Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What I Learned From My Little Visitor

This is Pepper. Isn't he just an adorable little kitten. He is four months old. No, he is not mine. I am babysitting for a friend that went away with her family and she needed someone to take care of the little fella. Such a little thing can teach us a lot. As I watched this little fella I was amazed at the curiosity and adventurous spirit that he showed.

If you read my post on Tuesday, March 30, 2010 about my two babies you know that they were the loves of my life. I lost them at a couple of months apart shy of 16 years. So when this one came into my home it just reminded me of the past years of fun and happy times I had with my two. I'm sure there are a lot of animal lovers out there that could relate to what I am sharing.

As I watched this kitten play he was literally into everything. His first day and a half here he was scared and he hid. My friend only had him inside her home for three weeks before they went away. So he was outside then he was inside her house and then he came over to my house and each a new environment to get use to. The adjustment had to start all over again. Wednesday is my night to go to Michael's Craft Store so I had to leave him. By the time I came back I don't know what happened but he did a 360 on me. He came out to eat then he started to play - amazing. I was so happy to see that he adjusted very quickly. The next day he discovered that he could jump on the cat stand and look out the window. Then the next day he found out he could jump up on the window sill in my bedroom. In between, he was exploring the whole place jumping and leaping on places I didn't mind and on places that was a no no. Even if he almost fell he was determined to try again.

Of course, I started to think of my needlearts and what I wanted to accomplish for the next year right around the corner. Do you suffer from the fear syndrome? Do you see what others have produced with their needlearts projects and wish you could do the same? Do you stop yourself not wanting to venture out into the unknown just thinking of the mistakes you would make instead of the things you could learn? Don't put yourself down before you begin. Think of 2011 as the year of trying what is out of your box or comfort zone. Yes, I do say this a lot because I hear it a lot. Take a class (I offer classes - see post Thursday, December 16 for details), explore the Internet more, and ask more questions.

Let's do ourselves a favor and imitate this little kitten who has no fear of the unknown and is willing to take the chance to explore and have fun doing it.

"You can conquer almost any fear if you will only make up your mind to do so. For remember, fear does not exist anywhere except in the mind."

Dale Carnegie

Do videnja (Good Bye)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What Does "Being Creative" Mean To You?

When I think of being creative I think of 'out of the box' or 'out of our comfort zone'. Once you know the skills of knitting and/or crochet and how to follow a pattern, it becomes easier and easier to do what the pattern instructs you to do and be done with your project. Being creative means to look beyond what you see. Also, making it your own. Now those are my opinions on the matter. When you look at a pattern you could say yes I like that pattern that's why I chose to make it. And for the most part, with me, I go by the pattern because I like it the way it is or because of time constraints. But when you look beyond what you see you start to invision how you would like the end result to look like. You might start out with simple changes, such as the yarn color or type of yarn than what is used. Then you might go beyond and change the look of your project by adding a trim or different button enclosures.

How else can we bring out our creativity? What do you do with your scrap yarns? When I hear that people are throwing away little balls of yarn, I want to scream - NO WAIT! We need to bring out, release more of our creative juices and skills to take those small balls of yarn and make a masterpiece. We might not like stripes, but what about that senior at the nursing home that would love and appreciate a lap blanket in stripes. This would also be a great time to learn a new stitch. Baby items are small and don't require a lot of yarn. With your small balls of baby yarn you could add a small trim to the bottom and sleeves of a baby sweater or just top off a plain colored garment accenting it with one or two rows of extra color. And don't forget the preemie babies that would love a stripe blanket to keep them warm and comfortable. To give is divine. Also, there are senior places that would embrace those small balls of yarn for their knit or crochet projects.

It is so rewarding and best of all you are not wasting anything or putting it in the land fill. Someone could use your wonderful creation. And if you don't want to do it alone then get a few of your friends together and do a knit-along for charity. It's fun and you could help your fellow crafters to use up their scraps of yarn. With several in the room this could also mean more brains working and in turn more creativity juices flowing. Can't you just see it?

Don't get stuck in the full-skein syndrome. For this year coming keep forcing yourself out of the box. Think mixing colors in crochet granny squares or striped knit squares in a simple garter stitch. They could also be single colored squares that can be sewn or crocheted together to make a blanket. Don't just think blankets but other items such as this knit and crochet basket I made. I didn't write the pattern out - sorry, but this is a mixture of knitting and crochet. I used five different stitches. The five stitches from the top to the bottom: 1) knit ribbing; 2) knit seed stitch;
3) crochet shell stitch; 4) crochet V-stitch; 5) single crochet. I knitted a couple of rows in seed stitch with ribbon yarn leaving enough at the beginning and at the end to tie a bow.

Getting back to those small balls of yarn, I could have for example made each stitch section with a different color. I have to keep that in mind for my next basket. This would look great on one of those organized shelves you did (if you followed my postings on organizing your craft).

"You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives."

Clay P. Bedford

Chisarai (Stay well)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Contemplating The New Year

As I sit and think about the New Year, I can only imagine how it will be. But, of course, I have my goals and that means it will be a very busy year. I'm sure you felt as I have that this year came and is going out quickly. Maybe you were able to meet some of your goals and maybe you will have to shift the leftovers to next year. And that is all right. As long as you learned, grew some more (mentally - unless you are hoping to be taller), and you want to do even better in the coming year across the journey of your life.

For me, I am going to be super busy next year. I've already started to book classes and I am excited about that. Because of my upcoming year of excitement, I will have to change my posting to two days a week for now. On Tuesday and Thursday I will post. I want to be consistent but with my schedule it will be a challenge. Speaking of excitement, is anyone attending the VogueKnitting Live? Well, I will be volunteering there and I am excited to be around well known teachers and authors to be able to pick up some tidbits of how to continue to grow as a better instructor of the needlearts. If you are going I hope you have a great time shopping and/or taking a class. I will report back to you about my three day adventure. But I sure hope it doesn't snow.

As far as my blog posts, I would like to know your thoughts. Let me ask you a question. What do you not like about the end result of your project(s)? I'm always talking about learning something new and improving, but are you satisfied with your projects and if not why? What would you like to see on my blog? How can I help you grow? I know that with trying to find answers to questions it is hard when your schedule does not permit you to do the research that you would like to do. If you have specific questions on anything with the needlearts then put it out there. I would be happy to find you the site or answer your question to help you to move forward in your quest to learn more. You can either post a comment or send an email to my address on the top of my blog page. Let's make this a fun learning and creative year.

I am always encouraging people to take a class. With a class you are able to have one-on-one attention and get questions answered without trying to do a lot of research. You have the opportunity to meet more people that love the same hobby as you do. You can get help on your projects and continue to learn more as you go. Your creativity and inspiration can grow as you mingle with others that are like minded. So I am including my class announcement below for any in the areas I've listed. Give yourself a gift of learning. I hope to see you at one of my sessions. Please by all means pass this along to friends and family.


