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.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

November Is My Giving Back With Knitting and Crochet Month

I want to make a goal for November. For the first two weeks I will be making chemo hats for cancer patients through our knitting guild. The last two weeks will be for making hats and booties for preemies to give to a local hospital. I have some yarn left over from baby items or yarn I got from house sales that I would like to use up for a good cause.

I encourage you that if you have never done charity knitting/crochet before that you get on board. You can get in contact with a hospital that has a maternity ward and see if they accept items for preemie babies. There might be a local cancer center near you that would love your contribution of chemo hats. It is so rewarding and enjoyable. The items knit/crochet up fast and you can use those scarps that are just lying around. You could form a group to do it together and use up each others scraps or you could do it by yourself. Every chemo hat, preemie hat or pair of booties counts.

So think about joining me for the month of November. I will keep you posted on my progress.

"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do."

Edward Everett Hale

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Day at Rhineback Sheep and Wool Festival

I didn't leave too early on Saturday - 7:00am. I had two knitting buddies accompany me and I drove. One woman was from the Monday knitting group and the other was from the Tuesday knitting group that I attend. We had a blast of a time the whole day. We got to know each other better and we shared tid bits throughout the day about knitting and on other topics.

The festival was great. What was so nice is that I wore my poncho and I got complements on how it looked and fit on me. And I was complementing people on their garments. This happened all day. It was like an ongoing fashion show and we were the models. The talent and creativity just was evident. And it showed how much fun people are having doing their needlearts as they showed off their wears. One person that I had complemented her on her poncho said to me that she was just admiring mine. So our eyes were constantly peering through the crowd trying to see all those finished projects.

There was the competition of the sheep which we only had a few minutes to see because we had more shopping to do. I was glad that I drove because we took the whole day to take our time, but time still went fast and the Rhineback festival is bigger then Maryland so we had more ground to cover.

They had music, food (we stopped for a quick bite because we had more looking to do), and even a place for kids to play. There was one whole building that housed cooking demonstrations, wine tasting, cheese sampling (I did buy some cheese - yummy), and the garments for the knit/crochet competition. Beautiful garments that people made. I love, love the shawls especially. It was a smaller exhibit then Maryland but it was still very nice. I like to see the patterns done up in different yarn weights to see how it would look. There was also a display of photography which I love. One picture captured me of a baby alpaca being fed with a baby bottle. How adorable is that.

It was so funny that even though I was having such a blast, I was on edge. Why? Visiting all the vendors, seeing their samples, the designers patterns and kits they were selling just got me all excited. All I could think about was getting home to knit. It was this crazy overwhelming feeling that continued all day. The more I saw the more anxious and excited I felt to get back to my own projects or start something new.

I could really see with both the Maryland festival and the Rhineback festival that it took a lot of planning, preparation, volunteering, and money to pull this off. I say hurray and shout out a big thank you to all those that were involved with such an undertaking and for making us so happy for that day.

All that talk about me wanting to get home to knit just went out the window once I got home. I was so tired, but felt so satisfied from the day. I think I knitted about two rows of my hat and I fell asleep and boy did I sleep well. I bet you I was dreaming about balls of yarn and needles in hand. And if I couldn't sleep because I was wound up I could have literally counted the sheep, goats, rabbits, llamas and alpacas as I recap my wonderful day at the Rhineback's Sheep and Wool festival and that would have lulled me right to sleep. But I didn't have to do that.

If you were there I hope you had as much fun as I did? Enjoy your new finds from the festival. My new finds are calling out to me - make me, make me. But I must resist the temptation of starting something new.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sand Sculpting Competitions

As I have to tink or frog my knitting, my mind starts to think of one of my favorite competitions - sand sculpting. Wow! That's all I can say. I've been several times to Virginia Beach for their annual sand sculpting competition and it is amazing.

When I see the end result of the designer's work I get upset at the thought that after the competition is over the sea will engulf their designs forever. I wish I could build a wall that would go deep into the sand so that it would stop the waves from crashing down on such masterpieces. And I would place each piece in a glass container with a special protection from the sun on each design to preserve them for at least a year or more. I think many more people should be able to see and appreciate the passion, talent, and skill in each designer's work before it's gone.

Pictures don't do the designs justice, but I just have to share with you some that I took in the past. If you haven't been to a sand sculpting competition yet you are missing out on a treat. It's fascinating to watch them work on their designs as they try to outdo the other designers. As I watch them put such details in their work I can't even imagine the sleepless nights they must have had to come up with yet a better design than their last one.

I couldn't go this year, but I will be looking at the website 37th Annual Virginia Beach Neptune Festival to see the pictures. These competitions are held all over the world. To see if there is a competition in or near where you live, search 'sand sculpting competitions' on the web. You could plan a vacation around a competition. This is another area where true creativity has made its mark for sure.

So the next time you have to tink or frog your work, just think, you can redo a couple of stitches or rows and you are able to keep your end result. These designers create their pieces and say goodbye for good after every competition. A little tinking or frogging doesn't seem that bad after all.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Knit/Crochet Extravaganza - Basking Ridge, NJ

I attended the 10th Annual Knit/Crochet Extravaganza at the Bernards Township Library in Basking Ridge, NJ this past Saturday. The event ran from 11:00am - 2:00pm. It was fabulous! This was my first time attending and it won't be my last.

For one, they were given a lot of donations for the event. My favorite was the earlier issues of magazines. I love the Vogue Knitting International magazine. I am always checking them out of the library when I want to make something else that I saw from one of the earlier issues. Well, now I have my own collection because they were giving them away. My library growith yet again. I can concentrate on other books I want to check out at the library.

For the drawings throughout the day the front table was full of yarn, books, and supplies. As a result, the day got exciting as each person had a ticket and would get to pick one of the gifts off of that front table when their number was called. What was so wonderful is that everyone in attendance won a gift. And when all the tickets were called, they gave everyone yet another ticket and so all the people that were left got another prize.

As you can see from the picture of what I won I will be enjoying some more knitting. The one batch of yarn is 50% llama and 50% wool. Now that is pretty nice I have to say.

Tables were set up for teaching from beginners to special stitches. I sat in for the stitch that is used to make the Summit Shawl (free pattern on Knitty) and enjoyed learning something new.

And of course, it is always so nice to meet other needle art enthusiast. We talked, shared our passion through what we were working on, and got to know yet again that the needlearts is not going anywhere but is growing in leaps and bounds.

Maybe I will meet you there next year. I hope so.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Update on UFO's and WIP's

My post of June 17th I talk about my UFO's (unfinished objects). On July 6th I talk about other patterns that were calling out to me saying, 'make me, you know you want to make me'. What did I do? I gave in and made them. I finished the fan shawl, handkerchief lace shawl, and the pig puppet. So I uploaded my FO's (finished objects) on flickr. I still have a couple that I need to finish for example the fingerless gloves, I need to make the second glove. Isn't that what happens with socks. You get one done and then you say, oh no I have the second sock to make. Unless you are using the two circular needle method. I also had some in between projects that I did and they are uploaded on flickr. I have the pinwheel rug to put together. There goes that finishing process again that holds me up. Oh well, I will get it done for sure. Just stay tune.

I think talking with you about what I need to do and finish really helps me to own it. I have been trying harder to enjoy the whole process of my needlearts. As I talked about in my September 3rd post 'The Finish Line', how it is not my favorite thing to do. I'm getting better with enjoying the whole process.

What's on my needles and hooks?

My needles and hooks are never empty. In fact, I have several WIP (work in progress) projects going on. This is my therapy and I use it to the full.

Intarsia Pillowback of pillow
Ruffled Collar PulloverElizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket

I tell you if you want to practice the increase Make 1, then do the Baby Surprise Jacket. It is full of them throughout. But the jacket is done in garter stitch so it makes it easier to get through. It is a very interesting and an exciting surprise to see the jacket start out looking like nothing and end up shaping into a one piece jacket. I love it because the finishing work is minimal. You gotta stick in one of these projects every once in a while so you don't go crazy.

What's going on in the area?

