Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Photo from
How have you all spent the day?  We haven't really gotten into the trick-or-treating yet.  Next year, at the earliest.  We mostly observed Halloween today by eating candy that we didn't need.  If I had remembered, I would have dressed X in his Halloween shirt from Grandma Connie. Instead, I forgot, so he's wearing it to bed. :)

Well, would you like to hear about some Finished Objects?

Before the school year started this year my mom and I talked a lot about her Haruni shawl, as well as other knit items.  Mom came to me with the idea of knitting some things that would jazz up her school ID badge. You know the ones I'm talking about.  You attach your ID to a little metal clip, and then clip it somewhere on your body.  A lot of people clip them to pants, but you can't really see much there, let alone a name!  Anyway, Mom was looking for something a little snazzy, and seeing all the pacifier clips I've knit gave her an idea.  What if you took that sort of idea and applied it to an ID badge?

So that's what I did.  I had been looking at a book, 100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet by Lesley Stanfield, that would be perfect for this (as well as to adorn other knit items).  So you'd think that after Mom picked out the flowers and ideas she liked best that I'd get right to work and finish these off, right?  Wrong.  This book and the tabs identifying the right patterns sat in my pile for a long time.  Longer than it should have, I'm ashamed to say!  I was always thinking about them but couldn't quite get the motivation to start them.  Honestly, I think I was a bit intimidated by the idea since it meant improvising a little, as well as learning to crochet.

But the other day, I decided to just jump in and try crochet.  Once I learned a few basic stitches, it was just the inspiration I needed to finish these clips.

So on to the good part - the pictures!

The first clip is a trio of Bluebells tied by a braided yarn ribbon.  Using Knit Picks Shine Sport in River and Comfy Worsted in Honey Dew, I quickly knit these up in a couple nights.  It could be done in 1 night.

I love that the inside of the Bluebells is just a tassel attached to the base of the "bell" and fluffed a bit.  I think it's my favorite part of the entire flower.
I also learned a new way to fold over and seam the cast-on edge to form the scalloped top of the flower.  This is the same effect as my Reading Mitts, but on the mitts, I just folded over the edge and whipstitched it to the inside of the mitt.  This pattern calls for lining up stitches on the left needle and stitches of the cast-on edge and k2tog.  Once you've done this, you've still got live stitches and you can move forward from there.  Pretty cool, huh?  Cool, yes.  Easy?  Not at all - instead pretty fiddly.  But I'd use the technique again.

Next I worked on a couple crochet patterns.  The next clip is the Pelargonium flower.  This pattern calls for you to crochet 5 flowers, then knot them together at the base and single crochet (sc) around the yarn tails, which creates one compact stem.

Here I used yarn in Claret, along with Knit Picks Comfy Worsted in Honey Dew. The pattern calls for fine yarn, but I didn't have any.  Make do with what you have, right?

I only crocheted 3 flowers since this was meant as an ID clip.  I didn't think there was enough room for all 5.  Three is still good.  If I'd do anything differently here, it would be to block or perhaps starch the flowers a bit.  All the petals roll inwards and make it a little difficult to see how pretty these flowers are.   The sc stem was a pain in the butt for a new crocheter.  I had a hard time holding on to the yarn tails while crocheting around them.  The effect is neat I suppose.
These will be great through the Christmas season as the red really pops and fits in with all the holiday cheer.

Finally, I crocheted an Orange-Tip Butterfly.  This was much easier than I thought it would be.

I used in Black, and Knit Picks Shine Sport in Caution and White.
This crocheted piece could also do with a little starching, just so that the wings open up and stay in place.
All 3 FOs have a snap "front" attached to the back of the item.  The other half of the snap (the snap back) is sewn to the ID badge.  I've asked Mom to bring me another clip so I can give her another clip that has the snap back glued to the clip with my hot-glue gun.  I think this will be plenty sturdy, and much easier and neater than sewing the snap on.  The snap is strong enough to hold on the knit/crocheted item, but not so large to be heavy or visible from the front.   So all Mom has to do now is snap off one flower and snap on a new one! (Clap On...Clap Off...)

