A Day Late and Several Rows Short

Guys, this has been a busy week. I’ve tried to catch up on the Spicier Life CAL (and I WILL!) but I promised progress photos yesterday and I did not deliver.

My apologizes.

So, I am about three rows short of finishing part four, and I really thought I was going to knock those out last night…but I’m also reading listening to Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke (another thing I’m scrabbling to finish, since it’s a library check out and will be due back tomorrow), and the repetitive double and single crochets paired with the soothing British voice narrating the story made me doze off mid-row.

Sigh.

This is what I have:

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(Okay, I have three and a half rows to go.)

I’ll catch up, although, I’m getting a little nervous since it’s Friday and I haven’t even started the current week’s work. Cross your fingers, I catch up before part six (the final part) is released on Tuesday.

As for Maggie’s socks, I mentioned in my last post I ripped back to the row in which I need to start increasing for the gusset.

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Yeah, I’m still there. Although, if I just pick up this project, I’m sure the sock will just fly off the needs. I was making such quick work of it before I realized I had made a mistake, so I have no doubt, once I have the time to focus on it, it won’t take long to finish.

BUT all of that will have to wait because my house is a wreck, and I have a friend coming over tonight to watch the kids so that John and I can go to the final football game of the season. Hooray for a night out!

Also, John’s heading to a UGA game tomorrow and requested cookies to share with his friends at tailgating. So, I have that to do, too. I’m making Snickerdoodles and possibly chocolate chip cookies. (I’m going to set some aside for my wonderful friend as a thank you for babysitting. That’s an appropriate payment, right? Cookies?)

That’s all I have! I’m sorry there’s not more, but, like I said, busy week. I don’t even want to mention all the things I told myself (and other people) I’d get done, but have yet to start. Ugh. Catch up catch up catch up.

Until next time!

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We’re ALL Mad Here…

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So, this isย supposed to be a progress post on the current projects I’ve been working on, but there’s been another project that’s been sucking up a lot of my time…

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Maggie’s costume.

This year she wanted to be the Mad Hatter from the live action Disney movies, and, while I was reluctant (mostly because she came up with the idea herself and, yet again, reminds me she’s growing up and has a mind of her own), once I finally started working on the costume (the day before Halloween) I enjoyed it a lot. (Technically, I started it a few days earlier, since gathering materials and mentally planning is, of course, part of costume making.)

So, here’s a quick rundown of how I transformed Mags into the Mad Hatter:

1.) I found clothes as similar at the thrift store that closely resembled M.H.’s outfit.

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Pinstripe pants, velvet blazer w/berry motif, white button-up shirt, and candy heart scarf

So, I pretty much lucked out and found everything I needed in close enough sizing at Goodwill. I actually can’t believe how easy this part was. I made a few small changes. For example, the scarf M.H. wears has donuts and pastries on it. When I saw the candy heart scarf I thought that was actually keeping very much with the spirit of Alice in Wonderland, since it was words on food. Also, the blazer is covered in berries and brambles, and I thought that, too, followed the theme well. Overall, I was VERY happy with what I could find, but, just a head’s up, with all the pieces, I ended up spending more than if I would’ve bought a costume from Target. That is OK by me, though. This wasn’t a last minute, cut-some-holes-in-a-sheet-and-call-it-a-ghost. Although…old school ghost costume wouldn’t be without some nostalgic charm…

(In addition to purchasing the above, I bought some face make-up, some remnant upholstery fabric, ribbon and a pack of wooden spools. Those while be used later.)

Step Two!:

Next, I made the hat. This took several hours, and I improvised most of it, but I loved the result.

For the hat, I winged it a little on the measurements, mainly because I forgot to measure Maggie’s head and she was at school while I was making it. Instead, I measured a baseball cap she usually wears and went off that. (Of course, the hat ended up being too big for my head and hers, but fit atop her baseball cap nicely. So, she ended up wearing the cap backwards with the top hat on top. Couldn’t see the cap, and everything turned out fine.)

