Tuesday, February 28, 2012

pretty, rainbow colored progress

I've been working (among other things) on a rainbow striped granny blanket for me. I always have multiple projects going, but I love a simple project like this for a night while I waste brain cells on television.

So I started this Rainbow Granny Stripe blanket based on the Granny Stripes pattern from Attic24

Anyhoo, when I started it I merely held the chain up to the bed to make sure it was long enough, completely and utterly FORGETTING that when you get going, the project seems to grow infinitely from the chain. So I did not hold up the first few rows to the bed as I should have...

so I have a really, really wide blanket started!! But it's going, it will just be super wide and we won't fight over a blanket at night!!

It is also going to take up quite a bit of yarn! Just the part that's finished, the first rainbow portion has taken up 1/2 skein of "I Love This Yarn" in, red, orange, yellow, light green, green, blue and purple. The teal was a Vanna's Choice, so it took up 1 and 1/2 skeins of that!! So this is a great yarn eater project!!

But I digress..I love it. It will be so warm and yet so bright and I LOVE granny blankets because they are perfect for spring/summer when the sheets are not quite enough but you don't want a true blanket or comforter, especially down here in the heat!

Thanks for taking a peek, what are you working on??


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Letting Go.....of the yarn

I suspect I'm not alone in this. You know who you are....my friends. The crafters. The hobbyists. The handmade artisans. Whatever you want to call yourself. You can often be found with yarn/fabric scraps/glitter/hotglue/paint or any other medium stuck to various body parts. The people at Michael's, Hobby Lobby, Hancocks, Joanns, AC Moore all know your name. You chat about life. You go to their children's bar mitvahs. 

You are a craft addict. You love it. You can not STOP it. You have told your family to go eat cereal for dinner so you can finish the scarf. You have occasionally lost track of the baby only to find her under a table on the fabric piles. Your children refer to the UPS truck as the fabric truck. You bribe your children with the promise of toys if they'll just be good while you look for yarn. (These are purely imaginative ideas, not reflections of my own home. Ahem. Right.)

You invest in your projects. You love them. Sometimes you mourn them being sold or given away. You are willing to buy cheaper food and give up wine if it means you can buy designer fabric. Okay, maybe not wine, but brand name products, hair cuts or sodas are all up for budget cuts if it means more supplies.

We love our supplies, our projects, our crafty friends, the websites that allow us to pretend we are being productive (Pinterest I'm talking to you.). 

But sometimes....sometimes...there are projects you just fall out of love with. Sometimes there are reasons why, sometimes there aren't. 

My current 'faded' project is a Mario Bros. Granny Square blanket. It's awesome, obviously because A) it's yarn and B) its Mario. However, it keeps getting bumped down the to-do list. Why?

1.) My child is no longer obsessed with Mario. He's on a Star Wars kick. As this makes his father incredibly happy, we're cultivating it.
2.) I'm easily distractable and need to have 4-5 projects at once. I just keep finding ones I want to do more.
3.) I don't like the yarn I'm using. This is probably the most pressing issue. Because it's a blanket for my child, I was using Red Heart yarn, the herpes of yarns. (Sorry if you love Red Heart..other than Red Heart Soft I find it all to be too hard, sticky, and not smooth to work with.) I started it before I learned more about yarn. My general "budget" yarn of choice is "I Love This Yarn" from Hobby Lobby. It's soft, workable, doesn't split and is reasonably priced for those 'going to beat the hell out of it' projects. 

So now that I've already done over 100 4 inch red granny squares and over 50 4 inch brown granny squares for Mario out of Red Heart yarn, I'm invested. I can't suddenly switch to ILTY, because then the blanket will feel weird. I've got to finish it out in RH yarn. But because I don't like the feel of the yarn in my fingers....I keep putting it off.

I suspect I'm not alone, as I said. I bet many of you start projects with grandiose visions and for whatever reason, cannot finish it. Or don't want to finish it. This makes me feel better, that I'm not alone.

I will probably finish Mario one day. My best friend's sons love Mario. My dilemma then is, two boys..one blanket..they're going to want another one....shudder.

So what do you have half done, frogged, put aside that you cannot seem to complete? And why??

You're not alone...it's okay...we're all craft addicts here, we can talk about it... share.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Giving Handmade a Bad Name

So there is something I've noticed since becoming more involved in the world of crochet and knitting...

a huge amount of stolen images and sites stealing images from handmade artisans and hawking them as their own.

Here's the scenario:

Jill designs a lovely owl hat, possibly writes a pattern to sell from it. She has a professional photographer take pics of the hat per a normal photographer/handmade artisan arrangement. The photographer gets a cool hat for her sessions and the hat maker gets a professional shot of her images and the mom of the baby involved gets sweet shots of their little one. Great, right?

So the site in China steals the images without permission of the hat maker, photographer or the mother of the baby, then produces items like the hat pictured and sells them for pennies on the dollar.

Here's how all that is wrong:

1. Images are stolen from several people. While I was against the proposed SOPA law, there should be laws against this kind of garbage. The photographers creative rights were taken, as were the hat makers and the mothers personal privacy was stolen. Yes, we all know the risks when we post pics on the net and that is why good photographers have release forms, but does that make it right? no.

2. If the site is in China (I have one in mind but I will not link you because they do not need MORE traffic to fund their stealing.) here's the clincher: There is no MACHINE to crochet. While there are knitting machines, there are no crochet machines. If you pick up or see ANYthing crocheted, it WAS done by hand. By SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE. Unfortunately, in a situation like this, instead of you paying 40.00 for a hat made by a work at home mom, if you pay 15.00 for the same hat from a site in China (or worse, from an American reseller, selling the Chinese bought hats)...you should know that hat was made by someone, by hand, for sure, but for pennies on the dollar, making virtually NOTHING, very likely in unspeakable working conditions.

3. But here is what I think ticks me off most. RESELLERS of these chinese hats. Its no secret stuff made overseas is done so because it's done cheaply (for reasons you probably don't want to ponder.), but when a person opens up a shop solely to resell these items, whether or not they admit they don't make them, well that just exacerbates the problem. Yes, the items are handmade, but as I said above, by whom and at what cost.

Now you can argue, that these overseas sweatshops are providing jobs, giving these people a paycheck. That is an argument for another day. Is it really worth the savings though to contribute to image theft, fraud, and sweatshop production?? When you buy TRUE handmade you are helping mothers, college students, small business owners, retired people, disabled people, and many more varieties of people who depend on you buying locally and handmade and appreciating the difference.

There is no 'factory line' made crochet items. It's ALL done by hand. There is no machine. So if you are choosing crochet, why not STOP contributing to the sweatshop lifestyle and purchase something truly made with love and by hand.

And if you are a reseller, for shame. There is nothing wrong with owning a boutique, consignment shop, etc. But you CAN purchase well made crochet items wholesale from reputable crocheters, instead of overseas sweatshops. YOU can stop the problem. and YOU can stop stealing people's images of their hard work, photography skills and THEIR LITTLE CHILDREN.

Think before you buy.

If in doubt, don't buy.

Okay, I'm done now. I'm just so disgusted with all this. I never saw this when working in the sewing world...it seems to be much more prevalent in the crochet world...I don't know why, but it's disgusting.


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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Year Without Walmart Confessional

I caved...I made it to February!! But I've had one cave on my Year Without Wal-Mart.... I knew it would come to this. My Dad needed to go to Wm and I knew it would be hard to withstand. I actually would have made it through the entire store if not for three things:

* Rice cakes. Eli eats these like crazy and I was out. At my last grocery run to Winn Dixie they had NO regular rice cakes, only the tiny small ones, and he only eats the White Cheddar regular rice cakes. Walmart had them...so I caved for my baby.

*Reese's Puffs and Cocoa Puffs Brownie Crunch cereals.....Harrison has been asking for those and apparently they are 5 bucks or so at most 'regular' grocery stores. So when I walked by them at 2.98 a piece...yeah, I couldn't pass it up.

So those were my weaknesses....other than that I have held strong and not purchased anything else at Walmart!! So I consider it going well!

Now if I can keep my Dad out of there and encourage him to go elsewhere, I'll be okay! One slip up in 6 weeks isn't too bad...I'll keep plugging along!

For the record I've not noticed a major difference in the cost of our groceries. We are still getting the food we normally do (other than the above things I  mentioned). I use coupons when I have them for items I need, I shop at Winn Dixie for things on sale to get the fuel perks. Overall, not noticing a huge difference in life without Wal-Mart.



Friday, February 10, 2012

Craft Hope Project 16: the littlest warriors

Many of you know, if you've read me any, that I have several dear friends whose children have battled or are battling cancer or another terminal illness. I am very excited to see Craft Hopes newest project, hats and bags for children battling cancer and receiving treatment.

Details can be found on the Craft Hope website here: http://www.crafthope.com/2012/01/project-16-the-littlest-warriors/ under project 16.

I am new to crochet and I am very excited to start hooking some hats. I don't think I'll have time to sew up any tote bags but perhaps some of you will?

Will you join me in helping make some darling hats for the kiddos to wear and bags to hold goodies in? Or perhaps you can donate some goodies to fill the bags with?? See the details at the link below on how and where to donate.

The DEADLINE is MARCH 16th so please don't dwadle!!! We can do this!! Will you join me??

Here is the pattern I am using and adjusting for sizes:

There are a TON of great hats to find on Ravelry for projects like this.

If you sew, google "Simple fleece hat tutorial" and see what you find!!

Please feel free to post pics/links/blog posts if you are joining in!!


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