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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Pattern: Snowflake Hot Water Bottle Cozy

Who would have thought that I would use my just recently released Snowflake Hot Water Bottle Cozy myself in such a short time?!

But with single digit and teen temperatures over night and with my hubby out of town, I have nowhere to warm my icicle feet! And cold feet sure keep the sleep from coming and that is not a good thing if you have your mind going at a hundred miles an hour anyway...

I've found that a cup of hot chamomile tea with a teaspoon of raw, unfiltered honey nicely warms up my body from the inside, the chamomile aroma calms down my soul and the warm snowflake clad bottle by the feet chases away my cold feet... ah, bliss and I am off dreaming...

What are you doing to fall asleep when your mind is still busy?

BTW, the snowflake cozy fits a standard 8" x 10" hot water bottle and sports the snowflake on both sides. It has a cute picot bind-off and you can either use a 20" long ribbon or crochet a foundation chain for the tie.

I've used Lion Brand's Cotton Ease #113 Cherry for this cozy and it is really soft against your skin. I was pleasantly surprised and you can machine wash it too.

The pattern has written out instructions to knit it flat or in the round as well as instructions to work it off a chart flat or in the round. It knits up really quickly and uses less than one skein of yarn! Love it. :)

Well, it is getting late and my cup of chamomile tea is calling my name. Have a wonderful night of sleep with nice warm feet.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Miracle Frost Flower Wrap

I've just completed a wonderful Frost Flower Wrap as a Christmas gift for my mom!

Frost Flower Wrap: 24" x 66", blocked, in timiQuipa 100% baby alpaca, color: rust
I am so excited about it not only because it turned out beautifully but also that I found the time to do some "leisure" knitting. Big pat on my shoulder! :)

For the last couple of weeks I have been so busy with my job, kids, attending middle school open houses with my oldest son, lots of knitting submission deadlines, tech editing, swatching, pattern & article writing plus all the holiday busyness that this shawl truly represents a little miracle.

I must have more than 24 hours in my day looking at that long list, haha! Seriously, there was no way I should have had the time to knit this generously sized, 24" x 66", warp. But here it is...

I hit on a little secret for this success and it is actually pretty simple:
Knit every day a little bit and you will be surprised by how much can be accomplished - and how quickly too!
That's exactly how this warp came to be. I made a point of knitting a couple of rows or more every day. Which also meant that this project traveled with me to wherever I went because you never know when an opportunity for a couple of minutes of knitting will present itself. You will be surprised by how much time we spend waiting for something every day. And now I filled it with some enjoyable knitting! :)

I knit during my kids' soccer practices, while waiting in the car for them to get out of school, during car trips for running errands where I was the passenger, during visits with friends, during an oil change, during short work breaks and before going to bed instead of reading a book. The minutes and rows will add up quickly, I am telling you.

I did make one time concession though: It's not my own pattern but one that I happened to have bumped into a while back on Ravelry when I was doing some research for some other design ideas.

I did make it a bit wider than the original pattern called for and adjusted the length of the Frost Flower lace edging accordingly so that the proportions looked right. For a few more details visit my Ravelry project page.

The yarn I chose for this project was purchased online at DBNY (Discontinued Brand Name Yarns). It is a super soft, 100% baby alpaca, sport weight yarn by timiQuipa. And the color "Rust" is so deep and rich - perfect for the grayer time of the year.

Purchased online at DBNY

Big "Thank You" to the folks at DBNY to take the extra time and effort to match dye lots when I decided to make a wrap instead of a scarf and ordered more of this yarn a couple of weeks after my initial first order. And I have still 2 skeins left over for perhaps some fingerless mittens?

Post office, here I come! Ready to stand in line... now, where is that other knitting project I still need to finish...?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

1st Annual Mile High Knitting Guild Xmas Potluck

Meets every 3rd Wed of the month,
9:30-11:30 am and 6:30-8:30 pm
in the seating area of the King Soopers
at 120th Ave & Sheridan Blvd, Broomfield, CO

When I got up this Sunday morning I was so happy to be greeted by sunshine instead of the forecast possible snow because today we were going to have our 1st Annual Mile High Knitting Guild Xmas potluck at one of our member's home. And not only that but it was also the first time that the morning and evening members of the guild would mix and mingle!

