Friday, January 30, 2009

Partners Assigned

All swap partners have been assigned, so get creating! If you want to share a sneak peek of your project, just send me an email with a pic and I'll post it to the blog. Just make sure it's a very sneaky pic! The send-out date has been moved to March 22 to give everyone lots of time.

Baby is doing great; he is like a limp rag sleeping on my lap right now!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Baby Boy!

To all who have signed up for my swap: I will be in touch eventually, we have had a little family crisis recently. Promptly after posting my swap, I went into labor, and we now have a beautiful baby boy! He's been in the NICU for the last several days, so needless to say, everything else has been on hold. We hope to bring him home today, so I will be in touch sometime soon regarding the swap.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cozy Domesticity Swap

I've decided to host my first swap! For this swap, put together a package for your partner that they can use for some cozy domestic moments this winter. Build your package around one handmade item: perhaps a lavender-filled eye mask, with some bubble bath, a great novel, and dark chocolate. Or perhaps a knitted tea cozy, with a pretty tea cup, some tea, and a fun magazine.

Whatever you choose to do, the focus should be on the handmade item. Other ideas include hand-knit socks, mittens or gloves, aprons, potholders, embroidered tea towels, etc.; be creative and have fun! Focus on your handmade item and include a couple other things to provide your partner with some cozy domesticity this winter. You can purchase materials and items or use things from your stash and re-gift items, as long as they’re in top-notch condition. Vintage is always welcome too!

You must be an active blogger or I must know you personally to participate! To sign up, send an email to with the following information. Then, grab the button from my blog and link back to it from yours.

Blog address:
Willing to ship internationally?
Favorite winter activities:
Favorite kind/genre of book:
Hot beverage preference:
Favorite magazines:
Favorite colors:
Any crafts you don’t do but wish you could?
Collect anything small?
Favorite craft supplies:
Decorating style:

The last day to sign up will be January 22, and I will tentatively assign partners by the 24th. The ship out date will be March 1. Come join me and create some handmade winter cozies!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Of collars and cuffs

I've been trying to keep busy with lots of projects while waiting for Baby (now overdue). These cuffs were made for a winter white swap on Ravelry, and I love how they turned out, I almost couldn't part with them. The white lace is from the French Alencon lace that my wedding dress was made of, sewn onto linen and embroidered for a little pop of color.

These were mailed separately and are intended to be worn as a bracelet, but apparently in the '50's, women would have sets of removable cuffs and collars to wear with their sweaters. They could remove and wash them when dirty, or just change them up to match different outfits. Great idea, huh? Especially for hard-to-wash wool and silk sweaters. I suppose they probaby attached the collars and cuffs to buttons on the sleeves of their sweaters. Hmmm...this may be the start of a new project.

If you have any vintage collars or cuffs of this sort, will you share your knowledge, please?

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Classics

After the domestic disasters of Saturday, I needed to redeem myself. I went for a couple of classics to help me out: chocolate and luxury fiber (as in alpaca, not oat bran or flax). The little scarflet is for our across the street neighbor who is graciously looking after doggy when we go in hospital; a similar one is on the needles for her daughter. You can't get neighbors better than this family.

And the chocolate cake? For my uber-hormonal body. The hope is the baby will come before we finish it:)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Domestic Disasters

Thursday night DH indulged me and bought me a copy of The Gentle Art of Domesticity. It is a delightful book, full of inspiration for using the home as a canvas for the gentle arts of needlework, baking, and nature. Jane Brocket, her tone a little self-consciously high-brow at times, writes of finding ideas in the everyday, and seeing colors, textures and patterns in domestic life. I've been reading it while knitting and feel super-charged to make wonderful things.

So, while reading this book full of artistic domestic successes, two of my most exciting projects fell sadly flat. The quilted farmyard is not turning out how I had envisioned it. It will need some serious embroidering and embellishment to make it really acceptable. I cannot even bring myself to post a picture of it right now, it is hidden away in a drawer to be examined in a more rational state of mind.

And, my cute baby bunting, after washing and drying, is now full of semi-holes and loops where the eco-friendly dryer balls pulled the threads. Ahhhhhhhhh!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Quilted Playmat

In the recent issue of Living Crafts magazine, they have patterns for five new knitted farmyards. Knitted farmyards, I thought? A knitted farmyard, I discovered, is a playmat that is made by creating and piecing squares of a variety of styles to create one whole "farm." Each square is a different part of the farm, like a sheep pasture, or vegetable garden, wheat field, or pond. Back in Living Crafts inagural issue of Winter 2008, they had this article about collaborating with a group to create knitted farmyard playmats.

