Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Favorites 4/29: Sweaters

Happy Friday, Readers!

This week I'm going to share with you some of my recent favorite sweaters.  Sweaters are a funny thing for me.  There are a lot in my Favorites, and I've admired many a sweater made by friends, but I've never been convinced I have the skill to complete a sweater for myself.  So all those lovely patterns are there for me to look at, but I've never considered taking the dive.

This might be the year that all changes!  Lately I've been more and more intrigued by the idea of a loose-fitting cardigan of sorts that I could wear while pregnant.  Right now I'm leaning towards a cardigan that doesn't button closed, but I could easily change that by adding a button at the end, right?   And then, hopefully, the sweater will be useful after little baby has arrived.

So here are my most recent favorites that are potential sweaters for knitting!

All Photos by Tunney Wool Company

This seems like a fairly simple, straight-forward design to me.  I think I was initially drawn to it because of the color shown, but really, my favorite detail is in the collar.  I love how the designer added tabs on each side to button down the collar.  I think it's worth taking a look at.  And while you're checking out this pattern, be sure to check out Cecily's other designs - she's got some beautiful patterns!

Photos by WoolTherapy

This cardi appeals to me because of the detail on the back.  The leaves climbing up the center back give it some interest, as well as a break from the ever-monotonous stockinette stitch.   While looking through the projects of other knitters, I see that the length seems pretty varied.  I would most likely knit it a little longer (if I could figure out how) because I hate it when sweaters are just a little too short.  The only thing I'm not sure about on this sweater is because it is loose, it is quite baggy under the arms and around to the front.  But it's still on my list of sweaters to consider. 

Photos by simplebeans

I have to admit that seeing this project for the first time on a pregnant woman was what drew me in.  Since I troll my "friends activity" page every day, when someone else favorited this project, so did I.  The cabled collar that goes around the neck, down the front and then turns into pockets on each side is lovely.  There were several versions that had a single button or hook to close it just a bit, which I thought was a great idea.  This cardigan looks like something I could wear to work, but would also be really comfy lounging at home on the couch. 

I hope you enjoyed a look into my favorites this week.  I'll keep you updated on whether or not I have the nerve to take the plunge!

Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

WIP Wednesday 4/27

Things have finally started to move along on the crafty front.  I'm no longer experiencing constant nausea and my energy levels are up, which means more time to knit, sew, or do whatever.  Now, I'm not back to full-speed-ahead, and knitting for short spans of time seems to be the way to go, but it's good to know I'm leaving that stage of pregnancy!

What have I been knitting you ask?  Well, you saw the Frog Hat last week.  It's finished now, and you'll be seeing it soon.  I've also finished one of two binky clips.  The last will be done by the end of the week. 

So this week, it's a bit of a fresh start of my WIPs.  At the beginning of the year, I worked really hard to plow through some of my UFOs.  I got a lot done, but I'm not done yet.  I need to pick up the Bathrobe again, but I don't have time at the moment.  I'll get back to it. 

This week I started the cupcake hat from the Cupcake Baby Set.  This is for the Cupcake Swap.  I imagine it will go fairly quickly.  I'm really excited about the yarn I'm choosing to use.  I hope the recipient likes it.  I'm doing a little modifying to make the colors work, but I think it'll be okay.  I wish I could share more details, but I really don't want to spoil any surprises.  So you'll have to settle for what I have finished thus far (any guesses on the yarn?):
I will also be knitting the Cupcake Pincushion, but that probably won't get started until next week.  At that time, I'll also cast on for a project I've been dying to knit for a long time.  It's the Baby Pears Blanket Buddy by Julie L. Anderson.  I think this little guy is adorable and will be so sweet when finished.  :)  
I also have to mention that we've been talking a lot about working with polymer clay in the Itty Bitty Forums as of late and I have a feeling that this weekend I'll be pulling out my stash to make a few goodies...  Curious yet? :) 

So, that's what's on the needles this week! Happy Crafting!

Monday, April 25, 2011

You're Going to Think All I Do Is Swap!

Now that I'm catching up on what I've been up to, I realize most of my latest posts all relate to swaps.  I bet some of you are thinking, geez, does she ever do anything else?  Well, yes...but these have really been the most exciting things for me lately.  :)

So today I share with you what I sent in the Itty Bitty Easter Swap.  My swap recipient was Susan Anderson of the Itty Bitty line.  You've all heard me talk and rave about her patterns and such.  I was so excited to receive Susan's name in the swap, I knew I had to make it special.
So again, the requirements here were a yarn kit with all you need to make some sort of Easter-related pattern that Susan had designed, to include bunnies, chicks, chocolate, and something made by us.

