Hand Work and a Give Away!

Hi everyone! I’m going to be on the road today, traveling in the first time in forever, on my way to meet my new granddaughter. I’m excited beyond words.

It’s very possible that due to travel, etc, I may not be able to answer comments in a timely fashion, so I am doing a give away, which I will explain at the end of the post.

I love handwork and I have to have something to do while I watch television or I go a little nuts. Guess what? Handwork and new grandbabies go hand in hand, so I thought I’d show you my work in progress and a few things I’ve made that I’ll be taking along with me for the visit.

First of all, I am not a quilter. I love sewing, but piecing is difficult for me. I’ve accepted that I’m not a quilter and moved on; however, I’ve made an exception for my little granddaughter, because she really needs this kitty quilt when she’s a little older. These blocks are fresh off the embroidery hoop after hand embroidering the faces. Embroidery is also not my thing, but this was kind of fun.


I plan on hand quilting it, learning as I go. I figure grandbabies are probably pretty forgiving of newbie errors, right?

I smocked several items when my daughter was a baby and toddler, using the gathered dot method. I pulled out one of the patterns I’d used for her and smocked this little dress and bonnet. I love to smock. I almost bought a smocking machine on eBay, then decided that I wouldn’t use it enough, so I’m sticking with the dots.

And I tried my hand at knitting. I enjoy knitting, but I’m by no means a master. I found my first stabs at intarsia knitting to be challenging, so hats off to those who can do it! Intarsia is done with the different colors wound onto bobbins and dropped and added as needed. Imagine, if you will, the half-finished penguin sweater with probably 10 bobbins hanging from the back, in the mouth of my Aussie puppy who is racing around the room with her new prize. It was an adventure getting it back onto the needles.

Having learned my lesson about intarsia, I knit this sweater first with no pattern on it, then used duplicate stitches to embroider the flamingo and foliage after I was done. Much easier!

And now the give away. I’m offering a $15 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky responder. To be eligible, tell me what you like to do in your free time. It doesn’t have to be handwork. πŸ™‚ The randomly chosen winner will be announced on Saturday.

Best wishes,



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Jeannie Watt raises cattle in Montana and loves all things western. When she's not writing, Jeannie enjoys sewing, making mosaic mirrors, riding her horses and buying hay. Lots and lots of hay.

91 thoughts on “Hand Work and a Give Away!”

  1. Congratulations on your new grandbaby! I am not so crafty. I read during my free time. I would love to see a picture of the kitty quilt when it’s complete. My neighbor gave a quilt to me and my husband a few years back. She said she made it when her kids were just little. When she decided to give the quilts away (she just had too many), she gave us the one with cats on it and told me she considered us family and knew that one would be perfect for us as we both love cats. Her cats all all needlepoint outlines. I have it hanging on a wall so it doesn’t get damaged by cat nails on the bed.

  2. if the items in the pictures are yours , you are very good, and talented. I on the other hand have been loom knitting for about 6 years and crocheting for about 3 years. and I use to do stamped cross stitch. where the pattern in stamped on the cloth, I love doing crafts, the project i am doing now is a mile a minute calendar blanket. each month you do a different stitch and color and join it to the previous month, got 4 rows done so far.

    • The mile a minute calendar blanket sounds fascinating, Elaine. I’ve never tried loom knitting, but I have heard of it. I also loved the printed cross stitch, but haven’t done it in years.

  3. Congratulations on the new grandbaby. How cute are the sweaters. I love to paint and draw. Make knives and photography. I try to try different things. I’ve made homemade ornaments for each of my children so when they left the house and were on their own they would have a good start for Christmas. I’ve worked with clay and wood before too. Thank you for sharing your exciting news with us all.

  4. Beautiful work! In my spare time, I enjoy drawing, painting, writing, and reading. This time of year also gets lots of time in the garden.

  5. You have done an awesome job with all of your crafts, I wish I had have of your talents. I never learned how to knit on anything like that. That little dress you made is beautiful. I use to piece some quilts and sew some but my hands just don’t want me to do it anymore. Arthritis has got the best of them or I have just gotten lazy one. Lately with me I like to take walks and spend time outside when the weather lets me. I have a lot of yard work to do so that is where I will be.

  6. congrats on the new grandbaby!! I love to read or be outside and travel to see grands as well! Busy now with planting season in full swing!

  7. I love to read and watch crime stories on tv. In the summer i sit on my porch and read or enjoy the scenery

    • Emma, I love tv crime stories, too! My husband isn’t much of a fan, so I only get to do it every now and again. Sitting on the porch sounds lovely.

  8. Your work is beautiful, especially the smocking. I. My spare time I like to read, write, draw, paint and make jewelry for children in Mexico.

