Saturday, December 14, 2013

Purging Pattern Time

Some people thrive on puzzles, quizes, challenges and that's great. It keeps the mind sharp. But for now life is enough of a quize for me to figure out. I don't need my knitting or crochet to be in that category. Also it's what each person chooses as their mental freedom.

What am I talking about? Understanding patterns. Pattern reading is a challenge sometimes with words. I just don't have the time I need to be able to work through a difficult to read pattern. I need simplicity. I want to pick up a pattern and just go for it without the challenge of 'what do they mean' or 'I'm suppose to do what'.

Time is of the essance. We just don't have enough of it to do all that we want to do and so simplyfying needs to be done with patterns. My new rule is if my brain doesn't understand the pattern it doesn't come in my pile to make. I am not out there to prove anything. My craft are for my de-stressing and enjoyment not stressing. And if a pattern is not connecting with me why am I doing it.

We all process information differently and some can process the most complex and others need help. People that can don't always understand or have patience with those that can't but my take on it is if it is more simplified then more will make it and it won't end up in the pile of I will finish it one day.

So I will be purging patterns. And I will pass them along because again there are ones that like the challenge of figuring it all out. Just because I don't want to figure it out doesn't mean someone else feels the same.

There have been projects I've had to let sit until I can take out the time to figure out the pattern. Students look at me funny when I say I make mistakes. Don't confused being an expert with being perfect. Thomas Edison was a master at his field but he had to make a lot of mistakes for his end result to be a success. He didn't mind figuring out all the details. He is one that didn't thrive on simplicity.

I've gotten comments from my students when I say I can't figure out a pattern. I tell them that we all process information differently. And even though I am an expert in my arena doesn't mean that I will understand everything. The way words are put together we all are not going to read them the same way. So we interprete them and sometimes it is the wrong way and of course that shows in our project. So my goal for next year is if I can read through it and understand it right away come to mama so she can enjoy making you. If not pass it on. Whatever way I can find to de-stress I'm there.

To become a master for each level meaning beginners, intermediate and advance you must embrace mistakes, learn from them and grow. A carpenter cuts up a good amount of wood the wrong way to become that master carpenter. A seamstress makes a good amount of cutting and sewing errors before knowing just how things work. So for those that like the challenges I commend you as long as you are having fun.

Enjoy the rest of your week and weekend.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

2014 Coming Around The Corner

A new year is almost upon us yet again. And again we might say to ourselves the year went so fast I didn't get a chance to do some of the things I wanted to do. Or you might not have met those goals you set. At least not all of them.

So what do you do? Let's get going with a new list of goals. Those that you didn't accomplish slide them over for this next year.

I try to set goals every year. Ever since I lost my job it has been a little challenge to meet certain goals because they require money. Now you might say somewhere in my posts I am going to mention about me loosing my job. Well guess what, unfortunately I have lots of company and many could use some encouragement to keep fighting through these can be challenges and difficult times. I didn't talk about it before on my blog but that is what is going on with my journey and I need to include it. I've had to adjust my life and many out there also have had to do the same.

If you've never lost your job this might not be the blog to read then because my life is not just about my craft that I enjoy so much but it's about picking up the pieces of life and learning from the new normal how to make it work for me and maybe help others.

I finally saw my cousin to be able to give her the blanket I made for her. It was when I went home to grab a bag of stuff to return back to the hospital when my aunt had her accident. It is made with some of my scrap yarns including those left over half skeins that you ask yourself what will I do with them. She loved it. Well, when she got home her husband loved it also. In fact, he loved it so much he wrapped himself up in it right away. I told her I will surprise him with his own blanket because if not she will never be able to use hers.

As always have fun with your craft.

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Freak Accident

Life happens so unexpectedly. One minute you are enjoying yourself and the next minute something can turn that joy around.

I was over my aunts house because she had a long time friend over that has become my friend. She is an avid knitter so we try to get together every once in a while. We use to go to the Stitches convention together and a couple of other crafty things within the year. I couldn't come over early because I work in the morning so I came in the later afternoon. They had a wonderful day, they went to breakfast and to one of the local yarn shops. When I arrived we all sat around talking and catching up. The friend showed her latest project which was a beautiful cabled sweater that she was working on. When she left me and my aunt sat around talking and then she packed a goodie bag for me.

