cat in a sweater

Sounds a little crazy, right? Especially in the middle of Summer. But this little knitted cat has “special needs”. I used a pattern from the “Knit Your Own Cat” book, but modified the black and white areas to match my friend’s cat… for her birthday. And I used a modified, miniaturized version of this dog sweater pattern from Drops for the sweater. I think she turned out pretty sweet.

In Memoriam: Holstein : 2008-2013

knitted black and white cat in a purple sweater

knitted black and white cat in a purple sweater

knitted black and white cat in a purple sweater

It’s also my sweet son’s birthday today! He’s hit the double digits, I can’t believe it! Happy 10th birthday, Jonah!!!

jonah-is-10

sewing!!!

Pixie’s birthday wardrobe is done!

I even did a little sewing, which I was very scared about, and had been putting off because of that. My last real sewing project was in high school home-ec when I made an apron. I learned to use a sewing machine then, although I don’t have one now, but I figured: “How hard can it be to sew these little outfits by hand?” I started with a simple skirt to go with her original outfit, and I had a bit of a rough go at first trying to sew in a straight line, but then I realized out I could draw the line first with a washable marker, and that helped a lot. It’s not perfect, but it looks like a real skirt! With real seams and hems! I’m so excited!

pixie knitted doll hand-sewn skirt image

Then, I used these patterns from Claire Garland:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pixies-day-clothes-collection

pixie knitted doll with sundress, capri pants and mary jane shoes image

I made the sundress and the shoes from the patterns, but the capri pants are just a lengthened version of the original shorts pattern. I used Drops merino held double with a kid silk that Mae HAD to get at the yarn store because it was SO soft. It was very thin, I knew there was no way she would be able to work with it on her own, and I was right, so I took it over to work with on this project. But she was right also, it makes the pants SO much softer. And when I turned them inside out to sew in the ends, I liked the purl side a lot better. It looks a bit like “jeggings” this way. After finishing the dress and pants, I realized we had way too much purple going on, so she needed something very different for the shoes… green was the winner!

pixie knitted doll mary jane shoes image

I really wanted to make the cardigan too, and I will for my niece’s doll, but Mae refuses to wear sweaters, so in the spirit of mini-me, I made her a poncho instead, with the same yarn I used on Mae’s Christmas poncho. I LOVE how the stripes turned out so perfectly! I didn’t plan it that way, I swear, except to start with the purple, since her poncho has a purple collar.

pixie knitted doll with poncho, capri pants and mary jane shoes image

And then I made a simple flannel nightgown. I’m not sure it’s my best work, but it’ll do for now, and maybe I’ll make her something more sophisticated for Christmas (perhaps with a robe and slippers?)

pixie knitted doll with flannel pillowcase nightgown image

I recruited Jonah to try out dressing her. He had a lot of fun, and reported that he thought Mae would love her. He was also inspired to introduce Pixie and her cat to the Hobbes tiger I made for him 2 Christmases ago. It looks like they are all going to be great friends!

pixie knitted doll, cat, and hobbes tiger

pixie’s knitted heidi dress and cat

Mae’s surprise knitted birthday doll’s wardrobe is expanding. I absolutely LOVE this pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pixies-favourite-heidi-dress-and-little-red-winter-hood

Claire Garland is a knitting genius, even if she does have quite a few small errors in her patterns, I don’t care, geniuses are like that sometimes… they can’t be bothered with the details.

And now Pixie has a friend as well… modeled after our sweet Lola cat. This pattern can be found in this book (I borrowed it from the library) : Knit and Purl Pets

The cats love her too, and the white pillow they are sitting against in the photos was made by Mae. 🙂

In chicken land (was that what this blog was supposed to be all about?) we are all loving the warmer weather and longer days. It still surprises me how much the hens enjoy sitting with us on the hammock. They really can’t stand more than a quick pet when they’re running around the yard, but on the hammock they let us pet and hug them to the contentment of all. Cleo almost fell asleep the other evening while Mae was rocking us, cuddled up against my side. I wonder why the difference? Is it perhaps because we are at eye level, instead of descending from above… like a potential predator? And maybe because it feels like we are roosting with them, fellow chickens swaying together in the branches of a tree?

free range easter eggs

This was our first year making Easter eggs from our backyard chicken eggs. Since they are fresh, we steam cooked them, hearing that this makes them easier to peel. We shall see.

free-range-eggs-steam

I was also uncertain how their brown color would look with the Easter egg dyes applied. We totally LOVED the colors we got. Such rich jewel tones, I’m never going back to plain old pastel white eggs. The kids didn’t even want to add any extra decorations to them (ie. stickers) they liked how they turned out so much. We did get our colors leftover from our neighbors, who had put a bit of glitter in, and lot’s of vinegar, so that helped as well.

brown free range colored easter eggs

Then, while the kids weren’t watching, I sneaked all of the tiny knitted animals I made for them into the basket to see how they looked. I really like how they turned out. I made chickens and baby bunnies, but then I had to branch out to a few more exotic animals: a lion, penguin & polar bear.

easter-basket-knitted-animals

Of course, Lola always gets a sneak peek of everything I make for the kids.

cat peeking in easter basket

It was such a gorgeous day today… 75 degrees, sunny and warm. This never happens here on Easter weekend. Usually it’s cold and rainy. So we had to celebrate by breaking out the hammock in the backyard. The hens even enjoyed sitting on it with us.

hammock-hens

Happy Easter To All!!!

hexipuff hens

A few months ago I started working on the Beekeeper’s Quilt by Tiny Owl Knits. Normally I shy away from huge knitting projects like blankets, but this was way too cute and interesting not to attempt it. You just knit these little hexagon shaped pillows with whatever spare sock yarn you have on hand, then you get a nice sense of completion and you can tuck them away until you get enough to tie them together into a patchwork quilt, no lining necessary, since you stuff them as you go. So far I have just over 50 finished, and the pattern estimates around 400 are needed for a lap quilt, so… it’s going to take some time. But that’s OK, the joy is definitely in the journey for this project, and I have the feeling it’s going to end up being a sort of family heirloom. There are many people around the world working on it and coming up with interesting ways to embellish and embroider them, and this gave me the idea to make it even more personal by embroidering things into them that mean something to our family. I started with our hens, of course, and I even included Fluffy, our pullet that we lost to a predator. It was fun to imagine what she’d look like all grown up with Gloria and Cleo:

hexipuff-hens

Then I made a couple for our cats as well. Butterfly turned out more like a Tiger, but my husband says that’s appropriate:

hexipuff-cats

Here they are all piled together:

hexipuff-animals-pile

And here’s what they’ll start looking like when it’s all put together:

beekeepers-quilt-animals

beekeepers-quilt-hexipuff-animals

Just like a beehive! So I’ll probably have to include a bee or two, and our guinea pigs, and now the kids say they want to be included, so that should be interesting. I’m having a lot of fun making up these embroidery patterns, so I thought I’d share them in case anyone else would like to use them for this project or a different one. I think they would also work well for cross-stitch. I’ll add more as I go!

poncho progress

Thanks to all of you who helped me decide on a pattern! I ended up choosing #2 with yarn that’s fuzzy like #5, and it’s going pretty well, and VERY quickly. Using doubled yarn on size 11 needles really helps. I’m almost ready to bind off and attach the fringe:

poncho-progress

Lola seems to approve, so if my fickle daughter doesn’t like it, I guess I can make a cat blanket out of it. 🙂

lola-poncho