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  • Happy Easter Weekend!

    Whatever your beliefs, habits, or location, I wish you a very happy Easter weekend.

    I hope you spend time with people you love.

    I hope you know some small children because they're so funny when they hunt for eggs.

    I hope you get to compliment someone on their Easter outfit and see them smile.

    I hope you decorated.  Even just a little.

    I hope your world looks a little more spring-timey than it did last week.

    I hope you get to decorate some eggs.

    I hope someone gives you a chocolate bunny.

    I hope you get the chance to take a few minutes for yourself, to enjoy the fresh starts a new season brings, and to welcome spring in all its messy and new glory.

    And I hope you have a very happy (hoppy?) Easter weekend.
  • Taking Pictures of Other People's Memories

    I take pictures.  Lots and lots of pictures.

    I got my first camera when I was 14 or so.  I've been taking lots of pictures ever since.  You can normally tell how much I enjoyed myself at an event by whether or not I took lots of pictures.  The happier I am, the more pictures I take.

    Having a baby has been a big exception to this rule.  She keeps me busy, so I can be plenty happy and social and still not have a lot of pictures to show for it.  But I digress.

    I just like to have a record of things.

    When I took a cheese-making class, I took pictures.

    When my husband accidentally set himself on fire in a grilling accident, I didn't take pictures of that.  But I did pull out the camera afterward when the firefighters came to put out the flames, and I took pictures of the aftermath.

    My child's first meal = pictures.

    Storm damage = pictures.

    Craft projects, even the bad ones = pictures.

    So I didn't know what else to do this past weekend but take pictures.

    My dad had gone to visit his aunt a few weeks ago in her nursing home in Texas.  Her neighbor down the hall had died recently, and the woman's family gave his aunt some of her crochet hooks and thread.  Aunt Mabel doesn't crochet that much, but my parents must have told her I like knitting and crochet.  So she sent my dad back to Arkansas with some curtain rings, sewing pins, crochet thread, and hooks and he brought them to me.

    They were in this nice basket.  I can see it in an old-lady living room, on top of a stack of newspapers in front of the window unit.  Probably with a houseplant nearby.

    There were a couple of crochet hooks.  I think they're in Sizes G and I, and I was happy that I could use them. 

    I don't want to seem ungrateful, or be disrespectful of the stranger crafter's things, but I don't quite know what to do with the rest of it.

    There were steel hooks.  Tiny, tiny steel hooks.

    If you flip them over, they say "USA" on the grip.  I'm guessing that means they're old.

    There's also thread.


    And little odds and ends of projects.

    The last doily is actually not finished.  I don't know what pattern this is, or if there is one.  I think I'll just tie it off.  I think I can starch it and turn it into a bowl.  That may be its intended purpose since it bubbles up in the middle.

    For now, everything has been photographed and is now folded back up and sitting neatly in the original basket.

    I didn't feel especially sad going through these things, just a little awkward and clueless.  If I only leave behind a grocery sack's worth of crafting supplies, I think my family would be pretty thrilled.  It was nice of this woman's family to give some of her things to my great-aunt.  And it was thoughtful for her to pass some of them along to someone who might use them.  I tried to think about how my things would be treated if something happened to me, but then I stopped. 

    Teeny tiny projects are outside my realm of experience at the moment.  Some of my grandmas have crocheted beautiful doilies and dresses and ornaments that I love, and have always wanted to try for myself.  I should try it out soon.  And I should write my aunt a thank-you note.

    For now, though, I just took pictures.

  • WIP Wednesday: I Like to Do Things, if Not Very Well

    Well, it's Wednesday and it's one of those days where I talk about my works in progress. 

    I only have two things to show for it.  I'm surprised, because I thought I was doing lots of things!

    It turns out most of those things aren't knitting or crocheting.  Oh well.

    Here's what I've got.

    Here's the Basket Weave dishcloth that I've been talking about

    It's going to sit in a project bag for a while.  We need some space.

    Then there's this baby blanket.

    It's a very altered and babyfied version of the Eleventh Hour Blanket  by the Purl Bee.  I'm using Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick on Size 10 1/2 needles.  Size 12 or 13 would probably be better, but whatever.  I don't own circular needles in those sizes, so 10 1/2 it is!  I cast on 101 stitches of a single strand of yarn.  The pattern calls for double strands, but I don't have 36" Size 17 circulars and doubled yarn just seemed a bit too fluffy.  I got the idea for this altered version when I saw the Purl Bee posting about the Fluffy Brioche Baby Blanket.

