Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Letter to a Lost Sweater

Dear Coral Cutie,

Please return home. I’m sure you’re out having a good time, but we miss you here. I’m sorry I left you behind somewhere on our shopping trip yesterday. I promise not to leave you behind ever again and will include you in the wardrobe as often as you’re clean. I bought you a shirt yesterday to wear with plumpy. You’ll be the star of the show.

We had some good times you and I. I crafted you before plumpy was born and lovingly tucked you away to await her arrival. I miss your smooth stitches and your sweet little buttons. You were on the cusp of a new era, the coveted wearing of a baby. I couldn’t be sorrier to have lost you. We didn’t even get to say goodbye.

Please come back,


Monday, December 28, 2009

Alphabet Soup

Well, I managed to finish up the latest project last night. I'm working on a pdf of instructions and templates for this project. Anyone can make this. The only "special tool" needed is pinking shears (unless you consider an iron special). These are hand-stitched, so no sewing machine required. Hopefully I can get a pdf download ready in the next couple days (and some better photos). I'm just glad the walls aren't bare in the munchkin's room anymore!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A New Distraction

I've been distracting myself with a new project the last couple days. It's a little hand-stitching project and I should have time to finish it this week (especially after the snow starts in). I'm excited about this one. It's a little something for the munchkin's room. Her walls are pretty bare right now, so this should brighten things up a bit. I'll post more pictures and instructions for this simple project soon. And then I really need to get back to the quilt.

Monday, December 21, 2009

We did it!

Well, I did manage to figure out the crochet trim and added it to one of hats and called in reinforcements for the rest of the finishing. My mom graciously offered to cut and sew in the fleece and she ended up doing the crochet edging on the second hat too. Hey, that's what moms are for, right? Anyway, I think the hats turned out great and will keep some little ears very warm. I opted to just do tassels at the ends of the ties and the i-cord at the top of the hat. (Maybe I'll add pom poms to the next one... maybe). The funniest thing about these hats is the difference in gauge. I made both hats on the same size needle and they almost look like two different sizes. Oh well.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

So Close...

I've been plugging away at a pair of Flap Happy Hats for a set of twins and I'm so close... yet so far. I've reached the crochet trim point. I've been telling myself I need to work on the crochet skills for instances like this, but haven't sprung into action yet. I think I'll leave the pom poms off these and just add a few tassels. I've got the ties knit and ready to attach, it's just the crochet edging I'm hung up on. I was thinking the hats might be ok without? Anyone care to weigh in? Or give me a lesson?
These hats were really fun to make. I enjoyed working the textures and stripes together and they whipped up pretty fast on a size 7. I think the colorways turned out pretty fun too. (Boy: Moonlight, Ice Cream, Grass and Rootbeer; Girl: Popsicle, Ice Cream, Watermelon and Rootbeer). I'm planning to line these with fleece as the recipients live in Alaska.

Friday, December 11, 2009

New patterns are up!

The new spring patterns from Blue Sky Alpacas are up (just in time for Christmas? Haha). My newest pattern is the Everyday Hoodie and I'm thinking a kal may be in order. It's a feminine, flattering hoodie in super squishy cotton (S&C Sweater would make a great substitute too). My little peanut had her modeling debut with this round of patterns as well. She got to model grandma's new pattern, the Cotton Baby Set. The blanket in this pattern is too cool and fairly simple. It has a quilt-like, textured pattern unlike any other blanket pattern I've seen. The little wrap sweater uses the new Multi Cotton. This is a super fun take on BSA cotton. My mom has another amazing pattern included in this round, the Greta Blouse. It's based on a vintage pattern and I think it's very unique and totally gorgeous. I really need to brush up my crochet (not that there's much to brush up).

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I've been meaning to make granola for ages and the itch set in last night, so here we are. It's super easy and delicious. I will definitely be making it again. I modified this recipe. Here's my version:

  • 6 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup dried cranberries


Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, and brown sugar.

In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, honey, oil, and salt. Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color.

Remove from oven and transfer into a large bowl. Add dried cranberries and mix until evenly distributed.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Playing with yarn

She's already a yarn snob (and I've got some untangling to do). Can't let any Spud & Chloë go to waste!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Crafting Central

Well, life happened again last week and the quilt (among other things) got neglected. I've had supplies for another fun project burning a hole in the bag in the closet as well. *sigh* Maybe this week. We had a minor family crisis this week (everyone is fine, we're just needing to shift some space), which made me the proud guardian of this beautiful machine (in addition to about 8 large plastic totes FULL of fabric). All the accoutrements accompanied the load, so my sparse craft room has been transformed into crafting central for the time being. Packing up fabric got my brain running full speed with ideas, so I hope I'll still be able to sleep at night. Anyone up for a crafting therapy day?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

That time of year

There's a chill in the air, which means the oven has been on a lot lately. This is a recipe that's been finding it's way into the rotation a little more frequently than it ought to (I can't resist). These have been a family favorite for years. I hope you enjoy them!

