child, hat, knitting

Halloween: A knitting odyssey

Yesterday at lunch, we were talking about how cold it was going to be for trick-or-treating (much colder than usual), and Mr Snips said we’d need to take a hat for BK. A hat. And I thought, why didn’t I think of that? Because BK was going as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and I have a fabulous skein of Cowabunga from BAH Yarns¬†in the stash… and she NEEDS THAT HAT IMMEDIATELY for trick-or-treating. I felt like this was a major oversight for a knitter. I also loved the idea of the challenge.

So I zoomed home after work and cast on.

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I did as much knitting as possible while trying to eat a quick dinner and putting several layers of clothes on my kid. I took any chance I could to knit even a stitch. I knew I couldn’t get it done before trick-or-treating started, but I thought maybe I could get it finished before dark. So I packed everything I needed, including a Knit Kit and DPNs, threw it in my cute Telephone Box bag, and started walking and knitting as we began trick-or-treating. (Mitts are October Leaves Fingerless Mitts)

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Eventually, my fingertips started going numb and I decided to pack it away. I was sad to admit defeat.

I picked it up again after we were very snugly back in our warm house. By bedtime, I had done the first row of decreases.

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My hope is to finish it up today! Even though it’s too late for trick-or-treating, she still loves TMNT, and she will need it for all of the chilly days ahead. It was good motivation to knock out so much of it in one go, and it’s all decreases from here.

I hope you all had a fabulous Halloween! I’ll leave you with a spooky moon shot from last night!

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craft projects, holiday, life

Happy Halloween!

Just dropping in to wish you all a Happy Halloween! It’s my ultimate favorite holiday, and I can’t wait for our family of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to go trick-or-treating tonight!


I thought I would share the buntings that my mom and I made together when I was 4 years old. She sewed the pumpkins and stuffed the ghosts, and I drew the faces. We made three strands, cut to custom lengths for three of the doorways in the house where I grew up. Now they hang in my house every Halloween. I’m sharing my favorite of the three. Why is this one my favorite? Because you can very obviously tell that the one on the left is the one my mom did as a demonstration of how she thought the faces should be made. And then I obviously decided I did not like that, and promptly made every single one of them on all three strands smiley. ūüôā

BK and I actually did a similar thing last week when she drew a ghost, and I suggested doing three ovals – two for the eyes and one for the mouth – and then she went right ahead and made a smiley face anyway. It’s great to be 4 and love to smile.

 

holiday, knitting, life, sweater, Three on Thursday

Three on Thursday

Knitting in Hawaii in the car

  1. Mr. Snips and I just recently returned from a flat-out amazing, wonderful trip to Hawaii, which is why it’s been so quiet here recently. It was a great trip that had a lot of time for relaxing and reading by the pool, but with enough fun outings that it didn’t get too restful. Above, you will see a picture of me knitting in our rental car, roof down (we had a convertible), and the sunset in the background. Bliss.
  2. I’m nearing the finish mark on a quilt I’ve been working on for a while, and will be handing it off to get it professionally quilted very soon. I’ve never done that, so I’m excited! The other quilts I’ve done, I’ve bumbled along doing some straight lines on my little machine. Since this one is for BK, and the fabric is out of this world beautiful (Magic by Sarah Jane), I want to make sure that it gets a fancier treatment than I can give it alone.
  3. It’s almost Halloween! I can’t wait! It’s hands down my favorite holiday. It may have something to do with growing up in a cornfield and always having to be driven to different houses for trick-or-treating. It’s not nearly as magical as what I always saw on TV where kids just walked out of their front door and went around the neighborhood. When we moved into our old house, I nearly burst from excitement when we had 100 trick-or-treaters come to our door (yes, I’m a nerd, I keep a tally). Our new house gets less traffic, but it is amazing to trick-or-treat in because it is basically a big loop. We also have a few neighbors who really go all out on the decorations and make it really fun. BK and I did the whole neighborhood last year and it was a blast. I can’t wait to go out with her again this year.
life, Ten on Tuesday

Ten on Tuesday: Getting ready for fall

Well, my friends, much has been going on here at Chez Knitsnips. The most notable thing is that I managed to slice open my right pinky finger in one of my oven vent holes, and that has made both typing and knitting slightly challenging. I got my first set of injury stitches (4!) right across the pad of my finger, and I will tell you it hurt something fierce!

