Project Progress – Cardigan Sweater


 

Sweater Cardigan

Sweater Cardigan

Image of Extra Easy, Extra Fabulous Sweater

 

I finally began sweater cardigan a couple of day ago.  My original intention was crochet the sweater from the September/October issue of Crochet Today designed by Candi Jensen, but the store did not any Red Heart yarn or any similar yarns I could have substituted.  However, my trip to the store was not unfruitful, I decided to knit the sweater from Lion Brand.  I started on Thursday and progressed to knitting the back, sleeves, to the front of the sweater.  The sweater is knitted into one piece which only requires seaming the sides of the sweater once completed.  There is no increasing or decreasing of stitches and a great project for beginners or when someone does not want to knit four different pieces to only do a lot of sewing of seams.  It’s an easy sweater to knit.

 

Cardigan

Cardigan

Of course, I had a mishap.  I needed to knit a few inches to the sleeve that it measured 18 inches before I could continue to knit additional rows.  It’s my goal to complete my sweater by the end of next week.  I still have began my tote bag because I thinking about adding handles than webbing.  It would be more stylish, but need to find the right handles.  I am being picky again.

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What’s Cooking


Working has put me beyond on my crafting projects.  Every now and again, I read Ready Made Magazine but what person who is interesting in making things does not read it.  I came across an article entitled Ready Whip.  The section has a few recipes to create your home spa such as Lebanese hair-removing body sugar, shaving cream, and herbal shampoo.  I became really interested in the herbal shampoo because purchasing Carol’s Daughter products puts a dent into my pockets.  After giving it some consideration, I decided why not make my own shampoo and hair conditioner as it is cheaper.  It occurred to me to make my own shea butter as well, and give some as gifts for the holidays.

I did some research about making your own cosmetics and came across the website http://www.makeyourowncosmetics.com with some great recipes people can make at own.  It even has a difficulty rating to the recipes from one being the easiest to four being the most difficult.  There are also some books on making own your body care products such as Organic Body Care Recipes: 150 Homemade Herbal Formulas for Glowing & Vibrant Skin and Natural Beauty Recipe Book: How to Make Your Own Organic Products.   There are were some websites where one can purchase supplies to make your own body care products such as http://www.mountainroseherbs.com, http://www.brambleberry.com, http://www.cranberrylane.com, and http://www.essentialwholesale.com.

I am going to try the herbal shampoo recipe giving in Ready Made magazine as my first body care product, and if goes well, then making a hair conditioner will not be far beyond.  The amazing part is that some of the homemade products have a shelf life from 6 to 12 months, but that is fine since they are products people generally use on a regular basis.  However, it’s always good to do some research and know how to make the products properly.

Just Released or New Books of Every Kind


To say that I own a lot of books would be an understatement.  I enjoy reading fiction, nonfiction, how to craft books, language books, and even keep a dictionary and thesaurus in the in addition to the Bible, Qu’ran, and Torah.  I probably will get the Vedas Hindu Scriptures, books on mythology as I love reading about philosophy and religion.  It’s important for me to be a well-rounded person because I know about the world around me.

Of course, I cannot afford to purchase every book, it’s good that I have NY Public Library card to borrow books.  The economy tends to changes your perspective about what you can and cannot afford.  However, I do purchase at least seven to eight books a year.  There was a time when I would purchase at least three to four books each time I was paid, but no longer happens.

There is one book I like to purchase, and that is Sharon Okey’s new knitting book ” Alt Knits.”  She has created knitting patterns for knitting green fiber alternative such as bamboo, hemp, and soy.  I have some experience knitting with a soy/wool blend fiber from Patons, and thought it was soft, had sheen, and easy to knit with.  I think it is a book to add to my knitting book collection, and made the decision to purchase the book when it’s released in September.

Another book I am interested in reading that I probably will borrow for the library is Curtis Sittenfeld’s book “American Wife.”  The protagonist is a woman name Alice who much her surprise falls for a charismatic named Charlie Blackwell who is a republican and she a democrat.  She finds herself as first lady in the middle of her husband’s controversial and tumultuous second term in the White House.  Alice asks herself some hard  questions as how can she both love and fundamentally disagree with her husband.  It think this may be a fascinating read.

Book Cover

Another book I am looking forward to read is entitled “Someone Knows My Name: A Novel by Lawrence Hill.  I enjoy reading historical fiction especially with such books as “Beloved” by Toni Morrison and “The Known World” by Edward P. Jones.  Hill writes a life story about an African Muslim girl sold into slavery and not only how she survives physically, but emotionally.

