Archive for family

New Pattern: Seussian Christmas Stocking

Posted in Christmas, crafts, fiber, holiday knitting, knitting, knitting pattern, needle arts, Uncategorized, yarn with tags , , , , , , on December 15, 2009 by firefly8868

I just completed this Christmas Stocking for our dear little Sweet Pea.  This will be her official Christmas Stocking that will stay on the farm with Grandma and Grandpa.  When I first showed it to her, she let out a happy squeal and leaned forward to look more closely with a big grin on her face … at 9 months old she already appreciates knitting projects!

We have also been having fun introducing her to Christmas lights, Santa Claus, the tree, pine cones, snow … so many iconic symbols of holiday joy.  She shows excitement over each new discovery!

You can find this pattern as a download in my Etsy store and at Ravelry.  Within a couple of days I will add it to my website pattern catalog and will add a printed version of it.  If you want a printed version, let me know and I will let you know once I have added it to the store.

Happy holidays!

~firefly

Reaching out from the past

Posted in crafts, crochet, fiber, fiber arts, hobbies, knitting, knitting pattern, needle arts, Uncategorized, yarn with tags , , , , , on November 9, 2009 by firefly8868

hooksRecently I received an email from a man who thought we might be cousins. He had read an article on my website that my mother wrote about a piece of our family history. He was correct, we are cousins and it was a nice surprise to meet him. He had stumbled upon my website somehow, read my mother’s article and recognized the names of our great-grandparents and my grandmother.

He told me that his great-aunt, our great-aunt, had been an avid knitter and crocheter and that when she passed she left all of her handmade items, patterns, and tools to him. After visiting my website, he wanted to share some of the items with me because he felt I should have them.

pear

It was a great treat a couple of weeks later to receive a box in the mail with a number of beautiful handmade items made by a very talented lady who came before me. He also included some her tools in the package; I think I will create a shadow box display of the tools along with at least one of her handmade items.

hook

Although these are not knitted items, I wanted to share some photos of her gorgeous, detailed hand work. I am amazed at the fine detail and if you look at that one metal crochet hook (I suppose it is a crochet hook) the hook on the tip is so tiny I cannot even make it out very clearly without holding the hook up close to my eye, with my glasses on, and squinting quite vigorously.

rose

The thought of using such an implement to create with astounds me, and to use it years ago when perhaps the lighting was not very good … how did she do it? How did her eyes survive it? When did she make the time?

Her name was Jestin, she was born in the late 1800’s in Virginia, and through the magic of the Internet I have been entrusted with a bit of her creative legacy for which I am humbly grateful. Thank you Great Aunt Jestin, and thank you cousin Joe for helping her reach out to me from the past.

redandwhite

Meanwhile, my own needlework has been on the back burner for the past several weeks. Finally, after this long hiatus I have three or four projects in various stages of “the works”. The first one I need to finish is a long overdue chemo hat designed and knit for my sweet mother.

fiberoptic

After that, I will get going on a new Christmas Stocking design for little Sweet Pea. I am actually going to design and knit a pair of old-fashioned Christmas Stockings for mother and child using these beautiful, soft sock yarns I recently purchased from Fiber Optic Yarns. I love her low contrast sock yarn colorways, they suit my taste because I am not a fan of high contrast multi-colored yarns. For this project I bought Tomato, Watercress, and Pale Violet. The Watercress will be in both stockings, Tomato will be used in my daughter’s stocking and Pale Violet will be for Sweet Pea.

After the Christmas Stockings, I will be on to baby leg warmers to go with the Magic Tutus my daughter creates. Patterns for the above mentioned projects will be available sometime after the first of the year; I believe I will be able to get any of the patterns available before that time. If you want to know when the patterns are released, be sure to join my mailing list.

One other thing of note, I am selling my new line of firefly’s Country Cotton yarns at I Live on a Farm in 2.5 oz. balls and 14 oz. cones in ten pretty colors chosen especially for the things I love about the country and the farm. The yarn is available by itself, or in two kits: The Biscuit Blanket Kit, and The Sweet Pea Baby Blanket and Soft Block Kit.

What are you working on for the holidays?

Hope you have a great week!

