Greetings Friends! The weekend is upon us and I'm thrilled to have two projects to share with you! Recently I asked for your help picking my next project. I was surprised when the voting ended in a tie. Making an executive decision (because here is the only place I have that power) I decided on the Little Wing Shawlette. Mainly because I wanted to use the Amazing yarn that I bought months ago. Happily it feels as if this pattern by Andee Graves from Two Hands Healing was written just for this yarn! Another pleasant discovery was having enough yarn left over to make a matching set of wrist warmers. I made them using one of my favorite patterns - Chevron Lace Wrist Warmers by Karen at Colour in a Simple Life.
Together these pieces make the perfect autumn ensemble, and I love the way they so easily coordinate with my favorite denim jacket.
When I started Crochet Nirvana it was mainly a way for me to chronicle my work. I had no idea that it would connect me to so many talented people. I also didn't know that there is such a large community of crafters and how accessible, helpful and supportive they are. Before I started blogging, I got the majority of my patterns from books and magazines. Occasionally I would use the internet and print something from Crochet Pattern Central (as was the case with my wrist warmers). The designers who wrote these patterns were strangers to me and the idea of actually communicating with them was just silly! Oh how things have changed! Now I know that designers are out there and they want to hear from us! They want to help if we get stuck and see what we made with their pattern when we're done! They have blogs, Facebook, and Ravelry pages. Some are fortunate enough to do it full time, and others have jobs that have nothing to do with yarn. It turns out they're a lot like me!
How does this relate to today's post? Well, let me tell you. Before I begin any project I always go to Ravelry and see what other people who have made the item have to say. In fact if there are too many negative comments I won't even bother! I also check out the materials used, because I never seem to have the yarn that's called for. If it looks like most people have been successful I give it a go. Such was the case with Little Wing. Several folks commented about the foundation. I gave it a try as written, but when it didn't work I used a regular Fsc like they suggested and it worked perfectly. Problem averted! Next I ran into trouble at Row 2. I couldn't figure out how to make the transition for the point. I looked at other people's notes and pictures and while some had mentioned having trouble, no one told me how they fixed it. I was thinking I might have to find another pattern. Instead I decided to contact the designer - Andee. It was late, I was frustrated, and I fear my message was long and rambling. I wasn't sure what to expect. The next day with a fresh coffee and fresh perspective I tried Row 2 again. Success!! And what else? A response from Andee who was more than willing to help me out. How cool is that? I made a beautiful wrap, and I made a new friend!
Here's a closer look at the details of Little Wing
But what about Karen and the wrist warmers? Like I said, I originally printed her pattern off the internet, and I had no idea that I would ever run into her again. Then one day on Facebook someone shared a picture of a happy, bright square that caught my eye. I followed the link and ended up at Karen's blog. Reading through (because it's well done and she has fabulous pictures!) I was totally surprised when I saw the pattern for my very favorite wrist warmers on her sidebar. What a small world! I started following Karen, and of course had to let her know how I had found her and how much I loved the pattern. I was even fortunate enough to receive a complimentary copy of her Granny's Gone Dotty pattern. Again I say, how cool is that?
We hear so many negative things about the internet and social networking. As the mother of a teenager I am always fearful of who my son will come in contact with and what kinds of things he might see while browsing the web. But then there is the other side. Where we have access to the inspiring work of thousands of people. Where we offer encouragement and teach each other the things we know. Where a stranger is willing to help when asked. Where a gift is offered as thanks for a kind word. Where we can laugh, learn, create and share in a community we've created. Sitting at the dining room table in fuzzy slippers and messy hair I have found my (crochet) Nirvana.
In addition to my fiber offerings, I like to participate in Five Minute Friday over at Lisa-Jo Baker's place. It's writing in the raw and if you've never done it, why don't you give it a try? It's really easy - you just:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat on this week's prompt with no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking - then post it just as it is!
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community.
Here's what happened when I spent five minutes writing on the prompt "Voice"
The human voice is as diverse as a finger print, but so much easier to recognize. It doesn't even have to be a particularly interesting or unique voice for me to know who it belongs to with out seeing them. At work people often call to renew their books. I'm always surprised by how distinct their voices are and how many I recognize with out even thinking about it.
I never thought that my voice was very unique. But once many years ago the phone rang. I answered. "Hello?" The person asked for someone - Jim, John, Joe - someone who didn't live at my house. "Sorry" I said, "wrong number". And then they said, "Robin? Is that you? This is Cindy, remember we met a few months ago at my brother- in-laws house? I knew I recognized your voice!!"
What?? Are you kidding?
