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, March 27, 2006

Busy weekend

As usual, time keeps speeding on by and leaving me in the dust while my to-do list continues to grow and grow and... well, you get the idea. I've been trying to stay focused on getting my 20 squares done, am happy to report that I am currently working on #13, hoping to get it finished up before bedtime. Until I complete this project, I can't even try to pick anything else up - I've discovered that I get nothing much accomplished when I split my attention between projects. I know many others talk about rotating between projects, mainly due to boredom, but I quickly found that when I tried that, the ufo's just seemed to pile up. And with my recent difficulties with focus and concentration adding to the problem, I'm much better off sticking with working all the way through one project at a time for the time being. So, squares it will be at least until I hit that magic #20.

Now, most of these squares I've been doing are fairly easy ones and really shouldn't be taking me as long as they are. I've been averaging about one a day, which is sloooow! A large part of that is that there have been few that I have managed to work all the way through without dropping with a splash into the frog pond a time or two - or more! I have no doubt it has a lot to do with those focus and concentration issues, combined with an occasionally confusingly written set of instructions. It drives me nuts, but seems to be the story of my life lately. Oh well! [Interestingly enough, I just ran across this, which explains my problems perfectly! Check out numbers 3, 4 and 8 - that's me! The page I linked was included in a periodic e-newsletter, called Chains of Thought, posted by some members on a yahoo group I'm on, Crochetlist.] I do also have to confess that I lose time by browsing around online and trying to keep up with my various lists - can't really include this blog too, seeing as how I haven't been posting all that much - and I just can't do both at once. Believe me, I've tried, and got nowhere fast. And, of course, there's still a life to be lived in between the stitches and the browsing... But my completed stack is growing, and they are all looking quite nice, and I can just imagine each of them being joined up with others into a nice afghan full of love and caring, which makes it all worthwhile. I will take pics of them before I send them off and post here, I promise!

Yesterday, I finally got to meet my newest grandbaby - this is the newest child of my daughter's best friend, who I consider my daughter too, since the two were inseparable throughout their childhood. I also got to see my first grandbaby, who is growing like a little weed, soon to be ten years old (in September). Zoie is pretty special to me, as I was there to greet her when she arrived in this world, a couple of months early. She spent the first few months of her life in a neo-natal care unit, but has grown into a lovely little girl, though reportedly a bit of a handful for mom, as is Abby, at 15 months old. Isis and I made the trip into Chicago to spend the afternoon with them and to (finally) deliver presents we'd both had for them for quite some time. In my case, it was the baby clouds ripple afghan I'd made for Abby shortly after she was born, as well as a mother-daughter capelet set I'd made for Paula and Zoie. They loved them! We had a wonderful time. It was quite late by the time I got back home, and I was pretty pooped, but I still managed to get my daily square made, crocheting much of it in the car while Isis drove. Coming back, it was dark, but I had my nifty little headlamp which allowed me to keep on working, though Isis begged me not to look up while she was driving - especially in the city, lol! I complied, to keep her happy!

I've got a bunch of pictures here to share (what else would you expect from a proud gramma?).

Here's a shot of all my girls. Alas, as usual, my hand betrayed me and shook as I clicked the picture, but it's still passable.
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Yet another blurry shot, this one of Abby with her new blankie
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Shot of me with Paula and Abby (note how clear this shot is?)
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Zoie, concentrating on her new project book (gift from Aunty Isis), a kit for making friendship bracelets.
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Zoie loves all things crafty. She's asked me to teach her how to crochet. It gives me a good excuse to make it back to the city again soon! I suspect she'll take that craft and run with it!

There's a bunch of full-sized pics to check out, if you're so inclined, by clicking this link and then clicking the "next" button to page through the album. One of the two obvious picture sets was taken by Isis while Abby showed us her prowess over her little slide at home (mom was at the end waiting to catch her). These were taken after the playground shots which follow in the album, those were taken by me - and surprisingly not as many blurry shots, even though I was shivering. It was cold out there! But the kids had a lot of fun.

Hopefully, I will manage to get to some of the other things I've been wanting to blog about in the next few days. But for now I'm going to post this and then go work on my current square a bit before heading for bed, which will be very soon. I'm still tired from yesterday's trip!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Wednesday already?

