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delighted me the other week when she sent me pictures of my youngest nephew - Alfie - wearing a sweater that I'd originally made for his big brother, probably about 8 years ago now.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

Brothers

Wishing you a fabulous week,
Sam xxxx

Friday, March 28, 2014

Where does the time go?

I am having a hard time believing that it is April next week...  Do you feel the same way? 
Time just seems like it is flying by this year. 

I thought I'd take the opportunity to do my monthly recap now since its the weekend (Yay!) and I don't have any FOs to share just yet.  So... the crafty input/output resolution... it seems that I am not making strides in the right direction.  Am I surprised?  Umm, truthfully no, not really.  The upside is that I have some lovely goodies to share with you on the blog :) Ha ha yes, what an excuse!

So here's the walk of shame:

1.  Yarn:
On the output front I have a sock:

Sock one done

It needs a friend.  But one is better than none :) 
I've been travelling for the last 2 weeks for my work, and all this time on planes has given me the opportunity to get some knitting done.  I've made a start on the second sock, so hopefully I'll have a completed pair to share soon.

Sock two started

I've had a hankering for some handspun sock yarn for a while now, and I'm really enjoying working with this Crown Mountain handspun yarn and seeing the color changes in the yarn.  It may come as no surprise that I acquired some more:

handspun sock

Handspun sock

And then the monthly installment from Skein came in.  Its a lovely color, and I was sorely tempted to retain the subscription, but ultimately saw sense and cancelled my subscription.  Baby steps in the right direction.

Skein

Ooh, I did finish another square for the Bertie's (hospice) Blankets.  Thinking I may lay the blanket squares  out this weekend.  It's pretty close to completion, thanks to all the kind folks that donated squares.

BB hospice square (Sam)

2.  Fabric:
I made a couple of squares for another one of the gals at quilt guild.  Love the colors in this - bring on Spring!

Quilt swap: Suzanne squares

There was the infinity scarf from my last post.  But I also picked up some more fabric for the Local Quilt, which I'm eager to try my hand at.

Local quilt fabrics

I almost forgot, I also made a 'huggie' for my cross stitch frame.  It helps keep the edges of the cross stitch linen protected. And it's plain old cute since it goes with the 'Once Upon a Time' theme of the cross stitch.  :)

Qsnap huggie for once upon a time

I have the perfect project bag for this cross stitch project.  This bag has tremendous sentimental value:  After my Grandma passed away last year my Mum was packing her things away and found this hand quilted bag that Grandma had made.  Mum knew that I would love it.  My Grandma was a wonderful lady who I miss dearly.  It makes me so happy that I have something that she made.   

Grandma's bag

Grandma's bag

Once upon a time

3.  Cross Stitch:
I finished the first in the 'Frosty Forest' Series:  Raccoon Cabin.  So cute!

Frosty forest - raccoon

I've started the 2nd square in this series, but I'm also itching to get started on the Once Upon a Time sampler - I am 3 months' behind.  Yikes!

Wishing you all a lovely weekend.
Sam xxx

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Voile Infinity Scarf

A good friend had a birthday recently and I wanted to make her a little something to mark the day.  She loves to wear scarves and I thought she'd like an infinity scarf.
Infinity scarf

I used the directions from the Anna Maria Horner Figure 8 scarf... but instead of using velveteen, I used voile on both sides.
Infinity scarf

Voile is such a lovely fabric:  Lightweight, soft and with a silky feel. 
Silly me had no idea how to pronounce 'Voile' when going into one of my local fabric stores... but figured that it must have a fancy pronunciation for such a fancy fabric.  So there I was asking for where they stocked their 'Vwaaahhl'.  Of course the lady looked at me like I had lobsters coming out of my ears.  Lesson learned:  Voile is pronounced like foil, but with a V.  Which sounds nowhere near as sophisticated in my northern English accent :)))

So much for the model :))

So adding to the silliness, I asked Naomi if she would model the scarf for me.  'Of course Mama'.
Erm, yes, not quite the shot I was looking for.  Although that cheeky little face in the background makes me beam from ear to ear :)

Hope you are having a lovely weekend,
Sam
xxx 

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Happy March

February flew by, didn't it.  The 2nd month of New Year resolutions... how did you do?

