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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Year of Projects 2: Week 3

Project Percentage Complete: 34%
Overall Percentage Complete: 34%
Number of Project Items: 105
Number of Added Items: 1
Total Items: 106

Total Completed Items: 36

Whelp – the big news of the week is that I finished the beast-ghan – it is done done DONE. I do need to wash it and lay it out but I haven’t gotten that far yet. I still call it done because there are no hooks or needles or tails anywhere near it. I’m pretty pleased with the outcome.

I finished the Dead Fish Hat on Friday, which was pretty cool.

DC, my son, did walk in on me Thursday night as I was working on it. Squirt had a sleepover, so she and her friend were being very loud. DC came sauntering out wrapped in his blanket and sleep in his eyes saying “I was just about ready to be totally asleep and you guys are TOO LOUD” – I got a little stern with him and told him to go back to bed all the while trying to shove the fish hat out of sight without any stitches sliding off the needles (which I was successful at). I don’t know if he saw it or not but I did apologize for being so short with him last night. The girls really were being loud and they should have been in bed too.

I added a new item to the list – its a bag. I saw it on Debi’s blog called “Hooks and Yarn” – which is always an enjoyable read. She posted a granny bag she made along with the pattern. I’m thinking Rabbit would really like it, especially if I did rainbow stripes separated by black. Even if I don’t go rainbow, really bright colors separated by black stripes. I think it would really pop. Maybe a cloth with peace signs on it to line the bag? I dunno. But – I do think she’d like it. She likes big floppy bag purses with one huge compartment… if she doesn’t like them then she needs to stop carrying them – amiright?

I was thinking of swapping out one of the afghans for the bag but really, the work effort is no where near the same. And even if the afghan isn’t done by Christmas, I can make it a project for next year and just start with the squares now and see how they work out in the end – using the bag for the Christmas present.

I moved another item up to the “in progress” list on Friday as well. After giving DC his hat I couldn’t have idle hands so I decided to begin the lapghan for the grandson as his Christmas present.

He absolutely loves super heroes so I think he’ll enjoy a Spidey-inspired lapghan. I had a bit of a false start because I had put way too much black into the blanket. After about 12 rows, I ended up tossing that. I have started again, and this time I think I’m going to like it a lot more than attempt #1.

So far so good. I have finished several rows with the help of the Olympics.  I started it during the opening ceremony and should have it done by the end. Of course I didn’t join the Ravellenics because I didn’t know where I would be on the beast-ghan – but as we all know, I’m done with that so I’m missing out on the fun. *shrugs* That’s ok though – I’ll play along on my own *smiles*

Just because I can show you fun pictures from my household, here is a picture of our 15 year old cat in the water bottle box – because somehow this makes a great bed (and a great surprise spot for the dog … every 2 hours… when he gets shocked and starts barking and she comes out hissing…. yes, very fun at my house)

Project List Items (not started/in progress)

– 4 knit/crochet cloths for Mom (Christmas present)
– 17 squares for SIBOL 
Spidey-colored Round Ripple Lapghan (Christmas present)

– Shawl (gift for the fall/spring for DD2)
– 5 knit/crochet cloths for SIL (Christmas present)
– 10 crochet knockers for donation
– 5 pet beds for donation
– 10 chemo caps for donation
– 2 swiffer covers (for me!)
– 1 swiffer cover for Mom (Christmas present)
– 1 swiffer cover for SIL (Christmas present)
– Knit a Sweater for the Man
– Knit Wingspan Shawl
– 1 pair spat warmers (Christmas present)
Woven Blocks Crochet Quilt
Navajo Indian Multi-Color Afghan (Birthday gift)

Room Shoes (Christmas gift)
Amimono Kimono (for me!)

Project List Items (done)
– 33 squares for SIBOL
– 1 knit/crochet cloths for Mom (Christmas present)
– State Fair Afghan
Dead Fish Hat (Birthday gift for DS)

Added Items (not started/in progress)
Striped Granny Bag (Christmas present for Rabbit)

Added Items (done)
(none yet)

———————
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.

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Roly Poly Fish Heads

The Dead Fish Hat is done!

