one little word // 2012

Dec 31, 2011
{yarn donated from Sara Bell of The Traveling PhoBlogWriPher}

For five years now Ali Edwards has shared her One Little Word, and each year I promise I'll come up with one but never manage to. And then each year I manage to forget completely, no word chosen.

This year Zach and I spent some time coming up with our words for 2012. For Owen we picked "awesome", naturally! Zach picked "follow-through". And I picked FOCUS. In 2012 I want to FOCUS on ...


// my family.
// being the best wife I can be.
// being the best mom possible.
// knitting as many hats for other people as possible.

FOCUS. Letting go of the things I no longer want in my life. FOCUS. Blinders to everything that does not match with the person I'm becoming. FOCUS. Paying attention to my family, God and my life mission, and letting the rest of it pass gently by.

What is your word of the year?

one little word // 2012

{yarn donated from Sara Bell of The Traveling PhoBlogWriPher}

For five years now Ali Edwards has shared her One Little Word, and each year I promise I'll come up with one but never manage to. And then each year I manage to forget completely, no word chosen.

This year Zach and I spent some time coming up with our words for 2012. For Owen we picked "awesome", naturally! Zach picked "follow-through". And I picked FOCUS. In 2012 I want to FOCUS on ...


// my family.
// being the best wife I can be.
// being the best mom possible.
// knitting as many hats for other people as possible.

FOCUS. Letting go of the things I no longer want in my life. FOCUS. Blinders to everything that does not match with the person I'm becoming. FOCUS. Paying attention to my family, God and my life mission, and letting the rest of it pass gently by.

What is your word of the year?

breathing in and out

I've been learning a lot the last six months or so about "untethering" from Ev Bogue, thanks to his daily letters arriving in my in box. I've watched as he's untethered from many different things - people, places, possessions, thought processes - and wondered what sorts of things I may need to untether from.

As 2012 begins, I am in need of space. I am in need of time, breathing room, freedom from showing up everyday to something I'm not sure about anymore.

The truth is, the last few months I've been phoning it in most days. I show up to my family and I show up to my knitting needles with great passion, but I show up online with a heavy heart, wishing I could be somewhere else. I've thought about taking a break, I've contemplated starting a new space, and I've even thought about exiting online life completely.

In the end, exiting completely doesn't make sense; I love the friendships I've made here through this blog, I love tracking my life in this simple and effective way.

Taking a break has never worked - I'm back a week later, feeling guilty that I'm not showing up even if I'm not sure I want to be.

But the feeling lingered, nagged at me and pulled until I couldn't ignore it. I pondered what I wanted my online life to be about, and I kept coming back to charity knitting. I want, as simply as can be, to track the things I'm making for charity. The rest of my life? I enjoy sharing it on occasion, but my passion has increasingly become sharing not the rest of my life, or even minimalist pursuits, but charity knitting.

So it's time to honor that feeling, to lean into it and make a change - and that change is She Makes Hats.

I'll be blogging there exclusively going forward, so join in the conversation, won't you?

breathing in and out

I've been learning a lot the last six months or so about "untethering" from Ev Bogue, thanks to his daily letters arriving in my in box. I've watched as he's untethered from many different things - people, places, possessions, thought processes - and wondered what sorts of things I may need to untether from.

As 2012 begins, I am in need of space. I am in need of time, breathing room, freedom from showing up everyday to something I'm not sure about anymore.

The truth is, the last few months I've been phoning it in most days. I show up to my family and I show up to my knitting needles with great passion, but I show up online with a heavy heart, wishing I could be somewhere else. I've thought about taking a break, I've contemplated starting a new space, and I've even thought about exiting online life completely.

In the end, exiting completely doesn't make sense; I love the friendships I've made here through this blog, I love tracking my life in this simple and effective way.

Taking a break has never worked - I'm back a week later, feeling guilty that I'm not showing up even if I'm not sure I want to be.

But the feeling lingered, nagged at me and pulled until I couldn't ignore it. I pondered what I wanted my online life to be about, and I kept coming back to charity knitting. I want, as simply as can be, to track the things I'm making for charity. The rest of my life? I enjoy sharing it on occasion, but my passion has increasingly become sharing not the rest of my life, or even minimalist pursuits, but charity knitting.

So it's time to honor that feeling, to lean into it and make a change - and that change is She Makes Hats.

I'll be blogging there exclusively going forward, so join in the conversation, won't you?

Getting Ready For The New Year

Dec 30, 2011
{hat 001 // Jane hat pattern, I Love This Yarn! in greybeard, size 9 and 11 needles}

It's just a few hours away from the first of the year; a day and a few hours really, but I just can't wait. Knitting hats has become such an integral part of who I am, I cast on today for the first hat, which will most likely be done before the first even gets here.

Between car rides to visit both of Owen's grandmas, eating lunch and dinner and even a bit of a Target run, I managed to get the brim and part of the body of this Jane Hat finished. I'm hoping it will use up most of the ball of yarn, and will be a good marker for both the time it takes to knit one of these hats, and a measure of which size needles I should end up using in the future.

If I don't say it again before the 1st, here's hoping your New Year's Eve is full of sparkles and light, laughter and friends and family, and just enough yarn to make you smile!