    I realized that my brain wasn't up to a four-row pattern repeat, but I did still wanted a nice textured baby blanket for my friends.  So instead of 100 stitches, I cast on 101 so that I had an odd number of stitches.  I just knit and purl across the row and then I get a nice seed stitch pattern. 

    I'm going to knit until it's just a little longer than it is wide, and then I want to crochet a little border around it when I'm finished.  As simple and mindless as the knitting is, that should be pretty soon.

    Then again, I said the same thing about a teeny tiny dishcloth and look what happened there.

    I'm confident, though!  Some little baby people will be making their debut some time very soon, and I don't have much to lose.  Except for 4 or 5 more skeins from my stash.

    At this point, that's nearly as much incentive as having a snuggly blanket to give to friends during this unseasonably chilly spring.

    Almost.

    Hey, I worry about their blanket plans!  Their babies aren't due until May, but who knows if it will be warm by then.  Did they plan to have a million receiving blankets tucked away in convenient locations around their home and in their cars?  What if the girls come early?  What if this bizarrely winter-like weather plagues Arkansas with an intensity typically reserved for our summers?!

    And yes, these are the friends whose babies I have tried and failed to knit for.  Twice.  Little  baby shirts?  Didn't happen.  Little matching Tomten jackets?  Not enough of the yarn.  So even though I normally say that I don't make blankets for people outside my very immediate family, my friends' baby shower has come and gone and all I had to wrap up was a package of diapers and a bunny-themed storybook.  So now I owe them a blanket--not that they have said that. 

    But I want to make them a blanket.  Especially because I know (now!) I am incapable of knitting the same thing two times in a row.  Not even I can handle that level of repetitive work.  But!  I'm not gestating twins, so no more complaining. 

    That's what I've been working on.  It's a little pitiful, but I'm especially excited about this blanket.

    Oh, and my friends' babies.

    And this blanket.  It's been a while since I've made one, and I'm enjoying this.

  • FO Friday: Sometimes You Don't Finish All that Much

    Well!

    This FO Friday post is a sight to see.

    A fairly small, sad sight to see.

    I intended to do a post about my finished objects last Friday, but didn't. 

    "I'll wait until I finish X, Y, and maybe Z and then I'll have a better post for next week," I thought.

    One week later, and X has been abandoned, Y was messed up, restarted, and rejected because I was having an allergic reaction to the yarn, and Z is just plain not finished.  I'm sure it will be soon, though.

    In the meantime, this is what my horrible hands and limited schedule have produced.

    Granny square banner #1:

    I had a skein of yellow Vanna's Choice and I knew I wanted to pair it with a grass green yarn for a spring-timey banner.  So I did.  It was quick and easy and granny squares never fail to make me happy.  I put it up for my little girl's birthday party last weekend, and it will probably stay in our living room throughout the spring.  I can't seem to get good pictures of it, regardless of what time of the day it is, but just trust me when I say that it's very cheerful.

    Here's Banner #2:

    This is Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in Fisherman and Lemongrass.  There was absolutely no reason for me to make this other than I wanted the instant gratification of crocheting granny squares with super bulky yarn and a Size P crochet hook.  I'm not even joking when I say I wish it was a Size Q.  I think that would make a difference.  This used up nearly 1 skein (of 2 skeins) of green yarn, and about half a skein (of 10 skeins) of the white yarn.  It wasn't that big of a deal as far as stash-busting goes, but it was a fun thing to do over the weekend a couple of weeks ago while I tried to figure out what I was going to do with some other troublesome projects.

    Plus, I used it as a decoration around the dessert table at my little girl's birthday party.

    I'm noticing a trend.  Um, these are some bunnies that I knitted for ...... my daughter's birthday party.

    The pattern calls for worsted weight yarn and Size 7 needles, but that will get you some armadillo-looking monstrosities like the white bunnies in the second picture.  That's why I'm not linking to the pattern, but typing "bunny rabbit" into the pattern search box on Ravelry should turn up plenty of options if you're looking for that sort of thing.  I did knit a few bunnies with super bulky yarn and Size 10.5 needles and they were a bit cuter.  Just a bit, though.  However, given the streak I've been on with my knitting lately, this could just be more a matter of user error than anything else.

