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Addicted to Hand Knitting

5 Dec

Remember back in October when I first learned how to hand knit a blanket (you can find it here)? Well, that experience totally kicked off an addiction and I. Can. Not. STOP. I looooove hand knitting. It’s soft and quick and the blankets are just so snuggly when you are done.

I was initially frustrated because I couldn’t find yarn as big and fluffy as the kind I got from the AR Workshop. After lots of trial and error (and online orders), I finally found Bernat Blanket Big Stitch and Win Yarn. It is typically $9.99 at Michaels, but it goes on sale often. I’ve gotten it marked down to $6.49 per ball and also on a buy-one-get-one-half-off special.

Source: Michaels.com

I was super curious how the yarn with the different colors would look once the blanket was knit, and I looooove how it turned out. This blanket was made with 5 balls of yarn and took me about 90 minutes:

I was actually knitting this one for my friend for Christmas, but Jack loved it so much I let him have it and I’ll be making another one.

I also picked up a few balls of navy colored yarn so I could try my hand at making my own tree skirt. It’s basically the same as the blanket, but I only started with 15 stitches across (rather than 30) and made it 3 balls long. This one took me about 45 minutes to make:

This could either be a cute runner for the bottom of your bedding, a lap blanket or a tree skirt like I made:

Here’s a close up:

Like I said… totally addicted! My sister wants to make a blanket too, so I had her order yarn and will be teaching her to make one soon (while making one as a gift to give). But then I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself because I’m out of people who want blankets!

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AR Workshop: Countdown to Christmas

14 Nov

Lindsey and I are totally on a roll with our AR Workshop projects. First, we did a couple plank signs (see here) and then we went back and made our own chunky knit blankets (here they are). I follow the Annapolis AR Workshop on Instagram, so when I saw that they just came out with personalized advent calendars I immediately texted Lindsey and we signed up!

{Pssst, this isn’t a sponsored post, but if you want to find an AR Workshop you can find them here: https://www.arworkshop.com/}

Usually, I leave Jack at home with Travis. But he was super busy over the weekend with some tree felling goodness, so I figured I’d just take Jack with me. And I’m awfully glad I did, because he had a great time helping!

Much like my previous plank sign, we started with picking our colors, sanding the wood board, stained it, cut out and attached the stencil, painted the letters, took the stencils off, and then did any touch-ups needed. For this particular project, we also stained some extra wood pieces to attach to the front of the sign. After marking each straight line, I turned it over and used a nail gun to connect them together.

Funny story: when the helper lady brought out the nail gun and handed it to me to use, Jack raised his hand and let us know that he is NOT comfortable using a nail gun. Yeah kid… you’re 7. We know!

Here are some photos we took throughout the process:

Jack did help every single step of the way – except for the staining of the board and the nail gun use – and was super proud that he could hang out with the adults. I love that every year when we bring out our new Countdown to Christmas calendar, it will remind us of the fun memory of making the project together.  

Here are our finished projects:

Lindsey made a sign for her parent’s mantle and we made our Countdown sign. We just need to find something small – like a little tree or stuffed toy – to place on the ledge in front of the appropriate date as we count down.

As always, we had such a wonderful time at the Workshop that I’m already checking the website to see if there is something else I want to make. My sister reached out and wants to go too, so maybe I’ll have some more Workshop goodness to share soon!

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AR Workshop: Making My Own Chunky Knit Blanket

10 Oct

Back in July, Lindsey and I made a couple awesome plank wood signs at the AR Workshop in Annapolis (you can read about it here). We had so much fun that when I saw that they were running a chunky knit blanket workshop, we immediately signed up!

You can find an AR Workshop closest to you here: https://www.arworkshop.com/ The chunky knit blanket workshops registration fee was $85 and it included all our materials and instruction.

I’m not really a knitter. In fact, I tried taking a knitting class about 10+ years ago and found it so boring that it literally would put me to sleep when I tried doing my knitting homework. However, these blankets were hand knitted, meaning that no hooks were needed… just the chenille yarn and our hands. So, I thought they might be easier.

We started off with balls of yarn – Lindsey used 5 balls of yarn and I bought an extra ball because I wanted my blanket to be a little larger (since my knitting was a bit tighter). From there, we closely followed the instructor to make a slipknot and then the braided end of the blanket. I literally started and tore mine out probably a half dozen times until I ended up with this:

Once the end was finished, we started making the loops. Once you get this step down, you are good to go, because the rest of the blanket is basically just making loops over and over again:

And over and over and over and over again.

And over and over…

Once we got down to our last balls of yarn, the instructor came over and helped us finish the ends of our blanket with another pretty braid. And we were done!

It took us just about 2 hours on the dot and we both LOVE how our blankets turned out. While we both are pretty darn crafty, neither of us had much knitting experience… but our blankets look pretty darn awesome. They are soooo soft too and were perfect for some couch laziness while watching Netflix movies that night.

When I got home, Jack immediately tried to steal mine and when I told him that it was MINE, MINE, ALL MINE he asked if he could go to a class and make one too! I did a little searching online and I some similar yarn on the Joann’s website for about $6.50 each… so I went ahead and placed an order. I’m hoping to recreate another one with Jack at home… so wish me luck!

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Pottery Fun

26 Sep

Back before I had Jack, I used to love to make pottery. A friend and I took a class at a nearby studio, which then allowed us to use the studio whenever we wanted for our projects. Well, it’s been probably 15+ years since I sat down at a pottery wheel, so when my sister invited me to join in for some studio time… I was all for it!

We decided to book a Mud & Merlot class at The ClayGround Studio in Ellicott City. It typically costs $45 per student and it includes an instructor to teach you how to throw a vase, cup or bowl. It’s also BYOB, so we brought some hard cider and wine to enjoy while we played with clay!

The Family (me, Jack, Katie (my sister), Jason (my brother), Jaclyn (Jason’s wife), my mom, and Craig (Katie’s husband).

For our first session, we each made our own item. You can see my bowl and Jack’s cup here:

Then, they put our items in the kiln and we were told to come back in a few weeks to glaze them. Well, a few weeks turned into a couple months so that we could pick a date that worked for everyone… but we finally got back there at the end of August.

Here are how our items looked after they were baked for the first time, before the glaze:

I decided to paint mine with a pretty smoky blue on the inside and then do a white base and dotted blue design on the outside of the bowl:

Jack decided to work with my dad (his Dippy) to paint his with a solid color and then had Dippy paint little designs all over it (I didn’t get a  good picture of his, but you can see it in the background of the last photo).

Here are all out bowls before they went back into the kiln for the last time:

Two weeks later and they were done! Here is how my bowl turned out:

And here is Jack’s cup:

That’s a LEGO head on there, in case you were wondering! Each dish is dishwasher and food safe, so we have already started using them at home. My bowl is perfect for serving fruit at dinner and Jack’s cup has been used for little snacks and water too.

It was really fun to get back into throwing some clay around and everyone else had a really fun time too. I love that Jack was hanging with the ‘big kids’ and even worked on his own little project too.

So now I feel like I want to do some more classes. They have a mosaic class… so maybe we will try that one next!

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