Sunday, July 31, 2011

Year of Projects: Week 5

Project Percentage Complete: 29%
Overall Percentage Complete: 13%

Number of Project Items: 28
Number of Added Items: 10
Total Items: 38

I haven't made a lot of progress this week mostly because I somehow hurt my shoulder. I woke up Tuesday morning and it was achey and stiff. By Wednesday I couldn't move. I actually had to call in sick to work because of my inability to move. Since Thursday, though, my shoulder has continued to be painful but I have been able to move. I'm hoping that by the end of this weekend, I'll be back to my as-close-to-normal-as-possible self.

But enough about that, I did cast on a knit washcloth for the dishcloth a week Rav group. I was hoping for a crochet cloth but - oh well. Win some, lose some *grins*

I have also made some progress on the wristlet purse I made before. I'm working through some design quirks in hopes to have a good pattern by the end of next week.

Project List Items (not complete)
- Filet Market Bag
- Lacey Table Runner for kitchen
- Throw for living room sofa (no pattern selected yet)
- Men's Vest (Christmas present)
- Round Afghan/Throw (potential Christmas present)
- Angel Tree Topper
- Joseph Wrap from Crochet! Magazine (as Christmas present)
- 11 pair of Paperclip Ice Skates Ornaments (office Christmas presents)
- 2 sets of Golf Club Covers (no numbers) - (as Christmas presents)

Project List Items (done)
- 3 pair of Paperclip Ice Skates Ornaments (personal use)
- 4 pair of Paperclip Ice Skates Ornaments (as office Christmas presents)
- Easy Cabled Scarf (my own pattern) 

Added Items (not complete)
- Wristlet Bag (adjusting pattern) [65% complete]
- EnviroTote Market Bag #4
- 2 Kitchen Chair Wall Protector
- Knit Washcloth [50% complete]

Added Items (done)
- Wristlet Bag (making my own pattern)
- Mystery CAL Beach Bag
- 1 Knit Washcloth
- 2 Kitchen Chair Wall Protector

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This post is part of the Ravelry Group "Come Blog-A-Long" #yearofprojects Project. If you are interested in joining along or finding other posts similar to this one, visit the group on Ravelry.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hookin' Up, Day 28: An Open Book

I am excited to be Day 28 of the Hookin' Up Project being hosted/planned by Kathryn at Crochet Concupiscence.

I want to sincerely thank Yarn Dharma for the review of my blog yesterday in addition to introducing to you the next blog in the project: An Open Book.

I would like to take this time to introduce you to Rowena, the owner/writer of "An Open Book" blog.

Rowena is a soon-to-be mom from Australia living in the Blue Mountains with her Canadian husband. I must admit that I had not heard of her blog before the Hookin' Up Project, which is primarily what the project is about - introducing us to new blogs we may have missed and meet fun new people who enjoy many of the things we do. Rowena and I have a lot in common excluding she's a soon-to-be mom, although I do remember those days before my first was born.

Her blog is a candid look at her life. Primarily she blogs about crafting and her creative nature, but she does blog about other aspects of her life like pregnancy, insomnia, and The Gladiator.

I'll leave you to find out who The Gladiator is.

So without further adieu, I want to share with you a short interview I had with Rowena -

Would you mind sharing when you first learned to crochet? Who taught you or are you self-taught? What was the first thing you remember crocheting?

I was first exposed to crochet when I was 8 years old, a cousin was crocheting me a giant granny square blanket. I didn't actively pick up a hook till I was 12 or 13 when my mother tried to teach me.  It didn't work as she is left handed and I'm right handed.  Eventually I taught myself through magazine articles,  but then gave up in frustration, everything was so daggy and uninspired.

I picked up the hook  about three years ago when I found there was a big "internet revolution" and that crafting didn't have to be daggy.  The first thing I remember crocheting was a wonky granny square with squeaky acrylic yarn.

Ya know, while my mother was the primary teacher in my household, I have to say the internet has been critical in learning new things as an adult. So I think that the "internet revolution" has really impacting crafting as a whole, even if you do have a real person to help you too. 

Now, I must say that your blog appears to be relatively new. Is it your first blog? What inspired you to start a blog?

I have had other blogs before, but deleted them.  I used to feel like I had to hide things even on the internet about myself, I wouldn't even post a photo of myself, where as now with this blog I feel like I can post anything.  I think I used to be worried about not impressing anyone and that's ridiculous because when it comes down to it, a blog is your own personal space and if people want to read it, that's good and if they don't - well that's okay.

I was inspired to start this blog because I wanted my own 'Sacred Space' on the internet, where it didn't matter if I posted raw unfinished pictures of my projects or whine about my pregnancy . I wanted it to be something that I can use as a record, to look back on.

Well, I must admit that since finding your blog, I have really enjoyed it. I am glad you have found a place to have as your own Sacred Space but are willing to share it with people like me.

So I have to ask how long have you been designing crochet items? What are your favorite to design?

I wouldn't call myself a designer ;)

Oh, I beg to differ, Rowena! I've read your blog and looked at your pictures - you are definitely a designer. *smiles*

I have only recently started out drawing rough sketches.  Actually it came with a surge of creativity around my pregnancy! (I'll be six months when this is published)  I'll literally get flashes in my minds eye and have to write something down, so at the moment I have about 3 or 4 sketches, that I need to flesh out.  I'm currently working on two. My favourite thing to design would be something gothic and wearable.

Six months - congratulations! I can only remember how excited I was when I was in your shoes.... almost 12 years ago! So I have to ask have you made anything special for the baby that you would like to share?

umm nothing really special, just an array of baby cardigans and some booties. Ravelry is great for baby patterns!  I wish I could say I'd made something spectacular, but I'm a bit slack in that department.

