03 August 2015

Worthiness and whipped up WIPs

In some of my knitting groups, we are getting organized for holiday gift crafting and there is term that keeps getting passed around - knitworthy.  Apparently, they rank their family and friends as to whether or not they deem them 'worthy' to receive a handcrafted item for the holidays.

I'm sorry but that just sounds a bit too snobbish for me.  I enjoy crafting and I have a fairly decent stash that is heavy on the acrylic/easy care front. I make items for everyone.  My mother, a crafter herself, will receive items made out of more luxurious yarns than perhaps my grandchildren simply because kids need more durable items and I would hate to saddle the parent of anyone tiny with the responsibility of hand washing and blocking an item.

Everyone is worthy of an item made out of love from a craft you enjoy.  It's a gift to you in making something with your hands and it's a gift to them when you present it. There are times when I make things and simply place them in the charity bins around town. I don't know the homeless or downtrodden soul who will receive my gift but that doesn't make them any less 'worthy' than a relative. Who knows, it could be just the thing the lift their spirits and help them rise above their circumstances.

I think we, as crafters, should change this mindset and deem everyone worthy. We - or at least I - get selfish pleasure out of making it and they get pleasure out of receiving and wearing it.  It's a win-win situation. Celebrate everyone and craft for all!

Speaking of crafting, this weekend I finished up two projects that have made me tickled. The first is a lace knitting bag for my upcoming sock knitting adventure. I've ordered my needles (size 0-4) and when they arrive, I will embark on learning how to knit socks on straights.  I wanted a special bag just for that and so I made this little beauty.

My Knitting Bag - Ravelry Project Page - Knit Picks Brava Worsted yarns
The pattern is from an old Jane Austin Knits magazine and I've been wanting to make it for years but I was too scared of the lace and I didn't understand the little herringbone stitch for the base.  I decided to tackle it this week because I've got more knitting experiene under my belt and I must say, I love it! Even the lining was a new adventure for me.  I pleated the material at the top so that it would 'grow' with the bag and not be as confining when the bag stretches beautifully.  Overall, I'm pleased as punch.

I also made a fabulous summer bonnet this past weekend.  I went scrap stash diving and worked from that basket. I have so many odds and ends of leftovers, it's nice to find projects that help use up those bits. This pattern was newly released on Ravelry in July so I thought I would give it a try and I have to say, I really like how it turned out. 

Cool Breeze - Ravelry Project Page - Red Heart Super Saver yarns
I had to make a few tweaks to the project because the designer only made it in her size which is a little bit larger than my head size.  I made notes on my project page though, in case anyone else had the same challenge. Having worn it yesterday to my knitting group meeting, I found that it is a bit large but I believe it helped in not being too hot wear comfortably... and in Florida, that is a big deal!

Currently it's raining and has been for some time.  We've got flood advisories and thunderstorms - such fun. Not a lot of sleep was found last night but hopefully it will be quieter tonight so I will go to bed early to make up for it.

Did you do anything fun this weekend?  Do you have exciting plans for this week?

25 July 2015

My how times change

I loved back to school time as a kid.  I got a new school bag and all the supplies a little nerd could ask for - binders, folders, pencil cases, pencils, pens, paper, organizers.  It was one of the most exciting times of the year for me as a kid.  Sadly, times have changed.

Now, instead of buy supplies for my child I am given a list of $40 worth of items that are considered "standard" that I am requested to purchase and bring to the classroom.  They aren't supplies for Hobbit but instead, for the "community".  Our list looked like this today -

• 3 pkgs. #2 pencils
• 1 box of Crayola colored pencils or markers
• 2 pkg thin dry erase markers
• Pkg of highlighters
• Pkg of Post-it notes
• 1 pair Fiskar scissors
• 2 Elmer’s white glue stick
• 5 solid color pocket folders with pockets and prongs
• 3 composition notebooks (not spiral)
• 2 boxes of tissues
• 1 ream of plain white copy paper
• 1 pack of WIDE ruled lined paper
• 1 bottle of unscented hand sanitizer
• 1 in or 1 ½ in three ring binde

These items are to be handed in, without Hobbit's name on them, so they can be added to some larger community pool of supplies.  Once we've met the teacher, I will be handed a second list of supplies that are classroom specific.  That list generally runs me an additional $40 and is full of more community items such as construction paper, zip lock baggies, index cards and the like.  Again, no name on them because of the whole "community" aspect.

