A Tale of Two Cowls

I was having lunch today with a couple of friends, both who had lived northeast for awhile but had migrated back down to Texas.  “It’s weird that it’s the holiday season and we’re all in shorts,” one of them said.

And that’s pretty much what fall and winter is like in Texas.  Eighty degrees?  Well, I guess it’s time to pull out the winter boots, because when else are you going to wear them?  Below seventy degrees outside?  BRING OUT ALL YOUR WINTER GEAR.

I have two finished cowls to show you, even though it’s currently 75 degrees outside and I will get a heat stroke if I wear them.

Rock Climbing in Vegas Cowl

Last year Fiancé and I went to Las Vegas for a friend’s wedding. It was such a wonderful trip!  Before we left, I stopped by the Sin City Knit Shop and bought a skein of their famous “Roll the Dice” yarn.  I received a free pattern with my purchase and selected the “Rock Climbing in Vegas” pattern by Debbi McCarty.  It seemed the most accessible for a beginning knitter.

As is customary with my projects, I didn’t start it until June of this year, when my family and I were traveling to Italy. I figured it would be a fun project to take with me on a plane.  I worked on the project during the two weeks we were there.  It was a nice way to take a mental retreat.

My cousin’s cat was really intent on helping me with the project.

“I got this.”

“But seriously…just let me try it.”

My aunt’s cat really wanted to help, too.  Italian cats are so nice, you guys!

The project worked up really nicely. I love the ombré effect.

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And the cowl is so soft and squishy!

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Decreasing the size of this picture so my face doesn’t take up your entire screen.  HEY GUYS!

This cowl is perfect to wear for transitioning into cooler weather.  It’s lightweight enough so I won’t sweat to death if I wear it in sub-70 degree temperatures.

Lil’ Snood Dogg

When I got back from the field last month, I decided to treat myself to a Joann’s trip. My brother had gotten me a gift card, and the money was burning a hole in my pocket.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a whole rack full of Wool and the Gang projects.  I excitedly took home a Lil’ Snood Dogg kit.

Let’s see what we’ve got inside.

The yarn is a cheaper wool/acrylic blend than the Crazy Sexy Wool you would get with ordering the kit directly from Wool and the Gang.  I’ve never worked with Crazy Sexy Wool but I liked the blend that came from the Joann’s kit.

The project is worked up in moss stitch. There were definitely some tension issues on my end.  A couple of rows to the end, I messed up and did a couple of knit stitches in a row, but was too lazy to fix it.  Sewing the ends of the cowl was a wonky task given the tension differences at the beginning and the end.  The stitches also worked okay, considering my dog decided to try and eat my knitting needles halfway through it.

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Despite the imperfections, I like the look of the cowl.  It’s snuggly and I don’t think my mistakes will be noticeable.

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I look like I’m about to rob a bank?

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MY FACE HAS TAKEN OVER YOUR SCREEN. HI.

I think I’ll wait until we get really cold weather to wear this cowl, though. So…I can wear this for like three days in January. Can’t wait!

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Wearable Crochet – Wool and the Gang’s Calvin Top

Good morning friends!

Today I want to talk about my first experience with crochet garment making!  I made the Calvin Top from Wool and the Gang.  With this project kit, you get three balls of Billie Jean yarn in one of three colorways.  I made mine in Washed Out Denim. This yarn is made from upcycled denim waste, and works up to be really light-weight and breathable.

Voilaaaaaaa!!!

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I’m modeling a couple of different looks here.  The top is perfect for weekend wear – seeing a movie with friends, hanging out at the park, or a casual date.  I’m wearing an undershirt to illustrate how you can wear this top in a more professional setting – you can very easily swap the jeans for a skirt or khaki pants.  (Also, I don’t want all of Instagram to see my bra, since the top is kinda see-through.  SORRY NOT SORRY).

This project is fairly straightforward as it uses primarily double crochet stitches.  The pattern does a good job of walking you through the piece and for the most part, I did not struggle with any of the pattern mechanics.

What I DID struggle with was gauge.  I had made the gauge swatch as recommended, and had hovered in between two hook sizes.  I went with a larger hook but then did not continuously check my gauge as I moved forward with the project.  This resulted in my needing to order another ball of yarn when I was so close to finishing the project.  That was a frustrating lesson to take my gauge more seriously.

