Sneak peek

Knitting is an anti-climactic DIY project- it really doesn’t look like much until it’s finished, unfortunately.

However, I’m still going to give you a sneak peek at what I’m working on- I’m excited because, if this turns out the way I hope it will, it will be pretty cool, on many levels! I don’t want to say too much more for fear of jinxing myself, but maybe this sneak peek will give you a clue…

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Pine forest baby blanket

A good friend of mine recently asked me to knit her 2 year old son a blanket.  When she was pregnant with him, I made him a blanket using the Pine Forest baby blanket pattern by Ingrid Aartun Boe.

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I’ve made this blanket for several different babies now, and there is something about this pattern/yarn combination (Caron Simply Soft) that makes it every baby’s favorite blanket- it is super soft, squishy and warm.  Not to mention machine washable, which makes it a favorite of all the moms!

Anyway- my friend asked me to make her son another blanket, because he loves his so much that she can’t even get him to part with it to wash it.  I was happy to oblige.  I haven’t knit anything since making B’s chevron blanket and I’ve been itching to get back into knitting!

I decided to go with the same pattern that I used last time.  My friend picked out a really lovely blue color.  I think it turned out really nicely:

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I have realized that I’m much slower at knitting than I used to be.  It took me a solid month of knitting to get this completed.  The funny thing is, I read the pattern and saw “repeat the pattern 15 times” and thought to myself “this will be done in no time!” Until I looked again and realized it said 15 times ACROSS.  53 times total.  Whoops.  I picked up the pace after that.

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I hope her son loves it as much as his other one- and I’m actually planning on casting on for another project soon.  I am so happy to get back to some crafting!

What have you crafted recently?

Chevron baby blanket

When I started to get really good at knitting, I imagined knitting my first born child all sorts of things- sweaters, booties, blankets, stuffed animals.  A very good friend of mine had a baby in 2011 and I kind of went crazy knitting things for him- she asked for socks, so I made a blanket, sleep sack and teddy bear before remembering she wanted socks (I whipped up a couple pairs at the last minute- phew!)

A few more friends have had babies since hers, and I’ve made blankets and sleep sacks for them.  Now that my child is about 3 weeks (!!) away from his due date…I’ve made him a sleep sack and a blanket.  Wop wop- there went my lofty goals!  In my defense, my back has not been happy this pregnancy and I tend to hunch over when I knit, making the problem worse.  And in the last couple of weeks, carpal tunnel has set in, making 2 of my right hand fingers completely numb (this is awesome by the way).  Pregnancy is NOT for the weak.  I’m definitely looking forward to having my old body back- or at least sensation in all of my fingers again.

I did at least knit a couple of things- and I also have been a sewing fiend, so I haven’t completely failed my unborn son yet (ha).  The blanket I made was another Pinterest inspired design:

chevron baby blanket by danamadeit (original pattern from purlbee)
Source– original pattern found here

I liked it because it was simple, colorful and reminded me of a blanket we have that was mine as a baby (chevron is making a come back, oh yeah!)  The pattern was easy to follow, but definitely not something I could just mindlessly knit because it requires you to count stitches- I can’t tell you how many times I messed up a row because I was talking and not counting.  I also used a smaller gauge than the pattern called for, so mine has thinner/more rows- but I loved how it turned out:

It’s bright and bold- but so soft and squishy.  This is going to be a good one for snuggling up in during a cold winter day.  It’s coming to the hospital with us, and I’m hoping we’ll get a few good photos of him wrapped up in it- it does photograph really nicely.  And of course, the yarn (Caron Simply Soft) is completely machine wash/dry friendly, and seems to get softer the more you wash it.  I knit all my baby gifts with this yarn and it definitely stands up to all the washing.

Happy first day of November everyone!!

Adding some color

Happy Monday everyone!!

So I know I promised pics of the office, but that was a big fail on my part this weekend.  I had every intention of getting it organized and photos hung up again, but I didn’t get there.  Saturday, T took me on a date (his idea!!).  We went and saw Ted which was hilarious (crude, for sure, but hilarious none the less) and then went out for Cuban food at our fav restaurant in town.  Date night trumps office organizing every time.  Sunday I got the sewing bug (this is very, very rare for me) and spent most of the day sewing.  A friend of mine in WA is having a baby shower this coming weekend, and I needed to get her presents out in the mail this week, so sewing won over office organizing.  Sigh.

