I aspire to Becky made gifts for most everyone on my Christmas list annually, but this year felt like the first in a while that I actually succeeded in doing that, beyond handing out jars of pepper jelly and pickles and jam. Although this year, I outsourced most of the jam to my friend Daniel the jam god. Between the great canning jar shortage of 2020 and the dire straights of most small businesses this year, it was a no brainer way to support one of my favorite local purveyors while also handing out handmade gifts. Not only is he able to source things like Damson plums, he may be one of the only people I know who is at least as picky about where his food comes from than I am. I know, right? I honestly don’t know why I haven’t outsourced to him before, but I’m totally doing it from here on out.Continue reading
I have this thing about being productive – at the end of the day, every day, I like having something to show for myself. I’m not sure if this is related to how I have a hard time sitting still, although I’m sure people that have known me for a long time who have complained for years about my need to be productive/inability to sit still /certain level of constant energy would probably say these things are in fact, entwined.
There has been a good bit of life keeping me distracted here lately – nothing terribly worthy of putting out on the internet for everyone to read. Continue reading
I confess that most of the sewing I’ve done recently has been of the boring but useful mending sort, like hemming pants. Knitting is far more portable and therefore conducive to traveling or just occupying my hands while watching tv. Along the way, I’ve actually managed to finish some!
I knit this sweater for Pat a few years ago. I knit it a bit on the snug side and then proceeded to shrink it in the laundry. I may have done a decent job of knitting it, but I didn’t do a decent job of putting it together – look at how awful those seams are! The sweater as-is was unwearable by my husband, didn’t fit me and Edie wasn’t interested. So it sat on my mending pile for eons while I pondered what to do with it. Continue reading
I’ve had a long tradition, since at least college, of aspiring to make as many of the gifts I hand out at Christmas as I possibly can. In years past, this has led to a furious whirlwind of making in the days leading up to the big holiday (like the year I learned to knit and then knit a scarf for everyone on the list in just over a month), but at some point, it dawned on me to start these endeavors earlier in the year. Actually, that may have been the realization that I could give away things I’d canned over the summer and have them be well received. At any rate, I now attempt to have ideas I can carry out well before the calendar turns to December so that I’m not a complete hot mess leading up to Christmas. Because as we all know, when you are a mom, Christmas is serious work, especially when you are a working mother and you stay put at Christmas, meaning it is all on you to pull that magic out of thin air and throwing the compulsion to hand make a slew of gifts into the mix, well, that’s just a recipe for disaster.
Aunt Jenny had requested months ago I knit her a scarf, so after I finished Mollie’s birthday gift, I immediately started on this one for her. Knit of a merino wool in the hourglass eyelet pattern, it has a nice feel and stretch to it. She sent me a photo of herself wearing it Christmas day, so I think she liked it.
For some time, I’ve been kicking around the idea of printing some of my pretty bug and flower pictures on canvases – what’s the point really in taking these images if I don’t do something with them? I took advantage of some online pre-holiday specials and got at least some of my photos printed to share as gifts. I loved the way they turned out, but more importantly, I loved receiving this photo Christmas day of the gift I sent my Uncle Kevin:
My zinnia photo, already hung, right by the front door. I hope all the flower prints I sent out were as well received.
Edie girl, who has come to expect the mama-made gifts, had a whole section on her wish list of handmade items she would like to see. While I managed to outsource some of it to local crafters (like my friend Jen who was totally down with home delivering her lovely bracelets, as well as stumbling upon the sweetest ceramic gnome ornament from Tasha McKelvey), in the days before Christmas, I managed to pull of a flurry of giftmaking that made my girl quite content.
A cozy for her handle-less teamug, knit up out of scrap yarn while watching a movie one evening (the pattern inspired by one linked to by Food in Jars recently). A beaded necklace inspired by a trip to the bead section at Michael’s one day (where I always seem to think I can do that particular craft, get too ambitious, spend too much money only to come home and realize I bought all the wrong things, but maybe, just maybe since I pulled this one off and my friend Joanne, who does this sort of thing for a living (and does it well!) was kind enough to share some more than helpful hints, I might actually attempt this again?) that we debated about for a few weeks before I sat down one night and just did it. And last, but certainly not least, Mr. & Mrs. Gnome, a Wee Wonderfuls pattern that whipped up quick and easy. I used fabrics and trims from the stash, including the old coverlet from her bed for their hair (last seen in a pillow for purple moose, although I’d forgotten how that fabric really doesn’t respond well to being reused, as it’s an extremely temperamental knit) and while I might not be overly wild about the end result (I skipped a few steps I probably shouldn’t have and definitely got a little too loosey goosey with things maybe I shouldn’t have…), she adores the end result, which is sort of the point, now isn’t it?
I realized the other night as I went to bed, I’ve finished all the books and craft projects I’ve had lined up for months, clearing the deck for me in more than a few ways. The so-called ‘happy corner’ got a little cleaning attention post-holiday, so that I can jump in and hopefully spend more time making than I have in the last year or so. I’m not one for resolutions, but I’ve decided I’m going to try to and spend more time with my sewing machine this coming year than I have in the past few.
We are knee deep in the holiday rush here – working the making, baking and celebrating of the season into our regularly scheduled busy. I’ve got a few projects in the works, but nothing I can share in this space for fear of ruining anyone’s surprises come Christmas morning.
Way back last winter, I started a new project for myself – an Elizabeth Zimmerman Lloie’s Jerkin, which appeared to be a ridiculously easy pattern to wrap my head around – exactly one sketch and three short paragraphs in her Knitting Workshop. Done entirely in garter stitch – which is nothing but knit stitches back and forth – in one piece from the rear bottom. Totally my kind of project. Continue reading
Can we talk knitting? As an activity it’s rather rhythmic and soothing, easily portable and keeps one’s hands busy when they might be otherwise unoccupied. I particularly like that I can spend an afternoon sitting watching the telly (sports, bad movies, old tv show marathons) and yet still have something productive to show for it. Continue reading
There has been a much welcomed return of making around here this week as well as some previously scheduled knowledge sharing* which always ends up inspiring more making, a very good thing. Continue reading