Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
In a few minutes, I'll put the oil on to heat for the long-promised churros. I don't have any thick chocolate to make this morning. I forgot to order more! Oh well. It's the churros everybody loves, anyhow. Hot and crispy on the outside, soft insides ... covered in sifted powdered sugar, like so much snow on a cold morning ... only they warm you instead!
Well, I better go for now.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Here's a last-minute decoration for you ... but after felting a few of the "cranberries" my hands were quite sore! I've posted the recipe on my Pattern Box website. (Shhhh ... I think, really, it's a lot easier to just pop a batch of popcorn and grab a bag of cranberries from the grocery store!) But, if you want a no-calorie version, this one could be for you. I hope you enjoy!
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I also love to look at Natasha Fadeeva's animals. They are incredibly detailed. I could just look at a photo of one of the mice for hours! (And I'm not kidding!)
I know, I know, I must be kind of crazy, but when a toy (particularly a stuffed toy) or a picture storybook has that certain something, I can feel it. I can look at it and find something marvelous in it ... it evokes a true sense of joy. *sigh
Have you ever been to the Susan Branch website? Right away, I get a real warm and fuzzy feeling, just from her landing page and the little bird that flutters by. Her artwork is terrific.
I also get a lot of ideas from looking at cakes and sweets. Take a look at the wonderful sugar panoramic eggs from Blumchen's ... and all their other sweets and holiday decorations, too. They even have pewter tinsel from Germany! Not the static, light-weight tinsel we have now. I remember loving the lead tinsel when I was a child ... before we knew lead wasn't good for you! We used to roll the tinsel in tiny balls. Try to do that with today's tinsel!
Anyhow, just a few thoughts for you for today ... and here's a completely off-topic thought ... as I was talking on the telephone to my brother just moments ago, I happened to glance down at my shoes. At that moment, they looked to me like giant Sugar Babies!
Okay, maybe dirty, scuffed, old Sugar Babies, but come on, don't they look like Sugar Babies to you? Just a little bit?
I'm working on my squirrel pattern for one of the vets ... I may make two ... depends on how long it takes me with all the other stuff I have to do right now. I'd like to try my reddish-brown lopi lite along with my reddish/gold fun fur for the tail and do a brown squirrel, as well as the regular grey one.
I'm working on birds for the bird mobile I want to give the other vet. There are really four or five vets there and they are all wonderful, but two of them know me and know Maggie quite well. I wanted to give them something more than my usual cookies. Can't believe it'll be 11 years on Nov. 30 since little Mags was born! Time does go by so quickly!!! My little nibbles! Now with arthritis and just as sore and crackly as I am!
Sunday, November 9, 2008
They even had a photo of a cookie sheet with him on it! Just like MINE! My kids couldn't believe it, either. My husband was astonished!
What a weird coincidence, is all I've got to say. And yes, I guess when I stop to think about it ... Christmas time does sort of make one dream of gingerbread people (after all, it happened to me) ... so it's likely somebody would think about knitting one, too ... and there are some differences. I mean, my patterns are almost all knit in the round on double-pointed needles and then most of them are felted ... which MY AUTHENTIC Gingerbread Man pattern is ... and this Simply Knitting one is not. He is knit back and forth on straight needles, then seamed together and not felted at all.
sigh You have to admit, it is a little weird, though! I'll have photos later!!!
Friday, October 24, 2008
We need new carpeting, new faucets, new sinks, etc., but then, there's always something that needs fixing ... even in new houses. All in all, as houses go, it's a nice house. I mean, it keeps us almost warm in the winter (because we keep the thermostat low, not because our new furnace wouldn't heat it up in a second!) and it's almost cool in the summer (again, our air conditioning works fabulously, but we don't want to spend very much)! We have enough room (almost) and it can look pretty good when it's tidied up.
That's the biggest problem, you see. The tidying-up part. I hate to admit it, but the last time our house was really clean was way back in May when I was hosting the neighborhood bunco night ... and, at the same time, my daughter was hosting her high-school graduation party.
