Saturday, July 22, 2017

Where I've Been...And Where I Am Now

Hey guys!

What a week!  I had all of these wonderful things I wanted to post and never had the time!  I've been so busy trying to get everything ready for my shop so that I can be sure the shelves are stocked for all of you!  And in the midst of all that, I was helping family, bringing the dog to the vet, supporting my man with his new job, and sleeping. All of this while still working on my book blog and preparing for the upcoming school year.

FINALLY, things are slowing down!  I HAVE MY GORRAM LIFE BACK!

It wasn't all bad though, in the midst of all this I was able to get my new desk set up.  I now have one table dedicated to my school work and book blogging and another one for my crafting.  This is especially wonderful as it sounds like our family of four may be expanding to at least six.  No, I'm not pregnant.  We're just talking about getting a betta fish and a kitten.

Anyway, I'm really excited to share some pictures of my now mostly set up studio!  Enjoy the gallery below.

Hi!  I'm Cathryn, I'll be your tour guide today.  See that Q-Tip?  Mom's taken it away five times today.  HA!

That's Mom's chair and a few of her books.  She only has four bookshelves right now.  So, there's a towering wall of boxes you won't get to see.

More of Mom's desk. She likes those plants.  I hate them.  I can't sit on the window sill!

More of her desk and those danged plants!

Mom's knitting table.  Yorick is watching over from above, and I'm down below.
You can see all of Mom's work books here.  She gets mad when I bite them.
And that's the majority of the studio.  I know it's pretty messy at the moment.  Like Cathryn said, I have a wall of boxes filled with books that need to be shelved.  I also have a closet filled with tubs of yarn.

Until next time, take care!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Monday Mishaps: The Story of the Circle Sweater

Welcome to Monday. Monday's suck.  I spend most Mondays feeling....well...

Unfortunately, the crafting powers that be don't care if it's Monday.  Sometimes they just want to watch you fail and they will surely laugh in your face as you do.

In May, I had the idea to make Mom's birthday gift.  Keep in mind that this is the same mother who taught me most of the things I know about crafting.  She had always teased me about not making my first sweater and I saw this as the perfect opportunity to really give it to her.  So, I hopped online and found a circle sweater pattern.  This thing was so easy!  It was a circle!  With armholes! To which you added sleeves!

So I crocheted.  And crocheted.  And crocheted some more.  And I got to the part where the armholes were created.  And the pattern told me to leave the chains for the armholes for later. SO I DID.  Now, that was where I made my true mistake.  Leaving them was not what I needed to do.  But, that's what the pattern said.  So I crocheted and crocheted until this circle was large enough to meet the XL measurements.  I then used the previously made chains to try to figure out how the heck the sleeves worked.  I got those puppies added, slipped it on, and cried.

Let me help you picture this scene.  Here I am, all proud of the sweater I made.  I go to the bathroom to look in the mirror and I basically have two sleeves with a whole turtle shell thing going on. None of the sweater was at my sides or in front of me.  It was BAD!  Instantly, I turned into panic mode, tried to figure out what to do to fix the thing, and promptly hooked it on the handle of the laundry chute.  The more I tried and tried and tried to free myself, all I did was hook my turtle shell screw up to the chute handle.  I was attached.  I was going no where.

At this point, the man was wondering why I was in the bathroom for so long stomping in circles, grunting, and making some very ill sounding noises.  Bravely, he ventured to the bathroom and knocked on the door.  As you might imagine, my response was not very friendly.  Luckily for me, he braved his panic stricken, angry woman and entered the room to free me from this hellish contraption.  Luckily for him, he didn't laugh and tried to help me come up with a way to fix it.

There was only one thing to do.  So, I went to the bedroom and laid it out on the bed.  Then, slowly unwound all of my hard work back to the original center of the thing.  It took more than an hour to unwind all five skeins of yarn that had gone into this thing.

One thing they tell you when you start crafting is that as ye crochet, ye will frog.  What they don't tell you is that as ye frog, ye will sob.  A lot.

