Thursday, December 30, 2010

Handmade Gift the Third - Ponytail Hat



About two weeks before Christmas, while taking a knitting break and browsing Ravelry, I came across the cutest hat.  One should absolutely not, under any circumstances, log on to Ravelry two weeks before Christmas, especially if one is a knitter working on a long term project with a deadline; who is easily distracted by super cute quick projects using big yarn that can be finished in a day or two.  I think we all know that within a few short days I had appropriate yarn and needles in hand, with a plan to add just one more hand knit project to my gift list.  The teenager next door has a love of knit hats and very long hair, so once I stumbled across the Hannah ponytail hat I couldn't get the idea of her having it out of my head.  Luckily the pattern was very fast and it turned out just as I imagined (it is quite hard to take a picture of the back of your own head, hopefully you can tell that the clever hat buttons under your ponytail so that you don't mess it up putting the hat on and taking it off). 

It is always a bit harrowing to present a hand made gift to someone you have never knit for before, but I think she liked it.


Pattern:  Hannah Hat on Ravelry
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Chunky in Seafoam Green
Needles:  Size US 10 straight for button flap and then Double pointed to knit the rest in the round

Monday, December 27, 2010

Handmade Gift the Second - Olivia


Sammie the Sock Monster's friend, Olivia, finally got stuffed and pieced together on Christmas Eve Eve. This pattern is such a quick and easy knit, far faster than Sammie and I have to say she is all kinds of cute. Both monsters were a big hit Christmas morning and both girls kept asking me, "You knit these mom? Really? All by yourself?".


I Couldn't resist taking Olivia out for a photoshoot in the snow, we have never had snow accumulation on Christmas in my lifetime, and I attribute it all to the 8 year old that lives next door who put snow on her Christmas list for Santa. It was such a treat, just the right amount and so pretty.

Did you get your holiday knitting projects completed?
Pattern: Olivia the Audacious Monster by Rebecca Danger
Yarn: Cascade 220 in Magenta
Needles: Size US 5 (I used double pointed instead of the magic loop suggested by the pattern)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Current State of Christmas Knitting

One project complete.
One project almost complete, just needs stuffing and sewing together of various body parts.  Oh, and a tiny tutu.
One project not yet started (eek!).
One project started Friday and almost complete, must run to yarn store for buttons and double pointed size ten needles for finishing today.
One heart attack yesterday morning after discovering this:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Status Report

I am all the sudden very pleased with my holiday knitting progress, amazing how much monster you can knit when your butt rarely leaves the couch the whole day!  Just keep knitting, just keep knitting...


    Olivia in progress.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sammie for my Sammy


Christmas knitting is in full force around here, and as of this morning my first present is complete!  Isn't he handsome?  This fabulous Sammie the Sock Monster (pattern by the super creative Rebecca Danger) is quite a knitting accomplishment (he even has little socks!!!), but the fact that I have to whip up another whole monster in just a few weeks makes me hyperventilate slightly.  Very similar to the position I was in last year I do believe.  Even though I start on my Christmas knitting at the end of summer, I still find myself procrastinating come Thanksgiving.  The rest of this weekend will be devoted to knitting, so hopefully I can make some good progress on Olivia.  Of course I keep looking at Sammie and thinking he needs a monster quilt... doesn't he look cold?  No, must focus on next monster!


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Chattahoochee Evening Stars Quilt Show 2010

Last weekend was my guild's quilt show. I think I am now far enough away from all the work and stress that goes in to such an event to show some pictures!  I only had one quilt in the show, which means that is all I have completed in the last two years. That definitely shows how going back to work full time effects quilt output (not to mention planning a wedding/getting married, having a second child start school, and becoming obsessed with knitting).  Excuses, excuses, I know there are plenty of people out there doing all that and more and producing quilts like crazy, I'm just in denial that I am really slow. Mom and Melissa had several quilts in the show, and they both won ribbons!  Here is my Butterfly Garden quilt on display:


Mom's ribbon winning quilt:


Check out all that embroidery!


Two of Melissa's 9 patch quilts... I love 9 patches:


I better get to work now so I have something to enter in the 2012 show!

