Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Teacher is Me

I mailed in my application to the local community college today. They have a continuing education department that offers all kinds of awesome classes. Aside from the types of continuing education that doctors, nurses, etc, require for licensing, they also offer things like foreign languages, art, pottery, crochet, soap making, etc. 

The woman who taught me how to crochet mentioned that the college was looking for someone to teach beginning crochet in the neighboring town. She herself doesn't have the time in her schedule for it, so she recommended I apply.  And I did.

Hopefully I will be able to get an ad for two classes in the next catalog. If I am successful, then I will begin teaching Beginning Crochet in April of 2013. :-)  *crosses fingers*

This could be a great opportunity for me in many ways. If someone had told me three years ago that I'd be volunteering to get up in front of a bunch of strangers to teach a class or demonstrate anything I would have said they were in need of professional help. It's just not the kind of thing I would do.  I've been forcing myself out of my comfort zone a lot over the last year though. It's kind of amazing that I've been able to adjust after 20+ years of being one particular way. 

Anyway, that's about it for me. It's almost 1AM here, so I should probably head to bed!  I have an article to finish tomorrow. I am 290 words short, and out of ideas for today. 

Have a fantastic week.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

*updated* Hooded Scarf 1 w/ Pics

I made a hooded scarf since Winter is coming. The pattern I used can be found here @ Dream Designs.
(pattern notes and yarns follow pics)

The first attempt came out nice, but I used too much Red Heart acrylic. In this particular case the heavier yarn made the finished project a little too heavy and stiff. It will be nice for really cold weather though.

I decided to make a second one, though out of lighter weight yarns. I'm using Caron Simply Soft Solids and Caron Simply Soft Party, which is a solid yarn with a strand of metallic through it for sparkle effect.

*Edit* 11/27/12
The scarf is done. I spent some time weaving in all of the loose ends and then stitched down about 8" or so to make the hood. I like it a lot, though as previously mentioned it is a bit heavy since it has a lot of Red Heart acrylics in it.

I'm considering selling it to contribute to the fundraiser my friend has started to help him develop a children's show he is working on. $20 + shipping and this baby can be yours :)  I wore it just long enough to model it and it will go through the washer before it's shipped, so it's 100% clean.

Project notes after the pics. 

Lovely, yes?  I love that little elfish point at the top too! But the hood can be flipped inside out to diminish the pointy bit. I'm considering hanging a pompon off the back of the second one I am making. But that is for another post!

Project Notes

Paraphrased from my Ravelry Project Page

Most of the yarns are worsted weight acrylics and it makes for a rather heavy fnished project.
I am planning to make another one, but this time I am going to use lighterweight #4 yarns. And none of the red heart.

The Berroco and Perfection worked really well together, as did the Caron. The homespun is nice as a border for the hood, but I wouldn’t want to do an entire piece with that yarn as the stitch pattern gets lost in the bulk.

The entire project ended up ten inches wide. A little wider and bulkier but not unexpected considering the yarns I used.

I also did a slight modification. I did the ch 195 but after doing 1 entire row it was short about 10” from the size the pattern says it should be, so I ripped back and chained until the starting chain was a little less than 74”. As a results, after doing the first 2 rows of pattern stitch the piece is about 79" long.

Yarns I Used

Berroco Comfort Solids.  Color No. 9758
Caron Simply Soft Paints. Color: Purple/Green Variegated (I lost the label on this one)
Kraemer Perfection.  Color: Valentine
Lion Brand Homespun.  Color: Baroque  (the thicker purple at the front)
Lion Brand Homespun. Color: Waterfall (the pale blue trim on the front)
Red Heart Super Saver Solid. Colors: White, Tea Leaf, & Yellow

221b Swap Wishlist

I've applied to join a swap on Ravelry, and need to post a wishlist for items whose sites don't offer the wishlist option. Woot. So I will just update this post as necessary.  Everyone else can ignore this post and move on to the next :)

I found Alcidina's shop on Etsy and I LOVE her yarns! She has a whole celestial theme going with her hand painted yarns that is just beautiful.

Moon Shadows, Zero G Supernova, and Omega 7525

Moon Shadows
Zero G Supernova
Omega 7525

Hopefully she'll keep producing these for a while. I hate it when I find a delicious yarn and then find out that the manufacturer discontinued it :(  It makes it hard to be loyal to a brand sometimes.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Origami Lesson

I'm a member of my local Fiber Artists Guild, and for the November meeting I volunteered to lead the crafty portion of the evening. I decided to teach everyone some Origami, since it's kind of a unique art form, and it doesn't require any special apparatus except paper. 

I lead the ladies through three different beginner level projects: windmill, helmet, and cup. 

I thought I would include some pictures of the items I made as examples for the class. 