Getting Ready For The New Year

{hat 001 // Jane hat pattern, I Love This Yarn! in greybeard, size 9 and 11 needles}

It's just a few hours away from the first of the year; a day and a few hours really, but I just can't wait. Knitting hats has become such an integral part of who I am, I cast on today for the first hat, which will most likely be done before the first even gets here.

Between car rides to visit both of Owen's grandmas, eating lunch and dinner and even a bit of a Target run, I managed to get the brim and part of the body of this Jane Hat finished. I'm hoping it will use up most of the ball of yarn, and will be a good marker for both the time it takes to knit one of these hats, and a measure of which size needles I should end up using in the future.

If I don't say it again before the 1st, here's hoping your New Year's Eve is full of sparkles and light, laughter and friends and family, and just enough yarn to make you smile!

off the needles: casey cowl for amy


pattern: Casey Cowl, by Robyn Devine (Ravelry Link)  
yarn: Yarn Bee Andes Alpaca  
needles: one set US 15 / 10.0mm bamboo straight needles

I knew as soon as Amy noted she liked the Casey Cowl that I wanted to knit her one for the holidays. I also knew I wanted to make it a bit special, but couldn't break the bank. Enter Yarn Bee Andes Alpaca yarn - purchased at Hobby Lobby it's under $10 (by quite a margin) but still looks and feels absolutely amazing. And knit up on size 15 needles, only one skein of yarn was needed to make this squishy and gorgeous cowl!

off the needles: casey cowl for amy


pattern: Casey Cowl, by Robyn Devine (Ravelry Link)
yarn: Yarn Bee Andes Alpaca
needles: one set US 15 / 10.0mm bamboo straight needles

I knew as soon as Amy noted she liked the Casey Cowl that I wanted to knit her one for the holidays. I also knew I wanted to make it a bit special, but couldn't break the bank. Enter Yarn Bee Andes Alpaca yarn - purchased at Hobby Lobby it's under $10 (by quite a margin) but still looks and feels absolutely amazing. And knit up on size 15 needles, only one skein of yarn was needed to make this squishy and gorgeous cowl!

off the needles: joe hat


pattern: Joe Hat, from Jane Richmond (Ravelry link | Etsy link)
yarn: Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn! Sport Solid, in black
needles: one US 7 / 4.5mm circular needle; one set US 7 / 4.5mm dpns

This might just be the perfect men's hat. Some think the 1x1 ribbing can get a bit tedious, but I love the melody the front/back/front/back creates. I tend not to be a sport-weight yarn knitter, so Jane shared a little secret to the pattern so I can knit this hat again and again on worsted weight yarn - hooray!

The only mod I made while knitting was to not sew up the brim and make it automatically folded under. I thought Amy's husband might want to be able to fold his own brim, although in future versions of this hat I'll be knitting the brim under like so many of Jane's patterns suggest.

This hat was made for Amy's husband - I knit everyone in her family something for the holidays and had such fun doing so!

off the needles: joe hat



pattern: Joe Hat, from Jane Richmond (Ravelry link | Etsy link)
yarn: Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn! Sport Solid, in black
needles: one US 7 / 4.5mm circular needle; one set US 7 / 4.5mm dpns

This might just be the perfect men's hat. Some think the 1x1 ribbing can get a bit tedious, but I love the melody the front/back/front/back creates. I tend not to be a sport-weight yarn knitter, so Jane shared a little secret to the pattern so I can knit this hat again and again on worsted weight yarn - hooray!

The only mod I made while knitting was to not sew up the brim and make it automatically folded under. I thought Amy's husband might want to be able to fold his own brim, although in future versions of this hat I'll be knitting the brim under like so many of Jane's patterns suggest.

This hat was made for Amy's husband - I knit everyone in her family something for the holidays and had such fun doing so!

off the needles: Jane Hat

Dec 29, 2011

pattern: Jane Hat, from Jane Richmond (Ravlery Link | Etsy Link)
yarn: I Love This Yarn! solids, in black
needles: size US 8 / 5.0mm and size US 10 / 6.0mm circular needles

For Amy's eldest daughter, something basic and black was called for. I wanted to jazz it up just a bit, while still leaving the hat basic enough that she could wear it with everything, and for everyday wear. Enter Jane Richmond's namesake hat.

I love knitting this hat for almost anyone; I've made it in wools and acrylics, in bright colors and neutrals, and every time it comes off the needles I want to keep it for myself. Maybe this means the next one should be for me?

off the needles: Jane Hat



pattern: Jane Hat, from Jane Richmond (Ravlery Link | Etsy Link)
yarn: I Love This Yarn! solids, in black
needles: size US 8 / 5.0mm and size US 10 / 6.0mm circular needles

For Amy's eldest daughter, something basic and black was called for. I wanted to jazz it up just a bit, while still leaving the hat basic enough that she could wear it with everything, and for everyday wear. Enter Jane Richmond's namesake hat.

