Stash-busting V: Gift-wrapping, Round 2

So, seriously, like EPIC FAIL.

I realized after arriving at my parents’ house for the holidays that I forgot to upload pictures I had already taken to Blogger, thus disabling my ability to update  this particular series of posts, which is what I had planned…

I’m very, very sorry for that, but it was good in other ways… like had-a-lot-of-time-to-be-quiet-and-think ways. It was really good to have more than a full week off, to not feel the need to always be somewhere. Times like that really force you to be honest with your own heart.

But more on that some other time.

I wrapped a lot of gifts before we left, continuing to whittle down my stash of gift-wrap supplies. The result? I barely made a dent in what I have left. Sure, I got rid of a few rolls of paper that were nearing their ends and a few rolls of ribbon, but I still have plenty to wrap next year’s gifts and possibly more.

Just another lesson for me that I need to use what I have because I have been given so much, even when you’re just counting my wrapping paper stash.

Regardless, I still feel like I wrapped some pretty gifts. For gift cards, I taped the same tags I used for everything else onto small white (thank-you card) envelopes, which ended up looking clean but still kind of neat. Here are some images from the second round:

I think the last gift was my favorite in terms of wrapping… The paper was thick enough to not tear easily, but still made good creases and wasn’t too glossy to keep tape on. In my view, this is essentially a perfect wrapping paper. I still have plenty left to wrap some things next year, and that makes me look forward to next Christmas!

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Stash-busting IV: Gift-wrapping, Round 1

As a continuance of my stash-busting mentality for this Christmas, I decided I needed to bust my gift-wrap stash. Every year, I go out and methodically select wrapping paper and ribbon so that all of my efforts are coordinated and beautiful. I love wrapping gifts, and I love making them pretty.

That being said, I have a lot of half-finished rolls of wrapping paper and spools of ribbon that I’ve picked up on clearance just sitting in my wrapping paper storage bag (yes, I’m that person). I decided that, this year, I needed to finish off what I already had before I could be justified in purchasing anything new. Should all go as planned, I should be cleaned out and ready to start looking for new paper for next year right as everything goes on post-Christmas clearance (which is the best time to buy anything that you needed before Christmas!).

I’m taking gift-wrapping in chunks this year so that papers are similar in the same families. My first set of gifts to wrap was for my brother-in-law, his wife, and their two boys. I chose two similar papers, both with snowflakes, and wrapped as many as I could in one paper before moving on to the next. For tags, I chose monogram letters this year, printed on card stock that I had left over from last year (stash-busting all over the place). I used this font (Apex Lake), which is available for free at dafont.com.

Thus, I give you a glimpse at my first round of wrapped gifts:

Stash-busting III – Lovely Cowl

So, I want to preface this stash-busting post by letting you know that I totally failed in following this pattern so that the product was as it should be. I realized more than halfway through that I missed something in the instructions that affected the pattern, but I kept going and I still like the results.

Here’s the pattern, from Patons. I think you have to create an account to actually log in and see it. But they have a great pattern library online, so it might be worthwhile to sign up just because of that.

I also didn’t use Patons yarn, since I didn’t have any in my stash. What did I use, you might ask? Baby yarn. Because it’s super-soft and it was pretty.

Yarn: Baby Bee, Sweet Delight Baby (60% Acrylic, 40 % Polyamide)
Color: Iris Dreams

Really simple cowl. Essentially, I alternated rows of dtr and sc stitches. You’re supposed to alternate one row dtr and three rows sc, but I missed the repeat. At the end, when everything gets joined together, I improvised rather than following the pattern and chained 5 for the dtr rows and single-chained into the sc rows because I didn’t want just a line of single chain.

Regardless, here’s the result:

It’s a Christmas present, so I’m not naming who I made it for. You’ll just have to deal. And I’m debating making a second one, since I have more yarn… though I’ll try to do it correctly this time.

Stash-busting II – The BFS

One of the first holiday projects I began was this front door stocking that I found at the Caron web site. I used the size of hook that was recommended and a bunch of leftover red yarn balls (if you look really closely, you can tell that they weren’t all the same color, but in the dim light of our living room at any time of day, you can’t tell at all). The pattern says that the gauge doesn’t matter, but let me tell you something:

The gauge does matter.

That’s why I’ve labeled this the “Big Freaking Stocking.” Honestly, that’s what I call it at home. I look at it and think, “Man, that is a big freaking stocking.”

It’s supposed to be about 11″ wide overall, but mine is at least 13″ (which equates to about 5 extra circular inches). It wasn’t a terribly intensive project, because it made up pretty quickly and it’s worked in continuous rounds so there’s not a bunch of time wasted in the turning, but it is certainly big.

It’s pretty great, in spite of its size. I decided to not do the buttons that are part of the pattern, but just leave the lacy cuff as-is instead. It’s one of those classic decorations, and I can always look back and laugh at how I didn’t think it would be so big in the end.

