Personalized gift set for baby Hajime はじめちゃんにハンドメイドのお誕生祝い

My youngest sis who lives in Tokyo asked me to make a handmade baby gift set for the special baby boy born to a good friend of hers.  According to my sis, the baby's name is "Hajime" (Ha-jee-may) which is a Japanese word for "beginning" or "foundation".

東京在住の妹に頼まれて赤ちゃんギフトを作りました。 生まれたばかりの赤ちゃんのお名前は元(はじめ)ちゃんというそうです。 とっても可愛いお名前ですよね。

While I stitched the baby's name onto my patchworked bib, I thought about the cute little baby boy who I have never met... And I wished that his life will be filled with lots of love, good health, and prosperity.

I used flannel for the reversible side of the bib. My younger sis likes the elephant print, therefore I selected this elephant fabric (although this is not her baby ;)
ビブはリバーシブルなので裏面には柔らかいネルを用いました。 妹はなぜだかぞうさん柄の生地が好きなので、妹の好みで作ってみました。(実際にビブを使うのは妹の赤ちゃんではないのですが。笑)。

Light blue x white gingham check print is used for the interior of the matching drawstring bag.


Embellished balls are attached to the drawstring ends...

According to my sis, the gift was well received by her friend and the baby :)
Now that this gift set is completed, I am currently in the process of making another baby gift set... this time for my youngest sis herself, who just had a baby girl (second child) earlier this month!  Which means I gotta go back to my sewing table now!
はじめちゃんのギフトを作り終えたばかりですが、今度はまた別の赤ちゃんギフトに取り掛かっています。 というのも、今月初めには、今回このギフトを依頼してきた妹自身にベビー(第二子)が誕生したのです^^  

Hair scrunchie for young girls 簡単シュシュを手作り

I did a quick sewing for my eleven year old daughter.  I made her a hair scrunchie.

My daughter selected the fabric.  She chose this fabric with small golden hearts on pink background.  It's a Japanese imported fabric.
生地は娘が選びました。 ピンク地に金色のハート柄のこの生地が気に入ったようです。 

I ended up making four hair scrunchies, one for my girl and the rest for her friends at school.  Hope the girls like these handmade hair accessories!

Can you believe that this Friday will be the first day of March, already?  Hope you all have a wonderful week!
今週金曜日はもう3月。 皆さんもどうか良い1週間をお過ごしください♪
Love, Amy

Work In Progress: Color Knitting 編みこみニット

You might recall about this circular knitting project that I started earlier. Here's the progress so far. Unfortunately, I haven't progressed as much as I'd like to, but I'm enjoying the color knitting technique, stitch by stitch.
It began with knitting in round with double pointed needles. I'm aiming to create fingerless gloves. 
はじめはこのように4本針で輪に編み始めました。 最終的にはハンドウオーマーに仕上げる予定です。

To me, color knitting requires much more time and concentration than the casual crocheting that I regularly enjoy in my pastime, because I need to follow the color chart like the one below to stitch into a pattern.
私は普段、簡単なかぎ針編みをすることが多いのですが、かぎ針編みと比べると、棒針を使っての編み込み模様はどうしても編むのに時間がかかります。 このような編み図とにらめっこしながら編み進むので集中力が必要なのです。
Despite the challenge, knitting with multiple colors in a row is interesting and fun!


The pattern is from this Japanese book:
Author(著者): Tomo Sugiyama すぎやまとも
ISBN-10: 4529051129
ISBN-13: 978-4529051125
You can preview the book at Amazon Japan → 

Happy color knitting!  

Trying something different: Circular Knitting  輪針で編みもの

I'm trying something different tonight. I'm enjoying circular knitting, or  knitting in round.
またまた新しい作業を楽しんでいます。 輪針で編み物を始めました。

Using double pointed needles (straight knitting needles with points at both ends) gets quite challenging... but fun!  Here, I used four double pointed needles to knit this ribbed tube.
かぎ針編みに慣れている私にとっては、棒針(特に4本針)で編むのは骨が折れますが・・・それがまた楽しいのです(笑)。 4本針を使って1目ゴム編みをせっせと編みました。

After finishing rows of ribbed stitches, I changed the double pointed needles to circular needles.   
This is the shortest circular knitting needle sold at our local Joann. It's 9" or 23 cm long.  This size of the circular knitting needles are  mainly used to knit small items such as socks and mittens.
今回使ったのは、23 cm 長さの輪針です。 近所の手芸量販店 Joann の店頭で売っている輪針の中で一番短いものです。 主に靴下やミトンなど小さなものを編むときに使うもののようです。
See how short the length of the cable is? 

