Saturday, October 08, 2016

been a long time......

Well....
I really don't have any excuses, it's not like I have been on a round the world cruise or working hard on my thesis. But I have been working on my life, so I should get props for  that - at least I'm going to give myself  props for that.
Meanwhile, my life has changed with the addition of 6 cats, bringing my total cat number up to 8 cats. I know, insane. These 6 were my brother's cats, he married and moved out of state and somehow I inherited them. Well, I shouldn't say "somehow" - I couldn't put them in a shelter even if it was no kill shelter.
It's good to know that cats are cats no matter where they are at. The gang of 6 (as I call them) love sleeping on crocheted items and yarn. anyway.....

I am currently working on the "never ending zinnia" afghan. I've got about 30 inches into it and I have decided to take a break. I have a difficult time getting the stitch count correct.  If I don't  get the stitch count correct, I don't get the petal round correct. I know that has to be an easier way to do this afghan, but I just haven''t hit upon it yet.  With most afghans, 30 inches in would be about halfway finished. But this afghan is in the round and I want it big enough to cover my full sized bed. I am tempted to square the round off and just make a huge plain border around it, But I also still want the afghan, so I will have to suss this out to finish it

I took a break from that afghan and I am working on a scarf It's a very basic pattern, I'm sure it's got a proper name but I don't know what it is. It consists of working on a base of an odd number of stitches and it's a single crochet stitch alternating wiith a half double crochet stitch (US terminology). This gives the scarf a nice texture.  I am using Premier's "Sweet Roll" yarn in red as it is to be a Christmas gift. The "Sweet Roll" yarn is similar to the "cakes" by Caron, it is one color  bleeding into the next color. The Premier yarn is soft plus it's  100% acrylic. I know some of you are going "ugh acrylic" and that's your choice. The Caron yarn is an 80/20 mixture, 80% acrylic and 20% wool. I don't do well with wool, it makes me feel congested and itchy.  Mohair, beautiful as it is, also does that to me. I don't know if it's an allergy or what but I avoid working with that type of yarn.

Another activity I have been doing s destashing my yarn. It's unbelievable but true, I have more yarn than I can ever use in my life even if I learn how to crochet with my feet. So far I have given 10 trash bags full of good yarn to charity. I have been tossing the ratty ones out.  It's really hard for me to part with yarn, it's like parting with a dream. - the dream, the thought that this beautiful skein will  inspire me to crochet a beautiful item. Thanks to the interweb, I can see new yarn and new patterns every day. I can not possibly crochet every pattern I have saved or craved, so I am finding good homes for my yarn.  It makes me forget (a little) about how much money I spent to acquire the yarn. 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

CROCHETERS´ NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

~ Nancy Massaroni adapted by Dee Stanziano ("Crocheting with Dee"). If you use this poem, please give credit to Nancy Massaroni and Dee Stani

`Twas the night before Christmas and all around me
There was unfinished crocheting not under the tree,
The stockings weren´t hung by the chimney with care
`Cause the heels and the toes had not a stitch there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
But I had not finished the caps for their heads.
Dad was asleep-he was no help at all.
And the sweater for him was 6´´ too small.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I put down my hook to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash.
Tripped over my yarn and fell down in my stash.

The tangle of yarn that lay deep as the snow
Reminded me how far I still had to go.
When out on the lawn I heard such a noise,
I was sure it would wake up both Dad and the boys.

And although I was tired-my brain a bit thick,
I knew in a moment that it must be St Nick.
Yet what I heard left me very perplex-ed
For nothing I heard was what I expect-ed.

"Move Rowan! Move Patons! Move Koigu and Clover!
Move Shelridge! Move Starmore! Move Spinrite! Move over!
Lopi, don´t circle around, just stand there in line.
Pay attention you sheep and you´ll work out just fine!

I know this is hard as it´s just your first year
But I´d hate to go back to 8 tiny reindeer."
I peered over the sill. What I saw was amazing:
Eight wooly sheep on my lawn all a-grazing!

And then in a twinkle, I heard at the door
Santa´s big boots stomping on the porch floor.
I rose from my knees and got back on my feet.
As I turned around, St Nick I did meet.

He was dressed all in wool from his heat to his toe
And his clothes were hand crochet from above to below.
A bright Fair Isle sweater he wore on his back.
And his toys were all stuffed in an Aran crochet sack.

