Wednesday, December 30, 2009
You know you're jealous! I got it as a present from one of my friends, and I'm disgustingly excited to make it. I'll be baking it tonight, then icing it to look like the Christmas tree version after work tomorrow so it's nice and fresh for the big event.
Other notable gifts this year include my new Kindle, courtesy of my parents, which I am now obsessed with; tons of games for our Wii and DS (and by tons, I mean three); a drop spindle from another crafty fiber-obsessed friend of mine, along with some fiber to go with it; a chair massager which has provided much relaxation over the course of our week; a Pandora bracelet and Wizard of Oz collectible Blu-Ray set from hubby's parents (oh, and tickets to see Jim Gaffigan!!!!); and just so much more to mention, I don't have the time. We had such a great Christmas.
In other personal news, hubby and I have been incredibly busy house hunting, which has been fun and tedious all at the same time, and I'm applying to graduate school to get my MBA in Marketing. If I get accepted, I'll be starting in April 2010, in the hopes that we'll have a house by then and be done with any renovations to be moved in already. Cross your fingers for us!
I'll leave you with a photo of the hat I made for my cousin. I made it from this pattern, which is based on the hat Hermione wears in Half-Blood Prince.
And speaking of Harry Potter, I decided what little free time I have left just needed to disappear, so I joined the Harry Potter House Cup on Ravelry. I thought it would be a great way to force myself into finishing projects for a change, as well as maybe trying something new (for example, they have knit- and crochet-a-longs). Well, this morning I got a notification that I had been sorted into the Gryffindor house, so it looks like it's starting up!
I swear I'm not a huge geek... I swear I'm not a huge geek... I swear I'm not - who am I kidding?
Happy New Year, everyone!
Monday, December 21, 2009
A couple weeks ago, I developed quite the uncomfortable pain in my mouth. I thought it would go away, but it had other ideas. Turns out that 26-years-old isn't too old to suffer from wisdom tooth hatred. I had never had a problem with them before, and my bottom two teeth have been partially impacted for years with no trouble. Christmas apparently brings out the best in everything.
Suffice it to say, I found out I had this problem last Monday, and went in for emergency extraction last Wednesday, and have been laid up with pain pretty much every day since. Well, it actually wasn't as bad as I was expecting, but it certainly hasn't been a joy ride. I really thought I could get some crafting done while I sat in bed all day, but I pretty much didn't want to do anything other than laugh at some of the klassy guests on Maury.
Anyway, since the wedding in October, I've had two colds, a foot injury, and four parts of my skull removed. I guess I wanted to end 2009 in style.
On to yarn-related goodness: prior to my imminent death, Nick and I went on a Christmas tour de Bethlehem. We live here and never really get a chance to experience our downtown area or go shopping in the cute little stores, and we don't really know the history, either. So my dad had planned a day in Bethlehem for our family and church back home. We met up with them and spent a day taking in the local sights and overall just enjoying the decorations. It was luckily a really nice day, so we didn't totally freeze. We had a great time, except for the part where my tooth was trying to stab my face off of my face for more of the day.
Of course, I took the opportunity of shopping downtown to visit one of our local yarn stores I hadn't been to before: Tangled Yarns. I'd link to their website but heck - they don't have one. And from what I can gather on Ravelry, they don't want one. If you ladies ever read this, I'd really love to help you out with my graphic design skills!
Nick pretty much wanted to kill himself the whole time, but eventually I found yarn I wanted and could afford to by:
From Ironstone Yarns. I figured it would coordinate really well (notice how I don't say "match" because matching isn't as interesting as coordinating) with my obnoxious fuschia-pink coat I got for 50% off at Old Navy back in November. I'll have to post a photo of the scarf when it's complete, but I'm almost halfway done with it now, using this super easy and quick pattern. I'll be putting it aside to finish up some holiday gifts and whatnot, but it shouldn't take much longer to finish up.
I just read the label for a recommended needle size, then searched that needle size on Ravelry for an appropriate pattern. God bless modern technology.
I had really intended for this update to be much more interesting, but alas.
If I don't get another chance to update before the week is out, I hope you all have a Merry Christmas! Petey does, too, when he's not destroying all my beautifully wrapped presents:
MERRY CHRISTMAS :D
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
I received my first swap package (from the wonderful Becky in Ravelry's Swap on a Budget group) last week, and it was AMAZING!
First, the whole kit and caboodle:
Look, she sent me a kitty! Just kidding :) That's Petey, our younger cat who's obsessed with Nick. He was so excited to be part of the photo. I think he just wanted to eat the hot chocolate because it made a fun crinkly sound, haha.
But look at that amazing pink bag! And all the super fun stuff! Beautiful crocheted cowl, a great book I can’t wait to get started reading (it’s right up my alley - and SIGNED by the author, which is just some added fun), great patterns for a hat and coordinating fingerless mitts and the fun black and PINK yarn to make it, hot chocolate , a fun candy cane, and so much more!
A (poorly taken) photo of the amazingly awesome stitch markers! I told my husband that I’ve never had a set of fancy stitch markers before, and for my first set, these are absolutely amazing. Silver, pink, and classy - sounds like something I’d love! Haha. I can’t wait to dangle these off my needles! I'll have to find a super safe place for them, as I our couch has a terrible track record of eating all my stitch markers and pretty much anything else I leave there.
A close-up of the yarn I can’t wait to start using :D I already added the hat pattern to my projects so I remember to take 5 minutes for myself and make myself a hat with this beautiful yarn. It’ll actually make a nice set for my new winter coat - which is bright pink. Surprise!
