Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy Easter

Happy Easter, originally uploaded by samjoepics.

Wishing you an Easter filled with happiness and love. Sam xxx

Pattern: Bunny nuggets by Rebecca Danger

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Handspun Snowbird

I'll try to contain my excitement on this one.  But I warn you now, it's going to be tough because I think this is my favourite hand knit sweater to date -- the handspun snowbird.
Snowbird front

Some years ago I had some malabrigo listed on my destash page.  A lovely lady from Aspenlund Farms contacted me to see if I'd be interested in trading for some of her handspun yarn.  At this point in time I hadn't had the pleasure of using handspun yarn, but I know 'hand' created anything has consumed a lot of someone's time and energy and was therefore something special.  Heck yes I'll trade!

Sure enough the yarn arrived and I fell in love with it - it was a 50/50 mix of Icelandic and Mohair yarn.  It was a beautiful neutral - the tag explained that these fibers were harvested from organically kept creatures and processed without the use of harsh chemicals.  What I loved most of all was the somewhat rustic and artisanal nature of the yarn.  Given it's natural beauty, I wanted to find a simple pattern that would allow the yarn to sing!

Snowbird side

I searched through Ravelry and it didn't take long before I came across Heidi Kirrmaeier's Snowbird.  It is such an elegant, flattering and simple pattern.  Yes, this was 'the one'.  A match made in heaven :)

Snowbird back

I actually cast on for this some years ago - not long after Naomi was born.  My sleep-deprived baby brain had a few issues figuring out the start of this, where you make a provisional cast on for the collar.  But I got there, and I started knitting, and it was an enjoyable project to work on.  I'm not quite sure why this fell into the WIP pile for soo long.  But I think once projects fall in there, it is a bit of a black hole.  Any hoo, my dear friend Andi gifted me a fabulous sweater pattern the other day (thank you sooo much), and I decided that I should finish up my WIP sweaters before I cast on something new:  Snowbird came out of hibernation!

Snowbird side

I was super happy to be back working on this.  Especially as I was on the home stretch with just the bottom of the sweater and the pockets to complete.  It was finished in no time.  I blocked it this last week, and it was dry in time for yesterday's snowfall -- the perfect backdrop to take pictures for snowbird :)


I didn't make any modifications to this beautifully written pattern - just knit as instructed.  I see another in my future, and may go up a size on my next one to make it a little less sleek, and a little more snuggly.  But yes, super happy with this very wearable FO.

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend,

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Quilted Pillows

If you've been reading here for a while you'll know that I'm lucky to have some very dear crafting friends that live locally.  We met through a knitting meetup group, and hang out at least once a month.  These gals are great and always look out for each other (including throwing the most amazing baby shower for a yet-to-be-born Naomi, and I). 

One of our dear friends, Genia, just purchased her first home and is busily trying to decorate, furnish and make it all her own.  So the group got together to throw a little housewarming party for her.  You should have seen the cool stuff that she got, and needless to say a lot of the attention was on helping outfit her new crafting space :)  Very cool!

In addition to hosting the party, Stacey came up with a great idea to make Genia some throw pillows.  Genia looooves skully fabric, and Stacey had a suggested pattern and some fun skully fabric for us to use:  skulls with knitting needles, and skulls with scissors.  We divided the fabric between 3 of us - Stacey, Terrie and I - and set off to each make a throw cushion.

The fun part of this is that we each chose a different design from 'Oh Fransson's Chopped Vegetables' pattern, and also used fabrics from our own stash that complemented the skully fabric.  The end result is what I like to think of as siblings - each one totally unique, and yet quite obviously from the same family.

Here are the skully siblings:

Genia pillows from Stacey, Terrie and I

L to R: Stacey, Terrie and Sam versions.

