Monday, September 26, 2011

knit kick...

Its not really a secret that I've been buying yarn, a lot of yarn, lately.  Those pesky craft stores have been putting all of their reduced yarn in bins at crazy cheap prices.  I picked up the last two skeins of this extra thick purple yarn that is marketed as "thick and quick."  This means that you use very big needles and in no time at all, you have a super warm finished product.
Since I only had two skeins of this heather purple yarn, I knew I had to come up with a smallish project. I didn't want to make a hat, since the yarn is so thick, it would make a hat much too warm, even for Boston in January!  Plus, I've been making a lot of hats lately. I decided to make something new and different (for me, anyway).
kicking back

thick stitches, slight ribbing

To make these leg warmers, I decided how wide I wanted them to be, cast on that many stitches, and then kept knitting until I got to the end.  I wanted to make sure they didn't roll, which would be uncomfortable with such thick yarn, so I did put a small band of ribbing on the bottoms and then a wider band once I got to the top.  Each legwarmer took exactly one skein of yarn and they go to just below my knee.  They are really stiff, so there won't be any slouching. I can see now that I could have used bigger knitting needles, but what's the point of $1.97 a skein yarn if I have to spend $10.00 on new needles? These little leg warmers really were quick.  It only took three hours of knitting to make the pair.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

cloudy skies...sun dress...

Despite the lack of sunny skies, I finished that little sundress I had posted about last week.  It might be the cutest little sundress that I ever did make (and the only one). I had found the free pattern while shopping for yarn a few weeks ago. I love how it came out. I love the bright colors (and not a pink among them). I love the little button. I love how it took exactly how much yarn it said it would!  It is supposed to fit 18 months-2 years...and that's not gonna happen, but I happen to know one or two little girls that it will fit!

pretty sundress
shells and loops

I plan to buy a little shirt and some leggings to go with it, so it can be a winter time gift!  I might use the little scraps of yarn left over to make some crochet flowers for hair clips too!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

knit knit kharma...

I have been on a hat kick. I often will make up a hat when I have just "that little bit" left of a certain yarn or when I want to experiment with a new style or stitch. I had a growing collection of knit and crochet hats in a bag in my closet, just waiting for a head of their very own. A couple of weeks ago I told Asa that I wanted to make something to donate, either to hospitals for newborn babies or to some organization that knew how to distribute knit and crocheted gifts to those that needed them.  It was really spooky when I got an email from Craftsy pretty much the next day, telling me just how I could donate my hats. As you can see, these hats are all sizes, shapes, and colors.  I still have a few baby hats that I will send along for an organization that specializes in newborns.
a rainbow of hats for Kendall
These hats will be on their way to Kaps for Kendall.  This organization helps raise money to fight Fanconi Anemia and to provide special hats for kids who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy and radiation. I decided to go with this organization because it seemed magical to me that I should get the email about Kaps for Kendall so close to talking with Asa about a donation. (And DESPITE the fact that they spell Kaps with a K - a personal sticking point for us Martins, who refuse to camp anywhere if its spelled with a K!)

Just follow the links above to see how you can help (either with a cash donation or the donation of new, cool, colorful hats).

Friday, September 16, 2011

lookie here...

Would you just look at this cool bag that I won!  Well, I didn't actually win it...but I did put several raffle tickets into the bag for this item and many other cool items... And I won not a thing!  But, my auntie/cousin Patti did win it...and then gave it to me at last weekend's 4th Annual SuperSamuel Golf Classic.
This handmade felted bag was loaded down with 6 different skeins of yarn, some knitting needles and one knitting book. This book, Weekend Knitting is actually one that I've borrowed from the library a few times already- so I'm feeling pretty lucky to own it!  Keep a lookout for the curly-toes elf slippers!

a couple of stragglers...

I have been feeling very crafty lately. I've been making so many cutie things but there are still a couple of items that are laying around the apartment that need finishing...and I've started a few more projects.  There was a sale on yarn with a cute free pattern just hanging above it! I couldn't resist that; would you have been able to?

Here's what I STILL need to finish since that first post about my "failure to finish":
poor orphan projects
What you see here is that purple afghan that got too big and hot to work on in the car. Well, its not particularly warm today, so I have no reason NOT to cuddle up with this one on the couch. Plus, I now have a plan for who will get this item...and a deadline!  There's that blue diagonal knit blanket...I just got excited about so many other projects and this one is slow going. Its super easy to work on, but after an hour of knitting, there's not much noticeable change... And then there are those booties. I haven't even picked them up, but I will!

