Friday, January 31, 2014

Knitter's Holiday

This past holiday season was such a blur, but in the midst of all of the medical days there were days spent exchanging gifts with loved ones. I was super excited to be gifted several Craftsy classes that I plan to complete in 2014. I also received this VERY cool knitting holiday ornament that I wanted to share with you guys. It is such a unique piece and will always be on the front of our tree!

Photo and ornament by iTagStudios

And then there is this little GIANT skein from Carol. Trying to pick just the right project for this one!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What's On the Needles and Hook?

Over the last few weeks I've been keeping my knitting and crochet projects to one at a time. I feel the need to simplify life right now and one project at a time keeps my mine focused. So, what is in the knitting bag?

This is a new design that I'm working on at the moment. It is a spring/summer scarf out of sock weight yarn. The idea is to knit it on larger needles to create a drape that also breathes. It can be worn single around the neck, doubled, or around the shoulders. I'm knitting up two samples, one variegated (below) and one solid (above). The pattern will be released sometime in February so that you can knit it up for the spring. (It will also be a great one knitted out of cotton sock yarn for warmer winter climates.)

Next up will be a new crochet project. I've always wanted to make a rug and after my kitchen sink rug got discolored in the wash, I needed to replace it. The plan is to crochet up a small rug for this location using some brightly colored cotton yarn from my stash. If that all goes well, I will venture to maybe making a LARGE one for the front living room. Both need to be bright and vibrant to bring sunshine to our home.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Getting Motivated

Between the cold, healing, and just allowing myself to be lazy, I've lost a little bit of my normal motivation. As I sat pondering just how to get my mojo back, I was reading the blogs that I follow. Several of the bloggers were writing about dream and idea boards and journaling. After realizing that the answer was in my face, I grabbed a notebook, glue, rubber cement, scissors, and my stacks of old knitting/crocheting magazines. My friend Christina does these notebooks with her family to track and plan their lives. My "vision" for mine is to use it as a design journal, a place to jot down book titles to read, music I want to check out, hat patterns to make for charity, and any feelings/thoughts I want to download about carcinoid treatment.

My original intention with my old magazines had been to scan in those that I wanted to keep, recycle the rest of the magazine, and enjoy the free space. Instead, I'm putting those patterns, photos I liked, and technique instruction into my journal. I love that I'm getting more stuff out of the house and still using what I want to keep. I plan to put all those catalogues we get each week to use by clipping inspirational photos out each week, too.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Ethan and The Grace Sacks Pattern on Knit Picks

You can now purchase our Brownie Knits The Ethan and The Grace Sacks pattern on the Knit Picks website! Knitted out of a worsted weight, these are great sacks for winter newborns. Worked on a US 7 needle, you are done in a flash.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Snuggle Time

Kennedy one night while we were watching TV before bed.

I've been wearing my IU fuzzy socks and penguin flannel pjs non-stop while snuggling in my new IU fleece blanket. Exciting stuff, huh? Such is life when you keep falling asleep around 7:30-8:30 and resting most of the day.

But I have started to venture out more and taken steps to return to normal. Which means getting to put on make up and do my hair so that I feel like a girl again, and it also means getting to wear my knits. The nature colored Spectral goes great with my camel wool coat. So snuggly warm. One of the things I really like about these infinity scarves is that you can skip a hat on most days. It just keeps you that warm. I thought these photos showed off the stitch pattern and colors much better than the previous ones that I posted. I'm wondering if I should start making some Spectrals to give as gifts for Christmas 2014!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Time Between

Right now we are in the "time between" Christmas and spring. That time of the year that leaves me longing for a color other than Indiana winter gray and dormant grass. This past weekend I ventured out with my husband on Saturday errands. I wasn't sure how this would go given that I hadn't really been out since the disaster of an oncologist appointment and that involved very little walking. We took it an errand at a time understanding that at any point I could call it a day. After hitting up the post office and library, we tackled the two grocery stores where we gather our food. As I walked into the first one I was greeted by rows of planted tulip and mini-daffodil bulbs. I WAS SO EXCITED! After nabbing a couple, we finished up and went to the second store where to my shock I found a hyacinth bulb in a glass vase that I had been eyeing online. Woohoo again!

Mini daffodils snuggled between my IU decorations for basketball season. (DON'T get me started on how they are playing. Ugh, but I'm a die hard fan and some years are like this one.)

My little tulips that are quickly blooming into red petals.

Pretty and funky hyacinth bulb. The cashier and bag boy where very interested in this one. On a side note, the picture above the hyacinth is me and my mommy when I was about 4. It's one of my favorites.

