Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I meant to get more done on Mom's scarf, or prehaps on the hat I'm making for my  But instead I worked on the Snowman hat for Xander.  And so it was a productive knitting day yesterday, just not for Christmas knitting.  I got a good portion of the hat done.  All of the white, and about 1/3 of the black.  Just need to finish up the black, knit the little scarf, add eyes and a nose and we're good to go!  I was hoping to finish the base of the hat so that I could bind off and remove it from my needles.  I didn't really want to transfer the work to another set of needles/cable.  And it's alright because I wanted to get this hat done in time for Christmas (if possible) but it was intended to be at the bottom of my priority list.  Ohba wohba. 

The hat is looking a little big, but the pattern sizes it for 6-18 months - so that's quite a range.  If it's a little big, I may go back and add a fleece lining to make sure it keeps his head warm - it may also make it a little more snug. 

My's hat is going to be University of Iowa Hawkeye colors. :)  He really mostly wears hats when he's out in the cold - but he's not really a scarf guy - so this was a better option.  And it'll go great with his Christmas present!  (tickets to some Hawkeye basketball games) 

I'm not sure if Mom's scarf will get done before Christmas.  I wish the original yarn I had picked for it was what I was using - such a rich color.  But I think this scarf will be pretty too.  I'm just not sure if I can get it knit and blocked in time for Christmas Eve gift opening  Crossing fingers and hoping I get some sleep!

*I'll admit I was ambitious with my holiday knitting.  I know a lot of knitters don't do holiday knitting, but I couldn't help myself.  I love creating things for my family and it makes me so excited to work on the projects.*  Next year probably won't be as intense - but since it's a surprise this year, I wanted to make sure everyone got something. :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

She's Beautiful!

I'm finally getting around to posting about the completed Sisters toy.  I finished the girls a couple days ago, but haven't had the time to sit down and post pictures, etc. 

I enjoyed seeing this toy come together.  Most projects, you have a pretty good idea of what the end product will or should look like.  Especially in a pattern or project that is just repeats.  After a few rows, you know what it will look like - just a bigger version of what's on your needles. 

I knew what Sisters SHOULD look like, but didn't know how the girls would actually turn out.  I was using different colors, and modifying the pattern so the sisters would more closely resemble my sister and me.  As piece by piece was added, the toy came to life.  There were several small pieces to knit and deal with, and usually I'm not a patient person, but since I was so excited about this project, it didn't bother me too much. 

Team Blue - Me

Team Pink - My Sister

I am so pleased by how all of my choices turned out.  I am especially happy with Team Pink's hair.  My husband thinks they look like dreds, but I think it's a great representation of curly hair without being bulky.  I think I could probably say this is my absolute favorite part of the toy.   The hats of the sisters would probably be my second favorite part.

See her BEAUTIFUL hair and cute pom-pom hat!

And I love the way the crocheted flower turned out on the top of this hat!

And once the toy was complete, I couldn't stop turning it one way and then the next.  I understand now why both children AND adults can appreciate this toy!  It's addicting - as funny as that sounds.  I will most definately be making another one of these reversible toys for my son - possibly the Lion/Elephant reversible.  I really like that one.  My son's not old enough yet to turn it on his own, but he can still appreciate the toy and as he gets older, he'll know what to do - especially if he sees Mommy and Daddy playing with it! 

The two sisters were joined at the neck on the inside to prevent them from coming apart from being pulled and pushed back and forth, and then the skirts were crocheted together using a slip stitch.  This toy challenged my skills as I had never crocheted before, but I found it to be a pleasant experience.  The slip stitch joins the sisters perfectly at the bottom - giving them a very sturdy base on which to stand - as well as providing a good structure for turning the sisters back and forth. 

Mid-turn (the white in the middle is the crocheted slip stitch holding the girls together)
Another view of reversing

Anyway - I had fun creating these girls, and I hope that my sister enjoys the toy.  It's a fun and whimsical way to share our sisterhood with her.  She's a great woman to have for a sister and I consider her one of my best friends.  I'm glad I could find a way to show her that.
(I also have to add that I'm super excited for her to open her gift this year because I had custom totes made for her by a friend of mine.  She's very environmentally conscious and I thought she'd like some stylish totes.  Check out the designer's website here.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Last night I finished the heads for the Sisters toy.  Team Pink has her head attached while Team Blue is awaiting attachment! :)  I may go back and stitch Team Pink's head down a little sturdier, I imagine it will get a lot of use and seeing as how we'll have so many family members around for Christmas, a lot of people wanting to play with the toy and try it out themselves. 

