Saturday, December 19, 2015

Handmade Holidays

The first handmade gift of the holiday season is for myself - a new double-pointed knitting needle roll.  Using fabrics from our trip to Japan last February I put this sweet little roll together in about an hour.  It replaces my much larger needle case crafted in 2008.  That one was made to accommodate 10 to 14-inch straight needles.  In the years since I made that case I have gravitated towards using circular needles and my little double points kept falling out of the over sized roll. 

I am just in love with this little case - it is perfectly sized and the fabrics make me so happy.

This next gift is a whimsical tree ornament from the Posie Gets Cozy collection that I have been working through.  When I was working the most recent set of three ornaments I made a rookie mistake by crafting two identical trees when I should have made mirror images!  I even make this mistake TWICE - on the snowflake ornament too - just goes to show that crafting and mothering at the same time don't always work out the way that you expect.  Yikes.  At first I was disappointed/frustrated by my silly error, but quickly realized that with a little more effort I could turn it into a second ornament.  This second tree will go to my Mother-in-Law for Christmas.

The kit was actually sold out for this set of ornaments so I purchased the pattern and then ordered felt and matching floss from Prairie Woolens.    

This cowl, completed a couple months ago, will head to my Sister-in-Law.

This next needle case will go to my niece who has recently learned to knit.  I purchased sets of aluminum straight needles (which she seems to prefer) from Ebay and crafted the case to fit them.  Paired with some skeins of yarn it will make a great starter knitting kit for her.  And since I am partial to them, I put in a couple circular needles and double-points to round out the collection for her too.

Speaking of knitting, we have THREE new knitters under our roof!  This past month I taught my three older daughters to knit and they just took off.  The scarves they are creating are incredible and they couldn't be more excited to watch their own progress.  Abby (below) is wearing the first thing she ever knit - a red scarf for her favorite 5th grade teacher.  We had to google 'average length for a men's scarf' which came back about about 6 feet.  Abby decided to cut this one off at 5 feet.

My eight year old is part of a Girl Scout Troop that is focused heavily on the arts.  This past month they went to a local pottery studio that also carries a great selection of beads.  She was so into it!  In that short afternoon she made earrings for her older sisters.

The following week she and I took a separate trip to a local beading store and made more earrings for older sisters and a necklace for her younger sister.

I am so excited the crafting and creating is becoming a part of what we can do together as a family and that they are all excited to make things for others.  While I didn't 'make' as much this year as I have in years past I am finding so much joy in seeing my girls make for others.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Just before Thanksgiving

On the day before our Thanksgiving the house is humming - the sound of the washing machine, dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, the hot oven, kids laughing/arguing and dog barking.  I swear the house is vibrating in its foundation.

I have to humbly admit that these are the years that I have been yearning for - no more infants or diapers, just a few little kid tantrums and no teenage angst (just yet).  I can actually bake a pie from scratch without interruption.

This humming is the sound of what I am thankful for this day, and every day.

pumpkin waiting to be baked, pureed and turned into pie

I also realized that the winter holidays are just around the corner and I pulled out the unfinished ornament kits from Alicia Paulson that I stowed last year.  I surprised myself by re-discovering that I had cut out all the pattern pieces and felt last winter for the remaining ornaments - this fall I spent time assembling and detailing them.  Here is the next set of 5 that I finished.  You can see the first six here.  I just have to complete the snowflake and I will have completed all the kits that I have. (I admit, however, that I just ordered a pattern and one more kit...that will complete everything that she has available.)  I just adore her designs - they fit in our home really well.  All told I will have 18 ornaments when I finish.

I know that might seem intense or over-the-top - but I am practical.  With four daughters that will one day have their own homes and families it will mean that I will, eventually, only get to keep two or three anyway.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

This is Halloween...

This year we had a whole ensemble of characters for Halloween.  A witch, a wolf, little red riding hood, a bunny, a hen and a rooster.  All the costumes came together really well and I had a lot of fun - most especially with felt mask making!

 I found a pattern for the hen and rooster masks on Etsy from oxeyedaisy - they are incredibly detailed and came together relatively easily.  I love them - and with a feather boa they finish off beautifully.

I think the pattern is one size, and they do fit our faces, but if I were to re-make them I might extend them slightly down the cheek and towards the ears for an adult. 

She has so many incredible designs that I am going to try to convince the kids to do a full family next year - maybe a herd of unicorns, flock of wise owls or family of bears?!

