Friday, April 26, 2013

Day 5 - A New Kind of Post - 4KCBWDAY5

Hi everyone!

I decided to do a little video on a trick I'm using to get beads onto yarn without using a crochet hook.  Just last week I started my first bead and crochet project and was completely depressed when I found that some beads would not fit onto my crochet hook.  Well, since today's post is supposed to be doing the blog in a new format, I'll let you see what I do instead of writing about it!  I want to add that this was my first go with video and couldn't figure out the whole video editing thing, sorry.  :)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Day 4 - Color Me Curious

Day 4 of Knitting and Crochet Blog (4KCWBDAY4) week has me reflecting on the colors I like to use in my crochet project. When I think about color and crochet I usually think of bright and cheerful colors that evoke fun and merriment. Colors that Helen, from Helen's Colourful Crochet Bloguses. I love the aqua, the pinks, the bright cheery colors she uses.

Helen's Colourful Crochet Blog
Then I start to think of the colors I use; creams, navy, dark green, and reds. Hmmmmm I know I need to branch out and move into a more exciting palette. Let's check my Ravelry project page for colors.

Ha ha - Just as I thought. Lot's of navy, green, cream and I apparently think a golden yellow is a "crazy" fun color because it's the only pop of color around. The colors definitely embody my house mascot as a manatee. They are unflashy and comfortable colors that don't exactly make you want to jump up and dance around. :)
Even this week I'm trying to get more "peacock" like by using beads in my work for the first time but what base color do I choose? Cream.....

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Day 3 - My blog in words

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Day Two - A Mascot Project


So today for the 2nd day of Knitting and Crochet Blog week I want to try to explain how I come up with a project that will reflect my house mascot.  Since I'm not the most original when it comes to my crochet, I don't design my own patterns.  I tend to look for inspiration at my favorite place on the web, Ravelry.
Once logged on, I always head to the "Pattern" search. I start by typing different words that evoke the feeling or memory of something into the search text box   For my mascot, the manatee, I started with the word "splash" and saw what came up.

The variety of things that came up are interesting.  I love the scarf color and pattern of the stitches but since I'm not a fan of wearing them I kept looking.  The blanket with the whale caught my eye. How cute is that?  Should I make an afghan that would evoke the feelings of being overturned in the water?  Should I make it round like that?  Maybe something that would evoke waves?  And with that I'm off.  I will scroll through pages and pages of results looking at the yarn, the colors and thinking of what techniques I haven't done.
I found lots of different ideas that made me think of my manatee experience without making a stuffed animal. :)  Here are a couple of ideas.

I've never made a piece clothing for myself so the vest and the shrug are something I think I should make.  I love the wrap as something that could be done quickly and could have a fabulous drape with a bamboo yarn.   The afghan would also be simple to make and could be made with colors that could look like the green, blues and white of the water.

I have two hanks of Navy blue cotton that I think would be wonderful for the shrug but may make it too heavy. Maybe I'll use it for the wrap? You'll have to come back later to see what I've decided.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Knitting & Crochet Blog Week - Day One: The House Cup

Hi all!

I'm so excited to be a part of this year's Knitting and Crochet Blog Week initiated by Mimi over at Eskimimi Makes.  For day 1 we are to choose our "House", like my favorite wizarding school!  How could I not love that idea?  Mimi came up with 4 great houses but I have to say that as soon as I saw them I knew EXACTLY which one I would sort myself into; even before reading what the mascot symbolized.  After reading all the attributes of the house I still think the one I first saw is perfect for me.  This is my crochet house:


Don'tcha love it! A manatee!!  ha ha ha ...  This is the house for me! 

In July of 2010 me, my hubby and daughter rented a condo in Titusville, Florida that was right on the Indian River Lagoon (Intracoastal Waterway).  We planned to stay a week and catch one of the last Space Shuttle launches.  Sadly, it was postponed and we didn't get to see the launch! Although while we were there we rented 3 kayak's and were able to launch them from the private dock.  We were told there were manatee in the waterway and not to be afraid of them but they are very curious creatures and may actually bump the side of your boat if they are near.

Intracoastal Waterway Sign Florida

Daughter and Husband - Manatee Area
We laughed and said OK we'd watch for them.  The first day we went out we could see the large manatee's a few hundred yards away and we kept our distance.  How totally cool!!!  We watched them float around and see their noses dive up and down.  The second day my hubby and I decided we wanted to get a little closer.  Our daughter was tired and went back to the house but let me keep her camera.  Mike and I were in separate kayaks and floated away from each other, getting closer to the manatees swimming around.  I was so excited I got out the camera and tried to get photos of their noses out of the water.  I noticed 1 manatee saw me and started swimming closer.  Well the closer it got the more I realized how huge these animals really are and my heart started beating a bit faster.  I tried to get Mike's attention to ask what I should do.  Do I sit there and try not to scare it?  Do I start to paddle away?  Mike had drifted some 50 - 60 yards away.  Well, I decided to sit there and try not to scare the animal. Closer, closer, closer.... Wait there is another one coming towards me now too.... And another nose!  Now I count 3 noses in the air swimming closer and a faster.  My heart is now banging away in my chest. I told myself "they won't hurt you, they are just curious, they may just bump the boat".  BUMP! oh my gosh, oh my gosh, OHMYGOSH!  The kayak is wobbling back and forth and back and forth.  And there are 3 huge animals swimming around me.  BUMP!!! again. "I'm ok, I'm ok" I'm telling myself just as BUMP PUSH! one animal bumps my kayak so hard that SPLASH!  I scream and up in the air and over, I go.  At this point I know I'm not in too deep of water (about 4.5 feet) and that I should be able to find the bottom and stand up but.... there are 3 HUGE animals freaking out too and I'm terrified that I'm going to squished between them.  I found the bottom of the river, found my feet and stood up quickly scrambling to get back in the kayak.  My heart is thumping out of my chest, the adrenaline shooting through me has me shaking all over!  I look over and see my husband paddling faster than anything towards me.  He tells me that all he heard and saw was me screaming and a great big area of swirling white water that reminded him of a scene from Jaws.  I couldn't believe what had just happened.  I had inadvertently gone swimming with the manatees!
Now you know why I just had to be in the manatee house!  I feel that manatees and me have a kinship.  We both were curious of each other and the scared the bejeezus out of each other.  ha ha ha

Happy 4KCBWDAY1 everyone and enjoy the knitting and crochet blog love this week!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sherlock Con - 221B con Atlanta

This weekend I'm spending time with my fabulous daughter. She's a huge Sherlock Holmes fan. As a proud mom, I like to point out that she is a fan of the books (the cannon as they say) first and all the new TV and film versions really are a huge plus!
Well this weekend she flew from Syracuse, NY to Atlanta, GA to go to 221b Con. It's a smaller convention of people she follows on the Internet that love all things Sherlock (and some Dr. Who). I was so excited that she didn't mind me tagging along. I have a fabulous kid!

But why am I posting about the con on my crochet blog you ask? Well no matter where I go I can find a yarn store or someone who crochets. :)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Knit and Crochet Blog Week 2013

April 22 - 28, 2013

Yay!!!  Mimi of Eskimimi Makes has announced the 4th annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week!  I'm so excited!  I got to know a lot of you through last year's blog week.  It was my first time and it really pushed my blogging skills.  I was not able to keep up the pace for very long but I appreciate the push. ha ha

This has a great twist.  We are "sorting" ourselves into different "houses".  Ha ha ha, I love it!  I won't tell you which one I've put myself into because that is part of the topics.  I hope you all come back and enjoy the blog posts and follow along with others as I do.  Here are the topics you can look forward to:

Day One (Monday April 22nd): The House Cup.
A bit like Harry Potter, but not quite, this year’s Knitting & Crochet Blog Week is split into 4 houses. Don your favourite knitted or crocheted hat and let it guide you to which house you will be in.

The House of Bee: Bees are busy and industrious, but can flit from one interesting project to the next as bright and shiny things capture their interest.

The House of Manatee: Manatees are gentle, calm and cuddly. Relaxed and unflashy they represent the comfort and soft side of knitting and crochet.

The House of Monkey: Intelligent and with a fun loving side, Monkeys like to be challenged with every project presenting them with something new and interesting.

The House of Peacock: Peacocks take something good and make it brilliant. Buttons, embellishments and a bit of sparkle prove that perfection lies in the details – like a Peacock's Tail.
So choose your house. You may be a combination of more than one of these noble beasts, but think about which house best embodies your qualities and declare your place. You can use one of the graphics above to display your house crest, if you like (though this is totally optional).

Post about your crafting outlook/style and why you chose this house. The descriptions have been purposefully written to seem quite vague, but that's really because they are only the merest starting point to prompt bloggers to write about in which ways they identify themselves within their craft(s).

Don't forget to drop by Eskimimi Makes later in the week and vote for which house you chose so we can see which houses crocheters and knitters most identified with.

You could of course decide that you are so unlike any of these creatures in your style of crafting that you set up a rival faction and adopt your own house, though whether you get invited to the end of term disco remains to be seen, you rebel.

Day Two (Tuesday April 23rd): A Mascot Project.
Your task today is to either think of or research a project that embodies that house/animal. It could be a knitting or crochet pattern – either of the animal itself or something that makes you think of the qualities of that house. Alternatively it could be a type or colour of yarn, or a single button. Whatever you choose, decide upon a project and blog about how and why it relates to your house/creature. You do not have to make this project! It is simply an exercise in blogging about how you come to decide upon what projects to make. Try and blog about the journey which inspiration and investigating patterns, yarns, stitches, (etc) can often guide you through. You may wish to make a collage or 'mood board' to present several ideas, or even sketch out your own design.

Day Three (Wednesday April 24th): Infographic
There are many ways of conveying information on a blog; text and images being the two most widely used. Many infographics combine both these elements to provide a visual way of presenting text information.

Make your own infogaphic (no fancy imaging software needed, you can draw it on paper and photograph it if you want) to convey any element of your craft(s). It can be just for fun or a thoroughly researched presentation of an idea/finding. Here is a very quick example that I made just for fun, which took me under three minutes.
There will be nobody checking on how accurate your infographics are. They may be just for fun (like the one above - I don't have that huge a yarn stash and it certainly didn't you any actual statistics - though if I had taken the time, I could have worked out the rate at which I knit yarn by looking at how many metres of yarn I had knit over the last year, calculated the total amount of yarn in my stash in metres and used a calculation of the average life expectancy of a woman in the UK minus my current age to find an actual calculation... but as I said, this took three minutes.

The whole point of this topic is to experiment with infographics as a way of sharing facts, information and ideas, and to explore another tool in a blogger's arsenal of communication options.

For more information and inspiration on infographics, look here. If you are looking for a quick and easy way to produce and infographic search the web for 'Infographic Maker' to find many free tools for making your own, or embrace the old school with some paper and a pencil.

Day Four (Thursday April 25th): Colour Review
What are your favourite colours for knitted or crocheted projects. Have a think about what colours you seem to favour when yarn shopping and crafting.

Only after writing this part of your post should you then actually look to see what colours you have used in your projects. Make a quick tally of what colours you have used in your projects over the past year and compare it to the colours you have written about. Compare this, in turn, to the colours that are most dominant in your yarn stash – do they correlate?

Now think back to your house animal - do the colours you have chosen relate to your animal in anyway - if you are in the house of peacock, for example, are your projects often multicoloured and bright?

Day Five (Friday April 26th): Something A Bit Different
It’s the annual challenge to blog in a way different to how you normally blog. You may choose to create a podcast, or vlog, create a wordless post or write in verse. You've already stretched your wings with an infographic, now it's time to freestyle. You can post on any topic you like, but be sure to post in a style different from your usual blog presentation. There's not too much guidance for this one simply because the more varied the posts are on this day, the wider the sources of information for other bloggers will be. Bonus points if you manage to work your house animal in somehow.

Day Six (Saturday April 27th): A Tool To Covet
Write about your favourite knitting or crochet (or spinning, etc) tool. It can either be a tool directly involved in your craft (knitting needles or crochet hook) or something that makes your craft more pleasurable – be it a special lamp, or stitch markers.

Is it an item that you would recommend to others, and if so for which applications/tasks do you think it is most suited. Conversely, do you have a tool/accessory that you regret buying? Why does it not work for you?

Day Seven (Sunday April 28th): Looking Forward
One year from now, when the 5th Knitting & Crochet Blog Week rolls around, where do you hope your crafting will have taken you to? What new skills, projects and experiences do you hope you might have conquered or tried?

This could be anything from mastering a technique (broomstick lace, entrelac, etc), trying a new yarn or skill, or a long term wish to crochet only from your stash, or knit every stitch in one of the Harmony Guides. Maybe you have no desire or plans for your craft at all, no new element of knitting or crochet that you dream of mastering, in which case write about why that might be. In a year's time participants will be asked to look back to see if they achieved any goals, no matter how general, and see which house conquered the art of looking forward.

Extra Credit (no due date)
For an extra credit, look back to the project you researched on day 5 and cast it on. Extra Kudos points for every step of the process from decision of project, to yarn, through the project in progress to finishing touches and completion that is blogged about. There is no due date, and this topic is absolutely only for those who choose to take part, but if you do it will serve as part of one of the topics next year, along with what was written about on Day Seven.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mother's Day Gift Idea

Today I was thinking of Mother's Day and what I might give my mom this year.  She lives across the country from us so it's usually flowers or some other kind of delivery.  This year I thought I would make something for her but she's not one to become cold so no sweater or scarf for her.  I did a quick internet search and took some ideas from others and thought about using crochet to frame a family picture and send it to her.  Interesting right?  As I continued my internet search I came across several ideas: 
I love the quirkiness of the top frame that Emilie of created.  Wouldn't it be cool to create this frame as a border inside a standard frame?

Interweave Crochet Spring 2010
Then there is this second image from Interweave Crochet.  They are using filet crochet border to create a mat on top of a mat inside a picture frame.  I thought this would be a great idea and started to look in Ravelry for different patterns. 
After some time I just couldn't find anything that I was really looking for.  I went back to the larger internet again and started looking at other crochet sites like Annie's Attic and  Crochet Pattern CentralNothing was tickling my fancy.  

So I began thinking "You have a books, go look there, dummy!"  Sure enough in my crochet "libray" I found exactly what I wanted.  Et voila!

I forget how much I love this book!  I bought it apparently sometime around 1994 or 1995 when my daughter was little because I have a great little time capsule in the back pages:

This book is fabulous and I've looked at newer versions and they just do NOT compete.  Every single stitch or pattern is both written and in graph form!  I learned to read crochet graphs from this book and still think that motif work and complicated patterns are much easier to "see" than read.  But when they are both available, Wow!, I learn so much more quickly!    Some of the patterns even have a couple of examples with color changes (see the Petal Pattern I, II and III)! 

So I'm not going to share with you what I've decided to create for my mom because she just might read the blog post.  But I will share photos later on when I'm done.  After opening this book and browsing it for awhile I've got so many ideas I may even change my mind.  :)
Hope you all are doing well and would love to hear what you are creating.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Becky's Bears - Oh My

I don't remember if I told y'all about the gym that we're opening here in South Carolina. My dear husband has been working like a mad man getting all the financial and business side of things moving and now we've started the demo and construction of the site. Busy...busy...busy....

Knowing things were going to be crazy this year I decided to just crochet what I wanted, when I wanted. I decided to make the Crochet Sampler Blanket by Marrianne Forrestal with Lion Brand Wool Ease to play with some stitches I've never done. I was intrigued by cables, waves and color work. It was a great project and makes me want to work on other 'sample' type projects.

My neighbor had a little girl in February and I got the itch to make the Angel Wings Pinafore by Maxine Gonser for her new little daughter, Thuli. Cute as a bug isn't she?

I finished another bear too. And as I was finishing her today I thought again about how I would love to make a living, or at least make some retirement income from selling my bears. So I'm going to open my Etsy store again and focus on selling only the bears and see how it goes. No pressure this time, just cute bears. :)

I am Human and I Crochet

This morning while perusing my FB feed I came across a video from the Craft Yarn Council called "Humans That Yarn".  Not sure abou...