Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Piecrust Scarf Pattern!!

I've published the Piecrust Scarf Pattern!  This is a textured scarf which is worked on the long side.  The ruffle runs along one edge and it was this ruffle that sparked the name.  When I was blocking the ruffle, I felt like I was making the fluted edge of a pie crust.   The scarf was inspired by the knit "Just Enough Ruffles" scarf from Laura Chau.  I loved the shape and thought a crocheted version was "necessary" haha!  I added the awesome texture to the body of the scarf, which will prompt folks to ask you, "are you sure that is crocheted?"

I teach this scarf (by arrangement) at Yarndogs, in Los Gatos.  You can get the pattern on Ravelry HERE, or by emailing me directly.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Golden Sweater--Third Time's a Charm!

Whew!  I finally have a sweater out of the Rowan Purelife Organic Wool I bought over two years ago!  I found 10 skeins on sale at Yarndogs in Los Gatos, in a pretty camel color--Alder Buckthorn, and I bought it with a pattern in mind.   This is the third attempt at making a sweater out of this yarn.  Nothing wrong with the yarn (a little separation of the strands but I still like it!), everything wrong with ME!

Concur by Berroco
My first attempt was this cute cardi, Concur by Berroco.  I even had some big vintage turquoise buttons which looked awesome with the camel yarn.  I was using a gold Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend for the cuffs and bottom hem.  I ran into trouble during the picking-up-stitches stage....I was an inexperienced knitter and did it incorrectly.  Too many stitches picked up.  Then I got lost at the button band.  So I put it away in a bag and found it again last year.

I frogged the whole thing and used most of the gold Manos for a crocheted version of the Just Enough Ruffles scarf, which turned out beautifully if I do say so myself.

I started making Irish Coffee by Thea Colman.  SO CUTE!  But, I got only so far into it, and realized my gauge wasn't right.   And, I wasn't loving the Purelife with this pattern.  (The pattern, by the way, is fabulous!)  So I'll choose a better yarn in the future--perhaps some MadTosh.  I frogged the Purelife again.

So here we are, two years later (at least), from the original purchase date.  I learned a new crochet stitch at the beginning of the summer and I love it!  It's a crossed half double crochet, and you cross it by making a second stitch around the post of the previous stitch of the same row.  Super cool!  I tried a swatch with the Purelife and it was gorgeous.

Crossed half-double crochet alternating with a row of single crochet (US)

So I made up my own pattern, using a basic drop-shoulder construction.  I did taper the sleeves, and I added that same gold Manos for some trim.  I love the result!   It's really soft and squishy, and I just love the color.  You may not see me in the sweater anytime soon, it's a little tight.  Sad, sad, sad.  It looks great on my sister-in-law, though!  We made a deal that if I didn't wear it by Christmas, it would be hers.  Read: if I don't start losing some weight, it's hers.  There's motivation for you!

Neckline detail (right) and hem detail (left)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Embellished Espadrilles

What to do with all those Irish Crochet motifs???  I had a little chat with some of the ladies on the Irish Crochet Lovers forum about the motifs we make on the CAL's.  Some of them have a sample book that they keep all the motifs in.  Melba is arranging hers on a thrift-store purse.  It looks great!  She's using all different shades of brown, and all different motifs.  I've been saving mine in a little ziplock, unsure of how to use them.  The ladies got me thinking, and I decided to sew some onto a pair of espadrilles and I love the result!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Irish Crochet Together Blog Challenge Project

detail of Valentino fabric
Over at irishcrochettogether.blogspot.com we had a little challenge and this one was based on the gorgeous Valentino dress that Cameron Diaz modeled on the cover of InStyle magazine.  I learned quite a bit but I don't think I love the final product.

I love my main motif.  I made this with Blue Heron Yarns 100 percent Egyptian cotton.  I love LOVE this "yarn".  It's a 2-ply lace weight that is comparable to an eight or maybe a three-weight cotton thread.  It's shiny and soft and the color transitions are gorgeous.  It was liberating to crochet this.  I used the leaf shapes from the Valentino fabric as inspiration here.  This was free-form and FUN-- quite a change from deciphering all the antique IC patterns I had been working on.

