Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Wasted Time
I love to crochet, but there are times that I can't. I can't crochet at work - well, honestly I get paid to do my job so that seems fair, but I spend about 3 hours a day commuting. This would be great crochet time, except that I'm driving and really must pay attention to the road. I crochet at home, but sometimes I have to do things like (heaven forbid) housework. There are bills to be paid and groceries to be bought and errands to be run. And of course I want to spend time with my hubby and those three furballs that I call my kids. I haven't yet mastered the art of crocheting while reading. A pity.

But how much time do we waste a day - time that we can be crocheting?

Well, Wormie
Here you are
your hook and yarn out in the car........
( my apologies to The Eagles)

My answer to this problem? Don't have one. I can't crochet all the time. But life IS short and we do waste a lot of time. Whatever we do, we should do with passion. Time it too precious to waste. Life should be enjoyed. So have fun! And take a hook with you when you leave the house.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Ok, so somebody will need to explain this to me. Amigurumi seems to be all the craze in crochet. Cute little Japanese style animals. I've seen so many crocheters try them, and the workmanship is amazing, but...... well......why? I mean, I've made stuffed bears and cats, but what is the appeal of these little critters? Am I missing something? Everyone seems to love them, but me.

So of course I just googled to find some examples in case someone reads this and doesn't know what Amigurumi is, and I found this pattern site. How embarrasing. I was going to rank on Amigurumi, but now I can't. The patterns on this site are ADORABLE!! Look at that Cow! I just love Cows and she is precious!! And check out the teeth on that Beaver. He has so much character! I don't love all of them, but the designer did an amazing job - they are wonderful - just look at the elephant.

I've searched the web for the history of Amigurumi, and have come up with nothing. Is this an old Japanese art? Is this a modern take on an old art? Is it even really Japanese? I need to know.

I probably won't start making ammigurumi animals - when I make animals I like to make cute cuddly baby animals, and these are more "grown up" characters, but I sure would love to understand the whole genre better.

Monday, May 29, 2006
Draw your weapon!
This weekend a dear friend of ours visited with her four sons. They're all great boys, but lets face it - boys can be boys! These four are great, but they've provided us with many funny stories for many hours of laughter. Finding activities for 7 that will keep four boys ranging from 9 to 19 happy is a challenge! I really didn't want to have any ER visits, so the joke was that we would stay home all weekend and I would teach them all to crochet. That was pretty funny - the blank stare of eight eyes - not quite sure if I was joking or not. Of course their mom assured me that a crochet hook CAN be turned into a weapon of mass destruction, and seeing these four, I believe her!

Finally the little guy decided that he wanted me to teach him to crochet. He just had to make something. Well, I think this was just a ploy to please and to postpone his approaching bedtime. He never got his lesson, but they'll be back here on Thursday night, and I promised to give him a lesson and a hook and yarn that he can take with him. We'll see how that goes.

In the meantime, I didn't do much crochet this weekend. Did make 2 more bookmarks for the shower, and now I'm working on my Baby Gerry Bear.

One tip I wanted to share. I can't take credit for it - I got the idea from another crocheter, and I wish I remember who so I can give her credit. This pattern is one with lots of rows and count changes, and I have to take notes as I go to keep my place. I'm using a plastic page protector and a dry erase marker to keep my place and make notes. The markers wipe off clean from the plastic, and the pattern stays clean and ready to file away for next time.

Thursday, May 25, 2006
I'm Back!!

I struggled through a wrist rest, and I'm back to the hook! Yippie.

Baby shower is set for September, and I'm in baby mode.

Working on the bookmarks for the favors. After much discussion and polling, I am going with a different design. I think the fan design is magnificent, but it may be too sophisticated for baby theme, so I'm going with the one shown here with the baby beads. They're also faster to make, and since I don't know how many I'll be making, that can be good.

The pink bonnet and sweater are for my niece's baby, but since she's opting to not find out the babies sex, there is a chance that it will be a boy (though we're all thinking girl). So I'll be needing to do some more gender neutral patterns for the little one. Right now I'm working on a bear, which hopefully I'll complete sometime next week. It will be my Lulu's little brother - Gerry Bear, and while so far only his little bear butt is complete, I think he's going to be a soft cuddly cutie.

Saturday, May 20, 2006
Serious withdrawal!

I've been trying to rest my wrist, so I stopped crocheting for two days. It's been torture! I can't believe how much crochet has become part of my routine. I bought a wrist support wrap and rests for my keyboard and mouse, so hopefully I'll nip this in the bud before it becomes serious.

I did allow myself one hour to crochet today, and found out that I really need to give it some more rest. I can't use my wrist and I hate it!!! I used my hour of crochet well, though.

