Sunday, September 18, 2016

Halloween Prepping

Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend a talk by Denyse Schmidt at Fancy Tiger crafts. It was fascinating to hear how her crafting story unfolded, and also the business decisions she had made along the way. I love her quilts and fabrics and thoroughly enjoyed listening to her creative process.


While I was at Fancy Tiger I did a little window shopping. Which turned into actual shopping, when these beauties came home with me.  I'd been looking on Pinterest for a trick or treat tote to make for Naomi, and these fabrics are just the ticket! Loving the ouchy tooth image. Naomi got a kick out of that too!

Cotton and Steel Halloween Fabrics

The pattern I used is the Pocket Tote, Library Bag from Sugar Bee Crafts.  It is a great pattern - well written with clear supporting photographs (her selection of fabric is adorable too!).  I like that this is kid-sized and has some structure to it.  Naomi thinks the tote is awesome, so we have a winner!

Trick or treat bag

Halloween trick or treat bag

In addition to this sewing project I've been working on a little capelet cardigan for Naomi in the fun Madeline Tosh yarn that has the 'rainbow paint splats' on it.  I am winging this one, so hoping that it works out nicely.

Rainbow splash cardigan

And of course continuing to plug away on the lace section of the rosewater shawl.  This is such a fun color for Halloween... not sure if it will be finished in time though.


Hope you are having a great weekend,

Sunday, September 04, 2016


Apologies for the absence. I had the good fortune to take an extended work trip to 2 places that I have been on my wish list - China and Japan.

Shanghai was my first destination and although I spent most of my time in meeting rooms, I got to experience local food and culture and this amazing skyline:

Shanghai by day

Shanghai by night

Over the weekend I was able to visit the Yu Garden area in Shanghai, which is an interesting mix of older architecture and commerce.  I enjoyed wandering around this area and seeing some craftsmen at work.

Yu Garden, Shanghai

Yu Garden, Shanghai

The next destination was Tokyo, and I was able to see the Meiji Jingu Shrine, the Imperial Palace, Harajuku, and one craft area in a local department store (bonus!)

Meiji Jingu shrine barrels of sake

Meiji Jingu shrine prayers, Tokyo


I was on a high after this trip, feeling extremely lucky to have had a taste of these great cities, and I hope to return to both places in the future.

Long flights also means I have a little craft update too with lots of plane knitting time! Shortly before the trip I had received a recommended post in my facebook feed for a new-to-me designer: Janina Kallio. I really liked the airy shawl designs, and selected one of these for the trip - Rosewater shawl. I had the perfect yarn for it too - some handspun that I had found on Etsy a few years ago, in a gorgeous purple. The beginning garter stitch section was good simple knitting for a travel project.

Garter stitch


Have you had a fun summer?

I hope that you are all well.
Best wishes,
Sam xxx

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Fun Girly Poncho

Are you having a great weekend? Have you been watching, and enjoying, the start of the Olympics? We watched the opening ceremony on Friday, and then watched the swimming qualifiers, table tennis, women's soccer and the men's gymnastics yesterday.  Yes, I love watching the Olympics, and Naomi is also getting hooked... she is particularly fond of the gymnastics.  (We can't wait to see Simone Biles... and are watching the uneven bar qualifiers right now).

During the opening ceremony I was able to cast on, and finish this fun girly poncho:

The yarn is Knit Collage Gypsy Garden, in Shooting Star color way.  It is a bulky thick/thin wool and mohair yarn that has 'flair' spun into it -- glittery ribbons and colorful threads, little ribbon roses and flowers.  It really is a fun yarn!  My very thoughtful sister bought a skein for me when she was visiting the Purl Soho store in New York.  I picked up a 2nd skein on Ravelry destash to ensure that I'd have enough yardage for a project (each skein is 32 yards).

Yarn off sis
This didn't start out as a poncho,  It was intended to be a cowl.  For me.  I searched on Ravelry for a pattern that used a super bulky yarn, with less that 150 yards, and picked the Marian cowl pattern by Jane Richmond designs, which is a free Ravelry download.

At first I knit as instructed in the pattern, using a seed stitch.  However there was too much going on for my taste with the 'flair' plus the seed stitch pattern.  So I frogged and worked the cowl instructions in a simple stocking stitch.  That worked much better - you could really see the thick and thin yarn, and all the sparkles and embellishments.

