Sidelined : (

I have been sidelined from needlework!  I have arthritis in both thumbs that has plagued me for a number of years.  A twice a year cortisone shot in both thumbs when the pain gets bad has done wonders and has kept me happily crafting.

Since moving I’ve had to find a new orthopedist and two weeks ago had injections once again due to severe pain.  Two weeks later I’m still in overwhelming pain.  And because of that I can’t knit, crochet or needlepoint.  Needlework is what I’ve always done.  In the evenings while watching TV I most often have something in my hands I’m working on.  On long car drives if I’m not the driver I take something along. So, needless to say, I’m not a happy camper.  And I’m wondering what is next for these thumbs of mine. I have another orthopedic appointment on March 9th so we will see.

In the meantime my post will be about other things.  For instance:

This morning driving to work in a snowy white world I am reminded of how much I have experienced and grown in the last few months here in Nevada.

We moved here during the summer with temperatures in the 100s.  Today it is a cool 27 degrees.  A really cool 27 degrees.  In this last week we’ve had winds of 70 mph or more, torrential rain, sunshine and an overnight snowfall of 11.5 inches.  Coming from Napa in northern California this is quite a shock. I’m told that the winters are not normally this severe.  We will see when next winter comes next year.  But, at this point you have to wonder when you wake up day after day with changing weather if we may not just continue with winter the rest of the year.  I’m kidding of course but you kind of have to wonder.

However, we are not the only ones socked in with extreme conditions.  News reports show that my home state of California is so inundated with rain that the ground in some areas are giving way. After years of drought the ground just can’t absorb it fast enough.  California also has spillways that have not been used in years seeing an overpowering amount of water and causing one to break.  We/they need the moisture so badly but I feel like the ground needs a break to catch up.  Where my son lives 14,000 people have been evacuated because of flooding.  Where my daughter lives they had so much hail yesterday that it looked like snow. This extreme weather unfortunately has kept me from a few visits to see my kids in California.  So, I’m hoping and praying that this ends soon and is not as bad next winter.

Coming from a place that doesn’t see snow I have learned how to adapt to snow.  Its’ cold, I don’t like being cold. So now, I have a wool coat, lots of gloves, scarves and a brand new pair of snow boots.

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The first few snowy days my partner drove me to work. Now I feel very comfortable driving myself.  My little copper penny HHR does surprisingly well in snow and ice I’ve found.  Although, with a 10-15 minute drive to work the heater doesn’t fully get going until I pull into a parking place at work.  So on any given weekday morning you’ll find me in my office at my desk with a portable heater under my desk trying to get some warmth into this body. I’ve also shoveled snow, slipped around on ice and have found some little tricks to make taking off for work a little easier.  FYI: fill a tube sock with cat litter, tie it off, place it up on your dashboard at the window and forget about the inside of your window frosting up. It works!

I’ve also found joy in the little foot prints the rabbits make out in the snow.  So adorable!

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It’s all new, exciting, scary sometimes but overall I’m so happy to be here.  Let me just say that I will be so happy when I can hang my wool coat back in the closet, put my gloves and scarves away and don some flip-flops!  What a day that will be.

So, for now we bundle up, give my hands a rest until I see the doctor again and dream of stitching.

 

Stitch on my friends!!

 

Tracy

Busy Bee at work

If you have been reading my blog for long you know I struggle with finishing projects.  I get so excited about something new I want to make that I often times drop the current project to start another. Thus, too many projects half done to count.  Over the last month, however, I have managed to finish a couple projects (see On Pins and Needles post). I’ve also started and finished a couple projects and have one on the way to completion.

I cam across a cute unicorn crochet pattern from a site called Little Yarn Friends. I posted it on Facebook and said something like “I want to make this simply because it’s so adorable”. Which it is: tumblr_m53spxzhzu1r9eyk1

My brother said he would like one in Frankenstein colors with stitches and everything. So….. challenge accepted.

