All posts tagged knitting

Sunshine Yellow Baby Blanket

My niece and her husband are expecting their first child anytime now. It’s so fun to see my brother and sister-in-law so excited to see their first grandchild! We already know it’s going to be a baby girl and from the gifts received at the shower, she is going to be the best-dressed baby in Arizona!

Cuddle soft baby blanket

Baby blanket knitted from soft yellow baby yarn. Stockinette with lattice and leaf detail.

Since restrictions to flying were going to be put into effect starting at the end of the year, the shower was held the saturday after Christmas. Turned out to be a gorgeous day at the Winchester Country Club up near Auburn, California. Wonderful food, cute table decorations with pairs of baby-girl shoes and flowers, and lots of love.

At Thanksgiving I was asked if I could please make a mobile for the baby’s room. Walls are grey and white with black furniture and a sunshine yellow for the accent color in the room. I was shown a photo of a flower ball mobile from Pinterest and figured, yes, I could make something like it.

Now to figure out how… After going online and reading some instructions I decided against making it the way they had on Pinterest. A styrofoam ball was used as a base. Then you were to cut a lot of round circles of fabric, fold them into 8ths and then pin them to the ball, using straight pins. Well, right away I was a little freaked out by the use of straight pins in anything for a baby’s room! A definite no on that count.

On to plan B… My next plan was to go to the fabric store and take advantage of sales and coupons. While wandering the aisles looking for fabric, that would not fray too much, I was still trying to figure out how to make the balls of fabric. I actually came across a kit to make fabric balls in the quilting area of the store. I quickly looked at the directions and saw that now styrofoam balls and pins were not needed. Okay, this was the baby safe way to go!

All I had to do was cut circles, oh so many circles, from the three colors of fabric I found; medium grey, black and sunshine yellow. Fold the circles into 8ths and then string the folded triangles onto a strong thread thru the folded point. I would just change the diameter of the circles to make different sized balls.

The other thing I had to think of was how to hang this mobile. While I was at the fabric store I found a wooden embroidery hoop for sale. I would use the inner  most hoop and wrap it with black ribbon.

I also bought wider ribbons to hang the balls. The balls and the hoop went together fairly fast. The only thing I noticed was that when I tied the ends of the thread together to bring all the fabric circles together it left a flat area at the top. To solve this issue I used some wide, wire-edged white satin ribbon to make a bow for each ball. In a way I like it better, as it puts just a touch of femininity to the mobile.

I’m waiting for a photo of the mobile hanging in the baby’s nursery. When I get one I’ll add it here.

The shower was beautiful and now I could concentrate on the baby blanket I had started right after Christmas. I knew I couldn’t get it finished before the shower, so I decided to send it before the baby was born.

Lattice and leaf detail

Close-up of the knitted lattice and leaf detail

Again working with no pattern it took some time to figure out what to do. I had tried the leaf edging quite awhile ago and just loved it. So that had to be part of this blanket. After flipping through my book of knitting stitches I came across the lattice stitch and thought that would be great with the leaf edging.

After knitting a swatch for gauge, I started the baby’s blanket. Once I got the right amount of stitches for the size in my head, it went pretty quickly. But the due date is fast approaching and I still had the leaf edging to do.

I modified the edging pattern so it wouldn’t be so wide; I wanted the leaves to be closer to the lattice. All it took was casting on eight stitches, working in a pattern and never having more than sixteen stitches. For such a detailed edging it knitted up very fast.

All went well with stitching the edging to the blanket and in plenty of time. Cleaned, folded and tied with a bow…

Now off to mail it to the parents-to-be!

Knitted Hats

It’s been a pretty busy winter for me. Holidays as usual, but I started working again on the first of December. Work really does interfere with life!

So, I started Christmas gifts early (for me). I decided to knit hats for my elder son’s family. They were planning a trip to Germany over the holidays to visit family stationed there. Since they were leaving on the 19th, we decided to celebrate our Christmas on the 16th. Great. Now it was going come even faster!

I decided to start with the girls hats. I saw a cute knitted hat that was made to look like a cupcake. Perfect, right? I did not realize it was going to take me four hats before I figured out how to do it (I did not have a pattern). Then there was guessing the right size. I did have my son measure the girls heads. They weren’t that different, at least in the knitting world. Don’t know if that was good or bad.

