Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Almost the New Year

Wow! How time flies. It seems like I was just wishing everyone a Happy New Year for 2008 and here it is almost 2009. We did have a busy year but I must say it was a very good year for our family. We got to see new sights, we all stayed fairly healthy (just the odd cold and such) and we had food and a roof over our heads. Pretty good all around.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas holiday and you were spoiled rotten! You deserve it!!

My wonderful husband bought me a spinning wheel for Christmas this year - yippeee! I've kind of waffled back and forth between wanting one and not. I could learn a new skill and make some more pretty fiber with it but at the same time, it means one more crafty project to take up space (and money) in our house. I guess that's the practical side of me talking. Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy that he gifted me with it! Also a big bag of unknown sheep fiber to spin into yarn. Here's my first attempt. Not too bad, but not very good either.

Ok, here's my second attempt. The grey is what I got with the wheel (and my second attempt at spinning) and the navy blue (my third attempt at spinning) I bought at Weaving Works in Seattle --- yes, we made a trip there yesterday! I also picked up some very pretty multi-coloured yarn to spin later.

I must say, the fiber makes all the difference in the world. The grey unknown wool is actually easier to spin than the navy. I'm not sure why, but it seems the navy fiber is more "kinked" and maybe has shorter strands than the grey.

So then I plied (is it plied or plyed?) the two singles together and got this. A whole skein of navy and white yarn. It averages out to about DK weight but I have no idea how much yarn is there. Maybe 150 yards .... just by looking at another DK weight ball of yarn I have here.

I'm pretty excited about it and want to knit it into something but I have no idea what??? It's not very soft since the grey single was really overspun but it doesn't look too bad. I'm probably my own worst critique.

As for knitting ...
* I finished two hats to send to Sandy for the Bridge Project. Last post I said I was knitting a scarf which I ripped out and decided to make hats instead. Didn't like the way the scarf was coming out.
* I finished the baby sweater I was making for my girlfriend whose baby is due anytime now.
* I'm almost finished my socks. Just working on the toe of the second sock.
* Gloves are still at the same spot they were last post
* Adult sweater is worked on just a tiny bit. Down to the ribbing in the body. Next are the sleeves.

Happy New Year everyone! See you in 2009.

Friday, December 19, 2008

We Have Snow

After all the hype last week of a major snow event we finally received a significant amount yesterday. At our house we have 9" when I checked last night. It was still snowing then so we may have a bit more than that now. It's nice powdery snow - not the wet slushy stuff we usually get - which means it's cold. Only 23 this morning and supposed to be even colder tonight. Now I know for a lot of you that's not cold, but here in Western Washington it's cold!

This is me, our Golden Retriever Rio and our Shitzu/Poodle Benji. I don't think I ever posted a picture of Sheep and Wool hat I knit last month, but here it is being used!

I have a couple of quilt pictures for you. The first - Starry Nights - was a Planet Patchwork free block of the month quilt that they had probably 3 or 4 years ago. Of course I changed it. I didn't like the middle of their quilt so I did my own paper pieced and appliqued star. It's a little small for a queen size bed but I like how it turned out.

The second quilt is one I am working on - or planning to work on that is. The top is finished, it's basted and ready to quilt. The problem is it's huge (96" x 92") and a little daunting. I'm also not sure how I'm going to quilt it. I designed the pattern in EQ6 and it's almost all 1/2 square triangles - yikes! Can you tell that teal and purples are my favourite colours? And I used almost all fabric from my stash (except for the white and one of the borders), yippee! Unfortunately it didn't seem to make a dent in the stash - how many quilts can you make from stash fabric anyway?!?

On the knitting front, I have too many projects "on the needles" again. Seems like almost every time I post I've started something new!

Every Tuesday we have a charity group that meets at Cultured Purls in Issaquah to knit for Operation School Bell. A couple of weeks ago we were there and the owner brought this basket of knit fabric to us and told us that this was to make socks. What a cool idea - I just needed to try it out. Flat Feet is a fun way to knit socks. You purchase the preknit fabric that is hand painted, unravel one end, and start knitting your socks. Here is the fabric I bought (teals and purple again) and the first sock knit up. What makes it fun it you have no idea what the colour patterning on the sock will look like until you start knitting. Of course I couldn't wait to start!

