Thursday, November 22, 2012

Late Night Obligatory "What I'm Thankful For" Post

I recently reactivated my Facebook account after a three-month hiatus. With it being very close to Thanksgiving, it was a nice transition to come back to a feed full of goodwill, and lists of things all my friends and family are thankful for. I tried my hand at it, but after countless backspacing and retyping, I just don't think a Facebook status is the proper medium for everything I have to say.

See, reactivating my Facebook account wasn't the only thing that happened this week, my place of employment went out of business, leaving me jobless, and I am currently on Day 6 of having lost my voice.

These two things have been making me feel bitter and helpless the last few days. If you should ever get let go, or have your job go under, for an entire day, pretend like you can't talk. You can't yell or cuss, or even talk it out to try to figure out what you're going to do. It's frustrating. So the other day when I was given the news, and I returned home, I tried my hardest to keep it to myself, but I ended up screaming in the loudest whisper I could muster.

That night I looked at Gabe, and I said (whispered, rather) "I'm jobless, I'm voiceless, and I'm terrified that on Thanksgiving when we all inevitably go around the table to say what we're thankful for, I'm not going to have a single thing to say!"

And hand to God, tears in my eyes, I believed it. But, this whole year hasn't been bad, and something about hitting a moment like one, hopeless and afraid, made me want to dig deep inside myself and find the things I'm thankful for.

First and foremost, NaNoWriMo. I wasn't terribly excited about it this year. And despite my story being pretty solid, well written, and pretty damn interesting, it's just felt like a chore above anything else. However, when you can't talk to anyone, it's nice to be able to write for hours, and have some kind of means of self-expression. Besides that, it's nice to kill off people and slap people in their imaginary faces when I'm down. Just tonight, all of my rage boiled down to a scene where one girl is trying to take advantage of another girl, when the victim girl rips off a chunk of the girl's neck, and spits it back at her. Something I never would have experienced, or thought of writing, without NaNoWriMo.

Crocheting, of course. I've crocheted a lot this year. I've made a lot of things, and I like spending my time making whatever it is that looks cute or fun, but it wasn't until today that I realized how much I appreciated it. Earlier today, I found myself listening to the Chrono Cross soundtrack, and for the first time a VERY very long time, I was yearning for the sea. I haven't seen in it four years, and I thought about how much I just wanted to jump into it, and let it wash all my problems away. Then, there was this beautiful scarf pattern I started to make in wool, a dark blue and an off white with speckles. Looking down at it, it resembles the salt and the foam and the water of the ocean, and now I can wrap myself within it anytime I want. I do that with so many of my creations, whether it reminds me of the ocean, or someone beautiful, or just a color I saw in a painting once. How satisfying to wear something with such meaning, instead of just looking at it.

I am incredibly thankful for the improvements my asthma has made over the last year. While it's still not close to perfect, and may never be, I learned a lot about asthma in the last year, and between becoming a vegetarian, my brief (but hopefully not permanently finished) brush with acupuncture, learning about teas and herbs, my lungs have come a very long way from where they were last year. I hope they will continue to improve, but for now, I'm just glad that I can walk as fast as I can without getting winded, and don't fear things like parking far away from a building, or looking for my keys before I take my steroids. This time last year, things were so bad I couldn't do these things without stopping to rest, and I can't be thankful enough for how much improvement there has been.

Of course, Gabe. We have our days, but when money is tight, even for both of us, he does everything he can to make sure we can eat, hell, even to make sure we have ice cream. He hugs me when the price of my medication goes up. He puts his hand right over my lungs when we hug and my lungs happen to be bad that day. He listens to me yell about bad days, and smiles at me when I dance around a bit when I tell him about my good days. He treats our animals like they're human, and he reminds me to feed my spiders, because he knows I only feed animals like Walter, who have to remind me to feed them. He buys the eight pound bag of fries (But still won't let me prove that I could eat all of it in one sitting, which is nice in and of itself, even though I love fries). He helps me pick out colors of yarn, because I have NO idea what colors match other colors, and he even made me a dragon egg full or yarn for my birthday. He asks me questions, makes me think, encourages me to do bigger and better things all the time. Tells me I can kiss girls if I want to, even though I don't. Makes dinner. Introduced me to Star Trek. I could, of course, go on for much longer about all the things Gabe has done for me this year, and in years past. The point is, without him, I don't know where I'd be. He is my rock.

And finally, the thing I am always THE MOST thankful for, every year: Indoor plumbing! Isn't life awesome!?

My list could go on. From fries, to watercolors, to blankets, to laundry detergent, I am thankful for a lot. So, even if you're having a rough week, a rough month, or even if 2012 hasn't been the best to you, I hope you'll still take some time to think about everything in your life that you have. I can honestly say that once I started thinking about it a little, the rough patch I'm enduring suddenly didn't seem so bad.

