Category Archives: knitting

Making + Listening::14/2014

Lots of photos to share this week, some of which are better than others in terms of quality. First up, my daughter’s embroidery from a few weeks ago, that I have neglected to share. She drew on the felt with the nifty disappearing-ink fabric marker and then embroidered over her lines. (We just don’t go in for embroidering other people’s patterns here!)

5yo's embroidery at amyhoodarts.com

Drawing and embroidery by G, age 5.

This is a fairy–the semi-circles on the sides are wings. I love this–she has preserved her own drawing in fabric and floss!! (I helped with the eyes–I did the French knots. But she did the rest herself.) This was completely her idea. I think of all those Pinterest-type projects that have adults transferring kids’ drawings to fabric to embroider or turn into pillows and I look at my daughter’s self-created, self-directed activity with her own drawing that she then embroidered herself, and it’s just perfection. So much better than if I had embroidered it. Her small capable hands did this.

Those wonderful hands of hers also learned how to use the knitting tower this week.

using the knitting tower at amyhoodarts.com

Blurry cell-phone picture of G using the knitting tower.

We’ve had this for years and years and neither boy was ever much interested, but, much like her mama, G likes to make things with her hands, and she took to this right away. While she was sitting there finger knitting, I was working on a knotted, beaded ankle bracelet.

knotted anklet in progress at amyhoodarts.com

Another blurry cell phone picture, of my knotted anklet in progress.

This started with making a beachy bracelet out of string while we were at the beach one day, using directions from the book Summer Crafts by Marjorie Galen (a used bookstore find several years ago, and I love it; it also inspired our hot rocks).

Beachy knotted bracelet at amyhoodarts.com

Beachy bracelet.

After making that one, I made a few more (just to keep my hands busy), and then I wondered if I could add beads. I have a necklace purchased a while ago that looks very similar to this simple knotting, but with beads. So I bought some thin hemp string and got to work. This is the finished anklet (and I’m out of body lotion for my legs, as I’m sure you can tell by this close-up photo).

knotted beaded anklet at amyhoodarts.com

I LOVE THIS ANKLET.

We’re not done yet! I also finished a baby sweater and hat this week. It’s for one of my husband’s co-workers. Gah it’s so cute!!

baby sweater + hat at amyhoodarts.com

The details are on Ravelry. I hardly knit at all these days unless I’m making something as a gift. It was nice to pick up the needles again–this little sweater worked up fast, too. I began it on the second day of the Tour de France, and they’re not done cycling yet.

Finally, yesterday I added “draw and paint sunflowers” on my to-do list. Do you do that–add on the fun things to your list, to give the same importance as the chores? I do. I cleaned the bathrooms yesterday as well, but I made sure drawing and painting was also a priority. My daughter sat next to me and we both quietly looked, drew, and painted for quite some time. Here’s my finished page.

Sunflower sketchbook page at amyhoodarts.com

As for listening, I got to hear the most amazing (and at times inane) conversations Tuesday as we sat in traffic on 95. We visited the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, and instead of 90 minutes each way it was at least two hours. That’s a lot of car time! (Thanks, Massachusetts, for the construction.) My boys finished the books they’d brought well before we got anywhere near home, so they began discussing who they’d pick for a multi-universe superhero all-star team (that’s what it sounded like, anyway–both DC and Marvel characters, who would your top 20 be and why?). After a while they exhausted that topic and moved onto discussing which body part they’d willingly give up if necessary. (My practical 12yo said appendix. Mine’s already been removed and I don’t miss it at all.) That conversation quickly veered into the surreal. Four hours of driving with three kids. The things you overhear.

Phew! I’m linking up with Jen again this week. How about you? What are you making? Overhear any good conversations lately?

Another Baby Sweater + Hat Set

baby sweater

Very quickly here to share the (finally) finished baby sweater and hat for my eldest’s teacher, who is due in April. (So look at me go! Finished with time to spare!) This has actually been done for a couple of weeks, waiting for me to get on with weaving in ends and knitting a hat and sewing on buttons–which are handpainted, from Peace Fleece, and they’ve been in my button stash for about ten years or so.

Other details: The sweater pattern is Assisted Hatching, the hat pattern is Ashen, the yarn is Tosh Vintage in denim, the needles were US size 7, and the cuteness is undeniable. That about sums it up.

And just a quick post because I’m also working on a custom order, wanting to try out some new soy-based ink, putting together the printmaking issue of the zine and thinking you will really like it, and solo parenting for the week. I’ll pop in again soon. Have a great Monday!

