Thursday, August 31, 2006
I should be sleeping
But even at my age I get too excited and anxious before a flight. I'm not scared of flying, just worried that I'll sleep late and miss the plane.

I believe that I mentioned that my niece is having a baby, and this weekend is the shower. Her mom, her other aunt and I are throwing it, and I just can't wait to see her and her baby belly!! Tropical Storm Ernesto almost kept me from the shower, but he turned out to have a more harsh bark than bite. Our trip was delayed by a day, but if all goes well, we'll be on a plane in a few hours. It'll be so good to get away, and while we're gone we'll also get to see my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and several of my "new" nieces and nephews on hubby's side.

We took a few days off work in February when we got married, but it feels like a very long time since we had a vacation. This will be a rushed trip, and not exactly a vacation, but I'm so looking forwards to a change of scenery for a few days.

We ran out last night to buy yarn, so I can work on my current WIP on the plane and in the car, so we're all set!

I just have to wait for another half hour till the alarm goes off and I can wake hubby and get going.

Hope everyone has a nice Labor Day weekend!

Sunday, August 27, 2006
A young man and a guitar...
I usually brag about crochet in this blog, but sometimes you see something that just strikes you and you have to share. This video is one of those things.

Jeong-Hyun Lim, a 23-year-old Korean who taught himself guitar over the course of the last six years. Now living in Seoul, he listens avidly to Bach and Vivaldi, and in 2000 he took a month of guitar lessons.

You can read the story about Jeong-Hyun Lim on the New York Times Website. You'll need to register, but heck, the New York Times is worth registering for.

In any case, listen to the video. His playing is amazing. He's not the first to do a rock guitar version of classical music, but he is mesmerising!

Thursday, August 24, 2006
Some charity projects

I just finished a lapghan and matching cap made from Mrs.D's Bear in a Blanket pattern. The pattern is for a hooded baby blanket and stuffed toy, but I made it as a lapghan to send to the Cancer Institute. I also bought yarn to make another with the bear for a baby. It's a great original pattern (that you can buy, too) and worked up really quickly.

I also made these two chemo caps to send.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Remember Integrity?
Please tell me its not a thing of the past. I'm very saddened by things that I hear and read about copyright violations and pattern theft. No matter what people might think about details of the copyright laws, most people agree that theft and plagiarism is wrong. It's not right to take credit for somebody else's work - we teach that to our kids at a very young age.

Lately, I have heard many designers rightfully complaining about their original designs being stolen. It's really sad.

I crochet mostly for charity, and many (if not most) of the work I do is created from designs that I find for free on the web. The designers have been nice enough to share their patterns free of charge provided that they are given credit for the design and that items made from those designs are not sold for profit. It's very generous of them! Because of their generosity, I have been able to donate many things to hospitals, people in need, and pet shelters.

I have also purchased patterns to create charity goods. The patterns clearly state that I may use the designs for personal use, gifts, and charitable donations, but I may not use them to sell items for profit.

When people illegally share patterns, they are stealing from the designer, and they are hurting the entire craft community. It is through the generosity of the designers that I have been able to donate such nice things. If designers stop sharing and/or selling their work, not only do they lose income, but I lose access to patterns. Designers lose, crafters lose and ulitmately the charities that we support lose.

- First of all, understand the law.
- Second, now that you understand the law, choose to obey the law!
Third, tell others what you have learned.

I still believe that most people have integrity and respect. I hope I'm right.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

I know, I know. I said I was done with all my crochet for the baby shower, but then I found this pattern on the web. I think it is so darned cute, and how could my little grand niece/nephew not have a handmade binky bib?

I kept the colors neutral on this one - just an elephant, but hopefully one that will be used.

Thursday, August 17, 2006
Time to wind down...
... the Stash!

My yarn winder arrived today! Woo Hoo! It's an amazing thing! I'm SOOOO happy I got it!

It winds skeins into center pull cakes that can be stacked and stored much more neatly and in less space. As I use yarns, I'm going to wind them and soon my stash will look itty bitty - and that will be cause to buy more yarn!!!

This is really great. I don't know if I need to, but I'm wrapping the cakes in a thin strip of Glad Press and Seal to keep them intact.

I bought the winder from Joann's with a 50% off coupon, but honestly it's worth the full price. A must have for yarn crafters!

Bring it on, Baby!

I think I'm finally ready for the baby shower!

I'm sure that I'll be crocheting for this baby for years to come, but I believe that I finally finished what I need for the shower.

Last night I made the matching stuffed chick to the blanket. I'm not sure it's quite right, but it'll do.

It's so much fun crocheting for babies! Everything is so tiny and cute.