It is my second finish for the week and I’m pleased to be able to announce it with a post on FO Friday! (I get to participate yay!).

I have to admit that this was a really fun knit. I don’t know if it was a combination of short rows then adding in color changes on a whim – THEN changing it up with adding in the fins and forming a tail – it was really a fun knit that didn’t get boring at all. In fact – I had a moment where I wanted to work on it rather than the beast-ghan. I have never enjoyed knitting this much… of course, maybe its because I was finishing up crocheting that beast of a blanket…. maybe I was ready for something different.

The hat was supposed to be for DC as part of his birthday present, which would be August 19th…. he’ll be 13. *sigh* It started out as a possible Christmas present then I remembered his birthday was only a few weeks away – lucky me!

But in the spirit of who I am and how bad I am with keeping presents until the big day, I finished it… and had it on his head after a quick phone call. I figure I did pretty well – a good 20 minute wait. That could be a world record of me having people wait.

He had it on his head immediately, flip flopping the tail around. It was all I could do to get a photo that wasn’t a blur of his face and the flying tail.

So – I think the hat is a big hit.

I’ll be honest, there are some spots that I see that I don’t like. I see where I messed up and I see that my color changes are totally smooth. I’ve never had to weave in tails on a piece I worked in the round. I’ve never done so many color changes before. There are even a few stitches/methods involved that I had never done before (thank you, YouTube) – but in the end, I think his smile is enough to say that he doesn’t see them. – its just me being picky … me noticing my crafting imperfections when in reality, they are undetected by others.

*nom nom nom*

If you are interested in other FO Friday posts, visit Tami Amis blog!

 
7 Comments

Posted by on July 27, 2012 in My Projects

 

Finding Comfort in Being Uncomfortable…

I am a serious education junky. I enjoy education and the entire process of learning – I like knowing… and I like figuring out how to know something.

Sounds weird but its true.

I started a new job path earlier this year, which is partially why I went MIA on this blog for a little. This job is 100% different than my previous job experiences. I welcome the challenge. I like change and tend to embrace doing something different – stepping outside my comfort zone.

But what I often forget is that this is not normal. People tend to attempt to avoid change – regardless of how inevitable it really is. I am reminded of this from time to time when I am met with resistance on new projects and procedures that I am embracing – and my work is a feeding ground for this type of behavior.

I work as a project manager (I hate that term) for Agile projects. I know – that makes no sense, but the idea is that change in software development can be embraced and can occur in very short iterations – usually every 2 weeks. So when change comes every two weeks, people who do not like change tend to never have “down time.”

Today I had some down time of my own since all my projects seem to be going relatively smoothly (*yay*) and I chose to watch a webinar recording from a popular site. The one I chose was about the Manager’s Role in an Agile Development Environment (sounds dry, was actually really good).

The overall topic was basically that PMs transitioning into agile environments are not alone in feeling uncomfortable and it was to encourage people to be comfortable even when a situation is normally uncomfortable. It was really a great webinar – very open and even I, a person who completely embraces Agile, found valuable.

So now that I’ve rambled for a few paragraphs, if any readers are still here – they are probably asking “What the hell are you talking about? What does this have to do with crochet?”



(c) icanhazcheezburger.com

 I’ve talked about this before – challenging yourself – trying something new. When a person finds themselves in a challenging situation, it is usually one of uncertainty because it is new. If it wasn’t new, why would it be a challenge, right? I believe people need to push themselves outside their comfort zone, even with crafting.

And I think today’s technology almost makes a new experience somewhat easy to transition into – Last night around midnight I was working on the Dead Fish Hat – and I got to the tail… and was faced with a new abbreviation “KFB” …. I had no idea what it was but knew I should sleep before attempting something new.

At 6am, I put my pop tart down at my work area and picked up my knitting. I also booted up my laptop and went straight to YouTube. I searched for “ktb knitting” and my answer was there – and it was spelled out for me. This “challenge” of a new knitting abbreviation turned into a non-event.

So now I’m asking myself “Cris, what in the heck are you talking about now?” because I really don’t know – but I know I just wanted to take from the positive feelings I got from the webinar recording and pass that on to you – and the message is easily translated to the crafting world.