I was trying to decide if this little guy should be called Frankencorn or Unistein or something else.  But, when my brother received his little box in the mail with this guy in it he called it “Baron Hoofenstein, Undead Unicorn”. I like it.  He is definitely the more creative of us two  : )

Another little project was some crochet cabin boot slippers.  My brother shared it on Facebook and my daughter said she wanted some.  So…. I got out some flip flops, and aul, yarn and crochet hook and made these for her.

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The pattern comes from a website called Make and Do Crew. If you like crochet, they are worth checking out.  Anyway, what makes these slippers nice is that you use a pair of flip-flops to make the sole.  That way if you need to you can wear them outside.  I used Lion Brand Thick and Quick in the color Hudson Bay and buttons from one of my mom’s button boxes.  The flip-flops I got for $2 at Old Navy.  Oddly enough the first boot went really well and really easy but the second one I struggled with.  I think the reason for that is there is a right and left so it was a little difficult to get my head wrapped around the direction for the second one.  Anyway, put them in the mail on Thursday this week and my daughter got them yesterday so I can finally publish this post : )  She loves them by the way!

I just got back from Michael’s where I picked up some yarn (as if I don’t have enough) for a scarf project.  I’ll talk more about that later as it is a gift for my sweetheart.  And, I have promised myself I’ll finish up the needlepoint I’m working on before I start it.  More on the needlepoint in my next post.  I’ll just say it’s nearly finished and couldn’t be happier to be able to get it done soon.  Where I like the design I’m not overly fond of working with Persian wool.  So, to get it done would make me really, really happy!

So, off to a birthday party at a place where you paint and drink wine….what a great way to spend the afternoon.

Have a lovely rest of the weekend and do something creative!!!

Your stitching friend,

Tracy

 

 

On pins and needles

December 23rd and I am anxiously waiting for my children to get here.  Of course, they have not even left Napa yet but they’ll be leaving soon.  I try not to look at the weather reports showing snow and promising a couple feet of snow.  We’re not really used to the snow but I am quickly getting there.  However, the kids don’t do much driving in it in fair weather Napa Valley. As you can imagine there is a stark difference between there and here in Reno, NV.

I think you get the idea.

So I wait…..and worry….

I will be so happy when they are here.

Finished Projects

I am pretty stoked about my recent activity in stitching. I have finished two projects. The first one is a knitted in Caron Cakes  in purple hues.  I found out about Caron Cakes through The Crochet Crowd. The pattern is on the site as well but I found it on the band of the Caron Cakes I bought. Two skeins is all it took and it was really enjoyable to make.  If you would like to give it a try you can find the pattern here Triangle Shawl. Very easy even if you are a beginning knitter.

 

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Another project I finished was a crochet Corner to Corner throw. I used some Red Heart yarn that was my mom’s. She had an abundance of it so I thought that it would be great for this.  It was a little more advanced but not by much.  If you know how to chain, single crochet and double crochet you’ll do well with this.

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As you can see I had a “shades of purple” thing going on.  Something I discovered about my unfinished (now finished) projects.  Both were at the halfway point when I put them down.  Hmmm….. a pattern I see here.  Pun intended!  What was nice though is that because they both were basically corner to corner when I picked them up to finish them I was on the decreasing end of things so they finished up pretty quick. I’m pretty please with the end result and with myself for actually finishing some things up.

However, in a previous post I talked about Crafter’s Math  which if you have read that you know I’m not very good at math.  So…I have started a new project. Of course!  I won’t say what it is but will post a picture or two after Christmas as it is a gift.

Time to sign off and go to the window to check for the kids again. Safe travels to all who are traveling this holiday and to those who moms are waiting on.

happy-holidays

With love from your stitching friend ~Tracy

 

 

 

New Beginnings

I have been thinking a lot lately about new beginnings.  The last couple months have seen a lot of new beginnings, fresh starts, etc from the people I love.  A big one for myself involved moving from California to Nevada.  Two weeks in and I know it was meant to be.  I’ve been through some “fresh starts” only to find out it wasn’t everything I thought is should be.  This is different.  It feels comfortable, natural and wonderful. Everything leading to this moment just fell into place so easily.  It was truly amazing.  I’m not the only one who has had some new beginnings.  My son has graduated from fire academy and has accepted a position in another city.  His boyfriend also accepted a position with a major company in California. Now they have a home together.  Some big changes for those two right there. My oldest has a new apartment, new routines and is doing so well. I am so happy for her.  My youngest of the three graduated from high school in June and will start college this month in Nevada.  Big changes!  I, myself, started a new job at the university here.  That was a hard one for me.  I left Napa to move to Reno to be with my fiance, but in the process had to leave some people that left indelible footprints on my heart from my previous job. And  I left behind family and friends that I really enjoy being with. I will find ways to keep in touch with everyone but am happy to say after one week at my new position I know I work with a great bunch of people.

