Wednesday, February 28

Projects that can't be ignored

Since I last posted I've been working on more scrunchies and scarves and I also pulled out this shrug project. I finished it yesterday and here are the pictures for you all to see.

I just love this shrug, it's so soft and cuddly. The pattern was very easy, from the book 100 Crochet Projects by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss. I have to say those two are some fantastic designers. I've worked more patterns they have created than any other designer who crochets. Their instructions are always clear and there are very few errors in them. I highly recommend the book, and the two women's patterns. I made the shrug entitled Simply Shrug. I used Red Heart pounder worsted weight acrylic in Light Purple held together with an eyelash yarn I picked up a few years ago when Target was clearancing it out ($.25 a ball!) in a purple that is just a shade lighter than the acrylic. I am thrilled with the way it turned out and very grateful that someone was willing to model it for me. It's definitely a bit too small for me to model. Now I'm intending to make one like it for myself. I did make a couple of changes to the pattern, for purely aesthetic reasons, nothing that affected the pattern itself.

There are so many wonderful projects in that book alone I don't know how I'll get to every one of them.

Spring is now three weeks away; I know I'm ready for it. I'm sure many of you are sick of winter and feeling the same way. Even though we haven't had much snow or even all that much cold here, it's been wet, wet, wet which made for a miserable, muddy winter. Hooray for Spring, please hurry with all your sunny days and new growth. I think it's probably a tossup for me as to which I prefer more, spring or fall. Though all the seasons have their good and bad points, for me, there's something really special about spring, all the trees budding out, flowers springing from the frozen tundra and even the rain in spring somehow feels different. Of course, fall is a fabulous kaleidoscope of color and crisp smells and it's as compelling as spring, but the difference for me is that spring brings hope while autumn is a harbinger of death and decay. The death of season, the death of summer, the passing of yet another year.

This past year I treated myself to a hairpin lace loom large enough to work some of the newer fashion projects. I made a few items with it, intent upon learning how to do it well enough to work a particular project I had in mind. Well, that fell through, I did try the project in a test run first, with a less expensive ribbon yarn and just didn't like the end result enough to use the more expensive ribbon yarn I'd purchased to use. I ended up using the ribbon yarn in another project which I was quite pleased with. I've made nothing else with the loom either. I do have a few more projects in mind using the loom. Something to look forward to as I plod along on all these unfinished PIGS I have vowed to clean out this year. I've been very diligent about getting them done and I'm proud of myself for my stick-to-it-ness. Of course, being so proud of myself I just have to reward myself for it as well and so, even though I haven't done that yet, trust me I have it stored away in the back of my mind. I am just waiting till I get a few more of those projects cleared out first.

The Skipping Stones afghan is one of those PIGS that is almost complete, just waiting on a trip to Wally World to pick up the extra yarn needed. I have plans, pattern, and material bagged to make a crucifix as well. It's going to be a gift for my mother on her birthday this year. I really need to get off my duff and get that going because I've never done anything like this project before and her birthday is only a couple months away. If I run into trouble with it I certainly want to have enough time to work through the problems and get it done.

I have vowed that once I get everything caught up I'll not let myself get so behind again on projects. I have vowed that once I start a project I won't put it away, I'll plug away at it until it's complete. I have every intention of doing this, but I won't chisel that in stone either. LOL
That's a sure fire way to throw a cog into the wheels!

Ok, off to finish this scarf, and then perhaps the doily I set aside (yet again). I needed a break from it once I ran into a problem with the pattern and now that I've been given a suggestion on how to resolve the snafu in the pattern I need to focus on it again. It's four rows from done! Four seems to be my magic (stalling) number. Seems each project I work, once I've gotten to the point where I'm four rows or rounds from completion I end up putting it up. A year later I find it in a bag, stuffed in the back of my project closet and so this year I resolved to change that and having changed the arrangement (meaning I took all the projects out of the closet which is a back of the mind mentality for me) and put them all into my line of sight (in the rolling cart right beside my favorite crochet chair) they're all sitting there in that cart taunting me to come finish them up.

Saturday, February 24

Coffee Time!

I just love Saturday mornings. I'm loving them even more now that the dogs are waking me up at 7 a.m. because they hear people moving about outside. I have to look at it like this, I could hate it and gripe and complain but they'd still wake me up at 7 a.m. (or whenever they hear people outside) so I might as well make the best of it. So, get up, take them out, make coffee and sit, sipping coffee, catching up on email and various other readings (blogs, books, magazines, t.v. guide, last Sunday's paper). It makes the early morning more tolerable when I've been up way too late the night before and I actually love the early morning when I've had enough rest. When it warms up it'll be even nicer, sitting outside with my coffee while they run around.

Now, I'm sure many of you have dealt with interruptions from family and others when you're counting. I don't really have anyone speaking to me when I count so it's easier to get through those periods in my crochet. I do however have three muttleys who think they're my kids (who am I kidding, they are!) and they like to interrupt. They don't actually have a favorite time for it (like when I'm counting), they do it any time. Anytime they feel like I've not given them their fair share of attention, petting and cuddling that is. Honey, the beagle is only 22 lbs. Small for a beagle but a very vocal and spoiled brat is she. Now, when she's wanting attention and I'm not giving it to her, she just crawls over everything and into my lap. So often she's climbed up in the middle of my crochet project and trapped me. I can't move because she's pinning the project in my lap and if I move I'm going to be pulling out stitches. So, helpless, hanging on to that last stitch and the hook, I'm trying to fight her off my lap while she's trying to lean up and lick my face. It's a sight, an oh so frustrating, infuriating, hilarious sight!