For me it was a 13 mile drive along country roads that wouldn't have been much fun to drive with snow on the road but with sunshine and a big, clear, blue sky it was a nice little trip. Plus, I had a vegetable chilli steaming in my crock pot on my front seat that was calling my name...

People in the neighborhood must have been thinking, what the heck was suddenly happening, with cars arriving from all directions at the same time, parking, carrying bulging bags, pots and spinning wheels into that one corner house, haha!

Andrea's house smelled of Christmas goodies and was all decorated in Holiday colors. What a wonderful welcome! Thank you Andrea for opening your doors to us! 

After a plentiful and tasty potluck lunch (note to self: gotta get some of the recipes) with lots of chit chat and getting to know each other we couldn't hold back any longer and were ready to settle in with our knitting, crocheting and spinning.


The sofa in the living room was the perfect sitting area with the light coming from behind over our shoulders to shine right onto our stitches.

It was a lot of fun to see all the different kinds of projects on everyone's needles from baby clothes to shawls and socks. Hm, looking at the types of projects everyone was busy with, can you tell that our Christmas knitting was in full swing?

The other thing I really enjoyed seeing was the variety of techniques used, from knitting on double-pointed needles, on circulars and the magic loop.

new Navajo plying fan
But then, the highlight of our get-together must have been the hands-on session for Navajo Plying by Chrystal. Thank you Chrystal, you did a wonderful job!

It's one thing to watch YouTube videos to learn a technique but quite something else to have a live person right next to you to show and correct you as you have a go at it.

Our spinners caught on pretty quickly under the expert guidance of Chrystal who also had a wealth of tips and tricks to pass along to deal with diverse issues that were cropping up. And after an initial excited chatter things started to calm down until you could only hear the rhythmic purring of the spinning wheels and the clicking of the knitting needles. Ah, fiber bliss at its best. :)

We all had a wonderful time knitting and spinning and splurging on some incredible desserts. Good thing that this will be a once a year occurrence because else I will have to climb a couple of mountains to work off those calories...

Thank you all for a wonderful first year of the Mile High Knitting Guild and I am looking forward to another year of expanding our knitting horizons and new friendships.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sea Life in the Sky

Now look at what I saw forming in the sky while picking up my kids from school yesterday! Isn't that fantastic?
A softshell turtle with its pointy snout
A cuttlefish hunting the other animals in the sky
Can you hear the movie theme song of "Jaws" playing?
Together with a weather system on its way and super gusty Chinook winds a fun nature display was unfolding in a very speedy manner right above our heads.

In a period of about 15 minutes we watched about a dozen animals form and disappear. It even turned into a little competition of "who spotted what first" followed by tons of discussions about if that really was it. But then the shapes changed so fast that you couldn't really dwell on it and just had to move on.

That was totally exhilarating, creative brainstorming at its best!

Unfortunately, I was able to take pictures of only three of the animals as I had to pay attention to the traffic and couldn't pull over quickly enough to get snapshots...

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Beartooth Wrap Finally Out!

Whoo-hoo, the Beartooth Wrap pattern is finally out and available for purchase!

The wrap was inspired by the rows and rows of mountain ranges forming the Rocky Mountains
It seems like I nearly got lost on the many switchbacks of the ~68 mile (~110 km) long Beartooth Highway (U.S. 212), a National Scenic Byway and All-American Road, that traverses the Beartooth Mountain range along the Montana and Wyoming state border to meet up with the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, which forms the northeast gateway to the Yellowstone National Park... or perhaps the thinner air atop the Beartooth Pass (10,947 ft/3'337 m) slowed me down... :)

Approaching Beartooth Pass (photo: Phil Armitage)
But, finally the wrap has been finished, the pattern written, photos shot and all has been put together as a pattern.

It's not like I've forgotten this wrap. I've actually been enjoying its warmth during our wonderful Fall weather here in Colorado that consists of nearly constant sunny weather, blue skies and an occasional surprise winter weather with short-lived snow in the foothills. It has been unseasonably warm so far (lots of warm Chinook winds blowing) and we are enjoying day temperatures that allow you to go outside in jeans and a light sweater (~60F/16C) at the end of November! I wonder if we will have white Christmas this year...?

Since I've been using my own wrap (I like designing things that I like to wear or be seen in), I can say that it has just the right warmth and feels nice an light. With mohair you always have to be careful because it can be very warm. So I came up with a fun zigzag design that not only uses a smart distribution of "mohair warmth" but it also allows the mohair to become the focal point by highlighting its contrasting airy texture to the surrounding solid wool stripes.