Because I have no green yarn in my stash, which would be necessary for fields, I decided instead to make a quilted farmyard. Using different prints for the various fields, I'm sewing the patches together to make a Cotswold sheep farm. The fields are bordered by golden stone fences, typical of Cotswold limestone. My plan is to embroider the fields with flowers, crops, and vegetables, and somehow embroider the stone walls to look like stones. Then, when I put in the batting and backing, I'm going to quilt crop rows and waves of water onto the fields and ponds, respectively. Some knitted or wooden animals and simple wooden farm equipment which I hope to purchase should complete Baby's first Christmas present in a little under a year from now!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Vintage Valentine

I was brainstorming with some other ladies on a forum about how to organize/display vintage valentines, when I remembered I had already created a book with that theme. This flag book was made using vintage postcards, most around 100 years old, that I had collected. I designed this book so that the backsides of the postcards with the writing, stamp, and postmark would be visible, because I think this is the most interesting part. The writing is legible, and it's fun to read the notes and imagine what people's lives were like back then. I get the impression that they used postcards 100 years ago like we use the telephone or email; a lot of the letters are just one or two sentences to arrange a vist or an appointment.

If you're interested in making your own flag book with ephemera or other scraps of paper, check out this great PDF tutorial.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Knit Flat Fingerless Gloves

I designed these for those of you who, like me, dislike using double-pointed needles. These fingerless gloves can be knit with straight needles and close on the sides with decorative buttons. This pair is destined for a friend; I need to make some for myself soon!

Size: one size
Finished measurements: 8.75” long x 4.5” wide


- Approximately 121 yards of bulky weight yarn; Patons Shetland Chunky was used for this design.
- Size 7 needles or size needed to obtain gauge.
- 12 - ¾” buttons for finishing
- Tapestry needle to weave in ends.
- Sewing needle and thread for buttons.

Gauge: 18 sts and 25 rows to 4” over stockinette stitch on size 7 needles.

Right glove:
CO 42 stitches. Work seed stitch (Row 1: K1, P1, repeat to end; Row 2: P1, K1, repeat to end) for two rows. Next row (RS): make buttonhole [K1, YO, K2tog], seed stitch to end. Work seed stitch for rows 4-6. Row 7: K1, P1, K1, knit to last three stitches, P1, K1, P1. Keeping first and last three stitches in seed stitch, and making a buttonhole every 10th row, work stockinette stitch until piece measures 3 1/4 inches.

Shape thumb gusset: Work 20 stitches, place marker, work 2 stitches, place marker, work to end. Work 1 row. (RS) Inc row: Work to marker, slip marker, kfb (knit into the front and back of the stitch) of 1st stitch, work to last stitch before marker, kfb, slip marker, work to end. Continue in this manner increasing between the markers every 4th row, until there are 12 sts between markers. (Remember also to keep working buttonholes along the side band.) Work 1 row.

RS: Work to marker, slip sts between markers onto a holder, CO 2 sts, work to end. Work 10 rows. Work 3 rows seed stitch; bind off in seed stitch.

Place stitches from thumb gusset on needle. Join new yarn and kfb of first and last stitches on first row. Work one row. Work seed stitch for 2 rows; bind off in seed stitch.

Weave in ends. Sew sides of thumb gusset to glove. Mark places for 6 buttons on side band of glove; sew on buttons and close gloves.

Left glove:
Work as for right glove, placing buttonholes on the opposite seed stitch band.

Heirloom Cradle

Made for the six grandchildren to use with all the great-grandchildren; and I get to have the first!

Friday, January 2, 2009

While I wait

My mom introduced me to the idea of prayer shawls over Christmas, and I'm contemplating how I might use this idea in our church. With the prayer shawl booklet from Lion Brand, I'm using this waiting time to knit up a sample, perhaps as a way to enlist people who might be interested at our church. The prayer shawl is a great idea; I particularly like it because it's a tangible and physically comforting way to remind the recipient that people are praying for them. Over the years I've used a similar idea and made blankets for friends who were going through difficult times in their lives.

I'm using the Lion Brand Homespun, because that's what all the patterns call for and they do have some lovely colors. It looks good knit up, but I am not loving knitting with it. It pulls and splits as you stick the needles in and out, and overall just does not feel that great in the hands. Have any of you found some reasonably priced, machine washable alternatives to Homespun?

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Two weeks and counting...I hope Baby gets here sooner! We are (I think) ready with everything at home. Since this baby is coming in January in the Midwest, I was trying to figure out how to dress it when we go places. This knit bunting is my solution. It's made with thick chenille, from the Jil Eaton Minnowknits, Too book. The picture is kind of dark, but the yarn is a blue, deep purple, and magenta variegated, with a turquoise zipper. I figure I will take a bunch of baby clothes and the bunting to the hospital and the nurses can help me dress it appropriately.

How do you bundle up your little ones for winter?