Sunday, December 15, 2013

Optimistic Crafts - Live!

EVENT CANCELED.. sorry for any inconvenience.

Hi all! 
Optimistic Crafts is setting up shop for a debut mini LYS (Local Yarn Shop) at the Bohemian Hall Holiday Market in Astoria Queens. Yes, the infamous "beer garden". Tab over to the "shop" page to see more details!
If you are in NYC stop by and say 'hi'. Bring a project (weather permitting) and hang out in the garden--they say the grill will be open and warm winter beverages will be available! 

Tree at Bohemian Hall Beer Garden

Wishing you all a very warm and happy holiday season!
Optimistic Crafts

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Autumn into Winter

Well, how did time fly by?! Hope you have been as busy as I have with life and events and crafting/sewing/knitting... etc! Me, I am catching up--or trying to!--and preparing for the holidays. More on that later, but for now...
Back in October, I attended the Craft Yarn Council's class to become Certified Instructor Program for knitting. It was so fun to go back to school for a weekend! 2 & 1/2 full days of knitting goodness! Interesting stuff and nice people, too. 

 Swatches were scrutinized and reviewed for what could be improved. I learned a lot about technique and teaching and gained confidence in my skills! Next step, logging teaching hours to get the official certificate. Anyone in the NYC area who'd like some help or a class in knitting, let me know. (if you mention you saw it here, I will give you an extra-reasonable session rate!)

Then, in November, I went to the Pattern Review anniversary celebration at Elliot Berman textiles. The theme was Little Black Dress, but the party was anything but boring black! Kyle at posted a great review here. Hey, and that's me on the "runway"! Pattern Review is such a great sewing resource and a room full of fun and talented people were there to celebrate. I loved that everyone was smiling through the whole evening! A few pics I took...

And then there are the projects! Lots in progress. Little finishing. Maybe more to show next time.What have you been working on? Stay warm and keep up the progress! 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Crawling Along - Brooklyn NYC Yarn Crawl Review

Hi Readers!
This past weekend there was a "yarn crawl" in NYC. Yarn stores gave discounts and had special events encouraging visitors to go to each one, like a pub crawl. I went with a group of knitters from my Astoria meet-up connections, organized by one creative pro knitter who wanted to check out the Brooklyn shops. There were 6 of us of various knitting backgrounds including a self-proclaimed "yarn snob", the previously mentioned creative pro and one totally new knitter who had never been to a yarn store (!!!). 
bench covering at La Casita

It was a fun day starting off with Kir Royales, yarn, brunch, yarn, yarn and a long train ride--knitting all the way--back to Astoria. 
dissections at La Casita Yarn Shop
La Casita has a wonderful vibe and packs A LOT into a small space including a cafe with drinks and coffee. They had this cool dissection diorama! Amazing work.

Brooklyn General is just an all out dream space. A little out of the way but HUGE! They also carry fabric and sewing supplies, including Colette patterns--I'm such a fan of theirs and I wrote about them back in May in this post.
Argyle Yarn Shop
Argyle is another inviting spot with great price points and a FABULOUS selection of books and pattern magazines. The owners and staff were amazingly friendly. We stayed there awhile.
All in all a great day full of inspiration! Did you find any inspiration last weekend?
Maybe you could try next weekend?...
Some ideas:
Friday is I love yarn day! Make something with yarn and enjoy the process! 
The King's County Fiber Festival will be going on in Park Slope.
Ok. Well that's all I've got for now. 
Happy Yarn Day a little early!
Optimistic Crafts

Monday, September 30, 2013

Hat knitting links and progress

Hi! Wow, it's been a little while since I posted. Since then, my page views have now passed a whopping 1000! So thank you if you are reading this! 
Fall is upon us and I am getting inspired by cooler weather. How about you? I would love to do some sewing--absolutely obsessed with Prada's fall line! Check out the video (and if the clothes aren't awesome enough, music by the Cocteau Twins!!!)
Despite the urge to sew, knitting and crocheting have still been my focus lately. Yay knitting! the ad by Chanel.
Kollabora is inspiring some knit hat-making with their 10 fave knit hats and I started making a one from a pattern I found on Ravelry. Always starting, optimistic that I will finish! Here it is in progress--I took it off the circular needles to check the fit. 
Beginnings of a hat
Acorn Shrug progress - 3 skeins and going strong.
Making progress on  the Acorn shrug--it is coming along nicely! What are the odds that I'll finish it before I start something else? Hmmm. Have you started anything, finished anything?
So much yarn-y stuff going on! Other Optimistic ideas... the 30 day sweater challenge. Do it! And October 11th is I love yarn day! Let's celebrate!
More soon from 
Optimistic Crafts

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Optimistic Suspense

Hi all!
So exciting! I just figured out how to edit the HTML code to change the Optimistic Crafts font on my logo/heading! The rest of my formatting still needs some work, but I'm getting there.
Speaking of getting somewhere...

