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Geeks Rule!

A friend of mine recently commissioned me to make a collection of amigurumi figures for her–an entire Star Wars collection! It’s going to take some time to finish as I can only work on them when the kids are asleep, and since I’m not working with a pattern, there’s quite a bit of trial and error involved. I had to start and restart Obi-Wan Kenobi several times. Anyway, here’s what I have so far:

I may re-make Princess Leia as I set her eyes closer together than the others, so although she looks fine alone, they’re a bit too close-set as compared to the others. I’ve just gotten started on Han Solo, and hopefully, I’ll be able to finish him tonight when the kids are sleeping. I really want to make Chewbacca, but I need to find the right yarn that will give him the hairy beast look. πŸ™‚

The Sound of Silence?

Is it actually silent in this house? I can’t believe it… Well, the baby’s asleep–finally–after her morning marathon feeding, and my parents have taken the boys out to lunch. Normally, I would take advantage of Lady Penelope’s nap time to take a nap myself, but there’s just too much to be done. I feel like I haven’t been able to accomplish ANYTHING lately. My darling, sweet, beautiful daughter has been feeding like a maniac for the past two weeks. I understand that she’s getting bigger and building up my milk supply, but from about 8:30am to noon and 5pm to midnight, this little creature is like a milk-sucking vampire who won’t let go of the boob. Thankfully, she doesn’t do this at night. She gets up once around 4am, eats, goes back to sleep and is satisfied until 8:30am. Ah, well… I suppose this too will pass. And really, I will ONLY allow it because she’s so cute. πŸ˜‰

At 5.5 weeks, she has officially outgrown newborn sized clothes, which is nice because we only had a few items that were newborn sized. Her teeny tiny little ankles have put a good amount of fat on them, but they’re still too small for the straps of the baby booties I knit for her. Sadly, now her feet are too long to fit in them. πŸ™ It’s always a gamble when making something for a newborn.

Anyway, I better get a move on. The big boys will be home soon, and I’ve still got a million things I want to get done.

Knitting for Baby

It’s been quite some time since I posted last–my Etsy shop is actually keeping me pretty busy. Well, that and having two little boys to take care of. Not to mention the fact that this pregnancy is getting more and more difficult with each passing day… I’m on modified bedrest at this point, although I know I’m doing a terrible job of it. I should be staying off my feet, but it’s impossible with two kids! This last week, my brother’s been around, so it’s been a bit easier, but I still have to go up and down the stairs more often than I should… Considering that standing up and walking a few steps typically brings on a contraction, and going up a flight of stairs brings on a really strong contraction… Sigh. I CANNOT wait to not be pregnant anymore! Just a little less than 6 weeks to go–then the torture will end! The latest physical symptom has been this dull, aching pain in my tailbone area that radiates down my legs. I know it’s because of the pressure and the fact that my bones are stretching out so I’m not concerned about it, but… I guess I’m just tired of being physically miserable. Oh, and the last couple of days–it doesn’t matter what I eat. I have an awful aftertaste in the back of my throat that just won’t go away. πŸ™

Well… Onto happier things! My Etsy shop has been doing quite well, and I’m pleased to say that the first month of sales hasn’t been so shabby! Right now, I’m offering free shipping on all domestic orders (Coupon code FREESHIP), so if you’re thinking of getting something that isn’t a pattern, now’s the time! However, after spending the better part of the last month and a half stocking things in the shop, writing, editing, revising patterns… I decided to make a few things for Lady Penelope. So here’s what I’ve made so far…

I finished the Maile Sweater a couple of months ago, but I had enough yarn to make a matching hat, so I made a companion hat using a single repetition of the lace pattern that’s used in the sweater. After finishing it though, I think it would have looked much better with at least two repetitions… And I’m not about to frog it and start over, so it’s just gotta do for now. I’m definitely planning to make this cardigan again–it’s sooooo cute!–so the next time I make the hat, I’ll write down the pattern to share.

After finishing the hat, I STILL had some yarn left over… So booties were next! I used the Baby Janes pattern, which calls for DK yarn, so I doubled up on the yarn from the Maile sweater, which was a fingering weight, and it came out perfectly. Obviously, it still needs a button. And because I doubled up on the yarn, the self-striping quality is gone, but the booties are so small that I don’t think it makes much of a difference.