His hat was a wonder of bobbles and lace
A beautiful frame for his rosy red face.
The scarf on his neck could have stretched for a mile,
And the socks peeking over his boots were Argyle.

On the back of his mitts was an intricate cable.
And suddenly on one I spotted a small label:
"S.C." in duplicate on the cuff.
So I asked, "Hey, Nick, did YOU crochet all this stuff?"

He proudly replied, "Ho, ho, ho, yes I did.
I learned how to crochet when I was just a kid."
He was chubby and plump, a well dressed old man,
And I laughed to myself, for I´d thought up a plan.

I flashed him a grin and jumped up in the air,
And the next thing he knew, he was tied to a chair.
He spoke not a word, but looked down in his lap
Where I had laid my crochet hook and yarn for a cap.

He began then to crochet, first one cap then 2-
For the first time I thought I might really get through.
He put heels in the stockings and toes in some socks,
While I sat back drinking a scotch on the rocks.

Quickly like magic his hooks they flew,
Good Grief! He was finished by two!
He sprang for his sleigh when I let him go free,
And over his shoulder he looked back at me.
I heard him explain as he sailed past the moon,
"Next year, start your crocheting sometime around

Thursday, September 03, 2015

It has been almost 4 years since I have posted anything of any length to this blog. Many things have happened in these last 4 years.
One of the biggest reasons I did not post came on October 22, 2012. That is when my beloved husband of 30 years, Craig Andersen, died of a heart attack. I had been working on a curtain panel of a filet lion but not that quickly. I kept getting the count wrong at row19. I had finally broken through whatever was causing the problem and was at about 25 rows when he died. I could have crocheted the 30+ rows to finish. But I couldn't. I totally ripped that project apart, crying the whole time. I always referred to Craig as my cheerleader because that's one of the many things he was to me. I had nobody to say "hey that looks great" or encourage me the way he did and I didn't crochet for a very long time.

My hands would be idle while I watched television and I did not miss the feel of the hook and the yarn. I was so numb, I didn't miss anything. Yup, I looked at patterns and bought yarn when I was in the mood,, but that wasn't that often. I still continued my crochet magazine subscriptions but nothing interested me enough to make it.  I had wooed and won Craig with a combination of crochet (a lion) and banana bread and I didn't want to think about such things.

I'd love to tell you that one day, I got a fantastic pattern or a gorgeous yarn and the crochet block was broken. If I said this,  I would be lying.  But a friend asked me to make a hat and scarf set for his roommate. And I did, it wasn't anything fancy. Just a shell stitch scarf in a cream color and a hat made of single crochet with a shell stitch brim. I had made up the pattern (well,  I can't really say it was a pattern - just shell stitches) that I could do automatically without thinking or looking. That wasn't the huge chip in the crochet block but it was a crack.  Slowly I became more interested in my crochet and yarn. It probably took me over 2 years to finally completely break it. Now when I watch television, I have to be crocheting _something_. My hands itch to have hook and yarn in them. I look at yarn catalogs the way some women look at shoes.

And so it goes. I would still need to crochet with both hands and both feet 24/7/365 to use up the large stash I have. And I am dumb enough to buy more yarn ("but it was on sale" syndrome). It is a great comfort to me because out of all the things that have changed in the world, crochet hasn't. Sure, new yarns, different patterns, different stitches, different hooks but still the same soothing ritual.
To me, there is something awesome to be able to have a "hobby" that can help me heal.

And since I am being thankful for that, I should also give a shout out to my older sister Bee (who died 7 years ago). Bee taught me how to knit, crochet and cut patterns out. Without Bee's instructions, I doubt I would have gotten into the needle arts.  I didn't know anyone or never noticed anyone doing needle art. Since we were together constantly, she had the time and strangely enough, the patience to teach me the skills. I was lucky. If you ever get a chance to teach someone to crochet or knit, any needle arts, I advise you to definitely try to teach them. You are giving them a lifetime gift, it's almost like teaching someone to read. It opens up a whole new world of possibilities and that person will be forever grateful for your lessons.
 

Monday, December 01, 2014

Twas the night before Christmas for crocheters

CROCHETERS´ NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

~ Nancy Massaroni adapted by Dee Stanziano ("Crocheting with Dee"). If you use this poem, please give credit to Nancy Massaroni and Dee Stani

`Twas the night before Christmas and all around me
There was unfinished crocheting not under the tree,
The stockings weren´t hung by the chimney with care
`Cause the heels and the toes had not a stitch there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
But I had not finished the caps for their heads.
Dad was asleep-he was no help at all.
And the sweater for him was 6´´ too small.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I put down my hook to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash.
Tripped over my yarn and fell down in my stash.

