Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Moving On Up...

The movers are here. (!!!) THE MOVERS ARE HERE!!

Did I set aside enough yarn and clothes and yarn and toys and yarn to last us at least 2-3 months? I think I need to take some more yarn before they pack it all away.

DON’T TAKE MY YARN FROM ME! *SNARL SPIT HISS*

Will the kids transition easily? Of course they will, what am I thinking? They will think they just got the mother load of Christmas presents when they open up all the boxes with their toys on the other side. Kids are dumb.

Were we organized enough this time around to avoid all the snarling, hissing, and spitting that occurred last time? ORGANIZED??? HA! Just who’s blog do you think you are reading? Although, My Mister is super organized. That’s good. He’s probably thought of things that I didn’t think of. He’s amazing like that. I like him. I hope he likes me, too. DON’T LEAVE ME! I’ve got yarn! Though, that may not be as enticing for him as it is for me…. Hmmmm…. I’VE GOT YARN!!!!!


Yep, that should do it. 

The movers just took a look at my vacuum packed stash and asked who the knitter is and then said, “I bet it’s not him!” WHAT? Just how racist can you be??? I AM A CROCHETER, NOT A KNITTER! I mean, yes I can knit now, BUT STILL! 

It’s ok, Gege. It’s ok. Just hold on for a couple more days until they are all done with the packing and it will be ok. Remember your mantra! “I am a woman, not just a mindless eating machine. Fish are friends, BUT YARN IS BETTER!”

Better pack some more yarn….

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Erin's Hug: Free Pattern

I love Australia. I truly do. It’s so much more than gigantic (and sometimes miniscule) things that can kill you with their brains (and teeth and poison). And, it’s so much larger than people realize- just about the same size as the contiguous United States. (So, for those of you who told me that such and such was going to be on tour in Australia so I should just pop on over to see it….it’s like saying, “Hey! You should drive to New York from Albuquerque this weekend so you can see Les Miserables!”)

In other words, it ain’t gonna happen. And study some geography, yo.

It’s also farther away than many people realize. It’s quite literally on the other side of the world from the US and, regardless of what that amazingly awesome and annoying Disney ride tells you, it is NOT a small world after all. It took us 36 hours of travel time to get to our home in Australia from the east coast of the States. 36 hours. With a two month old newborn and a new mother who was trying desperately to hold on to her sanity while not ripping off everybody’s head because they had slept in the past 2 months and she HAD NOT SLEPT AND I’M GOING TO DIE.

*HEAVY HYPERVENTILATION*

Ok. I’m better now. Just a little PTSD. No big whoop.

When we first moved here, I started crocheting like a mad woman. Well…a slightly deranged woman. I bought yarn like a mad woman. You can never have enough yarn…it makes for a great insulator for the padded room.

One of the first things I made was this gorgeous purple scarf. 


LOVE LOVE LOVE PURPLE. And this scarf, too.

I may or may not have twirled around and pranced like a ballerina with it. I'll never tell.

It’s basically the South Bay Shawlette hacked into a scarf. A very long and wide, lacy scarf of awesomeness.

And then I made it in a bright, vivacious red lace because I loved it- I especially loved the repetitive nature of the stitches. It was nice to have something simple to work on when the rest of my life was full of hecticness. 


VIVACIOUS. The scarf ain't bad, either. Hee!

It’s the whole, “on the other side of the world” thing that has been the toughest for us. Little Mister was the first grandchild on both sides of our families and has met his grandparents 3 times. I’m so thankful we were able to go back when he was 9 months old because that was the first, and only, time my dad got to meet him. He passed 4 months later. When you’re faced with the mortality of your loved ones, especially your parents, the other side of the world is NOT where you want to be.

We were not there for other major trials, tribulations and joys, either. Major surgeries and hospitalizations, more deaths (my grandmother passed a week or two after SweetPea was born), as well as life (our sweet niece, who just turned two and who we have only met once).

I was able to spend some time with friends and family in Arizona and New Mexico a couple times, which was great. Though, I missed my other friends and family on the east coast terribly and can’t believe it’s been 3 years since we last saw each other. My dear BFF Lyteyz tried to visit me in NM while I was there for my dad’s funeral but things were just too hectic.

