Busy Bee at work

If you have been reading my blog for long you know I struggle with finishing projects.  I get so excited about something new I want to make that I often times drop the current project to start another. Thus, too many projects half done to count.  Over the last month, however, I have managed to finish a couple projects (see On Pins and Needles post). I’ve also started and finished a couple projects and have one on the way to completion.

I cam across a cute unicorn crochet pattern from a site called Little Yarn Friends. I posted it on Facebook and said something like “I want to make this simply because it’s so adorable”. Which it is: tumblr_m53spxzhzu1r9eyk1

My brother said he would like one in Frankenstein colors with stitches and everything. So….. challenge accepted.

I was trying to decide if this little guy should be called Frankencorn or Unistein or something else.  But, when my brother received his little box in the mail with this guy in it he called it “Baron Hoofenstein, Undead Unicorn”. I like it.  He is definitely the more creative of us two  : )

Another little project was some crochet cabin boot slippers.  My brother shared it on Facebook and my daughter said she wanted some.  So…. I got out some flip flops, and aul, yarn and crochet hook and made these for her.

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The pattern comes from a website called Make and Do Crew. If you like crochet, they are worth checking out.  Anyway, what makes these slippers nice is that you use a pair of flip-flops to make the sole.  That way if you need to you can wear them outside.  I used Lion Brand Thick and Quick in the color Hudson Bay and buttons from one of my mom’s button boxes.  The flip-flops I got for $2 at Old Navy.  Oddly enough the first boot went really well and really easy but the second one I struggled with.  I think the reason for that is there is a right and left so it was a little difficult to get my head wrapped around the direction for the second one.  Anyway, put them in the mail on Thursday this week and my daughter got them yesterday so I can finally publish this post : )  She loves them by the way!

I just got back from Michael’s where I picked up some yarn (as if I don’t have enough) for a scarf project.  I’ll talk more about that later as it is a gift for my sweetheart.  And, I have promised myself I’ll finish up the needlepoint I’m working on before I start it.  More on the needlepoint in my next post.  I’ll just say it’s nearly finished and couldn’t be happier to be able to get it done soon.  Where I like the design I’m not overly fond of working with Persian wool.  So, to get it done would make me really, really happy!

So, off to a birthday party at a place where you paint and drink wine….what a great way to spend the afternoon.

Have a lovely rest of the weekend and do something creative!!!

Your stitching friend,

Tracy

 

 

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On pins and needles

December 23rd and I am anxiously waiting for my children to get here.  Of course, they have not even left Napa yet but they’ll be leaving soon.  I try not to look at the weather reports showing snow and promising a couple feet of snow.  We’re not really used to the snow but I am quickly getting there.  However, the kids don’t do much driving in it in fair weather Napa Valley. As you can imagine there is a stark difference between there and here in Reno, NV.

I think you get the idea.

So I wait…..and worry….

I will be so happy when they are here.

Finished Projects

I am pretty stoked about my recent activity in stitching. I have finished two projects. The first one is a knitted in Caron Cakes  in purple hues.  I found out about Caron Cakes through The Crochet Crowd. The pattern is on the site as well but I found it on the band of the Caron Cakes I bought. Two skeins is all it took and it was really enjoyable to make.  If you would like to give it a try you can find the pattern here Triangle Shawl. Very easy even if you are a beginning knitter.

 

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Another project I finished was a crochet Corner to Corner throw. I used some Red Heart yarn that was my mom’s. She had an abundance of it so I thought that it would be great for this.  It was a little more advanced but not by much.  If you know how to chain, single crochet and double crochet you’ll do well with this.

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As you can see I had a “shades of purple” thing going on.  Something I discovered about my unfinished (now finished) projects.  Both were at the halfway point when I put them down.  Hmmm….. a pattern I see here.  Pun intended!  What was nice though is that because they both were basically corner to corner when I picked them up to finish them I was on the decreasing end of things so they finished up pretty quick. I’m pretty please with the end result and with myself for actually finishing some things up.

