This year I had to say goodbye to my long time kitty friend, Sophie. She was a big part of my life and when she was gone, I felt the loss deeply.
Since then, I’ve started volunteering at a local animal shelter, with the cats. I look forward to my time there caring for the kitties; playing with them, cuddling with them, loving them.
But I still needed a kitty of my own, one I could love full-time.
So here’s the good news: I adopted a kitty!
Cleo (short for Cleopatra, she looks like a little sphinx!) came home with us this weekend and we’ve been loving her ever since.
She’s such a cuddly little kitty and she loves to play too!
So, with a new kitty comes new projects! I’m currently working on Hanne Katajamäki’s “Nest”, a crocheted kitty bed/cave! I almost have the bottom section done.
I’m also going to be starting the project to re-cover the kitty window seat I have. It needs new batting and a sewn, washable cover, but I also want to add a crocheted top cover that can be washed as well. Just something squishy and cozy for her to lay on while she does some bird watching!
Happy crocheting (and kitty-loving!)
Last week I took a trip to Connecticut.
My primary reason for venturing three hours from home in the middle of the week was to meet Neil Gaiman. He was doing a book signing at RJ Julia Booksellers, the coolest independent bookstore I’ve ever seen. (I seriously considered moving to Connecticut just to be closer to this bookstore.)
For those of you who don’t know who Neil Gaiman is, here’s a quick refresher:
he’s an author
of such noted books as Coraline, American Gods, The Sandman Series, a few episodes of Doctor Who and more
he has crazy hair
So going to Connecticut was completely justified, because I had something awesome to do while I was up there.
And boy, was it awesome.
After buying my books (the paperback copy of The Ocean at the End of the Lane was my ticket into the signing line and I also purchased Stardust and Make Good Art) and waiting in line, I got to the front and there he was!
He said Hi and signed two of my books and then I handed over the Coraline I had crocheted him.
He looked at it and smiled…he loved it! He told me that it was so cool and that he would put it in his house!
Then, he stood up and hugged me, kissing my cheek.
Needless to say, I was very happy. Like, really friggin happy.
He signed a thank you in the third book, something I will cherish forever, along with the amazing experience of meeting the man who wrote so many of my favorite books and graphic novels.
While in Connecticut I also got to do a few other really cool tourist-y things.
We visited the Pez Visitor Center, a kind of Pez museum and factory all in one! It was fun to read about the history of Pez and they had some really old and rare Pez dispensers there too.
We also visited The Mark Twain House and Museum. We took a tour of Samuel Clemens’ house, which was really interesting. I learned so many fascinating little tidbits about him and his family and his home is really beautiful.
Plus, there’s a Lego Mark Twain in the entrance to the Museum!
It’s been a while since I took a road trip, so I took a cue from How I Met Your Mother for the music selection:
Meeting Neil was a page in my Life Book, one I’m so happy I was able to fill.
In my quest to make the most of this life, I’ve really identified with this quote from Sandman, “You get what anyone gets, you get a lifetime.”
And I plan to make this lifetime nothing short of awesome.
Okay, so I know I’ve been totally MIA recently…work (my day job) has gotten really busy/crazy, so I haven’t had as much time to devote to the fun stuff!
I know, boo right?
But I have time today, so I wanted to give you all an update on my various projects and patterns that I have in the works and releasing soon!
First up is my Mixed Stitch Stripey Blanket.
This blanket has received so much attention on Instagram so I want to thank everyone for their kind words and comments! I love finding a community where I never thought I would.
I also have info for you guys about my 2014 Summer Collection!
As soon as I decided that I wanted to do a summer collection, I was excited by all the possibilities. But I didn’t want to just include the cliche, quintessential, summer stuff…I wanted to do different things too! So, without further ado, here is the list of the patterns included in my Summer Collection:
Italian Ice Softie
Ducky Inner Tube Coaster
The Summer Sun Softie was released earlier this month and has already reached almost 1000 downloads! Yay!
I released the Summer Sun Softie for free, but I will be offering the other patterns at $0.99 (and $2 for the bunting). You can also purchase the entire collection for $5 and save some money if you think you’ll want them all!
The Beach Ball Softie was released today and the other patterns will be released every Saturday in June, with the 28th including both the Popsicle Softie and the Summer Bunting!