What got me started thinking of new beginnings is a crochet project I’m working on.  My daughter’s friend Michael and his wife are expecting their first baby. Big, wonderful new beginning for them. We have known Michael for many years so I thought I would make a baby blanket for the little guy, Baby G. I started knitting one in a really pretty mint green but then on one of the many drives between Napa and Reno during the move I decided to go in a different direction.  Michael and his wife are huge Dodger fans.  So, I put the mint green blanket aside and picked up some white and royal blue Caron Simply Soft yarn to make a star blanket.

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It is the Crochet Star Afghan from The Crochet Crowd.  I have been following them on Facebook and they really have a wonderful variety of patterns. This one you can make any size you like.  So, beyond a baby blanket it could be made big enough for an adult. I’m enjoying this pattern. After about five rows I didn’t need to look at a pattern anymore so this has been a nice project while watching the Olympics.

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And so it grows.  The yarn is so soft and I really like how the star is turning out.  A star blanket for the little star of their lives.  Baby G is due in September so I have some time but am hoping to finish it up this week. That way my daughter can take it to the baby shower.

New beginnings, big changes, fresh starts…  We have them throughout our lives. Some seem scary at first but end up being some of the best things in our lives.  I hope your new beginnings are filled with excitement and growth!

Keep on stitching through it all!

Tracy

 

Granny Squares

One of the first things I learned how to crochet was a granny square.  If you learn how to chain, single crochet and then double crochet the next obvious step is the granny square.  There is so much you can do with a basic granny square.   I remember my mom and her neighbor making afghans, vests, hats…all kinds of things.  We had an afghan that I think one of my grandmothers made that was made from granny squares.  The squares were all different colors but the last row was black and they were crocheted together with black.  I haven’t thought about that blanket in a long time and suddenly am wondering what ever happened to it. Hmmm.

Anyway, nostalgia aside, I really do like granny squares.  So, I picked up some fisherman’s wool and a size G crochet hook and made a shrug.  Whether you are an experienced crocheter or a novice you can make this shrug.  It’s one big granny square.  I love the way it turned out.

I made mine about 40″ across.  Just a big old square.

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Step 1-Make a big granny square

Then I took that granny square and folded it in half right sides together.

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Step 2- Fold in half, right sides together

I sewed up the short sides from the corners at the open end to about half way up leaving room for the armholes.  I then opened it up and did a double crochet border around the larger opening and around each of the armholes to make a nice finished look.

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Step 3 – Open up and crochet a double crochet edge around the large opening and the armholes.

There you have it.  A granny square shrug.  I really like it and with it being as cold as it has been lately this will be great.  I think it will work well right into spring.

Try making one for yourself.  Any worsted weight yarn will work.  Do it in a solid color like I did or use up some of those scraps of yarn for a colorful addition to your wardrobe.  You’ll be happy you did.

 

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Once again, thank you for checking out my blog.  I’d love to see any shrugs you have made or anything with a granny square for that matter.  Just post a link in the comment section so myself and others can check out your work.

As always, Stitch On!

Sunday Morning Crocheting

I woke up this morning to a wet world.  Every bit of rain we get here in California makes me happy.  All we’ve heard for the past couple years is the word “drought”.  So, waking up to the sound of rain in the night or a wet patio in the morning thrills me.  It also made for a cozy time of crocheting this morning.  It’s not often this apartment is quiet but this morning I found the living room blissfully peaceful.  So, with coffee, biscuit with honey and my yarn and hook in hand I curled up in our big squishy chair and settled in for some crocheting.  I contemplated putting on the television or some music but sometimes I just like the meditative act of crocheting.  The steady movement of the hook working with the yarn can be quite soothing and helps me to think.  So, this morning I did just that.  It was wonderful.  Those moments are few and far between but I do take advantage of them when I can.

