Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Yarn Along {Christmas Pressure Is On!}

Back in late spring when I started working on Christmas gifts, I have to admit that despite recognizing that the decision was quite practical, I did feel a tiny bit silly. Christmas was a long way off and my tomatoes were hardly anything more than stubby plants with a few blossoms.
But I did take a look a the list of people I was planning on knitting for, and the list of things that would also be coming at me this autumn (errr, you know, a new baby and all, and I did account for some potential toddler regression out of Lotte, thankfully, because we've had some..) 

I thought it would be wise to get a head start. 

I'm glad I did, because we're down to the wire here and i'm still plugging away. And at a slower pace, and with less sleep, might I add.I'm getting closer and closer to being finished though and I think i'm actually going to make it. 

This week's two biggies: one more hat (yep, still working on those), a pair of mittens, and just finished, a sweet little toy octopus for a friend's baby. 

The mittens i'm striping with a hand dyed yarn (the yarn is a little intense on it's own, but looks much more muted and well-behaved, adult like when striped with the grey.)

The octopus I made for a friend's baby. It was a fiddley little thing to make, but I rather enjoyed watching it unfold and come together. Those tentacles are kind of addictive to knit, so boingy and all. 
I had to wait to piece her together until my safety eyes (and felici sock yarn!!!) arrived from knit picks. 

I think she looks mighty suspicious, don't you think? It's those beady eyes. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Yarn Along {christmas hats}

Sometime mid-summer, I decided that every kid i'm knitting a gift for this Christmas is getting a hat. I'm not entirely sure why, it just seemed practical and seemed like something I could without having to be too careful about measurements. Hats can fit in a multitude of ways and still look right, so it seemed like a no brainer.

...But now....I'm tired of hats. 

Well, at least kids' basic, stockinette hats. But the problem is, I hit the half way point and can't give some of my nieces and nephews a plain stockinette beanie and others something more fun and more detailed.

This is where my non-family-but-may-as-well-be-family "nieces" and "nephews" come into play.
A few days ago it just dawned on me that they won't be opening their gifts in front of my other nieces and nephews. I can let go. Use different yarn. Play with the patterns. Not stab myself with my knitting needles. 
You get the idea.

I haven't been knitting at my usual pace lately-knitting with a baby in my arms takes a bit longer depending on what position we're in, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I remember with my first three how fast this all passes, and before you know it, you're begging them to slow down and come sit on your lap. I'll take all I can while I can!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Yarn Along {Welcome Baby Abilene}

I've been gone a little while because our tiny bundle has finally arrived! 
Abilene Cecilia Belle (We're calling her Billie for short) arrived at 1:34 pm on November 1st. 
She's been, by far, our best "sleeper" ever, and is looking a lot like her big brother Zeke and her big sister Lotte.(who is smitten, but a touch jealous of all the attention. We're fully confident that she'll recover sooner or later.)

I finally have someone to wear all those ridiculously small garments that I've been working on.
Sweater: Wheatfield
Longies: Pantaloons

Booties: Baby Feets
Hat: From Where You Were Plucked (pictured at bottom)

I have been plugging away at a few gifts since she's been born, but I can't mention them because, well, they're gifts! Knitting time has slowed considerably since my arms are occupied most of the day (I do knit some with her in my arms), but i'm soaking up every moment of this that I can because I know it's only a matter of months before she'll be wanting out of my arms and down on the floor with her siblings.

 This goes by too fast, nothing is going to keep me from enjoying it while I can. Even knitting. ;)

Binding off,


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Yarn Along {these boots were made for walkin'...}

I've been quickly knitting up some last minute things for the baby to distract myself from discomfort and to keep from going stir crazy.
I realized that I hadn't made any booties yet. We have lots of tiny shoes from previous babies but it dawned on me that this baby should maybe have shoes of her very own.

They're quite itty bitty, i wouldn't be terribly surprised if they only fit for a couple of weeks. But, i'm certain that they'll make an adorable Christmas ornament once she outgrows them.