Once I got back into this project, I've really enjoyed it.  Although, honestly, I've enjoyed everything I've made so far.  Each thing brings a new element or design to knitting that I didn't know before.  I'm learning a lot, which is great.  I never like to feel as though I know everything about a craft - there is always room to expand and grow and learn and change.  Once these little girls are done, I have a feeling they will be my favorite to date.  There are a lot of little pieces that have to be fit together to complete the toy, but it's worth it.  And since I don't have a lot of projects with a lot of little pieces, I'm okay with that. 

Hopefully, I'll have a chance today to get the rest of the small pieces finished.  I don't know if I'll get them all sewn together tonight, but my hope is that by tomorrow night, it will be complete.  Then I can cast on for the scarf I'm making Mom.

To be completely honest, I'm scared of the scarf.  I didn't choose a simple beginners pattern because I know that Mom likes creative and unique things.  So a standard garter stitch scarf just would do.  So what do I do?  I walk blindly into the world of lace knitting.  :\  I'm not sure how successful I will be at this scarf.  And if it proves to be too much to get done before Christmas, then I'll work at it until I get it right, and she'll just get the gift after Christmas and I'll find her something else in the meantime.  But I'd REALLY like to have it for her on Christmas Eve.  Since no one in my family except my husband knows that I've taken up knitting, I was hoping that Christmas would be a fun surprise for everyone to find out.  I wanted something little for everyone (at least in my immediate family).

So here I am, almost dreading casting on for this scarf.  Dread is the most accurate word.  I know that once I get started and can work with the pattern, see it coming together for myself, that I'll know what I've gotten myself into - whether or not it's do-able.  But while I've been working on other things and just postulating as to whether or not I'll be successful, I doubt myself more and more each time.  So I'll be glad when I can just dig in and start knitting!

And then, after Christmas, I'll be able to take things more slowly, relax and enjoy the learning process.  And maybe then I can borrow Mom's sewing machine to get a few project bags made, as well as a cloth needle organizer.  I'm itching to get these things started, but just don't have the time to focus on driving over to her house and sewing. 

Yummy yummy in my tum-tum tummy!

So as I was reading different blogs this week, I found an amazing little treat a friend posted on her blog, Tonya Dusold.  Red Velvet cupcakes!  Yum!!!  These delicious looking desserts would be perfect for Christmas Eve with my family.  Although we have tons of Christmas candy and food on Christmas Eve, this would be something different and fun, and best of all, tasty!

I haven't made any, but they look great.  Check out them out here, and who knows, maybe you'll be inspired to make some yourself!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Getting somewhere

Sisters is really coming together.  Last night I finished the dress for Team Pink.  I was hoping to get more work done on the toy than I actually did, but it's okay.  I was able to start the head for one of the sisters.  I'm tempted to frog it and start over because I made some wrong stitches and there are little holes.  I hate giving things that aren't right.  But I'm going to wait and see how it looks once's it stuffed and finished.  I won't cut the yarn and weave in any ends until then.  If I'm happy with it at that point, I'll leave it.  Otherwise, I'll just frog and start again.  The heads are small, so it doesn't take long.  I was able to get 1/2 a head done in about 30 minutes (should be faster the next time around).  I think these last parts of the dolls will knit up quite fast.  They're small parts so there is almost instant gratification. 

The most tedious part is going to be finishing.  All the small parts to start attaching.  I do some finishing work as I go so there isn't so much to do at the end, and it's nice to see the pieces coming together to form the end product!

Last night I spent some time playing with just the dresses.  I was folding them inside and out of one another, just to sort of see the mechanics of the toy.  It was fun to see how they fit together so nicely, I can understand why both children and adults like to play with these reversible toys.  It had me engaged for a few minutes at least, it was just the dresses - no finished dolls!  haha

Finally, I thought I would mention my latest discovery.  I'm sure more experienced knitters (especially toy knitters) out there have heard of this man, but I found his designs and work after reading through some of the toy knitting threads on RavelryAlan Dart is a knit toys designer.  His work is so impressively classic and beautiful.  To me, his work has a more polished, finished look to it, which I really appreciate.  He has patterns that are published in Simply Knitting once a month, that are exclusive to the magazine. 

