Friday, December 30, 2011 1 comments

Homemade Gift: Dog sweaters for my sister's toy poodles

Now that I've given these sweaters away, I can finally post some pictures on my blog. I couldn't exactly post pictures of "empty" sweaters, now, could I?

My sister took these pictures to show me how cute her dogs looked in them.

Here's the boy dog from the front ...

... and from the side. Isn't he adorable?

I used a pattern from Ravelry called Dog Sweater (how original!). :) It's actually from Coats & Clark.

Max is a toy poodle with a 12” chest and 12-1/2” length (to the beginning of his tail). Like another Raveller, I adjusted the pattern to use just one ball of yarn instead of three. How is that done? By simply making buttonholes for the leg openings, then going back and knitting the legs in the round. It's a lot easier, in my opinion.

This is the female dog named Lucie. I made hers from a pattern called Little Black Dress with Pearls Dog Sweater, but I chose to eliminate the pearls.

Lucie has a 13” chest and is 16-1/2” from back of her head to the beginning of her tail. She fit this perfectly in the Small size.

I think I'm going to be making more dog sweaters in the future because they're so easy - and so cute!!
Wednesday, December 28, 2011 4 comments

Senior pictures for my nephew

It's been awhile since I posted any of my photography, so I thought I'd share the senior pictures I took for my nephew. The lighting was terrible because
  • I don't have professional lighting, 
  • it was dark outside the only time I could get together with him, and 
  • I only had chandelier light and my camera's built-in flash to work with. 
Even with all of those negative factors, I love how these pictures turned out!
Isn't he handsome? This is his choir suit and bowtie, and it just may end up being his senior picture for the yearbook.

When our Wal-Mart still carried fabric, I picked up the fabric for this backdrop out of their $1-2 fabrics of unknown fiber content. It looks like a shiny satin, but it's washable. It's also matte, almost like velvet, on the other side. I bought a few yards of it and then seamed two pieces together to get a nice-sized backdrop that's big enough to let an adult stand on it for full-body pictures.

This pose was my nephew's idea. I've learned to let people make up their own poses if they want to because it often captures their personality in ways I would have never thought of. This picture is the perfect example. (Of course, I always have pose ideas in mind because I don't meet very many people that are comfortable enough in front of a camera to make up their own.)

I used a plain white sheet as the backdrop for this picture.

Here's that black backdrop again. It looks just as nice with a casual shot as it does with a formal one.

Do you notice his hands? A lot of people try to tell the person they're photographing exactly how to place their hands in a photo like this. Some of my relatives tried to get him to change his hands so that you could see both of them (rather than having the right one tucked into his arm). I took a few pictures like that, but they didn't look natural at all. Then I told him put his hands the way that comes naturally to him, and he looked more relaxed and natural. Of course, if you have someone that looks like they don't know what to do with their hands, you just have to intervene. :)

Well, those are my favorites. I hope he likes them, too!
Monday, December 19, 2011 2 comments

Taking a Christmas Break

I just thought I'd let you know that I'm taking a "Christmas break" from the blog this week. I have plenty of projects to share, but I want to devote this week to family.

Also, any orders placed this week in the shop will ship next Monday (12/26/11), again, so that we can celebrate Christmas with our family.

Thanks for your understanding, and have a Merry Christmas! :)
Saturday, December 17, 2011 1 comments

Knit Gifts: Fingerless Gloves

Sorry I have been AWOL most of the week. This has been a busy week here, not the least of which included five lap quilts for a friend. (They're all done now - YAY!)

Today I thought I'd showcase these fingerless gloves that I made to match the cabled hat for my Secret Sister.

Those are my hands and arms, which are a good bit smaller than my Secret Sister’s. There’s lots of room for hers. The gloves would be a bit too big for mine. If I wanted to make them for myself, I'd go down at least one needle size, and possibly the yarn size, too.

I used a free Ravelry pattern called Wavelets Fingerless Gloves, and I really liked them.

As always, I'd love to hear about any homemade gifts you're making this year.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011 1 comments

Knitted Hats: Cabled Women's Hat

I made a knitted cabled set for my Heart Sister's Christmas gift, and today I'm showcasing the hat. (She has no Internet access, so I'm safe posting this now, even though she won't get it until Friday.)

My daughter modeled it for the pictures since I look completely ridiculous in any beanie-style hat and wouldn't be caught dead in one for that reason. I really wish I could look good in them like so many other people because I'd love to keep my head warmer during winter, but it is not to be. At any rate, my Heart Sister does look good in them, so I'm hoping she'll like this set as much as I do.

