Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year! I have wanted to posted sooner, but I've been enjoying time with my husband home from teaching, family and friends visiting from out of town, eating delicious goodies, relaxing a bit, and doing a bit of crafting here and there. I hope that you all have had a blessed holiday as well.

We certainly had a white Christmas this year! We woke up to snow on Christmas morning, and there was still the ten inches on the ground from two days before. A week before that it had snowed about 16 inches, so we had quite a bit piled up (and still do)! It made Christmas all the more magical. Matthew was a much bigger participant this year than his first Christmas, and I can definitely say that he liked Christmas. :) Of course he enjoyed opening gifts, but he also enjoyed being around all of the family and friends who showered him with love and attention. We are so thankful for all of our loved ones. We even spent a couple of days in the "big city" of Albuquerque going to the aquarium and biopark. It was fun just to do something different and get out of our small, isolated town. I do always enjoy coming home, though!

As you can see in the next picture, I FINALLY finished Pat's Cobblestone Pullover. I seriously finished it at 11:00pm Christmas Eve, and I think there are still a couple of ends that I haven't weaved in yet. It fits him well and he's happy with it, and I'm happy to finally have it finished! Yay! About a month ago we discovered a wadded up wool sweater in the bottom of his hamper full of holes and covered in moth eggs. I told him that it would be in his best interest not to ever let that happen to this sweater. :) (I'll eventually have all the specifics up on Ravelry).

After all of the stockinette and garter stitching on such a large scale, I have taken a little break from knitting since my marathon on Christmas Eve. I've been enjoying crocheting and sewing, and just looking through my books, magazines, and on the internet for inspiration for my next project. It's nice to just relax with the crafting and not feel rushed.

We found out that Matthew will be having a little brother, which we're really excited about. There are some adorable patterns and ideas out there for little boys, but they're really more difficult to find than those for little girls. A friend steered me toward the Flickr group, Handmade Crafts for Boys, which is great. Boys need our crafting love, too! There will be a lot more on this in the months to come. :)

This year for Christmas gifts for my girlfriends, I decided to make the Artsy Clutch from Amy Karol's book, Bend the Rules Sewing. It's a quick and easy project, and the little bag can have so many uses. I have used mine as a purse, wallet, and even small-project knitting bag. This Christmas I made six, and since we were pretty much snowed in, I made them all using materials from my stash. It felt good to be resourceful!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Crafting

I can't believe that Christmas is less than two weeks away! I really try not to get stressed out about gifts, cards, etc., but sometimes it's hard not to. It's especially frustrating when I'm planning on finishing something in the evening and someone doesn't go to bed until 10:30pm! Again, I'm trying not to get stressed out. That's not what Christmas is about, right? And if some presents are a bit late, I'm sure the recipients will understand. Especially if he's 18 months old.

This year I decided to make a lot of my presents. At first I didn't think that I'd make too many, but then the ideas started piling up. I'm happy, however, that I do have something to show for the past week of Christmas crafting.

First up, a hat from the book Knitting for Baby. It was meant to be for a toddler, but well, my gauge was so off that it ended up for an adult! I used Blue Sky Alpacas' Organic Cotton, and it is super soft. (I think that the second hat pic looks a little bit like a squid).

Since the hat's first recipient was out of a present, I decided to knit some socks using the pattern Cozy Socks for Kids from Designer One Skein Wonders. I used one skein of Knit Picks Swish Superwash, and it was a pretty fast knit. When Matthew is a little older, I will definitely knit him a pair (or two, or three...).

Finally, I decided to join the bandwagon that started many years ago and make a tied fleece blanket. I've had this fleece for over a year now, and it has just been taking up space. (In my effort to declutter and make room for a new baby I've been trying to go into my stash for many of my Christmas presents materials. Charitable thrift stores in our area have also been receiving a lot from me lately, but this is another post entirely!). Matthew is obsessed with dogs right now, so I thought it would be a perfect little blanket for him to cozy up with.

Whew! It's actually a little bit refreshing (and therapeutic?) to document all that I've done. Sometimes I don't feel like anything is getting finished! Happy gift crafting (and buying)! :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

His First Gingerbread House

The best part about making a gingerbread house is eating it!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Orange you Glad it's Wednesday?

