Wednesday, January 26, 2011

W.I.P Wednesday for January 26

And it's actually on Wednesday! This timely post is brought to you today by Mother Nature's W.I.P.:


Yeah, it's another sloppy one out there. We're having a mix of rain/snow/sleet/who knows. Our weather around here is very influenced by our proximity to the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic. A very small shift in storm track can make all the difference between a couple of inches of rain, an inch of ice, or a foot of snow. The kids are off school again, and since the weathermen have no idea what the rest of the day will bring, I stayed home too. Thus giving me time to do a post!

So having left you last week with my very unsuccessful attempts at the Falling Water scarf, I simply must share with you how very cool knooking can be:


Now THIS is what I'm talking about! I went up to a bulkier yarn and a larger hook, and just look what great knitting you can produce with a crochet hook. I feel MUCH better about having gotten somewhere on this, I just did not want to concede defeat to a stupid ball of yarn and stick of wood. And having gotten this far, I'm now going to frog it! Yes, frog it. I may go back and do it in the Red Heart Fiesta (attempt number 2 in the last post if you're keeping track lol), but not right now. I've got alot of other things I want to work on more than this scarf at the moment, so I'm going to press on with them and come back to this some other time. Typical of me, so impatient when I've got something I want to work on!

I started tinkering around with this last night:


It doesn't look like much yet I know, I trying to improvise something I saw that would be a cute Valentine's Day doodad. Which incidentally is just over 2 weeks away so I'd better get creating.

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you are having a wonderful, crafty week.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Some of my Favorite Craft Websites

Good morning and a very happy Monday to everybody! OK, I'm a bit happier than usual because I am taking the day off. My girls have no school today and the Teenager is under the weather, and I didn't sleep well AND it was only 7 degrees F (F is for f-f-f-frigid!) when I got up this morning. All very good reasons to stay home and get some things done around the house.

We had a pretty busy weekend, and I got thoroughly tired of going out in the cold cold weather. Best of the weekend was going out to see The King's Speech--REALLY great movie! Man of the House and I don't get out very much, so it was very nice to go and see an excellent flick together. If you haven't seen this one, go do it! One of the previews looked interesting too, The Company Men, alot of good actors in it.

We had planned to go out yesterday and bring home a new member of the family. This is Bobby, isn't he a beauty?


A friend of a friend needed to give Bobby up and was having trouble finding someone to take him. On Saturday we cleaned up our guest room to be Bobby's temporary space while our current resident cat got used to the idea of a new kitty in his house. But Saturday night we found out that Bobby's temporary caretaker has decided to keep him. So I have a clean guest room (wow!), Bobby has a good home, and we are now on a serious search to find a new kitty to love. It saddens me to see how many animals are listed online who need homes!

I thought I'd share with you all a few of my favorite crafting websites, the places where I get alot of ideas for projects I'd like to do. Most of them are yarn related, but some showcase all kinds of crafts. (For a list of my favorite individual crochet blogs, see my Stylish Blogger Award post.)

In no particular order:

1. Ravelry--Absolutely my FAVORITE website of all time! If you don't know Rav, it is a community of people who love fiber. It's an amazing place where you can find friends, search patterns, chronicle your projects, get advice. I'd have trouble living without it! You have to sign up to join (it's free tho), and it's SUCH a great community. My username on Ravelry is dnadiva, so look me up sometime!

2. Craft Gossip--My fave "all-around crafting" site. They collect the best ideas in many different crafting areas, and I love ogling all the amazingly creative things people can do.

3. Craftster--Another website with many different crafts. What I particularly like here are their monthly challenges, it's so awesome to see what people create! This month's challenge is Gingerbread Houses, which I just love. And for total inspiration, check out their Craftster Best of 2010 Awards--oh my word, such talented people there are out there!

4. Dollar Store Crafts --Lots of neat ideas of things you can do CHEAP (or "frugal" if you prefer). I'm all about doing things with minimal expense.

5. Thrifty Decor Chick--Not strictly a crafting site, but she has all sorts of ideas on how to add pizazz to your house without spending a lot of money. Warning--if you read this site too much, you will start to believe that you can buy that ugly vase in the thrift store and turn it into some gorgeous piece of art. This has happened to me. Unfortunately, I am still as un-artistic as I have ever been. Anyone want 2 large glass vases covered in jute twine that I bought on clearance at Michael's over a year ago?


