Baby Its Cold in Here

I have a love hate relationship with our apartment. I love the 12 foot ceilings and beautiful molding and glass doorknobs.

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You know all the cool stuff that comes with a house that is over 100 years old.

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I do not, however, love the ancient gas heating system or drafty windows and doors. We keep the thermostat set at a very brisk 66 degrees and our heating bill is still ridiculous. . .for an apartment that essentially only has one living room, one bedroom, a kitchen and a bathroom. . .and no hallways (did I mention it is tiny).

So we have taken to dressing in layers and wearing hats indoors. I bought this beautiful yarn at The Smoky Mountain Spinnery in Gatlinburg with some Christmas money (thanks Papaw!).

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And made this Koolhaas hat by Jared Flood for Hubby.

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I kind of love it and have threatened to steal it.

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With all the hats I have made recently you would think I would own a million, but I had never made one for myself! I looked at a bunch of patterns but I really liked the Fjord hat I made for my friend Leah. I am also trying to be more economical with my yarn and so I wanted to use some of my stash first. I had a lot of the Mirasol Kutama yarn left and I wondered how the Fjord hat would look in a bulky yarn.

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Needless to say there was no pattern, I just cast on fewer stitches and then improvised to get the general look (details here).

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I had no idea how warm it would keep my head! And we need it right now, the low tonight is supposed to be 9 degrees. Temperatures that low make our chilly apartment seem almost warm when you come inside!

One Hat, Two Hat, Red Hat, Blue Hat

Now I can finally show off what I have been working on for the past few months! (and get back to knitting my pendulum shawl)

First a hat for a friend at work. The pattern is named Fjord and I knit it with a beautiful red yarn called Rowan Lima that she picked out.

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Thanks Hubby for modeling it for me!

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Loved the hat, may have to make one for myself one day.

Next a Christmas present for my sister. She asked for a slouchy hat. This is a pretty easy pattern and it knit up really quickly.

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Please excuse the weird self-portrait.

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Finally I knit an earwarmer for my mother-in-law who walks outside most days. It has been frigid here and so I hope it keeps her warm! I am going to apologize in advance for these truly terrible pictures. I finished this project right before Christmas and I was working 12 hour shifts all of the days leading up to Christmas day. That meant I had to quickly take pictures in awful lighting after the sun went down.

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The light does no justice to the color. It is a truly gorgeous undyed alpaca yarn (Cascade Eco Duo) that has a natural variation from light to dark cream color. Although it is a little difficult to work with, the finished products are beautiful and may be the softest things I have ever touched.

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So these things kept me busy for a few months (plus the birthday mittens). I know I said I was going to get back to my pendulum, but I have already bought yarn for two new projects. I don’t know what my problem is, I never had this issue when I was just crocheting! I would finish a project before starting another. Oh well, as long as each one gets finished eventually. . . .

Happy New Year!

Birthday Mittens

Yay! I gave one of the gifts I had made so I can share it now! I had been wanting to make mittens for a while when I found this pretty little pattern.

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I really like the basketweave on the cuff.

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Happy Birthday MGC!

On an unrelated note I had made these two little hats for a teeny tiny newborn. The patterns were written for a premie but I thought the finished product was a little big. I figure the baby can grow into them if nothing else.

SONY DSCI added a crochet flower to the green hat. However, my favorite is the one with the hearts.

SONY DSCEverything else has to wait for Christmas so in the meantime. . . .

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MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Mystery Solved

I have never done a knit or crochet-a-long before. But when one of my favorite designers announced a MYSTERY crochet-a-long I couldn’t resist! Also, I have been so caught up in my new knitting skills I was kind of excited to take on a crochet project. This mystery was called Archer and the link to his Ravelry page can be found here.

So for those who don’t know, in a mystery crochet-a-long (CAL) new clues are released each week and the final clue helps you complete the finished project. In this case we crocheted different strangely shaped pieces for an animal without any idea what they would be when we sewed them together. I wasn’t super organized about getting the pieces done each week, but I made sure to have them all finished by the time the final clue came out.

SONY DSCToday I sewed all the pieces together and met my new puppy friend Archer!

SONY DSCI changed his eyes a little from the pattern because the black eyes didn’t show up against the purple. I made circles of seven half-double-crochets out of white and then added the black safety eyes. I used a smaller sized safety eye because the black part was really just serving as the pupil now instead of the eye itself. Wow, that was a lot of thought I put into those eyes!

SONY DSCI love his little tail, too!

SONY DSCJust for fun I got a picture of him checking out the Christmas tree.

Cutty wasn’t too sure about him and all I could capture was this very blurry picture of Cutty pushing him off the couch.

