Yarn Failure – DOH

Sometimes I wonder about myself. Other times I laugh about myself. Today I am laughing. You may recall that I am making an afghan that looks kind of like a quilt with a heart in it for Kathleen. When the yarn arrived, I realized that the cream color for the heart was not in the order. Well, I figured, I’ll order it and by the time I get to the heart, the yarn will be here.

Time marched on. In the meantime I got halfway through the squares for the macho camo toddler blanket I’m making for Kathleen’s grandson for Christmas. It looks like that one will be done in time at the rate I’m going!

Stack o’ camo squares

I began to be annoyed at how long that cream-colored yarn was taking to get here. I got ready to give those people at Knitpicks a piece of my mind! What slow shipping! Grr!

I headed on over to the website to check on my order, in quite a huff. Um. There was my order, just sitting there. I remembered I’d also wanted to get a collection of striped yarns to make something for the tack room. They were there, too. Someone had not clicked the “order” button. I was that someone.

That certainly explained why the yarn had not arrived. I placed the order like the competent adult I often believe myself to be. And lo and behold. The yarn took less than a week to show up. I think I will buy that yarn winder that’s on sale to make amends (since I haven’t found the missing part of my old one).

Here it is, plus a preview of the next project in line, which may be knitted or crocheted.

I was so happy to see the yarn that I started singing, “Yarn, glorious yarn!” to the amusement of the entire family.

In other senior moments, I did start work on the heart afghan again last night. I decided to work on it when I could concentrate and keep the camo blanket for long meetings and when I chat with friends on Zoom. It took less than a day to get frustrated by leaving the crochet hook where I last worked and having to fetch it.

Ta da. Note the cute little hermit salt and pepper shakers. Great gift!

At around 9:30 pm last night it dawned on me that I own more than one size G 4.0mm crochet hook. I’d bought two sets recently just for this kind of situation. All right, then, I’m set. Let the festival of squares continue!

This is just one side of the afghan, but shows I got the heart started. So far, it does not look like a heart, according to my husband.

Maybe I need to take some of Lee’s memory pills.

Old Friends Return

Some of my things from Austin I don’t miss at all, while others have left a bit of a hole in my heart. Today some of my favorite things returned and it feels good.

My petit point flowers from 1993

I had most of my needlepoint wall hangings at the Bobcat house. This one was in my bedroom (as were the other old friends). I made it in 1993 when Declan was a baby. Today he brought it back to me.

It’s so pretty

The six-sided frame was made by my ex and his friend. They worked so hard in the garage of our sweet house in Champaign, Illinois, ciphering the angles, cutting the wood, and staining the frame. This may be the only thing he ever made for me, so I’ll treasure it always.

These two pictures I made after Anita got here, I think when we were in the casita. I made them for the Bobcat house, though. They were in my bedroom. The fun donkey has a yellow background to go with my old bedroom, which no doubt is white now! I really enjoyed making these, and I’m glad I’ll get to look at them every time I go upstairs from now on. Lee was very kind to hang them so quickly!

What’s this?

My knitting friends know that these two old friends are among my favorite things, and I’ve missed them! It’s an umbrella swift and ball winder that take loose hanks of yarn and turns them into pull-skeins, which we like to call “yarn cakes.”

Finished products.

You may recall that the yarn for the macho granny square project came in hanks. I wound the first two by hand, which my watch thought was an elliptical machine workout.

Before. These are hanks of yarn. Fancy yarn comes in hanks that you must wind yourself.

I mentioned that somewhere in the stuff from Austin were these useful items, but they were hard to find, since the boxes weren’t organized. Well, by gosh, they’re organized now and my equipment and art showed up! It’s going to make finding things for the pool house and another project that’s coming up a lot easier! Maybe I’ll find some old kitchen friends!

Squares in progress. This will be cute!

Meanwhile, we’ve been getting some pretty good rain. There is even some water in the front pond again, which means there’s been runoff. If the predictions are right, we’ll be back to green grass and full ponds next week.