All the different hot cocoas I received. I think this week, I’m going to come home from work each night, light up the tree, cuddle under a blanket with all my holiday knitting/crocheting, and sip a new cup of these each night. They all sound so wonderful; I don’t know which one to choose first!
Thank you SO MUCH, Becky! This package really made my night, and I’m so excited for all of it. You really “got” what I like and love, so rest assured that all of this will be enjoyed!!!! Thanks again!!!!
I've since received another fantastic package from another swap, and just need to upload the pictures. These are super fun, and I can't wait to participate in more this coming January!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
- A wide selection of colors and fibers - really, the sky's the limit! (Though if you want me to make something out of a $30 skein of yarn, we may have to do some negotiating :P)
- A consultation with me about the type of hat they want and what I'm capable of making, which as you've seen is quite a lot!
- FREE SHIPPING within the continental US.
After ordering, you'll receive a beautiful printable gift certificate (to place in a cute holiday card for gifting) with instructions on how the recipient can order their hat through Alchemy.
So please enjoy these custom creations as my apologies for not being able to take as many custom orders as I'd like for the holidays! These gift certificates are a great way to still give your favorite people one of my custom creations without having to worry about it arriving in time for the holidays!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I'm sure the yarn (which is probably of awesome quality) helps with the price of this, but I could seriously see myself whipping one of these out in an hour or two for maybe $20. And what a cute gift for my friends?! Do with it what you will!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
A couple years ago, I had found a tree skirt pattern that I really liked. That year, I had broken up with my long-term live-in boyfriend, and though it was a happy time due to the fact I didn't need to deal with that jerk anymore (hehe), I was then living alone in a town most of my friends had left. It was actually pretty depressing. I turned to knitting and crocheting once again to keep me company in the off hours (okay, and my cat, but I feel like we're crossing the line into crazy cat lady territory here).
Anyway, I spent hours and hours and hours, and most of my short Thanksgiving break, working on this stupid tree skirt. I needed tons of Red Heart Holiday yarn to complete it and, at the time, had only been able to find it on ebay. Go figure, considering now I see it everywhere! So for the past three years, I've had piles of this leftover, sparkly yarn just waiting to be used. Since the yarn's purchased, I've left that armpit of a town I had been living in, moved closer to my friends, got a new job, met the man of my dreams, got married, and somehow managed to acuire another cat. Basically, this yarn has been through a lot with me.
Enter the Crochet Shells Mobius. I saw it in one of the overly-numerous emails I get from yarn companies throughout the day. I remember thinking it was super pretty, and then getting excited to see it was made out of Red Heart Holiday. Hallelujah! An excuse to bust my stash.
So over the course of about three days on and off, I was able to not only use up almost all of my red color (oh, and there are still white and green left to go, too!), but I made my first mobius wrap, as well. I found some other mobius patterns I've been sitting on for years that I think I'll use for the other colors, and basically build myself a really cute holiday collection. It's super warm, and not as itchy as you'd think with the gold weaved through.
Hurray. An FO at last.
I actually have a bunch of other completed projects, but I can't show them yet because they are for swaps I'm participating in ;) I can't wait to unveil what they are!
So yeah, I've been incredibly busy with making everything for those swaps, as well as starting on Christmas gifts. It's that time of year! And we still need to get started on Thank You's for our wonderful wedding just over a month ago. I feel like such a slacker on those! I promise we will get to them before people forget we even had a wedding!
Oh, and I wrote a guest blog over here on how to unravel sweaters to recycle yarn. What a great way to get a ton of yarn at a great price for all your holiday projects!
I hope all your holiday crafting is going just swimmingly :)
Monday, November 9, 2009
I'm pretty sure it's this kind of thing (and, you know, granny square dresses), that give people in my industry a very bad name.
That said, I almost don't care, and the only people who will get to witness this in person are Nick and me... and everyone on Facebook once I've completed one and barrage my profile with the asinine photos.
Think about it... a brown torso with multicolored scallops = turkey costume for Thanksgiving! Red torso + fun fur trim = Christmas Santa! Green torso with red trim = Christmas elf! My cats are totally going to love this. Right?!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I'm really looking forward to getting back into the swing of this blog, as well as diving head-first into all the projects I've started and never got a chance to finish because wedding stuff popped up, and fighting off all the new projects I've been drooling over but haven't had the time to pick up my needles or hooks to create.
Friday, September 25, 2009
I'm just really, horrifically bad with lace patterns, it seems. Well, I'm not bad - if - I put stitch markers between every pattern repeat and religiously count off numbers. Why yes, Nick does give me strange looks whenever I sit on our couch going "One... two... SKP2... one... two..."
Anyway, I actually started this hat last year. A friend of mine wanted me to make a hat for his girlfriend has a Christmas (2008) gift. I had found this pattern and knew that pretty much everyone and their cousins had knitted this hat, and most of the reviews made it sound so easy. My knitting skills were getting much better, and I thought it would be a great intermediate project for me.
Well, it wasn't. I couldn't count. Somehow, after switching from my DPN's to my circulars (this hat is knit top-down) and would begin the next row, the YO's would be off, and my leaves would start migrating to the right, and I'd just get so fed up I'd throw my yarn in a pile and not look at it again for days. Rinse, repeat, and you pretty much have my whole late-October of 2008.
