Monday, June 27, 2011

H is for Home Ownership

Sorry folks - as of today I should be in the new house and without internet. (I'm pre-writing this to make sure I have something post for my ABCs post.... I just wish I could make it a little more intriguing and fun).

So, while I didn't come up with a crochet related post, how fortuitous that this week's letter is H and we just bought a Home and that HOME is why I don't have internet yet.

I should have internet tomorrow.

*crosses fingers*

We closed the purchase last Friday, the 24th. Since that date, we need to finish packing, move, paint, clean, etc.

So, while I am sorry for a lame post, I do hope you all understand. I should be back on track in the next couple days.

With that said - if you are interested in reading more ABC posts, head on over the Accidental Knitter's blog and go through the links.

Have a great day!

Friday, June 24, 2011

FO Friday (cop out)

OK - I'm sitting here at 10:13 at night knowing I should post something for my finished objects....

Well, today, I'm calling buying a house a finished object. Yup. Indeed I am.

We have spent the last 45 days filling out papers, sending in forms, printing, signing, copying, scanning, emailing, calling, texting, running, worrying, praying, and cursing the entire process that comes along with buying a house. Today, we finally sat back (for a brief moment before the paint-a-palooza started) and signed the last paper and had the keys dropped into our hands.


Finally Finished.

It was, in a way, like a dreadful, intricate thread project for me. I am not a fan of working with thread but there are SOOOOO many projects that I love. So what I do is - tackle those one at a time, leaving enough time between projects to forget just how much I detest working with thread.

Don't ask - it somehow works for me.

So I get the thread and I have an excitement brewing inside of me. Then I start hooking away at the thread and realize that it may be a little more tedious than I figured on. And by the time I'm a few hours into it, I'm cursing it. Then angry that I love the pattern so much that I must keep working on it until its done but hate it.

And in the end, when I tie off the last knot and weave in the last tail, there is that moment of satisfaction that I finished it. I finally finished it.

And much like buying a house, after sitting there those few moments realizing we now need to go paint - I remember that thread requires blocking.

Thanks for reading my ramble.

Sorry I'm pictureless today. I didn't think about it and it's late. Do forgive me. :)

If you want to read some real FO Friday posts, head on over to Tami's Amis blog and read through all the links. If you have one yourself, be sure to post to her Mr. Linky.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

WIP Wednesday

This is going to be a pretty quick post here because I have added one more WIP, which stops the rest of them from getting worked on... intriguing, isn't it!

So let's get going with the two projects you have stared at for the last 2 weeks.

after clue #4
The mystery CAL is going along nicely. I have added a long piece which almost makes me think this is going to be a bag of some kind. I am still on the fence about it because who knows what it could turn into. Last Friday's clue had me add on to the main piece and create the long thin piece.

I have no idea what we will do with the little floral looking pieces though - that is the part that has me scratching my head if this is, indeed, a bag of some nature.

I would like to point out that the ball of yarn was one of the big skeins of Red Heart Soft. It is down to more than half its size so I hope the project ends soon. That's the only skein I had *laughs*

OK - this bag is getting expanded. I looked at the pattern and where it had me stopping my rows seemed too short to be a good, effective bag SO I made the executive decision to repeat several more rows so it is taking me much longer. I'm going to go until I run out of yarn or I'm satisfied - whichever comes first.

I suppose overall I'm "ok" with this bag. It isn't working up exactly how I saw it in my  mind's eye, but it surprisingly looks a lot like the picture.... which doesn't seem to make much sense, eh?

Ok - the biggest WIP I have going this week and part of next is the move. Yup - we are supposed to close on Friday which puts us in the house Friday afternoon painting and changing locks. So that means right now we are boxing things up and throwing a lot of stuff out. And by a lot - I mean... A LOT.

This morning the dumpster was delivered. The guy informed me the size the man ordered was out. Someone accidentally booked more than they had so we got a free upgrade. It is INSANE how big this dumpster is. It's like commercial size. I believe 20 yards is what he said. The man reserved a 10 yard dumpster and since they were out, they upsized it.

I was a little worried it wouldn't fit! We live on a very busy road with a narrow drive in front (we don't use) and then access from the back alley... but the fence and neighbors garage limit the ability to back in with a large truck. So... it went into the front drive. The guy had the busy road all blocked off and was just like "vroom vroom drop bang raise BYE" in a matter of minutes.

He was good.

So with that said - just another head's up that my internet will be iffy after Friday so I am not sure about getting an FO Friday post up (unless I pre-write it with the one tiny item I finished) and I'm unsure about my ABCs post on Monday. Obviously, that one is easily enough pre-prepared... if I can think of something for H now *laughs*

If you are interested in what other people are doing or would like to share your WIP, click on over to Tami's Amis blog and go through the Mr. Linky.

Thanks for reading and I hope you have an absolutely fantastic day.