I love knitting this hat for almost anyone; I've made it in wools and acrylics, in bright colors and neutrals, and every time it comes off the needles I want to keep it for myself. Maybe this means the next one should be for me?

off the needles: Invisible Children Hat


pattern: Invisible Children Hat, by Robyn Devine (Ravelry Link)
yarn: I Love This Yarn! from Hobby Lobby in maroon
needles: size US 11 / 8.0mm circular needle

For Amy's middle child, a hat that would match her brown coat was requested. Maroon matches just about any color, is neutral enough while still adding a pop of color, and looks great dressed up or down. A simple Invisible Children hat means this one will grow with the recipient, can be worn slouched or with the brim folded over, and can even be borrowed by mom if need be!

off the needles: Invisible Children Hat



pattern: Invisible Children Hat, by Robyn Devine (Ravelry Link)
yarn: I Love This Yarn! from Hobby Lobby in maroon
needles: size US 11 / 8.0mm circular needle

For Amy's middle child, a hat that would match her brown coat was requested. Maroon matches just about any color, is neutral enough while still adding a pop of color, and looks great dressed up or down. A simple Invisible Children hat means this one will grow with the recipient, can be worn slouched or with the brim folded over, and can even be borrowed by mom if need be!

the what and the why

I've been a knitter since I was 19. 20? I know I couldn't drink legally yet, still lived in Chicago, and worked in an office.

A friend and I went to Denny's one day, and she taught me the basics of knitting - cast on, knit and purl. She handed me some yarn and needles, and I got busy ... and never looked back!

A few years ago, I decided to try to live a  more remarkable life and set a goal to knit One Hundred Hats for charity in a years' time. I met that goal, and continued knitting for charity like mad. But I missed the challenge ... and I missed the hats!

So I'm beginning again, on January 1, 2012. This time I'm setting the goal a bit higher, and making the reach a bit broader:

I aim to knit and give away 10,000 hats in my lifetime for friends, family, and charity.

I have blogged about many other things, and in many other spaces. And for many different reasons. This time it's for me - a way to honor my goal, a way to track my progress, and a way to document a life lived with hats always on the needles,

the what and the why

I've been a knitter since I was 19. 20? I know I couldn't drink legally yet, still lived in Chicago, and worked in an office.

A friend and I went to Denny's one day, and she taught me the basics of knitting - cast on, knit and purl. She handed me some yarn and needles, and I got busy ... and never looked back!

A few years ago, I decided to try to live a  more remarkable life and set a goal to knit One Hundred Hats for charity in a years' time. I met that goal, and continued knitting for charity like mad. But I missed the challenge ... and I missed the hats!

So I'm beginning again, on January 1, 2012. This time I'm setting the goal a bit higher, and making the reach a bit broader:

I aim to knit and give away 10,000 hats in my lifetime for friends, family, and charity.

I have blogged about many other things, and in many other spaces. And for many different reasons. This time it's for me - a way to honor my goal, a way to track my progress, and a way to document a life lived with hats always on the needles,

off the needles: Walk In The Park Hat


pattern: Walk In The Park Hat, by Pickles
yarn: I Love This Yarn! in purple
needles: sizes US 8 / 5.0 mm and US 10 / 6.0 mm 16" circulars

What fun I had this holiday season, crafting items for each member of Amy's family! Amy blogs at New Nostalgia, and while we've known one another for close to a decade, it had been several years since I'd seen her gorgeous family - thankfully, we were able to reconnect at the pumpkin patch this year!

When her girls started commenting on my handmade hat, I offered to knit something for each member of Amy's family, and thankfully she agreed to let me! First off the needles was this hat for her youngest daughter. This one loves color, so I was excited to grab some bright purple yarn from my stash to whip her up a slightly slouchy hat.

I made a few modifications to this hat - a 2x2 ribbed brim, some decreases at the top of the hat (the pattern doesn't call for any) and a shorter knit time before binding off; all in all though, the hat looks almost exactly like the pattern photos, and will fit this little lady perfectly!

off the needles: Walk In The Park Hat



pattern: Walk In The Park Hat, by Pickles
yarn: I Love This Yarn! in purple
needles: sizes US 8 / 5.0 mm and US 10 / 6.0 mm 16" circulars

What fun I had this holiday season, crafting items for each member of Amy's family! Amy blogs at New Nostalgia, and while we've known one another for close to a decade, it had been several years since I'd seen her gorgeous family - thankfully, we were able to reconnect at the pumpkin patch this year!

When her girls started commenting on my handmade hat, I offered to knit something for each member of Amy's family, and thankfully she agreed to let me! First off the needles was this hat for her youngest daughter. This one loves color, so I was excited to grab some bright purple yarn from my stash to whip her up a slightly slouchy hat.

I made a few modifications to this hat - a 2x2 ribbed brim, some decreases at the top of the hat (the pattern doesn't call for any) and a shorter knit time before binding off; all in all though, the hat looks almost exactly like the pattern photos, and will fit this little lady perfectly!

off the needles: Jack's Cap

Dec 28, 2011


pattern: Raccoon Earflap Hat, by Inner Hooker
yarn: I Love This Yarn in greybeard, black, and pumpkin
hook: size US I / 5.5 mm

For this hat, I used the bones of the Inner Hooker's Raccoon Hat to make this hat for Owen's friend Jack. Using the directions for the 6-12 month size, I worked the majority of the hat with grey yarn and then added stripes of black and orange so Jack could have a Baltimore Orioles hat, his dad's favorite baseball team!

