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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Balancing my Yarn Addiction, Knit One Double Crochet

Year of Projects Post Info And
Day 7 of the challenge Post
Crafting Balance
Are you a knitter or a crocheter, or are you a bit of both? If you are monogamous in your yarn-based crafting, is it because you do not enjoy the other craft or have you simply never given yourself the push to learn it? Is it because the items that you best enjoy crafting are more suited to the needles or the hook? Do you plan on ever trying to take up and fully learn the other craft? If you are equally comfortable knitting as you are crocheting, how do you balance both crafts? Do you always have projects of each on the go, or do you go through periods of favouring one over the other? How did you come to learn and love your craft(s)?

KCBWDAY7(use this code in a google search to find all who participated in this day's blog challenge)

I am bi-linqual, I speak both knitting and crocheting. I learned both while very young. I learned to knit from my Mother, and to crochet from a friends Aunt. I made one item using each skill when I initially learned. For years didn't do either again. Then crocheting came back into my life...big time. Hubby was working full time and going to school, and while I was also working full time, I had ........time on my hands. Since I decided I should do something with those hands, I once again began crocheting and that's all I did for years. I became pretty skillful and confident with has, scarves, blankets, afghans and the like. I crocheted Christmas gifts, wedding gifts, baby shower gifts and more.

There was no balance. I was in fact, resentful of those who knitted. They seemed a bit upity I thought. Wasn't uncommon to hear someone say, "oh ..you don't knit, you just crochet". Pattern books for knitting far and away out numbered pattern books for crocheting. There seemed to be a prevailing feeling that only Old ladies crocheted, and all they crocheted were doolies, doll clothes, and toilet paper roll covers.

That has all changed. It is no longer only old ladies who crochet, and those who crochet make wonderful wonderful items for themselves and their families, as well as for many charities. Then the fiber world offered such wonderful varieties of soft luscious fibers, that knitters and crocheters came out of the wood work. Both skills were being taught to men and women of all ages. It became "cool" to possess either skill. Battle lines between knitters and crocheters became a thing of the past.

When big fat knitting needles and fun novelty yarn came into vogue, I once again picked up knitting. I think some fibers lend themselves better to one skill then the other. Each has it's place. Knitting takes more time, generally speaking then crocheting, and uses less yarn. Crocheting seems to bother my arthritis a bit more then the knitting does, but I always have projects going representing both skills. I like to have a project that's a pick up and go item...often scarves, which can be either knitted or crocheted; along with a larger more complicated item that really can only successfully be worked on at home. Generally the big item at home is an afghan which is always a crocheted project; as I assemble afghans for charity (please see my blog, Bridge and Beyond) , from donated knitted and crocheted squares from around the globe. Additionally, I might have a more complicated knitting pattern with something that involves counting stitches and rows constantly....I do better with that home, where I can knit without interruption.

Balance between the 2 crafts, isn't the problem I have. I find I need balance between the knitting and crocheting for charity vs making something for myself or family members. Somehow, I always push aside the item I purchased special yarn for myself in order to make something I deem more important for those without.

I've shown you many of the crocheted afghans I've put together from donated squares in the first challenge post about color, HERE. The above picture is an afghan I made specifically from many different patterns for my great nephews arrival into this world. Just thought there should be a picture here for you all.

This concludes the blog week challenge......whew. Must give some thought whether to participate in this challenge again next year if it happens. Thus far, it's been lots of work with pretty limited participating; that's been disappointing. Wondering how the rest of you feel?
Day 1 Challenge Post 3KCBWDAY1
Day 2 Challenge Post 3KCBWDAY2
Day 3 Challenge Post (wild card) 3KCBWDAY3 3KCBWWC
Day 4 Challenge Post 3KCBWDAY4
Day 5 Challenge Post 3KCBWDAY5
Day 6 Challenge Post 3KCBWDAY6

YOP, literally no change. I've knitted and crocheted; but everything I've worked on was something not on my list. Between traveling, and blogger not working well (scheduled posts not posting as they should), playing catch up both here and in life...I've really nothing to report. However, if you click on Day 2 challenge you'll see one item I finished, likewise Day 5...those post show 2 of the items I've been working on.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Skillset Satisfaction

Improving Your Skillset
How far down the road to learning your craft do you believe yourself to be? Are you comfortable with what you know or are you always striving to learn new skills and add to your knowledge base? Take a look at a few knitting or crochet books and have a look at some of the skills mentioned in the patterns. Can you start your amigurumi pieces with a magic circle, have you ever tried double knitting, how's your intarsia? If you are feeling brave, make a list of some of the skills which you have not yet tried but would like to have a go at, and perhaps even set yourself a deadline of when you'd like to have tried them by.


I am comfortable with my skillset for the most part. The important thing to me is being able to knit and or crochet for charity. I don't have a need to make amigurumi or intarsia. I make basic items, that need to be sturdy and warm; not fancy made with intricate stitches or high end fibers. I'm always knitting or crocheting when people are talking at lunch at work, or when the TV's on, so sticking to things that don't require enormous amounts of focus or concentration works best.

I guess I am perhaps more goal oriented then task driven. The goal is to make items for those cold and in need without a roof over their heads vs spending time practicing learning new things. There are times I'll set aside me-quiet time to work on something for my Darling Daughter or myself, or perhaps a special gift. I do try to stretch myself some in those moments; but it doesn't drive me. I sometimes feel guilty though when I do that. I've knitted simple lace and would like to improve on that skill using finer yarns. But, that takes time away from my primary goal. Likewise, I'd like to try my hand at socks; but always find a charity project to work on instead.

I elude to this difficulty in balancing in tomorrow's Blog Challenge Topic.

As a general statement I would like to improve my skill enough to be more comfortable working with finer yarns/fibers; but beyond that...nothing really specific. I'm pretty comfortable knowing I can accomplish my goal with my current skills and being satisfied works for me. That however doesn't stop me from being delighted to see someone with skills superior to mine.

The most I've stretched myself with regard to doing different stitches was the making of the above afghan for my DD's best friends wedding gift. I had some moments of ripping out and of being frustrated; but wanted something special for her. She and her husband loved it.

I have some special yarn I purchased on vacation to make something different for myself and my daughter, but ...it sits in the basket. Perhaps, since the wedding was about this time last year, it's once again to devote some me quiet learning time.

Day 1 Challenge Post 3KCBWDAY1
Day 2 Challenge Post 3KCBWDAY2
Day 3 Challenge Post (wild card) 3KCBWDAY3 3KCBWWC
Day 4 Challenge Post 3KCBWDAY4
Day 5 Challenge Post 3KCBWDAY5

Friday, April 27, 2012

Metamorphosis and Air Miles

traveling dog yarn
Voting Here for your Favorite Challenge Post
pst...see how easy I made it for you
Something A Bit Different
(this is also a FOF post, see badges and links in left sidebar)
It's back, and this time it has the most amazing of prizes (look for the prize for 'most creative post'). This was a massive success last year, and for many it was the highlight of the Blog Week, so this year you are challenged, again, to find a new way of blogging.
This is an experimental blogging day to try and push your creativity in blogging to the same level that you perhaps push your creativity in the items you create.There are no rules of a topic to blog about but this post should look at a different way to present content on your blog. This can take one of many forms, but here a few suggestions:
  • Wordless, photographic post
  • Video blog post
  • Podcast
  • Cartoon/sketch of an idea
  • Write about a subject from a different perspective (for example, you could write about a day in the life of a knitted sock from the point of view of the sock).
  • Interpretive modern dance (why does someone always suggest this?)
  • A poem or piece of rhyming verse
  • Stop motion animation
The grand prize for Knitting and Crochet blog week, as donated by JenACKnitwear and Fyberspates will be given to the most creative blog post after a nomination and voting round, and due to the immensity of the prize it is really worth putting bit of time and effort into this. At the very least you will get an amazing blog post out of it.

3KCBWDAY5 (use this code in a google search to find others in day 5 challenge)

Allow me to introduce myself. As I travel, a metamorphosis takes place. You see when I started my life somewhere in a laboratory, I was but chemicals. I traveled to New York to the Lion Brand Yarn Shop and became a 6 oz skein, 185 yards of fiber. My label read 98% acrylic and 2% polyester.

My infancy stage was spent traveling through the US mail was from Joyce's house in New Mexico to Sandy's house in Ohio. That was a long necessary journey before my next stage could begin. Paired with size 10 knitting needles I traveled from Ohio to Florida on Southwest Airlines where more metamorphosis took place, stitch by stitch, and row by row. Growing with each mile more changes taking place. My return flight from Florida to Ohio was the final stage of my traveling metamorphosis. Being Dog tired, I can now rest, as I'll be wrapped around someone's neck to warm them at a homeless shelter.
lion brand blue scarfThe yarn was donated by Joyce, I made the scarf(just folded it to make it look like a dog above for fun), it will be donated through Bridge and Beyond.

Day 1 Challenge Post 3KCBWDAY1
Day 2 Challenge Post 3KCBWDAY2
Day 3 Challenge Post (wild card) 3KCBWDAY3 3KCBWWC
Day 4 Challenge Post 3KCBWDAY4

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Summer, Spring, Winter or Fall is the Time

A Knitter or Crocheter For All Seasons?
As spring is in the air in the northern hemisphere and those in the southern hemisphere start setting their sights for the arrival of winter, a lot of crocheters and knitters find that their crafting changes along with their wardrobe. Have a look through your finished projects and explain the seasonality of your craft to your readers. Do you make warm woollens the whole year through in preparation for the colder months, or do you live somewhere that never feels the chill and so invest your time in beautiful homewares and delicate lace items. How does your local seasonal weather affect your craft?

3KCBWDAY4 (use this code in a google search and find other blogs for day 4 challenge)

The short answer is it doesn't. Living in Ohio, we have far more cold weather then warm weather. Much of the spring and fall, while pretty can be cold, wet, windy, and light weight items generally aren't going to get the job done. Add to that, my charity knitting and crocheting for the homeless and that they really need warmth. After all, many are living outdoors, or at the very least spending a good deal of time out in the elements. They may not need mittens, hats, scarves and the like in the middle of the summer; but I continue to work on those items as do those who help me so we're prepared when the winter turns ugly again. It can do that over night...pouf.

I do try to not make one piece afghans in the heat of the summer so I don't have something hot and heavy on my lap. I nudge hubby about turning on the air conditioning if the temps are hot enough the yarn is sticking to my hands and not easily sliding off the hook or knitting needles.

It does perhaps influence the colors I work with a bit. For example these 2 afghans to be will not be worked on til it's seasonally appropriate.
Day 1 Challenge Post
Day 2 Challenge Post
Day 3 Challenge Post (wild card)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Traveling in my Time Machine

Your Knitting Or Crochet Hero
Blog about someone in the fibre crafts who truly inspires you. There are not too many guidelines for this, it's really about introducing your readers to someone who they might not know who is an inspiration to you. It might be a family member or friend, a specific designer or writer, indie dyer or another blogger. If you are writing about a knitting designer and you have knitted some of their designs, don't forget to show them off. Remember to get permission from the owner if you wish to use another person's pictures.

3KCBWDAY3 (using this tag in a Google search will take you to others blogging on this topic)

This topic bothered me. I couldn't put the words hero, knitting, and or crocheting together. Why? Here's the definition I found on Google.
noun, plural he·roes; for 5 also he·ros.
1. a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds or noble qualities.
2. a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal: He was a local hero when he saved the drowning child.
3. the principal male character in a story, play, film, etc.
4. Classical Mythology .
a)a being of godlike prowess and beneficence who often came to be honored as a divinity.
B.(in the Homeric period) a warrior-chieftain of special strength, courage, or ability.
c.(in later antiquity) an immortal being; demigod.

With that in mind, it just didn't seem appropriate. I often feel that way when I hear a sports announcer say that about a football player. A hero in addition to above is fireman, policeman, or someone in the military that puts themselves in harms way to protect others. It seems to me calling others hero's diminishes the power of the word for those who truly are.

And so I'm throwing in my wild card.
Craft Your Perfect Day
Plan your fantasy day with your craft, It might just take up one hour of your day or be the entire focus of the day, but tell your readers where you'd love to craft, whether you'd craft alone or with friends, knitting or crocheting something simple or spending a day learning new skills.

3KCBWWC (using this tag in a Google search will take you to others throwing out their wild card)

time machineI'd like to travel backward in a time machine. I'd like to travel back to the fifties to Marion Ohio and visit the lady who had the crochet shop in her cellar next to Meister's Drug Store. She hand hand made items for sale, dolls, capes, crocheted hangers, afghans, little infant sweater and hat sets and more. She had yarn for sale and a few crochet hooks. I loved visiting this little store. The woman was awesome and very sweet. Thinking back, I can remember riding my bike to the drug store that was right next door. Then I'd buy a gum ball or something equally as small; knock on her back door and she'd let me come in and look. She never seemed bothered by the fact I wasn't and or couldn't buy; but she let me look until my hearts content. I'm sure I interrupted her doing dishes or cleaning, as she often had on an apron over her house dress. I'd love to let her know I remember her, even though I don't know her name. I'd love to share with her my love of the craft and items I've made. I think she might enjoy knowing, the sweating little girl that bothered her grew up and uses her crafting skills to help others. (f you're new to my blog you may not know to what I'm referring. I have a charity blog, Bridge and Beyond). I'd like to spend some time crocheting with her. What a perfect craft day that would be.

After chatting and crafting with above nameless lady, I'd hop back in my time machine and visit BooBoo, my friends aunt who taught me how to crochet. I blogged about my bee-u-ti-ful mint green dollie here. I'd also like to ask BooBoo, what her real name was. lol We kids called her BooBoo and I never knew what her real name was. No one is still alive that knew that I can ask.

Once more in my time machine I hit warp speed in order to get home in time for cocktails to share my special day with hubby.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Martini, Shaken not Stirred.

Martini 1Photography Challenge Day! (day 2 of our week long challenge)
Today challenges you to be creative with your photography, and get yourself in with the chance to win the photography prize. Taking interesting photographs in this instance isn't about flashy cameras or a great deal of technical know-how, it's about setting up a story or scene in a photograph and capturing something imaginative. Your photograph(s) should feature something related to your craft, so that might be either a knitted or crocheted item, yarn, or one of your craft tools. One example of setting a scene would be to photograph a girl in a knitted red cape walking through the woodlands with a basket of goodies, as in the Red Riding Hood tale, or you might photograph a knitted gnome hiding among the flowers in your garden. Photo editing is permitted for competition photos. Here are a few examples of my own photographs to illustrate an imaginative use of photography, but you can do much better than these...

Please vote HERE

3KCBWDAY2 (using this code in a google search will help you find those blogging today on this challenge topic)

The mystery surrounding who made the first Martini continues; but there are several accepted stories. A Martini is a cocktail, originally made with Gin and Vermouth according to Wikipedia. Through out history how it's made has changed based on financial considerations as well as geographic locations within the United States. Though, when and where may be up for grabs (the two coast fighting over whom gets the honors), there is no question that a Martini is in fact a U.S. invention.

Bitters were probably used before the more popular Vermouth took it's place. Small amounts of Dry Vermouth rolled around in the glass towards the countries of France and Italy and then dumped became popular. Both of those countries had large numbers of Vermouth Distilleries thus the direction of the rolling.

James Bond popularized The Vodka Martini when the quote, "shaken not stirred" in Goldfinger caught on. Vodka changed over the years to include flavors which the T.V. series, "Sex and the City" took advantage of. Personally, the sweet sissy Martini's aren't my style; but they are quite popular.

A Dirty Martini uses Vermouth and Vodka "shaken...not stirred" and served in a chilled Martini glass with gourmet olives, such as these filled with Blue Cheese (my personal favorite).

