Oct 28, 2014

Getting Ready For Christmas


You guys, there's less than 60 days until Christmas, and even less until Hanukkah gets here! That sound you just heard was the collective explosion of crafter brains as we all try desperately to cram more crafting in than there are hours in the day.

Take this photo. That's all the knitting I want to get done before Christmas. Two blankets, an adult sized vest, an adult sized tank, a kid sized vest, four kid sized sweaters, a scarf, a cowl, a hat ... I'm sure I'm forgetting something.

Oh yes, my sanity.

This doesn't even represent the full measure of all I want to make in the next 60 days. There's mittens, fingerless gloves, and a huge pile of hats I don't have represented in that photo. And of course, the charity hats. And Impossible Hats as orders come in.

Most of the year I have one or two projects going at a time, no more. I don't like having so many things waiting in the queue; it makes me nervous to think about all these projects waiting to get done. I start to cast on every one of them, and then I want to knit a row or two on each of them, which for me is the least productive way to do it.

What I need to do is pick a project, cast on, and then work on it until finished. Pick another project, do the same. On repeat. I'm trying desperately to keep myself focused like this, and am already seeing a small bit of progress, thankfully!

I'm not sure how much I'll be in this space in the next few months. I've got a metric ton of knitting patterns I've been adding to Etsy that I'll be sharing here as well, but other than that, you're best bet is to find me on Instagram. With the football season ramping up for the last few college games, then Thanksgiving and then Christmas, I'll be focused on gift crafting and decorating and coloring and keeping Lou away from the tree ... not necessarily in that order. But I will show up as much as I can, if only to share patterns and what I'm reading and little snippets of daily life.

Have you started your holiday crafting yet?

Oct 23, 2014

While Knitting, Vol. 1



Knitting doesn't happen in a vacuum here in SMH-land. Instead, I'm always reading something (thanks to my Kindle) or watching something (thanks to Netflix). Here's a short list of what I've been reading and watching lately.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green.This is the same author who wrote The Fault in Our Stars, which I loved immensely. This one, however? Not as much. The story of a just-graduated boy named Colin who loves girls named Katherine, it is a coming-of-age story for sure. But then, in the epilogue, the author lays out what he believes is the true moral of the story. And, here's the thing. If you need to spell it all out for me at the end, you didn't do a good enough job of explaining it through your storytelling. Which means you didn't do your job well enough as an author. Had this epilogue been left out, I would have probably liked the book a bit better.

Grey's Anatomy: Season 9. Yes, I know. It was probably never very good, and I'm several seasons behind. But man, do I love the heavy-handed drama. And I love just how frequently these doctors fall in love with each other, while always seeming to perform such ridiculously rare and life-altering procedures. Pure trashy television gold!

Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity by Jen Hatmaker. I'm pretty sure we all fell in love with Jen Hatmaker and her family, thanks to their HGTV show. I hadn't read a single one of her books, however, so I picked up Interrupted. This is my kind of faith, folks. Real, scary, dirty and rough. Taking the words of Jesus seriously, leaning into the reality of just how blessed we are, and just how much we take that for granted.

Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest and Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas.We've been going back and forth between these two on Netflix daily, with the Christmas movie winning out almost every time. Kids after my own heart - they're already excited for Christmas, too!

The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir by Dee Williams. What a phenomenal writer! I bought this assuming I'd be reading about Dee's foray into tiny house building, and there was definitely that, but this amazing book is full of Dee's spirit and life as well. You can feel her smile as she tells her story, and on more than one occasion I decided I must take her out for a beer and be her friend. What a lovely soul, and such a joyous read!

Gilmore Girls: The Complete Series Collection. I never watched this on television. I know, don't stop reading! I'm so excited that the entire series is on Netflix now, and I've been watching whenever I can get the chance. Even if it takes me years to get through it, I'm already loving it!

Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn. I CANNOT EVEN. That is all.

Note: Links throughout are Amazon Affiliate links. If you click on a link and then purchase anything, I receive a small percentage as commission.

Oct 21, 2014

Owlet For Lou



Pattern: Owlet, by Kate Davies (Ravelry link and purchase)
Yarn: 1.5 skeins Lion Brand Wool Ease (197 yards a skein)
Needles: US 7 / 4.5 mm and US 8 / 5.0 mm circulars and dpns

I just cannot. Can you?! Best part is, if you make the photo bigger, you can see the HUGE THING OF DROOL rolling out of her mouth. I love that Casie didn't edit that out, truly I do. It's so Lou at this age, and something I'm so happy she got on film!

