Wednesday, November 2, 2016

5 Signs You Might Be Artsy-Fartsy

  Recently I heard the term "artsy-fartsy" used... About me. Um... Is that supposed to be a compliment or an insult? I'm not saying that I was insulted, but I'm wondering if I should be. After all, the phrase has the word "fart" in it, and that makes me think maybe people that use it think crafters just "fart" around at what they do... Or the person who used the term thinks my work stinks!

  Anyway, I'll get past the toilet humor and back to overthinking everything... I'm working on a tutorial/pattern. Trying to work on it, but not getting very far with little sleep (still up at 4am), and still thinking about this phrase. I decided that even if it was meant as an insult, I'm taking it as a compliment. As I'm editing through what seems like thousands of photos, I came across the perfect examples of what "artsy-fartsy" means to me:

1. You pay attention to detail. 

5 Signs You Might Be Artsy-Farsty, pretty things

  Whether that is something you put into your work or just a detail you see in something, you're more likely to see what "glitters". And if it doesn't glitter, then you'll make it glitter if you want it to.

  Okay, so maybe crafters do "fart" around a bit sometimes! The only reason I had for taking that photo was because I liked the way the light was shining through the cracked glass beads, and the burgundy yarn offered some beautiful contrasts of light and shadows. It was a time waster, but looking at it made me happy. And that's all that matters!

2. You know how to improvise.

5 Signs You Might Be Artsy-Farsty, running out of yarn, making stitch marker

  So you ran out of material? Or you didn't have what you needed to begin with? You'll find a way to make it, stretch it, fudge it, think it out, or frog it back.

  Working on a scrap-busting project, I wasn't sure how far I could work with the yarn I had left. I dropped the work from the center-pull side of this skein, and began working the second piece from the outer end of the yarn. Knowing I'd need a locking marker to keep my active stitch on the first piece from pulling out, I whipped up a stitch marker with some beads and jewelry-making supplies. 

3. You appreciate creation.

5 Signs You Might Be Artsy-Farsty, flower pics

  You know what goes into things that have been "made". Maybe it's the blood, sweat, and tears that went into a family heirloom, or perhaps it's just how long it takes for nature to turn a seed into a bloom. You know that making things takes time. And you appreciate the time that's been put into them, whether it was made by you, something you can't really see, or someone you never knew.

  I didn't take a walk in the garden for that lovely photo; it's from an arrangement that Rip van Winkle bought. I can't help but take pictures of cut flowers when I receive them, because I know they won't last long. Maybe I'm horribly sentimental, but I always get a little sad when flowers die. I'd rather have a living plant, so I can see the creation of blooms happening again and again.

4. You will figure it out.

5 Signs You Might Be Artsy-Farsty, making a beaded stitch marker

  You might not have made or done that before, but you'll find a way! If you can't figure out how on your own, then you'll go searching online tutorials and Pinterest boards until you find the perfect instructions or inspiration.

  I knew I wanted to make a cute dangling stitch marker, and I had the perfect beads in mind (as well as on hand). Why cute and sparkly? Because I had an idea for a traveling stitch marker that I could clip on a chain or bracelet like a charm when not in use. (I lose my paperclips and scrap yarn pieces in bags.) But... How to make it? I remembered a tutorial from EyeLoveKnots for reversible earrings, and thought the earring charm was close to the idea I had. While I was there, I searched out another tutorial for how to make dangle earrings, and combined the methods from both to create my charm-marker.

 5. You (usually) know when to stop.

5 Signs You Might Be Artsy-Farsty, fingerless glove fail

  You had that one big, awesome idea that would be... Well, awesome. If only worked! Perhaps you'll rethink it, try again, and succeed. Or maybe you don't come to that conclusion until many failed attempts and f-words... You can accept it when you know something you tried will never work, and you know not to go that direction again. You can take a failed attempt at creation as a learning experience and just walk away.

  I tried to adapt a thumb-less pattern into a design with thumbs... And failed. The symmetrical fingerless pattern was easy to change one way to create a thumb hole. However, no matter how many times I tried to work out a thumb on the other glove, I couldn't work it into the design. It would be so much easier to break the yarn and join again to make thumbs. Why am I bothering to fight with this? Oh well, lesson learned. At least I got to see how pretty my new sparkly stitch marker looks on that bright green yarn!

