Saturday, March 28, 2009

Hooks Down, Pencils Ready (Or, why-oh-why don't I ever learn?!?)

Hi. My name is Christina, and I'm a yarn addict.

("Hi, Christina.")

They say that one of the sure signs that a hobby or interest crosses over to an addiction is when the action begins to impact daily life. Well, what I'm about to admit here isn't necessarily life-ruining--it's merely a public confession about how my hooking and needling vices recently created some unnecessary teeth gnashing.

Alas, I have only myself to blame.

About two months ago, while creating a couple freeform plush gifties, I decided it was time for me to write another pattern. After first making this cute (yet potentially-pregger-looking) bunny. . .

. . . I kept hooking away. Soon, I was really digging the potbelly appearance of this monkey and bunny:

I swore to myself--SWORE!--that I'd take some notes that I might then flesh out and into a full-length pattern (for sale and for my own personal use--I'm nearing 40, so the brain's not quite retaining as well these days;).

But then I got a wee bit cocky with myself.
You see, looking at a few pictures of some baby duckling plushies I crocheted last year . . .

I was able to replicate my pattern's basic body shape and make the bunny and monkey above.

After finishing the bunny and monkey this year, I was filled with so much crochet hubris that I figured I would remember my creative process.

Wrong! It was just Hooker's Luck.

I went to Germany. I crocheted and then knit pairs of fingerless gloves. And I knit a pair of socks. Other people's patterns--patterns that the authors, indeed, committed to page--swam through my mind, and, when I returned to the states I realized I didn't fully remember how the hell to make my monkey.

In a panic, I tried to jot down what I thought was my pattern, and I then tried out the pattern in the shape of a duckling:

Um, no (but bonus points for the German/Bavarian/Leiderhosen costume). Thanks for playing, Christina!

While this little squat duckling is really cute, it's not what I'd been hoping to render. Um, yeah: there's a bit of a difference between a potbelly and a beer belly (and I'm not making a dig at Germans. . . just a dig at my design).

Take two:

(Insert annoying buzzer sound here.) Strike Two!
Again, so cute, but not exactly the outcome I wanted.

I'm admitting all of this to you for a reason: likely, if you're reading this blog 1.) you share in my yarny madness; or 2.) you're a family, friend or loved one that I've shamed into subscribing to my site.

If you're part of the latter group--and you make freeform items and one-of-a-kind yarn items that, gosh darn, you wish you could make again,--then you must listen to me: set down the yarn. Set it down and do NOT start another project until you take the 40 minutes needed to make some personal, short-hand, chicken-scratch notes about all the neat little tricks you used to make that kick ass finished object.

Don't be like me. Don't get cocky. Don't trust your memory. Don't be so obsessed with the way the yarn moves across your hands that you complete one project and then immediately jump to the next--especially when you're pretty certain you might want to make something again (or for someone else).

The yarn stash will still be sitting there, and your skeins won't roll away because they're offended you're not paying them attention for a few minutes.

Please, for the sake of your sanity, heed my words: write it down. And write it down while it remains fresh. Not after you "just" finish the head of the next plushie pictured in your mind. Not after you create the cuff of your latest top-down sock. And, most certainly, not after you go on a nine-day trip across the ocean.

Do it now. Right now. Do not pass your notions nook. Do not leaf through the newest Interweave Crochet magazine. Most certainly, don't just "take a look" at

Right now: step away from your hook, and no potential patterns will get hurt.


Your yarn (and, maybe, all those safety eyes sitting in your eye bin;) will thank you later!

So, what am I going to do now? Well, I just finished making the little slender bunny (a.k.a., Banana the Bunny) about two hours ago, so she's still fresh in my mind. The moment I publish this post, I'm picking up my notepad (and ignoring the half-finished sock sitting on dpns), finding a pencil (and walking past the Noro wool I want to use to make myself some spring fingerless gloves) and sitting down (without taking a second glance at the lash yarns for a dog I'm making for a commissioned order) and scribbling out stitch counts.

After all, I can quit fondling my stash at any time.


(Hmmmm: is that mohair yarn inviting me to do a little casting on those new size 17 dpns? Must. Look. Away. Grab pencil. Take notes!)

(I'm Christina Court, and I approve this message, even if it means that I must spend one hour not caressing a ball of yarn.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Souvenirs from Germany

I went to Germany; I got my mother a mug, and my father received a t shirt. However, the way I wished to remember my time in Munich was through fiber.

On my third day in Munich, I decided to be brave, take the U-bahn alone, and venture over to Ludwig Beck's yarn and notions shop in the Marienplatz district. Communicating only in German--yay for me--I bought three gorgeous purple-gray-ivory skeins of Lang Yarns' Jawoll superwash Jacquard. I began working on Cookie A.'s "Monkey" sock pattern the night before my Schatzi and me began our journey back to The States, and I spent much of the overseas flight cranking through the first sock (nearly to the heel).

I just finished the pair this past weekend. (Okay, I still need to weave in all my loose ends, but I can still count them as FOs, right? Right????) While this is the second pair of socks I've made, this is the first pair I've made for myself.
Man, I always noticed how sock knitters in my knitting circles had a special look in their eyes. . . now I understand the depth of their fiber madness. What do I mean? Well, I'm already at work on another pair of socks. I cannot help myself. And I keep finding more and more delicious looking sock yarns. And cute sock patterns. They're everywhere. . . and they're just so dang portable.

Oh, I think I'm just falling deeper and deeper down the yarny rabbit hole . . . (and loving every minute of it!;)
BTW, I L-O-V-E this yarn. I also bought some cotton Lang Jawoll sock yarn while in Munich, and, because this first batch of yarn was so much fun, I cannot wait to give the cotton version a test drive!

I Do! I Do!

They vowed, "'Til death do us part." I guess these hopeless romantics meant it. . . and then some!

. . . yes, these little skullyweds are the product of Creepy Cute Crochet patterns by Christen Hayden. You can find more of my Hayden creations here.