felt softie for Easter


I wanted to make this post to share the free template for the lamb pattern, but I've looked for over an hour and cannot find it for the life of me. Edited, a kind reader found it for me right here! I also have a few others that I plan to make in the future and have those links below. I love making tiny felt animals and very pleased with how lambie turned out. I prefer stuffed animals to be three-dimensional with head gussets and underbody gussets, and I prefer patterns that are not cartoony. I shared that odd picture of lambie laying down so you could see his underbody. This little lamb will be hidden in one of my vintage cardboard Easter egg boxes for Carter to find on Easter Sunday.

We baked Easter cookies with pretty sprinkles on Tuesday and dyed Easter eggs today. Two hugely messy projects to do with a three year old. Today I sent him home with blue/purple hands as he could not keep his fingers out of the egg dye.

Those gorgeous fruits are a trade from a neighbor, tomato seedlings for a bag of fruit. The lemons are the pink lemonade lemons I told you about and I'm happy to have them for my Easter buffet. The dark purple leathery fruits are passion fruits. They are perfectly ripe and so delicious. Carter and my husband turned up their noses, but I thought, OK, more for me. I think I'm going to have to look into planting a vine.

Take note about the free patterns: Some of these are downloads from sites I'm not familiar or comfortable with. If I don't want to download, I copy the template image and enlarge and print. Sometimes the quality is not the greatest, but it's certainly good enough for our purposes. Most don't come with directions because they assume you'll know how to put the pieces together. They are all pretty simple. I use high quality wool blend felt from Benzie for my animals and if there is a seam allowance I cut that off. If using felt, it's best not to seam and turn inside out as it will be too bulky. Instead seam on the outside with embroidery thread using the buttonhole/blanket stitch. I used buttons for eyes but if you are gifting this to a child who may pull buttons off, you can embroider the eyes. I embroidered the mouth and nose. Most of the patterns below make small, hand-held toys.

Lambie in felt or fabric. (Link takes you to a free PDF from Pattern Bee)

Love this bunny and duckling from Creativity in Pieces (safe site)

Sitting dog template (The link takes you to an image. Copy the image and enlarge to print.)

The following three links are safe Pinterest links. I'll be making this elephant for Carter's birthday this summer.  I did not want to go to the website and instead just copied the image from Pinterest and enlarged to print. Same thing for this sweet fawn and this giraffe

Look at this bonanza of patterns from Pinterest! Again, if you don't feel comfortable going to a site, go to the Pinterest site, copy the image, enlarge and print.

Happy Easter! I hope you're surrounded by sunshine, flowers, chocolate bunnies, and family on this happy day.

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My Easter table and a quick Easter craft


I woke up yesterday morning to see the sun shining so blindingly bright in my kitchen, I had to grab my phone to take a picture of the magnolia blossoms before a cloud rolled by and spoiled the look. It inspired me to set my Easter table and make a blog post. Over the weekend I made a quick little craft that was easy and fun and came out so cute.  My plan was to put the wood bead bunnies into plastic eggs for an Easter egg hunt but I love them so much I decided to use them to decorate my Easter table. My grandson is spending the night tonight and I imagine when he sees them he'll want to play with them right away! The tutorial is at the end of this post. 

The flowers are helleborus and come from one plant that grows in the shade under my sewing room window.

I made the Easter egg tree this week with blown eggs from my neighbor's chickens. They are very prolific at this time of year and every week or so I wake up to find a dozen gorgeous eggs on my front porch. The colors don't show up that well but there are some blues and greens among the browns. She cannot give them to a more appreciative neighbor! I'll make sure she is supplied with flowers and tomatoes this summer. 

I've got some good posts coming up. This week I'll be making a stuffed felt lamb and Carter and I will be making Easter cookies and candy. Come back on Thursday for a new post. 

I'm also planning a luscious works-in-progress knitting post with some gorgeous yarn and new patterns.

We've been working super hard in the garden and things are really coming together. The weather has been gorgeous too so I'm hoping to have a good gardening post sometime in April.

Wood Bead Bunnies how-to 

It's as easy as it looks. I had all the supplies on hand but they are readily available at craft stores or online.