So… what is the moral of my rambling story post?
Don’t back away from a challenge. It’s ok to feel uncomfortable when trying something new – and don’t make a mountain out of a mole hill…. In crafting, chances are that even if you don’t know what it is, you can easily find a resource in this great big world of the internet.

 

I was a good girl (or: Thank the Stars its D-O-N-E)

After posting a few hours ago about how I didn’t want to go weave in tails, I did take a trip to Wal-mart (where a single skein of yarn was purchased)…. and then I came home and was a good girl.

I began weaving in my tails and the more I wove in, the more I kept going. It wasn’t that I was super motivated – I did it because it was the right thing to do. I thought “oh, if I could just do 20 minutes” and then I noticed I only had a few areas with tails, so I kept going.

And – to my surprise, about an hour into the process, I couldn’t find anymore!!!

I had finished weaving in all my tails. I had the kids come and take a look too – a few sets of eyes JUST to make absolutely sure I didn’t miss any.

For those who are friends with me on Ravelry, I have marked the project completed and added 3 photos. For those who only read my blog, I present to you: the Great White Beast-Ghan.

It is big enough to cover a king size bed BUT it has not been washed or blocked yet. I must admit – I’m leaning against true blocking – perhaps just enough to get my edges straight across?

The blanket lays pretty straight on the bed….

I’m torn.

So – I have to say that even though it needs washed…. I’m marking it as done done DONE.

Construction complete.

I’m glad I was a good girl and did what I should have done and didn’t give into the temptation of working on something else.

Now… I’m going to go work on something else.

HA!

 

Bad Bad BAD big project person

I am sitting here with my belly full of a wonderful dinner compliments of the Man, knowing that I should be working on weaving in tails on the beast-ghan, but I can’t help myself….

I keep thinking of the dead fish hat.

I have to admit, the fish hat has been a wonderful mistress on so many levels. A different yarn, different colors, such an easy knit… and different. Oh so different than the ocean of white now lovingly called “The Beast-Ghan.”

I have plenty of excuses too…. like “I do better at weaving in tails when I have a movie in… the movie takes my mind off of it … and since you are playing Battlefield 3… I just can’t bring myself to weave in the tails” – yes…. I am using that one right now. The man is over there, trying to capture the flag for his team, and I’m whining about tails.

But I cannot work on the fish hat – my son, the recipient of the hat, is in the house. He’ll see me working on it. He’ll “know” what I’ve been doing.

….

I really should just go weave in the tails.

 

Year of Projects 2: Week 2

Project Percentage Complete: 32%
Overall Percentage Complete: 32%
Number of Project Items: 105
Number of Added Items: 0
Total Items: 105

Total Completed Items: 34

OK – blog laundry first – I added links to this project at the bottom, below the item list, for previous, first, and last post. I will update these with each posting so you can move freely through my posts IF you are interested in my journey through the year. Otherwise – I’ll count it as an exercise in cleaner blogging. *smiles*

I had two finishes in the form of SIBOL squares (2 of those) and one of the washcloths for my mother as part of a Christmas present.

ocean of white – tails slowly disappearing

The BIG news this week is that the Beast-Ghan is off the hook and I’m in the process of weaving in the tails. I have NOT figured out how in God’s green earth I’m going to block this bad boy – but I guess I have another solid week to figure it out. I am hoping to be able to report “all tails woven in” by next week’s report.

I got my tag in the mail this week from the State Fair people too. So – once its all ready, I just attach the tag and take it on August 5th. I’m actually pretty excited about it. Hopefully I do well – but I keep telling myself that regardless of if I win a ribbon or not, I still get a pretty awesome blanket out of the deal.

A few folks have posted comments/emailed me about the pattern I used and I will say that I used a pattern for the square but the joins and the border are all mine. I’m going to write the original pattern person and ask about doing a video tutorial of the joins and the border – but if I want to show how to do the square, I need permission. I can link you to the pattern, though, which is available for free via Ravelry (gotta be a member) – The pattern is called Topaz 9 Inch Square and was written by Susan Hinton. I will most likely do a review of this pattern (which is obviously favorable since I have made 80 squares with it and love the resulting blanket). I do not *think* I modified the pattern in any way but I make no guarantees simply because I have made 80 of them.. I don’t remember what I did 4 months ago when I started this project. I’ll have to sit down and really compare the pattern to what I did.

