Knitting

Mini Mystery Create-A-Long ~Almost~ Complete

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(image courtesy of Melody’s Makes. Links to her blog post announcing the MCAL)

As I mentioned in this brief post, I decided to participate in the mini mystery create-a-long (MCAL). I chose the knitting option. Though I’m not publishing this post until the project is complete, I’ll be updating it after I complete each segment.

January 15
I didn’t get started right on the first day (January 11), mainly because I went back to work this week it and was exhausted every night I came home. But since I have Fridays off, I decided to get it going during Baby D’s nap times today.

Melody stressed the importance of gauge, so I went ahead and actually did a swatch. Want to know a secret? I basically never check for gauge, but I figured since I didn’t know what I was making, I should probably do that.

I no longer had the label for the yarn I chose (shame on me!), but I could tell it wasn’t Super Bulky, as the pattern called for. Melody did say we could double up the yarn if we had Bulky yarn, so I tried doubling it and got gauge on the first try! Not bad for a non-gauge-checker.

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Once that was out of the way, I cast on the actual project. The needles I have are juuust long enough for the size option I chose (3-6 months… Obviously I’m making whatever this is for Baby D.)

It’s a simple beginning, but does have cable work, which I’ve never done. But Melody was prepared for that and provided video tutorials, and cabling is easier than I thought. (It’s smushed on one needle. Next segment, I’ll take a picture in the middle of the last row so you can see it flat.)

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January 16/17
Segment 2 was released on January 14. This segment was even easier because it was just alternating knit and purl rows to a certain length, based on which size we decided to make.

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I’m a little concerned I won’t have enough yarn, depending on what’s left to do. I did some browsing on Joann.com to see if I could find the yarn I’ve been using. I thought it was Lion Brand. I found Lion Brand Wool Ease Chunky yarn in color Nantucket that looks like what I’m using. I’ll have to pop by the store with my swatch and see if they have it and if it’s a match. I think we might be making a hat and based on the size I’m making, there’s a possibility we’ll start decreasing in the next segment, so maybe I won’t run out of yarn?? Fingers crossed!

I’m all caught up with the clues (segment 3 is going to be released on the 18th). I’m enjoying this create a long so far and think I’ll participate in another one sometime this year.

January 18
And so begins segment 3. Well, we’re not decreasing, doing just the opposite, actually! I’ll have to see if I can get more yarn. Hopefully I will be able to. However, if I can’t find it, I suppose I’m at a good place where I could start a second color. (I’ve just completed the first step of this segment). It still seems it could be a hat, but maybe more like a bonnet type thing. Since I’m using 2 strands of the yarn and knitting g pretty tightly, the piece is a bit stiff. Not sure if Baby D will be comfortable with it. But we’ll have to wait and see until the end! Also, using the 2 strands made the first step a little harder than I imagine it would be with a single strand (or maybe it was just because my knitting was sort of tight?)

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So it turns out I definitely didn’t have enough yarn and Joann’s did not have the color in the store. Boo. So I wasn’t able to finish it. It was a really cute hooded cowl for kids. With the yarn so stiff, I don’t think it would be something Baby D would be comfortable in (since he sometimes objects to wearing hats). Melody had recommended maybe adding just ties to the hat if I had enough yarn to have some kind of finish to it, so I think I will eventually add them to finish it off.

Because over 3500 people joined in on the mini MCAL, Melody gifted everyone 2 free patterns from her Ravelry store, so cool. I picked an earflap hat and a Yoda hat. Also, if you completed the project and had a Ravelry project page for it, you were entered to win one of five $25 Etsy gift cards or one of two mini skeins from XoXo Yarn. Pretty sweet. (Unfortunately, I’m not eligible since the project needed to completed and posted by yesterday.)

I did sign up for her regular Mystery Create a Long for February, called Wisteria and I’m looking forward to that (there will be a post about that once it’s complete.)

Knitting

Free Mini Mystery Create-a-Long

Over on Ravelry I stumbled upon a free mini mystery create-a-long. Melody, the creator, develops the pattern for both knitting and crocheting. I’ve always liked the idea of a knit-a-long but never participated in one before. So I finally decide to try this one out.

If you’re interested, you have until the 18th to sign up for it. The first clue was being sent out today, so I need to go officially sign up now.

I can’t wait to see what it is!

Knitting · Sewing · With My Reading Buddy

Remember me?

Why, hello there! Remember me?

So much for wanting to post more regularly! The beginning of this year has been pretty busy. Here are brief outlines of what’s been going on. (and as much as I want to say I’ll be better about posting, I don’t want to make any promises since we all know how well that’s been working!)