At seven months old, Jack should be able to wear this hat the rest of the winter and into the spring - even through some of the beginning of the baseball season if he's lucky!

off the needles: Kenzie's Caps

Dec 27, 2011


pattern: Granny Skull Cap, by Chelle Grissam
yarn: I Love This Yarn in purple, yellow, sparkly white and lime
hook: size I / 5/5 mm

While back-to-school shopping this fall, my niece Kenzie discovered an intense love for a granny-squared beanie purchased at a chain store. She was floored to realize I could make her something exactly like it, and in any color she would like. She promptly asked for not one, but FOUR of these hats for Christmas.

A quick Ravelry search found me just the right pattern, and so yarn was purchased and I began to work! Making a quick few adjustments to the hat pattern (so it would fit her teenie head!) I quickly whipped through her four hats!

Modifications:

+ pattern calls for two rows of increases that each double the number of stitches. In the second, I eliminated two sets of doubling.

+ instead of working 11 rows before the finishing row, I worked only 10.

off the needles: annie cowl

Dec 26, 2011


I feel like I'm being extremely biased by saying this, but the Annie Cowl might be my favorite finished item this holiday season. {ssshhhh, don't tell the others!} A simple reversible pattern, sized up for larger needles, and this cowl felt like it flew off the needles! Knit during snuggle time with Owen, during Sherlock Holmes on a Sunday afternoon, and even in little pockets of time during naps, this cowl worked up much faster than I thought it would, and turned out to be the perfect gift for my friend Melanie!  

pattern: Annie Cowl, by Jane Richmond  
yarn: I Love This Yarn, in toasted almond (2/3 of the skein used up)  
needles: size US 11 / 8.0 mm bamboo straights

 I made a few mods to this pattern which worked out perfectly for me -

+ The pattern calls for DK weight yarn, but as I had the right color in worsted weight, I subbed it in.

+ Because of the increase in yarn weight, I went from size 5 needles to a large size 11. This made the fabric drapier than the pattern calls for, but I love it.

+ Also due to the larger yarn and needles, I cast on less stitches than the pattern calls for.

Even after all these adjustments, this pattern turned out gorgeous. This is the beauty of Jane's patterns, I believe. She writes them so that someone like myself can come along and completely ignore the yarn and needle suggestions and still end up with a gorgeous finished piece of knitting! And because Jane has given me permission to add finished knits from her patterns to my shop, I just might have to make up one or two of these and add them in 2012. When I tried it on to make sure it was long enough/warm enough, I almost didn't take it off!

off the needles: James' Hat


pattern: Bella's Eclipse Hat, by Rachel Bearse
yarn: stash wool
needles: size US 8 / 5.0 mm 16" circular needles

On Friday my husband called. His best friend James is in town from Spain and was going to swing by in the afternoon for a visit. And of course I had completely forgotten to make him something or even get him something from the store!

So I jumped onto Ravelry, found a hat I had made before and knew I could whip up fast, and got to work. Within four hours, I had this hat wrapped up and ready to go!

I made one modification - before the decreases I added a few rows to make the hat a bit longer; the pattern calls for a beanie that would fit a woman, and I wanted to be sure the hat would fit him well.

It looked like James loved his hat, and it fit like a charm!

off the needles: James' Hat



pattern: Bella's Eclipse Hat, by Rachel Bearse
yarn: stash wool
needles: size US 8 / 5.0 mm 16" circular needles

On Friday my husband called. His best friend James is in town from Spain and was going to swing by in the afternoon for a visit. And of course I had completely forgotten to make him something or even get him something from the store!

So I jumped onto Ravelry, found a hat I had made before and knew I could whip up fast, and got to work. Within four hours, I had this hat wrapped up and ready to go!

I made one modification - before the decreases I added a few rows to make the hat a bit longer; the pattern calls for a beanie that would fit a woman, and I wanted to be sure the hat would fit him well.

It looked like James loved his hat, and it fit like a charm!

off the needles: annie cowl


I feel like I'm being extremely biased by saying this, but the Annie Cowl might be my favorite finished item this holiday season. {ssshhhh, don't tell the others!}

A simple reversible pattern, sized up for larger needles, and this cowl felt like it flew off the needles! Knit during snuggle time with Owen, during  Sherlock Holmes on a Sunday afternoon, and even in little pockets of time during naps, this cowl worked up much faster than I thought it would, and turned out to be the perfect gift for my friend Melanie!

pattern: Annie Cowl, by Jane Richmond
yarn: I Love This Yarn, in toasted almond (2/3 of the skein used up)
needles: size US 11 / 8.0 mm bamboo straights

I made a few mods to this pattern which worked out perfectly for me -

+ The pattern calls for DK weight yarn, but as I had the right color in worsted weight, I subbed it in.
+ Because of the increase in yarn weight, I went from size 5 needles to a large size 11. This made the fabric drapier than the pattern calls for, but I love it.
+ Also due to the larger yarn and needles, I cast on less stitches than the pattern calls for.

Even after all these adjustments, this pattern turned out gorgeous. This is the beauty of Jane's patterns, I believe. She writes them so that someone like myself can come along and completely ignore the yarn and needle suggestions and still end up with a gorgeous finished piece of knitting!

And because Jane has given me permission to add finished knits from her patterns to my shop, I just might have to make up one or two of these and add them in 2012. When I tried it on to make sure it was long enough/warm enough, I almost didn't take it off!

have a happy one!

