Tag Archives: gift

Handmade Rag Dolls & Monsters

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…are taking over NYC! Well, not really but the photos of the dolls were taken against the city backdrop (from my office window).

I made a little rag doll for my 9 mo. old niece for Christmas. When my friend saw it she wanted a couple to give as gifts – including a boy doll for her son. I thought a monster would be much cuter than a rag doll, and it turns out she affectionately calls her son a ‘little monster’. Perfect fit!

I had already made a pattern for the rag doll when I did my niece’s, but the monster pattern had to be created.

He has a nice plump body and some skinny dangley legs and arms. I gave him playfully ferocious teeth and spiky hair – and of course a set of angry red monster eyes!

The dolls were also customized with colors and style – and later personalized. The first doll had a pastel color theme with dark hair.

The second doll was also a brunette and had a cute girly dress that matched the one I made for my niece’s doll.

I was pretty happy with how they all turned out – and even better, my friend was thrilled! They are great personal gifts that I hope the kids will enjoy.

Handmade Nested Hoop Earrings

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Well, it has been a while since I’ve posted. I have been so busy making handmade gifts for the holidays and while I have completed a few projects, I can’t post them until after Christmas or I’ll spoil the surprise! There will be a few new posts coming up in the next couple of weeks so stay tuned…

Yesterday my friend noticed the earrings I was wearing. It’s a pair that I made at least 10 years ago; Purple stones with golden Swarovski crystals, sterling silver beads all nested in a sterling silver pointed hoop. She loved them and wanted a pair for herself so I went to work!

Just made tonight, she can choose this beautiful aqua pair with champagne crystals.

Here is a bit of a closer photo that shows the amazing texture the new hoops have (versus the smooth finish of my original pair). I love it and may have to make another pair for myself!

My friend can also choose this classic black pair with purple crystals. I generally use a grey translucent crystal, but my friend loved the purple stones from my original pair so I decided to incorporate the color into this pair.

What I’m listening to as I write this post: Conan

Family Blankets

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One thing I love to make for my family members is a great blanket. It will keep them warm, decorate their home, and become a keepsake they can pass on to their kids one day. Blankets take a while to create, but are always worth the effort involved.

CABLE KNIT BLANKET

Several years ago, to accompany their newly re-done living room, I knit a blanket for my parents. It is pretty large – much bigger than I usually make.

I had an idea in my head of what I wanted the blanket to look like, incorporating braided cables, ribbing, multiple colors…

I went to work first sketching, then writing out a pattern. Since the blanket was so large, I had to knit the taupe center section separately from the maroon border pieces. Circular knitting needles only come in certain lengths. This blanket became increasingly heavy the further I knit (it was just so big). My left hand turned into what I referred to as “the claw” because of the shape my hand took from the weight it held while I knit. Yes, this is even with the bulk of the weight sitting in my lap. It took a lot of time and effort to uncurl my fingers. Haha, I never thought of the Inspector Gadget reference until now!

After knitting and assembling all of the pieces, I finished the blanket with a crocheted border.
 
 
RIDGED CROCHET BLANKET

A few years ago was my brother and sister-in-law’s first Christmas as a married couple. I decided to make a blanket for them.

To achieve the desired look, I pulled several colors and strands of yarn together and knotted them up with a giant crochet hook. The blanket was made with mostly triple crochets and chains. I used a blend of forest green, taupe and off-white yarns. My brother loves earth tones.

By crocheting through the back half of the stitch on the row below, ridges were created with the front half of the stitch. In the close-up you can see how there is a ridge every-other row (and reversed on the back side).

The blanket was crocheted all in one piece, then finished off with a border consisting of a few single crochet rows.
 
 
TRIPLE CROCHET BLANKET

My older sister was next in line for a blanket. I remember making it after she bought her house.

My sister’s furniture was mostly neutral so I wanted to give her a subtle pop of color. I went to the store with her and fibbed about who I was making a blanket for because I wanted her opinion on color. The blue was her favorite out of the options that were available. I mixed the 1 strand of blue with 2 strands of taupe yarn and again used a giant crochet hook.

This blanket was similar in pattern to the one made for my brother, but there were no ridges. This is because I crocheted through the entire stitch below instead of just half of it. This blanket was also crocheted all in one piece, then finished off with a border – 1 row of single crochet then 1 row of half double crochet if I remember correctly. I chose my yarn very carefully for these blankets so despite the spaces in the pattern, anybody wrapped up in this will be quite warm.

The blue ended up being inspiration to incorporate more color into the room. Blue throw pillows, floor vase, etc. I also made my sister some coasters with blue fabric a couple of years later (stay tuned for those photos).

Cable Knit Bag

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A few years ago I made all of my sisters knit bags for Christmas. This is a pattern I wrote myself, though it was unfortunately lost due to a leak in my apartment ceiling (more like a rainstorm!).

