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Monthly Archives: September 2011

A funny thing happened on the way to the bank…

Ok – not really the bank…. and I wasn’t really going anywhere, but I thought it was silly nonetheless.

With my stated time crunch and Christmas creeping up on us rather quickly now, I am having to find time to crochet and knit outside of my normal. One obvious time is my lunch hour at work. A small project is easy enough to take upstairs to the cafeteria, sit with after eating and make a little headway.

I have mentioned it before, but not too recently for newer readers to know, I work in IT… information technology. I’m a bit of a nerd (read as: super geek) and the people I tend to eat with are similar in nature (read as: way nerdier than me). They also tend to be male, excluding a few other females that join the group. On Monday, I walked up and it was just 3 of the guys. I politely asked to sit there, they laughed, kicked the chair out for me and continued their joking. I put my project basket (the one pictured to the right) on the table and sat my sandwich down next to it. The scarf pictured was rolled up and shoved into the basket.

About 20 minutes later, one of the gents who was there originally, looks over and proclaims loudly “what is that?” I look around, thinking he was talking to one of the people who sat down after me – perhaps wondering what they were eating. He gets louder and points – he points straight at my basket. Everyone got a laugh with the statement “a opossum” – I thought that was funny myself. I said it was my knitting, I was working on a Christmas present.

Whelp, if that wasn’t funny enough – when I finished my sandwich, I pulled the scarf out and all IT eyes were on me… well, the original 3 guys – everyone else at the table had seen me knit/crochet at the table before. I started working and they were staring hard. I admit, that’s not easy for me because I am not the best knitter so it was kinda weird having them stare at me. Some questions, primarily from the pointer, included:

1. Where does yarn come from?
2. What is the clear tube that looks like an IV line? (circular needles – see picture)
3. What do you do when you get to the end?
4. That’s all just one big piece of yarn?

It was funny once I got over the awkwardness of it all. One of my friends (female IT person) asked when I was gonna do the brown bag on knitting (brown bag = training session).

There was one question though brought up by “the pointer” that actually is pretty interesting and is something I’ll write about more in another post. It was a bit thought provoking on both our parts – interesting though…

(how’s that for a teaser! you must now subscribe and watch for more in the saga of the lunch room knit questions *laughing* just kidding)

Truly, thank you for reading all my rambles and stuff. It’s nice to know that there is a community of fiber artists out there that enjoy the craft and sharing information and stories as much as I do.
~ Cris

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7 Comments

Posted by on September 29, 2011 in Rambles and Reflections

 

WIP Wednesday

Ahhh I haven’t participated in one of these in quite a while, but I’m glad I have about 5 minutes to type up a message – sadly, the images aren’t as up to date as they should be, but I’m short on time and I have to use what I got. Thankfully, even though I’ve added to each project since the photo has been taken, they still look pretty much the same.

The first item I’m working on is part of my year of projects list, which is the poncho.

I have decided that while it is intended as a Christmas present for my oldest daughter, I will give it to her when it is done. I figure it is very autumnal in color and purpose, so it would be nice if she got to actually use it this year.

It is coming along nicely. Obviously, the longer it gets, the longer it takes to get around it. I’m using Lion Brand homespun yarn. I’m not having a good time with it but because I’m using an N hook, it isn’t as bad as it could be.

And no worries, she won’t read my blog, I’m sure of it – if she does… you’d better act surprised!

The second project is on the needles, not the hook – and that is the “feminine” scarf I have talked about before. For those that haven’t read my blog before, I started out making this for the man. It is Sensations Angel Hair Stripes yarn. It is deliciously soft.

I thought the earth tones made the yarn, even with the light halo of fuzziness, look more masculine. The man pops in while I’m working on it, I go to play it casual. And in conversation, I ask him what he thinks – is it manly enough…. and he said it was not! I was floored.

I have since polled the men at work whenever I take it to work on at lunch. Some guys agree with the man, but some think it is more masculine. I don’t know – I know that unless he shows a shining interest in this scarf before its done, I don’t know what I’m going to do with it. I have another friend in mind, a female, that may really like it, or I could sell it… I dunno.

