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I so enjoyed knitting my toe-up variation of the artichoke socks that after briefly looking for another sock project to keep in my purse, I decided to just knit another pair in another color.  In pink, the pattern reminds me of lotus blossoms and stacked hearts.

A raverly search revealed that there are lots of lovely variations of socks with this motif, including a toe-up pattern identical to my own: Dreaming of Spring toe-up socks.   The links and photos below are from ravelry.

From left to right: Salis  Socks,by Julia Riede, adds an extra half repeat on either side; Azure socks by Deb Barnhill (photo of lulubelle’s sock) frames the motif in a smaller cable; Loksins by Cassie Thoreson shifts the motif to the side and cleverly splits the lace pattern to bring it down the front of the foot; and last but not least:  Lacy Cable socks by Susan Gutperl, extends the lace pattern all the way around and up to the knee with very clever patterning at the calf increases.  I’m not sure I can pull off lacy knee-socks, but these sure make me want to try.

A favorite sweater (the inner one-not knit by me), long outgrown, is in need of a replacement.   I’d been putting it off, because of all the stockinette stitch, but it’s knit up quite quickly.  This yarn curls like crazy.  You can see the fronts curling in as I haven’t picked up the button bands yet, but the folded edge on the bottom and cuffs does wonders to counteract the curl.  After the knitting will come the embroidery and then once again, my little one will be able to curl up in her very own night garden.

It seems that when I sew, I am especially attracted to the color red. 

 1. Pillow case for Craft Hope Project Nine.  We heard there was especially a need for boys themed pillowcases and thought this yard of cars fabric from the remnant bin at the fabric shop might be appropriate. PS:  Sirenita and I decided sewing pillow cases, or at least plain ones, is a bit dull.

2. Fleece soaker, also with fabric from the remnant bin.   I used Katrina’s quick sew  pattern.  It wasn’t quite roomy enough in the back for our bulky diapers, but may work as a training pant if it still fits by the time we’re ready for that. 

3. Background fabric is Red Kona Cotton and vintage I-Spy squares from Amy Smart  on etsy  to be made into an I-spy quilt for the little Mr. 

Then I thought back to my first project as an adult on my own sewing machine (my mother gave me one for my birthday in 2005).  It was this red skirt.  Definitely the most succesful project I have ever sewn.  I made up the pattern for a simple skirt for my girl.   She still wears it with much joy.  I have made no alterations since it was first sewn.    She wore it in 2009 too.  I just couldn’t find a picture. 

I have wanted to get excited about sock knitting for some time.  So many knitters adore it, but I just wasn’t feeling the love.  Until now.  These socks practically flew off my needles despite so much potential to go wrong.  First off, I don’t really like this particular 70’s kitchen appliance shade of green.  It came in the Knitpicks Fancy Feet Sock Packet  I ordered a while back and I wanted to knit it up so I wouldn’t have to look at it on my yarn shelf, but in this stitch pattern, I love it.  Now instead of 70’s kitchen appliance it says crisp spring leaves. 

Secondly, I only had one skein of this so I needed to knit these two at a time toe-up to see how far the cuff would go (hence the anklets).  That little ball of yarn in the upper left hand corner of the picture is all I have left of this yarn.

Third, I’ve never actually knit two socks at a time and it turns out the cheap circular needles I bought were totally not up for the job.  They had a big bulge at the join between the needle and cable so I couldn’t slide my stitches across.  So I knit each sock individually up past the heel on double-points and then split the remaining yarn for the cuff.

So what went so right?

1. The stitch pattern (taken from soxie’s artichoke socks) is lovely and exciting enough to keep me interested by easily memorizable so that it really was a portable project.  I made an index card sized chart for reference, but didn’t have to look at it after the 2nd repeat.

2. Knitting from the toe up kept me from worrying about running out of yarn, made it easier to fit as I went and when I got the top I was done!  No need to go back and kitchner the toe shut!

3.  I used Wendy’s gusset heel and Jeny’s super stretchy bind-off.  In the past, I’ve been frustrated by how difficult it can be to stretch  hand-knit socks over the heel.  No more!

Hmm.. I think I may have found a mini-recipe for personal sock success

So of course, after Fluffy (the elephant) saw la Sirenita’s pajamas, she wanted some too.  My little seamstress picked some blue and white fabric (to match her own) laced with silver (to compliment Fluffy’s fur).

She quickly mastered the use of the sewing machine and we are all quite pleased with the result.  A posh pillow served as an excuse for the little seamstress to try out the machine’s fancy stitches and for mama seamstress to try piping.

Since the birth of my son, I’ve been greatly inspired by many crafty Mamas who have taken the time to share the things they’ve created for their little ones. 

Homemade by Jill and

Ikat Bag are two standouts in the amazing homemade toys department (among other things).

Above is an Amish puzzle Ball made using this pattern and a color themed softie book.  The softie book was inspired by this crazy quilt version,  but I  found that my scrap pile wasn’t really conducive to this approach.  The  squares I bought at the Houston quilt fair a couple of years ago  were perfect though!

Thanks to a Sew Mama Sew! giveaway. I will soon be the owner of this pattern, perfect for my sweet boy.

I’ve gotten so much inspiration from the folks at Sew, Mama, Sew (I have a long list of projects from their great tutorials to try), this really feels like the icing on the cake.

A new community has sprung up in our midst this summer: Nature Branch, populated by a diverse population of model magic critters (along with select prefab plastic princesses).

Shortly after the arrival of the first few, a clubhouse was built to accommodate them in style, complete with designer wallpaper, fine carpeting and a  purple chandelier.

Because they are such an active group and live in close proximity to a toddling giant the accident rate was very high. In my capacity as appointed village doctor I suggested maybe we needed a hospital where they could rest and recover.   The town mayor/architect/benefactress got to work right away.

Added security measures were also put in place.

And a garden park was added with a soothing lily pad fountain.