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!).


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!


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.


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.


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


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.


In-Flight Entertainment

I’m off to Boston today to find an apartment! Wish me luck!

To keep my hands busy, I decided to bring along a little stitching project.

photo (59)

The cloth and floss were included in my new Cath Kidston embroidery book! So fun.

photo (60)

Some of you maybe wondering how I travel with the stitching supplies. I actually have a small toenail clipper that I use to cut the floss: and not get detained by security!

This’ll be a quick project that won’t have any fitting issues like my recent fails 🙂

Hope you have a happy weekend!

Liebster Award

I received the Liebster Blog Award! How cool is this? It’s an award for blogs—of any kind—with less than 200 followers, to help promote them.


I’m so grateful for Lisa over at Hook, Yarn, and Stinkers for the award! It’s just so sweet and I’ve loved exploring her blog! My blog is super new, but I can already tell you that the craft blog community is so much fun!

Hook, Yarn, and Stinkers
The Liebster Blog Award Rules:
  1. Nominees must link back to the blogger who awarded them
  2. Write 11 random facts about yourself
  3. Answer 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you
  4. Nominate 11 new blogs and ask them 11 new questions

Ok, here goes!
11 Facts about Me: 

  • Andy and I are moving to Boston in June for his residency. Yes, two Irish Catholics with a penchant for whiskey will take on Boston. Want to buy the movie rights? No? You mean you’ve seen that one before?
  • Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny is my favorite movie character of all time. If I ever find the right floral knit fabric, I’ll sew up an imitation of this jumpsuit. It would be my crowing Halloween costume-achievement.
  • I started a corporate writing business a few years ago called Lexington Writing Firm. I spend my days writing corporate blogs, training materials and articles. It’s a great job and I feel very fortunate to have so much flexibility. 
  • This blog is a great way for me to flex my non-corporate-writing muscles. 
  • I have awesome parents. I’m very grateful for them every day.
  • I love baseball and college football. My loyalties lie with the Minnesota Twins and Notre Dame Irish.
  • Even a small dose of Cath Kidston or Anna Maria Horner will brighten the dreariest of days and perfectly nice ones, too.
  • Andy and I chose this song for our first dance. Swoon.
  • My favorite show on TV (now that 30 Rock is over, sniff) is Psych. I’ve had a crush on Dule Hill since the first episode of the West Wing.
  • My favorite herb is rosemary. I love it in pretty much everything, from chicken to shortbread.
  • I am one of four girls. One of the many reasons that this is awesome is that we all have very different styles.

photo (23)Questions from Lisa:

  1. Have you learned from your good times the most or your rough times the most, why or why not? Mostly I’ve learned that it’s very brave to take time to focus on yourself and to ask for help when you need it. We all go through hard times and that’s one of the best reasons to be nice to everyone.
  2. What is your greatest passion in life? Right now my passion is building working with Andy to build our life together. Working, saving money, enjoying our time together and building a comfortable, beautiful home are all a part of this. #sappy
  3. What is your talent and when or where did you learn to better it? I’m talented at sewing and embroidery. My mom taught me over the years. I have learned lots through trial and error, as well as from Andy’s mom who is a super talented knitter.
  4. If you could be any animal what would it be and why? If I could be any animal, I’d want to be my dog, Bernie. I’d be the most handsome and spoiled dog I know. (See above for exhibit A: Bernie lounging on my quilts)
  5. What is your favorite feature about yourself? One of the favorite things about myself is that I love to learn things all the time. I like my curious nature and that I love to read and learn.
  6. What is the number one must-have in a man/woman personality-wise? Hmmm. I fell in love with Andy because he’s super, duper smart and always ready to have fun. We can have a good time and laugh pretty much anywhere.
  7. What is your favorite childhood memory? Too many! Summer picnics, eating grapefruit from my grandparents’ tree, watching my parents talk after dinner, trips to art museums, bike rides with my sisters…
  8. When in your life were you most embarrassed? There was a time during middle school where I was embarrassed by everything I did or said. Thankfully it only lasted a few weeks.
  9. What is your favorite book and why? A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I’ve read it ten times, maybe more. I love how it’s seemingly so simple and quiet, but very powerful.
  10. Who do you look up to most and why? I look up to many people, but especially my and Andy’s parents. They are devoted parents that support us in whatever kind of life we choose. We’re very lucky! 
  11. What is the story or explanation behind your blog name? My initials spell out “gem” and I have always thought of handmade, homemade objects as special. I think of the objects that I’ve spent hours creating as little gems scattered around our home and in my closet. That’s it!

Now here are the blogs that I nominate:

Please answer these questions:

  1. What’s the best book you’ve read in the past few months? 
  2. Who is your favorite actor or actress?
  3. What’s your favorite thing you’ve made, cooked or baked in the past few months?
  4. What’s the most special piece of clothing you own? Why do you love it?
  5. Do you have any family heirlooms?
  6. What do you do to relax?
  7. What’s your ideal/ fantasy vacation?
  8. Have you made any new family or personal traditions recently?
  9. What’s your favorite creative outlet?
  10. What’s one aspect of yourself that makes you really proud?
  11. If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?

Congrats! I can’t wait to read your answers!

Thanks again to Lisa for this fun award! 


Thanks for stopping by my little blog! I started HandmadeGem to chronicle all my creations as I make clothes, knit for my new husband, Andy, and decorate our apartment.

I have lots of projects in mind and in the works. So stop by often!

(Failed photo of Andy and me before our rehearsal dinner. Makes me laugh!)