It was a fairly simple process to knit the bag. I wrote a pattern with cables and ribbing then knit the body as a rectangle. I stitched up the sides about 3/4 of the way. The bag was fastened to the circular bamboo handles with a whip stitch. All of the hard work really went into the finishing.

I found a gorgeous silk fabric in a tiny store in NYC’s garment district. It is a cream color with beautiful cream and pink stitching. This was used to create the lining, the inside pocket, and also to cover the removable-base (made from layers of sturdy cardboard). I added a magnetic snap closure before stitching the lining to the inside of the bag.

The three bags were identical except for the brooch on the outside – my sisters each had a different color and shape cameo brooch as the finishing touch.

Bird Mobile

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I love birds and I wanted to share this with my baby niece. I really wanted to make a bird mobile to hang above her crib so I went in search of just the right knitting pattern.

I came across a Sweet Little Bird knitting pattern from the Knitted Toy Box blog. I knew this would look great in different yarn colors, sizes and textures to give my mobile some nice variety.

I told a friend about the in-progress mobile and he showed me a pattern his sister was using for a friend. This pattern from Spool Sewing blog is for hand-sewn birds that I just fell in love with. I knew I needed to incorporate the fabric & knit birds together on the mobile.

My initial plan was to hang the birds from crossed dowels, but I ended up making too many! I decided to be resourceful and see what else I could find in my craft bin. What did I come up with?

Rings! I had some great small rings that I saved from scarves I bought at Target. Perfect! The birds would hang 5 per ring x 3 rings, all birds and rings at varying heights.

But how would I hang the 3 small rings? I needed a larger ring to solve this. My mom dug into her craft bin and found an embroidery hoop of just the right size. I used the inner ring (without the hardware).

All rings were covered with a beautiful wide teal satin ribbon that I had leftover from a garter belt project (see post from June 25, 2011). I had a thin tonal dark teal satin ribbon to use for hanging the large ring from the ceiling. At the top it is finished with a loop to hang from a ceiling hook and a bow detail.

All of the birds were attached to the rings with invisible thread so they would appear to be ‘flying’.

When my 3-month-old niece came for a visit I had the mobile hanging from a ceiling fan for its unveiling. The expression on her face upon seeing the mobile was priceless; it made all of the hard work worthwhile. She was mesmerized by the birds – the colors, the movement, the shapes, the visual of birds hanging in the air. I hope she will love looking at the mobile when my brother hangs it above her crib.

I love all of these birds! There will definitely be some more bird creation for the holidays as I think they will make great Christmas tree ornaments.

Baby Hand Knits

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Leading up to my niece entering this world a few months ago I was knitting away in anticipation of her arrival.

HONEYCOMB BABY BLANKET

I loved the “honeycomb” square pattern that I found in The Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Volume Two: Cables: The Ultimate Stitch Dictionary from the Editors of Vogue Knitting Magazine (Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Series) (awesome book) and thought it would be great integrated into the blanket I wanted to make.

I took the little square pattern and expanded it to a blanket size, adding a seed stitch border. Seed stitch is one of my favorite ways to create a border on a knit baby blanket. It creates a great texture that you just want to wrap around somebody.

I used two cotton blend baby yarns (very soft!) and knit them together; white and sea green colors. The blanket was made a little bigger than a baby needs – toddler size – so my niece could be wrapped up in it as an infant, use it to stay warm when she’s a few years older, or even use it as a throw when she grows up. I love how the blanket turned out!

 

BABY BOOTIES

She also needed some little booties to keep her feet warm! My go-to pattern for baby footwear is Sullivan’s Baby Booties. Moms love them because the ribbon ties I add not only prevent the booties from falling off, but also allow you to adjust the tension around the ankles.

The first pair were knit with a beautiful green thin gauge baby yarn. They were finished off with a cream satin ribbon tie.

The second pair (made after her feet started to grow) were made with an ecru color 100% cotton yarn with pink velvet ribbon ties.

See how cute they look on her feet!

Baby Inchworm Pillow

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The night I learned I was going to be an aunt, I passed the book Knitting for Babies to my brother and sister-in-law for them to pick out anything they wanted. They both loved the Inchworm Pillow!

This was knit with 100% worsted weight cotton yarns. Rather than create an I-Cord, I crocheted a chain for the stripe. It is much quicker!

Such a little cutie – here is my niece having fun with her comfy little wormie! Please excuse my beautiful niece’s blurred out face; I wasn’t sure if my brother and sister-in-law would want her photo posted on the internet otherwise.

She likes to study Wormie’s face. She is also fascinated by the cord wrapped around his body. She takes her tiny little fingers and tries to pick it up off his body (or maybe she wants to see how it’s attached?). Smart cookie is fascinated by textures, colors and shapes.

I found this pattern online if you want to make your own: Baby Inchworm Pillow