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