Musings of a self-taught crafter

This just in… February 28, 2010

Filed under: 2010,Crochet,Knitting,Olympic Knitting — blueberryblues @ 2:54 pm

My Knitting Olympics and Ravelympics projects are completed and gold medals have  been attained.

Photographic evidence to follow shortly.  Once I find the camera…


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!


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.


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!


Button-Up Herringbone Cowl January 22, 2009

Filed under: 2009,Finished Objects,Knitting — blueberryblues @ 6:50 pm

It’s winter.  I’m always cold, thus, I always have a scarf wound around my neck at all times of the day.  However, scarfs can be bulky under coats and I sometimes get sick of having them draped down all the way down to my waist and getting caught around my arms while I move.  So, I decided to join the bandwagon and knit a cowl to match my new mittens.  Cowls are definitely a great alternative to scarfs, yet most are designed to be pulled over your head, thus mussing up your hair – not that I ever actually do my hair, yet static is not a style I’m wanting to sport.  So, I decided to play around with designing a cowl that closed using buttons.  I searched through Barbara Walker’s A Treasury of Knitting Patterns and fell in love with the Woven Diagnonal Herringbone pattern.  I’ve written up my pattern to share with you.


Button-Up Herringbone Cowl

dsc_0013-2I’m in love with the end result, which is both sleek and warm and I think the stitch pattern showcases the variation of the Manos del Uruguay yarn beautifully.  As evidenced by the pictures, I don’t “do” my hair.  At least this cowl won’t make it look worse!



Claudia Hat January 11, 2009

Filed under: 2009,Finished Objects,Knitting — blueberryblues @ 8:24 pm

dsc_00092I can’t believe that I have finished knitting something over here!  Since figuring out how to knit while breastfeeding (not an easy task), I managed to finish the Claudia Hat that I began back in early December. 

Pattern:  Claudia Hat

Yarn:  Green Mountain Spinnery Mountain Mohair, colorway Midnight Blue

Size: One size

 The hat pattern itself seems pretty gender neutral, basically a ribbed hat with a little trellis detail at the bottom.  The pattern states that it fits most people’s heads without having to really be exact about the measurements, however I found that this was not really the case.  I originally planned this hat to be for my husband, however the ribbing did not stretch as much as I anticipated, and thus, it appears I have knit myself a new winter hat.  

dsc_0040I love the yarn – it is soft and became softer with washing.  It does not itch when worn, a problem I often have with hats.  The color is a great mix of blues, blacks and greys.

I hope to keep knitting, but I have to wonder what kind of gauge issues might develop from knitting during breastfeeding.  Guess we’ll just have to try and see.