Showing posts with label knitting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label knitting. Show all posts

March 18, 2016

Spring Reset

The other day someone asked me what I was proud of recently... and I said I was proud of the fact that I managed to clean the bathrooms. HA! That should give you an indication of how much 'extra' stuff I'm managing to (not) get done these days. 

'Write blog post' always seems to get pushed to the bottom of a lengthy to do list, after I've accomplished all of the necessities (like cleaning those bathrooms...) I've been procrastinating with this blog, mainly because, duh, I have a toddler and precious few minutes to myself. But I've also been procrastinating because it feels like I haven't been working on anything 'original'. Instead, I've been redoing a lot of stuff. Stuff that I initially crafted and loved, but as I continue to purge the apartment in an effort to simplify my life, I'm realizing there were a lot of things I made in the past that I don't like now, or never really liked if I'm honest.

You may remember when I organized my recipes into these neat little books, over two years ago? I'm sad to report that it did NOT help my recipe organization or meal planning one iota. The recipes got shoved into the front of the book... the book didn't sit right on my shelf, and let's face it, most of the recipes I pasted into the book were either disasters, or I couldn't remember why I saved them in the first place

The dessert binder, on the other hand, has been great! I managed to keep those pages organized and I easily found any recipe I was looking for. 

Recently, I scored some paper products on sale at a craft store, and they inspired me to redo my recipe book in the same way I've done the dessert one. I ordered a similar binder to the one I have for the desserts, and even though I haven't gotten around to transferring everything yet, I can already tell, I may actually find and more importantly, USE more recipes now. 

In knitting news, remember this cardigan? Yeah, neither do I. I hardly wore it. It really didn't suit me, and the whole thing hung kind of weird. 

So I ripped it apart and kept the yarn, and now I'm making this groovy shawl. (The pattern is actually called, 'groovy'...)  

What's the point of all of this? I'm not exactly being very prudent with my precious spare time if I end up doing a project and then destroying it to start another one with the same materials. 

Or am I? Sometimes I just need to create something, even if it's a disaster. Some nights, I spend an hour knitting or crocheting something, only to rip everything apart right afterwards. 

But you know what? That was an hour where I fed my soul, even if the end product didn't turn out the way I planned. Sometimes I finish the whole project and then I realize a few years down the line that I don't really like it. That doesn't mean I failed. Sometimes the process alone is what I need to feel creative, not the end product. I still had a blast knitting that cardigan, and I still remember sitting at the table sorting out my recipes. I actually LIKE organizing some stuff. It wasn't a chore (unlike cleaning those bathrooms.) 

Spring is a great time to purging, for setting goals, and for just resetting your life sometimes. Even if it just means completely remaking something out of that green yarn purchased on sale, or tossing out recipes you know you'll never make, in order to make room for ones that are now kept in a more organized binder. 

What are you remaking these days? 

February 1, 2016


Yes, I know it's been forever. It's February already. 


I promise you, I haven't forgotten this blog. But you know the days run into other days, and there's a constant flow of meal prep, dishes, playtime, laundry, errands... and occasionally sleep. The Sailor arrived home for the holidays and has been home for all of January, so it seemed like our days were even fuller and busier. Every time I contemplated writing a blog post, the Peanut would bring me a book, hand outstretched, wanting me to read it to him. 

And really, who can deny such a cute kid a little reading session? 

So here I am, in the middle of his nap time, wondering where all of January went besides a blur of food, laundry and library books. 

Nevertheless, I did manage to accomplish a few crafty things. I also realized that even if I'm not posting every little detail, I'm still living life and making things. And that's what really makes me happy.

I threw my friend Tianna a baby shower! 

She hosted my book shower a little over a year and a half ago. Now, she's having twins! We ate lots of yummy food on vintage wares, and showered her with gifts galore. I made her yellow and grey baby cardigans like this one (I was so busy hosting that I forgot to get photos of my own gifts.)  

I'm also in the middle of making both myself and the Peanut new slippers. (I've finally gotten around to using the wool I bought in Idaho a year ago.) They are both these felt clogs. I remembered this week that I had the pattern for the children's version as well! Perfect timing since the Peanut rips his socks off and needs a pair of these for around the house. They knit up fast and I'm looking forward to throwing these in the laundry and watching them shrink to the right size.

