Sunday, August 5, 2018

In the News....

People are amazing with the things they can accomplish, especially if no one says they can't.

Amazing person beautiful work.

This is definitely worth a look.


This isn't your granny's crochet.

Another fashionable look at crochet.

I wouldn't look good in these particular clothes, but I can add crochet embellishment to a lot of my things...… The ideas are fabulous


Here's a way to take things that are trash and upcycle them into something usable and useful.

charity begins at home

This does take a while whether knit or crochet.  Collecting the materials requires the help of many.


The value of crochet, priceless no matter who you are

Reading like Crochet are important skills

Both can help you find an escape, a way to cope, a way to be your own person.  What can you do with them??


So many appeals for knit and crochet items.  Help is needed around the world.

Australia needs help
Jeppe Girls help with 67 Blankets 
poppy appeal

Can you help?  I can send a poppy or two.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Charity Knitting and Charity Crocheting

While there is a specific month dedicated to this (January), I will be talking about it in the summer.

Most of the charities will utilize small items.  Small squares can be made into larger afghans for distribution.  Hats and scarves are small.  Mittens and gloves are small.  Cowls can be small.  These are all things that can be made for charitable distribution during the hot summer months.

Some thoughts about charity knitting and crocheting.  Think about the intended recipients.  Men tend to like darker colors in "man colors", black, chocolate, navy, maroon, forest. These colors also tend to not show dirt for those who are living rough.

For kids, brighter colors are the rule.  Kids, in my experience, tend to like colors that match up with their favorite book, movie or cartoon characters.  I'm thinking back to a few years ago when Harry Potter was all the rage.  House colors ruled.  Dora the Explorer and Minions took over a few years ago for the younger set.

Choose easy care fibers. But more importantly, check out the requirements for your specific donation site. They might have special needs. Knitted knockers is this way.  My go-to for charity work is acrylic.  It can be tossed in the  washer/dryer. It can be hand washed and hung out to dry or laid flat.

A new yarn I'm testing out.   Lion Brand Scarfie has been on the market for at least 2 years.   It was gifted to me a while ago and only now am using it.   I picked up a second ball of this. I'm doing a Clapotis.  I chose neutral colors to have maximum appeal. 

Knit in Public Day a little late

Courtesy of a church festival and a family emergency,  I didn't get a chance to attend any of the festivities locally or further afield.  I have a facebook  post about some of the goings on.  
From everything I have seen online,  WWKIP was a smashing success.  There were even considerations made for crochet and some of the other needle arts, depending on your locale.

Had I been able to attend, I was asked to teach a fabulous crochet flower and a crochet butterfly at my local outing.

Here's the basic idea for the flower.

Ch 4 and join with a slst to form a ring.
R1:  ch 2, 15 hdc in ring.  Join with a slst in top of ch 2.
R2:  working in front loop, ch 1, sc in same St as join, *  2 hdc in each of next 2 hdc,  sc in next.  Rep from * around. Slst in sc.
R3: * working in the back loop,  (ch 2, dc, 2 tr, dc, ch 2, sl st, sl st in next bl).  Rep from * around.

Fasten off.

Weave in the ends and use as an embellishment.  To add more interest to the flower, use variegated yarns or different shades of the same color for the rounds.

Here's the basic idea for the butterfly.

Ch 5 and join with a sl st to form a ring.
R1: ch 3, dc in ring, * ch 2, 2 dc in ring.  Rep from * 6 times.  ch 2, sl st in top of ch 3.  8 ch 2 spaces.
R2:  sl st to ch 2 sp, ch 3,  2 dc, ch, 3dc in ch 2 sp, * 3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc, ch 1 in next ch 2 sp.  Rep from * around.  
R3:  ch 1, sc in ch 1 sp, * in next ch 2 sp,  3 dc, 4 tr, 3 dc, sc in ch 1 sp.  Rep from * around.

Fold in half.  With black, Ch 2, make a long sc around the center of the folded butterfly.  This is the body.  Ch 11, sl st in 3 ch from hook, sl st in next 6 ch, 3 hdc in sc, ch 8, sl st in 3rd ch from hook and each of next 6 ch.  Fasten off.

