Goldi's Locks of Yarn

My place to discuss my raging obsession with yarn and crochet along with happenings in my life and the world at large

Monday, May 23, 2005

Update on Laceweight Seraphina

I just wanted to post this before heading off for bed (finally). In the midst of a spate of chores and other distractions, I managed to get 3 more rows in today, bringing the current total to 37 for this shawl. She's really starting to shape up nicely! I've reposted the first pic from last week, so you can get an idea of how much has been accomplished to this point. I'm really pleased with how this is turning out and can hardly wait to complete it so I can start wearing it!
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Seraphina at ten rows
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Sunday, May 22, 2005

Okay, will the frustrations STOP it already???

I swear I'm beginning to feel cursed! It seems like nothing I touch is destined to go smoothly, whether it be rewinding badly wound yarn or trying to edit posts on my blog. I'm still in the "active" phase of my monthly cycle but I swear I feel like I am having PMS again, which makes all these little frustrations grow in magnitude to where I just want to go postal!

Deep breath...

Meditate meditate meditate - ooooohhhhhhmmmmmm....

Okay. Another deep breath.

Here's the deal:

After I made my last post, I noticed I'd used a different shade of purple for my additional, blog-only comments. In other words, the first one was in a lighter (and therefore harder to read) shade than the second one I added. I wanted to go change the color of the first one to match the second. No big deal, right? Just highlight the text and select another color. WRONG! No matter how many times I tried it, that color just would NOT change - I even tried copying the whole danged entry into an email composition window and doing it from there, and it STILL won't change! GGRRRR!!!

I've been having all kinds of niggling little frustrating problems with this computer this weekend (and, in fact for the past several days). I'll be typing away on a composition (like this one) and periodically the whole system freezes up so that it takes several seconds for what I typed to finally appear on the screen. Pages I try to load are coming up BLANK, even though I know darn well they're NOT blank, and no amount of refreshing will change the blankness of the page! This wierd little problem started yesterday.

Whether I like it or not, I am just going to have to switch back to my other computer and try to troubleshoot what's ailing IT so I can fix it and get on with my online life. But that may take an unknown amount of time - and time is a precious commodity to me - which is why I've been putting it off for so long in the first place. It appears that I am at a point where I have no more choice in the matter. I don't know how long (if at all, actually) it will mean I'm offline while I go through the tedious process of trying to pinpoint my problems with that system. And all I want to do is crochet!

Today, after noting that I am almost to the end of my first ball of yarn for my shawl, I decided to prepare the second one so it would be ready. I had handwound this one too, but fortunately for me, I got smart and left this one on the tp roll after I finished winding. So rewinding it using my nifty little yarn winder didn't take long at all, once I made a few adjustments and found something to hold the original ball - my stand-up paper towel dispenser. Once I found a way to get the new tp roll to fit snug on the winder's holder, it took less than 10 minutes to rewind that baby into a nice neat cake, ready for working! Beautiful!

So, since I already had the set-up handy, I thought I would rewind the Sunshine laceweight yarn I had wound by hand - except this one, being my first and me being clueless yet, did NOT have the tp roll still in it. Yep, I'd removed it immediately after finishing the winding process. I already knew this one would be a headache, from my previous experience with the current one (that took over 4 hours to rewind, detangling and all), but I'd hoped a few modifications to my technique would simplify it. I had a slender cardboard tube I'd saved from something (can't remember what was on it now - oh yeah, my new bath mat!) and so I tried slipping it through the center of the wound ball, keeping my fingers crossed that I'd actually hit the center through all the strands. So far so good. The tube was just long enough that I could slip it into my paper towel holder where the dowel usually goes, since the tube was too small to fit the dowel into. Got a fresh tp roll and set it up with a paper towel stuck between it and the plastic yarn holder on the winder, as before, for that snug fit, and I was ready to go.

Things started out smoothly enough, and soon I was rolling along at a brisk pace, only having to stop every once in awhile as the yarn got snagged whenever it came close to the bottom of the tube. But then I noticed something...

This hadn't even occurred to me, but the hole the tube was sitting in (where the wooden dowel usually sits) was NOT smooth, and the friction of the yarn against this area as I was winding was causing a LOT of fuzzing on my strands! I was wearing my yarn down! YIKES! So, I stopped and made some more adjustments (got some heavy-duty aluminum to line the hole with). Back to winding I went. I had to stop frequently, though, as the yarn would snag up on itself (including in a few areas where it had fuzzed up pretty badly, even having to cut some of the longer fuzzy pieces off - I sure hope I don't have to frog this project too much, it might be impossible). It looked like I was about halfway through the hank, but I noticed something else: the ball I was winding to didn't seem to be very large, it certainly didn't look like this hank of yarn was going to turn out as large as the last one I'd finished (in less than 10 minutes, remember). And then I noticed something else - despite my attempt to make the tp fit snugly on the plastic tube, it had been shifting, and part of the wound yarn had gone directly on the plastic tube below the tp roll! Shit!