Also on the needles .....
* Baby sweater for a friend. Working on the last sleeve so should be done by next post.
* Adult sweater for charity. Working on the colour work at the bottom of the body and then need to knit the sleeves.
* Scarf for The Bridge Project. This is a project that Sandy started a few weeks ago. Her goal is to have 100 hats and scarves for the homeless in her area. Great idea Sandy!!
* Anemore gloves. Both the hands are knit and am working on the fingers. I think I will make mittens next time!
* And not started yet, but my daughter really wants a pair of these - Knucks - with the letters CRE8 LOVE on the fingers. Maybe next winter.

I also want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. Enjoy the holidays with your family and friends. Until 2009 ....

Friday, December 05, 2008

What I've Been Up To

Looks like I'm posting about once a month at the moment. Maybe I will have the desire to post more in January ... should I make it a New Years resolution? Probably not since we all know how long most resolutions last. You will have to bare with my sporadic posting at the moment (if anyone even comes here to see what I'm doing ).

Alright, onto the good stuff. I've been trying to cut up and sew up the wedding gowns I have here taking up space. At one point I think I had 4 gowns sitting in boxes around my room. In the past month one gown has been completely used up and another is almost used up. I think I will try to make a couple of small blankets from the rest of the gown I have. I seem to end up with lots of little gowns and not so many blankets.

The two sewn gowns are from the Newborns In Need pattern set #3. The pattern makes beautiful gowns to fit 2-3lb preemie angels. The other picture with 4 gowns is made from a pattern I designed. They open in the front so the tiniest of angels can be easily placed in the gown and then velcroed closed. These gowns fit approximately 1lb preemie angels.

The pink blanket is knit with two strands of yarn held together. I used Patons Astra and Patons Pearl Twist (no longer available). And size 6.0mm needles so the blanket works up fast. This one turned out to be 30" x 30". I also knit a blue one (which I didn't get a picture of) and it came out to be 29" x 29". The pattern is Brooke Baby Afghan by Ann V. Gallentine.

All these items were mailed today to a couple of NILMDTS (Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep) photographers.

Have I been doing anything for me? Of course! I always have stuff going that I want to make for myself but the charity items usually take the front seat so my stuff takes for ever to complete.

A while ago I bought the Selbuvotter book. It is full of mitten and glove patterns from Norway. My grandfather was born and grew up in Norway before moving to Canada so these patterns always have a special place in my heart. I chose to do Annemor #8 from the book using Jojoland Melody and Knitpicks Pallette for the yarn. This picture was taken a while ago and as of now, one glove is almost finished. This is not a "knit in front of the tv" project. It takes lots of concentration (for me anyway) and no interruptions.

Other projects (without pictures) that I'm working on are --- sweater for Mittens for Akkol, scarves for Operation School Bell, and a quilt for my bed.

If I don't get another post in before Christmas, I want to wish all of you a very merry Christmas and I pray that God will bless you with much abundance and health in the New year!!!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Baby Stuff

Well, one definitely can say that I'm not very consistent! That's probably the story of my life lately. I have these wonderful ideas that I want to do and actually start but never seem to be able to follow through. I have completed a couple of projects, so that is something.

First up, and most recently finished are 6 preemie hats. These are teeny, tiny. Fitting 20 to 24 week preemie angels. A NILMDTS Photographer has a few crocheted gowns and didn't have any hats to go with them. I'm hoping these will work for her.

Specifics --- knit with 2.75mm needles and Patons Beehive Sport yarn.
The blue cabled hat is Cabled Preemie Hat by Marie Wright. I think you need to be on ravelry to get the pattern.
The rest of the hats I made up on the fly. The pink one is made with the "chevron rib" stitch.

Next, I finished a baby sweater for a friend who is having a new baby in January. Another little boy is on the horizon for them.
This sweater is knit from Superwash 100%wool Baby Ull and 2.75mm needles. The pattern is a free Drops Designs pattern, including jacket, hat, socks, mitts, blanket, and rattle. I'm only making the jacket and hat.

And in the quilting realm, I'm actually working on a couple of projects. I finished this quilt for Encompass's preschool kids. It will be given out (with many others) next September.
Remember this quilt (Feb. 14th 2007 post) that I commented about starting. Well 1 1/2 years later I've finished the top. It's huge (for me) at 90" x 96" and will need to take it to our quilting group meeting on Friday in order to layer and baste it. Hopefully I have enough pins. I'll try to take a picture or two there and post it at another time.

