Monday, August 30, 2010

Girls Night: August

Have craft. Will travel.

Our old crafting friend, A, and her husband invited us to the beach this past weekend when they were in from across the country. Since it was P's turn to host Girls Night she thought it would be a good idea to bring craft night to the shore so A. could participate too.

P. came up with a great magnet idea. You take the flattened glass marbles/ stones used in the bottom of flower vases,

attach patterned cardstock to the back with super glue,

then glue on a heavy-duty magnet.

That's it!

A. had some extended family also staying with her, so it was fun having more gals joining in the crafting mania. At one point, even one of the guys got sucked into the crafting vortex. P.'s husband wound up making a magnet too. Crafts aren't just for girls, people! One time I forced my husband to go to a bead store to make bracelets. It was purely for revenge b/c I was tired of attending so many sporting events with him. So, I figured, 'Fine. Now he's going to have to do something that he doesn't want to do.'  To my amazement, he had a great time, yukked it up with the ladies at the shop, and made a really beautiful bracelet. It was unique, out of the box, and way better than what I made. So much for getting back at him. I bet there are a lot of other men who are keeping their crafting skills hidden in the closet.

I'm really excited about my magnets, especially b/c I always forget to buy them and I really need them. Yay for practical crafts!

The girls and I discussed how much of a challenge it is to come up with good craft ideas each month. We brought up the idea of maybe picking one long-term project to work on instead of all these smaller things. We sort of did this a couple years ago when we were all working on individual quilts. We're not sure what direction we'll go in, but it sounds like a plan.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mommisquare Shrugged

This is my reward for working so hard lately. Ok, I know what you're thinking, "You knitted yourself a rectangle? That's a reward?"

Well, it is sort of a knitted rectangle, but when you fold it like this, it slips over your shoulders and becomes a shrug! I noted my friend J's cute shrug several months ago and when I saw this pattern, I decided I would make one for myself.

This is the first thing I've ever made for myself (when it comes to knitting or crochet). I thought it would be too ambitious b/c of my lack of time, but it was the perfect project for my current lifestyle; it's TREMENDOUSLY EASY and relatively fast--the entire thing took about 5 weeks of on and off knitting. I followed a fellow Ravelry member's modifications: knit the first 12 inches in the round (which means only knitting and no purling=super fast) and then leave 136 stitches on a stitch holder and knit the other 136 stitches flat for 14 inches. Then join to the live stitches on the stitch holder using the kitchener stitch. Voila! You're done. No seaming, no sleeves...AND this was all yarn I had in my stash from about 10 years ago. I don't know why I bought the yarn back then, in fact, I don't know why I bought any of the yarn I currently have in my stash back then. Maybe I just had a premonition that it would come in handy at some future date.

It's hard to truly see how the pattern looks without wearing here are some glamour shots I had to take of myself in the mirror. Little C can't work the camera for me yet.

Work it!

A bit more attitude, please...

Show that camera who's boss!

I'm really pleased with the outcome and would love to try making some other things for myself at some point. Right now I have other things on the radar, however. I also need to catch up on my sleep. That seems to be where I'm finding my new craft time.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

More Fall Love

Baked sweet potato casserole with scorched marshmallow topping,
pumpkin spice cake,
freshly grated cinnamon,
moist pumpkin bread,
cider donuts in waxed paper bags from the local orchard,
hot mulled cider with nutmeg,
pumpkin pie,
stuffed apples baking in the oven oozing cinnamon sugar...

I LOVE the color of this sweater. It reminds me of fall and it's triggering a lot of fall associations for me like the list above.

Yes, I do realize that this yarn makes me think of food. The color just seems so similar to my favorite fall foods.

I really am not trying to rush the summer away, but there are subtle signs that fall is around the corner (despite the extreme heat wave in my area). I take Little C for a daily walk and I was shocked to see acorns already on the ground yesterday. I haven't seen any leaf color change yet, but it's just weeks away.

I love the change of seasons. There are times when I think about living in an area with static weather (namely constant sunshine, in the 70s), but I don't think it's for me. There's something very comforting and exciting about the cyclical changes forever happening outside.

When the temperature starts to drop a bit, and I'm starting to stock up on Pumpkin Spice cake (and other favorite fall food) ingredients, that will be the perfect time for Little C. to break out this sweater (which I titled his "Rustic Rust Sweater") and strut his stuff on our fall outings.

I used a pattern called Oh, Handsome which is an adorable name for a little boy's sweater. And Little C. certainly looks handsome in it.

I saw this pattern about two years ago and always wanted to make it. I have to admit that it turned out more rustic than I imagined. I think I'd like to have it more streamlined, but that has a lot to do with my yarn/ needle choice, as well as my skill level. I had a lot of trouble with the arms and I think I might like to make another sweater in this pattern using a different technique for them. I also followed some modifications that other Ravelry users recommended, namely using the kitchener stitch to graft the shoulder seams and leaving live stitches on the back neckline before knitting the shawl collar.

This was my last knitting project before I started a new job. It's part-time, at-home work, which is wonderful  because it doesn't interfere with any time with Little C. It does, however, interfere with knitting/craft time. I have a completed project here and there that I have yet to post about, but I don't think I'm going to have much time to craft/ post on a regular basis after that. We'll see. Maybe I'll surprise myself.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

V for Victory

When the sun and heat have just about scorched the grass and flowers to a crisp, straw-like hay in August, and the still-green trees have started to droop their limbs under the weight of their baked leaves, I start to get excited for football season. College football (especially our alma mater's) is a mammoth family tradition.

My family has been attending these football games since I was a little child. Before the game even starts there's the necessary tailgate rife with extended tailgate family, beer, and the savory smell of hot dogs and sausages roasting on multiple grills. There are always the tailgate aficionados who have perfected tailgating to an art form: It's not uncommon to see exotic meats or elaborate table displays showcasing their food, which, by the way, is almost always shared with everyone else. I love the give and take of this little tailgate community. What is it about drinking and eating out of the back of your trunk that is so appealing?  I don't know. IT JUST IS!

After a couple hours, with a cold beer in hand and a belly full of hot dogs or kielbasa, your ears pick up a sound over the din of laughter and chatter.

It's the sound of quads (drums) in the distance. First it's faint and faraway, and then it becomes louder and louder. You start to feel the beat of the bass drum in your chest. Your heart actually starts keeping time with the rhythm. Eventually you can feel the drum beat in your head, behind your eyeballs. It literally becomes a part of you. And then you begin to see the college band and cheerleaders come into view, the sun gleaming off their brass instruments and metallic pom poms.  They ready themselves to march through the tailgate area and play a few songs before entering the stadium. This is the signal to pack up ship, down the beer in your hand and head in for the big game.

What better way for Little C. to participate in this awesome tradition than to sport his very own varsity sweater and hat?

I used this pattern again for the sweater. The V on the front is a type of knitting called "intarsia." Intarsia is when you have a large area of color change in your work. I wound up drawing out the V on graph paper and followed that as a guide. The knitted ear flap hat is from this pattern. I used more acrylic yarn from my stash. This is more that was leftover from the crocheted throw I made my nephew a couple years ago. (I bought way too much for that blanket! I still have more left.) But it's certainly coming in handy now.

Although I don't want to rush summer away just yet, I'm so excited for football season to start!  I can't wait for Little C to show his team allegiance by wearing this to the first cold weather game. Go V!
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