Sunday, January 31, 2016

Mittens Monday!

  (To those of you reading this today [Sunday], no, I didn't forget what day it is. The hubby and I are still trying to fix a leaking shower drain, so I'm grabbing the opportunity to publish this while he's at the hardware store again. If we get it fixed tonight, I'm taking the day off tomorrow - and a shower, lol. Pretend it's Monday for me, okay? On the bright side, I'm learning all about P-traps, plumber's putty and "pipe dope".) (And why is it called a P-trap, when it's shaped like an "S"?)

  I am the weird one. Something I always heard when growing up, but not something that ever bothered me. Because I wasn't "weird" as in picking your nose in the class photo weird (okay, wait, I used to be able to bend my thumb backwards); I was always into something that nobody else was interested in. To me, I wasn't "the weird one"... I just had different hobbies and talents than everybody else, and they were weird for not understanding - I mean, after all, I can't understand why anybody likes basketball, but I don't go around calling people weird for it, do I? I like challenges. And after all these years of hearing everybody say it's too hard to crochet mittens, I'm wondering why I would ever listen to anybody's opinion.

mittens, crochet, crochet for charity, donate

(Ya'll know I don't mean any offense by that, right? I'm highlighting the fact that I'm different here.)

  In the last post, I was showing you all my finished pieces intended for donation, and shared my mittens in progress. And... Oh, no...(lol) I think I've found my niche. Through all the projects I start and struggle to complete, or don't finish at all, I am now enthralled with making (and completing!) mittens. A simple scarf that should only take a day to complete may become a work in progress for a month, but mittens seems to fly off my hook effortlessly.

mittens, crochet, free pattern, charity

  And, I've become a little obsessed with browsing the Bridge and Beyond blog. I came across this post where Sandy says "you and I clap and dance in the streets when we receive mittens". In my previous post, I was saying a bit jokingly that I should rededicate the Scarf of the Month to making mittens... But I'm not kidding so much anymore. After writing that, I found some inspiration in another post on their blog. Yes, every little bit helps. But if I have this special passion and ability to hook up a ton of mittens in no time, why not use it to do even more?

  I am just one person... One person that finds it difficult to make 12 scarves in a year, like I planned. But I'm one person that finds it easy to work up one of the most needed items - mittens. If I can complete two pairs of mittens in one week, then let's see how many I can make in a year! (Not bragging, but I also completed another scarf, a hat, started a Valentine's Day project, too... Maybe I'm just running more efficiently than usual.)

  Disregard that thought in parenthesis... It's negative. No, I'm going to look at it this way: My ability to finish mittens is inspiring a feeling of accomplishment, which is fueling more productivity. So, against my better judgement, I'm going to start a new theme, and see if I can stick to it. "Mittens Monday" is going to be my challenge to keep making mittens, and hopefully not get bored with it.

mittens, crochet, yarn, charity

  am just one person. One person with a voice that's heard not only here in my own country, but all across the globe - about 10,000 times a month. (I know you hear me... Mwa, ha ha ha ha!.. Sorry. Told'ya I'm weird.) So, maybe you can't make two pairs of mittens in a week... I doubt I'll keep up with that speed, either. But even if you make one pair in a year... Or maybe a scarf, a hat, or even a cotton washcloth... Just one person making one item to help another, you're still one person helping another. It's something we could use more of in this world.

  The fun thing about the mittens I'm making right now is: I'm cleaning out my yarn stash. I found some random skeins of bulky with no labels, presumably for some forgotten project. I thought they were all the same yarn, until I started working with it. So, what was going to be one of my next free patterns is going to be one of many free patterns. Each pair I work up with a different yarn needs just a little bit of change, so I'm going to stick with the same basic form and see what happens. Instead of publishing one pattern with a bunch of variations, it seems easier to write a different one for each kind of yarn.

bulky, yarn, crochet, mittens

  The not-so-fun part for me: If only I had the foresight to not loose my yarn labels back when I was a beginner! I know some of it is from way back then, because one skein is the stuff I bought to knit a blanket with. I wasn't even crocheting yet! Some of it's newer, and I can backtrack what it is by going through my saved labels... Or maybe just searching the blog. But for the oldest skein, I get the "fun" job of tracking down a yarn that not only is label-less; I have no clue where I bought it, what brand it is, or if they even still make it. Hey, I said I like a challenge, right?

Country Loom, yarn, bulky, crochet

  The (maybe-not-so) fun part for you is: Maybe you'll get to experiment, too! Once I get the patterns posted, consider looking in your own stash for some bulky yarn. Try creating your own pair of mittens using the pattern. But... A warning to beginners, or anybody that has trouble working with textured yarn: Check out the last photo, and you'll see this yarn isn't the easiest to work with! Search your stash and see what you find! If your mittens turn out to big or small, think about sending them for a donation. After all, there's people of all shapes and sizes out there needing a helping hand. The gloves I was designing to fit myself came out too long, but now I know where I need to fix them. Someone else out there can enjoy the "mistake" that's only sized wrong for me, and I get to learn from my mistakes. It's not wasted time; it's just earned experience.

crochet, mittens, bulky, yarn

...And you'll need a bit of experience to work with this yarn! It's bumpy, fuzzy, and splits like crazy. I wouldn't recommend it for a newbie, or anybody with vision problems, or for those with anger issues. So if you have some trouble with finding the stitches in all that fluff, you might want to wait for an easier pattern - then you can see how simple making mittens can be! Can you work in the round? Can you increase and decrease? Can you crochet through two stitches at one time? If yes to all three, then you can make mittens, too! Now, how many of you are willing to lend a helping hand?

Happy Crocheting!

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