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Thursday, January 31, 2008
For Celeste

Let me tell you about my friend Celeste. She is my oldest friend and no matter how far we live from each other or how different our lives have become, I find my love for her undiminished.

Celeste is funny. She laughs all the time. She never plays it safe. She always takes the road that leads to the greatest challenge and is truest to her heart. And she takes it with confidence. She is beautiful.

My dear beautiful friend is feeling sick these days and I'm knitting something special for her. As I knit, I find myself reflecting on all our years of friendship and I am appreciating her more than ever.

A little music dedication to Celeste on this lousy week:

My kids are addicted to watching this video on youtube (and so am I) and since Celeste is always on my mind these days, she and Feist have become fused in my thoughts.

They are both bold, sexy
, and fabulous.

Feel better soon, friend.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008
cozy neck = fun in a cold city all. by. my. self.

Way back after the Christmas crazies, while I was still sitting in a sea of crumpled wrapping paper, and while the snow fell outside, I began knitting a little something for myself.

pattern: Cherry Garcia Neck Warmer
source: Adrian Bazilia of Hello Yarn
yarn: Mirasol Yarn Sulka colorway 206 and Tahki Bunny in a yellow/green
needles: US 10.5

The sulka yarn is luxurious and soft. My budget allowed for only one skein, and so the Bunny stripe was necessary to make it complete. It's big for my little neck and it hangs sort of (unappealingly) like a cowl, but it's warm and cozy so it shall remain just as is.

I'm happy to say that I will be having an excuse to wear said neck warmer in the very near future in a place much colder than here. My dad heads every year to the fabulous Philidelphia Buyers Market of American Craft and every year he comes back saying how much he thinks I would love it. This year he invited me to join him.

oh golly.

The show itself is sure to be gorgeous and inspiring. I picture myself floating from booth to booth cooing and giggling.
On top of that, I'll find myself alone in a new city and free to explore in a way which is very unlike my typical life.

If lurkers from Philadelphia find themselves reading this, I would be so thrilled (and grateful) to hear from you about good, good things in your fine town. Please tell me which neighborhoods a crafty girl would enjoy most. Tell me about: delightful yarn shops, terrific restaurants (sushi, Vietnamese, Italian...), charming coffee shops to sit in leisurely, and good places to buy treasures for my kiddos.

Thank you, thank you in advance for anything you can share.

Cold weather travel planning and our very own high desert cold weather, has me wishing for a new hat. The best hat I've ever knit for myself got accidentally felted years ago. I went searching for something quick on Ravelry and I found An Unoriginal Hat by the Yarn Harlot.

The big boy lingered near me the whole time I knitted it and showed visible disappointment when I told him it was not for him.

"Hmmm, do you think you'll have any extra yarn leftover?" and then: "No? Well, I really like that color. Red is my favorite." and then a sigh.

Boy did he luck out when I finished it and realized it was too small.

pattern: An Unoriginal Hat by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
source: The Yarn Harlot
yarn: Yarn Botanika, colorway: red chilies - handspun, hand-dyed
needles: size 10.5 ( I should have used 11)

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Saturday, January 19, 2008
gifts for little girls we love


My little friend Sydney turned five years old today. Sydney is bold, beautiful, full of ideas and enthusiasm and she loves to offer my (very shy and unwilling) son ample hugs and kisses.

Sydney LOVES the color red (which illustrates her very good taste). To help her celebrate I made her this little handbag. The fabric for the body and lining came from the beautiful little fabric store in Taos. Someday, I'll use more of it to make napkins. The straps were made from some gorgeous golden yellow fabric that I bought in Paris years ago.


My big boy is in love with a little girl named Edie. Today he drew a picture of himself with a thought bubble above the drawing of his head and inside the thought bubble was Edie.

"See mommy, I'm thinking about Edie."

For Christmas, he wanted to make her gift himself. We began a friendship bracelet, but it quickly became clear that I would be driven insane by all the mind-numbing knots and hopelessly tangled embroidery floss. I didn't want his memory of the project to be of me losing my mind and destroying the tangled, beloved friendship bracelet in a fit of rage.

Instead we turned to the trusty potholder loom, for which he showed a particular affinity when he was four. He wanted to make potholders for everyone he knew. I remembered seeing a great feature in a Martha Stewart magazine years ago, in which she used her potholder loom with yarn to make sweet little squarish objects. We watched a great tutorial video by Noreen Crone-Findlay, here to learn how to warp our loom and weave. Don't you love the internet?

And the boy was off! It does my heart so much good to see him finding satisfaction in things he can do with his hands. I helped with
some of the stitching around the little purse, but it was entirely woven by him and he was very proud. The lovely yarn he chose from my stash, was some of Scout's superwash worsted in the color Orchids.

Wonderful things can happen when a boy loves a girl.

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Friday, January 11, 2008
Monsters and Good Guys

I had a conversation with my 2 year old today. It went like this:

him: Mommy, I see a monster!
me: where?

him: (eyes wide) Over there! I seeeee it!

me: I don't think we have any monsters here. I think we are safe in our house.

(Long pause, Then a tentative search around the living room drapes.)

him: Do you know what, mommy?

me: what?

him: I looked around and there are no monsters, and no parakeets, and no Tigers.

me: That's a relief.

him: yes.
I think that a good guy got them.

