Happy Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is American Thanksgiving and we surely have a lot to be thankful for this year! Our grandson has been with us for 3 days while his parents are on a wee vacation. They are coming back today in time for his first Thanksgiving and a Thanksgiving that we will all surely treasure. Even with him here I was able to get a lot done. The picture above is some candy made during a nap. This post writing is during another nap--thank heavens he is a good napper! Tonight when he's gone it will be pie making time and after that it's feet up, needles in hand.

It's a tradition around here to pop in on friends and neighbors for short visits the days before and the days after Thanksgiving; kids are home from school and want to see each other and folks who have moved away and are back for Thanksgiving want to make the rounds. And when there is a new baby, most people, happily, put you on the visiting list. We have never been so popular! Carter is all flirty smiles most of the time and so gave a fair amount of them to visitors during his stay. I noticed I don't really have many pictures of me with Carter and a friend took these last night. He had missed his late afternoon nap and so was feeling a bit pooped, so no smiles, but he held up bravely and would be held by everyone. This morning he woke up all smiles and so I dressed him in something cheery.

Carter is four months old now and so much fun. He is getting a lot easier and seems like a baby now and not so much of an infant. He loves to be sung to and danced with. He loves walks in the garden and wants to touch leaves and bark and moss. He pats while I talk and he listens intently. I pick lemon leaves and rosemary and mint and really just anything I think might have a scent, rub it between my fingers and hold it up to him. He sniffs and sniffs, it's so funny. He knows just what to do as we have been doing this since he was a newborn. We call it our sniffy walk and do it a few times a day. I love every minute with this little guy. We have a lot in common with both of us loving the Eensy Weensy Spider so much.

I went old school with my table and used my aunt's Lenox Harvest. The kids said they like it and want to take it one day, so this table setting is a little reminder that it's theirs for the taking! If you are celebrating Thanksgiving, I hope your day is special and you find it easy to find things to be thankful for. If you are hosting, don't get too pooped out! Best, Kristen

To make a comment, please click here. 


Needlepoint Christmas Stocking Tutorial

Carter's needlepoint Christmas stocking is finished and I really enjoyed making it. Knitting, you have a rival.

My stocking kit, The Hugging Penguins by Dimensions, arrived fully stocked with lovely 100% wool yarn, cotton floss, needle, color printed canvas, and instructions including stitch chart and color chart. I was amazed at the quality, the organization of the materials, and the price (unbelievably less than $25!). I would definitely use a Dimensions kit again and I'm happy to recommend it to you. But now that the stitching is done, it needs to be turned into a stocking. Blocking and finishing a stocking does not have to be done by an expert seamstress (I'm definitely not); a confident seamstress will do just fine. Below is a step by step tutorial on how I block and finish a needlepoint canvas into a stocking. 

But I may as well start at the beginning. Everyone in our family has a needlepoint stocking, and of course our newest member needed one too! Carter's parents ordered this kit from Amazon. The first thing I did was graph Carter's name out on paper using this free alphabet chart. After finding the center of both the name and the stocking, I worked out from there using the counted stitch technique. I gave the project it's own basket. I found it easiest to work one color at a time using the basketweave stitch because I find it distorts the canvas the least. But as careful as I am and as even a tension I try to maintain, my finished canvas has some bias distortion and is rumpled. Perhaps a frame would avoid this but I don't like to use them. Anyway, all that will come out in the next step. 

The canvas above is completely covered in the basketweave stitch, but the stitching is not complete. The final top-stitching will be done after it has been blocked and dried. To block the canvas, submerge completely in lukewarm water until it becomes fully wet. Gently squeeze out excess water, lay flat on a terry towel and roll into a jellyroll to remove even more water. On a blocking board and armed with T-pins or tacks, stretch and pin the wet canvas to shape. Tug and pull and it will eventually succumb! Let dry in a warm shady spot; it may take a few days.

Now that it's dry you can add a few decorative stitches on top of the finished canvas. Outline stitches and French knots help define the intricate details such as the faces and snowflakes, and adding beads and trinkets make it uniquely yours. Above is the unembellished piece. Below, it's dry now and the top stitching has been added.

Now for the sewing up. You'll need bias piping tape; either make your own or purchase ready made as I have. Also, you'll need 100% cotton velveteen for backing (or sturdy wool felt or upholstery fabric) and 100% cotton fabric for lining. The kit comes with felt for the backing, but I prefer velveteen, also, I prefer to line my stocking. Fabric that is suitable for quilting is perfect for lining. Do not wash them. Cut the canvas to within 1/4" of the stitching. I didn't take a picture of this step but above you can see a little corner of what the trimmed canvas looks like.

With a zipper foot, machine baste the piping to the right side of your stocking, down one side, around the toe, and up the other side. Do not add the piping to the top quite yet. Stitch as closely as you can to the piping stitching going one stitch in to the needlepoint itself.

With sharp scissors, snip the curves every 1/2" up to, but no into, the stitching.

Cut the velveteen backing to shape leaving a generous 1/2" seam allowance all around to give you some wiggle room when stitching. With right sides facing, carefully pin all around.  Slowly machine stitch both sides and toe using the same stitch line as the piping, leaving top open. Trim and cut curves of backing. (Please don't look at the messy back of my needlepoint! In less than an hour it will never see the light of day again!)

Turn right side out and it will look like this.

