Monday, December 29, 2008

Crochet: Going Home Poncho in Purple



I thought I would do some "every day" sweaters for Audrey. Typically what I knit, crochet, or sew is more Sunday/party appropriate. When it comes to every day, Audrey prefers to wear knits--something close to pajamas since she isn't allowed to wear her actual pajamas. How can I blame her going for comfort?


So I thought, why not do some fun, casual things she can wear more?


She loved a little chenille poncho I bought for her last year and she has now outgrown so I did a pattern search and came up with the toddler version of the Going Home Poncho pattern from Lion Brand. I'm a longtime fan of Martha Stewart and thought the buzz around her "going home" and the story of this poncho was so interesting... But really I also thought the Homespun yarn specification and cute style would make it fun for Audrey to wear.
I took Audrey to the store with me and had her pick out her favorite color of yarn: purple.

This was a very quick project, and even better: Audrey seemed excited to wear it! We'll see how long that lasts. But as it is, it was the perfect layer for walking the dog ("Zoe") during our stay in Phoenix.



Monday, December 22, 2008

Crochet: Shell Scarf Christmas Gifts for my Sisters

I needed to be more realistic about the number of handmade gifts I give for Christmas this year, especially since I am only supposed to be giving according to the family name I drew. But, I just love giving gifts and feel it isn't really cheating if the gift is handmade, instead of purchased, and relatively small. So I have found the perfect thing! These long, thin, shell scarves. I found the pattern in an email from Joann. They crochet super fast. They are also the perfect way to get rid of some of my yarn stash--such a relief to find something to do with most of a skein. I've found this pattern works with any worsted weight yarn. Even did a slightly heavier yarn--a fabulous fluffy fuschia--and it worked, just required a hunt for another skein.

I saw these e.l.f. Candy Shop Lip Tins in a magazine and loved them--remind me of the ones I used when I was in gradeschool--so I bought some (only $1!) to package with the scarves for an extra girlie gift. They smell great, and it was fun to pick coordinating hues.

Hopefully my sisters will love these. They all wear scarves well and this seems an easy accessory because it can be looped loosely a couple times or even worn as a belt. It was fun to find the perfect colors--a pale sea green for Angela, a grass green for Christine and the fuschia for Sarah. Can't wait for Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sewing: Christmas Dresses



Last Christmas I made Audrey cute dress with a crochet top and corduroy skirt. This year I decided I wanted to make more classic dresses for the girls . I found this McCall's pattern M5305 and some really beautiful dark red babywale corduroy at JoAnn. (I used Simplicity pattern 3656 for Scarlett's dress and cut out a smaller version of the collar on Audrey's to make them alike.)

I love this pattern. I love the empire waist look. I made that view and lengthened the sleeves to make it more appropriate for the Christmas season.
I also added a big satin bow in the back in this great sap green color and covered buttons.

I would love to make this pattern and reverse the dress so it buttons in front (I'd do buttons all the way down) and change the collar to a simple peter pan. Maybe in a lightweight pink wool. Would be so cute.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Crochet: Felted Flower Corsage Gifts




I have been hand making gifts for a group of girlfriends with whom I exchange small birthday gifts and was wondering what to do this year for the two December birthdays. Last year I gave them earflap hats in brown, pink and cream, an upsized version of the hat I made for Audrey. This year I decided to do felted flower corsages--fast and fasionable in my opinion.


I made a bunch of these flowers for a crochet dress for Audrey last year and have always thought they'd be cute on their own. I based them on this Crochet Today pattern for the large and altered it to make them a bit smaller--a medium and a small version.

Then I sewed on a pin on the back to create a corsage.


Here is the pattern:
FELTED FLOWERS

Materials:
· 1 skein Moda Dea Cartwheel yarn (or some other 100% wool worsted weight yarn suitable for felting)
· Size 7/10 hook

MEDIUM-SIZED FLOWER (THREE ROWS OF PETALS)

FOUNDATION RING:
Chain 3, join chain with a slip stitch to form a ring.
Round 1: Chain 3 (counts as one double crochet), work 14 double crochet in ring, join round with a slip stitch in 3rd chain of beginning chain-3. (15 double crochet)
Round 2: Chain 6 (counts as one double crochet and chain 3), skip next stitch, *double crochet in next double crochet, chain 3, skip next double crochet; repeat from * 5 times more, join round with a slip stitch in 3rd chain of beginning chain-6. (7 chain-3 loops)
Round 3: (this is the back row of petals) *Work (single crochet, half double crochet, 3 double crochet, half double crochet, single crochet) in next chain-3 loop; repeat from * around, join round with a slip stitch in first single crochet. Fasten off (or not—see below!) (7 petals)
[Most patterns would fasten off at this point and then join the yarn in a skipped double crochet of round 2. Instead I use a couple slip stitches to work down to a Round two skipped double crochet and continue working. It’s quicker and avoids yet another tedious weaving in of a loose end!]
Round 4: (this is the center row of petals) Working off a round two skipped double crochet, chain 3, *slip stitch in next skipped double crochet, chain 3; repeat from * 5 more times, join round with a slip stitch in firs slip stitch. 7 chain-3 loops.
Round 5: *Work (single crochet, half double crochet, 3 double crochet, half double crochet, single crochet) in next chain-3 loop; repeat from * around in each chain-3 loop, join round with a slip stitch in first single crochet. Fasten off (or not—see below!) (7 petals on center row)
[Again, most would fasten off here but instead I use a couple slip stitches to get to a double crochet in round 1.]
Round 6: (Front row of petals) Chain 2, skip next 2 double crochet, *slip stitch around post of next double crochet, chain 2, skip next 2 double crochet; repeat from * 3 times more, join round with a slip stitch in first slip stitch. 5 chain-2 loops.
Round 7: *Work (single crochet, half double crochet, 2 double crochet, half double crochet, single crochet) in next chain-2 loop; repeat from * around on each chain 2 loop, join round with a slip stitch in first single crochet. Fasten off. (5 petals on front row)