Today's post is rather short and blogging from my phone because my computer desk chair just isnt looking very comfortable right now. I'm really hoping that by next week's yarn along i'll have a tiny model for all this wool!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Yarn Along {A Sleep Sack and Cowl}

Still counting down for baby, but in the meantime knitting away a few last minute baby projects that I didn't think i'd have time for.
I've made little sleep sacks for other babies, but my own have never had one. I also wanted to make one that would be useful for something else once the baby has grown out of it, (a keepsake of sorts) so I made it in a way that it could be used for a decorative throw pillow someday down the road. (I'll have to stitch up the other end of course, but that should be easy.)

The bottom flap is seamed at the sides so it's not actually a flap, but a pocket top that flips. And my son made the little wooden buttons for me. I thought it was a nice touch that this baby would get buttons made by her sweet and very loving older brother. 

I'm also knitting a cowl for our knitting group's knit along. We decided to go with the honey cowl because it's still a fun knit for those with more knitting experience, but easy enough that beginners can make it as well.

It's perfect timing, because I wanted to make a few Christmas presents anyway, so I dyed yarn with a couple of recipients in mind, and tried to go with more of an adult "frozen" theme. The trickiest part was trying to get both skeins to match. (I did dye them together, but sometimes one will absorb more dye than the next etc.)
I think they'll be fine though. I thought I could possibly get away with one skein for the cowl, but i'm nearing the end of the first and will definitely need to break into the second. 
Oh, and totally unintentionally, I found a project bag that matches the yarn; a cosmetic bag that was on clearance at target for 7 bucks! It's like it was meant to be.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Yarn Along {From Where You Were Plucked}

I have this really silly notion, and I'm not sure where exactly it stems from, that I'm not ready to have a baby until I have a hat with a knot in the top.
It's like this nesting-for-a-newborn thing that just *has to happen*.

I woke up last week in a cold sweat realizing that I didn't have one for this baby. Well, I have the ones used for the previous three babies, but it wouldn't be right to allow this baby's first hat to be one of her older siblings first hats. Another notion that I have no grounds for, but there it is.

My previous three babies had regular store bought jersey hats with a knot in the top, which suited the job perfectly. Lotte's actually had two little knots, one at the top of each corner, that almost looked like little ears, or the Great Gazoo. Adorable. 

I just love that these little hats look like the baby has been freshly picked, no, CHOSEN, off of a magical baby tree somewhere. That little knot just screams "I'm a brand spankin' new little person!" 

I might have issues.
I looked around on Ravelry and there were a few knotty hats on there but nothing like what I really had in mind.
Note: Typically, around this time before baby, I get somewhat irrational with the DIY. I don't just break down and clean all the windows, but I come up with work for myself that is seemingly useless. "Yes, Corrie, Write a knitting pattern, when there are already so many available... How about a hat that will fit for only a few weeks? Then you will feel as though you are ready to have a baby."

So without any more explaining (because let's face it, I might just be a bit crazy) here's the pattern. (oh, and an FYI-I tried it on my friend's full term, two week old newborn. Fits perfectly.)


{From where you were Plucked}

Materials: Sock or light fingering yarn scraps(two colours if you want to do the colour work portion-I'll explain how the hat is made first and include the colour work details at the bottom of the pattern, so you can choose to skip them if you would rather.)
2.5 mm double pointed or 16" circular needle

4 stitch markers
tapestry needle
With main Colour, using long tail cast-on, cast on 108 stitches. Place a stitch marker to keep track of your beginning of round.

Without twisting your cast on, join for working int the round and work in K2P2 Ribbing for 10 rounds or approx 3/4 inches

Switch to st st and knit until piece measures 4 inches from cast on edge.
Decrease Set up row: k27, place marker. Repeat two more times, and then knit the remaining 27 to your beginning of round marker. You should now have 4 markers with 27 stitches between each one.

Row 1: *k1, k2tog, knit to last three stitches before next marker, ssk, k1, slip marker*. Repeat to end of round

Row 2: Knit

Repeat these two rows 5 times, for a total of 10 rows. (68 stitches remaining)
Then work Row 1 only, 6 times more, (20 stitches remaining.)

Remove markers as you come to them, and knit until this top tube of 20 stitches until it measures 5 inches long. It may be easier to switch to double pointed needles for this portion.

