WIPWed #70: Schemes and Plans

I’m going to formally declare something that you may have already picked up on by my lack of speaking about it: I’m not knitting any Christmas gifts this year. *gasp!* *Shock and awe!* I know. I always knit gifts, many gifts, usually almost a dozen (or at least it feels like it) small knit gifts for everyone in my family. But I’ve decided to sit this year out because time has just gone too. dang. fast.

I finished last year’s final holiday gift in February. In March, I hurt my wrist and was unable to knit much until May. May – July, I was mostly consumed with wedding knitting and wedding-related tasks. I’ve only completed six non-wedding projects (SIX!) since finishing holiday knitting from last time… one cowl, one pair of socks, and four hats. Because of that dismal finishing rate, I just don’t have it in me to jump into a bunch more gift knitting right now. I’ve got about a zillion shawls and socks on the go that I’d like to actually wear sometime soon thankyouverymuch. And then there are the sweaters I’d like to knit myself, too. Thus, I’m declaring the holiday season of 2014 a bust, and making the knitting all about me me me.

I like a little structure to my knitting, though, so I’ll be coming up with a concrete plan of attack in the next few weeks. For now, I’m just grabbing the nearest UFO (unfinished object) and picking away at it until I can call it done. This week’s victim choice, was my Sweet Codex Shawl.

Woolen Diversions

SG Codex, colorway Lioness of Brittany

I’ve just finished the first skein and have moved on to the second, so I’m a bit more than halfway done with this shawl (which involves a significant fringe). While the yarn and pattern are lovely, it’s a little monotonous to work. This is definitely a ‘product knitting’ project for me, since I know I will wear the hell out of the finished piece but I am not particularly in love with the process right now.

It made good plane knitting, though, on my trip over the weekend. I flew out to California for a lovely wedding where I got to hang out with a bunch of my college friends in the woods for a few days. It was pretty great and I can officially say that I’ve seen and hugged a redwood. (Hover over the photos in the gallery below to see their caption and click to enbiggen.)

I hope you’ve had a lovely weekend/week as well! What have you decided to do about the holidays? Are you knitting lots of gifts, some gifts, or no gifts?

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Wedding Whirlwind

Thank you so much for all of your well wishes! Our wedding weekend was absolutely fantastic. It was certainly busy and a little bit stressful at times (so much to keep track of!) but we had a ton of help from our incredible families and friends and everything worked out even more wonderfully than I had hoped.

Our (amazing!) photographer won’t get most of our photos back until next month but she sent a little preview to tide us over and I thought you all would appreciate this one, especially:

alicia+rich_preview_07Oh yeah, that’s a bride knitting a sock. I just couldn’t resist. Even though nothing very ‘big’ was DIY (we didn’t cater the thing ourselves, for example) crafting still played an important role in the day.

alicia+rich_preview_12Here’s where we sealed the deal with a kiss! Note, if you will, the crocheted doily under the unity candle (thanks, Mom!) and the presence of the previously-featured, handmade, hula hoop ribbon thing.

alicia+rich_preview_16Here you can kinda see the jewelry I made for myself: necklace, earrings, and bracelet. I decided to make jewelry for myself since I made a bunch of earrings as part of my bridesmaids’ gifts, but I’ll talk more about those later this week on FO Friday since they also involved some knitting!

IMG_6764We kept our table decorations simple with basic table runners, some color-coordinated votive candles, and beribboned mason jars full of glass gems and flowers. The Fiasco (or should I say, my new husband!) wrote, printed, and hand-cut Mad Libs for each table, as well!

IMG_6753 I did not actually make anything on this table, but other people did! One of my best and oldest friends crocheted amazing bride and groom horseshoe crabs as a shower gift, which obviously had to make a wedding appearance. (The Fiasco and I met when I hired him as an assistant for my horseshoe crab research.) Our adorable little horseshoe crab cake toppers and the polka-dot paper garland were handmade and came from shops on Etsy.

IMG_6735Our biggest DIY project was putting together all of the flowers for the bouquets and centerpieces. I ordered wholesale flowers from Blooms By The Box and then we trimmed, hydrated, and arranged them under the guidance of my aunt (who fortuitously had taken a flower-arranging class at some point in her past), and with the help of my cousin (both pictured above) and the rest of my bridesmaids. Even though the arrangements were fairly straightforward (blue hydrangeas, mini green hydrangeas, white roses, green carnations, ferns, baby’s breath) it was no small task to put everything together. However, the flowers came out absolutely beautifully and I loved them a stupid amount.

I’m sure you’ll hear lots more about the wedding than you will ever want to know, but I think for now I’ll leave off with one of my absolute favorite preview shots that makes the entire day feel like a fairy tale (and makes us look like we can actually dance):

alicia+rich_preview_14Squeeeeeee!

 

 

IS #76: This Guy

On this day — our wedding day — my inspiration can really only come from one source: my Fiasco.

yarn 075If there’s a sweeter, kinder, more giving man out there — I haven’t met him.

renfaire 005He’s inappropriate and hilarious and consistently keeps me on my toes.

He’s great with kids and amazing with my entire family.

yarn 062He loves to cook and clean (thank goodness!) and really does the lion’s share of the work around the house.

IMG_5641He’s creative, brilliant, and enthusiastic about everything he does.

2009_June 047And he’s equally enthusiastic about everything I do — from horseshoe crab surveys to fiber festivals and Sweet Sheep vending shows — he supports me in anything and everything I dream up.

IMG_6368I am incredibly lucky to have met this man and am proud to make him my husband!

(P.S. If you’re the type that likes to peek at wedding photos, feel free to search the #morandi2014 hashtag on Instagram or check out our Wedding Party app site where people can upload photos as the day progresses.)

WIPWed #59: Wedding In Progress

The wedding itself is not in progress at this moment, but the preparation for it certainly is! The Fiasco and I have been busy busy bees lately. Thank goodness he’s a teacher and has free time to run errands all over town while I’ve been working. Our evenings, late nights, and weekends have been overflowing with tasks but many of them have been creative so it’s been a good time.

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ALL THE RIBBONS!

I essentially bought out the entire blue/green ribbon section of Michael’s to turn this mess:

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White duct tape around a hula hoop + ribbons =

Into this gorgeous thing:

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AWESOME!

The aptly-named “hula hoop ribbon thing” is going to serve as a backdrop during our ceremony and will reside behind the sweetheart table at the reception. It’s the one and only Pinterest-inspired wedding craft that I actually accomplished. That shawl I dreamt about? Never happened. I totally gave up on my Something Blue purse. But I was bound and determined to make this ribbon thing and I’m really glad I did!

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Also, jewelry?

I also decided, in a fit of randomness, that I’d really like to make my own wedding jewelry. (I think we made one too many trips to Michael’s and I became infected with some sort of craft all the things bug.) The bracelet was a breeze, I’m going to tackle the earrings and necklace tonight. We’ll see how it goes!

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Cotton tahkli from hipstrings. Click for Etsy shop.

As is my wont, stressful busy days with no time to knit or spin lead directly to some stash and tool enhancement. I am excited to try this little cotton tahkli from hipstrings. It’s made of acrylic and carbon fiber and is very lightweight and supposed to spin very quickly. Since I enjoy my Tibetan and Russian supported spindles so much, I figured it was time to branch out into cotton spinning and see how it goes. I’ll give this baby a whirl next week.

I hope you all are having wonderful weeks! Check out some actual knitting WIPs at Tamis Amis.

Steamrolling

I’ve been steamrolling my way through these last few weeks, man. June has been passing in mere blinks of the eye. Lots and lots of late nights at the office, lots and lots of evenings, weekends, and should-be-sleeping hours spent on wedding-related activities. My to-do lists are rather impressively long and detailed at the moment, which is saying something if you know me.

weddingThat’s the handy-dandy and unabashedly intense Wedding Countdown on the DJ’s itinerary-planning website. I find it hilarious that most of our vendors require we fill out very long, detailed questionnaires planning very second of the day… except for the reception banquet manager, who basically said “Meh, those schedules never work out. It’ll all be fine, we’ll chat the week before.” WHAT?! The person I’m gonna hand over the biggest stack of cash to appears to be by far the least concerned about the details of the day. I’ve decided I love her for it, since those itinerary questionnaires are a major pain in the ass. Should the cake cutting be at 9pm or 9:30pm? How long do we really need for those pictures? What the eff is a dollar dance? OH GOD, I JUST DON’T KNOW??!?!1!!DFSJKGHKLCKF’;ASDLCVMKF. While we’re at it, should the jordan almonds be spring green, pale green, or mint? And how many do we need again? AAAAAAAHHHHHH. No more decisions, please.

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Spinning for sanity! Click for project page.

Sigh. In 15 days, all of this will be over, and I’m sure I’ll feel a mix of emotions, not the least of which will be relief. I’ll be sad the wedding is over but happy to have time to myself again. You know, for the important things, like knitting and spinning (obviously). I’ll also be thrilled to finally be married to my Fiasco and eagerly awaiting our Costa Rican honeymoon (which is sounding quite amazing at this particular moment). But first — I’ll be here, bleary-eyed and up too late, planning this one big, momentous, family-and-friend-filled weekend, one step at a time.

(Speaking of steps, I’m walking in the Relay for Life tomorrow err… tonight. There’s still time to donate if you’d like to support my mom and me and help raise funds for the American Cancer Society. I would really appreciate it!)

Piece of Cake

I have met my cake-related soulmate. On Saturday, the Fiasco and I embarked on an epic road trip to my cousin’s Sweet 16. Along the way we planned to stop at 3 bakeries to try wedding cakes. We only made it to 2 because the second bakery was just. that. good.

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Supported spinning in the car!

In truth, I liked the place based on the name alone: A Little Something Bakery in West Hartford, CT. The owner, Beth, does some amazing things with cake.

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Don’t lie, you kind of want an ombre purple goth cake now, too, don’t you?

 

We had just come from a bakery that didn’t even offer to let us try their cake, we had to sort of awkwardly ask for it and they only had 2 different flavors (one of which was cryptically named ‘bride’s white’), so we were extra thankful when Beth pointed us to trays brimming with about 10 different flavors of cupcakes and let us have our pick. I gotta say — I’ve been on a low-carb diet for 6 months, and those cupcakes were a revelation.

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Scrabble tile wisdom.

She had so many flavors and such amazing combinations… eventually we ‘settled’ on coconut cake with lemon cream filling and red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. I showed her a photo of the simple sprinkle design I wanted and she didn’t bat an eye when I requested only teal and green nonpareils instead of rainbow — while the other place basically told me I’d have to buy my own sprinkles to get the look I wanted. AND she’s going to make the red velvet cake in a blue/green color to better match the exterior decorations (I’m ridiculously excited about the blueness of the cake. It’s a silly little detail but I love it.)

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Handknit cupcakes!!!

Perhaps best of all — she’s a knitter! (Of course she would be, since she’s so awesome, amIright?) The knitting kinda clinched it, not gonna lie. It feels silly to be so excited about one detail of one day but honestly, it makes me incredibly happy to work with a wedding vendor who happily works within our budget, offers quality services, and truly seems to love what she does. She made us feel so welcome and wanted even though we didn’t have the largest budget and couldn’t afford one of her bigger and more elaborately-decorated cakes. It’s like that didn’t even matter to her — she was happy to have our business and we’re thrilled to be serving a fabulous cake to our wedding guests.

If you’re ever in West Hartford, consider swinging by for a cupcake or two. You won’t be disappointed. We were so giddy and excited by the whole thing that we got 20 minutes down the road before we realized we should’ve bought some cupcakes to bring to my parents (seeing as we were on our way to their house). We turned around, sheepishly purchased the cupcakes, and then when we reached the same stretch of highway we had gotten to before — there was a giant accident that held us up for 45 minutes. Those cupcakes cost us an hour and a half of our time but man, they were worth it! I can safely say that ordering the cake was hands-down the best part about wedding planning. (Though maybe that’s the residual sugar high talking…) If only everything could be this easy!

IS #64: Other People’s Wedding Knits

If you remember, last week I talked about all of the lovely wedding shawl patterns I was considering and was so totally not going to knit for a variety of reasons. Well, due to your shameless enabling encouragement, I’ve been convinced to try to knit one anyway, all those reasons be damned! I’ve decided on Ann Hanson’s Twig & Leaf shawl, but have not yet started because I am seriously procrastinating winding up 1200 yards of laceweight silk. Perhaps I’ll be able to get to it tomorrow.

