Thursday, October 13, 2011

Halloween Knit Pumpkin, FREE PATTERN!!

Hello, hello!
I have been lacking a post since I've quit my day job and have a lot less free time. Yes, you read that right.
So, to make it up to you, I am posting this palm-sized pumpkin pattern for free! The subscribers here deserve more free patterns from me, so I will give another away closer to Christmas which will make a fast last minute gift, PROMISE!!
I rarely use patterns, and that is why I can confidently post these here without worry of copyright infringement! But now you do, LOL!!
I ask that you make these as gifts, or for your own decorations please. I am in my thirties and haven't gotten to the "aw, heck, I'm hangin it up, do what you want" phase yet. It would kill me if you could buy a steak dinner off of my pattern when I can only buy burgers.
So here goes:
Worsted weight yarn in that ugly orange, or another suitable shade
Worsted weight yarn in a coordinating green (for stem)
I used cheap "crap/craft" yarn, the scratchy stuff, since I'm not wearing these!!
US size 4 or 5 needles straight or **circular depending on your preference
Fiber Fill
Tapestry needle
Gauge: Not important, a tight fabric is needed to mask the white stuffing

Cast on 37 sts. I use the long tail cast on to have that tail to run through and cinch up the top later.
Knit in P2 K3 rib pattern, starting with P2, and ending with P2 (these 2 extra stitches are for the seam) Continue in rib pattern as established for 3 1/2 inches or so.
Don't bind off, and run doubled green yarn (about an arm's length) through these stitches . Slip the needle out, and pull the stitches together, leaving the smallest hole you can manage without breaking the yarn (if you do, I recommend  ripping that last row, and cinching up those stitches). Aim for a pencil point opening. Tie a double knot.
Now that you have the orange pumpkin off of the needles, its time to seam. I use the mattress stitch, here is a link to directions: mattress stitch
Stuff the pumpkin just enough to fill it out. You don't want to stuff it till it's firm, or it will stretch the stitches too much, and white will show through. If you have another method of camouflaging this, be my guest (and share!!).
Run the tail through the cast on stitches and cinch up the same as the bottom, except don't knot it just yet.
Shape the pumpkin: loosen the end and push the filling to round it out, then knot.
You now have a cute orange ball!! Eee!
Now, thread the green threads and pass through the pumpkin, to the other end. You can make your pumpkin more squatty by pulling this tighter, being careful not to lose the knot inside the pumpkin. I place my tapestry needle under the know, and pull the strands. When you have the height you want, knot these green ends to the cast on tail.
You now have  one orange strand, and four green strands at the top of the pumpkin. Pass the orange yarn back down through the pumpkin, pull out somewhere on the lower hemisphere, and trim.
Using the longest green strand there is, form a slip knot. Cast on 5-10 stitches using the e cast on method, and cast off. Weave end back through this tendril tightening it back close to the pumpkin.
With the remaining three strands of green, use the same cast-on method and cast on 2 or 3 stitches. Knit in garter for as many rows as you can, and slip the end through the last row, weave in ends.

 I hope you have a Great Day!!!!
Keep your kids safe this Halloween,
Mama Leen

Friday, May 20, 2011

Knitting through Time

I was lucky enough to be gifted with a lady's knitting needles by her thoughtful son a year or so ago. Along with the needles were little knitting tools. An assortment of tiny skinny double pointed needles (very scary looking to me!) stitch markers, insanely small crochet hooks (also scary to me), a few yellowed pages of patterns, and a small black notebook, probably 1 in by 2.5 inches. It has only one or two handwritten (copied I suspect) patterns in pencil. One is a pattern for baby booties. I am going to start a blog post about this project here. I have some lovely yarn on the way, and the book safely with it's friends. 
The way I came about this knitting kit is very odd, to say the least. The man, Alvin, gave this kit to his friend, my brother Dave, to give to his sister (Me) because he heard I took up knitting. Well, how pleased was I?? I take anything knitting related, my passion for this "hobby" has not waned from the start! It is almost three years since I taught myself to knit and I am just as consumed as I ever was. But anyway, back to the knitting kit. I've never met the woman, and only her son, Alvin, a few times. Alvin is older, maybe 60? It's hard to tell because he is an alcoholic, and has aged considerably. I have just learned that the mother, the owner of this kit has dementia. How sad. Her younger son has moved her to California, to retire peacefully from life.
So with that melancholy note, I start this project... 
The pattern is written in knitting shorthand. Letters and order that only a knitter can 'see'. There is no sketch, just the description for the booties. The other pattern is for a top-hat style hat, complete with a sketch. How charming!! I will delve further into that later. For now, its the booties. 
I wonder what they'll look like?
I wonder what size they will turn out to be?
I wonder where she got the pattern?
I wonder who will receive these booties?
I wonder how many I'll make!!