Monday, June 20, 2011

G is for Grandma

A lot of people have inspired me tremendously to create and be creative. I have talked about my mom in relation to my crafting so I think it's a gimme how much she inspired me and was one of my primary teachers. BUT considering today's letter is G, mom doesn't fit. So I'm turning my attention to another woman in my life and family that was inspirational to my fiber arts.

My grandmother is really the only grandmother I had. My paternal grandmother, whom I share my middle name with, passed away before I was born. From stories, I have a feeling she would have been just as inspirational to me in crafting, the arts, and in the kitchen, as my mother. My maternal grandmother was alive and I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time getting to know her and be inspired by her.

Now, before I go any further I want to say that it is posts like this that make me wish my family was more "photo friendly." No - not saying we are an ugly lot, I'm just saying we don't take near enough pictures. I searched and searched for photos of my grandma and I just don't have any. I found a couple of her back... but those don't do her much justice. So, I found a wallet sized photo and did my best with taking a picture of the picture. I apologize for the quality of the photo - but I think this post alone may have inspired me to take a little more care in taking photos and getting them into albums (and in an external drive... guess I need to buy a scanner!)

So there isn't a whole lot of demographic stuff I can tell you about her - I don't know the exact date of her birthday but I am pretty sure its in September. In my defense - I really don't know anyone's birthday outside of my immediate family and children. She was born in 1928 (I think) and was not an overly educated woman. I don't think she finished high school. She worked in a factory for a time and lived in Indianapolis. She moved to my hometown when I was about 5 years old.

We would visit her almost every day - usually it was my dad and I visiting because my mother worked in a factory. My dad was handicapped so he did odd jobs, leaving him to be my stay at home parent. He enjoyed going to "mee-maws" and sharing a cup of coffee and casual chat. My brother and I would play outside or in the school yard in the next block on nice days. When it was rainy or cold out... heck, who am I kidding - we still played outside or over in the school yarn in he next block.

I really took her for granted as far as being there. This had a lot to do with the fact that my family was always "there." I never had to question if Grandma or Grandpa were there or if my parents were around or my brother was there to taunt me.

My grandma always took her coffee in the same cup and always sat in the same spot. Her spot was pretty much like mine is now - it was her craft nest. This is what I want to talk about today - my grandmother as an inspiration to crafting and the arts.

My grandmother always had something in her hands. She was an avid crocheter although I admit, I don't think I ever remember seeing her knit. I remember when plastic canvas came out - she was all over that like white on rice. She had plastic canvas everywhere! She always sewed - Her sewing machine was in the same spot from the day she moved to her house in my hometown to the day she died - it was set up in the "guest room" that was converted to an all out craft and beanie baby room. She made goose clothes, plastic canvas dresses, crocheted bed dolls, afghans, ... she was a manufacturing company all her own. She was insane when it came to crafting.... and between you and me - I LOVED IT.

As a kid I got to see new yarns, watch her quilt, touch the silk threads she embroidered with, help her choose colors, help her decide if "this looks ok" or not....

I was around 8 or 9 when she bought her first kiln and got into ceramic making. She painted so many wonderful things and that lead the way to my dad making me a porcelain doll from start to finish - .... my dad even made the mold that was poured - my mother banded all the arms and head so they moved....

but that is a story for a different time.

So that was my grandma - while I may not have a bunch of material items or hundreds of photos, I do have a million memories of her and the inspiration she gave me to be creative.

I only have a few material items from her since she passed away three years ago. One of those is a large swatch of the shell stitch... I'm not sure what it was intended; however, that is packed away in my cedar chest. The other item, pictured here, is a ceramic bear she painted and banded (so it's limbs and head move) and she sewed the dress.

The bear was a little more handy to pull out of storage and snap a photo.

I'm hoping that with our move later this month, I'll be able to get a nice display cabinet where my little bear grandma made will have a nice place to sit.... safely.

I miss my grandma terribly - sometimes it feels unreal that she is gone because she was always there, but I know that she is waiting for me in heaven.... perhaps with a sewing needle or crochet hook in hand.

If you are interested in reading more ABC entries like this one or would like to share one of your own, head on over to the Accidental Knitter's blog for the link party.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Something Completely Different Saturday

No, this isn't some new "thing" I'm starting. This blog is meant to be primarily about crochet and sprinkled with some infos on other things I do, usually craft related.

Today I just wanted to give my followers a head's up that I am moving. Not the website - I'm physically moving into a different house. I just wanted people to know that things may slow down for the next two weeks but I am still here. I am not sure I'll get the flip flop tutorial done before I move but I am going to try. I don't know how long I'll be without internet at the new house either, although with my tech-self, I am sure it won't be too long.

I'm very excited for the move, including that we are picking up a 4th bedroom which will serve as my guest room/craft storage room. THAT is very exciting to any fiber artist. I am hoping to be able to set up my sewing machine on a more permanent basis rather than having to pull it out and put it back every time I use it (which is one reason I don't sew a whole lot.