So now I'm trying to UNwind BACK to the original roll, everything I just did! And as I'm doing it, I'm realizing that part of the reason why this ball is looking so much smaller than the previous one is probably because it was winding so tightly. **SIGH** So now, I have to unwind the whole danged thing and start all over again! This has turned into a much more major project than I was willing to deal with at this point, especially since it's going to be awhile before I actually use this yarn!

And I still have the adventure to look forward to of rewinding one #10 and two #3 balls of thread that I also did this to... Oh, and the #10 is already in a hopeless tangle, too. That was the one I'd tried to use for a thread scarf and got a whole 4 rows in before running into THE MESS. I also have three more hanks of the laceweight yarn to wind (thankfully, these are still in their original unwound state. Would be nice to have that swift for them, though.).

I've discovered one thing from all of these experiences: I am lousy at hand-winding yarn! So, even though I'm frustrated as hell, I'm also SUPREMELY grateful to have that yarn winder. At least the yarn for my shawl will remain trouble-free, and as long as I don't get stupid with my crocheting again, I should have a very nice product to wear in a couple of weeks or so, depending on how quickly I can get this done. Computer problems aside, I do intend to find a way to get a picture of my shawl-in-progress posted by tonight - I'm holding out for the absolute latest I can, so I can have an up-to-the-minute version to show. My last pic of it was when it was just a baby that fit across my hand (at 10 completed rows). I am working on row 35 now, the first of a new sequence series (which are 4 rows which add 4 new shells) and it's looking mighty fine! It actually drapes over my shoulders now, and I can reach behind my back and touch the tip. The plan is to have it drape down below my (big) behind, so I have a LOT more rows to go to get it that large, and the rows will be taking longer and longer to complete, naturally. I'm currently up to 15 shells per half on this shawl, and I'm thinking it will take working it to around 30 per side (which works out to 60 more rows) to get it the length I'm envisioning. But who knows, maybe it won't take that many. Doni had stated in her original pattern that the average was around 25 shells per side for a full-length shawl, but it's harder to gauge that with this laceweight yarn. My first Seraphina, which I had decided to make relatively short, is only 11 shells per side, not counting the shell at the tip.

Funny, but just thinking about and writing about my shawl project has done what the deep breathing couldn't - calmed me down! I think I'll go ahead and post this and then go work on it for awhile before I try to tackle all my frustrating problems again, not to mention all the chores that await...

Oh - Becky's scarves have been washed and are now in the process of drying. Hopefully they will be dry enough to package and send out tomorrow. I have been battling the urge to make a third scarf, the reasons for which I will have to keep to myself for now. If I do decide to go ahead and make it, it will have to be sent seperately, as I am NOT holding up this package any longer! If the scarves are dry, it's going tomorrow; if not, then definitely Tuesday. One of them is close, but the other one may take a bit longer, unless I can find a safe way to speed it up.

Okay, off this goes and off I go to crochet awhile!

Questions questions (answers answers!)

I had filled out my answers to the "Questions questions" thread over on Crochetville - yikes! - over a month ago, with the plan to also post it here, but being the good little flake that I am, I never got around to it - until now! I'd wandered into that forum area this morning with the thought that maybe it would be fun to fill out some of the many questionaires and ran across my post in this thread, where I said I was also going to post my answers here. So, a tad on the tardy side, here it is. I had to laugh when I saw it. I probably have the longest answers to the questions of anybody there! I've never been known for my brevity, though - if one word is adequate to explain things, a hundred are even better, lol!

As I answer some of the others (or run across ones I've answered in the past and don't remember doing so), I will also try to get them posted here, for easier reference for those who may be devoted fans (disengaging tongue from cheek now!)...

Thread is here:

What's your fav. hot drink... coffee tea or chocolate? Definitely coffee, I'm especially addicted to espresso with lots of hazelnut coffee creamer and milk to soften it up. But I can only drink it in the am now. I love hot chocolate too, but never think to buy any for myself. And I'm slowly getting back into the tea thing, for afternoons and evenings, since coffee doesn't help my insomnia lately.

What color is most prominent in your closet? None, lol! I have an equal distribution of colors in my wardrobe so that I have a choice depending on what mood I'm in on any given day. I will say, though, that two colors seem to crop up most often in my daily choices: greens and purples, often both. I love playing with color in my wardrobe, am known for it in fact. Oh yes, a third frequent choice is all shades of orange, especially those of the "fruity" variety (peach, melon, etc).

Favorite candy? Snickers, Mounds & Almond Joy, Reeses Peanutbutter cups. Anything chocolate, really. I LOVE dark chocolate, especially, but those are usually the premium candies.

Favorite scents for potpouri, candles etc.? Patchouli and Sandalwood are faves (just call me a throwback, lol!), I love florals and herbals, not too much into the fruity scents but I LOVE cinnamon. My hands-down favorite of all, though is Nag Champa - magnolia. It's heavenly. I have tons of incense, particularly in that scent, but I long ago used up the soap and massage oil that came with the pack I bought (sob!). I've just GOT to get my hands on some more of that oil! I like to mix it in with unscented lotion and use it as an after-bath moisturizer, and that becomes my "perfume" of the day.