The chocolate was the easy part.  I sent Susan A LOT of candy.  Luckily, she said it was all well-received and her family enjoyed the tasty treats. :)

The next part became a little more difficult.  I knew I could find some kind of chick or bunny-related item, but how to incorporate all those elements?  And the really hard part (okay, not so much hard, as just needing a work-around) was the kit.  I first thought about sending Susan a kit with yarn and such for a pattern that was NOT her own.  She already has all her patterns and has knitted all the items.  Something new would be fun.  But Susan was adamant in the forums that she didn't need any yarn and certainly didn't need a kit.  So what next?  Read on and you'll find out!

A lot of swappers fill out a questionnaire to help the gifter find things that their giftee would like.  Susan made it just as easy because I could go back through her blog and find things she'd highlighted at different times.  Patterns she liked or wanted to try, yarns she oogled, roving she admired, etc.

So this was what she ended up with:

First off - all the chocolate: Cadbury Mini Eggs and Easter M&Ms, chocolate covered peeps, and Lindt chocolates in the shape of sheep, chicks, rabbits and carrots.  There were also Reeses chocolate bunnies and Cadbury eggs, orange jelly beans.  I made little baskets for her kids at home, which also included egg-shaped erasers for the girls.  There may have been more, but I can't remember...

I included Easter cookie cutters (chick, bunny & flower), along with Easter sprinkles.  And an egg-shaped dish to eat all the goodies from! :)

I saw on Susan's website she had been wanting to knit An Unoriginal Hat by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, so hoping she wouldn't mind, I went ahead and knit one for her, out of Malabrigo Rasta.  (She had also mentioned wanting to try this yarn).  I loved the Rasta and would really like to use it for another project. It was soft and squishy and will make for a great winter hat!  The colorway here was Indecieta.   It used almost a full skein of yarn, which just a little leftover to use just in case you need a fix here or there.

I enjoyed knitting the hat, but had to put it in time-out for awhile because after restarting it 3 times, I just wasn't getting anywhere.  The pattern is simple and I should have been able to follow it, but I couldn't.  I kept making mistakes.  So for a time it hid in it's project bag until I was ready to tackle it with fresh eyes!

I also sent Susan some lovely roving (because roving isn't yet yarn so she couldn't argue) from Maine Woods Yarn and Fiber in Hyacinth.  I could have squished this all day!
There were also colored pencils, Easter kitchen towels and a little notions/tools bag with little bunnies all over.  (I indulged and got myself a bag or two like this as well, with birds on them.)
So this is how the package was mailed out.  I sent a follow-up package with the remainder of the goodies because 1) I was spacey and forgot some of the items and 2) I hadn't finished knitting the 2nd item yet!  I also sent a set of 5 stitch markers I made using yellow & clear beads, which should be light and spring-esque, as well as an Iowa magnet that didn't make it in the first box.

The last item of the package was a little knit chick.  The pattern was Gordan, Jamie & Hugh Chickens by Janice Anderson.  I thought Susan would enjoy this quirky little chick.  He was a really quick knit.  There were lots of little pieces, but they were fast because it was all chaining with a crochet hook.  Squishy took him for a test run and he now has one leg longer than the other, but that just makes him special! I felt like this chick satisfied the "chick" requirement for the swap.  He was made from Cascade Fixation in red, purple, cream and yellow.

So Susan - enjoy all the goodies! I certainly enjoyed putting it all together for you!! :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Favorites 4/22: Babies!

Because I haven't been spending a lot of time online, I don't have a lot of knitting favorites to share with you this week.  Yes, my list of favorites on Ravelry is miles and miles long, but I haven't gone through them lately to pick anything out.

So today I'll just share with you a different sort of favorite. :)  

The reason I haven't been online much and haven't been posting much lately is because I really don't have that much energy or motivation to get things done.  And THAT'S because Mr. Man and I are going to have another baby and Squishy's going to be a big brother!! :)  Family and a lot of friends already know the news, but I thought it was about time to share it here.  This week will mark just 11 weeks, so just in the first trimester. 

I've had a lot of exhaustion and nausea, which sort of incapacitates me when I want to get busy crafting.  I look forward to the second trimester when that will be alleviated just a little.  

My due date is 11/11, so we'll have a Fall baby.  The perfect time for fresh-knit baby hats!

