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Archive for the ‘Knitting’ Category

Hi again… it’s me?  remember me?

I’ve had a nice bloggy break, with a huge chance to recharge and re-evaluate some things, and I think it’s time I come back to My New Thing.  I’m excited – I’ve had a lot of new things going on, which I’ll share over the next little while, but I wanted to start off with something from clevergirl…

I am entering into the following agreement with the first 5 people who comment on this post and then commit to doing the same on their blog. Just read below and if you feel up to the task copy the following into your blog and leave me a comment.

  1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I send you. But you may be pleasantly surprised. It will definitely be sewing/craft related.
  2. What I send will be made just for you, with love, by my own hands. You’d be surprised how much of our personalities does come through online.
  3. I will complete all 5 gifts this year – 2009.
  4. I will not give you any clue what it’s going to be. It will be something made in the real world, that you can touch and feel, and not something cyber.
  5. I reserve the right to do something strange. It may be weird or beautiful. Or it may be monstrous and annoying. If you find it truly horrendous, just let me know. Perhaps you’ll send it forward to someone who will absolutely love it.
  6. In return, all you need to do is post this text on your blog and make 5 things for the first 5 to respond to your blog post.
  7. Send your mailing address – after I contact you to confirm.

I saw this “pay it forward” meme on Facebook a while ago, and I wasn’t in a place to do anything about it.  But now I am… If you’d like something handmade by me, be one of the first 5 to post a comment and to post this offer on your blog, too!

Please join me and Antoinette in spreading some bloggy love and beautiful things around the world…

Love you guys!

Leigh

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What a never-ending day!  Full of fun stuff, of course, but after weeks of sickness, all this activity kind of threw me for a loop.

I did get to take some pictures of what I’m working on…

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First is my aunt’s February Lady Sweater.  Not a very exciting shot, but I’m pleased.  I’m really liking the Shine yarnI’m using – so soft!!!  This is my second try at the top of the sweater – first try, I wasn’t making gauge, so I frogged it and started over.  Looking good so far.

Next is one of my SIL’s Christmas gifts – so, Jessie, if you’re reading this – STOP AND DON’T READ ANY FURTHER

I don’t think she actually reads my blog, though, so I feel pretty safe posting this.

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Can you tell what it is?  EJ’s first words when he saw it were: “Oh, Momma!  Another kitty?  For ME?!?”  Nope, not a kitty, and not a deer either, which was his second guess.  It’s a llama.  Apparently Jessie like llamas (who can blame her?).  This is from this so so cute alpaca pattern – and alpacas are just smaller, softer llamas (I checked to make sure so I could use it).  As you can see, I need to sew up its back, and I think I’m going to applique some pretty flowers on her back… and maybe up her neck and on her head, too.  I’ve got all kinds of crazy ideas for her. 

Then… one of my felted bags.  As I was taking these pictures, I was wondering why in the world I hadn’t finished this already.  All the parts are done, and all I need to do is sew them together and throw them in the washer, and I’m going to have one rocking bag!  In fact, I’m going to go and work on it right after I post this.  Maybe tomorrow I can show you my finished purse! 

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So, in the picture above, you’ll see the felted slab that I shaped a bit by cutting, with the two side edges sewn together with the same green yarn.  Then I started knitting an interior pocket, decided knitting was taking too long, switched to crochet (mid-pocket! YES! It won’t show – it will be all felted together… but it nearly blew my mind picking up all the knitting loops with my crochet hook), and crocheted 2 handle flaps as well.  I used some cream wool to add some accents – I thought those little dotted-stripey-things would look good felted into the bag, too.  But then, look at what I found in my WIP mountain stack – my very first cable!  And it was even supposed to go along with the green felted slab!  Here’s my bag all put together – squint your eyes a little bit and lean your head to the left… there!  See it?  Won’t it be pretty?

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I wasn’t planning on felting the cable, but I just saw a cabled sweater online today that got felted accidentally, and the cables still had a lot of definition.  I might stitch the cable on before I pop it in the wash.  I’ll let you know as soon as I decide.

