Learning to Knit

Buttercup's first knit!
I never made any of kids learn to knit.  It was always the child that came to me with the interest.  I fully believe that if a child does not have an interest in knitting or crochet then don't force it.  It is a craft that takes a lot of patience and while great for young minds, you don't want to force them to do it.  That would just take all the good benefits of knitting and toss them out the window!

Rogue's first knit!
That being said, if you knit, they will probably want to as well.  I am not sure I am a very good instructor, but somehow the kids figure it out.  I think Lily helped Buttercup more than I did!

A great place to start with teaching kids to knit is finger knitting.  This is so fast and easy, they will get the quick gratification which always hooks the new crafter.  Here is a really cute tutorial from Frontier Dreams: Four Finger Headband.

One great resource is the book A First Book of Knitting for Children.  It has some great little projects for beginning knitters!

Here are some links about teaching kids to knit:

Most of all have fun.  All my kids down to Buttercup know how to knit.  I am amazed when one of them creates something and the joy it brings them.  It is a skill they are very proud of!

Hermione's Everyday Socks

She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.

She opens her hand to the poor,

and reaches out her hands to the needy.

She is not afraid of snow for her household,

for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
 She makes herself coverings;
    her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Proverbs 31:19-22 

I was flipping through the pages of Parents magazine, some odd eleven years ago, when I came across an article that was cleverly titled, “Anyone Can Crochet!”  I accepted that challenge.

I was pregnant with my fourth child and felt a deep urge to create something for the sweet and precious life budding within my womb.  I worked hard, making a purple single crochet baby blanket, which is a favorite still today.

Only a few years later, pregnant with my sweet Buttercup, I felt that urge again.  I had to create something, but this time I decided to learn to knit.  Again a purple baby blanket was created and cherished.

The blessing of knowing how to create beautiful and sometimes comical treasures from yards of colorful yarn has been one I am so grateful to possess.  I am not sure if anyone could every truly regret learning to make something with their hands, be it knitting, crochet, or sewing.  The benefits are tremendous.  There is so much good you can do for others with such a gift too.

Most of my crafting is for others.  I have only in a total of eleven years of working with yarn made three things for myself.  A scarf, a pair of fingerless gloves, and a sweater, which I proceeded to frog because I didn’t like it!  Can you imagine spending months of labor on something, only to pull it all apart? 

It had been a reward, that sweater.  A reward for losing 70 pounds (10 of which I have gained back, much to my dismay), I felt a bit discouraged when I couldn’t stand to wear it.

The balls of yarn now reside, cuddled together in the dark depths of my knitting basket, an antique wooden piece of furniture that had once been my grandmother’s sewing basket.  They will soon be sweaters for my two youngest daughters.

My friends lamented my frogging and insisted I make something for myself, as did my family.  So, after much thought I decided to do something I have only successfully done once before.

I made socks!

I have tried numerous times in the last few years to become a sock knitter.  After reading about how wonderful it is in Knitting Rules, how could I not want to try?  I had decided that after years of trying I was never going to be able to create something warm for an adult foot (baby feet, well, that is another story).

My thoughts wandered back to this long ago desire.  Another mountain to climb!  And so, just the other day, I finally accomplished something else I never thought I could.  I made a pair of socks.  A double reward for all my efforts!

There they are, in all their glory, warming my generous feet.  And Knit Picks has just received an order from this knitter for a few more skeins of fingering weight yarn.  There are 20 feet in this household, you know.  And 18 of them have never known the joy of homemade socks.  I have some work to do!

Another Pillowcase and a Skirt

Awhile back, I made some pillowcases for the little girls (click the link for the tutorial).  I am planning on trying to make one for everyone.  I didn't think about it till after a few birthdays had passed but they would make great birthday presents.  A new pillowcase a year?  They are super fast to make, even if you embroider their name and a cute little design.  Best of all it is a great gift for any age.  Even a teenager will like a funky pillowcase.  Oh, I need to find some Doctor Who fabric.  I did see some Downtown Abbey fabric the other day on Facebook, hmmm...  The possibilities are endless!

Anywho, I finally got Bear's done!  I ran out of the thread color I was using to embroider a little cowboy boot next to his name and wasn't sure when I was going to be able to actually find the exact color, since the store I bought it at is no loner selling thread.  Then school started for us, and that didn't go so well, so I had to rearrange everything... blah blah blah.

Well I finally got it done.  I am not as happy with the boot, but there you go.  Move on.  You will see I opted for the same brown as his name, trying to make it all meld together.  You know, an attempt to make it look like I didn't do the rest of the boot in blue on purpose.  Oh, I probably should have said anything, huh?  Anyway, Bear loved it.  He hugged it and then ran to his room to lay on it for a little while.  He then informed me I should have used penguins.  He likes penguins.

Can't please everyone all of the time, I suppose.  Humpf.

Aside from making pillowcases.  I made a skirt.  I took some of the leftover fabric from Sweet Pea and Buttercup's pillowcases and made Sweet Pea her birthday skirt.  This was so easy and I was rewarded with big smiles!  No mention of penguins at all.

I basically sewed the two strips together, made a tube, and then sewed in the elastic.  I did do an extra fancy stitch over the place where I sewed the two fabrics together, for stability and a little extra something.