I've wheedled the Skipping Stones afghan down to three rows. I was down to four but had to frog as my count was off, so I'd spent the second half of last week reworking to get back to where I was and then started on that fourth-from-the-last row. It worked around pretty nicely, then I began the third-from-the-last row and lo and behold, I ran out of yarn! AAARRrrgghhh! I feel so like Charlie Brown sometimes! You know, nothing ever goes right. So, I've had to lay the afghan aside until I can go back to the store and match up the yarn. Luckily I used R.H. so it should match up pretty easily. I hope! In the meantime, it's back to scrunchies and I think I'm going to work up some scarves. I may bring out the shrug and start that, but I just hate to start it when I haven't got that afghan out of the way yet. I'd set my mind that that's how I was going to work it. Finish one PIG before starting another and now, well. They say in life (and crochet) you should know nothing is ever written in stone and you should anticipate that and expect to have to make adjustments. I'm such a person of routine though that I hate getting things set inside my head, and started in that direction and then have to change it in the middle of things.

The thought though, of spending the weekend on just scarves and scrunchies isn't very appealing. I like having a larger project and those smaller ones to break up the routine of the larger. Ah well, life is unexpected and that should be part of the beauty of it that you can appreciate. Unexpectedness! Learn to go with the flow I suppose. Something I'm not very adept at doing, but learning none-the-less.

Thursday, February 22

Scrunchies Galore

In one of my recent postings I mentioned that I was working on a skirt and shrug project. The skirt was made with Jewel Box yarn using Caron's Openweave Skirt pattern. I was making a shrug with the same yarn in the same stitch pattern to go with it. Well, I had reported to you all about having to frog and re-frog the project. I should have started out with a ww acrylic I suppose because I frogged that Jewel Box way too much, the strands ended up separating and the resulting shrug just wasn't of the quality to match the skirt. I have abandoned the project, am taking the skirt as just a skirt and will attempt the project again perhaps, at a later point. This time though I'll be sure to use an acrylic yarn. I have learned a valuable lesson in the endeavor though, and this was worth messing up the yarn for. So, any further experiments I make will be done first in an inexpensive acrylic and worked until I'm satisfied I can make the object in the (delicate) yarn of my choosing. So, I have a picture of the finished skirt that I am posting for your viewing pleasure.

I've been busily working away at scrunchies, throwing them into a bag as I go. I'm using a few patterns that I particularly like but am mostly doing freeform on them. I'll post several of the pictures here for viewing and then tell you about a particular one that I made.

This one I'm calling the dream weaver scrunchie because it looks like a dream weaver to me.

This scrunchie is made from
some of the same ribbon yarn, but worked differently.

The next two are free handed just like the two above. I'm rather enjoying just playing with different combinations of stitches. This is a simple one worked with a worsted weight acrylic held along with an eyelash yarn.

This next is worsted weight in pink with a ladder yarn held with it.

These are only a few of the ones I've made so far, but some of the more interesting or unusual ones. I've also come up with another that I just love. It's sooo simple and just in time for spring.
In fact, I call it the Spring Ring Scrunchie. Now for the pattern.

Spring Ring Scrunchie

Scrap acrylic yarns, one in green the other in assorted colors
Size G hook
Coated ponytail bands

With green, sl st onto ponytail band. Ch 1, sc in start. Sc, ch 1 across placing about 29 combinations on the band. Sl st to first sc.
Ch 5 trc in next ch 1 space on band. Working around the band in the ch 1 space, trc and ch 1 around. Join with sl st to 4th ch of ch 5. Fasten off, waeave in ends.

With second color, sc around band in ch 1 space. *Trc around post of trc, trc again around post above 1st trc made, trc again around post above 2nd trc made. Sc in band in next ch 1 sp.* Repeat from * to * around. Once you come to the first trc "flower" you sl st, fasten off and weave in.

I hope those instructions are clear. Enjoy making them. I'm going to make a bunch more for Easter I think.

Tuesday, February 20

No Anchors, No Chains

I have a past, but it is not a past rooted in familiarity, extended family or geography. I am a person with no roots no early memories of American culture. No Elvis, no Ducktails, no Airstreams, no Saddle Shoes; no television, no belonging and little close kinship. There is No sense of family on Daddy's side and burnished early memories on Momma's side her sisters, all married, some with children already then and an aunt and uncle who were sharecroppers, working the land for another man.

That was the old log cabin. I remember my aunt pumping water from the well right off the door around back at the kitchen. They kept a huge tub to bathe in, pulled it right out into the kitchen, behind a screen. My aunt heated water on top of this huge stove. Aunt Samantha was a farmer's wife, the best cook I ever met. She ran two huge kettles that she poured into the pan, mixing with buckets of fresh pumped well water. I would sit at the table, watching her bustle between stove and pump, screen door banging as she went out with her empty bucket that time when we stayed overnight the first trip back through this area of the country. She'd start out with as much of that hot boiled water as she could, adding just enough cold for Melville to tolerate and he took his soak and she put on more hot water. We kids were lucky, as her niece and nephews we got our own bath in it long before Melville got in from the barn. I thought it odd at the time and sad in a way because she and Melville couldn't have kids and she wanted them so, you could just tell in the way she loved on you. I wanted to jump in her arms and tell her I'd be her girl and just stay there, because what it looked like didn't matter, it made you feel like you'd been well hugged. Later, she and Melville were blessed with a daughter, after they gave up trying to have one.

