Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Swift Thinking

My daughter has finished spinning her colourful batch of roving.  After being spun, it needs to be wound onto a swift, dampened, then left to dry, so that the twisted fibre doesn't do crazy things, like unwind and tangle around itself.

We don't have a swift.

This is my daughter's compromise.

She wraps it around her weight bench.

Works quite well, too.

Sent by mobile.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Spun dreams

My daughter has discovered the drop spindle, and she loves it!  She was gifted with some colourful merino roving for her birthday and this is what she has spun so far.

I am really looking forward to the finished product!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Benefits of Crafting

First off, my apologies for not posting much lately.  The real world has been intruding, and the past couple of years have been very rough. 

For myself, one of the things that made it rougher is that I haven't been able to do much crafting or writing; two things that help ground me and refresh my energy levels.

My husband, who has been seeing some major struggles lately, made a post on our shared photo blog that had me thinking of the important role crafting can have in our lives.  He has been living with a lot of pain over the years, and it has become increasingly debilitating.  For those with back injuries, I'm sure you'll understand the struggle of not being able to sit, stand or lie down for any length of time, and the effects pain medication can have on one's ability to think clearly and focus. 

Now that he's been forced to go onto short term disability, with a high likelyhood of having to go onto long term disability (as defined by his insurance company, which has been amazing in their support - kudos to Sun Life!), he is able to focus more on getting himself better.  Physiotherapy and medication deals with the physical side of things, but it's just as important to work on the mental side of things, too.  You can't battle constant pain for years and not have it affect your mental health, too!

For my husband, that meant taking up the needles again.  He'd taken knitting up some time ago, then stopped long enough to be pretty much a beginner all over again. I don't knit, and he's not into crochet, so it's not something I can help him with. 

He started out doing practise swatches, reminding himself on how to do the basics of casting on, knit and purl, then moving on to simple ribbing.  Yesterday, he picked up some Caron Simply Soft and longer 5mm needles of his own.  He then made a knit version of the earwarmers I like to crochet.

In the photo, the crochet earwarmer is done with reflective yarn, which Micheals no longer carries.  So he matched the pink.

Yes, my husband wears hot pink, and it's awesome.  Talk about high viz!

He started and finished his knit version earwarmers in one evening, which is just fantastic.  Expecially considering that he was making up the pattern as he went along.  He selected the yarn weight to match the new yarn I'd bought for his baby stash; two skeins of locally produced mohair/wool blend in a medium weight - something to motivate him to improve his skills before working with some high end yarn! Yes, my husband is now building up his very own yarn stash.  I love it!

One of the things that he mentioned to me as we talked about his knitting is how, as he focused on the knitting, it served as a distraction away from his constant pain and making it more bareable. 

Knitting is going to be part of his medical treatment.

The creative side of crafting has mental benefits that most people recognise, but I think there's a tendancy to forget just how much the act of creating crafts benefits us physically, as well.  It's good therapy, for our minds and our bodies.  It can reduce pain, lower blood pressure, reduce stress and anxiety and improve mood. 

When I am teaching new crocheters, I sometimes get students who are really hard on themselves for not "getting" it as fast as they expect.  They begin to get tense and angry with themselves.  When this happens, I try to remind them that crochet is supposed to be fun!

Yes, it's nice to be able to figure it out and do perfect stitches, but ultimately, it's not about being perfect - or even being good!  It's about enjoying the creative process.  Not everyone picks things up quickly.  That's okay.  The last thing I ever want to see is a student who comes out of my class hating crochet because they couldn't "get" it.  I never "got" crochet when my mother tried to teach me as a child, all those years ago.  I was 25 years old before I picked up a hook again and finally figured it out.  Even then, it was another 10 years or so before a I discovered a surge of new patterns and yarns, and I really hit my groove when it came to crochet.  Now, it's not only my favourite craft, but one that is actually bringing in a few extra bucks here and there.  I've now been crocheting for more than 20 years and still love it.  Would I have loved it as much if I hadn't just left it alone for years and did other things?  I doubt it. 

If you're learning a new craft and it's causing you grief and frustration, stop!  Take a break.  Breath.  Relax.  Mistakes will happen.  Your fingers won't always co-operate.  That's part of the learning process.  Give yourself time.  If necessary, switch crafts.  Come back to it later, if you wish.  It's not a competition or a race. 

There are many reasons for all of us to get crafting.  It's fun and gets those creative juices flowing.  It's wonderful to produce a magnificent piece, sure, but you know what?  It's also wonderful to produce that weird, twisted funky disaster, too!

