Starting a New Skein

Oh the woes of new yarn.

When I first started crocheting, I grabbed the yarn end I could see (from the outside). I struggled with my yarn rolling away from me and getting stuck for a few years til I saw some instructions about pulling from the center. I was SOOOOOO excited! And once it got started, it really made a difference. Life was swell!

Until I needed to start a new skein.

Starting a New Skein Theory and Reality

It always seems so simple, and yet it’s not. I reach in to grab the center and pull… and then I ALWAYS end up with a huge pile of yarn. If I don’t use it up quickly, I’ll get interrupted, stash my project in its bag and come back to a completely tangled mess.

Caron Simply Soft does a nice job of giving me a starting center pull end (though rumor has it that kind of yarn seems to split when you center pull).

I know I’m not alone in this – so to all you fellow center pull pile makers, I’m with you.

Crocheting is Better with Pretty Nails

I love it when my worlds collide. I got hooked on Jamberry last summer, and here I am enjoying pretty nails while working on a fun crochet project. Although I typically get bored when having to do 20 identical granny squares, seeing these super cute flowers makes it a little more fun.

Crochet with Jamberry Daisy Doodle

Sometimes I wonder what I was thinking to put on such goofy nails, and then I smile. That answers that. Daisy Doodle is now a new favorite. Sad it’s being discontinued this week…

This is Clue #2 for the Yarnspirations/The Crochet Crowd Mystery Crochet A Long. I’m using Caron Simply Soft in Pagoda (base) with Blue Mint as my 1st accent colors.

My pile of granny squares Crochet A Long

What helps keep you happy while you may be trudging along in a project?

Finally, Weaving in Ends Demystified

Darning and Plastic Yarn Needles

One reason I was afraid of changing colors in patterns is because I HATE finishing off and weaving in the tails. How do I know it’s not going to come out? Do you know how long it takes just using a crochet hook to work it through my project? Hiding it is also tricky! And do I knot them? Square knot? Double knot? What the what??

Clearly, I over think things.

Finally, I found a blog post from The Crochet Crowd that gave me a relatively simple solution and MAJOR peace of mind. Use a darning needle (or yarn needle) to weave in the tail back and forth three times to secure it. Because it’s changing directions so many times, it really secures it, and using a needle makes it incredibly easy! Duh. For some reason, I thought a needle was just a big hassle, but I’m a believer now! This video by Mikey at The Crochet Crowd explains it better than I could!

And when it comes to needles, the metal ones are a lot easier than the plastic. I use what I can find, but that’s my STRONG recommendation.

Darning and Plastic Yarn Needles - Jamberry Nail Wrap Love SpellPS. I’m wearing on of my favorite Jamberry Nails – Love Spell – only available til 4/15/15

Time Lapse Granny Square – Warning

So… not everything time lapses well. Slow/long activities look awesome. Fast activities make your head spin and trigger motion sickness.

Of course, I only learned this AFTER trying a time lapse of crocheting a Granny Square. Oops! I slowed it down a bit from the initial flurry of activity (warning: still a little dizzying). Hubby and I brainstormed other fun ways to show this, so we’ll try it again soon.

This is for the Yarnspiration Mystery Crochet A Long – Clue #1. I have to make 20 of these (this is #16). I’d say, a basic Granny Square is a great foundational pattern to learn. Feel free to join in the fun!

Yarn: Simply Soft Collection Yarn H97COL 6-Ounce/315-Yard Skein of Yarn, Pagoda
Hook: Crochet Dude Aluminum Crochet Hook-Size G6/4.25mm by Boye
Pattern: http://www.yarnspirations.com/kal-cal#week1

Granny Square in Caron Simply Soft Pagoda

Time Lapse Cleaning (aka Effective Uses of Selfies)

I finally figured out how to redeem Selfies from the bad, but possibly true, narcissistic rap they’ve earned…

Selfie Cleaning

Thanks to my updated iOs on my iPhone 5s, I can do nifty time-lapse videos. And with this handy dandy phone holder my hubby bought, I can set up my phone to time lapse anything I do.

This was my first few attempts, and let me just say – IT WORKS!

Knowing that I’d have a cool video to show for my cleaning efforts was very motivational. And halfway through, when I wanted to throw in the towel, I knew my camera was still rolling, so I pushed through. Job well done!

Me looking like a super hero was just an added perk.

Stay tuned for more “will it time lapse?” videos…

Confession Time: Unfinished Work

I am subscribed to too many crochet pages on Facebook. I love the inspiration. It feeds my desire to learn new things. But here’s the rub.

Once I reach a point in a pattern/new stitch that I feel I’ve mastered it, I STOP. I get bored, distracted, tired, or just interested in the next challenge. Creative stitches are one of the main reasons I crochet and don’t knit. That, and I sucked at keeping my knits and purls in order… but I digress.

Buried in my yarn stash, I know there are several partially made scarves and blankets. It’s kinda sad actually. A box full of forgotten promising starts. The white scarf. The green scarf. The red scarf. The one baby bootie (I got creative with the pattern, and the perfectionist in me couldn’t duplicate a matching one).

And this blanket. Isn’t it pretty? The Bavarian Wheel Stitch rocks.

Bavarian Wheel Stitch Afghan WIP

Colors were chosen for a friend who was having a baby, and they grew on me. Yet I slowed my pace and boom, she was born. Instead, I whipped up a coordinating hat, and tried to finish this to send along a set.

I only added two more rows. Life and yarn went by and it too was buried.

Til now. When this post appeared on my newsfeed and brought my shame and this WIP back up: http://www.favecrafts.com/Crochet-Afghans/Bavarian-Rainbow-Afghan

I’m in the middle of too many projects right now (corner to corner baby blanket, KCACO-UK-CAL x2, Crochet Crowd CAL), but maybe some day, this will be done.

That is, if I can remember the size hook I was using! Moving forward, I’m doing better documentation of my bigger projects. These printable crochet project cards seem to be an easy place to start.

Ribbit Ribbit – To Frog or Not to Frog

Perfectionism vs. Get-It-Done-ism….

There is a term I only picked up recently in crochet called “frogging.” It had been tossed around in various groups/comments, and it took me a while to figure out it meant undoing your work to fix/change something. I honestly can’t seem to remember what it means (maybe it has to do with the sound the yarn makes as it’s ripped free?).

Whatever the meaning, I now say “Ribbit Ribbit” whenever I have to back track.

Often aloud.

In public.

Of course, I’ve usually done a complete round or row past my mistake before I notice that I messed up in the first place. And here kicks in the dilemma. To Frog or not to Frog? Almost always, I go back and fix it. Even if I’m halfway done with a hat that’s just not working out right, I’ll rip the whole thing out and start again. Multiple times. And yet, despite the fact that 19 times out of 20, I go back and fix it, I STILL have this debate with myself…

Oh shoot! Ugh. That’s not right. Grrrrrrr. Can I skip over it easily? Will anyone else notice? Well, I’ll know. But no one else will. Will they? But even if they don’t, I will. And the whole time I’m working on this, I’ll be thinking of this mistake. Just get over it! But then when I give this to the recipient, I’ll know it’s not perfect. And it could have been perfect. I can even fix it now. How much time would I really lose? Ugh – all that time lost! Maybe I can just work it out and keep going. But then there will be one blemish that could have been fixed! Perfection is within reach! But I really don’t want to have to do my work all over again! But this time, I’ll KNOW that it’s right. Okay fine! You win! Are you happy now?!?!?

Ribbit Ribbit.

And as I rip out my beautiful flawed work, a mixture of satisfaction and frustration run through me. I fix my error and sigh. I get back to the point to where I noticed the problem and smile. And I finish the work more joyfully than I started. I honestly should know better than to argue with myself.

I always win.

The mistake I didn't frog

Here’s one time I left it alone. It’s a corner to corner baby blanket and my rows are getting really long now as I approach the center. I missed a stitch. I had to consult with the hubby who quickly said “let it go.” So I did. In this pattern, it blends away really well (it actually took me a few minutes to find the mistake to photograph it!). Although every time I work on it, I know. I KNOW. But at least the yarn is pretty!

Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable Yarn 3960 Tidal (afflink)