The house, as far as square footage, is about the same as my current house, maybe a little bigger; however, the floor plan is MUCH better and we are gaining the same floor space in a downstairs living area too. A big yay for finished basements. So while the kitchen may be a wee bit smaller, we will be almost doubling our living space. That is seriously exciting!

In addition to a gorgeous well-lit house (contrast to my current living situation), we will be picking up a lovely back yard with garage.

The house isn't as big and fancy as the man wanted, but I'll tell ya - I am not a fan of super huge houses. This house will do just fine for us.

Of course, as it relates to this blog, I have been racking my brain trying to figure out the best way to move into the extra bedroom with my sewing machine and yarn. I'm thinking wall storage and a small desk for the sewing machine... and of course the closet. Or do I set it up in the bedroom? We will have a HUGE bedroom... oh I can't wait -

I must admit, that while I'm excited for the move in general and have given thought to furniture placement, kitchen layout, etc.... my mind is continually drifting back to 2 things: gaming/fitness room downstairs and where my yarn is going to go OH and a third thing - being able to take gorgeous outside photos of my finished works.

So, I hate putting out blogs without images, so I figured I'd step away from fiber arts and share a bit of other art. Not all of these are mine so I'll describe them..... OH - and I do believe all are for sale, so if you are interested in anything, just shoot me an email at creationsbycris (at) comcast (dot) net - even the stuff from my brother, I can always relay the information to him and get you the item.

First up is a plate set my brother did. The plates you see here are kinda brown with a blanket stitch around them. He drew, in ink, on a brown paper the images of Elvis and Marilyn and then affixed the paper in the bottom of the plate. I don't know if he plans to put something over the plate to seal it all in or not, but I'm sure that can be negotiated. The pictures are from a display during an art show.

This is a painting I did. It's acrylic and titled "High Mountains" (as named by my youngest). I believe it's 11x14 (currently in storage box) but I can always pull it out and check if you are interested.
(not for sale)

I love doing bright blue skies - there is just something happy about them to bring in the feeling of a crisp summer morning. Maybe that's all in my head - I dunno.

I tend to lean towards realism, landscapes in general; however, I do sometimes deviate from the norm. The Tree of Life painting, also in acrylic, was 16x20 I think (I don't remember) and now proudly hangs on my oldest daughters living room wall. She wanted it and when t went to the art show, I think she was secretly hoping it would not sell. And, it didn't. She walked out of there that night with it in hand as a gift from me to her. She loved it so much - how could I deny her?

I do have a fiber arts plan for the Tree of Life painting - provided I can ever get time to get started.

So to bring this "surprisingly long blog I had no idea existed in me until I started typing" post to an end - and to kinda bring it full circle *laughing* - what are your craft storage methods? Currently my yarn is in boxes, bags, and baskets - I'm ready for something creative, fun, practical, and nice.... if you have a link to a post you have done, showing off your stash storage, do share it (Mr Linky below) OR just leave a comment describing what you currently do.

(my sincerest apologies for using a meme name that isn't exactly what I'm doing... but for 1 mr. linky, I didn't want to upgrade membership to create my own meme name)

Friday, June 17, 2011

FO Friday

Woooo hoooooo - it's Friday and that can only mean one thing - FO Friday!

While I have several things on the hook right now, I stopped briefly to do a fun project for my youngest - a pair of covered flip flops.

I found a pair of plain ole flip flops on sale so I grabbed some followed by some bright pink yarn (Impeccable - worsted weight in dark pink).

I will most likely do a tutorial (text and video) on how to make these - they were fun and the turnaround time was insanely quick. I finished off the sandal with a cute lil button and the yarn tied in a bow on the front. As you can see, I put a heel catch on the back and covered the plain ole straps.

I am thinking that in the future, I may just put some colored elastic on them. Perhaps make a tube of crochet and then feed the elastic in. Who knows - perhaps I'll play with that tonight.

It was a fun project that didn't take too long and put a big ole smile on my daughters face.

If you are interested in reading what other people have done this week or would like to share your own work, stop over to any one of these blogs that host link parties:
- Tami's Amis Blog
- Wisdom Begins in Wonder
- Natural Suburbia

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Kitty Knitter

This is Kyul. Kyul Rangi to be specific.

Kyul is 14 years old. She came to our household roughly 2 weeks after we were married in 1997.

She has been with us for a very long time.

Now usually, Kyul doesn't "hang out" with me too much because quite frankly, she is in love with the man. If she were human - I have a feeling she wouldn't like me very much... heck, she doesn't have to be human to not like me (as she's proven the last 14 years).

It isn't that she hates me - she just doesn't exactly prefer me over the man.

Well - she didn't prefer me until recently, specifically when I started to knit. She loves to watch me knit. Watching turns to tail swishing which turns to snapping at my needles like a piranha as they move.

