Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Granny Square Handbag (finished)

Remember this post?

Earlier this year, a very sweet friend of mine emailed me the picture you see below and asked "do you want a project?" I of course said "always," and thus began my first ever handmade handbag.

I can see now that the colors are a tad off, but not too far hopefully.

This project went just about everywhere with me this year; I took it to Alaska on our cruise; to pool parties at my parents' house; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; and also to my monthly knitting group.

Teri and I decided that it really should be lined since the holes in some of the motifs were big enough to pose a problem with everyday use, and I then also decided that the handles needed to be reinforced as well.

If I may be so bold as to admit-- I'm really quite proud of this handbag. Actually, this isn't a handbag at all, it's a milestone. It represents to me a clear time in my craftiness where something I created out of my own head (minus the picture given) actually turned out exactly how I imagined it. Finally my skills are catching up with my visions. This is huge for me, because for most of my life, I would dream something up and then try to make it failing miserably. I kinda just got used to that. It didn't stop me from trying, however. It's as though you get used to having a mediocre skill set, and then all of a sudden you make a little leap forward. This handbag is a little leap forward for me. I should mention too, how much of a joy it is to make things for other people. This was an incredible amount of fun to make, thanks for the opportunity Teri!

**A little background about the woman I made this for: Teri is a dear friend of mine from our brief stint in Arizona, and she made for me two quilts while I was there: One for my new baby boy and a much larger one just for me. The one for me has footprints of all of the Young Women that I had the pleasure to love and serve, along with messages from the women that I served with. Not only is this quilt adorable, but it served as a tangible link to a time in my life that is so special in my heart with some people that I will always love deeply and never forget. This quilt actually really helped me through some very difficult times during my transition back to Utah. I will forever be thankful to everyone that had a hand in making it, and especially for Teri for putting in the time and effort in to put it together.

Patterns for the granny squares found in the book referenced in the above link
Crocheted using perle cotton in various colors size 3

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Knit Applique Baby Blanket (finished)

I took inspiration from the Alabama Stitch Book to make this blanket for my dear friend Charee.

Check it out:

Charee picked the colors, I picked the circles because I love me some spots.

Close-up of the edges

The back side

I used both applique and reverse applique, both with raw edges, and I decided to include exposed knots

Actually, this was loads of fun to make, it all went down very fast.

Here it is all wrapped up ready for a sweet baby boy. I always try to include a tag which tells the new owner how to care for their handmade item

if you have a chance to pick up the Alabama Stitch Book, definitely do, it's very unique and inspirational.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What's Up

Well, I should be knitting and sewing and crocheting and quilting because I'm unbelievably behind on all of these (I do actually have current projects at a standstill in each of these categories, some have multiple projects at a standstill), But I'm too busy reading. I would also add that I'm too busy running, but running has become as necessary and instinctual as breathing (but infinitely more fun), and who ever admits to being too busy breathing?

At any rate, I have read two large books in the last couple of months, and I'm in the middle of two other large books.

I don't know if any of you are like me, but I go through reading spurts that last for 6 months or so in which I devour as many books as I can, and then get so sick of reading that I can't even look at another book for about a year or so. During that time off of reading, I feel guilty for not reading anything, but I know that the desire to read will swell again so I try not to stress too much about it.

Anyway, that's what's going on around here, that and the suppression of major guilt about not finishing my craft projects.

They'll come Ali, we'll get them finished, I promise*

*yes I have been known to type to myself on my own blog.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Arm Warmers (finished)

So... either these were really easy or I'm getting faster because these knit up so very fast. In fact, I bought some different yarn because I thought I would get them done in time for fall, but I decided to see if I could get a spring pair done in time to bring to the Alaskan cruise I have planned in June.

And I did! And I love them!

I'm a bit perturbed about the pattern though, it tells you to knit on the wrong side after the hole for the thumb, but then it asks you to knit the cuff... Um, how can you knit on the wrong side in the round and have it come out stockinette? You can't. Believe it or not, this did cause some problems as I worked through the first draft (yes, I made three and had to rip out the first). And the thing is, I want to trust my instincts and knit on the right side instead, but for some reason I tell myself that the pattern knows best. GRR. There's just no way of telling whether your instincts will be right or if the pattern is right.

Also, I had some sizing issues. The first one I made was incredibly tight and too short regardless of the fact that I checked my gauge and measured the length. I ended up having to add 15 more stitches and about 5 more inches. I'm blaming it on the ribbing, I never know how to check ribbed gauge, do I measure it relaxed or stretched? Heaven forbid the pattern tell me, so I measured it how I wanted it to look which was somewhere in the middle of relaxed and stretched and it still wasn't enough.

Maybe this will help some of you if you decide to make these, or then again, maybe I'm just incompetent.

The one on the left is accidentally rolled down a little, that's why it looks different at the top.

I can never resist a good close up of the stitches.

And finally, Jon and I thought this would be a good opportunity to show you the heat that I'm packing. Yes my skin is pale, and yes I prefer it that way.

