Tying knots

Granny pillow cover

Here’s those granny squares I have been working on. I’m trying to use up the last little bits of yarn from the ripple blanket, so why not make a matching pillow cover? This will be the front, with fabric for the back of the pillow case. All the squares are done and joined, but I still need to weave in the ends (most tedious of work, I avoid it) and crochet a border around it before sewing it to fabric.

I’ve also been working on a blanket for Peanut’s bed. He’s still in his crib for now, but I want his bed, once he transitions there, to have a thick and warm blanket to go on top of the covers, or as a layer between sheets and quilt (there’s another project I’m working on, a quilt for the bed). So I’ve been steadily making him a blanket, using three colors of yarn together and a size N (10 mm) hook. It’s chunky and heavy and warm.

Peanut's blanket

It’s about a third done, as I want it to be about six feet long. It’s as wide as a twin-sized mattress. I’m using Berroco Vintage yarn because it’s machine washable, and let’s face it, this blanket will probably need a lot of washing over the years being on a boy’s bed. I’m doing the simplest stitch of them all, single crochet, because I want the blanket to hold up well and be warm. I’m letting the colors add the beauty. It’s taking a lot of yarn, which I am only buying three yarn cakes at a time to go easy on the pocketbook, but I’m hoping it’s a blanket Peanut will treasure for a long time, so it’s worth it. I’m adding a row or two a day, just enjoying the process. I hope to have it ready for Christmas.

Peanut's blanket closeup

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Oh so lovely ripples

FINALLY finished my ripple blanket (another post about it here). Well, actually, I finished it two months ago… except for sewing in the yarn ends. Ugh, that is my least favorite part of any project and so my poor ripple blanket has sat in my project basket since June waiting for me to sew in the ends. But I forced myself to sit down tonight and sew in those darn ends. But huzzah, now the ripple is complete!

Ripple blanket completeI followed Lucy of Attic24’s ripple pattern. Very easy and with a great photo tutorial. Then I edged the blanket in white in double crochet. I used Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran yarn for the ripples and Berroco yarn for the edging. The Debbie Bliss yarn is really soft and I love the colors, but at $10.50 a ball in my local yarn shop, and a pretty dinky ball at that, it’s spendy yarn and I don’t think I’ll use it again. I like Berroco just a much and that’s two bucks less a ball. But anyway, had a great time with this blanket, which is lap sized (fairly narrow, but nearly as tall as me). It was quite soothing to sit on the couch at night and make colorful wooly ripples over and over. I used an H (5 mm) hook. I have also decided I won’t even attempt to sell this blanket… there’s no way I could get a fair price for it on Etsy or whatever. Guess that means I’ll have to keep it. 😉 Oh shucks.

Ripple 2With the yarn I have leftover from the project I am making a patchwork granny square throw pillow to match. It looks great already! Here’s a sneak peak:

GranniesThe granny squares have a white border and I will stitch together with the same white as well. I’m using a G (4.5 mm) hook for the grannies.

What crafty project are you working on right now?

Good work

PeonyIt’s been raining all day today and the world outside is damp and growing dark. Inside, though, I’ve got these beautiful peonies to keep me company, in their awesome turquoise vase (which is actually a vintage Fiestaware pitcher that I found at a local antique store). It’s been a treat to watch these flowers unfold, and an added bonus to smell their delightful perfume as I walk past them.

Crochet buntingHave big plans for these little dudes. These crochet bunting flags, made using Lucy’s pattern, are going to be part of my first ever yarn bombing! Details to come, folks!

Spring saladWe enjoyed this lovely salad tonight for dinner, along with some Algerian flatbread Big Country made. It was delicious, but was made precious considering the salad’s source. In the summer I volunteer on a local farm every week, pulling weeds, helping build dirt beds, weeding the asparagus, whatever needs done. In exchange the farmers give me produce. And they are VERY generous in their giving. I really think I’m getting the better end of the deal. Anyway, this week I came home with a giant bag of mixed greens, four or five different herbs in bundles, a bundle of Johnny Jump Ups, chives, rhubarb, and green garlic. Tonight’s salad was garnished with chive blossoms and Johnny Jump Ups as you can see, because I just found out they’re edible! The Johnnies don’t taste like anything, but they sure are pretty. The chive blossoms on the other hand are divinely oniony. It makes me feel such contentment and wonder to know that with the exception of the carrots, every bit of that salad came from within 10 miles of my house.

Crochet bitsAnd here’s a photo of the projects I’ve got going right now. The three bunting triangles are done, just lying in wait for the yarn bombing, the two granny squares will be joined by four more and turned into a ball for Jonathan, and you can see the ripple blanket peeking out from under the table. I’ve only got eight more rows and the edging to do before that blanket is finally finished. I have to admit I’ve already cozied up under for a cat nap, though, yarn ball and crochet hook resting on my stomach, the cats resting on my feet. Naps are so much more rewarding when taken beneath the wooly good work of one’s own hands.

