December 20, 2007

Merry Christmas!

We are finishing up our holiday preparations here, so I wanted to wish you all a very blessed Christmas!

December 16, 2007

J is here

J was born on 12/13 and weighed 8lbs, 7oz. Here he is with big sister B. She just adores "my little baby!" He looks just like his siblings as babies. I'll try to post more pictures soon!

December 05, 2007

Time Flies!

I've been busy sewing again! I've been knitting a bit too, but I've been sewing more, since I know that I can knit more easily once the baby arrives.

One of the things that I finished recently was this diaper bag. I like it because it has 6 pockets on the inside, two on the outside, and a matching changing pad. It is also messenger-style, which is easy to carry, and it doesn't look like a diaper bag! The inner is quilter's cotton, and the outer is printed suedecloth. I started sewing for the baby yesterday too. Here is a kimono top made from some penguin flannel. I made the smallest size, knowing that the pattern runs large, but this is even bigger than I thought! What 7lb baby has a 20" chest?!? But I'm sure it will fit at some point! This is one of my favorites so far. The green top is So Soft, which is like minkee, and the footie pants are chocolate brown velour. I made up the pants pattern myself when I couldn't find one that I liked locally. The top has a bear applique on it as well. Here is B in her new nightgown. We both loved the turtle flannel! And A in his car jammies. I made both of them coats as well. I found a great deal on double-sided fabric, and as you can see, they both liked their coats. A's is a Kwik Sew pattern (KS 2545). B picked out her fabric. Her coat is from a Butterick pattern (4648). I had enough fabric left over from both jackets to make one each for the baby, this way we're set either way! B needed some more clothes, so I made this outfit too (another Butterick pattern 3316). I made a red sparkle velour dress from this pattern as well. Like all the Big 3 patterns, these have run large, but I've learned to compensate. B loves Thomas the Train, so when she asked for something with Thomas on it, I came up with this dress. It was one of my first projects on my new serger. I love the rolled hem and lettuce edging! The top was one of my husband's old polo shirts that had a stain on it, but it was perfect for the dress. It will be one of her Christmas gifts.

I found the reindeer fleece in the remnant bin at Joann's and there was enough for two raglan pullovers, once for A and B. the red is leftover from a pullover I made for myself.

Here are more fleece raglans. They are great because they fit well, are warm, easy care, and all came from leftover fleece from making pullovers for my in-laws two years ago. Although it helps that I made 9 pullovers that year!
Lastly, my husband needs a new pair of flannel pants, and this was super thick and cozy flannel. I had some waffle knit to make him a shirt to go with it. And there was plenty of fabric left (have you noticed a trend here?), so much that I made matching outfits for both B and A. B's has the scottie, and A's has the whale. They should keep them all warm during our Christmas travels!

Off to feed my munchkins, cut more fabric, and back to the sewing machine!

October 27, 2007

Catching up

Well, I've been busy, even if I haven't been posting! Mostly I've spent my free time cutting, sewing, knitting, and spinning. I'm working on spinning up enough yarn to make sweaters for each of the munchkins this winter. I have some for the baby done already, and I'm halfway done with A's. B has hers picked out. Now to find enough hours in the day!

One of my many projects has been new diapers for A and the baby. Here is a cover for A, with an inner layer of leftover fleece and an outer layer of Joann's fake Minkee from the remnant bin. It works wonderfully over his fitted diapers, even at night! I used Rita's RRC pattern.
I have quite a few diapers cut out, but have only sewn a few. I know that it is easier to cut now than it will be in a few weeks when my belly gets bigger! I can hardly believe that we'll soon have a baby small enough to fit in these diapers! The orange one is cotton velour and the other three are sherpa, a soft brushed terry. I serged them on my new serger, an early Christmas present from my parents. It is wonderful, and while I lived for years without one, it is a great new toy!
I've also been making the munchkins new jammies. They always love the things I make. It is so nice to have an appreciative audience. Here is A in his first pair. They are quite large, even though I made a size smaller than I thought he'd need. I'm almost finished with a second pair from this pattern (McCall's 5222) and I took out an inch and a half from the front and back, as well as 4 inches from the leg cuffs, and they are still on the big side, but at least the neck fits! I made the bunny blankets (modified this pattern) while pregnant with A. His is green, and B's is purple. He frequently steals his sister's since it is softer. His has seen lots of love and frequent washings! The yarn is a furry chenille type (Paton's Be Mine, which I think is discontinued). Well worth the effort!
Here is B in her jammies. They are a size 2! Everything fits, but they are a bit short. I'll lengthen them a bit if I make it again, since the body fits fairly well. The pattern is New Look 6638. I was going to get a Kwik Sew pattern, but these were on sale. I really should know better, since I've only rarely hat fit issues with KS, but almost always do with the other big names! Oh well, live and learn, and learn, and learn. . . . . .

