Mistakes Were Made, Streaks Were Broken

On Monday, I broke my 37-day blogging streak. Since inertia has a momentum of its own, I then failed to blog on Tuesday and Wednesday, too. Now I’m trying to break my non-blogging streak with this teeny post.

  
On Momday morning I finished the next-to-last row of my Sunday Shawl. On Monday night, I realized I had 18 shells on one side and 15 on the other. Oops! That’s quite a large and noticeable mistake – it made the whole shawl uneven and unbalanced. The mistake was actually in the previous row. I’m super-glad I could figure the mistake out; I’m so new to crochet that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to “read” where the mistake it. I know it will be quick to rip and redo – far quicker than if it were knitting – but I’ve let it sit for the past three nights anyway. I’m breaking my non-crochet streak tonight. Here’s hoping I have a finished shawl to show soon!

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Sunday Progress on my Sunday Shawl

Today has been a very long, very full, very good day, and I’m so glad I got up early and got a few stitches in on my shawl before the day got away from me. 

  
I’m sitting down now with a cup of tea and my hook to do a little more before bed. I hope to have more to show you soon!

(Ps – in the comments yesterday, I was asked about the yarn color names. I answered there but will include the info here, too, in case anyone else is interested:

  1. Truffle (dark brown)
  2. Ballerina (light pink)
  3. Bordeaux (raspberry)
  4. Sand Dune (tan)

These are all Knit Picks Swish Superwash (plus two handspun yarns). 

Saturday Crochet on my Sunday Shawl

At this point, I’m having a hard time putting this down, but I have to now, because today is a writing day and it’s time to get to work. But I’m getting close to the end, and I’m only falling more in love.

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This is all KnitPicks Swish (deep stash here), but I threw in some leftover handspun for fun, and I’m loving the results.

Five rows left – perhaps my reward tonight for finishing my work.

Knit vs. Crochet

But before we jump into that exciting topic, let me first say a huge thank you for your amazing Advent activity suggestions on yesterday’s post!! I haven’t had a chance yet to respond to comments, but they were really wonderful. If you are looking for some ideas to do with your own kids, you really should check out the comments from that post. Thank you so much for everyone who took the time to offer ideas!

There is also this great comment on Facebook from a friend of mine:

One of the things I do every year is discover at least one new Christmas cd (either newly released or just new-to-me). A couple years ago it was Cee Lo Green’s “Magic Moment”; this year it’s been Diana Krall’s “Christmas Songs” and a French album of recognizable songs (Marie-Eve Janvier and Francois Breau). Justin Bieber’s Xmas album is pretty fun (hate to admit it). Other ideas: read one Xmas story per day (Norman Rockwell’s anthology is classic, but I also highly recommend Tolkien’s Letters from Santa Clause); wear an ugly Xmas sweater; search YouTube for old Xmas tv specials (He-Man and She-Ra totally have Xmas episodes); go ice skating; put $5 inside a Xmas card and leave it inside a book in a bookstore (this happened to me – I found a card with $5 and a holiday message for the lucky discoverer inside Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in the Ann Arbor Borders, one year).

Those are some great ideas, and I especially LOVE the idea of putting money inside a Christmas card and leaving it inside a book in a bookstore and that is DEFINITELY going into the Advent calendar. I hope at the end of the season to give a recap of what I ended up doing. We’ll see if I can keep up with documenting it for myself.

Okay, onto the provocative topic of Knit vs. Crochet! My friend and colleague, Amy, posted on Facebook yesterday saying she couldn’t decide if she wanted to learn to knit or crochet, and wanted people’s thoughts. She got lots of good comments, and of course my answer was: learn both! But it got me curious to know what my blog readers would recommend. Which do you prefer, and why? Have you tried both and found one to be easier or more interesting? If you do both, what kinds of things do you like to make by knitting and what kinds with crochet? And if you were advising someone about what they should learn, what would your advice be? (There was a time when I saw and heard a lot of snobbery in the online knitting community towards crochet – is that still the case? I hope not.)

As for me, I’m improving my crochet skills these days, thanks to the broken hand (which prevents me from being able to knit but apparently is not too impaired to crochet). I have to admit that it’s pretty amazing to watch how fast crochet grows. I’ve now gotten to the fun part of my Sunday Shawl:

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Sunday Shawl Progress

I haven’t had a lot of time for crochet this week, but still the shawl grows:

  
I guess I’m having some tension issues, because I’ve got a little wing thing going on, but I’m going to press on anyway, and try to be more mindful. My stitch count is also a little off. I obviously still have a lot to learn when it comes to crochet.

But I’m very much enjoying the pattern as well as watching how fast crochet grows.

  
The yarn is Knit Picks Swish, acquired years and years ago for a Tubey sweater (remember that pattern), which I never got around to. Now I’m glad about that, because I am really pleased with how it’s turning out in the shawl.

Since it’s called the Sunday Shawl, it only seems fitting that I spend some time today (Sunday) on it, yes? Yes, I think I shall.

Trying my hand at something different

I decided to see if I’m able to crochet with a splinted broken hand and it turns out I am! It’s not graceful or smooth or fast – which is to say, it’s not much different from how I crochet when I’m not injured!

First I tried an idea I’ve had for awhile, to crochet a cowl out of this handspun:

  
Turns out the stitch I have in mind for this project is just too fiddly for managing with a splint. So instead, I started a project I’ve had my eye on for more than a year:

  
Sunday Shawl by The Little Bee. I’m pretty excited about this project, and it’s always amazing to me to see how fast crochet grows.

I miss knitting terribly,  but I’ll admit that it’s good to be forced out of one’s natural preferences from time to time. How about you? Have you ever been forced, compelled, or inspired to work outside your crafty comfort zone?

In Memory of Tink

On Tuesday night, we began decorating our Christmas tree, and I hung up some of my most special, most prized ornaments:

little crocheted angel

little crocheted angel

I have ten of these incredibly intricate crocheted angels. They are so precious to me not just because they are handmade, but because they were made by someone very dear to me. Leila Claire “Tink” DuVall was a founding member of my first congregation (I am a church pastor) in rural southwest Georgia. It was a small church in a small town, and we were a close-knit little group. Tink lived down the street from our church building, in the nursing home, where she had lived for decades; she was physically-disabled and was in a wheelchair. Every Sunday, she would come down the road in her wheelchair for church.

Tink was a crocheter and a knitter, and I believe she did other handicrafts as well. As you can see, she excelled at the very tiny detail work. She gave these angels to me my last Christmas in Georgia, a week before I moved up here to Ann Arbor. I adore them, and look forward to hanging them on my tree each year. As I hung them up this past Tuesday night, I thought of Tink with gratitude and admiration. I always treasured these angels, but it was only once I learned how to knit and crochet that I truly understood the skill, the work, the time, and the patience involved in making these. There is no way I could ever make one of these angels, let alone ten, let alone the many I know she has made over the years and given away. It truly staggers me to consider.

Last night I got a phone call from Tink’s brother, another person very dear to me. He called to tell me that Tink died on Tuesday, killed when an ambulance that was transporting her to the hospital (due to illness) had a wreck. It is such a shock, and such a loss, and it has weighed on me all day. At the same time, I feel a sense of awe and connection, knowing that on the same day she died, I was thinking of her, touching gifts she had made with her own hands for me years ago, being touched by her life and by her generosity and by the many gifts she gave me and others. I am so grateful to have her legacy gracing our tree, and to have had her life touch mine.