Here's a close up of the one that I made.  Front:

Pillow for Genia - front


 Pillow for Genia - back

Genia was really touched with all the gifts :)

In the spirit of 'same but different', I also worked on a couple of blocks for the Denver Quilt Bee project.  The quilt bee works like this: Each participant selects an inspiration quilt/design, provides fabrics for that quilt and packages it all in a box.  Each month the box goes to a different particpant, and they make a couple of blocks using the suggested fabric and inspiration guidelines.  This launched last month, and my first box was for my good friend Terrie :)  It was fun to work on blocks for someone I knew well.

Here are Terrie's fabrics:

Quiling Bee: Terrie Fabric

Terrie's inspiration quilt is the Bella's Bird pattern from Lotta Jansdotter.  Here are the squares that I made for her:

DQuilt Bee: Terrie Squares

Many of the participants are recommending that you add a little fabric from your stash, to personalize at least one of the blocks.  I added some of my own grey scallop fabric to the 3rd square at the bottom of the picture - it felt like it was in the same family of grey, but will make that square a little different.  I'm looking forward to seeing how these all turn out.  This last week at the Denver Quilt Guild we each did a 'show and tell' for all of the blocks and it was great to see how each person is working with the themes and fabrics provided to them.  I was hesitant about joining since I have soo many things on the go right now, but was soo thankful that I did.  This is a lot of fun.

Well, it's snowing here and so I'm hoping to spend the majority of the day hibernating and working on my Mum's quilt.  But first I need to venture out and take Naomi to 'Nastics' (Naomi's word for gymnastics!)  She started last week and was beaming with happiness; she thoroughly enjoyed the class!  Aside from having a very happy girl, I also get rewarded with a very tired girl.  A very tired girl = longer nap time = more productive craft time!  Is that bad?  :)))

OK friends, have a lovely weekend,

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Counting Blessings

My dear sweet Grandma passed recently.  I'd posted earlier that I'd gone back to the UK to spend time with her - she was battling stage 4 breast cancer.  I'm thankful that I got to say goodbye.  It was hard.  But it was a blessing to have that time together. 

She was amazing and we were very lucky to have her as our Grandma.  You can see in the photo above how much fun we all had together.  She cared soo much for her family, to the point that when she was diagnosed, she was more concerned about upsetting 'the kids' (her grown up grandkids :), than her own well-being.  I'll miss her dearly.  But I like to think that she is now with her loving husband and son, and together they'll be watching over us.


Saturday, March 09, 2013

Kusha Kushlette

The Kusha Kusha scarf was finished just in time for my friend's birthday. 

kusha kusha modelled

It's an interesting scarf from Habu Textiles that is knit with a stainless silk yarn throughout, combined with a lace weight merino.  The stainless silk makes this sculptural - you can pull and stretch this to a desired form.  You can see below that I added some little scallops along the edge by simply pulling gently on the edge of the scarf about an inch apart.

kusha kusha detail

For the first portion of the scarf you knit with the stainless and merino at the same time.  Once finished you gently hand felt this section to make the merino bloom. 

Here's where my scarf went a little awry:
When you have finished knitting the scarf it is a good 62" inches long, which seems a bit much, except with any felting you expect shrinkage.  I followed the directions and hand felted the scarf, but the merino just didn't seem to bloom as much as I'd hoped.  So the following morning (day of gifting) I hand felted again and left it to dry.  Hmm still not blooming much; it just wasn't looking the way I'd hoped.  So I figured that quick 5 minute spin in the dryer should help remove the last bit of moisture, and felt it a little more. Hmm yeah, felt it did:  The kusha kusha scarf shrank down considerably! 
Yes, I know better.  But the impatient me isn't very smart.

On a positive note, the felted portion looks exactly as I'd hoped. 
However it is now a little Kusha Kusha scarflette! :o)))

kusha kusha scarf

My dear sweet friend is truly gracious and has even worn this scarf to work.  But we did agree that it's big sister would follow at a later date ;o)

Hope you are having a lovely weekend,
Sam xxx