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11  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Cauliflower's rose motif sundress and purse on: July 01, 2011 03:00:06 PM

I made this dress for my little grandniece. It is a size 3. It was made entirely from materials I had just lying around, up to and including the three little blue buttons from my button jar that fasten the back of the bodice. I used the basic idea for a child's sleeveless sundress from pattern #28 in Vogue Knitting, Spring/Summer 1990, but my version is quite different — there's a completely different pattern on the bodice, and the colourway is nothing alike.

And then, as I often do when making a sweater or a dress for a little girl, I whipped up a matching accessory. It's a good way to use up those odds and ends of material one always has left over, and the little girls who get the items are often much more enthusiastic about the accessory than they are about the main garment.
12  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Cauliflower's Fair Isle Dress and Hat on: June 28, 2011 05:58:52 PM

I made this dress for my little grandniece Cauliflower (I actually call her that - it's a pun on her name). It's a size 3/4.

This is a DROPS pattern, which is available for free here:


I made this dress exactly as the pattern called for, which is rare for me. Then, when I had quite a bit of yarn left over, I whipped up a matching accessory by adapting a basic pattern and some of the patterning from the larger item. I often do this, especially when knitting for little girls. They love to get a little purse or hat that matches their dress or sweater! I would have liked the hat better if I could have done the top of it in the light blue, but there wasnt enough of it left so I used another colour.

I didnt make the pattern in a pink/purple/cream colourway as the pattern shows because my niece (my grand-nieces mother) loves pink so much she swamps her little girl in it. Pink bedroom, all pink clothes, pink toys, etc. So, at least until Cauliflower gets old enough to express a preference of her own for pink, I wont make or buy her anything pink, as I think the kid needs an occasional break from it.
13  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Magnolia Cross-Stitch on: June 27, 2011 07:20:00 PM

A cross-stitch of a magnolia, done from a kit with a nine-page chart booklet. It has approximately 29,000 stitches in it. Therefore I had it professionally framed and have hung it in my hallway by the front door so I can look at it every day of my life and think, "That's right, TWENTY-NINE THOUSAND STITCHES." It took me two and a half years to make this. A lot of that time it sat in my workbasket, of course. I did about two-thirds of it in the last five months or so. I simply decided I had to do one page of chart a month until it was done, or it would never get done.

Of course this is a work of time and patience rather than of art or creativity. The only "creative change" I made (besides choosing the frame) was substituting one of the colours. The picture that came with the kit depicted the fabric the magnolia is lying on as a lovely scarlet. In the kit it turned out to be a hot pink fuchsia! I worked a little bit with it and hated it, so I then took the kit to Mary Maxim and bought a skein of scarlet for 50 cents. Huge improvement.
14  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / An Orange Swan Schiaparelli Bowknot Sweater on: June 26, 2011 06:42:22 PM

In 1927 the famous designer Elsa Schiaparelli designed a sweater that may be one of the most iconic sweater designs in history. Prior to the 1920s, and even after that time, collars and cuffs were generally items that were separate from the garments they were worn with. Men pinned collars and cuffs on their shirts and women pinned collars and cuffs on to their blouses, sweaters, dresses etc. The rationale seems to have been that collars and cuffs got soiled more quickly and if they could be laundered by themselves it would save laundering on the whole (and laundry was a heavy chore back then). When Schiaparelli designed a black sweater with an ivory bow and collar and cuffs knitted into the design, it was something completely original and witty and daring. But then this was the designer who got other women to wear a shoe on their heads and think of it as a "smart hat".

Today that sweater still looks sharp. You can get the (free!) original pattern here if you want to make it yourself:


I'd been wanting to knit one for myself for years. But I adapted the pattern considerably. I look terrible in black, and when I visited the yarn store and looked at all the colours available in the right weight, I ended up going with a burnt orange. The yarn I used has a tweedy texture that gave the sweater the speckled look of the stranded original, so I didn't use the stranded technique to knit this sweater, but instead used intarsia. Then the sweater's twenties' style shaping wouldn't work on my figure (too long and too narrow), so I sized and shaped it the way I knit all my sweaters, with waist shaping and a slightly lower, more open neckline. I did use the chart, of course, just slightly adapted to accommodate the changed neckline, and I think the result is still very recognizably a Schiaparelli Bowknot sweater.... done Orange Swan style.
15  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / A Cardigan with Hearts on: October 31, 2010 10:03:10 AM
I often make what I call "scrap yarn" sweaters for children. I go through my stash and collect enough enough balls of yarn in similar weights and complementary colours to make a sweater of the size I want, and then I begin knitting, making up the pattern as I go along depending on how the supply of each colour is holding up.

