Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sticks & String 2012

The Des Moines Metro Knitters put on a retreat every year for people to come knit, crochet, or spin.  My friend Jessyca had been a faithful attendant for years along with her mother Janis and friend Kristy.  A few months back they told me about this years retreat and asked if I wanted to go, YES!  I'd never done any kind of retreat before but had always wanted too.  It was tricky with my husbands crazy schedule but we worked it out and I got to attend.  It was January 27th through the 29th. 

A few days before we were supposed to leave I got a terrible cold.  I took vitamins and drank orange juice and rested a lot but nothing seemed to help.  I decided to make a go of it anyway and had a lot of fun in spite of my sickness.  Unfortunately in the wee hours of Sunday morning I couldn't handle it anymore and just had to come home.  I had stayed Friday night and all of Saturday.  We had fun giveaways and I got A LOT of crocheting done.  At home my youngest had caught my cold and was miserable asking for his mommy and I was miserable and couldn't breathe or think so I bailed at 3:30am and made it home around 4:00.  It was worth the middle of the night drive to see the look on my husbands face when I climbed into bed with him 12 hours before I was supposed to be home.

I had so much fun I would do it again in a heartbeat!  I loved socializing with fellow crafty women, although I was quite in the minority crocheting instead of knitting.  I loved the freebies and drawings.  I loved staying up past midnight talking, laughing, and watching movies.  I LOVED not having to constantly take care of at least one other person.  I missed my four little kids from time to time but I felt like I decompressed more in those two days than I have in a year!

I wish I would have taking more but I was just too busy having fun!  I tried out a swift and winder for the first time and it was so fun!  That's what I wish I would have taken a picture of the most.  Anyway, here are some fun pictures that I took while there. 

Jessyca and I working hard.  This is right after we got there on Friday and I hadn't even gone 5 inches yet so it's a good show of what I started at.  I was working on a blanket and Jessyca made a Lucy bag.

This was the fun goodie bag that came with the registration.  There was a lot of fun stuff in there like yarn, an owl shaped gauge, some stitch markers, a water bottle, some coupons, $5 spending money and a few bags. 

There were some venders Friday night and I brought $35 in cash plus the extra five from the goodie bag and I bought this fun yarn.  The green is Misty Alpaca and it's super soft and yummy!  I want to make a scarf out of it for my upcoming trip to New York City.  The middle one can be worked up in chains knotted together to make a necklace.  Jessyca and I saw one there and we fell in love and just had to have it.  I don't know what I'm going to do with the bulky purple one on the end but it's was so pretty and soft I couldn't pass it up.

This is what Jessyca ended up with from the venders.  We saw the green one all worked up into a shawl and it was just beautiful!  There are wood beads woven in that look like twigs and some leaves woven in as well.  It's really beautiful woven together!  The orange-ish one is to go around the edge of the shawl.  It took a while for her to find and land on what she wanted because there were so many good choices.  I think these will look great together and I'm excited to see what she comes up with.

They had drawings for prizes on Saturday and, after a bit of trading, this is what I ended up with.  Three skeins of bulky weight yarn, a sheep soap, and a bag pattern book for knitting and crocheting.  It was so fun because what I got first I couldn't image ever using, it was super fancy shawl yarn and a shawl hook.  A few other women around the table with me felt the same way and we traded around to get what we really wanted.  It was so fun and everyone ended up happy.

This is the final result of my weekend of crocheting.  I was on the bottom orange row when I got there, only four rows into my blanket and how I'm almost 35 rows in.  It's folded up so you can't see how wide it is but I'd guess a little around 48 inches wide.  It's going to be so great to snuggle under and I love the way the colors and texture are coming out.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Savoring

 Last night I was talking to my husband about how I didn't finish what I wanted to this week.  He said, "No, you're just savoring the projects you already have."  I just LOVED that!  Yes, that's all it is.  I'm savoring!  He then went on to add with how much quilts cost to make I should savor more often, not likely.  While I do like the savoring I love new projects even more.

The first thing I finished was the crocheted washcloths.  I made ten for a friend at church.  I knew the pattern was awesome but I worried if she would like the colors.  She said they were perfect and I was so relieved.  I wondered when I was on #3 why I roped myself into making ten but looking back on it the whole thing wasn't a big deal and it gave me something to do while watching the kids and I love that.

Ten finished crochet washcloths.