All of the patterns in my collection were crocheted using Lily Sugar and Cream Yarns. I did this for several reasons:
I love Lily Sugar and Cream Yarns
they come in PLENTY of bright, fun, colors making them perfect for summer!
they’re cheap and they come in small skeins, meaning you’re not buying a TON of yarn for a teeny project
I’m really excited about this collection, it’s the first time I’ve done a “collection” like this and I’m really excited to see if everyone likes it!
Next are some photos of random little projects I’ve been working on:
My #52weeksofgranny project is coming along nicely:
I’ve even added a few squares since this picture.
If you want to join in on the fun, check out the Ravelry Group!
I’ve also been working on these cool triangle pillow covers:
I also found this wonderful tutorial and CAL by Poppy and Bliss, over at My Poppet. It’s called the Carnivale Cushion and it is just fabulous!
Here’s my start to the CAL:
And the last update I have for you…
On Tuesday of next week, I will be meeting one of my all time favorite authors, Neil Gaiman. He is the creator of such wonderful books and graphic novels, such as American Gods, Coraline and The Sandman series.
I had the idea (partially inspired by Allison Hoffman, whose wonderful book, AmiguruME: Make Cute Crochet People, I own and just LOVE) to crochet Neil Gaiman a Coraline doll.
With the help of Allison’s book, this task was made easy! I made a few modifications to her patterns and I also created the pattern for her head (because her head is such an odd shape and there was really nothing fitting in the book).
Here is a (kinda crappy, sorry) picture of the progress from a few days ago:
I’m hoping that he likes it…fingers crossed!
Side Note: You can also always view my projects by visiting my Ravelry notebook, here.
On a personal note, I’ve been volunteering at my local animal shelter with the cats and I’m loving it! I have such a good time hanging out with the kitties, they’re so much fun!
And that’s it!
Whew, that was a lot
So yesterday was week 18/52 for the #52weeksofgranny project. I know I didn’t post last week’s square (and the week before that because of Easter) so I’m going to post those along with this week’s.
I also wanted to just share a general update of some other projects I’ve been working on as well. If you follow me on Instagram, (@wordsinajar) you’ve seen some of these images already!
Due to the overwhelming success of Disney’s Frozen and my patterns from the movie (I also have a pattern for Anna’s Snow Hat) I have decided to continue the trend!
I’ve been working on a pattern for the Trolls! If you’ve seen the movie, you know all about the trolls and their unique ability (*wink wink* stay tuned about that one!) and their singing talents. I’m having a lot of fun working on this one, even though it’s taking me longer than I want it to…stupid day job!
My version of Hannah from Not Your Average Crochet’s Mixed Stitch Stripey Blanket has been getting a lot of attention on IG! Way more than I ever expected for this humble little project. I fell in love with this pattern from Hannah’s blog and I wanted to make one, but I decided to put my own twist on it.
I’m doing the blanket in a kind of ombre variation, working my way through blocks and shades of color. I’m on purples right now and I’m almost finished and ready to move on to the next section!
And here are my last 3 #52weeksofgranny squares; weeks 16, 17 & 18!
I’ve also been working on a project utilizing some new skills. I’ve been crocheting with lace weight yarn and beads! Both are firsts for me and I’m really enjoying working with some different materials!
Here’s the beginnings of the shawl I’m making:
I think that’s it….at least until I get “hooked” by another project! (Pun intended! hehe)
Today I have something really special for you guys.
An interview with the YarnBomber himself, aka Stephen from Santa Barbara, CA. Some pictures of his work appear below, but be sure to check out his website for more info.
How long have you been crocheting?
I first picked up knitting needles in the Spring of 2012 as part of my resolution to learn 12 new things (12for2012.com). One of the contributors to the yarnbomb that resulted was Crochet Grenade. The following year she was looking for help with her Rubik’s Cube yarnbomb, but needed them to be crocheted. To repay her kindness I learned how to crochet by watching her video on the internet. That was about 10 months ago and Ive been “hooked” ever since.
What is your favorite stitch (or, your most used stitch)?
Truth is, Im not a very accomplished crocheter. My projects require massive amounts of material, but there is something beautiful about a handmade piece versus machine made. So for me it’s all about speed and efficiency. That means I use simple single and double crochets almost exclusively. Nothing fancy, just lots and lots and lots of stitches.
What is your most used hook size?
Until very recently, the only hook I used was the 5mm one my wife gave me out of her bag. It’s still my favorite.
What feelings do you hope to evoke or inspire with your installations?
