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Knitting a Prayer Shawl

7 Jan

Early on in my Christmas shopping, I decided that I wanted to knit something again. Last year, I knitted a very simple scarf for my aunt. This year, I wanted to get more ambitious. I instantly thought of my grandma, who is constantly complaining that someone or some animal is stealing her favorite shawls and blankets.

I found a pretty simple pattern and picked out four balls of yarn that matched the colors of her living room furniture (tan and burnt orange). The day I brought home the yarn, I noticed a different pattern on the back of the yarn ball. It was for a “prayer shawl.” As many of you know, I am not religious… at all. However, my mom is.

My mom has been through a TON this year. But she’s made it out and is doing dramatically better. I know that her new found faith has played a big impact in her life. So I decided to revamp my original plans and use the yarn to make my mom a genuine prayer shawl. It would take a LONG time (3 months, to be exact), but I finished it.

The pattern was pretty simple:
Tie on 84
Knit 4, purl 3
I measured it out around myself and then added a little bit more so it would fully wrap around the shoulders.

In order to be a prayer shawl, you actually had to add the prayers. Since I dont believe in a conventional God, I sent out good thoughts, my hopes for her, and my hopes for her family after I finished each row. This took a bit of time, and after 100 rows or so, you really run out of ideas for wishes and prayers… but I made it.

Here’s what it looked like:

I'm a HORRIBLE model, so I cut my head off of one shot.

The shawl took a ton of patience, something I do not have. But it really made this Christmas a more spiritual one for me.

In other Christmas recap news, I ended up with some pretty awesome stuff… engagement ring included. But I did end up making two big purchases for myself. One of them was a new computer, which I just got on Thursday, thanks to B’s brother. The second one was an Xbox. I’ve been wanting one FOREVER! I ended up getting Portal and Fable 2. It was a pretty exciting holiday, to say the least!

Now, it’s on to wedding planning. We think we’ve got the location down (just have to sign the contract) and I’ve asked a friend of mine to be my Maid of Honor (a sort of shared title with my sister, who is my Matron of Honor). I’ll share both of those details soon.


DIY: Monogram Piggy Banks

21 Aug

I’m taking a break from my normal posting topics to share an awesome gift I made for a friend’s bridal shower.

This lovely (and lucky) lady mentioned to me a couple of weeks ago that she really loved pigs AND that she wanted to buy a piggy bank. I also know, through the countless of emails we send to each other daily, that saving money is important to her and her future hubby.

So, I set out to find a piggy bank and personalize it for the bride and groom. This gift cost me about $12 in total, and could be done cheaper if you already have the materials… which were:

– A printed monogram, letters, stencils, etc.
– Scissors (the smaller, the better)
– Small pieces of tape
– Pencil, preferably a darker tone. I used a darker drawing pencil
– Acrylic paint and a very thin brush (I used a size OO)
– Patience… lots of it.

First, purchase a ceramic piggy bank. I got mine at Target.  Wanting as much of a blank canvas as possible, I picked out a piggy bank that had a blank white side and then on the other, a cute little chalkboard. On the chalkboard, I wrote out: “Katie ❤ Larry” and then their wedding date. For the side you plan to do customization, clean and dry the surface with cool water to remove any dirt or manufacturing imperfection.

Now, as we all know, I am HORRIBLE at photoshop. These lack of skills apply to word art creation as well, so I cut this part short and used her AWESOME wedding invitation monograms for my stencil. That being said, if you are going to make your monogram to trace or stencil, I suggest picking something that is thick in lettering and is not interconnected. You can see that mine was pretty thin and connected by the & symbol and the lettering styles. I eventually cut the “&” in half and taped it back together when I was finished.

Place your cut out monogram or stencils on the pg and tape it down. From there, start tracing. Once I finished tracing, I colored the outside as thick as possible to make the lettering fatter and bigger.

My friend’s wedding is in an eggplant color, so I mixed my acrylic paint in a burnt red and bright blue till I got a dark purple hue. Looking back, I wish I had tested the paint on the bottom of the pig in one or two layers. Do not be afraid to do this as the paint can easily be removed with water and a bit of scrubbing.

When painting the monogram in, I started by tracing the outside with the thinnest brush edges and then worked my way from the inside. I did about 4 layers of paint till I was satisfied with the thickness and coloring.

If you make a mistake or colored outside your lines, all you have to do is wet the back end of your brush and gently scrape off the paint. I used this method to detail the monogram.

Here’s the finished project next to the invitation with the monogram I used :

Just for fun, I added three hearts- two at the top and one at the bottom. I attempted to add the wedding date in the paint, but it looked odd. I like the simplicity of the monogram on the white of the pig. I felt that adding too much embellishment or trying to match the stylized script would be silly to attempt.

Anyways, the monogram, with all the cutting of the invitation, took me about 3 hours to do. I’m super proud of the results and would love to do more of these in the future for other friends/family members.