Christmas is Sneaking Up!

I know, mum is the word lately from our side of the world. I’ve been trying to get a handle again on my health. Not that there’s anything too seriously wrong with it, just a lot of mismanagement in the last year. And I’m paying for it dearly.

So, while I go back to a sugar-free lifestyle, a drink-lite lifestyle, and one day soon a more active lifestyle, I’m getting ready for that lovely day called Christmas.

And it’s coming up FAST!

As we get deeper into the holiday season, I get more and more frustrated. It’s my favorite holiday. More discussion on why and why you shouldn’t balk at that (it’s more a sentiment/spirit-of-the-season thing than a commercial thing) in another post.

As you saw with my last post, this year’s big present project is crochet. It’s my first year actually finishing crochet projects and I’m learning a lot. I’ve finished four hat and scarf sets and two neck-warmer type pieces, plus a scarf for Mike in a brown scratchy wool. And with only 15 days left until Christmas, I had a plan.

You see, a little over 5 years ago, I was going back for my last semester in college in September of ’08, and I told myself I was going to make Mike a blanket for Christmas. A John Deere blanket. I don’t think it ever got more than 4 inches wide, and I told Mike it was a bust after the holidays.

He’s never let me live it down since.

So, to make up for it, I have this big vision. A John Deere blanket by Christmas. Me being me, I like to have a plan, preferably one with an unrealistic deadline.

Remember–I’m learning. So every time I feel close, like it might happen, it gets further and further away. First, I’m at perhaps 11 inches wide with 2 days’ worth of work (approx. 8 hours total). I’m aiming for a 60-inch wide blanket, and by that count I need to get at least 2 hours in every night before Christmas morning.

That’s just for a blank green blanket with two yellow stripes. I admit, I don’t know how to crochet designs in a blanket as I go, so I was going to do a surface stitch. Then I learned more about that, too, and realized it will leave an ugly backing, even if a pretty front.

So I will need to sew a back to the blanket to make up for it. Have I mentioned it took me an hour to get my sewing machine up and running last week?

Let’s just say, Mike may get his plain blanket for Christmas, with a printout picture of the final dream. Because for now? I’m in way over my head.

But, below you can see the start of what I have done and the pattern I created for myself to try and center the surface stitching properly on the blanket when I get there (I needed it to know how many rows I needed).

Tips are appreciated!

I did this manually in Excel before I realized that there is software that will do this for you.

Oh, and did I mention that in addition to the blanket, I’m making pajamas and still need to make bags (trying to go green-er this year!) for presents under the tree? WAY over my head!

Weekend Wrap-Up: Crochet Binge

Well, I did it. I finished my first crochet pieces! You see, this is a big deal. I’ve been trying to finish my first crochet piece for almost 20 years. Yes, you read that right–20 years.

Twenty years ago my grandmother (the one who reminds me of frogs and soil and azaleas and drawing trees outside the bedroom window) was still alive, and I wanted to do everything she could do. She taught me to crochet and latch hook and all sorts of other crafts when I was a kid. She died when I was 11, and that year we started a project together. She was teaching me to crochet a pair of mittens in a soft white fabric with silver threads throughout.

We almost finished the first mitten together, and then she was gone. I could never finish it.

So these projects are for my grandmother. They’re for me, they’re for my family, they’re for my sanity (I was very stressed), but really–they’re for her. And so will be every thing I crochet throughout my life, which will hopefully be many more.

I put pictures of the pieces (me trying to be artistic and failing!) and some notes on each piece behind the cut. I didn’t count for these, so the notes are relatively sparse. Continue reading