Thursday, April 28, 2011

This Week on 'My Talent Corner'

On Tuesday, March 8, 2011 I wrote about my future blogs under the 'My Talent Corner'. I would like to think that my blog, even though I have my moments of not blogging as often as I wish I could, it will inspire ones to do more, not to be intimidated by their level but be open to learn, grow and have fun. So I felt that sharing not only what I am doing, but what others that come across my path are doing would broaden the scope of talent and projects.

My first candidate is a student in one of my classes. She thinks of her craft as therapy. She was brand new in the needleart world. Well, I think of it also as therapy because it is very therapeutic if you haven't found that out by now. I know it keeps me calm and it destresses me especially at times when I say thank goodness I have my knitting and crochet.

As you can see, Liz has been busy making items to wear. I just love the hat she is wearing. These are just a couple of items that have brought joy to her fingers. Great job, well done.

Interview with Liz:

Miss Craft Diva: When did you first learn how to crochet/knit?

Liz: I first learned to knit and crochet about 2 and 1/2 years ago.

Miss Craft Diva: How did you learn? From a family member, friend, organization?

Liz: I learned from a knit class held at the library. The teacher is someone you know quite well. We were taught the basics of a beginning class. Later the library group included people from the class and other community members who wanted to meet. The group has in addition to our earlier teacher had people with all skill levels. We learn from each other and help each other.

Miss Craft Diva: What made you want to crochet/knit?

Liz: I always admired other peoples work, ie afghans, hat, scarves sweaters.

Miss Craft Diva: Which do you like better - knitting or crocheting and why?

Liza: I like both. Though I favor crocheting primarily because it is faster and much easier to fix mistakes.

Miss Craft Diva: What are some future projects you would like to make?

Liz: I would like to make different afghans. I would also like to make some clothing items, sweaters ponchos. I also like to make gift items because their special. TLC.

Miss Craft Diva: What benefits do you get from knitting/crocheting?

Liz: I feel doing these crafts is very relaxing, and fun. Going to knit groups is also a nice social activity. It is fun to go out and meet our group members. We kiddingly refer to our group as our therapy.

Liz has learned both knitting and crochet and I have enjoyed watching her progress and I am inspired by her determination as she tackles the 'I can't' to the 'look what I did'.

We all have those moments of doubt in our ability to learn. Let's follow Liz's example of saying I can and keep trying and stretching out of our comfort zone. Can't wait to feature future projects from Liz.

Enjoy what you are doing. Do what you enjoy.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Healthy Regiment Update

Excuse my absence but my blog was down for a week not knowing what had happened. I did figure the problem out and it is solved. Then I needed some down time to catch up with emails, make samples for my classes, and guess what - I started cooking.

We are all struggling with something that we wish we could just get a handle on. It might be weight, our daily schedule of what we need to accomplish, putting "me" time in the schedule when you have children or other responsibilities. And you might be with me as I continue to struggle with cooking. Well, since I have a busy schedule I need the stamina to continue to do all I need to do in one day. That takes energy and the combination that gives me that energy is; water, exercise, juicing, and eating my fruits and vegetables. There is no stand-alone that will give me all the energy I need.

So as I revealed what I wanted to accomplish with my healthy lifestyle, all of a sudden I had the desire to cook. I thought maybe I was sick or something, just to think that I actually wanted to cook. So I looked at what staples I already had and then I went to the store and gathered the items that could go with the items I had at home and a world wind went through the house. I looked in my refrigerator and freezer and it was full of cooked food. Yes, I cooked and it has lasted me three weeks since I froze some of it. I made a couple of soups, vegetables, other dishes that I had recipes for and I have been eating so healthy and feeling more energetic.

Like I had mentioned, it is not just the eating. I have been working out on the trampoline and doing stretches since I don't do walking in the cold weather. This is really a great alternative for indoor exercising. I try to have it as a part of my schedule every day so that when I need to skip a day or two I don't feel bad. It's not being a fanatic but working on balance. I continue to strive to take better care of my body. For the mind my knitting and crochet keeps me sane.

We all like control in some form or fashion. One of the best areas to use that control mechanism in us is to keep striving for a better health regiment so that you have control of your own health. You not only will look good on the outside but you will feel good from the inside out. This is not just for springtime but year round.

Now the question remains can I keep this cooking up? Only time will tell. I'll let you know how I am doing. I take one day at a time. How about you? Have you tried to put at least one change in your diet or exercise program for a better health regiment? I think putting it out on my blog helped me to be more accountable. Find what will work for you. Let's continue to strive to be healthier.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The "V" Crochet Stitch

In today's crochet world there is so much to choose from between yarn, patterns, and stitches. We get so caught up in the world of choices that we forget about a simple stitch used in a simple design. One stitch that I am talking about is the "V" stitch. It is such a simple stitch but it works into a beautiful throw, scarf, or hat. It is what I call a 'throw in the bag take anywhere project'.

If you have read my blog for a while, by now you know that I am not a 'one at a time' project person. I love variety and I get so excited at the vast choices of items to make. And then there is the personal creativity that comes out that makes the space of choices even bigger. But when I am going somewhere and I know I will not be able to concentrate on my project that is a more involved pattern, then a no brainer is the key.

