J’s Cardi F.O.- Yarn Along

J's pumpkin Cardi

J.’s Pumpkin Cardi was FAST- for me at least. One week!  I have never in my life knitted any item of clothing in a week.  J’s Cardi was based on Katrina Ballerina and is knit in one piece which I lengthened into another LCOEP and I changed the bottom pattern a little because I didn’t like the chunky looking bottom edging.  I used Berroco Vintage which for me was a bit of a gamble: acrylic yarn &possible squeakiness.  **Shudder**  Fortunately it was fine and as I said really really fast.

However I had a full two months before I could give it to J for her birthday, and I had grand plans for the dress I  wanted to make her to go with it so I procrastinated on finding buttons for it and I just hung it in the closet to wait for the right time.  It did finally get it’s moment in the light: she loves it and it looks sooo cute with her classy little Autumn Jersey Dress.

J's pumpkin Cardi and Autumn dress.

J’s pumpkin Cardi and Autumn dress.

I have been re-reading Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv.  Previously when I read this book it was as a mother of young children living in a village community with easily accessible and kindly woodlands and moors that my children were able to have some measure of freedom to explore.  Meanwhile they had friends who were never allowed to play outside a yard and then were never allowed to get dirty even in the yard: so they played video games and watched TV of course.  Now my kids are older our surroundings have changed as have their needs… I was hoping the second reading would be as inspirational to my as the first time but sadly it has just felt rambly and a desperately narrow-minded.  Part of the problem is mine: I have been learning more about food insecurity in America for a future home-school subject and when you know more about hunger in food deserts it makes “nature deficiency” sound like a first world problem.

I’m joining up with Ginny for a Yarn Along.



Castle Pockets and Other Wonders- Yarn Along

I’ve had a very productive knitting run since I last joined in with Ginny’s Yarn Along.  There is nothing quite so wonderful as pulling a finished piece of craft off its final pins and letting it get on with its purpose for existing!Kitty's Green Dream- Christmas Morning SweaterK.’s Green Dream is done and being worn nearly daily!

Esther's Pollen Collectors- Honey's Pollen Collectors Leg WarmersE’s Pollen Collectors were finished in the nick of time for this flash of colder (for California) weather we are having.

Margaret Dashwood Shawl

And I am back to Margaret Dashwood’s Shawl which is a dream to knit and soooooooo easy to modify for size etc. I’m reading Sylvia’s Farm (recommended by Ginny a few weeks ago on the Yarn Along).  Its very inspirationally written but also a little frustrating.  She uses descriptions that defy common use.  I have to wheedle out from her words her meaning and I don’t feel at all like I’m certain I’ve gotten it right!

J. has continued with her shawl and it is coming on beautifully but on top of that she also finished and gifted a project of her own design: J’s Castle pockets!Grimm SatchelJ. made K. a laptop bag for her 16th birthday and had the ingenious idea of a fairy tale theme.  She wanted it to look very simple and mature from the outside but open up to the enchanting world of Grimm’s Fairy Tales (a long time fascination for K. who could easily write a dissertation on the repetitive female characters in the Grimm’s tales).  The bag was sized off a little shopper bag M. was given by the local water district which is the most perfect size for almost any thing you can imagine… I am definitely making myself one of these soon!

Grimm Satchel So she chose a fabric from Heather Ross’s Far Far Away range, an old moth eaten felt army blanket which had a delicious mossy color but needed some selective cutting, leather, hardware, and her own sewing and knitting prowess (with a little help from Mommy)!

J. sewsThese castle pockets were knitted specifically to fit pencils and K’s cell phone after felting.  J. followed some excellent advice I gleaned from the forums and wonderfully friendly knitters over at the Tiny Owl Knits Ravelry group  as she winged the pre-felted knitting.Grimm Satchel

J. knitted the castle pockets in garter stitch from Knit Pick’s Pallete in Gosling which felted into a sturdily dense fabric.  I gave her a hand with the rambling rose embroidery as her time was running very short!  I think I might have to add castle pockets to some of my dresses because I want to look at them all the time.Grimm SatchelHave a wonderful Wednesday and a happy Yarn Along snoop through everyone’s WIP!

xx Jo

Gifty- Yarn Along

As with most my crafts… I’ve been making hand made gifts all this week.  Its my passion.  The thing that gives me the most joy.  I guess if I did that 5 Languages of Love  gift giving would be pretty high on my list.  However I have worked myself into a corner with gifts:  I actually don’t enjoy being given thoughtless stuff.  I don’t like to receive stuff- any old stuff-  I like gifts that mean something to me or to the giver.  I would rather get a thoughtful heartfelt card than a diamond ring (except from you M.- don’t you get any funny ideas- you still have to buy me a diamond ring AND give me a heartfelt card).  I ‘recon there are probably others out there like me who feel cold opening a gift picked up in a rush or panic with no real thought put in.  Seriously if the cosmic forces ever bring the moment where (strangely) you feel its necessary to get me a gift  and it comes to buying something in a rush: don’t bother.

