The saddest craft book ever

  
Has it really been only four years since the book Knit Your Own Cat came out? I got my hands on a copy as soon as I could. After all, I had Slinky, the world’s most wonderful Devon Rex. And, the book has a pattern for a Devon Rex, made with boucle yarn to capture that lamby look.

  
(For the record, other breeds include Abyssinian, Bengal, Black Cat, Black & White, British Shorthair, Burmese, Kitten, Maine Coon, Orange, Persian, Ragdoll, Siamese, Tabby, Tortoiseshell and Turkish Van.)

I won’t lie, all of the cats are adorable. And, while the knitted Devon pattern is particularly totes adorbs, it’s no real life Slinky. Despite the best of intentions. I never made a black-and-white Devon.

  
Cut to February of 2014. My Slinkalina — other nicknames included Slinkster, Schmoozalina and Furry McPurry — started out on the path to renal failure. (She’d already been prone to mammary tumors having spent her early years as a breeding animal.) She spent a spendy five days with the vet, but I got another nearly four months with her. That spring I was as lazy as a girl could be, doing little else in my free time than just sitting with my curly girl. I have no regrets about that time with her!

 

Slinky after one of her surgeries
 
In May of that year, Slinky took seriously ill again. By mid June she was gone. Just few weeks before I had to say goodbye to her, I met Morgan. More than once I’ve said that I lost my cat, but found a unicorn.

There are no cats on the horizon. Unicorns, I’ve learned, are allergic and even I’ve been able to back off from so much allergy and asthma medicine. And, I don’t know that I’ll ever knit a Devon Rex. Or Maine Coon or Persian or any other kind of cat. I will, however, continue to miss Slinky every single day and continue to lover her and wish I could smell that soft, little head just one more time.

I think Knit your Own Cat is a great book. And, I hope that it will find it’s way into the hands of a Devon Rex owner. That would be great. But, animal lovers tend to be good people, so I’ll not get hung up on details. However, the title is also tied to one particular cat, not a love of cats in general.

 

Yes, she was that spoiled.
 
I also unearthed Kitty Knits. I have to admit, there are some really cute patterns in there for hats and scarves and cat toys and fuzzy slippers. I don’t know if I’m ready to part with that one just yet. I meant, the felted cat door stop would be great in a lime green or orange yarn. Because that title, while purchased when I had a cat, still isn’t tied to Slinky. This one just might stay.

So, this was less about a book and more about Slinky. But I think it kind of had to be. I sure do miss my kitten-kitten.

  

Project ‘ Why am I obsessed?’

As I mentioned last week, I’ve been watching a lot of Project Runway. Some shows really lend themselves to binge watching, others not so much. Project Runway is somewhere in between. Once the show is down to less than 10 contestants, the competition heats up, and the designs, imho, really start to deserve attention.
Also, let me say that I could wear t-shirts with jeans or cords every day and be quite happy. I’m no fashion icon or expert. I don’t “get” a lot of fashion, either. Really, I am all about comfort and ease.

This way-behind-the-times musing all came about one night after Morgan and I watched four back-to-back episodes of Making a Murderer. Morgan needed something, as he said, that wouldn’t frustrate him, so we found the earliest season of Project Runway on Hulu, which was season 6. For nearly 18 months, he’s been telling me that I would love the show because it’s about crafting. It’s not really about crafting, but I do love the glimpses viewers get into the creative process. In fact, I wish we got way more of that. (I’m hoping that the DVDs will have more talking through the process and less background sniping.)

From the beginning, I found Tim Gunn to be the highlight of the show. I’m sure that puts me in a agreement with every other fan of the show. He is a class act, and offers up a master class in manners. Seriously, I may have to track down Project Runway: Under the Gunn. Maybe. The judging wears me out and breaks my brain sometimes. I need more about the creative process and more words of wisdom from Mr. Gunn. I think what he says to the designers is good advice for any crafters/makers: Use an editing eye. Be willing to take risks. Always listen to your gut.
While the judging is my least favorite part of the show, I do like hearing the judges say how they want to see “who the designer is” in the creation. That’s another good lesson for me and my fellow makers/crafters to keep in mind.

One more good thing about it? It’s a great thing to have on while I work on other things. It really only requires a little looking with a lot of listening. And, I’ve used that time to finish some things and start some others. I could use of month of that. (Don’t get me started on how I love to dream about being on a four- to six-week house arrest.)

Even though I woke up this morning and realized that I only have three months until the market starts up again, I’m still very much in a knitting and crocheting frame of mind. Maybe the jewelry class I’m taking on Saturday will get me back into jewelry-making mode. Fingers crossed. Wait, that’s a lie. My fingers will be busy with knitting needles and crochet hooks until I’m ready to tuck them away for the season.