However, in a previous post I talked about Crafter’s Math  which if you have read that you know I’m not very good at math.  So…I have started a new project. Of course!  I won’t say what it is but will post a picture or two after Christmas as it is a gift.

Time to sign off and go to the window to check for the kids again. Safe travels to all who are traveling this holiday and to those who moms are waiting on.

happy-holidays

With love from your stitching friend ~Tracy

 

 

 

New Beginnings

I have been thinking a lot lately about new beginnings.  The last couple months have seen a lot of new beginnings, fresh starts, etc from the people I love.  A big one for myself involved moving from California to Nevada.  Two weeks in and I know it was meant to be.  I’ve been through some “fresh starts” only to find out it wasn’t everything I thought is should be.  This is different.  It feels comfortable, natural and wonderful. Everything leading to this moment just fell into place so easily.  It was truly amazing.  I’m not the only one who has had some new beginnings.  My son has graduated from fire academy and has accepted a position in another city.  His boyfriend also accepted a position with a major company in California. Now they have a home together.  Some big changes for those two right there. My oldest has a new apartment, new routines and is doing so well. I am so happy for her.  My youngest of the three graduated from high school in June and will start college this month in Nevada.  Big changes!  I, myself, started a new job at the university here.  That was a hard one for me.  I left Napa to move to Reno to be with my fiance, but in the process had to leave some people that left indelible footprints on my heart from my previous job. And  I left behind family and friends that I really enjoy being with. I will find ways to keep in touch with everyone but am happy to say after one week at my new position I know I work with a great bunch of people.

What got me started thinking of new beginnings is a crochet project I’m working on.  My daughter’s friend Michael and his wife are expecting their first baby. Big, wonderful new beginning for them. We have known Michael for many years so I thought I would make a baby blanket for the little guy, Baby G. I started knitting one in a really pretty mint green but then on one of the many drives between Napa and Reno during the move I decided to go in a different direction.  Michael and his wife are huge Dodger fans.  So, I put the mint green blanket aside and picked up some white and royal blue Caron Simply Soft yarn to make a star blanket.

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It is the Crochet Star Afghan from The Crochet Crowd.  I have been following them on Facebook and they really have a wonderful variety of patterns. This one you can make any size you like.  So, beyond a baby blanket it could be made big enough for an adult. I’m enjoying this pattern. After about five rows I didn’t need to look at a pattern anymore so this has been a nice project while watching the Olympics.

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And so it grows.  The yarn is so soft and I really like how the star is turning out.  A star blanket for the little star of their lives.  Baby G is due in September so I have some time but am hoping to finish it up this week. That way my daughter can take it to the baby shower.

New beginnings, big changes, fresh starts…  We have them throughout our lives. Some seem scary at first but end up being some of the best things in our lives.  I hope your new beginnings are filled with excitement and growth!

Keep on stitching through it all!

Tracy

 

Granny Squares

One of the first things I learned how to crochet was a granny square.  If you learn how to chain, single crochet and then double crochet the next obvious step is the granny square.  There is so much you can do with a basic granny square.   I remember my mom and her neighbor making afghans, vests, hats…all kinds of things.  We had an afghan that I think one of my grandmothers made that was made from granny squares.  The squares were all different colors but the last row was black and they were crocheted together with black.  I haven’t thought about that blanket in a long time and suddenly am wondering what ever happened to it. Hmmm.

Anyway, nostalgia aside, I really do like granny squares.  So, I picked up some fisherman’s wool and a size G crochet hook and made a shrug.  Whether you are an experienced crocheter or a novice you can make this shrug.  It’s one big granny square.  I love the way it turned out.

I made mine about 40″ across.  Just a big old square.

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Step 1-Make a big granny square

Then I took that granny square and folded it in half right sides together.

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Step 2- Fold in half, right sides together

I sewed up the short sides from the corners at the open end to about half way up leaving room for the armholes.  I then opened it up and did a double crochet border around the larger opening and around each of the armholes to make a nice finished look.

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Step 3 – Open up and crochet a double crochet edge around the large opening and the armholes.