I was also in the phase of stubbornly not counting my stitches when I worked up this piece.  It did look wonky at some parts but luckily the effect was hidden when I sewed the top pieces together.  It goes without saying that I should have been counting my stitches instead of just being like, “Whatever, it’ll work itself out.” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I made a slight modification to the pattern – it has a little cord/tie at the bottom. I wasn’t feeling it, so I left it out.  The top is also little shorter than I would prefer.; if I would make this top again, I’d make it a little longer.  But overall, I’m really happy with the piece.  I was so happy to finish my first crocheted garment!

On a slightly unrelated note, I still struggle not to burst into laughter when modeling the “trying to remember if I made a doctor’s appointment” pose that is so popular on Instagram right now.  “Just be yourself,” Fiancé said as he snapped photos.

So I did this*:

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“…maybe be less of yourself,” he responded.

I don’t think I’ve ever posted this many pictures of myself on this blog.  I am feeling slightly narcissistic and I should probably stop now.  Until next time!

*When I was in high school, I was taking a group photo with the rest of my Academic Decathlon team after a competition.** The photographer told my team to be silly.  I made this exact same pose and covered up everyone else’s face in the photo.

** Yes, I was in Academic Decathlon. ***

*** It probably all makes sense now, right?

Little Box of Crochet – Darling Little Duck Project Review

Happy Saturday, friends!  Today I want to show you a Little Box of Crochet project that I recently finished (and by recently, I mean an hour ago).

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This little duck looks really world weary, doesn’t he? He’s BEEN THROUGH A LOT, OK?

This fun little project was designed by Anisbee Anisbee  using Three Bears Yarn.

Let’s peek inside this box, which was released this past July to all subscribers.  (So I’m only two months behind, cool).

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Let’s open it up…

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With this project, you get an encouraging postcard from Nicola Rowlands, a pen and notebook, your hook and project yarn, and a stitch marker from Koro Clay Studio.  You also get a little bit of stuffing for your duck, but if you don’t have any on hand, I’d suggest you purchase some.  The stuffing included in the box is just enough to get you started, but won’t be enough to fill the entire duck (which makes sense – there’s no way to fit all that stuffing in one box!)

The yarn is soft and easy to work with.

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I moved along with the project pretty quickly at first.  This was my first large-scale amigurumi project but the pattern was easy to follow.

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He looks like a little bowling pin here.

I was moving along swimmingly until I got to the part where I had to make his little feet.  I thought, “This looks challenging” and put the project away for about a month.

Finally I felt guilty and started assembling the feet.  It wasn’t as bad as I’d thought, but I think a couple of photos to guide me through the process would have made me feel a little better about making them!

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I finally finished the feet last night.  I definitely miscounted on one of them, and they look a little wonky overall (don’t tell Ducky.  He’s a little touchy about his feet, ok?)

This morning I sewed on his little feet, beak, and created his eyes.

Voilaaaaaaa!

 

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This sweet little guy is all complete!  There are also some bonus projects if you’d like to use up your extra yarn, like a garland or finger puppet.

For anyone wanting to wade into the world of amigurumi, this is a great box to get started with!

Little Box of Crochet – Crochet Mug Cozy Project Review

Hello friends!

The weather in Texas actually…dare I say it?  Feels like fall?  I’m almost afraid to make that proclamation, because usually once I feel really happy about cooler weather, the temperature will jump back up into the 90s.   I am now able to go for a run without feeling like I would get a heat stroke, and I’ve already dug out my boots.  Fall is my favorite season!

Today I wanted to share a review of Little Box of Crochet’s February project, Crochet Mug Cozies.  This pattern was put together by Attic24, so I was really excited for this box. If you don’t follow Attic24’s work, her projects are all studies in color and they are marvelous.

This completed project has been waiting for a review for quite some time now.  I was working on it during my first test attempt in the spring.  Several weeks before the test, I was in this dark mood where I would stay up past midnight watching Forensic Files and working on this project. ??? I don’t know why I was going down that hole of darkness, but at least I was able to get this project finished that way.

Let’s take a look at the box, shall we?

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Already it’s mega-colorful!  Now to open the box…

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With this box you get a beautiful pin and some really fun crochet stickers.