For me, the health related resolutions took a back seat this month.  Must do better:  My goal weight/size date is 2 months today.  The target is still doable... if I work hard at it.  I need to get my butt in gear!  ;o))

I have been making reasonably good progress on the crafty resolutions, but ultimately they are still out of kilter:  intake is exceeding output :)

Yarn:
  • I completed another 3 squares for the Berties (hospice) Blanket (in addition to the square from last month that is also included in the photo below.)  I've found a local hospice who are eager to get their hands on these knit blankets, so trying to get this completed ASAP.
Sam: BB Squares
  • And there was Naomi's pink sweater dress (which I am totally counting even though my Mum did a bunch of the work... but using yarn from my stash... so that counts, right?  :o)))
  • I also started a cute baby sweater using stash yarn
Cashmere Feb Baby Sweater
  • However, I've also picked up a couple of skeins of sock yarn including Skein sock in La Mer (yup, still need to cancel that subscription)
Skein
  • Handspun sock hop yarn (so pretty!)
Handspun sock
  • Hello Yarn sock
Hello Yarn

moving swiftly on...

Fabric:
  • On the output front, there's the monster bags that I just blogged about.  And although I purchased about 5 yards for some of the monsters, I also used about 10 yards from stash.  So all-in-all pretty good going there.
  • There is the 2nd converging corners square that I made for a quilt guild swap
Converging Corners
  • And 3 stained glass squares that I made for a WIP quilt for Naomi
My 3 stained glass squares

Stained Glass WIP
  • I've also signed up to do the Local Quilt from Carolyn Friedlander with our local quilt guild.  I picked the following from my stash, and only needed to pick up an extra yard (ish) for the blue dots that will form the sky.  Good intentions here too :)
The Local Quilt - Supplies

Cross Stitch:
  • I am far behind on the cross stitch front
  • Jan, Feb and March installments for Once Upon a Time are in.  I have the materials needed (and they are so pretty) but haven't yet started
Supplies for Once Upon a Time
  • Jan-March are also in for the frosty forest, and my January block is still in progress. 
Frost Forest - January WIP
  • To end on a positive note :)  I did get my 12 days of Christmas back from the framers this weekend, and oh my, I am in love!  I've liked everything about this project - the design, the materials, the theme... and now the framing! 
Framed 12 Days

Well, thats it for me today.
Hope you are having a lovely Sunday,
Sam xxx

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Monster Bags

Naomi turned 4 this last week.  4! 
I'm still wondering how that happened so quickly?

Anyway, her birthday provided me the perfect excuse to work on party gifts - monster bags:

Monster bags
Monster bags
Monster bags
Monster bags
Monster bags

These were so much fun to work on.  Perhaps my most enjoyable project to date.

Inspiration came from the following places:

I essentially followed the directions for the simple reversible tote, making the following small changes:
  • I added a monster applique to the exterior fabric before assembling the tote
  • I added interfacing to the exterior fabric to add some stability
  • I purchased some soft canvas style ribbon instead of making handles

I started by selecting fabrics that looked 'monstery' :)))
My favourites are probably the batiks. But in truth I love them all. 
These patterned fabrics were used for the monster, but also a matching interior for each tote. 
The exterior fabric was a Kona beige that I had in my stash (that's right - this one was a good stashbuster!). 

I wanted each monster to be different and enjoyed coming up with each design.  Naomi and Joe both got involved on the design process too:  What about fuzzy monsters?  What about monsters with eyes on antennas?  How about some with 1 eye and others with 2 or 3? 

I'd also have Naomi help with layout before sewing the applique pieces in place:  Where should the eyes go?  Should we have horns?  Where should they go? 

And of course Naomi would add the crayons once all the other assembing had been done.
I think it made this extra special knowing that they were truly a team effort!
As each one was complete I'd hang them around my craft room.  I sure do miss those cheery faces greeting me each morning.  But am thrilled that they've gone to happy homes!

Naomi's favourite is the monster in the bottom right - purple with 3 eyes on stalks.
Do you have a fave?

Hope your week is going well?
Love,
Sam

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Sweater Dress

When Mum was over last year, she started knitting this sweater dress for Naomi.  It's from Filati Handknitting magazine, Issue 50, Design 69.  The not so creatively titled Dress with Pockets.  :)
Filati Sweater Dress, Issue 50, Design 69

I had some lovely MadelineTosh DK in my stash that is the perfect colour for a little princess :)  This yarn is so very soft too, and I like the subtle shifts in the density of the colour to add interest to the finished fabric.