SONY DSCI know I haven’t been posting a lot but so many of my projects are Christmas presents and I just really can’t show pictures of them until later. It’s funny to look back on the posts last year because I was making dozens and dozens of cookies but this year I am not sure I am going to make any! I have moved on to my new favorite hobby of knitting. Now I have to go listen to my last video lecture of the semester. I can’t believe I am finished with my first sememster of grad school. Apparently I still remember how to be a student! Wish me luck on my final!

Baby Gifts

I feel like all fall I have been knitting baby gifts! I enjoy making things for babies. I mean the stuff is cute and each item is little so it takes less time to have a nice finished object. However, between school and all the baby showers I haven’t had much time for my own knitting. I also haven’t been blogging because I had to wait for the gifts to be given before I could reveal a lot of these things.

First, this one made me giggle. My friend asked for this hat because her little boy is going to be born around Thanksgiving (still I had to laugh at myself while I knitted each turkey leg). This is the pattern.

The next project I completely forgot to get  a picture of! It was a bib made from this pattern, which is just fabulous. I made the bib yellow with a contrasting orange neck-tie. I added a monarch butterfly appliqué in the left lower corner (ironed and sewn on because a baby bib needs to be durable enough to throw in the washer). I am kicking myself for not getting a picture but I wanted to mention it anyway because I enjoyed the pattern so much.

This was the most recent gift. I think the picture makes it look a little red like a tomato, but in real life it is a beautiful magenta. I was trying to go for a strawberry. I thought about adding seeds but that would require me to carry the yarn in the back which seems uncomfortable for baby’s head, or do a lot of cutting and weaving in of ends, which sounded awful. When I saw the finished product I actually really liked it the way it was, so that is the way it stayed. (here is the pattern)

The shower for the baby getting the strawberry hat had a “sugar and spice” theme (so cute). So I made some sugary cookies to go along with it. Again, almost forgot to take a picture so please forgive the quality of the shot that I took after I had already packed them up to go to the shower.

I have made progress on my other two projects. I am still loving the pendulum although all of the garter stitch is kind of monotonous. I think the fact that I keep changing colors keeps it interesting. I like this project because I can pick it up for a few minutes at a time and not have to put much thought into it.

I am a bit embarrassed about the next one. About a month ago I turned the heel on my first Kalajoki sock and then put it down and haven’t picked it up again. It’s not that I don’t like the pattern, I have actually really enjoyed working it! It just isn’t quite so easy to pick up for a few minutes at a time and so with all of the other projects going on it has gotten neglected.  Maybe by winter break things will calm down and I can finish this sock and its partner.

Catch Up

This may have been the least relaxing summer of my life. I don’t know that I had a single day in the whole month of July to do exactly what I wanted and nothing else. I didn’t completely realize how busy it was until today when I did only things I wanted to do. It was heavenly.

I did squeeze in some things that were fun though.

This was Jack.

This was Liz (deciding she was tired of me taking pictures)

They were some of the best kittens we have had since Cutty. Hopefully they have already found forever homes.

I baked a pie.

It was made from fresh peaches and blueberries from the farmer’s market. I used a tutorial I found on The Pioneer Woman’s website for homemade crust. It was fabulous.

I tried my hand at knitting two socks at a time on two circulars. At first it seemed to be taking forever to make any progress because I was doing everything twice.

But then at the end it was totally worth it because when I finished them I was finished with BOTH of them! I will definitely do this again.

Then I made a pair of socks and coordinating hat for baby J and my friend AO’s baby shower. I totally failed at taking pictures. This is the only one I have of the set. I did my first crocheting in a long time to make the bear. I used a pattern for the socks and hat but the bear I made up as I went along. It is truly one of  a kind. (and this was my first time working with Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino and I am in love with it)

There were cookies at the shower, too. They were the first ones since the graduation. Maybe I have lost my cookie mojo.

I also found some new blogs. This one (fieldwonderful) inspired me to make these Kalajoki socks. You can see the river pattern starting on my first sock. I chose a blue green since the pattern is based on rivers- original I know. But I truly love what fieldwonderful did with the yellow. Plus she is a fellow Kentucky girl! Yay!

I am branching out and have decided to have two projects going at once. This is different for me because I usually make myself finish one before I start another. However, I wanted something simple and mindless going while I was trying to read a charted pattern for the first time so . . .

I cast on for a shawl called pendulum last night.

So how am I going to end my hectic summer? By starting grad school in 10 days. You know, ’cause it seemed like a good idea at the time.

A long, long time ago . . .on graduation day

Bonus life points if you know the song that the title of this post is referencing.

So a long time ago (like a month ago) my youngest sister graduated from highschool. I made some of her favorite things into cookies. So many cookies that I haven’t had the desire to even touch a cookie cutter in over a month. However, I would gladly do it all over again because she is such an awesome sister. (Disclaimer: my middle sister is awesome, too. She just didn’t graduate from anything this year)

You may have noticed a theme with some of my posts about MGC and her love for Star Trek. See this one and this one. In fact she loves Star Trek so much Zachary Quinto, a.k.a. Spock in the latest movie version, came to her party.

