Monday, December 18, 2017

A Time of Transition

The last three months have gone by in a whirlwind. Smidget is three months old and last Friday I put in my two weeks notice at my job. Now that the decision has finally been made, I'm anxious to make the transition. It'll be a weird one - I've been working full or part time outside the home since I was 18.  I have four more days to work this year and then I get to be a full time mom. I'll be looking into some part time work from home opportunities and working to adjust our life to a reduced income.

Its really odd that this all comes at a time when I'm already thinking about goals for the upcoming year. 2018 will be a brand new start for us in so many ways. Its time to finish up a few old projects and get them out of the way for new and exciting things.

So far on 100 days of Stitching, I've managed to get a little cross stitch in on 6 out of 9 days for a whopping total of 694 stitches. A lot of these were back stitches which go much faster that regular, but I'm still pleased. I've only every counted stitches before in a round-up general sense but I like doing it as it gives me a small sense of accomplishment every day. I'm using one of my cross stitch groups advent calendars as inspiration. Each day they post a new small goal for stitching.

There's also a quilt that I finished several months ago but never got around to showing off. I plan to gift this to someone at church who has her first granddaughter so it was now or never.

I hope to have all the water bottle carriers finished by the end of the year and sent out to the necessary people and then I have a few project bags I want to start and finish, as well as a lot of arrow head covers for some friends. With the Smidget currently napping, I'm going to go spend a little time in my sewing room. Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

100 Days of Stitching

It took me three days to find the twenty minutes that I needed to finish this afghan, but finish it I did and here is the final photo. You might be asking, how is this photo any different from the previous one I shared? The answer is that this one was taken two weeks later and has two more rounds on the border. Oh, and I think I vacuumed the living room floor before I took this picture. Realistically, I would have liked a few more rounds on the border but this project has been dragging on for 14 months and I was just ready to have it done. If I really want to, I can add more rounds in the future. Say, if I get bored or run out of other projects or something (ha ha ha.)

Since I've finished this, I've also churned out a Christmas present for my favorite cousin, a navy blue hat and scarf (which I sadly forgot to take pictures of before gifting), and worked on my JAYGo motif blanket.

Its the end of the year, which brings up ideas and plans and goals for the coming year. I've given some thought to how I would like the New Year to go. I usually get super organized, make some sort of lofty crafty goals and lists, and forget all about them a month or two into them. I've managed to break the BUY ALL THE THINGS for cross stitch habit thanks to Stitch from Stash 2017. I haven't purchased anything cross stitch related since June. I happily managed to skate past the amazing Black Friday sales on yarn and fabric without purchasing a single item. I have enough craft supplies to last me years and I'd like use up a lot of my stash and finish a few projects before I go pick up more dust-collecting supplies.

What is really interesting me right now is 100daysofHAED, which was spawned on Facebook after a poll in a cross stitch group showed that the thing that most people wished they had was more time to craft. The challenge is to stitch on your projects every day for 100 days, no matter how much or how little you manage to do. I'm thinking about pulling out some of my old projects and seeing if I can get one done in 100 days of stitching just a little bit every day. Although they aren't HAED, I would love to see them done. These are three of my oldest projects.

If I start tomorrow, then 100 days will finish on March 20, about the time that Smidget is six months old.

What are your plans for New Year's Crafting?

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Watercolor Crochet Blanket

The Smidget is almost two months old and I've decided to take my full FMLA, which means I won't be going back to work until Christmas time.

He's just so tiny and so needy that I can't imagine passing him off to a day care worker who has four  little ones to look after. He is taking up the bulk of my time and I wouldn't have it any other way.

So still no cross stitch and there is minimal other crafting. I did get a couple hours to spend in my sewing room, working on water bottle carriers. These are the bottoms of the carriers. I've embroidered them with the recipients Dagorhir names to make it easier to tell them apart, since a lot of these will be identical except for the names.

I've learned to crochet while nursing and my mother-in-law has been feeding my habit by bringing me the last couple of skeins of yarn I need to finish this blanket. I have four rounds on the border and think I can get 3-4 more out of the yarn I have and then I will call it completed! This has been more than a year in the making. I'm very happy with how it looks from a distance. When you're up close the colors don't blend very well but from a few feet away it looks like a water color sunrise.