Book Cover

Speaking of Toni Morrison, she has a book coming out in November entitled “A Mercy,” story set during slavery during the 1680s and a mother who casts off her daughter to save her, and of a daughter who may never exorcise that abandonment.  Anyone who reads Morrison knows that her stories are generally complex, but none the less excellent reads.

Book Cover

I have read David Sedaris’ book “Talk Pretty to Me,” and couldn’t put it down and was one of the most profoundly funniest books I read.  He newly published book “When You Are Engulfed in Flames” is no different than his other books written.  The book is a collection of essays with David using life’s most bizarre moments.

Book Cover

These are a few books that I want to read and add to my ever expanding collection, and I hope you get a chance to visit the library or you can borrow books online.  Yes you can borrows like NetFlix.  Here are a couple of sites http://www.bookswim.com and http://www.booksfree.com,  You can generally borrow at least two books at a time for a monthly fee of $9.99 with no late fees, unlimited and return the books and they will send others from your reading list.  That’s if you are unable to make the trip to the public library.

 

Being in the Moment With a Craft?


During my routine commute to work, I had the chance to read an editorial from Craft Magazine’s Spring issue. The editor discussed how working on a project whether it’s building a tree house, crocheting or knitting a scarf, or sewing a skirt can put one in the place of being in the moment.  I found that when I am working on a project or even reading allows me of not necessarily being lost or entrenched in what I am doing, but giving me an opportunity to concentrate on that one thing.  Working on a project does allows me to keep my mind quiet.  Who needs transcendental meditation when you can be in the moment with your fabric, yarn, or decoupage?

I never believed that hobbies are silly, but serves a larger purpose to the individual engaged in the activity. I get great satisfaction in finishing a knitted ribbed scarf.  The pattern is basically simple and doesn’t take rocket science, but it gives me a chance to quiet my mind.  There are lot things rattling around in my brain, and I need an activity to give me perspective that life isn’t so bad if I can create something that gives me joy in doing, and joy to the person receiving that gift I made.  I do not get my wrong as I do spend time unraveling or using that seam ripper whenever I make a mistake, but it’s also a learning process for as well. I learn more about myself that my grandmother was right that I do have the patience of Job because it does take patience when working on a project.

I think working a craft brings out a person’s artistic and creative side that he or she did not believe existed. Initially, I did not believe that I could ever knit or sew anything.  I didn’t start crocheting and knitting up until three years ago, and decided to learn how to sew a year ago.  However, once I decided to learn and found out that it is alright to make some mistakes is when I gained the confidence that finally said to myself that I can do this.  Once the idea being the perfectionist began to disappear is when you can find that you do it.

Practice, Practice


 

 

With my second day of vacation, I looked through some of my current magazines to see what projects that I would like to crochet, knit, or sew.  Today I received my copy of the fall issue of Sewing Today looking at some new patterns of dresses that I would love doing.  Some of the projects are knit and it’s probably a good thing sense the fabric that works with being flexible.  Let’s face knit is probably most people’s best friend, and it’s mine.

I also noticed from the fall issue of Knit Scene a pair of Michaelmas Mitts and fell in love with them.  Making seems like an easy and quick weekend project and I love the idea of them having buttons.  So today, I practiced by knitting a swatch to get an idea of the stitches and the pattern was very easy to learn, and decided to purchase the yarn next week to knit them in time for the fall.  I also decided to crochet the sweater from the Crochet Today magazine cover in my Saturday’s post and I did a swatch on Sunday, and it’s very pattern to follow.  It’s a griddle stitch with single and double crochet, and with each single crochet you will double crochet, and with each double crochet you will single crochet.  It may sound a little confusing, and it’s reason why I needed to do a swatch to get an idea, and the swatch look like the pattern on the cover.  I priced the yarn for the project and it’s about $15 – $17 a skein depending on which yarn store you purchase from, but considering that I only need two skeins and a small project that it’s not bad and I could splurge little on the mitts.

I also need to keep a track of the projects I want to start, and perhaps I see an organizational scrapbook of the projects to start, in progress, and completed.  I probably need to have two one for knitting and crocheting, and the other for sewing.  I am in the process of purging and cleaning while on vacation, so it’s probably a good time for me to do that project as well.  That’s it for now, practicing, purging, and organizing.

