Stuff I Made You Maybe Didn’t See

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Because, if you make something, and you don’t post it on the internet, what’s the point?

Though, I did post this on the internet, but it was on Ravelry, and not all of you three people who read this are Ravelry-ers, and I don’t want you to miss out on the awesomeness of these awesome things I made.

Awesome Thing Number 1: Baby Bear Sleepy Cocoon and Hat

Buying the yarn and pattern book for these was my only real act of nesting. I started working on the project the day before Kostya was born. I even took it to the hospital to work on because I thought maybe there would be some boredom while I waited for him to be born. Helpful tip: although knitting or crocheting are great distractions when in the car with a crazy driver, these crafts are not the best at distracting one from contractions. I was able to get back to work on this project in those early weeks when I was baby furniture, but by the time I finished it, the outfit did not fit. (Watch out ye who next procreates. You may be seeing this again.)


Awesome Thing Number 2: Squid Baby Booties

This was my last project before I popped. I saw these and just had to make them even though I knew the kid would probably never or hardly ever wear them what with babies and their joy in kicking off footwear. These booties were fun, fast, and pretty darn cute. I did have to go through several different yarns before I found one that seemed appropriately aquatic, but on the up side I now have some freaky green and white shag yarn. (Anyone know what to make with freaky green and white shag yarn?)


Awesome Thing Number 3: Hat

When my Mom was staying with us back in November, she was talking about wanting a light-weight hat to wear what with her being an old fart with hardly any hair. (I can say that because genetically speaking, it is quite likely one day I, too, will be an old fart with hardly any hair.) I found this pattern and poked around in my yarn stash and actually did swatches, which was good because the first two yarns were not right. The yarn I did end up using was purchased for me by my Mom at a yarn store in Tempe, Arizona, probably 8 years ago. At first I was worried about this hat because it looked very much like a bland sombrero, but in the end it got its act together. Mom says she likes it, but I haven’t seen her wear it yet. (Hint Hint!) I took this photo before I sent the hat out, and I was tired and cranky. (In other words, this is how I look most of the time right now.)


I haven’t made anything since the hat. I did start a pair of socks, but after about a month and a half I still haven’t even reached the heel of the first. I also began a market bag that currently resembles a slightly (slightly) over-sized coaster. Perhaps you’ll see these projects in finished format before summer?

Boring Mitten Post

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Back in early November, I knit up these basic mittens for the (big)kid. I’ve never knit mittens before, and I must admit they scared me a bit what with those thumbs and all. I searched around on Ravelry for a pattern that didn’t terrify me, and I found this: Lilley’s Maine Mittens (you have to scroll down a ways). What I really liked about it was this little blurb at the end of the pattern:

“There you have it, a plain, hard-working, easy to adapt, change, embellish, and knit pattern from a 30 year knitter, mom of four boys! This basic pattern is the same one my grandma and mom have used, and has kept 50 years of children’s fingers warm.”

Anya picked out a nice burgundy wool, I borrowed some needles from my buddy, and a few days later we had mittens.


Do you have any sparkly yarn?

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If you ever want to feel what it’s like to walk into a yarn shop and have every person inside stop their knitting and chatting to stare at you intensely, just ask, “Do you have any sparkly yarn?”

I don’t normally shop at yarn shops because Michael’s can meet my needs way cheaper, and I prefer the anonymity. At Michael’s I don’t have to tell anyone that I am making minion goggles while they are sitting there working on a multi-colored piece of intricate lace. I don’t have to try to justify that crochet is indeed an acceptable way to use yarn. I can walk around and look for what I need without having to remember the difference between worsted weight and sport weight and lace weight and heavy weight champion of the world. And I can use a coupon.

But I was having lunch right next door to the yarn store, and I had a need for some sparkly yarn, and I thought surely a Yarn Store would have more variety than Michael’s. So, leading up to my entrance, it made perfect sense to ask this question.

And then I asked my question.

And then the staring and the silence.

And then I realized sparkly yarn is more minion goggles and crochet and coupons than it is multi-colored intricate lace.

“Ha ha!” I chortled. “I mean, something with a little shimmer or shine, you know!”

“What are you making?” the helper asked.

“Um, an aviator hat? It’s crocheted. I like coupons.”

“Hmm…perhaps I have something in the clearance section.”

In the end, I did walk away with some shimmery (NOT sparkly) yarn for my project, but I remembered pretty vividly why I don’t usually go to yarn shops. Everyone really was nice and polite and helpful, but I just don’t think I am a yarn shop sort of gal.

Here are a few things I’ve been working on lately. As much as I love to squoosh the nice, pricey yarn, it’s really overkill for Hello Kitty hats and diaper covers.