Making + Listening::2/2014

A bit of our making this week:

banana bread at amyhoodarts.com

Gluten-free banana bread, zoomed in and on macro so hopefully you can’t see that my stove-top is less-than-spotless.

spies at amyhoodarts.com

My 9yo occasionally gathers the denizens of his room for meetings, grouped by their responsibilities. These, as you can see, are the spies, which I’m sharing because I enjoy that the rat is in this group. Most of the dragons are in charge of the treasury, obviously, but that purple and green one is small, so he gets to be a spy.

magnastix 2 at amyhoodarts.com magnastix 1 at amyhoodarts.com

Because my husband is away, my two younger kids came with me to physical therapy on Tuesday. The therapist let them play with this vintage magnetic building game that they use with patients who are working on fine-motor control. My kids asked me to take photos before they had to clean up and put it away. I only had my cell phone camera with me and was hooked up to the electrical stimulation machine when I took the picture, so I think we can forgive the blurriness of the first photo.

sweater in progress at amyhoodarts.com

I’ve been knitting a baby sweater this week, just like this one, except for the color, of course, which is this really lovely light blue. We hope it’s acceptable for either a girl or a boy (we certainly think so), “we” being the 12yo and I, because it’s for his teacher. This shows my progress as of Wednesday afternoon after his orthodontist appointment, during which time I knit happily and quietly in a corner of the waiting room while my other two kids amused themselves with the New Things To Them provided for waiting siblings.

We have one more doctor’s appointment this week, if you can believe it, to the asthma + allergy clinic in the city, after which we plan to visit the Big Art Store. That would be making the best of a trip to the city.

As for listening, it’s been the 80s station pretty much anytime music is on. When no other adult is walking through the door for eleven days straight, you need something to keep you moving forward–and even dancing in the living room every so often. (“Your physical therapist won’t be happy,” my 5yo-going-on-30 informs me. “Probably not,” I reply, and then introduce the concept of air guitar.)

I’m linking up with Dawn again this week, of course. How’s your making been going?

Making + Listening::1/2014

Check out that shorthand up there! This is the first Making + Listening post of 2014, and we’ll see if I can remember I did that next week. Lots of making went on here over the holiday break, including two pairs of flannel jammie pants and two new skirts for the girl. On the afternoon of Christmas Eve, one half of our dining room table was given over to sewing and the other to cookie decoration…not a bad way to spend the day before Christmas. But all that is practically ancient history by now. I have pictures of the more recently created stuff for you instead.

thank you RAK mail art at amyhoodarts.com

Karen at Mail Me Some Art suggested that January be Random Act of Kindness mail art month, and that sounded like a great idea to me. I have some previously made background-only postcards on hand, so I added the elephant and the text and a note to the librarians at our local library and sent it along. If you want to join in, Karen has all the details here.

Right before Christmas, we received a box of nature goodies from Dawn. Sadly, our nature swap partner disappeared after receiving our box, so Dawn and her kids stepped in to make sure my kiddos got a box in return. It included this great sea urchin test, something we’ve never found on our beaches (although they do live in our waters).

sea urchin test at amyhoodarts.com

It’s sitting in the center of our dining room table, which is where all our best nature finds eventually end up, so it was in sight and on hand when I was looking for something to draw. Look at that texture! I had to give it a try.

sea urchin sketch at amyhoodarts.com

Remember the socks I began for my oldest a month ago, and then put aside for some Christmas knitting? They were lingering, and I was feeling guilty, and maybe a little unmotivated. Well, I finished the first one and began the next one right away, as you do. I knit on it steadily while watching playoff football, and this was the progress after one day’s knitting: half a sock.

sock in progress at amyhoodarts.com

The next day, I finished it while watching the BCS Championship Game. It’s extremely convenient that two of my hobbies–watching sports and knitting–are so complementary.

finished socks at amyhoodarts.com

These aren’t everyday socks. He wants warm handknit socks to wear to bed. I told him Tuesday morning that they were done, but I needed to take a picture before he could have them. (He didn’t bat an eyelash. He knows this by now.) They were on his bed when he got home from school. He bounded upstairs to tell me, “Those socks are AMAZING!” I will always knit for him, obviously.

Also this week, I tried out a new zippered pocket size. I have a bunch of 4″ zippers and I wanted to try a vertically oriented pencil pouch. This is the result.

vertical pencil pouch at amyhoodarts.com

It’s a little longer than most pencils and pens, but it’s the perfect size for double-pointed knitting needles still in their original packaging.