~firefly

Copyright © 2009 J. L. Fleckenstein ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Posted in crafts, felting, fiber, fiber arts, hobbies, knitting, knitting pattern, needle arts, needle felting, Uncategorized, yarn with tags , , , , , , , on March 17, 2009 by firefly8868

17mar09_kissme

Our dear little Sweet Pea was due to be born today, St. Patrick’s Day.  We all thought it was quite an appropriate due date, because Sweet Pea is Irish on both her mother’s side (my ancestors) and her father’s.

Being Irish at heart, Sweet Pea is mischievious so she played a prank on us all by arriving eleven days early.  She is home, she is lovely, and she is perfect.  A perfect little emerald gem, a treasure to her parents, uncle, grandparents, and great-grandparents.

17mar09_fullhat

Last October I knew her due date was March 17th, so I set out on a mission to find some scrumptious emerald green yarn to make her a little something for her first St. Patrick’s Day.  That day I bought three different hanks of green yarn from two different places: a gorgeous emerald green hank by Noro from The Wooly Lamb in (East Aurora, New York) and a hank of hand spun green wool from Knox Fiber Farm.  I also bought a hank of Berroco’s Ultra Alpaca in a green heather colorway (not sure the exact color name right this moment) that same day also at The Wooly Lamb.

For St. Patrick’s Day I used the Noro to make a special little green hat for the wee lass.  I embellished it with gold coins I needle felted and hung from the points at the hat top using pieces of the green hand spun yarn from Knox Fiber Farm.

As a side note, this needle felted miniature Easter basket was made by my daughter. I listed it (and several of her Easter baskets) in the Firefly’s Studio Etsy store along with the Easter bunnies and chicks I’ve been making and selling lately. This week her basket is featured in the Spring Equinox poll at Etsy, “Which items are making spring come early?” If you care to cast a vote for her, have a click.

17mar09halfhat

I also embroidered a purple flower on the band area of the hat, with a center French knot made of the Knox Fiber Farm yarn.  The purple I used to the embroider the flower is from some of my leftover stash of Berroco’s Ultra Alpaca Lavender Mix colorway from my Lavender Hat and Scarf project.

17mar09_stitchdetail

I used a pattern stitch for this baby hat that forms a pretty horizontal leaf pattern.  This is an easy stitch pattern utilizing only knit and purl stitches, nothing fance at all and yet the design is quite pretty.

17mar09_bunny

The other touch I added in the embellishments is that I felted a little violet onto one of the gold coins, and a clover on another.

I will be publishing this pattern for free sometime in the next few days.  I made Sweet Pea’s hat in green, but it is a lovely little pattern that would be sweet in any color you choose, for any day or holiday of the year.

This Noro yarn is very soft, although I would have liked for it to have a bit more spring to it so that the finished hat would have more spring as well.  Nonetheless, it is a very special and soft yarn that you would probably enjoy using for a project sometime.

Hope you enjoy the photos, and if you would like the pattern for free please be sure to come back within the next few days to get it.

Happy St. Pat’s!

~firefly

Little Bird is Complete

Posted in crafts, felting, fiber, fiber arts, hobbies, knitting, knitting pattern, needle arts, needle felting, pets, Uncategorized, yarn with tags , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2009 by firefly8868

The set isn’t complete, but the sweater and hat are both complete and I just had to show you. I am in the process of designing a cute little pair of newborn booties to go with the outfit, so will show those and the mittens next week.

27feb09_littlebird

How do you like the doll I am using as my Sweet Pea model? I think she is quite cute, and she is very willing to pose for shots.

Another item complete this week is the pattern for Sweet Pea’s Blanket and the matching Soft Block. I just released the pattern yesterday as a download or as a printed version. This blanket is so pretty, and actually would work for an adult throw or afghan (sized differently of course). The pattern is available three places: 1) on my website, 2) in my Etsy store, and 3) in my store on Ravelry.com.

What I love about it also is that, if you use 100% worsted weight cotton yarn you can make the baby blanket for less than $20, or an adult sized afghan for $30 (excluding the knitting needles). The stitch pattern on this blanket, along with a nice wide seed stitch border looks wonderful in cotton yarn. Worked up on Size U.S. 10 needles it is a quick knit, inexpensive and yet beautiful to behold.

One more point, the stitch pattern might look complicated but is actually very easy to knit so even a fairly new knitter would be able to make this very special piece. (I included instructions in the pattern to size it as an afghan in addition to the baby blanket instructions.) Excuse my enthusiasm, but I got very excited when I was publishing the pattern and realized how affordable this project could be as an elegant afghan and so doable.