Dec 24, 2011

here's hoping you and yours have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Four Months With Owen

Dec 23, 2011

I'm watching you play with your feet in your crib - you were falling asleep while drinking your bottle, but as soon as your head hit the mattress, awake you were! But you're not upset, so in your crib you stay, while I watch you and marvel that you are four whole months old today.

In the next few days you will be bombarded with presents from family members and Santa, and I can't wait for you to not care at all. I'm not putting much stock into this Christmas - you are so young still, so interested in only your turtle and your ball that I don't think you'll care too much about the barrage of plastic that's about to hit our home!





So much has changed for you this past month, it's hard to keep up sometimes. In the last thirty days you have:
  • learned to roll from your tummy to your back, mostly in an effort to avoid tummy time.
  • decided rice cereal is THE BEST THING EVER!!
  • put everything into your mouth you can find (see photo above as evidence)
  • started learning to sleep in your own bed
  • started learning to eat most of your calories during the day rather than the night
  • turned a full 360 in your crib
  • grown another inch - you've now grown 5" since you were born!
  • grown out of your 3 month pants, and are now in 6 month sizes (for length, let's not kid ourselves here)
  • started blowing bubbles and razzing up a storm
  • gotten a touch of stranger anxiety

You love sitting in between my legs and playing with your toys; it won't be long before you're sitting on your own playing with toys and ignoring me completely except to ask for money before you head to the mall with friends.

You are in the 40th percentile for height, but just the 4th for weight; considering you started out under 6 lbs, you're gaining weight just fine, but you sure are tall and skinny! And as dad likes to point out, in just a few more inches you'll already be half as tall as mom!

You've started talking over us, sort of. Whenever the people around you start talking, you chime in with your vowels. You haven't mastered many consonants yet, but they're coming fast. I'm going to pick up some baby sign language DVDs in the next month so we can start figuring that all out - I'm betting your motor skills will develop before your words, so I want to give you as many ways to communicate as possible.


One third of a year ago, we were just getting done trying to flip you around for the very last time, and setting up your birthday for three days later. We were getting ready to head to trivia, unaware that you would be making your entrance into the world in superstar fashion.

Today we are ordering you geek-fabulous onesies with phrases such as "n00b" and "bazinga!" on them, excited for you to fit into them you can show off your geek roots with pride.

Happy four months birthday my love!

a parade of holiday knitting is coming!

{the last of the holiday shop orders on their way out the door a few weeks ago}

You may have noticed a distinct lack of knitting on the blog these last few weeks. While I haven't been sharing it, there has been plenty of knitting going on - of the holiday gift variety!

I've been planning ahead, however - before wrapping up each gift I've been photographing them, and will share it all - photos, my notes, even where to pick up the patterns so you can knit everything yourself - beginning December 26th and extending through the end of the year.

I can't wait!

a parade of holiday knitting is coming!

{the last of the holiday shop orders on their way out the door a few weeks ago}

You may have noticed a distinct lack of knitting on the blog these last few weeks. While I haven't been sharing it, there has been plenty of knitting going on - of the holiday gift variety!

I've been planning ahead, however - before wrapping up each gift I've been photographing them, and will share it all - photos, my notes, even where to pick up the patterns so you can knit everything yourself - beginning December 26th and extending through the end of the year.

I can't wait!

holiday cards 2011 // notes for next year

Dec 22, 2011

Rather than let some other company make our cards for us, I took this HILARIOUS photo I grabbed of Owen recently (he looks so frustrated at the reindeer hat I couldn't resist!), and using Picnik (free site!) created our card ourselves. Uploaded to Walgreens and had them print as a photo, and then sent in regular envelopes.

Simple, perfect for our family this year.

NEXT YEAR: use the postcard option at Walgreens.com. It costs under $1.00 per postcard, and ends up being about what we spent anyhow between printing out photos, buying envelopes and the return address labels. Write a note on the back of each one (feels more personal that way), use a holiday stamp, and send!

Bonus to this? I can order exactly how many I need and I won't have any random supplies laying around. Plus, who doesn't love a postcard?!

ten last-minute crochet gifts

Dec 20, 2011
If you love the idea of last-minute handmade gifts, but my knitting list yesterday left something to be desired, I've got ten crochet items for you today! Any one of these items can be made in less than a day, so you should be able to knock off a bunch of holiday gifts before Christmas morning!


01 // Shelled Gryffindor Cowl, by Charlotte Yue (ravelry link). While Charlotte has scarf and cowl patterns for each of the noble houses of Hogwarts, the Gryffindor Cowl is my favorite. Make it in solid black for a sophisticated look, add sparkly yarn for your holiday outfit, or whip it up in classic Gryffindor colors to show your house pride!

02 // Hooded Scarf, by Rachel Choi (ravelry link). I love the idea of a scarf and hood combo! Made with worsted weight yarn, this one will work up quickly, and it's even got pockets!

03 // Baggier Basic Beanie, by Sara Dudek (ravelry link).  Make this one for every hipster on your list - with just the right amount of slouch, this hat is perfect for your more fashionable friends and family.

04 // Oma House Slippers, by Tara Murray. A fun and quick crochet slipper for all the women on your list! Sized from 3-12, you can make this for girls as well as women, and in a variety of color combinations.