6. Not Martha--This would make my list of favorites just based on its name! I am not a Martha Stewart, I will never be a Martha Stewart, and MS would run away SCREAMING if she ever came in my house. But Not Martha is not just a great name, it's a great website of fabulous crafty ideas, links, shopping hints, food ideas. Check it out!

I hereby I apologize if you now spend the rest of the day perusing these websites. I hate being an enabler. No, actually, I don't--I love sharing cool crafting stuff with all of you!

PS: Speaking of cool crafts, please check out this GORGEOUS necklace that Mindy is giving away over at In The Loop! I really want to learn to do these but it would be even better to win one.

Friday, January 21, 2011

One of those weeks

Well, I promised you something new and exciting on my hook for Work in Progress Wednesday! OK, so Wednesday was two days ago, but we'll not quibble over such picky details, right? So, you've waited long enough, and here it is!


(Sound of chirping crickets)

Yeah, it's been one of THOSE crafting weeks. Do you have them? You're all set to start a really cool new project, and no matter what you do your CRAFT turns to CRAPFT. I started a Knook-a-long in the Knooking group on Ravelry to make the Falling Water Scarf. (If you're on Rav you can see the pattern here. Gorgeous, no?) Now at this point you are probably asking yourself "what the heck is knooking?" Knooking is a very very cool technique in which you knit using a crochet hook with an attached cord. Here's one of my knooking hooks and a swatch of knitted cables. Awesome, indeed.

This isn't Tunisian crochet, or slip stitch crochet, both of which can make stitches that look like knitting. This makes actual knitted fabric, and it's fabulous for folks like me who love crochet but DO NOT get along well with the two pointy sticks. I've made a few items before with knooking, including some blanket squares and a hat.




So, last weekend I went yarn shopping and picked out some lovely, soft Caron Spa to start my scarf! And this is as far as I got:


The yarn was very slippery to work with and I decided it just wasn't going to work. So next I chose a great shade of Red Heart Fiesta:


Much easier to work with, but I decided that the yarn was too busy and was overwhelming the stitch pattern, which is primarily why I wanted to do the scarf! Back to the drawing board.

Now at this point, someone on the knooking group mentions that she uses a different way to make her knit and purl stitches in knooking that is much easier for the purls. I'm intrigued so I grab some different yarn and do some swatching:


I like it! Back in business. But I need another yarn so I go to the store (such hardship!) and pick out a lovely merino/silk blend and start again:


Yeah, THAT got real far. The stitches that seemed so easy with a worsted weight and H hook were just NOT working for me with this yarn and a smaller hook. As of now I am weighing my options:

Option 1. Make it with the Fiesta since I like the yarn alot, and so what if the stitch pattern stands out less.

Option 2. Pick yet another yarn and give it a go.

Option 3. Chuck the whole thing and go make myself a nice easy CROCHET project.

I may or may not have something to show you next Wednesday. I've learned my lesson about making promises of coming attractions lol. BAD idea.

Oh, and if you'd like to learn more about knooking, try this blog, it gives a great intro to how to do the stitches.

I'd Rather be Knooking

Have a great weekend--do some good crafting!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday, Monday

So--happy Monday! For those of you in the US, you may be enjoying a relaxing Monday holiday like I am. At least I was having a relaxing morning until my cleaners showed up at 8:15--they usually don't come till at least noon! And let's just say that I didn't have the house all ready to be cleaned yet. Yes I do clean for the cleaners--well I have to straighten everything up anyway, get rid of all the clutter etc. So my nice leisurely relaxing morning got a HUGE shot of adrenaline! (Laundry baskets are excellent when you have to clear horizontal surfaces in a hurry.) But now my house is spic and span and all I have to do is sort out all the crap from the laundry basket lol.

I did get some crafting done over the weekend, plus I went to JoAnn's (twice!) and Hobby Lobby. Good times! I finished the very pink baby blanket:

blanket done

And I started on something new but am having yarn choice issues. My first try was the Caron Spa, but it was too slippery for what I was doing and it was making me nuts. Next I tried Red Heart Fiesta, and it's really pretty but I think the stitch pattern doesn't show up well due to the yarn texture. So now I'm off to my stash to see what else I can try, and if I don't find anything there I guess I'll have to go back to a craft store! That would be a real hardship you know.

I shall report more on the project and yarn choice on WIP Wednesday!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

No snow day here!

The weather gods seem to be taking pity on us this year, once again a major storm has gone by and barely touched us. We got MAYBE a couple of inches Tuesday night, and schools only had a 2-hour delay on Wednesday. Yay! Now if we could just get temperatures up in the 40's where they are supposed to be, I wouldn't feel so darned cold all the time!

