Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Happy Stitching

I am enjoying making things so much right now.  For the past two weeks I have been taking an unplanned break from sewing clothes for my cuties.  I did a little work on a quilt but the most enjoyable crafting for me lately is making these ornaments and knitting.

The above is made from a kit by Alicia Paulson which I am sure everyone recognizes.  I still have the house to make for the complete set and then I have four other kits I want to make too.  They are so fun to make and I love how they came out.   It is also easier for me to work on these in little bits of time instead of lugging out my sewing machine to the kitchen table. 

These mittens are probably the most favorite thing I have knit (other than baby sweaters for my babies and those are partly my favorite for sentimental reasons).  They are lined and so warm.  And I learned a lot making them such as the i cord cast on and stranded knitting.  Details on the mittens are here on Ravelry  For a few years I was mostly knitting for the kids. This year I am really enjoying making stuff for me and wearing it too.  I love these mittens and my cabled hat and scarf so much  that  I dreamed about them last night.  In my dream large birds were trying to steal them and had them in their beaks.  I told my husband about it this morning and he said "Who makes your dreams, Beatrix Potter?"    Well we do read a lot of her here.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Grandma Joie

I have wanted to write this post for a long time.  I put it off because I thought writing it would make me sad since my Grandma passed away in August of 2012.  But she was such a beautiful person and made beautiful things I feel compelled to share pictures of the things she has made.  This week I happen to be on vacation and  don't have anything finished to show so I think now is a good time to tell you about my Grandma Joie.

Here is a picture of her.  She always looked that beautiful and put together.  Even in her 80's she was beautifully dressed, always had her hair done, and had lovely jewelry.  My Grandma lived in Missouri.  She grew up in a convent where she learned to do embroidery.  Granmda Joie told me the nuns insisted on perfection.  They would sell the embroidery.

My grandma also made quilts, did some sewing, crocheted, and knitted.  When she left the convent she went to live with a German woman who she helped clean.  She had taught my Grandma to knit.  The last time I saw my Grandma she tried to teach me continental knitting but I couldn't get the hang of it.

I have lived most of my life in New England and didn't get to see my Grandma that often.  Sometimes I wouldn't see her for many years.  But she has always been very special to me even though we didn't get to spend much time together.  Visits with my grandma occurred a little more when I became an adult and she was retired.  And our phone contact increased a great deal.  When I became a mom and started being home more I spoke to her on the phone almost weekly.  In addition to talking about my kids,  we discussed cooking, baking and crafts.  It was wonderful to be able to connect with my Grandma about those things we loved.  My Grandma really loved to cook and I have many of her favorite recipes. 

Growing up we had beautiful Christmas items in our home that my Grandma made.  I had shared a little bit about it here and here.  I thought it was magical how my Grandma could make such beautiful things.

Here are pictures of the quilt my Granmda made me for our wedding.  I was engaged at the end of October 2005 and had a shower in May 2006.  My Grandma did all this beautiful cross-stitch in time for my shower.  She brought it to the convent and the nuns quilted it by hand.  When I opened the present at the shower I cried.

You know the question, "if your home was on fire and your family was safe, what would you grab?"  This is it. 

We don't keep it on our bed because of the little people and we don't have things in our bedroom just right.  But someday I will proudly and very carefully keep it on our bed.  We have a Hitchcock headboard that is actually hard to find bed coverings that look just right with it but this quilt does.

The first quilt my Grandma gave me was the beautiful blue gingham one that has chicken scratch embroidery.  I was in high school when she gave it to me.  I guess it is about 25 years old.  It was on my bed all through high school and then later as an adult even though it had yellowed some and some of the embroidery had come undone ( I wish I had been more careful with it when I was younger).   When I had my son I decided it would be best to take it off the bed.  I would like to see sometime if I can do something about the undone embroidery and yellowing. 

I love everything about this quilt.  The prairie points are beautiful.   I was such a lucky girl to have my grandma make this for me.

When I visited Grandma Joie in 2008 I admired her pillows that she had made.  She told me to take them.  I said I couldn't, and she insisted.  So I picked this beauty out.

And then she gave me these other three beautiful pillows.

Even though I never was able to spend as much time with my Grandma as I wanted, I miss her all the time.  It means the world to me that I have so many beautiful reminders of her in our home. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Slow and Steady

Crafting lately has felt very slow but has been extra enjoyable.  I cut out this pattern (Liberty Jane Oxford Square Coat) and fabric right after I finished Stella's coat.  I found some small toggle buttons on Etsy and ordered them.  Then I waited for the buttons to arrive from Japan before starting.  The pattern was not for a toggle coat and was for an 18 inch doll (Bitty is 15 inches).  I just figured I would add the toggles like I did with Stella's and I figured that since it was for an 18 inch doll that the coat would just be a little big.  Well 18inch American Girl Dolls may be taller but I think they are leaner too.  This little coat is tight.  Doing the side seams was one of the last steps so it would have been difficult for me to figure a way to make it wider at that point.  Still it was very fun to make a little coat.  And even more fun is watching Stella play with Bitty in her matching coat.  She doesn't care if the coat is too tight.  

And here is Miss Maggie.  I'm sure everyone recognizes the beautiful rabbit from Posie Gets Cozy.  I bought the kit back in October.  If I had known how much fun it would be making her, I never would have waited so many months.  I will be giving her to Stella for her birthday at the end of April.  I hate putting her away until then.  

I've also been working on some cross stitch and some mittens.  I have a long list of things I want to make and/or finish for Stella's birthday plus I want to make her an Easter dress and a birthday dress.  One of the dresses will be smocked I hope.  I am taking a smocking class on the 15th.  I have so many things I am looking forward to doing.  

I am feeling a little guilt over not making as much for Luke.  I didn't make him any of his birthday presents last year.  I do have a sweater vest that I am working on for him.  I try to alternate Luke knitting projects with Stella knitting projects.  And Luke is always hot so it is really unlikely that he will get much use out of what I knit for him.  If anyone has any suggestions of fun things to sew for a boy please let me know or let me know what you tell you yourself so you don't feel so bad.