So on my finished list this week:

  1. The delicious but tedious Ombre Cowl for my mother-in-law’s birthdayOmbre Cowl

  2. A set of 5 travel needle tidys (again for my mother-in-law)Felted Needle Cozies: MIL Gift @ Sweet Little Wood

  3. 9 Gnome Home Pens from a Tiny Owl Knits Pattern for my little Hobbit/Hogwarts loving girlsGnome Home by Tiny Owl Knits Adapted for BIC pens @ Sweet Little Wood

Two seconds after the Gnome Home Pens were officially theirs they started customizing them!

Gnome Home Pens @ Sweet Little Wood

 Twisted beards are so last season… all the fashionable gnomes are wearing braids you know.

Gnome Home Pens @ Sweet Little Wood

 Some times a gnome’s eye sight needs a little help in the darkened corners of the burrow! (my personal favorite!!)

Gnome Home Pens @ Sweet Little Wood

And for those long walks through winding caverns when you head home from a night at the pub… head lanterns…

There are utility belts and tiny leather satchels in the dreaming.

I’m still slogging through S but I have had no time this week even to pick it up as my in laws have been visiting … longing to finish it now.

I’m linking up with Ginny again this lovely raining Wednesday.

xx Jo


Monday Project: Adaptable Gnomes

Saturday was the day where little owls across the planet were settling down in the branches of their TOKmas trees to share gifts and celebrate all things Tiny Owl Knits.  Its the day they Hoot and Holler and drink hot sweet stuff and nibble little treats sent by their friends.  I’ve had so much fun joining in the swap and I just need to say thank you to Walterbear for the lovely package she sent me: I have finger-less mitts!! Hoot Hoot!!

I've had so much fun joining in the swap and I just need to say thank you to Walterbear for the lovely package she sent me: I have finger-less mitts!! Hoot Hoot!! 

Part of the Tokmas swap rules was that one of your gifts would be TOK related and my spoilee had in her wish list Stephanie Dosen’s adorable “Gnome Home DPN Holders” which featured in my secret knitting (remember the lovely spilling bundle of gnome hats?).  Sadly I forgot to take a picture of the 5 little gnomes that flew off with a helpful owl to Canada but I have gone wild with ideas to use the pattern for!.   The pattern is sooo easy and sooo fun!

Secret Knitting Project Yarn Along @ Sweet Little Wood

First I made my mother in law some needle tidy’s inspired by the Gnome Home pattern:

Felted Needle Cozies: MIL Gift @ Sweet Little Wood

My mother in law is not whimsical in the least but I thought she might find some needle tidy’s useful because she does travel and knit a lot.  As I say this was “Inspired By” so its only loosely related… I just used some of the same felt-able fingering wool (from Knit Picks) and knitted up a few rectangles 12/14/16 stitches wide and about 4 inches long, sewed them into a tube and felted them around a pencil or several pencils where they needed to be bigger.  The largest rectangle (16 st wide) fits 10 mm needles when stretched a little.  Basically whatever size and shape you leave the wet felted wool in it will stay in.

THEN (and this is really really fun) I adapted the pattern for a Gnome Home for BIC pens:

Gnome Home by Tiny Owl Knits Adapted for BIC pens @ Sweet Little Wood

These are for my girls.  I used Stephanie’s pattern but shortened the body of the gnomes to 2 inches.  The felting takes care of any other size issues!  I used BIC crystal pens and cut off the little arm on the lid to make the lid fit on nicely.

Gnome Home by Tiny Owl Knits Adapted for BIC pens @ Sweet Little Wood

Once everything was perfectly dry a little bit of hot glue on the bottom of the pen and on the lid holds all the knitting to the pen parts.  It is not a permanent fix (so then you can move it to another pen later).

Gnome Home by Tiny Owl Knits Adapted for BIC pens @ Sweet Little Wood

How darn cute are they?

Gnome Home by Tiny Owl Knits Adapted for BIC pens @ Sweet Little Wood

xx Jo



How Did I Get Here: Yarn Along

I’m linking up with Ginny at Small Things today.