Not impressed? Well there was just the barrel last week.

Or, knowing central Texas weather, it will flood soon. Our old friends, the floods. Better than droughts and fires!

It’s so nice to sit outside.

Off to start a fun weekend. Wow. I am becoming a little more social!

It’s a Ruana. A Giant Square.

I finished this project. It’s so ridiculous it’s cute. Random yarns that are no longer available to buy, and much patience. It’s Augustina from a Noro magazine. You, too, could buy a kit.

Mine is big. It’s ok. It’s soft and warm and I’ll enjoy it around the house this winter. The colors look great! Bonus surprise.

Note I’m missing a foot but another one showed up to make up for it.

Lee made fancy photos for me. I like that I’m wearing shorts and the dogs are inspecting it. enjoy my garment. I un-cropped the pictures do my head would not be cut off.

Oh yes. Yarn for the project after my blanket for Kathleen arrived! It’s for a very macho toddler. Camo and swampy green. Gonna be CUTE.

The green yarn is very interesting. Can’t wait to use it.

Handy Crafting

I’ve been steaming away on my latest project, which is a crocheted ruana called Augustina. I used a bunch of leftover yarn from other projects (mostly that Lion Brand Mandala, but with a couple of other “el cheapo” Red Heart yarns along for the ride), along with one new colorway of Mandala that I bought to be sure I’d have enough to finish. Last night I finished the last triangle (it’s a big square with three full and two half triangles, which create the opening).

All my triangles and the inspiration image, which would have cost about $400 to make, so I didn’t use that yarn.

Last night, I spent some time looking at different ways to join crocheted pieces, since I wanted to try something new. They certainly could not stay like this forever!

You can sorta get the idea of how it’s constructed. I am also really impressed with how okay all my random colors from unrelated yarns look together.

At last I decided to try a zigzag slip stitch join for the squares. I even endured a video with sappy music playing over it to be sure I understood the technique. That’s dedication from this gal who hates to learn from videos (I just MAKE educational videos, not USE them). I think it comes out interesting and I’m happy at how flat the join is.

It looks like a braid and seems quite decorative.

Then, I looked on the other side of the first triangles I sewed together. Well, huh, that looks pretty good, too. As long as I use that shade of yarn, it’s almost invisible.

Not bad at all. I guess the ruana will be reversible.

Now, the colors didn’t work out quite right, so one half triangle ended in the gold color, but I think it will still look fine as long as I don’t run out of that tan color, which I’m pretty sure I won’t. Once the seaming is done, the ruana gets a double crochet edging all around, and then it will be ready for any hippy-dippy outing I care to take it on. I swear it looks just like the vests my grandmother crocheted for me in the 60s. I could probably still wear the turquoise and purple poncho she made me back then. (Yes, she DID make me stuff.)

Anyway, I’m ready for my next project! And what do you know, the yarn for it arrived today in a giant box. I’m making a blanket for Kathleen out of these lovely colors, which she selected and surprised me with.

The colors!!

Now, my job will be to put all these colors together and surprise her back. The blanket (shown below) will have a cream center rather than white and use these purples and pinks. I can’t wait to get going on yet another crochet project, one that takes me back to my granny square roots! Yes, my first childhood project in crochet was a granny square afghan in many bright colors with black borders. I still have it stored in my blanket box.

I will have one more crocheted item to make before going back to knitting. That yarn may be here tomorrow. I’m so glad that stress makes me crochet fast, because I’m just churning stuff out!

Why Acrylic and Superwash Wool are My New Friends

Those of you who know I love to knit and crochet may be scratching your heads and wondering what in earth has happened to their Suna. It’s true. Suna loves natural fibers like wool, silk, mohair, alpaca, linen…mmm. She loves to touch the soft or scrunchy loveliness of natural fibers. Mmmm.