Another aunt lives next store and she had a few health items to give me so I was going over there to get them and to visit a bit. My aunt said she was going over there to get some cookies. Well, she puts on (as we discovered later) the worst shoes. If you have those shoes that are your favorite but they have you walking sideways and they are all beat up you need to get rid of them because they could be that accident waiting to happen.

We were only going right next store since they live side by side in garden apartments. We are outside and she was closing her storm door and I was opening my aunts storm door, I just turned for a few seconds and when I turned back my aunt was tumbling down four concrete stairs. She wasn't moving at first and panic started as I was shaking. Then she said I think I did something to my arm and knee. To make a long story short she didn't want an ambulance, the hospital was local, with my other aunt to help I got the car and she hobbled to the car and off we went. Come to find out she broke a bone in her knee and broke a few bones in her wrist. She had no other option with the wrist except to get surgery and pins put in. It is amazing what they can do today to patch you back up.

It happened so quickly she doesn't even know what happened. But after looking at the shoes and how far her storm door comes out and it was nighttime you can see how a misstep can easily happen that can turn into a fall. All that said even though she was in a lot of pain she turns to me once she found out she was not going home and I was coming back the next day - well you better go home and pack a big bag. Now she wasn't talking about clothes but my knitting and crochet. Only another knitter would say that.

She started to feel bad about us having to upset our schedule to come up and take care of her needs. I told her life can be an inconvenience. If I haven't learned anything else once I got laid off is that we have to adjust to life even when we don't want to. Once I lost my job I had to adjust from freedom to buy and go and do to cutting it all out to survive. It's not something I wanted to do but it was the adjustment I needed to make. It's an adjustment because you don't need travel, eating out or buying material possessions to live but it makes life sweeter and fun. You learn to go with the flow because "It is what it is." And it is not like she woke up in the morning and said, Oh I think I want to take a tumble today and go for a hospital stay.

It's only been since last Saturday but it seems longer. Thank goodness for a friend that is like family that works at the hospital at night, once her shift was over she was there and stayed with my aunt all night. You have got to have someone there in and out to make sure things are taken care of. Family has scattered and the others are up in age but the phone doesn't stop ringing and family and friends that can they do. It has not been a whole week yet and she has been in the hospital and now at the rehab already. But she is on to recovery. We just say thank goodness she did not hit her head and she is more mobile because it is the left side and she is a righty. So up the highway I go with my knitting and crochet projects without a thought because family is everything.

Be safe and enjoy your weekend. Have fun for me.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Cable Scarf Complete

You look at your left-over yarns and you just don't know what to do with them. This was a great project to use my half skeins of yarn. Combining colors and solids with varigated yarns worked out - I love it.

The pattern came from the Knit Simple Holiday 2012 magazine but the scarf was made with a solid color. When I looked at it almost immediately I thought of left-over yarn. Now reading my other posts you know I love mixing colors, using left-over and scrap yarn - waste not. This project is not good for scrap yarns because you are working with 518 stitches so running out of the yarn in the middle of the row would have caused a sweat. Not saying you couldn't work half a row and start another color because you can, but that was not what I wanted to do.

So a project like this takes a little thinking out what you want to do and looking at how much yarn you have before you start knitting. I used what I knew would make it across several rows and it worked. I only have a little ball of yarn left of two of the colors which will go into this granny square blanket I have been working on.The other two colors - well they will sit and wait for that next project that gives me the go-ahead to use them in.

On to the next project. Because there is always something on my needles.

Have fun with colors. Explore, you will be glad you did.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Little Catastrophy With My Knitting Project

I'm sure I have lots of company when I say don't you just love it when you are going along so nicely and all of a sudden a loud screech comes out of your mouth - oh no look just what happened.

Well, that happened to me today. I was working on this Cable Scarf (in fact that is what it is called and I love the design), it's made up of ribbing and cabling. I am working on 518 stitches on a number US 6 circular needle. Maybe some of you might know what I am about to say. All of a sudden it happened - the coil came apart from the needle part and there started the tumbling of my stitches. This is a regular circular needle not interchangeable. Panic started up. But then I said that won't solve anything. So I took a deep breath and started thinking what is the fastest way to get those stitches back on a needle before they start running like a pair of stockings. Thank goodness I had another #6 circular needle.