I've never been a particularly good housekeeper. I just have way too many other things to do. Keeping a house clean is really a full-time job. If you use something, you have to immediately put it away when you're finished. And, more often than not, I'm called away at that very instant when I should be putting away!
We all have hobbies that take up a lot of room, too. Guitars, guitar books, guitar cases, amplifiers and pedals fill the living room. Chess sets, clocks, and score pads are everywhere. My yarn and fiber and all the supplies for dyeing and spinning and knitting and weaving take up the entire spare bedroom! Because we homeschool, our shelves are loaded with books and papers ... art supplies, science-lab materials, tapes of lectures and computer programs! Maggie's tennis balls, stuffed animals and squeaky toys line the upstairs hallway like Hansel and Gretel's breadcrumbs! Wow, the list goes on and on. It's difficult to keep a house clean if you simply don't have enough space to put everything ... or enough time to figure it out!
Once the school year begins, it keeps on ticking. We try not to take many holidays so that we can end our school year at the same time the college year ends. (There's nothing worse than moving your college kid(s) home, while you're still working on finishing up the last quarter with the one(s) still at home!) YIKES! So, if the house becomes cluttery and sloppy early on in the year, that's it until Christmas vacation. A sad, but true fact of life around here. There's simply no time to stop and clean it all up.
Well, this past week was a real blessing! Kent was enrolled in his driver's education class, which lasted 5 days, from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Every day! For a whole week! I didn't have to teach! It was like I had a week-long holiday!
Every day this week I've tackled another room until finally, today, Friday, I can proudly proclaim: This house is clean!
What a wonderful feeling! Let me just say that, with all the stress I've been under lately regarding my elderly parents, my underlying fear has been that I was going to have a heart attack ... or maybe a stroke ... and the paramedics would come and everyone would gasp in horror and disbelief at the state of our house!
Now, I can confidently have that stroke or heart attack! Phew! What a relief!
Sunday, October 19, 2008
If you use size US 8 double-pointed needles, your finished cookie will be about 5 inches tall by 4 inches wide (from arm to arm) ... if you use size US 10 1/2 double-pointed needles, your finished gingerbread man will be a bit bigger ... approximately 6 inches tall by 5 inches wide.
If you make one (or two or three) please let me know! The 8-page pattern is available at my store (The Pattern Box) and also on Ravelry. Stay tuned! I have visions of SUGAR PLUMS dancing in my head! Lollipops and other sweets. Wouldn't a garland be nice?
Monday, October 13, 2008
Christhalinette has paid me the ultimate compliment of translating the Take-Along Sun pattern into French! Please take a look at her blog and see the Bain de soleil. How lovely the pattern is written in the French language! And while you're there, look at her wonderful projects! She's inspiring!
It's so exciting for me to know that people all over the world are enjoying my patterns. I feel a little sunny glow, myself!
Thank you, Christhalinette!!!!
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Suddenly, just when your children are moving into and out of high school, we find ourselves trying to help our elderly parents ... who are entering yet another phase of their own lives ... a phase they are not greeting with joy!
But, speaking of Joy ... I am working on a gingerbread man for Christmas and my first attempt is in my little felting machine right now. He's been in there for 45 minutes and still not felting to my liking. I think his arms may be too wide. We'll see.
I still have to post my ghost, raven and pumpkin man patterns. They are finished, I just haven't had time to write them up in Publisher yet. *sigh
I hope things will be back to normal soon, but I just don' t know. Why is it so hard to live just one day at a time???
Monday, September 15, 2008
I have been thinking up my own little line drawings of Halloween parties and tea parties and birthday parties, Christmas celebrations and most especially ... my favorite ... the big-top circus! I have high hopes for them, although not sure where they will fit with everything else I'm doing!
My next experiment will be with using embroidery on top of my felted toys. For instance, I am designing a dove right now that will have embroidered features, rather than knitted/felted ones. We'll see. As soon as I'm finished, I'll post a photo.