The little red riding hood costume was courtesy of Martha Stewart - she had a set of costumes based on hoodies which seemed to make more sense this year instead of sewing custom full body suits.  Arn't those yarn braids the best?!  The mask for the big 'good' wolf was from a website, Oh My Handmade, found here.  I went for the stripped down version and only cut and glued this mask - not too many stitching details for this first one.  We finished it off with fake fur wraps for the neck, wrists and ankles.

The bunny costume was an upcycle from last year - I was able to re-use the snowy owl body suit from last year and just glue on a tail!  I made a new hood from the left over fabric and some pink from the stash, and reused the same pattern from McCall's.

The witch is an oldie but goodie from the dress-up bin paired with a mask from the thrift store.

Overall another great holiday.  I am really happy that we have been able to continue in the making/assembling of our costumes as the years roll by..

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Upcycled Mittens

Early this summer a bag full of lovely sweaters showed up on my doorstep.  They were amazing sweaters - but, they had some challenges and couldn't be worn any longer.  Two had gone through the wash/dry and the third had stains and a couple holes.  But I knew that my friend had left them with me to give them a second chance.

To get me in the groove for making Halloween costumes (ahem...dusting off that sewing machine) I put together this pair to gift back to her.  I found a brown cashmere sweater at the thrift store for a cozy lining and the exterior of the mittens is from her three sweaters.  The cables were too delicious to not make the centerpiece of the mittens.

As always, I relied on the fabulous pattern by Five Green Acres, but improvised the cuff using the intact sleeves from a thrifted sweater.

I dropped them off to her last week and by all accounts she loves them.  I usually finish off these mittens with a button on the cuff, but I left he exterior and lining separate to make sure the fit was good for her first.

I have just enough left over to make another pair for someone else - the gift-giving holidays are coming up!

Friday, October 2, 2015

FO: Hitofude

I finished up Hitofude and just love it.  The color and lace work are amazing and the yarn feels great against my skin.  

We just got a new puppy so I don't have a lot of opportunity to wear it (or any of my handknits, really) but it is a great addition to my collection.  

The pattern is really ingenious and I love telling people about the construction of the sweater.  It is so different from others that I have knit, or western patterns in general. 

I highly recommend this pattern for people that have some passing experience with lacework and are ready to take it to the next level.  The pattern is very well explained and I didn't lose my place, not even one time.  The fit is flattering and forgiving and I think the styling suits a wide variety of wardrobe preferences.

As always...details on my ravelry page.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

For a Baby...

For the baby-to-be...a sampler from Posie Gets Cozy.  This piece is amazing.  Finished photos soon.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A New Bag

Last summer I set out to sew some clothes for myself.  I thought I might also tackle that project again this summer, but time got away from me - there was a lot of travel and just not the right combination of factors to allow the space and time to sew more clothes.

Instead I picked out a new bag pattern and sewed myself this fantastic summer bag with some stash fabric.  I love this bag so much!!  The strap and exterior pockets are dark brown linen, the tree fabric is Amy Butler and the birds are a heavyweight Echino that I picked up from The Sewcial Lounge in early summer.  I picked up both the lining fabric and pattern from Stitcher's Crossing.

The bag came together very easily and is a perfect size for wallet, phone, keys and book.  A nice alternative to the large leather "momma bag" that I had been dragging around for the past year.  With no more kids in diapers I think that it is finally time to downsize.

The pattern is the 241 Tote from a local WI designer, Noodlehead.  She has many other great bags and patterns - and her blog is lovely too - check it out!

Friday, July 3, 2015

A Family of Socks

In mid-June I traveled to Portland, OR to serve as the officiant in the wedding of my childhood best friend and her new husband.  I wasn't sure what exactly to give them as a wedding present, but once I learned they were also expecting a baby the idea of a 'family of socks' came to me pretty quickly.

Each pair is green - the baby socks are knit with the leftover from this other baby project.  Jut a basic rib sock - and a hope that they might just stay on the baby's feet for at least 5 minutes (full well knowing that through four kids I never found socks that actually stayed on).

The next pair are the right-twist cable socks for the new husband.  My husband really likes this pattern and I am very happy with how this pair turned out.

The last pair I had around for a little while - the shamrock socks.  But I finished them up and think that the multicolored stripes will suit my friend very well.

I love how the socks all coordinate without being too matchy.  And I think they are also sandal worthy - from Madison to Portland: we love to wear socks with our sandals!

I wrapped the six socks inside one of the open-wide pouches I made in the early spring - might come in handy as a diaper bag of the like.  Now the question is what cute baby item to knit next for the little one to-be.

Monday, April 13, 2015