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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Yarn Resolutions for 2013

Several blogs I read are putting up “Year in Review” posts – sharing projects from the last 365. I think my biggest finish was the Beast-Ghan. It took first place in the State Fair and was quite an accomplishment due to the general size of the … well…. beast.

I am not sure I’m ready to go digging through the remainder of my posts to try and figure out what is good to share again.

So what can I do… I can make resolutions!

I have never set resolutions before – not even for my regular life. I have lost weight (and gained weight) all without the help of some spoken promise on January 1. But this year, I am going to make some resolutions for my yarn life.

*takes a deep breath*

Look at this queue….

Rup… that’s my Ravelry queue… a queue of things I would like to make or liked the idea of and wanted to work up in my own style… a queue of things forgotten or things already made.

My resolution for this year is to get my queue under 150 items. I remember when it was small – I would flip through it and enjoy looking at the patterns – try to match up my stash yarn with a pattern….

I am sure I’ll still be adding to it as the year goes on, but I definitely want to knock items off of it too. But I’m at 285 items in my queue…. 150 is the goal… 150 items that I have not made but really want to. Can it be done?

Hmmmm – maybe we should take this up a notch. Maybe I should not only work on getting my Rav queue under 150 items by either removing items, making items, etc – I will use my stash yarn to do it! Granted, I know I’ll have to buy some yarn for some of the items, that goes without saying – BUT if possible, I’m going to attempt to knock my stash down along with the queue – preferrably one feeding into the other where possible.

In the words of Emeril – BAM!

A’right… so let’s kick it up one more notch –

I blogged a LOT more in 2011 than I did in 2012… almost 100 more posts. I am resolving to blog more. I know I will continue with my YOP posts. I need to finish digging through the box I was going through for my “Remembering Grandma” series…. that’s right, that box is still sitting there…. I want to add MANY more tutorials – perhaps working my way through various stitch dictionaries. I want to put up more patterns (mostly free, but perhaps a few patterns for money too).

BAM!

Oh yeah! Imagine me making the best casserole ever and throwing some extra WOW on top with a side of OM-GOOSES!

Thanks, Crochet Concupiscence – I had a laugh when I saw this one!

How about you? Do you have any yarny related resolutions? Care to take the dare of knocking your queue down too? How about that stash? Let’s hear it in the comments!

 

On a Winter’s Day

(c) The Man: backyard lanterns (that probably need put away)

I feel somewhat obligated to make a last day of the year post. Many of the blogs I follow have been doing “round up” type posts, sharing images they have posted throughout the year – projects completed… projects in progress. Today for me has been slow and relaxing which is nothing to complain about.

I started my day off with a knitting get-together with some of my friends from yarn group. When I opened the door to head out, I was greeted with a thin blanket of snow. A bit of a surprise – I was just glad it wasn’t so bad that I thought twice about headed out to meet my friends.

It was a nice, relaxing knit-filled morning. We ate bagels, drank hot tea (or coffee), and laughed. We had an especially hearty laugh when one of the ladies went into the men’s bathroom by mistake. OOPS!

Since it was still snowing when I got home, The Man and I decided not to cut out the limb that fell last week (read as: the instructions on the chain saw we got said do not use in rain or snow… its electric, so it makes sense). I bought a book for Squirt on the Kindle, which she is now curled up reading. My son is doing his “job” of cleaning his room…. he’s almost done. In fact, as I’m typing this he came out and got the vacuum. Not sure what he’ll spend his afternoon with now – perhaps his Artemis Fowl book? The Man loaded up Battlefield 3 and is enjoying a few rounds of battle.

Me, I am knitting.

(c) The Man: me working on my scarf

I’m hoping to finish the slip stitch garter scarf by evening – it would be nice! Then I have to make a decision on what I’m going to do with it. Do I keep it for myself? Use it as a giveaway for the OWOA blog event? Do I give it to my friend, T?

The Man was pretty proud of the pictures he took of me knitting. He was most “artistically inclined” when he decided to shoot over my shoulder and capture the ball of yarn in the background blur.

