Keep Busy and Keep Going

Sometimes the best you can do is to just keep moving in the general direction of where you want to end up.  Then the next thing you notice you are already well on your way to a pile of stuff that somehow managed to get done.

I attempted to start my latest finished shawl on our holiday road trip.  And while its well written its spread across a few charts and as someone that sometimes has eyes wander in a chart, it was put on hold.  But I’m happy to say my first project with Stellina (aka sparkles) is complete.

The pattern is called Weirwood Tree. I suppose a more dedicated knitter than I would have knit it up in white and then hand dye-painted each leaf that burgundy/magenta of its namesake.

Also on the knitting front, its approaching Sock Madness time, and yet I managed to plan out extra socks to make, and even finished a pair for Ben, who has since decided he actually likes hand knit socks.  And I churned out a brioche cowl for a KAL this month too.

And last but not least I said I wanted to make 5 quilts this year… so I managed to put together another quilt top (I have the backing and binding fabric for this already)

Yes, it is a Christmas Throw Quilt.  No, I don’t have plans for it other than to make it. The design is called a Four Patch Lattice and goes together rather quickly.

Next Up: Expect a bunch more socks, Maybe a sweater, and I should probably get around to quilting one of these quilts…..

Presenting some presents

So a few weeks ago I posted a few teasers about some of my holiday projects.  And now that they are finally in the hands of their new owners… It’s time to give them their due.

First up is a project I mentioned over two years ago when I bought the pattern at the 2014 shop hop. Once the post wedding frenzy had calmed down a bit I realized that holidays were coming a bit sooner than a crafter hopes for, and in sorting out my gifting plans, landed on top with a hope that if I really worked on it, I just might finish in time.

*drumroll*

My redwork winter embroidery quilt!

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My embroidery blocks are stitched onto several white/off white on white/offwhite Prints. Various trees, snowflakes and swirls. The remainders and scraps of which got paired with some red prints in a scrappy sampler style border. You can see pinwheels, churn dash, shoo fly and Dutchman’s puzzle blocks in there.

For the back, I chose to piece in three blocks, including one for my gift tag, that I hope looked a bit like some falling flakes.

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Here’s a few detail shots.  There are also several WIP photos in the WIP gallery. 

The recipient called me up to tell me she cried when she opened it… so time well spent!

Secondly… I finished up my Super Mario QAL quilt without Ben being aware I was working on it since my last post about it.  Got it wrapped and took it with us to open on Christmas Morning.

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I had three more blocks and some custom printed level fabric for the back side.

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He also got a knit lego man and a pair of socks that he picked out the yarn for, and promptly wore on the first day of our return trip home.

Which is probably why I am now double knitting him a lace weight single ply Hobbit scarf.  Which I managed to get through the first chart of 11 (8o our of 810 rows!)

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Its beginning to look a bit like Christmas

If you’ve followed along (or read back through the years) you probably know that I do my best not to ruin any gift giving surprises.   And I do have a couple projects saved up for later.

Here’s a nice teaser photo of one such all wrapped up

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There is another package roughly similar in size, and a very smooshy green brioche scarf that is currently “Out for Delivery” to my 2015 Secret Santa.

But I am not here just to tease about things to come.  I also wanted to share a bit of silliness that I completed… a light up Christmas Tree Hat:

I added 30 lights (2 sets of battery powered 15 light strands) and a knit star to this pattern.  Now for me… maybe I just have a bit of a smaller head but the actual hat is a wee large and the battery pack is heavy enough to shift it about on my head, but for a holiday road trip to cheer up family… its perfect.  (btw… a giant pillar candle makes a fine head stand in)

In addition to revealing the aforementioned Christmas gifts… I have some things in the queue for these lovelies:

 

I just need to finish the housework and the pair of rather simple socks on the needles first!

 

 

Shop Hopping for Fabric and Fun

I got myself out to the Western Washington Quilt Shop Hop the past few days.  Its actually my first year participating, although I became aware of it a couple years ago when the now defunct local shop was participating (which sadly I was not in town for that time).  I’d posted a reminder on Reddit for the other locals of the group and Jean asked me if I was taking the bus…. which was the first I’d heard of it, and with some encouragement, I decided to go for it.. and I am ever so glad I did.  There were just shy of 30 of us on the bus for the North bound trip, and we visited 12 shops that day. It was organized by the ladies at Gathering Fabric in Woodinville, who not only planned the route, but handled the majority of the passport stamping and picking up your free quilt block pieces, so all you had to do was enjoy the ride, discover new quilt shops and shop.

And did we ever shop….

Its a Busload of fabric!

I actually didn’t go too much overboard, and most of my fabrics were for specific quilts I have in mind.

But there was also some things I just couldn’t leave at the store.

I did find a new gift/project, and while normally I don’t post such things to my blog pre-gifted… since this one involves so much work I think I can get away with it and it will still turn out to be a surprise when its done.

So much embroidery..... so very very much.

