Monday, December 26, 2011

It Knits Us Together

The two weeks before Christmas I knitted like crazy to get these three monsters made. All three are designs by Rebecca Danger. The black and white one is Cecil the Computer. I actually made him quite a bit bigger. I added 30 stitches to his body. The purple and green monster is Charlie the Ceiling Monster. He is a very small monster and while I did not add stitches to his girth, I did knit a lot more rounds. And finally, there is Louie the Lovebot. I made him for Gavin since he likes robots.
I sewed Charlie together late on Christmas Eve, but they were all made and waiting for the kids in the morning.

Since we didn't have the funds for extra Christmas decorations, I used an idea a friend of mine had to make a wreath. It is made with a dollar store wooden wreath form and bow and a lot of plastic grocery store bags. I cut the handles and the bottom seam from the bags then cut the bags into strips. Each bag was tied to the wreath form. It's not fancy but I like it and it only cost $3 and a bit of my time.

This year I set our table with the place mats that my mom made years ago. Even the candles are from her house. Her husband loved the Bullfrog Candle place and bought a ton of candles there. These had not yet been used so I set them out on our table.

The small tree decorated the island in the kitchen along with the gingerbread houses made by Irene and Gavin. The gingerbread house on the right is a plastic canvas kit my mother made. It used to sit out at Christmas for many years.

And, of course, the dog tree which is also my mother's. It was important to me that the house be decorated this year. I wanted our first Christmas in the new house and new town to be a happy one for the kids. Our transition to this new town has not been easy. I want the kids to look back on this time as not just a place we landed but as a place we made a home.

In my last post I was afraid that Santa would not be able to visit the kids this year. There really was no way I could figure out to get him here. Thankfully, I am blessed with a generous knitting friend. Sassafrass is the first person I made friends with on Ravelry and her blog was the first I started following. I loved looking through her finished projects and adding a lot of them to my project list. Granted, I don't know her in the "real world" but that has not stopped her from being kind, understanding and thoughtful. After she read my last post about the state of our finances and Santa's not being able to find our house, she and her husband graciously decided to help us with that. They sent us the money to buy the children gifts. We were able to get them each two gifts, coloring books and crayons and some goodies for their stockings. We even got the dogs a chew bone each.

Christmas morning started with my going to bed rather late...or early. Irene woke me up at 4:30. She then went upstairs singing carols and woke up Henry. I finally had to get up and tell them to go back to bed. At 7:30 Gavin woke me up by throwing up all over me. Yuck.

Still, the morning was so much fun! The kids were so pleased with their gifts and even liked the knitted ones. We had Christmas brunch with ham, potatoes delight, broccoli, cauliflower and fruit.

We are extremely grateful to Sass and her husband, whose name I sadly do not know. We were able to give our children a very Merry Christmas because of you! Many thanks and warm wishes to you both!!!!

Gavin taking a quick break from playing with his new Little People bulldozer.

Irene showing off Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder.

Gavin posing with some candy stuck to his face.

Henry and one of his Legos.

Knitting has brought some fantastic people into my life. This Christmas would not have been possible with out the help of one. We are so grateful! My next post will be about the kind knitters (also from Ravelry) that are trying to help my husband get a job. Once again, it is knitters giving a helping hand.

Does knitting make people nice, or do nice people knit?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Teacher Gifts

This week was the last days of school before Christmas for Henry and Irene. They wanted to give their teachers gifts. I wanted them to be able to give their teachers gifts but we have no money (like the "we can't even give our 3 kids gifts for Christmas" kind of no money) so I dug through my small yarn stash. I found several balls of Loops and Threads Country Loom in a pretty purple/blue/green colorway. It is considered a super bulky weight and I knew I could knit a couple of cowls fairly quickly. I took a look on Ravelry for a pattern. I found the Super Simple Superwash Scarf pattern. I think it turned out quite nice and the yarn is very soft. The cowl is large enough to be wrapped around the neck twice. I made one for each teacher. Henry gave it to his teacher yesterday and she was very happy with it. She made a point of showing it to all the other teachers and sent a thank you card home for Henry. Irene took her gift in today. I hope her teacher likes it!