Once you reach a 5 inch point,  k2 together all the way around. Break yarn and draw through remaining 10 stitches, secure and pull remaining thread inside the hat.
Tie a knot in the top and you're finished :)

After you do the 2x2 ribbing and several rows of stockinette stitch, without breaking your primary yarn colour, pick up and switch to a contrasting colour. (pictured, white.)

Row 1: Knit one row in contrasting colour. (i did a jogless stripe method-helpful youtube tutorial for that
here.) Do not break yarn between these four rows. 
Row 2: knit one with primary colour yarn, knit one with contrasting yarn, all the way around. (so mine was blue, white, blue white, blue white etc.)

Row 3: same as row two, but with contrasting colour first. (white, blue, white blue etc).

Row 4: same as row 1.

when these four rows are completed, then break yarn contrasting yarn (white), work more stockinette in the primary colour and if you wish, throw in another section of colourwork. My colour work sections are about 3/4 inch apart. 

Knitting {in Church}

For this week's portable/church project, I decided to cast on a quick little hat for one of my nephew's Christmas presents. I plan on making it look like a really goofy monster (because, well, he is) and seaming the top with a kitchener stitch rather than typical hat decreases.
I love projects where I get to use up leftover yarn, and kid projects are perfect for that.
It's gone really fast and I'm just about finished.

I also got a little surprise when I reached for an apple-double hearts! 

Church notes: 2 Peter 1:3-11, Message download here

I'd love to see what you're working on too!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Yarn Along {baby knits}

I finished up a few baby knits-anyone want to help me decide on some buttons for this little sweater?
I realize that the two pinks look almost the same in the picture, but the upper right is more of a reddish colour, and the bottom left are more coral. 
oh, and we are expecting a girl, or so we're told.I never feel like we can be entirely sure until the baby is actually in our arms.

There used to be a tiny hole-in-the-wall store on my street that was packed to the walls with old, new stock. Still in original packaging, but from the 30s, 40s and 50s. Crochet thread, bakelite and lucite buttons, stocking supports, zippers, ribbons.....
And sitting at the very back of the store behind a very large secretary desk covered in haberdasheries was the tiniest, and probably oldest woman I've ever met, smiling behind her massive, coke bottle amber glasses, hands folded, just waiting for her next customer. I felt like i was walking into a movie, or a wardrobe....another universe.

And what was even more delightful but definitely puzzling, was that the prices she was selling these things at were what was actually on the original package.

So yes, these buttons cost me 5 cents a package for 40 of them

I bought them ALL. ...and a slew of other goodies as well. I basically kept going back until her store was in my house. 

Well..not quite, but almost.

I've given a lot of it away for gifts to vintage appreciating friends, and used a lot of it on my own projects as well.
I decided a while ago to use some of these buttons though on some baby things because they're just too delicious to let sit in a box. 

I also made some of these hilarious little pants (they're just about as wide as they are long, I love how newborn pants are just about square.)
I'd really like to make a couple more pairs, they look so cozy! And they work up really fast. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sunday Knitting {Knitting in Church, and Why I do it}

On Sunday afternoons over the last couple of months, I've been posting my #KnittingInChurch projects on my instagram.
I've received a few questions from people (both online and off) as to why I knit in church, or other places where it might seem out of the ordinary, or a social faux pas. And also, how I justify or feel comfortable doing it while others might not. 

Simply put, knitting is my rosary.
 *I'm not actually Catholic-but I can appreciate that a rosary is a form of meditation. Something that keeps one's mind focused and in thought. The point here is not the tool, but the function.*

As far back as I can remember, I've had to had my hands busy while listening in church, (or school etc) to keep my mind from wandering off into a day dream. 
In elementary school I was often scolded for drawing because the teacher would assume that my actions meant I wasn't listening. Little did they didn't realize that it was the only thing that kept me engaged in what what was being said.

My high school teachers though, embraced that this was simply how I functioned and never minded if I was drawing, crocheting or carving, so long as my grades reflected that I was indeed listening. (and I did, and do still take notes as I go.)

And I soon realized, that I wasn't the only person who seemed to best function while having something to occupy their hands. 

As an adult, concentration, for me, is still a struggle. Possibly even more so.
 While the distractions might not be the same, they are still plenty. Instead of simple and imaginative childish daydreaming, it's:

Did I lay out the chicken to thaw for tonight's dinner?

