Sunday, July 24, 2016

Rockies Sockies

Last night was Star Wars night at Coor's Field. While I'm not a big sports fan, or Star Wars fan for that matter, I do like a good event and last night was a great one! We took a pedicab to the baseball field, which is always a fun way to get to the park quickly. The folks that operate the pedicabs are a delightful bunch and yesterday's experience was no exception - once we reached our destination, the driver had Naomi squealing in delight as he treated her to her very own 'figure of eight' fairground style turns! I love this shot we were able to snap - the Colorado shirt with the iconic Union Station in the background. Aah gott a love Colorado.
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There were lots of cool details at the ball park last night: A Star Wars costume parade around the field. Dinger, the mascot, donned in a Jedi cloak and carrying a light saber. I also enjoyed that each time a player was announced on the board, he had been assigned a Star Wars character. Naturally the Rockies represented the good guys, and the opposing team were all Stormtroopers! My favourite was the bearded Charlie Blackmon as Chewy!
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As we were at a Rockies game it seemed only right that I dug out my Rockies sock yarn to knit on. Isn't this colorway perfect! I always get a few funny looks when knitting at a game - but this is a few hours of sitting time... a perfect time to knit! Does anyone else knit at sporting events? I know there used to be annual stitch and pitch events where knitters would gather and craft at the game. Soo much fun!
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Rockies Sockies
Plus the Rockies colorway beats the boring black man sock that I also have on the needles right now.
Boring Black man sock
Hope you have had a fun weekend too.
Love,
Sam

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Gnomes

I've been having fun putting together a couple of gifts for a friend that likes gnomes. First is a simple wooden box that is embellished with a cross stitch gnome on the lid.
Gnome cross stitch box
The box is a Hand Made Modern wooden box from Target, and the gnome pattern comes from the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery's Woodland Sampler (you have to decrease the height of the gnome hat to make it fit).  I started with cross stitch thread but wasn't getting the coverage I wanted, and then changed to use sock yarn from my stash.
Gnome cross stitch box
I think it turned out pretty cute. Turns out that I wasn't the only one - Naomi asked if I would make a box for her too. For her box I opted for a simple initial in colours that match her room.
Cross stitch boxes
This is a simple, quick and easy project. There are some fiddly elements - dealing with the lid as you stitch and tucking in the end of each threads But otherwise it's a straightforward make, with a cute result.

The other project is a storage basket made from the adorable Heather Ross gnome fabric, together with some Michael Miller polka dots.
Gnome yarn basket
The pattern is a modified version of the popular, free pattern: One Hour Basket from Hearts and Bees. My modifications were to make it larger:
  • I cut 4 pieces of fabric that were 17 x 21 inches
  • The square cutouts for each corner were 3.5 inches
  • I folded over approx 3 inches of the polka dot fabric at the top of the basket and top stitched across the top and bottom of this polka dot band

Gnome yarn basket
The storage basket is quite floppy - which could be a result of the larger size. But if I were to do this again, I'd probably use a stiffer interfacing. However, with enough yarn stashed inside, it stands up quite nicely :)
Yarn in the basket
Hope that you are having a fabulous weekend.
Love,
Sam
xxx

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Handspun socks

I hope that you are well and enjoying summer. I've been absent due to work and family travels. It's been a great few weeks. Of course travel time means lots of craft time, which has resulted in a pair of handspun socks.
Handspun socks
A few weeks back I picked up this wonderful yarn from BockStark knits on Etsy. I am really fond of handspun and these colours are very soothing.
Bockstark handspun
There is no pattern for these - just a plain old vanilla sock.  I thought that best with all the interest from the yarn.
Handspun socks
These kept me company on our travels to, and within, the UK. Plane knitting, train knitting etc... We had such a great time with family in the UK, and were able to get out and about - walking the Roman walls in Chester, visiting historic buildings, checking out Wimbledon, walks along the beach front...
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Salmesbury Hall
Salmesbury Hall
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One crafty highlight from the trip: There is a factory that prints Liberty fabric not too far from where my family live. Adjacent to the factory is a factory shop!!! My sister took to me the factory store one weekend, and I picked up a few bags of Liberty scraps as well as some pre-cut bundles. We had such a great time, and came home with fabulous loot, that I was able to tempt my Mum to take me back there the following week. It would be dangerous if this was on my doorstep!
Liberty of London fabrics
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Liberty meter, 1/2 meter, 1/4 meter bundles
Liberty scraps
Back in Colorado now, and hiding indoors from this crazy heat.
Stay cool friends.
Love,
Sam
xxx

