Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tortoise and the Hare

Something miraculous happened in 2010.

Both of my best friends became pregnant almost simultaneously. Wonderful news, don't you think? The only problem is that I just moved out of state so I won't be there to help out. You know, to tell them how beautiful they look (even when they think like they look more like the Goodyear Blimp) or to push them around Babies R Us to show them all the great and not-so-great gadgets that I used with my baby. It kills me that I am missing out on this experience with both of them. I was even afraid I'd miss one, or worse, both of the their baby showers since I live so far away now! Tragic, right?

Fortunately, both of my friends, Jessica and Eleanor, have super thoughtful families, who agreed to host both baby showers on the same weekend. This means I get to attend and shower them with hugs, belly patting and, of course, baby gifts! They are each getting some baby registry items, but since I am a knitter, I also made them each a knitted gift. Both Jess and Elle knit, so I couldn't make a baby blanket or a sweater since the mommies are planning on making some themselves. So I decided to make toys. And here they are. Please say hello to... the Tortoise and the Hare.

Jessica's Patchwork Tortoise is made from Knit Pick's Shine Sport yarn and Eleanor's Carnaby Rabbit is made from Knit Pick's Swish Worsted. This was the first time I'd tried the Shine sport and I must admit it was a pleasant surprise- very soft, sturdy and the plies did not become loose (which I find can happen easily in a cotton based yarn). The Swish Worsted yarn is a good standby for knitting kid-friendly items. It's machine washable (need I say more?), soft and oh yeah, machine washable!!!!

The bunny's ribbon is not permanent (I'm think I might get a soft green ribbon to match the feet), but I was so excited to finish this project today that I had to show you immediately. He looked like he needed a little more color too. I plan on making the carrot and (possibly) the basket too before I take them on the long drive to Pennsylvania. I don't know if you can see it or not, but there is a super fluffy tail on the back of the bunny. Here is a better view, sorry for the dark picture...

Both toys were quick knits. HOWEVER (!!!!!), both required a LOT of seaming. So beware! If you hate seaming, you may not want to tackle these projects. That being said, if you can tolerate seaming at all, they are worth it.  The turtle, I'm sorry to say, was made up of 42 parts. That's right. I said 42 PARTS! The patchwork shell is made up of 34 parts alone.

Get the picture?

Like I said, totally worth it. I'm so happy with the outcome. I hope my friends will be too!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Organizational Fun

The other day I had posted a message on Facebook about how I had been planning to start some organizational fun that afternoon. My friend commented on the post that she didn't think she'd ever heard the phrase "organizational fun" before. Well, this is what organizational fun looks like:

I know it doesn't look like much, but to me it is terrific! Why? I spent an afternoon (well two, actually) sewing a hanging wall pocket from One Yard Wonders to solve a serious problem in my household: excess clutter of mail. We always seem to have enormous piles of mail littered all over our kitchen counter. Despite our best efforts, my husband I have not been able to find a system that works for us both, until now! One yard of Amy Butler fabric + a foot of ribbon = awesomeness!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Springtime in Philly

It is February 1st and the freezing rain is pelting the side of my house reminding me that we are most definitely not anywhere near spring yet. To help (pretend to) speed winter along, I finished a fun project the other night in the spirit of spring. Springtime in Philadelphia was knit with Three Irish Girls' McClellan Fingering yarn on the colorway Bellini. Oh how I could go for one of those lovely bellini beverages right about now along with warmer weather, no snow or ice and lots of sunshine!

I'm quite pleased with how this finished. All I can say is that blocking does wonders. The hat was adorable before blocking, but rather small, more like a beanie and less like a beret. After wet blocking and shaping it using a ten inch plate, the beret came to life. It looks delicate, complicated and soft. And yet, the pattern was easy to follow and fairly quick to knit despite using size 0 and 2 needles. Thank you to Kelbourne Woolens for sharing such a pretty project with the world!