wrapping it up

With Christmas coming quicker each time I look at the calendar, I can now say that my Holiday knitting is DONE!
Last night I stitched the last special touches on the knitted gifts for my girls.
These are always the most fun & special gifts that I make.
Months ago, the girls looked through my patterns & chose what they wanted for me to make them... right down to the color.  A dark brown puppy with a blanket for one & a baby doll with yellow hair & a pink dress for the other.
Wanting to keep these gifts a surprise, the girls did not see me work on their projects.  I only brought them out while they were at school or sleeping.  I think the magic will pay off, because just the other night they asked when I would be making them their special toys.

Both patterns are written by Susan B. Anderson

The baby has a hat with braids that can be removed.

Not sure which is cuter... the belly button or the toes!

 Ruffled undies.


Big knits, little knits

Spinning Yarns, my local yarn store, runs a once a year special order opportunity for customers to order Madelinetosh, choosing your own colors by browsing the Madelinetosh website.  This year I entertained the idea of placing a special order, but I just couldn't get myself excited enough to order colors based on looking at them on a computer screen.  Margot (the owner) will always order extra yarn to stock her shelves, and trusting her judgement of color, I will usually come in soon after the prized shipment comes in to view them in real life.  
The colors are SPECTACULAR.

I didn't buy any yarn when it came in... I didn't have a project in mind & I don't buy yarn to just stash it.  It has to have a project attached to it.  
I would admire what was on the shelf & revel in the projects that a few of my students would be making out of their selections.  Eventually, as the Madelinetosh selection dwindled on the shelf, there was a lot of this red (tart) left over that nobody seemed to want.  It grew on me & before I knew it I was ready to knit something for myself.

I was in the mood for a cardigan & cables.  
I found the perfect pattern by Knitting Pure & Simple.  The Knitting Pure & Simple line of patterns are great.  Some of my first projects came from these patterns & are always comforting to knit up.  Written in the most simple way, they are easy to follow & are a cinch to adapt in order to add a little something different to make it your own.

I added a cable pattern to the back.

Next, I had a custom order for a blue bird hat with ear-flaps & tassels.  I knit this one up on the fly using a vibrant blue from Lambs Pride.  The black button eyes were stitched on tight & the tassel at the top of the head finished it off.

Using Berroco Vintage, here is a cute hat that will be given as a gift.  
Garter stitch ear-flaps, green on gray with a pom pom to finish.

Lastly, there is something soaking in the sink... for me.


Star Bud Hat

I have just added a new pattern to the pattern store here and on Ravelry for my newest hat... The Star Bud Hat.

The hat pictured was knit using about 1/2 a skein of Swans Island organic merino wool (color: Early Thyme).  
This yarn is great!  It is super soft, hand dyed using natural dyes AND it is made in Maine!  The Swans Island company is actually in Northport, ME... quite a ways away from where I am in Southern Maine, making me oh so grateful that my local yarn store stocks this yarn on it's shelves.


addicted to shawlettes

Loving the latest shawlette that I have made for myself.  It took me about a week to complete (although I did get some good blocks of knitting time in).

I used Dream in Color Everlasting DK (color Shy).  If I hadn't read the label myself, I would have sworn that this was a cotton yarn at first glance.  It is actually a lovely 100% superwash merino wool.  This is about as variegated in color as I will go... a nice tonal variegation.

 I followed a pattern called Sugared Violets by Rose Beck.  A nice, clearly written & enjoyable pattern to follow!  This shawlette is written for two sizes (medium & large), I knitted the medium size, as I like to wear it wrapped as a cowl/scarf.  This pattern would be great in a lighter or heavier weight yarn as well.

Possibly my favorite part of this piece is how the ends spiral down.


Falling Leaves Cowl

The calendar has been flipped over to September & I have added a new fall pattern to the pattern store here & on Ravelry.  
It is called the Falling Leaves Cowl.

