Friday, January 24, 2014

Fingerless gloves

After so many gift knits recently, I decided to knit something for myself. I'm still working on my Serina cardigan sometimes but it's slow going. So I wanted something that was a little more instant gratification. I decided to make a pair of fingerless gloves. Full gloves aren't used very often in Arizona but my office gets so cold that I figured fingerless gloves would be useful there, allowing me to have fingers free to type easily but keep my hands warm.

It was easy for me to settle on the yarn. When we went to Iowa this summer I picked up one skein fingering weight yarn. There's no nylon in it so I was looking for a non sock pattern. Plus this will make me smile at the office when I see vacation yarn on my hands. Also it gave me a chance to play with this bad boy:

E got me a swift and winder for Christmas and this was my first time playing with it.

I had a harder time deciding on the pattern since there are so many cute ones out there. I ended up settling on Mitt Envy, which has a cute cabling detail on it. I modified it slightly to give it a little more length by adding a few extra rows of ribbing and an extra repeat of the pattern.

These were such a quick knit, taking me a little less than two weeks to finish. (It would have taken even less time if I had started the right mitt instead of a second left one. Lost about a night's work for that one.) can't wait to wear these!

For more finished objects check out Tami's Amis!


Friday, January 3, 2014

Knitted Christmas

This year I ended up knitting a few of my Christmas gifts. I love giving homemade gifts and I wish I had the time to make everything. As it was I barely finished and haven't had much time to talk about them until today.

The first thing I made (and probably my favorite of the items I made) was a hat and scarf set for my niece. My niece is super knit worthy - for her birthday I hinted that I had gotten her something really cool. Her response: "you made me a hat and scarf?!" Unfortunately I hadn't but now I knew what she was getting for Christmas. I picked out some variegated purple/green/grey in Sheepish as my niece loves purple. For the hat I used the Three Tams pattern from an old issue of Knitty (and used white Sheepish for the contrast color). The scarf pattern was Yarn Harlot's One Row Scarf.

My niece loved them! She was actually wearing them when I saw her this week, even though it was 75 degrees outside. Like I said, totally knit worthy.

For her little sister, I knitted a stuffed owl. My niece is so into owls so I thought it might be fun to knit her one (plus it would probably go over better than a hat would). I found an adorable giant owl pattern from Purl Bee. The pattern calls for super bulky yarn on Size 15 needles. I used Lion Brand Hometown, which is also a super bulky but recommends size 13 needles. I like the owl but I do wish I had gone with size 11 needles for a denser fabric.

My niece liked it. It's so big she could hardly get her arms around it!

Another project I finished was a hat for my aunt. In our family we do an exchange by drawing names and getting something for that person (like secret Santa but not secret). My aunt had seen me working on my niece's hat and joked that she hoped I would get her name so I could make her a hat. Well sure enough I did pick her! I used the Flora hat pattern. Other people who had kntitted the pattern mentioned in their notes that it came out big. So I switched to a size 6 for the body of the hat and a size 4 for the brim.

I tried it on before I gave it to her to make sure it fit and it fit me fine so hopefully it fits her well. I also gave her a bottle of wine to go with her present so I thought I'd have a little fun.

I made a hat for the bottle! The pattern is obviously not the same (I used Susan B Anderson's Santa hat ornament) but the yarn is the same.

My last knitting project for Christmas were gift card holders for the boys' teachers. They were nice, quick knits that added a little bit of personalization to the gift cards. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of them before I gave them away. But trust me, they were cute. I used a mini stocking pattern with leftover scrap acrylic on size 5 needles.

I also had two other non-knitted craft projects for Christmas. In my resolutions post I mentioned the sewing I did last year, with one of the items being heating packs for my FIL. These are so simple - just two pieces of fabric held right side together and sewn most the way around the outside, leaving a couple inches open. Then they are turned right side out and filled with beans. Lastly the opening is sewn shut.