It’s pretty simple really. I want to make people say, “what the?” and smile as they turn the corner on a trail and suddenly stumble upon this massive, whimsical, colorful yarn installation in the middle of nowhere. The virtual response I hope to evoke is one of inclusivity and a kind of bonding among people of all different backgrounds. That’s what art is supposed to do, isn’t it? Bring people together?
How awesome does it feel to have so many collaborators involved in your installation, from so many corners of the world?
The connection to people is what I love most about these projects. My favorite part of receiving a package is the little note inside, telling me their story and why they got involved. I save them all. They serve to remind me that I have a responsibility to a lot of people, to take the trust they’ve bestowed upon me and turn their contributions into something we can all be proud of.
When someone does not agree with your work, how do you deal with the discouragement?
I respect their opinion. You cant make everyone happy, but I do my best to make a few people happy for at least 9 days.
Does anyone ever make fun of you for being a male fiber artist?
Has yet to happen. At least not to my face.
Who is your biggest fiber artist inspiration?
There are so many great fiber artists but none have inspired me more than Christo. I was a kid in South Florida when he covered the islands down there. It had a huge impact on me and he continues to do so today.
What advice do you have for beginning or aspiring yarn bombers?
Just get out there and do it. Oh, and go big!
The YarnBomber’s next installation is set for Lizard’s Mouth in Santa Barbara. If you would like to contribute as a collaborator on the project, (I have!) you can send your pieces to him with the info on his Instagram. (Which you should follow, too.)
How’s that for some awesome advice and insight! Thanks a ton Stephen, for taking the time out for this interview. I know I appreciate it and I’m sure my readers do too!
Today starts a new giveaway on the blog…the Craftsy Class Giveaway!
I was looking for a beginner rigid heddle weaving class when I found Craftsy. I took Angela Tong’s Rigid Heddle Weaving. Angela is a great teacher, she explains everything thoroughly and goes through all the steps from beginning to end. With too many other classes or videos I found that they assumed you already knew how to do certain things, leaving beginners completely clueless.
That is why I appreciated Angela’s approach and the content of this class so much- it didn’t assume you already knew things. The class was very easy to follow and I made both projects and had a lot of fun while doing it!
I now feel confident enough to try other projects and to advance my skills, thanks to Craftsy and Angela!
I also took Deborah Jarchow’s Rigid Heddle Weaving: Beyond the Basics. This class was inspiring. As a new weaver, I was really interested in seeing what else you could do with weaving. This class was perfect for me as it really showed the complexity that can be achieved with a rigid heddle loom.
For quilting, I took the FREE Piece, Patch, Quilt: Basic Quiltmaking Skills with Gail Kessler. Again, I was a complete quilting beginner. Also, I’m terrible with a sewing machine. Gail made me feel like I could actually quilt! I started a small project just to get used to the quilting principles and techniques she introduced, but I also plan on making a much larger project for my bed. (My comforter is looking a little tired, so I think I’m going to try making a new quilt on my own! Wish me luck!)
I was also very impressed with the Craftsy learning platform. Each class has it’s own “homeroom” where you can see what video lessons you have already watched and what you have left, as well as other little tidbits of info. The video player itself is very helpful, as it has controls that allow you to repeat sections of the video if you need an overview. You also get to ask questions that the instructors answer and you can share your progress and projects with other class members.
Craftsy classes are extremely affordable too and if you sign up for their email newsletter, they’re always sending out coupons or having sales. As an added bonus, your classes NEVER expire. You have lifetime access to the videos and supplementary materials.
If you enter this giveaway, you’ll win a class of your choice up to a value of $59.99! Whatever your crafting dreams, enter to win a Craftsy class and you can learn a new skill! (You have two weeks to enter. The giveaway ends on 4/14/14.)
Today is the last day of 30 Lists! *sad face*
I really enjoyed working on this project, it allowed me to explore topics I wouldn’t think of on my own and it was great to connect with other Listers!
So, without further ado, here are my last few lists:
No one wants to hear me sing, but if one day I suddenly woke up and could sing like Sara Bareilles, here’s what I’d record:
1) James Taylor’s Gaia
2) Jason Mraz’s A Beautiful Mess
3) Sara Bareilles’ City
4) Passenger’s Circles
5) Jack Johnson’s Sleep Through the Static
1) Dancer Day!
2) Sister Day
1) Artichoke Dip
2) I make a mean Cheesecake!
I’m taking a bath with a good book
The White Butterfly in my town is a pretty awesome gift shop!
Abe Lincoln for sure!
Wow! That’s it! I’m so happy I participated this time!