Sweater dress

Mum had completed the back and the majority of the front, so the bulk of the work was done. I just needed to finish up the front, add the 'sleeves', pockets and stitch the thing together.

By the way, anyone else feel like they have been spoiled with sweaters that are knit in the round? I have a renewed appreciation for them after constructing and stitching together the pieces in this. Even the sleeve bands were knit seperate from the front and back pieces and then stitched on at the end.
  
Sweater dress

Naomi loves this dress. I'd barely sewn the front and back together when she started wearing that around the house while I finished the sleeves and the pockets!
Sweater dress

I made a couple of small changes to the pattern:
  • The right side of the dress was designed to be reverse stocking stitch.  But I preferred the regular stocking stitch side and so used that as the right side instead. 
  • The neck was supposed to be a button band.  I ended up making it more like a tunic opening.  Although I do think that the pop of colour the buttons add to the original design is something to re-consider:  It would add some fun and interest to the finished dress.  I am thinking maybe 3 bright buttons along the 'button band' and one on each of the pocket openings.  PS - this kid has a fascination with the pockets...  so very handy for carrying around her 'treasures' :)))
Sweater dress

Hope you are having  lovely weekend and staying warm.
It has been bitterly cold here, this last week.  But we are above freezing today.  Woot!  :)
Take care,
Sam xxx

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Happy February!

So, how did you all do with your first month of resolutions?

I was so so: 
Some areas where I can give myself a pat on the back (health related)
Others where I wag a stern finger at myself (crafty output to exceed intake).

Here's the rundown on the output must exceed intake... or my failure to do this in January :)))

Yarn:
Berties Blanket
  • But, there have been a couple of purchases: 
  • Before the holidays I signed up for a monthly sock yarn club from Skein.  In January I received my second installment (and a groovy tote project bag).  I am eager to knit with this, and try out this new-to-me brand of yarn.  In the back of my mind I am thinking I should probably stop with the monthly installments... I'll have a hard time trying to outpace an influx of 400 yards each month. Especially with the deficit I am in right now!
Skein yarns

  • Then there is a skein of cakewalk yarns that I was able to get my hands on.  I was really keen to try this out after seeing these lovely purple socks.  The cakewalk yarns are tough to get your hands on since the lady that started the company no longer dyes... so it's Ravelry destashes, or eBay finds, or the like...
Cakewalk yarns

  • And speaking of eBay (I love a good bargain):  I 'won' some of this lovely mohair yarn.

Louet Mohair

No, I don't need it.  This is the one where I really wag a stern finger at myself and shake my head disapprovingly.

Must. Do. Better.
Fabric:
  • I made the lovely Infinity scarf (which Naomi now tells me is hers any time I try to wear it)
  • And a couple of squares for swaps with gals at the Denver Quilt Guild:  Here are the squares for Jen's Garden Fence quilt using Birch Fabrics
Swap squares for Jen

Converging corners

  • I must have messed up on Elizabeth's square because I needed extra fabric... and ended picking up much more than was actually needed:
Art Gallery

  • And then there was this Christmas fabric that I had to have (I fell in love then I saw the store had made a pillow cade out of it, and it was soooo cute)
Aneela Hooey Christmas Washing Line
  • The girls at quilt guild have been making stained glass squares for a quilt for Naomi.  That is really close to completion now:

Stained Glass squares

And so I picked up some backing and binding fabric.

Stained Glass Backing
  • Then January is the month of sales, and I can't resist a good deal and so, ahem, here is the last of my fabric confession.   Yikes.
Heather Ross + Sewing Box

Cross Stitch (yes, there's more)
  • The good news is that I finished the 12 days of Christmas (counting this as 12 out)
  • But I have 2 stitchalongs that I have subscribed to this year:  Once Upon a Time Sampler (waiting for the cashel crystal to arrive at the local stitching store so that I can start) and Frosty Forest (received the first couple of patterns).  Here's the start of square 1 for the frosty forest - Mr Raccoon by his picket fence!
Frost Forest - Raccoon WIP
  • And I stumbled across these 12 sheep virtues (counting this as 12 in, even though I will stitch them all together on one piece of linen). Seriously, what knitter wouldn't want these stitched and hung in a craft room :)
Erm, so clearly lots of opportunity to improve in February :)

Happy Superbowl Day!  It's going to be a crafting, TV viewing day for me :)

Big hugs,
Sam