Back in November on a day that I felt decent, I managed to repot my spider plants because they were growing out the tops of the pots and seemed to be struggling not to turn brown. My grandma spider (named so because I got the start from my Gram) didn't like the process at first and I was SO worried that I might have killed a plant that means so much to me. Luckily, it perked back up and has started lots of new growth. I do wish it would start some babies so that I had back ups!

My other spider plant (the Kanouse plant because it came from my MIL) was looking really bad. It has loads of babies on it, but the mommy was thin and brown. After literally breaking the old pot in order to get it out, I put it in a new larger one and it is busy growing loads of new mommy leafs. I also repotted a bunch of the babies, including one shown next to the Kanouse plant here. All my little IU stuff that people have given me over the years is on the mantle along with my banner. (It is convenient that it doubles as Valentine's Day decor.)

When I was in the hospital, I received flowers from all of the Kanouse family members and my friend Christina. Unfortunately, I was too out of it to snap photos of the pretty cut flowers that kept my spirits up. However, my BIL and SIL-to-be sent me this potted plant. Knowing my love of red, they picked a great one. It is living in on my desk where it is happily growing new colorful leafs. I have plans to crochet up a colorful covering for this pot. Isn't it a pretty lily?

For now the red square vase from my dear friend is holding some spider plant babies in water. I keep looking at the vase and thinking about what special crafty thing I might want to do with this one. It's such a cute shape. Yes, I am happy to have the green plants and impending blooms in the house during this time between! Bring on spring (she says hopefully and in denial that it is still January).

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Monkey See, Monkey Knit

One of the things I've learned about knitters is that we love to make what others are making. We like the community spirit of working from the same pattern and seeing all the different looks our finished work takes. One of the best ways of selling yarn (when I worked retail) was having a shop sample, knit alongs, or showing off one knitters work to others. For me, there has always been a little bit of a push and pull in this area. Sometimes, I just like to be unique. But, oh, the allure of just joining a group and the sense of belonging.

For Christmas this year, my friend Christina made up magic yarn cakes for her family of knitters. After blog stalking both C's blog and here sister's blog, I just had to dive into my yarn stash and make my own shawl, buy the pattern, and cast on.

I gathered up leftover blues and creams of sock weight yarn. Followed the double knot method of tying the yarns together and cast on.

I think it turned out nice and springy. I can see myself wearing it in April and May when the weather warms a bit but still requires a little removable warmth.

I knitted mine on a US 5 with my only alterations to the pattern being that I worked garter when I wanted instead of as suggested in the pattern. The Magic Cake Ruffle Shawl pattern is available for purchase from Paula Fuessle Designs in her Ravelry shop. It was a very well written pattern full of ideas and instruction. (I have to say as an indie designer, I thought she did an exceptional job with this pattern. It was presented in a professional way with high-quality photos, in addition to being accurate and well written.) I have much more leftover bits in worsted weight that will be gathered during the course of my next stash organization so that I can make more shawls!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Christmas Sharing

With everything going on I somehow missed posting about Christmas. It was rough, but I managed to pull it together well enough for us to spend Kanouse Christmas with my in-laws on Christmas Eve and then we hosted my family the following weekend. Everybody was very understanding and supportive and I didn't really move around much. On Christmas Day, Patrick and I hung at home and enjoyed exchanging our gifts and spending the day with the dogs.

Here is my burglar Patrick looking for the pickle ornament hidden on the tree. He put on his new hat that he received that morning and was using his iPhone light to help search. I couldn't resist the photo as he really looks like the thief from those old cartoons!

This is the glass photo montage I had made for him. I love Shutterfly!

My little nephew R was super cute during our celebration. He played reindeer with his card and then curled up with Kennedy to use his LeapPad Ultra that we got him. Kiki is his constant companion when he visits our house. She follows him around with her toy in her mouth and is often found curled up next to him...sometimes even when he goes to bed.

R had proudly worn his Superman shirt that morning that he got after seeing Uncle Patrick in his earlier this year. So, after his shower, Patrick came down wearing his. It was ADORABLE when R saw it and ran over and put his fists on his hips.

Even my "little" brother got in on the Superman action. I couldn't resist taking a picture of them and this will probably end up going in the 2013 picture ornament that never got completed this year!

R teaching Mawmaw how to use technology. Several times the adults tried to show him something and he would ignore us and then he was right! What do we know. I was super excited that he enjoyed his gift and the educational games on it.

Niece E, Nephew J, and Nephew A...Happy cousins!

She's into opening those packages!

We got E an apron and I crocheted her a baking set. She's already been putting her apron to use helping mommy cook! We got J an art smock and full art kit. He's such a creative kid that I thought about him every time I was in art class last year.

