Learning something new

Log cabin or summer campfire blanket must be one of the ugliest projects I have ever crocheted. Putting all those colors together in such a bold design, makes me wonder why? Why did i choose those colors? Maybe the sharp contrasts are easier to see. When I am working on a pastel or light colored yarn gathering, then I wonder why? Why do my eyes have to think a pink and yellow look the same? It’s all about how they reflect light.

But this is not a writing about the the property of color. Mh grand daughter really loves colors and it surprised me one day to learn that she even knows “gray cat” color. Wow. She really loves to paint and watch the colors change. It is fun fo watch the neighborhood dogs pass by and ask her what color each one is… She always knows.

Mixing up colors until they all turn brown? Well, thank goodness crochet is not paint. Sometimes however, the projects look better on a filter than they do in real time.

Finished and folded

This log cabin design received a mosaic rectangle border that is a new stitch process for me. Mosaic is actually quite easy on the stitch learning. Nothing like trying treble or cluster stitches found in doilies. It’s the reading the patterns part that is getting me stumped. No log in my eye, really. Thank goodness that YouTube has so many ready teachers. The free things to learn can be endless. I am pretty specific about my youtube rabbit holes.

Finding the right edging was actually part of my learning some of the mosaic techniques of various teachers. This rectangular or square is a piece of the larger labyrinth of mosaic maizes. Some of them make me dizzy. This edging is also done on the double line mosaic, forward and reverse. The original Apache tear pattern is a right to left orfront facing only crochet. Studies of what to do with all of those loose ends kept me watching vids for a day or two. The best way to cover them is to simply hide under the twin double crochet border. It seems to be my favorite cover up.

My summer campfire blanket is now complete and will probably get a lot of use. The air conditioner always tend to cool the house down a few degrees colder than is comfortable for sitting. While the greenhouse keeps me busy and the garden calls my name (actually it is the weeds that holler), I might still be sitting under the comfy stitches of crochet.

And staying warm…

Doing another project… like this one perhaps… It is called the Hope square. And yes, I found it on the YouTube. One of the crochet sites that I follow about mosaic crochet had the new pattern. And the little hot pad or condensation catcher only took me a day! Yay, crochet!

Log cabin blankets vs summer campfire cozies

A little table talk

“Oma, Pray!”

Recently, my visit to my daughter’s house brought about a very hilarious reprimand. Here’s the short version.

We took the dog to the daycare for the day, so that she could get some social life in. It does help with the dog’s personality to have other dog firends, I am told. So at the end of the day I was anticipating a text message from my husband on whether or no he should get me first from the granddaughter’s grasp, or the go pick up the dog.

Meanwhile, the violin teacher had a long enough break to eat supper as a family, so I sat down with them at the table to join in the table talk. Just befoe the meal daddy was preparing to pray for the meal, and little 21 month old, granddaughter was obedintly folding her hands in ready. Just at that moment my husband sends his query though text message, and I was going to answer it. Not on little girl’s watch, however. She piped right up with her little voice, and said, “Oma!” Hands-together-pray! I got the message. Gving thanks for the day and her meal, and her family was more important than answering Opa. Bother. Reprimanded by a child!

It has been a difficult week. Any time their is a death in the family we all ache and grieve for those we have lost and for those left behind. Sometimes we just want to scream in agony and other times the tears flow softly. Mourning seems to be the topic settled on all too frequently.

Urgency in our communications and our attempts to love on others is a tricky balance. There is no magic when it comes to saying and doing the right things. Being with is probably the most important. Just sitting and listening can be the healing that is part of the time process. In our fast paced, media driven society, just sitting is something most people have a hard time accomplishing.

If there is someone in your life who has experienced loss recently, know that taking time to just sit with your loved one is the most importatn thing that you can do for them.

My life however, has been a bit full of just sitting.

To the point of about ten extra winter pounds. So yesterday I let the ants in my pants get me out of the house to roam the fields around the acreage with the dog. It was rather brisk and cold. The wind just tore at my skin. I did not last very long. About twenty minutes each time. Not much of an exercise boost.