And the last sewing project is a dress and bonnet made from a wedding gown. A wonderful woman who lost her daughter, Brooke at 37.5 weeks asked if I would make something from her gown in memory of her daughter. I hope she will be able to treasure this gift and it would bring her hope and a little joy in the midst of her grief. There is still lots of fabric left from her gown to make a few angel sets. More sewing in my future.

Monday, September 29, 2008


What do those letters represent, you might ask ... well they stand for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep and it's a group of photographers all over the world (mostly in the US) that volunteer their time to take pictures of babies, with their families, who are angels or are soon to be angels because of medical conditions. The service that they provide is truly a blessing to these families who will only leave the hospital with pictures of their little one and empty arms - really heart breaking.

So, why am I talking about this? No, I'm not a photographer but I am able to sew and knit so I make teeny tiny preemie outfits up to newborn size outfits for these photographers to use during their photo sessions. There is a group of us who volunteer our time, money, and talents to make these outfits and mail them where they are needed. Our group is called Heavenly Angels In Need (HAIN - yet another acronym) and is led by a wonderful lady named Mary. Most of us have experienced the loss of a baby so can understand the grief and pain these families are experiencing.

Another wonderful aspect of HAIN is our ability to use wedding gowns that are donated to us to make these precious angels outfits.

I've included two pictures of gowns I made from a donated wedding dress. The two gowns are for preemies less than 1 lb and are about 10" from the neck to the hem. They open in the front so the preemie can be laid onto the gown and the gown then closed with Velcro.
The larger dress is for a 4 to 5lb preemie and is made from a Newborns In Need pattern.

I designed a knit blanket that can either be preemie or newborn size depending on the yarn and needle size you use. You will need to sign up on the HAIN forum if you would like the blanket pattern.

And these beautiful angel wraps work well for preemies smaller than 1lb. I knit these with Bernat Softee Baby and size 3.5mm needles. You can find the pattern for these on LucyBug Patterns website. There is also a crocheted version of the angel wrap.

Monday, September 15, 2008

No, I Haven't Left

... blog land that is. I sure haven't been very good at keeping up with this. No posts in August and it is almost the middle of September - yikes!

We had a wonderful vacation trailer camping down the Oregon coast, Crater Lake, and then to the lava fields in Bend, OR. It is the longest we've been away in our trailer (2 weeks) and I'm happy to say that we all survived the trip :) In fact I think we would all say we had a great time. The weather was perfect and the sites were amazing.

* Playing in the waves at Fort Stevens, OR.
* Hundreds of seals at Sunset Bay, OR
* Crater Lake, OR
* Lava tunnel near Bend, OR

As for knitting and sewing, I've got lots finished and as always, many projects started. I'm most excited about the sweater I'm knitting from the yarn I purchased in Japan. The knitting is finished but that is it. I still need to sew the neckline, weave in the ends, sew under the sleeves, and find some buttons.

Yarn: Diaexceed SilkMohair
Needles: 3.25mm and 3.75mm
Pattern: 88-17 Cardigan in Alpaca by Drops Designs

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

More Finished Objects

Can you believe that I will have posted 3 times in July. That must be a new record since I didn't even post once in June. And I have more crafty things that I have finished to share with you.

First up is Roam. Yes, it is finally finished. I started this in September last year after my wonderful husband bought me yarn for our anniversary. I am not sure why it took so long to finish since I absolutely love it. It is warm, squishy, has a hood, zips up. The only thing I can think of is that it is a big project with a stitch pattern other than stockinette or garter. I tend to get bored easily so I would put it down and not work on it for months at a time.

Pattern: Roam by Laura Chau found on knitty.com
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca. I used 7 skeins because I made both the body and the sleeves shorter than what the pattern calls for.
Needles: Size 4mm
Pattern Stitch: Garter Slip Stitch V

Onto some charity stuff. I've been knitting hats for the Assistance League of the Eastside. I thought I had written about this wonderful group but I don't see anything in my quick scroll through the blog.
One of the projects this group has is to partner with Fred Meyer and provide a hat or scarf to over 2,100 school kids in October. Fred Meyer provides new school clothing and when the kids are done shopping they can pick out a hand knit scarf or hat for themselves. And it helps kids that are close to where I live. You can find out more about Operation School Bell from the website.

This hat is the 3am Cable Hat by Smariek. Knit with Patons Astra acrylic yarn. I have a few more hats to show you but they aren't photographed yet. You will just have to wait until next time!