1 C Butter
1 1/2 C Sugar
2 Eggs
2 3/4 C Flour
2 t Cream of Tartar
1 t Baking Soda
1/4 t Salt
2 T Sugar
2 t Cinnamon

Heat oven to 350°. Mix butter, sugar and eggs. Blend dry ingredients (except 2 T sugar and 2 t cinnamon). Add dry ingredients to sugar mixture. Combine sugar and cinnamon. Roll dough into balls and dip into cinnamon/sugar mixture. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes.
Note: If you refrigerate the dough for about a half hour you'll get better results. The dough is thin and will spread too much if you leave it at room temperature. Also, the cookies will be VERY soft when you remove them from the oven. Leave them on the pan for a few minutes to firm up and finish cooking.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

In the mail

I received the funnest box in the mail the other day. I had a gift certificate for Purl and decided to splurge on some fabrics that I have no particular plans for... yet. Anna Maria Horner is my absolute favorite fabric designer. She recently came out with some gorgeous new flannels and a couple oilcloths that complement her latest line. I got 4 pieces of flannel and a yard of oilcloth. (I'm dying to get my hands on some of her new dobby dots too, but I didn't see those on purlsoho yet). I can't wait to dive into these gorgeous fabrics, but first things first. I'm finishing up my next pattern design this week and then it's back to the sewing machine.

Monday, November 30, 2009

And we're back

Well, a week of family fun kinda took it out of me, but I did manage to get lots of crafting time in. We finished the dress, which was a much bigger undertaking than either of us thought. I did most of the stitching and my sister-in-law pressed like a champ and did lots and lots of trimming and pinning. She also stitched down the ribbon detail around the neckline (I was pretty spent at that point). The result is adorable I think, and a perfect fit to boot! My s-i-l will take some gorgeous pictures with all the right accessories I'm sure. And eventually this will get passed down to my little munchkin, which might be the most exciting part!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Old Friends and New Projects

Now begins that whirlwind time of year. We managed to get a bed set up in the craft room so we can accommodate visitors and my sister-in-law and niece got to test it out this weekend. The boys are off doing what boys do this time of year, so the gals set out to do some shopping. My sister-in-law decided we needed to work on a sewing project of some sort and we ended up getting fabric and a pattern to make a Christmas dress for her daughter (4 years old). We slaved all afternoon yesterday and managed to complete most of the bodice. We chose a somewhat tedious pattern (imho), but it's turning out quite cute I think. They're headed back here today, but grandma will be along to wrangle the kids. Yay! I'm expecting to finish the dress before the day is out. Can't wait to get some pictures!

I did manage to get a little further on my quilt before the welcome interruptions arrived. I might be able to finish the top of the quilt before the week is out. I've got supplies for another project that I can't wait to get started on. Hope you're enjoying some interruptions this week!
P.S. I wore my new skirt yesterday. Such fun.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Raw Apple Cake

I managed to bake something the other day and it's destined to be a family favorite, so I thought I'd share the recipe.

Raw Apple Cake
2 C Sugar
3 Eggs
1/2 C Oil
2 C Flour
2 t Soda
1 t Cinnamon
1 t Salt
3/4 C Walnuts
5 C Chopped unpeeled apples

Mix sugar, eggs and oil (I used butter instead). Mix flour, soda, cinnamon and salt and add to above mixture. Fold in walnuts and unpeeled apples (I peeled mine). Bake in greased and floured 9 x 13-inch cake pan for 1 hour at 325°. Top with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
3 oz. Cream cheese
3/4 Stick butter
1 t Vanilla
1 3/4 C Powdered sugar

My mom has made this a few times and left off the frosting. It's delicious that way, but I'm a sucker for cream cheese so I had to give it a whirl. So get rid of those questionable apples you've been hanging onto for too long and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

One Skirt and Itty Bitty Fun

Saturday I headed down to the not-so-local local yarn shop, Shepherd's Choice (I live in the boondocks, nothing is actually local). Susan made the shop part of her book tour, so I got to say hi and get my book signed and she got to meet Lizzie. Both my mom and sister made it out to the event too. We made sure to get a picture of all of us. My mom is on the left and my sister on the right (just looked at her post title, we must be related). I look like I'm trying to sing the lead in this picture. Not sure why I'm so much farther forward. I guess cuz my arms were full!

The little nugget enjoyed all the attention of course, but was wore out before the end and couldn't keep her eyes open in spite of all the activity around her.
If you're in the Twin Cities you really need to check out Kathy's shop. Her new location is really gorgeous and she's got a complete inventory of Blue Sky and Spud & Cholë. She also carries a line of hand made soaps, lotions and other wonderful items. I love the tea tree and lavender soap and hers is the only lip balm I buy now.

Sunday, I managed to get my skirt hemmed. It still needs a few finishing touches, but it's wearable. I love the kick pleats in back and the hot pink lining. Can't wait to wear it. Now I need to get back to the quilt and maybe some other fun sewing projects for the little one. I better stop typing and get myself to the store for some thread!

