Before I write about these sweet slippers for my niece I have a confession to make. I’ve been working on a very homemade thing but not blogging about it one bit, and it’s been taking all my time and energy, sapping my strength, making me sick, and requires no talent or ingenuity to make–I’m going to have a baby! In another week or so I’ll be over this first trimester and hopefully (if prior experience holds true) feeling more like myself again, back off the sofa, and back at the sewing machine or yarn bag. Then the explosion of cute homemade baby things will (hopefully) start, and if all goes well in the first half of October I’ll be making another post something like this one from three years ago.
Back to these slippers, though…I crocheted these in the first first week after I found out about my pregnancy, when I realized I probably only had 10 days or so between finding out the news and having the morning (all-day?) sickness yuckies hit, so I better stockpile everything crafty I’d need for the next two months. I made both of my kids’ birthday outfits and both nieces’ birthday gifts during those busy ten days. These were a birthday gift for my niece Maggie who turned four last week. I crocheted them using this pattern from Ravelry using Wool of the Andes yarn from Knitpicks.
The pattern worked up quickly, although I’m not sure if there weren’t a few errors in the stitch counts. I would add or subtract a stitch or two to keep my stitch count on par with the pattern in the various rows, but I was off often enough during both slippers that I’m inclined to think the pattern itself was in error on some rows. I think there was some inconsistency about whether they wanted me to crochet in the first stitch on the other side of the turning chain or not. But in any case, it was no trouble to adjust mine a bit to stay consistent with the pattern (don’t want two slippers that aren’t the same size!) and the final result is as cute as can be. I used fabric glue to attach the little flowers, and I made soles out of this Slipper Gripper stuff and glued them to the bottom so Miss Maggie won’t go sliding all over her hardwood floors in these.
I’m not very gadget-oriented but I did feel like it would be handy to check e-mail away from home, especially in a few key places where I already get reliable wireless service so when I heard about the new Kindle Fire I jumped. I’m lucky to be able to text on my poor old phone so this is a big jump into the portable technology ether for me. In anticipation of receiving my new toy I decided to make it a cute sleeve. I’d purchased a very pretty wool crocheted blanket at a thrift store last year but hadn’t done anything with it yet. The blanket was probably at the thrift store because someone had partially felted it, likely by machine washing it. I went ahead and felted it the rest of the way, making one big, colorful and unique piece of scalloped-edge wool felt. The felt is too thick to machine sew but I thought it would make an awesome protective cover so I created a binding with some thrifted sheets and a decorative machine stitch in contrasting (red) thread.
I hand-stitched the binding along the top edge and up the sides of a long piece cut from the felt, then made a really simple closure from a vintage button and some ribbon sewn to the scallops on the flap. When my new Kindle arrived I was so happy both to use it and my new cute sleeve! I love the mix of the old and the new; the scratchy boiled wool and the sleek new screen. I’m absolutely certain that this new device is going to make me better organized. There will be no more forgetting of canned goods for the Girl Scouts drive or missed volunteer appointments. For sure not. Because the whole problem was my lack of a new gadget, right?
While I’m dreaming let me tell you about pear ginger jam, because this is the stuff dreams are made of. I have made this every fall since the recipe came out in Vegetarian Times. (Disclaimer: I’m not veg but like the magazine.) I never hesitate buying huge quantities of good pears when they are available in the fall because letting them go overripe is practically a mandate for me to make this recipe. The first time or two I made it I processed the jars as directed, but after that I realized we eat the whole batch in a couple of weeks so there is no need to bother prepping it for pantry storage. I ladle it into clean jars and then keep it in the refrigerator until we eat it up. This year we finished it particularly quickly because my daughter has been volunteering to make her own sandwiches–apparently just so she can stand alone at the counter with a spoon and this jam. And I have to admit, she is basically living out my dream. Although my very favorite way to eat this jam is on homemade pumpkin bread over top of a schmear of cream cheese, and it’s also terrifically good in a sandwich with almond butter. In the photo it is prepared the way my daughter likes it best (next to the spoon), which is on freshly-baked white bread with cream cheese. Jam seems like such a big project but it isn’t really. I started peeling the pears for this at 5:30 on a day I had to be across town at 6:30 and I was on time. So worth the messy kitchen I came home to that night.
