Things only Crocheters and Knitters Can Understand

First of all, I survived my first two weeks of tenth grade, and let’s just get this out of the way: I have no idea when my next blog post is gonna be.  Although posts are often a lot of fun to make, my blog is way down on my list of priorities right now, below school, the blanket I’m trying to finish for my sister by her birthday next month, keeping up with life in general, and sleep.

Sometimes I get self-conscious about being a fifteen-year-old that crochets, and not even really that well (although that’s never held me back  😉 )–here’s an example of this.  My dad and myself went on a few errands this morning, including an oil change.  I’d brought along Kate’s blanket, and was working on that while we sat around, and this got some people’s attention.

Anyhow, here are a few crochet/knitting-related observations/pet peeves of mine.  Maybe you can relate.

 

  1. I have much more time to crochet in the summer, when school is out, but the heat makes me not want to take on an extensive project, such as an afghan.  
  2. You’re really into the rhythm of crocheting or knitting…and you come across a knot in your yarn.  Either a huge one that take forever to untangle, or a small one that’s very tight, and you’r afraid that pulling on the yarn will tear it.
  3. When hooks and needles magically disappear.  I swear, there’s a black hole somewhere in the bottom of my crochet bag that just sucks them up!  
  4. When your work isn’t as pretty as the picture on the pattern.  It’s like the difference between the picture in a cookbook, and what the thing actually looks like, cooked by the average person.
  5. Crocheting is a soothing, destressing activity…when I’m not stressing about how uneven/tight/loose my stitches are!

 

 

Okay, so this was a pretty short, boring post, but leave a comment down below if you could relate to any of them!  I will make a post with pictures of the afghan for my sister, once I finish it!

 

Have a good week, and God bless!

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How I’ve Been Destressing

School starts in two days, and I’m trying not to panic!  One way I’ve been trying to get my mind off things/lower my stress level is watching and listening to some videos on YouTube–specifically, comedy and Christian music.  I’m not forcing you to watch any of these videos, but you can try them out if you want1  😉

First, some clean Christian comedy…

Okay.  Mark Lowry is, to me, one of the funniest comedians out there.

Not only are his shenanigans hysterical, their voices blend perfectly!

Here’s a playlist of videos that are hymns–they’re a Capella and really soothing:

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/UePXtov0zC0

 

This is just what works for me–you might have other preferences for what you find funny or like to listen to, etc.

Good luck in school if you’re starting another school year soon!

God bless!

Tips for New Middle/High Schoolers

Last year, on my first day of high school, I thought I was going to throw up.  My school seemed the size of Texas, I didn’t know how to get to anyplace, and I felt so awkward the whole time!  Transitioning to middle school was harder in some ways.

I’m not trying to scare you, just say that if you’re scared to enter a new school, here are a few tips that may make your first day and school year a little bit easier.

  1. Prepare for your first day as much as you can.  This may mean picking out your outfut ahead of time, to save time in the morning, making sure anything you’re taking to school is already in your bookbag, making sure your alarm is set, etc.  Try and make the time before you get on the bus or are otherwise transferred to school as easy on yourself as possible.  This also means preparing yourself for the actual school part: if homerooms are posted on the school doors, make sure you know the room you’ll be going to–and, if possible, how to get there.  If there is a Student Orientation before school starts, go to it.  (Although I did when entering 6th grade, and found that it wasn’t helpful at all, really.)  If you’re gonna use a lock on your locker, practice opening it to save time between classes.
  2. Buy some school supplies, but not all.  I’ve had this experience before, where my parents bought me all these nice school supplies, only to find out that the teacher provided some of those things (this happened in elementary, but still), or that teachers required somthing else.  DO buy things like… pencils and erasers, dividers for your binders (Teachers required these starting in middle school) a few packs of filler paper/a few notebooks, a pencil pouch, not a plastic pencil case–this way when you drop it, it’ll make less noise and not explode all over the place, index cards (for flashcards)…pretty much, anything basic that you need every school year, including a folder for your homework–teachers frown upon stuffing papers in your agenda.  DON’T buy things like… binders.  This has heppened to me before, where I pick out binders that are the wrong size for what teachers require for their classes.
  3. Stay organized throughout the school year.  I know, I know, your teachers and your parents all say this, but it really does help you.  If your school provide you with an agenda or planner (whatever you call it), USE IT!  It will help you tremendously!  If your teacher writes on the board what the homework is or when a test or quiz is, or when a project’s due, WRITE THAT DOWN.  If a teacher announces when a test or quiz is, or what the homework is, WRITE IT DOWN.  Immediately, if at all possible!  If your teacher says to put a paper or packet in this section of your binder, put it there!
  4. Ask people for help.  If you’re lost, ask for help.  Most people will be nice about it.  I think at my high school, on the first day or week or so, they had teachers/staff/somebody who knew what they were doing stationed around the halls to help direct lost kids to their next classes.  This also applies to tutoring and things like that: if you’re struggling in a class or just have no idea what’s going on, ask the teacher for help!  Most teachers (if not all) have, in my own experience, offered free tutoring after school, sometimes before school, too.  And the teachers I’ve gotten help from have been very nice about it.  Teachers will actually respect you more if you have a bad grade and are working to get it better by tutoring than just having a bad grade and not seeming to care about it.
  5. Step out of your comfort zone in one way each school year.  This may mean taking a harder class than what you usually do, joining a club that sounds cool, trying out for a sports team or the drama club, or just making friends with new people.

