Wednesday, December 31, 2008

it's been a busy holiday!

I'm finally back to blogging.  I have been so busy working on holiday gifts that I haven't taken the time to post.  Diana and I have been busy making candle wraps, notebook covers, planner covers, table runners, basket liners, curtains and the start of tree skirts for next year.  Yes I said NEXT YEAR!  I always start the year with the same new years resolution - not waiting until the last minute to make gifts.  And every year I do the same.  I wait until December and then sew for hours at a time to get things done.  I always think of things I wish I had time to make and vow that I will start early next year.  So here I am promising myself that I will not wait so long next year. Hence, the reason for beginning our tree skirts is to have them done BEFORE Christmas.  Diana and I will be making our own and will also make one to give to Jen for her birthday in October and one to Meagan and Ryan to give them at their wedding shower (they are getting married in October).

And now that the holidays are over, I decided to break away from the sewing machine just a bit and work on a couple hats.  Everyone knows that my favorite thing to knit is hats.  So I first made Addison a Banana Republic knock-off hat and it turned out so cute.  I then decided to knit the adult version of it for Jen.  You can see just how cute they both look in them.

So here's to a great and productive 2009!!!!  Happy New Year!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Addie is 9 months old!

Where has the time gone?  It seemed like only yesterday we were waiting for her to arrive and now she is 9 months old.  She is such a joy and more fun every day.  I hardly miss a day of seeing her - even if it's to just stop for a minute and give her a hug.  This is one of her Christmas pictures that Ryan took.  It's not a straight on shot but I just love the "action" shots.  This one makes her look like such a big girl.  I just love the beautiful dress and the bare feet!!  Little Addie will be celebrating her first Christmas very soon.  What fun to have a little one around again!!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Diana's first quilt!

My daughter-in-law Diana wanted to learn how to quilt so we decided to have a sewing day and I would teach her the basics.  I made her appliqued table runners last Christmas and ever since she has wanted to know how to do it.  At first I thought we would start with a runner but then I wanted her to know the basic technique of patchwork first.  So I decided to teach her how to do a 3" square patchwork table centerpiece - just to let her get the feel of the 1/4" seam allowances and the importance of sewing straight and pressing well.  As you can see, she did a fantastic job.  By the time we were done she completed a 15"x18" table centerpiece to use for Christmas.  And when I say complete I mean complete.  She cut the fabric, sewed perfect 1/4" seams, sewed them back together, pinned it with the batting and backing, machine quilted it, sewed her binding on AND hand sewed the binding in place - all in one day!  Now she has the bug!  Really, really bad!!!  I knew it would happen.  I warned her!  The quilting bug bit me  about 22 years ago and I still feel it!!!  Great job Diana!!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Addie's First Thanksgiving!

This Thanksgiving we had something new to add to our list of things that we are thankful for.  Her name is Addison - and we are so blessed to have her in our lives.  Every day I wonder what we did without her.  She brings a smile to my face every day.  

 So Happy 1st Thanksgiving Addison - we love you more than we could ever imagine!


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Another Christmas gift checked off!

My daughter-in-law Diana requested a seasonal wall hanging for Christmas that she can switch out for the different seasons of the year.  Last Christmas I made her seasonal tablerunners and she loves them and uses them all the time.  So I bought this beautiful star hanger that has a rod where you can change out the wall hangings easily.  I actually bought one for Jen and Meagan as well but I decided to wait with Meagans until next Christmas because then her and Ryan will be married and have a joint household.  This year they are still homeowners of two townhomes and don't need any  more stuff to worry about moving when they do sell.  and Jen just got her Advent Calendar for this year so unless more time miraculously appears in my day, I don't know if I will get hers done.  But she knows I'm good for it!

So here is the first installment for Diana - a Christmas hanging.  I will also get one made to match her house that can be hung up in between holidays.  I will also try to get one done for Easter, Halloween and Thanksgiving.  Again, not sure how many will be wrapped for Christmas, but I will do my best!   I need longer weekends!!!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Smokin' Embroidery Machine

I finished the trim on the bath towels last week but hadn't gotten to the embroidery part of the project.  I needed to embroider the names on the backs of the towels.  Since I had my embroidery machine going strong to finish the advent calendar I decided to keep it going and get the rest of our project list completed.  So tonight I finished Audrey, Brennan and Nia's bath towels that Jen is giving them for Christmas.  Nia will be having a baby brother join her early next year so for this Christmas, until he is named, he will get a towel minus his name.  I still have that one to finish.  They turned out so cute.  I used a font called Child's Play, which seemed appropriate for baby bath towels.  