I'm Hitting the Road with My Classes

If you live in the Central Jersey area near North Brunswick then you would be excited to know that Michael's Arts and Craft store has started classes for knitting and crochet. And guess who is the knitting instructor - me. So if you have been putting off learning more, or if you know of someone that has wanted to learn how to knit, then the opportunity is now. Michael's is working with the Craft Yarn Council of America to bring classes back into their stores. I teach on Wednesday evenings from 6:30pm - 9:00pm. It is a 2 1/2 hour class. And there are some really great projects to work on as you learn. So click on both sites and learn more about what is offered. I hope to see you there.

North Village Shopping Center
869 US 1
North Brunswick, NJ

But this is not stopping me from hitting the road with my classes. You can have more flexibility with dates and times by scheduling a workshop. So you have more choices now. Depending upon where you live, you can come to Michael's and take a class or design your own workshop to your liking in your area. Choose today and sign up. Read below if you would like to build a workshop.


I found that without a doubt my passion is the needlearts. I love to teach and I want to show my passion through my teaching.

The winter is here in this part of the world and that means cold weather and staying inside more because activities usually slow down for a lot of people. What could this mean? This means a great time for knitting and crocheting - of course.

I keep hearing the same things. There are no classes offered in my area. I don't know how to read a pattern so I am limited as to what I can make. I don't understand how to do different stitches or techniques, and I want to learn more so that I can do more. I have questions that I would like answered and I would like to be in a group setting. And it is always those that have not even tried to knit or crochet and they say, I've always wanted to learn that. Well, the time is now.

I'm in search for those that want to learn more and want to build their knitting and crochet skills. Why not host a workshop and get your questions answered, learn how to read a pattern, pick out yarn and learn new techniques that will help you go farther with your needlearts. Make plans for Miss Craft Diva and build a workshop around what you would like to learn. I can customize a workshop for either 4 to 6 hours of packed learning time.

There are way too many people that I come across that say they can't read a pattern. There are those that are stuck and can't go any farther and there is just too much still to learn. Do you have questions on a project, want to start a project or need help finishing a project? Then having a workshop in your area would benefit you because it can be tailored to the needs of the majority of the attendees.

If you live in NJ, Delaware, PA, or Staten Island and you are within a 2 1/2 hour drive from Central, NJ then you can make plans for Miss Craft Diva to come and teach a workshop in your area. Find the place for the workshop to be held and I have the skills to teach.

For now the classes are for levels beginners and intermediate which offer a host of techniques to learn. I would love to help you expand your knowledge and face your fears so that you can do more and have more fun.

If you know of friends or family members that would love to learn or expand what they know, I would appreciate it if you could pass along this information and help them get started or learn more in the needlearts.

Send me an email to misscraftdiva@yahoo.com to get more details. And stop putting off today as you keep saying 'one day' or 'that would be nice - but...' Make it happen because the opportunity is here.

I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Summer Brings Different Excitements For Each Of Us

I know this won't appeal to everyone, but I just had to share this because my blog also includes other loves in my life.

When the summer comes after a long winter there are certain things that you look forward to. You want to feel the sun beating down to make you warm and feel good inside. You want to enjoy the freedom to go places that are non existent in the winter time. You want to see certain things that you don't get to see in the winter time like the bloom of an array of flowers.

I look for one other thing each summer. I've been fortunate to find at least one for the past several years in the summer. That is a praying mantis. I like a few bugs here and there, but I am very selective. These are beautiful and intriguing creators. As you can see from the pictures that this little fellow is special.

A friend and I were leaving our knit group and headed for her car. She called me over to show me what was on her tire. It was a praying mantis. Now she didn't want to touch him, but she didn't want to hurt him either. You don't have to love every animal and bug to have respect for them. So we got a vase that she had and placed him inside. Since she was driving I had a chance to really see how he reacted. At first, he wanted to just get out - naturally. Then he just went for the ride so calmly as if he knew that we wouldn't harm him. So off he went to her house. She has a nice size backyard with trees. We watched him for a little bit longer and then let him go amongst the bushes.

I went back a little later and he was gone off to do what they do. But it made my summer complete and more fulfilling to be able to watch that wonderful creature that we know so little about.

He acted like a cat sitting and grooming himself. I usually don't get to watch the praying mantis that I find because I am usually trying to place them somewhere that they won't get squashed or there is a time factor. But this time I really got to watch him and see how beautiful he is.

Maybe you also have a special beauty of nature that you love to look forward to see in the summer. I hope you got to see yours also.

"Each season has its joys to treasure, to lift one's spirit and bring us pleasure"


Salut (Bye)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Lesson Learned

I know that my blog posts can be lengthy sometimes. I know that you are busy and time is a factor. So just for the fun of it I'm throwing in a short one.

I had a lesson learned with this cable sweater. I learned to look at the pattern picture and my results to see if they match. Why? because if you look at the picture the cabling is staggered. If you look at my sweater, which I went by the pattern, the cables are straight down on top of each other. If I would have looked at the picture to check my work instead of being so excited to make it, I would have caught the error. But I just kept going and said that I would make it again and do it the way it looks in the picture.

Well, I had purchased a stash of yarn from a fellow knitter and thought I would have enough yarn because I thought I did the math correctly as to yardage, swatch, and needle size. It didn't work this time. I did have enough for the sweater itself up until the last few rows of the second sleeve. Oh no! So that meant I don't have enough for part of the sleeve and the belt. I could always get a belt but the sleeve - not. I thought about it and since I had the issue with the cables I'm just going to rip it out. Yes, I know all of that work. But I have to be happy with the end result.

Did you know that if you are having a problem with a pattern and you think it is in error that there is for most professional patterns and some free patterns an error page or update on the pattern. I'll touch more on that another day.

Motto of the story is:

  • make sure you have extra yardage for your project

  • make a gauge swatch according to the pattern instructions with the correct needle size then if need be make adjustments to attain the gauge

  • look at the picture for a guide and see if your work is coming out the same - that is if you want the same look that the pattern displays

You are not after perfection but improving on your skills with every project and continuing to learn should be your goal.

Auf wiedersehen (Good bye)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Knitting and Crochet Expanded

The New Year is approaching and that means for me goals. What about you? Why not set yourself a goal of learning something new in the needlearts world? Look on the Knitter's Review site for the 2011 Calendar of Knitting Events and go to an event if you haven't been to one or go to a different event that you haven't tried. Take up a class to expand your knitting and/or crochet further. It's a whole world out there for us to explore. We have the opportunity to be in a time that a lifetime could not be enough to venture out on all there is to learn just with the needlearts. Look below for an eye's view at what there is to learn.

If you think you have reached your peak after learning how to knit and purl and you've tried a host of knit stitches, I would like to let you know you've just begun. Knitting has expanded in leaps and bounds as to what can be done. Here is a short listing of extras you might want to add to your learning-out-of-the-box list for the future.

Techniques to learn

Fair Isle


Mosaic Knitting


Lace Knitting

Double Knitting

Shadow Knitting

Modular Knitting



and others

I haven't forgotten crochet. After you know the basics of sc, dc, trcr, there are other fun ways to expand your crochet knowledge.