    To sum up, here's what I cared about enough to follow through on lately:

    1. My little girl
    2. My little girl's second birthday party
    3. Granny squares

    Even with all the gift knitting I plan on doing right now, I still feel like my priorities are in place.

  • Organizing Craft Supplies: An Ongoing Process

    Consider this New Year's Resolution Update #2.  (Here's Update #1.)

    I don't have much of a system for keeping my yarn, books, and supplies organized and it shows.  Adding shelves so that I could at least organize my piles of stash helped me break down a big mess into smaller messes, but I still had problems finding things when I needed them.

    Here's a dreaded "Before" picture.

    I picked up the metal utility shelf off of a curb in my neighborhood, and the small white shelf on the right is a shoe organizer (I think) that my mom gave me.  Shelves are great for organizing because they let you condense your junk into higher stacks, and give you easy access to your things that stacked clear tubs won't.

    None of this matters if half your stash and WIPs are in plastic bags, though.

    And you've got your yarn and printoffs and things thrown about all willy nilly.

     So I dragged out nearly everything and got to work one quiet afternoon so I could try to bring just a little more order to things.  I figure if I do this enough times, I'll find a way to organize that I like and can stick to.

    Here's what I have for now!

    I wanted the top of the taller shelf to look a little less cluttered.  So I moved the rotary cutting mat to a box where I wouldn't have to move half the things on my shelf to reach it, and then I took my DPNs out the bowl where they were previously and moved them to a coffee can.

    Before:

    After:

    They don't take up that much less space, but now I don't have to worry about accidentally knocking them out of the bowl and causing them to fall everywhere like so many pickup sticks.  

    Then I rearranged my stacks of books a bit.  The two piles of sliding magazines and small books that got hidden in the shuffling around were not working for me.  So my too-tall-to-stand books are stacked on the left, and my shorter books and notebooks are propped up on the right.

    This is where the WIPs live!  They're in bags in case I want to just grab one and go, but I may pull them out to where I can see them.   But I'm concerned that may make them too tempting for little hands to investigate, so they'll probably stay in the bags.

    Lightweight wool still lives in a plastic bag for bedding, and my sewing box is right next to it.  I need to reorganize that some time soon.  My circular needles are still hanging from a post and it's a surprisingly good way for me to store them.  I can always see them and it makes it pretty easy for me to find what I need!  My daughter used to pull off a pair or two every now then so she could pretend to knit, but the novelty's worn off now and they're safe.

    Medium weight wool and alpaca yarns are sealed up in this plastic bag on the floor.  My goal is to knit some of this down very soon so that I can move the bag elsewhere.  I know it's safe on the floor, but I don't want to put my yarn there!

     I finally pulled back the playpen fence we put up to block my little girl out of the craft corner, and got all in the cubby shelves to organize my yarn.  Another bag of wool yarn is on top, along with my box of embroidery floss, spare project bags, and some bulky multicolored yarn that is going to be used up in the next couple of weeks or I'm giving it away.  I apparently bought several bajillion skeins nearly ten year ago and I keep finding spare balls of scraps every now and then.  It must go!  It's haunting me!  Cotton yarn is in the left cubby hole for all of my dishcloth needs, and nearly all of the rest is holding Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick because I made bad decisions when friends are de-stashing and/or when I go to the craft store. (Sigh.)

     Seriously, it's nearly all super bulky yarn.  There are a few skeins of acrylic that I feel comfortable leaving out, and some felt pieces for other crafts.  Must. Knit. Down. Stash.  Then I can use the cubby holes for project bags holding WIPs, or maybe cards and stamps.

    See these two boxes?

    Lifesavers.  The box on the left is holding booklets and magazines that won't stand up on their own, and don't stack especially well.  Also, I (finally) put all of my printed-off patterns in a three-ring binder, and they're living in the box.  I can look through them like they're files and grab them when I need them.  The box on the right is holding a bag of my spare acrylic yarns, and a bag of my (non-dishcloth) cotton yarns.

    And that's it!

    Well, that's not completely it.  There's a bag hidden between the white shelf and the wall where I hide projects that I need to unravel.  And there are a few bags holding supplies from a birthday party we had this weekend, but I'll move them soon now that we don't need them.  And there's  a stack of fabric I won't show you until I have some photographic evidence of it being put to good use. 