SMALL SIZED FLOWER (TWO ROWS OF PETALS)

FOUNDATION RING:
Chain 3, join chain with a slip stitch to form a ring.
Round 1: Chain 3 (counts as one double crochet), work 10 double crochet in ring, join round with a slip stitch in 3rd chain of beginning chain-3. (10 double crochet)
Round 2: Chain 6 (counts as one double crochet and chain 3), skip next stitch, *double crochet in next double crochet, chain 3, skip next double crochet; repeat from * 3 times more, join round with a slip stitch in 3rd chain of beginning chain-6. (5 chain-3 loops)
Round 3: (this is the back row of petals) *Work (single crochet, half double crochet, 3 double crochet, half double crochet, single crochet) in next chain-3 loop; repeat from * around, join round with a slip stitch in first single crochet. Fasten off (or not—see below!) (5 petals)
[Most patterns would fasten off at this point and then join the yarn in a skipped double crochet of round 2. Instead I use a couple slip stitches to work down to a Round two skipped double crochet and continue working. It’s quicker and avoids yet another tedious weaving in of a loose end!]
Round 4: (this is the front row of petals) Working off a round two skipped double crochet, chain 3, *slip stitch in next skipped double crochet, chain 3; repeat from * 3 more times, join round with a slip stitch in firs slip stitch. 5 chain-3 loops.
Round 5: *Work (single crochet, half double crochet, 3 double crochet, half double crochet, single crochet) in next chain-3 loop; repeat from * around in each chain-3 loop, join round with a slip stitch in first single crochet. Fasten off. (5 petals on front row)

Finishing: Weave in all ends

Felting: Place the flower (or flowers) in a pillowcase cover (use zippered cover or close with a rubber band). Fill washing machine to low water setting at a hot temperature. Add about a tablespoon of a detergent such as Woolite and the pillow case. Put on gentle wash cycle. (I use the hot/cold setting). When cycle is complete check the flower. If it is too large put through a second cycle. (I typically like the results I get from two cycles). Remove flower(s). Form flower into shape and allow to air dry.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Baby Announcements

I love so much the printed word--fine press books, cards, letter press... I took a letterpress class in college and it was perhaps the best thing I did there. I wish I had time to do it myself--make some books, cards, even posters.


In any event, because I love all things printed, it is difficult to make a decision about birth announcements. I want them to be perfect, classic and beautiful, like my newborn baby girl. I had a great local press make these for me, Mandate Press.

This was the announcement they created for Audrey (with photo taken by her father.)



(Audrey is wearing a dress crocheted for my mother, by my grandmother--how great is that?!)





My good friend and talented creative director, Brian Deaver, designed Scarlett's announcement for me. I didn't want to combine Scarlett's announcement with a Christmas greeting but I decided to do a combined mailing of separate cards because it just made sense. So Brian designed and Mandate printed a Christmas card in the same font and size.

So here is Scarlett's announcement:


And, her beautiful announcement photo taken by her father (I crocheted her layette a few months ago).


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Crochet: Accessories for Baby Blessing Gown


Scarlett was blessed in church today, and wore the beautiful smocked blessing dress my friend, Margie, made for us when we blessed Scarlett. She also wore an upsized version of the bonnet I made her for her announcement layette. And, she was wrapped in this beautiful matching blanket our good friend, and nanny, Sue, crocheted for her. So nice to have this little one surrounded by the love of so many people.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Knitting: Dusty Lavender Sweater Set for Scarlett



I had enough yarn left over from the sweater I made for Audrey that I could make a matching one for Scarlet, and so I had planned to do it, but the project ended up being fast and furious due to a last minute family photo shoot! My in-laws came in town for Scarlett's blessing and earlier this week my mother-in-law called to see what I thought about doing an extended family photo--we haven't had one since I married into the family and I had mentioned something a while back but wasn't planning to have it so soon after having a baby! I decided to set aside my vanity and instead focus on what the girls could wear. Much more fun.

Because of the cooler weather, not only did I need to finish this sweater but I also thought Scarlett needed a matching hat...

...and booties. The sweater is from the Debbie Bliss Special Knits book. The booties are the "Slip Ons" pattern from Zoe Mellor's 50 Baby Bootees to Knit (so many darling patterns in this book!). The hat is from the Bernat Organic Cotton Mommy and Me Book.

And look how beautiful my girls look in their matching outfits! I had to make Audrey a dress too. This is from a pattern I have from my mother's collection. It's Butterick 4676--darling bishop's yoke dresses with or without ruffles.

These gorgeous photos of the girls are by a local photographer, Jennifer Fauset.



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