My daddy was a traveling man. He liked to see new places and he liked to drive. I think the journey for him was every bit as fascinating as the destination, perhaps better so every time we travelled it was by car. We'd ride in the backseat, and sometimes (and my favorite cause I could stretch out) I'd lay in the floorboard. I used to climb down there and lay beside the drive shaft, my legs tucked under the seat in front, a bit of a trick but comfortable for a bit, I could lay there and have my legs stretched out cause when I couldn't stretch them they started getting cricky and hurt. Long journeys Momma and daddy took turns driving, Momma usually during daylight and Daddy taking over long up till about midnight or later. Finally he'd pull up to a motel, quietly pay the room and tumble us all into the bed together, he and Momma in the other one, us four kids in various stages between slumber and wakening, flashes of the activities relaying the information that we needed to clamber up all together there in those cheap motel rooms. Just long enough, sleep till morning then Daddy'd get up and go gas the car, refill the coolers, lunch stuff packed and iced, soda's replenished and he'd pick up a favorite breakfast of doughnuts and milk. for us all while Momma set about the task of getting us ready to ride again for the day.

Later, mostly, we took day trips to the same areas to visit my cousins and aunts and uncles; trips which my daddy would map in his head each time he made the drive learning the lay of the countryside. He took us every single route he could find until familiarity of it bored him and he began exploring, veering off the arteries to explore the tar, and gravel and dirt between my momma's family home and ours. I believe in all the traveling he ever did, my daddy never really did find a place he felt really comfortable in.

I believe Daddy's granddaddy re-invented himself in Huntington when a gentleman of reputable note died there. Strange to find two men in the same town with almost exactly, first and last name, who are unknown to one another. Stranger yet that same name showing up elsewhere in the country prior to his Granddaddy's arrival in Huntington, and a certain marriage there of a man by the name and a woman by the same name the same day his granddaddy married his grandmomma. The dead gentleman, old money for generations, the once land owning family now bereft of wealth and land, a name alone surviving, a tombstone carved in granite at the back of the most prominent cemetery in Huntington, headstone epithets of those whose kinship's twined and intertwined. There is no kin in this lonely place for me. Where or whether there is any kin anywhere outside of Huntington on that side of the family is something that I may never know. My great grandparents and my grandparents are both buried there though in a different cemetery in another area of town.

Monday, February 19

Wants and Needs

Temperatures warmed up before sunrise. The snow melted off quickly, leaving behind thawing, muddy ground and puddles. The day was balmy, cloudy and errant like the soft iris gaze from a young child's eyes. Something you could lose yourself in. I've had a time getting the dogs out without having them come back coated in the mud. Only Honey will hold still to be wiped down (and that's only because she's so small I can actually hold her). I usually pen them up in the kitchen until they dry and then try to brush the dust from their paws.

I've learned, like I am sure most of you have, that Leisure Arts was sold to the company who owns QVC shopping channel, Animal Planet and the Discovery channel. I believe with this news an era has ended. Leisure Arts is one of the big names in craft patterns, having been around as long as I remember and believe me I can remember a long time. From the time I was old enough to see the slick pages (my mother crocheted) I would look at the lacy patterns with wonder. The effect was spun silk to my young eyes. The books, pictures and pages; a dream life it seems now, another set of social values, seemingly more genteel, a time when America had leisure, so long past it is being forgotten. I am hoping that this new venture will begin an era that can proclaim with as much pride its right to own the publication's title. That result would be a positive one. So many magazines have shut down production, and even the women's magazines don't seem to put much emphasis on crafts anymore, especially crocheting, that we crafters are feeling the effects of this demise through fewer paper sources for patterns. Outside of books. What are some creative ways you locate patterns?

This is my personal approach when wanting/needing patterns. I have to be frugal with my choices and so I try to get the best deal I can get for what I'm looking for when I do purchase, and I shop smart. I utilize the library and local booksellers, looking through the books before I decide which ones I really want to buy. I bargain shop the sales at Hobby Lobby and WalMart and sometimes I can find patterns and magazines at thrift stores. I shop on eBay. I have to confess though, 98% of my projects are from internet patterns. I have shot my budget for the next 6 months on all things crochet so I'm trying to be good and just use the stuff I have here for now. There's always something calling from the store shelves, but I am resolute.

So, since I have this stash and all the patterns, and now the new delicious yummy books I got I'm content. I'm still learning how to crochet clothing and am by no means a professional. I'm still learning how to gauge and figure yardage and fit garments and a thousand other things. I've got some beautiful yarns that I've put back for garments for myself, once I've mastered this necessary knowledge. Then I plan on making myself some spectacular items. Right now it seems like that time is a long way away, but I'm trying to be patient. I think it's worth waiting for.

While I love making afghans I find many of them take so long that I get bored with them and switch to other projects to give myself a break. You can take some afghans along as projects, mile-a-minutes, granny squares and motifs come to mind immediately. Eventually they get too large to carry or you finish all the separate pieces and you have to put them aside as a carry-along project. So you start a new project to carry along; the process continues. At first it's just one project, one bag, and you work on scarves or hats or dishcloths, afghan squares, whatever you chose, one at a time. Once bored with always carrying the same project, you start to find other patterns to carry along, some are a bit larger, some smaller but they're chosen and carried and worked on for specific reasons such as the amount of time you have to work on the project, whether you'll be sitting or standing, or which one you need done the most, worked on to keep our minds from over-thinking itself, our fingers busy, focused and why? Because we have a need. It's more than a want, it's a need because it's something that you have to do to feel your soul. Succinctly, there's the difference between wants and needs.

