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)