All of these took very minimal amounts of yarn.  It only made sense to go stash-diving on this one.  My plan is to make a few more clips to take Mom through a few holidays and the different seasons.  What a fun way to make that boring little clip a little more interesting! :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Favorites 10/29

I'm switching it up just a little bit today for Friday Favorites.  I've got a list of things I'd like to share, but just wasn't feeling like they were quite right for today.  Maybe it's because I spent yesterday with a handful of kids.  Today's featured favorites are Children's Movies.  I've had so many discussions with my mom about what's on television now, and how much of it is not appropriate for little kids.  It's nice to know there are some things that you can always fall back on, that's both appropriate and that the kids will enjoy.

Which then brings me to Disney.  I've known people here and there who don't like Disney and think Disney is horrible, but I'm not one of them! :)  I love Disney!  Especially old Disney (non-animated) classics, like the ones with the young Kurt Russell or Dean Jones.

Anyway, today I just figured I'd share a few of my favorite Disney Classics (the animated features).

101 Dalmatians
The Little Mermaid
There's not a whole lot I want to say about these movies, other than my sister and I watched these over and over and over as kids.  Especially Sunday afternoons, after we'd come home from church, we'd pop in one of these 4 movies.  As you can probably imagine, we know all the words to all the songs and the entire film.  Literally.  Cinderella and Bambi were "my" movies.  I don't remember which I got first, but it's almost as though since they were my first 2 Disney movies, they would always be the best.  101 Dalmatians and The Little Mermaid were my sister's movies. They were her first movies as well.  And C LOVED Dalmatians, so that was a perfect fit. :) In any case, in my opinion, these are great movies for little kids.  Some might not think they stack up to the CGI films like Monsters Inc. or Ice Age, etc. but they're pretty great! :) 

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Lil' Punkin'

So you all know by now that I love fall.  This certainly includes any baby/toddler knits that remind me of fall! :)  Last year around this time I found the cutest little hat for X to wear.  He was only 7 months old at the time and wasn't too concerned about whether he had a hat on or not.  I found a pumpkin hat.  I had seen a picture of someone else's little boy wearing the same hat and so I asked her where she got it.  She told me it was from Gymboree or some place like that and she had found it online.  I quickly hopped on the internet and found the hat she was talking about and that I had seen.  X wore this hat for a LONG time, well after we'd had our first snowfall.
This was was just a basic knit hat in stockinette stitch.  It had a stem and a couple leaves just like Susan's pattern except much more basic.  X and I got tons of compliments on this hat, everyone loved it.  I probably paid somewhere between $10-15 for the hat.  I bought it before I knew how to knit, but every time I looked at it I kept thinking, this really couldn't be that hard to make, could it?  I could do something like that!
So imagine my delight when I discovered Susan had included such a pattern in her Itty Bitty Hats book!  (Which I purchased shortly after looking through Itty Bitty Toys and joining Ravelry.)  Thinking back, I can't believe I paid so much for a little hat I could make myself for so little!  And Susan's version is cuter, if you ask me.

So this fall, when the weather started turning cooler, my immediate thoughts were on Little Pumpkin by Susan B Anderson.  And then I was off and running.
There's a Pumpkin Hat KAL (knit-a-long) on Ravelry, but I needed X's hat finished before it started so he could wear it to the community Spook Walk.

This hat is super simple in construction.  If you can knit, purl and decrease, you're in business.  There's only one color change.  The leaf is knit separately and attached at the end.  Certainly an easy hat for a beginner.

I knit X's hat with KnitPicks Shine Worsted in this lovely color of Marmalade.  I had 3 skeins of this color left over from another knit project for a friend.  Since I already had it in my stash and it was the perfect color, I went ahead and got started.  For the stem I used KP Swish Worsted in Truffle and the leaves were made from KP Shine Worsted in Laurel.  All of this was from my stash and it felt SO nice to use yarn I already had (it also meant I could start right away!).

Knit in the 1-2 year size, this hat could easily fit an older child.  In some of the pictures you can see it's on an adult-sized styrofoam head.  It's a bit more stretched out this way, but it's a good example of how much wearer-flexibility there is.

I chose to add 2 leaves instead of just one.  Hubby helped make that decision.  We both agreed it looked even better this way!