Crochet praying has been my mantel piece for a number of years. And this past week has kept me focused on the needs. How do I express the pain to my Lord that I feel for those who are hurting? There is a Bible verse that has been on my heart lately.

Romans chapter eight was one of the Bible passages that we picked to study. The last year that the girls were both home schooled we took one verse each week for focus meditation. Becasue the chapter has 38 verses it lines up perfectly with the school calendar. There are so many awesome promises in the chapter it is highly recommended for memorization.

Verse 26 is the promise that has stuck with me this last week.

“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should ray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (ESV) Romans 8:26

While we try to make sense of the pain and the suffering that is part of life here on earth, I am so grateful that God has provided me with these promises. When my heart and my mind cannot come up with the right words to say, and when my words get all muttled up in my prayers and supplications, God has provided an intercessor. The Holy Spirit acts as the best defense lawyer ever in my case to get the right plea to the Master.

I know a lot of this might be really foreign to some readers, but I do take my role as a prayer warrior very seriously. And I am so thankful that while I pray, God has given me the grace to fidget with my fingers and create things of beauty with crochet.

Thank You, Jesus!

Freezing drizzle

Today’s forecast

Some people don’t mind the weather. They are either oblivious to it’s changes or born in tropical climates. The rest of us check the forecast daily and then decide what to wear. My grandfather put his long handles on around Labor Day and took them off on the Fourth of July. It’s worth mentioning that his circulation was poor.

It would be best to write a review that is solidly just a review. The last month of movies and a book that seems to drag on longer than it should leads me to this review.

The book is “Into Thick Air: Biking to the Bellybutton of Six continents” by Jim Malusa. It is about his travels on bicycle. which got me to thinking about all of the thinkgs that we do not need a license for. First there is the lack of need for a drivers license with a team of horses, a bicycle of course, and among other things is driving me crazy. The book is not really as boring as the long title suggests. There is a lot of botanicle and geographical information about each of the continents that he travels in to their lowest points. There are days I simply give up and go watch a movie just so I can hear a different voice.

Some of the movies that I picked on the Amazon Prime list are memorable. Others go through this battleground of memory sticks and eventually, a title or name comes back. The movie that I do not recommend for soft hearts is “Mr. What.” It is the story of an ex-con and his changed life after his is released from prison and exonerated for wrongful imprisonment. While the movie is a great inspirational faith based film, my weepy eyes could not handle the continuous effect of kindnesses. After nearly a month’s worth of tissues in the pile on the sofa, I decided nice people just are not my type of movies.

So I jogged over to the thriller aisle and tried to find a movie in the mystery genre. Much better time passing as the anxiety over who-done-it or what-in-the-world is happening helps the day pass quickly. Never mind the fact that I crochet the whole time and keep rewinding the films to get what i missed. The next movie worth mentioning falls into the “Next” category. Check that one out, and it’s sequel, not bad winter weather watching. “The Words” falls into my good-movies-about-writers list. This CBS Film is a mystery romatic drama film from 2012. Anything about an author, a journalist, a novelist, a writer, or an editor attracts my chocolate tooth.

My favorite thing about the movie “The Words” was the underlying inspiration that the author received from outside sources. Writing is never an object unto its own. Rather, writing is the ability to grasp imagination, reality, and words until the reader is drawn into the words with the senses. If I tell you about my burned pizza the other night, you will soon be sputtering along with me as the crispy crust, and charred cheese crunch between the teeth of your imagination. It was truly the best burnt pizza I have ever tasted. Bother.

Movies, books, blogs, podcasts, and life itself inspires people to do, to become, or to write. Some of us a driven to capture thought into words unto paper or typecast. I cannot help it.

This morning my breathing again is labored. It’s another day for the nebulizer and other asthma control medicines. Not sure the exercise plan will stick for the day.There is always some crochet project to do.

Running out of yarn for a certain project, drove me to find another fidget affect. This one was something old made something new. Video tutorials are great for learning a new project. The mittens were made from the strands of a hat that never made it to the top of my head. I love the pattern and now i just need to find the proper yarn. A thicker fleece type is called for this pattern so the holes are filled in with the plush fabic.