Before you're aware of what's happened you've got PIG's galore. You've got the project sitting there that you work on when you're in your Crochet Chair. You've got the projects you have at your chair to work on when you need a break. You have a project you keep in the bedroom to work on, the den, maybe even the kitchen or bath. You've got all those carry-alongs. Like rabbits they keep multiplying in direct proportion to the depth of your need to hook. Now this certainly calls for some sort of storage solution and so you just have to have a container, or two, or three; something to get them all up and off the tables, the couch. the corners of your living room. Acquisition of storage containers, however they are obtained makes this a fully blown official addition you know. You might as well accept the fact, surrender to it, you're hooked!

Sunday, February 18

Snow, Snuggles and Scrunchies

It kept snowing yesterday until mid-evening then tapered, leaving a soft carpet world behind. The streets stayed really clear until the sun set and then got icy in patches. The neighborhood roads of course got blanketed and ignored by the salt trucks leaving us all to fend for ourselves. It's lovely, the dogs had a blast out in it yesterday, I don't need to be anywhere today and so I'm enjoying what will be the one snow I wanted for this season. By next weekend temperatures are supposed to be almost 60, but what do those meteorologists know anyway? It's a science that calls for a lot of anticipating and contains enormous opportunity for miscalculation, somewhat like the science of medicine. Hey, why do you think it reads on your doctor's office door "practicing medicine"? LOL

Last night I sat up watching a bit of t.v. and later, listening to The Sound and The Fury on cd, crocheting on my Skipping Stones afghan. I layered that by switching over to scrunchies and a scarf for variation. I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning, managing to come up with two scrunchie patterns. I'm not sure that I can say they're original because I haven't done a check yet. I didn't use anyone else's idea though so if they aren't it's purely coincidental. I am going to post the patterns here with my pictures for now. I hope you all like them.

This purple one should look familiar, it's made with leftover yarn from the slipper project I posted yesterday. This one is from the pattern Super Fast & Easy Scrunchie. I like this scrunchie because it can be made with any type of yarn and an appropriately sized hook. Works up quickly and looks great. I'm doing these for a craft fair a friend and I are setting up in this year. We are focusing on simple patterns, scrunchies, scarves, small bags, shawls, slippers and ponchos because we think they will sell well at this craft fair. It's held yearly, is well known and attended, hosted by one of the local high schools. We figure items like these will appeal to all the students that attend and to a lot of other people who are Christmas shopping. In addition to items like these we plan on adding in whatever items we crochet this year that aren't tagged for ourselves, or for presents for others. I have a couple items already that I plan on putting in there.

This next scrunchie came about because I had just this little snippet of colorful yarn left from a ball that I'd already used part of in making the 2+1 scarf pattern I created. It was a ball that was found in a bag of yarn purchased at a local thrift store and I really love the colors. Would love to know what type of yarn it is and if it is still available to purchase but I suppose that will remain a mystery. By the way, if you happen to recognize the yarn, please, please, pretty please, contact me and let me know what it is.

Cross Over Scrunchie - So called because of the technique used to make it.

Materials needed: Small amounts of any leftover yarn, Size H hook, coated ponytail band.

Sl st onto band, sc around the band until it's fairly full making sure to end with an even number of stitches. Sl st into the 1st sc. Ch 3, trc into back of band between 1st and 2nd sc on band. Trc between 3rd and 4th sc on front band. Continue working trc's, switching back and forth between the back and front of the band, moving in progression around the band (for instance, the next trc would go in the back of the band between the 5th and 6th sc and the next trc from there would go in the front between the 7th and 8th sc) until you come to the ch 3 at the beginning. Sl st into the 3rd chain. Snip and weave in tails.

The third scrunchie is called the Swirly Scrunchie. It's made using Lion Brand Chenille in black. The color makes it hard to see details in the picture but I've tried to get as much detail as I can.

Swirly Scrunchie
Materials Needed: small amount of chenille yarn, size I hook, coated ponytail band.

R 1: Sl st onto hairband. Sc around band making sure to end with an odd number of sc's. Sl stitch into the 1st sc on band.
R 2: Ch 1, sc in 1st sc, *ch 3, sk 1 sc, sc into next sc*. Repeat from * to * around. There should be one stitch left on the band from round 1 that is neither skipped over nor has a sc worked in it.
R 3: *Ch 3, sc into skipped st on R 2* (the open stitch under the ch 3) in front of the hairband. Repeat from * to * around band.
R 4: Ch 3, sc into the left over sc from R 2 on the band, ch 3, sc in each sc at beginning and end of each loop. Alternate each sc from front to back around the hairband, working the stitch into the sc's from R 2 and R3. This places a stitch into the front of the sc's from R2 and the back of the sc's from R3 between the two rows and fills in, creating three rows of chain threes in a swirly effect.

I hope the directions are clear, if not please feel free to email me and I'll try to explain. Remember, I'm a newbie at pattern writing and so it's all a learning experience for me.