When I finally stop thinking its cute, which seems to be shorter and shorter each time, she does what is pictured above: she weasels her way onto my lap and pushes my hands up. As I move my hands up, she lays out more... pushing my hands up. My hands were about 5 inches from my face when I decided to take the picture above. If you notice, her front legs are 2x4 straight and she is clearly pushing upwards into my arm.

I have never rated anywhere on this cat's radar but apparently, I rate higher than knitting.

Go me.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Has it been a week already? Wow - time flies when you are having fun!

First, before getting into the WIP stuff, I saw a post by a fellow blogger regarding his dislike of people taking their blog pictures with their cell phones. I usually do this because my phone is handy; however, I never thought the pictures were that bad. So truly, give me your honest opinion on the photos. If they are terribly distracting or not - you won't hurt my feelings. I just want to make sure everyone who chooses to come to this blog truly enjoy it, pictures included.

So, with that said - on to the WIPs!

Whelp, I'm 3 clues into the Crochetville Mystery CAL and as you can see, I have pretty  much what I have from last week excluding the main piece is taller now.

While I'm not wanting to guess, it is hard not to. It definitely is not a hat - although wouldn't I be quite an interesting sight, strutting my stuff around in an over-zealous and baggy hat.... flopping around on my heat. Perhaps I could make a pair of dangly earrings out the extra pieces and put one on a necklace. Oh - wouldn't I be lovely!

In all actuality, I think it may be a bag, but I'm not 100%. Obviously, it is still relatively early on in he project (I think) so it could turn into anything. If it is a bag, it definitely would need lined because the bottom of the main piece has one of the flower-looking pieces in it (not sure if you can see it in the picture).

I have been needing a few different bags for various reasons: farmer's market, crochet project bags, and beach bags.

I had the Caron green yarn left over from when I frogged out the man's Christmas present last week and when I saw a small pattern booklet at Michael's for Enviro-Totes, I knew I had to get it. I grabbed it up for 3$ and headed to yarn group. I have been working on pattern #4.

Oddly enough I thought the bag was going to be square-ish from the picture, but alas - it is not square. It is definitely round.

I have put a few hours in on it and it is going pretty well. I will say I'm not exactly sure I'm going to stop at the recommended rows from the pattern for the sides. I think I want my bag to be a little taller - so I will be deviating from the pattern a wee bit (per norm).

Whelp, I won't say that I like knitting or that the knitting bug has bit, but I have been keeping something on the needles for the last couple weeks. A couple nights ago I decided to try my hand at cables. I have never done them and I don't think they turned out too badly.

This was a bookmark pattern I found on Ravelry: Cabled Bookmark by Lesley Raymond.

Granted, right about where the needle is there I don't know what happened (sneezed or something) and stitches were being picked up and dropped like no one's business). I did end up frogging up this piece, but up until that point, it was going pretty good.

No - I'm not ready to tackle a sweater.

uh.... uhm.... *runs away*

If you are interested in reading what other people are working on or want to share your own works in progress, pop on over to Tami's Amis Blog and Ambassador Crochet to join in, or read through, the link party.

Monday, June 13, 2011

F is for Frogging

I desperately wanted to avoid a topic that was an absolute that other people were going to write about. So for F, I wanted to avoid the topic of frogging because I am sure it is going to be a popular topic. But, when it comes to fiber arts, it is one I couldn't pass up. Hopefully, I'll cover it a little differently than other people may be.

rip it, rip it, rip it
First - a new person to the internet community of fiber arts may not know what frogging in. Frogging is simply this - when you 'rip it rip it rip it.' Yup - it's when you grab your end piece of yarn and rip the darn thing out.
So what in the world do I have to say about frogging that could be different than what someone else would write?

Simply put - everyone does it.

That's right. This isn't some weird form of peer pressure in that do it because everyone is doing it. In fact, no one wants to do it but when it comes down to the meat and bones of it all - everyone does it. Once understood, frogging your very first big piece really becomes no big deal. It's just a reality to the fiber arts.

The spaghetti mass of green in the above photo was a baby blanket I made for a friend. It started out as a bobble baby blanket and became a gorgeous pile of green yarn spaghetti. Then that green yarn spaghetti turned into a lovely basketweave baby blanket.

It sucks to think that you just put a lot of time into something and it is being reduced to a pile of blah; however, you have to think about it in terms of your excitement for the project. If you are not excited about the project, having no desire to work on it, then it will never get done (or take forever and a day, prolonging your lack of desire). If you bite the bullet and frog it, even if its a couple hours work, and put the yarn into a different project, chances are you'll finish the new item a lot faster than you would have finished the old one.
Let's take that green baby blanket I mentioned. I started the Bernat Baby Bobble Blanket and did not enjoy it at all. I worked on it for about 6 hours and only completed a few inches in comparison to the whole. I didn't like working on it. It was all I could muster to sit down for "yet another hour" to "slave away" at the blanket. I didn't like it - 'nuff said.