 I have already had a few leaves fall in my yard... have you?

A big thank you to Miranda Mulligan Photography for her work on these shots!


Summer knits

With only a few weeks left, our busy & fun summer is nearing an end.  We have been camping, to the beach, pool, playgrounds & even took our 1st trip on a plane as a family out to Wisconsin for my Grandmother's 80th birthday.  This trip was timed perfectly with the age of my children... they did wonderful!  I, on the other hand, was convinced that the plane was going down with each episode of turbulence.  I am not new to flying, I spent a bulk of my childhood flying several times per year from Boston to Tampa & back, independently navigating some of the busiest airports on the east coast by age 14.  Ignorance was bliss.  Now as an adult, my nerves are a bit more on edge.  Knitting kept me centered (or at least gave me something to focus on).

For our plane trip I packed a lightweight project that would keep my mind busy, yet rhythmic enough that I wouldn't mess it up.  I chose Susanna IC's Impasto Shawlette using Fresco by Classic Elite.  Fresco is a sport weight yarn made up of 60% wool/30% baby alpaca/10% angora.  It resulted in a light & airy, yet warm product for wearing in the fall.

Knitting a shawl is always a bit of a mystery to me.  While knitting, it is so hard to tell what my finished project will look like with all of those stitches bunched up on my needles.  321 sts on even 40" circulars won't spread out enough to give a glimpse of what they will look like once they are bound off & fall gracefully off of my needles.  This is my favorite thing about knitting shawls: the mystery.

 before & after

 Susann IC is a master designer of all things lace.  I have made a couple of her designs now and love them.  I am convinced that lacework designers were born with an additional section of brain that the rest of us do not have.  It is truly genius how their minds work.

Before the shawl, I finished the giraffe by Susan B. Anderson.  I gave this gift yesterday at a baby shower for a very special cousin who is due to have her baby in October.  This baby's mother is now a nurse, but her first love was animals.  In college she studied animals and then worked at a zoo after graduating with her first degree.

Our family is very excited about this baby... can't wait to meet him or her (and I will also have a real live baby model for all of my baby sized knits not far from home).


Honeycomb Headband added to Pattern Store page

I just added this pattern to the Pattern Store section of this blog... it's the latest & greatest Amy Grace Knits design.
I chose Spud & ChloĆ« Fine as the yarn for this project for it's springiness, stitch definition, color, feel (80% superwash wool / 20% silk) & because I love it!
There are so many colors to choose from the Spud & ChloĆ« color palate, but I narrowed it down the the fun Bumble Bee #7811 (yellow), Wildberries #7820 (purple) & Green Bean #7818 (green).  Such fun names!
The band section can be knit to any length, to fit any size head.  The flower & leaf are one size.
The pattern can be purchased on this blog or on Ravelry.  There is also fun to be had over on Facebook.
It is a fun knit & was fun to photograph.

Thing that I have been knitting this summer... with lots of pictures.

Here are some things that I have finished since the last post:
My sweet little girl who loves frogs :)
             This pattern was so cutely named Ribbit by Susan B. Anderson.  I used some Blue Sky Alpacas organic cotton that I had in my stash.  Susan is the master of knitted toys & all things cute!  I really love her work.  The organic cotton yarn is super strong & comes in loads of colors. 

Next, is a sweater that a friend had me knit for a baby shower gift.  I had been dying to buy the book 60 Quick Baby Knits, and being asked to knit this sweater was the perfect excuse!  The book is full of adorable patterns all made from Cascade 220 superwash.

Love the pea pods & tendril details at the top of the hood.

Remember this lusciousness?

 Well, here it is in sweater form!  A true luxury yarn, Madelinetosh (color: winter wheat), came out perfectly in my Climbing Vines Pullover by Joelle Meier Rioux.  The only thing that I changed was the sleeve length due to yardage constraints.  I also need a picture while wearing it, but the summer weather has not been cooperating, and I just wanted to post it now.

