Finding comfort when people are sick and dying, how ? For example, knitting and crochet is one way.
It has been a while now since my last blog post. With Baggy cat’s passing, I did not have the energy to sit and write about something I created or learned. Slowly as time went by, I took to hook and needle to seek some comfort.
My comfort has been knitting and crocheting afghans, lap throws, baby blankets, table toppers. On average, the big blankets can take 2-3 months from start to finish. When my hands are stiff and achy, I give them a break and I continue to sew facemasks. As you can see from the photos here, I have been busy.
The patriotic throw came to me during the summer. I wanted to do a solid granny square, and instead of just one color, I wanted to use several colors from my yarn stash that I have.
The baby blanket with tassles uses the technique called Join As You Go Corner To Corner. I learned this from a YouTube video by Fiber Spider. There are 3 parts to this video and the designer is very thorough in his instructions. It uses the same technique as Corner To Corner, but instead of working from one corner to another corner, you crochet in squares and rectangles.
The knit log cabin baby blanket was a custom order for a friend. She requested 2 blankets, about the same size for her grandbabies. Looking at my yarn, I chose this stripe yarn that has 4 colors in it, and to finish it off, I framed it with crochet edging.
Plus my knitting guild has been doing a year-long knit-a-long and crochet-a-long. Even though we do not meet in person, there is a monthly zoom meeting. Each month, in our newsletter, a sample of a knit square and crochet square are given. You are learning a new technique that will, at the end of the year, create something as small as a lap throw to as large as a blanket. These are a few samples of what I have created. I stepped aside from these blocks for other projects, and now have 3 months to catch up.
This is my current comfort project that I just finished a couple weeks ago: Oversized Granny Square Blanket . The original design was going to be solid squares, but after crocheting a few rows, I would run out of yarn quickly. Therefore, I ripped back a few rows and continued by changing colors every round. Furthermore, gray is a great accent color.
The queen size granny square blanket took on a life of its own. Each square consists of a rainbow of color interspersed with several shades of gray. The 16 blocks are 20 inches square and are stitched together using the slip stitch method. Each row is one color of the blanket along with each column.
The blanket lays on top of our quilt which adds a layer of warmth. Gizmo kitty takes full advantage of the blanket, as its his favorite spot to nap. As sleeps against my legs, the blanket keeps him warm, likewise my legs stay warm too.
Be safe, wear your face mask and don’t stress. Here is a sneak peak into my next project: Crocheting with gradient yarns.
Safe at home, stay at home, self-quarantine. These are common words we hear every day, hour, minute of our lives. Scary words, scary time. Since we are all in the same predicament, I have come up with some ideas to help you get out of the doldrum of boredom.
These ideas are not just fiber related. Things I have come
up with while thoroughly looking around my apartment. Some may sound crazy, but
when you think about it, a little more organization never really hurts you.
These will keep your mind off of the news, and onto a more tranquil life.
Music. Who doesn’t like listening to music. You don’t need a stereo or boombox anymore. Look at your cable network, mine is Spectrum, it has music channels on it. Scroll up from and you will see Music Choice channels based on genre like Classical, Party Favorites, Jazz, just to name a few. Or you can take your phone and Bluetooth speaker, hook them up and you have music from your phone.
Puzzles, Games, Legos. Whether, jigsaw, crossword, scrambled words. Puzzles can bring families together to create time well spent. Grab a jigsaw puzzle you find interesting likes these, clear your table and get working on it. Before you know, several hours have passed. My husband and I like to test ourselves with crossword puzzles. I work the across clues, he the down clues and see who can answer more clues.
While we stay at home and feel safe at home, here are a few crafty ideas that will not only create fun items but you may even clear out those remnants that have been sitting around.
Scrappy Blanket. Comfort is what we need these days and nothing says comfort more than a blanket, afghan, or lap throw. The idea here is to use up remnant balls of stash yarn. You know those balls of yarn that are not enough for a project. Knit or crochet a few rows, or until that ball runs out, change to the next color and so on. Random choice of colors. Just go with the flow and have fun. When done, you can curl up, and relax with your pet.
Placemats, washcloths, coasters. Solids, stripes, mix
& match colors. The possibilities are endless. You choose the yarn and play
with it. Many patterns and ideas are out on the web. Try Pinterest for
inspiration. But be careful, before you know it, many hours can slip by… but
isn’t that a good thing?
Inventory Your Yarn Stash. While you are safe at home, do you really know how much yarn you have? How many skeins/hanks/balls of a particular color, brand you own? Now is a great time to work through some angst and sort through those bags, bins and bundles and organize your stash. Don’t forget to turn up the music for some background sounds.
A friend and fellow knitting guild member showed me her massive
list of yarn. I went home and wanted to see how much yarn I really have. My
list has categories that include yarn brand, color, weight, quantity of skeins,
yardage, location of purchase.
This is just one page of my list. It took me 2 days to inventory my yarn. Amd now every time I pull yarn off the shelf and use it, it is either deleted from my stash or if a portion is used. It is then weighed and inventory adjusted.
