Musings of a self-taught crafter

2009: Year in Review January 8, 2010

Filed under: 2009,Finished Objects,Knitting,Sewing — blueberryblues @ 4:30 pm

If you had asked me a month ago how many items I handmade during the year I would have gawked at you.  I mean, be real – I just had a baby and there were times during the past year that I barely found time to shower and sleep, much less indulge in a favorite crafty past time!  But when I took the time to look back on all that I had crafted throughout 2009 I found myself pleasantly surprised and proud.

2009 – Knitting

Knits 20091) Claudia Hat 2) Nottingham Hat 3) Button-up Herringbone Cowl

4) Booties 5) Booties 6) and More Booties

7,8)  Hats for donation to local hospital for kids with cancer

9) Little Mabel (detailed blog post to come) and 10) Fish Dishcloth

Okay, the truth is that the green hat was not really my finished object.  It’s actually my husband’s first knitted item, which he did with the help of my instructions.  That counts, right? Some knitters at his company pulled together a charity hat drive and he came home and asked for me to teach him how to knit so that he could take part (I participated too, hence the little yellow had with crocheted flower topper).  I will proudly boast that he did mighty well for his first knit (the cute model does not hurt either)!

I am by far the most excited about the Button-up Herringbone Cowl, which was my first pattern.  It is not a mind-blowing design – it’s a simple cowl knit with two needles and closed with buttons! – but it was the first time that I had written up instructions and put them out there for others to use.  It’s been quite exciting to see it be knit up by others who discovered it over on Ravelry and to see the Ravelry “ticker” kick up to 4 projects!

2009 – Sewing

Sewing 20091, 2, 3) Lots of Babies = Lots of Burp cloths 4) Heat/Cold Pack 5) Baby Quilt

6) Birthday Banner 7,8) Doll Quilts

One of the most surprising developments of 2009 was that I dusted off the ol’ sewing machine and began to use it with more regularity.  With the amount that I had to focus on this year, this didn’t seem like a very smart way to use my crafting time.  But I am SO INSPIRED by the quilts and gorgeous cloth that I’ve seen on other blogs (and those made by L’s daycare provider!) that I could not stop myself.  My 2009 sewing projects are by no means difficult, but they were a start to strengthening my sewing skills.  I’ve really caught the sewing bug now.

The Tally for 2009:

hats – 3 (and 1 for the hubby!)

Booties – 4 (1 pair never photographed or blogged)

cowl – 1 (my pattern!)

sweaters – 1 (toddler sized)

burp cloths – 3 sets of 3

quilt – 3 (1 baby, 2 doll sized)

dishcloth – 1 (raveled but never blogged)

heat/cold pack – 1 (never blogged)

birthday banner – 1

Total – 18 (15 for gifts/charity, 3 for me)

I gave away the majority (83% – WOW!) of my completed products, which is probably why I felt like I didn’t accomplish much since I had gifted the visual reminders of my time and energy.  I can definitely identify which of the items were well cherished and appreciated by their recipients.  I always love when something that you’ve put so much time, energy, and love into is well received and acknowledged.

I can confidently say that I succeeded in my goal that I set at the beginning of 2009 – to find a way to fit crafting into my role as a new mom.  I hope to continue to do so in 2010.  In 2009, I definitely used what time that I did have to craft, not to blog about my crafting.  I hope to post more regularly throughout 2010 and to do so as I finish projects.  It’s nice to have this record to see how far I’ve come in a years time, in two years time, and so forth.  I even have a few ideas for posts queued up, so hopefully this will get me off on a good start! As for 2010 goals, I have a knitting WIP that doesn’t seem like it will ever be completed, probably because I continue to focus my time and energy elsewhere.  It’s time to get that going and finished.  Perhaps I should challenge myself to finish it during the Olympics, à la this?  I also have so many quilting ideas running through my head and I would love to see at least one of them be started and ideally completed.  Hopefully 2010 will be another productive year!


A Bevy of Blankets January 7, 2010

Filed under: 2009,Finished Objects,Sewing — blueberryblues @ 10:05 pm

A short post lacking in detail as I try to wrap up posting my 2009 projects.

A baby sized quilt for PSC

DSC_0029 (2)

A doll blanket for my Mom and L – a Christmas present


And another doll quilt for my Mother-in-law and L – – a Christmas present



New Traditions December 24, 2009

Filed under: 2009,Finished Objects,Sewing — blueberryblues @ 2:55 pm

I love decorating for the holidays.  I have my favorite decorations that I look forward to uncovering out each year – the cross stitch santas, handmade paper holiday cards too pretty to throw out that I’ve framed, special ornaments, the crocheted Christmas tree angel.  To me, these items bring up fond memories of family members and celebrations gone by and these items are now like old friends whom I get excited to see even before we open the storage crate.

L’s first birthday is just a few short weeks before Christmas.  As we prepared for her FIRST birthday party (YEAH!  She’s ONE!), I wanted to create a special decoration that could be pulled out and displayed year-after-year.  I’ve loved the birthday buntings that I’ve seen on Etsy and around the web and decided to create one of my own.


I purchased a Fabric Central Refresh fabric bundle on a whim awhile ago.  I fell in love with the nature prints (leaves, flowers, butterflies) and the color palette of soft blues, greens, and browns.  The colors are a little mature for a first birthday, but I think that its quiet sophistication will help it “age” over time.


I cut the letters out of white fabric that I had in my stash.  I ironed on paper backed fusible web and then traced letters which I printed out to use them as a stencil.  I ironed on and sewed around each letter on the front half of the bunting before sewing together the front and backs together.  The finished size is about 4.5″ x 5″.  I finished the banner by sewing each letter on cotton bias tape 1′ apart.

