This Moment.

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{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

Photo from our recent family photo series with the incomparable Becerra Photography.

Birthday Dress Update

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IMG_9578I’ve made a commitment to knit G a sweater each year for her birthday.  As a knitter with a winter baby, it seems like a sensible time to knit her an annual sweater (and an inspiring excuse to do so).  You can see her first birthday sweater here.  I can’t believe she’s going to be 5!

It feels particularly important and special that I put some extra love and work into the Birthday Sweater this year.  Our new baby is due later this month, and I want her birthday to be special, memorable.  She may not remember whether the dress was finished before her birthday or after, but I hope she remembers that I made her special clothes for her birthday.  That I knit a different one each year until she asked me to stop.

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Except this time she requested a dress.  A floor-length dress. With a train.  Like Queen Elsa.

I wasn’t about to commit to that much knitting!  Fortunately, we quickly negotiated and agreed that a sewn train/cape would be acceptable.  But that’s a whole other project…

A couple of months before her birthday, I start asking G what she’d like in a sweater this time.  Color, style, themes.  This gave me time to favorite some patterns on Ravelry and pre-select some yarn for her to choose from.  She quickly chose Oriental Lily by Georgie Hallam and this shade of yarn from Yarn Ink, appropriately called Frozen.

This dress has been a really fun knit. I’ve been working on it monogamously (more or less) for a couple of weeks.  It’s been in the car, at work, in cafes, and just about every room of our house. Of course, it seemed like it was not growing at all for a few days there; every time I measured it felt like I still had 6 inches to go!  Thankfully she has requested it have short sleeves, so this should be done by the weekend.

Now to figure out how to sew an organza cape…

One big year, one little word

It’s New Year’s Day, 2015.  Naturally, I’m feeling reflective of the past year and looking out toward the vast unknown of the year to come.  It’s a time of self-reflection, one that brings up deeply complicated dichotomies.

I made mistakes last year and I had some big wins.  I gave up on things, I chose to let things go.  I picked fights and made up and let relationships slip and made deep connections. I created a lot of wonderful things and still feel like I should have done more.  I failed and succeeded and won and lost and loved and hurt.

This is the richness of life.

 

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Going into 2105, I’m thinking a lot about my one little word for the year.  I’m searching for a word that I can aspire to, explore, settle in to.

For the past 2 years I’ve had phrases for the year that were chosen to help guide my intentions and focus for that year.  2013 was Going Pro and focused primarily on building my business in a way that was big and risky and professional.  2014’s phrase was Positive Ease.  This phrase served to remind me to look for more ease and positivity in my life.  I’ll think I’ll bring this one along with me, it’s a work in progress.

As I stare down 2015, I know this will be a year of great growth and change for me personally and my family as a whole.  Welcoming a new child into the mix will be a different kind of transition than it was the first time around.  We already know way more than we did as newbie parents, and that gives me peace of mind.  But what I don’t know how to do is parent two children.  And I definitely don’t know how to do it while still taking care of myself and my relationships.  I also don’t know what it’s going  to be like to own and run a business with a newborn.

Bottom line: I don’t know what this journey is going to ask of me, and that leaves me feeling vulnerable.

I know this coming year is going to offer up a lot of opportunities for me to feel challenged and overwhelmed by these things, and I’m going do my best to face them and not let them bring me down.  This is a year I’m going to grow a lot as a mama and a person.  I want to stay flexible and let the little things go.  I want to remain open to all this new love and bravely face the challenges that come along with it.

To help figure this all out, I’ve chosen Grow as my word for 2015.

I like this word as it encapsulates the ideas of flexibility, of stretching outside my comfort zone, extending beyond what I already know and reaching into new areas.  I want to grow, expand, flourish, and become the best of myself in 2015 while facing unknown challenges and joys with grace.

Do you like to choose a word or phrase to help guide you each year?  I’d love to hear more about it!

Sick & Happy

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The past week has been a relatively slow, quiet one for our family.  We celebrated Christmas week with friends and family, and by the time the big day rolled around it was just us.  This was pure bliss as I have been craving lots of time just the three of us.  We played, stayed in our pajamas all day, cooked, ate, watched movies, knit and crafted, baked, took walks, and read books.

And then we all got sick.

It figures that as soon as we slow down and catch up, our bodies respond by giving in to whatever they’ve been fighting off.  I’m trying to appreciate the timing; it could be worse and we could all be sick right after baby is born.  But it also kind of sucks that we’re home together and feeling whiny, grouchy, congested, and low-energy.

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I have to hand it to my family, though.  We’re pretty good at working through these low moments and finding a way to shake it off.

We wish you and yours a peaceful, fun ending to the year and all that you dream of in 2015.  See you next year!

One More Sweater

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There’s something about knitting for babies.  The small scale, the sweet details, the softest of the soft yarn.  And the hope.  The dreams and happy thoughts that you knit into each stitch for the baby as you work.  It’s a very special thing.

With that in mind, I hoped to knit one more sweater for our babe before the holidays, birthdays, and dues dates swept us away in a sea of “where did the time go?”.

