Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Wall

I'm training for a race this summer. It's a small race but I'm a big woman - I am wanting to get into racing and I must do so slowly. So, the last few days I've been walking a mile... increasing the pace, walking more... Anyone who knows anything about endurance training knows there is "the wall" - the place you get where you think you just can't go no more.... Your legs burn, your chest hurts, the air you breathe seems cold... sweat is pouring down your face and you think you just... can't... go... one... more.... step. Then, if you are strong enough, you push through... you just say "one more" .. then "one more" again .. then you try to set a small goal of 10 more steps.. just 10 more. If I can do 10 more steps then I have won - once those 10 have been taken, just 10 more... that is how I get through "The Wall."

The wall is applicable to more than just training to run a race...

In November of 2009 I started an afghan for my son. Because of finals and Christmas (read as: easily distracted) I just haven't had an opportunity to finish the afghan. I have set this as my goal for the end of January 2010. I want to finish this afghan. The afghan "pattern" is not difficult - but double crocheting an entire afghan is insane. The overall look is good - but unlike a scarf, I find myself counting how many rows I have left before looping in the black... 5 or 6 times before every turn and at every turn. There is no way to get my mind off of "when will this end..."

The Wall, oddly enough, is more devastating to my crochet projects than running on the treadmill. It makes no sense. Physical pain cannot (or at least should not) compare to the blah that goes into repeating the double crochet a few thousand times.

I don't know - what I do know is that I have about 2 feet left and only 14 days left in January.

I guess I had better put the laptop to the side.

I have a wall to climb.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Motivation Lost and Found

I am not sure where the fire came from this weekend but my fingers have not had a break since Friday returning home from the yarn store. My tunisian crochet scarf is laying next to my laptop even as I type this - taking a break to hit the WC and grab some chocolate milk. The funny thing is, it feels like I've been crankin' out the projects all weekend; however, I've only completed 2 scarves, a hat, a facial washcloth, and made decent progress on the scarf I'm using with the new crochet style.

In all of this, while it seems like I would have to have locked myself in a room away from all humanity - I did plenty of other things like going out to eat with the family, watching a couple movies with the family, played some games, and did some housecleaning. Yet I look around and I think "what in the world did I do this weekend?"

On that note, I do think I need to run a few more rows on the scarf - I have work in the morning and will have to return to reality here in about.. *checking clock* 6 hours.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Addiction, Aschmickson

My husband and I both know that I have a problem. It's apparent when my entire day at work is filled with the excited statement "He's taking me yarn shopping" followed by a giddy, school-girl giggle. However, I insist that it is only an addiction if someone admits that it's a problem - and there is no way I'll be doing that anytime soon.

Before the end of the work day, a coworker made my husband's life even worse by spilling the beans there was a very small knitting shop on the south side of the city. "WHA!?!?!?!" How in God's creation did that fact elude me? My coworker informed me that yes - it was a little more expensive but his wife just loved the yarn from there. Well - I believe I would just have to make that sacrifice. Someone has to, right?

So we go. When my coworker said it was a very small knitting shop, he excluded the fact that it pretty much looks like a brick woodshed. The building is VERY small and in a rather odd location. But, ya know what - that's ok - because when I opened the front door, the warm air wooshed by me, and behold - it was like a scene from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I felt my hair blow back from my face - all I saw were walls and walls of yarn. I felt like I was standing still and the walls of yarn were building upon themselves, leading back to a never-ending hall of goodies. I'm pretty sure my poor husband saw my eyes glaze over and gave a loud, "oh God we are going to be broke by the end of the month" kinda sigh. It was his distress or the children running by me like they were entering a candy shop that shook me, allowing me to enter my Winter Wonderland.

The store was going to close shortly (odd Friday and Saturday hours... hmph), but that was ok. The lady said she had a few things to take care of and I should feel free to look around. Usually I would just say it was ok and back out, giving her her space - but not now. Oh no. I was going in. I didn't know where to start... left, right, back, front, high low.... my sense of touch was on overload. I had no idea such wonderful yarns existed in this podunk, midwest city.

I did end up making a small purchase and a promise to myself that I will return soon (or maybe I was rubbing the yarn and giving it reassurance it would be ok.. could go either way). I purchased 2 skeins of Encore burgundy yarn (pictured above) and an afghan hook - I am going to give Tunisian Crochet a bit of a whirl. The yarn is for a hat for my husband (justifying addiction again through giving to others).





