Tag Archive | surprise

Another picture afghan

Earlier this year, I mentioned having a couple of “commission” projects that I needed to get done before I could truly start on any of my own things. The first was making a Roman shade for a friend out of some sunflower fabric she had been hanging onto for years. It was my first go at making a window dressing more complicated than a rod pocket or tab-top curtain. I spent a lot of time reading tutorials and pondering the logistics of it. So that was January. When I finished up the shade (which I did not photograph, sorry), I immediately began working on an afghan for a friend whose canine companion of 14 years had just died right around Christmas. This wasn’t so much a commission as an idea for which I managed to convince some other friends to help fund me (not that they took much convincing — we were all heartbroken for our sweet friend, S, and wanted to do something to help lift her spirits). I presented my idea to them and the photograph I would use to make the afghan — a picture of S’s dog wearing a birthday party hat that she had posted on Facebook a few years ago. What a fun way to remember her little dog! I worked on this afghan everyday and felt like I couldn’t (shouldn’t) work on anything personal until it was done because I had a whole bunch of people counting on me, plus, I just wanted to get it to S as soon as possible.

I used a J Tunisian/afghan hook and Caron Simply Soft yarn; I like it for the sheen and the softness. Here are some “work in progress” pictures with the grand finale at the end.

A little weird and abstract at the beginning

A little weird and abstract at the beginning

Now it looks like a dog! 2/3 of the way done.

Now it looks like a dog! 2/3 of the way done with the picture.

All done and with a border on it!

All done and with a border on it!

I finished it late one night at the beginning of April and mailed it off the very next day. One of the other ladies contacted S’s husband to let him know that “a package” was coming and when it was to arrive so that he could grab it off the porch before S got home from work. He had agreed to video her opening it and then, with her permission, post it for all of us to see since we’re scattered all over the country. S had no idea that we had been doing any of this, so it was all a huge surprise. She was speechless! But she and her family loved the blanket and that totally made my day. I’m so glad I was able to make something so special for her.

Since then, I’ve been working like a maniac in the garden. Or rather, I made gardens out of overgrown patches of land along our driveway and cleared out another overgrown flower bed. I’ve just about got everything planted and I’m really feeling the itch to sew again, so there should be more consistency (I say. ha ha ha) coming up!

Happy Rockin’ Birthday!

It has been too quiet around here and I’m sorry for that. I don’t like it. Especially the last couple of weeks when I actually have produced a few things, but haven’t had the opportunity to photograph them. It makes me nervous for how things are going to be when the new baby comes in a few weeks. Having done this three times before, I know that I’m going to be doing good just to stay afloat for a month or so before we all settle into a rhythm (full disclosure: I had to type that three times before hitting on the right spelling). Sigh. Them might just be the breaks, peeps.

But anyways…

Rana celebrated her 8th birthday this week! Granota was completely in awe of this milestone and repeatedly asked me if I could even believe that I had an 8 year old. As a sort of birthday present/sort of just because, I painted t-shirts for the girls (I know it always seems that Konik gets short shrift, but Michael’s didn’t have any t-shirts in his size; I’ll get him taken care of later). As might be expected if you know us at all, Axl Rose was the subject this time. Both girls had mentioned in the past wanting Guns N’ Roses shirts. Besides the fact that they generally don’t come in tiny sizes, they’d probably get sent home from school for wearing anything with a picture of a gun on it. A portait of Axl was the safer choice.

I used the same technique that I did on Rana’s bunny shirt, but the portraits were much more complicated than a simple little cartoon. There was a LOT of cutting involved with these and it kind of fried my brain. Once that was out of the way, I got to the fun part of painting. Again, three coats of paint seem to do the job. I applied each one in a different direction to be sure to cover any exposed fabric. And as you can see from the in-progress photos, I didn’t care one bit about painting “within the lines.”

IMG_2897 IMG_2898

After the girls were asleep, I put the finished shirts on their beds for them to find in the morning. That next morning I heard gasps and squealing and excited chatter. I always like that reaction.




Rockin’ her rockstar t-shirt

Even though it was Rana's birthday, I couldn't leave out the one who started it all

Even though it was Rana’s birthday, I couldn’t leave out the one who started it all


Watch out, elementary school


The latest long-term project

Alright, it’s no secret that my blogging this year has been… uh, sparse. The motivation to create just hasn’t been there, coupled with exhaustion to the point where I’ve felt drugged and, well, not much crafting or writing happens under those conditions. And did I mention the nausea? As though the Tilt-a-Whirl operator went on his lunch break and left me up there, spinning and dipping. For four months. Not many people were aware of all this going on, because I was waiting until I could surprise my family in Colorado at our annual reunion. Now that that has happened, every one else gets to know, too.

