Flying into fall like…

There are no affiliate links in this blog post. I simply add links so you can go to the sites where I got information, patterns or tutorials.

This is a photo of myself and a friend on a raft being towed by a boat on a lake. We are airborne above the water while looking frightened.

I was literally flying last week. Flying in a plane, then flying on a raft across a small lake in Michigan! I didn’t expect the latter type of flying but it was thrilling for sure! I don’t often experience a lot of thrills in my life, so it was a welcome experience.

I keep telling myself I have to get better at more consistent blogging. If I could be as consistent about blogging as I am about crafting, I’d be set! Today I’m going to share a few things I’ve made and also what I have plans to work on. As usual, I do have quite a few projects going at once, but I’ve also managed to complete quite a few things, one of which is a large project, one that I didn’t know if I would finish.

This is a photo showing part of me wearing a cardigan sweater I have knitted.
The Ribosome cardigan by Carol Feller at http://www.stolenstitches.com

This Ribosome cardigan caught my eye because of the cables that seem to be floating atop a striped garter stitch pattern. And the yoke cables are traveling horizontally while the body of the cardigan have them traveling vertically. I just loved it and knew it would be the most complex project I’ve ever attempted. When I attended the New York Sheep and Wool Festival in the fall of 2019, I purchased the yarn for it from Artisan Yarns. The yarn is a scrumptious baby alpaca from Hampden Hills Alpacas. The color brown is called Macho and the white is undyed natural white. The yoke is shaped using German short rows. The pattern is well-written and accomodates 7 difference sizes. I knit mine with a 48″ bust circumference. I love the way it turned out and it’s very warm. I’m looking forward to wearing it for some better photos this fall!

This is a photo of two knitted socks on blocking forms.
Simplicity Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes

I also managed to knit a pair of socks for myself this summer. I had purchased the yarn by Hedgehog Fibers over a year ago. This pattern, called Simplicity, is from the book Toe Up 2-at-a-time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. You can find the pattern in this book, and you can find the Ravelry link to the pattern here.

This is a photo of a glass head and neck displaying a Tunisian crochet cowl I made.
Tunisian Tubular Cowl by Beatrix Snyman

I also made two cowls for the Broadway Youth Center in Chicago. My dear friend, Sacha, has organized a drive to have knitters and crocheters make an infinity scarf or a cowl that will be given to LGBTQ+ youth in the area to keep them warm this winter. She has even procured beautiful superwash yarns that you can use to knit or crochet with. The first one, shown above, is Tunisian crochet. This is crocheted in the round with a double-ended Tunisian crochet hook. If you’d like to try the pattern, you can find it here.

This is a photo of a glass head displaying a knit neck warmer I made.
Phoenix Neck Warmer by Drops Design

The second one is the Phoenix Neck Warmer by Drops Design. Both of these were quite fast to work up. If you want to make a cowl or infinity scarf for this group, you still have time! Here is some information I found on Facebook to help you.

Happy Pride! We are looking for knitters and crocheters to gift 100 infinity scarves or cowls this holiday season to the LGBTQ+ youth at Broadway Youth Center, a program of Howard Brown in Chicago. All styles and yarn weights are welcome, but please use washable (super wash) yarns. Think: warm, cozy & comforting. We’re looking for a range of styles and colors — things that pop and more muted pieces. Feel free to include rainbow color and motifs. Drop off dates are week of Nov 28 at Knit 1 in Chicago (3856 N, Lincolnwood Ave) and Wool & Co. in S. Elgin, IL (1687 N. Lancaster Rd, South Elgin, IL)

This is a photo of a crocheted doily I made.
Capri Table Center doily from Magic Crochet, 1982

Look at this next little beauty. It’s a little crochet doily I made while helping my friend work out a crochet pattern drawn in diagram form. I really love the diagrams for crochet. This little one I made is called Capri table center from a 1982 edition of Magic Crochet. I used No. 20 Omega crochet thread and a 1.25mm steel crochet hook. It took a lot of pins to block it, but look at the result. I immediately put it in my hutch cabinet for safe keeping and display.

Next up is my Bohemian style fairy light chandelier crocheted using kitchen cotton, two embroidery hoops and the Solomon’s knot stitch. This was made for my tent! I’m going camping/glamping this month and really wanted to create some ambience for my little abode. I made this up as I went along, so sorry, but there’s no pattern. I added fringe at the bottom, and it was just what it needed. The lights are battery-operated so no need for electricity.

This is a photo of a Bohemian style chandelier I crocheted with off-white cotton yarn.
My Bohemian chandelier for “glamping”

And lastly, for completed projects, here are some Rustic Crochet Pumpkins I literally just made a day ago. I am making some fall decor for the group home where I volunteer. The home has two lovely stone fireplaces and mantels that would look so nice decorated for the fall season.

This is a photo of two crocheted pumpkins I made.
These pumpkins are crocheted but look knitted!

