Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Little Dress Potholder

I ran across this book, EASY TO CROCHET POTHOLDERS Over 25 Patterns for Everyday use, Handmade Gifts, and Holiday Fun by Cornelia Dobiasch  at the library recently and since I only have a gazillion of my own knitting and crochet books filling the shelves at home {not to mention the numerous binders full of loose patterns!}, I needed to  check this one out as well. After all, there's stuff in there I DON'T have at home! And what a cute book it is.

So yesterday I decided to crochet this adorable Little Dress Potholder. Now I knew it would come out larger than the pattern said it would because I opted for a yarn from my stash instead of the recommended one, not caring too much about the size anyway. I really just wanted it to hang somewhere in my kitchen and look cute. I mean it's about the last thing I'm going to grab to pull something hot out of the oven with. Not only would it ruin the cuteness of the little dress it would burn the snot right out of me!

The yarn I used was Knit Picks CotLin. One skein of Cerise and one skein of Swan. I think it gave it a nice blend of softness and crispness. Plus I was tickled pink when I went on the hunt for a place to hang it last night and discovered it matches my kitchen curtains perfectly. As you can tell by the pictures, although they are overcast ~ sorry about that!~ my kitchen is very ecclectic, so just about anything goes. But I think this little cutie adds just the right touch. I'm quite pleased with it actually.
Oh! And the ratty little ancient looking cross stitch that hangs underneath it is something I made in 1986. It has the look of being stylishly tea stained but I must admit it is TIME stained, as it has hung around my kitchen all these years! And I just had to put one last dim picture in because my sweet kitty, Mercedes jumped in there just in time.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Oh ~So~ Charming!

Recently I made some knitted baby hanger covers and really liked them. Then I decided I would crochet some instead and I must admit I like the finished product much better and will be doing it this way from now on.

Knit Picks Shine Worsted is one of my favorite yarns for various baby items therefore I usually have quite a variety of it in my stash {although it is time to restock ~ yay!} and I have discovered yet another thing it is really nice for now.  So using that and a size F hook {I am a loose crocheter/knitter} I chained 11 stitches and after turning the first row continued to chain 1 and single crochet 10 stitches every row for approximately 48 rows or about 10 inches ~ to cover the hanger. Of course this could be adjusted for an adult sized hanger as well.

Then I added a little rosebud and leaf to the top center but the possibilities for embellishment are endless. I just happen to love roses for anything and everything I can use them on! Anyway, I think they are Oh~ So~ Charming!
"I haven't much time to be fond of anything," says Sergeant Cuff. "But when I have a moment's fondness to bestow, most times...the roses get it."
Wilkie Collins
A Fondness for Roses

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Happily Ever After

Though I have been under the weather the last couple of weeks I did make it to a gala event last  night with my family. The daughter of my husband's life long best friend got married, so I HAD to be there! It was beautiful and fun and it was good to be out of the house enjoying an afternoon and evening of laughter and good times with family and old friends. Just thought I would show a few photos.|
Chelsea & Eric {my youngest daughter & new Son~In~Law}

Just remember I am still looking a bit pastey! Still not up to snuff just yet. I have my daughter Hilary's bridal shower this afternoon at the local library. She is a librarian there and her coworkers are having the party for her today. It will be a lot of fun. There's always something deliciously exciting feeling about being in the library when it is closed to the public! Anyway, after that it will be back to my flannel jammies! Hope you are all have a wonderful ~ and healthy! ~ weekend!
Hilary & Brandon {my oldest daughter & soon to be Son~In~Law}
Brandon, Hilary, Chelsea, Eric, Me & Scott
And we all lived Happily Ever After!

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Gift of Friendship

Knowing that I have been sick for 16 days now {but who's counting?!!!}, a very dear friend of mine, Mary Anne showed up at my door this morning to check on me. There I stood in my flannel jammies and there she stood in her cute hat she knitted herself at one time. That's the beauty of real friendship ~ it doesn't matter how we are dressed for the meeting ~ or that we didn't know there was to be a meeting!

She came in with a flurry of movement, a hug and lots of laughter {because that's how she ALWAYS is}. Tucked under her arm was a pretty wrapped gift and card for me. Being the child I am, I LOVE  gifts. The unexpected ones are so much fun!

When I opened it I was so excited! Mary Anne made me this beautiful pink rose filet crochet doily!!!
I LOVE IT! Thanks so much dear friend, you really lifted my spirits on this bleak day.
And all you who spend all your time making things to give away know that we so seldom ever recieve anything someone made for us. What a treat. What a treasure. The real treasure, of course, is FRIENDSHIP.
"A friend is not only a rock of shelter to us in time of danger, but is also as rivers of water in a thirsty land, when our hearts cry out for life and love." 
J.R. Miller

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bunny Egg Cozies

Small projects have been the easiest for me since I have spent the last 14 days fighting the flu and another sinus infection. I have been working here and there on a stack of dish cloths for my daughter, Hilary, who is getting married in April and requested them. I will show a picture of them when I get a few more accomplished. But one can only do so many of those then a little change is needed!

