Tag Archives: crochet

Crafting On – Starting Point at the End Point

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Ah, this time last week we were just arriving in sunny California for the E3 conference. Myself, I’m not a big gamer. I dabbled in a little World of Warcraft, but I got bored with that, and I’m just not coordinated enough to play shoot em up games. But, for my husband and stepson, going to E3, the video game industry’s yearly conference at which they unveil all of the new games and gaming gear for the upcoming year, was like winning the Golden Ticket to Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. it was like three straight days of Christmas.

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We did do the touristy things of course, like going to the Griffith Park Observatory, and hitting the beach and the pier at Santa Monica.

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I was sorely disappointed when we went to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and I actually got to visit the Dolby Theatre, home of the Oscars.  It’s just a strip mall!  All of the glamour, gone.  Oh well.  Unfortunately, the last few days of the trip were hampered by Joe catching some kind of a horrible cold (I had something before we left, but I find it hard to believe that he would have developed it over a week later), so we didn’t get to go on our Hollywood Homes tour, as recommended by the Ellen DeGeneres show, darn!  And, we didn’t go to Venice Beach.  Maybe we’ll be back, maybe not.  I feel like we packed in a lot before Joe went down.  Gamer down!

Anyway, needless to say after listening to him hack up a lung for two days, I was ready to be home, and as soon as I got home, I got to work finishing up the last clue of the Joji MKAL, Starting Point.

Brilliant finish – no grafting!

 

I guess the question to ask at the end any MKAL is, would I have knit this if it weren’t an MKAL, if it had just been released as a stand alone pattern?

In this case, it’s difficult to say.  I used all stash yarn – I don’t know if I would have gone stash diving had I knit this with true intention.  And, I don’t know if I would have wanted to make the big investment in yarn that this gigantic thing calls for.  So, I’m really happy with the end result, I’m pleased with my stash busting, but I’m not sure if I would have looked at this and said, yep, I want to spend $150 to make this.  I don’t know.  But, I’m certainly not sad it’s now in my wardrobe.

After that big knit, I found myself ready for some crochet.  I didn’t know it at the time, but when I was wandering through Michael’s while Joe got his hair cut (I’ve convinced him that the Hair Cuttery next to Michael’s is so much better than the one next to Whole Foods), these Caron Cakes were on sale, 30% off – and my curiosity got the best of me.  I don’t knit with acrylic, so the project was going to be crochet, and I thought, yep, that is actually what I’m in the mood for – crochet it is!  Caron Cakes is actually 20% wool, and that bit of wool really makes a difference.  If you put this yarn in a bag with pure wool, and I were blindfolded, I’d probably have a tough time identifying the fakery.  Unlike a pure acrylic, this doesn’t feel stiff, nor does it squeak like the Caron pound skeins.  Because of the color changes, I really wanted to do something that just went round and round, so here is the beginnings of my shell blanket:

Easy peasy.  Round and round.  Of course, while I’m doing this easy peasy thing, I have my eye on something harder, the Nuts for Squares CAL, but I’ve promised myself I’m going to finish this first, or at least finish off the four skeins that I bought of the Caron Cakes, before I invest in another project – gotta keep that wandering eye looking firmly straight ahead.  It’s so easy to get distracted, and you have too much Ravelry time on your hands.

So, that’s what I’m crafting on about, hope your summer crafting is moving right along was well.  Linking up with Linking up with Frontier Dreams, Crafting On!

Yarning Along- A Crochet Catch Up and the Fresh Stitches Ami Club

I know, I know, I was all smug about really truly posting yesterday, but I figured that if I waited a day, I could link up with Small Things yarn along – rationalization will get me every time!  If you are popping in from the Yarn Along, and want to read about knitting catch up and the new Kate Davies club, click here.

But, now, crochet!

So my knitting bud KnittyD, she of the knit hippo, who doesn’t want to learn how to crochet, ordered a crochet kit.  And guess who she asked to do her crochet bidding?  You got it, crochet hippo girl.  Eh, ok – I love me a good amigurumi!

How cute, right?  Who wouldn’t want to spend their hygge evenings crocheting a Bumble??  By the way, I’m all about the hygge and the hygeligg after reading this article in The Times.  I feel secretly Nordic in my soul, actually, as if what I’ve known all along is finally going mainstream.  I’m sure it’ll be wrecked now.  Darn that secret sharing!

