Button Joy Reflected

Amy Rose Davis has Button Joy! She’s been a crafting manic lately, and found a buttony treasure during a big spring clean, spurring my own recollections of Button Joy. Now, I’m a bit of a button hoarder. Nothing serious. I just have a big jar of buttons. And I can blame it all on one person.

I grew up learning to sew from my paternal grandmother, and maternal great grandmother. They are pretty much the reason why I can sew and crochet, and have done so since the time I could wield a needle or hook. My grandmother was an amazing seamstress, and I think it was her careful eye which led me to be able to draft patterns however I want. I’m not exceptional at it, but if I want to make myself a pair of pants or a new skirt, I don’t need to buy a pattern for it, I will just draw one up and modify it as I go.

My great grandmother was an avid crocheter, though. Not only that, but she kept a jar of buttons; the jar which I inherited upon her death. Some of these buttons are very old, gorgeous wooden things or cast metal. Others are newer, some match, some never will. I’ve used buttons from this jar in my sewing for years; anything from teddy’s clothes, to replacing a popped button from a shirt.

But the truly remarkable thing about my jar of buttons is the smell. This seems a common theme among those with Button Joy. Open it up and stick your nose is, and I swear, it smells exactly like my great grandmother’s house, all these years later. It’s surreal and evocative. It’s the scent of a yarn collection, and her endless cooking, and whatever little things made the house so distinctive. Her moisturiser and make-up. Her perfume.

My jar of buttons sits on my computer desk, tucked into the shelf in front of me. It’s just the convenient place to keep it; accessible, yet out of the way. But it’s also a lovely connection to a woman who meant so much and taught me many wonderful things. I like buttons. Treasures from the past.

~A

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Crochet to the left!

Crochet to the right! I’ve been a busy little stitcher! And finally, a collection of projects has been completed, so now I can share photos of the crocheting that has kept me sane in between the madness of editing. Go ahead and click any of the images for a larger view!

First, is a really super snuggly knee rug or baby blanket. The green yarn is very soft, bulky and fuzzy. This was made with a v-stitch, then just single crochet for the border in a lovely variegated blue yarn.

The next knee rug or baby blanket is made from pale and dark blue bamboo/cotton blended yarn, with a segment of grey yarn for contrast. It is SO soft and has a really nice weight to it. This is just a standard granny square pattern, repeated until I was out of the bamboo yarn.

Carrot baby set! This baby beanie was requested by a friend, made with cute little curly carrot leaves. I whipped up the little carroty shaped bib to go with it, because the idea was just too cute!

And lastly, for now, is the most ridiculously adorable thing I’ve ever made: a flopsie-eared bunny beanie. The pink yarn is very soft, with little glittery bits through it. I really love the brown and cream yarn. Honestly, brown is such a great colour for baby things, especially as it goes really well with bright, rainbow colours.

With these four pieces finished, I still have a whole pile of other crocheting to get through. Good thing it’s a great activity to keep my hands busy while I’m trying to puzzle through my writing – any time I get a bit stuck at the moment, I just pick up the crochet and work on it until I’ve thought through my problem. Awesome!

~A

Of baby things

My lovely friend, Katy-Rose recently welcomed her firstborn son into this wild and magical world. He’s a gorgeous little man, and I had the decided pleasure of crocheting a baby beanie for him!

Katy-Rose requested a Halloweeny pumpkin design, which I was so super excited to make. Not that I wouldn’t wear a pumpkin beanie myself, but I haven’t really had a reason to crochet any of the awesomely cute baby things, except my personal favourites: baby blankies.

So as a treat for my interested readers, who have been asking for photos of things since I started talking about my projects, here’s the hat I made!

All I really needed to do was look up online the best way to make the lines for the pumpkin body, and that turned out to be very simple! It was a flat rectangle, and you just crochet into the back loop for every row. Non-stitchers will probably think I’m speaking another language, and that’s okay. Trust me when I say this was a very, very easy thing to do (much simpler than many other things I’ve crocheted).