This has been today's edition of Monday Mishaps.  Join me next week for yet another recollection of the pain I put myself through for the hobbies I love.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Supply Cabinet: For the Love of Red Heart

Welcome to Crafters' Anonymous.  My name is Jessa, and it's been approximately five seconds since I last knit anything.  I am not here to quit.  I am here to tell you about the supplies I have come to know and love-one Sunday at a time.

This week, I want to take a good look at Red Heart Super Saver Yarn.  I know, I know, it's cheap.  It's acrylic.  It can be scratchy.  It's really not the fanciest stuff in the world.  HOWEVER I don't think I would have ever gotten into knitting or crocheting without it.  

Let's look at all of those "cons" in a more positive light.

1. It's cheap.  OK, so it's bad to save money?  What I love about the cost is that I can buy several skeins for a little bit of money.  This means that I can practice and screw up and not feel like I'm out a ton of money.  Additionally, when I knit for my nieces and nephews, I don't need to worry about allergies as much.  And, as any auntie knows, kids can be messy.  This brings me to my second point.

2.  It is acrylic.  In other words, if my niece or nephew pukes on it, drops it in the mud, feeds it, spills food on it, spills pop on it, etc.  I just shove it in the washer and dryer and it's good to go for another round.  It's not that easy with wool, angora, or alpaca.  Save that yarn to make the things they love in something fancier when they are old enough to properly care for it.  

3. It can be scratchy.  Notice that I didn't make a guarantee that it will be scratchy every time you work with it.  In my experience, a little bit of fabric softener can go a LONG way.  If you would rather soften it up a bit before you work with it, you can find several resources on Pinterest about how to wash it before using.  Though I have never done these personally, they are out there! 

I would definitely suggest anyone who is new to knitting or crocheting try to work with Red Heart Super Saver.  It's an excellent way to start without the fear of destroying precious natural fibers.

Let's Chat
Do you use Red Heart Super Saver?  What do you think of it?  Have you stayed far away from it?  What is your favorite yarn to work with?

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Weekly Wrap Up! 7/15/2017

Real Life

Hey everyone!  Just wanted to give you a shout out from my hometown!  I pulled a muscle in my shoulder and my grandma wanted company.  So here we are, chilling out on the couch playing a million games of rummy, drinking too much coffee, and petting two wonderful Alaskan Malamutes!  

As you can see, the dogs are definitely camera shy.

This Week on the Blog

Tuesday: Welcome!
Wednesday: WIP Wednesday

Next Week on the Blog

Sunday: Supply of the Week-Red Heart Super Saver Yarn
Monday: Crafting Mishap-The Story of the Circle Sweater
Tuesday: Tutorial- Tool Selection
Wednesday: WIP Wednesday
Thursday: Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson (A Review)
Friday: Friday Feature and Bonus!
Saturday: Weekly Wrap Up!

Remember to subscribe to the Gillywing Newsletter before 7/21/2017 to receive a 5% discount in my Etsy shop!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday Feature and BONUS!

Happy Friday!   

This week I am featuring what I call the Cool Blue Blanket.  I love the way the different shades of blue, white, and cream play together to create a warm blanket of ice cold colors.  It really reflects the feeling of winter in Northern Minnesota!

Can't you picture cuddling up under this 50" x 50" throw?  Or wrapping your little one in it as a baby blanket?

Typically, it is best to spot clean this item with a damp washcloth.  However, if bigger spills occur it is 100% washer and dryer safe because it is made of 100% acrylic yarn.

Please visit this link for more information.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions about the item.  I want you to have all of your questions answered before you make a purchase.  Remember that if you LOVE the pattern but not the colors, you can contact me to discuss a custom item.  I look forward to hearing from you!


