Summer Summary

I am the same as a lot of crafters out there.  I value the short summer Saskatchewan gets so much that crafting takes a back seat.  I still do a bit here and there on those rainy nights or sick days, but not nearly as much as I do in the winter.  So, here I will do a quick summary of what I have done over the summer.

Biggest update - I took a knitting class!  I really enjoyed it, not only because I was learning something new, something I have wanted to learn for awhile now. But because it gave me a chance, for 2 hours a week, to talk crafting with like-minded people.  Wonderful!  It was a 6 week course, 2 hours a week, with homework to do between classes.  I would highly recommend The Wool Emporium's classes to everyone.  Small class sizes and very reasonably priced.  The finished product was a child's sweater.  I decided to make it two colors, and it turned out great!  

Knitting Class Finished Sweater

The sweater was made all in the round, no seams.  It taught me how much I love circular needles and how much I don’t like double pointed needles!  I also learned how much I do not like plastic needles.   This all leads me to my first purchase after the class.  The Boye Needlemaster Kit 200.  I. Love. It.  The kit can be made into a variety of different cable length circular needles, flexible straight needles, stitch holders, etc.  Its amazing.  All of the needles (sizes 2 to 15) are all aluminum.  I can’t explain how much I love it!  I have added a few things to my new knitting kit - stitch markers, two crochet needles (slipped stitches and kitchener stitch!), two yarn needles, one scissors, and one tape measure.  You may wonder why I have a CASE tape measure, but it is very dear to me with a background story.  Anyways, here is the kit that is so near to my heart:

Knitting Kit!

So, once I got going on the knitting path, I made a few dishcloths to get my tension and stitches down.  Then I got sick of that pretty fast!  I did a bunch of yarn dyeing:

Hand Dyed Yarn

And then made some felted mittens (I forgot to take a picture!  Ugh!).  That got me hooked on the mittens.  Then I found Kelley’s Mitten Class.  And I got really addicted!  Here are a few examples of what I have made:

Mittens!!

I love mittens.  I love the magic loop method!  Its impressive how quickly you can rip through a mitten when the needles are metal and you are doing the magic  loop method.  Mittens for everyone!!

No, on to other crafting methods, I did a bit of sewing.  I made a mug cozy, a quilt for my BFF's wedding present (again, the only picture I have is a blurry cell phone shot. I suck), and a quilted kitchen floor mat.  I only have one picture, here it is:

Mug Cozy

And last but not least, I finally finished a cross stitch project that I started a very long time ago.  I love Mary Engelbriet.  I loved this pattern, and it was actually a rug hooking kit that my sister had made.  The rug hooking kit is very similar to a cross stitch pattern, so it was easy to work off of it.  It is just took a very very long time!  I have to get it framed yet, just waiting for a good Michaels sale.

Mug Cozy

Well, that is it for now.  As for out of my crafting world, this summer has been a very important summer in my life. I work in a male dominated industry and it has always been a challenge for me, but it is one that I enjoy because I need to believe that what I am doing is making the path easier for females to come.  This summer, I was promoted to the position that I got into this industry to get.  It means that I am now the youngest, and only female, in this position in the city.  This position was in my 5 year plan, and I got it considerably ahead of schedule! I am so proud of myself and what I have done to prove everyone wrong.  I love my job and the challenges that every day brings. The only downfall - I am so determined to take on everything and do it all well, that I spend a lot of long hours in the office.  Luckily, my boyfriend understands how much this means to me and is a fountain of support.  And tells me what I don’t always want to hear - I need a break and they will be fine without me for a day or two!  The long hours effect my valuable crafting time, but it is showing me how much I need that time to myself.  The job is high-stress and its amazing what a few knit stitches can do for the stress levels!  I also recently got a very good relaxation massage and I am slowly learning that I am more productive and efficient when I take steps to reduce my stress and take time for myself.  This summer has helped me learn immense amounts about myself, my abilities, and my limits.  And I am only 23!  It is flattering/depressing how many “I thought you were older that you are!” comments I get!  I don’t mind though.  I need to be a strong person to deal with the industry that I deal with. :)

Anyways!  If you have read through aaaallll of that, I am impressed!  

<3

Plans, Projects, and Pretending Pregnancy

Oh my goodness, I am absolutely horrendous at keeping this blog up to date. This is me apologizing.