  In my overthinking process, I came to the conclusion that being called "artsy-fartsy" isn't so bad. The term used to conjure up images of socialites standing around an art museum while sniffing wine, or half-naked hippies dancing with streamers. Of course, if you happen to be one of those people: 1) I'm half joking and mean no offense by calling you out; and 2) You're artsy fartsy, too! 

  It's just a phrase that means you enjoy doing something that someone else doesn't understand. Whatever that thing is, you see the beauty in it; the fun in it; a purpose in it. "Artsy-fartsy" might not be a pretty way to describe doing what you love, but there's elegance behind the process of making and doing. I won't be offended by the term. Whether you're a passionate poet, crazy crocheter, or race-fan redneck, I bet there's creation behind that one thing that you love most. We are the ones who celebrate creation and make it happen. Be proud to be artsy-fartsy.

Happy Creating!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Creations and Goodies

  Some great finds of mine got neglected after my last shopping trip! It's all the yarn's fault - It distracted me. ;) Being in a bad mood and tired, I decided not to work on anything for a few days, and do a little cleaning and organizing instead. Isn't it amazing how you find things when that happens? The tiny packages that were left in the bag from my purchase were buried under another skein of yarn.

  Well, of course finding them led to a little creativity, after all. I could have put my finds in the craft supplies, to probably be forgotten some more. After I searched for so long to find these things, there's no way I can let that happen. Why not sit down and get to work on it? Great idea. So, let's see what I've got!

crochet, shawl toggle, buttons, Joann Fabric and Crafts

  I know I could easily have found the oblong buttons I've been looking for online, but I haven't wanted to make an online purchase for just a few buttons... So after I couldn't find them at Michaels or Walmart, I was disappointed as well as out of options. But, wait! Then Dad asked if I wanted to take an out-of-town trip to Joann's. I guess you can tell by the pictures that I found what I was looking for!

crochet, shawl toggle, buttons

  I need oblong shaped buttons to make more shawl toggles. These flat buttons are awesome! Blue on one side and black on the other, they'll go perfectly with my black and blue love knot shawl. It didn't take me long to make the first one I shared a few weeks back, so I knew I should get to it with these instead of forgetting them again.

crochet, shawl toggle, buttons

  My first attempt left me laughing, because I should have remembered this problem from the first time. All set and ready to go - Except for that needle that's too big to fit through the buttonholes! I searched for the needle I used last time, but the Troll must have taken it. Hmm... What to do?

crochet, shawl toggle, buttons

  One of my tiny steel hooks fit through the holes, so I stopped searching for a needle. This time, I decided to separate the plies of worsted-weight yarn into two strands instead of using the full bulk of the yarn. I was going to use a different color yarn to create the next toggle, but since I still had the other half of the strand I split, I went ahead and used it.

crochet, shawl toggle, buttons

  But... There's no buttonholes! I had a minor freak-out moment when I realized that the tutorial I used didn't mention using button with loops like these. However, it proved to be even easier. I dropped the hook, didn't even think about a needle, and just ran the yarn through the loops with my fingers. Yay, we love simple things!

crochet, shawl toggle, buttons

  I think I might redo that one someday, because I'm not sure how it will work out. I thought that only looping the yarn once would give it a nice delicate look, but it looks like it might come apart. We'll just have to wait and see!

  My one other find is something I've been looking for forever! Shortly after I purchased my first rotary cutter, I learned that they make a skip-cut blade for making holes in fabric. Again, it's a small thing that I didn't want to purchase online. And once more, I searched the two local options for craft supplies, and found nothing.

crochet, edged fabric blankets, fleece, Joann Fabric and Craft

  I owe Joann Fabric and Crafts a big thank-you for being the only place I can find what I need. If only they could take over one of the countless empty storefronts in this town so I could go there more often! I guess they hooked a customer no matter how far away they are, because I signed up for emails to get sales and coupons. I find myself actually looking to see what's in the emails instead of automatically deleting them.

  Since I plan on going back, I'm already thinking of the fabric I'll get to make use of that blade. WHAT? What in the world would no-sew me be doing with fabric? Easy, it's okay... Just some no-sew fleece blankets! My blade seems to be different than the one used in this tutorial, but I'm hoping it will work. I'm looking into jumping into the craft fair circus next year, and these blankets make quick, easy sales. I'm scared... Very scared, but it's time I get into something new. Maybe I can find a partner to talk to people while I just crochet in a corner.

Happy Crocheting! 

