the sweater wall

This sweater wall is a happy accident.  I started displaying baby sweaters in my sewing room so I could admire them while they were awaiting their new home.  Seeing them just makes me happy and I'll miss them when they go!  Most are 12 months or 18 months size which I think is a perfect size to knit and to give.  Baby will be wearing it in no time and will hopefully be able to wear it for close to a year. The newest addition to the sweater wall is Penny Straker's original Owl Baby Cardigan in pink.  The yarn is skinny, the needles are tiny, (sizes 1 and 2) and is my favorite knit ever as they always come out completely adorable.  Long time blog readers will know I've knit a dozen or more from Penny's decades old pattern.  The yarn is Dale Garn Baby Ull, a super-soft, well-priced, well-behaved, machine-washable wool that doesn't get the attention it deserves, so I'm here to tell you I love it!  Links are at the end of the post.

Left to right,  Isaac Pullover and Ava Tunic, both by Linda Whaley.
 Pink Chiffon Owl Cardigan by Penny Straker, and Jump For Joy Hoodie by Universal Yarn.

Baby Ull yarn

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Thank you!  Kristen


Newport Nest

Here is my version of Newport by Sarah Hatton, a free pattern for Kidsilk Haze Viintage, meant to be knit with 2 strands held together.  I made several modifications to suit my style of knitting and my body type.  First was to knit this top down, knit in the round, see note below. The pattern has quite a lot of ease, too much ease for the look I wanted, so I used a yarn with a smaller gauge than the pattern suggested, knit the small size, and thus achieved an xs with less ease that was more fitted. These changes also made the neckline less wide. I picked up neckline stitches at the end and made a ribbing of about 1/2”, then I sewed on some pale pink/gold Swarovski crystals that came from a Rowan pack specifically designed for knitters.  They look gorgeous.  I love tiny needles, luxury yarn, simple patterns, and with the addition of tiny crystals, I'm very happy.  I pair this with a charcoal grey, tea-length gathered tulle skirt and my faux black leather pencil skirt, but confess I mostly wear it with jeans.  I have some new charcoal gray velvet jeans and it looks really pretty with them. My lovely model, Jessica, paired it with her mini denim skirt. Decades ago I used to live in mine!  Glad to see they are back!  Doesn't she look darling?  My links are at the end.

My Ravelry project page

I used the now discontinued Rowan Angora Haze.
It's fabulous--really, really, fabulous--and you can still find it on sale.
It's half price at Fiber Wild.

The free pattern, Newport, by Sarah Hatton

I found my Rowan Swarovski crystals at Fiber Wild
where they have a great selection for 40% off!
My crystals came from this collection.

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It's nice when luxury is on sale!  I'm definitely going to buy some more.

Note: I've had readers ask how I convert patterns from a traditionally written seamed pattern to a top-down sweater. I'm sorry I'm not the right person to ask as I just take a stab at it; read through the pattern, jot a few numbers down, then pull out a calculator and fiddle with numbers until it looks like it makes sense.  While not all patterns can convert easily, or even at all, I think I can make it work because I've been knitting for so long, but I know I don't have an approach that I can spell out on paper. I'll bet you could find tutorials on tech blogs or you tube.


Jump For Joy Hoodie, free pattern!

Hello friends. So far I've been loving January and especially enjoying getting back into a nice routine by eating quite a bit healthier than we did in December.  It sure feels good.  Even though the tree has been gone for a week, not until the Christmas cookies and candy are gone do I feel like the holidays are officially over. Because of that, the holidays still linger as does the candy and I don't know what to do with it except to eat it.  My thrifty side won't allow me to throw it out even though my practical side is telling me to stop with the sugar. My January Everest.

We've had tons of rain so there's been time to knit, which I would do even if the weather was fine, but the rain doubles it. January is rose pruning time in California and we are supposed to have less rain for the next few days.  My plan is to prune every day for an hour or so, and then hope for rain so I'll have to go in and knit.  And here's what I've been knitting:

(simple, easy and free!)

