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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bag Lady--Sewing Lesson 1.2

I'm very attracted to easy patterns that involve a lot of rectangles! Bags work well with this trend. I'd worked on my own at home a few weeks ago, progressing on the "Easter Bag Totes" I'd started making with M @ hidden in the hem last month. I wasn't too sure how one of them had turned out but the kitty cat bag for I was looking pretty good. (Here's a flashback to the fabric I bought last fall.)

I'd decided to go ahead and invest in a self-healing cutting mat and rotary blade for cutting. I was going to wait until closer to my birthday but Jo-Ann's had them 40% off PLUS I had an additional 20% off all items (including sale) so for 60%, it seemed like it was as good of a time as any. I'd found a new, smaller bag pattern online (love me some Pinterest) and used up some scraps cutting pieces to work on at Mylinh's the next time we sewed together.

Mylinh and I set up her kitchen into a little sweat shop last night, lol (according to her husband, at least). Then she helped me finish up the Easter bag totes for the nieces and I got to work on my handy dandy tote bag. She had to help me brave the world of bobbin threading and there were a few small hiccups but overall, I was so happy with what we accomplished.

There's a sneak peak at the Easter tote..."E-ows" for Miss Izzy to put all sorts of books and treasures into.

The new bag is uber-cute! I can say this since I didn't come up with the pattern. Though it doesn't have the elegance of the tote bag I'd made for the girls, it was smaller and more practical for every day use. In fact, the bag folds up and an elastic band holds the bag into a little pocket sized bag you can stick in your purse or glove compartment anytime you need a small bag to carry some miscellaneous items from the farmer's market or a few books on audio you've picked up from the library. (I just listened through the Percy Jackson series and am now working my way through Harry Potter as I knit and sew away.)

Okay, in reality, that little tote bag took me forever to make! I can't say I exactly whipped through it last night. M's husband was expecting a closet full of clothes with all of the prep and set up M put into our sewing night. But I made another one here at home this morning and I cut my time at least in half so I am getting faster...slowly but surely. ;0)

Oh, and the cats seem just as interested in sewing as they do knitting (sigh).

There's usually at least one tail swishing or furry body on a piece of fabric I need at any given time. When will my kitties start to realize that they aren't kittens any more?

I'm proud of myself for getting outside of my comfort zone and taking on a craft I'd always wanted to learn, though I couldn't have made it this far without M's help. Next on our items! Woot woot. Time to get all cute and cozy. In the meantime, my readers, what is a craft skill you've always wanted to learn but have never taken the time to attempt? 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Kitty Cat Capers

Haven't posted on Princessa or Phat cat in a while...they are both doing well. Still as naughty as ever. Still believe that they are kittens when they are about FOUR AND A HALF YEARS OLD. Lol

Above is a CLASSIC Phat Cat moment. He moves as little as possible. He needs to reserve all of his energy for sleeping, you know. So in this case, I tossed a catnip flavored mouse at him and he reached out to claim it. Then kept his paw on it, not moving any further to claim it but refusing to release it lest the Princess might take an interest in it. He actually fell asleep in that very position, he was so desperate to keep the toy all to himself. Sigh...

And this is a typical Princess shot. She managed to get herself into a bag/box/container. She has a love for all things storage. And once she gets into the spot, Phat Cat has a hard time getting her out of it since he's so much...(cough)...bigger. A bit passive aggressive but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!

Oh, those cats...we only keep it real at our place!

I'll Know my Prince when I Hear Him Ribbit ;0)

I finished and photographed my latest stuffed animals...these were knitting flat and sewn together. Even though knitting in the round is a bit of a hassle, I think I prefer their look a little better than these...though they are still pretty darn cute ;0)

I think it was this pattern of The Frog Prince from Knitted Toy Tales that  made me "have to" buy the pattern book. Isn't he just kissable?! Okay, not literally, but he is pretty cute. Personally, I'm finding dating exhausting and if this next round of contestants don't work out, I think I might take a break and just hang out with my frog prince ;0)

I also make the Owl and the Pussycat along with their Pea-green boat...for my niece, Isabel. She doesn't turn two until August though...really, being overly prepared for her birthday was just an excuse to make up these fairytale cuties. I'm really developing a love for owls and I've always loved cats so it's a purr-fect pair. Hopefully I'll find my Mr. Owl soon, too ;0)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Playing Cat and Mouse

I've been bitten by the animals...the stuffed animal bug, that is!

