Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Finished Projects

It's become my yearly tradition to post these project mosaics (see 2008 and 2007). So here is my 2009 project mosaic:


2009 projects: part 1
2009 projects: part 2

You'll notice that I ramped up the knitting projects considerably this
year...all I can say is that knitting has been a great stress reliever
(ahem!).

I'm looking forward to turning 2010 into a "use my stash" year and I've got plenty of projects to keep me busy. I'll be staying away from retail stores in 2010 and unsubscribing myself from email sales blasts to keep the temptation at bay. Wish me luck!



Wednesday, December 30, 2009

end of the year projects

Here's my final two projects of 2009...I wasn't able to finish any of my WIPs for Jacquie's Joy in the New Year challenge, but we were able to finish up our basement and I've been devouring lots of great books lately.




coline hat

My first project is this hat pattern that I knit up from { a-black-pepper }. I had some leftover yarn from my red scarf project scarf and was debating about making another Koolhaas with it when Lucy published this pattern. I love the bubbly cables on this hat and it was really fun to knit.


coline hat

I made the medium size for the hat...either I'm a looser knitter than I thought or my head is smaller than I thought, but this hat turned out a little bit too big for me. (note: I actually think my head is smaller than I think it is, so for all future knitting projects, I'm going to go with the smaller size option).



The crown instructions were really confusing to me and I ended up knitting and frogging the top three different times before it finally made sense. My adjustments to the top are included in my ravelry project notes if you're interested.



This is such a lovely pattern, the crown is striking and I think it looks so great in red, so my little problems with the hat are completely minor in the long run. Lucy is so good at designing with cables and I always love seeing what new patterns she publishes.





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a dollop

After seeing Amy's Lonely Dollop, I had to buy the materials to make one for my sister for this year's Christmas gift exchange. We're always getting each other random and off the wall gifts, so I think this was perfect for her.

•••

And finally, Audrie asked me to be a part of her new quilting bee, Bee Beautiful, a few months ago. We're starting the year with my month and I just mailed the fabric to my other group members today. You can click on the link in my sidebar to see what the group creates this year.







Sunday, December 27, 2009

overheard this afternoon

completely out of the blue...Jon says:

"I would like to see our cats interact with a golden-headed lion tamarin someday."

<<uncontrollable laughter>>

"What? You have to admit that it would be pretty cute."



Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

 Frontround

 Backround



it's not Christmas unless there's a home improvement project in the works

I've got two weeks off of work for Christmas and New Year's. It's the perfect time to relax, watch Christmas movies, catch up on my reading list and enjoy time with family, right?



True to form, Jon and I got it in our heads that these two weeks would be the perfect time to work on a little home improvement project. We're tackling our basement and sprucing the place up and cleaning it out. Things are moving along and we should have everything finished by the end of next week. I'll have lots of before and after pictures to share then.






simple yet effective shawl in progress



In the mean time, I have been working on this Simple Yet Effective Shawl by Cosmicpluto
knits at night. I purchased this fingering weight yarn from Oiyi's new
etsy shop, ATD Crafts, and it is so lovely to work with. I am trying very hard to resist the urge to invest in a spinning wheel and start a new hobby. I have a feeling that 2010 will be turning into the "use what I have year."




Holiday Traditions Exchange 2009


I also received a lovely package from my Holiday Traditions Exchange partner, Carrie. She made these cute little twig star ornaments and pine scented bags for me. I used them to decorate the little Christmas tree in my office. Now everything smells pine scented and Christmasy.


holiday traditions swap 2009

to Grand Rapids and back

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Jodi, Jon and I made a little day trip to Grand Rapids on Sunday. We loaded up Jodi's car with sweet treats and DVDs early on Sunday morning and made it to our first destination, Mars Hill, with plenty of time to spare for the morning service. The service was excellent, as usual, and Jodi enjoyed her first time seeing the church in person. Yes, it really does look like nothing...she almost drove past it.



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After a leisurely lunch at San Chez Caf√© (the other half of my favorite tapas restaurant), we took a quick tour of downtown Grand Rapids and got out of the car to see the Gerald R Ford Presidential Museum.  




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Then we headed over to Calvin College, my alma matter, and took a chilly outdoor tour of the campus. It's hard to believe that I graduated seven years ago this month. There are so many new buildings going up on campus and the place is starting to look so much bigger and different than when I attended. The only building that was open was the chapel, so we got to take a peek inside and listen to a few minutes of a choral group and orchestra rehearsing for a winter concert (brings back many memories of my times spent in the music department in rehearsals!).





Rebekah

My beloved Fine Arts Center is undergoing a huge renovation...I spent so many hours in here for the music,  and communications departments.