I’m really happy with the finished product.  It hung in our living room for a whole week before L’s party and I became more excited to celebrate the milestone birthday each time I passed it.  I’m excited to have this project completed and in our stash of decorations.  I know that when we pull this out each year that I will fondly remember L’s first birthday and be amazed at how she’s changed.

Happy 1rst Birthday, L!


The Original Kick-Proof Booties December 17, 2009

Filed under: 2009,Baby,Finished Objects,Knitting — blueberryblues @ 12:00 pm

L wearing the pair knit by my mom (left) and the original pair knit by my great-great aunt (right)

This pattern has a bit of family history to it.  My great-great aunt knit a pair of these booties for me when I was born.  My mom loved these booties because they were the only thing that I couldn’t kick off my wiggly feet.  I dressed my Cabbage Patch Kid in these booties throughout my childhood.  Somehow, despite my using them as doll clothes, my mom saved them for when I had a baby and they were still in excellent shape.  Last fall, before L was born, my mom looked high and low for the pattern and  she was able to find it thanks to Ravelry’s pattern database.  She gave us the original pair from my great-great aunt as well as a new blue/green/purple variegated pair she knit.  I can attest that these booties are kick-proof, a definite sanity saver to a new parent.  We dressed L in these booties almost exclusively last winter and into the spring.


Pattern: Christine’s Stay On Booties (pattern link) (rav link)DSC_0323

Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Happy Feet – 1 skein each of colorway #10 (blue/maroon/dark green) and #13 (blue/pink/purple)

Needles: Set of 5 size 3 dpns

Size: 0-3 months

Gifts for: Baby Boy PSC and Baby Girl AGM

Modifications: On the blue pair I continued the 4 row/4 row knit purl pattern on the top of the foot so it continued the whole way up the booties, just as my great-great aunt had done on the original pair.  For the purple/pink pair I made eyelets on a diagonal across the top of the foot and spiraling up the leg.  I liked modifying the details for each pair – it not only makes each individual, but it also kept me interested! Hopefully these booties are helping to save the sanity of the new parents this winter.


New Parent Sanity Savers December 8, 2009

Filed under: 2009,Finished Objects,Sewing — blueberryblues @ 4:04 pm

Most of our friends got married around the same time.  So, as expected, we find ourselves at the start of a baby boom right now.  And with numerous expectant first time parents comes numerous baby showers!  I have found that my ideas of an appropriate baby gift has changed since becoming a new parent and, thus, I now give everyone my “New Parent Sanity Saver Kit” containing a swaddle blanket, booties (details to follow), and burp cloths, as well as the frequently overlooked but very useful diaper bag items  (stain remover, pad of paper and pencil).

Wanting to make the items a bit special and individual, I’ve been having fun creating burp cloths by dressing up your standard cloth diaper, which we found to be the softest and most absorbent of all of the burp cloths we used.

DSC_0162 (2)For Baby IMM

DSC_0318 (2)For Baby AGM

I added the animals on each of these using the same technique as I did for L’s nursery art, sewing around each before attaching the panel to the burp cloth.  I did find that the size of each diaper differs ever-so- slightly, making measuring each one separately a necessity.

DSC_0002For Baby PSC

For the third set I used scraps from a coordinating project (to be discussed here in the near future) and pieced them together in a faux quilted look.

I hope the recipients enjoyed this personal touch.  I know that at least one set has been put to use.  Thankfully these are a pretty quick project and therefore easy to whip up for a baby shower.


Quick and Easy Baby Booties April 7, 2009

Filed under: 2009,Finished Objects,Knitting — blueberryblues @ 11:19 am

Daughters of two women in my office were recently expecting grandsons and I thought they might enjoy a little gift, especially since they were both so generous to me when I was expecting Lauren.   I cannot express how much I DESPISE baby socks – they just won’t stay on.  My mom knit Lauren a set of baby booties out of great superwash wool sock yarn that fit her perfectly when she was born and they miraculously did not fall off no matter how hard she kicked.  They were sanity savers for a new mom of a winter baby.  

DSC_0030 Pattern:  Boy’s and Girl’s Booties from Natural Knits for Babies and Moms

Yarn:  Lily Sugar ‘n Cream, a worsted weight cotton, in Cool Breeze Ombre

Size: 0-3 months

I chose this pattern simply because I had this worsted weight yarn in my stash.   I had enough yarn to knit both sets out of one skein. These booties are knit on two needles, the instructions are clear ,and they are an easy and quick knit – in fact, each pair took me two evenings to knit and sew up the seems.  However, they just do not have the same visual appeal as the ones my mom knit.  They do seem big for a 0-3 month old baby – these fit my 4 month old who has long and narrow feet.  But, I do believe they will work for their intended kick-proof purpose.  I think baby booties may become my new essential baby shower gift, but I think in the future I will try out the pattern that my mom used.


Nottingham Hat March 24, 2009

Filed under: 2009,Finished Objects,Knitting — blueberryblues @ 3:48 pm

Proof that I can knit something in less than a week.  Since I had inadvertently knit myself a new hat, I still owed my husband a new hat.  I managed to knit this hat without him knowing and have it done in time for his birthday.

DSC_0005 (2) Pattern: Nottingham

Yarn: Green Mountain Spinnery Mountain Mohair, colorway Claret (a nice mix of various wine colors and black)

Size:Adult (23″ head circumference)

The hat pattern is pretty gender neutral.  It does have a lot of stretch to it (perfect for my husband’s huge noggin) .  I decided to stick to the same yarn that I used for my Claudia hat since I’ve been completely happy with the feel and wear of my hat.  It is a bit rough when you work with it, but it definitely softens after a soaking – a necessity for an article of clothing worn against the skin.  There is nothing worse than an itchy forehead when confronted with lots of shovelling to do!