Sunday, May 20, 2012

Getting back to crafting normal

Now that I'm learning to do things with a splint on my left thumb, I'm feeling more like my old self. I'm able to knit again, albeit English style instead of my usual continental style. The two LYS in my area are both having great sales this month, so I'll be stocking up on some yummy yarns. And my thumb is healing nicely, so I expect to have this smelly splint off very soon. Woohoo!

I'm almost finished with the English knitted version of Stefanie Japel's Lacy Keyhole Scarf from my Knit Labs class. Photos to follow. Frankly, it's not as neatly knitted as my other projects, but at least I'm knitting something! I have to stop being such a perfectionist, don't I?

I've been doing some digital designing too, making some cards and candy bar wrappers. Once I get the photos uploaded and cleaned up, I'll post them so you can see what I've been up to.

Projects I'm planning include making a couple of wreaths for my front door, working on some machine embroidery designs for potholders for the church bazaar and a couple of digital scrapbook kits. The wreath making may have to wait until my thumb is fully healed, but the digital designing I can do with my mouse hand!

Happy Crafting!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Thumbs, radiators and tomato sauce

I should be creating some fun table decorations and favors for the Celtic Tea on Sunday, but I'll be buying those instead, thanks to my broken left thumb. My ideas safely stashed in my crafting notebook and on Pinterest, I say to myself "Buck up, grit your teeth and just smile. Next year, you'll have lots of cute crafty things to post on this blog from your Celtic Tea preparations."

To cheer myself up, I'm visiting one of the local yarn stores today to sign up for tomorrow's aran afghan block a month knitting class. Now that I've been practicing my English style knitting and it's looking pretty good, I can take the class! Woohoo!

Ah, not so fast! My carefully planned Friday vanishes "Poof!" as my husband dashes into the house yelling for me to come and look at my car. Just peachy! Holding my breath, I trudge my way to the garage, only to find to my shock and horror rusty brown antifreeze pooling on the concrete underneath the front of my car. Again. We just did this in November, didn't we? Memory check. Yes, we did. The same stomach churning sight appeared in the pre-dawn, as I started to load my car with luggage to head to the airport for a trip to Chicago last November. Come to think of it, that rusty brown with the very light brownish grey of the concrete wasn't a bad color combo. Could work up as a cute shawl or sweater. Hmm...don't I have some rusty brown yarn in my stash?

Back to reality. One call to to the kind folks at AAA, one call to my stunned mechanic, one very helpful and nice tow truck driver who didn't even blink at the huge bag of yarn I had to get out of the backseat before he could hook up my car - his mother knits, and I sadly decide to skip the LYS class tomorrow and sign up for the next month's class, after I get my car back. It's not fair to have my husband chauffeur me to the LYS two days in a row. He's already driving me to and from the Celtic Tea on Sunday. And I don't want to consider the expense of a rental car right now.

I'll bide my time until next month's class by knitting a make-it-up-as-you-go scarf for the church bazaar out of light blue cotton and working on a pair of knit socks I've been working on off and on, using the instructions found on the sock yarn label. I'll keep things simple, shelve my other projects, until my left thumb is healed. Plus I need to start planning some cute machine embroidered pot holders for the church bazaar.

At last, my very apologetic mechanic calls me with the good news that the radiator is still under warranty. My checkbook and crafting budget breathe a huge sigh of relief! Things are looking up! My wonderful husband treats me to lunch at the local Italian eatery, and that raises my spirits even more. As my Italian Godmother always says, doesn't tomato sauce, oregano and garlic make almost everything better? Hmmm, maybe I need to rub spaghetti sauce on my broken thumb?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Not breaking any knitting speed records

OK, so here I am with a broken left thumb,  my left hand in a splint, and a knit-in at a local yarn shop (LYS) coming up soon. Now what? Ooh, I know! I'll learn to knit English style. I've seen some English knitters who just hold the left needle steady in their left hand. I can do that, right? Having knitted continental style since my Mom taught me to knit in early childhood - I remember knitting a scarf in first grade - this is quite a change for me. Holding yarn in my right hand feels so wrong, so alien, yet I know it's the thing to do to knit English style. Hey, I can do this!

After digging one handed through my yarn stash and knitting needle case, I snag a skein of worsted weight yarn and a pair of needles and off I go to cast on. Turns out, that was easier to type one handed than to actually cast those suckers on the needle. Ouch! OK, so a long tail cast on using my left hand is out of the question and I'm getting impatient, so scrap learning to do a long tail cast on using my right hand. 20 backwards loop cast on stitches later, say about 20 fumble fingered minutes later because I also use my left hand to do a backwards loop cast on, I'm ready to start with the knit stitch, English style. About 20 minutes after that, I finally have a neater row of stitches under my belt, having frogged the first fifty eleventy million wonky stitches until I finished the first row with some passable knit stitches on the needles. My left hand hurts, especially the thumb, so it's time for that nap I always promise myself and never take myself up on.

I manage some not so bad looking rows of garter stitch and I'm starting to feel like the next few weeks won't be so bad after all. Woohoo! Now I can get back to my make-it-up-as-you-go scarf! I'll upload some photos of my splinted hand and my works in progress later.

I'm also helping a friend design some graduation candy bar wrappers for her daughter's high school graduation. I'll share some of the wrappers with you as well.