I also made a Puerperium cardigan for baby Penelope, which is adorable and a very quick knit (although the formatting of the pattern itself–the font and the multiple colors–drove me crazy). I think it turned out beautifully, and I love the color… I also made a matching hat and a pair of booties, which are soooo TINY and I can’t imagine my baby’s feet will be small enough to fit in here… But it’s apparently the right size, so I guess her feet WILL be that small!

So this was supposed to be Penelope’s coming home outfit, but DH isn’t in love with the color of the yarn. πŸ™ And he wants something in lavender. And only because I love my DH dearly, we went online together and picked out a lovely pattern AND he went through my stash and picked out a yarn… And this is what happened:

Obviously, the sweater still needs buttons, and both pieces still need to be blocked, but I think they turned out really well. I haven’t been able to get the color of the yarn just right in the photos, but it’s a lovely lavender color–just what DH wanted for his little girl. πŸ˜‰ For the top, I used the Small Things Sweater pattern, which is a fantastic pattern. If you’re looking for a baby sweater pattern, I highly recommend it. I made the newborn size, so I know I won’t get a whole lot of wear out of this, but I knit it up in a day, so it’s not like it took forever to make. I’m making another one for a cousin right now–and I need to finish it by tonight so my brother can take it with him to Korea!!–but it’s going quicker this time because I don’t have a contrast color garter tab, and I won’t be doing the foldover mitts, which actually took quite some time.Β 
For the pants, I modified the Leapfrog pattern by eliminating the cables along the sides, and adding a garter stitch cuff at the bottom to match the sweater. I had to teach myself how to do short rows, but that was pretty simple. I do love how it poofs out in the tushie to make room for bulky diapers. πŸ˜‰Β 
Like I said, right now, I’m working on another Small Things sweater for a cousin’s baby, and I also have another flower pattern in the works. Hopefully, that’ll be live sometime this weekend. We have guests coming over for the weekend though, so I may not have the time to get it finished.Β 
Well, the boys’ naptime is quickly coming to an end, so I better wrap this up and get back to work on my knitting!Β 

Keeping up!

Phew! I’m having a tough time keeping up with everything these days! Although DH is being super helpful–especially on the housework front because I’m just about the size of a beached whale and by the end of the day, my feet are absolutely throbbing from all the extra weight I’m carrying–there just aren’t enough hours in the day to keep up with all the crafty things I’ve got going on! I’m trying my hardest to keep Ravelry and Etsy updated with my new creations, and the latest pattern that I finished writing up and testing is the Starlight in Springtime fingerless mitt pattern!

Check it out on Ravelry or Etsy! And due to its popularity, I’m working on another simple (cheap) headband pattern. I hope to have it ready in the next couple of days!

A New Pattern

So this is what I’ve been working on the past couple of days!

I wish the hat wasn’t so small on poor Charlie’s head! He kept telling me that he’s “too big” for the hat… I really should make my sample hats in their size. Only problem with that is I’m so accustomed to making hats for them that “testing” 2-3 year old sizes aren’t actually testing the patterns for me. I have to try out the smaller sizes to make sure that I’m getting the sizing correct. :-p

Anyway…

This adorable pixie hat was specifically designed with the beginner in mind. Or the crochet-er who’s tired of making hats in the round! It’s got everything you want in a hat for your favorite little pixieβ€”a whole lot of cute, a little bit flair, and a touch of decorative lace!
The pattern is written for three sizes: 1-2 year (2-3 year, 3-4 year) and comes with measurements to help with sizing.
The pattern is available at jkwdesigns Etsy Shop or on Ravelry. You decide. πŸ˜‰

And We’re in Business!

All of the patterns discussed in this post are available for sale on Etsy
as well as on Ravelry. The advantage of Ravelry is that it’s an instant download.Β 

Since my last post, lots of exciting things have happened. Aside, of course, from the celebration of the holidays, which was a mixed bag here at the JuliaStitches household. We definitely had fun. This was the first Christmas that my boys seemed to have a grasp on what’s going on (they’ll be turning 3 in February), so it as really neat to watch them get excited about Santa Claus coming and opening presents the next morning. DH and I actually dragged our butts out of bed before the boys woke up so we could call them downstairs. And this NEVER happens! πŸ˜‰ We also didn’t travel anywhere this year or have anyone over, so it really was a relaxing 4 day weekend. On the other hand, all four of us were sick with a cold. Nothing too terrible, but four congested, snotty, slightly feverish people in one house is not a lot of fun. Thankfully, we all seem to be on the mend.