Anyway, you can get kits like these – Rudolph, Star Wars, and Marvel Avengers at your local BJ’s – I picked up a Star Wars kit – and now, of course, I’m going to have to make a memorial Princess Leia  – damn 2016, really.  Soooooooo ready for 2017!

Let’s forget 2016 and take another look at Bumble and Rudolph –

I had a lot of trouble with the felt that came with the kit – a stingy stingy little square – and of course, I didn’t have any felt in my stash, so this is actually quilt batting.  It got the job done, so it’s all good.

Anyway, Bumble and Rudolph put me in the ami spirit, so I went off to the Fresh Stitches website to poke around, and discovered that she has a new club as well, the Ami-club.  A few years ago, I was in the first iteration of the ami club – every month you got a pattern, yarn, and a goodie, like stitch markers or tiny scissors.  I have to admit, I didn’t love it.  I ended up tossing most of the kits aside, not motivated to make a leaf, or a snowflake, or a maybe a fish, and I eventually cancelled my subscription.  This time around, the club is completely digital.  Each month you get a pattern, a few e-guides (this month we received a guide to traveling with crochet, a guide to crochet hooks, and a guide to charity crochet), access to a club forum, a crochet-a-long, and a swap.  For I think $6/month I was in – no worrying about not liking the pattern, or the yarn that came with the kit – if I don’t like the pattern of the month, there’s still plenty to do for my $6.  Unlike the Kate Davies club, to which its forum calls Ravelry home, Fresh Stitches is trying to move her base from Ravelry to the Ami-Club Forum hosted on her own website.  I’d say there’s a bit of resistance – the Ravelry forum is still much more active than the club forum.  I’m not sure what she’s going to do to about it – the Ravelry forum is pretty much self-sufficient, organizing it’s own swaps and cal’s.  I think she’s going to have to release some really special club exclusive patterns and sales if she wants to put a nail in the ravelry forum.  But you know, I have no idea what her business model is – maybe she wants the Ravelry forum to keep on keeping on, and selling her larger patterns through Ravelry.  Maybe her business plan accounts for both bases.  I really don’t know.  But, I do know that I’d like to see more activity in the forum, and more people participating in the events.  For instance, the first swap was an easy one, a holiday card.  I made this:

The card pops open, and there’s a hanging circle in there stamped with Cheers and a message.  I mailed it last week with my own holiday cards, and I know that the card was delivered because it has tracking on it, and no one has even gone on the forum and thanked me.  It’s a handmade, crocheted card!  Now, I don’t make cards to get a thank you – that’s not my meaning.  My meaning is that if this were a truly active community, there’d be tons of cards and thank you’s posted.

And, while I loved the first pattern, Bentley bear:

I don’t know if this was the super special thing you wanted to get the club started with.  But, again, what do I know?

The bottom line is I really like the concept – I loved the bear, I like the new forums, I like the organized swaps – everything – I just hope more people get on board once the holiday season is over.

So, that’s the crochet in my world right now.  Once I finish the Kate Davies cardigan, I’m going to spill out my Lotus Moon Tiles , figure out what yarn I need to get moving, and well, get moving.

On the reading front, I’m reading The Nix:

I love this novel.  Its about a failed novelist, bored college professor, who is addicted to a game that is essentially World of Warcraft, as he’s sucked back into his own life when his mother, who abandoned him at 11, suddenly becomes national news when she commits an act of political protest, sort of.  Anyway, the novel moves in time, and the characters are really richly drawn.  The chapters are not stand alones, but are short stories in a sense – I read this book a chapter at a time, and when each chapter is done, I feel really fulfilled – like a just ate a piece of really good chocolate.  Anyway, that’s what I’m reading now, and I highly recommend it.  Hope it doesn’t have a crap ending, like this year.  Buh bye 2016.

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Still Not a Closer

As predicted, my one-handed, fast and wrong bead glazing and drying technique was a bit of a disaster – I lost a handful of beads that stuck together because they were strung too closely while they were drying.  At least it wasn’t a surprise – it was pretty darn predictable once I had it all strung up – just with only one hand, I was somewhat helpless to start all over again.

But, I did rescue enough beads to string up a ladder bracelet:

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I didn’t have any leather cord in my stash, just hemp, so I went with that.  And, I broke out the new C-Lon cord that I bought for my next up Eclectic Beaded Crochet Jewelry class.  I did taped down my button closure, did some macramé knots to get it started, and laddered on down to a finished bracelet.