(which includes my modifications, please read them before you make this sweater)

(it's 100% wool and machine washable and on sale!)

I wouldn't hesitate to use the yarn or the pattern again.  Both are winners.

Everyone loves my baby hangers.  I found them here.

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my favorite Christmas present

Happy day after Christmas!  We had such a lovely day and hope you did too, but as we were driving home last night, my husband asked, "When do we get to stop all the eating?"  Another week hon, and then we'll get back to normal, I promise. We have been suffering the ultimate holiday cliche by eating to bursting almost every day.  Sigh.  But I do have a victory of sorts to report:  I went downtown this morning to check out the day-after sales and came home with nothing. Whatever tempted me, only tempted me slightly, so it was easy to walk away. My husband cheered when I told him how I held my purse strings tight and came home empty handed.  Yay for self-restraint!

So here it is, the day after Christmas, and perhaps your house looks like mine, the bottom of a parrot cage? Maybe today you are attempting to clear out the clutter?  Tossing out the crumpled paper and tattered ribbon? I did that, but somehow the place still looks like a mess, and getting things straight just seems too overwhelming. I can't even bear to look inside the refrigerator.  I think the rest of the day will be a stay-home-and-knit day; a resting day so I can gather up energy to clean with a vengeance tomorrow.  But I must give my guy a shout out, he woke up early and cleaned the kitchen before I got up.  Big kisses to my man.

What was your favorite gift?  My favorite Christmas present was, no surprise, a big box of YARN! I have the opened box in my hallway so I can admire it whenever I walk by.  Sometimes I'll stop and pick up a skein and give it a squeeze--so much in love I am with my new yarn.  Of course I have ideas for this yarn.  Starting on the left, the 5 skeins of Rowan Creative Linen in white and beige will most likely be made into Splash by Kim Hargreaves again. I wear my pink one so much, I think a white Splash with a beige stripe or two will be perfect for next summer. On the top I have 4 skeins of Softyak DK in red and beige.  With that I will make another Candy Cane Scarf because I gave my first one away and I miss it.  Below that I have 8 skeins of a steel blue/charcoal gray Softyak DK.  It's mostly cotton with a bit of yak fiber and it's one of my new favorite yarns to knit and wear; beautifully soft and lovely drape plus it's machine washable.  To the right of that I have 4 skeins of white Rowan Super Fine Merino 4-ply, also unbelievably soft and machine washable and is destined to be a baby sweater, design undecided.  Above that is the same yarn in a soft gray, 18 skeins total for a sweater for me and extra skeins for baby sweaters.  I've added these 3 yarns to my very large "favorites list".

One more gift I love was a 23 And Me genetics testing kit.  I spit into the container and mailed it off this morning.  In a few weeks I'll know if it's true if this Scandinavian gal has some Cherokee Indian in her.  For a hundred years, now deceased members of the Tennessee part of my family, insisted we had Cherokee in our ancestry, and now I'll find out for certain. My mother's family has been in this country for hundreds of years, and while we have written family records going way back thanks to some diligent cousins, the American Indian heritage stories are only verbal, not written. Terribly exciting!

Another terribly exciting Christmas tidbit is this: my knitted gifts were all hits, no misses!  I could not be more thrilled with that.  Have a good day, and I'll see you soon.  xoxo Kristen

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Santa's littlest helper

I know what Santa's littlest helper will be wearing next year!

Hi! I'm back again today to share my last knitted Christmas gift of the year, a little elf outfit for a baby that will be 6 months old next Christmas, but I'll give it to the excited new parents this Christmas. This set is from the darling baby knitting book, The Rowan Baby 4-ply Collection, which has the dearest, sweetest baby clothes ever.  Most of the patterns are sized 3 mos. to 2 years.  I knit this set using very soft machine washable wool in cream Rowan Super Fine Merino 4-ply and red Dragonfly Fibers Dragon Sock.  I absolutely loved knitting with both yarns, loved the patterns and cannot wait to give the gift.  I know I'll be knitting this again as it makes a darling baby gift, and I love giving baby gifts.

