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.