I’m not sure how I got roped into pretty much all the things that have been taking up my week… K. has been obsessed with getting some leg warmers… we went shopping last weekend and somehow we came home with an inexpensive ball of yarn and K.’s expectant smile instead of leg warmers.  I did what every mother does in these circumstances:

“Yes yes of course darling!  I only have 40 other knitting projects on the go and two very pressing gifts to finish!!  Of course I have time!!”

And then I have a lot of unexpected paperwork associated with being a 4-H leader … again, I’m not quite sure how that happened.  One minute I am happily but halfheartedly helping my kids out and the next I’m club treasurer and leading three club projects.  So I have read a little more of  S (but not much) and rolled a few more layers of Manos del Uruguay (but not much) and tried to finish M.’s biker cowl (but not much) and attempted to knit my mother-in-law a birthday gift in time for this Sunday (but not much).

Happy Wednesday lovely fiber fans!

xx Joanna

A Year of Presents

Happy Monday to you lovely people!

M. turns 39 this week and I have his solemn word that he will not peek at any posts before then… so M. if you are reading this:

You only have yourself to blame!!

A Year of Presents: A gift for men that lasts all year! @ Sweet Little WoodBuying gifts for men is so hard! Either they don’t want anything, or the stuff they want is so technical they have to buy it!  Which is why- men- you get socks, ties and chocolates.

Just sayin’.

M. falls into the “wants nothing” category but perversely I think he actually would be disappointed to get nothing!  I now realize that when he says he doesn’t want anything he means he wants me to think up what he might enjoy… that is almost worse than him wanting something highly technical.

So this year I am giving him a year of presents which works like this:

A Year of Presents: 12 cards + 12 messagest and gifts + One cool gift for your guy!  @ Sweet Little Wood

12 cards all labeled with the date he is to open each card.  Each one contains a note and a gift (gift cards/ tickets/ planned days out/ etc). On every month’s anniversary of his birthday he gets to open a new card from his stash.  Thus giving a whole year of gifts in one small slim packet.  Because one of his jobs is planning and paying for date nights more than half of his cards this year have date nights- prepaid or gift cards (cinema gift certificates/ dinner out/ money for drinks at a free concert).  The other cards have ideas for things we can do as a family (picnics/ swimming/ hiking/ camping/ etc).  They can be free gifts like- M. loves cooking over a fire out of doors so its easy to incorporate that into a free date night or family fun day.

A Year of Presents: 12 cards + 12 messagest and gifts + One cool gift for your guy!  @ Sweet Little Wood

The cards I’m using are an SVG design available through my Etsy Shop– which includes the 12 card designs card lining (which are cut from patterned paper) and envelope pattern.  Obviously you could use any 12 cards!!

A Year of Presents: 12 cards + 12 messagest and gifts + One cool gift for your guy!  @ Sweet Little Wood

Last weeks Frugal Gift Wrapping Ideas are great for this gift!  I cut my adorable little house specifically to fit these cards and envelopes which I cut at 3.2 inches wide and 6.3 inches high…

A tiny house made from a cereal box @ Sweet Little Wood

Perfect Fit.



5 Cute and Frugal Gift Wrapping Ideas

Yay: Presents!

5 Cute and Frugal Gift Wrapping Ideas @ Sweet Little Wood

I love wrapping presents.  I feel like the wrapping IS half the present!   But I really really hate spending a huge amount of money on the cutest roll of paper only to find that it will barely wrap two gifts!  So I like to use frugal methods instead: craft paper, plain paper, brown paper shopping bags, value tissue paper packs and cellophane which can be gotten free, at the dollar store or come on practically endless rolls.   And even better: there are a few ideas here for the person who wraps gifts like they are still three years old!  (Yes even YOU can wrap a pretty present!)

1: The Personalized Paper

5 Cute and Frugal Gift Wrapping Ideas @ Sweet Little Wood

5 Cute and Frugal Gift Wrapping Ideas @ Sweet Little Wood

Use plain wrapping paper- white, craft and shopping bags all work well for this. Lay the paper on a flat surface and using different color pens write descriptive words in lines over the paper to identify the recipient.  This is particularly nice if you can get the kids in on it!  M. loves this wrapping and gets gifts covered in silly family jokes like his Super Hero name: Pant Man!! Oh darn!  Now you know his secret identity… time to move again…

2:  The Big Sweetie Wrap (this is for you wrapping haters!)

5 Cute and Frugal Gift Wrapping Ideas @ Sweet Little Wood

So easy! Roll your item (any oblong shape soft or hard) in several layers of tissue- the more the better leaving all open ends.  Wrap a large piece of cellophane around the tissued gift tape the edge down and then tie off the ends like a giant sweetie packet!  I like to write a message with Sharpie on the cellophane but it looks uber cute however you do it. Don’t worry about making the tissue tidy its nice a little rumpled.