I haven't neglected my fiber crafts either. I spun a bit of wool from one of Cary's/Alex's yearlings Coryn, and crocheted this little lamb. The kids loved it so much I think that they'll each get one for Christmas. I hope she's happy in her new home!

This is an old project, a corn bunting that I knit for a neighbor's baby a few years ago. It was a pain to knit, so I just borrowed this one for the new one to wear this winter. It is really cute though! I am never happy unless I modify a pattern, and I used intarsia in this to have fewer seams to sew!
With cooler weather coming (although only here for a few days!) I've been knitting longies for A to wear over his diapers. The one with the brown top and the green/blue/yellow ones are his. The other two I knit for several swaps.

I also made a ton of play food for another swap. The munchkins will be getting some of these things for Christmas too. I used a pattern for the strawberries, but made up the rest as I want along. The banana even comes out of the peel, which A loved! I have I more ideas for food, but ran out of time on this one. There is an orange, watermelon, zucchini, cherries, ice cream cone, eggplant, banana, grapes, produce bag, potato, peach, strawberry, apple, lettuce, and pear, in a mix of knitting and crochet.
Lastly, for a play food swap, I made 4 felted tea sets. Each set has two tea cups, a tea pot and lid. Because I was making so many, I kept the sets small. B loved them and will get one for Christmas (do you see a trend here!). I have plans for a creamer and sugar bowl too, as well as a more rounded/traditional tea pot, and I've done some coasters. I designed these on the fly, and am really pleased with how they turned out.

That's most of what I've been up too, but I still have a ton on my plate before the baby is due to arrive. Off to find my sewing shears, pins, and fabric! (And get ready to watch the Red Sox in the World Series!)

September 19, 2007

Finished Sweater and Summer Fiber Swap Fun

The weather here ha been so wonderful for the past week! For church on Sunday we broke out some of A's clothes from the spring. His shirt was a bit small, but he looked so cute! He loved playing with the stuffed watermelon slice that I made for a friend.

The parts arrived over the weekend to fix our weed-eater, so the kids have been having fun in the back yard. A was playing with rocks, and B was enjoying the slide.

Over Labor Day weekend I finished the sleeves on DH's sweater. We went to visit my in-laws, so I had 16 hours to knit in the car. This picture isn't the best, but the kids were anxious to get on their walk! I started on it last August, but it got put away for Christmas presents last year, and then the move, but now it's done in plenty of time for the cool weather, and it fits DH wonderfully! And here is my Summer Fiber Swap package from Jennifer. She has an Etsy shop, Colorful Life, with pretty yarns and fibers. Here is a cup of cashmere (which I've yet to try!), some Targhee (which I've also been wanting to try!),luxury batts, and cotton yarn that she dyed/carded, note cards, a handspun key chain, and some chocolate (I ate that already, and even shared with DH!). Everything is just beautiful, and I can hardly wait until I can start spinning! I have a few things to finish first, but hopefully I can get to it all soon! Thank you so much!

September 05, 2007

Travel Sewing

We took a trip to visit family over the weekend, and I made these for the munchkins to take with us. It is a fairly long drive and they usually sleep for part of it. The last time they kept falling over in their carseats, so I made these a few hours before we left to help keep them propped up. I used some furry fleece that I got as a remnant from Joann's and just winged the pattern. I was thrilled that I made both of these for under a dollar! Both kiddos also need new bibs as their old ones are getting ratty looking. I was shocked at how expensive the ones in the store were the other day. And I am tired of pulling all of the velcro from the bibs off of the kids clothing when I do laundry. No matter how many times I close the tabs before the wash, they always come undone. So I made this bib with scraps for sherpa (brushed terry) and terry cloth sew onto a backing of flannel, all leftover from making diapers. I make wipes with the bigger scraps, but didn't know what to do with the smaller ones. I'm glad to have some ideas. I used some silver thread and decorative zig-zags to sew the pieces down, and made some bias tape from other scraps for the edging. I like the way it turned out, and so does B! And it is big enough to keep the yogurt off of her shirt at table level, which is her biggest problem!