The yarn I bought last week has already been put to good use making my afghan.  I'm in love with this one!  It's a project for me which doesn't happen very often.  I'm going on a crochet retreat this weekend, it's the first time I've ever done anything like that, and I am going to bring this along to work on.  It doesn't have a whole lot done now but again with the savoring.  I didn't want to finish it before the retreat even started.

I just love the colors!

Unfortunately my cartwheels quilt also falls under the progress section and not the finished section.  I had a whole afternoon all to myself last Friday and I sat down with plenty of time to work on my quilt then I ran out of thread!!  I was so grumpy!  The youngest two were napping peacefully and the oldest two were at school and there I was with no thread.  For most of you this would be a minor setback but I live a good 20 minutes from ANYWHERE that would sell thread (Wal-mart included) and thus trudging out in an Iowa Winter to just pick up thread was not in the cards for me.  My husband graciously picked me up some on his way home from work on Monday but I've been so busy there it sits, being savored.  Hopefully next week I'll be able to savor the finished project since this one is actually for me.

The half-finished binding.  I do love my fabric choices though.
No Progress:
Skill Builder Sampler blocks (totally need to catch up!)
Ruby Quilt
Christmas Etchings quilt

This week's stats:
Completed projects - 1
New projects - 0
Currently in progress - 5 (counting the ongoing SBS blocks)

Head on over to Freshly Pieced to checked out other WIP Wednesday Posts!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My FIrst WIP Wednesday

 A bunch of the blogs that I follow do what is called a WIP Wednesday.  It stands for Work in Progress Wednesday on which they discuss all their current projects and how they are coming along.  It was all started by Lee at Freshly Pieced.  I'm in love with her blog and so many of her projects!  I hesitated doing a WIP post because I didn't think I had that much going on and it wouldn't be very interesting - HA!  Once I started thinking about it I had a few that were worth taking pictures of and so many more things I'm working on that are in various stages of completion.  I promise they won't all be this long, there's a lot of background to cover on the first one.  So here we go...


I love Moda Bake Shop!  I seriously stalk it and drool over the many fabulous projects that so many of their talented people come up with.  I have and entire pinboard on Pinterest dedicated to quilts to make and most of them are either from the Bake Shop or from their Chef's blogs.  This Cartwheels pattern written by Amanda Jean over at Crazy Mom Quilts instantly caught my eye.  LOVE!  I wanted to try something with a Jelly Roll and some 30's reproduction so what would be better than this quilt in Moda's 30's Playtime?  Today this quilt took a giant leap forward!  My friend Leila over at Sewn by Leila asked if she could practice her new found long arm skills on my quilt.  Ever the brave soul and lured in by her skill, charm, and cheap rate I agreed.  I am so so happy with the way it turned out!

Okay I'm typically not a random placed kind of girl but I LOVE this!
 It was so funny because when she brought it back over after it was done all she saw was the flaws (don't we all do that!) but I didn't see them and still think it's just wonderful!  The stippling with flowers mixed in are just perfect.  She was totally upset by the amount of puckering but honestly I think it was my fault for not being precise enough with my piecing.  You see, my 20 month-old son LOVES to sit on my lap while I so, as does my nearly 3 year-old daughter for that matter.  Well, it's really hard to sew straight and accurate seams while having a squirming toddler on your lap but they are so adorable I find it hard to say no.  As this quilt was for me I figured a few flaws wouldn't kill me.  Too bad it was uber-frustrating for Leila!

Notice the adorable flower in the middle!

I'm also working on a Christmas quilt for me.  Nearly eight years ago I made Christmas quilts for each of my siblings and one for my mom.  I never quite got around to making mine.  I had the fabric all these years but never had the time/desire/whatever.  Well, I took out the fabric and decided to have a go of it but I wasn't in love with the fabric anymore!  I have a husband now and four kids and it just didn't seem to fit. When I saw the Ready Set Snow line from Moda I just fell it love!  It's full of fun Christmas prints and it even includes a lot of blue (my favorite color!)  I love the bright and boldness of it all.  While poking around the Bake Shop I found the Etchings quilt by Andrea from Millions of Thoughts and I fell in love!  I worried that it wouldn't go with my fabric choice but I went with it anyway and I'm so glad I did.  I have all the blocks pieced together with one full row done and two more repeaters to go.  It should go pretty fast once I make the time.

Doesn't it look so festive?!

