Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mini-Mitten Advent Calendar

IMAG0509, a photo by mad4marvin on Flickr.

IMAG0509 by mad4marvinMy oldest sister has 8 grandchildren aged 9-3months so I thought having an advent calendar for her grandchildren would be cool. They can visit their grandmother and get a treat! Plus who doesn't love counting down to Xmas? So I searched and fell in love with this pattern:Smitten (a holiday garland) It took me two months but I made 24 mini mittens-all unique (well 2 are the same color but you have to look very hard to see) and all handmade. I used embroidery (sp?) floss and added handmade tags to each one. My 6 year old great niece, Carmen, helped and she was so excited because 1.) she got to use a rubber stamp which she had never done before, and 2.) Grandma was going to put surprises in them! My sister hung them in her dining room on her built-in and everyday one or more of her grandchildren take the candy out of that days mitten and then moves them to my sisters tree (they double as ornaments!)

The yarn that I used for all of the mittens were bought months ago at the local Goodwill. I bought a HUGE bag for about $6-$8 and it was filled with Sugar & Cream Xmas yarn (100% cotton) and a couple of skeins of non-labeled acrylic Xmas yarn. Overall, I think there was close to 25 skeins (full-skeins!) in the bag....well worth the money I paid for it! My favorite mitten was the last one I made (and no, not because by the time I was done I was soooo sick of mitten making it wasn't even funny) but because it reminds me of a piece of peppermint candy.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fall Bounty Part 2!!!!

       This is part 2 of the Fall Bounty! As I promised in my last post I will be posting my first free pattern in this blogpost!! Mini-leaf pattern!!! Also I will be adding more pictures and links (for the patterns)...I am so obsessed with making food right now! As I am typing this blogpost my 1 year old great-niece, Kylie (see previous posts for her birth announcement!! And baby shower pics---she is already 1 yrs old) is playing with the knitted foods as is her mother (she is braiding the carrot "stalk") All of the patterns for Fall Bounty foods were found on as free patterns, except my mini-leaf pattern! It is exclusive to this blog!!

First the Mini-Leaf pattern:                                              Abbreviations:
Mini-Leaf                                                                      * KFB- knit through front and back loops
by Mad4marvin                                                               * K2tog- knit two stitches together
Size 5 needles                                                                    NOTIONS:
CO 4 sts                                                                           * tapestry needle
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: KFB every stitch (8 sts)
Row 3: Knit
Row 4: K2tog
Row 5: Knit
Row 6: K1, K2tog, K1
Row 7: Knit
Row 8: K1, K2tog
Row 9: Knit
Row 10: K2tog, K1
Row 11: Knit
Row 12: K2tog

Thread tapestry needle and run through all of the stitches on the needles. Pull tight and weave through ends. On CO end, sew both sides together at bottom to pinch the end of leaf together. This pattern may contain errors because I am not a professional pattern writer. I made it up as I went along...

Now onto the FALL BOUNTY:

S is for Squash
      This little squash was an easy knit, however, I kind of messed up on the top of the squash and it would not stuff quite right...but since I am making it for problem! One thing I have learned about little kids is that they do not care if the pattern comes out perfect as long as they can play with it! Here is the link for the pattern:

Squash standing up

Summer squash bottom

Fall Bounty Gathered!!!
Here is all of the veggies and fruits gathered into one basket! Also, pics of the gourd and the mini-pumpkin!
Mini-pumpkin and gourd
Fall Bounty side view!

Fall Bounty in a basket!

My sisters Halloween display

My favorite apple model! My 3 yr old great-nephew Tay!

     Fall Bounty has been fun to create and I am probably far from finished! I have a list of foods I want to make such as a potato, eggplant, ear of corn, a bunch of grapes, strawberries, radishes...and so much more!!! Stay tuned!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fall Bounty!

Carmen and the Fall Bounty
              In the last week I have become completely obsessed: with making stuffed food!!! There is something about these small food items that make me happy to knit them! They do not take long to make, take little to no effort, and make me smile. After I am done with each piece I take them to my older sisters house to keep as a collection. Her grandchildren love seeing what I make and if my sister would let them: would love to play with them! Sis thinks they are "fall decorations" but I have knitted them in sturdy cotton and washable acrylics (not to mention reinforced bind off, did extra sturdy weaving in of the ends, and put NO edible parts like eyes on them) so that the kids can play with them. The only problem I have is that I keep forgetting to take pics as I am making these little cute foods up (mainly because they are sooooo quick) so I have tried to make up for lack of "construction" pics by adding pics of my great-niece and nephew as models! As I add pics I will try to also add links for the patterns...all of these can be found on and are free patterns! ***Disclaimer-I just switched to the new Blogger interface and my pics and text are coming out in weird angles and places. Please forgive me while I work out the bugs and figure out what button does what!***
Leaf is my own pattern!

