Saturday, February 4, 2017

Make A Girl A New Pair of Boots.

My girl has been asking me to teach her how to sew for a while now. I do have a few simple projects for her to try, but there have been other activities and projects that have been filling our time lately. Then this past Sunday we had a rare day where the whole family was together and without obligation. So we decided to run some errands together. At our Michaels stop I found these adorable boots that you can decorate with DIY charms, tassels and fringe. The biggest step in the project was designing and sewing charms. I thought it might be the perfect introduction to sewing for my girl.

It was a fabulous and fun project for the two of us to work on together. My girl also gained some new confidence and skills for design and sewing. Plus Olivia now has a fancy pair of boots, that can be decorated over and over again.
I love teaching my daughter life skills that have been handed down through many generations of women in my family. I know that this has been a loved and much used skill for at least 4 generations. My grandmother's aunt who did sewing jobs for others. My grandmother, who made baby clothes for all of her grandchildren, many great grandchildren as well as a house full of beautiful collectors items. My mother who sews amazing quilts and outfits for her grand-babies and many other awesome creations. Finally, I have been working as a contract seamstress for the past 6 years and so many years before that sewing. I could not be more thrilled that my daughter is interested in learning how to sew.

Many blessings to you this fine stitch filled (and snow filled) day.--Kate

Friday, February 3, 2017

How to Knit A Christmas Ball Ornament.

I have shared my love of yarn and my love for patterns in past posts. So it should be no surprise to learn that I am often on the look out for new stitches to learn and new designs to make. Quite often I try to find ways to use up some of my yarn stash. This past fall the motivation came again to see if I could get a few more skeins out of my stash. I thought it was also a great chance to learn some new knitting skills. Specifically some new cable stitches. In my search on the Internet I discovered this great site for knit and crochet video tutorials called New Stitch a Day. The video project was created by a man and most of the videos are done by him as well. Which, let's be honest, is awesome. I soon discovered that besides the videos for new stitches he also makes video classes.

At Christmas they offered a free class, "Christmas Ball Ornaments" at their site Yarn Craft Academy and I could not pass it up. The video tutorial walked you through the whole process. It took just over 2 hours and it taught how to change colors and how to make a design. I did not have to use those skills this time, but now I have this awesome ornament.

Of course since I was using stash yarn, I did not exactly have what was recommended. I chose one of my Noro yarns, which was thicker then what they used, but I love how it turned out. This is a pattern that you knit flat and then seam up around a 3 inch Styrofoam ball. I had to use a 4 inch ball, but since it is such a cool, yet dark, self striping yarn I think it will be easier to see in the tree in the larger size. I have enough yarn left to do a second ornament.

Many blessings this ornamental evening.--Kate

P.S. I also bought a package of the yarn they recommended for the project. Once I get one worked up in that I will post an update.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Broken Toys from Santa Claus

Meet the newest member of the family, Olivia. She joined us through a Santa Claus facilitated adoption.
My oldest has never really been a doll playing girl. So I was rather surprised when in the weeks leading up to Christmas she showed so much interest in this lovely long haired girl. I thought it could be risky, but from the first moment she saw Olivia on Christmas morning she was in love. Olivia also has her own hiking backpack and a ballet recital outfit so she is able to join my girl doing some of her favorite activities.
We did have a harrowing moment with our new little sister when I discovered she was broken. Olivia is a doll from the Our Generation, "From Hair to There" line and her given name is actually Phoebe. These are special dolls that have a section of hair that can be lengthened or shortened by the use of a button on their back. Before the end of Christmas day I discovered the button did not work. Now the dilemma, "What do I do?" Do I try to repair or replace this doll without telling my daughter? Do I try to keep the fact that she is broken from her? If she had been a normal toy that my husband and I had purchased it would have removed some of my personal angst, but she was a gift from Santa. Why would Santa give a broken toy? I was really struggling with what to do and how best to avoid making my girl sad on Christmas.

