sweaters and more

Despite the lack of posts, things are still thing happening on these fronts. There is a bit of sewing, a lot of sweater making (some big, some small), and a lot of sweater pattern buying – which is ironic given the latest thing going on – word that we are spending some time in the United Arab Emirates over the next year.

On the crafting front, we made our round of handmade teacher gifts, and I’m super happy with how they turned out. We made little bird and garden angel ornaments from the book Scandinavian Stitches by Kajsa Wikman.030teachergift

On the knitting front. I made a second Alberta vest, this time for my Dad’s birthday. I also managed to squeak out a cardigan for my sister’s new baby…whom I had the pleasure of visiting right after she was born. Its nice to know I am knitting for a girl, and I did a little stash diving to find a cute yarn perfect for the little sunnyside cardi  from Tanis Fiber Arts. I also got to see Mia in the Puerperium Cardigan I made for Christmas, which was fun.


In the past two months I’ve filled up my queue with sweaters, purchased the patterns and skeins up on skeins of yarn…and managed to finish my very first adult sized just for me sweater. I love the pattern, the color and the concept. I made a stupid judgement call on joining the yarn, and I can see the places in the sweater which bugs me. I also have never knitted with this type of yarn before…and I’m curious to see how it all holds up. They yarn itself is knitted strands – I have not idea what that is called, but it seems to easily snag on things. It worked out okay, but I am not sure I’d use that type of yarn again.


So, here I sit with a queue full of sweaters and a closet full of wool. Rumor has it I may need a sweater or two for the air conditioning, but more likely…in addition to reorganizing our lives, my favorite pastime may need a major overhaul along with my Ravelry queue and list of favorites. Oy  vey!

So, this little upheaval in conjunction with the enjoyment of summer life in general is part of the reason I’ve been putting this blog (and some crafting) on the way back burner and I anticipate that will continue to be the case…at least until we get settled and figure out how life in the UAE works.


Handmade Holiday 2012

Wow…how is it mid January already?! The holidays were a whirlwind of family, fun, the flu and some serious movie marathons as we struggled to get healthy. The little people in our house were even sick Christmas Eve, and sadly my son spent much of Christmas day with a bucket at the ready. Despite it all, it was a nice time, and this year’s crop of handmade gifts were well received. I was not quite as ambitious as last year, but still managed to pull together a nice collection.

Most of the gifts were knitted this year, but I did sew up some pot holders for my sister, and Nana and I collaborated on a reading tent for my daughter, which she is pretty excited about. The knit list included these honeycomb mitts, and each of these lovely hats from purlbee.com. I did the wide brim one for my dad and the smaller simple brim one for my father in law in the larger size mentioned in the comments. I made a cowl and slouchy hat for my niece. The slouchy hat was this pattern here, and I tried something of my own for the cowl, a big twist. As I mentioned in my last post (a long long long time ago) the design can use some work, but as a first go, overall I was pleased. I pulled together a few quick cowls (drop stitch cowl and big lace scarf (which I turned into a cowl)) together for friends – in my book nothing says happy holidays like a big ole snugly cowl. Here is a sampling of the projects.
My sister is expecting which is super exciting and having a baby to knit for is making me giddy. I had an especially good time making this little cardigan for the little bean. It is the Puerperium Cardigan by Kelly Brooker of knit.so.quaint, and can be found on ravlery.
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So, that is the handmade holiday 2012 wrap up.  I am looking forward to more handmade gifts this year, and continuing on my journey to become a better knitter, learn more about sewing and doing it well, and pick up the always lagging photography aspect of my little mission. Hope you had a great holiday…and all the best for a crafty new year!

The Holiday Knit List

Slowly but surely I am making progress. I am hard at work on the things needing to be shipped. I was feeling a little scattered having started all the projects, and working on them simultaneously. But today I got one set done, finished a knitting project for another package and decided to focus on getting those two boxes out – even if it means interrupting the knitting to get a quick sewing project done.

The knit list includes several hats, a cowl, some mitts, a cardigan, two scarf hood pocket combo and who knows what else will crop up.

1. I tried a new self created design on the cowl…in hind sight gifts are not the right place to experiment! While it turned out well enough, I would certainly change some things the next time.

2. The downside to mitts and the such is the elation you feel at completing a project is short lived as the realization you are only half way there and need to cast on and repeat it all again quickly sets in. The upside is that the Malabrigo merino worsted is a total joy to work with – and I can’t wait to find new projects to use that wool on. Glad to have finally tried this yarn!

3. The kids wanted hood scarf combo with pockets, and while I found a pattern I am going to work from, there will need to be some modifications. Let me refer back to point 1, and the danger of experimentation on gifts and, then also mention that my son (the kids are in on the gift as they requested the project and selected their own yarn) said “mom, please do Kaya’s first since you haven’t done this before. Little stinker :). The modifications aren’t too drastic, so hopefully we will be in good shape.

…and with that, I need to get back to doing instead of writing about doing.

Hope your crafty endeavors are going well and you are enjoying this holiday season!


Good Intentions

I had good intentions to participate in the fabric by fabric one yard wonders sew along this past month. I’m interested in the project, wanted to make it, have an idea of someone I would gift it to and even bought fabric, but alas Halloween preparations, costume creations and some more knitting got in the way.

