Friday, October 30, 2009

dolly molly cardigan

Here are some photos of Molly and Ava, two of Hana's dolls. I made Molly for Hana's second birthday, and Ava for her fourth. They are both made from materials and pattern from Weir Dolls and Crafts. Susan Weir is a wonderful dollmaker and teacher (basically, from what I can tell, she's just wonderful in general), and I'm so lucky that she is local and I have had the opportunity to learn Waldorf dollmaking from her. Luckily for everyone else, she has a great web shop where you can get materials, kits, patterns, craft books, and so much more!The dolls are each wearing a sweater I knit for them. I based the construction of the sweaters on a top-down cardigan I knit for Hana a few years ago from a Knitting Pure & Simple pattern. I like KP&S patterns for the seamlessness and simplicity of the garments; a knitter can add design elements to their heart's content. So what I did was to shrink the idea way down to dolly size (these girls are 16" dolls). The first one (blue) was the prototype I knit last winter where I fiddled a lot with stitch count and scale. Eventually, I got it! Ava's pink sweater is just recently off the needles, knit from my old notes. I'm happy to say that between the notes and my memory, I could finish in a few nights' worth of knitting! Hana picked out some cute ladybug buttons from the button drawer, and now Ava's cozy too. Hat's are in the works too, but shhh... those are a surprise! If you're interested in knitting one yourself from my notes (don't worry, I tidied them up, yours won't have coffee stains), please leave a comment or email me, and I'll send you a copy.

my place and yours: bedside

This weeks theme for My Place and Yours was (I'm a day late! - what else is new?) Bedside.
Ooh, that's scaaary, because my night stand is pretty much always a piled up mess! I am not exaggerating; even if I tidy it up, within a week, the piles begin to grow. Showing this here is an exposure to be sure! I'm almost done with the novel, Hana and I just started Little House on the Prairie (Jack, the dog, came back!), we're on our third or fourth round of The Children of Noisy Village, Mike Mulligan and Maryann need excavation, Under the Chinaberry Tree is under there somewhere, the Yarn Harlot is always good for a laugh, and Good Night, Moon needs no explanation. The stuff (shall I say "junk"?) you see up there are mostly items we remove right before bed: necklace, hair clip, bracelet, etc. I can't explain the socks. Little bits of yarn also need no explaning. I still can't believe I'm showing you this. Lucy would be proud!
I just checked in at Meet Me at Mike's, and this week's theme is Blog HQ. Care to play?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

we interrupt Socktoberfest...

... for Halloween preparations!
We call her Yee-Haw Hana! I hope your preparation are going well, too!
Ps - I will post pictures of the doll sweater before Halloween.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

watched pot knits

Tonight, we had "Oops, I-forgot-to-roast-the-peppers-this-morning-before-I-left-the-house-for-the-day-pasta". Have you ever made that recipe? ;-)Olive oil, onion, garlic, Italian sausage, red peppers, broccoli, diced tomatoes, chili pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and a pot of pasta! It was kinda fun and very yum!

The chef's recommended knitting to go with this particular dish is a top-down dolly cardigan. Last year, I crafted a sweater for Hana's dolly, Molly (yes, we repeat that phrase a lot around here!) I based the construction heavily on a top-down cardigan I knitted for Hana from a Knitting Pure and Simple pattern. I love the Knitting Pure and Simple patterns for their simplicity which allows a nice amount ad lib, especially for the hack designer in me. The gauge is smaller than the girls' sweater, at 5 stitches/inch for the dolls. I'm knitting this version with some Cascade 220 Heather which a friend passed on to me (thanks, S!) When I knit the first one, I wrote out the pattern (read: scribbled some notes), and am re-knitting and re-scribing with the hopes of being of some use to other dolly clothes making folks out there. Of course, I'll try my hand at adding it to the blog as a downloadable pattern, but I am no expert there... at the least there will be a pattern post with some photos, perhaps over the weekend. {Alison, I might need your tech-support guys to make a house call!}
And I am happy to report that I've completed a few more mini-socks/stockings for the Socktoberfest mini-socks/stocking knitalong that I was crazy enough to start! I'm still a wee bit behind, but I want to show that I'm still in the game. From the left: Sophie's Toes (a gifted sample in my last order, thank you, Emily), mystery stashed leftover, and Lorna's Laces Sock in what I call the bumble bee colorway. Emily Parson, the very talented and kind dyer of Sophie's Toes, just had an update at her Etsy shop yesterday, and I think there is still some left... just sayin'!
Now, I'm going to curl up on the sofa with some tea and my Through The Loops Mystery Sock clue for this week! Happiness, simple happiness.
Cozy wishes to you - xoxo

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

my place and yours: on the shelf

Over at Meet Me at Mike's, a meme has begun called "My Place and Yours", and each week a participant will announce a theme to post about. Since I am often at a loss for what to talk/write about here, I've decided that this is a good way to start a "conversation." Plus, the joiner in me want to play along... :)

These shelves are windowsills which flank our stove, so I look at them a lot and like to keep sweet items that mark a special time or special someone(s). Many of the items are gifts like the little tagua nut bunny and the gem stone hearts. Our son made the tiles at a local tileworks on a special day out with friends shortly after his baby sister was born. I cried when the tiles came home because I felt like I missed out on a special time; one of the earliest emotional struggles for this mama who now had two babes. Now, I look at them and remind myself that it's important to accept the village which helps to bring up our children; that is not an easy thing for me, so I need to be reminded a lot.