Something kind of major happened to me this past week. I finally learned to knit! I already “knew” how, technically, but I hated it. It just didn’t work for me. Crochet has always felt good in my hands but I just never could get comfortable with knitting needles. Every few months for a couple years I’d pick up a project and try again, but I’ve never made more than a dish towel and I’ve never enjoyed it even for a second. I’d get tensed up instead of calmed. Then I discovered knooking! At the risk of sounding totally dorky, knooking is like a dream come true for me. I’ve actually day-dreamed that knitting could feel like crochet for me, and that I could make knitted patterns without dealing with knitting needles, and–ta da!–it has happened! Knooking is making knitted fabric (interlacing yarn in the way known as “knitting”) but by using a crochet needle attached to a cord. It turns out the exact same product but feels like crocheting instead of knitting. Which, if you’re me, is totally fantastic. I used this blog, this blog, and this Ravelry group as references and used a locker hook as my first knooking hook. I knooked this hat for Worth by reading the tips at those links and holding the new hat up to a hat he already had for sizing. I’m ridiculously pleased with it and don’t you make fun of me, dangit, because it’s not every day that dreams come true.
Today I put down my next knooking project long enough to have a great day at an outlet mall with an old friend. She lives in Indianapolis so we met in between her city and mine for a fun day of catching up and fall shopping. I purchased what I thought were matching pajamas for my kids, who spent the day with their grandparents. Back at home, Worth wanted to put on his new pajamas right away. We allowed him to change and he immediately started stomping around, acting like a Big Scary Bear (this is a favorite Worth game already, which inspired the purchase of these pajamas) and admiring the bear faces sewn onto the feet of his new pajamas. Dorothy decided to put her matching pajamas on as well and join the fun. Sadly, however, she returned crying, having discovered that Carters unwisely manufactured pajamas that were almost identical in both sizes, but which lacked the novelty of bear face feet in the larger size. Curse you, Carters!
So I rallied my inner good mother (though she was a bit tired!) and rounded up some felt and sewed my own version of bear faces onto the feet of Dorothy’s pajamas.
Now all the Big Scary Bears in my “den” are happy again.
I haven’t had much to blog about this week. While recovering from a summer cold, I’ve been spending most of my down time backing up photos and burning our family movies to DVD. I don’t even try to “keep up” with things like that–I just take care of it all in one big effort every six months or year or so and that seems to work well enough. It’s fun when I do, because we have a great time reviewing Dorothy’s progress and re-watching some favorite old family movies.
The picture above is Worth’s feet this morning. I made these shoes (crocheted then wet-felted) during that last painful week of pregnancy, when I just kept churning out booties and hoping to go into labor. I watched the Olympics while I did these one night. I love them, but I don’t know what they are supposed to be. Jester feet? I think they look a little like leaves, as if his chubby little legs just sprouted out of them. I’ve been waiting for him to grow into them, and now he has. Fun!
This project was actually from a couple weeks ago. I was tempted by a set of clear plastic iced tea tumblers at Costco, but felt like I didn’t need any more drinking plastic in my life. So I assembled this instead. It’s a wide-mouth canning jar with a stainless steel drinking straw. I used a metal punch to poke just the right sized hole in a heavy-duty plastic lid, so it’s reasonably spill-proof, easily washable, not plastic (except the lid), and cheap! This week I’ve been guzzling juice out of it as I try to kick this cold. This size jar fits nicely in my car drink holder, but I can use any size wide-mouthed jar.
And last but not least, Father’s Day! Dorothy and I put together a nice little gift bag for Rob with a Dorothy-decorated coffee mug, a picture for his office, a whole stack of Dorothy art, and an impish pair of cufflinks from Etsy
with little treasure maps on them. I think he likes it all (although he unintentionally attempted to dissassemble some Dorothy art that was supposed
to stay folded–oops!), and now we’re off to spend the rest of the afternoon appreciating him however he wishes!