As I mentioned we have babies expected in the family, and I want to make favors for the shower. I'm thinking of a book theme where people can bring books for the baby (of course there will be discussions with my co-planners) but if we go with that, I'll crochet bookmarks as shower favors. The pattern that I used was designed by another crocheter in Australia, and it is quite beautiful! I'll probably add a baby bead to the tassel, but these bookmarks on a card personalized with the shower information could be a nice and usable favor.

Thursday, May 18, 2006
Woe is me!
It's horrible that some of the things that we enjoy the most can be bad for us. For example. I enjoy eating chocolate - but it makes me fat. I accept that. I make allowances for it. But now it seems that my zeal for crochet is causing a repetitive strain injury. This is just not fair!!! I'm trying to take a break from crochet to give my wrist a break - don't want to develop carpal tunnel syndrome - but I am not happy!!

Hard to imagine how addictive crocheting can be.

Sunday, May 14, 2006
My first felting project

I had not heard of felting until quite recently, and I wanted to try it. Basically felting or fulling is when you take something made of wool (or another natural fiber) and expose it to severe temperature change and a change in alkaline. I don't know the science of it, but you change something from crocheted or knit yarn to felt - the threads sort of fuse.

This is my first attempt. I used blue heather Briggs Little Heritage wool that I got in a yarn swap with a fellow crocheter in Canada, and some gorgeous varigated Marino wool by Tahki Yarns that my sister generously bought for me. The photos show the yarn, the crocheted bag, and the bag blocked and drying after felting.

I still see the stitches, so perhaps I should have felted it more, but I think it came out pretty!

I made this one for my Mother-in-law, Carole.

And speaking of Mothers - Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms!

Saturday, May 13, 2006
He Loves Me!

I'm a newlywed - married last Feb and happier than happy. My hubby is a great guy, a wonderful partner in life and my best friend. And he loves me! If he didn't, would he have volunteered to model the bonnet I just finished to match my beautiful baby sweater? I think not!!!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I still think of myself as a a beginner or advance beginner. Sometimes I see a pattern that I just fall in love with, and I save it for when I'm "good enough". Well, when I saw this sweater pattern, I fell in love with it. I thought it was so pretty. With 2 babies expected in the family, I really wanted to try it. I didn't think I could master it, but it would be good practice and all I stood to lose was some yarn, so....

I tried it, and I learned an important lesson. Never underestimate yourself. I think this sweater is beautiful, and it looks rather fancy, but when it came down to making it, it was fairly simple. The pattern doesn't involve any special stitches. It's actually a simple pattern. I finished it in about 3 evenings, and I'm really pleased with the results.

I also heard from my mom today. She received her Mother's Day gifts in the mail. She called to tell me how much she likes the sweater. When I asked if it fit, she said "no", but she really appreciated the work that I put into it and into the bag, and that made me feel really good.

So much yarn - so little time
My yarn runneth over. I have yarn in the closet, in a chest, in my extra karaoke machine bag, in a huge plastic tub, filling the recliner in the office and a few bags full of yarn on the floor. I think this may be a problem. I blame my friend who got me started on crochet - Red, you know who you are!

Anyway, I tend to work on just one project at a time, so why so much extra yarn? I can understand that I might have some scraps and partial skeins around, but how did I get such a stash? I know that crocheters all over the world have a similar problem. Our yarn accumulates faster than we can hook it. I see so many projects that I just have to make and I buy the yarn - or I see a sale - can't pass up a yarn bargain!

I think that I should try to get organized. I should make a list on my PC of all the projects that I want to make. I should prioritize the projects. I should record which yarn I plan to use and that I already have it. I should add new projects only to the bottom of the list. I should work down the list in order.

"Should" that's a funny word. A dear friend once told me that we should eliminate the word "should" from our vocabulary. Who cares what we "should" do. We're either going to do something or we're not. Should is just a word that creates guilt. So.....

I think that I will not make this list; I think that I shall continue to add to my stash. I think that I shall continue to look at amazement at the incredible amount of yarn that is taking over my house. I will be happy that I have a hobby that I enjoy, that I can afford, and that I can share with others.

Yarn is good. Life is good. Life it too short to deprive oneself of yarn.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

One of the great things about being an active "hooker" is that there is a great on-line community for crocheters. I've joined several message boards and Yahoo groups for crocheters, crafters, and crafting for charity.

Another fun thing about getting involved in on-line groups, is that when people design patterns they ask other crocheters to test them. I just finished testing this kitty pattern for another member of a crochet message board. I can't share the pattern - it's not mine, but the kitty is cute, isn't it. :)

If the owner publishes her pattern on-line, I'll come back and add a link to it. :)

It is good to be a hooker. It is better to share your talent!
Crochet is a great hobby and I love it, but what I really love is making things for others. In Florida I don't need many sweaters and scarves, but I have so much fun making things to give as gifts. Most of what I make isn't for friends, though. It's for charity.