Hairpin Lace

Broomstick Lace

Afghan Crochet

Yo-Yo Crochet

Filet Crochet

and others

'If we always do what we've always done, we will get what we've always got.'

Adam Urbanski - Marketing Mentor

So as the New Year approaches, show more and more of your potential in all aspects of your life. As always I say, "Have Fun" with learning and growing.

Ciao (Goodbye)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Thank You

I can't believe it is December. The end of the year is near. How did you do this year with your goals? Did you make goals? If not another year is around the corner and you can start today to build on a goal plan. What would you like to accomplish for next year? It could be the smallest thing to a huge goal plan. You are in control and you make it happen.

I want to thank you for visiting my blog. I want to thank those that sent comments because that helps me in knowing how people feel about the blog or what went right or wrong. I thank those that have signed up as followers. I appreciate your support.

I thought I would not enjoy writing a blog. Why? Well, at my previous place of employment it was part of my job to write technical user guides for programs that we supported for our clients. I hated writing those user guides. I was so happy when I didn't have to do that anymore and said I would never want to do it again. So when I kept hearing that if I wanted to expand my needlearts in the teaching capacity, having a blog would be essential - I cringed. I couldn't believe that I had to write again. But after starting I fell in love with blogging. There will always be better blogs. There will always be ones that are better in knitting, crocheting or any other craft. But that is not the point or of importance to me. The point is to have fun. I have passion for the needlearts along with other loves of my life and I want to share that with you.

There was a great lesson learned in starting this blog. We all have had some bad experiences that have caused us to utter those same words of 'I will not repeat that again'. But I learned not to take a bad experience in life and think that it will be the same with another experience. You could stop something great from coming in because we put up a block. That doesn't mean our next experience will be the same. It is a different situation why I am writing. It is for my passion and I have found so much enjoyment in writing this blog. Of course time and content are always an issue, but I continue to work on that. Being exact with grammar is a challenge because I want things to be perfect and I am not perfect with grammar. But I look at it as a continuous journey of learning. Have you felt the same way with something you went through in your life? I'm sure there are those that can relate.

When it comes to doing your craft, whatever it may be, don't stop learning. So you couldn't pick up a technique right away. That one pattern has been a challenge. Stop, regroup and try again.

So what about you and your goals for next year? Have you started to think about them? What about your crafts? Are there goals you want to set for learning new techniques or working on a pattern you would not try before? Start today thinking about those goals and writing them down because as this year went so fast the next year will also and you want to say I accomplished at least most of my goals.

"Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind."
Seneca (Roman statesman, philosopher and writer)

Happy goal setting.

Chau (Bye)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Health Is Huge

There are certain subjects that can be discussed continuously non-stop and health is one of those topics. Since we have been talking about organizing, there is another kind of organizing I want to do. I need to continue to organize my health regiment tuneup. Try to fine tune my eating and exercise but with balance. What do I mean? It's called accountability for our own health.
You've heard it said that you can't look for someone else to make you happy. You can have someone in your life that enhances your happiness but ultimately you have to be in charge of your own happiness. It's the same when it comes to your well being and your health. We should be in charge of our own health.

This summer I fell off the exercise routine because it was just too hot for me. There are two choices. I could beat myself up because I stopped or I could get right back out there and continue where I left off. I chose the latter. Don't beat yourself up because what you didn't do, that is wasted energy. You want to use your energy to revise your game plan. If you don't have one make one - TODAY!

Make little changes that can give big returns back. Remember, it's all about long term care. When I talk about being healthy I use the words - be good to yourself, be kind to yourself and be patient with yourself. Any kind of woe is me takes our energy away from what we need to concentrate on. We need to get back on the horse and keep it movin.

It's like the old movie reels for example. When there was a part of the movie they didn't want they would splice the movie tape and cut what they didn't want and tape the two parts together and walla, you couldn't tell by watching the movie that they made that change.

That's what we want to do. Stop playing over and over what we didn't do, use what we didn't do as a lesson learned. Splice out that part in our mind reel and tape where you left off to where you are continuing and move it on from there. Easier said then done but the point is that it can be done. Our goal should be to release negative energy and bring in positive energy and action. It's all about not giving up.

For about the last five months I got back on the band wagon and I continue my walking regiment. That is going well, but I am still working and struggling with the cooking part. I don't intend to give up but continue to improve reminding myself that if I want to do more of my crafts, using my working hands, I need to make sure I keep my health up.

A new year is approaching. Don't wait, be good to yourself and start today working on your plan. Build on it as you just take baby steps, if need be, into better health for a better year. Here's to mine and your health.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Yarn, Yarn, and More Yarn - Part VII

Now you know why I left this subject for last - don't you. That is because we are bad with having a lot of wanna be's, UFO's, and WIP's. But we could not have any of that goin on without the main culprit - YARN! What a wonderful time to knit and/or crochet because there is an array of yarns, colors and textures to choose from. We get all excited just thinking about that next project. Even acrylic has come a long way. And don't mention using beads in our projects because that is another area of fun and excitement. It's all good as long as it feeds our habit. And boy has some of us fed our habit well. That's why this can be a deep and touchy subject.

I hate to admit it, but I'm one of those yarn junkies. I start my day by working on my projects and I end my day the same. I just love working with my yarn. To organize your yarn you need to ask yourself a series of questions before you tackle this project. Let's think this through. What questions should you consider?

  • How much yarn do you have?

  • Will you be organizing the yarn by color, weight, skeins, balls, or hanks?

  • How are you storing it right now? Is it working for you?

  • What kind of storage would work for your space and not look overwhelming at the same time?

  • What kind of storage would work the best for you to be able to find what you are looking for?

  • Where will it go once you organize it in the kind of storage you choose?

There is nothing worse than to get all organized but then when you go to find something you need you don't know where it is - frustrating.

One part of organizing my yarn is when I purchase yarn for a specific use I write on the yarn label or a piece of paper that I can tape on the label what project the yarn was purchased for. For example, I went to the Smiley's yarn sale last month and of course I brought yarn. But I brought yarn mostly for specific projects. So when I came home I got out my slips of paper and tape and proceeded to write down the name of the pattern and if it is a copy, is it from a magazine or a book. This way when I pick up that yarn later (because by then I have already forgot why I purchased that yarn) I will know what I brought that yarn for. No confusion or aggravation.

Why do I know this? It is because I have done that in the past where that I brought yarn and was all excited about making a particular pattern out of a particular yarn and the pattern got mixed up with all the other patterns and the yarn got put away and you can figure out the end of that story. I think I have lots of company out there that have done the same thing. I know you new knitters and crocheters don't have that problem yet. That's why this is a great time to nip it in the bud before you get crazy like the rest of us. I know, speak for myself - LOL (laugh out loud)

So you bring the yarn home. Mark on the yarn label or paper the pattern name. You could always change your mind. Nothing is set in stone. It gives you an idea of what you were thinking at the time and it will be easy if you want to make the project in that yarn. This clears your thinking process when you pick up that yarn because and will know what you brought it for.