As a new knitter sometimes what happens is that you are working on your project and you pull too hard and pull the stitches right off the needle. Oh no - look what I did. So it can happen on straight needles, circular needles and especially double pointed needles.

Now if this happens to you where your circular needle breaks and you don't have the same size, go down a size because you don't want to stretch the stitches out of proportion. And that would make it easier to pick the stitches up if you feel that crazy panic rising. That is if you have other sizes of circulars. Or just to get them back on a needle - use a straight. Nine times out of ten you will not be working on 500 stitches. Another thing you can do is take some extra yarn you have and a tapestry needle, thread it and run the yarn through all the stitches until you are able to either buy another size needle if you don't have the same size. Yes, there are other reasons for tapestry needles besides weaving in ends.

As for me, I used everything in sight to catch those stitches. I used the broken circular needle, a stitch holder and the cable needle. Then to pick up stitches that were undone I used my crochet hook and held the one next to it with my finger so that as I was fixing the one stitch the next one would not undo itself. Focus and try not to panic is the key. I didn't care if they were put on backwards because I knew I could fix them later. The object of this craziness was to get those stitches back on something.

I was trying to preserve my cable row I had just finished but a part of the row it was easier for me to just take it out and pick up those stitches instead of fumbling to pick them up as finished cable twists. If you haven't worked with cables yet you will understand this when you do.

As you can see from the picture most of the stitches I could pick up with cables in tack onto another circular needle. But there are those that are on that broken circular needle and a stitch holder (the stitch holder is another wonderful tool that can have multiple purposes.

So the next time you drop a stitch or two even more think of me. If I can handle over 500 stitches to get them back on track you can tackle a couple of stitches. Yes I know what I am doing but I still don't want that to happen. And don't panic because you think - I'm a new knitter and I don't know what I am doing. Just wait a minute, breath and then look at those stitches and think of how you can get them back on the needle. You can do it. And if it is a couple of stitches remember you can use a safety pin, stitch marker even a paper clip just to hold the stitches until you are able to pick it up with your needle.

Continue to have fun with your craft. Until next time.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

This Week on My Talent Corner

I always look forward to see what my students are making. When they stick to the craft even though their time might be very limited. This student came to my class pregnant and then when she returned for another class the baby had safely arrived and growing. And she still wanted to save a little time here and there for her crochet.

At her baby shower someone gave her a gift of a sack with a hat to match to put the baby in. She said she uses it all the time. Wow, something else to make for a baby shower. Anyway, the baby was getting too big for that sack and she wanted to make a bigger sack. And she made it.

She is such a careful crocheter, I love how her items turn out.

(Miss Craft Diva)When did you first learn how to crochet?

(Marie) I first learned to crochet about 2 years ago. I am still learning and have a long way to go :)

(Miss Craft Diva)How did you learn? From a family member, friend or organization?

(Marie)I learned to crochet at the Sayreville Public Library in a "Introduction to Crochet for Beginners" Class they held. It was a 4 week class that met on Saturday mornings. I have taken this class two times and it was taught by you (Cheryl). Cheryl is an excellent teacher!

(Miss Craft Diva) Why do you enjoy crocheting so much?

(Marie)I enjoy Crochet because I like the sense of accomplishment I feel after I finish a project. Every crochet project for me is a "labor of love". I take my time and learn as I am going. I make tons of mistakes along the way but I pull those stitches out and try again. At the end of a project I feel so happy and proud of myself that I actually was able to make something! I am not that crafty in generally so this is a big accomplishment for me.

(Miss Craft Diva) Well you are an encouragement for all new crocheters. Not only do you want your project to look good you do that by taking out stitches that it took time to do out of your very busy schedule.

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

(Marie) Most of my projects are "baby" related as I have 3 small little girls: Molly - 5 years old, Lucy - 3 years old, and Emily- 7 months old. I am still a beginners level of crochet so most of my projects are basic like blankets and scarves. I would like to learn how to make my girls clothing. I love how my girls look in crochet sweaters and dresses. One day I want to make these items for them. It would bring me so much joy to see by kids wear something that I made from the heart.

