FOs

Finished object no. 1: star crossed slouchy beret. Which has been in my Ravelry queue for, you know ... a couple of years.
Finished object no. 2: Murielle. This lovely was made using three skeins of Rowan Big Wool in 'glum' gray, held double. It's kind of huge. And I realize that you may be wondering ... 'Jen, isn't it spring? Why are you working on wintery things? Why are you showing us photos of you standing in snow?' Well, yeah. Technically, it is the end of March, but our back yard looked like this yesterday. Don't feel too badly for me ... the snow melted pretty quickly. And this knitter knows no season when it comes to projects. I would have totally made this scarf in July. While sitting in my living room, enjoying the AC. But it was kind of fun to wake up yesterday and see a pretty white covering on all of the trees and rooftops. Kind of fun. At the very least, it did made me feel like wearing a wool scarf was appropriate!

knitting needle + crochet hook = broomstick lace

A few months ago I was visiting my mom, an experienced crocheter, and I asked her about broomstick lace. I had seen broomstick lace baby blankets, bonnets and even some couch arm covers that she had made (is that what you call them?) from the 70s. I asked her if she could show me how to do it, so she went to her closet, retrieved a big bag of needlework stuff, and pulled out a huge wooden stick. It looked like it might have been a dowel, sharpened to a point on one end. She said that my grandpa used to make these big wooden knitting needles for her out of actual broomsticks. Aha! Broomstick lace. I made a little bracelet (above) to practice. Totally not perfect, but I'm mostly a knitter so this is new to me. (Later, I made a belt and got much better at it.)
If you haven't heard of it or tried it before, broomstick lace is a crochet technique that uses a very large knitting needle (or broomstick!) and a crochet hook. Sometimes it was called jiffy lace or peacock eye crochet. I used a US size 50 knitting needle and an H crochet hook when I was experimenting. It's fun, the stitches build up quickly and I've seen it around the web a bit more lately, so maybe it's making a comeback. (Let me know if you're interested in seeing a tutorial ... I can make a quick video if anyone is interested!)

must be springtime in Iowa

If you live anywhere in the midwest/tornado alley, you know that it's never a good thing when they day is too warm, too still, and the sky starts to look greenish.
 Or you look outside, and your back yard looks like this.
But your front yard looks like this. March is a little early for the whole tornado thing, even for us. In fact, Bo and Lotus were playing outside when the first sirens went off.  I've lived here my whole life, but sirens still give me chills.
We all just hung out on the couch with our various forms of technology until all the warnings and various waves of sirens had passed. Must be springtime in Iowa. (Like Bo said earlier today, when aren't we in a tornado watch?)
No worries though. We're fine and we're used to this. It's supposed to snow this weekend, after all.

two days!

Two more days to bid! (Well, two days and 10 hours.)
A huge thank you to everyone who has helped spread the word about this auction through Twitter, Facebook and blog posts. (Read here for more details, if you didn't catch this the first time.) Two more days! Go bid! Thank you!

** I was originally planning on donating the proceeds to the Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami disaster relief efforts. However, eBay has an awesome charitable listing system already in place, so now proceeds will go to GlobalGiving's Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund. It's just easier and the money goes straight to GlobalGiving after the auction is over. So everything's still going to the right place, but I just thought I should make this clear.  :)

winner!

Just popping in to let you know who won the art journaling class from my sweet friend, Kara!
Random.org picked number 1 ... yup, number 1! (How often does that happen?)
Which means Jinah is the winner! 
(Just email me at jgeigley [at] gmail [dot] com.) 
Thanks so much to everyone who entered!

a giveaway!

This is my girl, Kara. She is currently living in NYC and studying at Pratt. She's insanely creative and talented and funny and wise. And she was sweet enough to let me give away a spot in her newest online class. Check this out.
Out of the Blue is a mini-class/workshop created to inspire and bring a dash of color into your art journals and scrapbook pages. All rolled into one 20+ page printable PDF document are 7 original art journaling prompts/ideas and a printable embellishment page for only $10.
The class is designed so you can work at your own pace. Out of the Blue is perfect for a weekend of journaling and, being a PDF, something you can start or end whenever. As an added bonus, use coupon code BLOGLOVIN to get 20% off any of Kara's other online classes, which you can find here. (If you're having trouble deciding, this one is my personal favorite!)
To enter to win a spot in Out of the Blue, just leave a comment here. I'll pick a winner on Saturday, March 19th. Good luck!

Hostile Takeover II

I fully expect to start seeing these dudes hanging out on the driveway very soon, because spring is almost here. And warm weather around here brings the buzz of the scooters. It's not springtime unless there's a tiny fleet of Vespas in front of our house.
These guys – and by 'these guys,' I mean our local scooter club, The Corporation – are planning the Hostile Takeover II Scooter Rally, happening Memorial Day weekend. It's going to be insane.
You might remember seeing this story about Hostile Takeover last year in Juice (yup, there's Bo on the left.) And this year, the rally is going to be even bigger and better.
The weekend kicks off with an Iowa Pork chop dinner and a night out at local dive, The Fremont, where you can check out Omaha ska legends, The Bishops. Saturday will start off with brunch, followed by a 'top secret scooter ride.' Yes, top secret. (Too many details would give it away, but this ride will be something. If the Scooter Cannonball Run and the World Series of Gymkhana shacked up in Iowa, this would be their unholy love child. Throw in some geocaching with a pinch of jackassery and you have a pretty sweet afternoon.)
Saturday night is Pressure Drop! An all vinyl dance party and music celebration with DJ Eight Ten spinning the finest in Motown, Jamaica Ska, Northern Soul, Rare Funk, Roots Rock, Raw Rhythm n Blues and Reggae. Sunday starts off with an optional brunch at The Fremont and then a scooter show, slow race, raffle and time to check out the vendors. (Or just ride.)
And finally, the weekend will end with the Corporate Retreat. This is going to be big. You'll get to check out several area and regional bands, including: Spin Spin Coupling, EGO, Moon Chaplin and the Magic Men, Rumble Seat Riot, Pinebox Rhythm, The Muck Savages, The Prizefighters and more, TBA.
Scooter clubs from several surrounding states are making the trip to lovely Des Moines, so if you're within riding distance, you really need to hit up this rally. Check out all of the details and register here. (It's only $30, and you get a rally shirt, rally pin, scooter badge, patch, swag bag, admission to both The Bishops and the 'big' show, plus two brunches and the Iowa pork chop dinner. Umm, awesome.)

Pressure Drop III from yellowsandwichstudios on Vimeo.
To give you a taste of what you're in for, here's a rad little video made at the last Pressure Drop by some of the dudes. Fun times ahead! Don't miss this.

to Japan, with love

Wearing something you've knitted using Noro yarn is like wearing a work of art. If you're unfamiliar with Noro, they are a Japanese yarn producer, famous for their beautiful hand-dyed color compositions and natural fibers. And since all of our hearts and minds have been focused on the earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan this past week, I've been looking at this project even more. Thinking about the people there, friends in the military who are stationed there, fellow bloggers that I 'know' online who live there, the horrifying potential nuclear crisis, the people who are still unaccounted for. The people who have lost everything.
It quickly became obvious to me that I needed to give back to the place that made this beautiful yarn, so I am going to be putting this Noro wrap/scarf up for auction and donating the proceeds to the Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami disaster relief efforts.
If you're wondering more about the details of this wrap, it is very lightweight and was hand-knit by me using two skeins of Noro Taiyo, which is a gorgeously soft silk and cotton blend. It can be worn as a wrap (which would look amazing over a black dress) or a scarf, shown here.  e.t.a. For those who have asked about the pattern, this is a modified Clapotis of sorts … I cast on a smaller number of stitches, dropped a different number of stitches and didn’t do the tapered edges (mine are just square.)
The colors are beyond fantastic in person and this colorway is just plain rad. There's a little bit of black, blue, gray, red, pink, orange, golden yellow and fuchsia in this baby.
The 'To Japan, With Love' wrap/scarf is up for sale here. Go bid! Once again, proceeds from this auction will go to the Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami efforts. Pass it on. And feel free to re-blog this and use any of the images in this post. (Thank you so much.)

