Tuesday, June 19, 2012

summer lovin'

Hope your summer days are bright and relaxing and filled with laughter!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

many crafts of may

This May has been filled with a little bit of everything for our family. David had a show to attend, the Janesville Renaissance Faire, and his preparation kept him busy in the weeks leading up to it. The rest of us? Well, we spent a lot of time in the garden, writing on the sidewalks, cutting shapes out of paper and fabric, sewing, knitting, gluing, painting...

My favorite project of the month goes to Esme. She made a very creative and lovely fish windcatcher. She colored two sides of a fish, cut them out and glued them together (back to back), and then glued orange, plastic newspaper bags to the tail. She also cut strings to attach to the fish's mouth and hung everything from a pencil.

And while Esme's fish started things off with a bang, this next project is perhaps a bit less exciting. Last month, a friend of mine birthed her second son, at home, as planned. She is an avid breastfeeder, so as a mama gift for her, I made a few pair of nursing pads with waterproof backing to help prevent leaks. I chose a soft, pretty tie-dye print cotton for the side against her skin, a couple of cotton layers inside for absorbency, and a layer of PUL on the outside to prevent any moisture from leaking onto her clothes.

With so many new babies on the way, I spent a few hours here and there knitting tiny, striped newborn hats to crown the little heads of all the new arrivals. This turned out to be a lovely stash-buster of a project, and is still continuing with a pink and gray hat that is halfway complete. As it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised with some of the color combinations on these hats, including one for a happy Gryffindor supporter!

Summer is here, unofficially, perhaps. But with its arrival also comes free time and opportunity for family crafting. We all have a list of things to get done, and my own list is only getting longer. One things is absolutely for certain: getting dirty and clay covered together sure makes for a wonderful way to spend summer vacation!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

happy mother's day

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

Friday, May 11, 2012

this moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
. . . . . . . .

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

knitting in progress

It is only the first week of May, and already eight brand new babies have arrived, born to friends and family. Eight! That means a whole lot of baby caps and sweaters. And busy knitting needles.

As of now, I have three wee projects in the works. The first one is the pattern Puerperium Cardigan by Kelly Brooker at knit.so.quaint, a simple sweater designed for new parents to easily dress their newborns in the weeks after birth. Done in stripes of green and white cotton, this little sweater will be a fresh layer for cool spring mornings.

I have been hem-hawing around in my stash, looking for some luscious yarn that would make a few  unique newborn hats. Requirements? Something ultra soft, sturdy, rich, and surprising. Modern. And textured. Move aside, rosy pink and powder blue! Make way for something more rowdy. Maybe that is not exactly the right word. But take a look at what I came up with:

Oh, I love the colors! Next? A pattern hunt! I narrowed it down, and decided to go with Jared Flood's Turn a Square. The pattern has been on my to-do list for ages, and with a few simple alterations to the pattern, will make a lovely little newborn hat.

Using a nice grey in Bamboo Ewe, I cast on 56 stitches to size 7 US needles. Here are my notes:
Knit 2x2 rib for six rows.
Continue in stockinette stitch, knitting until hat measures 4" from cast on edge.
Place stitch markers every 14 stitches.
Work decrease rows and continue pattern as written.
The first hat turned out perfectly. With the next one, I might consider knitting 3 3/4" before beginning the decreases, just to make a slightly smaller, more fitted hat.

Only two more wee gifts to go. For now!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

rainy day

Thunder crashes,
Lightening flashes,
Rain makes puddles,
So I can make splashes.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

french press

Slippers are a must-have. They make wonderful gifts for friends and family, for birthdays, for new mamas, for no reason at all. One thing is for certain, though: every mama needs a favorite pair of slippers to keep her toes warm and comfortable on chilly days and dark nights.

