Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Books, Hooks, Needles, Craft and Kids

As promised yesterday, I'm gonna give you a view into what I've been doing the past couple of weeks -along with a look at some stuff I made a couple years back too. Nothing fancy in this mix - just some of the stuff I enjoy making from time to time.

First -some books!
This is the book I read last week -started it Wednesday night and finished it Friday morning. The author, John Grogan, is a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer and I actually had the pleasure of speaking with him on the telephone about 4 years ago this coming August! He had written a column about a pay raise our legislators rammed through their last session of the summer that gave, at a minimum, an $11,0000 per year raise to each and every representative and senator in Harrisburg. Many got even higher raises depending on their status in the House. Through his column, I got information about a grassroots organization called PaCleansweep.com, organized by Russ Diamond of Lebanon, PA and run strictly via a website that I joined. So I had e-mailed a note to Mr. Grogan to thank him for the information and he in turn, decided to telephone me, mainly to learn where on earth this town called Grassflat, Penna. is located! For the next ten months or so, I became very familiar with Mr. Grogan's columns pertaining to the infamous pay raise and enjoyed reading every one of 'em too -along with many other columns he had written as well.

Last summer, Mandy and I both read the book, "Marley and Me" by Mr. Grogan and we both loved it. We passed our copy on to my son and Mandy bought another copy of the book to give to my grandson, Alexander, for his 11th birthday too! So at Christmas, when I told my kids they could get me books and/or embroidery projects, Mandy got the above book, as well as the one by President Obama, "Dreams From My Father," which I have not yet begun to read.

But this book -"The Longest Trip Home" deals with Mr. Grogan's life, growing up in the Detroit area, the son of very strong Catholic parents and how over the years, he fell away from his religion but eventually kind of relocated it. Just a really great family story about love and faith unbounded.

Here's the other book I started back in July of last year and which kind of got pushed aside as I went on my major tear of creating one embroidered item after the other between mid-August and Christmas!
Charles Frazier, the author of this book, also wrote "Cold Mountain." The above book is a fictionalized account of the life of a man living in the southern states -probably Tennessee or perhaps Georgia and much of it pertains to the relocation of the native Americans from that region and the era often referred to as the "Trail of Tears." I enjoyed this book a lot primarily because I like to read fiction (and occasionally non-fiction) about the early history of this country. I think anyone with interests in the early history of the United States or reading about the relocation of the Native Americans would most likely also enjoy this book very much too.

Now -on to some craft stuff!
Here's the counted cross stitch picture I did and surprisingly enough, I didn't go completely berserk working on it! Although, when I opened it to start work on it, I was really surprised at the size. This picture is 11x14 inches and I was expecting it to be a 5x7 picture! Don't look too closely at the stitching here though because on this -as well as most everything I do -you're bound to find some errors. I was just pleased that this turned out as nicely as it did and that I didn't go cross-eyed or completely blind or totally nuts cause counted cross stitch usually does that to me.
A cross stiched pillow case set -standard size. I don't do the queen or king size pillowcases mainly because I don't know what size pillowcases others may have (if I use these as gifts) and I figure most people usually will have at least one set of standard pillow in use someplace.
Here's the other set of pillowcases I completed. This is called "Pansy Parade" if I recall correctly -or maybe it is "Pansy Patch" but whatever, it's pansy something or other! (This set is also a standard size and done in cross stitch.)
Ah -a few more pansies except this is a set of two terry cloth hand towel, done in cross stitch.
And here's another set of two hand towels -flowers and butterflys but these are done in regular embroidery as opposed to cross stitching. (Kurtis loves to look at the butterflys on these towels and to do a bit of touchy-feeling over the embroidery work.)

And that's the end of my embroidery stuff done in March and April of this year.

Now -on to the four scarves I knitted over the weekend. These are fairly long - the three-color one is very long, like about 84 inches I think whereas the other three are maybe 5 or 6 foot at most. I put each one around a beige jacket of Mandy's to try to give a little idea of how they look when being worn.
This scarf is made with eyelash yarn but I can't remember now the name of the yarn. This one is a dark brown with gold metallic flecks in it and though this yarn is eyelash and soft, it also has a bit of a stiffness to it -probably due to the strand of metallic flecked thread that is intertwined with it.
Another scarf of the eyelash yarn with the metallic threading but this one is in a really deep plum color and has pink metallic threading in it. Depending on the light, sometimes the color of this yarn looks almost like a dark brown with a bit of a purplish overcast to it.
The yarn in this three-color scarf is Lion Brand's Fun Fur Stripes and it's supposed to automatically knit up into bands of stripes, all the same size. Yeah, it does that but the directions only called for two skeins of the yarn and I noticed that the starting color of the second skein didn't begin exactly like the first skein had but still, it worked up okay. This yarn is very light-weight, soft, very fluffy feeling but they do provide a whole lot of warmth on a cold, wintry day. I have several scarves in various yarns and colors that I made for myself and I can definitely attest to the warmth of these things!
Here's the last of the four scarves I finished. This one is made with Lion Brand's FunFetti yarn and I love scarves made from this yarn! I have one I made for myself that is red -bright red -with the multi-colored "confetti" -and boy, it really is a great scarf, a bit heavier in weight than the fun fur or even the eyelash yarn with the metallic threading and it stays in place really nicely too!

