Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Baby boy accessories

As promised, although I am posting this much later than I originally intended, here is my queue of sweet baby accessories (hats, socks, booties, toys) that I'd love to make for little one due this March.

And there you have it: twelve adorably kiddie patterns. But which to do first?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday organization

Don't you just love when two of your favorite things are molded into one? For me, blending holiday decorating and nerdy organization is like a little taste of heaven.

I came across the Christmas card wreath on Martha Stewart's website this fall and knew instantly that I had to make it. I'm one of those lucky people who is blessed by receiving tons of Christmas cards (not complaining- seriously, I love them, keep them coming!) but has zero place to put them.

This craft couldn't be easier. All you need are some clothes pins, an enormous embroidery hoop (which are super cheap, by the way), glue (the directions say to use wood glue, but I used a hot glue gun and it turned out fine) and a ribbon. That's all.

Here is what my wreath looked like on December 2.  I added a few non-holiday cards to help balance it out and create the effect of what it might look like later.

And here is what it looks like today, December 15.

Clearly, I should have purchased a bigger hoop!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Salt Dough Ornaments

Last year, my daughter and I started (what I hope will be) an annual-Christmas-ornament-making-day. She was only a year and a half at the time, so we made very simple (aka idiot-proof) felt ornaments from a Martha Stewart kit.

Now that Emma is older and much more into crafting, we made salt dough ornaments to give out to friends and family and, of course, add to our tree. I got the inspiration from another blog- a wonderful blog- called the Artful Parent, where the blogger shares nearly-daily crafts that she and her daughters enjoy. It seems like every time I read her blog, I say out loud, "Oh! I want to do that too!" Seriously, she is so clever. Check it out.

So the other day, she posted about making stamped salt dough ornaments.  Looked easy enough to me! Enter the mother-daughter ornament making for 2011:

The recipe is simple. Mix 4 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt and 1 and 1/2 cups of water together. Knead and roll the dough into a flat disc and chill. Then roll out the dough and cut your shapes using cookie cutters. Be sure to make a hole for the string! I've read several on several blogs that a straw works great for this task. However, I didn't have a straw, so I used the fat side of a chopstick and that worked just fine. Place the shapes on parchment paper on cookie sheets in a 225 degree oven for 3-4 hours. Once the shapes have cooled, start painting!

This recipe made 37 ornaments (about 2 dozen large and the rest small). Although I admit I had to toss a handful because the holes closed up on them, making it impossible to thread the yarn through. But  honestly, we didn't need this many ornaments so it was a great loss. I used Crayola washable paints (remember that my daughter is in the throes of toddler-hood = messy-hood), glitter and a sparkly yarn for decorating.

And after a morning of painting and glittering, this is what we ended up with!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Big 5

Yes, I've been away for quite a while. And I'm very happy to be back to share all that is fun and crafty in my life. But before I can go any further with this blog, I have to acknowledge something... or rather, 5 big somethings.

During the month of November, most people take the time to reflect on their lives and recognize all that they are grateful for. The Thanksgiving holiday forces us (in a good way) to be conscience of the things, experiences and most especially people who make our world, our bubble, a better and more special place.

The past month has been particularly difficult for me. My family suffered a tragedy, the loss of my dad, and so Thanksgiving came and went with very few words of gratitude shared. So today, I'd like to take a moment to recognize the 5 things/people/experiences I'm most grateful for, which have helped me get through the difficult days of late.

(and in no particular order)

1. Crafty friends: I am grateful for every single crafty friend, those I've known for decades and those I've known for months, who have introduced new skills, designs, fibers, and overall silliness (because we crafty ladies do get silly from time to time) into my life.

2. Appreciative customers: I am grateful for the orders placed on my patterns and more importantly the emails of questions, appreciation and excitement from happy knitters. You have brought a great big smile to my face each morning.

3. All things baby-related: It may sound odd, but to have a baby shower after a week, which included a funeral and Thanksgiving, was an absolute blessing. My dear friend (who is super busy with her own life of children, family and work) organized this for me and it couldn't have come at a better time. It's been a comforting experience to prepare for this new life (due in exactly 3 months). Picking out paint, making curtains, knitting itty bitty hats and feeling this little nudger's near-constant kicks and tumbles reminds me that life goes on in a beautiful way.

