Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas!

It is so very close now...  are you excited?  I love Christmas, and there's a lot of excitement in this house.  Naomi is as giddy as a kipper and yet she's not entirely sure why :)  I think it's the first year that Christmas is starting to mean something to her:  'Mommy, Santa's coming to our house', 'Mommy, we've got to be nice to the presents'  (for the last one I think something got lost in translation from 'you've got to be nice to receive presents'!)

I'm still cranking out a few last minute gifts.  Here's a another cowl that was a nice one-evening-knit.  Yes, it's that Malabrigo Rasta again.  It really is divine!  Essentially it is this handspun scarf pattern from Phydeaux designs.  I knit until I ran out of yarn, and it turned out a great length for a cowl. 

Rasta wrap/cowl

I was hoping it would be a good shawl... but I think it is just a bit too short on me.  Although the recipient is a teeny tiny sweet lady and I think it might work well that way on her.

Rasta wrap

I did make some little stocking stuffer gifts, using this 'Pinspiration': 'For your mistletoes' by Supreme Courtney.  I really like that she picked names of nail polish that featured something about the recipient.  For my version I made these little boxes (using a template and cutting machine from stampin' up) and popped a sparkly bottle of nail polish in each.  I'm super happy with how these turned out!

For your mistletoes

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and all good things for the New Year.
Sam xxx

merry christmas

hubby in handknits... hat, scarf and jumper

(Erm, and that is not a blue boobie as one of my friends pointed out... it's a Christmas birdie :)))  But now you've read this, if you are like me, you'll see nothing but a blue boobie every time you look at this picture. ha ha.  Oh yes, and that is Naomi channeling Jake and the Neverland Pirates 'Yo ho ho'.  Not quite Ho ho ho, but I'll take it :o)))

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Gifts

Yesterday I was trying to get this little beauty (that would be the cowl) all finished and wrapped for gifting today.  Which also explains the dreadful late-night lighting in the shots.

The 'I need sleep' shot

The cowl is a fabulous pattern from Phydeaux designs - the Phydeaux Twist Cowl.  It is worked on size 19 needles with a super bulky yarn.  Perfect for those last minute gifts :).  The yarn is Malabrigo Rasta in colourway Piedras.  Good grief this yarn is wonderfully soft and smooshy.  Oh, and this work in progress picture is a much better representation of the actual colourway.

Phydeaux cowl WIP

The recipient is a very dear lady from daycare that has known, and cared for, Naomi since she was 3 months old.  It was a Happy Birthday, Congratulations, Merry Christmas, Fond Farewell and Thank you gift.  This sweet lady is moving out of state and will be dearly missed by our whole family, but mostly Naomi who would run to class each day and give this lady a big cuddle.  (The congratulations piece - she got married, on her birthday, which happened to be 12/12/12. Very cool!)

The other little gifties that I put together since my last blog update were a handful of Christmas gifts for some local friends.  I found these chocolate fondue pots, and packaged them with mini marshmallows and some decorated forks from Tulle and Twig.  I was really pleased with how this all came together.
Fondue favours
Have you been Christmas crafting too?  I'd love to hear what you are working on.

Ok, I've got to run... more gifts to complete and the clock is ticking!
Have a wonderful weekend,
Hugs, Sam xxx

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Christmas Preparations

You may have guessed this about me already:  I think Christmas is wonderful!  I love everything about it, but mostly the heartwarming, uplifting feeling at this time of year.  I also love the preparations:  Seeking out the special gifts, decorating the tree and crafting! 

First to be completed on the crafting front is another pair of felted slippers for my brother - he wanted them in classic red and white Santa colours :)))  They were completed while he was visiting this last week.  He's probably the #1 (and yet most unlikely) fan of these felted slippers, or what we call 'plitters' - a name I used as a toddler because I couldn't pronounce slippers.

Then there is Naomi's santa hat.  I'd made this for her last year, but one day came home to find Bruno - who was a brand new pup at the time - had taken a shine to it and decided it would make a great chew toy! Tsk tsk tsk.
chewed christmas hat collage

Thankfully the areas that took the brunt were the pom pom and the white band at the bottom (he must have a thing for the bulky weight alpaca yarn!).  When Joe pulled his Santa hat out of the closet the other day, Naomi was asking me where her's was... so that became the next priority for completion :)  Look how tickled she is with her reworked hat!


