If you want to sing out, sing out, and if you want to be free, be free, cause there's a million ways to be, you know that there are.
--Cat Stevens

Friday, August 30, 2013

Dear Emily,

 As this blanket is a special gift for a special baby.  I have written this post as a letter to her.  For those of you interested in commentary and information on the blanket,  I have provided this in the captions.
Dear Emily 
Voila! My fantastic blanket is finally finished.  The blue yarn is random stash acrylic but the beige 
is my own handspun. They didn't play as well together as I had hopped.  (Read I accidentally felted the
 handspun when washing this).  And So I decided backing it in fleece would make it look nicer.I was right.
  It will be many years before you will understand this letter and probably several more before you can read it for yourself.  I hope that someday you do read it but even if you never see this letter there are things that I wanted to say to you that I think should be sent out into the universe.  I made this blanket for you.  I started long before you were born and I have missed your birth by a couple of months.   I have spent hundreds of hours crocheting and sewing this blanket because I love you.

Frogs are my favorite critters so I couldn't resit adding one.
  I know we have never met, and that we will probably only meet infrequently in the future due to the thousands of miles spread between us.  I love you anyways.  I love you because I love your mother, but more importantly I love you because you are you.  I love you because of the potential you represent and because every person in the world needs love.
The elephant is also made of some of my handspun.  I love the lion's mane!
 When I first made him I left his mane about two inches long. 
For the longest time I bounced back and forth between wanting
to trim and leaving it long.  I decided to trim it a bit.
     I decided to make you a blanket, because I love blankets. A special blankets is a talisman.  It tells you that your are loved, and it can keep you warm and make you feel safe on a bad day.  Someday when  you are older you should ask you mom about her special blanket from a grandma she barely knew.  I remember it was pink and silky and had beautiful animals sewn all over it and she loved it.  I know she slept with it well into her teenage years and I can only hope that you might love this blanket even half as much.

This blanket tells the story of Noah's ark, but
that's not the story I am going to tell you today.  Instead, I am going to tell you what each of the symbols on your blanket mean to me.  The boat and house represent a safe place for you to go when the world gets to be too much.  The giraffe represents your reach.  You can reach much further than you know.  Everything you do has the potential to change the world.  The lion is bravery, because you'll need it, kid.  It's jungle out there! 
The elephant is wisdom.  There is a folk saying that says that Elephants never forget anything.  Who knows if that's really true?  But I wanted to give as much wisdom as I had because I know things can be tough.  And the frog because everyone needs a little silliness.
I hope you remember that I love you, and if when you are older you ever need someone to talk to, even if I am a million miles away, I'd be happy to listen.
                                                                                          Aunt Amy

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tutorial: Garbage Can Monster

 One of the favorite characters of my childhood was Oscar the Grouch.  One day when visiting the store I saw a display of Garbage Candy and I knew I had to make a tiny Oscar.  It is quite simple and the same techniques could easily be used to make other tiny garbage can monsters.

1.  Gather Materials:

2. Wrap Yarn around foam ball.  If you find it difficult to keep the yarn from slipping of the ball you may use a dab of hot glue, but if you change directions every 4 or 5 wraps for the first few wraps the yarn should be well anchored.

 3. Put a layer of hot glue in the the tiny trash can and then fill in the extra space.  I used an extra foam ball and some wadded up eyelash yarn to fill the trash can.  The can should be filled almost to the brim so that the head is clearly visible.

4.  Place the head on top of the filling.  Glue it down and glue the lid to the head.
5.Marvel at the cuteness you have created.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I think I have WIPitis...

 I counted and including the two that are not pictured here today because Ididn't work on them this week I have seven WIPs. I frogged the brown ami I was working on last week and started this green blob.  It will hopefully become an aboleth.

I had become increasingly unhappy with the shaping on my blanket design and so I frogged and started again about a bajillion four times.  I am currently really really happy with the way the new shaping is so far and I am no ready to tons and tons of mathy things to figure out how much yarn etc. I will need to make my sample.  I wasn't sure what yarn I wanted so I bought 1 ball each of three different yarns to try--that was really fun!
Last week I only showed you the back of this because I wanted to keep it a secret a bit longer.  This is my second Noah's Ark blanket.  My first was a huge success so I decided to make one for my sister's new baby.  The beige yarn for the sky is a handspun yarn that I respun from my very earliest super bulky underspun attempts at spinning.  It is gorgeous and soft and adds great texture but ended up not playing well with the blue acrylic and so I decided it needed to be backed with fleece.  My sewing machine and I have and uneasy truce and sewing fleece to crochet nearly caused us to go to war, except for the courageous efforts of my husband who ended up doing about 80% of the sewing.  The only thing we have left is  to finish the top stitching.  It should be done for Friday and I hope I can get some better pics.
I spent too much money on yarn this summer and have been placed on a yarn diet until such time as my yarn shelves are empty ( or at least emptier).  So as penance I have begun to use up all the scraps of acrylic on a granny quilt.

 My husband has needed a new wallet for almost as long as we have been married(four years).  I decided upon the pattern Michael del Vecchio's Wallet about three years ago.  Two years ago I went to a LYS and bought the patterns recommended Berroco Suede.  A few month's ago I started the pattern in said yarn and learned that linen stitch in ribbon yarn is about as pleasant as repeatedly stabbing myself in the eye with a needle.  Finally I bought some cotton dishcloth yarn, sucked it up and finished the pieces.  Now if only  I could figure out how to put them together.

This has been another issue of Work in Progress Wednesday.  If you would like to see more amazing projects check out my link party page to see where the parties are happening.

Friday, August 23, 2013

From Fluff to stuff

I haven't finished anything for a few weeks but I still have many FO from my long blogging pause to show you.  Today is  my favorite FO ever.

It is Niemeyer by Iris Alessi.  It is also a project of first for me.  It is my first project made from my own handspun.  It is my first handspun that is/was relatively even.  It is the first yarn I ever dyed.  My first knitted shawl.  My first knitted lace.   So needless to say I am crazy proud of it.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Secrets, deadlines and Wips

I had some major camera issues that prevented me from posting for a few weeks.  These have been solved due to the generosity of rav friends :D.  It is late and I am tired so I am going to keep this brief.  I think I have forgotten at least a couple of my WIPs but I guess you'll see them next week.

I am good at lots of things but there are few things that I am really terrible at  deadlines and secrets.  I can't finish anything to a deadline even one I give myself, and I couldn't keep a secret to save my life.  Secrets make me excited and when I excited I feel like there a million butterflies in my chest and if I don't tell someone they will explode.   I am telling you this because this week I have several secret projects that have failed deadlines to share.

Tiny Amigurumi that I am making up
as I go along
 I have a ton of projects started right now and I feel like they are all in the blackholes.  Most of them were supposed to be gifts for special events that have already occurred.  A couple are gifts for special events that will occur soon.  My sister had a baby July second and I am still working on a blanket for her baby.  Her older daughter just celebrated her 2nd birthday on the 8th and I am still working on a present for her.  I am also still working on a present for the same sister's birthday.
Back of a very special baby blanket that I am working on. 
Hopefully I will get it backed and  mailed soon so you can see it in all its awesomeness.
A special blanket project that I hope will become a self- published pattern soon

My sister's birthday present.  Can you guess what it will be?

And just because I don't have enough crazy in my life.  I started swatching Venus by Aoibhe Ni.