Thursday, August 28, 2014

WIP: gettin' on my Pumpkin Ale (again)

Oh, no! It's that time of year again! School starts, the weather shifts (more or less) and this blog starts droning on and on about the perks and tastes of fall! Ah!

Whether you are a veteran of this blog, or a newcomer, one thing's for certain: you'll notice that nothing gets my hiney more in gear for knitting than the fall. I've had Ysolda's "Pumpkin Ale" sweater on hold since the end of the new year until I realized that YIKES, it's nearly fall and this sweater is still in it's infancy.

Let's get real, though. Really real.
Do you know that feeling? The one where you had a pattern really organized, making hand-written charts next to the instructions and slashes to clearly tell you where you were in the pattern...just in case you took an absence? Then, after that "supposed" absence you realized that, oh, here's the cool project I started a year ago and then BOOM...where the heck is that pattern?!?

Yeah, came across that today. What a totally deflating feeling. Grr!
I searched high and low for this coveted marked-up pattern to no luck.
So the problem wasn't the pattern itself. I could go onto my Ravelry account and print off a new one (this is why you should buy your non-book patterns via Ravlery). I needed that special pattern that I marked on. Do you think that this sleep-deprived mom of two can remember where she was (especially when the designer dictates to do "X-amount of of rows in pattern" after every instruction), let alone know what size she started the pattern on?

Well, one thing's for certain. I wasn't about to frog the thing. I'm far too invested in this miniscule 12 or something-inch project. No, I was just going to have to Nacy Drew the mystery until solved.

It took a while to figure out the best way to find my exact row. I tried to go by decreases, but that wasn't a great idea. It was dang-hard to figure out where those were. They blended in too well. Pesky things, they. That, or I'm blind.

No, it finally dawned on me that I could use the mini-cables to light my way. I could clearly see how many they were, then see how I was in the middle of the next mini-cable, and figure out from the beginning of the instructions that there were 6 rows before the first mini-cable. That came out to 64 rows completed. Mystery solved.
I think. Maybe I should check my math.

I'm still wishy washy on the size, but I figure that I can alter it if need-be since I'm only on the back. That, and I lost some weight since last year. :)
But where the heck is that frickin' pattern???

Friday, August 01, 2014

WIP: Afghan Border Control

 Hey All,
I'm still here. Sorry for the absence. It's been a crazy-busy summer, filled with reunions, illnesses and back-breaking landscaping in the front and back. However, I am picking up this afghan at the end of our long days and working on the border, bit by bit.
 It's a mesh-like lace pattern that suits the afghan well as the lacy waves spills out beyond the afghan body ripples.
Our property underwent a major change. We had a few dead trees-one being a very large Ash-and some dead shrubbery, and we basically removed most of the front's landscaping and redid it with new plants and some paver stones. I'm still trudging through the 5 yards of mulch that I bought for the front and back. This project took us 5 times as long because we had no idea that there was a foot of rocks embedded in clay soil everywhere that we wanted to plant or dig for the pavers. What a nightmare!!! However, even though the plants are not mature yet (it will grow tall and bushy), you can see that potential for next year's growth below. The Purple Fountain Grass (there's 5 of them) and Russian Sage should get pretty large in the future:
I've also started landscaping in the shady area in the backyard that couldn't grow grass. I can finally see the light to the end of this landscaping tunnel.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Jewelry: Ecclectic Bird Necklace

Hey guys, this is my favorite jewelry-making of the three posts today.
The matching bracelet hits the notes of the necklace, but on a toned down scale. 
It looks super cute with a dark denim dress (note: dress fetish of mine lately) .
The bird was really the inspiration for the whole thing. I wanted red to be dominant, like the red flowers on the branches, but accented pops of blue/teal. I mixed layered beaded (stretchy) wire with a bronze chain link. It was my goal to get the bird to be offset by roses in a asymmetrical way.

I have already gotten so many compliments from family and friends on this on how unique and sweetly eclectic this looks. I'm already getting requests to make them one. Eek!

Jewelry: Fourth of July Dangling Earings

2 Silver Earring hooks
2 silver eye pins
4 silver Jump Rings
6 Glass beads (2 each in red, white and blue)
6 lengths of 8 small linked chains (about 1.5 inches long)

Thread red, white, and blue beds onto eye pin and close with a wrapped loop. Make sure the red bead is next to the preexisting loop on pin. Using the wrapped loop end (which should be the blue bead side), attach a jump ring containing three linked chains. Finally, attach the earring hook to the top of the eye pin with the red bead side. Make second earring.

Enjoy. They remind me the shooting stars, American style. 

Twin love at the beach.

Jewelry: Purple Prayer Pendant Necklace

I have a friend who is going through a rough time, emotionally and physically. To cheer her up, and to help her know that she is in my thoughts and prayers, I experimented with jewelry making as a symbolic gesture of these following things being with her:

Purple: for peace and healing
Orange: for energy and optimism

And a little angle watching her back:
It's a fairly simple necklace. I mainly did a spiral coil design to hold the pendant and little jump rings with glass beads, besides the cute little angel charm hanging out by the toggle clasp. 
I'm still getting the ropes of things, but I have a few more Jewelry pieces to show you in the following posts that get even cuter. Making jewelry is a fun little outlet for quick projects to show off, especially during the hot summer months, with cute tanks and dresses. I'm sort of developed a dress fetish lately. :)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

One Woman Covers: Bui Doi

I've been too busy to post about this new cover this week, but here it is now. I've got some jewelry to show you this week once things calm down. Let me know what you think.

