Monday, June 23, 2014

Super Duper Easy Dishcloth

Crochet Pattern

Hook Size: 5mm; H
Yarn suggested: Lily Sugar'n Cream
Yarn Weight: Worsted/Aran
Gauge: Not important

Ch: 20
R1: sc in every ch; ch2 turn
R2-9: dc in every stitch, ch2 turn
R10: dc in every stitch, pull tail through last stitch until you have a loop as long as you'd like leaving enough extra yarn for the knot, then tighten. Take the loop and knot it, making sure the knot is snug against the dish cloth, then break yarn close to, but not right up against the knot.

Makes approximately one 6in x 6in dish cloth. To make it bigger chain extra stitches and measure, then repeat row 2 until length is the same as width.

I get roughly 3 dish clothes from one ball of Lily Sugar'n Cream. You may get more or less depending on the size of your dish cloths.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Jimmy Bean's

This is one of the main reasons why I love buying from Jimmy Bean's Wool (dot com):

I ordered this 3 days ago, and it arrived today. I paid $4 for shipping. The only thing I have ever been disappointed about with Jimmy Bean's is finding out they're no longer going to carry anything sewing related. It's yarn from now on. Given that I knit and stuff, I am happy about this because there's more room for more yarn, but it means that my go-to place for fabric, notions, and freaking fantastic customer service now gives me a sad.

I'll still shop here, happily! But I'll have to find somewhere else to go for sewing.

Now, onto some great news. What's shown here would have cost me about $100. It cost a hair under $50, because it's all on sale. Since they're not carrying sewing things anymore, they're selling it all from 40-50% off. Great things some times come from a sad.

As a side note: I love that Colette patterns come in little booklets like that. They're totally cute!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Why Another Hobby?

I know my husband thinks it, even if he's totally amazeballs and never says it. He's always 100% supportive and very honestly just wants my happiness. But I can see it for the most brief of moments, "Another craft?"  Which for most translates to, more money on crap that will sit around the house? Not for him, which is awesome. I know he just looks at our space and wonders where it's all going to fit, and when I'll find that one thing that satisfies me and I will never need another hobby.

Well, for my husband, and anyone else who wonders why the heck I need another hobby when I already knit, crochet, spin, and dye. This is pulled straight from The Colette Sewing Handbook:

We have no shortage of choice when it comes to picking what we want to wear. With constantly rotating trends, new looks, and "must-haves" every season, the simple act of dressing yourself can often feel overwhelming. [Not exactly overwhelming as it is depressing.] We're constantly urged to try new styles, and it's true that they can be exciting and fun. But if you're anything like me, deep down, all you really want is a closet filled with your favorite things. [YES!] These are the clothes that make you happy to put on, that make you feel like yourself. Instead, many of us feel that we have a closet stuffed with clothes and nothing we want to wear.

 It goes on to say that sewing your own clothing can magnify this problem. Ha! She does not know me. I am shorter than 5 feet, and so very, very tired of nothing fitting. Petite usually means rail thin, not built with shorter measurements. I used to shop in the Junior section...and then I had kids and my hips grew. I have several pairs of jeans, but I only wear one pair. No exaggeration. One pair. Because when I go to the store, they either fit my hips and butt right where I want them, but the waist is too high and nearly in my arm pits, or the length is too long and I'm walking on the bottoms of every pair of pants that I own. Or the length is right, but they're far too tight in the thighs and cut off my circulation around the middle. I have one pair of jeans because when I first bought them, they fit in the hips, didn't sag off my butt, weren't too high, and holy crap, they were extra short! I don't walk on them!!!... and they were the only pair left in the entire store.

Clearly, I'm not alone.

I would love  to have a closet full of clothes that actually fit me. Tired of buying shirts that are lowish on normal sized women, but when I put them on, the cut is so low, a boob is hanging out and the whole gym locker room can see the color of my bra.

So please, bring on the problem of having a closet full of clothes, and I still can't decide what to wear, because I want to wear it all.

I'm Going to Do It!!

Over the weekend, HusbandPerson and I cleaned out our under the stair storage area, that was supposed to be a craft area/study closet. Yes, it's that big.