The tangle of yarn that lay deep as the snow
Reminded me how far I still had to go.
When out on the lawn I heard such a noise,
I was sure it would wake up both Dad and the boys.

And although I was tired-my brain a bit thick,
I knew in a moment that it must be St Nick.
Yet what I heard left me very perplex-ed
For nothing I heard was what I expect-ed.

"Move Rowan! Move Patons! Move Koigu and Clover!
Move Shelridge! Move Starmore! Move Spinrite! Move over!
Lopi, don´t circle around, just stand there in line.
Pay attention you sheep and you´ll work out just fine!

I know this is hard as it´s just your first year
But I´d hate to go back to 8 tiny reindeer."
I peered over the sill. What I saw was amazing:
Eight wooly sheep on my lawn all a-grazing!

And then in a twinkle, I heard at the door
Santa´s big boots stomping on the porch floor.
I rose from my knees and got back on my feet.
As I turned around, St Nick I did meet.

He was dressed all in wool from his heat to his toe
And his clothes were hand crochet from above to below.
A bright Fair Isle sweater he wore on his back.
And his toys were all stuffed in an Aran crochet sack.

His hat was a wonder of bobbles and lace
A beautiful frame for his rosy red face.
The scarf on his neck could have stretched for a mile,
And the socks peeking over his boots were Argyle.

On the back of his mitts was an intricate cable.
And suddenly on one I spotted a small label:
"S.C." in duplicate on the cuff.
So I asked, "Hey, Nick, did YOU crochet all this stuff?"

He proudly replied, "Ho, ho, ho, yes I did.
I learned how to crochet when I was just a kid."
He was chubby and plump, a well dressed old man,
And I laughed to myself, for I´d thought up a plan.

I flashed him a grin and jumped up in the air,
And the next thing he knew, he was tied to a chair.
He spoke not a word, but looked down in his lap
Where I had laid my crochet hook and yarn for a cap.

He began then to crochet, first one cap then 2-
For the first time I thought I might really get through.
He put heels in the stockings and toes in some socks,
While I sat back drinking a scotch on the rocks.

Quickly like magic his hooks they flew,
Good Grief! He was finished by two!
He sprang for his sleigh when I let him go free,
And over his shoulder he looked back at me.
I heard him explain as he sailed past the moon,
"Next year, start your crocheting sometime around

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

The Scarf I Didn't Make

It's the first day of 2014. This is the day when people review all they accomplished in the previous year and all they want to accomplish in the upcoming year. But this post is about something I did not do in 2013 or 2012 either. On October 22, 2012, my husband of 30 years died. I posted a few thing about it (I think). I took apart a curtain panel I was working on for him. The last bit of 2012 and through 2013 was devoid of crochet activity. Yeah, I started a few things. I have one and a half of a pair of socks done. I have almost all of a scarf done. I have scads of books and magazines and of course the internet to encourage and inspire me. But crocheting was such a huge part of my life with Craig, I abandoned it. After all, it was part of our courtship. When I was home recuperating from surgery, in the beginning of our relationship, I crocheted a small lion for him. I knew he liked lions and I was a little apprehensive about giving a man a toy. But I thought what the heck and it turned out fine - despite the "sweater curse" ;) The scarf I didn't make was going to be for Craig. I picked out the yarn (Lion Brand Homespun, the creamy white color). Soft to the touch and beautiful, I looked forward to making this scarf for Craig. I had no pattern in mind, but I would let the yarn make the decision. I almost bought it about 8 days before he died. We were at an A.C. Moore's and I was admiring the Lion Brand display. I got hit by some sort of stomach bug and we left the store without me making the purchase. I thought it wasn't a big deal. I am at A.C. Moore often enough to get the yarn. And it was mid-October, so plenty of time to crochet a scarf. Sadly, I was terribly wrong. No warning, no signs and in the blink of an eye, he died. I was (and still am) devastated by the loss of my long time cheerleader. I couldn't crochet - after all, that's what I did sitting next to him on the sofa. It was part of our life together. Besides, I couldn't crochet. My hands seemed to forget what I needed to do. I was too exhausted from work - and not sleeping. I couldn't follow a pattern to save my life. I couldn't even make up a pattern. Even the simple single crochet seemed much too complex for me to do. I'd say I had crocheters block, but this was much deeper than that. This was grief, hard, wet and cold. Extremely slowly, I began to take tiny steps away from the grief. At over a year later.....well, I don't believe anybody "gets over" the grief of losing someone. But it isn't always front and center in my head now. It's not always the first thing on my mind when I wake up in the morning and the evenings don't always end with losing Craig being the last thought on my mind. It's been a long difficult walk. Luckily I had my sons (along with Friends and family) to help me along the way. I'd like to thank everyone for their patience and love during this time period. So I have begun crocheting more now. I intend to finish up the loose ends from 2012 before jumping into a new project. And although Craig would have never used the scarf unless it was extremely cold or windy out, I regret not crocheting it. I think about the making of it. I think about Craig wearing the scarf. And here I am. I have no great insight for anyone facing grief. I'm sure you have heard all of them and their various variations long before you read this little piece. Just every once in a while, linger with your loved ones a little longer with your loved ones. It will make a world of difference to them and to you.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