I have a third project on the hook but no picture – it is a quick Halloween pattern I made up. I’m working it up all the way to put the pattern here on my blog for your use before the holiday – and I will most likely make a video tutorial of how to make it. So look for that in the next few days or so (I’ll most likely post the pattern in the next day or so and then the video up this weekend or next week sometime).

With that said – thank you for reading. I wish you the best with all your projects!

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If you are interested in reading what other people are doing or would like to post your own WIP Wednesday post, visit Tami’s Amis blog and check out the Mr. Linky.

It is coming along

 
14 Comments

Posted by on September 28, 2011 in My Projects

 

Camera Lovin’

Yay! I found my Flip Camera and my other digital video camera. I was starting to get worried!

But the man and I went on a mission on Sunday looking for it and found it, buried in a box in the garage. (Remember, we moved a couple months ago). We still have about 15 boxes to get through and I have to have a yard sale to get rid of the rest.

So – I know a reader asked for me to do a video on the shell stitch, which I will do this week. Are there any other videos you’d like to see? I think I’m going to do a couple other videos with some Halloween patterns I designed – should be fun!

Just leave a comment with whatever you’d like to see (or any comment for that matter, I love hearing from folks!)

 
6 Comments

Posted by on September 27, 2011 in Rambles and Reflections

 

U is for Ugly

Ok folks – this is a little out my normal character because I’m going to be a little…. rough? candid? rude?

My post today is about ugly – and yes, crochet can get UGLY on so many levels.

First level – yarn barf.

Second level – frustration inducing

Third level – plain, flat out ugly as holy sin… and this is the level I have in mind for this post.

I’m going to show some pictures of things I find to be ugly – now, if it is your design, I’m sorry. If it is something you find absolutely attractive or a must have, again – I apologize. If it is something you must have the pattern now or else you’ll melt – I’m sorry…. If any of these things are exactly what you like to crochet, then I’m sorry. This is my opinion and things that I find absolutely horrific and should never ever ever been made….

The first item is a pair of crochet shorts.

I mean, really? First of all, the fact they are trying to make shorts is bad enough, but striped shorts? skin tight striped crochet shorts.

*shudders*

Now, I’m not saying crochet couldn’t be used, but I think there are about 10 better ways to go about it – and making pink and brown vertical stripes is not one of those ways. The website that posted these beauties, the Ugly Sweater, has been around for a while and provides a lot of “oh dear” moments as you flip through the pages.

Now the next item I can’t bring myself to link to any pictures – crochet bikinis. I’m sure that on the runway, these are fine – but I have seen a LOT of pictures of women wearing them out for swimming. I have only a few words: crochet does not create a tight, hole-free fabric. Crochet tends to be like a sponge – if you wear the bikini into the water it will absorb water and get heavy and sag/stretch. And when things with holes stretch, the holes get bigger! If you want to wear crochet to the beach, please please PLEASE do me a favor and just crochet a cute wrap or go the extra mile and make a sun hat – just not a bikini. Please.

Speaking of runway – a lot of crochet makes it to the runway and is used for artistic expression. I don’t think it’s ugly. It is just a matter that when I see it at Walmart or a picture of someone strutting down the road in something hideous, I want to scream.

No.

Crochet is an art form – it really is. To a skilled designer, the resulting piece can be absolutely amazing.

Or, in the hands of a not so skilled designer, it can look like unicorn vomit.

Texture, color, shape, weight, flow, design – all play together when you are talking about designing something spectacular. Just because you make 10 different sized rainbow squares and circles does not mean you can force them together into and call it a tunic or dress.

It just doesn’t.

Ok, another category that I can’t really put a picture on here in good conscious is when people crochet genitals. Yeah – you heard me… genitals. I am a pretty open-minded person but if you are going to make them, I guess make them for private use? Not sure what you’d use a crochet **** for but hey, whatever. I see them on Regretsy all the time – vagina seat covers, pillows, etc. Perhaps I just don’t get it. I don’t know – but attaching a large male *bleep* to a pillow doesn’t make it art or desirable – at least not in my book.

Now, perhaps I’d crochet one as a joke – but it wouldn’t be something I’d take pictures of and post up on Etsy hoping to sell.

Obviously, that’s personal preference on that one.