We live in a small town, and the likely hood of calling someone that you know does exist, but it's a pretty slim margin. This was in the days way before cell phones when we all had the same exchange and you only had to dial 5 numbers to connect your call (really dating myself here!)
Anyway, after that call I knew the voice that I had thought was plain and ordinary really was unique after all!
Greetings my lovelies and welcome! October is whizzing by. Halloween is on the horizon with Thanksgiving and Christmas ready to rush in. My hook has been in constant motion and if I'm not working on a project I'm planning for them. That means lots of pattern searching and yarn/supply shopping! And while I haven't actually completed any gifts I intend to give, I have several in the works. I'm sure that there will be a frantic push to finish including crocheting after midnight with copious amounts of coffee. As much as I wish, hope and pray this won't happen I'm relatively certain it will. No matter how hard I try I am a last minute, in just under the wire kinda gal. Always have been, and I imagine I always will be!
Today I'm pleased to report that I'm making fantastic time with the Little Wing Shawlette. What a difference in terms of time and technique from the recently completed Juliana. I made a modification right off the bat using a traditional Fsc instead of the method indicated in the pattern. There was a bit of a struggle at Row 2, but a good night's sleep offered a fresh perspective and once I figured it out it seemed so obvious I don't know why it gave me trouble to start with! Now just 9 days after starting I'm only a few rows from the end which makes this one of my quickest finishes. Another bonus is it appears that I'll have enough yarn left to make a pair of matching wrist warmers using my favorite Chevron Lace Pattern from Colour in a Simple Life. Yeah!
On the book front just for fun I've been keeping with the Halloween theme enjoying two witchy selections. I just started reading the Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston and in the kitchen I've been listening to Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong. Happily both of them are entertaining and are keeping me in the otherworldly spirit of the season! Also for you today I have a review of an eerily relevant story.
Could this really happen? Image life after "the Big Shake".
The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick
Blue Sky Press
March 1, 2012; 224 Pages
"Nobody around here reads anymore, Why bother, when you can just use a mindprobe needle and shoot all the images and excitement right into your brain? I've heard of books, but they were long before I was born. In the backtimes, before the Big Shake, when everything was supposedly perfect and everybody lived rich." These are the words of Spaz, a teenager living, rather surviving in the Urb. A desolate wasteland ruled by gangs who control everything. Where you live, what you eat, what you do - everything. Everything except Eden. Eden is as close to perfect as you can get in the post-bigshake world. But the only people who inhabit Eden are the Proovs - that's short for genetically improved human. Spaz earns his keep working for the leader of his section of the Urb. When he gets an order to rob a gummy (an old man) named Ryter, Spaz doesn't think twice. What he doesn't know is that his life - and life for everyone in the Urb is never going to be the same. A series of events finds Spaz, Ryter, an orphan called little face and a Proov named Lanaya on a mission to first see - then save Spaz's little sister Bean. As they search for a solution it becomes clear that a much larger task is at hand. What starts as a trip across the Urb becomes a journey that will change their world!
Okay, I'll admit this is way outside of my normal reading box. It's Young Adult Science Fiction. But after I commented to a patron how much I loved A Wrinkle in Time (which she and her son were reading) she asked if I'd ever read this book. Learning that I hadn't she encouraged me to give it a try. She seemed to think that as a librarian and book lover I should have this one under my belt. And of course she was right.
While the writing is a bit well, young, the story isn't it. The world that Philbrick has created is scary and real. It seems plausible that this could happen. In his characters we see the best of humanity under the worst conditions. This unlikely group faces adversity, clings to hope and questions authority. It's a story that makes you stop and think and at any level in any genre that is what makes a good book. And while I don't know that it'll make my all time favorite list I am glad I read it, and I would suggest that it be included as one of those books we all should read. Who knows when we might one day find ourselves experiencing our own big shake. Because just moments before I sat down to write this review, right here in central Massachusetts we had an earth quake that was strong enough to shake our house and everything in it - even waking my sleeping husband - now tell me that's not a little bit scary?!
Wednesday is a wonderful day for linking up and sharing your work. Today I'm joining my regular group of blogging buddies. I hope you'll take a look at some fun projects and add one of your own!
Today for Week 7 of the Holiday Stashdown Challenge we're sharing ideas for projects that can be made with one skein or less. What's the first thing that you think of? For me it's hats. There are so many patterns available that utilize every type of yarn imaginable. There are fancy hats and simple hats. Hats that keep you warm and hats that just look good. There is truly a hat for every head!
Along with hats, I think of cowls, scarves, gloves, mittens and wrist warmers. None of these take much yarn, can be whipped up in no time, and would make an excellent gift for anyone on your gift list. Here are a few of my favorites.
