Category: Handmade

knitting for the fair!

May 27th, 2014 — 7:21pm

The Fair is almost here!

Last week I dropped off my entries for the Home and Hobby show. The shawl is a Jared Flood pattern: Girasole, which I knit once before in blue worsted to make a sofa-blanket for my mom, but the flowered hat is my own design. Fingers crossed for a blue ribbon!

2014-03-18 14.16.07 HDR

2014-05-12 10.10.01

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Our tree! And stuff.

December 7th, 2013 — 1:40pm

We finished decorating our tree yesterday! Isn’t it great? Every ornament has a history. Lots are handmade: mostly by me (I make more every year), but there are some very special ones made by beloved relatives. There are a few ornaments that go back to my very first memories of Christmas and many that were gifts from special people. I love my Christmas ornaments :)


On the table you can see my little paper Christmas Village! See this old blog post to read its story and find the files to print your own:
(I printed mine at 50% because I wanted a tiny village.)

And here’s our Nativity Scene. Strong Bad and his pals attend every year!


Also, now that I’m finally feeling better, I’ve been working on Dan’s gloves. He now lives in a place that gets actual winter and I don’t want his hands to be cold. I bought conductive thread for the fingertips so he SHOULD be able to use his iPhone without taking off his gloves.


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I’m sick again :(

November 20th, 2013 — 9:48am

Sick again. Bad cough, congested, phlegmy. I won’t be able to do any recording for a while, I’m afraid. I don’t have a sore throat, though, so that’s something to be thankful for.

Here are some photos of things that I’ve been making:

Crocheted snowflakes. I’m going to sell them on Etsy once I get some good photos.

Two pairs of little socks for Emma Rose:

Well, I guess I’ll have some more juice and close my eyes for a while.

4 comments » | Blog, Handmade

Finished “Der Kleine Prinz” socks

October 21st, 2013 — 10:13am

Finished! I did a good job matching up the stripes, eh? That’s not so easy with a multicolored yarn.

All details on my Ravelry page (no log-in required):


1 comment » | Blog, Handmade

a wonderful knitting trick

October 15th, 2013 — 9:37pm

To avoid that little gap, hole, or loose stitch at the top of the heel flap when picking up the gusset stitches:

WOW. Why did I never think of this? In case that link breaks — all you do is, while picking up stitches along the edge of the heel flap, pick up one more along the same column after you reach the top (bottom?) of the heel flap. On the other side of the heel flap, just start picking up stitches one stitch below the corner where the flap meets the leg, in the same column that becomes the edge of the heel flap. (It takes a lot of words to describe this trick, but just try it; it’s as simple as can be.)

Presto. No gap, no hole, no need to twist anything.

More details about these socks on Ravelry:

little prince sock yarn


Look, no gaps, no holes:


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May 1 – recording updates

May 1st, 2013 — 11:04am

I’ve just updated my “Kayray Reads to You” page to include The Grey King, Bagthorpes Abroad, The Sweet Smell of Christmas, and The Adventures of Little Bear. As always, if you like these stories please buy copies of the actual books.

I’m almost finished recording the third Melendy family book — Then There Were Five. Just one more chapter to go, so check back soon! I might even finish this afternoon.

Also yesterday I knitted a cunning little iPhone pouch to hang around my neck when I wear stupid pocketless girl-pants. :)

Aran iPhone Pouch


3 comments » | Audiobooks, Blog, Handmade

April 30 — more handmade stuff

April 30th, 2013 — 9:30am

Now that Kirsten has had her baby shower, I can show off some of the things I made for my baby niece! Links go to each item’s Ravelry page in case you want more details.

Tiny green booties


Adorable little bonnet (modeled by a large orange)


Entrelac beret


Striped cardigan


Black and white blanket


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April 16 — I’ve been making things

April 16th, 2013 — 12:10pm

I’ve been making a lot of things.

What most of you are wondering is — am I recording anything for you? And the answer is yes! I’m just finishing up Elizabeth Enright’s “Then There Were Five” for the “Kayray Reads to You” podcast, and I’m also working on “Just William” for LibriVox.

I finished this big warm sweater back in November and wore it all winter, but then I decided it needed a shawl collar and pockets, so I ripped off the button band and reknit it, and added lovely big patch pockets.


