Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Crossstitch Stocking

This item has been on my list of to-do's since the very beginning.  A stocking that I started 10 years ago for my husband.  I promised him it would be done for Christmas last year, which then got delayed to his birthday in January, and then to Valentine's Day and then to Easter.  The finished product was done the week after Easter.  The stitching was done, but all the sewing took some time.  It is fully lined with a red and white chevron fabric.  I used this tutorial to finish it and after having to buy new thread, then heavier thread, new bobbins (that don't quite fit the winder on my ancient sewing machine) and heavier needles, it finally came together.

I'm very happy with the outcome and told my husband that it will stay hung up at least until next Christmas.  I realize that this gift may be more for me than him - honestly, I don't think  he cares too much if his stocking was crossstitched by hand or by a machine.  But, wow!, it does look pretty awesome.  If I start one for myself I'm afraid it will take twice as long to make!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

More knitting and other Ramblings...

It is finally getting warmer and I will be enjoying my first run outside today for the season - which probably means less crafting and more outside exercise and yard time.  
It seems I haven't gotten as much done in the last month - or at least not much to write about.  I realized I had 4 skeins of that crazy twirly scarf ribbon type yarn.  So I made 2 scarves and am working on my 3rd and will probably give to Goodwill the 4th skein.  I think I may have figured out my problem with making them in the past - they were always so short.  But this time, I made a scarf with the 'Sashay' yarn and it actually ended up a few inches over 60 (which is what the pattern says the scarf should be).  I was going to keep it for myself, but my mom said a neighbor friend had inquired about a scarf, so I gave it to her.
The other skeins are of another brand and the longest I can get them are about 45 inches - too short for me and I'm tired of making them - that's why I'm giving away the 4th skein.  

I've also been reading - as always, I have to be reminded that I can't do everything I want to do at the same time - it's either crafting or reading.  I finished the Divergent series by Veronica Roth - a little disappointing at the end of the series, but the first 2 books were really interesting.  

And I've been cleaning things out and listing some more items on Ebay.  And getting things out for Goodwill and for an upcoming church festival.  It feels so good to remove these things from my home, yet something still holds me back from getting rid of so much.  I still have many childhood items like a baby blanket, band shirts, high school jacket, Little Mermaid memorabilia ( I was a huge fan when it came out).  Honestly, if there were a fire in my house or if these things had been discarded by someone else, I would not have missed them, but since they are here, I feel like I can't get rid of them - like I should have some attachment to a baby blanket that has been folded neatly in a drawer untouched for 30 years.  

And on a funnier note, since I knew I was going to Goodwill, I decided to clean out my sock drawer and realized I had 113 pairs of sock!!!  What in the world!  I easily parted with 50% of them and may go through them again in the future to minimize more but, holy moly, how did I get to that?  

I can't imagine what my house looked like a year ago before I started cleaning stuff out, because in the last year I've sent lots of things to Goodwill, sold many items on Craigslist and Ebay and still feel like we have a house overwhelmed with stuff.  Either my limit
for stuff has changed or I was just good at ignoring things.

Monday, March 3, 2014

A new baby...

But not for me!!!!   

My cousin will be having a baby shortly and the baby shower was scheduled this past weekend, but it was out of town so I got a few extra days to finish a hat I was knitting for the new baby.   

Knitted items just fly off the needles in the winter compared to the summer.  That goes to show how much I sit and watch tv in the winter compared to the summer.  I knitted this same hat in the summer for a friend of mine (in a smaller size) and it took about 2 months to finish.  Now - one week and that's with doing other crafty stuff on the side.  We got Netflix as a Christmas gift - and whoa! is that addicting.  Now, I can always find something to watch - on the tv or on my kindle.  And that's how I get my knitting done - watching tv and knit, knit away.  It drives my husband nuts when we are supposed to be watching a movie together, but I rarely like to just sit and watch something (except Downton Abbey - where I have to watch them talk and listen or else I can't tell what they are saying!).  
Here's to getting the crafts done by watching Netflix - or more specifically, Dawson's Creek, my tv show du jour - and getting pudgier while doing so in these winter months!!  Soon, I hope we will be outside more (although the temperature is not supposed to go above freezing this week) and I'm honestly, without a specific project to do.  I'll have to try another needlecraft kit.
Hat is the Aviatrix Hat by Justine Turner, available on Ravelry.

Projects finished: 25
Projects given away: 11+

Weeks: about 56

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Another disappointing kit...

I started this rose flower kit in January with hopes to finish by Valentine's Day, but things happened and yesterday I finally remembered it and pulled it out to finish and ....oh.... those Martha Stewart kits... How foolish do I look?  Making flowers aren't my medium but I didn't realize it until after I finished (that's a loose term) one of the roses.  It turned out.... not good.... all the petals kept falling off, even though I taped them on the stem and it looks very wilty - like the rose was just about ready to wither and die.   Once again, I'm reminded why I should stick with what I know best (and like).   So I cut my loses and just pitched the rest.  Really, I'd rather have real flowers anyway.    