The heads were hot-glued to the body. I added a dab of white glue to the bead hole and poked the ears into the hole with a skewer. I ended up not using the sharpie for the eyes as it bled into the wood. Instead I used a wood skewer dipped in black acrylic paint and dotted on the eyes and nose. For the pink cheeks I used a Q-Tip dipped in water and a tiny dash of pink watercolor. I opted out of a mouth and instead made whiskers out of embroidery thread tied in a knot and attached them with a tiny dot of white glue. I meant to make a felt collar but remembered I had this awesome leaf ribbon and loved the way it looked.

Don't forget to add the bunny tails!

They turned out pretty darn cute.

I had to share this darling picture. If we are very good, after lunch we just might walk a few blocks away to The Sweet Shop.  The boys like to share a milkshake and both opt in on the sprinkles. I don't know who loves it more, Papa or Carter. This is our second year of celebrating Easter in a quiet way, and while last year I was in complete shock, this year I'm more resigned to it. My husband is fully vaccinated and I have had my first dose. After my second shot and the two week waiting period, we are looking forward to having more freedom to go out and about. We're hoping for some small overnight trips to the beach and wine country and some dinners out, outdoors of course. We've been super careful for 12 months as we are in a group considered to be high-risk, plus we babysit our grandson a few days a week while his mommy and daddy work from home, and we take that very seriously. Life. What will normal look like next year? It's anyone's guess.

I hope this post finds you enjoying spring weather, or at least the promise of enjoying it very soon! Thank you for popping in, and as always, wishing you the very very best. Kristen

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Newport Waves

Hello! This quickie test knit was published today so I can now show you my project. It's knit in DK weight and comes in five adult sizes. I knit mine in Softyak DK, the very best hat-making yarn in my opinion because it's very soft and not too hot, good for California. If you aren't familiar with mosaic colorwork, it uses one color per row and simple slipped stitches. This ocean wave pattern is sophisticated for mosaic stitch I think but is still a cinch to make. My large adult hat is too big for my little model, but he was the cutest model I had on hand on photoshoot day. He was happy to oblige as long as he got to take his beloved Lovey along while he gathered the ingredients for his famous flower soup.  This is hat number one in my Christmas hat knits for 2021. I hope to make ten to give as gifts, all different patterns except I will make at least one more of this pattern. If I make one a month I'll be in good shape. I was hoping to use all stash yarn except now I may have to buy some more Softyak DK because I see Rowan is coming out with some pretty greens I may have to try. 

I've been messing around with my Waterlogue app again. 😀

Carter has outgrown most of the sweaters I made for him last year. I've lengthened the sleeves and hems of the ones I could, but he's outgrown those too. He stills wears them because he doesn't mind if his wrists and belly are showing, but they do look a little funny. I've been gathering up my patterns and yarn for the new sweaters I plan to knit this spring and summer so they'll be ready for fall. I've got some great patterns and yarns that I'll share in a post soon. Until then, take care.

Newport Waves Hat by Dianne Dallmeyer

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a book review, marmalade and a sweater

I know I've told you that I read a lot, but I don't often share what I'm reading because there are already so many good book reviews available. Still, I have to tell you about Shuggie Bain as it really touched me. It takes place in 1980s Glasgow about a little boy living with his alcoholic mother. You find out early on that Shuggie is different from the other boys, "no right", and everyone, and you too, know what he's about except Shuggie himself. Everyone tries to change him except his mother, which is really the only good thing she does as a mother. When he is finally old enough to begin gathering some self awareness or insight about himself, he has neither the time nor the tools to do so because he has spent all his young life taking care of his mother. She and Shuggie have been abandoned by everyone; husbands, boyfriends and  the older siblings. It's a heartbreaking story but one I could not stop reading. When I was away from the book I would be thinking, how is little Shuggie getting along? and I would run back to it. It's the same reason why I can't stop watching Shameless (it's on its last season and Frank was finally diagnosed with alcohol induced dementia, about time I'd say) and why I couldn't stop watching Breaking Bad. Shuggie Bain is a great read with excellent character development, and if you've read it, I'd love to know what you think. BTW, I get all my books from my local library using the free Libby app for both audiobooks and print books. I read reviews online or in the paper, then go on my app and place a hold. Sometimes it takes months but I don't mind. I just finished We Run The Tides and really did love it because I loved immersing myself in the 1980s Seacliff neighborhood of San Francisco. I've got The Royal Governess to read next after I finish up Infinite Country, which I don't think I love as much as everyone else seems to.  If I run out of recent releases to read, I go back and reread a Jane Austin, an Ivan Doig, or a Willa Cather. 