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Jen's Advent Calendar

Well, I decided to sew all weekend instead of knit and I completed Jen's Advent Calendar.  She wanted to have one for Addison's First Christmas so that she can use it for years to come with Addison and any brothers or sisters she may have!!!  It's all about starting family traditions.  Now that Jen and Eric have started their own family, it's time for them to start creating memories.  

This all started when Jen and I looked at Advent Calendars at several places.  They were either too expensive, too big or poorly made.  Of course, I jumped right on that one!  Too expensive?  Well, by the time you buy everything and the time it takes, I guess the price wasn't that bad after all.  Too big?  After you put 25 pockets on and make them a size that is usable, well, it's hard to keep it small.  Too poorly made?  Now that's one I can beat them on.  I am an over-achiever when I sew.  It MUST be perfect or I am not happy.  I even critiqued this project and noticed how many numbers I sewed on a bit crooked.   But one thing Addison can say when she looks at this every Christmas is "My grammy made this for me."   Aaawwwww!!!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Always switching gears!

With Christmas getting close, a million gift ideas race through my head.  And did I tell you that ideas race through Jen's as well?  Well, being the Mom that I am, I always volunteer to help with her ideas as well.  Part of my problem is that I look at the price that stores charge for things that I can make....and the quality is usually poor.  It all started when Jen wanted an advent calendar.  We actually went to see them in person and they were not good for the price - at least to my standards.  So first volunteer project.  We bought fabric and I plan to have it done before December 1.  Second project - making hoodie bathtowels for all of Jen's nieces and nephews.  Pottery Barn charges an arm and a second volunteer project.  I can sew ribbon on towels and use my embroidery machine to embroider their names on them.  So tonight I sewed ribbon on 4 towels.  The embroidery will come later.  But they did turn out so cute.  And nothing is nicer than a handmade gift.  They sewed up so quickly that it's hard for me to imagine a store charging $30 each!!!  I already made two for Addie and they are so big and warm and wrap around her so much nicer than the little baby ones.  Because, after all she is getting to be a big girl already!  

So I will continue sewing and knitting until the final hours prior to Christmas in hopes of getting everything done that I want or would like to have done!  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mystery Beret - Clue #2

Well, I caught up and have finished clue #2 of the mystery beret.  I love it so far.  Next clue will be the decrease rows and then the blocking.  Can't wait to see the finished product.  This was a fast, enjoyable knit.  I'm still not sure how it will look on me as I am not a hat person but I am anxious to finish it anyway.  Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised.  Clue #3 is supposed to come out on Thursday so hopefully I will finish it over the weekend and be ready to block it.  Yeah - then the final test.  Who will it look good on?  Hopefully me! 

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Time for a Mystery!

Anyone who does read my blog knows that I always have a ton of projects going at once.  So why wouldn't I jump on the chance to do a Mystery Beret?  A hat designer on Ravelry called Woolly Wormhead has started a mystery beret group.  When you join anything that has the word "mystery" in the title, you know that you won't know what it will look like until you are picture ahead of time, just clues.  So Clue #1 was the 2" k1p1 rib.  Done!  The second clue is the actually pattern of the beret, which is a very pretty lace pattern...Started!  I am not a hat person at all so you might wonder why I would be making this?  I don't have the right hair for hats - once they come off I can't go anywhere but home!  But the idea of making a beret sounded appealing.  And fun.  So off I went - digging through my stash since I refused to buy any new yarn for a hat that might not even look good on me.  I know the hat will be beautiful as all of Woolly Wormhead's hats are very cool.  I have 3 girls in my family so if this doesn't work for me, then I have other heads to try it on!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

How it all began

For some reason the beginning of Fall brings out the organizer/cleaner person in me.  I have spent this entire weekend like a mad woman - cleaning out drawers and cabinets, putting new shelf paper down, organizing a bathroom closet AND organizing my craft, scrapbook, sewing, knitting, and crocheting room!  I decided it was time to organize all of my patterns...those in the form of books, magazines and printed off the internet.  I am amazed by what I have!  I could knit 24 hours a day for two lifetimes and never come close to making all the patterns I have.  But a couple things caught my eye.  I found my first two books I ever got on how to learn to knit and crochet.  I always tell my kids that I was somewhat different than alot of little kids my age.  They would want to be out playing (which don't get me wrong, I did alot of) but I always wanted to be sitting with my Mom and her many sisters at the dining room table watching them knit, crochet and tat.  They made exquisite things - beautiful tablecloths with the smallest crochet hook you ever saw, with tons of small beads crocheted in.  Unbelievable.  I wanted to learn as I watched them.  I remember my one aunt worked at a tiny store that sold everything you could think of.  One day her and my Mom took me there to get my first book on how to learn to knit and crochet.  I couldn't believe that my Mom had saved it for me all these years.  The copyright in my "Learn How Book" was 1959.  I was 5 years old!!!  My name is printed on the inside in this very cute, large printing - MY large printing!!  It was MY book, my very own book!   It cost 29 cents!  From that point on I was hooked so to speak.  Oh, I've gone in and out of knitting and crocheting over the years but have always been in love with anything done by hand.  I've quilted, made my kids their clothes and halloween costumes, covered their beds in quilts, etc.  and now I have a beautiful granddaughter Addison that has sparked a new love affair with knitting!  I can't wait until Addison is watching me knit and says to me in her little squeaky voice "Grammy can you show me how to do that?"  I sure will Addie!!! 