You can see that it's a little big on my daughter, but that's a good thing since my Heart Sister is in her 50s and a good deal bigger than my wisp of a daughter. :)

And, once again, no pointy crown - yeah!!

If you're interested, I used a free pattern I found on Ravelry called Irish Hiking Hat.

Are you making any homemade gifts this year? I'd love to see them!
Wednesday, December 7, 2011 4 comments

Thrift Store Yarn Haul

You know I love to shop at thrift stores. I've been looking at sweaters lately, looking for really great yarn that I can unravel for much cheaper than buying the yarn outright.

I've unraveled a few sweaters already, and here are a few pictures ...

This is a lovely angora/lambswool/nylon blend in red - one of my all-time favorite colors to wear!

This is a linen/cotton blend in burgundy. I have the same amount in a blue-black, since this sweater was a stranded one.

I also have some dark blue-black wool, pink lambswool/angora/nylon, and the softest baby alpaca in blue-black and heathered gray. I need to take pictures of them for my stash on Ravelry, but I haven't done that yet.

Now that I've shown you the yarn I worked for, let me show you the yarn I found in its regular form - skeins.

 I got all of this in a box for $10. It's not specialty yarn, but the Herrschner's yarn is Aran weight and feels nice. While Red Heart Super Saver can be rough and scratchy at times, I like the tweed for doll sweaters. (They never complain about the scratchiness of a sweater.)

In that same box were a few stray partial-skeins:
... some Vanna's Choice yarn (100% acrylic and super-soft), roughly 5.5 ozs altogether ...

... This wasn't labeled, but I'm guessing it's Vanna's Choice Baby yarn. It has a wonderful silky feel to it. There are about 8 ounces altogether ...

... And there was about 2 ounces of this Bernat Softee yarn in white.

At the same store, my husband found another $10 box of yarn. Check out what all was in this one:

Lots and lots of cotton dischloth yarn, for starters! Those big cones are the ones that go for $12.99 (16 ozs) at Hobby Lobby. (Wal-Mart has them in 14-oz cones for $7.99.) There was also some teeny, tiny crochet cotton and some Knit Cro-Sheen, Omega Baby Crochet yarn in Christmas variegated colors, as well as ...

25 ounces of this unlabeled blue-black chenille yarn. See how big the cone is compared to the 1-lb cotton cone?

It's a DK-weight yarn, so there are lots of possibilities for this one.

At another Goodwill, I got 5 skeins of Lion Brand Tweed Stripes for $5:

And at yet another Goodwill, I got three skeins of vintage washable 100% wool with a nice feel to it:

I think I now have enough yarn to last me about two years ... hence all the knitting projects you're seeing. :)

Have you found anything awesome at the thrift store lately? I'd love to hear about it!
Monday, December 5, 2011 1 comments

Knit Hats: Brimmed Hat

I've discovered that I really enjoy knitting hats in the round (i.e. no seaming). When I saw this pattern for a knit hat with a brim, I immediately thought of my son and his love for ball caps. Ball caps aren't very warm in the winter, so I decided to make him this one for wintertime.

Here you can see how the brim looks just like a baseball cap. It's just a little bit floppier since there's no interfacing inside.

My son was so excited when I told him I had made this one for him. I let him choose the color of the band (green), and I also let him choose the buttons that hold it on. He chose these buttons because he said they reminded him of frog's eyes, and the whole effect made him think of a frog. Doesn't that sound like a typical 8-year-old boy? :)

This was one of the easiest patterns ever, even though the brim makes it look intimidating. It took me just a day and a few hours to finish it.

The only trouble I had was finding the size 10 circular needle in a 16" length. Michaels is the only store around here that carries them, and they only carry them in their more expensive bamboo needles, which are twice the price of the metal needles. I must say, I much prefer metal needles because the yarn doesn't slide well on bamboo, but I did manage to get through the hat without too much frustration.

I avoided having to buy size 10 DPNs (also only available in bamboo) by using a trick I remembered reading online. I used the size 10 point of the circular needle to make one DPN's worth of stitches, then I transferred them to the largest DPNs I had. It worked perfectly! I certainly wouldn't want to make an entire hat that way, but it worked great for the 2-3 rows I needed it for on this hat.

If you'd like to try the pattern, it's called Capitan Hat on Ravelry.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 5 comments

Knit Hats: Butterfly Hat

I love this hat pattern! It's so pretty and easy - and fun! Once again, I used some Caron Dazzleaire that I picked up at Dollar Tree a week or so ago.