Anyway, on to crafting news! My Etsy shop, jkwdesigns, is getting bigger every day! I started out with 10 products, and I’ve more than doubled it in the past two weeks. I’ve been very busy writing patterns, testing, re-testing… And in the process of testing out all these patterns, I’ve also managed to make tons of headbands, hats, and flowers. My pattern sales are doing well, although, of course, they could always be better! And I’m working on some new hat patterns that I’m really excited about. The tough part is not having a little girl to photograph in all these hats! They look so much better on a human head, and although the boys will do it if I ask, they look so miserable in the photos… Particularly Lincoln. πŸ˜‰

So the only pattern that I’d introduced so far is the Sweet Magnolia pattern:

I worked long and hard on the Gardenias for Lady Day pattern, and I went through a number of prototypes before settling on this design. I think it turned out pretty great–worthy of the great Billie Holiday? Maybe?

Because I was experimenting with all these flowers, I needed someplace for them to go. So I whipped up this crochet headband/earwarmer pattern, and it’s actually been doing quite well in terms of sales! It’s absolutely suitable for beginners, so if you’re looking for something quick and easy, this is definitely the pattern for you. You don’t have to worry about gauge–just get started and you’ll be done before you know it!

Next, I worked on a pattern for a cloche hat because well… I just love them. And again, I needed something to do with the flowers that I’d made. πŸ˜‰ It’s super-stretchy and can fit a lot of different sizes, which is fantastic because I hate making hats for kids that will only last one season. With the band, it’s easy to slightly tighten the hat so it doesn’t fall off a little one’s head and gradually let out some of the band to accommodate a quickly growing child.

And my final work–I just wish the photos did the hat justice. It’s adorable. You can take my word for it. πŸ˜‰

I just wish there were more hours in a day because once I can actually settle down to do some serious work (that’s after the boys have gone to bed), I really only have a couple of hours before I’ve got to turn in for the night or risk being an absolute zombie the next day. And it doesn’t help that this baby is literally trying to push her way out of me through my belly button…

I’m working on a new pattern right now for an adorable baby hat with a bit of a pixie twist… Then I’ve got an idea for a vintage inspired baby bonnet in the works… It’s almost like my brain is in complete over-drive right now. My hands can’t work fast enough for all the ideas I have in my head.

Case in point: this morning, Charlie made something ridiculous with his Lego blocks and stood at the back of the couch and said, “Mommy! Look! I’m fishing!” I looked over and he’d put a bunch of red Lego blocks together to make a long tower-like thing and on top of that, he’d put a Lego gas hose, which I guess was for the fishing line. And immediately, I had to make my boys something that would allow them to “go fishing.” So…Just from things I had around the house… I found two wooden dowels to use as fishing rods, some magnets, and, of course, yarn, and got to work. What resulted were 2 fishing poles (one blue and one green so there’s no war over the fishing poles) with crochet “hooks” with magnets in them. I was working on the first fish when the boys woke up from their nap, and thankfully, Mr. Charlie waited (not-so) patiently for the second fish… Unfortunately, the magnets aren’t quite strong enough… So I think I’ll either have to make the fish one-dimensional or get stronger magnets. I’m leaning toward stronger magnets since the fish are pretty darn cute. πŸ˜‰ And here’s a crappy cell phone photo of my wonderful creation.

Crochet Magnolia Headband

Woah! My 100th post! Who knew I would actually get this far? Considering the extended hiatus I took from all forms of crafting after my boys were born, I never thought I’d get back to this point. And who knows what’ll happen once Lady Penelope gets here, but I’ve gotta keep my fingers crossed. I’m hopeful that I’ll have time to make pretty things. It makes me so happy. πŸ™‚
Anyway, I have been plugging away, working on writing patterns, editing, taking photos… And here’s one that I’m finally finished with! The Sweet Magnolia Pattern! The pattern is available through my Etsy shop (the link will take you right to the listing) or on Ravelry, and although the pattern is only for the flower, I’m also offering a pattern for a winter headband/earwarmer for free with the Magnolia pattern. The flower and the headband are pictured below.Β 

And if you’re one of my regular readers who “follows” my blog, send me an email by December 31, 2011 and I’ll send you the pattern for free–my holiday gift to you! Happy Holidays! This offer is only good for my current followers, but if you’re visiting my blog for the first time, I have other free patterns that you can enjoy (see the Free Patterns listed on the right), and I’ll be sure to have more goodies and freebies in the future!

