Current Projects: 1/4/2013

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I haven’t been on here in ages…but in my defense, I’ve been a busy girl!  I started some online classes in December, I’ve published two knitting patterns, I’m trying to dedicate more time to my true love – writing – all while attempting to spend more time with friends, old and new alike.  I suddenly found I have much less time to blog than I thought!

Anyway, I’m still cranking along on that Granny Stripe Blanket, and I’ve started two new knitting projects and completed a third.  I never can stick with a single large project until it’s done – I have to have smaller ones to carry me through.  Right now, I’m working on my first ever (believe it or not) shawlette, aptly named Balm to the Soul by Jaala Spiro, as well as a pair of socks, entitled Busy Bees from the book Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders by Kerin Dimeler-Laurence (the pattern’s available for free on the link – it’ll take you to Ravelry), that I am enjoying but that are going mind-numbingly slow on size 2 needles.  Perhaps developing patience would be a good goal for me this year.

I recently (as in 5 days before Christmas) finished the Hallows Scarf for my husband.  Nothing like waiting until you’re down to the wire.  It was easy as pie, but I enjoyed making it.  Berroco’s Vintage worked up into a very warm, cushy scarf.  I think I’m going to have to make one for myself.

Now that fall is over, I am anxiously awaiting spring.  However, I would like to finish the shawl and the socks before spring arrives – which, around here, is usually in Mid-March.  Guess I’d better get crackin’!

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Pinecones and the park

Hubby and I spent a leisurely morning at a park in our area recently.  It’s a great little place – never too crowded, except on those too-gorgeous-to-resist days, when the park is crawling with photographers trying to get that perfect family portrait.  You park, you walk past the playground areas, and suddenly, you come upon a covered bridge, which we don’t have many of around here.

There are picnic areas, and once you’ve crossed the bridge, if you are in a mind to go off the beaten path a bit (which we always do), there’s a little path that goes around and loops back to a gorgeous rocky area of the river.

We finished the loop and came back up the path to the covered bridge.  As per the understood laws of society, the interior is covered in “Jimmy loves Norma” in every imaginable form.

On our way into the park, you know what else I noticed they have there?  Pine cones.  That’s right.  I spent the last 15 minutes or so of our adventure picking up pine cones.  They were just so huge and perfect and fresh!  (No, I do NOT have a pine cone fetish.  At all.)  You see, I came across this wreath project awhile back that I have been just itching to make.  I mean, how beautiful is it?  And it really can stay up for two seasons – fall and winter – which makes it the perfect project for me right now.

This garland and this topiary are just two more projects I would love to make for our home.  I have gobs upon gobs of pine cones now, so I ought to be able to make several.

Hubs got a bit bored towards the end.  I tend to get tunnel vision, and that day was no exception.  He had that “Isn’t this enough pine cones?” look on his face (on other days, you may also enter “yarn” in place of “pine cones”).  But he was such a good sport about it.  That’s just one of the many things I love about him.

-Shannon

Moss Stitch Mug Cozy

As I’ve mentioned before, I do quite a variety of crafts – I sew, I crochet, I knit, I paint…pretty much anything I can try, I will.  The fun part for me is that once I learn the gist of a craft, I can go wild with it and create.

Today, I am posting one of my own original knitting patterns for sale on Etsy for the first time ever! (See it here.)  To celebrate, I’m sharing another of my designs with you all for free.  It’s a charming little mug cozy, perfect for young and old alike, and easy enough that even the most novice of knitters can whip one up in no time.  It’s the perfect way to use up a little leftover yarn from a previous project, and you can crank these out so quickly that you can make one for all your friends and family for Christmas.  I hope you enjoy!