Then it is time to put it somewhere. Hum, where do I put it and what do I use? Well, for certain yarns like small balls of yarn you can use a basket. It is very decorative and it can look neat. But if you talk about full skeins of yarn then you might think of a plastic tub, crates, or these laundry holders that I picked up at the dollar store. There are also those plastic storage bins with draws for specific yarns and supplies. After you answer the above questions you need to pick out the kind of storage that fits your need. You don't want to get out of hand buying all of these plastic containers and then change your mind and want to use something else.

What do you do with the old items you are changing from? You could give them to your friends that also need to organize. You could have a swap. But don't go there. The goal is to sit down, breath (some of you need to really breath big and exhale because of all the yarn you have) and then think before you buy what you might already have in your house to use (recycle) or do you need to go out and buy. Then the question is how many is reasonable without crowding out your space.

Whatever you use then you want to label the ones that are not going to be easily accessible. For example, you use the tubs. They are not all see through. To help you identify what is in the tubs, label the outside with what the content is especially if you have more than one. Or better yet, take that digital camera out that you only use at special occasions and put it to work. If you don't have a digital camera then a cell phone will do. I have an extra card in my cell phone so that I can take more pictures with it and then download to my computer.

Back to the yarn. Lay all the yarn out on the floor neatly next to each other and take a picture of it. Make sure you can see the labels for the brand. You can arrange by color, weight, or brand. Whatever will help you out in knowing what you have. But when you put them back into their storage container, make sure the yarn is from the same picture in the same bin or you will be defeating your purpose of knowing what is in the bins. If you have several storage bags then number them with a marker or piece of paper and tape. If you only have one bin it should not be a problem just to go in when you want unless you have to store it somewhere that is not easily accessible. But wait, am I talking about real knitters/crocheters? None of use have only one bin of yarn.

You do have to keep up with doing this as you buy more yarn. It is nothing worse than knowing you have something and can't find it because you have too much to look through. We have got to make it easier on ourselves so that we can do our needlearts more, and more, and more. You can swap yarn with friends or there is a website for swapping. Yarn can be donated that is still good for senior centers. Or you could surprise a new knitter with a couple of skeins of yarn and give them an easy pattern that could fit the yarn. Make sure they know the needle size.

The name of the game is to be able to find what you are looking for when you want it and for the project it might have been intended for. Once all of your scrap yarns are neatly in place, like in a basket or some kind of container, you can make a stripe or make strips for a blanket. It could be given to a nursing home or if it's baby yarn it could be given to a local hospital that has a preemie ward. Let's not waste yarn because we don't know what to do with it so we throw it away. Those last three words just make me cringe. To give is divine. So give a blanket, hat or a scarf to someone in need using the perfect thing, your scraps.

Storage space for yarn is always and will always be a problem. You just run out of space to put whatever storage items you are using. There are several storage items you can use: large garbage plastic bags, bag that a comforter set comes in, laundry plastic bags that you can get from the dollar store, old suitcases, plastic tubs (but they can't bend or stuff in a space). Again, think of what you already have in your house that you are not using that can be used for storage for your yarn.

I have these great laundry holders that I got from the dollar store. I keep my yarn that I know I will be using up quickly. You don't want to store yarn where that it will get all dusty after a while. So think about the yarn that you will be using in the next couple of months and an open storage bin will work great and you can store them in a corner. And again, you want easy access so that you won't be hunting for what you need. You want something pretty durable and not something that every time you look around you are replacing. Not good for your storage or for the environment. And you might can swap something you have with one of your needlearts buddies that also wants to organize. Make it a group effort and it is more fun and you will get more done. So that means "PUT THE YARN DOWN FOR A MOMENT OR TWO AS YOU GET ORGANIZED" - LOL.

What goes along with our yarn is to have a yarn swift and ball winder. Wonderful tools to make life easy with our hanks. Now if there is anything that I would say to buy is to get those two items if you buy a lot of hanks.

I hope this series of how to organize for your hobby has helped. If you have any comments please share them with the rest of us. If not, I enjoyed writing about organizing and hope that this will help you enjoy your needlearts a lot more.

Happy organizing!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Computer - My Favorites - Part VI

Don't you just hate it when you have found a website that you like, but then when you go back to find it you can't. Well, that is where your Favorites feature comes in handy. Maybe you didn't even know that you could save a website under your Favorites, to be able to navigate back to it at a later date. You can and it is easy. Let me tell you how.

  1. Open your Internet Explorer.

  2. Go to a website that you would like to save to use at a later date.

  3. As you look at your Internet page you will see at the top six menu choices: File, Edit, View, Favorites, Tools, and Help. Click on the Favorites option.

  4. Click on 'Add To My Favorites' which should be the first choice on the drop down list.

  5. A menu box comes up and in the box it has the name of the site that you are at and a box that says 'Create In' to choose as to where you want this website to be saved. The default is usually Favorites.
    Note: Your computer automatically comes with a couple of standard choices if you click on the drop down menu next to 'Create In'. Don't worry about those. What you want to do is to create a folder for each category that you want to save your websites under. But for now it is the one that you opened to test this out.

  6. Next to the 'Create In' box there is a button for 'New Folder'. Click on that button and name that new folder where it says 'Folder Name'.

  7. Click on the 'Create' button.

    Note: Notice that when the 'Add To Favorites' box appears, now it has the new folder you created in the 'Create In' box.

  8. To add the website to your Favorites list click on the 'Add' button on the 'Add To Favorites' box. Once you do that you can click on the 'Favorites' from the top menu and you will see your website on the list.

Walla, it is done. If you don't have a lot of websites to save then just click on the 'Favorites' list and choose 'Add To Favorites', click on the 'Add' button. Then when you go back to the 'Favorites' list you will see the website on the list.

I have in my Favorites a huge list of websites. I don't even know how much I can save there. Even though I have broken it down to a lot of categories I still from time to time have problems finding things because there is just too much. It's called wealth of information overload.

I use Internet Explorer. If you do not see these choices on your computer, then look in your help menu to see how you would save websites.

Then there is email. We can't forget about those emails that clog our system with more great information and stuff. I get several newsletters that include Knitting Daily, Lion Brand, Coats & Clark, and Talk Crochet to name a few. When they come every day it is too much because I can't keep up with them. The demonstrations on techniques are great and just being able to keep up with what else is going on in the knitting world.

To keep up with all of that information, I have created folders and if I want to keep them then I drop them in the folder right away. There are times when I am super busy and my emails pile up. Oh no, what a time that is to delete because I want to look at everything but that takes time. It's not only for the needlearts that I get emails, of course, but there are the friends that want to share the funny emails and some of them make me laugh. Then you have the emails just to keep in touch with friends. I volunteer at the zoo, as I mentioned, so there is the zoo stuff. We can't forget about the junk and the selling emails that come through. Boy, when you start writing it out it looks scary. It can get overwhelming at times.