I started to write out a long and lengthy tutorial on how I put the hat together, but realized I don’t have pictures of every step, and, I’m terrible at writing tutorials. I’m more of a visual learner (I scanned the interwebs for tutorials and then tried to recreate what I saw), so, if you, too, are a visual learner, please enjoy the photos above. If there’s anything in particular you’d like to know how I made, comment or shoot me an email and I will try to explain it as best as I can. ๐Ÿ™‚

Third part of the costume…

…The Bandolier. In the live action movie, the Mad Hatter wears a bandolier of thread spools. By the time I got to this part of the costume, Maggie was home, and between the two of us, we made short work of this. And, it was FUN. Plus, YARN. This was a great project to use up some leftover yarn from other projects. How we did it was a dot of hot glue to secure the yarn on one side of the spool, wrapped the spool with the yarn, than added a dot on the opposite end. After the glue cool, we snipped the end, et voila. In the photos, I show a single length of yarn threaded in and out of the spools, but at the last minute I ended up having to secure it with another length of yarn after the original yarn snapped under the weight of the spools. So, if you recreate this, I suggest you double up! I also used ribbon to complete the bandolier. (The spools are only on the front. Ribbon completes the sash in the back.)

(Side note: These spools were so cute while we were making them, we’ve decided we’re going to take the bandolier apart and turn them into Christmas ornaments by adding buttons and a ribbon. When I do this, I’ll share that project and do aย proper tutorial.)

As for the rest of the costume, those pinstriped pants were cut off at the shin, we added a striped socks, and for the fingerless gloves, we took an old pair of star studded socks and cut a hole in the heel for the thumb, and cut the toes off for the rest of the fingers.

Oh, and Marcy was Elsa.

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I didn’t make her costume. Maybe next year…

So, that was our Halloween! The two older boys sat this year out, although, Aaron says he might dress up next year.

I haven’t made as much progress on the Spicier Life CAL (I’m still on part four and part five was released yesterday), and while I did make progress on Maggie’s socks, I had to rip the sock I was working on back an inch because I wasn’t paying attention to the length and overshot the row I was supposed to start the gusset. We’re back on track, though!

I will post progress pictures tomorrow. I plan on catching up on the blanket (at least, finish up part four) and share whatever progress I make on the sock.

Happy first day of November!!

I’ll Take ALL the Yarn, Please.

Maybe it’s the chill in the air, but I’ve been on a yarn binge lately. I promised myself I wouldn’t buy anymore yarn without a specific project in mind for it, but…eh. Whenever I tell myself, “don’t buy it! You don’t need it!”, another voice answers, “you’re not the boss of me!” So, I bought yarn over the past week. Twice. (Take that, Responsible Inner Voice!)

Before I get to acquisitions, let’s talk projects. I have two main things I worked on over the past week. I completed part three of the Spicier Life Blanket CAL. Part four was released yesterday, but I haven’t started it, yet.

Also, as promised, I started the Picot Socks. Then, I made two mistakes, one little and one big, so I had to frog it back to the beginning, which is fine because it meant more practice on the magic cast-on, which, by the way, is the easiest thing ever! Toe-up socks have always intimidated me. I tried to make toe-ups once a loooong time ago. I didn’t make it past the cast-on. I believe it was a figure eight cast-on, but beyond that, I can’t remember anything else about that project.

But, back to these socks, the cast-on was great, and the first mistake I made was minor, so I was going to just soldier on because who would notice a teensy mistake near the toe of my sock? Then, I made a big mistake. Actually, the mistake was already made hours before when I wound the yarn into a ball. For some reason, there was a break in the yarn near the beginning of the ball. Since I had been using the magic knot in my Spicier Life Blanket, I thought, eh, no biggie. I’ll just magic knot this baby and keep going. Brilliant, right? You’re probably smarter than I am and figured out why this was a terrible idea. As I was knitting the yarn, I came across the knot I made, which ended up being the sole of the sock. Think about that for a moment. A pebble-y, hard knot under the ball of your foot.