My first attempt at animals after Octavia the Octopus shall remain anonymous until it's closer to Easter (hint hint) but I've posted my next attempts: the cat and a mouse from Spud and Chloe at the Farm. I used size 5 yarn (and 10.5 needles) instead of worsted so they turned out larger than the pattern called for but I love how they turned out.

Note, all of the patterns in Spud and Chloe are created by knitting in the round. It was a bit of a challenge to work on the mouse in the round, admittedly. But having made stuffed animals in the round as well as flat and sewn together, I think I prefer to make them in the round.

My kitty has a bit of a mouse-like point to his face but he's still cute...well, I haven't decided for sure if it's a he or a she yet. I could  use some name suggestions...any ideas?!?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

May the Sleep Sheepies Always Find You...

With so many girls to knit for, I still had a chance to make some more "boyish" type items for the baby boys in my life. Here are two hats I made recently. The smaller is a "squash" hat for a newborn that I got out of a "One Skein Wonder" book. I used a striping camo print cotton yarn (HL's "I Love This Yarn"). I sent it to the pregnant mama (due in just four weeks!) with some off-white booties I'd made. Note to self, don't make the booties out of cotton yarn unless you want them to be quite large. So the booties and the hat don't match size wise. Sigh. Oh well!

The larger hat is from my "Baby Beanies" book and it's a sleeping hat. I know every mama hopes the sleep sheep will find her baby, lol.

I made it for my cousin's baby whose just now a month old along with some green booties I'd made. Is he not the CUTEST model EVER?!

I'd planned to adjust a hat pattern to make a sleeping cap for my cousin as well but I messed up toward the top and just finished it up without the long slowly decreasing tail. He still wore it for a pic, though. (His wife might have made him, lol!)

The best part about knitting is getting the pics from the recipients modeling my handiwork! Baby Georgie is worn out from his modeling and the sleep sheepies have found him!Yay!

XOXOXOX Baby Georgie! Love your cousin Jenn

No More Teachers, No More Books

My grandma, a former elementary school teacher, is not surprisingly a huge advocate of continuing education. Once retired, she took a number of "adult ed" type classes from anything to crafts to computers, even once taking a yoga class so she would be occupied while my grandpa took a bread making class. Last fall, she found a knitting class for me and my mom to take where we learned all sorts of techniques like mitering, cables and color work. This quarter I've joined a "knit along" class where we're making a baby sweater and socks.

The baby sweater is done!

The pattern was fairly easy to follow, though I definitely needed teacher assistance to understand it and complete some of the stitches and steps. 

It involved some seaming, which was very exciting to the cats. Whenever yarn moves, BEWARE! Lol

I added some color work to mine, copying a Fair Isle pattern I saw in a baby hat in my "60 Quick Knits for Baby" book. I also used the seed stitch on my edges, just to give it a little more design. It's for about a 3  to 6 month old and I can't wait to find a model to give it to.

These classes are really stretching my knowledge and building my confidence in knitting. Depending on what is being offered next quarter in the knitting classes, I may take a sewing class next. This week, we start socks. I can't wait to learn how to "turn a heel." Am I a knitting nerd or what?! Until next time...peace, love and yarn.


Pop culture is full of abbreviations and catchy phrases to summarize a matter of interest. The buzz over the turn of the millennium will always be remembered as Y2K. Celebrity couples like Brangelina and Bennifer. My favorites might be the descriptions of relationships like "Frenemy" and "Bromance." Not to be out of the loop, knitting has it's share of abbreviations, too. For example, "CO" to cast on, "BO" to bind off. Or like "St" to indicate stockinette stitch and "SSKP" to indicate a specific type of decrease (slip two stitches as if to knit, knit next stitch, pass slipped stitch over).

This scarf and hat set I knitted for a friend's birthday is merely following "K2YOP2tog" or knit two stitches, yarn over, purl two together. The yarn over creates an extra stitch and a hole, purling two stitches together creates a beautiful pattern and ensures your number count of stitches remain the same. Knitting in the round had a different effect on the pattern but it was just as pleasing. This is a fast, easy way to change up your basic scarf and hat set. Give it a try some time!