This year, I decided to try my hand at this one again. I had tons of cream-colored yarn left over from a commission, so I thought this might be a fun way to use it up (and for the record, I got like three hats out of one skein with my knitting - sometimes, it's just so much more cost-efficient than crochet!).
I only had to frog it once, which made me very proud! Eventually, I figured out that after switching to circulars, I should place a marker every 8 stitches, and that really helped me keep on track with the pattern, and see where I was messing up (for example, if I forgot to PSSO during the SK2P's or something like that, which was often the problem), or if I had forgotten to YO the row before.
Lo and behold, the pattern is actually easy, and I no longer refer to it as the devil's hat. And the result is actually quite pretty! A little big, I think, so next time I might use smaller needles, and I didn't switch to smaller needles for the ribbing as the directions said, so that's totally my fault. But it still looks nice, and super comfortable!
Wishing you all a great weekend!
Monday, September 21, 2009
I have, however, taken up more knitting in the past couple weeks as we approach the 2.5 week mark until the wedding. With almost everything done, and just waiting on RSVP's, I have no choice but to sit here, brood, and give myself migraines over the excitement and nerves I've been feeling. So I'm back to loving yarn again, though all my crochet stuff is still on hold while I try my hand at a whole slough of knitting patterns.
In recently finished projects, we have the below cabled hat (ravelry link):
And one of my Whitney Headbands, requested through Alchemy in my etsy shop (ravelry link):
Apologies for the junky photo of that headband. My good camera decided to die on me, so I had to resort to an older one whose quality isn't that great. But I did get a good review on it in my etsy shop, so I'm glad she loves it!
In other crafty news, I am almost done making one of these. Also, I ventured out in West Chester this weekend for a pre-bachelorette shindig with my Matron of Honor and future SIL, and I demanded a trip to a yarn boutique, haha. I entered the store not really knowing what my motivation was... until I stumbled upon a huge display of sock yarn. So guess what I'm making now?!
Yes, I purchased some yarn to make my first pair of socks EVER! I ended up speaking to another woman in the store who warned me that they are addicting. Right now, I'm almost done creating the heel flap on my first sock, and I'm nervously awaiting my attempt at turning the heel, and I can see how they can be addicting! I'm using a very basic pattern that allows me to just mindlessly knit miles of stockinette, which made for great TV watching yesterday while Nick was at his bachelor's weekend in Nashville (I bonded with some BuffyTVS, Vampire Diaries, and Vanity Fair). I'm still a bit slow working the smaller needles, but they are very fun and the yarn is beautiful. I will have to take a photo for my next entry, and I really wish I remembered the name. I can't wait to see if I can do this!
They were supposed to be a honeymoon plane ride project, but I just couldn't resist. Oh, well. I can always purchase more yarn and make Nick a pair, too. He asked if I would, and I told him to hold on a minute and see if I can make it through one sock, first :)
Anyway, wish me luck in these next few weeks before the wedding! I never understood just how stressful a wedding could be until I started planning my own. Who knew that there was so much involved in planning for something that's started and over in 12 hours? Seems like a pain to me! We have the marriage license sitting at home, and it was ready to go on Saturday. It's so tempting to just go and have it over with :P
Friday, June 12, 2009
I think that will be my weekend project :)
PS: For some pre-weekend reading, why don't you read Vickie Howell's blog post about why all of our craft shows have disappeared from DIY and HGTV, and what we can do to bring them back!
Thursday, June 11, 2009
- School of Fish Pillows - I'm trying to find a way to justify making these by coming up with places I could put them in our apartment... and I've decided they don't match anything, but would still look really cute wherever!
- Whimsical Watermelons - Okay, my friends' babies need to grow up a little now so I can make this adorable hat and blanket set for everyone, hear me?
- Catch a Wave - I usually shy away from blankets because even baby blanket, to me, are super overwhelming and can't really hold my attention. This seems like a nice summer-long brain break to me, though, and I do love Designer Sport...
- Flippy the Fish - Um, yes. Multiple times yes. Too cute to bear!
- Lace & Amethyst Wrap - I've never made a wrap before, and this one looks like it might be a fun first-foray into them :)
As always, all of the patterns and article are wonderful, and Nick will tell you that my eyes light up whenever I get home from work to an issue of CT on our table. These are just a few of the great projects you'll find this summer!
Friday, June 5, 2009
I've been super busy (I hate when people give that excuse), so I haven't had time to get a lot done, but you can bet I have a ton of ideas floating around in this blonde head of mine. On top of being busy, I've also suffered from two migraines in the course of 2.5 weeks, so that's two days I've been totally out of commission. I blame it on stress, but it's not like I can really control that right now. Any suggestions from you guys?
Anyway, today begins another wedding weekend for some friends of ours. Nick's in this one this time around, which means I get to lounge around at the hotel all day while he's doing work, mwahaha. So hopefully I'll get some stuff done.
A couple things I'm working on:
- Reversible knit caps. Using the XO chart I posted last week, I've started knitting reversible hats. And so far, they look awesome. I totally wish I had a picture, but the weather's been terrible (ergo, no natural light for my light box) on top of us all being crazy busy. The one I'm working on is bright pink on one side and white on the other. I really think these will look awesome.
- Mix & Match hats and flowers. Sometimes, I do enjoy a mindless project. Crocheting a basic hat pattern is one of those mindless projects I enjoy, so I've taken to making them, but with a twist - I'll be selling these plain-ish hats separately from the flowers so people can mix and match. I think we all enjoy customizing stuff, don't we? I figure, I can link the images up to a Polyvore account to let people see what the colors would look like together, and it can be overall fun experience for everyone involved.
