Happy at Home Hoodie

Over the summer I saw an advertisement for the Happy at Home Hoodie by Rachel Misner. I actually purchased the kit from Lion Brand Yarns, which included the Coboo yarn. Side Note: one of the skeins had some discoloration throughout the skein that made the yarn and sweater looked stained. I emailed Lion Brand Yarns and they gave me a gift card to include the amount for a replacement skein and shipping. I was very happy w/ Lion Brand support. They were so easy to deal with and responsive.

Completed Happy at Home Hoodie, size Large

Side Note: one of the skeins had some discoloration throughout the skein that made the yarn and sweater looked stained. I emailed Lion Brand Yarns and they gave me a gift card to include the amount for a replacement skein and shipping. I was very happy w/ Lion Brand support. They were so easy to deal with and responsive.

Overall, this pattern was pretty easy, it’s made in four parts (front, back, arms), and then sewn together before completing the hood. The Coboo yarn is soft, and I like the look and feel of it, but it can be a pain to work with. This yarn splits easily, so I often had to slow down because I kept getting snagged on the yarn, especially during the ribbing.

Second Note: Read the instructions carefully, when I went to make my second sleeve, I made it too short because I forgot that there were five extra rows in the instructions further down the page. Also, I should have known better than to cut the yarn before I compered the sleeves, but I was rushing to finish the project because I was starting a CAL and I was hoping to finish the sweater in time for Thanksgiving weekend.

I washed the sweater and I’m hanging it to dry, because I want the stitches to pull the sweater down a bit. No, I didn’t swatch and the sweater is a tiny bit small on me, so I am trying to stretch it a little with gravity. Plus I’ve been dieting and losing weight (slowly) so the sweater should be fitting me well soon. I still love the sweater, it it very much my style, the type of sweater I would buy if I saw it at the store.

Hansel and Gretel Cotton Candy

The second Hansel and Gretel prop I made for Halloween this year were giant cotton candy inspired by this pin. It doesn’t look like that blog is available anymore, but making these is actually pretty easy, as long as you don’t mind hot glue gun burns.

Materials:

Wood dowels (to stake the cotton candy in the ground)

Plastic Poster Board (plastic to be weather proof outside)

Chinese Paper Lanterns (not the wishing lanterns, the round decorative lanterns)

Poly-fil

Hot Glue

Spray Paint

Large Gift Basket Bag (Optional)

Bow (Optional)

To start, roll the poster board into a cotton candy cone shape. There are some You tune videos out there if you need help. I tried to make sure there was a large enough hole in the cone that my wood dowel would fit into. Tape the cone down and slide the wood dowel into the cone. Then I taped the cone onto the wood dowel.

Next put together the Chinese paper lantern. I slide the dowel and cone into the lantern from the top and then hooked the lantern onto the top of the cone.

Now you will take pieces of the Poly-fil and glue them onto the lantern using the hot glue gun. If you really want to make a nice cotton candy, I think some wool roving would really look like cotton candy, but since I was making several of these, that was a bit expensive to try. It will take a lot of gluing and a lot of hot glue to make each cotton candy, I even went and bought a larger gun that uses larger sticks to make it faster to make.

Once all the Poly-fil is on the lantern, just spray paint the color you want. I did pink and blue.

To finish it off, use a large gift basket bag and bow (optional). I have bags on all of them to protect them from the weather, but they don’t all have bows, only a few came with the gift bags.

Hansel and Gretel Cupcakes

This year’s Halloween theme is Hansel and Gretel. My first prop that I made were large cupcakes, inspired by this pin. To make my cupcakes I decided they needed to be topped with cherries.

So a few years ago my friend Trish and her friend’s dressed up as banana splits, they each had different costumes and Trish made them hats topped with these amazing cherries she made. Trish is an artist and a Multimedia Designer at my company (super talented), so I asked her how she made her cherries, see one of her amazing banana split hats, below.

Banana Split Hat and cherry made by Trisha Fritz

To make the cherry start with a block of green flower arrangement foam (the soft foam) and carve it into the shape of a charry. I started with a pairing knife and then used some Styrofoam tools to smooth out. I have a set of plastic tools I picked up at a craft store years ago. Afterwards she said to coat the foam with a plaster and sand it smooth. I decided to use a joint compound, which probably wasn’t the best choice, but after several applications and sanding I finally got my cherries to look decent. The problem with the joint compound was that it kept coming off the foam leaving divots. I tried to paint over them, but it was still noticeable. Then I found some small joint compound patch, that I was able to use to fill the pocks in my cherries. I painted my cherries with red paint and finished them off with a glossy bright red spray paint. For the stems, Trish had taken a wire and wrapped with masking tape and painted it. I had found these green wrapped flower arrangement wire and decided to use that as my stem. I folded over the ends a little to make them look like the little nubbins on the ends of cherry stems.

