Friday, May 30, 2008

Talking yarn

Well, my best intentions are, unfortunately, not panning out as hoped. :0( I had intended to post several times a week, but due to a very pressing deadline on a very large project, my time has been very limited. I promise, after this deadline is done, I will try to post more often. :0)

A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a ball of a very pretty yellow green Debbie Bliss yarn called Stella. I can't wait to play with it! It tells me it thinks it wants to be a free form scarf :0) Doesn't YOUR yarn talk to you? I have very interesting conversations with my yarn all the time.

Like the skeins of Berrocco, Cotton Twist yarn that called out to me in my LYS. One was a very pretty yellowy/ivory color that said it wanted to be the sand in a very nice shawl. The beautiful purple variegated skein piped up, "Yes, that's very nice and I would make absolutely gorgeous undulating waves in the ocean!". Well, after that, how could I NOT buy them?

After trying, unsuccessfully (the yarn was MUCH too heavy for the light, airy shawl I envisioned, AND there was no way the 2 balls I bought would make a decent sized shawl. Being a bit pricey, I decided something more special was in order. "Well", said I to the yarn, "what now?". The yarn thought about it for a while, then said "I think a nice evening purse, done in a nice wavy ripple pattern, with the sandy color on the bottom for the beach, and the purple waves rolling over the horizon would do very nicely!". I thought about their request for awhile, then proceeded to fulfill their wish. The body of the bag is finished. I am still debating the handles and I have yet to get to the fabric store for a suitable lining for it (I'm seeing a nice dark purple or light blue...), but it is looking quite nice so far. The yarn has good taste :0)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Gratitude...with a capital G

My 5yr old daughter had a dental appointment yesterday in a city 1 1/2 hrs from here. Since driving on the highway petrifies me, I took along my crocheting to keep me occupied while hubby drove.

I already had a couple of my Molar Coasters made to take to the Dentist as a thank you gift and took along more yarn and a hook and made some more on the way. As my daughter is only 5, they were to give her a sedative, then an hour later they'd proceed with the fillings which were also to take an hour. Needless to say, I got a few more done :0)

You know when you have a great idea, then you start second guessing yourself? Well, after making 8 or 9 of these, I started to wonder how they would be received. Do people even use coasters any more? Or would they think I was off my rocker? Well, I finally decided to bite the bullet and gave one to the receptionist we had been dealing with. She was totally amazed and LOVED it! She went around showing every one in the office! I then gave her 2 more for the other 2 girls in the office. She was going to go straight in and show the dentist, so I told her, "Here is one for the dentist as well". She said it would be nice if my daughter gave it to her herself, so we decided to wait.

A short time later we went in to see how she was doing and how much longer it would be. She was finished...and FAST ASLEEP!! When we woke her up, I handed her the Molar Coaster and told her to give it to the dentist. She was very surprised and asked if I made it. I replied that yes, I did and I designed it as well and that I was a crochet designer. Well, she gave me a huge hug and said thank you! Now I was the one to be surprised! When I explained to her that it was a "Molar" Coaster, she laughed. She said she didn't want to put her cup on it because she didn't want it to get dirty so she was putting it on her desk. When we gave the hygienist one as well, I got another big hug.
Now THAT'S what I call gratitude:0) It makes up for all the gifts that get thrown in the closet with out a second glance.

I was really glad I decided to give them out after all. Everyone got a chuckle when I told them it was a "Molar" coaster! :0)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Necessity...the Mother of creativity!

Have you ever had one of those times when you were thankful you had your hook and some yarn with you? I had one of those this weekend. This weekend is a long weekend in Canada, so my husband and daughters decided we should go to the canal and fish. When we stopped at the small convenience store across the road to get some worms, I decided to get a coffee, but when I tried to drink it, the cup was really warm. Being a crocheter (and we know how creative crocheters are!) I grabbed my hook and some really nice cotton ww yarn I had brought along and proceeded to make a cozy for my cup! We also had a couple of friends along, who were suitably impressed that I could "whip something up" so quickly :0)

Here's my cozy. I was in a hurry to drink my coffee, so didn't even bother to weave in my ends:0) I figured I could do that later.

