Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Happy

So far I've crocheted 31 granny squares since last Thursday or Friday. I can't remember the exact day I started this afghan. Below are my six favorite blocks of the 31:

Here is a Rainbow square. I was listening to Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol while working on this(and trying not to stick a fork in my eye from the awfulness of the story) and decided that since I'm from a Masonic family(and no my view of awful has nothing to do with me thinking Dan Brown did anything horrible to the Masons with this tale, other than not writing a better story.) and I was a Rainbow Girl(it's the teenage girl version of being a Mason) so I thought in honor of what I was listening to and praying for all the characters to die so the story could just end, I would stitch a rainbow block. I like it so much I might have to crochet a few more.

These are blocks that aren't bad but aren't necessarily great:

And these below are just WRONG:

The dark red doesn't work in any way and the dark hunter green is a bit too much.
I'm crocheting this from stash yarn. My 18 yr old wants to paint his room and yellow and orange are colors he wants to use so I'm using them in each block. I like the royal blue edging better than black, I think it makes it a little more happy. I've only purchased one skein of yarn and that was an extra of the royal blue because I thought I might need it but now I'm thinking I didn't need to buy it at all. I'm resisting the urge to rush out and buy all new yarn because 1) it's not in the budget and 2) this is for an 18 yr old who will hopefully want to take it with him when he leaves home and I'm reasonably sure he would never handwash anything or even think to ask about something like that. Acrylic is the way to go. Maybe one day I'll make him an afghan out of better stuff but for now this will work just fine. Red Heart softens up a lot after a few washings. And 3) did I mention this is all yarn from the stash? Except for that one purchased skein of royal blue, of course. How scary is that? I had this much Red Heart yarn in a Rubbermaid bucket in the garage. When this is done I am planning to start an afghan for the 21 yr old. I may or may not have to buy some more yarn since his colors are blue, green and yellow. He wants the green to be the main color. Then the youngest wants blue, green and white. I'm trying hard not to purchase any yarn unless necessary because I'd love to crochet up all this Red Heart and kiss it good bye, not that I have any problem with Red Heart, it's just I've been acquiring Knit Pick's worsted here and there to eventually make a granny square afghan and ripple afghan, not to mention a log cabin afghan(knitted) and a Babette( babette - Flickr: Search) for myself(I know how to hand wash a blanket) but I do worry about that whole moth thing. If you have a wool blanket laying around on the couch or the bed and there are moths(this is Florida and I love leaving the doors and windows open when I can and those little boogers get in the house) will the moths just chow down on the blanket while it's on the back of the couch? I'm just thinking wool might not be the way to go and maybe there is something to be said for a good old acrylic blend.
Is it obvious that I grew up in a mostly synthetic household? My mother would throw a fit if I bought anything that had to be handwashed or drycleaned or ironed. Everything in our house was moth proof trust me.

Here they are, 31 going on 80(see above). Keep your fingers crossed I keep up my momentum and keep cranking out at least a five a day. I've been stitching a bit today on Simply Live. I want to get that finished so I can start Lisa's Near Halloween. And speaking of Primitive Needle--any recommendations for fabric if Lakeside Linen's 40ct Vintage Pear isn't readily available? Right now I'm thinking WDWs Dill would work. I open to any an all suggestions.

Monday, September 28, 2009


This weekend I started a new project. My 18 year old decided he wanted to paint his room sometime in the near future so I decided to start crocheting him an afghan. I used 80% stash yarn which means it's good old ghetto Red Heart. This afghan should be around when his great-great-great grandchildren are dying of old age. I would have loved crocheting it in some nicer yarn but stash busting is good and as I mentioned this is for an 18 yr old who will hopefully, eventually move out and take this afghan with him. That means he would never bother to wash it by hand so acrylic is a good choice and it's durable. Here is the current state of the ort jar, way more yarn than floss. I made 26 squares this weekend.
In between the crocheting of many granny squares I worked here and there on Primitive Needle's Simply Live. The saying "it takes a village" takes on new meaning with this project. I'm using a "village" of threads. A little GAST, a little WDW, some DMC, and a Crescent Colour or two. In my best Tim Gunn voice "I'm making it work". I'm still undecided about the DMC Blue for the words. There's a bit too much purple in there, normally I wouldn't say that but maybe when it's completed and I'm looking at it from a distant I'll be happier with the result. When I step back from it I like the overall appearance but up close, in my lap, it just looks too purpleyblue. This is the price one pays for being too cheap to invest in a new line of thread and making up one's own conversion from what's just laying around the house.

