crocheted shawl

My grandma taught me how to crochet when I as about 8 years old, which means I have about 30 years of experience...but saying it that way makes me feel old.   It's been something I've loved for many years, but would phase in and out of projects, mostly making afghans, scarves, and the occasional toboggan.  For some reason, I've always been scared of intricate work.

I decided earlier this year that the time to be "afraid" of stuff like this was over.  O-V-E-R, over.

So, I present to you my first, non-afgan, non-granny-square, non-scarf-or-hat crocheted project.

Finished last night!

The pattern is Gathering Leaves by Lily Go and the yarn is Malabrigo sock. {You can find more details on my ravelry project page.}

I love shawls and have gazed on them wistfully for years.  The thought of warm, soft yarn wrapped around my shoulders is so cozy.  I'm so cold-natured that I keep blankets in my office.  Yes, blankets.  If anyone is going to be cold at a function, it's me.  I hate cold, but hardly get the chance to escape it.  Now you know why I love summer so much.  :)

Although the pattern looks very complex, it's super simple.  Repeating patterns of double crochets and chain stitches.  More than once I beat myself up for not trying it sooner.  Exactly what was I afraid of?  Who knows.  Oh, and it only took about two weeks  - and you know about my overbooked, overstressed schedule already.  Not bad.

I've received comments galore, both online and in real life, and it's just made my day.  I'm so glad I finally jumped in - 30 years later. 

I see many more of these in my future.  :)


my break - an instagram review

Spring break has come and gone.  Classes start up tomorrow, but it's been a wonderful week.

I started off by spending a couple of days at my best friend's lake house.  She joined me on Monday evening, but otherwise it was just me.  No kids, no hubby, no to-do list. This is the sunset that greeted me last Sunday night.

My only plan for the two days - relax.  I got out of bed at 9:30 both mornings.  I had my coffee with the windows open (it was a touch cold to be outside), listening to the birds, and I spent the majority of the day talking socks with my twitter friends Sharon, Heide, and Selina.  I managed to cast on - a few different times - and got a little progress done on Hermione's Socks, per Sharon's suggestion.  Let's just say learning to use double-pointed needles has been... um... interesting.

Slowly but surely!  :) @aprairiesunrise @ws-on-etsy @heidepaneer @littlecreatable
First socks - The yarn is Malabrigo Sock in 853 Abril.

I'm still not convinced that these will fit me, but everyone keeps telling me to trust my gauge swatch (which I did twice!), so I'm continuing on...

On Wednesday, it was back to work, but things were especially slow this week.  Not really planned, but oh, so appreciated.  My boys went to work with me on Friday and we took a long lunch, visiting a local shop for some gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches before we headed over to Karen Gray's.  Yes, I took my boys fabric shopping.  :)  Karen knows the deal, though, and has a bucket of toys, including lots of cars, ready and waiting for little tykes.

While I was there, I confirmed a much talked about rumor regarding a certain designer named Tula Pink (you may have heard of her...) coming to visit soon.  So, naturally I had to break into my much-loved and much-petted Prince Charming stack that night. 

time to cut into this bad boy @tulapink

Saturday was scheduled to be a crazy, nutso day with two ball practices, a church meeting, a guild open sew, and a birthday party - all before 5 pm.  Hubby saved the day, though and took all of them but the sewing time, so I got to sew at our LQS for about five straight hours!!

Stitching the day away!
That's my spot on the right... with the chips.  LOL!  :)

I almost...almost... finished my Pave the Way top.  Sarah had some extra batting that we tossed up as a temporary design wall and they helped me with the layout.  Then I rolled it up and took 'er home.  Hoping to finish tonight.  :)

getting there!

After church on Sunday, I hit the local Quilt Show that the Forsyth Piecers and Quilters Guild hosted over the weekend.  It was so fun to not only see familiar faces, but also familiar quilts!  So many wonderful quilts!  We were asked to vote in a viewer's choice, but I couldn't chose just one...and time ran out before I could cast a vote.  And of course, I couldn't leave without a little shopping...a fat eighth of Flea Market Fancy and some local alpaca yarn that will soon be socks for the Hubs.  :)

Quilt show loot...  :)

All in all, I'm leaving spring break rested, restored, and rejuvenated.   I hate that it's over, but I truly feel like I used my time to get done exactly what I needed... Rest. 

I'm ready to jump back into my classes and finish this semester now, whereas before break, all I wanted to do was crawl under the covers and hide.  And sleep. 

Amazing what a little break can do.


spring break!

Two midterms down and a week off.  I swear I felt the stress physically falling off my shoulders yesterday as my classmates gathered for drinks after stats class.  I've been counting the days for this one as classes seem to be at a much faster pace with a heavier workload this semester.  I feel like I've always got my nose in a book, journal article, or other miscellaneous work.

Happy Saturday, y'all.  :/

So tired of constantly having a to-do list.  But for the next 10 days, I don't.  Not a school-related one, at least.

Given the increase in class intensity, and the corresponding decrease in time with my family, my hobby projects have shifted more towards yarn work because it's something I can do while watching TV, etc., with the boys instead of being holed up in a sewing room....despite the fact that I'd *rather* be holed up in my sewing room.

I've had several finishes this month, though none of them are sewing or quilting projects.  I started and completed two cowls, two sets of fingerless gloves, a scarf and a doggie sweater.  It feels so productive to say that!  The scarf and one of the gloves sets were knit...a new hobby that I'm quickly falling in love with.  Here are a couple of photos of the crocheted projects. 

Scarf finished!  :)

Finished my cowl last night!

The cowl at the bottom is my favorite and I get tons of compliments each time I wear it.  It's a simple half-double crochet stitch done in the round.  I used two strands of Malabrigo worsted as the pattern called for a chunky yarn.  Two skeins and two evenings later, I was done (and that included pulling it out once halfway through because I didn't make it long enough!)  So.  Very.  Easy.   In fact, the pattern is called "Effortless Cowl" and the name certainly fits.

With my break finally here, and having Monday and Tuesday off from work, I have all sorts of pie-in-the-sky ideas about the many things I'd like to work on.  Truthfully, though, I'm seriously considering spending all day Monday in bed.  Yes, all day.  An alternative may be to spend the day at my best friend's lake house...but even then I may not get out of bed, unless it's to go sit on the boat dock for a while.  Doing nothing sounds so heavenly.

Other than that, though, I hope to cut several more Oh My Stars sets so I can organize them for some quick sewing once classes start up again.  I'm also starting to receive some TwitterB blocks (last month was my month) and I want to play with them a bit.  So fun to receive happy little packages.  I need to get some things painted for my sewing room, too.

Regardless of what projects I end up working on, I'm going to relish this time off, catch up with my online (and real life!) friends, and just sit and enjoy life a bit.  Spring break looks a lot different at 39 than it did at 21.

Enjoy your weekend!!