What’s in Store


The other day, I picked the current issue of Sew Simple magazine.  The issue has a cover of a tote bag with a bold fabric pattern, and I decided to make such a bag for myself.  It was not my intention to find the exact fabric, but synchronicitycame into play and much to my surprise I ended up finding that fabric.  I typically do not have the luck of finding any of the fabric or yarn suggested in magazines, and if it does happen it’s too expensive.  Fortunately, in this particular case, the fabric was not that expensive considering I only need a half a yard.  However, as simple as the project is, I made a muslin bag, and discovered a couple of ideas and options.  I am going to use to make a cardboard for the bottom of the bag and use a stabilizer because I want the bag to be little stiffer for durability.   There is also the thought in my mind to use handles or make them from the same fabric than of a contrasting one.  I think bamboo or wool handles would be nice with the bag, and thinking about adding a couple of inches to the bag as well.  Perhaps making a case to place my pens and other nick nacks.

I also purchased the current issue of Crochet Today.  I brought it because of the sweater on the cover and because I wanted to start making more crochet projects in addition to my knitting and sewing.  I love this sweater because the colors are not necessarily what one would think of a fall colors, but it’s a good idea to way fun colors in the fall and winter.  Amazing enough the projects are made from Red Heart yarns. although, I would imagine you could use a substitute yarn if you perfer to use bamboo, wool, or natural yarns just as long as it is the same weight suggested in the instructions.  I would actually wear the sweater and hat together in a different color combination, but like the colors for the hat and sweater.

 

My vacation has arrived and already I am contemplating some projects that would be great do or get started for the season.  As I am writing this blog entry of how it would nice to use the same colors for the hat and sweater, and make a pair of denim trousers or a navy blue jersey knit skirt.  That would great to wear to work or on the weekend meeting friends for brunch.  There are quite a few options to think about.

Counting Down The Days


I am counting down the days until my two-week vacation.  Yes I did have a vacation a few weeks ago, but it was only a week.  However, there is nothing like taking off couple weeks and a only a week does not do anything for me.  I do not have any money to go away anyway, but a stayacation is just as good.  Of course, I have do a major purging of my old magazines.  I have at least six subscriptions and it’s time to let them after reading.  Of course, some dusting and housekeeping chores, but now I have the time to get some knitting and sewing done.  During the summer months, I tend to read novels and it’s time for me begin reading Octavia Bulter’s books.  I typically do not read science fiction, but she was really good writer and it’s important to write a good story no matter the genre.

During my stayacation, I want to go into New York City and visit the museum.  I have not been in a couple of years and it’s a great time to see some exhibits.  While in the city, I will visit the garment district to pick up some fabrics, buttons, and ribbons for a couple of totebag projects.  I also want to start my cardigan sweater project using the pattern from Lionbrand and means purchasing some yarn as well.  No wonder I do not have the money to go away, I spend it on projects

Can One Have Too Many Hobbies?


I just read Adrienne’s blog a little while ago about her latest obsession beading.  Now I have a few hobbies of my own as you may know and probably will pick up a few more as I become proficient in crocheting, knitting, and sewing.  I have been entertaining the idea of candle and soap making, and creating body butters.  Another hobby I am interesting in is card-making.  These ideas has been rattling in my mind for more than year.  Thinking about doing something is a long process for me, and I tend to concentrate on the project I am working on at the time.

While I was writing a comment on Adrienne’s blog, I asked me myself can one have too many hobbies and the short answer to that is no.  However, there are some things I could give up in order to spend time with my hobbies.  I do not have to watch TV, and really spend time for hobbies.  With some organization and prioritizing, I could have time to crochet, knit, sew, make cards, soap and body butters.  Crocheting and knitting are easy as that craft is portable, but making body butters, cards, and soap requires place to create such as a kitchen and office.  

I think have hobbies to quiet my mind because it incessantly turns like a wheel.  Crocheting and knitting become my form of mediation as well as sewing.  There is nothing wrong with hobbies with the exception that one is not working on the hobby and your home ends up looking those homes on Clean House. Hobbies are useful because you have finished project that you can use at the end.  For me, hobbies are more about the process as I figure out a way to do something differently (I do not always follow the directions unless it’s related to chemistry as I do not want to blow anything up, including me).  Sometimes are greatest projects come from us making a mistake.  Having hobbies gives me joy and satisfaction in my sometimes imbalanced life.  Who is proud of being a serial hobbyist?