This is the first of the family sweaters off the needles, and I have to say such a fun and easy pattern! Let's talk pattern for a minute, shall we? This one comes with enough sizes to make a sweater for everyone from the tiniest baby up through a pre-teen, so the almost $7 price tag is totally worth it. I've already got plans to make three more as holiday presents for some of Lou and Owen's friends, as well as making one for Owen, it's such a cute sweater!

For Lou, I made size 3, which is a 12 month size. She could have fit into the smaller size, but I'm pretty sure she'd also have grown out of said smaller size by the time winter fully hits, and while I know I'll be making her more little sweaters, I also want to be practical. Making a sweater that will fit her for the full fall/winter season made the most sense.

The pattern flies off the needles, it truly does! Mostly stockinette, in such a small size I was to the owls before I realized I'd been knitting a sweater, and remarked several times that THIS. THIS IS THE WAY TO MAKE A SWEATER!

I made exactly zero modifications as I went, and the sweater ended up gorgeous and just right. I was originally going to make it grey, but then we had fall-themed family photos coming up so I grabbed some pumpkin colored yarn instead, and went to work. There was just enough left of the two skeins to make her this cute headband (details coming soon enough!), and maybe a tiny bit left for a striped hat somewhere down the line. 

Love it. Love that I can check it off a list, love that she loved wearing it, love that now I want to make more!

Oct 14, 2014

Meet The Cozy Collection!


Over the weekend I picked up some super cozy wool/acrylic blend chunky yarn, and before I knew it I had a collection of hats off the needles and listed in the shop!

Meet the Cozy Collection - five hats (the four pictured above and the Holbrook Hat) listed in the shop, made in 23 colors just for you!

I figure, I love making hats on repeat, and love using the same yarns and patterns hat after hat, so I might as well list some of them, let folks buy the hats from me, and raise even more money for Pencils of Promise. Just like with the Impossible Hats collection, for each Cozy Collection hat that's purchased, I'll donate $25 - enough to send a child to school for a year!

I hope to add more hats, and hat collections, to the shop over the next few months. I'd love to have an Etsy shop full to the brim of hats in all shapes, sizes, and colors, ready to be purchased and with each purchase doing some good in the world - one for one hats, profits going to charity, and so much more!

Don't worry, I'm still making hats to donate every day, and sharing those hats on Instagram along with these peeks into shop life. My knitting needles and crochet hooks will always make hats to give away, no matter what I may or may not stock in the shop. And right now, I'm in love with stocking hats that help send kids to school!

Won't you check out the shop, and see if there's a hat calling your name?

Oct 12, 2014

75 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!


There's less than 75 days until Christmas, and according to the Farmer's Almanac it's going to be another cold winter. Time to start grabbing winter items!

Impossible Hats send a kid to school through Pencils Of Promise with every purchase, so not only will you stay warm but you'll be doing some good in the world as well. Grab one (or five!) from the shop today!

Oct 8, 2014

New "Print" Button!


I'm so glad to FINALLY have a "print" button on every page of the blog. I've been working over the last few weeks months to get my free patterns listed here on the blog, with no PDF downloading needed, and I'm finally almost there. I like that folks don't have to take any extra steps to work up one of my free patterns, but missed that it was harder than it should be for the patterns to be printed up for those who wanted to do that.

Enter a "print" button.

It ended up being incredibly easy, just clicking a few buttons and letting a website install it for me really. Which begs the question, why did I wait so long? Mostly laziness. Oh, and the three year old hanging off my back as I type this, making it hard to focus for more than a minute at a time!

You won't see the "print" button when viewing the blog on the main page. You have to click into a specific post, and then there it'll be, just above and next to the share buttons, and right above where you'd comment. Clicking the button gives you the option to print, but also to save as a PDF, send in an e-mail, and even remove the photos if you want to save a bunch of printer ink!

I'm super excited for how this will simplify things for me - no more ten thousand steps between Ravelry and the blog to get a pattern ready for you, just publishing a post and then sharing it on Ravelry. Hooray for simple!