Friday, October 16, 2015

I Love Yarn Day (Sales)!






  Happy I Love Yarn Day!




I Love Yarn Day, Craft Yarn Council
Image from craftyarncouncil.com




  October 17th, 2015 is I Love Yarn Day! (Some of you may be getting this a little early, but posts usually go out in the feed the next day... So if you're here early, then happy Early I Love Yarn Day!) Now, I've already written my post about I Love Yarn Day, and explained what I'll be doing: Basically, nothing. To sum it up, I had a cool plan but it fell through. Don't let that stop you from celebrating how much you love yarn!




  I often get asked "Do we really need a day to celebrate yarn? Every day is I Love Yarn Day!", and maybe that's true. However... Don't you want an extra-special day to celebrate yarn? I do! Know why? Yarn sales!! Tons of companies are offering online yarn sales in honor of I Love Yarn Day (or... Just because), and I'm sure you might be able to find one at your LYS (local yarn shop) if you have one. Sadly, I don't. So, since my LYS-less I Love Yarn Day is starting to look pretty boring, I took some time to track down some great sales! 


*Disclaimer* I shall not be held accountable for any loss of your savings. I'm simply sharing yarn sales with you. I am not being compensated in any way by any manufacturer or retailer. In fact, I'll probably be depleting my funds while tracking down these deals for you. Any damage done to your wallet as a result of these sales is solely your own responsibility, and by continuing you hereby accept that you should blame yourself for blowing your budget.



:)


  • Michaels has an assortment of brands on sale, which you can check out by clicking the picture to follow the link. My pick is the Lily Sugar and Cream for $0.79!



yarn, sale, Michaels, Lily Sugar and Cream
Image from michaels.com



  
  • Joann is also offering quite an assortment. I found a few yarns on sale that I've never used, and a couple that I haven't even seen yet! I think, just to be honest, you can find some of these brands on sale for less through their manufacturers, but there's still some great deals! My pick (an unseen yarn to me) is Lion Brand Landscapes. Check out that color!


sale, yarn, Joann, Lion Brand
Image from joann.com




  • Speaking of Lion Brand, hop on over there for some great sales any time. I haven't been keeping track of their deals, so what a surprise to find a bunch of 3-skein value packs at 40% -or more- off! You'll find baby yarn, cotton yarn, Chenille yarn, fuzzy yarn, fluffy yarn, furry yarn... All in discounted three-packs. I'm not sharing a pick for this site, because I wanted them all by the time I made it to page 15 of the sales. I'll just let you go start on page one and check out the Clearance Section for yourself! 






  • M'kay... Forget about the celebration for a minute... Just bookmark this page! I mean, you can't go wrong with a URL like yarn.com, can you? My jaw dropped when I came across the Grampa's Garage Sale section. You will find discontinued colors and assorted brands, but my pick is surely the Borroco Borealis. What a discount!


yarn, sale, Webs, Berrocco
Image from yarn.com




  • And, one more: I've been saving up for a shopping spree at this site, and I can't wait! Vivid Yarns has been on my list of companies to try out, but my money keeps running out. They have a great Closeout section, but this is more of a buy-in-bulk site. Just one of their packages is often more yarn than I need for a project, so I've been putting it off. Maybe I Love Yarn Day will be the day to give their yarns a go... The only problem is, I can't choose just one from their huge assortment! 




  I'm sure there has to be so many more yarn sales out there, but I can't keep going. Must... Buy... Yarn! Many of those sales are in more obvious places: Check out Craftsy, Cut Rate Crafts, Ravelry, and KnitPicks, or go directly to your favorite yarn manufacturer. It seems like maybe quite a few of them are missing out on I Love Yarn Day, but they still have discounts! You can take advantage of that while pretending they're celebrating with you, right? While you wait for that yarn to ship, you can party the rest of the day away by making room in your stash. 




  Do you have anything planned for I Love Yarn Day? Whether you're throwing a yarn party or making an item for charity, everything counts as a celebration for the day! Pour yourself some wine and stitch in a bubble bath! (Omg, can that be done? Imagine trying to work row 56 of a full size afghan while in a tub of water, lol. Wait. Plarn!) Become a yarn addiction enabler and teach someone your skills. And don't forget to share your 'celebrations' on social media, using the hashtags #stitchitforward and #ILYD2015. Or, there's my personal favorite: Stick some googly eyes on your favorite skein, then carry it around, petting it and whispering "I love you, Yarn" repeatedly as people walk by. I just might have to try that.





