Saturday, December 31, 2011

little red mitts

sew pretty!

I started the Christmas-knitting-season facing two garbage-sized bags of yarn. We had to move all textiles out of the house due to a bed bug infestation, and I finally realized just how much yarn I have. Kind of a shock for someone who considers herself a minimalist when it comes to stash, but I had been gifted yarn, bought pretty one-skeins, and saved the ends of projects. When we finally moved it all back inside, I dumped out those two bags and started matching patterns to yarn (none of it sweater quantity), vowing to knit and gift all of it. 

red mitts

These pretty mitts were the first thing I finished, and I couldn't help but keep them. The pattern is Susie's Reading Mitts, and has since disappeared from the internet. They were knit with one and a half skeins of Blue Sky Alpaca's Melange, and I cannot say enough about this yarn. It's the perfect blend of warm, soft, and silky. 

pretty mitts

The pattern has just enough interest (hello, picot edges!) and shows off the yarn perfectly. In short - I had to keep them. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

a hat for the boy

Chris' turn-a-square hat

Chris' hat

When Chris and I started dating, I knit him the obligatory boyfriend hat, which he finally "lost" last year. As the weather turned cold, I promised to knit him a new hat, and he picked out Jared Flood's Turn A Square hat (rav link). The boy's got good taste in patterns!

Chris' hat - layin' out

I used up some left over Eco Wool from my Owls Sweater, and the light stripes are a mystery worsted weight yarn. I followed the pattern exactly, and even learned how to make jog-less stripes. Overall a stash-busting, new technique-learning success! 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas photos!

the wrapping station

It's been a whirlwind Christmas! This is what my dining room table looked like on Friday - wrapping central. I wrapped while watching White Christmas, one of my absolute favorite Christmas movies, and drinking out of my giant Twilight cup. What - you don't have a giant Twilight cup!? 

packages all wrapped up

This year I wrapped my festive packages with yarn pom poms and Oh, Strumpets! tags (they did a fun giveaway on their blog). My family spent Christmas day commenting on their "fuzzy balls!" 

end of show picture

On Friday night, I performed in my Christmas sketch show. This show gets more and more fun every time we do it, it's strange that there are only two performances left! 

Christmas Eve Eve Sushi ... and sliders

After the show, Chris and I went out for our Christmas Eve Eve tradition - sushi. We love Tank Sushi, and this year went all out, ordering rolls, calamari, and kobe beef sliders. We went home and opened up our stocking presents, and had a perfect evening. 

Now I'm home in Michigan, it's snowing, and I haven't taken a single photo! Hope your Christmas was lovely!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tutorial: Last-Minute Fabric Trees

Here's a great last-minute decoration - Fabric Christmas Trees!

Fabric Trees with stockings

I wanted to make these last Christmas, after seeing a ton of cute tutorials floating around blogland, but it took me a whole year to get my butt in gear. I finally rounded up my materials and put together a little tutorial so you could make some, too. 


1. Fabric - I used wool flannels*
2. Felt for the bottom of the trees
3. Styrofoam cones - they sell these at crafty stores (Joann's, Michaels, etc)
4. Glue gun
5. Scissors

Fabric Tree Tutorial

1. Trace the bottom of the trees onto the felt, and cut a circle about a half inch bigger than the bottom of the tree. Glue the felt circle to the bottom of the tree, cutting notches as needed so you can glue the felt to the sides of the cone.

2. Cut pieces of fabric for the sides of the tree. I used 3-5 pieces of fabric for each tree. Some can be scalloped, some can be straight. Experiment and use the sizes and shapes you like. I let the edges of my fabric fray a bit, so they look rustic. 

3. Securely wrap the fabric around the cone and glue in place with just one little dot of glue in the corner - that's all you need! 

4. Continue adding pieces of fabric, overlapping the other pieces, and gluing in place. 

Big Trees, Little Trees

5. Before you wrap the final piece of fabric, glue a matching circle of fabric to the top of the cone. Wrap and glue the final piece of fabric, overlapping the top circle. 


I made mini trees, too, using just one or two pieces of fabric. They make the perfect display with my crochet stockings!

*A funny story about this fabric - my best friend from high school gave me a huge bag of vintage flannel that belonged to his grandmother. Some are just pieces of fabric, but some are parts of pants or skirts, all from the 1960's-70's. He gave this to me about 10 years ago, and I am just now using this amazing fabric! 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered my giveaway for The Road Bag! 

the road bag winner
Carmen, you'll get an email from me soon.