Now on to the next item.

My mother-in-law brought up the topic of winter boredom busters. Cleaning out closets is the old time favorite. In my mind, some days of retirement can drive one to the “kitchen drawer boredom” state. I am not there yet. Cleaning the kitchen drawer out sounds like a blizzard day kind of activity. And since there is always yarn to be found, crochet takes priority over cleaning. Sorry, mom. The floor might just be dirty another day longer.

Stuff in the Stocking

Whimsy elf stocking hat

Waiting for another round of snow to blast away any holiday plans, I decided to crochet a whimsy elf stocking cap. So I looked up a few patterns, then did it my own way. The stuff in this stocking hat is a little different than the stuff under another’s hat. Here are the boring crochet details…

This has to be may favorite hat yet! The Elf hat crocheted in a totally new fashion. All the other patterns that I found had such large stitch designs. This one is done from brim to tip. The single crochet ribbing on the brim is down by working each row on the back loop. For this hat I did eight stitches per row. Then sewing the brim together at the desired head circumference, the hat body is begun with continuous rounds. The moss stitch is what I chose for the elf hat’s body. It is my favorite”warm” hat stitch lately. After doing thirteen rounds with no decrease stitches, the rest of the hat was done with a decrease every 25, 50, and 75 stitches. No real consistency, just gradually making the point appear. I finished the tip with more decreases at just eight stitches on the round. And added a tassle with the remaining twenty inches of yarn. Not a lot of guess work. And now this elf is ready to think about Christmas after Thanksgiving has been completed.

Now that I got all that our of my system. I am happy to see my “old” yarns stash dwindling. Until we went shopping the other evening and bought some cake yarns. Oh, well. I am trying to be diligent at cleaning up my unfinished projects.

Givng thanks for the ability that I have to whittle away the time by helping my fingers dance with a crochet hook.

We have learned that this energetic doodle could care less for creature comforts. We got a goot sale on the bed that she won’t stay upon all night. It still often wakes me to hear her flopping from one surface onto another. Of course the bed that she chose was rather large and we still have not found a good resting place for it. We have to move it to get into the closet because the door swings into the room. I think moving the hinges to the other side is an easy fix, but apparently I know nothing about carpentry. Sliding doors would be helpful in our small hallway house, but that hasn’t happened yet either.

Giving thanks for a warm roof overhead and a house that suits our purposes. Even if the dog won’t live up to our expectations of a “working” class mutt.

My husband put up our Christmas tree early this year. With my eyesight reduced to looking down points of a cone shape (never mind the reference to the hat shape above) it gets more and more difficult to get the decorations on the whole of the tree. Too many times they would end up all in the same area. I think he did a marvelous job with my tutelage. I was a good teacher wasn’t I? Everyone is having a fit about the trees up before the Thanksgiving holiday is complete. But this year it is so late that one month from today is actually Christmas Eve. I nee all the help I can get to get in the mood for the holiday shopping. (Everyone knows how much I love shopping.)

Gving thanks for my dear hubby who does ALL of the shopping in our lives now. He even takes instruction of yarn type and color. Now, if I can just get the list texted to him before the end of the work days that he wants to eat gas station pizza for supper. Haha.

This year I don’t think the Christmas letters will get the attention I use to give them. The news except for the news about my kids, is rather doldrum. Funny how life gets a bit that way in the “empty nest” phase. Pictures tell more than words at this stage of the game. So perhaps a picture card will have to suffice.

Giving thanks for my lovely daughters, their loving husbands, and my granddaughter. We are so blessed to have celebrated my dad’s eightieth birthday, an aunt’s 75th birthday, my in laws 60th wedding anniversary, and to hear my baby sister has entered motherhood and is expecting a wee one next spring.

My month of November was taken up with a study of the book of Psalms with one of my favoite radio preachers. Many of the Psalms that he focused on were one of my favorite passages also. My cousin and I have had some blessed spiritual conversations the last month and I am so thankful for my answered prayers in her life and having someone to talk to about my Lord’s presence in my life.

