Halloween at the PA Renaissance Faire

My friend Joan and I went to the PA Renaissance Faire on their last weekend of the year, Saturday the 29th.  We had a great time!  The wickerman above greeted us as we entered the faire grounds.  The entire property at Mount Hope was PACKED.

We saw a few interesting shows, like the one about falconry.  Below, a handler holds a kestrel, who obviously wants to fly, and they did let her do her thing.

Falconry at the PRF

We also go to see a bit of one of Tartanic‘s shows.  They are a fantastic group featuring two traditional drummers and two bagpipers.  Very cool!  Here, their vendor wench, Annika, does some belly dance moves while balancing a sword on her head.

Tartanic at the PRF

After Tartanic finished their show, and I looked over to my right, and there was a girl knitting a huge green shawl!  Wow!  I have never seen knitters at the PRF.  I mean, I’ve bought yarn there, such as the skein of alpaca yarn I acquired below from one vendor.

Alpaca yarn from the PRF.

I had to talk to her and ask her about her project.  She was knitting a shawl, indeed, in garter stitch with very simple yarn over increases.  I figured, I can do that!  So I started one myself.


The funny thing about noticing one person knitting is that within fifteen minutes of seeing the initial knitter, I saw another, and then another!  How cool is that?!

So, you want to know how to make that shawl?  It’s easy, and here’s how I figured the pattern out.  It’s by NO MEANS an original pattern by me, just one I worked out and decided to share with you.  Here it is.

PA Renaissance Faire Shawl

Use the yarn and needles of your choice.  There is no gauge requirement.  My mine, I’m using fingering weight yarn on US 4 needles.

Cast on three stitches.

Row 1:  K1, kfb, K1.  You should now have four stitches.

Row 2:  K2, yo, k to end of row.

Repeat Row 2 until you have the shawl the size you want it.

Cast off loosely.

So, that’s was my PRF experience!  Joan and I had great time, and it was awesome to see some fellow knitters there, too.



A Semi-Homemade Halloween

I freaking love Halloween.  Since my husband and I have moved into our new home, I wanted to decorate for the first holiday that it was really possible for:  Halloween.  What the end result was a bunch of semi-homemade Halloween decorations that I plan on building on for the following years.

To start with, I went to my local big box craft store thinking I would be able to get a a ton of pre-made stuff that I could decorate with.  Nope!  Duh.  I bought a lot of decorations and, well, decorated them myself.  I also got a lot at the grocery store and jazzed things up.  Overall, I think I spent about $30.00 in Halloween decor.

Witches Boots, Pumpkin, and a Wind Chime.

Sparkly witches boots, and a pumpkin with a windchime.

I bought the witchy boots from a local grocery store, along with the little flower arrangements that I then placed in each boot.  I bought the pumpkin, and found the little cauldron outside my back porch actually.  I bought the wind chime and colored it in with the markers provided in the kit.  I then put a good coat of acrylic spay on the wooden part, which them made some of the marker coloring run.  Eh.  It’s still cute!

The Gnome, the Gourd, and the Hay Bale

Gnome, and warty gourd on a hay bale.

The gnome was an awesome impulse purchase by my husband at a drug store.  He’s always outside.  The small hay bale came from the local craft store, and the big ol’ warty gourd was purchased at the grocery store.  I then plopped said gourd on said hay bale.  Bingo, we have an arrangement!

The Two Wooden Masks

Two wooden mask

I bought the two masks at the craft store, along with the acrylic paints to decorate them with.  I think they’re cute!  I painted each mask, coated them in acrylic spray, and then stuck the stick holder in the mulch.  Instant decoration!

The Witch

Wooden painted witch mask

Miss Witch here was painted in with acrylic paints.  Her buckle is painted with glitter paint, and her tooth and wart have glow in the dark paint on them.  I don’t know how glowy they are, but I thought it was be a nice touch if it shows up.

Sugar Skull

Sugar Skull wooden mask

Señor Sugar Skull was a little more difficult to paint.  I coated him in white acrylic paint, therefore covering up a lot of the other lines on his face where I needed to paint.  Still, I could faintly see the lines through the paint to finish him.  So, most of the work was done by me carefully painting along the lines the best I could.  Otherwise, his green eyes have a coating of glow in the dark paint over the top of them to hopefully delight the oncoming onslaught of trick-or-treaters expected on October 31.

I have a candy corn suncatcher that I also made from a kit ready to hang up in the window, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.  I also have a string of purple lights to put out.

That’s how I’m doing Halloween decorations this year!  Semi-handmade.  I like the concept, and it turned out better than I thought.  How do you decorate for Halloween?



Counted Cross-Stitch: Conquering a Childhood Fear

I had a love/hate relationship with counted cross-stitch.  As a child, I remember getting so frustrated with a project in my only year of Juniors as a Girl Scout.  It was a for a Christmas ornament.  I got so fed up with it, I gave up, and therefore not getting a badge.  I hardly cared.

A few years ago, I cam across a lovely cross stitch kit in the bookstore:  Miss Woolly’s Creepy Cross-Stitch.  It was Halloween, I thought, why not give it a go.

I gave it ago.  And it sucked as much as it did when I was a Girl Scout.

Fast forward to last Friday.  You know what else sucks?  Kidney stones.  I had one starting the day before on Thursday, and passed it on Monday.  Fun times.

Back to Friday.  I was laid out with a kidney stone at home bored out of my gourd.  I wanted something different to do, and, since it’s close to Halloween again, I decided to give cross-stitch another whack.

Above is the pumpkin I made from the kit! It’s not exactly like the one in the book, as I made a few mistakes and added a few things to the mouth, I’m pretty proud of it.  I even started the next project in the book.

This pumpkin represents an accomplishment.  After 20-odd years, cross-stitch finally clicked.  It’s certainly not going to take the place of my knitting by any means, but it will be something different to do as a change of pace.