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Handknit Wall Hangings

I’ve falling in love with wall hangings. I blame Instagram and the endless inspiration is provides. It all began with a very popular account, Lindsey of The Blushing Script. I found her due to my current fascination with calligraphy and hand lettering. I was immediately drawn in with her calligraphy videos and her ease at mastering that craft.

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I naturally took at look at her Etsy shop. She does a little bit of everything – calligraphy, weaving, and macrame! (She’s the Etsy shop I want to be when I grow up! LOL) I had never done a large macrame piece and most of my knotting was left to friendship bracelets which long ago I made many of. But her constant sharing of her beautiful pieces led me to follow more and more macrame accounts which let me to finally purchasing some cotton string from Niroma Studios.

Macrame is a different beast than knitting. You need to precut strings and have them hanging on a tension rod. And then there’s all the knotting! I had to find the right place to do it in my house where I could sit and watch my kids. I used a hanger to balance my piece on and hung it from a dresser. I can see why someone who has fallen hard for macrame will get a movable tension rod and hooks.

After making that first piece I started thinking about how I could combine the two “ideas” – wall hangings and knitting. It was an almost “duh!” moment for me.

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I immediately whipped out my stitch pattern dictionaries and began to map out my first wall hanging – a chevron/eyelet idea. Once that was done, I was eagerly flipping through to find more patterns that I felt could work!

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I had a funny conversation with a commenter on Instagram over how great it is to display knitting. So much of what we make ends up in boxes that land in closets and we don’t get to use or see it often. Now I worry I don’t have enough wall space for all the wall hangings!

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Want to try it too? I wrote up a pattern for my Diamond Mesh wall hanging (pictured earlier in the post) which you can get via Ravelry.com or in my Etsy shop – tentenlove!

OR if you’re not a knitter, I have a few finished wall hangings available in the shop as well! Go get decorating!

Uncategorized

I heart Sewing!

This Christmas my husband gifted me with a new sewing machine. Well, to be true, he told me he wanted to gift me one and promptly asked me to pick it out since he felt it was too personal a choice to do for me. How true he was! There are SO many machines out there to choose from and of course I had no idea where to start. After a few texts with some amazingly talented sewers and a Pinterest post on beginner machines, I eventually chose mine.

Meet my girl, Singer Stylist 7258 – a crowd pleaser. She’s a basic work horse that has 100 different kinds of stitches. What is most awesome to me is that my mother and grandmother also sewed on Singer machines. How could I not honor my heritage?

I immediately began scouring the internet for patterns and inspiration. There is a TON out there and an awful lot of stuff to comb through. Who knew the sewing world was so vast?

Also, how thankful am I to have a site like Ravelry? It’s a wonderful site dedicated to knitters and crochers with a tremendous database of patterns and reviews. If you want to make a pattern it’s the first place I look to see if there are any major hiccups or things I need to keep in mind. To my knowledge, sewing does not have a similar place.

Of course the first place I went to (aftering being reminded) was Purl Soho. I LOVE their style and knew they would have sewing patterns that would what I was looking for.


After some simple pillowcases under my belt I decided to give their Easy Tote a try! Stay tuned for a second post more in depth! 

After that I found my self falling down the sewing rabbit hole.

My sewing/making inspiration:

Purl Soho – https://www.purlsoho.com/

Colette Patterns – https://www.colettepatterns.com/

Blackbird Fabrics – http://www.blackbirdfabrics.com/

Grainline Studio – http://www.grainlinestudio.com/

Sewaholic Patterns – http://www.sewaholicpatterns.com/

Thread Theory – https://threadtheory.ca/

IndieSew – https://indiesew.com/

Fringe Supply Co – http://www.fringesupplyco.com/

What other places have you found great sewing inspiration?

Things they don’t tell you about sewing – 

These are my intial impressions on what you need to know before starting a sewing project. I imagine as I become more experienced this list will be more obivous and will probably include more bullets – alas, this is just what I’ve come to learn over the last few days.

