Saturday, July 12, 2014

Stitchy stuff

The other weekend I had the good fortune to spend time up in the mountains with some knitty friends.  It's an annual get together and always a lot of fun.  I feel thoroughly spoiled by the end of the weekend - time with good friends, picturesque surroundings, fabulous food, and dedicated craft time.

This year I worked on a pair of felted slippers and my Once Upon a Time cross stitch.

OUAT: 3 little pigs
Isn't this pattern just darling! I wish there were more hours in a day to work on it. I think its going to be beautiful when complete (and a nice addition to Naomi's room).
Speaking of cross stitch, I'm also making slow-but-steady progress on the frosty forest pattern, with the snowman recently completed:

Frosty forest snowman
The felted slippers I worked on over the knitty weekend were for Joe.  His current pair are worn out - big old holes in the bottom of them as a result of much love and wear.  I found some camo yarn in my stash which I thought would be perfect.  Turns out it was anything but... after putting the completed slippers through the wash a few times, the darn things wouldn't felt down to the right size.  It was only at that point that I checked the yarn label to find out that it was not 100% wool.  Doh!  (It wouldn't be so bad, except this is the 2nd time I have done this, this year!  shaking my head... I should know better)  So I went back to the old faithful Brown Sheep lambswool (this is by far my favourite yarn for the felted slippers) and whipped up a second, feltable pair, out of leftovers.  The end results are a little goofy looking, but Joe is pleased with them.  Job done!

Scrappy slippers

These slippers will never win any beauty contests.  But I tell you this... once you've tried a pair there's no turning back.  And be careful who you gift them to - they'll be return customers for life :)))

Speaking of which, my brother had requested a pair with the cross of Saint George (erm, yes, maybe the oddest looking cross of Saint George you've ever seen... but 10 out of 10 for effort though, right?).  And my Sis has requested a pair for her fella.  Finishing those up now.

St George slippers
Ok, back to the weekend at hand.
Have a good one, Sam x

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Quilty gifts

One of the really cool birthday gifts that I received this year was a mini quilt from Terrie:

S for Sam - fabby gift from Terrie

Isn't it pretty! This is going to take pride of place in my craft room.

I was really touched that Terrie had made this for me.  Her work is impeccable and fabric selection couldn't be more perfect. I am one very lucky girl.

Terrie shared this with me at last month's quilt guild meeting and there was much oohing and aahing from the quilt guild members, and the decision was made that we should have a swap of similar mini quilts using the initial of the first name of our swap partner. My swap partner is Wendy, and she shared that her favourite colour is green.  Here is W for Wendy. Front:

W for Wendy

Back (being smoothed out by my helper):

Helper smoothing out the back of the W

My little helper also likes to take some of her own pictures:

Mummy's lil helper

Photographer in the making

My lil helper

The W fabric is from a line called sewing box, of which I had a layer cake. The design on this one is tape measures. I quilted along the tape measure lines to give them a little definition. The W template is from a Moda blog hop, called Spell it with Fabric, where each blogger is assigned a letter of the alphabet. The end result is pretty cool, and the templates are available for download in pdf format. Imagine the possibilities with this one - a child's name on a quilt, or a fun crafty statement on a mini quilt... Since I already have my initial letter, my swap partner will be making a letter for Naomi. I think Naomi is going to be so happy to have one of her very own as she is big into letters right now, especially those letters that form her name. I'll post a piccy next month, after the swap.

Since I'm rambling about quilty gifts, here's one that I made for another friend's birthday.  A reversible fabric bucket:

Reversible storage basket

Storage basket

Reversible storage basket

Isn't that cat fabric adorable!  It is catnap from Lizzie House.  The pattern is on the Birch Fabrics site: fabric buckets.  I made the large size, with a couple of modifications: instead of interfacing I used batting, and I added a pocket for storage of nik naks - scissors, dpns, you name it...

