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.