Sunday, August 25, 2013

Kobo is my new BFF

[Katie Rose here]

I received a my new Kobo Glo ebook reader in the mail the other day, and I'm in love.

My new KoboGlo. It's rad.

I know this isn't strictly a fiber arts post, but here's the thing.

One of the reasons that I love this ereader so much (and so much more than the Barnes and Noble Nook that I used to own) is its physical appeal.

Or "interface" in tech speak.

Kobo, since its beginning, has used a quilted design on the backs of its readers to create a "softer" interface, as well as a grippy texture. They use a physical metaphor of fiber and fabric to make the devices more user-friendly.

Here's the quilted back of mine.

I picked turquoise because I could.

The reader has an excellent built-in reading light, but still ends up being smaller than my old Nook. I love holding this thing.

Just the right size.

Here is a picture of my new reader in its natural habitat.

Seriously, people. I'm all about this thing. Plus, my local indy bookstore sells their ebooks through the Kobo online bookstore.

What's not to love?


Update Jan. 2014: My law students say that Kobo readers are the "hipster" eBook readers. Who knew?

Friday, August 23, 2013

FOs: Elijah Elephant and Sandals for Penelope

[Jordynn here]

I spent the last few hours the night before I went into labor finishing this Elijah elephant for Penelope. I had no idea that I'd be waking up the next morning with contractions 5 minutes apart!

This was a relatively quick knit. Some of the instructions seemed confusing when I first read them, but made sense once I tried them out. I used some Vickie Howell organic craft yarn (which is 35% milk fiber, 65% cotton) that I had in my stash, and stuffed the elephant with the kapok fiber I ordered a few weeks ago. 

The only thing I had left to do was create the eyes. My mom, a very experienced crafter, finished those for me this week so Penelope could enjoy her first stuffed toy. 

Then, she whipped up these cute barefoot sandals using t-shirt fabric. She used this tutorial from Ucreate. 

These are perfect for a summer baby. Not only do they stay on her feet, but they actually fit. Penelope has mommy's long feet and toes, but none of her shoes marked "newborn" are small enough. The booties she wore home from the hospital were actually an "extra preemie" size that I ordered from Etsy--and her dress was preemie size as well--even though she was a 7 pounder! 

Here's Penelope modeling her sandals with her new friend, Peppermint the Elephant. She's lying on her Connect Four Baby Blanket, which I posted about back in March. 

Read more about Peppermint the Elephant on my Ravelry project page

Friday, August 16, 2013

FO: Penelope Marguerite

[Jordynn here]

She finally arrived on August 13, 2013! Penelope Marguerite weighed 7 lbs, 14 oz and measured 21 inches long. Here she is modeling her first knit hat:

In Greek mythology, Penelope was the wife of Odysseus, who outwitted scores of unwanted male suitors (while Odysseus was off on his adventures and presumed dead) by saying she would choose when she was done weaving a funeral shroud for her father-in-law--and unravelling her work every night. A good name for the daughter of a knitter!

Here she is in her going home outfit, with hand-crocheted booties I purchased on ebay. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Nine Months of Crafting: High Contrast Mobile

[Jordynn here]

The Playard we got for Peapod came with a play gym/mobile set up, including the usual stuffed toys that go with such items. (They are on everything--the bouncer, the swing, etc.)

I decided to swap out those toys for something black and white for her to look at in her earlier days. I was inspired by this blog, which offers a nice tutorial on how to make your own mobile using felt.

I made eight squares each in black and white, and then used the rest of the felt to come up with some geometric patterns.


Each square uses two pieces of felt in the background color. I used fusible interfacing in between to make them stiffer, and then used embroidery thread in the contrasting color to stitch the pieces together. 

I initially tried to use a hot glue gun to attach the smaller pieces of felt for the pattern, but then ended up going over most of them in embroidery thread, anyway. This made it a bit challenging to get the needle through the layers, in places. Next time I'd skip the hot glue and just slog away with the embroidery thread. 

Next I attached each square to a clear shower curtain hook using fishing line. 

The only problem is that this mobile has attracted an unintended user. Why is it that all baby items are irresistible to cats? Here is Leo testing it out. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Nine Months of Knitting: How I Knit Now

So this is the scene most nights on my couch.

Someone is about to lose his prime lap spot. He just doesn't know it yet. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Nine Months of Crafting: DIY "Boppy"

(Jordynn here). So, people seem to either love or hate the nursing pillow (such as the "Boppy" or the "Brest Friend." Seriously.) Some people say they couldn't live without one, while others find them unnecessary or unhelpful--probably depending on the position you prefer to nurse in, your own anatomy, the chair you use, etc. So I decided not to get one. (I was also wary of the polyurethane foam they use for these types of nursing pillows, 80% of which may be treated with flame retardants.) 

But then I realized I could just make one. I mean, it's a pillow. I've made pillows before. And I happened to have fabric on hand from other projects I was meaning to do. 

So I found this pattern online and again put my meager hand sewing skills to work. (Sewing machine still broken). Here's how it turned out: 

Again, you can see I'm not exactly a pro sewer. The seams look lumpy. It's not perfect. But I think it will do the job. 

First, I stuffed it with polyester stuffing (shown in pictures), but then I realized that's not necessarily the greatest either, environmentally speaking. After some research, I found a few options for organic/non-toxic stuffing materials. I ordered a box of kapok filling here, which is apparently popular with the yoga set for making meditation pillows. Kapok stuffing comes from a tree, and apparently has a fluffy, silky texture. But since I wanted to finish the pillow RIGHT NOW, I also found a source for natural buckwheat hulls that was local. I picked up 10 pounds of hulls in person and used about 6 of it to stuff the pillow. The buckwheat hulls give the pillow more of a beanbag texture, which is nice because the hulls shift around to conform to your body. 

[Yes, I'm becoming a slightly obsessive first time mother. I ordered an organic mattress, bassinet pad, and changing pad. Not everything is organic (certainly not all of her clothes), but you do what you can.] 

The pattern includes instructions for making a separate washable cover. I debated making the pillow itself in muslin and then making a separate cover, but I was lazy. I figure I can make another cover if needed, or make a whole new pillow. This was finished in an evening, even with hand sewing, and once I fix my stupid machine this could be done in an hour or less. 

Update: Here's how it looks with the buckwheat stuffing: 

Also: I got a new camera. Can you tell? I'll have some new knitting pictures to show it off soon! 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Nine Months of Crafting: Newborn Art Cards

I decided to do this project because I wanted something simple to put beside Peapod for her to look at in her first few months. They sell various kinds of art cards in black and white for infants, such as these ones, but they are hard to prop up (or you have to tape them to the wall or something). Plus, I like to be thrifty. So I decided I would make some little cards using poster board.

The first set is black and white patterns:

Apparently babies like faces, so I drew some on the opposite side.

The next step for infant vision is to learn to distinguish colors, so I made the next set in shades of warm colors (on one side) and cool colors (on the other).

I used scrapbooking paper, which has been put to use for several of the projects in the nursery, beginning with my closet organizer/divider project.

More projects coming all this week!