I still laugh at the pictures from people who do – does that make me a hypocrite? Perhaps I’ll have to rethink my stance on crafted privates. *taps chin with finger*

Perhaps the real statement is – if you are going to crochet a *bleep*, then at least do a good job of it.

Yea, I think that’s the real statement I’m trying to make on that one.

I’m going to leave you with probably one of the most famous “just because you can doesn’t mean you should” crochet items….

The turkey hat.

That’s right – this beauty is 100% crochet deliciousness.

*shudders*

I remember reading the story of the woman who did it and why, but must have blocked it. I remember that the designer suggested this hat was “sexy” – well, not suggested it – she SAID it was sexy.

I don’t know what it is – but I see no purpose to actually having a turkey hat or crocheting anything similar.

I don’t think the man will find me more attractive if I wear it… I definitely don’t think he’ll find it sexy. Even if I tossed on the sexiest of lingerie, I’m pretty sure he’d laugh his arse off at me.

Putting sexy aside, I don’t know of any social functions that call for such an accessory, and I’m pretty sure it is a bit too much for a place like Walmart…. and work is totally out of the question.

I don’t deny the skill and time spent creating such a…. thing, but I think the designer could have spent her energies doing something else.

Oh… and don’t crochet hats for cats – they never look like they like it, no matter how hard you try.

(Please note: many of these fantastic items can be seen on the What Not to Crochet blog.)

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This post is part of the ABCs with the Accidental Knitter meme. The Ravelry post is here if you are interested in reading other posts or would like to join in yourself!

(and again, sorry if I offended!)

 
9 Comments

Posted by on September 26, 2011 in Rambles and Reflections

 

Year of Projects: Week 13

Project Percentage Complete: 48%
Overall Percentage Complete: 54%
Number of Project Items: 27
Number of Added Items: 23
Total Items: 50

First on the list is my exam. A few people wished me luck and honestly, I think the good Lord was smilin’ on me because the exam went really well. I did spend Monday and Tuesday doing the study guide and then Wednesday repeatedly reading over it. I walked in and knew all the answers although I was a little iffy on the last one – I think I answered it right though. So, I’m confident that when the grade comes back, it’ll be pretty good. I’ll let y’all know.

What did do is come home Thursday, stoked from having a good exam and knocked out 2 papers and an article analysis that were due this week. What does that mean for my crafting – it gave me time to do it! My friend came over Friday night and brought the movie Thor. We popped the movie in and I cuddled up in the corner of the couch with the poncho.

Which brings me to my next paragraph:

I did another swap out. I decided to not make the Joseph Wrap until I could get more expensive yarn and that time is not now. I swapped it out for a poncho, another item the person who wanted the Joseph Wrap had mentioned wanting. I found a decent free pattern and swapped it out. I got it started and I like how its going right now and it’s working great with the Lion Brand Homespun (a yarn I hate to crochet with).

Since I missed WIP Wednesday I’m going to take this opportunity to share with you a couple items I’m working on.

The first up is a knit scarf I’ve been working on for the last few weeks. This is the one I intended to give my husband but he decided that it was not masculine.

I’m knitting on size 11 bamboo needles using Sensations Angel Hair Stripes. The yarn is Color 102 from Dye Lot 844. It is 22% wool, 50% acrylic, and 28% nylon.

I must admit, it is REALLY nice to crochet with. I just wish I had joined size 11s that were not in bamboo – although the bamboo is probably better for handling the slick nature of the yarn. The scarf itself is about 8 inches wide which is why the stripes are not as prominent as they were in the sample swatch at the store.

I’m on my third skein – I bought 4 so I’ll have one left over. not sure what to do with that. It’s a very specific yarn and will not blend with other yarn types well.

Oh, and see my adorable little project basket? I bought two of them – I think they are perfect for smaller projects and I can easily drop my cell phone and wallet in when I travel with it – and that means I can easily find it to pay for stuff or answer a call. I will most likely transition these to be for my dish and wash cloths.

The other item is the poncho mentioned above.

I’m crocheting this using an N size hook and Lionbrand Home Spun in the color Prairie. It is very autumn looking. It was supposed to be a Christmas present for someone but I may just give it to her early so she can enjoy it this fall.