Of course I am not able to work on the beast-ghan 100% of my craft time because quite frankly, it is getting to me. I’m going to be so happy when its done, but I’m at that place in the large-project life cycle (I really should make a flow chart of that) where I want it done, I’m doing it out of obligation … out of principle, but I know that I will be thrilled in the end. BUT I’m not committed to it. I finished 2 small SIBOL squares this week and a knitted/crocheted combo cloth for my mother’s Christmas present. So, three relatively quick wins against the list for this project and a nice break from staring at the Beast-Ghan.

As soon as I’m done with this one though, I am thinking of getting started on either the shawl for Plum (2nd DD) for the fall or get a kick start on the round ripple. I have made an executive decision and am going to make this one for my grandson so it will be spider man colors with some surface crochet to trim. I’m really excited about this one and think it’ll be fun. I just have to plan out the color changes so it doesn’t look clunky. I’ve seen them done before and really think they look great – if you have a better pattern in mind for this (other than the one I have linked below) feel free to share it with me. I can use any pattern, I just happen to like how the points work out with the one. Besides, can never have too many patterns in the pattern vault, eh?

I must admit though, the Beast-Ghan has opened my eyes to making afghans again. I normally don’t make too many of them, but looking at my list – there is some seriously afghan-age going on. I have the spider throw, the quilt-ghan and the navajo indian blanket planned out. The spiderman ripple has to be done by Christmas. The other two could be given as birthday presents BUT  the birthdays are January and February. *laughs* So I know the navajo is planned for February. That one is for my brother. The other is for my first DD, who I will call Rabbit on the blog – boy, I sure hope they don’t start reading my blog now *laughs* They’ll know all the goodies planned for them!

So … I have a lot of blankets to make between now and February, so those will most likely be my focus beyond the shawl. I can use the other stuff as quick wins and filler work. I will not start on the sweater until spring – which will make it rather timely for Christmas (considering I’m such a slow knitter).

So… seems I have a plan…. now – can I stick to it?

probably not.

—-

Fish heads, fish heads – roly poly fish heads!

I typed everything up on Friday (I do believe) and here is an addition I am making on Sunday – yesterday I started working on the Dead Fish Hat for my son. Yup – as expected I could not stick to the plan. Heck, I forgot about the plan 20 minutes after I typed it.

Basically, I was sitting on the couch, weaving in tails and got extremely bored – so I thought “what can I do that I already have the yarn for” – and the fish hat came to mind. I grabbed some brown and the pattern and went to town. I have put about 5 hours total into the hat and am about halfway done. Obviously, you can tell what it is now so I can only work on it at night after my son goes to sleep. I want it to be a surprise for him – I’m not sure if I’ll actually save it for Christmas though simply because he’ll need a new hat this year and he might as well have the one he wants, right?

I think that I have only 2 spots where you can see the short row (one showing in the picture) and I am actually very pleased with my color changes so far. They are pretty crisp and clean. Now – I have to figure out how to anchor the tail and weave it in. Very easy with crochet – but I think it will be more of a challenge with knitting.

Project List Items (not started/in progress)
– State Fair Afghan
– 4 knit/crochet cloths for Mom (Christmas present)
– 17 squares for SIBOL
Dead Fish Hat (Christmas gift for DS)

– Shawl (gift for the fall/spring for DD2)
– Spidey-colored Round Ripple Lapghan (Christmas present)
– 5 knit/crochet cloths for SIL (Christmas present)
– 10 crochet knockers for donation
– 5 pet beds for donation
– 10 chemo caps for donation
– 2 swiffer covers (for me!)
– 1 swiffer cover for Mom (Christmas present)
– 1 swiffer cover for SIL (Christmas present)
– Knit a Sweater for the Man
– Knit Wingspan Shawl
– 1 pair spat warmers (Christmas present)
Woven Blocks Crochet Quilt
Navajo Indian Multi-Color Afghan (Birthday gift)

Room Shoes (Christmas gift)
Amimono Kimono (for me!)

