Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Two Flower Gardens

Thought I'd post a quick update on the two flower gardens I'm nurturing right now.  Our weather is getting pretty nice now, and it's inspiring me to be outside more, and playing in my garden more.  I'm even more inspired to pull weeds!

Felted Clogs by Bev Galeskas

First, here's an update on the felted clogs I'm making for my mom for Mother's Day.  Last time she was here, she mentioned that the she was wearing out the pair I made her a few years ago.  Isn't that the best compliment on a knitted gift ever?  So although making her another pair isn't an original gift, it seems like it will be appreciated and well used, so that's what I'm working on for her.  This pair is made from Cascade 220 and Plymouth Galway.  I've finished the knitting and felting, and now I'm working on some embroidery to spiff them up another level.  I haven't really done embroidery in the last 30 years or so, but I have about every color of floss under the rainbow, so that's what I'm using to put the flowers on these clogs.  It's a simple design, but is a little difficult due to the thickness of the felted clogs.  After one evening of struggling to pull the needle through each stitch, I smartly grabbed my small pliers and am now using them to help me tug the thread through the clogs.  It's much easier on my hands!  Anyway, one is done, and I think it looks pretty cute!  I'll start working on the second one tonight, and should be done in plenty of time to get these in the mail.  This is one of the projects on my Gift Knitting Boot Camp List - so far my 4 gifts this year have all been done on time!

My other garden is my rose garden.  I have about 15 plants in our front yard which I enjoy tending to during the early part of the year.  Here in Southern Cal, we prune our rose bushes mid-January, and expect to see our first big bloom in April.  I'm right on track!  Historically, my enthusiasm about regular garden tending seems to wane after the first bloom, so this year I'm really trying to maintain my gardening mojo.  Really, if I spend about 30 minutes a week out there, it's plenty, so I keep telling myself that's all I need to do.  I've also started saving the blooms in the freezer when they start to fade so that they can become dye! 

Cheers -

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Snowman Project Update!

I've been having lots of fun working on the Snowman Hat and Mittens set, and it's almost done! I'd forgotten how wonderful it is to work on a project you can finish quickly.

I made the hat in about 6 hours last Sunday, and now a week later, the mittens are nearly done, too! I'm amazed at how little yarn the set has taken to make. I've used about 150 yards of the aran weight Shepherd Worsted in red, and about 60 yards in white (and a few yards in green that I stashbusted from Kelie - thanks, Kelie!) This means I have quite a lot of yarn left from my two 225 yard skeins, so that's going into the "bank" of yarn to be used for doll clothes later this year.

I'll write up the patterns soon for anyone who might be interested. The hat is really simple, and it's so stretchy that it will really fit a wide range of heads. It's small enough for a kid, or big enough for me if fully stretched. The only change I would make for an adult is to make it longer - it doesn't quite cover my ears. It starts with a few inches of 2x2 ribbing worked back and forth with a seed stitch flap on one end. Then the flap section is bound off and the remaining stitches are joined to work the crown of the hat in the round. The crown is done in 5 identical sections which I've charted. Finishing work includes using the cast on tail to seam up the ribbing so that the flap is exposed to sew the buttons on to.

The mittens start with about 4 inches of ribbing and then proceed into stockinette for the hand section. The thumb is worked in as an "afterthought" thumb which is a super simple way to do it. The upper part of the hand is worked similarly to the crown of the hat so that it sorta looks like the snowmen on the mittens are wearing hats to match the big hat. I know... goofy :-)

When I got the mittens done, I almost stopped there. They look really cute the way they are and I was thinking that adding the embroidered snowman face (per my original sketch) to them might be overkill. So I cut some features out of paper and laid them on the mittens to get an idea of what it might look like. I still think the face looks pretty cute, and these are for a girl who will be 4 when she gets them, so I'm going to proceed with embroidering some coal eyes and mouth on, along with a carrot nose. And then I'll also add a green bow tie to match the bow tie on the button snowman.

So - my first Christmas gift is almost done - woohoo!!! Time to cast on a new sock :-)

Cheers, Wendy