Monday, June 02, 2014

One Woman Covers: Adonai

I'm very excited to be covering this piece. I've been wanting to do it for many years, and now I have.

Let me know what you think. My next two covers will be "Movie in My Mind" and "Bui Doi" from Miss Saigon. :)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

FO: Forget Me Not

It seems as if a century has passed since I started this shawl.  My grandfather just had stroke and was admitted into the hospital for heart surgery. I remember bringing my little knitting handbook with me, size US 6 circular needles, and some lightweight fingering yarn in the shade of deep red to pass the time in the waiting room while my entire family waited impatiently for any news during the long few hours. I knew I had started a shawl, but I didn't know what it would mean in the end and how long it would take for it to finally be completed. That was 2008.
Now, don't get me wrong. This shawl is simple in design, and beautiful for that reason. It did not take all those years to complete because of lacework, or construction. It was stalled for matters of the heart. I couldn't let go. It was a safety net, not finishing it.

It was worked on at the hospital, then put down. Worked on for "Ravelympics." Years later, it was worked on during vacation, while sitting with my (then) fiance, the same time my grandpa grew unable to care for himself and was moved from my grandma's home into a nursing home. It hibernated some more, and was worked on after my grandpa passed. It finally was taken out of hibernation recently when I decided that it was time to stop delaying the inevitable.
I learned that finishing the shawl was a good thing. It would not stop the flow of memories just because the needles stopped clicking, or if the familiar 20-row pattern left my mind completely. It was time to give it life by bordering it with the flowing texture of waves. It was time to give it peace by binding off the very last row. It would take on new meaning by wrapping it around my shoulders. Nothing forgotten. Just given new life.
By the way, I chopped off 13.5 inches for Locks of Love a couple of weeks ago. It was a little of a shock to everyone.
 It is a perfect symbol of love and comfort. 
To me, it represents a memory shawl.
Pattern: "Forget Me Not" by KUAS
Needles: Size US6 circular needles
Yarn: 7 balls of Lavash Alpaca Yarn, fingering weight (about 1400 yds)
Start: Summer of 2008   Completed: April 2014

Project Blog History:

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Celebrations of sorts (free pattern copy--today only)

Fat Tuesday, a free pattern giveaway, a St. Patrick's Day project...Puff, puff, puff, and an announcement at the end.

You might have heard this already from yesterday evening's post, but I am gifting all of my readers a free copy of my Mardi Gras-inspired socks called "Carnival Socks" (Fat Tuesday was known as "the Carnival" in the Medieval age--you can read up about it on the pattern page) TODAY ONLY, so hurry onto Ravelry and redeem the pattern HERE. Type in the coupon code: MardiGras2014. You can even gift this to your sock knitting friends. Enjoy!

For those who observe this day, it is a day filled with little celebration things like food, drink, beads or just wacky clothing because the day after Fat Tuesday marks a solemn or reflective period of time for Christians.

I also want to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with you as well, for reasons that will be discussed at the end of the post.

 I filled the weaving loom with a wee bit of fun.
I finally get to try out my mammoth shuttle sticks that I ordered a while back. It's not that much larger than my 15'' Cricket loom. I think it was 20'' long?
I never tire of these types of photos. I love the intricate details that variegated yarn gives off while woven with another color. I used Hobby Lobby's "I love This Cotton" in Irish colors.

Warps (59): 13 white, 5 Irish, 9 white, 5 Irish, 9 white, 5 Irish, 13 white.

Originally, I meant for it to be a decorative hanging towel.
But it looks so cute as a placemat. I plan on weaving another one because I still have another skein left.

So, on for the announcement. I know I have been really good about posting more regularily now, and it's great for me to be back in the blogging world (I enjoy sharing my adventures with you), but the reason why I am posting about St. Patrick's Day this early is because of what I have decided as my Lenten meditation or goal, if you will: to go the whole Lenten season away from social media. I really feel like (at least Facebook) social media has been consuming my time, and has distracted me from various things in life. Unfortunately, blogging is a form of social media, so I can't give up one without the other. Consider this a fasting of technology to be refreshed. It's a small glimpse of how it used to be in the early 90's. The most internet I will be getting now until Easter is checking my email once in a while (I can't ignore it as a teacher) and paying my bills (that would have been a good excuse for an extension of time, right?). Feel free to email me if something is dire, but don't message me through Ravelry, since I won't be on.

In the meantime, I will be finishing up my shawl, I have yarn on the way for Ysolda's Pumpkin Ale Sweater that I can't wait to get my hands on, I will be spinning a little, and doing bits of things in the background. I plan on refocusing my energies on my family and away from my phone and laptop which is so easy to be on all the time as a stay-at-home mother.

Please feel free to browse older posts, podcasts, tutorials or leave me *happy thoughts* while I'm gone. When I return, it better be Spring! I promise I will be back in April. There will be so much to share. :)

Enjoy the free pattern.

Anna Maliszewski

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