Motifs are terrific for using bits and scraps. Last year I found this Snowflake Garland pattern in the Nov/Dec 2011 issue of Crochet Today! It's so pretty (and I'm so lazy!) that it still graces the doorway between the living room and dining room! I was also inspired to make thread snowflakes from the book 60 Crocheted Snowflakes that I borrowed from the library. (Sorry no pictures, but they're easy and beautiful and can be used to decorate your tree or add flourish to gift wrapping!)
If you've never crocheted with thread, you should go ahead and give it a try. I was nervous at first, but quickly became comfortable with it. I enjoy the variety that working doily and motif patterns offers. Plus it's travels well and is perfect in hot weather! It's also inexpensive and you can make an amazing number of items from one ball of thread! Here are a few things I've made with thread:
There are so many other projects that come to mind. Do you have a favorite? I'd love to see which pattern is your go to for hats, cowls and fingerless gloves (or anything!). When planning our holiday gifts it's so easy to get in to0 deep with projects that overwhelm us. To big or complicated they end up causing anxiety instead of pleasure. This year I vow to be reasonable in my choices. Whatever I make, I'll do it with love, and hope that the recipient feels it!
In addition to visiting Marie, stop by Frontier Dreams and remember to Keep Calm Craft On. This is a terrific place to meet new crafters and see what beautiful projects they're working on.
That's all for today friends, until next time,
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
Today I celebrate (finally) finishing the Chevron Lace Cardigan!
And my amazing husband!
I am blessed, and thankful for every grace I've been given.
Thank you for sharing a smile with us. There's always plenty to see on Friday. Come on, we'll visit together! Until next time friends,
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
A few months ago John and I started making stitch markers. After seeing some very nifty little ditties a friend was using I thought - We can do that! So I went in search of supplies, which are very easy to come by, and we set to it. We both have a role - I design and he builds. We make a good team, and we've been having fun working together. We began just for that reason, to have fun and to make some handy markers to use and to give away. We've also made several pairs of earrings since the process is exactly the same! After sharing with several friends and family members, we've been hearing "You should sell those!" a whole lot. I'm not sure though. It's not that I don't think they're not good enough, after only a few sessions we got some neat designs and John's technical skills improve with each item. What I'm worried about is it will stop being fun.
So before I jump into the deep end, I'm going to do some research, talk it over with John and give myself time to ruminate on the pros and cons of joining the ranks of millions(?) of others peddling their wares on the internet. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts. Should I go for it? What has your experience been? If you have an etsy shop what is one thing that you know now that you wish someone had told you before you started?
In addition to the stitch markers, I took time to work on the cardigan that I just can't seem to finish. I feel like the end may actually be in sight. Look at how far I've come! I have a finished sleeve and a half! I'm still trying to decide it it's long enough. One more round might be in order, don't you love the zig-zagginess of the edges?! I'll admit that I'm dreading blocking. I've never blocked a whole sweater. Pieces yes, but I'm feeling intimidated by the thought of manipulating the whole thing.
Maybe there will be some sort of sweater miracle and it'll be perfect without blocking? I've also been wondering what happens when I wash it? I know that I'll have to do some sort of shaping. I sure hope that it retains it shape fairly well. If it wants more than that from me we may have some trouble!
Alright my friends, time to sit back down in that big burgundy chair and finish off that sleeve! Enjoy your day!
Until next time,
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
So it goes like this... I stall, I make progress, I stall again, then I make a little more progress. Honestly I'm a bit embarrassed that I'm once again talking about this cardigan. Will I ever get it finished? I suppose if the weather were cooler and I could wear it when it's done I might move a little quicker, but that's questionable. The progress report goes like this: I have reached what I believe to be the desired body length. I'm unsure so I've left the ball of yarn I used attached just in case I want to add another row or two. Last night I began sleeve one. Like my recent foray into socks, this pattern is more of a guide than a step by step and it leaves a bit to interpretation. Note to self - this is best done before midnight when you're able to think clearly. The instructions told me to attach on the 7th stitch of the under arm, ch 3 (first dc) and work in pattern across. (But it's really around) Join with a slip stitch, turn and continue to work in pattern to desired length. I tried. It didn't work. I ripped. I have encountered patterns in the past (for mittens) that wanted me to work my round by turning. I'm sure it can be done and there's a reason for it, I just haven't figured out how. Being the creative problem solver that I am I did this instead: join in 7th stitch, ch 3 and work in pattern across. When I got to the beginning ch 3 I joined with a slip stitch and then put another slip stitch in the next dc to bring me to the right place to begin the pattern. I continued working the pattern in the round joining each this way. So far I've done 6 rounds and it looks great. (Pat on the back here!) It feels good to have encountered a "problem" and created a "solution". For me this is testimony that my skills are advancing! Now if I can only stay motivated long enough to finish this thing!