Do I need to stop at the grocery store on our way home?

I need to remember to tell so-and-so about the date of that birthday party
Wow, that baby is really cute. I want to squeeze her. again and again. And smell her. I wonder what size she's in now.... Do I have some clothes I could pass down to her already? Would they be the right season yet? Hmm, she looks a little bigger than Lotte was at that age...

You catch the drift.

 It is so difficult for me to go from having a very full and ordinarily multi-tasking mind to listening to one subject (no matter how interesting) without losing focus.  Especially in a church so blessed that it's brimming with so very many noisy, adorable children.

This isn't a selective issue, either.
I don't want anyone to misunderstand what I'm saying. I'm not suggesting that our church sermons are so boring that I have to knit to stay awake; In fact, I don't find them boring at all.

Please realize that I knit through even the best of movies and television shows as well. And before I knew how to knit, it was some other outlet. (there are many.)

I'm also not suggesting that this is something everyone and anyone should do.
If anyone were to find knitting (or any other thing) to be something that was too difficult to do while listening, I would not suggest it. The entire point, for me, is to stay focused, not to cause further distraction.

I choose very simple patterns and stitches for church- things I don't have to think about. If I know i'm going to have to count anything, read anything or at the point in a sock where it's time to turn a heel, measure etc,  I leave it at home and bring something else instead. Even just some empty needles and a piece of scrap yarn. Really.

I don't feel the need to actually justify why I do this, I would feel some form of self conviction if it were something that was was hindering my relationship with God.

But thought some form of explanation would be helpful for those who have asked why, or others who have attention deficit tendencies and feel alone in their own, sometimes not very obvious, but very real distractions.

Sunday's Sermon can be downloaded here

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Yarn Along {Finished Projects}

I should just change the name of my blog to Yarn Along, seriously. This seems to be the only time of the week where I find time to post anymore. (Better once a week than never, right?) Hopefully i'll get back on the bandwagon soon.

And Don't let the title fool you, I haven't finished much lately, but I did finish a few things a while ago. And like a very bad knitter, I forgot to actually block and photograph the projects. So finally...

Spring Kerchief in Madelinetosh Tosh Merino

She was unimpressed that I asked her to sit still for two whole seconds to take her picture. I had to bribe her with a cupcake.

Bramble Shawl (She saw my shawl and requested one for herself. She said she needed one for "apple picking". (We don't have an apple tree, and I think she's picked apples maybe once?)
 Note to self: Take Lotte Apple Picking.

I whipped out a pair of
these last night...I'm completely floored by how fast these went. (2 hours maybe, tops?!) I wanted an easy slipper pattern to make for some Christmas gifts that would fit the recipients well. This Pattern is only available in one size, but changing the cast on number of stitches, yarn or needle size would easily change that. I can't wait to try these with a fun, thicker, variegated yarn.

These are a women's medium, and are clearly a touch too snug for my crazy swollen ankles and feet. 

I so look forward to having normal sized feet in the near's right there on the top of the list with normal jeans.



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Yarn Along {current projects and tech trouble}

I have a few projects on the needles right now that seem to be taking forever. This is the scarf of doom that I mentioned last week. It really is going to be rather lovely, but wow, the repeats are playing in my head at night as I sleep. It's a sample knit for a local yarn shop and I volunteered to knit it. I'm well over the half way mark now which is a relief, because in the beginning I wasn't sure I was going to make it. (I'm a repeat wimp...I have self diagnosed ADD when it comes to these sorts of things.)

My little pickle requested a pink and purple hat, and I happened to find some cascade220 superwash in exactly those colours. I've had my eye on the stella hat for a while now and thought it would be sweet. 
It ended up being a touch small for her, but I was able to add a few rows here and there to get a little more room out of it. I'll be making this one again for her, but definitely one size up.
This was a really fast knit, (yarn is held double) and it only took about 2 hours, which I was happy to knit during a middle-of-the-night bout of insomnia. 

I always get insomnia out of nowhere towards the end of pregnancy, and feel like if I'm going to be just laying there awake, I may as well DO something.

