Oct 28, 2011

new to the shop: sleep sacks!

thanks to my favorite little model, and several e-mails requesting i start selling these, the Snug As A Bug Sleep Sack is now available in the Minimalist Knits shop! the first of a few patterns specific to kids and babies, the Sleep Sack is one of my all-time favorite items to knit for babies - and my son's favorite knit as well!

the pattern is now and always will be available for free download through Ravelry, but for folks who can't knit offering the Sleep Sack up in the shop is a great way to gift hand-knits without having to pick up a new skill!

they're listed in the shop at $25 each, and $10 from each purchase is donated to charity: water to bring clean water to someone in the world who does not currently have any!


simple knits :: clever cloche

deceptively simple in construction, the Clever Cloche Hat - the first pattern from designer Lisa Creswell - is knit in one piece, with no seaming or sewing required (except for attaching the buttons)! The pattern can be knit with sport weight through aran weight yarns, and works perfectly with solids, tweeds, and even stripes!

Oct 27, 2011

thanks to pinterest :: my fall wreath

are you on pinterest? do you find yourself, like me, pinning things left and right and then doing nothing with them? while it's wonderful to have a space full of inspiration to look at, i've decided it's time to take those hundreds (thousands?!) of pins i've been saving and do something with them!

my first attempt at this was to FINALLY make a fall wreath for our door!

if i'm being honest here, i'll have to admit i've had the foam wreath form i used for at least two years! i bought it to make a yarn-wrapped Christmas wreath several years ago and never got around to it. then i was going to make a bunch of poms and tie them around it, and i never did. finally, i decided i wanted to put a wreath on my door already, and so i hunkered down, found a few tutorials on Pinterest, and got to work.

when i finally got down to doing it, the wreath was super simple to make. i just grabbed some brown yarn i've had in my stash forever, and wrapped. and wrapped. and wrapped. to add a bit of color interest i wrapped some red yarn around one section, and then made some flowers.

the flowers were the easiest part of the wreath, to be honest! i picked up four sheets of felt at the craft store and followed the tutorial from Lines Across My Face, which i found ... on Pinterest! i glued them down and then hung the wreath!

as an added bonus, i not only managed to actually  make something i've pinned in Pinterest, i also knocked something off my 12 By 2012 list!

Oct 26, 2011

owen's room tour

welcome to owen's room!

while he doesn't spend a ton of time in here yet, but we love it and i'd like to think he loves it, too! it's a small room, but it's got everything he wants!

on the east wall,we've got his little dresser (just three drawers is all he needs!) with his changing pad on top and my favorite poster EVER (bought from Sycamore Street Press). on the north wall, his book case, already growing full with books and toys, but still with plenty of room for more!

next to his bookshelf, these hooks hold his Husker outfits and his cool-guy jackets!

above the door!

and next to his crib, photos of the people who love him most! we took these photos during his first few days of life, and we'll change them out over time as he grows. the photos show him with his grandparents, his aunt and uncles, and his godparents. perfect!

like i said, small room, but full just the right amount with the stuff that will keep him happy, healthy, clothed and loved!

Oct 25, 2011

simple knits :: autumn pixie hood

i've quietly had a crush on pixie hood hats for several years now. is it the pointy top, or the tassely ties? i can't explain it, but every year i swear i'm going to knit one for myself and every year i slack off and end up pixie-less when spring rolls around.

the Autumn Pixie Hood from Tori's positori blog might just be the pixie hat that finds me with my very own hat this season, however - her simple instructions, free pattern, and gorgeous photography have definitely won me over!