Project List Items (done)
– 33 squares for SIBOL
– 1 knit/crochet cloths for Mom (Christmas present)

Added Items (not started/in progress)
(none yet)

Added Items (done)
(none yet)

———————
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.

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S’il vous plaît… dessine-moi un mouton

S’il vous plaît… dessine-moi un mouton

Translated as: if you would please…. draw me a sheep.

What is lost in the translation is The Little Prince asking for himself to be drawn as a sheep – which makes little difference to this blog (just something I remembered my French teacher talking about when we began to read this gem of a novella in French).

But then, you ask – “what in the world, Cris, does this have to do with crochet?”

Recently I was at a department picnic and asked to make a sweater, for some reason my mind went swimming back to my Junior year in high school, being lectured on the peculiarities and innocence of The Little Prince.


Earlier this month, our company was abuzz with talk of the department that was going to have a picnic for their team meeting…. and it was true – I was on that team and we were, indeed, going to go to a local park, have a picnic, have a meeting, and then have some fun. I thought it was a great idea, especially since the weather was going to be spectacular. Unfortunately, my hip was giving me problems, so I decided to take along my crochet so I could sit in the shade and enjoy the day.

As planned, we ate a fantastic picnic lunch together (there were 25 or 30 of us, if I had to guess) and then we had our meeting. After that, we were given the remainder of the day to enjoy the park. We were instructed that we had to stay there and spend time together for team building, but what we did was our own choice. Some took off for a walk (oh, I wanted to go with them so badly – but my hip was not going to let it happen), others went off to play frisbee golf. I sat in the shade and crocheted and talked to two other ladies. One woman took an interested in crocheting, so I handed her a hook and got her started. After a few minutes of instruction, she was well on her way chaining and single crocheting.

About an hour into it, one of the men on the team showed up and had his two boys with him. He was working from home and his wife was unable to watch the boys so he decided to come with them. It was cute – the boys really interacted well with the adults… but one of them migrated to me. He was barely 6 years old.

“I want to sew.”

That was his first statement to me. His dad tried to discourage him but BAH – make me a sheep, would ya! The pilot, who narrates the Little Prince, even said that “The grown-ups discouraged me in my painter’s career when I was six years old, and I never learned to draw anything, except boas from the outside and boas from the inside.” There was no reason for this boy’s dad to discourage him from “sewing” as he insisted on calling my crochet.

I sat him down on the bench beside me, dug out a size N hook, pulled out what I had been working on because I only had some of the white yarn being used for my state fair project afghan, and showed him how to chain. He was so excited! I held the yarn on the left side and he manipulated the hook with his right. His coordination wasn’t quite there, but that’s ok – we had 3 hands to work with… my two plus his 1.

He was excited with every stitch he made and as it got longer and longer he asked “I want to make something thick” – so we tied off the chain and I did my best to convince him to give it to his mom as a bracelet. I put a little bow on it and tied it off good. He was excited about that but came back again “I want to make something thick” –

something “thick”

So we did. Together, the three-handed crochet monster, made something “thick” which was basically him wanting to turn and do single crochet down the side of the piece – so it was wider than a chain.

His piece buckled and rolled under his hook. I did my best to hold it but it isn’t easy when the third arm doesn’t quite know what it is supposed to do. He took direction as best a 6 year old could – and this is what we had.

This is the point where I had to leave. I had to go pick my own children up. I explained this to him and he asked “but what if I get stuck?” and I said I didn’t know – his parents didn’t know how to crochet. I asked his dad if maybe one of the grandparents knew, but he said they did not. The boy looked so sad – but then his little face lit up.

faites-moi une chandail.

He placed the tiny piece of wadded up single crochet into my hand and said “make me a sweater.”

I said it was too small and he said “that’s ok – you can do it.”

Of course, I had to smile. It was cute. And then he said “you work with my dad so when you finish it, you can give it to him and then he can give it to me.”

He was so sweet and innocent – and it was a wonderful reminder as to why I crochet, how I was as a child learning to crochet, and why we should teach our youth the importance of art and crafting – of being self-sufficient.