She loves her little hat, and the way it hugs her cheeks makes them look even chubbier and that much more kissable. She was so excited about it that I could barely keep her holding still for the two seconds it took to take the picture. Sorry about the blur.

My socks are still a work in progress-I've really only been knitting them while i'm away from home (which isn't too often)  because they're so wonderfully portable. I always like to keep a portable project in my purse. This makes small things seem to take forever though, If i'm only working on them here and there.

I'm going to bring them to knitting night tonight though and hopefully get through the rest of the foot. I have some more yarn and a new sock pattern (toe up with a fish lips kiss heel)  than i'm really eager to try-but won't dare cast on until these are finished. I'm weird like that, I guess. 

P.S:This last month has been a bit of a technical nightmare...My phone was out of order for a good few weeks so I wasn't able to take as many photos as I normally do (or use instagram. so SAD).
But now it seems that my laptop is out of order, and ironically, I have to make this post from my new phone. (And can't use the app, because blogger's app is horrid. And I'm still getting used to typing on this thing.)

I also just realized that I had about 9 unpublished comments from last week's yarn along that I didn't even know were there until today. I'm so sorry. I feel like a royal idiot. Normally I get some emails that tell me comments need published, so I'm not sure what happened. 

But really, these are all first world problems, so life is good.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Yarn Along {Finished Projects & More Socks}

These are the wee socks I was working on last week. They were a good project for my first two at a time attempt. I can't say that I'm terribly in love with the inverted heel, it feels totally upside down. It won't matter for baby socks-but I won't be making a pair for myself with this heel.
Like I said though, i'm glad that I was able to do some tiny socks just to figure out the two at a time method. And now that I've done it, I'm not sure that i'll ever knit socks one at a time again!

I also finished up Lotte's sweater dress a couple of weeks ago but didn't get a picture until this weekend. She isn't terribly cooperative for photos (of course) but she does love the dress. She's named it her "purple jelly dress". (She doesn't even like purple jelly, but apparently she thinks it's pretty.)It was my hand dyed yarn that I dyed in cake form (so the middle of the ball was lighter than the outside), and rather than working from two balls through the project and striping them, I just knit one right after the other attempting to get an ombre effect. For the most part, I think it worked pretty well. And I was happy to use the slightly lighter shade for the pockets so that they're actually noticeable.

I'm still plugging away at this scarf of doom, which is actually turning out to be rather lovely, but goodness, it's' repetitive. It's going a lot faster though now that I've almost memorized the repeats. 

And last but not least-new socks were cast on this week in some really scrumptious yarn that i've been saving for a rainy day. It's the coveted and loved KnitPicks Felici self striping yarn in "jellybean". I'm so sad that this yarn is discontinued, and not just the colourway, but the entire line. Where are we going to go for affordable quality self striping yarn now?!
I'm doing two at a time again, but this time ankle down. I liked toe up, but until I find another heel method that I like for toe up i'll wait on that. Any excuse to have to knit more socks, right? That, and Lotte is pretty sure these are for her. I'm certain that i'll be knitting a small, identical pair in the near future.

Binding off,

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Yarn Along {itty bitty sockies}

I have a horrible case of second sock syndrome so I decided to some two at a time baby socks.

I can't say that I'm in love with the pattern...I've never made toe up socks and the pattern kind of leaves you hanging for the heel turn. I ended up finding a heel turn formula for just about any number of stitches, and in a variety of styles, and used that instead.

The two at a time thing has ended up being far less confusing than actually making a sock toe up. The whole heel and gusset really took while for me to wrap my head around. I'm not sure this style is for me, but that's why i made baby socks for a first attempt; smaller commitment. 

I also took on a sample knit project for a local yarn store. They're going to be stocking a new yarn (i can't even find the yarn on revelry yet) and needed some sample projects made.
Its a scarf, knit flat, but with an intricate brocade/hash pattern.
Lots of counting not my strength but so many repeats that it gets easier and easier.And it's  a fairly simple pattern, nothing but knits and purls. Good Television Knitting.

 I really like the
yarn, It's got a nice rustic texture to it but isn't splity, and it knits up rather nicely.  My eyes get a tad tired trying to see the pattern though with it being solid coloured! I'm sure that blocking will make it all pop out and become a lot more obvious. 