05 // Sans Limites Cowl, by Sara Dudek (ravelry link). Cowls are definitely a hot accessory this winter, and this one works up with bulky yarn and a large hook, making it quick as can be!

06 // EZ Earflap Hat, by Jeannie Kubricht. Perfect for the littles that have been born this year, earflap hats can be tied on, keep ears toasty warm while not covering eyes, and you can embellish with a wide variety of stripes and tassel colors!

07 // Super Duper Kitchen Sponges, by Sylvia Schuchardt.  These double-sided kitchen scrubbies are a perfect stocking stuffer, great for younger folks just moving into their first place, or just about anyone who spends any time in the kitchen!

08 // Granny Skull Cap, by Chelle Grissam.  I made four of these in one day, that's how fast they work up! Make them a bit slouchy or make them according to pattern for a fitted look, and all the ladies on your list will love you!

09 // Tamarin Cozy, by Dena Stelly (ravelry link). I keep meaning to make one of these for my own Kindle, and now that I know several folks with either a Kindle or Nook, I knew I needed to add it to my holiday list. This cozy works up fast with a fun stitch, and is perfect to gift to a guy or gal.

10 // Fingerless Gloves for Men, by Rachel Choi. Simple and classic, I'd make these for just about anyone on my list. I'd also make the wrist/arm section a bit longer, though.

ten last-minute knitted gifts

Dec 19, 2011

There are just six days left to knit Christmas presents, and if you're like me your "to knit for" list has more than six people still on it. Which no, I don't want to talk about. To help you cross a few of those folks off your list, here are six tried and true (and super fast to make!) gifts you can knit! (all patterns are either free or downloadable - no books or magazines needed!)

01 // Jane Hat, from Jane Richmond (ravelry link). I love this hat. I've knit it in wool, in acrylic, and in blends. This hat is going to play a huge role in my 2012 charity knitting as well, thanks to how quick it knits up! Thanks to a combination of sizes 8 and 10 needles, a pattern that LOOKS much more difficult than it is, and the easy to memorize four-row repeat, this hat whips up in less than an evening!

02 // Britta Lalena Headwrap, by Elisa McLaughlin (ravelry link). Gorgeous. This headwrap is perfect for almost any female on your list, and can be used as a fashionable headwrap as well as a great knitted piece to keep your ears warm without matting down your hair! I've got a few friends who will be receiving this one in their stockings this year!

03 // Quick & Basic Coffee Cozy, by Andrea Piernock. We all know someone who loves coffee; why not give them a re-usable travel coffee mug adorned with this gorgeous (and super simple!) cozy?!

04 // Casey Cowl, by Robyn Devine. Yes, I'm sharing my own pattern here. In my defense, I've had four friends ask me to knit them one of these since debuting the pattern, so I'm convinced it's a great go-to cowl. I'm going to keep knitting it until folks tell me to stop!

05 // Aviatrix Hat, by Justine Turner (ravelry link). This free pattern has instructions for making this gorgeous hat in three yarn weights and SEVEN sizes, so you can be sure any babes in your life born in the last few years will be able to fit into one! I love knitting this hat for every friend who has a new babe - quickly on and off the needles, looks great in wools or acrylics, and perfect for a boy or a girl!

 06 // Quick & Easy Fingerless Mittens, by 21st Century Girl. No knitting in the round necessary for these mitts! Grab your straight needles, some worsted-weight wool, and you'll have some super warm mitts in no-time!

07 // Bandana Cowl, by Purl Soho. Grab your bulky yarn and 10 1/2 needles for this gorgeous cowl, which makes effortless even easier!

08 // Purl Knit Turban, by Sans Limites Crochet. What a chic way to keep yourself warm this winter season! Thanks to the gorgeous design, this turban will fit almost any head, and the worsted weight yarn means it should fly off your needles!

09 // Quick Long Stripe Scarf, by Alicia Graves (ravelry link). I've always loved making scarves this way. Made with a plethora of your leftover yarns, this scarf is fun and whimsical. Made using neutrals it's the perfect gift for the men on your list.

10 // Zsa Mask, by Nele Peeters. I wish I'd thought to make this hat/mask beginning three weeks ago - every single child I know would have received one! As it is, I'm planning on making them well into the new year and mailing them off to every child I've ever met - how adorable are they?! The brim folds up so you can wear this mask disguised as a regular hat and flip it down, ready for superhero duty in just seconds!

ten last-minute knitted gifts

There are just six days left to knit Christmas presents, and if you're like me your "to knit for" list has more than six people still on it. Which no, I don't want to talk about.

To help you cross a few of those folks off your list, here are six tried and true (and super fast to make!) gifts you can knit! (all patterns are either free or downloadable - no books or magazines needed!)


 01 // Jane Hat, from Jane Richmond (ravelry link). I love this hat. I've knit it in wool, in acrylic, and in blends. This hat is going to play a huge role in my 2012 charity knitting as well, thanks to how quick it knits up! Thanks to a combination of sizes 8 and 10 needles, a pattern that LOOKS much more difficult than it is, and the easy to memorize four-row repeat, this hat whips up in less than an evening!

