Three gifts projects today. This was a purse for my niece’s sixth birthday last week. I was inspired by a project I saw on Ravelry. I crocheted circles from this book of crochet motifs, then added eyes, a beak, and some edging that resembles ears, and made a little strap. The birthday girl seemed to like it.
These are the same basic booties I often use as a baby gift, from this free pattern online. These are for a gender-unknown baby, so I made them out of a natural-toned washable wool and tied them with brown suede lace. My recent improvement on this baby gift is that I bought a package of cupcake boxes and am now tucking a small handmade card and the booties (stuffed with tissue paper to fill them out) down into the box, which comes together to make a very cute little gift. These got mailed so I especially liked the way the box made a tidy little parcel that I could mail without squishing the booties.
These are Granddad’s new mittens.
Modeled here by Granddad himself. I knitted (knooked) these using this vintage pattern that I used once before on mittens for Dorothy, out of this tweed yarn from Knitpicks. This is the same Granddad who last appeared here as one of my camper elves last spring. He totally deserved mittens, and much more too, but he got mittens. He likes them and looks forward to warm fingers.
(Photo credit to six-year-old Dorothy.)
I have a beautiful cranberry-colored cowl that a friend made me. I wear it with all my fall-hued clothes to dress up the long-sleeves-and-jeans look that is a staple in my mama wardrobe. I love it so much that I decided I needed one to match my primary color shirts too. I bought this Chroma yarn in Lollipop, which is soft and lovely. I decided against using a pattern, since this yarn colorway makes one by itself. I just measured the dimensions of the one I love and knitted (knooked) this one in the round to those measurements (9 inches tall by 12 inches wide), with about an inch of ribbing at each end. This is definitely one of those projects where everyone who sees me asks if I made my scarf–because they don’t exactly sell rainbow things for grown-ups at Target–but I’ll take it as a compliment because I love it! It’s warm and cozy and cheerful too, perfect for February.
Welcome to Yarn Project Week! All three of my posts this week are going to be about recently-completed knit or crochet projects. This is a scarf and earwarmer set I made for Dorothy and me to share. I purchased fantastic yellow polka-dot rain boots at Costco last fall, but somehow I never know quite what to wear with fantastic yellow polka-dot rain boots. I decided I needed a scarf that would tie in some of my more sedately-hued shirts with the bright boots. This wool-acrylic blend yarn fit the bill perfectly. I began knitting a scarf using a rather fussy wave pattern, then realized I was totally wasting my time with such detail when the focus would be on the colorway–and the boots–anyway. So I unraveled it and crocheted the whole scarf on a great big size K hook in the time it took to knit about four wavy inches. (I crocheted in front loops only, which gives a sort of ribbed look.) When the scarf was done and it was clear that Dorothy was even more into than I was I decided to add an earwarmer to make it a set she could wear. I didn’t use a pattern, just knitted (knooked) each row until I had a head-sized band, sewed it up, and added a crocheted flower. It’s a soft, warm, happy set. We’ve each worn it and enjoyed it, me just the scarf with my now-coordinated boots, and she the complete set.
New hat from the front…
…and new hat from the back. I knitted (knooked) this same basic hat last year, this pattern, in this yarn. I really liked it but it was just too big. When I finished it I think I pretended I would wear it anyway but it flopped in my face. So I gave it so someone with a bigger head and I started over. Sigh. Finally I finished this second one and sewed the little faux fur pom-pom (sliced off an inexpensive trinket from Claire’s purchased just for this purpose) just as I’d dreamed of…over a year ago. But good things take time, right? I love this color because it goes with everything.
It’s been almost a month since I’ve blogged. I’m sort of getting out of the habit of remembering to photograph projects when I finish them. I don’t think I’m ready to quit this blog thing yet because I enjoy keeping this little record for myself, but I do need to put a note or something on my crafty table so I don’t completely get out of the habit. In any case, here’s a little bit of what”s been going on at my house this past month. Dorothy and I made hair bows. I made a few for her (including this one I glued to a headband) and she made some for her cousins. We used a Bowdabra, which is simple and gives good results. It makes puffy bows–not the tidy little twisted kind you can make with templates.