There are probably fancy terms for all of this, but I don't know them!  Anyway, she loved it and so do I!  I wish I had more to make one for Buttercup.  I might have to go down to JoAnn's and pick some up soon!

The Easiest Pillowcase

...even I could make it!

My camera died.  I am in all black.  Until then I must use my iPad, so forgive any blurriness.
Last Christmas while thinking over my handmade Christmas ideas I had thought that I might be able to actually make a pillowcase for each of the kids and embroider their name on the cuff.  This did not happen, as I often make more plans than I can possibly carry out, but it had been on my mind a lot lately, since it has seemed that someone broke into our house and stole all our pillowcases.

I really ought to report it.

Anyway, while perusing Facebook while nursing Tiger and getting kicked by his little helicopter legs, I saw that the lovely Jessica of Shower of Roses had enrolled her girl's in a sewing class.  Chiquita had picked the most adorable fabric (they both did, but I am rather partial to nesting dolls).  I was thrilled when she told me she had picked it up a JoAnn's!

So trotting down there I found it and bought enough to make two pillowcases and enough cowboy fabric to make three pillow cases for the boys.

The next part was actually making them.  I thought I might just measure the fabric up to another pillowcase (if they hadn't all been stolen, evil I tell you) but thought better of it.  No, no.  I am going to do this right!

So thank you You Tube!  I found this excellent and super easy tutorial on how to make a really nice pillowcase.  Not just something you whip up and pray for the best.

Basically you need three different fabric, or the same what ever suits your fancy.  One strip of 2 inches, one of 9 inches, and another of 27 inches.

Now, I thought I would go for the embroidery thing, after all it is much too hot to be knitting on my enormous sweater, so I embroidered nesting dolls from Doodle Stitching: The Motif Collection (I adore this book.  I love this book, it is the best book ever... ok, well best book ever for embroidery... I digress).  I then embroidered their names.

Buttercup's came together like a dream!  Whoosh done.

Sweet Pea's?  Poor thing.  "Mama?  Is dat a mine?"  "Yes dear."  "Mama, is dat a mine?"  "Yes, dear."  Her nesting doll didn't come out as cute and I had to rip out the seam on the cuff part twice because I kept sewing the part with name on the inside, even though I was so sure that second time.... Anyway, I tore out the seam again, and put it away.  Returned to it the next day and finished it after having to trim the seams up from all the fraying.

So poor Sweet Pea, I don't like hers as much.

All in all, this pattern is so easy and really fun, if you don't have to rip out seams.  But ripping out anything hand crafted is never fun.  I think it might just have to become a tradition around here for birthdays or Christmas... especially with all those pillowcase thieves around.

Bear's North Shore

I am so excited!  Bear's North Shore is done!  
I had to wait forever to get more yarn so I could finish it.  

I could see the finish line last night as I went to sleep and actually dreamed about this sweater!

As you can imagine, every spare moment this morning, which included a lot of read alouds from Librivox and Little House CD's, I was knitting away. 

It soon became apparent that this sweater was taking priority.  Shhh... don't tell.

I was a little worried it might be a bit funky with the orange.  It is so hard to see it in your head when all you have is the color boxes in your Knit Picks cart.

As I was knitting, I was worrying it would be a bit... odd.  But now that I am done I really like it.

It looks so cute on him!

The Maria & Amy's Elegance

This week I am going to do something a little different and share with you some of my daughter Lily's creations!

March is a big birthday month here for us.  My birthday is the 4th and Daisy's is, well, today!  So Lily designed two new patterns for us! 

For Daisy's birthday she designed this incredible hat: The Maria.  

 And this is the one she made me!

 It is called Amy's Elegance.  

It is knit with two strands of sport weight but you could also do it in a bulky yarn.  There are not many shawls using bulky weight yarn and this one is so cute!

So yeah, we are totally spoiled!  Did I tell you she also made me another shawl!  It's another pattern she is working on and I will share it with you when she is done working on it, too.  Oh and you need to check out her blog: Lily Caroline Photography.  She has a post up right now with luscious yarn photos she took at a visit to one of our local yarn shops in Ashland, Oregon, The Websters, where, last Sunday I bought my first Madelinetosh.  Giggle.

Tiger's Antler

So for Tiger's birthday I made him his very own Antler sweater and hat.  I made the hat for Tony and the sweater for Bear.  I messed up on Bear's though, using the wrong kind of yarn and it kind of looks terrible.  All my fault, not the pattern! 

The hat came out so cute.  Why do hats look so cute on babies, yet they are so hard to keep on them?

I can't believe he is one years old now.  Sniffle.

I used Knit Picks Gloss and the color just makes my blue eyed boy's eyes pop!  Do you see my rock?  I inherited it from my mother.  It is a good reminder to all who enter my home, including myself.

Ok, I took like three million pictures and I want to share them all.  I mean, come on?  Don't you just want to squeeze him?

There is a little look at his sweater.  

 I am really happy with how it came out and it fits him just right.  A little big so he can wear it for awhile, as you can see from his missing hand in that one photo up there. 

I am very happy with all the patterns I have purchased from Tin Can Knits and am already working on another one!  I am currently making something up for Bear to make up for messing up on his Antler.  This time I am making him the North Shore sweater.

I think Tiger will get a lot of use out of his sweater!  Which makes this knitting mama very happy!