  9. congratulations on your granddaughter. oh but your projects are just wonderful. i love your kitties. in my spare time i love to make greeting cards for family and friends. i love to quilt/sew. Mostly for family and friends. though now i am also making things for our house. about time LOL i love to read. i love to do count cross stitch. and in the spring/summer/fall months i love to garden and can the veggies and fruits.

  10. I think your handiwork is gorgeous, especially the smocking! I do quilting, but usually only lap or crib size. I started when a granddaughter was born. Now every great grandchild gets one and i’m adding a grandchild in whenever. Currently a granddaughter graduating from high school is getting one. I also love to read!

  11. I have always loved to read but I enjoy making scrapbooks filled with my old photos for my grandchildren. These are treasures for them to enjoy and keep from when I was a young girl. I have old scrapbooks with empty pages which are filled with black and white photos with captions and the era.

  12. I read a great deal and write in my journal daily. I write about life and about growing up during another time and place so that others will know that life was different. I walk in the foothills and enjoy the beauty which surrounds me.

    • I’ve heard that journaling is a very empowering and centering activity and you are creating an important document for the future. That’s really cool.

  13. Congrats on your new grandbaby. Love all your crafts. Those cat pieces are really cute and that knitted sweater is too.
    What I like to do in my free time is read, write for fun, blog and cuddle with my Cat. Also, I like to spend time with friends & Family and spend my time watching birds and wildlife from the woods. You see I live in the country and near woods so watching wildlife and birds whether it be in real time or on a trail camera is fun for me. I used to do counted cross-stitch all the time but haven’t done it for a long while.

  14. I am 67 years old have always done hand work since I was in Junior High, mostly crocheting. I always wanted to learn to tat, and finally found needle tatting 3 years ago, and love it. I make little tatted doilies for under the spool of thread on a sewing machine. I’m also dabbling into making beaded tatted bracelets and earrings. I’m working on a patriotic line, hoping to supplement my income a bit. I’m so glad I found my passion for tatting!

    • I’ve long admired tatting, Sherry, but was never brave enough to try it. The projects are so intricate. Congratulations on mastering the craft and good luck with your patriotic line.

  15. Congratulations on your n ew granddaughter and how nice that you are on your way to go visit her, how exciting! Safe travels. Wow , I love your sewing and your knitting and is all so beautiful! I used to sew, I sewed a couple of things but it has been a while. I did make my childrens, and my grandchildrens and my son in law and daughter in laws Christmas stockings, I sewed things on them and I added sequins on them. I don’t knit, the last time I knitted was when I took Home Economics in HS, which was a very, very long time ago, and needless to say, I was not very good at all knitting. So I stuck to my sewing by hand, I also loved to embroider, but I haven’t embroided for a while either, my eyes aren’t as good as they used to be. I do dry flowers and I have made some cards and added some of the dried flowers on them. I do love to plant flowers and I do different crafts with my grandchildren. Have a Great time with your family and enjoy all the time you spend with them . Have a great weekend and stay safe.

    • Thank you, Alicia. Your Christmas stockings sound wonderful, and how lovely that you made them for the family. Planting flowers and doing crafts with grandkids are two of the nicest ways to spend free time.

  16. I love the cats!!!! I used to crochet, but can’t do that any more due to no wrist movement in my right wrist. I still like to embroider, though, it’s just a tad more difficult now, so I don’t do it much. My other creative outlet is one that I love, is easy to do, and makes me feel as if Mom is still here with me, and that’s making cards. Mom started making her own cards over 25 years ago, and I helped her. The past 9 years, I helped her more, and then started making my own to send to my insurance clients for their birthdays and Christmas. I try to find out things they like and make their cards geared to them, especially for my male clients and children. The women usually get flowers, though this year I’m doing a little girl on a swing, and using my client’s favorite colors for her clothes and their hair color for her hair.

    • I’m sorry to hear about your wrist, Trudy, but glad you can still embroider. I love that you are continuing your mother’s hobby. Handmade cards are the best. I treasure the ones I’ve received.

  17. I enjoy gardening in my spare time. Of course, this is only viable for about 6 months of the year, so reading is my natural go-to in winter! (And spring, fall, and summer too).

  18. Grandchildren are certainly a blessing, congrats! We have a (just turned) seven year old grand-girl who’s the delight of our lives πŸ™‚

    I’m not crafty in any way, shape, or form lol! I tried cross-stitch years ago, but had no patience for it and I never learned to sew more than a button back on a shirt or repair a seam. So what I do in my spare time is read, read, and more reading! πŸ™‚ I also like to borrow various BBC show dvd’s from our library (currently Foyle’s War) and watch in the evening with my husband. Or on nice afternoons we’ll go for a walk and just chat about whatever. We also love taking day trips or the occasional get-away weekend. We’ve discovered AirBNB’s where we can rent a house for much less expensive than a hotel & not be around people. Especially important these days! We find that we can save on eating out by buying our own food and cooking.

