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!

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!

April Sew Along Project: Sewer’s Choice

I finished up my One Yard Wonders sew along nice and early this time around. We had plans to travel to Moab for the holiday weekend and I didn’t want to leave the project for after our return. However, we bailed on our Moab camping plans…between the winds and sands storms, and a seriously jet lagged and tired husband. But, that meant no last minute scramble, and completed projects ready for blogging. This time around, Kelli set us to the task of picking our own projects for the sew along. As she generously sent all the participants from last month’s project a yard of fabric, I decided to use it in one of my projects this time around. The fabric was a fun bold floral print, which I thought might be cute as a dress for my daughter. I bought a solid burgundy fabric to go with it and decided to tackle the Playday Frock (page 86). I had a grand notion that with the pockets this may be a dress my daughter could get behind. I should have known better. She is pretty particular about what she wears, and has a history of not being too fond of dresses. However, in my defense, she has been wearing more dresses recently, and has a particular fondness for all things pockets. I thought that perhaps with the prominent pockets in a contrast color, she might be into it. Alas, upon completion, the dress was promptly rejected. The giant scowl, crossed arms and verbal protests kind of put a damper on my plan for a fun photo shoot. At any rate, here is the dress…hopefully one day she will be open to wearing it!

Playday Frock

I actually did a few things from the Fabric-by-Fabric book this month. I made a second pot holder like the one I blogged about for Mother’s Day as a gift for my son’s teacher in a different fabric. I am still getting used to the fact that school is out for Summer and my little guy is headed for the first grade!

I also decided to sew a project for the little guy. A while back we purchased a loft bed and I added a little curtain to make a fort or cozy nook for him. I had fabric left over from that and intended to make him a pouf of some sort. I ended up making the Tuffet Inspired Ottoman (page 165), and I am happy to report he was thrilled with the project.

Tuffet Inspired Ottoman

Race Track Play Mat

I have some pretty great neighbors. Sadly they are moving away this week, and by away I mean far far away, out of state away, away all the way to California away…sniff, sniff! You may remember the dad’s appearance on my blog from some time ago here, and the mama recently abducted a finished project I was planning to blog. At any rate, their  youngest just turned 2, and I wanted to do a little something to celebrate his birthday and came up with this simple race track play mat – a rectangle mat with a race track on the inside, and a set of handles along with a pocket on the outside to hold a few cars.

Race Track Mat Tutorial


  • Fabric – main and contrast (I purchased 1/2 yd of each)
  • Scrap of fusible interface for snap backing
  • Metal snap (or other closure system)
  • Felt (I used two pieces of the pre-cut rectangles)
  • Coordinating thread
  • Supplies for the handles (I used webbing, or you could sew one with the remaining fabric)


Cut pieces for the bag:

  • Body: 2 rectangles, one from the main and one from the contrast fabric (mine were 18 x 13 1/2).
  • Pocket: 2 smaller rectangles for the pocket body – needs to fit onto one side of the main body when folded in the carrying mode (mine was 9 1/2 x 6 1/2).
  • Pocket flap – 2 small pieces for the flap. (mine was 9 1/2 x 3 1/2)

Cut felt to make race track. I folded the felt in half length wise, cut one the top half of the figure 8, and then traced it to make the bottom half on the second piece of felt.

Once cut, I pinned the pieces to the contrast fabric for the inside of the play mat and stitched it in place. I stitched around both the outside and inside of the track, and also ran a zigzag down the center where the two pieces meet to secure those edges. With the track firmly in place, I moved to the outside of the bag, creating a car pocket.

Both the pocket body and flap were sewn with the right sides together, leaving a small opening to turn the fabric. Once turned, I pressed the fabric and top-stitched around the top edge on the main body to close the opening. For the pocket flap, top-stitch three of the sides (one long and both short ends).  Determine the placement for the pocket and flap, and then sew each piece to the front of the main fabric of the play mat, stitching down and around the packet body, and across the single long edge of the pocket flap.

In preparation for the final assembly, I attached the fusible interfacing to the backside of the contrast fabric, and ran a little basting stitch to hold webbing handles to the main body of the mat – remember to have all the raw edges lined up.

With the right sides facing together, I sewed around the edges of the bag leaving a small opening for turning. Clip the corners and turn right side out.

Instal the closure per manufacturer’s instructions, leaving enough space for top stitching. Run a top stitch around the edge of the mat to close the opening and create a nice finished look…

…and then, go make a little person happy.

Mother’s Day

When I picked up the fabric for last month’s apron sew along, I decided to get enough to make a gift for my mama for Mother’s Day. Being from Holland, my mom has a special fondness for orange and who doesn’t need a fun pot holder, especially in a new kitchen (my parents had a major kitchen remodel done last year)? I turned to my trusty, and always handy, Fabric-by-Fabric One Yard Wonders book…and made a cute pot holder. It is a little hard to tell in this picture (double handed modeling and simultaneous iPhone pic taking just wasn’t happening), but the pot holder is a long strip with a pocket for your hands at each end. Seems like a clever design to me, I’ll have to get feedback on the practical application from my mom.


It just so happens that my mother in law (and pop too) is visiting with us. She recently picked up an iPhone, so sewing a cozy seemed like a good option. The fun part…well at least I think it is fun…is that I used fabric remnants from my knitting bag project which she helped me pick out – so I felt pretty confident she would like the print.


For my part, I am meeting some other lovely mothers to hike the always brutal incline in the morning (thank you Nana for watching my kids on mothers day – my husband is still out of the country – so I can play in the morning), and later we are going on a family outing to the MAT circus performance in the afternoon.

Wishing you a Happy Mother’s Day!

Update: picture from this mornings adventures with some mama friends – the incline/barr tail on Pikes Peak.


On and off my needles

As of last night, I’ve got 12 inches done on the Alberta vest. I’m slowly making my way to the goal of 14, at which point things start to get more interesting with shaping the shoulder area.

In the meantime … because for some reason I like to have a few thing going at once … I cast on some fingerless gloves. My stash isn’t large, but I have a few skeins that were given to me over the years and I wanted to put them to use. One of them is a skein of Noro Kureyon and this camp out mitt pattern is just perfect for my one little skein. We are planning on camping in Moab over memorial day weekend, so in addition to being pretty, they may come in handy as well!


Despite the image, I’m just about finished with the first glove.

I also just finished up motif 5, from my Learn-to knit Katie monthly knit along.


I’m still on a mission to find summery knits, more specifically neck accessories, and I have a serious crush on another Brooklyn Tweed pattern (shocking I know) the Rock Island Lace Triangle. So, my internal dialogue goes a little something like this: It is so pretty. It is a bit intimidating. I think I’m in love. I don’t know a thing about blocking wires and T pins, nor do I have the supplies. It would be a challenge. Could this be the perfect summer accessory? What if I spend the time and it isn’t my thing…and so on and so forth. Dilemmas, dilemmas!

On the sewing front I missed last months sew along. Between the construction at our home and torn up craft area, our vacation and Jackson’s passing, it just didn’t happen. However, I have the sewing area back together, and picked up supplies so there is no excuse to get back on track with the project for this month!

There you have it, the crafty update. I hope you are finding and finishing fun things.