Friday Favorite: My magical Kindle case

Earlier this year, I told my husband I really wanted to get back into the reading habit all the time – not just in insane binges where I stayed up waaaay too late, and then had to wait a month or two to recover from the sleep deprivation before doing it again.

I said that I really liked the idea of a Kindle to make it super easy and instant to access books, but I didn’t like that it didn’t feel like a real book. There’s certainly something to be said for the feel of a real printed book in your hands.

So his solution was to buy me a new Kindle for my birthday… and this absolutely beautiful Kindle cover. It’s made by a company in England that uses the same materials for Kindle cases as they do hardcover books. Voila – a Kindle that feels like a book!

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And, to score even more points for my husband, he found this one – “Book of Spells” – with a bunch of Harry Potter references (and more!) on the inside. Swoon.

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I have used this very heavily this year, and have really enjoyed the feel of it, and the motivation it’s given me to up my reading game!

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Three on Thursday: Back in gear

I’m joining in with Carole’s Three on Thursday. I fell off the Thursday writing wagon (and every other day, too, for a while!) and am now getting back in the habit.

  1. I’m giving this little blog a kickstart with some more regular posting. I hope you all come back and visit my little corner of the internet again soon. I am planning a range of posts – knitting, quilting, general crafting, mom life, and reading/book reviews!
  2. I’m desperate to start a So Faded Pint Sized sweater and even have the yarn picked out. But I’m afraid to start it, because I don’t want to stall momentum on the Flower Power dress. It would be easy for the excitement of the fade to overpower the miles of pink stockinette.
  3. This week has felt like a farewell tour to summer – last dips in the pools, last sweltering temperatures, and a last hoorah for our favorite summer clothes. It’s been fun to have what feels like a bonus week of summer. But I love fall the most, so I’m OK with summer leaving us, which seems from the forecast to start from today!
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WIP Wednesday: Flower Power

I saw the Anemone Dress pattern on Ravelry a few weeks ago, and it made me do a little squeal. I just loved this sweet, sweet dress.

There is only a limited amount of time in a child’s life you can dress him or her as a flower, and I’ve got to get in there before the moment is gone!

I showed the pattern to BK and she really liked it. I took her to my LYS with me, intending to pick out a similar grey, as I really liked how understated it looked in the pattern photos. But BK was not convinced. And before I knew it, she thrust skeins of Cascade Heritage 150 in Flamingo Pink in my hands. Which means that our version is going to be mostly Flamingo Pink with an off-white petal collar. Really understated, right? 🙂

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I just can’t say no to a nice Hedwig stitch marker. 🙂 

Heroes in a half shell

The very first thing I knit for BK’s advent calendar turned Valentine’s countdown, was a Michelangelo from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I cannot describe how deep and how passionately my child feels about Michelangelo, and the Turtles in general.

We have Bitty Babies, and beautiful dresses for them to wear, and Build a Bears with fancy clothes and all kinds of other things, but her stuffed Turtles (she has these) are what get to wear the nice clothes and use the nice accessories. Michelangelo is the one always selected to go on trips when limited toys can be packed on the airplane, or even a short car trip. In short, my daughter loves the “party dude.”

From the very beginning of planning the countdown, I knew I wanted the things to be stuff that reflected who she was, instead of just holiday baubles. I wanted this calendar that I am making with my own two hands to be full of my love, but full of my daughter’s personality. And the first thing that had to be on it was Mikey.

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She then requested Donnie and Leo, which I happily obliged. She doesn’t like Raph all that much, so she originally didn’t want him, but then changed her mind. I haven’t made him yet, but he’s on the list.

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I made these in a similar way to the tiny ornament, using the ornament pattern from Handknit Holidays, knitting on a smaller needle and not increasing so many times. I added on the eyes and mouths (details like these are so much harder than you think – especially on such tiny things! I had to redo them a few times) and then also tied an extra bit of yarn to the back to make the ends of their masks.

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Turtle power!

 

Switching directions, and counting down

So, I mentioned that I was going to make BK an advent calendar. But shortly after I posted that, she declared that she did not need another Christmas calendar. And she already has a Halloween countdown, too. But what would be good is a Valentine’s countdown, she said. Well, count me tickled! That saves me making ten excruciatingly small knitted items! And BK loves a good countdown.

Since I had only made a few items, and had not really done anything totally committing me to Christmas (like sewing a giant felt tree), this is an easy turn. There are two things I made that I’m going to have to scrap for the countdown, but still plan to turn into little ornaments for her tree she has in her room at Christmas. The first is the ornament I shared last time. And the second is this cute little guy.

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He was originally a gnome in Teeny Tiny Mochimochi, which I purchased shortly after deciding to undertake this project. There are several really cute things that I love in this book. It was an extremely easy mod to change his clothes to red with some black pants/boots, and ta-da! you have Santa Claus.

But when BK got up the next morning to find him on the couch, she asked, “Where is his nose?”

So mod #2 was adding a little button nose to please her.

 

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I hate to say it, but she was right. He did need a nose.

Christmas in July

Last year, I really kicked around the idea of doing some kind of Christmas project that my daughter would have forever.

I have had the idea on my mind since I saw the Yarn Harlot’s advent tree that she did back in 2014. I loved it, but I wasn’t a confident sewer, and I had a one-year-old at the time, and it just seemed a little out of reach for what I could accomplish at the time. Also, I already had an advent calendar with a scene of Santa and Mrs. Claus that had a tiny mouse that you moved from pocket to pocket. It was given to me by my Granny, so it’s very special to me, and I had passed it down to BK. I thought she was covered for an advent calendar, because I want her to have fond memories of that one, too, and it was a wonderful thing we could share.

