Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Micro Machine cufflinks

I was browsing at the Downtown Holiday Market with a friend when we came across a table laden with cufflinks.  My eye was immediately caught by a small blue boat that I recognized from my childhood.  I struggled to remember the name, repeating, "Micro, micro, micro...."  "Micro Machines!" the guy standing next to me exclaimed.  Yes!  I remember spending hours sitting in the hallway between the kitchen and the living racing them back and forth with my brother.  Naturally, I had to buy them.  Something that nostalgic just can't be passed by.  Since my memory of Micro Machines is with my brother, and he's the only person I know who wears cufflinks, I had found the perfect Hanukkah present for him!

Since I (unfortunately) did not make these myself, I want to give thanks to Yank Ku Designs for these great cufflinks.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Winner Hats

These are the two hats I made for the winners of the Gingerbread House Making Competition.  Since I didn't want them to have to wait too long for their custom-made hats, I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick yarn and size 13, 16 inch needles, so that the hats would work up quickly.

Wide Rib Hat (aka Adam's hat)
For this hat, I wanted something simple, but I didn't want to just knit the whole thing or do a normal rib, which I have been doing a lot of lately.  Instead, I constructed it with these wide ribs to give it a bit of texture and intrigue, but still keep it basic. 

1 skein of Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in Denim Twist
Size 13, 16 inch circular needles

Really Warm Hat (aka Victoria's hat)
I found the pattern for this hat on ravelry (available for free here).  It's much simplier than it looks, though I did change up the crown a bit because I wasn't sure how I felt about the lines crossing along the top.   I really love the finished product and am thinking of making one of these for myself.  Plus with the pom pom, who wouldn't want this hat? 

1 skein of Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in Lemongrass
Size 13, 16 inch circular needles

 Pretty good prizes, if I do say so myself.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gingerbread Houses

Freshman year of college, my roommate and I held a gingerbread house making party in our dorm room.  We bought graham crackers, icing, a boatload of candy, and borrowed a few knives from the cafeteria.  A few friends came over and we had a lot of fun reliving our kindergarten days and eating way too much candy.  The next year, with more space and a kitchen, we added latkes to festivities, and the Annual Latke and Gingerbread House Party was born.  Though my roommate and I no longer live with, or even close to, one another, the tradition continues!  This year my boyfriend and I hosted the 8th annual party, and it was a hit!  He's an amazing chef, so he handled the latkes.  There were normal potato and onion, sweet potato, and purple potato and carrot, as well as three homemade sauces.  Needless to say, this party has become a lot classier since its inception.

We also decided to make the gingerbread house building part more exciting by turning it into a competition (this is where the crafting part comes in, sort of...).  People could work alone or with one other person, the house had to fit on no more than two regular-sized paper plates, and all structural pieces had to be edible.  First place won a hat made by me and second place won a loaf of bread made by by boyfriend. 

Though everyone did a good job (well, almost everyone), a few of our friends took this very seriously and spent the entire week before the party planning and buying any necessary candy to supplement the stores we provided.  First place was the Winter Chateau, a beautiful two story structure with snow cap walls, a reese's pieces front walk, and a twizzler and marshmallow chimney (pictured in the forefront below).

Second place I unfortunately didn't get a good picture of, but it was called "Occupy North Pole." You can see it in the back of the first picture above.  There was a tent city, Keebler cookie protesters with signs that read "Suck Fanta" and "I am an ELF and I am the 99%," and a chocolate Santa spraying a protester with pepper spray.

And, just because it's my blog, here's a picture of the house my friend Zina and I made, even though we didn't win:

Stay tuned to see the hats I make for the winners.

Dimple Hat

With the holiday season, my crafting has been in full swing.  This dimple hat was one of the many gifts I made.  When I first saw the patten on Purl Bee, I was very intimated by it.  As a new knitter, it seemed much more complicated than the knits and purls I'm just getting used to.  When I was looking for a pattern for my future sister-in-law, however, I decided to try it.  I wanted to make her something more special and unique than the basic ribbed hats I have done up to this point.  And I have to say, with Purl Bee's clear explanations and photos, this hat was a breeze.  There is a good bit of counting involved, so I had to stay pretty focused (I ended up taking out a few rows every time I lost focus because I inevitably dropped a stitch or two or miscounted), but it was a much easier pattern to follow than I initially imagined.

To make my dimple hat, I used two skeins of Classic Elite Magnolia yarn in color Berry and size 6, 16 inch needles.  I absolutely LOVED working with this yarn.  It's super soft and silky and glided through my fingers and needles.  I will definitely be going back to it for other projects.

Christmas Tree Ornaments

During my daily viewing of Purl Bee, I came across a pattern for Christmas tree ornaments.  As I do not celebrate Christmas, I decided to make these as a gift for one of my friends.  It took some time to find wool felt in non-boring colors (i.e. something brighter and more exciting than red and green - this is the Christmas season, after all), but I finally managed to track down some 12 inch squares at Michael's in fuscia, yellow, forest green, navy, and light blue. It took me a couple to get the hang of a) sewing a straight line and b) pulling the thread tight enough to from a ball rather than an ellipse, but in the end I think they turned out pretty fun.  Certainly not the most glamorous of ornaments, but my friend seemed to appreciate them.  And they look pretty awesome on her tree!

We also had a white elephant gift exchange at work, but the catch was that we could only bring in something that we already had at home.  I figured my friend didn't need 15 ornaments (her tree isn't that big), so I took some of these and gave them as part of my white elephant gift.  My coworker who ended up getting them is Jewish and clearly had no need for them, so he gave them to another coworker to decorate her office (I'm not sure why only the non-Christians ended up with my very Christmas-specific gift).  Oh well.  I think they look kind of need as office decorations too!

[Note: I wanted to put a picture of the ornaments in my coworker's office, but she has them hanging on her bulletin board and she has some confidential information and paperwork hanging there, so I can't post it.]