I also love the tactile nature of this wrap catching myself "petting" the mohair repeatedly... :)

The funny thing is that the two yarns I've used for this wrap have been lingering in my stash for a couple of years and have been purchased independently from each other! And I only made the connection after re-organizing my stash a bit and them accidentally ending up close to each other. That's when it hit me that they were a great color match. Yes, I was able to actually use yarn from my stash!

But as so often with mohair, the wonderful brushed mohair by Plymouth Yarn called Outback Mohair has been discontinued since I bought it so that I went on a little substitute yarn hunt. I was looking for a brushed mohair and not the lacy type.

The brushed mohair on the right is what you want, NOT the lace type on the left.
As my first stop, I visited my own website, LocalFibers.com, to see if I could find some US mohair that could fit the bill. And yes, indeed, there is a company called Mountain Colors Yarns that produces a brushed mohair called "Mohair"available in just gorgeous colors. You can choose from hand-painted colorways and solitary colors so that you should have no problems matching it up with your wool yarn for this wrap.

After a quick email exchange with Mountain Colors I received a small Mohair yarn sample in the mail to double check if it would work as a substitute  - and it's a perfect replacement for the Outback Mohair by Plymouth Yarn. Yippee!

BTW, their other yarns are a real find too and the colors are just amazing...

And on top of this great yarn find, it turns out that the Mountain Colors company is located in the state of Montana which happens to be the home of the Beartooth Mountain range that I chose to name my wrap for! Can it get any better? This really came together so smoothly that you know it just had to be this way, right?

The other neat thing about this pattern is that it is a quick and easy introductory project to the Intarsia color knitting technique. Actually, I think you will be more occupied staying on top of your seed stitch border pattern than worrying about managing your few balls of yarn. And since they are generous sweeping color sections, you will have a minimal number of yarn tails to weave in at the end. Love it! :)

To make the pattern more knitter friendly, the pattern instructions come in written out format as well as a charted design. Pick the method that works for you best and let me see your great mohair/wool wraps.

I will head out now and enjoy the mild late Fall days with my wrap as a companion and dream up some more nature inspired designs...

Happy Knitting, Daniela

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Charity: Cabled Kid Caps

Oh, boy, how did I enjoy to finally being able to join the monthly Community Knitting group organized by Roxanna at Shuttles, Spindles and Skeins in Boulder, CO. Fall soccer was DONE! No more interference with my social knitting events. :D

It always feels so good to do some charity knitting and chit-chatting with like-minded fellow knitters. And since it had been quite a few months since my last visit, I had a lot of catching up to do.

This month's cap project was going to be part of Xmas bundles (cap, cowl, mittens, vest) that were handed out by a local family homeless shelter for Christmas.

The original pattern by Roxanna had short, same-sized cables for the whole cape length but I changed it to alternating between shorter and longer cables. I was not quite in the mood for that many cable crossings. :)

And since I still had quite a bit of red yarn left over, I dug in my stash a bit and found a white mystery yarn to complement the red yarn and knit a second cap.

This was my first time to knit with Patons Canadiana Solids and I was pleasantly surprised by the soft hand this 100% acrylic yarn had. This was not only nice to knit with but also soft against the skin. Wow!

But I would say that this is a thick worsted, nearly aran weight yarn. I'll have to remember this yarn for projects that need non-wool, machine-washable yarn...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pattern: Semblance Cap

This pattern is the result of me trying to come up with a multi-color design that can easily be personalized for a quick knit gift. :)

Cap knit once in school colors and once in favorite sports team colors
It uses 3 colors and a simple slip stitch pattern so that you actually work in only one color per round at any given time. :)

The cap is worked in the round from the bottom up and fits children (8+) to adults with a head circumference of 20-23" (~51-58 cm). The instructions are written out or you can work off a chart. You can find more pattern details by following this link to the Ravelry pattern page.

My oldest son chose his school colors for his cap and my youngest son picked his favorite sports team's colors (the Rockies, our local professional baseball team).

The caps were definitely a success as I now have a request from the boys for matching mittens and a cowl... but then feel free to use more girly colors for a quick gift for the women in your life...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Book: Seamless Crochet

I am an avid reader and always LOVE to learn new ways of doing things.

