crafty

We held a silent auction at work as part of an ongoing fundraiser. The organizers asked us to bring in things we crafted – we have a lot of talented people in my workplace! These were my contributions:

lavender set

It’s a lavender neck and eye pillow. You can freeze them, or heat them up in the microwave for aromatherapy and relaxation. The lavender is mixed with jasmine rice. If you’ve never tried this, rice makes an excellent hot pack. It forms to your body and holds heat well.

lavender rice

And I also did a little acrylic dandelion painting. On slate, because I just think these make cool wall hangings. I’ve got a few around my house as well.

slate painting

My theory on silent auctions (and secret santa/yankee swap types of occasions) is that whatever I bring should be something I’m happy to take home again. If I love it that much, then I know others will too!

Access denied

Why does this chicken look so cranky?

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Because access to her favorite hang-out has been revoked. We had a new porch built last fall (but I should note: not sided or roofed…) And ever since the decking has been the chickens’ favorite spot to stand around. And poop.

We finally got the siding hung up this weekend! And then we made a gate.

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And the day after the poor birds spent a surprising amount of time standing on the stoop, looking confused.

They’re free range birds. The could go literally anywhere else. I refuse to feel badly for not letting them poop on the porch.

Winnie’s Vest

After a bit of an unexpected hiatus I’m super-excited to share Winnie’s Vest with you all!

winnie hood

The pattern is available in sizes ranging from newborn to childs’ size 8! Windsor is wearing the 12 month size in these photos, but she’s still wearing the vest now, at 21 months. Vests are a versatile children’s garment.

You can find the pattern details and yarn requirements on ravelry. The PDF is available there, or right here:

winnie preview

This vest is knit up in knitpicks wool of the andes – the superwash version. I don’t often work with superwash, but I bought this yarn specifically to make this vest and I have to say it’s pretty amazing stuff. She wore this vest all winter long, still wears it on cool summer days, and it still looks pretty much brand new. Well, it would if I blocked it once in awhile… But what I’m trying to say is the fabric hasn’t pilled at all, and holding up to the rough and tumble play of a toddler is EXACTLY what I needed from this yarn.

winnie back

Seriously, I don’t mind handwashing her stuff, but when it wears out unexpectedly fast I get sad…

What can I say about this vest? I started the project almost a year ago, back in August. Windsor was still just a crawling baby then and I wasn’t getting a lot of knitting time. It went into hibernation a couple of times and I finally finished it in December but didn’t want her to wear it until we’d had our photo shoot. Which didn’t happen until February. But after that she loved it, she’d actually dig it out of her bin of clothes and ask to wear the “sweawer” (that’s toddler-speak for sweater).

Winnie hero

wee Cria

I finish my little cotton wee cria!

cotton sweater hero

This is and adorable sweater with just a hint of twee. I went with some colorful, fun buttons to contrast with the natural cotton and silver garter stitch, and I think they make the project pop, like fancy icing on an adorable little cupcake.

cotton sweater closeup

The pattern is a fun, smartly designed sweater with no seaming and very intriguing construction. In spite of being a simple looking little sweater this design is fun to knit – all without being too challenging*

cotton sweater unbuttoned

I do want to revisit the SilverSpun cotton yarn I reviewed last month. Now that I’ve finished the design I specifically wanted to address the issue of shrinkage. The good folks at SilverSpun are very up front about the fact that cotton shrinks. And if you know anything about fibers (or wear cotton clothing at all) you shouldn’t really be surprised. But it does take a few adjustments.

They recommend swatching before you begin knitting, and washing your swatch as you plan to wash your final garment. This is 100% the right answer and the correct thing to do.

It’s also NOT what I did. But then I like to live dangerously. (Hey, if I ruin a sweater, it’s still good blog content, right?) I swatched and was getting slightly fewer stitches to the inch then the gauge recommended. I figured that would help with the shrinkage. But since cotton shrinks more in length than width I also took the precaution of knitting the “knit even” parts of this pattern for a couple of extra rows.

cotton sweater folded

The finished baby sweater before blocking measured 8.5 inches from shoulder to hem and 9.5 inches across at the bottom hem (so 19″ circumference, I’m just measuring straight across because I’m lazy). Now I plan on giving this adorable tiny baby sweater to the mom of an impending adorable tiny human. And new moms aren’t really interested in hand-wash garments. So I figured I’d better put this sweater through the wringer. Well, not literally, because no one uses those for washing clothes anymore. But I did put it through the washing machine and dryer using my normal laundry settings. Once out it was pretty crumpled so I did a gentle steam blocking** to help it lay flat. After all that it measures 7.5 inches from shoulder to hem and 8.5 inches across.