PS - I don't hold it against any of the other stores for not having supplies... You see that everywhere in this town, from parts stores to pet shops.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Happy Halloween

  Hi, crazy lady here... I haven't been posting much because I'm trying to get my backup of free patterns in order. However, this persistent bout of insomnia is bringing productiveness to a screeching halt. Just typing a sentence that makes sense is difficult, and any attempt at translating my notes into true written patterns have ended with me staring blankly at what looks like gibberish. It kinda feels like that first time you open a calculus textbook.

  This, too, shall pass. In the meantime, more crochet is being done! Right, like I need to create more things and record them in more gibberish/chicken-scratch nonsense that mocks me from the page... Still, it happens. What happened this time was supposed to be for my Halloween costume, but my Halloween plans got wrecked. It really sucks to work feverishly on short notice and finish the pieces for your costume, just to have plans change and be left with no reason to dress up at all. 

  Oh, cry me a river... It's not the end of the world. I'm tired and I've let other people pull me into a bad mood, ruining my favorite holiday. But, um, didn't the title of this post have the word "happy" in it somewhere? I can still look forward to trying again next year, so I'll do my best to forget the day and share some happy crocheting. So... What do you do when you can't get display photos of your Halloween accessories in-use because you have no reason to dress up?

You put them on a pumpkin and say: Happy Halloween!

crochet, snakes, Medusa, hairbands, Halloween

  That is a small pumpkin, so those aren't giant snakes. Each is about a foot in length, with two a little longer at about 18" (45 cm). I was playing with my new creations, wondering how big they would be if that was a full-size pumpkin. It made me realize that this pattern would be easy to create in any size, and doesn't have to include the hairbands I attached to make a Medusa costume. They could just be cute/cuddly/evil/venomous little (or big) snakes.

crochet, snakes, Medusa, hairbands, Halloween

  If you're a return reader, then you probably know about my lack of sewing/embroidery skills. A similar skill level applies to stuffed projects, too. So you can see by the cutesy one with the crooked eyes that my first attempt was off. It's okay; We were going to be in the dark, and I planned to hide that one a bit with some of the others. The second go-round was better, but the eyes just weren't right and it was horribly over-stuffed. By the third try, I knew the eyes needed to be a different shape, and maybe a bit farther apart. The last two (dark green) came out perfect other than one spot with too much stuffing. Those are my "keepers" that will eventually be a free pattern.

  But let's not rush it, okay? I promise it will be a pattern by this time next year, but I have enough things backed up and Halloween is almost over. You know how far behind I am? I made some simple coffee maker doilies for my dad, on request when Hurricane Matthew was rolling through. Like a dummy, I finished them at his house and never took pictures, despite having packed my camera. He was awesome enough to send me some pics, but I haven't had a chance to share them!

  Dad saw the doily I made for my coffee maker, and asked if I could make two so his coffee and tea makers would stop scratching the counter. Yes, Dad makes tea in a coffee maker. He probably puts tons of sugar in it, too. Gasp! The things we do to tea in the south... Never mind that; there's people around here that think cheese in a can is a delicacy. Now I bet Dad will ask me what's wrong with making tea in a coffee maker, and if I'm feeling okay because I'm talking about cheese on my blog ;)

crochet, doily, jute twine, coffee

  The answers are nothing at all and yes, but I'm hungry - for Halloween candy, not for cheese in a can. Back to the doilies: Instead of using the same pattern as the doily I made for my larger coffee maker, I just made some simple granny rectangles - The same pattern I've been using for those blankets I made, too. I added a single crochet border to stiffen up the edges, and I think they only took six or seven rounds. The original piece I created for mine was interesting, but these were quick and easy to make in any size. 

  Between this project and the snakes I created, I realized how much faster I can crochet and complete something when I'm not writing a pattern for it. (Duh.) And completing patterns makes me so much happier than stopping to write all the time. There are free patterns waiting to be published. For now, I'm just going to concentrate on crocheting to save what little is left of my sanity. If a pattern happens from it, then that's great! However, I'm not going to think about that spiral-rectangle blanket I started until I get some sleep. Dad needs another doily to go under the canister. I think I can handle a granny square to match.

  For those of you who celebrate Halloween, please have a safe one. Eat lots of extra candy for the girl who can't have any. Enjoy those rainbows of sugar. Really get into character and rock your costume... Unless you're a zombie. Please don't get into character too much if you're a zombie. I don't want you to eat what might be left of my brain.

Happy Crocheting!
Happy Halloween!

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