I recently had a miscarriage, my second last year.  Well, when I was pregnant I was hoping it would be a girl and I fell in love with the name Ruby.  I think it is just perfect.  Well, when I saw that Moda had a Ruby line of fabric I just knew I HAD to own it in case the baby was a girl.  I found this All Framed Up Baby Quilt pattern by Melissa from Happy Quilting at the Moda Bake Shop (see, I seriously stalk them!) and just had to have a replica!  When I lost the baby I was determined to make the quilt anyway and either keep it for a future baby girl or for myself. Either way it was bumped quickly to the bottom of the list but I still have all the beautiful fabric!

Seriously the most beautiful fabric I've ever seen!


I have had an ever growing love for all things crochet lately. I love that I can do it while sitting on the couch and have some me time while keeping up with the four kids and my hubby.  As a result the floor next to my spot on the couch always has a pile of yarn and a few works in progress.  Currently filling that spot are washcloths.  I recently posted on Facebook some of the crochet things I was working on and my friend asked me if she could pay me to make her 10 washcloths.  At the time I didn't have anything on my waiting to crochet list and I jumped on the chance to get paid to do something relaxing!  I bought some Peaches and Cream cones at Walmart and got started.  I can get probably seven or eight from each cone but I wanted there to be the same number of each color so I'm doing five and five.  I currently have seven finished and am about halfway through the eighth.  I'm hoping to get them done to give to her when I see her tomorrow night.  I was going to link up to the pattern but they switched links on me and it no longer exists.  Good thing I printed mine out so I don't have to go there again!  After this many I have it memorized though.

You can't really see the cream colored ones in this picture but they are the same pattern as the blue.

For Christmas this year I crocheted a blanket for each of my children.  I wanted one for me too but didn't have the time.  I played around with a few ideas before I landed on the one I loved.  A basket weave pattern like this one here was at the top of my list.  I just love the texture!  I tried a sample (pictured below) and it was so fast and simple while looking awesome - just the way I like 'em.  However to make the size I was going for I'd have to have about 8 one pound skeins or 17 regular skeins of matching yarn (totally not going to happen).  I thought about making them into little squares like my sample and sewing them together but I wasn't sold on the idea.  It was back to the drawing board.

You really can't see the texture here but it's quite fabulous.  Click on the pattern link for a better shot.

Plan B involved getting a free or cheap pattern and running with it.  Well, I was at Hobby Lobby and I saw the I Love This Yarn.  Many of the bloggers I follow really do love it so I thought I'd try it out.  I couldn't remember or figure out in my head how much yarn I needed for the patterns I already had so I bought this adorable pattern book.  It's full of so many fun ideas!  It's made to be used with Sugar and Cream cotton skeins that are only 2.5oz so the requirements took a little adjusting.  I'm doing the throw on the front in slightly different colors.  I'm anticipating it being adorable but a slight pain in the butt as I have to switch yarn colors at each row.  I'll let you know how it goes.

This week's stats:
Completed projects - 0
New projects - 1
Currently in progress - 5

Friday, January 6, 2012

Sock Monkey Hat and Crossover Booties

 It was love at first sight when I found this Sock Monkey Hat Pattern.  I just knew I had to make it. My sister just had a baby on Jan. 3rd so little Emily was the perfect excuse to make this hat.  Up this this point I'd never made a hat before so I was a little worried but I figured since I can rock the amigurumi with the dragons and such I can totally to this.  I was right.  The pattern was so well written.  There were pictures and it was so easy!  All told it took me a few hours to make while watching Netflix.

Seriously, could this be any more cute?

What baby gift would be complete without booties?  I'd never tried booties either but I found this Simple Crossover booties pattern and thought I'd give it a try.  The pattern says beginner and it was super fast and the easiest crochet thing I've ever made. 

Here's the hat and booties together.  Don't they just make you want to find the nearest newborn and accessorize?

Since I don't have a newborn of my own right now I had to substitute "big baby" (that's what Amelia calls her, none of her babies have names). Amelia - my nearly three year-old - loved that her baby got a photo shoot and was teeling her to smile and look cute! I loved it. When my sister gets the package I will have to have her take pictures with a real baby.

Which Came First?

It's the age-old question... Which came first, the chicken or the egg?  Well, in my case the chicken came first.  I made three of them and one chick before I found the egg pattern.  I got the chicken pattern a few weeks ago then I was playing around on Ravelry (love!) and found the fried egg pattern.  Call me cheap but I didn't really want to drop the $2.95 for the pattern so I just looked and studied and figured it out on my own.  In the end it would have been much faster and easier just to buy the pattern so now I'll know for next time.

The third in my series of chickens and my first two eggs.