Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Socked In

SOCKED IN: Closed in by bad weather, often said of an airport; fogbound; snowbound. This expression originally found in the context of flying, has its roots in the use of a windsock at airports to provide wind direction. The windsock, a large, open-ended, cone-shaped sleeve attached to a post by a pivot, at one time provided pilots with wind direction. When the weather deteriorated (fog or snow) to the point that the sock couldn’t be seen, the field was said to be ‘socked in’ and takeoffs and landings would be difficult to impossible. The expression is said to date from the 1940s. 

I found that explanation of the term on wordwizard.com. Not sure it's accurate, but it certainly sounds reasonable.

Anyway... I am usually a one sock at a time kind of knitter. I have been known to work on two socks during the same period of time (each on its own set of double pointed needles). But today I have three socks going. The gray one with only about 16 rounds is the Amyrlin pattern (found on Ravelry). It is a beautiful design full of twisted stitches and cables, and it takes forever to complete just one round. I have finally gotten the hang of the design, though, and I think I may just be moving from a geriatric snail's pace to a middle aged snail's pace. Yay me. Yarn is Cascade Heritage, a lovely and soft yarn that is reasonably priced. Good thing the gal I am making these for is worth it!

The sock in the middle (working on the foot now) is the Broken Seed pattern also found on Ravelry. I am using leftover Cascade Heritage in black and Mini Mochi in Intense Rainbow. The pattern is super easy to memorize so the only hassle with these socks is juggling two balls of yarn. At first I didn't like the way the sock looked and I hate the Mini Mochi, which feels very fragile. But I am happier with it now that I have made more progress. I doubt I will ever buy MM yarn again, however. These are for me.

The third sock, just started today, is my go-to 2 x 2 ribbed sock in Fortissima Socka. Hoping to get a pair done for Meital in time for Chanukah, which starts on December 16.  I could practically knit this pattern with my eyes closed, so it moves quickly, but it will be a stealth knitting project, obviously. 

Good thing I love making socks! So if you don't see me around much, it's because I'm socked in.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Where Have All the Bloggers Gone?

Back in the days when I first started blogging (anyone out there remember Yahoo 360?), most of the people you encountered in the blog world were people like me: wfie/mother/working at a noncrafting job/hobbyist. It was still socially acceptable to use a dollar store glue stick in your paper crafting, and you folded your cardstock and creased the edge with your thumbnail (today, those in the know use something called a teflon bone folder, which for a mere $22 will ensure that you do not "leave a sheen to your paper when folding it." Well gosh, how on earth have I survived without that?!)

These days, so many of the bloggers I discover online are anything but hobbyists. They love papercracting, to be sure. And each and every one seems like a truly friendly, lovely person. Talented, without a doubt. But their blogs are crammed with ads,  not only in the sidebars, but within the posts. That's because they are, in essence, employed by a variety of companies to promote their products or online stores. These wonderful people are not like me. They are professional bloggers. Proggers, if you will.

I'm just jealous, you say? You'd be right. But only to a point. 

I appreciate the proggers, truly I do. They do beautiful work and I get lots of ideas and inspiration from their blog posts (and their Instagram feeds, and their YouTube videos). But everything has become so commercialized. At the end of every post is an equally long section with links to each and every product used to make the card, often links to not one but two shops where these products are available. Naturally, they use quite a number of different items to make just one card design.

A friend recently admired a card she saw on a progger's blog. Just for the heck of it, she added up the cost of every item listed. Ready for some sticker shock? $200!! Now, those of us who paper craft probably already have the basics, like adhesive and a paper trimmer. But still!

The videos are especially insidious. You hear the progger's voice (am I the only one in love with Jule Ebersole's chuckle? I think not), sometimes you see their faces, too. You get to watch them create something wonderful, and learn tips and tricks you might not have thought of yourself. Of course, the video descriptions are also jam-packed with links to buy the products used. It's all made so easy! And if this lovely, talented, creative gal - this friend (!) of mine - tells me she can't do without her $25 gadget to round the corners on her cardstock, wow then I'd better click on over and get one! Some of the videos are straight up product reviews, little or no no crafting involved. It's like willingly watching a 20 minute commercial! 

Okay, I know this is a long rant. Luckily I don't do them often. But the truth is, I miss the real bloggers, amateurs like me who just like to make things and share them with others, with no financial gain involved. If you've followed me for a while, you know that most of the time I am using products so old they haven't been available for more than 5 years. If I include the name of the company that makes something I've used, it's because if I were reading the post I might want to know how I could find the same thing. But no one pays me to do it, or gives me free product in exchange.

So where have all the regular bloggers gone?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pillow Talk

Another way the retail world in Israel is not like America. Outside of IKEA, you cannot find plain, inexpensive pillow forms. And the ones at IKEA are extremely mushy and seem to be filled with feathers. Yuck (in my opinion, anyway). I combined my need for cheap pillow forms with my love for upcycling and recycling and used an old pillow to make a new one. 

A few years ago I read an article about why it is a good idea to wash or replace the pillow you sleep on regularly. I do wash our pillows, but the filling gets matted and lumpy. But if I cut open the pillow, I can rip apart the matted filling and use it. 

Here is a freshly washed and machine dried pillow (plenty of heat to kill whatever might be lurking in there). My first instinct was to open the pillow with a seam ripper. I quickly realized that would take forever and  likely end in bloodshed (I don't do too well with sharp objects). So I just trimmed away the seam. See how the matted filling holds its shape?

First, of course, I removed the sutffing and set it aside. I wanted  a square pillow, so I folded up the small side as you see above, and cut off the excess fabric. It was a simple matter to sew up the seams. I turned the fabric right side out so the seams would be inside the pillow, then tucked it inside the cover I bought at IKEA (okay, so they do have lots of good stuff there. Just not cheapo pillow forms). It was a lot easier to carefully stuff the pillow with it already inside the cover. That way I knew when it was as plump as I wanted it to be. Last, I handsewed the opening closed. 

It needed some shaping (and punching, lol) which were actually done after this picture was taken, but eventually it took on the shape Liat and I wanted. Now she has two extra pillows to sit up against on her bed.

Something happened to my keyboard! This post was typed with the keyboard mostly missing, ye gods. Hope it comes back, this is kinda awkward!!