I got hooked (no pun intended) on these scarves about four years ago when my late Aunt Mary sent a package to my girls and me containing four beautiful scarves made of the fun fur. Aunt Mary was a fantastic knitter and her handiwork was also always perfection, for sure! But when I phoned her to ask about how she made these scarves, she told me that they are a very simple pattern, using very few stitches and done completely in the garter stitch -which, as far as knitting goes, I tend to not like to work the garter stitch. Don't ask me why, but for some reason or other, it tends to confuse me at times. But this yarn and the garter stitch -well they work up relatively fast (as knitted projects go -a really experienced knitter could probably knock a scarf out in an hour, two hours at the most but they tend to take me 3-4 hours to do one scarf.)

Since I had the camera out and was taking some craft item photos, I decided to show you a couple other scarves I have made. (I should have a fairly large plastic bag containing about 10-15 other scarves but right now, I can locate it!)

Here's six of the scarves I made probably 2-3 years ago. THe red one on the left side is like one I made for myself with the FunFetti yarn except this one here is shorter as are all six of these scarves. I think the longest these are would be 3-4 foot in length. The blue scarf, purple scarf and brown scarf are all made using Lion Brand Fun Fur. THe black scarf with red splotches (sort of) is made from a combination of Boa yarn and I think knitted with a skein of red fun fur. THe last scarf on the right is a yarn I think by Jai Alai but I don't remember the name of the yarn itself just that it is a combination or verigate of red, black and grey. I wasn't really happy with that particular yarn after it was knitted up though -just didn't look as nice as I thought the fun fur and the fun fetti yarns looked when finished.

Here's some pictures of projects I made about 10 years ago when I was on a kick -sewing vests -most of them reversible -for women and children. These vests are all children's vests.

This is the front and back of a child's vest -probably a size 8-10. The design is a country design in school print. This one was one of my favorites.

This vest -a really neat country teddy bear print -was also available in adult sizes too. With the coordinating fabric, when finished, these vests were totally reversible and really cute.

This vest -front and back, shown here -is a size 6-8, and a really cute print for a little girl too! I wish I could find fabric with vests like these pre-printed and then get coordinating material to use for the linings too as I'd love to make some of these vests in several different styles and prints for Maya.

This is the last of the children's vests that I happened to have handy to show you tonight. I figure you really don't want me to go through my complete stockpile of vests in adult women's sizes as well as the ones I have in the children's sizes too now, do you?
But this one shown here is a Noah's Ark print and was really sweet! It was one that actually sold whereas apparently the others just didn't appeal that much to the folks who used to like these kind of clothing items for their little girls.
The way the Noah's Ark vest is cut, it is a size 6-8 but doesn't look quite as large or loose on Maya as does the red print vest which is also a size 6-8 so I'm hoping that perhaps come fall, when Maya starts kindergarten, at least the Noah's Ark vest might become part of her wardrobe at that time.

There you have it -enough photos of craft stuff to probably have long ago put all of you to sleep!

I'm going to have to work on getting a bit of elbow room in my bedroom so I can get to my sewing machine as I have a request from a lady at our church to make four aprons for her and her mother-in-law. She bought the fabric -that way she will get the material of her choice and I will use the standard "butcher apron" pattern I always use for the aprons I make. Once I get them done, I also have a pretty good sized stock pile of fingertip and terry printed tee towels that I plan to make bibs out of then. I make the bigs with a rib trimmed neckline so they just pull over the baby or toddler's head and then, they cover a whole lot of the child and their clothing that way! Easy to wear, easy to launder, wear like iron and also, very easy to make too! And depending on what's available in the printed tee towels or fingertip towels, sometimes I can find some really adorable or comical prints to use too!

Now, I've about put myself to sleep with all these photos so I think I will toddle off to beddy bye for the night!

Peace and Happy Crafting or Embroiderying, or Knitting, or Sewing. Whatever!


Mary said...


You're very talented to be able to sew, stitch and knit. I can knit, stitch and crochet, but I haven't done any of these in a long time. I'm doing a little embroidery project that's taking me ages because I never seem to have the time to work on it.

I enjoyed your post and now am going to catch up a little here, as I'm not spending as much time on the computer.

Hope all is well with you and yours.

SnoopMurph said...

Wow, I was so inspired looking at all of your photos and projects! I really love Lion Brand too-their website has some great free patterns, but I haven't tried the funfetti-they are sooo pretty! Don't know how to knit, but I wonder if I could crochet one.

The vests are adorable. Hey-a thought on that, I wonder if you could create some vests with inside pockets or places for weighted materials. I know Connor does really well with weighted blankets and several kids at school have the weighted vests to help them sit calmly and process better. I wonder if your kiddos would benefit---you definitely have the crafty know how to pull that off! Great post!

Mahala said...

Charles Frazier is a local celebrity. He lives just on the other side of "Big City" from us and the real Cold Mountain is on up the road a piece :)

Maggie May said...

You are extremely talented, Jeni and I do admire your work so very much. Beautifully done. Wish my eyesight was better than it is and I would love to do such things.
I have knitted several of those scarves though and my hands are quite arthritic & painful but I do force myself to do a little knitting every day. Must keep the old joints in action!

Your books sound really interesting too!
Can't imagine you ever getting bored!

Sandee said...

I love the vests. How wonderful. You are indeed very talented.

Have a terrific day. Big hug. :)

RuneE said...

Beautiful work you do! I'm amazed that you find time for both reading and blogging. I would make a mess out of all needlework, but I have always enjoyed reading.

Rhank you for the nice comment!

lattégirl said...

Your pillowcases and hand towels are beautiful. That's the kind of handiwork that makes me want to pick up cross-stitching projects! And some of those vests are pretty fab, too. Lot of work went into them!

Cheffie-Mom said...

Great job! Very creative! Also, thank you for the kind comment on my blog.