She so wished she could be there for me- a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, a hug to let me know I wasn’t alone. She was faced with her own stressors during this time. She and her family were trying to come to terms with the fact that her own father was going to leave them soon. Stage 4 melanoma is nobody’s friend.

I am so thankful for my other BFF Ronda during this time- she let me and Little Mister crash at her place for the 3 (4?) weeks we were there and even helped Lyteyz send her “hug” to me via a beautiful bouquet of flowers sent to Ronda’s house as a surprise.

It was sometime around here that I started working on my third lacy scarf. Ever since I first made the purple one, I had wanted it in this amazing, bright blue and had the perfect yarn for it in my ever expanding stash. 


This is pre-blocking...blocking is A MUST with this shawl.

I started working on it and it made me happy. I couldn’t wait to wear it, especially since I wore my red one with everything. As I was working on it, I kept thinking of Lyteyz. Every single time I picked it up, her face would pop up into my mind. It was a little creepy, actually. GET OUT OF MY HEAD, LYTEYZ! I can’t hear the other voices!

And then, March rolled around and my beautiful SweetPea was born. And then my grandmother passed. And then April rolled around and I so wished I could have been there for Lyteyz when she let me know the day the Lord finally called her dad home.

And then I knew. I knew why this scarf had Lyteyz written all over it. It was big and beautiful and yet light and airy. Something you can wrap yourself up in and yet not be overwhelmed with. It was a perfect hug.

Since I couldn’t be there for her during her very difficult time, I knew that this scarf was destined to give her the hug that I couldn’t give in person.

So, I’m sharing it here with you. Maybe you need a hug or know someone who needs a hug. Maybe you have a gigantic stash that you need to work through and your husband needs a hug as he weeps for joy that it’s slowly but surely going down.

It’s a super simple pattern- more of a recipe, really. I didn’t add an edging to it since it’s so very lacy and I wanted it simple. (That and lace weight yarn is so flippin’ tiny. Any therapeutic value this project had would have been for naught if I tried to single crochet all the way around it. I’m getting anxiety now just thinking about it.)

Without further ado, here’s Erin’s Hug, from me to you. 

My beautiful BFF, Lyteyz. Bet you can't guess how she got that handle.

Erin's Hug

What you need:

880 yards lace weight yarn
 
  • (I used 2 skeins of KnitPicks Gloss for the red one and 2 skeins of KnitPicks Shadow Tonal (unfortunately discontinued (!!!) ) for the blue one. KnitPicks, and their sales, may or may not be part of the reason my closets are filled to the brim with yarn. And why My Mister weeps for joy. The purple one is a mystery wool from a cone gifted to me when I first moved to Australia. I love Aussies. They give me yarn.)

4.5mm crochet hook 

  • (It’s labeled as a G hook, but I have 3 different G hooks- 4mm, 4.25mm, and 4.5mm. Just use whichever one you have.)

Note:

  1. Ch4 counts as dc, ch1
  2. Ch3 counts as dc
  3. I cannot stress enough how important blocking is to this project. Once you are done crocheting it, it will look like an ugly pile of poo. But, once you block it, BAM! The lace comes out and you will be amazed at how much it grows, both horizontally and vertically. Blocking: it’s a good thing.
  4. After blocking, this was about 18" x 80". KnitPicks lace yarns are a heavier lace weight, so the red and blue ones ended up slightly larger than the purple one, which was a much finer lace weight. If you are using a finer lace weight and desire a really wide stole/scarf, add another repeat (8 stitches).