Depending upon how many emails you get, it does take a constant handle on it to keep the control. That's why I have broken down my files into categories for example: beading daily, hold for response, knitting daily, talk crochet, etc... Don't think that this is a cure all, because it is not. I still have emails that I can't get through. I try to go through the emails to make sure I am not missing anything important and if I need an emergency laugh then I open one of those friend sharing emails.

So the plan, as we have gone over, is to get as much control as you can by organizing. To do this, you have to look over your emails and while you are looking at your emails you can see the categories you will use. The next step is to start making those folders and dropping the emails in. Remember, nothing is set in stone. You can always change it if you find that the emails you put in one place should be in another place. You are becoming your own administrative assistant and you are in control. At the end of the day, the goal is to be able to use more of your information that you have saved. It is to be able to find information quick to save time. It is to be able to use more of your patterns that you find with the yarn that you have. And it is a time to learn more as you uncover some lost information that you forgot you had. Wow! I think those are some great goals for the upcoming New Year which is right around the corner - scary.

Oh no, you know what the next post is about? YARN STASH! Those words can be pretty scary. Breathe! I will not be posting until either Tuesday or Wednesday of next week because I am helping a friend that is going through her journey of battling cancer. I think you have enough to keep you busy anyway. Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Computer - Part V

Now you would think we should have enough patterns with the books, booklets, pamphlets, and copies. No, we have to also save on the computer more patterns and information. The computer makes me feel crazy sometimes because it is too much information and I want to read it all. I know I can't and that is frustrating. But I do have my favorite websites and I have a bunch of patterns that I have saved. How do I keep order?

I set up files that are categorized for my needs. Since I teach I need order so that things can go smooth. I am always grabbing for this and looking for that so I need things in an easy place to find it all. The folders are broken down in categories. A couple of my breakdowns are: knitting and crochet certification, class sessions, important charts and patterns. I have more but I wanted you to get the idea of what I name mine so that you can start thinking about what categories you need. You want to use names that are specific to the content of the files because it will click with you better when you are trying to find something specific.

First thing is first. Let's look at the plan. As it has been, the plan is to organize. The first thing is assess what you have.

  • What kind of information are you saving to use for your needlearts?

  • Is it mostly patterns? An easy fix.

  • Have you made charts up but they do not have their own folder for an easy find?

  • Do you teach others and you like to save information for your students?

Once you've looked at what files you have saved then it is time to make up the folders you need to start moving them into a better system of saving them. Remember, this is a test. You move them in one place and you might find that they go better in another place. Nothing is a permanent spot. I've changed things on my computer several times until something worked for me. So depending upon what files you have saved will depend upon how you will build your file system.

I don't want to loose anything just in case the computer crashes so I back my files up on a USB Flash Drive. That's also easy to carry with me if need be. All of my pictures of my finished projects are backed up on a CD. As you can see I like to double secure everything just in case. If my computer breaks down and I need to print something for a class, then I have my backup and I can take it with me and print it where I am going. I hate added stress that can be avoided.

Now you might just have patterns saved. If so, then that will be easy just to make a folder on your computer then drop all of the files for patterns in that spot. I have a pattern folder and I've broken the folder into other files such as: my favorite patterns, baby patterns, my designs, and I made these.

Have fun reviewing what you have saved and again finding those that you forgot you had and maybe finding your next project. But most of all see the transformation of changing how you save on your computer so that your information can be right at your finger tips because it is organized. And if you need help in setting up your file system I'm sure you have a friend or you are fortunate to have a whiz kid or grandchild that would love to help you out. Most kids seem to learn before they can walk.

The next post will deal with saving information as a favorite on the Internet.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Organizing Your Projects - Part IV

If you have as many projects going on as I have, you have to have some form of organization or you will go crazy. And I don't have any time to go crazy because I have a lot of creating to do and I'm sure you do too.

As I bring home yarn, print new patterns or buy another book, I think about where I am going to put it. I have a lot going on with my needlearts so it is always a battle with space and organizing. It feels so free having things in place where that you can find what you are looking for when you need it. But there are times when I will be looking for a pattern or something I saved on the computer for longer than I would like to mention. And when you are into the needlearts you are bound to have that problem.

Isn't it wonderful that we have such an array of information, patterns, yarns etc? But it is also dangerous because then we want it all. I've already confessed that I am a project hoarder. I love starting new projects and learning something new. So I've been asked, how do I keep up with all of my projects?

One way is to use recyclable bags from grocery stores. I've also been to a lot of events from my old job and they would give a give-a-way bag and so I use those.
I crocheted a pouch with a zipper for basic supplies so that I can taus it in my bag and go.

I can appreciate those that work on one project at a time. OK, there are those that have two projects that they are working on. Well, I am neither. I have several projects that I work on at the same time. Yes, I am a junkie for projects. They keep my excitement on high. Don't think that it can't get chaotic sometimes because it does. I've put the pattern somewhere and I can't find it. I've moved my project bag and it gets lost in the shuffle. I'm not frazzled free but most of the time I have it together. Perfect I'm not.

Now when you are using non see through bags then you need to use something to identify what is inside, that is, if you are like me and you are cramped with space and you have several projects going on. Well, if you have been to a lot of conferences then you received a name tag. I'm not talking about saving the stick on kind but the ones that either pin to your clothes or go around your neck. I saved mine because I knew they would come in handy. I have used them at some of my classes if there is no table so that I can remember names. I am bad at names. But I know I have lots of company out there with the same problem. So they can be used to put on your project bags. You fill out a sheet the size of the name tag holder with what the pattern is and if you want include a piece of the yarn. Hang or pin them on the project bag and you know what is in the bag. So if you are like me and your bags need to be hung up to keep things organized then you don't have to bring the bags down to see what is in each bag. It is on the outside and you can pull the bags down only when you want one of the projects.

Something else that comes in handy is a to-go bag. You can have one packed and ready to go with project, pattern, and what you need to work on it without any extra thinking. I will leave one project that is easy just for a to-go project. It has to be small, portable and simple so that I don't have to concentrate on any special stitches, decreases/increases etc... This also works for knit groups and I don't have to think of what I am going to bring with me. There are also zippered plastic cases that I use for small projects. I know what you are thinking - socks. Yes, it is great to hold your needles and yarn for making a pair of socks. You need to use point protectors so that the needles don't poke through the plastic.

In the picture it shows two items that help me to keep organized. These are all the essentials I need to work on my projects. I have one that stays at home and one that travels with me. The one for home I found at Wal-Mart in the fishing supplies department. I like it because the little compartments are adjustable so that I can make it the size of my small items. The one I take with me out was a give-away bag at an event. I love the different compartments and zippered pockets. Keeps everything so organized.

One other thing that is essential to working with my projects - my needles and hooks. I wanted to talk about this at the same time that I talk about organizing projects because without our needles and hooks there would be no reason to buy yarn. Now you have several different kinds of organizers that are used specifically for needles and hooks. You have the roll-up kind, tubes, and cases. And if you want to look around your home to recycle something, you can use an old pencil case or tooth brush holder (clean it first) for your hooks or other small items. And if you sew, then the skies the limit as to designing something that is perfect for the different sizes and one that could fit both a variety of needles and hooks for carrying out with you. I forget about my cases because most of the time most of my needles are being used by projects. It's all good.