For my background, I wanted a filled rectangle, but I wasn't sure how to do it.  First, I basted the motif to a base fabric.  I knew I was going to use the Habu Textiles Silk thread that I bought in SF for the background, and I knew I wanted to include some Clones Knots.  I started filling in the round part at the bottom of the motif with Clones Knots.  After I did that I thought it looked distracting, so I opted for surrounding the motif with a border of Clones Knots instead, and filled the round part with plain, diamond-shaped filling stitches.

I liked the four-spoked cross pattern in the inspiration fabric, so I used a shamrock type filling stitch to mimic that.  I first made the outer edge, which is the Egyptian cotton over PC (single crochet with picots).  I pinned it out to the size I wanted around the motif.

I started the shamrock filling at the bottom, went up the right side, then started again over to the left (and ripped out and re-made what you see here).  I then filled in the last rows on the top.  I learned that this silk pulls apart easily and does not rip out easily.  I haven't practiced filling stitches very often and I really need to continue to work on them!

challenge piece detail

finished challenge piece

The final piece is about 6 x 10 inches.  New techniques for me were: free-form crochet, shamrock filling stitch, and working into a corded edging.

I learned that half-double crochet doesn't look very good in IC motifs.  It makes a raised bar that I love in other projects, but the texture doesn't add much where I used it this time.

TIP:  I used my laptop portable desk by Belkin as my work surface while doing the filling stitches.  It is slanted a bit, and made of a fabric covered foam on a rigid backing.  I could pin right into it and the slant facilitated working the stitches!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pillows for the Kids

We moved last month and I think we are finally at the point where I can start crocheting and blogging again without feeling guilty about ALL THOSE BOXES!  After the June WIP-up, I realized I did not have any easy, meditative projects going, so I pulled out the acrylic and made the kids some pillows to match their yarn blankies.  They went really quickly, and the kids had fun "helping" me decide on color choice and placement.

front of pillows with their respective yarn blankies
For Miss E's pillow, I made a motif which combined an Irish Rose with a circle in a square pattern, then I joined them together with contrasting yarn.  I'm thinking this might be a good pattern to post on Ravelry...add that one to my list!  For Mister M's pillow, I did the basic granny square and continued around and around.

back of pillows
For the back of Miss E's pillow, I just half-double crocheted stripes.  For the edging, I single crocheted both sides together then did a shell stitch.  The back of Mister M's pillow is the Vintage Vertical Stripe pattern.  Then I just did a plain join around in black.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

June WIP-up

I'll be writing a monthly works-in-progress post, so I can FINISH things!!!  After I gathered my projects yesterday, I realized that I'm not working on anything fun and easy.  No meditative crocheting!  I'll have to find a project for that.  Here's what I'm working on.  

Clockwise from top left:  Irish Crochet top in large thread;  scarves to write patterns for; Irish Crochet Together Blog Challenge; Miss E's top...must remake bodice; striped top....must replace bottom beginning chain...too tight and doesn't lay right.

UPDATE (July 17, 2012):  I did fix the stripe top, and will be posting a tutorial for replacing a beginning chain.  I also finished my blog challenge piece!  The others....no progress.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Birthday Blankie

Birthday Blankie
I made this last year for Miss E, just in time for her birthday.  It didn't start out as a birthday blankie, but I rushed to finish it in time for her 6th.  With lots of encouragement from her.  "Are you working on my blankie?"  "Mommy, why don't you work on my yarn blankie?"  "Here Mommy, here's your crocheting."

Miss E's bedroom fabrics
I used Lucy's Neat Ripple Pattern and Stylecraft Special DK acrylic yarn.  I love this yarn for blankies!  It's lighter weight than our standard US acrylics from the big box stores, and the price is right.  The color selection is amazing, but sometimes all colors are not in stock.  I ordered my Stylecraft from Deramores in the UK.  At the time, there was a Rav coupon and free shipping to the US.  It was so exciting to receive the packages in the mail.  The kids pulled out all the skeins and started making "yarn trains" through the house.