Toddler size cupcake hats with a cherry on top!

Toddler size cupcake hats with a cherry on top!

By the time I got the pattern figured out I decided to make the  same hat for each of the girls. One with a blue band and one with lavender. I still had lots of yarn and I could just picture the girls heads bobbing in the crowds. They would be easy to see anyway.

As simple as hats are I seem to have trouble with the bands. I’m either making them too tight or they tend to stretch too much and don’t feel snug. At times I actually felt like going somewhere to find a child to try these on. It turns out that I have a small head and not that much bigger than either of my grand daughters. So I was constantly putting it on my head to gauge the fit. The unfortunate thing is that you can’t try it on until it’s almost finished! And the fact that these were knitted flat and sewn up after the band was knitted.

All in all I liked the way they turned out…

Two colors of tweed with stripes make this a hat for anyone.

Two colors of tweed with stripes make this a hat for anyone.

The next hat I worked on was just a simple tweed with stripes. I figured my son would like it simple… it would go with anything. I started with the brown tweed and added a couple stripes of grey tweed before starting the decreases.

Again I was working without a pattern… I seem to do that a lot. Then my friend came over. She goes to a needlework class every week and knows someone who collects patterns for knitting and crocheting. I was lucky that she was able to borrow a few binders (yes I said binders) with hat patterns in them. I actually found a pattern that would be perfect!

This hat went much faster that the girls’ and the size was no problem. Amazing how fast it can go when someone else does all the thinking. Yea! At this point I was feeling pretty good… I just might finish everything in time for our early Christmas.

Large wooden button on a seed stitch band add great detail to this hat.

Large wooden button on a seed stitch band add great detail to this hat.

I had an idea for the type of hat I would knit for my daughter-in-law. A wide band in a seed stitch with a large wooden button. I would use the tweed grey yarn I used for the stripes in my son’s hat.

After searching the internet I found a pattern that was similar to what was in my head. I really liked the way it turned out…simple, but with the details of texture and the wooden button.

I did finish all four hats in time, but it was close. Work and doing some woodworking for other gifts made the time fly.

We had a great time… my two boys, their wives and the five grandchildren. I am blessed.






Keeping a Tradition Alive

Somehow without planning it I have made a tradition of knitting or crocheting an afghan for family wedding gifts. It started a long time ago. I remember receiving an aran-patterned knitted afghan from my new husband’s aunt. We used it for years… until it fell apart. I really loved that blanket!

The first one I crocheted was for my brother and his new wife. I think I could still find the pattern I used. It was a black, brown and white large circular motif. My sister-in-law told me recently that they still have it, but it is fragile now and packed in her trunk. I was glad to hear that. Well, this last spring my brother’s daughter was getting married near Phoenix, AZ. My parents, sister and I were taking a few days before the wedding to see Sedona and the Grand Canyon. I couldn’t wait. But first, I needed to get started on the wedding gift…

This is the original afghan photo using Lion’s “Amazing” yarn.

I get weekly patterns via email from In one of these emails I found a knitted afghan pattern that I really liked.

A mitered squares afghan that used a yarn called Amazing. Only problem with that was … it’s a wool yarn and I can’t use wool. While looking for yarn to substitute for the “Amazing” yarn I found yarn whose color was named Painted Desert. I loved the colors in it and decided it was meant to be!

Now finding enough skeins of yarn was another thing. I didn’t care about the dye lots. I actually preferred to use different dye lots to give this afghan some variation like the original. It took me several trips to different stores to gather enough skeins for the project, but since it was made in squares that was fine. I could still start the afghan.

I’d never made a mitered square before, but once I understood the pattern and saw how the colors were going to work… I loved it! Instead of making separate squares and then sewing them together, this pattern has you pick up stitches along the edges of previously made squares and then continue working the square. You end up with four triangle shaped pieces. I didn’t quite finish before the trip to Arizona and since it was turning into quite a large afghan, I didn’t take it with me. I would finish it as soon as I got home and send it to the newlyweds. Time out for a long needed vacation!

View from our hotel in Sedona.

