Thursday, December 31, 2009

Frances the Charismatic Monster

Another monster has been completed for the nursery -- Frances the Charismatic Monster. Yay for a fun pattern from Danger Crafts.

Mum had started this when she was over on her pre-baby visit last month. I picked it up again the other morning while watching The English Patient and was able to polish off 2 legs and an arm. That gave me all the incentive I needed to just knuckle down and finish off the remaining arm and ears and sew this cutesy pie together. (That's right, I'm putting this holiday break and pre-baby time to good relaxing and crafty use!)

Here's the details:
  • Yarn: Knit Picks Shine Worsted in Snapdragon. I think Mum and I may have used 4 balls between us. And that's only because we used a double strand (in hindsight not necessary, but it does make the fabric denser).
This was gifted to me by Nachaele when she moved from Colorado last year - I think she'll agree it's been put to good use :) And I think there might be enough left to make a cute cardigan wrap like this one (ravelry link).
  • Needles: US 6
  • Mods: I chose to handstitch eyes and teeth again since it is intended for a baby

Ooh I am looking forward to seeing how the nursery will turn out. I also painted the walls yesterday. Opted for a traditional pale pink. Nothing too bright -- I'd like the fun accessories to pop and be the feature.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Festive feet

Joe loves his handknit socks. But some of the pairs he has in the sock drawer are looking a little bit too loved... far beyond their best. So I had this grand plan to make him a new pair of socks for Christmas, as a surprise.

The surprise part didn't work out too well... or the getting them for Christmas part... but hey they are complete now, and it's still December.

A little zany aren't they! :o)))

I used Zauberball sock yarn, knitting from each end of the ball to force the striping. I think it's fun. A little Dr Seussical. I do much prefer the one that has more blue in it vs the yellowy one. But they work together well enough in an odd kind of way.  Another super simple knit. I used my basic sock pattern(which I need to modify to fix the heel shaping, btw). And a k3,p1 rib for the leg and top of foot.

He's super happy with the end results and has even worn them into work today. Wonder what his colleagues will think if they see these dazzlers peeking out!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Daphne and Delilah

I have this idea for the nursery -- that it's going to be 'monster themed'. Which of course sounds a little odd... Monsters? For a nursery?? For a little girl???
Yes that's right - monsters for a nursery for a little girl.

When the monsters in question are as cute as these guys, I think you might agree that it actually might work. And heck, be cute too. So here's Daphne and Delilah. One of many great patterns from Danger Crafts.

Daphne and Delilah are made using Lion Brand Cotton Ease, and a size US 5 needle. I didn't modify the pattern in any way but did add the following details:

  • Momma monster has a handstitched heart on her belly (using some yummy Mama Blue yarn I have in my stash)
  • Baby girl monster has a little knitted bow (For the bow portion I cast on approx 30 stitches and worked in the round for about 10 rows then cast off. For the knot portion I cast on approx 6 stitches and knit until it was long enough to wrap around the middle of the bow. Then simply sew together.)
  • Both monsters have hand stitched felt eyes and teeth. I chose to stitch these details figuring it might be safer for baby.

Next on the nursery crafting list is Frances (ravelry link). Mum started this for us when she was over last month. Need to get cracking on that. And my dear step daughter is working on one of the Knitted Odd Bods (ravelry link) to go in the nursery for her little sister (melts my heart). (The theme has evolved a tad to include other whimsical creatures... and the patterns from the Knitted Odd Bods are perfect!)

I have high hopes for how this is going to turn out... But first job for this week is to paint the room in question.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The kindness of folks

(I know, my blog posts are like buses... you wait for ages for one to appear, and three come along at once! )

I was thinking the other day about how kind people can be. This has been especially true during the pregnancy -- the kind words, the support and advice, the surprising and thoughtful gifts. Thank you to all my dear friends who have been enjoying this journey with me.

I mention surprising because sometimes it's the little things that just pop out of the blue. Take work, for example... There's the lady that operates the coffee cart who makes sure I get my daily dose of vitamin C -- she catches me on my way to my desk and gives me a couple of clementines each day (and a little bit of English toffee on the side!). Or the colleague who, knowing this is my first child, went out and bought me a book all about pregnancy. The list goes on and on... And believe me, I certainly couldn't ask for a more supportive boss right now. I've been truly blessed there.