Special stitches:

Small-V: 

  • At beginning of row: (ch4, dc) in first dc 
  • At end of row: (dc, ch1, dc) in last dc

Large-V: (dc, ch3, dc) in indicated stitch

What you do:

Worked in a multiple of 8+10

Chain 82

Row 1: Sc in second ch from hook and on down. (81sc) (Conversely, you can do 81fsc if you so wish and follow from there)



Row 2: Ch3, dc next sc. Ch1, skip 2 sc, Large-V in next sc. *Ch1, skip 2 sc, dc in next 3 sc. Ch1, skip 2 sc, Large-V in next sc. Repeat from * until last 2 sc. Ch1, Dc in last 2 sc. Turn

Row 3: Ch4, skip next (dc, ch1), 7dc in ch3 sp. *Ch1, skip next (ch1, dc), dc in next dc (middle dc of 3-dc group). Ch 1, skip next (dc, ch1), 7dc in ch3 sp. Repeat from * until last 2dc. Ch1, dc in top of ch3. Turn

Row 4: Small-V in first dc. Ch1, skip next (ch1, 2 dc), dc in next 3 dc. *Ch1, skip next (2 dc, ch1), Large-V in next dc. Ch1, skip next (ch1, 2 dc), dc in next 3 dc. Repeat from* to last dc. Ch1, Small-V in 3rd ch of ch4. Turn

Row 5: Ch3, 3dc in ch1 sp. Ch1, skip next (ch1, dc), dc in next dc (middle dc of 3-dc group). *Ch 1, skip next (dc, ch1), 7dc in ch3 sp. Ch1, skip next (ch1, dc), dc in next dc. Repeat from * until last Small V. ch1, 3 dc in ch1sp, dc in last dc.

Row 6: Ch3, dc next dc. Ch1, skip next (2 dc, ch1), Large-V in next dc. *Ch1, skip next (ch1, 2 dc), dc in next 3 dc. Ch1, skip next (2 dc, ch1), Large-V in next dc. Repeat from * until last 4 dc. Ch1, skip next (ch1, 2dc), dc in last 2 dc. Turn.

Repeat rows 3-6, ending on a row 6, until you are just about out of yarn.

Last row: Ch1, sc in first 2 dc, *sc in ch1 space, sc next dc, 1sc in ch3 sp, sc next dc, sc in ch1 space, sc in next 3 dc. Repeat from * on down. (81sc)





(If you end on a row 4, make sure to sc in every dc and ch1 spaces, and ONLY 1sc in the ch3 spaces.)

Bind off and weave in ends. Give yourself a hug.


Copyright 2014 Gege Crochet. All rights reserved. Pattern available for personal use only- please don't sell it- that's just not cool. You can sell, FO, though. Hug as many people as you like. Just please don't post this pattern anywhere- you can provide a link back to here, though.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I'm Coming Out of the (Yarn) Closet

This past year has been a very healing one for me. Even though I didn’t blog (almost at all) during this time, I truly have been busy growing as a person, a wife, a mother, and even a crocheter. I really had a lot of time to reflect on myself- find who I am, if you will.

I had to search in some really deep, dark, dirty places, actually. But now that most of my yarn is in vacuum storage bags, the closet(s) and under the bed(s) aren’t so bad anymore. I’ve been on a yarn diet for a while now, so I have not been adding to my monstrous stash.
**My husband categorically rejects this fabricated and disillusioned statement**  (Although, I may or may not have been ordering and shipping to my sister’s house….because of the move and all…not because I’m trying to hide my purchases. Nope. Not that.)

As I was going through my stash and trying to consolidate it and shrink wrap it in ways where I could actually close the closet doors, I truly couldn’t help but start (and even finish!) many (many, many) projects. 


One: my own design; Two: from Doris Chan. I've got a lot to learn

PONCHOS! Both made from Aussie yarn
For my dear BFF, lyteyz: Erin's Hug...pattern coming in the next post or two....

Many hats made for the Beanie Festival....but I kinda sorta never turned them in.....

Made the one she's modeling for a friend. Not 5 seconds after taking that pic, SweetPea barfed all over it. IF I CAN'T HAVE IT, NO ONE CAN!


I put it on her, first. Then he said, "I want a cape with a hat!!" Yes....that's what it is, my love...a cape with a hat.

For a baby shower, a newborn baby, my baby's room, and my baby sister.

The only problem was that, though I love crochet, I just felt it in my bones that some of this yarn wasn’t meant to be crocheted. Some of that yarn felt different from the other yarns. Like it didn’t quite belong.