I do believe I will be taking on the pilot’s attitude when drawing a sheep while making my sweater – only without the exhaustion of many failed attempts at drawing a sheep. I will be creative and create a tiny sweater for a key chain or perhaps a GI Joe – regardless of how, I will make it work.

“This is only his box. The sheep you asked for is inside.”

I was very surprised to see a light break over the face of my young judge: “That is exactly the way I wanted it! Do you think that this sheep will have to have a great deal of grass?”

“Why?”

“Because where I live everything is very small…”

“There will surely be enough grass for him,” I said. “It is a very small sheep that I have given you.”

He bent his head over the drawing: “Not so small that– Look! He has gone to sleep…”

And that is how I made the acquaintance of the little prince.

Be Creative.

 

My Etsy Store (or: a rant about the way of the craft-shopping world)


A’right readers who have etsy stores – I have to ask you… how well do you do?

This is probably more of a rant than anything and perhaps has no place on this blog – but I really don’t get it.

I have put things in my store on and off for well over 2 years and have only made a handful of sales, most of which is my dishcloth pattern booklet (3 patterns). My stats say I have sold 10 items… 9 of which are the pattern, 1 was a scarf.

Is there more to etsy than just listing your stuff? Do you have to drive people to your site? How in the world does a real crafter on etsy get noticed?


I’ve seen resellers get featured… I see people OBVIOUSLY selling items they bought from a store or are ordering from a store become super sellers on etsy – why? because they can buy a wedding dress in mass quantity for 100 bucks each, post a listing that says they are making them with a price tag well into the 1,000s….. and sell 40 or 50 a month… now, I don’t know about you guys, but that screams reseller. I can make wedding dresses – but I’m pretty sure I can’t crank them out quite like that…. and it doesn’t help that you can find the exact photos on teh interwebz showing that EXACT dress (and sadly, the same exact picture).

What chance do my 5 or 6 items have against that?

I think this is part of my love-hate relationship with the website Regretsy – I love that they feature truly hideous items that make you wonder “what the hell – who wants that?!?!” and its a good source of laughter. But Regretsy also points out that people actually WANT that crap and that resellers are more than just on etsy, they are taking it over.

Regretsy points out that a person who is talented and trying to sell actual hand-crafted items are going down the toilet as far as etsy is concerned. Regretsy points out the way of the world – head to Wal-mart and pick up a scarf for 8 bucks. Head to Pier 1 and pick up a mass produced painting for 50 bucks. Go anywhere but to the crafters and artists who hopefully can give you a better quality item made with higher quality materials – and fill their products with the love and passion they have for whatever the craft is.

But, as I said, I don’t think its just etsy. I have been to a couple craft shows and the crafters tend to walk away disappointed while the people with corporate made items do well (scentsy, dove chocolate, coffee people, avon, mary kay, pet products, etc) – people walk to walk up and get something in a box – something that has a ton of wrapping that will get tossed into a landfill for a product that most likely has chemicals in it and never saw the loving hand of any crafter or artist – just metal from the machines of the mass production line.

I don’t think I’ll ever become independently wealthy from my crafting or art (trust me, it would be nice, but its definitely not expected!) – but I think what crafters and artists are wanting is a general respect and value placed on what each does – to be given a venue that is not overran with resellers or mass production items. Even craft shows are becoming invaded by these items.

Now, I do have something somewhat negative to say about some of the crafters and artists of the world – I understand your time is valuable… truly, I do. And I know how expensive materials can be – but there are several people out there that are truly OVER PRICING (all caps warranted) their items and turning off the general public from hand-crafted items. I have witnessed a grapevine wreath (8$ at Hobby Lobby) covered in silk flowers and glitter poorly glued/applied to said wreath with a price-tag of over $100 dollars. Looking at that item, there is no way it took more than 30 minutes to make and the cost of materials was well under 20$. I have witnessed a person using a skein of Lion Brand Chunky Fast yarn and a size S hook – make a scarf in less than an hour… single crochet only – and try to sell it for 40$. I have seen a person make a ruffle scarf using the new yarns that cost approximately 7$ per skein (depending on brand) – and sell it for 20$ … and get 2 or 3 scarves per skein…. and they only take 30 minutes max to make.