Thanks for all the sweet compliments on my "teddy bear" bag. It was fun to read all the entries - I had no idea that when I asked for crazy holiday stories, I'd get such a wide variety. Funny, touching, sad, awesome stories, with enough floods, fires, and bad weather to last a lifetime!

I wanted to share a few especially lovely and amusing comments:

"Craziest thing that ever happened to me was answering the phone at my grandparents house and having it be the cops. I thought they were calling about a noise violation (we were loud) but instead someone had dialed 911 nineteen times in fifteen minutes. Turns out my little cousin was dialing 911 repeatedly because my other cousin wasn't letting him jump on the bed when it was his turn. The cops showed up to his complete surprise and gave him a very stern talking to." - Christine G.

"When I was a young girl, our tree was so dry and mom was burning a candle well needless to say the tree caught fire! We were absolutely lucky that it had only burned the tree but we had the cutest little Charlie Brown Tree because it was so close to Christmas that there were no trees left!" - Living in LaLaLand 

"The craziest thing is perhaps something that happened today. My husband and I are both unemployed, and a dear internet friend instructed me to 'be home between four and eight' and delivered about $200 worth of groceries to us that she had ordered from WA. Pretty amazing, and I am in shock every time I walk through the kitchen to see how much food there is." - Dreaming Monet

"My house is always crazy during the Holidays! I remember a time where my dad decided to deep fry the turkey in the back yard. My sisters and I were upstairs... windows open, enjoying the nice weather- when all of a sudden this giant flame shoots up and practically singes our eyebrows off! Luckily, my dad was fine- can't say the same for the turkey." - Ann C.

"A couple years ago, one of my packages did not arrive by Christmas eve, as promised. I called customer service for the merchant and spoke with a very nice fellow in India, who, when I relayed my tale, exclaimed, "So now you have no presents under the Christmas tree? JESUS CHRIST!" I often wonder if that call was monitored." - flashingreds

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Crochet Granny Square Christmas Stockings

Granny Square Stocking

This past weekend I put the finishing touches on a pair of crochet granny square Christmas stockings

I was inspired by this post from Danielle of Thompson Family-Life, and then took to Ravelry to look for a pattern. Since their search function is magic, I found this vintage pattern in no time. 

closeup on the pattern modification
the original pattern laid on my giant motif

I wanted a multi-colored stocking so I charted out an idea for six colors. After crocheting up one motif using the original pattern, I thought it was too small, and subbed a double crochet stitch for the half double stitch. I need a big stocking!

I used a size H crochet hook and two types of roving yarn - Caron's Sheep(ish) and Stitch Nation's Full O' Sheep, joined the motifs as I went (as opposed to sewing them together) and the stockings turned out perfectly.

stockings, hanging by the... tv...

The stockings are hanging on the bookcase, ready to be filled. Chris and I decided that this year, instead of buying expensive presents, we would simply fill each other's stocking with small presents, and open them together on the 23rd before we go home to Michigan. I'm excited to watch our stockings fill up over the next few days!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Giveaway Day!

Hey friends and welcome, new faces! 
Once again, I'm participating in Sew Mama, Sew's Giveaway Day! Remember this lady:

  the road bag

love the back pocket

Yup, I'll be giving away my Road Bag. It's a hand-knit, felted wool bag with a big pocket on the back and a repurposed strap. Very cute. 

To enter:

- Leave a comment with your email address - that's all!
- If you'd like, tell me about the craziest thing that has ever happened to you during the Holidays
- For extra entries, follow my blog, tweet/facebook about the giveaway, tell your grandma about it, go outside and yell it to the neighborhood (and leave a comment telling me about it)

I'll leave the giveaway open until Friday, December 16th at 5pm. I'll randomly pick the winner and notify them via email. Good luck!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

catch-up in photos

View from my desk at work Mini table at the Urban Folk Circuit
1. view from my new desk at work. 2. Mini-booth at the Urban Folk Circuit

Playmobil nativity Christmas tree is up! 
3. Playmobil Nativity 4. Christmas tree is up

My favorite mug Prince of Peace arrives on a bun
5. My favorite mug makes temping better! 6. The Prince of Peace arrives atop a bun

crochet stockings in progress Michigan snow
7. Granny square stocking 8. Snow in Michigan (none in Chicago, yet!)

Bunny on a leash! My little brother marching in the Christmas parade
9. Met a bunny on a leash at the Christmas Parade 10. My little brother marches in the Christmas parade, playing trumpet

Donny & Marie in Detroit
11. Donny & Marie in Detroit

Blogging has been a bit sparse lately. To say I've been busy is an understatement: in addition to the crafty pursuits that make one crazy around the holiday season, I've also be preparing for a holiday sketch show and I got a temp job. So at the end of the day, after working from 8am to 5pm, then rehearsing from 7 to 10pm, blogging is a hard choice to make when I have a stack of projects to be completed sitting in front of me. Etsy orders going out, craft show prepping, and the usual present-making. 

