Say Yes to the Dress!

Perhaps you’d like to see what I’ve been doing recently?  It certainly hasn’t been blogging!  Bear with me through this time…. Call it what you want- summer slows, being lazy, blogger block, or simply having a life outside of blogging.  That last one is hard to fathom, right?  It’s actually not blogger’s block either, because I have a few ideas for future posts that just haven’t been typed out yet. So, by my own power of deduction, I’ve narrowed it down to three for you.  Beyond that, you’re on your own.  Please don’t assume I’m lazy. 😉

  
This is (partially) what I’ve been spending my summer hours on.  I just finished this baby dress on Saturday.  I was quite happy with that because it’s a very nice patriotic blue!  I just didn’t have a little girl to wear it while we watched fireworks….. However, I’m pretty sure that I’ve decided on the recipient!  

After I finally succeeded in knitting a proportionally-correct garment, one of my older brothers has decided he would like a sweater.  That will be a challenge! 

Since the yarn for the sweater hasn’t been purchased yet, I am in search of another project…. All of those lovely suggestions from the last time I had knitter’s block are still options- a man-scarf, a baby blanket, or slippers!  I’ve been scouring my knitting books, but still haven’t found the one pattern that just POPS out at me, and if I have, I don’t have the yarn for it….yet.  

That is some of what I’ve been up to recently- anything else exciting will be posted in my July edition of “What Happened Week”.  It will come all too soon….my summer seems to be flying by!!! Let me know what you’ve been up to, or tell me what to think of the dress. 🙂 Thanks for reading, and I hope your summer is going slower than mine! 

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Knitter’s Block

This is something I have never heard of before, but am experiencing at this very moment.  It’s very, very similar to writer’s block, except my affliction requires knitting needles, and not a pen(or a keyboard nowadays).

I can’t find something to knit.  There is plenty of material to work with in both the yarn and pattern situation.  In my room, there is a big box of assorted skeins of yarn.  I’m talking a few feet tall and a couple feet wide.  Big.  But, it’s no help to have all these options because as someone who has trouble making decisions in the first place, increasing the number of options typically just makes things worse.

What about a specific pattern?  Well, you remember how I mentioned all those knitting magazines I got in the ‘March Madness’ post?  I have all those to choose from, plus some knitting books that I got for my birthday and Christmas.  The possibilities are semi-endless!

Given the plethora of yarn and potential patterns, I find myself even more at a loss to make a decision.  There are too many options!  My brain just can’t decide which potential project I should work on next.  Any suggestions are very welcome!  I probably have whatever is needed for anything you can come up with, as far as supplies go.  Unless you are that one individual that picks the one type of yarn that I don’t have in my ridiculous stash.  Please don’t be that person.  Then I’ll feel inclined to go buy more yarn, instead of diminishing the vast amount that I already possess.

Does anybody else experience this problem?  Maybe in some other area?  Writer’s block?  Thankfully, I haven’t had that problem….at least, not this week.

My last project was done right around a week ago- I finished a Mohawk hat for my cousin, C4R.  That’s his stage name.  There’s a picture of the hat on my Instagram, if you’re bored and want to check it out.  If you know anybody that wants one, let me know! 😉

Just one more thing- if you happen to be a crafty person of some sort, you might have possibly thought coming into this post that I was talking about blocking some of my knitting.  For those of you that knit, I apologize for being misleading.  And for those of you that don’t knit, yes, that is something that exists. 🙂  Here’s a mini-explanation of the process-

Blocking a knitted project is normally done for a lace project, but I’ve heard of it being done for other things as well.  Anyway, it’s done to make a lacy garment even more lacy.  When a knitted garment is done, sometimes it tends to curl up on itself(depending on the project, yarn type, etc.), so blocking consists of soaking the finished project, stretching it out over a towel, and pinning it down in it’s stretched out form.  This may not sound good for a knitted garment you just finished, I mean we aren’t supposed to stretch out clothing, right?  But, trust me, it’s how blocking is done!  Once again, if you are bored, look up before and after pictures- the lace comes out quite lovely, and is actually easier to appreciate the lace design.

So, there you go- why knitters stretch out their stuff.  Just one more thing you learned today.  If you already knew that, chances are pretty good that you have a suggestion for me to get my hands busy again.