It's really an adult-sized pattern (can be adapted to child-size by casting on 80 stitches instead), but I had my daughter model it since I look ridiculous in beanie-style hats. She, on the other hand, looks adorable ...

See the butterflies the stitching creates? They really aren't hard at all.
This one didn't turn out pointy, either, which I love. It took me a day's worth of free time to finish this one, so it's a quick knit.

If you want to make one, too, I used the free Butterfly Hat pattern from Ravelry. I can't say enough good things about the pattern or the yarn.

I'm putting this into my gift stash, although I don't necessarily have a particular person in mind at the moment. I'm so out of touch with fashion that I'm not sure if a teenager would wear this or not. Any thoughts? I have all age ranges on my gift list, so I'd love to know your thoughts on what age range you would give this to.
Friday, November 25, 2011 0 comments

Knit Hats: Rib A Roni

I made this Rib-A-Roni hat (and another with a green stripe and brown background) with some teen-aged nephews in mind. As you can see, it fits my 8-year-old son just fine, too. I made it in the Adult Medium size, but I had read other people's comments that little kids' heads are a lot bigger than we think, and I tend to agree! There's plenty of stretch left to fit a bigger head, but it looks fine on my son, too.

This was a fast and easy knit with relatively no thinking involved. Some people commented that they got a point at the top, but you can see that mine turned out fine.

I made this with Caron Dazzleaire yarn I recently found at Dollar Tree ($1/3 ozs). It's supposedly a bulky-weight yarn, but it works up more like a worsted-weight. It's super-soft, though, and I think it's perfect for hats - or anything else that comes in contact with your skin. I had to resist the urge to buy out my local Dollar Tree!

Are you knitting or crocheting any Christmas gifts this year? I'd love to see them!
Tuesday, November 22, 2011 0 comments

Fingerless Gloves: Kate's Mitts

I'm just now getting some pictures taken of my knitting projects. Some of them will have to wait until after Christmas, since they are gifts.

I thought about unwrapping the Bitty Twins to model the sweaters I made for them, but I decided that I want my daughter to get the pleasure of taking all the tissue paper and such off the brand-new dolls (something we don't do often around here). :)

As a result, I only have a few pictures to share at the moment. We'll start with these fingerless gloves. My 6-year-old daughter is the hand model for these pictures, but I have tiny hands and they fit mine just as well. (It's just a little hard to take a picture of both of your own hands at the same time ... )

I used a free pattern from Ravelry called Kate's Mitts. I also used some of my harvested yarn that I recycled from a peachy-pink lambswool/angora/nylon sweater. Let me tell you, that yarn is lovely!

I love how these gloves turned out, and I plan to make a few more sets. Since I like to try a variety of patterns, I'll probably do them all in different patterns.

Do you knit? Are you working on any projects at the moment? I love to get ideas, so feel free to share a link to yours.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011 6 comments

What I've been up to ...

I've been pretty quiet the last few weeks, haven't I?

Well, I've been busy. You see, I couldn't take my sewing machine with me on vacation, so I took my knitting needles and some yarn. It was great because I got an entire week to stretch my new knitting skills. I did cables, knitting on circular needs and double-pointed-needles, and I even made some tiny Christmas tree decorations (a sock and sweater).

I also nearly completed a collection of knitting needles and accessories, thanks to some great thrift store finds. I got some fabulous yarns, too. There were two different thrift stores that had several carts' worth of expensive yarn for great prices (mostly 75% off or better), and I had to restrain myself. :)

Since I've been back home, my hands have been wanting to keep knitting. :) As a result, I haven't taken the time to photograph my projects. However, here are links to a few of the projects I've finished or am working on:

Preemie Hats
Simple Sweater from a book I picked up at Tuesday Morning - I didn't care for this one as much.
Nena's Jacket - I've done this one in a few colors with no pattern (stranding), but I also just finished one with the pattern and I love it! The neckline is a little tricky, but I love the pattern.
Mochi Plus Doll & Sweater Hat - I've only done the sweater on this one so far, but I've done quite a few. This is easy and cute.
Cozy Slipper Socks - I finished one sock and have the second one about 1/3 of the way done. I lost steam on these, but I do plan to finish them. Next time I make socks (or slippers), I'll be doing them both at the same time.
Poppy Cardigan - This is another really cute doll sweater that I've made in several colors. I have my daughter's Christmas dolls coming in the mail (American Girl Bitty Twins - a splurge), so I'm not sure yet if they'll fit. If not, there are lots of other dolls around here that should be able to wear them. :)
V-Neck Doll Cardigan - I made this one without the stripes, but I can't really remember if I liked it much or not. I honestly can't remember which of the 10+ doll sweaters this one is. :)
Easy-As-Pie Shrug - I made this one with my niece's doll in mind, but it ended up being way too small. I think I used the wrong gauge of yarn.
Alpaca Sox Mini Socks - This is adorable and quite easy!
One-Skein Scarf - I used a thin yarn for this one to see how it would turn out, and it was pretty! It would be mostly decorative, though, since the yarn I used wasn't a warm yarn.