Well worth the effort. And of course her best friend is forgiven :)

This evening we also worked on paper chains together.  Remember those - 1" wide strips of paper that you'd glue into circles and string together.  Naomi really enjoyed helping out with these.  She was armed with the glue stick, while I was chief assembler of the chain.  We now have garlands draped over various pictures in the house.  I wouldn't have thought about making the paper chains - it was my sister that gifted me a book with patterned paper and guidelines for paper chains, snowflakes, woven hearts and angels!  Such a great idea!

Making Paper Chains

Hope you are having fun on the run up to Christmas too.

PS - We are making great progress on Bertie's Blankets, thank to you, my lovely friends. Big hugs to you xxx

Monday, November 12, 2012

Daphne and Delilah

I had quite the shock last week to find out that the baby knit I was working on - the Daphne and Delilah monsters - needed to be complete this week.  I have no idea how these things sneak up on me so quickly.  It was time to get cracking this weekend.  The Colorado weather helped - it was cooooold with a little snow.  Truly a lock yourself indoors with the fire on type of a weekend.  Hmm perfect.  (Well, not entirely perfect - seems some bug is working its way around the family so we've all been a little ugh!)

But, in the words of Dora the Explorer "I did it!"  (Erm, yes this was the type of show that was on the box.  Not in my top 10 choices, but an under-the-weather girly was soothed by this, so who am I to complain :)

Proudly presenting the quite festive Daphne and Delilah pair:

Daphne and Delilah

I'm learning that my choice in colour can often be influenced by the season.  I hadn't intentionally picked the colours, but I am pleased that it does feel a little Christmassy.

Pattern:  Daphne and Delilah by Rebecca Danger
Yarn:  Lion Brand Cotton Ease  (I did not use the yarn doubled as the pattern suggests, but did go down 2 needle sizes)
Needles:  US 6 dpns
Mods:  I use felt for the eyes and teeth, and blanket stitch these onto the monsters.

Daphne and Delilah

I had some yarn left and was able to whip out another hat for Project Love.

Project Love Hat #2

But now I shift my attention to Bertie's Blankets:  the 3 blankets that I'd like to put together for Trinity Hospice in memory of my Dad.  Thanks to all who offered to help.  You can follow the progress over at  I started the coastal-coloured afghan:

Berties Blanket #1

Mum, if you are reading this, I am still working on your quilt too :)))  All the squares have been made for the quilt top, I'm now in the process of assembling them (while trying to ensure that I keep the layout intact).  Getting close now xxx

pink back

Hope you had a lovely weekend,

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Get crafty to help the hospice

Hello my dear crafty Friends,

I received the following article from my mum this morning:  Trinity hospice is in need of blankets to bring comfort and warmth to the folks that they are caring for.  This is where my Dad was looked after in his final days, and I can tell you wholeheartedly that these blankets do make a difference and are thoroughly appreciated.  The only requirement is that the blankets need to be machine washable. 

I would like to put together 3 blankets for Trinity Hospice.  Would you be willing to contribute a square, or 2, to this very worthwhile cause?

I've suggested patterns and colours below for folks looking for guidance.  But I'll take any square that you would be willing to donate.  Thank you.

Option 1:  Afghan Sampler Blanket
  • Knit using afghan/worsted weight yarn
  • US8 needles
  • Final square to measure 9" x 9"
  • Use a stitch pattern of your choosing, or if you'd like to follow a published pattern, please check out this Lion Brand sampler blanket pattern L0563 (you can login to the site for free)
  • A great way to use those 40-60% off vouchers at the big box yarn stores... and looking at the pattern it looks like you can get 2 squares out of one skein of a lion brand ball of yarn
  • Since Trinity Hospice is located in a coastal town, lets use the colours of the sea on this one (throw in some white for the 'surf' and this would be a really soothing colour scheme of shades of blue and white):
Image courtesey of design seeds:

