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Sometimes, you Just Have to Start Over

19 Apr

The title is so froth with possibilities. But I’m going to focus on one (maybe two).

As you can tell, the last couple of days with my blog have been a little weird. I decided to scroll back to a basic domain and presence here to refocus what I want to share and how I want to create. I want to be more intentional.

The last year has been one full of change, experience and long to-do lists. I’m grateful for the shift in my life, it’s much needed and eye opening. Because of new life demands, this means my creative endeavors must be more focused – which I think will be a good thing. It means deciding what’s important enough to spend my time on and not just another project to keep me busy. Before, I wanted to make everything that came to my mind and share it with you. Not so much now. I still get these brain worms that won’t go away. But instead of just tackling them I think, step-back and tinker. I hope you like the new direction.

A pile of once was.

A pile of once was.

Which brings me to my first share: complete projected frogging (You know, rip the whole thing out? As in countless hours are all wound up in a big ‘ol pile?!). It’s not as horrible as it reads. Yes, from me, the one who got over perfectionist tendencies to accept a project for the beauty they are without being exact to the pattern. But have you ever been 95% done and just didn’t like the way it looked? I used to finish and be proud of the end result, which is still a good thing. But there are times I want to enjoy my projects more, not just live with it when I know I could do better. I finally did that the other day – twice.

Yep, I was making the Triangle Cowl 2.0 and was on the finishing row, 1/4 of the way done and told myself, “Nope, those 15 mistakes are gross, you can do better. Don’t just finish for finishing’s sake.” Undone it went. Then, I was tinkering with a table runner design idea. It was looking ugly and I was not gonna persevere. This was all within a couple of days of each other. And oddly enough, I wasn’t freaking out about it. Sometimes the process and refining a skill is more than upping the number of completed objects in your Ravelry project page.

 

Santa’s Little Helper

14 Dec

I have bitten off a lot this year and racing to the finish line. Not only am I making six handmade knit/crochet projects. Are they easy? Oh, no. I have a pair of socks, a shawl and a six-foot blanket on my docket. Yes, all that and more, and I’ve finished 2.5 of them. It would be 3, but I’ve been tinkering. I have like a week and a half left, right? No problem!

Well, it gets better. On my list are about 50 handmade Christmas cards. Yep, FIFTY! I have about half of them done. Will I get to the full count? Probably not.

But oddly enough, other than adrenaline stress, I’m not freaking out. What will get done, will get done and those who get – BE GRATEFUL!

So, if you’re making holiday items enjoy it. It’s ok if they don’t work out, it’s ok if they’re not perfect. The gift of yarn is awesome – tell them it’s an investment for their mental health future and to take up yarn crafting.

Needle Felting Repair?! I’m so on this!

2 Nov

Hello peoples, 

I know I’ve been away for a while and October didn’t give you nearly the number of posts I normally do in a given month. Two words “work” and “Sandy” amazing how those two things can really throw a monkey wrench in life. But I’m back and I found a lovely little tidbit on Pinterest (I was curious, it had been a few days, what had I missed?) that I have share and I’m excited to try!

I just got a few holes in a few of my store-bought sweaters and was thinking of figure out how to recycle the yarn, but then I came across this post on sweater repair from KnitPicks. While I still might recycle my yarn (the sweaters don’t fit so well anymore), it’s nice to know there is a way to  salvage those precious woolen knits. 

Now I just have to buy a needle felting kit and some roving yarn… This could be dangerous. 

Stay safe and warm and gather supplies for the next storm for the East Coast – a Nor’Easter! I’m not kidding, get more supplies because next week is also going to be a doozy. 

Yarn Farts – Kinda Like the Brain Ones

2 May

Well my yarn peeps. I kind of feel like I’m letting you down.

“Why?!” “What do you possibly mean?!”

I wanted to write another post last week and then have one fresh and ready yesterday. I have ideas but I haven’t gotten around to finishing the projects…

20120501-233801.jpg

Lace, so pretty it sucks you in.

It’s like this: I’m not really trying anything new right now. I feel like I don’t have much to add to the blog I try to keep fresh and insightful; however, I’m having a lot of fun re-using patterns. I don’t normally re-make the same thing, but with my Etsy shop I’ve had some success posting similar items. Also, I want to revisit some techniques to get better and more proficient.

Right now I’m making a leaf lace scarf and revisiting the concentration that is the dainty knitting project. I have to count EVERYstitch and follow the pattern like a TelePrompTer. Not easy – but challenging! Now I know why it’s worth buying the completed delicate knit items from stores. But then I know what the third world workers feel like… It’s an internal conflict.

20120501-233833.jpg

It's a start! But SO slow.

Also, I’ve been kind of busy making items for the procreated. What’s with everyone having babies?! I don’t like to make baby clothes, so I tend to make blankets or booties – again, takes time and/or concentration.

Not getting stuck in a rut is important, but I’m reassuring myself it’s ok to revisit a skill – like perfecting a game level! Ok, watching seasons of “The Guild” on Netflix was a mistake for this non-gamer.P.S. Going to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend. MUCH will be written about that adventure.

Back to my lace sweat shop,
-Stacy C

Keep Your Headband on, it’s CROCHET!