He really is getting a feel for his new camera – thankfully! I’m hoping to get to a point where I hand him my FOs and he photographs them for me … so its one less thing I need to worry about. Well, its that or I have to figure out the camera myself… obviously I’m hoping for option 1. *laughs*

Speaking of the camera – I got him a tripod for Christmas so I’m hoping to figure out a cool way to get the camera set up to do video so I can get my tutorials going again. I haven’t posted anything to my YouTube channel in MONTHS and I’d like to get something going as a regular feature… perhaps a weekly installment of *something* – a featured stitch? yarn review? pattern review?

I don’t know – but I know that I plan on being much more active on my blog and my videos in 2013.

Hmmmm perhaps I do need a New Year’s Resolution post.

 

Year of Projects 2: Update 15

Project Percentage Complete: 48%
Overall Percentage Complete: 35%
Number of Project Items: 98
Number of Added Items: 63
Total Items: 161

Total Completed Project Items: 47
Total Completed Items: 57

Whelp – I had a pretty productive week as far as working on the slip stitch scarf I decided to knit. Granted, while the scarf was going to be for me, the more I work on it, the more it turns into a scarf for my friend, T. I really think she would love it. I would say I’m 3/4 of the way done with it sooooo I suppose I need to figure that out soon, eh? I’ll post about it with a picture when I get it done.

As promised, here is a picture of the Navajo blanket as it stands right now.

I have added 3 rows to it since revealing it to my brother on Christmas day. I know its going to be a slow progress item, maybe even slow enough that I use it for one of my State Fair entries. Thoughts?

Other than that, I haven’t been at work since December 20th. I do go back this Wednesday so I’m not totally looking forward to that. I like staying up late, sleeping in, and knitting/crocheting whenever I want.

A girl could get used to this.

Project List Items (not started/in progress)
Navajo Indian Multi-Color Afghan (gift)
– 17 squares for SIBOL  
– 9 crochet knockers for donation 

– Shawl (gift for the fall/spring for DD2)
– 5 pet beds for donation
– 10 chemo caps for donation
– 2 swiffer covers (for me!)
– Knit a Sweater for the Man
– Knit Wingspan Shawl
– 1 pair spat warmers
Woven Blocks Crochet Quilt
Room Shoes
Amimono Kimono (for me!)

Project List Items (done)
– 33 squares for SIBOL
– 5 knit/crochet cloths for Mom (Christmas present)
– 5 knit/crochet cloths for SIL (Christmas present)
– State Fair Afghan
Dead Fish Hat (Birthday gift for DS)
– Spidey-colored Round Ripple Lapghan (Christmas present)
– 1 crochet knockers for donation 

Added Items (not started/in progress)
Tongues of Fire (for me) 
My Garter Slipped Scarf (for me)

Striped Granny Bag (Birthday present for Rabbit)
– Elite Syncopations
– Harry Potter Scarf 
– Blue or Purple Cowl (order from a friend; after the holidays)

Added Items (done)
– Magic Square Potholder
– Boot Toppers (Christmas present)
– 50 Ruffle Scarves
– Striped Scarf (Christmas Present)
– Crochet Clock (Christmas Present)
– House Slippers (Christmas Present)
Warm Hat with Bill (Christmas Present)
– Stocking Cap (Christmas present)

———————
This post is part of the Ravelry Group “Come Blog-A-Long” #yearofprojects Project. If you are interested in joining along or finding other posts similar to this one, visit the group on Ravelry.

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Posted by on December 30, 2012 in My Projects

 

Building Traditions

I wholeheartedly believe families need tradition – things that they do that are special to each and every one in that family – to make them feel part of that family. They do not have to be major events nor do they need to be expensive – and this year, our family started a new tradition: handmade gifts.

We decided, about two months ago, to draw names. Each one of us pulled a name from the pile and that was the person we would make a gift for. Now – you could get that person more than one gift, you could get EVERYONE a gift if you wanted – but at least one gift for the person you drew had to be handmade. This is a continuation of something my dad’s side of the family did at our family gathering – it was meant to keep things simple although I have to admit, some pretty funny gifts were made. Everyone really liked doing it and I hoped my family would too.

