Saturday, April 5, 2014

Crochet By Numbers-My First Rogue Project

Fascinated with this crocheting technique.  It's really quite simple.  What makes it difficult is creating your own graph.  This is where the creativity comes in from the start.  At your computer.  Not only do you need to scan in what you want to do, but I feel there is some finesse to the photo.  Correcting margins, defining the background don't even get me started on combining of 2 photos.  I've seen it.

I signed up to learn the technique from Todd at Crochet by Numbers.  Busy dude I think as I found it difficult to get emails back in a timely fashion.  Ok should say in a Lynne "I'm learning a new craft" fashion.  Last summer I decided to spend 3 months doing it.  In that thought bubble above my head here's how I envisioned Todd's life (Family guy, full time job, kids, wife and takes commissions for CBN art pieces really a 2nd job.)  Here's me (why can't you put your life on hold for some old lady across the country who wants to learn CBN pronto.)  He does get back to you don't get me wrong, but I had a crochet hook and it needed work after I did the beginning work projects.

So, I cruised through the CBN posts and groups on Ravelry.  This lead me to another person doing phenomenal CBN work too.   She makes her own patterns.  I love that she's very protective of Todd and his Crochet by Numbers technique.  This I think encourages his business and encourages one to get creative and do their own work.

I saw few practice projects on Lee Mac's website and one was a British Flag.  She being Australian I can totally understand this fine project.  Me, being lazy and from the United States decided that if I was going to put all this crochet work into a project I wanted it to be something that would be personal for me.  Ever since 9/11 I've had a fascination with having United States flag represented some where in my life.  I decided to give making my own chart of my flag a try.  I could go all traditional the straight lines of the flag would lend themselves well to crocheting.  I thought if I'm truly going to get some practice with this technique I needed to mix it up.  I found a graphic of a waving flag that I liked.

Thinking it wouldn't be much more than 3 colors red, white and blue it should be pretty easy.  After fiddling with the program I got it down to 11 colors!  Oh yeah forgot about shading.  Forgot if I want this piece to look good it will need shading.

As I sat working on this project I realized I'm having a major yarn problem.  My yarn choices are not the same color name as the project sheet.  I made up a chart of the names.  Still having trouble.  Yarn skeins rolling all over I decide to put them in a box.  Now it's hard to read their names.  I put down the crochet hook and got out a sheet of blank paper, scissors, a sharpie, tape and a hole punch.  Voila!  I now have the yarn organized in a manner that me and my short term memory problems can handle.
Another vblog of Lee's that put the idea of bordering the piece as you go.  I've seen where a crocheted border is put on the piece after and I didn't like it.  Not to say it's not perfectly fine, but for my projects I liked the pieces that were bordered as you go.  I chose this gold color, because ultimately I want to turn this into a pillow for my living room.  I think the color went well with the flag and well with my living room color scheme.
When the piece is flip flopping around in my lap it doesn't look like much.  I took a photo to share with Lee and when I saw the piece I got giddy.  It really does look like a waving flag.  A simplistic waving flag, but that's what I'm going for.  I wanted a fairly easy nice looking piece to practice on.  Practice pattern making, crocheting and I think really most importantly picking out colors that go well together.
I've seen a few CBN pieces where there is one color that doesn't belong.  It pops out at you and distracts one from the beauty of the art.  Lee has even spoken about this very yarn color problem in a piece of hers.

When I chose my colors the red and white were easy.  Then I needed a blue that would fit into the family of the red and the white.  My next problem with color choices was the grays.  I needed 4 colors of gray for the shading.  I had to tear myself away from the idea that the label needs to say gray in order to get the colors I wanted.  2 of my grays are called silver heather and linen.  I squinted my eyes to just get the hue of the color in my brain and see them blending together.  I needed a shading pink.  Again don't read the label it says orange, but the color is perfect for light coral.

I just love how the piece turned out.  I got a lot of practice in pulling the knots through as I went.  Lee again had a video on where to pull the knots through.  Most helpful.  I'll be turning this into a pillow for my couch.

If you'd like to look into doing this craft check out Todd Paschall's Crochet By Numbers website.  You can also get a lot of great tips from Lee Mac's blog.

The Proverbial Bucket List

I don't have a bucket list.  I've thought about making one and never really know what to put on it.  I do recognize when I do something that is on my imaginary bucket list.  Then I'll say, "That was on my bucket list, check."  Last Thursday I did something that's been on my "bucket list" for probably 25 years.  First I was too scared to do it.  Then I was too out of shape to do it.  Finally, I made up my mind that I was definitely in shape to do it I just needed to grow a pair and do it.  What was it... ski an intermediate slope.  My daughter and I were just too good to keep skiing the bunny hill.  When the lift operator says, "You again, that was fast."  You know you are where you don't belong.
My daughter and I decided to take the intermediate free group lessons.  Found out the lesson groups were numbered 1-5.  I thought we had to be a 3.  The instructor quizzed us about our skills and said, "You are a number 2." What?!  Oh OK I'll take your word for it.  Found out quickly we were definitely number 2 material.  We learned so much in 2 hours.

First of all the intermediate lift is a lot faster than the beginner lift.  It was almost terrifying the speed at which it went up the hill.  It did, I found out as I got off, slows down for you to get off and then off it goes.  As I skied down and around to our meeting place I psyched myself out.  I saw how steep the hill was and started working out "plan B" in my head instead of paying attention to my skis.  Next thing I knew my tips were crossed and I'm going down.  It was a very soft lazy fall and with the assistance of a kind stranger I was up and back with my group.  My head was back in the game.
When I rented my skis that day there was blue tape on each of them with the word "Courbage" on them.  It was scratch up and first I thought they said "Garage."  As I got my instructions on how to make a proper turn and traverse the hill I looked down at my skis and to me they suddenly said "Courage!"  That lifted my spirits immensely.  It reminded me I did have the tools to ski this hill.  All I needed was practice.  I talked my way all the way down the hill.  "Shins against boots, prepare for turn, COURAGE, lean forward, look forward, COURAGE, hands out front, remember to breath, COURAGE!  It was exhausting and exhilarating.  The instructor said we were using way more muscles and effort, because we are new.  He said with practice and confidence it will get easier.

It was the end of our lessons and we had been skiing for about 3 1/2 hours.  Our plan was to only ski half a day so my daughter could get to her evening class.  I asked my daughter if she wanted to make one more run even though I was exhausted, but she had fallen once on her way down too and had twisted her knee slightly.  She said she'd rather have lunch now.  I secretly thought "THANK GOODNESS!"

Even though I was ready to get off the hill that day.  I'm very excited to start on the intermediate slope and practice my new found courage.