(I wrote a relatively objective review of the pattern too - but no matter what, I know I will not make that blanket in the future unless 100%, absolutely, life-dependent.)

I decided to frog it, which is the spaghetti mess pictured above. Sure - it sucked to frog it. I thought of all those hours lost with each "rip" of the yarn. I couldn't believe that all those hours were ripped out in a matter of minutes. But what happened after that was magical... ok, perhaps magical is a bit over-dramatic, but I felt pretty darn good!

finished blanket
I began working on one of my favorite crochet patterns which is the basketweave stitch. I love love LOVE basketweave. Perhaps it is my girlie love of baskets.. who knows - either way the baby blanket was done in a relatively short amount of time. The reason it didn't take that long is because it felt good to make this pattern. I enjoyed picking it up and working on it. Sometimes, I looked forward to it - because it felt good to work on it, it seemed to go a lot faster.

If I had left it as the bobble blanket - I would have dreaded every minute and not picked it up so willingly - I could foresee the baby I was making the blanket for starting school before I finished the bobble blanket.
Frogging something is a mental struggle, especially when there are several hours already wrapped up into the project. Do you just stick with the original project because you put several hours into it or do you take a leap and start something more enjoyable? It is almost like a bad boyfriend/girlfriend - do you stay in it just because you have already put a fair amount of time into it or do you just finally close the door on the chapter and try to start fresh?

I think the final thing I'd like to say again is: everyone is doing it.

Yeah - a bit of a repeat from the above but for a completely different reason.

Everyone does do it. It doesn't matter how new or experienced you are - you will end up frogging something.

Frogging something does not make you a failure or mean you are not good at what you do - it just means whatever you were doing didn't seem to work the way you had hoped for. In fact, if you are able to frog something, that means the project did not meet your standard for whatever reason (time, passion, need, quality, etc) - it makes you a better fiber artist to know when your project is not what you wanted or expected.

So while froggin' seems to be a necessary evil to the craft, know that it isn't necessarily evil at all.

Happy Crafting!
- Cris

Interested in sharing your ABCs or just wanting to ready other entries? Hop on over to Misadventures in Craft, the temporary host to the ABCs with Accidental Knitter meme.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Come Blog-A-Long

OK - part of keeping info on my blog is to keep ideas coming or at least have a reason to talk about why I'm doing certain things. Obviously, I'll be keeping some days open for my free-for-all posts that randomly appear.

So - ok? you ask - what does this have to do with anything?

Well, dear readers, as of July 1st, I'll be joining in a Blog-A-Long group on Ravelry. The premise is to post all the patterns you plan on working through from July 2011 through June 2012. Yup - a year's worth of patterns. Some folks may choose to work their way through a book while others work their way through a set of patterns. Me - I'll be working my way through a set of patterns.

I will be posting the list of patterns on July 1st.

Oh boy... now that I've typed the commitment out - it is kinda scary!

My thoughts are this - The first part of my pattern list is going to be items that I need to complete by Christmas. Yup - some folks are not including their Christmas items but I am! If I don't account for them, there is a good chance I won't finish them... and well, I'd rather not repeat that again this year *coughs lightly*

Obviously, I don't have the entire list ready at this very moment, but look for it - it is coming!

Then every Sunday I will post an update on how I'm doing. I'll talk about the current projects I'm working on as far as the list is concerned (and yes, I'll most likely have other things going as well). I'll talk about any frustrations or concerns I have with meeting the deadline as well as with the projects themselves. I'll provide a percent complete status for each item as well as the overall project (I'm technical like that and like to see numbers).

So - just know it's gonna happen.

It's on like Donkey Kong.


Wednesday, June 08, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Whelp - and here we are again, my friends... it seems like I need to have my fingers pressed together in front of my face like Mr. Burns saying "Excellent, my friends... excellent."

WIP Wednesday, an opportunity for people to dread sharing show off the progress they have not made. I'm one of those people *coughs* in the strike-out text zone *laughs*

I did make progress enough to sell a snood I made so I don't get to share it here. Of course, I didn't take a picture of it either so it won't be posted on FO Friday.... I really did make it though AND I sold it for real money... really, I did!

Mystery CAL progress after Clue #2
I was able to work through last Friday's clue pretty quickly and things seem to be shaping up... I guess. I don't know what I'm making but as far as unknown items in progress are concerned, I think mine is looking pretty darn good. I mean, who's to say it's not!

This is an updated picture of what I have now, after the 2nd working clue. The piece I had last week is the larger piece with several solid rows on it. Then we made 3 more of the floral thingees without all the extra rows added to it. I'm working in Red Heart Soft in the color 'wine.' A lot of people are working their parts in different colors but I booted this project up in Safe Mode with Networking because I didn't want to change colors on something I had no idea where to change colors at. If I like the project when I'm done, I'll most likely go back and make another.