Let me know what you think below, or just please try to avoid any kind of ‘block’ for yourself- it’s really not a good feeling.  Have a great week, and be block-free!  Thank you for reading. 🙂

What is THAT?!?

Did I get you to look?  No?  Oh….

Here is the long-promised bit on knitting. 🙂  The suspense is over everybody, you can chill now.

Now, being honest, that’s not exactly how most people respond to crafters doing their thing in public, but it’s come pretty close before.  When commencing this post, I started to go on a rantle(a rambling rant, but it was a polite rant), but I decided to delete it, and start over.  All you need to know is the #1 most asked question when knitting, knotting, or needling, in public is “Is that knitting or crocheting?”.  The second most asked question is “What are you making?”.  So, I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and here are some helpful tips to tell what exactly that person is doing to pass time in the waiting room(or wherever you come across a crafter).  Normally it’s nice to ask instead of awkward silence, which is good, but here’s some information to help you have a little more knowledge about it.  And just a hint, if it looks like a sock….It’s probably a sock.  I promise there aren’t very many people who will bite you if asked what they are making. 😉 This is looking more and more like my previous rantle, so we’d better get started-

Without further ado, the differences between knitting and crocheting…..

1.  The tools.

Knitting is a craft that requires big needles(as opposed to sewing needles), crocheting requires a hook.  Another difference is how many of the tools they are using- crocheters always have one hook(as far as I know).  Knitters can have anywhere from 2 needles, up to 5.  You never know…..Unless they are using a circular needle- that’s a whole different subject….

If for some reason you can’t tell because someone is knitting with crochet hooks, or crocheting with a knitting needle, keep reading….

2. How it builds on itself.

That really isn’t the best description, but I can’t think of how to say “what you do to make your project bigger, and how the tools help”….That right there doesn’t even make sense.  Bear with me, please.  The difference I am trying to describe is how with knitting you actually have a whole bunch of “live” stitches, where if you take out the knitting needle that they are sitting on, your project will unravel.  Crocheting on the other hand(haha, can you knit with one hand and crochet with the other?  I would love to see you try….), is done where you only have one live stitch on your hook at a time.  So, it’s really easy to finish a crocheting project- cut the yarn, tie a knot through the loop, you’re done.  Knitting has a fancy technique called “casting off”, which isn’t a big deal at all once you get the hang of it, but the trick is getting the tension to match the cast on.  That’s a doosie.  Summary- crocheting looks like it’s hanging on by a thread(literally) to the crochet hook, and knitting has all the stitches on the needle and comes unraveled so easily it will appall you.  At least it has me.  It’s a sad day, but I’ve coped and learned how to fix it. 🙂

3. The appearance.

This one is tricky- knitting and crocheting look totally different.  There are some stitches done in one craft that sort of resemble the other, but for the most part there’s almost no similarity.  Other than the fact that they are both comprised of yarn.  Because this takes specific knowledge of at least one or the other, I’ll stop right there.  Just stick with the other two ways to tell, but know that there is a difference between the appearance of knitting and crocheting.  Try asking someone that, maybe instead of which they are doing.  It could lead to a much more interesting conversation!

So, now you know.  You can shock a yarn-loving person with your amazing knowledge of their work.  Or you can just ask them the regular questions, because that’s what they are accustomed to answering.  Either way, it’s fine.  But hopefully, you learned something today about knitting and crocheting!  I apologize if you were looking for a detailed history of both crafts- I recommend Wikipedia for that. I honestly don’t know a whole bunch about their history, but I do know that they’ve been around for a LONG time.

As always, thank you for reading!  I appreciate your time. And….if you have any more knowledge you can share on how to tell knitting apart from crocheting , there’s an empty little comment box below just waiting for you! 🙂  Or you can just tell me what your favorite craft is!  Or you can take a wild guess which my favorite is…. I’d love to hear it all.  Please enjoy the rest of your week, and  have a Happy Thursday!

From Belgium, With Love (Part 2)

Custom Order Mohawk Hat

Brown and Beige to Belgium!

Well, it’s finished…. And actually, it’s already in Belgium!  Or so I’ve been told…. I had a few glitches along the way, but my first international order is coming to a close.