(Miss Craft Diva) What benefits do you get from crochet?

(Marie) I find crochet very mind challenging which I LOVE! When I first started I was not reading patterns. I was just doing simple stitches and following instruction from others. Now I have some more confidence in my skill that I love to figure out how to read patterns. I study the whole pattern first and try to "decode it" and than get started. Most people say crochet is relaxing for them but for me it is not because I concentrate really hard and want to understand what I am doing. I have very limited time to crochet since I have 3 kids, a husband, a house, work, etc so when I actually get to sit down and crochet it is all business!

(Miss Craft Diva) What made you want to crochet?

(Marie) What made me want to crochet is my grandmother who I called "Nonna Teresa". My most fondest memories of Nonna Teresa is her sitting at the kitchen table crocheting. Nonna was amazing at crochet and she made a variety of items. Growing up all of the grand kids used to laugh because Nonna was always making a Doily. She must of had at least 50 Doilies in her home & I can not even count the number of Doilies she had given all of us thru the years! When I was younger I did not appreciate her skill and unfortunately she passed away before I had interest in learning from her. Nonna was so thoughtful that prior to her passing, without me knowing, she crocheted a bunch of baby items (both in pinks & blues) and gave them to my mother. Nonna told my mother to give them to me when I am pregnant in case she would not be around to give them to me herself. I had no idea my mother stored these items for a few years. At my baby shower my mother surprised me with all the items Nonna had made for my future kids to be born. Nonna was not physically there at my baby shower but I know she was watching over me from Heaven. It was so touching to have these gifts from her. From that day forward I told myself that I really want to learn in honor of Nonna Teresa. Although my kids never met Nonna, she has been present thru her crochet in their lives. Seeing my girls use the blankets and sweaters she left them brings tears to my eyes every time. I hope to keep this tradition alive that my grandmother started many years ago, although, I don't think I will be making Doilies anytime soon. I have enough to last a life time!!! :)

(Miss Craft Diva) What a wonderful touching story of love and talent. That labor of love was definitely passed down from your Nonna to you. I'm sure she was proud of you even though you didn't crochet at the time. Thank you for sharing and loving the craft enough to want to keep it alive.

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Cold Does Not Equal No Working on Projects

I was sick this past week with a cold. When the weather starts changing I can tell if my immune system is low because if I am around someone with a cold I catch it and I did. Rats. So the sore throat started and I worked on that and then the stuffiness came on and I couldn't breath. But I rather that then that sore throat.

It's funny that there are alot of people when they are sick equals not so much eating. I on the other had am the opposite. I want to eat more when I have a cold. Especially if I have a sore throat. For some reason it is like the food makes it feel better. So I was always chomping on something. And some stop working on their projects when they are sick, I don't. Concentrating on a prject helps me not to think so much on being sick. Gut it has to be a project that I don't have to think at all. You know one of those projects that you keep just for going to a craft group when you know there is going to be a lot of noise and talking and you won't be able to concentrate. You don't want to bring a project that requires concentration because that is a sure way of bringing it back home with errors of some sort.

So I worked on starting my crocodile triangular shawl. I purchased a bag of the yarn mill ends at ACMoore and I loved the color because it reminded me of the color of a crocodile. it's hard to see the pattern because of the color in this picture.

I had the privilege of holding a baby Alligator when I volunteered at the Turtle Back Zoo. I was there for six years so I had the privilege of handling a lot of wonderful creatures. No lions and tiger or bears - oh no. Both alligators and crocodiles are powerful animals. And holding even a baby helps you to respect their strength and not take it for granted that it is just a baby.

This project for me was mindless and just enough for me to have something to work on that required almost no thought. Have you tried this crochet stitch yet? Well what are you waiting for? There are a variety of patterns out there now to try and several videos to help instruct you.

I love shawls because I can throw it on me as I am a hot and cold person. So using an item that is fast to put on and take off is great.

Well I am feeling much better now and my shawl is coming along and it's joining several of my other projects on the road of finishing.

Be happy de-stressing with your craft.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Time Well Spent

Ever since I was laid off my whole social life changed. I had to make adjustments because of the money situation. Because I've done so much it didn't bother me for a three years. But then not being able to get with my friends as I did before was an adjustment.