Books
Of course I’m still reading! I’ve read 23 books so far since January 1. Most were really good (I think only one 5-star Goodreads rating so far, but quite a few 4 stars). Check out my 2014 page to see the list.

Finally got settled with My Reading Buddy! This is his last year in the program, so it’s a little bittersweet. I can’t remember if I mentioned anything about it in earlier posts (and frankly, I’m too lazy to go back and look) but there is a new program coordinator this year and it just doesn’t seem as organized as before. Anyway, we’ve only met a bit more than a handful of times based on weather, holidays, vacations, etc. In all that time we’ve only read one book: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days. Man that main character is a terrible role model! Anyway, we finally finished that book and then A. wanted to read another one, so we started the Wimpy Kid book that came before Dog Days (yeah A. doesn’t care about reading things in order..ahhh!) Anyway, it’s been good to meet with him, but I think we won’t meet for the next couple of weeks due to school vacation and some testing they have going on. Before we know it, it will be the end of the program & he’ll be “graduating”!

Crafts
I actually wasn’t as productive with crafty things, either. After making the Kimono dress I didn’t make anything else until very recently. I’ve knitted a couple of blanket squares for baby blankets at work, but only took a picture of one (I forgot to take a picture of the other one before turning it in).

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Ophelia Baby Footprint Pattern by Bridget McKenzie (found on Ravelry)

I finally finished the apron for my sister — her Christmas gift! (I finished it on Easter) I needed more of the bias tape for the edging and took a while to get it, and then got lazy. But I finally sat down to the sewing machine for the first time since January 2 and really got into it and finished the apron. I’m really pleased with it, and my sister loves it!

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Sonny wanted to make sure the neck strap was comfy enough

Then while taking a quick (yes, actually quick!) trip to JoAnn Fabrics (to get a cushion) we saw — Bruins fabric!!! They finally released the licensing rights, so without any idea of what to make, I grabbed a couple yards of each print available. When we got home, M. asked¬†for a zippered bag for his golf tees. To make it interesting, I used both fabrics. Voila:
(UPDATE – I actually made 2 of these, the same way with the 2 different fabrics)

golf tee bag Collage

Now I’m back in a sewing mood and want to make more things! While at JoAnn’s I found a really cute fabric pattern in the remnants bin and had to grab it. I think I might make a small springy/summery clutch with it.

Wedding
Well, we’ve been busy with wedding plans and have done a lot! We’ve sent out our save the dates, we’re finalizing our invitations to order them, we started our wedding registry, we have an appointment in a couple of weeks to have a menu tasting for the dinner, and I got my dress!! (alterations to follow a bit later in the summer)

A lot of people said “oh you’ll just cry when you find the ONE”, and being an emotional person, I was expecting it to happen. But I didn’t cry, I was just happy with my decision ūüôā I tried on maybe 8-10 different dresses (something like that). The one I ended up with was actually the 4th or 5th one I tried, and it was at the top of my mental list and even though I tried on a few more after that, it just solidified my choice. The funny thing is, going in, I had an idea of what I wanted: a strapless dress and loved the idea of the tea-length, shorter dresses. I didn’t want a train. Well, I ended up with a long, strapless dress with a train! It’s a simple dress, flowy, and most importantly: comfortable! (many people did tell me that I would probably walk out with something different than I had pictured; they were right!)

Fitness
I began training for the Calle’s Miracle Run¬†5k in January and while the beginning training went really well, I got sick (you know, winter time and all), had to stop and then never really got back into it the way I wanted to. However, I still beat my 5k time from last year by almost 9 minutes! I did run more than last year but still had to walk for some of it. So my goal for next year is to cut my time down by 5 minutes and run even more of it!

After some encouragement from my friend Darcel (check out her fitness blog here), I started a 21 Day Fix plan that has daily 30 minute high energy exercise routines as well as an eating plan with special containers to categorize and portion meals. (that was a really high-level overview of the plan). I love the idea of it and started off really well, then I started slacking. I stuck with the exercising longer than the food plan. I really need to get better self-discipline going here! I’ve decided to re-start the plan this upcoming weekend. The daily exercises are great. As soon as I start feeling like I can’t do much more, they’re over! Definitely work up a sweat and have that great sore muscle feeling that lets you know you got a good workout. I just need to get over this mental bump to really push myself to do this consistently and well.

In conclusion…
Just kidding. But really, that’s what’s been going on with me. How are you?

 

Knitting

My First Pair of Mittens

I’m so proud of myself! I made my first pair of mittens!! I’m always nervous to try new knitting patterns when I first read the pattern because they can sometimes look complicated, but when I finally set my mind to it, I usually get pretty comfortable and confident.

