Where Did Christmas Go?

The last 6 weeks have been such a whirlwind. I swear when I went to bed last night it was a few days after Thanksgiving. Within 5 weeks, we hosted Thanksgiving…

…Sagan’s 1st Birthday… (Thank you Anthony Ziccardi Studios for the photo shoot!)

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…Christmas…

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… and Michael’s 40th Birthday. Cake credit - Toni’s Slice of Heaven

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While it was lovely never having to travel and having a home full of family so often, it didn’t leave much time for crafting. Add to that the incredibly busy month with naughty cross stitch at Brick + Mortar and I haven’t had yarn in my hands for weeks.

I’ve only managed to start another Christmas Stocking. If you’ve been here for a while, you know all about the heirloom stockings I’m making for the kids, and that each one takes me an insane amount of time because I have to keep putting them aside to do other projects. I generally finish one per year, if I even get around to casting on.

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I’ve had this pattern for years, purchased on Ravelry many years ago. I noticed an errata here and there in some charts so I thought I’d login and see if there were updated charts to download. I dug all through my library but somehow the pattern packet was gone. Vanished. I still had my hard copy, but I really didn’t want to find errors on the fly and have to pick back to correct them. So, I messaged the pattern designer to see if she’d believe that I once purchased them, didn’t pirate them, and be willing to hand over her updated work.

Not only did she believe me, she gave me TWO ADDITIONAL CHARTS! That means that I now have FIVE separate stocking to make, and each child can have their own pattern, Michael and I will match the fifth.

If you ever need a knitting pattern, check out Karen Fletcher. Her patterns are awesome… and she’s pretty awesome, too.

Knit AAALLLLL the Hats

A little while back I was working on a hat for Michael that turned out to be a too big hat for Sagan. Since I still needed to make a hat for Michael, I thought maybe I’d just make one for all the kids. And since that hat was reversible and so kind of like having two hats at once, what I really decided to do was make TWO hats for everyone. That’s ten hats. Ten of the same hat.

I don’t know how I made it through this.

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Now there are winter hats for Michael, Jaxon, Jack, Sierra, and Sagan.

I did love making these, until around hat #17 (or #34, however you look at it) but by the end I couldn’t bear to look at any more sock yarn.

I promptly picked up a worsted blanket that’s been falling by the wayside to work on 67 hats.

If I never have to see another hat again, it’ll be too soon.

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I am aware that only one (2) of these hats is for a full grown head. I am choosing not to consider that these will be grown out of in a few years.

My sanity can’t take it.

Shawls for Fall

Contrary to what the temperature would have you believe it is, indeed, autumn. This summer is holding on with a vengeance. The leaves are falling from the trees, everything’s changing color, pumpkins are plentiful… and it’s 80 and humid. The forecast predicts this is the last of it, but I won’t be convinced until I can wear calf boots and a sweater in the middle of the day.

All this wishing for cooler temps has sparked a bit of a shawl jag. These little lovelies are open and airy and perfect to throw on for a fall day out.

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This yarn was passed along to me by a dear friend who had no time to knit much anymore. The band was lost years ago but she’s certain she got in in Massachusetts, so I’ve deemed it the “Mass Yarn.”

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Everything about this screams AUTUMN. I almost kept it for myself.

I pulled myself together, and promptly cast on for shawl #2.

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I got this yarn from Denise over at Humming Meadows Alpacas. It’s a lace weight, maybe fingering, alpaca spun together with a colorful, glittery strand. The pictures don’t do it justice.

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Both of these are waiting for their forever homes at Brick+Mortar Marketplace. Until I decide I want them for myself. Then they’re mine.

A Tale of Two Hats

It was the best of hats, it was the worst of hats...

Some of you may remember this post from last year.  Making hats for Sagan has, historically, been a bit finicky.  Granted that history is less than one year, but still.

In an effort to get a jump start on the winter hat making in my house, I've already completed two (TWO!) hats.  And it's not even September. 

Before I allow myself to get all cocky and confident, both of those hats are for Sagan, and only one of them was meant to be.

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First up we have the Baby Amanda Hat.  In all fairness, this is the exact hat I made last year so I knew I would like it.  I swapped out the yarn weight for a bulky Ariosa (Lipstick, of course) in the hopes it would fit her.  She was quite curious about it.  Clearly, an appreciation of Extrafine Merino is engrained in her DNA.  And she didn't put it in her mouth, obviously because she knows it's hand wash only.

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I think she likes it, immediately removing it aside.  It is the middle of summer, after all.

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It has enough room to grow, so we may even make it all the way through the winter. 

I next attempted to make Michael's hat.  During the Wool Walk, we found a pattern for a reversible hat at Wool & Grace

We grabbed some Schoppel Ambiente in two colorways (#1860, #2183) that Michael liked and I quickly forgot all about until I unpacked my yarn bags several months later.  Don't judge me.