I hope this has been at least a little but helpful for you!  School can be tough, but there are ways you can make it easier and more fun for yourself.

God bless and have a good school year!

 

Easy Way to Help Avoid Stress in School

I begin 10th grade (forget what the sidebar says; I don’t know how to edit it) in less than 2 weeks, which means a bit of panic is starting to set in!  I don’t know about you, but I can get extremely stressed about school (also life 😉 .)

Here’s one way that may help you feel less stressed about school when it seemes like you have a dozen huge projects you have to work on at once:

Set simple goals for yourself.  For example, say you have a big essay for English due two weeks from now, and you have no idea how to even start.  Grab your school agenda or a calendar that you’ll look at daily, and a pen or marker, and divide up the work into managable pieces.  On today’s date, write something like this:

Goal: Turn in essay on time, and be proud of it.

This is a good goal, but not specific enough.  So under that, and on each day until it is due, write a smaller goal for that day, such as…

Brainstorm ideas.  

Write rough drafts of my intro and conclusion paragraphs.

Write rough drafts of my body paragraphs.

Have (insert name of friend, sibling, or parent) look over my essay for mistakes.

This will make it seem much more managable, breaking it down into simple tasks, instead of one huge one, and it can also help you keep organized!  You can do this for anything that you’re worried about, whether it’s school-related or not.

I personally have found this helpful recently.  You can also write these goals on sticky notes and put them on your desk or someplace else where you’ll see them.

I hope to be able to post a few more back-to-school posts before/around the time school starts.  Leave a comment below if this was helpful or if you have any suggestions for posts!

 

Among Other Things: Our Trip to the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, Virginia

On Friday, I had the distinct good fortune of going to visit the Frontier Culture Museum of Staunton, Virginia (which happens to be, fun fact, the place where Woodrow Wilson was born).  I am obsessed with American history, especially stuff relating to kind of the pioneers/Wild West.  In this post I will tell you some info about the museum, and include some photos I took while there.  I highly recommend you go to this museum if you are at all interested in history!

First of all, here is a link to the museum site itself:

http://www.frontiermuseum.org/

They have currently 10 exhibits, each of which is outside, in addition to kind of a welcome center and a museum store, where they sell things like Indian arrowheads, books and CDs about history, and things that were actually made at the museum itself, such as nails made by the blacksmith, and wool yarn spun by people that work there from the sheep there.  It’s pretty great, and their ticket prices are great!

Okay, the picture part of things.  I don’t want to include too many, because I don’t want tp spoil someone else’s experience, but I can do more posts with pictures if they are wanted!

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This, and the next few photos, are of the first exhibit, displaying a portion of an Ugbi village as it would have been in West Africa in the 1700s.

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That’s my mom.  🙂 The thing there under the pavilion thing that looks sort of like a grill is a drum–they have sticks there that you can bang it with.  The museum man at this exhibit explained that they had another type of drum (with a special name which I forget, sorry) that was used for only kings and warriors–this one pictured here was to send messages, for communication.

