Sharing the crochet love. And some robots.

Posts tagged ‘craft’

Still fighting in the Hunger Games

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   I have finished the project that was dubbed the “Hunger Games Blanket,” so-called because I was using it to distract myself from food cravings in the evenings. (NOT starving myself, I might add; but trying to break out of emotional/boredom/mindless eating habits.) 

    Although I had a bit of a wobble in the middle when I found myself beginning to loathe the yarn I was trying to use up (it’s gone! gone! never to darken my door again with it’s hairy gloominess!), on the whole I enjoyed the idea of crocheting my cravings away. Whenever I felt like I needed a biscuit, or I heard some tasty snacks calling me from the kitchen, I occupied my mind instead with colour changes, sewing in a million ends, and planning the changes of direction in order to form a square. Looking at it now, it reminds me a little of the different coloured fields in the countryside that surrounds us.

  It’s not huge, admittedly it is a lap blanket rather than a full sized throw, but it is going to be donated to a residential home this evening along with the granny squares blanket I made earlier in January. We have just had a huge snowfall and a drop in temperatures too, so I hope it will bring a little warmth and colour to someone who needs it. 

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Since finishing this, I have slipped in the snow and landed very heavily on my outstretched hand – a silly and very painful way to land! Luckily nothing was broken but the jarring pain travelled the whole way up my arm, shoulder, and neck. According to my daughter, it was hilarious – and I did make a very funny outline in the snow. It may mean no crochet for a little while though, although the time off will be a great opportunity to get all of the other little jobs done; organising the stash, re-writing the project wish list, and finalising the design for my goal-weight top! 

  Hope you are all taking care in the snow, and staying warm. Looks like the winter is not over just yet! 

 

 

My treasure, and my Treasures

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There has been very little crochet done here lately, I have been laid low with a bout of tonsilitis that hit me so hard I half convinced myself it was some kind of flu, plague, or tropical disease (note to self – NEVER google your symptoms again!)

So here is a little story from my week that really perked me up…

The picture above is the inside of my button box. Many of you might have a similar one, and you will know then that it is not just a storage solution but also a place of inspiration. Many times I have built a cardigan around some sparkly buttons that I have found, or a little toy based on some googly eyes that were lurking in there.

It has also been incredibly useful for keeping the children entertained. I try to do most of my crochet in the evenings, after the children are tucked up in bed, so that when they are awake they do not have to feel that they are “sharing” my time. However, when the pressure is on I sometimes have to work on something during the day, so I will get the kids involved; I will ask them to find me 4 matching purple buttons,say, or 5 in the shape of a flower. My boy would sit for hours sifting through the treasure box, while for my girl it is more a case of ” Can I borrow this one for my dolls dress please?”, which is quite pleasing to hear. 

Anyway, this past few days I have been dealing with uncontrollable shivering, pounding headaches, weakness, muscle pain, and the sore throat, of course. It has been a miserable time; the only time I ever feel a bit fed up about being a single parent is at times like this, when I don’t have anyone to tell me to stay in bed while they take care of the children. I try to take the attitude that times like this make me stronger, and bring us closer as a family – and they really do.

My kids have been amazing this week; my daughter has been making sure I am warm enough, helping me up the stairs, she even woke me with a warm drink – not hot, as she knew that I wouldn’t want her to use the kettle! It’s touching to see her trying to be a grown up, but I am very glad that my little illness is a short term one, and she can go back to being a child again now that I am nearly back to full health.

My boy has also been supporting me; he took off his little coat and put it around my shoulders, when I had the shivers. I feel I have raised a 4 year old gentleman, and I am proud that he is so caring. He also gave me a present…

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He came home from school excitedly clutching this single, tiny button. In his class, you can “win” buttons for good behaviour, and then you go to the front of the class and place them in the big button jar. When the jar is full, the class will win a reward, such as extra time in the playground. It’s a great way of getting the class to work together, but how did one of the buttons end up in our house?

“That’s great, you got a button, I’m so proud,” I said, “But….how come this one didn’t go in the jar?” 

“Well, you don’t have one like this,” he answered, “So I knew you would be happy if I brought it home for you.”

So, to the kids in my son’s class; I’m sorry, but I have to keep this one. It makes me smile every time I look at it, just like my son knew it would. I’m feeling better already. 