And lastly, I've been doing some sewing. I have almost used up a huge wedding dress that was given to me to use for Heavenly Angels In Need.
It seems that the fabric from this dress is never ending --- not that that is a bad thing, it's just that I get bored and want to move on to another dress that I have which has more beading and lacy trims.

There are actually 5 boys romper outfits but one wasn't finished for the picture. It is the same as the larger two that are pictures. The pattern is from Newborns In Need Patterns Set #3. I love this pattern since it is easy to put together and looks so "boyish". I find it hard to find less frilly outfits for the boys. The smaller outfit will fit a 2-3lb preemie and the larger ones are newborn size.

The 5 dresses and bonnets are also made from the same wedding dress. I used all the fancy beading and lace on these gowns and saved the plain fabric for the boys outfits.

The two gowns on the right are made from the Angel Gown pattern found on Newborns In Need website and the three on the left are made from a pattern found on the Threads Of Love website. I chose not to add the sleeves and just use bias tape to finish the sleeve seams. Some of the hospitals and photographers that use these gowns have asked us to make the gowns sleeveless or with larger arm holes so that the babies are easier to dress.

Note about Heavenly Angels In Need Website: Currently the website is down while it is being redesigned. Please check back in a few days to see the new and improved site!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

F is for Family and Finished Objects

Yes, finally some knitting (and a bit of sewing) pictures and talk. It's been a while....

But first, family. After we returned from Japan my sister had organized a family reunion on my Dad's side. It was only 5 days after our long flight and amazing vacation that I drove 7 hours to the Okanagan in BC, Canada to visit with family that I hadn't seen in ages. Karen (my sister) put together this awesome poster (actually 3 posters) with our family tree and pictures of everyone starting with my grandparents. It was so cool and totally awesome to see. This is the first poster with my grandparents and then some family pictures. I am in the one on the top left, second from the left in the back, though it is very hard to see --- do you like my permed hair LOL! Thank you so much for all you did, Karen!! We had an awesome time.

And while in Penticton, we went to the Grist Mill which is in Keremeos. It was very hot and humid and the mill wasn't open when we went. But we did walk around and see the water wheel and inside where the flour would be ground. If you go to the website and scroll down to the picture with the people standing in front of the mill, my Dad is the one on the left and I am standing on the far right. How cool to find that we are actually in the picture! Oh and there was a lama farm next to the mill with some very friendly lamas. Isn't he cute ...

Onto the knitting stuff. First up is a raglan sweater with stranded colour work around the yoke. I have this sweatshirt that I just love because it is extra big and cozy and I wanted a knit sweater like that. I know it isn't the most flattering but, for me, I will take comfortable over fitted.

The pattern is mostly the 97-24 Drops Design knit with Tahki Donegal Tweed (teal)and Chester Farms Pride of the Flock (natural) wool yarn on size 4.5mm needles. I changed the pattern by not doing the stranded work in the body and added a cabled rib on all the cuffs and neck. I am not really happy with the cast off on the neck and I may undo it and try making a facing for it instead. In any case, I consider it finished.

Next is my handsome devil socks from six sox knitalong. These turned out great and they are sooo comfy on my feet. Now it just needs to get colder so I can actually wear them. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not wishing this wonderful sunny, warm weather away --- I love the heat, not the cold!!

Knit with Elann Sock It to Me 4 Ply and Plymouth Yarn Sockotta Sock Yarn on 2 size 2.5mm circular needles. Love this pattern and may use it for some mittens. It is not stranded but a slip stitch pattern so you only use one colour at a time. Makes it much easier but looks like it was very complicated.

No sewing pictures this time ... they will have to wait until next post along with some other charity knitting I've been doing. Guess I took the "balance" thing to heart and actually made some things for me. But I have been working, really I have ....

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

J for June and Japan

Wow!! I can't believe that I didn't even post one time in June. Where in the world did the time go. I mean, I know I was busy traveling and doing "end of school" stuff with my kids, but really ..... There's been so much happening that I don't even really know where to start.

We went to Japan. My DH needed to go for work so we extended the time he was there and my kids and I went with him. We had never been before and it was a real adventure. Not many people spoke English, there were lots and lots of people in Tokyo and during the week we were the only "foreigners" on the trains. We definitely stuck out!!