I had to stop any shopping so that I could survive through the month. So when my shopping friends wanted to go do their thang I always said no. The word 'No' became a staple in my life and I got use to it. Even when it came to yarn it was only a couple times a year that I would purchase for specific projects.

But I am trying to get back with a few of my friends that I haven't seen in a while. This past Friday I hung out with one of my shopping friends. Now she can stay in ACMoore or Michael's for a couple of hours in comparison to me that I am in and out. Even though I teach at Michael's I don't shop for yarn. I have enough projects in the unfinished (UFO) pile. I told my friend I know how she is and so as long as I am prepared I could stay as long as she wants in the stores. I stood there weaving in yarn ends which I hate to do all the while that she was doing her looking and we were able to catch up with lost time. And I finished this pot holder which is mitered squares and I-cord edging.

I am very bad with not doing those yarn ends as I go. I just don't know how to stop myself from knitting or crocheting and just do it. I am not liking that part of the process. I find that because I'm that way if I take it with me and I don't have any other choice to change to another project then I'm good to go to do the finishing. I felt so accomplished.

So my suggestion to you is if you have that shopper friend or family member in your life and you want to go with them but you are not a shopper or you don't take as long to shop, bring those small projects that need finishing. You can spend that time with family and friends and still feel like you are not wasting time and you will not mind waiting.

Until hopefully next week - have a fun time with your crafts.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

I'm Back

Well I'm back. It has been a long time coming. But when you go through different stresses in life it can set you back. When you don't have a teenager or computer person to help you with your computer problems it sets you back. When you don't know what you want to write about it sets you back.

Get the picture.

But life is easing up and I figured out my computer issues with uploading pictures. I needed to use Google Chrome and now it works. Go figure - You have to keep upgrading with the times and if you don't know about that stuff you won't be able to figure it out. And when it comes to what to write about - well I think I will just write what comes and someone out there will want to read it.

I won't say how often I will post but I'm aiming for once a week. I'll leave it at that.

Have an awesome week.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

This Week On "My Talent Corner"

Every student holds a different place in my heart. As for Rose, it is like enjoying time with your grandmother. She is multi-talented. She is a wonderful baker. No we're not talking sugar cookies. She bakes as if they came from a bakery. Fancy looking and rich tasting.

So when I come over for the class she ask if I want a cup of coffee. My thoughts are - Is there some baked goods that go with that cup of coffee? Yum, yum I can't wait until our next class.

But she also has a love for her knitting. I just have to praise her for a job well done. She is a return knitter that has been excited to learn what is new in the knitting world.

Now I usually don't ask age, but in Rose's case I want to stress the point that it is never too late to return back to something you enjoyed doing. Rose is 80 years old.

Rose made this beautiful sweater that has a touch of fair isle and this adorable hat with a fun topper for her grandchild. She made it with such care and much love.

Thank you Rose for taking out the time to share.

My interview with Rose.

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

Rose: My husband was in the service so I must have been about 22 or 23 and that's about 50 some odd years ago.

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

Rose: I learned from a book so I was self taught.

Miss Craft Diva: Why do you enjoy knitting so much?

Rose: It's a form of relaxation and seeing the end product and a sense of accomplisment.

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

Rose: I would like to make a shawl, pot holders and I want to make a sweater coat for myself.

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

Rose: Accomplishment, relaxation, crativity and the challenge of doing something new with working on different projects.

Miss Craft Diva: What are other goals that you want to achieve with your knitting?

Rose: I want to learn how to interprete patterns and learn different stitch patterns.

I look forward to seeing those other projects from Rose, especially the sweater coat.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Snow Visit

Snow, snow go away, please don't come back another day. Well, I should rephrase that. If I am inside with a hot cup of cocoa with whip cream on top looking out my window at the snow coming down I am fine. Snow is beautiful until you have to shovel your car out and drive in it.

But what a wonderful day to stay home and work on your needle art projects. That's what I did and I truly enjoyed myself. Of course, I got all excited about starting a new project and I did. Well a couple of new projects.

People are always asking me how long did it take to make such and such. I say I don't know. The truth of the matter is that I have several projects going on at the same time and so I do them in my time. Come on, admit it. I know I have company out there that do the same thing.

