Thursday, April 11, 2013

Crochet Projects: Angora Cowl

Hello again!  Sorry I dropped the ball on regular posts - we've been busy having visitors, traveling, and trying to fit in as much as we can now that we're getting toward the end of our time in France.

Spring has finally come to stay, with sunny days in the mid-60s, so I've already put this new accessory away for the season.  It's an infinity scarf made of an angora-blend yarn.  I came across the yarn at the junk market around Christmas time.  It's an old yarn from the French brand Le Bouton d'Or.  The angora gives it a bit of a halo, and in case the photos didn't come out so well, it's a rusty red-orange color.

I had just under 3 skeins, and I found the pattern here.  I did 5 repeats of the pattern.  Enjoy the photos below, and let me know if you have any questions!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Spinning and Knitting Project: First Handspun Cowl

I'm excited to share with you my first completely finished project made with my own handspun yarn - a warm wool cowl.  This project was a long time in the making, which makes the end result that much more satisfying.  Here's the story of how this cowl came to be!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Knitting Projects: Cabled Headband

 With the leftover yarn from the cabled hat I made, I tried out a more complex cable pattern and made this warm headband.  I've enjoyed learning how to make cables - it makes the project more interesting to work on, but it's just knit stitches so it doesn't slow me down too much (as lots of ssk or psso might).  I used this pattern but I wasn't happy with how the edges were curling up, so I used this pattern's edging.  I've gotten so attached to my cabled hat that I'm not sure this headband will get much wear - perhaps I'll give it to a friend?

More photos below.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Knitting Projects: Another Cabled Hat

When I had finished the cabled hat for my sister, I made the mistake (or did I?) of wearing it out a couple times.  It was just so warm, and my husband was just so complimentary of it, that I decided to make one for myself, too.  I didn't finish it until just AFTER my family went back home, so my sis and I never had matching hats during the trip.  It's probably better that way.  Read on for more details and photos.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Knitting Projects: Cabled Hat

This is a much more recent project, a hat made for my sister for Christmas.  We were fortunate to have my family come visit us in France for Christmas - making the holidays away from home not just bearable, but an adventure!  We spent a week in our city of Montpellier, France, then we all traveled together in southern Germany for the second week.  As this Christmas was exceptional (and suitcase space was limited), we decided to keep gift-giving more simple.  Each person bought stocking stuffers for another person in the family, souvenirs and such that we found during our travels.  Great idea!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Spinning Projects: Pink Merino

Here's a spinning project that I tried hard to finish before we left in September.  I had to pass it on to my mom to finish.  Good thing she's taken up spinning too!  It's been really fun to learn this new craft together.  My sister, on the other hand, is not the crafty type.  She's been dragged through many a hobby store, sometimes patiently and sometimes not.  At least she's figured out how to benefit from it - casually mention you'd like a hat made out of such-and-such yarn, a quilt made out of such-and-such fabric, etc.  My mom and I are always looking for excuses to take on new projects!

Anyway, she was a good sport when we dragged her along to that fiber farm back in the spring.  She picked out a bright pink 8oz merino roving and asked for someone to make her some slippers.  The plan was for me to spin it and my mom to knit the slippers.  I got so far as to spin one spool-full, experiment using a ball-winder to make a center-pull ball, spin a 2-ply yarn using the ball (one strand from the middle, one strand from the outside), and spin another spool-full of singles.  Here are a few more photos of that process.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Craft Projects: Paper Snowflakes

Here's a simple little project I did as a free way to decorate for Christmas.  True, it's a little late to be sharing Christmas ideas, but consider it a celebration of seeing a few rare snowflakes in Montpellier today! There's nothing revolutionary about paper snowflakes, but I think these turned out pretty well!  A couple years ago, a friend taught me to fold the paper into sixths, not fourths, which makes all the difference.  There's plenty of good tutorials out there that a simple Google search should find you, but if you do have questions about how I made these, feel free to comment!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Crochet Projects: Baby Blanket

Here's a pretty simple crochet baby blanket that I made for our then-soon-to-be-born nephew in September.  This was the first crochet project I've done in quite a while.  Since starting to spin, I've been inspired to try knitting again.  Although I love the process of crocheting, and I'm much better at fixing my mistakes, I do prefer the look of knitted things and how home-spun yarn seems to go further in a knitted project.  Nevertheless, for a large project like a blanket, crocheting is such a better, faster choice for me.  It was nice to learn a new stitch (the harlequin stitch) too!

I knew our nephew's bedroom would be nautical themed, so I chose a striped-ish pattern in nautical blue and white, with the gray to soften it a little.  The blue stripe is off-set from the middle just a bit, which makes it a bit more interesting and modern.  The pattern can be found here (you have to be a member of Bernat to see it).
It looks like he's enjoying it!  (Photo cred goes to my brother-in-law)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Knitting Projects: Hat and Legwarmers

Hello from France!  As predicted, a lot of time has passed since my last post.  I've been crafting quite a bit, but have not been focused enough to photograph and document everything.  Now I'm finally getting organized enough to share some things, with hopefully a few regular posts to come.

First of all, here's a project I finished just before coming to France.  With our nephew due to be born a few weeks after we left, I wanted to give him something homemade beforehand.  My next post will be about the blanket I made him.  Not wanting his 2-year-old sister to feel left out, I made her something too - a hat and matching legwarmers.  She was in rare form the night of our good-bye party, and I've never seen her so excited for something I made her.  They fit her really well, and hopefully she's enjoying them in our absence.

The hat and legwarmers are made out of a beautiful single-ply wool yarn, perhaps Noro (the yarn was given to me without the label).  I haven't worked much with variegated yarn, and the colors really made the monotonous legwarmers a lot more fun to make.  I like how they're just a little bit different.

Here are the patterns for both:
Hat pattern
Legwarmer pattern

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Around Home: Moved to France!

This will be a quick post, mostly to tell everyone that the posts will probably slow down a little bit this school year.  This is because my husband and I are staying in France from now (we've been here one week already) until the end of next May!  I'll try to stop by when I can with crafty news or photos from France.  For now, here's a couple photos from our first week here.

The very friendly local cat
The cathedral St. Pierre in Montpellier
The Esplanade

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Spinning Projects: Spinning Wheel

This wheel is a saxony style.
I realized after my last post that I've neglected to properly introduce my newest crafting tool - a spinning wheel!  It has already appeared in several photos, posts, and even in the new header design, but I have yet to tell the story of how I came to have it.  Read on for the story...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Around Home: My Parents' Garden

Here's an update on my parents' garden!  It seems that every year at this point in the summer, the garden has started to look awful but continues to produce beautiful fruits and vegetables.  Have you experienced this too?  The squash leaves have all turned yellow and withered, the tomato plants look wilty and unruly, and the watermelon looks like it died (actually, it may have.  My mom stopped watering a few days ago because a rabbit had three babies in our melon patch!).  Not to mention that squash bugs and Mexican bean beetles have unfortunately moved in on the zucchini and green beans.  Nevertheless, the harvest I made on Thursday shows that things are still going strong.  I got a large bag of tomatoes, three cucumbers, four eggplants, some unchewed green beans, two green peppers, a handful of jalapeno peppers, a butternut squash, and a watermelon!