I’ve used the season as an excuse to try a bunch of gluten-free cookie recipes I’d been wondering about. I’m not gluten-free but my mother is, so I’ve been enjoying experimenting with gluten-free baking on her behalf. These sugar cookies were from Carol Fenster’s 100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes and they were terrific. I don’t think anyone would have noticed they were gluten-free if I hadn’t said something. I rolled them out between sheets of plastic wrap as suggested, but I found the dough just as easy to work with as regular cookie dough.
These gluten-free jam cookies were from The Wheat-Free Cook by Jacqueline Mallorca. I don’t care for this book overall as well as the one above, but these cookies were tasty. They were really great just-baked and were nice but crumbly once they had been sandwiched with the jam. The drawback to them came the next day, when they’d apparently soaked up all the moisture from the jam and almost fell apart when I touched them, so they really want to be eaten only on the day they are made. Still, they are tasty and light with a nice flavor and don’t scream “gluten free alternative!” when you taste them.
I finished knitting (knooking) myself this sweater a few weeks ago. Unfortunately the freakishly warm weather has prevented me from wearing it much. I ran into the difficulty once again of trying to get a decent photo of a project made for myself but this one will have to do. I’d like to show the neckline, which I particularly like, but I didn’t think to take off my scarf for the photo when I came in today from shopping. I used this Oatmeal Pullover pattern and the Lion Brand Wool-Ease yarn the pattern suggests, but in the color Eggplant. I like the sweater and it didn’t take that long to knook since the yarn is so chunky, but if this warm-weather trend continues I may never get to wear it since it is such a bulky, warm garment. I made the pattern in size medium, but since the knitter controls the length and the sleeve length I think I could have gone down a size and cut down on some of the bulk.
Finally, this is what my kids made their instructors/nursery care providers/extracurricular teachers as holiday gifts this year. Last year we did jars of homemade granola and I was going to do that again, but when my kids got snotty and sick it felt like homemade gifts from my kitchen stirred by their germy little hands might not be the most appropriate displays of our affection. Instead I cut strips of cardstock and cut the recipients’ names out with paper punches, then let the kids paint their own designs on the strips. Each kid needed to make about five. After they were dry we wrote the children’s names on the back and laminated them to make sturdy personalized bookmarks.
Hope you have a very merry, crafty Christmas!
I knitted (knooked) a coffee cozy to keep in my purse so I don’t have to feel guilty when the baristas at my frequent coffee spot act like they aren’t really supposed to be giving out paper sleeves anymore. What’s up with that anyway? But now that I’ve got my sweet woolen one I’d never go back. The coffee heats up the wool and it feels so cozy and nice in my hands; it definitely enhances an afternoon coffee-on-the-run experience. I used this pattern and wool left over from my Bonita hat. I followed the pattern and had the correct gauge but I think I could have gotten away with skipping the last set of rows. I usually order smalls and this fits mediums or larges a bit better. This is one of those frivolous projects that you don’t really need but can really make you feel pampered when you use it. It would make a great gift for someone, especially paired with a special bag of coffee beans or a reusable mug. Every time I’ve pulled it out and slipped it over my coffee someone has smiled at it or told me how pretty it is. Why not have nice little things that elevate small moments in a typical day?
I don’t even know how many times I’ve made this pattern but I continue to love it. These booties are my go-to baby gift. I don’t usually photograph them but I felt like it had been a while since I’ve blogged about them. (They’ve probably appeared here a few times since Worth wore a pair home from the hospital–I’ve even made them bigger and felted them.) Sometimes I change the look of the booties a bit by crocheting in the backs of rows the pattern says to crochet into the front of, and sometimes I do the ankle bands differently. I think doing a nice high ankle with some ribbing helps them stay on. I usually embellish them with buttons or bows or something to make them unique. They really help little baby socks stay on. This pair is for a friend whose baby is due any day now. Homemade baby gifts are so nice for being able to take a little time to think about the new little person who will wear them. I hope the wee girl getting these little booties feels snug in her community of family and friends as well as her warm feet.
