26 February 2008

Blog Contest Winner - Emily!

Thank you to everyone who gave to Bowl for Kids Sake to support Big Brothers Big Sisters! Ranette and I raised $534.05 - that is much more than I ever dreamed possible.

Emily is our big winner! She wins her very own copy of The Best of Interweave Knits: Our Favorite Designs from the First Ten Years!

Emily, send your address to me at renee DOT antoinette AT gmail DOT com and I will send the book to you. In case you already have this book, we can work out another knitterly prize for you.

I was a biology major and I feel the need to include a "Methods" section to this blog post. My completely scientific process included:

1) put all four entrants names in an excel spreadsheet

2) sort the names by the third letter in each person's first name

3) run down the hall and ask my co-worker Greg to pick a number between 1 and 4

4) tell Greg that 3.5 is not an answer that works for me and ask him to pick a whole number

5) Greg picks 3

6) I run back to my desk to see who is in the number 3 position on the spreadsheet and see that it is Emily.

So congratulations, Emily! Your book will come to you soon.

Also coming soon, the last of my Christmas presents!

10 January 2008

Bowl for Kids Sake!

I am holding my first ever Sassa Nova Blog Contest to support Bowl for Kids Sake (BFKS)! This event raises money for my local Big Brothers/Big Sisters agency. In fact, this one event raises nearly 40% of the total annual budget for Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

This event means so much to me because of the smart, funny, super cool 13-year-old by my side, Ranette. We have been matched through Big Brothers/Big Sisters for three and a half years and we have loved every minute of it! OK, she doesn't look like she is loving the particular minute that was captured in this picture, but do you know how hard it is to get a 13-year-old to smile? Especially when she is super cool AND surrounded by her super cool friends!

Ranette and I will be bowling at the BFKS event on February 23rd and we need sponsors! If you can spare $5, please donate online here. Leave a comment saying that you donated (no need to say how much) and I will enter you in a contest to win a great knitting prize. Only 3 people read this blog so you have a REALLY good chance of winning. Good luck!

09 January 2008

Gifts for Kids

What little girl doesn't like a dolly? Especially a handmade Ruby Doll with calico, lace, ribbons and cute felt faces. These dolls were Christmas gifts for the baby daughters of a few of my friends.

They were a joy to sew up! I matched the dolls "hair" color to each baby's hair color. Each doll has a different hair style, facial expression, and outfit. I added little flannel sleeping bags and blankies for each doll. If there is one thing I learned from Barbie, it is that every doll needs an accessory. Ruby doesn't get a Corvette or a condo with an elevator, but she does get a sleeping bag.

I met seven-year-old Tevan at my cousin's wedding in Buffalo. While we were waiting for members of the bridal party to get their nails done, I taught Tevan how to knit. She picked it up in a matter of minutes. She is certainly a knitting wunderkind! To encourage her in her art, I gave her the book "Kids Learn to Knit" by Lucinda Guy and Francois Hall. I first saw this book on the Brownberry Chronicles and knew that it would be the perfect Christmas gift for Tevan. I added a few skeins of kid-friendly DK yarn (colorful, not itchy, not acrylic), a blunt tapestry needle, and a pair of size 6 bamboo needles just like the needles in the book. Tevan called me last week to say that she loved her Christmas surprise and that she has already cast on!

This is so very "Reading Rainbow," but I have to say that I love this book. But don't take my word for it! Go to your local library or check out the Blue Blog's great write up about "Kids Learn to Knit".

During that knitting class in the nail shop, Tevan said that she wanted a scarf with a cat on it. So, of course, she got that in her Christmas box too.

Whew! I think that is the last of my Christmas craftiness blogging. Now I get to start a little something for me!

01 January 2008

Christmas Gift Wrap Up Part 2

More Christmas gifts!

Dad got a promise of a sweater vest and an actual scarf. The scarf is much darker and richer looking in real life. The yarn was something gorgeous and sproingy from the sale bin at Knit Picky. I think it was a Crystal Palace yarn, but I will have to check. The pattern is the Cable Scarf from Lion Brand.

Mom got a scarf inspired by Denyse Schmidt Quilts. "Inspired" means that I didn't follow the directions and it came out different than it was supposed to be.

Mom also got the Juliet I made for myself. I went down a size, but I think that I need to go down to the small (unthinkable!) even though I got gauge with the Patons Shetland Chunky. I'll have to try it again.

I didn't manage to get started on the Amy Butler messenger bag for my brother Sturkey. Hopefully, he will get it for his birthday next month. My little brother is only 10 so I didn't want to inflict hand knits on him (although I did threaten him with itchy wool underpants). He got a Playstation 3 game instead. But when he saw me knitting the Dashings, he said that his friend had a pair of fingerless mitts and he wanted some too. I'll have to start on those soon plus a pair for Stephanie, in red of course.

My co-workers, family, and my book club buddies all got rice heat therapies bags and a few got eye pillows too.

The coolest thing I made is for my friend Ben out in Colorado.

That hat was amazing to knit! This was my first fair isle project. It was fun watching the pattern emerge as I knit from the chart. I used Cascade 220 in cream and black (the leftovers went to Laura's Dashings). This is the perfect hat for Ben because 1) the logo for his new band involves skulls so he can wear this onstage during gigs, 2) Colorado is cold right now and the extra earflap will be useful, and 3) he loves him some pirates y'all.

And of course everything got wrapped up all cute like and Christmas cards (from Paper Source) went out before Christmas!

Overall, everyone loved their gifts. I have decided to start making gifts all year long so I don't go through this again next year. If you think that's a good idea too, check out the Year Long Gift-A-Long.

Christmas Gift Wrap Up Part 1

I got an email from Stacey the other day commenting on another Scholar Collar that I made for a Christmas present. Stacey (very nicely) made the valid point that she has to keep up with my projects via flickr because my blogging is . . . well . . . less than frequent.

That's true, but there has been a good reason for that. You'll notice that badge for Handmade Holidays on the left of my blog. Well, I attempted to make nearly all of my Christmas gifts this year and every free moment for the past 5-6 weeks has been spent knitting and sewing. I even developed what I call "Craft Induced Insomnia" - a state of sleeplessness brought on by self-inflicted deadlines, the whir of a sewing machine, and the clack of knitting needles. I would look up at the clock after finishing a project and notice that it was 1:00 am and I had to be at work in 7 hours.

I can't really complain though. I knit a lot of great little projects, learned a few new techniques, and saved myself from the mall. Here are a few items:

For my friends Danielle and Christine - The "Simple Tote Bag" from Bend The Rules Sewing filled with rice heat therapy bags (thanks Sew, Mama, Sew!), eye pillows and books
from my collection that I thought they would like. Christine also got a Scholar Collar for her birthday on the 22nd. Christine, like Danielle, is smart, skinny, successful, and beautiful. Yet she is so cool and funny that I can look past all of that and call her one of my best friends ; )

For my sisters Laura and Stephanie - Shoulder Bags, a capelet for Stephanie, and a set of Dashings for Laura (picture to come). Lordy, next year Stephanie won't be allowed downstairs with a doo rag on. And she won't be allowed to wear ALL of her presents at the same time!

More to come . . .