Saturday, June 27, 2015

Gnome project pouch

It has been a good week for crafting and I've really enjoyed the project that I've been working on.  Step one was making the cross stitch gnome.  This little guy is part of a pattern that comes from a Frosted Pumpkin sampler.   The recipient loves gnomes, and I knew she was going to adore this!

Sweet little gnome

But that was just the start of my gifty plan - I wanted to turn this into something that would be useful for a craft project.  So, after looking through Pinterest, and my fabric stash, I decided on a flat-bottomed, lined, zipper pouch.  The red polka dot fabric is Kaffe Fasset and the Green is a heavier weight linen mochi mochi dot.  The pouch measures approx 10in wide x 7in high. with a 3 inch deep bottom - a great size for a sock knitting project.

Sneaking in some early morning craft time

I am super happy with the end result on this one.  I can see more of these zipper pouches in my future - teacher gifts, travel accessories, storage for crayons, pencils, legos...

Gnome zipper pouch

Zipper pouch

What have you worked on recently that has filled you with delight?

Hope you are having a fun weekend.
Sam x

Sunday, June 21, 2015

See-me-coming Socks

I have been travelling a bit with work again, this time to the east coast.  That's a good 4 hours of knitting time right there! (Well knitting, napping and trying to catch up with emails :))

I do attribute some of that flight time to being able to finish a pair of socks in a couple of weeks (it has to be a record for me!):

See me coming socks

The yarn is a handspun and hand dyed fiber from Sereknitty, in colourway 'Wild Side'. These bright colours make me happy. As does handspun in general. There's something very special about a handspun yarn, and the fabric it creates.  It has such an allure that there have been a number of times I have considered taking a class in spinning to see if it is something that I'd enjoy. Truly though, I really don't need another crafty hobby, or to build up more stash and tools to support another crafty hobby. Still there's that allure... ;o)
I digress.

See me coming socks

The pattern is a basic vanilla sock, on my new size 2s. I really enjoyed working with my new signature needles - gotta be careful with those points though (super sharp). So onto the next pair of socks. This time some man socks for Joe:

Man socks

Hope you are enjoying a lovely father's day with loved ones.
Sam xxx

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Pink Pop Socks

The weather in Colorado has finally turned from a rather unusual gloomy and wet few weeks, to summer! (Well summer interspersed with hail storms, tornado warnings and some crazy rain!). On the sunny weekend days I've been enjoying some R&R in our back garden, which has included knitting on these 'pink pop socks' while our little water baby runs through the garden sprinklers, or wallows in the inflatable pool.


The socks started out with a really fun pattern, but I was simply too frazzled from work to do anything but a plain vanilla sock. So I ripped them back and reverted to my old faithful pattern. The yarn is from Creatively Dyed and is a lovely mix of cream, brown, burnt orange, hot pink and navy. 

Second sock

Purple toe for my sock

As I was knitting, the dominant colors appeared to be the burnt orange and brown. Which is nice, except I was really hoping the hot pink would pop out. It was at that point I decided to add a heel and toe in a similar hot pink handspun yarn to really make that pink pop... it did the trick! Love how this turned out.

In other yarny news, I've been shopping! I should know to avoid my local yarn store because there is always something to tempt me. And sure enough there was this lovely Anzula Nebula yarn in shades of olive, some fun hot pink Madeleine Tosh, and this gorgeous gradient yarn from the Neighbourhood Fiber Co.

Anzula Nebula


Neighborhood Fiber Co

Lastly, I've picked up knitting squares for the Bertie's Blankets - the hospice blankets. These are a really simple square to knit from the Kraft Tanken Patches pattern - free Ravelry download. A couple of you had asked if I was still collecting squares... I'd really love it if you could donate one of these sock yarns squares for the next Bertie's Blanket. Thank you.

BB squares

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead and fun summer plans.
Love, Sam xxx

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A little of this and that

Sheepy yarn bowl

Chunky Hexagon Blanket

Second sock

Liberty squares

Card from hospice for the blankets

The crafty gifts continued to come in last weekend - check out this adorable sheepy yarn bowl that my step kids gave me for my birthday. It is adorable, and so are they :) We'd spent last weekend together in San Antonio, Texas, at a family wedding. It was a really fun weekend and good to have that time together.

With some of my big work projects going live this last week I've been able to pick up the knitting needles again. First I pulled this hexagon blanket out of the WIP pile. According to my ravelry notes, I started this one back in 2009. Yikes! Its amazing to me that it has been 'in progress' for that amount of time (where 'in progress' primarily means sat on a shelf and awaiting some attention!) I'd also finished the first pink pop sock, and now onto the next... about to turn the heel and then on the home stretch. Really pleased with these. Look how lusciously soft this yarn looks all knit up. Yesterday I was also playing around with some liberty fabric squares. I am thinking of making these into a cushion cover. Loving the pinks and purples. And last but not least, I received this thank you card in the mail for the Bertie's Blanket sock yarn blanket. Thank you again for all your help with these hospice blankets. The recipient was Porter Hospice in Littleton, Colorado.