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Today, with EJ, I worked on a little craft for our Fall Impressions carnival on Impress Your Kids.  It wasn’t so much a craft as trying to talk to him about kindness and hoping to instill some of these behaviors in his little self-will powered world.  We are looking at the letter K this week, and I really wanted to do something with keys… no real reason other than wanting to do it.  There really aren’t too many crafts out there for keys – especially since we don’t have a pile of actual keys laying around the house to use.  So I did a Google image search and found a whole bunch of pictures of keys, and I printed them out.  They turned into our “Keys of Kindness” poster…

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While EJ glued the extra keys to the poster, we talked about what it means to be kind to others.  It gave me some insight on how his little mind works, and I hope he will remember this as he sees it hanging up on the wall.  BTW – the word under “Love” does not say “shave.”  I just get sloppy with my “r”s.

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So in my quest to gather all the crafting materials I can from their various hiding storage spots around the house, I hit sweater-felting jackpot!

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I had hidden stored these already-deconstructed sweaters and the already-felted slab-o-knitting behind my sofa.  Go figure.  So do you remember this slab-o-knitting?

Knitted felted "fabric"

I was so in love with it back in the day (April 2007!)… I was intoxicated with my new thing, knitting, and my newer thing, blogging… I knitted up the body of the needle case, felted it, and – stuck it behind the sofa.  Now I think it’s going to be a bag!!!  I’m going to cut a little shaping into the slab (this thing is so thick!), knit up a quick interior pocket, stitch the sides together, decorate with some cream yarn, and re-felt it so it all sticks together nicely!  Then I’ll attach some handles, and voila!  A bag almost big enough to carry what I need it to!

Deconstructed wool Gap sweater

Deconstructed wool sweater

 

 

 

 

 

The deconstructed sweater on the left is a sweater from my closet.  I love the colors, but I can’t really wear wool as a sweater – I sweat like a pig and itch like an… itchy person.  I’ve been planning to make some kind of a bag with it for a while (but I can’t even remember when I took these sweaters apart!).  It will happen now.  The one on the right is from Hubby’s closet – it has a couple little holes in it that will close up with the felting.  The thing is… I’m not in love with the colors.  Should I shape it into a bag anyway, and if I don’t like it then… maybe I can cut the felt up into flowers or something for other projects?  Does anyone else have any other ideas for this one?

The bags will be making an appearance here soon – I promise!

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Does anyone else love Simple Mom as much as I do?  Her blog is so refreshing, and she always gives such great tips and has great ideas and links and guest writers… Anyway – she is giving away an Epson Artisan Printer on her blog this week.  If I win, I’ll print off all kinds of pretty pictures and send them to you all!  Now, if you follow my link to her giveaway, and enter and win, can you print me a pretty picture and send it to me?  I promise I won’t be bitter… much – this thing’s a beaut!  We currently have 2 printers that do half of what this one could do!  Best wishes to all who enter, and may I win!!!

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I really thought about not posting today.  Sickness continues to plague this little family, and I started to feel icky this afternoon.  However, a couple hours of light knitting and a cup of hot cocoa (from scratch!) have revived my spirits, if not my body.  Plus, the Redskins are winning as I type this…

My new thing this week was something I started last week – but I didn’t want to interrupt my giveaway fun with the banalities of my continued weight-loss saga.  But I’ll unload it all on to you this week… kidding!

Last week, I started the “No S” diet.  I saw this someplace online – maybe on someone else’s blog?  It just makes sense to me, and it’s more of a lifestyle change than a real “diet.”  And I had already started one of the S’s a while back: no seconds.  It was the no sweets and no snacks part of it that got me.  I did pretty well last week, except for the one day that I had a sugary snack and went back for seconds.  Yup.  Anyway – today my YMCA started a “Santa Shape Up” challenge, and 4 of my mommy friends from one of my exercise classes and I started a team.  Now, what most of you don’t know (if you’ve never played a game with me) is that I am way too super competitive.  It’s a little disturbing at times.  But I figure that competitiveness will do me well when it comes to getting into the gym.  It worked today – I was at the gym on a treadmill by 6:30 AM. 

So, that’s my newest thing this week. I’m still thinking about where I want this “New Thing” feature to go, so I’m sorry that this was the best I could offer this week.  And I just realized I broke the no sweets rule with my cup of hot cocoa earlier tonight.  Whoops.

I’ve got some great ideas I’m hoping to make as gifts soon, and I’ll share those with you as they happen.  One of the most exciting things that I get to make is the February Lady Sweater from Flint Knits.