Over-pricing your items isn’t helping anyone. Most shoppers look at the item and go “hell no” and walk away. People get a bad taste in their mouth if that is the first thing they see if they are actually out shopping for hand-crafted items. They see the first booth and think “yowsers – I can get that from Wal-mart for 10$” and won’t stop at another booth of similar items.

Crafting and art will never get you rich fast, so trying to do so by thinking “well, its easier to sell 5 items at $20 each rather than really taking my time and pricing things appropriately to time and effort and materials – which will take me longer to make more items and sell at a lower price” –

Now, I know I know I know – time is a critical factor here. I know how long it takes to create things. I know what my time is worth to me – but how many people in this world who have a full time job actually get paid what they feel they are worth? Seriously? I know what I make a year and I can break it down to an hourly wage and I can tell you – no one is going to pay that much for a scarf, let alone what I’ve seen some people charging for them. As much as I hate to say it folks, expecting someone to pay for a scarf based on the salary of someone working for the Federal Government as a top notch scientist who just found the cure to the common cold and won the Nobel Peace Prize isn’t going to get you far. (no, that’s not what I do for a living LOL). You are competing with machines and companies that can buy their materials in serious bulk.

WOW… where in the world did this rant come from? eesh.

Perhaps the moral of my story is not to put too much stock in what goes on at Etsy and try to work beyond that – custom orders and making sure I price things appropriate for me and hope someone takes notice over the people who seriously overprice items similar to my own.

 

Contribute to the Whole

Those of you who have read my blog for a while know just how much I adore and value the friendships I have built through my local yarn group.

In the last month, I was brought in even further – I become part of the whole both figuratively and literally.

I have always been a person that used my ability to crochet (and more recently knitting) as a means to supply myself with household items, create gifts, and create items for people or animals in need. I wholeheartedly believe in charitable crafting – I always have and I know that in the end, I always will. I am sure a large monetary donation is appreciated, and probably preferred, but the truth is I’m not in a position to be able to give the money I would want – I cannot donate like others… but I can donate my time and I can definitely donate my crafting abilities. Even better – I don’t have the time or schedule to accommodate volunteering my time at the location – but through crochet, I can make the items to fit my schedule and get them donated.

But that’s not why I’m blogging today (although you wouldn’t know it from the soap box I just got off of). Today – I am here to thank my friends from yarn group for including me in the whole. I will warn you now… this may be a little long because my emotional response to doing this was much greater than I had ever anticipated it to be.

Until the last 60 days, every charitable giving item and gift I have made has only been made by me. I have never crocheted or knitted on a group project. In the last 60 days, I have done this twice – and when it relates to a friend in need of prayer, there is nothing more special than praying your heart and soul into something and giving those prayers, along with the prayers of 11 other people to a friend…. in the form of a prayer shawl.

This prayer shawl was created over the course of a week and a half or two weeks… it was approximately 6 feet long, not stretched! I don’t remember the yarn… I don’t remember anything about the materials.. I remember sitting with it in my lap, praying for peace, comfort, and love for my friend who lost her dad unexpectedly.

I was the last person to work on the shawl so for me, I was the first person to see the shawl and feel the power of what it represented as a whole – 12 of us total worked on it. I opted to edge in crochet simply because I am a terribly slow knitter. The body was worked in garter stitch – the colors chosen and the sparkles… those are for our friend – THOSE were for her, something she would love.

I finished the shawl and washed it… looked at it – admired the representation of love and friendship.

It was powerful for me. Even more powerful was the moment she opened her gift at yarn group. She knew she was loved.

I am going to admit something – I have always had this “thing” about giving crafted gifts to a person who does the same craft. It is a bit negative – but in that moment, that moment when her gaze set upon the prayer shawl and she knew that we created this for her – those ideas melted away.It was a shawl… literally – but what it stood for figuratively was so much more.

The second item we as a team worked on was one that represented the happiness of bringing new life into the world.

We meet in a store that has a coffee shop – and in that coffee shop are some of the nicest people you will ever meet – and they sure know how to take care of us!

Well, when the young lady gave us an opportunity to craft by getting pregnant (surely that’s the only reason she did it), we took the call to arms seriously!