So yeah, it shrinks. But it’s shrinking very predictably. And the yarn is still very stretchy, I have no doubt that it’d make lovely socks. They wouldn’t get lazy and slouchy at all. And if you knit them just a touch long that would account for any actual shrinkage. If that seems like a lot of planning keep in mind I could name 2 or 3 superwash wool sock yarns with the same problem…

*If I want a challenge I’ll start one of the bajillions of designs I want to actually knit someday…
**in other words, I ironed it folded between two towels. Cotton does like being ironed!

More Snippets

I like to keep in touch with my designs once they’ve been released, each takes on a life of it’s own and I love to see how knitters interpret the pattern with their own yarn, ideas, and modifications.

My Snippet Scarf has really taken off (in spite of being a very simple pattern) And this is why I chose it as the first pattern to be re-released in my new layout!

Snippet preview

It’s a free download, so please check it out. All my forthcoming indie designs will use this layout. And as I have time I might go back and reformat some of the old ones (you know how much “free time” I have these days.)

I should not be surprised it’s such a favorite for so many knitters. I knew it was an addictive pattern because I knit two of them – and I rarely ever re-knit a pattern! Some lovely knitters out there have far surpassed me, knitting 4, 6, or more of these cozy scrap-busters. I wanted to take a chance to show you a few:

This is Lori’s 5th snippet scarf – her Scraps o’ yarn #5 project on Ravelry. She made it a bit shorter than the pattern calls for, because variety is good.

Ibeckste's scarf

TJ actually knit this scarf first, then found my pattern – but I don’t mind. Her gorgeously coordinated yarns came in a scrap bag. Which is a great way to knit up this scarf without having to worry about colors and fiber types.

TJ's scarf

Finally Laura knit her Tropical Punch scarf out of handspun! I love handspun yarns, they’re such a special treat to work with.

Laura's scarf

The simple garter stitch and loooong rows in Snippet mean that it handles colorful handspun yarn or those brightly multicolored yarns easily. No pooling and the colors blend happily. I used my very first handspun – all knobby, over twisted, and uneven – in my first Snippet scarf. I think this design would also be perfect to feature those more unique handspun yarns with beehives, slubs, and even art yarns with flowers or googly eyes spun into them…

What would your Snippet look like?

scrappy3

Nothing to see here

Been busy around here! Neil and I celebrated our 10th anniversary, not this past weekend but the one before. If your on instagram you saw me taking photos of skyscrapers. We managed a dorky Boston selfie too:

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When we got back to vermont I bought a car! I’ve been joking that would be my present when Neil graduated… And it turns out I miss the fuel efficient diesel jetta that I drove for years and years. So I got another:

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Except this one is 13 years newer than the one I finally gave up last January…

In related news, know anyone looking to buy a reliable toyota corolla? It’s just not my style.

All that has left me very little time for crafting. The closest I’ve come in the last week is two rolled and tacked hems and a couple of kam snaps:

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In case you have no idea what that is, it’s a dolly diaper. Yup:

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slice of life

Or maybe a bowlful of life, since this is a soup recipe:

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It’s a chilled dessert soup; which is a bit different, but totally amazing. When Neil makes it the soup is about the same consistency as a smoothie. It’s sweet, but not cloying. And it tastes exactly the way late spring ought to taste.

I can’t claim this recipe. It is from the internet, somewhere… But we’ve lost the original source.

Just Dandy

Beauty is in the eye of the seed-holder:

so many seeds

This was supposed to be a wordless wednesday. But my love for puns got the better of me.

shadows

Also, I couldn’t pick just one.

backlit

I mean, could you pick a favorite?

sun rays

a little stitching

We made a last minute trip to visit my relatives this weekend. And one result of packing in a rush, in a rainstorm, was that I didn’t pack any summery clothes. So of course it was a warm, summery weekend! Like many crafters before me I decided I could totally solve this problem by sewing up a little skirt for Windsor (you know, instead of just buying some shorts)

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This went about as well as you’d expect. Actually, maybe better – because I totally had that skirt finished for her to wear the last two hours of Sunday!

The other thing that happened is I dug through the box of clothes my mom saved from when we were all little kids. So many of these outfits had gorgeous, hand-stitched smocking. I was amazed at the general changes to little kids clothes over the last 25 years. You don’t see stuff like this commercially available anywhere, anymore.

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Image

No spring chicken

spring chickens