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Popsicle Stick Christmas Ornaments

It's November, which to many over-enthusiastic holiday lovers means CHRISTMAS! Yes, I love Thanksgiving as well—it's just one big holiday celebration for me from now to the end of the year. So far, I've refrained from putting up my Christmas tree, but that doesn't mean I can't prepare, right? This past weekend, I spent some time making some ornaments. I love to create handmade ornaments to add to my little tree each year. 
Lately I've been interested in popsicle stick crafts. I found some super cute ideas on Pinterest (see the links to my Holiday Crafts and Food board and specific posts below). I like that such a simple material can have so many possibilities. Just add paint and glue!
I was able to get my kids involved for part of my craft day. They are ages 2 and 3, so they didn't do much beyond just paint a few popsicle sticks. I turned these painted sticks into little Santa Claus ornaments—two for each daughter as they're bound to ruin some of them …

Niki Knits: Baby Vests (with free pattern)

As I revealed previously, I am currently pregnant with my first child, a girl. I am due in December, and my husband and I are so excited.

In my return to crafting, I've once again been bitten by the knitting bug. This is in large part due to the fact that now I have a new area to explore: baby clothes. And not just for my own little angel... There has been a small baby boom recently in my circle of friends, so there are a few other little ones on the way that I have been busy making gifts for as well.

Much of the appeal of making baby clothes (besides the obvious adorableness) is similar to why I like making doll clothes. They are fun to design and execute, and the small scale keeps projects relatively quick and easy, which suits my short attention span. (Case in point: my adult-size fisherman cable sweater that I've been working on for probably 5+ years...not to mention all the other projects I've abandoned altogether because I got bored with them.)

I started out my baby knitting by using this free Lion Brand pattern for a striped baby raglan sweater. (As you can see, I changed the color scheme to make it more Gryffindor-esque. Oh, yes, this child WILL be a Harry Potter fan if I can help it!) It was a fun, simple project just to get my feet wet. I knit it up quick and was pleased with the results, so I was encouraged to keep going.

I did some research on baby sweater patterns and sizes in order to feel more comfortable designing my own baby wear. It's difficult because I really don't know how big I need to make these sweaters, having little experience with baby clothing and no actual infant to measure yet. And I want to be sure the sweaters will fit while it's still cold outside. (Though one thing about living in New England is that the "cold season" makes up a pretty good chunk of the year, LOL.) I found a few charts with generic sizes, like this one here from the Craft Yarn Council. I also referred to measurements and schematics from other patterns, such as the striped raglan.

One sleepless night, I knit a little vest in the space of about five hours. I just improvised a simple pattern as I went along. I think it might have turned out a little small, but I liked how it turned out anyway. Might have to stretch it out a bit. Worst case scenario, I'll just find a cute teddy bear to wear it instead. I  knit up a few more, making modifications each time. I made it a little bigger, and experimented with different color designs and texture stitches. Fingers crossed, at least some of these will fit the baby. :)

Below is the final pattern I developed if you would like to knit one yourself. It's just the basic pattern, with one color and plain stockinette stitch. I've given the approximate number of stitches and rows to allow for easier planning of design modifications, so I encourage you to be creative and make it your own. Have fun! :)



(Click on the image to view/download from the Google Drive viewer, or use the direct download link.)

P.S. I also knit a vest for my sister's baby. Baby kitty, that is. :D



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New Etsy Shop and Free Pattern

I opened up a shop on today. I've posted some sweaters for 11.5-inch dolls (I hope to post other types of items in the future). You can visit the shop here. These miniature sweaters were very fun to create. They are all designed and handknit by myself.

Most of the sweaters are knit using size 10 crochet thread and sock knitting needles. I like using the crochet thread because it is relatively inexpensive, comes in a wide array of colors, and is readily available from any store that sells craft supplies.

Here is a free pattern for a basic sweater, for those who would like to try making one yourself!

**UPDATE - 2015** The miniature sweater knitting pattern has been revised.  View/Download the new pattern here:
A gift tag template for creating a Christmas ornament from this sweater can be found on my Templates and Patterns page. Additional sweater patterns are available for sale in my Etsy shop.

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