After landing in Phoenix and picking up a rental car our first stop was Sedona. After a long day of flying and driving we were ready to eat and settle in for the night. The next morning we watched the sun come up, a very peaceful feeling, and gorgeous. The sky was so blue and clear and those red hills are just beautiful! Another thing I noticed since landing in Arizona…. no allergies! I definitely could have spent a week there, but we were scheduled to hit the road to visit the Grand Canyon.

The Sinaquas, an ancient Indian Tribe, built the cliff dwellings called Montezuma Castle about 700 years ago.

Not far off the road to the canyon we made a stop to see a place called Montezuma Castle. Montezuma Castle is a five-story, 20-room cliff dwelling that sits in a recessed area into the cliffs. It was a short hike to the caves, but again very peaceful. A river ran close by and the sound was very soothing. I’m still amazed at how a primitive culture was able to build the caves we saw and that they are still standing to this day. It is sad to think that for some reason the ancient Indian Tribe, the Sinaquas, disappeared and that the archeologists don’t know why.

Onward to the Grand Canyon… It was such a beautiful day that we were pleasantly surprised; we had expected colder weather. As I drove the long straight road to the canyon I kept expecting to see something that would tell me I was close. I guess I never really thought about what the terrain around the canyon would be like. For some reason I expected hills. But as I drove and we left the hills behind us I was surprised at how flat and sparse the vegetation was. Because all I’d ever seen was photos looking down into the canyon I had a vision that everything would look mountainous.

View into the Grand Canyon. Some snow still in the shade.

So it was truly awe inspiring when we got to the Grand Canyon National Park, parked the car and walked to the area that gave us our first look at the Grand Canyon. Absolutely amazing! Snow was still on the ground in the shaded places of the canyon, but we didn’t even need our jackets. We hopped on a tour bus and off we went. The views were wonderful and the educational information that explained how this all came to be was mind-blowing. Very hard to wrap your mind around the length of time it took to make this formation. Wow!

Chapel built into the red rocks of Sedona.

Before leaving Sedona we went to see  The Chapel of the Holy Cross. There are lots of visitors to this chapel that was finished in 1956. It sits in a beautiful spot close to red rock hills. On a bright blue day like we had, the colors of the rock, sky and what greenery there is, was absolutely fantastic!

Okay time to switch to wedding mode…We had reservations for three casitas on a golf course. The three casitas were to be all in the same area, shared by a nice courtyard, but only two were. So one of us would have to go clear across to the far corner. My sister went for that. I think we were all ready for some alone time, which was probably a good thing. Dad was itching to play some golf!

The plan was to catch a shuttle to the venue from the hotel I had moved to that morning. I volunteered to be close by in case a babysitter was needed for my grand daughters. Not much of a hardship for me!

Stonebridge Manor at dusk… and my independent granddaughter, who didn’t want to sit with her family for this photo. I gave up after this one!

The wedding venue was a place called Stonebridge Manor. Well, after getting all beautiful and ready to go, there was a glitch. Unfortunately there was only one bus and the manor was 20 minutes away. Needless to say, many frantic phone calls later we finally got on the bus, but were already more than 40 minutes late. My sister who was already there called to say not to worry they were delaying the wedding until the last bus got there. That was a good thing because the bus was full of friends who came from California to see this wedding! The party just started early. The bus ride was very entertaining!

I wasn’t quite sure where this Stonebridge Manor was, but as the bus turned into an industrial park I got worried. He ended up turning around, but still stayed in the industrial park. Next question was, if we are his last load, why doesn’t he know where he’s going?! Oh well. We finally came to a parking lot. Believe it or not… the place was fantastic. You would never know you weren’t surrounded by countryside.

My finished afghan using the Homespun yarn called Painted Desert.

The huge Manor stood surrounded by beautiful gardens, pool, lawn and large tent set down where the reception would be held. The amazing thing was that there was another wedding going on the other side of the manor. We couldn’t hear a thing! Fantastic weather, food, music and people made for a wonderful time.

It was a beautiful wedding ceremony and the reception was full of great food and dancing. Especially entertaining was watching my two-year-old granddaughter as she danced circles around everyone! Oh, to have that much energy!

