Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sunhats - Part 2

The street party, Sunday afternoon, was lovely. The sun shone (not that it has done much else this summer) and the neighbours came. Some came on foot, some came by stroller and some came by bike. 
Our street is a crescent with a shorter portion (called "The Court") cutting across it, so that the top of the crescent becomes a big "D" shape.  The children decorated their bikes, and were asked to ride slowly around the D in a parade of bikes. Somehow, it turned into the "Tour  de France" with the big kids doing about 10 laps as the little ones on trikes valiantly tried to make it around once. We stood and cheered. 
I finished my second sunhat, in time for that party. (see the first one here) It was actually finished 2 days early! No sense in rushing these things. The hats became part of the prize selection, with prizes awarded throughout the party. I expect that I will see the hats around the neighbourhood, shortly. 

Here is sunhat #2, in the classic Dino look, popular with most children under 5.

Sort of a French Foreign Legion look, very vintage!

And the back view:

As well as a view of how dry it is in my backyard. If you have any extra rain, could you send it my way?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Socks Become Baby Clothes

I live in a lovely established neighbourhood, with families of all ages. This spring has seen a bit of a population increase on the street, with the arrival of 2 new babies. Since I was on a bit of a knitting binge, I made a small present for each of them, using left over sock yarn.

Fraser came first. I made him a hat that he wore home from the hospital. Here it is, modeled by the lovely  Bink.

The pattern is called Easy Peasy Newborn Sock Hat, and it knits up quickly and easily.
Baby Kate arrived just in time for Mother's Day. For her, I made a sweater. When I found out it was a girl, I added a ruffle. Here it is, using my favourite baby model.

The pattern is Scrappy Socky Stripey Cardi. It is knit top down, so there is practically seamless when you finish. Here is a closeup of the buttons I added.

Two lovely gifts, and all I bought were the buttons for the sweater. Now I need to make more socks, so I can make other cute stuff from the leftovers.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sunhats Part 1

Some of the young families on our street have decided to have a street party, with all the neighbours.  The organizers were asking if I knew any artisans on the street that might donate prizes. It took me a minute before I realized "Hey, I'm an artisan" and then I heard myself offering to make a couple of sunhats. 
I have made dozens of sunhats for children. They are quick and easy, and with bright fabrics, the kids even like to wear them. I pulled out some kid fabric from my stash and found a couple of large scraps that looked like they would work.
One of the fabrics was by Catfish Calhoun, a Canadian designer from the nineties who was famous for wild prints, used in boarding shorts. I looked online to see if the company was still around. I was shocked to discover the same fabric I was using, listed on Etsy as "vintage fabric". I think they meant "old".
I was somewhat offended by the idea. However, I looked up the meaning of the word and found this: Characterized by excellence, maturity, and enduring appeal; classic.
Okay, I think that might describe this fabric. What do you think? 

I think that lime green, hot pink and orange can't be called anything other than classic.

Now for the hat.

It is also a classic, the floppy brimmed sunhat.  

And I have learned a lot from the discipline of quilting. When I used to make these, I would put a cloth covered button on the top, to disguise the fact that the seams didn't meet. On this hat though:

Tada...they meet perfectly! I think the party organizers will be quite happy with it, even if it is "vintage".

Now for the kitten fans:
I was asked if kittens were going to be part of my blog, and I said only if they were involved in something crafty. So, for Karen and Cheryl and the other kitten fans:
 Blanche is wearing her new frilly collar. It actually covers the irritated spot on her neck, to keep her and her siblings from making it worse. I thought she looked sweet, so I took her picture. Her sister Phyllis can be seen in the background.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


I love to read blogs. I can waste pass an entire evening, going from post to post following links, and looking at other people's accomplishments. 

I am also a sucker for blog contests. I never buy lottery tickets, but show me a blog give away, and I'm entered. Occasionally I even win. That's the best!

Last February, I entered a give away from Pam at Mad About Patchwork. I was delighted to learn (on Valentine's day, even)  that I won. My prize was a kit for a Dresden Plate Pillow Cover, in the fabric line called Delight. The pieces for the Dresden Plate were precut, just sew and go.

This week, I took the kit out and played with it. Since I have pets and I live with men, throw pillows don't fit into my decorating scheme, so the kit became a bag. I have made lots of quilted bags, but I usually give them away. This means that I go to my quilting groups carrying a souvenir bag from the West Edmonton Mall. It doesn't proclaim me to be a quilter. So I have made this bag, just to go to quilt groups, and perhaps shop hops.

 My completed bag
And the back of the bag

A pocket inside, with a place for my pen (that I can never find)

A little pocket for my name badge, so I won't forget it

A close-up of the Dresden Plate. Dresden plates don't normally appeal to me, but I really like the bright happy colours of these fabrics.

Thanks, Pam. I had lots of fun.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Zen of Sock Knitting

I don't know exactly when I learned to knit. My mother is talented in many ways, but not at the needle arts. She is actually stumped as to where I came by this talent. However, when I showed a desire to learn, she found me teachers among friends and relatives, and bought me books and supplies.
 Though I had been knitting for a long time, I had never knitted a sock. Why would any one want to knit socks? You can buy them at most department stores for far less than a ball of sock yarn. They are thick and ugly.

Then, about 10 years ago, I got very sick. It took months for the doctors to figure out what the best course of treatment should be. I was mostly housebound, and going stir crazy. At the time, I was in my counted cross stitch phase, but holding an embroidery needle made my hands ache. A friend was going on a quick trip to the yarn shop and asked if I would like to come along for the ride. I figured it would be a change of scenery, so I went. Just inside the door of the store, I discovered a ball of self-striping sock yarn. I just had to try it, so I came home with a set of DPN's, 2 balls of Regia yarn, and a pattern. By supper time, I was hooked. 

My first pair of socks were not great. The heels looked kind of wonky, and they looked way too long to fit any one. However, I gained a sense of peace, while knitting those socks. Just going round and round was calming. They were small enough to fit in my purse, and take with me for long waits at the hospital. They fit into my life. And when they were finished, a certain young man, with very long feet, said "Hey, those are neat, Mom, can I have them?" 

My health started to improve shortly after I started knitting socks. My doctors take all the credit, but I think it was the Zen of Sock Knitting.
This winter's crop of socks. On the left, are my version of Grandma Coco's CocoMan Socks and on the right are a simple pair of my own design.