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1  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / A Kitty in Winter on: October 01, 2014 12:09:18 PM

I came across this hat pattern, which is the Pretty Kitty Beret, designed by Amanda Clark, and available for 2.50(GBP) (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pretty-kitty-beret), by accident some months ago. I have a five-year-old Hello Kitty-obsessed grandniece. I had resolved to only knit for my grandniece Cauliflower and her little brother once a year, for their birthdays, as they always have way more clothes and other stuff than they need, but this hat was just so cute and Cauliflower would love it so much that I ended up yielding a point and making it. After all, it's just a hat. Except of course that it ended up being a hat and mittens set.

I whipped up the matching mittens using this free Drops design pattern. (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/s22-37-jules---mittens-in-rib-in-fabel) I had the yarn on hand and don't know exactly what brand it is anymore (the ball bands being long gone) but I think it was Kroy sock yarn. My niece tells me Cauliflower has a black winter coat and a hot pink winter coat, and this turquoise set should look fine with either one. I bought most of the beads and the tiny gauge crochet hook I used to slip the beads on the stitches. The tiny black beads I used for the whiskers have a funny back story. Some years back when my sister-in-law was at my place for the Swan family Easter do, the necklace she was wearing broke and the beads scattered everywhere. With the help of several other family members, she picked up most of the beads but there were some stray black seed beads still lying about. The next day I picked them all up and put them carefully away in a small bag in my bead box, thinking it would be amusing to incorporate them into a new necklace and give it to her some Christmas. I never did get around to making the necklace, but the black beads proved to be perfect for the whiskers on the hat and mittens that I'm going to give to my sister-in-law's beloved granddaughter this Christmas. You never know what will happen when you leave craft materials behind in a crafter's home.
2  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / Entryway, hallways & staircase renovation on: March 30, 2014 02:24:33 PM

I just finished renovating my the first and second floor hallways of my house. It was the biggest and most expensive reno I've done to my house yet - even more so than the entire basement apartment, which got a new kitchen. Because you don't live in the hallways in the same way as a room, it's easy to underestimate just how much surface area there is. However, it's done and it turned out pretty well. You can look at a complete photo set and commentary here:


For those who don't care to click through to another site, here are a few befores and afters:

I am gradually doing over my whole house, and have posted to Craftster before about some of the other finished areas, so you can check out those posts too if you're interested my other renovations projects:

the attic workroom

the bathroom

the living room

the basement apartment

and the guest room
3  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Teddy Bear Ensemble on: August 13, 2013 08:51:19 PM

I made this teddy bear ensemble for my grandniece, um, Cauliflower Swan for her fourth birthday.

I used a jumper and sweater set pattern (pictured below) from the Winter 96/97 issue of Family Circle Knitting magazine, but modified the Family Circle patterns quite freely. For one thing the set called for worsted, and I used a DK. The pattern was for a jumper but I turned it into a short-sleeved dress. It was have ribbed edgings, but I used moss stitch. It was to be pink, but my grandniece already wears so much pink because her mother/my niece is such a lover of all things pink that I made it in another colourway to give Cauliflower a break from the pink.

The jacket was to have garter stitch trim and it was supposed to have garter stitch pocket flaps with pom poms on them. I changed all the garter stitch edgings to moss stitch, except for around the neck, where I used a crocheted picot edging as I had around the neckline of the dress, and I put a simple button closure on the pockets. I also scoured the internet for the perfect teddy bear buttons.

Then I whipped up a little matching purse to go with the outfit, though there was no pattern for it. I redrafted the teddy bear graph to make it the right size and Swiss darned it on the bag, then finished it off with a brown satin drawstring. Whenever I knit for little girls, I usually do make a little hat or purse to go with the dress or sweater. The little girl who gets it is usually much more excited about the accessory than she is about the dress or sweater.

4  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / Guest room renovation on: May 04, 2013 06:19:35 PM

I just finished renovating the guest room of my house. For such a very small room (7.5' x 11'), it was quite a lot of work. But it turned out pretty well. I was able to furnish it quite completely and without it feeling crowded. I used a lot of found and secondhand items to furnish it. You can look at a full photo set of and commentary on the renos here:


If you don't care to click through to my blog to read the whole renovation story, here are a few pictures:

This is the chest of drawers above before I set to work on it.

The vanity table and chair I rescued from a neighbour's trash.

The vanity table and chair after I did it over. Turned out it was made in 1915 - there were date stamps on the back of the mirrors.

This is the guest room as it was when I bought the house.

A shot of the finished room as a whole - or as much of it as I could get in one shot. You can't really get a good shot of such a small room.

You might want to check out some of my my other renovations posts. I am gradually doing over my whole house, and have posted to Craftster before about some of the other finished areas:

the attic workroom

the bathroom

the living room

the basement apartment

and the entryway, hallways, and main staircase:
5  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Twelve Days of Christmas Cross-Stitch on: November 12, 2012 08:19:44 PM

I received this cross-stitch kit on Christmas Day, 2011, and began it at once. I was determined to get it done and framed in time to hang it up for Christmas 2012. I finished the "grid" (all those red and gold lines) by the end of January, worked the border in February, the angels and banner in March and April, and then worked two of the remaining twelve panels each month from May to October. Then I took it to the framers in early November and had it professionally stretched and framed, and I brought it home from the framer's today.

I know it's only a kit and there wasn't any creativity involved in it as there is in most of the projects posted here, but it was just so much work I figured it was worth posting. Wink

Can't wait to hang it up for Christmas! I'm collecting ornaments on a "Twelve Days of Christmas" theme, and this goes with them.