- Playing around with the idea of knitting a Welsh Dragon square for my dad's birthday. We all know how hard it is to craft something for the men in our lives, and my dad's birthday is coming up next week. I really think I could whip this up in a couple hours, but haven't decided what to do with it yet. Give him this square with the promise of an afghan? Frame the square? Make potholders for the kitchen at our lake? I'm not sure. I do know he's obsessed with our Welsh heritage, though, so I think this'll be a good gift.
Sigh... so much to do :)
PS: I've created a mailing list to keep in touch with all my wonderful friends and customers. It's nothing fancy (you think I'd be more anal about it being a graphic designer and all), but I want it to just be a fun and relaxing way for us all to keep in touch. I'm also offering shop deals for everyone's birthday, too! If you want to receive my updates - which I say are monthly, but we all know they'll be few and far between - just sign up! :D
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
I then made the cream-colored one as a custom order. They look mighty pretty together, wouldn't you say? :)
I've also taken to punching holes through my business cards and using them a tags... it was too much upkeep having both business cards and tags (believe it or not), so now they're multipurpose. And I certainly have enough of them!
So... these are all going out on Friday because I'm already taking a 1/2 day at work for yet another wedding (second one in two weeks!). The post office has such wonky hours that I either make Nick take them for me because he works by one, or I go on the rare occasion I have time off. How and when do you guys ship out your stuff? I used to use UPS, but they really, REALLY seemed like a rip-off.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
What a busy couple of weeks! Whew!
In one of my last entries, I had mentioned being busy at my friend's bachelorette party, where our first stop was the Corning Museum of Glass in NY. I had promised some pictures, so on one of the few sunny days we've been having here in PA, I managed to snap a couple fun pictures. It didn't turn out too shabby, I don't think!
I think my favorite part is the swirly stem :) I'm not really sure where I'll be keeping it, though... right now, it's sitting on our mantle and doesn't really match any of the decor - which generally means it'll end up in our office somewhere, haha.
I should probably also mention that the friend we went with to make these flowers got married this past weekend. I've never cried at a wedding before, but I was a sobbing mess of tears a couple times during the ceremony and reception, and I may or may not have had some champagne before my MOH toast to keep myself from throwing up. But it was a great time, and I think everyone had a ton of fun!
I'll leave you with a photo of all the lovely ladies!
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Click for larger version.
PS: Pictures of the glass flower are coming soon; I'm just waiting for a sunny day so I can take some nice photos. Instead, Mother Nature has decided to play mental games with me by making it cold and dark every day this week!
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I'm in the middle (with the green shirt).
If I had a brain, I would have thought to take a photo of the great flowers we all made (I'll have to remember that when I get home tonight), but for now, we shall settle for a group picture taken at the beginning of tasting.
How about you guys? Get any cute projects done?
Monday, May 18, 2009
The first is the throw method, in which you hold the yarn in your right hand and actually "throw" the yarn around the right needle before drawing it through the loop. On most knitting TV shows, this is how you'll see people do it.
Second is the combination method, something that I'll never actually understand. I've watched people do this and still can't grasp what's happening, but you knit into the loops a little differently and almost switch back and forth between two different methods and gah - there's a reason I drive an automatic. Too much going on makes it hard for me to focus.
And third, the way I learned, is the continental method, in which you hold the yarn in your left hand and scoop it up with the right needle. This is how my oma taught me to knit when I was 12, and it was only a couple years ago I discovered there were other ways. I stuck with continental, though, because everyone said it was just so easy and fast (and it really is). People tell me I like this method because I also crochet, and the motion is very similar to crocheting, but - it's just what I know.
Recently, I was "picked on," I guess, for knitting continental. And I use that term loosely because no harm was meant by it, haha. And I have to admit that at the time, I was holding the needles oddly because I was working on a small amount of stitches on a pair of circulars, and it was just being really clumsy for me.
After I came home that night, I decided it was time to learn the throw method - oddly enough, it came super easily to me and I enjoyed it. I threw my knitting for a couple days... and got nowhere with my pattern. I think I was able to accomplish a couple inches on my earflap hat (I never said I was a fast knitter).
So now... I'm back to my continental and whizzing through. I should say I had absolutely no problems with the throw method, either - continental is just that much faster. That said, I've started holding my needles more comfortably, as I was doing with the throw method, so it all worked out.
But, I would just like to know... what's the big deal? Why does it matter how someone knits? The result is honest-to-God the same, and I'm just getting there faster. Before, I thought the "fighting" between knitters and crocheters was ridiculous, but this is a whole new realm :) How do you guys knit? Which is most comfortable? Do you judge others by how they knit? (Seriously on that last one, I judge the way people crochet, so it's okay if you say yes!). I'm not offended - just curious :)
And PS: I signed up for a Plurk account today. Have any of you guys checked this out? It's like Twitter on Speed with a totally cool user interface. Let me know if you sign up :)
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
The two big bars of soap I made. The pink one on the bottom, rose-scented, came out the best (which says something considering the edges are all jagged). The cucumber melon one on top didn't turn out too great - I didn't let the first layer sit long enough before adding the second layer, so it melded into the first. Kind of left it with a cool effect, though, and I'm giving it to Nick because he loves cucumber melon.