Your sewing machine manual is GOLD. Read it, keep it nearby and don’t lose it.

Your Iron is just as important as your sewing machine. I didn’t realize how married they are. You cannot sew anything without having your iron near by. Pressing your pieces is key to success.

Cutting fabrics. This is a DUH but did you know you have to cut the fabric a certain way. I had no idea there was such a thing. Grainwise is a new term for me but it’s slowly sinking in. To be true, I  had a serious mental block on what that meant and “picturing” the way the fabric is cut from the bolt. Also Shears vs. Rotary Cutter is a thing. Luckily I actually have a rotary cutter handy so that was nice. I have since bought a huge cutting board to help keep things neat and straight.

Seam Ripper! It was one of the first things I bought. Let’s be honest lots of mistakes are going to be made by moi. I’m not afraid to rip and this tool is super necessary.

Bobbins – every time you load a bobbin you can’t “unload” it. I went ahead and did two projects with two very distinct colors so now I have two used bobbins from the 2 that came with my machine. More colors I want to use, means more bobbins!

Needles – just like knitting, different patterns require different needles but it’s not necessarily written out in an obvious way. I was making my first tote via Purl Soho’s blog – the Easy Tote – and almost started going along my merry way before my mother in law stopped me and asked what kind of needle I was going to use! I hadn’t even thought of it before and glad she did stop me because lo and behold I needed something with more strength.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be sewing. I really pushed it out of my mind to tackle because I was so worried how “all in” I would be. To be honest, it was my destiny! With a grandmother and mother who are both amazing seamstresses it wasn’t hard for me to jump right in. Happy Sewing!

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On dealing…

It’s a truth telling session, ya’ll.

I am often cheerful and hopeful and Pollyanna about my sons situation but to be true it is so fucking hard sometimes. The appointments and paperwork piles up and all of a sudden I’m drowning and getting a life-saver seems to come through more endless amounts of more paperwork I simply cannot keep track of.

I cannot think clearly. I often miss deadlines and coffee dates. I can barely clean out the dishwasher sometimes. So when this debacle happened you can imagine it was just another thing to chalk up to the side effect of AHC.
I’m not writing this for your sympathy, no, it’s more for my own sense of “shit that happens that you just have to deal with”. Things are harder because of James’ condition. I can’t ignore that. I can’t ignore that I’m not functioning the same either. We missed a letter, which missed a deadline which missed a way to get out of the mess we are in. 

I don’t think anyone in their right mind wants to be tangled up in a government department. They are cold. They are long telephone waits and form letters. They are zero empathy. No one really cares. I am sure it has to be that way. I can only imagine the thousands of other stressed out mothers who let mail pile up at their kitchen counters who call desperately for some help and are shunned or turned away because they didn’t call or do that thing they needed to do in 30 days of some date.
Ya’ll this sucks and it’s been a lesson to me. Even when I’m in the BS, when things are hard and I can’t think straight, I have to try to think Straight. Because once you let something go, no one is going to be around to help you. It’s all on you.

I pray for those families who are in worse shape than I am dealing with this kind of thing. Good Lord how do they cope? I’m so lucky to have a great husband and family (and community) that ultimately when all the tears are shed and the curses screamed, I’m going to be ok. I really truly am. Even as I get these words out, I’m breathing a little deeper and fuming a little less – heck maybe I’ll even knit a fucking row.

It just sucks right now. AHC sucks. Rare disease sucks. Being on the fringe sucks. Asking for help sucks. Deal with it, right?

Deal with it.

Uncategorized

Cocoa Brownies

I recently finished a delightful novel titled The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller that made me yearn to bake! There’s something so attractive to me about baking. The process feeds my need to follow a design (see: Knitting) and I thrive on making people happy (see: personality!). I mean who doesn’t love desert?

I think if I had all the time and money in the world I would definitely sign up for a pastry chef program.  I would love to learn the craft and science of how to make things that people drool over.


Speaking of drool, these are my absolutely favorite – my cocoa brownies. I make them any chance I get whether it’s a barbecue with friends, hosting a playgroup or a Netfix and chill night with my husband. 