Martini 2The Martini Cotton Washcloth even has olives (see the holes). This fun pattern is courtesy of my new found friend, The Martini Knitter. I plan to knit more of these and was pleased with the outcome. I tend to like larger washcloths, but apparently my knitting gauge is lose enough that her 5 inch cloth became almost an 8 inch cloth for me using size 6 knitting needles. I used Lily's Sugar'n Cream Tea Rose. Wondering if the pattern might show up a bit more in darker solid. Somewhere along the line I got off 1 stitch, but the only place I see it is the skewer that holds the olives. Didn't feel the need to rip it out to fix it. I like how there's a good space between the top of the glass and the cloths edge on top, and might add several rows to get the same effect on the bottom the next time I knit one; as I think the bottom of the glass gets a bit lost with the border. The border is made with seed stitch, not a stitch I enjoy doing, so might try substituting good ole garter stitch next time round. Thank you Sarah for your inspiration and for sharing your pattern. I used a 2.5 oz 120 yard skein and had 1.3 ounces left, so if you knit a bit tighter then I do; you could probably make 2 cloths from one skein.

Remember, it's "Five O'Clock SomeWhere", get your Martini on. You might enjoy this Martini Post to help get you in the mood.

With the seasons changing, it's time to think about getting out and about, and keeping the kiddo's who will soon be out of school engaged. Please check out my new blog (just started yesterday), Flat Stanley and Friends.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Colors Speak to Me

This is the first time I've participated in the special week long blog event dedicated to knitters and crocheters. Though it's the 3rd year the activity has been going strong here on internet. There are prompts, one for each day, a tag which you'll see below. The tag gives us a special method to find each other doing a google search. Pretty cool. Since this is a first for me, thought I'd give the prompt below:

Color Lovers

Color is one of our greatest expressions of ourselves when we choose to knit or crochet, so how do you choose what colors you buy and crochet or knit with. Have a look through your stash and see if there is a predominance of one color. Do the same with your finished projects - do they match? Do you love a rainbow of bright hues, or more subdued tones. How much attention do you pay to the original color that a garment is knit in when you see a pattern? Tell readers about your love or confusion over color.

3KCBWDAY1 (tag)

Colors speak to me, loudly I might add. I don't own a white blouse or a beige dress. Doesn't that statement speak volumes about how I like color! I have always been drawn to bright, bold, cheery colors and find white, and beige without personality at all, and very very boring. As a child my Mother told me I dreamed about colors, apparently out loud. I would talk in my sleep saying I wanted the red one, or the yellow one and things along that line.

The first item I crocheted was a bright mint green Dollie. It was crocheted using a bright red plastic crochet hook. My childhood best friend's Aunt taught me to crochet, no doubt because I was driving her nuts. She was as round as she was tall. In retrospect, I don't think she had good mobility, as I almost always saw her in a rocking chair. I was mesmerized watching her crochet. I'm sure that first project was lov-er-ly. That lov-er-ly Dollie that had no purpose was a gift to my Mother. Wonder whatever happened to it?

The first item I knit was with multi-colored crayon/Mexican looking yarn and became a little scarf. My Mother taught me to knit. See, even back then I was drawn to bold, bright and cheery colors.

And let's not forget the bright Pink (not pastel) Octopus I made with a Styrofoam ball and braided legs to decorate my bed.

I knit and crochet and carry my love of color to almost every thing I craft, even baby items are rarely made from light pastels, or worse yet personality lacking white and beige. If you look through these blog of items made, both for myself and those for charity you'll see a rainbow of colors.

When purchasing yarn, generally I see a color I like then decide what I might want to make. My stash is full of bright, colorful goodies waiting to be something bold and pretty.

skein of yarnThis skein of yarn reminds me of that first scarf, though I believe my yarn back then was a bit brighter in color. That memory made me smile as I opened the box this donated yarn was in. It was donated through my charity blog, Bridge and Beyond that focuses on helping homeless.

Color......even when dictated by others (ie the squares which are donated)are turned into bright, cherry........bold. These are some of the afghans I've assembled from the donated squares through my above charity blog, Bridge and Beyond. Did someone say Color?

