The holidays are over and it’s back to reality. It means I get to finally share the gifts I made though. Actually it’s just gift singular this year, as I only made one thing to give away: a ninja shirt for my nephew!

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Pattern- 

Camp Shirt from One-Yard Wonders- Can be made in sizes 2T-4T. My nephew is about 18 months old, so I cut a 2T.

Fabric- 

“Ninjas Don’t Sweat” by Lily Gonzalez-Creed, available at Windham Fabrics. Isn’t it adorable? I bought mine at my local fabric store, West Seattle Fabric, a while back and it was so popular that they were almost sold out. It comes in gray too, but they were already out of that. I like the red though!

Speaking of Windham Fabrics, I was checking out their other designers and Amy Sedaris has designed fabric for them! Whaaa? I guess it was a couple of years ago. How did I miss that? She is one of my heroes. I love her so much. I had no idea she designed fabric, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised either. She’s amazing and hilarious and now I want all of her fabric.

ninja_shirt-016I had heard that making kid’s clothes was easy, since there’s usually not a lot of fabric or pattern pieces to deal with and fit isn’t a big issue. This was my first time making a kid’s garment and I now I see the allure. From tracing the pattern, to cutting the fabric, to a finished garment, I sewed this up all in one day!

My nephew got a lot of amazing presents this Christmas, including a fully functioning tool bench and a play kitchen, of which his favorite were the boxes they came in (yep, he’s that age). The adults seemed more impressed with this shirt than Owen did. There was such a frenzy of unwrapping and toy assembling, that I didn’t bother making him try it on for pictures. He doesn’t even know what ninjas are yet anyway. That’s why I made it a bit big though, so he can grow into it. Who knows, this could end up being his favorite shirt! An auntie can hope, can’t she? ;)

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As I sit here with the day off today, my head is a swimming a bit. And no it’s not a champagne hangover… that was yesterday. I have so many ideas and things I want to do this year, but I am also thinking about how I would like more balance in my life. I want to have more fun, hang out with my friends and family more and be more present. The only big plans I have so far this year involve some travel and being a part of other people’s huge life events (a couple of weddings). I could just book the year up, but I’m not going to. I also just read Tasha Miller Griffith’s article in Seamwork about the Infinite List and it really spoke to me, so I am going to keep it simple again this year.

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GARDENING GOALS- 

Grow my usual crops and preserve some of it.

We still want to build a new fence that involves a hops trellis, so maybe that will happen this year!

Take the Master Preserver’s Class- 3rd year on the list is the charm?

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COOKING GOALS- 

Take classes at the Pantry?- I am really interested in the class offerings at the Pantry at Delancy, especially Molly Wizenberg’s food writing class. I tend to go a little class crazy sometimes and am already signed up for an 8 week ukulele class starting next week, so we’ll see what happens.

Get better at food photography- I really need to step up my food photography game. The lighting situation is challenging in my house, but I need to be less lazy and take the time to figure it out. There is talk of a kitchen remodel (think new/better surfaces and maybe a table by the window to shoot on), so that could be promising.

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CRAFTING GOALS- 

Continue going to knitting night- I’ve got the knitting bug bad now that I’ve completed my first sweater. It’s kind of all I want to do now. I want to make all the cute sweaters on Ravelry! Add to that how awesome all the ladies are at the Seattle Yarn knitting night and this is a very positive thing to look forward to in 2015.

Knit another sweater or two?- Owl Sweater by Kate Davies? Hetty by Andi Satterlund? I have quite the queue on Ravelry now.

Whittle away at my fabric stash- This is always a goal and I recently made a list of projects that I already have patterns and fabric for. I will be motivated by the desire to check things off. First on the list, a Negroni for Matt’s birthday!

OVERALL BLOG GOALS- 

Interviews- I still have a bunch of people I want to interview and one has already confirmed, so that’s exciting!

Videos- I was teaching myself Final Cut Pro last year, by watching video tutorials on lynda.com. I also got a video mic for Christmas, so the video front is making progress as well.

Whatever this year brings, I am entering into it feeling positive, inspired, rested and ready. So bring it 2015!

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Looking back at 2014 is tricky. It was a year of a lot of change. If you have been reading this blog for awhile, some of you may already know of some of the events of the year. It’s not at all easy to sum up, and that may be why I have found myself compacting it into this sentence- In five months, I lost my mother and two dogs and got married. It seems kind of blunt, but it’s true and a lot can be gathered from it. Of course the year wasn’t all bad. In the midst of all that tragedy, I had one of the best days of my life: my wedding. In the ashes of that sadness, I have become even more grateful for all the wonderful things in my life, especially my friends and family. I guess that’s what life is. I guess that’s what getting older is…

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Each year, I set goals for myself. I remember going easy on myself with this year’s goals, because even though my mother was doing better at the time, I knew we had the wedding looming, so I didn’t want to over commit myself.