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One of the huts–I think this was one for the man.  It was kinda of his man cave, his own personal space where his wife(s) never intruded.  They each had their own hut, too.  The woman at this exhibit explained that as a 15-year-old girl, if I had been in this tribe at this time, I probably would have already been married and had at least one child.  (Personally, I think I’d make a lousy wife and mother at the age of 15–I’m still pretty irresponsible!)

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One of the wives’ huts.  On the right, under the open porch-part of the hut, is a sort of loom to weave cloth.  On the left, those sticks are part of a small covered area for cooking, it looks like.  Sorry that a lot of these photos are off-center!

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The next exhibit is the 1600s English Farm–displaying a typical small farm in England during this time.  This is the pond as seen from the bedroom door that opens to the outside.

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The back view of the English farmhouse–the open door there is to the bedroom, which contains a lot of nice, beautifully carved furniture.  The triangular chair thing is surprisingly comfortable!
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Another view of the house.

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In the bedroom.  I can’t get over how pretty the hutch is!

Next you have the 1700s Irish Forge, followed by the 1700s Irish Farm–again, a display of the farm of a farmer/weaver in Ireland during that time period.  I don’t have any pictures of the forge, but I do have some of the farm:

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View of the buildings from the path leading there.

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Couldn’t resist taking a picture of the catepillar!

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Inside the house.  It had two main rooms–one was roped off, but you could see inside.  They had a big loom in there!  The woman in the other room was able to spin and learning to weave.  As a person who loves to crochet, I can’t imagine all the work it would have taken to create wool or flax yarn back then…or even today, I suppose!

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Inside the barn.  They had a couple other stalls, which also seemed to have storage/could contain sheep.

The 1700s German Farm:

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As with the English exhibit, they had very interesting designs on the outside of their buildings!

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The center area in the barn there seemed to be a bit of a workshop, with enough room to store another wagon.

The 1740s American Farm:

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The chicken coop in the back yarn is adorable!  Notice how small the house is, though!  You can’r really tell in this picture, but the chimney leans a little away from the house, to try and prevent the house from watching fire.  This way, if the chimney caught on fire, they could knock it down, put out the fire, and rebuild it at a later time.

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It’s easy to picture large kettles hanging from the hooks and chains.  Here they could cook or boil water for other purposes–to wash clothes, for example.

The 1820s American Farm:

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I would love to live there–just look at the huge front and back porches!  Imagine the view they must have had when houses like this existed in teh 1800s, whether in the Shenandoah valley or elsewhere!

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Cute quiant checkers game–they had another, slightly upgraded one at the 1850s house.

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This is the only picture I have of the 1840s American Schoolhouse–I took videos, but they are harder to post.  Anyway, it has benches, of course, and a desk for Teacher, and a pail and dipper on the wall to the left of the door–this was their version of a water fountain, in essance–everyone drank from the dipper when thirsty.

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Positively beautiful china in the 1850s American home!  My dad actually said his parents had china like this when he grew up!

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This sewing basket is not only cute, I like how the kid was secured in place with a wooden peg.

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A sampler on the wall.  Samplers were little things girls sewed/embroidered starting at a young age, to learn to sew.  This was a necessary skill at the time, and these were often saved for girls’ wedding chests.

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Part of the kitchen.  Notice that tin is now a commonly used material for buckets, pails, washbins, etc.

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The turkey kept gobbling and scaring me to death!

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The last exhibit (the pictures are in the order we visitied them) was the Ganatastwi.  It represents not one single tribe, but several tribes in the Northeastern Woodlands, such as the Iriquois, who lived in lodges such as these.  DSCN4123.JPG

It was at this point that my camera battery died, so here my pictures end.  ;(  But I can tell that aside from what you’s expect (animal pelts, poles given these lodges a structure, etc.), I learned that the Indians played a game similar to lacrosse, only more difficult and no doubt more brutal and violent, and pretty much invented field hockey!

 

I hope this was interesting to at least somebody!  Sorry these pictures aren;t exactly HD, but most of what I recorded on my camera was in video form, and pictures in a blog post are a lot simpler and quicker to post than a video–although I may make one about the museum.

Don;t stress too much about the start of school, if you are starting soon!

Enjoy theest of the summer and the fall as it comes!

God bless!