If you look to the right sidebar of the page, you will notice that there is a sign up list to the Gillywing Newsletter!  I will be giving a 5% discount coupon to anyone who signs up for the newsletter before 7/21/2017.  I will send weekly emails, but will not spam your account or sell your information.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Knit Ponchos, Wraps, and Scarves by Jane Davis

About the Book

Knit Ponchos, Wraps, and Scarves by Jane Davis

I borrowed this book from the library.  Neither the author nor the publisher requested or is associated with this review.

GoodReads Description

Knit scarves are the hottest new fashion accessory! Answering the demand for new scarf, poncho and shawl ideas, this new book provides 35 fun, contemporary projects knitters can create quickly and easily, many featuring popular novelty yarns. Knit Ponchos, Wraps & Scarves explores various techniques for knitting, ranging from cables with color work to embellishing with beads and embroidery. Each section features a number of progressive projects ranging from beginner, to intermediate, to expert. This book offers something for every knitter and gives beginners a chance to improve their skills as they undertake each new project!

My Thoughts

This book is a wonderful resource for brand new knitters and experienced individuals.  I loved the vast majority of the patterns in this book, although there were a few that I could never picture anyone wearing.  To each their own, I guess.  

My favorite thing about this book was the amount of designing information that Davis packs in.  This wasn't just a book about her patterns and her goal to teach her readers was done very well.  The diagrams that she includes are well-labeled.  The best part?  She shows her readers how to change her patterns into ponchos in order to make their own designs!  I love that she took the time to inspire her audience to be creative as well.

The photography in this book clearly took some time!  The author made sure that different projects were shown in a variety of ways. This really helped me to think up some designs of my own.

Finally, the patterns are well-written.  Some reviewers have said that the pattern on page 109 is confusing, but everything on that page made complete sense to me.

I look forward to using the information in this book to create my own patterns.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

WIP Wednesday 7/12/2017

Welcome to today's edition of WIP Wednesday.  Today, I'm excited to share with you the first installment of my Light Yellow Mesh Wrap.  This pattern was inspired by a simple stitch pattern that I found in a book and modified to fit the design I had in mind.  I was pretty excited to see this take shape as this is the first time I've worked with the particular stitch.  

This has been so fun to work on while watching movies.  It even helps me get through on the man's night to pick the flick.

When complete, this wrap will be 23"x50".  Right now, it's just a bitty baby at 23"x 9.5".  Today's picture is a close-up to show you the pattern a little closer. 

See you next Wednesday for new measurements and an updated picture!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


Hello!  My name is Jessa and I would like to take some time to tell you about my Etsy shop, Gillywing Creates which you can see here.  The following is the story of how this blog began.

Inspired by strong women; made for strong women.

I've heard that you should never meet your hero. That isn't the way that things worked out for me. My hero not only gave birth to me, but was a wonderful example of how to get through the challenges of family deaths, illnesses, and more with a smile on your face and courage in your heart. In addition to passing on her strength, my mom passed down her knowledge of knitting and crocheting. Oftentimes, we would sit down to a movie together just to have time to craft and bond. This started when I was in elementary school and has continued into the present. I may live five hours from her now, but I still call home if I need any crafting questions answered.

While I was in college, I realized that I wanted to do more with my crafts than simply make them and set them on a shelf. I wanted to find some way to pass on the strength, confidence, and self-esteem that my mother passed on to me. Out of this idea, Gillywing Creates was born. Mom and I are both represented in my logo (blue for mom, green for me) and in the shop's name (Mom loves owls, I love betta fish). The mission of my shop is to create hand knit and crochet accessories that will encourage self-esteem, self-acceptance, and confidence in women today. I believe that all women are strong and that this strength of heart, body, will, and mind should be held to the highest regard. Therefore, I invite you to look through the items in my shop to find one that emphasizes your particular brand of strength.

The story above is the story of this blog and of my Etsy shop.  While Etsy allows you to see the products, it doesn't allow you to see behind the scenes or really get to know your friendly neighborhood Etsy seller. 

Beginning 7/12/2017 you will see all of the behind the scenes and even some free patterns as I embark on this wonderful journey.