Jul 27, 2013

How crafting made me.

I've decided to write a condensed version of why and how I started crafting, because I've been thinking about my life lately and honestly, I'd like to move on. Typing things out often make me feel better more than talking things out, plus I think my friends are a bit bored with my complaints anyways. I wish I had some pictures to show for this post, maybe of things I've made in the past, but I live with my dad and my mom was the one who documented things with cameras.

Recently, I got the chance to visit my mom. This is a rare occurrence, and we ended up talking a lot about why I didn't end up living with her after the divorce like we planned. I told her how moving from one school to another, even though the school districts were literally right next to each other, fucked up my education. My first district taught division in 4th grade, the second one taught it in 3rd grade. I learned how to divide in 6th grade. She told me how, at the time, she didn't have a place to stay, and wasn't financially stable. My dad had a job opportunity in Oregon, and took it, and took me with him. I didn't do any school work that year, and yet was moved on to the next grade because it was "understandable" that I didn't do anything.

I managed to graduate high school on time, regardless of the fact that I spent most of my time between 4th and 10th grade not doing any school work. My relationship with my dad bordered on friendship, instead of father and daughter. My stepmom seemed to stop trying to care for me when I stayed holed up in my room for years.

I was always encouraged to draw. My entire family would draw. So, I drew. I still do, but I don't like my particular style of art, and I can't draw realistically. So I don't do that as much. When I lived with my older sister for a while, I got a bracelet made of shoe laces and pop tabs. I started making those out of boredom and even sold them at school. During one spring break, I was taught how to knit by my stepmoms mother. I knit one short scarf and then stopped because I didn't have any more yarn. After a while, I somehow found craft websites, such as craftster.org and cutoutandkeep.net. These inspired me to start reconstructing my clothes. I made a few cute things, but ended up ruining others. Then, I started to get bolder and go to Joannes for fabric. I mostly ruined that too.

Then, I found a website that sold chainmaille rings for cheap. I decided I wanted to try that. I got my dad to order some, and I made some bracelets and a choker. Then I started realizing that I wanted to learn how to make all kinds of things. I threw myself into crafting because I didn't have any friends in my neighborhood to ride bikes with, as I had in the past. I was a loner, because I had a hard time thinking of words to say to people.

I started knitting again. I learned and learned and learned. I didn't have people to help me, I just had the internet. Then I started connecting to people because I would be making something, and they would ask me about it. Or, I would be wearing something I made, and they would compliment me, and all I had to say was "I made it" and it would start a whole conversation.

I don't always make the coolest things, or things that look interesting, or even functioning things, but people loved it all because it was something they couldn't do. They would be amazed at my talents. I had something in me that was worth working on and improving! So, I brought that into the rest of my life and improved that too.

So. that is how I started crafting. I was depressed and alone, and needed something to do. It brought me out of my depression enough to connect to people when they spoke to me. I still have a hard time with thinking positively a lot, but it's better than it was before. I'm really trying to let myself be happy. I can lose myself in crafting and come out with some kind of productive work to show for it. That's better than wallowing about, letting myself get down.

Does anybody have an inspirational story about crafting to share? I'd like to hear it! Hopefully there are some out there that isn't as sad and annoying as mine is.

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Jul 24, 2013

Crafters block.

For the past 2 days, I haven't been doing anything but getting on the computer, reading, eating, and sleeping. See, what happened was, the blanket that I've spent over 20 hours knitting, has a twist in it. The only way to fix this is to unravel 20 HOURS of work and start over. So, I kind of hate crafting right now...

reverse pinwheel blanket
The twist is there on the right... 

So what I'm going to do, is start over, and knit the blanket from the inside out. The amount of stitches I cast on  wasn't going to be big enough for a fully grown man anyways. This way, I can stop knitting when I can tell it'll be big enough. I can only hope I can do this in one month. Which I bet I can, it will just be a month full of agony and "why did I decide to knit BLANKETS?"

I haven't even been working on clay, which, I REALLY need to for my shop. I also REALLY need to buy some boxes and shipping supplies in order to ship things for cheap. I personally hate shipping things because it usually ends up so expensive! So, I've decided to buy the boxes online, for cheap, and not have to pay for boxes at the UPS store, keeping the cost down for both me and my potential buyers. Because seriously, paying $10 for just a cardboard box and then another $20 for shipping is ridiculous. I need tiny boxes, for tiny things. That is all.