My purse swap package sped to it's recipient: I mailed it Saturday and it was in her hands Monday! Wow, that was FAST! From her reaction in her post on the swap thread, I'm thinking she likes it. But she mentioned something that somehow went completely over my head when I planned and created this tote: she is allergic to wool. She said it doesn't seem to be bothering her, however, and I'm hoping that will continue to be the case. But how could I have missed that??? I thought, at first, "why didn't she mention this in her sign-up form?". So I went and looked, and by golly she DID mention it - how could I have not noticed? And it wasn't a quick little reference in passing either, she made mention of it two or three times! I swear, I'm losing it! Definitely early onset senility!

Now that it is in her hands, I can share pics of it here. My Masterpiece:
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You can see a little pictorial of the bag in the folder I set up for it, start here and click "Next" to move from page to page and see them all!

Once I finished up and got the bag off in the mail, I turned my attention to the next major project on my March challenge list: the squares I pledged for HMB. Sad to say that it's been rather slow going here with these. No matter how hard I try to avoid it, I keep making these stupid mistakes that result in far too many visits to the frog pond. I had one square I worked on for several days, I could have made 3 more squares with the amount of stitches I had to frog and redo on that thing! Can't tell you how relieved I was to finally finish it up TODAY. In the meantime, to save what little sanity I had left, I had started on the next square and got that one wrapped up last night (not as bad but yes, there was frogging involved with that one too). I only just started on square #8 out of 20 today, and already I had to rip back round 2. But I'm moving forward again, have (successfully - aka don't need to be doin' no froggin'!) made it to round 4 and I will now have to take a break to run out for some errands which I delayed doing. I would have had more than 4 done but Phil stopped by for awhile. I'll go ahead and post this and hopefully I'll be back later with more. If not, then tomorrow! Soon!

Okay, whenever...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Oh where oh where has all this time gone?!

Didn't mean to do a disappearing act here, but life has been a tad out of control these past few weeks. I'm trying hard not to panic myself with the litany of to-do's that are playing out in a vicious circle in my brain at the moment while hoping that I don't get derailed (again) by unanticipated demands forcing a rearranging of my daily routines. I've been wracked with so many challenges this first few weeks of March that I don't even want to go down memory lane to review them all again. Suffice it to say it's all water under the proverbial bridge and move forward! There's plenty to capture the attention in this direction too, that's for sure!

Thanks to those events, however, I managed to miss my deadline for the Spring Purse/Tote swap at Crochetville. Having some technical challenges to deal with in the course of this project did NOT help, neither did the major goof I made that had me pretty depressed for days until I was finally able to come up with a reasonable method of camouflaging my error, thus saving the project. I finally completed the last step earlier this evening, and have my first ever tote - a felted one at that! - all wrapped up and ready to fly via postal service to my swappee tomorrow morning. I'll have to wait until she receives her package before I can share my pics of it here. I'll just say for now that it turned out far better than I had expected it to after all is said and done.

Okay, I can't resist sharing a couple of pics of one of my challenges throughout this project. Due to my total absorption, Meeps decided that since she was, by her standards, being "severely neglected", she would find as many creative ways as she could to let me know I wasn't paying enough attention to her. I couldn't catch pics of her trying to run off with pieces of my project (where's that camera when you need it?!), or just causing general mayhem with a well-aimed paw in the middle of a carefully laid out tableau of parts and tools, or the usual attacking of temptingly wiggling yarn, but several times when I would get up for one reason or another, I would return to my crafty spot only to find scenes like this:
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Note how she is peeking at me from her seemingly "deep in slumber" mode? This pose took her all of about 2 minutes to strike up, probably less!

Other times, while I would be desperately working on my computer, and later trying to catch up the heavy backlogs that resulted, she would climb up in the chair across from me and just sit and STARE at me, like this:

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Do you know how hard it is to concentrate when you have someone staring at you with that look? Virtually impossible, that's what it is! She did her mighty best at every opportunity to distract me, pester me and annoy me, anything to get me to drop what I was doing and just go PLAY with her. With most cats, a few minute play sessions here and there would have sufficed, but this cat has inherited my tendency toward obsessive behaviors, and once I give in to a short play session, it's all over. She's after me sometimes as often as every 15 minutes for another one, AROUND THE CLOCK, taking time off only for naps! She's relentless! This has been going on, for the most part, all winter long!

Thank goodness, it will get better once the weather warms up. She'll spend most of her time outdoors then. Winters cooped up with Meeps can be wearing! It's a darn good thing she's so adorable...

So, there was one of my challenges with this project. I will have to save my tales of the others (and the pics) until the bag makes it's destination.

Interestingly enough, my swappee, Tina, also happened to have me as HER swappee, and I received my bag from her yesterday. Here's my springy little purse, which I immediately put to use yesterday when I had to run out in the afternoon to take care of some business - it was just the right size for the few things I needed to carry! Thanks Tina! It's adorable!