"Seamless Crochet" by Kristin Omdahl
This book, "Seamless Crochet" by Kristin Omdahl, is definitely an interesting one to check out. Besides a wonderful collection of really pretty crochet projects that make your to-do list grow quickly, it introduces you to a fascinating continuous crochet technique that leaves you with only 2 ends to weave in: the beginning and end tail!

Isn't that fantastic? Not having to spend quite a bit of time weaving in all those ends from the many motifs that make up a project? I am definitely all for it. :)

Now, I love charts and diagrams as they give me a visual image of what my work is supposed to look like so that this was a book after my heart. Every project comes with written out instructions but also has wonderful crochet diagrams that help you visualize the path your crocheting will take to connect the motifs in one continuous piece of work.

I picked one of the small projects, the Flower Trivets, to give this technique a spin. After studying the chart for a bit and getting a hang of the logic used to create the continuous path, it was easy peasy! After about 2-3 hours of crocheting, I had a wonderfully useful and pretty little trivet (7.5" x 7.5"). Make sure to choose a yarn without any acrylic in it as the hot pot will melt that fiber...

Flower Trivets, with "I Love This Cotton!" from Hobby Lobby

After getting used to working only partial motifs that are then completed on "the way back" you will quickly learn to appreciate this new technique. And the book even comes with an instructional DVD and tips for how to convert any motif-based design into a continuous design.

What a wonderful technique book with lots of inspirational designs. I will definitely try to incorporate this technique in an upcoming design...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pattern: Dolman Borealis

Did you notice that the sun is going down earlier and that the temperature drops rather quickly once the sun disappears? The mornings are nippy and even during the day you need something small to cover up a bit?

Photo by: Shane Baskin/Blackbox Studios
My latest pattern "Dolman Borealis" is just in time for those Fall days. The design for this cute little cropped Dolman cardigan takes full advantage of self-striping yarns.

Universal Yarn's Classic Shades yarn with the matching Classic Shade Solids are a perfect example of how self-striping yarns can be shown off, without the sometimes dreaded horizontal lines. By working the cardigan sideways from cuff to cuff, the stripes are turned on their side to create a wonderful array of vertical stripes that reminded me strongly of the Aurora Borealis in the Northern skies. Hence the name for the pattern

Classic Shades has wonderful "painterly" color changes
Classic Shades has really pretty, long and short subtle color changes that made it exciting to watch how the stripes were developing. I've used color #724 "Campfire" for this cardigan but this yarn comes in many, many fascinating color combinations that make the choice quite difficult. :)

And Universal Yarns has now matching Classic Shades Solids to coordinate the ribbing with your self-striping color choice. Pretty cool!

Alright, back to the pattern. The cardigan is worked in one piece from cuff to cuff which makes it a quick knit. The neckband and buttonbands are worked from the center back neck downwards and then joined with picked up stitches for the bottom ribbing. This further supports the fresh and slimming vertical lines with vertical ribbing down the front and around your waist.

The pattern is sized for 6 (!) sizes and comes with detailed schematics and an Appendix for special techniques used in this pattern. They are: a One-Row Buttonhole, the Knitted Cast-On (for "growing your sleeve to the full body length), the Cable Cast-on (for the button hole) and the Provisional Crochet Cast-On (for the neckband). You are always welcome to replace them with your own favorite technique.

If you are interested in this pattern, you can purchase it for $4.50 through Ravelry (you don't need to be a member) by clicking on .

Happy Knitting and have a wonderful Fall season!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Visited Wonderful Colorado Springs Knitting Group

After cheering on my younger son in an exciting morning soccer game in Longmont, it was time to zoom down to Colorado Springs to meet up with a knitting group I was invited to by Yvonne.

I've met Yvonne earlier this year at the Estes Park Wool Market where she was a student in both of my workshops: "Knitting with Beads" and "Discovering the Intrasia Color Change as a Design Element". We had a great time and soon discovered that we could chitchat in German as well (I grew up outside of Zurich,Switzerland, where you speak German). By the end of the workshops she threw out the idea of me coming to visit her knitting group, luring me with visions of lots of good food, lively conversations and of course, lots of knitting. And it seems to have worked, haha!