Basking Ridge is having their Knit/Crochet Extravaganza event this Saturday, October 9. It will be held at the Bernards Township Library. This is the 10th year the library hosted the event. I will be going to check it out. So if you are in the area you can stop by.

Next weekend - October 16th & 17th Rhinbeck Sheep and Wool Festival.

I've been to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, which I talk about and posted pictures on my post of May 2nd. I haven't been to the Rhinbeck Sheep and Wool Festival so I am excited to go. The Maryland festival was on a very hot day and it was crowded. I didn't buy anything because I couldn't think straight as to what I wanted. Maybe I just didn't need any more yarn at that moment. OK that is not an accurate statement coming from a person that just gotta have the yarn in hand at all times. Lame excuse.

So for the Rhinbeck Festival I want to get some hand dyed yarn for socks or a shawl. And I will see what other goodies I could find at a reasonable price for one other project.

If you get to go, happy shopping or browsing and enjoy the day. And if you are not going happy knitting/crocheting and have fun.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Lesson in Navegating Around a Blog

If you haven't read my post from May 5 entitled Volunteering, my passions are hobbies, traveling, and volunteering. I have a lot to say about all three, even though the traveling part I am on a sabbatical ever since being displaced from my job. But I would still like to share my past travel experiences.

I started this blog and I have been thoroughly enjoying it. I have been learning something new, and I have been able to use my HTML coding that I learned in the past. I've been excited about continuing to blog and building it even more. But I know that there are a lot of people still out there that don't understand these computer extras. I thought I would give you a short tour around my blog site so that you know how to use a blog better.

What is a blog? Taken from Wikipedia, "a blog is a type of website or part of a website. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video."

What are blogs used for? It's like an online diary or information site. There are all kinds of blogs. There are blogs featuring travel, cooking, needlearts, crafts, work etc... And the list goes on and on. I am using which is a free online site to host my blog. Now just a quick tour through what you see on the blog page and how to navigate around.

The blog Home Page

Left side of blog page:

View Finished Projects on flickr

According to Wikipedia, "flickr is an image hosting and video hosting website, web services site, and online community created by Ludicorp and later acquired by Yahoo!. In addition to being a popular website for users to share and embed personal photographs, the service is widely used by bloggers to host in pages that they embed in blogs and social media."

I added pictures of all my finished projects just to show you that I do finish something in my crazy world. If you would like to see my finished projects click on the words "click here to see project photos." Flickr will open in a separate window, you can look at the pages of projects or go to a particular page by clicking on the page numbers on the bottom of the page. Or if you would like to view the separate category just for either knitting, crochet, or beading just click on the picture of your choice on the right hand side on the first page. When you are finished simply click on the red X to close the window.

The "Blog Archive" is a list of all that I posted. My blog is set up to show 14 posts as you scroll down. Under the blog archive it first tells you how many I posted for 2010 thus far. Under that the months are listed showing how many I posted for that month. To see an earlier post you need to click on the month and that post will open. As you click on the month it also lists the title of each post.

There are other things that can be added to the blog for example I added "Favorite Links." These are some of the links I love to visit the most. The list of my favorite links are actual links that you can click on to go to that particular site.

Then there is the "About Me", which I wrote a little bio. If you would like to read the whole bio to get to know more about me, click on the words "view my complete profile." When you are finished with reading the profile, you can either use the back arrow at the top left corner or click on the blog title at the bottom of the page to return to the home page of my blog.

On the right side of the page is the blog posts. Use the scroll bars to go down to see the different days that I posted for the 14 post that show up. At the end of each blog post there are three reaction boxes that you can choose just to let me know how you feel about what you read. The three are: funny, interesting, and cool. I would be interested to see what you think.

If there is a specific thing that you are looking for example, if I don't state which previous post I said something or if you want to see if I included something in particular, you can use the search which is in the left hand corner above the title and put in the word or phrase and if it is included on one of my posts then it will come up.

At the end of each post you can click on the word "comments" to open the comment box if you would like to ask a question or if you have a comment about what was said, type it in and click on "post comment" then I will respond.

I hope that this will help you enjoy my blog as well as other blogs better.

If you have any questions or would like to contact me, you can also email me at