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Stitch People: Cross Stitch Family

After seeing the birth announcement cross stitch, one of my family asked if I would make a family portrait with cartoon type people and an uplifting statement underneath as a daily reminder to be grateful for all that you have. Well, of course I was going to say yes to that!
Stitch people: brother family
I enjoy the research process almost as much as the crafting itself, and it wasn't long before I found the Stitch People site. What a fantastic source of inspiration with numerous customized family and wedding portraits. Plus you can order their book to guide you through creating your own custom versions: The book includes the designs for multiple different hair, outfit and accessory types, plus it has a great section for different dog and cat types. Naturally I now own a copy.
Stitch people: brother family
I started by picking out some photographs of the happy family, and then looking in the Stitch People book for those characteristics and outfits that would represent the family members. Once I had the selected design elements I copied them onto graph paper - this became my 'pattern'. From there it was a case of picking from my supply of threads to create the portrait. I cant tell you how much fun I had with this process, trying to make sure I reflected some of the details of this family:
  • Ooh she likes sparkle - let me stitch her a pink sparkle top
  • I rarely see her without heels... yep, these ankle boots with a heel are perfect!
  • Now for him, a black t-shirt is a frequent go-to top
  • One of his arms is a multicolour sleeve tattoo and the other is sepia, let me build that in ...making sure I get the arms correct (yes, there are even hints and tips for how you add details such as tattoos into your design)
  • The dogs are both German Shepherds but with their own distinct colouring that I was able to build in

Stitch people: brother family
As for the saying, I found this one on Pinterest - it is short, simple, but really conveys the desired feeling behind the original request.

I am grateful that I get to spend time with my family very soon, and deliver this one in person.
What are you grateful for?

Big hugs,
Sam xxx

Monday, May 30, 2016

Rainbow socks

These little beauties have been keeping me intermittent company since June last year, when I picked up the yarn back in the UK. They have spent time with me travelling in England, Scotland, Delaware and California. Nice, simple, vanilla sock knitting for plane and train travel.

Rainbow socks

The yarn is from Zauberball and gradually changes through the colors of the rainbow. I like to knit from either side of the ball to make stripes. If you haven't used it before, the Zauberball is a great sock yarn. I have used it a couple of times now and have been really pleased with how well it holds up with plenty of wear and washes. But most of all I just love how bright and happy these colors are. 

Rainbow socks

Zauberball

Speaking of bright and happy, Naomi finished Kindergarten last week. It blows my mind how fast the time is flying by... how is it possible that these wee ones grow so fast? I really like the school she attends and she has some lovely teachers. And of course, end of year = teacher appreciation time. I kept it simple this year, opting for Starbucks gift cards for each of her teachers. But I couldn't completely skip the handmade element, and so quickly assembled these cards (thanks to some free printables from Bren Did).

Teacher appreciation

The first couple of years in daycare and preschool I had actually made gifts for the teachers. It's hard to know how handmade gifts are received. To me, there is something special about an item that has been lovingly handcrafted, but I also recognize that it is not to everyone's taste. Now starbucks gift cards on the other hand, while arguably lacking in originality, has to be a hit, right? Always hard to know, and likely depends upon each individual recipient. (Well, there was a little side ramble :)

Hope you are having a great holiday weekend with loved ones,
Sam
xxx

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Pretty in Pink Baby Cardigan

I cant even begin to tell you how much I love this project! It started with the yarn...  this pigeonroof studios gradient yarn is soo beautiful.  I had an idea in my mind of what I was aiming for, and used my 'go to' pattern for baby girl sweaters - Elizabeth Zimmerman February Baby Sweater - as the basis for the project.  It turned out exactly as I had envisioned... don't you love it when that happens!