It is going pretty quickly. I have half the rows done for the main body – 10 more to go until I start the ruffled edging. My youngest daughter has already asked me to make her one in pink.

Looks like that’ll be another item added to the list in the near future. At least hers will be smaller *laughs*

So with all that said, I leave you with my breakdown list.

Happy Crafting folks – I know I will this weekend!


Project List Items (not complete)

Filet Market Bag
Lacet Table Runner […started…]
– Throw for living room sofa (no pattern selected yet)
– Round Afghan/Throw (potential Christmas present)
– Angel Tree Topper
– Poncho (Christmas gift) […25%…]
– 6 pair Paperclip Ice Skates Ornaments (office Christmas gift)
– 2 sets Golf Club Covers (no numbers) – (Christmas gifts)

Project List Items (done)
– 3 pair of Paperclip Ice Skates Ornaments (personal use)
– 9 pair of Paperclip Ice Skates Ornaments (office Christmas)
Easy Cabled Scarf

Added Items (not complete)
– Wristlet Bag (adjusting pattern) […65%…]
– EnviroTote Market Bag #4 [90% complete]… I really need to line this and get it off the list!
– Angel Hair scarf […75%…]
– 2 Kitchen Chair Wall Protector
– 4 thread crochet coasters 

Added Items (done)
– Wristlet Bag (making my own pattern)
– Mystery CAL Beach Bag
– 5 Knit Washcloth
– 3 Crochet Dishcloth
– 2 Kitchen Chair Wall Protector
– Ear Bud “purse”
– WW Yarn Runner for  ledge

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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.

 
11 Comments

Posted by on September 25, 2011 in My Projects

 

Remembering Grandma: Post 2

My regular readers may remember me posting about a box my grandma had loaded full of stuff for me a few weeks before she passed away. She knew she was going to pass away and took time with my mother and her other daughter to get her affairs in order before she did. I didn’t know about this box until recently – my mother held on to it and gave it to me when the time was right for her – which I don’t blame her. Losing a parent is hard – I know. My dad passed away 9 years ago and I still have issues…. but that’s a different post – different blog.

I admit I am taking my own sweet time dipping into the contents of this box. Some of the items really flood the memories while others make me thing “what in the world – why would she give this to me.” She was a funny woman and I am sure she had her reason – even if it was “oh, Crissy would love this” or “HA! If I give this to Crissy, I’ll confuse the crap outta her.” *laughs* My grandma and I had a strange dynamic but I loved her so much. She is the only grandma I knew as my paternal grandmother passed away a couple years before I was born. My grandmother was an amazing woman: funny and straightforward. We would get to joking with one another and she would get choked up and try to talk, stumbling on her words and then just scream “OH CRISSY! You are the meanest” .. or orneriest, or whatever worked for the situation… usually those two, though.

It is safe to say, my grandma and I joked around all the time.

So today – from the box she left me, I will be going through items from a small basket I picked from the top of the items.

There are a lot of small random items in here, some I remember, others I don’t. Some are craft related, others are not.

The basket itself I remember sitting in her craft room. It was pretty much a catch all basket and it really looks like she just put some stuff in it, similar to how she would have anyway, and plopped it right down in the top of the box. It may even have been she had the box full and when she did one more pass around, she thought “Eh, Crissy – you are probably the only grandchild that would want this mess,” plopping it into my box of randomness.

The most notable item in the basket is the plastic canvas American flag.

First, it may look like the picture is flipped, or a mirror image, but it’s not. For some reason she put the blue field on the right.

What memories does this flag bring? First, my grandma LOVED plastic canvas. I remember when it first came out (or at least became popular) – she had those sheets of plastic squares all over the place. She loved it. I loved running my fingers over there, with and without yarn. She was constantly on a search for cool patterns. She made stand-up dolls (most remembered were her American Indian dolls), tissue box covers, Christmas ornaments, place mats…. but what I remember most, and was probably her most recent “kick” before getting sick, was making American flags like this one. Usually they ended up being car antennae toppers. This one has a ribbon on it with a small piece of yellow tape, indicating she had it taped up somewhere – perhaps her craft room window? Maybe taped to a wall to follow as a pattern for all her other flags? I don’t know. But what I remember from this is her sitting there with her red, white, and blue – cranking out these tiny flags like a factory.