I asked Naomi to model the cowl for blog photos for me, and when she tried it on it fell over her shoulders like a poncho.  She fell in love with it!  So there you have it - Momma's cowl, became a fun girly poncho for Naomi!

Wishing you a good rest of your weekend.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

It has been a slow week...

This time last year we were back in the UK for my sister's wedding.
The whole gang
I had all good intentions to create a 1 year anniversary gift for her: A wedding portrait cross stitch, similar to the cross stitch portrait my brother had requested. Unfortunately it has been another couple of nutty work weeks so I didn't have the free/craft time to pull it off. The silver lining is that the traditional 2nd year anniversary gift is 'cotton'... so that can be the new goal! Sorry, Sis xxx
I have a reasonable start, and have been enjoying working on my Sis in her fabulous wedding dress. Pretty cute, huh! (She's ridiculously cute in real life too). I cant tell you how much fun these portraits are to work on.
Now I just need to keep this little fella from chewing up the threads!!!
(Isn't that a guilty look)
Wishing you a great Sunday,

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Rockies Sockies

Last night was Star Wars night at Coor's Field. While I'm not a big sports fan, or Star Wars fan for that matter, I do like a good event and last night was a great one! We took a pedicab to the baseball field, which is always a fun way to get to the park quickly. The folks that operate the pedicabs are a delightful bunch and yesterday's experience was no exception - once we reached our destination, the driver had Naomi squealing in delight as he treated her to her very own 'figure of eight' fairground style turns! I love this shot we were able to snap - the Colorado shirt with the iconic Union Station in the background. Aah gott a love Colorado.
There were lots of cool details at the ball park last night: A Star Wars costume parade around the field. Dinger, the mascot, donned in a Jedi cloak and carrying a light saber. I also enjoyed that each time a player was announced on the board, he had been assigned a Star Wars character. Naturally the Rockies represented the good guys, and the opposing team were all Stormtroopers! My favourite was the bearded Charlie Blackmon as Chewy!
As we were at a Rockies game it seemed only right that I dug out my Rockies sock yarn to knit on. Isn't this colorway perfect! I always get a few funny looks when knitting at a game - but this is a few hours of sitting time... a perfect time to knit! Does anyone else knit at sporting events? I know there used to be annual stitch and pitch events where knitters would gather and craft at the game. Soo much fun!
Rockies Sockies
Plus the Rockies colorway beats the boring black man sock that I also have on the needles right now.
Boring Black man sock
Hope you have had a fun weekend too.

Sunday, July 17, 2016


I've been having fun putting together a couple of gifts for a friend that likes gnomes. First is a simple wooden box that is embellished with a cross stitch gnome on the lid.
Gnome cross stitch box
The box is a Hand Made Modern wooden box from Target, and the gnome pattern comes from the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery's Woodland Sampler (you have to decrease the height of the gnome hat to make it fit).  I started with cross stitch thread but wasn't getting the coverage I wanted, and then changed to use sock yarn from my stash.
Gnome cross stitch box
I think it turned out pretty cute. Turns out that I wasn't the only one - Naomi asked if I would make a box for her too. For her box I opted for a simple initial in colours that match her room.
Cross stitch boxes
This is a simple, quick and easy project. There are some fiddly elements - dealing with the lid as you stitch and tucking in the end of each threads But otherwise it's a straightforward make, with a cute result.

The other project is a storage basket made from the adorable Heather Ross gnome fabric, together with some Michael Miller polka dots.
Gnome yarn basket
The pattern is a modified version of the popular, free pattern: One Hour Basket from Hearts and Bees. My modifications were to make it larger:
  • I cut 4 pieces of fabric that were 17 x 21 inches
  • The square cutouts for each corner were 3.5 inches
  • I folded over approx 3 inches of the polka dot fabric at the top of the basket and top stitched across the top and bottom of this polka dot band

Gnome yarn basket
The storage basket is quite floppy - which could be a result of the larger size. But if I were to do this again, I'd probably use a stiffer interfacing. However, with enough yarn stashed inside, it stands up quite nicely :)
Yarn in the basket
Hope that you are having a fabulous weekend.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Handspun socks