I know I dropped that "we have no money" thing here in this blog. If you want the knitty gritty details and want to read my whining about it you can visit my Williams Family blog by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

2 Hats and a Cowl

In keeping with the a hat for everyone knitting theme I seem to be on, I made a hat for Henry and Mark. Henry's is made with Caron's Simply Soft yarn. I wanted to make him the dead fish hat or a shark hat, but after letting him look through all the patterns he decided on Adrian's Skull Cap. I was going to make it using shades of green to match his winter jacket but he was adamant that it be black and white.
I was so nervous about doing the skulls. Why? I don't know, it turned out to be easy! It makes me want to do more involved designs.

Mark finally asked me to make him something. This hat is the first thing he ever wanted me to knit for him. I let him pick out the pattern and since we couldn't afford to buy yarn I decided to be kind and use my Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd's Wool for it. I love this yarn (it's Michigan made!) and I don't like to share it. This particular color I have three skeins of and was planning on making a shawl for myself with it. Instead I made Mark's hat and I'm going to make myself a hat and perhaps a cowl with it.

Mark decided on Todd's basket weave hat. It's not my favorite hat pattern and not the one I thought he should have, but he wanted it so that's what I made. He is happy with it too, although it doesn't look like it in the picture. He was trying to look serious but was actually trying not to giggle ;-)

Since my yarn budget is no more, I've been trying to knit things using only my very small stash of yarn. I had two balls of Rowan Wool Cotton that has been waiting to be used for a cowl. I had tried to make the A Noble Cowl pattern before, but every time I would set it down I would forget where I was. It was a big mess. This time I put in stitch markers every 15 stitches. Success! I have a beautiful cowl that I love.

I will be starting Gavin's Roar hat next. Happily, I was gifted some lively green yarn and am now able to do so. I have one small project to finish up first. After Gavin's hat I am going to make mine and then I am going to try to make each child a monster for Christmas. Yeah...not sure if I will actually get them done by Christmas but I am sure gonna try! I was gifted the patterns to make a robot and two other monster patterns. I have some Red Heart yarn that will be perfect for them. Wish me luck!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Hello Kitty!

Finally! I finished Irene's Hello Kitty hat. The pattern is free on Ravelry and is darling. It is knit with Lion Brand Jiffy and the bow is made with Red Heart. The hat itself was very easy, but for some reason I had endless troubles with it. The pattern calls for a size 9, 16 inch circular needle as well as double pointed needles. I have larger size 9 circular needles but no 16 inch ones and I have no size 9 dpn's at all. After two false starts I finally managed a third time to get the size I wanted on size 10 needles. Once I got to the decreases I somehow managed to mess them up. I had to rip back a bit. It was a relief to finish. Of course, then I had to sew the nose, eyes and whiskers. Plus I had to sew on the ears. The sewing makes me nervous. I can't sew and having to seam anything makes me nauseous. I am afraid of how it will look or that it will look wonky.

Surprisingly, I think I did a damn fine job! It isn't perfect and I hope no one ever looks on the inside of the hat, but Irene loves it and even Gavin wants to wear it around. So yes, I am quite pleased with myself.

I am now working on Henry's hat and I am trying to convince my husband that buying yarn to make Gavin's Roar hat is a good investment. His head needs to be warm this winter!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

With Gratitude

A happy surprise was waiting for me in my email last night. One of my wonderful blog readers and ravelry friends (I'm not including her name in case she wants to remain anonymous) purchased the Roar, A Dinosaur Hat and Louie the Lovebot pattern for Gavin! It brought a smile to my face :-) I am so pleased that I will be able to make those for him.