Origami has been around since at least the 1600s in Japan, and became popular in the West in the mid-1900s.  There are different forms/types of paper folding art. Origami which is what these examples are, Kirigami which involves the use of scissors and cutting, and other types such as money folding.

Traditionally Origami paper is square and can be as small as 1 inch square or as large as you can imagine. Not all paper folding starts with square paper however, but I'm not well versed in creating things with rectangular paper. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Super Simple Fingerless Gloves

Hi everyone. The Birchbark Slippers didn't work out for me. That is entirely my fault however. I made them too big because I was overthinking the whole thing. I try to modify patterns before actually following them and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

The yarn I used is YarnBee in "Lovely". It's a beautiful multi-color yarn. The problem is that it is hard to rip back, so I wasn't able to recover any of the yarn that I used to make the first slipper. Determined to use this yarn for something though, I bravely forged ahead and improvised a fingerless glove pattern which I shall share with you momentarily.

YarnBee First Love, color No. 100 "Lovely", 100% polyester, #5 bulky. As you can see it consists of a fine ply intertwined with a thicker ply. It's easy to slip the hook into that finer thread, and that is what makes it hard to rip back mistakes. I highly recommend this yarn though, it is delicious.

Finished Fingerless glove. Finished piece is about 7" long. 

 I decided to use this bright scrap yarn to stitch up the sides, because I wanted to make it part of the design. You can also easily turn the piece inside out and make a hidden seam up the side if you wish. This was a personal preference. Normally I hide my seams.

This pattern is also available on my ravelry Designer Page

Super Simple Fingerless Gloves

Yarn: any yarn works for this. A #4 or #5 yarn is best for thicker gloves. If you change yarn size though, be sure to pick a hook that fits the yarn. 
I used YarnBee First Love in "Lovely" #5

Hook: K / 6.5mm

Gauge: Mine ended up being 6 sts = 2" and 4 rows = 2" BUT, gauge is not important to this project.

NOTE: after doing a couple of rows of the pattern, try to fit it around one of your hands (or the hand of the person who will wear them) to make sure it will fit. My hands are medium-ish, so if you have smaller or larger hands you may need to re-chain accordingly.

ch2 counts as 1st dc

Making the Square
Ch 26, turn
R1: SC in 2nd ch from hook and in ea st across (25), ch2, turn
R2: Dc in first st and ea st across (25 dc + ch2), ch 2, turn

Repeat R2 until piece is 7" long or however long you wish. Mine ended up being 14 rows total counting the first row of SC, but NOT counting the crabstitch.

When piece is as long as you want it to be, ch 1 and do NOT turn. Reverse SC (aka Crabstitch) along the top of piece. FO and weave in end.

Crab Stitch Tutorial on YouTube  (I did not make, nor do I own this video. It's simply linked here as an instructional tool until I can make my own videos)

Measuring and Seaming
Yarn: Any yarn can be used for this. I used UltraPima in teal (I don't recall the color number).
Hook: Any hook to fit the yarn. I used a G hook for this part.
4 stitch markers or safety pins to mark thumb holes.

1. Lay the piece flat with the RS down (either side can be the RS, personal preference)
2. Lay one of your hands at the edge and pull it closed around the top part of your hand above the thumb. Mark through both sides with a stitch marker.
3. Pull the glove closed around the bottom of your hand under the thumb. Mark  at the place it feels most comfortable.
4. SL through both sides of the fabric at the bottom and then SC or any stitch you like to the first marker. FO and weave in.
5. SL through both sides of fabric beginning at the next stitch marker and SC or any stitch you like to the top. FO and weave in.

Repeat for other glove using other hand.

You can go around the entire border of the square with contrasting or complimentary yarn before stitching them together. The crab stitch is awkward at first, but makes a really neat border for most any project.

Questions? E-Mail or comment below.
You can also find me at NCC-1701

(This pattern is copyrighted. You may sell products made from this pattern royalty-free, but please link to my blog and give credit where due. You may not reprint and sell this pattern for profit without written permission.)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

NaNo Day 7

Seven days into NaNoWriMo. I'm behind by about 1500 words, which doesn't surprise me. I usually work best under pressure, so if I skip a day I tend to write better the following day in my efforts to catch up.
My novel currently stands at 10,154 words. The main character works for a research firm that specializes in hunting down lost objects. That is one of the subplots however. The main plot is a box which she finds buried in the backyard of the house she rents.

There she is, minding her own business, digging a hole to plant a tree when suddenly her shovel hits something solid. It turns out to be a cedar box, buried decades before by a girl who used to live in the house. Being the curious type that she is, and since she works for a firm specializing in tracking things down, Gloria (the MC) decides to follow the clues and see where they lead her. Should be fun. I have no idea what is going to happen next!

