Saturday, December 31, 2011

Princess hats for everyone!

For my niece's third birthday I made her a matching princess hat and tutu. A year and a half later, they are still a favorite toy for her and her friends, particularly the hat. My sister-in-law recently requested a similar hat as a birthday gift for one of my niece's friends.

The first hat I made I had to experiment with ways to make it stand up without drooping over and happened upon some thick fusible interfacing in the remnant bin at my local fabric store. It was the perfect amount and worked wonderfully. I spent a bit of time figuring out just how the stuff works and how to get it to do what I wanted. Partly to cover some mistakes, and partly for decoration, I hand stitched beads all over the hat. About halfway through I was regretting that decision, but it looked really good once it was all finished.

For the second go round I got glittery fabric for added sparkle without the time consuming task of beading the entire thing. Since I already knew what I was doing, the whole thing went quite a bit faster, and turned out quite nicely!

On the left is the hat I made a couple of years ago. On the right is the newer version.

The second time making something is always a bit easier. The purple hat didn't take nearly as long and I didn't make nearly as many mistakes. The more I make the quicker I'll get. And soon there will be princess hats in my etsy shop!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Christmas has finally come and gone. Due to a horrible sore throat the week before Christmas and being a little farther behind than I thought, I was unable to finish all of my gifts on time!

My dad requested hand done artwork of his grandkids. As it turns out, portraits take a bit of time. The painting is coming along nicely, but I'm still working on it.

For my mom I made a lovely little cable knit cowl.

My niece seemed a bit confused by the hobby horse, but once she figured out what to do with it, she was excited. I'm sure I'll hear stories of her galloping around her house.
For my nephew I made a set of farm animal hand puppets... he received the horse, pig and cow on Christmas, the sheep he will get tomorrow.

Overall, I'm quite happy with how all my gifts turned out, despite the delay on some of them. I hope all your holidays were full of joy!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A football for Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I'm beginning to try selling some of my patterns on ravelry. In fitting with the holiday (and because it is the only one that is all edited and ready to sell) I have posted my pattern for the hand knit football. It has been one of my most popular sellers in my etsy shop and is super easy to make. Check out my etsy listing and ravelry pattern.

Enjoy your holiday and happy knitting!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gift number two

I rather love how my second gift turned out. I'm also happy with how quickly I was able to actually finish it. I was a bit worried when I started that it would be as tedious and time consuming as I find scarves. Usually I hate doing the same thing over and over, I get bored and lose interest. I do have to admit that it was nice when the pillow was done. Towards the end it was getting a little annoying. Believe it or not, measuring after every row doesn't make it finish faster.

I'm making such great progress on my gifts! It's not even Thanksgiving yet and I've almost got three done, and a few more started. Back to the needles...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

One gift down...

The hobby horse is almost finished! All I need now is a shortened broomstick and the horse will be ready to ride. The pattern simply said to place the head on a stick. I'm hoping that it's actually as simple as that. I plan to buy a wooden broomstick and cut it to the appropriate length for a four year old to comfortably ride.

It's always fun to watch the big, floppy pre-felted object transform into a nice tight, thick finished product.

Adding the mane took a little longer than I expected, but it was fun to see how well it worked to use a crochet hook to pull the yarn through.

I'm pretty happy with how it is turning out. I really think that my niece will love it! I have little patience for waiting to actually give the gift. As soon as it's finished I want to give it away. I never could wait for Christmas as a kid, apparently I still can't!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Beautiful supplies say, "Create with us!"

As I look around my studio, I can't help but smile at the beauty that greets me. My supplies are constantly calling out to me to use them!
Knitting needle bouquets display the tools of my trade. I have gathered an assortment of glass cups and vases which have long housed my beloved needles. Recently I added the number charms to help me find the appropriate size easily. I was thrilled with how lovely they look.

My button storage has to be one of my favorite ideas. I was sick of dumping out my giant jar of buttons and sifting through them all for one or two buttons. I now have several small canning jars. Each jar houses a different color or kind of button. Of course I have one for each color of the rainbow as well as one for multicolored, wooden, metal and special buttons. To make the whole thing even more perfect, the jars fit perfectly into a little shelf that I have had for years!