First let’s start with the good stuff – the cocoa! The better cocoa powder you can use the better the brownies will be. Our old standby is Ghiradelli’s cocoa powder which can be found at most supermarkets. To me it beats the taste of Hershey’s any day and has the chops to stand up to the fancier Sharfenberger cocoa.


After mixing the sugar, cocoa and salt together with a whisk it’s time to add the melted butter. 45 seconds in my microwave usually melts a stick without overheating it. Sure, you can melt it over a stovetop but I’m quite impatitent when it comes to waiting for the butter melt and then to cool. Mother of 2 toddlers – I’m usually wanting to get those brownies in my mouth ASAP.


While whisking pour the butter in – I like to really whip it after it’s all in there just for good measure. Next add the vanilla. Whip some more. Whip it, whip it good.


Now the eggs.  One at a time and really work the batter until it’s completely incorporated. I can’t stress enough how this part really makes this brownie. Definitely put eggs in one and a time and don’t  be cheap on the mixing. Keep going until your forearms burn and until the batter lightens in color a bit.

The last part is mixing in the flour. As fierce as you were with mixing in those eggs, you want to fold that flour in gently, as if you were making a merengue. Gently, gently until it all comes together! 



Pour the batter into a greased 9×9 pan (I used coconut oil spray) and spread it evenly with a spatutula. Using a knife, scrape the spatula down and add the bits to any corners that need love. (And or feel free to lick ;-))


Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Try hard to wait until the pan cools before cutting in and devouring. We find it a huge triumph if we haven’t eaten the whole tray in one sitting. We take our will power (or lack there of) pretty seriously.


My dad loves to have this with 2 huge scoops of ice cream on top. I prefer the corners and my husband the gooey middle. (Match made in brownie heaven, we are!)

Full Recpie Below

Adapted from Bon Apetit

Cocoa Brownies

Makes 9 3″ X 3″ brownies

1 stick butter melted

1 c 2/3 c. Sugar

3/4 c. Cocoa

1/4 tsp Salt

1 tsp vanilla 

2 eggs

1/3 c. Flour

Preheat the oven to 325

Grease a 9×9 pan and put aside

Melt butter in the microwave or saucepan, let cool 

Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add butter by pouring in slowly while whisking until fully incorporated. Add vanilla. Add eggs one at a time and whisk vigorously until each has been incoporated and batter is a little light and fluffy. Fold in flour.

Pour batter into a 9×9 brownie pan. Cook 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy with your favorite ice cream or alone in all it’s glory! Be the talk of the town or your couch! 😉

Love and brownies,

Margaux

cardigans, General Knitting, Uncategorized

Cinnamon Girl

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Woah people, I am in love. It’s real and it’s deep and I am so excited I wanna sing from the roof tops (but I don’t want to scare my neighbors)! The only thing I need now is for the temperature to drop so I can wear this (and buttery leggings) all DAY everyday!

Let’s go back shall we. Long time readers of this space know I am a lover of knits especially ones that are very wearable. I am not a knit “just to knit” kind of girl. I need purpose! I need couture! I need coffee!

I will always choose a garment that I can wear. So, two years ago when I was hanging out with the always wonderful Amy Christoffers (savoryknitting.com) and she whipped this beauty out and I fell hard. It wasn’t even close to being published and I was all “just take all my money!!” What made the whole situation even sweeter was that it took one ball of Jill Draper’s Empire which I happened to come across over that weekend. Pattern check! Yarn check! It was ON.

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I am pretty sure I got home and couldn’t wait to cast on. Soon I had the sleeves and body ribbing done but stopped when I started the cable chart. Something was off and I couldn’t figure it out. My early version had a little hiccup which I totally didn’t have the brain capacity to fix myself so I put it away and went on to other knits.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I ran out of yarn for my current knit (Dotted Rays by Stephen West) I needed something to help keep my knitting mojo up. While searching around for various WIPs I came across the finished sleeves and knitted rib of Cinnamon Girl! Hurrah! A quick Ravelry check and sure enough the pattern was perfection and I was well on my way to my first finished knit in over a year.

