Love Your Library, vol. 11

My nurmilintu is finished! And in a few moments, it will be blocking! I can't wait to see what this looks like blocked!! With any luck, I'll have photos of this beauty fully blocked by the end of the week.

And I'm embarking on a different type of "love your library" project--a needlepoint project from my big book of Needlecrafts! (that's the book I've been working all the crochet blanket edgings out of too). This will also hit my new year's goal of making a new pillow cushion cover for my couch in the front living room. You can see I'm using mostly blues, plus the green that matches the couch. It's fun and fast so far!

a prettier view

This was my normal view from the back door out onto our patio. And it drove me crazy. I couldn't argue against the utility of using this three-tier stand for corralling the balls and toys. But I sure didn't enjoy the visual clutter it created on a daily basis. So I decided to reclaim the stand for my original purpose for it: plants! My husband surprised me with this stand years ago, and I've always loved it. And immediately I could envision plants overflowing from it. But I consulted one of my gardening expert friends about how to plant it, and was dissuaded from that plan since I might "ruin it." Well, it's years later and it's starting to rust on its own accord. I figure worst case scenario I can spray paint it!

I started with these basket liners, as I knew I needed something to contain the dirt. I cut them in half and ripped them to fit, overlapping to avoid gaps. Then I added my plants, and handfuls of potting soil to fill in the gaps. After a first watering, I realized I needed additional lining around the center to avoid silt spilling out. But after that fix, it was perfect!

Creeping jenny on top, and wave petunias on the bottom two levels.

Much better view, don't you think?

knit your library, vol. 10

In between fits of gardening I have been knitting, believe it or not! I'm in one of those all-over-the-place phases. I want to start ALL.THE.THINGS and then I don't feel like I'm productive since I'm not finishing anything. I'm trucking along on Nurmilintu (a freebie I downloaded August 2014! I swear, sometimes my pattern library is a black hole that sucks time away ... I could have sworn that this pattern came out last year, not two years ago ...). I'm using up a skein of Lorna's Laces Solemate in the Harrison colorway. This is destined to be a gift for an online yarnie friend, but I'm curious to see if I like this shape. I normally gravitate towards cowls, not asymmetrical neck things so we'll see. If I like it this would be a great way to blast through some "special" single skeins of sock yarn I have.

And evidence of my casting on insanity, another pair of socks. As if I didn't have enough socks-in-progress already ...

And long overdue photos of my finished Campside Cardigan! I love how this turned out! This is really heavily modified--I used the top-down set-in sleeve pattern from my Ann Budd book of top-down sweater patterns. I did this because the pattern as designed was one of those skimpy front raglan designs. And I know from experience that these won't stay on my shoulders and I'll constantly be pulling them back on and constantly bugging me. So I had way more stitches than the pattern calls for--I picked the lace pattern that most closely matched my stitch count, and everything worked out. I also cheated and did my own thing in terms of switching lace charts. I liked the first two charts best, so I knit them further than the pattern called for. The yarn is Miss Babs Wowsa in the Violaceous colorway--I used exactly two skeins, or 1,092 yards (more details on my Ravelry page). Normally I am bored with single color yarns, but the vibrancy of this purple was enough to keep me interested!

living in the garden

You may have noticed I've been only quasi-present on the blog lately. Where have I been? Distracted. Spring! Plants! Garden! I'm all over the place lately, but I thought I'd give you a peek into our backyard garden projects. Have you ever flipped through magazines and poured over photos of gardens wishing yours looked like any semblance of the picture? Well, 2016 has been the year of whipping the backyard into shape. It really started in 2015 ... the flower bed you see above previously had a single brick border and it was looking pretty pathetic. It was falling down, dirt was eroding, and just looked blah. My husband had the idea to try stacked flagstone. And the transformation was honestly magical. Suddenly the backyard had shape and looked purposeful and had a nice polish. It looked "finished." So we've been spending this spring filling the bed with different bushes and perennials. And then we realized ... hmmm.... there used to be grass under the swing .... realizing it wouldn't be growing back we added more flagstone! And scotch moss! I absolutely love how this turned out.


