Tag Archives: learning

Apply Yourself!

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WordPress Daily Blog Prompt: Apply Yourself

Describe your last attempt to learn something that did not come easily to you.

I am actually doing this right now.  I enjoy knitting but I tend to do what is easy.  This year I have been trying to improve on my knitting skills.  I actually started in December when I made a lacy dishcloth pattern I saw on ravelry.  That was challenging for me and I ripped it out and started over several times.  I even researched and learned how to do a new cast on and how to kitchener (weave) the ends together so there was no obvious seam.  After I was finished with that I was so pleased with myself and hungry to learn more.

It helps to be part of a group that is doing the same thing.  They might not all be knitting something challenging but there are always people more seasoned than you are that can offer a learning challenge.  My group is a dishcloth group on ravelry called Dishcloth Weekly Knitalong.  They are not just a knitting group though.  They also have crochet patterns and there are several crocheters that participate.  Each week they post a crochet pattern and a knit pattern and each person can choose which to work on.  Many people do both patterns.  

Now a dishcloth group may not seem like the ideal group to learn new things and it wasn’t the obvious choice for me but after joining I learned the advantages of learning on a small scale.  I am learning more challenging techniques but I don’t get so overwhelmed because the project is so small.  If I had started out trying to make a lacy shawl instead of the lacy dishcloth above I might not have stuck with it long enough to finish.

I am currently learning Intarsia knitting.  This is a technique where you are adding blocks of color within larger areas of color without carrying yarn across the back.  The pattern is a simple pattern with staggered blocks of one color on a different colored background.  I have 10 bobbins of colored yarn dangling from my washcloth so the difficulty is not in the knitting but in keeping yourself from getting all tangled up.  I am SO VERY GLAD I do not have a cat!  Oh and I am using these bobbins that I printed free online from Wild Olive.  I just adhered them to the side of a cereal box with Elmer’s spray adhesive and cut them out.  I like the spray adhesive because I don’t have to worry about the layers of paper separating as I use them.  They work great and they are really cute!  She also has smaller bobbins for thread on her website.

I printed mine on pink cardstock and made some others on blue cardstock so I have boys and girls.

I printed mine on pink cardstock and made some others on blue cardstock so I have boys and girls.

Learning Intarsia knitting
I started out with my bobbins lined up all neatly in a row but that didn’t last long.  At first I fought with them constantly tying to keep them all untangled.  I finally just gave up and concentrated on knitting until I finished that section and then snipped them off leaving the ends to weave in later.  It is so much easier if you just try to forget about the tangled mess and just knit but I’m a little OCD so it makes my blood pressure go up.

I’m getting there though and it is not as stressful now as it was when I started.  I am now about half way finished!

This is the first pattern I’ve ever worked that involved a chart.  So that is something new I’ve added to my repertoire already.  I now know how to read a charted knitting pattern, at least a simple one.

It really isn’t as hard as it seems.  It is just more awkward.  When you add in new threads it is very loose so you have to be careful of the tension.  As you end one color you just pull the next color yarn under the old one being dropped so they get twisted.  That prevents holes from forming in the knitted fabric.  Even though some of the stitches are lose in the beginning you can just tug the lose ends in the back to snug them up and the front will all look like one smooth fabric.  I love how it looks and even though this is a very simple pattern I can just imagine what could be possible!

I have already found another pattern for a potholder using intarsia knitting and it has cute little chickens and eggs.  I knew my sister would love it because she is crazy for chickens.  I don’t get it really but that’s her thing and I’d love to make something I know my sister would love!  I’m going to change the colors to match her kitchen.

That pattern is free by Drops and is called 0-626 Easter pot holder with pattern in ”Paris”

Here is my project at the halfway point.  Lookin’ good!

Learning Intarsia Knitting (half way now)

Learning Intarsia Knitting (half way now)

Here is a video I used to help me get started. It explains how to get started where most videos show you how to do it after it is about half way completed. When she first starts talking in the beginning it sounds really overly complicated. Don’t listen, just watch her do it and then go back and listen. It makes more sense after you’ve seen it being done.

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Learning Something New

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It is always fun to learn something new so I can add some more “tools” to my creative toolbox.  I recently joined a group on ravelry that makes dishcloths every month.  It’s called “Dishcloth Weekly Knitalong” but they do some crochetalonging too.  I really enjoy being a part of this group and even though they just make dish/wash cloths I’m always learning something new!  I especially love that they offer a cloth pattern to crochet and one to knit so I can choose what I want to do.  There are plenty of people to offer help when I get stuck also.

In December I made this really pretty “double diamond dishcloth” for a friend as a Christmas gift.  That was very challenging for me but I learned some new things and it turned out great!  Now they are working on Intarsia knitting or crochet.  They even posted videos to help us get the idea.  I’ve decided to do the knit cloth and then I already have a more difficult project to make next.   The knit cloth isn’t anything exciting but if I can learn to make it than my world of patterns will become so much larger!

This video is one that they posted to help us see how intarsia is done.

She uses bobbins to keep things neat and I don’t have any for yarn.  I decided to look online to see if I could find something as a free printable.  I found these really cute bobbins and printed them on card stock.  I decided to print mine on pale pink card stock and they look so cute.  I wanted them to be stronger though so I used some Elmer’s spray adhesive and stuck them to the side of a cereal box.  I think they will last quite a long time now!

