Instead of unpacking…

I’ve been doing a bit of quilting…

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stitching…

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dressmaking…

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and finishing up (VERY) old projects (it’s a weekend bag I promised Andy ages ago)…

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and hanging out with this dude.

photo-5I’ll be sure to update you with photos of the new apartment very soon! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

A Finished Shawl

I’ve made it pretty clear that I love Craftsy. Well, I recently bought a lace knitting class and have had SO much fun knitting the first pattern included in the class, Skywalker.

I consider myself an advanced beginner and am definitely daunted by complex patterns. This class was just what I needed to tackle my first intermediate lace project. The class is super fun—the instructor, Laura Nelkin, basically holds your hand every step of the way (which is exactly what I needed!).

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This pattern involves a series of different lace stitches—a great way to practice new techniques and tackle different types of lace. I used a super silky bamboo yarn, which was generously given to me from Andy’s mom a while ago, the same yarn I used to knit up this beret. I messed up quite a bit, especially at the beginning, but once I got going I sailed through pretty well!

The best part about this shawl was that it was the perfect distraction from all the packing and moving craziness. Along with my family & friends, this was truly a sanity saver!

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Here’s the finished shawl blocking—I loved seeing it expand. It almost doubled from its size on the needles and looked SO much better (like leaps and bounds better) after being blocked.

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Here’s a closer look at the stitches. You can see that I didn’t follow the pattern exactly, omitting the “plasma” stitch for others from the pattern. The border’s my absolute favorite part—aren’t the scallops super cute? These different lace patterns were definitely a challenge—but it’s so much fun to take on a project that grows your skills and confidence!

While working on this project, I’ve realized how much I love knitting lace. I think it’s the rhythm and intricacy of it—I definitely want to knit many more lace projects.

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Here’s another view. Sorry about the lighting! The other photos are much better representations of the yarn’s color.

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I just love how this shawl drapes! I haven’t worn it out yet, but I’ll be sure to post a photo once I do. This was such a fun project and I’m already scheming and dreaming about my next lace project.

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First of all, thank you for all the extremely kind words about the Feeling Stitchy post! I loved writing it—such a treat six months into our married life. Especially since things are much less glamorous around here…

photoNot pictured: dozens of bags to be sent to goodwill or the trash, dirty dishes (since our dishwasher decided to stop working yesterday!!) and so much stuff that still needs to be packed up.

I know we’ll get it done, but moving is hard. Especially when the weather is so nice and Bernie’s giving us his puppy eyes, reminding us that relaxing is way more fun than packing.

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The actual tasks of moving are just a big pain. And the most difficult part—saying goodbye to our friends—is still yet to come. We’re so excited to be in Boston, but it’s still hard right now.

Luckily, we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and will soon be relaxing in Minnesota with our families before our cross-country haul.

Everglade Knit-Along

I finally finished! Here’s the hat I knitted up for Izzie’s knit-along of the Everglade pattern by Wooly Wormhead.

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I made lots of mistakes and almost swore this off as too difficult (many times). I’ve knitted in the round before and I’ve knitted lace, but never lace in the round. It was daunting.

After I got over my initial fear and put in a few lifelines (um… these are life changing), however, things moved along pretty quickly.  It’s a super fun pattern and I’m so glad I tried it out!

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I made the medium size, but made the brim about half the size as the pattern called for, so it wouldn’t be slouchy. If you ever make this pattern, bear in mind that it runs on the small size. Oh, and blocking this hat is a definite must—it really helps the lace open up.

photo-1It’s now too warm for me to wear this (yay for spring!), but I’m excited to break it out in the Fall. I’ll definitely make a few more of these hats!

Thanks to Izzie for choosing a great pattern! What a fun knit-along!

Patchwork for Baby & a Super Fun Weekend

I’ve been a little MIA lately… It’s been so busy lately organizing for the big move (in a few weeks! ah!) and having lots of visitors. Andy and I just love having friends over and were super lucky to have four great friends from med school spend the weekend with us. One couple’s expecting a baby this summer and I really wanted to make something for the kiddo.