Option 2:  Scrappy Sock Yarn Blanket
  • Do you have lots of leftover scraps of sock yarn.  A lot of this stuff is machine washable!  Let's put it to good use with this really simple pattern: Kraft-Tanken-Patches (free Ravelry download)
  • The squares are 15cm x 15 cm (6" x 6") and are a simple knit on the diagonal
  • The pattern recommends a US1-3 needle, depending upon gauge
  • As for colour scheme, anything goes - let's send a bright happy rainbow of colours with this one :)
Option 3:  Wonky log cabin Quilt
  • There are some wonderful wonky log cabin quilts out in blogland.  Another great way to put your leftover bits and pieces of fabric to good use. 
  • I'll be making squares that are 9" by 9" out of my fabric scraps
  • My thoughts are to use brights or pastels that are complimented with soothing neutrals like beige and cream
  • Here's a great tutorial for the type of wonky log cabin block that I was thinking about: 
  • The colours are also similar to what I had in mind, with brights + pastels + some cream/neutral (I'll be adding a cream border to each of the 9"x9" wonky squares that you send me, so that this will help tie them altogether into one coordinated blanket)
I can't tell you how much this means to me.  I've been thinking about doing something like this since the day Dad was admitted.  Could this be the beginning of Bertie's Blankets?  :)  I'm glad that this article gave me the push, and the wonderful response I got from my fb knitter friends spurred me on.  Thank you.
I'll collect the squares and assemble them, and then ship to Trinity.

Much love and big hugs,
Sam xxx

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

White Tornado Weekend: My new craft room

Did you have a good weekend?

Mine was very rewarding.  I'd been toying with the idea of carving out some space at home that could be my craft room, or 'The Creation station' as we jokingly call it.  This weekend I put a lot of time and effort into organizing my new space in our loft.  It's not completely finished yet, but it is orderly.  And as you can tell from my previous post, this makes me a happy girl. 

Craft room

The shelving unit is an old metal swim locker.  Unfortunately it didn't come with a full complement of baskets and so this weekend I picked up those brown boxes from Ikea and I think they work perfectly, and at an affordable price point too.  Everything now has a home.  Aaah :)   But erm, ahem, yes, 2013 could be the year for some serious stashbusting.

I'll be popping the lids on the basket, but for the photo it was fun to see all the colours of the yarn poking out.  (Reminds me of standing on the ground floor of the Guggenheim and looking up to see glimpses of the colorful artwork between the swirling white walls).

I'm trying to find a site where I can print cute or funky labels for each of the boxes.  I really wish I had nicer handwriting, but alas no.  So printing the labels in an interesting font seems like the best way to go.  Any suggestions?

Craft room

I was able use the rocker from Naomi's nursery as a knitting and reading chair.  I think it works really well in here.  She now has a princess room with her own hidey hole tent and reading chair so no longer had need for this... more on this below.

Craft room

And because the room is in our loft, I am close to Naomi's room in the evening, but still near Joe if he is on the computer, or able to chat if he is downstairs watching TV.  (Oh and you can see on the first piccie that my furry entourage approve of the new space :)

Hope you had a lovely, and productive, weekend too,

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Beautiful Blogger Award

I was tickled pink to receive a Beautiful Blogger Award from Ginx Craft.  Thank you so much :)

The condition of the award is that you nominate 7 blogs that you enjoy, and share 7 random facts.

Here goes, for 7 lovely blogs:
  1. My Sister's Knitter:  Love socks and shawls?  This is the blog for you.  In addition to great projects there are also links to other fabulous blogs, fun videos and tempting new purchases from Indie dyers.
  2. Short Story Long:  Check out these photos - stunning!  Ooh yes, and she's a wizard with the needles. 
  3. Yarny Days:  Some of the prettiest crochet blankets I have laid my eyes on. 
  4. Knitspiring Odyssey:  Frequently updated, fun and friendly - a blog where you feel like family, or "Ohana"
  5. Oiyi's Crafts:  A talented designer who shares her creations, latest crafty endeavours and links to useful resources
  6. Joli House:  Home of Lily Kate designs, a fabulous and beautiful young designer from my part of the world.  Everything is beautifully photographed and makes me think of 'home'
  7. Savannah Chik Knits, Sews and Cooks:  A very talented knitter who provides details and resource links for her projects.
As for the 7 random facts, here goes:

1.  My husband calls me the 'White Tornado':  Occasionally I get the urge to whip through the house clearing out everything in sight.

