WIP - Vanilla Clementine Shawlette

When I saw that Octopus Knits had used just under 2 skeins of Bristol Yarn's Buckingham for her Clementine Shawlette, I knew immediately I wanted to make one for myself. Then I spent about 2 weeks trying to figure out what else I could make with my 2 skeins of Buckingham. Hehehe. Okaaaay, I'll admit it… I was scared about the graft at the end, to join 2 pieces at the center back. The pattern calls for Kitchener stitch, and I've never done it before. But with all this fearless knitting going around, I couldn't help but have the thought that if I never try it, I'll never learn how it's done (or maybe more specifically, not done. Ha! Plus, my good friend Karrie swapped me for some of her awesome Kitchener stitch markers!)

Clementine Shawlette - WIP

So, I set out to wind up my yarn into center pull balls so I could use one ball for each half, working them simultaneously. And then, my ball winder ate my yarn! It got caught in the gears, and I didn't realize it right away, winding more into the gears with each turn. Ugh. I managed to get it off of the gears by winding backwards, but it stained enough yarn black-ish, that I'll almost certainly cut it out and splice back together. Oy.

Considering I would've otherwise not have any splices, since it's knit in 2 pieces and then joined, I'm a little pissed. But, I guess that's what I get for not paying attention to a yarn I've not wound before (80% baby alpaca, 20% silk;) the one time I tried to wind 100% silk, it jumped off the winder like it was possessed!!! Hahaha! Paying more attention, i.e. my full attention, I was able to rewind the first ball and get through the second without any more mishaps - thank goodness!

Clementine - Detail WIP
I'm on row 37 of chart B here.

This is my first time knitting from a chart instead of written directions, and I'm pleased that it doesn't seem nearly as complicated as it looks. I guess it's easy to get intimidated when you're looking at the whole chart, but you don't work all of those stitches at once - just one little one at a time! I'm excited that it's not so difficult, because I've been trying to work up the nerve to start a purple Hanami stole. It's so delicate, and I really like the asymmetrical ends; it's a lovely wrap, and I really want to make one for myself.

And a teeny rant... what the frak happened to January? Hahaha! I bought Patricia's calender back at the end of December, and still haven't finished it yet! (That's not to say it's hard, I'm just super picky about my cuts not being clean enough, and I haven't yet decided if I want to use paper or fabric scraps for the empty spaces! Ack, the choices!


A new year, a new leaf... and chocolates, mmmm!

Last year, I spent a large amount of time making myself feel bad about all of the things I wasn't doing to improve my blog and store. I set super high expectations for myself, and I didn't reach them… no surprise, but still disheartening, nonetheless. I wanted to get so many things done, and then winter set in.

Chicago winter always gets me, because it goes from a regular amount of sunlight during a day, to practically none. Plus, there's always the grey to look forward to. The particular shade that settles around the suburbs where I live, is the most depressing thing I think I've ever laid eyes on. It permeates my brain, and inevitably ends up leaving me in a funk. Last year I tried to focus on tutorials to get past it, but I was always self conscious about the photos that went with them. Something about the lack of natural light during this time of year… it just drives me nuts.

And feeling nuts isn't very conducive to writing a blog. But the most interesting part is, that even though I wasn't writing for my blog for the last couple months, that's all I could think about. So it seems only right that I come back to it now, because I have a new strategy to go with my new outlook.

Last year was all about constraining myself. Setting goals, and then beating myself up for not reaching them, all the while setting myself back further on all of my other goals and aspirations. I've learned that even though I need to work on discipline, I also need to cut myself some slack. Even though I'm a perfectionist, I'm not perfect; and I need to just own that. Perfect is a goal I aspire to - with the knowledge that it's unobtainable. It should be fuel for motivation, not procrastination.

So I'm calling this one the year of water, because I want to go with the flow of things, and not take every last little thing so seriously. That's pretty much my new outlook and strategy, with a big emphasis on going with what works for me, and not obsessing over what doesn't.

It may seem simplistic, but I think it's easy to lose the most simple of things like perspective in this world we live in. It charges us to be consummate consumers, and I will never be one. I love to create, I love unique - I've always had the perspective that if we were all the same, what a boring world! Even if it were full of Brangelinas… if they were all that gorgeous, what would gorgeous mean then? If all the flowers were roses, what significance would a rose have then? What would colors be without the full spectrum to enjoy? How about chocolates?

Heehehehehe. These are amazing, I can barely believe I kept my greedy fingers off them long enough to snap this photo! They came from Candinas Chocolatier, google them, they're incredible!!!
Chocolates - Candinas

In 2008, Crafty Ginger will be my take on crafting a personal and unique home and wardrobe (of course accessories, too!) with haute couture finishing. I'm not sure if I've ever admitted it here, (partly because I think it makes me sound vain,) but part of my loathing of mass-market items is how much they cost versus how cheaply they're made; and how inexpensively I can recreate something even while I'm being meticulous about the finishing and details. My version is better, in just about every way (see, I knew it made me sound vain!) But that's why I make things, because I can make them better for me; and I want to write more tutorials, and get better at sharing how you can make them better for you.

That's why I started blogging, to share crafts and inspiration; and I'm sad I lost touch with that for a time because I was so focused on my store. But I'm excited to regain focus and perspective, and I’m really hoping for a great 2008! A lot of other bloggers are excited for their next crafty adventures, and I'm super excited for them, too!


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