Oct 24, 2011

twelve by 2012

who here likes to make goals? to write lists and cross things off once they're done? i LOVE LOVE LOVE to do both those things, and thanks to Jena over at Modish i've found a fun way to get a few things done between now and the end of the year!

the twelve by 2012 project is the brainchild of danni over at oh, hello friend! she's a big fan of goals and lists as well, and decided to challenge herself to get a few things crossed off her list before the end of the year. and because everyone loves to have their friends play along, she invited anyone and everyone to do just that!

i'm super excited to jump in and play along with this - now that Owen's a few months old we're getting into a rhythm and i'm excited to start getting a few things done other than snuggling and smiling and practicing rolling over.

here's my twelve things i'd like to accomplish by 2012:
  1. knit through my Land's End bag of yarn.
  2. finish the sweater for Zach. before his birthday.
  3. switch to cloth diapers during the day.
  4. knit up at least five soaker covers.
  5. run at least 3 miles at a time without stopping, while talking to someone who is running next to me.
  6. office clean-out and reorganization.
  7. set up my three main binders (christmas, knitting patterns, crochet patterns)
  8. finish the fall wreath and hang it on the door. done 10/27/11
  9. finish updating and re-issuing all Minimalist Knits patterns.
  10. get the "first month" baby book done.
  11. knit 50 squares for Knit-A-Square.
  12. clean out our closet.
what are your plans between now and the end of the year? i'm excited to cross all of these off in the next 69 days, and plan on sharing more about each of them as i cross them off! if you want to follow along with my goals, i'm tagging every "twelve by 2012" post with the "12by2012" tag - look for it in the sidebar list of tags and click!

Oct 23, 2011

two months with owen

our little man is two whole months old today!

in the last month you have ...
  • learned to love hand-knits, for the most part
  • figured out how to smile and laugh, and decided for yourself what is funny and what isn't. currently on your list of funny: someone eating your toes, the word "papoose", anything your grandma Mimi does.
  • gone from eating two ounces at a time to eating four.
  • had to have your first round of shots. NOT your favorite!
  • decided to fight sleep at around 7pm every night. for about 15 minutes your cries are the most dramatic and ridiculous, and then you pass out exhausted.

what a great month!  dad went back to working full-time, leaving you alone with me during the day. we've taken to being home together like champs, you and i - we play on the floor, have knit up tons of stuff for charity, and have practiced sleeping in the crib.

while you still prefer being held over hanging out on the floor, in your crib, or anywhere else, the world is getting more and more interesting to you, and being held isn't cutting it like it used to. you'd rather be held facing out, and have so much fun exploring new spaces with your eyes. this month alone you've gotten to figure out your Aunt Melanie and Uncle Mike's house, the mall, the pumpkin patch, and Kohl's!

as you eat more, you're sleeping for longer stretches - four to five hours at a time at night, much to mama's delight! during the day you fight sleep and take shorter naps - there is so much to do and see, you can't be bothered with sleep! when you're awake you wiggle almost constantly, like you've got places to go and if you could only figure out how to coordinate your limbs, you'd already be on your way there!

the ceiling fan is still your favorite toy, but your bears (on the mobile) are quickly taking their place in your heart as well!

everyone who meets you falls in love with you - not only are you adorable, but you are quite the charmer! you throw smiles, coos, and laughter around like candy for everyone around you, and everyone immediately falls in love with you!

you still: curl your feet up, keep your fists clenched, and curl your legs up into you like a newborn. all your other newborn-isms have given way to full-on baby behavior though, and it's amazing to watch! your curious personality is so fun to both your dad and i - we love to watch as you experience new things!

this next month should be super fun - from Halloween to fall hitting Omaha in full force, you'll get to meet a bunch of new people and experience so much more for the first time. little man, we're super happy you're in our family!

Oct 21, 2011

simple knits :: winter cape

hello, luver.

this Winter Cape, knit in the round with chunky yarn, is garter stitch and one size fits all. i'd love to throw this on over a long-sleeve tee, some skinnies and a pair of boots, and head out the door to do ... whatever i felt like! wear it to the store, to a Halloween party, a family get-together - throw it on with a skirt and some heels and wear it to the theater or even a work holiday party.

Oct 18, 2011

i'm part of gussy sews holiday guide!

hooray for the holiday season starting! this season i took the plunge and got involved in Gussy Sews holiday gift guide! i'm featured along with a bunch of other amazing shops, and will be selling finished knits along with made-to-order items between now and the end of December!

Right now I've got bunches of Simple Slouch hats listed ready to ship in the Minimalist Knits shop, and I've begun listing made-to-order items.