Falling Out of Love…

Image ..with a yarn.

 

With apologies to the manufacturer of this yarn, whose name I cannot remember; when I bought this I imagined a lovely wrap or shawl in deep, natural colours, blending into one another and creating a thing of beauty. 

Now, when I look at it, I see dental floss used by a stinky witch. Or the spun hair from a shaved ogre. Or some other things that I can’t really type here without blushing.

The picture doesn’t quite show how dark these colours are, the flash bleached them out a little. I feel so disappointed, the yarn that I had such high hopes for is now a real drag to work with, and has become a lesson in stubborn-ness for me, rather than a project to bring me joy and satisfaction. (I will NOT be beaten by this ball of yarn! I will continue to beat this stash into submission, so help me!)

The colours are so dark that my eyes can only cope with working on this in natural daylight; but it’s not just that, it’s the hairiness of the yarn. What I thought was going to be lovely fuzzy softness quickly became very annoying to work with.

Never before have I got it so wrong when choosing a yarn! Has anyone else ever been besotted with a yarny purchase, only to come crashing back to reality when it comes to actually using it? I hope I am not the only one!

But it’s not all bad, I managed to incorporate this hairy beast into the blanket I am currently working on (dubbed the “Hunger Games” Blanket by some lovely fellow bloggers!) and now that it is surrounded by patches of other colours, I don’t hate it so much. So the yarn is almost all used up now, and the blanket is going to an old peoples’ home when it is finished, so it will be keeping some elderly gentleman cosy while also being far, far away from me. Everyone’s a winner! 

Clean faces. And walls and floors…

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I have often come across patterns for crocheted dishcloths and washcloths, and in the past have never quite understood why anyone would want to put so much work into something just to have it wiped across a greasy plate or covered in ketchup. 

However, I did have a few cotton tension squares lying around about a year ago, and they somehow found their way into the kids’ bath. They made lovely soft washcloths, much nicer than the shop-bought flannels we had at the time. The kids used to fight over them – I was so surprised!

I think, out of all the things I have made for my children over the years, and all the hours of work I put into everything, those scrappy tension squares were their favourites, by far! 

I’m not sure where they all went, but we have one left now, and I caught my wee boy using it to wash the bathroom walls for me – so helpful! So tonight I decided to hook up a few replacements for their next bath. 

My girl has a butterfly in lovely buttery yellow, while my boy gets a smiley face in a blue/green shade that he will love. I have even started on one for myself, to be kept safe from any future “cleaning” the kids might choose to assist me with.  

I can kind of see now why people like to make these, although I still haven’t used one as a dishcloth yet! I know people like to give handmade dishcloths as gifts, so I guess that would be a nice way to perk someone up while they are doing their housework.Perhaps I will give it a try, if I can bring myself to dunk my lovely yarn into the kitchen sink! 

A little bonus is, of course, another few balls of random cotton left over from earlier projects have now been put to use, and I intend to do the same with any more cotton I find lurking in there. Yessss! Take that, stash!

 

 

 

 

“Dwindling” Giant Stash

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I have been on a stash-busting mission for many, many months now. Like many crafters, I found that my collection of gorgeous yarns was taking up more and more room, and seemed to be growing faster than I could use it up. Even after I stopped buying more yarn, the collection grew and grew. 

That is partly down to circumstances beyond my control; this stash is a combined effort, as my mum is a keen knitter and has been adding her own purchases to the pile every so often. Also, we were honoured to be the recipient of not one, but two deceased ladys’ unused yarns over the last year. Yarn purchases are so personal, and I was touched by the kindness of the grieving relatives in thinking of us, so it would have been incredibly insensitive to decline the gifts. My mum took a ball of wool from one of the bags and knitted a scarf for one of the daughters of the woman who had died – so she was receiving a gift from her mum, in a way. I thought that was a really nice thing for mum to do. 

The problem I now face is that the yarns I mostly use are almost gone now; I use a lot of DK, and 4ply for the baby shoes and neo-natal items that I make. I have used up some chunky wool in making my adult sized bunny slippers and a lot of DK odds and ends in my blankets. 