I will tackle it this fall, because I do believe it will be the perfect gift for a certain someone!

I have some photos to post, a few knitting projects to blog and handmade Christmas to wrap my head around!

in this neck of the woods…

Despite the lack of posts, and not participating in africankelli’s September sew along, I have been working on a few things. We have been adjusting to the school schedule thing again, and getting back into the swing of catching early buses, getting homework done and the fun of fall soccer.

On the knitting front, I’ve am slowly plugging away on the Calla Cami, which is going well. I just haven’t focused on it as much as I could. Sadly, I can’t quite say the same thing for the rock island. I made a stab at the starting rock island chart, but ended up with some mistakes and ripped it back to the garter section. I forgot to place a lifeline before starting, and wont be making that mistake again! Soon I will tackle the chart again. I’ve blown it up so I can see it better, marked it up so that the SSK are all highlighted green, and I just know that this time I’ll have better luck! I need to devise a better system of keeping track of the 17 – 6 stitch repeats on either side of the center section. Any suggestions? Oh, and perhaps an isolation chamber might help too.

However, I find it is always important to give oneself some success while struggling, so to help manage my frustration, I banged out another one of Katie’s lovely patterns and had fun doing it.  How can you go wrong…big needles, big yarn, a fun braided cable with a quick turn around! I can almost get excited about the first frost that killed all that remained of our garden, as it means its about time to wear warm woolly knits!

On to sewing…I finished up two projects. The first was a modification to the messenger bag I posted on earlier. This time around the purpose was to be a holder for my daughter’s LeapPad which she received for her birthday. I decided to add some padding to the body of the bag, a pocket for the USB cord, some slots to hold the game cartridges and a pouch for the charger. I also whipped up a sleeve for the device itself. She feels pretty fancy, and enjoys carting her whole set up around.

The second project was a new baby doll wardrobe for our friends’ daughters birthday. I found an awesome pattern over on this blog, reduced it a bit since our dolls were 12 inches and then went to town. I made a few tops, two skirts, a pair of pants and a fleece jacket. Sadly, I didn’t do much in the way of photos – but the feedback is that baby Sara, and her mama are quite pleased with all the new clothing.

So, there you have it, that is what is happening in this neck of the woods. I am looking forward to getting back on track with projects and posting.

Drew’s Race Across the Sky

In the middle of August, my husband did a quite impressive (and a bit crazy) thing…he rode in the Leadville 100 Trail MTB race, one of the nation’s best known ultra marathon mountain bike races. Drawing nearly 2000 riders from all over the world, the Race Across the Sky is a grueling course with more than 12,000 feet of elevation gain over 100 miles and climbs to 12,424 feet at its halfway point where riders turn around and ride back into town. My husband had a good race; and he was pleased with his finish, his belt buckle and his experience as a whole. The kids and I headed up to Leadville to offer support and cheer the riders on, and my sister even timed her Colorado visit to take in the race as well. While I have done a few century road rides, I can’t even begin to imagine tackling 100 miles on a mountain bike with that kind of climbing at those elevations. It was a seriously impressive accomplishment!

40 miles in…and still smiling!

My sister and Kaya cheering on the riders.

We made a lot of noise, saw Drew come through twin lakes again on his way down from the race high point and then headed into town to see the finish.

Just over 11 hours in the saddle, Drew is done!

Despite their immediate grab at his medal, I think they were pleased to see him as well 🙂

Well on second thought, Tanner was pretty focused on the medal.

…oh, and I almost forgot, in the late hours of Thursday evening before heading up to Leadville, Drew decided he needed a pouch for his bike to store some food where it was easily accessible while riding. Being the ever supportive wife with crafty aspirations I happily scoured my fabric stash, found some remnants and fashioned a lovely little pouch to velcro onto his bike frame. I am sure this lovely pouch was the envy of all the racers…hehehe…

August Sew Along: Swaddle Blanket

One of my first sewing projects was the flannel swaddle blanket from the Fabric-by-Fabric One Yard Wonders book. This project, and looking at the book’s FaceBook page lead me to AfricanKelli.com and her monthly sew along. So, when Kelli asked if I’d be willing to sew another blanket and share my thoughts on the process, I said heck yeah! The timing worked well, as this past weekend I saw my dear friend Katie who is expecting.

The swaddle blanket is a simple project. Three pattern pieces are cut, the swaddle ties are joined to make one large tie, and then bias tape is sewn along the outside edge of both pieces. Once that is completed, you attach the tie to the back of the blanket and you are all done. It seems to me, the key to this project is patience and precision … neatly attaching the bias tape, and making sure that you get the seam enclosed when making the large swaddle tie.

I am still new to sewing, and the swaddle blankets are the only times I’ve worked with bias tape. I turned to the Angry Chicken tutorial on applying bias tape found here and followed her steps. I’m certain there are other ways to go about getting the bias tape on there, however I’m not very patient and the thought of lots and lots of pinning is unappealing so this seemed like a good way. In the spirit of full disclosure, my bias tape application wasn’t the neatest and I have already fessed up about my lack of patience. Despite the slips in craftsmanship, Katie was really pleased with the blanket, and I look forward to seeing a chubby baby all snuggled up in there this winter.