Have a Happy I Love Yarn Day!
And can we make October I Love Yarn Month already?




Thursday, October 15, 2015

Getting Back to the Basics






  Do we have to stretch our talents to the limits at all times? No! Make a scarf for a person in need, using nothing but single crochet stitches. I bet they'd appreciate it. You know that young couple that's just starting out down the street? I bet they'd love a plain ol' granny square blanket as a housewarming gift. And if you're looking to sell your work, then it doesn't always have to be the fanciest thing out there. A beautiful lacy washcloth that takes you two days to make might sell as a gift item, but it's likely to go unused in a drawer because nobody wants to mess it up. I'd rather sell a four-pack of simple dishcloths that only take me ten minutes to make - and people will use them. Give them character with a multicolored yarn and a neat border, instead of taking forever to make a masterpiece.




crochet, beginners, double crochet





  Lately I've been using modified stitches like crazy! I just got bored with everything "in the book", and started playing with variations of stitches. I modified the butterfly stitch for the Dancing Dragonflies Scarf, the bobble stitch in the Drops on the Window Scarf, the long single crochet in the Mayflower Lace Scarf, and the front/back diagonal stitches in the Tracks 'n' Treads Scarf (as well as the Textured Face Scrubby). They all made amazing texture, and I've had fun, but it's time to get back to the basics again.




crochet, advanced stitches, scarf, free pattern





  It's too much work! A few special stitches once in a while are fine, but all these "modified" patterns are taking up way too much time - and sometimes yarn! First, I spend time making the stitch work, then I record the directions. I make a pattern. I create a tutorial. Maybe I make a video. In the case of the Mayflower Lace Scarf, I made both step by step and graph tutorials... And I'm not complaining. I encourage "thinking outside the box", and I love to share my new designs with others. I just don't have the time for extra-special stuff right now.




  So, it's been fun, Modified Stitches, but I have to let you go for now. We'll meet again, when my life is less hectic. Who knows? Maybe we'll see each other in a book. You have your own tutorials, and you're required in my free patterns, so you'll be kept in use while I'm away. Some attention needs to be given to your ancestors as you flourish and find your way in the world. 




  I've been so busy showing off teaching my skills and the new stitches I've developed that I'm neglecting the things I've yet to learn. I'm practicing Tunisian crochet, but for some reason I'm still having trouble getting the tension right. My rows come out crooked. I picked up Clones Irish Lace, but I've yet to finish a single project. And let's not forget my original roots in needlework: What happened to knitting? It's a craft that I never perfected, and abandoned after I learned to crochet. I decided to commit to knitting something again because there's this really awesome Knit Along I wanted to join in on, only to discover that I didn't even remember how to cast on correctly. Embarrassing.




-  -  -  -  -




crochet, double crochet, beginners





  For those who have passed the beginner level and are looking to expand their skills, you might be unimpressed with the blog for a while. I'm sure I'll get bored with getting back to the basics, but I'm also neglecting the main reason I started making tutorials: Beginners! I still remember, and will never forget that feeling of being a self-taught beginner, with only a few old books that were difficult to understand. Oh, how my skills soared once I gained access to the internet! Yet, there were things missing that still left me confused. Like: Sure, you can show me a tutorial for how to make the Love Knot stitch using your already-started pattern. But how in the world do you work the starting chain? I strive to teach the information that others leave out.




  Still to this day, there's a pattern in one of my (ancient) books that I can't work out. It covers all four rows of the pattern stitch, but not the beginning chain. The multiple doesn't work out for me when I make my starting chain. I assume that I'm missing something in the first row, but I've wondered if the multiple was incorrect and I just don't have it's ancient correction. Included are four grainy black-and-white photos - only showing the triple crochet three together (tr3tog). It's written in UK terms and uses abbreviations like "wrh" that I had to translate first. (That's "wool round hook", by the way - "yarn over" for American me.) The pattern uses single, double, and triple crochet in the same rows, so it got a bit confusing until I wrote it all out in US terms. Even then, I still can't figure it all out.




crochet, advanced stitches, flowers





  My goal is to stick to simplicity until I can work out that pattern. It has bugged me to no end for years now. I feel like I have no business teaching any more advanced stitches until I can figure out the stitch that has me stumped. And when I do figure it out, I'll share it here. I'll include a tutorial. Maybe a video. And you can bet I'll teach you how to start the beginning chain.




Happy Crocheting!   





Tuesday, October 13, 2015

It's Done!