So I thought I'd catch you up with my trusty iphone (thanks, Instagram) and say "Hello" and "How are you?" and "What are you working on? Have you seen anything cool lately?"

Monday, November 28, 2011

it's beginning to look a lot like...

dining room

We spent all day yesterday decorating the apartment while listening to Christmas music - She & Him and Michael Buble. The lights are hung, tree is up and we completely rearranged the dining room to accommodate a new hutch. Is there anything more refreshing than rearranging furniture? My favorite is that little nook created by the blue chair and the accordions. 

Just a reminder, free shipping in my etsy shop until midnight with the code "FREESHIP." Happy Cyber Monday!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Give Thanks (and Free Shipping)

I mean to post this yesterday, but then someone was not cooperating with the photo shoot. Sigh.


Happy Thanksgiving! I have so much to be thankful for this year - family in Michigan, friends in Chicago, friends all over the US, and friends made online that span the globe. I'm feeling all tingly and lovey right now, and I just listed my felt ornaments on etsy, so let's do this: The coupon code "FREESHIP" will get you free shipping on everything in my etsy shop until Monday.

Hope you have a great weekend, and if you're in Chicago, come out and see me at the Urban Folk Circuit handmade market tomorrow at the Double Door from noon to 5pm. Love you guys!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

It's the day of the show, y'all!

Today I'll be at the DIY Trunk Show at the Broadway Armory from 10am to 5pm!


There will be over 100 amazing artists, so it's the perfect opportunity to start (or finish) your holiday shopping. The Broadway Armory is located at Broadway and Thorndale, right across from Moody's in Chicago. All the info you need is here

Monday, November 14, 2011

Wedding Present Idea: Instragram Tinybook

You may remember that earlier this year, I attended three weddings in two months, and captured it all using the Instagram app on my iphone. Well, I had a bit of an ulterior motive...

3 little books

I gifted each couple these tiny photobooks! Ordered from Printstagram, each little book has 24 photos from each wedding. 

Lizz & Sherm's Tinybook

The quality is pretty amazing for how small they are, and they're magnetized to stick to the fridge.

Erica & Jeff's Tinybook

A cute & unique post-wedding present! 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

FO Week: Advanced Embroidery (Class!)


I finally finished and photographed a bunch of stuff, so it's FO Week!

Advanced Embroidery Sampler

I finished this little moon-inspired embroidery as a sample for my next class with the Sweatshop of Love

Here's the description:

"Advanced Embroidery – Fill ‘er Up!: In this sequel to the Beginner Embroidery Class, you’ll learn all the techniques you need to fill in large areas with embroidery, and walk away with a bubbly sampler. You should be comfortable with straight stitches and french knots. Monday December 12th from 7-9pm. $25, additional $6 for materials" 

Click here to sign up! 

Close up! Looks like the moon

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

FO Week: Habu Kusha Kusha Scarf


I finally finished and photographed a bunch of stuff, so it's FO Week!

habu scarf

The Habu Kusha Kusha Scarf*. 300+ rows of stockinette. Tiny needles. One super boring, yet whimsically airy scarf. 

CU habu scarf

I get it - I felt really zen while knitting it - but I don't know if I'll wear it. It's kinda like - there is no purpose in it other then to meditate while knitting it. That, and it was something different for me. 


But it did bring me to the macaron truck, so it's not all bad. 

*I first typed "Kesha Kesha Scarf," and then thought to myself "No, that can't be correct!" 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

FO Week: Little Cabled Belt for Aidez (with pattern!)


I finally finished and photographed a bunch of stuff, so it's FO Week!

aidez with belt

Ok, I know what you're thinking: C'mon, Katie, you finished your Aidez weeks ago. That does not count. 

But look closer! 

aidez close up

Yup, the belt. I knit up this matching belt to keep the darn thing closed

aidez belt

Would you like to knit one for your Aidez, too? Here's the recipe:

Little Cabled Belt for Aidez

CO 14 stitches

Row 1:  k1, p1, k1, p2, k4, p2, k1, p1, k1
Row 2:  p1, k1, p1, k2, p4, k2, p1, k1, p1
Row 3:  k1, p1, k1, p2, Ear of Corn Pattern (RT2, LT2), p2, k1, p1, k1

Repeat rows 2 and 3 until belt measures about 65 inches, or desired length, ending on wrong side (row 2). Bind off.