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Bad Hair Don’t Care! (and oh hey James! :-))

Dudes. I don’t even care how bad my hair looks in this picture. My love for this sweater so big that I didn’t even make the time to fix it before posting!

I almost forgot how Blocking is Everything – and it shows with this sweater. At first when it was done I was worried the sleeves would be too short and snug all around. No, no. A bath in my fig scented Soak opened up those stitches beautifully and now they are almost “too” long but just the way I like it.

I can’t wait to wear this beauty at Rhinebeck this year! It feels SO GOOD to have a finished sweater to show for and wear and know every moment I had a chance to knit it was well worth it.

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Project Details:
Pattern – Cinnamon Girl by Amy Christoffers
Yarn – Empire by Jill Draper Makes Stuff

 

Uncategorized

WIP: Cinnamon Girl

I actually have some knititng to show for!

I had been working on Steven West’s Dotted Rays for a few weeks but after I ran out of yarn (waiting on reinforcements) I decided to look through my WIPs pile and found that I had two sleeves done from Cinnamon Girl by Amy Christoffers!

Dudes, sleeves can be a downer so naturally when I saw they were done I was all “let’s get this finished!”

There’s something great about a cabled sweater, because you have so much to do it makes it move along quickly. So quickly in fact that I was cruising along nicely until I realized I did the cable chart wrong. I doubled the diamond part without realizing it. I blame knitting while watching Stranger Things! (Which by the way lives up to the hype! So good! Winona Forever!)


I thought for a hot moment that I would just rip back the cables and not the entire row but it would have proven too complicated. I could also have left it and doubt that many would notice but I know I would.

Ripping hurts a little bit more in this stage of my life where knitting time comes at a premium. All those precious minutes spent working all for naught. While I like to think I knit just to knit – I am very much driven by the end product.

I cannot tell you how excited I am to finish this sweater. Did you know I haven’t finished a sweater since 2013? I realize that may not sound that crazy but you’re talking to a girl who could knit 14-15 pieces in a year down to 1 every 3.

I hope to wear this sweater at Rhinebeck this year and who knows if I’m lucky (which I doubt) maybe I’ll finish a 2nd one in time! (My eyes are on you Flaum. ;-))

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Presenting Jams for James!

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Processed with VSCO with s1 preset

One of the many things I’ve dipped my hand in these past few months is working a direct sales gig with Jamberry. Since I haven’t been able to do much it’s been a wonderful way for me to exercise my brain in a non-mom way!

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I bought my first nail wrap in a fundraiser for AHCkids.org, the sister organization to CureAHC.org, and fell immediately in love. I threw a party of my own and soon after decided to join up. I figured if I didn’t go anywhere with it at least I have a product I love!

Well, it’s been more successful than i could have ever imagine. I use the business to spread awareness of Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood as well as donate my commissions to CureAHC.org. Everyone who I get to talk to about nail wraps hears my story about James and I think feel good about getting a beautiful manicure for a wonderful cause.

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Processed with VSCO with s1 preset

After working for a few months I decided to do reach out to one of my favorite designers (and former blogger) Jessica Jones to see if she’d be interested in designing some nail wraps! To say I was thrilled she said yes is an understatement. I had a complete fangirl moment! (I sure did, Jessica!)

With her flair we designed 8 beautiful wraps that are going to be sold on a limited run to help fundraise for CureAHC.org.

I call them Jams for James!

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I can’t even pick a favorite, I love them all so much! What makes this whole campaign even sweeter is that I have a secret benefactor aka “Team James Guardian Angel” who will be matching my donation to CureAHC.org!  So get while you can!

If you are interested in trying a sample of Jamberry wraps go here —-> Sample Request!

Ready to have a beautiful manicure for a wonderful cause, order here —->  J for J Order Form!