When I use to be all into sewing, I use to love to hand sew and didn't mind sewing on buttons and I did other hand work. Now not so much. So I usually enjoy the process of knitting and crocheting and then put it down for a rest until that day comes when I want to do the hand work like seaming, sewing on buttons or picking up stitches.

You do have to know yourself and what you enjoy. You also have to add into the mix the things that are not on the top of your list and work them in. I like breaking down my projects and I find that I enjoy the process so much better.

So what are a couple of projects I worked on in this crazy weather of ours?

This is a scarf. Just using stockenette stitch and garter stitch with alternating two different size needles for each stitch you get this very textured design and I like that.

These are adorable baby booties but I am at that part of the process I don't enjoy - picking up stitches. So we will see how long it takes me to get into the mood to finish these. I have until May because that is when our guild will have their baby shower for charity.

And last but not least you have to make time to make a baby shower gift. There is a guy where I work temporary, him and his wife are expecting their first baby. He is such a nice person and so this picture is showing the start of a baby blanket.

Well that is it for now and I'm sure you have some wonderful projects that you enjoyed especially if you live on the east coast where this weather is giving us a taste of winter.


Monday, February 4, 2013

This Week On "My Talent Corner"

One of the areas on my blog that I would like to do more of is talk about what my students are doing with what they are learning and their love of the needle arts. I'm proud of my students and want to show off their projects.

One of those students is Susan. She came to my crochet class already knowing how to crochet and in the round at that. She makes wonderful stuffed objects as you can see below. This is just a small sample of the wonderful crochet items she has enjoyed making.

But she wanted to improve on her crochet skills and techniques. Susan is energetic for crochet and she would hang on to every word that I said to see what she could learn next. I enjoy her drive for learning more and I know she will continue to make beautiful pieces for years to come.

Thank you Susan for taking out the time to share.

My interview with Susan.

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

Susan: I learned basic stitches (chain, single crochet, double crochet) as a child.

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

Susan: I learned from my grandmother. I spent my afternoons and evenings with my grandmother, since both my parents worked. I would watch her crochet intricate designs as pillow and seat covers. One day, she showed me how to do basic stitches. Since I did not practice or have my own kit, I forgot it soon after. When I was 28, I went to my parents' apartment to celebrate my mom's birthday. I was moving out of state soon. When I got there, I asked my mom what she wanted to do and she replied, "How about I show you how to crochet?" I said, "Ok." We went to a local sewing supply store and picked up some yarn and a crochet hook. She showed me how to do a chain, single crochet, double crochet and treble. By dinner time, I already crocheted a scarf for my dad.

Miss Craft Diva: That is wonderful that the joy of crochet was passed down to you going through three generations; your grandmother, your mother and then you.

Why do you enjoy crocheting so much?

Susan: I find crocheting to be relaxing and a great stress reliever. I also enjoy it, because it was a bonding experience I shared with my grandmother and mother.

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

Susan: I would like to make a couple of handbags, a skirt and shrug to get more practice with gauge. I would like to make some more stuffed animals for fun.

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

Susan: I find crocheting to be relaxing. I also get a sense of satisfaction when I see a finished project. When most people hear I crochet, they make fun of me and say "that's for old ladies." Then I show them pictures of stuff I've made and they are impressed and can't believe I made it by crocheting. Some even say they want to learn afterwards. I'm proud that I can alter some people's perspective of crocheting.

Miss Craft Diva: What made you want to crochet?

Susan: As a child, I admired the beautiful, intricate patterns my grandmother made for her pillow and seat covers. When I was older, I started crocheting because that's what my mother wanted to do on her birthday. It turned out to be fun, so it became a new hobby.

Susan I am so glad that you did not allow the opinions of others to stop you from being creative. Recently, Susan has enjoyed working with the V-stitch as she makes blankets for a couple of babies on the way. We look forward to seeing what else Susan will be making as she continues to release her creative spirit.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Color Continues To Amaze Me

The last thing you want to do when you are sick is to write. So I had to put my blog yet again on hold for a few days. Tis the season to share - GERMS! And when you are surrounded by them you are bound to pick up a few.