Much Love,
Mama Leen 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Raffle Time!

It is getting down to the deadline to come up with the deposit on the shop. So here is the final leg of the shop fund-raising!
Raffle tickets are $10 each. Print Form
Deadline is midnight Thursday May 12th, drawing will be Saturday.
Prize includes two hand made bolsters sewn from upholstery fabric valued at $24, a huge dark brown throw with gift tag valued at $40, a very nice heavy picture frame, a hand made wine bottle cozy, tri-fold organizer valued at $24, and a zippered pouch valued at $20! That's over a hundred dollars of goodies!! Perfect Grad gift, House Warming gift, or just more stuff to pad your nest! Take a peek!

This event is so important to get the shop off the ground. I have 4 extremely talented ladies that have put their faith in me, and I want to help them, and my self succeed! I will ship this prize to anywhere, so do not let your location deter you from entering! Thank you!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Oh my gaw, you guys!!

Ok, I know I'm in my 30's, but I still act like an excited teenager (more often than my husband is comfortable with)!
I put a deposit down yesterday......for....a......RETAIL STORE!!!
Oh yes, my friends, I will be opening a "Hand-Made Boutique" in Claremore, OK. We will be presenting unique hand made items to gift, or keep for yourself! I am obsessed with the look I want on the inside. It will be a coat of paint, and a LOT of wooden trim!! Here's one thing I want to decorate with: this!
And another: this!
I am going over there on Friday to measure the rooms.  I am so thrilled to offer a steady craft-fair to people who can appreciate one-of-a-kind items. I want to teach Claremore this acronym: OOAK
And thanks to Etsy, I have boundless resources to upcoming trends. And I can bring them to my area!
I will take before and after pictures as I fill up!
But until then, I am in full production mode to MAKE MONEY at my Mother's Day craft fair for the remodel. And deposit. And the utilities. And the office supplies. Oh my gawd, what did I do??

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

April is My Birthday Month!! ~spinning in happy cirlcles!!!~

April is my favorite  month. Spring is my favorite season! But not for the simple fact it contains my birthday. I love spring because the daffodils poke through snow sometimes. Sometimes they poke through mud,  like lotus blossoms. It gets lighter earlier, and gets darker later. The wind blows, and the temperature is mild, sometimes sweaty. But then there's the wind to dry your sweat. Wonderful cycle!
I'd like to alert you to some feel-good opportunities that I am involved in. First off, I am participating in an on-line auction to help a couple who is adopting give some aid in their cause. You can read about it here.  I have promised to donate a shrug, a baby cardigan and a beret. There will be many other things to bid on, so please check it out!
The second thing has a little more story to it. My daughter has been buzzing around the house. Doing laundry, dishes, feeding the dog and cat. Taking the trash out.... oh my goodness. Now you may ask, "why?". And when I tell you she is 7 years old, and weighs 60lbs you may ask, "how??" can she lug full baskets of laundry, shimmy up counters to put away plates. Sling a 13 gallon bag of trash into the trash bin? Well she wants to earn MONEY. That may make you curious. "Will I get money for this?" she asks me. Over and over. 
"Well sure!" I reply. "What, pray tell, are you going to utilize your earned funds for, my dear child?" (I do sometimes talk like this to her....keeps her mind hopping. Or convinces her I'm weird- either way, that suits me fine)  
Here is her reply. "I want to buy pajamas for kids who need them." 
It was like that poem that talks about "your heart go walking around outside of your body." [Elizabeth Stone]
Well, I was floored to say the least. There is a program on that allows you to send new pajamas and books to kids who don't have them. It touched her heart, and I want to help her. Don't you??
LL has a blog, it's ""
And I am going to set up a PayPal button for donations. We will then purchase pajamas, and ship them. I will post receipts to keep this legit, if you have qualms. And it will be tax deductible. We will conduct this for the month of April. And we will do it again on her birthday month, June.
Please, if you have some money sitting in your PayPal that isn't quite enough to buy that yarn, or jewelry, or little pretty you want on Etsy, would you consider donating it?

