Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Holiday crafting

I can finally see my desk again!  The last few weeks have been filled with making holiday gifts for friends and family.  By the time December 25th came around, my desk was piled a couple feet high with skeins of yarn, needles, books and patterns.  (I'm not posting a picture of it out of sheer embarrassment.)

Here are some of things I was working on...

A jellyfish from the book Amigurumi Knits by Hansi Singh.



Stuffed cat


And then when it was time to clean up the desk, I decided I needed to organize my knitting needles.  So, I put together this case with some leftover Eames fabric I have been holding on to for years.  I'm so glad I was able to put it to good use.  All this case is is a long rectangle with a 6 1/2" lower pocket and 1 1/2" upper pocket to keep the long needles in check.  The individual pockets for the needles are 1 1/2" to 3" in width (for circulars) with one 6" width pocket for embroidery needles and other notions.

I used a hook and eye closure, but want to change it.  Maybe later...I'm still finishing up some holiday crafts.  Bleargh.

Stuffed cat pattern

While packing up the gifts to send to my folks for Christmas, it occurred to me that I had forgotten to get something for my brother's new daughter, Ella.

So, I decided to throw together a toy.  I knew I didn't have enough time to knit something, so I drew out a cat on some graph paper, knit eyes, nose, tail and collar and attached them with needle and thread.  If you're interested in making the cat, the pattern is below.

What you will need:
Felt in brown (2 pieces about the size of a standard sheet of paper)
Worsted weight yarn in white, black, pink, brown and blue.  (Of course, you can use whatever assortment of colors you like.)
Size 6 dpns
Embroidery floss in black (for whiskers)
Needle and thread
Polyester fiberfill for stuffing

Download and print pattern.

Cut two of pattern from felt.

Eyes: (work in round)
CO 12 stitches on to 3 dpns using white yarn and join in round
Rounds 1 and 2: k12
Switch to black yarn
Round 3: (k2, k2tog) 3 times - for a total of 9 stitches
Round 4: k9
Break yarn, thread through remaining stitches and pull tight.  Weave in loose yarns.

Nose: (work back and forth in rows)
CO 6 stitches on to 1 needle
Row 1: p6
Row 2: k2tog, k2,ssk - for a total of 4 stitches
Row 3: p2tog, p2tog-tbl - for a total of 2 stitches
Row 4: k2tog
Break yarn, slip through remaining loop and pull tight.  Weave in loose ends.

Knit a six stitch I-cord until approximately 4" long (or as long as you like).

*When attaching face/tail, be aware that you will need to leave room for a seam if you use a sewing machine to sew up the sides.
1) On outside front cat piece, attach eyes and nose using needle and thread.
2) Embroider whiskers with black embroidery floss using backstitch.  ( I put three whiskers on each side below the nose with the middle whisker on each side slightly shorter than the other two.)
3) On outside back cat piece, attach tail either curving (as in picture) or straight with needle and thread.
4) With outsides facing in (face and tail should face each other), pin the two felt cat pieces together.
5) With a sewing machine, sew front and back together with a 3/8" -1/2" seam, leaving a small hole at bottom for turning inside out and stuffing.
6) Trim corners to make shaping easier.
7) Turn inside out so face and tail are on the outside.
8) Stuff cat
9) Close up hole in bottom with whip stitch.
10) Knit a 4-stitch I-cord, long enough to fit around stuffed cat's neck.  Tie the two ends in a bow to attach to cat (as pictured) or use tails to sew the two ends together for a seamless look.

** If you don't have a sewing machine, you can use whip stitch to sew the front and back of cat together.

Birthday party in a snowstorm

Steve and I flew to Chicago for my grandpa's 90th birthday party a couple weeks ago.  It happened to be on the weekend of a major snowstorm, think Metrodome roof collapse.  Luckily for us, we flew in while the precipitation was still rain and flew out after it was all over - no cancellations and no major delays.  What luck!

After arriving in Chicago, we did a bit of a bakery crawl, stopping at Hoosier Mama Pie Company for a slice of chocolate chess pie and a whole ginger custard pie.

Next, it was off to Vanille Patisserie for Macarons.

Eventually, we made it downtown to our hotel and caught a bite to eat at an Irish Pub amongst a group of Santa's on a pub crawl with a purpose.

This nice Santa let me get a photo of him with his baby.

The next morning, we woke up to this.  Our drive to Riccardo's for the party was fine, but my parents in WI didn't end up making the trip due to the weather (or, maybe, it was the passengers).

The party was very nice.  We were glad to have made the trip  Here is a photo of Steve, Grandpa and me.

For more photos from the party, click here.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Godfrey gets ready to go

My grandpa turned 90 on December 9.  What do you give someone who is turning 90?


Ready to go...

Yet another Mochimochi pattern.
Knit with acrylic worsted weight yarn on size 6 dpns.