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As you can see, I tacked down my loop with the same macramé stitches with which I began, and I thought my loop was secure.  Wrong.

My husband is always asking me why I don’t sell my finished objects on Etsy.  First, the only thing that I think I make that is sellable quality is my knitting, and unless I come up with my own design for a small item – like mitts or a hat, the time v. expense v. profit analysis just isn’t worth it.  If I make a shawl, I’m probably spending at least – well, let’s not guess, let me look at the last shawl I made – which was super expensive.

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I made the Spice Market Shawl with a Miss Babs gradient set, $76 (now $83 in her online store), and then I ran out of the main color, and I had to buy an additional $26 skein to finish the project.  I think the pattern cost $8 or something close to that.  So, to break even, I’d have to start pricing at $110.  Now, what would someone pay for this?

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It’s hard for me to say. My motivation for making something is rarely “I love that shawl so much I have to wear it, and it must be a part of my wardrobe,” it’s “I love that yarn, I love that pattern, I really want to knit it.”  Once it’s finished, of course, I’m happy to wear it, but I’m a process knitter, not a product knitter.  But, I’ll render a guess that someone might spend $150-$200 on this handmade item created with luxury yarn.  But is my labor only worth 50-100?  That comes to less than $10/hr.  Obviously, I didn’t log my hours knitting this, but it took more than 10.  And, I have zero motivation to knit it again.

So, the only way I’d knit to sell is if I came up with my own one of a kind small item pattern that I could crank out in a fairly short amount of time, and use 1-2 skeins of luxury yarn.

So, until that time, my only marketable craft skill just isn’t worth it to me.

What does that have to do with the beads.  Well, while I may sew a lot of things, and put together some jewelry here or there – I just don’t think my workmanship is of the sellable quality.  I have never made a piece of jewelry that hasn’t, over time of course, fallen apart in someway – with the wrap bracelets, inevitably my button or my loop comes loose.  I made a lot of these ladder bracelets a few years back, and all of them eventually came apart at the button or the loop.

When I finished this ladder bracelet, Joe asked if I could sell it, and I pondered a moment – the paper beads are inexpensive, the wrapping/laddering only takes an hour or so – and then I stopped myself.  Let’s see if this holds together.

And, it didn’t.  Even though I had macramé knotted the loop closure down, it opened up.  Sigh.

But, there is hope!

I have now watched all of Robin Dudley-Howes Eclectic Beaded Crochet class, and she has an awesome, three part method for securing her closures.  I was so happy when she admitted that before she discovered her method, her jewelry fell apart too.  I really do enjoy successful crafters and artisans sharing their fails as well as their successes.  Anyway, I’m now thinking that selling my stuff might be entirely possible.  Forget the paper beads for the most part – back to the junk jewelry beads, flea market beads, beads from broken jewelry.  And, the crochet bracelets are back in my wheelhouse – fiber, stitching – all good!  And, because I do know how to crochet beyond chaining, slip stitching, and single crochet, I’m thinking how I can add other stitches, and make bracelets that look more like my own.  Anyway, the cogs in ye old brain are turning.  But, I am so far ahead of myself.  Let’s get that bracelet closed properly first!  And, I will leave you with that, as I await my ThreadZapper II from my Amazon Prime 2 day shipping!

Back tomorrow with a Yarn Along, and a spur of the moment finished object!

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Yarn Along – Head to Head Hippos

Of course, you’ve already met my Ravellenics Hippo, and now meet the knit version, Knit Hippo!

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How cute are they? KnittyD did an excellent job with her knit hexagons and pentagons – the colors are really beautiful in person – they really sparkle like the jeweltones they are.

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As you can see, there’s quite a size difference, but I don’t think that’s the pattern so much as the yarn choices and gauge. Both are fingering weight yarn, but KnittyD knit hers on size 1 needles. I don’t remember the size of my hook, but the fabric is like the equivalent of being knit on a 3 or a 4.

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Photos don’t really do these guys justice. They are so squishy! Someone at the yarn store asked what we were going to do with them, and we just stared at her – what do you mean, what are we going to do with them? Love them, duh.

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What are we going to do with them, please.

