Monday, July 9, 2012

A Visual Update (WIP)

This is not a true blog post. This is just a little visual update for Little Boy Blue's Turning of Two birthday blanket. And so, without further blathering from me....

Hope you enjoyed that and I hope this prompts me to pick it up again and *finish the thing*!!!! :)
Have a Lovely Day!


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Just Wow (Sunburst Granny is Finished!)

What better way to spend a day of 105*F (the third out of four) than cozied up in your purple chair, crocheting the border around a throw blanket? I couldn't think of anything I'd rather be doing in the midst of this thick, oppressive heat than putting the finishing touches on the marvelous Sunburst Granny Blanket.

I traded my usual mug of coffee for a glass of cool white wine (Pinot Grigio, I highly recommend it) and got to work.  I sipped and yarned over and pulled through and frogged and began again two- three times before I felt the border to be to my liking. The voices of NPR murmured in the background and, mixed with the heat, lulled me into a rhythm. Suddenly, I joined and fastened off.

I was done. It was done.

Immediately, I snagged my camera and took a picture of Sunburst just as it lay in a crumpled heap. Fresh from the finishing.

I keep looking and looking at this picture, trying to figure out what's off about it. And now I see it. I didn't rotate. Ha!

A favorite square.

The center-most square. The blanket is 7 rows wide and 9 rows deep.

The perfect size for a toddler bed, or for one person to curl up with a glass of wine and some NPR.

Wow. Just wow.

Sunburst will be packed up and shipped off to the lovely Stephanie early this week as a housewarming/you're-such-a-good-friend/just-because/your-daughter's-turning-2-on-Saturday kind of gift. These reasons for gift giving don't come around every day, ya know. ;)

And as thrilled as I am about sending it off, I do have a sinking, empty feeling... like when you finish a book so incredibly good your heart got wrapped up in it and it can't possibly be over?!!? Sigh. (Ahem, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Pride & Prejudice, The Harry Potter Series, The Lord of the Rings, The Time Traveler's Wife.... just to name a few). Rereads are never quite as epic. What will I do without Sunburst in my life anymore? =\

To answer my own rhetorical question, I guess it's time to focus on Little Boy Blue's 2 Year Old Blanket. Check back for updates! Hopefully it'll be done by the end of the week!

((((Want to make it your own? Follow this link for the *FREE* Sunburst Granny Square Pattern!))))

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pick a Winner! (Work in Progress)

The Sunburst Granny Blanket is nearly d-o-n-e!

I don't have pictures just yet, but they're coming. Promise.
In the mean time, it's time for some visual inspiration for the final touch: the border. And where else does one turn for visual inspiration, in this year two thousand and twelve, than the wonderful world of Pinterest? I should note that a winner has already been picked by the Sunburst Granny's recipient - the lovely Stephanie. Still, it doesn't hurt to show the crochet enthusiasts some crochet eye candy with their original sources. It's for the good of the people, really. 

Image courtesy: Muita Ihania

First up we have some lovely, basic scallopy borders. Fuss free, yet fantastically finished. (I wholeheartedly recommend visiting Muita Ihania to see the full blanket. What a wonderful way to arrange basic granny squares! It's on my to-do list.... one day!)

Image courtesy of: Ellen Bloom

This beauty is very pineapple-y fabulous. It's got more pizzazz and visual interest than the scallops, for sure, but may not be what the Sunburst Granny needs. Sunburst is awfully pizzazzy all on her own.

Image courtesy of Attic24

And of course, where would we be without Lucy? I'm sure a great many people have learned their methods from Lucy's tutorials. And here's one, for the Granny Blanket Edging. It's very similar to the scallops (first picture), but there's an extra round of chains in between to give it a ruffled, lacier look. Mhm, lovely indeed!!

Of course, these are just the first 3 that caught my eye. The possibilities are endless (or at least include 150 more options).

If you know of some nice 'n simple borders (perhaps that you've used for your own blankets?) leave me a link in the comment section! I'm all about hoarding inspiration, specifically on my pinterest page: Crochet ♥ 

Monday, July 2, 2012

My Stash Bustin' Quilt

As a child my mother taught me how to sew. I took to it well enough and I can competently follow a pattern from start to finish (with only a few phone calls to Mom, for verification purposes, you understand). 

But I never *loved* it. I only really loved picking out the fabric and the pattern. Cutting and pinning and sewing and tweaking the sewing machine and hemming and finishing and trying on and alterations were a necessary evil if I wanted that hand-made garment in the very beautiful fabric. It wasn't long before I stopped sewing altogether.