First in the shop ready to be made for you is the Casey Cowl, and in the next two weeks I'll be adding several more cowls and scarves, as well as bunches of hats!

I'm most proud, however, of the way I'm giving back this year through my shop ... for each item purchased, a like item will be donated to charity. This means if you purchase a hat, I'll also knit a hat to donate. If you purchase a cowl, a cowl will be donated to charity. And so on, and so forth.

In this way, I hope to do some good this holiday season while also bringing hand-knits to homes around the country (and maybe the world)!

Oct 17, 2011

simple knits :: power to the pom hat

i'm reviving my Simple Knits feature, with a small twist - where i used to feature items i had knit from simple patterns, i'm going to start featuring patterns i've found that would be great simple knits, whether i've gotten to knit them yet or not!

i've just now discovered Sans Limits Crochet, and i'm head over heels in love! sara's knit and crochet patterns are amazing, and each one fully fits my minimalist leanings to a tee! i had a hard time choosing just one of her patterns to feature, but her power to the pom hat won me over. i love the texture of the hat, and the huge pom at the top makes me want to whip one up for myself now!

the power to the pom hat is a free ravelry download, and thanks to it's bulky yarn and size 13 needles, you can have this hat whipped up in a matter of hours!

Oct 13, 2011

the sound turned down on the world

this is officially the hardest week ever. filled with sadness and grief, loss compounded upon loss, and topped off with a baby who will not sleep.

our friend Josh (pictured at left) died on Sunday night, very quickly and suddenly. he was 30 years old.

it has rocked our little world, both zach and i do not seem to know what to do. he was dear to us, the best in everyone we knew - kind and gentle, always smiling and willing to help his friends do anything. working full-time, he still carried a 4.0 in school and wanted eventually to be a lawyer. he still managed to show up to trivia every Tuesday and whip our butts more times than not.

tonight is his viewing. tomorrow is the funeral. i am not ready for either.

it feels, in the words of my husband, like the sound got turned down on the world. things have shifted sideways, and it might take awhile for the world to be righted - if it ever is.

i've spent the last four days rocking and holding Owen, who decided about ten minutes after we found out about Josh that he didn't need to sleep for more than 45 minutes at a time unless being held. and so i hold him, rocking in the rocking chair that was my mother's before i was even born, watching him sleep while tears stream down my face.

i want this week to be over, i want this week to have never happened. and more than that, i want to be kinder and talk less smack. i want to focus my life, to care about what's most important and not worry about the rest. i want to walk through life with a smile on my face, letting the little things seem to slide off me.

i want to be more like this man that i knew was awesome, but never told.

i've shifted a few things around on the blog. needed a bit more simplification, needed white space and clean lines. needed order in the face of the chaos i feel right now. as i shifted things around, i realized i was going to do the same in my real life, one thing at a time. i cleared off my bookshelves. next i packed up all my maternity clothes. i've set up a plan for my knitting (i'll share next week, hopefully), and will be re-organizing and paring down the office next week.

in the face of chaos, sadness and unwelcome change, i pare down. i clean and organize and cry all the while. and in this case, with this level of grief, the pare down and clean out and simplification may be extreme. and maybe that's just what i need.

and in the midst of this sadness and grief, i get to hold Owen. Owen, who decided he needed to be held all the time, looks up at me and smiles and coos and giggles. sticks his feet in my face so i will eat his toes and he will giggle again.

i know he is too young to know these things, but i am grateful that this week he needs to be held. because i need to hold him, to be reminded that in the midst of this terribly unfair thing that happened to Josh, there is still goodness and peace and kindness and love. and for me right now it's wrapped up in a seven-week-old boy named Owen.

and when he doesn't need to be held, i knit. i knit and knit and knit, because while i cannot bring peace to Josh (who i am certain is at peace in heaven without a doubt), i can bring peace to others.

Oct 12, 2011

a boy and his pants

i made these for him back before i knew he was going to be a him. they fit perfectly! granted, they're a 3-9 months size, but still! i've got plans to make him three or four more pairs to wear over the next few months, with one big mod - i'll be doing the ribbing at the waist without the ties. he's not a fan of the ties.