Now I need to take some time and get back to some charity work. For Aug/Sept my Hearts and Hands charity group will be making things for Roswell Park Cancer Institute. I have a few things to send to them already, but I really want to make a big batch of hats and lap blankets. Roswell is a great institute, and one that has a lot of meaning to me because a dear friend was treated there. I love sending crochet projects to them for their patients!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Sunny Outing

Woo Hoo!
I just finished my WIP!!!
I have NOTHING in work, and only a few things on my list of things I must do fast:

stuffed duck
chemo caps
tea cozy
casserole toppers
beaded bookmark
baby caps

Plus all the other stuff I'll get to some day! :-)

I thought I'd finish this sweater last night, but the assembly took longer than I thought. I put the buttons on tonight and made the matching cap. I think it's a sunny little outfit. I'm going to give it to my niece - I'm not sure if I mentioned that she's expecting her first little one this fall. ;-)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006
For the love of cats

A friend at Crochetville put out a call for cat toys and blankets for her local shelter in Anchorage, Alaska. As you can see, they have a LOT of residents, and not very plush accommodations. The cats are clean and very well cared for - they just need some good homes.

In the meantime, it's easy to help by donating cat toys, blankets and catnip. Last night in about an hour, I was able to make 12 toys to send. Some are just yarn spirals, others are fabric catnip pouches. It doesn't take much to make a good toy.

I like buying infant socks at the dollar store, stuffing them with cotton balls and catnip and sewing them up. My fur babies love them! They're inexpensive and easy to make, and they're a great size and shape for cats to play with.

If you would like to send something for the kitties let me know and I can give you an address. Or read more about the shelter here.

Many thanks to "Tapanga" for being such a great friend to the cats!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

No not me!! The baby. I may have mentioned that my niece will be having a baby soon. I decided to crochet her this baby burping cloth.

This was my first attempt at a graph pattern, and it was a good choice. It is a very simple graph and was very easy to follow. I'm really pleased with how it came out, and excited that I can now try some of my own simple graphing patterns.

Sunday, August 06, 2006
Shower Favors

I just finished all the bookmarks for the baby shower. I think it's nice to make a favor that says "baby" but that people can actually use - not just a dust collector that people feel they have to keep. Baby's grandma is a lit teacher, and lots of family friends are teachers, so a book theme somehow seems right. :-)

Thursday, August 03, 2006
Welcome Jerry Bear!!!

He's here! He's finally here! And he was worth the wait. A few months ago I started to make Jerry Bear. I'm making it for my niece - have I mentioned that she's pregnant? Anyway, I started a bear using the same pattern as I did for my Lulu. This time I used the Bernat LuLu yarn that the pattern calls for. It's soft and huggable and beautiful, but not so easy to work with. The body went well. The colors swirled like a pastel tie dye pattern - thus the name Jerry Bear (as in Jerry Garcia).

I had a heck of a time with the arms, legs and ears. The yarn is soft and fuzzy, and it's difficult to see my stitches. I kept dropping stitches or adding stitches, and the arms and legs were not as forgiving as the body. I got very very frustrated, and really wondered if I would ever get it done.

So for a few months Jerry sat on the shelf. Adorable, but a bearaplegic (no disrespect intended). Finally, yesterday I decided it was time to conquer the legs. This time I got smart and charted out the pattern row by row. I counted and marked and checked myself, and while I'm sure there are some mistakes, I got him done.

I love him! He's soft and cuddly and I hope my little Great-niece or nephew love him!!!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006
So pleased with this one!

I just finished this baby blanket, and I'm really pleased with it.

When I saw the pattern I fell in love with it, but was a bit intimidated. It seemed complicated with the chevron pattern and the popcorns (which don't show up well in the photo, but you can see better in the pattern). I wanted to try it though, and I'm so glad that I did!!!

Have I mentioned that my niece is expecting her first baby? Well, I tried to choose a color combination to match the baby's nursery, and I think it looks nice.

I love the way the panels are joined in this pattern. It gives a fun lace-up rope look, but it's actually a very simple assembly.

If you try this pattern, the one suggestion that I have is to map it out by row in chart form. This made it much easier to track my progress and make sure I was completing the pattern correctly. When I finished, the panels were not the same length, and I freaked (just a little) but if you have the correct number of rows, it will assemble just fine.

A crocheter's confession
I have to confess.

This brings me great shame.

As a crocheter, I should be be actively hoarding anything that can improve my craft. I stash yarn and patterns, but there is one thing that just eeks me out.


Many great crocheters who I REALLY admire have wonderful lifelike dolls with which to design and model their work. I like making baby and toddler clothing, and having a life-sized doll to check my sizing could only improve my finished pieces, but whenever I see them, I get a sort of queasy feeling.

These dolls are actually quite adorable. They really are very very lifelike, and at first glance I usually think I'm looking at a real baby. Here's a site that sells some amazing dolls. They're wonderful! And they should be considering they sell for $129 to $200!!!!

I think that my problems is that they are too nice. I "see" a baby, and then the realization that it is plastic totally freaks me out!

I certainly don't want to offend any crocheters out there that have these lovely dolls. I do admire them, and I certainly admire the work that you all make. There is just something about this cute little baby dolls - I have images of them growing up into little Chuckies and racing around the house unwinding my yarn and threatening guests with aluminum hooks.