 

 

 

 

Quick Tip for Crocheting a Purse or Basket

I have found that using double-stranded yarn (by that I just mean two skeins of yarn being crocheted together, instead of just one skein) makes for a very sturdy bag–I have crocheted purses for myself before, and like them to be as sturdy as possible.  Also, tighter stitches than you would normally use add to the sturdy structure.  This would also help you make a very sturdy basket that you could store yarn or anything else in.

This is just what I have found suits my own needs and preferences.  You might have your own way of crocheting, and that’s fine!

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

How I Crocheted My Ugly Sweater

DISCLAIMER: The only reason I’m posting this is because I said I would.  I’m actually kind of embarrassed for how my sweater turned out, but it’s the first sweater I’ve ever crocheted, and I can still wear it around the house or to bed in winter.  Also, I’ve found that trying to be perfect gets old, really, really fast.  That’s why I stopped trying.  😉

This doesn’t really count as an actual crochet pattern, but I’ll try to be as specific as possible in this post!  Feel free to make changes as you wish–like using double crochet stitches instead of single crochet, adding flowers or other decorations at the end, etc.

This is a very easy project to take on, I’d say!  (After all, I’m doing it!  😉 )  I mostly decided to make a sweater because I have a lot of old yarn I’m trying to use up, so not only am I using up yarn, I can try out a pattern without using up any special yarn.

Also, I apologize in advance for the quality of my photos, but hopefully they at least get the point across.  If you have any questions or are confused about anything, please leave a comment under this post!

Materials:

-Yarn  (I used the Lion Brand Pound of Love yarn in white, and used about  1 skein for this project, but my stitches were really tight, so that’s why I used up that much yarn.)

-A crochet hook  (I used my J10/6mm hook, which is a bigger hook than necessary for the yarn I chose, because a–I’d lost my other hooks, and b–again, my stitches tend to be a lot tighter than necessary, so a slightly bigger hook means slightly bigger stitches.)

-A measuring tape or ruler

-A yarn needle, if you choose to use it to sew your seams/want to make cuffs on the sleeves

-Another long-sleeved shirt or sweater that you like the fit of (This is just for measuring purposes)

-Paper and writing utensil for writing down measurements

-Scissors

-Another contrasting color of yarn to use as stitch markers, etc., or actual stitch markers

-Buttons or extra yarn of different colors if you wish to fasten the cuffs with buttons or decorate your sweater with crocheted flowers, hearts, or something else.

 

First, gather all your materials together.

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Then pick a shirt or sweater that you like the fit of, and lay it out on a flat surface.  (I used my bed, which I wouldn’t recommend, because mattresses aren’t quite flat.)   Measure for yourself how big you want your sweater to be.  It only has 4 basic pieces: 2 sleeves, a front, and a back.  Make sure you have paper nearby so you can write down measurements as you go!

 

First, measure the length of one sleeve, it doesn’t matter which.  Write down that number–you can make it longer or shorter, if you want longer or shorter sleeves than on the model shirt–and you can also adjust them later!  

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As you can see, my sleeves were about 23 inches long, but I crocheted an extra couple inches as cuffs–we’ll get to that later.

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Then measure how wide the sleeves are.  I made mine purposefully huge (and am now regretting it); you can be a little less extreme!  Make sure that you’ll be able to put your whole arm and hand through the sleeve you plan to make, though–yarn isn’t always that stretchy!  Once you know how wide a sleeve is, double that number, and write it down.  (Each sleeve starts as a rectangle that you will fold in half and sew to make a seam.)

So my sleeves were about 9 inches wide–I doubled that, wrote down 18 inches, changed that measurement, and still ended up with huge sleeves.

 

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Now you can measure the front and back, which will be identical.  This sweater has a very boring collar, so just measure a square or rectangle, and write down the measurements.  (My front and back pieces were each about 20 inches by 20 inches, which, I found out, made for a pretty weird sweater.)

 

Now you are ready to crochet!  Let’s start with a sleeve first.  Use tight chain stitches to start, and then go on to single crochet the width of your sleeve (in my case, 15 inches.)  Then, once you single crochet one row, measure again.  If you have to unravel that row and go back and add or unravel a few chain  stitches, that’s okay.   Continue crocheting until you reach the length you want your sleeve to be (in my case, about 23 inches without cuffs.)DSCN3758.JPG

I had to go back and add a few more chain stitches.

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Yes!  The right length!

