Happy Mother’s Day

I’m back! I really haven’t been gone, but I sort of have. My mom came to visit last week and we headed down to Table Rock Lake in southwest Missouri. We stayed at the Big Cedar Lodge…so beautiful.

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We went fishing for Smallmouth Bass on Friday. I didn’t reel one in, but mom and Jordan did. Here’s the only proof I have…

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Mom caught the biggest one πŸ™‚ it was great to spend time with her and really catch up. So the blog suffered a bit. And I’ve missed reading everyone’s posts too. I thought it would be perfect to jump back in on Mother’s Day after spending so much time with my mom.

I went for a wonderful walk and saw these beauties…

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Truly all those April showers have brought these lovely flowers. I’ll see what I can do about getting back in the groove, especially with the Freshly Finished Friday link up!

❀
Jenna

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The Crafty Gene

Monday Musings

So I have this theory about being crafty & creative. The first part of the theory is that ANYONE can create something if only they will try. A moment of preaching: I do not buy for one second that someone is not creative or cannot create something. Yes, it may be difficult for some to get started, but if one is willing to give it a try, one will create something. Even creating something that is a copy of something else is creating! Heck, that’s what so much of crafting is like sewing/knitting/crocheting/quilting from a pattern or modeling a scrapbook page after a design or photo. What one creates does not necessarily have to be completely original and unique from one’s own mind.

The second part of the theory is when one is surrounded by others who craft and create it is infinitely more inspiring/fun/influential/probable one will also craft and create. Seeing how much those around you enjoy creating sets the stage for one to want to join in the fun. Also having those around to teach makes it easier to jump into the crafting.

As to the first part of my theory, I will say that I do have trouble getting started on things at times. I have experienced being “blocked” in creative endeavors and even supremely unhappy with my efforts to create. It’s part of the process. I think being stuck and making things that didn’t turn out like I envisioned helped me to be ok with the projects that take unexpected turns and end in different places than anticipated.

Onto the second part of my theory, I have been incredibly blessed to have my grandmother and mom who are both very adept at creating with their hands, and specifically fiber/fabric.

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My grandmother is darling. She is 89 and still quilts and sews daily. Some of my earliest tries at sewing were because of her. She signed me up for my first sewing class when I was maybe 10 or 12. I remember making a lunchbag and an “outfit” consisting of a pair of shorts and a tube top with ribbon straps. I’ve made several pillows and blankets in her sewing room over the years. She even still quilts for me. For our wedding in 2013, she made Jordan and I this beautiful quilt.

wedding quilt

And last year when she and my mom came to visit, we found this neat quilt shop in Lexington, Kentucky that had a Zombie quilt kit. I immediately fell in love with it. I thought it was quirky and fun. I’m not a particular fan of zombies, but this piece was just sooooo fun. So we acquired the quilt and I planned to head down and visit my grandmother to help put it together. She said she’d just start cutting things out and laying them out. Before I managed to make it to North Louisiana, she had the piece complete.

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My mom is another crafty lady. Before I was even born, my mom used to create some really incredible cross-stitch projects. I know I referenced this in on of my first posts here. She sewed countless matching outfits for my brother and I and even our costumes until we were too cool to wear them. After a car accident in 2009, she took up knitting after seeing some darling baby hats. She says she wanted to make a collection of them for her future grandchildren.

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Payton’s Turkey Hat & Happy New Year Crown
There is also a pumpkin hat, a Christmas Tree hat and I wouldn’t be surprised if there will be a Mardi Gras hat, Valentine’s hat, Easter hat, 4th of July hat, Birthday hat…

Mom taught me to knit. I know that had to take some patience. I remember being very, very frustrated with the long tail cast-on, but I’m so grateful that she stuck with me through it. When I finished the cast-on, I was so happy to realize that was only necessary to start a project. After that, I was off with lots of help to knit and purl and reminders to not pull too tight and to relax.

I’m not sure I would be knitting as much as I am without either of these lovely ladies in my life. I’ve got some fun projects to share with you guys, but I think I’ll wait ’til Wednesday. Until then!