I've also found a few sweaters with great yarn at local thrift stores and have been unraveling them to use the yarn. Most of them have been really boring-looking sweaters with great yarn and colors, so I've been very happy. I can't bring myself to pay the prices for anything more expensive than acrylic, and I can't justify an awful lot of that. As a result, I've been thrilled to get a sweater's-worth of 100% lambswool for anywhere from $1.00-5.50.

I got a Nordstrom camel-colored cashmere sweater on Monday, and I'm having the hardest time trying to decide whether to unravel it or "felt" it and make a few cashmere scarves. (It's a men's size large.)

If you ever decide to try unraveling a sweater, let me give you a few tips:

  • You must use a swift, or you'll end up with nothing more than a tangled mess. Trust me on this one because I'm speaking from experience. Don't pay $50+ for one, though. I made one just like this one, and it works perfectly. I had everything on hand, so it didn't cost me a cent.
  • A yarn ball winder is an almost-necessity, but don't spend a fortune. I had one given to me, but I was planning to buy one. This Lacis version is the one I received, and it works great! This Oriental Touch version was also highly recommended to me. Joann Fabrics also has these on their website, so it might be cheaper to buy from them and use a coupon.
  • This is the best tutorial I've seen for how to deconstruct a sweater. I'd still like a better picture of finding the magic "unzip" thread (I still haven't figured it out, and I'm following the written instructions to the letter), but otherwise it's the best.
So now you know what has been keeping me busy this last little bit! :)

Don't worry, though. I haven't given up sewing and working with my beloved vintage sheets. As I mentioned earlier, we're getting my daughter Bitty Twins (brown hair, brown eyes) for Christmas, and they'll need lots of clothes. I'm working on knitting some sweaters right now, but I'm waiting for them to come before I start sewing for them since I need exact measurements for the boy's pants.

I agonized over these dolls since we don't usually spend that kind of money on toys, but this will be her main Christmas gift. All of the other gifts will likely be clothes I make for them. I looked all over for other twin dolls, but there aren't many choices out there. And none of them are the quality of American Girl, nor do they come anywhere near the cuteness factor.

Although I am a very thrifty person, I never want my kids to view me as stingy. When I saw the longing in my daughter's eyes the last time she looked at the twins in the American Girl catalog, I knew I would get them for her sometime. She has mentioned them several times now, and I know she's a good little mommy that will take excellent care of these two ... And you may just catch me playing dolls with her now and then! :)
Saturday, November 5, 2011 0 comments

Saturday in the Shop: A quilt!

I just listed the Blue and Yellow Patchwork Quilted Throw in my Etsy shop today. I probably won't be making another just like it, so get it before it's gone!

My house is becoming overrun by quilts. As much as I love them, it's impossible for me to hang on to every single quilt I make, so I'll be listing more quilts and other great Christmas gifts within the next few weeks. I hope some other people love them as much as I do and give them a good home! :)
Friday, October 28, 2011 1 comments

Missions Month: Pink Quilted Wristlet

This one-of-a-kind wristlet is made from upcycled pink sheet fabric. It is lined inside with solid bubblegum-pink vintage sheet fabric.

It is approximately 11-1/2 x 5" and is 3" deep at the bottom. It has a YKK nylon zipper closure and a grosgrain ribbon strap. It was quilted "in the ditch."

This clutch is perfect to take along with you on shopping trips when you don't want to carry a bulky purse. It holds a surprising amount of things!

During October, $8.75 will be donated to Gospel Proclaimers Missionary Association, Inc., with the purchase of this wristlet. (That is 100% of the profit after materials, fees and shipping.)

You can find this, as well as the rest of my Missions Month products in my shop. To learn more about Missions Month and the missionary I'm donating to, be sure to check out this post.
Thursday, October 27, 2011 0 comments

Giveaway Winner: 3 striped cotton crochet dishcloths

And the winner is ...

Comment #8 which was ...