Cut the lining, see above, making it 1/8" smaller all around as this will help it to fit inside the stocking a little better, however, do leave a few inches at the top for a cuff to fold under. With right sides facing, machine stitch lining all around leaving top open.  And this is where my pictures get sparse. I guess I got carried away with the task at hand and forgot my camera! But from now on you are on the home stretch. Next, you'll pin the piping to the  top of the stocking, all around, neatly overlapping at the back. Machine stitch in place.  Make a loop or folded tab for hanging. This goes on the "heel" side. Machine stitch in place. Fold down the lining cuff, slip lining fully down into stocking.  Carefully hand baste the folded lining edge to the top piping then slowly machine stitch this in place. Remove basting stitches. It is finished!

Using fabric glue I affixed some plastic snowflakes and a fuzzy pompom. Hugging Penguins is in the can!

The fabric glue is not completely dry in this picture, but it will be invisible when fully dry.

The link for Hugging Penguins kit from Dimensions.
A sweet little stocking for my sweet baby grandson.

For a tutorial on how to hand finish a needlepoint Christmas ornament,
please visit this post.

To make a comment, please click here. 


on the needles

My husband left for golf this morning and over his shoulder he tossed out a, "What are you going to do today?" Well, first, it's alternately cloudy/sprinkling/raining, so I don't know how much golf game he will get in, but I spent my morning warm and dry, organizing my knitting for the rest of the year and beginning to write my detailed holiday to-do lists. I actually just realized that Thanksgiving is next week and we all know that the Christmas season accelerates at an alarming speed the day after Thanksgiving. So take a deep breath folks, here it comes! 

As for my homemade gifts, Ravelry project pages with pictures and details is my best way to get them organized. Only a half dozen projects actually have a Christmas deadline and most of them have been started. The rest is just fun stuff. 

Loire Sweater for Annie in Rowan Big Wool. Adding long sleeves. Priority: high, must have done by Dec. 28.

Sweater for Stacy in Comfort Chunky (she lives in Southern California and she gets too warm for wool).
Priority: high--deadline Dec. 28, and I haven't even started. Gulp.
Three Mrs. Claus hats for Carter and his parents. Priority is high--must have done by Thanksgiving.

Carter's needlepoint stocking has the HIGHEST priority of everything.
This has to be stitched, blocked and turned into a stocking by this weekend.

High priority on this one too. Deadline is Christmas Day. It's a 3 mos. size Little Macaroon and Tiny Tot Hat
for a new little baby we'll see on Christmas. I am almost done. 

Weekender with this Dovestone Aran that I bought at Avenue Yarns in Berkeley. Low, low, low priority,
and if fact everything listed below is for me, so no deadline. (Kristen, please, please, ignore this until 2018.)

This project is also very low priority, but keeping my mitts of it is going to be impossible.
This yarn. THIS YARN! Sorry to shout at you, but honestly, this yarn is so scrumptious, I can't stop touching it.
I tried to put it away and out of sight, but that only lasted for two days. I blame Clara Parkes, the yarn wizard.

A Kim Hargreaves with Rowan Valley Tweed. I've just the the sleeves to do. Lovely yarn and simple, wearable pattern.

This lovely project doesn't even get it's own basket, that's because I want it out of my sight!
 I put in a bag and put it in the closet, top shelf. I just don't need to be tempted.
Lovely Shibui yarn for Tuva. My first Shibui experience. Nice, but must rest until January. Be strong.

 Rowan Super Fine Merino 4 ply is heaven and any pattern from Isabell Kraemer is also heaven.

Sweet Jane with lovely Swan's Island Ikat Firefly. I'm just to the shaping of the hem and then on to the sleeves.
I have shoved this too to the back of the closet, but I'll be happy to bring it out again.

To make a comment, please click here. 


Designer Showcase: OGE Knitwear

Meet Vera from OGE Knitwear Design. She hails from Australia and has a passion (perhaps an obsession!) for knitting and designing. Vera has spent her life crafting; you name the craft and she has surely tried it! But like so many of us, knitting became the craft that stuck. Vera's first experience with knitting was when she became an Aunty for the first time.  She really wanted to knit something special for her little nephew, but having never knitted before, the prospect was a little daunting. But like any dedicated maker-of-things, she taught herself how to knit. That was it--she fell in love with both her nephew and knitting!  

Design inspiration comes from many sources. A walk in the city or a stroll in the park can provide just the right spark to ignite a new design. Often a color or the touch of a new yarn will be the inspiration. Vera incorporates garter stitch, simple lace, and cables to achieve the knitted texture she loves. I love Vera's expert attention to details. Note the perfectly scaled increases for her tiny A-line dresses, the genius of delicate lace against rustic garter, the pint-sized touch of cables--not too much, not too little, but just right. I feel Vera has captured baby knitting at it's best.

Vera told me she hopes to write a knitting book one day. Don't you hope she does that soon?

Vera has kindly offered my readers a 25% discount on both the Lil' Rosebud Dress and Norwegian Fir Cardigan, scroll down to view them again. During checkout, use the coupon code, KNITIONARY to receive 25% off either or both.  This offer is good until November 17th, 2017, 12PM AEST. To get the discount on both, you must put both in your cart and purchase them together. 

Please enjoy a few more of my favorite OGE designs:

The Booties and Matching Helmut is a free pattern from Vera.

Vera has kindly offered my Knitionary readers a 25% discount on both the Lil' Rosebud Dress and the Norwegian Fir Cardigan, see below. During checkout, use the coupon code, KNITIONARY to receive 25% off either or both.  This offer is good until November 17th, 2017, 12PM AEST. To get the discount on both, you must put both in your cart and purchase them together. 

The Lil' Rosebud Dress is 25% with the coupon code KNITIONARY.
To receive the discount on both dress and cardigan below, you must put both in your cart and purchase them together. 

The Norwegian Fir Cardigan is 25% off with the coupon code KNITIONARY.
To receive the discount on both dress and cardigan, you must put both in your cart and purchase them together. 

To make a comment, please click here.