Ellie modeling the blanket, looking very contemplative.
Last month I finished this blanket for two of my newlywed friends who moved away to start their new lives on a farm in Oregon. My friend Emily is a lover of all things vintage, especially 1960s/70s era. I found this pattern for a modified African Flower afghan block featuring 8 pedals instead of the standard 6, creating a square instead of hexagon block. It has a nice vintage-feel and I like the colors – cool blues and purples – and I think the yellow centers really make the flowers pop. It was a great pattern to work with. The blanket took 3 months to finish and I’m incredibly happy with it! While sewing the squares together, I escaped the heat and watched tons of Star Trek: The Original Series. Engage!
I love to paint, but over the past few years I have had very little time to do it. Right now we are in the middle of a massive heat wave and are trapped inside. It’s too hot to do anything. Anytime you step outside it’s empty with just the sound of buzzing air conditioners and vibrating wires overhead. It’s eerie. It’s our version of a snow storm, except it looks beautiful outside, but as soon as you step out, you are enveloped in heat and can only rush backwards back into the house.
I found myself painting for several hours over the weekend. It’s a great way to ignore the heat with the aid of some music or Podcasts, I lose all sense of what’s around me and forget the 105+ degree heat and anything rattling around in my head is silenced. I revisited some old sketches I did several months ago and also practiced drawing and painting some new things including geometrically based succulents. Of course, the succulents! They aren’t far from my brain… I won’t show the full paintings yet, but here’s a couple of glimpses. I’m really happy with the studies and I hope to show the finished pieces soon.
Freeform crochet is the technique of crocheting with no pattern. You play it by
ear…hook and formulate the shapes that become objects or pieces of a project. I was inspired by a crocheter and designer on Ravelry who has made some beautiful blankets using the freeform technique with birds and sheep. They are incredibly unique looking, taken originally from a Dutch crochet book. I’ve been experimenting with the technique trying out some sheep and attempting to use up some of my out-of-control yarn stash. It’s kind of tricky, but it’s really fun and very dependent upon your own creativity and imagination. So far I’ve made three sheep. Three lop-sided sheep. Your first tries will never be perfect. I always have to remember that! I’m going to keep practicing until I get them how I want them.
Quick sheep sketches
Before starting, I did some quick sketches of very basic sheep. That helps me visualize them, and prepares my brain for translating them from ideas, to sketches, to the crocheted versions. (This is part of the process for Graphic Design too. See what I did there?)
I am not sure what shape this sheep is? Blob-ular?
This sheep looks pretty regal
Hopefully by showing these somewhat embarrassing first tries I’ll be motivated to keep practicing and increase the sheep herd. I also think that they’ll pop once they have the crocheted background. I’m still brainstorming the color. Green to mimic a pasture? Is that too obvious?
I designed some fun thank-you cards and they are now available in my Etsy Shop! There are currently two fun minimal designs and I hope to have more up in the future. They are available individually, as well as in a set of 5. They include super beautiful European-style envelopes.
I caught up on some podcasts and spent part of the afternoon working on the garden projects I linked to on the previous post. I made three small planters and several plant markers. I didn’t have any clay tools, specifically a smoothing tool to make the joints and connecting pieces look clean and professional. Since these are the first ones, I’m giving myself some slack. They aren’t perfect, but I like them anyways.
The plant markers were much easier and looked a lot better because they required less tools. I had a set of alphabet stamps which made the markers especially simple. I made markers for some of the succulents and herbs. I’m already making a list for more to make later. I think they look pretty good! FYI, the Mint marker is really white. The light gave it an orange tint.
Thanks to Say Yes to Hoboken for the planter instructions, and Wit & Whistle for the marker guide!
My summer to do list is starting to get a little out of control. A lot of my early efforts have been happening in the backyard. I’ve got most of the vegetable garden planted and seedlings started in small pots. I cleaned the back patio and got almost all of my new succulents planted! A few crafty projects have popped up that I really want to try. They both involve using polymer bake-able clay.
One is a Handmade Clay pot. The author designed hers in the shape of little houses. It looks fun and easy! Second is making garden makers with the same material. I think it’s time to get crafting.
In other news, several of my succulents are getting ready to flower! I’ll post pictures when that happens. Others are branching off new succulents, like the Hen and Chicks Sempervivums. This photo was taken a few weeks ago and the little babies are much bigger now.
I love so many creative endeavors. I’ve always been someone who loves to draw, write, paint, cook and most recently crochet. Several women in my family have been crocheters, but after a few failed attempts as a kid, I learned to crochet a few years ago and it’s become one of my favorite weekend and fall hobbies. I’ve made several blankets over the last two years, pouring hours and hours and many yarn-buying trips into their creation while watching countless movies and TV Shows or listening to Podcasts or music.
I printed a handful of free patterns off Ravelry a few weekends ago and after a little trouble, figured out this fun pattern called “Something Pretty” for these pretty 3D flowers. I’m not very girly, but I like how these look more modern than granny-ish. (No offense to Grannies. You are loved.) Learning the popcorn stitch was the toughest for me, but once I watched a video and practiced, I got it down. My last couple weekends during breaks from homework, I’ve been making these squares and watching Star Trek Next Generation episodes (yup, big nerd). Thank you Netflix instant stream.
The arrival of Fall is much appreciated. I hope you’ve got a pile of projects too! Happy crafting.
I found the link to this great post about stress. I have it framed & hanging in front of my desk in my workspace at home. It’s beautifully designed and oh so practical. Give it a read and save it for later. I find helpful advice on it all the time.