A is for APPLE!
Made with glitter Xmas yarn-cotton

This apple pattern was so fun and easy. Here is the link to my new favorite knitter....I have not found a pattern on this blog I have not loved!!!
More apple love:
This really shows the leaf pattern off!

Just to be clear though: I only made one...I just like taking pics of all sides of the apple. Also as I mentioned in the captions, I designed my own free hand leaf pattern for the apple. The pattern had one already but I forgot to write it down and was tooo lazy to turn on my computer to look for it! I will post the leaf pattern as my first freebie pattern!!!

C is for Carrot (and cherries)

     This carrot is the reason I became obsessed with making food....I bought last month's issue of Simply Knitting Magazine and in the middle of the issue are these little "postcard projects" which are quick and easy projects for people like me! The issue had eggplant, carrot, beet, and an ear of corn. I checked my stash and no purple (so eggplant is out), no deep red (so beet is out), and the ear of corn was filled with bobbles (difficult on DPN's when you are a newbie!) sooo I made the carrot! The "stalk" of the carrot is not the one from the magazine but one I found on the Internet. All I did was run a few single strands of green yarn and then tied a knot in the top. Easy as pie!!

The bottom has some laddering but the kids shouldn't care!!

     These cherries can also be found on the same  blog as the apple. As I said: my new favorite knitter!! The cherries, the stems, and the leaf are all knit in Xmas glitter yarn. 100% cotton! Here is the link: 

G is for Garlic....I mean, a Gourd!!!!
This pattern started out as a clove of garlic! I messed up on the pattern and it became: A GOURD! Paired with the mini-pumpkin I also made it makes a lovely duo. It is knit in some type of lightweight yarn that had no ball band when I bought it at Goodwill. Here is the link:

M is for Mushroom!!!
I made this mushroom right after I made my solidified my desire to make more food!!! Unlike the pattern though I skipped making eyes. Too many toddlers in my family who will enjoy this little nugget of cuteness as a tasty little toy. Do not want to be responsible for choking a toddler or two!! Here is the link to the pattern:    
This is made from 100% cotton yarn!!!

Next to my tapestry needle to show size!!! Excuse the scarred up table top!!!

P is for PUMPKIN!!!!
Close up of pumpkin
This little pumpkin is actually made from the same pattern as the gourd above....with some modifications to the pattern. I will not post the modifications on this blog post because it is already a little long and I want to add pics but feel free to contact me here on this blog and I will send you the modifications...if you want or need them. Also, it is the same pattern as the Garlic/Gourd above so I will not re-link it here. The leaf pattern, once again, is my own creation. Here are a ton of pics!!!! 
Side view of pumpkin
Top of pumpkin showing leaves!

So this is it for this blog post! I am going to post more pics about the "Fall Bounty" tomorrow! Look for Summer/Yellow Squash, pics of Gourd and mini-Pumpkin pics, and the free mini-leaf pattern!!!!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chain Chomp Hat

     I was looking through two weeks ago in search of inspiration for Xmas knitting when I ran into a pattern that I had to make. I mean, right then and there! I am not sure why this spoke to me and why I felt compelled to make it right away but I was so I did! Usually when I find a pattern I know exactly who I am making it for (I rarely knit for myself but prefer to give relatives and friends my knits) but this was crying out to be made. After I was on the needles, I decided to give it to my 6 year old nephew, Logan, because he had just turned 6 and because I thought he would like it. First, let me give credit to the creator of the pattern before I start flooding this post with pics. The pattern is a freebie on and the designer is KnittingNinja and the pattern can be found at this link: 
     The only variation I made to the pattern was that I asked my sister to crochet the eyes instead of using felt. She kind of freeformed the eyes so I do not know what size needle, how many stitches used, or anything else and since I do not crochet I cannot say what technique she used or anything. From what she said it was simple but that is all the information I have about them. Without further ado here is my attempt at the
Chain Chomp Hat:

On the needles
I made the hat first and was really proud because I did it in the round on circs. This is still amazing to me because I am still new at this technique.
Complete hat-looks great!
Complete hat from another angle

After making the hat you have to add the teeth-this was a little intimidating to me because I am not all that great at picking up stitches. The only other time I have picked up stitches was the one time I tried to "turn a heel" while making a sock--it did not turn out well. But I wanted this hat so I went really slowly and followed the great instructions that KnittingNinja wrote.
TEETH! Oh please excuse the glare..white yarn and cellphone do not mix!