Whatever it is seems to be working up fast... I think.

Just like before - if you know what the item is... don't tell me! I don't want to ruin the surprise!

I still have the same dishcloth on the needles as I did last week. I did add 5 or 6 rows the other night. The biggest difference between last week and this week is I'm showing you a picture of my not-finished cloth.

Well, perhaps less a picture of the dishcloth and more of a picture of the basket. The deal is this: I ran out of project bags. Granted, I only have three - but I ran out of project bags and until I make a bag using the man-present-reject yarn, I'm low on bags. WELLLLLL at some point in my life, when we did some renaissancey stuff at the local park, I had bought a basket to keep my craft stuff in. Well, it was in my room but filled with my daughters strange-but-forgotten crafty stuff. When I emptied her stuff out (into the trash) I thought to myself "Why Cris, what a lovely basket you can use for your quick projects" ... and then it was mine.

Isn't it a nice 'lil basket? I love baskets... its one of my few 'girlie' attributes.

no comment

*shame face*

Interested in reading what other people are working on or sharing works of your own? Why not visit Tamis Amis blog/link party!

Monday, June 06, 2011

E is for Exploration

I will never grow old of the *face* people make when I say I have been crocheting for 30 years. You see - I'm only 35. I learned very young and have used crocheting as a sounding board to many of my other craft/arts/hobbies. Perhaps crochet can be considered my "gateway drug" to other areas like knitting, tatting, spinning, embroidery, bobbin lace, etc.... It is insane to think of what my life would be like if I did not partake in arts and crafts.

Of course, the only thing more predictable than "the face" is the question of 'don't you get tired of crocheting?'

one of my newest adventures: crochet jewelry
I can answer that with a resounding no - which is the entire topic of this blog post: exploration.

There is something about any hobby - for me it is crochet, where the hobby seems boundless in what it offers me. And if you just stop at what you learn, and you never explore, you will miss out on some of the most exciting aspects of whatever hobby you enjoy.

Think of it - that first person to discover something new. The excitement of exploring your hobby and unlocking something new to you, or even more exciting - new to the world.

I am sure that long ago our ancestors would have got tired of crochet if all we had was the chain stitch. Heck, it'd get pretty darn boring if all we were able to do is pick up a piece of yarn and crochet a scarf, even if there was a fancy stitch combo associated to it.

The truth about crochet is that it is a diverse and deep hobby. Once a person picks up regular ole crochet, then comes exploration into the world of tunisian crochet, entralac, interlocking, graphing, and a host of other types of crochet. Then, when a person thinks they have just seen the end of what they could do with crochet, they begin to explore what can be done with plarn, wire, mesh, rope, and other materials.

And even then, if you think you could get bored, then add in sequence, beads, handles, rings, and fabric.

Oh - I'm sure I haven't even scratched the surface of what you can do with crochet.

And then, like many - crochet is a gateway to other fiber arts. Perhaps you want to make a purse - well, you must learn to sew in order to make the lining and if you make a lining, well surely you could make a skirt! Oh look - you have crocheted a pair of socks but find them to be a little bulky - wonder if you could knit some socks? Well, socks are kinda hard to knit so perhaps we should start out small and work our way up to socks...

As different as crochet is from the other fiber arts, through exploration you will find out just how intertwined the fiber arts are. How, through exploration, you will never lose excitement (oh, another E word!) for your hobby.

I have enjoyed (oh, another E word) crochet for three decades and I do not see an end to the joy the hobby brings me. There is some small hope inside of me that perhaps I could get lucky enough and my hobby turn into something I can make a living at - but I know that even if it doesn't, I'm ok with that. No matter what status crochet has in my life, the truth is that it will be part of me. And I will continue to explore my way through all aspects of crochet, learning the in's and out's of various techniques and even using crochet as that sounding board to something else.

If you enjoy the ABC messages, head on over to An Accidental Knitter's blog for a list of others who are participating. (link to come soon)

Sunday, June 05, 2011

FO Follow-up

Well, I am pleased to announce that I actually have my laptop up and running smoothly and the virus is no where to be found. Exciting stuff, eh?

The only "loss" I had was my iTunes library, but fortunately, customer service at Apple has put everything I bought back into my available downloads and they are copying down as we speak. Yippie!

Only 355 more songs to download *laughs*

So now that I can add pictures to my blog, I thought I would share my daughter's snood with you all today. As you can see from the above photo, I had to make her snood black and white. It was not my original intent to make her's two different colors but unfortunately I ran out of white. I kept enough white back for the tie, thinking it would tie it all together, color-wise (and to her head hehehe). In the above picture, she used a cute dragonfly barrette to hold her snood forward.

