Playing Katsup. Yes, It’s Messy.

I know I’ve been gone for a while thanks to some icky happenings over the summer and a rough start to the school year, but I’m back now, and hopefully better than ever.  I still miss my sweet Bugg, and I still tear up and cry when I unexpectedly come across a picture of her or remember something particularly sweet she used to do.  But the point is, I’m healing, and I’m finding ways to celebrate the joy she brought to my family with her life, rather than mourning her death.  In a (perhaps) misguided attempt to honor Bugg’s memory, I had decided to volunteer at the local Humane Society so I could better help other kitties who didn’t have the loving homes that my sweet girl did.  However, I went to orientation and training, and during the walk-through tour, met two beautiful babies and fell in love.

I ended up going back the next day and adopting them; a pair of sisters and littermates, just over 3-months old.  They are fluffy and fuzzy and cute and playful and so wonderfully different in every way from my Bugg, and yet, in their own way, are such a comfort to us at the same time.  Needless to say, I never did go back to finish my volunteer training.  I figured that if I was going to fall in love with a new baby every time I went to the Humane Society to volunteer, my husband would end up kicking me (and my brood of cats) out of the house.  In an attempt to save him from having to make that terrible choice, I’ve decided not to volunteer at this time, though it is certainly an option that I’m keeping open if there ever comes a time when I won’t be so susceptible to those beautiful, broken hearts.

Stormy and Tempest 9 1 13

This is Stormy and Tempest on the first day we brought them home, curled up together and crammed into the tiniest space they could findHere they are on their second day home, looking a little more relaxedHere they are on their second day home, looking a little more relaxedTempest 9 23 2013         Tempest, laying on my lap during her first week home. (Notice the shaved belly from her surgery?)Stormy 9 23 2013Stormy, making the cat condo her ownStormy and Tempst, hogging the blanket on my bed       Stormy and Tempest, hogging the blanket on my bed

Then, I went back to work in the middle of August, only to find that my dear friend and co-worker, Kathy, has had a relapse of cancer and has decided not to come back to work.  She’s planning on rolling her Long-Term Disability leave directly into her retirement; which, I mean, good for her, since she needs to rest and heal… but yuck for those of us who have been left behind at work.  We’ve had to deal with a whole slew of substitute teachers while she’s away, including a long-term sub who – for reasons unknown – doesn’t seem to like myself or the other lady in my classroom.  It has been an uphill battle since this long-term sub came to work with us, and while I won’t be so obnoxious to say that it’s all her fault, I will say that she definitely wasn’t open to compromise.  She wants everything her way, right now, and we aren’t allowed to explain how we’ve done things for the last 15 years, or to offer any suggestions or advice, because, according to her, ‘this is her classroom now and things change so we’d better get used to it.’

ANYWAY; sorry for the rant.

To add to the mess, somewhere in there my great-aunt passed away, my sister-in-law had spinal surgery, and my dad was in the hospital, 72 hours away from death, and had to have 8 inches of his colon removed.  Oh, and I turned 32, my son turned 14, my husband turned 43, and we had a couple of holidays in there, too.  If all of that isn’t a good enough excuse for my prolonged absence, well then…. pffft to you, I say!

And yet, somehow, I’ve managed to find a way to crochet.  A LOT.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get pictures of everything I made, as several things were Christmas gifts and I was rather rushed there toward the end, due to everything that was going on all at once.

First off, I finished the circle shawl for my mom:

6 14 13

Then I experimented with a purse (that got relegated to the back of my closet) and a change purse (that I use on a daily basis):

8 3 2013 001

It’s certainly cute, but not really practical for day-to-day

8 3 2013 002

The coin purse is actually quite large, but it’s cute, and I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on it

And then I made a LOT of bookmarks:

8 3 2013 003

8 5 13 010

8 5 13 012

8 5 13 011

8 5 13 009

And then I made a black lace shrug:

I didn't use a pattern with this, aside from the motif patterns that I used from MyPicot.com.  Also, I later added a silver button in the shape of a sun to help hold the front closed

I didn’t use a pattern with this, aside from the motif patterns that I used from MyPicot.com. Also, I later added a silver button in the shape of a sun to help hold the front closed

After that I made a lot of things for Christmas gifts, including several orders that had been placed for my Cloche-Inspired Slouchy Beanie hat that I had to finish so other people could give them as gifts.  I also made several different types of doilies to give to some of my family members, but, alas, didn’t take pictures of them.

Recently, I’ve been making a lot of jewelery, and as I’ve recently discovered that I can crochet with jewelry wire, I’ve been doing a LOT of experimenting with wire-and-bead necklaces.

A 3-strand tiered, stone necklace

A 3-strand tiered, stone necklaceBlack Braided NecklaceBlack Braided Necklace3-strand tiered necklace                      3-strand tiered necklaceMy first attempt at a bead braided wire necklaceMy first attempt at a bead braided wire necklaceMy second attempt at a braided wire necklaceMy second attempt at a braided wire necklace

 

And somewhere along the way, I decided to chop off 11 inches of hair and donate it to Locks of Love:

Final

 

And my daughter asked me to dress her up and do her hair for her first Junior High dance at school (insert proud mommy moment):

It absolutely kills me how grown up she is!