The next items up for bid show are the “random items I have no idea what she used them for as far as crafting is concerned or perhaps they were just tossed in the basket because she didn’t know what to do with them either.” Obviously the coin purse and pill case are gimme’s as far as knowing what to use them for – I just don’t know why they were in this basket or why she thought I would like them. I am thinking they were already in the basket for starters.

On the left side you will see 2 small screwdrivers, both rather old. I’m making the assumption she used those to work on her sewing machine. There is a small, dusty bag of about a dozen Christmas replacement lights. The level of dust on the bag indicates that I must throw those away. On the left there is a small brush – it looks like a makeup brush but the bristles are a hard plastic. Any idea what that would be used for? There were a plethora of safety pins of all sizes and a smaller, plastic clothes pin. There were plastic clips you’d see on clothing in stores, to keep them on the hanger (upper right corner of the picture). A small brass screw-in hook, and a business card for the place she used to get her hair cut and styled.

The next mass item photo is some of her sewing and crafting supplies.

The hands and shoes were for the dolls she made. She would make cloth body dolls and use the hard plastic face, hands, and feet. Obviously those shoes would never go on a doll with those hands. *laughs* Well, they could….. *laughing a bit harder*

There are a lot more of those black beads and blue buttons in the basket, I just didn’t photo them. The metal buttons, the ones on the right, were the only two in the basket. The gold one was a button my mother would have used for making Civil War re-enacting garments – it has the eagle and a circle of stars….. I don’t remember my mother asking my grandma for help in making the clothes, but that doesn’t mean my grandma didn’t take a swing at it. And considering I was 4 when we started that hobby, there are an ample amount of years I don’t remember as far as things my mother asked her mom.

The needle below the black shoes is a REALLY thick needle. I would almost say it was a tapestry needle except it is sharp as heck. There was a smaller needle like it. The little shiny blue spot above the blue buttons is a ribbon flower with a wire so she could wrap it in the dolls hand or attach it to a dress. She loved accessorizing her dolls. The white strips on the right are velcro. The item in the lower left, the red handled thingee, I believe she used to perforate paper – but I’m not 100% that’s what the tool was intended to be used for. Any ideas, folks? It has a thin, long, flat plastic red handle. The top looks and works just like a pizza cutter only the little wheel has teeth on it, like a saw.

Ok – almost done, promise! (this is a LONG post!!!!!)

The last group photo is all the little spools of thread shoved into the basket. Most of these will need thrown away as the thread is so old and brittle.

The taller spools (the greens on the left side, the metallic gold in the front, the pink and yellow on the left) are all on cardboard spools that are stamped “Pretty Punch.”

Do you all remember pretty punch? It had a tool with a needle on the end and you would literally punch it through a pattern and make a loop. Pull it out, and repeat. My grandma LOVED pretty punch. She made so many things with it including a poodle sewed onto one of my poodle skirts I used as a costume for a sock hop themed dance at school.

I have a cousin that is roughly one year older than I am. And my grandmother felt that she and I should get the same exact Christmas present to ensure that we did not get jealous (trust me, it was a founded thought as far as my cousin was concerned – I personally did not care). One year, I was about 15 or 16, my grandma pretty punched us appliques and sewed them to a sweatshirt for us. While I truly appreciated the sentiment and the work that went into her crafted gift, it was just funny because the sweatshirt with a cutesie picture theme was something my cousin loved, not me. It didn’t help that the applique was SO thick and heavy, it pulled the front of the sweatshirt forward. I folded the sweatshirt up, wore it only a few times, and put it in storage. I’m sure if I went to some of my boxes stored in my mother’s barn, I would find that sweatshirt.

grandma could pretty punch with the best of them! She made some pretty cute appliques with it, that’s for darn sure (I loved that poodle she made for that dance – I wore it around the house too. I felt like a 1950s princess when I wore it… It is probably stored away with the sweatshirt).