I'm sharing pictures of MORE marmalade. Because of my success with the kumquat marmalade, last week I made a lime marmalade from the limes from our little lime tree. They are yellow and might look like lemons, but they are limes. If you allow limes to ripen on the tree the skin will turn yellow and they will get juicier and sweeter but the pulp will remain green. The next batch I made was from Meyer Lemons from my neighbor's yard. Both are so good and taste nothing at all like the store bought marmalade, which we don't like at all. Carter loves it and requests marmalade soldiers for snack time--toast with crusts removed, buttered and marmaladed, then cut into fingers. Very British! The recipe I used was the very easy Three Ingredient Marmalade from the It's Not Complicated blog. It uses fruit, sugar and water. You use a candy thermometer to make sure it sets up properly so does not need added pectin. I handed some out to neighbors saying, "Even marmalade haters will love this marmalade". I should make one more batch as I seem to be giving a lot away!

Also, you can see I'm messing around with my Waterlogue app. It's a time waster but is totally fun. 

The last picture is me wearing a newly finished sweater designed by Libby Jonson. It's a plain 'ole vanilla V neck which is just the kind of thing I wear often and love to bits. This is a great pattern to have in your pattern library. I also think a V neck is flattering on everyone--man, woman and child. The pattern is Oatmeal and I used Rowan Island Blend DK and it's fabulous yarn, very soft with an interesting texture, BUT, it is crazy expensive and I would not have tried it except that Little Knits had (and still does at this writing) it on deep discount. 

Mods and details of my Oatmeal on my Ravelry page
Oatmeal pattern by Libby Jonson

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

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xo Kristen


Adult Alaskan Pullover


I'm so happy to finally show you my newest Alaskan Pullover, and this one's for me! My favorite children's sweater pattern is now sized for adults.  I've loved this pattern since it was published and have been begging for an adult version since the beginning. I've always wanted to wear one and my son is pining for one too. When the designer, Ainur Berkimbayeva, was looking for test knitters for an adult version, I jumped at the chance. It is the perfect unisex sweater for babies, children and adults. When you get the adult version you'll receive two downloads, a men's version and a women's version. They differ very slightly in shaping, such as tapered arms for women and longer arms for men. 

I used the suggested wool, Knit Picks Simply Wool, a rustic 100% wool that is available in a dozen natural shades including four marls. From their web page: No dyes or bleach are used to process the yarn; the eight natural shades are created by meticulously sorting the fiber as it comes off the sheep. As colors are naturally occurring, some variation from skein to skein is normal. My own Wilhelmina shade is a pretty mid brown with a hint of gray and I suffered no variation of color. Knit Picks is known for their value priced yarns and I was very surprised at the high quality. It had no knots, was easy to knit and while it's not next-to-the-skin-soft for me, it feels great with a light tee underneath. Garter stitch is very dense and this sweater is warm and lovely on a morning walk or to slip on at night when I'm knitting and freezing in my cold little knitting room. I would love to see this sweater as a beach coverup in Rowan Handknit Cotton or maybe Rowan Creative Linen. The designer gives yarn suggestions that work well with garter stitch and explains why yarn choice is important. She also suggests Brooklyn Tweed's Shelter. It would be FABULOUS in that. 

I've followed Ainur since she began her knitware design career. She has great style and I'm thrilled to see that she has become very popular. She has recently collaborated with Purl Soho, Pom Pom and Woolfolk and has created some really gorgeous patterns. If you don't already, you should follow her on Ravelry and sign up for her newsletter here, AKA Mama's Teddy Bear. 

Alaskan Pullover for adults by Ainur Berkimbayeva
purchase the children's Alaskan Pullover here (see Carter's cute one below)
purchase Knit Picks Simply Wool Worsted here ($6.99 for 218 yards!)

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