For Valentine’s Day this year, Sweetie suggested we forego purchasing gifts and make each other something instead.  Swoon!  I had about 76 ideas, and ultimately settled on cross stitching Sweetie’s motto for the year: Keep Calm and Carry On.  It’s a good motto for life in general, but I also thought a prettily stitched and framed version on her desk at work might be just the thing on a rough work day.  Besides, all the letters are there to stitch myself a Keep Calm and Carry Yarn version, should I desire such a thing.  Which I do.

I found a great pattern from andwabisabi on etsy, bought the supplies at the craft store, and started stitching on the Friday night before Valentine’s Day.  Silly, silly me, I thought I could finish the whole thing in a couple of hours.  Despite having attempted a rather large cross stitch pattern and never finishing it, and in spite of watching fellow SnB’er Fake Knitter work on her intricate Christmas stockings for months at a time, I thought this would be a fast project.  At the end of that first evening, I only had the word keep finished.  Boy did I underestimate an entire craft!  One evening turned into one week, and my stitching strategy and skill gained speed.  I would add a letter as I had 5 or 10 minutes, and after a few weeks it is finally finished!

The pattern was very nicely laid out and came with a bit of helpful info for a cross stitch novice like myself.  Grace has some very fun patterns available, and should the urge every strike me again, I will definitely go back to her shop.  The main struggle for me was strategizing where to start on a letter so I could get a good run of stitches without having to float the thread too far, and I occasionally did a letter with the stitches crossing the opposite direction of all the rest.  And I messed up the crown a bit.  Nothing that affect the design, but definitely some beginner mistakes!

Once I finished the main pattern, I cut the piece to fit in a frame, then improvised a little border.  The pattern suggests letting your finished piece soak in tepid water and pinning it out to dry before framing or sewing with it.  This made all the difference.  The wrinkles were sorted out, the white got whiter, and the colors popped.  As with knitting, blocking really can take something to the next level.

I feel bad for not having my end of the love day deal complete on time, but I think this was worth the wait.  Happy Valentine’s Day, Sweetie!

The Gift of Handmade

It has been a little overwhelming around here, what with all the baby gifts that keep showing up on our doorstep.  A very high percentage of them have been handmade; knit, crochet, or sewn, people’s talent is astounding.  I am impressed and inspired by the time and thought that has gone into each item.

The blue cabled hat is from my friend Natasha, to whom I will be forever grateful for teaching me how to knit.  She also made the blanket below, complete with itty bitty crochet edging.  The brown hat is from a family friend.  I love the big flower, don’t you?  Just in case Junior is a boy, she included a knit band and two brown buttons that could replace the flower.  Clever!

Another family friend went way above and beyond, sewing up this baby quilt, a matching fitted flannel sheet, and a couple of burp cloths.  The quilt is puffy and soft and fits perfectly in the co-sleeper I recently snagged at Once Upon A Child for 1/4 retail price.  And to think I had almost bought one new for $200!  Can you tell I love a good bargain?

And last but not least is this fabulous red sweater from a fellow Stitch ‘n Bitcher, Denise.  I’m loving the hood and the frog closures:

Thanks again to everyone for their creativity and generosity!

Day 27

A knitter’s baby shower brings out the generosity of other crafters, I tell you.  There were handmade gifts all over the place exhibiting the mad skills of sewers and knitters alike.  I am overwhelmed with the thought and time that went into these gifts and would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all of you.  I can’t wait to put these to good use!


Baby Surprise Jacket from Archiknist



Baby socks from Pixisis. There were 4…




Hearts & Squares Blanket from Pixisis


And lets not forget about our friends with sewing machines:



Plush Alphabets from Jennsquared (her photo too)




Flannel sleep sacks from Sweetie’s mom

There is something so special about wrapping the ones you love in something handmade.  I feel great comfort and satisfaction knowing that what I’ve knit will be keeping someone warm and cozy.  And while I’ve received hand knits and sewing creations before, these baby items are overwhelming me.  Maybe it’s the hormones, or the fact that I understand what goes into making these things, but I am truly at a loss for words.  Wow.  Again, thank you so much!