Saturday, May 18, 2013

Crafting on Vacation

I'm addicted to crafting. I freely admit it. So, whenever we take off on a trip, it's guaranteed that I have some crafting project stashed somewhere in my carry on bag or in my.

How we travel does make a difference for me. I'm more apt to take along a jewelry making project if we're driving than if we're flying. Flying usually means a small crocheting or knitting project is stashed in my checked baggage. Driving usually means multiple crafting projects, one for the drive to and from and usually one for the evenings after we return to where we're staying.

A few weeks ago, we drove to Cape Cod and back. We took two days to drive up and two days to drive back, and were on the cape for a week. I took several projects: a pair of socks (car), supplies to make hair scrunchies (car) and a chain maille bracelet project (evenings). We were so busy, that I made very little progress on any of the projects I took with me.

What are your favorite travel craft projects?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Finishing the Never Ending Shawl

It feels like I've been knitting on this shawl forever, as in eternity forever. It's not because I don't like the pattern. It's my pattern and I'm very happy with it. It's the yarn, so I won't mention the manufacturer or the line. But this yarn sucks, and I don't say that very often! It's rough and bumpy, which would be fine if that were what it was advertised as, but it's advertised as soft and smooth. And OK, it's very cheap yarn, donated to our prayer shawl ministry, so really, complaining about it isn't very nice of me. But it is oh so human of me.

Since it is a prayer shawl, destined for a gentleman who is either very ill or who has just lost a very close loved one, I pray while I'm knitting for this unknown gentleman's intentions.

My travails with this yarn are finally over. I put the last stitch in the shawl and wove in the last yarn end. Now I need to block it, photograph it, polish the pattern instructions and share it with you. I'll put the link to the free pattern on Ravelry.

I'd love to hear from others who've had this same problem. I can't be the only one, can I?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

My poor naked rope wreath

Thumb's healing nicely. I bend it and move it without too much pain. Time to wade into my craft room and grab some shelved projects.

I unpack the first project: my rope and shell wreaths for my front doors. Now, I start to rethink my original plan. Is the photo of my inspiration wreath in the project box? Of course not! And it's not in the craft inspirations folder on my PC. Peachy, just peachy.  

Do I want all shells, a few shells, a few shells and some other decorations or something completely different? Should I take a chance and just do something, or ponder on options for a while and put this project back on the shelf? 

I wrapped my wreath forms with rope. It's easy and forms a great base for many wreaths. 

Assemble components: hot glue pad, hot glue gun (on low temp), low temp glue sticks, rope and wreath form. 

Wrap the wreath form with the rope and secure with a bit of hot glue on the rope. Use too much or touch the glue gun tip on the wreath form, and it melts. 

Wrap, wrap and wrap rope around the base until the base is covered. Trim the ends and match them up. You end up with a rope wrapped wreath base.

Voila! May I present my poor naked rope wreath? All wrapped up and no decorations to show. I should say wreaths as I have two of these blank slates to gussy up. I dreamed of seashell wreaths when I started, so I bought a gazillion seashells at the local dollar store to completely cover the rope on the front of the wreaths. Was it a formal style wreath that inspired me, with concentric circles of matching shells? Or was it a gorgeous hodgepodge of mismatched shells artistically applied to form a breathtaking creation? I can't recall. 

Should I explore different options? Go light on the shells and driftwood and beach glass? Use small life rings, lighthouses and buoys for nautical wreaths? Add some cute bows and call call it a day? Forget the beach or nautical theme and go with something completely different? Or stay with an all shell design and just do it? 

I'm off to knit a little and mull over my options. I'll post when I'm finished with the wreaths. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

School Christmas Bazaar 2011

Since boredom is made worse by inactivity, I decided to finally get around to downloading and doing something with the photos I took at the 2011 School Christmas Bazaar. Ok, I confess it was mainly downloading as I really haven't done any editing or retouching of the photos.

So here are some of the crafts that I and other ladies in the church made for sale at the bazaar. I definitely did not do this by myself! I had a great co-chair, Stephanie and many of the ladies in our prayer shawl ministry worked hard on dish towels and other things. Stephanie created the origami ornaments as well as the wrapped yarn ornaments and the felt ornaments on the tree. Judy created the pasta angels. Sarah made the uber cute hair scrunchies. Elaine did the floral arrangements and mint jars. Judy's husband made some great wood pieces, one of which adorns my living room. And I know I missed some of the ladies who created things, so ladies, please forgive my very faulty memory. Each and every item was and is greatly appreciated! And as soon as I locate tutorials for the crafts, I'll post the links to them. I've seen tutorials for the kitchen towels, dish cloths and hair scrunchies on the web somewhere.

It's always inspiring to see what others create, and the bazaar was no different. I usually see these ladies at prayer shawl ministry, knitting and crocheting away on hats, scarves, lap robes and prayer shawls. I loved seeing the results of their other crafting.

Kitchen Towels galore

My flower pens and Sarah's hair scrunchies

Dish Cloths - knitted and crocheted

Judy's Pasta Angels

Our tree filled with Stephanie's handcrafted ornaments.

I am so blessed to be surrounded by so many talented women! They are truly a delight to be around. I'll post a photo of them very soon.  They started working on items for this year's church bazaar as soon as we finished with last year's bazaar! 