I can’t seem to get one great photo of this wolf hat so I’m trying to make up for it in quantity. Worth is so fond of the hat that for a couple days he even wore it at breakfast. (Aside: Every time I see Worth in this hat inside the house I have to think: “The night that Worth wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind and another…”) I got inspired by this hat in Crochet Today but decided I liked the shape of this knitted one a bit better. For some reason I was never able to just sit and work on this project for a long stretch so it seemed to take forever in starts and stops for me to actually finish it (and I knitted one row that should have been purled–don’t look too close). I went back to the original crocheted pattern to make the ears but then the hat looked so cute and Worth was already so fond of it that I just stopped. I can’t remember exactly which yarn I used but I think it was a bulky washable merino from Knitpicks. It’s very soft and warm and should fit him next year too–good, since winter seems to have exited early and I finished the hat rather late.
I finally finished some mittens I’d started for Dorothy in the fall. I should have photographed them before she stretched them out by wearing them layered over gloves but I didn’t. Dorothy specifically requested pink mittens so I used some inexpensive but soft yarn I’d picked up at Big Lots and this vintage pattern. The pattern was a very easy one to knook. I think knooking is probably much less complicated than knitting when it comes to situations that would otherwise require multiple needles. With the knooking cord securely holding the stitches, patterns like this are very portable. I’m going to use this same pattern to make some adult mittens next.
A small friend of ours celebrated his first birthday a couple weeks ago and I monogrammed this little t-shirt for him. I selected a font I liked, printed the child’s initial in reverse on paper, traced it to fusible webbing, ironed the webbing onto my fabric (an old worn-out dress shirt of Rob’s), then cut the letter out and ironed it to the shirt. Some zigzag stitches around the monogram finished the project off. It’s in my queue to make another of these for Worth with his own initial. I liked the “menswear” look this project took on with the font selection and the dress shirt fabric.
Since I’ve been doing more knitting (knooking, actually) I’ve had more need for rulers in my project bags. I typically have five or six projects going on at once and keep my supplies for each in separate tote bags. When I was only crocheting I rarely needed a ruler because crochet projects typically specify the number of rows the crocheter should work in any given part of the pattern. Knitting patterns, by contrast, often contain sections that must be knitted to a specified number of inches instead of rows. I’ve spent much of the winter pawing through drawers and peeking into other project bags to find my ruler when I need it. Finally it occurred to me that rulers are probably something one can just print from the internet. Bingo! I printed this PDF onto cardstock, cut out the rulers, then laminated them to they won’t bend and dog-ear in my bags. A simple solution and I don’t know why I didn’t think of it earlier–but I’m sharing it just in case you didn’t either.
My daughter told me this hat looks silly on me (kids say the darndest things!) but I kind of like it. It’s this free pattern, scrap yarn in four different shades of red and green, and it was quick and easy. This was my first knooking project with a lot of color changes and that is clearly a skill I need to work on as the back seam (not shown) looks a bit scraggly. Still, I’m picking up confidence with the knooking and I like my cheerful holiday hat no matter what my five-year-old thinks of it. I did the stripes in a completely random pattern, which got difficult in and of itself after some time. Like wait, if I use three rows of green here does that still look random? I’m not accidentally making a pattern here with two light reds and a dark, am I? Intentionally randomness will drive you nuts after a while–I’m sure there is a lesson in there somewhere.
This is a hinged shoe box Dorothy painted. I could get revenge and say I think it looks silly, but really I don’t. I think it looks cute. This is the sort of out-of-the-recycle bin project that can be so satisfying. I needed to keep her entertained in the kitchen at some point a few weeks back so I gave her an empty shoe box and some latex paint. She painted the box quite happily and then forgot about it until I needed to keep her out of the way again a few days ago, so I set her up again with her now dry, painted box and my private stash of Sharpies. (Permanent markers are only for grown-ups around here, except under rarest circumstances.) She was once again happily entertained while she decorated it and now she has a cute treasure box to fill with childhood ephemera and stash on her shelf until it gets stepped on or broken or chewed on by the dog–at which point it will land back in the recycle bin, full circle. That’s really not a bad life cycle for a shoe box.