More Projects

I’ve been a busy, busy crafting mama lately… Both for the holidays and for getting my butt in gear and actually OPENING my Etsy shop–jkwdesigns!!! So here’s a quick rundown of what I’ve done in the past couple of weeks:

1) Lots of crochet flowers. I’m experimenting. After writing the Plumeria pattern, I decided I needed more flowers in my crafty life. I’m working on a magnolia pattern right now, one that doesn’t require the sewing on of all those petals. I’m hoping that I can design one where at least the back row of petals are worked as one piece. I hate sewing individual knit/crochet pieces together.

2) Hats for gifts:

I used the Big Button Hat pattern for these, but obviously made one shorter than the other… I made the pink one first, and despite not knitting as many rounds as the pattern called for, the hat was still huge, so I made the second hat slightly shorter. I like the shorter one better, but it’s just personal preference as I don’t like hats to cover my eyebrows!

3) A growth chart for Charlie and Lincoln. The Caffeinated Mommy from Creative Momnesia, which I must say has been sadly neglected lately, found this adorable DIY growth chart, so I had to make one for each of the boys. I suppose I could have just made one for all the kids, but then which one would I give it to once they’re older and having their own kids? So I’ve made two. Just one more to go for Lady Penelope!

4) I spent an inordinate amount of time designing a business card for my Etsy shop. Because I make ridiculous hats for my boys and take them out in public wearing said ridiculous hats, I’m often asked where I got them (the hats, not the boys). I wanted to have some business cards that I could give out to these inquisitive mamas! And after much twiddling, I went with an elegant cherry blossom design (I LOVE CHERRY BLOSSOMS!), and tried to print OVER.AND.OVER.AGAIN. With no luck. After I had essentially ruined the 7th sheet of business card paper, I did a quick Google search and discovered that it wasn’t just me. My particular printer is actually incapable of printing the margins properly on the Avery Clean-Edge business cards. I felt vindicated! So I went online and just ordered some. 500 cards printed and delivered to my door for $20. I can handle that. Considering that I wasted about $10 worth of business card paper, the $20 is a small price to pay!

This is just the front side of the card–the back side gives some more details about what I make. I think it turned out kinda nice! I’m going to modify if for the banner on my Etsy shop.

Now, I just need someone to buy something! I only have 10 items listed right now, but it takes time to make things, and that’s definitely something that I don’t have enough of… Time. I told DH last night that there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do… And he looked at me like I’m crazy–mostly because he doesn’t really understand why I create MORE work for myself by wanting to knit and crochet and write patterns and craft…when I can barely keep up with the dishes and laundry and grocery shopping and vacuuming and my millions of prenatal appointments… *sigh* I don’t really have an answer!

Cookie Sheet Magnet Board

After seeing a number of pins on Pinterest of cookie sheets that were beautifully transformed to magnet boards, I decided to have a go at it! I’m definitely pleased with the overall outcome, although next time, I’ll definitely be making some changes.

I used the Martha Stewart instructions for making a decorative tray out of a cookie sheet (minus the acrylic on top).

Using a spray adhesive, the fabric stuck very well to the front of the cookie sheet. Next time, I would pay a bit more attention to making sure that the spray adhesive goes on uniformly. There are a couple of spots that were a bit heavy on the adhesive, and a slightly darker color shows through the fabric. I thought it would dry but didn’t! The back of the cookie sheet was much tougher, but I wasn’t terribly concerned since it was A) never going to be seen once I hung it on the wall and B) was going to be covered up with a piece of felt anyway. In some spots, just for precision’s sake, I used my trusty ‘ole glue gun to hold the fabric down. There are probably better options–like fabric glue!–but the glue gun is what I had on hand.

And really, it’s just that easy! The cookie sheet has two holes, so it was easy enough to cut through the fabric just a tiny bit to weave a ribbon through. The bigger task was attaching magnets to all of my make-up! I used the stick on magnets that come in a roll, but I had to use the glue gun (again!) since the adhesive on those magnets are very weak.

Anyway, as I learned when I set the tray right side up…those magnets aren’t very STRONG either! They’re strong enough to hold everything up, but it doesn’t take much for the make-up to all come tumbling down! So buying better magnets is definitely in my future. The important part is, my make-up is now hanging on the wall rather than taking up counter space, and I no longer have to dig in m make-up bag for colors. I can see everything!

If I do this project again, I’m going to try the spray-paint method next…