My favorite slipper pattern is Melynda Bernardi's French Press, a felted wool design which knits up in no time at all and is then felted in the washing machine in less than 15 minutes. Pairing this pattern with my favorite felting wool, Cascade 220 in 9421, these are the second pair of French Press slippers that I have knit. This time, I followed the pattern for a size 9/10, and, after felting, they came out to be around 8.5. The pattern leaves quite a bit to personal interpretation and inspiration, which is why I love it so much.

I really like the look of French Press knit up in natural, earthy tones paired with metallic buttons, but this pattern has such wonderful potential with vibrant colors! The very first pair of French Press I made was done in a darker blue with neon green buttons. This time, though, I wanted to make something very springy and light, which is why I chose this clear sky Hawaiian blue.

The most difficult part of making these slippers was picking out the buttons. Bubblegum pink popped against the blue wool, and purple was a wow, too. But I fell in love with the contrast of the yellow against the vibrant blue. It is so simple and so lovely, and reminded me of the bright sun shining in a clear blue sky.

This pair of French Press slippers is destined for a friend. And I have already started knitting my third pair of French Press, to hopefully be finished very soon.

Friday, April 27, 2012

oh, spring!

The garden is in bloom. Everything is green and thriving. The sun is shining and the wind is blowing. Birds are busy building their little nests. Neighborhood children are playing hop-scotch and the sidewalks are littered with chalk. A herd of bikes graze the front yard of one house, soon to migrate to another yard. Projects are making progress as the days grow longer still. Spring is here, and it is beautiful.

My birthday has come and gone with perfectly soundless fanfare. Friends and family surprised me quietly with little gifts hidden here and there for me to find. Love and laughter filled my heart as I held those dear to me, and they whispered, "Happy birthday to you, Shana!"

Friday, April 20, 2012

this moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
. . . . . . . .

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

spring knitting

Today, I bring you a recently knit project. I wanted to make something sassy for my five year old to wear with her trademark leggings and spunky shoes. Using the pattern Girl's cap sleeved spring shirt by Shellee Floyd at Soulfulhues, I chose Loops & Threads Cotton Club in Wild Rose for a lighter-weight sweater as we head into warmer days. 
It seems I always have to make a few variations from the pattern as it is written. With this sweater, I lengthened the body slightly to be more of a tunic and only used one size needles throughout. Also, instead of doing a rolled hem along the bottom edge, I opted for a cleaner look with a band of ribbing.
My notes:
CO 92 sts. Follow pattern for medium sweater.
Begin changes: Sixth row (or so) after underarm joining, increase three additional stitches under each arm (104 sts). Do not switch needle sizes.
After piece measures about 16 inches, begin bottom hem with following:
Row 1: K2 P2 until end of round.
Row 2: Knit.
Repeat these two rows for about two inches, then bind off.

I loved how this sweater turned out. It's simple and comfortable and darling. Esme loves wearing it, and it's the perfect weight for long spring days. And perfect for a sassy little girl!

Monday, April 16, 2012

back in time

On our 1500 mile road trip to the woods of northern Wisconsin, we spent four wonderful days with David's parents at the family's remote 125 year old log cabin, which is complete with water pump and outhouse. Days were spent cooking, hiking, and enjoying nature, trees, rocks, grass, earth, old buildings, dirt roads, wind, and absolute silence.

We saw plenty of wildlife, of which we kept a running tally, and were lucky to have had the camera ready at just the right moment on a few occasions. We saw 20 deer, nine hawks, six bald eagles, five ravens, two coyotes, two golden eagles, two whiskey jacks, and one blue heron, not to mention tracks and scat of all sorts, including deer, porcupine, canine, and even bear! 

The kids had ample opportunity for all the activities that we constantly wish there was more time for back home, including archery, kite flying, whip cracking, rock collecting, bird watching, and hiking. Days were both action-packed and relaxing, depending on the moment. The sun played a constant game of peek-a-boo most of the time we were there, but the air was fresh and the wind was strong. My favorite part? The scent of wild leeks as we stepped through the organic rubble of the forest floor. The sunbeams and stark blue sky occasionally peeking through the clouds. The cabin in its clearing.