Monday, January 30, 2017

Making happy things

Hey, let's look at some things I've made.  A few items didn't get photographed in the flurry of gift-giving in parts of December, but that's okay.  The next time I see my mom in her birthday shawl, I'll take a picture.  And I made Levi some socks that I liked so much I'm going to make a pair for myself.  I'll just photograph those. 

Anyway, I made hats for Cody's brothers.  Spencer got the blueish one and Casey got the greenish one.

I used the Jason's Tweed Hat pattern.  It calls for bulky weight yarn, which I didn't have on hand.  What I did have was some worsted weight brown yarn, and a lot of granny squares made with sock yarn that I realized I wanted to unravel.  So.  I held the two together, and that gave me the right yarn weight AND looked all tweedy.  Also, both brothers-in-law did the thing where they immediately tried on the hats as soon as they opened their presents.  Excellent.

Next up is a pair of socks I made for my mother-in-law.  It's based on Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's sock recipe.

I've made socks from this recipe a bunch of times. Sometimes I think I'll try a different pattern, and then I don't.  I realized socks would make a good gift a bit late in the game, so there was no point in branching out with an unfamiliar pattern.  The yarn came from a friend's destashing efforts.  I made the legs a bit short to save on time and because I wasn't super sure of fit.

I'll tell you now that I have made socks for both Mom and Levi, and both times I checked the fit of the socks by trying them on my own feet and legs and going from there.  I'm not quite as sure about Dicy's feet, so I would hold up my knitting to Cody and we would try to guess.  She put the socks on as soon as she saw them, and took a picture.

And they fit fine.

Next up is a pair of socks I made for myself.  I bought this yarn in the summer and used it to make some socks for Evelyn.  I figured I would have enough yarn left over to make some ankle socks for myself, and I did.  I wear these around the house and feel lovely and colorful and warm when I do.  It's a modified version of the cheat sheet socks.

Here's a bib I made for Calvin!

Laine asked me to make him a bib that looks like a bandana a million years ago, and I had a harder time with it than I thought I would.  But I found some fabric with saws and hammers on it (fine, it was part of a clown suit I bought at a garage sale put on by some community theater group.  That thing is full of good fabric!) and wanted to make him a bandana for Ellis's construction themed birthday party.

Laine, good sister that she is, put it on him immediately while I prayed her sewing friend Leah wouldn't see my bad work.  Leah came to the party, but was maybe distracted by the screaming children.  It's not my best work, but I love how those brown-eyed boys look in orange.  I lined the back with an old baby towel. Yes, I know this didn't come to a point like a real bandana.  I thought things would work out a bit differently than they did.  Maybe this is why Calvin gave me the stomach bug from heck.

I'll do better next time, buddy.  Just don't hurt me like that again.

Laine also asked me to make some plain hats for the boys that weren't pointy or animal-themed or something they could outgrow in 30 seconds.   So I cast on the Be Loving pattern in the big kid sizes.  The hats are a bit roomy, but if they shrink in the wash or these kids grow any more then the hats will last.

Or they may not wear them at all because they don't seem too thrilled.  Or maybe they just weren't in the mood for picture-taking.  There are other basic hat patterns that I like better, but I couldn't find them when I got started on these hats in time to take them to Laine's house a few weeks ago.  The decreases are uneven and no one can spot this but me.

But I know.  And now you do, too.

Calvin really wants to know why I don't try harder for him.

Lastly, this:

It's a blurry picture, but I wanted to take a quick snapshot because I was happy with this.  I've been making a lot of dishcloths and giving them as gifts here lately. One of my favorite times was when my friend who tends to give me a lot of her destashing yarn gave me some cotton yarn and I made a dishcloth from it at knit night a couple of weeks ago and just handed it to her. Surprise!

But this past week I mailed some dishcloths to my grandma.  Grandmother used to knit everyone dishcloths for every life event (moving, marriage, birthday, your old dishcloths wore out, etc.), so I thought it would be nice to give her some dishcloths for her birthday.  She hasn't had time to knit, and I don't visit enough to know what her dishcloth situation is.  So I made regular dishcloths and a 'fancy' one.  I tried to make this quite a few times without success, but I tried it again this past summer and something clicked. It's the Ballband Dishcloth pattern that used to come with Peaches and Cream yarn and it's going to be my special present when I give more dishcloths as presents this year.