The rest of my shopping was done at Hobby Lobby. After having been in that other store, Hobby Lobby wasn't so shiney and bright - don't worry, I mustered my way through *laughs* - They had a sale on "I love this Yarn" brand - 2.89 a skein. Not terrible. These are the flecked tan and blue skeins in the picture. The pink are the Vannah White brand, which I do like. Then, my husband so lovingly reminded me that I needed bigger hooks for the other yarn so I scored a set of hooks that included L, M, and P sizes - three I don't have. I'm not a fan of acryllic hooks, but begger's can't be choosers ... besides, not getting the metal now means I'll get them later.

The projects to be made with these yarns:
Pink - scarf for my son's friend at school (she does not have a scarf and asked if I could make her one)
Tan Flecked - scarf being made for charity
Burgundy - hat for husband
Blue - I don't know... it was on sale and I had to have it.

I still need to purchase some green and camo Red Heart brand to finish off my son's afghan, but that's ok - I have gotten my fix for the night....


Thursday, January 07, 2010

Joann Fabric's Crochet Contest

I was skulking around the internet looking for crochet contests (another reason to buy yarn). I haven't had much luck with anything recent; however, I did find this linked on RedHeart.com:

Basically, use the specified yarn to make a creative, original project.

Figured I'd pass it on.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

INTERVENTION!

After having 2 days home with the children, working and casually getting things done, going back to work on a Thursday is a bit depressing. Of course, the 5ish inches of snow outside doesn't make things better. It is safe to say that focus was in short supply today.

With all of my mental power being spent on thoughts of crochet, it's no wonder I came up with (what I think will be) a great idea. It is a gift for my beloved husband for Valentine's day so I cannot say too much. He does occassionally read what I write and I don't want him to know. Granted, as soon as I can, I'll post pictures AND if it turns out as I'm thinking it will, I'll have a pattern.

I am beginning to think that coming up with these great new ideas is pretty much a cover-up for "gettin' my fix" with buying new yarn. Last week, I actually gave him the excuse of 'I have this awesome yarn but it just won't work on my hooks right... I need some bigger hooks' - all just to get back to the store for more yarn.

On a related note, I 'lost' another scarf again today. Sidestory is: I keep a box of items I make that I have nothing to do with. These make great gifts. Always handy to keep extra items on hand. So, after 'losing' my last scarf to my sister-in-law at Christmas and looking out the back door at 5ish inches of snow, I decided to dip into my goodie box and grab a scarf. I selected a white scarf made of worsted weight yarn crocheted using the puff stitch (one of my personal favorites). Oh so warm and toasty. At work, my coworker noticed it and said it was nice. I said it was one of my extras.... she admired it again, giving compliment to my work. I said thank you. I could see it in her eye - she liked it a lot. Soooo I offered it up to her. She said "she couldn't" and I said it was ok. She appeared to be thrilled to take it. Don't let it be said that I won't give anyone the shirt off my back... well, scarf at least.

So I came home without a scarf. My husband noticed... he and I both know its because of my addiction to buying yarn. I think unconsciously I'm setting myself up to give things away so I can get myself back into the craft store. It makes sense....

I saw a few crochet contests to from Red Heart and Lion Brand.. oh look - one more reason!







Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Items "NEEDED" to Crochet

Through the years folks always ask "well, what do you need to start crocheting." Well, to be honest, you only NEED a material that is long and pliable and can be bent around itself without breaking and thin enough to do it - everything else is bonus material.

I will conceed that there are items that I use to make my crochet life a bit easier... ya know, like a crochet hook. Snarky comments aside, there are a few items that a person can get that will facilitate starting the hobby. I posted a YouTube video explaining: Click Here


In addition to the video - I'd also like to suggest this little gem. I have never seen anyone use or mention it so I like to think its somewhat original (but who knows - comment and let me know if you've seen it before).

To make:
1. Crochet a chain long enough to wrap around your computer screen with about 5 inches left over.

2. Turn

3. In 6th chain from hook, sc all the way down to the other end, stopping approximately 10 chains from the end

4. slip stitch and tie off (not sc'ing in the last 10 chains gives it a nice taper

Simply wrap the screen marker around your computer screen and slide the chain tail through the loop you left from step 1. It's adjustable and soft! You can move it anywhere on screen to mark your place in any pattern.