My color inspiration was Miss E's coverlet and valance that I had sewed up a couple of years ago.  Of course, she wanted PINK, but I managed to talk her into adding some turquoise and green.  I'm pretty sure we ordered one of each pink shade that was available!  Then to temper all that pink-ness and bright turquoise-y-ness, I chose a yellow and a camel just in case.  It was difficult choosing colors online.  I like to lay things out and move them around when I decide on colors.   Once the yarn arrived, I was able to play with it, and lay out different color sequences.  I originally wanted to use a random sequence...well, something that looked random (but of course, is not, because I can't do random).  Miss E wanted a rainbow though, and since it was her blankie, a rainbow we have.

Miss E's Rainbow sequence                        Random (not really) sequence                            Light-Dark sequence
As you can see, color placement really affects the final look of the blanket.  I recommend laying out your skeins in different ways to see what sequence you prefer.  I've been known to sit in the aisle at the yarn store and make pretty rows while contemplating my color choices.  Doing a sketch with colored pencils is another way to visualize your color sequence.  It doesn't have to be a real drawing, just coloring thick stripes on your paper will help you to see.  Another method would be to cut out colored strips of paper and rearrange them.  Take a picture with your phone of sequences that you like so that you can recreate them.  (This works when you are arranging skeins too!)  Don't be afraid of color, have fun with it!!!

Love these together!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

I woke up to little voices saying "Happy Mother's Day!"  Miss E (almost 7) and Mr. M (5) then went out and admonished me to stay put.  Soon they came back in, Miss E carrying a tray with a blueberry Eggo waffle, all toasted and buttered, and a bowl of coffee ice cream with a chocolate egg in it.  Breakfast in bed!  Mr. M had made me a card that said "Mommy, I love you" with all sorts of happy face pictures around it.  What a great start to my day!

My mom and her husband then came over for brunch, and she and I cooked together, making "scrambied" eggs,  bacon (the maple kind), pancakes, berries and "Promosas" (prosecco and oj).  We had a pretty table, yummy food, and very nice company.  But wait, there's more!

So. I have the best husband in the world (aka TBHITW), and he said for Mother's Day my gift was CASH to go shopping at Nordstrom!  Hooray!  I am sadly in need of some new clothes.  Then we decided I would go shopping ALONE (hooray again!) and that I could also have some CASH to go to Imagiknit in San Francisco.  ALONE!  See ya, family!  I love them, but really, mommy needs her alone time.

At Nordy's I didn't find much.  Murphy's Law, when you have money to spend, they don't have your size.  So the sandals I had been eyeing online were not available but I found a cute pair of gold t-straps.  Also found a cute pair of dark purple linen shorts.  They are pretty short but they are really cute!  Did I say they were cute?  (They are)  I ended up getting some tanks and tees at Target with the rest of my CASH.

Ok, now for the good part.  I drove up to the city, singing loudly the whole way (remember:  ALONE!).  Imagiknit is in the Castro, but a few blocks off the busy area.  Parking is a little challenging, but I got lucky and found a spot nearby.  The store is on the corner of Sanchez and 18th and it looks pretty small from the outside, but wow, when you get in there, look out!  There are two rooms, with very high ceilings, and very high shelves, packed full of yarn.  Luckily I'm super tall so I could reach all the yarn, but I don't know what you would do if you were a shortie.  The store is organized by weight of yarn and also by type of fiber.  The first room has the cash register (needles and hooks behind the counter), and has animal yarn and fiber.  They must have every color of MadTosh ever made.  There are many luxury yarns and also staples like Cascade 220.  I saw quite a few local yarns, some others that I had only seen online, and many that I had never heard of.  The second room has plant-based and man-made yarn, and a large selection of books.  They have a good sale section too; it looked like most things were 25 percent off and there was quite a bit to choose from.

I had heard some negative feedback on their customer service, so I was prepared to be snubbed, but the people there were quite pleasant, yay!  The owner was there and she was friendly and helpful to everyone who came in.  They didn't greet me immediately but I don't mind that.  Three people were working and each one at some point did ask me if I needed help finding anything.   When I told one person that I hadn't been to the store before, he excitedly pointed out some Malabrigio that was exclusive to the store.  I wandered back and forth between the two rooms and finally chose a few items.  I tried to select yarns that I couldn't get here at my nearby LYS.  They don't wind your yarn for you, but there is a swift and ball winder that customers can use.  They set up my yarn for me on the swift and I wound up my 1,000 yards of Egyptian cotton.

