Sunday, September 11, 2016

No, I Won't Eat a Cheeseburger

*This post does contain some mild and censored profanity, sorry for that. It's just part of the story, and you know I don't usually include it.

  Do you mind if we take a minute to discuss one of those things some people don't like to talk about? Sizes. There are all different shapes and sizes of people in the world, and I'm one of them, just like you are. I want to know why rules apply to some, but not others. Something happened, and I've just had enough of too many comments from idiots people who think I'm "lucky". So, we might be going into a dangerous area where I'm about to spew more words than I should, but this is a subject worth spewing over.

  I could ask "what's your size?", but I don't really care... Not because I don't care, but because it doesn't change who you are as a person. Whether you are big, small, short or tall, I'll still like you (or not). Unfortunately, the rest of the world doesn't always think the same way. Due to that way of thinking, I've hit another roadblock in my design ideas along with my plans to observe Patriot Day.

  Here's the quick explanation of my problem: I've been focusing my designs on things that are versatile for everyone; to include as many people as possible in my patterns. I'm smaller than most, and have a hard time finding clothes that fit. So, I got the bright idea to start focusing my designs on people my size... But apparently, that's a "bad idea". It's hurtful to bigger people. Another person who saw my shawl wanted to know where they could get a larger size. "Sorry" I said, "I made it for myself." She told me that I'm being insensitive by not including plus sizes in my designs.

shawl, crochet, Patriot Day, rants

  I was then told how lucky I am to be so small; how great it must be to wear any clothes I want; I'm so lucky to be able to eat whatever I want... And that I should think more about bigger people's problems. Then I was told I should go eat a cheeseburger.


crochet, shawl, Partriot Day, rants

  Let me give you the rundown on what it's like to be me: I'm not skinny because I work out or I have an awesome metabolism, I'm skinny because I have a DISEASE! I used to be an average size. When I developed rheumatoid arthritis, my appetite disappeared. (RA isn't just arthritis, if you didn't know; it's your immune system attacking your body.) Never the kind of person to eat when I'm not hungry, I actually have to be reminded to feed myself sometimes. Because my body has no store of fat for energy, I occasionally faint from not eating. The girl who used to haul 100-pound transmissions out of cars has now wasted away to a stick that can't pick up 30 pounds. I had to give up my career. And when I do eat, I can't have the things that most "normal" people can have... Do you have to worry over whether or not you can eat a Pop Tart? Allergic to food coloring and more, just going out for dinner causes me anxiety.


  I'm sorry for the rant. There was another event that happened a long while back that made me really sensitive to this subject. Out shopping, I passed by a very large woman, and didn't even look at her until I heard her whisper as she walked past: "Skinny b****". I don't even know this lady. We crossed paths a few more times through the store, and each time she whispered something: "Skinny b****, whore, little -c-" Yup, she was one nice lady with an extensive list of things to say. And oh, she did NOT just use the "C" word on me... Leave it to me to almost get into a fight in Walmart, because I snapped at that last name-calling.

  "WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?" I couldn't take any more of feeling like a bullied child while all I'm doing is trying to get some groceries.

  "You're too skinny" she replied. "You should go eat a cheeseburger or something."

  Argh! If only she knew that I had recently been over in the clothing department, checking to see if they had any jeans in my size. They don't. I just needed some cheap jeans to work in the yard, but Walmart's sizes start at 4. I'm a 0 or a 1. They sell size 28 jeans. But, not my size.  

  And I know that bigger people have to endure comments and stares from other equally-rude walking rectums. I'm not trying to diminish the problems they have to face. Short people, tall people, dark people and light people are all at risk of "being picked on" by someone who is different from them. I'm just trying to point out that it's not fair to think that someone is "lucky" because they have something you don't. And it's not fair to expect me to design a plus size when I'm making a shawl for myself.

  What about one-size-fits-all projects? I have lots of those... I have side-projects, like my latest hat, that stop the progress of my for-sale patterns. I'm busy trying to translate my chicken-scratch notes into a free pattern for you all. What an inconsiderate person I am.

crochet, hat, free pattern, love knot

  I did have plans to work up a larger version of my shawl... But since this one was for me, I didn't do it yet. I had been so happy when the coffee barista praised my work yesterday! It really hurt my feelings to be called "insensitive" over it by the next person. After all, there are entire pattern websites dedicated to only plus-size designs... But not many designers include instructions for size extra-small. Check this out:

Google search results for "plus size crochet patterns"

Google search results for "petite size crochet patterns"

  And please, check out more than just the top results. Which one of those contains links relevant to the search? I want to change those search results so that "petite size crochet patterns" are actually the first things that come up when you search those words. But I will design plus sizes eventually, too. I just need to make myself some clothes, first! I don't think I should be called insensitive for that.

crochet, shawl, Patriot Day, rants

  I guess I just thought about it more than I should, with this week leading up to 9/11... Now known as Patriot Day. Patriot: -noun- "a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors." Patriot Day: A day to remember the deaths of thousands of people in a horrible act. It's also the National Day of Service and Remembrance - The day to honor those who were lost when they stood up for the call to action after the events. A day to be an American, support each other, join together, and spread love along with our remembrance.