I also have a cat to work out ... just a gray tabby this time ... and the dragon and the mermaid ... which are on the back burners, but definitely still in the running ... and THEN onto my new Thanksgiving patterns (maybe a cornucopia?) and some vegetables? Or maybe I'll just skip ahead to Christmas, where I have a lot of ideas for gingerbread people, Christmas trees, snow globes ... and then of course, spring will bring about all the Easter-y toys and also I'm hoping for gnomes, mushrooms, fairies, logs, flower gardens, etc.
So many projects, so little time!!!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
Sunday, August 31, 2008
my kids pretty much ignored the teacups while i was knitting them (since they don’t look like much at that point)
but the very minute i had them up on the counter drying… they were all over them (the handles had not even been sewn on yet)
my 4 year old son said “teacups - can i play with them mommy!”She also discovered a neat tip when knitting the bottom:
I thought the pattern was very easy to knit - here’s my tip
first you start the cup knitted back and forth and then after a few rows you start knitting in the round - this leaves a hole. I found that if i picked up my cast on tail at this point and knit along with it it closed the hole and wove in my cast on tail at the same time!!!
Anyways - very easy to knit and my kids love them. I will probably make lots more out of leftover yarns
Thank you, CozyKitty, for the kind review!
Friday, August 22, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
My Black Cat pattern will be available at The Pattern Box and on Ravelry soon!
Here is a side view of his arched back!
Here is my friendly ghost. He'll be at The Pattern Box and on Ravelry, soon, too ... along with a Pumpkin Person and a Raven. These four are my new Halloween toy/decoration patterns.
Here is the Friendly Ghost and Black Cat together (on my new paper cutter)!
Another fellow Ravelry member has finished this gorgeous felted teapot from my knitted/felted teapot pattern! I just love the way the middle and the handle turned out the same color. Isn't it wonderful?
I thank both fabulous knitters for allowing me to post their photos. If anyone has knit any of my patterns, and you'd like to share your photos on my blog, please email me. I'd love to show them off!I have just finished my (dare I say the words) Back to School free pattern for Teacher's Pet Apple, which is a knitted/felted apple with a little worm poking out. If I can manage it, I'll post it all tomorrow (Wednesday) ... things have been so hectic here of late, particularly regarding my elderly parents. Please keep us in your prayers.
As an aside ... I have finished a black cat and ghost for Halloween ... and am almost finished with a pumpkin person, but not quite ... and a raven. All four patterns should be up and available at The Pattern Box and on Ravelry soon. I'll be sure to let you know! I think they're quite fun and I hope you will, too!
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Now that I'm working at the yarn store, I realize I've put myself into the center, yes, the very soul, the core, the hub, the brain, if you will, of sweaterland. The employees, the customers, I venture to guess even the package carriers, all knit sweaters. They bring in their pattern books. They swoon over yarns. They giggle over stitches. They show the photos of new things to me. Oh, they were sneaky, all right. They'd bring in their finished pieces. Nay, they'd wear them, even, showing off their handiwork.
THEN, the terrible day happened when I was shown a sweater pattern that I fell in love with. At that moment, I knew I had fallen. I had slipped over onto the dark side. I knew I had to join SWEATERLAND and knit one. That one. Would you like to see which one it is? Which sweater made me order 15 hanks of yarn??
Here it is: URIAN from the Berroco Pattern Book 279
Now that we've established that I'm not spam, I'll move along with my real post! Which is to say that there are a few new developments in my life! I am now working part-time at my local yarn store ... I'm flattered the owner has such confidence in me, as I haven't worked for pay for a LONG, long time. Having been employed as a writer and not a salesperson, this should prove interesting! However, I do LOVE yarn and needles and felting and anything fibery and so I hope I will be able to fulfill her trust in me! The past week, I worked almost every day while the store is conducting inventory. I never knew there could be so many buttons in one tube! Also, when asked to roll a hank of yarn into a ball, I needed help! *sniff* I really have shown myself to be quite inept! Yet, I am not too proud to shout out for assistance!!! HELP!
Hopefully the learning curve will be over soon.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
YEA! Sigh of relief.