lovely love my family

I saw these awesome prints on the GabbaFriends site this week, and then discovered the amazing story behind them. If you're a YGG fan, you recognize these lyrics from the song Lovely, Love My Family, written by Amos Watene and performed by the Roots on the show. For only $20, you can score one of these rad prints and all proceeds go to Davy, daughter of Yo Gabba Gabba co-creator Scott Schultz. (You should also check out his wife Ruth's blog – the mom. Good stuff.)

better than the movies


If you haven't seen this yet, you must watch part one and part two (well, part three) of this amazing story.


A Brooklyn man (Todd Bieber) found a lost roll of film in 2010, developed the photos, and then vowed to find their owner. His search ultimately led him to a European adventure and a reunion with the photographer in Paris.

"We sat and drank tea and awkwardly talked," Todd says in the video. "I threw her in this situation and posted photos of her family that ended up all over the internet." She joked with him that her family had started calling him the "boy Amelie," after the character in the French movie who decides to change the lives of strangers around her. You've just gotta see this.


This made me so happy today. I want to have an adventure like that.

now i'm feeling so fly ... like a yarn swift

This past Christmas, I asked for a yarn swift. Not an exciting thing for some people, I realize, but I love this thing. Life changing, I tell you. I had been looking at swifts for awhile, and decided on a wooden Amish swift instead of the umbrella type. This one is super simple to take apart and store, and the pegs are easy and fast to adjust. Love it.
So I've been winding all of those abandoned hanks lying in my yarn bins into pretty little cakes like these! Hooray!
So yeah, if you're not a fiber enthusiast and you're like ... 'what?' ... right now, lots of yarn actually comes in these twisted skeins, called hanks. And you cannot knit or crochet straight from a hank. Or you'll end up with a huge tangled pile of endless knots that you may never be able to untangle. Ever. Been there. It has the potential to make a girl cry. So when you purchase yarn in a hank, you usually have to gently untwist it into a loop and throw it over the back of a chair.
And then wind it, by hand, into a ball. You can knit from a ball, like these, or a cake wound from a swift (like the green and blue in the pics at the beginning of this post) without making a huge tangled mess. Understandably, this can take a very, very long time, especially if you're working with a thinner yarn. Even worsted weight stuff takes forever to wind by hand. So yes, I'll take the yarn swift. So much more fun.  :)

e.t.a. My yarn swift is the Chiao Goo Amish Design Wooden Yarn Swift from JoAnn Fabrics. They don't carry these in the stores, but for $40 it's a good deal and it works great.  (They're actually on sale right now for only $27.99!! So grab one!) They also sell handmade swifts on Etsy, so be sure to check there as well.

for my friends

These are my sweet and beautiful friends Shana and Jared, holding their tiny boy wonder, Atticus. Atticus was delivered 4 months premature in January and weighed just 1 pound, 10.4 ounces. For insurance purposes, Shana and Jared got married 5 days later by a judge with little family present. And, sadly, 25 days later, Atticus passed. This little family has been through a lot. To say they're strong is an understatement.

In their own words: 'So much has happened in the last two months in the wrong order and the wrong way, but the one perfect part was our time with our little Atticus. We'd like to honor his life as we finally get to celebrate how happy and strong we are as a couple.'

Shana and Jared's friends have nominated them to win an ultimate wedding from Crate and Barrel. And I cannot think of two people who deserve it more.

If you have a second, please vote for them here. You don't have to register or sign up for anything. Just click the pink 'vote' button for my friends. Thanks.

Margot

This is my new friend, Margot. I know it's March and I should be thinking springier thoughts, but truth is that it's still in the 30s. (And, well ... I know this will keep me warm next winter, too.)
Anyway, I put this pattern together for the party at Knitted Together, and today it's available on Ravelry. I used two skeins of Marisol Ushya in platinum gray, double stranded. This pattern is fantastically easy (but has quite a bit of detail) and I finished knitting mine in less than two hours. I like it a lot, and I hope you will, too.