I really like the border on this one, so much so that I'm considering doing a blanket just with rounds of the border stitch. Its half-double crochet in the horizontal loop of the hdc of the previous row. Its a little hard to describe but here is a link to the pattern: Spring into Summer Blanket. The author does an excellent job of explaining how to stitch this border. I did modify the border slightly: instead of stitching three hdc in the center corner stitch, I did two hdc in each of the three corner stitches, which lets my corners lay flatter.

As a way of keeping things interesting, I've also been putting some time into a couple of scarves using Red Heart Super Saver Stripes.

I picked up an interesting tip in one of my facebook groups. Since I often set projects aside for extended periods of time and also have more projects that I have hooks, I sometimes have trouble remembering which hook size to use. Someone said that they use stitch markers to hold their place and write the hook size on the stitch market. Eureka!

Its a little blurry but you can get the idea. I'd also like to note that I've learned a lot about doing cables with the scarf and that if I could do it over, I'd go up a hook size. The stitching is very tight and it would go a lot smoother and the scarf would have better drape if I was using a 6.0 mm hook instead of 5.0 mm hook. I am however, patently unwilling to frog the whole scarf and restart it. Let's call it a learning experience instead.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Smidget

Three days after my last post, my doctor sent me to the hospital and a couple days later we had a new arrival in the family. The last four weeks have been completely absorbed with spending time with my little one. I've actually started this post several times and each time been pulled away to tend to the kiddo or see to some other critical task.

We've nicknamed him Smidget and he is about as good natured of a baby as I could have asked for.

As you can imagine, there isn't much time for crafting anything. There are several projects in my sewing room that I owe other people and I just haven't had a block of time to settle in and work on them. Most of what I've done, I've squeezed in while snuggling Smidget in-between feedings. Over the past month, its made for a fair amount of progress. Its much easier to pick up and put down a crochet project, so that is where the bulk of my spare minutes have been spent.

JAYG afghan

C2C blanket
 The occasional Smidget nap that I am not also napping for has seen a little progress on my Tiger cross stitch. I've mostly filled in the nose and mouth.

Tiger Chilling Out

My mom has sent another blanket for Smidget! Jack's favorite super hero is Captain America and we were both tickled about this blanket and hat.

I don't know when the next update will be, but I hope you have all had a wonderful month - I know I have!

Friday, September 15, 2017

House Arrest

Okay, not really house arrest, but I've been told by my doctor not to go back to work until after the baby has arrived.

I'd like to say that I'm using the time productively to clean up the house and get things ready but we all know better don't we? I'm under orders to relax in-between doctors office visits and dropping in at various day cares.

I finished all the blocks for my mosaic quilt and I think I've decided on navy blue sashing.

I've flirted with Fall Fairy a bit, concentrating mostly on the upper right hand corner. I'm ALMOST all the way over to the other side. Its slow going since I'm doing the backstitching as I go. I think I'd hate to do it all at the end. I'm going to run out of one of the colors, which surprised me so early in the project, so I'll have to contact Dimensions and get more before I can go much further on this one.

And today I spent a few hours repairing Jack's Dagorhir garb and working on some embroidery for water bottle carriers.

The Last Alliance

House of Valdyr

The Deepwood Rangers

Finally the JYAG afghan is coming along quite nicely. Its only barely big enough for a doll blanket right now so we've got a ways to go.

Tomorrow is the first day I've been off work that I don't have to run to the doctors or meet another appointment so I'm hoping to get a few minor baby prep chores out of the way. What are your weekend plans?

Saturday, September 9, 2017

An Assortment of Crafty Pursuits

 Last weekend was a glorious three day weekend. Happy Labor Day to all, I hope you had a relaxing time! I was able to put a little bit of time into a quilt I've been working on. I now have eight of the twelve blocks completed on my mosaic quilt. This quilt is using the leftover castoffs from my drunkard's path quilt and is done using raw edge applique.

 This week while at work, I unraveled the waffle stitch scarf I had been working on and went with a simpler pattern. This is called the Everybody Scarf and the pattern is available free on Fiber Flux. I think this new pattern suits the yarn much better than the waffle stitch did. It took me about half and hour to get this far, so its a very quick pattern to work up. Currently, its only about four inches wide, so I will probably unravel it again and restart it with a few more columns.

I'm also having a lot of fun continuing with my JAYG afghan project. I took it with me this morning to the hair salon and was able to complete several squares and weaved in most of the ends while waiting for my niece to have her hair done. This picture shows the colors much better than the previous photo.

