Monday, 2 May 2016

Proactive Crafting

I've been much better recently at seeing my crochet/knitting projects through, finishing them within days/weeks of starting them (as opposed to months/years!). Here I will share what has helped me (FYI, it's not about willpower)...

It's all about your thoughts before you start the project:

1. Will you enjoy the process?
Ok, so something has inspired you to make something. Do you enjoy making such items? Eg, "these colours would make a gorgeous Queen size ripple afghan"... While this may be true, are you willing to spend many hours of repeated rows? From your previous experience, have you enjoyed and completed similar projects?

2. Do you have a good reason for making it?
Amber from the Yarn junkie podcast once mentioned the feeling of being overwhelmed by yarn stores. Tell me about it! What happens when I see random yarn: "Oh this yarn would make a gorgeous cardigan". Think about it Lorraine: Do you or someone else actually need a cardigan? Is the yarn in a colour that will actually suit the recipient of said cardigan? Yes? Go for it. Line it up for a birthday. No? Step away from the yarn.
Also, I'm terrible for seeing an array of toys, eg, safari animals, and immediately wanting to see them on my own little boy's toy shelf. Knowing myself, what I really want is the finished product of a line of toys, without the repetitive work of sewing up. I remember once dreaming up a whole series of Mermaids, each having different coloured hair, different accessories. I got bored. I made 1. Now, if I want to make my son something to enjoy, it won't be a collection that just sits on the shelf to look pretty, it'll be 1 unique creature of a decent size, that he'll actually love.
Other good reasons include upcoming babies, generally wanting to give out of love, a lack of blankets when winter's coming, re-stocking your etsy shop, and among other things, as I mentioned above, birthdays.

3. Have you got (what I call) a '3-Way Compatibility' of yarn texture, yarn colour and item pattern?
This is so important, and one reason why ravelry's search options are an excellent tool. It's all very nice to see a nice pattern of a pretty pink cardigan that drapes nicely on a model too. Ok so you might make it in a different colour for yourself, but what I've found is that it's often the perfect combination of 3 things that make me fall in love with an item. So just bear in mind that it might be the shade of pink in the pattern's picture that MAKES the cardigan stand out. Would another colour, eg grey, actually suit it? Also notice the drape. Heavier yarns; those with less meterage per 100grams tend to drape nicely. A matching shade of pink in a matching yarn weight won't achieve the same effect if it is a fuzzy acrylic yarn, for example.

So, if you can say 'yes!' to all of the above, you know you will enjoy making a beautiful item that has a perfect home once finished. This is sure to bring about pro-active crafting. It's lovely to dream, and to just not care and stitch away just 'because', but if you're feeling overwhelmed with your countless WIPs, then it doesn't do any harm to be realistic too.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Raspberry Motif with the crochet 'bobble' stitch

After playing with the bobble stitch, I created this cute Raspberry Motif! Perfect for sewing onto a baby blanket, or hat, etc. Please note that this pattern is written in UK terminology.

Free pattern as follows:

Special Stitches
First Bobble: Ch3 (counts as a treble), [yarn over, insert hook into first stitch, yarn over and pull up a loop, yarn over & pull through 2 loops] x 4. Yarn over and pull through all 5 loops on the hook.

Bobble: [Yarn over, insert hook into stitch, yarn over and pull up a loop, yarn over & pull through 2 loops] x 5. Yarn over and pull through all 6 loops on hook.

Raspberry Motif
Starting in a raspberry shade of yarn:
Foundation Ch: Ch4
Row 1: Dc1 in 2nd Ch from the hook and in each Ch along each (3 Dc total). Turn
Row 2: Make 'First Bobble Stitch'. You should now have 2 stitches remaining. Dc1 into the next stitch, Bobble in the next. Ch1 Turn
Row 3: Dc2 in first stitch, Dc1 in next stitch, Dc2 in last stitch (5 Dc total). Turn
Row 4: Make 'First Bobble', [Dc1 in next stitch, Bobble in next stitch] x 2. Ch1 Turn
Row 5: Dc2 in first stitch, Dc1 in each of next 3 stitches, Dc2 in last stitch (7 Dc total).
Row 6: Make 'First Bobble', [Dc1 in next stitch, Bobble in next stitch] x 3. Ch1 Turn
Row 7: Dc2tog, Dc1 in each of next 3 stitches, Dc2tog.
Row 8: Make 'First Bobble', [Dc1 in next stitch, Bobble in next stitch] x 2. Fasten Off.
You should have 5 stitches across top. Join with green yarn in second stitch.
Row 1: Ch3, Dc1 in 2nd chain from hook and Dc1 in the next Ch, Dc1 into same stitch as you joined yarn, Dc1 in the middle (raspberry-colored) stitch, and Dc1 in next stitch. Ch3 Turn.
Row 2: Dc1 in 2nd chain from hook and Dc1 in next Ch. Dc1 in last Dc of previous row. Ch4, Dc1 in 2nd Ch from hook and Dc1 in each of next 2 Ch. Dc1 into next Dc (this is the middle stitch of the top of the raspberry), Dc1 into each of the next 3 Dc, Dc1 into top of first Ch3 and Dc1 back down the other side of Ch3 and finish with a slip stitch into the same stitch as where you joined the green yarn.
Fasten Off!

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Laundry Procrastination? You can still look pretty decent.

The morning rush meant your outfit options left a lot to be desired? The instant fix for this is to not care. Failing that, find your color-based 'season and type' via this site:
Then adjust your wardrobe to suit.
Eg, I am Deep Autumn. My 'basics' wardrobe is all of a warm autumnal colour palette now, so I can basically mix 'n' match it all and look like I had time to think about it when I woke up. Then I've got my music/geeky tees which all go with jeans. Happy Days. 

This proved to serve me well when traveling recently, a capsule closet, so to speak.

Also, it prevents me from buying clothes just because I like them. They have to suit me and fit in with what I know I already have. When I do need to go clothes shopping, I have 2 or 3 specific items. This saves time and money. My last list:
1: Navy or Camel Trench-style woolen/tweed coat
2: Nude Pumps
3: Black or Brown tights

Still looking for those Nude Pumps. I'll wait until Spring.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Sharing tips for an easy, happy, healthy life


A brief intro (not an eloquent, engrossing blog write-up) of the theme of some of my future posts. I've recently had a string of epiphanies; due to inspiration gained over the holidays and from new books, as well as my own peculiar brain. I'm improving stuff. So I'll be randomly sharing my ideas/tips/tricks that are working so well for me, just in case they help someone else or more specifically (selfishly), so I can remind myself if I slip up or forget.

If we're not friends, FYI, I'm mum to a toddler (at time of writing), housekeeper (apartment-keeper is more accurate), I work 4 days a week, have a medium-sized dog & my husband works abroad. 

I aim for a simple, healthy, happy life.
I'm in no hurry, although opt for easy, time-saving solutions. I'm inspired by nature and I tend to agree with many Bhuddist teaching quotes.

My goal is ultimately to maintain a happy home, but in more detail, I would like:
- To keep my family members as happy as possible
- A stress-free life (this covers many topics)
- To eat a healthy diet, as nature intended
- My body to be supple & strong
- To grow my own vegetables & herbs
(fruit & nuts too if we ever have a garden of our own)
- To compost more
- To recycle
- To help others lead a happy life
- To get more organized (remember birthdays)
- To know my financial flow to the cent & not to spend unnecessarily.

Aaaand that's about it