Tuesday, December 30, 2008

So much handmade goodness

I handmade more gifts this year than I ever have before.

2008 Christmas Knitting

I know that I was motivated in part by the economy to make more gifts this year, even knitting almost entirely from stash. However there is also something so fulfilling about giving a handmade gift to people you love.

It seems I was not alone in this idea...
so much handmade goodness, gifts I truly cherish - I can't help but share them here.

There were, of course, a couple of "five" gifts.

Stuffed Five
A wonderful stuffed five from one of D's coworkers.

Five Belt Buckle
Not handmade by D, but totally amazing nonetheless - a glass, five belt buckle from Kiku Handmade. It coordinates perfectly with my necklace!

I love this hand drawn tile by my brother-in-law. It makes me think of Chuck Close only on a small scale. (ETA: When the Bud saw Frank, he said, "that looks like my dad! - I can see it).

My sister made gifts out of "retired" fabric samples from a specific store to which we have a little connection (advertised on my shirt in this photo).
Project Bags
Two super cute project bags. The construction is very clever - using the grommets that held the swatches on a ring for the casing openings inside.

This fabulous bag is made from larger swatches.
Fabulous Bag
The red fabric comes to a point on the back side too. S used that design feature to make a cute triangle pocket on the inside.

Fabulous Bag - Strap

Fabulous Bag - Button
A fabulous bag finished with a fabulous button.

My mom is an amazing seamstress as well.
She made my sister and me vintage style aprons.
Vintage Apron

Apron Close Up
The white bias tape completes the vintage look.

What's an apron without matching potholders?
Pot Holders

She stitched layers of fabric together, sliced through the top few layers, finished the binding, and then washed the finished potholder to create the stripes of frayed fabric.
Pot Holder - Close Up

Here you can see the green, contrasting, un-cut layer peeking out.
Pot Holder - Layers
I love the colors and the unique construction.

I was not the only recipient of my mom's super sewing.
She made the bud a darling lion pillow.
Lion Pillow

He hasn't slept on any other pillow since.
Lion Pillow Down the Steps

The Bud still loves his amazing activity book she created for him last year.
Click on the mosaic to link to photos of each individual page.
The Bud's Activity Book
The Bud's favorite is still the kangaroo page with the little joey inside the pocket.

We have enjoyed so many fabulous and thoughtful gifts this year, including the gift of time spent with family and friends - I am truly blessed and grateful.
2008 Christmas - Family

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

There's nothing like frantic, last minute, Christmas shopping

We had a completely frantic evening when our long planned gift for the Bud had a total system failure at the last possible moment.

We punted, and thank goodness toy stores are open late before Christmas.

Budlet Photographer

He loves it, and a replacement for the original gift will be arriving in 8-10 weeks. Just in time for a merry St. Patrick's Day.

Here are a few of my favorite shots he has taken:

Santas - by the Bud
Nesting Santas on the windowsill

Cuties - by the Bud
Peeking "cuties" (aka Korknisse)

Christmas Tree  - by the Bud
Our Christmas Tree (which we like!)

Dad Cooking - by the Bud
D in the kitchen preparing our fabulous meal.

Mom - by the Bud
and me - saying "cheese" for the 57th time since our gift opening.

Here's hoping you are staying warm and are with those you love.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

You can be your youiest!

I came across this today on TOT LOL (a Bud friendly way to search YouTube).

I think we played it twenty times accompanying the song with maracas and swaying (you just can't help the swaying).

We jumped over to TOT LOL after looking for the Bud's 2nd favorite Christmas song (second only to Rudolph).

I'm not sure why he loves Feliz Navidad so much, but it's a total crack up listening to him sing along with Jose.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Deadlines Make Me Rebel

There is nothing like a deadline on a project to make we want to work on something else.

I still have a few projects to finish with a very specific deadline coming up fast. But instead of working on those, this week I found myself starting this:

Rainbow Pi Shawl

Pattern: Pi Shawl by Elizabeth Zimmerman
Yarn: Trekking XXL #100
Needles: US 6 - 40" circ (magic looped to the 288 increase)

I snagged 2 skeins of this amazing colorway at a fabulous little yarn shop this Fall. I have had a crush on #100 for a long while, and could not stop myself from buying more than one skein. For some reason, I wanted to make something other than socks. I love the simple geometric circles of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Pi shawl... especially with the YOs every 6th round.

Rainbow Pi Shawl WIP

I made it past the increase to 288 stitches on the first day. The rings of color are still pleasingly clear past that point. I am hopeful that they won't be too "muddy" past the 576 increase.

I am telling myself now that I need to finish other things before picking it up again. That doesn't stop me from contemplating border edgings. I want something that keeps with the simple style that won't compete with the colorway (no gull lace etc.). Do I do a plain garter stitch edge perpendicular to the shawl? That changes the direction of the colorway, and I'm not totally sold on that. Another idea I had was doing a simple edging of a few inches of YO rows - every other round instead of every 6th.
Ideas? Thoughts?