More details at ravelry:

And here is a rather adorable knitted cow:


Also, when I was looking for something one day, I found a set of four vintage linen napkins with cutwork designs stamped on them that I bought from ebay 8 years ago and never finished! So I’ve finished them. They make wonderful hankies.

In progress:




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June 28, 2012

June 28th, 2012 — 4:00pm

Photo time!

Me (June 3, 2012):


A hummingbird:


Cabled cardigan in progress (Ravelry link):


One green striped sock (Ravelry link):


Lace cardigan in progress (Ravelry link):


Blue-ribbon socks at the fair (Ravelry link):


Honorable Mention shawl at the fair (Ravelry link):


7 comments » | Blog, Handmade

March 1, 2012

March 1st, 2012 — 10:23am

Happy March! Hope you had a good Leap Day yesterday, and that Leap Day William brought you lots of candy.

Last night I invented a handkerchief edging that I like a lot. Thought I’d write it up here so I can remember how to do it.


Mark off a hemmed hankie in inches and imagine 1/2 and 1/4 inch marks too. Shells happen at every inch mark and at the corners, and all the scs are at 1/4-inch intervals between the shells.

Starting at an inch-mark: 6 dc, sc, ch1, sc, ch3 picot, ch1, sc. Then you’re ready to do another 6 dc at the next inch-mark.

At corners work 8 dc.

Easy! Pretty! Delicate!

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Feb 26, 2012

February 26th, 2012 — 11:07am

Hello, yes, I’m still alive. Fell out of the habit of blogging, but I’ll try to get back in.

Hmm, what has been going on…. On Dan’s recommendation I read Neal Stephenson’s “REAMDE” and loved it. Really fun plot, great characters, beautifully written. I would say “I couldn’t put it down” except I did force myself to put it down occasionally so that I could postpone reaching the end!

I played a lot too much Skyward Sword in January and did something awful to my right arm. Had to take a break from knitting which pretty much drove me crazy. Eventually I found out that I could crochet without too much pain so I had a ton of fun making lovely lace-edged hankies to replace my nasty old cut-up-t-shirt ones.

Ravelry link:




I invented a few of the edgings, found some here: (love those charts!), and got a few more out of this great $2 pdf booklet: Edgings: 100 Old and New Favorites.

Ok that’s enough for now. Next time: my “Ticket to Ride” obsession. The game, not the song, although the song is great too ;-)

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January 6th, 2012

January 6th, 2012 — 11:51am

Happy New Year!

I really need to do a quick wrap-up of the end of December so that Future Kara can remember all the stuff that happened. Let’s see… I finished making Dan’s “Discipline” hooked rug on Christmas morning before he woke up. He loves it. In fact, he loves it so much he doesn’t want to walk on it, so we’re going to hang it on his office wall. Henry loves his cozy warm robot quilt. I love my tangerine-orange KitchenAid stand mixer and the wonderful stack of books that everyone gave me, and my jigsaw puzzle, and the amazing huge framed Link to the Past map!

photo photo
photo photo
photo photo

Henry and I had a bit of an adventure when we bought the Christmas tree, a new variety called a Grand Fir, which was beautiful, inexpensive, long-lasting, and smelled amazing. I hope we can get a Grand Fir next year too. Anyway, after we bought the tree we discovered that Henry’s learner’s permit was missing. We retraced our steps and asked the tree guys to look for it, but it was just gone. And Henry was scheduled for his driver’s test a few days later, so it was a real problem! Next day we went to the DMV and got a new permit, and then immediately found his old one in the car. Hilarious. Problem solved. :) And he passed his test! He can now drive himself to and from kung fu, and even run errands for us. Excellent.


I printed out my Christmas Village at 50% and built it and it’s so tiny and cute! (Make your own:


One more thing — here’s the frog I knit for Elli:
(Ravelry page

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Here I am again

October 5th, 2011 — 12:32pm

Boy, I really got out of the habit of blogging regularly. Sorry about that, life has been hard for the last few months. Now I have about a million things to say but I will just have to choose a few and space them out.

First — Happy 16th birthday (a little late) to my dear Henry! You’re really fun to hang out with and I am so proud of you!

We went to the zoo together on a cool cloudy Sunday for photography fun:


Here’s another nice thing I want to share. Dan gave me a tiny rug-hooking kit for my birthday and I had such fun learning this new skill! Very soon I want to make something bigger. It seems like a great craft for using up the small amounts of leftover yarn that I end up with, and all I will need to buy is a bit of burlap for the foundation!