Here's what I've started since then and haven't finished:
more new projects in the works
Well, what you see here is another pumpkin hat in the works. I made that other one, but it wasn't very soft and the color was a bit bright so I bought another skein of a softer (to the touch and on the eyes) yarn and I've been working away on it while the babies nap.  There's another blue hat that I recently started, but I haven't touched it much because I'm making it out of leftover yarn AND the knitting needles have a nick in them from something sharp so the yarn catches on it and it makes me mad.  I've tried filing it down...and I will do some more of that! And then there's the adorable crochet "pretty sundress." I was shopping for that softer orange yarn and I saw this yarn on sale for only $2.50 per skein and the free pattern above the yarn promised I'd only need 2 skeins.  SO- I had to get it. Christmas is coming and I know a few little girls...Its coming out really cute and its a pretty quick pattern!
paper or plastic?
And, I like to do other crafts too, so I've been saving these fun bags up to make a reusable shopping bag that I saw a plan for in a recycling craft book at the library.  I'll fuse these scraps together using an iron to make a thicker durable sheet of plastic and then use a sewing machine to make a shopping back. All of the scraps say "Thank You" and maybe some other positive message without telling everyone where I shop...unless people get take out from my local Thai place or Chinese place...

Here's my new promise: I WILL GET THESE THINGS DONE! By Christmas!

In other news, I've gotten a couple of orders for those HOOT hats! One is for a first birthday in January and another is for my sister.  That's pretty exciting! 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

hoot hoot...

I recently became a member of Ravelry. I had heard some ladies in the craft section of a book store talking about it so I went online and checked it out. Its a site for knitters and crocheters to share projects that they have made or are working on. I like the site quite a lot and have found many adorable patterns (some of them even for free).  I tried this little owl out and I love so many things about it!

baby and big sister owl
The pattern is easy to do, quick to do, and so stinking cute! The posted free pattern for is for a newborn, but its a basic pattern that is pretty easy to adapt for larger sizes.  Once the basic cap, ears, eyes and beak are done, it goes together really easily and I can make one in only 2 hours. I've already made three of these little owls, with orders for a few more already! These two hoots are on the way to new baby Marley and big sister Maela!

scrappy crafty...

Last week I gave myself another little challenge. I wanted to finish three projects using scraps of yarn that I had in my overflowing the yarn basket.

Mission Accomplished!
Dragon Girl

Dragon in the cave
The piggie hat and wolf hat were a pig hit at work, so my first scrappy craft was a dragon hat.  I used some left over yarn from a previous project. I had made some crochet fruits and veggies for my little cousin, Maela's birthday last year. The green, light green, and orange were all from that project, as was the stuffing that I used to stuff the tail and scales.

I still had plenty of orange yarn left so I made this little pumpkin hat for my other little cousin, Kenzie.  I wasn't sure how many stitches to use when I knit this up for an eight month old.  But, at 80 stitches on a size 6 needle, it fit her perfectly! The hat came out really well, even though I'm not crazy for the yarn. I also dug out a tiny scrap of brown yarn for the stem. I had bought the orange yarn for a fruit toy project so its not really a soft yarn, its more sturdy...but it will do!

brand new baby booties
My last project was a pair of baby booties. When I bought the yarn for that snuggly wrap, there was a free pattern for baby booties hanging along side of the yarn.  It was written specifically for that type of yarn. I followed the pattern exactly, but these booties are really tiny...they will fit a newborn for about 1 week, I think...but they are super cute.  I still have a bit more yarn, so I plan to make a little hat to go along with them.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

what big eyes you have...

I couldn't wait to get this little hat finished!
wolf hat on the prowl

The babies are entering a dress up phase and they both loved wearing that piggie hat so much, they wanted needed another hat so they could both wear one at the same time. Grace has even been napping with one on! So, here is the wolf hat that is supposed to go along with the red riding hood, though it does go with the piggie hat too. We've been playing in the tent and pretending its one of the houses from The Three Little Pigs.  Jonah fancies himself as the Big Bad Wolf.
he's gonna huff and puff that tent down
 It came out much cuter than I thought it would and sewing the eyes, snout, tongue, and ears on wasn't as terrible as I thought it would be. Next I think I'll try a dragon to go with the pig hat for one of Grace's favorite books, Spiffen: tale of a tidy pig.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

where did all of the crafts go?