When did this become the norm?  When did people stop supplying for their own children and start having to foot the bill for everyone else?  I know this sounds terrible but let me explain how I have come to despise the whole "it takes a village" mindset...

Last year, the teacher sent home a list of supplies to make graham cracker cookie houses just before Christmas break.  None of the families brought things in and Hobbit's teacher asked her to see if we could bring in EVERYTHING on the list.  We were floored at the nerve but thought perhaps there was a new system and we were somehow financially responsible for this activity.  We did as requested and $35 later had the supplies for her entire class to make graham cracker cookie house before the holiday break... only to have the supplies divvied up on January 6th when they returned BACK from break.  We were then given a list for the Valentine's Day party and asked if we could supply it all.  That is when we put our foot down.

We called the teacher and were told that the other parents could not afford it.  During the school meeting night, we met the other parents.  The women all - and no, am not exaggerating - had their nails done, both men and women were covered in tattoos, everyone had their nose in an updated cellphone, and the vast majority wreaked of cigarette smoke.  It was vile.  So no, it's not that they couldn't afford it - they chose to not do it!

I do not get my nails my done because it is a luxury that I chose to not indulge in at the moment.  I used to many years ago but stopped when I needed the money for other things. I do not have tattoos but I do know they are expensive.  I do not have a cellphone because that is an expense I do not need or want.  I do not smoke but I do know the cost of the habit, as I used to smoke myself but I most certainly never did so at the expense of my children's needs.

I don't appreciate being saddled with the expense of other people's children simply because they chose to spend their money on their nails, cellphone service, cigarettes, or tattoos.  Instead of buying a carton of cigarettes, they can get their kids' school supplies.  Instead of paying for the expensive cellphone plan, they can get their kids' school supplies.  Instead of having their nails done that week, they can get their kids' school supplies.  Lots of ways in order to pay for these things... the difference in where people have their priorities.

Mine are towards my family... so excuse me if I refuse to be a part of your 'village'.  I'm sorry that you don't care enough about the welfare and needs of your family to forgo some of your luxury expenses but I am not going to be the one who foots the bill because you are a deadbeat.  If you can't afford to outfit your child for school but you can somehow afford your nails, hair, tattoos, cigarettes, and cellphone then perhaps your child would be better off in a home where they would be properly attended to - as it appears you are too selfish and lazy to do the job.

Now, please excuse me while I go and write my daughter's name in her new sparkly binder for school.  The 'village' can kiss my hiney...

19 July 2015

Sunday Snaps

Sweet as Sugar project page - made with Knit Picks Brava Sport in Rouge and Umber Heather
I am spending my day shaking off a pretty terrible end to the week.  I'm just going to sit here, veg out on House Hunters and work on my Whippoorwill pattern that was gifted to me.  It is just a relaxing knit that I'm absolutely loving and totally grateful for having today.  It's hard to see but I'm actually a third of the way through with it!

18 July 2015

Life changing, according to the coffee...

It's been an eventful week - nothing life changing, sans the coffee, but still very eventful for me.
I've been a busy beaver this week.  I finished a sweater for my friend's daughter.  I frogged and restarted a pair of socks for my husband (different pattern).  I started an interesting cowl for my youngest daughter. I received beautiful yarn that I purchased through Ravelry via someone's stash. I had life changing coffee - says so, right on the cup. I received more gorgeous yarn through the same means but this is enough to make a sweater for me!

The week didn't seem like much went on - mostly because Hobbit was not here so it was mellow and low key - but when you pile it all together and take a look at it, it was rather nice.  I also ordered enough yarn to make Pokey a sweater for Christmas.  It is going to be a beautiful shade of purple for the Old Way Gansey sweater. I am torn between proposing it for my OWL during Fall Term or if I should just start and when the yarn arrives because goodness knows, that extra four weeks may be just what I need to finish on time.

Time for me to get moving though.  I've got to grab a quick shower so we can drive the two hours up to get Hobbit. Yesterday was a stressful day so I'm honestly not looking forward to going like I normally am but worst case scenario is that I have enough time to use the restroom before turning around and driving straight back home again. 

On the upside, I have my virtual knitting night with my Disney Adventures group so that will be fun.  Feel free to join us - we love making new friends!  All you need is Skype and we'll get you connected with us.  Shoot me a PM on Ravelry if you'd like join in.  We meet every Saturday night starting at 8:30pmET. We work on our projects, talk, have coffee, and just hang out enjoying one another's company.

