Goodbye for now

Dear stitchy friends. It is with regret that I announce my decision to place this blogging project on the back burner for awhile. I am not in a good place right now and want to focus on the process of making, which brings me pleasure. I will not be active on Facebook or any social networks that involve posting text or conversation. Sometimes people forget that there is a real person behind the profile on the internet and get a bit carried away. Personally, I will not share anything on the internet I wouldn’t be happy for my children (or grandchildren etc) to see or read, but that’s just me and I forget that other people don’t see the world the way that I do. I may be back at some point, I may not. Let’s see where this break leads.
In the meantime, happy stitching!

Origin of the Granny Square Afghan

CONFESSIONS OF A YARN-A-HOLIC

Have you ever wondered why it’s called a granny square? Or why we call the blanket an Afghan as opposed to a Brit or a Frenchmen?

AFGHAN first appeared in English usage in the late 1700′s as a name for the Pashtuns of eastern and southern Afghanistan.  The country is known for its distinctive textiles, colorful carpets, and famous karakul wool. 

According to a 1946 article attributed to the Oregon Worsted Company, the thrifty women of early America would carefully save scraps of yarn and fiber unraveled from old sweaters and socks.  As these scraps accumulated, they were crocheted into small squares; the colors combined on the whim of the craftsman.  The squares were then sewn together to make a blanket which was both functional and colorful.  Because grandma was no longer up for manual labor, she was often the one to sew the squares together, thus they became GRANNY SQUARES.

This colorful GRANNY SQUARE blanket was though to…

View original post 30 more words

In progress….

Hello my Fellow Fibre Fantics! I hope this post finds you well. I want to talk today about what I’m working on at the moment.
Around about this time last year, I started to crochet a blanket for my brother and his girlfriend. I am calling it Peacock Kaleidoscope because the pattern I am using is called Kaleidoscope by Tammy Hildebrand and is from Unexpected Afghans by Robyn Chachula and I am using a peacock kind of colourway. I had intended this to be a Christmas present, but alas my poor hands could not cope with sewing in all the hundreds of ends. Just so you know, I have quadrupled the size given in the book so that it will fit a king-size bed. I think they have a double, but I’m not sure so thought I’d better err on the side of caution and make it bigger. If it is a double, then the blanket will swamp their bed and will have the effect of a weighted blanket.
Alas, soon after I started to make it, I had to stop crocheting all together to rest my thumbs. I picked it up again in October and finished all the motifs. I even got about a quarter of the way through the filler motifs before I had to stop because I had forgotten to sew in the ends from the joining rounds of the main motifs and when I tried to sew them in after working some of the filler motifs, it hurt my hands (particularly my thumbs) more than sewing ends usually does.
I really want to finish this blanket for my brother, but the sewing in of the ends is killing me! I keep texting him to let him know I haven’t forgotten and I’m not being lazy, just trying to cope with painful hands, and he’s been really nice about it, but he mentions the blanket to our Mum from time to time with comments like, “I thought Shelly was supposed to be crocheting me a blanket, but I haven’t heard anything for a while”. What to do!!!
While having a break from the horrendous ends, I have started to work on a new shawl. I have been in love with this pattern for a long time, but have not been able to get the tension quite right. However, after working on Shayron’s Lace recently (photos will follow – she’s still being blocked), I found that I could manage lace-weight mercerised cotton with a 4mm hook, so I thought I’d give size 10 crochet cotton (practically the same) a try with the 3.5mm hook, as required for this pattern.
I have had a few false starts that involved ripping out and restarting (hence the photo above), but now it all seems to be going well. I am happy, but I am not looking forward to going back to the ends on the Peacock Kaleidoscope. Wish me luck?!

from Blogger http://bit.ly/1Qk7Mf7
via IFTTT

Welcome

New post on String for Brains:

Hello and welcome to String for Brains, a crochet journal of sorts. I have started reading Kathryn Vercillo‘s book, Hook to Heal and have decided to blog about my progress with the book and my journey through self-healing and finding my inner artist. I know she’s in there somewhere, but as I have “string for brains”, this may take some time!
I thought it might be fun to share a little background before I start working on the exercises in Kathryn’s book, so I will start with my crochet journey. I used to do a lot of cross stitch – I mean a lot of cross stitch. I was quite accomplished at the craft and took pride in my work. However, in 2010 we had to move house and I needed to do something a little more portable than cross stitch to cope with the stress. Yes, I know small cross stitch projects are indeed portable, but I was only working on large projects at the time and found small projects (the portable-sized small projects) irritating and pointless. I mean, I found my inner peace while crocheting large projects and it could take me a while to find it. With a much smaller project, I would probably finish it before I felt the relaxing calm that usually came with hours upon hours of work.

Read more on Blogger

A love affair, a hiccup and catching up

Hello my Fellow Fibre Fanatical Friends!!

I know, I know. Back in November I promised more regular updates on the blog and so far it just hasn’t happened. Why? Well, for several reasons, really.

My first reason is a hiccup: my hands. I have severe de Quervain’s Tenosynovitis (damaged tendon sheaths) on both thumbs and moderately severe Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in both hands. I don’t do things by halves; I’m an all-or-nothing type of gal. But the pain from these two conditions have inhibited my ability to crochet. This is very, very bad for several reasons: 1. I love to crochet; 2. I crochet to relax; 3. I crochet to cope with stress; 4. I’m driving my family mad.

So while I have been having painful steroid injections into my thumbs and wrists and “taking a break” from crochet, I have been trying to catch up with everything I got behind on last year because I didn’t have a computer. Ravelry is now up to date with all my projects (in progress, completed and hibernating) and most of my stash and I am getting there with the social media. I have several posts planned for the next few weeks (including at least one book review), so I expect to be completely up to date with everything online by the end of February. Or March. Whenever. I will get up to date with everything at some point. But I am not going to put any more pressure on myself to do so.

My second reason is really an extension of the first: if there is no crochet being … well, … crocheted, then there is nothing much to write about on here. It stands to reason, really, if you think about it (but don’t think about it for too long because it will hurt your head and drive you mad).

My third reason is a confession: I have been sleeping. A lot. I haven’t been getting up before midday for the last few months. I have Fibromyalgia and have been needing more sleep, so I guess that makes it somewhat less of a confession of laziness and more of a medical reason, but it feels like laziness to me. I like getting up in the morning and getting things done online before lunch so I can spend the rest of the afternoon and evening with my beloved hook. However, when I can’t crochet, I find things all the more stressful and in turn more difficult to deal with the stress, which in turn makes me tired (I also have Asperger syndrome) and ergo I need to sleep. A lot. A HELL OF A LOT really. Some of you will probably tell me to stop making excuses and just get off my fat, lazy behind and DO something, but I am not going to listen to you because you don’t know me. And if you do know me and say that to me, do not expect to be talking to me for a while. I have learned the hard way to let other people’s opinions of my physical, mental and spiritual health pass me by. Although I find that a LOT easier when I can CROCHET!!!

(Sorry for the ranting there. I just had to get that off my chest. There. I feel a lot better now. Shall we continue?)

My fourth reason is also a confession of sorts. Although I am unable to crochet for long periods of time, what I can do for long periods of time is surf the net looking for crochet patterns. (do you see where this is going yet?) I have developed a passion for lace. I am in a steady relationship with Ravelry at the moment (I’m sorry, my Sweet, but it would come out eventually; these things always do) whereby I add another item of my stash that I have found (an hopefully photographed before using) and then search Ravelry’s patterns database for suitable items to make with it.

Now, before I continue, I want to clarify a little on my first reason for not posting/crocheting. The pain from the CTS is not caused by the crochet, but by housework, the use of an elbow crutch and knitting (for more than twenty minutes at a time), to name but a few, but the pain does prevent me from crocheting. The pain from the dQT is caused by crochet, and also stops me doing more crochet. Before the dQT, I would crochet for hours upon hours to help me cope with the pain for longer before giving in to the lure prescription pain medication (which I do not abuse. Ever. I am very strict with myself on that: if I can avoid it, then I will).

Are you following? Shall I make a cup of tea while you mull it over?