I was skeptical at first with how DC and Squirt would take it – would they take it seriously? Would they try their hardest?


And I was not let down.

The children LOVED the idea and are really eager to do it again for next year. I believe we will draw names tomorrow so we have all year to work on gifts this time. Two months really just was not enough time.

So, I would like to share the results of our tradition with you. There are only four of us that pulled names since Rabbit is out of the house now.

First up, is an item I have already shown. I drew The Man’s name and I made him an orange and blue striped tube scarf. He really likes it and I am DEFINITELY sure that it’ll keep him very very warm. I was pretty happy to finish it on time (I was beginning to sweat it).

Since I made the Man’s scarf, he drew DC’s name. The Man has been wanting to get into wood working so he took a shot at making DC a lego box. He decided to use premade items from Joann’s but put them together in a way to make them look like a big lego. DC was super surprised to see it and already has it in his room loaded up with lego’s and other small toys.

DC drew Squirt’s name. He was the only one in the family that stepped out of his normal crafting preferences. He attempted to make Squirt a necklace. The sad thing is – when she opened it (and loved it), she went to put it on and the wire broke! It didn’t break in a normal stress point so I think it may have just been  flaw in the piece of wire he had. BUT Squirt, the jewelry making pro, to the rescue: She had a very thin silver chain that she wasn’t using and she offered it up to DC. He sat at the table and put all the original beads onto the new chain – now its secure around her neck!

And finally, but definitely not the least, Squirt drew my name.

She gave me this box:

She took a regular jewelry box and gave it a googly eye and fangs! When you open it up, the fangs go up and down too – its ADORABLE. Inside the box was a necklace and pair of earrings. She knows me so well because the earrings are skulls and the necklace has a dragon on it! Her craft work came in the form or wire-working the beads and getting everything put together. I think she did a fabulous job.

I have to say that everyone did a great job on their craft and everyone really liked their items.

So, this is our new Christmas tradition. I hope you enjoyed looking!

Does your family have any special holiday traditions? Do Share (in the comments below).

 

What to do with Irish Wool…

(c) KerryWoollenMills.ie

A couple years ago my oldest, Rabbit, treated herself to a trip to Ireland as a gift for her college graduation.

On this trip, she brought me home a hank of yarn from Aran Sweater Market from Kerry Woollen Mills in Ireland. The color is “Raspberry Fleck” and seems to have come from Aran Sweater Market – while I do not know much about either of these locations, I do know I have some awesome wool from my oldest that needs to be crafted into something!

That is where you, dear readers, come into play.

I know I want to do something like a scarf or cowl. So I have found the following patterns on Ravelry. What do you think? Any screaming “make a cowl out of that awesome yarn?”

Colvert: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/colvert

Gola Elos: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/gola-elos

Chunky Basket Weave Cowl: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/chunky-basket-weave-cowl

Cozy Drop Stitch Scarf: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cozy-drop-stitch-scarf

I’m asking you to pick a pattern for me!

Do you think any of the above patterns would be good? Post it in the comments. Have a pattern you think is better than any of those I listed above? Leave it in the comments!

I would love to get your input!

(keep in mind I’m more of a novice knitter so I can’t have anything toooooo crazy difficult if its knitted)

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2012 in My Projects

 

Christmas Giving

The Man wearing his Illini Orange and Blue Scarf

Tis the Season!

First and foremost, I want to wish all of my readers a very Merry Christmas (even if a day late) and a Happy New Year (which is not late at all).

This is a post to share all the items I gave for Christmas. I’ve been ITCHING to share them with you, no pun intended (wool… yarn… crochet… itch? *chuckles)

This first picture is The Man. He is wearing a tube scarf that I knitted. I used the Red Heart Sport colors in orange and navy, which, consequently, are his favorite college team colors. I have talked about this a little bit on blog, I believe, about how he saw the yarn but I didn’t buy any. Then every time he went to Joann’s with me that they were always out. He was getting bummed. We finally saw the yarn once and I got one skein…. although I had already bought the yarn behind his back and began stealth knitting. I told him I could make him something after the holidays – just to make him think he had to wait. *chuckles* I think he was fairly surprised by it – hmmmm let me ask him!