August 27, 2007

Finished Bag, Spinning, and Munchkins

A few weekends ago we went on a shopping trip (a very rare occurrence!) since we had a gift card to use. B loves taking pictures, so we bought her her own digital camera. It is very basic, and she just loves it! This is how she can be seen quite often these days! The same day as our shopping trip, we went to a local pick-your-own farm and picked 7-8 lbs. of blackberries. B had fun, but I think that A enjoyed himself the most! It was a beautiful cool day after a week of 100*, and he just sat in the shade and ate every blackberry that he could find, green, red, black, he didn't care! Here he is catching a nap during the ride home. You can see the evidence of his enjoyment!
A has been walking around lately playing with all of the play food, but his favorite is the corn. He made short work of his ear of corn at dinnertime the other night!
When I was resizing the pictures for this post, I came across this one of B at about 15 months, just a bit younger than A is now. There is definitely sibling similarity here!
I finished my bag over a week ago, but didn't have a chance to line it until last week. The lining was actually the most difficult part of the whole bag. I must have miscalculated on my first attempt, because the lining was way too wide! And then I had to stitch the top of the lining to the bag. I love to sew, but not that kind of sewing! But I like how the bag turned out, and it is a bit bigger than the one that I usually use now, which will be nice when out with the munchkins. I also finished my spinning for a swap that I'm in. This is a dyed corriedale top from TheFiberDenn that I spun from the fold into a worsted weight yarn with fairly high twist. There about 275 yds and 4 oz. I liked the top because it had sections of white, and then sections of various shades of green. I like the way it turned out, and would love to try other colors dyed this way, if I ever get the right equipment.

August 13, 2007

Mindless knitting and piano playing

I don't play the piano, but hubby does, and the munchkins love to "play " too. When Daddy gets home from work, they will often play for a few minutes while I finish dinner. Seeing them all together just warms my heart! Thankfully both of the kids seem to have inherited their daddy's natural musical abilities! Since we were taking a weekend trip, as much as I wanted to swatch for my Morning Glory project, I decided that it wasn't practical. So I decided to pick something more mindless and started this tote bag, which I got as a kit from Black Water Abbey yarns at Stitches East a few years ago. I love the heathered colors of the yarn! It will be felted when finished, and I'll need to find some nice fabric for the lining. I'm about halfway through the body of the bag, and it is going along well. The socks weren't complicated, but sometimes it is nice to play with some mindless fair isle, which is really just stockinette in the round!

August 09, 2007

Goldfinches and Zucchini

We don't have a very wildlife friendly yard, mostly because it is small and we are in a very heavily populated area. And this summer has been so hot and dry that we barely have any weeds growing. So imagine my surprise when I saw a pair of American Goldfinches foraging among my basil flowers. Here's a picture of papa goldfinch perching on the zinnias (they are drooping from the 100*+ heat we've been having) before joining mama on the basil. They were back again this morning. B especially likes to watch them. She informed us this morning that mama and papa cardinal didn't have enough room in their nest for them, so the goldfinches have their own nest! Oh the thoughts of 3-year-olds!
This picture is a few weeks old, but too good not to share! With all of the zucchini talk lately, I thought this was appropriate! They are both eating some zucchini picked straight from Grandma's garden. One of my friends shared a recipe for zucchini chocolate cake that I can hardly wait to try!

Another friend shared this recipe, which I also plan to try soon!


1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
4 small zucchini

In a medium bowl, whisk the vinegar and oil; season with the salt and pepper. Stir in the onion and let stand 15 minutes. Meanwhile, using a vegetable peeler, slice the zucchini into paper-thin ribbons (lengthwise) Add to the bowl with the dressing and onions, add more salt and pepper if desired; toss to combine.

August 08, 2007

Sockapalooza Socks and Some Sewing

The past week and a half has been all about sewing and socks. I took a few days last week during the kids' afternoon nap to work on the Roman shades that I've been wanting to make for a few months. Our bedroom had no blinds or shades of any kind when we moved in, so we had an old sheet tacked over the windows for privacy. It was less than attractive! So I found a great deal on some silk dupioni fabric in a nice grey that matches part of our comforter. It took less than 10 hours, so I don't know why I waited so long! And they are self-locking, so no nasty cleat in the wall either! Sorry for the picture quality, it was the best I could do. There are two shades, one for each window. I wanted to make a little bag for my Sockapalooza pal, but knew that I didn't have time to knit or crochet one, so I found some nice fabric, and sewed up this little drawstring bag. It is a lot like a brown paper bag in shape, with a ribbon tie. I used some decorative stitching for the ribbon casing, but forgot to take a picture of that. I have a few more bags planned, so I'll take pictures then.
Here are the socks that I knit for my pal. I was not thrilled with the pooling/striping, but I tried several patterns, and they all had some striping. This is the second pattern that I came up with. I ripped the first sock just before the toe because I was afraid that it would be too snug. It is my first time trying a short-row toe, and it has a short-row heel too, which is my preferred heel style. I like this pattern, so will need to try it in a more solid yarn to show off the stitch pattern better. I used some Knitpicks Memories in Yukon, and it was easy to knit with, and stood up to my frogging well, especially for being merino.
And this is one of my pair of socks from my Sockapalooza pal Rachel, knit in Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in Jewel. They fit great, and I love the shorter cuff! I've never used this yarn before, so that was a really nice treat! She modified the Cabled Sweatsocks from the Interweave Socks book.
I also had a picture of the American Goldfinches that were visiting my basil plants yesterday, but I can't get it to crop properly. It was one of those times that I really wished that I had a better camera with a higher zoom. Oh well! I'll try to get it resized again later. Now I can get back to all of the other knitting and spinning that I have planned!