If anyone is interested in some really old, kinda fuzzed pretty punch thread – let me know. I think it may be first edition! *chuckles*

There is also one wooden spool of thread in that picture – its sandwiched between the pretty punch thread on the left of the picture. I’m going to have to do some research on this one – it’s a pretty cool lil spool of thread. I know I’ll never use it but it’s really cute so I’ll be keeping it!

The other cool thing in that photo is my grandma’s wax block she used to wax her thread. She did a lot of bead work and I’m sure she waxed thread for other purposes. It’s just cool to see the small block she used, with thread drag marks all through it. I’m sure I’ll find a use for that!

The final picture is a simple one. A thimble.

My grandma and grandpa traveled a lot. I think I mentioned in Post 1 that he had bought a Winnebago type camper to go lots of places. That camper took them everywhere – I don’t remember a day without it parked in their back yard.

Anywhoozles, she loved to collect various thimbles from the places they went – the ones you find in souvenir shops. This one, still in its original box with foam, is from Shiloh, Tennessee. You can’t see the detail but it says Shiloh across the top of the plaque on the thimble. TN is on the bottom and it has a picture of a cannon on it. It would not surprise me if I found more of these in the box. They were EVERYWHERE.

So that’s this post. Apparently there was a lot to say for such a small basket.

If you got this far – thank you for reading. I shed a few tears remembering grandma but all in a very good way. It is good to remember Grandma

“When you are sorrowful look into your heart and you shall see that you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”
                                   ~ Kahlil Gibran


If you are not familiar with this series, please start with the introductory post located here.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on September 24, 2011 in Rambles and Reflections

 

T is for Tardy and Time and Tension

Whelp, it’s still Wednesday so I haven’t missed WIP Wednesday; however, I don’t have any pictures of my WIPs to share. So it brings me to my ABCs with Accidental Knitter meme, which I am tardy for as I normally post on Monday’s.

Hence… Tardy.

Time, on the other hand, has not necessarily been on my side but it hasn’t been horrid either. I seem to have just enough time to get me through what I need to get through but that doesn’t mean I have enough time to work my way through blog posts… which irritates me. I really enjoy blogging, especially about crochet. As of the start of this semester, it seems I have no time to blog. In fact, I’m taking a break from studying for my exam tomorrow (I rescheduled it from Monday to Thursday) in order to write this.

I’m kicking myself because I didn’t take any decent pictures of the scarf or poncho I’m working on. And it irritates me more I have had no time to work on the table runner that I started a month or so ago…. Of course, it is only logical I put that item aside as its for me. I have to make TIME to work on Christmas presents considering we are only three months from the holiday.

Finally, I like to always bring things posts back to crochet or some variation of the fiber arts so I’m going out in left field to talk about tension.

Tension is how tight you pull the yarn to create your stitches. Loose tension yields looser, bigger stitches and tighter tension yields the obvious – tighter, smaller stitches.

Many new crocheters fall victim to starting a huge project, like a double crocheted afghan. They start out relatively new to the stitch which means their tension is normally looser. Then as they work across, they become more consistent with their tension, tightening it a bit. The effect is a trapezoidal afghan. It isn’t the crocheters fault – it’s the nature of the craft. This is why I suggest creating scarves first. Dishcloths are great but they are smaller and give less opportunity to standardize your tension. A scarf allows you a larger piece with more stitches which means more time to practice and fall into a consistency with your tension. Once you can do a scarf and have no issues with shape and size, then taking on an afghan makes a bit more sense.

Tension isn’t overly important when you are working on non-wearables; however, if you are going to make a sweater, make sure you pay attention to gauge because that will tell you if your tension is spot on in producing stitches of the right size to coincide with the size the pattern is making.

My only real tip is if you find yourself with a tension that is too big for the pattern gauge, move to a hook that is one size smaller. Same for if your gauge is too small, or tension is too tight – move to a hook one size up. You don’t want to get too crazy with changing hook size because patterns are written to accommodate hook AND yarn – not one or the other.

Hmmmm what more can I talk about with tension? …. well, I don’t know right now but I’m sure once I hit publish, I’ll think of something else! *laughs*

Have a great night everyone! Happy crafting and God bless –
– Cris

 
4 Comments

Posted by on September 22, 2011 in Rambles and Reflections