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I stumbled on the pattern in the midst of a Yarnia clean-out and got to work (mistake).  I made the brighter side first.  I was concerned that he might find it too pinkish, but the salt & pepper sections do a great job breaking it all up.

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Then I added the muted yellows and greens, concerned that he might find it too bland and dull.

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When it all comes together, you have two separate hats connected in the middle.  Just tuck one into the other and you get a reversible beanie. 

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Why I needed a pattern to tell me to do this is beyond me.  I have crates... several crates, actually... of sock weight yarn.  I don't make enough socks for all the sock yarn that I have.  But I keep buying it because the colors are always so lovely and they look like twisted up rainbows and bags of marbles and a billion other colorful things.  And the names are generally really creative and imaginative and that makes it even harder to resist.  So I buy way more sock weight yarn than one person needs.

If only there was something smaller than a shawl I could make with all of that light weight yarn, something where I didn't need a huge amount of yardage, something that would work up relatively quickly. 

Something like maybe a hat, perhaps? Or even two hats?  And I could make two hats AT THE SAME TIME. 

If only there was something like that.

Of course, I did say there was a mistake, remember?  That mistake being that MIchael's head is about 47 times larger than mine.  I have a child-sized melon, whilst his is sputnick-sized.  Naturally, this is a lesson I will never learn. 

And that's how Sagan got two winter hats in August and Michael got none.  The hat fits me perfectly, but I made it a rule never to wear hats as it only draws attention to my itty-bitty head.  My face isn't big enough to house glasses and a hat.  I look a bit like Mush Mouth.  Throw earrings into the mix and it's game over.

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It's a bit large for Sagan right now, but I doubt that will be a problem for long.  I plan to use how quickly she grows into it as a gauge to see who she takes after. 

Any bets?

A brief hiatus...

The last couple of months have been a bit hectic around here.  I have been creating, but mostly just repeats of things needed for inventory at Brick + Mortar.  The baby has been keeping us quite busy and so everything else has fallen by the wayside.

And then I got shingles.  What.  The.  Hell.  Who get's shingles?!?!  I do.  And it s u c k s.  In addition to a dreadful rash around my torso (and sideboob for added fun), my lymph nodes went all haywire and I couldn't put my arms down due to golfball sized swelling in my underarms.  It's incredibly hard to knit when you have to hold your arms up.  So mostly I just laid around being miserable and complaining a lot and eating tons of ice cream.  Because when you're sick the calories don't count.  Everyone knows that.

But I'm mostly all healed now and I have some (not overly exciting) things to show you.

First up we have mason jar cozies!  Good to protect your hands from hot or cold beverages, or to just pretty up your mason jar for whatever you keep in there.  And they're removable and washable for spill cleaning.  I'm not saying you're messy or anything... ya know... just in case...

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Next up are some bookmarks.  I love making these.  There's a never-ending supply of quotes to choose from and they never get boring.

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And of course we have some naughty cross-stitch.  Much like the bookmarks, these never get old.  

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And last, but not least... We have the Butterfly Beanie.  I started this hat about 1,000 years ago and it sat in a ziploc baggie just waiting for it's turn.  

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Knit with KnitPicks Chroma Fingering in Smoothie and Bare.  There are some ladders at the pattern repeats, but overall I really like it.  

Too bad I really don't like wearing hats.

Off to Market

The weather is finally warming up, and now that it's May there won't be any more snow this spring.  At least I hope there won't be.  We've had too much already.  And with spring comes markets, and outdoor shopping, and beach days. 

Enter the Market Bag:

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These lovelies can fit an disproportionate amount of stuff.  The open knit and strength of the cotton allow for plenty of stretch.  All of this was in the bag above, and I could have fit more.  I have a few of these at B+M so head over there for some shopping!

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This is the medium-sized market bag.  I always prefer my market bags with handles rather than a cross-body strap.  The straps tend to stretch too much, or fall awkwardly, or cause a full bag to bounce uncomfortably against your leg when you're walking.  The handles are super strong and also just big enough to slide up your arm and carry in your elbow.

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And these cutie pies are what I've dubbed Love Bunnies.  I started making them years ago and modeled them after Jack's stuffed puppy that he carried with him everywhere.  He loved to play with the big ears and rub them on his face.  They're little and snuggly and perfect for tiny hands... and also currently at B+M.

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Oh How Fast They Grow

I've been brainstorming things to make for Brick + Mortar Marketplace other than more shawls and naughty cross stitch.  As fun as they are, it's always good to branch out.

Babies, no matter the season, need to be kept warm.  This allows for a plethora of tiny little things for tiny little humans.  I thought something classic and timeless might also be seasonless.  Enter the bonnet.

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This Vintage-Style Baby Bonnet was exactly what I was looking for.  Made with KnitPicks Swish in white, it's superwash merino and very soft on a baby's brand new head.

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I dove into the button box, this time without the baby, and came up with 2 tiny little buttons that do their job without being overbearing.