So there I was, being dropped off by my family at our hostess' house with three bags of stuff to work on and to show. You might wonder why so much? Well, I was between projects with lots of swatching going on so that I couldn't make up my mind about what I should be working on next. Ah, those decisions! There are the things you should be working on, the ones you want to be working on and the ones you are actually working on...

It was funny to hear when one of the ladies said: "Ah, now I don't feel so bad anymore about having all these (plastic) bags with projects lying around!" because that's what spilled out of my bags: lots of large zip lock bags (one per project), grocery plastic bags for larger projects and even some loose balls of yarn.

That started an interesting discussion about how everybody stores their yarn stash. There is the issue of storage itself and then also of how to group yarns for you to find easily.

We found out that most of us store our yarns in lidded plastic tubs but also in bags, baskets, shelves, and hanging shoe towers for portability (loved that idea). But one lady had the setup I think most of us are just dreaming of: a whole room dedicated to knitting/crafting and a wall full of yarn. Heaven! And the kicker is that if you ask if she would sell some of the yarn you see there on display, she does (if it's not slated for one of her own projects)! It's a personal yarn store! LOVE IT!

I am curious, how do you store your yarn? Perhaps you have a solution for our ever-growing stash that we didn't think of yet...oh, and if you are in need of some storage ideas, check out this Pintrest board for inspiration: http://pinterest.com/lionbrandyarn/craft-spaces-storage/

And then I think I surprised people when I told them that I group my yarns not by color as you are so used to seeing in yarn stores, or fiber (e.g. wool, alpaca, cotton, etc.) but by yarn weight. That is, I group my yarns by how thick or thin a yarn is, grouping them into lace, fingering, sport, dk, worsted, aran, bulky, super bulky, and fashion yarns.

Because let's think about it for a moment: When I want to start a project or come up with a new design, I usually know if it is going to be a sock, a lace shawl, a sweater or a cap. So then, doesn't that dictate what weight of yarn you want to start with?

I've had it happen to me too many times that I held a gorgeous skein of yarn in my hand just to wish I would have it in a different weight for my project... VERY frustrating!

But only through taking designing more seriously, I've finally realized how I work and approach things. By grouping my yarns by yarn weight first, I am now able to peacefully choose from only the available colors in that class. No more moaning or wishing for something I don't have and in the worst case, keeping me from getting started.

So, how do you group your yarns? Does it work for you?

I hope you were able to gleam some interesting information from this post, and yes, ladies, I will be happy to come back for another visit to Colorado Springs where the Aspen leaves have already turned yellow. See you all soon!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Beaded Peacock Socks in Sock-A-Licious (by Kollage Yarns)

After a super busy summer of designing, knitting, pattern writing, tech editing and spending time with my boys over summer break, I am finally able to cast on for my 2nd version of my upcoming "Beaded Peacock Socks" pattern. :)

The first version, sported a solid colored yarn (5th Avenue Toe-rriffic Sock Solids, color #0503 Violet)  with multicolored beads...

Version 1: Solid colored yarn with multicolored beads

...and this 2nd version, will be in a multicolored yarn with solid colored beads...

For the multicolored yarn, I've picked this really wonderful yarn called Sock-A-Licious by Kollage Yarns in the colorway Purple Heart (#7814). It's a 70% fine superwash merino, 10% silk, and 20% nylon mix that really lives up to it's name of Sock-A-Licious and with ample yardage too (354 yd/325m per 3.5 oz/100g).

Colorway: Purple Heart (#7814)

It has a wonderful hand, is deliciously soft (no problem for next to skin) but tightly spun to show off cables and other textures well and it comes in many vibrant, deep colors. It's a joy to knit with. :)

Since the original socks have been completed, I've run across a new nifty cast-on, especially well suited for toe-up socks. It's a brain child of Judy Becker (as in Judy's Magic Cast-on), as well as Queen Kahuna.

Here is a YouTube link to a video by Cat Bordhi of how to do this Stockinette center, toe-up cast-on. LOVE it! This is going to be my new favorite toe-up sock cast-on. :)

Happy Knitting!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Knitter's Magazine #108: Jubilee

Yippee, the first Fall oriented pattern of mine has just come out in the new Knitter's Magazine issue #K108 and it's called Jubilee! What a fitting name for this Fair Isle collar and cuff jacket. :D

© XRX, Inc.
It's a wonderful jacket to throw over your solid colored t-shirt or turtleneck and you are dressed to go.