I wanted to show my gratitude for some of this kindness, and of course this means handknit gifties! First up is the ruffle scarf. It's nothing momentous to shout about but I do like this pattern a lot (this is the 3rd scarf I've made using this pattern now). And with the designated weight yarn it's a very quick knit - I cranked this one out in just 2 evenings. (So if you need a very last minute gift, you could always plop yourself in front of the telly today and tomorrow and whip one of these out).

I made this one using some Kathmandu Aran that I had in my stash. I think it was probably close to 3 balls that I used (it was odds and ends of a couple of balls so hard to be sure on the yardage -- but that guidance will be in the pattern). With this tweedy yarn, this one feels a little more rustic than the other two. But I'm thinking that it should be super cosy. I hope she likes it.

Oh yes and that's a pic of me modelling it with my 28week belly. B.O.B. is certainly growing in leaps and bounds now!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Handmade goodies for the little lady

I mentioned in the last post that Mum came from the UK to see me over Thanksgiving. What I didn't note was that she was hauling a suitcase full of goodies for the little lady, from friends and family back home. I was blown away. Christmas had come early :o)

I won't post everything now - you'll be seeing plenty of modelled shots in only a matter of months. But I did want to share some of the handmade goodies:

First up are some more hand made gifts from Mum. Knowing that Joe is a huge sports fan she made little lady's first baseball outfit, complete with Cleveland Indian's logos:

How cute is that handknit sweater! And I love that she has matching jeans and socks. She'll be all ready for the opening of the 2010 baseball season!

And Mum also made a cute rag doll that's kitted out in Miami Dolphins colours and logo. (When I was a little girl I had a Raggedy Ann and Mum tells me that I loved my rag doll. There's other stories too, to do with the dolls red hair and my nostrils... ;o) Anyhoo she thought my little lady might also like her own rag doll. I agree.)

Mum is probably going to tell me off for posting it here. You see she's not that fond of the end result and has been referring to the rag doll as Ugly Betty! (I think she was even thinking of not gifting it... crazy!) I LOVE it!

The other handmade goodies came from my Mum and Dad's neighbour, Barbara. Barbara has been a dear family friend and seen us all grow up over the years. She loves to knit and even owned her own yarn stall at our local market for a while. You can only imagine how giddy I was when Mum pulled out not 1, but 4 knitted outfits from Barbara. Whoa! Little lady is going to be decked out in nothing but the finest handknit goodness!

Mum and I also worked on some projects while she was here. I want to finish them up before I share them... maybe over the Christmas break. They will form part of the nursery decor. My plan is to work on the nursery too between Christmas and New Year. It feels like the countdown is on as I'm into my third trimester and have a lot of prep to do... More to come in the next couple of weeks...

Meanwhile, I'll leave you with this -- we went for a 3D scan while Mum was over. It was amazing! So wonderful to see the little lady in all her 3D glory. She's either a little shy, or a feisty soul - she does not like her picture to be taken! But after much prodding and poking the sonographer was able to get a couple of good shots. What cracked me up the most though was when she raised her little fists at the end as if she was ready to take on the sonographer if he didn't stop! :o)))

If I don't blog again between now and then, I wish you a Merry Christmas. Only 3 more sleeps...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas stamping

I can hardly believe it's been a whole month since I last posted. Time is flying... I have been busy with work and play. And part of that play has been some craftiness. So here's the first of a couple of posts to get caught up.

After I finished the mittens I needed to knuckle down and get started on my Christmas cards. I received very disappointed looks from Joe last year when I (who owns too much stamping stuff to be buying a card. Ever.) went out and bought all my Christmas cards. This year I was ahead of the game and pretty much made every single one. I even made a couple of batches for my sis - more on that below.

Sometimes I lack inspiration for a design, and so I scouted the web and my idea books to come up with these. I really like the simple red/brown, green/brown and red/green colours.

And because I was on a roll I offered to make my sis some. She wanted some fun ones and I had this great stamp set with cute animals so made her a batch of those.

My sis also makes cool resin jewellry and ornaments, so Mum and I made her a batch that could 'house' the resin goody so that it would double as a gift and card for her friends. (Mum was over for a vist over Thanksgiving... we had such a nice time, and I was sad when she had to return to the UK).