Now, I loved the blurb you wrote about needing to begin creating spirals and mandalas. 

*shuffles papers*

Rowena's Design
You wrote, and I quote: "Yesterday I was happily working on my rainbow stripes granny blanket and the creative side of my brain took over and started designing spirals and mandalas. I literally had to drop my current project, waddle inside, get a pencil and start sketching." Is this how the creative process usually strikes you?

ERG Yes!  And its starting to drive me nuts because I'm the sort of person who doesn't like have lots of works in progress.  I'd much rather work on one thing at a time and finish it, so I end up with lots of sketches, lyrics, and bass lines (I'm also a musically inclined person) and I want them to all be finished.

Oh? Musically inclined? What instruments do you play and how long have you played them?

I have been playing electric guitar since I was 13.  I stopped for about ten years when I turned 17, just lost a lot of respect for the music industry and performers and this impacted my playing.  I recently have gotten into playing the bass guitar, which *I* L-O-V-E!!! I find its a lot easier for me to write out melodies on a bass guitar.  So this is my main instrument.

That's really cool. I'm seriously into music and would love to see more of it on your blog... in addition to lots of crochet posts, of course *laughs*

So back to crochet, is there a person who inspires you to crochet or design?
An Australian parrot - Rowena loves this one!

Not so much a person but the environment around me, I'm inspired by colour, especially the landscape and animals.  Australia has some magnificent sights so I want to incorporate the sights and colours somehow in my projects.

Here is a picture of an Australian parrot that I love.
*shows the picture*

What is your absolutely favorite thing to crochet or design for crochet?

I'm going to be boring and say blankets!

I've made two blankets for family members, and I always have people wanting one. I didn't realise how useful blankets are. Its not just the warmth, its the fact that someone went out of their way to make you something that big and spent so much time on it!

Oh, I have to agree - I take so long on blankets that it really means a lot to someone who knows how much work they are.

Blankets take me ages to make too!

*smiling and laughing*


ok ok - let's get back on track here *laughing* Do you do any charity crochet work? If so, are there any specific projects you like to crochet for that you'd like to share with the readers?

Occasionally.  I like to make simple blankets to take to dog shelters.  Just crochet hdc (that's half treble for UK folks).  You can check with your local rescue shelters if they need any.

Alright, Rowena - one more question: Do you have any crochet websites or blogs you absolutely adore and would like to share with the readers?

www.ravelry.com
http://staffyrescue.wordpress.com  (the blog of Staffy Rescue NSW)

Thank you again for your time, Rowena - I know you have a lot going on. I really appreciate your taking the time to sit down with me for an interview. I wish you the best with your pregnancy and look forward to many more blog posts about crochet and motherhood.


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Be sure to stop by Rowena's blog "An Open Book" and learn more about her and read her review of Cute Crochet Chat tomorrow.

(as a note, in case anyone was curious - Rowena and I did the interview via email... I used creative licensure to make it seem as if we were able to sit down together in the same room)

Monday, July 25, 2011

L is for Learning

Where I lived for 3 years
I went to college for the first time in 1994. I went to a small, all-women's Catholic university - it is a prominent school and very strict in the curriculum. The school was not kidding when it came to churning out highly educated women, ready to take the world by the horns and make it their own. The women there are free-thinkers, critical thinkers, and well-rounded.

The classes were small, approximately 5-15 in the classroom, 50-75 per graduating class. It was a difficult school to go to and a lot was expected of you, but it was fun. I can say I am blessed to have been a part of the entire experience there and am a better person for it. While I did not graduate, not because of curriculum - it was matters of the heart, I feel forever connected to this school and everything I learned there.

But what does this have to do with crochet, you ask?

Simple.

Freshman orientation left us going from building to building, finishing up in a large room with Sister Barbara, the President of the university standing in front of us. She explained that the school was not about taking our money or churning us through - we were more than just a number. She went on about how education is more than a grade. She expected us to be involved and social. A person who makes all As with no social life is a person who will not be successful. She did not want us to lock ourselves up and bury our faces in a book. She wanted us to experience life.

Ok, Cris... but what does all this have to do with crochet???

I remember her speech as if it were yesterday - the Woods was not going to teach us everything we needed to know about our field of study. What the Woods would teach us is how to continue learning throughout our lives. Learning how to learn is what would make us successful in life. Learning to learn will ensure we are capable of learning new things no matter where we are in life.

She could not have been more right. I have remembered those words since she spoke them. I knew from that moment, I would love my experiences at that school and knew that each one would play into my life somehow, with those words as the theme.

And I do think something like crochet gives a person an opportunity to learn how to do something. In addition to this, learning a craft gives you the curiosity to continue learning more about it and in most cases, like crochet, there truly is no end.

Learning... what does it mean to crochet? Boy oh boy, what DOES it mean?

First, a person wanting to learn crochet must learn how to hold the hook, learn how to hold the feed yarn with their tension hand, and learn some basic stitches like single crochet and double crochet. This is the technicals - what they also must learn is patience in that their first try will most likely not go so well. Heck, their second and third attempt will probably stink as well.

Ok - that's obvious.... but what else?

As time goes on and the person learns the basics and masters them, quickly I'm sure, then he or she must continue to learn but what they learn is up to them. Some may want to go in the direction of traditional crochet while another wants to learn thread crochet. Someone else may want to learn tunisian crochet while their best friend wants to learn how to do a graphghan. Their neighbor may want to learn to knit while the person down the street and one block over wants to learn interlocking crochet.....

You get my point, yes?

There's a lot to learn and I'm still learning every day. Right now I'm in the throws of teaching myself to be a more advanced knitter (beyond the knit stitch is what I mean by more advanced) and working on designing some patterns of my own, regardless of how simple they really are.