What color is your kitchen, liv. room bath decorated in? Living in a rented house filled with an eclectic mix of mostly second-hand furniture, I haven't really had much opportunity or motivation to do any serious decorating. Space is a major premium (it feels like I live in a tiny box, I'm the kind of gal that needs lots of space) and spring cleaning of the deep sort is on my agenda once I get my huge houseplants out of the way (they spend summers outdoors). The only rooms with a clear color scheme are the bathroom and my bedroom. Bathroom is a tiny closet of a room with pale yellow walls. I used light yellow green tan and blue accessories to soften it up and make it feel roomier than it is, with a "seashore" kind of theme. [blog version only: to give you an idea what I mean by "tiny", if I were to lie down in my bathroom with my head pressed against the side of the tub, my feet would be over the doorway into the hall! That's small! And I have a postage-stamp sized sink with no "lip" to set things on, except for a very small area on either side of the faucet. Washing my face in this sink can be hazardous to my forehead - I've whacked it on the faucet too many times to count when trying to splash water on my face and avoid throwing it all over the room.] My bedroom has a spring floral theme, with coordinating bed linens & curtains that are yellow orange and red florals on a natural creamy-white background, my splurge last spring. All other rooms are pretty much "anything goes".

What color is the interior of your car? lavender-beige

What size and how many hooks do you have? I inherited a ton of hooks from my mil when she died nearly 20 years ago - I don't know what store she robbed, lol! I have a large assortment of aluminum hooks ranging from F through J and an even huger assortment of cheap plastic ones that are really old, these range from lots of E's and F's up to J, the ones who's imprints I can still read (many are worn off) identify them as Boye, with the price stamped on the hook: 29¢ and 45¢! I also have an encased set of steel hooks. To this collection, I have recently added aluminum sizes B through E plus K through N, which I was missing, and a set of the crystalite hooks in both the regular and larger sizes. I also picked up one double-ended hook in size G from a clearance rack at Michaels. I would dearly like to get that set of Tunisian hooks that I've seen at Annie's Attic though I suspect it can be had for a cheaper price. I'm also dying to wrap my hand around one of those gorgeous TOTC hooks as well as some of the other neat novelty hooks and handles I've seen discussed on the forum. I'm also in need of some holders for my hooks, been using pencil cases for them, which works, but... I would also like to acquire the larger hooks (P and Q) which I don't have. Did I leave anything out? LOL!

On a rather hilarious side note, along with the crochet hooks I got from my dear mil were a huge assortment of very thin double-pointed "sticks" which no one in the family could figure out what they were supposed to be or used for. It's only recently that I've figured out what they were - knitting needles used for circular knitting! The kids and I used them for games of "pick up sticks", ROTFLMAO! Wish I still had those now... I do have one set still in the package (thank goodness, or I wouldn't know what size they were) that I just noticed while browsing through my hook collection. Here it is, nearly 20 years later, and I'm still discovering new things about the stuff I inherited! Oh yes, I also have a tatting shuttle, which I have no clue how to use, thanks to that grand lady. She was into crafts of all kinds, and known for her extreme generosity. All of the knitting stuff (pick-up sticks excluded, lol!) went to my sil, who was the knitter among us.

Does anyone in your home have allergies to pets, laundry soaps... whatever other things ppl might be allergic to. I live alone, with a cat, so the answer to that is "no".

What color do you HATE? Haven't met it yet. [adding this note to blog version only: my experience with color is that when combined and applied properly, all of them have the potential to shine. The only way to learn is by experimentation. There are some colors I won't wear - would look awful on me and don't seem to be made for wearing - but they look good in a decoration scheme. Some colors should be used sparingly as accents only, which is where they look their best. I absolutely LOVE mixing and matching colors in all situations, from dressing to decorating, to find those "magical" mixes!]

What modern technology do you use? MP3 player, cell phone, PDA, lap top etc.? Just my computer. Don't even have a TV or stereo, at present, lol! I do have a dvd player and a vhs, just nothing to hook them up to. The equipment I did have died and there's been no money (or incentive) to replace them.

What thing do you use the most in the course of your day? No question about it - my computer. I spend FAAAAR too much time on this thing, both at work and at home. Makes me worry about that nasty carpal tunnel syndrome sometimes...

Saturday, May 21, 2005

A Tangled Yarn

So, here's my tale of the "Tangled Yarn Blues", a tangled yarn indeed...

Somehow, now that the severe crises seem to be over (for now, knock wood!), it's easier to talk about it. It ties in, too, with my summer scarf woes - lately, nothing seems to come easy for me. If this has been a test of my patience, or a patience-development course I somehow got signed up for, I hope I passed it. I really don't want to take this class again!

The problems seemed to start when I began my second scarf for the Crochetville swap. I wasn't feeling real confident in my first production - and later frogged part of it to use in a third scarf made to replace the first, which I later decided wasn't good enough to make the cut - it just didn't turn out as originally envisioned.