I found this pattern via Pinterest, which led me to Yarn + Chai, where a talented woman is designing and providing not only well-written patterns, but in some cases, very helpful video tutorials. Her name is Rebecca Langford and I will definitely be looking more into her site to see what else I “need” to make. I just love how these turned out. The larger brown pumpkin was more challenging because my yarn needle is considerably smaller than the height of the pumpkin so it was difficult to get it through the piece the several times required to shape the pumpkin. I believe a doll making needle will solve that problem. The larger pumpkin was crocheted with a bulky acrylic yarn by Knit Picks and the smaller one was made with a DK weight discontinued yarn by Mary Maxim. Don’t you love the cinnamon stick for the stem?

What’s coming up

I have recently gotten back to work on a Halloween cross stitch design I began last fall. I’m nearly finished and have run out of the Weeks Dye Works color Onyx. So I have to make a run to my local needlework store this week. I am also close to finishing Three Witches by Barbara Ana Design. I admit, I hadn’t worked on any needlework for months. For a while I was bit by the English paper piecing bug, then I went back to knitting and crocheting. But between these two designs and Feast of Friendship, which is to me a Thanksgiving design, I have plenty to complete for the season, and it’s all doable. All three of these were shown in this blog post.

Lastly, I am also very close to finishing this amazing crochet blanket called Mystical Lanterns by Janie Crow. I am so in love with this project. Here is a progress photo. I am using Cotlin yarn by Knit Picks. This is a DK weight yarn in cotton and linen. There are two or three colors of yarn in my blanket that are StyleCraft yarns I got on eBay. I only had one of each color but I’ve managed to include them in the overall project.

This is a photo of a crochet blanket in many bright colors that is nearly finished.
Almost finished!!

Well, I must sign off for now and get back to crafting. It’s a beautiful Labor Day Monday and I really want to set up my hammock between two trees and listen to the birds and the crazy squirrels running overhead. Thank you so much for stopping by! Happy crafting to you!

Jenny

Back to it!

How does the time fly by so fast and I haven’t written a blog post? I guess it doesn’t matter because here I am now, attempting to write a post!

Spring has finally arrived in the midwest after a few stray snowfalls that sent most everyone into a depressive rant. Back in February, my husband and I took a work trip (HIS work) to Newport Beach, California. It was so nice to get away but because we have no family here in Illinois, and no family members from Michigan could come to stay with our boys, it was a bit worrisome for me to leave them with friends and neighbors. While my older son was fast approaching 18 years old, he can’t seem to get up on his own for school, so there was no way I could leave him in charge of himself and his 12 year old brother.

It all worked out though, and husband and I had a really awesome time in California even though it was a little bit chilly. It was sunny and seeing palm trees and green grass instead of the brownish-gray frozen midwest was quite nice. Plus, the resort we stayed at (Pelican Hill) was amazingly beautiful.

While we were there, we went kayaking, we went on an Art Walk in beautiful Laguna Beach, we did a super fun cooking class at Manassero Farms in Irvine, and we dined with colleagues at lovely restaurants as well as danced and had a great time at the Lyon Air Museum in Santa Ana.

In terms of MAKING STUFF,  I have been very busy making things because that is what I do. I love to make things, as I may have mentioned before. 😉 I also attended Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago for the first time and took a class on Japanese Knitted Fingerless Mitts.Collage 1

So as you can see from these collages, there are a lot of things that have been crafted since my last (so long ago) blog post. 

Then my younger son gave me absolutely NO time to come up with a costume and items for him for Patriot’s Day at school. I crafted him a tricorn hat thanks to a wonderful template and instructions I found at Pizza By The Slice!

The muskets were made with thick foam core board that I layered and glued three thick and then cut out with a reciprocating saw. Then my son and I did some carving and sanding and painting and adding paper bits as well as some hardware to get them looking realistic. It was a ton of work but they “sold” fast in the colonial market. Too bad he didn’t think to keep one! Oh well.

These photos aren’t everything but I would say they represent the majority of what I’ve been up to. More to come!

Thanks for stopping by!

Jenny

Sock it to me

Have you ever decorated your laundry room?

The most I’ve ever done in a laundry room is to apply some cute old-fashioned laundry decals I found at the craft store. Really easy to do, and adds a homey touch to the room I spend way too much time in. But this was at my last house. I’ve lived in this current house for going on eight years, and I’ve just painted it for the first time. And it’s not very exciting as far as paint colors go, because we are moving in a year, and I need to keep things neutral (a.k.a. boring).

My current laundry room is on the second floor of my house, and out of the four houses I’ve lived in, only one had its laundry room on the main floor. It’s convenient to have it on the floor where most of the dirty clothes live.

Anyhow, today’s post is about a little sign I made for my laundry room that serves two purposes. First, it’s a little decor in an otherwise boring room. Second, my youngest son is the master of losing socks (somewhere in our house) and I constantly have a pile of single socks, and my ranting about this constant stream of single socks does nothing to change the situation. He is twelve years old, and he cannot wait to remove his socks once he removes his shoes. So I’m either ranting about the dirty socks left where ever he drops them, or ranting about the fact that somehow, only half the pair ends up in a laundry basket. Life’s deep mysteries, I tell you.