When I was teaching, I was always thankful when Wednesday rolled around. In our school district, the students leave on Wednesdays at noon giving the teachers and staff planning time. It was also a fun time to get together with my colleagues and go out to lunch. I do miss the comaraderie of being with my fellow teachers... I also looked forward to Wednesdays because it meant that the work week was more than half over! (Even though I enjoyed teaching, I always appreciated a good weekend break).

Last Wednesday when my husband, Matthew and I were wandering around our little main street, I stepped into the local library and picked up the book, Victorian Christmas Crafts by Barbara Bruno. I have to say that I thought it looked a little cheesy at first, but it's loaded with fun, hands-on activities for both adults and children. One craft idea that I decided to try was that of making a Pomander ball. If you google it, there are tons of how-to sites, but here's what I did:
1. Press whole cloves all over an orange, no less than 1/4 inch apart.
2. Sprinkle with cinnamon to help fight off decay (and add an additional pleasant scent!)
3. Leave in a dry, warm place for 2-3 weeks.
Mine have only been drying for about one week, and the house smells great. I may have to keep one for myself. :)

I've also finished one of many gift knits/craft projects for Christmas. I actually started this scarf a couple of months ago and just needed to work a couple more inches and then block. I'm thankful I had a head-start for this one!

Pattern: Noemi by Norah Gaughan
Source: Norah Gaughan: Vol 1 (Berrocco)
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas' Alpaca & Silk; I used just over one skein

I'll eventually have more details up on Ravelry, but this was a fun little lace project to do. As my husband pointed out, it's not a very warm scarf, but as I pointed out to him, it's more of a decorative accessory!

P.s. I meant to post this last night, but I'm been having a lot of problems with Blogger lately. Anyone else having difficulties???

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mashed Potatoes

You Are Mashed Potatoes

Ordinary, comforting, and more than a little predictable

You're the glue that holds everyone together.

I thought this was a fun, little Thanksgiving quiz to share. It really does describe me even if I'm not crazy about the "more than a little predictable" part. I do love mashed potatoes, though! Yum!

Close to two months ago I agreed to knit a Lucy Bag for a friend. I have made three before, and they all took me about two weeks NOT two months. Well, life happens, especially with a toddler and the ups and downs of first trimester pregnancy. I am happy that it's now complete and I can move on to Christmas knitting without any feelings of guilt. :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Few Little Pick-Me-Ups

Not that I have been necessarily "down" in spirit, but I did need something to change the pace a bit in my knitting world. I had picked up Knitting for Baby and couldn't wait to start on these adorable little booties. I just didn't have any yarn in my stash that I wanted to use for the project. On Saturday one of my friends and I had a "girls only" day in Santa Fe, and I discovered a new yarn shop right off the plaza. It's called Tutto, and I found the employees helpful and friendly. I highly recommend the shop if you're ever in Santa Fe (it's by the Blue Corn Cafe). The pattern for these booties is in the book, but a very similar pattern can also be found here for free. I used Koigu Painter's Palette Premium Merino (one skein will make two pairs), and I can't wait to use it again for a Baby Surprise Jacket. :)
The past week I've started reading the Little House series again. I haven't read these books since probably middle school, and I just love them! I enjoy the simplicity, adventure, and love of family as depicted through Laura's eyes. It's also interesting reading them from an adult perspective. There are definitely terms and that are not politically correct, as well as prejudices and stereotypes. I wonder if the most current editions have been edited? From a teaching perspective, I hope not, as I believe it could be a powerful conversational tool between parents/teachers and children. Anyway, I'm enjoying reading these books again, and they take me back to my own childhood (I've always wanted to try pouring hot molasses or maple syrup into a pan of snow to make candy. I wonder if it really works?)
So, what's on your reading lists?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Another Way to Use Wool

This Sunday has been particularly relaxing, especially in comparison with this past week. My husband's side of the family has been going through some difficult transitions, Halloween was hectic as usual, and Matthew's sleep habits have been less than ideal. But right now I have a pot roast cooking, Matthew's sleeping, and I have some time to write about what I've been up to in the crafting world--a subject that always makes me smile. :)

Lately I've been really interested in needle-felting, a craft that I had never tried before. After looking at all the beautiful and adorable examples on Etsy, I decided to bite the bullet and purchase a kit. I ended up purchasing the Waldorf Wool Maiden Kit from Sage Dream Design (Amy was delightful to do business with, had VERY fast shipping, and was quite generous with the amount of roving included in the kit). I received the kit last Saturday and spent every spare minute I had over the weekend working on the doll. I had SO much fun, and it took me back to my corn-husk doll making days in early elementary school. I learned a lot from the instructions, but my favorite part was embellishing the dress and making her my own. I also made a little pumpkin from the leftovers.

