Granny Square Afghan

My sister is still in the hospital, but is now working with physical therapists to learn to walk, use utensils, swallow, get dressed, open toothpaste, etc. Just recently she has become “herself” again and is making lots of progress. She is now able to eat real food and hopefully will have the feeding tube out soon. She is still dependent upon supplemental oxygen. 

Early on, when we realized that this was going to be a long term illness, we had the idea to make her an afghan. We put a call out for granny squares and soon packages started arriving at my home filled with all different colored grannys. Some people who couldn’t crochet asked others to make a square for them. They were all beautiful!

I had a surgery in mid May and was off work for 6 weeks so had time to start assembling the afghan. I looked up joining and finishing instructions online and got to work. It was challenging because they were all slightly different sizes and different types of yarn.  I ended up adding an extra row of white to each square, which helped them become more uniform. I then joined the white edges together and finished off with a verigated border. I delivered it to her in late June. She couldn’t talk at that time but mouthed “thank you” and “I love it.”  I read off the list of all who had contributed and both she and I are thankful to everyone who participated.  

It turned out to be 5 x 7 feet and consisted of 130 individual granny squares. I’m somewhat proud of myself and this accomplishment because I didn’t know what I was doing when I got started.  I also didn’t realize how much work it would be. I started to think about how much cross stitching I could be doing in that time off. 

In the end I realized that since I cannot visit her very often (she is a 5 hour drive away), this was my way of being there. 

1000 Origami Cranes

I got married on September 26 and had the idea that I should fold 1000 origami cranes to use as a backdrop to our ceremony and pictures.

The legend goes that the bride has to fold all 1000 of them to show the patience and commitment that a successful marriage requires. Cranes mate for life and are fabled to live for 1000 years. If the bride folds 1000 for her wedding she is granted one wish.

When I told my then fiancé about my idea, all he said was “that’s a lot…” I was undeterred by his lack of enthusiasm and started folding.  Note the tally sheet in the bottom of the pic!


So at the time I had 4 months until the wedding. Despite my full time job, I decided this was no problem! I began folding in all of my free time. My sister in law volunteered to help. Then she got another sister in law involved. A college friend also started folding too.


I went on a business trip In July and even folded at the airport! I did the initial folds so they wouldn’t get crushed in my bag, then finished the final folds when I got home! At this point I was starting to feel like even with my volunteers, I might not be able to finish.


I texted some local friends and planned an origami party at my house. I cooked dinner, served wine, supplied plenty of paper, and taught everyone how to fold. We ended up doing it again a few weeks later.  Roger, Claudia, and Amy showed up. We had a blast!!!


Finally all of the cranes were finished! The cranes filled a giant lawn sized trash bag to the brim. I was planning to string them all up and hang them at the wedding. I looked at this huge bag and felt overwhelmed. Not using them wasn’t an option after all of the time and effort of my friends. I dumped the bag onto a queen sized bed:


I started stinging on cotton thread. Each crane was separated by two beads to space them out. Each string was approximately 7 feet long. This actually went really fast compared to the folding.  Will (fiancé) and his sister both helped and we made pretty quick work of stringing them up. Here is a pic of them hanging in my closet… if you look closely you can see the beads between each crane:


Then I started thinking about how we were going to hang them. We were getting married in a banquet room of a historic hotel and they did not allow anything to be attached to the walls or ceiling…. Not even command strips! We had purchased a simple arch from a craft store but couldn’t think of how to attach the strings to create a “wall” of cranes. At this point I turned the rest of the project over to my fiancé and asked him to please make it happen. 🙂

So the day if the wedding, while I was sipping memosas and getting my nails done, my fiancé and best man constructed the arch, fully adorned with the cranes!!!! It was BEAUTIFUL!!! They did a wonderful job! As you can see, they used PVC pipe inserted through the arch to hold them all.


After the ceremony the best man rallied a group of guys and they moved the whole thing across the hall to the reception room.

At the end of the party, we cut down strings of cranes and gave them away to guests as they were leaving. I love the idea of people hanging them I their homes or on their Christmas trees.

I snapped this picture at a friend’s house:


Our wedding wasn’t elaborate and we didn’t kill our budget, but it was beautiful and I will never forget it. Not only because of the cranes, but because so many of our friends and families travelled from all over the country to be there together with us. Everyone got along, had fun, and several made side trips to local attractions over the remainder of the weekend.

Now that it’s all over I miss making the cranes. The repetition and enjoyment of seeing how all of the different paper patterns turned out in the form of a crane was fun and relaxing. Of course, I could keep on making them but seems pointless if they aren’t going to be used in any specific way. However, if there are any brides-to-be out there who need help with their cranes, email me and I would be happy to help!!

Too Much Time On My Hands

I am not very good at orgami.  I’m too impatient, I think, however when surfing around the web, I came across pictures of paper bows on How About Orange blog to make paper bows  They were so cute that I followd the link and found the instructions on Let’s Create blog.