Binding off, Corra

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Yarn Along {Flax Dress}

A few weeks ago I was going through Lotte's fall clothes that she wore last year and some of the clothes my niece had outgrown that were passed down to her, and many of them are too small. My girl seems to have managed to somehow completely skip size 3 and go straight into size 4. I can't believe how fast she's growing. She doesn't look as big as a size 4, which is puzzling, but it is what it is. I'm in a little bit of denial that she's almost three. She's still my baby!

One of the many things that she has outgrown are her sweaters, and her sweet little sweater dress...Which made her look a combination of saucy and cozy, the two top toddler things that make me melt.

So of course, another sweater dress is in order. I decided to go with
this super simple pattern, but i'm just going to lengthen the body. I'm undecided on shaping the dress/skirt portion, i'll mostly likely decide as I go. Toddlers can get away with a straight up and down tube for a dress, it's the one age where it's fun to show off their chubby little bellies.
Also, the for the sleeves,  I'll probably make them either short (so she can wear a long sleeve t-shirt underneath if it's cool) or possibly 3/4 length, depending on how much yarn I have left. 
I'm using hand dyed, so I can't buy more if I run out. 

Lotte thinks I need to make a matching one for our October due wee one, and I just might. I'd like to make that one a bunting though. Sweater dresses aren't so practical on newborns, are they?

And speaking of denial, I should really probably get cracking on these baby knits I have plans for. I have about eight weeks left is all. Somehow, despite being rather large and quite miserable, I've unintentionally been putting this pregnancy at the back of my mind.
No, not the baby, but the pregnancy. People keep asking me how many weeks I am,  and if it weren't for midwife appointments, I'd have no clue. I know when I'm due, that's about it. Maybe it's a fourth baby thing. I don't feel like this is such a mystery anymore, and don't have a gazillion questions to research or ask my midwife. My midwife told me that our appointments feel almost silly since I have nothing to ask her. Been there, done that? So we end up talking about Knitting, naturally.

Binding Off,


P.S-for those who follow me on instagram, please know that my phone kicked the bucket this week and I can't post anything until my new phone arrives by mail. So no, I haven't disappeared, i'm still watching YOUR posts online :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Yarn Along {a mystery sweater}

Working on a little somethin'-somethin' this week, I say mystery because once again, i'm just kind going into this blindly and seeing what works. I am writing it down this time though, so I can remember what I did if I actually want to make a repeat.

I'm not sure if this will turn out the way i'm envisioning, and truth be told, i'm not even sure who i'm making this for. My little lass? One of my nieces? No idea. That's how I roll when I get a hold of yarn with no pattern and a good dose of indecisiveness.
I'm using fisherman's wool which frogs nicely and pleasantly, if need be.

I speak from experience

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Yarn Along {blocking week}

I usually wait until I have a fair amount to block before I drag out these mats and my pincushion, only because I have a wee helper who likes my pins quite a bit and loves to rearrange them in fun patterns after i've already tacked down my knitting. So if opportunity arrives, and she's preoccupied with either a nap, or playing contently outside with her brothers, I jump on the chance to finally get my projects blocked. 

Looking at the last picture...

Top left: A cowl I knit this week out of hand dyed bulky wool-I dyed this wool last month using mulberries that were just a little too over the edge for us to eat. It was dyed twice in cake form to make it a little more tonal. I really like the way it turned out. I probably could have used more mulberries, but I don't mind the muted grey/lavender. 

Top right: A bramble shawl.
Lotte informed me that she needed a shawl like mine for when she goes "apple picking". I'm not sure where she go this notion from...she's been apple picking once, and she wasn't even two yet.
Regardless, the girl requested a shawl. And it's really adorable on her. (I'll get a picture of her wearing it for us later. She goes through moods of "i don't want my picture taken"...and I wasn't able to get one this week.)
 I loved knitting this, and I might make a couple more for some gifts for other little gals in the family. One of the things I like the most about this is that it crosses over the chest and buttons in the back, securing it so that it isn't constantly slipping off.That, and it makes her look like a miniature Mother Hubbard.  

