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. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

potter in polymer

My oldest daughter, Evelyn, is currently reading the Harry Potter series. "It's really good. And really funny!" was her response when I asked her what she thinks so far. Evelyn is quickly making her way through the series, one book at a time, and then watching the film (with me!) after she finishes the book. Even though she has already seen the movies before, she is still enjoying the comparison, but, like the rest of us, maintains that the books are much better than the movies!

Evelyn inspired me to work on some new Harry Potter art. I have been dabbling in polymer clay lately, and thought about how cool it would be to make some little figurines. So I had a go and my attempt did not turn out too bad at all.

Starting out by making a flamboyant little Dumbledore, it struck me how much of a perfect contrast he would be paired with a tiny, red-eyed Voldie (who is as cute as Voldie can ever be). Love! 


The only time these two characters met face-to-face in real time is at the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, for the best battle of the entire series. Now they will be ever side-by-side as complete opposites. I cannot wait to make the entire cast of Potter characters. Next up? I'm not yet sure. Perhaps a scruffy Hagrid or a greasy Snape or maybe even a rough Mad-Eye?