There you have it.  A granny square shrug.  I really like it and with it being as cold as it has been lately this will be great.  I think it will work well right into spring.

Try making one for yourself.  Any worsted weight yarn will work.  Do it in a solid color like I did or use up some of those scraps of yarn for a colorful addition to your wardrobe.  You’ll be happy you did.

 

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Once again, thank you for checking out my blog.  I’d love to see any shrugs you have made or anything with a granny square for that matter.  Just post a link in the comment section so myself and others can check out your work.

As always, Stitch On!

Sunday Morning Crocheting

I woke up this morning to a wet world.  Every bit of rain we get here in California makes me happy.  All we’ve heard for the past couple years is the word “drought”.  So, waking up to the sound of rain in the night or a wet patio in the morning thrills me.  It also made for a cozy time of crocheting this morning.  It’s not often this apartment is quiet but this morning I found the living room blissfully peaceful.  So, with coffee, biscuit with honey and my yarn and hook in hand I curled up in our big squishy chair and settled in for some crocheting.  I contemplated putting on the television or some music but sometimes I just like the meditative act of crocheting.  The steady movement of the hook working with the yarn can be quite soothing and helps me to think.  So, this morning I did just that.  It was wonderful.  Those moments are few and far between but I do take advantage of them when I can.

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Candace

My companion on this chilly morning was Candace, one of our tortoiseshell cats.  She is lovely and so very sweet.  She lets me crochet for a while and then gives me a look and meow to tell me that it’s time for her to cuddle up.  She is indeed like a little baby sometimes.  One of her favorite places is snuggled up in my arms against my chest.  She’s a nervous cat and is usually fidgety when she’s laying on me.  She kneads me… and needs me.

We got Candace when she was nine months old.  She’s a rescue cat that we adopted from a place here in Napa called Whiskers, Tails and Ferals.  Because we had adopted our first Tortie (aptly named Tortie) they waved the adoption fee for her.  She came chipped, vaccinated, and spayed just like Tortie.  At the adoption center she was very scared and wouldn’t let me touch her.  In fact I really had doubts as to whether she would be a good fit for us.  We knew if we were going to adopt again that we would need a cat that would be a good companion for Tortie and would be able to get used to an active household. It did take some time but she has turned out to be such a little lover. Still a little skittish but overall a really beautiful addition to our family.  On January 5th we’ll have had her for three years.

This morning as I was taking a break from crocheting I was thinking about how we got her and I know that there are so many cats our there that need homes.  I could easily be that “crazy cat lady” because I would love to give them all homes.  But, two is enough.

If you have ever entertained the thought of getting a cat there are many places out there that adopt out cats.  Below are some links to some good resources.  I hope you’ll find them helpful.

Petfinder – National adoption website

Whiskers, Tails and Ferals – Napa –  If you are in the Napa, CA area

Furry Friends Rescue – Dedicated to the rescue, sanctuary and adoption of companion animals

Petco  and Pet Food Express – Both have adoption events

I hope you’ll check out these links and consider adoption or even fostering an animal until they can be adopted.  You’ll be happy you did!

And so I leave you with Candace.  Candace 11-15-15

As always Stitch On!!  And if you can do it with a cat…all the better!

Birthday Crochet Afghan

Just got back from a weekend in Reno.  My friend Lori cooks at the Genoa Cowboy Festival every year.  She’s told me so much about it I just had to finally make the trip and go with her.  She belongs to a Dutch Oven group in Reno. The whole group had an area where they cooked and offered samples to people who came to the festival.  So many talented cooks and really fabulous food.  Lori even got me to make an apple pie in a Dutch Oven.  Wasn’t really sure how or if it would work but it did turn out nice.  I was super pleased and the pie was gone in minutes.  I got a lot of nice comments on it and am planning on going again next year.

Me with my finished pie.

The apple pie itself

This is how it was baked.  Cast iron pot with coals underneath and on the lid to give the effect of being cooked in an oven.  It took longer than baking it in a kitchen oven but turned out just as nice.  
While I was there I took the opportunity to give Lori a birthday present I made for her.