I need to make some of these for myself - so cute and extremely handy. I know that someone's toy cupboard might also benefit from better organization too :)

Hope you are having a lovely weekend,
Sam xxx

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Zauberball Man Socks

Between road trips and work trips I've been able to whip out another pair of socks. This time for Joe (although the pic below is modeled on my feet):
Man socks
Quite the dazzlers aren't they :)))
The yarn is Zauberball and is dyed to gradually progress through the colours.
While this is a really nice effect, I thought I'd make them stripey by knitting one row from one end of the skein and the following row from the other end of the skein. Typically I make my stripes thicker. But this has a fun effect with the single rows of each colour. For the cuff, heels and toes, I stick with working from one end of the skein so that they appear as a solid(ish) colour, instead of continuing the stripes.
Man sock

I like that the socks don't match exactly... but clearly belong together.
Another pair to tuck away in the Winter Woollies box.

Oh yes, I didn't follow a published pattern for these. Just winging it using my basic sock approach and a size 2 needle. I like the simplicity of the basic sock for travel projects - my hands can stay busy, while I can zone out and relax.

Have you been taking any fun trips?
What are your projects of choice when you are travelling?

Wishing you a lovely summer,
Sam x

Monday, June 09, 2014

Road Trips!

I've been absent from the blog. Mainly because Mum was here and we've been spending the precious time hanging out, including taking a couple of fun road trips! Here is a cute pic of Mum and Naomi all ready for the journey:

Road trip
The first road trip was to celebrate my birthday. I consider all birthdays to be special... but this year was a milestone one: The big 40! Which is why Mum had come over to celebrate. Seemed only right that we mark the occasion by doing something fun - and that was our first road trip to Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico.
The day started off with a Grandparent's tea party at school. Talk about perfect timing of Mum's trip! I've been room parent this year and so I also attended as a volunteer. I'd joked with Naomi that it was really nice of her school to throw me a birthday party. At which point she went over to the teacher and told them it was my birthday and asked if it would be ok if she could sing happy birthday to me. Little girl has more confidence than me to get up on stage, grab a microphone and sing in front of an audience. To say I was touched would be an understatement. I still feel all warm inside thinking about that sweet gesture. Best birthday gift ever!

My sweet girl singing Happy Birthday to meeee :)
Anyhoo... Santa Fe is a really great place to go visit especially if you love south western art .  What appeals to me is the beauty of the town, the numerous galleries and the laid back European vibe. Needless to say I stopped at a couple of my favourite knit and fabric stores that I had identified from my last visit. :)  In Tutto knitting store I picked up a couple of skeins of yarn that they had custom dyed. A sock yarn and some lace weight. In pretty autumnal earthy tones. If you are in the area I encourage you to go check out this store. The owner is a real darling and he even recognized me from Ravelry (I'd knit a scarf he had designed). How cool is that!
Tutto Santa Fe Tutto Santa Fe
While we were in Santa Fe there was a very interesting street art market with a couple of booths showing handspun or hand dyed yarns. I did pick up a skein of this bulky angora goat yarn that was spun straight from the fleece. It has a rustic quality to it that appealed to me. I'm thinking maybe I'll use it for a small cowl, or a hat... I am open to suggestions if any of you have pattern ideas?

Handspun goat
In Taos I went back to the Uncommon Threads fabric store and purchased some woven fabric to make placemats, and some cool skully fabric to make... erm, no clue yet (but I am sure if my sis spies this she'll think of some way to put it to good use).

Uncommon threads, Taos New placemat fabric Taos fabric
Toward the end of Mum's visit we went to Mount Rushmore, South Dakota. It was something that was on Mum's wish list and was thoroughly enjoyable. The drive up from Denver was relaxing and beautiful. The black hills area of South Dakota is spectacular. Mount Rushmore is really impressive and nestled in this stunning location.

Mount Rushmore
While we were in the area we drove through Hill City, where I found a wonderful quilt store - Hill City Mercantile. Aside from the wide array of fabrics, impressive display quilts, unique designs from local artists and super friendly staff, the thing I loved most was the attention to detail in this store. The owners had completely renovated the building and all the fixtures and fittings were in keeping with the style of the renovations. I was really thankful that I had the good fortune to stumble across this store.