Saturday, August 14, 2010



There have been so many summers that I thought about making jam, but it took being completely overrun with blueberries this summer to make me finally do it.  After picking a ridiculous amount of berries at my mom's house, one of the hubbie's friends brought over a huge grocery bag full of berries he had picked at his grandparents' house.  Since my children can consume their weight in any kind of berry it took this volume to finally push me into canning.  Why did I think making jam was hard?  It is SO easy, and not even that much of a time committment.  I think I was put off by all the canning stuff that you can buy and that everyone who does canning seems to have.  The only things I bought were some pectin (I tried liquid) and some jars.  I already had a big pot to boil the jars in, and plenty of other pots to do everything else in, and I'm really not sure why you need a rack to put in the pot you boil the jars in?  I didn't use one and just used tongs to lift the jars out of the boiling water.  I ended up using the recipe on the pectin box for my first attempt (what better place to find an idiot-proof recipe?) but would really like to try a spiced one like this one.  I'm hoping to try canning tomato sauce next, I have a ton of tomatoes that are all going to ripen at the same time, if the ants don't nibble them first.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summer Harvest 1

Blueberry season is winding down and I have spent several sweaty hours removing fruit from my mom's trees.  With temperatures sneaking over a hundred this is no task for the faint of heart.  The birds take great offense to my efforts, sitting in the nearby pine trees screeching at me most of the time, but the heat and the harrassment is well worth the freezer full of berries and the results of my first time making blueberry jam.  I've yet to taste my first batch, and want to try spiced blueberry jam next, but will report back on my efforts soon.

(The umbrella was genius, its amazing how refreshing a little shade can be)


Monday, July 12, 2010

A Scarf By Many Names

I definitely had a "look something shiny" moment in the yarn store last week with my mom, the culprit is a scarf that can't even decide what it is called.  The free pattern I got from the yarn shop says "rotini scarf"  or "potato chip" scarf, but a search in ravelry reveals scarves of those names that are not the same pattern as this one (the scarves by those names are cast on at the edge and knit sideways, or else they are crochet).  A search for ruffle scarves reveals wayyyyy too many scarf patterns to look through, but I came closest to a similar pattern when I found one called a "corkscrew" scarf.  The pattern is so ridiculously simple and was free with yarn, so I will put it at the end of this post. 

Back to the point, this scarf is completely addictive, and when knit with Noro yarn is downright entrancing.  The pattern is short, easily memorized and watching the scarf swirl as you knit is cackle inducing (just ask my husband).  I tried to not cast on for it until I finished at least one of Melissa's socks, however resistance was futile.  I should just admit that there's no going back until it is complete, at the rate I am going I'll get it done in a week or two and then can get back to the socks.

Corkscrew/Rotini/Potato Chip Scarf Pattern

(edits added for clarification, based on some questions)

Size 8 or 9 needles
Any medium weight yarn will do, I highly suggest a non-scratchy noro for color fun.

Cast on 20 stitches
Knit 8 - turn (turn your work as if you were at the end of a row, but you aren't)
Knit 8 back (knit back along the first 8 stitches you knit in previous row)
Knit 6 - turn (turn your work as if you were at the end of a row, but you aren't)
Knit 6 back (knit back along the 6 stitches you knit in previous row)
Knit 4 - turn (turn your work as if you were at the end of a row, but you aren't)

Knit 4 back (knit back along the 4 stitches you knit in previous row)

Knit 20 (ignore your short rows and just knit straight across the whole 20 stitches)

start over with the knit 8 row - that's it, just keep going to desired length and bind off!
(it takes a good 6 inches into the scarf before it starts to "corkscrew")

Video directions now posted here!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Knitting Time/Space Continuum Warp

I had a very odd experience the other day... after I posted about Melissa's birthday socks I was reading the fall KnitSimple magazine that I grabbed at a new way-too-close-to-me yarn shop and right there in the magazine were the socks I had just posted about. 

My Sock:

Magazine Sock:

(this picture also proves that good studio lighting gives a much better representation of yarn colors)

Now, usually I see something in a magazine, drool over it for a very long time, then finally get around to knitting it.  This was like some sort of knitting time warp!  I actually somehow started knitting a project in a magazine feature before ever seeing it.  I'm talking same Unisomo yarn and colorway and same pattern here people!  Freaky.  I have to admit it made me feel quite clever, like I am in tune with the knitting pulse of the universe.  Maybe I am a yarn psychic!  Nah, just a yarn psycho.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Birthday Melissa!

America shares her birthday with my good friend, Melissa, who has been subtley suggesting that she may like some hand knit socks for her birthday.  If subtle means comments on my blog, texts, and random quotes from Dr. Seuss' Fox In Socks on my facebook page.  It's hard to deny someone that really appreciates a handmade gift, or someone so relentless about one, so I have been working away on these for the last few weeks.  They aren't finished, it's challenging to find a sense of urgency for something that can't be worn until winter, but I will keep knitting away and by the time it is cool enough for her to stand having them on her feet they will be done. 