The best part of Jamberry nail wraps? Doing your nails and not having to wait for them to dry in order to knit!

xo,
M

my life, Uncategorized

Evolving

2016-07-12 01.08.38 1.jpgI miss you. I miss all of you. I miss blogging about my life and interests but feel so disingenuous if it’s not about knitting.

Lately, my knitting has been sitting dormant on my night stand, collecting copious amounts of dust. I try to take it out and work on it but ultimately I can’t seem to get a stitch done AND what I’ve come to learn and accept is that it’s OK. It’s what my life is at the moment.

I can’t however stop creating and doing. I’ve picked up new hobbies, have concentrated on a new business (tentenjams.jamberry.com) and have been engulfed in the mommyhood more than I’ve ever anticipated.

So we are evolving into tentenLOVE. I want to share more stories about my amazing family. I want to share my dabbles in other fun creative activities (hello Hand Lettering!). I just want to be able to use this space and in a way that reflects more of who I am now.

So I will tentenKNIT or tentenBAKE, maybe even tentenDRAW, and definitley tentenDANCE. I will tentenSHARE all the things in my chaotic life including stories of my sons and their lives.

I hope you stick around to see what’s in store!

XO,
Margaux

Uncategorized

Hello. Is it me you’re looking for?

Oh the ever inevitable blog hiatus.

Friends and knitters, life throws us curve balls, hail storms and road blocks. In this year of 2014 I think I got thrown all three (and MORE).

It all started in January when my son experienced a very long hospital stay. Things had been fishy from the time he was born. There were moments when he wasn't himself and no doctor could exactly tell me why. We had two shorter hospital stays which resulted in diagnoses of reflux or migrane headaches. In wasn't until after that last major hospital stay he was finally diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood. It's one of those, "Wait, that exists?" type of things. You can read more of that story on the Cure AHC website. To say it was a blow to me in every way is an understatement.

Despite my ever positivity on the matter, the anxiety and stress of that dianosis sucked every creative juice from my body. In fact I am a surprised I got my part of the From Mama,With Love out the door but I had such a wonderful support group in the other designers that it wasn't as hard as it could have been. I even squeeked out a project for Knit Collage in there (more at another time!). But honestly, overall I didn't feel like knitting a single stitch… and that lasted for a long time.

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Since then, I've slowly been coming out of my creative fog. I started a new pattern (my own) and a new simple yet beautiful project from Carrie Bostick Hoge, her cardigan/shrug - Maeve. The simple stockinette and garter stitches of that pattern have been a lifesaver – slowly knitting me back to my former self.

Of course, just when things are getting good they get a little bit crazier…

Soon after we learned of James diagnosis we found out that we were expecting another baby!! A bit of a surprise but one we are so thankful for. As James grows and explores his world we are so grateful that he'll have a best friend along for the crazy ride. While I am speeding closer to my due date, I am still not over the fact that I am going to have TWO children at year's end but I am beyond excited.

Finally, perhaps the best piece to my return to form is that we moved to a new home in July. This transition has been so uplifting. It's amazing the change in attitude and mood one can have when you are in a space you love. I even think James' overall self and attiude has improved. It's definitely a change that has been a blessing.

All these mega, huge, and colassal things have brought me back to a point where I feel like I can blog again. I am excited again. I can share again.

I am not promising a ton of posts but I think I owe it to myself to enter back into this arena. I feel ready and am inspired by so many projects and knitting relationships!

I do plan on sharing my experience with raising James with AHC and may throw in some anecdotes of him and our journey. So bare with me on that. You can always skip forward to the knitting! But if you know me, you know I am so proud of my son and I know his life is going to be a truly fulfilled and blessed one.

If you happen to still have my link dear reader… thank you! I appreciate not being deleted. And thank you in advance for your thoughts, prayers, congrats and hopes… it's truly community that strengthens.

While I haven't knit much, knitting is always on my mind, especially Elizabeth Zimmermann and her powerful words of wisdom:

Knit on with confidence and hope through all crises.

Green mustachios!

And I believe me I certainly will try.

Love and Knitting,
M