And all through the house.....

Night Before Christmas for Crocheters
Twas the Night before Christmas (for crocheters)
If you've used this poem in the past, the info is CROCHETERS CHRISTMAS EVE, Original knit version by Nancy Massaroni, 2003, rewritten (crochet version) by Dee Stanziano, 2006. If you use this poem, please give Nancy Massaroni and Dee Staniziano authors credit.




CROCHETERS´ NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

~ Nancy Massaroni adapted by Dee Stanziano ("Crocheting with Dee")

`Twas the night before Christmas and all around me
There was unfinished crocheting not under the tree,
The stockings weren´t hung by the chimney with care
`Cause the heels and the toes had not a stitch there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
But I had not finished the caps for their heads.
Dad was asleep-he was no help at all.
And the sweater for him was 6´´ too small.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I put down my hook to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash.
Tripped over my yarn and fell down in my stash.

The tangle of yarn that lay deep as the snow
Reminded me how far I still had to go.
When out on the lawn I heard such a noise,
I was sure it would wake up both Dad and the boys.

And although I was tired-my brain a bit thick,
I knew in a moment that it must be St Nick.
Yet what I heard left me very perplex-ed
For nothing I heard was what I expect-ed.

"Move Rowan! Move Patons! Move Koigu and Clover!
Move Shelridge! Move Starmore! Move Spinrite! Move over!
Lopi, don´t circle around, just stand there in line.
Pay attention you sheep and you´ll work out just fine!

I know this is hard as it´s just your first year
But I´d hate to go back to 8 tiny reindeer."
I peered over the sill. What I saw was amazing:
Eight wooly sheep on my lawn all a-grazing!

And then in a twinkle, I heard at the door
Santa´s big boots stomping on the porch floor.
I rose from my knees and got back on my feet.
As I turned around, St Nick I did meet.

He was dressed all in wool from his heat to his toe
And his clothes were hand crochet from above to below.
A bright Fair Isle sweater he wore on his back.
And his toys were all stuffed in an Aran crochet sack.

His hat was a wonder of bobbles and lace
A beautiful frame for his rosy red face.
The scarf on his neck could have stretched for a mile,
And the socks peeking over his boots were Argyle.

On the back of his mitts was an intricate cable.
And suddenly on one I spotted a small label:
"S.C." in duplicate on the cuff.
So I asked, "Hey, Nick, did YOU crochet all this stuff?"

He proudly replied, "Ho, ho, ho, yes I did.
I learned how to crochet when I was just a kid."
He was chubby and plump, a well dressed old man,
And I laughed to myself, for I´d thought up a plan.

I flashed him a grin and jumped up in the air,
And the next thing he knew, he was tied to a chair.
He spoke not a word, but looked down in his lap
Where I had laid my crochet hook and yarn for a cap.

He began then to crochet, first one cap then 2-
For the first time I thought I might really get through.
He put heels in the stockings and toes in some socks,
While I sat back drinking a scotch on the rocks.

Quickly like magic his hooks they flew,
Good Grief! He was finished by two!
He sprang for his sleigh when I let him go free,
And over his shoulder he looked back at me.
I heard him explain as he sailed past the moon,
"Next year, start your crocheting sometime around JUNE!"