Friday, May 22, 2020

Working on Working


  Hi! Crazy Lady here, back with more problems again... Insomnia has been hitting me harder than ever, so I should apologize ahead of time for... Well, most of this, I suppose. When I do sleep, it never lasts more than two hours. It's been this way for over a month (two; three?) now. My brain is in a constant fog, and I find it harder to concentrate with each day that passes. Which is NOT going to help me with any of the mess I've uncovered: 


crochet, pattern, writing, notebook


  Yay, my pattern notebooks have been found! They were misplaced in the move, and I've been hoping to find them so I could get back to work on some completed patterns that have yet to make it here. Since I had some things to do on the blog anyway, I thought I'd start typing them up. (Maybe a bad idea to do any work... Anybody remember the time I deleted the blog's background?) What I thought would be a simple task turned out to be a bad idea, indeed.



  The patterns in one of my lost notebooks were created while living at Dad's. Writing in the dim light from the TV with my book balanced on the couch, I didn't have the best penmanship. Well, I never do consider my handwriting to be good but this chicken scratch looks unfamiliar to my eyes. The letters of many abbreviations are smashed together, the writing fades to almost unreadable towards the bottom of the page, and I have sticky notes stuck to the pages which are fortunately more readable, however, I have no clue what they are for.



  What. A. Mess. And here I was thinking this would be a mindless task! Nope, this is not a job for tired brain and eyes. BUT... It's not like this is a total disaster, because at least I've found the notebooks. There's a chance I could decipher all of it someday, I just need to be able to find the time that I never seem to have.



  Hmm. Time. Like the time I wasted while searching for the link above? I got a little too distracted while searching for that post, and I ended up browsing my own blog for awhile. There are so many broken links! SO. MANY. And all of them are my own fault for creating my tutorials with Guidecentral instead of publishing my own content.



  They said it would be a great opportunity. I would get so much EXPOSURE (good god, I hate that word) and my own blog would benefit. They said I would make money, which I did for a time. First it was $7 per tutorial, then it got dropped to $4. I became suspicious when I was nearing my last payment threshold and they wouldn't let me publish any more tutorials. Dollars short of receiving payment, they shut the monetary side of the program down. But it's okay, they said we were more than welcome to keep creating tutorials for FREE, because well, you know, it's great exposure.



  Guidecentral didn't last long after that. (Aw, I wonder why?) We had the opportunity to download our own materials before they shut the site down, but I suffered another setback when my PC crossed over the great Fiber Optic Rainbow in the sky. I never recovered any of my work and I was left with a ton of broken links that were eventually forgotten among the bigger stresses in life.



  So... More good news! I now have another PC that's about to get hurled over that stupid rainbow. It used to work for at least 20 minutes before freezing, but it's getting worse. (No joke, it has frozen on almost every paragraph of this post.) After going through all the brains (OS, drivers, troubleshooting, etc), I opened the case up to check out its guts. Looky what I found:


HP, PC, desktop,


  Could that be it? Well I'll just plug that wire all the way back in, then... Push; falls. Push harder; falls. Entangle wire with another wire so it will stay put; FALLS. Grrrr. If this is the problem, I'm not fixing it by simply plugging it back in. Use gruff mechanic-voice here: I'm gonna go get the duct tape and a hammer. If one don't fix it, the other will.



  This became motivation for me to hook up the previous desktop to see what I could do. I had worked on that machine for hours after it failed, trying to resurrect it from a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) just to get a Black Screen of No Return. (That's when I made the mistake of going to Walmart to buy the only piece of HP I could find.) So yesterday I set the old machine up on the floor, not expecting much from it. After three-ish years of being unplugged, the booger started up without a single problem! Then it crashed as soon as I started trying to pull my files.



  This is good news though, because it means not all was a total loss. My files are there! I just have to get them so I can load them onto... Oh... Yeah, there's no point in putting them on this piece of HP, is there? (LOL I suppose it didn't like me insulting it, so it froze again as I finished that sentence.) Since I still have the case open on this thing, I took another look and found the hard drive to be as warm as a freshly poured cup of coffee (mmm, coffee), so I'm guessing this won't be solved by some Windows updates or wiggling wires.



  The harsh reality? This is a simple issue that's pretty easy for me to fix: By a new PC. Pull the files from this and the old one. Load them onto new computer; begin working again. So, what's the problem? What I can't fix is the rest of my life where everything is always falling apart and I can't seem to stop it from affecting my work. And "it" just keeps piling up. What would be nice if I had a husband that wanted to lift a finger with any of those other things.



  I understand that Rip van Winkle can't help me with technology problems, but it would mean so much if he just made his own sandwich for lunch, or unpacked that lunchbox when he gets home, or do some of his dishes or laundry... You know, take care of yourself kind of stuff. Clean your own truck? It would have been even better to get a hug after my cats died. Something... Anything. I am so tired of this life that I would be happy to just walk away from everything and get a job at Walmart or a gas station or something so that I could leave this (unfinished) house and forget that I'm basically a maid that works to the tune of someone else's snoring.



  *Sigh* Gee, that feels good to say to people who might listen. He can't see the problem when he's almost always staring at the back of his eyelids. When he's awake, it's the TV he stares at... But that's after asking me to put something on to watch because he "can't figure out how to use the remote". He can't make his own food because he "can't find the dishes" and "can't get the directions right" for how to cook a Hot Pocket. And I can't see myself dealing with this much longer, but leaving my marriage will only result in another major upset in a life that has been derailed so many times that it's an official train wreck. Until I make a decision to stay or go, I'm just going to keep working on working.



  This post sure jumped the tracks as well, huh? My point is that I've had trouble finding the motivation to get back to work when I'm always faced with another issue to solve (or work around). And I'm starting to see that it's not all my fault... Things need to change. It's going to start with him microwaving some leftovers or going hungry. (Update: That resulted in him not eating until after 9pm when I finally set food in front of him because apparently I have no spine.) I have 50+ broken links to fix and most require the creation of a new tutorial. Forget that lack of inspiration! I already have a list of tasks ahead of me and it's time to get to work... As soon as I'm done spot-treating the concrete out of his work clothes.



  You may guess by my rambling that my mental state isn't at its strongest, but I'll be okay. Writing about it often helps me to work out my problems. And the more I reread my own pathetic words, I get mad instead of sad. When I'm sad, I'm only able to do the bare minimum of work. My "duties as housekeeper" burn up all the energy I have. When I get mad, I do things. Sometimes those "things" are me throwing half his stuff out the door while yelling "I can't take any more of your crap piling up!", but hey... It's doing something, right? *Disclaimer: He has at least refrained from bringing anything that came from a dumpster into the new house. He puts it in the shed instead.



  The more I think about it, the extra work of fixing those links might pull me out of this funk. Maybe going through those tutorials will help inspire me to get back to creating patterns. If I can't fix all the broken things in my house or my broken relationship, then I can at least fix the broken links on my blog. I can't wait to get to work! I'll start as soon as I'm done picking up the paper towels he's been throwing on the floor behind the trash can.


Thanks for listening, or at least pretending to. It doesn't matter if anybody reads this, it just helps to vent sometimes.


Happy Crocheting!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Floor Pouf WIP

  A hoard of plastic grocery bags has already started piling up in the new house. I absolutely refuse to let an entire closet get packed full of bags again! (Well, it was only the bottom-half of the closet...) A sane person would probably go dump them in the recycling container at the grocery store. But of course, I chose to punish myself by beginning a massive plarn project:

plarn, plastic yarn, recycle, crochet, home decor, floor pouf

  It doesn't look so daunting sitting there all by itself in a picture, but this one has turned out to be a monster. A long-envisioned project, I always knew this plarn floor pouf was going to be a big job. That's why it had always been a "long-envisioned" project instead of an "already-started" or "finally finished" project! Why, oh why do I do these things to myself? I should have known better.

plarn, plastic yarn, recycle, crochet, home decor, floor pouf

  I'm creating a bit of a color pattern by using 15 grey bags, then one black bag. And I'm being serious about it, replacing broken pieces along the way so I can keep the color repeating the same all the way around. This is partly so I'll be able to go back and count exactly how many bags were used in the project, and also so that it doesn't look too bad and I'll be proud to display it as part of my home decor. (If I EVER finish it!)

  I began with a flat circle in half-double crochet until it measured around 20" in diameter. The splashes of black were random during the increases. The color pattern began repeating evenly once I started working even to create the sides. Each group of 16 bags works into one round, plus about 5 stitches. I'm currently on what I thought was round 32... After counting the bags by color changes, I think I'm off on my count. There's 8 dashes on the flat bottom (128 bags) and about 20 vertical rounds (320 bags), so no matter what round I'm on, I'm getting close to 500 bags in the project!

plarn, plastic yarn, recycle, crochet, home decor, floor pouf

  Oh, and there's the stuffing: Any pieces of the loops that break while joining, bags that aren't fit to cut up for material, and all the tops and bottoms that get cut off to create the plarn. With the extras thrown into the filling, I'm probably over 500 bags already. And I've still got a few more vertical rounds to work for the sides, plus the top will probably use the same amount as the bottom. I'll need some extra bags to make up the stuffing, so I wonder if I can end up with 1,000 bags in one project? (Side note: It's time to make some reusable bags.)

  My original hope was for the pouf to be stuffed only with bags, but as it grows I'm thinking I might have to use some stiff foam around the edges to help it keep shape. I'm afraid the smaller pieces of scraps will work through the stitches, so I'm tying them up in more bags to keep the mess contained. Unfortunately at this point it looks like those bags of scrap material are going to make some bumpy filling. No matter how much I squish or smash them around, the bags of bags just won't settle into a perfectly round shape to fill out the edges.

  Once I get closer to finishing, I'll try stuffing the edges with loose bags and keep the bags of scraps in the center. Maybe that will squish out in a smoother shape while the scrap bags can give more density to the middle. And if that doesn't work, then there's an old yoga mat out in the shed that would probably make a great lining, and I could still consider this project 100% recycled material.

plarn, plastic yarn, recycle, crochet, home decor, floor pouf

  Those minor problems aside, the big issue I'm having with the project is my choice in material. I'm using "giant plarn" again (check out the Giant Plarn Rug pattern), but this time I'm using a hook instead of finger crochet. It's really hard work! The plarn is cut 4-5" wide and I'm using the loop method, so the material is double-thick. I'm working with a size P/10mm hook to keep my stitches tight, and there's a lot of resistance using a plastic hook with plastic yarn.

  The hook digs into all the wrong places of my hand and my arms get tired from moving the project as I work. The bigger it gets, the worse it is to work on. Just think: This is only a floor pouf. Originally, I wanted to make a full-size bean bag chair of plarn. NO WAY! I'm glad I settled for the smaller version since my sanity is already close to the edge... I know that to be a fact, because I'm considering making a second floor pouf to match. Wouldn't it be cool to have one for each end of the couch we still don't have yet?


Happy Crocheting!


PS Dear friends, I began this project and this post before "the news" came out... I can't stand listening to the news right now... If I hear the "C-word" one more time I'm gonna jump out the window. And that would do me no good because it's only about a 12-foot jump and I'd probably just end up in the hospital with a broken leg and then I'd get the corona - oops, I mean the C-word .

  Jokes aside: I don't want to say "it" because I'm tired of hearing the C-word. I really didn't want to write about it, but we all need to vent sometimes, right? Feel free to click off if you're sick of hearing about it, too. I'm sick of people acting like morons and hoarding toilet paper. I went shopping yesterday and couldn't even get a simple bottle of dish soap because our local Walmart isn't enforcing limits on items and people have hoarded the store empty of everything (sparing anything in the health food section). Last week they were allowing people to purchase entire carts full of gallons of milk, this week they have signs up stating there is a limit of one, but they're letting people go through self-checkout with however much they want. 

  But don't worry, they do have an employee at the front of the store rationing out sanitizing wipes for your cart!... The lady dropped ours on the floor, then picked it up and tried to hand it to Rip while making direct eye contact, like "you didn't see that, did you?" And he just stands there looking at it in her outstretched hand as if it's the plague itself. She says "this is to wipe down your cart" in the way one might speak to a child, and he just stood there looking at it for another good 30 seconds before she threw it away and got another one. She knew what she did.

  Also, there is no cat food. Please... Please tell me people are just hoarding for their pets as well and some folks aren't choosing drastic measures over what's left in the health food section!

  Towards the end of my shopping trip, I had a brief conversion with a little dude's mom over the lack of bread. Little dude jumped in and said "It's so stupid! Everybody should only take what they need and leave the rest for people that need it. People just need to isolate for like TWO WEEKS, it's not like it's the end of the world or something!". Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to nominate this 9-year old for president... If that kid can get it right, what's wrong with the adults? (Also, I hate the fact that "isolate" and "quarantine" are now part of an average 9-year old's daily vocabulary.)

  Be smart. Stay safe. As crafters, I think we have an advantage at keeping ourselves entertained. A creative mind can take you to all kinds of places. I can't personally relate to the people that are going nuts from boredom while in isolation. (I already live my life that way and I think I prefer it.) But I can understand the stress of your whole life changing and you having no control over it; I sympathize with the people leaving stores empty-handed; I can relate to everyone's fear of catching this virus.

  Maybe we're not all on the same page, but the world is united in a fight right now. Let's all try to stay level-headed and get through this the best that we can. It's really hard for me to put into words something like "my heart goes out to anyone affected by this", because it's like the whole world affected by this in one way or another and that seems like such a shallow blanket statement compared to the depth of the situation. So whatever it is I'm trying to say... I mean it. 

Remember that it is important to stand together in times like these. Just remember to stand together while remaining at least six feet apart.
💓


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

A Simple Blanket

  I couldn't help it... The local discount store sent out a flyer that listed Bernat Blanket yarn for an awesome price. I didn't need more yarn. I just need to finish my house so I can unpack the yarn I still have. But I just couldn't help it! I only went to the store to see what colors they had available, and somehow a bunch of it ended up in my basket. Oops! Well, long story short... A blanket happened:

Bernat Blanket, yarn, crochet, blanket

  I'm only faking the guilt. It felt good to buy yarn all in one color (my favorite color) to make a blanket that I want. It's plain, it's black, and I love it. It is also very, very warm! I've wanted to work with Bernat Blanket for a while, but always found it a bit out of the budget for the amount you get in a ball. (It made my Wednesday Wishlist back in 2015 and I still haven't tried it!) Since I didn't get a chance to go to Ollie's until two days after the sales flyer was released, I expected to find this yarn already gone. I lucked out and started digging through a box full of yucky bright colors to find all I could find...

  Eight balls of "Coal". Only eight. Remaining colors: Bright pink (yuck), bright yellow (ugh), bright green (blech), and orange (NO). Not a single ball of a nice color like grey or white. So I hoarded the last of the good color and hoped I could make something from it.

Bernat Blanket, yarn, crochet

  I was worried about buying it from the discount store. The motto at Ollie's is "Good stuff cheap", and I love the place... But I've found that not all of their stuff is so great! I had a frustrating experience with a box of trash bags that were split up the sides, and I would never consider buying their "slightly irregular" clothing (some of which looks more like factory defects), but I had to take the risk with this yarn.

Bernat Blanket, yarn, crochet

    It wasn't much risk at the discount price anyway. Eight balls at $1.99 comes to a grand total of $15.92. At the original price, the total would have been $55.92! But wait, there's more! Since I'm a member of Ollie's "army", I had an additional coupon for 15% off my purchase, so that reduces the price to only $13.54.

  Including tax (7.5%) brings the total back up to $14.56. I think I could afford to buy a few balls at full price if I ever decide to make the blanket a little bigger. Who knows? Maybe I'll find more on discount again some day.

Bernat Blanket, yarn, crochet, Ollie's

  As for my worries about the quality of the yarn, I have no complaints. Each time I started a new ball the center was extremely hard to find and I'd end up pulling half the ball out before I found the end. That's an issue I've also had with similar yarns so it was kind of expected. And there were a few balls that had knots between about three feet of yarn... That's always annoying but I've had the same thing happen with almost every yarn I've ever worked with. I can't condemn it for either of those small problems.


  The only thing I'm really disappointed about is that the color isn't worth much for taking photos. I thought this would be a good pattern to share because I was able to work out a 46" by 50" throw with only eight balls of yarn. But if I can't get better pictures, it discourages me from finishing a post with a pattern.


  Even though I like the feel of Bernat Blanket, I'm not interested in purchasing more unless I can get another awesome deal. It's soft. It's fluffy. And it's so heavy! It washed and dried like a dream, but it's sooooo heavy. It's really warm, and heavy. At only 46" by 50", it's like one of those weighted blankets. I thought about buying more to expand the size, but I fear making it larger might suffocate me in my sleep.

  It's the first official completed "just for me" crochet project in the new house, and I'm proud of it. But I think this throw will never get much more use than being an accent piece on the couch or a chair... If we ever get furniture! We're still sort of camping out in the living room with a futon for a bed and one of those cheap card tables with my two computer chairs for a dining set. Including the $3 deflated bean bag chair I found at the thrift store and our two plastic patio chairs, it's quite the setup.

  Which leads to house updates: Nothing! There's no progress made on installing the flooring because I'm still stuck on the laundry room disaster, but I've made the decision to hire an electrician to deal with the outlet and then we'll see if we can work out the vent afterwards. For now, my dryer plugs into an outlet that just sits on the floor and I have to stick the vent out the back door every time I do laundry. Eh, what's the rush? I'm sure that setup is entirely safe and up to code. 😬

  The good news is that Rip van Winkle went out and bought a new TV, so at least we know what his priorities are... Same as always: Turn on the TV; fall asleep with the TV at full volume; snore loudly and continuously to compete with the noise of the TV. Some things never change, but electricians can be paid to change outlets.

Happy Crocheting!

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