This last month I took a break from finishing up projects to make her an afghan for her birthday.  I used  Red Heart yarn.  Some of it came from my yarn stash that included some that her mom gave me about a year ago.  It is in Heather Gray, Burgundy and White.  I didn’t have a pattern but just did it granny square (rectangle actually) style.  It was came together really quick and I like how it turned out.  Cool mornings and evenings I hope will be a little warmer with this. She really liked it.

Next Saturday I’m going to take my mom to Needle In The Haystack in Alameda so we can get more fibers for our needle-points.  Then I can get back to working on those.  In the meantime I’m going to make some socks.  I came across some sock yarn in my stash and thought that would be a nice diversion from finishing up projects.
Hope you are working on some great handcrafts.  Would love to know what you like to do and what you are working on.  Feel free to comment or pass this blog on to someone who loves needle-crafts as well.
Stitch on my friends!

Winding It Up!

I love, love, love crocheting and knitting.  I do a lot of it!  And…I’ve got a lot of yarn.  Small amounts of some colors, large amounts of others, all different textures.  I love yarn.  A new skein and a new project;  maybe a fiber I haven’t worked with before or a pattern that will challenge me thrills me. Of course, along with that comes some pretty messy hanks of yarn.  If you are a knitter or crocheter you know what that’s like.  Bags and bags (or drawers or boxes or baskets) of skeins that are hard to work with because they are really no longer skeins.  Frustrating to say the least.  I’m a bit lazy about winding it into balls and usually get pretty annoyed with the ball rolling all over the place.

Well, for Christmas this last year my mom got me a Boye Electric Yarn Winder.  Coolest thing ever!!! You just wind the yarn through some guides, secure it and turn it on.  In minutes you’ve got a nice center pull ball of yarn.  The balls are nice and loose so that the yarn comes out of the center easily so you don’t have a ball of yarn getting away from you.  Which, in my house, is an invitation for the cat to play (with the yarn, that is).  
I love it!  Thanks Mom!
So what I get is yarn that begins like this:
 And ends like this!
And this is how it works….
Have I said that I love this yet?!  I do.  I’m not sure what other brands are out there.  I know there are some with these wire arms that extend out.  Looked too complicated for me.  This one was nice and I’m so glad someone got it for me.  I do try to use up yarn that I have already before going out to buy more so this makes that more appealing to me.
Thanks for reading and as always…..Stitch On!!
Tracy

Finished Projects

My last post talked about the basket of unfinished projects I have.  Many unfinished projects.  I’m till working on the blanket for my oldest daughter.  In fact I even took it with me to my youngest daughter’s drumline competition this weekend and got a lot done.  One more competition and I should have it finished.  Just kidding.  I’d love to finish it up by the end of the week.
However, I did take a break and my 25% off coupon for Michael’s craft store and got some of the things I need in order to finish some of these projects.  So coupon and list in hand I got what I needed to finish a few of the smaller projects.  Such as this:

I made this for my youngest daughter who is a huge Dr. Who fan the Christmas before last.  It’s supposed to depict the Tardis in a worm hole at the beginning of each episode. I got the idea from someone on Ravelry I think.  It’s a crocheted hexegon that is worked with both colors at the same time but not together.  Not sure that makes sense but I do like the way it turned out and would probably make another one but in different colors again some time. It ended up about 4 1/2 feet across.  After I was done I wished I had added some red in there someplace but I do like the effect.  The Tardis is made from felt sort of like doing paper piecing for scrapbooking.  The reason this has been a project to finish is that shortly after Christmas the Tardis started coming off.  So…. brainy me…took the iron to it hoping to get the fuseable webbing I used to stick better.  Well, the Tardis promptly melted and I ended up with an unfinished blanket and messy iron.  Finally, it is finished.  
The other project I finished was three counted cross-stitch pieces that just needed frames.  They are from a book my mom got me years and years ago.  I had asked my youngest daughter which ones she would like (she was about 4 years old at the time) These are the three she chose.  I really enjoyed stitching them and was so excited to get them in frames. And so they sat for about 10 years in  a bag.  I found them when I was sorting through projects and this last weekend Sonnie (my daughter) and I went shopping for frames.  She’s got a good eye for bargains and found these for 50% off.  And, I think they work really well with the stitched pieces.  Plus, I’m happy she still wanted them in her bedroom at 16 years of age.