Getting these patterns reminded me that I received a surprise in the mail several weeks ago and never posted about it. A package came in the mail from California. For the life of me I could not figure out who would be sending me something. Inside the package was a bag of Knit Picks Gloss Lace in Sterling, a lovely card and a fantastic stitch marker. The gift was from someone I do not know, however we belong to the LSG group on Ravelry and she decided to surprise me with a little yarn to pick me up.

I love the stitch marker and it is one of the best I've used. It doesn't catch on the yarn and is small enough that it doesn't leave a gap.

I was thinking of using the yarn to make something for my sister-in-law's birthday. Then I found a simple but lovely cowl pattern, Superior Cowl. When going through the finished projects I found one that someone had made with this same yarn. I am soooooo using this yarn on myself to knit this cowl! Mine, all mine!!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I have been feeling rather "blah" and "down in the dumps" lately. The holidays are approaching and it is starting to hit home that I may not be able to give my children much of a Christmas. I won't go into it more on this blog since this is suppose to be about my knitting. Knitting relaxes me and I want it to remain that way.
Since our current situation is rough going I have been making birthday gifts for my family out of either cheap yarn or stash yarn. In the past 4 months there have been 4 birthdays and that is not including the two that have been my children's! I've been making hats for my family members. Below is the hat I made for my dad. It is made out of Red Heart yarn. The pattern is Ryan, which is a free pattern I found on Ravelry. It has a simple one stitch cable that did not need a cable needle to do. It was a fast hat to knit and I think it is quite nice. My younger brother had a birthday in August and I've written about his hat in an earlier post. I decided to make my older brother the same hat for his birthday in October. Unfortunately, the hat turned out too small. I have no idea how that happened, except that sometimes the knitting Gods like to play pranks. Anyway, the hat fit his 3 year old son perfectly and he used it on Halloween to trick-or-treat in. I have another pattern picked out for the older brother and hopefully I will get around to it soon.
Keeping in the hat knitting theme, I've started the Hello Kitty hat for Irene. Super cute and fast going. Henry picked out a skull and crossbones hat that I will start after I finish Irene's. For Gavin I want to make Roar, a Dinosaur Hat from ravelry. He loves dinosaurs and likes to walk around stomping his feet and roaring. Unfortunately, this pattern is for purchase and not free. Right now I just can't afford it.

I did finally make Irene's Penelope the Monster. The pattern is by Rebecca Danger and had been gifted to me through a Random Act of Kindness. I made one earlier for the daughter of a friend. Irene had wanted one since then.
I think they turn out so cute but I hate sewing the ears, arms and legs on. I can't sew, so to me this is the hardest part of the entire thing. Of course, Henry and Gavin wanted one but they've since gone on to pick out other patterns. Henry really wants Harriet the Haberdashery Hippo.
It is also a pattern by Rebecca Danger but this one is featured in the Knit Simple fall 2011 magazine....which I don't have. Sighhhhhh. Shall I go on about how Gavin is in love with the Louie the Lovebot (also by Rebecca Danger) and that it is a pattern for purchase on the Knit Picks site? Double sighhhhhh.

On a positive note, I posted a picture of Irene's monster on Facebook and received many compliments on it. Once person even wanted me to make 4 of them for gifts. Of course, the amount of time and yarn, eyes, stuffing, etc. makes it a somewhat costly gift. I think she changed her mind! Still, the compliments made me feel better :-)

Well, it is time to work on Irene's hat. I will post pictures as soon as it is done. Until then, Happy Knitting!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Irene's Eden

The kids had picture day at school this past week. Irene's day was Wednesday, on the Friday before I decided that I needed to finally knit her Eden dress. I've had the yarn since April and it has just been waiting for me to actually knit it.

Unfortunately, things don't always go as planned and a lot of my time was spent not knitting. On Wednesday morning I was still trying to finish before she went to school. I decided to end the dress at just past her backside. I'd never let her wear it as a dress that short but I had her put on jeans. All together it made such a cute outfit!