They keep my arms surprisingly warm, Oh, and I used 100% baby alpaca. So soft. Like butter. (but harrier) Watch out for that because some companies give their yarn the name "baby alpaca" and then blend it with wool or acrylic. Not nearly as soft or as pretty.

*Stay tuned for a fall version of these!


Thank you to my lovely assistant Jon for shooting this project

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Hip Ol' Granny

Here's a little sneak-peak into one of my current projects:

These are granny squares, two patterns from this book that I'm really enjoying these days-- but-- they will not be made into an afghan. Or a doily. Or a shawl.

Stay tuned.

(and by the way, granny squares are so very fun to make, I highly recommend them)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Little Girl's Jumper (finished)

This is a fun little knit-- but the pattern is all in stockinette stitch which is fine, but somewhat boring to knit and to look at, so I decided to add a large cable down the front center. Unfortunately, I must have over compensated for it and added too many stitches in the armhole area. Even then I think it still works:

Greta is such a poser :) . I wish I could modestly say that I had no idea where she got that, but I do know where she got that: I was the exact same when I was her age. It does make it fun to photograph though!

Pattern: Little Girl's Sundress or Jumper by Knitting Pure & Simple
Yarn: Oh dear, I have no idea. Whatever they used for the display piece at the store I went to, does that help?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Lounge Pants (finished)

I've always been a sucker for satiny fabrics and satiny pajamas, and when I found this awesome smooth as butter gunmetal grey satin fabric I had to have some pajama pants made out of it.

I have Amy Butler's book In Stitches which has this great pattern for wide legged lounge pants in it, and I instantly had this idea for some glam 1930's art deco old hollywood (you get the idea) pajamas.

Hopefully I hit a mark somewhere near there---

I love how you can see my kids' scooters in the background-- sort of ruins the whole "1930's Hollywood Glam" look that I was going for.

I don't know, but for some reason, I felt like these pants were telling me to put the drawstring on the hip instead of the middle-- but I'm a rebel like that. You see, some people look at a side drawstring and ask "why?" I look at a side drawstring and ask "why not?"

I should mention that this type of drawstring is actually a mix between an elastic band and a drawstring, it's a new favorite technique of mine that I learned on Greta's pettiskirt. What you do is leave the elastic unattached and sew two pieces of ribbon at either end. Then you thread it through the casing and tie the ends of the ribbon on the outside. It looks like a ribbon drawstring, but it has the benefit of an elastic band in that you don't have to untie and retie the bow.

Does all of that make sense?

Ok, now on to the seams. Have you ever sewn on this type of material? It's beastly. Notice the puckering on the seams? I tried everything I could think of to get this figured out and fixed. After I made them, my Mom suggested a differential feed foot for my sewing machine which I am now thinking would have worked. So I'm not giving up, someday I will figure out how to sew on this type of fabric!

Also, I decided to finish these really well and use french seams which I love. I was going to take a picture of them, but I forgot (sorry). Trust me though, they are there.

Pattern: Lounge Pants found in Amy Butler's In Stitches

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Arm Warmers

Oh, I'm in love. Check these out:

I'm so knitting these. And, I just found out that there is a local Alpaca yarn being sold in one of my favorite yarn stores. Double love.

Stay tuned, and lest you worry that I'm starting them too late/early season wise, remember, I'm a sloooow knitter who also has a million other things to knit/crochet/sew this summer.

But-- these I will have.

Go here for more info.

you're welcome.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

knitted booties (finished)

I love these. Unfortunately, my son doesn't. I should clarify: he loves them, he just would rather play with them than wear them. Truthfully, I probably shouldn't even have made them because I knew the ratio between the time put in and time worn would be severely lacking in the latter. But I couldn't resist for a couple of reasons:

1-- This is my last kid, and my last chance to make booties for one of my own
2-- I so much love this yarn and I happened to have the perfect amount left over from this project
3-- I have actually been wanting to make these since I learned how to knit eight years ago, but the pattern was in a book of my Mom's and neither of us could find it for years until recently. They have an adult version of this pattern as well, but the kid one is so much cuter.

And as impractical and as unworn as they are, aren't they just the cutest? So simple and zen-like I think. I don't know, to me they have that modern clean Japanese feel that I love so very much.

What do you think? Should I make the adult version for myself? I still have the book (enter sinister laugh here)...

Pattern: Simple Slippers found in Comforts of Home: Simple Knitted Accents by Erika Knight
Yarn: Rowan Denim in Nashville (don't be fooled by the darkness of the yarn, these are meant to be washed and to fade when washed)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Christmas Pajamas (finished) and Doll Pajamas (finished)

Yes, I'm late posting this one as well. It should be noted that I don't do well with deadlines...