So that's my favorite of the week (okay, and the month and probably the next several months!) :)  

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

More Swap Goodies

I've really been slacking in sharing all the wonderful goodies I've received in swaps.  A couple weeks ago, I shared my Easter swap package from Mary Rose.  This week I thought it was time to finally share my swap package from the March Sewing Swap.

This swap was part of the Sewing Daily boards on Ravelry.  A small group of us decided to participate in a small sewing swap.  The requirements included a yard (or equivalent) of fabric, a handmade sewn item and any other notions or goodies we'd like to include.  We had a maximum $ limit set and we were off.

My package came from the wonderfully generous Elly! (IKnitCupcakes)  Elly does great work with a sewing machine and I was so thrilled to receive a package from her.

All the goodies came boxed up in this lovely storage box (I can always use more of these!).
Inside I found a chocolate peanut butter bunny, yummy sour bunny gummies (these are so fun!), and a duck cookie cutter.  Mr. Man especially has enjoyed the chocolate peanut butter bunny - it's his favorite candy (yep, I decided to share...). )   There were also a set of 4 mini notebooks to stash in my project bags when knitting and a fun plaster project to paint your own figurines.  I figure I'll have Squishy help me with that one. :)
For the sewing elements Elly sent a yard of John Deere tractor fabric for a quilt I will be making Squishy in the future.  It's perfect fabric and just the kind of thing I keep my eyes open for.  She also sent a 2" template set for quilt making that I look forward to putting to good use. :)  She also included a couple packages of fun buttons, one Easter related and the other different forms of transportation (which will be fun for Squishy!).

And finally, the handmade sewn elements - I got two!  The first is a quilted basket to store all sorts of little goodies.  Elly said this was her first time quilting and I think she did a great job!

The second item is a little box bag to add to my collection of project bags. :)  This is my favorite element of the entire swap and almost as soon as I saw it in the box, I had it filled and ready to put to good use.  This little bag is really neat.  It's a box bag, but instead of the handle being on the side, it's on the top.  And instead of one strap, it's two straps that connect.  Then, when you're knitting, you can pull apart the straps and lay them to the side while you access all your knitting goodies inside the bag. :)

This bag is perfect for those small projects.  I've been toting around a baby hat for a couple weeks, with notions and all and it fits great.  I can fit about 1 1/2 - 2 balls of yarn in the bag and not feel like it's too full.  Although I've never knit them before, it seems as though it'd be a great size for sock knitting.  Elly did a great job on designing this bag and I think we should all encourage her to sell them in her Etsy shop (she doesn't have one yet, but has talked about it and I think this would be a great item to sell).
So, Elly, thank you, thank you!  I love it all.  :)  I feel really spoiled. :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

WIP Wednesday 4/20

Guess what? I actually have some photos to share with you today! :)

I still haven't been as busy with knitting as I'd like to be.  I'm still plowing through Etsy orders, which take a lot of my time that might normally be devoted to needles and yarn.  But I just finished a big order that's taken me twice as long as it should have, just due to lack of energy.  But now that I've got that order out of the way, the remainder of my Etsy orders feel a lot more manageable.  And the case I finished last night was actually very simple and a lot of fun to put together.  Hopefully my customer feels the same way!

So back to my WIPs.  I've got a deadline looming over me for some baby shower items I told my sister I would make.  The shower is April 25th.  The items?  A hat and two pacifier clips.

The nursery for the baby is frog-themed, so Sis asked for a frog hat, a frog clip and an elephant clip.  I haven't yet started the clips.  The only clip I'm really concerned about with time is the frog clip.  The pattern isn't complicated and the finished knit is small, but there are SO many pieces that can be time-consuming.

I will start (and finish) the elephant clip tonight, I'm sure.

The frog hat is actually a modified pattern.  I'm using the Bunny Tail pattern from Itty Bitty Hats by Susan B. Anderson.  The hat is simple stockinette, but the neat part comes at the top after the decreases.  The stitches are divided in half and for the bunny (or bear) hat, each half of the stitches becomes an ear.  My modification included shortening the ear portion A LOT to make the ears look like frog eyes.  I believe I knit 7 rounds on each "eye" before doing the remainder of the decreases.  I think it should work out really well.
I'm trying to decide what to do for the eyes.  The hat is the 0-6 month size, intended to be worn around the 3-6 month stage.  So in case the baby gets ahold of the hat in her mouth, I don't want to use removable eyes.  I like the eyes on the toy, Ribbit, so maybe those - with some eyelashes for a girl.  We'll see. I need to do some hunting on Ravelry.  Sis has also asked for a little box to sit on the frog's head to indicate a girl.  So I also need to find a bow pattern.
Ribbit, photo by Susan B. Anderson
Think I can finish on time?