There's a funny story behind these. My parents bought a Mickey ice cube tray during one of our visits to Disney World when I was a kid. I loved making the Mickey-shaped ice cubes growing up, but eventually I got my own place after college and whatnot. My parents were going to throw the tray away because it was falling apart, and I couldn't bear to part with it, so... it became mine! In the process of making the soap, I thought it might be neat to see what would happen... the same thing that happened to the green soap up top happened to most of the mice, but I think it looks really cool. And cute!
I was apparently never meant to be a soapmaker.
As mentioned in a previous post last week, I was going to run home, break open a kit I had purchased months ago, and become the best soapmaker since Dove went on the market, right?
It started out all fine and dandy. Until I went to make my second bar of soap and needed to rinse out the Pyrex container. Soap encrusted onto the glass! Suds everywhere! The smell of lavendar and cucumber melon pouring out of my microwave (not that this was a bad thing)! I actually really enjoyed the smell of my kitchen for about an hour or two.
Overall, the results weren't horrific or anything - it was just a bunch messier than I thought it would be. I did still like doing it, though, and have lots of other ideas. I'm just not sure I'll ever try to make multiple scents or colors in one sitting again (too much of a pain to clean out the Pyrex every time), and I think I'm going to invest in a soap block instead of using molds that crack or warp when I go to take out the finished pieces.
That said, none of these are really in any shape for me to hand out for Mother's Day, but my intentions were good! I had even bought tulle and ribbon to wrap them all up in, but as you can see... I didn't make too many and I don't think they turned out nice enough to gift to anyone. Or maybe I'm just a perfectionist.
So now... I have to come up with a new idea before the weekend is over. Thinking hurts right now.
Hope you all have a wonderful Mother's Day weekend! What are you up to? As of right now, I'm still not sure what I'm doing other than possibly doing breakfast early Sunday morning with my fiance's mom and sister. But it's all up in the air.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
A picture of the sweater just after I had put the sleeves on stitch holders. Making the sleeves is usually my least favorite part of sweaters, at least on raglans because it requires me to seam. I HATE SEAMING!
Here, I'm about two rows away from starting the garter stitch border. Such a quick knit! I love it, overall.
This past weekend required me to travel to my parents' place, which is about an hour north of where I'm living now - maybe a little more. I needed a break from ruffles, and I didn't feel like dragging huge Frosted Waves panels with me when I wouldn't have too much time to work on anything, so of course I started another project in my queue.
Enter yet another baby project. Seriously, people, you have to quit reproducing! Anyway, one of the girls at work just had a baby last month, and she really wanted me to make one of the baby sweaters I've made before. This time, for a boy.
And so, I took home with me a skein of yarn and a pair of circular knitting needles. Why circular? Because the last two times I've made this sweater, my needles were never long enough to handle the increases, and it also felt wonky to keep knitting a sweater (which ends up going around) on flat needles. So this time around, I decided to try them on circulars, and I may never go back to straights. Okay, that's totally a lie, but I do love working on the circulars. I don't need to worry about losing a needle, I can push the project onto the wire between knitting sessions, they're less clumsy, etc. If you haven't tried knitting a larger flat piece on circulars, you probably should!
The pattern is written for a preemie, which in the past has given me some trouble. The first sweater I ever made from it is way too small to gift to friends. It's now sitting in a yarn basket at home waiting for God only knows what before making another appearance. The second time, the result was much better after I cast on 10 more stitches, but still seemed a little small. This time around, I cast on the extra 10 stitches and went up two needle sizes, which seems to have made all the difference. I'm adding a couple extra rows between button holes and at the bottom of the sweater so it's not too short, and I think it's turning out nicely.
I'm getting pretty good at this pattern to the point I can improvise up, down, all around, whatever. I've even started thinking of some fun decorative borders I can add to it in the future. It's a really basic pattern that I'd recommend to any newbie wanting to get into sweater-knitting.
And uh... this is my oath that I'll work on Frosted Waves and the Ruffled Capelet sometime this week, as well.
PS: Make sure to check out the Fiber Arts Friday Blog Carnival!
Friday, May 1, 2009
A photo of the completed Frosted Waves front panel. It could definitely benefit from some blocking and probably a photographer with more time and patience.
I'm struggling. I really am. Struggling with what? Finishing anything! I'm not a slow knitter or crocheter by any means, I promise you! My knitting could be faster - I can admit that - but I'm not slow! And nothing makes me more giddy than looking at the amount of rows I can crochet in a night and know I'm super close to already being done with a project.
So... WHY IS IT TAKING ME TWO WEEKS TO FINISHED MY FROSTED WAVES PULLOVER?!?!?!?!
I have worked on this every night for almost two weeks now. All I have to show for it is one completed front panel and some armhole shaping on the second panel. I read all of your blogs and see you guys whipping up afghans, socks, and a couple hats in a matter of days. How do you do it?!
I know I had some trouble shaping the armholes because I apparently can't read more-intricate patterns (for example, toward the end of the armhole shaping when it told me to repeat Rows 2-4, I wound up repeating 2-4 of the wave pattern instead of 2-4 of the armhole shaping - I can't begin to tell you how frustrating that was to me until I figured it out... not before I had to download the stitch diagram and see it drawn out in front of me, mind you!).
As I was working on the second panel, I turned around to see Petey (the kitten) using the front panel as his own personal blanket. I love how my men appreciate the work I do!!!! Grumble.
I have great admiration for all of you who are able to complete so many projects with a much crazier life than mine. But how is it done?!
Hope you all have a fun and craftily-productive weekend!