Well, last weekend I went to visit my sister and brother and it was absolutely amazing. It is so nice to get out of the city (even though we went right into a bigger one) and visit family. It gives you a brighter outlook on life, it really does. I gave my sister her afghan and the toque I made with the extra skein. I will post a picture this weekend. I also gave my sister-in-law the bag I made during the make-a-long. Also, I gave my brother the piranha plant scarf, as well as a baby piranha plant scarf! The baby scarf is actually for a 10 month old and is absolutely adorable! Again, photos will eventually be posted. 

Right now, I am finishing up some dishcloths for my Mom. Then, the ONLY crochetting project that I will let my self start is purplej3nn’s scarf. Holy crap, it is taking me too long to get to it!  This weekend, I need to finish some partially started projects. I made my first fabric art this weekend, and I need to make a couple more to finish off the wall. Then, I need to sew my new curtains with the fabric I got from Ikea. If I have time, I will hem up the old curtains and move them to the bedroom. I also have a bunch of dishclothes and a scarf that I need to weave the ends in (I HATE WEAVING IN ENDS!!) and then put them away. I also need to put together and hang my new mirror and make little paper birds and leaves for the horrendous speaker wires going down our walls. Then, to Michaels to get some fake grass (cross fingers that there will actually be some in) to line the bottom of the mirror.  I also hope to find some really old, beat up, small hardcover books to add to it as well. 

And then on top of all that, I have plans to go out for drinks with old friends that I haven’t seen in a few months to a few years! Also, every year, a section of the city has a community garage sale. Barbeques and pancake breakfasts included! I have also made plans to hit that up.  Duh, because how COULDN’T I?!  I will have to keep my spending to a minimum. Only a set amount of cash and then THAT IS IT!  I see myself failing at this already.

Oh, and I need to start making up official tags for my handmade goods. I figured I should do that now so that I will always have some on hand. That means I need to find some good templates online and see what I can do with them. Which isn’t much, because, well, we all know how techno-skilled I am. Super skilled. Lots. *cough*

Wow, I have alot to do this weekend. Oh and did I mention that damned wedding cross stitch?! Can you tell I am putting it off?  You know I am procrastinating when I start planning to weave in ends on dishcloths and the most irritating scarf I have ever  made. Ugh.

Also, I feel the need to tell the world this. I have recently bought clothes from a maternity store. Lots of them. Now, before you get your “oooo” and your “eeee”s going, I am most certainly not pregnant.  I just love their tops. They fit so damn well!! So much room for my hips, it is absolutely amazing. YOu have no idea how hard of a time I have finding a shirt that fits across my small-medium sized shoulders and chest and waist and then flares out enough to fit my damned large hips. Well, I found the secret. And if faking interest in nursing and baby strollers it what it takes, well then ladies, these hips DO lie.

TGIF!

Fridays are the Monday of the crafting weekend. :) And this Monday is goooood….

Well, I have been pretty busy lately with some projects that needed to be done asap.  Hence, the lack of blogging.  Well, that is the excuse I am going with, anyways!  I had to make a little one skein extra to go with the afghan I finished in the Make-A-Long. I should show you a picture, or tell you what it is, but it is going to be a surprise! :D

I am also working on two scarves for my brother’s friends.  A momma scarf and a baby scarf! I have never made a tiny scarf before, so I hope it turns out well.  :) I had the pleasure of being able to use enemyairship’s Piranha Plant Scarf pattern while it was still posted.  As these are gifts, I decided to make them again by memory (barely). This is something that I am not entirely sure on, the dos and don’ts of using people’s patterns…. I hope it is something that I don’t cross the line on. :(

Other than that, I have another project that squeaked into the line up as well. I am fortunate enough to be able to give a go on Purplej3nn’s new scarf pattern! I have seen the photo and I like! :D I can’t say I have seen many (if any) scarves out there that look like this one and I hope that I will be able to give her some valuable feedback.   I have recently (very roughly) written up my own first pattern and I know that once I get it all written up properly, I would love to have people test it out before I make it public.  But, that is another task that is slowly becoming lower and lower on the crafting totem pole… Next up is Purplej3nn’s scarf and the wedding cross stitch! I honestly don’t know how I will get that finished and framed and sent before the wedding. :S  There will be a few all nighters, that is a promise!

I must admit, I made and pretty damn good latte this morning. I am getting better at using my espresso machine and making consistant lattes. Occasionally I have one that is too sweet or too strong, but I am getting better. :)

As I asked on Twitter, has anyone ever used the ergonomic crochet hooks from Lion Brand? I am very intrigued and really want to try them, but the price (after shipping to Canada) and the very spaced out selection of needles makes me wonder… Have you tried them? What are your thoughts?