So what did I do?  I went on a hunt for this magazine.  I was bummed though, when I went to the site and wasn't able to get the magazines shipped to my house.  The magazine is out of the UK so it's more expensive to get it here.  I could pay an arm and a leg (or at least what I consider to be one) to get the subscription through  I did see that some Barnes & Noble stores carry the magazines.  So that'll be something I'll have to keep my eye out for each time I go to the bookstore.  Some patterns that Alan has written aren't available any longer because the license has expired and that issue of the magazine is out of print.  He has started a website where you can view and purchase some of his patterns, but most all of his older patterns are not available there.  I wish I could have found a Wallace & Gromit pattern earlier, and I may have to do some digging for the patterns somewhere because my sister would LOVE these knit up. 

So anyway - that's some of my new inspiration.  I've already downloaded a couple patterns from Alan's website to try.  One is a Tabby Cat, which I'd like to do in Orange for my MIL.  Another is an angel that I think my mom will love.  The third is Jack Frost from those old kids' Christmas movies that I loved so much when I was little.  This one is for me!  So once Christmas is past, I think I'll start working on some of these.  They'll take me out of the Christmas time knitting, but will keep me going and should be fun to see completed.

I'm always amazed at how vast the world of knitting is.  At this point, I never plan on knitting sweaters for myself (maybe for my son) and never socks, but hats and scarves and toys - possibly shawls or something await me in the future - but I certainly don't fear running out of ideas!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


So I just finished this hat (Modern Rib Hat) this morning.  It's my first hat, first time working with color changes, and first time not following a pattern exactly (I chose to do my own color design).  I think it turned out really well and I'm really happy with it.  The pattern was really easy to follow - pretty basic rib stitch pattern. 

I tried it on several times and made my husband wear it around a bit as well, just to make sure it looked okay and the size was good.  After I complete my Christmas knitting I'll be starting his hat.  And then after that I may just have to make one for myself.  It's snug and warm and cozy - perfect for a winter hat.

Now I can resume work on the reversible Sisters toy.  It's probably the only thing I'm going to get around to knitting for my sister for Christmas.  I plan on making a hat and scarf for her as well - but I don't have the time before the holidays arrive.  But yay for completing projects on snow days!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ahhh snow days!

In school, we had a love/hate relationship.  It was great to get that day off in the middle of the school week, but I always hated having to make them up at the end of the year.  :\  Now I'm a school employee and although many teachers may still have that same relationship as I once did, mine has become one of pure love! 
My contract is a 12-month contract, unlike many teachers who have the summer off.  So one day off during the week doesn't add an extra day at the end of the year.  Yes, the kids are in school longer, but my job essentially stays the same. :)

So when I hear the announcement that school is getting out early, starting late, or is just plain cancelled, all I can do is smile! :) I really enjoy having that extra time at home to get things done, or relax, sit on the couch drinking hot chocolate and watching movies.  And now, with our little man in our lives, I can enjoy said days with him, all cuddled up!

Today, we are getting out early and it looks as though we won't have school tomorrow (forecast looking nasty).  I plan to use that time FINALLY getting up my Christmas tree and decorations, and hopefully finishing off this hat I'm working on. The hat seems to be coming together nicely.  I'm trying to guage how tightly it will fit the recipient based on my head's a little loose on me, but I think on my brother it should fit nicely.  I will also use this hat as a measure for how to fit my husband's hat (same hat, just different colors).  He likes a really tight hat so I may have to subtract a few stitches from the suggested pattern size. 

If I can get the hat done today or tomorrow, I will then go back to the Sisters toy that is sitting neglected in the living room.  I'd like to get that finished and in the presents pile. :)

I hope everyone who is enduring winter weather stays safe.  Remember to be a safe driver, slow down, be cautious.  And stay warm! :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Only a few weeks left before Christmas is upon us.  I hope I can get everything done on my list.  I keep waivering about the scarf I was going to make for my mom.  So tonight I'll go back and look at it, again, to waffle and make a decision.  I hate being indecisive.

As for the hat I'm working on right now, I've started it 3 times now.  The first couple times I made miskakes fairly early on, but far enough that I was annoyed that I'd have to redo it.  I'm not good at frogging just a couple rows and then picking up the stitches, and in one case, it was only 2 rows from the cast-on edge so it wasn't worth saving anyway.  Now I've got stitch markers to indicate the repeats.  This is a bit bothersome b/c the repeat is every 3 stitches, but at least it keeps me on track.  And then if I make a mistake one place, I know I can get back on track very easily.  I'm anxious to see this hat in the end.  I think it's knitting up nicely, and the yarn is so soft.  The colors I chose won't really match anything, but I didn't have anything to go by when I picked the yarn out.  The recipient is getting a coat for Christmas in Navy, and the hat will be in greens....but oh well.  I'm sure he'll like it anyway. 

