Archive for November, 2012

38 Days ’til Christmas

Projects in Progress: 6

Projects Complete: 4

Total Presents to Complete: 27

Finally, some progress! Truth be told: I just had to put aside the crochet hook for a moment.  Though I have grand ideas for the door decoration and crocheting is technically faster than knitting…. that’s only the case if you can crochet as long as you can knit.  Clearly, I cannot..

I have not completely given up on the door decoration, it just might not be ready by Thanksgiving.  However, while the project was in time-out today, I completed yet another cowl and cast on the first of five hats. Of course, as soon as the cowl was off the needles, I found it missing.  After putting M to bed, I found she had taken the time to pose one of her stuffed animals in the cowl – all ready for the finished project photos!

I think she nailed it!

 

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39 Days ’til Christmas!

Projects in Progress: 6

Projects Complete: 3

Total Presents to Complete: 27

That’s right, we have less than 40 days to get all of our shopping, baking and crafting completed.  I may still have quite a lot of knitted projects to go, but I’m actually on schedule.  Looking at the numbers, though, that sounds crazy.  However, 3 of the 6 cowls are finished. One of the sweaters is half way done and another has about the first fourth completed.  The first of two shawls is nearly complete, I only need to attempt to purchase more yarn for the edging and to bind off.  In all, the major, time-consuming projects are well on their way.

The other projects I am attempting to complete will either have simpler patterns or a bulkier yarn so as to make them quicker knits.  Though I am keeping a list and re-prioritizing and redrawing out my schedule nearly every other day, just to reassure myself that I can finish everything in time… I am definitely feeling the pressure.  Especially since the door decoration seems to have slowed down to an intolerable pace…. More to come on that this weekend.

I hope your Thanksgiving preparations are going well! Pretty soon it will be normal for everyone to be talking about Christmas!

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40 Days ’til Christmas

Projects in Progress: 6

Projects Complete: 3

Total Presents to Complete: 27

The holiday season not only comes with the expected gifts for your own loved ones…. but other’s as well.  I could go the entire rest of the year without any commissioned knits.  As soon as November hits, everywhere I turn, people are asking if I can knit them something to give as a Christmas gift.  Some of these requests are very doable and the people asking for them usually have an appreciation for knitting.  These are the commissions I accept and get excited about, since I know that at least the person paying for this item appreciates the work that goes into it.

Then there are the people who ask for something intricate, but after talking to them for a few minutes, they realize how unattainable it would be and settle for something more reasonable.  But, there are those people out there who ask for extremely time consuming items and expect me to be able to finish them in under a month and for less than $50.  When I tell them that the yarn alone would cost more than that… they look at me like I am the crazy one.

Luckily, this year I have mainly received these impossible requests, making it very easy to turn down.  To add to my personal present goals, I will only be completing two commission knits (so far), both of which are very exciting and should be easy to complete in a reasonable amount of time… I’m just hunting down the right yarn.  Which never takes too long, right?

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41 Days ’til Christmas

Projects in Progress: 6

Projects Complete: 3

Total Presents to Complete: 26

Do you feel it yet? Is the pressure on? It certainly is here! So how am I coping with the fact that I only have 41 days to complete my goals? That’s simple: I am COMPLETELY enjoying everything Christmas.  Music, check.  Movies, check. Eggnog and hot apple cider, check and check.  I might be making the season longer than “normal” people do, but why not cherish and enjoy it as much as possible?

One of my favorite holiday pass times – just ADDING Christmas movies to our Amazon Prime watchlist.  It may not have all the Christmasy goodness that Netflix does (from what I hear), but it has some of the wonderful movies I’ve grown to love and adore each holiday season. The other – my “Baby It’s Cold Outside” Pandora station – full of Christmas music and available all year round….. not that I listen to it all year… right.

But curling up under a blanket to watch Holiday Inn or listen to Ella Fitzgerald certainly gets me in the mood to do some holiday crafting.  So tell me, what are your holiday favorites, be it movies, music or anything that gets you excited for the season?  I may need some new inspiration once I’ve gone through all of mine…around halfway to Christmas!

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42 Days ’til Christmas

Projects in Progress: 6

Projects Complete: 3

Total Presents to Complete: 26

With our door decoration well on its way (by that I mean maybe 6 inches tall), I am in the decorating mood! We got our first artificial Christmas tree over the weekend – a lovely 6.5 foot pre-lit Aspen Pine.  M also chose a beautiful holiday welcome mat and an in-your-face hip hop animated Santa and Elves decoration.  The tree is now official set up and in it’s semi-permanent place for the season and the beloved decorations are put in their places of honor.  We are ready.

Well, M is ready.  I, of course, still have to finish our door decoration and twenty three more presents. Though we still have plenty more decorating to do, including hanging ornaments on the tree and putting up lights… well, everywhere, Christmas is certainly present in our apartment.  There seems to be nothing better than sitting next to a lit Christmas tree and knitting gifts for loved ones.

