Monday, November 21, 2016

Crafting for home

I think I have had a revelation this week.  I have been trying to work frantically on items for Christmas, and have made some progress, only to have it undone because I didn't double check.  Eh, such is life.  So I will have to knit a little longer.  But here is what I have started thinking about - instead of trying to start a business, or work on a business, while homeschooling and trying to live with my in-laws, I should start working on my home.

About 20 lifetimes ago (or what seems like 20 lifetimes), I received a copy of a pattern book for a quilt with cross stitch squares.  At my ambitious 16 year old level, I decided that I was making that quilt before I got married.  Yeah, that didn't work out quite the way I thought.  I still have that pattern, and all the materials to make it.  Or at least make the blocks.  The rest of the quilt needs to be purchased, but if I can get all the cross stitch squares made, I'll be doing good.

I also started this quilt earlier this year.


I have most of the blocks cut, and am hand sewing them.  I am not using a machine, not to be old fashioned, although I like that idea, but mainly because my sewing machine doesn't work well and getting one out that does work well is too much trouble.  I have this picture in my head of a large basket full of handmade blankets under a table in my house.  I love the idea, and plan on this next year working towards that.  I have tons of yarn to knit or crochet a few, and I also want to use up a good bit of my stash, if I can find it.  Working through all the stuff we have in storage is a large job, and one that I need to devote more time to, if I can get some assistance.  Unfortunately, that assistance isn't always easy to come by.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Oh wow

This past week has been filled with...well, let's just say it's been full.  Nothing major here on the homefront, but since Tuesday everyone has been tense.  Wednesday provided even more tension, and it continues.  I am not a horribly political person.  Don't get me wrong - I care.  I vote.  However, I have never been one of these who watches with bated breath any speeches, addresses, or takes a proactive role as a citizen, other than voting.  I will voice my opinion when asked, but usually keep it to myself, as I have friends of all leanings and I like to keep it that way.

The thing that shocks me the most is the complete shock of everyone.  No one has ever seen the underdog take the lead?  Isn't that where most great stories get their plot?  I am not comparing Donald Trump to a superhero, make no mistake.  However, this should teach everyone a lesson about the media that we all say, but few really believe.  You can't believe everything you hear.  Did we all forget that lesson?  I guess we did.

Something that bothers me is how much people are bemoaning this whole situation.  I see so many people on social media lamenting the choice that was made.  More than that though, I see people fearmongering the whole thing.  As if in 4 years under one man's leadership will turn the clock back 200 years and start slavery again, take the vote away from women, and stop people from expressing themselves.  That is a bit extreme.  Do we want unjust, devisive attitudes to end?  Of course we do - but that includes the devisive unjust attitude that he will be a poor leader.  Do we want to quell the freedoms that we have so richly enjoyed to end?  Of course not - but that includes allowing everyone to express their opinions as we express ours.

I just got through with a discussion on Facebook with a friend about racism and people expressing it.  His point was that racism is wrong, and cannot and should not be trivialized, as if it were no more than a flavor of ice cream.  I agree with him.  Racism is wrong on multiple levels.  However, my point was that the freedom of speech that is in the Constitution and has been defended throughout our nation's history includes those who would express such sentiments.  Unless it encroaches on another's rights, or endangers them, then those who are narrow-minded and unjust have the right to say it and make known their idiocy.  I wholeheartedly agree that you should treat others as you wish to be treated, and that if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all (which is the main reason I keep my mouth shut a lot of times).  However, not everyone follows these rules all the time.  Do you?  I know I don't, despite my best efforts.  Sometimes I get angry and say something I shouldn't.  Sometimes I don't put myself in someone else's shoes and I do something I shouldn't.  That's being human.  But those people who say inherently mean things to others still have that right.  They do not have the right to harm them, or harass them, but they do have the right to hold an opinion and express it, and should be able to do so without fear of some police force breaking in and putting them in jail.  To do so then inhibits all our freedom of speech.  Once you start with "no racism" speech, then it becomes "no sexism", "no ageist", "no anti-anything" speech.  It is a slippery slope once you start down that road.  I am still not defending the attitude or the actions that usually accompany it, but I am defending the right of everyone to be able to speak their mind, as we all do, whether anyone else agrees with us or not.

And you know what?  Silencing them isn't going to stop their attitude.  All that does is breed hate and resentment, knowing they cannot express their feelings.  This is how shocking things happen, like Columbine.  Instead, we should have a dialogue.  Don't rail against those negative attitudes - instead, ask why.  Why does that person feel that way?  What caused them to think that about a group of people?  Sometimes what people really want is some attention and some understanding.  I'm not advocating a "touchy-feely, everything is permissible" environment, but I do think sometimes just as a small child will pitch a fit in a store, sometimes we get so busy we ignore people and signs of cries for help.  On Facebook, it's called "trolling" - when you say something to get a rise out of someone and see who will take the bait.  In my day (man, that makes me sound old), it was called "being stupid" and usually got you punished by your parents (in my case, that was a spanking).  But now we are surrounded by so many things reaching for our attention, we don't focus on the people around us, but the technology.  And at the end of the day, everyone just really wants a bit of attention from someone else (I have seen a lot of behavioral issues in children dissapate when someone pays them more attention and makes them feel important - I think adults would respond *mostly* the same way).

As for the election, we all can agree that the system doesn't work the way we'd like.  Pitting "us" against "them" isn't going to solve any problem.  Realizing that is the biggest solution.  Was either candidate perfect?  Not hardly.  Personally, watching the campaign trails was like watching a farcical satire of our political system.  I thought only a playwright could create such caricatures of people - but it looks like we as a nation can create them as well.

Let me just say - I did vote, but I did not vote for either major candidate.  Therefore, I have nothing in this fight.  The Yarn Harlot wrote a post here about this and I think she is right - realize that just because someone voted for one candidate or the other doesn't mean they agree with everything the candidate said.  Maybe it was one issue that a person voted their conscience on and couldn't imagine voting a different way.  Maybe someone voted simply in hopes that history would be made (it was, no matter which direction you voted - unless you voted for a third party).  Maybe it was along party lines (there are still those who will only vote for a certain party, unless the candidate isn't viable to them, in which case they don't vote at all - I know of at least one person like this).  The point is that instead of blaming or bemoaning the way things turned out, make your world a better place and not wait on the POTUS or the government to do it for you.  Reach out to someone in need.  Show love and mercy to all you meet.  Treat others the way you want to be treated.  Stop blaming and screaming bloody murder, and speak kind words.  And if you can't think of any, then just don't say anything at all.

On the knitting front, I have almost completed one Christmas gift.



The pictures weren't great, as they were inside.  It's getting chilly these days!  I love it.  The cable needs to be stretched out a bit on these, but I like it.  The yarn is English Ivy by Sweet Georgia Yarns, in Tough Love Sock and the pattern is based on Sea Wall from the Cascadia book by Tin Can Knits. 

Once I am done with this pair, I have 2 more pair to knit up and a vest to make.  I may make a 3rd pair of socks, but we'll see how timing goes.  I hope to get each of the other 2 pairs done in a week each (super fast knitting!) and the vest I hope will get done this weekend, or shortly thereafter.  I was hoping to get some sweaters done for the kiddos, but I don't know if I will have time to get them done as well.  If not, the sweaters will follow just after Christmas for them.  It is already getting cooler and we may be in for a colder winter.  Have you made enough to bundle up in, or are you still working on your woolies? 

Friday, November 04, 2016

Moving along slowly

I really want to spend my time doing nothing but crafts.  Unfortunately, my little ones are not yet self-sufficient for me to spend as much time as I would like doing that.  And that's okay, because these days will fly by all too quickly.  I started on the front of Little Man's sweater, and I think I am getting the hang of the intarsia.  I lock the grey yarn around the blue yarn one stitch on either side of the design.  It seems to be working to keep holes from showing up.  It also helps keep the yarn loose enough that it doesn't pull.

The socks are also coming along well.  I have finished the leg and heel flap of the first sock, have turned the heel, and am now decreasing the gusset.  I also tried them on my sock sizer, and they fit well too.  I think he was a bit jealous, as he asked if they were for him.  Little does he know that I have some yarn waiting in the wings for him for Christmas.

I am also trying to look forward and prepare for this month a little along.  I have some things happening at church this month, and next, and am trying to plan things out so everything gets done with plenty of time.  The only thing I am behind on is food at the moment.  I had hoped to get some baking done before now for the 13th, and only have one thing done.  I still have more time to finish up, but I don't want to be in a hurry.

Sorry for the lack of pictures today.  The past week has been horribly busy, which has made me horribly tired, and sometimes I can't get it all together.  Next time I promise!

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Patterns to update

I just started looking at some old patterns that I had written, and realized that all I really need to do is clean them up a bit, put in some good pictures of the finished objects, and then I can make them PDF files and upload them to Ravelry for sale.  Not too shabby, really.  I also have to find the finished objects to take pictures.  Or, I could just follow my own directions and make those items again and test my own patterns.  That might work too.  And since I'd be working on designing, I might get inspired to design a few more things, and write better patterns.  There - now I have a goal for next year.  I wish I had time to do it this year, but unless I stopped cooking and cleaning and sleeping and taking showers, I don't think I'll have time to do that plus all the stuff for Christmas and daily things.  But then again, who really needs sleep? *grin*.  Here is a picture of the back of Little Man's sweater:


I have actually finished this, and started on the front.  I also have made a little progress on the socks.  It is slow going, as I don't make as much time as I should to knit.  I am going to have to change that, as the holidays are quickly approaching and time is running out.  If I don't make more time, the gifts won't get done.