 

 

 

 

Little houses

Recently I whipped up a cheap little decorating project. I found two kitschy wooden houses at a thrift store in town. Each cost $1.

Crafty houses

I bought some craft paint and brushes. I love the color combination of bright red and turquoise. I sanded the little houses so the paint would stick better and started painting. After a few coats I began to wish I’d primed with some white paint, but it was a bit late for that so I pressed on. I added coats over the course of the entire day, probably nine to 10 coats in all (each of which took just a minute or two… cleaning the paint brush took longer than that each time!).

Crafty houses 2As you can see in the above photo, the original paint showed through the craft paint I was applying for the first five or six coats.

Crafty houses 3And here’s the finished product! I think those silly little houses turned out nicely as modern pops of color in the living room. It was a fun, quick project for less than $10!

 

 

Easter basket

This is the first year I’ve put together an Easter basket for the Peanut. Last year he was only 4 months old so there really wasn’t much point in an Easter basket last year. Though he did wear the most adorable little onesie with bunnies and chicks on it that read: “Team Jellybean.” Anyway, this year I crocheted the Peanut a little bunny using this pattern. I also picked up a board book about baby mountain goats. The photos in the book were taken by a local photographer. I also found a little wind-up bird that hops at the grocery store. I have no doubt it will break pretty quick, but it was cheap and it’ll be entertaining for Peanut. Finally, I bought some plastic eggs that have a neat metallic sheen to them. I only used half in the Easter basket and filled a couple of them with Cheerios so the eggs rattle and Jonathan can munch on the contents.

Easter basketI am rather pleased with Peanut’s first Easter basket. In years to come I’m sure we’ll add a chocolate bunny (is there anything more fun on Easter than chomping the ears right off a chocolate rabbit?) and an age-appropriate toy or book. This is probably the only year I can have the basket sitting out in the open and Jonathan just ignores it. Next year will be a different story, I’m sure! But that’s what the top shelf of the closet is for!

Here’s a couple more photos of the charming little crochet bunny, which was so easy and quick to make up:

Crochet bunny

Crochet bunny closeupAren’t the button eyes adorable? It reminds me of reading the book “The Velveteen Rabbit” when I was younger. Speaking of which, that book would be a great Easter present for older children.

We’re spending Easter at a new friend’s house. Jonathan and my new friend’s 22-month-old daughter will be Easter egg “hunting”! And by hunting I mean picking up the eggs strewn about in plain sight. While Mom and Dad put back mimosas and deviled eggs. Maybe there are better things than chocolate bunny ears after all…

Happy Easter, everyone!

 

 

What I’ve been up to and adventures in upcycling

Does anybody else feel super guilty when they don’t blog for a while? Yes? OK, me too. Alack and alas, I’ve been too busy. I know that’s not a great excuse and I should find the time to blog, but, well, I’ve been too busy. My husband and I opened our brewery March 6, had a grand opening March 8, and have been getting into the rhythm of running our own business ever since. For those of you out there with small business experience, you know what it’s like to wake up, bound out of bed, try to get as much done as humanly possible in the shortest amount of time possible, realize it’s 3 p.m. and you still haven’t eaten anything, try to spend quality time with your child (because that’s more important than anything, and that includes blogging), work, work, work, finally eat something at 9 p.m., and collapse into bed. Welcome to my past few weeks. Whew!

Luckily I found some time today while the Peanut was sleeping to do something just for me. I’ve been missing having creative outlet nearly every day. Before March I was turning out crochet projects right and left. Since the beginning of March I’ve added about three rows to the ripple blanket I’m working on. So it was high time for a little crafty time.

I had an old purple knit sweater I bought from Eddie Bauer years ago. It has been very loved, but the shoulders were starting to fray from so much use. So instead of getting rid of it, I cut the back out of it to use as backing for a pillow case. Here’s the raw materials for my project:

Raw matieralsThe church my mother-in-law attends has been clearing out a lot of the yarn and material it has accumulated for projects over the years. It’s a sad thing, really, that so few people still attend services there that there’s no one to make blankets and scarves for people who need them. So Terry has given a lot of the fabric to me. It’s lovely stuff, too. I can’t wait to make all sorts of things with it. The two fabrics in the photo above both came out of the box she brought me when she and my father-in-law came to visit a few weeks ago.

The actual cutting of fabric and sewing it together took me about an hour while Peanut slept. It was nice to use my sewing machine again after not touching it for months!

