July 22, 2016

I Finally Understand "Xmas in July"!

This blog has sat silent, patiently waiting while I grow in my craft, learn new stitches, and get my ducks in a row for MBR Crochet to enter the marketplace. The ducks are still waddling their way into line, but in the meantime, all crochet is good crochet--learning new techniques and patterns all the time--and all crochet is certainly fun!

Many of us crocheters love to give crocheted Christmas gifts; we feel they truly come from the heart, and are therefore more special. We also strive to pick the right project for each recipient, because your 12-year-old nephew wouldn't enjoy getting one of grandma's toilet paper covers. I've come across some delightful patterns thus far this year, and for the first time ever, I've written a few patterns of my own, as well. I think and hope that the various nieces, nephews, and in-laws will be pleased, and I'm working extra hard on producing a great Christmas for my fiancee and my daughter. However, crocheted presents happen MUCH more slowly than the store-bought variety, meaning that I bought the yarn for my Yuletide adventures in the second week of July. I'll be making these projects off and on throughout the next 6 months, in between preparing inventory for what I hope will be my first craft show booth, also in December. You delightful people will get to take a photo tour of this process, beginning right now!

So, here are the Christmas presents in their current state, and I will be posting images over the next 6 months as they transition from ball of yarn to cloth object. It amazes even me that yarn and thread can become blankets, garments, table linen, all with a metal hook and a lot of twisting. No matter how many times I do it, the alchemy worked by crochet still fascinates me.

January 19, 2016

My Past Years Afghan

Though we've never met, and she is unaware of how much she's helped me to develop my crochet skills, Lucy over at Attic24 is a crafting guru to me, and she recently came to my rescue once again. I've just come out of the Christmas Crochet Rush, and finished two or three other small projects, which always leaves me with a dozen tiny balls of leftover yarn colors and bewilderment about what to do with them. So, when I spotted Lucy's "Solid Granny Square" pattern on a recent tour around her blog, inspiration arrived, and I began working up those myriad colors into what I call My Past Years Afghan.

While a lot of the odds and ends that are currently becoming mini-squares are from recent triumphs, some of them date from two or three years ago; as any crocheter can tell you, it's so hard to part with the small leftovers that are just long enough to "make into something," though you rarely figure out what. It's been a blast from crocheting past to create my little squares, and when I have enough of them to piece together, they will truly be a Crazy Quilt, as my mother always called her hodge-podge stash-busters, but it's fun to watch them take shape. Each block springs to life so quickly--barely 15 minutes required for each, once you get into a rhythm of making them. In future years, I anticipate that there will always be a Past Years Afghan brewing in the background of my other projects.

January 13, 2016

Bright Burst Scarf

A new scarf is born!

The Bright Burst Scarf, named after the starburst design in the end blocks, morphed as a project several times before it became the final result you see. The original thought was to create an entire blanket out of many Bright Burst squares woven together, but as the work continued to evolve in my mind, I decided the squares would make a very pretty unifying motif for a stripy, comfy neck-warmer. I hope all of you agree.

January 7, 2016

Adventure for a New Year

I crocheted my first little purse, with a lot of help from my long-suffering mother, when I was 13. It certainly wasn't an impressive piece, but I was terribly proud of it. I'd been playing with the paper bands from Mom's skeins of
Red Heart yarn since I could toddle, all the while feeling that whatever she was doing with the strings and her shiny metal hooks was a combination of alchemy and modern dance. To finally complete my first piece of crochet magic was wonderful; for a 13-year-old, it was much more fun than the process of creating it had been. That was mostly frustration, dropping stitches, ripping out rows, finding extra stitches that seemed to materialize from thin air, and constantly wondering where my hook went. I loved that purse; I didn't crochet another thing until I was in college.

During the intervening years, I experienced an emergency gallbladder removal, saw my father suffer a massive heart attack, and watched my mother's health deteriorate as lupus progressed through her body. I lost two high school friends to car accidents. By the age of 19, I had come to understand the joy of peaceful contemplation, of engaging my mind in a simple, quiet task. That appreciation for peace only grew as life became a constant round of 20-page papers and mid-terms, interspersed with urgent visits home because a parent was once again hospitalized. My return to crochet was not a continuous one; I have periodically picked it up again over the years, learning a little more and becoming a bit more proficient each time. It has nursed me through the loss of parents and grandparents. Crochet brightens days when my own parenting skills feel pushed to the limit. It grants me many happy weeks spent preparing handmade Christmas presents each year.

Now I embark on a new venture, MBR Crochet, through which I hope to share my love of crochet with all of you. I take orders, and am willing to take on many types of new projects, should you have an item in mind that you wish to commission. Check out my slowly-growing Gallery, and email me for further information. In the meantime, I wish us all cozy blankets and plenty of pretty new yarn with which to play.