At any rate, here they are in all their cute glory! I decided to make it simple by just making the bottoms and doing some simple corresponding applique on some ready made t-shirts. Turns out that was a smart idea. I lined Greta and Axel's with fleece to keep them extra warm in the winter, and since Gabe is always too hot, I left his unlined. The lining part was extra fun (sarcasm) especially because I have to be the perfectionist and make it so all of the seams are in the inside between the two fabrics. Which means I had to sew them separately. Yeah, because my 18 month old baby really cares. Oh well, its always good practice right??

That would be "baby doll" in matching pajamas

And what fun is it being a girl if your dolls can't wear matching pajamas with you to bed? Further more, what fun is having a girl if you can't make matching pajamas for your daughter's dolls? I'm so glad I have a girl... just the one.

Anyhoo-- doll clothes are surprisingly fun to make. I thought they'd be a pain because of the size, but they use an entirely different way of construction that makes it easier and faster to make. Plus, if you decide to ever make doll clothes, you'll be squinting your face and laughing every couple of minutes because everything is just so cute!!

**I'm not listing the specs because I can't remember what patterns I used, and besides, pajama bottom patterns are really easy to find. But if for some reason you are dying to know, email me and I'll go find the pattern for you...

Friday, April 23, 2010

A-line Skirt (finished)

Do you remember this Jacket? Here is the companion skirt. I had been wanting a denim skirt for Greta so that I could show off all of her cute and crazy leggings and tights, but I never found one that I liked. I'm really happy with this pattern, it has an adorable kick pleat in the back...

Just above those adorable legs is a flower motif that I added as a design element (I've been wanting to do more of that kind of thing to individualize my clothing). I attached it using embroidery thread and a stippling foot on my machine. Lots of fun by the way...

Kick pleat :)
I wanted to go for that store bought denim look so I used a contrasting gold thread.

The great thing about denim's casualness is that when Greta outgrows the length, I can let out the hem and sew along the raw edge and let it fray.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Knitted Golf Club Covers (finished)

At first I thought the idea of hand knitted Golf Club Covers was hokey. Um, but then I realized not only are they definitively not hokey, they are very desirable and chic in the golf community. Go figure. And it turns out, the bigger the pom-pom, the better, and that's where I was hooked. I do love a big pom-pom!

I must say, these were fast and fun to make, and I think they look simply smashing atop my husband's clubs!

Pattern: This is one that was passed down from my Grandma, so I couldn't source it for you even if I wanted to (sorry)
Yarn: 100% acrylic, which normally I hate, but it makes for a great golf club cover. (I can't remember the brand, sorry, it was almost a year ago...)

Friday, April 16, 2010

2+2 Blouse (finished)

Well, I've been excited to post about this blouse ever since I made it..... a year ago. Yeah I know, lazy.

Anyway, why am I so excited to post about this blouse? Mainly because it is a repurposed garment, and I just love the process and idea behind making something new out of something old or no longer useable. Enter this shirt which I've both loved and hated:

I was given this shirt as a "you just had a baby and you're too big still to wear normal sized clothing" gift, and so consequently I've never liked it (you mothers will understand this immediately). It could have been made by Coco Chanel herself and I still would have hated it. But I digress.....

I have always loved swiss dot, just not for an adult (at least not in this way). To me it's a very juvenile fabric and it's perfect for a sweet little girl. The only problem is, I always liked the wrong side better because of the fuzziness of it. Well here was my chance to use it the way I wanted to:

What do you think? I used a contrasting fabric for the trim and I just love the little pink buttons on the back. I so love this little shirt. I think I'm going to force Greta to wear it tomorrow!

*Oh, and I need to plug Oliver + S again because they are my new favorite kids pattern company, I have all of their patterns and have loved everything I have made from them. Check them out, they just released some great new patterns!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Chili Chocolate Cookies (finished)

(She bakes?? Yes, she does.)

Two amazing things I have found over the last couple of months:

1. Martha Stewart's Cookie Cookbook

2. This blog about a delightful young woman that is cooking all of the cookies in the aforementioned cookbook

On this blog that I love so much, not long ago, was showcased Martha's Milk Chocolate Cookies. The blogger suggested that this would be a wonderful type of recipe to build upon, and she mentioned adding chili powder. I have not been able to think of anything else since then (cookie wise). I LOVE the combination of dark chocolate and chili with a hint of cinnamon. So I bravely altered this recipe to the utter delight of my palate.

And of course, I took pictures:

The scoop

Shh... don't be scared little drops of dough, it'll only hurt a little bit, and then you'll all be delicious cookies.

They're done, want a bite?

Now isn't your existence validated?

Follow the above link for the original recipe and then use my modifications.

My modifications:

*I used dark chili chocolate (courtesy of Lindt) instead of milk chocolate (it has a lovely little kick to it)

*I added 1/2 tsp of cinnamon

--I think I could have used a bit more chili in the recipe, either a powder or paste form.... just needs a little more of a kick.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

kilt inspired skirt (finished)

It's done my friends! What do you think?

as you can see in these pictures, the pleated skirt is attached to the yoke with a raw edge

I definitely had some fun twirling around in this skirt, and It just made me feel so... celtic :)