So labor day has passed, schools are back in session, and the temperature is dropping rapidly. We had a pretty mild summer and the temperature outside is falling to about 50 degrees F every night. I haven't yet had to turn the heat on and I'm resisting doing so, but it probably won't be too much longer.

My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. Harvey in particular hits close to home as my brother's house was flooded and most of his things damaged beyond recovery. He currently only has the clothes he was able to throw in his go bag when he evacuated and has started a modest fundraiser to help replace the necessities. The fundraiser can be found here: Clothing and Personal Effects Fund by Christopher.  Please consider donating to this or one of the other charities assisting in the recovery effort, such as the Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Baby Blankets

At the baby shower two weeks ago, we received several beautiful handmade blankets. Two were crocheted and two were quilted, and I was really happy to get them as I love giving handmade blankets to people. 

By my mom

By a lady from church
By my good friend Akkina
By my sister Katie

I'm sure they'll all be well used before too long, thank you to all who took the time to create these for the baby.

Friday, September 1, 2017

It's September!

And just like that, fall is here. September brought with is a 10 degree drop in temperature, making it a cool 54 degrees F on my way to work this morning. August was already very mild so I'm hoping this is not indicative of another unbelievably snowy bitterly cold winter like the one was had a few years ago.

I promised a crafty update and so you shall have a crafty update.

I've been working a bit here and there on my C2C blanket and I hope to finish the main part of the blanket soon. I also found something called Shawl in a Ball by Lion Brand in the Prism colorway on clearance at Walmart and scooped them up. With this yarn, I started another lightweight blanket this past Sunday for something a little different. I'm using Motif #118 from Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs with a 4.0mm hook and I'm attempting to do it as a Join as You Go.

Between the crochet and the thank you notes I wrote this weekend, my wrists started hurting again, so I had to set it aside before I wanted to which means I've been working on a cross stitch project instead.

Mini Innocence made its appearance back on my cross stitch stand this week. I was happy to get to discover that the first page isn't entirely background. I'll be stitching some of her wing soon, you can see the beginning of the outline of it in the lower left hand corner.

I hope you are having a great holiday weekend. I had the offer from a family member of help with house stuff tomorrow but I turned it down in favor of a mental health day. I plan to do many crafty things and a few necessary chores here and there and generally keep things quiet and relaxed.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Third Annual Deepwood Ascension Festival Prizes

We've had an insanely busy couple of weeks around here, with last Saturday being the baby shower (my mom popped in last minute as a surprise!) and just yesterday was the Deepwood Ascension Festival, our major Dagorhir event of the year. My To-Do list keeps growing longer instead of shorter as I only have five weeks before the baby is due.

I spent the last week writing thank you notes and working on the prizes and cooking for the event.

I put together two grand prize belt flags for the tourney awards and three water bottle carriers for the gold raffle at the end.

Akkina arranged a menu of roast beef, potatoes, carrots, rolls, and a vegetarian dish and did a fabulous job coordinating the whole thing.

Jack and Morric put together four laser engraved leather belt flags for tourney prizes.

I didn't get a chance to take any photos as I was short on sleep and really only stayed long enough to help with serving food and clean up but I know people took photos

Today was a day OFF! After the insanity of the last few weeks, Jack and I both needed a day to sleep and recharge. I did some crochet, some cross stitch, a couple minor chores, and took a nap. I'll post again soon with crafty & baby shower updates (I received some beautiful handmade blankets that I'm dying to share) and with some photos of the event when I acquire them.

Friday, August 11, 2017

World Cross Stitch Day

I found out yesterday that we now have an official World Cross Stitch Day and it took place TODAY! I celebrated by neglecting my to do list after work today and settling in for an evening of stitchy goodness.

Before World Cross Stitch Day

At the end of World Cross Stitch Day
I was able to cross off about 700 stitches today, which means my needle was really smoking. I also somehow managed to throw together a quick lasagna for dinner. Pro Tip: Use leftover spaghetti sauce and no boil noodles for the easiest lasagna ever.

All in all it was a pretty relaxing evening. I might turn it into World Cross Stitch Weekend :) :) :)

Saturday, August 5, 2017

A Weekend Away and a Weekend at Home

Last weekend was Rivendell's Third Siege of Imladris. Jack was originally going without me but I had a rough week at work and was going to take Friday off anyway to get our garbage disposal installed, so I decided last minute to join him. It was a weekend camping event but we stayed in a hotel in deference to my doctor's request, as she didn't want me sleeping on an air mattress at seven months pregnant.