For the cupcakes, I bought some dollar store plastic flower pots and covered them in corrugated cardboard sheets. I filled the pots with insulating foam, took about 1 1/2 to 2 cans per pot to fill it up with foam. For the sprinkles, Trish had mad her sprinkles using sculpty clay. I was trying to make my own sprinkles, when I came across these balloon sticks I had bought years ago, so I cut them into pieces, instant sprinkles!

After the foam hardened I used a glue gun to glue the cherry and sprinkles on the cupcakes. I made 6 total. I certainly made some mistakes, and they’re not all awesome. But I think they came out pretty good, overall.

Moogly’s Citrus Twist Tote

I know I often write about the Facebook crochet group I belong to, Life Long Crochet. Recently they had a Moogly CAL (crochet-a-long). I don’t tend to do too many CALs, but I like Moogly and the bag they were making was cute. But really I saw someone else’s version of the bag and I thought, Oh now I want to make one.

The Citrus Twist Tote by Tamara Kelly is super cute, fast and easy. It was fun to see everyone’s versions of the tote, and the color choices everyone made. I decided to use up a bunch of my La Mia Mini Cottony to make my tote. I joined the CAL at the end of the first week and I made my bag in about 4 days, which is super fast for me. I loved seeing everyone’s color choices so much that I decided to make a second bag with the leftover t-shirt yarn, Maker Home Dec, in my stash, both bags above.

After the CAL, the Group had a drawing for a free Ravelry pattern, and I won! Yay! So my free pattern that I picked was another pattern by Tamara Kelly called the Ripley Shawl. I have another top in the works that will likely take me forever, but afterwards I think I’ll try to do this shawl. Maybe I’ll even do this shawl first, as a Christmas gift before I finish my top. We’ll see.

George Update

We went through about 6 months trying to integrate George with our other cats. Here’s an update on Georgie. We realized that the integrations weren’t going well, so we were weaning him of the meds and were looking to possibly rehome him, if we could find the right home.

A coworker knew someone that was looking for a cat, so we were hoping he would like George, but that fell through. Once Georgie was off his meds his personality started to really come out. He’s a clown; such a silly cat. He’s still really sweet (to us). He has our hearts and we can’t let him go at this point.

So now Georgie lives in the bedroom area of the house while the other cats stay out in the living area. He’s really happy, we think. He and Nathan still batt at each other at the gate. Perhaps when Petunia passes we will try to see if he can get along with the others, but we aren’t holding our breath. Maybe someday when he’s old he’ll mellow out, we’ll see.

Occasionally he still pees on the bed. It seemed to start again, when my husband wanted us to site swap again to let him have the other part of the house for a bit. It seemed to stress him some more, switching back and smelling the other cats. He also occasionally will pee on the bed if we spend a lot of time out in the living room with the other cats. So we keep the tarp on the bed as a preventative measure. This is really the reason I wouldn’t try to rehome him, you never know if he did it somewhere else how they’d react. Lord knows it wasn’t easy for me to accept in the beginning.

So here’s to a long and happy life for Georgie. He likes to hang at my feet in the morning while I’m working, lounge out on top of the cat cocoon, and snuggle in bed with me and my husband. Such a sweet boy, our Georgie.

Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival 2021

This was the first year that the Pittsburgh Knit ad Crochet Festival has been run by Laura Regan, during a pandemic and the Delta variant surge. I’d say despite all of that the festival turned out great this year. This year the festival was Thursday – Saturday, so I took two days off of work.

Soap Sacks for S.A.C.K.

Thursday I wore my Serengeti Tank by Charles Voth. I volunteered on that day, but spent the first couple of hours on the marketplace floor checking out all the vendors and working on the scavenger hunt. I kept my spending pretty much under control the first day, but still came home with some nice things. I bought a large African basket at Frog It Yarns. I bought a cute Wonder Woman wrap kit at Treasure Goddess Yarn. I decided to risk getting an Outlander Mrs. Frit’s Armwarmer knitting kit (don’t remember which vendor that was). And as always I bought some Ashgrove Soaps.