    But this is an improvement!  I can get to my books more easily, I can find my projects, and my yarn is better organized.  As always, I found labels I didn't intend to save, empty shopping bags, scraps that should have been consolidated or thrown away, and yarn receipts I really, really don't need to see.  An occasional overhaul is good for my craft corner, and for my soul.  I'm more motivated to keep it tidy, and I want to do more projects now that I can easily get my hands on my yarn and patterns.  Just like every other time I reorganized my craft corner, I found yarn that I thought I'd used up (or, and this feels worse to me somehow, forgotten that I bought!) and patterns I intended to try and never found the yarn for. 

    I'm ready to get to work!

  • Celebrate National Crafting Month with a Giveaway!

    Remember when I said March was National Craft Month?

    And remember when I said that FaveCrafts was helping people celebrate this glorious occasion with ideas, patterns, and giveaways throughout March?

    It gets even better!  Today their giveaway is a chance to win  $100 to spend at Leisure Arts and a free Knook package!  They have all the rules for entering the contest on today's post, so head on over there right now!  Do it!  Click here!  Right this instant--the contest is only for today (March 13, 2013), so you'd better hurry! 

    And if you want even more crafting goodness, you can download The Ultimate Craft Guide: 25 Free Craft Projects for Every Crafter.   It has paper crafts, jewelry projects, and even Leisure Arts' very own Chunky V's Lace Mitts, which is also featured on today's post over at FaveCrafts.

    This crochet pattern uses an E hook and one skein fingering weight yarn (think sock yarn).   This is a great lightweight handwarmer that seems light enough for spring, but cozy enough for the days when the wind is brisker than expected.

    This pattern is from the book Texting Mitts.  You could buy this, and a lot of other things, with $100.  I mean, you could buy it yourself now, but it's more fun to use free money.  So be sure to enter to win at FaveCrafts!

    AND don't forget that Leisure Arts is offering a discount of $2 off a different ebook every day this month.  Today's book (sale link) is The Big Book Beautiful Baby Afghans (click this link if you're reading this post after March 13), which has 29 sweet designs for baby blankets. 

    But if sweet or baby gifts or crochet aren't your thing, come back tomorrow to see what's on sale.  And the day after that.  And the day...I'm sure you get the idea.

    It's March!  Spring is in the air, along with discounts, giveaways, and a general fervor for crafts. 

    Did I even remember to mention that FaveCrafts has a chance to win a $1000 gift card for Michaels?!  Probably not because there are too many giveaways for me to keep track right now!  This is an exciting time!

    I hope you're excited!  And I hope you win!  Or least enjoy the sales! 

    Happy crafting and good luck!

  • Thy Shells and Thy Squares, They Comfort Me: A Post About Granny Squares

     

    I find myself making granny squares a lot these days.  Not necessarily making a lot of granny squares, but when I'm making things, that tends to be what my hands want to do.

    When I learned to crochet, I had problems with working back and forth.  I was 9 or so, and my attention span wasn't the best (it's still not), so I was probably adding or dropping a stitch every time I turned a row.  My grandmother tried to explain it to me, but when your attention isn't the best and you don't know the names of any of the stitches, I just knew I'd probably make a mistake every time I tried turn my work and start a new row.  I tried to make a doll blanket with some aqua-colored yarn.  The finished product kind of curved up into a C.  I wish I'd kept it, but it made me angry to look at it.  So I unraveled it and put the yarn away for something else.  Even then, I think my motivation to yarn craft had more to do with wanting to have yarn than with wanting a doll blanket.

    A year or so later I was staying with another grandmother.  She saw my problems, and probably decided it would be easiest to just teach me how to make a simple granny square.  She taught me about the beginning ring, shells, and half shells.  For years after that, I would struggle with making my tension too tight at the beginning and I'd practically wrestle through that first row of shells.  But at least I didn't have a hard time with following the pattern.  I'd count everything.  The number of chains for the beginning ring.  The number of chains for the first double crochet stitch. How many times to pull the yarn through the loops, and on and on and on.  For a couple of years, I'd usually try to look back at each row and count the shells and half shells to make sure the right amount of them were in the right places.

     

    I visited my granny square Mamaw another year.  That time, while we were watching TV, she let my sister and me dump out her stash of granny squares.  She was storing them in carefully cleaned popcorn bins, like the enormous ones you get for Christmas.  I think she had two and half containers of granny squares.  They were probably 4 inches by 4 inches, and they were in all colors.  Some of the scraps clearly came from the seventies.  And the eighties.  And I think there were some dark greens or blues that were preferred in the early or mid-nineties.  All of them jumbled together for 3 or 4 rows of color.

