Friday, January 29, 2010


My friend Jill has just started her very own photography business, and needed some props for her newborn photography.  She wanted a cocoon and a pod and a matching baby hat with bear ears.  I found a great pattern on Etsy for the pod, improvised a pattern for the cocoon, and modified an existing hat pattern and added ears for the bear hat.  Unfortunately the only model I had on hand was a stuffed animal.  I think if I'm gonna keep making baby items I need to get some life-sized models!  Stay-tuned for some professional pics from Jill's sessions showing off these items with real babies inside!  And stay-tuned for the pattern for the cocoon.  Its made with a size N hook and is super quick to make.  I bet a newborn would snuggle right down in one of those and pass out - just like being back in the womb!

The cocoon is made from Lion Brand Homespun in apple green

The pod and hat are in Lion Brand Naturals organic cotton in chocolate brown

Friday, January 22, 2010


I just paid my sales taxes for 2009.  Not that exciting, but doing so has me reflecting on the last year and what the real results of Knits and Knots were.  I set a personal goal for 2009 to make enough profit to be able to donate $100 toward a microloan to another mom in a part of the world where making things by hand is not a luxury, but a necessity.  Basically, a microloan provides the start-up cost or extra revenue needed to sustain a business that is paid back at a very low interest rate and a reasonable amount of time with very little (if any) penalty for inability to repay the loan.  Those who qualify for a microloan would never qualify for a traditional loan, and therefore are unable to pull themselves out of the pit of poverty.

Since Knits and Knots is not a hugely lucrative business yet, my husband and I don't rely on the income from it to sustain ourselves.  Some day (as in after all of my children are in school all day!) I would love to make this my full-time occupation, but in the mean-time I thought that the best way to use the profit would be to benefit another mother who doesn't have the luxury of doing a craft for fun like I do, but instead has to work hard to support her family.  There are lots of places that will provide microloans, and for 2009 I decided to donate through the ServLife Hope Fund.  If you've been reading this blog for a while you may remember, in November of 2008 I traveled to India and Nepal to visit a ServLife orphanage and pastor training school.  This trip was transformational to me in that it brought me to a place to be able to consider with compassion the true depths of suffering that come with poverty, and the fact that I have the power to impact the world with good.  This trip was the catalyst for my husband and I to begin our adoption journey and has forever changed the way I view what is "mine".

I am VERY pleased to say that I met my goal for 2009 - Knits and Knots was able to donate $100 to the ServLife Hope Fund.  This money will be used to provide a microloan to a woman in India or Nepal!  I don't share this as a way to pat myself on the back, but instead as a Thank You to all of you who supported Knits and Knots with  your purchases, promoting it to your friends and family, or just sharing words of encouragement.

I am so humbled to be able to meet this goal, and have decided to make a bigger goal for 2010... I want to provide a $200 loan via this year.  This won't be easy since we hope to be traveling to Korea to bring home our child in early to mid fall, and I have a feeling my crafting will drop off at that point until we're all adjusted to the time change and family growth.  But I believe big goals can lead to big accomplishments, and I'm going to stick to this goal and just see what happens!

** Update!** As of August 2010 I have already met my goal of $200 profit for the year!  I am thrilled to be able to donate as I have desired!!!  I know that God will use that money to bless a specific person somewhere around the world.  As a way to allow my customers to be involved, I would welcome any input on a worthy recipient on!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Knit Teacup Cozy

I saw this pattern (Knit Coffee Sleeve) on Ravelry and it looked like the perfect knit to get me back in the swing of things after the holidays.  I bought a mug just for the cozy, and it took me all of an hour to make.  I would have posted it sooner, but it was a surprise birthday gift for a tea-loving friend of mine, and I didn't want to spoil it!

Look at that texture!  Say it with me now... "oooh!  aaah!"  Its a great pattern - my first experience with the horseshoe cable.

I did something a little funky to make it stay on the cup... I'm not sure I could explain it well, but it works like a charm.  I may try to perfect it a little more and then write up a tutorial on it.  We'll see though - I seem to have a lot of grand ideas just not coming to fruition these days!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Hedgie Sweater

If you've read my blog for a while, you may remember this pattern from a previous project.  I love the style of the Offset Wraplan so much and was thrilled when a friend asked me to make one for a baby shower - it gave me an excuse to make it again!  This sweater is done in very soft, very washable acrylic (Red Heart "Soft Yarn").  I did six row stripes of red and cream since we knew the baby is a boy.

