Saturday, December 31

How arbitary, to measure our lives by a calendar that means nothing...

If my readership of one is DYING to know, I've been busy these last couple of weeks. Yes, I was hit with the sudden and inevitable "Knit/ Crochet All the Things" before Christmas, but thankfully I was able to read the Yarn Harlot and realize that it's okay to feel this way and if I don't want to have a mental breakdown, I shouldn't push myself too much. I still have two Christmas gifts to complete. Since one of them is for Alpha and I will steal it, I don't feel too badly.

Alpha was really sweet this year. Since we are the unemployed, he spent very little, but he intends on making me a swift. He was so cute about it really. A couple weeks before Christmas he told me that he had an idea for a gift, but since he was completely illiterate in the ways of yarn and notions, he didn't know if it would be useful, so he had to tell me. I agreed that a swift and ball-winder would be nice and then he set about looking online for homemade techniques. It's almost done. I think he is holding the finishing off until I finally look over his grad school essay.

Alpha also bought a large wooden salad bowl and cut a curve in the side for a yarn bowl. It's very pretty and one day, when I am not so lax about taking pictures, I'll show it to you all.

I've been looking on Pinterest at geeky sayings, fuzzy animals and crafts. It's my internet crack. I surf this website for hours and pretend that I don't have job applications to fill out and a dungeon to clean. I can successfully put off being an adult until the next day, when I do it all over again.

Thursday, December 15

Pictures are optional right?

(This is a repost from my other blog, but I don't think I've updated it here... and it actually applies to my hobbies.)

So those who know me well have probably had some brief encounter with my security blanket. Yes, I still have my security blanket from when I was little. I refer to it at my 'itchy blanket' because it was... so itchy. It has red crocheted poinsettias in hexagons all over it. It should probably be a Christmas blanket, but rules like that don't apply to children and emotionally-dependent adults.

I got my blanket sometime when I was 2 or so. It was a source of comfort and love, especially when my little world collapsed. I would worry at the white fringe on the sides and wonder if I would ever worry the fringe right off. (Once I even cut off some of the fringe, in a not-so brilliant attempt to detach myself from the object of my obsession.) I have grown old enough now that the fringe is starting to fall off pretty much on it's own.

For the longest time I thought my blanket had been made in a store. I didn't look at my blanket long enough, nor did I know very much about crochet. It had been magically produced somehow and I thought it was perfect. Fast-forward 20 years and gain a world of knowledge about crocheting and I began to realize that my perfect blanket was not so perfect after all. One hexagon is bunched and warped because it has too many stitches, and none of the center circles are the same. I can put my whole thumb through one and I can even manage my pinkie in another. Suffice to say, the person who was following the pattern: didn't.

I still love my blanket. However, the neurotic side of me is distressed by all the problems and imperfections in my blanket. (I am also worried that someday in the future my blanket will disintegrate and I will be clinging to only a few strands of puff.) Knowing now that my blanket came from a pattern of some kind I look on the internet and find a woman on etsy who has a similar blanket for sale. "Can I have the pattern?" I ask after relaying the love and growing concern that I have for my own blanket. "No." Is the returning response. "But the pattern is found in McCall magazine #."

(Side note: This response upset me somewhat. I understand that the woman is on etsy to sell her product, I don't understand withholding the pattern. If someone wants the pattern, they want to recreate it. Presumably, they enjoy the craft and want to spend time making the product themselves. Withholding the pattern is not going to make them want to purchase the product from you. If they are stubborn, like me, they will go about it in their own DIY way. Perhaps there was some copyright laws about it... but I was still miffed.)

I am of sufficient DIY-ness that I refused to hunt down the pattern (my husband did hunt it down, but then that's his way.) What I did was stare idly at my blanket for months. I slowly reconstructed how it was made in random moments simply because I wanted to know. Then something snapped. Perhaps it was the year's supply of yarn in my possession (I am not kidding. I have promised myself no more yarn until I have used up what I have.But you all know how that's turned out. Not too awesomely well, but my new stash is AWESOME.) or the need for my hands to do something while watching General Conference Started during October... dropped and neglected for a month or two. I began making my blanket.

The colors are very different, the gauge is slightly so and the pattern... maybe not exact. What I do know... I am learning more about my blanket than I knew before. Another 'itchy blanket' is beginning to form.

Center circles: 32/32
1st round leaves: 32/32
2nd round leaves: 32/32
Finished hexagons: 9/32

Another thing? This new blanket might be able to accomplish what no other blanket or object has ever done. Replace an old obsessive need with a new one.

I've updated the stats since the original post, I am much closer to finishing. And since I am vaguely lazy, I decided that Alpha is going to get the blanket. Then I am going to steal it from him.

Wednesday, December 14

Bucket list for the Crazy Crafter?

I made a craft bucket list the other night. I was looking at this quilt at Posy gets Cosy and I realized I really want to make a Log Cabin quilt one day. I wrote it down and made certain to include a couple of things I have planned for the next year so I don’t become discouraged. I believe a good bucket list is one that incorporates your life as it is, not just the dreams you have for the future. If I never make it to India, I’ll be sad, but if I never take a ceramics class I’ll be even more disappointed in myself.

Saturday, December 3

This may be a one-day conversion.

So last night I started the "no shampoo" head diet. I have no pithy way to say it. I refuse to refer to it by a name that sounds like I am digestion-ally challenged.

Anyway, after sleeping the sleep of the sick and nearly dead (you know, when you sleep forever, get head sweats and then awake to a rat's nest in the morning?) I awoke to a head of hair that was almost perfectly coiffed. I didn't even need to brush it this afternoon. This is rather awesome. It appears that I showered today.

This may be one of the quickest conversions ever, but maybe I speak too soon.

I am too weak from being sick to continually work on my Christmas gifts... but my hair looks fabulous.

Friday, December 2

Try something new

For Christmas this year, I think I'll give myself the gift of less slave-like dependence on shampoo, conditioner and lotion.

I have greasy, thin hair and slightly dry skin. I used a clarifying shampoo, a cheap conditioner and massive amounts of lotion. I always hate running out of shampoo and conditioner because I never use the same amount at a time. Sometimes the shampoo goes out first and I scrounge among the Hotel daily bottles to find the right size and sometimes the dance is repeated for conditioner and I am perpetually running out of lotion.

I've been reading about a "No Shampoo" movement on the internet and pinned a couple things about it on Pinterest. Use baking soda dissolved in water as the cleansing agent and apple vinegar as the conditioner. It's cheaper than the cheapest shampoo and a little less than the cheapest conditioner. I just have to figure out the proper amount to use on my head.

First day impressions? I really miss the suds. Pouring water over your head just doesn't seem the same at all. It doesn't squeak either. I've gotten used to how my hair feels after shampooing and I realize that there is going to be an entirely new learning curve to master regarding cleanliness. My hair won't squeak and it won't slick like before.

Now, to be perfectly honest, thinking about this no shampoo method does put some perspective on Medieval and especially Roman cleanliness. (I never thought of the Romans as dirty, but now I realize that their hair was probably more fluffy than I thought.)  The entire goal of the no-shampoo thing is to get your natural hair oils producing at the right rate to where your hair doesn't even really need a cleanser at all. No shampoo at all, wow. Think that in the days before manufactured lotions and shampoos and conditioners, people already had hair producing the right amount of oil for their head.

Wow. So I embark on a new adventure of oils, baking soda and vinegar. I'll update my progress more faithfully than Hat Hell. I promise.