    When people say they don't like granny squares because it reminds them of old grandmas and mismatched colors, I don't understand them.  I spent two decades thinking that was whole point.

    The first time I made a granny square, I didn't want it to end.  I didn't like beginning them, and I didn't like tying off knots.  So I wanted to make another doll blanket.  Eventually I stopped because I didn't play with dolls as much by then.  Again, I wished I'd kept it just as it was.  But I unraveled it and set aside my balls of yarn for something else.  A lot of it turned up in granny squares later.

     

    I like the look of granny squares.  I like how you don't need much yarn to make just one.  You can't do much with just one granny square, but it's a nice thing to have anyway.  Even in the years when I wasn't in that much of a granny square mood, I'd set aside my scrap yarns in case I wanted them for granny squares later.  I usually did.

     

    I woke up early on this past Sunday morning.  I had stayed up late the night before, and every other night before that in that week, to work on a sewing project that had failed.  It just wasn't going to work with the materials I had on me, and now time had run out, and our roads were blocked for the Little Rock marathon.  I'm not sure if I woke up because I was too stressed to sleep well, or if it was due to bystanders cheering on runners.

    I made coffee.  I started crocheting a granny square.  I watched runners.  I drank more coffee.  I crocheted more squares.  I made almost enough for a banner 10 feet long.

    I don't want to say that crocheting granny squares is mindless.  Any kind of crafting takes brain power, and a lot of thought typically goes into a crocheter's choice of yarns and colors and hook sizes, etc.  Studies have shown that working with one's hands activates different parts of the brain and does something to make you less likely to have certain diseases that affect the brain.  I haven't read the studies.  But I'll happily bring up their existence any time someone sees me working on something at an 'odd' time and asks, "Is this really necessary?"

    All of that was to say that I can probably crochet the standard little double crochet granny square in my sleep.  That might have been what I was doing last Sunday.  Once I picked out the yarns, I made two small (two-row) squares for every larger (three-row) one.  I'm not sure how many I made.  I nearly finished them before my daughter woke up.  I kept working through her breakfast, and finished up the rest while trying to read her books in my lap. Sometimes she lets me do yarn things while I hold her in my lap.  Not often, though.  At least my tension in beginning squares is better now, and I don't mind tying off knots. 

    I crocheted across the top of them to make a banner.  I meant to take a picture.  I wish I had.

    Because of course I don't have the banner anymore!  I intended to use it as decoration at a friend's wedding shower.  I made the squares in her wedding colors, and packed it up with the rest of my decorations and supplies.  But once I got to the site, I knew it wouldn't match. 

    I gave it to the friend as a present after the shower.  She seemed impressed in my handiwork, and I let her praise me for crocheting granny squares in my sleep.

    I'm making one for my home now. I think we need one.

    I have a lot of banners up at any given time.  sewn strands of felt circles, birthday banners, banners made up of holiday cards--whatever.  I think they just dress up a spot, and my daughter likes it when we lift her up to touch them sometimes.  I wanted something for us.

    I'm very busy right now.  I'm working a lot, and trying to do a lot for parties and presents for people I love.  I want to make them wedding gifts and baby sweaters.  But I'm very conscious of how I spend my time right now, and all of last week I kept thinking "You're not making anything for your little Creature.  You're not making things you want to have for yourself.  You're not making things you want to make."  I'm using what little crafting time I do have for the things I need to make by a certain date, instead of something I'd like to.  It makes everything feel like work.  And that's probably just my mindset, and maybe I'll work through it when I have more time.

    For right now, though, I'll probably just keep making granny squares.  I started these bulky yarn ones last night with a P hook and some Lion Brand Thick & Quick from my stash.  A few here and a few there until I have something for my home.  It'll replace the banner made of felt hearts that I still have up (oh dear), make things look a little more springy, and make my daughter smile.

    They're already making me happy.

  • K2TOG: Knit Two Stitches Together

    Knitting two stitches together is probably THE most common decrease method.  A knitting friend of mine said that her husband understands almost nothing about knitting, but somehow he learned about knitting two stitches together.  So now whenever she mentions a project, he's all "K2TOG!  Are you going to do some of that?"  It makes us laugh in our knitting group, but there's a pretty good chance that she will, indeed, be knitting two stitches together. 

    When I thought about writing this post, I stopped and wondered if I had any pictures for projects that called for knitting two stitches together.  Then I laughed at myself.

