Meet Caedmon!

OK, time to get back in the game. I was on a little hiatus since welcoming this little bundle of joy into the world.

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So precious, I can’t stand it!

Time is flying by. He is already five months old! I can’t believe it is already September! Watching Caedmon grow and gain new skills has been so fun. He has been such a great baby, ready to do whatever we do, and go wherever we go.

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Here he is with his papa at his first football game! So fun!

Stay tuned, I will be sharing an update on how I have been doing on my resolutions from the beginning of the year and a couple of new diy projects!

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Let’s go!

Fisherman’s wool baby blanket

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Wow, so it has been quite a while since my last post, a lot has been going on since then.

With spring coming I thought I should get this post out before it becomes too warm to want to think about knitting.

This winter I started working on a baby blanket with some wool yarn that I have had for quite sometime. I had been waiting for a good project to use it for since it was 100% wool and I only had one skein.

When I found this blanket pattern on ravelry.com I knew I had to try it. It only requires one skein or (625 yards) and the pattern was pretty and simple enough for me to understand, though I did have to YouTube a couple of things.

For complete instructions, you can download the free pattern here. Though, I believe you have to have an account on ravelry.com, which is free and totally worth it of you are in to knitting or crocheting at all, or want to be. I highly recommend, it there’s tons of free patterns and advice for all skill levels.

The pattern repeats after every four rows which makes thing simple.

Row 1: k1, k2tog, yo, k1,yo, ssk, k1
Row 2: purl
Row 3: k2tog, yo,k3, yo, ssk
Row 4: purl

Now, if you are like me, knitting abbreviations look like gibberish so I had to look some of the things up.

K1: knit one. Most basic, just a simple knit stitch one time.

K2tog : knit two together. Little more tricky, but just like it sounds you put your needle through two loops instead of one and knit them together. You can see it here.

yo: yarn over. Simply bring your yarn from the back to the front of your needle. You can see that here This allows to increase stitches.

ssk: slip, slip, knit. Take two stitches off onto your other needle one at a time then knit them together. Basically you switch the position of the two stitches before knitting them together. You can see that here.

While I was knitting my blanket my yarn broke a lot. I’m sure there’s a better way to deal with this, but I just knotted it and kept the end all on one side of the blanket. Then when I was done knitting, I took a crochet needle and wove the ends into the blanket.

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I really enjoyed working with this pattern and once you get it down it goes pretty fast and you make a beautiful blanket, something I can now cross off my bucket list.

DIY Reupholstered Wingback Chair: in 7 easy steps

With a new house we were in need of a lot of new furniture. However, we also needed to save some money after such a large purchase. After looking around at some furniture stores we found a few things we liked, but not much we could afford.

My husband explained our search to his dad. Not too long after we got a call saying he had found two very nice, albeit outdated, wingback chairs sitting out to the curb and asked if we wanted them. Of course we were thrilled at the find and were excited to add two classic chairs to our home.

When they arrived, we were both really surprised at the condition they were in. Despite having a dated fabric, the set looked awesome.

To look at a wingback chair you may think, “There is no way I could reupholster that, it looks way to hard. There are so many angles and pieces..” I know I thought the same. But, like so many other things, deciding top make the attempt is half the battle. Plus, since the chairs were totally free and the fabric we bought was forty percent off, there wasn’t much to lose.

Come to find out, if you have some time and patience, it is actually a very doable diy project.

Step one: MEASURE

Measure the dimensions of your chair to find out how much fabric you need. We bought six yards I believe, but over estimated by about a yard and a half.

Section main parts of the chair into rectangles as best you can. Then you can break out your trusty sixth grade math skills to calculate area: area equals length times height. Add up all of your calculations in feet and divide by three to get the number of yards of fabric you will need.

Step two: FABRIC

Buy fabric. Pick a pattern you like in a durable fabric. If it is a chair that is likely to be sat in frequently, using upholstery fabric is highly recommended.

Step three: DECONSTRUCTION

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Take your time, if your chair is like mine, there will be approximately 18 zillion staples in it.

A few useful tools: a flathead screw driver, a pair of needlenose pliers, a butter knife, teeth, nails and anything else you find that fits under the pesky little staple that wants to hold on for dear life.

This was the most challenging part, and, as you can see, it’s not beyond anyone’s skill level. It’s just time consuming.

Try to keep the pieces intact as best you can (refraining from just tearing the fabric as you inevitably get frustrated with pulling out the 59 bajillion staples) as these pieces will become your pattern. Label them as you take them off and keep any spare pieces with that piece so it doesn’t get lost or confused with another.

Step four: CUTTING

Lay out your fabric right side down. Lay your chair pieces on top, also right side down. You can pin, or trace, or as I do just make sure it’s flat and cut. Keep the old piece and new together.

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Note: if you use a fabric with a directional pattern like this one make sure all your pieces are facing the same direction.

Step five: SEWING

Once all the pieces have been cut out they can be detached from the facing (the liner material you will be reusing in your new version of the old chair) so it can be sewn onto the new fabric and the cushion can be sewn back together.

Step six: STAPLING

Using your notes and labels, work backwards. The last piece you took off is the first piece you will put back on.

It is really worth it to have a nice electric staple gun at this point. It will save your hands and your sanity.

Step seven: ENJOY

Take a step back and enjoy how your hard work paid off and how fabulous your new chair looks. Then have a seat you earned it!

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         Here are my two newly updated chairs!

