assemblage cardigan

This sweater has been finished for a long time. Months, in fact. I didn’t intend to let it go unblogged for so long, but I never got around to taking photos. Anyway…started a year and a half ago and finished this past August, here is Assemblage:

I knit the 40” size since my gauge was a little tight and since I liked the way the model on the pattern instructions looks in the oversized sweater. I also added a couple extra inches to the length.

Norah Gaughan’s pattern is obviously very well-written, and the stitch pattern on the collar and cuffs is TO DIE FOR. I was knitting a sleeve in the airport when a woman stopped dead in her tracks to gush all over it. I couldn’t even say thank you, I was just all, “I KNOW, right?!”

The only thing that keeps me from falling madly in love with this cardigan is that I don’t think it’s really my style. I don’t know why I didn’t figure this out before I knit it, but it’s entirely possible that I was mesmerized by that gorgeous stitch pattern. Although I’m happy with the execution of the finished product, I don’t know how much I’ll wear it. Any of you fashionistas have ideas for styling this handknit differently? There is another button at the top, if that makes a difference. What I’m wearing in the photo is a total snooze. Maybe it needs a skirt and boots or something…

napoleon vest

Overall, I’m pretty happy with this project. I’ve actually worn it quite a bit since I finished it in early September, so maybe I’m more than just “pretty happy” with it.

Knitting the Napoleon Vest was enjoyable, although it didn’t go as smoothly as I would have hoped. My gauge was tight (ugh…AS USUAL), so I knit the 40″ size, rather than the 36″…a trick that usually works fairly well for me.  After I had knit all the pieces and begun seaming, the vest was HUGE, so I wound up unraveling 1” from each side of both the front and back pieces (eliminating 4” total) before grafting the sides together. I think the armholes would have been a mess if I hadn’t. However, it looks like I could have left a little more room on the sides after all, since I got a more fitted look, rather than the blousey look the tucks were intended to create.

So I guess the only reason I’d say I’m “pretty happy” rather than “thrilled” is because I still like the casual, blousey look of the vest on the model in the pattern. I like it so much that I’m tempted to knit this again, but I don’t think I’m that kind of knitter. Actually, I think the pattern would be really great converted to work with a finer gauge yarn, but I KNOW I’m not THAT kind of knitter!

french press felted slippers

The French Press Felted Slippers are a really quick and satisfying knit. So quick and satisfying, in fact, that this is actually my second pair!

I made the first pair for my sister for Christmas (which she loved), but these are all mine. I used Cascade 220 for the first pair, which felted pretty well, but these are knit with Classic Elite Renaissance. I LOVE the color, but they took many more cycles through the washer to felt down to the right size.

The thing I appreciate the most about this pattern (aside from the uber cuteness), is that the heel construction is very well thought out…they don’t slip off your feet! They do, however, slip across hardwood floors with ease. I didn’t want to break my neck, but I just couldn’t bring myself to apply puffy paint to the bottoms for traction. I just…couldn’t. After wandering aimlessly around the craft store for a while, I decided to add suede patches to the soles. I actually glued the suede to the bottoms of the slippers using some kind of “tear mender” adhesive that was supposed to be well suited for leather (amongst other things) and promised to dry flexible and machine washable within 90 minutes.  So far, they’re working out really well!

I’ve been wearing the slippers so much that they’re starting to fuzz and pick up dust and cat hair, but I don’t think it’s anything a sweater stone and some more diligent housekeeping can’t fix. Or maybe I’ll just whip up another pair!

razor shell scarf

A dear friend gave me three hanks of Blue Sky Alpacas Melange for my birthday in October, and although I should have been cranking out the Christmas gifts right about then, I dropped everything and started this Wavy Razor Shell Scarf the very next day. 

I’ve had this pattern in my queue for years, but the yarn was so dreamy to knit with that I didn’t mind taking my time on this project. I added an extra pattern repeat (CO 53 st.) to make the scarf a bit wider. It’s pretty much the perfect size in both length and width. More pics on Flickr.

This photo is also my first self portrait for the 52 Weeks project on Flickr. 52 self portraits? Eep! My reluctance to participate is the very thing that is motivating me to participate…masochistic as that may be.

christmas wrap-up

I survived hosting my first Christmas. My inner Monica Geller wasn’t totally satisfied with my time management (dinner guests arrived before the overnight guests had even had brunch–oops!), but it was really nice to have my house full of family. It was exhausting, in a good way. Although the next morning I wondered if I had hosted a raging frat party, rather than a lovely family holiday. Picture half-consumed food and beverages on every surface (well, obviously), garbage everywhere (mostly wrapping paper), furniture strewn haphazardly about the house (to make floor space for the baby nephew), and the best part–little piles of barf for me to clean up (because the cat just can’t help himself when it comes to nibbling on Christmas ribbon). Nice, right? Anyway, gifts were exchanged and apple pie was baked and the fire was flickering away and a turkey was fried in my backyard. It was a little bit epic.  

As you might expect, I gave several handmade gifts…just the way I like it!