These cases can be purchased at your local craft store, knitting/crochet convention, or on line.

The next post will be sent out on Monday. Happy organizing!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Organizing Patterns - Part III

Are you having fun yet? Well now we get to the fun part of looking at all those wanna be's that we have collected. Don't look at it as, 'What was I thinking', but more like an inspiration and as you go through your patterns think of it as a growth spurt. What do I mean? As you are looking at your patterns think of three new things that you want to learn, let's say a technique or stitch pattern. If your patterns show the same design or you find yourself making the same thing, then it might be time to get out of the box. I hate to say look for three more patterns that reflect learning something new, but I just have to say it. Hopefully, you don't have to go that route because you find that you have a variety of different techniques and stitch patterns featured within the patterns you have. So pick out three future projects to learn something new.

Let's get back to organizing what we got. That one more pattern that you just gotta print. When you gotta print that one more pattern out then you gotta organize so that you can find it when you want to make it. As with everything else I talked about with organizing, there are several ways you could organize your patterns depending upon the number of patterns you have.

The way that I organize my patterns and it has worked for me is that I use three ring binders, tabs, plastic sheet protectors and I also use folders inside a pouch. They both work for me because I have a lot of patterns that I have collected because of teaching the needlearts and I keep seeing new patterns that I want to make (even if it is that 'someday' syndrome). So let's get started.

The Plan

Step 1: Assess the damage, I mean your pattern treasures.

Are they in one place or all over the place? Gather them up and put them all in one place. Just make sure you don't put the pattern from your project you are working on in that pile. Are you dealing with more booklets, pamphlets, single sheets or all the above?

Step 2: Where will you be storing the patterns?

This will determine what method you want to use. If you have shelf space then binders will work great. If you have to pile the binders on top of each other then folders placed inside a pouch might work better since piling binders if they are not placed right can slide.

Step 3: Separate the single sheets from booklets and pamphlets so that you have three separate piles. This way you can see what you have and then we will separate them further.

Step 4: Let's get organized!

I am going to assume that you have already chosen where they will be stored and if you will use three ring binders, folders or something else. If you left room on your shelf and you are using the binders then let's get started. First you need to determine what size binder you will need. Remember, we are looking for recycled binders that we could use first before we go out and buy. How about that class that you took and you know that you won't be using the information anymore. This is a great time to do double duty. You could clean out and recycle the paper out of the binder and if it has tabs that can be reused then walla. You have a binder with tabs to get started. So look around your house first then if not go to the store and buy. You will also need a hole puncher, but if you don't want to put holes in your patterns then you could use the clear plastic protector sheets.

Make sure you choose a binder that once you put your patterns in there is room to move the pages and I hate to say it but room for growth. That calls also for not stuffing too many in a binder or buying the right size for the number of patterns you have. Of course, some of us will have multiple binders - scary. You will also need tabs that can be labeled by what kind of patterns you have. If you use the plastic sheet protectors then you could either put two pages per sheet back to back or two whole patterns back to back in one sheet or one page per sheet. You want it to be cost effective and not a big expense.

I use folders and pouches to organize my patterns because there are too many. So I have the folders labeled: For the Home, Shawls, Hat/Scarves/Bags, For Baby, All On Top, Afghans, Skirts, Miscellaneous. You have to look at your patterns to see what categories you like and then label the tabs. If you use this method, then the next step would be to separate all the booklets, pamphlets, single sheets by categories and they can be easily slipped into your folder or binder.

My notebooks are used for a different purpose. I use them to keep track of what I am working on. I use a 2" binder with tabs, plastic sheets, and insert pockets for better organization. The tabs are labeled: The Last Step, Sample and gauge swatches to make (I know, the dreaded gauge swatch nightmare), Knit, Crochet, and Beading projects. I can easily go to any of those sections and I can find what needs finishing work, what projects I am working on, any samples I want to work on. And if it is in a book or any other place that I can't put in my notebook, I write a note stating such so that I can find it. And when I am going somewhere (like a knit group) and I want to bring a certain project I can put it all together in one of my tote bags and I am ready to go. Now there are projects that I keep the pattern in with the project if I am always working on it. It all depends upon what will work for you. This is a personal choice and guess what - you can change it if it is not working for you at any time because nothing is set in stone.

In my life I want as much as I can have to be easy. Also, time is precious to me and I don't want to waste it looking for what I need. This way it leaves room for my brain to handle the things that are not going to be easy or that bring stress. I don't want my hobbies to be stressful but continue to be my enjoyment, stress reliever, and fun down time.

So it might be more doable to take one day and bring out all the patterns, another day to separate them, and another day to start putting them away. Break it down into little bits so that it won't be too overwhelming. This can be so much fun and freeing. So don't stress because it will get in the way of your progress. And just think, when you are going through your patterns there will be those 'ah ha' moments when you will say, I forgot about that pattern or I was suppose to make that and you can put it aside for your next project - how exciting. But don't take too many out because you are suppose to be putting them away in a fashion that you can find it when you need it.

Happy organizing! Remember to congratulate yourself with each step you take for a more organized life.

Friday, November 5, 2010

More Organizing To Do - Part IIa - For the Shopper In You

If you can, shop on and have fun! But using the things we already have in our house can save our environment since a lot of things we don't want end up in the trash which end up in the landfill. Just a thought. You can go and do what you want now that I've made you feel guilty - LOL.

The best storage items are see through and for certain items stackable is a plus. You don't want a lot of little organizing holders that would just look a mess. You want holders that can be used in your space in a neat and orderly manner. They can also be labeled for an easy find of what you need. It's great if you have a label maker, but if you don't just cut pieces of paper and scotch tape the label on the container.

We always want to think of ways to store using less space. I love things with compartments or separated spaces so that I can use it for several different small items like stitch markers. One item that could be used to decorate your shelf is that unused vase that has been sitting around. It could be turned into a holder for needles and hooks. This is a great time to use a needle/hook converter chart and check off which sizes you have and maybe what you need to add. Now make sure the vase has a wide enough opening where that you don't have to turn it upside down to get your shorter items, like your crochet hooks out.

Once you've exhausted the house of all items that could be used to hold your supplies, then it's time to go out to your local, no I wasn't going to say yarn shop, but $1.00 store or craft store (with a coupon) and purchase a few holders, notebook, etc... Speaking of coupons, those that live near a Michael's craft store or an ACMoore craft store I am attaching the link to ACMoore store locator to get their coupon and for Michael's you can go to their website and sign up for coupons to be emailed to you. If there is a JoAnn's Fabrics store around you then you can sign up online to receive their coupons via email. All three store coupons are interchangeable meaning that you can use either coupon at any of the three stores. The only difference could be the amount of the coupon could vary. Check with your craft store nearest you for details on their rules. With the economy the way it is we can shop but we need to shop smart.