This is one of these sweaters, which I made for my niece Peaches when she was five. Not shown in the picture is a little tam I made to match the sweater. The yarn is plain old acrylic worsted except for the bright blue, which is an acrylic boucle.

16  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Fuzzy Red Cardigan on: October 31, 2010 09:41:20 AM
Although one can get occasionally some interesting and/or high quality yarns at thrift shops, they usually come in small lots, so the challenge is to figure out how to get whatever item you'd really like to make out of it.

In this case, I bought about five balls of this red yarn at Value Village for about $4. I saw this yarn as making a cardigan, so I just set to work on that. I made the front and back first, and then since I knew from that that I would not have enough left to make the sleeves, I knitted the sleeves simultaneouly from the top down until I ran out of yarn. Then I bought a complementary ball of yarn from Zellers and knitted long cuffs and then the shawl collar, button and button hole bands from it. Then I bought the buttons. The sweater ended up costing about $20 by the time I was finished, but that's still pretty good. I used part of a Vogue Knitting pattern to make the shawl collar, but otherwise I made the pattern up as I went along.

17  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Embroidered cotton dress and hat on: October 23, 2010 01:31:11 AM

I made this dress and hat for my little grandniece, Cauliflower Swan, for her Christmas 2010 present (shhhh!). The dress I made exactly as instructed by Debbie Bliss's Cotton Knits for All Seasons, which is rare for me, as I usually modify patterns freely. Then I had a good bit of yarn left over, so I whipped up a little hat to match. I took a child's hat pattern, and instead of the rolled edge that the pattern called for used the stitch used for the skirt of the dress, which turned out like a pleated ruffle. Then of course I adapted the embroidery pattern a little to suit it to the hat.

I don't know what yarn this is as I just used odds and ends I had left over from other projects.
18  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Peach Fair Isle Pullover on: October 23, 2010 01:21:43 AM

I made this fair isle sweater out of yarn I'd bought for a different pattern, so I had to come up with a design that would work with the amounts of yarn that I had. I had some design help: I used the Diamon Fair Isle pattern from Madeline Weston's The Traditional Sweater Book and I used a Vogue Knitting pattern for the collar. Otherwise I just made a sweater that would use up the yarn I had, namely a lot of peach with a ball or two each of the other colours. I used Lanett Superwash, which is fingering weight, and 2 mm needles, so it took me about two years to finish this sweater because I kept putting it aside in preference for anything else.

19  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Tree of Life Jewelry Box on: September 21, 2010 07:35:07 PM
In January 2010, my house was broken into and my jewelry box was stolen, with, of course, all its contents. When I tried to find a replacement box, I couldn't find one like I had had and or anything else I liked. While browsing, I came across some wall-mounted jewelry boxes, like these here:


But while I loved the concept of a wall-mounted jewelry box, as it would save dresser space, provide lots of room for my jewelry and keep it all tangle-free and readily accessible, I didn't like any of the jewelry boxes that I found. There were generally just very plain, and at nearly $200, too expensive.

So I came up with the idea of making one of my own. After scouting thrift shops for a few weeks, I bought a $6 silverware chest and set to work.

You can see my before and after photos and commentary here:


Hope you find them interesting and worth a look!
20  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / The Basement Apartment Sarah Harmer Never Sang About on: September 21, 2010 07:22:08 PM

I've renovated the basement apartment of my house twice now. I finished it the first time in 2010, and then had to do it again in 2014 after my first tenant left it in a disgusting condition. You can see both sets of before and after pictures and commentary here:


For those who don't want to read the whole post on my blog, here are a few before and afters:



I'm not as proud of the basement apartment as I was of the other areas of my house that I have renovated. I did the best I could to make it as attractive and comfortable as possible, but it just didn't have a lot of potential. It's rather poorly constructed and small and the ceilings are only a little over 6' high at best. However, I painted the whole place, installed a new kitchen and new bathroom cabinetry, and made a myriad of other little changes and fixes, and at least managed to upgrade the place from "hellhole" to "crappy basement apartment".-) Hope you find the before and after photos and commentary interesting and worth a look!

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 entryway, hallways, and main staircase:

and the guest room
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