On the current knitting front, I finally wound the Miss Babs that perfectly matched my already underway Islay cardigan.  Unfortunately, when I tried to figure out where I was in the pattern, I had no idea – totally lost.  When I had some non-t.v. quiet time to spend with my knitting and the pattern I realized that I couldn’t figure out where I was because I had knit the decreases for the wrong size, and I didn’t have enough stitches between markers.  Oospy.  So, I unknit back to the right number of stitches, and I should be able to go from there, hopefully.

On the crochet side of things, as predicted, I did run out of yarn.  I thought I had enough to get through all of the Lotus Moon Tiles, but alas, I ran short on the second to the last row.  So, I have 9/12 Tiles complete.img_2014

 

And, in a moment of success, Dark Matter finally became available from the library.

The beginning, at least, is edge of  your seat excitement.  The only reason I put it down last night is because I just had to go to sleep, I was head bobbing into my Kindle screen.

So, that’s that the fiber/reading report for the week!

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Yarning Along – Lost in a CAL

I am a machine.  A crochet machine.

I just keep cranking out round after round after round.  Very relaxing.  I have no idea where I’m supposed to be in the CAL, but I think I’m working at a good, steady pace – on pace to run out of yarn, again.  And that’s not to say that I’m not checking in on the CAL, and looking at everyone’s pretty pictures.  I am, and Polly has a really nice intro video every week highlighting some challenging parts of the pattern, it’s just that it’s a pretty relaxed CAL, everyone is working steadily, and I seem to be about where everyone is.  I’m just not on a timer – like the Ravellenics Hippo.  And, since it’s not a mystery, I don’t have to wait for the next part of the pattern to come out.

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I should finish the tiles without any yarn shortages, and then I’ll have to wait for a replenishment shipment to start the connecting squares and corner triangles.  But, it’s all good.  As you can see, I have plenty of ends to weave in, uch, and I also have my knitting to go back to, since my Miss Babs was a perfect match.  Plenty to do while I wait!

On the reading front, I downloaded a mystery from the library, thinking that since I was next up in the library queue for Dark Matter, I just had a bit of time to kill.  But, I’ve been next in the queue for about a month now – I think the Dark Matter borrower must have turned off their WiFi to get the book finished, because it should have been returned by now – drat!  Anyway, so I’m not reading that planned next up book, I’m reading Elizabeth George’s A Banquet of Consequences.

A Banquet of Consequences: A Lynley Novel (Inspector Lynley Book 19) by [George, Elizabeth]

It’s 19th in the Inspector Lynley series, which of course I didn’t know when I downloaded it.  I have not read the previous 18, and I usually don’t like to start a series in the middle (or at the end, as the case may be), but oh well.  So far, I haven’t encountered any historical nugget that harkens back to anything other than the ramifications of the last book on one of his fellow detectives. I’m not that far into it, it’s ok, but I just love the title.  There was a prosecutor in Pennsylvania who recently died who always closed with the defendant now sitting at the feast that he had prepared for himself – and I when I saw “banquet of consequences” I thought what a better turn of phrase.  If I were a prosecutor, I’d definitely use it – but as a defense attorney, it doesn’t quite fit.

Speaking of defense attorneys, as some of you may know, I’ve been a public defender for 20 years.  I just finished watching HBO’s The Night of, and once again, I am just horrified by the portrayal of the woman defense attorney.  Just like that show on Lifetime, where they had the Innocence Project woman lawyer taking her top off on death row to impress a client, and later hooking up with a client to kill another suspect, this defense attorney, Chandra, falls for her client, and does beyond belief things.  Why? Why? Why?  Why can’t women defense attorneys be portrayed like their male counterparts, and not sexualize their clients?  I go to work, and I’m a professional – I treat my client’s the same way the male character on the show, the John Turturro character, treats his clients – with humanity, but not anything else.  I don’t even worry about crossing the line – because the line is so far off on the horizon it’s unimaginable.  At least the show’s one fantastic lawyer, the prosecutor, is a woman, so at least there was that.  So, just my two cents.

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Moogly’s Hookin on Hump Day!

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Yarning Along, Again With the Hook

When last I left off, I had run out of yarn for my Shetland Trader, Islay. While I sweated it out (literally and figuratively, as the weather has yet to get the message that summer is winding down) waiting for my yarn to arrive from Miss Babs, I decided to do a stash dive, and once again, attempt to finish a crocheted afghan.