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v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Thoughts about VKLive Classes!!

Thoughful Thursday

So I’m sure after my last post, you are wondering why I didn’t have as much time to shop and buy all the things (other than my stated plan). With the package we purchased included 3 classes and Mom and I wanted to take full advantage of the awesome ladies who were teaching all weekend.

First up when we got there on Friday, we took a Hand-Dyeing Class taught my Rhonda Fargnoli. She seemed very knowledgeable and very into the yarn business. She gave some great tips for where to buy her natural dyes, but I wish we were given more direct instructions on how to prepare and set up our own dyeing at home. Ce la vie.

We did have a good time dyeing our mini-skeins with a few different dyes. There were 5 different colors and one was indigo and one was cochineal. We spent the afternoon dipping and painting and pouring dye all over our mini skeins. Here is Mom at work.

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The room we were in at the Palmer House Hilton had some really, really yellow lighting.

We took them up to the room on styrofoam plates and laid them out to dry.

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When we got home, I rinsed them with some white vinegar and hung them up to dry over the sink.

Now, what to make??? I need a scale so I can know how much of each color I have…maybe I can make a magic ball with these for a big fun project?

The next class I took was Getting Your Lace On taught by the lovely Laura Nelkin. Let me start by saying that I have never knit one of Laura’s patterns. Each time that one of her designs have caught my eye, I go and look it up and notice how complicated it is. This is not a bad thing, but up until about 6 months ago, I stuck to simple knits. Nothing too complicated, nothing I have to count…then I did the Follow Your Arrow KAL (on my own time because KAL time restrictions seem to be terrible for me) and the whole “simple only knitting” flew right out the window.

Laura started off the class by sharing many of her samples with us. She passed around so many lovely things, talked about what Lace knitting actually is and isn’t, and had us cast on 10 stitches.

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And knit a few rows. We played around with some increases and had a very good discussion on what a “yarnover” actually is and should look like (I guess I had not been paying much attention to my knitting in the past). Fun fact: A yarn0ver should in fact be a piece of yarn over the needle, but the leg riding in front of the needle still needs to be the right leg! Amazing. Next time you do a yarnover, check it out.

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We then played around with some decreases. Her instructions were great. She talked about when designers would use each one and which ones were appropriate for double sided lace (eeeeek!). She was incredibly patient and kept us all interested.

We touched on how to read charts for one-sided lace, lace in the round, and two-sided lace. We even hit (quickly) on blocking. The whole 3 hours was jam-packed full of great information. It really made me think about my knitting and gave me the confidence to tackle a few of Laura’s (complicated) designs. She was gracious enough to even do a quick selfie with me after class!!

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Sorry that my quality isn’t great 😦 That’s what I get for using the iPhone I guess. I am definitely a Laura fan after such a great experience. I highly recommend you check out her blog and her new book, Knockout Knits,Β (which is full of info about the techniques used as well as the patterns).

Mom took a class from Amy Detjen about Two-Color Knitting during this time. I will have to get with her about what she thought. I took a class from Amy last year about Cables…also awesome πŸ™‚

PS: I am wearing my Whispers top!

Our next class was in the afternoon. It was Entrelac with Rosemary Drysdale. She is the author the books Entrelac and Entrelac 2. Another note about my experience with Entrelac, I had never done this either! Rosemary is a hoot and reminds me of my parents’ German neighbor who is very matter-of-fact. She had us jump right in to try our hand at Entrelac. Throughout the class, she offered great tips on how to pick up stitches and she showed off several of her beautiful designs. I was so busy knitting, I did not have time to take pictures of my progress. Here is my swatch.

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Overall, the classes were definitely worth the time and money we spent at Vogue Knitting Live. Both this year and last, have left me with a great experience. I will say that one thing I will do before taking classes at a big event like this is to do some research about the teacher before hand. Look them up on Ravelry and see what some of their work is like, maybe see if they have been talked about by other knitters who have taken classes from them.