2.  Following from #1, I do not like clutter or too much stuff.  But you'd never know that by looking at my yarn and fabric stash.
3.  My favourite colour is red.  Bright happy postbox red.  Although all bright colours make me happy
4.  Being productive also lifts my spirits.  If I'm in a funk, I find nothing picks me up better than feeling like I have accomplished something e.g. clearing out the kitchen.  Erm yes, back to #1 again!
5.  I come from a coastal tourist town called Blackpool.  I love going back and being close to the sea.  I also love that the town is a stone's throw from the country.

6.  Ik spreek een beetje Nederlands.  I spent 5-6 wonderful years living in Amsterdam.
7.  I came to the US on a business trip.  I met my husband and never left :)  He is my best friend.  (Aww :)))

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend,

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Monsters!

It seems fitting that my WIP project for this week is a monster.  The pattern is wickedly cute:  Daphne and Delilah by Danger Crafts.  The yarn is Lion Brand cotton ease and I use a size 6 needle.

Daphne and Delilah take 2

If you've been visiting this blog for some time you may recall that I made a bunch of the Danger Crafts monsters for Naomi's nursery.  Daphne and Delilah are her favourites and have often made a trip into daycare.

Penelope & pals

One of the ladies at daycare would just go gaga over these little guys and since she is expecting a baby next month I thought it would be fun to make her (and the wee one) their very own Daphne and Delilah monsters :)

Other than that we've been to a couple of early Halloween trick or treat parties, and have been preparing for the real deal today:

Grab bags of play doh ready for Naomi's class mates - check

Grab Bags for Daycare

Giganto bowl of candy ready for this evening - check

Candy at the ready

Cutest costume ever - check

Happy Halloween

Wishing you a happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Preparing for Halloween

This week we've been getting some additional bits and pieces ready for Halloween. Naturally we had to decorate a pumpkin. I didn't want to arm Naomi with pumpkin carving tools just yet :o))) and was looking for fun alternative ideas. We found these great 'Mr Potato Head' kits so that you can transform your pumpkin into a Vampire, Witch, Skeleton etc, etc... They are perfect for the little ones. The only tip - the grown up really needs to make the hole in the pumpkin first so that the wee ones can just assemble the pieces.  (I use a screw skewer that was made for corn on the cob).

Pumpkin head vampire

Making the pumpkin head vampire

Now we have a pumpkin head Vampire and, because it was so much fun, we returned to the store for a pumpkin head Skeleton! Naomi really loves her pumpkin heads. They are greeted in the morning with a kiss and a cuddle and the same again in the evening before bed. I think there may be tears when they need to 'go on holiday' after Halloween! ;o)

This little plush velvet pumpkin will hang around through Thanksgiving. It was a great find from our Glenwood Springs trip. (If you go to Glenwood Springs I recommend that you peruse through the art center near the hot springs pool - they have all kinds of goodies). I'd picked up the plushie pumpkin thinking I could make some myself... forgetting that there are only so many hours in a day :)

Fabric pumpkin

If you are interested in making these, there is a great tutorial below. Maybe after Halloween I'll be able to find some time to make these and use them as Thanksgiving table decorations

On a knitty front I've been working on a Polka Dot cardigan for Naomi with some bright self-striping yarn. We'd had some windy weather here in Colorado the other day and I thought that it might be a nice effect to photograph the cardigan in the colorful leaves that were strewn on our front lawn.

 Rainbow striped polkadot

My little helper grabbed her camera too to see if she could get some good shots.

To business... helping mama take pictures of her knitting

Anyway the leaf/photograph thing didn't really work out. So we had fun rolling down the slope of our front yarn in the crunchy leaves instead! Naomi just giggle and giggled!