Enter the Lotus Moon Tile CAl from Polly Plum. I’ve been an admirer of Polly since the Sophie’s Universe MKAL, when I cribbed her RBG colorway scheme. I like her aesthetic, and I was happy to find a project to distract me from the “will it or won’t it work” thoughts/dread surrounding the pending arrival of my non-dye lot skein of Rainforest Yowza What A Skein!

Of course, stash diving into a work in progress stash means accepting that the first project is no longer a project but a fail. And, I’m ok with that. I did enjoy the mystery/round by round aspect of Sophie’s Universe, but in the end, I didn’t like that it wasn’t really done when the MCAL was done, unless you wanted a finished small square. The pattern totally provided alternatives for borders, additional blocks, growing the project, etc., but I didn’t realize that’s where it was going when I started, nor how much additional work it would be. Eh, excuses – I just know in my heart I’m not going to finish either version, so I might as well use the yarn.

So, here is the baby produced by my two attempts at Sophie’s Universe, which is a mix of Valley Yarns and Michael’s Impeccable.  Yep, wool and acrylic, call me crazy.  The Valley Yarn wool is sooooo much easier to crochet with, and much easier on the hands.  Also, as you can see I’m using a generic metal crochet hook, and I’m really feeling the difference after I spoiled myself with the Clover Soft Touch with the hippo.  I may just suck it up and buy the whole set of them, we’ll see.  Crazy talk again.

Unlike Sophie’s Universe, which was a mystery CAL, Lotus Moon’s entire pattern is available from the start. The CAL is set up in weekly bunches of rounds, with accompanying video tips and tricks from Polly. You can work at your own pace, or work on the CAL schedule. I aspire to catch up to the CAL since I started a week late. The CAL is into week three, and I’m halfway done week 2, so pretty good progress!

I feel like if I went to the store, and actually picked my colors, I don’t think I would have gone with the rust color that I’m working with now, and instead of the lighter grey, I would have used a cream maybe. But, that’s about it.  Hmm, maybe I’d trade in the dark grey too, I’m not sure.  Polly just started another that uses cream for the big petal round, and I like that as well.  Doesn’t really matter though, does it – it’s well underway!

I may run out of the rust, but that’s easily, stressfree replaceable, and I may run out of the forest green, but again, an easy peasy color to get another skein.

See, Junie B isn’t worried at all!

Actually, she looks a little worried.  Huh.

And, drum roll! My Miss Babs arrived and its PERFECT!!

It’s so identical I’m wondering if this was a color they just did for Sheep and Wool and this was the last of it. But, I’m not going to wonder too long – I’m just going to wind it up, and get a move on!

 

As far as reading goes, I have nothing really to report. I had started Outlander on Starz, but then we cancelled our Starz subscription. So, I thought I’d try to get back into the books, but that meant rereading the first book, which I read over twenty years ago, and I’m not feeling it. While I was enjoying the show to a certain extent (not as much as a LOVED Stranger Things, poor Barb), I just don’t think these weighty historical romance tomes are for me anymore. But, today is payday, and I’m heading to the Amazon store, I think to buy the new Jeffrey Toobin book on Patty Hearst – I think I’m committed, but I may change my mind before I hit the buy button. Especially since I’m only one person away from securing the library’s digital copy of the new Blake Crouch novel, Dark Matter. We’ll see what happens first.

Until next week!

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Medal, Please

No no, silly, no medal for blogging.  Blogging these days is an epic fail for me.  But, once again, I have changed my WordPress theme, throwing consistency and half-hearted branding to the wind, and just creating a new pretty “box” to put my stories in.

But, I do deserve a medal, gold if I do say so myself, for my champion performance in the 2016 Ravellenic Games.  This project took patience, feats of courage, and endurance.  It took stretching myself, and my basic crochet skills to a new level.  It took a teeny tiny crochet hook, and fingering yarn.  It took hours in front of the t.v., crocheting African Flower motif after African Flower Motif.  It took ripping, and recrocheting, and ripping again, as I painstakingly learned how to crochet as you go. Ah, the drama, my friends of the Heidi Bears hippo!  From this:

To this:

How cute is she? She’s so squishy and cuddly and fun!  I really should give her to a child, but I’m not going to – I’m keeping her.  Right now, I have her in Joe’s man cave, the only consistently airconditioned room in our stone, kiln-like house where we’ve been huddling in it like a walk in freezer in the middle of a humid, hot rain forest.  But, I can see him eyeing her up, worried that she may end up with a menagerie of African Flower friends.  So, once it cools down here in tropical Philly, she’ll be moving into her permanent home in the craftroom room.  And, she may just find herself with some friends too! And, speaking of friends, my friend Knitty D is also undertaking an Olympic marathon event, the knitted version of the hippo pattern.  This version, my friends, is definitely a labor of love – between the crocheted cast on, the picking up stitches, and the puzzle piece construction, its definitely an exercise in concentration.

