Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Ok, I was tagged the other day to answer the first ever CGOA meme. So here I go!

1. Begin by including a link to the person who tagged you.
2. Answer the question: Are you crocheting something that you would not be crocheting if you were not a CGOA Member?
Or more broadly this question: "How has your experience of crochet been changed by your CGOA membership?" Give a single one-line answer.
3. For extra credit, end by linking to 3 (or 5, for extra credit) other bloggers among whom you'd like to see squirm publicly with this challenging, yet strangely satisfying essay question.

1. This one is easy - Dee tagged me.

2. This one is also easy - Doris Chan's moebius shawl. I would never have found Doris's patterns if it weren't for the CGOA and my local guild. The second part is a little harder. Not being really active with the CGOA, I have to point again to my experiences with my local guild and say that I have learned so much from the incredibly creative and talented people who attend the meetings. Knowing them and learning from them has improved my crocheting significantly. (OK, that's 2 sentences, but oh well!)

3. This one is almost impossible. The problem is that I know people who belong to CGOA, but I have no idea if they read my blog. So I tag Jen and anyone else who is reading and is a CGOA member!
Just a quick reminder that the contest is still open until Friday night. Answers are starting to come in, but the more the merrier!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Danger of Ravelry...

...or what I did last week while I wasn't blogging. Not blogging freed up quite a bit of my time last week, and yes, I spent more time on Ravelry. I have to admit that at first, I wasn't sure about the forums and groups over there. It was like coming into the middle of hundreds of ongoing conversations, and it took a while for me to sort it all out. I kept feeling like everyone was talking but no one was listening. But last week, I had time to post more, and I discovered that when I post, people would answer back.

However, posting more on Ravelry has a hidden danger, too. I'm still enjoying the Weight Watchers group and the "So much to knit, so little time" group a lot. However, in addition to committing to 3 WIPs at a time, I have also now committed to exercising 3 times a week and losing 10 lbs. before Christmas. I'm not sure my friends and family could get these kinds of commitments out of me, but I have no problem making these promises to complete strangers!

Then, yesterday, I decided to explore the tag cloud. This is an alphabetical listing of all the tags used to describe all the groups on Ravelry. Clicking on any word will bring up a list of groups tagged with that word. Most of the words didn't interest me that much, but I made the mistake of clicking on the word "socks". That's how I found the "2008 sock knit along", which I rather impetuously joined. So I have now apparently committed to making a pair of socks a month for the whole of next year. We are starting with a basic ribbed sock in January, and then we will work up degrees of difficulty from there. It wasn't until much later in the day that it occurred to me that I might have a problem squaring the 3 WIPs at a time rule with a yearlong sock KAL. It may have to become 4 WIPs at a time. But at least it will use up some of my sock yarn stash.

And speaking of my stash, I have to close with a little anecdote. Over the past few weeks, my dh and I were talking about the fact that we need to reroof the house in about 5 years. Our plan is to take out a home equity loan and remodel the kitchen and the master bedroom and bathroom at the same time. He mentioned that he had planned on moving us and our queen sized bed into the guest room (aka the yarn room) during the remodeling but that at the moment that didn't seem like a possibility. (There's barely room to walk in there, the stash has taken over so.) But I assured him that 5 years was plenty of time to take care of the problem. You may have heard of Stalin's famous 5 year plans? Well, this is Priscilla's 5 year plan. I have 5 years to finish all my WIPs and use up my stash so that we can actually use the yarn room as a bedroom again. Think I can stick to a 5-year yarn diet? Yeah, me neither, but at least all these rash promises to strangers on Ravelry might actually help me move in the right direction!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Back to Reality

Well, I'm back from my Thanksgiving blog break. I hope everyone had a great holiday. We had a very nice day with the family on Thursday. Then I had to work on Friday and Saturday, but it was ok - not too busy at the library. I also had a good week on Weight Watchers. I tried to do everything right all week, and I am back to exercising more regularly. It paid off, because I weighed in on Friday morning and I was down 1.2 lbs., even with the holiday! I was very happy with that. Now hopefully I can keep it going until Christmas!

I did not do so well with my crafting, however. I felt rather distracted most of the week by the holiday and the copious amounts of housework I needed to do. However, I had nothing pressing to do yesterday besides laundry, so I sat and worked on my 3 projects all day. (The Torchwood marathon on BBCAmerica kept me company while I crafted!)

I am having a slight problem with my log cabin 'ghan, though. After I have worked on it just a little bit, my hands start to hurt. I've never had this happen before, but I think because I am just doing hdc over and over again, my hands are cramping. So I sat with ice on them for a while last night, and I will see if that helps. Otherwise, I am just going to work on the 'ghan very slowly.

And finally, I had a rather disappointing response to my contest. However, I realize that a lot of people were busy and off line last week, so I have decided to keep the contest open this week as well. I will accept guesses until the end of Friday, November 30th. I will have the link to the info up on my sidebar all week. So what do you have to lose? Send me a guess, and you might win a skein of yarn!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

#100 and The Contest!