Just look at all that yarn!

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This project’s yarn is from Yarn and Colors.   The yarn was beautiful and really easy to work with.

Let’s meet the mugs who will be modeling my finished projects, shall we?

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Fiancé’s “Let the F=ma be with you” cup (GET IT?!) and this cute ass cup:

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(This has nothing to do with crochet, but the inside of the mug is just as cute. Check it:)

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I have another mug that says, “How ewe doing?”

ANYWAY.  And here they are completed, voilaaaaa!

I’m really pleased with the finished results!  The colors work beautifully together and are so bright and cheery.  In terms of difficulty, this is completely accessible to a beginner.  I’m still learning how to work in the round so you can see that my leaves and flowers are just a little wonky. But nearly everything is in single crochet (double crochet for any UK readers), and the pattern was pretty simple and easy to follow.

I will admit that I am very lazy when it comes to doing extra work with crochet.  I just now started counting my stitches after having to frog rows too many times.  The pattern suggests you try your cozy on your favorite mug after completing your first row to make sure it fits.  Nahhhh I thought, it’ll be fine.

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The cute ass sheep mug may or may not have had tape on the back of it to make the cozy fit.  

Overall, this was a fun and simple project, and I had a lot of fun making it.  And now that the weather is getting cooler again, it’s the perfect opportunity to use them!

Apparently “Wedding Planning Wednesday” is a Thing

I learned recently from the internet that “Wedding Planning Wednesday” is a thing.  I have to say I haven’t done very much of it lately.  After being in the field for two weeks, I was hit with the “OH GOD MY TEST IS IN APRIL” freakout and have been studying for that (or, the nightly reminder that I’ve forgotten everything I learned in college YAYYYY!)

But we’ve picked a venue and set a date, so that’s a good step to cross off the list, I think.  Venue selection was interesting at first but it grew tiring by the end.  We had some pretty entertaining encounters during our search.  The first place we looked at told us they’d “rather not serve people with severe food allergies,” so I guess I need to tell my mom she’s not eating at my wedding? I hastily scratched that place off my list.  One venue was someone’s literal backyard.  Which…wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing if it were a large property and the person’s home was out of sight, but no.  Her house was right there, and we could hear her grandkids playing while we met with her, and it was weird. She was also very talkative and was starting to make judgment calls on some of our choices, so we “noped” out of there very quickly.

The venue we ended up selecting is very us – cozy, relaxed but elegant.  They also have a built-in rain plan, which was a big reason why we selected this venue. We’d fallen in love with another venue, but they didn’t have a rain plan.  We would have had to rent a tent, and the tent plans are just insane.  You have to put down 50% as your deposit, and you had the option to wait 5 days until the wedding and get your entire deposit back if you decide you don’t want the tent.  OR you wait until 2 days out to decide you don’t want your tent, but then that means you forfeit your deposit.  Knowing how much I check on the weather when I’m in the field, there’s no way I’d be comfortable with the 5 day plan. And there’s no way I would have been cool with throwing hundreds of dollars away with the 2 day plan.  I’ve very glad we selected the venue with the rain plan.

Oh yeah, and we got this cute guest book:

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We bought it at Book People.  It’s not a traditional guest book, but it’s adorable and I love birds.  Hence, now it’s our guest book.

I was reading some bridal magazines yesterday and I’m sorry, I really like The Knot but sometimes they’re insane.  They had article about ~spicing up your reception~ by hiring aerial water dancers or an artist who can paint impressionistic pieces of the wedding reception.  GREAT IDEAS, GUYS.  While we’re at it, why don’t I get a fountain that spouts liquid chocolate?  Or custom-made robots for everyone as a party favor? Why don’t I do that, The Knot?  OR I can just purchase disposable cameras, put them at every guest’s table, and call it day.*

In other news, side one of the Calvin top is almost ready!

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I’m at the part where I have to make rows of double crochet mesh stitches.  It’s crazy but if I keep at it, I can conceivably finish this by this weekend. WHAT.  I’m getting pretty concerned that the tension is all wrong and that it will be like donning a burlap sack when it’s finished, but we’ll see how it goes!

Okay I need to work and stuff, talk to you all Friday!

*Do disposable cameras still exist?
** I’m just kidding. Sort of.