So, my advice to anyone who will listen, do not magic knot yarn you plan on knitting socks with, unless you can be sure it will end up hidden in your cuff.

I didn’t have to frog the whole socks to fix the knot, but, by that point, the socks had two strikes against it, and my policy is two strikes–you’re out. (I know that’s not how the saying goes, but three mistakes in one sock would drive me nuts.)

So, after having started over, this is where I am with the socks:

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This is an incredibly hard color way to photograph. The yarn IS vivid, but this is “burn your retinas” bright.

So, those are the things I’m working on. Now, on to the YARN I bought.

My first acquisition (fancy talk for fancy yarn) is from Traveling Yarn, and the color way is the main reason I bought this hank: Roller Derby Queen. I made a teensy mistake of buying the luxury yarn (I failed to notice there was a drop down that let you choose between a few different fiber bases), but no biggie. Totally worth it. I bought the Cashmere Sock yarn, which is 80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere and 10% nylon. It’s beautiful, and I love its kickass name. I highly recommend Traveling Yarn. It was quickly processed and shipped, and a single-serving pouch of jasmine tea and several plastic stitch markers (one shown in the first picture) accompanied my order. I will definitely order from them, again!

I also checked out the new yarn store in my area. I believe the store owner said they’ve been open for 8 weeks now, but it was only last week that I found out about them, and that was because one of my Facebook friends either checked in or liked something on the business’s Facebook page. The store is called Knit, Yarn and Fiber Studio, and I hope this business thrives. If today is any indication of how busy they usually are, I’d say they have nothing to worry about. (I say this with limited knowledge about business.)

Anyhow, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I’ve been trying not to buy yarn without a plan for it, so, while standing in the store, I pulled out my phone and visited Ravelry. Problem solved. I picked out a sweater I want to make for Maggie, then I picked out some luscious merino Malabrigo yarn…

The colorful one is calledย “Candombe,” but it should be called “Starry Night” because the colors look like they were pulled from van Gogh’s painting.

What do I plan on making with this pretty yarn? Jasseron sweater from Knitty.

In non-crafting news, we celebrated my daughter’s birthday this weekend. She turned 10, and that makes three kids I’ve guided through their first decade of life!

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She wants to be The Mad Hatter for halloween this year, and while I haven’t started her costume, I have confidence we’ll make it awesome. This was from last year:

We were very proud of ourselves last year. It was a makeup job worthy of The Walking Dead, in my totally unbiased opinion. I’d love to claim full responsibility for it’s awesomeness, but Maggie was the one who found the idea of uses Elmer’s glue and paper towels to make the skin tears on her face and knee. My artistry, though. I even made a large batch of homemade “blood.” As gruesomely cool as the costume looked, Maggie was absolutely miserable by the end of the night, since my corn syrup blood was pulling at the baby hairs on the back of her neck, and squishing between her toes. Man, it was cool looking, though!

This year’s costume will not be as…messy. She wants to look like the Johnny Depp version of the Mad Hatter, so it’ll be very stylish. I’ll post pictures.

That’s all I have for today. My goals for next week? Part four of the CAL finished and at least one sock OFF the needles and a new one on. Oh, and halloween pictures.

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Progress, People! I’ve Made Progress!

I’ve been busy. And, I’ve had a chance to relax. Most importantly, I’ve had time to finish not one, but TWO projects, freeing myself up to start new stuff.

First, A Spicier Life Blanket CAL update. Part three has been released today, but I’ve only given it a quick glance to see what stitches are in the next rows. I’m right on track and plan on starting part three a little later today. Here’s my progress so far:

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George (my youngest and largest cat), was very into the blanket while I was working on it.

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As for finished projects, I have Manon:

When I finished the sleeves, I thought the torso looked a little short, and you know what? I forgot to add the garter stitch edge at the bottom. No worries, though. I picked out the woven-in tail, undid the bind off, and added in the last few rows. So much easier than what I was going to do: pick up stitches and knit. Luckily, I looked up how to make sweaters longer and the advice I found was if the sweater is knit top down, you can just undo the bottom and continue on. I’m not as swift as I’d like to think I am, and this option never occurred to me. This is why Google is my most trusted advisor.