Chunky Rib-Knit Infinity Scarf

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We have had a few visitors over the last week or so. First my in-laws and respective grandparents came down from Michigan over the MLK weekend to help us with installing a laminate floor, I will share more on this later. Then the day they left I received a call from my mother informing us they would be making their way down from Michigan on Wednesday, as they had plans to go see my niece in Georgia for her 2nd birthday.

It has been quite cold here in Kentucky, lots of layering needed. While my parents were here my mom noticed an infinity scarf that I had made last winter that was sitting on the table after wearing it that day. After I explained to her how you wear it she decided she wanted one as well, and inquired as to where she could find one. I told her that I would just make one for her. So I did. I used a very simple rib-knit pattern and over the course of the weekend I pretty much had it done.

This is a pattern that anyone who knows how to knit and purl can easily do. So, if you have a skein of chunky yarn laying around waiting to be given a purpose in life, and a cold neck, this could be a great project.

Here is what you will need:

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1 skein of chunky yarn. I used Lion Brand bulky yarn.
A pair of large needles. I used size 10.
Scissors
A crochet hook or yarn needle

Here is the pattern:

Cast on 20 stitches

Row 1 knit
Row 2 purl
Row 3 knit
Row 4 purl
Row 5 purl
Row 6 knit
Row 7 purl
Row 8 knit
Repeat starting at row 1

Here is what it should look like after a few repeats.

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Continue until you reach the desired length or use all of your yarn. I did 120 rows and can comfortably wrap it around my neck twice. Just keep in mind when working with a very definite pattern like this one that you want the end to be the opposite of the beginning so that when it is joined it matches up right and you can’t tell where you joined it.

When you are ready to bind off, leave a long tail at the end so it can be sewn through to join the two ends.

Lay the scarf flat and match up the two ends. Using your crochet hook or yarn needle, whip stitch the two ends together.

There you have it. A beautiful handmade chunky infinity scarf.

Stay warm!

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Twenty fourteen

A new year can bring a time of reflection, goal setting and, dare I say, resolutions. I usually avoid setting goals because I feel confident I won’t keep them. That may sounds pessimistic, but I have never been good at long term goals. In theory they are great, but, when it comes to achieving them I always get distracted by something else.. usually my own laziness.

My husband and I spent New Years Eve with some old friends from college. As midnight approached we each said something we had accomplished in 2013 as well as something we wanted to be true in the new year. Since then, I have been thinking about what I want the year 2014 to look like.

Here are a few things what I want to be true of this year:

Relationships:
1. I want to grow closer to God through time spent reading the Bible and through prayer. I believe that this spiritual relationship connects to and defines all the other ones in my life.
2. I want to get to know our neighbors. We have been in our house for over a year now and have finally gotten to a point where we don’t to spend every weekend working on it, now hopefully we can use that time to get to know some people.
3. I want to communicate well with my husband, even at times when I am stressed, reserved or would rather not talk.

Home:
1. I want to finish our third floor attic space. We live in a 100 plus year old home in the city and have put in some major renovation work, almost all DIY. The top floor has been untouched so far, but, with our guest bedroom turning into a nursery (in April), we have plans to turn the space into a third bedroom and a work space for me to design and sew.
2. I want to plant a garden. A real one. and not kill it. I have a great admiration for fruits and vegetables, but my husband and I are serial plant-murderers.

Work:
1. I want to blog here at least once a week until April. We will see what it looks like after that.
2. I want to finalize a vision for Pleroma as a blog, a design space, a collecting place for ideas and maybe, eventually as a store.
3. I want to sell five items by the end of the year.

So, what will be different about this year compared to previous goal-setting Januarys? My life is about to get a lot more complicated come mid April when our little bundle of joy arrives and deprives us of sleep and time. I know I am going to get lazy and want to quit. On the surface, at least, accomplishing goals will be getting harder, not easier.

Here’s the difference. I am seeking accountability from you friends and readers, in addition to putting these things on a timeline. This page will be a mark and measure of my progress toward these goals. So, let this mark the beginning of a new stage in a continuing adventure, or a period of focus to tease existing threads into a new arrangement. I’m excited to stretch, grow, learn and share the process and results with you. Are these goals lofty? Yes. Will I fall short? Likely. But any growth is progress and the grace of God covers over a multitude of shortcomings.

Pleroma – A definition

Welcome to Pleroma! My name is Jillian, though most people call me Jill. I am new to the blog world, but I can’t wait to dive in and share some things I’ve been doing.

I love crafting; creating things with my hands and seeing the end product is one of the most satisfying things I know. Being a visual learner myself, I love blogs that teach others how to do something useful, to gain a skill or can just to clarify something. I hope for this to be a space where I can share some of the projects I have been working on for you to learn from or use as inspiration for a new project.

A little background: I have a degree in apparel and textile design form Michigan State University. I have been married for three years and we are expecting a little boy this April. I currently live in Louisville, Kentucky in a hundred year old house that my husband and I have completely renovated ourselves (with the help of our awesome family.) And I currently work at a deaf/oral preschool, at least until our little one arrives.

As for the name of my blog, it comes from my favorite bible verse Colossians 1:19 “For in Him the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” The word “Pleroma” is the Greek word for fullness. “Fullness” to be completely full, satisfied, content. It just blows me away every time I think about God being totally satisfied in dwelling in human form knowing what pain it would eventually bring to himself. I think the same fullness comes with having a child. I hope to launch a children’s line, I am still figuring that out, but I loved that this name fit so nicely into that vision.

So, that is Pleroma in a nutshell. I hope it’s a useful tool for both you and me.