Friday, November 30, 2007


I like my sheep colorful. Sheep of different shades remind me of how much fun it is to create different colorways and patterns with fiber and dye. My swap group may think it is a little strange....but sheep of different colors will be arriving in mailboxes throughout the US and Canada in the coming weeks. Enjoy!
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Friday, November 16, 2007

Mamma Mia!

Last night I was lucky enough to see MAMMA MIA! at the historic DuPont Theatre in Wilmington, Delaware. We had dinner in the Green Room at the Hotel DuPont, and then strolled on down the hallway to the fabulous theatre. I don't think there was an empty seat in the house! The North American Tour cast did an unbelievable job. If you haven't had the opportunity to see it, I would definitely recommend going when it comes near your city! Needless to say, I didn't get home until midnight and am taking an easy day off!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tiny Pin Cushion

tomato pin cushion, originally uploaded by poketypatch.

This pattern was featured in Sew Stylish: Gifts to Make, Holiday 2007. This tomato is my first attempt. Notice the vine stitch embroidery around the base. I now have three stitches in my repertoire! These little lovelies are so addictive!

I checked out the Sew Stylish website to see if the pin cushion pattern just might be offered via the Internet, but no such luck. There were some other free patterns featured, however. There is a "Back Friendly Pillow" pattern. There is also a video tutorial on how to knit a furry scarf! There are other free patterns listed as well. If you are interested, you should definitely check it out!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Swaps are Here!

My group for the Holiday Ornament Swap arrived in my email box today! I am so excited to be included in this swap. There is a Flickr group already up and running with ornaments ready-to-go. So, if you need ideas for homemade ornaments, check it out here!

swap logo_final

Monday, November 12, 2007

In Bloom

xmas cactus, originally uploaded by poketypatch.

A Christmas Cactus that I received as a gift last year at this time decided to bloom! What a wonderful way to christen the holiday season. I was astounded by how well the plant has made it through the year. However, after a little research on the ideal conditions for this plant, I realized that I had given this little beauty everything it needed without even knowing it.

The scientific name for Christmas cactus is Zygocactus. This is a plant that is native to the jungles in South America. It requires a lot of light right before and during the holiday blooming period. During the summer just take it outdoors, and put it in a semi-shady spot. I kept mine on the back porch. As fall approaches, gradually give it more light. You can bring it indoors or just move it in your garden.

I think that how you water the plant is key. During the year, you should water thoroughly when the top half of the soil in the pot feels dry. During the summer, keep the soil moist. When fall arrives, water the plant only well enough to prevent wilting; and, don't water at all in October. You can begin watering again in November. The watering of my plant occurred by accident. Since we had had drought here in the northeast, the forgotten plant which was sitting on a patio table did not get watered in September and October. Then a couple of weeks ago we receive our first bout of rain. Within the next week, I notice that the plant was about to burst!

After your cactus completes blooming, let it rest by withholding water for six weeks. When new growth appears, re-pot and top-dress with fresh soil. Resume watering to keep soil fairly moist.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Attempts at Embroidery

Sewing, knitting, crocheting, spinning, sewing, scrap booking are all things that I can do pretty well. But, when it comes to embellishing with simple embroidery stitches, I am at a loss. This weekend, I attempted to work on this skill with some simple projects I found on the Internet.

Getting prepared, I pulled out my cross stitch thread from the attic (it has been a while since I did any cross stitch). I also rooted through a wonderful sewing box my mother-in-law gave me a few years back full of vintage mending wool. There was wool in many different colors; and, it was bug-free. Amazing!


This wool is so awesome. It sold for only 4 cents in its day!

4 cents

I tried one of the tutorials here starting simple with the Heart Tag and then moving on to more complex with the Tea Tag. What I love about tutorials is that they are just a starting point that get your crafty juices rolling. I ended up learning how to do a french knot and the blanket stitch. I am sure that there are a lot of sites to offer instruction on stitches like Rissa's Pieces Stitch Dictionary.

heart tag teat tag2

I am going to use these as tags for Christmas gifts. The "Tea Tag" will adorn a mason jar full of tea bags for a teach who just loves tea! I had a lot of fun with these, but my embroidery skills still need a lot of work.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Autumn Harvest

Amigurumi vs. Real, originally uploaded by poketypatch.