I've stalled on the Sisters toy for the time being.  I'm really rather anxious to get this hat done, and so the toy is just sitting in a bag on the chair, waiting for more attention.  Maybe I'll get to it later this weekend.  If I can keep on task with the hat, it should be finished fairly quickly.

Friday, December 4, 2009

As Promised

Here is my completed Grumpy Old Bear from Itty Bitty Nursery by Susan B. Anderson.  He was a fun knit.  He would have come together a little quicker but I get busy doing so many things that knitting doesn't always happen. 

This little guy is going to my mom for Christmas.  As she collects bears, I thought she would enjoy him.  I'm really happy with how his expression came out.  My goal this time (aside from color choice) was to make him as similar as the little bear in the book.  I think I succeeded! :)

I cast-on Modern Rib Hat.  This hat is for my brother.  I was planning on making him a hat and scarf, and then he actually asked for one for Christmas.  I must be psychic!  I don't know if I'll get to a scarf, but this hat for sure.  Yarn used was KnitPicks yarn, shine worsted weight in Mallard.  It's so soft and I love the color - very rich!.  It'll be striped with Laurel from the same line of yarn.  I hope he likes it!

Thursday, December 3, 2009


I hate making them.  I'm not a perfectionist, but I hate it when I think I'm getting along pretty well, and then I realize I've forgotten something or made a mistake WAAAY back at the beginning.  Sometimes the mistake is fixable.  In which case, still irksome, but not as problematic.  I don't dwell on it as long because once it's fixed, problem solved!  Well, such was not my luck last night.

Tuesday night I was so proud of myself.  I had finished the dress for Team Pink for the Sisters toy.  I was glad to have successfully worked something in the round, and to my own credit, I thought it looked pretty good.  I was happy with the color choice and the shape, most everything. 

Then last night as I'm knitting dress number 2 for Team Blue, it hits me.  Dress 1 for Team Pink is wrong.  Very very wrong.  So wrong I can't easily fix it.  I have to make the entire thing over again!  Darn.  And darn.  Now, the dress isn't really that big, but for a beginner, somewhat slow knitter, even this small knit piece took some time.  I'm anxious to be faster.  And to make such a big mistake really bothers me. The pattern calls for 2 knit rounds and a purled round, and then to knit again for 2 inches from the purled round.  Then the pattern starts into the decrease rounds.  I forgot to add the 2 inches of knit rounds.  Instead, I had started decreased immediately from the round 3 - the purled round.  No wonder the dress looked so small!!!

This wouldn't be nearly so upsetting if I were able to frog the piece and add in those 2 inches (although that would be going backwards almost as far as just starting over) - but then I could have fixed the original item.  Now I have to make the entire dress over again.  :\

On the plus side, my son really enjoys playing with dress attempt #1 - and now he can put it in his mouth and chew on it to his heart's content.  :)   Before, he wanted to gum all over it, but I wouldn't let him because it's a gift.  Noone wants to be gifted a slobbery toy.  Plus #2 - now I can try my hand at blocking. :)  I've heard the term thrown around a bit, but it wasn't until last night that I truly understood the wonderful magic of blocking.  I'm not sure how to block something round, like a hat or toy piece.  But I'll learn.  Plus #3, I've worked in the round and know I can do it.  And now I can only improve.  My first attempt had some minor imperfections I was happy to let alone, and now, I can improve on that, live and learn I guess! :)

By the way - got a package of yarn yesterday from  I LOVE the colors that I ordered and I think they'll work great for my projects.  I had been looking for just the right yarn for my Christmas projects and now I can start them.  I will be casting on in the very near future - either a hat or scarf.  I can't decide which!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I just have to say - I hate blog titles.  I hate that I have to title my entry every time.  Why can't I just write what's up for that day?  Sometimes I feel more creative than other days and can think of something cute or relevant or whatnot to title a post.  But most days, I really, really dislike them.