I’ve been wanting to try knooking something with a very thin yarn, like socks, but I don’t have a hook small enough. My kit came with a 3.5 mm hook but I’ve been finding that my gauge when knooking is consistently bigger than the knitting gauge you’d expect with the same size hook, so 3.5 just isn’t going to be small enough for a project such as socks. I read a terrific idea for making a sock knooking hook out of beading cord and a crochet hook, but I didn’t think that would work for me for a couple reasons. First, I tried something similar with cord before I bought the eBay hooks and I didn’t like the feel of the yarn on the cord or the way it kind of snagged getting on to the cord–working with a lifeline of ribbon works much better for me. Second, I wasn’t sure of my ability to file a point at the end of the hook. Something about two children, one puppy and tiny metal shards was just making me nervous. I thought if I had a regular yarn needle long enough to use comfortably maybe I could just bend the point into a hook. A little googling lead me to discover that tatting needles are just that–long needles with a hole in the end just the right size for a small cord or ribbon. I ordered a couple online. My idea started to fall apart when I confidently grabbed my needle-nosed pliers and realized that the needle was too rigid; it was going to snap before it bent. At this point my idea starts to be just as kid- and puppy-unfriendly as filing metal. I turned on my gas stove and heated the end of the needle until it was red and hot. (I held the needle with a silicone mitt!) This actually worked pretty well, but my first hook turned out oddly shaped and uncomfortable to use. I switched to using my jewelry pliers, which are small and strong, and they worked perfectly. I reheated several times while tweaking the shape of the hook, but I finally got it just right. I’m pleased with my tatting needle turned knooking hook and I think I’m now fully knooking-empowered, in any gauge. (Shew! I know you are as relieved as I am. Grin.)
This is not crafty, just cute. My sweet kiddos in a pumpkin patch yesterday. Worth wanted to take home every single pumpkin and Dorothy was primarily concerned with selecting a pumpkin for herself that was at least one obvious step up in size from her brother’s.This is a headband/earwarmer thing I knooked for a friend’s daughter. The little girl loves wearing headbands so I was thinking that headband-like winterwear might make her a nice birthday gift. I used some of my leftover Chroma yarn from my recent hat project and this pattern, which was quick and easy. I started it Saturday morning and gifted it Sunday afternoon! I didn’t have time to block it, but I’m hoping that on an active six-year-old no one will notice.
It has been my goal to have the unfinished, storage part of our basement clean and organized before the time came to put out Halloween decorations this year. I adore Halloween decorations and have blogged about a couple of my favorites in the past. We moved right before Christmas last year, which was nuts, and unpacking and reorganizing for this house has been a long and gradual task. The basement had finally climbed up on my priority list and I was making good progress on it right before Rob’s injury, but now it has taken a back seat. I think I’m going to mostly let the Halloween decorating go this year because I just can’t stomach the task of locating and dragging up boxes of decorations from a messy, disorganized space and plopping them back down there the same way. But I still can’t let my favorite season go by without a little festively spooky fun. I made cushions for my front porch chairs over the summer but the floral fabric no longer seemed appropriate to the season. I sewed these new Halloween pillow covers (only one is pictured) in a neutral fabric, then used fabric glue to attach a black felt bat cutout to the front and made stitching around the bat with white embroidery floss. The shams were a quick but satisfying project made with inexpensive materials and a design that is strong enough to be noticed from the street. Now all I have to do after Halloween is launder them and tuck them into the right box downstairs–not such a bad job.Rob’s injury has increased the time I’ve been able to spend knooking and crocheting. Waiting rooms are really the perfect spots for yarn crafts. I knooked this hat, but modified to have a fold-up brim like this one. I love the classic look of the Irish cable pattern and it was surprisingly simple to do. In my head knitted cables have always been swathed in some sort of unapproachable crafty mystic, but some basic internet instructions explained the process quite clearly and it didn’t end up being any more difficult than regular ribbing. I think this hat might want to be finished off with a faux-fur pom-pom kind of like this one but I’m not sure where to buy one. Maybe I will just make a trip to Claire’s and purchase an inexpensive accessory that includes a fur pom-pom and use that. Seems kind of wasteful but I’ve not seen them for sale on their own. I used this yarn from Joann and it’s okay. Soft but unexciting. The hat turned out a bit big, either because my gauge was off with such lofty yarn (I didn’t check) or because I have a small head, but I kind of like it that way–it won’t squish my curls.
And my knooking set came in! I’m thrilled. It was totally worth the wait to order this set from China via eBay. The price was terrific and I now have all the basic sizes. The quality seems good, the holes are just the right width and the sizes all clearly labeled. Plus it was just fun to get a parcel sent directly from China. Dorothy studied all the unfamiliar characters on the customs sheet and we traced the path the package traveled around the globe.