Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Getting it done...

Some projects, I just think, why didn't I do this earlier?  This one took me an hour tops and that's while helping 2 little kids paint.

That is also what I call Bang for Your Buck.  $2 + 1 hour = 8 homemade cards.  This may inspire me to complete the rest of these packets. 

Projects finished: 8
Projects given away: 2+
Weeks: about 11

Sunday, April 14, 2013

More Knitting & Using the "Good Stuff"

If I really want to move things along with getting rid of craft supplies by doing crafts - knitting will probably be a majority of the crafts.  Those balls of yarn take up quite a bit of space and when knitted or crocheted, usually turn into something that doesn't quite take up as much space as the original balls do.   So, here it is.....A mobius twist scarf, using Lion Brand Landscapes yarn.
 Nice.  Not as pretty as the picture on the pattern page but it will do.  And this was another one of those - why did I buy this yarn?
I have an account on Ravelry - a great knitting community, but it is also a great reality check.  The pattern pictures for knitting projects are so coiffed, they look perfect, the model looks great, maybe they're pinned in the back to make them drape the best way, like on other modeling-clothing shots.  But Ravelry is the great balancer - it really helps me figure out if that picture on the front of the pattern is real - will it really look like that when I'm done?  People can post pictures of what the items look like on them - no special lighting, no special hair or make-up, just real every-size people wearing wonderful items they made themselves.  There gave been quite a few patterns that I have not done because the reality pictures are not as flattering on anyone as the pattern pictures.

I'm also realizing that most knitting patterns that I like, really do look better in the more expensive yarns.  Hmmmm.... isn't that usually true in life?  It's better to buy the more expensive quality items, than a huge quantity of sub-mediocre items. 

Have you ever been to yard sales at homes where the person has passed away?  If they were a knitter or crocheter, it's always the cheap yarns that are piled high for sale.  If people are smart, they have used the "good stuff" - the merino and alpaca wools, the silks, the baby cashmere.  Really, when I wear items, the "good stuff" is what I would prefer to wear, so why don't I knit with it? 

My pile of yarn is mostly sub-mediocre yarns.  I'm afraid to use the "good stuff".  What if I mess them up?  Well, I'm making the resolution today that I'd rather make a few wonderful items with good feeling yarn than a whole bunch of stuff with cheap yarn.  And at the end of the year, if I really am going to give away the yarn that isn't used, wouldn't I rather be not using and giving away the everyday yarns, instead of the small amount of  "good stuff" I have?

 (Except for washclothes, where cheap cotton seems to do the trick.)

Projects finished:  7
Projects given away: 2+
Weeks: about 11

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Expert vs. Jack of All Trades

I am obviously, a jack of all trades but would like to become an expert at something.  And I'm still trying to figure out what that is.  I'm hoping this year will help me figure it out...
I can cross sewing off the list - definitely am not a fan of that and crocheting bead ropes. 
What do you think?  Is it better to be a little good at everything or be awesome at just one thing.  From a clutter standpoint, it definitely helps to just be good at one thing.

It always impresses me when people seem to just know what they want to do for life.  I have a cousin who has known since since she was in high school that she wanted to be a pharmacist.  She got her 4 year degree in pharmacy (this was a few years ago), worked for awhile, went back and got her PharmD and now teaches pharmacy at a graduate level (I guess, that's the only level now.)  But she always knew what she wanted.  That helped her narrow her choices of schools down.  Plus, because she is so focused on pharmacy, she is very knowledgeable about the subject and has published articles on pharmacy.

I, on the other hand, had a difficult time narrowing down colleges.  I wanted to be a biochemistry major, at first.  And then, a biology major, then maybe pre-med, but wasn't really sure I wanted to put in the hours to be a doctor, which is kind of a joke because after getting a 4 year degree in bioloogy, I went back and spent 2 years more getting a degree in nursing and then, another 2 years getting a masters in nursing (do the math - its the same number of years as med school).  And still wonder if its the best fit for me.

That's kind of how I am with crafts.  I really started with crosstitch and embroidery kits.  I see beautiful embroidery items on Etsy and think about how much skill those people acquired.  But instead of continuing with crosstitch and embroidery, I decided to try my hand at knitting, and a little sewing, some quilling, card making, then jewelry making, then crochet.  Really, why don't I just find the true passion of one craft (maybe 2) and leave the rest to the experts.  I feel like I need to be the go-to person of how to do a craft.  Isn't that kind of how hoarding starts?  I'll keep this just-in-case.....  I'll learn this craft just-in-case.....    It's why I still have a sewing maching, even though I don't really like to sew. 

In this search of simplifying, I'd like to be the expert on something.  I read a book once, the Outliers, about how it takes 10,000 hours to really become the expert in something.  In that case, I better get moving.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Knitted Blanket

It takes quite awhile to knit a blanket.  This one - well, I've had the yarn for a few years.  I bought the pattern back when Lion Brand used to sell their patterns - now I believe all their patterns are free, even this one.  I think I started last fall.  I thought this may be a *quick* way to pare down some of the yarn (quick is kind of a joke).  It uses 24 balls of yarn - 135 yards each and the colors are gorgeous!  (That is 3240 yards of yarn to knit and crochet.  Yikes!)   Panel by panel it got completed. 
Here's one completed panel, folded up, and a pile of yarn taking up precious space on our foosball table.  I kind of feel like my Mom.  We had a ping pong table in our basement for as long as I can remember.  And when we were kids, it was used.  My brother and I would try to hit ping pong balls at each other as hard as we can, hoping to smack our opponent.  But, as we grew older and used it less frequently and especially, after we left, well, the ping pong table disappeared - under piles of stuff.  My husband often joked to my Mom that he had always wanted to play a game of ping pong but was unable to - and this went on  - for at least 10 years.  She finally cleaned it up and it was pretty clean the last time we went home.  Once a surface gets something on it, it just seems like a slippery soap before the entire surface is covered!!

Well, our foosball table is a better sight right now.  And all those skeins of yarn turned into this beauty.  So excuse the lack of blog entries lately but this craft was certainly worth it.  Warm, fuzzy and so colorful.  I love it. 
 And the kiddos like to cuddle up with it in front of the tv... or just lay on it.

Projects finished:  6
Projects given away: 2+
Weeks:  about 9

I think I have some catching up to do :)