I, being the very attuned and sensitive person that I am, wanted to make sure that all my yarn was happy, no matter what they felt like. So, I started joking with my friends. And watching videos on youtube. And looking at pictures on Ravelry. Which turned into looking at patterns on Ravelry.

And I figured that it was time to face the truth. I couldn’t ignore it anymore and I knew that I wouldn’t be true to myself, or to my yarn, if I didn’t explore this side of me.

So, here it is.

You guys. My name is Gege, and I am bistitchual. 



I AM A KNITTER NOW! However, GegeCrochet-n-Knit just doesn't have that great a ring to it, ya know?




** This is her Mister and I both typed and approved the above statement

Monday, September 22, 2014

Seek and Ye Shall Find Cat Butts

When My Mister and I were first dating in college, he, being the ever smitten new boyfriend, wanted to impress me with his newfound love and… smitten-ness….by buying me some jewelry. Specifically some earrings since, you know, a ring would be a little too forward and a necklace may seem like he wanted to choke me (right?), and he knew I wore earrings more often than any other jewelry. (WHO CAN HANDLE NAKED LOBES??) However, they couldn’t be just any ordinary earrings. Oh no. They had to be cat earrings because I love earrings, but I love love love cats. BUT. They couldn’t be any ordinary cat earrings, either. Oh no. They had to also be humorous cat earrings because we both like the funny. So, one earring is a cat head…and the other one is a cat butt. Because he knew, even then at the very beginning, that butts were the way to my heart.*

I loved those earrings. So SO much. I wore them constantly within the first week of receiving them. I made sure to pull my hair up so that people at the BSU could see and admire my butt. (Wait a second….)

And then, about one week after receiving them, someone at the BSU did NOT notice and admire them. Instead they pointed out that one of my ears had a cool cat head on it but the other one was (OHMYGOSH) naked. WHY OH WHY did my cat butt decide to skedaddle?? I lost one of my most favoritest earrings from my new boyfriend somewhere on campus sometime during the morning and I needed to find it before he saw me without them and thought I didn’t like his gift and that I hated him and wanted to spit on him and then he’d dump me and we’d never get married and have….married couple time….

It could be anywhere. I had so many classes scattered all over campus and the likelihood of ever finding that runaway cat was practically zero. HOWEVER, since I was at the BSU (Baptist Student Union) and since I truly and completely believed in the power of prayer, I asked everyone around me to pray with me that I’d be able to find my lost cat.

So we prayed. And I prayed. And I traced my steps around campus. And I prayed. And I was sad since my natural optimism was starting to be dampened as I walked and walked and walked around the huge campus and did not find a cat butt anywhere.

Despondent, I was almost back to the BSU when my friend Meegan, coming from the BSU, stopped me and asked why I was so sad. I told her my tail of woe (HA!) and she made the appropriate sad noises you make to someone who is obviously slightly deranged.

And then, the most miraculous thing EVER happened. It was THE moment in my life that solidified to me that God is real, that He hears our prayers, and that nothing is too big or too small for Him.

After patting my arm and saying, “There, there,” Meegan looked down at the sidewalk and said, “Is that it?”

!!!!!!!

There, looking back up at me, at just the spot we stopped to talk, was my beloved cat butt. No, it was not on my person and somehow was shaken loose when she pat my arm- I had already done the shakedown at the BSU to see if it was somewhere in my clothes- it was not. There is no other way for me to explain it- it was a miracle, pure and simple. 





AND I STILL HAVE THEM! (Though the posts are missing now. Methinks I have to fix them after today.)


After that day, I have never once been (overly) worried about losing something. My keys go missing (again)? No problem! Just pray because God knows where they are and will allow me to find them at the right moment. I truly do pray about all the various things I’ve lost/misplaced, which means I really don't do anything but pray all day long.


Except for last night.

Last night I couldn’t find yet another piece of jewelry that My Mister had gifted me. Except this time it was slightly more important than a cat butt….it was my wedding ring.

The only time I take it off is when I put lotion on- either on me or on the kids. So, last night after their bath, I had taken it off and put it in their top drawer while I helped it rub the lotion on its skin. I then forgot all about it and continued to work on my crochet (that may or may not be for a future yarn bombing.)