Ok, it isn't another pair of mittens. I decided that it would take too long to hit my goal if I tried to knit another pair. And it isn't on my 3 WIPs at a time list (I have so fallen off that bandwagon). However, I give you my 100th item for charity in 2007:
One of my friends at crochet guild is putting together a donation for St. Jude Children's Hospital, and she asked me to make a hat. So I decided to whip one up last night and get to my goal this weekend.

And at last, the contest! It occurred to me that even though I have met my goal for the year, there is still over a month to go and I still have charitable obligations to meet. But how many more charitable items will I be able to make before 2008? I don't know, but I thought I would give you all a chance to guess. Email me your guess at byhookorneedles at yahoo dot com (you know the drill - replace at and dot with the appropriate symbols) by next Sunday evening, Nov. 25th. Please put "contest" in the subject line. I won't read your emails until the end of the year, but I will put all of them in a folder until January 1st. Then I will announce the winner on January 1st or 2nd. If more than one of you guess correctly, I will draw names out of a hat to pick the winner. I will also enter everyone who emails me a guess into a drawing for a second prize.

Ah, yes, the prizes! For the person who makes the correct guess as to how many items I can make for the rest of the year, I will offer to make and donate one item to the charity of your choice in 2008. (Just be aware that if you ask for something big, like a blanket, it will probably take all year to make!) And for the random drawing of all entries, the prize will be this skein of yarn (without the shawl pin - sorry, I don't have time this morning to take another picture):
Hand dyed Icelandic wool. So please spread the word. I would love to have a great response to this contest. And please leave me a comment if you have any questions about the contest.

In order to keep this post at the top of the blog for the week, I am going to take the week off from blogging. I need to get my house ready for Thanksgiving, and I have this crazy idea that I would like to finish my log cabin 'ghan by next weekend. So let me wish everyone a terrific Thanksgiving, and I will be back next week, hopefully with FOs.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


...and counting!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Knit Unto Others 2007

So today is the start of Knit Unto Others. This is a very low key charity along that asks us to knit (or crochet) something for charity during the Thanksgiving holiday. And if you let them know what you've made at the end of the 2 week period, you get put into a drawing for prizes! How great is that?! This year, they are focusing on children's items, and one of their featured charities is the Soaring Eagles Project. I'm pleased they picked that one, because we still need more help to reach our goal of 300 mittens and socks/slippers.

As it turns out, I should have time this weekend for crafting, despite needing to get the house ready for Thanksgiving. (I'm having the family here this year, although there are only 8 of us, so it's not so bad.) I have a 3 1/2 day weekend coming up. I will work next Tuesday and then be off again until Friday. Unfortunately, I am working the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving, but at least I will have some time this weekend. And I intend to spend it working on my new afghan and mittens.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

It Started with the Ripple Along...

...and I thought to myself that I must ripple. Then came the Granny Along, and I thought why not, even though I have yet to truly start a granny square afghan. And now, well let's just say that I fell off the 3 projects at a time bandwagon last night in a big way! Yes, last night I succumbed to Log Cabin Fever!
Between last night and this morning, I finished 2 rounds. The top edge is a little tight, but I will fix that in the next round. I have to say that this is the most addictive afghan yet. Adding each color is endlessly fascinating. I'm using a pattern from Crochet Today, Aug/Sept. 06 issue, but I am using hdc instead of seed st, and I replaced all the greens in the original pattern with blues. I didn't want to spend the time figuring out my own color scheme, though, so I am using the one in the pattern. And instead of the Red Heart Super Saver that the pattern called for, I am using Caron Simply Soft. (I pulled out all of my SS to choose colors last night, and it turns out that I have enough SS to just about fill a queen size bed. I didn't have the courage to actually count the skeins! Sadly, this blanket won't even make a dent in my stash.)

I do have a good reason for starting this afghan and shredding my 3 projects at a time rule. I'm just not at liberty to say what it is yet. And as far as my 3 projects at a time, I have decided that I will work on the log cabin in place of the ripple, and I will continue to work on my scarf and my mittens. I really want to finish this afghan in a timely manner. So it's just a small cheat!

Oh, and I haven't forgotten about that contest I promised. I just need to push if off a couple of days. I'll try to announce it over the weekend.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Doris Chan Visit and Salvation Army Donation

Well, Dee was right - I am going to blog about our visit with Doris Chan yesterday! We had one of the most enjoyable guild meetings of the year yesterday. Doris brought her own crocheted garments (made from patterns in the book) to the meeting because the publisher still has the samples used in Everyday Crochet. She spent time talking about each type of garment in the book, including tank tops, pullovers, cardigans, vests and coats. It was fascinating hearing her discuss how to fit each type of garment to our individual bodies and how to alter each garment by making sleeves and bodies longer or shorter. I now officially want to make every pattern in the book!

Doris also generously allowed us to try on some of her garments. Despite the fact that Doris is 5'2" and thin and I am 5'6" and somewhat more heavily set, shall we say, her Mocha Roca cardigan fit both of us. Her use of shells means her garments have quite a bit of give, and this particular cardigan does not button up the front, which is why it would fit both of us. This was really instructive, because I would have made the size to fit my bust and then would have been unhappy when it was too loose. It's also a great thing to try on a garment and have the designer assess how you look in it. Doris looked at me in the cardigan and said that she wasn't sure that a raglan sleeve would look good on me until she saw me in the sweater. (My shoulders tend to be rounded and a little stooped, which I think is where the comment came from.) But the cardigan looked just fine on me, and it is definitely on my WIM list now.