This is the third large-scale cross-stitch project that I've finished in the past four years (and I've posted them here on Craftster previously if you want to see them). I'm thinking it's going to be my last cross-stitch project for some time as they are simply too much of a time hog and I should be focusing on more important things. I do intend to enjoy looking at the three I have, though.
6  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Spring Green Lace Cardigan on: August 01, 2012 01:11:00 PM

I made this sweater according to the lace cardigan pattern in The Traditional Sweater Book by Madeline Weston. I think my only modification was to not include the pockets. I don't see the point of transparent pockets. The book is old but you might be able to find a secondhand copy here:


I used Debbie Bliss Angel yarn, which is a laceweight blend of kid silk and mohair. I originally bought this yarn for a tam and scarf for me, but then I was visited by a vision of it as used for this sweater, which I had long wanted to make. I dont quite know what Im going to wear it with. I think I'm going to buy or make a little ivory lace camisole to wear underneath it, and wear it alternately with my several dark brown skirts, trousers, and leggings. I also have a cream wool crepe skirt that might look good with it. This wasnt one of my more practical inspirations. It is pretty though, so delicate and soft, like a pale green cloud.

It is SO nice to have this project done. It took me a year, which is atypical for me, as knitting projects don't normally take me longer than a few months at the most. It was very slow going and I kept putting it aside in favour of anything else.
7  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Art Nouveau Swan Cushion on: June 21, 2012 07:48:29 AM

This is a cross-stitch piece I made and then sewed into a cushion.

The pattern, which is based on Walter Crane's famous Art Nouveau wallpaper design, is Cross Stitch Art Nouveau by Barbara Hammet. I love both swans and Art Nouveau, so this was a find for me. I may or may not have been all "SQUEEEE!!!!" when I first saw it. You can find the book here:


It took me a year to do the cross-stitching, and then about six months to find a piece of fabric for the backing - it's an odd shade of green. I finally found some raw silk for the back that was reasonably close to the green of the aida cloth. It cost a little more than I had hoped to pay, but it does seem that if anything justifies the use and expense of a luxury fabric, it would be a piece which took a year to embroider.

I found the task of assembling the cushion to be a bit frustrating (the addition of the gold cord and a zipper made it challenging), but it turned out fairly well. I was even able to make the zipper I put in along the bottom very unobtrusive. You can just see the tab of the zipper pull on the left-hand bottom corner in the shot of the back of the cushion. I wish I'd found a flatter cushion form for this project as it would display the needlework to better advantage, but oh well, I am sure the cushion will flatten over time.
8  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / My Attic Workroom on: May 13, 2012 08:36:37 PM

I've just completed the renovations on my attic work room. I use the attic as an office, a sewing room and a studio all rolled into one. The attic is very large (20' x 14') and light and has a walkout on to the roof, where I intend to have a proper deck built eventually. It's an amazing space that I feel very fortunate to have. The two houses that are attached to mine do not: they have an unfinished crawl space with no windows that can only be reached by a trap door in the second floor ceiling. As a matter of fact, I would not have even bought this house if it didn't have this attic. I would have said, "The house has great bones, but there's no parking and it's right in front of a bus stop. Meh, I'll keep looking." But it was here, and it was a major selling point. A tradesman I once brought up to the attic exclaimed, "I would never let my wife see this room! She would want me to make her one like it at our house!"

The space itself was pretty easy to renovate, but I had a varied collection of motley and very utilitarian furniture, none of which matched anything else, and a lot of stuff to store — and no closets in which to put it. Given this the room was just never going to look designer perfect, but I did succeed in turning it into a pleasant and convenient place to work, and some of the various pieces look quite nice.

Check out my full set of before and after photos with commentary on my blog about the stuff I make!


I am gradually doing over my whole house, and have posted to Craftster before about some of the other finished areas:

the bathroom

the living room

and the basement apartment
9  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Tree of Life Earring Frame on: July 11, 2011 05:41:03 AM

Previously, I posted a project involving my turning a thrift shop silverware chest into a wall-mounted jewelry box.

You can see the jewelry box thread at this link:


And I love the jewelry box. But there was no place in it for earrings. When I searched the web for earring storage ideas, the best idea I saw was that of an "earring frame": a framed piece of mesh used to hold the earrings. They had some nice ones on Etsy, but they were over $30 plus shipping. I thought I could do better than that.

So, last Friday, I bought a $1 plain wooden frame and a $1.25 photo easel at the dollar store near my house. I took the backing out of the frame.

Then I rooted out the remains of the Gustav Klimt "Tree of Life" poster I used for the jewelry box, cut a section from it, decoupaged it onto the frame, and brushed on three coats of varnish. I glued a piece of mesh cut from the roll I keep on hand for repairing screens onto the back, using a piece of gold ribbon I had on hand to cover the edges of the mesh and to make it stick. Presto, I had a jewelry frame that matched my jewelry box. I will be keeping the earring frame put away in a cupboard, though. It's still a little utilitarian to be out on display, and I don't want to have to dust it.

10  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Cauliflower's Rosebud Dress on: July 07, 2011 05:31:27 AM

I made this little dress for my grandniece Cauliflower for Christmas 2009. There were also little Mary Jane style shoes to go with it, but they were far too large at the time this picture was taken and had to sit things out until the next year, when the dress had become a sweater. You can see that the sleeves are rolled up in this photo.

The pattern is a Debbie Bliss, from her book Cotton Knits for all Seasons:


I adapted it a little. The dress pattern had hearts and bobbles worked into the bodice. I replaced the bobbles with these rose motifs, which I took from another Debbie Bliss book, Nursery Knits.


The rose motfis were supposed to be knitted in, but I just used the Swiss darning/duplicate stitch technique to add them once the dress was done. Much faster and less hassle than intarsia and looks just as good.

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