All the teeth! Again excuse the glare...oh and my model? Paper towel roll!

Logan, my nephew, showing off the teeth

Close-up of Logan and teeth

Once the teeth were on the front and the back I decided to make the chain. My sister was crocheting the eyes for me, to be added later, so I forged on with the rest of the pattern. Now I have posted before how much I found icord making to be BORING but this was one of the best features of the hat and so I had to do it. My favorite part of the hat:
My nephew, Logan, modeling the hat...see the back teeth? SO CUTE!

Now the finished product:

With eyes on!!!

I LOVE THE FINISHED HAT! Despite giving the hat to my nephew, who liked it, my sister fell MORE in love with it and is now the proud owner of the Chain Chomp Hat!!! I see myself making a BIGGER sized one for another relative in the future!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hat, scarf, fingerless gloves, purse......whew! Busy!

I have been in a knitting slump lately and rightly so I blame the fact that I bought a surplus of a certain type of yarn: It is jinxed! So I decided I needed to make something fun, cute, and that someone would love: Enter Kirsten's Set! Kirsten is my recently turned 10 year old niece who loves anything handmade by me and always asks me to make her something: ANYTHING! Because I had the "jinx" yarn in surplus I figured I should make something with break the curse! I was at Michaels "idea shopping" (that is where I go to a bookstore or a craft store to be immersed in other people's ideas in hope that my own ideas will be sparked!) and they had a display for Breast Cancer Awareness month ( the ta-ta's everyone!) I liked the ideas that they had for scarves and hats which made me realize that Kirsten is ALWAYS cold and would benefit from something knit/warm. (See? Idea shopping works!) I started that night on a hat with the "jinxed" yarn! A day later I was finished and went to buy my monthly copy of "Simply Knitting" magazine (greatest magazine ever--the Brits have great knitting ideas!) and what was inside: the cutest purse and scarf FOR KIDS I have ever seen AND...get almost the EXACT color of the "jinx" yarn!

Kirsten is a HUGE gamer...she loves the Wii and her brand-new Nintendo 3DS so to add to her set I made her some fingerless gloves as well. Problem is: Kirsten is petite. She is 10 years old but can wear a 7-8 and her hands are really tiny. SO any pattern I could find in Ravelry or anywhere else online were tooooo big for her. I MADE UP MY OWN PATTERN!! How exciting is that?? Me! I am not the best at making up patterns and really am afraid of the measuring and the math...but I DID IT! I will be adding my pattern in my next post, if anyone is interested.

Also, if you look closely at the scarf you will see fringe and on the fringe? BEADS! That's right! I ALSO BEADED with KNITTING ( not exactly adding beads onto my knitting but I have to get praise where I can!) I asked Kirsten if she just wanted fringe or should I add buttons, ribbons, beads, etc. and she asked for beads. So I did it!

One other thing that I did for the first time ever: i-cord! The pattern for the purse in "Simply Knitting" only was for the purse and not its handle so I had to learn to do an i-cord. I went on Youtube and found a simple tutorial. What I learned from doing an i-cord for the first time? BORING! Useful. Cute. Stretchy. Easy. BUT tedious and boring!

The entire time I was working on this set my 2 year old great-niece Sadie was enthralled. She loved watching me knit while she held "Cat-Cat's bassetball" (the ball of yarn) and she kept asking me what it was and for who. Today when I was putting on the beads and weaving in ends she was right in the mix. She was in love! All she wanted to do was try everything on. The next pictures are of her, (and a pic of the purse--close-up)trying everything on BEFORE Kirsten came home from school.

