Crocheting My Way to California - Part 5

The Great Wall of Yarn

If I say that I tried to build a wall of yarn around myself after we decided to move, you would probably think it was a figure of speech.  You would be wrong.  I took over an entire couch.  I had yarn stacked on both sides of me, at my feet, and on the coffee table.  I was trying to keep reality, and people, at bay.

It started with this great book my sister got me for Christmas.  Boho Crochet:  30 Hip and Happy Projects by Martingale. This is definitely a book for more experienced crocheters.  There are no diagrams.  Just written patterns.  The patterns also assume a certain amount of knowledge and experience.  Definitely not a beginner book, but very good for mid-level experience. 

Inside is a pattern for a really cute pillow cover with chevrons in many different colors. I had enough leftover yarn from other projects to make it work.  I just had to buy more of the field color.  For that, I chose Vanna's Choice in Oatmeal.  I really like working with this yarn.  It's inexpensive, soft, and very easy to work with. 

I took no notes or pictures as I worked on these.  There just wasn't room in my head for the fear, anxiety, earthquakes, packing, cleaning, earthquakes, and taking pictures

I did two chevron pillow covers first.  It took me four or five rows to get the hang of changing colors and carrying so many strands through each row.  This is not the type of project you can just throw in your bag and carry around with you.  It takes quite a bit of work and space to keep the strands from getting tangled and mixed up.  Obviously, learning this incredibly vital life skill was much more important than anything else I had going on.

I also seriously underestimated how much of the field color I needed.  I went to Joann's and AC Moore about every other day.  After all, what else did I have to do with my time?  Those trips were my only little forays into the world.  Sometimes one store.  Sometimes the other.  Just for a little variety.  Other than the things I absolutely had to do to take care of my boys, this was my only interaction with the world for about a month.  I was helped along by the snow and bad weather.  A foot or two of snow on the ground can help you justify almost anything. 

In all honesty, with the amount of yarn I had piled around me, it was almost too dangerous to leave the couch.  Almost...

I started to run out of the field color as I reached then end of the second cover, so I tried to just wing it with what I had to make the button holes.  I'm not thrilled with the way it turned out.  As you can see, it was not as successful as the first cover.  But, I was out of the field color and it was snowing (a legitimate 30" of snow in one day).  It works.

Well, the thing is, I had four throw pillows and only two pillow covers done.  Obviously, that's a serious problem that needed to be solved.  Who cares about the moving company, school calendars, and fixing up the house.  I had a very real problem to solve.  And I did.  I kept on crocheting.  I decided to try granny square covers this time.  I didn't want four of the same thing.  Plus, juggling four balls of yarn on each row was getting a little old. 

The colors and yarn are the same on all four pillows.  I didn't buy anything new - just kept on working with what I had.  These covers have buttons as well.  Since the granny covers have a little bit of a 70's vibe, I got some awesome 70's buttons at Joann's.  It was a big decision.  I think I spent about thirty minutes trying to make up my mind.  Boxes?  Real estate agents? Moving dates?  Seriously people!  I have buttons to select.

I made four panels and then stitched them together with a row of single crochet.  All four panels are different. 

I like the look of the covers and the boys like them because they're softy.  They like anything softy. 

In the end, we moved.  It happened despite ignoring everything and doing as little possible to help.  It happened.  The moving company showed up with boxes.  I did do some house projects in the couple of weeks before we left.  That's about it.

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What I am thankful for...

The help and support that I received from so many people.  The awesome military moms that gave me advice about helping my son transfer schools.  The bus stop moms that gave me hugs, moral support, and some great lunches out.  These amazing women helped me so much and made the move much easier.  It was so hard to leave them.  Damn them for being so awesome.

My phenomenal parents did so much with the boys and around the house - despite being just about as upset abut the move as I was.  None of this would have been possible without them.  Now I'm working on a peace offering for my mom.  This helped me get in the car and go on an adventure for Father's Day.  I could think about this instead of everything else.

My sister provided so much moral support from afar - for me, and my parents.  She had the hardest job of all.

My boys kept right on going and didn't miss a beat.  They are resilient, confident, and adventurers at heart.  I'm so proud of them.

My husband.  It's all his fault.  But, I'm proud of him.  As soon as he told me that he had been approached about an interview, I knew it was all over.  He was nervous and doubtful.  I wasn't.  I know he is brilliant and phenomenal at what he does.  Of course he would get his dream job.  He earned it.  It's all his fault.

All of these people helped me.  If I didn't have my family, these amazing women, and crochet projects, I would have crawled into bed, pulled the covers over my head, and stayed there.  Believe it or not, I had to make a conscious decision to get up, get the boys to school, and then sit on the couch and crochet.  Even that was hard.  Mind over matter to keep myself out of bed.  It's not logical.  It doesn't make sense.  It's not something that I can even explain.  But I did it.

In California, we have a yard.  I do have other talents, you know...

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Crocheting My Way to California - Part 3

Garden Blanket

As I was looking around for anything to do not related to moving - the world ending - or packing - the world ending again - a lightbulb came on.  I decided to make a garden blanket inspired by California.  

 I started this in Virginia, worked on it through out our whole journey, and finished it in California.

I started this in Virginia, worked on it through out our whole journey, and finished it in California.