But anyway, the second scarf... I had problems right off the bat, working 14 rows the first time - with LOTS of frogging due to horrendously stupid mistakes. It got to be embarrassing the number of times I would end up with ONE dc in spots were FIVE were supposed to go, and I usually wouldn't catch it until I arrived at that point on the next row - I couldn't maintain the pattern to save my life! Granted, I was a tad distracted by some personal issues that kept locking up my mind so that I couldn't concentrate on what I was doing, but I've worked on patterns while thinking of other things many times before. But this time my "autopilot" seemed to have been totally disabled. If I didn't stay focused and concentrated on what I was doing, I made a real mess of it. And I did, repeatedly! How many years have I claimed to have been crocheting? (picture wildly rolling eyes here)

It didn't help that there was also an error in the pattern I was following. As I stated, I managed to make it to 14 rows when I realized that, errors aside, there was definitely something wrong with the way the pattern was working out. So I decided to frog it all and start all over. But when I did, I doubted myself, and didn't make the change I felt should be made to make the pattern work right. Dummy! Normally I wouldn't have questioned myself like that, but since I'd been making so many errors, I decided at that point that my own observations couldn't be trusted. I won't do that again! 22 rows into the pattern (again, with lots of frogging to correct those confounded errors - by this time I could have had the scarf done, TWICE, if I counted all the stitches made and frogged!), I again decided there was DEFINITELY something wrong with the way it was written. For the THIRD time, I started all over again! This time, I added the two extra chains on the one side that seemed to be called for, and finally the scarf that resulted looked right. It only took me two WEEKS to get this scarf done, but finally, it was done, and I was satisfied with how it turned out. It's hell being a perfectionist!

At this point, I had not yet decided to scrap the first scarf, and was thinking seriously about making a third, mainly because even though I hadn't decided to scrap it, I was still not satisfied with how the first had turned out. I thought about making a thread scarf. I had bought some thread and decided to reroll it into a self-pulling ball, to make it easier to work with. Yeah, right! I started in on the thread pattern I had picked out, moving even slower than usual because it had been YEARS since I'd worked with thread, it was taking some getting used to. And that's when the serious tangling issues began. I had gotten about 4 rows into the project when a tug on my supply produced a very nasty BIG pile of tangled thread from out of the center of that "self-pulling" ball I'd wound! After a few futile minutes of attempting to untangle it (and further tugs showed that the whole dadburned thing was going to keep coming out like that!), I tossed it aside, where it sits forlornly even as I type. Eventually I'll get around to rewinding it AGAIN on my new yarn winder (did I mention that little machine is a MIRACLE-MAKER???) and work with it from the outside, as I should have done in the first place. I'm still working on trying to come up with a way to hold the ball while working with it so that it isn't bouncing around all over the place as I crochet, though. As I've been writing this, another idea has formed in my mind, which I will have to try to see if I can implement, since other ideas I've come up with didn't work out to my satisfaction. I'll have to save that discussion for another time, though, it deserves a post all it's own.

But that experience jinxed me, I'm SURE of it! Every blessed ball of yarn I touched from that point until just a few days ago kept tangling every time I tried to use it! THREE different balls of cotton yarn (worsted weight, no less!) turned into big messy clumps of hopelessly knotted material that took HOURS to unravel, during which time I got NO crocheting done at all! Even commercially wound self-pulling skeins were coming out with these big knotted clumps! In total frustration, I decided to take a break from the scarf project and start on my laceweight Seraphina, which I am hoping to have finished for summer wearing season. This too had been handwound onto a toilet paper roll to be a self-winding ball, and at first everything was moving along just fine. Until I tugged on the yarn about 10 rows into my project - and out came the dreaded tangled mass! Since it was impossible to get the yarn to pull while on the tp roll, I had removed it (as I had also done with the thread) - BIG mistake! I managed to untangle it enough to keep on working for a little while, but then another clump came out, and it became quickly obvious that this would be an ongoing headache throughout this project (if not impossible to even continue) if I didn't do something about it.

By this time I had gotten the yarn ball winder that I received as a Mother's Day gift (via a JoAnn's gift card from my loving daughter, combined with a 40% off coupon from JoAnn's), so I took the whole mess to work with me last week (where I had more room and light to work in) and stayed late afterward to rewind the ball with the intention of working it from the outside in, as I later discovered was the "proper" way to work with this kind of yarn. It took over 3 hours to rewind it (!!!), not because the winder was so slow (that was faster than a speeding bullet, to rob the quote from Superman), but the UNwinding from the original ball took forever and a day to do. But I got it done, all the way down to the still-tangled mess that had halted my work on the shawl. By this time, I was blind with exhaustion, so I just wrapped everything up and took it all home. After a good night's sleep, the next day I finally managed to untangle the mess in about an hour, and was finally able to proceed with my project, which is now moving along nicely - I will be posting an update photo by the end of the weekend!