It's past midnight Saturday night and I've been trying to go to bed (I had a long and busy day today), but I just can't stop knitting!  Just like crocheting, knitting is very addicting for me and it's very easy for me to lose track of time!
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  For those of you here in the U.S., enjoy your 3 day weekend! (President's day weekend :)
今夜も深夜をまわってしまいました(土曜の夜です)。 今日も一日忙しく動き回っていたのでそろそろ休みたいのですが、編むのが楽しくてなかなかやめられません~。 私にとっては、かぎ針編みも、棒針編みも、どちらも一旦始めると面白くて深みにハマってしまうので気をつけないと~。 でも、それがまた楽しいのですが!
アメリカでは今週末は3連休(プレジデントデーのため)。 皆さんも楽しい週末をお過ごしくださいね。

Cotton & Linen Tote Bag Made for my Niece コットン&リネンでナチュラル系トートバッグ

I was asked by my dear blog reader recently whether I stopped sewing lately... as my previous posts were all about my crocheted stuff and no sewing... But oh no, I have not stopped sewing! How could I give up my love of sewing?!  
So I decided to post about my sewing project today :)  It's a cotton & linen tote bag with a small initial embroidery stitched for the recipient.
私のブログを読んでくださっている方から、最近は編み物を中心に作っているのですか?と聞かれました。 (いつも読んで下さってありがとうございます)。 確かに、ここのところはかぎ針編みの小物が続いてしまったので、今日は久しぶりにソーイングネタをご報告させてくださいね。

Actually, this was a requested item from my niece.  You can't imagine how super excited I was when my niece asked me to make her a handmade tote bag to celebrate her 14th birthday!
Although it took me a while to get started with this one... My niece's birthday is just a week before Christmas and my schedule is just too crazy during that time of the year... Sorry niece, for the belated birthday gift! 
こちらは姪っ子の14歳の誕生日プレゼント用に作ったトートバッグです。姪っ子から、プレゼントには(私の)手作りバッグが欲しい!と言われた時にはオバさんはとっても嬉しかったのですよ。 ただ、なかなか時間がとれなくてギフトのお届けはほぼ1ヶ月も遅れてしまったのですが・・・。ごめんね、姪っ子!
So far, I have five nieces and two nephews altogether. Unfortunately, we all live far away from each other so we don't get to see each other that much. This niece lives 7,200 miles (11,000 km) away from us (in Asia) and I'm trying to recall the last time we met... which was more than five years from now, I think.
When making this tote, my niece and I exchanged several lengthy emails to decide the size, shape, and the fabric of the tote, because I wanted to make something that my niece really likes.
 私には今のところ、5人の姪っ子と、2人の甥っ子がいます。 皆、遠く離れた地に暮らしているのでなかなか会うこともままなりません。この14歳になったばかりの姪っ子も我が家から11,000キロも離れた地(アジア圏です)に住んでいるのでなかなか会う機会がなく、もうかれこれ5年以上・・・も会っていないんです。

As you can tell, my niece has a very mature taste in fabric choices. Unlike most pre-teen and teenage girls that I know of (including our girls), she prefers natural linen over neon colored fabrics, and chic polka dots and gingham checks over flashy designs. I think my niece and I share a similar taste in fabric choices, which was a wonderful surprise!

So we selected this black/white gingham check fabric for the interior. I added several pockets for convenience.  Like all the bags I create, this bag can be used as reversible.
内布は黒x白のギンガムチェックで。 バッグはリバーシブルでも使用できます。 姪っ子の希望でポケットを多めに作りました。

Adding this pouch was my idea. I whipped up a matching zipper pouch/wristlet with a detachable strap for easy access.
学校用のトートバッグを希望していたので、携帯電話などが入るポーチをお揃いの布で作ってみました。 ポーチは取り外しが出来るタイプにしてみました。

I made sure that her iphone/ipod and other gadgets would fit inside the pouch. (The above image is shown with my iphone 5).
私のiphone 5がピッタリ収まるサイズになりました。

I made a bag shaper/base board to keep the tote bag in shape. I knew that my niece's plan was to use this tote bag for her school, so I wanted to make the bag sturdy enough to keep all her textbooks and belongings inside without losing its shape.
My niece doesn't know (yet) that the bag shaper/base board is made from the Pokemon monster chart that I found in our house! (lol)  I cut out this plastic chart sheet in half to fit the shape of bag bottom, and then clipped off four corners into round shape.
このバッグ底、家にあったポケモンの下敷き(我が家には男の子がいないので誰も見向きもしない新品のシロモノ)を使ったのです。 未使用の下敷きを縦半分に切って四隅を丸くカットして、2枚重ねて補強しました。
The two cut-out plastic sheets were taped together like this and covered securely inside the matching gingham check fabric (so that Pokemon monsters would not show!)

