Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Bird Advent, days 23-25

birds23

I did it - just wrapped up my final 3 birds today - it's been a lot of gorgeous fun making these from the Snowbird pattern from Larissa Holland. You know, I wouldn't say that any of these stitch up very fast - I spent at least 4-6 hours hand sewing each one - but it's such a fun process that the hours really fly by.

Anyhow, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, surrounded by family and by everyone you love.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Bird Advent, day 22

Bird Advent

Here's bird 22 - today I'll wrap up the last 3 birds of advent, and post them soon!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Bird Advent, day 21

Bird Advent

One last lovely white snow bird for this Sunday.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Bird Advent, days 19-20

Bird Advent

It is so odd, making these snow birds - I am so entertained by the infinite variety of little changes I can make, that I really feel like I could make these forever!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Bird Advent, days 15-18

Bird Advent

Next to the green and pink birds, these are my favorites so far...

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Bird Advent, day 14

Bird Advent

Although photographing these is tricky, it's always fun to see the results. I'm really looking forward to snapping a big photo with all of them together...

Friday, December 12, 2014

Bird Advent, days 12-13

Bird Advent

I wasn't ever planning to do blue and red - it kind of just happened, and I'm loving them.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Bird Advent, days 8-11

Bird Advent

I completed these earlier this year - my favorite thing about photographing them as I finish is noticing all their little quirks and details.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Bird Advent, day 7

Bird Advent

This all-white bird is one of my favorites so far. Maybe I'll make a few variations on this... :)

Friday, December 5, 2014

Bird Advent, days 5 and 6

Bird Advent

I finished these two in January - my favorite part is still the black and white houndstooth felt on the back side - very cute, no?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Bird Advent, days 1-4

Untitled

This year flashed by in record time for me! It's hard to believe I was making these beautiful birds 1 whole year ago, but there it is, the calendar, telling me what's what. These were made using the lovely Snow Bird pattern by Larissa Holland.

This holiday weekend I pulled out the birds, and started on these 4, half-finished and literally calling out to be sewn together. A marathon Gilmore Girls-watching later, I sewed these up and crafted another three.

Since I'm halfway there, I've decided to craft 1 a day for Advent - I can definitely crank out 25 of these beauties. Hope you enjoy them as I share them. :)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Stitching Saturday: Knitting Retreat

beautiful

I had the honor to take part in a Contemplative Knitting Retreat last weekend, and it was such an amazing experience. I have a few crafty friends in real life, and when my friend Linda lived nearby I would go over to her house from time to time to knit together, but aside from that, I've never knit in a group with anyone else.

Untitled

I have to say that what struck me most about this time spent with other knitters is that I realized... knitters are freaking awesome. Like, all of us. :)

Sometimes I have these moments when I go to the symphony or listen to live music and I just feel so moved by what I'm seeing, and I look around and realize no one else is feeling it at all (or at least they don't look like they are).

But in this group, I looked around and to my surprise and delight, so many people had the same look of awe and wonder on their face when they heard music, talked about the beautiful nature all around us, listened to poetry, etc. I kind of felt I'd found a home. :)

gorgeous Texas

The country was gorgeous - at night I could see so many stars, and the air just smelled right. It felt like a camping trip with air conditioning, good healthy food and lots of amenities, like really soft bed sheets and hot showers. :)

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

It was a nice mix of women from different faiths, so the contemplative aspect was very inclusive - there were spiritual readings, a Eucharist service on Sunday, and also reading from poetry and novels, while we all knitted. We could either join in a discussion or just listen. There was a talented violinist who played music each day, and that was a special treat - to be sitting just 2 feet away from such beautiful music.

winding

Untitled

Untitled

It was a gorgeous experience, and I can't wait for the next one!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Stitching Saturday: Do What You Can Do

starting out

I'm in love with this free pattern by Mollie Johanson. Lately, Do What You Can Do has become my informal mantra - the busier my life becomes, between blogging, real work, family, and volunteering - the more I realize that life will always be decisions as to what's important, what needs doing first, and what is a priority.