Saturday, February 17

Fuzzy Slippers on Saturday Mornings

Again this year, every time we hear the weather and they predict snow we haven't gotten it. Leave it to the meteorologists to finally give us an official, coming down hard, looking like it's gonna stick around this time snow. It never fails when they tell us it's going to pass us by this time that we end up with it, and here it is, snow! The kid in me loves to see it piling up on the lawn, loves to get out there and roll up a snowman, taste it on my tongue and make snow angels. Then I'm done with it, spring can come. LOL

I've even seen it snow in July. How many people can claim something like that? When I was a child, my family lived in Germany and there it snowed in the middle of summer. We woke up that morning and when we looked out our window the whole world was white. It was stunning and my brothers and I quietly dressed and snuck out the window to play. In winter there we would build snow tunnels . The snow piled on the fencelines was high enough for us to burrow and pack and create space as tall as we were to play in. I've not seen many snows like that since I moved back to the U.S.

Yesterday, after posting and leaving the computer a feeling of release came over me. It broke for me what had been a period of limbo, where I had been feeling as if my life were stuck and I was unable to do anything about it. I suppose it came partly from the realization that my daughter truly was on her own now and I could change the direction of my life, moving from what it had been as mother and provider into a new era of self-discovery. Now, suddenly I'm not responsible for anyone but myself and while that is a freedom within itself there is also the question of just exactly who are you now? I suppose all of life is actually a process of leaving behind and moving forward, but when life shifts suddenly from one phase to another it has a bit more impact than a gradual shifting does. This is, I suppose, why tragedies are so difficult for people to cope with. You're suddenly thrust from one reality to another, more devestating one. From one end of the spectrum to the other, gradual as opposed to swift and devestating as opposed to empowering or enriching. I am anxious and eager to grab this new phase by the horns and ride it with everything I've got.

So I suppose you might like to see the snapshots of my slippers, which are on my feet right this very moment. I used some scrap Red Heart colors, a light purple strung along with a darker one that had flecks of other colors in it. I think they turned out great! First set of adult slippers I'd made since I started crocheting again. I'm thinking they may be a great item for a craft fair.

Today I'm working on my afghan and making scrunchies.
That's the plan at least. As soon as there's enough snow piled up out there I'll probably bundle up and head out. I may not be able to roll a snowman anymore but I think I might try a snow angel or two!

I like Saturday mornings, they're my lazy time of day. I most often get up early and then allow myself a nap later in the day. I use this time sitting here reading email, crocheting or sitting and reading a book, drinking coffee. The dogs take turns napping and playing, the birds are chirping outside my window. In warmer weather I open my blinds and let the morning sun into my front window. I have a piece of art glass hung in my window that has beveled edges which throw rainbows across my floor and walls and the effect of it is soothing and peacful for me.

I suppose that is how your home should be for you though, soothing and peaceful. After the whirlwind life of raising my rebel daughter, I can feel that peace and serenity permeating my atmosphere again. I have missed that so much.

Friday, February 16

Tough Love

My daughter turned 18 yesterday and today I fulfilled my last official act as mother to a minor child. She had a court date (don't ask, she appears to like trouble) that I was ordered to bring her in for. Of course, her being 18 and out of my house I have no control and couldn't force her to go to court. I showed up anyway, thinking that the responsible thing to do. Let the court workers know she'd turned 18 and that she wasn't there with me. She did finally show, 1/2 an hour late. I asked the attorney if he needed me to be present now and he indicated he didn't so I left. My daughter and I are estranged and so I sort of waved and walked off.

A huge part of me felt like going somewhere to celebrate, I've been responsible for all her antics since she turned 10 and started trying to get wild (yes, 10). I've had court dates and programs and counseling and more court dates, in town, out of town and also had to drive out of town to pick her up from treatment and juvenile facilities several times. So, today was a huge red letter day for me. I am no longer legally responsible for her behavior, she gets to actually pay the piper herself from now on. I must admit, I'm a bit curious about what happens today in court, but I wasn't sticking around to find out either.

Tough love is about the hardest thing you'll ever have to practice with your child. It's a mother's natural instinct to protect her child and to go against that to try to teach that person they need to be responsible by stepping out of the way and allowing them to pick up the pieces of the messes they made for themselves, isn't easy at all. Still, I don't feel I'd do her any favors by not at least trying to teach her there are consequences for her behaviors and actions. Even if she doesn't believe me, and she doesn't learn it from me, I know I tried and that is as much as I can do.

On to crochet things. I finished my slippers from the Crochet-along I was participating in. They fit perfect and look so cute. Nice and toasty warm as well. I also managed to get a bit more done on the afghan project before bedtime last night, so maybe it will be finished over the weekend and I can post a picture of it as a finished object. Then I get to pull out the shrug I'd started and had to frog. I was making the shrug with a ww acrylic and a feathery wispy eyelash type held together. I had two different colors of this eyelash that would work with the other yarn, one was a variegated with the color of the acrylic in it. The other was a solid color same as the acrylic. I started the shrug using the variegated and decided I didn't like it, so I frogged and put it up until later. Now, I'm going back to it, using the solid color eyelash and I think it's going to be beautiful when I am finished. Pictures will ensue!

Yesterday I promised to get a picture of that dirt cake up and today I am fulfilling that promise.

Thursday, February 15

Hope springs in unexpected places

This morning a young man I've never met gave me a gift. Rarely do you find someone who is genuinely interested in helping you, who treats you with a level of respect that seems to be a discarded quality within society today and I feel fortunate that this particular gentleman crossed my path today. It warmed my heart to know that yes, there are still people out there that are willing to go out of their way to help you.

Zoey again had to play when we went out this morning, but this time she wanted to jump from ice slick to ice slick, pouncing and breaking through the ice. She's three and I've never seen her act this way before, as if she suddenly discovered how to turn nature into a game for her personal amusement. So we went around the yard and pounced on patches of ice, her sliding and me just chuckling at her antics.