In the FO pile I a have a few more mitts. I can show these, because I am certain the intended recipient is not one of my readers.

Noro Mitts Five

Pattern: Improvised (details on Ravelry)
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden Sock
Needles: US 1

These were in a time out for about 2 weeks - finished with the ends waiting to be woven in - because the fraternal-ness was bugging me. Now they have grown on me a bit.

Mitt #2 Mitt #1

I originally thought I might knit two more mitts from the skein and decide on which should be paired together. Now - after a time out - I have decided to let the Noro be Noro and consider these a pair. (Maybe I'm just lazy and thinking of Pi.)

Noro Mitts

Many of you know of my affinity for the number five. I couldn't resist adding this darling charm to my recent order from LizzyBleu. Somehow the listing for it was right below my reserved listing - it was fate.

Five Necklace

I can't show my other gifty purchases here, but take a look at her shop of fabulous items made from vintage typewriter keys and other recycled objects.

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Anniversary Cowl

It was a year ago that I sat down with some lovely Yarn Pirate BFL sock yarn to make a cowl for my mom for Christmas. I tried a few different attempts that resulted in not so lovely pooling, and ended up holding the yarn doubled with the colorway staggered.

After Christmas I posted some "how to" information about my Gloria Cowl on my flickr page.
Who knew that I was adding a simple, speedy cowl pattern into the mix right at the start of the cowl craze of 2008.

A Year of Gloria

1. Maryse Ro, 2. Betty Loves Yarn, 3. *Melanie*, 4. flwrhead, 5. jillthereckless, 6. Bertha, 7. JulieFrick, 8. cmr727, 9. knitting by bicycle, 10. terhimon, 11. knitting by bicycle, 12. knittinging,13. aspenglow, 14. Elinor Brown,15. wannabeknittin’ ,16. cauchy09,17. weetsiewoolens, 18. 100%philistinemade, 19. zknitter, 20. sarahemcc, 21. sarahemcc, 22. (anne), 23. novamade, 24. Cyknithia, 25. knitter in the kitchen, 26. riverwoman, 27. elinknits, 28. femiknitter, 29. KessaKnits, 30. funkycarolina, 31. affiknitty, 32. Jejune Ennui, 33. merwenna, 34. jetbot, 35. greendillybean

This year I enjoyed knitting vicariously through all the varied yarn choices and modifications, and I loved seeing all of the ideas that knitters added to make their finished cowls truly their own.

To celebrate a year of Gloria, I have an Anniversary Cowl pattern to share.
It's to celebrate an anniversary, but it is also inspired by the cuff of Nancy Bush's Anniversary Socks in Interweave Knits' Favorite Socks.

Anniversary Cowl - on 1

Gauge: 5 stitches = 1” (of stockinette)
Needle: US 8 - 16" circular
Yarn: Approx 100 grams of fingering weight yarn (about 400 yards), I used Zen Yarn Garden Serenity Sock "It's a Girl" (80% Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon) It is so soft and squooshibly perfect!
Knit two strands together for the entire pattern.

This cowl makes for great semi-mindless knitting because there are only two pattern rounds to remember:
Regular round = k2, p1, k1, p1 (repeat around)
Crossed round = C2*, p1, k1, p1 (repeat around)
*C2 = knit into the back of the second stitch on needle (leave on needle), then into the back of the first stitch. Slip both stitches off the needle - the stitches cross into a 2 stitch cable.
I knit left handed, so, all you righties out there, your cable will cross the other way

Anniversary Cowl - Close

Cast on a multiple of 5 stitches – I cast on 110
Join in the round - and (say it with me) be sure your stitches are not twisted.
Purl one round
Knit 2 regular rounds
Knit 1 crossed round

Continue with 3 regular rounds followed by 1 crossed round.
Repeat with a 3 regular, and 1 crossed round pattern until "done".
Finish with 2 regular rounds and bind off in purl.
My finished cowl is 8" tall.

Anniversary Cowl - flat

I blocked my cowl with the BO as the bottom since that edge seemed to have more visual weight to it. I also squished the cable rib together at the top and stretched it out at the bottom during blocking to create a nice flare.

Anniversary Cowl - on 2

I am thrilled with the squishy, cozy weight of this cowl.
Long live cowls!

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Monday, December 01, 2008

I'm not sure if we like our Christmas tree...

Ok... so maybe we do.
This was going on for about 10 minutes before I grabbed the camera.

Our weekend was filled with fun...

Hay Ride at the Tree Farm
There was a hay ride. The Bud really was having a good time... he was just very focused on a candy cane. He was perhaps also confused by the fact that the woman taking the photo was calling him Bradley (not his name) to get him to look and smile.

Santa at the Tree Farm
We also met Santa for the first time. We are not be "sit on Santa's lap" folk - but he just happened to be "visiting" the tree farm we went to, and the Bud was pretty excited about it, so we went with it.

Later on when the Bud was supposed to be napping, I checked on him and he whispered to me, "I met Santa".
I think it made an impression.

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend.