From Scarf to Cowl and Shark Attack Socks

It is with a heavy heart that I must say….I FINISHED THE DAMN SOCKS!  Yay!!!  I was working on those so long that I felt I was in a bad relationship.  Say bye-bye to the shark socks – woohoo!

With that out of the way, I could focus entirely on my scarf.  I was so excited to finally work on a pooled crochet project.  If you saw my last entry, you know how keen I was to be doing this.  It was going to be the prettiest scarf, ever, with tassels and everything.  When I finished with the first skein, I was figuring out how to join the two yarns so that the color sequence remained the same, and discovered that in order to make the match, I would have to pull not from the center but the outside.  I unwound the factory skein with my yarn winder so the correct end would be used.  Ok, so I can be funny that way; I just didn’t want to be pulling from the outside as it always causes trouble later on!

As I successfully joined the yarns, I had to blink my eyes several times because, oh crap, the colors weren’t the same hue.  In my haste to begin with this beloved project, I failed to check dye lot numbers.  Goody.  I had already unwound the new skein, so there was no returning or replacing it.  Double goody.  What do you do when this happens?  You check how it fits around your neck and make a buttoned cowl, or neck wrap, which was no easy feat considering the pattern I was trying to keep; but, I persevered and got ‘er done! Ta-da!

I will be making a scarf next, and I will be checking the dye lots!  I will also be using a different technique to see how that goes.  I’ll let you all know.  In the meantime, behave!

See you in the funny pages.

 

From Rug to Table Runner; OR, I Didn’t Buy Enough Paracord

Sometimes I remember things or objects from my youth that have literally been forgotten for decades.  One of those bits of flotsam and jetsam that recently floated across my consciousness was the rag rug from my childhood we had on our living room floor.  The colors were drab and muted, very utilitarian in nature; however, put on the old wood floor, it really fit.  Around 1975, my mother decided she’d had it with her young daughters cleaning the floor by using Pledge and creating a dangerous, slick surface for her stockinged feet – don’t do it! – and she had the standard gold shag carpet installed.  Goodbye wood, goodbye rug.

Flash forward 41 years, and here I am, wanting to make a rug similar to the one from my childhood.  This transmogrified into wanting to make an outdoor rug for our new deck; a rug that wouldn’t require washing and was durable.  I’d read somewhere that it was possible to use paracord for certain crocheted objects and the said material could be purchased at a craft store.  Without further thought or research, I did just that.

I purchased 120 yards (really?) and a more ergonomically friendly size “N” crochet hook.  With only a vague notion as to how I should proceed, I powered through it.  I’ve done enough crocheting through the years to improvise, even though I’m not a big fan of it.  As you can see, the yardage fell far short of the imagined rug, but at least it made it outside.  It’s sturdy, a bit rough on the hands, but it will last quite a long time out in the elements.  My family was so impressed by this little place mat that now they want me to make a bigger one.

Will I?  Yup.  But later.  My fingers got callouses from this!

 

The Wonderful Thing about Tiggers…

Yea…this post has nothing to do with A.A. Milne’s wonderful creations…

2016-03-31 17.59.19I’ve been having trouble with my FB page.  It appears that I can’t properly access it, because I’m still in my personal profile.  Is this happening to anyone else?  I am a huge fan of progress and improvements to my digital environment, but I sometimes the changes that are effected feel like they are done just for the sake of change.  I got enough damn change in my life without having to deal with superfluous modifications that don’t actually help!

Ok.  Rant over.  I promise.

I hope everyone had a great Easter.

For myself, my latest and greatest pattern still sits atop my yarn tray, still unfinished. Something that should have been done in 3 days max. My problem? I am sooo not in the mood to crochet! I want to knit!!! And you’re probably thinking, Grow up!  Just knit something or pick up the damned hook and finish this alleged wonderful project so you can knit!  (Umm….I hope you’re not really thinking that.)  I don’t like more than one project going because it starts feeling too chaotic, but in instances like these, my whole creative process gets in a bottle-neck because, again, I refuse to have too many thing going at once.  Oh, well.  It’ll be done, I’ll show it off, and on to the next one!

Do you have any rules about your crafting?

The Smell of Gasoline and the Stress of Not Knowing

All right, you guys: fess up. I am not the only regular, non-whiffing human who really enjoys that first sniff of gasoline when it’s being pumped into the tank.  You know, that first little hint, and then it become overpowering and you’re done.

My heinous secret!
My heinous secret!

I’ve told others of this, and I’m always looked at askance, like, “Ahh…that explains it!”  For all you smart asses out there, it’s not a recreational thing, I don’t huff/whiff/whatever, because it’s something I’ve honestly never thought of doing, even if it wasn’t illegal.  Yuck.  Even when I was a young hot-head looking to experiment with mind-altering…uh…experiences, this was never an option.  Ever.

And I cannot be the only one who has this olfactory quirk.

So what does this have to do with the stress of not knowing?  Well, it’s a tenuous connection at best, but I know that whenever I’m fueling my car, I can always expect that little, secret pleasure.  As fun and/or miserable as life can be with all its whacky twists and turns, it’s nice to know that if, in a
very particular circumstance, you do a, it equals b, not f or qx!

As for what I’m stressing on, in my last post I said we had pulled out of escrow on one house because a house I really wanted had come back on the market.  We were one of two bids on the house, and we didn’t have any contingencies, they did, and we were waiting to hear back from our realtor.  We were fairly confident that our bid would be the winning one and were mentally re-designing the kitchen, which colors the walls need to be painted and in general talking about what we’d need to do to make the house really slick and cool (you know,when you first move into a new house and you have all these great ideas, and only 10% of these go through as planned!)  Imagine my surprise when the next day our realtor called to let us know that the other offer had been accepted, even though it was a lower bid, because they wrote a sob story about their children needing a home.  Son of a b…well, you know.

The owners of the house I’m currently renting are really cool.  As a former home owner and landlord/lady/whatever, myself, I have always kept them abreast of what is going on, especially with the house hunt, because it’s a good thing.  And not only that, Staci has some of the most photogenic children I know, and you’ve probably seen them modeling my stuff in earlier posts.  She has been a sympathetic ear throughout the process, but she didn’t know that the amount we qualified for had been raised, because I didn’t think it was worth mentioning.  So when she heard of my latest disappointment, she texted me back and said, “I wish you could just buy the house!”  After several back and forths and all sorts of other stuff that would bore you, we are know in escrow to buy the house we’ve always wanted from the beginning, the one we’re already living in and loving.

With our track record going here, I’m on pins and needles.  I expect something to be too much, such as insurance.  Homeowners insurance here is quite dear, because we’re right in the middle of the forest during one of the worst droughts in California history and summer brings a rash of forest fires that puts one on their toes during this time.  This is included in our monthly payment.  That’s what is worrying me.  I have several insurance agents searching for a not so god-awful expensive policy.  I am keeping my fingers crossed!

As for my knitting, I’m plodding along at a snail’s pace, snatching what time I have to do a couple of

Figuring out how long to make the ears and how to place them.
Figuring out how long to make the ears and how to place them.

rounds and then regretfully, putting it back in my yarn satchel.  Yes, I have a yarn satchel for my WIPs, don’t you?  Even though this is a relatively easy knit, because I’m making so many modifications to the original pattern, written by Cassidy Clark, it moves very slowly.  Backing up, doing knitting math, and seriously trying to envision what you’re going after.  These take time.  Hopefully, I will have a bunny wabbit that looks somewhat cuddly.

See you in the funny pages!

 

Why one shouldn’t change a vision midway through a project

I had grown tired of crocheting so many items.  Crochet is a wonderful thing.  What I like most about it is that a project, even a larger one,

So sturdy it stands on its own!
So sturdy it stands on its own!

moves way faster than knitting.  But I love knitting, because I like what you can make with it.  And I love the feel of the needles.  However, I do have a schedule of projects, believe it or not, and knitting just didn’t show up in any of these.  (Since then, I have modified that.  You’ll see!)  Anyway, with a relatively clear idea of what I wanted in mind, I started out making a hat.  The yarn wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but we’d make it work.  When I’m finished with the brim, I get a brilliant idea.  Hey – why don’t we add some seed stitching for interest?  Sure, why not?  A few rows after that, I’m jonesing to try out my new cable needle/hook, and I think, Let’s throw some cables in here!  Sure, why not?

This hat does not merit a glamour shot
This hat does not merit a glamour shot

I can almost hear the knitters out there, sighing in dismay.  Yea, yea.  I did it.  Good news, though.  My husband adopted this very warm and still wearable cap because his job takes him over Donner Pass, and in the winter, at night, it’s brutal.  Also, he’s alone so no one can see it  LOL!

Sleeper

When growing up I remember all tomatoes were red, all lettuce was iceberg, Oscar Meyer bologna was king, and white bread, enriched with vitamins and minerals, was good for you.  Then in the 80’s, we started hearing about cholesterol, both high and low-density lipoproteins, saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, (no, trans-fat wasn’t in the public consciousness yet!) and carbohydrates.  There were other buzzwords circulating at that time, but I won’t belabor my point….too much.  If you all remember, carbs were king and feeling the “burn” while you exercised was the only way to go.

sleeper
Love this house! I think it’s somewhere in Arizona.
woody-allen-sleeper
He always knew how to make use of his – ahem – less than attractive face.