Giving thanks for sisters in Christ and the challenge to be more like Him. We all need that reminder that others are watching us to see how our faith holds up. Just remember that even when we fail, God’s faithfulness to us is not dependent on our faith in Him. God is always faithful.

Psalm 108:3-4 “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to You among the nations. For Your steadfast love is great above the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.”

P>S> The snow arrived in the night. All 4 inches of fluffy white stuff.

What next?

The crochet hook moves on…

Perhaps switching to a different thread number for crochet was not such a good idea. Especially since now the newest doily that I finished did not fit on the blocking wheel that I have. The thought never occurred to me that the doily once complete would be too large for the board. Now what?

Maybe I need a bigger blocking board.

Maybe I should quit doing doilies for a time.

Perhaps, it’s better off not mentioned that I made so many mistakes in the pattern. I am not exactly pleased with my failure on this project. Not sure why counting has becoem such a difficult thing. Distraction seems to lurk around every bend.

So this past week I comforted myself under the lightweight log cabin afghan. It’s super easy design and double crochet stitch let me watch another movie or two. I also began a very riveting English murder mystery in my Talking Book Listening. I am fascinated that all the best murder mysteries happen in London or such. It must be the language difficulty, I mean the difficulty of listening to that broken tongue that keeps us so befuddled. The Lap-Ghan turned out very warm and cozy. And now it’s time to get some other loose yarn projects cleaned up around here. The next log cabin lap-ghan will be of a much better color scheme.

These two little hats, well, actually they are too large for my head, did not take more than a few hours. Making a warm stoking hat at the onset of winter wonderland weather is always fun. They turned out quite charming. The lefties of yarn can really make an adorable project if I can plan it properly. The prime colors hat has a new rib stitch that I learned one day while crocheting away on the lap-ghan.

The move that I watched this week of some report was found on Amazon primes kid friendly and family genre. “33 Postcards” turned out to be quite the tear jerker. Needless to say I watched it the one day the moisture was up to 89% and the drizzle made my nose drop incessantly inspite of the sad/happy film. The idea that just having sponsored a child in an orphanage could change the heart of a prison inmate was quite distracting to my stitch counting.

Perhaps there are more yarn projects buried away in the cabinets and baskets than I imagined. The ideas keep coming. The season marches on towards the holiday run. With family gatherings, food preparations, and decorating, who knows what crochet hooks will be kept occupied at this house. The days the phone rings and I am called away from the monotony of endless hook movements is perfectly alright by me. Somedays I make the calls myself and put them on speaker phone so that my fingers can stay busy. Other days I force myself out of the easy chair and clean up the house after the dog just to get some exercise.

Can’t wait for the warmer sunny day to use one of those hats and take a walk!

Never mind me

Just go about your business

A few weeks ago, I got out the paint brush and bought another can of white paint to finish the back deck rails. The finished project looks rather nice and the visual effect works quite well at making my “deck basket” stand out in the shade. It gives me something to aim for while walking in that area of the yard.

While painting the rails, I had company from an unlikely critter. The cat that does not loke much handling began to keep me company. Actually she nearly kept me from finishing the job on several occasions. Her close proximity to my working space was a tripping hazard. On one instance, the wet brush jumped right out of my hand and landed just next to her head. She did not even blink. Never mind that she slept right through the wet brush grazing her lashes.

“Never mind me,” she seemed to say. “Just go about your business.” Several times I had to pick her and mover her or slide the cardboard another direction just to paint what she was guarding. Going about my business was not that easy, really. Thank goodness the white paint just beaded right up and dried on her oily fur.

During my reading / listening for the past month, some of my time was spent crocheting the above mistake.

Mishaps are common through my day because of my eyesight. While working this piece, the individual rows and smaller prtions of the pattern looked okay. But when I finally took some time to throw it to the floor and look at the whole…. UGH!

What a mistake!

I rolled up the mess and put in into a bag for awhile. When I have some more fortitude, I will take the thing apart and making something more pleasing to the eyes.