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This post is part of the ABC meme created by An Accidental Knitter. If you are interested in reading more posts for the letter L or participating, follow this link.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Year of Projects: Week 4

Project Percentage Complete: 29%
Overall Percentage Complete: 14%

Number of Project Items: 28
Number of Added Items: 9
Total Items: 37

This has been a relatively productive week although I do not have much in the FO department to prove it. I grabbed some green yarn on Wednesday to make some green ice skates. I also started and finished a knit washcloth. I definitely am finding a preference of crochet for dish cloths and knit for wash cloths - I think it has a lot to do with the drape and texture each technique gives the yarn. I don't use any different yarn for either, but just by changing out technique, I get two very different cloths.

I grabbed some yarn to make some chair slip covers too - I have finished two so far and I think they look really nice. They definitely serve a purpose so no matter what they look like, I'm using them *smiles* By adding 4 chair slip cover/wall protectors, my overall percentage went down.

Project List Items (not complete)
- Filet Market Bag
- Lacey Table Runner for kitchen
- Throw for living room sofa (no pattern selected yet)
- Men's Vest (Christmas present)
- Round Afghan/Throw (potential Christmas present)
- Angel Tree Topper
- Joseph Wrap from Crochet! Magazine (as Christmas present)
- 11 pair of Paperclip Ice Skates Ornaments (office Christmas presents)
- 2 sets of Golf Club Covers (no numbers) - (as Christmas presents)

Project List Items (done)
- 3 pair of Paperclip Ice Skates Ornaments (personal use)
- 4 pair of Paperclip Ice Skates Ornaments (as office Christmas presents)
- Easy Cabled Scarf (my own pattern) 

Added Items (not complete)
- Wristlet Bag (adjusting pattern)
- EnviroTote Market Bag #4
- 2 Kitchen Chair Wall Protector

Added Items (done)
- Wristlet Bag (making my own pattern)
- Mystery CAL Beach Bag
- 1 Knit Washcloth
- 2 Kitchen Chair Wall Protectors

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This post is part of the Ravelry Group "Come Blog-A-Long" #yearofprojects Project. If you are interested in joining along or finding other posts similar to this one, visit the group on Ravelry.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Kitchen Chair Topper/Wall Protector [Pattern]

This pattern is a pattern designed out of necessity.

You may recall I recently moved to a new house. At my old house, I had a dine in kitchen so a round table was fine. The new house has a small dining area, not something I'd classify as a room, but it's size and shape required us to buy a new kitchen table set. We went with a lovely cherry table and chair; however, the lovely new chairs have a tendency to hit my lovely new walls (compliments of the children).

I truly was tired of seeing small marks and cringing every time one of the children stood up and pushed the chair back. I have been thankful for several near misses... unfortunately a few times were not misses. So in order to protect the wall and the chair, I came up with a simple pattern to cover the top of the chair while matching the wood and the rest of the house.

KITCHEN CHAIR TOPPER/WALL PROTECTOR
By Cris

Items Needed:
J Hook
Acrylic Yarn - I used Caron One Pound: expresso
Something to make the tie with (yarn, ribbon, etc)

Abbreviations:
sl - slip stitch
st - stitch
hdc - half double crochet
dc - double crochet
sk - skip
ch - chain
beg - beginning
rpt - repeat

Slip Cover:
Ch 59 (you may adjust the length based on the chair you are covering)

Row 1
hdc in 2nd st from hook
hdc down the foundation chain
hdc down the opposite side of the foundation chain (working in round around the foundation chain)
sl in top of ch 2 at beg to join
do not turn your work

Row 2
ch 2
hdc all the way around the work
sl in top of ch 2 at beg to join

Row 3
ch 2
dc all the way around the work
sl in top of ch 2 at beg to join

Row 4 - 8
rpt row 3

Row 9
ch 2
*dc in next 2 st, ch 2, sk 2 st*, rpt between * until you are at the beg again
sl in top of ch 2 at beg to join

Row 10
ch 2
dc in all st around with 3 dc in every ch 2 space from previous row
sl in top of ch 2 at beg to join

Row 11
ch 2
*dc in next 2 st, 2 dc in next st* rpt between * until you are at the beg again
sl in top of ch 2 at beg to join

Row 12
ch 2
dc in all st from previous row
sl in top of ch 2 at beg to join

Row 13
*ch 1, sl in next st*, rpt between * until you are the beg again
sl in top of ch 1 at beg to join
tie off and weave in your tails (note: you can crochet over the beginning tail so you end with 1 tail at the end)
Turn the work inside out (you worked it with the inside facing outward)

The Tie
I am leaving the tie up for interpretation. I used a scrap of antique ivory "I Love This Yarn" yarn on a small french knit hand tool (4 peg loom knitting tool). This made a nice cord. You can use ribbon, crochet a long chain, or whatever else you may want to use. The tie is mostly decorative considering the cover should fit somewhat snuggly over your chair.

Once you have decided what you are going to use for the tie, weave it through the holes created during row 9. I left my tails long in the back/center of the slip cover (as shown in the image above). You can tie with a bow or a loose knot, which is what is shown above.

If you have any comments on this pattern or see any corrections that need made, do feel free to leave a comment or contact me via email at creationsbycris (at) comcast (dot) net.
Thank you and enjoy!
~ C

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Simple Knitted Two Cable Scarf [Pattern]

This pattern is a simple cabled scarf. It is a knit pattern. I contemplated not putting the pattern on this site simply because I started this blog to spotlight crochet; however, while I could start a new blog for knitting, I figure... why? I won't have that many knit patterns so I don't think it'll hurt to have it on this blog.