Natural fiber wonderland

Kendall Sue, however, knows the value of quality acrylic or Superwash wool that’s been treated so it can be machine washed. For one thing, it’s machine washable. Baby items and things made for non-crafters hold up way better when made from sturdy, colorful acrylics. Kendall Sue is practical.

Current project made from a variety of unnatural fibers, but still nice looking enough.

Wool is Suna’s (my) favorite to knit with. But I’ve known the heartbreak of moths in Texas so much that I no longer have the heart to make socks. All my socks have holes now. I’ve also known the heartbreak of having your wool handknits accidentally put in the regular washing and drying cycles. Felt is great when done on purpose, but…

Fancy ass knitted item on couch with dog-proof covering.

Sometimes your fancy ass knitted item is needed. Last winter, it got really cold and we lost power. I happily lent a blanket I was almost finished with to a family member who was cold. Now, this item was knit from a Noro yarn from Japan. Lots of it. A few hundred dollars worth. Because I’m worth it, ha ha.

I forgot it was there, and thought I’d folded it up in my cedar closet. Nope. I think Vlassic was sleeping on it. And then it got washed, I’m sure by a very well meaning caregiver or something like that. There was no label saying “Fancy Blanket – cold wash and lay flat to dry” on it, after all.

Hmm

The good news is that the yarn is a blend, so there’s silk and cotton in it. So the blanket just got somewhat smaller, stiffer, and fuzzier. It’s still pretty. I can’t finish it, since the original yarn doesn’t go with it. I’ll just say the missing squares are on purpose. And I’ll remember to keep precious stuff up in my closet. Lesson learned!*

Fewer than 30 seconds after I put the blanket on the couch. This is why I need to stop making fancy ass items.

And I’ll channel Kendall Sue, my practical alter ego and make my next things washable. Luckily, Kathleen ordered the yarn already and it’s Kendall Sue approved.


I’m not mad. Just shaking my head that I didn’t think to retrieve the blanket. It was my error! All is well in the world.

Um. Let’s Crochet Stuff

Home life has me so upset and sad that I don’t want to talk about it. So, hey, I finished my giant ripple blanket made of leftover Mandala yarn. Yay.

It’s big. It’s random.

I enjoyed this humongous project so much. It kept me company driving to and from California and was just plain restful and fun. Literally all I did was alternate among three varieties of Mandala tarn (cheap).

It looks like a Missoni print.

As I worked on it Lee fell in love. He asked if he could use it as his winter blanket on his “bed” (a recliner next to our actual bed). I said that was fine. I can make something else for the tack room!

It’s long.

Because he wants it to tuck under his feet, I made it extra long. It was already wider than a normal afghan, so he liked that. I enjoyed the project, so it was fine to keep going. After I was done, I put a single crochet border around it, and all was well. I think Lee likes it.

My precious spouse.

I have a project lined up for Kathleen, but I’m waiting on the yarn she chose to arrive. So I’m making a really fun ruana kind of thing I saw on a Noro magazine. I’m using some cheap stuff that’s lying around, but maybe I’ll make another one in the right yarn later.

It’s this, only with the wrong yarn.

The yarn I’m using is Tex Heart Unforgettable. I have no idea why I bought it. But I’m gonna make some triangles! It’s fun and takes my mind off Kathleen going back to the hospital.

Similar colors.

Hug your loved ones and friends.

Baby Blanket Bonanza

Yeppers, I’m making more baby blankets. It’s rewarding to me. And relaxing. I found some fun yarn to use for the next two. It has both long color changes and sequins! Woo.

Mándala sequins yarn

The yarn is weird in that it doesn’t stay wound up very well. The sequins are in the yarn, though, so they will stick. I got three colors, even though I only have two blankets to make. I’ll find something else to do!

Really pretty color

My first recipient wanted a ripple blanket, so I looked around for patterns. I didn’t find one I really liked that was knitted, so I added yarnovers to one that looked good.

My pattern.