Next up, some knitty goodness for the Little Lady...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bella's Mittens

Who went to see New Moon last night? What did you think?

I thought it was great! And the midnight showing had a really fun atmosphere with a bajillion teenage girlies in their pajamas. I think I'm well and truly in the minority routing for team Jacob. And Taylor Lautner... whoo he looked good. But as my stepson correctly pointed out, WAAAAAY too young for me LOL! We're thinking that Dwayne Johnson might make a more age appropriate substitute though (for me that is, not Bella. Pah!). Erm, er, sorry Joe... you know I only have eyes for you ;o)

Anyhoo, my dear friend that invited me is a major Twihard fan and so I thought it would be fun to make her a pair of the Bella's mittens that have been circling round blogland and ravelry.

There's a couple of free patterns out there and I chose Phenomenom by Carine Ancel (Ravelry link) because I really like the cross stitch type effect she's created on the palms. The yarn I used was Dream in Color Groovy, colourway Black Pearl. I needed 2 skeins. My first time using Dream in Color and I was really happy with it - nice and soft and held the stitch definition well. I especially liked the subtle change in tone from black to charcoal grey in this particuar colourway.

And if you are looking for some last minute Christmas knitting these could be just the ticket - each mitten took me about 2-3 evenings to complete.

They were well received by my dear Twihard friend yesterday evening. Which makes this knitter a very happy girl indeed :)

Monday, November 09, 2009

February baby sweater

One of the cutest baby gifts I feel that I made was the EZ baby sweater out of sock yarn, for my cousin's daughter. I decided my little lady lady also needed one.

This is a great project if you are looking for a fast, easy and interesting cardigan for a baby girl. I took mine on a business trip to the east coast last week and was pretty much complete by the time I returned home. Besides, anything that makes good use out of my ever-increasing stash of sock yarns is a good thing.

There seems to be a lot of discussion on baby knits - whether it's worth the effort. Right now I think so, but soon I'll have firsthand experience at how fast the wee one grows. (Who am I kidding - I'll be knitting regardless of how fast they grow... and at this stage, maybe the amount of time it takes to knit is in relation to the amount of time they'll be wearing it!) I'm telling myself that this particular cardigan might last a bit longer because it is lace, and there's some manipulating that can be done during blocking to stretch a little as baby grows. That's all theory at this point. I'll be able to let you know in a matter of months! Maybe February baby for a February baby sweater? (More likely early March, the Feb part is wishful thinking).

My modifications to the original pattern are shown in the post on the first version I made. Essentially all I did differently was cast on more for the neck, and then knit a few extra rows on the yoke. Everything else is per the guidelines in the book.

I still favour my first version most (it's that delicious sundara yarn). But this one in Colinette Jitterbug sock yarn (colourway Lobster Pinch) is still cute, vibrant and fun with those contrasting purple flower buttons. Although Joe is being a little more practical than I and is advising that I might want to avoid buttons for future baby knits -- that little ones love to chew.

I still have a little yarn left from the one skein of sock yarn - potentially enough for some Saartjes booties. The little lady will need matching accessories after all ;o)

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I'm really happy with how the Tempest cardigan turned out. This counts as my September NaKniSweMoDo09 effort.

The yarn I used is Aspen Sock from Red Rocks Fiber Works. I really like Mary-Kay's yarns, in case you hadn't noticed! (They make a frequent appearance here) :o))) It's actually one colour of sock yarn, in darker and lighter shades. I think it's fun how some of the stripey lines look a little wiggly where the lighter shade may have some darker areas, and vice versa.

I picked up 2 skeins of the dark, and one skein of the light. It was a close run thing with the light - the ball I have left is about the size of a marble. I dipped into the 2nd skein of the darker shade, but still have quite a bit left there. Maybe a similar sweater for my little lady? (Because I'm a bit of a dork like that!)

I pretty much followed the pattern word for word. Chose the 36" size. The only mods were to add a garter stitch border at the bottom vs the approach the pattern called for. If I were to knit again I might not do the slip stitch edging as that made the seaming a bit of a pain. I also learned a new technique with this - the bind off on the button band was a new approach for me. It's really neat and produces a great finish.