    So those are just a few things I like doing in my spare time, which I don’t get enough of it seems! Reading is my major hobby πŸ™‚

    Thank you for sharing your talent and this wonderful post today! I really enjoyed the pictures of these adorable sweaters. I bet they will look SO cute on the grandbaby!

  19. Those cat squares are too cute!!! I myself love spending time reading, but on occasion I draw or do a little arts and craft project.

  20. Congratulations on your New Granddaughter love the kitty squares they are so cute I Love reading and I also love fishing I use to quilt years ago but I don’t do that anymore and I also love to do puzzles Enjoy your new granddaughter! I have a New Granddaughter also she was a month old the 17th of April Blessings to you!

    • Congratulations on your new granddaughter, Sarah! I’m about to start fishing again. I quit while I lived in Nevada, and now I’m going to start again. Puzzles are fun. We used to do a family puzzle at Christmas.

  21. The cat blocks are so cute and the smocked dress really beautiful. I used to do hand work while watching tv at night including crocheting rugs using acrylic or cotton yarn. Lately I spend more time patching and repairing than making new items. When I do make something new it is most often tote bags. I use them as gift bags for graduation and wedding gifts, Christmas too, and include a note suggesting they can be used for shopping, storing things or just as a tote bag. One quilt square will make a pocket or front or back of a bag and I will get it done unlike a quilt that takes me years to finish. Enjoy your time with the new granddaughter. It is great that you are able to travel.

    • What a great idea making tote bags, Alice! I love it. I also repair things while watching tv. I hate idle hands. Again, the tote bag idea is really nice.

  22. How adorable!! You are very talented. I enjoy reading and genealogy. I also like to sew and have tried quilting, but I certainly don’t have my grandmother’s eye for color nor her tiny stitches evident in her vintage quilts.

  23. Jeannie, these items are darling. I love the smocked dress and bonnet. I got patterns to smock dresses when we finally got a granddaughter. It turns out doesn’t like dresses (she can’t play in them) and won’t wear them. The kitten quilt is turning out very nicely. I am sure she will treasure it. I have a cradle quilt my grandmother made when I was born and treasure it. I am impressed with your knitting. I tried to teach myself and I was a failure. I finally got knitting and pearling figured out, but couldn’t put them together. Not the thing to try and learn while living in the boondocks in the tropics.
    I do sew and enjoy embroidery and needlepoint, but haven’t done much of it in a while. My evening TV time is also the time I get on the computer, so I do both at the same time.

    Enjoy your granddaughter. I am so happy for you.

    • Thank you, Patricia! How lovely that you have the cradle quilt your grandmother made. That is a treasure. I love that you do computer and tv at the same time. Very effective use of time. πŸ™‚

  24. In my free time, I like to read, cross stitch, a beginner quilter as well as sew sequins and beads on calendars and banners.

  25. Oh, Jeannie – from one who loves needlework and truly appreciates one’s talents and time put into them – I am so in love with the LOVE you put into these pieces! Absolutely love the sweet smocked dress and bonnet. You say you’re not much of a quilter, but my goodness, your corners are perfect!! I’m so intrigued with the flamingo and flowers you embroidered. Dang! I’d love to know how to do that.

    I just read an article about how teens and twenty-somethings have revived the love of knitting are using Instagram, Tik-Tok, Pinterest, etc, to show off their handiwork. I’m thrilled – this generation needs to learn and enjoy these skills. Yay!

    • Thank you, Pam! I, too, am thrilled to see knitting and sewing gaining a new popularity. It’s so satisfying to use things you’ve made yourself even if they aren’t always perfect.

  26. Such gorgeous handwork, Jeanine. You look more like an expert than a newbie to my eyes! Your grandbabies are going to be so blessed!

    I’m a cross-stitcher. Like you, I love to have something to do while I watch TV. Especially during baseball season. My hubby always wants the game on, and I’m happy to watch, but I’m not very invested, so I can concentrate on my stitches. πŸ™‚

  27. Love your post. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

    In my free time, I love to cross stitch. It’s that kind of hobby you can’t live without. I’m either cross-stitching or planning my next project.

  28. Reading and the needle arts take up a lot of my spare time when I am not baking!

    I love the kitty quilt pattern

  29. I have lots of free time since retiring so spend it doing all kinds of needlecrafts, quilting ( love your kitty quilt by the way) reading and doing watercolor painting. I keep busy.

  30. Love all of your projects! You are talented!

    Spare time: I like to hike, swim, read, knit and cross stitch. I’ve tried to learn the guitar and the pano but I’m tone death and have no sense of rhythm. Now that the weather is warming up in Wisconsin I will plant flowers and cleanup the yard.

  31. Thank you everyone for your replies! I’ve loved learning about what you enjoy doing in your free time! I’m enjoying my new granddaughter and I have to say that yes, I’d forgotten how small babies are. This has been a delight.

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