Saturday, June 30, 2012

More cotton knitting

I don't know what came over me: Right around the same time I was working  on the bath mitt teacher gifts, I cast on for Absorba, the Great BathMat, from Mason-Dixon Knitting.

Maybe it's summer that makes me want to knit with cotton. Or maybe it was the cleaning I've been doing in my craft room that made me want to knit up some of the cotton I've got in my stash. I used Cotton-Ease in Stone color, double stranded. I enjoyed learning how to do the log-cabin style (also used in the Mason-Dixon baby blanket).
*Doesn't it look nice against our vintage tile? Too bad we have an unfixable crack, so this tile will have to go eventually.
At least this pattern didn't have bobbles and was knit on huge needles (size 15s) so didn't hurt my hands as much as the bath mitts did. And it definitely got me ready to knit with some wool--even if it did top 100 degrees this week!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Knitted teacher gifts

The good news is that our kids got into the public preschool--not our neighborhood school, but one just one neighborhood over. This means they will both go to a half-day of preschool everyday AT THE SAME TIME. It will really make it easier for both my husband and me to get work done.
The bad news is that they will be leaving the coop preschool, which has been so great for them. Their teacher was such a model of patience, especially with Sam. We are so grateful that this was the first introduction to school for both of them. Although we contributed to a larger group gift for the teachers, I wanted to make something personal for the teachers and for the woman who works in the church office and has been so sweet to both of our kids.

I decided to knit this bath mitt (Mira's Bath Mitt, free pattern here, from Give It a Purl), which I have made before. I like the bobbles on it (for scrubbing) but they are a pain to knit, especially with cotton (because of the lack of stretch and "give" when knitting into the front and back so many times). I had one already knit up (the orange one) and made these two off-white ones with some Cottontots in my stash. The first one seemed a bit thin, so I used a double strand on the second one--which was even harder to knit with.
I paired each bath mitt with a fancy soap (actually made by low-income women here in Chicago). Then the kids stamped thank you cards and I wrote their messages on them. I didn't finish them in time for the last day of school, but delivered them during the church's Vacation Bible School, which the kids love. Here's a cute picture of Sam at VBS:

And a cute photo of Sophie to go with it. I think this is from a nature center hike with Daddy:

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Cutest knit rattle ever

I needed to make a quick baby gift for a co-worker and found this adorable pattern for a toadstool rattle. Is this adorable, or what? The free pattern is here at Purl Bee. I actually knit this over Spring Break in Arizona, but am just getting around to posting it here.  There's a cat toy inside for the rattle, and I used washable yarn and stuffed it with plastic bags.

This angle shows the underside of the cap a bit. I used satin stitch for the spots rather than duplicate stitch. The pattern shows the rattle in a bunch of colors, but I like this traditional red and white. I think I'd make this again. In fact, it'd be nice to have on hand for baby gifts.

In other up-to-date news, I made dolmades about two months ago and hand rolled the grape leaves stuffed with ground beef, rice, raisins and nuts. Yum.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

My first wardrobe refashion

This is a LONG time UFO (UnFinished Object) that I finally finished. I don't know why I waited so long.

I've been wanted to do some "wardrobe refashion" for a some time, after having read a number of blogs devoted to the practice of reworking old clothes to make them new and funky. And cardigan sweaters are one of the easiest things to refashion.

So I had this great idea to sew some buttons on a cardigan sweater, and decided to go with all white/clear ones on this yellow wool cardigan, which is actually part of a twin set. I used ecru/off-white embroidery floss to sew them on and arranged them in a swath across each front shoulder.

Not only does this gussy up an otherwise boring sweater, but it uses up a craft supply that I'm sure most button-collectors have a ton of--the plain white/clear ones. It's a perfect example of how a bunch of something looks cooler than just one of them.

I did use some cool ones: all different sizes, shapes, some with decorative etching. I got to wear this a few times before it got warm, usually with a white T-shirt and jeans. It will, however, require hand washing, so I need to be careful not to wear it around messy kids!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Spiritual Knitter in Arizona

Very belated photos from our Spring Break trip to visit my parents in Arizona in March:

Heidi and Dad at Brewers' Spring Training opener. Yes, I am knitting a sock.

Every good spring/summer vacation should start with a mani-pedi (compliments of my mom). I went for green, and when the lady asked me if I wanted a flower,  I asked for a shamrock and got this instead, which I thought was pretty cool! (Slight language barrier, as she was Vietnamese.)

Grandma and Sophie in the pool. We spent every afternoon in the swimming pool. The kids loved it.

Sam in the pool. He loved swimming on  his own (with life jacket, of course).

The two Eds reading by the pool. The similarities are uncanny--note hats and shoes!

Ed and I hiked Camelback, but an easier climb than last time two years ago. This took only an hour, which was tough enough for out-of-shape me.

Ed at the top (of the middle of the humps) of Camelback.

Gifts from Auntie Sue and Uncle John: T-shirt and bee costume. The kids held hands a lot while we were down there.

Hike on our last day there.  Wish I had a photo of our visit with the Misiewiczs. Looks like we didn't take any. Still, a very nice and pretty relaxing trip, considering we had two toddlers with us. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Felt flowers

Over Christmas break, I finally took the time to wrap a skein of red yarn around a thifted (30 cents, I think) straw wreath to make of those cool wreaths that have been all over blogland. I hung it in the kitchen, but hadn't gotten around to adorning it yet. In January I finally made some felt flowers that gave it the finished touch.

This website, Fabric Bows and More, has tons of links to tutorials, including this one that I used for the teal and red flowers. I used Betz White's tutorial for the pink rosette.
I separated out all my super-cute teal, red and pink buttons, but only used one. I'll have to think of some other project for the rest of them.
Then I made made another red flower, added a pin back and, ta-da!, a cool corsage.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Vite cowl

Another example of unselfish knitting in January--this a very belated gift for someone at worked who served as a teaching mentor for me the past year. I wanted to knit her a scarf and decided on the Vite cowl (free pattern on Ravelry).

Wouldn't you know I can't remember what I knit this with now, and I think I put the yarn wrapper in with the gift for washing instructions. I do know I decided to spring for something nicer than Wool-Ease Thick & Quick so I went to the closest LYS, Knit 1 on Lincoln Avenue, where I proceeded to be very indecisive. Which is why I can't remember which yarn I eventually decided on, except that I remember this sweatshirt grey might be good because my teaching mentor teaches physical education majors. I do know I passed on a super soft alpaca, which in retrospect would have been very nice.
**I found the yarn label: It's Brown Sheep Burly Spun in Grey Heather.

My big alternation is that I knit this as a scarf, not a cowl, which turned out fine. It looks a lot better after blocking--and it took a long time to dry. I would knit one for myself (in that alpaca), but after this winter I don't know if I'll be needing any bulky scarves. Still, this is a quick knit and a nice gift.
And I think the recipient liked it!
**Vite means grapevine in Italian.