One of my students wanted to learn how to do the ripple crochet stitch. After trying it, she realized that she didn't like all the counting and concentrating that the stitch required when you are first learning how to do it. The solution - how about the "V" crochet stitch instead. She loved it and others in the class wanted to try it and so they did. The result are blankets and scarves in different colors and sizes working their way to completion using this simple stitch.

Now you might say that you made lots of things with the "V" stitch and it has been used a lot. But guess what? You might have been exposed to the stitch but there are so many more that have not. With the stress that a lot of us are under we look for something that we don't have to think, that we can do while watching TV, waiting at a doctors office or at a crochet group. It's a stitch that you can talk and work on your project at the same time. So for those that might be new with crochet or know how to crochet and forgot about this simple stitch here is a throw pattern using the "V" stitch.

Another student asked with this pattern could she use two yarns together so that she could have a two color affect. Yes you can. Use a larger hook and it looks great. Of course doubling the amount of yarn.

This is a fast stitch because you don't go into each stitch but you go into the hole inbetween each "V" stitch or say the space that the chain 1 is made. And of course, the yarn makes a difference in the outcome of the blanket as you can see with the variegated yarn I used.

The "V" Stitch Throw

US size H (5 mm) Crochet Hook

Start out with 4 skeins because it depends upon the yarn you use. Skeins have different yardage which makes a difference in how much you will need. I used Bernat Berella "4" Worsted Weight and each skein has 165 yards/3oz. I used approx. 4 skeins so that equals 660 yards. So when you are purchasing the yarn get at least a total of 660 yards.

Approximate size of blanket: 32" x 45" including edge single crochet stitch

(note: If you need to purchase more yarn remember to look at the dye lot number from the skeins you have and the ones you are going to purchase to make sure they match. Also, keep your receipt just in case you need to return yarn.)

dc – double crochet
ch – chain

Chain 115

Row 1: double crochet in 4th chain from hook, chain 1, double crochet into same chain as first dc, *skip 2 chains, (dc, ch1, dc) into next chain*. Repeat from * to * ending with dc into last chain, turn.

Row 2: chain 3, (dc, ch1, dc) into first chain 1 space, *(dc, ch1, dc) into next chain 1 space*. Repeat from * to * ending with dc into top of turning chain, turn.

Repeat row 2 for pattern for the length you want. (note: I tend not to give a specific length because it is best to snuggle up in it or compare the length with a blanket that you already have that you like the length. This gives you more control over your project. If you need the throw to be wider and you are comfortable with calculating for the size, then add stitches by 3's on your foundation chain. This gives you the chain for the double crochet chain 1 double crochet in one chain and the two chains you skip equaling 3 chains for each repeat. But I would make a sample of the stitch before purchasing the yarn so that you can figure out how much yarn you need.)

Fasten off and weave in ends.

To make it pop I added a couple rows of single crochet all around remembering to work 2 to 3 stitches more in each corner to make the corners round.

Mistakes to avoid:

  • working only one double crochet in space instead of two
  • no chain between double crochets to form V
  • chaining in between two V’s instead of between the two double crochets
  • not working the last double crochet in top of turning chain of previous row when you get to the end of the row
  • not chaining three at the end of row or beginning of row to start new row
  • making the V between two V’s and not on top of last V of previous row
  • every once in a while hold your work up to the light to see if all your stitches are correct

It's ok to have two projects. You don't have to work on them at the same time. One could be a harder project and if you get stuck or you just can't concentrate on that project then - Walla the "V" stitch to the rescue.

Have fun.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Exciting Month of May

First of all, I have missed blogging. As we all are trying to take one day at a time and get through our busy lives, stressful moments, and tap into our creativity sometimes not all can get done. At first I was trying to find out why my blog was not up and running and I found out. That was fixed. In the meantime, life can get in the way and not all can get accomplished. But I hope in my absence you have been busy having fun with your projects. I have had lots of fun teaching my classes and enjoying meeting new and returning knitters and crocheters. So now that I got that out of the way, what is going on?

I can't believe another month of May is around the corner. You know what that means or maybe you don't? It is time again for the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. This is their 38th year and the event will be held on May 7th and 8th, 2011. Click on the link to find out more. Have you ever been to one before? You haven't? Well, you might be new in the world of knit and crochet and this just might be your time that you would like to expand and venture out to a couple of the events that happen during the year. You might not live in a distance that you want to travel to this event, but there are so many other events going on during the year and there might be one near you and you don't even know it.

If you would like to see pictures of this event, go to my earlier blog post for
May 2 and May 3, 2010 to find out what it is all about. Then you can check with your local yarn shop and see if they are hosting a bus trip to the event. Also, you could check with your local knit/crochet group to see if they might be hosting a trip or they know of a place that is hosting a trip. You could also get a car group together or one other friend to take the trip with you and go. This is a great way to see that knit and crochet is not going anywhere but that it is booming and people are having so much fun with it. I won't be going this year but I hope you will be able to go or attend an event near where you live. It is all about tapping into the needle art world, meeting new people, picking out new projects, and of course building your stash just a little bit with some special finds of fibers.