On the reading front, I also completed an Herculean read – A Little Life, by Hana Yanagihara.  I’m not even going to post a photo of the book cover, because it’s too disturbing for my pleasant hippo post.  I was somewhat moved by this book, it definitely had its kick in the gut moments, but I didn’t have the full emotional experience that others had.  I can’t really get into why without revealing too much of the story, but let me just say this – this book, at its heart, is supposed to be about true friendship, and no one, at the end of the day, was really a very good friend.  I also read Noah Hawley’s Before the Fall, which was a good read, and Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes, a reliably good cat/mouse detective novel.  Today, I downloaded Richard Price’s The Whites, which I’ll probably start tonight.  Love Richard Price!  And you can catch a cameo of him on HBO’s miniseries The Night Of, which he co-wrote.

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Moogly’s Hookin on Hump Day

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Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

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Happy Pi Day

And, that’s enough math for today.  Or any day, for that matter.  At least on this blog.  I know somewhere in the world it’s changing the future, but not here.  Now pie is a different story, but not today’s story.  We’re on diets in this neck of the woods.  Forget that almost all of the below photos involve eating, that’s diet wine there!

Right.

Anyway, I’m just moving right along through 2016.  2015 you say?

I say, look at these completed layouts!

Both of these layouts are 80% Currently Core Kit, 10% Ali Edwards kit for her Project Life Class, and 10% miscellaney – stuff leftover from Studio Calico kits, stickers, labels I cut with my teeny tiny die cutting machine.

And, speaking of Studio Calico, they’re having a huge sale on old kits today – $10 instead of the normal subscription fee (around $26/mo).   Get thee to Studio Calico and spend a multiple of $3.14 – there were go – some math!

With the PL’ing out of the way for the weekend, I was  left to ponder what to do next.  As I mentioned in the last post, I seem to be off the knit.  I was writing an email to my friend Mindy (shout out!), and I remembered, like a bell went off, that I had actually watched the entirety of Danita’s Art Doll class, and after all the anticipation of taking it, and the excitement of snatching it on sale, I went off the dolls, and never made one.  That had to be corrected.  So, I got the doll making supplies out, and got to sewing.

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And then stuffing.  I had a heck of a time with the neck.

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My that little head took a lot of stuffing!

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As you can see, I’m making two – so that when I mess up the first one, I’ll have the second one ready to go.  And, honestly – I’m good with that.  I’ve long ago gotten over the idea, at least with art, that I’m going to immediately get it right the first time.  It all takes practice.  I’ve always been a quick study, and I used to have a nearly photographic memory, so school, and tests, and my job – I’m not going to say I didn’t have to work at things, but I think I started out with less of a learning curve, and I had a shorter road to travel to get to a place of satisfaction.  Art is really hard for me, and I’ve gotten to a place where I’ve accepted that – that I have to draw, erase, draw again, paint over, throw out, start over, whatever it takes.  There’s no rush.  I have no customers, no critics, no deadlines.  What’s the rush?  To post a photo on the blog?   And, at the end of the process, when I call something done, it doesn’t mean that it’s good, it just means that I’m good with it, and that’s all that matters.

So, that’s about as far as I got when Joe came home from his Sunday all day overtime shift, so it was time to have dinner, and watch some t.v.

What to do, what to do, can’t just sit and watch t.v! And, I’m off the knit . . . well, the doll thing worked out, how about some crochet?

Yes, it’s time to revisit ol’ languishing Sophie:

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Olive apparently approves, and has staked her claim!

So, hopefully tonight, I’ll finish stuffing the dolls, and perhaps get to gessoing.  And, if I don’t get to the gesso, tomorrow is another day!

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Yarn Along, or Is This Mystery KAL Right For You?

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Hello and happy Wednesday!  This week finds me still chugging along on my Fiddleknits Mystery Knit-A-Long, Earth.

The first Earth Clue was released during the first week of April, and we’re now up to Clue 3, with the fourth and final clue being released Friday.