I was basically trying to think as many positive thoughts about the move as I possibly could.  Trying not to think:  earthquakes…California is as far away from Virginia as we can go without falling into the ocean…earthquakes…  You know, things like that.  What positive thoughts could I have about California?  Flowers!  Yes!  Bright, colorful, happy flowers.  Whatever I ended up with, it would involve flowers.  

One great idea led to another.  I decided to use up some of the scraps and remnants of yarn in my stash.  It gave me a project to work on and would use what I already had.  I wouldn’t have to buy anything.  

Perfect plan, right?  Just start making flowers with scraps and turn them into something.  As you can see, I’ve had a little trouble thinking past the big picture that my life is turning upside down.  I started approaching my crochet the same way I did the move.  One tiny little step at a time.  Make flowers.  Turn them into something.  Ready, set, go… 

 Organized Chaos

Organized Chaos

My first attempt didn't turn out very well - at all.  The flowers grew into granny squares and then into a blanket.  I used a very bright, almost neon green.  I used it for the leaves and granny squares.   It was so overwhelming and flat.  I absolutely hated it.  It was hideous.  (I’ve been struggling with the positive thoughts, just a little bit.)  I ended up frogging most of it and redoing the squares.  

I kept all of the flowers I had already made and added a few more.  I made a bunch of flowers.  Twelve to be precise.  I used patterns from lots of different places.  

 Bright, colorful, happy flowers.

Bright, colorful, happy flowers.

As I started pulling everything together, I was thinking about my niece, who is 18 moths old and curious about everything.  I started to think about adding some animals to complete the garden. I thought she would enjoy finding little hidden treasure in the flowers.

 The boys and I took this blanket out on one our walks and took some photographs.

The boys and I took this blanket out on one our walks and took some photographs.

I worked on this as the movers were packing up our house.  I sat at the kitchen table with my survival pack…Jane Austen and a bag of crochet.  It was everything I could do to keep it together.

Ignore the men with boxes.  Read.  Crochet.  Ignore.  Repeat... 

All four greens that I ended up using are Caron Simply Soft.  I love this yarn.  It is so soft and easy to work with.  It also isn’t very expensive.  It fits right in my comfort zone for workability and price.  I used the join as you go method that I learned in _____ to pull all of the squares together.  

The edging was completely guess work.   I just kept adding rows using the same colors I used in the flowers.  It's a ripple made out of single crochet in the back loop.

The dragonfly and butterfly patterns were from ______

I found the bumble bee on line at _____

 I almost stopped with the butterfly and dragonfly.  I wanted to get it in the mail, but I just couldn't do it.  It needed the bumblebee to feel finished.

I almost stopped with the butterfly and dragonfly.  I wanted to get it in the mail, but I just couldn't do it.  It needed the bumblebee to feel finished.

As I was making the animals, I thought about my niece finding little surprises hidden among the flowers. 

 Doesn't she look like the type of girl that will have fun with a garden blanket?

Doesn't she look like the type of girl that will have fun with a garden blanket?

The boys made cards and we packed everything up.  We sent it to her with lots of love.  It was a struggle for me to get through to the end, but it soothed my nerves and helped me to focus on positive thoughts about flowers, opportunity, and my precious niece.  I hope it can soothe her and bring her some joy.

A Little Something For Myself

Fall is in the air! I haven't written anything in a while because we have been outside riding bikes, playing baseball, and doing anything else we can outdoors. The weather has been glorious! Cool mornings and evenings, sunny, warm afternoons. We were even able to sneak in a little apple picking this past weekend...

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My fingers have been flying through Pinterest looking for apple recipes.  Last year, I tried to be healthy and make applesauce.  The boys hated it because the texture wasn't the same as what comes out of the jar.  So, I figure why fight it.  We are going to make apple pie and maybe another dessert...or two.

The trees are really just beginning to change, but there are so many ways that fall colors shine.  I have some orange and green yarn in the drawer.  I may be getting inspired for a new project...

Even though school has started, we've had a few colds, and we've been spending as much time outside as possible, I have managed to crochet a little along the way.  I'm so worn out in the evening that I don't have much energy to do anything else.  So, I have been trying to get a few rows in at a time.  And this time around, I went bold!  I'm made a little something for myself (Really?) and it is so colorful!

My friends are probably wondering who this woman is with her crazy, bright pink and yellows!  

I was inspired by Purl Bee.  This color combination just called out to me for some reason.  (Plus, I had some skeins of yarn in pretty similar colors, so I didn't need to go shopping!)

The colors are beautiful in the granny stripe scarf, so why not in a shawl?

I followed the color sequence in the scarf pattern, and used a typical granny shawl pattern.  I love the granny pattern.  There is almost no counting involved!

I added a little of my own twist with a couple of rows of double crochet near the end.  I was planning on doing a more dramatic edging detail, but I was low on yarn, so I used a simple shell.

The gray is exactly two skeins of Vanna White Choice, Gray Marble.  The rest is a combination of things I had leftover from other projects.  

I finished it at the end of last week and showed it off to the boys.  They were very sweet and said lots of nice things.  Then, the youngest started commenting on how cold he was, and if he had my new triangle blanket, he would be warm.  So, a few nights it went to bed with him.  Now I have reclaimed it and I'm enjoying it on the cool evenings.