As I spoke in recent posts, I am working with my existing stash of yarns. I've been wanting to make an infinity scarf. I didn't want to figure out the number of stitches I needed so I looked for an easy knit pattern that I could use several colors with. Actually, a no brainer and a project that I could bring to knitting groups so I don't have to think. Well, I finished the scarf even before I went to any group because I enjoyed working with the colors I picked out.

As you can see from the picture, I had a varigated yarn with several colors to work with. I looked at all the colors in the yarn and then I had to find yarns that I had that could match with the blend of colors. So I picked out four solid light colors that blended and took those light colors and found four solid dark colors of the same color family.

I alternated between using a solid and then varigated and I repeated that throughout the scarf. I loved the flow of the colors.

Sometimes it might take a while to figure out what you will do with those one skeins of yarn or left over yarn balls. Don't rush it, just keep your eyes open to project ideas and it will happen. It did for me and I love my infinity scarf.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Third Annual Vogue Knitting Live Event

I talked to two of my students who went to the Vogue Knitting Live event this past weekend. It was one of their first large events in the needle arts world. Maybe you had a chance to go. If so I hope you had a great time.

They enjoyed the event. They had one complaint which was the crowds. I started thinking of what to write about and I thought this would be a good post to consider. Vogue and their event planners does a fantastic job in putting the event together.

When we go to any function or event we are focused on what is in front of us and not what is behind the scenes - naturally. If we did look at behind the scenes we would know that putting such an event together is no small task.

The event planners they use come from a company in New York, SoHo Publishing. The ones that I have dealt with are so nice and they do a fantastic job. I got to volunteer at both the first and second event so I saw them in action. And I also saw the behind the scenes first hand.

One of the hardest issues I think with any event and especially if it is the first time is trying to estimate the number of people that will attend. Then the next issue is where will the event be held.

Now New York City is not the easiest place to find somewhere to accommodate over 3,000 people. Then you have to think of the spacing and how many vendors and their setup in the space. Then it is all the stuff in between like the mass production of programs, tickets, packages for classes, emails, teachers and classroom set ups, demo and fashion show organizing, and don't forget the volunteers needed both scheduling and determining where and when they will be needed.

The whole event needs to be set up and after the event it needs to be broken down. There are questions to be answered from the vendors, there are so many supplies needed. Also they have to think of people with disabilities and others that need special assistance. And this is just part of the whole to-do list.

So the next time you go to an event and something doesn't go the way it should or there is an inconvenience, remember that they did a lot of things right to help the event to go as smooth as possible but perfection just does not exist.

Hurray to Vogue and SoHo Publishing for another successful event. I know with each coming year it will get better and better. I wish I could have been there.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


When I think of last year, which is only a couple of weeks behind us, I can't but help to think of knitting and crochet projects that were left behind unfinished. I think I did quite well. I set a goal to do more finishing of projects and I did just that. How did you do?

I am a pattern starter junky. I mean I am always seeing another pattern I just gotta start. So that means there are still projects that are crying out 'when will you finish me'. But we won't go into those now.

As I said in one of my previous posts because of life's situation I hardly purchased any new yarn. So thank goodness my stash is not too big. If it was I would have more unfinished projects on the list to finish. But for me, especially now, my knitting and crochet is my big-time stress reliever. It doesn't matter how many projects I have as long as I am still enjoying my craft.

So what is on my needles that I can share?

For a new learn and new project, I knitted one of those ruffled scarves using the Starbella lace because a student wanted to know how to make one. Now I am crocheting one because another student wanted to know how to make it in crochet. I don't like the crochet one because it is harder to keep track of your stitches and as we know crochet is usually faster, but this is slower for me to make. It might also be when you don't truly have an interest in something that can slow you down.

I am making an adorable bolero for a baby from a Debbie Bliss book, Simply Baby.

I need to finish sewing up the other side and then picking up the outside stitches to make the edging.

Then I started my quest to prepare early for a baby shower that one of the guilds I had belonged to gives every year. You can read about a past event on Friday, May 13, 2011. So I have a couple of booties and preemie hats finished.

There are other projects I made and (believe it or not) finished throughout the year that you can see on the left hand side through my flickr account. Just click on the link.

