Monday, December 27, 2010

2010 Sock challenge Update

2010 draws to a close, and with it my self-imposed sock knitting challenge. Remember my goal? It was to knit 20 socks, or 10 pairs, in 2010. Let's see how I did:

Hmm, didn't quite get the full 10 pairs in! Honestly, I burned out on knitting socks somewhere around September or October. By the end of November, I didn't even want to think about socks, so all WIPs were retired to the basket. I have one full sock of pair #8 finished, and a good 75% of a sock (knee sock with beads, no less!) of pair #9. Pair #10 never materialized.

I realized that I have a drawer stuffed full of handknit socks, enough for a good number of winters. It's probably a good thing I didn't knit all 10 pairs! Two of the pairs I made this year were given as gifts. I'll work on finishing the last 3 pairs this winter and maybe give some of those as gifts as well.

So....what did I learn through all this? I don't like knitting patterns with large row repeats in a motif (like the red pair). The asymmetrical concept (black socks) is unique, but not very practical for socks as the sock wants to twist around on your foot all the time. Sport weight yarn (red pair) is my favorite for socks - nice and squishy but still fits in your shoes. Finer yarns are beautiful, but I find that I'm mending those types of socks and not the thicker ones. I'll keep my fine yarns for shawls and spring scarves.

There are still 4 days of 2010 left...perhaps I'll finish pair #8.....or do a quick sock pattern for #10! Can I really do a pair of socks in 4 days??? My record so far is 9 days.... *dashing off to dig up needles and yarn*

Christmas Knitting

I did a few last-minute handknits for Christmas gift this year. I was excited to try out Kristin Nichols's book "Color". There are so many eye-popping designs in here! I raided my stash and came up with some yarn to make these mittens for my daughter, to match the hat I knit earlier this year.
Mother-Daughter mittens
Even stitched her name on one palm!
Mother-Daughter mittens

My son has invented an imaginary land called Boyland (genius name, eh?). It's ruled by the high emperor, Elishar, and his semi-tamed polar bear Turfa. Like most polar bears, this one is extremely mischevious and snobby about his food. He'll only eat Honeycrisp apples! It's been well over a year that my son (and the rest of the family, by implication) has created Turfa. I wanted to remember this stage in my boy's life before he outgrows it, so I knit up a Turfa hat for him. The fair isle knitting bug has bitten me hard!! It came out pretty big; it fits me just fine but drowns the boy. I guess he'll never outgrow it, right?
polar bear hat

polar bear hat
Hmm, maybe a bit of blocking would even out those stitches. I'm still perfecting my Fair Isle knitting!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Upcycled Tshirts

I have long arms. My dryer shrinks my most-loved shirts to just-that-irritating length. Rather than throw out the shirts, I've been modifying them to give them a new lease on life, at least for another season.

Shirt #1: sleeves were just a bit too short, so I cut them to 3/4 length and reused the scraps to create some girly ruffles at the neck.

upcycled tshirt

Shirt #2: body and sleeves were short. I cut the long sleeves off and added sleeves from a too-see-through white tshirt. Also added a bit of length by attaching a contrast hem. (sorry for the blurred picture-I think my 6 yr old took this!)

upcycled tshirt

Mother Daughter crafting

I bought a little embroidery kit for my daughter in February - it had patterns to stitch 6 mini Christmas stockings. I figured little projects would be more attainable for her than something substantial. She's done a great job so far! She helped me press and sew a few of them this afternoon. That proved to be some great teaching time for lining up seams, how to pin fabric, and even how to press seams (daddy's shirts are next!) She's excited to fill them with treats for Christmas morning!

mini embroidered stockings

mini embroidered stockings

Monday, December 13, 2010

Paper Snowflakes

We got our first "snow" in the south today! We're so excited - and it's barely a dusting still with green patches of grass poking through! Not enough to do any fun stuff outside, so we made our own flurry of paper snowflakes indoors.

What winter would be complete without kids snipping paper & coffee filters into lace creations? I was irresitably drawn in....and got a bit carried away, hee hee!

And then I had an "ah-ha!" moment: why not make snowflakes from clear contact paper - instant frosted fun on the windows! Peeling the paper backing off was a bit tricky.
My 4 yr old eagerly took up paper and scissors - and made a paper chainsaw. Huh???

Thursday, December 9, 2010


handknit smocked sweater

Ever make a baby gift and wonder its fate will be? Loved and cherished? Or lost in the back of the closet? When I knit this sweater over a year ago I had no doubts about that. This pattern is a perfect match for this sweet little girl, who was kind enough to let the crazy lady with the camera take her picture. "Stand by the blue wall, honey. Stop wiggling, there's not much light. No, sister can't hold you. Yes, she will stay close by. Of course you can hold your baby. Don't move. Ok, I don't care if you don't smile, just wanna see the handknits, k?" Really, her face says it all, don't you think? She wasn't going to let big sister wander too far away, though!

I knew when I knit this that it would be awhile before the little 'un could wear it. I think she needs to stop growing now. Or I'm gonna have to get my knitting needles out again (well, I think I'll teach the big sisters to knit instead!). It is so satisfying to see my hours of knitting loved by another!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Snowglobe Soaps

We're busy as elves in Santa's shop over here. It's a challenge to come up with handmade gifts that the kids can help with that don't look like, well, the kids made them. You know what I mean. Popscicle sticks and glitter and all that. I'm not the kind of sentimental mom that saves THOSE kinds of crafts for long.

snowglobe soap

I saw this post on how to make snowglobe soap and thought we'd try it. What fun! It was easy, not dangerous for little hands to help with, and relatively quick to make. It uses melt and pour glycerin soap, mini figurines, a bar of white soap and some glitter. We used an ice cube tray as our mold.

snowglobe soap

It only took about 15 min for the soap to set up in the freezer, which was just enough time to clean up the MESS!! Big downside to this project - soap bits everywhere! But hey, it's soap, so it's an inherently clean mess, right? Of course, my 7 yr old son decided to take up soap whittling in the process which didn't help our situation any. (He has two friends who've taken off bits of their fingers with knives, so rest assured he got "the lecture.")

whittling soap

We're excited to give these cute little treats to our friends!

A New Coat for Anna - Sort of

wool coat
I finally finished the wool coat for my daughter! Hooray! We are both quite happy with it! My son just happened to be reading "A New Coat for Anna" this week for school, and we all thought the new wool coat in the book could very well look like this one!

The pattern is Simplicity 2584 (I think - going off my rusty memory here). I changed the "skirt" part a bit. I did pleats instead of gathering it, which I'm mostly happy with. I wish that I had done the front side pleats facing to the back instead of the front now that I see it on her. Oh well. She's likely to grow so fast that this won't fit her next year. *sigh* I had to lengthen the sleeves a good 3 inches to accomodate her condor-like arms. I think the pattern was off on that.

Wool Coat

She got inspired to strike a pose everytime I held up the camera. I have no idea where she gets her spunk! Hmmm, maybe her mother??

wool coat