3: The Gift is the Wrap -or- Container Shaped Wrapping (another wrapping haters treat!)

5 Cute and Frugal Gift Wrapping Ideas @ Sweet Little Wood

5 Cute and Frugal Gift Wrapping Ideas @ Sweet Little Wood

There are two ways to play this one: either you use the container (I used a little Target Bucket) as part of the gift or you just use it to shape your cellophane: either is easy easy easy to do. Cut a big square of cellophane and shove it in your container (which should be big enough to fit the gift with a little extra room) approximately centered and flatten it down in the base.  Put in as many layers of tissue as you can fit in (and still fit your gift) with the center approximately in the middle of the container and press it down into the base .  More is better.  Put your gift in gather all the extra tissue and cellophane into a bundle at the top and tie off… sweet. The cellophane parcel will come out and look lovely and stand on it own so long as you used a flat bottom container.

4: Washi Paper (for little gifts)

5 Cute and Frugal Gift Wrapping Ideas @ Sweet Little Wood

5 Cute and Frugal Gift Wrapping Ideas @ Sweet Little Wood

This one is good for little guys to do too and it makes a nice patterned paper when you haven’t got any around. But if you haven’t got a huge load of washi around- or make it cheaply yourself- this is probably best on little gifts.  Tape your paper down and tape up as many stripes as you like.

5: The Little Cereal Gift Box (for the frugal but ambitious wrapper!)

5 Cute and Frugal Gift Wrapping Ideas @ Sweet Little Wood

 This is my personal favorite  it looks really awesome, costs next to nothing and so easy with just a ruler, scissors and some glue!

5 Cute and Frugal Gift Wrapping Ideas @ Sweet Little Wood

Open up your box flat and cut away the flap edges so you are left with the front, side and back panel of your box in one piece:

5 Cute and Frugal Gift Wrapping Ideas @ Sweet Little Wood

Measure and mark the width of your little house centered on the side panel of your box- this will be the base of your house.  My box is cut with a 3 1/2 in wide base as I plan on filling it with a set of cards (more on that Monday). Draw a cut line strait line from the base up to the edge on both large box panels taking care not to cut into the middle panel:

I5 Cute and Frugal Gift Wrapping Ideas @ Sweet Little Wood

The four edge flaps can be trimmed to about 1/2 to 1 in.  The long side panel is the base and sides of your house and the two front/back box panels are the front/back of your house.  Measure the side portion of your house as marked on the photo below and score the front and back panels at that height and again about 1/2 in from the top:

Score AgainScore

Draw on your house details. If you wanna get really fancy try cutting out the windows:

5 Cute and Frugal Gift Wrapping Ideas @ Sweet Little Wood

Glue the 1/2 in flaps to the inside of your front/back panels you can use tape to stabilize it till it dries.  I also help my sides all together temporarily with rubber bands:

5 Cute and Frugal Gift Wrapping Ideas @ Sweet Little Wood

 At this point I painted the inside of my box but you can leave it plain (cereal box) or paint it before gluing it all together which would make more sense than what I did! Punch two holes above the top score line and tie your little house closed.

5 Cute and Frugal Gift Wrapping Ideas @ Sweet Little Wood

The party is in the back!!

xx Jo

Secret Knitting Yarn Along

I’m linking up with Ginny over at Small Things for a Yarn Along.

Amanda continues as I pick her up whenever I have time but most of my knitting has been taken up by a SECRET PROJECT… no no no not THAT secret project. This is a different secret project and it has to do with tiny owls.  Tiny knitting owls.

Secret Knitting Project Yarn Along @ Sweet Little Wood

I have joined in with Tiny Owl Knits on Ravelry  for TOKmas– a sweet gift exchange with a little woodlandy-fairytale flavor.  My favorite flavor.  So my secret friend… I am feverishly finishing you some little somethings to make you smile!  In fact I thought I had done with the knitting part but I have had to come back to it.  But as you can see- I have a fire and a basket of wool so all is right with the world.

Secret Knitting Project Yarn Along @ Sweet Little Wood

I haven’t managed to pick up a book that has held my attention this week but I am trying to work my way through The Museum of Extraordinary Things.  Which is lovely.  Very vivid storytelling with a gentle melodic feel.  The problem is when I am very interested in my knitting projects I have less time to hold a book in my hands…  Instead I am just enjoying the way a bundle of gnomish hats look!