There are also garage sales and estate sales to visit. Remember, one mans junk is another mans treasure - LOL. You can find some really nice things for organizing at a very minimal cost. But if you are in a great situation for buying then check out Home Goods if it is in your area. This is a hit or miss store meaning you might find or not find what you are looking for. Tell a friend what you are looking for. If they find it then ask them to take a picture of the item, send it to your cell phone and you can look at it and let them know if it is a go or leave it where they found it. This technology world we live in has its good points. But always keep in mind your space size and how much it can hold comfortably without looking too crowded.

A lot of people like to shop online. Look at the websites for your local office supply stores to check out their office organizing items like a desk file tray. That can be used to put patterns that you are working on or a book you want to keep out but in a place you can find it. They have stackable trays and individual trays. Also, you can look at all the different size three ring binders and tabs they have to chose from. In my area we have a Staples and Office Max. Even if it is not in your area you can look at their website just to get ideas. One of my favorite stores is The Container Store. I just love to go into that store and look at all the organizing items they have. Then we have Ikea which is a furniture store from Sweden and they have a lot of shelving ideas to choose from. I love how they have their displays so that you can visualize what it will look like in your home. And for bargains you can try Overstock. Now remember that we are trying to organize what we have not to bring in new items that we don't need. We are not on a shopping spree but we are on an organizational mission so focus.

The next post will be about organizing patterns. What fun that will be.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

More Organizing To Do - Part II

(I will write this post on organizing supplies in two parts)

The word is out that you have a lot of supplies. Don't us all if we have been involved with our hobby for a while. And it is so much fun to get the latest gadget even though it sits for a while waiting for us to get back to it. Then one day we realize that our supplies have overflowed. Time to organize!

Before we organize our supplies, patterns, or yarn we need to see what we are going to use to organize them in. We don't want to take everything a part just to have to look at it and feel overwhelmed with the mess we made. No, this is another sit down session, think through and come up with a plan. I don't know about you but I am not Miss Rockefeller, I'm Miss Craft Diva and her cash is limited at this moment in time.

Let's recycle. Before we go out and buy, we should always try to recycle or reuse items in our home for other reasons than maybe they were intended, like to organize our hobbies. There are always items in our home that we look at and say why I am keeping this or that. I've had items like that and it hits me one day that I could use it for my hobbies. It makes you feel so good to be able to recycle from your own home. Now don't take all of the items below out if you have them. Try only a couple to start with and see what works for you. When you look around your house be creative as to what can be converted over as your storage holders. If you have some other creative ideas then you can share them in a comment on my blog.

Another source for recyclable items could be a friend or family member that just might have what you need and just happen to want to get rid of the item. You could do them a favor by taking it off their hands and putting it to good use. Then you both can benefit.

Some ideas are:

  • plant pots
  • notebooks and tabs (you will need for your patterns)
  • make up holders
  • camera bags
  • lunch bags
  • baskets
  • short vases
  • plastic containers (old Tupperware pieces)
  • plastic zippered case that a spread set would come in (great for storing yarn stash)
  • shoe holder
  • canvas bags
  • plastic shoe boxes
  • fancy gift bags
  • change purse

You get the point. Just explore your home, like going on a treasure hunt and see what you can find.

These items can be used to hold our knitting needles, crochet hooks, booklets, supplies, yarn, and projects (either UFO's or WIP's). Now I'm not condoning shopping. It's just that I have to watch my pennies given my situation. So everyone has to look at their own situation to see if they can afford to go out and buy.

You should not feel like you are the only one with this hoarder problem of patterns, yarn and supplies because you have lots of company. We should not feel that we should do this alone either. You get together for knitting and crochet with friends, have an organizing party. Now I'm not talking about lugging all of your heavy books, but a few bags of yarn or patterns to organize is so much easier to do with a friend or friends. Great time to swap.

I get together with one of my best friends to do our crafts. But it isn't all about crafts. I bring papers to go over, mail, and anything else that I need to go through that I put off when I am home. If you have read my posts, you know that I like to see a connection to other things that I talk about. Getting organized with our hobbies, we connect more with our hobbies when things are more in order and you can find what you need without being frustrated.

This can be overwhelming depending upon how much organizing you need to do. So sit down, breath, and think before you act. It will all feel refreshing once you are organized.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Organization Starting Point - Part I

There is always a process, plan, and steps needed to make organizing work. If you do not have "the space" then you need to work with what you have. I like to work with a clean slate. But don't do this if it is a Sunday afternoon and you have to get ready to go to work the next day or if you will be going out or if your space is so limited that tearing things a part would disrupt your life.

Depending upon what needs to be done and how much you take apart, you might be buried for a little bit. To keep your sanity put you're knitting/crochet project(s)and supplies you will need in a bag and put the bag where you can find it. When you get tired of organizing you can stop to de-stress and work on your project without interruption.

Can you tell that I love to organize? Sometimes I spend too much time organizing. If things are not organized I don't function as well. And if we think we are really functioning fine being disorganized, we are just fooling ourselves. So admit it, when a few changes to your organizational skills could improve and start today.

The Plan

Step 1: Designate the space you will be using for your crafts.

Take a seat and look around for the best spot. Maybe you already have a spot and it just needs to be organized. Are you working with a bookcase? Do you have a 1/2 of a room as your craft space? Do you have a whole room? - I'm jealous. Visualize how you would like that space to look like and then scale it down to what is doable. No, we are not working with fantasies or dreams but reality. It might be temporary but let it be in the now. You can do like I've done and sketched out what my extra room will look like when I get it and work towards making that a reality. Is it a space that you want to sit in and be able to reach out for what you need or is it a storage space for your supplies and you work in another place?

The less space you have the more order you need since after a while everything gets piled up on top of each other and to find anything gets really crazy. That's where going to the store and buying doubles of something comes in. You already have the item but because you can't find it then it gets purchased again.

If you are new with a hobby then you need to get a handle on it at the start because it will get out of control sooner than you think. You want to nip it in the bud before it begins. All of a sudden the stash (yarn) starts growing, the pattern pile gets higher and higher, the books start taking over space and you start to get frustrated because you can't find something that you know is there. You want to try your best to keep things in control so that you can enjoy what you love to do. Why? Because your hobby is not suppose to be frustrating but a stress reliever and relaxing.

Step 2: What will you put in that space?

Besides your books and supplies you might have to rearrange other things that will have to share that space. The question is, are you working with a book case, cabinets with draws, shelves, or crates? Or are you working out of a closet? Does your hobby have to be all put away at the end of your craft time? Since this can be a bit overwhelming, depending upon how much stuff you have to organize, you need to take the time to think it through before you start organizing. This will lesson the stress you could feel if you try to figure it out as you go.

Step 3: Assess your damages

What books, supplies, and loose patterns (I will deal with the stash of yarn later) do you own? This organizing can be applied to any hobby. How much supplies do you have? What kind of supplies do you have? Do you have more than one hobby? This means more supplies for specific purposes and more to organize. You will also find UFO's that you forgot you had started and stuff that just needs to be donated to a worthy cause and this is a great time to get rid of things you won't use. That means don't put them back into the clean space. You might have your supplies housed with other things not pertaining to the needlearts or whatever hobby you love to do.