I purchased this basic wood and rope sign at my local Walmart, and I’m sorry I don’t remember what I paid for it, but I bet it was under $15 for sure. It was meant to hold photographs in the little clothespins. The wood was already distressed so that saved me a step. I had seen this saying “Clean, single and looking for a mate” on a sign that is meant to hold unpaired socks and like I always do, I said, “I can make that!”

I had also purchased the wood letters because I knew the only ones I had at home were “collegiate” style, and that wasn’t the look I was going for. In the photo, you can see where I already sketched out in pencil the lettering that I would paint by hand. If this is a scary idea to you, don’t worry: you can use more wood letters, or use rub-on letters from the scrapbooking department. If you use wood letters, you should find smaller ones than the ones you use to make CLEAN, SINGLE AND MATE.

Next, I decided on what colors to use for the sign. Since my laundry room is so plain Jane, I decided to use some colors that I saw on a paint store flyer. My colors are not exact matches, of course, but they were a good starting point.

I added white to my palette (former frozen food dish) just in case I need to adjust some colors. And as it turned out, the lime green color was way too bold and needed to be muted with the white. I know me, and it wasn’t in my best interest to match the colors I had found on the flier, but rather get close because while I liked those colors together, I knew I would like a near representation of them, too. Not everyone is adventurous enough to start mixing colors up, but the good news about a project like this is, you do not need a lot of paint. In fact, look at the palette pic above: that’s too much color for a few 1″ high wood letters.

Another quick note about these particular letters: they have what appears to be a light wood stain on the edges of the letters, leaving the fronts and backs unfinished and ready to accept whatever paint or stain you want to put on them. I used a basic small flat paint brush to paint my letters, and as seen in the above photo, I simply used a straight pin to hold the letter while I painted it. I am too impatient to paint half the letter, let it dry, then paint the other half. I don’t have all day! Also, I only painted the fronts. I did not touch the sides. It will never be seen or looked at that closely.

As for what letters should be painted what color, I didn’t think too hard about this. I just painted a few one color, painted a few another color…Just don’t paint the same color next to itself.

Laying the letters out in their proper order really helps you to determine what colors you want to paint what. Plus, you can always paint over a color with a different color once it dries. This is a very forgiving medium.

And here I am muting the electric lime green color with some white. The pale mossy green at the bottom center of the photo is right out of the bottle, and I wasn’t sure about it at this point. Just ignore that for now.

Now I have painted with the purple, the light blue, and the muted lime green.

Now, this paint color flier had this lovely peachy tone and I tried to make it by mixing some pink with muted lime green, and I got close, but not where I wanted it to be. So I took my bottle of horrendous Halloween orange and added a dab to the palette so I could add just a little to get the peachy tone I was looking for.

Your letters should dry fairly quickly, so long as you’re using acrylic craft paints, and thin coats of it, and it’s not too terribly humid where you are. When the letters are dry, it’s time to arrange them the way you want them on the board and decide if the way you plan on doing other lettering still works.

**A note about letter arrangement: When I first opened the letters from their packing, I realized I didn’t have enough room on the wood plank to spell out all the words with wood letters. I am totally unafraid to hand letter things, so it wasn’t a big deal for me. If you are thinking of doing a project like this, try to figure out in the store, before you buy, whether or not what you want on your wood plank will fit. If not, consider doing some words in the wood letters, and consider an alternative like a paint marker, or rub-on scrapbooking letters.**

Like I mentioned before, I decided right away to hand letter the rest of my words, and I had used a pencil to sketch them out. I just needed a smaller paint brush, and I decided to use black paint muted to a charcoal with a little bit of a light color already in my palette.

To the left is the small brush I used to do my lettering.

I painted on a very non-committal comma first.

And here is the rest. It’s not perfect, but I am happy with it. Now is the time to glue the painted letters on.

This is the glue I used to attach the wood letters to the plank. It only takes a little glue. You probably don’t want it squishing out from behind the letters and creating a glue blob here and there.

This is the method I used to glue the letters on. I arranged all the letters on the plank. Then I picked up any letter that wasn’t the first letter. In this case, “L.” I put glue on it, then replaced it on the plank. I then was able to glue the other letters in the word “CLEAN” without worrying about having the spacing right. The good news is, with glue like this, it doesn’t dry immediately where you can’t slightly slide the letter around a bit to get it exactly where you want it. Hot glue would make this more difficult.

At some point, I decided to try the mossy green color on a few letters, and I was really pleased with that result. I also muted the lime green even more. I was glad I did. So here is the finished piece. I’m really happy with it, and I’m also happy the small clothespins hold the socks! I was thinking I may have to swap them out with full size clothespins, but nope–they do the job. And I fully expect my son to end up with more than four orphaned socks at once. Because I know this kid, I may have to add some clothespins, and then some more rope….

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you have a wonderful day!