So even though he wouldn't keep it on very long at first, this little hat did keep my lil' punkin's head warm as the night progressed and it got cooler. It was a great hat for the Spook Walk and we received several compliments on the hat.
And just because he's so cute, here's X in his costume, a little puppy dog.  He kept pulling the hood down so by the time we got to the booths, he was a pumpkin-headed puppy, but I don't think he minded. :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Weekend Favorites

Yesterday was a pretty busy day for me.  And, well, today was spent doing a lot of what I wanted to do.  It's nice to have free time.  In quick news before I share a few favorites of the week, I thought I'd tell you about a few WIPs.

I've decided to learn to crochet, so I picked up The Happy Hooker by Debbie Stoller and a little pamphlet called Easy Crochet Critters.  After doing a couple practice swatches and learning the stitches, I decided to work on a project.  I started with the Elephant in the Easy Crochet Critters book.  The body, head and trunk are done.  Just the ears, tail and legs are left. :) He's turning out okay.  I'm definitely still more comfortable with knitting!

I've also been knitting one of Susan's patterns, Finger Foods.  I've got 1 pear done.  3 more fruits left. :) I've  also finished a hat for X and started another hat.  I forget how quick hats can be! :)

So moving on to my favorites.  I'll call it Weekend Favorites today since it's obviously not Friday.  Today I'm going to feature a recent obsession of mine.  Two little words, well really just one name, sum it all up.  Jared Flood.  I have fallen IN LOVE with everything he does!  Jared's work has been around for awhile but I find that I'm constantly discovering new designers and patterns and yarn that just speak to me as a crafter! :) (Brooklyn Tweed website)

I'm only focusing on a few things today, but I highly recommend you head over to Jared's website and check out all his work.  He is VERY talented!  Last week I featured his Grove and Druid mittens during Friday Favorites.  I could probably mention something every week! :)  Anyway....

This cabled, 2x2 ribbed scarf is enchanting.  The color choices Jared makes for his designs are always impeccable, as they show off the beauty of his designs.  Something about this scarf is wonderful.  This may be something I knit for myself. :) 

by Jared Flood

Photos by brooklyntweed

On his website, Jared says this blanket was inspired by a vintage family heirloom.  This blanket certainly fits that mold!  This delicate, lace pattern caught my attention immediately.  This pattern is a must.  I have plans for this pattern.  I love baby blankets and love them even more when they're unique.  This qualifies.  To read more about this blanket, check it out HERE

New American Wool from Brooklyn Tweed

Photos by brooklyntweed

No, this is not a knitting pattern.  Obviously.  This is the new yarn line that Jared has recently released.  From the moment I heard about it, I was curious.  I'm dying to try it out.  I can't do it justice by trying to explain it on my blog, so again I direct you to the website which explains the history of this beautiful yarn.  

My favorite colorway?  Faded Quilt.   
Now, I have to stop and tell you right now that for the past week or so I cannot think of anything else other than the Shale Baby Blanket knit with Shelter in Faded Quilt.  The photo above of the Shale blanket is knit in sweatshirt which is amazing too.  But this, imo, would be the ultimate! :)  So if anyone is feeling VERY generous, feel free to send me a skein or two or 6 of Shelter my way! :)  

So...yeah....I sound obsessed, right?  It's okay.  I don't frequently feel this way about a particular pattern or designer.  I may admire or love a piece of knitting or a certain pattern, but I rarely think about the pattern all day (or week) long.   But honestly, I'm not the only one who does this, right?  .....right??

And also, I think with a post such as this, I should probably mention that I was not asked to review or mention any of these items and was not compensated in any way, but rather they are personal favorites of mine and can't help but talk about them. :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wrapping Up

The Itty Bitty Teddy Bear Picnic swap is coming to an end.  The final packages are being sent out and received and it's so much fun to see what everyone opens their package to find. :)

Yesterday after a somewhat trying day at work, I came home to find a parcel sitting on the buffet. :)  This made me very happy because I knew exactly what it was and where it came from.  I immediately put everything else to the side, called X to come sit with me, and dove into the package.  Raili, you really outdid yourself!  Raili, or Armida21 to those of us on Ravelry was my gracious swap partner.  She picked out so many neat things for both X and me.