My recovery is moving right along now, so I’m up to participate in Ten on Tuesday with CaroleKnits again! The topic Carole has chosen for this week is “Ten things you do to your home to get it ready for fall.” Mine are:

  1. Decorate for fall. This usually includes some festive baskets.
  2. Decorate for Halloween. This includes a lot of things – and by that, I mean something in every room. I even put Halloween clings on the mirrors in the bathroom. I’m totally dedicated to Halloween!!
  3. Buy at least one potted mum. I usually kill it right away (on accident) – it is the only plant that we consistently don’t do well with at our house, but we keep trying!
  4. Decide on a Halloween costumes! So this isn’t part of the house, but very
  5. Buy, carve, and decorate with pumpkins!
  6. Buy Halloween candy. Yum yum yum. I have been resisting so far, but I dare say I won’t last much longer passing those bags of candy at the store!
  7. Stock up on coffee and tea. As the weather gets colder, the need to add an evening hot drink sounds too good to resist.
  8. Stock up on hot chocolate!
  9. Get out my pumpkin spice candle. Smells of amazing.
  10. Get out my beloved hand-painted ceramic haunted house that my mom made. Truly a treasured possession! (can’t find a picture of it at the moment – astounding, but true – but will try to share in a future post).

And there has been knitting going on, really and truly. I’ll share that soon, too.

baby, fingerless mitts, gloves, hat, holiday, knitting, life

Happy Halloween + Autumn FOs

Halloween is a Big Deal holiday for me. It’s maybe my favorite. I love everything about October and the lead-up to trick-or-treating.

I think it may have to do with my Halloweens when I was growing up. My mom always made me amazing costumes. It was so exciting to decide what I wanted to be, go to the fabric store and pick out a pattern and fabrics, and watch as my mom made the costume of my dreams come true. Over the years, I was a a pumpkin, a fairy princess, Miss America and Jasmine, just to name a few. I loved every one of them.

But we lived in a cornfield on a country road, and trick-or-treating wasn’t really that accessible. No one came to our house most of the time. Occasionally a friend’s mom would drive one of my friends out, but that was rare. My parents would drive me to a handful of houses in town where we knew the people well. I would show off my costume the best I could, and that would be that. The one time I remember trick-or-treating with my older cousin in her neighborhood was amazing! It was so cool to walk from house to house and get loads of candy.

Now we live in a very active Halloween neighborhood, where lots of people decorate for it (though I’m guessing I may be the only one with decorations in every room and outside) and where we average about 100 trick-or-treaters each year. I love it! I love seeing the kids run excitedly from house to house and to see all the neat costumes. We dress up as well. I’m so excited that Baby Knitsnips will get to have that experience in a couple of years. This year, she’ll be dressed as Belle from Beauty and the Beast and will be helping me pass out candy at home.

However… my town has postponed trick-or-treating until tomorrow due to the threat of “severe weather” – which is really just rain. I think it’s silly to try to postpone a fixed holiday like Halloween. It does mean BK will get to wear her costume twice since I will take her to around to see my parents and my aunt and uncle tonight and then she’ll wear it again for the trick-or-treaters tomorrow.

We have also been sporting some of my Halloween-themed knits that I’ve finished up in the last month or two. My desire to get nice pictures with our “good” camera has gotten in the way of me posting things, so in the interest of getting stuff out there before Halloween is over, we’ll make due with some iPhone photos!