Friday, October 31, 2008

My little Cheerleader!

Even though Addie is only 7 months old and won't remember a thing about her first Halloween, it was fun to see her dressed up.  She was such a good little girl and seemed to love all the attention.  It's so fun to mark off all the "firsts" that she will experience.  We are getting close to the end of the firsts - at least as they relate to holidays.  Now that Halloween is over, we just have her first Thanksgiving and first Christmas.  Before you know it we will be celebrating her first birthday.  Where does the time go?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Starting and Finishing

Well, after putting Addie's Tulip Sweater away for a few weeks, I decided to finish it.  I had to put it away because I had never done attached i-cord and the pattern really stumped me.  Of course, I was trying it at night when I don't think as clearly.  So after a few weeks of sitting in the basket, I decided it was too cute to not finish so I pulled it out, typed in "attached i-cord" on YouTube and figured out how to do it.  It's amazing what you can learn on YouTube.  So as you can see from the picture I have one more sleeve to do and the final i-cord around the neck and it's done.  I made it a bit bigger so that Addie can wear it in the spring.  It's turning out really cute. 

As for the starting part...well, I bought this beautiful Cascade chunky tweed in a beautiful light gray with flecks of black in it.  I am making Meagan a shrug for Christmas.  (Meagan, if you are reading this, sorry you know about one of your gifts).  I am going to make one for Jen and Diana as well.  They go pretty quickly once you get going.   I only have about 25% of it done but that's because I was working on the Tulip Sweater.

All good knitters know that you always have many different projects going at once.  That's what keeps it fun - switching off.  You start something, you finish something, you put a project in hibernation, you never complete something because you don't like the way it looks, you buy yarn for that special sweater that you haven't started yet, you buy yarn for a cute pair of socks, you get the bug to start a shawl and then forget about it, and on and on and on!  I love knitting!!!! 

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Addison is ready for winter!

Surprise!!!!  I made Addison another hat.  We need to make sure she coordinates with all of her sweaters and coats, right?  This latest one is a Mock Cable and was very fun.  Her new snowsuit is dark pink with chocolate brown trim so I decided to make her a brown hat and add a cute little dark pink flower on it.  It is so cute.  I need to stop with the hats now since I seem to be totally hooked on making them.  Maybe it's the instant gratification that I talk about all the time.  They are just so fast and so rewarding.  A girl can never have too many hats!!!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A day at the Pumpkin Farm!

Well, the weather was perfect today to take Addison to the pumpkin patch.  We got some really cute pictures of her wearing her pumpkin hat.  Unfortunately I made it a bit too big so every so often we would look down and it would be over her eyes.  But the good thing is that next fall it will be perfect!  It was nice going on a week day so that we had the place to ourselves.  From the size of the parking lot they had made in a field across the street, I assume that they have pretty good crowds on the weekends and as they get closer to Halloween.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

No Pumpkin Farm Today!

Well, anyone from the Chicago Area knows that it's raining like crazy today!  What a bummer since today was the day that Jen and I were going to take Addison to the pumpkin farm.  I worked quickly on a cute little pumpkin hat for her to wear.  But it looks like it will have to take place another day.  

In the meantime, I am posting a picture of the cute little hat.  It's a combination of patterns from the Itty Bitty Hats book.  It's the basic rolled brim hat design of the Upside Down Daisy with the stem and leaf from the Pumpkin Hat Pattern.  I can't wait to get a picture of Addison wearing it sitting amongst all the other pumpkins!  So cute!  

Monday, October 6, 2008

Green Gable Live!

As promised, here is a picture of my Green Gable being me!  I love way it fits and am extremely happy with the project.  Of course, the stockinette stitch for the body drove me nuts.  In the end?  A great sweater that fits perfectly.  Would I make another one?  I said no with every row of the body but now that it's done, I can picture one in black or a very deep olive - oh yeah.  What am I thinking?