Crochet for charity is really rewarding - its a way to do something that I love and maybe make a tiny difference in someone elses life - someone dealing with challenges and who could use a smile.

Here is just one of MANY heart-warming stories about generous crafters. Google for "crafting for charity" and you'll find many organizations in need of donations, and many groups of crafters who produce goods for charity.

I crochet chemo caps for Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and baby/preemie things for the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital. I also send things to other groups based on postings I see in some of the on-line crafting for charity groups that I am a member of.

If you crochet, knit, or sew you may want to consider crafting for charity. There are so many charities to choose from! Whatever cause moves you - whether it is for kids, seniors, an illness, supporting our troops, animal shelters - there are so many in need, and so many opportunities to use your talent to help.

I try to be generous donating money to various charities, but there is only so much money around and is seems that even my most generous donation makes just a tiny dent in the need. When I donate my crafts, I don't cure cancer, but I, hopefully, make a difference for one person or one family. It feels good.

Give as generously as you can - your money, your time, and your skill. Sometimes it is very hard to get involved or find the time or money to help, but we all can make a difference one hat at a time.

Feel free to post your favorite chatity groups in the comments section.

Sunday, May 07, 2006
Let's Talk......(whisper) toilet tissue
So today I was thinking about crochet. Obviously, I love it. There is so much to do with crochet - clothing, blankets, bags, kitchen things, bookmarks, why do people find a need to use crochet for things that just don't need to be crocheted? I mean, there is enough to crochet for legitimate reasons without going out and making things just for the sake of making them.

Things I just don't get:

Candle covers / drapes. I like candles. I like scented candles that make my house smell unnaturally wonderful. I have cats, so I'm a bit cautious with candles. I want the house to smell good, not like burnt cat, so I just don't understand crocheting pretty little doily things to put over a candle. Yes, it's pretty. Yes, it involves talent, but why spend that talent on something that can burn your house down? I just don't get it.

Same with lamp shade covers. If your lampshade is ugly - buy a new one. Or cover it with fabric. Watch Trading Spaces one week - it's easy enough to learn how. Maybe I'm paranoid, but I don't like putting delicate crochet next to fire and/or electricity. That's just me.

So, I was thinking about toilet paper covers. When I was little, my mom had one. Probably made by some elderly aunt. It was crocheted from Pepto Bismol pink yarn. It had a hideous plastic flower shoved in a ribbon around the base. It sat on the toilet tank to cover that extra roll. Now an extra roll is an important thing. We've all probably experience that horror that strikes when you're sitting there and realize that the roll is empty! Its not fun. What I don't get is the NEED to camouflage that extra roll so that it doesn't look like (GASP) toilet paper! We can't possibly run out, but we couldn't let our family and guests see a roll just sitting there - so we use our talent to make it "pretty".

I've seen paper covers that look like hats, dolls, cakes. Some just have that colorful zig zag pattern - 'cause, you know, nothing like zig zag to take attention off of the paper!

Thinking about TP covers, I was inspired to let that be my first attempt at designing my own crochet pattern. Then I thought I could share the joy and host a "design a really ugly and absurd tp cover". That could be really fun. In fact, I think I'll do it one of these days. The crazier the better.

Then something happened that sort of ruined my fun. I came across this pattern on the web. As much as I wanted to laugh, this little TP cover is really adorable! It's great for a kids bathroom. I'm almost horrified to admit that I love it! Look at that face!!! Look at that big nose. It's precious. So, I'm thinking that I should make one - but I don't want to fall into the "I can't have exposed tissue in the bathroom" funk. So, perhaps I'll deprive the poor doggy of his paper, stuff his little body with fiber fill and make him a stuffed animal. And I'll name him Tippie - my clever code for "TP". Because I'm clever like that, you know.

Saturday, May 06, 2006
Mother's Day
So, Mother's Day is next week. Each year it gets harder and harder to choose a gift for my mom. I've given her a lot of jewelry. I've given her a nice bag, a wallet, stuff for the house. I never know what to get her that she'll love. And like a typical Jewish mom, she doesn't want me to spend a lot of money. Hubby has noted that my mom does really love the things that I make - art, ceramics, crochet - so, I decided it was time to try a wearable.