As usual, my mom had to show me up and finish a coordinating project to go with the socks before I got the actual socks done, so Melissa gets these super cute fingerless gloves to match her socks.  Happy Birthday Melissa!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Slot Machines, Yarn and Fabric. Vegas Baby!

Our family recently embarked on the most fantastic trip to Las Vegas to help celebrate my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary.  60 years!  There were 14 of us that went, including my two girls, and it was really refreshing to look at Vegas through the eyes of a six and eight year old.  What had in the past seemed seedy and insidious became fascinating and sparkly all over again.  It didn't hurt that the view from our hotel room at the Bellagio looked like this:

Anyone that says Vegas isn't for kids is only focusing on the parts of Las Vegas that are specifically not for kids, and of course there is plenty of that, but there is so much there for kids to love.  To start with, our hotel had five pools, that in itself would have kept them entertained, but there was so much we wanted to do we couldn't even fit it all in to the four days we were there.  We managed to make it to see the lions at MGM, the four story M&M store, the girls' first Vegas show (the Elvis Cirque de Soleil, which was fantastic), the show at Fremont street and the art museum at our hotel that has Picassos and Renoirs.  It was the first time that I have gone to Vegas and actually not been ready to go when it was time to leave.

Another Vegas first for me was taking the time to search out some yarn and fabric stores.  Las Vegas has some really nice ones!  My mom, aunt and I ventured out to see what kind of yarn stores you can find in the desert and we were not disappointed.  Our first stop was Knit Vegas, which at about 20 minutes from the strip was the farthest. 

The shop owner was very friendly and spent a great deal of time discussing which yarns would work with a project my mom was buying yarn for and as a bonus they were having a sale.  I bought two skeins of sequined yarn that I wouldn't normally purchase at regular price and while checking out we learned that the fabric store (Nancy's Quilt Shop) we had planned on visiting was going out of business. 

A quick search on the car GPS showed another fabric store only four miles away, so in continuing our adventurous spirit we headed in that direction.  The fabric store we were randomly led to was Quiltique and it was probably the nicest quilt shop I have ever been in, and I have been in a heck of a lot of quilt shops!

(This picture shows about a fourth of the shop, not including the Bernina side or the classrooms, and of course my mom picking out fabric.)

The fabric selection was huge and modern, there were a ton of samples made up to go with thier great selection of books and patterns and to top it all off the second half of the store was a Bernina dealer.  As I waited for my aunt to check out I paused at these Anna Maria Horner fabric covered chairs and really pondered how I could fit them in my luggage to take home. 

I bought Sandi Hendersons' new book there, which is so great it deserves its own post, while my mom found the backing for a quilt top she had just completed and my aunt gleefully found needles for her machine and a whole stack of fabric.  This quilt store is a must for quilters visiting Las Vegas, and only about 15 minutes from the strip.

After a break and some lunch (that heat really takes it out of you), we continued on to the Wooly Wonders yarn store.  This is a tiny yet well stocked little store only four miles from the Bellagio and is a perfect place to go if you have run out of yarn for a project or need a knitting fix.  They have open knit Saturdays and there were quite a few people hanging out in the shop knitting and chatting.  I managed to find a skein of sock yarn that I couldn't go home without and my mom got some gorgeous merlot colored fiber from their collection of spinning supplies.

We found plenty of great places for our Las Vegas fiber adventure, but if you know of somewhere else that shouldn't be missed be sure to leave it in the comments!

Monday, June 14, 2010

June Weekend Wanderings

I love weekends that start off with nothing planned at all, then you get to fill them up with lots of stuff you want to do.  Like knitting, and tons of gardening, and giggly little girl sleepovers, and reading new sewing books, and the perfect felting of an old sweater, watching movies with friends, and trying out a new cobbler recipe from PW's cookbook.  Yes, it's nice having a weekend filled with slow wanderings from one activity to the next, and looking back Sunday evening to realize you accomplished a lot without even meaning to.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Softball Knitting

It was almost too hot to knit this weekend, almost.  Multiple tournament softball games present lots of time to start new pojects if you can stand to have wool in your hands in 90 degree heat.  She's so darn cute when playing catcher, and her team made it to the final tournament game tomorrow night!

Monday, May 10, 2010

April Camp Session

Sheesh, it isn't even summer yet and we are busier than the carpenter bees burrowing into my back deck!  Every weekend has been packed, from weddings of friends to celebrating our own anniversary with a trip to Asheville and a recent session of Quilt Camp!  (can you believe it has been a year?  definitely does not seem like that long since this and this).  I don't have a single picture to share of a quilt from quilt camp, or even a quilt top.  Not because there weren't any made but because my camera was acting funky and all the pictures of quilts I took turned out out of focus (I think it needs a good cleaning after our recent visit to the beach).  However, lots of other things happen at quilt camp besides completed quilt tops!  There is often a fair amount of knitting,

some long and laborious hand applique,

pillowcases making for charity,

even some curtain making,

here you go, here is a picture of an almost assembled quilt top.  Well trust me, it is there under Rillion, our official layout and design helper.