As you can obviously tell the "jinx" yarn has rekindled my passion for knitting and I am now thinking of other things that Kirsten (or possible Sadie...maybe I should make Sadie her own set?? Hmmm...) may need/want. Of course, all of this will have to wait until AFTER I knit Xmas cards for everyone....I now cannot wait to get started. Lesson for me: even "jinxed" yarn can be useful and sometimes learning new ways to do something is its own type of "idea shopping." more note: I am honored to be a guest blogger on the blog, "Knit Me" and have made my first official can see my post (and all the great stuff Aly has done!) here:

Hopefully one day I will have guest bloggers as well....we shall see.....

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Tropical Storms...oh my!

Tree in road by mad4marvin
Tree in road, a photo by mad4marvin on Flickr.

Virginia has had quite a difficult time lately! First, the earthquake struck...luckily for me and my family there was no damage as the earthquake epicenter was a little too far Northwest to do anything to us. Yet, the Earthquake (and all its aftershocks! still going on by the way---a 2.1 today!) has caused a lot of damage to Lousia County causing significant damage to the high school and elementary school as well as a number of homes.

Then came Hurricane Irene! She was a monster! She blew through my part of Va and knocked down everything she could. Electricity, for my family, went out Saturday August 27 at around 3 pm and we were in the dark until Tuesday! It was crazy! Both of my sisters were without electricity two days longer than my family...and one of my sisters had 7 trees fall in her yard and her garage completely destroyed. Hurricane Irene is still being felt even though over a week has passed. Some homes in the Tri-Cities are going on day 10 without power, school systems had to push back their start dates, and trees still block roads. It will be a while before Irene is forgotten.

Today, Tropical Storm Lee moved into the area after striking Louisiana...ok so really he is more like "drop a couple buckets of rain on Va" Lee and not so much "Tropical Storm" but we do not need any rain right now so he is somewhat annoying. On the plus side for some reason T.S. Lee made me want to knit and I finished a hat for my 10 year old niece.

She loves knitted things and I thought it would be nice for her to have waiting for the bus (if school ever decides to start!) and then I figured I would make her some fingerless gloves so she can play her brand-new birthday present--a Nintendo 3DS (her bday was 8/13 and I do not think she has let the game down since then!) So because I was going to make her fingerless gloves, I also decided she needs a matching scarf. See? This is how this knitting addiction gets you! It gets in your head and makes you want to create more and more things with strings and sticks! It is nuts!

I just knew that the perfect pattern for her fingerless gloves would be on but when I looked there were none that were small enough for her scrawny 10 year old hands so I have decided to try and make my own is called Kirsten's Fingerless Gloves. I am test knitting a pair tonight to make sure that the pattern fits her! I am excited! I usually do not write my own patterns because the math...welll...the math scares me! I am a grown up, I can admit that I am afraid of numbers...oh and measurements! Really. I can. But I am not scared of these fingerless gloves because they are for a 10 year old...she would like them if they were too big, too small, smelled like burnt toast, or if I dropped them in a puddle of mud.

So I am making them for her. As for the scarf, I am not sure....I am thinking of making her a fish scarf....the pattern is a free pattern on called "Recipe for Fish" and I think it is adorable but I am not sure if she would wear fish to school so I might just make her a regular scarf...still not sure. I will, of course, post pics when I am done. Try to stop me...because my niece LOVES pics being taken, I will have about a bajillion of her posing!

Anyway, the next post I have will be filled with knitting pictures as I plan to finish X-mas cards and my nieces hat, gloves, and scarf!!! Hopefully.....

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Adventures in Earthquakes....a true story