Thursday, April 30, 2009
This week in the land of Jenn, all signs have been pointing toward, "No, really, you should whip out that soapmaking kit you bought months ago and try it out. Seriously. Do it."
It all began with an episode of Martha Stewart Crafts in which she makes the home version of Savon de Marseilles... or something. You can't hear me right now, but I'm totally butchering French over here. Then, I was watching Creative Juice one night where they made soap, chapstick, and other bath essentials. And now, I just read a post over at Naughty Secretary Club that there will be a weekly YouTube series about making soap.
And so last night, after traipsing through my sad excuse for an ACMoore where I did not have much success and ending up at the grocery place next-door, I bought a Pyrex container I will dedicate just to soapmaking.
This seems like a craft that was made just for me. Take some stuff, melt it down, get all artsy with it, put it in a mold, then let it sit for a bit while you go do something productive. Like knit or crochet while watching really bad TV (is anyone else pumped for the new episode of Daisy of Love this coming Sunday?).
Ergo, while Nick watches the Celtics probably barely scrape through to another win in the playoffs, I'm seriously thinking about whipping out my kit and seeing what all this hubbub is about in an attempt to go handmade this Mother's Day. I even bought some fun tulle and ribbon to put the soap in when I'm done for gift-giving purposes. I'll keep you updated, but I'm sure I'll probably just boil a finger off before this is all said and done.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
And so begins another few months of staring longingly at projects I want to make when I definitely don't have the time or money to do so, haha.
So for this week's Want-It Wednesday, allow me to chronicle (or drool over, whatever happens first) the Pop Goes Crochet patterns I want to tackle immediately.
- The aforementioned Helena Bonham Carter poncho. I just think it's super cute, even for me (my rule has always been to stay away from ponchos, but now I'm seeing all these cute ones popping up that I must create! Or maybe I've just hit rock bottom, I don't know).
- The Vera Wang pullover, designed by Robyn Chachula (of course!). I'm starting to really learn her style, so I was not shocked to think I really wanted to make this pattern only to discover it was her design! It's beautiful, clean, and looks like something that will hold my interest the whole way throughout. Like me, she hates sewing, so I can only imagine how great this pattern will be!
- The Cameron Diaz-inspired hoodie. I'm not sure why, as I usually abhore granny squares used for clothing. But I think this is handled really well and looks great. I'll be heading to the beach for a couple days during my honeymoon, and this might look really awesome for the cooler October nights down in Florida.
- The Drew pendant. You know, I have to say I didn't really have a huge interest at making this until I discovered it's all done on a hairpin lace loom. I guess you can call me hairpin lace's new biggest fan after a few scarves I've made recently (nothing intricate at all, just basic technique, and they get such rave reviews!) and I'd really like to learn more. I didn't realize you could do so much with one of the hairpin lace looms.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaand so many more. My advice is really just to pick up this book. I've been trying to be good, I really have, but I couldn't resist this one. And for under $14 at amazon, it's well-worth the purchase (and the holiday gifts you can probably get out of it!)
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
I've mentioned before that I'm terrible at remembering to recycle, or going the extra mile to make sure the Earth is taken care of. I'd love to switch to the new lightbulbs they have out, but they give me migraines. I'm pretty good at not using styrofoam, though. You get the drift - I just haven't found anything that makes me excited about recycling.
This week's Want-It Wednesday will teach you how to take those bad-for-the-Earth plastic bags and turn them into something functional. Worst-case scenario: you have a new discussion piece that can be used to tell people more about your craft, recycling, the environment, what have you.
Below are some great links to help you get started. I apologize to my knitter friends out there, as most of these projects are for crochet. That said, once you get the yarn-making down, you can do anything with it that you do with regular yarn.
- Plasticbagbag.com: Very cool photo tutorial on how to make plastic bag yarn.
- Needlepointers.com: More of how to make plastic bag yarn and tons of links to projects for it!
- lovetoknow.com: Different ways of cutting plastic bags to create yarn and more.
- Cassette Tape Crochet: Here's one I had never thought of before, but pretty awesome. I could see this working for projects that need to look more delicate, like perhaps jewelry. Speaking of jewelry:
- Plastic Bag Crochet Necklace: Who knew?
- Recycle Plastic Carry-All: This one is super cute. Now, if only I shopped at more stores with different-colored plastic bags!
- Plastic Bag Crochet Shoes: Well, still not sure about this one, but why not? Could be cool for some light gardening or just for walking around by the pool.
- Recycled Plastic Easter Basket: Now that Easter is over, why not get a head start on next year? Haha. This is a cute idea, though, and could be used for other holidays, too. You could even make some outdoor bowls with this pattern or something.
Well, I've been saving all of our plastic bags for the past month or so and have a rather larger ball of "yarn" wound and ready to go. I can't wait to try some of these projects I found and start helping out in my own special way.
Have you guys ever knit or crocheted with plastic bags? Or other recycled materials?
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
So here it is: my first "for-sale" pattern! I feel like I've reached a whole new level. That said, I highly doubt it'll pay off my car or anything like that, but so far the response has been excellent (at least, with people who want to buy it). Everyone seems to love the color choices I made for the examples, which is great!
I didn't set out to write a pattern for these. I had seen similar ones and knew I could make them myself, so I sat down one weekend and came up with my own design. The pairs I had originally seen were kind of boxy, and I'm sure that's fine. I, however, have the wonderful "problem" of super tiny wrists. Every glove/arm warmer I had made in the round just never fit me right and would be crazy loose around my wrists. Well, my patterns solves that problem.