Instead of going to bed right away (like they ever do that), they sang to each other and asked for water, and laughed and carried on. Then Little Mister got out of bed and went to the toilet and subsequently yelled that he was all done. (He’s completely potty trained….just not “wiped” trained quite yet. You think you’re done with the poops once you’re done with the diapers and then, BAM! Skidmarks.)

I got a wipe from their drawer and noticed my ring sitting on the wipe box, so I grabbed it before My Mister came and saw it. (He was on his way to change SweetPea who wasn’t about to let her brother have all the fun and left quite a load in her diaper. *shudder*)

Once both their butts were clean and they were finally in bed, we sat back down in front of the telly and I continued to crochet. Then I jumped on the kids’ trampoline. And did some stretches. And then took a shower and was putting on lotion when I realized that I didn’t have to take off my ring because OHMYGOSH IT’S MISSING!

I couldn’t remember where I last saw it. I had to retrace my steps- I clearly remember taking it from the wipe box, but I couldn’t remember what happened after that.

And I started to panic. I looked at the various tables where we have lotion bottles to see if I took it off absentmindedly (stranger things have happened). Nope. 


I, ever so quietly, went back to the kids' room and rifled through their drawer to see if it was still in there. Nope. 

I looked EVERYWHERE. It was nowhere to be found.

I woke up My Mister and told him that I couldn’t find my ring and so he got up and also started looking everywhere. He also went to the kids’ bedroom and (not so quietly) rifled through their drawer to see if it was there and I missed it. Nope.

It was the first time in forever that I was really and truly worried about losing something and I couldn’t find it. I wracked my brains trying to think of where it could be and was growing more and more frustrated.

So, we prayed. And looked some more. He and I both went into the kids’ bedroom with a flashlight and looked through their drawer once again and looked behind the drawer and under their beds. NOTHING.

So, we agreed to go to sleep, pray some more, and look again in the morning.

So, this morning, I prayed with the kids at breakfast and then I called My Mister at work and asked him to keep praying as I went back and rummaged through their room, once again.


I prayed, "Dear Lord, please help me to find my ring RIGHT NOW!" as I rifled through their drawer, yet again.

And then. Even though I KNOW I moved everything and looked under everywhere the previous 3 times I looked through that drawer, I moved a tube of cream and, lo and behold, there was my ring. PRAISE THE LORD!


Just to show that God also has a sense of humor: The cream? A tube of Butt Paste.

So why, you may ask, was I worried so much about my ring? It had to be in the house somewhere, right? And that is a whole lot smaller place to look than a college campus, right? I mean. It’s not like we’re moving or anything.



Welllll………. 



Eeeeeeeeeep!










*After reminding him of this story, he said he vaguely remembered it happening. And when I showed him the earrings, he said he, “Absolutely had no memory of those earrings, at all.” Wow. It’s only one of the biggest and most profound moments in my walk of faith and he totally doesn’t remember trying to impress me with them. Fine. He gets to wipe Little Mister's butt next time.

Friday, September 19, 2014

When a (Yarn) Bomb is a Complete Dud

I don’t think anything will top the euphoric feeling I had the night my Hookers and I yarnbombed for the first time. It truly was amazing. However, the second time we attacked our town resulted in us putting the “art” in “street art,” if I do say so myself. We were (are) ever so proud of the work we did for our second outing and were really looking forward to all of the excitement and accolades this one would bring (hey- praise is addictive!).  And yet, unfortunately, we were left with a big ol’ “Wah waaaaaaaaaaah!” at the end of it all.

To be honest, that part quite sucked.

You see, after our triumphant Christmas bombing, we put the word out asking for ideas for our next venture. Mr. Mayor actually suggested doing something for Australia Day, which is a lot like our Independence Day….just without the independence. (OOOOOOOOOO BURN!!!!)

We thought that would be an exciting thing to do and, since we were so hopped up on the kudos and accolades and oooohs and aaaaaahs of our first venture, we thought that Australia Day would be a suitable, honorific occasion to showcase our amazing talents.

And then the Aussie members of our group kind of dampened our spirits when they informed us that Australia Day is January 26. Just as a refresher, Christmas is December 25. That meant we had just over a month to pull off another momentous, artistic, magnificent work of amazement.