Do you want to see what I made over the weekend though??  Of course you do…

First up- a sleep sack (this has been knit for several months now).  Whenever a friend has a baby, I make one of these.  They’re pretty simple and don’t take a lot of time, plus they’re so cute.  Because I use 2 colors of yarn, I like to line the sleep sack with flannel to keep little baby fingers from getting stuck in the yarn strands- the liner of this sleep sack is the whole reason her baby presents haven’t gone out in the mail yet (she’s due Aug 4th!)- I’ve been putting off sewing in the liner for quite awhile now- something about using my machine to sew fabric to knitting freaks me out every. single. time. 

Here’s the inside- I used Michael Miller zoology flannel in “sea” which I love- I just started on a sleep sack for myself (well, for baby D), and I’m thinking I’ll line it with this same fabric.

Now that I’m halfway through my own pregnancy- I decided it’s about time to get started on some projects for our own child!  We have a rocking chair in the nursery that was T’s grandparents.  It’s had a dingy pillow on the seat forever, and I finally decided to cover it with something more fitting to the nursery theme.  I also had a small travel pillow that I covered with some fabric as well.  Both are “simple” envelope pillow covers that took me a lot longer to make than they should have.  But I think they turned out pretty well- what do you think?

I used this fabric for the small pillow, and this fabric for the seat cushion.  Here’s a closer look:

The fabric that is on the seat cushion will also be made into window shades.  If you remember (maybe?) the fabric that is currently on the windows is this, which I like, but thought it was a little too girly, so I’m changing it up.  I made one shade but ran short on fabric, so I need to order some more, whip up one more (haha) and then I’ll post some photos of that. 

The crib should be showing up later this week (yay!) and I’d like to make a crib skirt similar to the one that Kim made, using this fabric:

And don’t forget, I also have to finish up my project with the birds on the branches- I will be doing that soon!  Lots more projects to do- but hopefully some fun things to share with y’all in the next few weeks!!

Selbu modern

Wow- sorry for the un-intentional blog silence- technical difficulties with photos and an extremely busy week has left me little time for blogging.  I wanted to blog about a Christmas present (I know I know, Christmas is over and done with- boo!) that I made for my sister.  A couple of years ago, I stumbled upon the Selbu Modern hat pattern.  I immediately thought of my sister and knit her one with a grey background and white pattern (see photo here).  Apparently it’s become her favorite hat- and this year she requested a new one in a different color.  I was happy to oblige- this pattern is fairly easy to follow and the results are stunning.  I chose to make one with a white background and a burgundy pattern.  I really like Paton’s Angora Bamboo yarn for this pattern- it’s super soft and squishy, and I knit the hat on a size 2 US needle which makes it a nice heavy, warm hat.  The yarn does get a little halo about it when worked with, which was a little unfortunate for this hat because the red and white yarn made a pink-ish halo.  It doesn’t seem too noticeable, so fingers crossed it doesn’t happen more as the hat gets worn. 

Ok enough chatter- want to see the final result?  Of course you do!

The hat isn’t really that pointy- it’s folded in thirds for the photo to get the pattern to show up

A top down view- you can see the pink-ish halo the best in this photo.

And my sister’s response?  She loved it!  Hooray!!  Of course she does already own one, so I figured she’d like it!!  Just in case though, I stalked her Pinterest boards and got her a couple of things from there as well- such a handy way to get someone something they really like!!

Happy Friday everyone- I’ll be back in a day or two with a project we have going on here at home- now that the holidays are over, it’s back to work fixing things up around here!!

Dare to DIY- Homemade gifts!

Happy Monday everyone!  I’m participating in Kim’s Dare to DIY party again this week- this time it’s homemade gifts (my favorite!). 

I’ve given homemade gifts for many Christmases, and some have turned out better than others.  Once I learned how to knit, I started to get more requests for hand made items- specifically socks (there’s nothing like a pair of hand knit socks, seriously).  One year I think I made 4-5 pairs of socks for Christmas, which is ambitious considering it usually takes me 2-3 weeks to complete a pair.  I always start on the Christmas knitting late in the game too- if I were smart I’d start stockpiling knits a year ahead of time, but I usually start a month or so before the actual holiday which leaves me knitting up to the last minute and my hands start resembling claws!  This year I got a little bit of a head start on my knitting, and I’ve actually finished ahead of schedule with this pair of socks for my mother-in-law (who requested a pair on her Christmas list).

The pattern I used is available for free and called “Waving not Drowning“- it’s an easy to memorize pattern, a pretty simple sock, as well as a great introduction to lace knitting.  Socks may look intimidating but they’re fairly simple once you get the basics down.  I picked up some really pretty yarn in Bellingham (when we were visiting) that I think really compliments this pattern (the colorway reminds me of subtle peacock feathers for some reason).  Want to see?

