Swatching Is Essential

I neglected to swatch for the pair of socks I was making for the Maternal Parental. The bad news is that they were about two sizes too small. The good news is that not only didn’t she mind but she encouraged me to work on the Cardigan I’d started for her at around the same time I began wrestling with those socks. I’ve made about an inch of progress already on the back panel of the garment.

So…here is my updated list. Wah wah.

Blodeuwedd The Hat for me
Little Boy Blue Blanket (Loading…45%)
Cosmos Doily Madness: Doily Three (Loading…95%)
Child-bearer’s Cardigan (Hibernating at 90%)
Boba Fett Amigurumi Doll
Rose Doily #804
Bigger on the Inside Shawl
Gloves for myself
Villimarjatar Shawl (Loading…5%)
Large Pineapple Doily (Loading…50%)
Monster Slippers for Valerie
Hobbes Doll for April
Hobbes Doll for Darren
Volunteer Scarves
Volunteer Baby Hats (Loading…5%)
Cardigan of the Progenitor (Loading…16%)
Mommy Sox Junior (Frogged)

 

With the recent relocation of the main other person I was doing a rush project on, thus canceling/hibernating said project, I am left with a lot of free time. So, I am going to dedicate it to finishing this cardigan. This would be my first major non-winter accoutrement (hats/scarves/gloves) garment I will have made. My hopes for this are grand. Hopefully, it will last the Maternal Parental many years to come.

 

Until the next time, have a safe and fantastic journey around the Sun. Take care, my friends. Rolling on the floor laughingRed heartRainbow

How I Lost My Fear of Crafting, Part Three

This is the final installment of the trilogy of how I lost my fear of crafting. Enjoy!

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Slowly but surely, I began to increase my knitting skills. Over time I mastered stitch after stitch, until the challenges were intermediate to advanced. I discovered many different learning media from Knit and Crochet Today (Later called Knit and Crochet Now), to DVDs available in the library and even videos on YouTube that all taught how to knit in easy to follow instructions. I was hooked from that moment on but, by then, a new fire was burning inside of me. I started seeing things on Crocheting and knew I had to learn how to do that as well.

 

Thankfully, I had resources from which to learn by this point. I bought a crochet hook set for myself and checked books out of the library on the subject. I eyed Drew Emborsky’s and Robin Chachula’s techniques like a hawk as I watched, what was then, my favorite knitting and crocheting television program. Yet, try as I might, I just couldn’t seem to pick it up initially. Unlike knitting, I didn’t do it until my fingers bled, but I did try hard. However, something inside me just couldn’t pick up the craft of crocheting.

 

So, thinking a class might help, I signed up for the first crocheting class I saw online at the Woman’s Industrial Exchange. I tried very hard through my nervousness but only managed a mostly through the back loops scrap of crocheted fabric. I needed something more in depth and searched online for another free class. Thankfully, the Baltimore Free School had classes available for learning to crochet. One class schedule in particular offered a month’s worth of classes and I jumped at the opportunity.

 

On 10 October 2009, I walked through the dark streets of Baltimore to the Free School’s class site. It was a pleasant night and a not so bad neighborhood but I was still cautious of my surroundings because of my history. I made it to the class site in one piece and was welcomed by a large class of men and women who were all interested in learning the art of crocheting. The teacher was a nice woman named Lissah Dee and she was instrumental in my learning to crochet finally. Through watching her and studying her stitch key, I was finally able to pick up the correct method of crocheting.

 

I immediately went home with this skill and practiced until I got the hang of it. By this point, I had a marginal yarn stash, so I took out some royal blue yarn and, eventually, made a soap cozy/scrubbing thing. This was my first completed crocheted project and I was very proud. I sent an e-mail to Lissah Dee and told her what I had done and she was very encouraging. Regretfully, I didn’t go to any of the other classes due to Bipolar downswing, but I credit this class with teaching me to crochet.

 

After I did this first project, I went back to watching Knit and Crochet Today and watched Drew Emborsky making the Blushing Grannies Afghan. I wanted to make a blanket and it seemed a good place to start to learn flat crocheting of motifs. At first, I really messed up but, after the third try, I finally got it right. Ultimately, I didn’t make that particular project but it did set me onto the path of making Five By Five – Crazy First Blanket and other motif containing projects. Over time, my allegiance switched from Knit and Crochet Now to Knitting Daily circa Series 100 – 1100 due to my appetite for knitting and crocheting needing more of a challenge.

 

As of today, I am successfully able to knit and crochet with minimal issues. I have even learned, via YouTube, to read patterns and charts.

 

The End. Rolling on the floor laughingRed heartRainbow

How I Lost My Fear of Crafting, Part Two

Note: There was no prompt for me to post this today. I just felt like it. Call it me getting ahead of the assignments, if you will. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do all the daily prompts in addition to the Writing 101 prompts with no problems. Anyway, back to the story.

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One day, around the time of my twenty-fifth birthday, I decided I must learn to knit. By then, we had moved into a stable neighborhood and I was mentally stable even if still ragged around the psychological edges. I had come a long way from near complete mental breakdown up to this point and I was determined to treat myself with a self obtained accomplishment. Knitting was to be this accomplishment even if I had to bleed for it.