During my search for needle-felting ideas, I came across the magazine, Living Crafts. I highly recommend this magazine to any craft-lover, but it especially seemed to be focused on making crafts for and with children. I found it at Borders, but the magazine's website has a list of retailers. The fall issue that I picked up had a number of needle-felting projects including a family of hedgehogs (complete with a story to tell your children) and a pumpkin house. I didn't have enough orange roving for a pumpkin house, but did manage to make a little hedgehog.

I am excited to purchase more roving and experiment with new projects!
Halloween was basically a bust with Pat coaching a game, me working, and Matthew only making it to one house before throwing himself on the sidewalk in tears. I have not been able to snap a pic of him in his bear costume yet, but in keeping with the political climate I thought I'd share with you this picture I took at the local pumpkin glow.
By the way, we made it a famiy event and voted yesterday. I am happy to say that I exercised one of my rights and duties to this country (plus I don't have to deal with the crowds on Tuesday!). Have a terrific rest of your weekends!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


There's going to be a new little addition in our family come spring, and I'm excited to finally be able to share the news! I'm now fourteen weeks pregnant, and we have been blessed with how smoothly this pregnancy has gone so far. Yes, there has been plenty of nausea and exhaustion, but many fewer complication than my previous pregnancy.

I'm starting to have an appetite again, and my energy is returning, so hopefully I'll start to be a bit more productive. Matthew has been such a trooper when Mommy just wants to lie on the sofa most of the day...

Speaking of Matthew, he's still nursing and still sleeps in our bed at night. We'd like him to be weaned and in his crib by the time the baby comes (he starts out in his crib; he just comes in our bed in the middle of the night). Any suggestions are welcome!

Monday, October 13, 2008


Last week I finished knitting a new hat for Matthew. The weather is cooler now, and he has outgrown all of his hats from last year. I wanted to make something a little different, so I thought a beret was in order. My husband's side of the family is French-Canadian, so the beret (kind of) fits with Matthew's heritage and definitely our last name. When we went to the park he was so busy playing and having fun with Mommy, Daddy and the dogs that he didn't even think to take it off...or maybe he just liked it that much. :)

Pattern: Pompon Beret
Source: Simply Baby by Debbie Bliss
Yarn: Cashmerino Aran in Navy and Stone
Notes: this hat was knit flat, then sewn using a mattress stitch. It was a quick knit, and the yarn, though pricey, was very soft.
While I was in Santa Fe last week picking up yarn for this hat, I also picked up the premiere issue of Debbie Bliss's knitting magazine. I've always been a fan of her patterns, but her yarn is just so darn expensive! I still do use it for small, or very special, projects, but I'm interested in checking out Ravelry to find what others are doing for yarn substitutions. Just one more reason I love Ravelry!

Tonight they're calling for a bit of snow here in northern New Mexico, but I don't want to get my hopes up--I can't wait to see the white stuff!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

There is only one oak tree that I know of in our neighborhood, and everytime I pass it, I just have to pick up a couple of acorns. To me, they are a symbol of fall. As a child, almost every fall-themed book, poster, commercial, or magazine I saw almost always depicted a picture of a squirrel with an acorn surrounded by fallen leaves. I lived in the Phoenix area until I was eight, then the high desert of New Mexico until I was eleven, so even today an acorn is something special. (By the way, the tree is on public property, so I'm only stealing from the wildlife...which is why I only pick up a few). :)
I decided that our dining table needed a little fall facial, so I made a very simple table runner out of some fat quarters I bought on sale a while back. It is lined with flannel instead of interfacing, a tip I find very useful from Bend the Rules Sewing. The mums were a gift from my very thoughtful aunt, and they compliment the runner perfectly.Last weekend my husband humored me by agreeing to go to the annual Taos Wool Festival in beautiful Taos, New Mexico. The sun was shining, but it was cool enough for Matthew to wear the sweater I made him over the summer. When you're among fiber lovers, you have to show off just a little! While I oohed and aahed over the yarn, DH and son watched a sheep shearing, observed the sheep, goats, and alpacas, and literally ran all over Kit Carson park. It was a good day for all of us. Unfortunately, my camera ran out of batteries just after we arrived at the festival, so this is the best I've got. P.s. Matthew didn't drink all of the soda!