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Hopefully, over the next few days, I will begin catching up on things here. I have a bunch of pics to share when I get a chance, and lots of chatter. For now, though, I think I'll go catch up a bit again at Crochetville while I aim for the goal of finishing up square # 5 of the 20 I've pledged for Heartmade Blessings this month - I finally sent in my official pledge tonight so I'm now committed to it. With the bag project out of the way, I shouldn't have any problem meeting my goal with these squares as long as I stay focused on them. And I know I did promise an update pic of Iris - and still hope to sneak in at least 4 rows on it by the end of the month - I'll try to get that photo-shoot set up and done in the next couple of days. For now, this is just my way of letting you all know I'm still here and kickin', just far too busy for my own good!

[LOL! I just HAVE to share this : Just ran my spellcheck in preparation for posting this message. Spell check didn't like the word "swappee" - guess what it recommended as the replacement? "swap pee"! It hates what it considers to be two words put together as one and is always suggesting the split version to me (such as heart made for heartmade), but this one was tooo rich! Sorry, that just cracked me up!]

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Post-Olympic Fever, or Basking in the Glow of the Afterburn

Well, it's been a few days now since I reached my goal of Olympic greatness - and many many thanks for all you wonderful cheerleaders, you really did keep me going even when I hit those snags! Especially you, Kimberly, with your pom poms at the ready! A special thank-you must go to Anna, who volunteered to coordinate it all and thus most likely was left with not enough time to participate herself, a sacrifice which has not gone un-noticed. Not to mention her generosity in ALSO providing a chance to win a real, bonafide PRIZE to all those who reached their finish lines on time - this was truly a sweet offering as well as a wonderful carrot to dangle before our glazed eyes as some of us may have begun faltering along the road to the gold!

Since I ended up with MORE than plenty of leftover yarn from my project, sometime in the very near future, I want to make a throw pillow to match my afghan. Once that is done, I will decide upon the fate of this set. As much as I'd love to keep it for myself, I have a very lengthy list of folks I have been wanting to gift, it will simply be a matter of deciding who this set wants to go live with. Or, perhaps, I can use it as a barter item in a trade with someone who has something I need and who would enjoy the set in return. All I know is that it can't remain here and stay intact - Meeps has a tendency to cozy up, heavily to these fuzzy kinds of blankets. It could be due to her being weaned suddenly and very early in her life (we rescued her from certain death by automobile when she was 3 weeks old - momma nowhere in sight while baby was stranded in the middle of a very busy road. At night! Fortunate for her that Phil has such incredibly good eyesight to have spotted her. But anyway, she developed this penchant for sucking on fuzzy towels and blankets at a very early age, and my Homespun is very susceptible to her sandpaper tongue! I had to stop her several times from "nursing" on my project while I was working on it, so I know it wouldn't last long if I were to drape it over a chair or on the bed.

Oh yes, one last little detail - the size of the finished item. It came in a tad smaller than the pattern dimensions, though in my opinion not enough to explain the fact that I used nowhere near the amount of both yarns called for in the materials list. I didn't even get around to measuring it until yesterday (that being Tuesday, in case I slip over the midnight mark before getting this posted, a likely possibility since I keep wandering off to do other things). Being made primarily of single crochet stitches (the stitches that comprise the pattern and texture were only a small percentage of the total in actuality), this is a very dense and warm blanket, measuring out to 46 inches wide by 53 inches long, unstretched. The pattern gave dimensions of 50 x 56 inches, and my gauge was pretty spot on, at least when I created my test swatch. The pattern had called for 36 oz of Homespun, or 1,110 yards, and 30 oz of the Jiffy, for a total of 1,350 yards of that yarn. I used approximately 25 oz of the Homespun (about 770 yards) and 25 oz (also) of the Jiffy (approximately 1,125 yards). That's quite a variance from the pattern, a bit on the unusual side - and I'm not generally known for stitching too tightly either. I'm not upset, however - much better to end up with too much yarn than to run out before finishing your project! You can always find other uses for the leftovers. Like I mentioned before, I intend to make a matching pillow with mine.