Here it is:

Stash-busting I

It has certainly been a while since I last posted, well, anything. Our no-media November was a great stretch to refresh our hearts in what matters, to read, to work on projects, and to simply get things done.

December, thus far, has been an odd mixture of both, mostly because this season is busy! And, for me, December often means that I’m trying to finish up as many half-finished projects has humanly possible before Christmas arrives.

This year, I decided I needed to bust my stash.

Hopefully, this will need little explanation. Most of us have a stash. It’s that section of storage that is made up of leftover and inherited craft supplies that you keep, but for which you have never found a use.

Well, I decided mine was overgrown and needed to be trimmed down, so I took a strategic aim at Christmas gifts in particular (but, you know, projects in general) trying to find items that could be made with stuff I already had.

My yarn collection is receiving the brunt of the fall cleanup, while I’m thinking my fabric stash will receive the brunt of the spring/summer cleanup.

See, this was my yarn collection before I began sifting through it:

I scoured a bunch of sites for free crochet patterns to see what my options were, and I was pretty amazed at what I found: Everything from stuffed animals to home decor to practical things like dishrags and mop covers, and scarves, hats and clothing. I printed off my favorites, set all my yarn out on a clean couch (I know, right? It’s been a while since that last happened) and started matching project printouts to yarn I already had.

Great sites with free project patterns:
caron.com
favecrafts.com
michaels.com
redheart.com

Over the next few weeks, I hope to bring you glimpses of what I’ve done with my stash (though some projects are, naturally, still unfinished). The first major project I undertook was the gingham blanket I finished earlier this fall, which was done completely with stash yarn. But there’s a lot more to come…

Weekend Workroom: Gingham Update

Okay, so remember this blanket I started on back in March? Well, I didn’t get very far on it before I went back to work and it became too warm to work on a blanket…

Which is one thing that is awesome about the fact that it is finally cooling off around here and acting like autumn (because, as it turns out, it is now autumn)! The last few days, I’ve been picking it up and working on it while Chris and I have done sick-people lounging (I think I have a sinus infection, but I don’t really know if I have one, I suppose).

Regardless, the result is that it keeps on growing… The body of the whole thing is 55 rows, and I’m nearing the 35th of those rows. It’s such a small blanket, but I guess that makes sense because it’s meant to be for a small person (I make these connections, sometimes!). It’s turning out to be a great little blanket, one of my favorite projects for sure, though it really does have a wrong side, as I mentioned in my initial post. Orderly strings and tie-offs everywhere. See?

Next, I’m hoping to make some headway on my thesis and make myself a skirt or two because I bought fabric for that purpose when I spent time with my mom a few weeks back. I’ve been wanting to learn how to make clothing for a long time, so I’m pretty excited to get started on that…

Weekend Workroom: Gingham

In light of the chaos of the weekend and our impending departure for Christopher’s spring break, this post is fairly short – particularly on pictures. Sorry. I’ll try to do better next time.

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So, I definitely ran out of yarn. Or, at the least, I ran out of the variegated yarn for Christopher’s blanket, which he was upset over because it means progress on his blanket stops until we’re able to buy a skein or two sometime next month. It means I have four rows left before progress halts entirely, since I still have some of the solid color yarn to continue on with for four more rows.

But I decided to switch gears a bit, try something new. The result is that I pulled out my crochet books and hunted for projects, and I thought I’d give this one pattern from Crocheted Afghans: 25 Throws, Wraps, and Blankets to Crochet by Melody Griffiths a try: It’s a gingham baby blanket. Since I was the recipient of a ton of yarn last week, I sifted through it and discovered that I had both a dark purple and a light purple, with an awesome clean white.

And who doesn’t love a gingham pattern? It’s classic. You can’t hate on a classic.

The one thing I chose to overlook was the fact that all three yarns are very different weights. It makes the construction a bit difficult at times, but helps create this incredible texture. The pattern is fun, and since it changes colors every three stitches (dc stitches), it’s really hard to put down – there’s just always another set to start in on and complete!

It’s so strange, though, because there is definitely a right side and a wrong side to this pattern. The back is, well, a bit crazy.

Baby blankets are great opportunities to try out new stitches and patterns because they don’t take terribly long to complete. You don’t have to have a baby or expecting one of your own in order to make a baby blanket. If you have the yarn and the time, make the blanket I say – and then you’ll be ready with awesome gifts when babies come. Or whatever. I might make one in every color of the rainbow – the whole process of this particular pattern is just that enrapturing to me…

And I am quite a bit further in the process than the five rows pictured here – I just don’t have the time needed to get updated pictures of the current status. It’s coming along nicely and fairly quickly, both which are pretty cool things. I’m hoping to add quite a bit of length while on vacation and will show some pictures when I get back.

Speaking of that whole vacation thing… I may or may not post this week, dependent on my relaxation level and our Internet access through the week. Don’t hate. I’ll post again soon.