FLS - picture from Flint Knits' pattern

FLS - picture from Flint Knits

I. love. this. sweater.  LOVE it.  I can’t wait until I can make one for me, but my aunt requested one for Christmas, so she’ll get one!  I’m so excited that I actually have an excuse a chance to work knit this now instead of waiting until I can find the time to make one for myself.

OK – the Redskins are no longer winning.  I must go and concentrate on the TV so they will score again.  And again.  Then they’ll be winning again.  A fan’s work is never done…

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As I said yesterday, I wanted to giveaway something each day this week that reflected a craft I was passionate about.  Four things popped immediately into my mind, and you’ve seen sewing and knitting so far.  The fifth thing I wanted to giveaway is not exactly a craft I’m passionate about, but the components are things I spend a lot of my time on…  coffee and food!

Today I will be sending one commenter a pound of really fresh coffee, and to that winner and three others I will be sending a PDF copy of a recipe booklet I’ve put together.

Most Saturdays I work at a good friend’s coffeeshop.  I kid you not – this is the best. coffee. ever.  David, the owner of the shop and my husband’s childhood friend, has been passionate about coffee for a long time, and he started roasting coffee in a popcorn popper on his back porch (it’s possible – I know he did it, I just don’t know how).  This passion has turned into a Richmond, VA, sensation – the coffee has been picked up by one of the largest grocery chains here in Virginia.  Coffeeshops, restaurants, offices, and churches are serving his coffee all over town.   

The key to the coffee is its freshness. David roasts the coffee at the coffeeshop, and it is bagged and delivered as soon as possible.  When you taste the coffee, you can tell the difference immediately.  My husband and I have been drinking Blanchard’s Coffee from the beginning, and we can’t drink anything else – we are completely spoiled by the smoothness and the deliciousness of the coffee. 

What this coffee represents to me (besides its deliciosity) is friendship and good adult conversation.  When I work at the coffeeshop, I often get to work with a great friend, Kelly, and I also get to talk to adult people for several hours.  It’s a wonderful day when I get to be at the coffeeshop. 

Now, to explain my recipe booklet… as a SAHM, a large chunk of my time is taken up with housework and cooking.  I never thought I would enjoy this domestic life, but I love it!  It has taken me several years to get to a point where both the cooking and cleaning are consistently happening at the same time… that sounds bad, but there are seasons where one would take precedence over the other as I tried to figure out a good routine for my day.  I’ve tried several different systems (like the FlyLady), and while the systems were great and effective, they were not always something I could maintain on a daily basis.  So I’ve picked and chosen what works for me over the years. 

Wow – long story short (too late!)…I’ve been working on my own daily planner, complete with menus and chores and anything else that needs to happen during the day.  The planner itself is still in the works, but I did compile a file of my favorite 103 recipes to help me in my menu planning.  I was tired of trying to remember where a recipe was (book? recipe card? online?), so I typed them all up and made a “booklet” of them, so I could print them out and have them all in one place.

These recipes are old family favorites (Aunt Jenni’s Mac and Cheese, Monkey Bread, my mom’s broccoli rice casserole) and new favorites from recipe books and other sources.  I want to share them with you to help make your menu planning easier – and you know these recipes are tested in my kitchen for ease of creation and tastiness.

To win this yummy giveaway, please visit the Blanchard’s Coffee website and then come back here and leave me a comment (with a valid email address) letting me know what type of coffee you’d like to try if you win.  If you’re not a coffee drinker and would just like the recipes to help you out, let me know that, too.  Comments will be accepted through the end of the week, and the drawing will occur on Saturday, November 1.

If this is your first time here, take a look around – I’d love for you to come back again!  Also, check out my Bloggy Giveaways from Monday and Tuesday, the giveaway on my other blog, and the others at the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival site!!!  Come back each day this week for more giveaway goodness!

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Entries for the giveaway are now closed.  Please click here to see who the winner was!