Until then I will work on Addison's Tulip Sweater.  And maybe another shrug to get a jump on Christmas knitting.  Green Gable in any other color will have to wait.

Friday, October 3, 2008

I "heart" finishing!

Yeah, my shrug is done!  I love it!  If I hadn't seen my friend Joan's done, I would not have believed that what I was knitting would turn out to be something so cute.  It had to be one of the easiest but most gratifying knits I have done in awhile.  Although ribbing gets old really quickly, it isn't nearly as bad as all stockinette stitch.  It was also a very fast knit - I started it last week and finished it up tonight.  Basically, one weeks work of knitting and that was not every night.  Just a little each night and a good chunk on the weekend.  Loved using Size 11 needles compared to the Size 1 needles I use on socks!  Maybe that's why it knit up so fast!  Ya think?  

This weekend we will be celebrating Jen and Diana's birthday.  I think my shrug will go along with me.  If they like it, and also Meagan, then I best get busy knitting 3 more!  I think I've got it in me!

Monday, September 29, 2008

I'm halfway there!

Oh, I'm so enjoying this shrug!  The yarn is so soft and the large needles - well what can I say!  It's going so quickly and I can't wait to see how it turns out when sewn together and done.  I've already decided that my girls will get one for Christmas.  I have only worked on this shrug a few days off and on and I'm already halfway through it.  I'm hoping that another few evenings and I should be done.  I think this is a doable project on the list to complete for Christmas gift giving.   I love giving handmade gifts - especially since the recipients appreciate the time and love that goes into what I make.  

The picture above doesn't really look like a shrug yet but just wait until you see it done!  Joan, girlfriend, thank you!  I can only hope that mine turns out as beautiful as yours! 

Friday, September 26, 2008

"Shrug" it off!

Like I said in my earlier post - my needles from Green Gable weren't cool yet when I cast on for my shrug.  My friend Joan made it and when I saw her picture posted on Ravelry, I knew I had to make it.  Here is a picture of the first few inches.  I figured if I keep posting about it, I will keep at it.  It is an easy, but enjoyable knit, done in rib stitch - one of my favorite.  

I also want to start my Cassidy cardigan but decided that my little peanut Addison needs another sweater for fall.  And one good thing about her sweaters....they are little.  Big girl stuff takes forever.  Of course my fear is that I will make this shrug and all the girls in my life - Jen, Diana and Meagan will love it and want one.  I have to admit that it would make a great Christmas gift.  It's a one size fits all kind of shrug so I know the sizing wouldn't be an issue.  Boy, I really dream big to think that I could make 3 more shrugs before Christmas.  Let's see what I think after I finish this one. 

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I love finishing!

Yeah, Green Gables is FINALLY off the needles.  I don't know what I was more excited for...getting to wear it or to feel guilt-free casting on another project.  I'm thinking a little of both.  So, until I start my next big sweater project, I've decided to start this cute little shrug that my friend Joan gave me.  It is a quick, easy knit and hers turned out great!  And it's knitted on Size 11 needles.  I'm used to useing Size 1 on my socks so this will be quite a change for me.  So tonight I stopped and bought some Patons Chunky Tweed in a chocolate brown and already cast on.  My needles from GG weren't even cooled off yet!  I have so many projects I want to make.  Hard part is picking the next one.  I thought this cute little shrug would be a great project.  It seems to be an easy knit with great results - my favorite kind of project.  Will be perfect to use during our cold Chicago winters.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My favorite place in the house!

How many of you have a favorite chair that you sit in to knit?  This is a picture of my corduroy chair and a half complete with ottoman!  I love it and spend lots of time working on my projects in it.  I had originally bought a rocker-type chair for "my room" to use when I needed to rock Addison.  But I found that it wasn't as comfortable as I had wanted it to be for the nights I knit.  So I moved it to another room and claimed the big chair for my room.  Does this mean that I am always in my room knitting alone?  Not all the time.  But when Mike isn't home or is watching some crazy John Wayne movie in the family room, I retreat to my room and curl up with a good knitting project.  Sometimes I turn the TV on and other times I listen to my knitting podcasts.  I haven't been able to convince him that reruns of Knitty Gritty or my Stash and Burn Podcasts are great fun.  So for the time being, we are quite compatible in separate rooms!  Is that a bad thing?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Big girl sits up!

Now that Addison is sitting up, she quickly reminded us that she no longer wants to be in the infant seat when we are at the store.  As it lays back, she is trying with all her might to hold her head up away from the seat.  Time for a big girl seat!  I bought a pattern to make a Cart Cover back before Addison was born.  At the time, I just put it away, thinking it would be FOREVER before she could sit up on her own.  Well, it's here.  Jen took this picture on her cell phone.  It doesn't show it very clearly but you get the idea.  She even got her first ride in the stroller facing forward at Oak Brook the other day and loved it.  i guess she needed to see other things besides Mommy and Grammy!!! 