Moss Stitch Mug Cozy

Gauge: approximately 3 stitches per inch in pattern

Materials

  • Bulky weight yarn, or two strands worsted weight held together – I used two strands of Patons Classic Wool held together
  • 1 pair knitting needles, size 10 (6.0mm) (or size to obtain gauge)
  • 1 crochet hook, size J (6.0mm)
  • Tapestry needle
  • Measuring tape
  • 2 buttons
  • Thread, in color of your choice, and needle, for sewing on buttons

Abbreviation guide:

  • k = knit
  • p = purl
  • sl = slip (For example, “sl1 purlwise” means “slip one stitch as if to purl” – the yarn is held in the front.  “Sl1 knitwise” means “slip one stitch as if to knit” – and the yarn is held in the back.)

Measure the circumference of your mug.  Multiply this number by 3 (your gauge) to get the number of stitches for cast on.  (For example, a 10-inch circumference multiplied by 3 stitches per inch = 30 stitches for cast on.)  If the resulting number is even, add one stitch – you must always cast on an odd number of stitches – so, in this case, I cast on 31 stitches.

Using the long-tail cast on method, cast on the desired number of stitches and work the following rows:

Rows 1, 4, 5, 8, and 9:  Sl1 knitwise, *p1, k1; repeat from * to end of row.

Rows 2, 3, 6, and 7:  Sl1 purlwise, *k1, p1; repeat from * to end of row.

You can work as many rows as you like, for as wide a cozy as desired.  With 9 rows, I got a cozy that measures about 2-1/4 inches wide.

Bind off in pattern; weave in ends.  Block the finished piece to get it as close to rectangular as possible.

When blocking is finished, you are ready to sew on the buttons and make the loop that will hold everything in place.  Measure 1/2″ from one end and find the middle height-wise.  Mine measures 2-1/4″ high, so I will start at 1/2″ from the end at 1-1/8″ high.  Insert your crochet hook and pull up a loop, leaving a decent sized tail.  Now, you are ready to make the chain for your loop.  Chain 8.  Insert crochet hook back into your starting point and pull up a loop to connect.  Break yarn; weave in ends.

Flip your piece over so that your chain is actually starting on the back of the piece.  Sew one of your buttons over the starting point on the front side.

Place your second button in the matching spot on the opposite end of the cozy; stitch in place.

Wrap it around your mug, secure with the loop, and you are ready to go!

Til next time – Shannon

Shop Launch Sale Starts Today!

I have been busy as a little bee around here.  Sew sew sew, paint paint paint, knit knit knit.  Or maybe I’m as busy as a Christmas elf.  Getting ready for all those gift shipments.  I thrive off the busyness.  It’s fun and exciting!

As several of you no doubt know by now, I recently re-launched my Etsy shop.  I sell handmade home decor and wearables – aprons, vintage-inspired signs, pillow covers, coasters, knit hats, you name it.

For the month of October, everything in my shop is 20% off for all buyers with Etsy coupon code LAUNCH.  Simply log on to Etsy and place one (or more!) of my items in your cart.  At checkout, enter the coupon code to receive the discount.

Feel free to share the coupon code – the more, the merrier!  It’s never too early to get a jump on all that holiday shopping, and I’ll be adding new items all month long!

So stop by and say hi.  As always, thanks for reading!

-Shannon

Current Project: Granny Stripes Blanket

Hello everyone!  Lately I’ve been working on a new crocheted blanket/afghan for either our sofa or bed.  (I haven’t decided yet.  It will probably start on one and end up on the other.)  My pile of acrylic yarn (all at once now: “EWW, acrylic!”) has been piling up over the past couple of years, and though I have come to prefer more natural fibers, I just couldn’t throw out or give away all this perfectly good yarn.  I am of the mindset that acrylic has its place in the universe, and keeping me warm in the winter is now that place!

I’m going incognito as ladylovely over at ravelry, where I found this great pattern.  I know this pattern has been around for ages, but I can’t resist how cute it is or how well it lends itself to the use of multiple colors.  I have been knitting almost exclusively when it comes to yarn crafts and found that I was really missing crochet.  I have been enjoying working on this project.  I’m using several bright, cheery colors that will brighten my day in the middle of February when it’s rainy and dreary and bitter cold.

Are any of you knitters or crocheters?  If you do both, are you preferential to one over the other?  Why?  Please share – I’d love to hear!