More gifts on the other windowsill: a stone egg from Koji, another labrodorite heart, a simple beeswax candle from a dear friend which she instructed me to burn for myself (self-care reminder!), and a tag which says,

I don't want life
to imitate art,
I want life to be art.
On the reverse, it says, "art." This was a gift from a friend who always sparks a fire under me that says, "Let's just make it!", and she makes day-to-day life fun and special all the time, she really does make an art of it.
So, there you have it, this weeks meme installment from my place. Wanna' play?

Monday, October 19, 2009

happy + happy!

The weather I love autumn for has returned! Today was sunny, crisp, and perfect. We could be outdoors without all of the layers we needed last week, and boy, did it feel great! So, I present the other knitting I referred to a couple of posts ago. The cold weather last week pushed this up the priority list past the mini-socks I've fallen behind on. It is a Top Down Garter Stitch Yoke Vest by Naganasu. I am so grateful to designers on Ravelry (like FaceBook for knitters) who produce such clear patterns. This is such a smart piece; from the short-row shaping which drops the front neckline down while keeping the back neckline up slightly higher, to the shoulder cozying cap sleeves, it keeps Hana's core warm without feeling bulky or constricting.

It is knit without seams which I love, and has a false seam down the sides which not only looks smart, but keeps the boxy shape and does not allow the sides to sag under their own weight. Buttonholes are worked along the front, which means no button bands, and I consider that a bonus with regard to construction as well as to aesthetic; simple is nice! When the garter stitch portion is complete, so are the sleeves, and the knitting continues until the yarn almost runs out. I reserved a bit of yarn to go back to the sleeves and pick up the sleeve stitches which were on a holder and some from the underarm, and then I cast off right away on the first round; this made a neat finish on the sleeves.

When I dug around in the button drawer, I came up with some which were saved from an old top (which has since become a tote bag!). I was pretty sure they would be rejected by Hana since they are kind of bland, but she surprised me! In turn, I surprised her with a different color thread for each button. Happy + happy!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

+ <3

Here's to my self-love practice! Yummy ginger cookie chopped and sprinkled over ice cream!

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Getting cozy! It has been unseasonably cold this past week, and somehow this woolly girl found herself with no slippers. How did that happen?! No time to knit and felt a pair, I felt it was an emergency! So in keeping with my interest in looking after myself more regularly, I fixed it: So, now you don't need to worry that I'm cold. ;-) By the way, Alison wrote out some nice thoughts about taking care of oneself; reading that was like she was talking directly to me (as she's an old friend, I could even hear her voice).

Look what came in the mail!!! Some Sophie's Toes in the Christmas Tree colorway; isn't it great? I was looking to score some more Christmas Lights, but wasn't shopping at the right time over at Emily's shop. No problem! This is going to make a bunch of mini-socks/stockings and a pair of baby booties. I think I was getting a bit bogged down with so many in the same color, so looking forward to a fresh color should help me get caught up. Emily also sent a small ball of an autumnal colorway that will make a mini also! Yippee for knitterly kindness! Thank you, Emily.
Yes, you read right, "caught up." I've got eleven mini-stockings knit. Today is the 17th. I think I can catch up, but I am not going to be self-critical because I have been legitimately otherwise occupied. By otherwise, I mean: lots of soccer games (did I mention the cold?), substituting in kindergarten :), other knitting, family-keeping, birthday celebrating, and it's all great and fun but has not led to many finished minis. The other knitting that has been keeping me busy is almost done, so I'll try to get some nice pics and post again soon. Oh, and I won't come back without at least one more mini-sock! ;)

xoxo and <3 (that heart is from Hana)

ETA - I just noticed that Emily has taken her shop to a show today, so check back there in a few days to shop her yummy sock knitting related goodness! <3

Monday, October 12, 2009


Out and about at the pumpkin field down the street: How does one choose?!
Out and about at home:

All the out-ness leads to happy in-the-house-ness: knitting socks, cooking soup, reading books, knitting socks, playing Scrabble, strumming guitar, knitting socks...! Sounds good, doesn't it?
I hope you are well. xoxo

Saturday, October 10, 2009

8 out of 10's not bad...

Here are my mini-socks for Socktoberfest as of this morning:

From the top: blue Koigu, pink Lorna's Laces, red Sundara, red/white/blue Sophie's Toes, bright multi Sophie's Toes, muted multi Koigu, orange Koigu, and bright Sophie's Toes again.