Try a new craft. Last year I started sewing after 20 years. My hands get quite sore from knitting and crocheting and I needed something crafty to do. I used to make clothes while working at a fabric store when I first moved to So Cal back in 1983. I pulled out my old Sears Kenmore sewing machine. Guess what? It no longer works, so last fall, I purchased a new machine.
That machine worked great for clothes, now for my 2020 project: Pillowcases, flannel pillowcases. Using 2 different fabrics, pillowcases can be sewn quickly. Remember as a kid, you would go to a friend’s house for a sleepover and you brought your own pillow. That is where this project came from.
Each one unique, a fun project for friends, family. My
family were the first to get personalized pillowcases. I chose fabrics that I
thought were reflected who they are. I
am always looking for new projects, keeps the mind focused.
Limit the social networking. While we hunker down safe at home, we need a little social networking, i.e. facebook, Instagram, twitter. But how much is too much? When you look at what is posted, if you find that more and more posts are all about the pandemic, that can cause anxiety and stress. Lighten the load. Don’t hang out on the site for too long.
For me, I check-in in the morning, read some posts, and comments on my page and change my background picture. I play a game or 2 and when I feel my time is spent, I leave the site and work on something else. Currently my wallpaper has plumeria flowers on it.
I love flowers, recently I asked my friends to send me pictures of their flower gardens. I choose a different flower to post to my page. This makes me feel good. No bad news, all flowers.
Most importantly, turn off the news. I found that after
watching many hours a day of the same, horrifying news, I became withdrawn, depressed,
angry. I had enough of the news.
As I went outside, I sat on the stairs and let the sun soak into my head, neck and face. It felt good, so I pruned my geraniums of dead flowers and brown leaves, very calming and meditative.Sun and flowers are good combination for calm.
I stay safe from my neighbors and enjoyed the warmth I got from the sun, that natural vitamin D. I started to feel better, my attitude more upbeat. A little bit of sun every day makes you feel better, get outside and enjoy it for yourself.
I stopped watching hours of the news, now I only watch about 15 to 30 minutes a day. I take time for myself, my husband and my cats.
Now what are you going to do to feel better mentally?
Its New Year’s Eve, and 2018 is almost gone. Where did the
year go? It felt like it went out faster than I can recall it being 2018. The
year ended with me getting a cold that just won’t go away. Day 6 and its still
here. So while I am resting, I thought I would put to paper my year in review.
January started out fantastic for Lee. The temp job he had
became a permanent job! YES, Lee working full time, getting benefits, vacation
hours. That makes up for the past 4 years. His boss is so nice, the company
feels like an extended family, they all get along.
2018 began with me crocheting tentacles for the octupuses I
ship to my consignor. Usually the first 3 months are quiet, but with Lee’s new
job, he started to bring in a few of my animals to show his co-workers. All of a sudden, sales were happening, custom
orders were being taken and I was busy crocheting new animals.
Between consignment and new co-workers, I crocheted 150
animals, 90 of them went to Buy Hand Laguna Beach, 30 went to Lee’s co-workers
of Lee and the rest for arts & crafts shows.
2018 I resolved to keep my consignor in stock of crochet
animals, kids hats, and crossbody bags. I shipped product to her 9 times this
year. She kept me quite busy, especially during the summer, with emails asking
for crochet animals, as they were selling quicker than expected. That made it
easy for me to not do any spring craft shows, more time devoted to her.
2018 found me creating and designing more patterns than in
previous years. This year accounted for 6 new patterns. There were scarves, a
hat, new animals just to name a few. I hope to be able to create more in 2019.
We did have a few fun moments: we saw one of my all-time
favorite bands this summer. The Brian Setzer Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl.
Great concert, well worth the price. I just wish we could see his Christmas
concert, it usually falls on the same night as Lee’s company holiday party.
The one project I HAD to do was to make my brother the
blanket he now has. He lost his home in the summer to a wildfire in Redding. He
lost everything he and Kris had. They got out, with their kitty, that was the
most important to get out alive. They will rebuild on the same site. The blanket
took me 3 weeks to make, a lot of hard work went into making it, but they have
a new heirloom to cherish, and to keep warm.
Not only did Los Angeles have the Yarn Crawl in April, this
past November, Stitches So Cal happened in Pasadena. Lee and I provided the fixtures
for the knitting guild booth to display members knitted and crocheted items from
classes we had taken. I knitted and crocheted 6 seat cushions for the booth.
2018 ended with just 1 craft show I participated in. I was
able to clear out merchandise I had been crocheting and knitting this year.
Even one of my favorite grocery checkers purchased scarves from me. She placed
2 custom orders, with a third order to be placed in the next few days.
There you go, 2018 was quite an eventful year. The kitties pouncing, playing with each other, getting along as the year went by. Lee working many hours every day, up at 4:30am, asleep by 9pm. Me, learning new skills, taking time to create new product, working on the blog.
Here’s to 2019, resolutions or not: Blogging, stay healthy & happy, take time for myself, relax and enjoy each day as it comes.