To understand this moment you need to know something about my daughter. When I was pregnant for a third time she really wanted a little sister. She wanted one so badly I was afraid she would be really upset when we found out it was a boy. (She was not, thankfully, because she is a girl with a huge heart.) Before we found out, we picked out names for either a boy or a girl. I am sure you can guess what the name would have been for a sister.  So when I was informed first thing Christmas morning that the lovely long haired doll was Olivia (not Phoebe,) I knew this was the sister she had been waiting for. She spent the entirety of Christmas with Olivia by her side. Together they went through Olivia's new backpack and she had several wardrobe changes. Olivia had the perfect seat to watch presents being opened. She sat in her big sisters lap to watch Christmas movies. She was even tucked in with special love and care to sleep the night next to my sweet girl.

Oh, what to do!?

I decided the day after Christmas to tell her Olivia was broken and then to take my lead from her. After some discussion she did think she would rather have a doll that was not broken. As I worked to make sure that we had all of the brushes, hair extensions and barrettes, I noticed my daughter whispering to Olivia. We got everything packed up and headed out to the car. My girl asked if Olivia could sit with her. Of course I let her. We had some cold and snowy weather at Christmas so I had to clean the windows before I could drive. I got into the car to discover my girl had buckled Olivia into her own seat.
As we are driving to the store she confesses she had been telling Olivia not to worry or be sad, that once she was fixed some other little girl would love her as much as she did. That she would always love her and never forget her. (Melt my heart.) Before we even left I tried to find if there is a repair shop for the Our Generation Dolls, I could not find one. I let my daughter know we would ask at the store though. At the store they also did not know about a repair shop and they did not have another Phoebe doll. I thanked customer service and said I needed to talk about it with my daughter. She decided she really did not want a different doll. I also gave her the option of a second doll that was not broken. She said, "I do not need a second doll to be happy." After these two very mature choices I give her a third option, to pick out some new accessories for Olivia and to go to the fabric store to find a pattern and fabric for a new outfit I would make her. This one she was happy to choose. On our way home, after purchasing the new treats for Olivia my girl shares a second confession, "Mom, I am glad I get to keep Olivia." I was too.

In my daughter's heart Olivia became an immediate part of our family and broken or not, she is her sister and she will always be loved and cared for.

Many blessings to you this thought-filled day.--Kate

P.S. Be on the lookout for posts about the many projects and outfits we are making for Olivia.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Spin Me Round and Round

Again it has been a while since my last post. Birthday parties, holidays and sewing contracts played a part in the small hiatus this time.

Even with the hectic months I still found time to finish a few personal projects. Including my first venture into my new fiber hobby. I spun the entire batch of Noro roving and ended up with an over full drop spindle. I also had a lot of fun. I was not even three quarters through the batch when I made another trip to one of the other local yarn shops, Alpaca Direct, in search of slightly more traditional roving that I will have to learn how to draft myself. Which just means pulling apart the fibers so that you spin the thickness you want. They helped me find a few bags of incredibly soft and beautiful alpaca. I am excited to start working with it.

I quickly learned that drop spindle spinning truly fits my nature. I always like having a project with me everywhere I go. This was very easy to transport and something that I could pick up and work on even if I only had a few moments. I found myself spinning on road trips, in waiting rooms and most frequently at my kids classes. In all these locations my project was a conversation starter, especially with kids. Every child that watched me spin wanted to know what I was doing and most of them wanted to try it out too. That was easily my favorite part. Not just because it was super charming to have groups of kids all waiting for their chance to spin the spindle, but because it was an opportunity to share a little fiber knowledge with them. 
So now I have my first ball of spun yarn but it is not quite yet ready to use. I have a few choices to make, like if I want to have more then one ply. Which just means having more then one strand of yarn twisted together. Then I have to set the twist. When I finally get these stages of the process done I will return to let you know what I did and how it turned out.

Many blessings to you on this fine fibrous day.