We had it crammed full of stuff that we didn't really have a place for but didn't want to throw away. (Yes, I will some day use that rather large art portolio case.) Most of the space was taken up by half or less than half full boxes. So we unpacked them, put their contents (mostly yarn) in their homes, and put in a couple of cheap but very tall and narrow book cases that I got for a steal from a local garage sale community on Facebook. It's amazing how much more space you can find when you store vertically!

Anyway, while sorting and unpacking and placing, I found all my sewing patterns, fabrics, and my machine. Hooray! I knew it was in there somewhere! I'm going to do it! I'm going to finally take out my fabrics and do some thingmakery!

I really, really want to finish cleaning up the mess that we made when we organized. I do feel like we need one more bookcase to put paints, brushes, and papers on. So I will probably get to that before I get to cutting and sewing. Until we get another bookcase, I really don't have much of a choice but to put all those boxes back in and make my pretty new place all ugly.

My crafting closet; at the entrance

The top of my two new bookcases. One has fabric and a creepy head, the other has dye stuff and Gold Canyon candles.

The wire rack right across from the other two book cases. Has base yarn, dye stuff, two yarn swifts, packing materials, shipping materials, and my massage table next to it (topped with colorful project bags)

All the way back and to the right, oh what's this?? More storage space! This is the only part of the room I have to duck to get into. The level part of the ceiling is roughly 9 feet high.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

To The Woman at Denny's...

I have kind of a long story that I want to share, so please bear with me.

I started doing this online "game" where you're rewarded with experience points and gold for real life activities. It's geared toward helping you make good habits and break bad ones. When you do something you're trying to stop, you're punished with the loss of health points. (I don't know what happens when you reach zero health, that's not happened to me.)

Tonight at dinner, an unattractive woman walked in with four children, all of them 10 and younger, with no male figure in sight. Immediately, I judged her. I'm not proud of this. I assumed that because of her looks that no one could possibly want her, and the only way that she could have those children is by being promiscuous.

No sooner had the thought crossed my mind than I felt, deep in my gut, that this habit needed to change. I felt prompted by God (yes, I have faith) to add "Do not judge others" to my list of habits I want to change in the game. It may seem really silly, but games work for me. Being that kind of person does not make me feel proud of myself.

I also felt that I needed to go to her, and confess to her my horrible thought, and give her a gift. I am not proud to admit that I did not ask for her forgiveness. I introduced myself, asked her how on earth she manages four young children by herself, and gave her a small tea light and some information about the company I work for. I didn't ask her to join, I didn't explain the career opportunity: I just told her that inside there is a candle, and I wanted to welcome her to light that candle after the kids had gone to bed and take some quiet time for herself, because I know she could use it. She thanked me, and I left her to her meal and her family.

I remember how hard it was for me to manage two kids by myself, and how I hated the glares I got from strangers because I was a "single" mom. I don't know anything about this woman! I didn't even ask her name. For all I know, she could be where I was two years ago: married to a man deployed in a war, and trying to hold life together.

To the woman at Denny's... if you ever read this, I am sorry for judging you. I should know better. I have added "Do not judge people" to my list of bad habits to break and have clicked the minus button and taken the loss of health points... but that is not enough. I know that you have no idea what I thought, but I am sure you get looks similar to what I had been given when I was in your shoes, and I am better than that. I am no better than you, and there is nothing I can tell myself to reason away my wrong. I am very, truly sorry. If you ever read this, I hope you can forgive me.

I also hope that you enjoyed your candle. No strings attached. You have my business card too, call me anytime if you want another; it's on me.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wednesday Already?

I had a really crazy busy day yesterday, and I'm having a difficult time coming to terms with Wednesday. This is not helped at all by the fact that I was up until 10:30 last night working on a WIP that has been driving me crazy. No matter what I do, or how carefully I count my stitches and make sure that everything is good, my stitch counts were not coming out right.

Last week, I enlisted the help of a friend from Google+ hangouts, and he was having the same problem. So I felt like (then) that maybe it wasn't me. Maybe it was something with the pattern, or something with the way we were doing increases. So last night, I was working on it again, and everything was great. I had all the stitches I needed just as the pattern said, and then I got to the eyelet increase row where you are making a new stitch every third stitch. I came up 4 stitches short.