Oct 11, 2011

featured sponsor: Knit Nicole, Knit!

I'm super happy to introduce you all to Nicole today!

My name is Nicole, and I've been knitting for half my life. I started doing craft shows when I was about 16, and started blogging at 19. I try to keep up with my knitting projects there, but at times, I knit quicker than I can blog. I started an Etsy shop just under a year ago, and have made a few sales. I am trying to get my hand knits into some brick and mortar stores, as well as sell more through Etsy.

I follow just over 400 blogs, and I find lots of inspiring photos and posts on there. My current favourites are (warning: some links may contain photos that are NSFW) Bizarrely NeutralSara Takes Over The World!Dashed Lines, and, of course, Minimalist Knitter. I am also inspired by the music I listen to. My current play list includes CloverjoyCobra & Vulture, and Fall Out Boy remixes.

My birthday comes 10 days after Christmas, so my holiday season is extended longer than most. I love that I can see my friends from out of town who come home for the holidays. I love seeing my extended family members, and how much some of my younger cousins have grown. Other than the usual family stuff, I absolutely love that in the months before, there are always craft shows/bazaars/flea markets with tons of hand made items for sale.

I try to buy handmade for as many people as possible every year, and these make my life easier and less stressful. Lastly, living in the northern hemisphere means there is snow over the holidays. I love snow. I love cold weather. I love being able to snuggle under a bunch of blankets and watch silly Christmas movies.

Oct 10, 2011

help me send some hats to a chicago food pantry!

a few weeks ago, i sent off a box full of hats to a ravelry friend who lives in Chicago. last year Kathie knit about 60 hats for her neighborhood food pantry, for their annual Christmas party thrown for the kids who use the food pantry all year.

as she dropped them off, she was informed over 1,000 kids would be attending the party that year.
overwhelmed by the tremendous need in her area of Chicago (this food pantry is one of many that serve the Chicago area), she set a goal to have as many hats for these kids at their 2011 Christmas party as she could!
i heard about her mission on a Ravelry charity board, and immediately started knitting. i had several hats already finished that were intended for charity, and so i added those to the pile and sent off around 20 hats to Kathie, and then began all over again.

with such a huge need, i'm asking those of you who read this space that also knit or crochet to jump in and help me out - there's a lot of need here, but i'm confident we can blow Kathie away with our donations!
want to help me knit some hats for Chicago kids? here's a few helpful guidelines Kathie shared with me:

** Any type of yarn fiber, yarn color, or hat size are needed. There will be kids at this party ranging from toddlers to older teens, and both boys and girls will show up, so any and every type of hat is needed!

** They expect at least as many kids to attend the party as this year. Chicago's unemployment rate is huge right now, as many industries are still laying folks off.

** The party usually happens the first Tuesday in December, so Kathie will need all hats by the end of November - that gives us a month of serious knitting to get as many hats to her as possible!

i'll be sharing photos of the hats i'm knitting for her over the next few weeks, as well as linking to some great free patterns you can use. if you're interested in helping out, you can either send her a message on Ravelry (her Rav name is kathied5732) or you can e-mail me at rmcdevine@gmail.com for her address.

Oct 7, 2011

birth story, part two

{see part one here}

After my water broke like in a movie, we ran around the house for a minute or two, getting our bearings. I had to change my pants and grab a towel, Zach had to toss the bags back into the car. On our way to the hospital (a five minute drive at best) we called his mom and my mom to let them know what was up - squealing was heard around the world, I’m sure!

Upon arriving at the hospital we were checked in and shown our room. Still leaking amniotic fluid like it was going out of style, they did two quick tests - one to be sure Owen was still breech (yup!) and one to be sure what was coming out of me was actually amniotic fluid (double yup!) - positive on both tests, I was put in line for my c-section. And with only one person in to wait on (she was in the operating room as I was getting checked in) we were told by 10:30 at the latest we’d be in the operating room.