The wool I used was a rather expensive wool/acrylic blend, but you do NOT need it for this pattern. Any yarn will do as long as it is a worsted weight - if you go with a thinner yarn, you will need to adjust the size of your needles accordingly. Unfortunately, I'm not experienced enough to be able to suggest a specific needle size for a different size yarn. You'll have to experiment with that on your own. Of course, if you change yarn weight to something thinner, you'll need more yarn to cover the pattern length. My only real suggestion is that whatever you use, you will most likely want it to be washable - some people have time to hand wash items... me, I like to pitch it in the washer and not worry about it.


SIMPLE KNITTED TWO CABLE SCARF
By Cris

Needle Size: 11 (US)
Yarn Used: 2 balls Mistero Trends wool blend: 028 0631 (50g per ball)
Cable Needle
Tapestry Needle (to weave in ends)

Abbreviations:
CO = Cast On
k = knit
p = purl
st = stitch(es)
c3f  = cable 3 front

To c3f: pass 3 st off to your cable needle and let it fall to the front of the piece (closest to you), knit the next 3 st on your left needle over to the right (like normal), knit the 3 st from your cable needle as if knitting normally. You work a total of 6 st for c3f.

Finished size is approximately 4 inches wide by 60 inches long

To begin:
CO 21

Row 1
knit across all 21 stitches

Rows 2, 4, 6, 8
k3, p6, k3, p6, k3

Rows 3, 5, 7
k21

Row 9
k3, c3f, k3, c3f, k3

Complete Rows 2-9 a total of 32 times.

Cast off and weave in tails. Depending on the yarn, you may need to block the scarf.

If you have any problems with this pattern, please feel free to leave a comment or email me directly at creationsbycris (at) comcast (dot) net.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Would you mind...

I have a relatively regular group of readers here and I just wanted to find out how people felt if I posted a knit pattern on the website? Obviously, this website is about crochet; however, I am more than just crochet.

So before I posted it, I was just wanting to check with you guys to make sure you are ok with it. If not, no worries - I'll just write it up and post it on Ravelry.

Monday, July 18, 2011

K is for Knots

I really struggled to stay away from the word knitting for two reasons: 1) I think a lot of other people will write about it and 2) I have talked a lot about knitting on this blog as of late and I really want to get back to something crochet related.

Of course, finding a topic specific to crochet, other than K hook, is kinda hard. And I decided to divulge a little secret about my crafty self for the blog.

Wanna know the secret?

I suck am terrible at getting knots out of yarn. When I get yarn vomit, I have to call on the man to help. If I try to take care of it, then I end up getting frustrated, cutting it and throwing the mass I haven't worked through away. I hate working through knots. I have no patience for it. The man, on the other hand, has some freak-level of patience when it comes to getting knots out. He will sit, watching TV, patiently pulling here, feeding yarn there, shifting it around until it all comes out ok.

I have no idea how he does it.

Of course, I learned this about myself early on and know that I should take the skein and roll it into a ball before I start. I see people work from the skein - it's just not something I can risk. If I get to the end of the skein and the yarn gets knotted, then I'm done. Winding it into a ball before I get started is the best thing that I can do for myself, my project, and my nerves.

So how about you, reader - are you good at getting the knots out? I heard rumor there is a group on Ravelry dedicated to turning yarn vomit into useable yarn.... could you possibly enjoy getting the knots out? Let me know!

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This post is part of the ABCs with Accidental Knitter meme - if you are interested in participating or reading what other people had to say, follow this link.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Year of Projects: Week 3


Project Percentage Complete: 21%
Overall Percentage Complete: 25%

Since I had been focusing on my cabled scarf, which is not done yet, I thought I'd take a break from the needles and revisit my crochet hook. I picked up a G and started plugging away on my Christmas ornaments, the ice skates. The pattern is very easy to memorize and they turn out pretty quickly. I made 5 pair in about an hour (with interruptions).

My percentage this week took a HUGE jump because of the fast nature of the skate ornament and the fact I have so many of them to make. I know that when these are done, my percentage will slowly climb to the top - not like the rocket ship climb I took this week.

Even more exciting is that as of now, Saturday night, 8 minutes before midnight, I finished the knit cabled scarf I started working on. It took 2 balls of Mistero Trends wool blend. I'm excited to show it to you even though I think it may need blocked. Granted, I need to talk to the yarn group ladies to get a feel for what I should be doing exactly.

Number of Project Items: 28
Number of Added Items: 4

Project List Items (not complete)
- Filet Market Bag
- Lacey Table Runner for kitchen
- Throw for living room sofa (no pattern selected yet)
- Men's Vest (Christmas present)
- Round Afghan/Throw (potential Christmas present)
- Angel Tree Topper
- Joseph Wrap from Crochet! Magazine (as Christmas present)
- 13 pair of Paperclip Ice Skates Ornaments (office Christmas presents)
- 2 sets of Golf Club Covers (no numbers) - (as Christmas presents)

Project List Items (done)
- 3 pair of Paperclip Ice Skates Ornaments (personal use)
- 2 pair of Paperclip Ice Skates Ornaments (as office Christmas presents)
- Easy Cabled Scarf (my own pattern) 

Added Items (not complete)
- Wristlet Bag (adjusting pattern)
- EnviroTote Market Bag #4

Added Items (done)
- Wristlet Bag (making my own pattern)
- Mystery CAL Beach Bag

---------------------
This post is part of the Ravelry Group "Come Blog-A-Long" #yearofprojects Project. If you are interested in joining along or finding other posts similar to this one, visit the group on Ravelry.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Learning what not to do...

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
                                                                     ~ Thomas Edison



I have posted on my blog about frogging before and about how it may seem like a necessary evil; however, it is not necessarily evil at all.

Reader Lissa posted a comment on my ABC Blog "J is for Jewelry" regarding how failure is part of learning and it reminded me of the above quote from Thomas Edison.