In other news, I've been working on a shell stitch scarf since Winter Is Coming. (I said that in Sean Bean's voice, just so you know). I have about twelve more inches to crochet before I finish it off. I'm using Jojoland Tonic yarn. 85% Acrylic, 15% Wool. Interestingly enough, I just realized that Jojoland makes the sock yarn I will be using for a knitted shawl called WingSpan. I'm still practicing making the knitted stitches even, so I'm not quite ready for that yet.

When the scarf is finished (hopefully tomorrow), I am going to make a pair of half-finger gloves. They're not really fingerless gloves because there's a partial finger there, but they're not really real gloves either...because there's a partial fnger there :-)  Should be cute when they are finished.

Also on the list of arts & crafts is FINISHING my currently unfinished projects. When the scarf and gloves are done, I am going to finish the LionBrand shrug, and both of the Tunisian sampler shrugs. Rawr. "I'm right on top of that, Rose!" (<---Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead reference)

I think that about sums it up for now. NaNo and Crochet. Oh yeah, and reading The Hobbit. Currently Bilbo & Co are hauling ass out of the mountains to escape some goblins who kidnapped them in the middle of the night. Scary stuff!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

NaNo Day 2 and Rambling Through Websites

I wanted to take a second to tell you about this fantastic site I have been ambling my way through for the last 45 minutes: 17 Apart.

Someone on FaceBook linked to a bit of information about planting kitchen scraps to re-grow vegetables. So I followed the link because I live in an apartment, and therefore can't dig up the yard to make a proper garden. I do however, have a plethora of empty mason jars and tin cans!

The blog owner has posted all kinds of fascinating information on regrowing celery, onions, potatoes, avocadoes, etc. So much great information. And for those of you who own dogs, they even post some recipes for natural treats and dog chews. 

Here are the specific links I read up on. It's hard to pull myself away now! I happen to have a sweet potato or two that just might work for an indoor container garden. <3  (Links will open in a new window)

Growing Celery Indoors
Sweet Potatoes
Green Onions


In other news, I am thrilled to announce that my NaNo novel is coming along nicely. I sit comfortably at 4,181 words. Just enough over the day's needed word count that tomorrow won't be a rush to catch up. Tomorrow's word count is 5,001. I'm hoping that perhaps the phones at work won't be too overly busy, and I can do a couple of five-minute sprints to up my count.

If you have never participated in NaNoWriMo, you should give it a try! Especially if you're a writer of any sort. It can be a really fun way to meet new people and challenge yourself. There is still plenty of time to get started and cross the finish line by midnight on November 30th :)

NaNoWriMo Site

Well, I am off for now. Tomorrow or Sunday I will have a Crafty Thing to share with you all. I finished a short project I was working on. One that is functional and very useful, especially in the kitchen. No, not another potholder pattern ;-)

You'll just have to wait and see. 


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Speak "Friend" And Enter...

Good afternoon everybody. The first day of National Novel Writing Month (AKA "NaNoWriMo") is upon us. Are you participating? I did a little prep work ahead of time so today I am ahead of schedule with around 2300 words. 

To be honest I wasn't sure until this morning if I would even participate this year. I just couldn't find my excitement like I usually do. Usually I am at my computer at one minute to midnight waiting for the clock to roll over to November 1 so I can start banging away at the keyboard. I usually relish and revel in being WAY ahead of the daily word count.

This time however, I felt pretty meh about the whole thing. I think it's because once I write the book I don't do anything with it. I don't do any editing and it never reaches a stage at which I could say it's finished and actually submit it anywhere. There are a multitude of reasons for that, all of which are cop-outs more or less :-)


In other news, I have several unfinished crochet projects in my bin which I really should get moving on. Do you see a pattern here? LoL: Unfinished books...unfinished crochet projects...hmmm...Yes.

I have a rather nice looking shrug that just needs to be stitched up, and the weather has been chilly enough for it lately. I created it from a Lion Brand pattern and it's a super easy shrug to make. If you can do a single crochet stitch you can make this pattern. I will post a picture when it's finished, along with a link to the pattern for those who are interested in undertaking one themselves.

I am SO excited about seeing The Hobbit on December 14th. I might even make an exception and go see a first screening at midnight. I particularly love the chant they do in some of the trailers. It's hauntingly ethereal and really beautiful. If it's on the soundtrack then I will probably buy the album. 

There are a lot of mixed feelings about the movie. The book itself is shorter than any one of the Lord of the Rings books, YET they are making THREE (YES THREE!!!!) separate movies for this one. To some folks, it seems like they are simply milking the franchise for all it's worth. Some folks say there are some characters in the movies who aren't in the book, and some very small and minor subplots that are being given way more attention than they merit in the film. 

I am on the fence and reserving judgment. I need to re-read the book to be honest. It's been almost ten years and I don't remember if I even finished it the first time I picked it up. Conveniently I just finished reading a book, and can start it today.