I know I could have just cut the tangled mess out of the supply, reattached the yarn and been on my way, crochet hook flying, but I'm a bit of stubborn sort - and frugal (some would probably say stupidly so). I just plain did not want to waste that yarn! It was a good 5 or 10 yards' worth, and I also really didn't want to have any extra unnecessary ends to have to deal with either. So I persevered - and won. It's amazing the things I can find the patience for! But so far since then (knocking on that old wood again!) I haven't had any more problems with yarn tangling on me, and there were some potentially good opportunities presented, too! It was about that time that I had made the decision to scrap that first scarf and replace it with a third one, which used some of the material from the first. That scarf turned out well, imo, and so this weekend I will be putting the final touches on my package for Becky and, if all goes well, it will be winging it's way to her on Monday. I will be so relieved once it's on it's way! Talk about cutting it close - packages are supposed to be mailed by no later than next weekend! I'm sure I would have been done far sooner with these items had I not run into such a long series of problems. I really hate running myself all the way to the deadline! I'm still struggling to deal with this irrational sense of guilt that I didn't make "enough" for the package, too. I have to keep reminding myself that the requirement was for ONE scarf, not a half a dozen, and that there will be, after all, more than just the one scarf in this package. Besides, for my severely limited budget, I did go all out on this project too. I can be such an insecure fool sometimes!

Anyway, so there's my tale of woe - and thankfully, it appears to be over. Even my crocheting is going more smoothly now. If only the rest of my life would straighten out and be less worrisome, I'd be a happy little camper. I'm still working on that!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Baby Seraphina

And a new shawl is born, amid the tangles (I'll get to that part later!).

This is the first ten rows of the Seraphina Shawl pattern, done in laceweight yarn. This is Shimmer, from KnitPicks, a very fine baby Alpaca and silk blend, wonderfully soft to the touch. Had I been a tad more swift, I would have thought to put something else in the picture to show scale, say like a quarter or something. At this stage of it's development, the piece fits almost perfectly across my open hand! I'm working this with an over-sized hook (using size F), mainly because my eyes are so crappy I wanted to not have to strain to see the stitches, and besides it adds to the lacy effect, imo.

I am working on this here and there, sneaking in rows in between other projects when I can. You can click here to see a larger size picture of it if you like.

After struggling through my first Seraphina, I now have the sequence memorized and I don't even have to refer to the instructions anymore. It really isn't all that hard, once you get the pattern sequence down. I'm pretty excited about this project!
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Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Shawl!

Isis's friend Kyo, in an effort to reduce levels of stress in her life, decided to take up crocheting. She decided to make a shawl as a gift for her grandmother! With help from Isis, who had been carefully watching and listening as I worked on various crochet projects during our workday lunches, she learned how to crochet and started working on her daunting project. She completed the shawl last week, after numerous newby misadventures that I was entertained with on a regular basis, and with lots of helpful tips I conveyed through Isis as the project progressed. One thing Isis didn't know much about, other than tying ends, was fringe, since she'd never actually seen me do that part, and we hadn't discussed it. The girls spent 3 hours cutting each piece of fringe (yes, individually!), knotting and attaching them to the ends of the shawl! And trimming them, since they tended to come out in different lengths, depending on how much tension Kyo put on the thread as she was measuring it. They will know the next time to use cardboard to wrap the yarn and cut the fringe in groups, now that I've told Isis, lol! But for a first project, I think this shawl turned out spectacular and will be a worthy gift received with love!

You have something to be truly proud of, Kyo! Keep up the good work!
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My daughter - the Redhead!

Last night, Isis and her best friend Kyo (pronounced Kee-oh) played with hair dye. Again. This is a routine fun time for the two, dyeing each other's hair. The last time Isis had a date with the dye-pot, the only pictures she would provide showed ONLY her red hair, the little snot! That was what people got when they said "I really want to see your red hair!" She gets that from her father, I'll have you know!

But this time, she has blessed us with shots of her pretty face along with the red hair - and has granted me permission to share it.

My baby, the redhead... Granted, she looks a tad tired, but so would you if you'd been dyeing your hair into the wee hours of the morning!
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Saturday, May 14, 2005

From my Crochetville Secret Pal

This arrived yesterday (or maybe it was the day before, I'm not certain) but it took me awhile to remember to look in my plastic bin by the back door. My postal person hasn't used the bin for so long that I forget to check the thing! I had a sneaking suspicion I'd find a Koontz novel in the package, lol! She gave me a clue when she mentioned getting the idea from something I said in my questionaire, so I went and reviewed it (I'd forgotten what I said, never mind that it took me forever, in the wee hours of a workday morning to fill that dang thing out!). The Thomas Moore book is also a very timely choice, I guess my secret pal has been reading my blog and knows I've been struggling lately. Along with the books came a ball of Lily cotton yarn in a lovely ombre colorway I didn't have - I must admit I've become addicted to cotton yarns, lol! This is a welcome addition to my stash. Thanks Secret Pal! And thanks for the sweet note, too. It really made my day!
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Just call me a space cadet

I've been meaning to post this pic of the lovely stitch markers I got from Rebecca in return for the current issue of Crochet! Magazine, but there have been a mess of distractions in my life lately - some of which I've posted, some which are yet to be posted, and some I think I'll just keep to myself. At any rate, better late than never as the old saying goes... It's such a pretty shade of green that I'm mighty tempted to wear these as earrings sometime too... Well, why not?