Cris: Hun, what do you think of your scarf?
The Man: I love it.

C: Were you surprised?
TM: *nods for a polonged period of time* I was indeed.

C: Did you know I was stealth knitting anything with that yarn?
TM: *shaking his head no* No… no idea.

He knew I was making him something for Christmas because I drew his name (I can explain that later for people who don’t know what we do at the holiday as far as our homemade gift tradition… but that’s another blog post because I have to share the items we made YAY)

Anywhoozles – crafting for The Man is always fun. I like making him things but he rarely asks for anything sooo if I get an opportunity to craft for him – I’ll take it.

Slipper

 The slippers pictured here were not quite done but were finished in time for the holiday gift opening. They were received by my future step sister. Honestly, I didn’t think she liked them at first. I definitely don’t think she was into the idea of receiving something homemade for Christmas (although I could be way off – I dunno). She looked at them and kinda put them to the side.

But later on, when she decided to get comfortable, she slid them on and then slid across my hardwood floor. *laughing* It was funny and I at that point, I believed she liked them. I really do hope she enjoys them. The pattern was easy to work up and I’m sure I’ll be making some more in the near future for my lil tootsies.

A Clock

I crafted a clock for my mother. This is her holding it – of course I had to take her head out of the picture – I’m sure she would not be happy appearing on my blog (even though I’ve mentioned Mother several times and her inspiration to me and my crafting).

It is tan in color with black markers – and black buttons glued to the face. It keeps great time. It is about a foot in diameter.

I finished this a week or so ago. I was really happy with the result and believe THIS may be the version of the pattern I write up for the blog.

Not pictured:
– Boot Cuffs made for Rabbit
– Stocking cap made for mother’s fiance (pictured on DC, but not recipient)
– Billed cap made for future Step Sister (pictured on Squirt, not on recipient)
– Spiderman Throw with grandson (he loved it.. just was movin’ so fast I forgot to grab the photo)
– Washcloths for Mother and Sister-in-Law

I think that may be it other than the Navajo Blanket that I am making for my brother, but that one gets its own post. We’ll just say it was an emotional response for all.

If you posted on your blog sharing pictures of items you made for others at Christmas, link me in the comments! I’d love to see what you made!

Be well, readers, and God Bless!

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2012 in My Projects

 

Crafting for Christmas

Squirt modeling the billed cap made on Christmas Eve

I think many fiber artists pick up yarn and hook/needle to create for the holidays. I’m not sure if your family is like mine or not – but homemade gifts are expected.

In light of both of those statements, I have no idea how many pick up their yarn on Christmas Eve … I do.

To the right is a hat I created on Christmas Eve for my future step-sister. I don’t know what pattern I used but I know I got it off Ravelry.

I was sitting around, after finishing some baking and feeling the urge to hook. I grabbed my laptop and went in search of something quick and easy. I hadn’t anticipated making something for … hmmmm I have to think of something to call her since I don’t use real names on my blog. I’ll think on that later.

DC modeling the stocking cap

In addition to the billed cap, which took about 3 hours to complete, I also made a stocking cap. I used a very basic hat pattern (ie in my head, no pattern from someone else). I knocked this one out in about 2 hours.

I ended up giving the stocking cap to my mother’s future husband…. someone else I have to make a name up for if I continue to mention him on my blog. *smiles*

All in all I think they came out pretty good and both were well received on Christmas morning.

… and just in time for another snow storm.

Merry Christmas, everyone – may your holiday season be safe and filled with love from family and friends.

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2012 in My Projects

 

Year of Projects 2: Update 14

Project Percentage Complete: 48%
Overall Percentage Complete: 35%
Number of Project Items: 98
Number of Added Items: 60
Total Items: 158

Total Completed Project Items: 47
Total Completed Items: 55

In the spirit of me not paying total attention, I had a bad calculation. Last week I had my overall percentage over 85%! Wowzers, for someone with a lot of stuff left over, that sure was a high percent and I didn’t think twice. *doh*

Oh well – no harm no foul, right?