27feb09_rabbit_kb

Sweet Pea, the actual baby, is going to be here so soon. She might come as early as a week from Monday and of course we are not as ready as we would like to be. My daughter and her husband are working together to get everything ready that they can, within the limitations of how she is feeling. It is fun to see and hear them, to observe them building this part of their lives together.

What is also fun is that my daughter watched me needle felting, and then she took it up. Then, her husband was watching her needle felting and then he took it up. He’s a dude, but he’s needle felting … how cool is that?

So far he has made a Easter egg that looks like Planet Earth and he has made a glass of Guinness Extra Stout complete with a clover in the head just like they serve it at our favorite Irish pub in one of the nearby villages. The “glass” even has a green Irish harp on it.

I have started including some of their needle felted items in the Firefly’s Studio Etsy store to help them raise money for some of the things they need for the baby. Mostly I just think it is so cute that they sit together needle felting some evenings. Look at all the recent items the three of us have created … and there have been more. All of these items are currently up for sale at the Etsy store if you have a hankering for something cute and furry today. 🙂

27feb09_feltings_kb

Well, I have to run now because somehow or other I have to get more knitting done and also get some new paintings going … oh, and I have to get the house ready for the baby, make some special goodies to take to the hospital for after the delivery, take care of some business for some clients, and — oh well, you get the picture. It’s a good thing I drank too much coffee this morning.

Have a great weekend,
~firefly

Progress, progress …

Posted in crafts, felting, fiber, fiber arts, hobbies, knitting, knitting pattern, needle arts, needle felting, pets, Uncategorized, yarn with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2009 by firefly8868

17feb09_littlebird1

It is President’s Day and I have just settled myself into a cozy spot on our vintage sofa in the sitting area by the fireplace with a laptop on my lap (of course), a cup of hot tea within easy reach on the coffee table, and pretty scented pillar candles burning nearby.

Just beyond the candles I have a beautiful vase of flowers given to me by my dear husband for Valentine’s Day … he orderes them especially for me, one week in advance at the florist in the village where he works. He tells them some of my favorite flowers and especially requests daffodils, and then has the florist get creative.

Each time he brings me a flower arrangement, it is a new surprise to see what the girls at the flower shop have done. This bunch of flowers has lots of white daisies which make me think of snow. The golden, sunny daffodils are there as well as some tiger lillies and tiny little violet-like flowers. They are all so very pretty.

17feb09_stitchdetail_bird

This week in knitting I have completed the back of the Little Bird sweater for dear little sweet pea whose arrival now seems eminent. I have started the sleeves, and am knitting them simultaneously on one circular needle so that they will come out exactly the same.

The back of the sweater shows the stitch pattern particularly well, and I am very pleased with my choice. It is a simple to execute slipped stitch pattern and creates a visible texture that seems perfect for a newborn’s sweater, in my opinion.

17feb09_sweetpeablock1

I am about to publish the pattern for Sweat Pea’s first blanket (next week sometime) but first I needed to complete the building block I knitted that goes with it. The knitting on the block was all complete, but I wanted to sew a liner for it so that the stuffing would not ooze out through the knit stitches.

I made the liner this week and the block is 100% complete now. The blanket has been complete for some time, but I had not given the set to my daughter yet because of the block. So, now she has the blanket hanging on the side of Sweet Pea’s crib, and the block is inside along with other toys — all waiting anxiously for the big day.

17feb09_woolscarf

Another item just completed is this luscious black scarf for my daughter to match one we made last year for her husband, the “Toastie Scarf” (available printed or as a download in my pattern directory). The woman’s version is slimmer and longer than the man’s. The yarn is Baby Llama Designer’s Choice by Elsebeth Lavold, a totally scrumptious yarn that makes a heavenly full-bodied scarf both warm and soft. His scarf is the envy of all of the other guys he works with, and it is nice they now have matching scarves.

In the photo with the scarf are two needle felted items my daughter made this week. She made felted heart shaped box of “chocolates” for me as a Valentine (so sweet, and no calories!), and the owl is something she made for herself. She just started needle felting last week one night after I had gone to bed, and is already making items such as these.

Speaking of needle felting, notice that little gray bunny in the first photo at the top? That is another of the little bunnies I have been making. The Purple Valentine Bunny I wrote about recently and was offering for sale at Etsy has already been purchased, but I have put up three more bunnies for sale this week and that little guy is one of them.