I crocheted this little pumpkin to match the one I picked from my garden.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


I finished this pair of socks to be sent away as a gift for my son who is away at boarding school. They were meant to be done for his birthday in September. I am only a few months late! Not to worry, they will be a wonderful Christmas gift.

I used Jawoll Sock Yarn purchased at Cloverhill Yarn Shop in Catonsville, Maryland. It is a nice little yarn shop off the beaten track, in a suburb of Baltimore. Be sure to mapquest directions before you go so that you don't get lost! The staff is really friendly; and, as an added benefit there is a quilting store next door, the Seminole Sampler. (Check out their website's free patterns !) You know it is a good day when you can do yarn and material in one trip!

I am particularly fond of JAWOLL Cotton Jacquard by Lang. It knits up great on size 2 needles. This is imperative for me, as I just can't go any smaller in needle size due to muscle strain in my hands. Also, as an added treat, there is a little thimble of reinforcing yarn tucked away within each skein! If you use the reinforcing thread on heels and toes, it makes your socks extra-strong but not too bulky. And, it matches your yarn perfectly!

This is my very own sock pattern. I am going to have it available for free in PDF format very soon! I named them CrocSocks because I thought they would look great with the Brown Crocs that my son wears. He does not take them off his feet - ever. My 16 year old son has big feet - Size 12! I used two skeins completely to knit them to fit a men's foot. Now that the weather is finally getting colder, I hope they will keep his toes warm and look great at the same time!

I guess I should introduce myself. My name is Mattie and this is a new blog for me. I decided to switch over from a knitting blog I had for some time, Nature Knits. During my hey day, I was an avid spinner and knitter. I dyed my own yarn, accumulated a huge stash of raw fiber and yarn, and blogged pretty regularly. However, about 1 1/2 years ago, I developed a bad case of repetitive stress injury in my hands and wrists. I compounded the problem with tennis stress and too much computer at work. There came a time when I just had to stop. So, I quit knitting for about a year (I did sneak out some socks though). I still love tennis but, as my doctor advised, I "stick with players my own level". That eliminated my 13 year old son who hit the balls too hard to me in the first place! My hands and wrists are better, but I have learned to STOP when the pain starts and I follow some of the suggestions in an older Knitty article by Bonnie Marie Burns.

One thing that has really spurred on my interest is the crafty revolution. I love to look at all the blogs and follow the tutorials. I have also found that doing different things (like knitting, sewing, crocheting, etc...) does not stress out my muscles as much. So, here I am. Poking along. Trying new things.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Holiday Giftgiving Inspiration

With the holiday gift giving season approaching, I have decided to make this a "Handmade Holiday". I am going to try and either make most of my gifts myself, or buy handmade items. Luckily, inspiration on the web and in local shops is plentiful.

Over the weekend I picked up a copy of the new Threads "Gifts" magazine. There are some wonderful ideas including patterns for homemade cards, slippers, and jewelry. One idea which caught my eye was handmade mini-pincushions which are fashioned with the help of recycled water bottle caps. They are adorable and would make lovely teacher gifts.

Craft blogs are also a invaluable source of interesting ideas. Several blogs are even featuring holiday countdowns with tutorials and/or ideas daily. Sew Mama Sew has a November Handmade Holidays theme with "30 days of gifts to sew". Also, Cotton Spice has a Last Minute Gift Countdown with tutorials from November 5th - 17th. There are some great ideas to from which to choose! I can't wait to get started.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Winter Gardening

Since there has not been a winter frost, the geraniums are still in bloom. I know this won't last for long. On my "to do" list is digging up the scented geraniums and lemon verbena out of the herb garden. Hopefully, they will "winter over" on my kitchen windowsill! What plants do you bring inside for the winter?