So much embroidery….. so very very much.

I also picked up some beads and buttons for my knitting, and stopped at 6 shops on Thursday and Friday… and all before I had to pick up Ben at the airport.

It was a great time, and I met some amazing people and I’d do it all again in a heartbeat!

Holiday Double Header!

As a crafter, its always great when you get feedback on your work.  And even more so when it comes in the form of a comment/sale/inquiry from a stranger.  So this past month has been pretty amazing to me as a crafter.

  • I made a sale on a custom stocking
  • I received and completed a custom Knit Scarves Order
  • And I got asked to be featured in a StarCraft Crafting video Blog

And so without further ado…. let’s roll the tape!

So thanks to Gillyweed, Emily and Mike… for making my December one to remember!

You can see more of Gillyweed’s vlogs here

The Stockings were Hung….

This morning I woke up a good hour early, and rolled over to peek out the window to gauge the time and…. snow!  Like a good inch or so, there was snow on the ground and the tree branches.  I was so excited I couldn’t go back to sleep!  I love snow… so much that relatives several states away will call to tell me when they get their first snows of the season.

But we were on stockings.  Ben and I have stockings… we hang ours on the knobs of the china hutch.  Its not that we don’t have a fireplace, with mantle, but we don’t have those stocking hooks… and frankly the way I try to stuff them its probably good that I can pull out the drawer below for added stability sometimes!

While I did not make quite so many stockings this year, Ben and I signed up for the Redditgifts Secret Santa Exchange this year and I knew I wanted to give our giftees some custom Christmas Stockings full of holiday cheer.

My giftee collects vintage hand fans.  So I thought a modified Grandmother’s fan design would be appreciated.

Stuffed so full I couldn't even fit that last gift in!

Stuffed so full I couldn’t even fit that last gift in!

Ben’s giftee really liked the Seattle Seahawks, which means I know have half a skein of “Action Green” yarn in my stash:

The Hawks are doing pretty good this year!  Up to 12-2

The Hawks are doing pretty good this year! Up to 12-2

And I did indeed make sure to put 12 feathers on the heel and cuff….

The back of the Hawk's stocking featuring the rest of the wrap around design.

The back of the Hawk’s stocking featuring the rest of the wrap around design.

I do hope they like all their gifts, and as with the last gift exchange,  (Which was Star Trek in case you forgot!) I will update this post with any response from our giftees.

Meanwhile, my Santa was really quite on the ball… she has already sent me a great new knitting book called Woodland Knits.

Thanks again my Santa!

Thanks again my Santa!

There are some adorable patterns in there to give me lots of ideas in the new year.  I say the new year because this week I was all about a pair of commissioned custom StarCraft2 Scarves.  And I’ve cast on the second of my sleeves on my Spoke Sweater.  So between the housekeeping and cookie making and early Christmas having…. I am knitting like a made fiend to see if I can’t get it done to wear Christmas Day.  

Here’s a quick preview of the main body so you can see how far along I am:

Just needs some seaming, sleeves and a good blocking!

Just needs some seaming, sleeves and a good blocking!

UPDATE!  My Secret Santa Giftee received and liked her gifts!

And so did Ben’s Giftee (who posted a whole album – click the title)  Ben also posted what he received here.

Counter-pillaring the Days until Christmas

Normally I do not pre-post gifts, but this one was too cute.. and since the giftee is too young to even read so… I’m going to post it anyway!   So without further ado… the Counterpillar!

What walks down stairs....

What walks down stairs….

I found this very adorable pattern of a string along toy, that includes  some colors and numbers and thought that it would be a great gift.  The original includes beads for each of the numbers, some pom-poms and a picture hook to loop the tail. I was making mine for a very young child, so I omitted those elements and added a soft knob tail for the loop instead.

Knobby number 9

Knobby number 9

If you prefer the knob tail,  here’s my instructions

Cast on 5 stitches to DPN

Work 5 rows as an I-Cord.

Increase in every stitch next row (10 stitches)

Knit a round

Increase in Every Stitch (20 stitches)

Knit 3 rounds

Decrease 10 times (10 stitches)

Knit a round

Decrease 5 times (5 stitches)

Stuff the ball end of the tail, and then use your needle to thread through the remaining 5 stitches to close.

Stitch your I-cord end onto the last segment.

You may need to adjust your cord loop length a bit to ensure it fits over the knob tail, but it seems to work alright!

I'm counting on you Mr. Counterpillar!

I’m counting on you Mr. Counterpillar!

 

Double your Pleasure with Double Knitting Fun!

So several ages ago (also known as last December) I decided to learn how to double knit.  This is where both sides look like the stockinette or “v” side of the knitting.  You may recall a post in January or April on this project.

Well I’m pleased to report that I’m finally done!

Green and White is always Right!

Green and White is always Right!

A full nine snowflakes make up this baby!  There are 5 differently patterned flakes.  Two larger and 3 smaller patterns.

Like the force there is a dark side...