The expecting barista is a tad bit unconventional so we decided to go with a nice red color for the baby blanket. It started out with the intent of being a normal sized baby blanket, but as you can see – the baby will be able to take this bad-boy to college. We ended up with 12 squares from 11 people (I believe… could be wrong) … all were to be 12×12 but they blocked to 14! Couple that with an inch join between squares and a good 4 inch border…. and you have yourself a big baby blanket!

I will admit I was a little nervous about how this was going to come together (it was actually the first project I worked with a team to complete – not the shawl) but when D- pulled it out of the gift bag, it took my breath away.

So there you have it – it was something new for me to participate with others to coordinate and craft a single gift – but in the end, both turned out amazing.

Moral of this blog: you should always consider gift giving and charitable crafting as an option with your abilities BUT if you are ever in a position to work with a group towards a single crafted item goal – do it. Its worth it.

 

Year of Projects 2: Week 1

Project Percentage Complete: 30%
Overall Percentage Complete: 30%
Number of Project Items: 105
Number of Added Items: 0
Total Items: 105

Total Completed Items: 31

I am very well aware this isn’t the actual week one but I swayed back and forth between calling it week three or week one. If I called it week 3, someone may wonder “what in the world happened to the first two weeks” … by calling it week one, that means I’ll only end up with 51 weeks…. either way, it doesn’t much matter – I have 105 items selected to complete in the next 51 weeks… and this week, I can say I finished none of them!
Oh dear!
Wait… let me go count my SIBOL squares….
GAH – only 31.
And ya know…. did I count that 50 in the total items to the list rather than 1 item…  – let me adjust that overall number again! 31 complete of my total list.
That felt good. Of course, that’s only a jedi mind trick – its the only time this list will jump significantly in percentage because I had them done and only needed to report them for the first time.
Now… dear readers – those of you who have followed this blog since early this year know of “The Great White Beast” or commonly called my state fair project – I should be finishing that last row of the border today… if not today – then tomorrow….. so I give you the first recorded picture of the epic-ghan… a picture of me sitting with it in my lap – working intently to complete.
You can see my feet resting on the cat scratch toy… remotes on top of that along with my scissors. This was taken well after 5.5 hours of straight crocheting on the border – 5.5 hours for two rows.
This afghan is a BEAST!
It is not a throw. It is not a lapghan -… it can cover a twin size bed. Wait – it can cover TWO twin sized beds. It is that big.
I have turned in the application for the state fair – that was mailed in earlier this last week. The next step for getting it to the fair is getting the tags in the mail and then delivering the ghan on August 5th. BUT I have a lot to do between now and then.

I have just under 30 days to complete the project and to do that I have to finish the last row (which is reverse single crochet.. a stitch I hate so I’m not sure why I chose it *face palm*) and weave in all the tails. On top of that – I need to wash it and find somewhere big enough to block it. 

closer shot of the Beast-Ghan
The back yard… on a tarp maybe?
I have a feeling, in the end, 3 sheets of plywood and about 200 nails are in my future.

Project List Items (not started/in progress)
– State Fair Afghan
– 5 knit/crochet cloths for Mom (Christmas present)
– 19 squares for SIBOL
 

– Shawl (gift for the fall/spring for DD2)
– Multi-Colored Round Ripple Lapghan (Christmas present)
– 5 knit/crochet cloths for Mom (Christmas present)
– 5 knit/crochet cloths for SIL (Christmas present)
– 10 crochet knockers for donation
– 5 pet beds for donation
– 10 chemo caps for donation
– 2 swiffer covers (for me!)
– 1 swiffer cover for Mom (Christmas present)
– 1 swiffer cover for SIL (Christmas present)
– Knit a Sweater for the Man
– Knit Wingspan Shawl
– 1 pair spat warmers (Christmas present)
Woven Blocks Crochet Quilt
Navajo Indian Multi-Color Afghan (Birthday gift)
Dead Fish Hat (Christmas gift for DS)
Room Shoes (Christmas gift)
Amimono Kimono (for me!)

Project List Items (done)
– 31 squares for SIBOL

Added Items (not started/in progress)

Added Items (done)

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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.

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