So what's your story? Are you starting new goals to complete earlier projects? Are you looking at the number of projects you still haven't finished? Set goals as to keep your craft fun, relaxing and a stress reliever not a stress builder.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Excited To Learn How To Knit and Crochet

I've been knitting and crocheting since I was 10 years old. I think when you are a seasoned knitter or crocheter you take it for granted and that excitement you use to have has shifted. I think we forgot the thrill and excitement we felt when we first had a pair of knitting needles or crochet hook in our hands for the very first time. I know I can't remember. Oh, we are still excited but not because we are starting to learn how to knit or crochet but over that new issue of a knit or crochet magazine with just the pattern we want to make, or meeting up with friends at a fiber festival, knit and crochet group or sharing what we have added to our already large stash of yarn.

These days have been a little glum given my job situation so sometimes I didn't feel like teaching. But when I looked at the excitement of my students, their smiles and joy they show and the thrill they express when starting to learn how to knit or crochet my excitment starts all over again. It especially shows when they express those words, "I can knit/crochet" and when they complete their first project.

Teaching has brought such a wonderful joy to me and meeting so many that want to learn has expanded my love for the craft and I get excited to learn more and do more so that I could share with my students. So thank you for bringing so much joy to my life and making me proud to have been the one to get you started on your craft journey.

I want to give a big round of applause to all my students for learning something new, for returning to something old, and to sticking to it. Even though I told you that it was a stress reliever, at first nothing new destresses, it usually adds just a tad bit of stress until you find your comfort. That has not stopped your desire to learn more. Hurray for all of you and I hope many more years of enjoyment as you continue to step out of your comfort zone, create and have lots of fun.

Keep having fun and learning more with your craft in this New Year and beyond.

Kind Regards,

Your Knit and Crochet Teacher

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Year 2013 - It's Event Time

Well, it is a New Year and with that comes the start of some terrific events throughout the whole year that we active knitters and crocheters look forward to. The first one that is near this area is Vogue Knitting Live held in New York City on January 18 - 20, 2013. This is the third year of the event. It is a great event with lots of vendors, wonderful fashion shows and classes featuring some of your favorite authors.

I have volunteered at the event for the last two years and have enjoyed the experience. It really showed me some of the work that goes into putting on a large event such as this and taking it down at the end. There are things that go right and things that go wrong but both years the event was a success.

If you get a chance try going even if it is for the market place. It is an event like all events that you can connect with like minds. You can see what people are making because it is like a walking fashion show as ones parade around wearing their finish garments. So you can say it is a continuous fashion show for the whole three days. And don't forget to wear something you made.

I have a post that I wrote after the first two events. You can go into my archives back to January 25, 2011 and January 24, 2012 and read about the past events and see a few pictures.

If you want to know about other events there is a website called Knitters Review that posts a list of all the events even in other countries for each year. Check it out and stay connected to your knitting and crochet world.

As always, have fun with your craft.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Having Fun With Color

For the past couple of years I have not purchased hardly any new yarn. I have strictly worked with what I had. I know for some you would probably say, 'Well I just might as well die if I can't buy yarn'. I'm still alive and kicking without more stash. I don't have a good stash but I had no choice but to work with it. I have yarn someone gave me - old and new yarn and scraps from my projects from the past and from the small stash I had.

It is one thing to work with color when you have a broad range of it, but it is another thing to work only with the existing colors you have. I would occasionally go and get one skein of yarn to use with what I had but for the most part I worked only with what was present in view.

With these two items for example, the mitered bag and the afghan was made all with scraps and I had one skein of yarn for the sides, bottom and straps for the bag. But I ran out of the grey so I had to work with another shade of grey to finish the straps but it all blended in.

Working with what you have is a challenge. I had to put colors side by side and rearrange them to see just what would go together. I had to visualize how often I wanted to use a color, how many different colors I would use and in what order the colors would be placed. Your vision is sharpened and your thought process is also. And wala you have your masterpiece.

There are different ways of being creative. One is opening up possibilities of working with what you have where that in a circumstance of buying to match color doesn't give the mind the same amount of creativity. So it forces your mind to be more creative and to see what you might normally not see if you just use your freedom to buy.

So the next time you feel you just need to go out and get more yarn, think first as to what you already have and sharpen your color skills and learn to work with what you have and challenge yourself and see if you can come up with your own color masterpiece.