Monday, March 21, 2011

I love Spring!

I spent Sunday afternoon with my family at the park. It was sunny, mild, and breezy! 
 My children of course wanted to swing. There are only two at this little park, so when the kids jumped off and went exploring, I nabbed a swing for myself! I had forgotten what the sunshine felt like. It was fantastic. I leaned all the way back, let my head hang in the breeze, and just chilled. Swaying just ever so slightly. Aaaahhhh... I could just feel my blood pressure dropping. The sun, the children laughing, the breeze, the weightlessness. Just heaven!
 Here are my winter-pale legs! Soon to be tan legs, due to knitting outside this summer. Speaking of knitting, on Saturday I started a baby cardigan from some gorgeous berry red cotton yarn. Here is how far I got on it...
It's finished now. It will fit a 2T little girl. There is a little mother-of-pearl button on the back of the neck to close the opening. I need to add my shop tag, and this little cutie will be ready to sell! I enjoyed making this, and have devised a "Mommy" version in my head. It is something I would love to wear, so I am sure it will be enjoyed by some other lovely lady. I have just started a little boy version, and when I got home from the grocery store, I composed this little arrangement! Something felt familiar when I unpacked the strawberries and grapes....

Have A Great Day!

P.S. They were YUMMY!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

2011 Blizzard Cookies

To make these cookies you will need:
 1 cup of granulated sugar
 1 cup of peanut butter (I used a natural one, smooth, but feel free to use your favorite)
 1 large egg
 1 bag of Hershey's Kisses

Optional: a helper to unwrap said Kisses and attempt egg cracking. Did you know, says l.o., that eggs come from birds? Just thought I'd drop a little knowledge on ya, 3 yo style.

Spoonula (shallow spoon-shaped spatula)
Large bowl
1/2 oz cookie scoop (if you don't have one, buy one! They are awesome, treat yourself!) to make things easier, and keep your hands free of cookie dough
Cookie sheet

Preheat oven to 350
Add egg, use your spoonula to scoop about half of the peanut butter from the jar (a cup is 8oz, jars are usually 16oz) the cup of sugar,

 and mix with the spoonula until the mixture looks like, well peanut butter with sugar and egg mixed in (ie: smooth)

Use your 1/2 oz scoop to make your little puffer bellies all in a row on your cookie sheet. Bake for

 8-10 minutes. They will not spread out much, and will barely look cooked. While they are baking, count and unwrap a corresponding number of Kisses. Pull out the
cookies and immediately push one   kiss in each cookie, like this:
When they have cooled for about two-three minutes, transfer to a cooling rack. Don't get Little Red Hen Syndrome and slam the cookies down, cause that chocolate is still warm, and will smoosh a little.
And that's all there is to it! Try to let them harden back to room temperature. 
This is a pretty popular recipe, and I have by no means created this from my head! But if you have seen these at bake sales and said,"how'd they do that?", well now you know.
Oh, and here is how much help my "Helper" gave me:
 At least he didn't eat them after he unwrapped them, lol!

Have a cookie day,
Mama Leen 

Midwest Blizzard of 2011

You may have heard it on the news. We have/are getting more than 12 inches of snow. Drifts up to 5 feet! Omgosh, there are plows stuck! Hubby braved the roads, and got sent back home. I am thankful that my work gave us the day off with no repercussions. Soooooo me and little boy were stuck home to bounce off of each other's egos. He's three. I am thirty... and he has me wrapped around his finger.
We finally settled into our Saturday routine, even though it is Tuesday. That consists of me tuning out his DVD's while I knit on the sofa.
Finally, we got bored and braved the snow. I felt compelled to shovel (even though we don't own a snow shovel) a path from our front door to the driveway for my love's return. And l.o. wanted to put his trains in the snow. So we bundled up, and stepped outside. 
All I had to shovel with was a plastic saucer from Christmas. I made a zig-zag path to the driveway, before the thing broke. Ah well! Back inside we went. Blew our noses, shed our wet layers, and back to the routine. I should get my grey triangle scarf done today. I have the prettiest button to put on  it! And I think I will give away the pattern  here as a prize next month? Or just be super generous and publish it? Hmmmm.
Well, I have another post post. :-)
Have a great day, stay warm and safe!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

What's up, buttercup?