02 // Britta Lalena Headwrap, by Elisa McLaughlin (ravelry link). Gorgeous. This headwrap is perfect for almost any female on your list, and can be used as a fashionable headwrap as well as a great knitted piece to keep your ears warm without matting down your hair! I've got a few friends who will be receiving this one in their stockings this year!

03 // Quick & Basic Coffee Cozy, by Andrea Piernock. We all know someone who loves coffee; why not give them a re-usable travel coffee mug adorned with this gorgeous (and super simple!) cozy?!

04 // Casey Cowl, by Robyn Devine. Yes, I'm sharing my own pattern here. In my defense, I've had four friends ask me to knit them one of these since debuting the pattern, so I'm convinced it's a great go-to cowl. I'm going to keep knitting it until folks tell me to stop!

05 // Aviatrix Hat, by Justine Turner (ravelry link). This free pattern has instructions for making this gorgeous hat in three yarn weights and SEVEN sizes, so you can be sure any babes in your life born in the last few years will be able to fit into one! I love knitting this hat for every friend who has a new babe - quickly on and off the needles, looks great in wools or acrylics, and perfect for a boy or a girl!

06 // Quick & Easy Fingerless Mittens, by 21st Century Girl. No knitting in the round necessary for these mitts! Grab your straight needles, some worsted-weight wool, and you'll have some super warm mitts in no-time!

07 // Bandana Cowl, by Purl Soho. Grab your bulky yarn and 10 1/2 needles for this gorgeous cowl, which makes effortless even easier!

08 // Purl Knit Turban, by Sans Limites Crochet. What a chic way to keep yourself warm this winter season! Thanks to the gorgeous design, this turban will fit almost any head, and the worsted weight yarn means it should fly off your needles!

09 // Quick Long Stripe Scarf, by Alicia Graves (ravelry link). I've always loved making scarves this way. Made with a plethora of your leftover yarns, this scarf is fun and whimsical. Made using neutrals it's the perfect gift for the men on your list.

10 // Zsa Mask, by Nele Peeters. I wish I'd thought to make this hat/mask beginning three weeks ago - every single child I know would have received one! As it is, I'm planning on making them well into the new year and mailing them off to every child I've ever met - how adorable are they?! The brim folds up so you can wear this mask disguised as a regular hat and flip it down, ready for superhero duty in just seconds!

five in 2012

Dec 17, 2011
 {love me some Amy!}

I'm over at New Nostalgia today, sharing five things I'm letting go of in 2012! Head on over to check out what they are ...

And two more that I didn't mention? Twitter and sponsored ads - but more on that in 2012!

seven on a friday

Dec 16, 2011

01 // Play dates are the best! Especially with an almost two-year-old who reminds me just how fleeting my time with a little baby are!

02 // Hoping there will be time this weekend to go look at Christmas lights. First, we must figure out where the best neighborhood to do so is!

03 // Since his foray into soy formula, Owen's decided that his 0-3 month pants are all too small. Can't wait to see what happens when he starts eating cereal and mashed fruits!

04 // Speaking of introducing foods, Owen's four-month check-up is next week, so we're thinking they'll give us the go-ahead then.

05 // There is one week until all presents must be knit up, under the tree, and ready to give. EIGHT DAYS. I am not ready for this. I still have all the things to knit!

06 // Poppleton is pretending to help me out with said holiday knitting in the above photo, but we all know her real intention is to attack the yarn and sweet-tasting needles as soon as I turn my back. Knitting in our home is an exercise in constant vigilence!

07 // Thanks to our "all-Christmas, all-the-time" radio station, I've been drowning in auditory holiday cheer since the day after Thanksgiving. I just today realized I didn't make any new Christmas music purchases because of it! Any suggestions?

Have a great weekend!

pants-off dance-off

Dec 15, 2011










every time we change his clothes, we have a pants-off dance-off. giggles and wiggles, kicks and coos. so much fun!

{print from Sycamore Street Press}

Spotlight On: Sara of Sans Limites Crochet

Dec 14, 2011

I'm super excited today to introduce you to Sara and her amazing shop Sans Limites Crochet

Sara sent out an e-mail recently to folks who have purchased patterns and fin ished items from her, letting us all know about an AMAZING opportunity she's been given - she's going to intern with Krochet Kids in 2012! To celebrate, and to help pay her bills while she's working with Krochet Kids, she's offering up some super amazing sales and deals in her shop!

To celebrate her, I wanted to share with you all a bit of her e-mail, and a short interview she granted me last week!

I started to crochet when I was nine, and for all who know me, you will agree I'm a bit obsessed. I started Sans Limites Crochet in 2007 and it has grown slowly but surely through the years in between midterms, modern dance rehearsals, and journeys around the world. I recently applied for an internship with a company called Krochet Kids International... and I got it! This internship is absolutely one hundred per cent a dream come true, and I can barely contain my excitement!

Krochet Kids is a company that sells handmade crochet and knit hats and accessories. These items are made by women living in poverty - primarily in Northern Uganda and Peru. Working for Krochet Kids gives these women a guaranteed income and as part of the company they are given business classes so they can use that money in a way that will someday lift their family up out of the grips of poverty and help their own community. Buy a hat, change a life. On their website you can learn about the women that have made your hat and track the progress of them and their family. You can learn more about the Krochet Kids mission on their website, www.krochetkids.org.