I came up with the idea while working on a heart doily pattern. I kept looking up at the screen and realized how easy it was to lose my place. I pulled my needle out of the doily, slid it into a scrap of yarn and created my first computer ruler. It keeps my place on screen and slides up and and down very easily without damaging the screen. So many of the crochet patterns I use are online. It saves from having to print the patterns (bookmark and pull it up when I want to work on it) making it a bit ecofriendly too. Since I use different laptops that have different screen sizes, I make it to fit the largest and have it adjustable to fit the smallest.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Toe Coasters [Pattern]


A "Toe Coaster," as I have lovingly dubbed these little goodies, are a spoon friendly coaster. The pattern is 100% original considering the idea is 100% mine.

The idea came to me from a Crochetville.com Crochet-A-Long (CAL) for Christmas Caroling. The idea was the challenge originator was to give a song and from that song, draw inspiration for a project. The song given was "Walking in the Winter Wonderland." I thought footprints in the snow = footprints in the sand.... And from there, somewhere.... the "Toe Coaster" was born.

The concept of the Toe Coaster is to function as a coaster for your drink, but provide a clean, attached, absorbant spoon rest. This prevents your spoon from sitting against germ-laden surfaces and prevents your germ-laden surface from getting drip marks from coffee and tea (inevitable spoon consequence).

Below is the original pattern. Please do not take it and pass it off/sell it as your own. Give credit where credit is due.

If you make some Toe Coasters of your own, please do post a comment and perhaps a link to an image of your finished project.

----------------------------
TOE COASTERS
By: Cris

Hook Size: H
Yarn: Medium Worsted Weight Yarn - solid colors work best

Abbreviations:
ch - Chain
slst - Slip Stitch
sk - skip
sc - Single Crochet
dc - Double Crochet
st - Stitch (normally referring to the row below the current one being worked)
BLO - Back Loop Only

The pattern is written to make a right and a left foot

As always, I ask that you do not pass this pattern off as your own. You are free to link to the pattern from your website or blog. Please do not sell the final product or pattern. You may make the coasters for your own personal use or to give away as gifts.

----------------------------
Big Toe (make 2):
ch 4
slst ends of chain together to form a loop
ch 1

round 1
sc 7 into the loop
slst to close round
ch 1

round 2
sc 2 stitches into every st from round 1
slst to close round
tie off

Little Toe (make 2):
ch 4
slst ends to form loop
ch 1

round 1
sc 7 into the loop
slst to close round
tie off

Middle Toes (make 6):
ch 4
slst ends to form loop
ch 2

round 1
dc 7 into the loop
slst to close round
tie off

Stitching Toes Together seems easy enough. I try to leave ample tails for all my toes so this step is made a bit easier. First, make sure you set your toes up to make a right and a left. The chained edge left by the last round should be facing upward (see image). I use the ends tied off at the end of the circles first, tying the rounds together. The rounds left in the middle where the ends were tied off to a toe on the opposing side, I use a yarn need to weave the middle tail to the edge and tie it off to the next toe. When sewing your toes together, remember these are going on a ROUND coaster. In other words - do not sew them together in a straight line.

Basically, be creative with sewing your toes together without introducing in a ton of new tails. The more tails you add in, the messier your work will become. Be conscious of what you are doing.

When you have completed sewing your toes together, you should have two sets - right and left (obviously). Take your ends and weave them down to the bottom of the circle so when the time comes, attaching your toes to the coaster is a quick and painless job.

So now, it is time to move on to the "Foot" of our Toe Coaster.


Foot (make 2):
ch 5
slst ends to form loop
ch 3

round 1
dc 9 in loop
join ends with slst
ch 2

round 2
dc 2 in every dc from previous round - dc in BLO
join ends with slst
ch 6

round 3
sk st, dc in next st; ch 3 (repeat around the entire circle; should end with ch3)
join ends with slst
ch 3

round 4
dc 4 in first ch 3 loop from previous round
ch 1
dc 5 in remaining ch 3 loops for entire circle (should end with ch 1)
join ends with slst
tie off

Finish the project by tying the toes onto the "foot" round and weaving in any remaining yarn tails.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Blog Attempt #9826-A

I sit here again - in front of my PC with a new blogspot account. This time, I think I'll make it.

I plan to share something more personal than forcing myself to write about some odd topic here and there or forcing myself to be witty. This time, I'm sharing my passion for crochet. I'll share this via video tutorials, original patterns, attempts to create others' patterns, and who knows what else.

So, without further adieu.... here I blog again.