Fair Remorse

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The county fair was a few weeks ago, and after last year’s big hurrah, I found myself feeling rather inadequate. I’m not sure if I’ve said it before here, but it took me until probably the end of spring this year to feel crafty again after that experience. I rode in cars and watched tv and went to appointments and watched Anya at storytime for months without bringing any knitting along. Sometimes I wondered if I’d ever want to do much of anything crafty again.

Don’t worry. I’m all better now. But when the fair came along this fall, and when I started to go through the list of categories (oh, remember the days when I had that list memorized?), I could only come up with four things to enter. Four. I did, however, write down probably another half dozen that I felt convinced I could come up with if I just got real busy and focused. Then I realized that was crazy, and I helped Anya find some things to enter, and I figured if I added both her stuff and my stuff together that would sort of count as stuff I entered because I made her, right?


Anya, however, didn’t seem to agree with that and made sure everyone knew that SHE won $15 at the fair and her mother only won $10. Fine, kid. I see how that works. I’m storing this away for later use.

So, what did I enter? There’s an owly crewel piece:


And the aviator hat I crocheted:


And Anya’s sweater and one of the baby hats I knitted:


Enough of that stuff. Tiny as it was, there was more to the fair than the crafts. There were games,


and chances for Daddy to look silly,


and lots and lots and lots of corn.


Then it rained.

Whatcha Doin’?

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School started a few days ago, and it’s been pretty cRaZY around here, but things are finally calming down. The first day of school was so action packed, I didn’t get the traditional first day picture of the kid. (Shhhhh! Don’t tell anyone or my scrapbook group will revoke my membership.) I have managed to get some crafty time in. Two weeks before school began, I felt an overwhelming need to make Anya the place mat she needed for lunch time, so I pulled out a pattern I used last year for The Great Fair Adventure and whipped up this:


Nothing fancy, but still nifty. I mean, it is destined to be coated in peanut butter and squished grapes. The yarn I used is leftover from Anya’s sweater and from a Fair project. (I think I will be using the sweater yarn for a LONG time. I sort of overbought. By about 5 skeins I think.)

After the place mat, I blazed through Anya’s second sock (no pictures…it looks like the first one). My latest project is making gifts for all the folks at school who have been / are going to have babies. I found the pattern, Flower Power, on Ravelry (which rocks if you knit or crochet). I’m planning to make several, but so far I’ve only finished the one. I’m not sure if any of the baby mamas or papas reads my blog, but I’m going to guess not. If they are, um, hi! You’ll be getting one of these in the near future!


Do you recognize any of that yarn? Yup, more sweater yarn. And a wee bit of the purple Fair/place mat yarn. The yellow and black are from a scarf I started a while back but didn’t finish due to lack of yarn. Riiiiiiiiip! The other two colors were from my early knitting days when I bought yarn by the pound.

I’m also working on a crocheted froggie blanket, but no pictures yet. I definitely have my fiber groove back on.

Ready to Fly?

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After finishing the sock and Anya’s sweater, I had sad hands. I hadn’t brought any other knitty projects! What was I thinking? Luckily, my mom has yarn and needles and hooks and wee tiny little scissors that fold up all cute and tidy. With tools in hand, I picked an easy hat pattern I’d found on pinterest and got started.

I haven’t crocheted many things, so when the hat started to look like an upside down basket instead, I began to have doubts about my skill. My Dad showed me I was wrong; it wasn’t a basket…it was a puppet! (Not that this made me more confident in my crochet skills, but it did make me feel better because, hey, PUPPET!)


The puppet really needed some facial features. Alas, we were out of the house and I’d cleaned my purse recently and I didn’t have any other yarn or buttons or puffballs or tiny bits of crayon or shiny bug carcasses. Still, we are a resourceful group and managed to scrounge up a few things. My Dad tapped into his creative side.


And TADA! Mr. Hat Puppet Dude!


The puppet started talking some smack about my crafty skills, though, and I pulled out his eyes, mouth, and antennae. I sure showed him! Then to make sure Mr. Hat Puppet Dude could not be resurrected, I finished the hat. Once all the parts were assembled, all basketyness and puppetyness went away, so the hatness could shine through. Yay!


On a hat-related note, I thought of a really excellent idea today. I am going to make a whole bunch of baby hats and keep at least a few on me at all times. When I am at the grocery store or wherever and see a baby in a shopping cart whose parent has wandered off, I will put a hat on the baby! When the parent returns they’ll be all, “WHA? Why is my baby wearing a hat?” The parent might get a little miffed at first, but when they see how awesome that hat is, they’ll get over it. On the other hand, I suppose this could have a negative side effect by encouraging more parents to leave their babies in shopping carts in the store for a few minutes in hopes they will get hatted. I guess I’ll have to think this through a bit more before implementing.