The book that I'm reading today is The Lost Years by Mary Higgins Clark. I'm a mystery fan, and haven't read a MH Clark in a long time. This story centers on a the murder of a biblical scholar who may have discovered the only know writings of Jesus Christ. A letter to Joseph of Arimathea thought to have been stolen from the Vatican in 1474 AD. Who is responsible for his murder? His wife who's suffering from advanced Alzheimers? His mistress whom he has just broken things off with? Or maybe one of his colleagues who is intent on possessing the parchment? Face-paced with plenty of twists I'm enjoying this interesting bit of fiction - when I'm not working on my sweater of course!
Don't forget to to stop by Tami's Amis and Small Wonders to see all the great projects going on today!
Until next time friends,
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
Greetings friends! I hope you're having a wonderful Wednesday! Today, I have three things to share. Lets start with socks. I have wanted to make them for so long, but I've been hesitating because - well I don't know why. I've had this pattern for Socks that Fit! in my queue for ages and last night the spirit moved me to give it a whirl. The toe instructions seemed vague, but I did what felt like the right thing and sure enough it worked - and on the first try! If this works out I might be making socks for the holidays! Just think of all those great yarns I can use!!
Next up is the Zig Zag Bag that has been sitting in the wip pile for way too long! I'm going to line it with this great skirt fabric. Don't they look like they were meant to be together?! I bought the skirt ages ago at the thrift store hoping it would fit, but it was too small. I'm so happy to have found a way to use it! I've never lined a crocheted bag which is why I've been procrastinating, but how hard can it be right?
And finally there's the Chevron Lace Cardigan. With the sleeves in the right place I should be finished by now, but of course I choose to work on other things instead. I'm certain that this will be wonderful when its done. I suppose if the weather were cooler and I could actually wear it when I'm finished I might get moving. For today it's sitting patiently by my chair waiting.
I don't worry too much about having several projects going at once. It keeps me from getting bored. As long as I get them finished eventually I feel just fine. For me crochet is as much about the journey as it is about the destination. I guess I just like to make lots of stops along the way!
Be sure to pop on over to Tami's Amis and Small Things to see other great projects!
Until next time friends,
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
Wow Wednesday already! This week I’ve been thinking a lot about balance. About how important it is to have the appropriate balance of everything in life. Work – Play, Sleep – Activity, Money – Bills, Being with People – Being Alone, you get the idea. If I start to get to heavy toward one thing I can feel my scales tipping and I get a little wobbly. When that happens I know it’s time to evaluate what’s going on and get things back into perspective. This hasn’t always been easy, but the older that I get the more important it is for me to have the peace and joy that being in balance gives to my life. I realized that I have been spending way too much time on the computer and not enough time crocheting. Now mind you I do both of these things for my own pleasure. I have no deadlines looming or bosses to please, it’s all for me. I find that the computer has a way of eating up the hours leaving me with a headache and the feeling that I haven’t accomplished anything really worth while! So for the rest of the week I’m really going pay attention to how I’m spending my time and how it makes me feel. And then of course make some changes!
Now about those crochet projects! This week I’m working on the Big and Little Granny Throw and the Chevron Lace Cardigan. So where am I at? The B&L is almost done. (Haven’t we heard this before?) I have one more big square to make, hooray! Then I have to whip stitch the littles into bigs and all of them into 2 rows! As long as I keep my focus I should have this done by next Friday. It’s a bummer that the weather is warm now and we won’t actually use it, but it will look good on the back of the couch!
Now the cardigan is another story. I’m a beginner at sweaters. With only two under my belt getting the fit right has been a challenge. And even though this is a top down construction I set the sleeves too low. Twice. The second time I was almost done with the body and after trying it on again I decided that it just wasn’t right. It was hard, but ultimately I want this to be perfect. (well, you know!) I want to wear it and I know if the fit is only so-so it’ll just end up sitting in the wardrobe. Plus I really love the way the yarn looks and feels! (It’s Caron Naturals Spa is Soft Sunshine) So even though I’m basically back to the beginning I’ve learned from my mistakes and I should move quickly once I re-set those sleeves. I did have to give myself a break from it for a few weeks. I just couldn’t take starting over again right away! But now I’m looking forward to having a light-weight little cardi to wear over my summer dresses and I’m ready to roll! There you have it, another Wip Wednesday. Be sure to check out other great projects at Tami’s Amis!
Until next time,
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
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My name is Robin. I am a wife, mother and strong believer in the power of faith. I'm a maker, a crafter and an artist. I love exploring new mediums and sharing my adventures with you.
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