Royalty GhanRose GardenRed BrickThis and ThatMother Earth

Pink BlocksPink PetunaRainbow BrightKaledioscopeLittle Princess

Got BrownBontiful HarvestJewelsAutumnGemstone

Colorful BlocksBlue BurgundyBright BlocksBaby Boy Blanket

**most afghans pictured above can be clicked on, should you want more details it will take you to the blog post**

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

It's all about Blue

Blue Feather and Fan Knitted Scarf is growing. Not yet used the first cake of yarn. Will have to see how big/long it is when I finish using the first cake to decide whether or not to continue with the 2nd one. It might actually be large enough. Dress scarves I tend to like a bit shorter, might not want to double up around the neck since it's lighter weight and dressier?
A quick no think'em project. Straight garter stitch, continuing the blue theme. Knitting a nice wide scarf for Bridge and Beyond from donated yarn.
Blue-ish cotton (Lilly's) will be a washcloth. Pattern is a scallop...really haven't done more then cast on, work a few rows, frog, switched to different needles for row 1 again....Might have to purchase another pair of needles, different size, believe I need size 7 vs 8 in above picture.
And yes, my bike is a work in progress. This Blue Schwinn Breeze dates from 1968-1972, according to the Schwinn website. In fact, this particular blue bike was made in June of 1971, according to the chart I found using it's serial number. I've not had the bike that long, bought it when my DD was in grade school in a garage sale. We used to ride alot. In fact, I even packed the basket with my Welcome Wagon goodies and my rounds using this very bike. Yes, I am dating myself....I was a Welcome Wagon Lady for several years. The bikes been in the garage and or the shed. We pulled it out, I washed it and used chrome cleaner and it looks pretty darn good, considering. Peals are rusty, as it the chain area. Hubby says he'll get around to cleaning and oiling that part.......sometime. I wanted a more cushy seat and hand gripes so we purchased those new and they are installed.
Then I decided it would be fun to have a spedometer and ordered one of the cheaper ones on line through Amazon. Gotta love Amazon. This baby tells how far I went, how fast I was going, time of day and average speed etc. How fun. Gotta get in shape and so had just gotten back from a ride when I took this picture. Road to the grocery store 3.5 miles and hit 11.6 miles an hour, lol. The work in progress is me getting in shape, and hubby oiling it to make it work better. Stay tuned.

Work in progress Badges and links in left sidebar.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Bouncing my Beach Ball

Beach Ball is finished! Right now it's bouncing around in the washer and will soon be laid out and blocked. Here it measures about 49 inches, but will grow probably 1-2 inches during blocking.

I used the Winter White and the pink in multiple rows around the edge and was thrilled to find the right color of turquoise in my stash to add several rows of it to the border...finishing with a fluffy ruffle.

My check my designed stash to see what afghan to work on next. As always, this afghan will be donated to Homeless Families Foundation through Bridge and Beyond.

I've continued to work on my blue lacy (feather and fan) scarf also. Making wonderful headway with it, though may put it aside and switch to something else for awhile.

Hubby and I had a lovely Easter Brunch with my 2 brothers and their wives, and my Dad today. Hope you all had/have a wonderful Easter Sunday. Sun's out bright, and I would like to take a bike ride, but believe it's too windy for my legs to push against it.

Happy Stitching all, Year of Projects Posts in the tab across the top of the blog. The Badge and link available in the right sidebar. Please join us.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Sandy's Sunday Projects

Beach Ball isn't finished, but it's close. I had hoped to finish it yesterday; but took time out for yard work. Only one more seam needs to be crocheted before I start the border. Ratted around in my stash this am to see if I had turquoise yarn...yippee, found a partial skein that matches. Needed to see what I had before I could decide on the type of border. With any luck at all, I'll finish this today. Maybe even get it laundered so I can lay it out to block.

Please to say, I also made headway (about double I think) with my Blue Feather and Fan Scarf. This is the yarn, by the way that I had started several scarves with some time back. It was in fact on the list, then got removed and replaced with a green scarf I made for my darling daughter........so, quess I'll add Awesome Blue Scarf back on the YOP list.

Doubt much will get done this week on anything involving yarn. A very long work week awaits me. Happy stitching one and all. YOP updated list in the tab across the top of the blog, and badge and link for YOP linky party in the right sidebar.