So I rummaged around my bookshelf and landed on The Knitter's Year by Debbie Bliss. I pulled it out and thumbed through it again {backwards~ why do we always do that?}. And to my great delight, there on page 29, sat some darling little bunnies! Well, as I said the other day I just LOVE BUNNIES! So I grabbed some scrap yarn and got down to business and I mean in no time one of these little cuties was staring me back in the face.

I will note that instead of knitting it back and forth in stockinette stitch after casting on 36 stitches I connected it and worked it in the round. It was much faster that way. I see no reason not to knit round things in the round and am always amazed when top designers write the pattern to be worked flat. It's twice as fast this way, no purling and no seaming. When it's done, it's DONE. And THAT'S what I'm talking about!

I should also mention the fact that the ears are a bit stripey. After finishing the main part I realized there would not be enough yarn left to make both ears. So I grabbed another shade of pink and just randomly worked the two together in stripes. This is just what happens sometimes when we work from those bits of yarn left over in our stash. This bunny is not a gift.  He's just for me. My reminder that Spring is on the way. So I don't mind if he has a little extra character!

*Today's Project~ a Grey Bunny to keep this one company.
Hmmm.....wonder if after I place them next to each other in the china cabinet they will multiply over night? Wouldn't that be an awesome knitting experience?!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

God's Gifts

Today is a quiet, gloomy day with drizzle in our forecast. Being 101% female, Gabby instinctively knows that days like this call for certain reinforcements: a Barbie doll, a stuffed bunny, a favorite book and a good cup of hot chocolate ~ Oh! and maybe one of those pumpkin chocolate chip cookies too!
Yes ~ I realize it is only 10:30  in the morning ~ but..... this IS Grammy's house.........:)

 She crawled under the dining room table and announced that is where she would wait for her mid~morning snack. So Grammy put the kettle on, took the needed items from the china cabinet and got busy. While she settles in with all the things that make her feel good, I have a perfect cup of tea in one hand and {you guessed it!} a bit of unfinished knitting in the other.

The best thing is it matters not what the weather does around us, we are happy and cozy together for the day. What a wonderful blessing and comfort a child is always.
"God's gifts put man's best dreams to shame."
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Monday, February 20, 2012

Nana's Bunnies

Although it's only February I am thinking Spring already, as I know most of us are. Who isn't usually ready to throw off the Winter blues by now in favor of some warm, sunny days! Along with thoughts of Spring always come plans for Easter. And I LOVE bunnies! So when I found this pattern for "Nana's Bunnies" , once again in my newest knitting book, Vintage Knits for Modern Babies, I was immediately smitten. They're just so very sweet.

The pattern says they will be 5 1/2 inches but mine are 7 inches instead. Just the right size for little hands and they would even fit nicely into a pocket. I used Knit Picks Shine Worsted Cotton/Modal blend {one of my favorite yarns for baby items} for mine. The are stuffed lightly and snuggly soft.

I think children of all ages will like these cute flop eared toys. The pink striped one is for my granddaughter, Gabby, who will be 5 by Easter and the blue striped one is for little Sir Henry who comes to Knit Night with his Mommy and is only 3 months old. I figure Gabby can carry hers in a pocket or a little purse and set it up for tea party's with her dollies, while Sir Henry can drool all over his. Though they be just simple little things, I get tickled every time I look at them and squeeze their sweet baby softness!
"Teach us delight in simple things."   Rudyard Kipling

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Ruffled Scarves

I seem to have a crochet hook hot glued to my hand these days! I recently made one of these lovely Ruffled Scarves from Erika Knight's Essential Crochet and fell head over heels in love with it so much that I immediately ran out to the yarn shop for more Encore worsted weight yarn and made a second one.

I love the flouncy, feminine, all over the place ~ drapiness of this scarf. It is the perfect combination of useful and beautiful. In all its largesse it is quite warm. I made them both rather long at 88 inches so they would have plenty of length to work for lots of sumptuous wrapping. I think they are the ultimate "Girlie" scarf.
Even Phoebe wanted to wear one before it was finished!

"The beautiful is as useful as the useful, perhaps more so."  Victor Hugo

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sweet Little Things

Sorry I disappeared for a few days. I have been sick in bed with the flu. Still too sick to sit here for too long but wanted to post a picture of my recent small project I was working on. I purchased a new book last week at my local yarn shop called VINTAGE KNITS for Modern Babies by Hadley Fierlinger and just before going to a baby shower on Saturday I spotted the simple pattern for baby hanger covers. I quick made one for a gift {the one with a frog on it} then made some more later on. I happened to have some nice wooden hangers on hand that I had ordered to use as gifts or to sell with knitted items.