  That's what I had been thinking about: What could I do to honor someone on this day; what I could write to help raise awareness... When this lady accosted me with her rant about how I'm a bad person for not making clothes in her size. With her selfish act, I became selfish myself. All thoughts about remembrance vanished, for I was immersed in wondering if I had truly done wrong as I steamed in anger. That's not patriotic. That's not remembering. That's just being self-absorbed.

And that's a lesson in how negativity can roll downhill and spread like wildfire.

  Okay, my rant is almost over, and I hope you understood that I'm not trying to offend anyone. I've just heard too much. In the last week, I've been told by three different people that I need to gain some weight, twice to eat a cheeseburger, and asked once (but not for the first time) if I was doing drugs. I even had to endure the extremely rude comment of "ya know you'd have bigger tits if you put some fat on yer ass"... No, moron, then I'd just have fat on my ass. But not one person has said a word about Patriot Day. It makes me sad and just a little ashamed to call those people Americans.

  I remember that day... I'll never forget. A naive teenager, sleeping late of course. Waking up to the radio, always tuned to a rock station that was known for prank skits, I thought the news had to be a joke at first. Turning on the TV, I knew no one was kidding. "How could this happen?" I thought. "We're in AMERICA. We're supposed to be safe here"... And with that, my life changed forever just like everyone else's. A young girl aspiring to be a pilot now became afraid of planes, and dreams were crushed like the rubble of the aftermath. The events of 9/11 ended lives, changed lives, and saw new lives emerge... The news of the birth of my only niece was overshadowed by news of falling towers. No matter where you were in America, the news of the attacks affected you in some way. Maybe more Americans need to remember that feeling of standing together as AMERICANS like we did that day, instead of busily ripping each other apart for our differences.

Thanks for listening!

Never Forget

PS: Have some fluffy goodness after all that...

crochet, Bernat Pipsqueak, fluffy, yarn

I need ya'll to help me stay motivated on this one! I'm getting tired of cleaning up fluffy bits. It'll be a free pattern when it's done!

Happy Crocheting!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Expect the Unexpected

  You know that feeling when you know you shouldn't buy yarn, but the craft store sends you an email about an amazing sale? (Of course, you could replace the words "yarn" and "craft store" with whatever vices fit...) Well, they got me. I've been on the lookout for a certain yarn to show up in the local Michaels, but suffered disappointment every visit. I was starting to think I'd never see it here! When the email popped up saying they had it on sale for a great price, I had to go looking again... And right there on an end cap display:

yarn, crochet, Caron Cakes

  It's a win-lose situation. Honestly, I'm doing a happy dance over finding Caron Cakes, despite knowing I shouldn't be buying more yarn. You could forgive me for that, right? Who can turn down those beautiful colors? I'm also happy to find that the 20% wool doesn't seem to be causing me a reaction yet... So, double "yay"!

  That's pretty much where I can stop making excuses for myself and admit that I totally went yarn shopping. I've had a few lone balls of Bernat Pipsqueak sitting around, and one night this week I decided to turn them into a blanket. Except, one ball is pink, and I don't want a pink blanket. I quickly found that the other ball won't make much of a blanket by itself. The project was already started, so what could I do? I picked up a few balls so I can finish it.

yarn, crochet, Bernat Pipsqueak

  And then, WHY did I pull out my phone to check the email to see if I had missed anything else on sale? What? What is that yarn? It's new? If they've been advertising it, I've missed it. Where is it in the store? Oh, right next to the Caron Cakes! I must have been blinded by their pretty colors. Yup, well, two skeins of that are going in my basket...

yarn, crochet, Loops & Threads Facets

  Oops! I'm glad I checked that email! The sale is only if you buy two skeins... Well, let's just slip one more of those Caron Cakes in there, then we can call this shopping trip done.

yarn, crochet, Caron Cakes

  Ooo, what's this? What's that? When did they start carrying that yarn? GET ME OUT OF THE CRAFT STORE BEFORE I DRAIN MY BANK ACCOUNT! Yup, there's no hope for me... A yarn addict is a yarn addict. But I do have one interesting story for you from after my shopping trip:

  I wore my "fairy" shawl when I went out. There's this little proud/selfish part of my brain that wants people at the craft store to see my creations and "ooo and ah" over them. Nobody has ever said a thing to me, and it's always a little disappointing. Same thing this trip, except we stopped for a coffee on the way home... And the young redheaded barista looks over at me and says "OMG, did you make that yourself? It's beautiful! I just made this hat... I'm still learning, but I have a million things saved on Pinterest."

  And in my social awkwardness, I just said "thanks" and no more... I wish I had said more. Perhaps I'll catch her at the coffee shop some other time, and be a bit more prepared. She surprised me; after thinking I'll find praise at the place where crafts are born and getting none, I wasn't expecting it anywhere else. I guess it proves you can always expect the unexpected.

Happy Crocheting!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Loopy Loops

  Sometimes, I just get busy with projects and forget to blog about them. The experimenting that I've been doing with my latest plarn project has been kept behind the scenes, so I figured I should take a minute to share what's going on.

  Ever since I made my Giant Plarn Rug, I've been looking for an improvement to the design. My original creation was a bit of a novelty; just a neat way to use up a stash of bags that has grown too big. But even after making that monstrosity, I still have tons of bags! My free time has been filled with cutting and joining loops.

plarn, plastic bag yarn, recycling, crochet

  I'm still keeping the material wide but I've cut it thinner than before, making three loops from a bag instead of two. And even though I can cut more bags at one time with my rotary cutter, I'm finding the paper cutter Dad gave me to be a much safer option... The blade constantly comes loose on my cutter, and I'm afraid I'll end up having an accident with it. I already had one case where I dropped it, and stupidly tried to catch it. I'll spare you the pictures of the bloody aftermath.

paper cutter, making plarn

  Being more confident that I won't loose a finger while working has motivated me to work more often at making plarn. My original idea was to use up my stash making mats for the homeless, but I need to stop this perpetual problem first... I just don't have enough time to keep cutting, so the stash continues to rebuild with each weekly shopping trip. Yes, I'm a horrible person and still use disposable bags. After many times of taking my reusable bags along to Walmart, only to turn around from unloading the cart to see my things being packed in disposables, I just stopped taking them with and have since given them away. I think I'm going to use some of this test material to whip up a few new reusable bags, then try again to reduce the amount of bags piling up. I just don't know if finger crocheting with extra-thick plarn will be a good idea for a bag...

crochet, finger crochet, plarn

  But I guess I'll find out soon, won't I? It should work fine for larger items, but if the cashier packs something like a small bottle of extract in there, then I know it will fall out. Perhaps it will inspire me to go through the self-checkout lane so I can pack my own bags. I never like how they do it, anyways.

  Back to making the plarn... After the first few tries with the paper cutter, I thought it was a failure. If I can't cut at least five bags at a time, then the machine it isn't efficient enough to work with. I was having to chop two and three times to get through the material, and it was leaving sloppy cuts. Then, thankfully, I reviewed the next two photos for the tutorial I'm making:

paper cutter, making plarn

paper cutter, making plarn

  I saw on camera what my eyes didn't see in front of me. The bags are wider than the blade! No wonder it wasn't chopping all the way through them. The cut I made in that stack was so horrible, I figured it couldn't hurt to try folding them in half and cutting again...

paper cutter, making plarn

  And it was a success! With them folded in half, I found I could cut through six bags at a time, but no more. I think if I have to chop more than once, them I'm probably just damaging the blade of the cutter. I'm cutting each bag into three loops, which makes them about 4" (10 cm) wide.

making plarn, loop method, paper cutter

  So, I'm happily slice-chunking away at my bag stash, and it takes me less than ten minutes to cut enough bags for one of the granny squares I'm making. It takes me about ten more minutes to join the material, and then maybe another ten to crochet the square. But after half an hour listening to the nonstop rustling of plastic, it begins grating on my senses.

granny square, plarn, giant

  And that's why I'm experimenting with these giant two-round grannies... One and done. Crocheting shouldn't irritate me. I don't have a project sitting with active stitches, and there's no pile of plarn getting tangled where I leave it. If I don't have the time to work on the project, then the rest just remains a bag full of bags. But maybe if I get motivated (or some HELP), I can get more than that done. I used to really like working with plarn, but I seem to have lost my fascination with it. Knowing the material is piling up is causing me anxiety, and I think I just need to get all these bags out of my house so I can go back to yarn and

Happy Crocheting!

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