Of course, I wanted to add a special touch to my handmade gift for my niece, so I hand embroidered her first name initial to the front side of the tote bag. The alphabet "Y" is stitched with a chain stitch, and the tiny flower is stitched with Lazy Daisy.

The tote bag is finished and it flew 7,200 miles (11,000 km) away from Southern California to Asia!
It was such an enjoyable process for me to work on a handmade project together with my niece.  And I'm delighted to announce that the gift arrived safely in her hands, and she seems to like the handmade tote!  She told me that she brings it to school everyday, which left her aunty with a big smile on her face :) 
トートバッグはなんとか無事に完成して姪っ子の元まで飛んでいきました~。 その後・・・姪っ子からのメールで、毎日学校に持って行ってくれているということです。 それを聞いてオバさんは安心しましたよ~。
なかなか会う機会のない姪っ子と、今回はハンドメイドを通して頻繁に交流できたのがとても楽しかったし、嬉しかったです♪ まさに、食いしん坊万歳!じゃなくて、ハンドメイド万歳ですね!(笑) 
Happy handmade and happy sewing!
Love, Amy

Yummy crocheted cupcake かぎ針編みのカップケーキ

I crocheted a sweet cupcake recently. Does this look yummy to you?  I especially like the red cherry on the top! I followed a pattern from this Japanese crochet book.

Book title : Amigurumi Small Zakka

You may recall that I made this crocheted strawberry before following the same pattern book.


This book is in Japanese, but I noticed that English translated version will be published here in the U.S. this year. As a Japanese national, it's so fascinating to see the world of Amigurumi (crocheted or knitted stuffed toys) continue to capture the minds of global crocheters and knitters around the globe!


English version(英語版): Simply Adorable Crochet: 50 of the Cutest Projects Ever
Author: Maki Oomaci

ISBN-10: 1937994120

  • ISBN-13: 978-1937994129

This cupcake is made up of four different parts: the body (or the sponge), frosting, cherry, and the stem. I filled the body with stuffing and hand stitched all parts together.


I like how this amigurumi cupcake turned out, but it looks somewhat like a fancy acorn to me (lol)!  I may have stuffed too much stuffing inside...  I definitely need more practice in making amigurumi!

可愛く出来上がって満足しています。 が・・・私の編み方に問題があるのでしょう。 よく見るとどんぐりの出来損ないのようにも見えませんか?!綿を詰めすぎたのかもしれません。 これに懲りずに今後も手編みのあみぐるみ道を極めたいと思います^^

Crochet granny chair pad かぎ針編みの丸モチーフ2枚で円座

Do you remember this crochet granny round that I posted on my last post?
Well, I kept on working on it using my yarn stash, until it was approximately 15" (38 cm) diameter in size. 

When I first began crochting this granny round, I wasn't sure what I was going to make out of this.  After some thoughts, I decided to make a chair pad for our stool to warm my butt during the cold season (lol).

To make a warm and cushion-y layered chair pad, I crocheted another round pad using similar colored yarns. But this time using double strands of yarns for extra softness and durability.

Two crocheted rounds completed.
Close up of the second crocheted round pad.
With wrong sides facing, I joined two layers of crocheted rounds together with slip stitch.

The reversible crochet granny chair pad is completed.

Here's the reversible side.

 I like the retro look of this chair pad. I may use this for my car's driving seat instead. It was also a good project to use up my left over yarn stash (although I still have alot more stash left in the boxes!)
Happy crocheting and hope you are enjoying your February days :)
少々派手ですが(苦笑)、レトロな感じの円座に仕上がって満足しています。車の運転席の座布団として使うのもいいかも? 余り毛糸の消化にもつながり、良かったです。でもまだまだ毛糸在庫はたくさんありますが・・・。


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