Up next: the joys of Christmas music while crafting. 🙂

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43 Days ’til Christmas

Projects in Progress: 6

Projects Complete: 3

Total Presents to Complete: 26

My goals for crafting presents this year are a bit lofty, but why stop there? I have planned and started a door decoration. That’s a mild way to describe it.  This is no standard wreath or small decorative piece.  This will cover our entire front door.  Every year, my apartment complex has a door decorating contest, the prizes being money to go towards your next month’s rent.  That’s a HUGE incentive.

We did alright last year, but kept the concept very simple using old wrapping paper rolled up and stacked to create the tree and then placed Christmas cards we had received over the last couple of years.  It was nice, but not what I had envisioned.

This year will be different.  Much different.  After buying an unnecessary ton of Red Heart Supersaver yarn in the red and green christmas colors to make M’s stocking three years ago, I have quite a bit left over.  I originally planned to knit the red and green background for my door, but after recently teaching myself to do simple crochet stitches, I’ve decided it will be much faster to crochet the background. After beginning the project last night…. I have the goal to finish the background by Saturday.

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Tired of waiting yet? What’s the big plan?  Well, if you set aside my HORRIBLE drawing skills and use your imagination, you might just see what I’m going for here:

 

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Though it is possible that my 3 year old can draw better than I can, I think you get the gist.  Everything will be knit or crocheted separately and stitched together.  I refuse to do intarsia, so I will be making simple shapes and pieces and make every piece build on another… So not only will it be awesomely handcrafted, but it will still have a very three dimensional feel.
 
Have I mentioned I want this done by Thanksgiving?

 

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44 Days ’til Christmas!

Projects in Progress: 6

Projects Complete: 3

Total Presents to Complete: 26

To give a brief run-down of my intentions for this holiday season, the total presents to complete are:

3 sweaters, 4 pairs of slippers, 6 pairs of mitts/mittens/etc, 5 hats, 6 cowls, 2 shawls

Additionally, I have decided to gift other handmade/homemade items such as mulling spice packets, basil olive oil and raspberry and blackberry gin.  I have completed a trial run of the mulling spices – with apple cider, the packet worked well, but with wine it was not quite right… some adjustments and more testing will need to happen in the near future. Not that I’m complaining… 🙂

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45 Days ’til Christmas!

Though it is generally only acceptable to discuss the holiday season until after Thanksgiving, I am a crafter. My holiday gift list grows every day and an early start means I will only be a little bit rushed and crazy the week of Christmas.

Over the next 45 days, I plan to check in daily with my progress.  That means: FAMILY, NO PEEKING! Some family members already know about some of the planned gifts, but I have saved a few surprises.  I will attempt to speak, write, photograph and maybe even share a few videos keeping everything abstract and in code so I am less likely to completely spoil all of the gift giving fun.  But if you have a feeling crafted presents might be for you: please avoid any posts titled with the Christmas countdown.  Thank you!

As of now, here is the current breakdown of presents:

Projects in Progress: 6

Projects Complete: 3

Total Presents to Complete: 22

Over the course of the season, the total presents to complete may fluctuate as I decide to hold off on certain presents, or if I go on a crazy streak, I add more presents to the list.  Tomorrow’s update will clue you in on the types of projects I intend to make.

But I’d like to put a call out: What are you planning on crafting this holiday season?

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My Little Crafter

After struggling to put out a post that captures all of my daughter’s enthusiasm towards crafting, I decided to dedicate the majority of this post to photos and videos.

As a single parent, I try to do my best to balance normal toddler activities with my daughter and crafting time. But let’s face it, she’s growing up in an environment revolved around crafting…. that is the part that isn’t revolved around her. Luckily, she really embraces it.

Giving some love to a swap gift

She even loves modeling finished projects when I forget to have someone take a picture for me:

Beyond creating any form of art with craft supplies, she has found that they are some of her new favorite toys for imaginative play.  Just last night she decided to dump out all of our buttons and sort them into families, having the buttons talk to each other and “find each other”. Little buttons went searching clear across the bed for their moms, dads, brothers and sisters, asking for help from other buttons along the way.

M also partakes in her own knitting during my knitting or spinning time.  She often takes out some of “her” yarn and sits with me, pretending to knit.  She often creates projects that she’s making and let’s me know to whom the finished items will go.

That being said, she definitely has a love for a ladybug in our lives – my spinning wheel.  Back in the days when I would take a spinning break during her naps on weekends, she would wake up and sneak into my lap, slowly sliding her feet down to the treadles to “help” me.  This has now evolved to her going up to my wheel asking to spin.  I set it up so that any project I was working on was entirely on the bobbin so she could treadle by herself and nothing would get in the way.

Recently, she asked if she could spin her own yarn.  After months of treadling by herself, I decided adding the next step wouldn’t hurt.  I predrafted some fiber I had received during my wheel spinning class so that she could spin without needing to draft at the same time.  She sat down and went to it:

I think her first handspun is beautiful and definitely going in the scrapbook…. though I might be biased.

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