Hmmm. Wonder what this is?...Well, I know the answer, but for now, friends, I will create a little suspense!  ...and go back to my DIY web-learning. What have you been learning/crafting?
Have a good week!
Optimistic Crafts

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Crafting's Mystery-factor

Working on another new project this week. A knit tank top from Burda Style. The pattern is free!

I had been given some slubby silk/cotton blend yarn and this seemed like the perfect thing for it. I don't usually care for racer-back styles, so I planned to modify it. As it is turning out, I ended up with less of a 'Y' shape, but still it still goes in pretty far across the back. Not what I planned exactly, but since it will be worn layered anyway, I think it will still look great. Kind of hard to photograph, but here are some progress shots.

back of tank - in progress

Loving the texture!
back finished!
This material is really stretchy. It looks ok on the mannequin, but she's not as big as me! I think it is going to be too short, so I am going to make the front and then see if I need to do something creative to add length to the hem on the whole thing. Just goes to prove that there's always a bit of mystery in any crafty project!
Have you ever made something you weren't sure about as you were doing it? Did it turn out ok... or did you end up modifying... or is it left unfinished? Would love to know.
Ciao for now, crafty people.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Dolly! And doilies, and 80's vests, oh my!

Hi readers!
Recently I was able to acquire a treasure trove of vintage yarn craft and needlework patterns booklets dating from the 30's up to the 80's. I am in heaven flipping through them for ideas and just plain fun! Among the treasures...
I found my knit dolly! [made by a family friend for me when I was little]
 from Coats&Clark booklet 1973
mine--a little worse for wear!
And doilies!

And lots of 80's vests. Yikes! (I'll spare the pics on that subject).
That aside there are also some really awesome silly-cute things and many many fashionable pre-80's garments. Can't wait share more of these with you soon for great crafty inspiration! Also working on improving the blog design (don't forget I am still a beginner, after all), and there are some very optimistic things in the works to tell you more about soon! 
All the best!
Optimistic Crafts

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Optimistic Crochet & Finished Sewing!

Hi again!
Here in New York it is finally cooling down. Happy to get out of the air-conditioning for a bit, even though it has been really productive to sit, relax and work on yarn projects! Anyone else agree? Do you craft when the weather is hot?
Acorn Shrug is growing!
This Acorn Shrug project is a bit tedious! Even though it is any easy stitch, it requires careful focus to catch the back loop every time--that's what makes the ridge-y texture. Unlike with some of my knitting, I can't catch up on Netflix while I work on this one. So maybe I need a good audio book. Any suggestions?

In sewing news, I totally forgot to share with you another project I worked on a couple months ago! PJ pants for my hubby! He's been playing pool a lot so when I saw this fabric I couldn't resist! I sneakily worked on them over the course of several times when he was out. Ta-da! A finished project!

Keep up the craftiness everyone--and stay hydrated in the heat!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Optimistic Project Status

Hello there! Well, with the long weekend, I have been working on crafty stuff and gathering ideas for more. So here's where things stand at the moment on some of the things I've mentioned in previous posts. In case you're wondering.
Knitting the cardi-wrap and relaxing in the airconditioning. Finished the left front panel and on to the right one. 
Starting a new crochet project: The Acorn Shrug. I have this one saved on Kollabora [fun DIY site--so many cool, creative people there], but the pattern and the yarn is from LionBrand. It's  Wool Ease in "Sienna".
 I think this color was discontinued because I got it cheap back in the winter from their site. Not really sure about the color --almost the same as the example!--or the style (for me), but it is an easy project to work on between other things.
Next steps for the summer sundress sewing project involves ironing. But I really want to wear the dress! #conflicted but still optimistic that I'll actually finish a summer project before summer is over! 

Parallelogram Pillow. Knitting done and bound off! Need pillow form. Need to decide on fabric for the backing. Need to block the yarn--will take forever to dry in this humidity.