A stocking cap made for my nephew. He is not so sure…

Also for my nephew, a personalized silver ornament to commemorate his first Christmas…

French Press Felted Slippers for my sister…

A sterling silver belt buckle for my other sister. My life’s work…

Mimosa Neckwarmer for my Nana…

And my sister gave me some vintage letterpress blocks. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with them yet, but I LOVE them.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season.
(More Christmas pics on Flickr!)

christmas decor

I haven’t been this excited about Christmas in ages. I am hosting my family this year, which gave me the perfect excuse to deck the halls of my new house. Turns out, I didn’t have the greatest collection of Christmas decorations, so I decided to seek out some “new” stuff. Most of the decorations are vintage or handmade, and most came from Etsy sellers. Click on the photos below if you’re curious.

Click here to see the full set on Flickr.

Just 4 more days until my little house is full of 2 sisters, 2 parents, 1 brother-in-law, 1 nephew, 1 Nana, 1 aunt, 1 uncle, 2 turtle-doves, and a partridge in a pear tree. I’ve got presents to finish and wrap, guest rooms to prepare, and grocery shopping to do, but my main goal this week is to make this.

Merry Christmas!

felted garland

I love handmade Christmas decorations, but I hardly had any that were made by my own hands…until now…

I think I meant to make this felted garland last year…but I never got around to it. (That’s a familiar tune around here this time of year.)  It was not *quite* as quick and easy as I had hoped, but that’s probably due, in part, to my perfectionism rearing it’s ugly head halfway through this thing. That’s not to say that it was difficult, by any means. I just added some extra steps.

I used about 1.5 oz. wool roving in several colors, and got about 48 balls out of it. I needed two pairs of stockings to tie up the roving, and used the washing machine technique for felting. The problem was that wherever the stocking gathered between knots, it created a crease in the felted ball. I wound up with 48 little brightly colored…fannies (which you can sort of see in the bowl in the photo below). Ahem. So I hauled my fanny to the craft store and bought some needle felting tools. I’d only tried needle felting once, at a sheep and wool festival, but that little demo provided me with all the knowledge I needed for this project i.e., stabstabstabstabstabstabstab…

I arranged the various felted balls in a perfectly random pattern (I know, I have a problem), and used a natural, twine-colored worsted weight yarn to string them.

I love the handmade touch they add to my mantle.  

dining room makeover

The dining room has been in progress for a long time. This was the only room that underwent some reconstruction. I had to rely on Dear Old Dad to be the project manager, and I paid him in food and beer and hugs. Because that’s all I’ve got. Project #1 was removing two windows and installing a sliding glass door, and Project #2 was building wainscoting around the room.

I could bore you with the details of wallpaper removal, sliding glass door selection, and wainscoting design, but I’d rather forget most of that and take a visual trip down memory lane, instead…

The Before

pink. and very wallpapered.

gold "candle" wall sconces and hideous ceiling fan.

that's the kitchen through the doorway, it looks VERY different, now too!

The During

wallpaper gone. ceiling fan replaced with Ikea light fixture.

one afternoon i came home to find my dad ripping the siding off my house---surprise!

temporary wall to hold my house up while most of the back wall is being removed.

installing the sliding glass door.

the beginning of the fancy wainscoting.

(Another post written during the remodel…back in August!)

The After

(More info about my stuff on my Flickr notes.)

Before I moved into my house this past July, I already knew exactly what I wanted my dining room to  look like. I just didn’t know I would love it THIS much!

indie market recap

The Second Storie Indie Market was simply wonderful. The show has grown significantly since last year in terms of attendance and vendors, but what remained the same was the warm, inviting atmosphere that Cris, JoAnn, Karen, Rachael, and Shanna worked so hard to create. It had a lot to do with the handmade paper bunting, I think. 😉

It was great to see some of last year’s vendors in person once again, as well as some of the same shoppers! Getting a chance to meet people face to face and hear so many sweet and genuine comments on your work never gets old.

I also enjoyed sharing my table space with a couple of my favorite sidekicks. Having a day to sit and chat together was really a treat for me.

Oh, but enough of this mushiness. On to the loot…

My first order of business was purchasing a pair of earrings from Amber of Mani Designs. I do not have a picture because they have not left my ear lobes long enough to sit for a photo shoot. You’ll have to trust me when I tell you they’re absolutely gorgeous.

I also left with a tumbler which is a collaborative project between Shanna Murray and Vicki Hartman. I knew exactly where I wanted to put it when I picked it out, and I think it is very happy in its new home in my dining room.

This tea towel by Shanna and Betsy of Hello Handmade (which looks so darn cute all tied up that I just haven’t had the heart to undo it!) will definitely be put to use in the kitchen, once I put the Christmas towels away….

…and this pillow by Lizz Switzer looks better than perfect in my living room.

Thanks to all of the vendors who traveled from near and far to make this show the high-quality event that it is, thanks to the Second Storie gang for all their hard work and thoughtfulness in putting the show together, and thanks to all of you who attended the show and stopped by my table to shop or chat! What a nice way to start the holiday season!

You can view more photos of the event on Ashley R. Thompson’s photostream, and read lots more about the show by following the links in the Second Storie post!

And while we’re sort of on the subject, allow me to do just a bit of housekeeping by pointing you in the direction of my holiday shopping info. I’m still working on restocking the shop, but feel free to contact me if there’s an item you are particularly interested in!

cyber monday!

I sold lots of jewelry at the Second Storie Indie Market this weekend, so I’m working on restocking the shop, but there are still lots of great items available, and it is Cyber Monday, so TODAY only, please enjoy 15% off your Small Bird order using discount code “cybermonday” at checkout! 🙂