So the stash is shrinking, slowly, but still takes up almost 5 full bin-liner sized bags, stuffed in under my stairs, in shame. It is not an ideal storage solution, as somehow tangles manage to develop, all by themselves, while the bags of wool sit in the dark, obviously bored and unfulfilled. 

I do want to use the remaining yarn, but it is so different to what I normally go for; there is some of that ruffly scarf yarn in there, knobbly bobbly stuff similar to the teddy shoes in the photo, super chunky that is like rope, and quite a few fuzzy, hairy type yarns that I hate the feeling of around my fingers.(I did try to take a photo, but the camera is not cooperating. Possibly another day, if I can bring myself to look at it again!)

Does anyone happen to know of a charity that accepts balls of yarn, or anyone looking for yarn donations? Or is anyone out there in bloggyland desperately seeking several balls of randomness that they would be willing to give a loving home to? 

Failing that, I will have to scour the internet – again!- looking for some projects that inspire me enough to drag out the big bags from their hiding place. One ball at a time, I can do this – and my reward when it is gone? A yarn shopping spree, yippee! 

 

 

Measuring in “Elephants.”

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It’s the old…

                                    “How do you eat an elephant?”

                                           “One bite at a time,”          ….line.  

It may be the diet, but my inner head voice always follows up with an “mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…………..elephant.” 

(I have never, and will never, eat an elephant, but the hungry brain sees food everywhere.)

When I look at my life, there are so many elephants in it that need to be tackled in little nibbles. My weight loss, my financial rebuilding, my part time college course, all long term projects that can be broken into smaller, manageable steps. Even working on a large blanket or trying to bust the yarn stash is made much easier when taking one granny square or one ball of yarn at a time. 

Is this why crochet is such a satisfying hobby? This pair of bootees, for instance, they…

  • Have taken a ball of yarn out of the yarn stash
  • Have created a pair of bootees to be sold in a gift shop, to help chip away at the debt, and
  • Kept my hands busy so that I won’t be able to snack.

 

The only way I could add another elephant to the menu tonight would be to do a little studying while crocheting…but Sherlock is on tonight, so I guess the education will do another time! 🙂

Battling with the Stupid Hungers

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This might not look like much, but tonight it has helped me in the fight against Imaginary Hunger, Boredom Eating, Comfort Eating, and Eating Because There Is Nice Food In The House – all the Stupid Hungers, basically.

I posted just a few days ago about starting over again on my weight loss journey. So far I have been going pretty much ok; no figures to report as yet, because I have no scales in the house at the minute. ( I have done that deliberately as I have been pretty obsessy about weighing in the past and my daughter is now 9, which puts her in the danger zone. Daily weighing is not a behaviour I wish to pass on to her!)

The first few days of a new eating plan can be a massive anti climax. You put in a few good days, deny yourself all your favourite treats, feel pretty virtuous, and then wait for the compliments to roll in…which they don’t. You slip on your jeans in the morning, expecting to be at least another notch slimmer on your belt…and you aren’t. It takes massive will power to stick to the programme when you feel like all your efforts are getting you nowhere, and nobody is even noticing all your hard work. Last time I lost the weight, it took a full four stone (56 pounds, or 25 kilos) before my own mother asked me if I had lost a little weight. I waited a very long time to hear that question! 

Having said all that, I was prepared this time around and am quite happy to wait another 56 pounds before anyone notices again – I have learned a little patience over the years and am ready for the challenge.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the emotional toll of facing up to the demons that cause me to over eat. And the cold! I am so cold today, obviously my body is adjusting to the sudden lack of junk food by shutting down all non essential systems. Thanks, body! If there is one thing guaranteed to make me waver, it is sitting here miserable and freezing. 

But I can get through this. I am working on my second stash busting blanket, pictured above, and have decided to go all Tunisian for a change. And to make sure that I don’t give in to the food cravings, I made them a feature of the design! 

Every time a craving hit, I changed yarn, turned the work, and changed direction. So as you can see, I am getting a random patchy effect that is eating up my yarn stash while taking my mind off the cookie jar. Yes, it might seem a little bizarre, but do you know what? It is working. And when the blanket is finished, I will take a picture of it, to remind me of all of the cravings that I didn’t give in to. 

Plus, all the yarn is keeping me nicely cosy, bonus for me! Yippee! 🙂

 

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