In the summer of 2010 I was lucky enough to be able to spend a month in Uganda, and it changed my life. The people of Uganda have lived through a terrible civil war where entire towns have been attacked by the Lord's Resistance Army. Uganda is a country that has lived through child soldiers, rape, mutilation, murder, war, poverty, AIDS, a lack of healthcare, a lack of education, even a lack of food and water.
During my time there I visited orphanages where hundreds of children are growing up without parents, in poor health, and overcoming unspeakable hardships. Every time I stress about the worries in my life, I think back to the people I met there and I am endlessly inspired. My time in Uganda was the most inspiring of my life, and I can't wait to contribute to a company working to make a difference there!
MK: How did you first hear about Krochet Kids?

I saw their commercial while I was staying up stitching with the TV on one night.  Anything that mentions Uganda grabs my attention, because I've been there, and then they started talking about crochet at the same time - it was too good to be true!  So I grabbed my laptop and checked out their site!

MK: How did you get hooked up with an internship for them? How long is the internship?

They had information on their internships online.  I was especially excited about the design internship position because there's nothing I love more than coming up with new knit and crochet designs!  I applied online, and then sent them some of the hats I've made.  I got a call from them on my birthday and they told me I got it  - best birthday present EVER.

MK: What will your internship entail, and what do you hope to do afterwards?

As part of the internship  I get to spend my days working under the design team and Adam Thomson tracking knit and crochet trends, crocheting/knitting/and sewing possible future products to be made by the ladies in Uganda, helping with quality control needs in the warehouse, and other general intern duties like attending any Krochet Kids events in the area and helping with packaging and shipping and all the other bits of work that need to get done.  I'm excited!

+  +  +  +  +

Because the internship is unpaid, Sara is raising funds through her shop - and let me tell you, she's got some great pieces and patterns for sale!


Knitters, check out these patterns like these four - perfect for holiday presents!


Crocheters, patterns like these will fly off your hooks!

And when you purchase something from her shop and use the coupon code INTERN you get an extra 10% off!

Guest Post: Alternative Wrapping from Nicole

Dec 13, 2011

Every year, on December 26th, there is a tradition with my family. No, it's not shopping. Or eating some special meal. We take out the Christmas trash. Bows, ribbon, wrapping paper, gift bags, boxes, more wrapping paper, so, so much wrapping paper. There are many ways to reduce your environmental impact this time of year without going over budget. Most of these tips can be used year-round.

Make the wrapping part of the gift. Bath towels, dish cloths, baby blankets and many more fabric items like these can be wrapped around the gift as if they were regular paper. Make a game out of it, and wrap a small gift in the smallest towel, and then the next size up, and so on until they are all used up. This always gets some laughs.

Fabric sacks. I remember way back in Girl Guides making gift bags for the holidays. That was about 10 years ago, around the same time I learned how to knit. We followed steps very close to these from Sew Many Ways. If you're feeling adventurous, you could also knit or crochet some bags.

Use a basket. My grandmother is great for this one. Most years, my dads gift is a big basket filled with some of his favourite snacks. Everything from crackers to pickles to kippered snacks, it's all piled up into a wicker basket, which will likely be used by my mom to package another gift in the future. If you go this route, choose a nice, deep basket, so that you won't need to use plastic wrapping to keep everything in.

Use the news. This is a classic. The colour comic pages from the weekend paper being used by the stereotypical broke college student. There is no need to be broke to do this! You can use any section of the paper to wrap the gifts. For example, the sports section would be great for the hockey nut in your family.

Art works! Do you have a young Picasso or Pollock in your home? Is your fridge covered in their works form the past six months? Take some of the older art down and use that as wrapping paper. Grandma and Grandpa are sure to appreciate something like that.

Go naked. The gift that is. For some people, unwrapping the gift is more tedious than anything. Satisfy these folks with an unwrapped gift. If you want to dress it up a little, make your own gift bows with this tutorial from How About Orange.

This holiday season, keep these ideas in mind to lessen your impact on the planet. Don't forget to reuse these ideas next year!



Nicole blogs at Knit Nicole, Knit! and runs a sweet Etsy Shop!

light at the end of the tunnel

Dec 12, 2011
After almost two full weeks of having a super fussy and crabby Owen, we were at the end of our collective rope. Not sleeping more than 2 hours at a time, eating no more than an ounce or two at a time, Owen seemed extremely fussy and uncomfortable, but without a temp or any signs of sickness.

On Saturday we dropped him off at Grandma Mimi's house for his first overnight stay - we were heading out on the town to celebrate Zach's birthday and took the opportunity to get some sleep as well.

When we picked him up, grandma had figured out the problem - his formula. One bottle of soy-based formula and less than 24 hours later, and Owen is ...

well, take a look yourselves!







He was having trouble digesting the regular formula he was on, and apparently sometimes it takes some time for that to manifest. Now that he's bigger and eating more formula at a shot, his tummy was beginning to protest.

With is first soy-based bottle he at 5 ounces and then slept for three hours. With his next, he ate 6 ounces and slept for seven hours. And then woke up and smiled and giggled and played and wiggled, our old baby back and ready to rock.

And both Zach and I got decent sleep last night, which was another huge blessing, and all three of us are hopeful that this little switch (so simple!) will continue to make a huge difference!
 
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