I seem to be in a frogging mood this last month because everything I've touched I've had to frog, and not just once either! Im reworking the shrug, reworking the last four rows of the doily and of course the afghan project is getting it's share of time as well. I am beginning to think I may need to abandon all three of them and pick up something else for a bit, but then I am so stubborn that I am determined to finish these projects up before I pick anything else up again.

The party went over well, my friend just loved her cake and was surprised her daughter took the time to decorate and even managed to make a banner with the toilet paper. Guess teenagers aren't totally self-absorbed all the time. I'm hoping she'll bring the photo she took of the cake so I can post it up for you all to see.

Off to crochet and relax. I hope you have a great day whatever you have in mind.

Wednesday, February 14

Silent Morning

Well, we had some lovely snow blowing when I took the dogs out this morning. The ground was sprinkled with it and there were flakes of varying sizes twirling in the wind. The dogs discovered ice skating on a patch of frozen mudpuddle that formed when the temperatures dropped so suddenly after the rain yesterday. It was funny to watch them step onto it, skid slightly and then lunge and slide to the other side. Zoey broke through as she neared the outer edge, which stopped her in her tracks to give the slick surface a quizzical look and dip down, nosing to figure out what had just happened. Honey soon followed behind Zoey, pouncing and sliding across the surface, nose dipping and daring even to taste the frigid, muddy water. Later, Zoey wanted to sit and watch the flakes fall. I stood as long as I could stand it in the cold before cajoling her back in. There's no dragging this one, she's too big for me.

Thus began my morning. Hope you are all having a great one yourselves.

Tuesday, February 13

Too busy Tuesday

Well, slept late and then got up in a hurry. I am making dinner and cake for my friend tonight for her birthday. I decided on sweet and sour short ribs and cabbage and it's now bubbling on the stove. I decided to go with the poor girl's party theme so the cake is dirt cake, ice cream is rocky road and all her presents have been second hand store finds. Her daughter is going to decorate with toilet paper streamers while I've got her out of the house this evening. Sure hope she doesn't read this blog page before tonight, hehehe. I already caved and gave her her presents so tonight is just dinner and cake/ice cream. I'll get a picture of the dirt cake up later, it's chilling now and I won't put the flower in it until right before I deliver it over to her house. It's sooo cute though. It's my first dirt cake, sure hope I did it right.

Guess my mid-week deadline on that afghan is going to get pushed back to end of the week now. Should have gotten myself up earlier today but oh well. Guess I needed sleep more than I need to finish the afghan. So many projects, so little time.

I'm involved in a CAL on a group I belong to. We're making slippers and I'm hoping they turn out as nice as they look like they're shaping up to be. One can never have too many pairs of slippers you know.

That's about it for the day, off to stir my pot and get things together for this evening. Have a good one all!

Monday, February 12

Happy Birthday, Mr. President

It's Abraham Lincoln's birthday. Lincoln was a man whose ideals have influenced me throughout my life. When I was young, I was taught Lincoln freed the slaves, he reunited a divided country and that he was honest. These qualities were an ideal I set for myself, to be honest, upstanding and willing to do what I felt was the right thing to do, despite all outside opinion, and despite the consequences. I read many biographies about him as a child. As I grew I learned much more about the man, about his personal life and his politics. I learned he did write the Emancipation Proclamation but that eradicating slavery was more a political move than any sort of moral dictate. That in order to usurp and undermine the Confederate Army he freed blacks from slavery, thus yanking the bottom out of the Confederate states financial base. It was a disappointing illumination that the man I so admired had ulterior motives for doing something that I grew up thinking was an act of honor. I learned he suffered from a severe depression all his life. I wonder many times what else this man might have accomplished had he had treatment for that depression. I admire what he did, I am just not so sure anymore that his motivation for doing such was as honorable as I had thought. I do feel however this person was the right one to come along at the time because it was necessary for the United States as a country to get beyond slavery and the slavery mentality. I know we don't live in a perfect country and that slavery in many senses of the word still exists today. What is different, and better is that now the slavery that is present is not directed toward a group of peoples. What is pitiable is that slavery is a concept that exists and is directed toward the working class and the poor because we are all enslaved by the great gears of government. With that I'll turn my soapbox right side up, refill it with the yarn it held until now and store it back with my stash, hehehe.

Speaking of yarn, I've so rightly resisted temptation lately that I cannot believe myself. While the boucle listed in my latest acquisitions isn't the last acquisition it was the last larger one I made. I haven't bought anything else except some yarn I purchased at the thrift store and some I purchased to give to a friend for her birthday. My friend was tickled to get the present I put together for her. I was thrilled that she liked it so well.

The thrift store purchase was something I hadn't expected and so I shot my yarn budget on it and am trying desperately to be good and not buy anything else the rest of the month. I ran across some cones of beautiful yarns and was so tempted that I bought most of what was there, bypassing some other ww acrylics that I'm always picking up to add to that stash. All are thin yarns, most acrylic or acrylic blends but oh so beautiful (these pictures don't do them justice). I can't wait to get my fingers in them, though for now they're simply put up, awaiting my determination as to what I'm going to turn them into.

Now, since I've been down and in pain I said I haven't done much crochet, only working a little at a time on the Skipping Stones Circular Afghan that I've wanted to make myself for years now. It's not finished by a long shot, but I thought you all might enjoy a glimpse of the work in progress.I am really excited about this afghan, love the color and love the way it's working up. I'm sure it will be a finished object by mid-week. Then on to the next project. All of these, by the way, are from the PIGS pile I've promised to clear out this year. The next is a shrug from the book 100 Crochet Projects.