The back is pretty much the same as mine with the exclusion of 1 row. I figured since her head was smaller I'd need to get to the thicker row faster.

Regardless, the most important thing about this project is that she ended up loving it.

She wore it to school the next day and came home laughing saying "J----- said you had to be old if you made this because only old people make stuff like this."

hmph to J-----!

Saturday, June 04, 2011

To Frog or Not To Frog... that's not really the question.

It is driving me insane not being able to get pictures into my blog posts because of that stupid virus *sigh* I am still working on it and should be up and going soon. Unfortunately, this only takes a few hours to correct - I just don't have those few hours TO correct it. I'm peicing my time together slowly.


I went to yarn group on Wednesday and pulled out the "secret present" for the man (not much of a secret if he is reading this.. HI HONEY!) ... I'm sure he's not reading this.... nah, he's not reading it.

As I worked through it, my original fears from my the first completed panel were beginning to take shape - the yarn really was too dense for what I was making. Color, texture, type - all variables that play into how the finished piece will look. Well, the color was spot-on and the texture was good... type was ok - but density ... OH SO WRONG.

I pitched the first panel and frogged the panel I had on the hook. I am going to go and grab some more yarn in a week or so. Things at the house are a little hectic and with moving in our near future, why bother bringing more stuff in the house that will have to be moved to the new house. Oh well.

But all is not lost. I got my virus looking up bag/tote patterns. I think I found a good pattern via the safety of ravelry and will be using the dense yarn to make me a new project bag or perhaps a market bag I can use when I head over to the Farmer's Market.

Perhaps I'll even hold off buying the new yarn until I finish my new bag...... *cackle snort laugh cackle HA HA HA HA HA HA*

who am I kidding ;)

Friday, June 03, 2011

Finally Finished Friday

I have definitely not done one of these in a while - and I'm sure after you read this blog, you were kinda wishing I wouldn't have for at least this week *laughing*

I won't go into grave detail on dishcloths - but for some unknown reason to myself, I have been crocheting dishcloths like nobody's business. I have some on the knitting needles, others are flying off the crochet hook faster than a mob of teenage girls rush into a Rue 21 half-off sale. --- Sans screaming, of course.

I did finish this lovely crochet bracelet, as modeled by my tiny-wristed daughter.

Moving my way into crochet jewelry has been a relatively exciting and frustrating experience. The crochet part seems to be the easiest for me - it's the darn clasps that are causing me anguish.

I'm not kidding - I have made so many bracelets and they look fantabulous and as soon as I get to the end, put the clasp on and start pulling the wire, things just go awry. I have had the wire break from inside the crimping tube, I have had it look like pure crap, and in other cases, it just not want to bend.

While I'm not 100% thrilled with the bracelet my daughter is modeling, I would have to say that it still looks really good. My critical eye sees everything wrong rather than seeing everything that is right with it.

I am trying to get to a point where I like the jewelry enough and am confident enough with my skillz (with a z) to sell them in my ArtFire and Etsy stores. I was even thinking of giving one away on my blog as a celebratory giveaway for achieving 50 followers (although I still haven't hit 50 yet... I was just thinking ahead)

Another FO I have to share is a snood. A simple, wonderful, nostalgia-inducing snood.

Growing up, I wore a snood about 90% of my time during the weekends. You see, we were Civil War re-enactors. I had horribly long hair and the snood was a wonderful solution to getting the hair up off my back and neck without having to spend any time actually learning how to get my hair up off my back and neck. (clever, eh?)

I have forgotten the extreme comfort and ease in wearing a snood. Someone else posted a blog and had a snood on it. And I was inspired to get out my crochet hook and go through the motions I learned a couple decades ago in creating my own snood.

I love it. It took me a couple hours to complete and had it on my head in a couple seconds. I wore it all day today - yes, even out and about shopping and having lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings. My daughter has asked for me to make her one and I know I'll make me two more: one in black and one in white. I also think I may get a few barrettes and embellish them with matching flowers or bows - and sell it as a set in my stores. The barrette to offer extra security in wearing your snood but be stylish to boot.

Who knows - perhaps I'll single-handedly bring the 1850s back.

*hums the tune of 'Bringing Sexy Back' as she clicks the post button below*

If you are interested in reading what other people have completed and are showing off on their blogs, head on over to any (or all!) of these four blogs -

- Tami's Amis
- Visions of Sugar Plums
- Wisdom Begins in Wonder
- Natural Suburbia

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The best exposure is a happy daughter....

Yesterday started out relatively general in nature: we left the house for an early dinner at a little pizzaria a few blocks away. We always eat early on Wednesday because it's yarn group night. I finished my daughter's snood on Tuesday night so she was happy to wear it.

(side note: I don't know if I'll have my laptop back up to par from the virus in time to include her snood in a picture for tomorrow's FO Friday - I'm trying though!)