And as proof of granny crafting:

Stack de granny, granny on the edge.....
Now I need some help from my blog readers. I started this blog in 2003 I believe. I deleted some of my earlier archives because they were journal entries that no one needed to read, not because there was anything bad or too personal just who wants to read all that crap?
I originally started this blog as a reason to write everyday. It eventually developed into something a bit different. I want to get back into the habit of writing everyday but I don't always have anything of a crafty nature to show. I don't always have anything of a crafty nature to write about so here's what I'd like you to do. In the comments suggest topics you'd like to read about, it can be on anything but my sex life, but I'd be happy to attempt some bodice ripping fantasies if that's what you'd like. I need to start writing everyday and this blog was great writing practice for me back in the early days. You guys throw out the topics, I'll write about them off the top of my head, yes Anna that means I probably won't edit them before hitting publish so there could be some rambling but there might be some interesting stuff in there as well.
Are you all up to the challenge? I need to write, I need to reclaim that part of my life and since you all come here and read it only seems fair to let you all pick some of the material.

Monday, September 14, 2009

24....but 25 is What I'm Looking Forward To....

Twenty-four years ago we took the vows. Amazingly enough we are still married, still like each other, and absolutely still to this day do not have many things in common. Strange huh?

The spousal unit is a football fanatic. If we lived in Oakland, CA he would be a facepainter and at every Raiders home game. The fact that we can't afford to live in No Cal is probably what has helped this marriage survive 24 years because I'm a bit insane but I'm pretty sure I do not have the strength to live with a face painter, it's difficult enough to survive those 16 weeks of football season--because the Raiders are bad asses and all but they, well, they break his heart every single year. But the man is not a quitter. He's also a Cubs fan. Yeah, his extracurricular sports life is kind of sad, but again he's not a quitter. I know that it's his strength of character and loyalty that has gotten us through all these years, because look, I'm a Cub's fan too, our oldest son is named after Ryne Sandberg, but every year, baseball season starts, he's full of so much hope, I'm all, the Cubs, they just break your heart, but he has hope. And that is why we are still married. He is definitely a lemonade kind of guy and I'm so 100% the lemon girl.

He has stood by me in some of the darkest days of my life. He's never expected me to be anyone but exactly who I am and he's done everything in his power to help me make dreams come true. He's never once laughed at me when I've said I want to do this or that. He knew I always wanted to live near the beach so he applied for a job down here and now here we are. Everyday I count my blessings that he and I got married. I am so not worthy and yes, I know exactly how lucky I am.

Now our wedding was a nightmare for me. My mother fought me on every single thing I wanted and she won because I just didn't have it in me to fight with her. I wanted to get married at the Church on the River at sunset. No. Had to get married in our church. So ok I wanted to get married on Friday night, no--people work, people are coming from out of town it's inconsiderate to the people invited, well here's a secret, I didn't know half the people she invited to the wedding and didn't want them to come. Hateful, yep, but I didn't want 200 people at my wedding. Seriously, I wanted small, people I knew and that cared about me, not people invited because they were someone's cousin 20 times removed and blah, blah, blah, but I gave in on that. So then I said I want to have it Saturday morning and then have brunch, nope once again, and I believe her exact words were, "What kind of stupid idea is that." So we ended up getting married Saturday night and I was mad about it the whole time.

Another battle was my wedding dress. My mom had said they would buy my wedding dress, but she had kind of a limited price range(like in 1940s dollars). I was looking at tea length Gunne Sax dresses but I ran across the dress I eventually got on the clearance rack at JC Penney's. It was $400. My mom said no. My mamaw said, "This is the dress, if you don't buy it I will." I got the dress. Have I mentioned how much I love my mamaw?

Another major battle was the preacher. I wanted a certain preacher who had been over our church when I was younger. Momma put a stop those ideas because it would be insulting to the current reverend. That's all I'll say about that. I want to say more, I truly do, but I won't.

So--my wedding was not how I wanted it, I basically turned over creative control, and just showed up and I was not happy. I just wanted to get it over with and get to Pensacola Beach.

This is one of my favorite pictures because the wedding from hell was almost over. And it has chocolate cake! Did I mention that the caterers ran out of punch? We got married Southern Baptist style which means punch and cake in the Fellowship Hall. Yeah, boring. When I think back on September 14, 1985, all I remember is how tired I was and so ready for it to be done. I was so crazy by the time the actual wedding rolled around I just wanted to get it over with. How much does that suck?