And in other news, a big thank you to Shanti at Wires and Yarns who has passed along this award!

It's nice to know that some people are reading my blog, I know I'm not the most profound or talented person out here, but I almost always have something to say lol!

So--as part of the award I'm supposed to tell you 7 things about myself.

1. I married the first real boyfriend I ever had. We met when I was a junior in college and we will celebrate our 27th wedding anniversary in June!

2. I've had bright red hair all my life and HATED it when I was a kid! But I've grown to appreciate my hair and the attention it brings as I've gotten older.

3. I'm an American but lived in Canada (Vancouver) for 3 years back in the late 1980's. States I've lived in are Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, and Maryland.

4. I did 2 master's degrees in 4 years and never wanted to see the inside of a classroom again!

5. Cross stitch used to be my crafting love, but I haven't done any in years. I think I would have to use a magnifier now, I have "old eyes" and have a terrible time seeing things up close, with or without glasses. Crochet is much easier on the eyes!

6. My eyes are 48 years old, along with the rest of my parts. Some days my parts feel alot older than that tho.

7. My secret fantasy is to quit my job and buy an alpaca farm. I'd have a bed and breakfast where I could host fiber weekends, and we could spin yarn from my own alpacas!

Now I'm supposed to pass along the Stylish Blogger award to 15 other bloggers that I like. So here are some of my favorites that I hope you will enjoy too!
Suzie's Stuff
Enthusiastic Crochetoholic
The Sunroom
Hooked on Crochet
The Diary and Blog of a Crazy Crocheting Fool
The Left Side of Crochet
Suz Place
Northern Hi-lights
Itchin' Stitchin'
Butternut Street
I'd Rather Be Knooking
Cozy Spirit
Everyday Ephemera

I didn't get a "W.I.P. Wednesday" post done yesterday, due to not getting the anticipated snow day, but I hope to have something new on the hook to show you next week!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow or No?

So--which will it be? That dreaded "S" word is in the forecast but the weathermen are hedging big-time. Frankly after last winter:



I'd be just fine with NO snow this year! We've had a couple of little dustings and that's been entirely manageable. But I'm NOT in the mood for being snowed in! So if you're having snow this week, please keep it where you are and don't send it my way!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

W.I.P. Wednesday for 1/5/11!

Today I can show off my ALMOST finished baby blanket:


I'm more than halfway done with the last round of the ruffle. Soon it shall graduate from WIP to FO!

And my newest WIP will be in progress for the whole year, the first 1.5 squares for Knit-a-Square:


only 106.5 to go to catch up to 2010!

I had the idea to include other WIPs besides my crafts:

The book I am currently listening to: The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson. If for some reason you've been on Mars and haven't heard of these books, this one is the 2nd of 3 in the series. I really liked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and this one is awesome already!

What I'm making for dinner: Reheating some homemade turkey noodle soup, mmmmm. It is great soup weather these days.

Around the house: Yes, my Christmas decorations ARE all still up! They'll come down this weekend. I did take down the tree on my desk at work today. I just hate putting Christmas away.

Who's sharing my chair: My nice warm kitty!

I hope you've got lots of good things in progress in your life today!

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Other Parts of My Life...

While I would be most happy if my life consisted primarily of fulfilling my crochet goals, alas there are so many other things of life that demand much of my attention. And so I reluctantly put on my big-girl panties and set a few non-crafting goals for 2011 as well.

#1--My physical well-being. Last spring I realized that I had been eating all the wrong stuff and getting next to no exersize, so I started eating better and got back into walking as much as I could. And from May to November I lost almost 20 lbs and really felt alot more energy returning. I've fallen off the wagon a bit the last 6 weeks or so, what with an illness and the weather and the holidays, but I'm going to get back walking (on the treadmill if the weather is lousy) and try to at least maintain where I am now. My dad and grandfather have type 2 diabetes, and I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant, so I don't need to be heading down that road. If I could just exersize walk and crochet at the same time, I would be the happiest person on the planet!

#2--My spiritual life. This goal is a big one for me, but I'm really going to try and stick with it. I've never read the Bible all the way through, so for Christmas I asked for The One Year Bible for Women. I also found daily podcasts of the readings at So since I listen to audiobooks on my commute anyway, and the length of the podcast is just a little longer than my one-way drive, it should work really well to listen to the Bible readings on my way to work! I did it this morning and it was awesome, just as I pulled into the parking lot the podcast was closing with a prayer, it sent me into work on a wonderful note.

