2020 30-Day Minimalism Challenge

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Adding a little magic to my knitting...

Life has suddenly become busy here.  It's a welcome change from the past few weeks that have felt sooooo sloooow as DH began his recovery and home-based physical therapy (PT) after knee replacement surgery in late June. 

He's doing really well, and this week he graduated to outpatient PT.  Fortunately, we don't have to drive to Indianapolis for these sessions (which was DH's original plan).  We live in a small town south of Indy that has a decent PT place just 5 minutes from our driveway - traffic is rarely an issue so it's a nice little stress-free drive.  While it is, of course, a pain (literally) for DH, it does provide for some nice little outings during the week.  I drop him off and have an hour and a quarter to myself three times a week, while he gets in a little social time that he craves. :)  Hey, sometimes you gotta take your fun where you can find it.

And the last few weeks we've also begun to make weekly trips again to DH's mom's house and "The Great Sort" continues.  I've brought home some pretty cotton fabrics that I hope to use to finish some cross stitch smalls with.  My MIL was a quilter extraordinare.  And a very fine seamstress.  If I can lay my hands on the photos of her many quilts (and church banners), I'll dedicate some posts here to showing them.

So with all that, my crafting this week has consisted of some easy projects.  Mostly, crocheting on my Leaps and Stripes  Leaping Stripes and Blocks blanket:
It's about half-finished at this point.

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And I've been knitting some fun dishcloths from left-over cotton yarns I combined into "magic balls".   


Pattern (which is great for variegateds) can be found here.

Mostly, I've joined the different yarns with a braided join, but for some reason these joins have a real knack for ending up on the edges of the cloth, and that can make for some wonky edges when knitting with worsted weight cotton.  So I may not bother with the braided join every time.  Rather, I may just wind the balls and leave the ends loose and weave/sew them in later.   At least I'll still enjoy how the colors change in a ball of wound-up mixed colors - which has this "magic" way of speeding along the knitting.  You gotta find the magic where you can too...  ;^)

And I end up with fun, colorful cloths with otherwise throw-away lengths of cotton yarn.



And that's a win!






Sunday, July 19, 2020

I've found it!

After a month or more of slogging past my craft room, sighing, feeling like I'd lost something akin to my left arm (not my right arm, mind you, but still... my left arm would be a pretty big thing to lose), I'm happy to report that I think I've located my motivation again!  Motivation for a number of things, but since this post is about crafting, I'll keep it on topic.

Now...   I don't think I've gone to sleep lately thinking of color combinations and what new project I want to make (which I used to do), but I'm back in the groove of wanting yarn flowing between my fingers.  It feels natural again.   I don't mean to exaggerate, but honestly...  I don't think, since I've picked up crocheting again over the last 10 years or so, and learned to knit, have I felt so close to just stopping altogether.  I considered what it would feel like to just give all my yarn away, and I actually imagined it might feel good.  I was sure I wouldn't regret it if I did.  Thinking those thoughts would pass, though, I didn't do anything rash, but having the experience was a new one for me (regarding yarn).  And while the slog part wasn't pleasant, the feeling I could give it all away and not regret it was refreshing.  Relieving, even...

Anyway...  that's a glimpse into my recent, let's call it, COVID-brain episode.  I'm feeling motivated to "needle craft" again.  So let's talk about that.  😊

Sometime in the not too distant past, when Marsha (Lefty Crafter) was making a gift of white dishcloths for someone, I was inspired to consider a mammoth skein of white kitchen cotton I had lingering in a drawer and thought how much I'd like cloths made of it.  I really like large (like 10 inches or larger) washcloths for my face and body, so some months back I set out to knit my way through that skein and see how many large cloths I could get out it.  But interest waned. And, actually, I forgot about it.  I finally uncovered it, and picked that project back up this week, and by yesterday I had finished a total of nine cloths (having finished about half of those some months earlier).



It's not a particularly flashy project, but it's another WIP finished and another skein gone from my stash!



And then there were these:


This week I also finished the tedious task of weaving in ends of  12 or so already crocheted Maybelle Flower squares that had been lingering for... I don't know...  at least a couple of years.  Now that I've gotten my hands back on it, I think I'm going to try to move this project along by doing some version of Join As You Go.  

At the moment, I'm thinking of joining squares vertically into strips until I have a blanket-width's worth of strips joined together, then finish the project by joining the squares horizontally.  A big project, that will likely take me many months yet to finish, but I think seeing it grow will be more inspiring to me than just watching the squares accumulate - knowing that some day I'm going to have to join them. 


And that's all she wrote!






Sunday, July 12, 2020

Just a little thing...