The last project was a couple of ornaments for the babysitter. I made a batch of salt dough and rolled it out into two disks. I then had my boys press their hands into the dough and then poked a couple of holes at the top for the string. Since they were a little big I poked two holes in each to provide more support to the string. After I baked it, I painted the imprints of their hands and sprayed a glossy sealant on them. Then I ran some string through them.

Whew - I think that was all of the crafting fun around here!

For more finished objects, check out Tami's Amis!


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 recap and 2014 resolutions

2013 was a pretty ordinary year but definitely had some high points. We took an epic family road trip at the beginning of the summer with my family. We visited my relatives in Iowa and and also detoured over to Mount Rushmore on the way home. In the process I also got to visit three new states. We also took the boys to San Diego for a long weekend with E's family. Plus E and I took a short vacation just the two of us to Las Vegas.

C finished up kindergarten and started first grade. He played basketball again this summer. He also lost his first tooth and is working on learning to ride a bike without training wheels.

J started preschool this fall and got to perform in his first school program. He's always such a bright, bouncing fun kid.

As with years past, I made a list of resolutions for the year as goals I wanted to accomplish. Just like other years I only made it through about 40% of the list. But that's okay - that's why I have a large list. If I miss on things it still doesn't feel like I completely failed. It also shows where my priorities change. For instance I didn't organize the pantry but I still worked on getting my house in order by fixing up the office somewhat. (I'm still working on some parts of it.

So where did I succeed? Well I finally lost the ten pounds that have been on my list for a few years. In fact I actually ended up losing 19 total. I knit a cardigan, which was done as a test knit. Unfortunately it was a little big to begin with and the aforementioned weight loss made it even bigger.

E and I did get an inground sandbox built for the boys. It's been great for them to play in this time of year, when it is so nice out here. I tried to garden again. It went okay for a while but then it got too hot out. E bought me an indoor garden set so I'm going to try again this year.

I used my sewing machine this year. I tried to practice by sewing a bear shirt for C. It doesn't look that great up close but it is actually shirt shaped and fits the bear so I'd call it a mild success. I also made some heating packs for my FIL. I made him one years ago with a hand stitcher but he really needed a new one. They looked pretty good when I was done. Definitely want to keep practicing though.

I also read more this year, reading five books. It doesn't sound like a lot but it's more than I had been reading in the past. I discovered my local library has a digital library available to subscribers so I've been taking advantage of that. It's super helpful since I can't seem to make it to the library during the week and they are closed on Sunday, leaving me only Saturdays to get there.

Now to this years list:

Read five books (Knitting Rules - 1/19/14; Things I Learned from Knitting; I've Got Your Number - 4/15/14; I think I Love You - 4/22/14; The Amazing Thing About the Way it Goes - 5/20/14; The Shopping Swap - 8/9/14; Shopaholic to the Stars - 10/24/14)

Organize the pantry (1/20/14)

Learn to play guitar

Learn a new cast on or cast off

Learn entrelac

Make a crochet project

Sew a needle holder (3/30/14)

Sew an item of clothing


Practice my frosting piping skills (4/8/14)

Make fresh bread

Make caramels

Make truffles

Lose 23 pounds

Blog at least three times a month

There are some repeats on my list - caramels, truffles and bread seem to be on my cooking "bucket list". 23 pounds is a really specific weight loss number, but it gets me to my goal weight. And if I did 19 in six months I should be able to do 23 in one year. I'm starting to get more comfortable knitting so I really would just like to expand my cast on/off variety. I'm kind of stuck on backwards loop and knitted cast on for the cast on types I know how to do. I can't seem to wrap my brain around it but I'll try again. After entrelac, I need to learn intarsia and then I think it will be a matter of fine tuning my skills, rather than big leaps. Maybe intarsia will be my 2015 resolution!

I kept some of my other goals the same but went more specific. I think that will help me have better luck at finishing. For example instead of blog more I set a specific amount (I pretty epically failed at this one last year). I want to practice my sewing so I set out two sort of specific projects. And I want to finish a whole crocheted project this year instead of the nonspecific "crochet more". Hopefully I can get to at least half this year!

Happy new year!