I’ve used the title “Sleeper“, a great Woody Allen movie, because the nutrition information seemed to jive with what is happening today.  The main character is, without his consent or knowledge, put in cryogenic sleep because something went wrong during a routine surgery he was having, and wakes up to a dystopian world 200 years in the future.  He is awakened to find cream pies, cigars and cigarettes are considered to be healthful.  In one scene, Woody is panicking because he’s been told the reason why he was thawed (you have to see the movie!) and one of the doctors who was responsible for bringing him out of the freeze, lights a cigarette and hands it to him, telling him to take the smoke deep into his lungs.  Hahaha!

My point?  Eat what YOU want, exercise in a way that makes YOU feel good and get all the sleep YOU need.  Just be certain to maintain a weight and state of health that makes YOU feel good.  You’ll know you’ve hit the spot if you aren’t prescribed a crapload of maintenance drugs to stay alive because you’re overweight and don’t exercise.  Oh, wait – that sounds like me.

Excuse me, I think I’ll go make myself a bologna sandwich on white bread…

A Week into the Crochet-A-Long…

…where I appear to be the only one engaged in it! LOL No matter. I’m making something I want and I just wanted company.  I have finished the blocks and am now working on the face features.  It is SMALL.  The title should have been more along the lines of “Pumpkin Face Towel” or “Pumpkin Face Baby Blanket”!  I hadn’t really planned on using it heavily, so this fits in with my interior decorating scheme called White Trash Bed and Breakfast look.  On the plus side,  I’m going faster than I had anticipated, so if you’re on the fence about joining in with me, here’s the pattern link.  I guarantee it won’t mess up your Christmas projects schedule as it has taken me so very little time to get where I am now, and I haven’t been going full-speed on it.  In fact, as you can see by my video, I’ve even had time to trash a square and still be this far.

Talk to you all later – mwah!

Fashion trends and project ends

I had a good quick read finding out that hats will be the new IT for next year!  For those of you who will be working the craft fair scene this is good info.

http://blog.lionbrand.com/2013/12/23/knit-and-crochet-and-yarn-trends-for-2014/

DSC_0012-1 - Copy
Casually laid out.
DSC_0011-1 - Copy
On the hanger, trying to look important!

On the other hand, I finally finished my sweater.  After all the anxiety, the hair-pulling frustration of an oddly written pattern and plain old time and energy spent on this one project, it came out way too big even for the oversized fit I was expecting.  I had to think carefully about what went wrong, and it wasn’t long before I realized that between a pattern of a beautiful sweater written by a novice and my well-meaning-ed modifications, the project was doomed.  Well, not doomed.  All but one of my alterations was actually good for me.  What brought my hard work to a marginal product was the size of needles I used.  The author called for such small needles to work worsted wool and my propensity for slightly tight tension led me to believe it would be wiser to use larger needles for the same results.  The gauge swatch was close enough, so I carried on.  Obviously, not close enough when applied to a much larger area of finished fabric.  Oh, well.  I’m throwing pics of my finished behemoth and the link to the pattern.  I would advise using finer gauged yarn than she recommends!

http://www.abc-knitting-patterns.com/cgi-bin/cart/store.cgi?action=link&sku=1006

The Apron is Finished

This is only the beginning!
This is only the beginning!

So while my wrists were taking a break, my scalp was taking a beating….because I was pulling my hair out in frustration!  I am one of those kind of learners that requires making a handful of mistakes before getting it right.  And this time was no different.  First, I purchased the material and the pattern about 5 years ago.  I remember taking it home and trying to lay the tracing paper correctly over the material to cut out the pieces.  That didn’t work.  I had to take it back to the local Joann’s and find out how to do it.  When the clerk told me how (this is one of those small town Joann’s where the employees know what they’re talking about, contrary to the one I frequent now) to lay out the tracing paper.  That little trip took all the steam out of the project and it sat on various shelves – we’ve moved twice since then – until earlier this month.  Thank goodness I remember what the clerk told me!  So, away I went.  And without looking at the pattern itself, after much agonizing over the instructions, I finished.  Notice the craftsmanship, the colors,…the upside-down dog pattern!  I honestly thought it went both ways, so I paid no attention to it.  But you know what?  I want to make more!  More!  Love it!

Next, cool owl mittens!

What next?

Julia Child Was Wrong!

I always rinse and pat my chicken as she advised, and I clean up my kitchen with Lysol wipes, bleach spray and comet out the sink.  I’ve been doing it since I started cooking, along with millions of others.  I’m still alive and kicking.  It seems to me that if something ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  In this case, which is the “fixed” and which is the “broke”?