Nephew A received a baseball-themed gift set from us...Uncle Patrick had great fun putting that together even though it was mostly Red Sox stuff. (PK was happy that the baseball video game at least had a Rays player on the front of it!)

I was super excited to give these gifts to my MIL and FIL. I had them printed up at Shutterfly on canvas. E was excited to see herself in the photo. But, in true kid style, E was most fascinated by trying to pop the air pacts from the boxes. She wasn't really heavy enough to jump on it, so Uncle Doug and cousin A helped her sit on it and pop it. We all cheered her on.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Finished Projects in Action

Thought I'd share a few pictures of the green Spectral and Mountain Colors fairisle boot toppers in "action." Still not great pictures, but I managed to shower, put on make up, and dry my hair one day. Of course, it was too cold and I'm still getting better so I went straight back to pjs!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Lots of Crochet and a Little Knitting and a LOT of Snow

Over the last few weeks I've been focusing my knitting and crochet energy on making thank you gifts for the nurses and PCAs at the hospital. I only have one more item to make and should wrap that up today. Woohoo! They will be dropped off next Monday at my surgical follow up. I'm glad I got them all ready so fast so they can enjoy them yet this winter. And, boy, do we have a real winter going on in Indiana right now. It is colder here this morning than it is in Alaska and the South Pole (according to the weatherman). Yesterday our top temperature was -10...actual temp...wind chill was -38. And, on Sunday we got 12 inches of snow at our little house. We typically get 26 inches all year. Since I haven't posted in a bit, I thought I'd share some winter pictures along with all the projects. Happy scrolling!

Our little winter wonderland out back...the dogs were not happy about going out for potty duty.

In the front yard little IU gnome (a Christmas gift from my Duke-loving brother and Kentucky-loving SIL), got buried in just a few hours. We still haven't dug out to even get the mail, but I'm not even sure the mailman made it here yet! Patrick is waiting for the weather to hit the 20s before going out to shovel.

Before the snow hit, PK snapped this picture of Kiki in her new winter coat. Our poor little yorkies sit so low to the ground that without some form of clothing, they get snow balled up on their belly and then spread it all over the house. So, the coat actually serves a purpose, but isn't that fur hood too cute!?!

Kennedy sat at the end of the bed during the storm and watched the snow for hours. I love this look on her face. It makes me think she was trying to say, "Have you SEEN this?"

These red boot cuffs were crocheted on a US H/8 hook using Berroco Vintage and the pattern Crochet Boot Cuffs Pattern by Jodi DeJonge - HdCDesigns. Here is a link to her Etsy shop where she sells the pattern and the made cuffs: HdCDesigns.

The green cuffs here followed the same pattern with two modifications...I did more rows for a larger circumference and I left off the shells at the top. They were crocheted using a US H/8 hooks and a special Madelinetosh Tosh Merino DK in Thoreau I had from a club several years back.

After making the boot cuffs I started playing around with the idea of a "ribbed" wristlet. I came up with these little wristlet cuffs decorated with buttons from my button stash. I plan to release the pattern as a freebie on my site in the future. They are fast to make and would make wonderful gifts. I used a US H/8 hook and all three shown here were out of Madelinetosh leftovers. (Can you tell I was letting myself splurge on using super nice yarns while I was recovering? I kept going to the MadTosh bin!)

After all the cuffs and wristlets, I decided to whip up a few ear warmers. I used a pattern from BobWilson123 designed by Clare Sullivan. The pattern name is Vintage Headband.

I used a US H/8 crochet hook and more MadTosh for the blue and green ones. The red one is out of more Berroco Vintage. No mods were used for the first two. For the green one, I made it 18 inches instead of 21 for those of us with smaller heads.

Next up I knitted a Birthday Cake Cowl designed by my friend Christina of ClassicCableKnits. It is a free Ravelry download and is such a fun pattern to knit.  I used a size US 9 needle and the yarn is Fiesta Boomerang.

I then knitted a What a Slouch hat (pattern by me, Brownie Knits) for my only male nurse. Used up two partial skeins of Berroco Vintage in black and heather gray and a partial of Knit Picks Swish Tonal in Thunderhead. I knitted the L/XL size on a US 7 needle.

In addition to the projects highlighted here, I am also giving several Mamie hats and a Colvin hat that I already had made up. It's been a nice project to help keep me busy during recovery. I've had tons of trouble concentrating on things for longer than 20 minutes, so many of these projects were perfect!

And, because I couldn't leave out little Riley, I had to share a picture of what he has done this week. Well, he really has done this the entire time I've been back home and he took over my fleece blanket that santa brought me!