Crocheting is like that for me. Sometimes I follow patterns exactly. Other times I try to make it up as I go. Most of the time I turns out right. Then there are these things. When mistakes appear out of the jumble and I decide it really is time to quit and find something else to do.

If I could just mind my own business and never mind the mistakes and the mishaps. Ahhh, life might be more pleasant.

Today is one of those days. My life seems empty, unplanned. Finding purpose in the silence of the hours is hard. Once again, I find myself wiping away tears. The quietness seems to scream at me. How can I continue on in such a purposeless life?

Being by myself for so many empty hours has left me a boring and needy individual that no one wants to spent any time with. Spending time with people is what drives the hands forward. Yet for me the days tick by empty. I am too young to be retired. Yet too blind to go back to work that was never there to begin with. Silence greets me. The only thing I hear is the ticking of a battery powered clock somewhere. How could such a small thing be so loud?

That is a really ugly crochet thingy. I shall forget about it for awhile.

Doily season

Too hot to shawl

One and two…

Then I second guess myself. The counting is all off on the one on the left. The rounds between the design were not symmetrical or growing in the proper ratio. No purple ribbon there. I have considered re-doing it. That would be winter. The thread is really small. The second one might be a blu ribbon I am much happier with it’s turnout.

Three…

Made out of some shiny no.5 thread, it was much easier on the eyes. But the fingers… Any time the thread or yar has some sheen to it, think slippery. My left hand would get sore. From gripping it too hard. Most of the time I work for no more than two hours a day on doily items. The fine thread, stitches, or thought process is just not as relaxing as the afternoon nap. That’s usually when I work on such things. No naps in my life. Just rest or down time

Four…

This pretty yellow doily was rather hard for me to pin to the ivory board. One of these days my husband will put the black marker on his grandfather’s carpenter compass and I will have some lines to go by. One of the round doilies I stretched turned out almost oval. This eyesight is getting to be a challenge.

Five…

This pretty little thing will have to be another tea doily. The thread was much smaller than I imagined it to be. Another doily of different thread turned twice this size.

I was not sure what pattern to pick and do next with the rest of the yellow ball of thread so I finished this gem.

Back to it…

I have always wanted to do this beautiful pattern. Known as the “Virus” shawl pattern, it looks like the rows are done with changing color skeins. Though this is an option, the one above is a variegated yarn by Red Heart. The color blend is called “Latte Stripe.” And since I loved creamed coffee, why not? Pretty sure I won’t allow myself to give this one away.

The bench outside is an old Recitation Bench from the country school in Iowa. We found them in the old granary shed. My grandmother talked about the benches from her school days in the early twentieth century. I have always felt like their nod to the past cannot be destroyed.

To place the shawl on this bench for the picture,the leaves from the tree had to be swept off. The poor tree is quite ill and we need to replace it. It sheds constantly. All year long it’s residue is left on the deck, bench, and chairs. From seed berries, to flower blossoms, to leaves that are simply too weak to hang on I am kept busy with a broom nearby. I wonder if that’s how I feel.

The tree has aged so much. It was a pair to the flowering crab from years gone by. Today it’s shade keeps the top half of the deck well shaded, so we put up with the mess. I cannot imagine how hot the deck or our kitchen would be without it blocking some of the suns rays.

So, from the doilies to the Latte Viral shawl, the summer is heading into fall allergy season. I have a few gifts out of the process of counting in sequence, And a warm shawl to get ready for fall. I have had my own anxious moments this summer, most of which were hormone related. Sometimes the thread of worry slips into life like the wrong spice in a mango salsa. Changing the topic won’t make worry go away. I am glad to have crochet to pass the time. I am also glad to leave it behind and go consider the flowers once in awhile. Labor and toil over thread all day would probably do some pretty bad damage to my wrist or my neck.

Matthew 8:27-28 “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they do not labor no do the spin thread.”