Friday, September 26, 2008


Homecoming is pretty big deal in this one-high school town. I've definitely come to appreciate it more as I've gotten older. When I was in middle and high school I mostly appreciated getting out of school early. Yes, the dances were fun, and usually filled with drama, but I don't think I really thought about what it means for a town to come together. While watching the parade today I started thinking about how it is something that young and old, parents and children, sports players and spectators, and just regular towns-people can participate in. The scout troops provided a little bit of chaos to the parade while the Shriners (like always) brought up the rear in their mini go-carts.

Since my husband is a football coach, we stood with the team. It always pulls at my heart strings to watch teenage boys, who are usually trying to one-up their friends and show off in front of each other, display moments of tenderness and thoughtfullness around our son. They smiled, offered up high fives, and even popcorn, to Matthew. Matthew had fun getting as close to them as possible before they turned around and noticed he was there. He would then squeal and go running to Daddy. It was a fun afternoon. We tried to go to the first half of the game but unfortunately it was delayed because of lightning. I do miss going to the games...I have been working on a couple of counted-cross stitch projects for over a couple years now. On Monday something came over me, call it "motivation" perhaps, and I decided to finally finish them. It only took me a couple of hours, and the satisfaction was great. I just think that having framed cross-stitch pictures in a home gives it a cozy feel. The fly-fishing project was supposed to be a birthday present for DH two years ago, and I can't even remember when I started the bird project. Well, now they're done!
I have big plans for Christmas presents...more info to come. :) Have a terrific weekend!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

One Busy Boy (and Mama!)

Matthew is one busy boy and has sure been keeping me on my toes lately! Now instead of doing separate activities in the same area, my activities have become his activities and vice versa. He is especially fascinated by what goes on surrounding my crafting. He loves turning my swift around and around, but loves taking it apart even more. This evening I was looking at some fabric, he crawled up on my bed with me, and helped me spread it out. What a little helper!

There are some things that I know I'll just have to put off until Daddy gets home, though. One is being on the computer. When I try to be on it when he's in the room, he likes to turn it off and/or play with the mouse. I can't be on it during nap-time either because he somehow "knows" I'm upstairs (even with his door and the office door shut!). By the time evening rolls around, I am usually so tired all I want to do is watch a little tv and knit a little or go to bed early, thus the lapse in blogging.

I have been busy, however. I received Berrocco's Norah Gaughan Book 1 about a month ago and just love the projects in it. I didn't want to take on a big project like a sweater just yet, so I decided on a scarf. Below is the beginning of Noemi. I'm using Blue Sky Alpaca's Alpaca and Silk. It is so soft and in a gorgeous fall color. I haven't decided if it's a gift yet or to keep it for myself...

I've also been plugging away at Pat's Cobblestone Pullover. I am now affectionately calling it "my Everest." Why is it taking me so long? Why can't I just get it over with!? I think I know why, but that would involve a long psychological discussion that I'll spare you from. :) Anyway, the body and one sleeve are done. Yay!
I did manage to finish a fall hat for myself. It's the same pattern and yarn mentioned in my last post. I can't wait to wear it!
Finally, just a sweet picture. Matthew has been wanting to sleep on the sofa lately. It extends his naps a bit, so hey, I'm not going to fight it!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Why Mama Never Became a Hair Stylist

Even though I loved Matthew's ringlets, it was time for him to have a hair cut. He was starting to have a little mullet, and he had been mistaken for a girl on more than a few occasions. So, the other night while he was in the bath, I got out some scissors and did some cutting. It actually didn't look too bad until his hair dried. Now I really will have to take him to the salon (and start knitting up some hats!). The good thing about hair is that it grows back, right? My school kindergarten picture shows some VERY crooked bangs (you know, the thick bangs that were popular in the '80s and started at the middle of the top of the head...) that my mom cut the night before school pictures. I have always given her a hard time about that picture, but now I guess that most everything comes full circle.