Untitled

Recently, I was sent these beautiful Merino wool threads by Mountain Meadow Wool, so I did a test-drive and review on Feeling Stitchy.

It was a lot of fun, and challenging, as I was juggling a couple of other projects simultaneously, someone in my family was sick, and I was doing a lot of volunteering for the animal shelter and my church.

finished

I struggle with my perfectionist side, that wants to create this amazing, perfectly designed experience which I just don't have the time to create. So, Do What You Can Do takes over.

I hung this on my wall so that it's the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning, and its reassurance has helped immensely when I feel stressed at all.

finished

But ultimately, I think I'm going to gift this to my sister, as she is famous for wanting to do it all, too. :) How about you guys? Is your crafting and life gearing up to an all-time busy high as well? May I suggest sitting down with this pattern, and taking a little time for yourself? :)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Three things thursday: End of Summer projects

End of Summer
finished
family tree in progress

1. Farewell to summer, and farewell to my favorite swimsuit for now!
2. Colour Complements test-drive I did, with a free pattern on Feeling Stitchy.
3. A family tree project in progress.

It's been a busy month, hence the limited blogging, but I'm happy to say I feel like I accomplished a fair bit this summer!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

New Knit Stitch a Week: Pinterest Stitch

Pinterest Stitch

Well, I found this stitch on Pinterest, so that's what I'm calling it. :) I know I said I was taking a break from these posts, but I've gotten so busy lately with other projects, that I knit up a quick swatch as a stress-buster. :)

I cast on 16 stitches on size 9 needles, in a teal yarn from my stash. I really love the blocky, basket-y texture.

Knit from this pattern, found on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/222154194094356166/

Here's the wrong side:

Pinterest stitch, wrong side

Does anyone have a name for this kind of stitch? :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Knitting on Wednesday: Sweater Quest

So I was thinking I'd pause with the new knit stitch a week posts while I catch up on some new and old knitting projects. And I don't have a catchy phrase that rhymes with any day of the week, so I'm going instead with "Knitting on Wednesday." :)

I went on a sweater quest recently, not unlike last year's quest for a blanket. My Log cabin blanket, by the way, has grown quite nicely, and I'm almost finished with it... pictures soon. My sweater quest was long and arduous because, quite simply there's A LOT of ugly sweaters in the world. No really, not misunderstood or naturally beautiful - ugly, ugly sweaters. When it doesn't even look good on the nice-looking model, I have to think twice about it. :)

My inspiration was this beautiful sweater, from Late Summer:


I don't know a ton about sweaters, but this looks to me like a simple crewneck (?) sweater with an open, lacy knit pattern. Since this is my first sweater, I considered only beginner patterns I could easily keep track of...

1. Cropped Sweater by Andi Satterlund


I love this style of sweater and the scoop neck, but I think I'll save it for a later project with a tighter weave...


2. 3/4 Sleeve Classic Pullover


I like the 3/4 sleeves, since I always push the sleeves up my arms, anyway, and it looks like a looser fit. I just wasn't sure I could adapt it to suit a more open knit...

3. Alcina Sweater
This sweater already has a lacy, open look and I love the neckline - I just wasn't sure if I could figure out how to knit it without the ruching at the waistline (total beginner, I know).

4. My First Raglan Pullover

In the end, I decided to take the My First Sweater class on Craftsy, and work along with their free pattern, above. I'm intimidated by complicated knitting directions, so it's comforting to have a visual to follow along with. I don't love that rolled neckline, but I'm thinking I may be able to modify it if I don't get too lost. Also, I'm not sure about that eyelet design on the raglan sleeves, but I'll give it a chance, or modify it.

I started with a sport-weight yarn on size 9 needles, which would make for an open look, but not quite as open as the movie version:

Knitting my first sweater... first start.

The color match was fairly close, but all in all it didn't inspire me...  then I dropped some stitches at the beach, and had to totally unravel it.  Bummer. :(

Then I found this magical yarn:

working on my first sweater...