And I’m working on a beautiful yellow lace shawl. The pattern is “Hartfield”. Details on Ravelry:


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Mosaic Headband Pattern

June 14th, 2011 — 11:04am

I designed a sweet little headband using Barbara Walker’s “mosaic” technique, and I wrote up the pattern, made a PDF, and posted it to the Ravelry store. You can download the pattern PDF here: Mosaic Headband

The Ravelry pattern page is here: (no login required)

And now, photos!

I made the first one with green and white Risata:

After I posted it on Rav, I got a lot of compliments and even a few requests that I’d write up a pattern, so I did. And then I knit a blue and white one with Palette while following my own pattern so I could check for mistakes and confusion:



I’ve always been intimidated by mosaic knitting. The descriptions are always so wordy and I couldn’t quite believe that it would work. But when I decided to be brave and try it out on this little project, I discovered how fun and easy it is! To sum up: you follow a chart of dark and light squares. You knit across and back with only one color of yarn, then drop that color and knit back and forth with the other color. While knitting with color A, you slip any stitches which are color B on the chart. Both directions. That’s it, that’s all there is to it. Just try it!

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new knitting projects

April 19th, 2011 — 8:33pm

I’m working on two main knitting projects for the fair this year. The delivery deadline is May 25th, so it’s time to get cracking!

Thing One is another striped Chroma vest like the one I designed and made for Mom, but with a few refinements to the pattern and some adjustments to fit me. I reached the underarms today, which means it’s time to plan out the steeks and the whole thing gets much narrower and moves along even faster, so I’m well over halfway finished with the main knitting. After that it’s just steeks and ribbing. Woohoo!

Ravelry page here (no login required):


(Actual green is more mossy, less minty. Actual red is less orange, more a dull tomato red)

Thing Two is a “Nerderdel” lace tired skirt. Just started it today as a reward for making such great progress on the vest. The yarn is knitpicks “cotlin” (cotton/linen blend).

Ravelry page here (no login required):


I might also enter a striped scarf that I’m making, which is pretty and would be fun to show off, but it’s not very special. Also it’s SO BORING and SLOW to knit and it’s only half-done…

Ravelry page here (no login required):


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The vest is finished!

April 8th, 2011 — 7:27am

I designed and made this vest for Mom’s 66th birthday, which was in January, but she’s used to getting late handmade presents. Yesterday it was officially finished, and I gave it to her and took photos:

P4072265 P4072263

So cute! Both vest and Mom :) (more photos on flickr)

It’s made of Knitpicks’ “Chroma” and “Wool of the Andes” yarn. I worked it bottom-up and steeked the armholes so the stripes would be consistent. Crocheted steeks are MUCH more fun than sewn ones!

You can read all about its construction and see more photos on its Ravelry page (no login required):

I took it along to the North Coast Knitters Guild Knit-at-Night on Wednesday and it was much admired! I love love love the Knit-at-Night. Everyone is so friendly and encouraging and warm. I really look forward to going every month.


1 comment » | Blog, Handmade


March 26th, 2011 — 11:51am

First: let’s keep helping Japan to recover and rebuild. Here’s a great way to double your donation:

The Ogawa Family, together with the Red Cross, is challenging donors to donate for Japan disaster relief. Every tax deductible dollar you donate, the Ogawa family will match equally in contributions to the Red Cross up to $500,000. Together we can donate One Million Dollars to the Red Cross.

They were only at 14% of the goal when we donated on Monday, and now they’re almost halfway there with 17 more days remaining. Please give what you can!

And now back to your regularly scheduled blog post.

Henry just spent a week on Santa Catalina Island doing a marine biology camping program with some of his schoolmates. Last Sunday afternoon (the 20th) Henry and I drove to Long Beach (it’s about 2.5 hours away, depending on traffic) in a terrible rainstorm and spent the night in a very nice hotel that Dan chose for us so that we could get Henry to the dock by 8:30 the next morning without the stress of leaving home at 5:30am and still being nearly late like we were last year. We got some dinner at Ruby’s and then had a relaxing time in our hotel and watched season 7 of Peep Show together while I knit a warm hat for him. (To quote Super Hans, I was knitting like an electric Nan.)

Here’s a view of the storm from our 4th floor hotel room. A HUGE eucalyptus branch blew down into that intersection a little while later!


Got Henry to the dock on time the next morning and he got on the ferry boat and sailed away.