There are also a couple of pictures of my granddaughter Gabby enjoying some goodies at the baby shower and then giving treats to my cousin Kathy's dogs at her house after the shower.
Looks more like a dog and pony show!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hummingbird Cake

3 C. Unbleached All~Purpose Flour
1 t. Baking Soda
1 t. Cinnamon
1/2 t. Nutmeg ~ freshly grated
1 t. Fine Sea Salt
1 C. Granulated Sugar
1 C. Light Brown Sugar ~ packed
1 1/4 C. Canola Oil
3 Large Eggs
2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
2 Cups Mashed Very Ripe Bananas ~ about 5 Large Bananas
8 Ounce Can Crushed Pineapple ~ drained
1 1/2 Cups Chopped Pecans
*1 Recipe for Cream Cheese Frosting

Position rack in the lower third of the oven & preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9 ~ by ~ 2 ~ inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with parchment paper and butter it as well. Lightly dust the pans with flour, tapping the pans on the counter to shake out the excess.

Sift toghether the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, & salt; set aside.

Cream both sugars & oil together til smooth, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then mix for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, bananas, & pineapple, mixing until just combined. On low speed, add the flour mixture in thirds, beating until combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Fold in 1/2 cup of the pecans.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and smooth the tops with a spatula. Tap the pans firmly on countertop to remove any air bubbles from the batter. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Let cool for 15 minutes, then remove layers from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.
Decorate frosted cake with remaining 1 cup of pecans. Cake can be stored wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Serve at room temperature.


1 Stick Unsalted Butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
Two 8 ~ ounce packages Cream Cheese, cut into chunks, at room temperature
1T. Pure Vanilla Extract
8 Cups Sifted Confectioners' Sugar

Beat butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth and creamy, 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add confectioners' sugar, beating until light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes. The frosting can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.


Add 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon when you add the confectioners' sugar.

And of course no cake in the world is complete without a good cup of tea!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Yarn Therapy

Crocheting Has a Positive Effect on Your Health:
  • Reduces Stress
  • Slows Heart Rate and Breathing
  • Stimulates the Brain and Increases Concentration
  • Reduces Anxiety and Frustration
I have read this in various magazines over the years and even inside a crochet kit I once bought. And I am a firm believer in the many benefits of brewing a good cup of tea, sitting in a nice comfy chair, propping up your feet and partaking in some serious yarn therapy, whether it be a crochet hook or a pair of knitting needles in your hands. I go for whichever the mood of the day dictates! And believe me, it helps get me through the day! Each stitch calms me when I need it and gives me a sense of all over serenity. It also connects me one stitch at a time to the rest of my day, the rest of what I need to accomplish. Just a few stitches here and there throughout the day can keep me getting through my housework better usually than a whole day with  no yarn in hand. I just simply reach a point where I must take a break in things and feel the yarn gliding and slipping through my fingers, the sureness of the hook or needle digging into the next stitch and going forward, the magic of something beautiful taking shape in my hands that didn't exist before....  I LOVE it all! I even love the smell of the yarn.What can I say? I'm an addict!
In March of 2000 I was forced to leave a banking job after being diagnosed with Systemic Lupus. I also have Rheumatoid Arthritis. Over the last few years I have had a roller coaster ride. This last year being especially difficult. My RA decided to get worse and the doctor put me on a weekly chemotherapy medication last Spring that took quite a bit of adusting to. My white blood cell count already runs low due to disease activity and now my immune system is even more compromised from the medication. During the Winter I am practically reclusive as I avoid large groups of people in the height of flu season. This is hard for me since I am a people person. Let me just say ~ YARN IS A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF MY DAY! I will say, along with the medication the doctor also ordered me to "keep knitting" because it really is good for the arhtritis in my hands. So there! I have doctors orders to play with yarn!!!
 Then in the late summer my husband was dianosed with pancreatic cancer. He had a major surgery, removing 60% of his pancreas, his spleen & a soft ball sized cancerous tumor. He finished radiation treatments 4 weeks ago and is miraculoulsy doing very well. God is more than good! And we Praise Him.
Throughout all of this, my yarn therapy has kept my sanity, given my hands something to do when my mind won't let me sleep, and comforted me while I spent 6 days and nights in a hospital room with a very sick husband.
 I had no idea nearly 30 years ago, at the age of 18, when the receptionist at the beauty salon I worked at taught me to crochet what she was actually doing for me. I learned to knit about 4 years later and my love of both have been an absolute life line for me always.
 There are times when I have too much pain and have to go a day or a few without my yarn work {which I HATE} and I sleep in therapeutic gloves and I rest and take extra anti~inflammatory's and I have one goal in mind... I MUST GET BETTER... I MUST BE ABLE TO KNIT OR CROCHET.  And it always works out again. I still have a hard time pacing myself. But the gentle art of knitting and crocheting truly have been very therapeutic for me and have taught me how to slow down and just BREATHE. 
Anyway, over the weekend I put some yarn therapy to good use on a pretty little crocheted baby blanket for my cousin's daughter who is expecting her first baby in March. This will be my cousin's first time to be a grandma and, needless to say, she can't wait! And as we all know baby boy things are harder to come up with. I love crocheted baby blankets. I chose this pattern due to its simplicity, hoping it would make it look more like a little man blankie. Due to the very nature of crochet it's so lacy that it so often ends up looking girlie. I like this one though and think the nice fern green yarn helps to man it up a bit.

