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.