    Like I said, a lot of patterns call for K2TOG decreases.  It's a very simple technique that involves slipping your right-hand needle into the two stitches of the left-hand needle and knitting through them like you would a single stitch.  See for yourself!

     Everyone has a favorite decrease stitch, and K2TOG is actually my second favorite.*  I just had to be honest about it.  Still, second-favorite is noteworthy.  There are a lot of good things to say about knitting two stitches together this way.  It's a simple decrease, and it doesn't stretch out the loops the way some decrease methods can.  It's quick, it's simple, and it's probably the most common knit decrease ever because it's the #1 favorite of a lot of knitters and designers--if not most of them.

    It might even become yours!

    *I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  Lots of knitters have their own personal favorite decrease techniques. It's not weird at all. 
     

  • WIP Wendesday: Wait, What is This?

    It's a Wednesday, so I guess that means I should be trying to figure out just what in the world I expect to accomplish with my yarn.

    First up is the Ribbed Beanie pattern from Knit Slouchy Beanies and Headwraps.   It's going to be a late birthday present for my brother-in-law.

    I've finished the brim, and I'm ready to move on to the larger set of needles and start increasing!  I'm using some leftover Lion Brand Fishermen's Wool.  This is a pretty basic knit, and I'm excited to see how the rest of the hat will look with alternating rows of knitting and ribbing. 

    Then there's this little guy.

    This is a Tomten jacket (I use the version from Knitting Without Tears) with fingering weight wool and Size 0 needles. Gosh, I don't know why I don't work on this more often!  Just kidding.  I took a break because its intended wearer isn't showing up until late in the summer.  So I set it aside for a while--and actually forgot about it a little.  But while the wearer won't need this jacket until much, much later in the year, the mommy will be having a shower much, much sooner than I anticipated.  The more I look at it, the more I think I'll push it back until either the time the baby is born, or until the time the baby might actually need it.  I like the yarn, and I like the pattern, and I feel good about my gauge and my color choices and the amount of work required for the person and there is nothing holding me back except I have no motivation to make a sweater this early.  I would like a break from little tiny baby sweaters with little tiny yarns and needles.  You'll see why.

    Next up is a Tomten jacket with fingering weight cotton sock yarn with nylon. Yes, another.  And another.  Twin Tomtens!

    This is Sweater A, and I'm done with the body and ready to move on to the arms!  I'm going to place those top stitches on a holder until I find out if I have enough yarn for a hood.  I'm really hoping so, because red hooded jackets on little girls are so adorable.  But if not, there's an easy modification for a cardigan collar that should work nicely.

    And if the references to twins and this red yarn sound familiar, it's because I scrapped my other plans.  If there's anything I've learned about myself since I started dragging my WIPs out into one place, it's that I'm not especially skilled at pairing yarns with patterns.

    This project looks a lot like my last one.  See?

    Aside from being a whole bunch of garter stitch, the Little Baby Sweater, is modeled after Elizabeth Zimmermann's Tomten jacket.  And I still think it's absolutely precious.  I was about to see that for myself when I was 75% of the way through the jacket when I realized the yarn just wasn't going to work with the pattern, and I certainly couldn't bring myself to make a SECOND project when it wasn't looking like I wanted it to.  So Tomten-inspired jacket is out, and the genuine article is in.  It works much better with the yarn, and I'm really trying to use up a lot of my stash this year.

    Which is why I have this:

    It's just a tiny little start, but I'm going to knit up a swatch and try out a Tree of Life motif.  I really love blue yarns, especially when they're in this particular shade.  So a lot of times I buy them without thinking about what I'll use them for, what the yarn is made of, how well it work, etc.  I think this is a bamboo cotton blend that I hoped to make granny squares with.....3 years ago.  It looks gross when crocheted.  Just gross and odd and wrong.  Two whole skeins of it.

    But I found out that a library may let some local knitters yarnbomb the front of their building and when a friend mentioned the idea of placing swatches over some of the squares in the window, I started thinking.  So there we have it!  I've made swatches for yarnbombing before, and it's always fun.  Once you know that you're making a piece that doesn't have to be perfect, or easy to care for, or even make sense, you're free to just work right through and finish it right up!

