Friday, April 29, 2011

Completed Project: Blanket for the Mistress

During this welcome lull in making baby blankets, I've been able to stitch like crazy to complete some grown-up blankets. Here is the second one for another chosen sister, Beth-la.

Beth's Blanket 02

It's nine skeins of Lion Brand Homespun in beautiful blues. As always, details on Ravelry.

She'll be picking this up in person in a week. A WEEK!!! Yes, Sheep and Shenanigans is only a week away!!! So many preparations to be made! But I also must finish the final blanket of the trio, the one belonging to the Queen.

I can't wait to see my girls!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Completed Project - Stockinette Stitch Shawl

It's finally done! And I love it!

Not only did this take me over a year to finish, the yarn itself is some beautiful boucle I bought at my very first trip to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in 2006 - yes, FIVE years ago! But I now have a wonderful wrap in beautiful shades of reds and oranges.

So where are the pictures, you ask?

Well, I haven't been able to take a decent photo of the shawl. The angles were wrong, the placement was wrong, the lighting was wrong. A handful of photos taken and nothing worth saving or posting. So I'm going to publicly ask my dear friend Perches to assist me in a couple of weeks. Her photography is beautiful as you can see on her blog.

What do you say, lady? I'll barter with you - some photos in exchange for an extra helping of pierogies? :)

I learned three important lessons from making this shawl -

1) Working on a big monotonous project goes much better and faster if you just work on a little bit every day or every once in a while. I was able to get this shawl finished over the last month by working on it during lunch each day. It was amazing how much progress I made without focusing on the daunting challenge of finishing it.

2) I have really got to get knitting terms straight in my head. I thought it was garter stitch but it was actually stockinette stitch. D'oh!

The last one may be more of reinforcing behavior rather than a lesson...

3) It's okay to buy yarn you absolutely love even if you have no idea how the heck you're going to use it. You will find the right pattern someday.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Weekend of Lovely Things

This weekend included such lovely things, including a few that I can cross off my list.

On Friday, Sean and I attended a concert by one of Sean's most favorite artists, Orla Fallon from Celtic Woman fame. The seats we had were amazing and the meet and greet afterwards was wonderful. She's one of the nicest celebrities I've ever met in person.

An added bonus to the evening was discovering a new band, Tin Cup Gypsy. They were the opening act as well as the backup musicians for Orla. I had never found an opening act to be very good - HAD being the important word here. They started their first song and I was immediately smitten. Beautiful harmonization, thoughtful lyrics, amazing vocals, and gorgeous melodies. I've been listening to their CD non-stop, I love it so. (Yes, I am the crazy girl rocking out in her car while stuck in traffic on the beltway.) They were also super nice when we met them at the end of the performance. Cassandra in the band makes her own jewelry so there's a crafty side to the band, too. Seriously - go check out some music samples.

On Saturday, a visit with my chosen sister and little nephew brightened the day. We invited over some other friends to join us for dinner so there were five adults, two toddlers, a baby and one very excited dog in the house. It was deliriously fun chaos from which Seamus is still recuperating. There was also CAKE!

Chocolate Stout Cake

Perches' birthday would not go uncelebrated during her visit so a new recipe was tried. This is Stout Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Whipped Cream frosting from Bon Appetit's Dessert cookbook. The name of the recipe comes from the fun ingredient - BEER! Instead of Guinness, I opted for Rogue Brewery's Chocolate Stout as a way to include more chocolate in the recipe. I modified the frosting a little to make it fluffier and a tad bit sweeter. It still needs work as I didn't love the consistency or the flavor. Maybe using milk chocolate instead of bittersweet chocolate next time? And I highly suggest making this cake in square pans. It was too difficult to cut a small piece from the round cake. Smaller square slices would be much better considering how ridiculously rich the cake was.

And when will this be made again? In just a few short weeks for Sheep and Shenanigans 2011!!!!

But back to this past weekend...

On Sunday, there was bacon, eggs and french toast for breakfast. There was also a quick crochet lesson about crocheting in the round. In the afternoon, there was nap time, more chocolate cake, and a lesson on crocheting a puff stitch. Such a wonderful way to spend a Sunday.

It turns out it was a wonderful weekend for two good friends. One welcomed a baby boy into the world and another got engaged!

How wonderful was your weekend?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Completed Project: Perches' Socks

Ten months in the making - and finally, one of the three blankets is done!

Perches Blanket 01
Perchest Blanket 02

As always, details on Ravelry.

So why the title? Because Perches requested a pair of socks instead of a blanket, thinking the blanket would be too much work. I'll make her socks someday, but this year it was to be blankets for my girls. I've got two more blankets to finish - 3 skeins a piece to crochet. There's a comfy chair in the craft room with my name on it.