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.

DSC_0519

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.

DSC_0517

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.

DSC_0518

Turtle power!

 

Advertisements

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.

IMG_6155

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.

 

DSC_0522

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!

Version 2

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.

WIP: Passage and new knitting needles!

My LYS recently had a sample of Passage hanging up in the store. I’ve always secretly wanted something with a little batwing to it, but thought I’d look silly in it. Since there was an actual sample, I was able to try it on and see how it looked, and it turned out that I loved it! So I was sold.

I’m using some repurposed Venenzia Sport. I had completed a Wildflower for myself in this yarn, and hated it once I got it on my body. I could see all the imperfections in it, and the neckline looked terrible on me (which I should have known it wouldn’t be flattering on me before I cast on, but I foolishly went ahead anyway). The one time I wore it out of the house was for 5 minutes at knit night to show everyone how much I hated it. Then I unraveled all of it and wound it back into balls.

The yarn was so kinked when I started this new project that my knitting looked like I had done it completely and totally drunk (which I unfortunately was not). So I followed these instructions on how to reuse yarn. I soaked each skein for nearly an hour, and it still didn’t relax as much as I thought it should, but it actually seems to be knitting up OK after it has dried thoroughly.

passage-wip

This is also the first project that I have used my new Knitter’s Pride Marblz needles. I saw them a while ago on the Tanis Fiber Arts blog and fell in love with them. I finally bought myself the large set last month. So far, I love them! I was a little worried about them being acrylic because I usually use metal needles, but it isn’t bothering me at all. They are really pleasant to knit with, and I’m finding an enormous amount of joy in knitting with these lovely bright red needles! Though I have to say, I can’t wait to make a project that requires one of the pink needles. I may have to plan my next project around that. 🙂 I also have my eye on the 16” set because I want to use them all the time. I might just be a sucker for these beautiful colors.

marblz-upclose

And finally, we ended up with an unexpected nap time this weekend (those happen so rarely these days!), and we decided it was time for tea. I took mine with a side of knitting Passage, and Mr Snips took his with a side of making an R2D2. Someone at work gave it to him, and it’s turned out to be a rather labor intensive process of glueing together a zillion pieces of paper. He’s determined to finish it to make it the world’s most impressive centerpiece at BK’s birthday party (she’s pretty hardcore into Star Wars), and I think he’s secretly enjoying it. It was really lovely to have a crafty break together.

passage-crafting

What’s new?

Well, now that we’re approaching spring (I won’t say it’s here yet, it snowed yesterday!), it’s time for some new starts and some updates!

I’ve got a few projects on the go right now. Recently, Mr. Snips and I traveled to Sedona, Arizona for a little winter sunshine and relaxation, and I took two knitting projects with me.

Sedona

One is this super simple striped cowl. I bought these two skeins of yarn (Mrs. Crosby Carpet Bag in Spangled Cotinga and Squid Ink) because I fell in love with them at my LYS. Though I didn’t know what I was going to make with it, I knew I had to have them. Then I found this pattern was a nice way to showcase the beautiful colors, and it is terrific mindless TV knitting! I opted to make more stripes than the pattern called for, because I wanted to use every bit of the yarn. I’m not sure it’s going to work out quite perfectly equal… but we’ll see once I cross the finish line on this. Here’s a photo of when I was working on it at our lovely little hotel, which had its own fireplace. It was a little chilly while we were there, and the fireplace was the perfect touch! Plus, it made such a cozy atmosphere for reading and knitting.

cowl

The other was digging into my skein of Brenda and Heather Yarns in Who’s Socks. I LOOOOOVE this yarn. I’m a little biased, because Heather is my friend, but she and Brenda are making really beautiful yarns that I just can’t resist. And, this yarn is Doctor Who themed, so what’s not to love?! I originally thought I would make mittens out of this so I could see it more often on my hands than my feet, but I finally settled on Jaywalker because I thought the stripes would look awesome in this pattern. And I was right! Here they are on our beautiful drive back to the airport.Jaywalker

Fun fact – I joined Ravelry because of this pattern! Back in the dark ages (I think 2007?), I was searching for knitting patterns online and came across Ravelry. It was during the time you had to request access and wait. I saw the Jaywalkers on the home page of Ravelry, and knew I had to sign up – I wanted to knit those!! I had never made a sock before, and honestly, it was a little beyond my skill level at the time. But shortly afterwards, I started one. It took me six months to do the first sock. Mostly because I was terrified of the heel turn and stuffed it in a closet for four of those months. And since I had no experience with sock yarn, I used way too much on the first one, and the second one had to be a lot shorter. I took a picture for Ravelry with my legs crossed in hopes no one could see the discrepancy. Lol. Because I for sure was not taking out a whole sock’s worth of work! This was also in the days before I had an LYS, and I didn’t have much “in real life” support (my mom isn’t a sock knitter). I wouldn’t even think twice about trying a new technique now, not just because I’m more experienced, but also because I know so many great knitters I know I could get help with anything.

So now we’re home, I’m knitting along on these two things a couple of others… and I’m looking forward to my next vacation. 🙂

 

FO: Baby Pirate Hat

My cousin is expecting her first baby in June, and though I don’t think she’s super familiar with handknit gifts, I couldn’t resist the urge to make her something.

And then, I was flipping through 60 Quick Knits for Babies and saw the Pirate Hat. I knew right away that it was perfect. For one, it had skulls on it (she has a chair with skulls on it in her house!). I knew it would look nice in black and grey, which aside from having Cascade 220 Superwash in those colors in my stash, also matches the baby’s nursery colors. There was also the added bonus that a hat was small enough to be manageable for me, and something the baby is less likely to be sick on (though nothing is impossible!), which means little handknit care required from a tired new momma.

So I cast on!

Shortly after taking this Instagram photo of my knitting, I realized that my hat did not look like the picture. Why is that? Because the picture is seed stitch and my hat is 1×1 ribbing! Imagine that. IMG_2951

So anyway… I thought about leaving it and moving on, but then I realized that the ear flaps had a seed stitch border… so tinking it was. I tinked back 5 rows and picked up the seed stitch, and we were off to the races again!

I have to say that I’ve pretty much decided colorwork is my jam. I love it so much! I love working from the charts, I love working in the round, I love watching the pattern develop… it is just crazy addictive for me. Every time I do a colorwork project, I think that everything I knit should be like this. I JUST LOVE IT.

So this tiny hat (sized for 6 months only in the pattern) almost flew off my needles. I could not get enough of it. I took lots of pictures of it and put it on Instagram. I was so pleased with myself and my hat that I could not get over it.

Then, I made pom poms. That wasn’t so bad, but I really winged it and just wrapped the yarn around my fingers and sort of improvised it. It worked well enough. I thought a lot about the Mason Dixon post about pom poms and trimmed more than I thought I should. It was good advice.

And then it was over. And I was a little sad. Such a fun, addictive, bite-sized project. It was SO MUCH FUN to make. I hope the baby can feel my good vibes every time he wears it. I know BK was feeling the good vibes when she (sort of – while continuing to try to play) modeled it for me. Look at those curls!!!

IMG_3177