First book of the year

First, a cold knocked me on my arse for the last 10 days. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been so tired. My taste buds are finally returning, I sound a lot less like Brenda Vaccaro and my cough has mostly subsided. The only good thing about having to rest is that I got a lot of crocheting done. One project was the Windowpane scarf from Ravelry. Another was a simple cowl made with the second ball of yummy alpaca yarn I received for Christmas. I just grabbed a big crochet hook and whipped something up.
The first scarf I made from the alpaca yarn I gave to my mom. The pattern came from the book One-Skein Wonders By Judith Durant. When I first started knitting, I made many, many scarves. It was a great way to try out various yarns, stitches and needles. Plus, t seemed like a good way to justify buying just one or two balls of a yarn I liked for those scarves. In hindsight, it wasn’t the best method of acquiring yarn, but it was my approach.
So, When I saw the book One-Skein Wonders, I thought for sure it was for me–and a great way to use up my stash. It features 101 patterns for everything from hats to tea cozies and scarves to baby clothing and accessories to mitten. While it still seems like a good idea, I have to admit that I’ve only made two of the patterns. I think it might be time to de-accession this title. There might be one or two more projects to try, but then goodbye. So, maybe I’ll be back to knitting scarves. Or maybe I’ll make more of my crazy, giant granny square afghans with random balls of yarn. Either way, it’s silly, for me, to keep a book for just two or three patterns. And, it pleases me to think that someone else will pick up my copy and get a lot of use out of it.
Now, back to convalescing.
Coming up …. My thoughts on all of the Project Runway I’ve been watching. I know, I’m more than a little late to that party.

Not too shabby

Oh, Sunday. How I dislike your day-long reminder that I’ll be back at work the next day. In fact, as much as I used to love the song “Manic Monday” by The Bangles, I never understood why she called Sunday her fun day. Makes no sense!
All of that aside, today I’m glad to look back the week’s activities. Or, maybe it’s the fact that yesterday was the day I needed: Social shopping with mom and four episodes of Making a Murderer with the boyfriend. (We must finish it today, or all of the supplemental info I’ve sought out will spill out of my mouth, and he will not be happy.)

I did finish one sock and just cast on the stitches for the second.
I made a quick scarf from some yummy bulky alpaca yarn.

  Mom commissioned a pair of slippers for a crash pad-mate who liked a pair a slippers I’d made for mom years ago.

   Maybe these slippers will help her walk away from the life she’d like to leave in Indiana.

I’m also plugging away on the prismacolored copper. I think the key is slowing down. Or, using turpanoid instead of workable fixative. I hope to ramp up my progress a bit this week.

And, I experimented with the coconut macaroon cookie spread I was given at Christmas. 

  Instead of downing it by the spoonful, I thought I’d try baking with it, using a flourless peanut butter cookie recipe. There was no way the dough would result in cookies, rather than “pools” of cooked dough. So, I put the dough in cupcake papers. They taste ok, but there’s not a lot of substance to them. 

   
What they do have, in spades, is oil. I think they even triggered my faulty gallbladder valve. Oh well, I tried.I’ve tended to my GB and am now prepping for a savory waffle dinner for Morgan and me. If that fails, there’s always Humble Pie about two blocks away. Yay!!

Slow start

  Much like the way Christmas derailed a month of eating well, the holidays, too, have let me struggling to get back into a craft book/making groove.

So, overwhelmed with the books on my shelves, I picked up DIY, Dammit: A Practical Guide to Curse-Free Crafting, by Joselyn Hughes

  A copy found it’s way to me, but I wasn’t sure how many of the projects would speak to me. (As much as I love to make all kinds of things, I don’t dabble in *all* crafts.) But, having received a wonderful new glue gun for Christmas, I was especially hoping to find some craft-spiration to test it out.
I started leafing through it, and immediately I spotted the words: Internet perfection does nothing for DIY. It actually makes it harder.

Those were the words I needed after starting—and restarting—my coloring copper with Prismacolor pencils. More to come about that on Sunday. (And there was the failed soldering class in December!)

I should preface all of this by saying that earlier in the day I was looking at the website for Craftcation Conference, and I felt that feeling of “Why do I bother?” I’m one of thousands—if not millions— of people making stuff and hoping people like it and, maybe, buy some of it.

I know all of the reasons why I should put my worries aside and just do what I do in honesty and to the best of my abilities. (Just this morning I heard a colleague disparage his photography and I couldn’t believe it. His work is amazing!! Which proves that we’re all susceptible doubts and worries, especially those of us with steady 40-hour-a-week gigs that we enjoy.)

Anywho … later that day I was listening to this week’s episode of Spontaneanation, and part of the introductory interview was about accepting how working on a piece of something is productivity. In this case the interviewee talked about spending time cutting out images for collage cards that he likes to make. Much like the words about imperfection, I needed to hear that, too, because I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed with projects I’ve started that seem to have no end in sight. Well, one sock will be finished tonight, I just know it.

  
And then, getting back to that first positive message, I got a notice today that a copy of The Art of Mistakes: Unexpected Painting Techniques & the Practice of Creative Thinking, by Melanie Rothschild was waiting for me at my local library branch.

  
The universe has spoken. Clearly. Directly. So, I need to shut my mouth and keep on keeping on. The only wrong move, for me, would be to be paralyzed by doubt and worry. I need to work on projects in pieces and as I can. And, if I make mistakes, so what?! Prototypes are OK. Just trying is great! Making time to play and then use that time to play/make begets creativity, or so I’ve found.

p.s. Grace Jones’ memoir was also waiting for me at the library. What in the world is the universe trying to tell me with that one?