I finally did it last night though! I knit in the round!  I think that's what you call it anyway.  I made the skirt from the Sisters toy.  When I got home and sat down with my knitting, I took a look at the few rounds I'd completed.  The right side was on the inside and the wrongside was facing out.  But I was able to turn the work on the needle to where it was supposed to be and luckily there were no twisted stitches so I was able to just keep on going! :)  It's the first time I've ever used decreased, but I did it!  And I think it looks pretty good.  I did the pink dress first.  It reminds me of raspberry sherbet.  Yum!  It did turn out smaller than I thought it would.  But I didn't really look at the measurements of the finished project in the book.  Mostly I was just looking at the pictures.  And with a child holding the toy, I spose that may make something seem larger than it really is.  I cast on the blue dress last night, but haven't done much.  I was going to make one sister and then the other, and then join the two, but I've decided to work on them both at the same time.  I am deaming the sisters Team Pink and Team Blue.  That way I can keep track of what I need done for each sister.  I'm hoping to finish Team Blue's dress tonight.  Hopefully this toy continues to be such a quick knit! 

p.s.  I got Grumpy Bear's face embroidered on so now he's officially completely finished. He's pretty cute.  I think Mom will like him.  I was going to make hiim a sweater, but I think I'll stick with just the scarf. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Grumpy Bear

I have finished another project.  Okay - almost finished.  I still need to embroider on the face to this cute little guy. But all the knitting is complete. 

All of my patterns have come from the same designer, Susan B. Anderson and her collection of Itty Bitty books.  This time it was from Itty Bitty Nursery.  Since this pattern only called for garter stitch, it was simple to create.  The hardest part was actually finding the time to knit it!!  Between work, taking care of my son, and doing other things around the house, it seems like I seldomly sit down to just work on knitting.  Last night we decided to just watch a bit of tv instead of doing other things, which helped me complete the bear.  This will be a Christmas gift for my mom since she collects bears.  I will post a picture of him once I get the face sewn on. 

Other new things - I finally got my needle set from  I purchased the interchangeable options set.  So now I have the most commonly used needles sizes and a few different sized cables to go along with them.  It's taking me a little bit of time getting used to knitting on circular needles, the hold feels a little different to me, and the needles are different since I've used bamboo and aluminum needles in the past.  So these wood needles require a break-in period.  But I have to say I really like them so far.  The needles are smooth and the thread glides easily along, but they are no slippery so as a beginning knitter, I'm not worried about stitches slipping off.  And the colors of the needles are fun. :) The things I'd like to get now are a few project bags as well as a knitting needle organizer.  I have the one the set came with, but it won't fit all my needles, and it just doesn't suit my tastes.  Both of these things I may make over Christmas break instead of buying them since I will have more time to use my mom's sewing machine.  There's no way I'd get it done before then.  I don't think I have any fabric anyway. 

I've also started my next project - which may be more than I realized.  It is the Sisters pattern in Itty Bitty Toys.  It is a reversible toy - both sides are sisters, but they each look different.  I am altering the pattern a little bit to make it suit my sister and I more closely as it will be part of her Christmas present as well.  One sister will be in a pink dress, with blonde, curly (hopefully) hair.  The other sister will be in blue with straight blonde hair.  The pattern calls for braided hair - which I may end up doing, I just haven't decided yet.  It'd be fun to have curly hair since my sister's hair is permed and beautifully curled, but I'm not sure if my skills are that advanced yet.  :)

This is my first time knitting anything w/out seams.  Or knitting in the round.  I had tried a few things previously by starting on dpns, but it was so confusing, I got frustrated and gave up for the time being.  Now that I have a project in mind that requires knitting in the round, I'm determined to learn how.  I have read up on and am trying a new method called magic looping.  It uses a circular needle with a long cable.  It's hard to explain, but I think once I get the hang of it, it'll work really well.  After working a couple rounds last night, I think I may have to frog the work and start fresh.  My stitches aren't twisted, but somehow my stockinette stitch is ending up on the inside of the work instead of the outside.  I'm getting the purled edge facing me.  Essentially, like fabric, I have the wrong side facing out instead of the right side.  Does that make sense?  And I really want to make sure I do this right and that it looks good, so I've got to figure it out before I go much further.  Luckily, I've only got about 4 rounds on my needles. 

And while I work on Sisters, I may also cast-on this Column of Leaves scarf.  This is the other part of my mom's Christmas present.  I'd like to make one for myself and my sister as well, but they may wait until after Christmas.  I'm also going to be making my brother and husband a hat.  It is a new free pattern designed for the Spud and Chloe yarn line, Modern Ribbed Hat.  

So I have an ambitious list - especially as a new knitter.  But I think with a little determination, I can at least get the necessities finished: Sisters, scarf, 2 hats.   My husband knows he's getting the hat, so that's not a surprise, but I want him to have it before everyone else gets their things.  I think I can do it!!