All-in-all a great time in Arizona…great weather, awesome sites, and a loving family to celebrate with!

Back home to finish knitting the wedding gift. Didn’t take me to finish the knitting. A little work to sew the four triangles together and it was ready to pack and send to the newlyweds!

Needlework Birthday Cake

Been really busy with cakes over the last week. First the Karaoke cake, followed by the really detailed Nightmare Before Christmas cake. I thought I could rest for a bit… then the phone rang. My sister called. Her daughter’s, fiance’s mother is turning fifty in a couple days. Could we make a cake with whatever I had left over from the last couple of cakes? The birthday girl loves to knit and quilt, sounds like something that we could “piece” together!

Only two days for this cake. I went with both the knitting and quilting theme. First I had to make the details that would have to dry overnight. The gum paste knitting needles, two spools of thread, a yarn needle, and an old-fashioned pincushion. To the pincushion, I added white edible pearls to look like pin heads.


Pincushion, thread and thimble close-up

After finishing the add-ons I started thinking about the quilt. Having quilted with fabric and wood in the past, I chose to do a simple square and triangle pattern. One square, then one square cut into four triangles. On the computer, I drew up a quilt pattern using colors chosen from what was left from other cakes. I knew I would have to add to those, but it gave me a starting point.

Having the quilting pattern figured out I moved onto the rest of the cake idea. I found one 9″ x 11″ sheet cake and a small 3′ deep x 6″ round cake in the freezer. We’ll use those… somehow.I have a few reference books; namely, the trio of Hello Cupcake!, What’s New Cupcake? and Cupcakes, Cookies & Pie, Oh, My!. I love them for the decorating ideas; but, would much rather use them on cakes. There was a real cute knitting cupcake in one of those books I could use! Of course, that meant making some cupcakes. I would do that first thing in the morning. Day one is done.

Day two… Cupcakes are in the oven and my sister is on her way. The cakes are out of the freezer, thawing. Time to color some frosting for the skeins of “yarn”and set aside for later.

We decided to go with white fondant over both cakes so the colors would pop. The small round was set on the base rectangle in the top right corner for height. Plenty of room for yarn and needles.


Side view of draped quilt.

My sister colored and cut the fondant as I made the quilt. I would partially drape the small round cake with the quilt, so size was not crucial. I’d start with two inch squares and build the quilt from there. Whatever size it ended up was going to be fine. It took longer than planned, but then again what doesn’t?! I ended up layering the pieces of the quilt on a rolled out white square of fondant. After the pieces were together, I used a rolling stitching tool to “stitch” around each piece. Detail is so important to the overall look. Somehow we ended up with the perfect amount for each colored fondant piece… just like we planned! Yeah, right. The quilt was draped over the round and really brightened up the cake.

The white fondant on the rectangle base cake looked too white. Let’s color some fondant yellow and I will make a measuring tape to trim around the cake base. I add the measuring increments using edible black ink after letting it set up for awhile. To give it some movement, I made it longer so I could loosely roll it up at the corner.


Measuring tape trim from fondant and edible ink.

Next, the cupcakes. I needed six to make two skeins of yarn. One on each end with “yarn” piped on it and one in the center to hold up the label. Originally I thought of making a detailed label somehow, but it looks like the perfect place to personalize the cake with edible ink. The piping of the yarn took a little work to make it look like the end on a skein of yarn. Loop the yarn back and forth across the cupcake leaving a little bit bigger circle in the middle with each round, gives it a needed depth.

Time was running out…We really needed to get this cake assembled. The quilt was already draped. I set the the knitting needles in place first because I wanted the yarn to go over part of the needles. Then I put the cupcakes in place. I rolled out two pieces of green fondant and fit the label on the skeins. I then rolled two white rectangles and personalized with name and age, again with edible ink, and added them to the green labels.


Close-up of yarn skeins and personalized labels.

The finishing touches included; piping some yarn from one skein through the yarn needle, setting the spools of thread and silver thimble in place, and setting the pincushion on top of the top cake.

It’s always a rush to take photos before packing the cake. Luckily my sister was making the delivery! We are very proud of our cake made from “leftovers”! Things went smoothly and we got it done in time…Now I get to rest.


Knitting and quilting accessories on sheet cake