Thursday, May 29, 2008

And The Amis Go Rolling Along

I think I am in love with amigurumis. I can't stop making them! That is good, as I seem to be avoiding some of my other crafts--at least I'm still inspired to work on something. Here are the latest additions:

Here is "Accidental Acorn." I was making another pear but somehow forgot how to decrease properly and what resulted was something like a diseased pear! I was pretty disappointed and, not realizing that it was a human error that could be ripped a bit and corrected (at the time, I thought maybe I'd chosen a crochet hook too small for the yarn), I tried to devise a way to cover up the top of the pear. I like acorns a lot and so I fashioned a top for my pear. I guess the acorn top is my first attempt to improvise and make something without a pattern. I'm quite pleased with the result. Lately, I've been trying to embrace the idea that accidents in creative projects can be pleasant surprises rather than problems. I like to think of "mistakes" as challenges for my creativity. I've even begun to think this way with cooking and it is doing me some good and hopefully combating my perfectionism a bit.



I also completed a jellyfish named Squiggly. This was actually the first amigurumi project I ever attempted. My crochet teacher, Laura, helped me work through the pattern and was generous enough to meet a couple of times beyond the crochet class in order to help me and another student with our projects. I had almost finished the jellyfish without stuffing or putting the face on and realized later that it would be impossible to finish unless I ripped it back a bit. When I finally got up the courage to do it, I realized that the tension wasn't very good at the beginning (it being my first project and all) so I frogged it and started again. I'm pleased with the result and so is Lucas--it is his favorite. The Jellyfish pattern is free on Ana Paula Rimoli's web page.

I am overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of many people whose blogs I visit. Recently, Mia of Owlishy just left me speechless when she sent me two of her patterns as a gift to celebrate my graduation. I'm very excited to start working on them and have only been held up by the lack in my stash of certain colors I will need. I'll be sure to remedy that soon because Laura Beth and Sarita are just adorable. Please visit her Etsy page, as she has so many beautiful pattern designs full of pictures and accompanied by great detailed instructions.

I'm very much enjoying my new found free time. When I'm not crocheting away, I've been working on organizing and tidying up our apartment and finally dealing with things that have been neglected for a long time around here. I've watched more movies in the last two months than I have in years and have been catching up on Lost. I have also been doing more cooking and trying new recipes. If you haven't been to the Smitten Kitchen, I highly suggest that you check it out. Not only is the writing witty and entertaining, the recipes are lovely and the photos are gorgeous. I think I've tried four or five recipes so far and have found them all to be fantastic. My favorite is the spring panzanella.

Lucas and I will be leaving on Sunday for our Civil War trip with my father-in-law. I'll be sure to bring my camera and hopefully the weather will cooperate. I'm currently reading through Gods and Generals to prepare myself for the trip (I read Killer Angels last summer after we traveled to Gettysburg).

I probably won't have much time to post for about a week, as we will be out of town and then I will be working at my LQS/LYS for a few days after we return. I forgot to mention it but the owners asked me a few months back if I would like to fill in for them every so often and I was very excited. It's great to be there surrounded by beautiful fabric, yarn, and people who are enthused about quilting, knitting and crochet as much as I am.

Monday, May 19, 2008

More Happy Fruits

Here is Manzanita ("little apple") for my Mom. I sent her along with the rolled brim hat and some neat goat decals from Artsnacker on Etsy for my mom's Mother's Day gift. The pattern comes from Amigurumi World.

And my most recent finish today--"Pera 2". I decided to give the first pear (see previous post) as a gift to a friend who graduated yesterday with her PhD. I hope the smiling fruit cheers her now that she has recently moved to Detroit. I'm feeling rather attached to this second version of the pear and may have to keep it for myself. I bought a basket to put my ami fruits in and now it only needs to be filled. I'm planning to make several fruits and toys for friends of mine in a grad student group I belonged to this year. Now that I've graduated (as of yesterday!), I won't be able to continue on in the group and I wanted to make something to show how much I appreciate the wonderful women I've gotten to know over the past two years.

I've been drooling more over the Babette Blanket from Interweave Crochet and finally decided to purchase the pattern. I've been agonizing and scanning the Internet for the right yarns that won't break the bank. I'm thinking I'll use merino wool or a merino blend and I would like to have warmer colors dominate. Hopefully, I will make a decision soon because I suspect it will take me a while to complete it.

Despite all of my crochet talk, I am still quilting! I'm working on quilting a small project right now but can't show it until it's finished. After that, I have plenty more quilts in the queue, believe me.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Back!


Hello!

Sorry to have disappeared for two months. After spring break, I was feeling rather overwhelmed by school and I couldn't bring myself to post anything on my blog. I just finished classes last week and turned in the last paper on Friday--I am now free!

In March, Lucas and I traveled to Lancaster, PA and had a fantastic time. The weather was beautiful as were the quilt shops. We stopped at Burkholder's Fabrics and I was completely overwhelmed by all of the gorgeous fabric. As you may imagine, it was difficult to decide what to bring home with me, but despite the difficulty, I did finally make a decision. From Burkholder's, we drove to Sauder's. We found both lovely fabric and great snacks there. If you go, I highly recommend the Blueberry bars. We had planned to visit a couple of additional shops, but as I had managed to stay just within the budget at the first two and tired myself out looking fabric, we decided to call it a day. I was going to take pictures but realized that I would have the same photos as everyone who has traveled there and...I was lazy. Lancaster was a really interesting area and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope we might go back again later this summer.

Since my last post, I took a crochet class and absolutely loved it. Although it completely confused me at first, I began to get the hang of it and now I feel as though I understand crochet a great deal better than I do knitting. I was allowed to choose a pattern to make in the class and chose an amigurumi pattern of a jellyfish from Ana Paula Rimoli's web page. (If you happen to make this pattern, please note that there is an error in the instructions for R3 &4). Unfortunately, I haven't quite finished the jellyfish but I will soon (because the last thing I need is another UFO!).

I don't remember exactly how I found out about amigurumi, but ever since that time, I have had a strong desire to learn crochet. After my crochet class, I bought Ana Paula Rimoli's book Amigurumi World and I'm having a fantastic time making happy fruits from the patterns in the book. Currently, I am making an apple and last night I finished a pear, named "Pera". Hopefully you can see it at the top of this entry--blogger is acting up and I can't see the picture myself.

Apart from my fun crochet class, I also took a landscape quilt class. Instead of land, I chose to do water and I'm working on a scene of Koi fish swimming in a stream under a lychee branch. I believe I am perhaps halfway through the project and hope to finish it this month.

Well, I am so glad to be finished with school and back to crafting and blogging again. I'll have a few adventures to share during the summer as well. We're traveling to the Civil War Museum in Harrisburg and a few battlefields in Maryland and Virginia in June. We'll also be going to Baltimore for a five days, then Washington D.C., followed by a trip home to Michigan.

I'll also be sharing my work on the Take it Further Challenge. Sharon B was kind enough to allow me to take a hiatus while I was finishing up my degree, so it is time to pick it back up.