Creative Overload…and a Trip to the Pumpkin Patch!

Well…it looks like the creative fire I’ve been burning for the past few weeks is down to a mere smolder.  As you all have seen a hint of, I’ve been pretty much *killing it* creatively over the past few weeks.  But it looks like I’ve reached my limit and crashed…hard.  *think roller coaster racing to the top of large hill, running out of track, and plummeting toward the ground*  (Okay, that might be a liiiiiittle bit extreme…but does this creative burn-out ever happen to you?  It’s a bummer.)

Anyway, on that front, I’m taking a bit of a break from any hard-core “making” endeavors in order to let my creative brain re-charge.  But goodness knows I can’t let a day of this lovely fall season go to waste, so I’m striving to indulge in the autumn weather in other ways…like a trip to the pumpkin patch!  🙂

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*Pumpkins as far as the eye can see….bliss.*

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Crappy iPhone shot of me & my favorite pumpkin…ha!

Have I mentioned I love fall??  🙂

What’s your favorite fall activity?

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Autumn Knits

Hello!  Happy September!  I strayed from my normal posting schedule and took a Labor Day blogging break this week, so it feels like it’s been a while since I posted!  I hope everyone had a great weekend.  🙂

Here in the US, this past Monday was our Labor Day holiday, giving us a wonderful 3-day weekend, (…we’ve discussed my feelings about 3-day weekends already).  Though the “official” change of seasons isn’t until the 21st of this month, Labor Day tends to signify the end of summer and the move into fall.  I’ve been over summer for a while now, (not a hot weather person), but now I can freely express my autumn love without being rebuked for not enjoying the nice, warm weather.  (Blegh…)

Living is such a beautiful place as Kentucky, fall is already my favorite season.  The autumn scenery is stunning here, there’s festivals abound, and — most importantly — autumn is horse racing season in Lexington.  

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Fall horse racing at Keeneland Race Track in Lexington, KY (Source: Keeneland.com)

But, being a knitter, I have even more reason to love fall.  Cold weather is coming (*cough* Winter is Coming for all you GoT fans…  😛 ) and there’s no more perfect time to cuddle up with some lovely wool.  (Plus, we’ll be needing those knitted items soon enough…especially if we get another Polar Vortex this year…)

Moving slowly into this beautiful season, I’m chomping at the bit to get some autumn-flavored knits on the needles.  Here are some of my favorites so far:

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  1. Shawl Collared Cowl by Alana Dakos — My biggest winter pet peeve is a chilly neck.  Too small scarves and cowls often cover the back of the neck, but do not extend down into my coat far enough to keep me nice and toasty.  With this cozy bulky cowl, there would be no question of a chilly neck.  And a cowl with a collar to turn up against the wind and snow?  It’s a yes from me.
  2. Levenwick Cardigan by Gudrun Johnston — As ashamed as I am to say it, I have never knit anything designed by Gudrun Johnston…  After finding the Levenwick Cardigan, however, this may have to change.  I’m just completely in love with this beautiful button band.  The perfect blend of stylish and comfy.
  3. Autumn Vines Beret by Alana Dakos — A second choice from Alana of Never Not Knitting, this cabled leaf hat is the most perfect for chilly autumn mornings.  Just enough to keep the top of your head warm, but not completely engulf your head.
  4. Oak Grove by Alana Dakos — (Well, clearly I’m a huge Alana Dakos fan…but she does such a great job with autumn knits, doesn’t she?)  Another NNK design, the beautiful leaf motif on these mitts is just to die for.  I’m such a sucker for detailed designs.
  5. Spice and Clove Pumpkins by Hannah Maier — Knitting + pumpkins = autumn perfection. I will have to whip up a few of these to add to my autumn decorations.  Plus, this free pattern is written for knitting and crochet!
  6. Stockholm Scarf by KnittedBliss — Again solving the chilly neck problem, this lacy neck scarf is just gorgeous.  And it’s a free pattern?  From KnittedBliss?!  Casting this on ASAP!
  7. Larch Cardigan by Amy Christoffers —  Another beautiful autumn sweater — this cozy cardigan almost has the look of a blazer, but much more comfortable.  Perfect for work or leisure.
  8. Nutkin by Beth LaPensee — Can’t go an autumn season without at least one new pair of knitted socks, amiright?  This quick and easy free pattern would be perfect to highlight that perfect autumn sock yarn you’ve been hiding in your stash.
  9. Acorn Ornament by Carmen Rigby-Willson — To go with the knitted pumpkins, of course!  Now we just need a knitted squirrel…

((Disclosure: None of these pictures are mine — they were all borrowed from the original pattern pages on Ravelry.))