July 27, 2007

More Morning Glory Spinning and Ideas

Here is my first skein of Morning Glory yarn, 250 yards and 2 oz. I'll be happy if I end up with 500 yards of the blue. It is a little heavier than fingering weight, and it is nice and fluffy! Just what I was aiming for.
Now the rest of this is all Cary's fault. Ever since she said that the blue reminded her of morning glories, it has been downhill from there! I have all sorts of ideas bouncing around in my head for morning glory patterns is lace and in stranded knitting. Since I didn't want to try to match the colors in the blue morning glory blend, I made a leaf blend instead. I used bright green, emerald green, and just a touch of green and yellow firestar, with the same 50% BFL, 25% silk, and 25% alpaca base. I really like the way that these turned out as well! I am trying to decide if I want to use beads in this design or not. We'll see how the swatching goes, and I may need to save some of the ideas that I have for when I have a bit more time to play with them.
I'm also working furiously on my Sockapalooza socks, and am nearing the toe of the first and hope to finish it and cast on the mate this weekend. I'll have a picture of them when I'm finished!

July 22, 2007

Morning Glory Batts

Last week I dyed up some fibers to blend on my drumcarder. This is the first full batch of blended fibers that I have worked on, and I'm really pleased with my results. I started with 4 piles of fiber, each one containing 1/2 oz. BFL (blue-faced leicester), and 1/4 oz. each of alpaca and silk. The BFL and alpaca had some purple as well. I had hoped for a bit of a darker color, but since it was my first time dyeing as well, there was quite a few areas that didn't get dyed. It made me glad that I used light grey alpaca instead of cream! I think that it added a bit of depth to it. I also added a sprinkling of blue and bright pink firestar in the last pass through. To blend the three fibers and the colors, I started with one pile of fiber and carded each one in the same way. I started with a thin layer of BFL, then I made a "sandwich" of alpaca, then silk, topped with BFL, and fed that in all at once to keep the silk from bunching too much. I carded each pile into two batts, and then split them in half and carded them with each other. Then I took one of these batts and blended it with half of a batt from one of the other batches to make sure that I had a fairly even blend. I added just a hint of dyed firestar (a few grams) to the last pass to give a bit of depth and shine.
Cary saw a picture of these batts and said that they reminded her of Heavenly Blue morning glories, and I just love those, so the name stuck! I ended up with 8 batts and have spun half of them, and hope to ply what I've spun tonight. They were are dream to spin, and I actually decided to draft from the fold, which I don't do often, to add a bit of loft to the fiber as I was spinning it. Holding the bit of fiber over my index finger didn't work as well as I would have liked, so I placed it over my thumb instead, which worked surprisingly well. I was aiming for a fingering weight, so we'll see how well I did with that tomorrow! I'll be using this to knit one of my shawls for Journey to a Shawl.

July 13, 2007

Shawl Yarn and Knitted Dollies

These are my sample skeins of my Journey to a Shawl yarn. It is grey Cormo cross wool blended with green, blue, and purple silk and angora. It spun into a great laceweight yarn, but I liked the fingering weight better because it showed the colors better, even though you can't see that too well in the picture. I finished dyeing the rest of my silk and angora today, and need to dye some more for another shawl. I am sort of in between big projects at the moment, so after seeing a knitted fish here, I was inspired. I will make the fish one day, but for now I decided to make some knitted dolls from a free pattern that is no longer available. Here is my first attempt, which I think looks like she is wearing a clown wig! I think that the fur stitch would look better in a firmer yarn, but I was using up some leftovers. I made up the clothing patterns on my own, but there is room for improvement!
This is my second dolly. I like her so much better! She has strands of yarn individually tied onto her head, and I like that much better. Although if I do this style again, I'll make the head underneath the same color as the hair so that you can't see her "scalp" so obviously! I used some leftover brown wool, and I think fingering/lace weight wool would make the best hair since it is finer and wouldn't be too full if I applied it to the whole head. She has a dress that matches Miss Peach's watermelon dress. I tweaked the basic doll pattern a bit more to my liking, and I think that there's still room for improvement. I may just start from scratch! I'm currently working on some shoes for her too. This kind of knitting is fast, easy, and fun!