    I don't know why I don't think about yarnbombing as a cure for stash ills more often.  If you don't have a clue where it came from, how it should be washed, what it would look good as when it's all knitted or crocheted up, who would like it, or even what it is, then you'd best get to swatching.  Try out a new technique.  Try out some of your own designs.  And then, get that swatch with some of its odd little friends and make some public art (after getting permission!).

    Okay, that's it for me.  I hope you and your Home for Wayward WIPs are finding solutions to the big problems in life, like what in the world to do with the aforementioned wayward WIPs, when to work on them (and when to not), and how to find a way to use them to make the world just a little bit prettier.

    My local yarn store has a tree in front of the shop that they decorate sometimes.  I got excited last summer when I saw my granny squares on the left branch.
  • It's National Craft Month!

    I love March.  It has a lot of birthdays of people I love, the temperatures get a little more bearable, and flowers start showing up where there used to be dead branches and mud.

    And!  March is National Craft Month.

    You guys.  A whole month.

    I love crafts!

    That's a pretty obvious thing to say on a craft blog, but hey.  I love crafts.  I love to create things.  I think it's a really rewarding and productive way to spend my time--even when there are mistakes, or projects have to be scrapped.  Crafting keeps me happy and sane.  Even when I get frustrated with a pattern, or have to stop working with a certain yarn, I'm still glad I'm a crafter.  If I didn't have this, I'd probably troll the comments section of online news stories, or start political fights on Facebook with family members.  Obviously, crafting keeps me from going down a bad road and falling in with the wrong kind of people. 

    And yes, the whole "Oh, I bet I could do that," attitude can get a little silly at times.  You're looking at a picture of some leaf-shaped felt that I sewed together in a staggered sort of stack so that it would look like leaf garland.

    But I've been using it for the past 3 Christmases, and a friend asked if she could borrow it for a baby shower.  I don't know where I would be able to find something like that in stores, and I really liked making it. 

    Also, because I'm a vain person, I enjoy when people say they can't believe I made something and/or that something I made is so amazing. 

    Admit it, crafty person, you do too.

    It means a lot to me to be able to make things for people I love.  Or to make things for myself that I can't find elsewhere.  Or to just be able to pick up that yarn/paper/fabric/glue gun/(anything that can be used for crafts and just about anything can be used for crafts!) and make something!  I'm not a cook, so this is usually the only way I can take separate things and turn them into something new and great.  And I love it.

    I plan to take this month to be crafty in ways that I'm normally not.  One reason for this is that I just need a change.  I'm probably going to make 4 baby sweaters in the next month, and it's getting to a point where my hand hurts if I look at knitting needles.  Another reason is that it's springtime and it's National Craft Month, so I'd probably want to do some crafting outside my comfort zone even if I wasn't freaking out and saying terrible things I don't mean about hating knitting and infants.  I want to do some different stuff!

    Maybe I'll do more sewing.  I pulled my husband's grandmother's sewing machine out of the table it lives in (I was just using the table) last week, and discovered this beltless wonder runs really well!  We might become really good friends.  I almost want to name her.  (She's a her--I'm pretty sure of it.)

    Maybe I'll take up Tunisian crochet.  The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Tunisian Crochet has been sitting in a corner, mocking my fear, for far too long now.

    It's much more confrontational in real life.  Promise.

    Maybe I'll put some cute pictures in my nearly-two-year-old's baby book!  Maybe I'll find the baby book!

    Maybe I'll make some nice birthday cards.

    Maybe I'll find some great ways to decorate my home for spring.

    Maybe I'll do some embroidery and have that nice wallhanging with Pearl Jam lyrics that I've been wanting to make.

    Maybe I'll finally finish the last part of organizing my crafting corner!

    Whatever I do, I'll post about here.  I hope to talk about a lot of different kinds of crafts this month, and I definitely plan to be checking out ideas over at FaveCrafts because that's how I learned it was National Crafting Month in the first place. 

    What, don't you believe everything the blogs tell you? 

    FaveCrafts has a ton of ideas, patterns, and giveaways for this month.  And Leisure Arts is getting in on the fun as well!  They're offering a discount on an ebook every day!  Don't like today's book?  Come back tomorrow! Sorry about the excessive use of exclamation points, but I think I love a good sale almost as much as I love crafts.  And that's a lot of love.

    I'm pretty excited about all the possibilities March holds.  It's got a lot of good things going for it, and the goal of trying out new ways to be creative is making me love it even more.

    Happy crafting!   I hope you try out tons of new things this month!  Do you have any big plans or changes for the month?  Let me know in the comments!

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