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photo by Amy Kiel Photography

One of my goals, of course, was to make my own wedding dress. That in and of itself was a humongous goal and I am amazed I achieved it. It wasn’t anything super fancy, but it was exactly what I wanted and I didn’t give up, so I am proud of myself for that. The final dress post is here and there are a few posts about the planning and fitting as well.

Amy Kiel Photography

photo by Amy Kiel Photography

I also think Matt, Flower (my maid of honor) and I did a stellar job of planning and decorating for the wedding. There are a series of posts on that as well. Everything exceeded my expectations and I am still in disbelief at how awesome everything turned out.

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Another big goal that I achieved was knitting my first sweater, the Miette cardigan. I came in just under the wire on this one, having just completed it Christmas Eve!

Which ties into another goal I met, I couldn’t have completed this sweater without the help of my new friends at the knitting night I have been going to. They are the most interesting, sweet and sassy group of wine drinking women I have met in a long time (probably since the roller derby days). They immediately welcomed me in and have been more than willing to answer all my questions and show me how to do things. I am really excited to continue hanging, drinking and learning with these lovely ladies in 2015.

The only other goal I met, was that I set up my shop, as meager as it is. There are still a few shirts left too, if you want to check it out!

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Matt did get the herb garden going, so that was taken off my plate.

There just wasn’t time for the rest; the Master Preserver’s Class, the interviews or the videos (although I have been playing around with Final Cut). Everything can roll over to next year, and will, when I post my 2015 goals. I have been trying to be kind to myself lately and let myself rest a bit after this crazy whirlwind of a year. I think I deserve it, don’t you? ;) In the meantime, I will be celebrating the end of this year. It was bittersweet, so I am ready to start a new one. So Happy New Year everyone and see you next year!

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I almost can’t believe it, my Miette Cardigan is finally finished! And it only took me a year! Oof. In my defense, some things came up and I did sew a wedding dress in that time as well. There is a whole new level of pride that came with completing this sweater though. It was probably a combo of how long it took, and how new I was to knitting when I first started, that made it feel like an impossible task at times. When I started this cardigan, I had only been knitting for a short time and had made a couple of scarves, a couple of wrist bands and some handwarmers. No hat, no socks… I just skipped right to a sweater, because that was what made me want to learn how to knit in the first place (I needed some cute hand knit sweaters to go with my homemade dresses after all!). Thank goodness for the lovely ladies at the knitting night I’ve been going to, especially the amazing Sharon Larson, who patiently showed me all the stitches I needed to know to knit this sweater… and Ruth, who helped me fixed so many of the mistakes I made along the way. Big thanks go out to all the ladies of Seattle Yarn, for all of your help and encouragement!

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Now let’s talk about this sweater. First of all, this a free (you heard me, FREE!) pattern designed by the amazing Andi Satterlund of my the blog Untangling Knots. Andi is so talented and her sweaters are knit by people all over the world and she just so happens to live right here in Seattle! I had heard that this was a good beginner’s sweater and have seen some really cute ones online, including Lauren’s, Jennifer’s and Roisin’s.

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It’s knit from the top down, starting at the neck, so there is no seaming that has to be done. The sleeves get put on scrap yarn, while you finish the body. You then pick up the sleeve stitches to finish the sleeves. The yarn I used was Cascade 220 Heathers in Shire. More notes are on my Ravelry.

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I used Lauren’s tutorial on stabilizing button bands to finish the button bands and I love the way it turned out. I makes the buttons bands feel sturdier and gives it a nice finished look. The buttons I bought at Seattle Yarn.

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Another great resource for knitting this sweater, were all of Gail’s Miette Knitalong posts. The actual knitalong was a few years ago, but her posts are so thorough and cover every step from gauge and sizing to picking up the sleeves to fixing mistakes. It was amazingly helpful. There are even videos. Yay for the internet! Thanks ladies!

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It was really windy, but sunny, when we were taking these photos. In Seattle, you gotta go for the sun when you get it!

I have to be honest, I still don’t get the whole negative ease thing (can someone please explain it to me?). I am a size 36″ in the bust and I did swatches to determine my gauge. The pattern calls for size 5mm and 4.5mm needles and I ended up knitting with 6mm and 5.5mm needles to get the correct gauge. That means I am a tight knitter, right? Ha ha, see what I mean that it’s a miracle I finished this sweater, there’s still so much I don’t know! Anyway, I knit the size for the 38″ bust and I must have either made the right choice or gotten lucky, because I think it fits great!