All in all, I love it when my supplies are works of art that inspire me to continue creating!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Welcome Fall

Fall is officially here. The leaves are changing and the air has a bit of a bite to it. And it has finally been cold enough for me to wear the two amazing sweaters that I finished this summer! It makes me want to start some new projects for me, but it is time to think of gift making, so those new sweaters will have to wait till at least January.
I never seem to start early enough with my holiday knitting, maybe this year will be the exception. It seems that I am always madly knitting the week before Christmas trying to finish everything in time.
I'm off to a good start. I'm almost finished with my niece's gift, and have ideas for a few others. The tricky ones to come up with are always my brothers and dad. I'll have to ask them for suggestions. No one wants to spend hours making a wonderful handmade item that the recipient doesn't want. And they can't exactly return it for a different gift!
More on gift progress later, off to knitting!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sweaters galore!

I absolutely love fall! The leaves turn surprising shades of orange and red, it's cool, but not freezing, and I get to wear cute sweaters! I recently finished two sweaters that I have been working on for quite some time. The last step for both of them was to buy buttons, which apparently is way harder than it sounds. For some reason, it was nearly impossible for me to find buttons in the right color and size that the patterns required.
After a trip to Portland and many large fabric stores, I was able to find buttons for the gray sweater. The green sweater was a little trickier, I was unaware that it was such a unique color when I picked out the yarn! Perhaps from now on, I'll pick the buttons first. Although, it may be just as difficult to find yarn that matches buttons as it is to find buttons that match yarn. Last week I finally tracked down some vintage buttons on etsy that worked perfectly. Now I just need to wait for the cold weather so that I can wear my wonderful new garments!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Happy Fourth Birthday Sophie!

Seeing as my niece is only three years old (almost four) I think it is safe to post about her birthday gift before she gets it. If she can figure out how to navigate the internet, finds this post and figures out what it says, then she has certainly earned a sneak peak at her gift. :)

This is the second bunny that I have made for her. I'm trying not to get carried away, I just keep thinking of adorable clothes that I can design for it. I think that I have settled on three outfits for the new bunny:

Pink Sundress with Flowers

This was the first outfit that I made. I'm probably still going to add some sort of accessory... maybe a straw hat.

Princess Dress with Crown

After making this dress, I found out that her party would be fairy princess themed. So, I decided to make a crown and soon will make a wand and possibly fairy wings... we'll see.

Going to School Outfit

The last outfit looks more like something she could wear to school. I made a pink cowl similar to the one the bunny is wearing for Sophie for Christmas last year and she wore it for months on end. I thought it would be fitting for the bunny to have a matching cowl. I also think the bunny probably needs some cute mary janes to complete the outfit. That may be a bit of a challenge.

Well, off to knit some more accessories!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A little bit of writing

One of my longtime creative dreams is to write and illustrate children's books. This week I've taken a bit of a departure from my knitting and etsy shop to focus more on this goal. I finished writing, editing and drawing art samples for two stories that I've been working on. And all in less than a week!
I'm a bit of a perfectionist and my first project took years for me to even consider sending it to a publisher. I have since sent it and other stories to many different publishers and like any beginning writer, I have begun my collection of rejection letters. It is an interesting business in that a rejection doesn't necessarily mean that the piece is horrid. It's all about matching the right manuscript with the right publisher at the right point in time. Overall it seems like a bit of a gamble, but it is something I enjoy so I think it is important.
I'm hoping that it's a bit easier to get stories published in magazines than it is to get books published. I just biked down to the post office to send off a story to a children's magazine. I feel pretty good about this one. Then again, I've felt good about all the others. We'll see. I do know that if you have a dream, you shouldn't give up on it. It's a bit cheesy, but it's true. And so, I will keep writing.

Here's one of my art samples who is now on her way through the mail hoping that some one will want to publish her!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Pattern making is not for wimps!