Friday, November 13, 2009

The mouse and the elephant should be friends

Well, the Itty Bitty knitting is done (for now). I'm shipping off the last Cat & Mouse with the Lion & Elephant. It's such a relief to be done, but I'll be adding some reversibles to my personal knitting fairly soon. I'm hoping I can steal away some time tomorrow morning to devote to my skirt. I'm so close I can taste it! My afternoon will be occupied with a visit to the LYS to see none other than the illustrious designer whose patterns I've been working up over the past several weeks (I think I've been watching too much Sherlock Holmes on Netflix. I'm starting to talk like him).
The quilt has been on the backburner amidst all this, but I should have some time next week to pick it back up. The next knitting project on the agenda is a design I'm working on for Blue Sky Alpacas fall 2010 collection. Stay tuned for images of my latest pattern, which I hear they'll be posting on their site soon. I'm super excited about it and I think a knitalong may be in store in the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

One Elephant, No Skirt

The Elephant & Lion Reversible is now complete and I'm doing up a second Cat & Mouse. I didn't end up finishing the skirt and decided to give the knitting projects priority for the week. (Hopefully I'll be able to squeeze in a bit of time to finish seams and hem in time for Sunday). I did manage to get the skirt fitted though, with the help of my mom. Thanks Mom! I think Mr. Elephant turned out almost as cute as Mr. Lion, but it's hard to compete with that dreadlock-like mane. Well, I'd better get back to it. I'm having company today and have quite a few things to set to rights. I hope your projects are coming together too!

Friday, November 6, 2009

A little distraction

Well, I'm moving along on the elephant (he can't hear or see yet, or touch for that matter, but getting close). I took a little time away from knitting the last couple days to finally start putting together a skirt I cut out a couple weeks ago. I bought the fabric for it last winter I think and never got around to making anything. It's a super dark brown wool-blend with little pink dots. I decided to go with a simple straight skirt (with 2 kick pleats in back) and picked up some hot pink lining to spice it up a bit. The pattern is Simplicity 2475. I'm to the point of fitting now, which means calling in some reinforcements (my mom). Hopefully I'll have a picture of a completed skirt to show in the next day or two. Hopefully...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

One Lion. Check.

The Lion came together nicely yesterday. I'm moving on the elephant today, but the knitting will be interrupted by a doctor appointment this afternoon. The little plumper has a sixth month checkup (a few weeks late, go figure). I'm dying to know what she weighs... she feels like a bag of bricks lately. How does that happen so fast? Anyway, she enjoyed the lion. I'm sure he tastes about as good as the rest of her toys. I think he turned out super cute. Hope I have enough yarn left to do one of my own. Although, these toys would be great stash busters.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The State of the Quilt (and some other stuff)

The quilt is moving right along (in spite of the fact I haven't worked on it in days). I'm still filling in a few gaps due to a poor counting job on my part. I'm happy with how it is shaping up though. I'm taking a bit of a break from it to finish up a couple more Itty Bitty projects. The Cat & Mouse are traveling with Susan on her book tour right now. I've got lots of pieces to stitch together today, but I think we may have a lion before the day is through.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Where did the week go?

I can't believe tomorrow is Friday already. I've been knitting feverishly all week (well, except for today). I finished a secret project for S&C. Ok, I tested another new pattern, and you're all going to love it! It's another one by the fantastic Susan B. Anderson. I also managed to squeeze in a bit more Itty Bitty knitting and finished the first of 3 projects. It's the Cat & Mouse Reversible. I'm so happy with how this turned out and think I'll be making a few reversibles of my own. Did anyone else miss the week passing? I was not consulted in the swiftness of it going by.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

I tried a new recipe recently and I think it will find its way into the regular rotation. I left the caramel off the top because a) I forgot to pick some up and b) they seemed plenty decadent without it. I hope you're enjoying fall too!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Making Progress

The quilt is coming together and I'm really excited about the way it's looking. I snuck in another hour of work on it yesterday.

You can see here how I'm creating squares from the strips. I actually managed to get all my squares cut yesterday. I've got some horizontal stitching left to do yet and then it's on to the tedious part, sewing the strips together. I say tedious, because I need to match up seams, which I haven't had to do yet. I'll have more pictures soon!
I've been spending most of my time working on a secret knitting project. I'll be sure to take pictures, so you can see it all when the pattern is released.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Let the stitching begin!

My current knitting deadlines are both at super tight gauges, which necessitates frequent breaks. On Saturday I decide to start a new project on one of these breaks. I headed to my mom's to cut my quilt fabric into strips. The quilt will be made up of 3" squares, so I cut 3.5" strips. The strips will be sewn together and then cut again to 3.5". That will save me a heap of work in the end. I'm glad I've got my mom to guide me along a bit. It's like having private lessons I imagine.
I'm approaching the finish line on the Cat and Mouse reversible toy. You can see Mr. Mouse peeking out of my knitting bag here. I'm SO happy with how he turned out. I'm changing my tune on the amount of work these toys require. The patterns are VERY well written and the results are better than I imagined. I can't wait to make some of these for the wee one.