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.
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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!
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Warm Wishes: Knitting for those Impacted by Sandy

Like many people, I have dear friends that were impacted when Sandy came tearing through the East Coast. In talking with one of them, I mentioned wishing there was something hands on I could do. With the cold weather approaching, power outages, and loss of homes and possessions, and she cleverly suggested knitting hats.

This I could do!

I roped another friend into joining me, and we spent the past week knitting up a storm. We put together a little care package with 6 hats, 3 scarves/cowls, 2 fingerless mitts and a couple of head wraps. We used the handmade tags found here, and included a little note. The package is in the mail, en route to my friend in New Jersey who will bring the knitted goodies to those in need.

I hope this is just the beginning. I will be making and sending more hand knit goods. Uniquities Yarn Shop, a yarn shop in my Mom’s neck of the woods got wind of our little project when my mom went in to pick up some supplies to help further our cause and they expressed interest in getting involved, and my often mentioned friend Katie her community was heavily hit as well) just put a call out to her circle of knitters to make and send knitted goodies her way for distribution.

To my friend MJ who got this whole things going…thank you for a great idea, for giving me a way to help out and let the folks in your community know we are thinking of them, and for distributing our hand-made goodies to those in need!

Grab your needles or your hooks, rummage through your stash or visit your local yarn shop, whip up a special hand-made warm accessory…and send a warm wooly hug to someone impacted by the storm.

*if you want to knit, I can get you connected to folks for distribution – just leave a comment!

I know, I know…another cowl…

So this lovely cowl came about in a rather strange way. I saw some gorgeous Cascade Chunky Baby Alpaca in one of my all time favorite colors, and I just had to have it. I have had the GAP-tastic cowl on my favorites list over on Ravelry for some time, and thought maybe it would be the perfect project. Instead of forging ahead, I became tentative and decided I would try out the pattern with some cheaper yarn and make sure I liked what was happening before committing my super delightful sweet sweet green alpaca yarn. I got working on the GAP-tastic and dragged it around to a soccer game, a soccer practice and a birthday party and in no time the cowl was complete. I love it, just as it is…cheap oatmeal yarn and all!In fact, I am so pleased with this one that I am not sure I should make a second one with my fancy yarn. So now the questions is…what to do with alpaca!

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.

New Things

I haven’t spent much time on the photography part of my mission. Well, there was the small task of photographing each classroom and putting together a slideshow for my daughter’s preschool…but not on my goal of capturing our family moments. I rely heavily on my iPhone, never taking out the dSLR since I have the phone with me most of the time. With my mission in mind, Santa surprised me with a tripod for Christmas; and I picked up a remote trigger for my camera – neither of which I have had the opportunity to play with yet. So, when I finished up the Lattice Lace Cowl, I decided to bust out the camera and tripod and try my hand at a few self/cowl portraits. I must admit the whole self portrait process had me feeling a little silly – I guess its a good reminder of how the folks I’m trying to photography may feel with the camera pointed at them.

The cowl is great – unique, versatile and cozy – and completed in the nick of time as snow flakes begin to fall here in CO this afternoon.

The project was quick and fun. I used the whole skein of Cascade Magnum on 35s, and it only took a few hours to work up – that is my kind of project! I wanted to be able to wrap it twice around my neck, which makes it a bit long when worn without the wrap.  I’m sure with a bit of messing and play, I’ll figure out the right way to rock it long too!

If interested, you can find the pattern for the cowl here.

Lattice Lace

I have interrupted my motif catch up efforts to try this lovely lattice lace cowl. I finished motif 2 (it awaits a bit of blocking) and decided to change it up with a quick chunky knit before moving on the motif 3.

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I’m excited to see how it will turn out and look when worn. Truth be told, I am amassing quite a collection of neck accessories and may need to think about easy access storage for all these lovely knits!