Here are my Spooky Season Fingerless Mitts (pattern: seeded mitts), made with the same self-striping yarn as my socks. I’m still undecided on how I feel about these. I had a lot of misgivings as modified them to make them fit. When I cast on the number specified in the pattern, they were ridiculously huge – my modifications are here on Ravelry¬†– but the mods to make them fit also make them look ridiculously small when they are off my hands.¬†Spooky Season Mitts

I found the buttons at Hobby Lobby in the scrapbooking section of all places. I like having a little variety on otherwise matching mitts.

My second FO is a pumpkin hat (pattern:¬†Kurbis baby hat) for Baby Knitsnips. This project I L-O-V-E. ¬†Every time I have taken her out in it, she gets tons of compliments. And while I’m sure that a lot of it has to do with how cute she is in general, the hat really adds something.¬†Baby Pumpkin HatI originally intended this to have a leaf or a spiral vine on it, but once I fell in love with this pattern that had the curled stem, nothing else looked right on it.

So now BK and I are watching Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. So much goodness! Harry’s inflating aunt! The Knight Bus! Hermione punching Draco! The Time Turner! Werewolves!

Hope you’re finding something to make you happy today. Happy Halloween, everyone!!!

 

craft projects, life

FO: Halloween Spider Yarn Wreath…tutorial including lessons learned!

How often do you see something online or in a store and think: “I could make that!” It happens to me all the time. But I am increasingly having a second conversation with myself which is – is it worth my time? Having a baby and the subsequent rare free time really make you value your time. Is your time more valuable than the amount you’d save by making it instead of buying it already finished?

Now, in many cases, like knitting, saving time or money is not the goal for me. I knit because I like to, and I guess in that way I am a process knitter (though I am also driven by the end goal of finishing something lovely and knowing I made it myself!).

In other cases, like home decor, I waffle a bit on what I should do. In this instance,¬†I saw a beautiful wreath while I was browsing on Etsy (which I must stop doing – it makes me want ALL THE THINGS – especially the Halloween things).¬†As of today, I cannot find the Etsy listing any more, so I can’t credit the original creator, but this is the image (courtesy of Google image search). And I thought: “It involves Halloween¬†and¬†yarn – amazing!¬†I could make this! And save money! And not have to pay a bunch for shipping! Let’s do this!”

So my mom, Baby Knitsnips and I headed out to the craft stores to pick up supplies. It turned out that between me and my mom, we had a lot of the things we needed already. Here’s what I used that you will need:

Black Yarn: $1.92 (Red Heart Super Saver)
Orange Yarn: from my stash (Vanna’s Choice)
Light Green Yarn: from mom’s stash (Cascade 220)
Dark Green Yarn: from mom’s stash (Caron One Pound)
Dark Purple Yarn: from mom’s stash (Caron One Pound)
Bright Purple Yarn: from mom’s stash (Caron One Pound)
Hot Glue Gun and Glue: mom’s
Pipe Cleaners:  $0.87
1 package of 1 in Smoothfoam balls: $1.66
1 package of 1.5 in Smoothfoam balls: $2.56
1 package of 2 in Smoothfoam balls: $3.27
1 package of 2.5 in Smoothfoam balls: $3.27
Wire wreath frame: $1.79
Googly Eyes: from mom’s stash
Wire Staples: dad’s

Here’s what I used that you will not need:

Fabric Tack: mom’s
Straight Pins: mom’s
Wired Stakes:  $1.79

Total cost: $17.13

Here’s how you make one. Lessons learned from this project will be in bold (and there are a lot of them).