Speaking of gifts, I have been racking my brain about what to do for my father. I have made him gifts in past, but I never get any feedback.  I wish he would tell me that things worked or didn't work for him, but I don't hear anything.  Does anyone have any suggestions?  Should I continue to make him something, or just buy him something?  I know some of you don't knit for gifts for the holidays, but I am at a loss for him.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Happy Halloween!

I finished the poncho on Tuesday, except for the details.



I have to weave in the ends and add buttons, but one Christmas present done!  Other progress to be shown:


Little Man's birthday sweater back.  I have done the shaping for the armholes, and am working towards the neck and shoulder shaping.  It has been a long time since I did a sweater in pieces.  I like the speed that you feel like you make once you make it so far on one piece.  Then you realize that you have another half to do, plus the sleeves, and suddenly you don't feel so great anymore. *grins*


Ah, the Christmas socks for my brother.  I don't know that this comes through very well, but the color is English Ivy from Sweet Georgia Yarns.  It's in their Tough Love Sock yarn, and I love the rich green color.  The patter I am using is Sea Wall from the Cascadia book, but I have modified it.  The pattern originally calls for a 1x1 ribbing all around the sock.  I don't think my brain can handle that much right now, so I made the back of the sock stockinette and kept the cable.  It's much faster for me, and my brain can handle it.


There are more socks to make for Christmas, but for now, these are the ones on the needles.  I have at least 2 other pairs, and a vest, so hopefully I can whip them out in the next few weeks.  At least one of the pairs of socks will be plain, so that will be easy and fast.


Life is crazy at this time of year, but I hope you make time for yourself and your loved ones.  Enjoy the season and the beautiful weather.  Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Crochet, my first love

I learned to crochet ages ago, when I was about 8.  My mother handed me a book, some yarn, and a hook, and I proceeded to read the directions and teach myself.  I haven't always crocheted; I had a time when embroidery was my thing.  Mostly that was due to a lack of access to yarn and patterns.  What 10 year old wants to crochet a baby blanket with whatever acrylic yarn could be found at a big box store?  I didn't want a large project like a blanket, I wasn't going to have a baby at 10, and the patterns all were rather boring.  Fast forward about 13 years, and I started looking at sweaters in stores.  I loved the knitted fabric, and couldn't stand to pay the prices for them.  I could make one, I thought, if I only knew how to knit.  I had taught myself to crochet, so surely I could teach myself to knit.  And I did.  But I still love crochet.  There is something immensely therapeutic and meditative about the rhythmic hook and twist motions.  I have since discovered better yarns, and worked on a larger hook, they drape very nicely.


This is the poncho for the Princess for Christmas.  It is missing the collar, which has been terribly troublesome.  I love the way this looks and feels.  I used a worsted weight yarn, and an H hook, which is normally big for that weight of yarn.



The yarn is Encore, and it's nice.  I know it's relatively cheap, and that is partly the point.  The poncho is not only seasonal, but also a fashion piece.  And it's for a child who is growing like a weed.

I splurged a bit more on the birthday sweater for Little Man.





This one is Cascade 220.  I like traditional workhorse yarns for the kids' sweaters.  It helps them hold up.  Not that my kids are rough on clothes...they really aren't.  Staying at home most of the time provides that luxury of not usually having worn out knees or elbows.

Speaking of yarns, I think I would like to start a new endeavor.  There are a lot of farms up this way, and I know of a couple of alpaca farms.   I need to see if there is a mill up this way, and see what I can work together.  It might be fun to create a new yarn.  If you have any thoughts or suggestions, please leave them in the comments.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Crochet and more

I am feverishly working on Christmas and Etsy store items.  What Christmas and Etsy store items, you ask?



This is my own design, for an earbud case. I have several colors, and all will be listed soon (like in the next 2 days or so).  I am also working more on this project:


This is the front and the beginning of the back of the Little Girl's Poncho pattern from the Crochet Winter 2016 magazine.  The magazine is from the Crochet Guild of America, which I joined this year.  I am surprised that this project is not in Ravelry.  I will add it, in my notebook, but I'm not sure that any of the Crochet magazine patterns have been added, which is a shame.

I hope to get the Master Crocheter's program, and get that going just after the holidays.  I would also like to start a crochet guild up where I am, as it appears there are lots of crafters around, but no guilds.  It's not like you have to have one; most of us crafters do just fine on our own.  However, it would be nice to see the demographics from around the area.


I finished the Speckled Scarf from Purl Soho yesterday, and had a model for it.   I'm a bit biased, but I think she's one of the most beautiful models in the world.  She also wanted to knit, and tried desperately with needles and yarn, but wound up drumming with the needles instead.