17feb09_sweetpeasocks1

Here is a sneak peak at a pattern for a pair of knitted baby slipper socks I will be offering for free sometime soon. I need to complete the second sock, and then I’ll write up the pattern for my readers. These socks are knit from some super crazy soft Oh My! yarn by Plymouth I had left over from a blanket I made for my son last year.

17feb09_easterbunny1

In closing, I will share a couple more photos of recent needle felted bunnies … I am loving these little guys, perhaps a little bit too much for my own good.

Have a good day and evening,
~firefly

17feb09_naturalbunny

17feb09_bunnyw

Happy Valentine’s Day

Posted in crafts, felting, fiber, fiber arts, hobbies, knitting, knitting pattern, needle arts, needle felting, pets, Uncategorized, yarn with tags , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2009 by firefly8868

lovebunny3

Little Bird

Posted in crafts, felting, fiber, fiber arts, hobbies, knitting, knitting pattern, needle arts, needle felting, pets, yarn with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 31, 2009 by firefly8868

vhat2

This week I completed the newborn hand knithat and made good progress on the sweater for Sweet Pea. I actually ripped out the first hat I knitted, and then reknit to change the design a bit. The problem originally was that I knitted it on dpns, but I was not pleased with the way the joining stitches looked in this soy/cotton yarn.

vhat

My solution was to knit the hat on straight needles and seam it in the back. I used a bit of yarn from the knitted hat to make curly little pompoms to put on the corners of the hat … I think they care a bit scrumptiously cute looking.

I am knitting the sweater on circular needles, even though it is a cardigan (so of course is not being knit in the round). This sweater will feature raglan sleeves, and I have begun the raglan shaping.

vsweater_back

The soy yarn is such a pleasure to handle; I know when I finish this set I will miss having this yarn running through my fingers. When it is all complete there will be the hat, the cardigan, a pair of booties, and itty bitty mittens. This will be the first outfit our lovely little Sweet Pea will wear when she comes home from the hospital after delivery day. The set will be called “Little Bird” because my daughter cherishes little birds of all kinds and Sweet Pea will be her very special little bird.

Tomorrow the ladies at our church are holding a tea for my daughter for her baby shower–I am making four kinds of tea sandwiches, scones and Devonshire cream for the event. I had wanted to have the Little Bird set completed in time for the shower, but I have been having to take it easy on the knitting lately because I have an injured elbow and hand from 100 lb. puppy wrangling and need to let my tendon’s heal. The set will be completed in time for the birth, just not in time for the shower.

By the way, I bought myself a newborn baby sized doll to use as a body double for newborn Sweet Pea. This way I can use the doll as a model for the knitted items in my photo shoots, and also to help with fitting and styling issues.

Notice the little green strip showing underneath the hat? We bought a little green sleeper for her to wear under her pretty lavender Little Bird set, and picked up a matching green hat to use as a liner under the Little Bird hat. The reason for this is that Sweet Pea will be coming home from the hospital on a cold Western New York day or evening in mid-March and we felt her little head would need some extra protection from the cold.

littleblu

I am able to work on needle felting little characters as I rest my arm and hand, so you see three new little guys this week. The Blu you see is the second needle felting I have created of our dear dog Blu. This one will be arriving at my parent’s home for Valentine’s Day along with some scrumptiously delicious chocolate chip cookies … but, shhh … don’t tell them. I don’t think they read my knitting blog, so I feel safe divulging this little secret here.

valentinebunny

The purple-pink bunny rabbit is one I made for Valentine’s Day. I decided to offer him for sale at the Fireflys Studio etsy shop (as opposed to the I Live on a Farm etsy shop where you only find knitting patterns). People have been writing and asking if I sell the needle felted characters, so I decided that I will share some of them via Etsy.

littlebunny

The little white bunny rabbit will be staying here with us; I made him first and he inspired the larger purple-pink one.

I recommend needle felting to you fiber loving maniacs out there. It is a nice break from knitting that gives you a whole different kind of repetitive motion to worry about. Notice the little violet on a four leaf clover on the Little Bird hat? I needle felted that as a sweet little embellishment. It is attached with embroidery floss, tied in a bow on the inside of the hat. In this way it will be easily removed in case the hat must be laundered.

I have to run, because there are things to be done today to prepare for tomorrow’s baby shower.

Hope you have a wonderful week!

Warm wishes,
firefly