A couple of weeks ago, Asa and I went to New Hampshire to spend some time with a couple of my friends from college.  It was a nice weekend away with lots of food, drinks, friends and kid time.  I was sitting in the living room crocheting that mesh bag when Kaitlyn asked what I was making. I told her all about my project and she followed up with a comment about a blanket I made for her.  I was shocked! She still had something that I made (she's 9 now!). And she remembered that I made it for her (it was given to her before she was born). And, she still slept with this blanket every night (its her Blankey, afterall!).  Kaitlyn's story about Blankey got me to thinking about all of those other gifts that have gone on to their new homes...but I'm lucky enough to have a few photos of these gifts getting used!
Kaitlyn and her sewn quilted tag blanket
Kaitlyn told me she had her handmade tag blanket with her at the vacation home and ran back to her bedroom to get it. I didn't know what she was going to come back with. It has been ten years since I gave it to her mom...I just couldn't remember what I had made that long ago.  I was surprised that she came with a sewn quilted blanket...I had forgotten about that sewing phase I went through.  I used to make these tag blankets and also I would make burp cloths with colorful ribbon edges.  I'm told her brother has a blue afghan kicking around too that I made.
I went through a few old emails to check out how my projects are holding up once they moved on...
Theo and his crocheted hat
Kenzie and her crocheted mittens
brand new Maggie and her snuggle wrap
And since some of my projects go straight to Jonah and Grace, I get to photograph them and store the photos for myself.

Grace in her piggie hat
Quick moving Grace Riding Hood
twin speed crochet hats

For a few more projects, you can click through to the album and see who's wearing what!

Monday, September 5, 2011

oink oink went the little pink pig

I've been excited to start AND finish two brand new projects this week. And I have plenty of yarn to start a couple of other projects that I've dreamed up...but I was starting to feel a bit guilty.  I still had 3 unfinished projects laying about the yarn basket. 
We had a nice breakfast at home today since Asa and I have the day off. I also managed to finally put that piggie hat together.  It came out pretty cute, but it was not a perfect project. Sewing the ears on straight and symmetrical took some trial and error.  I also stuffed them, so that provided a bit of extra work to sew them on with all the stuffing on the inside.  Trying to embroider eyes also took some trial and error.  I'm not that great at embroidery, keeping the correct tension is always a problem for me.  I ended up doing a modified knotting job sort of like candle wicking and they came out okay.  And then creating the snout and attaching it proved a bit weird.  I used a different yarn and stitch so its different. I also put a little stuffing in there to puff it out a bit.  These are all skills that I need to practice with...
pink piggie hat
Its not totally perfect, but it is pretty cute.  Both Grace and Jonah are entering that phase where they like to pretend so hopefully they will have fun playing dress up with this prototype piggie hat!

a blanket for baby leo

There have been a few new babies in the family lately.  Just before our wedding, baby Leo was born to my cousin Frank and his wife Kerry.  While I haven't met him yet, I wanted to be sure to meet him with a little something homemade and cuddly.  Since this summer has been so hot, there wasn't really a rush to get a baby blanket snuggled around him. But, now that it is going to be fall tomorrow...he'll be snuggled up on his walks with Mom and Dad.
blue and green for little red head Leo
I made this blanket pretty quickly this week. It went quickly because I used a heavier weight yarn and a bit bigger hook. Its also a small little thing, perfect for wrapping and covering him in his carrier and stroller without risking dragging it on the ground. This blanket is the same exact pattern at the multicolored blanket I finished two weeks ago. I hope Kerry and Frank, and especially Leo love this little blankie. He'll get to try it out today when Asa and I meet him at his grandmother's birthday party!

a little red riding hood

Hurricane Irene brought plenty of rain and wind to New England last weekend! Luckily for us Bostonians, there wasn't much damage for the storm. We didn't even lose power here in Roslindale. While we waited out the storm, I got started on a long awaited project... I had been dieing to start this new project but had made a promise to myself that I wouldn't start anything new until I finished a few of the projects laying around my yarn basket.    I had bought the yarn for this project for the bargain basement price of 97 cents a skein.  I wasn't sure how much I would need, but at that price, I wasn't afraid of buying a ton of it!  It turned out that I bought enough yarn to also make a hat or two this winter in addition to this completed red riding hood!
who's afraid of the big bad wolf?
I'm afraid that this picture doesn't do the cape justice. I plan to take a few hundred photos of Grace wearing the cape this week and again at Halloween stay tuned!
little red hanging hood