So at the restaurant, the waitress fell in love with the snood and ordered one... in red. On the spot I had no idea what to sell it for so I said 5$. I realize that as much as I detest working with thread, that was a bargain price; however, I figure she's a great waitress so no biggie. They'll be a little more the next time I sell one *laughs*

I was flattered and a wee bit embarrassed at that exchange though - but a sale is a sale... I just need to get over it.

Instead of going straight to yarn group, I have the joy of my daughter telling me she isn't feeling well (very specific but I won't go into details), so we go straight to priority care. The nurse gushed over the snood and how adorable my daughter was in it. Again... embarrassed when she complimented my work.

We were pretty much "in and out" as far as these sort of facilities are concerned, so I headed to yarn group.

After that, the night played out relatively normal excluding the hour driving around the city going from one pharmacy to a second because our regular pharmacy didn't have the medication we needed. *blah*

Hmmm I'm not too sure where I was going with this blog other than my daughter has no fear or shame in wearing something made for her. I'm pleased she is so willing to be a fashion-forward girl (and oh boy she LOVES fashion) - so I guess if I want to bring the 1850s back, the best move I made was to make my daughter a snood.

Of course, now I have a ball of red thread... knowing I don't like crocheting with thread *laughs* I guess it is one of those things I'll learn to love (right along with knitting *cackles*)

So, to my blog buddies I ask: Do you still get that slight flatter/embarrassed feeling when people gush over your work? How did you get over it?

AN ADDITION: I usually do not go back and edit a blog post; however, today I have decided to start a new blog. A more serious look at myself (although I promise humor will be had!) in an effort to achieve full self-actualization.... and I don't even think that's possible. But hey, self-analysis and reflection is fun, right?

If you are interested (and I don't think its for everyone, trust me!) feel free to pop over and check it out. Right now it only has an introductory post; however, I have several blogs regarding my weight loss journey that I'll be copying over from SparkPeople.

My Self-Actualization

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

WIP Wednesday

It is another wonderful day and since it's Wednesday, regular readers know it is WIP Wednesday - a time when I lay it on the line of what I'm currently working on. I have a few things going so we might as well dive right in...

Ok - I will have some to post as FO's this Friday; however, I do have a couple more in the making. The reasoning is because I like them. I may consider selling some in my Etsy or ArtFire stores - it all depends on how much I want to keep the ones I make.

Ok - I have another Grandma's Favorite on the knitting needles.... for shame, Cris - for shame! (ok, not really). In all actuality up until this year, I have not enjoyed knitting. Granted, knitting is still not my number one yarn working skill preference; however, I do think that being around knitters in the yarn group I've been going to has given me a little extra confidence with the needles. I will not say it is my favorite, but I will say that I find knitting to be remotely tolerable... although I have not started a sweater so - ask me then how much I like knitting.

Mystery CAL
Ok - this is a first for me. I actively participate over on the Crochetville forums. This Crochet-A-Long, or CAL for short, came about and I thought it sounded interesting enough. Basically, every Friday a bit of a pattern will be posted and you crochet through it and wait for the next piece to be posted the next Friday. You are not told what you are working on - you just do what the pattern says and in the end, everyone should have the same item, just in various colors.

So I hopped into the CAL with both feet, no looking back. I have a few ideas of what the item may be but I'm not going to spoil it. And honestly, if you recognize this picture, I'd appreciate it if you would NOT tell me what it is going to be. No spoilers please :)

So, next Wednesday you will see this again and it should have a little bit more added to it.

This one needs some more attention. I'm about 1/4 of the way done with my first scarf. I need to get crack-a-lackin' on it and started on the next scarf. Truth be told, I'm freestyling the pattern and am having difficulty getting into the winter olympics spirit when it's 90 degrees and humid outside.

Do you think the man would mind if I knocked the air down to 55 and told him to bundle up - I was looking for inspiration?

I'm not exactly sure why, but I have been in the mood to make jewelry. I recently saw a piece done at a local shop and thought to myself "hey - that's crochet!" It didn't take much beyond that for me to start making jewelry. I am in progress on a couple pieces but I find myself "frogging" (can we call it that with wire?) the pieces over and over again. The clasps are giving me the hardest time. *grumbles*

I will be posting my first two acceptable-to-show-in-public pieces in my FO Friday post; however, I'm not sure they are that fantabulous. I was thinking of giving one away to someone as a blog giveaway. I'm so close to having 50 followers so perhaps that may be a nice little giveaway to celebrate once I hit 50. What do you think?

I have actually been so busy the last week I hadn't had a chance to work on the gift. I was rather miffed at this when I realized he was home with us for the three day weekend and I wouldn't be able to pick it up with him here. DOH!

He will be back at work tomorrow so I plan on getting some time in on this Tuesday and Thursday.

No progress. 'nuff said.

If you like reading about WIPs or want to share yours, be sure you swing by Tami's Amis and Ambassador Crochet to check out the link parties.