Sunday, October 13, 2013

Celebrating crochet craft completions

I stalled out on some crochet projects a couple months ago, but have picked them back up over the past few weeks. And to a bit of my surprise, I've actually finished (or close to!) several of them. My current big project is a sampler afghan, in which every square is a different stitch. It's been great - I've now learned how to rib and cable with crochet (techniques typically associated with knitting), as well as some other attractive stitches. Unfortunately, I slowed down on a square for which I found the written instructions a bit confusing and the final appearance significantly less attractive than the images in the pattern. Ah well.

Also note the lack of size uniformity. Some of the squares are going to take serious blocking before they can be assembled. Square that has been perpetually in progress for 3+ months not shown.
To distract myself and still scratch my crafting itch, which has become difficult to ignore as the weather has cooled and greyed, I've done a few other projects. My favorite is definitely the shawl I finished just last night:

I had to improvise with the color changes, since I knew I was short on yarn and wanted to try to use as much of each skein as I could. But if I didn't tell you that, would you notice?
Unfortunately I only bought 4 skeins of the yarn, so it's a bit smaller than the original pattern intended. I also made my own edge with a bit more ruffle to it. Overall, I love it. The yarn is a silk/merino/cotton blend, so it's unbelievably soft and very warm. The pattern was super easy as well - I crocheted this from start to finish in 4 days. Highly recommend!

I'm also almost done with a scarf that I'm attempting without a pattern - which I feel now to be a mistake, but since the scarf is 90% or more done, I'm not about to restart it. Oh well! 

Scarf disappointment. It's a medical condition.
I based it on a simple wave pattern, which I thought would look nice with the blue colors, but the yarns are more novelty than I'm used to, so the entire scarf feels a bit stiff and looks quite awkward (imo). I think a looser stitch would have been better to give these yarns more pliability (that is so not a word that I've ever seen applied to crafts, but maybe I'll start a trend). Win some, lose some! Unless anybody out there needs a scarf that isn't very warm or snuggly? 

And finally, I finished another market bag, this time in blue with brown handles. 

I continue to play around with modifications of this pattern, mainly changing the handles. I like the two tone look, and I bought a crapload (technical measure) of the mercerized cotton yarn when it was on clearance, so I'm taking color requests for Christmas presents (I've got more of the blue above, a teal color, dark blue, brown, white, linen, and lavendar). I may try another bag pattern with only one large shoulder handle from the same pattern designer and put in stripes, because stripes are festive (and easier than polka dots). :) 

I hope everyone is having a happy fall! What craft projects are you working on?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Overheard at Starbucks

Two or three times a week, I like to take my editing or writing to Starbucks. It helps me get out of the house, and I'm more productive outside the apartment (I don't do it every day because of the prohibitive expense. Not only the chai tea latte that is my standard, but also because it's right next door to a crazy tasty salad restaurant that has to-go dinner salads that make me feel all healthy. I'm weak, I know). I usually go to a specific Starbucks that has an upstairs, away from the loud coffee grinder and clinking dishes. It's never full but is consistently busy, so I can usually guarantee myself a spot.

While German/Swiss/foreign-type people definitely hang out at Starbucks, I've never been to one without hearing native English (British or American). This puts me in the somewhat unusual (at least in Switzerland) position where I can eavesdrop on other people's conversations. I've been privy to some inappropriate flirting (a girlfriend was mentioned early in the conversation but apparently conveniently forgotten), a couple actually making out, a painfully slow English tutoring lesson, and various other conversations that cannot so easily be pigeonholed.

I am currently listening to one such conversation now. The setting is an elderly British gentleman and a woman approximately my age whose native language is not English, although her accent is slight enough that I cannot guess where she is from. They started by talking about a name for a project and story arcs - I thought they were going to talk about a screenplay or book. No.

For the most part, the older man seems to be lecturing her about...well, I'm not sure. He has referred to a study by Harvard psychologists about body "power positions"and told her a (very) longwinded story about a friend who, by choosing the scenic route after a leg injury required less rehabilitation time than anyone could have predicted (this story, much to my surprise, was not a metaphor. Driving an actual scene route, mountains and everything, helps heal, apparently). She then responded by saying "that's funny, because I have the exact same thing going on," and then told a story about a younger girl who was being being very competitive about working out or team stuff (I may have missed the connecting thread here). His response: "I feel that you are upset because you are missing something in how you are responding to this girl." Or maybe she's just a pain in the ass. Just an idea.

Other gems include:
"I need to work independently. Some people get projects done by working together, but I just do the entire thing myself. Because I know myself and know that is the best way to get something done."

"Most people don't even realize he's dominating them. I do, because I'm that type of person."

"I'm saying the words as I breathe in. I watch that happen, then I'll start seeing clouds of blue."

Is this dude supposed to be some sort of advisor, or did he set up this meeting just to talk about how awesome he is?