We wanted the sweater to fit in the theme of the baby's room (woodland animals) and specifically match the darling hedgehog bedding.  My friend picked out this adorable hedgie applique from Missy Magoo on Etsy.  While most of the products on Missy Magoo are actually embroidered onesies, the nice part about Etsy is that almost every seller is willing to work with you to make just what you're looking for.  The owner, Janey, whipped up this little guy in an evening and had him in the mail to me the next day.  I put a little handful of fiberfill behind the applique when I sewed it on to give it a little dimensionality. 

photo by of Debbie at Buttered Parsnips

Next we searched for the perfect buttons.  For me, the buttons make the sweater, and while searching for hedgehog appliques I came across the store Buttered Parsnips.  After a couple emails back and forth to discuss size and colors, Debbie had these seven 1/2" buttons ready for me and they arrived 2 days later! (there are 2 toadstools, an acorn, a bird, 2 leaves and, of course, a hedgie!)

I just love it when a project comes together!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mei Tai

So its no secret my husband and I are working on an international adoption.  We're a little over half-way through the process, hoping to bring home our newest child early next fall, and I finally am starting to feel like this whole thing is real!  I hadn't yet made anything for baby.  I have plans and schemes, but Christmas crafting and special orders kept me supremely busy as of late.  Today I had the itch to craft, and specifically to make something for our little one.
From what I've learned, in Korea babies are worn (carried in a fabric carrier) a lot.  Even babies in the foster care system are carried by their foster mothers during the day.  The traditional item used for baby carrying is a podaegi.  Its kind of like a blanket with straps that is very versatile for carrying a young baby into toddler-hood.  I carried both my kids in a sling, but slings are quite different in feel from the baby's perspective.  I wanted to make a carrier that was similar to a podaegi, but not quite as bulky and something I was a little more familiar with how to use.  I wanted a carrier that would seem somewhat familiar to baby as we transition home.  I opted for a Mei Tai based loosely on this design.

The Mei Tai is reversible, one side having a pleated pocket that should be able to hold a diaper and pack of wipes or my keys, or any small thing I need to have on hand.  The back side is some gorgeous asian-inspired fabric I ordered from earlier this year.

I love the looks of the finished product, and hope I'll find it useful!  Regardless, both baby and I will look stylin' as we travel home from Korea :)

Pardon the poor lighting in the photos - I was excited to have it done and wanted to show it off!  And yes that's a teddy bear in the carrier - we don't have any babies around to practice on.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Feza Scarf

One project I completed in the last few months I simply couldn't blog about because it was a Christmas present!  My mom and I went to a local alpaca farm/yarn store early this fall and my mom picked up this amazing Feza yarn that just so happened to be my sister's favorite colors. 
stash yarn photo from firetwirler526's Flickr page

The ladies at the yarn shop were kind enough to wind it in a ball for me (I don't have a ball winder or swift!) as it apparently is very difficult to do.  While they were winding it I took my daughter and nephew out to visit the alpacas.  They enjoyed looking at the animals, but quickly realized "they stink!"  Its true.  Alpacas stink.  But it was fun to see one in person :)  Silly me forgot my camera.  I was bummed about that!

My mom asked me to make a scarf for Christmas for my sister out of her new yarn purchase.  While the yarn looked great on the shelf, it wasn't easy to decide what to do with it scarf-wise.  We browsed Ravelry and came up with this pattern.  I loved working with the yarn because I got to work with a different texture every 6 rows or so and my sister loved the scarf!  I wasn't able to get great photos before Christmas, but I got a few ok ones; winter lighting is tough, either too bright or too dark most of the time.

Divine Idea

So I actually have been doing projects over the last few months, but so many of them were repeats that I just didn't think anyone would be interested in seeing 200 Divine Hat or Gina Giraffe photos.  I have been refraining from posting multiple posts about the same pattern, however, we discovered two things when we were preparing to go sledding:
 piggietails fit perfectly through the holes in the Divine Hat!

and little girls look super cute this way :)