I’m so happy to have them framed and now feel even more inspired to get some more projects completed.  I did buy embroidery floss to finish the Father Christmas blanket and Halloween counted-cross stitch so I am ready for those next.  I also got the fabric and pillow form to finish the pillow that Sonnie latch hooked when she was a little girl.
As always, keep on stitching!!!
Tracy

Something for the cats

I have two cats.  They are both tortoise shell colored and fabulous cats.  Cute, personable, loving and absolutely beautiful.  One is Tortie (we were so original with that name) and one is Candace (she came to us with the name).  While both are tortoise shell they are very different in both appearance and personality.  Tortie we adopted when she was one year old.  She was rescued from a field with a litter of kittens. She is stocky with dark coloring, short hair and tail and it looks as though she is wearing a light colored mask.  Candace on the other hand is long and sleek with longer light colored hair and long tail. We adopted her at about nine months old. Tortie is a bit on the grumpy side but loving and Candace is very skittish and loves to snuggle with her mom (me).
If you have cats you know that all you have to do is put down a box, bag or basket and within minutes you have caught a cat.  They can’t resist containers.  Yesterday my mom gave my daughter and I large basket for our crafting stuff.  We brought them home, put them on the living room floor and within 5 minutes we had caught two cats.

So, I called my mom and told her the baskets were great but with cats in them we couldn’t put much in them in the way of crafts. She laughed and said it would give her more reasons to buy baskets.  
This prompted me to get busy and finish up the cat bed for them that I’ve been crocheting.  I had intended to have it done by Christmas but with working 50+ hours a week during December that didn’t happen.  Anyway, it had started out as a Cat Cave but wow! it was a lot of work.  I started out with a pattern and had to alter it quite a bit given the cats are pretty big. It was worked in four strands throughout.  Yesterday when I set it down to take a break on it Tortie hopped in and I found a new way to finish up.  Now it is a cat bed. Tortie seems to like it.  Candace only went near it once and that was to see what Tortie was doing in it.  She gave her a look that said “you are ridiculous!” and ambled off.
Making my people and cats comfortable and happy.  That’s what I’m all about : )
Tracy
Side note: This used up quite a bit of yarn from my yarn stash including some beautiful variegated yarn my friends mom gave me.

Instant Gratification

Not too many of the needlework projects I take on are done quickly.  I tend to gravitate towards things that take quite a bit of time and effort.  I perfect example is the afghan I’m currently working on. Because I do projects like that I end up a little bogged down with and put it down for days and days.  So, every once in a while I put it down and decide to do some instant gratification projects.  That kind of gets me back in the mood to work on the larger project.  The instant gratification projects I like to do can vary in time from a couple hours to a couple nights to a couple weeks.  But, usually not more than two weeks.  On that note…..

tonight I made a cup cozy.  I’ve been seeing patterns for these and some of them are just way cute!!!  I found a crochet pattern on Ravelry (love that site).  So, went to my yarn stash which is pretty sizable thanks to my friends mother.  She does all kinds of crafty things too and sent me a whole bunch of full skeins of yarn. Found some colors I liked and BOOM!!  Coffee cup cozy in about an hour.  
The yarn came from Sandra (my friends mom) and the button is a deer antler button my dad made when he was alive.  He wasn’t a hunter but a friend of his was and gave him some deer antler.  My dad was a lapidarist and used the deer antler as he would with the stones he worked with.  I have a few polished slices and have put backs on them for buttons.  Thought it was a nice touch.
Now, I think I may see what else I can do this weekend that doesn’t take too much time.  I really do like these little projects.