  1. I tied four lengths of yarn to the wire frame to make two intersecting Xs. Then I wrapped yarn in a spiral around these base pieces to create a spider web. It didn’t stay quite as taut as I wanted it to, so I used some black thread to tie the intersections to where I wanted them to remain.¬†Halloween wreath in progress
  2. I started by using some fabric tack spread on a small portion of the Smoothfoam balls and wound the yarn around it until all the white was covered. I should have started by using hot glue instead of the fabric tack. But Mom had kindly left the glue gun for my use at my house, and I had started the wreath project at her house. I should have just driven home to get it, but I was excited about starting and decided to make due with the fabric tacky stuff. It was a MESS, got stuck all over my fingers which attracted yarn fuzz, was hard to get off my hands, and didn’t hold nearly as well as hot glue.
  3. When I was done wrapping each ball, I used the little stake with wire attached to drive the end of the yarn into the Smoothfoam. This did make the end pretty secure, but it was a beast to drive the stakes through the foam. In the end, my dad started hammering them in for me. The premise of using these wired stakes seemed like a brilliant idea, but when it came to attaching the balls to the wreath form, it didn’t really work. You don’t need the stakes – this is another case where you should just hot glue the end down.¬†We used the hot glue method on the smallest ones, and it worked very well.
  4. I then tried to use the wire to attach each ball to the wire wreath form. I couldn’t make it tight enough to keep the balls in the right place. I also used the wreath upside down, in the idea that it would provide a nice cradle and keep it more secure. On reflection, I think I would have used it the intended way, but this wasn’t really a problem.
  5. Instead, I ended up using spare yarn and a tapestry needle to sew the balls onto the wreath by picking up a few strands on each ball and tying it around the frame. This may also have been a mistake as it encouraged some unraveling. Again, I would have used hot glue! We hot glued the smallest size near the end of the project, and that worked nicely.
  6. My mom helped me out by cutting 3 balls in half – one large, one medium, and one small – with a knife to make my spiders. I used both halves of the small one, and just one half of the other two. I wrapped them in black yarn like the others.
  7. I cut lengths of pipe cleaner for each spider that seemed proportionate to the size of the spider. I initially put these onto the spider using a bent straight pin as a kind of makeshift staple. That didn’t work, so my dad got out some staple-like nails he had, which I think are meant to tack wires in. My mom hammered those into the spiders – you could use just one staple for each and put all the lengths of pipe cleaner through one and then fan out the legs. I think this is another instance where you could use hot glue, but the staples worked well.
  8. Mom then helped me hot glue some googly eyes on each spider. Mom had multiple sizes, so we used large for the medium and large spiders, and medium ones for the two small ones.
  9. We hot glued each spider onto the wreath.
  10. Then mom and I looked at the wreath to identify any gaps and then hot glued the smallest ones where we needed the extra coverage.
  11. The final step was to wrap a pipe cleaner around the back of the wire frame to use as a hanger.

Halloween wreath completed and displayed

I would have never finished this project without my mom. I was starting to despair a little when a few strands of yarn started to unravel and I didn’t think it looked as nice as I wanted it to. I really considered giving up. I lamented that I should have just paid the lady on Etsy for one that was already done. But, like always, mom stepped in, helped me make a few adjustments (and we started wielding the hot glue gun all over the place!), and it turned out really nicely! Now, every time I walk past it, I think: “It’s so cute! I can’t believe I considered giving up on it!”

So, now it’s your turn. If it’s worth it to you to know you made something really cool instead of buying one from someone else (and there are still very similar listings on Etsy if you’re interested – or if you start and give up. :-)), learn from my experience and make yourself a wickedly cool wreath!

rug hooking

Rug hooking update

So I’ve discovered through my first project that rug hooking is a lot more like a suggestion than a knitting pattern. I found myself rushing a bit when I found myself in a awkward spot (particularly around the x stitches on the top) just to get through it, which led to a somewhat shabby result. But then I got disappointed with the quality of my work, pulled it back, and tried to make it as neat as possible, even though I was still kind of winging it.

That being said, I have finished the rug hooking part of my project in about 7 hours. And that, I think, is pretty fabulous. I love him. My little monster.
Frankenstien rug hooking projectFrom what I understand, I now need to steam him and do some finishing, but I’m going to need some guidance from my LYS friends on how to do that properly. Regardless, I am thrilled he is going to be completed before Halloween!