     I live in Virginia and if there is a tv in the US that is not talking about the "rare" Earthquake that happened yesterday than either a.) you have changed it becuase you are sick of the media making a big fuss; b.) you do not own a tv and/or it is not turned on; OR c.) your watching something else. So the point I am trying to make is that yesterday, Aug. 23rd 2011 a 5.9 earthquake occurred at 1:51 pm EST. I live south of where the actual earthquakes epicenter was but still felt it. Here is how it happened at my house:
       Noon: my great-niece who is 2 asks me to take a nap. I happily oblige because she is 2 and asked for a nap and because it is a nap! Who can pass up a nap??
       1:15: We are finally asleep after an hour and fifteen minutes of kissing a teeny, tiny boo-boo on her finger that she insists was caused by her 17 year old uncle biting her AND talking about my eyebrows and their locations. Also for some reason she insisted on talking about the dog going potty outside and not in the BIG GIRL POT-POT.
      1:51: EARTHQUAKE! At first I thought it was a train going by, because, well I live across from a train track. Seriously. The train is literally right across the street! I look up because I realize that the train is shaking the house TOO much and from side-to-side and I see my mom's doll SHAKING forward on the shelf. Also all of my piggy banks (I collect them!) were CLANKING on their shelf. I jump up because my head is screaming: EARTHQUAKE!!! And I run out of the bedroom screaming my 10 year old nieces name. I look out the window and see a train...BUT the top of the train cars look like they are pitching over. My 10 year old niece is standing at the front door looking out: "WHAT IS GOING ON?" she screams. "I think we are having an earthquake!" I tell her. She looks at me like I grew another now the house has stopped shaking.
      I turn on the news and there is nothing on about an earthquake. My niece flips open her brand-new birthday present (she turned 10 on Aug. 13th) Nintendo 3DSi and begins reading on the Internet that there was an earthquake. The news finally breaks through the soap operas to talk about the earthquake. Thankfully, after the phone lines resume working I find out that my family is safe...
     This morning I find out that there have been aftershocks that are nearly as strong as the original quake and that there has been damage, especially close to the epicenter: Mineral, Va. Also people from South Carolina to Rhode Island felt the quake as well as out West in Detroit and Indiana. So far as I write this no deaths have been reported although people did report having heart attacks and strokes because of the quake. There has been a lot of property damage mainly by the epicenter and thankfully no one in my family had any damage to report (although my piggy banks did all need to be pushed BACK on their shelf!)
     The last earthquake I remember in Va was in 2003. All I remember about that is the floor felt like it was rolling for a second and then it was over. Of course, that earthquake was only like a 4.1 and the epicenter was no where near my house so it really didn't matter. Yesterday was....interesting....
      So what's your earthquake story???

Sunday, August 21, 2011

So honored....

     I would like to thank my new friend, Aly, for asking me to be a contributor to her blog, knitme. I cannot wait to contribute to her blog! I am not sure if this is going to be a daily, weekly, or monthly contribution but would be happy even if I just did it once. Check out her blog with the link above! She has a TON of great knitting projects of the toy/softie/plushie variety (I love the traffic cone!)
     Another exciting piece of news has to be the fact that I think I am out of my slump! I have not been able to start/finish/continue on any of my knitting projects for about 2-3 weeks. Of course, I freaked out and went to Ravelry for sympathy/kick in the butt and found it. I was reassured by all the great people on there that I would get over it. Last night, I began knitting: Christmas cards! I have a copy of last years Simply Knitting's Christmas edition that has 3 cute Christmas cards showcased. The first one (in the magazine) is a white bell with a tan bow and clanger (it is beaded but mine will not be) on a piece of red glittery cardstock. The next card in the magazine is also on red cardstock but is a fuzzy Christmas tree (mine will not be fuzzy). The last one has 3 knitted Christmas oblong and two round with sequins in the middle (mine will not have sequins) and they are on a piece of green cardstock. I have made a red round Christmas ball and the bell while watching t.v. last night...they are really easy because they are knit flat and are as small as the palm of your hand.
     I think my cards will be a hit because no one has ever got a card like that from me before. I usually buy the big box of bulk cards at the beginning of December and then forget to send them until right around the holidays. Most often I rush to hand them out because it is too late to mail them! I cannot wait to find another spare moment to work on theses cards! I am using glittery yarn in acrylic and cotton and have all kinds of ideas about what I am going to do. Some ideas I have are making the ornaments 3-D or starching them so people can use them on their trees or I could bead them or I can make them multi-colored or I could....OH BOY...the possibilities are endless.....
         Stay tuned for pics!!!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Droid by mad4marvin
Droid, a photo by mad4marvin on Flickr.

Oh...I also did not follow the pattern completely...his antennas are my own creation (I couldn't understand the instructions so I faked it!)

Droid...oops another project I forgot I completed!

Droid by mad4marvin
Droid, a photo by mad4marvin on Flickr.

This little Droid was another cute find in the Ravelry databases! I whipped him up in about a half a day. The neon green wool was found at Goodwill for $1.25 and is unnamed, the black for his mouth is actually a really pretty glitter Vanna Choice yarn. He now lives in 29 Palms, Ca with my Marine niece because all of her friends always tease her about having a Sprint Android cellphone while they all have iPhones! I put him in front of a coffee cup to show how "tall" he is!