How true is it that our mindset, how we view the glass, is important to our crafting and artistic abilities? I do agree with Lissa that when we do not succeed at a final result, that we learn. We should be learning from our mistakes, because in the wise words of Albert Einstein, insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Could you imagine how insane you would feel if you took the same yarn, did the same stitches, to come up with the same piece... that you didn't like? Only to frog it and do the same thing again?

But the positive spin Edison put on 'failure' (oh, I do not like that word!) is exactly what we need to preserve our sanity but move on to another technique or method. An example would be my work on a cabled scarf - I started with a certain pattern but frogged it enough to know that the yarn didn't want to be *that* cabled scarf, so I came up with my own pattern. In the end, I have a cabled scarf, yet I learned of one way to not make a cabled scarf out of this particular wool.

I did not fail... I learned.

What is your take on frogging and/or failure to complete an item on time, first try? Do you fret over it and keep trying or do you look for a new angle?



Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Unexpected Compliments

On Monday morning, as I was walking into work, I got a compliment out of no where that took me back a bit and flattered me at the same time. I thought to myself "hey, why not share this on your blog" ... so here I am doing so.

Where I work I must cross a VERY busy intersection from where I park to the building. Sadly, it is not a safe intersection the closer to 8am you get because everyone is out trying to get to work. We have had people get hit (all were ok), but still - it is a very scary place to cross. Because of this, as I crossed the intersection on Monday, a gentleman was walking with me and he made a joke about the cars stopping and I retorted with "that is my little prayer every morning" - we both smiled and I thought we would just keep walking in silence, must like we had before the intersection.

Well - he actually spoke up and said "that is a very interesting little purse you have there."

It was the wristlet pattern I am working on (pictured). I haven't worked another one up since the first one BUT I am in training all week at work so I figured it would be good to have. Its small, out of the way, and holds exactly what I need.

I humbly said "thank you" and again, he spoke and asked "is that yarn or material?" I responded that it was yarn. I made it myself. And he smiled and said "That is really nice - and it's one of a kind!" and then he broke off on another sidewalk towards the building.

I was a little surprised that he said anything - I admit I stereotyped him for this. He was an older male who works in a technical position. Why would he care? I don't know - but he sure made my day with his compliment! It was very sweet of him.

Later that day, my friend who is in the training course with me was saying she was cold SO on our lunch break, I brought back my massive shamrock shawl. She wrapped up in it with a huge smile. I knew it would be toasty warm for her - and at the afternoon break, I overheard her telling someone how amazing and warm the shawl was, how pretty it was, and that I made it. She was so flattering of my work that I think I may have gotten a little red in the cheeks.

Today was just a day of unexpected things - and I must admit, it was nice. I hear horror stories of how hand-crafted items have been given away only to be unappreciated in some way or another. I can't think of anything like that happening to me, but I can say that I have a lot of items that I have no idea what happened to. But that's the nature of the beast. I wouldn't follow someone around if I got them a blender from Wal-mart so why would I breathe down their neck if I gave them a scarf? (technically I wouldn't be able to if they were wearing the scarf *laughing*) Obviously, I don't even have an opportunity to ask about items that I have donated to various charities, nor would I.

But I guess it is nice to hear something positive about your work - that it is noticed and enjoyed be it for aesthetic purposes or for function (both is even better *laughs*)

So I ask you, reader, what was the last compliment you have gotten regarding your hand-crafted items?

Monday, July 11, 2011

J is for Jewelry

Part of why I enjoy crochet is the fact that it is a very versatile and endless craft. A person starts out learning the basics of the craft and in time, will begin to expand to other areas like interlocking crochet or graphing. Everyone that learns the hobby will soon find out that the possibilities are practically endless.

I think you can tell that by most of your Ravelry members' project queues. *laughs*

It is almost like a person may have an idea of what they want to try, but their journey there takes them passed a bunch of store-front windows displaying all sorts of other types and styles of crochet (or knitting, if you prefer). Going to point A to B takes you passed a lot of other points you want to visit... so you take note with intent to stop by again. If you are like me, you do more than take note - you begin and put it along side other projects that need to be finished *laughs*

So where am I going with this blog?

crochet bracelet by cris
Well - when thinking of what I could blog about for my ABC post, I thought about the jewelry I had been making up until the move. I plan on starting again but I have to get things in order.

For me, crocheting jewelry is one of those unexpected stops between point A and point B. The problem is, I don't think point B has been defined so I am sure there will be a lot more stops beyond jewelry while I travel on this road of yarn.

While I do not have much issue with crocheting the jewelry, I still struggle with some of the jewelry making techniques such as attaching the closure. That little difficulty hinders progression with jewelry making skills - its kinda important *laughs* But I know that I will get there. I know that it will not be long before I have figured out how to consistently do a good job of the closures to produce quality jewelry (that I can give away as gifts *chuckles*)

So I ask you, the reader, what unexpected stops have you had in your craft/art journey? Did you put it on a list and hope to return to it soon or are you like me and just take it up immediately, learning as you go?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Year of Projects: Week 2


Project Percentage Complete: 0%
Overall Percentage Complete: 6%

Whelp, I began work on the Easy Cabled Scarf pattern originally posted to my project list. I frogged it 2 or 3 times before getting a good start on it, then deciding I didn't really like it. What I did was the pattern itself was not wide enough for me so I thought I'd just do the cable 3 times to make a wider scarf... well, I did not like how it was working out and I'm sure it had a lot to do with my knitting tightly and doing a 4 stitch pass on the cable. It puckered too much for me.

Scarf Progress as of 07/09/2011
So, instead of being completely frustrated, I decided to just do a pattern of my own, inspired by the original pattern. I have it sketched out and if I like the result, I'll post the pattern as a freebie on the blog... even though it is a knitting pattern.