The Lightning Bolt Sweater (with racing stripes)

Pattern: Knitting Pure & Simple Children's Tunic
Size: Age 6-8
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Cranberry, Avocado, and Blue Ink
Also, wool felt from various sources for appliquéd stripes and lightning bolt.
Needles: US size 7 and 9
Modifications: I added a kangaroo pocket because I love kangaroo pockets (and so does the big boy). I edged it in seed stitch instead of garter and made the hood entirely seed stitch to give it more body. I love the way the hood turned out.

This sweater was SO quick to knit. It languished for almost 2 months in a knitting bag while I avoided adding the lightning bolt. I fretted over the perfect shape, color and placement and engaged all my knitting friends in endless analysis on the subject.

Finally, one night, I (rather frantically) grabbed the scissors and hacked out the perfect bolt and sewed it on. I couldn't let myself think about it anymore.

I sewed the stripes and lightning bolt onto the sweater with a very small, sharp needle and teeny, tiny stitches. Ooooh, I love the details! I was so calm and happy as I made those little stitches.

One thing I don't care for: The Wool of the Andes yarn is super pilly. After only two wearings, the sleeves and sides are not looking so hot and I had envisioned a really solid, wears-like-iron sweater. Ah well, I guess that's what you get for 1.99/ball. Also, it probably doesn't help that I knit it on size 9 needles. Next time I'll knit it with Peace Fleece or some really nice, scratchy tweed.

The other sweater is nearly finished. Stay tuned.


Sunday, January 06, 2008
some cute

As I mentioned in my last post, this Christmas season was filled with gift-making at my house. I cannot really express how much I enjoyed this. It was satisfying in a way that shopping just isn't.

I liked doing it so much that I fear I'm losing sight of the fact that the people in my life
might not actually want handmade gifts. Perhaps there are people who secretly roll their eyes and think, "Oh lord, Molly is making things again, what is it this time? A hand-felted oven mitt?. Perfect. Just what I was hoping for."

I myself, would
love to get a hand-felted oven mitt, but for some people handmade gifts of this nature have too much in common with macramé plant hangers or Christmas wreaths made entirely of wine corks.

In any case, I figure nobody is ever going to
tell me that they hate getting handcrafted gifts (unless they get really drunk before opening gifts), so I'm free to please myself and continue making them.

This post is devoted to three crazy-adorable things I made this year.
Beware, the cute is strong.

These slippers were a Christmas surprise for my little boy, who refuses to wear socks and is always complaining that his feet are cold. I made them with gorgeous, super-thick handmade wool felt that I bought from A Child's Dream Come True.

They are lined with charcoal gray cashmere that I felted from an old sweater. I figured the shape out, and created the pattern. The ears and eyes were a last-minute inspiration and were sewn in place at 4:30 am on Christmas morning. Ouch.

Now that they are done, I wish I had just googled
felt slippers and found a pattern online. Had I done that, I might have some slippers that were cute AND actually stayed on the boy's feet.
Aw well, at least they are cute.

I plan to improve their functionality by sewing the wrists from the same gray sweater into them, thus turning them into little boots. I hope it works.

I made this little bunny for my sweet friend Skyler. It was outfitted with a little loop at the top and meant to hang from her Christmas tree, as this was Skyler's first Christmas. I also sewed alphabet beads in Skyler's name on the bunny's rear.

Skyler's bunny was inspired by a pattern of a little bear by Lynn at
Molly Chicken (You want to talk about cute. Holy freaking cow. You will find so much cute on her blog, your heart swell many times its size inside your chest. seriously.)

She is incidentally, also the genius behind the mousies and their beds which we made a few months back and have been enjoyed so much around here.

And finally, meet Gillian Bear. She is also a Christmas tree ornament and (surprise) was made for little Gillian. I used the wonderful book The Knitted Teddy Bear by Sandra Polley and the pattern for Molly, Toby, and Jake. Parts of this little bear were a bit tedious to make, especially because she is so little (about 3.5" sitting), but the results were adorable and I love that the arms and legs are movable and the sweater can be taken off.

Had it been a bear for me, I would have chosen different colors, but this particular 4 year old girl is very fond of pink and purple. My big boy chose the buttons. I think they are perfect.

Too much cute can overwhelm a person, so I'll stop there. Until next time.

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Santa Likes Me

Did any of you get a chocolate bar in your stocking with a message like this from Santa? Apparently, the big guy has noticed me.

Christmas was made far more gratifying this year than in years past because I made a larger proportion of my gifts than ever before. If I had my way, we would all give handcrafted gifts exclusively and the only things we'd purchase would be other handcrafted treasures.
I say that, but the truth is that Christmas wouldn't
really be as good without things like fancy crystal wineglasses (not handcrafted) and colorful argyle socks (also not handcrafted, though they could be).

Josh's Christmas Scarf
Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky in cream & grey heather and
doubled Tahki Donegal Tweed homespun color 890.
Needles: Size 11
Inspiration: I found a version of the Men's Rustic Scarf by Joelle Hoverson on Ravelry. It was made by Morgiane (who I think is without a blog). Mine turned out very much like her's, but the colors are slightly different. It was just so darn pretty, I had to replicate it. Thanks for the inspiration Morgiane!

My dad has been wondering when my blog will get the attention he thinks it deserves. He hasn't been complaining about my absence exactly, just grumbling politely: "So, I visited your blog today but there was nothing new...Just wondering...".

Well, nothing make me feel more appreciated than polite, grumbling inquiries. I love to log my crafty adventures here and it's nice to hear that my dear dad enjoys reading them.

There are so many things to cram into only one post so, I'll spread the goodness over the next several weeks.

Until next time - Happy New Year!

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