Global Green USA Green School Makeover Competition Presented by Pureology

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Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.  ~Henry David Thoreau

How Green is the school your children go to?  Are they being as resourceful as possible so your children have the best environment to learn in and so future children will too?  With the right changes a school can save money on energy costs and be able to funnel that money back into important educational materials and programs.

Pureology is presenting the Global Green USA Green School Makeover Competition to help one lucky school make those changes by awarding $75,000 in funding and providing technical assistance to get the job done properly.  If you visit the link provided you can also see what was done for the winning school in 2012, Texas School for the Deaf (TSD) in Austin, TX, and how those changes helped their school.

When important programs like P.E. and music are always at risk, schools could save the money needed to fund them by making changes to make their building more energy and cost efficient.  I think we owe it to our children to do the best we can – for this generation and future generations.

English: Lathrop High School in Fairbanks, Ala...

English: Lathrop High School in Fairbanks, Alaska, the main high school in the community. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am going to enter my son’s school which I know is a very old building in need of vital upgrades.  Lathrop High School is the largest school in Fairbanks, Alaska and serves a lot of central Alaska and military families.  It was built in 1955.  I am going to do my best to present their best face in my application for them because I know operating a school in this cold climate isn’t easy.  The staff work very hard and I know they would appreciate the chance to make the environmental footprint of their school smaller to ensure it will be there for future generations.

Visit the link above and enter your child’s school.  Every school deserves the help but we have to start somewhere.

Don’t blow it – good planets are hard to find.  ~Quoted in Time

Quotes from Quote Garden

Special thanks to Influenster to sharing this information with me and to WordPress Writing Challenge: Map It Out for showing me how to add a map to my blog post.

Knitting Escapades

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Double Diamond Circular Facecloth

This was a learning experience for me.  I taught myself to knit at least 5 years ago….hmmm maybe 7 but I never did anything challenging.  This was a huge challenge for me.  I ripped this out several times and my dog helped me rip it out once too.  I had to learn to relax so I could knit 2 and 3 stitches together in one which can be tricky.  I learned the provisional cast on which uses a scrap piece of yarn to hold stitches that can later be placed on a needle and knit in the other direction or you can kitchener two edges together (as above) and avoid leaving a seam.  So, that is another thing I learned – how to kitchener, or weave stitches together so it blends in with the rest of the knitting.  Mine is not perfect but is better than I thought I could do.  I’m very happy with it.  I made this face cloth for a Christmas gift and wrapped it up with some rose french milled soap.

The pattern is free on Ravelry.com 

Home is where the heart is

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Today is my 3rd day being at home (no longer working) and I’m loving it.  So far I have done a lot of cleaning but each day I also do something fun for me.   Since it had been a while since I’d done a through cleaning I decided to do my spring cleaning early.  I started with the kitchen on Monday then the living room and the main bathroom on Tuesday.  I still have to do the floors but it looks so much better already.  Today I cleaned a bathtub/shower which really needed cleaning.  Tomorrow I hope to get the other one cleaned.  It feels so good to see my house really clean!  I love it when my husband walks in and everything is clean.  He can just sit down and relax after coming home instead of going right to his room.  Before I would come in from work at the same time as Chris and I would be exhausted.  Most days I would go right to bed.  Working with chronic pain just takes it out of you.  This left everyone to fend for themselves for dinner and laundry didn’t get done except Jared, my nearly 17  yr old,  was doing his own.  Most days coming home sent my husband into a yelling frenzy because the kids were not doing their chores.  The garbage would be over-flowing, the sink would be full of dishes and plates would be left around the house.  Now, I can make sure these things get done and there is only peace when Chris gets home.  Ahhhh…..this is so much nicer!

I love to read so I started to read a book that I’ve been meaning to read for I don’t know how many years!  I’m finally reading The guardian by Nicholas Sparks.  I love his books.  So far it seems pretty good but I’m not very far in.

I also decided to learn how to tat (a type of lace making), which I’ve always wanted to do.  I looked all over town for a tatting shuttle but couldn’t find one.  I was just about to order one online but there are so many and I didn’t know which to buy.  So I looked online to see if I could figure out how to make one.  It looks like most people carve them out of wood (or other materials) and sand them into shape.  So I looked at some pictures of shuttles and tried to figure out to make one with what I had on hand.  I found an empty Tide laundry detergent bottle and cut out the curved side.  Then I cut out two eye shapes.   I washed the soap off and then sanded the center area with an emery board to rough up the surface.  I used some E-6000 glue and glued a sewing machine bobbin to the inside between the two plastic pieces.  I let that dry over night and it works great!  I’m so proud of my Tide bottle tatting shuttle!

Making a tatting shuttle

A little glue and wah-lah!

At first it was very frustrating trying to learn by following instructions online.  There are a lot of different websites out there that attempt to explain but this person on youtube did it best!  The basic stitch is easy but you have to get the stitches to “flip” from one string to the other and that’s the hardest part to figure out.  Anyone who wants to learn how to tat should start with this video.

I’m working on a simple design for a bookmark in variegated blues.

My first tatting project