I also finally finished this Through the Woods hat and cowl. I purchased a kit on Craftsy forever ago and then realized it never really gets cold enough here to wear such a thing, so I kept it in the 'to do' pile. Over the holidays, I worked on it and decided it's a perfect belated birthday gift for my pal in Idaho (where it gets cold enough to wear it!)  

It looks much better on, but since we are all recovering from nasty colds and constant nose blowing, I'll refrain from posting a photo of myself in it. (I've looked better... let's just leave it at that!

And once again, my local yarn store had the perfect wooden buttons to go with it. 

I also feel like I should report that we have the windows open and it's positively balmy outside. THIS is the reason we moved south. 

December 13, 2015

'Tis the Season...

While I haven't posted on here in a month (!) I can assure you, I haven't forgotten about the blog. But after the hectic month of November, and writing an entire novel, I promised myself a few weeks of calm in December. 

My fingers also cramped up at the thought of hitting the keyboard again after NaNoWriMo

Years ago, when I worked onboard a Mercy Ship off the coast of West Africa, crew members got off an entire week for Christmas break. Now, of course, we didn't all have off 24/7, as the ship still needed to function. So we took turns helping out in reception, or the galley (the kitchen) or even gangway watch. But it was still a more relaxed pace than the usual frantic Decembers we often think about with the holidays. 

I still like to have a calm December, so I try not to go crazy (ie, I avoid the mall). Around the apartment, I've decorated with a few white twinkle lights, a tiny tree, some Christmas music, gingerbread cookies and a few minutes of knitting when the Peanut finally goes to sleep, or sits quietly 'reading' all of his books. 

That's my kind of holiday.

In between writing 50,000 words, I did a knitting and crochet photo-a-day challenge on Instagram in November, which helped me at least keep up the visual creativity. My camera is still kaput, but I have a plan to get it fixed in the next month.

In the meantime, here are a few highlights from the past month via my phone: 

Amazing weather when it's not raining: totally conducive to playing on the porch and knitting outside. 

Chickens! This kid is totally into chickens at the moment. And I'm loving Susan B. Anderson's Spud and Chloƫ at the Farm book. Let's face it, I love all of her designs and I have almost most of her books. Super cute kid stuff and I'm excited that the Peanut has so much fun playing with the things I've made for him.

This pattern is the Mother Hen and Chicks. Every night the Peanut and I put the chicks to sleep, and then in the morning, he finds them under the Mother Hen. (The little bluebird is also one of Susan's patterns: Egg to Bluebird. I told you I love her stuff.)

More chickens! I also found this cute crochet pattern on Ravelry for a chicken and egg coaster set, and I sent it to a good friend who has her own flock of birds. 

Sunrise/Sunset: Shorter days mean less daylight, but I have still been working on this sunrise sunset blanket, one square at a time. I finally finished it and it's en route to a friend now for her birthday. 

Cardigans: It is December after all, so a cardigan is occasionally in order. The Peanut can now wear this, which makes me thrilled and a little sad all at the same time. I remember finishing this over a year ago, wondering when the Peanut would be able to fit into it and he's already rapidly outgrowing it. 

I'm going to need to knit him some new cardigans soon, which is an excellent excuse to go yarn shopping. The Peanut is a wonderful helper in the shopping cart... he loves to hold the yarn and basically anything else I'm trying to purchase.

Christmas cards: Apparently some of my Christmas cards didn't make it to their destination until FEBRUARY of last year. I'm on the ball this year (well, at least more than last year!) and I've been working on getting my cards in the mail. Our family photo, however, is still goofy. I'm using the broken camera as an excuse. One of these days we'll either invest in a professional photographer or a selfie stick. Recipients, enjoy the laugh when you see how hilarious our 'selfies' are. 

Finally, I managed to 'win' NaNoWriMo

(Now, for you novel novices, that simply means I made it to the 50,000 word count within the month of November.)

The novel itself needs a TON of work, but I mainly did it to simply challenge myself creatively for the month of November and to get out of my writing rut. 

The whole experience was far more fun than I thought it would be! I got a mini thrill watching my word count increase throughout the month and I felt like I had an entire virtual team cheering me on. 

I have been writing non-fiction for so long, that it truly was freeing and fabulous to simply make stuff up and write it down. I'm thinking that I should keep writing fiction for fun. 

