to knit as a little girl, being pregnant and taking care of a newborn didn’t leave much time or energy for crafting. The hiatus ended when Marie saw some knitted baby sweaters at the mall that were cute, but not nearly cute enough for her daughter. Marie knew she could make one that was even better.
At the time, Marie and her husband were real estate brokers, but Marie was ready to try something different. One day, while she was was contemplating the renewal of her love affair with knitting, Marie received a panicky call from the owner of a property on Capitol Hill. Did Marie, by chance, know of anyone in search of retail space? Just in case she needed another sign from the universe to start a yarn store, it also turns out that 2004 was Marie’s seventh wedding anniversary. When a friend pointed out that the traditional gift for a seventh anniversary is wool, well, the deal was sealed.
Stitch DC has been operating on Capitol Hill since June of 2004, offering a wide assortment of yarns in natural fibers, as well as tools, books, patterns, and classes. Marie has a number of free patterns posted on the Stitch DC blog, and is also the author of her own book of knitting patterns for growing families, called The Expectant Knitter. She also writes patterns for various knitting publications, including Interweave Knits, and is working on two more pattern books.
Customers are always welcome to hang out and knit or crochet with the staff. Stitch DC is open seven days a week, and extra late on Wednesdays (731 8th Street, SE Washington, DC 20003).
I see this painting livening up a kid’s room while also helping them think of nice monsters at bed time. Cute paintings for kid’s rooms by Bubbly Shnooks – MichelleAlynn.
Please join me in welcoming our newest columnist to Try Handmade, Cara Quinn! She’s going to be writing about frugal living and minimalism as it relates to buying handmade and making it yourself. Check out her first post, and let her know if you have suggestions or requests for future posts. Welcome Cara!
I’m not a fan of cranking up the thermostat in our home (well, truth be told we don’t even have a thermostat) and all throughout winter I was determined to whip up a draught excluder that would plug the huge gap under our front door – where a majority of the heat escapes from.
I’ve been determined to do this for two winters running. When I saw these sausage dog draught excluder’s on Ellie’s Crafts they looked like the perfect addition to our otherwise dog-free home.
On top of draught excluder’s, there are other ways to keep the heating bills down (and Planet Earth happy) and keep warm – after all, before we know it, we’ll be springing into spring. Until then, I plan on cuddling up close to my baby son (that boy has a freakish, almost superhuman, ability to keep me warm.)
This adorable onesie from Ink & Ivy is made from water-based ink and organic cotton so appeals to my eco-friendly nature. It’s also available in a light red – which I find is gender neutral and could work for two (or more) babies. I’m a huge fan of hand-me-down clothes for little people!
Other tips for staying warm:
Wrap up in a blanket. I have a little fleece blanket on my sofa that I love to be wrapped in. I have two thin blankets and one really thick one. The two thin blankets I can circulate when the weather is sorting itself out for a spring season and the thick blanket is for the hell that was last winter. Or as we called it in these parts: Snowmageddon. By the time summer rolls around, I don’t need blankets or my central heating to keep me warm.
Put on some socks. It’s true about losing body heat through your extremities and covering those tootsies up will keep you cosied up.
Put on a sweater. I know I sound like someone’s Granma when I say that, but the fact is that it remains true. More layers means more body heat is given out – don’t over do the layering when you go out, though, or you’ll be sweating like a turkey the night before Thanksgiving.
Got some sweaters that don’t quite fit any more or have reached their life span? That’s okay, up-cycle them into a nifty (and thrifty!) purse/handbag. Make and Love It tells you how.
If you love this idea, check out some of the other up-cycled ideas on that same blog; pillows and dresses made from sweaters and a cute little beanie hat and skirt, who were in a former life, scarves.
No need to donate (or throw away – but I seriously hope no one is throwing away clothes in this day and age!) winter clothes that have outrun their lifespan; they can come right into spring with you!
Reality? Ummmm No, Runway, and is it for a hoof or a foot? Hmmmm.
Handmade Nirvana. The Holy Grail of Handmade. Shoes. Well the ones above are most certainly handmade but not the kind you would want to wear. I went in search of practical and stylish handmade shoes. It really is an art to make shoes, you can’t just sit down and teach yourself in an afternoon to make them like you can knitting or crocheting. There are so many considerations, style, durability, and then the tools you would need to make them. It’s a little mind boggling. Although hard to find there are handmade shoes out there, and some are not as expensive as you might think.