"The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give it away." David Viscott

Friday, December 30, 2011


All crochet endeavors have been temporarily put on hold until after the move to our new home is complete.  It is worth pointing out that not having a project on hand to pick up during downtime is quite stressful!

The reason I don't have a project out is that I do not want it to get dirty or lost.  In an environment where everything that can be thrown into a box is, I can just picture a project being found weeks from now!  Also, a lot of dust and dirt manages to find it's way on your hands, which I do not want to be transferred to yarn.

The new house has a perfect location for both spinning and crocheting.  I anticipate getting a lot of work done once the move is complete and I have my work area set up the way I want it to be.

Things too large for a box, or that I don't want to go into the moving truck, have found their way into my Jeep.  My spinning wheel and swift are 2 items that pop into mind.  As much as I would have liked my yarn in the Jeep as well, as it is in bags and soft, it is being used as filler so the contents of the truck don't move around too much.

Right now I have to get back to packing.  Time for the computer and printer to find their way into my Jeep.  Fingers crossed, the next post will be from the new house!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Better Late Than Never

When my sister-in-law was planning a celebration for her parents 50th wedding anniversary, I started planning an afghan.  I wanted it to be big enough to cover their bed, which is a huge double full size.  Little did I know it would take almost 2 years to complete.

My father-in-law is blamed with spoiling the celebration party that was planned, as he opted to take his wife on vacation during the same week.  All plans for the party were called off, and the anniversary date slipped quietly by.  They did not want a big party.

I therefore took my time with the afghan to make sure every detail was perfect.  I gave it to them as a Christmas present, 2 years late, and yes, it did fit the bed!  The hardest part was convincing my mother-in-law not to put it away to "keep it nice!"

It's made entirely of Red Heart Super Saver, so it is in fact machine washable.  I prefer to make afghans out of acrylic for that simple fact - hand washing an afghan is torturous!

I made it in 13 separate portable pieces, then joined it with sc under both loops of both pieces to add to the texture.  I still have the graphs and design, as I figured someday I can make it an e-book for a totally customizable wedding/anniversary gift.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Crochet with Silk

I have finally figured out a way to remember which silk I like to crochet with.  Mulberry silk is the soft, shiny, beautiful stuff that is wonderful, although a bit slippery, to work with.  By mentally associating the other kind, tussah, with the word 'tough' (which it isn't, but it works in my mind) I remember that is not the one I want.

Tussah silk is soft and pretty, but does not have that sheen associated with silk items.  Although it drapes well, it looks rather dull.  Mulberry, on the other hand, is the stuff that wedding dresses are made of.  Which is exactly why I'm researching silk again.


I have been asked to crochet a wedding dress, and I want to use Mulberry silk.  Expensive, yes, but worth it.  The problem I have been running into is that most of the Mulberry I have found online is either mixed with something else or not white.  I was corresponding with a person on Etsy who sells Mulberry, and even though she is willing to dye it, she will not bleach it to make white.  I have to wonder if it somehow hurts the fiber.  More research is required.

Meanwhile, I plan to ask the bride-to-be if the natural off white/ ecru coloring of Mulberry silk is OK to use.  The work on this dress will be starting in earnest after Christmas for the August wedding.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Family Rule

In our family we have a rule:  no one can buy anything for themselves within 30 days of a holiday, birthday, or special event.  As it's December 8th, my husband raised an eyebrow when I told him I had to go to the yarn shop.  I had determined I wanted to make something special for someone on my list, but needed a specific yarn to do it. I also needed yarn needles to do finish work, as mine have mysteriously disappeared.

That being said, I swung by a local yarn store.  I thought for sure they would have Classic Elite's Alpaca Sox!  They have a huge sock yarn section, and I know for a fact they carry Classic Elite yarn.  The owner wasn't there, and the girl that was tried ever so hard to find it for me.  I ended up leaving my name and phone number to see if it could be ordered as I had been there for a half an hour and my husband was waiting out in the car.

He actually came in the store at one point and found a button that will be my future avatar!  He purchased the button and the yarn needles and went out to the car to wait.  The girl watching the store told me at the checkout that I had "a lot of restraint" for not purchasing any of the other luxurious yarns that were there.  I quickly told her about the family rule and left.

On the way home, my husband demanded an explanation - how was it that I could buy yarn and not break the family rule?  I told him I needed that yarn in order to make a gift.  He grumbled, "It sounds like a loop hole to me!"  He really didn't have anything to grumble about - after all, I didn't bring home a substitute yarn!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Crochet Christmas Gifts

Crocheting Christmas gifts is a great way to show the recipient you care enough to devote your time and talent to them.  At this point, with Christmas a mere 3 weeks away, what can you start now and realistically complete in time?  Lots of things!

I like to crochet snowflakes out of size 10 thread to put in cards as teacher gifts.  A set of 6 crochet snowflake ornaments can be made in less than a week, as each takes a little over an hour to make.  Set aside an evening when all your snowflakes have been crocheted to soak in starch and pin out on a blocking board (wax paper over cardboard works great!)  Allow to dry overnight, and you pack them up the next day!

Hats and mittens only take a few hours to make as well, and a set is a wonderful gift.  If you don't know what the recipient's favorite color is, you can always pick the colors of the school they attend, or go with neutrals if they are out in the working world.

Kitchen and bath sets work up quickly as well.  Choose a color scheme and make dishcloths and pot holders - there are lots of free patterns on the web for these!  You can also find quick, easy crochet patterns for bath puffs, soap covers, baskets - almost anything you can think of for a gift of a bath set.

Open work shawls also can be crocheted relatively quickly.  For the man who has everything, crochet a scarf and hat set.  Electronic cozies for such things as cell phones and computer tablets can be made in a single evening.

Use up your stash and work on your gifts during lunch hour, riding the commuter bus, or waiting to see the dentist.  You will be amazed at how much you can get done in a such a small amount of time.  Crochet your holiday gifts, save money, and enjoy yourself!