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SIL #2 Knitter Gift

My SILs are probably getting the most elaborate adult gifts this year*. I've gone on & on about SIL T's gift in other posts. That one is done, with a variety of dark chocolate goodies thrown in for good measure and tied with a bow. SIL C is a new knitter this year, so a knitting-themed gift was kind of required (and probably expected).

I started with a trio of Trendsetters needles stuck in an oh-so-pretty needle case, tucked in a box with an empty DPN case in the same material. The needles usually go for about $9 a pair, but I got them on sale for less than half that, so I could continue shopping with a clear conscience**. Once I started thinking "knitting books," I knew just which one to get: Mason Dixon Knitting. It's on the pricier end of the knitting book scale, but I love it's down-hominess and heavy use of basic cotton yarn, so it just had to be. I also grabbed a few balls of said basic cotton yarn, so she could start on a "warshrag" as soon as she wanted. I made a little pyramid of the box A (needle cases, needles, yarn), the book, and box B (emergency knitting ornament, natch).

*I figure this will switch from year-to-year, so eventually, everyone's been "featured." This wouldn't cover the niece and nephews, who get plenty of attention at any time.

**Fluctuates depending on how many gifts total were crafted. I totally kicked butt this year and made some nice gifts that I think people will like, so buying the occasional gift left me guilt-free. As long as most of the 215*** children on my list are under 13, I'll be making as many gifts as I can.

***Slight exaggeration. Although the list did increase from 11 to 19, with only 3 of those over the age of 13.


Plaid Round BoxI'm all excited to write about a cute packaging concept, but don't have pictures yet. So here's a pretty box that I love, but may or may not be sending. Right now, it houses milady1's gift; however, if the big box I'm packing up is too cramped, the contents will come out and be wrapped so they fit. Love the plaid box with the stripey ribbon. Not even going to bother wrapping it in paper. I have another one for J Dub, which is floral with pink & brown argyle ribbon. I got several sets of these very durable gift boxes at Michael's on clearance. Worth it for full price - I just got lucky. I'm making myself use them - I have a tendency to want to keep cool boxes, ribbons, etc.

Anyway, on to my idea. My niece, K, has a slightly uncommon name. It's not unusual - no creative spellings or made-up name - just not all that common. Which means that we get excited whenever we find something in those personalized racks with her name on it. It's rare, but we have found stickers, a toothbrush, the occasional pen, and once, a rubber stamp. Most of these (except for the stamp) were found at dollar stores. Last week, I found a little "street sign" (green with white lettering) with her name on it, and had to buy one. Her brother's name, on the other hand, is so common that his name is as hard to find - the slot is usually empty. But with the street sign, I got lucky, and they had his name too. So, on one of their boxes, I'll be strapping the sign to the package instead of using a regular tag.

I also like those small wood and papier mache letters. If a person had a unique-to-the-gathering initial, one of those would make a lovely accent. If there would be others at the event with the same initial, a traditional gift tag could also be added.

Gift TagsSpeaking of gift tags... here is a pic of mine (again). They were cut out by hand, but now that I have a big circle punch, I'm struggling with myself not to redo them all. "Rustic" will be just fine this year.

Finally, for a great (and simple) packaging idea, check out this fabric gift bag tute (pdf).

Another completed gift: Scrub Caps

Scrub CapsScrub Caps
Tough to photograph without a model! My friend asked for scrub caps for Christmas (she's a radiology tech who's been working surgery lately, and has one cap to wear). I think I finally landed on a decent closure concept on hat #3.

There is really no pattern, but it's not hard - even easier if you can sew the band in a closed circle and not have to deal with the velcro. But when making it for someone else, who has a lot of hair, I had no choice. Comment here or send an email (or Flickr mail) if you would like me to write up directions.

You can see the cap in action here.

Snake Scarf (Requested)

Purple Snake ScarfFor H's girl, by request.
Pattern: My own, available here
Yarn: Lion Brand Bulky, in amethyst..


Quite a productive weekend! So far, I've made 13 cases. Just 4 to go (for adults).

Pillowcases 1A portion of the stack finished over the weekend. All the kids' cases are done! Stack on the left: Flames, Fairies and Snails. Stack on the right: girly sports print, pirates & embroidered reindeer on red & white.

Pillowcases 2With special guest, Charile. Top: butterflies. L-to-R: Fishing (2), Monster trucks (3) and the second pirate print.


I'm almost done with all the Tshirts! I have 1 T to buy, and 2 total to sew. A representative group is pictured here.

K's TshirtsFor my niece. An appliqued basketball T and a flower T.

J & N TshirtsFor 4½ y.o. nephews, J & N (not related to each other). John designed the monsters and I made the appliques.

Mother-Daughter Fairy Wing TsThere is a third T for another honorary niece, but this set is for my friend H and her almost-3-y.o. daughter. The fronts of the shirts are plain, and the wings are on the back.

Vendor Goddess TshirtMy friend H is one of the merchant directors for a Renaissance faire. Her informal title is "Vendor Goddess." (Mine is Vendor Minion... should make a shirt for myself). Mucho thanks to my SIL C for the use of her embroidery machine (and the thread, b/c I bought the wrong kind).

