Archives for posts with tag: gift

Baby set

At the beginning of January, I started a baby blanket for my Father-in-Law’s home health aide.  The body of it was complete, but I was waiting to find out the gender of the baby before finishing it.  As you can see, it’s a boy!

When I was finished the border, I had some blue yarn left over, so a little beanie and set of booties seemed like a cute add on. Baby hats and booties seem so incredibly tiny, but I know they will get outgrown pretty quickly.

I was able to make all of this from stash yarn. There was a period a few years ago when I had to make a lot of baby blankets, but for some reason, there has been a lull lately.  The yarn is Loops & Threads Snuggly Wuggly which is sold by Michaels Crafts.




We ended up getting the snowstorm the weather forecasters promised. Although Philadelphia was supposed to bear the brunt of it, cities to the north and south actually had it worse. We ended up with about 24 inches (60cm) of snow, which was more than enough!

The storm was actually classified as a blizzard, something we do not get here very often. Despite the high winds, and over 24 hours of snow, we kept our power and stayed snug and warm. Sunday was clear and sunny and spent digging out, but Saturday I hunkered down and worked on my snowstorm project.

I got most of the way through, with just a little bit to finish up on Sunday morning. I made this at a friend’s request. You may have seen the pattern making the rounds on the internet last week. It is not something I would normally have made; sometimes it is good to have friends who push you to try something new.  The pattern was pretty easy. The third row of each braid strand was a bit fiddly, which slowed it down some and cause a little bit of hand ache.

This was made with Big Twist yarn, a first for me, and I can report back that it was a good choice. It did not split easily (important for this pattern), and I was able to use less than one skein.



grey yarn

I don’t know if it is a regional thing, but around here, when there is a hint of snow in the forecast, everyone runs to the grocery store to buy up all the milk, eggs and bread. For some reason a snowstorm must make everyone crave french toast. There is snow predicted here Friday afternoon and Saturday, and the weather reporters must be desperate for some news because they are hyping it up and urging everyone to stock up. Predictions range from 3 inches to over a foot. I am assuming it will be on the smaller side after all of the hysterics going on.

With a full freezer and plenty of things in the pantry, I’m not worried about running out of food if we are snowbound for a day, but just to be on the safe side, I did make a quick trip to pick up a skein of yarn. It is silly, really. I have yarn in the house, and plenty of fabric, and, if I have to admit it, a 6-foot shelf of other assorted craft supplies. For whatever reason, I like to have a snowstorm project and even though I am working on two other WiPs already, I just needed that one more skein. It’s a brand I have not tried before called
‘Big Twist’, but it was the color I needed so I’m going to give it a try.

I may be alone in this need to stock up on craft supplies because the store was pretty empty, but the parking lot of the grocery store I passed was full of cars.


Granny blanket

There is an aide who comes to my Father-in-Law’s house for several hours each day to help with his care. If any of you are dealing with home health support, you know that it can be a challenge to find the right agency and a caregiver that works out.  This woman is wonderful and we know how lucky we are to have her in his life.

The week before Christmas, she was in an accident and fortunately was not hurt. While they were checking her over at the hospital and doing blood work, she got the news that she is pregnant. While it is not the way you want to discover something like this, it gave her something positive on which to focus while she deals with insurance companies and the damage to her car.

I started a baby blanket for her using yellow yarn from my stash since it is too early to know if she will be having a boy or a girl. Using stash yarn, and not knowing how far it would go, I selected the granny afghan pattern figuring new colors could be added on without disrupting the pattern or running into dye-lot issues.  I’m trying to decide if I will complete this all in yellow, or take it to the point of adding a border, then waiting until the gender is revealed before adding pink or blue. It is about 24 inches (60cm) now.



C2C done

The corner-to-corner scarf got finished, well, sort of finished. I usually put an edging on things, but I’m going back and forth on this wondering if it will look odd to have different colors travelling around the edges of the stripes. I’m going to think on that one for a bit.

I completed it while I was at my Father-in-Law’s house.  I had not brought any supplies for another project, foolish of me this time of year as there is always something that can be done. I had more of the same yarn since I had picked up an extra skein not knowing how much I would use, and decided to just start working it up with some simple double crochet. Depending on the length, it will either become another scarf or a cowl.

I thought it was interesting to see how the two patterns looked side by side. And I’m still happy I can get stripes without having to weave in the ends.







After getting everything packed, I looked outside and realized that the rain which had been falling was not going to stop. In fact it was getting more steady. My original plan was to head out for the weekend Thursday late afternoon, but the idea of trying to get everything into and then out of the car in the rain did not appeal to me.