I may have stopped sewing, but I did not stop fabric shopping. Often, when I would go into Joann's for some yarny goodness, I'd pick up a smidge of fabric here and there. Or if Mom came out for a visit, I'd beg her to make me some pillows or curtains or even a crochet hook carrier (which I really need to start using again.... another blog post, perhaps). As a result of these maternal exploitations, my fabric stash grew.

Enter Good Intentions. "I will make this a quilt! A picnic quilt! Super simple, just squares, very random, stash bustin' quilt." My little family picnics here and there throughout the year, whenever the day begs for it. But, oh, how much I hate sewing. And my mother isn't a quilter. And my mother in law (who *is* a quilter-- you should see what she can do!) is a few states over and has already made us 3 quilts-- no machine involved.

Enter Sharon.

Sharon is The Awesome. If you say, "Hey, Sharon, can you make _____ for me?" she can and she will - quickly, and precisely, and with a smile on her face (I don't think I've ever smiled at a finished sewing project. Scowled, yes, but smiled... not that I recall.) 

This is how my story played out....
Me: "Hey, Sharon, can you make me a quilt? I have the fabric; I can get it to you. I just want it for picnics, so 60" x 60" and I was thinking just squares- nothing crazy."
Sharon: "Yep! Sounds good!"

And then POOF! From a bag of fabric, she produced this:

Most of this fabric was actually used for projects around my house, gifts for friends (hand sewn only, as me and the Singer don't actually get along) and other bits were cut down from baby shirts and even a pair of boxers (Whaaaat! they glowed in the dark. How do you throw something like that away? The answer is you don't: you make it a quilt). So it's 90% sentimental fabric (even the backing was a top sheet from my teenage years. I promise I'm not a hoarder) and 10% I-really-loved-this fabric. My boys love pointing out the familiar squares -- "Look! A PILLOW FROM MY ROOM!!!" yells my oldest son -- and selecting their favorite colors -- "Blue! Blue! Blue! Blue!" my youngest points to all the blues, equally delighted with each.

I am so delighted with this quilt!
And I love having crafty friends. Thank you, Sharon!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Book Review (Inspiration)

Anyone with small children understands the love/hate relationship that exists towards your local library.
On the one hand: Look at all those FREE BOOKS! Hours of reading new material, books you and your little ones haven't memorized, books with different pictures, and that, if you can't stand them, can easily be slipped back into the Book Deposit slot. Whoops, there goes the horrible one. Let's re-new Chicken Soup With Rice and forget all about "Beep, Beep, Let's Go!", with it's dis-jointed sentence fragments.

On the other hand: Taking small children into a room full of people who are silently reading to themselves amidst hundreds of bookshelves filled with thousands of books and expecting appropriate library behavior is laughable. In our home my children are book monsters. They love to read and they also love to fling the books off the bookshelves (occasionally scaling the side of one. That is, after all, what empty bookshelves are for), rip out pages, throw the books when they're finished, step on them, color in them, decorate the beautiful pages with stickers and even smear their peanut buttery fingers on the cover page. This activity is a noisy sort, and usually involves shrieks, laughter, giggles, and ultimately reprimands. Obviously not even a smidgeon of this behavior is library acceptable.

But last Saturday I had a game plan. My charming husband was working his occasional weekend shift and I was desperate for a book or two. Or three. Actually, four. And so, despite all the reasons not to: I took the boys to the library.

I consider it a success: No one got lost (though there was a dramatic episode involving a toddler running out the door and a mother racing to catch him and the older son having to be left behind.... oh wait, yes, that was us). No one shushed us (though I shushed them), and we had no over-due fees (because I'd paid them last time). And, on top of all this: we got books!

And look at what I managed to snag before the boisterous games of hide-and-seek amongst the nonfiction section started getting too rowdy and drove us to the children's section...

Time for some Crochet Fashion Eye Candy!

Love the scalloped edging on this. It'd be so perfect on the beach!

Perfect top! I returned the books, but I'm going back for this pattern!

Crocheted hammock!? Yes, please.

Looks so cozy- can't wait 'til Autumn.

I'm honestly not sure about this one. I want to like it...

Love this hat!

Dramatic and I Love. It.

Mmm, so much lovely inspiration! There's something incredibly perfect about sitting down with a book of crochet patterns. The internet, often, comes at you too fast. But, lounging indoors on a hazy summer day, lazily flipping the pages of a book. Well. That's worth the chaotic trip to the library.