Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Posie's Polar Bears

The weather has turned here and it is really starting to feel like winter.  And the Christmas making is going full swing.  I've got a few nice little things to share which have already been completed.  (yeah maternity leave and baby naps… they are a wonder for the productivity.)

New handmade Christmas ornaments
I ran across the Alicia Paulson blog and store a few months ago.  I'm not sure how I have missed her beautiful photographs and posts – not to mention the shop – for so long. I'm addicted now.  This fall I've so enjoyed reading along and enjoying pretty views of Portland.  

I just missed ordering the kit for her Christmas ornament collection for 2013, but thankfully there were others from past years that were still available.  I purchased the 2010 kit and started right away on the polar bear.  And the net result is just darling.  I even had enough of the wool felt to make a second, slightly smaller bear. The blue scarf-ed bear is the bear from the kit.  The second is the one I eeked out of the remnant wool and some of my own embroidery floss and yarn stash.

A pair of bears
Making these was a little time consuming, but they are small enough, that you can work on them with a lap full of baby. They might even be easily portable because of their size, although it would be a shame to lose some of the little bits and bobs that make the nice details, buttons, sequins, etc.  But I think that the time put it was worth it.  I love handmade Christmas.

So this year each girlie will get to hang their own polar bear on the tree, complete with their name embroidered with the year on the back.  I haven't yet started on the mitten or red coat ornament, we'll see how much more I can get finished before the actual holiday!  Cross your fingers, and stay warm.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Finished – Fossil Pullover

Fossil Loft yarn feels perfect for fall

It's done… which happened a few weeks ago.  And I've finally photographed it.  I love this little sweater and cannot wait for the littlest little to be big enough to wear it. (Details can be found on Ravelry here.)

Pin oak leaves and acorns

Chose the vintage buttons

And now I'm on to Christmas making… more posts about that soon.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Fossil pullover

Button selection...
Last month when starting the Stephen West mystery shawl, I was all poised and ready to knit with Brooklyn Tweed's Loft.  As it turned out, that yarn wasn't quite the right type for that particular project (see my post about it).  But I was still really anxious to start something with Loft.  So I cast on the McDreamy pullover by Drops design.  It was a free pattern which I had marked as a favorite on Ravelry some time ago.

I knit this sweater out of the Fossil color way, and my notes about the pattern can be found here.  It was a really pleasant project.  Not so fussy that I couldn't pick it up and put it down without losing my place.  And now I'm working on button selection… I'm leaning towards the rounded vintage buttons (closest to the neckline in the photos).  I was planning on going with pink or red to girl-it-up a bit, but now I'm not so sure…
Leaning towards the top button

Friday, November 1, 2013

Mandala meets paper cutting

All in a row

Having been gifted an afternoon without my entourage by my lovely husband, I decided to take on the project of finishing the nursery decor.  I had purchased some pre-assembled frames with mat and glass for 5"x7" work.  There were four of them, and I have been stewing for several months about what "set" of four things I would like to frame for the new little.

My first thought was to purchase four prints from this amazing photographer.  And although I still adore these photos of animals, it seemed only fair to make something for our girl, since I took the time to make something when the small fry arrived.  I just had a difficult time deciding what to do.  I thought about painting something – and then remembered that it's not something that I'm particularly good at – small detail.  I thought about embroidery, but that would be terribly time consuming and likely take me long enough that by the time I finished four pieces, she would be old enough to tell me that she didn't like them.  

And then I settled on paper cutting.  I learned about paper cut artwork when I was about 9 or 10 years old, from the then-fiancee of a Danish exchange employee of my parents.  Her name was Annette and she was creative and funny and always charming.  Her beau was equally lovely, but fewer of his interests coincided with those of a 10-year-old girl.  She gifted my family some holiday paper cut mobiles and then also made a gorgeous Hans Christian Anderson mobile as a going away gift when they returned to Denmark.  And while she was here she taught me a little about paper cutting.

When the small fry was born, I created some botanical patterns/illustrations for paper cutting and framed those in some floating frames.  I'll photograph them someday and share them.  And those have moved to her new room.  

And for the littlest fry I decided to find some pretty and not terribly intricate mandala designs and use those as inspiration.  I had to modify each one a bit to create some balance in the weight of the lines of the mandala.  And also add a few lines here and there for a few "floating" elements that wouldn't have otherwise translated to paper cutting.  

In work

Originally I envisioned backing each space with a different color paper.  But as I cut and thought about it (paper cutting is a nice meditative pastime -– and reportedly so are mandalas), I decided that too much color would be a bit too stained glass, or Rose Window-ish.  And so I settled on using one hue family for each and just highlighting some of the more striking elements of each.  

First and second in purple and orange

I think it worked.  At least I'm happy with the results.  And the up side to choosing this as the artwork for these frames is that I was able to complete the set in less than two days... partial days at that.  

Third in pinks and red

And the small fry likes them so well that she has declared them her own and would like me to return the old ones to the nursery so that she can have the new ones in her room.  We're thinking about it...

Fourth and final in blue