Monday, June 18, 2012

Baby doll

 I knit this doll for C's 2nd birthday.  It was originally going to be a Christmas gift, but I ran very short on time.  Of course I was up late the night before her birthday finishing up.

The pattern was from Itty Bitty Toys.  I've made several things from the book and they usually turn out well.  One handy rule for these patterns is that the author suggests sewing the parts together as you go.  So instead of a pile of pieces that need to be assembled at the end, the head is sewn to the body right away.  Then the arms are added and so on - makes the whole process seem faster.

The pattern suggests using poly pellets to add weight to the body, hands, and feet.  I was worried about the small beads escaping from the hands and feet, so I used only stuffing there.  In the body I sewed pellets into a fabric bag.  They give the body a nice weight. 

I watched several of the designer's online tutorials for tips on the face embroidery and that whole step went faster than I expected.

I'm not sure what mistake I made, but I don't like how the stuffing shows in through gaps in the knitting - I wonder if that was a poor yarn or needle choice.

I think the doll is cute and huggable.  C on the other hand, isn't a fan at this point.  She pulled it out of the bag on her birthday and handed it directly to me.  She has refused to take it since then.  We've been on vacation for a week, so maybe tomorrow I'll set it out and see if she is curious.

Ravelry link with yarn, pattern, and needle details: Catie's Doll

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Testing... testing...

Wow, I know I'm in a bit of a crafting hibernation now, I completely forgot about this blog!

I have several knitting projects on the needles, but have been ignoring them for the most part. 

I have been trying to decide what my summer road trip project will be this year.  Needs to be fairly easy to focus on and something that doesn't need a huge amount of yarn along.  Last summer I worked on a dress for my daughter in the car for hours all summer and it was a good choice for car knitting.

In my hunt for a pattern, I came across Color Affection. (Follow the link to see a photo - it is pretty!)  I really want to make this.  I don't knit much for myself, but this looks so cozy!  The fingering weight yarn scares me a little and I am really intimidated by the idea of picking colors that look good.  We'll see!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Christmas 2011 - Knitting

I didn't knit very many gifts this year, but enjoyed the things I did make.

My first project was actually a birthday gift for my brother.  It's the Dwarven Battle Bonnet. I had found this pattern a few years ago and was just waiting for the perfect reason to make it. 
I used Patons classic wool and modified the pattern just a bit based on the other Ravelry projects.  It was very fun and quick to make.  I was worried about felting it the proper amount in my front loading washing machine.  In the end, the hat seemed a little loose, but I didn't want to over felt the yarn.  (Ravelry link: Viking helmet hat)

This Darkside Cowl was a free pattern and I knit it in superwash for my daughter's teacher.  I liked all the colors that pop out of this colorway (Rainier, Cascade Superwash 220).  If I were to wear it I'd probably use it as a headband/ear warmer, but it did fit snugly around my neck too.

I made two pairs of slippers for gifts this year.  A pair of the NOLA slippers for my father in law (which I finished on Christmas Eve, so I didn't get a chance to take a photo before wrapping them!) and these French Press Slippers for my sister-in-law.

I enjoy the squishy feel of the NOLA slippers and the pattern changes enough to keep things interesting.

The French Press Slippers were my Thanksgiving weekend project.  I knit most of them in the car going to and from Minnesota.  The yarn is colorway Dragon Dance in Patons classic.  (Ravelry: Dragon Dance)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Christmas ornaments 2011

image from
For several years the kids have been making Christmas ornaments as their gift to Grandparents and other special adults.  My oldest daughter and I picked out kits from the craft store in previous years and last year her brother was old enough to help too.

Nothing was looking right to me this year until I came across this tutorial for paper stars.

We all had fun creating these and the kids could help all along the way.  All three tore up the construction paper and put it in the blender.  I added the hot water and operated the blender.