Secret Knitting Project Yarn Along @ Sweet Little Wood



The Monday Project: Super Baby

My oldest niece (we will call her P.) is only 8 years younger than me.  We spent so much time together till she was 11 and I moved to England with M. that I felt like she was more of a little sister to me: in fact she is two months older than M.’s younger brother so it is plausible.  P. called me Nana -which is a long story that belongs to my eldest nephew but it really isn’t as weird as it seems. That has morphed now we are older into Aunt Joanna for most of my nieces and nephews though sometimes an Aunt Nana sneaks out and makes me all giddy inside.  I really wouldn’t mind if P. just called me Jo so long as she keeps calling me.

Of all my nieces and nephews (there are 13) I know her best of all which must have something to do with the time we spent together all those years ago.  She is the person who calls me most frequently and because she lives in my hometown some 6 hours away I probably have seen her more often since the move than any of the rest of the family.  I feel that I know P. like a sister where my other nieces I was always more of an aunt figure.  I’m not sure if anyone else gets the differentiation.   Probably it comes down to how I treat her: I tell her what I think and I don’t pamper her; that doesn’t always go down well but it is actually a complement so I will continue to do it anyway!   If I am honest P. probably gets a raw deal from it : Aunties are always nicer than sisters when it comes down to being spoiled rotten!

Super Baby 12 months of onesies @ Sweet Little Wood

P. recently had her third baby.  I have taken care of the three girl thing and she now has three boys so balance has been restored to cosmic forces. I am a lucky lucky Auntie because this weekend we braved the rain and drove the hundreds of miles so I could visit her and kiss that sweet wee boy.  And now- my friends- I can share with you the project I’ve been working on for awhile and itching to show!

Months and months ago on Pintrest I saw THIS:

12 months of onesies: on Pintrest.

12 months of onesies: on Pintrest.

I haven’t been able to find anyone to attribute this craft project to but I think it is brilliant.  And strangely there is nothing quite as cute on Etsy.  So when I found out one of my nieces was expecting a boy I decided I had to do this project but I wanted to up the ante (pun intended) and make it super cool!

Introducing a Pintresting SUPER BABY gift:

12 onesies- 0 to 12 months, prewashed

months 1-3 and the three designs

You can get the files for the pattern at the bottom of the page in SVG format, Silhouette cut file format , PNG and JPEG format. If you have a craft cutter like a Silhouette Cameo its easy-peasy to use otherwise the PNG/JPEG are there to use as a templates. My files are for private use only please do not reproduce the files, sell the files, or sell products made from the files without my permission.

I started out with the intention of doing the wax paper method but I had run out of wax paper so I decided to try to wing the painting using just card as a stencil… EPIC FAIL!  Don’t try this at home children! So I reverted to lovely old vinyl!  I so wish I had taken pictures of my craptastrophe… it was rather a mess.

12 onesies- 0 to 12 months, prewashed

You can easily make the onsies using a wax paper stensil and hand cut design… assuming that you unlike me have got the wax paper when it comes to it!   I have linked to a wax paper stenciling tutorial before but I will give the steps her as well.

What you will need:

12 onesies- 0 to 12 months, prewashed

Wax Paper

Printed image in reverse

 craft knife

fabric paint or all surface paint in 3 colors

paint roller, brush or sponge

1: For cutting the pattern by hand first print the PNG or JPEG in reverse onto copy paper with each image being about 4 inches wide.  Iron wax paper (wax side) to the un-printed side of the paper and cut the pattern using a craft knife.  You many want to leave the word “month/s” off your pattern and just include the number for quick cutting.  If you have a craft cutter cut your patterns out of self adhesive stencil material or follow the instructions above without printing and cut the reinforced wax paper on a light card-stock setting on your machine using the SVGs provided.

2: Iron a square of wax paper larger than your pattern- wax to fabric- inside the chest of the onesies. This will support the fabric, stop it pulling and prevent paint from going through the fabric to the back of the onesie.

3: Peel the copy paper off the wax paper and apply the wax paper wax side down to the chest of the onesies and iron in place. 

4: paint the onesie inside the wax paper stencil using a sponge to dab on paint or a paint-roller .  Immediately remove the front wax paper but leave the inside wax paper till the paint is dry.

5: When dry remove the inner wax paper and allow the paint to set a few days before washing.

What I used:

12 onesies- 0 to 12 months, prewashed

Easy-weed vinyl in green black and red

An iron and my Silhouette Cameo

 For the Vinyl cut version follow the Vinyl manufacturers instructions for application and care.

Superhero Baby 12 Months Of Onesies Zip File

Have a wonderful sweet morning this autumnal Monday!