The first room:  animal fibers.  This is part of one wall.  There is probably three times more yarn on the other walls.
The second room:  plant-based and man-made fibers.  The wall to the right is just as full!

My haul today was pretty modest but of excellent quality and was under budget too!  On the left is a small cone of 100 percent silk from Habu Textiles.  The large ball is my 1,000 yards of Egyptian cotton from Blue Heron Yarns. It's hand-dyed shades of light greens and blues.  I'll be using the two of these together on my Irish Crochet Together Challenge.  The two small skeins were on sale, and are Twisted Sisters Petite Voodoo Special Limited Edition 50-50 Merino and Silk.  This yarn is so incredibly soft!  I was thinking maybe a lacy long cowl or something...

This happy mommy came home in time for dinner.  I hope you had a great day too!

Friday, May 11, 2012

I'm so inspired!

So much so, that I've issued a challenge on irishcrochettogether!

Maybe you haven't visited over there, but I also edit the irishcrochettogether blog and you should go check it out.

I buy InStyle now and then...not like before (children) when I had a subscription, but every once in a while I'll get a copy.  I couldn't resist this cover!  That lace dress by Valentino is so pretty!  And of course inspired CROCHET IDEAS!!!  No, I won't be making an entire blue crocheted dress, but I would like to make a little something, even just a motif, using Irish Crochet techniques.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Teaching at Yarndogs

You may have seen this post, where I talk about my "Red Skies at Night" version of Linda Permann's Starry Night Cardigan.  I received permission from Linda to teach a class in making her pattern (student's bought their own copy of the pattern).  I loved the construction of the cardigan and the clear instructive way it was written, and thought it would be a great crocheted garment class for a medium-level student.  Also, you may remember, I LOVE LOVE how mine came out!!!  Gotta share that love!

Yarndogs in Los Gatos put me on the class schedule for last month, for my Appreciation Cowl (more on that later) and for the Starry Night Cardigan.  I have one student for the cardi, a wonderful chatty lady named Gracie, who is cheerful and sweet and makes my classes a joy.  Gracie is the student that has more knowledge than she thinks she does, and just needs a teeny bit more confidence in her crochet abilities before she is off and running on her own.  (Gracie, you can do it!!)  This is her first garment, and she is making it for her daughter.  Her daughter chose Madeline Tosh sock DK, and tried on my sample cardi for fit.  The sample fit her perfectly!  So we just followed my notes for adjustments to the pattern for length and gauge.  The motifs are now finished and Gracie is zipping along on the skirt portion of the cardi.  It won't be long before her daughter can wear this cardigan with pride!

Gracie and her own Starry Night Cardigan in progress (iPhone pix)

My other class, the Appreciation Cowl, was a hit!  I had 5 students!  It was really fun.  I had a repeat student that I hadn't seen for 6 months or so, and it was great to catch up with her.  The students were all happy to learn the foundation single crochet and said they would all use it in future projects.  It is such a useful technique!  Two of the students decide to use a bamboo-cotton blend yarn for their cowls, so they would have a more summery accessory.  We went with a G hook and a thinner DK-ish yarn, for a more open look.  I'm excited to make one like that myself!  This class was only for one hour, and we all realized another hour was wanted.   They may put the Cowl on the June class schedule again.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Modern Vintage--Kansas Sun Afghan

I love vintage patterns!  I have a whole shelf of them.  I received my grandma's pattern books and have purchased some here and there over the years, and I love to look through them for inspiration (or for what NOT to do :).   Sometimes I take the general shape as inspiration, and sometimes it's just the stitch, or sometimes, like today's example, I use the pattern as is, but change up the color and color pattern to make a more current version.

The afghan to the right was made by me for my Kansas grandma.  Her bedroom was yellow, so that determined my color choice.  I made this about 20 years ago, and received it back after she passed away.   I think she was afraid to use it!  I know it was folded on a chair in her room from the time she received it, but when I got it back it still looked brand new.   Now it lives on my living room couch, where we snuggle under it all the time.

Here is the original pattern book.  That lovely striped creation on the right side is the same afghan as the Kansas Sun afghan pictured above.  Even back when I made mine, the original example was dated looking, and not appealing color-wise.  I decided to use color-blocking instead of making thin stripes, and I omitted the fringe.  I didn't want it to look so busy.