Can I say that I'm never doing this again? Some of the appliques were easy and even fun. Others... oy. I loved the monster idea, and think John did an awesome job of creating the images. I just didn't think about sewing around the edges of so many of them! When I'm done, I will have made 3 Fairy shirts, 1 b-ball, 1 floral and 11 monsters. Plus a monogramed one.

Tutorial for Emergency Knitter's Ornament

Emergency Knitter's Ornament
Picture-less Tute (temporarily - pics may follow (comment if you need them))

This is a great gift for the knitters on your list! In other posts, I've linked to the versions that inspired me, which are simpler, but here is how I made my ornaments.

You need:
Yarn (smooth, well-defined works best (novelty yarn kind of looks like a giant bug with this application)) - I used my scrap yarn bowl & lots of pretty wool
Clear glass ornaments. I bought mine at JoAnn Fabrics (Michael's only had the opalescent kind)
A little patience and knowledge of how to make a skein (I'll try to describe)

Sit down with your yarn and make some mini skeins. I simply made a loop of yarn between my hand and elbow (similar to how you'd wind cords). How many times you wrap will depend on the thickness of the yarn (remember it will be doubled), so it may take some experimentation to settle on the right size. I believe I wrapped worsted yarn about 9-10 times.

Take the loop and twist several times until it starts to double up on itself. Fold the twist in half and insert one end insid the other and let go. It should untwist and straighten out a little, but remain plenty twisted. (Note: Until I can get home and take some step-by-step pics, see step 9 on this page for a close visual.)

Carefully remove the metal cap from the ornament and set it aside.

Take a mini skein and twist one end (pref. the one opposite the joined ends) as tightly as you can. Stick that into the opening of the ornament.

Once you have an end inside the ornament, just turn the skein like you're screwing in a light bulb, pushing a little (not too hard - you're holding a glass ball) . If the skein isn't too fat, it should work it's way in. Once it's completely inside, it will plump back up again.

Use a knitting needle or pencil to poke the skein around until it's out of the way of the neck and insert the metal cap.

Package up and give! I was going to use patterned take out containers, but found the PERFECT square boxes at Michael's. They even have little reindeer wearing sweaters and scarves as a pattern.

Contact & Copyright
Copyright 2006-2008 Melissa Shaw
email: crazycatladymel at gmail period com

Tutorials & patterns shared on crazycatladymel’s blog are provided free for personal use. Individuals may share unlimited print copies, as long as the copyright information is included. Images, tutorials and patterns may not be duplicated in any format - e.g. electronic or print - without permission (feel free to link to the pages, but don't copy/paste). Have fun, but don't steal!

Stores may not distribute these instructions in any way without express written permission from the designer.

Knitters Emergency Ornament - Pics

As promised, pics of the project I was working on last night (I said I was going to work on it Friday, but it didn't happen).

I have been bursting at the seams to get these pictures taken and posted. These almost make me want a Christmas tree. I'll be giving these to all the women knitters on my list, at least the ones I can hand them to. I'm not sure how well they'll mail. I am going to package them in patterned takeout boxes on a nest of shredded paper.

Note: Look up a post for a tutorial!

Emergency Knitting Ornaments Emergency Knitting Ornaments

I got the idea from another blog*, but I never just copy something - I have to add my own twist. I sat down with my big bowl of scrap yarn and spotted two mini skeins that were sent as gifts with purchase, and instantly knew what I had to do. I made tiny skeins of yarn (8-12 yards) and very patiently stuffed them into the clear glass ornaments. The original blog talked about a tag that said "In Case of Emergency, Break Glass" and a person could definitely sit down and knit with the contents of these ornaments (although I wouldn't recommend it (what with the glass shards & all)).
*Pic here, from this site (found via splityarn).
Close-up of Emergency Knitting Ornament Close-up of Emergency Knitting Ornament

A little bit of Manos.more pics behind cut [for length]Collapse )

Swap Enhancement Kit - Pics

As promised.
Update: More pics here

Swap Enhancement Package Swap Enhancement Package. For my SIL, who joins many swaps.

The box.
Swap Enhancement Package - Interior Swap Enhancement Package - Interior

So far. A couple items aren't ready yet, but I'm very close!
Swap Enhancement Package - Reveal Card Swap Enhancement Package - Reveal Card

With little ribbon "belt" that she can reuse for a package.
Swap Enhancement Package - Ribbons and Cards Swap Enhancement Package - Ribbons and Cards

The big tin contains an assortment of ribbon/button ties. The small tin contains circular folded cards made with yarn and chocolate papers.
Swap Enhancement Package - Stationery & Tissue Paper Swap Enhancement Package - Stationery & Tissue Paper

2 colors of tissue paper (pink).
3 kinds of stationery. Left front: "Your Secret Pal" w/ pink yarn envelopes, left back: logo with her full name & same envelopes, right: Chocolate stationery with her initials and 2 chocolate papers. All in little folios I made from solid card stock & patterned tape.
Swap Enhancement Package - Extras Swap Enhancement Package - Extras

Funky patterned tape, pink & black Sharpies, Fragile stickers & air mail stickers.

Also going in: Some of these postcards (finished 11/27/06), shipping labels and seals of some kind (not made yet).

Knitters Emergency Ornament

In about 5 minutes, I'm going to take a box of ornaments and a bunch of leftover yarn with me to bed to make some of these, from this site (found via splityarn).

I will probably package them in patterned "Chinese takeout boxes". Not sure if I can mail them, though.