This will probably get tucked away until both the weather and my figure are more suited to it. (21 weeks pregnant today - woo hoo, that's over the half way mark).

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Little Lady (Cheerleaders?) Dress

A few weeks ago I picked up my first skein of yarn for BOB - it's a beautiful String Theory 'Casper Sock' yarn. I thought it was really pretty and figured it would work for a boy, or a girl. I brought it home to show Joe and he loved it too - it is a colour used by the Miami Dolphins, his favourite football team (erm, yes sweetheart that's exactly what I was thinking when I picked it out! ;o)

It sat in my cubbies for a bit while I was trying to decide what I'd make. During that time I had a couple of scans and found out that BOB is going to be a healthy little lady. Ooh so many pretty choices when knitting for little girls. I've admired the 'Little Sister's Dress' projects I've seen and thought this would be the perfect travel project for my trip to the East coast last week - it's small, portable and knit in the round.

The pattern is darling and I'm tickled with the end result. To make 'Dad' even happier I added a single crochet trim of orange (the other colour from the Miami Dolphin's kit) to the neckline and to create the buttonholes. And also found these cute orange flower buttons that matched the yarn perfectly. This final touch makes it pop and adds a fun girly twist to the dress.

So there you have it, little lady's first Cheerleading outfit. (Although, technically she's not scheduled to arrive until after the season is over.)

Pattern: Tora Froseth's 'Little Sister's Dress'
Size: 3 month
Yarn: String Theory Casper Sock (Green/Aqua), and Mama Blue Troika Sport in Poppy (Orange).
Mods: None

***Edited to add: I only used 1 skein of the string theory sock yarn and still have some left over. But this could be because I did not hold the yarn double as the pattern suggests - I just knit with a single strand.***

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fiery Featherweight

Whooo it is done!

This one felt like it went on and on forever, with all those stitches in such fine yarn. At times I was ready to tuck it in a corner and let it collect dust for a while, but NaKniSweMoDo spurred me on -- I was a month behind my self-set goal and this cardigan was the closest to completion. I'm glad I persevered because it is sooo very lovely, soft, airy and doesn't scream 'hey I made this'.

Pattern: Hannah Fettig's Featherweight
Yarn: Malabrigo Lace, just a smidge over 2 skeins
Mods? Not many - I knit the body and the sleeves a tad longer than the pattern calls for. And instead of the stocking stitch collar that has a tendancy to roll, I plumped for a matching K1P1 rib border... which at first looked like it was going to pull up the edges of the cardigan, but after a little blocking, lies perfectly flat.

So this is NaKniSweMoDo09 for August. Better get busy if I'm going to catch up and whip something out for September...
(Oh yes, and that's a sneak peak at my baby bump - 16 weeks along!)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Slipper Season

It's getting a little cooler here and there are flashes of autumnal colours in the neighbourhood trees. That's right, it's officially the start of slipper season!

Each year I produce a batch of felted clogs for dear family members to keep their toes toasty. They've become a much sought after item, and by now I'm thinking I should be able to crank them out in my sleep.

First up this year were my step son's slippers. He moved from sunny warm Florida to come live with us and his proto-man toes aren't used to Colorado's chillier climes. I won't share the pics - boring, boring grey man slippers.

And then there's my Mum's. Mum can easily go through 2 sets in one wintry season, and since I believe it's also chillier back home already I needed to get hers out in the mail pronto. Women's slippers are far cuter than the boring man version - I can give them 'flair'! :o))) I'm really fond of the colours in these and the ribbon fringe cuff.

I tried to get Buster to model them, but as you can see he's less than impressed about the whole modelling gig. Which, to be honest, just cracks me up even more. Just wait 'til I have my wee one to do some modelling for me as well... I can hear it now, 'Awww Mum, do I have to?'

So that's 2 pairs down, and I think 6 to go...

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I'm about to join the masses of knit bloggers who are blessed with kiddos. I couldn't be happier :)

That's right, I have a Baby On Board - BOB to friends and family.
(The name originated with my 6 yr old nephew when I was asking for potential baby names - his first suggestion was Bob, followed by Thomas, and then Spiderman - which apparently would be very cool!) Bob kind of stuck around here and evolved to stand for Baby On Board. I think it's cute so it became a keeper.