Well, I hope that my morning report has livened your day at least a little. I know Mondays are so dreaded and sometimes dreadful and so I think offering something that's a bit of fun is a good way to break that monotony. Until next post.

Sunday, February 11

Surfing on Sunday

Good Sunday all! I'm still experiencing pain so the post will be short and lite today again. I'm happily working on the afghan when I have a few moments (not sticking to it long though as it makes my back hurt after a few minutes). I'm also learning to do a bit of crochet standing up as well. LOL, hope that doesn't affect the tension of my stitching.

Since I haven't been up to much there's no crochet related news regarding my projects to post here today and so I thought I might spend some time with you on a virtual tour of crochet related oddities and odd sites. I ran upon this site some time back and did a cyber tour, found it quite interesting, unique and amusing so I thought you all might appreciate this as well.

This link leads to a site called the World Famous Crochet Museum. It's quite an interesting place with all sorts of crocheted items to peruse.
Now with all that time on your hands wouldn't you come up with something just as interesting?

Next on our tour we'll go to the Monster Crochet site. Whether it's a serious discussion or a light hearted haphazard plan hatched with zeal this site seems to always have something to sink your teeth into. You might ohh, you might be disgusted or turn away, but you'll always find something here that you can bring into any conversation.

For our closing commentary we will go to another odd site that gives more than descriptive details pertaining to crochet and those items that people dream up from who knows where. This site tends to lean a bit toward the sarcastic, but only in the most seriously entertaining manner. I believe the jests are meant more to amuse the audience than they are to be taken as an insult to the original designer, though you have to admit, some of the items presented make you shake your head in wonder.

Now you have it, from the furthest reaches of the net, some of the more interesting, if not more well known, sites that are relevant to crochet. Happy surfing!

Wednesday, February 7

The snow has missed us this storm it seems. I suppose there's enough time yet overnight to bring it in, but somehow I doubt we'll see it now, or this year. It's a shame because I love a good snow. Just one, then spring can come.

I have been struggling today with pain, not sure if it's related to the medications I'm on, or if I've pulled a muscle but I'm sure I'll be finding out really quickly. When this sort of pain sets in, I can't sit to crochet, or even be on the computer all that much so posting will be brief bursts to touch bases with you all. Needless to say, the yarn gets put away as well. I haven't figured out yet how to crochet in a prone position and that's where I spend most of my time when I feel like this.

I also go through phases where I have insomnia late at night. This is most often when I spend time crocheting or reading, but sometimes I have to focus and write because it's spilling from my head and either it needs to be recorded or it will be gone. That quickly.

I believe I have gotten an answer to the dilemma I have with the doily and am going to pick it back up asap. Pics will ensue.

Hope you're all staying warm wherever you are tonight. See ya next time.

Monday, February 5

Today I got a whole row complete on the doily, discovered an error in the pattern so I am at a standstill. I put it up last night, thinking maybe I was just tired and reading the pattern wrong. Nope, there's definitely some decreasing missing there and I'm just not so much of a wiz that I can look at it and say, ok, I'll do this instead. Yeah, on some projects I can do that, just not with thread. Anyway, it's now tucked back into the cart, pending a response to my plea for help.

Now I'm attacking the Skipping Stones afghan because it's something I've wanted to make for myself since I started crocheting again. I want it in exactly the color used in the pattern, my favorite shade of red. It's also something that I don't have to pay quite as much attention to and that gives my head a break, short and sweet and hopefully back to finish the doily in the next day or two.

So, like much of this country today, it's bitter here tonight and having that afghan in my lap is just an added bonus. Well, here's to keeping warm and busy through it. Don't forget to bring along that sense of humor because we may just need it before this cold snap snaps.

Sunday, February 4

Peeking my head up through the crowd, did we all survive?

Ah, Sunday, it's all over and life can go back to normal. We all agree the game was, well....a game. My question is, how much crocheting did you all accomplish with all that solitude? I have said before, I'm a slow crocheter and I'm forcing myself to finish the doily so I worked on it all day, and it takes me all day to do a row and a half, so...I'm still at three rows to go, since I found a mistake and had to frog yesterday. I'm looking at the pattern and beginning to wonder if there isn't a mistake in the directions for this upcoming round. Check back, I'll relay the information I find.

Ok, so part of my self has promised itself that all the PIGS will get cleared out this year and that henceforth I will never allow this unruly overgrowth again. Ok, it's a good goal to have at the very least, keeping in mind that I'm making a huge distinction between WHIPS and PIGS because there is a very major distinction between the two, although on the surface they might seem the same thing. You see, WHIPS are those projects that one has assembled together with intention of starting and PIGS are those projects, already started, that have been tossed aside in boredom, frustration, haste, etc., perhaps forgotten about. I feel it's a nice thing to put together projects that you've gotten in mind to do for the year. For instance, I have been making afghans for each member of my family (I have a lot of them). I plan two to three of the afghans each year, purchase all the yarn, copy the pattern and put all that together for when I'm ready to start the project. This qualifies as a WHIP until I begin the project. Once begun, when it's put aside for any reason and not worked on I refer to it as a PIG.