Rolling in the leaves and down the slope is lots of fun

Maybe I should just stick with the usual white background for pictures of my projects:

 Polka dot in progress

I've also been putting together some Halloween goodies bags for my nephews. The gift boxes are Martha Stewart favours packages that you assemble yourself. If I had my act together I would have made some goodie bags again this year. But these work just fine :) For my older nephew I found these mini bags of jelly beans. I think these mini bags are fantastic - just enough to satisfy a sweet tooth, but not too much. Plus being individually wrapped, I'll be able to put the rest in our big halloween basket for trick or treat night. My other nephew is a year younger than Naomi - candy wasn't going to work for him. I found these teeny tiny pots of play dough and used them in his goodie bag, selecting the most appropriate halloween colours of course :). I'll be making more of the play dough party favours for the kids at daycare. Makes a nice change from candy. And then any left will also go in our trick or treat basket.

 Halloween goodies bags

Originally I was thinking of decorating the play dough pots to look like monsters. I'd seen this from 'the idea room' and this one from 'Meet the Dubiens' online and thought it was a fabulous idea! However the pots I picked up are teeny tiny... this idea would be better suited to the regular sized pots of playdough.

Hope you are enjoying the autumn and having fun with Halloween preparations,
Sam xxx

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Puerperium Cardigan

The folks at work are throwing a baby shower for one of the ladies in our group I hear 'baby shower' and my mind immediately starts thinking about all the cute itty bitty knits that I could make. The lady in question has decided not to find out whether she'll be welcoming a little boy, or a little girl. So that helps narrow the choices down to a unisex cardigan. As always I go to the Ravelry pattern search and start flicking through the baby patterns. That's where I found the Puerperium cardigan by Kelly Brooker.  Look how precious this is, and it is free.  Bonus!  The cardigan is a very easy knit and the pattern is well  written. Perfect for a beginner.  It is knit top down, with practically no seaming (except the underarms).  I used size US6 needle.

Puerperium cardigan

Here are a couple on Ravelry that caught my attention:

I chose to work this in Zitron Unisono.  I recently picked up this yarn at Mountain Valley Weavers in Glenwood Springs (if you are in the area, I recommend that you visit the store.  This is a not for profit that offers developmentally challenged adults the opportunity to explore and develop their creativity through the art of weaving - we were lucky enough to see some of the weavers happily working on beautiful scarves).  Any hoo the Unisono is lovely.  It is machine washable and is soft enough for babies skin (it has aloe in it).  Yes, this would do the trick.


I often think it is the little details that make a project.  The cardigan is lovely, but I wanted to add a little something to it.  First, the buttons.  These are some that I had picked up from Stampin Up a while back - I like that they work well with the colours in the yarn.  That was a good start, but it needed something else... a pocket.  (I simply cast on 15 stitches, knit in stocking stitch for approx 1-2 inches and then finished with 4 rows of garter stitch to match the garter stitch on the hem and neck band).  I love the pocket, and it makes me giggle thinking how throughly useless it is for a baby - pure decoration only. 

Newborn hat and cardigan

The pocket was good, but hmm it still needed something else... that's right an over stitched heart.  I think it did the trick!

Newborn hat and cardigan

I still had yarn left and made a little umbilical cord hat to go with the cardigan.

Newborn hat

Using US 6 needles cast on 75 stitches.  The hat is knit in the round.  First 4 rounds are garter stitch.
After the garter stitch, knit about 3-4 inches in stocking stitch.  Then comes the decreasing:
- *K3, K2tog* all the way around
- Knit a row
- *K2, K2tog* all the way around
- Knit a row
- *K1, K2tog* all the way around
- Knit a row
- *K2tog* all the way around
- Knit a row
- *K2 tog, K1* all the way around
- Knit an icord to the desired length, break yarn and thread through remaining stitches, pull tight and weave in. 

Of course this needed a heart too!

I still had more yarn left!  So I worked on my first 'Project of Love' hat.  I used the same instructions as above, but just knit the icord for about 4 inches and tied the icord in a knot.

