Sunday, April 11, 2010

Where are the projects?

The last two weeks have been quite hard for me. After having to put my second cat down within a four month time frame, I just felt so sad. The house felt so empty without the meows and the jumping up in my lap and the other things that come with having a pet companion. I just didn't feel like even working on my projects. I surely didn't feel like writing on my blog.

But then, I remember how I am always talking to friends about how having a hobby is a stress reliever, very therapeutic and it keeps your mind from just always thinking about, in my case, my loss. So I knew I had to force myself to do something with my crafts. So I did. Nothing big or exciting, but it kept me busy. Crafting is great because it doesn't have to be anything spectacular, but something to keep your hands and mind busy and into the creative zone.

The needle arts and crafts is such a passion of mine (knitting, crochet, beading and sewing), I always have something brewing on my needles and hooks. I'm new to the world of beading. But I can tell you that beading has brought a new level of appreciation to knitting and crochet. I am amazed at what can be created as they are combined or done separate. My sewing machine and serger will be catching up soon.

It's the excitement of seeing the end result. It's the creativity and enjoyment that keeps me saying: "Just one more stitch, one more row." I know I have lots of company out there when I say that. It might even be you reading this post.

One of my favorite words is 'variety'. In the past, my variety was delving into different interests outside of the craft world. As I return so strongly, I see the great variety in front of me. The craft world is endless in itself of the possibilities of things to learn and do. I stated in an earlier post that quote 'being a master of none'. I said that because I just love learning new things, and being a master of anything in particular was not on my rector scale. But this time around, as I return to doing my crafts, I am becoming that master in my own right. Not comparing myself with someone else and what they can do, but what I can do and that I'm good at it.

That's what stops some of us from doing more of what we enjoy, comparing ourselves with others and what they can do or how well they can do it. We have to be the creators of our own creativity and greatness with the crafts. If we look at all the new books out there on crafts and what things are being talked about and being done, we would know that there is always room for one more creative person, such as you and I. So don't compare yourself with someone else, but become your own person as you find your place in the craft world.

What are the projects at hand?

This is a stretch bracelet that I made. It is very easy. I used several different beads and arranged them so that the end result would be three separate sections and when it is twisted together there will be three rows of different beads. I am using transparent stretchy illusion cord and an adhesive called -Bead Fix for the glue. The total length of the stringed beads is 24 1/2" for my wrist, which is 7" around. That includes the extra beads I added for ease so that it could move on my wrist. But I tried it on after I thought it was enough beads to make sure that it would not be too stretchy. That is the key. To look at the project to make sure it is the way you want it to look before you apply the glue.

When you have completed stringing all the beads and you have checked your work, tie the two ends together in a knot. Do not cute your tail ends off yet. You want to make sure that the beads are taut but not too tight where that the beads buckle on the cord. So check the whole string of beads before applying the glue. The adhesive is very strong so you want to make sure it doesn't get on your hands or on the beads as you apply it because it doesn't come off too easily. You only need a couple of drops placed on the knot to secure your cord. To apply the glue, use your fingers to stretch the cord a little so that the knot does not touch the beads, apply the glue, hold in that position for a minute to let the glue set, then set the bracelet aside to completely dry. I wait until the following day then I wear it. You are ready to wear your finished masterpiece.

It's a fun project because you need to use your imagination to think of what beads you will use, in what order, and what end result you are after. Of course, that is the method of madness that you use when you are beading in general. I say, "method of madness" because you get into this creative mode and you start trying to think, 'should it be this way or that way, should I use this bead or that bead'. It can make you go crazy with fun and excitement to see the end result. If you have any questions about this project just ask me. Just have fun.

One of my knitting projects (I have several) is this Domino Potholder from Vivian Hoxbro's book: 'Domino Knitting'. It is a great way to start trying out mitered squares.

Another project I have is this knitted baby blanket called Cradle Comfort from an earlier copy of Family Circle book on Easy Afghans.

This pattern is a great way for beginner knitters to expand their skills. With this blanket you are mostly knitting and purling but you have a chart pattern to follow, which helps you to learn how to read a basic chart. You do have to pay attention to where you put the knit and purl stitches to get the right pattern result. There are only two main symbols and the pattern has a cable panel on each side of the chart. Because it is a left cable slant on one end and a right cable slant on the other end, you are able to practice a simple cable using both the right and left twist. This book is an older issue and it will be hard to find. I found it at one of my local libraries. But again, the key to learning and growing is stepping into a new place as you go forward. No matter if it is knitting, crocheting or sewing you can go at your pace, but experiment with something new with each project.

If you haven't worked on a chart or cabling, then find a simple pattern, similar to what I described that includes something new to learn. I will post the end result of both projects when they are completed.

Happy crafting!

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