 What else have I been up to? Turning the patio into my personal rose garden.

And knitting on the swing, of course!

resolutions check in

We've officially finished the first quarter of the year (eeep!) and to stay on better track towards achieving my 2016 crafting resolutions I thought I should do quarterly progress checks this year. So what were my resolutions again??

  • Goal #1: ZERO yarn purchases this year. Success! I have NOT purchased anything! Shocker!
  • Goal #2: Empty at least two storage containers of yarn. LOL, not anywhere close.
  • Goal #3: Sew at least four quilts. One quilt top finished so far.
  • Goal #4: Knit at least three sweaters for myself. YES! One done!
  • Goal #5: Knit 50 charity projects. 14 newborn baby beanies so far.
  • Goal #6: Empty a storage bin of needlepoint projects. Oof. ZERO progress here.
  • Goal #7: Make new pillow covers for my front sitting room. No progress.
  • Goal #8: Continue to build my budding crochet skills. Yes! Multiple edgings and beanies made.
  • Goal #9: Dye my own self-striping yarn. Not yet!!
  • Goal #10: Continue my Love Your Library project! 7 finished projects so far!
I know it's crazy to add more goals to my list, but I realized over the last few weeks I have a few more specific things I want to do this year that fall in line with my "follow through" theme. Specifically, there are several knitwear designers that I have pined over their patterns for years now. So a subgoal for my "follow through" goal is to knit at least one pattern by these designers: Veera, Joji, and Mairlynd.

How's your crafting year been going so far?

Christmas quilting

That sewing mess you saw week's ago?? It's turned into a finished quilt top! This was an easy-peasy Christmas quilt I'm making for my son. I went with four-inch wide strips and HUGE 17" square blocks so this was fun and fast. It burned through six yards of stash so far, and I haven't pieced the back yet. Yay for stashbusting! My favorite fabrics are the vintage ones I was able to include from my late grandmother's stash, especially the Santa and mini snowmen prints you see below.

testing, testing

It's groooooowing! My progress has slowed since I'm playing yarn chicken here. Almost to the cool lace border though!

knit your library, vol. 9

While I've been absent, this big pile of purple got finished! That's my campside cardigan, which is a mash-up of a top-down set-in sleeve pattern from Ann Budd's Handy Book of Top-Down Sweater patterns and Alicia Plummer's Campside Cardi pattern. 1,092 yards of yummy Miss Babs Wowza out of my stash! It's blocking now and I can't wait to wear it once it dries! What's even more exciting to me is that this only used two of my three skeins of Wowza ... which means I can make an awesome cowl from the remaining skein ... AND I know I can make myself a sweater from the two skeins of Wowza I have in my stash! YES! 

In other "knit from my library" news, I made two hats from an oldie-but-goodie pattern for me: luuk. Above is a last minute newborn baby gift version, and below is a kiddo version for my little boy. This project makes me exceptionally happy since it is one of my "follow through" projects for this year. I specifically bought this yarn with this intention for it. And I followed through in under a year's time! (sadly that's fast for me ...) This is Wisdom Yarns "Poems" in the Amazon colorway. I had two skeins in my stash, and the two hats used 1.5 of them. I have enough yarn leftover for another baby version to add to my gifting pile! What's fun is seeing the difference in the two hats--the newborn version was small enough to not reach the brighter limes/yellows in the skein, so it has a completely different feel than the big kid version!

And despite the humongous number of WIPs I have lying around, I have been feeling the urge to try making an oversized shawl of some sort lately. So I'm back to my varjo-shadow pattern that I started ages ago but frogged since I didn't like my original color choices. This is a gorgeous SpinningFates pink colorway called "gillyflower" and I'll be pairing it with a speckled yarn I've been hoarding for far too long. 


2021 year in review

  Who would have thought that the second year of a pandemic would be worst than the first, in terms of crafting mojo? Not I. But this chart ...