Friday, December 1, 2023

wooly things

Kathy and I made our 7th visit to the Kentucky Wool Festival, which also happened to be its 40th anniversary! We sipped hot cider, snacked on warm donuts, listened to bluegrass music, and of course stocked up on yarn!
I finished knitting a sweater just in time to wear it to the event. It was perfect sweater weather this year! I made a Carved Pullover with Berroco Vintage DK yarn in the appropriately named colorway "Pumpkin." I made a bunch of modifications to the pattern. I just kinda winged the raglan using another similar pattern, and I used another knitter's chart to create a symmetrical mouth. I love how it turned out, and I did get several chances to wear it in October!
I have 3 more Wool Fest-related projects to share also! I loved this Kaiya Mei hat pattern from the moment I saw it. It looks like confetti! It took me a while to track down the perfect yarn with very short, random color changes. I finally found the perfect one from Deep Dyed Yarns at Wool fest in 2021 and made the hat in fall of 2022. I added a fleece band, since wool on the forehead can be a little itchy.

Unfortunately, this hat just desperately wished for freedom. It escaped and was recovered many, many times last year until one time, it just never showed back up in the lost-and-found bin at school. I only hope that it has found a new, loving home somewhere.
And so, Mae needed a new hat. An excuse to buy more yarn at Wool Fest this year! I love the stripes in this colorway called "Home Sweet Home" from Hinkston Handmade (formerly Rock and String). The hat pattern is the Top-Down Ear Flap Hat from Purl Soho. Instead of i-cord strings/tassels, I googled how to make a 6-stranded braid. It took me like, 50 tries, but I finally got it right! I added a fleece band to this one also, and it fits Mae well!
Lastly, this yarn is another Hinkston Handmade colorway called "Constellation." I think the random white speckles are just SO COOL. Kathy gifted me this a couple years ago. I finished the socks almost 2 years ago, but finally got around to photographing them! The pattern is Vanilla Socks, and I love how the heel fits.
Okay we're about half-way caught up on knit projects from the last 2 years. I still have a sweater and a handful of gifts to write about! Details for the Carved Pullover, confetti hat, striped ear-flap hat, and constellation socks on my Ravelry page.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

an apple a day

We had a free weekend at the end of September, so I gave Mae a few activity choices. She selected apple-picking! We went to a slightly closer orchard this year that also happens to be right near a state park. We decided to pick apples and then take a picnic lunch to the park! The weather was beautiful (if only a little too warm to truly feel like fall.)
Usually we're so late in the apple season that it takes us a while to find ones that are good enough to pick. This year, we were a lot earlier and the trees were LOADED with apples. That made it especially fun for Colin since he could actually reach a lot of them. He eats AT LEAST one apple a day, usually as soon as he gets home from day care.
By the time we got to the park, it was even warm enough for Mae and Colin to take off their shoes and play in the water. It was so relaxing just hanging out on the beach, kids playing in the sand, beautiful blue skies, the earliest hints of fall color in the trees. Then the kids fought, and I yelled at them, and it was time to go home.
Back at home, we made an apple pie crisp. Mae and Colin took turns using the peeler/corer/slicer, which makes pie prep much easier. Unfortunately, Colin is now obsessed with the tool and demands that his daily apple be peeled/cored/sliced and served in a bowl, complete with the pile of peel "worms." At least he does the work himself (as long as I set it up and put the apple on it and wash it afterwards.)
What else have we been up to this fall? Colin just finished his soccer season. He liked doing drills but was not a huge fan of playing in the little scrimmages. He spent about 10% of the time on the field playing soccer and 90% of the time playing with sticks on the sidelines. At least I got one good action shot of him with a ball. He even scored a goal during his last game!
We also continued our tradition of going to the Renaissance Festival. The biggest hits were probably the horseback/archery performance, the various acrobat shows, and the giant maze. Mae actually had the patience to solve the maze this year and didn't just cheat by going underneath the panels. She also enjoyed the pirate show but got freaked out once the "gunfire" started. And she thought the mud show was hilarious... until she got splattered with mud. Next year we'll bring ponchos!

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

lord of the rings baby mobile

I was so excited for Colleen and Bobby when they announced their pregnancy, but I might have been equally excited when they requested a Lord of the Rings baby mobile. I love designing baby mobiles, and this was such a fun challenge! I spent lots of time researching costumes and props, designing the characters, making templates, and choosing a color palette. My phone camera roll was just movie screenshots of LoTR characters for several weeks!
Colleen and Bobby requested Frodo, Gandalf, Gimli, Aragorn, and Legolas. I think Gimli and Legolas were my favorite pieces to create. I love their braided details, and Legolas' pointy ears are so cute.
I chose Gandalf the Grey (not the White), because of his cool hat. I was actually able to rework some of my previous designs for these pattern pieces. I modified Dumbledore's beard and the Scarecrow's hat. I did my best to copy the lettering onto the one ring, but I did make one small typo (embroidery-o?). If you happen to read Mordor Elvish, please let me know if it translates to something funny now.
Aragorn's cloak is double-sided so the red only shows from the front. I loved that detail in the movie costumes. I made the tiny ring that hangs around Frodo's neck from a real gold link from an old necklace. It was forged around an awl in my craft room instead of in the fires of Mount Doom, though.
For accessories I made Aragorn's crown, Legolas' bow, Frodo's sword "Sting" (complete with blue "glow" to warn of nearby orcs), and Gimli's axe! I assembled everything to a simple mobile arm that can be clipped to a crib or hung from a hook.
I love how it turned out, and it looks so cute in the nursery!