DPN pouch at amyhoodarts.com

I often need more than one set of DPNs, for instance, when I’m knitting mittens. I like to keep them in their pouches so I don’t lose any, but then I have them rattling around in my bag. The pouch I use to hold my knitting tools–a purchased one, long ago, in my Early Years of knitting–isn’t long enough to hold DPNs in their pouches. I think this might be a little deep for pens and pencils. I need to actually use it for a while to decide. I think it’s just right for DPNs, however.

I think I’m mostly caught up now, except for letting you know that I’m pleased to be amongst the contributors for the upcoming issue of Kindred: Nest, available for pre-order here. That list looks so impressive, and I can’t wait to hold the magazine in hand.

As for the listening part of this post, I could use suggestions of new music. I seem to be listening to the same five or so albums, interspersed with much older stuff. What’s your favorite, sort-of-recent album or band?

(Linking up with Dawn again this week!)

Making + Listening: Knitting

I abandoned my son’s socks to knit a hat for my nephew for Christmas. I suggested a fish hat (here’s the one I made my son a few years ago), but his mom wasn’t sure he’d wear it, so I looked for something else a bit interesting but not quite that interesting. I settled on Skullcracker, a new Knitty pattern, using Cascade 220 Superwash, because it’s a little softer than the regular version, plus easier to take care of for non-knitters.

I thought the name of the pattern referred to the zig-zaggy line on the hat, but as I knit it, I decided it must refer to the way the pattern was making my head hurt. Also, look at the ends that you have to weave in:

Skullcracker ends to weave in

Too many ends for a hat, I say.

You cut the yarn for each section. The pattern also involves quite a bit of picking up stitches, and I ended up duplicate-stitching over each picked-up segment, just to make sure it was as neat as could be. Phew. It’s a cleverly constructed hat, but I’m not sure I need headwear to be quite that clever.

Here’s the finished hat (with truer colors than the pic above).

Skullcracker beanie at amyhoodarts.com

The pattern has quite a bit of negative ease. This hat fits tightly. I wasn’t sure it would be comfortable for my nephew, so I knit a second hat, and he can have both. This pattern is one I’ve knit for my own kids many times, Vertigo.

Vertigo hat at amyhoodarts.com

This is also a clever little hat, but not nearly so fussy in its cleverness. It’s knit sideways, brim to crown, using short rows for shaping. You use a provisional cast on and weave the live stitches together at the end, so it’s seamless. And it’s awfully cute.

So. Hopefully my nephew will like at least one of these hats, if not both. Extra hats are useful, anyway.

I’m linking up with Dawn for Making + Listening this week, even though I have nothing new to report on the listening end of things. It’s all Christmas music here these days, even in the car. My daughter sings the songs, too, trying to memorize as many as she can, and I find it kind of delightful, because, like me, she often just starts singing in the middle of a song, like it’s been running through her head and she just decided to let it out. It’s always a bit of a thrill to recognize one of your own small habits in your child. “Oh,” you think. “We share that.” Pretty cool.

Making + Listening

Now that Issue Two is out in the world, I really want to get my hands into some off-computer creating. Of course lots of art-making goes on while creating the magazine, but the last push is very much on the computer, and the very last bit is sorting out the tech-stuff, which is getting easier but still gives me a bit of a headache. So it was a treat to put together this card to send to a pen-pal.

notecard at amyhoodarts.com

That’s a hand-carved stamp printed on Kraft card stock, colored in with a colored pencil, surrounded by a glued-on watercolor/salt effect border. Yay! Making things with my hands is so…necessary.

I also started a pair of socks for my eldest, having finished his mittens. (He has gloves, too, but at 12 he still appreciates and wants hand-knit mittens from his mama. Love.)

beginning of a sock at amyhoodarts.com

He isn’t typically a bright-color kid (his mittens are black), but he only wears handknit socks to bed, so I’m guessing that explains this rather bright yarn. We were more concerned if it felt okay. It would be nice to have these finished in time for Christmas, but knitting socks for him no longer means quickly whipping up some kid-sized socks; it’s just the same as knitting a pair for me. His new snow boots, in fact, fit me. (!!) However, he’s a good-natured kid and will happily accept partly finished socks and a promise, if it comes to that.

As for the listening part, I’ve been listening to my youngest nonstop. We’ve also been listening to Christmas music, but when I need a break–and sometimes I do–I turn it to the 80s station to pep myself up a bit. And I’ve been overdosing on Of Monsters and Men and loving it.

How about you? What are you making and listening to? I’m linking up with Dawn again here.