I hope I can write a bit more on here before Christmas. With the energy level of the Peanut these days, it might not happen (although he has miraculously been napping the entire time I've worked on this post!) 

Just in case I don't get around to posting more this month though, for more non-fiction holiday writing, see 2013's Christmas post here, and 2014, here

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season, wherever and however you celebrate! 

March 20, 2015

Swiftly Wind Your Yarn!

The last time I was in South Africa, my mother-in-law gifted me her old yarn winder. You can see more here (the yarn winder is near the end of the post).

I have used that thing a LOT since then. I'm not sure how I wound so much yarn before I had it, but I've definitely used it a ton. 

With my recent purchase of this yarn in the basket, I decided I finally needed a swift to go with my winder. Sure, I could unwind the yarn from the skein using two chairs, or an extra pair of hands, but frankly that takes too long. In that span of time, the Peanut is already climbing the bookshelf. 

So, for my recent birthday, I decided to get a swift. I didn't want to pay an arm and a leg though. After all, I need both arms to knit. But lo and behold, you can order a fairly cheap one online from Walmart

I tested it out this past week, and much to my glee, the Peanut was so busy staring at the yarn going around in circles, he forgot all about the bookshelf. I was able to wind all of those yarns swiftly (I guess that's why they call it a swift??

And now my yarn looks even prettier and more organized. Now if I could only find the time to actually knit or crochet something with it. 


March 6, 2015

Pictures are worth 1,000 words...

I kind of liked my photo recap the other week and I decided that since I seem to be blogging less, I should post lots of photos more often. One photo after all, is worth 1,000 words. So it makes sense that a few photos should make up for a lack of blogging on my part, right?

So here's what I've been up to: 

I've been waiting for Spring, and the sunshine finally started streaming through the windows a little more this week. 

The Peanut took his first flight across America a few weeks ago! 

He did great. His mama was pretty exhausted, though.

I started to crochet a blanket, using this pattern.  
(I also wrote about the blanket with the same pattern here.)

I made it into my local yarn store to pick up some buttons for this cardigan.

This gorgeous pile of yarn came home with me from Idaho. (Every time I visit this store, I break my promise to only use my stash and I make a yarn haul.)

These awesome scissors also made it into my bag. Cutting yarn is now even more delightful.

I am very much looking forward to the return of the Sailor in a few weeks. The Peanut is also missing him.

I'm a little excited to be using this cool vintage yarn holder I found at an antique shop a few weeks ago.

The Peanut has gone mobile. My little guy crawls all over the place and is now pulling himself up onto everything he can grab. 

And finally, this happened tonight... thanks to the aforementioned mobility of the Peanut. The little guy is into everything.

Welcome to my somewhat chaotic world nowadays! 

February 15, 2015

Baby, It's COLD Outside

We moved south for several reasons: one of which was to escape the gloom and frigid temps of the north. Imagine my surprise when I saw the single digits and snowstorm predicted for this week. 

I've said before that I once interviewed a 102-year-old British lady (she went on to live to be 104) and she used to say she didn't mind the weather, as long as she was dressed for it. 

I tend to agree, but I'm still looking forward to warmer temps. In the meantime, I've been using up the leftover yarn from my own warm cardigan

(Have no fear, Peanut. Mama is frantically trying to finish another sweater for you before you outgrow it.)

Pattern is from Love Knitting for Baby February/March 2014. There's no photo, but it's a basic baby cardi with ribbing. This one, Little Coffee Bean, is very similar, only with stripes. You can see mine here.

Stay warm everyone and if you're snowbound, I hope you've stocked up on yarn!

November 2, 2014

Holey Slippers

I love my slippers. Ever since my first trip to Ukraine, I have been a huge fan of slippers, house shoes, whatever you want to call them. My traveling friends and I used to find the ugliest pair for sale in outdoor markets and we'd send them to each other via snail mail. 

Over the years, I learned to make my own and some lucky pals are actually the recipients of handmade ones nowadays. Some of my favorites are these granny square slippers and these heavy duty felted ones

Then I felted the blue pair on the left and I gave them to my mom (knowing that she also loved this pair I made for her.) To give you an idea of how giant these are before felting, the pair on the right fit me perfectly and I'm a US shoe size 9.5.

Now, my pair on the right has a few holes in them. 