Congratulations, Patricia! I couldn't find contact information in your profile, so if you'll e-mail me (see the Contact Me button) before Monday, October 31st, I'll get them out to you ASAP. If I don't hear from you by then, I'll pick another winner.

There will be another giveaway next month, so stay tuned!
Wednesday, October 26, 2011 0 comments

Missions Month: Purple Roses & Daisies Vintage Sheet Wristlets

This wristlet is made from upcycled purple floral vintage sheet material.

It is approximately 10-1/2 x 5" and is 3" deep at the bottom. It has a YKK nylon zipper closure and is accented with 1" eyelet lace.

The grosgrain ribbon strap detaches if you want to use it as a clutch. The strap detaches if you want to use it as a clutch, and the metal clasp also allows you to hook other items (key ring, sunglass case) to the outside if you desire.

I made another wristlet with this fabric and decorated it differently.

This wristlet is accented with grosgrain ribbon and daisy trim.

The grosgrain ribbon strap detaches if you want to use it as a clutch. Once detached, the strap can be used as a lanyard for your key ring or any number of things, if you desire.
Both wristlets are lined inside with solid vintage sheet material. There is an inside pocket (approximately 3-1/2 x 5-1/2") to help organize the contents.

During October, $8.75 will be donated to Gospel Proclaimers Missionary Association, Inc., with the purchase of each of these wristlets. (That is 100% of the profit after materials, fees and shipping.)

You can find this, as well as the rest of my Missions Month products in my shop. To learn more about Missions Month and the missionary I'm donating to, be sure to check out this post.

Later today I'll be posting the winner of my giveaway of 3 striped cotton hand-crocheted dishcloths, so stay tuned! (Um, make that tomorrow ... )
Friday, October 21, 2011 1 comments

Missions Month: Chloe's Rose Garden Zippered Pouches

These zippered pouches have already been sold, but they were too pretty not to share. They were made from upcycled vintage sheet material and lined inside with off-white fabric upcycled from a more modern sheet.

They are approximately 8 x 4-1/2" and 1-3/4" deep at the bottom. They each have a YKK nylon zipper closure.

These little pouches are perfect for organizing a large tote bag or simply carrying some toiletries in your regular purse.

You can find the rest of my Missions Month products in my shop. To learn more about Missions Month and the missionary I'm donating to, be sure to check out this post.

Also, don't forget to enter my giveaway of 3 striped cotton hand-crocheted dishcloths!
Wednesday, October 19, 2011 2 comments

Missions Month: Passage to India Wristlets

This wristlet is made from Paul Kaufman fabric and upcycled vintage sheet fabric. It is lined inside with brown gingham vintage sheet fabric.

It is approximately 9-1/2 x 4-1/2" and is 3" deep at the bottom. It has a YKK nylon zipper closure and a grosgrain ribbon strap.

I made another one with this same fabric combination, but it is slightly larger.

It is approximately 10 x 5-1/2" and is 3" deep at the bottom. It also has a YKK nylon zipper closure and a grosgrain ribbon strap.

There is a pocket (approx. 3-1/2 x 5-1/2") inside to help organize the contents.

During October, $8.75 will be donated to Gospel Proclaimers Missionary Association, Inc., with the purchase of each of these wristlets. (That is 100% of the profit after materials, fees and shipping.) 

You can find these, as well as the rest of my Missions Month products in my shop. To learn more about Missions Month and the missionary I'm donating to, be sure to check out this post.

Also, don't forget to enter my giveaway of 3 striped cotton hand-crocheted dishcloths!
Monday, October 17, 2011 3 comments

Homemade Gift: Doll Quilts

I've been wanting to make some doll quilts for a little while now. For one thing, it's a great way to use up small scraps. For another, my daughter has been hinting that she'd like one. It's also a quick project, which is always nice when you've been working on longer ones.

So I pulled out my scraps, sorted them by colors, and came up with these three doll quilts.

My daughter liked this yellow quilt, so I gave it to her as part of her birthday gift.

I love working with blues, and I love how this one turned out.


But, of course, my favorite was the pink one. I've always loved pink, even though I don't wear it as much as I used to.

The backings for these are a great use for a fat quarter.

These little quilts are also a great way to experiment with new quilting patterns. I wanted to see how close, straight-line quilting would look as an overall effect, so that's what I did. You could easily practice meandering or a fancier pattern on these, too.

Have you made any doll quilts? I'd love for you to leave a link to them in the comments! These little things are highly addictive, and I'd love to try some more.

And while you're here, don't forget to enter my giveaway for three cotton hand-crocheted dishcloths.