There was only one problem. I had packed everything I wanted to work on.  I opened up the yarn bag and grabbed a skein of Lion Brand Homespun yarn I had gotten at a yarn swap.  While I love this yarn, it is a pain to use as the loops are hard to see with everything it has going on. I’ve learned the best way for me to use it is to do a pattern with a double crochet, chain and a skipped stitch. This way I don’t have to worry about finding the top of the stitch, but can go right into the gaps.

One skein is about the perfect length for an infinity scarf. Once done, it will go into my Christmas gifts pile.


I like giving hand made gifts, and it is usually pretty easy to come up with something for my mom, my sister or my girlfriends. I have a harder time finding good gifts to make for men. This year, my dad will be getting these pine cone fire starters.

Whenever I walk to the post box to mail letters, or to the bakery which is too conveniently located just a few blocks from my house, I pass a yard with a big pine tree on the corner. The yard is fenced in, but some of the pine cones drop onto the sidewalk and the street, and I consider these fair game. I usually come home with one or two that have not been smooshed or damaged, and have been collecting them in a bag. In past years, I’ve used these for wreaths, piled them in a big bowl for a centerpiece, and even painted and glittered them. This year there are enough to spare a dozen for this project.

I actually made these once before in February, but used a tutorial that left a big chunk of wax at the bottom of the pine cone. I knew my parents would not want to risk getting pools of wax in the bottom of their fire place, so used this tutorial instead which just calls for dipping the cones and not pouring wax over them into muffin tins.  Paraffin is melted, a length of wick is wrapped around the pine cone and then they are dunked.  Paraffin is highly flammable, so it needs to be melted in a double boiler. I have one I got at a rummage sale and use only for melting wax. I’m sure it would be OK to melt beeswax in a pan used for food, but paraffin is a petroleum byproduct, and I never feel that I can get every last trace of it out of the pan. I also found that the initial dunks give the pine cone a shiny appearance. I wanted the more frosted look, so dunked them another time after they had a chance to cool for a bit and got the waxy look I wanted. I set them onto cupcake liners to avoid getting melted wax on everything while they cooled.


I may pile these up in a basket, but for now, I’ve found the perfect-sized box to store & protect them.


The charity project from this week’s crochet class was baby booties. I’ve never made a slipper or sock before, and this was a good way to learn some of the techniques on a small scale. The hardest part for me was a 5-stitch decrease at the heel which required pulling the final yarn over through 11 loops on the hook. I kept getting caught on one loop part way through and having to start over again, and over again, and over again. The first one took 5 tries, the second was only 3. Making the 11 loops looser finally did the trick. (Another lesson in tension!)

24 coasters...done and done!

24 coasters…done and done!

Earlier in the day, I also sat down with my needle and sewed in all the ends of the coasters. They were given a quick ironing and are now officially done. Having the neighbor candle holder gifts finished, and now these, means I can concentrate on some individual gifts or maybe tackle a few of the non-Christmas WiPs that are still hanging around.


Last week, DaniellaJoe had a post about tension in crochet. Traditionally, I crochet very tightly, but have come to realize that it sometimes depends on circumstances. When I am learning a new pattern, I tend to crochet more tightly as I am concentrating. When I would get home from a long day at work, my crochet would be tighter than if I were sitting down on a weekend.

I was a coaster-making fool this weekend, it’s the only crafty thing I did each day. We were able to convince my father-in-law to leave his house and come over on Sunday, and he likes watching me work. While we visited I was able to complete the initial work on all of the coasters I’m making for Christmas gifts. They still need to have the ends woven in, so they don’t count as done yet, but the hooking part is complete.

I have a set of these I made for myself back in May. The one on the top in the photo is from May and is the first one I ever made, the one on the bottom was made this week and somewhere around number 30. These were made using the same pattern, the same yarn and the same hook. I’m assuming the difference is mainly my comfort and familiarity with the pattern. If I ever decide to make a pair of socks, I’ll have to remember that I will probably need to make three since the first will probably end up kid-sized based on how tightly I work when I am in learning mode.

15 coasters

Some days I manage to surprise myself with my ability to stay on track. I went to two different craft stores today, TWO, and only bought exactly what I went in to get. That may be a first for me. And everything was on sale, or gotten with a coupon.  The craft stores are so tempting this time of year with everything holiday out in full force. I will admit to browsing through the aisles, but still managed to resit temptation.

I also kept going on the sets of coasters I am making for gifts. I managed to make 6 more bringing the tally to 15 out of 24 that need to be completed. This is when the clock change and the early darkness helps. For some reason, I feel less guilty about sitting down and working on projects once it seems to be night time. I also used a little trick yesterday. I hadn’t talked to my sister in a while, and whenever we do, it tends to be long. I usually use the regular land line for phone calls, but I called her on my cell phone and set it to speaker then sat down and worked on these while she talked. I don’t know why I haven’t thought of this before.