Bottom Right: Longies for Lotte to match her new sister's Gingersnap legs (Bottom left.) 
I posted about these last month and people have messaged me asking me for the pattern. I'll try to post a pattern for those soon. 

Bottom middle: Random hat out of leftover yarn to match the leggings :)

This week I cast on and am almost finished a puerperium sweater (not pictured)  for our new bundle in October, and am about to cast on some sweet little pants.

I'm eager to see what everyone else is making this week! 
Binding off, 


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Yarn Along {getting head start on a handmade christmas}

 A few years ago, after the birth of a surplus of babies in our extended family, my sisters and I decided that despite the huge rise in the number of children, our families still wanted to give Christmas gifts to  each other's children. Over the course of three years, 6 new babies arrived between the three of us.
We decided that the only way to continue though was if the gifts were either handmade or thrifted. My sisters and I normally buy or make for each other anyway because we're just like minded that way, we all enjoy creativity, and love a good bargain at an antique store.

Half the fun of making something or buying anything used/vintage/antique for each other is telling the person how we got it or made it, and what a deal we scored on it. While other families might find it weird to openly disclose to each other how little they paid for their siblings' gifts, in our family, it's not only expected, but the thrill of it is part of the gift itself. 

Between the three of us, there are ten kids, and two more are expected by Christmas. So this means if I'm going to knit anything, I need to start now. Especially with a new baby arriving in October. And it doesn't help any that all my children's birthdays are already in the autumn. 

I decided that this year each of my nieces and nephews will get a hat, and maybe something small like some mitts if I can swing it. I'll probably get them something else small that they can do as a family-a game, or some music etc-which also means a lot less stuff to clutter up their houses.

 I have to be careful, because I also don't want to be that aunt that is known for giving only hats, mitts and underwear. blah! What a stigma. To and adult, hand knit items have more wow factor, and if not exciting, at least appreciated because of their practicality. To a little kid though, it might be a wee bit boring. Maybe i'll fill them with firecrackers or something. (totally kidding-but I know they'd love me if I did.) 

These little hats are super fast-i'm not really following a pattern for these, just kind of switching  up needle size  and cast on number of stitches according to whatever yarn i'm using, and eyeballing it. (And trying them all on my own kids to make sure that they'll fit the kids i'm knitting them for.)
I decided for the girls that i'm going to put some wooden buttons on the brim that Reuben has made me (handy children are such a blessing), and for the boys, I'm going to do some stripes. The forest green hat with yellow wasn't supposed to be Green Bay Packer colours but sort of turned out that way. Luckily, the intended recipient's Daddy is a Packers fan. Maybe he'll get one to match!
Every time I do jogless stripes, even though it's ridiculously simple to do, I feel like I have super powers and have to oogle a while over the magic of it all. 

This is how I feel after making a stripe where the beginning and end are so well hidden that you'd never find it unless you knit it yourself.

Almost as fascinating as a heel turn! 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer Raspberry Heaven {butter}

Raspberries are one of those fruits that seem to grace us with their presence for only a teasing moment, and then vanish. And their shelf life doesn't seem to be very generous either...quite a few times, we've bought them one day only to have them start getting overly juicy the next. 
Luckily, they still have some purpose other than to be fated to Jam and Jelly. 
Which we also love, but sometimes something different is fun, and this actually requires far less work. And even small children can help with this one and proudly say that they've made it by themselves.

It's really exciting to be able to pull some of this out of the freezer for a fancy tea party, mid-winter, when we're heaped with snow and have forgotten what summer tastes like, and are beginning to doubt we'll ever see it again. Full disclosure..i'm not a winter person. At all.

All you need is:
1/2 cup salted Butter or one stick, if you buy that variety
1/4 cup Raspberries pitted diced cherries, blackberries or mulberries would also work!
1 heaping tbsp of icing sugar

It does help to have the butter softened at room temperature first. Throw the butter, fruit and icing sugar into a bowl and mash it up with a fork, and chill. (Or wrap well and freeze for up to a year.) When you pull it out to serve on your homemade biscuits, you'll feel so very fancy, I promise.I mean come on, it's pink. Pink butter!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Yarn Along {Gingersnaps}

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

Yarning along with Ginny

I've still not blocked my Spring Kerchief because I keep forgetting that needs done. It's sitting in my basket, but with it being so warm out, I keep forgetting how much i'm going to appreciate having it blocked and ready to wear come fall.