Thanks Rebecca - these are great!
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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

It's Done!!!

I was beginning to doubt I'd ever get to say that... At long last, the scarf I've been wrestling with for over a week now is finally complete, right down to the last last evil little tail woven in. All that's left now is the washing and blocking.

I will start on the next (and final) scarf tomorrow, and hopefully this one will be very quick and smooth sailing. I've got other swap projects to get to, after all, plus a gazillion other ones hollering for my attention.

Today, I went through and updated the Seraphina Shawl pattern so it should be easier to follow. I'm hoping to find out soon, as I intend to start my second one soon. I am going to make this one in a laceweight yarn, which should be good for summer - as long as I manage to complete it before summer's over!

I've been thinking long and hard. My lease will be up in just a few short months, and it's become pretty obvious to me that I just can't afford to stay here anymore. I can't take a roomate as there isn't a shred of extra space in this tiny (less than 700 square feet) house - I can barely fit myself in here! But the thought of moving scares the crap out of me. My last move was a living nightmare (and I kept wishing I'd just die and get it over with, but nobody was listening), it was the move from hell. All indications are this next one won't be any better, even if I manage by some sort of miracle to whittle my belongings down to less than half of what I have now. I am planning on putting a garage sale together sometime in the next couple of months, I'll be needing whatever funds I can raise via that route to cover moving costs.

Finding the energy to do all of this will be toughest part of the challenges ahead. And, speaking of which, I'm practically passing out here, guess that means it's bedtime. I owe some emails and responses to some folks, hopefull they'll forgive me if my replies don't go out till tomorrow..

So, until tomorrow!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

I hate Sunday nights

probably almost as much as I hate Mondays! That's because it leads into Monday. It's also because the weekend has slipped by and I haven't gotten anywhere NEAR the amount of items crossed off my to-do list as I wanted, and lately it's mostly been none. Still swimming through the molasses of this damn depression, it just seems to suck all the motivation and energy out of me. I haven't had an episode this bad in over 8 years. The only difference from before that I can see is that I am not spending all my time sleeping as I did before, in fact I'm chronically short of sleep on a routine basis. But for all I manage to get accomplished, I might as well be sleeping!

But that's gonna change. Although I managed to (again) procrastinate my way through the weekend and didn't get to this (though I told myself a million times I must), I will get the research completed by tomorrow, or Tuesday at the latest, to start myself on a flower essence formula again. It was because of the flower essences that I was able to get off the antidepressants 8 years ago and not have any depressive episodes. I know they can help me again, but I just couldn't get my rear in order to do the homework necessary to figure out what the core triggers are in order to put a formula together. Just thinking about doing it gives me a boost of hopefulness. I've seen miracles occur with these gentle little formulas! For the curious, a great place to learn about this form of alternative healing is the Flower Essence Society. For me, they are a much better alternative than taking powerful drugs that are known to carry considerable risks (and more continues to be revealed about how risky they are, and how their makers have done everything to keep that information from us - when I am back in my game, I will dig up and post some links for info that I have about this).

On a much brighter note, I think I have finally broken out of my slump, crochet-wise. After starting my scarf project over again on Friday night, I am now happy to report that I am 75% of the way done! WOO HOO! I am totally thrilled! I must note, however, that the scarf still tends to work up in a rather slanted manner, though not as pronounced (and the extra chains on the one side makes for a nice straight edge to match the other), this is due to the clustering pattern of the stitches and may be more (or less) pronounced for you, depending on your tension. This may be resolved once the edging is stitched into place, but blocking may still be necessary.

Well, as usual, it has taken me over an hour to put this post together (while running off every now and then to take care of those last-minute end of the weekend chores) and it is now officially Monday! Still have a few more things to wrap up and then I have no other choice but to go to bed and hope I sleep well, and wake up ready for whatever challenges this week will bring. I am starting it out with a big one: tomorrow I am to have one of my front teeth pulled and a bridge affixed. Now THERE'S something to look forward to with anticipation! The only consolation (and this will be totally dependent on how I feel when I climb out of that dentist chair) is that there is a Hobby Lobby right across the street from my dentist...

Here's hoping it's a positive, uneventful week for all!

Friday, May 06, 2005

The Bright Spot in my day

In spite of all the frustrating things that have been going on lately, I had a wonderfully cool thing happen today. At the risk of causing total embarrassment, I have to tell this!

I'm a fortunate gal in that my daughter and I work at the same company and usually spend our lunch break together. Most of the time we spend that break walking, as she is on a weight reduction program and I tend to live too sedentary a life, so the walking is good for us. But I haven't yet been able to master crocheting while walking (of course I've tried!), and there are few other opportunities for me to crochet during the day. So I've been talking her into just sitting in the complex courtyard or in the deli during our half hour more often than not, so I can get some crocheting done.

