I just couldn’t resist

Well, my friends, the siren song of the snow globe advent calendar was just tooooooo strong. And 2 weeks before December 1, I found myself teaching myself how to hand embroider numbers and how to add seed beads and sequins to my hand sewing. I definitely had to do some practice runs, because the extent of my hand stitching repertoire is sewing on buttons… but I think it turned out all right.

I spent one whole week of evenings embroidering all of the numbers. I really struggled with this step. I had never used an iron-on transfer pen, so I practiced. It turned out OK. I did it for real, doing all of the numbers at once as the instructions said, and I thought it worked really well. For about 15 minutes. But I felt that even though I bought a “permanent” pen, the outlines started fading almost immediately! I would be upset with how it looked and have to walk away and give myself some space to see if I was going to tear it out or be OK with it. I cringed to even take a picture of the numbers for you, because every area I considered taking a close-up photo of had something in it that bothered me. I’ve instead decided to approach this from the “galloping horse” theory – if it looks good from a galloping horse, it’s fine! And I think, even though I don’t have a horse, that from a distance the overall impression of the embroidery is acceptable.

Over the next weekend, I cut out all of the pieces. Then I spent a few nights after BK’s bedtime doing the handsewing and beading. The beading took FOREVER the first day, as I was trying to get the hang of it. I really struggled holding onto those little seed beads, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to be finding them in the folds of my couch forever! After the first night, however, I really got into the swing of it.

I finished it just in time! It wasn’t yet on the dowel rod or hung, but the sewing was done on December 1, and I had two snowballs completed.

I’ve now completed all of the days that require the felt balls – snow and ornaments. However, I realized as I was triumphantly testing the magnets, that I am missing a magnet behind the tree and I was one short! I had a lot of trouble falling asleep that night while thinking over how best to do this rework. After talking to my mom and Mr Snips, I decided on a small incision in the back, glueing the magnet on, and then sewing the small slit. It worked out very well.

Advent Calendar in progress

I now have 19 days worth of the pieces done, and am working along on the animals. We’ll see how long it takes to do these final pieces with so many little details! But really, it’s all about completing a personal challenge. Especially since after I started working on this frantically, BK told me she didn’t need it for this year, because she already had an advent calendar, and what she really wanted was a pink and red striped stocking. Never mind that she has this beautiful one. Sigh.

 

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Three things: Recently

Book with tissue paper flower (made by BK)

  1. Reading: Last night I stayed up waaaaaay too late reading a book. And the kicker is I still quit at only 88%, according to my Kindle. So many questions unanswered! There was just no way to stay up any later and make it to work this morning. (I was reading “How the light gets in” by Louise Penny.)
  2. Dreaming: I also fell down the rabbit hole last night when I came across these amazing advent calendars on Etsy. I looooove them. I am so tempted to scrap my knitted countdown (whatever holiday that ends up being for) and just make a ton of these. I initially saw the reindeer one, but BK said she really liked the snow globe one, and after reading about it, I like the snow globe one, too – because a lot of the days use pre-made pom poms! I’ve almost even convinced myself I could pull off the snow globe one before December 1 (yikes! my delusion is strong). Regardless, I would also love to make the birthday one (what a fun idea!) and maybe just the ornaments that go on the Halloween one. She also has a free heart pattern you can sign up for, and I’m tempted to scrap all the little knitted ones and make 14 hearts for Valentine’s Day. But then again, BK has been after me to knit this little superhero girl.  So that one will have to get done one way or the other.
  3. Planning: to knit this Peanut vest for a dear friend’s little boy. This pattern is so darling, and am looking forward to purchasing some yarn for it this weekend!

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.

Back to reality: Bye bye Disney World

Mr Snips, BK and I just returned from our first real family vacation just the three of us. We spent a couple of days at Disney, and I have to say it was magical. I was so sad to come home. And not just because we were going from 80 degrees, sunny and spectacular to sub-freezing, snow flurry conditions, but because we had a really lovely time. So nice, in fact, that I’ve already started daydreaming about what our next trip will be.Cinderella's castle in Magic KingdomAnd since we’ve arrived home and the snow has started in on us (which feels very early for Indiana, but the weatherman assures me we are nowhere near reaching record lows or snowfalls), the knitting has commenced in earnest.

