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What’s new?

Well, the cowl design I was working on is now in time-out. I’m not 100% happy with it (I think a change in the yarn will help) so I’m going to revisit it towards the end of summer and get it out in time for fall. I can’t think about cowls right now anyway! Spring has sprung here in Mississippi! And this warmer weather makes me crave more lace! Something light! Something airy!

So a new lace shawl is in the works! I am almost finished with the knitting (it’s a lot farther along than the pic above) and hope to get the pattern out to my tech editor and test knitters in a couple of weeks! If you’re a lace lover, I will be posting a call for test knitters in my Ravelry group and on my Facebook page so watch those spaces! And yes, I created a Facebook page yesterday! So give it a “LIKE” if you’re on Facebook! I wanted a place where I could post quick announcements, show sneak peeks at new designs and post calls for test knitters, etc. So I hope you’ll join me there! I know the timing kinda sucks on this as Facebook is getting some backlash about the current reach of Pages but I’m giving it a shot and hope you’ll join me on the journey!

Another “new” thing for me is starting an Etsy shop. I had never sold my patterns on Etsy in the past because they didn’t have an automatic download service for digital files and I felt that the whole wait-for-me-to-email-you-the-file system was kind of clunky. But now they DO offer instant downloads so I’m open for business there as well. So if you’re on Etsy, “favorite” my shop so you can keep up with its growth! I’m excited about building up my pattern collection there!

I also have a “new friend” that came into my life this past weekend. Darby the Dressform! She and I are becoming fast friends. She’s modeling my Flower Market Shawl above and will probably be making several modeling appearances in the future. Next to the dogs, this is the third thing in the house that I now have lengthy one-sided conversations with during the day. And I’m now getting to the point where I don’t scream when I turn the corner and catch a glimpse of her out of the corner of my eye. Progress!

So what’s new in your world? I hope it’s starting to warm up where you are! What do you like to knit when the weather heats up?

Hello 2014!

Yes, I know it’s February and we are well into 2014 but I feel like I’m still getting acclimated to it. So it still feels like the start of a new year to me.

I haven’t posted since October! Yikes. I got completely sucked into the chaos of the holidays. My grandmother passed away in November (at the young age of 102!) so between that and Thanksgiving and Christmas, we fit in three road trips to South Carolina (600 miles one way) in the span of about 5 weeks. I seriously felt like I was living in our car. I am thankful to be home and able to stay put for a while.

In my last post about my Halona pattern, I mentioned how I had designed it to use in lieu of a winter coat since winters down here in Mississippi “are really not too bad.” Oh boy. By uttering those words I had unknowingly sealed our fate. This has been the worst. winter. ever. Apologies to everyone in America! It’s all my fault! Even as I write this, it’s doing some sort of combo snow/sleet/rain thing outside. I’m wearing wool socks, two pairs of pajama bottoms, three shirts and a scarf. Layers, people. It’s what’s keeping me alive right now.

Just last week it sleeted for probably 18 hours straight. The roads were a mess and walking outside was done at your own risk. Our front yard looked like a winter wonderland except that it wasn’t snow! It was pure sleet. Gross.

So I did the only thing I knew to do! I hunkered down with plenty of knitting and kept myself warm with copious amounts of coffee… 

Those are my marigold socks that I started two years ago. I was going through my hibernating projects and decided these need to be finished. That’s true for a lot of other projects. Maybe 2014 will be my year of finishing stuff.

I did start (and finish!) several things over the past few months! Since practically everyone I know had a baby, there was a lot of baby knitting and crocheting, including several hats and this blanket, which was my favorite, by far…

The pattern is Girasole by Jared Flood and I really loved knitting it. I hadn’t knit lace in a long time so it was great to get back to it.

I also designed a cowl that I just need to tweak a bit and then write up the pattern! So hopefully I can do that soon! Then I’ll need test knitters! {hint hint}

I hope you are staying warm where you are! And if you’re reading this in the southern hemisphere, please send the warmer seasons our way! I am D-O-N-E with winter.

New Pattern: Halona

halona-6

Halona is now available for purchase on Ravelry, Craftsy, Patternfish and, of course, here on my blog!

Halona is a semicircular shawl with an elongated wingspan to help with draping (and wrapping!). The finished size is approximately 74 inches x 20 inches, depending on gauge and how severely you block it. Instructions for the body of the shawl are written and the border has both written and charted instructions so you can pick your preference. The pattern is super simple to memorize and knits up fairly quickly so you can have it ready in time for the cooler fall weather (which a lot of you are already experiencing! Jealous!).

halona-4

The pattern calls for 455 yards of a solid worsted-weight yarn and 245 yards of a long strand variegated worsted-weight yarn (the sample uses Cascade 220 and Noro Kureyon). I think it would also look great using two solid colored yarns! Also, the “wrong side” is gorgeous so I’m declaring this sucker reversible.