4. Knitting: The distraction of picking up my needles and rhythmically moving yarn from left to right, watching the fabric grow, has been incredibly soul soothing. I always felt that I put a little love into each stitch I made, especially if it was a knitted gift that I was making. Now, I can feel the difference. Knitting while grieving allows you to put a piece of love from your heart and relieve a little weight of the pain simultaneously.  It truly is a blessing to have this experience because knitting can be done in the quietness of your own home and thoughts or in the presence of friends and/or strangers.

5. The men in my life: I am exceptionally blessed to have three deeply caring men in my life: my two big brothers and my husband. No one has helped me breathe a little easier and better than these three fellas. It flat out sucks to lose a parent that we have loved for so long, but we will come out stronger and closer despite it.

Thank you.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

It's Live!

Just in case you have not had a chance to read my last post, I have great news to share with you.

My Etsy shop, Meg Roke Knits, is live and kicking! Check it out for yourself.

Later today I'll be sharing some recent projects I've finished, including a gifted cowl, Spud for Emma and some selfish knitting too. Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sneak Preview

It's coming!

Hmm? What's coming?

My brand new....

all original...

handknit items...

...at my Etsy shop!

That's right. I've opened up a store on the wonderful Etsy website. At the Meg Roke Knits shop you will find cozy handknit items (currently available are handknit accessories for children) and my original pattern designs all for sale at reasonable prices.

I hope you take a moment to check out my new shop. The patterns are up for sale now and the handknit accessories will be available in the next 48 hours.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Autumnal Recipes

Aside from knitting, I have another great love... cooking and baking. I know that they are two different skills, but for me, cooking and baking go hand-in-hand. I cannot do one with the other.

We've had some perfect fall days here in northeastern Ohio: crisp, chilly, breezy, and a little gray. These are perfect days for trying new recipes. Here are half a dozen recipes I've tried this season and had great success with in the kitchen (aka the family loved them as much as me).


Almost Famous Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Giant Ginger Cookies

Ultimate Pumpkin Waffles

Maple Oatmeal Scones

Vermont Cheddar Soup

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Knitting for a Boy

So I'm having a baby boy in March. And believe me when I say there is no doubt that this little nudger is a boy (he made it quite clear in the ultrasound). For roughly 5 months I've been quite good about not getting wrapped up in potential baby knitting projects. Well, now I can't help myself. I've gone Ravelry-queue-crazy.

And this is what I've come up with so far... (brace yourself, it's hefty)

Kangaroo Vest

Boat Sweater

Beach Baby

Auto Vest



Henry's Sweater
Cardinal Hoodie

Annabel Babe Cardigan

Raglan Cardigan

Aran Pullover

 Master Charles Sweater

Tate Family Tunic

And that list didn't even touch on hats, mittens, socks or toys!

Monday, October 24, 2011


I'm happy to announce my current WIP (work-in-progress).

And here he is....

This little nudger is expected to make his arrival in early-to-mid March.

Just thought you'd like to know!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Oh. My. Yarn-ness!

Two years ago, I had the pleasure of traveling with a friend (sans kiddies and hubbies!) to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival (totally worth any quantity of traveling if you've got the free time).  I bought three lovely yarns on that trip:

 A big hank of Peruvian Tweed

2 skeins of Still River Mill's Yakaboo

and this beauty....

... Brooks Farm Yarn's Riata, which is a whopping 8 ounces and 375 yards of worsted weight yarn made of mohair, silk and fine wool. Oh. My. Yarn-ness. I wish you could all reach into the picture and feel the wonderfulness of this hank.

 I cannot tell you how many times I pulled this baby out of my stash to pet the soft fibers and ponder all the things I could make with it. I even wound it last fall to make this cowl:

I don't know why, but for some bizarre reason I thought the color variegation would look beautiful in this pattern-- not the case, AT ALL.

So this week, I finally pulled out the Riata monster ball and cast on to make some leg warmers for myself. I used a pattern from Joelle Hoverson's wonderful book, Last Minute Knitted Gifts. I have made many many items from this book, so I knew it would be a sure thing.

 The Super Easy Leg Warmers live up to their name. They are, indeed, super easy. They are, however, super long.

So instead of knitting the suggested 26 inches (cause who needs 26 inches of leg warmers?) I knit them to a more reasonable 17 inches - leaving me with 158 yards of yarn to play with.

These super simple leg warmers are so incredibly cozy, I wouldn't be surprised if they could be seen on my legs every day this winter!