Friday I wore my Summertime Tee by Toni Lipsey. I spent the first couple of hours on the marketplace floors again. This time I did not control my spending as well, or at all. I bought a bunch of yarn from Underhill Farm, The Yarn Smith, Unplanned Peacock Studio, 29 Bridges Studio, and Sassy Black Yarns. I bought a tunic from The Maasai International (sorry about the wrinkled picture). I decided to try some arthritis gloves from And I bought some more soap from Ashgrove Soaps.

I spent some time in the make’s space and met a nice woman from the Bethany Community Ministries. They do a lot of charity work for the community. After speaking with her and learning they make crochet blankets for the homeless I offered to bring her yarn. Then I started a soap sack for S.A.C.K. I met Stacy Wiener, the founder. She’s a very sweet person and it was fun to crochet and talk with some other’s while making the soap sack. I had to go to my volunteer shift, so I took my project to the information table and made 2 soap sacks while giving out information to people.

I took the Intro to Tunisian class. A few years ago I had taken the Next Steps in Tunisian Crochet class, but after teaching myself Tunisian in a crash course in order to take the class, it was still a bit difficult, so I thought I’d start from scratch again. I can say, that I don’t think I really like Tunisian so much. I may give up on Tunisian for now. I think I’d rather learn knitting. I did get a nice ball of yarn from Bella Cash as a class gift.

Today I wore my Shoreline Raglan Sweater. I brought in two large bags of yarn for the Bethany Community Ministries and I took the Freeform Crochet class. I had taken it at my first Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet festival several years ago. I’ve been working on a freeform project, but I wanted a refresher on several things, mostly the bullion stitch. I enjoyed the class and had fun talking with the other women in there. I also helped out some with doing spirals and bullions, so it was fun to help as well. I wonder if perhaps I’ve reached a point where I could start to teach classes. I’m not sure what I would teach though. I was thinking I could do a crochet tips class with various crochet design tips? Or maybe to teach how to join in the round? Our class gift was a knitting booklet and some sample yarn.

Overall, I think this year was successful. I hope the vendors did well. I know things still aren’t back to normal and it certainly wasn’t as crowded as it was in years past. I also wonder if perhaps I’d want to travel to other crochet festivals in the future and learn as much as I can learn.

Shoreline Raglan Sweater

I’ve been looking for a pattern to use my Baah LaJolla from my stash and I came across the Shoreline Raglan Sweater on Ravelry. The pattern is by Tina Marie and she has a choose what you pay option $6, $7, or $8. I paid the full price, but it’s nice that the price is adjustable for those that can’t pay the full price. I have to say though, the pattern is completely worth the cost. It is 14 pages of detailed instructions with variations to add fading, optional waist shaping, short sleeve option, and optional sleeve decrease.

The pattern was pretty well documented, but I did have to create my own cheat sheet for the increases, though. They are documented on the last page, but I needed stitch counts per row for each section, so I charted them out in Excel. I made mine with the fade, but did not do any of the other options.

I’ve learned that I’m horrible at following instructions though. I didn’t follow the arm patterns close enough. I was focused on the pattern and the fade and didn’t do some of the special rows (double solids, double lace). It’s ok though, I still think it’s a beautiful sweater. I was hoping to wear it in England in September, but that trip is likely to get postponed again.

Serengeti Tank

I belong to a crochet Facebook Group called Life Long Crochet. The group is moderated by Charles Voth and Rebecca Mattison, who are both designers. I’ve belonged to a few crochet groups on Facebook, but this one is my favorite and the only one I regularly follow. It’s relatively small with 1,300 members and it’s nice and friendly. There is hardly any drama in this group, so it makes it an enjoyable experience. Charles and Rebecca often do Crochet-A-Longs and I participated in one several years ago, although that’s the one I’ve done (I feel too much pressure to keep up).

Modeling my new tank top

So a few month ago, there was a sale on Charles’ Serengeti Tank pattern at Willow Yarns. Unfortunately, the pattern is not currently published, so I don’t have a URL, currently, but will try to add it here once it is available again. I also didn’t see the post in order to get the sales price, but that’s ok.

This is the first time I actually did any swatching before starting a pattern, but I decided that since this was clothing, I probably should swatch.

My first swatch

I decided to use my Juniper Moon Dappled Yarn from my stash, because I’m really trying to use stash yarn where possible. I have been saving it for a cute top and it seemed like it would look really nice with this pattern. I looked at what the pattern called for and according to my math it seemed I would need two more balls to make the tank. I actually made this tank with less than the 2 balls I started with, so now I have 2 1/2 balls of this yarn and my stash has actually increased. It appears I will need to make a second one for my mom now. Oops.