*The photo at the top shows my daughter's kitty, Scout, laying on the folded blankie. Every time I laid this down, while in process all weekend long, she piled herself on top of it. She was quite delighted with the finished product!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Knitted Knockers

A few years ago I saw an advertisement in the back of a knitting magazine for these knitted breasts. I was very intrigued but couldn't figure out where to get a pattern for them. Then finally one day last summer I walked into my LYS and there one sat all made up. I was so excited! I said, "I HAVE to have the pattern, where is it?!" Well, don't you know they were giving them out for free to anyone who will make some of these little beauties for the American Cancer Society.
So I grabbed that pattern in my hot little hand, bought some various yarns for the project {plus used some from my unending stash!} and before long I was in the boob business around here. I mean it got to where I had to be careful because without thinking I was asking everyone who came to the house if they wanted to see know...! Then I'd have to explain myself in a hurry and show them what I was working on and tell them about the whole project. And of course I did have quite a bit of fun showing them off to my knit night girls! Even Hubby got a kick out of all of our carrying on that night. Anyway, back to business here.  They are even pretty from the back side. They are knit in the round on dpn's and are actually rather soothing to work on. You choose whatever cup size you want and they really don't take much time to make. And I think they are even pretty from the back side. I like the way they dip in at the center, making them concave so they stay in place better when slipped inside a bra. I think the whole thing is ingenious!

And I love knowing they are going for a good cause. The whole story behind the pattern is definitely worth reading so please do look it up when you have time at The Knitting Experience. For those of you who are interested in making and donating some but are crocheters there is also the crocheted version of the pattern available.
Another good site to look up is Knitty Titty Committee where their goal is to help mastectomy patients obtain free or low cost knitted prostheses. The silicone ones are heavy and can cause sweating and irritation so these knitted or crocheted versions make nice alternatives. They say the ladies enjoy them when they are wild and funky so have fun with them! One of my knit night girls even put a tiny silver ring on hers to pierce the nipple. I mean ~ why not?! 

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Sweet For My Sweet

I was delighted when I found this adorable pattern on the Cherry Heart blog for Yummy Scrummy Cupcakes & Minis  just recently. Thanks so much for the free download Sandy! I immediately printed it off and knitted one up for my sweet little granddaughter Gabby who, as I've mentioned before, loves a tea party.
The pattern was so nice to work with and was done up in no time. The only thing I did different was to add a crocheted piped frosting edge at the base of the chocolate icing. I thought Gabby would enjoy the extra bit of fluff!

Then I went back to the Cherry Heart blog and crocheted a sweet tiny rosebud and leaf to sit atop the confection using her pattern for Rose Curtain Ties. Gotta love her  WAY TOO CUTE STUFF!  

Now I must make more of these yummy scrummy's, as I'm sure my Little Sweet will need a few extras for her friends to play tea party too!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

One Stitch At A Time

One of my greatest pleasures in life is to pass on my love for knitting and crocheting to someone else.  Over the years I have done this as many times as possible and hope to do so as long as I have breath in my body and the ability to hold a hook and a pair of needles! The youngest student I ever taught was my friend Amy's sweet daughter Betsi when she was only six years old. I put a pair of knitting needles in her tiny little hands, showed her how to cast on and in one afternoon she took to it like a fish in water.

Now that sweet girl is 17 and still knitting away. As part of her homeschooling this year her mother sends her to my house on Wednesday afternoon's for more knitting lessons to advance her skills. We enjoy our time together very much. {Even the poochies are always happy to see her!} We play with yarn and chat and wonder where the time goes. How fun it has been to be a part of this special young ladies life one stitch at a time.

For next week's lesson I'm going to put a crochet hook in her hand for the first time. I can hardly wait!