Yesterday I finished the Hotel of Bees Shawl. I love love love it!

 

I think I’m going to make another one using the suggested color way. Eventually…

For now (besides working on the Spicier Life Blanket) I think I’m going to cast on a pair of socks. Using this…

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For Maggie, I think. The pattern I plan on making is the Picot Socks, as seen on the first episode of The Knit Show.

In other news, Aaron’s high school band won Grand Champion at the Georgia Contest of Champions band competition. Those kids have been working so hard, and I may be a little biased (naaaawww, me?) but they put on an excellent show. Last night they participated in the county band exhibition. I wasn’t at the competition, but I did make it to the exhibition. At the end of the show I tracked him down and snagged a photo of Aaron in full uniform:

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He looks like a little toy soldier. ๐Ÿ™‚

Below are photos from the competition on Saturday (Top pic, Aaron is far right. Bottom pic, far right in the last row):

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I’m insanely proud of him and have been talking so much about him on social media, I starting to annoy myself. Eh, whatevs! He’s awesome. ๐Ÿ™‚

That’s all I have for today! Hopefully, on my next post I’ll have part three of the Spicier Life Blanket complete, and a pair of socks on my needles!

Forsyth Fair

We’re almost to the middle of October, yet this corner of the world feels like a sauna. Regardless, I’ve been knitting, crocheting, and doing the autumn type things, like going to the county fair, and buying up too many Halloween decorations–even though it’s been so muggy I haven’t wanted to decorate the house.

I have not mentioned it–at least I don’t remember mentioning it on this blog–but this school year has been crazy busy for me because Aaron, who is now a Freshman in high school, joined the Marching band. I try to get to the home games to see him perform. (In the middle bottom photo, he’s the guy all the way at the end of the formation.) Right now, this is one of my favorite things ever, and I’m sure my Facebook friends are tired of hearing about it. Ha!

Since Aaron is in the band, and the band played in a parade at the county fair, I went to the county fair. I’ve lived here eight years, and this is my first time going to our local fair.

I’ve been working on the Spicier Life CAL. We’re on part two, now, which is pictured, in progress, in the bottom right photo. The completed part one is the other two photos. I’m enjoying this project a whole lot! Although, I did make a teensie mistake yesterday while working the “larking around” rows. I realized what I did wrong in the second row, but I didn’t feel like going back and frogging the row I already completed so, c’est la vie. It now has added character. Here’s my mistake:

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The blue row is the mistake row. Instead of crocheting into the bottom row plus the current row, I only crocheted into the bottom row, as if doing a front post double crochet. Oh well. The mistake is only visible from the ws of the work, so no one will ever know….

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In knitting news, I finished the arm to Marcy’s Manon sweater. Just one arm to go! After I finish this weeks SpicierLife rows, I’m going to finish this sweater. It shouldn’t take any time at all!

There was another knitting WIP I forgot to share last week. I actually have two triangle shawls in the works, one being the Hotel of Bees I shared last week, and the other, Lattice Sampler shawl. So, that’s THREE projects I’m working on right now that involve samples of different stitches. Do you think I may like lots of variety? Or maybe a really short attention span? Anyhow, here’s my progress on the Lattice Sampler shawl:

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Part of me wants to start a pair of socks, but….I should probably finish all the WIPs I have now….

That’s all I have for today!

 

Doing ALL the Things

I’ve been pinging back and forth for the last few weeks, unable to settle.

What I’ve been doing:

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Above…it’s not glamourous. It’s not very pretty. (Okay, it’s kind of pretty, if you’re into utilitarian things.) It’s a bag bag. It’s a bag to hold bags. If you want to make one of these yourself, here’s the pattern: Plastic Bag holder.