So many other ideas not sure which ones to start on next!
...but more on that next time.
Hope you had a fun and safe 4th of July Weekend!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Slow Summer

Greetings crafty friends! I hope your summer is going well so far. Mine has been a little slower than I'd like in the craft department, but optimistically I hope to report some finished projects soon... and of course will be starting more in the meantime since that's my M.O. 
Speaking of SLOW. The Slow Movement is something I've had my eye on for a while now. It really ties in with the DIY Movement, and perhaps you've heard of the Slow Food Movement? Not a new concept, but one I think is relevant. This is probably not the best article about it, but here's something about Slow Crafts if you want to do some reading on the subject. 

More inspiration I've found lately comes from Buzzfeed DIY. There are these projects for using leftover yarn . I want to do almost every single one! Especially this one:
Cork trees! Already thinking of cool weather!
I also like these ideas for upcycling old sweaters: sweater ideas. I have a few old ones I was thinking of giving to Salvation Army and now I am for sure going to make these arm/wrist-warmers from one. My old sweater is actually pretty close to this color, too!

I put the tree idea on my Pinterest page. You can check out all my yarn inspiration there @ OptimisticDIY...and while you're at it, follow me on Twitter with the same handle, if you like. (I'm not tweeting much, yet though).
Keep cool and keep crafty,

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Parallelogram Pillow Plus

Hi everyone!
Spending a rainy Sunday being crafty, well sort of. Lately it seems I'm doing more un-doing than doing. I picked back up on the wrap cardi knitting project. The lace was intimidating me, but now I am addicted to it! It is so fun, even if I have to undo some rows because I am forgetting some of the yarn-overs if I am not paying attention. For every 14 rows of the repeat pattern, I have to undo about 3!
70's sundress

And then there's the sundress I mentioned in the last post. The top part I was fussing over is figured out, but the side seams puckered like crazy after I did them. So I picked them out and am examining the machine for tension problems. Here's the pattern. I scanned it last week. 
And here is a picture of the parallelogram pillow I started as an easy project to take to Knitting & Boozing. Now it is almost finished, at least the knitting part. 
I found that parallelograms are a fun and easy way to add texture to a project! The parellogram pattern is for a multiple of 10 stitches. I cast on 42 stitches and alternated k/p for first and last stitch to make an edge.
I think I've achieved a square, but it is very stretchy so it looks like a rectangle. Next, optimistically, I plan to block it to see what size closest to a square it is--hoping for 12x12. Then I'll sew it to a lighter grey fabric back. Maybe the closure will be mix and match geometric buttons? We'll see.
Have you been up to anything crafty this weekend? 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sewing tk

Hello friends and happy Spring--at least where I am, it is finally lovely weather!
I don't know why the abbreviation for "to come" is tk instead of tc, but that's how I write it, learned from my copy-editing experience.
Recently, my friend Kadee and I went to a sewing pattern party at Brooklyn General. What a wonderful shop, and FULL of sewing enthusiasts there for the Colette Patterns visit! Sarai of Colette Patterns is a lovely lady. I did stop and say hello despite being shy about it--I have been reading her blog for, like, years after all. She also seemed quite shy but was enjoying being in New York from far away Portland. Kadee and I were so inspired we bought patterns and fabric and, as former Brooklynites, vowed to return to our old Brooklyn neighborhood again soon!
Colette Sencha
I didn't take pictures, but here is the link to the Coletterie 
blog where Sarai wrote about it.

sundress in progress

I bought the Sencha blouse pattern. Sewing ahead!
Looking forward to making it and also finishing the black sundress I started 2 summers ago! Got the interfacing, still fussing over the adjustments I made to the pattern. See March post.

And of course instead of plotting to use from my existing stash of fabric, I bought some more!'ll see, I hope soon!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pessimistic Crafts

Since the last time I wrote, I did NOT get selected for The Fiber Factor, the Certified Instructor Program in knitting at FIT was CANCELED, no knitting, crocheting, sewing or crafting of any sort has taken place. BOO!
It is not like me to be pessimistic though, so do check in on progress on The Fiber Factor. The first challenge is "Knit Your Life" which immediately makes me sing Morrissey's "Sing Your Life"
On that note, things I love...
Embroidery! (of course I have yet to do any)

Luck is on my side embroidery
embroidered sunglasses --can't stay in the dark forever!
..and the things I loathe...
...well, not being crafty lately!
It's hard to be a pessimist though when it's spring and there are projects to do and life to live! sing your da da da da...
and let me know what you love and loathe lately.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Holy Cowl(s)!