I dug out my origami paper and after several hours, ended up with this:


In another hour, I ended up with this:


The part I struggled with is where you make the little square that ends up at the center of the bow as evidenced by the crunched up square on the blue bow.  Its like an inside fold, while doing an outside fold at the same time… and the ones I actually finished were just pure luck.  After these two, I decided to do another in pink and I couldn’t do it again!  I’m kind of obsessed with figuring this out.

For any of you origami people, any tips on how to do that fold?  Its the one on the link where you “push down the little square.”

Help!  This is driving me nuts…

Parental Visit

My parents, now retired, split their time between my home town in NY and the town in Oklahoma where they moved my senior year of high school.  Since they were driving, they took a little detour to spend a day or two with me before they continued on their way.  It was nice, as it was only the second time since I’ve moved to Indiana 6 years ago that they came to visit me, rather than the other way around. They were really only here for two nights, we hung out, ate out, and did some shopping, but there were two things that really stood out for me.

A few weeks ago, my father called me to tell me that my grandfather was joining my grandmother at the nursing home and that they would be cleaning out their house to put on the market.  He asked me if I wanted anything, and after puzzling for a moment, I asked if there were any of the felt ornaments around that my grandmother had made over the years.  Apparently, in her younger days, she was an ornament making machine, as every year a new felt ornament would be given to her kids’ families.  So, all through my youth, all of the Christmas trees in the family would look very similar, decorated with all of these hand made ornaments.  I had a couple, but knew that there were many more than I didn’t have.

So, the ornaments that she had on her tree were found and split up between me and a couple of the other grandkids who had expressed interest.  My parents brought them to me and I was thrilled to get what I did!


There were also a bunch of other plastic canvas ornaments that she did in her later years. One of them had a magnet on the back so its now on my fridge. 🙂

The other fun thing, besides just hanging out and talking with them, was that my mother taught me to crochet a granny square. I can crochet, but whenever I’d tried to make one of these from written instructions, I’d end up with a tangled mess of yarn. I understood what I needed to do, but actually executing it just never quite worked. So.. now I know how to make a granny square! Here’s my practice one that she helped me with:


So all in all, a fun visit!

I have such great friends!

I’ve had a pretty tough week….  those of you who know will understand just how hard it has been for me.

Today my friend Emily met me for lunch and magically, my appetite came back and I didn’t feel sick after eating.

When I got home, I had a package from my friend Susan, who sent me a sweet card and this beautiful project bag that she made with  my favorite color:



It’s about 11″ x 14″, and as you can see it has a matching zipper and is fully lined. It is also made with some fusible interfacing to help it keep its shape. Now I just have to figure out which project will go in it!

Knitting Update and a Little Stitching

I finally finished my scarf. 🙂 I’m still not sure if I’ll do anything to finish it off, but I did like Missy‘s idea of chainstitching some sort of eyelash type fiber and sewing around the edges.

However, I’ve learned that stockinette stitch likes to curl up, which is a little annoying for a first project:

I might try some other pattern next time I feel like knitting up a scarf.

I finished side one of Sweetheart Tree’s Lavender Blossoms biscornu:


This is very sparkly in real life. I’ve started the back, which is supposed to be the same, but life is too short to repeat the whole thing (I would if it were different), so I’ll do the center motif, the border, the rhodes hearts and the fans in the corners and skip all of those vines.  I’ll probably put those giant pretty beads on too.  If I had to do this again, I’d skip the platinum fabric that comes with the kit and do it on white or antique white fabric.

I’ve discovered the ultimate multi-task!  I really wanted to read the new Dan Brown book, but didn’t want to take precious stitching time away to read, so I got the CDs!  I wasn’t sure if I could concentrate on both at the same time, but I can!  It makes me feel soooo productive and has the added advantage of drowning out the annoying football noises coming from the TV.  I was surprised tho, to find that the abridged version of the book is about 6 hours.  The unabridged (which I got) is over 17 hours.  How can you cut 11 hours out and still have the same book??  I’m baffled.  Anyway, I’m enjoying it and see many trips to the library for audio books in my future.

Knitting Class Update

I took a knitting basics class a couple of weeks ago.  The point of the class was to learn to cast on, knit, purl, and cast off.  I was inspired to take this class by all of the lovely projects I see on people’s blogs – afghans, socks, etc.  I taught myself how to do this several years ago, but thought a class would increase my confidence to move onto some different projects.

The class was taught in continental style, but I had a terrible time with stitches slipping off the needle.  I just switched to doing american/english style between classes and found that I had a lot more control over the needles, tension, and the stitches.

One thing the class didn’t teach was how to fix errors.  You Tube seems to have some good videos on that, but right now my only recourse is to just pull out rows of stitches and pray I rethread the needle the right way.