#3--Set a smaller goal each month. I read this on another blog and I think it's a great idea for me and my oh-so-short attention span. Things seem to slip by me without getting done if I don't have a concrete plan, but I always manage to do stuff when a deadline is looming. So if I self-impose monthly deadlines, I'll be much more efficient (at least in theory)! My January goal: Put the school district on notice about what we want for Miss G for next year. I haven't talked much about my family yet on this blog, but our 11-year-old daughter has Aspergers Syndrome (high-functioning autism), and she will be going to middle school in the fall. HUGE changes compared to elementary school, and we have some definite ideas about what we want in place for her. And we know that our ideas are not necessarily what the school district will want to do. So this week I will be starting with the special ed coordinator at the middle school and getting this ball rolling! This morning I read on Niki's blog, Butternut Street, about her fight to get her autistic son an appropriate school setting--it's so nice to connect with others who have the same issues.

You all are going to help keep me honest--at the end of January I will report on the school issues!

Have a wonderful day, thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My Last Day of Christmas

These 12 days have really gone fast. I'm not excited about the thought of going back to work and all the rest of our usual routine tomorrow, but I'm thankful for having had this extended time off. The past few days I've been reflecting about 2010 and also thinking about what I want to focus on in 2011.  Crochet has been so good to me this year. I've cultivated wonderful friendships online and in-real-life, and I can't believe how many new people I've met just since started up this blog last month! I'm so excited for what is ahead for this year.

I can only remember having 2 goals with regard to my crochet this year. The first was to try and make 4 blanket squares per month for my favorite charity project Knit-A-Square. Umm, I think I did ok on that one. My grand total for the year (drum roll please): 108 squares, 5 hats, and 2 sweaters. KAS has become my passion in crochet, I try to always be working on something for them. It's the kind of crochet where you can just zone out and relax and let your mind be quiet for awhile--the very thing I need more of in my life. If you're a member of Ravelry you can see my KAS projects here. (And if you're not on Ravelry but you love fiber arts, GO JOIN UP! Rav is awesome.) For 2011 my goal is to at least equal the number of squares I made this year. And I already finished my first one on New Year's Day, so I'm off and running! I also want to spread the word about KAS in the year ahead; the more knitters and crocheters they have, the more orphans will be kept warm!

My other crochet goal was to do some bead crochet, and I didn't get to that one. I know why--it isn't something I can just pick up and work on while I watch TV after the kids go to bed, it requires more concentrated time and set-up etc. But it's still something I want to try, so I'll keep it around as a goal for 2011.

I made a few other things in 2010, including a couple of prayer shawls for church and my nearly complete pink baby blanket (still need to finish that last round of border!), and also a scarf for myself, my very first lacy project.

leaves done

My goal for personal crochet in 2011 is to make myself an actual sweater! I've been looking at patterns for what seems like forever, and I've decided it will be a cardigan, but I'm still dithering on which one. Any suggestions of favorites you have?

I did craft something non-crochet for myself, this bracelet that I made at my wonderful craft retreat in November. The beads are made by cutting magazine photos into thin strips and then rolling them very tightly. It's murder on the fingers but I liked the result, and I plan to do some more. Maybe I'll even team this up with my bead crochet goal!


Well, I think that's enough to keep me out of trouble for awhile. Good luck with your crafting goals for 2011!

Saturday, January 1, 2011


I just had to make a post with today's date! Geek that I am, I love dates that have symmetry or sequential numbers. Today's date is just perfect!

Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!! I hope that you had a lovely time ushering in 2011 in whatever manner you chose, whether it be partying with friends or going to bed well before midnight, knowing that the new year would still be there to be greeted when you got up this morning. The K family spent New Year's like we have for the last 10 years, on a family retreat at a nearby church camp. It's a great time for those of us who aren't into a party scene--activities for everybody, good food, fun, and fellowship. The weather was lovely (FINALLY!) and we had a very nice couple of days.

I can't believe there is only one day left of my Christmas vacation (sad face). Tomorrow will be a day to prepare for the return to reality for all of us. Reality is highly overrated in my opinion.

Before I go, two quick notes about giveaways. First, I won a lovely tote bag in a giveaway from Clara's Crochet Room! She has alot of crochet goodness on her blog, so go check it out. And look here-- Paula is giving something away for the next 11 days leading up to her birthday!

See you tomorrow for my look back at 2010, the Year that Was!