 

So, taking my meager savings, I bought a pounder skein of black yarn from Amazon along with the cheapest straight needles I could find. I ended up with a pound of Caron’s One Pound Yarn and a pair of 10” size 8 Susan Bates knitting needles. I was overjoyed to finally have the implements of knitting but I didn’t know the first thing about how to knit. I searched high and low on the internet but to no avail. This was 2006 after all. There was nothing there excepting a few sites and a few videos online.

 

Not having luck with searching online, I decided to go to the library website to see if they had any materials related to knitting. Wow, am I ever glad I did. They not only had materials relating to knitting but they also had an upcoming class at the Catonsville Library being taught by a famous knitting woman. I had no clue who she was but the words “Free Knitting Class” had me rushing to register. Lucky for me, there was still room in the class for a few more people. I was given the requirements for the class as well as the date and time to show up at the Library.

 

I showed up at the appointed time in the neighborhood I was barely familiar with. I was about twenty minutes early, so I spent my time fiddling with my needles and yarn while waiting for class to begin. Once I got the all clear to go to the classroom, off I went to my first lesson with sweaty palms and a leaping frog in my stomach.

 

The class was comprised of all women of varying ages and backgrounds all there for a single purpose: To Knit. One of the Library staff was there to introduce the Famous Knitting Woman whose name I cannot recall beyond “Knight” as her surname. In addition to Famous Knitting Woman, there were three teaching assistants who did most of the teaching.

 

Once everyone had been introduced, class was started. There was a knot in a skein of yarn being use for demonstration purposes and I was given an opportunity to show my party trick of getting near impossible knots out of bits of string. Famous Knitting Woman had gone to retrieve the scissors and before she could make it across the room, I had already gotten the knot out. She could hardly believe her eyes. I just shrugged and said that it was my talent before getting self conscious.

 

The class went well and, after the last two students (a mother and young daughter) showed up, we all settled into casting on the initial stitches. I was so nervous about dropping my needles that I held on for dear life and casted on stitches so tightly, they could scarcely be pierced. After a few tries, I managed to cast on reasonably loose stitches via the Long Tail Cast On and began attempting to knit. Famous Knitting Woman saw how I was knitting with the stitches far from the point and suggested I move them up to the very tip to aid in my knitting becoming speedier. However, I was so nervous, I kept dropping stitches and eventually fell into a habit of keeping them back which has stayed with me even up to today.

 

Soon, the class was coming to its end and Famous Knitting Woman made suggestions of things we should buy, books we should read and tools we should consider acquiring to aid in our progress as knitters. By then, it was dark and, after saying goodbye to everyone, I walked back to the dark bus stop in a daze that I had finally learned something of the basics of knitting. However, on getting home, I began doing something wrong and I knew it but didn’t know how to fix the error. It would be from 20 June 2006 until 6 August 2006 until I finally found a fix for my problem.

 

All during the Summer, I focused on reading knitting books and practicing by knitting on “the Object” until my hands bled. I’m not kidding, my hands got blisters and bled from the amount of practice I got in on those needles and yarn. Yet, try as I might, nothing I did seemed to fix the problem of the extra stitch. I didn’t know what I was doing but, for some reason, I went from ten stitches to eleven and onwards until I had an unwieldy project sitting on my aluminium needles. Still, I kept at it even as my hands bled and my eyes turned bloodshot from so many hours of staring at the same project. I didn’t give up.

 

One day in August, we got a call that my Maternal Grandfather was in the hospital. Apparently, my uncle from my Grandfather’s second marriage contacted the family via my aunt. We were invited to a cookout to give the family a chance to know each other. Less than one week later, my Grandfather was dead from his illness. The stress of having to deal with so much during that time drove me to escape into the world of knitting.

 

Giving up on “the Object”, I searched high and low on the Internet again until I came across the KnittingHelp website. Amy Finlay’s videos quite literally kept me sane as I learned to properly knit for the first time since June. I practiced throughout the night until the morning of the Wake. Once we were at the funeral home, I retreated further into my knitting and managed a pretty decent looking beginner’s scarf. For the first time, but not the last time, knitting kept me from blowing my top at an inappropriate moment.

 

Part Three, the final installment comes tomorrow. Rolling on the floor laughingRed heartRainbow

A Cautionary Tale

When you are purchasing an item from a merchant via Paypal, and yours is a confirmed account, always make sure you’ve switched to the correct form of payment before clicking submit. Even when you’re half asleep, catching sales when you should be in bed sleeping. Double check your purchase before you click on that submit button.

 

Ask me how I know.

 

I wanted to purchase a Printer stand as well as a few other household items and got so excited about finally getting the stand, that I neglected this one little step in the process of paying and I paid for it dearly. Wiped out my bank account with and even ran a deficit of almost 100.00USD. Thankfully, I was able to cancel the item in question and I should be getting a refund for the difference in balance within the next few days. I hope anyway.

 

So, Ladies, Gentlemen, Multiforms and Variations Thereupon, be sure to check before you click.