A special post about what I made with this yarn coming soon!  Real soon ;)


new pattern added!

My Frog Hat pattern is ready for purchase and can be found under the 

Moonlight Photography

(oh how I love you!)

A little something for me on the needles :)


taking turns

Like many parents, it seems as though I spend a fair amount of time explaining to my kids the importance of taking turns: on the swing, who picks out a movie next or who gets in the shower first.  The ONE thing that has not (yet) been an issue of whose turn it is, has been: "whose turn is it for Mom to knit something for them?" 
Maybe it is easier for them (or all of us) to keep track of their knitted 'turn'.  A knitted project from Mom tends to be a collaboration.  I may ask them what they want... a toy, a sweater, a shirt, anything.  The girls have a major role in the design process and/or color planning.  I may (from time to time) gently persuade them away from or closer to a certain color scheme, but mostly it is up to them.
Their project will be a part of us for as long as it takes me to knit it.  It will come with us to gymnastics, school pick up, in the car, out to lunch & usually it makes an appearance during cartoon time. 
As I tend to only work on one or two projects at a time, my knitting time is then saturated with the progress of their one special project... making it easier to keep track.
My latest project was for my oldest daughter.  I asked her if she wanted a sweater.  She said yes.  I showed her a photo of the pattern that I was secretly dying to knit.  She said that she loved it!  I then let her have control of the colors & we were very pleased with the results. 
This turn, my gentle persuasion was with the choice of pattern.

The pattern is called Spring Picnic, by Helen Rose.
I used various colors of Cascade 220 Superwash.
A few modifications were made:
- 3x3 ribbing instead of the hems on the edging, as well as on the button band.
- the clouds were knit in garter stitch instead of the cloud stitch given in the pattern.
- both the sleeve length & the overall lengths were altered.

Lastly, I leave with a preview of what I have started today.


as promised: the model wearing her new watermelon sweater

This girl is sweeter than any summer fruit.  After putting on her new sweater this morning she gave me the biggest hug & said "Thank you Mumma, I love it".  I always explain to my girls that whenever they wear something that I have made for them, they are wrapped in love.
Thousands of stitches of love.


small project spree

A few small projects have come off of my needles recently.  

First, was a special request from my 4 yr old.  She had been looking through our old photo albums and had come across a picture of her wearing a knitted dress that I had made for her that resembled a watermelon.  She was about 18 months old in the original watermelon dress, and had totally forgotten about it.  Next out of her mouth was how she wanted a new one.  I grabbed some Julia by Nashua Handknits after teaching class one night, took a few measurements the next day, cast on & knit freely.  It felt good just to knit this on my own without writing anything down or worrying about converting the pattern in to different sizes.  My mind needed a break from calculations & I simply wanted to make this little girl happy.  Below is a sneak peek of the updated watermelon sweater.  I promise a picture of her wearing it, but as it is, I had to break in to her room just now while she is asleep to get a shot of it.

Next, I made this cute bunny using Lambs Pride.  I followed one of the patterns in Itty Bitty Toys by Susan B. Anderson.  I had been feeling the itch to knit something for a baby.  I know of a very special baby who is due to be born this summer & I couldn't get myself to knit her a garment to wear once and then grow out of.  Even if I knitted something several sizes larger in anticipation for it to be worn in the fall, I just couldn't get myself to do it.  A stuffed animal is the perfect baby gift for any season, it can never be outgrown and will hopefully be loved for years to come.

Lastly I have a pair of socks.  Well, I always have a pair of socks... it's one of my new(er) rules.  A simple pair of socks is one of my 'go to' projects.  I will always have a pair on my needles to grab if I am in-between projects or need something small to grab to bring with me in case my current project is too complicated to bring 'on the go'.  Nothing too fussy, just something to keep my fingers busy and something that can be put down & picked up a month later knowing exactly where I left off.