Ok readers, once again I skipped 2 weekends! At least the 2nd skip was for good reason. I decided last minute to enter this contest at to attempt to be a part of an online knitting project-runway-type competition! As an amateur designer, but long time knitter, I hope I have a shot! I'm betting there are some fantastic entries. I just couldn't let it go by without trying. It's been a few years since I've made an original design and I would love to challenge myself to do that! Watch the site to see how it all unfolds, I mean unravels! I'm excited! 

Holy Cowls! I couldn't resist using that title because...
I finished a cowl! And took a picture of another one finished a while ago.
Cowl #1: Knit cowl for yarn experiment--how much does one skein make? Finished!

So now my curiosity is satisfied on how much area one average size worsted weight skein covers. it measures 32 inches long and 12&1/2 wide knit with with size 9 needles, 48 stitches across in Lion Brand Wool Ease worsted weight yarn (3oz.,197 yards). Color Azalea Pink. It looks nice with curled up edges, but optimistically I will block/flatten it to be 100% finished.
Cowl #2: Crocheted cowl, photographed! I made this last year, also a one-skein project. I didn't use a pattern, just worked in loose double crochet with a big crochet hook. I wasn't testing yardage on this one, but it worked great in one-skein of Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick.

Next, back to sewing projects! And a meetup with the Knitting & Boozing group from whyleaveastoria.comon Wednesday night—if you are in Astoria, join in at Winegasm. Such a strange name, but I'm looking forward to good wine and snacks! Each time I go, I meet some really nice people who live in my 'hood.
Since it is Crochet Month, I’ll leave you with a crochet tutorial link from The Purl Bee. Try testing your skills or learn something new. Let me know how it goes!
Happy crafting everyone!

Sunday, March 10, 2013


Well another week has gone by! Mine intermittently included some crafting. Met up with the Why Leave Astoria blog group "Knitting and Boozing" on Wednesday at Mosaic, a comfy bar/lounge, for some knitting fun. 2 new knitters and one pro... and me, wherever I fit in. The new people I met were great and I was able to work on my teaching skills! I was working on a pink cowl that I started on Superbowl Sunday.
just getting started Feb. 2013
and now it is being stitched up into a circle and then to block and finish. Almost there!
Besides that, I've been itching to sew something and couldn't figure out what to work on, so rather than starting something new, I figured why not working on FINISHING something already started. Striped Sundress, started 2 (maybe 3?) summers ago. I am going to LOVE this dress, but I think I'm afraid of making a mistake since I am veering off of the pattern. Instead of gathering and adding a band across the back, I put in elastic which looks great!
back of dress, with elastic
Then, for the front, instead of gathering, I put in some small pleats, which I am not so sure about. I made this dress once before and the gathering made me look busty and the band all the way around made it shifty and uncomfortable. Got my confidence up, but then realized I need some lightweight interfacing for the front band. So, will get back to that one. There's the optimism for today!
Hope you all had a great weekend. Until the next time...
...remember March is not just Craft Month, it's also Crochet Month! Let me know what craftiness you are up to.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Time in the New Year

Greetings readers! It has been a long time. Blogging has been low on the to do list lately, but not for lack of wanting-to-do!
Despite the fact that my work/day job is to keep people and time organized, my home and personal project life seems to be ridiculously unorganized these days. Back in the fall sometime, I read something on Tilly and the Buttons blog about the Pomodoro Technique. Have you heard of it? I helps you focus on setting aside 25 minute increments to focus on projects. Ideally you'll get the cute tomato (pomodoro) timer to help!
It is supposed to help "eliminate the anxiety of time". Ha! Is it just me or is there never enough time to do everything you want to?

Well, I did actually finish a few projects since I last wrote. One cute thing I made for the holidays was this fair-isle mice pattern. I used bigger needles and changed one to stripes instead of fair-isle. These would be a fun cat toy gift and could even have some catnip stuffed inside. (I just used regular poly-fill stuffing) Here is the original, and mine.


cute, but not as cute

Another thing I've beeen working on since the fall is this awesome vintage sweater! The pattern is from a 1939 Polar Yarns book.

I will show you the finished one in the next post. I swear, optimistically, that it will be soon! And I did actually finish it!
Making time for crafty-ness and sharing it is an essential part of my goals for 2013. Signing off for now, wishing you better-late-than-never New Year good fortune. What have you been making lately? What are your 2013 aspirations?