Did you know how many crazy cute sewing patterns are out there for kids? Of course you do, but I did not. I decided to make a little patchwork soccer ball—from Anna Maria Horner’s Seams to Me book—and I’m so happy I did! I found a charm pack of flannel in this super cute animal/ alphabet print, and paired it with some blue cotton from my stash.

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Once all the pieces are cut out, it’s super simple to sew up. The most difficult part is just sewing up the opening after filling the ball with stuffing.  And there you have it! A snuggly toy that will hopefully bring a lot of smiles to the little one.

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During the weekend, we got to soak in lots of Chicago fun-ness: a (super cold) Cubs game and gorgeous Argentinian restaurant.

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Seriously, it was cold.

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The happy couple (and bun in the oven)!

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Our crazy hat hair.

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Brothers!

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Cheers! To Minnesota friends!

photo-1And when we came home, we got to watch our two puppies play and snuggle with one another. It never gets old.

Cath Kidston Stitching

I finished my little embroidered Cath Kidston pouch! It’s seriously a perfect little project, especially for a cross stitching newbie like me.

The pattern is so beautiful (seriously, her designs get me every time!) and fairly simple. I had never worked with soluble cross stitch canvas before and while it was sometimes harder to stitch as precises as I like, I was really impressed by how quickly it dissolved in water. This stuff means you can cross stitch on any fabric!

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Overall, this was a great pattern: it looks complicated and impressive, but is really very simple and just a matter of counting. It’s a great first project from this book. And since all the materials come free with the book, what’s not to love?

The only problem was that I’m apparently much more liberal with embroidery thread than Cath Kidston, because I ran out of thread super quickly. I improvised a bit, using what I had, and changed the pattern a bit. In the end, no one would notice if I don’t point out the differences. Except me, of course!

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To finish up the project, I ironed on some light interfacing to protect the back of the embroidery (this wasn’t in the directions, but I always think it’s a good idea), then cut up all the different elements and sewed the pouch up.

Now I just need to figure out what to put in this little granny chic accessory. Maybe it’ll be my embroidery pouch? Any other ideas?

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On an unrelated note, I’m joining Izzie from Izzie Knits for a knit along! We’ll be tacking the Wolly Wormhead’s Everglade hat pattern. Want to join in? Just let Izzie know!

Red Beret

Last year, I knitted myself a beret from a Purl Bee pattern. It was my first venture into knitting with double pointed needles (daunting!), but I was so happy with how it turned out. But… it was a bit too big and it felt like it was always slipping off my head. It fit my mom perfectly, so I generously begrudgingly gave it to her.

Last week, I went on vacation with two of my sisters and decided that was the perfect time to make a new one with a smaller brim. Hilton Head was absolutely gorgeous: warm, ocean air and lots of sister time.

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I knitted a bit every day—usually while zoning out to the Kardashians. When I got home, I finished it up and wove in the ends. Presto! A nice little beret that fits much better and matches my Spring coat.

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To make the brim smaller, I casted on 100 stitches instead of 128, then just followed the instructions the exact same way from there on out.

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There you have it! Super simple and very fun—I’m already thinking up my next beret, maybe a slouchier one in black or grey. I still have two skeins of this nice red yarn left, so I might attempt a matching lace shawl. Even thought winter’s almost over here…

Hope you have a great Tuesday!

Bernie the Basset turns 1!

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that Bernie’s birthday was a few weeks ago. We officially celebrated last night with dinner, a doggy cake and his new best friend, Dolly. I never thought I’d throw my dog a birthday party, but it was the perfect excuse to have friends over!

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It’s gone by so fast. Seriously, I feel like I was just emailing breeders. Our little 45-lb snuggle bug can definitely be a handful, but has brought Andy and I so much laughter and love. Pretty much everything he does is pure comedy, so you can count on at least one big belly laugh every day you have him around.

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Andy made him and Dolly a cake (using this recipe), which was a big hit. We know this since it was inhaled in a few seconds. We also made a human cake, chocolate with chocolate frosting, for us to enjoy. I quickly sewed up some bunting for the cake using ribbon, fabric scraps and bamboo skewers.

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Cue the instagram-ing (courtesy of Elise & Andy):
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