Now, I've gotten pretty good at baby sweaters. I really enjoy making them. Babies are little, so the sweaters work up really quickly. And, well, they grow so at some point, unless it's really tiny, the thing is going to fit. Adults are a bit different. We come in various sizes. And what exactly is a medium or a large? I figured if it was comfortable on me it would probably fit mom. A member at crochetville suggested a pattern for a short sleeve cardigan that I really liked. I ran and called three stores looking for the right crochet thread - no luck. I went to another store that was supposed to have it- no luck. Finally I went to the Rag Shop across the street. They aren't supposed to carry it, but they had it. I think the gas cost more than the yarn. So I pick my colors and go home to start.

It's working up pretty nicely. I'm thrilled. Yippie. Then I get up a little higher. Boobs. Babies don't have boobs. Grown ups do, and they have to fit inside the sweater! And arms. I come from a large armed family - we're not going to fit into these skinny little sleeves. Argh! And I reduced the neckline incorrectly, so it goes all the way to the shoulder - how revealing!!!! Ok - added rows to the shoulders so that the arms would be bigger. Added rows to the edging so that it wouldn't be so open. Changed the sleeve design so they would be more comfortable.

Tada! It actually looks pretty good. Hubby is so proud of me! But, is it wearable? I fear not. I fit in it, I think Mom will fit in it, but.....pretty as it may be it just seems wrong. Oh well, Mom. It's the thought that counts and I made it with love. And stop clucking over the fact that I said "boobs", we all know what they are.

So - I decide the gift is not enough. I searched and found a really cute tote bag that will match. This was fun to make and turned out well. Great pattern for anyone looking for a cute tote. It's a simple advanced beginner pattern, but the way the edges work up, it looks structured and fancy. I'll probably make more of these.

So now I have a top and matching bag for Mom. Still, I'm afraid she won't like them. She likes art though, so today I ran out and bought a nice magazine about modern artists and exhibitions. It fits so nicely in the bag. Will wrap it all up and mail it to arrive on time for Mother's Day next weekend (which also happens to be my darling nephews 6th birthday party that I can't go to and I'm horribly horribly sad about that). So, I put thought, time and love into this gift - why do I still feel like it's not enough?

I should be ready to move on to more baby stuff for my niece, but I now feel that I should be making more mother's day items for friends! Eek! Off to make some bookmarks.

Friday, May 05, 2006
Lulu Bear

I've been crocheting like a crazy yarn lady for over a year. The house is too small for my yarn. My yarn containment system runneth over. I didn't realize the extent of my addiction until I made Lulu bear.

Lulu was made from a pattern on the Bernat website. I made her for Brian's niece who is expecting her first baby in July. I started my version using Bernat Denim Style yarn, and the pattern was working pretty well.

I finished the body and was struck with horrible dispair. My bear looked like a big lumpy pink eggplant. In the style of a young child in the midst of a temper tantrum, I decided to give up and make a different bear. I pouted. Brian convinced me to go on. The first leg looked like a deformed chicken drumstick. It wasn't going well.

I decided to skip the legs and put on her snout and nose. OMG! She was cute. She looked like a pathetic little baby harp seal! Two eyes, two ears, two arms and two legs later, I had finished the first crochet project that was actually hard for me to part with. I packed her up and sent her and some baby clothes off to Indiana.

It was a turning point for me. Maybe I'm getting serious about this crochet stuff. I have a list of patterns that I can't wait to try, and I've been rolling around the idea of trying to create some of my own patterns.

So, I'll be posting me triumphs and my disappointments, and I welcome comments. If you comment, I ask two things. Be nice, but please be honest. I see some things that people made and I know they worked really hard on them, but, to say this....they're butt ugly. A different choice of yarn could make all the difference in the world. So, when I post something so awful that you can't imagine that it has a right to exist (and I'm sure I will) please let me know that somewhere I made a bad judgement call. And when I post something as adorable as my Lulu Bear, you can tell me how cute she is because, frankly, I already know but I still like to hear it.

I'll have my ups and downs - stay tuned for this years Mother's Day gift. Not sure what to think of that yet.

Oh - and I already know that I'm spelling challenged, so you can make fun of my spelling and my typos, but remember, spelling is NOT one of the top ten most important things in life.

A blog. Who would have thunk it.
Well, it's been a year and a half, and I'm still crocheting. I really enjoy it, and it's been sort of cool to watch my own progression from beginner to....advanced beginner. I think I may be really close to the intermediate point.

It seems like the time has come to blog my crochet. What I've done. Where it's gone. Whose patterns I use. What I've learned. One of these days I'd even like to take a stab at creating my own patterns.

So here it is: Wormie's Hooked on Crochet Blog.

Probably not the most exciting blog around. Not the most informative, not the most humorous. Maybe, just maybe, it'll be a fun place for me to track what I'm doing, share patterns, give and receive advice and just waste some more time on the web.