Matthew also wasn't very impressed with the hat I made.
But I liked it! The pattern is the Between-Seasons Cap from Designer One Skein Wonders. I used O-Wool Balance (50 % Organic cotton, 50% wool), and it really did take up one skein except about half a yard. This hat is actually for a friend, but I bought a skein for myself as well. It will be perfect this fall!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I want to be selfish...

...and keep this little sweater for any little girls in my future, but of course, I won't (I also have a funny feeling that I am destined to be the mother of boys--which is great!). I have enjoyed knitting this Jasmine Cardigan that has been on my needles longer than planned. Life can take some unexpected turns, and this small garment has brought me much comfort during the past few weeks that have been quite stressful. Things are quieting down now, and it's time for Jasmine to meet her new owner.I will eventually post the details of this project on Ravelry, but here's the scoop:
Pattern: Jasmine Lace Edge Cardigan from Natural Knits by Louisa Harding

Yarn: Green Mountain Spinnery--Cotton Comfort (pink lilac, but you really can't tell from the picture). This yarn is AWESOME! It is soft, yet didn't break at all, and is supposed to get softer with each washing. I will definitely use it again.

Needles: Sizes 5 & 6 straight

Note: Like most of Louisa Harding's patterns, there is A LOT of seaming. I've noticed on Ravelry that some knitters convert to in-the-round to avoid seaming. Although seaming is not my favorite part of the whole process, I feel like I've come a long way in making a more professional-looking garment. This is thanks to Louisa Harding forcing me to do so! :)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Additions to my Queue

After quite a long absence, I still don't have any finished projects. I'm almost finished with Louisa Harding's Jasmine Lace-Edged Cardigan. It has been keeping me company during the Olympics, although I did have to put it down to watch Michael Phelps win his 8th gold...

Well, no finished projects, but there is now plenty in my Ravelry queue. I checked out Knitting Nature by Norah Gaughan at the library a couple weeks ago and just LOVE her designs. My favorites from the book are the Phyllo Yoked Pullover and Bubble Pullover. While in Durango at the beginning of the summer I picked up 8 skeins of Berrocco Alpaca Light. After searching Ravelry for some projects using the yarn, I found this. Another Norah Gaughan. Berrocco's Norah Gaughan Vol. 1 will have to be purchased soon!

So, what's in your queue?

(all links above are Ravelry links)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Attracting the Flutterbys

Last Sunday we went on a little hike at our local ski hill (Pajarito). There were plenty of wildflowers in bloom, attracting many butterflies.
Matthew's hat attracted the butterflies as well! This one stayed with him for quite a few minutes, then kept coming back for more. There was also a curious hummingbird, but unfortunately I wasn't able to capture a pic before it flew away.
Next time we'll have to have a little bit of a shorter hike. All Matthew wanted to do was play in the dirt and rocks, but of course all good things must come to an end. There were many tears on the way back.
The next day I got a bit of a treat in the mail: I gave in and ordered several knitting books. My favorite is Knitting Little Luxuries by Louisa Harding. I just love her sense of style--so unique, yet also so simple that the projects don't feel overwhelming. I can't wait to cast on!
While looking through the British knitwear designer's book, I just had to have a cuppa. My father is Scottish, and when I was sixteen I visited his mother in Scotland (my grandfather had passed away just a few months prior to my visit). Oh, how I loved the English tea-time ritual. I have been trying to take tea at about 4:00pm each day, but some days are harder than others.

Have a wonderful weekend, and hopefully there will be some finished projects up soon!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Natural Knits

Yesterday evening I finished the Kai Cable Sweater from my favorite baby knitting book, Natural Knits for Babies and Moms by Louisa Harding. I used Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton yarn for this project. It is very soft, but it broke four times during the finishing process! So, beware: you have to be very gentle with this yarn!

Matthew already enjoyed wearing this sweater before I was even finished. Yesterday prior to the arms being sewn on, he wore it around like a cape. He ran in circles around the house and wouldn't let me take it off. He's such a funny little guy. I was able to get a pic of him modeling the finished product.

I am going to continue my baby knitting/Natural Knits spree, and this time I get to make some little girl sweaters--yay! Don't jump to conclusions--they're not for me--but I will enjoy the change of pace. I ordered some very soft and sweet yarn from Green Mountain Spinnery. The Cotton Comfort yarn even smells good--a little minty! I am very excited for my next projects!