Thursday, September 17, 2015

Crochet is the Way is Drowning

  I often ask people to "stop by Crochet is the Way". I hope you understand that I'm not asking you to come to my house. What I mean is "visit the blog". I would invite you for an actual visit, but the dog doesn't like anybody; plus, who in the world wants to come here, anyway? Though I do like sharing stories from around the office and showing you the beautiful landscaping. During a short break in the rain, I finally got out to inspect the five acres of the Crochet is the Way grounds. So, let's go on a virtual tour!

  The following is a guide for what you would need - supposing you actually came by for a visit. You might think to bring the obvious things to come hang out at my offices: Yarn, hooks, various crochet tools and patterns... But you'll need much more than that!

crochet, weather, flooding

Materials needed for the tour:

  • A poncho. Not the awesome crocheted kind; a rain poncho. 

  • Rubber boots. The taller, the better. Maybe some hip waders. Snake boots might be even better. And yes, those are Hello Kitty toe socks.

crochet, weather, flooding, boots

  • A stick. That's for snakes.

  • *Optional* A gun. For bigger snakes with teeth.

  • The dog. He'll tell you where the snakes are.

crochet, pets, dog, flooding

  • *Optional but recommended* Floaties, life vest, raft, canoe, or other flotation device. 

crochet, pets, cat, flooding

  No, Jump Steady, you can't use that for a boat. But nice try, anyway. Maybe we can reinforce it with some of that As-Seen-On-TV junk that makes a screen door in the bottom of a boat "waterproof". I'll crochet a liner for it so you can be comfy as we all float away in the flood.

Directions for entering the Crochet is the Way grounds:

  • Turn left into the driveway. Stop before you hit mud. DO NOT drive through this mud. It's deeper than it looks. Yes, that dry-looking sand seems like the place to aim for, but it's not. That's called Wash-out, which is washed-down leftover concrete. It turns to slush when it rains.

crochet, weather, flooding

  • Go left if you are a truck. Trucks can go left only if the driver actually knows that you drive nice and easy through mud, not stomp on the gas and dig yourself a hole.

crochet, weather, flooding

  • Go right if you are a car. Do not go fast. Do not stop. Do not stomp the gas if you start to spin. Just go easy and aim for the driest spot. If you stop moving, stop stomping on the gas pedal. You're not going anywhere but deeper from there.

crochet, weather, flooding

  • *Alternate option* You could always just walk up, but you may wish to review the "Materials needed" section...

crochet, weather, flooding

Instructions for your stay (only for those who choose to drive up):

  • Don't stay to long. I'm not trying to be rude or anti-social. You actually can't stay too long, or your vehicle may start to sink. Here's where my car was parked:

crochet, weather, flooding

Tips for as you leave:

  • Live somewhere near a drought? Take a bucket home with you!

crochet, weather, flood

  • Remember the "Directions for entering". It's pretty much the same as you leave.

crochet, weather, flooding

  You may find the tour around the Crochet is the Way grounds interesting, but I doubt you'll enjoy it. If you get stuck here, we can always ask the mosquitoes to lift up your vehicle in trade for blood. If we run out of crochet material, maybe we could spin up some of the three-foot tall grass that can't be mowed in all this water. If you need exercise, just walk outside. The muck sucking at your feet is great for toning your calves, and you'll get some cardio in when you go for a run from a water moccasin (if you didn't bring a reliable pistol). And hey... I've heard that mud baths are good for you.

Happy Crocheting!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Finishing a Difficult Project

  On International Crochet Day (Sept. 12th), I vowed to finish July's Scarf of the Month... And I didn't. Ugh! So let me complain a little bit (just a little?), then we'll get on to my solution.

  The biggest problem with finishing this scarf has been a cat. Plain and simple. A dumb cat. And before you think I'm being mean by calling Jump Steady "dumb", let's cover how he goes to sleep while sitting up, then falls over. Before you think I'm a horrible pet owner for insulting my cat's intelligence, you should know that he walks straight into walls. Please understand that I base the description of "dumb" on behavior such as turning the opposite direction every time I call him. And before you think he might deserve some kinder words, you should try to crochet something with this cat around. He is... *Sigh*... Difficult.

scarf, crochet, WIP

  Cats often get into yarn - that's no secret. But this cat usually stays out of the stash. That's good. What's bad is: He likes WIP's (works in progress) more. Especially July's WIP that consists of a bunch of chain stitch rings. Jump knows he's not allowed on the table, but somehow, every time I walk away, the pieces mysteriously end up on the floor... And under the fridge, under the stove, under the couch, under my chair... You get the point. This scarf will be so awesome because it takes very little yarn to make, plus there's a big time-saving method involved. But I'm making more rings because the cat stole a few that I can't find, so it's costing me extra yarn. I'm also taking more time than I should, because of a DUMB cat.

crochet, cats

  I came up with a short-term solution that didn't really work in the end. The rings fit perfectly like bangle bracelets, so I started keeping track of my finished pieces by wearing them:

crochet, scarf, WIP

  That wasn't a great idea. I'm not going outside to walk the dog while wearing these, and they don't need to go everywhere with me. That only leaves them on the table for the cat to get to again.