I still have plenty of yarn left and I plan to take out the bind off and make it longer. Of course, there are at least 5 other things in line to be knit. Still, now that the dress is in the skirt part it is easy.
The pattern is Eve's Eden by Georgie Hallam. It is the same pattern I used to make the dress for my friend's 1 year old daughter and Irene's birthday top. I love this pattern! Ms. Hallam invented a stitch that she uses in this pattern and in some of her others as well. It is a Kfpsokb, or a knit front pass stitch over knit back. The printed directions made no sense to me but she has a Youtube video (under the name tikki) and this Kfpsokb is actually super easy and makes a sturdy and nice looking join.

The yarn is Berroco Comfort DK. It is 50% super fine nylon and 50% super fine acrylic. I purchased it online at WEBS and I thought it was cotton. I was surprised when it arrived but it is soft and breathable and knits beautifully. Berroco Comfort also comes in a chunky weight and I am tempted to try it. Of course, I'm still on a yarn and pattern buying hiatus.

Irene received many compliments on her hair (she asked that I make her look like Lalaloopsy) and her dress. I had to post these pictures to Facebook since she is just so darn cute. I received many compliments on my adorable daughter and the great dress.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


I know I complained about knitting that blanket. Let's face it, it was a boring knit. However, I received an email from my friend and she loves it! She thinks it is super cute and she is glad to have it. That just made her knitworthy ;-)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Sideways Grand Cloche

I received some Moda Vera Mousse in a deep forest green that I wanted to knit. It was a gift from my sweet friend in Australia. I went on Ravelry and looked up the yarn then went through the projects that had been made with this yarn. This is a feature I LOVE about Ravelry. When I saw that someone had made the Sideways Grand Cloche with this yarn I was thrilled. I love this pattern and have wanted to make it for a while. Then I discovered it was a pattern from a book. Sad face. Due to those fun circumstances that suddenly get thrown at us, I am on a yarn and book buying hiatus. Then it finally dawned on me...the library!
In our new town our library is part of the bigger library system of the entire big county. It is something like 18 or so libraries. They have a lot of books. I looked up Boutique Knits: 20 Must-Have Accessories by Laura Irwin. The library had it and even better, the library in my town had it! Since I am about a block from the library I immediately ran over to get it.

The pattern tells you to knit the hat starting with size 10 needles and working so many inches before changing to size 9 then a few inches later changing to size 8. Again, so many inches later then change to size 7. On Ravelry I read the notes others have made about their hats. I decided to follow one modification that a lot of people had made. I used just the size 9 needles and only cast on 36 stitches. This made the hat smaller but I love the way it fits! I want to make another in different yarn and this time I think I would knit it with size 10 needles. For the twisted part I want to try doing another version I saw on Ravelry. Several people made a braided twist and I think it looks cute. Unfortunately, I'm waiting for my "ship" to come in so I can get some more yarn to try this.
Still, I am so pleased with this hat and I can't wait to wear it. Of course, wouldn't you know that as soon as I finished it we are suddenly having a heat wave!

I do recommend checking out the book. There are two more hat patterns I want to make and I've renewed the book again. I really don't want to give it back to the library.

Out of the two pictures, the second one is more accurate in the color. As soon as it is not 80 degrees out I'm going to get a picture of me wearing it.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

At Last!

What can I say? Sometimes the project I'm working on is the most tedious, irritating knit ever. A couple of weeks before we moved a friend asked if I would knit a baby blanket for her to give to her friend that is pregnant. Since it seems (in hindsight) that I am crazy, I said sure. After all, she was offering to pay me and we could really use the money.
Between packing, moving, unpacking, adjusting to a new home, etc. I worked on this darn thing. It seemed like while it grew, it never actually got bigger. So many times my measuring tape was brought out and each time the blanket was never anywhere near the length it needed to be. I ran out of yarn and had to drive 20 minutes into the nearby big town to search 3 stores to find matching yarn. And to think that I picked this pattern because I thought it would be a quick and easy knit to do while we moved. I finally finished the project just shy of two months after I started it. I'm kinda embarrassed about how long it took me. Thankfully, my friend still wanted it and it was mailed to her today. The above picture is of the blanket. Yes, it is wrapped in Saran Wrap. Since I was mailing it to her I wanted it to be protected. I usually put my knitted items in zip-lock bags if they are being mailed. The blanket wouldn't fit in one, hence the Saran Wrap. Of course, I realized afterward that I never took a picture. way am I unwrapping it.

