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

 

 

 

 

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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

Recent projects: Pear bib

My son needed a new bib. Why? He only had one! It’s a blue and yellow cloth bib that says “Li’l Swede” on it and I wore it when I was a baby. He did have another bib, a plastic camouflage one that a relative gave us, but the plastic/velcro was irritating the back of Jonathan’s neck so we’re trying to use that bib only when traveling (it’s much easier to clean than the cloth bibs). Just like when I made my own makeup bag, I decided that instead of buying something, it would be much more fun to make something myself. An embroidery book I have, Embroidery Companion by Alicia Paulson, had a pattern and design.

I bought just a little blue gingham, which I tried to buy it at the local quilt store, but apparently most places don’t carry gingham anymore. Too old-fashioned. So I had to go to the dreaded Joann’s instead. I avoid Joann’s as much as I can because the fabric that store carries is low quality and because there are never enough people working there so if you need any assistance at all, such as having fabric cut, it takes forever to track some harried employee down. Anyway, I bought blue and red gingham and some pre-quilted cotton fabric for backing. I feel more confident about the gingham from Joann’s because gingham by its definition is woven instead of printed, making it hold up better.

I’m planning to embroider an ear of corn on the red gingham (for our little Cornhusker fan! Go Big Red!), which I’ll be making up myself. But to get started I used the pattern in the book for a pear.

It was a quick cross stitch project. It only took me three days of working on it here and there. Putting the bib together was a cinch and took about 45 minutes. I simply sewed the embroidered gingham square to the pre-quilted cotton, cut out the bib shape, then sewed bias tape around the entire thing. Easy!

And here’s my cutie boy modeling his new bib:

I had so much fun working on this bib, after I complete the ear of corn bib, I’m planning to make a few for friends who are having babies. Aren’t quick little projects like this fun? What are you working on right now?