Hope you are enjoying a lovely long weekend. Mine started with a day trip down to Colorado Springs, visiting Garden of the Gods and taking a ride up Pike's Peak on the Cog Railroad. For the rest of the weekend I am taking it easy and I'm thinking that also means craft time :)

Wishing you a great weekend,
Sam xxx

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Feel good projects

Instant gratification has been the name of the game over here.
One of my (many) quirks is that I like to feel productive, or that I have achieved something each day. If that isn't happening elsewhere then I look to my crafts to meet that need... and it has been meeting that need these last few weeks, with a stream of small, instant gratification, feel-good projects:

Fabric bucket

Fabric bucket

First up is a fabric storage bucket that is perfect for a knitted sock project, or other small portable project. This bucket uses some cute bunting fabric that I picked up on my last trip to the UK, together with the hot pink mochi dot linen fabric for the inside. I followed the instructions for the small fabric bin from the birch blog. The only mod was using batting instead of interfacing. I highly recommend this project if you are looking for some super cute storage bins.

Glasses case for Joe

Next up, Joe asked if I would make a something to carry his glasses in, instead of the bulky hard case. I had to dig around for some manly fabric from my stash, and I think the brown and olive Kaffe Fassett fabrics fit the bill. No real pattern on these - just a simple pouch that I quilted to add a little protection. I love how this has a wood grain vibe to it.


Headbands for soccer end of season goody bags

The next few items are for an end of season soccer celebration. There are these lovely headbands using the directions from alice and lois. These are ridiculously simple to make, and extremely comfortable to wear. We made a batch for the soccer girls using a selection of fun fabric scraps.

The Ferrari of knitting needles from Baz and Clare

I also received some amazing crafty goodies from my brother and sister for my birthday last week: These fabulous sock knitting needles from my brother (who has coined them the 'Ferrari of knitting needles'). I hope to take them for a spin this weekend.

Liberty London fabric from my sis and her family

And my sister sent me this gorgeous bundle of Liberty fabrics. Droool! So as my Uncle often told me: Cast your bread upon the water and it will be returned tenfold. That certainly seems to be the case this week.

Wishing you all a happy mother's day. Love, Sam xxx

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A little of this, a little of that

Bertie's blanket 3
Evie Box sweater
Pink pop sock
Libert London embroidered cushion
Colouring with thread
Colouring with thread
Brit bunting cushion
Pin cushions

First up: A huge than you to all of you that sent sock yarn squares for Bertie's Blankets.
The original idea was to make one large hospital bed sized blanket out of these squares. But after I started to assemble them, I decided that there were enough squares to make 2 good sized lap blankets, and why not spread the love :) This is the first of those lap blankets that I dropped off at a local hospice this week. It has been over 3 years since Dad was in hospice care, and so I wasn't expecting the emotions that came with dropping this blanket off. A mix of sadness for what has been, together with gratitude and happiness thinking about all of you that have been so kind to support this effort. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

That's the biggest news this week.  Other than that, I've been playing around with a couple of different projects all of which have one thing in common - they needed to be an easy distraction after some busy, and mentally exhausting work days:
  • There's the Evie box sweater in the red yarns which is a beautifully simple garter stitch in a variety of yarns.
  • A sock, which originally was in a cute pattern but required too much mental processing power, so riiiip, it became a vanilla sock.
  • Free-form embroidery on some Liberty of London decorator weight fabric which I turned into an envelope cushion and gifted to a friend today.
  • Upon completing that cushion, Naomi wanted a cushion too, so I pulled out the British bunting fabric that I picked up in the UK last year and made another simple envelope cushion cover for her bedroom.
  • Finally these darling little pin cushions using some espresso sized cups, fabric and a hot glue gun!
And that's it my friends. It has been good to craft this week.
Hope you are well.
Sam xxx

Sunday, March 15, 2015

This week in review : March 15

Vespa Yarn
Vespa yarns
Sarah watts jigsaw

Lovely new Vespa self-striping sock yarn and a beautiful project bag from a friend.
Seaming Bertie's (hospice) Blanket - the very pretty sock yarn blanket, for which you kindly donated squares. Isn't that pile of threads so pretty.
A relaxing jigsaw puzzle that I stumbled upon at Barnes and Noble, showing an illustration from Sarah Watts (a fabric designer that I like).
Some pretty new fabric.

The weather here is glorious. Naomi is a bundle of energy and wanting to test out her new big girl bike at the local park. I hope you also have fun plans for this Sunday. And Happy Mother's Day to all Mums in the UK.