I like how the thinner yarn makes the blanket delicate and good for a baby, even though it’s a boy. It’s a fun pattern that’s pretty traditional.

Close up.

I’ve managed to make a few mistakes in the easy pattern, and I had to rip out a few rows twice! You do need to pay attention when you are counting to 4, I guess.

This is closer to the real color.

It’s nice to just do something for someone else and put in some love. Kindness, giving, and stress relief all bundled together.

The third color.

Let’s all find ways to heal our souls and share love with others.

Craft Therapy

Since ye olde pandemic set in, I’ve noticed many of my previously non-crafty friends jumping into the “craft therapy” club. I don’t blame them one bit, because there are so many reasons engaging in crafts can be soothing. I found myself so out of sorts during the Snowpocalypse and my last week at work, that I took to coloring in an adult coloring book.

The paper bent a bit, but it looks good flat. This reminds me of myself as a teen.

It felt good to just randomly pick shiny colors and fill them in. It took enough mental space to clear my mind of my surroundings, but didn’t give me a headache from thinking.

I had a sort of bad pen for the background, but I am coming to like the texture.

I’ve seen lots of pictures of things people colored on paper or on their computers, and they are always cheery. Friends with art talent are painting more, too. I’m told it’s great fun. Kathleen had made some of those things with beads, but I haven’t seen any. I’m told it’s the same kind of “just enough thinking” project.

The need to create beautiful things and concentrate on something other than the news is why I came back to knitting, too. I’m not alone, either. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see my friends taking up knitting or crochet and having fun. I was very disappointed when my friend Melanie, who gave us our late dog Brody, had someone pick on her for being a “granny” because she took up knitting. No, she’s a granny because her child had a baby, sheesh.

ANNOUNCEMENT:
Knitting is popular with young people, old people, men, women, gay, and straight. So is crochet.
Thank you.

I’m happy to report that the table runner for Lee has grown by another pattern repeat. It may get finished soon! Then I just have to finish the border on the shawl project. Oh, no, will I be out of projects?

It needs to be 50 inches before I start the border. I’ve got a bit more than a foot to go.

First of all, it is hilarious of me to ask that question, knowing how much yarn and how many pattern books I own. Still, I do have a birthday coming up…

So, I admit I followed an ad and bought a pattern for a lovely project ($5).

It is just what I need for sitting in my cold Cameron office, if I ever get to go back.

So, then I had to find yarn to make it. Luckily, the local yarn shop that I like to support, Hill Country Weavers, had the yarn, three different shades of this stuff, though not the ones in the picture (naturally).

While I was there, I browsed around and bought some more Noro knitting magazines, because I just love looking at things made with that brand of yarn. Then I found a slightly more difficult project to make that I ALSO want to try, so I got yarn for it, too. I detect a pattern in my choices. I like self-striping yarn!

This has entrelac, which I love, plus simple lace. Fun times. I picked a color with no purple in it. I have too many purple shawls.

So, that takes care of my birthday gift from Lee! I get exactly what I want!

Maybe later in the year I will make something in a solid color. We’ll see. I think bright colors are therapeutic for me.

So, have you taken up a new craft or other project to keep you a little calmer and help you feel productive?

Griping about the US Mail

I’m hearing a lot of complaints about the service people have been receiving from the US Postal Service. Now, of course, some of it is related to the weather issues of last week, when people where I live didn’t get any mail at all for a week or so. The weather is a good excuse, but doesn’t cover issues people are having elsewhere.

Carlton thins this new yarn smells amazing, since it went all over the country before it got here.

My example isn’t of anything critical, except to me. I ordered the yarn to finish out the table runner I’m making for Lee on February 3. I got the notice it had shipped on February 7. When did it arrive, you ask? February 25! That’s almost three weeks. Usually things take 3-5 days…well, up until recently anyway. Since the end of last year, when the election thing happened and the higher-ups at the USPS started cutting services, it’s been hard to get mail.

