Thursday, September 29, 2005

crocheter's block & scraps

I've been quiet of late, as has been my crochet hooks. The last thing I crocheted, the lion for my nephew, was cremated with him and the ashes were scattered at a special place. I haven't even made any preemie caps. And the poncho I was working on is just sort of sitting there, waiting for me to pick it up again. There is no doubt about the fact that I have crocheter's block, but given all that has happened in the last few weeks, it's a wonder I even think about crochet.

I've had some very bright moments - Beatriz Medina sent me some gorgeous doilies. She does such great work and to know she was thinking of me really brightened up my whole day. I plan to take photos of them (really this time....I _got_ to learn how to use the camera - the last time I ended up taking a dark movie of my bunny - and I don't mean "dark" as in subject matter, I mean you could barely see it) and post them. They are absolutely gorgeous. My wrist gives me a fit sometimes working with baby yarn, I can't imagine working in thread.

And some kind souls from this site (and a few others) sent me notes of sympathy. I really aprreciate that, it helps to know other people are thinking of me and my family. Other kind souls sent some baby yarn (it was a swap thing), which of course I haven't started using yet.

But since I have a day off from work, I intend to surf the internet and hopefully find some sites to inspire me. If you ever get a chance to look at other folks' blogs, take it. People are doing some amazing crocheting, technique as well as what they are creating. I have a feeling once I start poking around, I may pick a short project just to give myself a jump start.

Did anyone else enter the Lion Brand Yarn slogan contest? I did but I didn't win, so you got to take the next statement with the knowledge that I would have loved to win $100 worht of Lion products. I wasn't too terribly impressed with the slogans - "I crochet, therefore I am" (there's also a knitting variation). "Just one more row". Certainly good slogans, but nothing that really jumps out. But maybe that's just me, too. I am in a funk. It was even easy to go to A.C. Moore and limit the amount of yarn I bought. If that's not a tipoff that I'm not entirely with it, I don't know what is.

But hopefully the next time I post, I will at least post some great photos. And maybe I will share some of the inspiring sites I intend to find. Things _will_ get better....

Monday, September 12, 2005

crushed

I guess I am kind of lucky I crochet, it keeps me from going totally insane. Tuesday was a bad day at work....too much work and not enough people. Wednesday was the most horrible day of all - my 29 year old nephew died for no apparent reason (as of right now - no drugs or foul play, the coroner claims everything is "normal"). And Thursday I decided to have a medical emergency that put me on bedrest all weekend.

I was trying to crochet a poncho for a friend of mine. I had to frog it because the stitches became _way_ too tight. I guess my tension level was up. It went from being about 23 inches long to about _17_. That is not a good thing.

Sadly, I turned to making something to put in my nephew's casket. He was my first nephew, the first baby I made a toy for that I was related to, the first grandchild, the whole bit. I had made him a lion and a baby afghan. (I also made him, much later, a circus train afghan, one you could take the animals out of the cages and play with them.) I made another lion, bright yellow with a white mane and a white tail. I embroidered the goofy smiley face I use for all my stuffed toys. Than I put it to the side. I was hoping by not looking at it anymore that I wouldn't realize the loss that was sustained.

But it became real for me tonight when I placed the lion in the casket. I remembered the little baby boy he was and just broke down. It felt so horribly wrong to be there, to be placing the lion there. I kept saying to my sisters "This is _wrong_, we shouldn't be doing this".

But it would be _wrong_ not to have done that for him. There's nothing more I can physically do for him, it's the only way I know how to show my love, and for that, I guess I am kind of lucky I crochet.


Sunday, September 04, 2005

The Yarn Whisperer

Lots of people will buy the yarn winders that they sell on Ebay - they even have electric ones as well as "old fashioned" ones. They range in price (currently) from about $2.76 (American - that one is coming from the UK so the postage might be a bit much) to about $150, with most prices currently in the $30 range.

Herschners (as well as other needlework shops) sells them
http://herrschners.com/products/product.aspx?sku=011600

I was lucky because my brother picked up for me at a thrift shop. I've never used it yet. I keep saying "oh, next time I'll use it" but I don't. But my favorite yarn winder, the one that I could count on making sure the yarn was wound with just enough tension, was my dad.

Apparrently, my dad did not always live with his mom, but with friends/relatives of his mom. One couple he stayed with I only know as Aunt Lil and Uncle Herb. I never met them and I have no idea if they were related by blood to my father or that was just what he was taught to call them.

Aunt Lil must have done a lot of needlework. She taught my dad how to wind a ball of yarn _perfectly_. No knots, no frays, no tangles. He also enjoyed winding embroidery floss so it could be easily used. His goal was always to wind the yarn with no knots - that was a point of pride with him. He'd tease out the yarn slowly and methodically. If it wouldn't unravel from one end, he'd start at the other. He said it relaxed him to wind yarn.

Of course, I loved it. "Back in the day" there weren't too many pull skeins of yarn. Whoever came up with that great idea was, well, brillant. So before I would start a project, Dad would wind the yarn for me. He'd drink his coffee and I'd drink my tea and we would talk about anything and everything under the sun. I never realized how much we communicated over that simple act. We'd talk about anything from what the yarn was going to be used for to the feasibility of life on other planets. Sometimes he seemed disappointed if I bought the pull skeins. I was a_spoiled_brat_.

I thought of this recently when I came across some yarn that needed to be wound. It would need to be placed over a chair and carefully wound. My sons wind the yarn too tight. My hubby has _way_ too much to do. And my dad has been gone for over 24 years. (No, the yarn hasn't waited _that_ long to be wound;)) I'll get around to winding one day, when I'm tired and I want to do "something" but feel too tired to work on or begin a project. And when I do, I'll drink tea and think of those evenings spent with my dad. And that will relax me.


And by the way, no kickbacks from any of these folks to me.....

Friday, September 02, 2005

Hurricaine Katrina

I'm a big believer in helping others out. Hurricaine Katrina has destroyed a huge chunk of the gulf coast area and those people need help. But be careful - there are always "scam artists" trying to get rich off of some tradgedy. So what can you do?

Some folks suggested sending yarn, hooks, needles to the areas the survivors are being housed. I disagree simply because if my whole life was destroyed by an act of nature, I'm living in a shelter and have no idea if I will ever be able to go back to my hometown, the last thing I want to think about is crocheting. Yes, it _is_ soothing. But between the stifling heat, the crowding and the anxiety, I wouldn't be able to crochet.

If you choose, you can donate to the American Red Cross (www.redcross.org) or the Salvation Army (
http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/). If you are planning to donate money, you may want to check with your employer - some employers are matching funds that are donated to the relief effort.
You can also choose to make something to sell for money - you can contact Etsy.com (
CraftRevolution.etsy.com)
and see what you could sell (or buy) to help support the relief effort. There are some beautiful items on that list - some is jewelry, some knit, some crochet. Any donation, no matter how small you think it is, will make a big difference. I haven't quite decided what I'm going to do - it's overwhelming to see it on the tv. But I got to do _something_.