Of course I had to do some craft shopping. There was an amazing store called Yuzawaya in Tokyo with many different buildings and many floors in each building. A crafters paradise!! I found some fabric, though they were only in small pieces, some yarn called Diaexceed (silk, mohair blend), and a Let's Knit Series Summer 2008 knitting pattern book.

When my DH was working my girls and I went to the Imperial Palace's East Garden. All the iris' were in bloom and it was so pretty and peaceful. An oasis in a very busy and crowded city!

And we got to experience the "Japanese Toilet". Hmmm ... I don't think my kids were to impressed that they needed to squat --- make sure your clothes are out of the way too!! LOL!!

We then went to Kyoto for a few days. We took the "bullet train" Nozomi. It went really fast and was expetionally comfortable compared to the airplane we took over there! We explored a few temples and did a lot of walking.

When we had checked the weather forcast before we went it was supposed to be cloudy and rainy the whole time we were there so I didn't bring any sunscreen. Luckily for us the weather was the complete opposite, but it was a challenge to find sunscreen there. Nothing is in english .... so you really didn't know what you were getting!! We did finally find some though so I didn't burn to a crisp.

We had a really good time and I would go back to explore more of the countryside and smaller villages!

I have some FOs (finished objects) to show you but I will do that next time! Hopefully in the next week or so :)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

B is for Blankets and Balance

I see that this post is a little more timely than last time. At least I will have 2 posts listed in May ...

Blankets --- knit, quilted, cheater. I think I like sewing and quilting the best out of the three. These will all be donated to hospitals or NILMDTS photographers when I get them packaged up. But my quandary is where do you send blankets when it is summer in most parts of the US? Can hospitals still use them or do they have room to store them until cooler weather approaches?

Heavenly Angels In Need has a spreadsheet which lists hospitals and photographers with needs. There are so many and I have so few blankets ... how to choose where to send them. Do you find that the need overwhelms you at times? I sure do ... I can get discouraged at the thought of not doing enough, working harder, making more things ... all this at the expense of my family and friends. I can find myself ignoring friends, not keeping commitments, telling my kids I don't have time because I want to sew. Not good for them or for me!

In some sense this is good because it gives me the drive to make items to help those who are grieving or can't afford things for their baby. But what it really points out to me is that I always need to be checking the balance in my life. Am I keeping things on a fairly even keel or is one part of my life taking over ...

This scripture has also been helpful: Jesus is speaking to the disciples after Mary had poured very expensive perfume on Jesus' head ... "The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me." Mark 14:7. The disciples were appalled that Mary would waste the perfume when she could have sold it and used the money to help the poor.

I can really use this in my own life. My kids will only be the age they are once and my biggest mission should be to raise them up in the way of the Lord. It all comes down to balance ...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

S is for Socks and Sweater

Wow, it's been more than a month since I posted last and I am really getting a pile of finished items ready to donate. Most of the items are going to Heavenly Angels In Need (HAIN) and a couple are going to Mittens For Akkol (M4A). This is the first time I have knit anything for M4A and all the ladies on the yahoo group seem very nice and willing to help!

So onto "S" is for socks and sweater. First up a pair of socks for me ... yes I do actually finish some things for myself and my family! Not often though.

These are Jaywalkers, a free knitting pattern that used to be on Magknits (which is no longer online). If you are part of Ravelry you can download the pattern from their pattern library. Knit with 2.25mm needles and Pagewood Farm Denali Hand Dyed Sock Yarn. Very nice and machine washable too.

Next, a pair of large socks for M4A. These are from the pattern Sandal Sox by Sharon Philbrick. Knit with leftover worsted weight yarn, they knit up really quick on 3.5mm needles. They have ties around the top of the sock that you can tighten so they stay up since there is no ribbing up there. I think I made them bigger than the pattern by casting on 48sts and making the foot length 10.5" long.

M4A is having a sock challenge for most of the year. They are trying to knit socks for 2 orphanages in Kazakhstan. Check out their website if you want to help.

Finally, a sweater also destined for M4A. Pretty wild looking in the picture, but it looks much calmer (and prettier) in real life. Knit with Ella Rae's 100% wool yarn on size 4.5mm needles. I used Margaret Hubert's top down knitting pattern for women's size small. It is about 33" around ... too small for me but should fit a teenager just fine.

Next time I post it will be "B" is for Blankets. Hopefully less than a month in between posts!