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Candace

My companion on this chilly morning was Candace, one of our tortoiseshell cats.  She is lovely and so very sweet.  She lets me crochet for a while and then gives me a look and meow to tell me that it’s time for her to cuddle up.  She is indeed like a little baby sometimes.  One of her favorite places is snuggled up in my arms against my chest.  She’s a nervous cat and is usually fidgety when she’s laying on me.  She kneads me… and needs me.

We got Candace when she was nine months old.  She’s a rescue cat that we adopted from a place here in Napa called Whiskers, Tails and Ferals.  Because we had adopted our first Tortie (aptly named Tortie) they waved the adoption fee for her.  She came chipped, vaccinated, and spayed just like Tortie.  At the adoption center she was very scared and wouldn’t let me touch her.  In fact I really had doubts as to whether she would be a good fit for us.  We knew if we were going to adopt again that we would need a cat that would be a good companion for Tortie and would be able to get used to an active household. It did take some time but she has turned out to be such a little lover. Still a little skittish but overall a really beautiful addition to our family.  On January 5th we’ll have had her for three years.

This morning as I was taking a break from crocheting I was thinking about how we got her and I know that there are so many cats our there that need homes.  I could easily be that “crazy cat lady” because I would love to give them all homes.  But, two is enough.

If you have ever entertained the thought of getting a cat there are many places out there that adopt out cats.  Below are some links to some good resources.  I hope you’ll find them helpful.

Petfinder – National adoption website

Whiskers, Tails and Ferals – Napa –  If you are in the Napa, CA area

Furry Friends Rescue – Dedicated to the rescue, sanctuary and adoption of companion animals

Petco  and Pet Food Express – Both have adoption events

I hope you’ll check out these links and consider adoption or even fostering an animal until they can be adopted.  You’ll be happy you did!

And so I leave you with Candace.  Candace 11-15-15

As always Stitch On!!  And if you can do it with a cat…all the better!

Autumn Crochet

I love this season.  Fall is my favorite time of year.  The air gets cooler, leaves change colors and trees drop their leaves.  Pumpkins, apples, crockpots and hot cider. This is also, when I love making items in fall inspired colors.

I found this quick little project for fingerless gloves.  I love the stripes in the pattern but wanted something in a single color.  The Stripey Mitts are so cute so I thought I’d give it a shot.  I think they turned out really nice.  I used Lionbrand Heartland.  One skein is all it took and 14 buttons.  I made one of them last Sunday and finished the other one today. Quick, easy and will be really nice for work.  My office inside the warehouse gets pretty chilly.  These will keep my achy hands toasty.

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Looking forward to wearing these tomorrow.

Next project: I’ve been seeing a lot of different granny square shrugs.  It seems to me granny squares are making a comeback.  So, I’m jumping on that bandwagon to make a shrug out of fisherman’s wool.  Not sure how long it will take.  Today is the start of Nanowrimo and I’m participating in that.  Check it out.  If you are a writer or would-be writer Nanowrimo might be the thing that gets you motivated.  So, maybe I’ll have this shrug made in time for Fall 2016.  Who knows.  I’ll post my progress and hopefully a pattern.

Thanks for reading and Stitch On!

Tracy

To Market to Market

It may be the same in your town as Napa in that we can no longer use plastic bags.  When you go to the store you must bring your own bags or pay around  10 cents for a paper bag.  I’ve got several store canvas bags but through some encouragement from a friend I decided to try making some. This is the result:

Crocheted Market Bags
Crocheted Market Bags

I’m really please at the way they turned out.  They are made from knitting worsted and are actually three different patterns.  I really like the purple one the best as it has a rectangular bottom instead of starting from a circle.

Once upon a time I had an Etsy store.  Not exactly sure why I abandoned it but I got that up and running today.  You can visit it at: www.etsy.com/shop/TracysinStitches

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