Sometimes “Grannies” can be quite snuggly…or at least, “come monday night”…

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Having of late been absolutely dedicated to finding inspiration for a new afghan (it’s been nearly 4 months since I completed the last one), that inspiration came thanks to the amazing CosmicPluto Knits, who is well on her way with a Giant Granny Square afghan, inspired by the equally exquisite Purl Bee’s traditional Granny Square.

And even though I just started crocheting mine up tonight, I’m already pleased as punch with the progress.

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While I’ve clearly got miles and miles to go, I’m so excited to keep on with this project. After creating a few swatches, all with different colorways, I decided to stick to start with a grays to greens and teals theme, which will then lead into reds, mustardy yellows, and beyond. I’m not sure yet if I’ll repeat the colorways as I go and restrict it to a few families or just throw it all out there…I’m letting this one evolve organically.

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What do you guys think? I am always looking for suggestions as I mosey through a project. This giant Granny Square concept is so amazing for an afghan, really. Should I make it small, like a throw for a bed to spice up a white comforter or should I make it standard afghan size so it could, say in the summer months, be used as an afghan on a bed?

File Under: I’ve decided to name this the “Come Monday Night” afghan…why? Because I received help with the constant repeat of God Help the Girl, the brilliant new soundtrack for the samely named musical film by Stuart Murdoch of Belle & Sebastian fame. Plus, I hope “come monday night” I’ll have a whole bunch more of this done.

Y.A. books are about to become my “other half”…

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This summer, as part of my reading agenda, I am feverishly trying to wade my way through the better part of a whole host of new young adult novels and the like which we’ve just received at my library, so that I can provide better recommendations to my students–and based entirely on the fact that I have actually read said recommendations and not some silly blurb singing its praise on a blog or book review. Even though I am  a technology instruction sort of librarian rather than an expert in school library collections and the like, kids ask me, too, I think…

That being said, there are so many options, genre-bending feats, and the like–and yes, while there was a good amount of Y.A. when I was growing up, it appears to me the options are expanding and more appealing to adults (hello! I mean, Twilight’s series alone captivated a number of adults I know, and ahem, I’ll admit I read the first one and have just grabbed New Moon from the library thinking I may make it a bedtime book).

So last weekend, on a Twin Peaks marathon bender with my older sister, we got to talking Y.A. books when she mentioned she in fact had, as a tween herself, and still has, The Diary of Laura Palmer, a Twin Peaks books, which I immediately told her I must borrow and gobble up–seeing as I am officially a Twin Peaks freak. Who doesn’t love Log Lady, I ask?

After she scurried to her bookshelf to try and find Laura Palmer’s precious diaries for me, she discovered it nestled betwixt about 15 Y.A. books (minus the saved and cherished complete collection of Anne of Green Gables books, because, well, duuuhhh) hand-selected as keepsakes from her youth of yore. And I borrowed them all.

Many of them are teen girly books about relationships, and they look like easy to breeze in 2 hour kinds of reads, which I can get down with, especially when we are dealing with nostalgia here. And of course, there are the classics, like “A Wrinkle in Time”, too.

What were your favorite reads as a teen? Let’s get a summer reading list going, for nostalgia’s sake…

And everyday that I’ve been good…I get an orange after food?

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I’ve always had a slight addiction t citrus, but I think it’s increasingly becoming a problem. For the record, the giant (seriously, jumbo!) Naval oranges available in all the markets around these Boston parts of late are so delicious, it’s undeniable. The giant Navals have quite a robust, oft thicker skin than their smaller counterparts, but the pulpy juice is that much sweeter and drip down your face kind of deliciousness.

And for some reason, I have transferred this lovely citrusy addiction to my late afternoon tea consumption.

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Might I suggest a modest Green or White Tea, two giant Naval orange slices and one slice of lemon to top the entire thing off. If I’m feeling extra zealous, I’ll even squeeze a wedge of the orange into the mug before I add the scalding water. It’s absolutely phenomenal, and quite frankly, as summer approaches, this entire citrusy obsession could in fact change your tea drinking experience.

Oh, also pictured above is the lovely mug my Mum recently gifted me, a super large (aka tall and wide) holder of all yummy liquids she scooped up in New Mexico. Squeal! When she bought it, someone suggested–because of its monsterous size–it be used as a vase, to which my Mum bluntly stated, “No, I think if you knew my daughter, this will not be used as a vase…I meant to buy it for her morning coffee.”