I've also decided to do that whole adsense thing on my blog. So, click those ads, please! It nets me some $$. Which we all need, right?

Anyways. I still have the KAL set up, and I've added a link to a regular pinwheel blanket (as opposed to reverse pinwheel blanket) so those of you who want to knit up an awesome blanket, go ahead and join me here.

Hopefully, I'll start working on some other xmas presents, as well as getting my shop set up better than it is now. I've got some sewing to do, and some clay things to work on for xmas. Maybe I'll be able to do some tutorials! Or at least enough pictures to help one figure it out if they want too.

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Jul 19, 2013

Work in Progress

Knitting a blanket is taking me a longer and shorter time than I expected. I'm not sure how to explain myself on that point, but it's the truth.

When I first began, I cast on 450 stitches and it was taking me 40 minutes per round on the garter stitch border. Then I finished the border and started in on the stockinette stitch, I cut that time in half... But it's still taking me 15-20 minutes per round. Which is too be expected!

I think why I feel like it's taking longer is because I haven't been working on it diligently. There's been a couple days where I haven't worked on it at all, and a couple of days like today where I didn't have the time to just sit and work. I haven't even finished one row today!

I started on the 10th, so it's been 9 days. I have until the 28th of August, though!

Here's a progress pic:

Reverse Pinwheel Blanket
About 24 rows in

If you feel like joining my Knit A Long on this blanket, you can here! The pattern is posted there as well. I've got one other person already joining me, it looks like. I have quite a few of these too make, so, it'll be open for a while. Please feel free to post any pictures! I'd love to see your work and variations! 

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Jul 11, 2013

Getting Started on Hell.

I'm not sure why I decide to do things like knit blankets, but I'm still happy that I'm doing it. I've casted on, and I'm on row 7 already, soon I will be done with the garter stitch border and things will go faster, I hope. I seem to have more trouble knitting when the previous row was purling. Has anyone else had this experience?

Reverse Pinwheel Blanket
Row 7 so far

I also would recommend using a longer circular... I believe mine is a 32 inch aaaannd... I hate having to stop every minute or so to move the bunches away from one needle and closer to the next. It is just making it take that much longer, you know? 

Anyways, the pattern says to use size US 6 needles and cast on 450 stitches. I'm not sure how big that blanket turns out, but I'm using US 9 with 450 stitches. This is for my 6 foot tall boyfriend, but it's also for his car so during the winter he won't freeze while working. Unless he gets a new job. Then... I guess he will just have a knit blanket. 

I'm also using one pound(16 oz) of yarn... The pattern didn't specify how big of skeins to use, so I just got a big one. Hopefully, it will only use this one, but I doubt it... 

Anyways, my camera is back! Plus, it's working! Now to never remove the memory card ever again, plus get a years warranty in case it happens again! Now I should be posting somewhat regularly again. 

Oh! Also. I started a Knit-A-Long on Craftster for the above blanket. If you would like to join, please do. I will probably be posting every blanket I make from now until xmas, so it won't be too late to join anytime soon! 

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Jul 7, 2013

Blog Changes

I just looked at my blog a half hour ago and realized that it still reflected my preferred dark background with bright letters. I've heard tell so many times that this is difficult to read for other people, so I took some time and switched up the colors on my blog. I hope the boring white background with black words help! I'd rather my posts be read in enjoyment instead of given up on halfway through because of the way I set it up... Everything else is still colorful and pretty anyways.

I'm hoping later this month I'll be able to get some yarn to start making blankets. My goal is 3 blankets for xmas, possibly 4, since my boyfriend has taken an interest. Then again, maybe I should make him a blanket for his birthday since he wants it for his car for winter.  Leather interior gets hot during the summer, sure, but it also FREEZES during the winter!

I'm sure a lot of people will end up being jealous, but I'm not going to knit blankets for EVERYONE! That's a lot of yarn! Plus, not everyone gives me enough for xmas to warrant a blanket. I'm still a slow knitter! It'll take a while. I'm just hoping my bf's mom won't see his blanket and demand one for xmas. She's already asked for stuff.

See, that's the problem... I have to keep it a secret from almost everyone. Or else they will get all bitchy about what I made them. Then I hate xmas! This is what happens every year. Then I get over it because that is what happens to almost everybody, and we all get over it. Sometimes.