Okay, now that we are clear on the whys and wherefores of the pain and the crochet and their entanglement with each other, I shall continue with the story of my love affair with Ravelry. I search only for crochet patterns (see above) and you would not believe – okay, so I have tarred you with my own brush, so you probably do believe – how many crochet patterns there are available for any one weight of yarn! I have recently acquired some lace-weight yarn (photos to drool over were taken this very afternoon and will be posted on Instagram tomorrow) and was not sure what my options might be. I have made a promise to myself that I will not crochet myself anything wearable until I have lost some weight, but then I realised that a shawl will still fit no matter how much weight I lose! Glory be! So I am swiftly acquiring a vast an astronomical collection tome anthology of lacy crochet patterns which consists almost entirely of shawls (I have found some other little gems as well). Ravelry has always been a bit hit-and-miss with me, but I recently took the time to experiment with all the search settings and it is now so incredibly wonderful, such a phenomenal tool at my disposal, that I truly have absolutely no idea whatsoever how I ever managed without it! I am now working my way though all the patterns I own, to include books, pamphlets, magazines and e-patterns, and making sure that I have them in my library. Those that aren’t in the Ravelry database will be added in the near future, I can assure you! My affair with Ravelry has led to an even bigger affair: lace. And not just in its crocheted forms (including broomstick and hairpin), but also tatting, needlepoint (Renaissance and Romanian Point) and *drum roll please* bobbin lace. That is all I will say about that for now, but rest assured that I will return to this subject in future posts.

I fear I may be starting to bore you with my ardent fervor for Ravelry, and so I shall continue to my last reason for my protracted defection from this domain: windows. Double glazed windows to be more precise. We had our double glazing updated in the second week of December. This meant that we had to rearrange all the rooms in the house. The living room and our bedroom now look a lot bigger and calmer, but my absent son’s bedroom could not look less like a bedroom if it tried. There is a bed in there, but that is where the similarity ends. You may recall my mention earlier within this post of finding items of my stash. This is because it is spread around the house but is particularly concentrated in my son’s room (he is at university and gave me explicit permission to store stuff in there when he left) and what we call the back room but the council, for some unfathomable reason, call the outhouse. There are no water facilities in the back room; no toilet, no sink and no plumbing for a washing machine or space for a tumble-drier, so how they reached the conclusion that this was the most suitable name for the glorified anteroom is completely beyond my comprehension.

Unfortunately, as a direct result of having the windows done, we now face the intrusion of the council updating our kitchen in the near future, as the men who fitted the new windows managed to break the worktop. It wasn’t their fault, it was a complete accident, but the fact remains that we have to clear everything out of our kitchen in the near future to enable the updating of our dilapidated kitchen cabinets. And we have a particularly large kitchen. Seriously: I can walk between a mile and a mile-and-a-half while I am baking or cooking in there. It is ridiculous. I’m not complaining about the size of the kitchen, merely its ineffectual layout. Please believe me when I say that moving the rest of the rooms in the house around nearly had us both sitting in our own private “comfortable” rooms with over-sized jackets and a crayon between our toes. Moving everything out of the kitchen for a week (or more?!!!) may well kill us. If you don’t hear from me for a while, you will know that one of the above has unfortunately taken place. In that case, I ask that someone come round to look after my babies (the cats) and to make sure nothing untoward happens to my yarn!

In the meantime, I hope to write up some patterns I have floating around in my head to clear out some of the rubble, and wish you all good health and happy stitching (whichever your stitchy preference may be).

KBG Holiday Monster CAL

Hello, dear readers, how are you today? I do hope you’re well and don’t have this horrible cold that I have…  But I am not here to talk about health and so on; no, no. I want to talk to you today about the Knot By Gran’ma Holiday Monster Crochet Along. Are you signed up to it yet? I received my pattern on Friday and completed the first part Friday evening (while waiting for updates to be completed). I must say, he looks rather intriguing so far:

Knot by Gran'ma Holiday Monster CAL
Knot by Gran’ma Holiday Monster CAL

I can’t wait until this Friday 27th for the next part of the pattern to be released! We are being given a free reign with our yarn choices, but must follow the pattern exactly and to the letter to qualify for the giveaway at the end of the CAL. I am using Garnstudio DROPS Paris aran-weight cotton in Pistachio together with Lily Sugar ‘n Cream worsted-weight cotton in Blueberry and Drops Delight in blues (plus the prescribed crochet cotton, eye colour to be decided). This really is something quite new to me, amigurumi CAL, as I have only worked on blankets, cushions and shawls for crochet alongs thus far, but I must say that I am happy with the monster.

If you haven’t signed up yet, don’t worry – there’s still time! Click on over to Jess’ site and hit “sign up now” and you will receive the pdf pattern directly into your inbox. As we are making an amiugurumi monster, the amount of work is quite small compared to blankets etc, and so you should have time to catch up.

The post KBG Holiday Monster CAL first appeared on Shelly’s Stitches. If that’s not where you are reading this, then click on over for the full experience!