The beginning of this year has found me with WHIPS ready to start and many PIGS to clear out and I've promised myself to finish what I've started before beginning anything else, after all if one cannot stick to the task at hand imagine what else one will be running around in circles trying to accomplish. It's always a scramble, a fight in which I begin with all intentions of picking out those plastic bags and completing what's there and indeed I've finished two purses and a scarf from the lot of them but, still, so much left to do. Then, after going at it gung ho I begin to feel I should be rewarded for being so good and getting all these projects cleared out, so I eventually let myself start one of those oh so tempting projects (probably the Kimono coat I'm salivating over). So it's rotating movement of projects in and out of the roll cart (My PIG Cart) and to and from a couple Avon boxes (afghans projects are usually gathered or stored in them once you get so much bulk). but as with any other crochet addict, I am at my best in the middle of this whirlwind.
1. rosary - I've intended this as a gift for my Mother's birthday
2 crochet twist wrap for myself.
3. crochet shrug
4. Kimono Coat-Me, ME, ME!!
1. Skipping Stones Afghan
2. Soft Sage Jacket
3. Pastel Squares Afghan
4. Reds granny afghan
5. Scrap squares afghan
6. Freeform blanket
7. Squares in thread
8. Cluster Stitch Doily (89% complete)

Well, that's it from my little corner of the net tonight. Hope your fingers have been as busy as you want them to be. Till next time, happy crochet!

Saturday, February 3

Pre-Superbowl Prep Saturday

Happy Saturday afternoon all. Fresh off the heels of Groundhog Day where we were promised that Spring is just around the corner (let's hope that is the case), we've little time to gear up for that Greatest of Days, where grown men sit around all day and swill beer, hootin' and hollerin' and generally actin' like men do on Superbowl Sunday. How many of you are ready? I've got all my PIGS in a plastic roll cart right beside my best chair, Ott lamp at attention, waiting, and everything else I need close at hand because, by golly, I'm ready for the onslaught. I have five channels to choose from, strike one for the game and I've four left. I'm thinking rather than try to keep flipping through (studiously avoiding the game) I may just hang it up and throw on Winamp for the day. Some sort of background noise that's appropriate, that can settle at the back of my consciousness and leave me free to pay attention to what I'm doing with my hook. I'm the sort of crocheter that has to pay attention most of the time.

Ok now, on to better things. I promised a while back to provide a pattern and picture for the scarf I created that I am calling the 2+1 Scarf. The reason I'm calling it that is because this scarf is more a process than an actual pattern. The process is a simple 1,2. You chain however many chains you want for the scarf's length then single crochet back through that chain. Switch colors and do two rows (any stitch that will fit your length), switch colors again and do two rows, switch yet again and do two more rows (again, you choose any stitch pattern you want with this project). Finally you switch colors for the last time and work a row of single crochets. That's it, snip, weave and wear!

I've taken another break from the Jewel Box skirt and shrug project, but do have pictures of the finished skirt to share. It's the Caron's Simply Soft Shadows Open Weave Skirt pattern, made using Jewel Box Obsidian yarn. Gorgeous ya think?

Well now, I did another quick scarf project as the filler between projects when I put the shrug from the Jewel Box project down the first time and I'm currently finishing up a doily as my filler for this next down time with the Jewel Box project.

So, that's what's up with me these days. Projects and more projects.

Thursday, February 1

Snow Crochet

Winter has finally come to my area and I'm cuddling up in a crochet mood. The weather forecasters started out predicting a goodly snowfall which has dwindled over the last few days to more like a smattering. Disappointing as I love to have at least one good snow a year.

Do you ever find that you've got way more projects in your head than you've got time to do? Sometimes you think you'll never get everything done that you'd like to do. Or even that you'd like to learn. When I get done with a project I always have that "take a breath" moment where I don't crochet, I simply relax, look through patterns and consider which projects I want to add to my list. Then I start to feel guilty about adding more projects because I have all these other projects that I need to finish which brings on a sort of paralysis and I can't pick up projects that are in need of finishing but won't allow myself to start a new item. The paralysis lasts sometimes only days; the longest it lasted was about three weeks. For the last couple of years I have been forging on and starting new projects, finishing a few of the pigs that I still had sitting I have a doily I set aside two years ago with eight rows to finish on it. How bad is that? I picked it up and now have four more rows left to finish. My New Year's resolution was to get all those pigs cleared out and so I've tried to focus on getting them out of the way before I will let myself start anything new.

I have also been doing a bit of stash busting, using up stash to just make scarves, hats and small bags. I'm planning on splitting the cost of a booth at a local craft fair with a friend and selling my crochet there this fall. Stash busting projects are
earmarked for the craft fair.

I tried telling myself I wouldn't Buy any new yarns until I'd used up some of what I have, but oh, the temptation has already been too much. I went to the thrift store the other day and picked up a bunch of cones of beautiful yarns. The largest cone is a royal blue and black chenille looking yarn, not thick, very fine but gorgeous. I also got a burgandy acrylic, a cone of Serenaide, a cone of white acrylic and a small cone of light blue acrylic. I bought a bag of yarn that contained some ww acrylics in pastel colors that I'd been looking for to use on the granny afghan project I posted pictures of the squares for in January. Inside that bag I found two small skeins of Red Heart cotton in a burgandy color. How old is that yarn?!? I never even knew Red Heart made cotton! It will go nicely with a partial cone of variegated that has a burgandy in it. This cone is a particularly difficult color combination to match up with any success. Really I've TRIED to be good but that old YAS bug has me by the tail. So, cold weather coming in will help me with all these condundrums because it's too cold to be out looking for yarns, I can cuddle up and get some projects out of the way and begin new ones soon.