So.  I'm keeping most of my family warm and clean with crafts from the past month.  I've got other projects I'm working on that I haven't finished, and I'm really looking forward to making a few more things for myself.

But first I have to build up my dishcloth gift stash....

Saturday, January 28, 2017

2016's book list

These are the books I read in 2016.  Library books are marked with an asterisk and I'm not going to bother putting them in any kind of order.  I just copied and pasted them from the posts where I wrote about them throughout the year (under the book list tag) and threw in one or two of the novels I read in December. 

It was a big year for Hillerman and how-tos.  I'm not sure what this year's reading list might look like.  I'm looking forward to finding out, though.

The Kingdom of Little Wounds. Susann Cokal*
Diving into the Wreck: Selected Poems 1971-1972. Adrienne Rich.
Gray Mountain. John Grisham*
The Leftovers. Tom Perrotta*
Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads: A Modern Knitter's Guide to Discovering and Exploring Style. Cirlia Rose.*
Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? Roz Chast.*
The Dark Wind.  Tony Hillerman.
Knitting Pearls: Writers Writing About Knitting. Ann Hood, ed.*
People of Darkness. Tony Hillerman.
Sacred Clowns. Tony Hillerman.
The Blessingway. Tony Hillerman.
Talking God. Tony Hillerman.
Step Aside, Pops. Kate Beaton.*
Prepper's Survival Hacks: 50 DIY Projects for Lifesaving Gear, Gadgets, and Kits. Jim Cobb.*
Things I Learned from Knitting...Whether I Wanted to or Not. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.*
Listening Woman. Tony Hillerman.
People of Darkness. Tony Hillerman.
My Grandmother's Knitting: Family Stories and Inspired Knits from Top Designers. Larissa Brown, ed.*  
Dry Bones. Craig Johnson.*
The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go so Their Children Can Succeed. Jessica Lahey*
Coyote. Tony Hillerman.*
Blessing Way. Tony Hillerman.*
Dance Hall of the Dead. Tony Hillerman*
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Marie Kondo.*
Pieces: A Year in Poems and Quilts. Anna Grossnickle Hines.*
Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up. Marie Kondo.*
The Little Spark: 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity. Carrie Bloomstein.*
The Girl in the Spider's Web. David Lagercrantz.* 
Little Victories: Perfect Victories for Imperfect Living. Jason Gay.*
Skinwalkers. Tony Hillerman.*
Thief of Time. Tony Hillerman.*
Wait for Signs: Twelve Longmire Stories. Craig Johnson.*
Faithful. Alice Hoffman*

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Our Snow Day

Remember when it snowed a while back?  It was a thing.  The state shut down a bit for the day.  We had a beautiful morning and I felt happy and inspired enough to use my camera to record the fun.

Then I got called into work and that was the end of that.  I'm told Cody and Evelyn enjoyed even more hot chocolate and indoorsy winter fun activities like playing board games and reading and watching--what else?!--"The Snowy Day" on Amazon, but we just have pictures of that first couple of hours.  It was a good time.

Please note the snow angel in the background.

We couldn't build a snow man, but we made a nice arrangement for any ice fairies who might stop by.

For once, our winter decorations were appropriate.

Warming up after.  Please note that her shirt has penguins skiing on it.  She picked that out just for the special snowy day.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Fashion Show

Evelyn wanted to put on a fashion show for us a few Saturdays ago. 

We were not prepared.

First look: Very Serious Queen.

Next up: Haughty Firefighter.

And finally, Batman. 


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Ellis turned 3!

Ellis turned 3 a whole month ago, but it seems like he's been this big for a while.  He's verbal and funny and has a memory like a trap.  He's also a great big boy, which I think makes me think he's older than he is.  But no, even though he's turned into quite the big kid this past year (he's in a Mother's Day Out program! He has a backpack! He can do big kid things with his big kid cousins!) he only turned 3 a little while back.

His mom is smart and has his birthday parties in January so people will be able to come and celebrate with him.  This year, we got to enjoy a nice construction-themed party.  Enjoy the pictures, blurry as they may be. Big boys can move pretty quickly.

This cake was a big hit!

I made Calvin a bib that looked like a bandanna.

Happy birthday, Ellis!  We had so much fun partying with you!