I'm afraid that I didn't think to take pictures, but if you check out Elsea's Photography on Facebook,  there are close to a thousand photos from Siege available to view. This is one of Elsea's and is posted with permission.
Copyright Elsea's Photography, used with permission

Along the way, I finished off the most recent scarf and hat combo. This was a bulky yarn that is super soft and kind of curly and hard to crochet because the stitches are so hard to see.

I spent the weekend crocheting, cross stitching, and relaxing. It was really nice to get away. We didn't get any souvenirs from the vendors but I found this t-shirt set online while we were gone and couldn't resist ordering it for Jack and Baby. Its a sixth month sized onsie, so it will be a little while before they can wear them. 

Today was spent at home. I had planned to spend the day in my sewing room relaxing but somehow that just didn't pan out. I worked on editing embroidery files we'll need for our Deepwoods III event coming up at the end of August, so I'll be sharing some finished sewing projects soon. I did some easy chores around the house that needed to get done, a little crochet, and a little cross stitch.

Tomorrow the plan is church and a little laundry and on Monday I'll finally get my new garbage disposal installed. Finally. It was supposed to be installed last Friday as scheduled, but the basics is the plumbing company showed up a day before they said they would and didn't bother to call me to ask why I wasn't home. So I waited for four hours for them to show up last Friday before calling them and reading them the riot act. Their answer was "We'll reschedule you, just take another vacation day because we only schedule this between 8 am an noon." Ummm...nope. I hired a different company to come out after work on Monday and I'll be thrilled to finally get this recalled garbage disposal thing finished up.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Crochet Cables

 Greetings again! The last two weeks have been filled with all kinds of undesired tasks, reducing my craft time to almost nothing. I did however manage to sneak in a few minutes here and there, starting a new scarf using the new Red Heart Super Saver Stripes in Cool Stripes. This is the umpteenth attempt to learn cables and finally a successful one. I do like how the stripes are working out and will probably look into a few different colors of this yarn in the future. This yarn is a little coarse but I think it will be durable and the colors are very vibrant. The pattern I'm using is one I found on Ravelry. It is simply called "Cable Scarf by Laura Cracknell" and can be found here. Cables are a yarn eater but I'm hoping I have enough yarn for a matching hat.

I was also pleased to get the living room floor cleaned up so that I could take a photo of my progress on my C2C blanket. I've lost count of how many skeins I've used but I *think* I'm on skein 12 or 13.

Its well more than half done if you don't count the border, and I have a few more skeins on hand. Its also getting too big to travel easily, as it approaches the size of my queen mattress.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Slow Weekend Stitching

You would have thought that a four day weekend last week (thank you Independence Day) would have been fun and relaxing but it really wasn't. 

In the last month or so, anything that could break down and need expensive repairs or replacements has broken down and the culmination of this was my clothes dryer last Tuesday. It was a second hand dryer that we picked up a few years ago on the cheap at a used appliance repair store. A quick check of the model number showed it was thirteen years old with a life expectancy of ten years. I spent a chunk of July 4th in the laundromat, drying all the clothes that I had washed earlier that day and the rest of it shopping for a new dryer.

The upside of spending all that time in a laundromat is that I was able to make good headway on one of the hats I've been working on, and so I now present the latest hat and scarf combo. I actually really hate the colors of this yarn but was aiming for something that would appeal more to men for donation hats and scarves. I think in the future I'll stick to dark solids, like burgundy, brown, and blue, you know, colors that won't make me grit my teeth while working with them. Oy vey, I still have about 400 yards of this stuff to use up but I may just donate what is left to my church. The yarn is Herschnerr's Worsted 8 and I don't think they even sell this color any more.

When I purchased this yarn, I also picked up another variegated called "spice," a teal, and a sage green. I think its possible that I ordered the ugliest variegated that they had. I have learned my lesson.

In the meantime, I also had a page finish on Waiting by Tilton Crafts.

Magnificent Wizard has also been seeing some love lately.

I'm considering starting a sweater for myself. I'd like to make either the Overcast Sweater or the Hooded Sweater. Both patterns are by Maz Kwok of They take similar amounts of DK weight yarn, so I've been spending my lunch breaks browsing yarn sites looking for the *perfect* yarn. I haven't settled on anything yet but it will come to me eventually. I'm also torn between buying some nice yarn so that I want to wear it when done or cheap yarn since its my first time attempting a sweater. Suggestions?