Upcycled pillow frontHere’s the front of my upcycled pillow on our bed (the quilt is also something I made).

Upcycled pillow backAnd here’s the back of the pillow, using the sweater. Turned out pretty nicely, huh? Advice for anyone else sewing on knitwear: It’s stretchy, so let the sewing machine pull the knit material through instead of tugging it through yourself. It gets all bunchy and weird if you tug it.

Upcycled pillowI’m delighted by how my quick little project turned out! It feels nice to make something after several weeks of working all the time. It’s also nice to have something new (made from something old) to spruce up our bed!

Upcycled pillow  and room

 

 

 

 

Updates

Howdy folks! Just a quick update because this week has been nuts and next week will be even nuttier as we are finally opening our brewery! Woot! Here’s what my days have been about recently:

Morning quality controlMarketing, graphic design, and beer. Not a bad combination. Especially that last part. If you’re interested in the brewery my husband and I are opening, you can check it out here.

In other news, was anyone wondering what happened to that striped blanket I was working on earlier this year? I’ve been meaning to get photos up of it, but it’s been getting some hard use. So here it is!

Peanut under the stripe blanketI’d say it’s a hit.

 

Vivid colors and nifty buttons

Purple flower hatHere is the second hat for little Miss Olive that her parents requested. I think it’s darling. I’ve been playing with vivid colors and with color combinations that I think are unexpected. Teal, orange and deep purple: how delightful!

Resin hat button

And the button! I’m gaga over the button. It’s a resin button made by Melissa Loden, a local (in a state as big as Montana everything within about 300 miles is considered “local”) artist. I love these resin buttons. I have a set in yellow with the same flower I’m hoarding for myself in the future (I’m so busy making things for other people I don’t make much for myself). Anyway, I thought the purple of the button matched the hat just perfectly.

I’ve had a lot of positive feedback about my hats and blankets recently, so I think I may go for it on the sales front. Planning to sell in our brewery for a while, and maybe expand from there. If I can get in with a few local shops that cuts down on shipping, too. So wish me luck!

 

Ripples

Started working on another baby/lap blanket. It’s already pretty much gorgeous. I’m using Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran yarn in eight different colors.

Ripples in progressIsn’t it just lovely so far? I’m using an H (5 mm) hook and Lucy from Attic 24’s ripple pattern. Is there anyone in crochetland who doesn’t just adore Attic 24? I just ogle at her photos and beautiful crochet projects. Crochet porn!

Anyway, I’m hoping to sell this blanket. Haven’t decided yet whether or not to start an Etsy page, or to just try to sell in some local stores or at local craft fairs. I’ve been chatting with a friend of mine who’s a wicked good knitter about going in together for craft fairs so we can split the cost of the booth. We think we’d be pretty successful because we’ve both got a good eye for color. But I worry about getting what I want for my work. I bought the eight skeins of yarn on sale for $7 (normally they’re $10.50). So just my cost of materials alone is $56. And I like to at least pay myself a little for my time and effort (well, actually, I’d like to pay myself so I can afford to go buy more yarn for my next project). I think I’ll ask $125-$150 for this blanket when it’s done (which is paying myself about $3 an hour, by the way), but the question remains, can I get it? I suppose if it doesn’t sell I have a lovely lap blanket for myself. I’m also trying to make a bunch of baby hats/women’s hats to sell, and perhaps some garlands and mobiles.

More ripplesIn other news, I picked up a little bag to hold my hooks, scissors, stitch markers, and tapestry needles last time I was at the yarn store. I’ve been on the hunt for something for a while to corral my hooks. I’d pinned a number of crochet hook book patterns, but I think I like this little drawstring bag better. It was made locally and I love the fabric the lady used for my home state.

MT hook bagAnd now I’ll leave you with a little glimpse of heaven:

Basket of yarn

Bring your lovin’ back here

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Usually I’m pretty “meh” on the Hallmark holiday that celebrates a man’s beheading because he advocated for love marriages instead of arranged marriages. But this year I feel like celebrating a little, and even got my husband a card! (We have strictly not observed Valentine’s Day since we began our relationship nearly five years ago because people shouldn’t need a specific day to buy each other flowers and cards and such.)

And of course, I also made a little Valentine’s mobile/garland because why the heck not.

V-day garland

The top heart is red, then pink, then the middle and bottom hearts are the same yarn as I used for Olive’s hat, and the fourth heart is white. To hang them I strung some crochet thread that’s pink and white I had on hand through the back of each heart. Here’s the pattern for the hearts if you want to make some of your own. They whip up in minutes!

P.S. Ten virtual brownie points if you can guess which band wrote the lyrics in this post’s subject line. Here’s a link to the song (with some awesome Pepe LePew cartoonage!).