Saturday, March 07, 2015

Frosty Daybreak

Springtree road Late Dusk Cashmire sock - north pole Daybreak Daybreak5 Daybreak4 Daybreak1

This is a really enjoyable knit - the Daybreak Shawl from Stephen West.
I used 2 skeins of sock yarn to work this:
  • Spring Tree Road Muscadine sock - Late Dusk colorway
  • Phydeaux Yarns Cachemire sock - North Pole colorway
Both yarns are fabulous, but there was something about the denim-like quality of the Muscadine sock that I was really drawn to - it picked up the subtle flecks of Navy in the Cachemire sock yarn, and the depth of the color makes a lovely contrast with the paler north pole colorway.

Both yarns wash up beautifully - the final shawl is light, airy and so very soft.

I really enjoyed working on this shawl, but it took me a little while to wrap my head around the increase instructions in the first section of the shawl.  But a quick ravelry search later, and I found Pieces of Kate's extremely helpful notes for section 1 where she details out the number of stitches needed before you make an increase.  If you are going to knit this shawl, I highly recommend you check out her advice.  Once you get past the first section it is plain sailing!

That's all from me.  Looking forward to going and checking on what you've been working on.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend,
Sam x

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Huddling indoors

Oh the weather outside is frightful,
But the fire is sure delightful,
And since there's no place to go,
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow....
oh the weather outside
This wonderful yarn arrived in the mail today from Mountain Girl Yarns... I am in love! I wanted to get a picture of this beautiful yarn up on the blog today, but it is dark indoors... so outside in the snow we went.
but the fire is sure delightful
We quickly moved back inside, where you'll find me taking advantage of the snowy weather to huddle indoors and continue working on the Daybreak shawl from Stephen West. I started this one earlier in the week, and it is a nice easy knit for a nice easy day.
Stay safe and warm, Sam xxx

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentines Day!

Hello Friends,
Are you having a good Valentines day? Any fun plans?

We'll be driving down to Colorado Springs today - that's where Joe and I met, 14 years ago. Its just a short drive down from Denver and we always enjoy spending a day in Old Colorado City and seeing Garden of the Gods.

But first, I wanted to quickly share the socks that I finished for Joe.

valentines socks

These were completed just in the nick of time yesterday evening.

valentines socks

The yarn is Crazy Zauberball (the Black/grey/white) and Shibui sock (red). I like that they both appear to be the same from the cuff down to the heel, but that one foot has the darker yarn and the other foot the lighter yarn. I hadn't planned them to work out that way... but for me that's part of the fun of working with these types of yarn.

valentines socks

The pattern is one that I made up as I went along. I share it here in case you might be interested:
The socks are worked from cuff to toe, using size 2 needles.

  • Cast on 70 stitches and join for knitting in the round, place a stitch marker at the beginning of the round to help you keep track of where each round starts and stops
  • Work 10 rounds in a K1, P1 rib
  • Work 5 rows in K9, P1 pattern
  • Then work the heart pattern below (retaining the K9, P1 pattern as illustrated in the heart chart), using your contrast yarn for the hearts

    heart diagram

  • Once the heart chart is completed, continue working in K9, P1 pattern until leg is desired length (for my socks this was approx. 8.5 inches)
Add in waste yarn for a provisional heel:
  • Using a waste yarn of a contrast colour, knit 35 stitches
  • Now, reknit these stitches with your working yarn (in my case the zauberball) retaining the K9, P1 pattern around
  • Here's a good resource for how to do this, from the Knit Purl Hunter:

  • Continue knitting in K9, P1 pattern until the foot is the desired length (for my socks, this was approx. 6 inches)
  • Arrange the stitches so that you have 35 stitches on needle 1, and the other 35 stitches split fairly evenly between needles 2 and 3
  • Switch to the contrast yarn
  • Knit 1 complete round
  • Then knit a decrease round:  On needle 1: K1, SSK.  K until there are 3 stitches left on the needle.  K2 tog, K1.  On needle 2: K1, SSK, K to end of needle.  On needle 3: K until there are 3 stitches left on the needle.  K2 tog, K1.
  • Work a knit round, and then work a decrease round and keep alternating between these rounds until there are 30 stitches left
  • Using Kitchener stitch, graft the live stitches together
The afterthought heel:
  • Go back to the waste yarn and place these stitches on your needle, while removing the waste yarn
  • Follow the instructions for the toe, to complete the heel
  • Again, for a great resource, the Knit Purl Hunter has the following instructional video

Darn in all ends and then repeat for the second sock. :)
That's all there is to it.

modelled secret socks

For the folks in the US, wishing you a lovely long weekend!
Happy Valentines to all,