Countdown to Christmas

Technically doesn’t start until a week from Friday, but that means you’ve still got just enough time to make an advent calendar. This one only took me parts of two days last week. And then waiting for the numbers to be delivered.

I started by figuring out the placement of the pockets, which are 4 inches by 4 inches, and then I created strips for each line. I folded the top edge down half an inch and stitched it with a zig-zag stitch. Next I centered the strips on the green felt and stitched along the bottom of each row before flipping the whole thing over and drawing the Christmas tree outline with a Sharpie. Then I cut the tree out to make it easier to fit through the sewing machine to sew the side of the pockets.

I sewed the lines in between and on the ends of the strips that ended inside the tree outline. I left the ones that go over the edge free until after attaching the tree to the background fabric.

Next I sewed the trunk of the tree to the background, so it would be behind the bottom of the tree.

After pinning the outside pockets out of the way, I sewed the entire outline of the tree down. Everything is sewed with a zig-zag stitch to flatten the edges.

I sewed the remaining pocket edges down and added a star for the top.

I finished the whole project off with a backing (of purple muslin because it was the only plain woven fabric I had that was large enough to cover the whole back) and a wooden dowel for hanging that was slightly too short.

I added a screw to each side, which worked out well anyway for attaching the string to hang it. I had ordered stick-on felt numbers, so all that was left was to stick them on when they arrived. Now we just have to figure out a way to hang it for December 1.


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So Many Projects

So last week I ordered some fabric. It arrived the other day, and my little helper was very excited to help me open it. And then he asked, “Who is all those people?” Which lets me know I need to bust out the special episode tapes as we enter the holiday season.

I’ve drawn a quick flat, mostly to make sure it will look good to cut all the pieces on the bias, since it is quilting fabric and I want it to have some stretch. I like comfy clothes. I think it should turn out well:

Then, there is the issue of Halloween being a month away. One of the boys already has a Harry Potter costume, and now the other big brother has decided he also wants to be Harry Potter. The littles are a little more challenging. One wants to be a “vampire giant tarantula” and the other wants to be “mighty eagle from Angry Birds,” but I think I have those figured out. Just have to actually write a list of what I need to make them.

And, with Halloween only a month away, that means Inktober starts on Saturday. That is my 30 page notebook, which I have gouached the cover of to make 31 pages. Saturday will be creating a cover for it. I’m obviously going to be posting pictures to Instagram every day, but I’m also going to post a round-up here every Friday.

There is one more project that I am also working on. Actually, a few, but this is the first of a mini-series of Christmas presents. And, not meaning to cause panic to anyone making presents for Christmas, there are only 88 days left until Christmas. So I need to get moving on this. Or these. Not panicking. Yet.

The Christmas Project Curse

I swear, there has to be some sort of curse that falls on a project as soon as you decide it needs to be finished on or for Christmas. A project that would normally take a week ends up a taking four, or anything that can possibly go wrong will.

I was reading Cassy’s post about her husband’s sweater she wanted to finish on Christmas and all that had gone wrong and that made me think of all the projects I set out to create for Christmas. One of which is currently resting beside me, still on the needles, because two balls of yarn arrived a week after Christmas. But that’s a story for next week.

This Christmas I had to scrap one project, barely scraped two others together, and gave an IOU on the aforementioned one still on the needles. I only had one present ready a week in advance, and that was because it was one I was supposed to have made last year.

So, perhaps this year I won’t make it a goal to get any specific project done for Christmas. Maybe it’s best to just start projects with a goal to finish eventually, but not a goal to be Christmas presents.

Charting and Ripping

Well, not that kind of ripping. Except maybe a little. Charting increases can get a little frustrating.

Don’t let this picture fool you, either. Ive gotten to, and past, that point at least three times by now. I stopped counting how many times I had to redo it. I keep getting to a certain point and having to rip the whole thing out and start over because I get off in the stitches and can’t figure out where.

This is going to be a Christmas present, so on one hand I have time and on the other I don’t. Once I get done with the crown increases it’s just simple knits and purls. It’s this crown that’s giving me the problem now.

NaBloPoMo November 2014

Wrapping Up 2013

It’s completely cliché, but appropriate in this case. That is because I am ending the year with a write-up of my Christmas presents. Ok, not mine (which were approximately 95% coffee-related. I don’t plan on sleeping until 2015 with my new caffeine supply.) but the ones I actually got made.

It never fails, I know Christmas happens at the end of December, yet I always seem to wait until November to start making Christmas presents. I swear one of these years I’m going to start earlier. I make no promises on which year that will be, but one of these years I’m going to do it.

Anyway, on to the presents I managed to finish in the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. First up I finished a shawl for one of my grandmothers:

This is also the thing I took the most pictures of:

Thanks to the remote viewfinder app for my camera, I can be my own model:

Next up is a warm little set for a friend, a basket weave hat

and a pair of fingerless mitts.

Here’s how they look on the hand (well, one hand, anyway):

Next up is a cross-stitched iPhone cover for another friend:

Unfortunately, the edges flared out and it became kind of misshapen as you can see in the picture.

Last we have what I’m calling the “Meta Coffee Cup Cozy”

because it is a picture of a coffee mug to go around a morning coffee.

I also gave my other grandmother her half-made scarf with the needle cable still through it and capped at the ends. But I obviously had to take that one back because I am still finishing it. Not bad for starting way too close to Christmas to actually get anything done. Maybe 2014 will be the year I don’t procrastinate on Christmas gifts…

(P.S. – Click on the name of the knitted gifts to go to the Ravelry project page for more information on the item.)

WIP Wednesday: Plugging Along

Before you say anything, I know how many days there are until Christmas. I know I am insane for thinking I can make presents for everyone on my list in the next 21 days. Incredibly insane considering I ordered most of the yarns for said projects during the big sale on KnitPicks Saturday and probably won’t see them for at least another week. Although, that does give me time to focus on these

(imagine them about a hands-length now because I was too impatient to wait for my picture to show up in G+)

which are almost at the end of one of three and a half repeats.

I know, I know. Back to work. At least it’s giving me time to catch up on way too many seasons of 19 Kids and Counting on Netflix.

Don’t judge me. 😛

Wrapping Up Warming Up For Christmas

Warming up for Christmas

Last July-ish I gave myself a goal of making hats for the women at Elizabeth House. I did end up making enough for the women living in both houses, though I had hoped to make more and have extras. That didn’t work because I got distracted, possibly a little bored, and tied up in some other projects. But, like I said, at least I made nine sets (adult, child, and infant).

Here’s the end result of this project:

Adult Hats

Adult Hats

Child Hats

Child Hats

Infant Hats

Infant Hats

They got distributed in Christmas bags to the residents.

I didn’t keep up with the project as well as I had hoped, and I didn’t work at the pace I originally expected. I don’t think I’m going to do something like that again. Too much stress to put on myself when I was also trying to make Christmas presents, working extra hours with a new baby, and just generally busy with the holidays. From now on, I think I’ll stick to donating to projects headed by others so it’s not all resting on me.