The 7 Year Sock

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It only took me seven years, but I finally did it. I knit a sock! (I can’t knit the other until I get home because I left the other ball of yarn there. Oops.)


I bought the yarn seven years ago during a bad day at work. I escaped to the yarn store for an extended lunch break. I’m not sure how many times I started the sock before it began to look like a sock, but it was many. Unfortunately, my measurements were quite a bit off, and I was ending up with a sock that would fit Andre the Giant. I ripped it back and began again. Things were going well until it all screeched to a halt when a cat munched one of my needles. The yarn languished in the craft cabinet until last Christmas. My parents gave me an awesome set of nickel-plated dpn needles.

Since last December, I have been through several more versions of the sock. One fell off the needles and unraveled in my purse; one switched from knit to purl right in the middle of the leg for a few rows for no good reason; one had a gauge change mid-sock and made me rip it all the way back.

Finally, finally, I seem to have this sock thing figured out.


A Word from our Sponsor

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Before I post another cat obituary (and yes, there will be another one very soon), I thought I’d catch everyone up on The Great Fair Obsession.

104 | Needlework | Crochet | Infant’s Set: Completed

I don’t remember where the pattern came from, but it was something I found online somewhere. I enjoyed this pattern and learned a lot about crochet. I also learned the truth of dye lots and how my house is really dark. See, I ran out of yarn about 1/4 through the bonnet. I went to the store, picked up another ball, and took it home. Sure, it matched perfectly! After I was finished, I took the bonnet to the store with me to find ribbon to go with it, and the second I pulled the piece out of my purse there in the glow of the store lights POOF I could immediately tell where I’d started the new yarn. Oh well. I just have to enter; I don’t have to win. Plus, the fold of the hat sort of covers it up.

116 | Needlework |Cross-Stitch | Beaded Item: Completed

Have I mentioned lately that I don’t like cross stitch? It’s not as horrible as I thought before I started the Fair quest, but doing this beaded piece made me renew my dislike. I started off using too many strands, but I refused to acknowledge that early on when I could have done something about it. Instead I kept on going and ended up cranky the whole time I worked on it. Then came the beads. The pattern called for cream beads, but I couldn’t find any so I used gold. That’s fine except they were clear beads painted gold. How do I know? Because the gold paint rubbed off some of them. Oh, and my needle was too big to get the beads over it, so I de-threaded the needle, put the bead on, and re-threaded the needle over and over again. Yes, I could have bought a different needle, but I live in the boonies and I am lazy.

118 | Needlework | Embroidery | Crewel: Completed

Crewel. I am working on a crewel project, I say. I have to pronounce it very distinctly: krewwwwww-ul. Crewel is to regular embroidery as whittling is to wood carving. At least to me. The difference between the two is teeny. With crewel (at least as far as I can tell) the difference is that you use wool thread instead of cotton or silk like other embroidery. I figured that the supplies would be something sort of hard to find, so I contacted a nearish needlework store (nope) and looked around online (some). Then one day I was in Michaels, and there was a kit, and then there was me with a 50% off coupon. Huzzah! I liked making this piece. Mostly. I was sort of annoyed by how the pattern had big areas painted on that I wasn’t supposed to stitch over. That seems like cheating. It looks sort of weird close up, too, but from afar it’s fine. Oh yeah, I learned how to do french knots. They are messy, but I can do them, the dreaded things.

122 | Needlework |Embroidery | Table Linens: Completed

What is a table linen, really? Surely a doily is a table linen in that it goes on the table and is linen-y. That is my story. I found a kit at the local sewing/craft store because, well, because I did. It was fun. Really fun. (Except for the part where I got one of the pieces slightly damp and the inked on pattern disappeared. Woops. Good thing there were three pieces in the kit.) This was (I think) my first experience with embroidery of any real sort, and it was like coloring with thread. I only did one type of stitch for the entire piece, but what’s my motto? “I only have to enter; I don’t have to win!”

123 | Needlework |Embroidery | Misc. Embroidery: Completed

A few months back, I bought an iron-on pattern with dancing tea pots and cups, but my craft cave swallowed it. Anya helped me pick out a new pack of patterns with kitties. I went a little cRaZy on this, my second embroidered piece. I used TWO different stitches. WoooHooo! Watch out! This piece was just as fun as the doily. After the fair is over, I want to go back and do all the other days of the week. Anya especially wants me to do Thursday. I’m not sure how durable the stitches are, though, so I’m not sure I would be able to bring myself to use the towels.

Welp, that’s all for now. I have a few things in progress, and the garden isn’t completely dead yet. Only a few more months to go. I’ve started wondering what I’m going to do when the fair is over.