Pretty in pink

Here are the modifications that I made to EZ's pattern:

  • EZ calls out a number of stitches to cast on.  Instead of casting on this amount, cast on the number that it recommends that you should have after the first round of increases.  
  • Follow the pattern for the garter stitch neck band and spacing of buttons
  • Instead of using the lace pattern that EZ recommends, knit a simple stocking stitch, retaining the garter stitch edging and button spacing.  (I love the lace pattern, but really wanted the color gradient to stand out with a simpler stitch pattern)
  • When starting a new color mini skein, work the first row as *Knit 1, Slip 1* repeated across the stocking stitch portion of the pattern - this results in a subtle zigzag between the 2 colors (vs a hard line shift from one color to the next)
  • For the sleeves, work 4 ridges of garter stitch and cast off.

Pretty in pink

It's very simple, but I think quite effective as a result of the beautiful yarn.

Pretty in pink

The final touch was to add buttons.  These are a simple transparent, pale pink, gem-like bead from Joanns Fabrics.  Aside from being a gorgeous button, I liked that the transparency picked up on the color of the yarn that it was placed on.

Pretty in pink

All in all, it was a really enjoyable knit, and I am excited to gift it next month.  Ooh and who doesnt love buying dresses for little girls?  I found this super cute ballet pump design dress which picks up on some of the pinks in the cardigan.

I hope you are having a great weekend.  It finally turned into summer here, so I've been enjoying time outdoors.  Take care,

Love,
Sam
xxx

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Clapo-Ktus

Do you have a favourite knit project? You know, something you have made, fell in love with, and wear all the time?

For me, one of my favourite, and most-worn projects, is my Clapotis.  This scarf has been worn a lot. It is my 'go to' scarf for plane travel (I naturally seem to run cold and therefore love this big scarf to snuggle in), but works well with my winter jacket, and as a shawl when the air conditioning is blasting in the office.

As well as the scarf is holding up, I felt that having a backup would be in order.  Enter Clapo-Ktus:

Clapo-ktus

Clapo-Ktus is free pattern (yay!) and is a cross between the popular Clapotis and Baktus designs. It is a straightforward knit, suitable for an advanced beginner. And for anyone who is a lover of sock yarn, this is a great way to use one of your beloved colorways. The yarn I selected is a Skein Top Drawer sock in colourway Envy. This yarn is deliciously soft, so perfect for the project. And the colorway is divine! I was really pleased with how the fabric worked up and that there was no pooling.

Clapo-ktus

skein

The pattern mentions that you can use a single skein of sock yarn to make the shawl, which is a fun way to use those single skeins.  I wanted something that was going to be a little bigger for that snuggle factor, and elected to use 2 skeins. The end result is that I have a decent size shawl to wrap up in.

Clapo-ktus

I look forward to testing this one out on an upcoming trip.

And what post would be complete without a little yarn love? These beauties made their way into my stash this week:

A handspun sock yarn from Bockstark knits on Etsy.  There is something so very special about handspun yarn, and this skein is absolutely gorgeous.  And anyone that knows me, knows that I enjoy thoughtful details...  just look at this cute stitch marker that shipped with the yarn!  Yep, I see repeat purchases in my future.


Bockstark handspun

stitch marker

I also picked up 2 skeins of sock yarn from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Every now and again the Blue Moon team offer mystery grab bags for sale, and these were my mystery skeins - aren't they gorgeous! I love how they work together, but also on their own. I see some fall knitting with these colours!

Socks that rock

Socks that rock

Thats all from me. If the rain holds off I am hoping to spend time in the garden today.
Wishing you a lovely day ahead,
Love,
Sam xxx