Hubby and I got her this life sized cardboard cut out a few years ago for Christmas. It took a long time before I could walk by her room and not freak out that there was some random man standing in there. I don’t even notice him any more.  I don’t know which is worse.

Anyway, here are the cookies to go with Mr Spock.

Huge thanks to Sugarbelle for her wonderful tutorials!

I also had to do a set of Harry Potter cookies because that obsession started before she even knew what the Starship Enterprise was.

However, the most important cookies were the ones of the thing she loves more than anything in the whole wide world. He is only about 5 pounds but he is a huge part of her life.

Meet my cookie version of Brutus (yes she named her teeny tiny dog Brutus).

And no the cookies weren’t red, white and blue for memorial day. We apparently went to the most patriotic high school in America (believe it or not the school colors are for the French flag because it was named after the French General Lafayette).

Congratulations MGC!

Something Awful and Something Awesome

I have been toying with the idea of knitting for a while now. For some silly reason I thought I would be a crochet traitor if I took that next step to learn knitting. I actually tried to learn knitting some 15 years ago before I started crocheting. It was awful and awkward and boring. However,  I kept reading Alice’s posts at Crochet with Raymond about her beautiful socks (and there are many more fabulous posts where that came from). I tried to crochet a pair of socks, but they just weren’t the same.

Then I heard about knooking and gave that a shot. It did produce fabric that looked like knitting. . .but again not quite the same. About a month ago a read this game changing post by the amazing Stacy at Freshstitches. Basically she showed me that what I wanted to do -  knit a pair of socks - was not going to happen until I learned how to knit.

So I did.

I am not a huge fan of crocheting blocks and rectangles so I figured I wouldn’t be a fan of knitting them. I just couldn’t bring myself to knit a scarf for my first project. Fortunately Matt and Dennis told me about a really fantastic knitting resource, Staci at Very Pink. I could not have gotten started without her help! She has the most amazing tutorials and tips.

Hubby has already claimed this hat (even though it is something awful and full of newbie mistakes).

Apparently some people wait years after learning to knit before they attempt a pair of socks. The whole reason I was learning to knit was for socks. So I thought why not make it my second project?!

These are a pair of socks knitted on size 5 DPNs with Cascade 220 worsted weight yarn. I again turned to the fabulous Staci at Very Pink and used these videos and accompanying pattern. Stacy at Freshstitches (confused yet?) also has a great beginners sock pattern that I did not find until after I was halfway through this pair. It is totally worth checking out as well.

Now that is something awesome!

I love them.

A lot.

I have already finished my next project (because I have become a knitting fool), but this post is long enough. I’ll just go ahead and let you know it involves cables. . .

Cats Need Scarves Too

I am finally going to show you the scarf from our Europe trip! I actually finished it a while ago but was sans camera for a while. It’s a little too warm for it now, but I will love wearing it in the fall and remembering where it has been!

At first Cutty didn’t know what to think about it.

But I kept snapping pictures and he really got into it.

I finally had to put the camera down and untangle him from the knot he had turned the scarf into.

I think he was trying to tell me that cats need scarves, too.

(Pattern is Richmond Infinity Lace Scarf found here on Etsy)

Baby J’s Bubbly Blanket

I think the day after I found out my bestie was going to become a mom I went to the store and bought yarn for this project. We were a long way from finding out if it was a girl or boy, so I needed something versatile. I had been thinking about the pattern for this Blackberry Salad blanket for a while and this seemed like the perfect time to cast on for it.

The pattern is super easy, but still interesting because of the texture and colors. I had so much fun making it!

I used Vanna’s Choice Baby yarn from Lion’s Brand. I have been getting more and more into natural fibers from my LYS, but on this occasion I wanted something that would be durable and easily washable. So, by the way AO,  if you are reading this I forgot to tell you that you can totally throw this sucker in the wash the first time Baby J spits up on it (and every time after that, too). There is no point in making something too fragile for an infant.

I know it isn’t a super smooth wrap you up kind of blanket, but I thought the texture would be fun for Baby J as she grew up and started exploring things.

Oh, I love how bright and fun the colors are! I spent a really long time rearranging the skeins before I got started trying to decide on an order for the colors.

I also like the back of the blanket, the stripes are so neat and orderly.

I thought about doing a border on it, maybe in pink once we found out she was a girl. But in the end this blanket seemed to be just fine the way it was.

Cutty couldn’t resist getting in on the photo shoot.  He can’t wait to meet Baby J either.

I took these photos at the same time as the ones for my next post. Just wait until you see how involved Cutty was with that item. He just has to be the center of attention!