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The pattern produces a cropped sweater, but I like my sweaters a little longer, so I lengthened the body by about 4″. It says in the pattern where to lengthen, so that part was easy. I just added rows. I also lengthened the sleeves to be full length. I kept the number of buttons the same, despite the length change. Gail’s blog had a link to a buttonhole calculator that helped me figure out how to put the buttonholes where I wanted them. I was very proud of myself when it turned out right!

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I am wearing it open in these pics, because this is how I usually wear my cardigans, but also because the bottom of the sweater is a tad snug. Since I lengthened the body, I should have decreased the stitches less at the bust (or not all maybe?). That way the bottom would fit my hips, not my waist. I also could have bound off a bit looser. I think I need to learn this stretchy bind off I keep hearing about too! I tried to fix this a bit when I blocked it, but there was only so much I could do.

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The back looks good I think! I was motivated to finish this sweater since it was in my 2014 goals to knit a sweater, but also because I really wanted to wear it with my Dahlia dress. I was right, they do look super cute together! Between the cotton flannel and the warm wool, this is such a great Winter outfit.

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Here it is on my dress form, just so you can get an idea of the fit when it is buttoned.

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I’m still not a fast knitter, but I do feel like I got better after all those rows of stockinette. I also don’t dread knitting through the back loop like I did at first. I am very excited to have my first sweater under my belt. I think my next sweater goal is the Owl Sweater by Kate Davies and I’ll be making a pair of cable mitts next to practice cables. Anyone have any yarn suggestions for me? Or tips on knitting cables?

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If you are anything like me, every year you think you are  going to get all of your Christmas shopping done super early, so you can kick back, relax and feel so accomplished that all of your shopping is done. More realistically, you start shopping a couple of weeks before. That’s okay! With two and a half weeks to go until Christmas, it’s not too late to get those perfect presents for your loved ones and I am here to help you with some ideas. I am all about supporting small businesses by buying their products, so here are my faves this year!

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1. Addition Holiday Spice Gift Set- You may remember Addition from my Tarragon Whiskey Sours post, but in case you missed it, they are a new local cocktail spice company specializing in making savory and spicy flavors to add to your cocktails, drinks or even in baking. They have assembled this yummy Holiday Spice Gift Set to add to things like Egg Nog and Cider. $64 for the whole set. If these flavors don’t excite you, browse their 20+ other cocktail spices on their site!

2. Old Dog Sk8s limited edition hand silkscreened skateboard- Created by Chip Baker (friend of the blog and designer of my lovely logo). These boards are all hand painted, silkscreened and one of a kind. Give it to your favorite skater or art collector, because it can be ridden or hung on the wall as art. $50 and it comes with grip tape!

3. Shroom by Becky Selengut-  I was introduced to Becky Selengut through her first book Good Fish, during the Cook the Books Cooking Challenge that I participated in last year. I made her Hang Town Fry recipe and it was delicious… I should make it again! Now she has a new book called Shroom and it’s all recipes for cultivated and wild mushrooms. While not a foraging book, (Becky strongly emphasizes that in the book), wild mushrooms have gained popularity recently and this books gives you tons of new and interesting ideas for what to do with them. It would be a great gift for the mushroom lover or adventurous chef in your life. I bought this book for my mushroom loving friend Cara… and one for myself (more on the adventurous chef side)! If you are in the Seattle area, you can pick up a copy in person this Wednesday evening at Marx Foods, where Becky will be doing a cooking demo and signing books. Check out Becky’s website for other events and places to buy Shroom. There are also videos on her website that accompany the book.

4. Fiddlehead Hat- These are the cutest, softest, most cuddly little hats for kids. I know, because I bought one for my nephew. Shh, don’t tell! You can find these in Tasha Miller Griffith’s Etsy store and all of these hats are made from recycled cashmere sweaters. You get to customize your colors too! $32
Check out her blog too, Stale Bread into French Toast, where she sews and knits and does all the things I love!

5. Heritage Soaps- As someone who has sensitive skin, I am constantly on the lookout for good soaps that don’t irritate my skin, but are still moisturizing. There are a lot of fragrance free soaps out there, but that’s boring! With Heritage Soaps, I can have it all. The owner, Kate, just happens to be Chip’s sister (what a talented family) and was once a guest poster, with her soap making tutorial. There are many types and scents to choose from. I am currently using the Chamomile Flowers Soap as a face soap and the Pomander (orange and clove) soap as a hand soap. I was intrigued by the description of the Bergamot and Coffee soap and she advertises it as “a nice kitchen soap to remove odors or dirty hands from a day in the garden”. She sent me a sample of it, so that will be on my next order. She has a holiday sale going right now where you can get 3 soaps for $15 and if you mention Rake and Make, she’ll throw in a sample for you too!

 

Hope this helps! Happy Shopping!

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