Finished Knit: Tang

All photos in this post were taken by my 11yo. We had fun.

The sitting-down pose.

I actually finished this sweater way back in May, which was not sweater-wearing weather, so it sat in a bag behind my knitting chair until this past weekend, when I soaked and blocked it. We are moving into sweater weather now, and I’m glad to have a brand-new sweater ready to go (especially since the rest of my wool sweaters are in my mother’s cedar hope chest and there’s stuff on the lid and it is just such a process to get at them).

The front pose.

I’m reaching way back to remember what I did here, because I didn’t write it down at the time. The yarn is Dream in Color Classy, which is a worsted, so I am pretty sure I used size US 7 needles. The color is Emerald Darkness, I have no idea how many skeins I used, and I changed the neckline to a regular crew neck instead of a turtleneck. Oh! And this is the link to the pattern.

The back pose.

The sweater grew quite a bit when I soaked it, especially in the arms, so I threw it in the dryer until it was mostly dry and let it finish drying flat, and then it remembered what it was supposed to look like. I was remarkably sanguine about the growing, probably because I finished this so long ago I wasn’t feeling that oh-my-gosh-I-just-spent-a-gazillion-months-knitting-this-thing attachment to the outcome.

The fun pose.

I think I’ll get a lot of use out of this sweater.

(Finally) Making + Listening (Too)

I hit the ground running when I got home from Montana…homeschooling, karate two nights per week plus Saturdays (for the boys), soccer practice and games (for the girl), launching a new venture, and I updated my Etsy shop, restocking pockets with trees, among other items. All of that meant I didn’t pick up my knitting (which came with me to and from Montana) again until last night.

This is a second Azami–you can see my first on Ravelry. It fits better now than it did when I modeled it for those pics, and I really like it. But I hated working with the called-for yarn, which was slippery and splitty, and I fear it won’t wear well. So I decided to make a second one using my favorite work-horse wool, Cascade 220.

This project will be competing for my attention, though, in the rare bits of free time I have lately. I have a stamp or two I want to carve, denim panels I want to embroider for a pouch, and more embroidery ideas in my head. However, when the air gets crisp, the knitting tends to win out.

As for listening, I think I listened to about three R.E.M. albums in a row while driving in the car this week. Today I landed on Florence & the Machine, which perfectly fit my mood. (Even the songs with possibly sad lyrics sound empowering to me, thanks to the music itself.) The day began with a heartwarming review of the Art Together zine by Jen (she’s got a giveaway going on, too). This afternoon I picked up my bib and race packet for another 5K, a big one (close to 5,000 runners) in downtown Providence on Sunday. Exciting! Good, good things.

I’m linking up with Dawn for the first time in a while. She also debuted something big this week–a wonderful nature site in partnership with Annie. Creativity abounds on these here Internets. And you? Any making going on? What’s been on your playlist?

A Finished Baby Set

Well. This is pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself. I had yarn left over when I finished the sweater (pattern: Assisted Hatching) so of course I wanted to knit a hat. I chose Ashen, because of the seed stitch border. I adore the little wooden buttons. I love the autumn colors. The yarn is soft and smooshy and washable. The mama is one of the teachers at my son’s school. One way or the other, everybody there will have gotten something knitted or sewn by me by the time he’s done there. (Three more years! Three more years and he’ll be entering high school! Gah.)

The Before-School-Starts-Thingy is next week, so I can give it to her in person. I like doing that best.

And speaking of which, my next post will be about homeschooling plans, because despite my overall lack of desire to plan a darn thing lately, we’re two-thirds through August. So.

Making + Listening: Knitting

I’ve spent much of my making time this week knitting this. It’s not too complicated and the yarn is luscious–Tosh Vintage–and I’ve craved that combination of comfortable knitting and lovely yarn this week. The pattern is Assisted Hatching, and that opening at the neck will be closed with two buttons, eventually. The sweater is for a baby due in October, whose sex is unknown. I thought a sweater in autumn colors would be just right.

I knit a goodly bit of the body while waiting in a backed-up doctor’s office at the end of the day (I had been fitted in). I was glad I’d brought my knitting and I could just go round-and-round without having to think about a pattern.

Moving on to the listening…since I’m on my own this week, I started Season 5 of Merlin, and did some knitting while watching/listening to that. I haven’t been listening to anything new…these guys, and this band, of course, and going a bit old-school with him.

What are you making this week? Listening to anything good?

Joining up with Dawn, who’s having a give-away this week, so head on over there if you haven’t already!