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I decided in the middle of the day yesterday that I was having so much fun giving away Mr. Owl that I wanted to continue the fun!  I wracked my little brain, and I’ve come up with a giveaway for each day that reflects one of my passions.  Today it’s the obsession that started it all… knitting!!!

sockyarn giveaway

To one lucky commenter, I am sending 2 fabulous skeins of Forbidden Fleece Cozy Sock Yarn and a handmade dpn needle roll!!!

dpn needle roll

Another handmade project of mine, the dpn needle roll is made out of felt and ribbon.  The outside is a lovely burgundy color, and the inside is a nice light blue.  Please note: the dpn needles and crochet hook in the case are not included in this giveaway – they are mine and I need them!!!

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The sock yarn is from Forbidden Fleece, my favorite indie dyers who also happen to be friends of mine!  They are a fabulous husband and wife team who love yarn and want to bring the best to sock knitters everywhere! This Cozy yarn is hand-dyed, 100% Merino Superwash, 3 ply, fingering weight yarn.  I was only going to give away the skein on the left, since it is named after me – Leigh’s Woodlands (I told them what my favorite colors were, and they made a colorway with them!!!).  But as I was looking through the colorways I had, the Pumpkin Spice just jumped out at me, too! Such warm, cozy colors, perfect for a warm fall sock…. I fell in love with this colorway the first time I saw it!  I linked to their Etsy shop above, though they rarely sell on Etsy anymore – but that is a good way to get a peek of some of their stuff until they get their new website up and running.  Until then, if you are interested in getting your hands on some of this yummy goodness, you can contact them at forbiddenfleece (at) hughesnet (dot) com or join the Forbidden Fleece group on Ravelry.  FYI – they also have non-sock yarn, too… I haven’t had a chance to squeeze anything besides the sock yarn, but I’ve heard it’s all yummy!

To win this wonderful sock knitting giveaway, please leave me a comment with a valid email address.  I’d also love to know your favorite sock pattern, or the one you’re working on now, or if you don’t knit socks, tell me what your favorite thing to craft is.  Comments will be accepted through the end of the week, and the drawing will occur on Saturday, November 1.

If this is your first time here, take a look around – I’d love for you to come back again!  Also, check out my first Bloggy Giveaway, the giveaway on my other blog, and the others at the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival site!!!  Come back each day this week for more giveaway goodness!

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Entries for the giveaway are now closed.  Please click here to see who the winner was!

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I realize now…

After the past week, I realize now how blessed we have been as a little family not to have crazy insane sickness here before.  Because we are just now getting over our first round of it… 7 days straight of kids getting sick all over their beds, all over the couch, all over the floors…. I thought it would never end.  But I am standing in faith that it is finally over.  The last straw was me getting sick – not in the same way, but I had a fever all day yesterday.  I was able to spend all day in bed, thankfully, and I bounced back quickly.  So today was an almost normal day – except for the overwhelming amount of laundry that I’ve had to do. 

On to much more pleasant things!  I’ve gotten a little more done on my mom’s Nutkins’… see?
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I haven’t done as much as I would’ve liked to on these – I was trying to keep them clean over the past week.  But I’m chugging along on them… slowly but surely.  This is a easy pattern to memorize, and easy to pick up from wherever you stopped with no problem.

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I also made these bracelets – a reincarnation of these.  These are just single crochet around a plastic bangle bracelet, and I could’ve sworn I saw something about doing this on Vickie Howell’s blog, but I can’t find it on there now.  I know I didn’t come up with this on my own, though.  When I find out who did this first, I’ll credit them properly.  The bracelet on top is done with Sugar ‘n Cream cotton yarn, and the one on bottom is done with Brown Sheep’s Wildfoote Sock Yarn.  I can barely fit either of these onto my wrists – I forgot how “big boned” I am, and I’ve never been able to wear bangle bracelets of any kind.  So it looks like these may be gifts for someone this year.

I told you about my decision to make handmade gifts this year?  I need some encouragement to keep it up… On one hand, I am so excited about some of the patterns I’ve gotten and found to make gifts from (I forgot to take pictures of my first completed holiday gift!!!! shoot… I’ll post details on it tomorrow).  On the other hand, I mentioned that we are doing handmade gifts this year to one of our relatives who be receiving some handmade gifts from us, and I could hear the disappointment in her voice.  I just need to plow ahead and hope that I can wow her with the quality of the gifts I’m able to make (I hope I am able to make).  I may not please everyone, but when do we ever please everyone?  We always wind up buying some random things for people who are so hard to buy for anyway, and this is going to save us about $500 this year (according to my rusty calculations…)!!!

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