12 July 2015

Sunday Snaps

I got a few things done this week - lace, photo deconstruction, and learned charted color work.
It was one of those weeks, you know? I wasn't up to snuff for most of it so as you can see, my productivity was super far down. Oh well, I learned a few things so that makes up for a little bit, right?

I made a lace cowl.  The original pattern stopped after the center lace but it felt uneven to me so I repeated the first lace section over again.  I really like how it came out.  It is just big enough to be of value down here in Florida without being too overwhelming.

My son asked me to make him a Hello Kitty sleep sack for his soon to arrive daughter.  How could I possibly say no - he's never asked me for anything!  Naturally, I got right on it... and it took me 2.5 months worth of trial and error to get it looking close to the photo he showed me.  I think I frogged and restarted this piece about five times but I'm finally done and it will be placed in the box for Emily and Kiki.

I took a day to learn how to do stranded color work from a chart.  It was interesting and required a lot more concentration that I could afford that day but it got my mind off other things - which was the whole point - so it was a win... and I didn't do a bad job with it.  One little section is a bit too tight but I corrected it later on and learned from that mistake.

Hoping for a better week this week.  Doctor appointments on Wednesday and work all week so nothing exciting.  Hobbit was picked up by my folks today for a week with them.  She's excited to be up there and they like having her so I'll take the week to rest.  She'll be going back to school at the end of August this year so she might be able to sneak in one more week if she's good.

I hope  y'all had a fabulous week.  Did you make anything or learn anything new?

05 July 2015

Sunday Snaps

I have been crafting up a storm, all week - and it felt really great!
This week I have been making things and it felt so good.  It really recharged my batteries to spend hours playing with my yarn.

I started the week by finishing up my Matching Wrap!  I was so happy to have it completed.  It was fun and I love the color combination. Things have been deliciously slower at work so I was able to make a few things - like the beret and the hotpad - during the week. 

I finished up the week by making the doll cape, backpack (colors are due to a HPKCHC class, Potions, not my choosing), and yarn caddy all yesterday!  Oh yes, so many hours spent in preparation of constant noise that would be happening... and did happen, well past 2:30 this morning!

Today, I'm going to work on the two projects I have going on (Abigail's sweater and my shrug) but I'm going to start a simple cowl for something to do during knitting group, and I need to get to the start of Row 11 on my Whippoorwill so that my friend KP can help me figure out what I'm doing wrong at that point.  I really want to make this shawl because it means a lot to me - one of my sweet readers gifted it to me with a note letting me know I wasn't alone and understood where I was coming from in regards to my recent diagnosis.  I'm going to be doing it in a delicious bubble gum pink and chocolate brown - and it will be gorgeous!

I hope y'all have a fabulous week ahead.  Did you get a chance to play with your projects this week?

29 June 2015

You'll be indecisive too!

You think the cover is awesome, just wait...
I'm paralyzed by indecision - something that rarely happens to me.  I am the one in this family who makes the final decisions.  We discuss and it always ends up with either an "I don't care" or an "I don't know" which leaves me to be the one who makes the final call... because I am never paralyzed by indecision... until today.

What has caused this challenge -   Scarves In The Round, by Heather Walpole, is to blame because it is full of too many fabulous patterns and I can figure out where I want to start! At first I thought I would make something light because living on the surface of sun, I don't get a lot of use out of heavier items. But have you seen the heavier items - oh my bob, they're delicious!  The cables, the colors, the snuggle factor.  I died!!

I tried to pull myself together and resign myself to something practical that I could wear more often than stare at it longingly but that honestly was no help at all.  The lace, the picots, the drape.  How is a knitter supposed to be able to choose where to start when they all beg to be on my needles?!?

Everything is grouped into fabulous categories - From Beautiful Basics to Creative Colorwork, it's all here.

So I did what anyone in my position would do - I closed my eyes and randomly opened the book... this is where I fell and this is what I will make. Now, while I go and find the perfect yarn from my stash, take a look at this wonderful book...

I just adore the picot cast on and cast off of this piece. It's such a beautifully light and airy cowl that everyone should own.

This scarf makes me long for the holidays and the best part is, it's in the round so all the floats are safely tucked inside!

I'd wear this on more than just Wednesday, that's for sure! Can't you imagine a rainbow variegated against the black.. lovely!

Don't know how to do something?  Don't worry!  There are gorgeous photo tutorials in the back to explain everything for you.

Can you understand now how I was paralyzed... you will be too, I swear.  Best cure is to simply make them all!

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