I'm knitting on size 11 needles for a more open look and I love the way the striping pattern works its way over the fabric, kind of a rainbow-y, tie-dye effect. I did a swatch test and worked out the math (I think) to make it work. And no, it's not the smallest sweater on earth (though the finished sweater might be fairly small) - it's very stretchy! :)

Here's a closeup of the yarn, the color name is Stained Glass, and it is quite gorgeous in person:

pretty yarn
pretty yarn

So what do you guys think? Have any of you knitted a sweater before? Any knitting tips for me would be appreciated! :)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Stitching Saturday: Hungry, hungry hippo

Finished Hippo

Well, Hungry Hippo is what I'm calling her, because she ate up fiberfill stuffing like nobody's business. I thought a full 12 oz bag would work, but I had to make an emergency trip to the craft store to buy some more to fill out her curves. :)

Indeed, sew cute.

I'd say she's about toaster-sized, if a toaster sported an adorable head on it. :) I crafted her for the Sew Cute To Cuddle blog hop which is stopping off at Feeling Stitchy today - stop by for a chance to win a copy of the book!

I sewed her completely by hand, which ate up at least two full nights of sewing. The book is so well-laid out that even impatient, easily distracted novice sewers like myself can follow along.

I used a pretty fabric I'd been saving for a pillow back for some time now, and a couple of tiny turquoise scraps I dug out of my mom's fabric stash. I still had oodles of safety eyes from my knitted monkey and monster making days, and they worked out well.

Untitled

The funny thing about sewing, for me, is how hard a time my brain has of visualizing what's happening, until I'm finished. Then, everything snaps into place and I have a forehead-smack moment. All in all, it was a fun sew, and a fun book.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Feline Friday: Pics and template tweaks

A302386

I really loved this little guy last week - so cute and so photogenic. :)

A302386


I've been playing with the photo template I use for the shelter cat photos:

A302015

Previously, I would just put the shelter logo and ID number anywhere I could fit them.

I decided to use one standard size and orientation because their system stretches out any other orientation. And I added a sidebar to keep all the information in a consistent spot.

A302724

Someone adopted this charmingly cross-eyed kitty and named him Dobby. Perfect, right? :)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Three Things Thursday: Knitting in Japanese

Setsuko Hara knitting Mariko Okada in Late Autumn Hand Quilting on Cozy Pumpkin
1. Setsuko Hara knitting; 2. Mariko Okada in Late Autumn; 3. Beautiful hand quilting threads on Cozy Pumpkin

Lately I'm on a big Yasujiro Ozu kick - he's a Japanese filmmaker who worked in the 1930's, 40's, 50's and 60's. My love of Ozu began years back, when I tearfully watched Tokyo Story, then Late Spring and Early Summer.

Recently I got Hulu Plus, and saw that almost ALL of Ozu's films are available there, so I've been working my way through them methodically, ever since. That knitting image of Setsuko Hara is fitting, since I typically knit through them - of course they're not embroidery friendly because I don't speak Japanese. :)

There's something so elementally simple and profound about his films. He's one of those filmmakers who feel like a kindred spirit to me - I mean, probably I'm overstepping my bounds, and if we had ever met in real life we'd have nothing to actually say to each other, but what I mean is - the world he presents through light and color and emotion in his films makes sense to me. A world where family is central, home is essential, and we all spend our lives either missing or making connections with each other. Our lives are filled with humor, silliness, anger, tedium, responsibility, joy, and regret.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

New Knit Stitch a Week: Ridge stitch

Ridge stitch

Teaching myself one new knit stitch a week, from the Complete Guide to Needlework book, c. 1979. I really liked this stitch. Just my style - very easy to remember, easy to stitch, and hard to mess up. :)

I cast on 16 stitches on size 9 needles, in Vannas's Choice (left) and a blue worsted weight yarn from my stash (right)

Row 1: knit
Row 2: *K2 tog all across the row*
Row 3: K in front and back of each st
Row 4: purl

The backside is also pretty lovely:

Ridge stitch, wrong side