Zach was given this fresh white suit to wear - the kind painters wear sometimes. Apparently they used to give scrubs to the birth partners to wear, but some lady started wandering around the birthing ward impersonating a nurse, so they had to stop that practice. While he was getting stylish, I filled out a few quick forms, and before we knew it we were off to have our babe!

Everything in the operating room happened very quickly. The most painful part of the whole thing was the shot they gave me in my back to numb it up before the spinal. I clung to Zach who whispered encouraging words to me, and then my legs began to go numb. By the time they had me laying down on the impossibly small operating table, I couldn’t feel much of anything from the chest down - I was sure my legs were bent and that I was wiggling my toes still while they’d already started to open me up!

Zach to my left, the clock to my right, I looked at the time and it was just before 11pm when they laid me down. I looked at Zach and asked if they’d started yet, he told me no without even looking (note to self: he was lying!) and then they said, “you’ll feel a slight tug” and then there was a baby being held in the air, looking around like WAIT, WHAT?!?!

Our anesthesiologist snapped photos of Owen being born, so we’ve got some cool (and not all that gross, actually) shots of it, and once he was out, Zach grabbed the camera and followed Owen over to the warming tray where he was cleaned off while I was stitched up.

Everyone kept remarking on how pink he was, how much he looked like me, and how adorably small he was. At just 5 pounds, 15 ounces, we had ourselves a little peanut of a kid! They held him up for me to see him several times while they cleaned him up, let Zach hold him, and ran the Apgar tests (8 and 9 … booyah!). Then with a quick kiss from mom - and Owen opening his eyes for the first time when he was near me and I said his name! - he was off to the nursery for all the rest of his tests.

Zach went with Owen, and less than five minutes later I was on my way to the recovery room. Still numbed up, I lay there in amazement while a nurse checked my vitals periodically - I had just had a baby!

After Owen’s tests were all good, he had to sit in the warming tray until I came upstairs, so Zach came back down by me. They moved my bed upstairs and then brought in Owen, who opened his eyes again to my voice!

Although it was after 1am at this point, I held him and fed him (which he took to like a champ!), and then we let grandma Mary come in to meet him. My mom was in the car, on her way from Chicago to come meet the bug, so she got to hold him the next day, but Zach’s parents are in town, so Mary was at the hospital waiting to sneak in a little snuggle.

By 3am we were all settled in for the night, little Owen in his bassinet next to me asleep, Zach on the super uncomfortable recliner on the other side of me, also snoring away, and me … I just sat there in my bed, amazed that this had even happened.

{part three coming soon}

Oct 6, 2011

Quick Halloween Knits (and Crochets)

Halloween is officially less than a month away! While most folks are headed to the stores to pick out plastic costumes, if you know how to knit or crochet you can whip up a costume super fast, and make it totally unique! Here's a few fun ideas to get you started.

Brain Monster | Candy Corn | Cat headband and wrist warmers

Cthuluhuclava | Duck Baby Socks | To Humiliate The Dog

Jackyll & Hyde |Ogre headband and wrist warmers | Princess Leia Hat

Scott Pilgrim Hat | Felted Yoda Hat

Quick Halloween Knits (and Crochets)

Halloween is officially less than a month away! While most folks are headed to the stores to pick out plastic costumes, if you know how to knit or crochet you can whip up a costume super fast, and make it totally unique! Here's a few fun ideas to get you started.

{all links found via Ravelry}

Oct 5, 2011

Knit A Squillion September Update

I'm changing it up a little bit with my Knit A Squillion posting - I'm switching to a monthly check-in, and calling it a knit-along! That way I'm not sharing one or two squares at a time, you folks have more time to knit (or crochet!) up your squares, and once a month we can come together and share all the pretties together!

September was a slower month in squares for me - you can see the posts I shared throughout the month here. I managed to make eight squares, which is more than I thought I would, but less than I wanted to. {photo above shows 10 squares - two are repeated in photos!}

I'm setting a big goal for October - to knit 15 squares and share the photos! This will help me bust through a bunch of my acrylic stash as well as get me back ahead of the game as far as my monthly goal for this project goes.

How was your square-making for September? Did you reach your goal, surpass it, or skate in below the line like I did?