Anyway, I really started getting back into it because my co-worker (and best friend from work) mentioned that she wanted to start learning, especially because it could be something that she could do to pass time on her flight to our UK office. So a few weeks ago, we started getting together once a week at lunch time so I could teach her the basics (cast on, knit, purl) to do her project. She picked it up so quickly! (She just got back from the UK yesterday, so I’ll get to see her progress this week when we do our knitting).

Anyway, here are my mittens — I can’t wait to wear them!

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Knitting

Deja Vu: Golf Club Cover

Yes, I made a second one. ¬†Fiance asked if I could make one in Patriots colors, so we went to Joann’s so he could pick out which ones he wanted. (He had debated on whether he wanted to do blue and red, blue and grey, all three, etc.) He decided on blue and grey:

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The yarn was a slightly different weight than what I used for the first club cover, but it was just as easy to do. I think I’m going to take a break from golf club covers for a bit. ūüôā

On to my mittens! (I’m almost done with the first one!)

Knitting

Knitting is Back!

So I’ve been looking for knitting projects to do for a few reasons:
1.¬†I have a lot of yarn that I haven’t used yet
2. I’ve seen a few recently done knitting projects and it makes me want to pick it up again
3. I just finished reading a book that involved knitting and whenever I read a book with knitting in it, I always want to start knitting again
but the main reason?¬†I can’t sit on my couch with my sewing machine in my lap (and sometimes I just want to work on something crafty while lounging on the couch watching TV)

So, after browsing patterns on Ravelry for about a week, (and adding and removing projects to/from my queue), I finally chose a mitten pattern, which I started and finished the cuff on one so far. I’ve never made mittens before and figured I’d start now in case I run into problems – at least they’ll be finished by the time I need them!

Then last night, fianc√©e asked if I knew of any patterns for golf club covers. I told him to go to allfreeknitting.com and search for one. He found a pattern on The Purl Bee. So I made the 5 Wood Cover for him. I did it really quickly – started it last night (did about 4 inches of it) and then finished it just a little while ago. Probably one of the quickest projects I’ve done ¬†(but still probably around 5-6 hours in total) – but now my hands are tired!

I’m pretty pleased with the way it turned out (and so is fianc√©e) ūüôā

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that’s a loop on top, btw – not sure why they need one…
50 States Challenge · Book Review · Knitting

REVIEW: Spells & Stitches by Barbara Bretton

Spells & Stitches
Author: Barbara Bretton
Paperback

Goodreads Synopsis:¬†In the latest novel from the¬†USA Today¬†bestselling author, raising a baby is hard, but raising one with magical powers is even harder…¬†
Sugar Maple, Vermont, knitting store owner Chloe Hobbs couldn’t be happier about her pregnancy. But with the arrival of the town’s newest resident, things are about to get a lot more magical.
Baby Laria is six pounds, eleven ounces of perfect, and Chloe and Luke are over the moon. But when they learn that Laria takes after her mom in the sorcery department, it becomes clear that their baby might have more power than even a pro like Chloe can handle…

This is the 4th installment of the Sugar Maple series. ¬†These books are a fun, quick read. ¬†My mom was the one who found them and always passes them along to me once she’s finished. ¬†These are great books to read if you’re in the middle of a long one and need a break. ¬†I read this over a 2-day period, but it was probably about 6-7 hours of reading total.

The characters are great.   I really enjoy the whole knitting part of it; mainly because I knit.  One thing I enjoy about these books is the patterns listed at the back of the book.  (Similar to other books involving knitting or cooking, some type of recipe is always included, right?)

Anyway, I don’t have much of a review, though I will say I didn’t really care for the baby’s name (pronounced so it rhymes with Mariah). ¬†Other than that, like I said: it’s a fun, quick read.

I’m able to use this book toward my 50 States challenge. ūüôā

Knitting

Princess MaKayla

I’ve been working on knitting a blanket for my niece for about a year and a half. ¬†It isn’t a difficult pattern (literally just knitting every row, known as garter stitch). It’s just that I stopped working on it for a very long time. ¬†Then, as I learned more difficult patterns and new techniques I didn’t want to do just the garter stitch. ¬†So again, I stopped working on it.

MaKayla received First Communion yesterday. ¬†She’s growing up so fast and I can’t believe it. ¬†I wanted to have the blanket finished to give it to her as a gift, but I didn’t finish it time. So I finished it last night (actually, just after midnight, so technically very early this morning).

All in all, it was probably about 12-15 hours of work.

  

  

I’ve realized that posting on two separate blogs, though for completely different reasons (books / knitting), is just too much work. ¬†So from now on I’ll continue just posting on here. ¬†However, if you’re interested in seeing any of my old posts on my knitting blog, check them out: nellsknitting.