In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to look at some of the lovely and inspiring things other people have knit for their weddings.

Copyright mystique. Click for project page.

This raveler, Amber, amazingly designed and knit her own laceweight silk wedding dress! (Let that sink in a moment.) That’s over 2800 yards of yarn knit on size US 2 and 3 needles. It’s incredible and really looks lovely. I’m blown away. Incidentally, she also designs and sells bridal hair pieces on Etsy.

Copyright MandaKR. Click for project page.

I think weddings inspire the ‘go big or go home’ mentality in a lot of knitters; this knit by Amanda also took over 2400 yards of laceweight yarn. It is huge, gorgeous, amazing, and perfect with her silvery dress (that I believe she made with her mom, if I’m remembering correctly from the With This String, I Thee Wed board on Ravelry).

Copyright megknitficent. Click for project page.

I think this veil by Megan was the first wedding-related project that really inspired me. I loved the way it looked draped over her dress and imagined I would knit a shawl just like it to wear as a veil for my wedding. When I went dress shopping, I ended up purchasing a veil, so that won’t happen now but I still love the look.

Copyright Caitri. Click for project page.

The big knits are lovely but the smaller projects are wonderful, too. I love these handknit wedding flowers by Caitriona. If I look at them too long, I might want to make my own as well, and that would just be way too much knitting. Resist!

Have you seen any lovely wedding-related knits? What has been inspiring you lately? Please share in the comments below!

IS

Dresses and Joy

I had a rather productive weekend! First, I found a wedding and dress, and second, I finished some socks! As I mentioned, I was kinda dreading the dress shopping thing and quite frankly, you could tell. While going through all the photos of all the dresses I tried on, I was highly amused by my facial expressions. I call this collage “The Many Faces of Dress Shopping”:

dress

But, as the middle photo suggests, I found a dress that works and was strong-armed into buying an overpriced veil (by my mom) and I’m pretty happy about it all. It was super helpful having my mom, my aunt, and my friends there — they really helped me sort through what I was thinking and made the process more fun. Although that hasn’t stopped me from having dress-shopping-related nightmares. I think because I only spent 2 weeks thinking about the dress and 2 visits trying dresses on, I’m stressing out that I didn’t get the right one. And when I look at photos of some of the poofier, more elaborate and more ‘bridal’ gowns, I wonder if I should have gotten one of those. But then I look at the photos of me in my lightweight, flowey bridesmaid’s dress and remember how comfortable I was in it and I feel better about it. There’s a lot of weird pressure caught up around the wedding dress, guys. It’s kinda messed up. People buy keepsake sketches of their gowns, take those weird ‘creepy floating dress’ portraits as if the gown (and not the woman in it) matters, and spend thousands and thousands (and thousands) of dollars on something they will wear for literally 5 hours. I just don’t get it. I like pretty things as much as the next gal but… priorities. Anywho, onto more fun things!

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BMFA Socks that Rock, colorway Comfort & Joy

I feel like a ‘Hallelujah!‘ is in order because this is the first pair of socks I’ve finished for myself in a year and a half, since September 2012! That is far too long to go without new socks. It was a Rockin’ Sock Club kit from 2011. I loosely followed the pattern (Joy by A. Karen Alfke) for the i-cord cuff and the linen stitch heel, but I customized the ribbing pattern and did a half linen stitch toe.

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I wish I had made the i-cord on top longer with more exaggerated ‘festoons’ because when the sock is worn it stretches out and you loose the neat wiggly effect you can see in some of the other photos on the project page. Other than that, I’m very happy with them because they’re new and they’re done!

I also received my Rockin’ Whorl Club fiber for February. If you don’t want to be spoiled, you should look away now!

 

Right now!

 

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BMFA Rockin’ Whorl Club Super Silky Merino, colorway Spring Fever

This fiber looks so sweet and delicious, I could almost eat it! It’s a blend of 40% extra fine Merino, 40% superwash Merino, and 20% bleached tussah silk. Tina suggests that this fiber would make excellent socks and I think that’s what I’ll likely try, when I am able to get around to it. For now I’m just petting it because it’s delightful.

I hope you all had excellent, productive, and joyful weekends!