But for all the things that didn't go my way that day 24 years ago, I do know that I married the exact right person, you know peas and carrots, peanut butter and jelly? Yeah, we fit, we make it work, and he's still the first person I want to talk to when something happens.

Now I've mentioned my mamaw time and again on this blog and never posted a picture. This is my mamaw with me before I got married. It's also fitting that I post a picture because tomorrow would have been her 23rd wedding anniversary to her second husband. She asked me to be her maid of honor at her wedding. It's possible it would have been their 25th wedding anniversary but I think I got married first. The memories are kind of fuzzy at the moment.

Now why, you ask, am I looking forward to 25? We are seriously discussing our 25th wedding anniversary and renewing our vows at the Graceland Wedding Chapel(I'm thinking it might be a different chapel but I'm blanking at the moment) officiated by an Elvis impersonator in Vegas Baby! While getting married is a serious step, the wedding itself should be fun. The vow renewal in Vegas officiated by Elvis should appropriately offend my mother and be good payback for all the misery of 1985. We did discuss renewing our vows on the beach down here at a sunset ceremony but honestly, after living here all these years, a beach wedding has really lost it's mystique. I like the Elvis idea so much better.

I love you babe!

PS-I wanted to add that I didn't really intend for this to be a "bash my mother" post. I really was trying to say that even though my wedding was not, for me, the magical special experience every girl dreams of, as long as you marry the right person, all that other crap doesn't matter. At the time you think it does but when it comes down to it, all those things that seem so very important right that second, really don't matter a flip once it's all over.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Lately my brain has been swirling with ideas for projects. The one hold back is that I am not in any way, shape or form a designer. I hate sitting down and trying to figure out what goes where, how to make a curve without the need for fractional stitches. I have Patternmaker for Cross-Stitch and I'm apparently too stupid to work it or rather make it work for me. My respect for designers has jumped by leaps and bounds and leaps and bounds over the past week.

What I am I trying to design? Well I'm trying to design a sampler based on one of my favorite decades. I'm also going to try to hand-dye my own floss for it too. I'm a masochistic like that ya know. I mean if you've read this blog for any length of time, my constant attempts to sew are a perfect example of my love of pain-mental and physical. The physical pain comes from all the crawling around picking up shards of glass after I have thrown a glass of iced tea across the room because a straight line does not exist in my universe. Apparently on the planet I'm from, everything leans.

Another sampler I'm trying to design is one based on a family ghost story. My mamaw used to tell it and promise that every word was true. I've been trying to write a condensed version of the story in poem form. Uh Pablo Neruda and Elizabeth Barrett Browning are spinning in their graves begging the powers that be to make the girl just stop with the hideous example of poetry she has been putting forth in the universe because my attempts have set poetry back a 1,000 years.

And I've also been plotting out my 21st Century Sampler but that's on hold at the moment.

Getting back to the kind of stitcher I really am, here is my current progress on Primitive Needle's Simply Live:

How cute is this:

And for more Primitive Needle, here's the current WIP of Ichabod Seabury:

And a close up of the colors and how the words pop:

I took the pictures outside but it was cloudy. What's really bad is that my pictures on sunny days are just as bad as these.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


Spells Primitive Needle*:

This is the moon band of Ichabod Seabury. Fingernail Moon means I still got a whole lotta stitchin' to do!

Here's the big view, and yes the picture is crap but the project isn't. I love, love, love, the funky PTP Swamp linen. It's a great green. This is my first time using the Belle Soie threads, and my second time using silks, I am so a silk thread virgin. I like the Noir and the Lasagna, the blackish color and the hint of orange you see there to the left in the picture. The Tumbleweed has not been pleasant and I'm wishing I had swapped out a DMC or a WDW thread. I'm finding that the Tumbleweed frays and shreds pretty easily. It's possible it's an issue with me but I don't think so since the Noir and the Lasagna do not seem to have the same issues. I've started using shorter lengths. I only have two more lines of verse to go and bit around the top border and then I'm done with the Tumbleweed.
I'm hoping that designers don't start sending me cease and desist orders in regards to posting pictures of my WIP as they are so awful it might hurt their sales. I try, really I try hard to take good pictures but I just haven't found that sweet spot for the best light. One day I will.
*apologies to Stephen King
The real quote is "M-O-O-N spells Tom Cullen" or something like that from The Stand. My all time favorite Stephen King novel.
Oh and for all you Halloweenies--check out the new Stacy Nash book Merry Hallowe'en.