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I figured I'd just put them on the baby and have her model them for me.  She's only a few months old, they'd still fit, right?  WRONG.  Not even a little.

Special thanks to Jack for coming up with this.  Turns out these little wax warmers were a perfect fit.

Available for purchase at B+M now!  The bonnets, not the warmers...

A Combined Effort

A few weeks ago I went shopping for some local yarn from an Alpaca Farm near me.  Humming Meadows Alpacas is a great little farm in my town.  I grabbed all the yarn I could carry in one trip (lies, I needed a bag) and immediately knew that one skein was going to be a little winter sweater for my tiny human.

I went with the Hooded Jacket pattern from Simply Baby

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I made a few modifications, mostly adding a twisted rib to the cuffs.  I much prefer that to the rolled edge the pattern calls for.  

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The subtly-changing stripes are charming without being overbearing and add a softness to the jacket.

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Sagan tried to pick out a button, but she refused to listen to reason and insisted that a 4" button would be fine in a 1/2" button hole.  After settling our creative differences, she concurred that I have ever-so-slightly more experience in these matters and settled for the button I chose.

If my calculations are correct, she'll be just the right size when the weather starts to get cold again.  And if not, I'll have a perfect little hooded jacket waiting for a recipient to come along.

There always seems to be more wee ones on their way.

Thanks, Denise!  I'll be restocking my stash with your Alpaca on a regular basis I'm sure.

*Notice the hat Michael is wearing.  This is the hat in the previous post.  Pattern, if you're so inclined.  Both made with Bartlett Yarns.

A Very Neighborly Hat

You know how sometimes your neighbors are kinda awful, and they're always loud, and they never help you with anything but always need to borrow your tools?  And sometimes their pets come into your yard and they install a sensor light above their garage but it shines right at your house?  Well... WE are that neighbor.  We are, without a doubt, a plague on our street.  We moved in and brought destruction and decreased property value to our quiet little cul-de-sac.  

That last bit may be a slight exaggeration but the rest is, sadly, 100% accurate.  Every time it snows, our neighbors snowblow our driveway for us.  We have a snowblower, but it doesn't work quite right and we swear every summer we're going to fix it before winter and we never do.  To make this even worse, they're usually finished before we've even gone out to start shoveling so we never lend a hand with their snow removal.  We're awful.

I said last winter I was going to make a hat as a thank you.  I didn't.  Because I'm awful.  This winter I started to make a hat but then it got pushed aside for another project and wasn't finished.  Because I'm awful.  Then it was March and I figured it didn't make sense to make a winter hat in the beginning of spring so I vowed to make one for next year.  

Then snowpocalypse hit.  We didn't have power for 5 days.  Five.  Days.  During this time, our neighbors brought us bottled water from their own stash.  Because they're good neighbors.  So maybe March wasn't too late to make a hat.  

I sat down, used Michael's favorite pattern, and got to work.  I was moving right along, and then I saw it.  Stupid.  Broken.  Cable.

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I know most people wouldn't see it.  Even some knitters probably wouldn't be able to find it without close inspection.  It's easy to see in a zoomed-in image, not so easy to see when looking at the project as a whole.

But I would know it's there.  And in the highly unlikely instance that my neighbor was showing off his new hat to an expert knitter and THEY noticed it, a shame would descend upon my house even more than it is already.  That would not do.  

So I put in a lifeline and tore out a few inches.  It had to be done.  And the finished project was worth it.  

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I haven't seen my neighbor since giving him the hat.  Obviously because he doesn't want to be asked to do any more chores.  But I'm going to assume he loves the hat and his head has never been more warm or more comfortable.  Of course.  

Thanks, Tim.  And we're sorry.

Summer Knitting

This happens every year.  Wool is and always will be my favorite sport, but it gets hard to keep the passion alive in the warmer months.  No one wants to hold their favorite yarn with sweaty hands.  No one wants a blanket draped over them in the middle of August.

Every year I find new things to make for warm weather.  This year I've gotten on a bit of a headband jag.  Yes, it's February.  Yes, it's still cold.  I am thinking ahead for once and creating my summer inventory now so I don't have to knit while it's too hot to look at any wool.

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I like these little guys.  They're soft, they go with everything, and they have a little vintage look to them.  

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I've also been working on some more cross stitch projects.  I've just finished some more naughty ones, head over to my Facebook Page to have a look at those.  

I wanted to find a way to combine my love of reading with my love of crafts, and I finally found it. Coming soon to the shop are my bookmarks!

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I've started with making First Line bookmarks.  Of course, in true Llama fashion, there will eventually be profane ones.  But this is a strong start.  

First lines of novels are a drug to bibliophiles.  They invoke memories and emotions of the story from which they came.  Taking a piece of your favorite character, your favorite universe, or your favorite plot with you into your next literary journey has a comfort all it's own. 

Any suggestions/requests for your favorite first line?  Let me know here!