 

Later, Peoples of the Sun! Rolling on the floor laughingRed heartRainbow

Changing My Programming

Last night, I spent the better part of the night writing out my gloriously wonderful and supportive childhood. *ironic laughter*

 

Okay, that’s enough, I don’t want to tempt universal fate and have lightning to strike me or something. Lightning

 

Actually, I spent that time writing out part of my life’s story. Yes, it’s a tragic tale of woe and no, I don’t talk about it too often outside of a therapy session. You see, I am writing a letter. A very special letter. A letter which may well change the course of my life depending on the reply I get from the recipient. It is important that I disclose everything about my life to this person, so they may better understand my idiosyncrasies and, hopefully, be willing to move forward together in friendship and love. Awww…Red heart

 

If this person is not as serious as they claim to be, this letter will serve to warn them off before we’re irrevocably tied together. So, I have a lot riding on this letter. As odd as it may seem, I’m not nervous, despite so much weight being put on my mind due to this situation. Strangely, my mind is at peace with the whole situation. Either we’ll move forward together or we won’t move together at all. Those are the two big choices. Everything else is small potatoes. Fingers crossed

 

In another situation, I have been writing again recently. I’ve taken to posting it to Facebook, usually with a warning of impending doom at reading my works. This is another situation where my early programming comes in.

 

Throughout my childhood, until I was a legal adult, I was frequently derided for my writing skills. It didn’t help matters that I wasn’t fully literate until third grade. Yet, to have multiple adults constantly barraging my young mind with the same negative programming wasn’t good, in my opinion. It only served to push me into self-deprecation in all my work due to expecting derision from others. Rather than suffer the arrows of others, I tend to commit social seppuku whenever I can. Especially when it’s something related to my creative endeavors.

 

I was recently admonished by a friend not to do this. She’s right. I shouldn’t do this. I may not have formal literary training but I do have good stories. They stand up well, despite the flaws in grammar and punctuation. I just need to remember that writing is a marathon of creativity, not a sprint. The fun is in the process of uncovering the stories in our minds.

 

So, from here on, I’m going to post my words without derisive commentary.

 

Okay, now it’s almost Lunch time. Bowl

 

Later, Earthlings! Rolling on the floor laughingRed heartRainbow

Finished Valerie’s Hobbes Doll

This completion time is a new record for me. I started working on it on the 12th of February and completed it on the 15th of February.

 

The result of my efforts may be seen below.

 

 

During this endeavor, I’ve discovered just how quickly I can crochet when motivated. I’ve also rekindled my Kurgan crush. I spent a good portion of the making of this doll watching Highlander fan videos featuring The Original Kurgan. *hides head in shame*

 

Anyway…

 

For my next project, I’m going to be working on Kathleen’s other doily. This particular doily is called the Coffee Table Topper and I’ve done the pattern before. So, it shouldn’t take me so long to do. An example of my past work is posted below.

 

 

The last time I did this doily in a short amount of time, it took me from 11 April 2014 until 15 April 2014 to complete it. I’m hoping to beat that time. No real reason as to why I want to do it quicker beyond wanting to challenge myself.

 

After I complete this project, I’m going to bust out Bruce’s gloves once and for all before doing the black Cosmos Doilies. Then, I’m going to work on socks for myself and the Maternal Parental. This will be the second time I’ve attempted four socks at a time and I’m pretty nervous about trying but if Melissa Morgan-Oakes can do three at a time with no problems, I’m sure I can do four with some considerable effort.

 

 

Lucky for me, the Maternal Parental and I are about the same shoe size give or take half an inch. I can size them for me and, through the magic of the washing machine, they can shrink to her size. The Maternal Parental wants green socks, so I’m making hers using Lion Brand’s Sock-ease in the colorway Green Apple. This will be the first socks I make exclusively for her that are in sock weight yarn. The only socks I made for her thus far have been in worsted/aran weight.

 

For myself, I’m going to restart Sunshine using Knit Picks Stroll Tonal Sock Yarn I saved from my own enthusiastic stupidity. Without thinking, I wound most of my sock yarn into center pull cakes…double stranded…and thought I was okay. Well, I wasn’t okay. As it turns out…this little thing called Static Electricity also applies to me. I’m not as special as I thought I was. I started unwinding the first center pull skein and I watched, horrified, as my reasonably priced, yet still expensive, yarn began sticking and tangling up the more I pulled it out.

 

So yeah. Most of my sock yarn is like this now but there’s a workaround that I think will work. I’m going to use the outer end and let it roll around in a bowl or two while I knit. It should negate the effects somewhat. Incidentally, the colorway I’m using is Springtime, which is one of the yarns I painstakingly untangled before my mind finally grasped that I could just feed the yarn into my projects from the outside of the cake. I thought, with this cold and snowy weather we’re having in the North American East that it was inappropriate enough to warrant a few chuckles. 

 

Now, for the work. I’m going to go get cracking on Kathleen’s doily. It won’t get done unless I do it.

 

Later, Earthlings! Rolling on the floor laughingRed heartRainbow