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Jul 6, 2013

It's not too early to be thinking about xmas!

Since I am (1) a crafter and (2) saving more and more money every month, I have to start thinking about what I'm going to do for xmas presents. Like NOW. I'm saving a dollar per number of week in the year, i.e. the 1st week I save 1 dollar, second week I save 2 dollars and so on. Well, this month I'm hitting triple digits. I'll have a lot of money by the end of the year, but at the same time this is all money from donating blood plasma. I'm doing this without a JOB.

If you're confused about the part about me being a crafter, I mean that it's going to take time to MAKE gifts, instead of buying them. Especially since I have just decided to KNIT BLANKETS for several people. Yeah. I'm hoping I might get away with buying yarn from a couple of friends of mine who ended up not using their yarn. Aaaaaand looking out for coupons. Plus, sales. So, there's that to look forward too.

Then again, the blanket I've decided on isn't really anything complicated. It's a reverse pinwheel blanket... I was looking for something that is SUPER easy, but looks really good (No stockinette stitch blankets for me, no, it has to at least look pretty) and the pinwheel blanket fits the bill. I love knitting on circulars, plus the pattern I found on ravelry knits from the outer edge of the blanket in (hence the "reverse"). I'd rather finish on DPNs, not start on them.

My favorite one is this one:

Reverse Pinwheel Blanket
Reverse Pinwheel Blanket

But I'm sure everyone I'm going to make one for will prefer something different. Oh well, I plan on making myself one, eventually!

I also found some other striped blanket I'll probably make for my newest nephew... Just because I feel obligated to make him something, since I DID convince my brother to have a kid. 

Other xmas gifts that aren't as important as my decision to start knitting blankets include a fancy scarf(also knit), a market bag(also knit), soap cozies(also knit), clay things, a pretty wooden box, wine coasters, regular coasters, and some corset bags

Anyone else starting on xmas early? Because we all know I need to! 

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Jul 5, 2013

It was a good 4th

Sorry no posts... I'm just waiting for my camera to come back from the repair center. I'm pretty sure it should have been back by now, but they have my contact information... I don't know whether to expect it to suddenly appear again, or if I'll get a call... I've been checking my email religiously but there's nothing there. It was an expensive camera, so I'm just worried it's going to just disappear.

Anyways! I only have crappy cell phone pictures, but I wanted to share my twice baked potatoes recipe with you. But first, I made a pie for the fourth:

Apple Pie

Now, I only took one picture of the potatoes and that was after I covered them with sour cream, plus it was with my BF's new phone that apparently has THE crappiest camera ever. So, it is with great shame I show you this picture. But here it is. 

Birthday Dinner, Terriyaki Steak, Twice Baked Potatoes
Delicious Dinner

Okay. So. That brown stuff is terriyaki steak, if you want to know. That was my boyfriend contribution to this, his mother's birthday dinner. He did all the work on that, so sorry, but I can't give you the recipe. (He just puts stuff on the steak, grills it, takes it off and cuts it into strips, wraps it up in tinfoil along with a homemade terriyaki sauce and grills it again.) He never uses a set recipe when he makes meat. But he never. Messes. It up. Ever.  

On to the potatoes. We have been craving them for sooooo long. A friend made some twice baked potatoes for a xmas party we went to and ever since then... Omg. 

What you'll need: 

4 Big Baking Potatoes. 
Package of Shredded Cheese. (I used pepper jack)
Green Onion.
1/4 Stick of butter. 

Basically, bake the potatoes, (I did them at 400 for 40 minutes) while you're baking them chop everything up (Cook the bacon first) and mix it all together. Use only half of the cheese in the mixture, you'll put the rest on top. When the potatoes are baked, cut them in half lengthwise and carefully scoop out the innards and mix that in with everything else. Then stuff the skins! Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. The cheese itself lent a very delicious spicy to the potatoes... I buried mine in sour cream because I don't like spicy that much. It was still really good though. Then put them back in the oven for another 15 minutes, or until the cheese melts. 

Also. I like to rub the potatoes in butter and salt before baking. Not too much salt, but then the skins aren't just dry and icky. 

If you ever want to make twice baked potatoes, you can honestly stuff them with anything. Vegetables, sausage, cream cheese. Whatever. You. Want. Which makes these even better! 

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