With this design I tried to do something different than the traditional placement of Fair Isle colorwork and used it for a wide collar and cuffs to steal the show of an otherwise slick, slightly shaped and classic cardigan.

Invisible shaping rows create a gentle curve in the collar

I absolutely LOVE how the Fair Isle collar turned out after incorporating 2 invisible shaping rows that don't interrupt the Fair Isle pattern and give the collar extra fabric to nicely curve around your back neck.
The bottom hem, collar and cuffs all have a "mouse tooth" edging and folded over lining for a clean finish. And the front button bands are knitted in together with the body.


The cardigan body is worked in one piece, from the bottom up to the armholes, then split into fronts and back.

The collar is knitted on and worked back and forth.

The sleeves are worked flat from the shoulder down, then joined to work the cuffs in the round.


I have to admit that this was the first time that I've worked with Cascade Yarns Cascade 220 and Cascade 220 Sport and I've enjoyed it quite a bit. It held up really well to my many unraveling sessions until I got the shaping and collar increases just right.

It's definitely a great fit for an outer layer like a cardigan and the colors are nice and rich. I will have to come up with a couple more designs of this very pleasant to knit with yarn.

Hope you will enjoy not only this pattern in the new Knitter's Magazine but also all the other inovative cardigans in this issue.

Happy Knitting!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Custom Knit: #396 Poncho by Bergere de France

Okay, I do knit a lot but that #396 is the pattern number and not my 396th custom knit, haha!

© Bergere de France

I was pretty excited when my friend Christine, owner of the CR.eations yarn shops in Ennis and Big Sky Montana, contacted me for a custom knit of this pattern because this was such a striking pattern that had already peaked my interest before she reached out to me.

And on top of it, I've worked with the Bergere de France Magic+ yarn already on a previous project and was pleasantly surprised by the 50% wool/50% acrylic fiber. It does NOT look or feel acrylic at all, is machine washable and has a wonderful drape. BTW, this is a thick worsted weight yarn and I would consider it of Aran weight.

I've made a couple of adjustments to the pattern:

  • Working in the round from the bottom up instead of two pieces that have to be seamed up, i.e. cast on 4 sts less for a total of 400 sts (size S/M) and eliminate the “k1” at the beg and end of the row instructions.

  • Changed direction of Stockinette stitch panel decreases to an ssk at the right edge and k2tog at the left edge so that they are less obvious.
  • Decided to work the “slip 2, k1, pass 2 sts over” instruction for the double dec to close out the St st panel as “slip 2 st tog as if to k2tog, k1, pass 2sts tog over” which will make the center st lay on top.
  • Worked the cuffs in the round and then sewed them to the bottom edge.
  • Used "Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off" to finish the top.
It took me a little less than 2 weeks to knit this poncho besides my other commitments. It was a realy addictive pattern with me always wanting to knit just one more cable repeat, and one more, and one more..., and before I knew it, the body was done. :)

Plus it helped that there were less and less stitches as you moved up towards the neck.

Body is complete and only cuffs are missing
I've heard that the customer really liked her new hand-knit poncho and I had a fun time knitting this striking pattern.

Please feel free to contact me regarding custom knits as I do take some on from time to time (especially if it's an interesting pattern).

Friday, June 1, 2012

Paper Sewing - Large Heart

It's not easy to celebrate birthdays when you are far apart. I always struggle with it. Sure, a phone call and mailing a little something will bridge the distance a bit but spending time together to reminiscent, celebrate and laugh together is hard to beat.
Fadengraphik - Large Heart with 3 layers
So the best thing that I have found that sort of works for me, is to send my mom some time in the form of self-made cards and crafts. That way, I can show her that I am thinking of her not only on her special day but on many more days and hours throughout the year.

And I know that my mom will appreciate it because she is a major quilter and crafter herself. :)

For this card I used a technique called "Fadengraphik" (in German). I am not sure what the English term is but "paper sewing" might come close.