Below…something pretty and pretty FUN. The Hotel of Bees Scarf I’ve been dying to make ever since I saw it on the Cherry Heart podcast. I’m using Mandala yarn, so I’m not following the color scheme in the pattern–this time. I’m pretty sure I’m going to make it again, but with the actual color scheme suggested. Such a fun pattern! (Find it here.)

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I’ve also started YET ANOTHER crochet project. This one is part of a CAL, the very first I’ve ever done. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s the Spicier Life blanket from Cherry Heart. It’s just started, so if you’re interested in participating, you can find details linked at the end of this paragraph. Below is my color chart (interesting? Probably not.) and I have a swatch done for gauge, but no photo of it. This morning the first part of the pattern was released, so, by the end of the week I should have progress photos. If you’re interested in the CAL: Spicier Life Blanket CAL.

23D12E9D-CC23-46A4-A5CB-BDB525BBF0E2In addition to the crafting, I’ve been playing with gouache and watercolor. Below is one painting I worked on one lazy day.

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And, this happened two weeks ago, but I had to share:

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That’s the pumpkin roll I made for my book club last month! We read You by Caroline Kepnes, and our reactions to the book were mixed, as usual. I loved it, but I like dark humor. And it was DARK. Our next book we’re discussing in The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. I already flew through it (it’s a quick little book) and enjoyed it. Wasn’t scary, though. I’m convinced people were easier to scare pre-1970s.

In addition to my book club, I’ve also joined a writing group. I didn’t post about it, but at the beginning of this year I took a 6-week novel writing workshop with Joshilyn Jackson–one of my favorite writers. She’s written Almost Sisters, Gods in Alabama, Backseat Saints, and many more. (These are not affiliate links. I just love her work and think you should buy her books.) It was a memorable experience, not just because I was learning from a writer I admire (I’m a total fangirl, and in an attempt to play it cool, I continuously, throughout the six weeks, made a complete fool of myself), I also made friends with several of the women who took the workshop along side me.ย  I continue to meet with them on a monthly basis, and I’m proud to say, I have written 33k words (actually, 32,977 words) towards a novel I am determined to finish. (In case anyone was wondering, Joshilyn is as cool in person as she is in print. She’s hilarious and SMART and she knows the craft forwards and backwards. Oh, and she likes whiskey drinks.)

So, yeah. I’ve been busy doing all the stuff. All of it. Ping ping ping.

Yeah, Yeah…

It’s been TEN MONTHS since my last post, and, guess what? It was a repost. Because I’m a very lazy blogger.

Yes, I know this.

I’m just going to blame it on the fact that I have four kids and no attention span. Let’s move on.

SO! I haven’t been doing a whole lot of crafting, but I have finished something I was working for a while. My granny square blanket:

I’n’it lovely?

I FINALLY finished the Autumn table runner IN TIME FOR THANKSGIVING. Also, something I’m proud of, even though I quickly learned my cats think it’s a cat mat for the table.

Then…I took a looong break from making anything.

Boo.

BUT! I moved my desk and my crafts into the “sitting room” in my master bedroom and voila! I suddenly felt like making things again.

I’m currently working on Manon, a sweater that’ll be for Marce-monster.

And, I just finished making a pincushion out of a planter my friend Cathy gave me:

There are other projects, I’m sure, but I can’t think of any right now.

School starts here soon–at the end of next week! I don’t plan on putting as much on my plate this year as I did last, which, if I’m honest, is why I wasn’t able to get much sewing, knitting or blogging done. By Christmas I was so overwhelmed with all the things I’ve added to my life, and by the end of the school I swore, “never again.” So, we’ll see. I have a tendency to volunteer for things at school. Last year, after a very boring summer, I said, “I volunteer! I volunteer! Give me ALL THE JOBS!!” Luckily, I HAVEN’T been bored this summer. As a matter of fact, this summer was so full of things going on, I feel like I blinked and it was over. So, instead of looking forward to school because I want something to do, I’m looking forward to school because I’ll have 3/4 less children in the house and perhaps a little quiet time to work on some more projects.