Anyhow, here’s a pic of where I am so far:

Right now I’m not sure what I’ll do to finish this off. I’m not a huge fan of fringe, so I’ll probably either leave it as it is, or I’ll maybe crochet a scalloped edge on it.

Despite the multiple start-overs and scores of rows that have been pulled out and restitched, I’m happy with it overall… I like the colors and the pattern the color changes created.

Right now, what I really want is to finish this off and get back to stitching. 🙂 I still have an August ornament to do, but really want to get back to one of my larger projects.  There’s talk of a stitching GTG soon, which would be fantastic!

Went and saw Julie and Julia this weekend. I found that the movie really left me wanting to make Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon (yeah I had to look that up to spell it…). Beef has not passed over my lips for 15 years tho…. somehow I don’t think that Tofu Bourguignon would be the same…

Knots, Knots, Knots…..

So, I took the plunge and started Teresa Layman‘s Snow White Rose Red this weekend…


It started a little rough (see white stitches on the roof), but I’m now getting pretty good at colonial knots… after never having done them before. I could never figure out the stitch diagram and couldn’t figure out why so many people claim that they are so much easier than french knots…. Anyway… I’m pretty happy with this and it’s not really as tedious as I thought it would be. Its kind of nice not to have to count anything. 😀 I’m not totally happy with the door, which is filled in completely with french knots. There is lots of detail on there with lines, cross braces, handles and bolts in the door… but it is-what-it-is as these buggers are a PITA to pull out.   There’s also a bench underneath the left window that isn’t showing up too well.

I just remembered that I signed up for a knitting class that starts tomorrow! The class is at Erica’s Craft and Sewing Center in South Bend.  The class project is a scarf.  I bought the yarn required a couple of weeks ago and got something that I thought would match my winter coat, which is kind of a chocolate brown color:


I’m kind of surprised that it only calls for two skeins…  Anyway I can kind of knit, but can’t cast on.  I can do entire rows of knit stitches and purl stitches, but can’t alternate between the two without a knotted mess.  So, I figure some instructions and hands-on guidance will help.

Went and saw Funny People last night… pretty good and kind of interesting to see Adam Sandler in a more serious role, even though it was still a funny movie.  Man…. he’s starting to look older tho!

Midwest Stitchers Get Together (GTG)

My friend Susan hosted a midwest GTG on Saturday at her Chicago apartment and I had a great time! Ten wonderful stitchers from 5 states attended – most of which were people that I’ve known for years from the TWBB and The Wagon, but have never met!

Jenn (JenJen3574) from Wisconsin
Kelly (marissasmom2) from Wisconsin
Melissa (Missycor) from Wisconsin
Eva (Frauevi) from Illinois
Anita (Anita in Iowa) from Iowa
Chris (NCRichards) from Iowa
Jenn (U9Corn Amgel) from Chicago
Annie (annieadams) from Ohio
and me (indystitch) from Indiana

We had a small gift exchange, where I received a cute little Whitman’s tin filled with thread and a box of Whitman’s Chocolate from Anita.


We also had a swapmeet session where everyone brought their excess stash to give away to anyone who wanted it.


Everyone brought WIPS and finished projects to show off and we spent most of the afternoon stitching, chatting, and laughing. I don’t have many female friends, and I work with all men, so the afternoon with stitching women was a welcome break from the norm. I hope I can do another GTG with these fun ladies in the future.

Susan did a wonderful job as hostess and provided everyone with little treat bags filled with nice things like lotion, chocolate, snacks, and lovely silk.

Jenn (JenJen3574) and Susan have posted some pictures on their blogs.

Alyssum Scissor Pocket Finish!

I finally finished up this project this afternoon.  It is my second project meant to improve my finishing skills and I’m pretty happy with it.  I changed the closure by adding a loop and button.  I stitched this on platinum belfast using waterlilies “peacock” silk floss.



Opened Front:




Side Stitching Detail:


I used #12 perle cotton in a color that matched the fabric for the finishing work instead of the overdye. I wasn’t totally confident in my ability to do the finishing well, and I figured the matching perle would hide any mistakes better than using the silk. 😀

Unfortunately, I don’t really have any 4″ scissors… which this project was designed for.  Sounds like a good reason for me to do some scissor shopping…..

A while back, DBF and I were talking about making those little potholders that we all did as kids.  He told me that he used to make them and sell them door to door “15 cents a piece, or two for a quarter.”   The image that formed in my mind of this was so cute that I found one of those little looms and bags of multicolored loops and surprised him with it.  Some nights when I’m stitching, he’ll pull out his loom and go to work!  I know its considered to be a kid’s craft, but he really enjoys it and makes some really cool patterns!


I don’t really have a need for this many potholders, so if you’d like a beautifully crafted potholder, post with a description of your favorte and location in the picture.  I’ll randomly draw a name later in the week and the winner will receive the potholder of their choice in the mail!

Update:  Kim (Cymberleah) won the potholder give away!