Card size: 6" wide and 7" tall

Main materials

Heart paper sewing template from: http://www.handcraftedgreetings.com/card.php?card_id=63
DMC thread in colors:  963 (light pink), 962 (pink), 902 (dark wine)
Sewing needles in 2 sizes (a small one and one a bit larger for punching holes)
Styrofoam piece for a soft surface
Heavy card stock from "DieCuts With a View" in Blue #3 (heart base) and Blue #2 (card base)
Floral print paper from "DieCuts With a View" called Purple Flowers
Basic white card stock paper (heart frame and label)
cellophane and double sticky tape
Font for label: Script MT Bold, size 28, bold

Before you can start sewing your design, you will need to punch the holes in the card. I placed my heart background on top of the Styrofoam piece and then placed the heart template over it to punch through both layers with the larger needle (use a thimble to protect your finger).

Punch holes through paper template

Then you start to sew the layers of the 3-layer heart by following the sewing instructions provided by the above template website.
Layer 1 complete; 2nd layer in progress
Back side with taped down thread beginnings and ends

Layer 2 complete; 3rd layer in progress
And you should end up with something looking like this:

All 3 layers finished
Then comes the fun part of playing around with different papers to find a combination and arrangement that suites your taste, cut, glue and print and your card is ready to be mailed off!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bead Knitting Hatband

My workshop teaching date (Thursday, June 7, 2012) for "Knitting with Beads" at this year's Estes Park Wool Market is coming closer and closer. The handouts are done and I am sorting out what beads and samples I should bring along for participants to touch, feel and explore. But as usual, my mind is running wild and comes up with more and more designs. I just can't keep up! :)

Bead Knitting Hatband
In this case, I was mulling over ideas for a sample that could showcase bead knitting (every stitch has a bead knitted through it, on both, RS and WS rows, so that the yarn doesn't show at all), a technique that was very popular during the Victorian time period when you would see some amazing bead designs for coin pockets or evening purses.

With bead knitting, no yarn shows

But I was looking for something more practical for our times and came up with this arrowhead/chevron design for a hatband. Here out West, the rodeo season is upon us and we ladies like to dress up in some sparkling Western wear. :)

It's a great little project to try your hand on bead knitting.

After deciding what beads to use (size 6/0 Czech glass beads in 4 colors)) and what kind of pattern I would like to see, it was a surprisingly quick project; about 30-45 minutes of pre-stringing the beads, ~4 hours of knitting, and ~20 minutes of sewing it to the hat. Definitely a good choice for a weekend project.

Brown #10 crochet thread and size 6/0 Czech seed beads in 4 colors.

And just to show you how my mind zooms off and gets ideas - for just a moment there, I thought, I saw a beaded rattlesnake emerge from the work in progress... do you see it too?

Doesn't this look like a little rattlesnake?
So, keep your eyes open and put down your knitting from time to time. You never know what you will find. :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Apple Fruit Cozy

Another school year is coming to a close and it's time to figure out a little token of appreciation for my boys' teachers...

It's a little bit more complicated this year as our school district instantiated a law that allows teacher's gifts to be of a max. value of $25. So, no more pooling together money from the class to purchase a more substantial gift card or class gift. It might be considered a bribe! Even though these kids are leaving the teacher...

Good thing I'm a crafter! I zoomed over to Ravelry and started surfing patterns that could be potential gifts for teachers and I came across this really cute Pear Apply Cozy by Susan B. Anderson. Her blog entry has the actual knitting instructions.

I used Hobby Lobby's Yarn Bee Snowflake Wool Blend (color: #16 Caliope; 56% wool, 44% polyester) for the cozy and then added two leaves in Snowflake#5 Limelight, knit on US #3 (3.25 mm) needles.

The instructions for one leaf are:

CO 3 sts.
Work I-cord for about 1”.
Row 1 (RS): K1, yo, k1, yo, k1. 5 sts
Row 2 and all WS rows: knit.
Row 3: K2, yo, k1, yo, k2. 7 sts
Row 5: K3, yo, k1, yo, k3. 9 sts
Row 7: K4, yo, k1, yo, k4. 11 sts
Row 9: K5, yo, k1, yo, k5. 13 sts
Row 11: Ssk, k9, k2tog. 11 sts
Row 13: Ssk, k7, k2tog. 9 sts
Row 15: Ssk, k5, k2tog. 7 sts
Row 17: Ssk, k3, k2tog. 5 sts
Row 19: Ssk, k1, k2tog. 3 sts
Row 21: Sl1 kwise, k2tog, psso. 1 sts
Break yarn and weave in.
Use beg yarn tail to sew I-cord to apple fruit cozy.

What a cute, useful and quick to make gift it is!