Thursday, November 25, 2010

Handmade Pie

It takes a little more effort to make a pie crust from scratch, but sometimes it is definitely worth it:

I started making these pies when I was in high school (the top one is pumpkin and the lower one is apple) and I look forward to making them every year.

I'm thankful for so much this year, especially getting to spend today with my wonderful friends and family, and of course lots of delicious food! Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Catch Up

I have been trying to clean out my old projects and organize the ones I'd like to work on next. I have a box in my craft room that holds WIPs and materials for upcoming projects that I went through yesterday. I found a couple of items that were completely done, they just needed to be blogged.

First up is a little pouch made from a Japanese crochet and embroidery kit that I got from Kpixie for Christmas a couple of years ago:

I'm really happy with how it came out, although it's smaller than I expected (it could probably hold my lip balm and not much else). Oh well. I think it will be really cute hanging in my craft room, and it was good to learn how to hand-sew a circle to a round tube.

The top is crocheted, the felt pieces are embroidered, and the strap is sewn on with buttons at the end. Very cute. It was fun to try a Japanese kit--it wasn't as difficult as I expected.

This was a great stash-busting project from Kristin over at Craft Leftovers. It's the Springy Headwrap, which she generously offers as a free pattern:

It's really cute and it goes together in less than an hour. I made one for a friend last spring and I liked it so much I made one for me. I used some leftover Rowan Tapestry yarn and the recommended G hook. This would be a great Christmas present because it doesn't require much time or yarn.

I have a few more projects to finish up from the box. Sometimes i just get stuck with the finishing aspects, even if it's not anything difficult. I also frogged some projects that just weren't working but that I didn't have the heart to tackle before. There were a couple of socks that I unraveled, which was a little hard, but it feels freeing to have the yarn back again. I hope to do a little more cleaning out and finishing up of old projects this weekend. Hope you get a chance to do what you'd like this weekend, too!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wool Arts Tour 2010

Well, this post is about a month late, but better late than never! I had a great time at this year's Wool Arts Tour, even though one of my favorite places retired last year and another favorite retired this year. I went to five of the six locations with my mom and grandma, and my aunt and four-year-old cousin met us along the way to go to some of the farms and shops.

Great handmade soaps from The Spinning Bunny (cinnamon spice, gardener's soap, and spicy bergamot)

Beautiful hand-dyed Blue-faced Leicester roving from Painted Knoll Farm

A cute hand-painted pumpkin pin and some gorgeous handspun, hopefully to make a Brattleboro Hat (Rav link) from New England Knits:

A stupidly soft blend of mohair, wool, and something else that I can't remember at the moment (sorry, I've also forgotten the farm name! I will post when I spin it):

Some deliciously squishy Cormo to make the Willoughby scarf from Jared Flood's Made in Brooklyn:

Nightingale Fibers sock yarn, probably for socks (or another shawlette--really, can you have too many of those? I don't think so). Also two skeins of Nightingale Fibers laceweight alpaca blend to make a Prairie Rose Lace shawl (Rav link) from The Knitter's Book of Wool:

I have been wanting to get my hands on a skein of Malabrigo sock for a long, long time. So finally I did (I also feel that I should mention that I fell in love with Malabrigo a long time ago, and when other knitters started talking about its magical properties and the fact that it makes you do crazy things, I was immensely relieved). This is hopefully going to be Ysolda's awesome Orchid Thief shawlette (can never have too many) from Brave New Knits:

Some awesome squishy fiber the color of worn jeans, from Fiber Dreams Farm:

Last but certainly not least: 4 delightfullly squishy balls of roving from Brimstone Hollow Farm:

This color just screamed "autumn" to me, so I had to take it home.

I loved chatting with Brimstone Hollow's owners, too. They were adorable in their matching knitted sweaters made from their own sheeps' wool! The sweaters had intricate Aran-looking patterns, too.

Wow, that's a lot of stuff. One might think I have some sort of fiber addiction. In all honesty, I have been very good about not buying yarn most of the year. I save it for the NH Sheep and Wool Festival and the Wool Arts Tour. Not that I'm trying to justify any of this :)

It was a great time and I'm already looking forward to next year!

A Sweater for Fred

I have a 1-year-old Whippet-Basenji mutt who was rescued from the streets of Puerto Rico. He can be a little crazy sometimes but I think he is completely adorable and now I can't imagine life without him.

He has thin fur, which was well suited to life in Puerto Rico but it means he's often a little cold here. Also, he is a pretty skinny dog so he doesn't have a lot of padding to keep him warm. We adopted him in December and figured he'd need a sweater right away, so we bought one at Target since I didn't have time to make him one. A few weeks ago it started getting chilly here again, so I decided to get started on a sweater for him.

Pattern: Dandy Dog Sweaters by Evelyn A. Clark, for Fibertrends
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Worsted Weight in bright red
Needles: US Size 6 and 7
Modifications: Knit the 21" chest size but modified some of the length (17" instead of 20" for the body) in a couple of places to fit Fred

When we put it on him the second time, he stepped through the leg holes himself. I think he likes it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Wool Arts Tour

It's time for the New Hampshire Wool Arts Tour again, and I am so excited. At the beginning of this year I decided I would only buy new yarn and fiber at the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival in May and the Wool Arts Tour, unless it was for a present or a charity knitting project. I've stuck to that. It's important to me to support the local wool growers and hand-dyers, and their products are so beautiful and often superior to the mass-produced yarns (which have their place, and I do still love them and use them).

Plus, it's just a lot of fun. The leaves are changing color, the air is crisp (when it isn't pouring rain, as it has been a couple of times), there are great farm products like cider and pumpkins in addition to all the great wool, and there are lots of farm animals to look at.

Here are some pictures of last year's haul:

So much fun.

Click here for a brochure with more information about the farm locations.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Welcome to my new blog here at Stevens Handmade. I am very excited to share new projects with you, including my Etsy shop. If you have followed me over from Running with Needles, thanks for keeping up with me!

If you are wondering what the name Stevens Handmade means, it is a reflection of how important crafts and my family are to me. Stevens is my last name, and I come from a long line of crafters on both sides of my family. I hope to share items that my family members have made along with my own projects. To me it also means resourcefulness in projects, because sometimes the recommended materials are too expensive or not available, but that doesn't mean the project should be abandoned. When family members speak of a certain great-grandmother, they almost always say, "She could make something out of nothing." This is high praise in my Yankee family, and it's something I strive for in a lot of my projects. Reusing and scavenging materials, using them in new in and surprising ways, using up things I already have to avoid buying new things, and finding ways to use up every last bit are all techniques I use when making things.

The first project I'm going to share with you demonstrates this, in a way.

This afghan was a kit that I inherited from my great-grandmother, who passed away a few months after I received it (along with a lot of other excellent craft kits and materials from her stash). It was still sealed in its plastic bag, and the pattern is copyrighted 1976.

It's not a huge blanket, but it was also pretty quick to make. It's just right for these cool fall mornings and evenings, when a large blanket isn't necessary but you still need something to keep you warm. It also reminds me of my great-grandmother, and my grandmother, who went taught me to knit and crochet and went through all of my great-grandmother's craft items with me.

Making things runs in my family--I'm more than happy to keep the tradition going.