It's okay to make mistakes.

It's okay to not be perfect.

That's not what crafting is about.

Crafting is about so many things besides producing an object.  Unless you're crafting as a business and making objects to sell (which has its own benefits, but face it; many of us just don't have any desire to go in that direction), the finished project is secondary to the process of making it.

It's about creativity. 

It's about growth. 

It's about healing.

Start making things.  Pick up an old craft.  Learn a new craft.  Any craft.  Many crafts.  Do "good" crafting.  Do "bad" crafting.  Get messy and make mistakes.  Learn.  Have fun.

Just go out and get crafting!

Thursday, December 18, 2014


With conflicting schedules, my husband had to drop me off for my class over 2 hours early.
Darling that he is, he bought me some of the new yarns at Michael's to keep me busy while I wait.
These are the new Swizl yarns from Loops & Threads. Super bulky, 78 yds / 71 m, 100% acrylic.
This colourway is Royal Blue.  Can you tell?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

When headlines and photos don't mix

I have a news app on my phone that allows me to select categories.  The app then searches out sites, including blogs,  based on keywords.
One of these categories is Hobbies, where I have included a sub category of Crochet.  Not knit, though, because I don't knit.
Every now and then, something like this happens.
Sent by mobile.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

My new toy

A 25.00 mm hook,  and some yarn to try it with.
The edge of the hook feels a bit rough, though.  I think a bit of fine sandpaper, first, would be a good idea.
Sent by mobile.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

News and Updates

Posts have been few and far between lately - and you can be assured that means real life has gotten in the way of blogging!  Unfortunately, what's been going on in real life has not been pleasant, but we manage.  Hopefully, I will be able to resume posting more frequently soon.

The first bit of news is in regards to my Squidoo articles, where I had published a number of how-to's and printable instructions.

Squidoo has now been shifted over to Hubpages, and my articles are now there.  As I understand it, the old links will still work, but will just be diverted to the new site.

I have yet to go over my articles to see how they translated in the shift, to see if I need to do any modifications.  Please feel free to visit my new Hubpages profile, check out the articles, and let me know if you have seen any problems. 

The other news is in regards to my classes.  I am still teaching one day a week.  There are old classes dropped and new classes added.  Unfortunately, with what's been doing on at our home, certain people have taken things beyond that level and I have found myself and my family stalked in public.  For my safety and theirs, I am not going to post my class schedule on the blog anymore, nor will I post about any vendor sales I might be involved in.  Thank you for understanding.

Meanwhile, I have been working on my inventory and do have photos ready to share; just need to find the time to write posts about them!

For those who have kept up visiting my blog while I've been on hiatus, thank you.  It's nice to see the hits still coming, even when I haven't been able to post often.  Much appreciated!

Until I get a chance to post more, here are some photos to follow up on my last post, a Tunisian stitch tablet cover that is one of the new class projects.

The above photo is the tablet cover after the seams have been sewn, but the ends have not yet been finished.

As you can see, it looks pretty floppy and loose.

 What the side seem looks like from the outside; I just whip stitched it.

 A closer look at the side seam, with a bit of a view of how the inside looks.

This is how the project itself ends.  Once the yarn ends are sewn in, it would be considered finished.

I modified the length of the project to fit my own tablet.  As you can see, even with the tablet inside, it looks loose and floppy.

Because it is very loose and floppy. 

So I added a couple of rounds of single crochet to tighten up the top edge, then slip stitched into the bottoms of those rows to add some stability.

No more rolling, no more flopping, and the single crochet and slip stitches tighten up the opening, making it a bit more snug.

The additional rows made it fit more snugly to the tablet itself as it was put in.

It also added a bit of length, giving the tablet a bit more protection.

My daughter pointed out that the colour changes made a pattern that looks a bit like the Batman logo! *L*

I have photos somewhere, though not in my computer, of another modification I made.  I crocheted a strip in Tunisian simple stitch, bordered with single crochet, and with a button hole at one end.  I sewed it in the middle of what is now the back of the tablet cover.  On the front, I sewed on a button (my daughter pickets a yellow button with a smiley face on it!).  This way, there's no chance of the tablet accidentally sliding out.

The body of the tablet cover is still a lot looser than I would have preferred, despite the fabric panel being exactly the same width of the tablet before the side seams were closed up.

If I were to make another one for my tablet, I would probably make it about an inch narrower than the actual size of the table.  The Tunisian stitched fabric seems to have a lot more give to it than I expected.