Thanks to all of you for your support ... and to Casey and all the Ravelry users for all the advice!!!
A person figured out a way to get a couple of my patterns without having to pay for them.
It just never occurred to me that anyone would do that! Now, I'm worried about the integrity of my whole shop. *sigh*
... more later ...
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Meanwhile, I finished my first ghost for Halloween and I really like him! I had a lot of fun with the eyes. I will post a photo soon, but wanted to make a couple more with different embroidered faces ... which then led me to think about embroidery, in general.
I love Bella Dia's blog and projects, as well as Wee Wonderfuls. I've only just begun my browsing of embroidery enthusiasts! I used to love to do crewel work when I was young. In art class, we made pillows from burlap and then embroidered them with a variety of stitches we had learned. I made a snail. I really had so much fun. After that, my Mom indulged my passion for crewel work with lots of kits.
I had sort of forgotten all of that! But now, I'm very enthusiastic about incorporating embroidery/crewel stitches into my felted projects. I will be teaching a wet-felting class using the ArtFelt technique to a group of homeschoolers this fall. So, I will be spending the next few days working up some fairly easy projects. I think embellishing with embroidery will be a nice addition for anyone who wants to go on to do that. Right now, I'm thinking of can holders, bookmarks, small bags, etc.
On the needles: Another ghost, my black cat's tail, the dragon, the mermaid and a stick horse head!
Will be back soon ... must take both my son and my mother to the dentist today ... which means I get about three hours of knitting time! YEA!
Thursday, July 17, 2008
See this guy? He's my experiment. I was trying to have arms and legs knit right into the animal so I wouldn't have to sew them on at all. As you can see, his arms are way too small! This made me realize that I must increase many more stitches between the place markers!!! He was supposed to have been an elephant, but his trunk was so tiny and bizarre, I had to cut it off just to stand to look at him! Now, the place where the trunk used to be looks as if he has had some painful throat surgery. (I guess he has!)
His shape is perfect for several other animals/insects I'm working on, though, so I was glad I had finished knitting and felting him instead of giving up and throwing him away.
As for the hair ... well I was trying to figure out a way to root in hair on a felted toy. It works, but not great. Unlike the natural spaces in stitches you have on a knitted toy, you must use an awl to create a space first, then you can knot the hair through each hole. I tried using a safety pin first ... I snipped the safety pin in half and used the part without the head that had the pinpoint on the bottom. I then bent the top like a small hook. I thought I could use this like a needle without an eye. You see, when you latch hair, you want to be able to get the needle off ... this is why a crochet hook works ... well, my little pin needle didn't work very well. It kept hooking the felt fibers as it came out. Then I tried the awl. Very time consuming, but it did work. I think attaching hair, in general, is time consuming ... no matter what method you end up using!
I just was experimenting on my new patterns for Halloween. My ghost needs work, but I can see what I did wrong with his arms and I'd like to have his head shaped a little differently, as well. It really helps me to knit up and felt a few versions of something before I come up with exactly what I want.
I did felt my bookworm, though! He's kind of a sluggish bookworm! I really like him. Now for him to dry so that I can embroider his face. More from the notebook later ...
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
I usually try to stay away from serious topics or even very thoughtful topics on this blog ... I try to stick to the positive, sometimes the silly ... and mostly, as you know, just knitting. Right now, though, I guess I'm thinking of school because my daughters are gathering their sheets and towels, dishes and refrigerators ... anxiously awaiting the return to the university ... and I'm getting all of my son's books in order and each syllabus worked out for all his subjects. He'll be in high school now! I can't believe the years have gone so quickly. It's been 10 years since he started kindergarten! Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you ... so slowly, day after day of routine ... until finally, the routine has changed and you didn't even notice when it happened.
Looking in on my elderly parents has given me a new perspective on life ... a sobering, not always positive perspective ... I'm made aware of the depth of life ... how often we waste moments that we can never reclaim, throwing our minutes away as if they were nothing more than scraps ... not realizing that's all we have ... not realizing that those moments are what build a lifetime.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
Now, before I get back to my dragon and mermaid, I'm knitting up a little bookworm! He'll be my free back-to-school (YIKES! Shudder!) pattern! I found a lovely light green for his body tucked away in my stash.