  No, I didn't finish that last minute WIP. But finally, the Other Half and I tied the knot! We sure did make a bunch of people mad in the process, too! And you know what? Just this one time - I don't care! I found it absolutely ridiculous how many people got upset over us getting married... Those we did want to come were quite nasty and found excuses not to be there. That's fine, because some other people were so happy for us and had no problem standing up as witnesses.





wedding, crochet, WIP
Here's our wedding photo - lol - He's hanging on to me as my 4-inch stilettos sunk in the lawn! We decided to move before I broke an ankle...




  I was working on a special WIP that was meant to go with my dress. At the last minute, I found a sheer wrap for $2 and bought it as a backup. I'm so glad that I did, because I didn't have time to finish my project before the ceremony. When some unforeseen circumstances and unasked for attitudes threatened to cancel the wedding, I gave up work on the shawl to concentrate on other things. The important thing is: It's done now - the wedding and the shawl, so I can finally take a moment to explain what happened.




WIP, crochet, shawl, crescent





  Chances are that most of the uninvited don't read the blog, and I know the one that does will understand not being there (Hi, Kid!), so let's cover some of the situations that I had to face, thanks to inconsiderate people:


(Wait, by the way, let me explain: Before everybody else got themselves involved, my "wedding" wasn't supposed to be a big fancy wedding, anyways. The plan was to do it out on the pier at the lake, invite just a few people, and have a quiet barbecue the next day. Everything, including the dress, cost just under $300 - and that's counting the dinner after the ceremony, plus the food for the "reception".)


  The friend we thought we were closest to was asked to stand up for us at the ceremony. His first response was "You're getting married?....." *extremely long pause* ".....Why?" Whoa! Not what I expected! He then proceeded to complain about his three failed marriages and tell the Other Half about how he'll be missing half of his assets, soon enough... "Marriage ain't nothin' but a way for women to get ya under their thumbs, then take your stuff..."




  Okay, guys... Listen: GUYS... Hey, if you want to do that in the privacy of a Guy Conversation, then okay. But, can we not do that right in front of the bride-to-be? I don't know, maybe I'm just trying to get ya'll "under my thumb", but it seems a bit rude to me. Especially when you're saying that as I pour you a cup of coffee with a smile on my face. I mean, I don't think guys would appreciate it if "us women folk" started talking about how "guys are pretty helpless without a women around"... I mean, you can't program a TV remote, cook yourself dinner, do your laundry or change a diaper, but you think women are the useless ones. You don't even have matching socks. You think it's acceptable to wipe your boogers on things in public places, and I'm still inviting you to my wedding. C'mon dude...




  "Closest Friend" told us sorry, he had to work that day. He couldn't be there. But he could call two days before the wedding to ask if he could pick something up - the afternoon of the wedding. Yeah... Thought you had to work and couldn't make it. But you're on the phone asking when we'll be back, so you can get what you need. Okay... Okay... Now, let's cover something my mama taught me as a kid: If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. So, if your comment the day after the wedding is "How long will it be before you need a lawyer?", then maybe you should just SHUT UP. It's not like we're eloping after meeting two weeks ago. We've been together TEN YEARS. Maybe your three failed marriages have something to do with your attitude about marriage.




  I'm done with that one. On to the next issue: I didn't tell my parents at first, because they're always so good at asking me "Are you sure you want to do this?", and I just didn't need anybody asking me that. In the end as I was ready to fall apart, it was my dad that suggested I just tell everybody to "go hang" and do it. Thanks, dad!




  The kids are at the ex's for school, which was good in a way. I would have loved to have them there, but there wasn't anybody to watch them. One witness was busy playing photographer, and the other... Well, I just don't know him that much, and don't feel comfortable asking "Hey, can you watch these kids you don't know?"; plus he wasn't going the same way as the rest of the "party".




  However, that didn't stop the ex from voting me the "World's Worst Parent" and lecturing me about how this is "a big deal" and the kids need to be there. Apparently, it would make me a better parent if I would squeeze somebody into a middle seat with no seat belt, then leave the kids unattended at a lakefront park that is beautiful, but know for drug activity... And for people... Um... You know... Doing things in the bathrooms and evidently right on the picnic tables, like we interrupted as we walked out to the pier... It's a very pretty area, but not the kind of place a good parent would let their kids out of sight.




   Think what you want to think. I would have loved to have the kids there. But, the only other choice was to let the ex watch the kids and stay for the wedding. He's famous for comments such as "Hey doc, make sure you put an extra stitch in it" and "It better not come out black" when attending important events such as the birth of his children. In previous times of getting dressed up, I have heard him say "You look good enough to pimp out for money". There's no chance I'm letting him stand there - even if it means the kids don't get to be there. (And please forgive me for even repeating the horrible things he says - I do not agree with his views).




  I worry about what he really told them, and if they'll actually understand. Somehow, I think they know their dad and they'll get it. And if they don't, then we'll just have to work through it. It wasn't like we were having a big party and making it a huge celebration. It was plain, quiet, and pretty boring for a kid. They might think they wanted to be there, but in the end, there would have been six hours of driving for a ten-minute long boring ceremony. It wasn't a big deal until their dad tried to turn it into one.




  As for the rest we thought of inviting, there was quite a few negative remarks from all. Which leads me to issue an open comment to the whole world: Hey, everybody! SO WHAT if you've been married and it didn't work out! Who are you to put that doubt in other people's heads? How can you know if a marriage will work out or not? Are you psychic? Then give me the winning lottery numbers! What if that relationship would be just fine, except for that little spark of negativity you had to add to it? Knock it off and let people be happy! If it doesn't work out after all, then just be there for that person. That's called "being a real friend".




  Speaking of real friends: Boy, did we find ours. My "bridesmaid" was more excited than we were. He stood there with a smile on his face, being happy for us even after recently going through a breakup. And holy cow, did he come through for us - He had no idea how to use my camera, but managed to get a few decent shots of us, plus take a video of the ceremony. Now, if only the Other Half could manage to keep his eyes open in a picture!




  And by the way, to any of you who tried to help me keep it together in the last post, thank you! So many things kept getting in the way that I was ready to call the whole thing off. Your positive comments helped me through it. I was unable to keep up with updates towards the end, because we faced another emergency. It was Friday: Six o'clock. Still no Other Half. I get a phone call. "...*sigh*... I'll be home as soon as I can..." And by his voice, I already know what happened. I put down the shawl. "What's wrong with the car?"




WIP, crochet, shawl





  You see, we're down to one vehicle right now. The brakes went out on the Other Half's truck, and as things go, it's not just the brakes. He has a whole front-end problem that's going to be a lot of money and work. We put off fixing it until after the wedding. After my old not-really-my-best-friend "helped" me fix my truck, it's still sitting in the yard, growing mold and killing grass. That leaves him driving the sometimes-unreliable car, and me with no vehicle to go rescue the broken-down Other Half.




  Mikey (my "bridesmaid") to the rescue! After a full day's work under a car, there's nothing you want more than to go home, get a shower, and get some food. (Believe me, I know... If any of you have followed the blog long enough, then you know I used to be a mechanic, too.) So, after poor Mikey has to work hard all day, he shows up at the drop of a hat to rescue the Other Half (who's also been hard at work all day). Gets the car going so he can get home, and goes in to work on a Saturday to get it fixed before the wedding that day. He even repaired another problem that I didn't know about. We sure did find out who our real friends are.




  Now, back to my "virtual" real friends: You guys! So, about that special WIP that I was working on for the wedding (even though I didn't wear it)... It's a really, really awesome crescent shawl. I want so badly to share the pattern for free, but part of me feels like that's my special pattern, and I at least deserve to get paid for it. I have no idea how to do it yet, but I know you can put your patterns for sale on Ravelry, and also use a code for a free download. Give me some time to figure it out, and I think that's what I'll do with it. (If you want it faster, then somebody teach me how that works, lol!) I do know if I am going to sell it, I need to do some research on what size Great-Granny's hook really is:




crochet, hooks, antique




crochet, hooks, antique, Hero





  In the meantime, there's other patterns to work on. The Mandala for Wink is in it's final testing and editing, and the Scarf of the Month patterns need to get caught up again. I'm almost ready to scrap the video for July's scarf, just so I can publish the pattern already. It seems like an Unseen Force doesn't want me making a video for my Woven Chains Scarf... And I just learned how to cut videos together! The scarves for August and September are finished and ready to go, but July is holding them all back.




  Although I've been enjoying my time writing on the blog more frequently, I need to back off for just a little while so I can start offering some productive content again. My mistakes and mishaps might be amusing to read about, but I started the blog to teach. All I've been doing lately is complaining about how everything goes wrong. However (lol), I have one more blah-blah-blah post coming up to explain what I'll be getting into. You'll also be seeing some different content soon - But we'll talk about that when we get there.




Happy Crocheting!
(And maybe something else...)