I finished my Roseberry sweater last night (can’t wait to get some FO shots for you!), and I started a hat that is part of my very limited Christmas knitting while we were on holiday. Since we’ve gotten home, I’ve dithered on what to do next with the hat (Ahoy Princess Beret), because my initial plan was to make the worsted weight intricate cables version. But after I finished the ribbing and realized I had an opportunity to do a modification for an extra slouchy version, I’ve wavered. I think I only have enough yarn to do the regular version of the intricate cables, and I could MAYBE squeeze a slouchy less-intricate cables version out of my yarn – but I JUST DON’T KNOW. And it’s for a 21-year-old college student, and I don’t know what kids these days like (this makes me feel FAR older than my actual years – when did this happen?). I have 200 yards of MadTosh Vintage, and the pattern calls for 210 with non-slouchiness, but I’m feeling dangerous. Some research on FOs on Ravelry hasn’t helped make up my mind. Suggestions welcome!

Sweetest knitting bag ever + new project!

Look at this adorable little bag!!

Cath Kidston cottage knitting bag

I picked it up back in May when I made a pilgrimage to the Cath Kidston shop in London. When I saw this knitting bag that looks like a cottage, I had to have it!

Not only is it super cute, but it is LARGE. I currently have 6 skeins of Cascade 128 superwash in it (a bulky yarn that takes up a lot of space!) and still have plenty of room to spare.

There are no inner pockets to this, but there is one large one that runs the span of the back with a Velcro closure. There’s so much room inside, though, that I haven’t used it yet. The only trick I think they missed was that the back and inside are plain red. If the inside had some coordinating print, I think it would take it over the top!

I don’t see the bag online any more. It went on super sale about a week after I got home (figures!) and then it disappeared. Cath Kidston still has some cute stuff in her craft range though.

Cath Kidston cottage knitting bag with Roseberry in progress

And what is that large amount of red knitting you see, you ask? It is the Roseberry that I started a couple of weeks ago for dear Baby Knitsnips. I found this pattern very early on in my pregnancy and favorited it. I was just obsessed with it. And I still am. I love the hood. I love that it is made with cozy bulky yarn. But most of all, I love the cables.

As soon as I saw this pattern, I instantly thought it should be red. It just felt like a Little Red Riding Hood sweater. I felt so strongly about it being red, that in my mind, the project on Ravelry was red. I was astonished when I went back to buy the pattern and the picture was of a BEIGE sweater. When did it turn beige? It didn’t change, of course, I just had a real vision for this sweater.

It’s a Ann Kingstone pattern, who I first found through these incredible Gryffindor socks (I love them! Who wants to knit them for me?! I both adore them and am terrified to knit them at the same time!). I’m excited to be knitting one of her patterns now, and I also have my eye on Ilkley Moor (maybe for my Irish yarn?).

I am using some of my favorite bulky yarn, Cascade 128 superwash, on size 10 needles for this project.  I’m making the 2-3 size, even though BK is mostly wearing 18 months clothes, and a very few 24 months, just to make sure we can make it through the winter. If we’re lucky, she may be able to wear it next winter, too! Regardless, it will be well-worn and loved. BK spent most of the winter last  year in sweaters instead of a coat, because I felt like they were more comfortable for her and they kept her warm for our quick trips between the car and stores. I anticipate this sweater may end up being one of her most used this winter. I can’t wait to see that cute little face in this beautiful sweater!

Monday Musing: Casting Off

I decided this week that there are too many languishing Works in Progress in my knitting bag for me to cast on something new. And since spring is finally starting to feel like it’s on its way, I’m itching to start some new stuff!

This past week, I finally cast off my Hermione’s Godric’s Hallow Hat that I started in August! And yes, that is an obscenely long time to work on a hat. I just hated the whole project at the beginning and it got pushed to the bottom of the bag for several months.

I plan on renewing my work on my Autumn Everyday Socks for the Gryffindor Common Room this week. I had an attack of confidence on these a few weeks ago. I was afraid the pattern (Hermione’s Everyday Socks) paired with my very busy yarn made it look more like I couldn’t knit very well, instead of the lovely purposeful subtle texture that it seemed to give every other person’s project on Ravelry. I love the yarn; it’s a souvenir skein I bought in North Carolina a couple of years ago. I really want to use it for the right project. And since it doesn’t have any wool in it, I briefly considered frogging these socks to make some kind of cowl. But I don’t need any more neckwear, and I always need some socks, so I plan on boldly continuing! Especially since I had already started using this yarn for a since-abandoned Nutkin.