Project of Love Hat #1

It feels good to have that done.  I've also been working on more + squares for Mum's curio quilt.  I have passed the 300 mark so I am making good progress.  I've also been shopping... check out these beauties that have made their way into my stash over the last couple of weeks:

More Fee laceweight yarn from Phydeaux Designs (I really enjoyed making the Citron shawl out of the Alpha Centauri colorway - this is extremely soft yarn with wonderful yardage and colours):


Phydeaux Fee - Holly


Phydeaux Fee - Aubergine

Today we attended a local craft fair and there was a stand with alpaca yarn from a local alpaca farm - Amazing fibers.  I was thrilled to bits :)  Alpaca is such a lovely light and soft yarn.  The ladies said I should come visit their farm - they have 100+ alpaca.  You know I'll be taking them up on that offer and I know a little someone who will love it too! 

Fingering weight handspun:

Handspun Alpaca

Worsted weight:

Alpaca worsted

Now, if only my output matched my intake of yarn!
Hope you had a great weekend,

Friday, October 05, 2012

"Do Something Nice" Day

Did you know that today was 'Do Something Nice Day'?  I love that there is a day on the calendar to remind us of the importance of doing something nice for others, and for ourselves.  It should be a daily mantra, and yet sometimes it can be too easy to just think the nice thought, instead of speaking the kind words, or acting out a sweet idea.

Did you do something nice today?

I decided to express my thanks to the lovely folks at Naomi's daycare who take such wonderful care of her, and are helping her grow to be a lovely and smart little lady. 

Lots of choccies

First I googled for free 'teacher appreciation' printables and found one that fit the bill perfectly over at Bitsycreations web site:  It takes a BIG heart to shape little minds.  I simply printed these from the web and used them to decorate boxes of choccies that we handed out at daycare this morning.


A simple gesture, but very well received.

It takes a big heart to help shape little minds

Interestingly, another opportunity to do something nice landed on my lap this morning.  Well, in my email account.  A couple of very dear friends alerted me to a worthwhile cause that is looking for volunteer knitters.  The charity is called Project of Love and they started by knitting chemo caps for children, but have since expanded to include knitting hats for children in shelters.  You can read all about it on their blog site.  I love that Betty (their "CEO" as she jokes) signs off her intro post with "Nothing is by Chance".  Isn't that the truth!

If you too want to help, take a look at the link to their blog and email Betty to get involved.  (Think of all those leftover sock yarns and sweater yarns that you could put to good use, and get a warm fuzzy feeling knowing that you did something nice :)  And for my local knitterly friends, if you want to get involved, I can happily round up donations and do a bulk mailing.

Have a lovely weekend,
And to my local friends, stay warm!

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Curio Quilt - WIP

One of the projects that I've been working on this last month is a Curio Quilt for (and with) Mum.

Mum has been talking about redecorating her bedroom for a little while and asked if I'd be interested in making a quilt for her.  Well, of course!  We created a board on Pinterest to start gathering and sharing our thoughts for what the quilt could look like.  The ideas evolved and we eventually settled on the curio quilt, using lots of bright fabrics from Kaffe Fasset and Westminster Fibers. 

Pretty Kaffe Fassett Fabrics

One of the things I love about this quilt pattern is how we've been able to feature some of the big floral prints in the larger squares.  It's also fun to see how one fabric can make many different looking squares and +s.

Big squares

Lots of +'s

It's been really nice having Mum here to work on this with me.  She's been cutting, ironing and laying out the squares.  (Oh yes and chief mathematician behind calculating how to upsize the quilt from it's written size, to fit a King size bed).

We didn't get as far as I would have liked while she was here - I would have liked to have had all the +s completed for her to layout.  But we did make excellent progress in the time we had together.  I am missing my worker bee :)  Naomi did insist on helping the other day... but lets just say that was not a boost to productivity :)))

Layout - wip

So: 244 +s completed now.  I think another 100 or so to go.  I better get a move on:
1.  My brother painted her bedroom whilst she was here, and now Mum is eager to get the new room together (my saving grace - she still has new carpet to lay in there)
2.  Joe is eager to host a party in the basement, and that isn't allowed as the basement floor has become the layout zone for the quilt.  It cannot be moved.
3.  My brother is coming to visit later in the year, and I'd love to be able to send this back with him. But, erm, need to clear this with him first.

Sewing the +s

More to come,
Sam xxx