Today, we sat and crocheted together! What a neat feeling it was to have my daughter sharing an interest of mine! A few co-workers even commented on it too, lol! All this time, I've been showing her what I'm doing and explaining the various stitches and mentioning little tips and tricks, but not really expecting her to be absorbing any of it, I was mostly just chattering about my favorite topic. But she's been paying attention all along, and passing some of it on to her best friend, who decided to pick up crocheting too. And she finally decided to join us in the fun! She's doing a great job of learning too. She may not know it, but she gave me a great little mother's day gift today!

Third time's the charm?

All I can say is - I hope so! With surprising calm, I have just started all over from scratch for the THIRD time on this scarf I've been trying to do for the last week. I had scrapped the first effort on Wednesday, fourteen rows into the project (which I'd started on Saturday - I'm not kidding about the errors, folks!) when it became obvious to me there had to also be an error in the pattern, as my piece was developing into a trapezoid, no matter how even and loose my stitches were. But I doubted myself as I started the second attempt, deciding it must have just been me and my stupid errors (figuring I must be dropping some stitches that I wasn't catching). I had lots of trouble with this second attempt too, starting with the fact that my ball of yarn had some flaws in it. I'm using Paton's Grace for this project. I had set aside the first ball, after completely frogging the 14 rows, because I now had a ball of yarn with most of it wound around the outside, making it a bit harder to work as a portable project.

Back to that second attempt. About 5 rows in, I ran into a major bad spot in the yarn, which I had to cut and reattach the yarn. Because the ends kept getting in my way, last night I carefully and thoroughly weaved them in, never imagining for a minute that I might later be contemplating frogging this scarf too! For good measure, I also hid the starting tail, and attached a stitch marker so I'd know which end was which (something I need help with lately - almost can barely tell up from down!). Like I said, I'd first determined that there had to be an error in the pattern, then decided I was imagining things - except that this piece too is developing that odd slant, despite the fact that I KNOW I haven't missed any stitches, and they are all even. Twenty-two rows... To be frogged later. At least up to that first five rows. I've never tried to frog an item that had ends weaved in good and complicated (I'm as insecure as any crocheter about those ends coming loose!). And I've started all over again..., again. This time I'm listening to myself and making the change I determined was the problem. Now, I've only gotten four rows done so far, but already I can see the improvement, and I KNOW I'm right! I should know better than to doubt myself, but considering how badly I kept screwing up, my self-confidence took a severe nose-dive this week.

For anyone else who may also be struggling with this pattern, I am working the crocheted scarf that is in the current issue of Vogue Knitting. The pictures are on pages 92 and 93, with the pattern written up on page 129 of the magazine. It's a simple two-row repeating pattern. Row 1 has you chain 5 at the end before turning, with rows 2 and 3 instructing to chain 3 at that point. But in order to avoid that trapezoid effect, you MUST chain 5 at the end of row 3. In other words, chain 3 on all even rows and chain 5 on all odd rows. It's the only way you'll be able to maintain the pattern stitches correctly. When you reach that point on the next row, your last double crochet should go into the 3rd chain of that chain 5. It should look like a sideways T.

It's only taken me 3 tries to figure it out. This time I think I've finally got it. Now all I have to do is keep my fingers crossed (when I'm not crocheting, of course) that this will also be the end of the dumb errors (putting one double crochet where 5 are supposed to go has been a frequent one, and surprisingly not caught until I reach that spot from the next row. Grrr!). Yeah, okay, so I've had a lot on my mind lately, but it's still ridiculous!

Okay, back to work! I've got a lot of catching up to do...


Made it! I am SO glad it's Friday! This means that tomorrow I can sleep in, and hopefully it will give me a chance to catch up some of the sleep I've been deprived of this week, though not alot. I'm finding as I get older that I just can't sleep for longer than 6 hours at a stretch at most. If Meeps doesn't insist on waking me up (which she's becoming less and less inclined to do as she grows older too), some aching part of my body does, or the call of nature. When I was younger, I would've just sleep-walked to the bathroom and right back to bed for a few more hours of quality sleep, but not anymore! Now, once I've been upright for more than 10 seconds, I'm awake, whether I like it or not. There was a time when I couldn't even imagine this, and now I'm living it. It wouldn't be so bad except that I'm often so exhausted that I can't make good use of all that extra awake time. Well, maybe this weekend I'll get at least a little chance. It would be nice, as I'd like to have plenty of energy for the ambitious plans I have for these next two days.

The most frustrating thing for me this past week has been the incredibly slow progress I've made with my crocheting. What little time I've managed to squeeze out for it has been spent far more often ripping back rather than stitching forward, as I seem to have fallen into an endless cycle of stupid mistakes! And it's not even a hard pattern! It has taken me a full week to successfully complete about 7 inches of scarf!!! I know I can sometimes be a tad slow at this, but that's ridiculous! I'm hoping and praying that the worst of the idiocy is finally behind me and that I will make some speedier progress at it this weekend.