Happy Crafting! 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Getting back to crafting normal

Now that I'm learning to do things with a splint on my left thumb, I'm feeling more like my old self. I'm able to knit again, albeit English style instead of my usual continental style. The two LYS in my area are both having great sales this month, so I'll be stocking up on some yummy yarns. And my thumb is healing nicely, so I expect to have this smelly splint off very soon. Woohoo!

I'm almost finished with the English knitted version of Stefanie Japel's Lacy Keyhole Scarf from my Knit Labs class. Photos to follow. Frankly, it's not as neatly knitted as my other projects, but at least I'm knitting something! I have to stop being such a perfectionist, don't I?

I've been doing some digital designing too, making some cards and candy bar wrappers. Once I get the photos uploaded and cleaned up, I'll post them so you can see what I've been up to.

Projects I'm planning include making a couple of wreaths for my front door, working on some machine embroidery designs for potholders for the church bazaar and a couple of digital scrapbook kits. The wreath making may have to wait until my thumb is fully healed, but the digital designing I can do with my mouse hand!

Happy Crafting!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Thumbs, radiators and tomato sauce

I should be creating some fun table decorations and favors for the Celtic Tea on Sunday, but I'll be buying those instead, thanks to my broken left thumb. My ideas safely stashed in my crafting notebook and on Pinterest, I say to myself "Buck up, grit your teeth and just smile. Next year, you'll have lots of cute crafty things to post on this blog from your Celtic Tea preparations."

To cheer myself up, I'm visiting one of the local yarn stores today to sign up for tomorrow's aran afghan block a month knitting class. Now that I've been practicing my English style knitting and it's looking pretty good, I can take the class! Woohoo!

Ah, not so fast! My carefully planned Friday vanishes "Poof!" as my husband dashes into the house yelling for me to come and look at my car. Just peachy! Holding my breath, I trudge my way to the garage, only to find to my shock and horror rusty brown antifreeze pooling on the concrete underneath the front of my car. Again. We just did this in November, didn't we? Memory check. Yes, we did. The same stomach churning sight appeared in the pre-dawn, as I started to load my car with luggage to head to the airport for a trip to Chicago last November. Come to think of it, that rusty brown with the very light brownish grey of the concrete wasn't a bad color combo. Could work up as a cute shawl or sweater. Hmm...don't I have some rusty brown yarn in my stash?

Back to reality. One call to to the kind folks at AAA, one call to my stunned mechanic, one very helpful and nice tow truck driver who didn't even blink at the huge bag of yarn I had to get out of the backseat before he could hook up my car - his mother knits, and I sadly decide to skip the LYS class tomorrow and sign up for the next month's class, after I get my car back. It's not fair to have my husband chauffeur me to the LYS two days in a row. He's already driving me to and from the Celtic Tea on Sunday. And I don't want to consider the expense of a rental car right now.

I'll bide my time until next month's class by knitting a make-it-up-as-you-go scarf for the church bazaar out of light blue cotton and working on a pair of knit socks I've been working on off and on, using the instructions found on the sock yarn label. I'll keep things simple, shelve my other projects, until my left thumb is healed. Plus I need to start planning some cute machine embroidered pot holders for the church bazaar.

At last, my very apologetic mechanic calls me with the good news that the radiator is still under warranty. My checkbook and crafting budget breathe a huge sigh of relief! Things are looking up! My wonderful husband treats me to lunch at the local Italian eatery, and that raises my spirits even more. As my Italian Godmother always says, doesn't tomato sauce, oregano and garlic make almost everything better? Hmmm, maybe I need to rub spaghetti sauce on my broken thumb?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Not breaking any knitting speed records

OK, so here I am with a broken left thumb,  my left hand in a splint, and a knit-in at a local yarn shop (LYS) coming up soon. Now what? Ooh, I know! I'll learn to knit English style. I've seen some English knitters who just hold the left needle steady in their left hand. I can do that, right? Having knitted continental style since my Mom taught me to knit in early childhood - I remember knitting a scarf in first grade - this is quite a change for me. Holding yarn in my right hand feels so wrong, so alien, yet I know it's the thing to do to knit English style. Hey, I can do this!

After digging one handed through my yarn stash and knitting needle case, I snag a skein of worsted weight yarn and a pair of needles and off I go to cast on. Turns out, that was easier to type one handed than to actually cast those suckers on the needle. Ouch! OK, so a long tail cast on using my left hand is out of the question and I'm getting impatient, so scrap learning to do a long tail cast on using my right hand. 20 backwards loop cast on stitches later, say about 20 fumble fingered minutes later because I also use my left hand to do a backwards loop cast on, I'm ready to start with the knit stitch, English style. About 20 minutes after that, I finally have a neater row of stitches under my belt, having frogged the first fifty eleventy million wonky stitches until I finished the first row with some passable knit stitches on the needles. My left hand hurts, especially the thumb, so it's time for that nap I always promise myself and never take myself up on.

I manage some not so bad looking rows of garter stitch and I'm starting to feel like the next few weeks won't be so bad after all. Woohoo! Now I can get back to my make-it-up-as-you-go scarf! I'll upload some photos of my splinted hand and my works in progress later.

I'm also helping a friend design some graduation candy bar wrappers for her daughter's high school graduation. I'll share some of the wrappers with you as well.