(Take care, and have a Happy Thanksgiving <3)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

One Skein Weekend (First Edition)

I've had quite a bit of free time on my hands as of late. It's bittersweet, because while I enjoy hanging out, crocheting, writing, and eating Klondike bars, I also like doing things like making rent, paying my bills, and having enough money to buy more Klondike Bars when I run out. Since my hours have been cut so significantly at work, and I'm juggling my free time with being really poor, I thought I'd try something out for my fellow poor people.

In an attempt to help us out, I'm going to try a new thing I call One Skein Weekend. It's basically a few small projects that can be made with nothing more than a single skein of yarn. So if you have a full skein of yarn stashed away, or only want to spend less than $5 to keep yourself occupied over the period of a day or two, then maybe I can help you out. I am also, of course, only using patterns that are available for free, and will do my best to make things that make sense (So you don't have 4 hats in the same color, a bracelet made of wool, or a mug cozy made of thread, etc.).


This week I made three projects that all go together nicely in kind of a Spanish Pirate theme; A Lace Shawl, Mesh Wristers, and a Flower Headband. So, let's get started.

Here's the stats of what exactly I used:

Yarn: Bernat Satin
Color: Fern
Yardage: 200 Yards
Weight: Worsted
Price: (Not sure, it was a gift)
Extra stuff: One button (50 cents from Wal Mart)

First up is the "Lace So Simple" Shawl (The pattern can be found here)



This is 7 rounds, and uses an N hook. Big hook, a few rows? Takes a few hours, and probably about half of our allotted yarn (including the long tassels). I also used a button on this so it stays on my shoulders easier, and also easily turns into kind of a cool, Bohemian style scarf, the button clasp adding a little extra personality.

The actual pattern calls for teardrop crystals to hang off of the picots, but just looping the tassles through the right places looks fine, and costs less.

I had a lot of fun with this one, and I think it looks really nice. the sheen of the green yarn I used adds an extra magical element, and it's really good for covering shoulders (something I spend my days and nights looking for!). I think as a scarf it's good for fall, and as a wrap it's good for spring, and I've been using it indoors when I'm at home, not quite cold enough for a blanket or sweater, but just want something over my shoulders. These are also elegant and bohemian enough to whip up for some last minute Christmas gifts.

Next up are our Ivy Wristers (Pattern can be found here, as a free Ravelry download)



These use an I hook, and are the fastest wrist warmers I have ever made. I adapted the pattern a bit, with a starting chain of 35 instead of 29, and I did 12 rows instead of 10. They fit nicely, and are perfect for when my hands get chilly during NaNoWriMo (or blogging...yes, I am wearing them right now :)). Normally I'm a bit wary of the wrist warmer method of making a rectangle and folding it over, but this pattern is small enough that it works really well without being clunky, and actually fits the hand shape nicely.

The pattern itself took only a little while, and is just a quick motif repeated over and over and over again, making for an interesting pattern.

....Now~ ...

...Before you run off and make these, I have a bit of a disclaimer. Since I adapted the pattern to be bigger, I came VERY close to running out of yarn before finishing the final project. This is how much yarn I had left:


So, if you don't want to cut it that close, I recommend doing less than twelve rows. But, if you like to live on the edge, then go for it! Just be conservative with your yarn from here on out. Let me know how it goes for you!

And finally, our flower headband (Pattern can be found here)



This was a super cute project, and was rather interesting to put together (sewing the large flower to the 3 chain headband). I used an H hook for the flower, and an F Hook for the chains (the F hook being very important to not running out of yarn :P). Despite how big the flower is, I was actually surprised at how cute it turned out. I don't feel like it's gaudy at all, I just don't know when I'm going to wear it! Hopefully I'll manage to get some use out of it.

All together now!


So this is what it all comes together to be! Mine is a nice...radioactive hobo Spanish pirate theme :)

Isn't stash busting fun? I've been making a lot of little projects lately, and since I don't have any extra money to buy more yarn, my stash is certainly dwindling beautifully :P

Want more stash busters? Wanna see the other cool projects I've been working on? You know I'll be back with some kind of goodies soon enough.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Crocheted Crescent Moon Wand, and a contest to get the pattern!

Hey guys! I'm here to shake it up a bit. In this post, I'm going to be holding kind of a "Contest" in order to give out the pattern for my newest creation: A Crocheted Crescent Moon Wand! I've never held any kind of contest before, but I have my reasons, and it's something I've always wanted to do.

When I posted the pattern for my Eternal Sailor Scout Transformation Wand, I didn't get exactly the constructive criticism I would have liked. I put a lot of effort and energy into something I loved, and being the good, sharing person I am, I provided it for free to whoever wanted it.

The response I was hoping for was, of course, something positive, but even something negative, or how I could have corrected it, would have been appreciated. Instead, I got rude, crude and insensitive comments about it, with no help about how to move forward with my new pattern-making endeavours. While I received some positive comments, and I appreciated them sincerely, compared to the sea of rude and generally unrelated comments I got, it was hard to appreciate them.


So, in order to get this pattern, here's what you need to do:

Leave a comment on this entry with:

- Your name (or handle you'd like to be called by)
- Your Email (Does anyone know how to screen comments? Otherwise, I will happily delete your comment after I send you the .pdf, so no one else gets your email)
- A 100+ word constructive comment about this item. What do you like? What don't you like? What questions do you have about it? What would you change? What needs to stay the same? Keep it constructive, and keep it focused on the Crescent Moon Wand.