And then I drove up to Long Beach yesterday (Friday) to fetch him. I left at 11am, though I didn’t need to be there until 2:45, because last year I left at noon and was an hour late because of traffic. But traffic was easy yesterday and I got there at 1pm, so I found a free parking lot and knitted while I waited. It was so wonderful to see him again! We never go a whole day without talking or emailing or texting, so five days felt like an eternity to me :) While we drove, he told me about all the fun stuff he did all week — nighttime snorkeling, a 15-mile hike, a visit to an old mine, kayaking, etc. I’m so glad he had such a great time! What a wonderful opportunity!

Here’s the Birthday Vest for Mom that I’ve been working on:


Still need to add pockets but then it’s done! You can read about it on the Ravelry page (no log-in required):

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Mom’s Chroma Vest

March 4th, 2011 — 9:34am

I wanted to knit Mom something very special for her birthday (it was in January, heheh) so together we planned a vest. It’ll be long, v-neck, button up, and striped.

I’m using Knitpicks’ gorgeous new Chroma Worsted in the “Midwinter” colorway, with stripes of black Wool of the Andes. The Chroma is SOFT. Soft, soft, soft. And beautiful! But it seems very delicate; although it does have 20% nylon mixed in for strength, it has almost no twist at all, so it’s almost like knitting with a strand of unspun fleece. I wouldn’t recommend it for socks, but for anything else worn next to the skin it would be perfect.

The color here is fairly accurate:


I’m inventing the pattern of course, and working bottom-up for a change because I wanted to establish the stripes before I had to deal with armholes and neck shaping. I’m working from all three balls of Chroma at once (two rows from each, then six rows of black), having first evened them out so that they were all at the same point in the color transitions.

Last night I knit through the waist section and started bust increases and neck decreases! (color here is wildly inaccurate):


You can get more details on the Ravelry page, no log-in required:

I’m planning to steek the armholes, if I can get up the courage and if I’m POSITIVE the fit is correct.

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Gentleman’s Sock with Lozenge Pattern

November 3rd, 2010 — 10:57am

Just finished up a lovely new pair of socks for Dan. They’re the “Gentleman’s Sock with Lozenge Pattern” from Nancy Bush’s “Knitting Vintage Socks“. Great book.

Yarn: Lang Jawoll Superwash
Needles: size 000

I knit the cuffs on 72 stitches and the rest of the sock on 70. I used the cuff pattern and the nifty “lozenge” pattern, and did my own favorite heel and toe. This is a great pattern if you don’t like to count rows! The purl stripe comes every tenth row in the cuff and the lozenge pattern is very easy to memorize and you can just work as many repeats as you need by just counting diamonds.

These socks are here on Ravelry: (no log-in necessary)




I’ve already started another pair in dark green.

7 comments » | Blog, Handmade

a post!

August 20th, 2010 — 9:13am

The longer I go without writing a real post, the harder it is to get started again. So I just thought I’d write a little something this morning to get myself going.

Today I’ll take Henry in for a checkup, and then I hope we get to hang out with Celia and Chloe a bit in the afternoon, and then in the evening it’s possible that Bob and Chloe might come over to watch “Hud” with us, which just arrived from Netflix yesterday and is one of my favorite movies.

I’m reading my very first Edith Wharton novel, “The House of Mirth”, and it’s fantastic. I’m almost glad I waited this long to discover her,’cause now I have a whole lot of wonderful books to look forward to, if “The House of Mirth” is any indication. I also re-read “The Three MIss Margarets” and “The Hills at Home” last week. Both were as good as I remembered from reading them years and years ago. I’d like to read the two books that everyone is talking about — “The Hunger Games” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” — so I ordered them from my library but it’s “wait time unknown” heh. But I don’t usually like to buy fiction unless I’ve read it once and know I’ll want to read it again.

Knitting — I’m working on a top-down cotton tank top which I’d like to extend down into a little dress-thing if I have enough yarn. Well, even if I don’t I can get a few more balls of Knitpicks’ Simply Cotton in a coordinating color and just keep working till it’s long enough. It’s actually a lot further along than this photo shows. I’m working the body in a sort of seed stitch rib, which is k9, then a panel of k1p1 seed stitch for three stitches, then k9 again.


Also making a pair of Aargh! gyle Socks for a certain boy’s 15th birthday. These are also further along than the photo shows. Hmm, time to take some more photos.


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