The way this pattern works is that you have 3 stitches in the center that you use to keep the shawl centered, and on each side of those 3 stitches, you have a mirrored design. So when I came up short 4 stitches, I thought well, maybe I just missed a few yarn overs (making new stitches) - so I double checked. Everything is as it should be. So I counted again - maybe I'd just miscounted. Nope. Still 4 short. The weirdest thing about it though, is that I was 3 short on one side and only 1 short on the other side. Then I vented my frustration to a different friend through Google+ hangouts, and she took a look at the pattern.

-------If you don't want to read the math, skip down-----

The math works in mathematics, but it does not work in practice. Here's an example. Before you start row 42, you have 139 stitches. Subtract 3 for your center stitches: 136. Divide by two and you have 68 stitches on either side of the markers. Then you knit 2 for the side border: 66. Add in a yarn over. (Don't count it because you are putting in a stitch where there was none.) Knit 2 again: 64. Make another stitch, again, not counting it: 64. Every third stitch is making another stitch, so you have 64 divide by 2: 32 sets of stitches with an increase between each set. 32 stitches added on one side. Then you knit your 3 center stitches, and do it again, but in reverse. Instead of knit 2 add a stitch, you're adding a stitch and then knitting 2. So another 32 stitches added on one side, which gives us the two stitches left for the border, so go ahead and add another stitch, and knit those last two. For a total of 64 stitches plus the 2 added just after/before the border: 66 added.

Your row total of 139 stitches from before you knit this row and then add your 66 new stitches: 205 -- but the pattern says I should have 207 (a difference of 2 stitches) in the size that I am making (large, because large is fluffy and comfy!). Double check the other sizes, just to see if something there gives  me a clue about these two missing stitches and it is 171; and 177 - no where close to where I need to be

And I really don't trust my math, because it is not my strong suit - because even with working it out right here on the blog, I am not getting what I actually got, which is off by 4 stitches... and I do distinctly remember (because it was just last night) having no issues working from one side to the 3 center stitches - I knit 2 and added a stitch with no problems, I ended with adding a stitch just before the 3 center stitches marker. But when I came down the other side, putting my added stitch first, and then knitting 2, I had THREE stitches left where I should have only had those 2 border stitches. My math says I should have added 66 stitches, the pattern says 68.

So assume the pattern is wrong (which is total blasphemy because pattern designers are always right, and aren't human, so they don't make mistakes). That explains why I was 1 stitch short on the first side...and then also 1 more stitch short on the other; but what about those other 2 that I was actually missing?

I promise you and I will swear it on everything that I triple checked my work and everything was done exactly according to the instruction and I did not drop a stitch anywhere.

------End math-----

She came to the same conclusion that I did: the pattern is wrong. So we researched. Other people bold, and brave enough to speak out against a wrong pattern stated they had issues. Other people assuming they did something wrong, and like me, couldn't figure it out, frogged their projects and moved on. It's not unusual to have done something wrong while knitting a pattern, so assuming the problem is you and not the pattern is pretty typical. Most people fudge it and keep going (ie, add a missing stitch or two where needed): no one ever notices. They're design features, not mistakes.

Then we thought, maybe there's a newer version? There was. However... reducing the row number in order to fix a problem without adjusting stitch counts (how many have been added/how many you should have total) does not fix a problem. If your count is off early on in the pattern, and you start increasing stitches, it's going to be off the entire way through.

I will probably never knit another pattern from this designer again. If I can't trust her math, I cannot assume that her other patterns are mistake free just because she's a designer. That said, friend #2 is going through the pattern and fixing the math for me, God bless her!

In the mean time, I'm going to work on my Nerd Wars project.

Whippoorwill: pattern by Carina Spencer. Yarn: Malabrigo sock
Nerd Wars project: Four Winds. Pattern by Alasdair Post-Quinn. Yarn: Silver: Cascade 220 Superwash. Purple:  Anzula Cricket

Glow in the dark sheep stitch marker by me. Isn't he cute?!