Of course, the other big part of the meeting was the Salvation Army donation. It did my heart good to see the table piled high with hat, mitten and scarf sets, as well as toys for the toy drive. I arrived at the meeting with 7 sets and one hat finished.
Since I needed something to work on during the meeting, I decided to make a scarf to go with the white hat in the lower right hand corner of the picture. So before I left the meeting, I had an eighth set to donate.
That means that I have now donated 98 items to charity this year. I am going to work very hard over the next few days to make 2 pairs of mittens, bringing me to 100 items for the year. Then, to celebrate, I am contemplating a contest! Stay tuned for details later this week.

Friday, November 09, 2007


Well, I still don't have much to show for myself this week. I am going to spend today finishing up a few more hat and scarf sets for Sunday. I have 2 sets in progress that I should be able to finish today. Then, if I buy a couple of scarves and whip out a couple of hats, I will have 10 sets for Sunday. Then it will be on to mittens.

I am also trying to focus on fewer projects and get them finished. This morning, over on the Ravelry group "So much to knit, so little time", I committed myself to working on just 3 projects at a time. I figured I would post the list here, too, just to reinforce my commitment!

When I started thinking in terms of 3 projects, I knew that I would have to have one crochet project, one knit project, and one charity project going at all times. So, as soon as I finish up the sets for Sunday, here is what I am going to be working on:

1. The crocheted ripple afghan - not a traveling project, but it is time to get it finished so I can snuggle under it this winter! It is about 2/3rds done, so I should have it done fairly soon.
2. The knitted triangular scarf - a great traveling project and probably about half done at this point. I want to finish it so I can wear it this winter.
3. Mittens for the Soaring Eagles project - also a great traveling project.

I don't mean to be obsessive about traveling projects, but between crochet guild, SnB, and doctors visits with my mom, I really do need to have some smaller projects to tote around with me.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A Plea

I'm having one of those weeks. Between the time change, allergies, and hormones, I am tired and not accomplishing much. I still have a few days before my crochet guild meeting on Sunday, however, so hopefully I can squeak out another couple of hats and scarves before then.

In the meantime, since I have no FOs to show off yet, I want to put out another plea for the Soaring Eagles Project. Somehow, there don't seem to be many knitters & crocheters involved this year, and Rachel is really starting to worry that she won't get enough mittens and socks for the children. I won't be able to start mittens in earnest until next week, so realistically, I'm not going to have that many to send her. (And I wanted to send some mittens to Lynne, as well, so I am going to have to knit my fingers to the bone here!) Anyway, if you have any spare time, or spare mittens/socks lying around, please consider contacting Rachel.

I mentioned another charity project in passing last week, but I wanted to give it a proper mention here. The San Diego Wildfire Blanket Project is looking for 8" afghan squares, knitted or crocheted, which will be joined into blankets and given to families who lost their homes in the fire. This is an ongoing project with no deadlines as of yet, which is a good thing because I would like to donate, but I won't have time until the Soaring Eagles project is finished. Having lived in southern California for 16 years, I know how scary wildfires can be out there. My heart goes out to those who lost everything.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Mitten Saga Finished!

It took me until Saturday afternoon last week, but I finally have 2 pairs of mittens that I am completely happy with! I finally feel like I am doing a consistently nice job making and finishing the mittens.

And, as it turned out, it was a good thing the mittens worked out, because I am feeling very frustrated this morning. After yesterday, I find myself wondering just exactly why I enjoy knitting and crocheting so much. Let me explain.

I have joined a new group on Ravelry called "So much to knit, so little time". It's a group for those of us with too many UFOs, and it turns out there are a lot of us with this problem! Anyway, I think the group is helping me to focus more, which is how I got the mittens done.

Since the crochet guild meeting is next Sunday, I decided that this week I would focus on that deadline. I would like to make another 3 hat & scarf sets for our charity donation, and I want to finish another Doris Chan project since she is coming to visit. So yesterday morning, I started to diligently work on the Chrysanthemum Tea Shawl. I got to the end of row 9 and realized that something was very wrong. The row did not work out right at all. I was supposed to have created the base of 12 chrysanthemum leaves, but somehow I had 13. And I have to say that the entire shawl just looked awful. There was plenty of drape but no body to it. I now think that the pattern really does need to be made out of a cotton yarn.

Anyway, since I couldn't figure out where I had made a mistake, the Chrysanthemum Tea Shawl has visited the frog pond and is no more. I will have to come up with another, more suitable, project for the yarn, because it really is lovely. I have another Doris Chan pattern I am working on - the moebius shawl - but I am not at all sure that I can finish that one by Sunday. The problem with the moebius is that it is not fun to crochet. I think I am really going to enjoy wearing it, but I am not enjoying making it.

But I keep reminding myself about the successful mittens, and for the moment, that is making me feel better.