Make-A-Long Wrap Up

Well, I have to post this quickly. I have alot of things I need to get done today. And of course, they include crafting.  ;) Crochetting to be exact.

Here are a few photos from yesterday.  A friend came over to join me in my ventures.  She is working on a granny square quilt and she started laying it out to see how many squares she still needed to make. I absolutely love this afghan, I should have taken more pictures but unfortunately I did not.  The colors are amazing and the randomness of the placing is gorgeous. Here it is:

Granny Squares

After I finished my classic tote, I resumed working on my sister’s afghan. I am using the Lion Brand 5 1/2 Hour Throw pattern with Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick in Oatmeal and… oh what was that one again… Oh ya, Barley. A strand of each.  It turned out amazingly!

Double Afghan

Double Afghan

If you haven’t noticed, I finally figured out how to take the date stamp off of my photos! Yay! But I am still learning on how to take decent ones. Sorry about the blurriness. :S

Well, I am going to make a toque out of the remains from the afghan, so I should get down to business!  I hope everyone enjoys their Sunday, no matter what you decide to do with your day. :)

Make-A-Long

Ok, first project done! I used the Classic Tote Tutorial from Sew Mama Sew and some inexpensive fabric for a test run.  

Finished Bag

I learned how to make gussets, what a French seam was and how to make one, and the triple stitch on my sewing machine!  I also learned that if something seams a bit daunting at first, I can chug on through it as long as I go slow and read the directions carefully.  :)

Here are a few more photos of the inside, back, and front.

Inside of Bag

Back

Front

There ya go. 

Now, off to the next project. Finishing afghans!!

The beginning of any foray into crafting must begin with caffeine.  My trusty espresso machine and the beautiful latte. Now, I wonder if the latte will taste as good as it looks….. 

Crafters, Start Your Engines!

Well, I haven’t been in the mood for blogging lately. As you may have noticed.  Oddly, I haven’t been in the crafting mood either. I have started early morning gym visits and that means that I don’t get any lattes in the morning. Therefore, by the time I get home, I am ready to crash.  Anyways, enough of the excuses.  They end here.

Tomorrow is the big day. THIS big day!  Yep, you read that right. A 24 HOUR MAKE-A-LONG! :O  Holy crap, I just got the heebie jeebies. Now, in all honesty, I won’t be attempting the full 24 hours. I have such a love of sleep that I just would not be able to do it. It would be unpleasant to be around me.  To say the least. ;)  Well, that being said, I am going to be crafting a hell of alot. And updating all along the way. On here, Twitter, maybe even Facebook or Ravelry.  

What will I be working on?  Well, the bags to begin with.  And then probably going to finish up my loose crochetting projects. And then after that… well, we’ll see if there is an after that. 

I suppose I should rest up. Wish the weather wasn’t so ugly here.  I would sure appreciate a nice morning walk to wake me up for the day.

Anything is possible after a crisp spring morning walk. 

Here is the video I mentioned. I couldn’t figure out how to add it into the post. That is how Tumblr illiterate I am. I didn’t say that my homemade skills crossed into blogging….

Enjoy!

Prcraftination

That’s right, I am writing this at work… ssshhhh….

I haven’t been doing much crafting this past week.  The fabric for the bags are still sitting on the back of my futon and my scraps are still cozy in my scrap container.  

My yarn stash is still growing. But, before you get all “remember, you said you weren’t going to buy…”, I will cut you short. I have three boxes of Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick and Quick (sooo cozy) ready to be whipped up into 5 1/2 Hour Afghans!  My sister and her husband picked out a bunch of yarn to be made into afghans. One problem - there was a miscommunication. They bought twice as much yarn as they needed! Going to be BIG afghans! I love this pattern, it is so simple and so easy to whip up.  I hope to get them finished up this week and will post pictures then.  I have made one afghan like this before. I mentioned it in this post. I couldn’t believe how much the yarn softened up with use. I look forward to visiting them and cozying up to the plush afghans with a hot cuppa tea….

Another project that I have been putting off is a cross stitch for a wedding gift. I hadn’t had that purpose in mind when I started it, but it seems fitting now. It is a rug hooking pattern that I converted into a cross stitch project. Mary Engelbreit. I LOOOVE her stuff! So fun.  Anyways, it is a pretty big project and it will include ALOT of hours to be put into it, yet.  Which means that I have to jump to it, since I have to finish, get it framed, and mail it with a wedding date of June 5th. You ask why I don’t just deliver it myself? Because I can’t afford to go to the wedding.  It is really hard for me to admit that and it kills me to not be able to go.  She was a very very dear friend of mine in high school and I wish I could make it. But, I hope that my wedding gift to them will make up for my lack of attendance… I hope. :(

I just realized how boring this post will be without pictures. Here, watch this video instead. It will make up for it. Plus, it is a kick ass video that I think every crafter needs to watch and enjoy. ;)

Sunday Afternoons…

Hello again, all.  It has been awhile for me to find some time to post about all my crafting ventures. Unfortunately, that also means I haven’t had much time for crafting!