Last Wednesday(not a day ago Wednesday, but a week ago Wednesday), I put the finishing touches on my custom order.  I got home from work, and prepared myself to felt the Mohawk.  Just to let you know, a Mohawk hat must be felted, or it looks like a rug on top of a hat.  To get the spiky Mohawk, you have to soak it in soapy hot water and aggravate the wool in it.  Yes, I was aggravating my wool.  Anyway, I nearly had a heart attack when my wool wouldn’t felt.  Like, I repeated the process several times and it was *still* a floppy mess- there were no spikes involved.  Well, other than the imaginary spikes in my head, getting closer and closer to popping my balloon of success and happiness about my first international custom order.  And that above is why I rarely ever make creative comparisons- because my creativity is wacko and my comparisons stink…. So, back to my story…. The wool was NOT getting aggravated-  I was getting aggravated.  So, after probably the 10th time(very little exaggeration involved here….) of little success, I got more aggressive.  Instead of rubbing it in between my hands, which has always worked before, I started rubbing it fiercely against a flat, but textured surface.  My hopes of it working were low, but I was also getting pretty desperate at this point- I HAD to ship it out by the following Tuesday, I was almost out of yarn, and there was absolutely no way I could make another one.  Imagine my massive surprise(and even more relief!) when it actually worked!

IMG_2367

The day after that, Thursday, I took my little project to the post office.  I was quite happy that it seemed to be sent without a hitch.  Friday I checked the tracking number- USPS says that number doesn’t exist.  I thought that was okay- it was only the day after, and with all the Valentine’s Day mail….. Yes, I was grasping for excuses.  And they only got worse from there over the weekend, when my package and it’s tracking number *still* didn’t exist!  Monday I tried to call the post office, but then I realized it was President’s Day.  Sigh…..So, Tuesday, almost a week later, I finally talked to the nice post office lady.  Apparently, their computer system crashed or something like that, and she couldn’t check it at the time.  She called me back yesterday, but I was at work.  I returned her call today(tag- she’s it!) and got good news- my package is already in Belgium!  I’m not too excited that I can’t see it myself on the computer, but I was told that the problem is a result of that computer crash last Thursday.  So, now I have to play the waiting game and see how it goes about getting to my customer in Belgium.  We’ll see!

Thanks for reading!  If you didn’t get to see the original post, click here.  If you would like to see the original custom order from my Etsy shop, click here.

Have a lovely day!!!

From Belgium, With Love

This week, I finally went international!  Would you like to take a guess at how I accomplished this feat???

I have never actually traveled internationally, so that is not it. Come to think of it, I’ve never even ridden in an airplane…. *Mark that on the to-do list*

No one from Belgium is coming to visit me….and that wouldn’t make me the country-hopper anyway.

If you have any more creative guesses feel free to comment them below, but I’m going to tell you anyway- something I have knitted is going to Belgium!  Last Monday I received a custom order through Etsy for a Mohawk hat in brown and beige.  The order wasn’t exactly ‘with love’ because I don’t know this person, but I couldn’t resist the title….And the hat shall be sent with love!  After it’s knitted and felted with love.  🙂  So, that is my excitement for this week.

If you would like to see the original, look here.   You’ll have to use your imagination for the brown and beige part though, because I don’t have any pictures yet.  Perhaps I shall when my work is done!  The body of the hat is going to be dark brown, and the exciting Mohawk part will be beige.  My dear customer didn’t request a letter, like the original has, but it’s his order so I’m happy to accommodate!

And now, I have a simple tongue-twister for you- “Brown and beige to Belgium”…..Say that five times fast. 🙂

Thank you very much for reading and have a wonderful week!  I’m off to go a-knitting….

The Benefits of Knitting….

And how it can lead to World Peace. I bet you’ve never heard that one before! 🙂

You might have been wondering (or not) when I am actually going to write about knitting or knotting, because I haven’t since the beginning of my blog.  Well, here goes.  I’m going to explain how knitting could bring about World Peace (theoretically).  This is merely a humorous speculation (hopefully). To accomplish World Peace, we would need a lot less sin in the world, not just more yarn, and regrettably knitting rarely has that effect on people.  I should also inform you that this revelation ‘came to me’ when I was rather young, which may help you understand why it’s so impractical.

My brilliant plan for World Peace was to teach everyone to knit.  This way, those people with evil intentions would be too busy to carry out any of their plans….  Those people without any intentions at all would be given something to do…. Those with too many intentions would be able to relax with a simple knitting project and take their stress out on that….  And those who are formulating intentions could do something productive while contemplating!  Just imagine how warm the world would be!!! 🙂  That’s another benefit-  we could clothe so many needy people!  I’m just waiting to be contacted for my Nobel Peace award…. Just kidding!