If I were to make this again, I might like this pattern in the thinner stripes, but in a fresh color combo.

Check out the swatches below.  Try gray, white and pale turquoise....mmmm, beachy!  How about orange, pale blue, tan and cream? (baby boy gift...oooh or my family room needs a refresh!)  Or use Lucy colors!  This pattern is perfect for a Lucy blanket.  As a matter of fact, I've been wanting to make a cushion, Lucy-style.  This stitch pattern with Lucy colors!  ....runs off to pull yarn out of boxes....

You can get the original Vintage Pattern Here.
Link to my Ravelry Project.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

WooHoo! Check me Out!

I met Maire Treanor last summer while taking her Clones Lace workshop in Berkeley at Lacis.  She is a wonderful woman, and is writing a series of articles for Interweave Crochet magazine on Irish Crochet lace.  She asked if she could use one of my photos for her article that appears in the Spring issue.  OF COURSE SHE COULD!

We had taken a field trip to the Sunnyvale lace museum and there was a piece of actual Clones lace there, made in Ireland.  All of their other "Irish Crochet" is from the US.  Maire could tell the difference between the Irish and the non-Irish, from the thread used to make the lace.  US lace is made with mercerized cotton and antique Irish Crochet from Ireland is made from non-mercerized cotton or linen.  I had photographed many of the lace pieces with motifs that were interesting to me, and she remembered that I had an image of the Clones piece.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Missoni Style

I love the crazy color combos and the fun patterns of Missoni.  I was determined that I could achieve the Missoni effect with crochet.  My plan was to do this with a self-striping yarn, and then I wouldn't have a bunch of ends to weave in.

My friend at Alcidina Art Yarns made me some custom dyed yarn!  She surprised me with these self-striping skeins.  Boy did I feel privileged when these gorgeous treats appeared in my mailbox.

I tried to use the yarn as it was, perfectly measured and just alternating the two balls.  But, I ended up liking a more randomly ordered stripe, instead of a consistent stripe.  So that meant lots of cutting of my self-striping yarn and weaving in of those ends.  Grrr....  AND...I added white, you have to have the white in there to break up all that color.  BUT, I love LOVE my scarf!  It is a cushy cashmere blend and is extra wide for more smooshy goodness.

Pattern is coming!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Heartstrings Haul

Yesterday I spent my requisite hour and a half at Heartstrings Yarn Studio in Chico, CA.  We are visiting the in-laws for Easter, and I snuck out to ogle the yarn-goodness over on the Esplanade.  Well, they knew precisely where I was, so I didn't really "sneak out."

I love this shop.  They have a HUGE selection of yarn, everything from pricey art yarns at $50 per skein to humble cotton/acrylic blends for $4 per skein.  And their sale corner is great!!!  Half price yarn, baskets full!  This is where I get in trouble.  This visit I had a gift certificate from my SIL, so I chose some cotton for a new project.  Then I went hunting in the sale baskets.  I justify these sale purchases because A:  hello?   half price!  and B: the yarn I bought is for projects for my kids.  THAT does not count as wanton yarn buying.

Here are the goodies!

Upper left yarn:  Malva by Filatura di Crosa.  It's a ribbon yarn and I plan to use it with some pink cottons I have at home, to make a dress for Miss E.
Book:  Custom Crocheted Sweaters by Dora Ohrenstein.  Great sweater patterns in here, plus detailed instructions on customizing and fit.
Upper right yarn:  Escape by Sirdar.  This will be a sweater (or yarn jacket as he calls it) for Mr. M.
Bottom left:  Ultra Pima Cotton by Cascade.  As you can see I've already started my new project...it's a top for ME!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pattern Release! Appreciation Cowl

It's new pattern time !!!  The Appreciation Cowl is now for sale, after testing from some friendly Ravelers.  Buy it HERE!