That's it! Once I approve your comment, I will Email you a .pdf of the pattern. There is currently no limit of people who can get the pattern, and I'm not currently setting a time limit on this "contest". This may change in the future, but until then, I will be sending the pattern to everyone who earns it.

I hope this works out, and I hope you understand why I am taking these measures. From here on out, I will continue to provide patterns for free and without any hoop-jumping, but if I'm going to continue making high quality patterns, I am going to need to know where I need to go, and the only way I can further improve my patterns is from my fellow crocheters. And considering I'm in the eye of the 50,000 word storm known as NaNoWriMo, I figured 100 words wouldn't be a problem for you.

With that being said, I want to talk a little bit about this project. It was a pretty easy, quick project. It measures 16" from bottom of stick, to the top of the crescent. It's rather sturdy, but the crescent is pretty heavy, so it's a good idea to secure it tightly.

I'm having a lot of fun making Sailor Moon wands, so don't be surprised if more of them show up over the next few weeks/months. With NaNoWriMo in full swing, I don't know how many more "big" projects I can create, but we'll see where the wind takes me, I guess.

Anyway, see you guys soon, and I look forward to your critiques :)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Pokeball Deck Bag

My relationship with Pokemon is kind of a strange one. I only have two very strong memories related to it, and as I was making the pattern and crocheting up this bag for Pokemon cards, they were the only things I could think about.


I was about 10 when I got into anime, and Sailor Moon was my drug of choice. Something about Pokemon didn't really appeal to me, and while my friends sat on the curb outside their apartment buildings trading cards, I didn't want to be left out, so I feigned interest.

I liked talking to my friends about the different kinds of Pokemon, and I remember sitting outside, in the middle of the hot Virginia summer, with my binder of all kinds of cards, trading cards with everyone else who had their binders of cards. This is the first memory I really treasure about Pokemon.


I never became obsessed, really. But I certainly had a place for Charmander in my heart.

As a stocking stuffer one Christmas, my Dad, not knowing the difference between Pokemon and all those other animes I was into, got me a sparkly little bouncy ball with Charmander in the center. As I crocheted this Pokeball, I could clearly remember standing in front of my Christmas tree that night, the lights wrapped around the tree sparkling, my face and hands warm from the heaters, and my Charmander bouncy ball firmly in my hand, and all I could think about was how badly I wanted to take care of him. So twenty seconds of a fragment of a memory of pretty lights and the smell of Christmas still hanging in the air is my 2nd nice memory of Pokemon.

This was all happening around the same time I spoke of in my last post, when I spent my days drawing Sailor Scouts, watching animes, writing fanfiction and just making my own universe. I've never felt more magical, and so even though Pokemon was never a vice of mine, it still holds a special place in my heart.

So, without further delay, here is that pattern for my Pokeball Pokemon card deck bag!

Pokeball Deck Bag
Pokemon and Pokeball (TM) Satoshi Tajiri
Original Pattern created by Pam Gabriel
Please do not sell products made from this pattern without permission.

This is a crocheted bag designed to hold decks for the Pokemon card game.

What you'll need:

  • H Hook
  • Less than a skein of worsted weight yarns in:
    • White
    • Red
    • Black


Chain (ch)
Single Crochet (sc)
Skip (sk)

How to do it:

With White, ch 31:

Row 1: sc in 2nd ch from hook, and in each sc across, ch 1, turn. (30 sc)
Row 2 - 10: sk next sc, sc to end of row, ch 1, turn. (30 sc)
Row 11: sk next sc, sc to end of row. (30 sc) (Do NOT ch 1 at end of this row.)

Finish off white.

Attach Black.

Row 12: Ch 1, sk next sc, sc to end of row. (30 sc)

Finish off black.

Attach Red.

Row 13: Ch 1, sk next sc, sc to end of row, ch 1, turn. (30 sc)
Row 14 - 22: sk next sc, sc to end of row, ch 1, turn. (30 sc)
Row 23 (Beaded Row): sk next sc, sc in next 2 spaces *ch 1, sk next sc, sc* Repeat * to end of row, ch 1, turn (16 sc, 14 ch1 spaces)
Row 24: sc in each ch1 space and in each sc. (30 sc)

Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Weave in ends.

Use a whip stitch to sew the side and bottom together. Switch to white yarn when you get to the white part of the bag.


Using red, make a chain of desired length, and weave through the holes made by the chain spaces in the beaded row.


With white:

Round 1: Ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook. Finish off white.

Attach black.

Round 2: 2sc in each sc around (12 sc). Finish off, leaving a long tail.

Sew button to center of front side of bag.


So, how did it go? Was it big? Small? Do you even use Pokemon cards anymore? Are you using it as a bag for something else? Let me know!

Next time! More deck bags are in the works, along with a Sailor Moon challenge (on a few different levels), and who knows...maybe even a NaNoWriMo update.