Sunday, July 12, 2020

Crochet All The Things! (ottoman cover)

...don't call it an ottoman
Hold on to your hats my friends, I've been crocheting everything for the past 2+ years and if you sit still for very long around me, I'm liable to crochet you too! Crochet is pretty addictive but the upside is how very practical it can be. It has its limits to be sure, and there are some things that are just better off knitted, but if you stay firmly within crochet's wheelhouse, there's lots of awesomeness just waiting to be made.

Since I haven't blogged about my obsession with crochet yet, I'll have to back up and share some previous projects before I can show you what I'm currently working on.

My first big project* was to make a cover for our footstool out of all my practice granny squares (pictured above). I finally finished it late last Spring and the cats immediately claimed it for themselves.

When I first started crocheting, I got loads of "how-to" books from the library and a bunch of different yarns to practice with. I ended up with a stack of truly random granny squares and no plan for them.  We certainly didn't need more blankets or sofa throws, but I hated the idea of not using them for something. Then my eyes fell on our shabby-but-not-chic footstool still wearing its aging, "temporary" muslin slip cover. Needless to say, it got volunteered.

I had no real direction or blueprint to go by in order to construct the ottoman cover. I pretty much just winged it and made it up as I went along. That should be obvious by looking. If you're interested, these are the basic steps I took...
  1. Took measurements of everything 
  2. Laid the squares out on the footstool and/or floor, and played with placement... a lot
  3. Took a digital photos when I was satisfied with the arrangement so I wouldn't forget what went where
  4. Added extra rows of crochet around any of the squares that didn't match the others in size
  5. Measured everything again
  6. Bordered all of the squares with a row of single crochet stitches in off-white yarn
  7. Connected all the squares into top and side panels with more off-white yarn
  8. Connected the four side panels to the top panel, then I connected side panels to make corners
  9. Edged the bottom with as many rows of sc and hdc crochet as needed to get it the length I wanted
  10. Wove narrow elastic through the bottom edge of it so it would stay snugly in place yet still be easily removed for washing
I should add that I binge-watched every episode of every season of Den Store Strikkedyst that I could find while constructing this. I won't link to it as I don't know if it's even still available to watch anywhere. It's just like the Great British Bake Off. Except it's Danish. And it's about knitting. It's a competitive knitting reality TV show from Denmark. I think there were eight seasons of it. No subtitles. It was so awesome.

And that's my funky-random-ugly-yet-oddly-charming footstool cover.
I love it (and so do the cats).

Keepin' it cozy...

* not including the Cloche-hat/Basketball-cozy/Shopping-bag fiasco... as it's come to be known.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Mended Part is Stronger

...on my mind and on the mend...
Feeling anxious about the state of things still? Yeah, me too. This may sound silly but, it's been how many months into this, and even with many of the restrictions being lifted...  I'm feeling more isolated than ever. Doesn't make sense. A lot of things don't right now. Hence the anxiousness.

I try not to put lots of links in my blog posts anymore since it's frustrating to click on them later just to find that they no longer go anywhere. However. I'm going to link to a few things I've been reading (and putting into practice) the last couple of weeks that have been helpful for me. Perhaps, if you're feeling stressed out they will be of interest to you also. . .
The important thing about diffusing anxiety, is to take an active part in it — not just reading about what works... but working it. Is there something you do that helps you to focus, get calm, or breathe easier? Do please share in the comments! After all, different moods and different days often call for different approaches.
And just so this post is not entirely dependent on all that link-y goodness, I will talk about one of the things I've been doing to keep me grounded and a little more focused. Namely, mending. That's such a humble yet potent word isn't it? So many things can be mended: socks, sweaters, broken bones, broken hearts, relationships, rifts of all kinds. 

When you mend something, you bring the torn parts back together; you make it whole again. But even more than that, it becomes stronger where the mended part is. 

My old pajama top (pictured above), had lost its button a couple of times and each time I dutifully reattached it. The last time it happened, I noticed that the fabric under the button had ripped. I decided to mend it by sewing a sturdy patch over the torn place before sewing the button back on. Normally I'd try to blend the mend by matching the fabrics and thread as much as possible. That kind of attention to detail, while sometimes desirable, can also become a roadblock to finishing (which is the last thing I need more of). I decided that finished (and functional) is better than perfect, grabbed the nearest needle and thread, and got on with it. 

I rather like this particular mend: the thin soft cotton with its incongruously heavy little patch of denim sewn on with variegated thread. I was able to sew the button on securely and the pajamas were useful once again. I tend to like all the mends I do actually. They serve as reminders... memory markers... pats on the back... good feels... a sense of accomplishment and all that. It always feels good to fix things up.

When my pajamas are all buttoned up, the mended place is hardly even noticeable. I know it's there however, and I smile at the thought that the rest of the pajamas will eventually fall apart, but the mended place will still be strong as ever.

"Let us keep courage and try to be patient and gentle."  —Vincent van Gogh

...with ourselves and with each other, and in everything we do.