They took turns helping me press the water out of the paper pulp, through the sieve.  Then they took turns scooping the pulp into the cookie cutter and pressing it into place.  (I was quality control and made sure the cookie cutter was filled completely.) 

I pressed out as much water as I could before they took turns with the glitter. 

We made three batches - all red, all yellow, and a couple sheets of yellow combined one sheet of red to make orange. 

The stars took much longer to dry than expected.  At least 3 hours and I flipped them over at one point.  I probably could have pressed more water out before transferring them to the pan.  We glued loops of silver ribbon for hanging.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy New Year!

Prosperity and happiness to you in the coming year! 

One of my favorite starts for gift and card making is to have the kids cover plain paper with paint.  In the past we've used water color, dot paint, or finger paint.  We've used this paper to cut flowers for mothers' day cards, wrap packages, and as elements of thank you cards.  I matted one of R's water color paintings with a page that J finger painted so that I have a little artwork from each on the wall.

I especially like adding this step when we're trying to incorporate work from a toddler or if we all want to be a part of a gift that is technically challenging for the kids.  We sent a flock of origami cranes to a loved one as a part of a birthday gift.  I cut the dry painted paper into squares and the kids helped me pick which squares we used and decided which side was the neck and which was the tail.

They all started with finger paint and white paper, but the finished product was so different for each.  Big blobs of color on white space for the youngest, fairly homogeneous mixed up color for the middle kid, and a little more variation how the colors worked together for the oldest.  A few birds even had little tiny finger prints captured on their wings.  

I used the video found here (Origami) to teach myself how to fold the cranes.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas sewing projects

 I tried to cut back on the Christmas gift projects this year, but couldn't resist a little bit of homemade for each of my kids.  Both of these projects were created from fabric I had just sitting around.  I love shopping in my bin of leftovers.

For our 18 month old I sewed this portable doll bed.  I took the general idea from One-Yard Wonders "Baby-doll Carrier," but I modified it a bit and added a blanket.  The interior was cut from a soft and cozy changing pad cover we hadn't used in years.  She's been playing with dolls a lot lately and this will be a nice size for her.

The older kids had colds over Thanksgiving weekend and my mom gave them each a travel pack of tissues to carry around.  They were really excited about having their own Kleenex.  I thought a reusable tissue carrier would be something they'd both be happy to see. 

I found an online tutorial for boogie monsters and had to make them!  These little monsters use very little fabric and are very quick to sew.  I used a bow tutorial on the same website to make a little bow for the girly monster.  I think I'll add a key ring to one of the ear loops on each monster, so that the pouches can be attached to a bag, but it looked too much like they each had one earring.  So we'll wait for them to be unwrapped for that final touch.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Our most recent home project was building a banquette for our kitchen table.  We don't have much extra room in the dining space of our kitchen and our new table was just a little wide for the area.  With small kids, I really felt a bench would give a lot of seating versatility and without chairs to slide out we could put the table that much closer to the wall.  I also wanted something sturdy that would not be sliding around or tipping over.

To build the banquette we purchased 3 finished hickory cabinets. Two 30" x 15" for the long side and one 36" x 15" for the short side.

We used a glued pine board (16" wide) for the bench.  After cutting the two pieces we glued them together and added a block under the seam to give it some extra support.  We rounded the edges a bit when sanding and then gave it a couple coats of stain and three coats of polyurethane.

To bring up the seating height we made a riser out of 1"x2" pine and finished it to match the rest of the banquette.

The cabinets are attached the the wall and at this point the bench is just sitting on the top.  We might attach it if it wobbles too much.

Our goal was to have the bench in place for J's birthday party last weekend.  We were able to comfortably seat 3 adults and 2 kids in the space where only 3 chairs would have fit.  Plus the table was close enough to the wall that the chairs on the other side could be fully pulled back from the table.

Normally we don't have a leaf in the table and its length matches the banquette.  But for parties we can put in both leaves, use all the chairs, and seat quite a few people!