It was enough that this pair eventually wore holes in them after one winter. ONE. 
(You can actually see the light streaming through the hole on the right heel.)


I guess I kind of expected my orange pair to last forever. I did not, however, expect to feel the cold floor under my left toe when I stumbled into the kitchen earlier than usual this morning because the Peanut didn't get the Daylight Savings memo. 

There's only two things left to do. 

1. Turn the heat on. The weather got below freezing last night and I don't want the Peanut to turn into a popsicle, after all. 

2. Knit a new pair of slippers. These holes might be beyond repair. 

I should probably add a third thing: 

3. Buy more yarn for new slippers. 

October 4, 2014

Sweater Weather

I love the fact that my mother-in-law taught me to knit. And I know she loves the fact that I even asked her to teach me in the first place.

Last time the Sailor flew through South Africa, she sent this little gem back with him: 

Last time I was in South Africa, I made her a pair of socks. (I know, I know, she could have just made herself a pair of socks and I could have knit the Peanut a sweater. But isn't this much more fun?!)

Today finally felt like Fall... so it's time to break out the hand-knit sweaters.

I don't have the pattern for the one my mother-in-law made. Knowing her, she just made it up as she went along. You can find links to the garter stitch grey sweater here, and the green cardi here

Of course, if you're looking to make yourself something for the winter, I highly recommend the Central Park Hoodie. You can find mine here

I admit that I love warmer weather. But if it has to get cold, there's nothing better than hand knit sweaters to get you through the weather.

September 1, 2014

Growing Into the Knits

Dear readers, I don't know what happened to August, but all I know is I have a rapidly growing one-month-old babe who will fit into this little cotton cardi before I know it. 

I think I'm officially in denial. 

One month already?! 

Despite August whizzing by in a blur, I managed to quickly pop into the local yarn store last week and I found these great buttons. I held off on putting the buttons on this cardigan I made in July, until I knew whether the Peanut was a boy or girl. I don't often see black on baby clothes, but I think these wooden buttons are the perfect accent for a little boy's cardigan. (And, remember to save that extra yarn in every project -- even if it's not much. In this case, I used a bit of leftover yarn to sew on the buttons!)

Changing the calendar to September always makes me think of Fall, of going back to school and of cooler weather sweaters. Although students here have been in school for weeks already, and the temperatures outside are still hotter than blazes, I know Autumn is right around the corner. 

Even though I'm sad to see summer go in a few short weeks, I'm glad my little guy has some fun handmade knits to get him through the changing seasons. And let's face it, they're far faster and more fun to make than the adult-sized versions!

Happy September, everyone! 

July 20, 2014

Weekend Knitting

What's a weekend without a little knitting? 

The Sailor and I are enjoying the quiet time at home before the arrival of the Peanut (every once in a while we say things like 'Do you hear that? That's the sound of silence...' usually right before one of us erupts into laughter.

I bought this green Berroco yarn at the Local Yarn Store's annual sale and I decided to make this hooded jacket for the Peanut. (I also made this cute cardigan with yarn acquired from the same sale.) The Peanut will be warm in all seasons.

There's definitely something sublime and fulfilling about knitting small things for a baby -- it's so easy to finish a mini-sweater in mere days! Or... maybe even over a weekend.

July 7, 2014

Newborn and Mama Vertebrae

What's nicer than a little cardigan (that actually fits in with the current state of my belly...) to ward off the chill?

A wee matching one for a newborn. 

 Cuteness overload.

My local yarn store just had their big annual sale... resistance proved futile. I managed to only buy a few skeins of yarn -- one of them being a German sock yarn for this little newborn vertebrae. The newborn pattern is free, although the baby version is not. I'm thinking that I will need to invest in the baby version though... this thing was so fast to make and I'm sure the Peanut will outgrow it about the same time he or she finds these baby jeans too tight. 

(Yarn: Regia Angora Merino / 50 grams / roughly 200 meters and I had plenty leftover.) 

My cardigan is the Mama Vertebrae pattern found here. I mentioned that I was making it here way back in March, but never showed you the final project. While summer is in full throttle at the moment and I have no use for a cardigan at the moment, I know I will wear this all the time as soon as chillier weather rolls in. And let's be honest here.... I want to make one in my size in the same luxurious angora merino blend as the Peanut's!