So, now that my big challenge is behind me, what next? My success with this challenge has gotten me pretty well revved up and I'd like to keep this momentum going! Well, Sara decided to keep the yahoo group open that she had started for this CAL. We are in the process of selecting a new name for the group, to reflect the shift in focus. It was decided that everyone did SO well when they set goals for themselves, and had the support of fellow crocheters to cheer them toward completing their goal, that it was decided that we could do this on a regular basis, albeit monthly. Considering that I can barely keep up with all of my other online activities (and have a life too, go figure), I had to think for awhile before deciding to stay with the group. Having an official place stocked with "support staff" to set goals toward project completions was too enticing for me to pass up, especially as I looked around at all the stash piled up in nearly every room of this little house! I felt that if I commit myself to a certain amount of achievements accomplished on a monthly basis, I might actually begin to scratch the surface of this stash and get the many things I've dreamed of making - made!

And so, I have set my choices for the March challenge. There was no need for lengthy thought on this first one, which is one I'd already been committed to, with a deadline that is fast rushing up on me (so I'd better get crackin' on it!), and that would be my project for the purse/tote swap over at Crochetville. I have a felted tote planned - it will be my first - and after browsing several different tote patterns, both felted and not, I may end up just loosely following a pattern and mostly just winging it. I did make a test piece, a small envelope type bag, from the same materials I will be using for the tote, and felted it to see what I could expect from these materials, so I think I'm pretty much ready to go with this project. I just gotta get started on it and go!

Now, I didn't get started on it yet today, as I'd hoped - I managed to get myself distracted with a million and one other things, but crochet-wise it was due to finishing up a square I had started yesterday. And that leads me right into my second goal for March. Ironically enough, I have to make an adjustment on this goal even before I got a chance to post it here, though I will have to adjust it on the group database as well. Several weeks ago, the crochet dude had posted a request for 12 inch squares for the Heartmade Blessings comfortghan projects. Apparently they've been getting overwhelmed with requests for these afghans and are a bit short on squares. I've been wanting to do this for some time now but had been held back by my blessed slowness. I'm hoping my Olympic exercise will have helped me to speed things up, crochetwise, so that I can accomplish much more than I've managed to so far since I picked those hooks back up a year and a half ago. For some reason, squares have been a real challenge for me, leaving me feeling rather stupid to be having such difficulty with such a basic project. My plan, however, was to pledge 10 squares to the dude. A little while ago, I was catching up with the postings on another yahoo crochet group I belong to that has a charity drive each month along with a 24 hour crochet chat session on the third weekend of the month. For March, it happens to be the very same Heartmade Blessings - they are asking for pledges of 12 inch squares! So, I think I will go ahead and increase my goal from 10 to 20 squares for the month of March, and see if I can exceed that! This will hopefully also help me to begin reducing some of my acrylic stash. I knew I'd been collecting those 12 inch square patterns for a reason!

Of course, I won't be able to start working on the square challenge until after I get my tote done. Many people like to work on multiple projects at a time, but I've found that for the most part, I have to focus and concentrate on one specific project if I hope to get it done in a reasonable amount of time - I don't do well if I jump from one thing to another and then back again. Which is why I decided to finish the square I'd started yesterday before starting on the tote. But at least I can happily report that I am going into this March challenge with TWO out of the twenty squares I have committed myself to make! I kinda like being able to start a bit ahead of the game!

Depending on how I'm doing with my squares, and on how busy other commitments in the non-crafty areas of my life are (it's shaping up to be a very busy month for me), I am also going to try and get at least another 4 rows done on Iris, my laceweight Seraphina (adding this: hunting the link for my last mention of Iris, I found only the original "new project" post with pic. We are due for an update shot, be on the lookout!). I had started that project way back at the end of October (corrected: it was actually first week of November) but haven't worked on it with the focus and commitment I needed to get it to the finish line, and it still has a long way to go. I'm estimating somewhere around 40 more rows are needed to finish it, and I'm planning to fringe this one. So, if I can, I will try to get 4 rows in, and maybe I'll commit to completing it in April.

Not surprisingly, I have managed to reach way past the midnight hour into the wee hours of the new day. In some fairness to myself, though, I did start this several hours ago and then wandered off and got busy with something else; came back and wrote for awhile and then repeated the process. Often, that's how my messages end up getting so large! I also suffer from the written version of gabbiness that my daughter has verbally! I could go on and on forever! I do have other things to talk about, but I will save them since it is so late - and I'm still (perhaps foolishly) hoping to at least get started on my tote tonight before I have to head to bed (uhm, was that a whine? Okay, maybe it was. I hate to sleep lately, though - too much to do, not enough time for me to get it all accomplished. Sleep robs me of that precious time, so I tend to push the envelope a bit. But that's got to end soon, gotta get used to being on a "regular" schedule again soon, in preparation for working a job).

More tomorrow - including some pics I want to share!