Right-o Mum-o. I’ve used it for the aforementioned citrusy tea, and of course, my first true love, the magical bean, that not-so-average joe. Speaking of Joe, you’ve got to scoop up a brilliant new find. Usually a fan of Major Dickinson’s Blend of coffee, I decided to give something new a whirl, and I’ve been blown away by First Colony’s Fair Trade Coffee, particularly the Peruvian blend. There are a whole host of others, all equally splendid sounding, and while it isn’t the cheapest of coffee, if you drink it black like me, this will change your entire morning with the newspapers, or heck, your all day if you suck that Joe down like me.

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Think about it; maybe you’ll be lucky enough, too, to chug it down with a mug as gorgeous as mine.

Inspiration Numero Uno: Don’t Eat ‘Em! Read ‘Em!

As part of a new series here at Kraftworkin’, I will highlight blogs, sites, and the like around the web of a crafting nature…and the first is quite a brilliant little blog called Poison Cupcakes: Don’t Eat ‘Em!

And the inspiration behind the knitting blog is even more amazing–because it’s author happens to be an amazing kid from the Chicago area who happens to knit kitschy toys, cites her favorite band as The Shins, and has hermit crabs.

I first found Poison Cupcakes thanks to a post over at the absolutely amazing addiction of mine, Mochi Mochi, the ultimate designer in all kitsch knits. Apparently Poison Cupcakes recreated the lovely seedling to plant toy, to many golf claps from this here blog.

So go read Posion Cupcakes and get inspired by such a crafty young knitter.

“Summer” reading…

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I am a self-professed book addict. Back when my job allowed, I’d read on average 2-3 books a week in downtime and while sitting on the night shift. Alas, now I have to squeeze that time in before and after work, a few hours here and there–and most certainly in good measure on Saturdays or Sundays.

And what’s better than summer reading lists? I’m beginning to compile mine (which will include a whole host of must-reads, young adult novels so I can stay hip to my job, and of course anything else that suits fancy) and will publish in this space forthwith.

But what about “Summer” reads? As in, those books with “summer” in the actual title.

Enter Edith Warton’s delectible “Summer” and Truman Capote’s “Summer Crossing”. There are a whole host of other “summer” inspired books, but I can hereby vouch for the aforementioned as essential on your lists–either that list of summer reads, or that list of “summer” reads. You get me?

Both carry a similar theme; girls who bucked a lot of the constraints of the time period in which they became women, engaging in forbidden sexual affairs when left to their own devices, and social pressures in the early 20th century. Recipes for success, methinks.

You can scoop up Edith Wharton’s lovely novel here, and of course, Truman Capote’s account of Grady McNeil here.

In the meantime, I’ll finish compiling that summer reading list and post it here shortly. What are you summer reading musts? I’d love suggestions.

We were definitely in a pickle trying to find late night eats…

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Golf claps to Roadhouse, an offshoot of my favorite local watering hole eatery in Washington Square, Publick House. While I’ve always been a bit on the fence about Roadhouse, I am pleased as punch to say they serve a late-night menu to 1:30 a.m., unlike most all other establishments around my house.

And damn if it wasn’t amazing.

My good friend Mackenzie and I jetted out to suburbia, just about 30 mins. north of the city, on Saturday night to check out Amanda Palmer (one half of Dresden Dolls) and the Lexington High School Drama students perform their spring production, an all-student written drama based on one of my favorite records, 1998 indie cult classic In The Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel. I’d previewed the brilliant concept in the pages of the Boston Herald more than a week ago, and I reviewed the whole event for my music blog Pulp and Circumstance, Juiced!

After the show got out, Mackenzie and I headed back into the city in search of eats and drinks and discussion of the aforementioned performance. And damn if the deep fried pickles, Hades beer, and some Flemish Sour bitter, didn’t hit the spot. Now, I am a sucker for deep fried pickles of any variety but these, especially after a rainstorm and a night of heavy heavy theater, were remarkable.

File Under: With the pickle that sings in my heart…

When life gives you…Sir Winston.

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A bored corgi is a mischievous corgi.

So it happens, when life gives you corgis, you may or may not be subject to certain knitting needles gnarled, chewed–eaten to nothing but little bits of sawdust or maybe a jagged point more conducive to splinter than say, scarf.

And this is exactly what happened to the lovely ribbon horseshoe parade pattern scarf I began making for my Mum for that special Mum’s day this weekend. While making tacos, the sneaky Sir Winston Churchill (who also likes to rip apart bits of paper, not just knitting projects) found my project in the works, dragged it to a quiet nesting spot, proceeded to eat, in entirety, one of the needles before pulling apart what I’d already worked on sticks, as well as unraveling every single bit of yarn left on spool.

It was one giant, snarly mess. And surprisingly, I didn’t anger.

File Under: onto a new idea…

I would want to…I am game.