In the last week, while working on my simple cabled scarf, I learned how to do continental knitting with knit and purl stitches, how to add a new skein to the project, and how to rip down rows and not have to rip the whole thing out! It has been an interesting knit filled week.

Project List Items (not complete)
- Easy Cabled Scarf (my own pattern) [...50%...]
- Filet Market Bag
- Lacey Table Runner for kitchen
- Throw for living room sofa (no pattern selected yet)
- Men's Vest (Christmas present)
- Round Afghan/Throw (potential Christmas present)
- Angel Tree Topper
- Joseph Wrap from Crochet! Magazine (as Christmas present)
- 3 pair of Paperclip Ice Skates Ornaments (personal use)
- 15 pair of Paperclip Ice Skates Ornaments (as office Christmas presents)
- 2 sets of Golf Club Covers (no numbers) - (as Christmas presents)

Project List Items (done)
(none at this time)

Added Items (not complete)
- Wristlet Bag (adjusting pattern)
- EnviroTote Market Bag #4

Added Items (done)
- Wristlet Bag (making my own pattern)
- Mystery CAL Beach Bag

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This message is part of the Ravelry Group "Come Blog-A-Long" #yearofprojects Project. If you are interested in joining along or finding other posts similar to this one, visit the group on Ravelry.

Friday, July 08, 2011

FO Friday

Ah what a great Friday. I have been a little busy getting on the crochet wagon after the big move. Right now we have a lot of boxes BUT I have the dining room table put together and in place AND we have furniture. I'm very excited about the new furniture but I know it's gonna be hard with the dog. I figure soon I will need to begin the table runner for the table - and that is on my year of projects list too.... so I'll be taking out 2 birds with 1 stone.

In the words of London Tipton... YAY ME

(I figure only the parents of children will know who London is *laughs*)

MYSTERY CAL
Unfortunately, I was not in a position to work on and take pictures of my mystery project due to the move; however, I was able to work on two clues last weekend and finish the item which did turn out to be a beach bag.

I definitely think the individuals who used multiple colors for the CAL project probably have a more vivid, beach-friendly bag. I stuck with a single color and while I'm pleased with how it turned out, I think if I made it again in the future, I'd work it in multiple colors. Especially with the applique flowers that were added just so you could see them better.

So what do you think? Think it turned out ok?

WRISTLET
For the last couple weeks I have had an urge to make a small wrist bag. I wear slacks to work and usually those slacks have no pockets. This drives me insane!

To work I only need to take my keys, my cell phone, my ipod, and my badge. I have to carry it in my hand unless I take my lunch... so I started thinking of a cool pattern that would look good, work up fast and serve the purpose. I knew it would have to be more than one pocket because I have a slide phone and I do not want the face of the phone to get scratched up by my keys.

This is still a work in progress as far as the pattern is concerned, but these are the images from the first worked up bag. I like it, but I have got some new yarn to see if I can't dumb the size down a little bit and address the extremely puffy nature of the bag.

So that is all I have for my Finished Object Friday. I was hoping to be able to share the simple cabled scarf I'm working on but alas, it is not done. I worked on it last night and added a few inches, but I'm thinking I'm going to have to add a second ball of the wool to make it good and long. Which - means I get to learn a new knitting skill soon: adding the new ball in. I'm guessing tying a knot is out of the question. *laughs* If you have a good knitting resource that can show me, do let me know in the comments!

If you are interested in sharing your FOs or would like to read through the posts of others who are sharing what they completed, be sure to visit Tami's Amis blog for the FO Friday link party.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

WIP Wednesday: Kitty and Yarn Updates

AHHH finally a WIP Wednesday that doesn't have to do with house ownership.... kinda. *laughs*

Before I share my true WIP, a simple cable scarf, I would like to share my other WIP, which is a bit more alive and quadraped-ish: my cat Eddie.

Eddie is a chore of a cat. He is a 20 pound male cat with a serious attitude problem. 90% of the time he is fine, but the other 10% is filled with unpredictable, hateful, and bullyish behavior. We have an older cat that he likes to beat up which is why we think we need to get rid of him.

But, like all good crafters, I don't want to just give up, if something is not working with a pattern, you try something else. And I applied the same logic to Eddie.

The root of his problem with the old cat and the kids is that he can scratch and bite. He's not that way all the time, but when he wants to be, it's very easy for him because he's so big. Yes, he does attack the older cat and yes, he has bit the kids. He's just not what I'd call "friendly." With the new house and furniture, the clawing got quite a spotlight, beyond what it already was with him attacking the older cat. So we figured "claws" was number 1 priority.

Now, I'll say it up front (and I'll expect some hate mail *laughs*): I don't personally believe in declawing an animal. I feel it is usually a vanity move that people make to save furniture. I do not hold it against people who choose to do it to their cats; however, I personally do not want to do that to my pets. I brought them to this house, they didn't ask to be here. Sooooo.... Yes, I want to save my furniture too, but because of this belief I had left myself in a rather sticky situation. And then I stumbled across the Soft Paws website, which is a product that caps off the claw with a rubber cover, preventing the cat from scratching furniture (and people, and cats!).

We found a comparable product at PetSmart - and if you look in the above picture, you will see some blue at his paws end - he doesn't seem to mind them at all and he hasn't been able to hurt anyone all night, including me for putting them on him. And surprisingly enough - he didn't completely shred us in the process of putting them on. He didn't like it, but he didn't draw blood.

How does he qualify as a WIP - because we have been working towards a solution for a very long time and this solution is showing promise. In fact, right now there is hope we'll be able to keep our cat.... I make no promises based on his behavior now, we won't know for a bit, but it seems to be looking a bit more positive than before.