When I was designing this shawl I was really wanting something I could use instead of a coat this winter. While it does get cold down here, winters are really not too bad and having to lug around a coat or even a jacket seems like overkill sometimes (and because of that I will sometimes go without and freeze my tookus off). This shawl is perfect to wrap up in when I head outside and I can just leave it draped over my shoulders the rest of the time. A win-win!

halona-2

A couple of my test knitters expressed an interest in knitting another one in a fingering- or sport-weight yarn which would make it a light and airy shawl perfect for spring and summer. A shawl for every season!

HalonaPreview

Oh, and I’ve started a Freckles & Purls group on Ravelry for Ravelers to discuss or ask questions about my patterns and just chit-chat in general about knitting, crocheting and life. I’ll also use the group to find future test knitters and maybe have some fun promotions and giveaways! So if you’re on Ravelry, stop by and pull up a chair!

Also, many thanks to my friend Whitney for modeling for me! I definitely owe her a beer.

Or two.

halona-3

Changing Light

changinglight

This is my absolute favorite time of the year. Fall is probably my favorite season and that transition period between summer (my least favorite season! SO HOT!) and fall just puts a permanent smile on my face (and a little spring in my step!). My first hint that fall is coming is the changing light. Have you noticed that? The shadows get longer. The color of the mornings and evenings is different. It’s hard to explain how it’s different but I notice it. And it gets me very very excited! Of course, the Mississippi heat has not relented yet but I know that’s coming soon because the light is changing!

This time of year I start thinking about weekends watching football, chilis and stews simmering on the stove, pumpkin in everything. Concerts in the park, open windows, chilly mornings. And of course knitting. It’s the start of knitting season! My hands start itching for a new, warmer project. Maybe a sweater. Maybe a blanket. It’s like unwrapping a gift! Ahh… fall… I’m glad you’re (almost) here.

This fall will be extra special because I have a new pattern coming out in early October. It’s the perfect shawl for this transition to colder days. Like a warm blanket to wrap yourself up in as you head out the door (but it’s not a blanket, it’s a shawl! So you won’t look like a homeless person!). It’s currently in the hands of my trusty test-knitters and I can’t wait for its debut. And it’s a fairly quick and simple knit. A good project for those evenings spent curled up on the couch watching TV. No concentration required.

I hope you’re as excited about the change in seasons as I am. Look for the changing light!

What Next?

While I was working on the yarn bombing of Front Street I realized that I really really really don’t like working on just one thing. It makes me antsy! I kept dreaming of what I’d be able to work on when the yarn bombing was over. And that list of future projects kept growing. The day after the yarn bombing felt like Christmas! What did I want to start first?

New design

The first thing I started working on was a new design! (Whaaa?!?) I know, right! It’s about time! I’m still swatching things. (Recognize that yarn? It’s what I had left over from my Flower Market Shawl! So one design lends a hand in the creation of another.) I’m excited about this one! More details will come!

My next two projects have not been started yet and both are sort of new-to-me crafts. The first being hand embroidery. I’ve done a teensy bit of embroidery but never anything huge or difficult. There are so many beautiful hand embroidered masterpieces out there and I’m ready to try and create one myself with the Daisychain ABCs Crewelwork Sampler from Alicia Paulson, the creative mind behind one of my favorite blogs, Posie Gets Cozy.

Daisychain ABCs Crewelwork Sampler by Alicia Paulson

You can buy everything – the pattern, crewel wool and pre-printed fabric – in her shop Posie: Rosy Little Things. And there’s a flickr group, too! (Where I’ve been drooling over everyone’s samplers before getting the courage to start my own!) The pattern includes a template if you want to use your own fabric and she also gives similar DMC thread colors if you’d like to do it with embroidery floss instead. And each letter has full instructions on stitch-type and color (and included are instructions on how to do each type of stitch!). I’m excited (and still a little nervous) to start this!

Now there’s one more thing I’m itching to try. Sewing clothes! My mom always made clothes for us growing up. She made our prom dresses and her mother-of-the-bride dresses. And each one was impeccable! She tried to teach me when I was younger but I guess I wasn’t ready. Well, I’m ready now! And it seems like the universe is in full support. Have you noticed the increased interest in sewing these days? Did you watch The Great British Sewing Bee? If not, go now! It’s a competition show to find the best home sewer in England. I won’t spoil it for you. The entire first season is only 4 episodes long and they are all here on YouTube! You could watch it all in one day! I loved it so much! ♥♥♥

Since my mom is 600 miles away, I turned to Craftsy to teach me the ins and outs of apparel sewing. I signed up for Sewing Studio (a great class for beginners that teaches you how to make a pillow and a pencil skirt) and the Sassy Librarian Blouse Class because that blouse is SO CUTE! ♥ I’ve watched both classes from beginning to end and it finally makes sense to me! Christine Haynes (instructor for the Sassy Librarian Blouse) completely demystified button bands, collars, pintucks and set-in sleeves. I’m not afraid of them anymore! This whole thing is definitely doable.

I’m also excited to make the super cute (and super popular) Staple Dress by April Rhodes.

STAPLEphotomashup

My only problem is picking out which fabric to use! I’m sure I’ll end up doing what I’ve seen others do and make several of these in different prints! So many options! And it’s such a great wear-anywhere dress (and good for beginners, I hear). I’m excited about giving it a try!