Another round of friends, food, fruity drinks and enough sewing to make us look like a Bernina commercial...

a whole uninterrupted weekend of fiber obsession feels so decadent, try it!

Monday, March 29, 2010


Thoughts of this past weekend made Monday morning at work practically cruel and unusual punishment.

There was a lot of delving into this...

there was some return to this (obviously I was a bit rusty, one of my points is too near the edge, bah)...

there was the pure glee that came with finally getting to drop another stitch on this (that's two!)...

and it didn't even bother me that I cut out half a pair of pajama pants for the older child and then realized I didn't have enough fabric for the other half (my how she's grown!)...

Yes, today at work was torturous with memories of a delightful weekend past, and ever so slow as I counted each hour until the bliss of having all next week off for spring break.  At the beach.  With as many books and as much knitting as I can fit into the car without being yelled at by the hubbie.  Hurry up week!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Unlimited Opportunities for Obsession

That's the thing with sewing and knitting and such, there are always new aspects of all these crafty endeavors to learn, and plenty of already obsessed people to push you over the edge of reason!  For example, my dear mother, who has decided to buy a spinning wheel  and so forces me into deep conversations about fiber and all its possibilities (I'm still trying to convince her to get an alpaca, how is she resisting THIS FACE).  This, in turn, gets me thinking about how I can join in the fun without spending the bazillions of dollars that she is, which naturally leads to lots of research into spindles and hand spinning.  Throw in some birthday gift certificates, a lot of encouragement from another Kate, and winning a 40 percent off coupon at my favorite yarn store and a new hobby is born.  Here is my new spindle! (called trindles by some? difference?) 

Along with plenty of alpaca corriedale blend to get started on.

Now friends, you know it doesn't stop there.  Books must be ordered.  Fancy spindles must be shopped... these are gorgeous... and you know the minutes are being counted down until this weekend, when I will be making yarn!  Making. Yarn!  Should I mention that my ball of fiber is sitting next to me on the couch snuggled up under my arm like some sort of fluffy adoring animal?  That I just offered Jay a squeeze and assured him it would bring him inner peace?  That I made him choose between about five edited pictures of that alpaca/wool to help me decide which showed off its fluffy soft sheepiness the best?  Yeah, should probably keep all that to myself.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Handmade Party!

I love that quite often at family birthday parties in my family there are handmade gifts being given.  Not only that, but being given and really appreciated!  This past weekend I finally got to give my mom her Birdie Sling (I suspect that she coordinated her outfit ahead of time)

and she finally got to give my Uncle the quilt she has been working on for ages to commemorate his recently published book.  He is a civil war historian and of course needed a quilt made out of reproduction civil war era fabrics.  I think it turned out great!  The quilting on it is just lovely, but I'm afraid you can't tell from my picture.  Great gift mom!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Birthday Birdie Sling

This bag definitely had its challenges, but finally I have made the Amy Butler Birdie Sling for my mom's birthday.  Only a month and a half late, not toooo bad.  I had my mind set on using this Japanese Echino fabric to make this bag, but when I went to buy the yardage it was sold out everywhere.  I spent weeks looking at different fabric combinations, finally decided on what to do, and then the Echino fabric came back in stock.  At our actual birthday party, my mom got a picture of the cut out pieces of the bag and a promise of a speedy completion. 

There was a very frustrating incident that made it a little less speedy which I had never had happen before.  This was my first time working with linen, so I don't know if this is common, but when ironing the lining pieces of the bag to the fusible fleece the glue on the fleece came through the fabric.  It looked horrible.  This was definitely a low point in my efforts to get this done.  It was a waste of very expensive fabric, meant another trip to Joann's to buy a different product to see if it would work better and a whole evening's worth of sewing time lost.  Hunting down the specific pelon product suggested on the pattern proved to work much better, which baffled me because the pelon fusible fleece looked like it had more glue on it than the other fleece I had been using.  Luckily it worked, I think if I had had to find another lining fabric this bag would have been crammed in a dark place in my craft closet for eternity and my mom presented with a lovely gift certificate to the yarn store.

The first Birdie Bag I made also used actual bird fabric, I don't know if I will ever be able to make this bag any other way.  Happy Birthday mom, hope you enjoy your super cute bag!