Alrighty, February contest time! Since spring is right around the corner (and last year was my busiest knitting season!) let's think happy spring thoughts! Hopefully, we can banish any dreary, gray, and slushy thoughts we're having!
Here we go:
tell me your upcoming projects or plans. They could be remodeling, crafting, hair color change, or health-wise changes you will be trying in the near future. These are different than resolutions, in that we will actually DO them!! Haha! The prize will be a skein of natural 100% pure fiber (either wool or alpaca) shipped to the winner. Heck, I'll even wind it for ya!
I'll go first. My plan is to sew more projects. The two in mind are recovering my sofa pillows shabby chic style, and sew up some project totes from some fat quarters I impulse bought. My little girl picked one to, so we will make them together. I'm pretty stoked to create along side her!
K, you go!!
Please  have a good day, and remember God gave you this day to show your love to somebody else!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Vintage Knits

I have seen some captivating Vintage Knitting patterns for sale on Etsy like here, and here. I just love the retro feel and look of these hand knit items. Plus, they must be free domain, right?? Clear to sell as I understand it!! I think that will be my next Etsy purchase.
Now here is my most recent purchase:
I picked up some Yarn Bee alpaca from Hobby Lobby that has cream and purple tone which begged me to make a beret and fringed scarf. I bought two skeins. So yummy. I might just go and start that today, I have a free afternoon. Well if I skip swinging by the elementary school, and getting the next weeks groceries. And cleaning the kitchen, and putting away the clean laundry. Ugh. How young is too young for slave labor? I have a Seven and a Three year old. And a 33 year old (hubby). LOL Well we can do that stuff this evening, and throughout the weekend, right?
Well at any rate you have a good weekend!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy New Year!

Well its 2011. Whoop. I remember wondering how old I would be when it was 1999, lol!! (Prince Song) At that time I never would have thought that I would be living as comfortably, as close to so many people, and have a whole new family!! That includes my home family (hubby and daughter and son) and my adopted family, my in-laws (mother, father, sister, brother in laws). They have replaced my New York family as party attenders and holiday sharers. My mother's family is still in New York. I miss them, but my new family softens the change.kloseknitclaremore
I have had a very tumultuous Christmas season (that is what my calendar calls it...Christmas). I have a strained professional relationship that has snuck up on me. I don't know exactly what caused the strain, otherwise I would address it, I don't beat around the bush. But every encounter, email, conversation with this person grates on my nerves. I am pondering on severing this relationship. I think I will give it another month, but I really don't think it will last. It is too bad, but I don't want to grit my teeth every time I see this person's name on my email or caller ID. Sigh.
My online business hasn't taken off like I wished it would. Maybe that was a good thing, because I wouldn't have been prepared to supply a mountain of orders. My Etsy sales have been very steady, and very pleasant! Hopefully all of my customers are happy with their item. And I have spent $450 on a bill board sign in November for a three month spot, and have gotten NO SALES from that on my kloseknitclaremore sight! I did get one sale, from NEW JERSEY!! I doubt they saw my sign.  So needless to say, I will not be investing in that again! Sheesh. I couldn't afford it at the time. But it is cool seeing my shop name in lights.
[ insert picture in near future ]

January is selfish knitting month. I am knitting a cashmere blend navy blue Ultimate Sweater
 I am up to the armpits, and think I made it too short. I have a long torso, so I think I will tear out the 6 or so rounds and add another 3-4 inches before re-attaching the sleeves. I am very happy with the way it has turned out so far.

Jumping topics again, I had a craft fair that went so successfully that I almost had a fist fight over one of my last items!! This gave me resolve to prepare for next year/winter all through the year. And offer only already made items on my Etsy to keep my hands free to stock up for the next event. Depending on my production, I might even get a kiosk at the mall. That demands a huge amount of time on my part (a whole weekend, possibly every weekend in December friday, sat, sunday)! Like I said, it depends on my production through out the year. Luckilly, I have a knitting friend who is so talented and she has offered to help me in what ever I ask her to knit. We still need to work on that arrangement though, money wise for something this large. I am thinking a percentage, 10% or 15% I get to keep. Dunno, need to iron this out with her.
But anyway, I have typical resolutions. Get in shape, knit more, make more money. Be more patient with my spouse, and communicate more clearly. I sure do love that big galumph!
Have a Great Day,