I adore Lisa Hannigan. Not because she is crafty as hell, but because she makes deliciously sweet tunes (receiving a Track of the Day nod over at my musical love, Pulp and Circumstance Juiced! thanks to contributed Tom Lau of Nerd Rock and My Top Five fame).

And of course, her debut record Sea Sew features lovely embroidery work cover. And her music video for breakout tune “I Don’t Know” features paper craft making…all of which you see an end result of this incredible bit of paper art.

So enjoy some Lisa Hannigan as you craft. You won’t be disappointed.

Mum’s the word? Not when it’s Mum’s Day!

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Mum’s day is nearly upon us and I certainly have a lovely Mum but have sincerely lacked time to hop to and work up a homemade gift–her favorite, of course.

Enter today, a breezy albeit nice and warm but gray and rainy Boston day and plenty of free time to boot, now that I can officially call myself a librarian and declare here that I have completed all coursework in the quest for my master’s of library and information science. So in honor of it all, I finally picked up a pair of sticks, wandered to my stash, and got on it.

I wanted to make my Mum a triangular style scarf, in a lace weight or cotton yarn, but I couldn’t find inspiration in my stash and realized it would take me waaay to long to complete. I’m definitely going to make her something like the aforementioned soon, but settled on working out a skinny open-work style scarf for her to wear with summery clothes to dress ’em up.

For a whole handful of years I’ve been sitting on three rolls of Borocco’s Boho Colors yarn–the colorway of which doesn’t appear to be continued or currently in stock. It’s golds and hunter/forest greens and limes and yellows…and it looks delicious (pictured above).

I decided to experiment a bit with patterns and thumbed through one of my favorite books for inspiration: The Big Book of Knitting and Stitch Patterns, which provides everything from cables and lace to multiple color panels and traditional stitches. It’s a perfect place to go when you can’t settle on a lace pattern.

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After tying a few chevron style patterns, I settled on the Horseshoe on Parade, below. While it probably would be much more bold with a solid yarn, it’s subtle and doesn’t get entirely lost on the gradient colorways.

It’s simple, worked on 8 rows, and the scarf is moving along swimmingly just as the rains descend. I figure I won’t be able to finish it by tomorrow–but at least I’ll have a whole chunk of it done to show my Mum tomorrow.

And it’s been so long since I’ve actually picked up sticks and conceived something, I didn’t know how I’d react. It’s surprisingly inspiring and I can’t wait to start a whole bunch of other projects.

File Under: Mum’s are inspiring.

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Cuddle me up….

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It’s about that time of year again! Last year, crica June, I absolutely gushed over the idea of creating a candy-colored chevron inspired crochet blanket, namely for my bed in order to ditch the down comforter in the wake of warmer climes, and simply because it had been awhile since I’d actually made a blanket.

This was the first one that I’ve ever gifted to myself and it’s sat on the back of my couch all winter as a comforting (heeeh) reminder of summer skies and warmth even in the depths of winter. It’s the perfect snuggle buddy, albeit absolutely gigantic. On more than one occasion, I’ve actually gotten lost in this puppy.

This chevron blanket has inpired a bunch of offspring (which I’ll be sure to post soon), including alterations involving thicker stripes of color, less colorways, and more muted tones. But none of them have pleased me like this chevron cuddler, and in honor of it and its impending relocation from couch to bed, I bring it to the Kraftworkin’ Kitsch readers.

While a lot of my friends have seen it laying about my home, the blogosphere at large has not been privy to its loveliness. Shame on me for waiting this long…

That being said, I’d like to make another bright blanket this Spring. I’m currently taking suggestions on patterns–but note, I’d like it to be crochet, as I love the “Holly Hobby” nature it brings to an afghan. So start suggesting, will you?

You can check out even more shots of this blanket at my Flickr Set.

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So close to bliss…

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In just two days time, I will officially be a librarian, as in, I will have completed all requirements for my Master’s of Library and Information Science. Furthermore, we will have just one month until school closes for Summer break in work, meaning our hours of actually foot-stomping library technology work is reduced to several hours  a week.

Clearly, as any faithful reader who has stuck around still at this point can realize, there has been little time of late for fostering my beloved hobbies–from delving into the latest albums, to sticking my nose in a book in an attempt to decrease that ever increasing stack of must reads, to picking up the sticks to knit up a pattern I’m absolutely drooling over or to design one to hopefully make others salivate.

So like the above picture, I plan to get designing again, get to picking up sticks, get to reading, get to devouring music and making podcasts, oh, and getting back to deliciousy goodness in the kitch.

I thank my readers for their enduring patience. Expect lots of noise here and everything plus the kitchen sink, due time.