So I started looking for alternatives. Last year, the 12 Days of Christmas Mitten Garland KAL caught my eye. It was appealing because it only involved 12 things, not 24, and also you had two weeks to complete each small mitten, which seemed very reasonable. It was also very beautiful. But I ultimately decided not to make it, because even though it was lovely, I struggled with where it would go in amongst my Christmas decorations. I also explored the Mitten Garland Advent Calendar by the same designer, which is also lovely. I also considered a garland of little stockings, but didn’t want to commit to finding treats to put in each one of them, since BK usually already has a store-bought calendar with chocolates in it.

Eventually, this year, I got back around to the idea of the Yarn Harlot’s tree. And I figured if I’ve been thinking about it for 3 years, that’s probably what I really want to make. And that BK probably had enough room in her life for two advent calendars, since last year she had three (the mouse one I gave her, a chocolate one, and one with mini Thomas trains in it).  I started digging around for ideas on what to put on the tree, and made a rough list of what I would like to include. I’m still finalizing exactly which 24 things will be on it. BK and I have a had a few conversations over what to add and what to remove, and the list is very fluid at the moment. I’ve started on a few, and since I still have 4 months, I’m sure I can get it done for this Christmas (famous last words, right?).

tiny ornament for advent calendar

Above, you’ll see one of the finished items. It’s a tiny Christmas ornament, made from this pattern in one of my favorite books, Handknit Holidays. I’ve made the full-size version several times (I got a little excited about this pattern when I first learned to knit in the round), and all I did for this one was start just as the patten calls for, but didn’t increase the full number of times. When I finished it, I then picked up three stitches on the top in the gray yarn and made a tiny i-cord for the top of the ornament. The main part of the ornament is Tiny Toes by BaH Yarns. I’m not sure they make this color way any more, because I bought it when they first started. Heather is a good friend, and I love everything she and Brenda make. I originally purchased this yarn with the intention of making BK socks, but since she hates all socks (handmade and store-bought) and prefers to be barefoot, it seemed like a waste of good yarn. So she’ll still have something made out of this beautiful yarn, and it doesn’t have to be on her feet. 🙂

Wish me luck on getting all this done before December! And I’ll keep you posted on which 24 ideas make the final cut.

P.S. – Happy Birthday, Harry Potter.

FO: Playful Stripes Cardigan

This post actually started last spring, and I never finished it. And the story actually starts in summer 2015, when I visited my LYS and picked up a lovely color palette of stripe-y goodness for this cardigan. While knitting it during the winter (2015 and into 2016), BK requested the addition of green. And now, many months later, I present to you a finished Playful Stripes Cardigan!

I have loved this pattern for quite a while. I also have Annie and the Swiss Cheese Scarf, and this pattern is featured on Annie in the book, and for some time, I’ve felt BK should have all the sweaters in this book. Now she has this one, and the Wee Wildflower, which I finished a long time ago (but forgot to blog). Both Wildflowers and Playful Stripes were knit with Venezia Sport, a yummy blend that includes silk, which is wonderful against the skin, though a bit splitty when knitting. The contrast stripes on this one are primarily Cascade 220 Sport, but the green I bought later is HiKoo.

The only thing I was not over the moon about with this sweater was the button band. I had to add quite a bit of length to this sweater for it to even begin to fit my tall daughter, and even though I picked up more stitches along the button band than the pattern called for, it still wasn’t enough for the length I knitted. Therefore, it stretched out near the bottom (which is sort of visible in the photo below) and resulted in a very bizarre curve.

But – don’t look at that part! Look at the pretty stripes!

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Yes, it’s headless because I don’t share full pictures of my kiddo. This is at an Easter egg hunt in 2016, just days after I finished the cardigan.

I didn’t have any time for re-knitting, as my goal was for this to be an Easter sweater in 2016. I made it – with just about 4 days to spare, and it debuted at a Saturday Easter Egg hunt, which was very chilly.

Easter, however, was sunny, glorious and very warm… and sadly, there was no sweater wearing.

I didn’t take exact notes on my modifications, but I know I added A LOT of length to this, and just kind of kept measuring against BK as I went. I also lengthened the sleeves, and I thought they would be miles long, but they are JUST RIGHT.

The buttons are from my stash, and I bought them at a yarn show when BK was a tiny infant (like maybe less than 2 months old?) and they have been marinating in the stash and waiting for the perfect project. This was it!

After letting her wear this for the majority of 2016, I decided I couldn’t live with the wonky button band. There was no way I could keep the three bottom buttons of the sweater closed because of the way the band curved in and it was irritating to follow her around trying to re-button the bottom ones all day. I also started thinking about what I would think when we went to pull this out of our “keepers” box one day and how I would be so sad about this beautiful sweater I made, because I would be too ashamed to put it on a future granddaughter because of the crazy button band.

So a few weeks ago, I ripped both sides of the button band out. Then I reknit one side, and it was still crazy. So I ripped it out again. I gave it a firm blocking, and then reknit both button bands again. So one sweater, 5 button bands. 😛

However, I am so much happier with it now that I can’t believe I waited a year to re-knit the button band! And luckily, it still fits her really well, so she will get wear out of the new-and-improved version.