We can clean out that space, and build on that space (not literally building but putting things back that belong there and organizing it so that it becomes work friendly). Make three piles (I'm focusing on the needlearts) of books, supplies, and loose patterns. I like to start with what is the easiest to put back.

Let's start with books. The questions to ask:

  • How many shelves or how much space do you have for your books?
  • How many books will need to go in that space?
  • It would be good to look at the books as you put them away. Are there any that you would like to donate to your local library or senior center?
  • Are there any that could be passed on to a new knitter/crocheter? If you look at them as you put them away then you are, as they say, killing two birds with one stone.

I am a little fussy with how my things go back on the shelf. I like my books on the shelf by size. It looks neat and organized. But you might want to organize them by category. Reference books vs. pattern books.

If you are working with some form of shelving you might want to put reference books on one shelf and pattern books on another. If you are limited on space, you can separate them on the same shelf with something heavy enough and decorative to separate the two groups. Just make sure it is something that could be functional at the same time. I will talk more about that later. It's your preference. These are just suggestions. Try both to see what you like best, but think about what would work out best for you to maintain order. And remember that nothing is set in stone. If it doesn't work then change it.

So if you are going by my post then you should have:

  1. Picked out the space for your hobby.
  2. Decided what would occupy that space.
  3. Separated in piles books, supplies, and loose patterns to see what you have accumulated.
  4. Start to put your books away.
  5. Sit down and praise you for organizing.

The next post will deal with supplies. Enjoy.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Let's Get Organized - Introduction

Don't you just wish you could close your eyes and when you open your eyes your patterns, knitting projects, supplies where neatly organized. My dream is if I could have a room just for doing my hobbies - not at this moment. OK, well for me it's back to reality.

My favorite show on TV for organizing is Clean House. I also love the show Clean Sweep. Did you ever see either show? They take everything out of the rooms and start to design the rooms for a specific purpose. That can make a person feel so free. Well, we are not going to that extreme, but the concept is there. The show is about people that are stuck and are released, freed, and renewed because of one major change - a clean and organized house.

Now the quickest way to clean up all that stuff in the above picture would be to start a bonfire. But really, the reason why I posted that picture is to show you just a glimpse of what happens over time when we just love, love, love our hobbies.

When I was growing up I was a total neat freak, I admit it. I was so neat that I would throw things around just to straighten up. A bit of a strangeness goin on. I grew out of that. A little bit of dust, a pile here and there (they are neat piles though). That's why I love organizing things but with balance and I appreciate a clean and neat place.

A vision without a plan is an hellucination. (author unknown)

So let's make a plan. This will be a series of organizing thy self with thy stash of yarn, patterns and whatever else goes with what we love to do. Let's face it, as I said, the more years you do the needlearts and the more projects you get to work on, the more you will accumulate.

You know I like to set goals. So our goal is: To have a specific area to store certain things (yarn is a separate story) and be able to return things to that area so that you can concentrate more on your needlearts and not on trying to find your stuff. No matter how big your space is it will become smaller and smaller as your hobby grows and the more disorganized you can become if you don't get a handle on it and reel it in. Just writing about this is exhausting. That's why a process is step-by-step because looking at the whole picture can sometimes be overwhelming. Most of us, or should I say those that will admit it, have a stash, a lot of supplies, a number of pattern piles and it can get out of hand.

Sometimes I will admit I get inundated with all my supplies. Now how does that happen? And when does it begin? It just is. If you knit, crochet, sew or have any other hobby, you have the supplies you need, thought you needed, were on sale, the I can't do without - but never used items. It just sneaks up on you and your eyes try to quickly pass by so that you won't notice. But unfortunately, one day your eyes stop dead on and you want to run away because it can be pretty scary. And then with me I teach the needlearts so I have more stuff than the average person. How do I keep a handle on all of it? It's called organization. I created systems and tried different items to organize my things and choose what worked for me.

So then what can you do? Chip away at getting organized. When it gets to the point when you get pretty frustrated because you can't find what you know is there somewhere, then it is time to face the music. And if you are just starting with a hobby then it is time to look at your hobby to know that one day it will expand. So at the start you want to keep a hold on things before it gets to the 'oh no' stage.

That's why I thought for the next two weeks (give or take) I will be posting every other day (no weekends) about organizing your hobby. These are only suggestions and my personal experience. The choice is yours. You could just read it, or start thinking about organizing by waiting for the three weeks to see what I suggest then start organizing, or organize as I post and just be inconvenient for three weeks as you tackle it all. Whatever you choose, I hope it is to get organized in some way to make your time count to be able to do your hobbies more and as I always say, de-stress yourself and your life.

Happy organizing.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Little Give Away Gift

Wash cloths are fun to make. They can open our world to use new stitches, they are a fast project to make, very portable if we want to do them on the run, and a great little gift to give to anyone. They also are versatile because the same pattern could be used to either make a wash cloth or dish cloth. How neat is that.

The wintertime is fast approaching and that means cold and flu season. When someone you know gets sick make them up a get well bag. Pick up a pretty gift bag and card. The bag could include this handmade crochet wash cloth made with love, along with a pack of tea, jar of honey, lemon, a loaf of some good bread or crackers, something to soothe the throat like Ricola's, and a can of soup (that is if you are like me that do not like to cook). If you like to cook then get those pots going because there is nothing like home made soup with, well home made biscuits when you are sick. I figure if you are going to cook anyway then you might as well go all the way.

Enjoy the gift of giving and making someones day a little brighter.

Free wash cloth pattern

RS - right side
sc - single crochet
ch - chain
rep - repeat

(1) 2 ounce ball Sugar 'n Cream 100% worsted weight cotton (makes 1 wash cloth)
1 US size H-8 (5.50mm) crochet hook
Yarn needle

Size: Appox. 8" x 8"


Ch 30

Foundation Row (RS): Sc in 2nd ch from hook, 1 sc in each ch to end, ch 1 turn (29 sc)

Row 1: 1 sc in first sc, *ch1, skip 1 sc, 1 sc into next sc, rep from * to end, ch 1 turn (15 sc and 14 ch 1 spaces)

Row 2: 1 sc in first sc, *1 dc in next ch 1 sp, 1 sc in next sc rep from * to end, ch 1 turn

Row 3: 1 sc in first sc, *ch 1, skip 1 dc, 1 sc in next sc rep from * to end, ch 1 turn

Row 4: 1 sc in first sc, *1 sc in ch 1 space, 1 sc in next sc rep from * to end, ch 1 turn

Rows 5 and 6: 1 sc in first sc, 1 sc in each sc to end, ch 1 turn

Rows 7 - 10: Repeat rows 1 - 4

Rows 11 and 12: Repeat rows 5 and 6

Rows 13 - 16: Repeat rows 1 - 4

Rows 17 and 18: Repeat rows 5 and 6

Rows 19 - 22: Repeat rows 1 - 4

Rows 23: 1 sc in first sc, 1 sc in each sc to end.

Fasten off. Weave in yarn ends.