I would also like to get to back to work on my Seaglass Holden that I started in October. I have made it through the stockinette part and I am ready for the lace border. Hopefully, I can drum up some concentration to work on it.

And my work on my Bigger on the Inside Shawl and my OWL Mitts will continue, but I consider these long-term projects.

This week will also contain some adjusting to the time change. Once upon a time, Indiana did not observe DST, and we never had to “spring forward” or “fall back.” In fact, it was that way for most of my life. Sure, we were in the midst of states that always did, and that was a little confusing when you traveled sometimes, but it was at least straightforward if you stayed home. We’re all feeling a bit off from the change, but hopefully we’ll be back on

What’s your plan for the week?

Startitis

Oh boy, my friends, I cannot stop myself from starting more and more projects!

It kind of kicked off right before I went on a road trip in mid-October, and I was concerned about having enough knitting for LOTS of riding in the car time. But I didn’t want just one project – oh no – I wanted an easy, mindless knit, a middle of the road knit and a complicated one. So what made the cut into my travel knitting bag included:

  1. Autumn Everyday Socks for the Gryffindor Common Room (Hermione’s Everyday Socks) – This was my easy project. I love to have a pair of socks on the go all the time. You may recognize this yarn from my Nutkin socks, which I abandoned for some time and then frogged. Since fall is here once again, I couldn’t resist picking up this yummy yarn again.
    Everyday socks in progress
  2. Seaglass Holden (Holden Shawlette) – I don’t wear shawls, but I COULD NOT resist this pattern once I saw one knitted up in my LYS. I had a beautiful skein of yarn dyed by my friend Mary Ann for a Scarf Saturday about two years ago, and it has some cashmere in it (I think! I’ve lost the label), and it’s luscious. Beautiful pattern + Lovely yarn=Irresistible This was meant to be my intermediate skill level pattern, but then I realized that most of the beginning of it is stockinette, so it turned out to be a mindless knit for the drive too, which was kind of nice.
    Seaglass Holden in prgress
  3. Bigger on the Inside – Completing this shawl as a knitalong with Smashing the Serene was one of my new year’s resolutions. I started it on the trip. This project and I have had repeated disagreements, and I am now running a billion lifelines through it — just in case.
    Bigger on the Inside in progress

    And this is not where it ended, oh no. I started some more stuff that I’ve left at home or started since I returned.

  4. Happy Autumn Leftie (Leftie) –  I originally thought this would be a travel project, but since I needed four balls of yarn for it, I thought it may be a bit difficult to manage.
    Leftie in progress
  5. Everyday Glamour Baby Mittens (His and Her Mittens) – Dear Baby Knitsnips has several pairs of mittens. One I made her as part of the Baby Hermione Trio, and a few pair made by her great-nan. I realized this week, however, that she does not have a pair of white ones, and that’s what she desperately needs to match this sweet little coat my mom bought her. I picked up a couple of skeins of Sublime while on vacation in white and so I began this project a couple of days ago.
    Baby Mittens in progress
  6. Baby Santa Hat (Santa Hat) – I also realized with alarm that Christmas is rapidly approaching and I had promised myself Baby Knitsnips would have this hat this year. Mostly because I made myself an adult version a couple of years ago, and I nearly squee with delight when I think of us in matching hats for Christmas photos! All it needs now is the bobble band and a pom pom.
    Baby Santa Hat

And let’s not forget I’m also working on a secret project that must be done by Christmas that I have completely abandoned for the last couple of weeks! I don’t know what’s gotten into me, but I want to knit all the things right now! Not to mention that I want to knit another shawl by New Year’s Eve (though like I said I don’t wear shawls. And this one would also be for me. I think I have an irrational knitting disease). I also had planned to make BK a Candy Cane Hat before Christmas, too, but now I’m not so sure it will get done. Fingers crossed that I will, as I can’t imagine anything cuter than a candy cane hat on my beautiful baby!