Now, obviously there are flaws with this.  I am sensible of that.  For example, I know many people who have tried knitting already, and it just isn’t for them.  Maybe we could have World Peace through knitting and crocheting…. Another flaw would be all those poor little naked sheep, alpacas, bunnies, etc., that gave their way of staying warm to others….however, they can just grow some more.

Here are some practical benefits of knitting, if you made it through the silly speculations above. 🙂

  • It really does give you something to do, if your hands need an occupation while sitting at a doctor’s office, watching TV, etc.
  • It really is stress-relieving, depending on who you talk to, and what pattern they are working on….If it’s an easy pattern, yes, but if it’s involved, no, and don’t bother trying to ask them because you’ll cause them to lose count of their stitches or rows.  Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything…. 😉
  • It really is productive- you get a lovely handmade item when done, as opposed to having nothing to show for other things….like watching TV (which is why you should knit at the same time!)
  • It really is a great way to make some gifts!  That is, assuming those receiving the gifts actually need the item, and its quality renders it useful….I know some of the first gifts I made were *not* useful, that’s for sure.  In cases such as that, I like to think it’s the thought that counts…. 🙂

So, there you go.  Hopefully, if you were considering trying to knit, I have made you eager to start, and not scared you off!  The world could always use more knitters….even if it doesn’t lead to World Peace.

If you’d like to see an example (or two) of knitting, I’d love you to visit my shop on Etsy- To Knit or Knot.  Have a lovely day, hopefully with a little knitting, but I don’t wish any knots your way!

Do you have any ideas for World Peace, be they impractical or just plain silly?  Let me know in the comments below!

The Beginning of ‘To Knit or Knot’….

My love of crafting started a long, long time ago…in this galaxy. 😉 As a young girl, I tried several forms of needlework, and handwork in general. This included a little bit of embroidery, quite a few things made from a lap-loom(they make great gifts! Or at least, I thought so….), making a quilt with my sisters and my mom for our babysitter when she was getting married, attempting to learn crocheting, and so on. All of these kept my hands busy, but I never really went very far with them….

When I was eight years old, I got a basket for Christmas. And it was not an empty basket! It had probably between eight and ten skeins of yarn in it, a beginners knitting book(specifically for children), and a pair of knitting needles.

Over the next year, I learned(with the guidance of my dear mother) how to finger-knit, roll skeins of yarn into balls of yarn, and knit the garter stitch. Thankfully, the phrase “Practice makes perfect” is true in my case(or at least, mostly true- my knitting still isn’t quite ‘perfect’!)- my first doll blanket is a little bit of an eyesore. But, at the time, you can imagine how proud of it I was. This blanket was something I had made, and it could be used by my dolls!

I love to knit!

I love to knit!

By the next Christmas, I was knitting presents for all my family and friends. I will tell you now, they still were not quality pieces of work…. It’s the thought that counts, right?  The next thing I was taught by my mother was how to purl. I actually had to learn this several times, being completely honest(thankfully, my mom is a patient teacher).

At this point, I was on my own. I had reached the limit of my mother’s knowledge of knitting(she’s more of a quilter). So learning new techniques was a little bit more of a challenge, and involved books, or the Internet. But I continued to learn more, and love it!

Cables and lace came next- both kept me fascinated! I struggled the most to learn how to cable, the instructions I read just didn’t make sense. And I really had an urge to learn cables!!! Finally, I found the explanation that just ‘made sense’, I guess it had to be put a particular way….

A knitting project in process- a hat for my sister....

A knitting project in process- a hat for my sister….

Tatting has become another craft that I have more than a passing interest in, although it’s still not like knitting…. My experience with tatting has been a little more ‘knotty’ and I have only been doing it for a couple of years. Hopefully, I will become a proficient before long.

My goal is to be like the woman described in Proverbs 31, and among her other characteristics, “She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands…” ~Proverbs 31:13. I have been knitting for over 10 years now, and it still is my favorite thing to do. So much so that I decided to open a shop on Etsy-  https://www.etsy.com/shop/ToKnitorKnot1013

And that’s all folks! You now know how I began knitting, and why I haven’t stopped. Thanks for reading, and have a great day!