Tag Archives: arts and crafts

Days 15 and 17: Baby, It’s Cold Outside

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In the interest of being slightly less boring, I am summing up on projects and posting when they are totally done, even though they may span several days. So, finishing a panel on an afghan that has multiple panels may be a project for one day, but I am not necessarily posting those here each time, because it can be too repetitive. Instead, I’ll keep track of the days I work on it and post a big one when I am done. Or, I’ll post some of them when it is new, then wait until I am done to post the other days. Whatever I feel like on any given day, basically.

I came home from work last Tuesday determined to work on the blanket I am making for the high school Parents’ Club auction, but I got sidetracked. You see, it is really cold here. Really, really cold. And I can’t find the hat I crocheted for myself last year.

I liked to make something to solve this sort of problem before I started this Making Things project, and that has only gotten more true this month. So, I put aside the blanket and started my scoodie, based on this pattern:

 

I wanted something a little brighter, though, and I found a nice pretty blue in my stash:

scoodie

The yarn is Red Heart With Love in Ocean Blue, which is listed as a worsted weight, medium, 4, but it seems a bit bulkier. I am surprised at how much variation there is with a weight classification for yarns, but it nice to have some variety for various purposes.

This is  a fairly warm scoodie with the half double crochet stitches giving it some thickness, but if it is a very windy day, a hood on top of it would be helpful. I used a K hook, so the stitches are kind of loose and the wind gets in there. I may eventually make another one of these with a smaller hook and more rows. Overall, though, I am very happy with this one! I’ve been told it makes my eyes look bright blue, which is nice, too.

My favorite part of this, though, is how I had a need and I made something myself to fill that need. There are many things I love about crocheting, but making useful things is definitely high on the list. I feel so much less a consumer and more a producer. I am starting to understand how people start out just making a nice baby blanket and end up raising sheep to shear and make their own yarn–not that I think I will get that far, but I can definitely see the appeal of making more and more of your own materials.

This is also why I like having a stash of yarn available–I frequently go into my stash to make things. I like being able to make something to fill a need I have without having to wait until I can get to a store. I prefer to be inspired by what I have on hand as much as possible–not that I never go to the store with a project in mind to buy supplies for, but that I like to have the option of being more spontaneous.

For that matter, this applies to any art or craft supplies. I like to go buy things that appeal to me, then figure out how to put them together later. I think that working within limits inspires the greatest creativity in me. If I have too many choices, I get very overwhelmed. Working with what I have on hand forces me to view everything a little differently, making things work that I might not have considered.

Do you buy art supplies and yarn with a specific project in mind? Or do you like to have a wide variety on hand for whenever the mood strikes?

Pinterest Inspiration

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Have I mentioned how awesome Pinterest is? I love it for ideas, but hate for sucking time away from my day. Overall, though, I find it actually does inspire me to do more. After a lot of time looking at awesome ideas and exploring fascinating blogs I find by clicking through to any one particular idea, I throw my hands up in the air and exclaim, “Gah! Must Do Something!”

I have a bad habit of dreaming big and not being able to actually choose a project to complete. I keep thinking there is another project out there that I would rather be doing, if only I knew about it, or remembered it. I become convinced that I have seen the most awesome project in the world recently, and I am just forgetting about it momentarily. This makes it hard to settle on a project. I know, it’s silly, but that’s the way I think. Having a virtual pin board to keep track of projects that I want to do is very helpful to me. I can look over all the projects and choose based on supplies I have available, or what I really want to do at any given time. Then, because I know I will still be able to see all the ideas when I choose my next project, I can stop thinking about them and focus on the project I have chosen.

So, I made a board called Crafts I Want to Do and started pinning like crazy. Then I actually started making a few things. I made a hat, and I have since made two more, increasing my crocheting confidence. Now I am making an afghan, which I have wanted to do ever since I was a little girl watching my grandmother make beautiful afghans for everyone in the family. I am only using one color and two types of stitches, but I am still very excited about it!

I have also found that I get a lot more done when I have a few quick projects to add in to the mix. It is easier to keep working at a big afghan when I take a break and make a few complete projects that take a lot less time. The past few months I have made magnets, Christmas ornaments and some cool bathroom tile coasters. Of course, I shouldn’t have left the coasters outside on a windy day to dry after putting on the sealant, but that’s ok, because they were quick. It’s a learning experience, right?

Lately I have started eyeing more and more complicated projects. There are complicated afghans and pillows to make, canvases to paint, and furniture to refinish. I have actually become somewhat fixated on this last item–I want to repaint some furniture, but I am nervous. I have been thinking I should scrounge up some furniture elsewhere before I attack my own furniture. What if I mess it up? I had a thought though–I can start with the old dresser in my son’s room. My mom bought it for me at a garage sale when I was young, and it has definitely seen better days. It needs a bit of repair to make the drawers slide better, then it is ready for a makeover. My son is on board with the idea, and he even wants to help, AND has color suggestions! He thinks we should paint it orange, than then paint on “lines and dots” in red, black and blue. What a creative guy! Plus, this dresser really can’t get much worse, so it is relatively low risk.

I want to do more ambitious carpentry, too. I would love to put a board and batten treatment on the bottom of the walls in my dining room, but I am nervous about installing it on the plaster walls. I would also like to do some built-in shelving and storage space in my family room to add “Office” and “Craft Room” to the official uses of the room (along with “Wii Space” and “For the Love of God, Will You Kids Please Go in the Other Room So the Grownups Can Talk Space”). These tasks are way beyond my current skill level, but it is so inspiring to see other people doing them!

In the meantime, if my efforts with my son’s dresser work out, we can paint the shelving units I currently have in the family room. I got them at an estate sale, and they look outdated, but a nice paint job would do wonders. I am envisioning apple green and lavender, but I don’t know that will go well in my yellow and cranberry family room. Hmm, more painting may be in order. See what I mean about ambitious?

How do you settle on a project when there are so many choices demanding your attention?