Sharing the crochet love. And some robots.

Posts tagged ‘crochet’

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! 

Monday Measure

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Woop de doo, see (some of!) those numbers coming down. And brace yourselves, I have found a “before” picture…

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Actually, it’s not the worst photo I have ever seen. I’m not straining to breathe or sweating with the effort of being upright.. But when I look at this photo I feel very sad about that time in my life. I would have sworn to you, if you had asked me, that I was happy and content, but maybe some things can only be seen clearly when looking back from a better place.

I firmly believe that someone’s weight gain is only a symptom of a problem that needs to be treated, rather than being the problem itself. At that point in my life there were a number of things causing me to make the wrong food choices. My boy was still waking, every two hours, every night, for the first two years of his life – looking for a hug, most nights! – and the tiredness made me crave junk food. I was also feeling very lonely and more than a little shaken from my experiences of domestic abuse. Nobody talks about that, so I felt as though I were the only person ever to go through it. Also, when someone comes through an illness or a trauma, people will come and visit, bring flowers, make tea. There is none of that for escaping domestic violence, and I felt a little “forgotten.” Not that I wanted to parade through the streets being cheered by the town, but it almost feels as though your suffering needs to be recognised, before you can leave it behind and heal.

Woah, there is a whole load of stuff that just came flooding out, when all I meant to do was put up this week’s measurements! I guess sharing our stories is part of the healing process too, and one step closer to moving on.

Anyway, I am feeling very happy with my progress so far. I think my measurements might be a little slower to change now that the initial “shock” of the new diet has worn off, so I will probably leave it for at least a fortnight before I update again.

Last week’s mini-goal was to purchase the yarn for my new top; and I have achieved that, and am waiting for it to be delivered from ebayland. Very exciting!

Last week’s treat was; herbal teas, lots of them. No, really! I was trying to re-train my horribly sweet tooth, and although most of the fruit teas I have tried have tasted a lot like hot water, I loved the aniseedy taste of fennel tea. The big winner was liquorice tea, definitely an acquired taste, but it’s syrupy sweetness killed all of my sweet cravings stone dead. I am craving that now instead! Try it!

This week’s mini-goal is to go through my wardrobe and get rid of anything that doesn’t make me feel fabulous. If it is baggy, saggy or drab looking, it is going to the charity shop. I want to hop out of the shower in the morning excited about getting dressed. It might take a little work, but I deserve to be happy in my clothes every day, so it will be worth it.

Good luck to everyone in pursuing their goals, I hope your voyage of self discovery is as enlightening as mine has been this week. Keep it up, we can do this. xxx

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! 

 

 

No-Weigh Monday

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Ergh, if I had realised I would be sharing this, I would have written a little more neatly! 

Time to be brave – if I haven’t the guts (or an excess of guts) to put up a “before” pic, the measurements will have to do instead. I have decided, you see, that this will be a “No Weigh” diet, at least for now. Not because I don’t want to know how much I currently weigh – although, if I am honest, it isn’t breaking my heart not to know! – but because weighing in would require the purchase of some weighing scales. Which would lead to the obsessive weighing and numbers-fixation of the past. I need to protect my children from that, and also, if it hasn’t worked too well for me in the past, then it is time to find a better way. 

Instead of focusing on weight, I will be taking measurements to track my progress, and I have chosen Mondays as my measure-day. If it doesn’t become too boring, I will also share my progress here on a Monday, or possibly fortnightly if it gets a little repetitive. 

What is to stop me from becoming measuring-tape obsessed instead? Well, the fact the tape is permanently icy-cold makes the measuring a less addictive process, for starters! 

I am also hoping that not looking at the scales for reassurance all the time will help me to focus on how I feel; in my clothes, in my body, in my emotions. There is more to weight gain than just eating too much, so if I want to break the cycle I need to know what else has to change, apart from just the food I eat and the exercise I take. 

Anyway; I am still very much at the beginning of this journey, to use a very tired weight loss cliche. But I am delighted with how I have done so far – some of my measurements have already changed for the better, and I do feel very positive. 

My treat for last week has been bubble baths – quite a few of them, actually. It would probably be quite wasteful if it weren’t for the fact that I take up most of the room in the bath at the minute, leaving only a little room for the water. Hopefully I will be seeing that change before too long!

My mini-goal for this week is to decide on a yarn for the top I hope to wear when I get to a healthier size. That top is still in the design stages at the minute, but I feel there is plenty of time to get it finished! Here is just one of the ideas I have been doodling..

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I am not an artist! But, as long as I know in my head how it is supposed to look, that doesn’t matter. These little doodles are another way to keep me motivated, so there will be plenty more of them too! 

I hope anyone else embarking on a new plan or setting a new goal is also feeling the positive buzz this morning. We can do this! 

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