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At this point, I had a rectangle about 15 inches wide and 5 tall.  **Tip: put pieces of contrasting yarn/stitch markers about every 5 inches, to help you keep track of your progress.**

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As I went, I measured every now and then to see how I was getting along.  I also cut pieces of red yarn to tie the edges of my rectangle together to make a sleeve, which I would then try on to see how it fit/about how much longer I had yet to crochet.  Once you do this, you may need to adjust the length of your sleeves–decide if you want to make them longer or shorter than originally planned.

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If you want cuffs on the end of your sleeves, decide that now and crochet an extra couple inches, or as long as you want your cuffs to be.  (Ex: Two inch cuffs means crocheting an extra two inches.)  I tied pieces of green yarn at about the 25 inch mark, then crocheted 2 more inches.

Once your rectangle is complete, chain one stitch, cut off your yarn, and pull out the hook, then pull the knot tight.

 

Now you can start the second rectangle!  Count the number of stitches in a row of the completed rectangle and chain that many stitches, plus one, so that the sleeves will be the same size.  Then repeat the same basic steps to make the second rectangle.

Once both are done, you can move onto the front and back of the sweater.

You can measure the width of your sleeves to have a good idea of how many chain stitches you need to make to have the correct width you want to the main part of your sweater.  Once you have crocheted a row, measure again.  If you need to backtrack and unravel stitches to add or take away some from the original chain, to get the width you want, that’s okay.  😉

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Just as you did with the sleeves, continuing crocheting, measuring at intervals, until the shape is the desired size.  Then make an identical piece, the back of the sweater.  (The front and back can be interchangeable.)

 

You now have all four pieces–two sleeves and the front and back.

 

When you go to sew the sweater together, it will be inside out as you sew the seams.  So this means that the “bad side” of your work should be facing out when you put the pieces together.  This means that if you have a knot on one side of your work, make sure that side is facing out when you go to make your seams–so when you wear the sweater, it won’t be visible.

 

If you want, thread a yarn needle with yarn to sew the edges of your sleeves, or you can “sew” using a crochet hook.  Either way, take one sleeve and fold it in half hotdog style.  

 

IF YOU DON’T WANT CUFFS:   Then start at the top, where the edges meet, and either sew or crochet the edges together.  When you are done, cut off the yarn.  You now have a finished sleeve, with the seam facing out!

 

IF YOU WANT CUFFS: Start at the top and sew or crochet the edges together, but stop at the length you want your cuffs to be.  (It helps if you put stitch markers/yarn at that point.)  So if you want two-inch cuffs, stop two inches from the end of your sleeves–leave two inches unsewn.  You now have a finished sleeve, with the seam facing out!

 

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I stopped at the stitch marker I replaced the green yarn with, 2 inches from the end of my sleeve.

This is what the sleeve seam looks like when the sleeve is right side out.

Then repeat those steps for the other sleeve, and put them aside for a bit, still inside out.  It’s time to focus on the front and back of your sweater now!

 

Here are the front and back pieces.

Lie them one on top of the other, with the “bad sides” facing out–one should be facing up, the other should be against your lap or whatever surface you are working on.  Decide which end will be the top of your sweater and measure  out how wide your sleeves are–mine would be 15 inches.  Then put a stitch marker or tie a piece of yarn (it all serves the same purpose) 15 inches from the top of the front, on both sides.  You will only sew or crochet the sides together beneath those markers–leave the area above them open for your sleeves to go.  

 

 

I know not to crochet above this point.

Sew or crochet the sides of your sweater, only the parts below the stitch markers!

Then take one sleeve, still inside out, and line it up at one arm hole.  Sew or crochet the edges together–it may be easier to put one arm inside the actual sweater sleeve as you do this, so you don’t accidentally sew the top of the sleeve shut.  

 

Repeat those basic steps with the other sleeve.

Make sure there are no gaps in the seams of your sweater.

If you don’t want cuffs, then you are done!  Turn it right side out, try it on, and give yourself a pat on the back!

If you want cuffs, you still have a little bit more work to do.  Still turn your sweater right side out, then fold up the edges of your sleeves to make cuffs and sew that in place.  (I chose to just leave it folded back.)

Congratulations on making it this far through my badly-explained tutorial!  

If you want, you can add buttons, or other decorations such as crocheted flowers.

 

Here is my finished Ugly Sweater: