the gifts of 2016

it seems all i heard myself say during the month of december was “i’m not ready”, and by the end of the month i found that i had mental lists constantly running through my head…all negative.  the lists of what I didn’t accomplish, didn’t bake, didn’t decorate, didn’t make time to visit with.  they were heavy lists, and i’ve decided to let them go.  i’m trading them in for lists of how many strangers i wished a happy holiday, how delicious the pizzelles were with my morning and evening coffee, how much i enjoyed each stitch in each gift i was able to make.  and of course the biggest list of all (and the one i usually ignore until november!)…the list for next year!!

to start the new year i want to share a few of the handmade gifts i managed to eek out in 2016.  the last of the gifts were just now opened due to scheduling conflicts, so i’m finally able to share them all.

first up….the turtles!  i had these planned for quite some time and actually had them completed quite early.  one for each great niece.  a big old floor pillow with personality.   hannah is a pink and purple sort of girly-girl who loves to dance, so for her…a pink and purple turtle with a bit of glittery fabric thrown in for fun.dscn7031

brooklynn is more of a whirlwind of action…karate kicks, ninja moves…that’s more her style.  so she got a blue and green turtle (there’s a bit of glitter…i couldn’t resist), with a surprise underneath.  the bottom of the turtle is girl super-hero fabric…super girl, wonder woman and batgirl.  no, the red doesn’t really “go” with the blue/green top, but does that really matter?  i hope it said to her “i get you…I know who you are”dscn7033you may not be able to tell from the pics, but these guys are BIG!  they stand about 10-12″ tall and from head to tail measure about 48-50″….perfect for propping you up for movie time.

my sister (turtle girl grandmother) has eyed my messenger bag for quite some time…offering to take it off my hands, so i made her one of her own.  it’s amy butler’s first messenger bag pattern…a very simple bag with a pocket flap.  i use mine all the time and it’s just right.  once i made it i decided she needed a heigh-ho laptop sleeve to match, so she got a set.dscn7046picking out the buttons was, of course, my favorite part of the project.  at one point i think i had every button in the studio spread out across the rug…and that’s a whole lotta buttons!

dscn7043sister also got a kerchief shawl.  i can’t sit and watch a movie without picking up a knitting project.  i made one for myself first to test the pattern and then made hers…after blocking i’ve decided that if i make this pattern again i’ll add an extra repeat since it feels a bit short when i wrap it around my neck.


last year elizabeth made recipe towels using a spoonflower tutorial here on the blog.  i knew then that i wanted to make some too.  instead of using a single recipe, i stole borrowed some the favorite family recipes…ones that even the grandsons would know…mostly handwritten (i think each side had one printed recipe) and had fabric printed at spoonflower.  i made towels for everyone, 18 in all!  every generation got a towel…even the great granddaughters and i have a few left that just need hemming in case there is ever a towel emergency.


dscn7041i saved my favorite project…or shall i say my latest sewing addiction…for last.  the rope bowl craze has been happening for a while now but i seem to show up a bit late at these sorts of things.  i’ve had the clothesline in my studio closet forever (planned on making a bag with it), but it wasn’t until days before christmas that i pulled it out and began my first bowl.  jeff walked in to find me forming the bottom and asked what i was making…actually it was more “what are you making NOW?” and i replied “a bowl”…he didn’t even comment, just walked out.  but nothing would dampen my enthusiasm for this project.  i’ve seen them made with fabric strips covering the rope, with ribbon accents, but i had yarn…plenty of yarn, so that’s what i used.  iI didn’t try to make the accents symmetrical, i just added them whenever i felt the urge to add color.  i also started out with the standard loop handle, but tried what i call “the casserole handle” on one and loved it!  some are lightweight rope, some are a bit stiffer…i’m still trying to find just the perfect clothesline because i’m hoping to make a LARGE basket for myself and need it to stand up to a bit of weight.  have you tried these?  OMG…you must!  the process is so easy and the possibilities are endless (unlike the clothesline…i ran out a couple of times and had to make emergency trips to the hardware!)

so that was 2016…i can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store.  what’s on your list for the year?





wooly goodness

it’s november…almost mid november, and aside from the occasional sweater, no wool has been required.  it’s been a lovely warm fall and it’s been glorious!  but…i know that cooler weather has to be coming soon because the urge to sit and knit has grown to strong to ignore.  and so, the ritual of sticks and string (and a glass of wine) has returned.  i knit year round, but there’s something about fall that makes that wooly goodness even more enjoyable.  could it be because it’s dark already when i return home in the evening?  or is it some inborn need to protect loves ones from the cold?  who knows, and frankly, who cares?  just hand me my needles and don’t talk while i’m counting stitches!!!

i wear hand knit socks….a LOT!!  so socks are my go-to knitting.  easy to pick up and stitch in the car…at appointments…while waiting for bread to bake.  i love me a good heel flap!!  now that’s not a sentence you hear every day.  there’s just something magical and sometimes mystical about how a sock is made.  as soon as i cast off a pair, i cast on another….no such thing as too many socks, after all, they do wear out eventually!

DSCN6504a peek inside part of my sock drawer…don’t judge!!  i wear them all!!

DSCN6506these two pair just came off the needles…and a pink pair took their place.

DSCN6500i noticed that i lean toward earthy colors and decided to go a bit “wild”.  yep, i’m weird like that.

but it’s not all socks.  i have several sweaters in my closet too…and too many scarves to make sense…and another favorite being fingerless mitts.

but this winter and next spring there are a couple of babies joining the family.  they too must be kept warm, so little bitty sweaters are on the needles too.

DSCN6498not quite finished, and definitely not yet blocked.  my absolute favorite baby sweater pattern. another evening to finish the second sleeve, a quick dunk, some drying time and a couple of dear little buttons is all this one needs and i’ll be on to the next.

any knitters out there?  socks, sweaters, scarves, mitts…what’s your favorite item to knit?  do you need wine and m&m’s to make the evening complete?

just one (or two) more rows and i’ll make dinner….i promise!