Oh, I love them all; they make me smile! Since I took the photo one more has been finished and another started (then I'll be on schedule). The bright Sophie's Toes is called "Christmas Lights". I have two half-skeins from Emily's shop. Since I have more of it than the others, which are leftovers, I'm going to make the "Christmas Lights" minis the ones that tie it all together, so to speak. I think the half-skein will make seven or eight minis, so I won't have to use any of the other half-skein and can continue to covet it happily in it's cute little cake form on my shelf! ;-) (I know you understand.)

My Through The Loops Mystery Socks for 2009 are coming along too. The pattern is great, of course. I've fallen into a groove with the pattern, and I'm liking it. I'm using Madeline Tosh, Tosh Sock in Parchment which I purchased from Amy's Etsy shop. The yarn is a gorgeous, subtle mix of winter white, beige, cocoa, caramel, and grey. No photos because I don't want to spoil the mystery for anyone who reads here and is knitting along too, but trust me, they're purdy!

Are you Socktoberfest-ing? What's your pleasure?

I hope you're having a great weekend! xoxo

Thursday, October 8, 2009

gentle reminder

Yesterday, a friend spent the day with Hana and me. Being around her and her gift of friendship reminds me that everyday is...

... a beautiful day.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

form of fall

Fall has been taking beautiful form here at the woolnest. Daily rhythm of school for the boy, lots of crafting and stories for the girl, dedicated at-home time for me, and the freedom of "school's out" for the dad. All that good routine, plus some novelties in the form of soccer, dance, girls' weekend, and Michigan football games has made us all very content.It seems that we're always crafting something, but to facilitate happier days at home for Hana and me, I try to think out some specific projects to pull out of my hat. A couple of weeks ago, I made appear a felting project that I had been mulling over for a while now. These pumpkins are the result of about a half-hour's worth of wet felting. We wrapped roving around some pinky balls (you know those super bouncy ones that are about the size of a tennis ball?), about five layers, with special attention paid to laying the fibers crosswise to the previous layer. Then we lowered the roving-covered balls into a basin of hot, soapy water, cradling the ball in our palms. Then I instructed Hana to cuddle the ball as gently as she could, as if she were handling a little chick. As I notice her wool starting to felt, I let her know that she can now pet the ball more like she pets the cat. Then, finally I let her knead the ball like bread dough. She really loved the whole process. After a night of drying, I snipped open the tops, and we felted the rims of the lid and the base so they wouldn't look so frayed and loose. Then we carefully needle-felted the stems; first the handle, leaving some loose bits to attach it to the lid. I plan to knit some wee mousies to hide inside the pumpkins for a bit of Halloween anticipation-quelling treat. Do your kids ask you every day, "How many days until Halloween?"?

And speaking of anticipation-quelling, here are the mini socks to-date for the Advent garland that I am knitting for Socktober. No. 6 is on the needles, a dark red one. I'm glad to be making these again, they are so cute and fun! We have also discovered that the sock is just the right size for Charlotte, Hana's newest not-new doll! She and her dad found themselves in the local "treasure store" while I was away, and scored a cute vintage doll! That's my girl! So, Chinese Lanterns and bouquets of basil, pumpkins and black cats, and mini-socks! I love the fall!!!

be well - xo

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy Socktober!

Have you checked out all the Socktoberfest goings on over at Ravelry?! I'm so grateful to Lauren for getting this yarn ball rolling! I am pretty excited for a mini sock knitalong that I instigated. Plus, Kirsten's knitalong for this year. Not to mention the socks I started last week! It's all so much fun! Just another reason to love fall...

The pattern I'm following for the mini sock knitalong is from Classic Elite Yarns Newsletter last fall. It's a great and quick knit, I had no trouble knitting a whole bunch. It only requires a small ball of left over sock yarn, if you're content with a bunch of different mini socks. Last year during the holidays, I made many bitty socks as gifts and fundraiser items with a small Equal Exchange Organic Chocolate bite inside and tucked in a piece of greenery. They were pretty cute, even if I do say so myself! ;-)

Here is a picture of the few I had left or saved from last year's production. Originally, I was going to make a Advent Garland like Leslie's (isn't that soooo cute?!), but with these mini socks/stockings instead. I ended up making gifts of them instead. I have a tendency to do that, you'll begin to see a pattern (pathology often repeats itself...) Anyway, I'm at it again! This year for Socktoberfest, I plan to knit one mini sock each day of October, and that will be enough for a garland and some gifts!

I'm also going to knitalong Through The Loops Mystery Socks '09! I made 2008's version, and love them, so as I am a joiner and starter of great legend, I decided to knitalong this year too! Tonight, when I'm done packing for a weekend away, I'll forage the stash and pick our some yumminess! Oh, that starting stuff really gets me going! (I am hopeless!)

The outing this weekend is a birthday celebration for a wonderful friend whom I originally met through the good ol' knitting group. Knitting will be expected, so I'm good! Maybe even one or two of them will decide to mini sockalong! One friend is also keen to get her crochet hook out, so I may even ripple a bit...

Have a beautiful weekend, Everyone, wherever you are! xoxo