I’m almost done Clue 3, and by Friday I should be all set for Clue 4 – woo hoo! This may be done in time for Mother’s Day, and wouldn’t that be easy peasy!

I love how unique this design is, how the branches grow and spread across the fabric. Love it!

But, the question really is, how do you know you’re going to love a Mystery Knit-a-Long MKAL before you start it? You just don’t, it’s a crap shoot.

My first MKAl was, I thought, called Spring Surprise – or at least I thought it was, because when the first clue arrived in my box it was called Spring Suprice – because English was not the pattern designer’s first language.  The pattern was rife with errors (some of which were translation problems, but most of which were editing problems), and the second clue ended up being a lace pattern I abhor, with really complicated, unrewarding lacework on both sides.  It was a long time before I jumped on an MKAL bandwagon again.

And that bandwagon came to my door several years later with an Ysolda Teague MKAL, Follow Your Arrow.  I was confident dipping my feet back into the mystery pond because I love Ysolda’s patterns, and I had confidence in her steering the ghost ship safely to shore.  An,d the concept was fun and fresh – two clues each week, you pick which way your shawl is going to go.  I ended up with two fab shawls, and itching to do another KAL.

So, I found this group on Ravelry, KAL Fanatics, which has a calendar, and a forum post for every KAL and CAL out there.   Ok, so I found the list – now what?  How to choose?  I started sifting through my choices, looking at the KAL designers previous work, and asking myself the following questions:  had she hosted a MKAL before? did I like her previous patterns?  In her MKAL forum, did people seem to have problems with the previous pattern? In the shared photos section of her forum, did people seem to be finishing her projects?  The bottom line – could this designer deliver a successful KAL?  And then, if the answer was yes, I evaluated the description of the project.  No mystery sweaters – that was a total nonstarter.  Did I have the yarn in my stash or was I willing to buy something similar?  Lace or cables?  Miles of garter stitch, oh no.

In the end, I went with Fiddleknit’s Bonnie’s Wish, based on her active forum,  her previous patterns. and the description of the techniques used in the project, along with the fact I had yarn in my stash that would work fine.  No investment, other than time.

And, yeah!  I loved it!  There was a bump along the way – the yarddage requirement varied (f you didn’t swatch) – and I couldn’t blame the designer for my failure to swatch.  A lot of people ran out of yarn, I among them.  Luckily, I found a perfect contrast to my discontinued yarn, and my finished shawl was beautiful, and kept me warm and snug all winter.

So, when Fiddleknits advertised her Elements Series – which will be this one, Earth, the next one Water, followed by Air, Fire and the Philospher’s Stone, I knew I was in.  And now that I love Earth, I’m up for Water.  I even know what yarn I’m going to use – another Quince and Co. Yarn, Finch, in Peacock. It’s such a great color!

And that about wraps up the knitting portion of the post.  Maryland Sheep & Wool is this weekend, and I’m plotting my shopping strategy, which involves Miss Babs, so of course that’s always a duke ’em out at her overcrowded festival booth.  More on my purchases next week!  But, if you are interested in my buying plans, or what happened to my purchases from last year, I talked about it extensively in my video post here.

Now to the crochet.

No Sophie this week. This week, I pulled a project out of the WIPS pile. At Christmas, I crocheted a bunch of Elsa’s, and got really overloaded with crocheting stuffies. So, I had started a bunny for my newest niece for her first Christmas. I did the head and the body, and went uch, not another stitch, and back in the basket it went. With her birthday approaching, and no clue from her parents what to get her, I pulled out Miss Bunny, and finally finished her.

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How cute is she. She’s the basic Lalylala pattern, with her free Bunny modifications. I already made a Sheepy, so I had the main body pattern.

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Once she was finished, and I had to part with her (sniff), I put her in a box, and wrapped her up. Here she is unboxed and with her little girl –

First, there was a get to know you process –

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And then she went straight to trying to rip her eyeballs out:

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When that failed, there was a sweet hug, but she was turned away from the camera, and I missed it. Sneaky girl!

As far as what I’m reading – I haven’t made much progress on A Little Life.  Last week, I was signing it’s praises because of it’s fine writing – but now, I’m bemoaning the fact that there’s all there is – rich sentences, no plot.  Nothing has happened.  Nothing.  I feel like by next week, it may have gone into the hibernating pile, we’ll see.

And that wraps up my yarny adventures for the week! Make sure you drop by the Yarn Along!