I chose this yarn because of the colors, pure and simple.  It is also incredibly, unbelievably soft, perfect for baby.  Each stripe was a pleasure to knit as the soft tealy blues eased from light to dark.  In some light, two adjacent colors looked identical.  Then I’d work on the sweater somewhere else, and the line would be so crisp I’d wonder how I ever thought they were the same.  Hmmm.

This wee sweater knit up pretty fast, and now it waits, in the freshly painted and arranged baby room, for its owner to arrive.  A few weeks to go yet, which means there will most likely be more baby knitting.  Oh yes, I think there just might be more baby knitting.

Yarn: Frabjuous Fibers Cheshire Cat gradient set in Down the Rabbit Hole

Pattern: Sock Yarn Sweater (Child’s Version) by Hannah Fettig (my Ravelry notes here)

Cousin Skirts

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I went to the craft store seeking out fabric for a completely different project.  But there was an unavoidably cheerful end cap of all Hello Kitty fabric and accessories and I was immediately sucked in.  My 3-year-old niece loves Hello Kitty, and my daughter is a pretty big fan, too.  It wasn’t long before a yard of this fabric was being cut, and I needed to figure out what I was going to make with it.

Sewing is still new to me, and I’ve been having a lot of fun.  I had sewn up a couple of simple skirts for G over the summer, and decided that this fabric would be perfect to make my niece one too. I quickly figured out that I had enough fabric to make both of them skirts, and a Christmas plan was hatched!

I used a combination of this tutorial and this tutorial (thank you, Pinterest) to create the Cousin Skirts.  I added a bit of the pink print in (from my small but growing stash) to add some interest.

These skirts both went really quickly, and I couldn’t be more delighted with the result!  As with knitting, I find it meaningful to think about the recipient while I’m making something.  I imagined both girls twirling around in these skirts this summer, dripping with red watermelon juice.  We live in different states, so any time they’re together is precious.  I pictured my niece’s energetic smile and goofy little walk.  I imagined G helping me make a skirt for one of her dolls out of the leftovers.

The reality is, they’ll probably both open the skirts on Christmas morning and quickly toss them aside in favor of new toys.  But my secret hope is that when dress up time comes, or the warm weather starts to creep in, they will turn to these skirts and think of one another.  In the meantime, I had fun making them, learned a couple new tricks, and enjoyed the journey.  That’s a win in my book!

Holiday Sewing : Simple Cocktail Napkin Recipe

Holiday Cocktail Napkin recipe from Peaceful Knitter

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In years past I have been bitten by the holiday knitting bug.  I felt inspired and excited to knit gifts for family, teachers, child care providers, and friends.  This year, that feeling isn’t there.  I’m pretty focused on knitting for baby and will soon be starting on G’s birthday sweater.

What I have been inspired to do is sew.  Oh, those cheerful holiday fabrics grabbed me this year!  After spending some time on Pinterest looking for simple sewing ideas, I had a list of projects and hit the fabric store.  I had this retro ornament fabric from a similar spree last year, and needed to find a coordinating fabric.  I couldn’t help it if I left with 2 more holiday prints and fabric to make a skirt!

I’m discovering that my favorite part about sewing is choosing a project and picking out fabrics.  I’m not great at cutting out pieces of fabric.  Sometimes my seams are a little wonky.  And I don’t care!  Those technical skills are slowly building with each project, and I am being very gentle with myself as I learn.

It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be fun.

Here’s my take on a simple cocktail napkin that you can keep or give as gifts.  Play with fun fabric combinations.  Get crazy with that top-stitching design.  Have fun!

Holiday Cocktail Napkin Recipe

Materials:

1/2 yard festive holiday print cotton fabric ( 41 inches wide x 18 inches tall)

1/2 yard coordinating solid or smaller print cotton fabric

Matching thread

The usual sewing basics: sharp fabric scissors, ruler, measuring tape

Nice if you have them: rotary cutter, cutting mat, a template for your napkin (see below)

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Start with washing and pressing your fabric.  Ironing makes such a big difference in the quality of the finished piece.  I find it kind of relaxing and enjoy transforming the fabric or seam into a crisp-looking piece. (I rarely iron my clothes, though!)

Cut out 8 rectangles from each of your two fabrics that are 10 inches wide and 9 inches tall.  It would be handy to make a template for yourself out of cardboard to speed this up. (I like to use cereal boxes)

With right sides facing, sew your main print and coordinating fabric together with a 1/4-inch seam allowance.  Leave a 2 inch opening along the center of one side.

Snip the corners and turn the piece inside out.  Use a pencil, knitting needle, chopstick, or other not-too-pointy gadget to make the corners pop out.

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Knitting needles: a multipurpose tool!

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Press the seams to flatten. Tuck the edges of your opening under to line up with the seams and press.

With a coordinating thread, topstitch as close to the edge of the napkin as possible. This will close up the gap you left before.

Move one inch in from the first top-stitched seam and sew another decorative border.

Snip threads and repeat on your other napkins!

I folded my napkins in half lengthwise and pressed them to make a pretty stack. Wrap with a ribbon or some yarn, and these are ready to go as a gift!

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This is a super simple project, one that even a newbie like me could do easily and well.  I plan on keeping this set for our family and making more to give as hostess gifts at holiday parties this season.

Are you making any holiday gifts this season?