This versatile pattern looks great with a variety of yarns.  I love the way the Manos Wool Classica in Wildflower looks paired with MadTosh's Tosh DK in Tern.  It really shows off the multi-colored Manos (I used almost the entire skein, with only a couple yards left).  Sometimes I have a hard time finding patterns that really show off hand-painted or variegated yarns.
This simple stripe pattern shows off the colors while the accent stripes keep everything cohesive.  It's an easy pattern with a few maybe-new-to-you techniques.  I use foundation single crochet to start, and there is a tutorial here on this blog.  Otherwise, you just need to know single and half-double crochet, chains and slip stitches, and how to crochet into the back loop only.

I made the first Appreciation Cowl (left) for a friend who very generously helped out my family during my bedrest.  This cowl used 10 yard lengths for the pink and khaki stripes.  The accent stripes were made with one row of gold an one row of cream.  The result was a pseudo-fair-isle pattern.

One of my testers used recycled Sari yarn.  She noted that it is really difficult to find patterns that work with this yarn, and she loved the results.  If you choose to use a single color of yarn, the cowl has plenty of differentiation in texture and will be perfect for a male recipient.

I can't wait to see how you choose to mix up your yarns with this pattern!  Be sure to post pictures on Ravelery :)

Tutorial--FSC--Foundation Single Crochet

FSC (foundation single crochet) is a great technique to know.  You use this instead of a beginning chain, to create a more stretchy base for your piece.  This is especially helpful in garments, for top-down construction.  You can use the FSC for the collar or the top of a shawl, to keep it as stretchy as the rest of the garment.
I used the FSC in my Appreciation Cowl, to create a uniform edge on both sides of the cowl. If I had used a plain chain when I started the cowl, I would have ended up with the cowl having less give on one side.  Below is my tutorial on FSC.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Red Skies at Night

I've just finished a super-cute cardigan!  Designer Linda Permann has written a fabulous pattern called Starry Night (you can find it here on Rav).  I rate her pattern 5 stars.  It is EXTREMELY well-written.  She gives you diagrams, and explains everything really well.  She also gives great instructions on modifying the fit of the garment.

I made the XL, but had to make additional motifs because I was using a thinner-than-recommended yarn.  I ended up using a fingering weight yarn, from Claudia's Hand-Painted Yarns, in the Rubies Playing colorway.  I used all 10 skeins, (175 yds each....1750 yds total) and had just a little left over.  With Linda's diagrams and measurements in the pattern, I was able to estimate my totals, and then pinned and tried on the pieces before I sewed it all together.  The fronts were 5 motifs across and 6 high, and the back is 9 motifs wide and 6 tall.  I added two motifs under the arm to accommodate my beezooms.  One motif wide by two motifs tall.  I added length in the skirt and the sleeves as well, because I am so tall.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wild Rose Group

I have finished my second group of motifs for the museum project, and have shipped them off to England!  This group (the Wild Rose from the Priscilla Book 1 of Irish Crochet, page 12) took about a week to finish.  The main rose is about 2.75 inches in diameter, to give you some perspective.  I used size 80 thread over doubled size 10 PC, with a .06mm hook.  It was helpful to use painter's masking tape over my middle finger as protection against that pointy hook!  I now have a nice callous.  The smallest rings on the main flower were the most difficult to do.  I wrapped the PC around the base of a steel hook about 6 times (doubled) and then went to work with the 80 thread.  My eyes crossed!  I could only do two at a time, and then would take a break.
I am so excited to be contributing to this project!  I just love the idea of so many hands, all over the world, working together to create a beautiful exhibit.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Irish Crochet Project

I'm so lucky to be involved in an international Irish Crochet project for an upcoming museum exhibit.  I can't share all the details but I can let you know that we have people contributing from France, Moscow, England, Northern Ireland, Australia and three states in the US.  I can also show you part of my contribution.  These little motifs are 2.5 inches wide and tall, and are made with No. 80 DMC Cordonnet Thread and a .6mm hook.  TINY stuff to work with!  I end up doing a lot by feel and instinct, rather than actual counting of the itty-bitty stitches.  The motifs are from the Priscilla Book 1, motif number 36.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Back to the Blog

Of course, as soon as I decide to do a blog, I am incapacitated with a cerebral-spinal fluid leak, and I'm unable to post.  I'm feeling better now, and hope I'll soon be able to blog away!  Luckily I've been able to crochet while lying down so I've been quite productive.  I'll be posting finished projects in the coming weeks so you can see what I've been up to.