I think these gloves/arm warmers are really cute and feminine for those of us who like to show off our slender wrists. The pattern is easily adjustable (if you want it bigger, just go up a hook size, which should solve everything) and easy to embellish. One suggestion I had was to put shells at the top and bottom as an accent instead of the two different trims I unclude with the pattern - I think it's an excellent idea!
And honestly, I can't wait to see what people do with them color- and embellishment-wise.
So now... I sit and wait :)
Monday, April 20, 2009
I finished the main part of my friend's ruffled wedding capelet and started the bottom ruffle. I'm actually almost done with the it (the ruffle) at this point, which means only two more ruffles and thousands of stitches left to go! It sounds like I didn't work on it at all when I say I'm only almost done with the ruffle after a weekend, but let me tell you something - ruffles. take. FOREVER. I thought about taking another picture, but decided to spare you all yet another picture of brown and sparkles.
Thing is, I'd have gotten more done had I just taken my knitting in the car with me on our way to the Damien Jurado show. I remember looking at the yarn on my way out the door and thinking, "Well, I could, but it really shouldn't be necessary." And then... it took 2.5 hours to travel 56 miles because it's construction season here in PA, and I ended up staring at the same "Central Philadelphia" exit sign for multiple eons. I could have probably finished the capelet and started a good portion of a knit Ferrari or something in that time.
What a waste of time traveling right now is. Let's put it this way - I work 7 miles from my apartment and not one road that I use to get to work isn't under construction. I've tried taking several alternative routes to no avail because they are all under construction, also.
Anyway, I digress. Don't live in PA.
Because I started getting fed up with knitting ruffles (haha, but seriously, I was able to get only 2.5 rows done during the Rock of Love Bus Reunion show last night), I started the Frosted Waves sweater designed by Robyn Chachula. This time, I decided to get all professional on it by actually whipping up a gauge swatch, and boy am I ever glad I did! Based on the swatch, I learned I had to go down a hook size (to a G). I thought that was strange, since usually I crochet super tight and thought I'd have to go up a size, but maybe all those ruffles have gotten to me and I've started to crochet more looseley.
So far, I think it still looks like it might be a bit big on me (I'm doing the medium size), but we'll see how it plays out. It's supposed to be a bit baggy in the middle, and it seems like it'll fit around my bust, something I'm not used to sweaters doing! I also think my brain took a little vacation over the weekend because it took me three times to get the first row to match up with the amount of chains I did. Don't ask me why. I did spend 10 minutes on ravelry hoping to find some kind of errata to prove I wasn't crazy, but I knew deep down that Robyn Chachula, of all people, would never let that happen. But so far, so good now.
Hope you all had a good weekend and are enjoying this ugly, rainy Monday!
Friday, April 17, 2009
And THEN... the always-talented Robyn Chachula was holding a Knit & Crochet Today DVD giveaway on her blog. While I didn't win the DVD, she listed one of my comments as her favorite (for the favorite interview entry). I can't believe it - these people know I exist!
I should throw in the fact The Crochet Dude himself friended me on ravelry just because, and then I can die a happy woman.
End fan-girl moment.Okay, back to some real stuff. Like pictures of what I'll be working on this weekend.
Here we have some more progress on the brown sparkly wrap my friend wants to wear before her wedding. As you can see, I haven't done much more than in the last photo :) That said, it feels like it's flying now because I've decreased so much and put 10 stitches on holders on each end that I'm only knitting/purling about 90 stitches or less each row now.
In two more rows, I'll put the remaining live stitches on a holder and then start making the ruffles. I doubt you can see from the picture, but at the very bottom (that's curling, of course) and for every 3", there is a row of garter stitch. This will help me pick up and knit the three rows of ruffles. It's actually a really fun pattern, though I guess it looks kind of tedious. It gets pretty mindless once you're in the groove, though.
Next up, and speaking of the talented Robyn Chachula, we have this crocheted top from, I think, the Jan/Feb issue of Crochet Today. I tried to get the yarn used everywhere in a price range I could afford (as much as I wanted, I just couldn't rationalize $70 on yarn to my fiance, and I didn't feel like going through buyer's remorse). I ended up getting a lovely color of sport weight yarn from Herrshner's that I'm excited to try. It feels so soft and it looks so pretty. The yarn arrive a couple days ago and has been sitting in its box, all sad and lonely, crying for me to come do something with it. Please don't worry, dear yarn, I will be visiting you soon!
But isn't the pattern pretty? I can't remember what sparked me to go back and find it, but I went home that day and scoured my library. Lucky for me, I had just put everything in its right order, or I would have been there for hours.
Well, I do have other pictures, but they just don't seem blog-worthy. Included are a knitted scarf (I finished the tunisian crochet one and felt like using up more scraps, so scarves it is!) and a photo of the poncho pattern I was whining about in my last entry :)
So, I guess it looks to be a busy yarn-filled weekend for me, but I have a car trip to Philly tomorrow to see the wonderful indie artist Damien Jurado - I'll need some form of entertainment, right?
What are you guys up to this weekend? Any big plans?
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Now don't you all go clamoring over at once, but I thought I'd write up an about page for my blog. Nothing fancy. I just figured most people visit my blog instead of the main site, being that this is really the only thing I update anymore, haha. I'm even considering switching my domain straight to this blog to save on hosting costs, but for now, I think I like having them separate.