Maybe autumn makes your heart sing (like me), and maybe you’re a little sad to be letting go of summer, but hopefully these autumn selections have gotten you inspired for the lovely knitty season that is to come.  Personally, I can’t wait to get started.  🙂

Lastly — unrelated to autumn knitting — I want to send a quick thank you to the lovely Andi of the My Sister’s Knitter blog for her wonderful comments on my Imagine When shawl in her most recent post!  Such a compliment to inspire someone who has previously been such an inspiration to me.  🙂

What are your picks for autumn knitting?

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Small Town America Festival

Hometowns are very easy to take for granted, have you noticed?  Especially when you’re raised in a small town where “everybody knows everybody” and things move a little bit slower.  As a kid, this can be a great thing…but once you reach high school, living in a place where the movie theater is hottest place to hang out — (because it’s the ONLY place to hang out…other than the Super Walmart…) — it gets a little old.  Now that I have lived away for several years and seen more of the world than I could have previously imagined, it’s much easier to see the good things about small, rural hometowns.  Spending some time in my own town, located in the Bluegrass region of rural Kentucky, I’m trying to observe and experience all of the eccentricities found here — and I’m loving every minute of it.  🙂

Over this past weekend, my hometown hosted a Small Town America Festival.  A street fair in our town square celebrating the uniqueness of our little town.  If you’ve never visited this area before — and even if you have — I thought I’d take you on a little tour.

Welcome to Small Town America!

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See the man smiling for my photo? I love how friendly small town Southern people are. 🙂
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It may have been a cloudy day, but the heat did NOT let up… Dog days of summer, right?

Though this was a small festival — only taking up about two blocks of the main town square — there were lots of wonderful craft products to peruse.  Quintessentially small town, you can absolutely see the time, effort, and love that these people have put into their products.  As a passionate crafter myself, I can definitely relate, and I have a great appreciation for all things hand-made.  Though knitting is less popular here than sewing/quilting, it was great to walk around and see how many other creative people live in this wonderful little town.

Here’s a little sample of the creativity of small town America:

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Sometimes I wonder why burlap is still a popular trend…but then I see adorable things like these, and I know longer wonder.  Makes me kind of sad that summer is almost over and I can’t make proper use of these whimsical little pillows.  But not to worry!  Every season is a perfect season for burlap.

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Autumn…
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Winter…
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And basketball season, of course! This is Kentucky after all… 😉

True to any craft fair, there were knitters to be found.  Well, A knitter.  This young lady was busy knitting up a storm right at her booth, selling items to benefit CSI Ministries.  (Not familiar with this one myself, but I’m always supportive of knitting for a cause!)

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Looks like there’s some arm-knitting going on over here as well. Has anyone ever tried arm-knitting?

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Anyone need a housewarming gift?  I think these were metal decorations for potted plants…but I can’t honestly be sure…  Ha!  Still, they were very neat.

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And, last but not least — my favorite booth/item of the festival…faux-quilted ornaments.  The ladies at this booth were beyond friendly and happy to talk all about their sewing endeavors…though these weren’t actually sewn, as I first believed.  Actually, each one of these little ornaments has 250 pins hidden inside!  Incredibly detailed work.  I couldn’t resist one of the adorable Halloween ones.  (Is it weird to have a Halloween ornament?  Oh well…)

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The orange & purple one insisted on coming home with me. : P

Well, that’s only a sample of the great things being made in the middle of rural Kentucky.  Though this place is often stereotyped and under appreciated, I can attest that it is a gem of a place.  The people are friendly, the landscape is beautiful, and creativity is alive and well.  🙂

Have you visited small town America?