Now the yarn related WIP is much easier to write about. This scarf developed from my Year of Projects list: the easy cabled scarf. The original pattern I was going to use was fine, but it wasn't as wide as I wanted it to be. When I doubled the width, I didn't like how it was turning out so I modified the pattern a bit to be my own and I have started my own version using a washable wool I bought at my favorite LYS.

Keep in mind I am not a knitter so the tension isn't that great and the pattern is pretty simple - but I'm proud of what I have accomplished with it so far - all 1.5 feet of it. Hopefully I'll have it completed by Friday, but I am not laying any money on it. I think there is more of a chance of me finishing it by Sunday, my next YOP post.

I'll admit, I'm really glad to have picked up knitting again. I'm still very new to it because while I learned the motions over 25 years ago, I never got serious with it because I didn't like the frustration that came along with it. This last time, however, has been different. While I'm not magically passionate about knitting, I do find that I am not loathing it. In fact, it's not too bad at all. That excites me.

I do apologize to my regular readers that I do not have a crochet related WIP, but I do promise you that they are there. I need to get my project bags in order and pull out the ones that I have in progress but have lost sight of because of the move.

With that said - if you are interested in reading other WIPs or would like to share one of your own with other readers, be sure to head over to Tami's Amis blog.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Missin' It


(c) Planet Purl
 I am not known for making two blog posts in a single day, but considering the other post was more of an announcement, I figured I could allow myself this one time to post twice in a day.... because honestly, I am sitting at work missing my hooks and needles. I have never done that before... I have thought about crochet, but not really *missed* it.

I never realized how much I missed crochet until I moved. Obviously, in the last 30 years of learning to crochet, I have had up and down times, taking breaks and sometimes full vacations from crafting; however, for some reason the move really made me miss it. I went a good 5 days without doing anything related to crafting. I seriously missed it. I even dreamed about it a couple times. I'm thinking this happened because it was not a hiatus taken on my own terms.

Since having things remotely in place (excluding about 30 boxes in the guest room and 3 more trips from the old house *laughs*), I have gotten back on the crafting wagon and have relished every moment. I started a pattern for my Year of Projects, modified it to be more my own after realizing the original pattern wasn't fitting my needs, and am about 1/4 of the way done in two days... and for a knitted project, that's insane for me. I'll share some pictures of it tomorrow for WIP Wednesday.

While I may not be crazy about how the wool is working into the scarf I'm making, I will say that my knitting is speeding up a little (I'm still considered a n00b in the knit department). I also am figuring out how to do continental style knitting. I could kinda do it with a knit, but when it came to purling, I was an epic fail... until yesterday!

(c) RedBubble.net
I have also come up with a few house projects I want to complete. I need to make covers for the backs of the dining room chairs so they don't hit the wall (small area, don't ask... I'll put up some pictures soon), I need to do the table runner, I have to figure out something for our shower in the basement, and I now need to make a runner/cover for the half wall that is now torn up a bit because I wanted my couch more than the pretty little slats on the half way (another don't ask moment - I'll blog the story when I get the cover done *laughs*)

I'm truly excited to be crafting again. I'm thrilled to have my hooks in hand and even more thrilled to have increased my options by giving knitting another chance (and the faster my knitting goes, the more I'm willing to take up knitting projects). I bought some remnant material at the fabric store so I can even start using my now permanently placed sewing machine (before I had to take it out and put it away for every use).  I even found myself thinking about the drop spindle I bought a couple months ago.... perhaps it is time to spin a little.

Needless to say... I can't wait to get home tonight. I'm going to put claw covers on the cat (don't ask... I'll take pictures of my wounds for you), plow through dinner, cleanup, and housework, perhaps run a mile - and settle in for a long night of hooking.

Enjoy your day, readers!


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References:
Planet Purl Website for Image: http://planetpurl.com/

Red Bubble Website for Image: http://ih1.redbubble.net/

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Hookin' Up on July 28th

Perhaps you all have not heard but Crochet Concupiscence is having a crochet blog related project called "Hookin' Up." Kick-off for the event was July 1st and my participate date is set for July 28th.

The premise of the event is to bring crochet bloggers together through blog reviews, all linked together, through the month of July. On July 1st, Crochet Concupiscence kicked off the event by reviewing KRW Knitwear. Then on July 2nd, KRW gives a review of the blogger next on the list. Basically, you can start with the first review of KRW Knitwear and work your way through the entire month, finding different crochet related blogs.

I basically wanted to put a quick note up here to let my readers know that on July 27th, my blog will be reviewed by Yarn Dharma and on July 28th, I will be reviewing the blog An Open Book.

I really encourage anyone who wants to follow crochet blogs to start at the beginning and work your way through. I think you'll be surprised at the various blogs.

I hope you are all as excited for this project as I am!
- Cris

Monday, July 04, 2011

I is for Itemization

OK - so I was at a total loss on what to write for an I that could remotely be related to crochet.... so I thought why bother with straining my brain to come up with a word - let the internet do the work for me.

And I found this: a random word generator. I said to myself "Cris, you will take the first word that starts with an I and make it work for crochet"

And lucky me - I got the word itemization. Now THAT I can relate to crochet. What I can't relate it to is my own stash and crochet equipment.

This is some of my stash.  I will admit that it is pretty much the majority of my stash which really makes me feel a lot better.

The issue with this and how it relates to itemization is that before we moved, I genuinely had no idea exactly what I had. Seeing things together has made me feel a wee bit guilty about my yarn purchases (but not enough to stop me on Sunday from buying 2 balls of sock yarn and a skein of Caron)

Hmmmm ok, the move just made me realize I had more than I thought - I still have no idea how much of what that I do have. A few folks have suggested that I look into Ravelry's stash organizing tool.

Now, while personally think Ravelry offers a great service for people to be able to organize their stash, share what is in their stash with others, and overall, provide a great yarn itemization tool.... I just don't happen to use it.