Anyway, so I'm here because I'm in a bit of a pickle, and I've decided to turn it into a new weekly feature: Want-It Wednesday. Every Wednesday, I will post something I really want to make or have that other crafters have made. This week, I freaking want this poncho pattern and don't know if I'm getting it or not.
A couple weeks ago, we had some friends visiting, and my one friend was wearing this hand-crocheted poncho her grandmother (I think) had made (see picture at right, but imagine it in a sparkly brown). It was great, and I searched high and low for the pattern to no success.
So I was ordering yarn online to make a sweater last week when I finally came across the freaking pattern. And you know what? You can only get it free with purchase of Moda Dea® Cheerio™ Yarn. Guess what yarn the place I was ordering from no longer carries? Yeah.
I ordered the pattern anyway, hoping I'd still be able to get it. No red "NO, STOP HERE"'s popped up on my screen, so we'll see if that's the case. The order arrived this morning and I'm dying to get home to see. But if not - does anyone know where else I can get this pattern?
Am I the only person who would obsess over something like this?
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Easter weather wasn't anything to write home about, either. It looked beautiful outside, but then you'd get out there and freeze. I luckily hadn't gone too spring-y on a dress this year, but nevertheless - it killed me to wear a coat on Easter Sunday! I hope everyone had a great holiday, though, and got lots of candies and other treats. Nick and I are now the proud owners of a mini Aerogarden, so that'll be tonight's project :D This is all in my attempt to be the lazy version of Martha Stewart.
My weekend was chaotic, as usual, but I thought I'd stop by and show you pictures of my two most current projects (because I wanted to play with my new camera ;)).
Here we have the wrap I'm making for my friend to wear over her gown before her wedding on May 30th. She had seen the pattern in a 2005 edition of Easy Knit & Crochet Ideas and thought it was super cute, especially since she had this sparkly yarn just sitting around. So far, so good. My only concern is that the yarn she had is DK weight and the pattern called for worsted, but she's a tiny person so we might be good :) I'm kind of worried about that, actually.
Anyway, I'm nearing the top of the wrap itself, which means I'll soon be picking up stitches and spending hours knitting some ruffles, haha. The title of the magazine says it all - pretty easy pattern, mostly stockinette and garter stitches. Placemarkers help with the decreasing on the top and the 3-stitch edging. I think the curl on the bottom (stupid stockinette!) will go away once I pick up and knit the bottom ruffle. Right?!
I got home from visiting my family yesterday afternoon and took to some of the craft shows our DVR had recorded before Nick came home from work. On it was a rerun of Knit & Crochet Today where they demonstrated hairpin lace and tunisian crochet. I've made a couple hairpin lace scarves inspired by that episode, but had yet to pick up the tunisian crochet hook I ordered awhile go. So... off to bust my stash I went and started creating this beauty. I love the bigger hook because it doesn't curl (the smaller hooks I had made the stitches tight and curl, which sucks if you want to make a fun scarf or something), and it's just really fun - and fast! - to work with. I can probably go through a TON of my stash making a bunch of these, and store them for gifts and upcoming craft shows. It never hurts to have too many on-hand finished projects.
And now... I'm off to work for the day and hope to finish writing my fingerless gloves pattern to have people test before selling it in my shop. I'm thinking $4 for the pattern, now. I don't think that's a bad price. Is it?
Thursday, April 9, 2009
You'd be wrong.
I recently discovered a great podcast called Stash and Burn. It looks like they've been around for awhile, but it's taken me just as long to get into the podcast groove. I guess I just never understood the appeal until now. But lately, it's been nice to put one on in the mornings as I'm getting ready to work, or listen to on my iPhone when it's time for bed and Nick decides we need to have something awful on the TV. You know, something like that.
The latest podcast I've listened to, which I think is #72, covered a bunch of cowls. After listening to them talk about how great they were, how quickly they knit up, and all the different patterns, I immediately took to ravelry and favorited probably far too many cowl patterns for my own good. I will now begin making an endless array of them, I'm sure, that will never get worn because I have a bad habit of making things and never using them.
Here are just a few links to my favorites:
- Basic Knit Cowl - Might be my first foray into cowls because it looks like it just goes around and around with only some increases and decreases here and there. Not too complicated, just how like things :)
- Luxury Cowl Hood - I kind of like the hood aspect of this. Should be really nice for the winter, since that's coming up soon now that it's almost mid-April! I swear, my crafty brain's seasons are mixed up to the max. Don't let that fool you, though, because I never get my Christmas projects done on time, anyway.
- La-La-Love-You Cowl - I La-La-Like this cowl a bunch. I think my new fascination with cowls is that they'll give me a chance to play around with new stitches, like the patterning in this one, without committing to a blanket or something that'll take forever if I don't like it.
- One Row Lace Cowl - I take back what I said about the Basic Knit Cowl - this crochet one might be the first one I make. Now that I've gotten knitting out my system, I'm ready to venture back into some light crocheting, and I can only imagine the instant gratification something like this will be.
Don't get me wrong - there is another yarn store on Main St called Tangled Yarns. Alas, they don't have a website, and some ladies on ravelry confirmed that they don't want to give in to the internet and social media, so I have no way to keep tabs on them! Especially with their wonky hours. So sadly, I have never been, but Knitter's Edge is open until 9PM weeknights. Wouldn't it be marvelous if they wanted to hire me part-time? Wink-wink.
In other amazing news, there's an ACMoore going up about 10 feet from where I work. You can imagine how productive (and expensive) my lunch breaks will henceforth be.