Look up at the top, February 7. It really takes that long to get from Massachusetts to Texas? Did they use a mule train? If so, I’d like to go see the mules.

I’ve had more than one thing simply not show up at all. An order of Christmas stuff from Doterra came mid January, which did not help with gift giving. But that’s nothing. One of my friends has had very expensive medicine delayed. She was okay, but there are others, like diabetics, who’ve had crises due to medicine being delayed.

Our horse supplements were also delayed, which wasn’t funny, even though they aren’t technically “medicine.” I’m still waiting for my turmeric tablets to show up.

Lee reports some of our clients haven’t received their bills in a timely fashion, too. That means money is not coming in. How many other small businesses that rely on the mail for billing have been adversely affected by the mail slowdown? This article shares some other consequences.

We need to be able to rely on postal mail, even if many of us pay our bills and do other transactions online. You need to be able to order something and have a vague idea of when it will show up.

I just want to share how pretty my horse is…again. He looks extra Arabian in this photo.

It’s been pointed out to me that, back in the not-so-distant past we were used to waiting 3-5 weeks for packages, and that’s true. But, back them most people paid their bills by mail, and if you gave it a week or so, you’d be sure your payment arrived on time. And if you bill for services, you’d know that if you mailed the bill at a certain time of the month, recipients would have plenty of time to get the payment back to you on time.

That’s no longer true, and it concerns me greatly. I’m not alone, as the delays are annoying lawmakers as well.

Anyone have any insight or stories to share?

Book Report: The Fabric of Civilization

Rating: 5 out of 5.

How appropriate that I finished this book just as civilization began to unravel where I live. But, here’s a nice post about nothing scary. It’s about The Fabric of Civilization, by Virginia Postrel (2020). From the five stars in my rating, you may infer that I enjoyed this book. Whew, I sure did.

This was one fascinating book. Postrel sure did her job by showing that a topic people might thing was boring and insignificant, cloth, is actually critical to the development of much of human culture and civilization. The best news is that this one’s written in an interesting and fun style that makes you want it to go on and on and on.

One of the best points Postrel makes is that, while we go on and on about wearing natural fibers, none of the fibers we wear is in the natural state for the plant or animal from which it comes. Wild cotton is almost all seeds. Today’s cultivated and carefully hybridized silkworms would not last long at all out in the natural mulberry groves, wherever those are. Wild sheep are brown and shed their wool (thank goodness, since there’s no one out there on a mountainside to shear wild sheep).

As Postrel goes through the chapters, each of which is a self-contained unit you could read by itself, you learn how fabric contributed to civilization way more than just by covering people up. It was one of the earliest forms of money. Trading it led to the development of bookkeeping and checking. Figuring out new ways to create fiber has led to all sorts of scientific discoveries, from way back when people were trying to figure out how to dye fabric (I can’t get away from that topic) up to today, when they are trying to make clothing with batteries and computer chips in them that’s comfortable (comfort is the hard part).

One thing I wish is that the folks at Basic Books had budgeted for some color photographs. In a book that talks so much about weaving gold fabric and other shiny things, it sure would be nice to be able to see them in detail. The black-and-white images aren’t clear at all.

I should also warn you that it really helps to have some basic understanding of weaving, knitting, and looms to get the most out of the chapter on cloth. Thankfully, Postrel does include a glossary in the book (Judith Flanders, the author A Place for Everything, would appreciate that alphabetized learning aid). Plus, with 30 pages of end notes, you can rest assured research was involved in this.

One thing’s for sure, I will never take the clothing on my back, the upholstery on my chair, or any piece of fabric I come across for granted. Knowing me, I’ll analyze whether it’s woven or knitted (more likely knitted, since the vast majority of our clothing to day comes off knitting machines, not looms) and what the yarn or thread is made of. Then I’ll wonder how it was dyed…yep, even with all my years of working with fiber, I learned a lot from The Fabric of Civilization, and it’s sticking with me!

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