The leaf and curly-q designs were just invented as I went, crocheting whatever worked to make it look right. The curly-q is just a chain with single crochets all along, and it curls naturally. Making the pumpkin shaped leaf was fairly basic, since I just kept adding stitches until it matched the photos I was working from of actual pumpkin leaves!

I’ll hopefully get some other pieces finished soon, and take photos to share!

~A

“Might as well”

What a funny little phrase that is. Might as well. Shortened down from, “I had might as well-”, which would then include an action. Used when we see something that ought to be done, and we should just do it now and get it sorted out. Of course, it’s not always a negative context, nor is it necessarily something we want to avoid, but the choice to do it there and then is dependent on another contextual aspect.

This weekend was dedicated as a solid attempt at finishing a whole lot of projects all at once. This, of course, was a very ambitious plan and nothing was completed, but a lot of pieces got plenty of progress. Amazing what happens when you stay off the internet for a while, eh?

Tonight had a lot of ‘might as well’s included in my efforts to complete that work. When you’re crocheting, it comes up a lot, actually. See, there’s only a small amount left in the ball of yarn, so might as well keep going until it’s run out. Oh, there’s not much left of this row, might as well just finish it. That went so quickly, I’d might as well just do another row.

Maybe it’s just me that this happens to so frequently, but the more I consider it, the more I see how often I really do add to my tasks with a ‘might as well’. Made a batch of sushi? Might as well bake some cookies while I’m in the kitchen. Writing a blog post and think of another subject to talk about? Might as well jot down the outline while it’s in my mind. Out grocery shopping? Might as well stop in and get that other thing I need. Driving by Nanna’s place? Might as well drop in and see her while we’re out that way. Writing a novella? Might as well write eight. Okay, that one is an exaggeration, but only barely.

I think it has something to do with perceived efficiency. If you’re in the position to take care of something when you’re already there and not otherwise busy, it saves you from having to organise that trip, action, or effort at a later date, or makes sure you don’t forget something. In other cases, it can be one of those really sly, clever procrastination techniques. The ones that are perfectly legitimate, and you’re being productive in one area, but you’re simultaneously putting off work on something else.

As for tonight, and indeed this whole weekend, it was just me trying really hard to get a bunch of unfinished things finally completed. Right now, I’m eyeing off my notebook, honestly thinking, “Might as well write a little bit while I’m not doing anything else.”

~A

The great crochet of 2011

I’ve definitely been obsessed with yarns lately. I blame the local major craft store for having delicious, delicious sales. Now that we’re moving into summer, the popularity of knitting and such will probably dwindle, plus, we’ll be getting in all the new season stock from the Northern Hemisphere eventually. Whatever the case, I saw all those wonderful, super soft colours and fluffy yarns and had to get them!

Speaking of obsessions, I am of the absolute firm belief that you can never have to many blankets. Bedspreads, knee blankets or snuggly rugs; if it is warm and soft, you should probably have it, or gift it to someone else. Indeed, since I carry rugs in my car (just in case!), I’ve even given one to a homeless man.

Of course, put these two things together, and I am crocheting a whole lot of blankets. A couple of smaller ones for family with babies, and a couple of larger ones to give as Christmas gifts, even though giving a rug as a present in the middle of summer would likely strike someone as especially odd.

The first of the larger blankets is made from “random” coloured squares sewn together. As much as I am loving the results already, this is pretty complicated and takes a lot of attention. I wrote out the pattern to follow (random is never as random as you think), and have to tick each segment off as I’m done. It’s going to look super awesome when it’s finished, but I will also be kind of relieved when I don’t have to think so hard about it.

The second larger blanket will just be a standard repeating pattern in the squares, though I am actually intending on rectangles. We’ll see how that goes. In general, stitching the same pattern for each segment will make that one a lot simpler to work on. I’m also looking forward to that one in a ridiculous way; I have some gorgeous fawn and rainbow coloured yarns to use, and cannot WAIT to see the result!

And yes, I’m crocheting more than I’m writing, but you can be assured that I’m getting words out every day! It might not quite qualify as my marathon just yet, but I’m pleased with the progress nevertheless.

~A