Hill City Merchant Quilt Store

Loved how they renovated this building
During the Mount Rushmore trip I started another plain sock - the perfect road trip companion if you are looking to keep busy but want something simple to work on. These beauties are going to be for Joe.

Man sock
That's all from me for now.
Hope you are well and wishing you a great week,
Sam xxx

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Handspun Handknit socks

This is my first time knitting socks with a handspun yarn... and I love the end result!  The color shifts in each sock and the subtle changes in the thickness of the yarn make these interesting to knit, even though the pattern is a straightforward one.

Handknit socks

Now to tuck these away in a winter woollies box...  I think this Colorado weather might have finally turned into summer!

Handknit socks
Lots to share in a future post.  Mum has been here for the last month or so, so we've been out and about...  I have some blogland catching up to do!
Handknit socks
Yarn: Crown Mountain Farms Sock Hop in American Pie
Pattern: Simple Handspun Socks by Simone Van Iderstine - toe up pattern on dpns
(I really liked the simplicity of this pattern to let the sock yarn stand out)

Handknit socks
Hope you are well, and have fun plans this Memorial weekend,
Sam xxx

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Snuggly Soft Baby Sweater

In our group of friends it seems that there are a whole slew of babies due in the coming months.  The first is a baby girl that is due in early May, and my go to pattern for baby girls is Elizabeth Zimmerman's february baby sweater on 2 needles. 

feb baby

This one is worked up in ArtYarns Cashmere sock. The yarn is devine!  So deliciously soft and snuggly.  You can almost see the fuzzy halo of the yarn in the picture below.  I also love the slight variegation on colour from baby pink through peach.  Soo pretty. 

feb baby

The pattern is great too.  It's a really easy knit, but with fancy results.  There's very little finishing involved too, which in my books is always a winner.  My favourite part is that I'm able to put some of my sock yarn stash to good use - this cardigan uses up about the same amount of yarn that it takes to make one pair of adult socks.

Artyarns cashmere sock

I modify the pattern slightly for the sock yarn.  I use a needle that is 1-2 sizes larger than the sock yarn recommends.  So for the cashmere sock they recommend a needle size 3, and I used a US 5.  Also, the pattern calls that you cast on X stitches, knit for Y rows, then increase until you have Z stitches.  Instead of casting on X stitches, I cast on Z number of stitches - the number of stitches that you would have after the first round of increases if you followed the pattern as written.

Do you have any go to patterns for babies?
I would like to make something for a baby boy and a 'TBD' baby.

Hope you are having a lovely weekend,

Monday, April 07, 2014

Hand-me-down handknits

Have you ever wondered what happens to gift knits? 
Especially those you've made for babies, or young kiddos? 

My sister delighted me the other week when she sent me pictures of my youngest nephew - Alfie - wearing a sweater that I'd originally made for his big brother, probably about 8 years ago now. 

hand me down front

I had no idea that she had tucked this away for safe keeping.  Knowing that both my lovely nephews have been able to get good use out of it makes me so very happy.  (And check out that mischevious little face... that also makes me beam from ear to ear!)

Hand me down back

Looks like the yarn has stood up to the test of time (which is cool considering that so many of my woolly sweaters can look pilled after a while).  It was a heathered alpaca yarn from knitpicks.

iron man

It cracks me up that the boys have their own take on modelling this.  Alfie was channelling his inner super hero in this last shot.  I dug out the earlier pics of Charlie wearing the same sweater...  and look at that face... so angelic, it's like butter wouldn't melt! :o))))

Pumpkin front

I remember that when I asked Charlie to show me the back so I could take a picture, this was the pose he gave me.  Kids can be so funny!

Pumpkin back

Love these handsome little guys.  Doesn't seem 5 minutes ago that Alfie was born... here's the pair of them when Alfie was only a couple of days old... just 2 and a half years ago!


Wishing you a fabulous week,
Sam xxxx