No worries, mate. We laughed in the face of that small amount of time. Heck. We farted in its general direction. WE ARE THE AMAZING HOOKERS! WE WILL DO IT AND ASTOUND YOU!

So, we started thinking. And thinking. And fretting. And doubting ourselves. And thinking maybe there is something to that whole “pride comes before a fall” thing.

And then....... I got it!!! We should celebrate Australia with something that is uniquely Australian. A dot painting. Correction: a CROCHET dot painting.

I did a lot of measuring and calculating and figuring and then I presented my idea to the gals and they unanimously agreed with it. We just had to get started like RIGHT NOW in order to pull it off, so off we went, again.

Whereas the first time we had a lot of fun getting together and crocheting various pieces together, this time we had an actual goal to attain and a time-frame in which to do it. While we still had fun, the prospect of not meeting our deadline was just a wee bit stressful. And, since I am not the only perfectionist in our little group (ahem, ladies….you know who you are), there was even some talk of perhaps getting it ready for Anzac Day, another momentous Australian holiday…..which is in April.

But, no. The perfectionists (and masochists) in us took over. We soldiered on. We crocheted a hundred million dots. I set them out and rearranged them and sent the gals photos of the final layout. Then I rearranged them again and sent them another picture of THE FINAL layout. Then I rearranged them again. Then they came and put me in a strait jacket and forbade me from touching anymore dots because I was getting just a little bit obsessive ridiculous.

Once the layout was finally, finally finalized, we sewed (by hand!) all those dots on the background. We then cursed sewing anything by hand and vowed to never do it again.

And then, just under 6 weeks after we agreed to develop carpal tunnel amaze our town once more, we were done.

EXCEPT. One small detail.

You see, the first time around we were pretty darn smart about it. We chose a location and then crocheted things to fit our target. It was a pretty good plan, actually. Pick something. Measure it. Crochet things that fit that measurement so that it would be easy to put it all together in a short amount of time so that we could then book it to our getaway car.

This time around, we were more “prideful” than we were “smart.” We chose an amazing project, but unfortunately had no location in which to display our project. So we brainstormed. And thought. And argued. And thought some more. You see, due to the nature of our “yarn bombing,” we wanted a more secure location for it. A place where it would be protected from the elements….and from those nasty, no-good, crochet-stealing thieves out there. I hear they run rampant here in the Outback. Just looking for some yarny goodness to swipe to give to their dingo-eating babies. (Wait a second…..)

We finally requested permission from one of the local malls to use one of their empty storefronts as a display for our Pièce de résistance. They acquiesced and we “sneakily” set up our “yarnbombing” around 9am when the stores opened, right before Australia day.

And then we waited.

We waited for the accolades to come in. Waited for the word to spread on social media. Waited for our GENIUS to be discovered and appreciated and shouted about from the rooftops.

And we waited.

AND NOTHING.

I basically ended up tweeting out there, “Hey….did anybody see our wonderful piece of art/yarnbombing? Because it truly is amazing and you should be stroking our egos right about now” only to be told that people looked and couldn’t find it.

I finally know what, “taking the wind out of the sails,” looks like in a group of women. It is not pretty.

Turns out that, though our work was protected from the elements and from dingo-eating thieves, it was also protected from EVERYTHING. Including people’s eyes. The one thing we were hoping to attract. We may have flattered ourselves in thinking that, perhaps, it may have looked like an official Australia Day decoration in the mall store front, so nobody really took notice, but, well….the fact remains that our yarnbombing was much more of a dud.

*HUGH SIGH*

SO.

This time we learned from our mistake and have chosen a location first, and then a project second…..

And it is coming……. 






Photo courtesy of the amazingly awesome Sarena Kelley



There are a total of 705 crochet dots in 25 different colours crocheted by seven different women and hand sewn onto this gigantic Australia, which is set adrift upon a blue crochet ripple ocean. 

PS: I crocheted the ripple background. It's about 7' square.  THIS IS FREAKIN' HUGE. And, regardless of the accolades (or lack thereof) we received, IT IS AWESOME.