6 Feb

That’s right, folks, I finally have a crochet post for my yarn peeps! (Don’t get too noisy with your cheers, Susann Marie doesn’t know, yet – and I don’t want her to ruin the party!) This started out as a knitting blog, but I’ve always wanted to be more inclusive of all yarn crafts – the biggest being crochet (stop boo-ing, Susan Marie!!! :-p).

Flower headband

For several years I’ve wanted to make more flowers from my yarn. I’m a girl, I like flowers, why not make more in my knitting? Well, if you haven’t figured it out by now, there are a LOT more flower patterns with crochet than with knitting. Who knew flowers were needle biased?!

Anyway, I wanted to start exploring more classy yarn jewelry patterns after my successful knit-braided necklace and decided I had to branch into crochet if I was going to be a yarn crafter of chic creation proportions. I found Headband with Flower by Creativeyarn and I thought, “simple and sleek.” I made this pattern with Knitpicks’ Wool of the Andes in Cranberry.

The headband is pretty simple, it’s just three chains connected at the ends. You simply single crochet at the beginning and end of chain two and three to connect them so it’s easy to tie it at the back of the head. Perfect project for the new (or relearning) crocheter. I barely knew what I was doing and was able to figure it out. For those yarn crafters who can chain until the day is long, now you know what you can make!

NOTE: For the absolute beginner, I highly recommend this video and her subsequent beginner crochet instructional videos. Watch these before you continue on with this project.

The instructions for the flower were a little difficult to understand (she’s Italian and there is something lost between translation of language and European crochet shorthand). Here’s what worked best for me when someone helped me get it:

The slip stitch is a little weird if you’ve never done it, check out this video. For those who need to know where you are on this crochet map, at this point, you have done “hole” for the flower.

Crochet Flower

Round 1, chain three, then you double chain another 15 by using the hole as your row to dc (double crochet) into. At the end of round 1, you’ve completed the inner circle and should have 16 stitches. (Congratulations, you’ve made it passed the inner circle! :-p)

Round 2, double chain in the same “space” you just slip stitched, then you double crochet 2xs in the same “space” between each dc you previously made before you move to the next one. You should end with 32 stitches. At the end of round 2, you’ve completed the second circle.

Round 3 is pretty self explanatory. At the end of round 3, you’ve completed the “links” between the second and third circles.

Round 4, you are making the petals. When you single crochet (sc) into the previous sc, you’re giving the petals their concave shape.

Well, reader, I’m feeling pretty good right now about not only finishing a super cute, functional crochet project, but also able to go back and explain what I did. This was as much for me to go back and remember as it was to help you. Hope you enjoyed it and are able to make plenty of flower heads for people to wear. More crochet entries to come!

Now, back to work on my darn, endless blanket! (A blog post for next time)

-Stacy C.

Dirty Bathroom Secrets

16 Jan

Every wonder what your bath mat would look like on your table? Neither have I, but I decided to take this pattern and make it a table runner instead.

I took the “Everyday Bath Mat” by Lisa Mason from her book “Yarnplay at Home” to make a table runner for my friend Staci’s (please note it’s not me, she spells it wrong :-D), then, upcoming nuptials. I did my standard and let her pick a pattern from

Beautiful Wedding Present

several to choose for her wedding gift. I was actually supposed to make “Georgetown Table Runner” from the “Yarnplay” book. Well, I had to improvise when it turned out I ordered the wrong book, but she didn’t know – at least she didn’t until she read this. How can you blame me for buying the wrong book? The titles are really similar and there weren’t any table runners in the book I ended up buying.

I was desperately looking for a similar pattern to “Georgetown” and thought, “I can make ‘Everyday Bath Mat’ work, so what if it WAS supposed to go on the bottom of the bathroom floor?!” I took my pound (really it was 710 yards, but it’s really big) of Bernat  Cotton Country Colors and adjusted the pattern to only have nine of the 13 knit/seed stitch repeats. Then I intentionally went off book to make it longer. Note, you use the double strand method (knit with two strands of yarn) with this pattern, so if you’re planning on making something really long buy another skien. I could have made this longer if I bought another skein, but at this point, I decided it was a table top runner instead. (Something about ordering your yarn before you look at the pattern.)

You could also adjust the repeated rows down to six and make it narrower and longer. As you can see, it’s really easy to have fun with this pattern, even if it was destined to be a train wreak, and make a multitude of simple projects using the core of this pattern.

Side story about blocking this project – it sucked using conventional methods in a humid climate during summer. I tried wet blocking (for the last time) and it did not work out so well. It ended up smelling musty in the towel after a couple of days, so I washed it (all the while worrying about colors running, but it’s variegated, “Who cares?!” I reassured myself) and ironed it – twice – to get it that nice, flat shape. From that point on, I only iron-block my projects.

I don’t know if anyone else has had as many battle scars from a knitting project and still made it work. I’m sure there are funny stories out there of failures, but I need to know more of these success-failures. THAT needs to be a knitting book!

On the Bride's Table

All these patterns that you will end up with something awesome at the end, no matter what! Oh, yeah. I’m gonna take down pattern comments and try to fail and end up succeeding – if I don’t have a break down first – then write a knitting best seller of the compilation!

Going to finish my blanket that is a repeat of this story,
-Stacy C.

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