And as anyone who watches the news knows, Chicago has been getting a ton of rain.  It has been raining since Friday night.  So what better day for a sewing project than a damp, rainy day.  Of course watching the Bears lose wasn't fun but I kept on sewing anyway.  I finished Addison's Cart Cover and was in such a hurry to take it over to her that I forgot to take a picture of it.  So that will come later.  Maybe I'll even get a picture of Addison in it!  Better yet!  I needed a photo to post so I took one of the pattern and of the trim fabric I used on it.  Her toys that we were attaching to it were farm animals in reds, blacks, yellows so I made the body of it in quilted black fabric and trimmed it in this adorable multi-colored polka dot.  It was very easy to make and turned out so nice.  I can't wait to see how it fits in the cart and how Addie likes it!  Now she can grocery shop in style!!!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

My little Addison!

Addison will be 6 months old tomorrow.  Where has the time gone?  She is sitting up, rocking on her hands and knees, laughing and developing this adorable personality.  I always remember my Mom telling me that as you get older the time flies by.  And it certainly does.  My own three children are adults now and I can't believe how quickly those years went.  And now my first granddaughter is here and I am watching her grow before my eyes.  Isn't it funny that when you are at the stage of your life when you can relax and take things slow, everything around you is going fast?  I want to enjoy all of these times with my children and grandchildren.  I want us to do things together and enjoy being together because as we all know, time goes by much too quickly.  My daughter Jen got me a beautiful sign for my birthday that says "Love like there's no tomorrow." And that's what we should all try to do each and every day because we don't know what tomorrow will bring.  

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I think it's time for a quilt!

I have been quilting for 22 years but for the past couple years knitting has taken over my life.  I was looking for a hobby that was a bit more portable.  Something that I could do sitting with the family and not have to be in my sewing room alone.  Something I could stick in my purse and take with me to work on at lunch or while waiting for an appointment.  Then, baby Addison came along and I started collecting some really adorable quilting fabrics to make her a quilt.  She is 6 months old and I have not made her a quilt yet.  My goal is to make one for her 1st birthday and personalize it just for her so that she always has something to remember me by.   While shopping for cute fabrics I realized how much I miss quilting.  Picking the colors, choosing the pattern, watching it go together.  I want it to be special.  I want Addie to pick it up and cuddle it and wear it out.  I don't want it to sit folded in a corner.  I want it to be dragged around the house..something she can cuddle in when she is sick.  I want her to wear it out and love it. Because all the love she gives it will be the same amount of love that I will put into it!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Are we there yet?

As you know, I took a break from my Green Gable to work on the Forest Canopy Shawl.  I'm loving it and the lace pattern is so easy.  But I still need to keep working on Green Gable.  I know I complain all the time about how boring stockinette in the round is...and I really mean that!  But I really want to finish it to wear this fall before it gets too cold.  So I should put the lace down and really concentrate on it.  I'm thinking I still have about 12 inches of bodice to do yet in addition to the sleeves.  But the sleeves are short so they should take no time at all.  And since it's a top down sweater, there is no seaming.  Yeah!  My goal is to get this sweater done before we go to San Francisco in October.  Is that asking too much?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Forest Canopy Shawl

Okay, enough complaining about going round and round on my Green Gable sweater.  I decided I needed a diversion from "in the round."  So I've decided to cast on my Forest Canopy Shawl....which, to me is the extreme opposite of something as boring as stockinette.  I have to follow a seven row repeat and as you can see, it is turning out quite nicely.  I love the challenge of following a lace pattern.   But it is definitely not a conversational knit, at least for me.  All of the comments on Ravelry say it's an easy pattern to memorize.  I've only done one repeat and I don't feel at all close to being in the memory mode yet.  But I'm thinking it will come.  For now, I would rather follow the pattern row by row than to do any ripping out.  Lace work is not fun to rip.  Ravelry knitters also said this was a great first lace project and they were right.  I am really enjoying the change of pace. 

The yarn I bought for this shawl is a little heavier than what I wanted but I am liking the stitch definition.  It is called Catalina and it's 60% baby alpaca and 40% pima cotton.  I chose a nice natural color so that it will go with any dress I might want to wear with it.  It will also be a nice piece to share with my girls - Jen, Diana and Meagan in case they need a beautiful shawl to wear to a wedding reception.   It would be perfect!  Any weddings coming up???