You can change up the butterfly by using variegated yarns, a different color on round, add fanciful curlicues to the last round  in the middle of the 4tr.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Our Comfort Zone

I was reading an article on LinkedIn recently about people not really living to their fullest potential.  The graphic was spot on and while it made me think about relationships more than the professional; I really started thinking how it applied to knitting and crocheting.  Let's check this out....

In the center are those things we hold near and dear to ourselves or which don't cause stress.  The further from the center we go are those which are harder and harder for us.  

So in the center is some nice yarn.   Nothing more stressful than being sure you have enough for your project.  Or perhaps picking colors is hard for you.  And you move that a little further from the center.  I have in the very bottom of the right hand the watermark from the app I used to create this.  For me this was important to be there.  This is something new I am learning to do and it doesn't come naturally to me.

Running in the medium go around I would put things like garter stitch, stockinette stitch, double crochet, single crochet and granny squares.  These are easy things that can be made harder either by inexperience, illness, or little tweaks hear and there.  Further out go the intricate cables, color work, shaping for sweaters and such.  Shaping for clothes isn't hard.  Getting the proper fit can take a bit of time especially if you are new to it.

Socks and laces are things that can be challenging to the person who has never tried.  They tend to look complicated.  The directions tend to make little sense unless you are actually at that point in your work.  Some of the stitches also don't make a lot of sense in lace.  Most are straight forward but some just make you wonder whether you are reading through before starting or actually at that point.  

Having a teacher to walk you through directions or stitches or trouble shoot your work can be very beneficial.  Who is your teacher??  Comment below about how you learned to knit or crochet.  

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Recently I was listening to a podcast called Still Growing.  It's about gardening, a hobby I enjoy.   The episode (585) that prompted this post is about Laura Ingalls Wilder.  The podcast interviews a writer who suggests that Mrs Wilder should be thought of as an environmental writer in addition to a children's author. 

This has me thinking about her textiles in her books.  I do not begin to suggest that the Ingalls wove all their cloth to make their clothes (we'll peek in at the Wilders in due course).   But there are considerable mentions of sewing,  quilting, embroidery,  knitting and, I believe,  even  crochet. 

Here's a list of the titles in order of publication. 

  *  Little House in the Big Woods 
  *  Little House on the Prairie 
  *  Farmer Boy
  *  On the Banks of Plum Creek
  *  By the Shore of Silver Lake 
  *  The Long Winter
  *  Little Town on the Prairie 
  *  These Happy Golden Years 
And as an unfinished book that was later published as found,  The First Four Years 

Ma sewed all the clothes for the family by hand, no sewing machine here until near the end of the series.   She did use factory made yard goods.  The fabrics were gotten from nearby towns.  Some of this explains why clothes were treated better than we do today and why they lasted longer as well, in some ways.   I think some has to do with our electric dryers also.   

Ma also knits their stockings and socks by hand.  These are carefully mended as needed,  again by hand.  I have to imagine that some of these are knit of thicker yarn than we currently use (sport weight Vs.  Fingering or lace weight), especially the work socks. They learned to knit and share the work as witnessed by the mittens they knit for Carrie in By the Shores of Silver Lake at Christmas time.  

Mary and Laura learn to hand sew,  carefully picking out wonky seams and tiny stitches until perfection is achieved.  From the early books we see that quilt blocks were the early seam practice.  Smooth straight seams are important for the comfort of clothes and bed linens as well as the way the clothes look and fit. 

As the books progress,  things become a trifle easier.   A sewing machine is acquired.   This is not today's electric whiz machine.  The sewing machine of Laura's day was a treadle machine. It required foot power to make the needle go up and down. Even so,  there was a lot of hand finishing to do. 

Towards the end of the series we see Laura preparing for marriage by teaching 3 terms of school and working as a seamstress and assistant milliner.  The teaching may have been easy but she didn't care for the sewing required.  She learned how to do it quickly and neatly to get it over with but not have to redo it. 

We also see Mary contribute to the household by being able to knit and sew even though blinded by illness, as well as keep baby Grace occupied and out of trouble while others did heavier work that required vision.  Mary braids fabric strips to be sewn into rugs. 