Well, I intend to enter into my weekend time with an optimistic attitude that I will have plenty of completed tasks and (keeping fingers crossed) a finished scarf come Sunday night! Depending on how that goes, I may try to do one more thing before I wrap this project up and ship off Becky's package.

Oh yes - and I haven't forgotten about those pics! If I don't get them done tonight, I PROMISE they will be up tomorrow morning. Kelly did such a wonderful job on these scarves (and SO MANY of them!) that I really want everybody to see them all. And I did take the opportunity to wear two of them this week too. I couldn't resist the one with the white fuzzy yarn, but I am going to have to figure out a better way to pet it during the day. That part of the scarf just happens to, uhm, well, let's just say I had to watch myself for fear of being accused of feeling myself up, lol! I had the scarf draped around my neck and falling down my front. It looked very nice, but like I said, petting was cause for attracting the wrong kind of attention. And it's really hard NOT to pet this scarf!

Crawling toward the weekend (hope I make it!)

Well, I am sooo tired I can't even think straight enough to figure out how to get these dang pictures I wanted to post up on my blog tonight! I'd taken some of them Tuesday but wasn't satisfied with them so I had a second photo-shoot yesterday, and by the time I moved them off the camera to my computer and resized them, it was just too late for me to get them uploaded to photobucket and beyond. So I finally got that done, and now I'm having trouble remembering which line of code is supposed to be used. I really need to get some sleep tonight! Tomorrow's Friday (TGIF!!!), so I think I will hold off until then. I've hardly had the chance to crochet more than a few stitches here and there all week, so I will go finish setting up for the last day of the week and then crochet myself to sleep.

And, of course, I'm woefully behind at Crochetville too. Folks have been yakking up a storm there, and I just haven't been able to keep up. That too is on my "to-do" list, which for this weekend is extra long! I missed WIP Wednesday again, but since I'm still working on my scarf swap projects, there's not really anything else I could display for it yet. All other projects are on hold until I get this done.

Oh yeah, note to my blog-helping angels: hopefully I'll get a chance to play around with those formatting issues again this weekend. I also still have to get working on my main computer, it's reaching critical mass as this one has so many problems it's driving me batty. It's become intolerable and is partially responsible for why I'm running so far behind in everything, it's all taking extra long

Okay, I'm on the verge of falling out of my chair! See ya on the other side of the weekend! Oh, and Rebecca? Don't hold your breath - I doubt I'll be finding that clone any time soon. I've been looking for years, still no sightings!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

48 hour days please!

Either that, or a clone would be nice. Otherwise, I don't think I'll ever be able to get everything done that I want/need/MUST accomplish in these paltry 24 hour periods of time! I am forever shorting myself of sleep in order to cram just a little bit more in, but then I end up being tired all the time. I don't know...

I'm slowly getting into the swing of things with the swaps I'm on, particularly the secret pal swap. This is all new to me so I'm taking it kind of slow. (okay, so well... I do EVERYTHING slow! That's why I need the dang clone!) I'd also like to get my scarf project finished before I start focusing on the other swaps.

And speaking of scarves. Oh. My. GOD! My package from Kelly arrived today - with FIVE of the most gorgeous scarves I think I've ever seen in it! FIVE!!! Because I really want to get a picture of these in the best lighting possible (which will NOT be found here), I am taking them all to work tomorrow (okay, I'll admit it - I want to boast and brag too. You would too if these were yours!), one of them will definitely be wrapped around my neck. Kelly, you absolutely outdid yourself! Thank you so much - I LOVE these scarves, and they will be getting quite a workout this summer!

Which reminds me, it's late! I've got to finish setting up for the morning, and then I'm taking my crochet to bed with me. I hope I can at least get a few rows in (sans frogging) before I pass out for the night.

Pictures of scarves will be posted tomorrow!

Monday, May 02, 2005

Weekend's gone

As usual, my two days of freedom have sped by, leaving me feeling frustrated with how little I managed to accomplish. I spent far too much of this weekend battling extreme sleepiness - and didn't even get a nap in edgewise. I also didn't get any meaningful crocheting done, and that frustrates me most of all! I'm hoping a good night's sleep will help, as I'm also hoping to get some overtime hours all this week (as much as I can wrestle out of 'em at work). I'll be sneaking in some crocheting every spare minute I get, and with any luck won't be spending more time frogging than stitching.

I spent a good part of today researching my secret pal, getting to know her, and I will be thinking of creative ways to enhance her life. And as soon as I can finish my obsession with the summer scarf project, I will be focusing more closely on the Bathroom & Kitchen project. I received some very helpful pics from my swappee of her kitchen today, now all I need to do is get creative.

Well, I'm practically passing out over the keyboard and it's nearly 12:30, so I'm gonna let this one fly. Hopefully I'll manage to update before next weekend! I'll try, I promise.