All I did was chain long enough to go around my cup near the bottom, then hdc in each ch across in the loop on the back of the chain and joined when I got to the end to form a circle. Then I would just ch 1 and hdc in ea st around for 4-5 rows. Usually I would then switch to 1 size larger hook for the next 3 rows or so, but didn't have the next size so just crocheted REALLY loosely instead. For the finish, I just did slst in next st, ch 1, all the way around. Quick, easy and best of burned hand!

Inspiration can come at any time...literally! A few nights ago I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep. While I was laying there tossing and turning and thinking about how tired I was going to be the next day, it hit! Inspiration that is. I had been puzzling over how to do a certain area of the project I'm working on, when all of a sudden it hit me! I saw exactly how to proceed. I then proceeded to squint in the dim light from the alarm clock as I roughly sketched out my idea. (I have learned the hard way to keep a notebook and pen beside my bed. Yes, this has happened before and it is really frustrating when you wake up only to discover you've completely forgotten your wonderful idea!:0) I've also been known to buy a sketch book and pencil while I'm out shopping because I got a great idea and didn't want to forget.

Inspiration can come from anyWHERE as well. You wouldn't believe the amount of times others have seen a nice China pattern or tiled floor, and I've seen a nice afghan or scarf! My husband sees a fish he's just caught and I picture a really cool Amigurumi toy! My husband looks a little less confused these days when he sees one thing and I see something crocheted. :0)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day! Nature's Beauty.

Today is Mother's Day, so Happy Mother's Day to all Moms and Mom type people!

My husband and daughter's took me out to a nice area. He fished, dd #1 ran around and dd #2 went for a walk with Knight and I. I had a chance to play with my camera some more on our walk and managed to capture these pictures of some wild grape leaves just opening!

The colors were really pretty and made me think of a very wispy shawl done in these colors in a fingering weight yarn...

This one was very interesting, as you could just see something in the middle that looked like very tiny salmon eggs.
Actually, now that I look at it, it reminds me of the scene in "The Little Mermaid" where Ariel is talking to Morgana the Sea Witch. Morgana picks up a small sea creature and squeezes it and out comes something that looks like salmon eggs which she then uses as lipstick.

Hmmmmm.... salmon colored yarn, fingering weight, bobble sts, maybe the start to an afghan square? Oh, the possibilities.....truly mind boggling!

Friday, May 9, 2008

sneak peek as promised :0)

Well, I finally got to play with the new camera for a few minutes. Here are the sneak peek pics as promised yesterday.

Do I have your curiosity yet? Sorry I can't say too much about it yet. But one day, all will be revealed! Let's just say...I've learned a LOT from this project!

Have you ever started to learn a new skill, gotten so excited about it that you started a huge project only to decide maybe you've bitten off a rather large mouthful?

A couple of years ago I decided to learn tunisian crochet in order to do a graphed afghan. I got a hook and tried the stitch I'd need to learn in order to do this afghan. So far, so good. I went to my computer, made the graph, bought the yarn, and couldn't find a hook long enough. So hubby went to the hardware store and bought a long dowel for me, carved the end in a hook the size I wanted and I sanded for all I was worth!

Now what was so special about this project? It was supposed to be for hubby's Christmas present which was only a few months away. The graph I made was of the BRITISH FLAG !! Yep. This will be a cinch, right? WRONG!! It was going swimmingly until, on row 37, I found the blocks weren't lining up properly. Hmmmm, Must have missed a stitch. So a hunting I go, looking for the wayward stitch or extra stitch that is messing everything up. After much eyestrain, growling and general grumbling, I find it. ON ROW 11 !!! Arrrrrrrgh!! (the rows are worked the LONG way) So a frogging I go and "rip it, rip it" back to row 11. By the way, there are 14 color changes on the busiest rows, which means 14 balls of yarn!

After the flood of tears finished, I reprint my graph a bit larger, then PAINSTAKINGLY write it out in color in long hand. Red-5, blue-50, white-23, etc. You get the picture. Needless to say, hubby saw his gift early as I needed to work night and day on it to finish it. No, it didn't get finished,... yet. I'm waiting for him to finish the spare room in the basement so I can work on it without Knight's help. :0)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

My book arrived! Thank you Myra! I ordered Myra Wood's new book "Creative Crochet Lace" on April 24th and it arrived on May 6th. Not bad since it was going from California to Ontario, Canada!
The customer service was excellent. Myra emailed me the same day to let me know she had shipped it.