The yarn I used is Crystal Palace Yarns “Sausalito” yarn in Mediterranean, and it’s a blend of merino wool and nylon- it makes a nice mid-weight, squishy sock when knit on a pair of size 2 needles.  These socks took just over one ball of yarn too- I think I have enough to make a second, smaller pair of socks (I thinking maybe for my sister, although I have another knitted item to make for her before Christmas). 

I hope my mother-in-law loves these socks as much as I do!  Too bad her feet are smaller than mine, otherwise I might steal them for my very own! 

A pumpkin hat

Happy Wednesday everyone!  Are you all looking forward to Thanksgiving?  I am!!  We’re going the non-traditional route this year food wise, since we actually already celebrated one Thanksgiving with my parents (with a turkey).  My husband is smoking ribs in his new Weber barbecue that he got as an early Christmas present.  He did a test run over the weekend on some hamburgers and they were AH-mazing.  I’ll let you know how the ribs turn out- and maybe post the recipe?  Any interest?

Anyway- a good friend of mine had a baby a few months ago (she’s the first of my close friends to have a baby) and recently she mentioned she was taking him to Washington to visit family (they live in Florida).  It’s a lot chillier up there this time of year, and she also happened to send me a link to an etsy store with some adorable baby hats.  This seemed like a subtle hint that he needed a hat.  Being a knitter, I couldn’t bring myself to buy something I knew I could make (plus I love knitting for other people- just ask her- she asked me to knit him socks when she found out she was expecting, and I knit her a blanket, teddy bear, sleep sack and 2 pairs of socks- ha!  baby stuff is so fun to knit- plus it’s small so it goes quickly).  I thought it’d be fun to knit a fall-themed hat, and I stumbled upon this pattern which seemed easily adaptable:  Berry baby hat

While we were visiting family in Bellingham, WA, I grabbed some pumpkin orange yarn at the local yarn shop to knit up a pumpkin version of the above hat.  I was in a little bit of a hurry because my friend was leaving on her trip in a couple of weeks and my parents were in town- luckily the hat knit up fairly quickly- and I neglected to take any decent pictures of it before I shoved it lovingly packed it in a box and mailed it off.  Lucky me- she sent me a picture of him in it the day she got it!

I think he likes it!!  I made it a bit roomy so it’ll fit him all winter long as his head grows.  Hopefully it’s keeping him warm and cozy this Thanksgiving!!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone- hopefully you’re enjoying some time with loved ones!

Knitting…

I use the left side of my brain a lot in my profession.  When I was in grad school, I decided that I needed to learn to do something that exercised the right side of my brain a little bit- enter knitting!  My sister taught me, and I haven’t looked back since.  I started out with scarves, and quickly got bored.  Then I attempted a sweater (I am nothing if not ambitious- jumping from straight lines to clothing, yikes!)  Sweaters are fun, but they involve a lot of sewing (which I still don’t love, especially hand sewing) and yarn.  and time.  I moved on to socks, and I’ve knit a ton of those (don’t ever let on you can knit socks, because then everyone wants a pair!).

A favorite place to visit for knitting inspiration is Ravelry.  It’s like facebook for knitters (and crocheters)!!  I have found many great patterns on there- some free and some paid.  Here’s a collage of just a couple of things I’ve made in the past two or three years:

Top left: Jaywalker socks.  Top right: French Press felted slippers.  Bottom left:  Teddy bear.   Bottom right: Selbu modern

 I don’t actually keep a lot of the things I knit- I honestly really enjoy knitting for other people.  Watch out though, if you ask me to knit you something, you might not get what you ask for.  A friend of mine recently had a baby and she asked for baby socks.  I got really excited and knit her a blanket, a teddy bear and a sleep sack before remembering I was supposed to knit her socks, so knit up 2 pairs really quickly before her baby shower.  Whoops!! The sleep sack ended up being really popular, and I actually had a couple requests to knit it for other people:

I started with this pattern, but heavily modified it

I’ve discovered I really like knitting colorwork lately- something about knitting with more than one color.  It’s actually fairly easy to do too- as long as I don’t get some hugely complicated chart, which I’m guaranteed to screw up.  Here’s my very latest knit, a Christmas present for my sister (yes, the same one who taught me to knit.  I can now out-knit her!):

Opus spicatum hat

With all the projects we’ve been doing around the house in the past year, it’s been a lot harder to find the time/energy to knit.  It’s also really hard to be interested in knitting when it’s 90+ degrees outside with 90% humidity!  But now that things are cooling off, and we aren’t painting every room in our house, I foresee more knitting time in my future.

Any other knitters/fiber artists out there?  What’s your favorite project that you’ve done lately?