In all honesty, people who know me would expect that I'd be all over itemizing my stash and crochet tools/equipment. I am a pretty particular person and have been considered somewhat "strict in my organizational skillz" (yes, I deliberately used a z and avoided the word perfectionist). I am not sure where the disconnect is, but it is obvious that one exists.

I couldn't tell you what is in there without looking... so to you, dear reader, I ask - if someone stopped you on the street right now and asked you what was in your stash, could you answer them? (although I admit it would be weird if someone just randomly stopped you and asked you about your stash... if they did, I'd personally consider a home security system, pepper spray, large dog and/or a taser)

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If you are interested in joining the ABC meme or would just like to read through what other's have written, visit An Accidental Knitter's blog.

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And when setting up my schedule to post, I realized that today is July 4th. Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans!

God Bless

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Year of Projects: Week 1

I have really been pondering how I'm gonna report my projects for the "Year of Projects" project (I'm sure somewhere I broke a law on how many times you can use the word project in a sentence *laughs*). I do know I'll be posting an update every Sunday, even if there is no update.

First, I am going to use the graphic below on all my posts for this project. If you are doing the project and would like to use a graphic, several are available to you on the project's Ravelry forum.

So firstly, I think what I will do is talk about how my week has gone and then go into the list. I will be adding my WIPs to the list if they are not part of the original list because at the end of the year, I'd like to see what I have completed in total along with how much on my list I have finished. This ensures that I do not lose track of the primary list as I move through each week but I also do get to track what else I'm doing in addition to any side projects I pick up along the way. I am also going to report with an overall percentage complete of the original list to a total percentage complete of all projects listed.

-----------------------------------

Project Percentage Complete: 0%
Overall Percentage Complete: 7%

Obviously I have had no time to actually work on anything due to moving into the new house and the fact I only posted my list 2 days ago. I hope to show more progress by next Sunday.

What did happen is that I found I had a need for a small hand bag but I want it to go over my wrist. I often find myself with keys and my cell phone in hand, wearing slacks that have no pockets. Per norm, my mind went to crochet design mode and I think I came up with a pretty spiffy pattern. I am currently working it up to see if it'll work out (hmmm Work Up to Work Out... interesting thought... )

Anywhoozles - I finished up the wristlet two pocket bag last night and I'm pretty happy with the outcome. I want to find a different, thinner yarn to work with before beginning to write up the pattern.. Of course, while working this pattern up, I have thought of a million different ways to spice up the outside of the bag. If this works out ok, I think you all will really love the pattern. I'm not sure if this is a pattern I'd want to sell or make available for free.... I haven't put up a free pattern in a while, so perhaps it is time.
Project List Items (not complete)
- Easy Cabled Scarf
- Filet Market Bag- Lacey Table Runner for kitchen
- Throw for living room sofa (no pattern selected yet)
- Men's Vest (Christmas present)
- Round Afghan/Throw (potential Christmas present)
- Angel Tree Topper
- Joseph Wrap from Crochet! Magazine (as Christmas present)
- 3 pair of Paperclip Ice Skates Ornaments (personal use)
- 15 pair of Paperclip Ice Skates Ornaments (as office Christmas presents)
- 2 sets of Golf Club Covers (no numbers) - (as Christmas presents)

Project List Items (done)
(none at this time)

Added Items (not complete)
- Wristlet Bag (adjusting pattern)

Added Items (done)
- Wristlet Bag (making my own pattern)
- Mystery CAL Beach Bag

Friday, July 01, 2011

A Year of Projects

Hello, Readers!

This is my official, yes OFFICIAL, "year of projects" post. If this is a project you wish to participate in, do head on over to the Ravelry Group called "Come Blog-A-Long" and read up/join. I believe you have to be a member of Ravelry to view and join groups, so be sure you do that too (if you aren't a member already).

So the premise of the group is to post your list of projects you plan on completing in the next year (July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012). You can do as few or as many as you like, but you should challenge yourself. For me, I want to make sure I have all my Christmas projects included along with some other items I want to complete.

Unfortunately - this list may be one part specific to one part generic simply because I haven't found the perfect pattern for whatever it is I want to do. I don't want to miss out on getting it on my list; however, I know the list is supposed to be specific - for me, I'm going to be as specific as I can at that point in time. I want to account for the project even if I don't have the pattern. I just didn't want to rush myself into a particular pattern for certain items just in case I find a better pattern later on, somewhere else.

So... without further delay - this is the list of projects (with pattern where available) that I want to complete in the next year. I have broken them into 2 categories: Big and Fast.

BIG ITEMS
Easy Cabled Scarf

Filet Market Bag
Joseph Wrap (image from Crochet!)
Lacey Table Runner for kitchen (no pattern yet but I have a couple in mind)
Throw for living room sofa (no pattern selected yet)
Men's Vest (Christmas present)
Round Afghan/Throw (potential Christmas present)
Angel Tree Topper
Joseph Wrap from Crochet! Magazine (as Christmas present)

FAST ITEMS
3 pair of Paperclip Ice Skates Ornaments (personal use)
15 pair of Paperclip Ice Skates Ornaments (as office Christmas presents)
2 sets of Golf Club Covers (no numbers) - (as Christmas presents)

I did go a little easier than I think I could have because I do have one semester of graduate school left. I will be doing 2 classes and an internship this fall so I didn't want to lock myself into 24 good size projects and end up falling face first. I also work full time so I have to keep all of this in consideration when picking the number of items I want to finish in the next 12 months.

Now that I have a list - the point is to update you guys, the readers, every Sunday. So look for that as I work my way through the project list. I wish everyone in the blog-a-long group the best of luck as they work through their projects - hopefully we are ALL successful!