Today is a lovely rainy day, so dark and wet, so very cherished in California, and perfect for staying indoors.  We ran our last Christmas errands yesterday, a chilly, sunny day, and saved out indoor chores for today--we were watching the weather report! Today my husband is going to help me clean the house, wrap the last of the presents, set the table and prep a bit for Christmas Eve's dinner of lobster bisque and salad for the 5 of us. On Christmas Day we will be at friends who are expecting 35 for a sit down dinner!  It's quite a production but my friends pull it off like it was nothing. I'm bringing a smoked salmon appetizer, a potato dish, and the whipped cream for the 6 pies she is making.  At least she lets her guests bring some dishes!

Dear readers, thank you so much for stopping by my little spot and for your kind comments, I treasure them all.  I hope you have a peaceful and joyful Christmas, a happy Hanukkah, and a very happy New Year.  

Here's the links:

See the entire pattern collection on Rav:
The Rowan Baby 4-ply Collection
and purchase the book here.

The fibers:
Rowan Super Fine Merino 4-ply
Dragonfly Fibers Dragon Sock

My Ravelry project pages:
Elf Hat, Joey Hat by Andrea McHugh
Elf Pants, Porcupette by Elinor Sykes

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if snow came down in colors

If snow came down in colors
How splendid it would be,
To make bright, jolly snowmen
For everyone to see.

My Button Snowman tutorial from two years ago has been my most popular post this December. I never know why a post will suddenly take off, especially a years old one.  I heard from one reader that she was going to make some colorful snowmen, so I decided to lift that idea and snuck into my sewing room last night to make these cuties. If you have some restless kids to keep busy for an hour or two, plus a few buttons, tiny seed beads, and felt, I think you'll have some fun making these.  The original tutorial is here.  Merry Christmas dear readers!  (I'm sorry, I don't know the source of the children's poem.)

You can see that the glue on the backs are not completely dry yet, but it will dry clear.
How to make Button Snowmen.
I'll be back tomorrow with my last knitted gift--for a baby and it's darling.

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merry merry

Every year I make a new ornament for my tree, and then make a few more to give away, and then write up the pattern for my readers.  I didn't get around to that activity this year, but if you still have a bit of time, here's some of my ornaments from past years.  All the patterns include detailed instructions with tutorial pictures when needed; all include complete supplies list, and all are FREE!  Enjoy!  The pattern links are embedded in each caption.

Woodland Elves are made with supplies you may already have on hand: vintage wood spools for the body, nuts for the head and snippets of yarn for the hat. You don’t need much more than that to make a little village of these quick and easy to make elves. Directions include knitting pattern for the 3 hat sizes, supplies list and assembly directions. 

I love making clothespin dolls and confess I’ve never made one I haven't adored! Christmas Dollies.  Knitted gowns are made extra special with the addition of pearls and other embellishments.  All my patterns have a complete supplies list.

Winter Trio, similar to the clothespin dolls above, this trio is made with pipe cleaner bodies. 

Do you have a button collection?  These Button Snowman could not be easier!

Christmas Pixies and Whosical Trees are perhaps the ornaments I love the most!  The elves are fun and easy to make and would make a good project for young children (but might need just a little help from mom or an older sibling).  The trees are sewn and ended up looking like they belonged in a Dr. Seuss book which made me love them even more.

Peg Angels are gorgeous with their eyelash yarn "fur" scarves and vintageChristmas sheet music wings.
While not a Christmas ornament, the Candy Cane Scarf is certainly Christmasy!  Knit this scarf in candy cane colors for a burst of holiday cheer any time of year! Knit entirely in garter stitch, you’ll have it finished in no time.