Like the force there is a dark side…

And a light side

And a light side

To me double knitting is very beautiful, but it seems like it takes so much more time, basically its like you are doing a 1×1 rib, but you also have to pay attention to the detail of which stitch in the pattern facing you and the edges so that the two sides are hooked together and not open at the edges.

From WIP to FO in 1 batch of extra determination!

From WIP to FO in 1 batch of extra determination!

And that’s one project that can go on the Christmas gifts completed pile!

Speaking of things completed… I also knit up a second Spring Thaw for a friend of mine who was admiring the first. I believe it is now presently touring part of Canada.

A shawl knitted for Sporks, but not on sporks.  (which might be possible but probably insane)

A shawl knitted for Sporks, but not on sporks. (which might be possible but probably insane)

 

Christmas Kitchen Gifts to Give

Giving homemade gifts is one of those things that you either pull off with amazing confidence or immense trepidation.  For me its usually trepidation.  I’m very aware of the gold macaroni effect that some homemade gifts carry with them.  So braving all that and casting into the ether of “well if they don’t like it they can use it as oil rags!” I present some Christmasy Kitchen gifts  (I’ve already gifted these, so its safe to share!):

One set was 2 quilted Hot Pads, A knit dishtowel, dishcloth and scrubby

One set consisted of  2 quilted Hot Pads, A knit dishtowel, dishcloth and scrubby

Every item was different, and the knit items are simple knits done in Christmas colored cotton yarn.  I used King Charles Brocade , Double Seed StitchBasketweave Stitch, Grandmother’s Favorite Dishcloth, and just a pure garter stitch for patterns.   To make the scrubbies, cut a roughly 1 inch strip of tulle (and just eyeball it…. you won’t notice any imperfections.  My strips always turn out looking like they were cut by a 5 year old hopped up on espresso.) and knit as a second strand with your regular knit pattern.

My hot pads were all test quilt blocks, a 6 inch block and an 8 inch block.  In the photo above the smaller is a traditional 9 patch and a disappearing 4 patch block, both of these I just used stitch in the ditch method.

An Old Maids Rambler and a more traditional Four Patch Set

An Old Maids Rambler and a more traditional Four Patch Set.  The Rambler is just stitch in the ditch, the Four Patch has echo quilting on the larger bird solids, and diagonal on the smaller four patches.

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A9 patch with just 2 fabric colors, and a Variable Star.  I used echo quilting on the interior of the star, and quilted through the diagonals of the lighter fabric on the smaller square.

Each of my sets were joined by identical fabric choices for the backs.  I used two layers of batting and bound them by folding the larger backing material twice over to the front.  To get the mitered style corners, fold the corner in at a 90 degree angle before you fold in the sides.

Now I also included several batches of cookies, and tied my gift bags with some ornament seed cakes.  I got the seedcake recipe from this instructable that was designed for making a seed wreath.

My seed cake ornaments with their hanging loops.

My seed cake ornaments with their hanging loops.

What I did differently is that I used my cookie cutters, covered on one end with tinfoil as my molds.  I actually had a few more than these, specifically some snowflakes, but they were a bit fragile and didn’t make it, either from the removal from the cutters or from my attempts to add hanging holes.  So I’d suggest either pre-stringing your cakes, OR use a heavy nail as a hole making form within your seedcakes when you are forming them.   They are safe for feeding the birds, or you can use them on your tree!

Did I give you this hat? (& first mittens)

Today I took a break from house work and finished up a Christmas gift and finished the second of my first pair of mittens.  I’ve known since I found the pattern just what yarn I wanted to use to try out making mittens.  It was this sage and white that would be kind on me, and was a nice soft wear.  I’d had the ball saved up for awhile… from when I made this hat and was learning about cabling and decreases:

A Beanie or Tuque… depending on where you live.

Now I know I gave someone I know this hat… but for the life of me I can’t remember whom specifically, it was either Calvin, or Al, or Mary or Dad.  So if any of you are reading this…. I have some mittens!

Kittenless Mittens

Now, to start with I didn’t find dpns in size 4 at the local hardware shop… (yes I live in a town of the size and age where you can purchase knitting needles from the hardware store) so I did pick up some size 3, which is slightly smaller and knit the smallest size.  Turns out… These mittens seem a bit bigger in a few places so my next pair will need a different pattern… ah well! But they do have the advantage of being ambidextrous.

At some point some enterprising homemaker devised the one fool proof method for ensuring that a kid wouldn’t ever lose their mittens.   No it wasn’t the elastic with clips on both ends, that turn frigid cold and packed with snow at the most inconvenient of times.  It was the long rope cord connecting mitten A to mitten B.

Almost as old as that, is the pattern I used to make my first mittens.  Apparently this is a pattern from Eleanor Roosevelt’s knitting patterns, and you can find it at knitty.com. 

Anyway… if I did give you that hat and you’d like the mittens, let me know.  And if you want a cord linking your mittens together… I have just a little bit more of that yarn!