Meanwhile, I realized that Fall and Halloween are not that far away, so I've started my seasonal toys! I have in mind a little ghost family, as well as different Jack O'lanterns ... at least one will have arms and legs. Another hopefully will have changeable features that you can stick on with "velcro."
Well, that's all for now!
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
When I first spotted my little tomato, the first on any of my plants, a warm, happy feeling washed over me. I couldn't help but smile. There it was. A real tomato, growing on my vines! I did exactly what the old man at the garden center told me to do. And now, I would harvest the fruit of his years of tomato-growing experience! I would enjoy tomatoes this year like no year before! I was now in possession of the SECRET INGREDIENT!
"Better Boys?" I asked hesitantly, in case he had really been talking to someone else.
He nodded. "Yep. The Better Boys. Plant them deep ... with Epsom Salts mixed in."
"Epsom Salts?" I asked.
"Yep. Epsom Salts," he repeated. Then said again, "Plant them deep."
He got in his car and drove away.
So I took his mysterious advice and bought Better Boys. I bought a carton (well, really two cartons, but they were small) of Epsom Salts. I planted them deep. (Well, okay, not that deep really. I had to plant them in pots this year ... but I planted them as deep as a pot will allow. I'll say that!) Then I watered them and put Miracle Gro on them.
I was iffy on the Epsom Salts when some of the leaves started turning yellow. I shrugged. "The old man distinctly said Epsom Salts, so I'll wait and see." I thought to myself.
And the plants grew green again. And they got taller and wider! And tiny yellow flowers started blooming!
And then, best of all, little tomatoes started showing up here and there. I kept my eye on the first one. It was beautiful! And it grew round and fat. But it stayed green. It stayed green for a couple of weeks. I kept wondering when the heck it would start to get red! Then, while it was still as green as a grasshopper, it started getting wrinkles on it. And then more wrinkles. It was aging before it even ripened!
Sadly, by the time it turned red, it had a big split in the bottom and a hole in it, too.
Hm. Epsom Salts ... Secret Ingredient or ... Sabotage!?!?
Friday, July 4, 2008
Sunday, June 29, 2008
I won an auction on eBay for assorted mohair and mohair-type yarns. Most of them don't have any brands or fiber content or anything listed to identify them, but they are lovely colors. I have in mind a whole new set of toys that will not be felted, but will be knit with mohair/blend yarns. One ball that came was in a soft green. Perfect for a little frog! I hope to have a whole garden collection that would include a frog, ladybug, bee, butterfly and dragonfly. I will probably experiment with some of the glittery yarns, too. I have a few lurex balls leftover from when I did the Christmas pickle last year! These might be nice additions to the yarn for the dragonfly's wings.
I am still working on my pop-up puppets, too, but I have sort of put them on the back burner for now ... and especially since the whole mermaid dream, I think I will definitely work on the mermaid and dragon after I finish the Simple Doll faces.
Well, I better sign off for now. Hoping everyone is having a wonderful Sunday!
Thank you, Devon, for sharing photos of your finished small hedgehogs! I love the yarn textures you've chosen and the colors, too! The embroidered faces are wonderful. Thanks so much for letting us all see them! If anyone else would like to share photos of their finished hedgehogs from my patterns, please let me know!
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Tina Hilton from Craftstylish Knitting has generously featured my felted fish this week! Take a look at this wonderful site for knitting, crocheting, beading, etc.! And did I mention this pattern is available for free on the Craftstylish website??? Please let me know if you decide to knit one (or two, or three)! I'd love to post photos of your finished fish here. As always, if you run into any problems or if you just want to say, "hello," please feel free to email me.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
THEN ... one day, I signed up for a sock class. This class was taught by the incredible SOCK LADY! She revealed to all of us the way her grandmother had taught her ... cast on the stitches called for, then KNIT them onto each needle. This will really count as the first round of most patterns ... but my patterns take this into consideration and actually begin counting rounds after that one.