The book was even better than I expected. The photography is absolutely gorgeous. The instructions are very clear and easily understood. Her way of writing is very informal and fun, not dry and boring like a lot of books. She explains free form in a way that makes you want to grab your yarn and get to work! The olive green tank top on the cover is what first caught my eye when I saw her book on her web site. It is even more lovely up close. It is the first free form garment I want to try! All of her projects in the book are ones that you would actually use and wear. If you haven't taken a look at it yet, I encourage you to do so. Here's her web site.

Well, thanks to Myra's book my very large free form project I'm working on is now going much faster! I'm going to try to get a couple of sneak peek photos for you this afternoon. :0) Thanks to her tips, I now find it much easier to work on it on the kitchen table rather than the floor (where Knight attacks it!) or the bed (where my back HATES it!!).

The new camera is working out great now that I'm getting the hang of it (slowly:0). You can really get some great close ups with the zoom lens. Now to invest in a good light source!

Monday, May 5, 2008

It's been a hectic week around here! First my 9yr old dd gets the stomach flu on Tues and is better by the next day. Then, low and behold, my 51/2 yr old dd wakes up and promptly gets sick on Friday! She had it worse and needless to say, I spent the day looking after her. And to top it all off, we had an appointment to take our newest member of the family to the vet's to get "snipped" on Thursday! Not much time to crochet needless to say!
Say hello to Knight ! He's a 20 wk old Yellow Lab X Border Collie X Shar-pei
(we think) X. And thanks to him, I have the carpet guys coming in tomorrow to steam clean the carpets! :0) Oh, well, he's cute!

Our money from the taxes finally came in so on Friday we went to Future Shop to get my belated Birthday present..a new digital camera!! Yay! Happy Dance!! Now, in order to see why this has me so excited, you have to know a bit about my old camera. It was a Kodak Easy Share, 3.1 mp, with a broken LCD screen. The new one is a Canon EOS Rebel XSi 450D ! It is 12.2 mp, and has more features than I know what to do with! We even bought the extra Zoom lens to go with it! Now instead of blurry, out of focus pictures of my crocheting, I can get sharp, clear, beautiful color photos of great detail! ...just as soon as I learn how to use it! (actually, I usually leave that up to hubby, then he explains it to me :0) My garden has been the happy recipient of my learning so far :0)

I've been trying to work on my freeform afghan...wall hanging (?) without Knight's help, so I decided to put it on our bed to work on it. "Not a good idea", said my back. I might have to block off part of the living room...

It's funny how things have a way of turning out in unusual ways when you least expect it. I started out using up some yarn someone gave me. It was a fine weight wool, with a twist of silk. It was also very old and the wool was falling apart :0( "Well", thinks I, "The only thing to do with it is to felt it. That way the felting will help hold it together." So I make a bag and decide it should be a decent size, but not too big as I'm thinking this yarn isn't going to felt much. Wrong! I ended up with a bag perfect for my 51/2 yr old! Well, she loved it and wanted it, so I figure, why not? Then my 9 yr old decides she loves it and wants one too. OK, I have enough of this yarn left. With the silk thread twisted around it, it gives it a very speckled look. The yarn is in a light minty green color and the bag is a round tote style with a slit in either side for handles. Then with the blue yarn I make a square style purse, also very tiny (they are all around 10" high approx. )

Now I still have some of each color left so I decide to make a basket or something. I start off with a round circle in blue, then, when the bottom is big enough, I do a ripple stitch around the bag for 2 rounds, then 2 rounds of green, then 2 blue, then 2 green and finally a round of blue. (I don't remember what ripple I did and now that it's felted it's hard to tell) I throw it in the wash and wait. The resulting basket it very unique, and quite cute! I'm really proud of my experiment and when my 9 yr old walks in I show it to her saying isn't this a cute basket. Well, she asks me to hand it to her and promptly puts it on her head and says what a cute HAT it is!! ROFLOL!! Every now and then she will pick it up and wear it around the house for a bit. Funny thing is, it DOES look nice as a hat!

Well today promises to be sunny and warm after our Saturday of torrential down pours!, so I think it might be a good day to play with my new camera... and get a few shots of my crocheting of course! :0)