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Things I’m Loving This Week: Part 2

Hello hello!  I’m so glad to be posting *live* again after so long!  I hope you all enjoyed my scheduled updates — I honestly really enjoyed putting them together!  🙂  As far as my trip to Peru…let me tell you, it was unbelievable.  I have lots of pictures, stories, and adventures from my trip to share with you all soon, but while I’m putting all of that together…let’s look at pretty things.

Due to lack of reliable internet while in South America, I really missed my daily internet browsing time.  (Oh, the things we take for granted…)  But I’m making up for it now that I’m back!  Here are some things I’m loving this week:

1. These beautiful hand-knit pumpkins are killing me with cuteness!  What a perfect little fall decoration for a knitter’s house!  Now to find the pattern so I can make some for myself…

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2.  If you know me in real life, you know that I have an unabashed love for Grumpy Cat.  I think she is the most adorable thing…and this Grumpy Cat mug perfectly sums up my opinions about getting out of bed every morning.  : P

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3.  Once again, not an internet browsing session goes by that I do not find a knitting pattern I love!  This one is the Kaweah Hat by Veronica Parsons.  It’s everything I love in a knitted hat…simple, cabled, textured, slouchy, and — most importantly — pom-pom inclusive!  Oh, and did I mention it’s a FREE pattern on Ravelry??  Excuse me while I go cast this on right now……..

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Okay, I’m back….moving on.

4.  If I had a bedroom to decorate right this minute, you can bet I’d be decorating like this.  A neat idea for decorating on a budget, I love the mix of neutrals with a pop of bright color for interest.  (Especially hot pink…bring on the hot pink!)

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5. Last, but definitely not least, I’ve got a hankering for a new sewing project.  (If you’re not from the South, or are unfamiliar with our unique vernacular — *say that five times fast* — a ‘hankering’ is kind of like a craving…but not necessarily for food.  Something you really want to do right now.  You know what I mean.)  Anyway.  This one-hour weekender bag tutorial hits the spot.  I’m a sucker for weekender bags.  (Though I’m pretty sure this one would take me a LOT more than an hour to make…  #amateur)

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Bonus:  I’m sure you’ve heard already about the passing of actor Robin Williams.  (You’re probably getting tired of hearing about it at this point.)  But as a child who grew up watching William’s in his prime, I am especially sad about the loss of this great actor.  So, just a quick tribute to one of my long-time-favorite actors…Mr. Williams, thanks for the laughs.

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What are you loving this week?

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Things I’m Loving This Week…

Personally, I believe it is a necessary pre-requisite that all bloggers also be blog readers…keeping up with other bloggers is essential to gaining ideas and connecting to the blogging community.  I happen to read several…waaaay to many to be considered “normal” and “not obsessed”…whatever that means.  😛  But I love the feeling of inspiration I get when I see what others are creating.

One of my favorite knitty/crafty/creative blogs is Knitted Bliss…and some of my favorite posts are her “Pin Up” posts, (example here).  So, taking a page from Julie’s blog book, (“purloining” if you will…a la Knitmore Girls), here are a few things I’m loving this week:

Kelly Brown Photographer wedding photographer Victoria, British Columbia

I’m totally inspired by this beautifully creative home office space…showing off your current ideas is the perfect way to maintain your creative inspiration.  Makes me long for a ‘real’ home office of my own!

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I’ve officially decided on this as my next crafty DIY — super simple & adorable DIY letter idea.  This would be perfect to commemorate road trips or favorite vacation destinations.  (For me: Charleston, SC)

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A week would not truly be complete unless I found a new shawl pattern to drool over.  Have you seen Deep End?  It’s the most perfect combination of all of the knitty things I love most: cozy shawls, garter stitch, and beautiful bright colors.  #queued

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Seriously getting excited for the upcoming autumn season…and seeing things like this pop up on my Pinterest page is not helping me be patient!

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My garden is producing an enormous amount of dill & other fresh herbs.  As I don’t cook enough to really make the most of them, I’m going to try this easy-peasy dill vinegar recipe to spice up my favorite salads.  (Seriously…so easy.)

What are you loving this week?

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