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Here's Jon and I in front of the Commons lawn.






Our final destination of the day was to the Frederik Meijer Gardens (the Frederik Meijer of Meijer grocery/all purpose mega stores). The gardens were decorated to the max for Christmas and the hallways to each of the greenhouses were lined with Christmas trees decorated to represent traditions from around the world.




Japan Christmas Tree

Christmas tree representing Japan


Bird Christmas Tree

Christmas tree for birds


Philipines

Christmas lights representing the Philipines







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Frightening little children






Friday, December 11, 2009

Holiday Traditions Exchange

Holiday Traditions Exchange 2009




Sew Liberated has been running the Holiday Traditions Exchange for the past two years and my December schedule was light enough this year that I was finally able to join. I put together a little package of recipes, my holiday traditions, my favorite Christmas music and this stocking for my partner, Carrie, at sweetmommydreams.

Stitchette Stocking



I've been eyeing this Elf Stitchette pattern from wee wonderfuls ever since it was published a few years ago and finally had an excuse to stitch it up and turn it into a stocking. 

Elf Stocking Detail

I based the pattern for the stocking on these stockings that I made a few years ago. The stocking is lined with a green polka dot fabric and a layer of thin cotton batting. I had fun in the trim aisle and used an iron on rick rack and a pom pom trim that I secured with a zig zag stitch. For the foot and toe, I used fusible webbing to adhere it to the stocking base and then used a zig zag stitch to applique it to the fabric.



Stitchette Stocking






Thursday, December 10, 2009

local light show

insane local Christmas light display

insane local Christmas light display

A family in our town puts up a spectacular light display each year in
their yard. They are giving the Griswold family of Christmas Vacation a
run for their money with these decorations! It is truly a sight to behold.


insane local Christmas light display

They've got lights, figurines and inflatable filling every inch of their yard. People park their cars and take a few minutes to walk up and down the sidewalk to see all of the decorations on display. I think this house is a local landmark at Christmas.

insane local Christmas light display

This choir lights up in rhythm with Christmas music that's playing through a loud speaker. And, if you look closely, you can see the countdown to Christmas clock on the left side of the photo above.


insane local Christmas light display

insane local Christmas light display

They've got a huge nativity scene set up and nine reindeers pulling Santa's sled.




insane local Christmas light display

Ever since I first discovered this house about five years ago, we've been bring friends and family by the house during December to see
the display for themselves...it's much more impressive in person!



Thursday, December 3, 2009

adventures in felting

I've never tried any fulled knitting projects until now. Someone in my summer knitting group did this Noni pattern and I loved the outcome of her bag so much that I bought the pattern and yarn to make my own version.





I used Paton's Classic Merino, doubled, for this. Previously, I used the same yarn on Jon's Cobblestone sweater and I don't remember it being as soft and squishy as it was this time around (maybe I'm just becoming more acclimated to working with wool?). It was quite satisfying to go through so much yarn so quickly and I love the contrast of the lemongrass and dark grey together.



Noni Medium Sized Carpet Bag





I didn't get an after picture with my bag and water bottle, but the felted bag is now the height of the water bottle.

I finished up the bag, took one pre-felting photo and stuck it in the washer for one hour of agitation. It was so exciting to see the bag start shrinking. After it seemed small enough, I ran it through the final spin cycle and set it out to dry. The next morning I starting making a lining for the bag. Due to some measurement errors on my part, I made the lining too small. Because I didn't have any extra fabric, I stuck the bag back in the washer to let it felt some more. After another 30 minutes, the bag finally shrunk down enough to fit my lining.

Noni Medium Sized Carpet Bag





yay for having fabric in my stash that matched and using what I had on hand!

I followed the directions on the Noni site for adding more reinforcements to the bag (think giant plastic needlepoint canvas). Then I added the handles and sewed in the lining.


Noni Medium Sized Carpet Bag




I've been procrastinating posting this project because I wanted to find the perfect flower for the bag, but, as you can see, that didn't happen. I think I'll eventually make a fabric flower using this flower tutorial, but for now I'm calling the bag finished. This is going to be a new project bag for new knitting projects that I start.



Noni Medium Sized Carpet Bag





Pattern: Medium Sized Carpet Bag by Noni



Yarn: Paton's Merino, doubled



Needles: Size 11





Ravelry link: craftr's Carpet Bag

It was fun to try out this felting pattern, but I don't think I'm going to become addicted to felting just quite yet. It's a bummer to lose stitch definition due to felted fabric, so it's hard to want to spend a lot of time knitting something that is just going to be felted.  I do have two more smaller felting projects that I'd like to try, though: Felted Ballerina Slippers and the French Press Slippers.