Although BOB isn't set to make his/her debut appearance until March 7th, he/she is already the recipient of some super lovely gifties from Grandma and Grandpa. Super lovely and especially awesome because they are handmade:

BOB's first knitted item of clothing - a super duper jumpsuit that will be perfect for a cold, snowy Colorado March, April and May.

And BOB's first toy - what could be more perfect for the child of a crazy dog lady, than a toy puppy. And one that's personalized, no less. Love this A LOT!

Yep, BOB's going to be one lucky ducky surrounded and clothed in handmade goodies, and the recipient of much love, kisses and cuddles :)

Thank you Mum, I was really touched by the parcel (and it probably won't surprise you that I welled up when opening this ;)
Love you both xoxo

Precious Pinwheel

A dear knitty friend is due to have a bouncing baby boy very soon... I'd learnt about this some time ago and started working on a small baby blanket for her new bundle of joy.

Pattern: Pinwheel Baby Blanket from the Knitalong book
Yarn: Rowan All Season Cotton - a mix of blue/cream for the center and beige/cream for the seed stitch border
Modifications: I made the seed stitch border a bit wider than the pattern calls for, but that's it.

This is a great simple knit. Movie knitting, if you like :) It's knit in the round and only has a few ends to weave in. Perfect portable project. And I do like the All Seasons cotton it wears really well after being thrown in the machine and dryer... ease of care for a new Mom.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Halloween papercrafting

The other week I was hanging out and stamping with my friend Cheryl. She taught me to make some cute Halloween goodies:

There's the card of course, but also the 2 candy carriers. One is a little gift bag that's made from scratch, the other is a decorated recycled/cleaned Frappuccino bottle that's filled with M&Ms. Cute heh? I love these little giveaway/party favour ideas.

As it turns out, for my monthly stamp club swap, the ladies chose a 3d swap. So I put my new candy-carrier-making skills into action and replicated the little gift bag that Cheryl had taught me how to make with some fun black stripe/red skully paper. I filled them with some Hershey's kisses so the stamping ladies can use as Halloween giveaways if they choose.

These are adorable, but they did take me all night to make! Well worth the effort as a one-off, but I don't think I'll be mass producing for the kids in the neighbourhood come Oct 31st!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A new crafty addiction?

Before Camp Wanna Knit Knit I was wracking my brain for what to contribute to the goody bags. I took a trip to Fancy Tiger because they have some really unique gifty type things there. Browsing around I came upon some gorgeous Japanese sheep fabric. That was it, I was going to make zippered pouches for everyone. I picked up a bolt of fabric and lots of matching zippers and headed home with my loot.

When I arrived home I pulled out my Mother-in-law's sewing machine, threw the fabric in the washing machine and set to planning out my next steps. Joe came in and asked what I was doing - well, I'm going to be sewing of course! I'm going to make some zippered pouches for everyone at camp. Looking a little surprised he mentioned that he didn't realise that I knew how to sew. Ah yes, it's been a while. In fact I can only recall making one thing on a sewing machine at high school and that was an elasticated skirt. To which he then wandered off shaking his head mumbling that he saw a disaster afoot! Giving his comment some thought; realizing that there were only 4 days 'til camp; testing his Mom's machine and understanding that it was less than fully functional I decided he might be onto something. It was time for Plan B! (which you can see in the post below).

But still, after seeing all those lovely fabrics, and knowing I now owned enough bits and pieces to mass produce zippered pouches I was eager to learn.

Stacey gave me the nudge -- Fancy Tiger have a zipper skirt class. We signed up for it.

But first I figured I'd take their 101 class. It was awesome. The lovely lady leading the 101 class showed us how to use the machine, load bobbins and thread yarn, try a multitude of stitches, and we even walked away with our first project - a cute eye glass case:

I was now ready for the skirt class the following day. Brimming with my newfound knowledge and a couple of yards of super cute fabric I headed to the store with Stacey. Another great class - the teacher was super helpful, friendly and fun.

I could hardly believe that a newbee sewer could walk away with a completely wearable, well-fitting skirt after just a 3-hour class.

I see many more sewing projects in my future... perhaps those zippered pouches next. But first a trip to the service shop with my MIL's sewing machine...