I can't tell you what a breakthrough this was and how much I appreciate the SOCK LADY!
So, the moral of this story is: If you have had trouble knitting with double-pointed needles because your stitches keep falling off before you can even begin, then try knitting them when dividing and your entire life will change for the better!!!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
"Scarlet King Snake"
Here are a couple more of the animal patterns I have written in my notebooks! I am steadily typing them up in Publisher, then converting to PDF to upload to Ravelry's database and THEN putting the link there and on The Pattern Box. I can't believe I have four notebooks' full now. And the ideas still keep coming!! (Next on the needles, the colorful carousel horse!)
I must admit, I feel a little discouraged that it's taking me so long to get all of them typed up, but every day I seem to be called away on errands of one sort or another. *sigh ... I was really hoping to have all of this done by now ... and I haven't even attached my giraffe's limbs yet! But he came out just as I had hoped, so I'll try to get photos soon. I have re-knit the teapot in another color and also two teacups and saucers and cookies. I think I may have mentioned before in an earlier post, when I get all of the 20 animals typed up and for sale on The Pattern Box, I am going to offer the patterns for the teacup and saucers, along with two cookies, for free ... and I'll have the teapot pattern for sale. So, I hope everyone will stop by The Pattern Box's "grand opening" and celebrate with me with a tea party! I'll post it here when that finally happens! I hope soon! MUST be before the end of June!!! (That's my goal.)
In the Tips and Techniques section of The Pattern Box, I will have mini videos of attaching the glass eyes and how to string joint. Even if you don't knit up my patterns, I hope the videos will be helpful if you ever make moveable limbs for your toys ...
More later ...
Monday, June 9, 2008
Anyway, I mention all this because here it is June 9 already and I haven't been to the pool yet! SO, I am going to try to hurry up and work hard this week and get the rest of my patterns posted ... but at the same time I realized (and this realization is the "dust settling" part of this post) that I hadn't intended to sell anything on this blog ... so I do hate to inconvenience anyone, but I'm replacing all the links to the shopping cart with links to shop at The Pattern Box. I hope, if you do like my patterns, you won't mind being directed over there. Having everything at the "shop" will be much easier to keep track of things and keep the business of selling where it belongs. I will have lots of tips and techniques for completing the patterns there, as well. I do also want to mention that felting is such an incredibly fun thing to do. You have so much more control over shaping than you do when you knit normally.
Well, I better grab my cup of coffee and get going so I can see some sun today!! And, as always, I'm so overwhelmed by the number of people who like my Take-Along Sun! Do you know that it was rejected from Knitty.com? So, it's so encouraging that so many like it ... and that it can bring a smile to your face like it has my own.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Okay, Okay! You're probably getting sick of hearing about all these patterns, but I just finished uploading both the small and mini hedgehog pattern, along with lion pattern. I still have lots to go, so I hope my blog won't be too boring until I'm finally finished with this part! I have so many other pattern ideas jostling around in my head that I can't wait to finish all this so I can get back to knitting!!!
Anyhow, if you'd like either one, they will be for sale for $5 each at The Pattern Box later tomorrow. Thank you for all your continued support, encouragement and patience as I get all this going!
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Well, I was able to write up the Large and Medium Hedgehog pattern in Publisher and save it as a pdf file this afternoon and I've now added it to Ravelry. Since my webserver sometimes has issues, I guess the safest route is to always email me at my regular email address if you have any problems, questions, concerns or if you just want to say, "hi!"
I hope you like the hedgehogs. They, too, are knitted in the round and then felted in the washing machine. The 8-page pattern includes complete directions for both sizes. The patterns for each are slightly different, not just switching down a needle size. In fact, both sizes are knit on size US 10 1/2 double-pointed needles.
Meanwhile, I have two smaller sizes still to put into Publisher ... a small and a mini! If you'd like to purchase the Large and Medium Hedgehog pattern, you may do so at my shop, The Pattern Box, for $5.