  Solution: Pick up the WIP, of course! But, come on! How many of you are gonna pick up your whole project and store it away, just so you can answer the phone or go pee, or something mundane that shouldn't really require the removal of the entire WIP? We all know putting it away will solve the issue, but I don't think about it when I'm only running to the closet to get a roll of paper towels to clean up a mess... That the cat made. Probably on purpose, so I'd go get paper towels, and he can swipe a few rings into that hairball he left me. Eww. The trash can have those.

  I thought - in that silly cat owner way - I thought that picking them up in any way would stop him from wanting them. I tried to make use of a small flower vase that somehow remains on my table, despite a lack of flowers:

crochet, scarf, WIP

  It seemed like a great idea, until: Crash! No broken glass, at least. Just a crash, and a cat running away. 'Cause he didn't do it, right? This idea is getting scrapped before my vase gets shattered. I should put it in a box already, and stop this fight. But that means I have to dig through the box every time I need a piece or a tool in it, plus I'll have the box sitting in the way.

  The "less-work" solution: Don't put it in a box, put a box over it! Oh, what a genius I am! All I have to do is place this cardboard box upside-down over my WIP when I walk away, and no more...

crochet, scarf, WIP

What was that thumping noise?

What's that scratching sound?

Jump Steady!

crochet, cats, WIP

  He says he didn't do it. Maybe he was set up. Maybe I'm wrong. I still think he did it, don't you?

crochet, cats, WIP

  Okay, so I guess I forgot the part about cats liking boxes, too. Game over. I give up. I'm moving this WIP into the bedroom, where he's not allowed at all. It's sad to ban him, I know, but he doesn't behave. Besides WIP theft, another favorite game of his is 'slap the human in the face while sleeping'. When that game gets boring, 'bite the human's nose' becomes more fun. And then there's the ultimately entertaining game of  'drop every sock you can find into the toilet'. This cat is a problem that I'm always running away from, and constantly cleaning up after. If I have to move my WIP into his banned area to finish it, then I guess that's what I'll have to do.

  Will this solution solve problem number two? Nothing - NOTHING can destroy your joy over a great project like somebody else's negative opinion of it. Enter into the situation: The Other Half. He comes in handy once in a while with good ideas and a helping hand with tangles, but he has no filter. Seeing the pile of sloppy-looking rings on the table, I could understand his doubt about it becoming a scarf. Once assembly started, I caught him looking at it. Looking at it with a strange expression on his face.

"What's wrong?" I ask him.

"How is it gonna be a scarf?"

(Explanation explained.)

"But what about the middle?" he asks.

"The middle comes together once I continue with the border. The whole thing will be woven together, and the border will help thicken it up."

"But what about the middle?"

*Sigh* "I just explained that."

"Yeah, but... I don't know... It's just... I guess... It looks weird." he says.

Can you hear the frogging? Rip it, rip it, rip it...

  I really hate it when he does this to me. I see it in my head. I know what it will look like. It will be awesomeness. But now I'm hating my design, and I've ripped it all out. I spent more time deciding how I want to join the pieces together, to make it better than "weird". And the whole thing is holding back August's Scarf of the Month pattern, which is already finished. What do I do?

  How about: Start over.  Not with the design, just go back to the assembly. Forget what he said. He just can't see it. Make a tutorial. Make a video! Show everybody else this scarf's awesomeness, and let his opinion slide. To make myself feel better, I'll let you guys in on a secret about the pattern: If you think all those rings are a bunch of ends to weave in, you're wrong! Since I hate weaving in ends, I designed this scarf so that you can tie a big ugly knot in the tails of the rings. Yay for big ugly knots! That might be part of what's throwing his vision of the project off, because at this point there's still a bunch of big ugly knots showing. Forget what he said. Just stick to the plan.

crochet, scarf, WIP

  Do you have people in your life that destroy your confidence without meaning to? Or do you have an insane cat that ruins everything? How do you get your crocheting done around them? Due to the flood water (and it's still raining!), throwing the cat out isn't an option. Throwing the Other Half out could be (lol). What would you do?

crochet, weather, rain

Happy Crocheting!

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