Visual textures

Study and survey

This little desktop doily found it’s way to our end table. I thought it would be fun to continue the tea doily into the next round and see if we like it. Yep. It’ll do. And since my hubby sits or stands at his desk at work, a little thing of beauty next to his armchair is kind of nice

Then I completed another row on a different project. That project is a scrap journal of all my projects. I decided to to try this gem. The patter is the “Nomad by Fate.” However, I call this one “Gypsy Diamonds.” Too many colors and no particular color scheme makes it a bit busy. But the texture study is challenging.

I have always loved textures. Feeling the yarn thread through my fingers is soothing. And the fabric made by the varying stitches is always an enjoying study.

A student is usually considered a beginner or an amateur. Many of the patterns that I crochet are intermediate or difficult. Though the crochet hobby has been in my life for some forty years already, I still find new things to learn. Knowing all the stitch language from english to british along with the international pattern symbols makes me feel like I can tackle anything. But the most fun is taking something by sight, studying the photo, and crocheting my own idea. It’s this ability that drives me to learn new patterns, and try something new.

To survey all the available possibilities and complete a project. All while reading a book of some sort or another. The blue waters shoulder wrap above was my evening television project. When the yarn ends just 20 stitches early and there is nothing that matches it in sight, frustration sets in. But today the frustration lies in a misplaced yarn bobbin winder. Really now, It can’t have taken up legs and walked away. When the mind just simply cannot remember where the squirrel has stashed the winter suppy… Frustration.

The feeling on this three items is so very different. The patterns are completely unrelated. The smoothness of the “Blue Water” is such a contrast to the “Gypsy Diamonds.” The scrap yarn journal is never going to be done. And the tea doily, turned into a desktop display is so pretty. Now – What’s next?

Pouring it all out

Or is it spilling?

Psalm 62:8, “Trust in Him at all times you eople; Pour out your heart before Him, God is a refuge for us.” NKJV

As much as I love this purple iris patch, I will never wear purple. Years ago a study was done on the colors that most put people at ease, and at distrust. People who wear purple, drive purple cars, or wear purple lipstick are best seen as not worthy of trust. I have never thought of this deep lavender color as untrustworthy until my children came home touting this study. Why would purple be such a symbol of false motives? And for the most part people who chose this color are good people. Women who look good in purple are not meaning to put people off. This color it its rich vibrant hue is still going to be my garden favorite.

The garden boxes out front of the house gave me a pleasant surprise. While it has been nice enough to plant some flowers in the rectangular holder, the trip to the greenhouse has not happened. So while I cleaned out the weeds, I found this lovely perineal gracing the otherwise empty space. Okay, I told myself, maybe I really should get some pretty flowers to go with you. Now, if I can just find some more like this one.

Tea doilies are not popular anymore. Women do not spend all their free time managing a household, preparing for socials, and being the members of some group society. Therefore, the tea doily that lays on the saucer beneath the tea cup, is not necessary. The tea doily is out, by about 100 years, I do remember once upon a chrch social when paper doilies were set out beneath all of the coffee cups. The time to wash and iron these fancy little linens had gone out by atleast 50 years at that point. I thought it odd that the paper piece rather than a napkin was giving a nod to the past.

Pouring it all out anymore is not popular either. When someone really wants to share their heart and gain counsel from a few good friends, we now have to pay a counselor anywhere from fifty dollars to one hundred twenty-five to get the counsel that good friends once gave us.

When there is no way to get to the counsel, there is always some one-eight-hundred number that has someone who will listen. I have seriously considered being one of those numbers. Just so someone would call me for advise. Wisdom is not cheap, however. The school of hard knocks taught some of us a thing or two that will never be written in the books.

Spilling your guts to family, friends, or relatives does not happen much anymore either. Too many people are afraid of the “social” effect that being vulnerable affords. We get either condemned or avoided if we are too much of an open book. Closing the door on others does not do much for the whole self preservation. It just bottles things up.

So when, I see the people as all wearing purple, and the empty boxes represent their feelings, I’ll try to remember that sometimes they see me as an outdated tea doily. Oh, well, my refuge and safe haven will continue to be my Lord and Savior. I will spill it all out at the foot of the cross. I will let Christ carry my burdens when they are too heavy for me. I will trust in the shelter of my soul’s salvation.