Anywhoozles – This week was productive in the sense that I did finish the striped scarf that is to be a gift opened on Christmas Eve. I did not finish the Navajo, which is no surprise because of the remaining length needed to be completed – that was expected. At least I am in a place of “this is where I expected to be be before Christmas.” Now that my brother is here, no more work can go into the blanket – it is resting downstairs. If I get some time right before I go to bed I could probably drop a couple more rows into it while they are upstairs sleeping, but that’s not going to change its status as “not finished” to “finished” – so truly, not worried. I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t finish it, but eh – the world spins madly on. *smiles*

Speaking of spinning madly on, the world didn’t end. Who’s surprised? Raise of hands….. yeah, me neither.

I also finished a crochet clock and a pair of slippers this week, both to be given as Christmas presents on Christmas day. I’m actually very pleased with the clock and look forward to being able to share an image of it with you after Christmas.

My Poor Fence

In other news – the top of our tree broke off in the treacherous winds of Storm Draco (who names these things?). It crashed down and smashed a panel of our privacy fence. I’m actually looking through the house now, through the back window – looking at it stuck in the fence. The Man and I decided to just leave it until after the holiday. The tree in the fence keeps Andrew, the dog, from getting out and honestly, with it standing on the smaller branches, the grass isn’t being hurt. We are lucky that it missed the neighbor’s garage by about 2 feet and his cyclone fence, which is butted up against our privacy fence, by about 4 inches. We have 2 panels damaged – one that needs replaced now-ish and the other that can wait. The damage on the second panel is minimal.

Whelp.. as I type this people are starting to wake up and wander into the living room so I suppose I shall put this away for now. I really hope everyone is having a great holiday.

Project List Items (not started/in progress)
Navajo Indian Multi-Color Afghan (gift)
– 17 squares for SIBOL  
– 9 crochet knockers for donation 

– Shawl (gift for the fall/spring for DD2)

– 5 pet beds for donation
– 10 chemo caps for donation
– 2 swiffer covers (for me!)
– Knit a Sweater for the Man
– Knit Wingspan Shawl
– 1 pair spat warmers
Woven Blocks Crochet Quilt
Room Shoes
Amimono Kimono (for me!)

Project List Items (done)
– 33 squares for SIBOL
– 5 knit/crochet cloths for Mom (Christmas present)
– 5 knit/crochet cloths for SIL (Christmas present)
– State Fair Afghan
Dead Fish Hat (Birthday gift for DS)
– Spidey-colored Round Ripple Lapghan (Christmas present)
– 1 crochet knockers for donation 

Added Items (not started/in progress)
Tongues of Fire (for me) 

Striped Granny Bag (Birthday present for Rabbit)
– Elite Syncopations
– Harry Potter Scarf 
– Blue or Purple Cowl (order from a friend; after the holidays)

Added Items (done)
– Magic Square Potholder
– Boot Toppers (Christmas present)
– 50 Ruffle Scarves
– Striped Scarf (Christmas Present)
– Crochet Clock (Christmas Present)
– House Slippers (Christmas Present)

———————
This post is part of the Ravelry Group “Come Blog-A-Long” #yearofprojects Project. If you are interested in joining along or finding other posts similar to this one, visit the group on Ravelry.

<< Previous Post  — First Post  —  Next Post >>
 
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Posted by on December 23, 2012 in My Projects

 

My Christmas Tree

My Christmas Tree is not a Christmas Tree of beauty and coordinating colors – in fact, it is quite the opposite.

Let me back up a wee bit – I do not like commercialized Christmas. Anyone who knows me well knows this. The idea that people run themselves straight in to debt to simply buy presents because they *have to* or people who decorate their houses like Clark Griswold – it all simply annoys me. I don’t mind it overall as long as I know that those people are truly celebrating Christmas as it was meant – to celebrate the birth of our Lord Savior, Jesus Christ to the Virgin Mary.