Boy, I think all of that should keep me busy for a while. And I’m sure I’ll sneak in some small projects here and there (as I get distracted by other shiny objects – did you see that Heather Bailey is launching a line of embroidery patterns?! Squeeee!). Whatever happens, I can rest assured knowing that I’ll be having a very crafty summer. ✂

What are your craft plans for the summer? Will you be learning something new?

Back in January, my awesome crafting group (the Hub City Crafters) started tossing around the idea of doing a yarn bombing in downtown Hattiesburg. We thought the perfect time would be the Spring Art Walk in April and the perfect “partners in crime” would be the always-up-for-quirky-fun-stuff duo of Jason and Adam who own CLICK Boutique downtown (they just opened their online store so go buy cute things from them!). They were thrilled to have us yarn bomb their streetscape and even gave us two mannequins to bomb as well! (I decided to “bomb” them with some crocheted dresses and someone bought one of them! Score!)

First we measured everything – trees, parking meters, tables, chairs, door handles, mannequins – and starting handing out assignments. Everyone had about 6-8 weeks to finish their part(s) and we installed everything the morning of the Spring Art Walk (April 13). It was a HUGE success. Everyone loved it! (So much so that we got several requests for other yarn bombings around the city. Unfortunately, deadlines were too tight for us to pull them off. Yarn bombings take a lot of time to plan I discovered!)

Here is the big announcement email that CLICK sent out that morning:

ClickEmail

The installation:

Front St Yarn Bomb - Spring Art Walk 4/13/13
Front St Yarn Bomb - Spring Art Walk 4/13/13

Front St Yarn Bomb - Spring Art Walk 4/13/13
Front St Yarn Bomb - Spring Art Walk 4/13/13
Front St Yarn Bomb - Spring Art Walk 4/13/13
Front St Yarn Bomb - Spring Art Walk 4/13/13

Art Walk:

Front St Yarn Bomb - Spring Art Walk 4/13/13
Front St Yarn Bomb - Spring Art Walk 4/13/13
Front St Yarn Bomb - Spring Art Walk 4/13/13

We took it down after 12 days (before it got really icky). It really was a ton of fun and it was great to get such wonderful feedback from the community. It also brought some attention to our group which brought us new crafty people to play with! Yay! I can’t wait to do it again! (Well, yes I can. I am actually enjoying working on my own projects these days, thankyouverymuch! More on those later!)

I hope this has given YOU a little inspiration to plan your own yarn bombing! Go spread some happy! xoxo

Chirp Chirp!

So I guess the title of this post could have two meanings. The first being Yay! Spring is here! The birds are back! The flowers are blooming! The second being the *chirp-chirp* of crickets as this blog has been very very quiet lately! Well, as for the latter, the past few months have been filled with ups! And downs. One big “up” (and my main timesuck the past couple of months) has been the planning and implementation of a yarn bombing in downtown Hattiesburg that we successfully pulled off this past weekend for the Spring Art Walk. The yarn bombing deserves its own blog post so stay tuned for that! It ate up a lot of yarn and I drank up a lot of coffee!

A big “down” happened in February as an F-4 tornado came through Hattiesburg and destroyed hundreds of homes and buildings (on my 36th birthday, no less!). Thankfully, no one was killed.

Taken Feb. 12, 2013 – two days after the tornado hit. This is at our local Red Cross (just 1/3 of a mile from our house). It was completely destroyed.

These were taken April 11, 2013 – two months after the tornado hit. Still a lot of clean-up and rebuilding left to do.

I think I went into a bit of a funk after the tornado. I didn’t really want to do anything! I didn’t knit. I didn’t crochet. I had gone out the morning of for a”birthday run” but didn’t lace up my shoes again until more than a week later. I wanted to limit my exposure to all of the devastation. It had wiped out most of the old beautiful trees in front of the university. It changed our city. But, life is really starting to move forward here in Hattiesburg. We are busying ourselves with outdoor concerts, art walks, festivals. Yarn bombings! Spring is definitely bringing new life to our city!

And of course, once I started running regularly again, my mood started to lift! Go figure! That, coupled with the warmer temps, made me long for my knitting needles and crochet hooks. It even made me crave a bit of sewing!

So I decided to embrace this newly awakened sewing urge and finish some quilt blocks I had been slacking on for a quilting bee (before really buckling down for all of my yarn bombing projects).

Spring also gifted me with a nice surprise this week! I received Patternfish’s April newsletter and was shocked to see that my Flower Market Shawl pattern made the Prime Minister’s list of favorite patterns for 2012! She narrowed her original three page list down to only 18 patterns! Her kind words about my pattern were the icing on the cake (and a bit of a “pinch me” moment)! It was definitely a great start to my week!

I hope that Spring has brought you a few lovelies as well! And maybe inspired you to pull out your sewing machine, knitting needles, crochet hooks, or that project that’s been languishing. It is definitely my most favorite season of the year. I just wish it lasted longer down here! It’s starting to feel like summer already!

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