Projects finished: 24
Projects given away: 11+

Thrown Away:  1?
Weeks: 53

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

More Knitting

Well, the cold weather is keeping me inside and knitting.  As soon as it gets warm enough to not have to wear 2 layers of clothing inside the house to stay warm, I'm sure I'll be on to other things.  But not having to go out and get supplies to do a craft is certainly a bonus in snowy, icy, cold, cold weather. (That is one nice thing about hoarding crafts, but all I really needed was one craft, not a million to choose from).
Here's to my seeking the perfect hat or earwarmer for cold weather.  The problem I have with knitting or crocheting one is that they are never warm enough for me, so I end up wearing the same green fleece Cincinnati Bell one I got in college for free.  So, I need to figure out how to remedy that - probably by doing a hat with colorwork.  In the meantime, this one was made with one of my more expensive yarns (Manos del Uruguay classic wool).  I think it was handspun and, to be honest, probably because it was handspun, the yarn is very irregular and not the nicest to knit with - very skinny at some points and very thick at others.  Maybe I'm just used to the machine-made cheap yarn that I usually purchase but I like some regularity in the yarn. 
I am definitely using up some of the yarn I have, but now I seem to be collecting lots of partial skeins and wonder what to do with them.  I can also tell that when I bought all this yarn, I really had no idea what I was going to do with it because I would only buy one skein of each color or yarn type and there are only so many one skein things to knit.  
Here it is (combining 2 patterns - 86-10 headband in Alaska & Frothy Layered Flower):

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What about this year?

I kind of never talked about goals and such for the coming year...

Boy, what high expectations I had a year ago - finish one craft kit every week.  The reality doesn't quite fit that bill.  With 23 projects finished, I'd really like to continue to work on only what I have (and LOVE) and maybe show off some other projects.  I've only cracked the craft kit box open and there are plenty of small and large projects available in there.  And I'd like to continue to give away those kits or crafty pursuits that no longer bring me joy. 
I only decreased the craft supply/hoard by one bin (but it was a big one - 96 Liters big) and would hope to decrease by another bin in the next year, whether its yarn or papercrafts or needle arts that I work with, it all needs to dwindle.  When we moved into our house 10 years ago, I had one small craft bin with a lot of miscellaneous stuff and one cross stitch kit.  It has really grown in the past 10 years.  I think my purchasing had a lot to do with discontent with working so much, not knowing what to do with myself since it was the first time in quite a few years that I wasn't going to school and unrealistic expectations of what could be done in what time frame.  I think this last year was a bit of self-discovery and I'm still working on that journey (aren't we all?).  But the fact that I can put the reasons in writing why I've acquired so much really gives me power over my actions in the future.  

Really figuring out the common sense thing that if I want to add something to my life (like a job, or a new hobby) means I have to take something out (an old hobby, a personal responsibility around the house) has been quite life altering.  I mean, it is common sense, but it wasn't until I read how another person gave up their hobby/passion and occupation of photography (and all of the detritus that comes with that) so they could pursue another passion and job of teaching, did it really kick in.  

I've been clearing out other things in my life (watching Hoarders on Tuesday nights, really helps me clean stuff out on Wednesdays!)  and only recently figured out  something that was holding me back.  I wanted to display some glass candle holders that I inherited from my grandma.  But I had to move something that was already on display - a cowboy hat candle I received when I was 5 years old from a friend that was moving from the house across the street to Texas (from Ohio) and 2 Korean dolls that I received from 2 little girls I tutored in English when I was in college.  I was afraid to get rid of these items, because I am afraid that if I let go of these items, then other people (mainly my kids) won't know who I am or was. This is also how I feel about doing so many crafty things.  I want to leave tangible evidence that I was here, in this world (and that I accomplished something in this world). 

 I know this is an unfounded fear and that I can tell my life story and life is about moments and not things...blah, blah, blah... I've heard it and read it a million times in all the simplifying/minimalist things that I've read.  It's easy to read the idea that "by owning less, we would draw more attention to the most important" and "our minds would be more free to create new memories in the future"  But it's a lot harder to deal with this emotion and emotional things when it's happening to me.   (quotes from Clutterfree with Kids by Joshua Becker, chapter 9)  

Again, recognizing the feelings is the first way to deal and overcome them.  I also, more importantly, don't want my things to be a burden to others - I want others (especially my kids) to feel a freedom to go forward to do what they want with their lives and not feel like they have to keep something because I gave it to them.  With that being said, I hope to really take a look at what will be a benefit to me and my family in the future and make decisions from that standpoint.  

So no specific goals, just more of a look at the world from a different perspective and, always, continuing to decrease the craft hoard by doing what I enjoy most.

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Another record breaker.  This time, I finished a hat in 5 days.  It's amazing - once I get good at something, it becomes easier and faster and more enjoyable to do.  

My daughter requested a new hat for this *!$@#$#@% winter (I'm much more a fan of summer).  We've just had too much snow and too much cold weather.

So, my only limitations for her were that it had to be picked from the yarn that I already own and the pattern had to be free.  So she searched and searched on ravelry and of course her favorite pattern cost money.  So I improvised.  I found a pattern that had the same weight of yarn that I had and was for a child's head and used that for guidelines on starting the pattern and then made my own fair isle pattern for a peace sign that she requested.  And found another pattern for guidelines on how to finish the top of the hat.  This is a first - semi-designing my own pattern.  I never thought I'd be able to do that.  

**Having set limitations really stretches the mind.** 

 If interested, here's the link to my semi-pattern on Ravelry:  Peace Sign Hat

Projects finished: 23
Projects given away: 11+

Weeks: 53