Last weekend, I took a trip to Fabricland with my uber crafty aunt.  I needed some help picking out “home decor cotton” for a bag I hope to make soon.  I found enough for quite a few bags!  It was 50% off everything for members so I got some discount fabric for $2 a meter! I love sales. I also found some fabric for a sewing machine cover tutorial that I have been looking at for awhile.  I finally got around to it today!

Here is the tutorial and here is the finished product:

Sewing Machine Cover

Cute fabric, right? Perfect for a sewing machine cover! I was surprised that I managed to cut the pieces straight to the lines in the pattern, except the sewing machines had to go sideways because the fabric wasn’t wide enough to accommodate it otherwise.  Oh well.

Overall, it was a very fast put together.  The only complaint I had was doing the corners. I haven’t done them before so it was pretty hard on the first side. Then, nothing lined up so I had to take it all apart and start over. The tutorial doesn’t explain how to do corners so if you decide to do this yourself, I highly recommend figuring out the corners ahead of time. I have the problem of not fully reading over a tutorial before I dive in. Whups! It isn’t as sturdy as I expected it to be. But I think that is my fault in expecting otherwise, since it is only one layer of cotton fabric. I suppose I could have used thicker “home decor” fabric and it would have been alot more rigid. And probably harder to do the corners too.

You may have noticed by now the… interesting… window coverings I have.  Orange, Yellow, White and Purple geometric squares/diagonals.  I have had them since I was in Grade 12. I went to a boarding school and we needed curtains to cover our cubicle-type bedroom entrances. These were mine! I find it hard to get rid of them, they have been with me ever since. They are tacky but I love them.

Well, I have looked through my photos and found that I have actually done more crafting than I thought!  Such a good blogger I am, taking pictures of everything. Only to forget about it all.

Here is a picture of the fabric I got to make these bags:

Bag Fabric

I really wish that the date and time would go away.

Anyways, the left fabric (bright and almost on the tickytacky side of things, kind of like my curtains) is the sale fabric (surprised?) and the right fabric is the regular fabric. I love them both, perfect for spring and summer. You won’t lose the left fabric bag, that is for sure. I will be able to make 2 bags out of it, lots there!

I also made a rice heat therapy bag that has come in handy lately. I made one mistake with this one though, I put in too much essential oil. The whole house smells like cranberries when I heat it up! 

Anyways, here is the tutorial and here is the finished product:

Rice Heat Therapy Bag

I used scrap fabric from my first bag and a grey fat quarter. Easy and fast, yet again.

As for yarn crafts, I have been dyeing a few more skeins to test the waters.  I have found that I absolutely love dyeing yarn and I could really get into it. Real dyes and even painting all types of fibers. But, I keep telling myself that it is something I will have to wait to do. Once I get a house with a backyard and a bigger kitchen, I will dabble it a bit more.  And then if I am very very lucky, I will someday live on an acreage and have my own llamas and sheep. We can all have a dream, right?

I have begun a crochetted rug for in front of the kitchen sink. I borrowed a few pattern pamphlets from my aunt and picked out one that both I and the BF decided on. The yarns being used are the brown from the sweater I got and unravelled, white that my Grandma gave me a long time ago, and sage green that a friend gave me because she didn’t like the color. She won’t like my rug I guess, but I’m ok with that. ;)

I have also tossed around the idea of picking up knitting again, as well.  I have found that there are so much cuter patterns for knitting clothes, purses, anything, rather than crochetting. Knitting is much more time consuming, but it would be nice to have a decent skill set in both methods.  

Now, on a final note. I have decided that I WILL NOT LET MYSELF BUY MORE FABRIC OR YARN UNTIL I FINISH UP ALL THE PROJECTS I HAVE ON THE GO. I must use up all (or close to) the yarn and fabric that I have before I can buy more. I live in an apartment with storage restrictions that keep me from buying and storing caches of yarn/fabric. Also, my pocket book has restrictions. ;)

Hope everyone had a crafty weekend! I will spend my evening on the couch with my crochet hook and rug in hand. Looking forward to it!