I hope that you are well and enjoying summer. I've been absent due to work and family travels. It's been a great few weeks. Of course travel time means lots of craft time, which has resulted in a pair of handspun socks.
Handspun socks
A few weeks back I picked up this wonderful yarn from BockStark knits on Etsy. I am really fond of handspun and these colours are very soothing.
Bockstark handspun
There is no pattern for these - just a plain old vanilla sock.  I thought that best with all the interest from the yarn.
Handspun socks
These kept me company on our travels to, and within, the UK. Plane knitting, train knitting etc... We had such a great time with family in the UK, and were able to get out and about - walking the Roman walls in Chester, visiting historic buildings, checking out Wimbledon, walks along the beach front...
Salmesbury Hall
Salmesbury Hall
One crafty highlight from the trip: There is a factory that prints Liberty fabric not too far from where my family live. Adjacent to the factory is a factory shop!!! My sister took to me the factory store one weekend, and I picked up a few bags of Liberty scraps as well as some pre-cut bundles. We had such a great time, and came home with fabulous loot, that I was able to tempt my Mum to take me back there the following week. It would be dangerous if this was on my doorstep!
Liberty of London fabrics
Liberty meter, 1/2 meter, 1/4 meter bundles
Liberty scraps
Back in Colorado now, and hiding indoors from this crazy heat.
Stay cool friends.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Stitch People: Cross Stitch Family

After seeing the birth announcement cross stitch, one of my family asked if I would make a family portrait with cartoon type people and an uplifting statement underneath as a daily reminder to be grateful for all that you have. Well, of course I was going to say yes to that!
Stitch people: brother family
I enjoy the research process almost as much as the crafting itself, and it wasn't long before I found the Stitch People site. What a fantastic source of inspiration with numerous customized family and wedding portraits. Plus you can order their book to guide you through creating your own custom versions: The book includes the designs for multiple different hair, outfit and accessory types, plus it has a great section for different dog and cat types. Naturally I now own a copy.
Stitch people: brother family
I started by picking out some photographs of the happy family, and then looking in the Stitch People book for those characteristics and outfits that would represent the family members. Once I had the selected design elements I copied them onto graph paper - this became my 'pattern'. From there it was a case of picking from my supply of threads to create the portrait. I cant tell you how much fun I had with this process, trying to make sure I reflected some of the details of this family:
  • Ooh she likes sparkle - let me stitch her a pink sparkle top
  • I rarely see her without heels... yep, these ankle boots with a heel are perfect!
  • Now for him, a black t-shirt is a frequent go-to top
  • One of his arms is a multicolour sleeve tattoo and the other is sepia, let me build that in ...making sure I get the arms correct (yes, there are even hints and tips for how you add details such as tattoos into your design)
  • The dogs are both German Shepherds but with their own distinct colouring that I was able to build in

Stitch people: brother family
As for the saying, I found this one on Pinterest - it is short, simple, but really conveys the desired feeling behind the original request.

I am grateful that I get to spend time with my family very soon, and deliver this one in person.
What are you grateful for?

Big hugs,
Sam xxx

Monday, May 30, 2016

Rainbow socks

These little beauties have been keeping me intermittent company since June last year, when I picked up the yarn back in the UK. They have spent time with me travelling in England, Scotland, Delaware and California. Nice, simple, vanilla sock knitting for plane and train travel.

Rainbow socks

The yarn is from Zauberball and gradually changes through the colors of the rainbow. I like to knit from either side of the ball to make stripes. If you haven't used it before, the Zauberball is a great sock yarn. I have used it a couple of times now and have been really pleased with how well it holds up with plenty of wear and washes. But most of all I just love how bright and happy these colors are. 

Rainbow socks


Speaking of bright and happy, Naomi finished Kindergarten last week. It blows my mind how fast the time is flying by... how is it possible that these wee ones grow so fast? I really like the school she attends and she has some lovely teachers. And of course, end of year = teacher appreciation time. I kept it simple this year, opting for Starbucks gift cards for each of her teachers. But I couldn't completely skip the handmade element, and so quickly assembled these cards (thanks to some free printables from Bren Did).

Teacher appreciation

The first couple of years in daycare and preschool I had actually made gifts for the teachers. It's hard to know how handmade gifts are received. To me, there is something special about an item that has been lovingly handcrafted, but I also recognize that it is not to everyone's taste. Now starbucks gift cards on the other hand, while arguably lacking in originality, has to be a hit, right? Always hard to know, and likely depends upon each individual recipient. (Well, there was a little side ramble :)

Hope you are having a great holiday weekend with loved ones,