So – with that said – I still have a Christmas Tree each year, although admittedly, in the first years we were married and had no children, we did not put up a tree. Once we had children, I found a reason to have a Christmas Tree – to be the display case to all the wonderful ornaments my children made and would make in the future. Each ornament says something personal to me and reminds me of how wonderful each year with them has been.

So for this post, I’d like to share my Christmas Tree. Now, while I could show you all the ornaments, I am only going to share those that were made by hand – no store ornaments!

DC and Squirt circa 2001: this was a photo cut and glued into a plastic can lid – all by DC when he was a little over 2 years old  

Squirt’s first holiday beading project: I can’t remember the exact year on this one but I know she was around 5 or 6. She was so proud to bead us a moon with a bell on the tip – a special ornament for our Christmas Tree and it has been since it was made.

This is a shot of really 3 ornaments. The first is the cinnamon dough ornament of a music note. Surprisingly that was made this year by DC age 13. He just wasn’t paying attention to the hole and how the weight of the ornament would hang – upside down seems to be the answer to that question. The second ornament is the hand cutout. I have a hand cutout from each child from daycare for every year up until age 11. These are probably my favorites on the tree. I love seeing them every year and the kiddos like to put their meat hooks on them now and show how much they have grown. The third ornament is one you cannot see the front – see the green line in the back? That’s a pot holder – when DC was 1, we went to a local event here and he used that and some paint to put his hand print on it. I really like that one too.
This is one of three mini-paintings that hang on my tree. This is the one that I did. They were done 2 years ago. Each of the children did the other two. I would show you those but they have their names on them. DOH! Trust me when I say they are SUPER cute!

Ok, you caught me – my real name is Crystal. This ornament was given to me in 1981. While its not handmade it is special to me because it was given to me by my kindergarten teacher. She had one for every student and had our names etched in it. She was a special teacher and really did set me on the right path as far as education is concerned.
This one shows the mini-painting I showed you before, and another handmade ornament by DC – the popsicle triangle with picture. You can also see another hand and a crocheted snowflake… oddly, out of 8 snowflakes, that is the only one that survived.

My Christmas Tree doesn’t really have a toppeer – what I have at the top of my tree are angels (plural). Two of the angels are like the one you see here – a coffee filter angel: one made by DC and the other by Squirt. The little fluffy wing on the left is another angel made by Squirt. On the lower right you see a tiny little arch – that is the wings of another angel given to me to be a regular ornament by Rabbit – I doubt she realizes I still have that ornament and that it goes at the top of the tree every year.

My tree has many  more ornaments with even more stories and I’d love to share them all with you. While I know this post would be entirely too long if I did that, just know I can sit on my loveseat and look over at my hodge podge tree and smile. It may not belong in a magazine, but it definitely belongs in my living room.

 

WIP Wednesday

*stretches arms*

A’right – wow, two posts in one week. Go me!

This post is reserved for WIP Wednesday, although I must admit – I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to post about. The projects I’m currently working on are kinda “secret” – especially the one I am going to go work on when I close the lid of my laptop.

So alas, what do I show you?

Well, first – how about a sneak peak of the Navajo? Its the back side peeking out of the extremely large bag I was given filled with yarn.

I haven’t measured it in a while so truly, I have no idea how big it really is. After Christmas, I’ll take some full size photos. I’ll also measure it and share those with you.

Let’s see… what else.

This is a pair of slippers I have made. These will be a Christmas present but I definitely know the future owner does not read my blog.

I saw a pattern on Ravelry and after conceding that the Navajo wouldn’t be completed in time to give as a finished item, I figured “why not” – I had some Red Heart “whatever that color is” in my stash and knew I had no plans to use it on anything else. I figured the colors would be good at hiding the little bits and particles we all have on our floors… well, at least I have them. *laughs* The only thing left is to run a ribbon through them so they can be tied. If I don’t get ribbon soon, I’ll just chain some blue and run it through – besides, the crocheted chain is what is covered in the pattern.

I’m getting ready to go work on the final present I *MUST* have done by Christmas Eve – this isn’t much of an update, but its an update nonetheless.

———

If you want to participate in WIP Wednesday or would like to read other posts like this one, visit Tami’s blog here.

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2012 in My Projects