It absolutely kills me how grown up she is!

Aaaaand…. that’s about it from me.  I’m in the process of trying to open an Etsy shop, but I’ve no idea if it’ll ever actually happen or not.  Stay tuned to find out!  And to those of you who are still hanging in there with me, thank you SO much for being so patient with my long absence while I sorted things out in my personal life.  You’ll never know how much your support has meant to me these last few months.  As this is my last post of 2013, I would like to conclude by wishing you all the very best, brightest, and happiest of years in 2014.  You are all amazing and wonderful people, and even if I don’t know you personally, and I’m not fortunate enough to call you a ‘real life’ friend, please know that you are valued, and some crazy lady in a desert state thinks the world of your kindness.

Be well, my friends, and Happy New Year.

 

Cardigan Hijinks

I finally finished that cardigan I’ve been working on for the past few weeks, and was super excited to try it on.  Imagine my rather immense disappointment, then, when I realized that it was far too small for me.  Admittedly, this is (probably) my own fault, as I used a linen based crochet thread instead of the yarn that the pattern called for.  In my defense, I live in the desert and didn’t want anything bulky and hot, but rather something light and airy that could be worn over a tank top and still keep me relatively cool.  Live and learn, I suppose; I’ll just have to increase the pattern size next time.  And there WILL be a next time.  I am determined to make myself a cardigan, come hell or high water!

 

Well, luckily for me, I have a daughter who happens to fit this particular ‘oops’ perfectly.  Yes, she fits it, rather than it fitting her.  That’s just the way we roll around here.

 

3 27 13 001 3 27 13 002

 

Despite my size screw-up, I still think it came out okay.  Especially given that this is my first attempt ever at an actual garment like this.  Thoughts?  Suggestions?

Crocheting Woes; Take 2 (w/ pictures)

So, this is a continuation of my previous post, a shot of my current WIP, and a plea for help, all rolled into one.  See how I multitask?

 

HOkay.  So.  Here is my current WIP the way it looked last night, before I realized that I had completely messed it up.

3 23 13 002

(Please to be ignoring the mess around the… well… other mess.  The big green and white thing is what I’m trying to show, here.)

So, per the pattern, I sewed the side seams together (or so I thought), added the three rows of single crochet all the way around the bottom of the piece and back up the sides of both front pieces, then started on the 20 rows of shells for the ‘skirt’ of the cardigan.  What you see there is about 11 rows in to the skirt.  Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, and no, I have no idea where my brain was while I was putting that together.  It looks more like a blanket than a cardigan, right?

 

So then I went back and Google’d the heckfire out of “Sally’s Best Friend Cardigan” in hopes of finding someone who had made this garment successfully and – hope of all hopes – had posted pictures.  I found this wonderful post and about cried with gratitude.  I magnified the beejebus out of her pictures and used them as a guide, basically, to figure out what I had done wrong.  (It also helps that I went back and reread the pattern, and discovered one sentence that I had somehow managed to completely overlook during my initial reading.  D’oh.)

 

Being of a perpetually perky nature and also being an individual who is notoriously difficult to discourage, I ripped out just about everything I’d done over the last week or so (11 rows of shell stitching, 3 rows of single crochet, and the sewn in side seams) and started over again.  I haven’t got very far on it yet, but here’s what I do have so far:

3 23 13 001

 

Again, please to be ignoring the mess around the green and white mess, thank you.  I’m still not sure that looks like a cardigan, but to be fair to myself, I’m not finished with it yet, either.  That’s only the side seams sewn back in (in the right place this time, I hope), the three rows of single crochet along the bottom, and a single row of shell stitching.  I’m not entirely sure that it will look like a cardigan once I do finish it, so this is where the plea for help comes in.

 

If any of you have any experience with this pattern – “Sally’s Best Friend Cardigan” by Jenny King – pleasepleaseplease tell me if I’m at least on the right track here.

Crocheting Woes

I hate – UTTERLY hate – when I get about 75% of a project done and realize I’ve done it all wrong.  This is what happened to me last night.  I’ve been working on a cardigan for the better part of two weeks – Sally’s Best Friend Cardigan by Jenny King, a free Ravelry download located here – and thought I was doing all right.  I’ve never put together something so big before, and had absolutely NO IDEA what I was doing.  The pattern itself was originally published wrong, so not only is the pattern rife with corrections that have to be interpreted, but there aren’t many pictures to go along with it to compare your own work to.  So, there I was, bebopping along and hoping I was doing it right, when I actually put my work down to look at it.  Not only was the entire bottom skirt of the cardigan wrong, but I had sewn the two side panels to the front incorrectly.  Basically, I ripped it all out and had to start over again from the point of attaching the two front panels to the back piece.

Hopefully I’ve got it sorted out now and won’t be having any more issues with it, but I suppose I’ll have to wait until I’ve finished it to see how it turns out.  I have a sneaking suspicion that I’ve done something else wrong, because the shoulders don’t line up, and when it’s time to sew them together, the seam looks like it’s going to end up on the front of the garment, rather than on top of the shoulders.  Oh, I’m so confused.

Maybe another bottle of Smirnoff will make this easier.