Now let's look in on the Wilders of the book,  Farmer Boy.  Mother and Father Wilder are prosperous farmers.  They can afford fine fabrics purchased from the store for Sunday best.   School clothes and work clothes were woven from wool from their sheep, dyed with natural dyes from things found on the farm.  Father may have raised the sheep and sheared the sheep.   Mother carded the wool,  spun the wool, wove and knit the yarn, dyed the resulting fabrics,  cut and sewed the clothes. She did all this for four children and Mother and Father in the book without benefit of a sewing machine.  In reality there were more children.  

If you would like to read these books for yourself,  check out your local library.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Anti boredom month

Have you eve heard of this month?  I'm willing to bet you have.  It's more commonly known as July.
Why the name change?  Here in the U.S.,  most schools use a 9 month on 3month off clock.  By this I mean school is in session for 9 months and then nothing for 3 months.  How many of us have heard about 4 weeks into summer "I'm bored. There's nothing to do."

As a way to combat this, I suggest each week,  the kids learn something new.  A crafty way to release some of their creative juices.  Sculpting with clay, painting, knitting, crocheting,  jewelry making, metal working,  woodworking and these are just the tip of the iceberg.   We all have the waxy sticks of wonder known as crayons.  We all have colored pencils and markers.  There are only so many hours a kid will sit still and color either in coloring books (are these still a thing?) or use sticker books.  There are only so many hours a day we can park the kids in front of the tv to watch or play games on whatever system is currently popular or in front of a computer screen.  These are pretty much one in the same to me.

For younger children,  there are usually kits for most of these.   As the kids get older, try thinking outside the box.   These can also be an opening for them to become involved in volunteer work.  Your religious organization can be a great place to start.  A local charity can also be a good start. There are usually jobs to be done that are not skilled work which are very good for those not really acquainted with the systems used by that organization.  Recently my church had a paint day for woodwork.   

I'd like to see more kids knitting or crocheting.  Check out my website for ideas that will keep kids busy and productive with their time.  For the 4 - 7 year olds, I have finger knitting and finger crochet.  For the 5 + ages I have straw weaving, basic knitting, basic crochet, weaving on cardboard, arm knitting and dying with the food dyes.  These classes are free with the exception of having to purchase yarn and tools you don't have.  See your local big box craft store or thrift shop.

Ideas for the kids to use to create something from their handwork can be found here and in other posts of a similar name.

Don't forget to get out and exercise.  An hour a day can help the waistline and the mood of the family.  Play kickball with the kids, or maybe Frisbee.  Running games like little league or pickup games in the neighborhood are also great. 

Whatever you do, don't forget to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Im mortality

That is the name of a writing prompt I saw recently.  It is supposedly a rough translation from Latin to mean 999 lives.  In reality it is a bad way write the Roman numerals for 999 and the Latin for death. So it is 999 deaths.   Death implies there is life to go with it.   I like that rough translation despite the liberties taken.

It begged me to wonder.  What could I accomplish with that many lives to knit and crochet? What else could I do with that time?  How long will each life last? How would I keep track of time?   Where in my life timeline would I start the next life? Would I retain the knowledge and abilities gained in previous lives?  When in time would each life be lived?  This being a creative writing prompt.  I can pretty much do anything.

I choose that I keep abilities, knowledge, and memories of the previous lives.  I choose that each new life starts at age 20.  This way I'm beyond the formative years.  Each life,  unless I make stupid choices, will last until I am between 80 and 100.  I have no clue how I will keep track of each life.

My first two lives I choose to knit and crochet everything in my queue on ravelry plus the offline list of things that are not on ravelry. 

I think after this every other lifetime will be donated to making things for the charities near and dear to me.   I'll make breasts for breast cancer survivors,  items for the homeless (scarves,  gloves,  hats,  blankets),  items for babies.  With a lot of luck some of the trouble will be eradicated or at least lessened.

I don't know what I want to do with the other half of the lives.   Maybe conquering fears?   Learn how to do more extensive needlework techniques?   I'll leave those choices for another day.

Hope you enjoyed this bit of fiction.   Share your thoughts and ideas below.