Anyway, definitely something I would do again πŸ™‚ I need to get my needles going so I can cast on something new from Knockout Knits!!!

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v’s & bumps,

Jenna

 

 

 

5KCBWDay6&7: Sharing Means Caring

Yes, well I’m cheating again…doing the two-for-one thing in term of posting for this intense blog week. Who knew that posting, DAILY, would be such a challenge. It’s not that I don’t enjoy posting on my blog. I love it. I love feeling like I’m connecting with other people out there who knit, crochet, or just like to read blogs.

Day 6: Views of Others, Views of Yourself.

I’m supposed to write about a crafter I admire and about how other people feel about my knitting.

From the beginning, I’ve needed a way to be creative but had a hard time finding a medium where I felt I could really get across what I envisioned. I found that in knitting. I have my mom to thank for that.

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She started her crafting journey I’m sure well before I was even a thought in her mind. When she was pregnant with me, she would cross-stitch the most beautiful pictures. Several family members still have something she worked on at that time. Even I came away with one.

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Not the best photo, but that’s CROSS STITCH! Not a picture or a drawing, it’s thread! Every time I see one of her pieces, I am still in awe. She also dabbled in sewing, making my brother and I countless outfits when we were toddlers and all of our Halloween costumes until we were in high school (by that time, we thought we were too cool to dress up). She had some crazy busy years when I was in college and got away from crafting. After I graduated with my undergrad degree and decided to get a Masters, she was in a terrible car accident. She had some trouble recovering from a lacerated spleen and was put on bed rest. This contributed to her having a blood clot in her leg that traveled to her lungs and she had a Pulmonary Embolism. Thankfully, she was taken to the hospital and put on some serious blood thinners along with having a filter put in. With rest, she recovered. After her accident she took up knitting to make hats for her future grandchildren.

That was much more personal than I intended to write. I think when I talk about my mom, I’m always going to be more personal. It’s just the way it is.

As far as what others think or feel about my knitting?
When knitting in public, I get the general stare of most people who walk by. A few even point at me and poke their friends while saying, “Look!” Occasionally, someone will stop and ask if I’m knitting or crocheting. Rarely, a fellow knitter/crocheter will approach with hesitation and ask what I’m working on and then share what she is working on.

I think some of the best responses I’ve gotten to my knitting is from my husband and his friends. For Christmas of 2012, I knit my husband’s friends beanies. In the rush of getting them finished for the holiday, I didn’t get to take pictures for my Rav project page. When I put up the Facebook post calling for pictures of all the finished projects I had ever given to people, his friends were among the first to send me a picture.

ed's hat

justin's hat

phillip's hat

 

I think it’s safe to say that these are among the best loved gifts I’ve ever knit. I can’t think of three more worthy guys to whip up a hat for.

Day 7: Looking back, Looking forward.

This part of the post has to do with looking back to last year’s KCBW, but since I’m brand new to the knit blogosphere, I can’t really do that. Instead, I’m going to look back on my knitting journey. I would say I’ve come some ways since the beginning. I’ve tackled a few things I never thought I would, like cables and lace, and I’m gearing up for my first sweater (I’ve decided on a winner and I’ll post this Friday!).

As for looking forward? In one year from now when the 6th Annual Knitting & Crochet Blog Week comes around, I hope that crafting will have taken me down the road to knitwear design. I’ve got a few ideas brewing, but I’m not quite sure how to execute them. I think some further journaling, math, and swatching should be done before I unveil anything πŸ™‚ I also hope to have tackled my first sweater and I’d really like to attend a knitting retreat.

As for wishes for my blog? I hope that I can continue to post regularly in the every-other-day timeline. I also hope that it can connect me to more great people, ideas, and inspiration to make me a better knitter.

This bad boy got real lengthy real quick. And awful wordy too. Overall, I’ve enjoyed this blogging challenge week. It has certainly taught me I’m not an everyday poster, but it did spark some new thoughts and ideas. It was also a great connector in the blogging world. I’ve come across some neat blogs that I’m not sure I would have without it.

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v’s & bumps,

Jenna