Chicken Dinner

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We had chicken for dinner last night. So did some of our neighbor creatures. Our chicken came from the fridge, but theirs came from our chicken house. We are now down to one sad and lonely hen.

“Mommy, is the chicken sad?”
Yes, I think so.
“Why? Because she lost her family?”

In other news, I’m still working on Fair stuff. It’s starting to feel like a bit of a burden, though. Sorry, can’t do whatever because I need to work on this whatever for the fair. It mostly doesn’t seem that way, but sometimes it does. “Fair” is, after all, a four-letter word. But, I also love how I am trying new things and learning new crafts and making neat stuff.

184 | Craft | Art | Misc. Art: Completed

For Christmas, Andy gave me a groupon for a bead-making class at the Jacksonville Center. We’ve lived here six years now, and except for a recent birthday party, I’d never set foot in the Jax. Made me a bit sad. The class was held about two weeks ago, and it was taught by a friend and mama of a classmate of the kid. When we turned on the torches, I felt like I was back in chemistry lab. Don’t I look cool and arty?

Hot glass is fun. When I came home, Andy wanted to know if I was going to add bead making to my crafts. Not for now, I said. This is definitely an activity that requires a lot of practice, and it’s also not cheap. Maybe, I said, when the Fair is over I’ll play with it more.

157 | Craft | Holiday Decorations | Christmas: Re-Completed

When I saw this kit on clearance, I made an executive decision. I took the piece I’d previously made for my Christmas decoration and moved it to Metal Art (see below). Then I set to work on this holiday garland. I was rocking and rolling and thought I would finish the piece in one day, but then I discovered I was missing the pink birds. What is it with me and kits and missing pieces? I did as much as I could, and Andy emailed the company, and a week or so later I got the stuff I needed plus an entire new kit for a “PEACE” garland.

177 | Craft | Art | Metal Art / Metal Jewelry: Re-assigned / Completed

The metal stars I made a while ago and was going to use for 157. Now they are 177.

106 | Needlework | Crocheting | Misc. Crocheted Item: Completed

I am starting to believe that free patterns from magazines, display racks at stores, and included with yarn are bogus. There was that teepee trellis I tried to make years ago, and the great afghan disaster, and the latest, a crocheted market bag. The pattern was on the paper wrapped around some cotton yarn I’d bought a while ago. The directions said it was Easy! After trying for several days to figure the pattern out, I tossed it and went searching online. I found this pattern. It took me less time to finish this bag than it did to realize the first bag pattern was junk.

Sweet Baby Cheeses! (Or, How I spent my winter break)

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The other day when Andy had to stop the car suddenly, Anya blurted out “Sweet cheeses!” At least that is what I am telling myself she said. Another one of her favorite exclamations? “What the hex!” We are definitely doing a great job making sure our kid has a colorful vocabulary.

Last week, the kid had winter break, so she and I packed our clothes, toothbrushes, legos, dollies, and various crafts and drove to Georgia. We did all the usual things one does when on winter break. We drew monster eggs on the porch and waited for them to hatch. We planted and watered acorns in the flower boxes. We made chalk outlines of each other and then washed them away.

We went to Michael’s four or five times, bought little wooden birdhouses, and did a little painting. Anya’s first birdhouse (of 3, they were only a dollar!) was done up in bright, happy colors. After that, I can only figure that she decided birds were goth or emo or something, so she gleefully mixed all the colors we had into a big gray mess. I have to admit her coverage on those last two houses was impressive. Nary a bit of wood showed through the thunderstorm-colored paint.

I re-started my afghan. Anya was very excited when the afghan was big enough for her. It still seemed too small to me, so I plodded on. I really should have stopped. More on that another day.

We helped Gramma with the afghan she’s been working on for about a year now. It’s Anya’s rainbow blanket! We bought the yarn around Christmas of 2010, and Gramma’s been crocheting squares ever since. I was supposed to help with this project, but my squares weren’t. Christmas of 2011, we figured out we needed more squares, so Gramma bought more yarn and crocheted more and then POOF! Now all that’s left is to sew all the squares together. I’d help ya, Ma, I really would, but, um, I have 150 fair items to finish. Sorry!

The highlight of the trip? Mulch! I love mulch. It’s all smooshy and weed killy. One afternoon my mom noticed the neighbors were having some trees taken down, so she did what she does (talk to people!) and by the end of the day, she had three newly trimmed trees and a giant pile of mulch in her yard. I like to put down mulch. It’s sort of like mowing the lawn or vacuuming. Quick, visible change. Anya wanted to help me out (because I forced her to stay outside). She clambered up the pile and quickly declared herself, “KING OF THE MULCH!”

To wrap up the break, I got food poisoning or a stomach bug and spent a day moaning and whining and barfing. Sorry, I didn’t take any photos.