Trying to break through some mental inertia over crafting, I decided this week to crochet something small.  After last week's post I felt like reintroducing myself to the book, 99 Little Doilies and I picked a simple-looking one to make.  Being nearly half way through this month, I decided to finally embrace Christmas in July and went digging through my threads to see if I had anything Christmassy.  It's as simple as this...  My size 10 threads were in a box that would have required removing boxes from on top of it.  My size 3 threads were easily accessible, so I did what required the least amount of energy.  I reached in, grabbed me some red size 3 thread, found the right sized hook, and I was off.

It didn't take long to finish this little number - literally, it's called 85 in the book:  


I've taken it upon myself to rename these doilies, as I think if one goes to the trouble of making something, it surely deserves a respectable name.  So, I'm calling this one Little Red Motivator.  

Honestly, it didn't really fix my waning crojo, but the name is hopeful.  

Tomorrow's supposed to be a beautiful day in the middle of lots of miserably hot (and/or humid) days on either side.  A couple of friends are coming over and the plan is to sit outside and craft a bit while we visit.  I'm so looking forward to it.  

My job today is to pick out a project (maybe get started on it) that I can easily take outside and work on.  Something that doesn't require a lot of concentration or looking back and forth between project and pattern.  That probably eliminates a doily.  And something that won't make me hot.  So no blanket.  

I'll give it some thought and hopefully next week I'll have made some progress on something else!  😉







Sunday, July 5, 2020

It's A New Year! Of projects...




While officially this is the beginning of YOP Year 10, it will be my 6th year of participating with this great group of bloggers.  Since some of my readers are not Year of Projects participants, though, I'll take a moment to explain this thing I post about most every Sunday.

On Ravelry, there is this group called Year Of Projects where the participants make it their intention to share and document their creative pursuits via their blogs for a whole year.  The original participants chose to have their YOP year run from July 1st through June 30th of the following year, and that format continues to this day.  That said, a few YOPers choose to use a calendar year for their YOPing.  It works for them and that's cool.   'Nuff said on that, I think.  If you're curious about possibly participating yourself, check out the group on Ravelry.  

A few years ago I ceased creating an annual list of projects I would work on and now each July I just launch myself into the new YOP year with little concern about what I might actually end up making over the next twelve months.

But as this new YOP year begins, I thought I'd use this first post to survey my WIPs for the sake of considering whether I want to focus on any (or all) of them during upcoming YOP year.  

Starting from oldest to newest:

My BAM CAL (Block of the Month Crochet-A-Long) blanket:

I started this project back in 2017.  The idea is to crochet one (0r two) squares each month, and in a year's time one has enough squares to finish a whole blanket.  The last square I finished was in 2019.  You can see from this picture I've made approximately 2 squares a year, so if I want a blanket made of 20 squares (4 x 5), I'm on schedule to finish this blanket in the year...  2027!  I really should apply myself to this more - or maybe decide to make a smaller blanket...


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Next is my Maybelle Flower Garden blanket:

I also started this project in 2017.  This blanket will be made up of squares that are a combination of the Maybelle Flower and the Rose Trellis Afghan square.  I have no idea how large or small I'll end up making this, nor do I have a plan for when I will finish this one, but I still love it so it remains in my WIPs collection.


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Next there is my 99 Little Doilies project.  I think it was in the summer of 2018 when I impetuously purchased a used copy of this book and after making a few of the doilies, I got the idea to maybe make them all.  



I still think that's a fun idea, but I haven't moved very far on it.   I've made five little doilies to date - so that puts this project on schedule to be finished in... let's see...  oh wow!  in 2043!  😲   If I manage to live that long, I doubt I'll still be crocheting, so I might want to get this project in gear or maybe just hold the idea of finishing it very loosely.  For now, it remains a sort of WIP.


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Leaping Stripes Blanket:

I began this in February of this year and it was put aside because I needed to buy more yarn.  Yarn is now purchased, so I have no good reason to not start working on this project again.  Should be completed shortly - hopefully.


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Linen & Threads 2020 Mystery SAL (Stitch-A-Long):  
I'm choosing to make this as a Nod-to-COVID-19 piece.  A section of this is published each month (which started in January).  I started this project late, and am even more behind now, but I have a feeling COVID-19 will be with us long after the complete Mystery SAL pattern is published, so I feel no need to keep on a tight schedule stitching this. I do hope to have it finished by the time a trusted vaccine is made available.  The optimists say that's maybe early-mid 2021.  The pessimists (or maybe they're the realists) would tell me not to worry.  I have plenty of time to finish this project.


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I will, of course, tend to ignore some of these WIPs and make whatever strikes my fancy whenever my fancy is struck.  For now, these projects hold enough appeal that they will stay on my well-intentioned WIPs list.

And that, dear reader, is how I roll with my Year of Projects project.  Some might call it "loosey-goosey.  I like to think of it as spontaneous.  😉

Check back next week to see if I've made any progress on anything!   You just never know what may show up here.