There were a couple of times I got got confused, while doing the increases of the motif, but outside of being stumped a few times, the pattern was pretty easy to follow. I think it came out great. I’ll admit that I made one modification ( a little bit of a collar). I just went back and did a few rounds of scs to give the collar a little more weight.

The pattern comes with the choice of doing an A-line, which I did. It draped very nicely while I was making it. But I decided to hang it dry to block it and that pulled the stiches down, which isn’t as flattering on me with my COVID 20, so I did go back and re-block it to stretch the stiches more wide.

Yarn Inventory

Over the years I’ve bought yarn here, there, and everywhere. I’ve gone on yarn splurges at LYS for Yarnapolooza. Sometimes I buy yarn for specific projects that I don’t start, or finish, or have left overs from. Once I had a whole bin of yarn donated to me from a friend. And once I get this yarn I stash it around the house, my office closet, in bins under the guest bed, in $10 footstool cubes from Target, still in bags hanging from hooks.

Often times when I’m out at a craft store, craft festival or LYS, I buy yarn because it’s pretty and I think, ooh I can make something nice with that, but I don’t actually have anything in mind. So this sometimes causes me to buy too much or too little of something. But then when I want to start a project, I look at my yarn and think, there’s nothing here for the project, and I end up buying more yarn just for my project. So I thought, geez I really need to do an inventory of my yarn and update my Ravelry stash, so I know what I have on hand and maybe I can use up this yarn I already have?

So I spent the week taking inventory of most of my yarn. I still have a lot of scrap yarn and amigurumi yarn that I didn’t inventory and perhaps my next project should be improving my storage so I can see all the yarn I have.

I have a bunch of yarn that is left over from previous projects or that I’ve used on multiple projects. I still love that Ice Yarns. I’ve used that several times and I still have about 2 skeins left, so I should make something else with it. The Toft yarn is left over from several Edward’s Menagerie projects.

Some yarn in my stash is specific to future projects I have planned. I have a bunch of yarn saved for my next super secret project. This Jambalaya yarn was bought at the last Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival. While going through my stash I found a yarn I had bought to make a gift for my cousin’s daughter, Marissa, abought 20 years ago. I wrote her name on the yarn, maybe if she has a daughter I can use it.

Some of my yarn is from local farms. I have some alpaca yarn from Magnus from Willowbrook Alpacas. I had adopted an alpaca for my friend for a year and we visited Marcus during Yarnapolooza II: The Marcus Adventures. And the Mohair is from Underhill Farm. I met the owners during the last Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival 2019.

I also have a few kits to complete. I have a few of these Outlander kits and some amigurumi kits, and a Stunning Strings kit.

A few years ago a friend gifted me a huge bin of yarn, and there was some really nice yarn in there too! These pics are just the odds and ends from the bin, most of the yarn that still had labels ended up in the inventory and were added to the stash.

OK, well I better get busy. I have a lot of yarn I need to use up.

Charming Tauntaun Blanket Wrap

Over three years ago, I had a New Year’s resolution to start this project and I had a follow up post with some progress. But once this monster got big, it mostly stayed in the project bag, because it was too heavy and hot to take out and work on. This winter I decided I was going to finally finish it, then as I was working on it I realized some of the yarns had been discontinued, so the fire was really on my butt to get this done. Here it is, 3 years and 3 months later, the giant Tauntaun blanket that I made for my husband.

My husband modeling his new Tauntaun blanket

This blanket was inspired by the Tauntaun sleeping bag. My original sketches had legs instead of a sack and I thought of lining it and adding a zipper, but in the end I stuck with simplicity. There is no pattern for this, I cobbled together the hood, the body, and horn as well as some modifications. The rest is pretty much free hand outside of the inspirations of the patterns. The body is all hdc, the arms are dc. This thing is heavy and warm.

The cats love this blanket. Any time I was working on it, they would lay on it.

The entire thing cost about $400 in suplies:

Yarn Bee Snuggle Up White, 7 skeins

Yarn Bee Snuggle Up Silver Fox, 18 skeins

Yarn Bee Snuggle Up Silver, 26 skeins

Knitpicks Clarity Comfy Worsted,12 skeins

Knitpicks Light Blue Comfy Worsted, 40 skeins

Safety Eyes

And as much as I was afraid of running out of yarn, I ended up with a ton left over.

George Update:

He’s still with us, although not integrated with the other cats. He really doesn’t like them.