This is what I’ve been working on.

Bebe Thumbsucker cropped


Outside (not the dress)

Outside (not the dress)

The newest little grasshopper is due right around Thanksgiving (3rd week of November, for my non-American friends). Thankfully, the nausea is gone. Unfortunately, the exhaustion is not. Turns out I’m anemic on top of also being the pregnant mother of three other children. What energy I do have is short-lived, so I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to resume my former posting schedule of 3x/week, but I do hope that I’ll be able to accomplish one crafty item per week and then write about it. There won’t be much sewing for me for awhile — there are only so many variations on the muu-muu I can get away with — but I’ll probably end up sewing at least a couple things for the girls as they start school soon. And inevitably there will be a handful of baby projects since I had gotten rid of everything after Konik was born. Also, thanks to Mrs. M (of M&M cabin owner fame), I’m teaching myself how to knit! She gave me a bunch of her extra knitting needles, some yarn to practice on, and a couple books to borrow until I get the hang of it. I’m looking forward to getting crafty again and feeling more like myself. For the next few months, at least — no guarantees what this space will look like come the end of November. You’ll probably have to dodge tumbleweeds again until we settle into a new rhythm. Thanks for hanging with me!

Saturday in Spain IV

Somebody call King Arthur. Oh, and don’t forget Indiana Jones. Quests and crusades are over. That’s right, the Holy Grail has been found. Maybe you didn’t know that. Were you still looking?

A little dark, and this after I lightened it! Sorry!

It’s housed in the Valencia Cathedral in Spain. There are lots of other places that claim to have the grail, but apparently this chalice has the Holy Roman seal of approval. After all, the Pope used it! You can read more about the history of it here on the cathedral’s website.

It is housed in a special chapel in the cathedral. We had to wait for a service to finish before we could go in and look. Obviously, you can’t get too close.

The Incredible Hulk

It’s big! It’s green! It’s mean! Ok, it’s pretty much the opposite of mean. It’s soft and fluffy and warm. And it is the secret project I alluded to last week! My friend, Mrs. G, needed an afghan in her life. She was having a lousy day awhile back. Her cat had puked and made a mess and it was a cold, dreary day to boot. Mrs. G lives on the other side of the country from me, so I couldn’t do anything all that tangible or practical on that particular day, but I was struck with the idea that a comfy afghan could alleviate one of the problems.

I had a pattern in mind that pictured an afghan made using two strands of yarn together in two slightly different shades of burgundy. The result was a sort of trompe l’oeil shimmery effect as the colors played off each other. I purchased two skeins of Caron One Pound, one in forest green and one in Kelly green because Mrs. G’s favorite color is green (as is mine!). For reasons that I now cannot remember, that original pattern wasn’t working out so well. So I switched over to my Vanna White crochet book and found an afghan she had done in bulky yarn. Two strands of worsted weight makes a pretty good equivalent to bulky weight! The two strands of yarn together make this afghan super squishy.

One of the most fun (funnest?)  things about crocheting this afghan was the chance to use my ridiculously huge Q hook. I originally bought it as a toy for Rana when she was about 2. She always wanted to play with my crochet hooks but I was afraid that 1) she’d lose them or 2) she’d skewer herself with one of them. No worry of that with the Q hook. Well, she did lose it and I ended up buying another one, but then we found the first hook, so now we each have one.

From left to right: Steel hook #7, size G hook (good for almost everything), pencil, Q hook

It was fun, but really different to use. For one thing, I had just come off crocheting the lace for my peasant top, so the change in hook size was drastic. Also, since it’s plastic, it doesn’t glide through the yarn as smoothly, which fatigued my hands a little bit. Still, that can’t compare with the way I was able to race through this afghan. If you’ve read much of anything on my blog, you’ll know that, while I do enjoy the creation process, I enjoy the finished product as much or more.

I also really enjoy making things for people and it’s especially fun if it’s a surprise! I stuffed it into one of those medium sized flat-rate postal boxes and Mr. Gren mailed it off for me last weekend. I had to send it to Mrs. G’s parents’ since her apartment mail delivery is a bit dodgy. Ack, the suspense was killing me! But on Sunday, she let me know that she had received it. And she loves it! Mission accomplished! (And, Mrs. G: If the cat pukes on the afghan, machine wash cold, dry low heat. 🙂 )