January Project: Clever Coasters

I am happy to say that I completed my January project, the Clever Coasters from Bend the Rules Sewing (pg 77), a few days ago. I'd just been waiting for a sunny day to get some good shots. I chose to make a set of 9 personalized coasters for a friend whose birthday is coming up, and chose to use this gorgeous Kaffe Fassett fabric that I'd been hoarding. She's got these really pretty blue glasses that I think will look great with this fabric.

I loved how quick, fun, and easy these coasters were to make. I tend to like my coasters a little stiffer, so I might use batting instead of flannel for the next set I make (which will be for our own home). Also, instead of using binding (as suggested) for the word strips, I used some polyester twill tape I had around. I am less than thrilled by how the word strips turned out - they kind of puckered when I stitched them on. Maybe that was a result of my sewing machine settings, and not so much due to using the polyester twill tape... Still, next time I'll be using some cotton twill tape or binding for the word strips instead.

I am so happy I finally made these coasters, since they caught my eye the first time I read the book back in 2007. It's shameful it's taken me this long to make something out of it, but I guess that's the point of this self-imposed challenge: Stop looking at my books and start making!

Off to pick out fabric for the next set of coasters!


Lake, Splash, Root Beer, & some Grass, too!

Have you seen this adorableness? When I first saw the pattern for this Cheery Scrap Cap, I just knew I had to make one. And
who better to make one for than our nephew, who we will visit next month.
After digging through my yarn bag, I realized that I didn't have quite as many boy colors left in my stash as I'd hoped: just a tiny amount of Lake and some Splash, Root Beer, and Leaf (Spud & Chloe sweater - yum!). Not wanting to make a trip to my LYS, I decided to modify the pattern a bit, ending up with a 10 stitch repeat instead of the 12 stitch repeat the pattern uses. I couldn't figure out how to modify the skulls and crossbones, which was a total bummer, since I think they'd have looked adorable in Splash on a Root Beer background. Baby M loved modeling this hat and was very bummed when he realized it wasn't for him. I guess I'll just have to make one for him after all... :)

This was only my second time doing some color work, and I found using this many colors a little confusing. I think I need to practice carrying the yarn in my free fingers, because I kept getting them slightly tangled in the back. I must say that the underside doesn't look as clean as I wish it did, but I guess that's ok...

And our newest nephew, who we will meet next month, needed a hat to coordinate with big brother's! So I (yet again!) used Amanda Keeys' book Baby Beanies to whip up a Pompom Bear hat. I am a sucker for pompoms on babies, and cannot wait to see that adorable babe in his new hat!


January Project: almost there!

We've been busy around here living life and spending some quality time with a special Auntie that came to visit. Baby M had such fun with his Auntie that I think she went home with a sore back, but a very full heart. We are so grateful she was able to come out and visit and spend some time with us.
I realized this morning that 2/3 of the month of January has already passed, and I have not yet completed my January project. It doesn't matter, though, because I am ready to go! I chose Amy Karol's Bend-the-Rules Sewing as my book for January, and have had such fun re-reading it and tagging all the projects I want to make out of it. There are so many I want to make!! Of course, with just 11 days to go til the end of the month, I will have to choose just one and get it completed. This morning, as I watched Baby M playing with his dinosaurs ("Dinos!"), I chose my January project: the Clever Coasters. LOVE! I have not chosen the fabric yet, but will be back before the end of January with a project to share!
In the meantime, I wanted to show you my new favorite toddler hat (yes, must admit he is no longer a baby but rather a toddler. Sob!). I made the loopy pixie hat in Amanda Keey's book using some Mochi Plus. It is so ultra soft and nice to knit with, and I love that it is self-striping. The green and brown have inspired multiple comments about him being a little acorn or a pea, which always makes me giggle inside. I have since made two more, both gifts, using Cascade 220 Superwash. Not as soft, but it is machine washable, which is always a plus for a baby gift. I really need to learn to knit something other than baby hats... after all, how many hats does one little boy really need? And, worse, what will I knit when summer rolls around?!


New Year, New Projects

I love new beginnings, and a new year is just that: a time to start over, with resolutions and good intentions. It's also a time to clean out our home, make time to get organized and simplify. Or at least, I like to think so.

A few days ago, in an attempt to start simplifying my life, I took inventory of the very large number of craft books that I own. As I sat studying these books, I realize they perfectly map the route I've taken with my creative endeavors over the last 10 years. And as much as I love these books and what they represent, the truth is I've outgrown many of them.

So I found myself wondering: If I had to get rid of all but 12 of the craft books I own, which would I keep?

It was difficult for me to choose, but I decided the 12 that I currently can't get enough of make the cut. And then I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be cool to actually make a project a month from a different book each month?"

And so, this year, I am challenging myself to complete one project a month from one of these books (listed in no particular order):
  1. Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross
  2. Even More Quilts for Baby by Ursula Reikes
  3. Baby knits for beginners by Debbie Bliss
  4. The Big Book of Baby Knits by Zoe Mellor
  5. Itty Bitty Toys by Susan B. Anderson
  6. Bend-the-Rules Sewing by Amy Karol
  7. Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson
  8. Handmade Home by Amanda Blake Soule
  9. Stitched in Time by Aicia Paulson
  10. Material Obsession by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke
  11. Seams to Me by Ana Maria Horner
  12. Baby Beanies by Amanda Keeys
These are all books that I love to browse through for inspiration, but that, with a few exceptions, I've rarely made an actual project out of. This is the year. I'll pick the projects this weekend, and be back in a few days to report on my selections.