Next up on the list are a few swap knits, as well as some baby items.  The baby items aren't top priority, but none of them should take long since they're so small and quick.

What's on your needles this week?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Yes, I'm Still Here

It seems as though that's what a lot of bloggers have said lately.  Maybe because of the seemingly long winter and just being worn out from all the gray and cold.  And now that it's sunny and nice out (at least where I live), we don't want to stay cooped up inside all the time, but instead like to get out in the fresh air.

Anyway, I'm still around although the last few weeks my blogging has been less than great.  I know today is Friday, but I'm going to skip Friday Favorites this week.  (Obviously, WIP Wednesday didn't get any attention either!)

There's a lot right now that's keeping me busy, while at the same time I don't feel like I'm doing much of anything.  I've been knitting a bit, and I'll be sharing more of that with you next week.  I've done a lot of sewing, but it's mostly for the shop, so not anything too exciting.  I've got some swap stuff to share with you all, as well.

There are projects on the needles.  Unfortunately, the Bathrobe has seen no progress.  There are other items I need to get finished up and delivered before I'll go back to that.

Hopefully soon I'll be back to a regular posting schedule.  :) Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Favorites 4/8: Swaps

I'm sorry for not posting much recently.  This week has been absolutely crazy, and last week...well...just didn't get around to much posting.  My crafting has taken a back seat to other things that needed to get done.  Hopefully this weekend that will change a bit.  I did actually get some knitting in on a car-ride yesterday.

But today is Friday and it's time for Friday Favorites.  My most recent favorite thing is the Easter swap package from my friend, Mary Rose!  I have seriously been slacking in telling you all how wonderful, thoughtful and generous she is. :)
This swap was fairly simple.  It incorporated the letters B and C.  Bunnies and Bilbies (click HERE to learn more about them) and Chickens and Chocolate.  You had to craft one item for the swap yourself, and include a kit for one of Susan's bunny or chick patterns.

One afternoon I came home from work after getting a text from Mr. Man telling me there was a package from "so and so" and did I know what it was.  Of course I knew who he was talking about and what the package was.  I had lots to do that day, but I put it all off until I could open the package.  And here's what it contained:

Mary Rose included so many cool things. As always, it was packaged in a beautiful storage box.  I love these boxes and keep my yarn in them.
Starting with the sweets, there's several kinds of chocolate and some marshmallow Bunny Legs just for Squishy.
I got some really neat Easter-themed items including a blue metal chick (which Squishy LOVES and wants to hold at least once a day), a glass chicken (who is spunky and radiates personality), chick towels and Easter chick socks. There were also some really neat Easter window clings. :)  I also can't forget the bunny and chick cookie cutters!  Squishy and I will enjoy these!

The kit that Mary Rose included was 3 skeins of Simple Worsted Cotton in Marshmallow and Dogwood Heather for the Bunny pattern from Itty Bitty Toys.  I've been wanting to this guy!  There were so many cute bunnies from last Easter, I may have to steal their ideas!  There was also bunny stitch markers, a row counter, US 5 dpns, embroidery floss and a needle sizer.  Awesome!  And a blue project bag to fit it all in!  There's also a really cute knitting keychain which has already been attached to a notions bag of mine. :)

I also got four skeins of Knit Picks Gloss in Kenai to knit the Pea Vines, a shawl pattern she gifted me with while I was sick.  I really appreciated getting the pattern while I was feeling so crummy!

One of the coolest items in the box was a little crocheted bilby!  What a unique and wonderful find on Etsy!  He's a tiny little puppet for Squishy.  I love him, Squishy loves him.  He's a great edition to the knit toys box. :)
And saving the knit item for last, I got an adorable little bunny from Knit Simple 2010 Holiday Edition, the Woodland Creatures collection by Susan Anderson.  I love that little bunny.  I know Mary Rose had a hard time parting with him, but I see him every day when I come home and sit down from work and he always brings me a smile.  He's squishy and soft and wonderful!

So thank you, Mary Rose!  We love everything.  We've enjoyed the knits and the chocolate and marshmallows, the knitting notions and yarn (okay, that's maybe just me...).  You did it again!  :)