I did cast on a quick, tiny project until I find something a little larger to work on- I'm making some itty-bitty leg warmers for our newest wee family member, expected to arrive sometime in October. 

I guess I just can't seem to get enough of those autumn babies.

I'm not really following a pattern for these, I'm kind of just winging it. They seem like they're big enough that tiny newborn legs will fit for about a month or so. I didn't want to make them so big that babe will  be swimming in them though, either. And I really don't mind making a few more pairs that are slightly larger as baby grows. I love that I can use up some leftover yarn for these-this is Sweet Georgia worsted in "ginger" that I had just enough left to make a small pair.

I'm not sure if I'm going to continue the heart pattern up the leg, or just leave a single heart at the bottom- I'll probably knit another inch or so before deciding.

As per Ginny's suggestion last week, I'm reading 
A Sane Woman’s Guide to Raising a Large Family. I know Four kids is hardly a large family, but I figured that with this woman having as many kids as she does, she probably knows a thing or two about practical organization. I find it refreshing and reassuring that I'm not the only one who expects their kids to take on some of their own household chores, (like laundry etc) and how it works for everyone, no matter how young, to have their own responsibilities. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Anne and Diana {Strawberry Rhubarb} "Muffins"

I don't think we realize often enough how blessed we are that strawberries and rhubarb come into season together, skipping right into our kitchens practically holding hands. That's a grace that takes thought and careful consideration.
Both are delightful enough as individuals, but together? They're a whole new category. They're Fred and Ginger, Anne and Diana, Napoleon and Josephine.... And luckily, we have a surplus of both around here.

Always looking for another way to showcase this gorgeous couple, I decided to play around in the kitchen and make "Muffins".

....I say "muffin" because we all know that muffins are really just cupcakes without icing. Or at least that's what Zeke tells me. He's a self proclaimed culinary expert who's helpful enough in the kitchen that I don't try to argue with him. Also, in saying "muffin" I feel like i'm disclosing the fact that I'm making no claims that these are actually healthy. 

I was more than thrilled with the way that these turned out and actually wrote down the recipe as I went this time, rather than throwing things in a mixer and in the end saying "Gee, these are good. Wish I could remember what I did..." A frequent bad habit of mine that i'm trying to break.

I blame it on the constant disappearance of my pens-they're never where I leave them. I think there's a squirrel who lives in my house that's made a nest for itself out of my pens and notepads. But I digress.....
The Recipe: (for 3 dozen, regular sized muffins.)

2 cups of sugar (reserve 1/2 cup of this and set aside.)
2 cups of diced strawberries
2 cups diced rhubarb
4 large eggs
1 cup butter
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup of sour cream
2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
4 cups of all purpose flour

Preheat your oven to 350

Start by dicing your Rhubarb and Strawberries. You'll want to dice them pretty small so that they'll distribute themselves evenly throughout the batter and each muffin will have some actual fruit. Mine were in 1/2 inch pieces.
Next, mix the strawberries and rhubarb in a bowl with the 1/2 cup of reserved sugar, and set aside for at least 20 minutes. (the sugar will start to pull the juice out of the strawberries and rhubarb and they'll soften up and smell heavenly.)

In your main bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and butter until fluffy. Then add the sour cream, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  and vanilla and beat a while longer.
Now add in your bowl of mingling rhubarb and strawberries. By now they'll be like bosom buddies, swapping childhood memories, naming their first born after each other and what not.
Fold that into your batter and begin adding the flour one cup at a time and beat until smooth.

Line your muffin tins with wrappers, or grease them, whichever you prefer.
I use a cookie scoop to drop my batter evenly in each wrapper. For my scoop, I do two drops per muffin cavity. Anyway you want to get your muffins into your tins is up to you.

Now you can either pop them right in the oven (30 minutes) or you can add some optional streusel topping.


1/2 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Tbsp Butter
1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt

Mix well until crumbly, almost a damp sand texture. Sprinkle generously on the top of the muffins right before they go in the oven.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.
Cool (or don't, if you're feeling daring) and serve.