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

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Pretty in Pink

A few weeks back I picked up this gorgeous gradient sock yarn from Pigeon Roof Studios.

Gradient yarn

The colors are precious, and perfect for a princess. I had an idea that this would make a gorgeous baby sweater and toyed between the Tea Leaves cardigan design and my go-to sweater: Elizabeth Zimmerman's February baby sweater.

Pretty in pink

The go-to pattern won, albeit a modified version of the original, using stocking stitch instead of the lace pattern. I chose to keep it simple so that the gradient yarn would be the star of the show.

Pretty in pink

This was a perfect project for this last week's plane journey to see my step daughter graduate from the University of Central Florida with a Biology degree magna cum laude. We are incredibly proud of her, and excited for what comes next as she embarks on a summer of research projects before heading onto post-grad study.

Plane knitting

Pretty in pink hangs out at the pool

Congratulations to all the recent grads!  Happy Mother's Day!
Wishing you a great week ahead,
Love,
Sam
xxx

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Habu Scarf

Its another snowy day in Colorado. That's right, May 1st and we still have snow. It looks pretty out, and when the sun starts to poke through the clouds it will be gorgeous. But I'm really ready for some warmer weather. In the meantime, I'll take advantage of another cosy Sunday indoors.

I have another finish to share - the Habu scarf:

Habu scarf

The yarn is Habu N-80 which consists of 4 strands of merino that are wrapped in a very fine black silk thread. I had selected 3 colors that looked good together and worked them as color blocks (although I think it would have pretty to have alternated the strands of color too). The pattern that I started with was the fringe scarf from Cocoknits... but the fringe was kind of a pain to knit, and so I used the basic instructions for the shape of the scarf and simply omitted the fringe portion of the instructions. It was a good decision - there is enough interest in the yarn itself, and the simpler style feels more elegant.

Habu scarf

As soon as I saw this yarn I knew who I was going to knit this for. And I had fully intended that this would be tucked away in the Christmas gift box for her -- I collect gifts for people throughout the year and store them away in a big ole box until Christmas or birthdays come up. But I am the worst when it comes to patiently waiting to give a gift... so my dear friend received a 'Just Because' gift this weekend! It was a winner :)

Habu N-80

Stay safe and warm today.
In addition to some cosy indoor time, I anticipate there may be some of this!

2016-04-17_08-26-13

2016-04-17_08-23-56

Love,
Sam xxx

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Birth Announcement

Have you seen how cute the penpals patterns are from Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery? These are beginner friendly, and a big part of that appeal is they are small enough that you can finish fairly quickly.
Birth Announcement
I had been working on Penpals 202, which I believe was originally a Valentine's release.  I bought this as a kit, with the polka dot linen and delightful cosmo threads, from The Cottage Needle on Etsy (I highly recommend them for your stitch goodies).  While I was working on this, I received the good news that a dearly loved couple were expecting a baby girl.  As the months went by I saw that they were decorating the nursery with pink and hearts.  That triggered an idea - this cross stitch pattern would make a cute birth announcement.
Birth announcement
Once I worked the penpals design, I needed to add the personalization.  A quick Google search later I came across Stitchpoint - a site that lets you pick a font and type in the letters and characters that you want to stitch.  I opted for the Monaco font - I wanted the lettering to be delicate and not overpower the penpals design.  For the name I used the darkest of pinks from the design.  For the birth details I used the medium pink.  My thought here is that the name would stand out a little bit from the rest of the details.
Birth announcement
Birth announcement
For the finishing I found a frame at TJ Maxx that would work with the furniture in the nursery, and also complement the cross stitch design.  I cut some card and batting that would fit the frame (I like how the batting adds some 'poof' to the finished design, centered the design over the top and then laced up the back.  (There are a number of online tutorials showing how to do lacing...  this was my first time finishing/framing a project myself, and I was pleasantly surprised at how well it turned out).
Birth announcement
Have you tried something new this week?

Wishing you a great week ahead.
Love,
Sam xxx