Life With a Baby

February 1, 2012

…does not leave much time for non-baby related activities.  It took me an entire day to clean off a desk.  Every time I got to it, the baby started crying.  I don’t really mind because he’s my primary responsibility, and he’s just so darn cute.  How bad is it that his crying face makes me smile?  Not his super intense crying face because that breaks my heart, but his moderately unhappy easy to fix crying face is very precious.

Most evenings, there’s a couple of hours where Bill and I relax and watch tv.  I started a new project because none of my WIPs were doing it for me.  I’m loving how it is turning out.


This is the Cheques Shawl and it’s an easy pattern to memorize.  I absolutely love the yarn by Becoming Art.  The colors are so beautiful and it’s awesome to work with.  This is the Agave Sport in Sanguine Sky.  It is my second time knitting with the Agave base yarn.  I did a drop stitch scarf in the fingering weight and it is amazing.

This is my second time working this pattern.  I started a shawl in Madelinetosh Tosh Merino DK.  I love the yarn and colorway.  Love it.  And I love the pattern.  But I’m not happy with the two together.  The fabric is turning out heavier than I want.

cheques shawl

I’m pretty sure I’m going to frog it.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it looks great, it’s just not what I want.  I have my eye on another pattern for this yarn.  As much as I know frogging it is the right thing to do, I haven’t done it yet.  I’m having trouble undoing all that work.  Oh well, there’s no hurry.

That’s the extent of my crafting.  It’s just the right amount for now.

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Progress Made

November 9, 2011

I finally finished Julia’s quilt and shipped it off to her, along with a few gifts for her new daughter.  I’m happy with how the quilting turned out.  I was super torn with how to do the actual quilting, especially since I’ve only done a total of 4 quilts.  I knew I wanted to emphasize the diagonals in the middle section, and I thought outlining the large stars would look good.  At the last minute, I decided to do the small stars too.  They were actually easier than the big stars and went quickly.  I wasn’t able to get any good photographs that really show my work, but that’s okay.  I also did the binding, agonizing over the correct shade of red.  I sent my friend photos with 3 choices, but the lighting in the house is bad so the photos weren’t super accurate and she left it to my judgement. In the end, I think I went with the right shade of orangey-red.  Gracie misses this quilt.  She took every opportunity to curl up on it.

Julia's quiltGracie find a warm place to nap

Along with the quilt, I sent a little sweater dress I knit.  The pattern was super easy, although I made some modifications based on feedback from other Ravelry users.  (Here’s the ravelry info.)  I used some leftover Sundara yarn which is super soft.  The only downside is that it’s hand wash, but hopefully that isn’t a big deal.

sweater dress

I also sent a little elephant which I made from the book Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts.  The elephant was relatively easy to make and I think it turned out well.  In fact, I made two of them.  One is for another friend who is having a baby in a few weeks.  I think the hardest part of the elephant was stuffing it.  I took my time doing it, and once it was done, it looked like I should have stuffed it some more.  My only complaint with the finished product is that they are hard to photograph.  It doesn’t help that in both cases, I was in a hurry too.

An elephant for ellieElephant for Baby Lee

The last thing I included in the box for Julia was a cotton hat.  A basic roll brimmed hat, but with nice soft Blue Sky Organic Cotton Yarn.

It’s a big relief to get those things out to Julia.  She received the box and was very happy with how her quilt turned out and she like the gifts.  Yay!  Now I can focus on packing which is good, because we are moving in about 10 days.  Ack!

A Turning Point

March 24, 2011


With a title like that you might be expecting some deep and philosophical discussion to follow.  Not so much.  I have turned the heel on my Valentine’s socks!  I’m in the home stretch now. 

My other turning point is related to electronics and
traveling.  I used to be a must-have-laptop traveler but with the iPhone and Android phones, I can do all my “stuff” on the phone and go laptop free on a four or five day trip.  This woukd normally be one of those trips but I have a Motorola Xoom tablet that I am going to bring.  The dilemma was to Kindle or not to Kindle.  My shoulder bag was getting heavy and it seemed excessive to have the Xoom and Kindle.  So I’ve left the Kindle at home (gasp) and am going to try and read books on my Xoom.  My concerns are the weight of the tablet (I have a stand) and the screen glare.  We will see.  I think this is the perfect opportunity to try it out.  (I do have an emergency paperback in my checked luggage in case I really don’t like it).

Reading.  Knitting.  Music.  Movies.  Yup, I’m ready for my trip.

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Using Up Yarn

March 20, 2011

I’ve been doing quite a bit of knitting these days.  I’ve finished three projects and 24 skeins of yarn!  Schnikes!  I wish I could knit up that many skeins every month, but I just don’t think it’s possible.

modeling my alchemy scarf

My first finished project was the Illusionist Shawl (rav link here). It’s made with mohair and silk and Gracie loved this project.  She pulled it out of my knitting basket three times and played with my yarn cakes.  She put a couple of knots in my yarn so I was only able to do 4 panels instead of 5.  That was a mixed blessing because, while I would have liked the extra width, the project was muy boring.  But I love the finished project.  It’s super light, yet still warm.  I can wear it like a scarf, but it’s also wide enough to be a shawl.  But did I mention it was boring to knit up?

Basketweave Afghan, complete!

Nextly, I moved onto my basketweave afghan which I believe I started in November of 2007.  Then, in December 2007 I set it aside and didn’t touch it until this month.  It went very quickly because the yarn is held double.  That’s 14 skeins of organic cotton goodness.  It is one heavy blanket.  When it’s spread out on top of you, you don’t notice.  If it’s folded and you go to pick it up, you notice.  I’m really happy with how this turned out.  It’s nice and warm and squishy.  The pattern was interested and complicated, but not so complicated that I couldn’t knit and watch tv.  This blanket is Gracie tested, Gracie approved.


Lastly, I finished my Cinder scarf (rav link here), just in time for my trip to Minnesota.  I think I will need it.  It’s made with the softest yarn, Classic Elite Ariosa.  It’s a little sheddy at the moment, we will see how it is after its bath.  It’s a beautiful pattern and was also fun to knit.  I love that it’s reversible so you don’t have to worry about a “right” side.

finished cinder

Right now, I have two pairs of socks on the needles and that’s it! If I could finish those projects I would be <gasp> caught up <gasp>!  Who am I kidding, I’m already looking for something new to cast on.  But I am doing a much better job of not having 7 projects going at once.  I do think 2 or 3 projects at a time is healthy.  Oops, I just remembered some granny squares I started that I have to put in ravelry.    Maybe 3 or 4 is the healthy amount.  <smile>


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February 18, 2011

I’ve been a little restless this week.  Not sure what my problem is. I have plenty of things to work on, but none of them are talking to me.  I’m also trying to figure out what my next quilting project would be, and I just can’t decide.  Too many options. This sometimes happens to me.  When there are too many choices, I sort of shut down instead of just picking something and going for it.  I end up doing nothing when I could be making progress on something.

mystery quilt fabric

mystery quilt fabric from a different angle

One thing I didn’t have trouble deciding on was fabric for my mystery quilt.  I’m doing a mystery quilting weekend with a girlfriend which I’m really excited about, but also a little nervous. Julia is a friend from college and we’ve managed to keep in touch over the years.  We reconnected at her wedding and it’s so great to have her in my life again in a more meaningful way.  So I am really excited about spending a long weekend with her and that we’ll be doing some crafting is icing on the cake.  What I’m nervous about is the actual quilting.  I consider myself a beginner quilter, but I’m always up for an adventure.  I’m also nervous because I hope I like the quilt when it’s all put together.  The fabric was a bit of an investment, although really it only cost me $30 out of pocket because of a birthday gift certificate from my mom and a groupon I happened across (and was the reason I joined groupon).  I picked fabrics that I love so I think I will be happy with the end result.  Right?  I was also a little nervous because I’ve never had to pick out a palette of colors for a quilt before.  My instructions were to find 16 “darks” and 1 “light” for the background.  Yeesh!  Actually, I think I lucked out because it wasn’t that hard to find 1 light and a bunch of darks; all I needed was enough contrast because the 16 and the 1.  I think it would have been much harder if I had to find 8 of each.  Julia sent me a photo of her palette which was very helpful to me.  (She’s done a couple of these.)  These are her fabrics:

julia's mystery weekend fabric

Our color palette is pretty similar, huh?  I didn’t intend it to be that way, it just kind of happened.

Now I’m having the great internal debate of “to prewash or not to prewash”.  I don’t know why this is turning into a debate.  I always prewash.  As soon as I buy fabric I throw it in the washer through a rinse cycle and toss it in the dryer.  It seems like every step of this project has me questioning myself.  I think that’s part of the restlessness.  I hope it passes soon.

Maybe part of it is rain induced.  It’s been a pretty gray week. Sunday was really our last beautiful day. And it was gorgeous.

flowering trees

I cant’ really complain about the rain because we need it.  But rainy days make me want to curl up on the couch with a book and not be productive.  I’ve been trying to do some knitting.  I started a new project because I couldn’t resist.  I bought the yarn on my trip to Petaluma.  I saw a sample of the shawl in the store and loved it.  Had to have it, couldn’t live without it.  But it has been a pain in the buttocks.  I started it on Superbowl Sunday and had to frog it.  I could have sworn I was supposed to knit it with two strands together but after doing one repeat of the pattern, I thought “how am I going to have enough yarn” and then I read the pattern instructions.  All the instructions.  Nowhere does it say hold two strands together.  It was a $&!#% to rip out.  It’s mohair and silk and the fuzzy yarn likes to stick together.  So I restarted and it has just been slow going.  It’s knit the long way, and for 10 rows in the project, I have 600 stitches.  Those are some long rows to knit.

big furry mess

I also made the mistake of leaving my yarn cakes on the coffee table and Gracie found one in the middle of the night and played with it.  I’m lucky she only played with one.  I was mad and amused at the same time.  There’s something about the mohair that she really likes.

I’m roughly at the halfway point of this project.  I hope to finish it soon.  If I didn’t know how great the end result would be, I think I would have given up by now.

And that’s that.  It’s Friday and I’m looking forward to the weekend.  I’m hoping Bill doesn’t have to work (he’s been super busy) and that we’ll have some time to chill.  I hope you all have great plans for the weekend!

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More Things To Do

February 4, 2011


I remembered the other things I want to accomplish this month.  I feel kind of silly for forgetting them.  The new additions to the list are:

1.  Read my book and edit the first 3 chapters.

2.  Finish my Valentine’s socks.

3.  Finish Billington Bag.

The Valentine’s socks are kind of obvious as a February goal. My book might not be as obvious, but it’s been on my mind as I did put a lot of time and work into it and I don’t just want to forget about it.  As for the Billington Bag, I finished the knitting in November but I need to do the construction.  It’s another thing just sitting there.

shower gift

One thing not sitting there is a baby blanket and hat that I finished today.  Just in time because the shower is tomorrow. Thankfully, it is knit in cotton and doesn’t need any blocking.  Just wrapping. It’s a simple blanket, all garter stitch, with a crocheted edge.  The hat I improvised as well.

I realized today that I only have three projects on the needles. That’s a pretty low number for me.  I have so many projects I want to work on and I have been super disciplined at not starting new projects.  I might just have to cast on a new one though…

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Another Year Older

January 23, 2011

Una Margarita por Margarita

Yeesh, I can’t believe it’s that time of year again.  The good news is that I’m not feeling any older, but these numbers are not pretty anymore.  35 doesn’t sound bad, but 36 is starting to sound ugly.  I guess because I am on the dark side of 30.  Bill took the day off work and we went to Petaluma, CA.  It’s a cute town about 45 miles north of San Francisco.  I read about it the town in Country Living Magazine and wanted to visit.  Bill found a hotel that has two “rooms” that are Airstream Trailers so we stayed in one.  I really want an Airstream Trailer when I grow up.  I think it would be a fun way to travel.

Margaret and Bambi

It was good for us to spend some time in an Airstream, and see what it’s like to “live” in 16 feet.  It was cozy but not cramped. The one thing that I didn’t like was the navy shower.  The whole bathroom is your shower and everything gets wet.  I was pretty sure I didn’t like it, and it has been confirmed.  I would want to get a camper with a separate shower stall.  Definitely.

Inside Bambi

the rest of the Bambi

We spent the day walking around Petaluma.  I happened upon a knitting store, and originally wasn’t going to go in because I do NOT need any more yarn.  Of course I ended up going in, and found some beautiful yarn for two new projects.  Knitterly is probably the nicest knitting store I have every been in, and I’ve been in a few. It has a fantastic atmosphere, great yarns, super friendly staff.  It was a good sized shop with a couch for knitting or looking at books and magazines.  They had some great samples, one of which caught my eye and which I am going to make for myself.  It’s a shawl/scarf made with alchemy mohair yarn (rav link here, or you can see it here).  They had a beautiful selection of buttons and then a ton of vintage buttons.  I was in heaven.

milk glass owl

Eventually I had to leave the yarn store, and we checked out a few antique places.  I like to find treasures, keeping my eyes open for buttons and lace and frames.  I did find a jar of buttons, maybe not a great deal, but I was happy.  And my real find was a milk glass owl from the early 1900′s.  I used some birthday money to add her to my collection and she was/is worth every penny!

The weather was fantastic and we sat outside and enjoyed a beer.  Bill commented that it was January and we were sitting outside!  We came home on Saturday morning and I hurried out to my last quilting class.  And today, we are going to enjoy some playoff football!  Go Bears!  I couldn’t ask for a better birthday weekend, but a win for the Bears certainly would be nice!

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I Am Suffering From CADD

October 14, 2010

That would be Crafting Attention Deficit Disorder.  I’m torn between wanting the remaining projects I have left from my FOF, but I’m hearing other patterns and yarn calling my name. Shhhh…  Don’t you hear them too?

Billington Bag IP

Of course I have zero willpower so on Sunday, I casted on for the Billington Bag.  It’s going pretty well.  There’s a lot of cabling so it’s not going to terribly fast.  I’m about 1/3 of the way through it.

Burberry Inspired Cowl IP

But then yesterday, I heard the Malabrigo Twist asking for me. “Make me into a Burberry Inspired Cowl.  And start today.”  So I did.  And now I’m 1/3 of the way through that one.  I’m really enjoying this knit.  Working with size 10 needles is easy on the hands and a nice break from the bag.  Plus, it’s moving quickly! Not that I’m going to need this cowl anytime soon.  It broke 90 for the third day in a row.

I’m hoping that I can get my CADD under control.  The only new projects I should be starting should be Christmas gifts. Halloween is just over two weeks away. Thanksgiving six. Christmas ten.  Yikes!


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Hello, Kitty!

October 8, 2010

We were finally ready to take the plunge.  That’s right.  On Tuesday Bill and I went to the Humane Society of Silicon Valley to pick out a kitty.  Not a replacement for our sweet Bri Bri, but an addition to our family.  It sounds like fun, and it is in a way, but to me, it’s difficult to look at all the kitties needing homes and knowing you can just bring one home.  But we did find our new kitty.

The Newest Napier

She still doesn’t have a name.  We’re still getting to know each other.  She’ll tell us her name when she’s ready.  She is a sweetie. Shy, but not skittish.  A pur machine.  Jet black, but has a couple of white hairs on her chest.  She had been at the Humane Society for awhile and had trouble adjusting at first.  She’s only nine months old and has already had a litter of kitties.  Poor little girl has been through a lot in her young life so we decided it was time she get settled in her permanent home.


For now, she’s getting acclimated in the bathroom off my craft room.  We go in and visit a lot so she can get to know us. We’re taking it slowly, letting her get used to our noises and smells before we introduce her to the dog, and give her more of the house to explore.  I spent today making her two cat beds.  I really liked the look of the Better-Than-A-Box pet bed in One Yard Wonders.  It was easy to make and I like how she can nestle into the bed.  I made one out of Amy Butler cotton fabric I had in my stash, and another out of fleece I bought from Joann.


Then I decided she needed a toy so I knit her this little heart, pattern care of Martha Stewart.  It took less than 30 minutes from start to finish. I happened to have the yarn and catnip on my desk, needles within reach, so I made it.  Kitters hasn’t played with it yet, but I’m optimistic.  I also like this feather toy and this cat scratcher.

We’re excited to have another kitty in the house.  Not sure if CJ agrees, but she was always so good with our other cats.  Now all we need to do is decide on a name!

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FOF: The Wrap-up

October 6, 2010

My Focus on Finishing has ended, and I would call it a big success!  I started with 34 projects in various states of completion, and I was able to completely finish 26 of them!  I also made progress on two other projects.  I am thrilled with what I was able to accomplish this month, especially given the yucky events of the month.

FOF 2010 done

1. halloweensocksnotdone, 2. Whippoorwill, done!, 3. curtains, done!, 4. booties, done!, 5. cabled capelet, done!,

6. my design tote, done!, 7. IMG_0010, 8. IMG_0009, 9. bill’s fun pj’s, done!, 10. billsglovesnotdone,

11. nappy bag, done!, 12. amysquiltnotdone, 13. Lizard Ridge Afghan, done!, 14. Feather & Fan, again, 15. voile top, done!,

16. blue cotton top, done!, 17. IMG_0023, 18. focusonfinishing2 092010, 19. satin top, done!, 20. gatheredscarf notdone,

21. coasters, done!, 22. bill’s green pjs, done!, 23. BB Chevron Love Mitts, done!, 24. fabric boxes, done!, 25. IMG_0014,

26. bwafghan notdone, 27. Reindeer PJs, done!, 28. dog bed, done!, 29. B&W Tunic, done!, 30. concettacardi not done,

31. table not done, 32. jersey top, done!, 33. tawashi, done!, 34. green cotton top, done!, 35. sweetheartsocksnotdone

Here’s my mosaic, showing my completed projects.  The whited out squares are the projects that I wasn’t able to finish.  I knew I wasn’t going to be able to finish everything.  I do need to sleep, after all.

Aside from everything I’ve finished, this process really helped me clean up my craft room.  It looks better than it has in months!  All these unfinished projects were taking up valuable space.  I spent time this month reorganizing and cleaning up.  I’m starting October with a clean slate!

The only downside to my month of FOF was I didn’t always allow myself to enjoy the process of whatever it was I was making.  In some cases I forced myself to power through and get it done, whereas I normally would have put it aside and taken a break.  On the other hand, I can’t complain about the results.

I’m still motivated to finish the unfinished projects I have left.  I do need to start on Christmas crafting soon, but for now I’m still focusing on these last few projects I have going.

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About Me

Welcome to my spot on the web where I talk about needlework, crafts, and [many] other random things.

A few tidbits about me: I met my husband in college, flirting over tuba letters in the Penn Band. Our dog, CJ, and our cat, Sabrina, round out our family. I'm a sewist, knitter and needlepointer, and an occasional scrapbooker. I love organizing, reading, making jewelry, and hiking. A Chicago girl at heart, I am an avid follower the Cubs, Bears, and Blackhawks.

You can email me at mlynapier [at] pobox [dot] com. Thank you for stopping by!

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