This morning I decided I needed to send a matching baby hat with the blanket. I hurriedly knit up a hat which turned out to be rather cute.

The blanket pattern is Simply Ridges by John Feddersen, Jr. and the yarn is Bernat Baby Coordinates in Soft Mauve.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Market Bag Swap

Once again I've participated in another swap on Ravelry. Again, it was in the A Swap In Time group. I managed to be the first person to send out their swap package. That was because we were in the middle of moving to our new town and I wanted to get the package out before we moved. In return the first week we were in our new place I received my package from a sweet woman in Australia. Funny enough, I had her as my Summertime Swap partner. Is all this swap talk confusing? Yeah? These next few pictures are of the wonderful package I received. Sock yarn and a wool/soybean yarn that I've already started knitting with.

Tea, books, a magnet, lotion and much more just for me :-)

Australian play money for Henry, a Kangaroo for my Roo, a Koala for Gavin and a Koala puppet.

A handmade bag for me! It is huge and reversible. Perfect for knitting projects.

Below is the market bag I made for my partner. As usual, I forgot to take a picture so my partner, Sue, let me use one of her pictures. This is Tofu and he is so kindly modeling the bag. The pattern is the Ilene bag and can be found on Ravelry. Yes, I'm too tired and lazy to put in links to things today. I did include some goodies in Sue's package. Coffee, yarn (that I sooo wanted to keep!) a music CD, stitch markers...and stuff I can't recall now. I need to start taking pictures of these things!

I'm still working on the baby afghan that I was asked to make. It is taking forever and all I want to do is knit other things. I've got to finish it this week though. Wish me luck!!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Simple Things, Simple LuLu

Yarn, Araucania Ranco Multy. It was part of my Summertime swap package from our lovely moderator Wendy. The colorway is beautiful!

The pattern is Simple Things by Mary-Heather Cogar and available through Ravelry. pictures are not the great.

It seems to be a tradition to take a picture of your pet wearing your finished Simple Thing. Therefore, LuLu is modeling it. I woke her up to do this, I don't think she looks pleased.

The pattern was easy and the perfect purse/car project. It went many places with me during the month it took to make it. I would knit a few rows whenever I had a chance.

The pattern called for 360 yards. I had more yardage than that and I wish I had added a few more rows.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Knitted Gifts

The daughter of a friend of mine celebrated her second birthday in June. Unfortunately, on the day of the party I was in the emergency room with Henry. We gave Zoe her gift later that week and she was immediately in love with it.
The pattern is Penelope by Rebecca Danger. Rebecca Danger is a Monster designer and has a book out. She has some great patterns and you can check out her blog with links to her book and patterns here. This Penelope is made out of Bernat yarn and leftover cotton-ease. I did knit the body with two strands held together. This made it very tough to work with and my hands hurt horribly.
My friend posted a picture of her daughter and Penelope on Facebook and there were many sweet comments about it and a couple of people asked if I sold them.

My younger brother is going to be having his 27th birthday in early August. I knitted him a hat out of Stonehedge Fiber Mill's Shepherd's Wool. This is one of my favorite yarns to work with. I may even have a stash of it to be knitted into items for me. It is available in stores through out the US and online.
The pattern is Boyfriend Hat (I think that's what it is called) and can be found on Ravelry by typing "boyfriend hat" into the search or by following this link here.

Henry is modeling the hat for me. I will be sending it out soon along with some "Michigan" flavored coffee, Michigan Cherry, Michigan Black Raspberry, Michigan Maple and Mackinaw Island Fudge.