In the last year or so I've designed some of my own knitting patterns, which I quite enjoy. Mostly they have been clothes for the stuffed animals that I knit and usually I make it up as I go. I have a small problem, however, with recording these patterns for future use or for sharing with others. I have found that writing the pattern down takes a great deal more time than just making the project would. I try to write instructions down as I go, but it's rather annoying to stop knitting every couple of rows. I usually quit jotting down instructions after a while. And it is nearly impossible to tell what I did once the items are finished.
My grandfather recently requested some slippers and I decided to make up my own pattern since I couldn't find any that I liked. I started out well. I made a gauge swatch and wrote down some instructions. I even made cable charts! I have finished one slipper and I feel pretty confident that I will be able to repeat the process for the other. As usually happens, however, I got so caught up in figuring out how to actually make the slipper, that I didn't write down much of how I finished it. Perhaps with the second slipper, since I now know what I am doing, I can write down what I'm doing as I go.

The one pattern that I feel like I have been able to successfully record is the knit baseball bat that I designed as a gift for my nephew's second birthday. I just need to polish the pattern up a bit and I think other people will be able to follow it quite easily. I recently used my pattern to make a second bat and ball which I have for sale on my etsy shop.

I love making things that I design myself. There's no better way to make exactly what you had in mind. It's much better than searching through pattern books and the internet for hours only to settle for something that resembles the dream you had. Now I just need to tackle that pesky pattern writing!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Hello Summer Projects!

Well, summer is officially here! School is out and now I no longer have the excuse of not having enough time to work on my projects. It’s been less than a week and I’m proud to say that I've already completed several projects that had been in the works before break.

I love these blocks that I adapted slightly from a Debbie Bliss pattern in her Booties, Blankets and Bears book. I can't wait to try different color combos and stripe patterns. The possibilities are endless... and at the moment so is my stash of foam blocks!

I've been trying my hand at sewing lately. In theory it should be less time consuming, but at my current skill level it's taking quite a bit of time. About one in every three projects is actually sale worthy at this point. I suppose the practice is good, but it's a bit frustrating. I was recently successful at completing this stuffed bear. The dress originally had sleeves. After a long battle with the tiny fabric tubes that would be sleeves, I surrendered and went with the simpler halter version. I have to say, I'm happy with how it turned out. It ended up being a little bit retro looking which was completely unintentional.

Both of these projects are currently for sale on my etsy. I added quite a few things yesterday. My shop is looking better and better. The more I put on, the more it looks like a real store! And so begins my summer job.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A little more about me

While I love all things artistic and creative, they are not the only thing in my life. My day job is working in a Montessori classroom as an assistant. I absolutely love it! The kids have such a positive energy that is a joy to be around.

To make things even better, I often get to mix in creativity and art into the classroom. I've taught a few of the kids how to crochet. That is, I've taught them the little that I know of it at this point. Knitting is really my forte, but somehow one of the needles in each pair of knitting needles in the classroom mysteriously vanished and all that we had on hand were crochet hooks.

I gave some impromptu lessons on chain stitch and single crochet, nothing complicated. They loved it, but were never able to make much. Next year I hope to do something a little more organized with both knitting and crochet. Who knows, maybe we'll even finish a project!

My etsy shop is officially born

This year I've been getting more serious about my knitting and have been posting more things for sale in my etsy shop. I've had my etsy account for a few years now, but I haven't had a chance to work on it much. During the school year things are pretty busy and of course around Christmas time I'm feverishly trying to finish all of my gifts before Christmas Eve. This year was the first year I was actually successful! That must mean that I'm getting faster, either that or smarter.

After the holiday, I really dedicated most of my knitting time to toys and such to sell. Now I have a decent selection of different animals, toys and even some accessories. I even designed a logo banner for my page. I get giddy whenever I look at my shop page because it looks like a real business. I know it is, but it is all so new and still seems a little strange. Summer will be here soon and with the break from school, Auntie Em's Studio will be my full time job. Lots of fun things to come!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The bunny that started it all

Well, here's my first post. I thought it might be fitting to share one of my first real knitting projects. This is not including my brief stint as a knitter in fourth grade when I made a rather short scarf for my mother and a couple of doll blankets. My skills have greatly improved since then and now I have a niece and nephew to practice projects for. Here is a ballerina bunny that I knitted for my niece a couple of years ago.

The pattern for this bunny is in the Debbie Bliss book Toy Knits. I am a huge fan of Debbie Bliss's books, especially the baby ones. These are the books, after all, which taught me to knit again. They have helped me hone my knitting and purling and have taught me how to increase and decrease. Thank you Debbie Bliss!