So now I bet you'd all like to see some pictures, right?  Well then, let's get to it!

I'll start off with one of two final required elements.  The tea set.  Raili chose to knit the Cupcake Tea Set from Itty Bitty Nursery.  She picked gorgeous, bright colors in green and blue.  It makes the tea set perfect for a little boy (and well, let's just be honest, it would be great for a girl no matter's a tea set after all!).  There were 2 tea cups, 1 teapot, a sugar bowl & lid with 4 little sugar cubes (so cute!), a creamer dish, 5 plates in various sizes, 2 stirring spoons, 2 tea bags and 6 little cupcakes!  I demonstrated for X how to "nibble" on the cupcakes and sip from the cups and he caught on very quickly.  He was having a lot of fun with this tea set.  In fact, I had a hard time getting photos because he kept running off with pieces.  I say again, perfect!

Which brings me to the last and final element of the swap, the baked goodies!   Raili was afraid any homemade goodies wouldn't make it as far as this package had to travel so instead she included 2 recipes for some food she thought would be great for a picnic, including banana muffins and cow pies.  It'll be fun to try these!  She also included 8 packs of tea in some of her favorite flavors for me to try.  I've never really tasted much tea and I don't drink it regularly, but now's a good time to start and see what I think.  And with the cold weather setting in, it's a nice alternative to hot chocolate (I don't drink coffee...).
Now, if you all are like me, you look at that knit tea set and cupcakes and think, WOW!  That's a lot of knitting!  But she didn't stop there.  She included several more items that she crocheted!  Starting with this adorable little crocheted bear, a little brother to Teddy (from swap parcel 2), X's sleeping companion.     If I'm correct, I think this little guy is made from Sugar'N'Cream cotton in Chocolate Ombre.  I have the same yarn in my stash! :)  And he's a great size - he fits in X's hand just right.
And what's better than some handmade, crocheted washcloths?  And a little bar of pretty smelling soap to top it off?  I love knit and crocheted washcloths.  We have some from J's grandma that I received at my bridal shower several years ago.  They have become some of my favorite washcloths.  But these are for me and I plan to squirrel them away to use myself so they don't get thrown in with the kitchen linens. :)
And the final piece of crocheted-goodness?  A crocheted pincushion in the shape of a doughnut.  Isn't it cute?!  This is fantastic because I've only ever kept my sewing pins in the little box they came in.  I'm constantly poking my fingers while trying to get a pin out.  This will sit by my sewing machine, I love it!
And speaking of sewing, Raili included several fat quarters to add to my fabric collection.  I know I'll be able to put these to good use.  The fabrics, as you can see, include some blues and greens and even some kitties!  And do you see the tape measure?  I'll probably stash this with my knitting notions as I love these types of tape measures best.  I love that it's square.  X liked it too.  He knows how to work the release button on these and snatched it up pretty quickly (until he saw the rest of what was in the
How's my yarn stash you ask?  Growing. :)  This time I received some incredibly soft Paton's Angora Bamboo yarn.  2 skeins.  I've already searched Ravelry for a couple patterns that would be good with this yarn.  :)  Including Diagonal Eyelet Hand Warmers and this Lotus Hat.
Okay, we're almost to the end.  Hang in there with me! :)  I don't know if I've ever mentioned this or not, but I love paisley.  I see paisley incorporated into something (a men's tie, a shirt, a knit piece, on stationary) and I love it. :) So imagine how excited I was to find 2 notepads and a set of pens all decorated in paisley! :)  Raili must be psychic. :)
And although X loves all the knit items and will definitely play with them all, she also included a Winnie the Pooh Bear book for him.  He sat down to read it with Daddy almost right away.
And all of this lovely swap package was sent in a beautiful storage box with flowers and musical notes adorning it's surface.
Okay, okay...I PROMISE...these are the last photos of the day.  To wrap it all up, I just wanted to share photos of all 3 swap packages in one place.  I was spoiled, more than spoiled.  And in the process of being spoiled, I got to know Raili a lot better.  She's a terrific and talented person and I wish we lived closer because I think she'd be a TON of fun to hang out with!
Parcel 1
Parcel 2
Parcel 3
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Raili!  You've made this swap the best experience it could be! :)