Archive | May 2017

Last Crochet Puppet For Students

I’ve been trying to finish the girl crochet puppet for my clever 5th grader. I only have until tomorrow to finish it so I’m cutting it close! Most of it is done, but I still have to do the face and hair.

crochet puppet red black

I can’t see anything!

I’m taking it back to work today where I will finish if off with the student’s input.

The head came out a little smaller than I would like but hopefully she’ll look better once she has a face and hair. My student wanted her to have a tongue so I made sure the inside of the mouth had some pink. I’m getting better at making the inside of the mouth. This third attempt is my favorite.

 

New Sleeves for Crochet Bavarian Coat

I know I was supposed to set the unfinished coat aside and contemplate its sleeves at a later time with a clearer head. I was to use that time on other things and come back to it with all kinds of ideas and possibilities. That lasted 24 hours.

Bavarian sweater sleeve

I’m trying out star stitches and I’m working both sides simultaneously so I can see the progress and so that I don’t forget what I did from one sleeve to the next. I know, I know, I should be writing it down and I tried. But I’ve written things down before, only to go do the second of whatever I was making and it didn’t turn out the same. I know I wrote it down right! Sooo, I reasoned that if I do them at the same time, there’s more chance of success. I can try on as I go and if it’s not working, I can rip it back before I get too far.

I think I finally found the solution I like. They look good to me so far. Hopefully they will look good all the way to the end.

 

 

Surviving Disappointment -Crochet Puppet

My second crochet puppet was a fail, and twice a success. It was a fail because my 2nd grader was disappointed with it. It was a success because the other kids loved it and wanted it. It was a success again because I changed it so the 2nd grader liked after all.

So I gave my 2nd grader the puppet. I finished it as much as I was going to finish it. I didn’t give him legs, even though my student wanted him to have legs. I have to admit that with the attitude he was displaying towards my efforts, I wasn’t as inspired to comply with his requests (demands). I did add arms, ears and a nose and I thought he came out pretty cute.

crochet puppet max_2

What’s wrong with my eyes?

When I handed him over, the look of disappointment was palpable. And now I was disappointed. So this was a fail. But it was also a success because there were about 10 other kids circling him like sharks hoping they could have it. They smelled the scent of his disappointment and moved in to snatch the puppet up.

Some were begging me to let them have it since he didn’t like it and some were appealing directly to him to give it to them. I saw right away that he just might give it away (no way buddy) so I put a stop to that real quick. I told them all that it would go in the Ultimate Prize Box if he didn’t end up keeping it (either by his choice or mine).

I asked my 2nd grader if he wanted to trade him for something else since it didn’t seem like he liked the puppet. He actually thought about it! Oh, help me survive the fickleness of kids! I told him that he probably should trade it since he obviously didn’t like it. He hesitatingly said  he would keep it, although I think this had more to do with him not wanting anyone else to have it. He walked away but he kept griping about how the puppet didn’t have eyeballs! He was obsessed with eyeballs!

I finally had enough and was about to make an executive decision and take back the puppet, but instead, I asked him if the eyes were the only reason he didn’t like the puppet. He said yes, so I had him hand the puppet over and I sent the kids out to recess. When they came back, the puppet had new eyes.

crochet puppet max_3

Now he has eyeballs!

My 2nd grader had a big smile on his face and he happily scampered off. Now, at least, I had a better feeling that the puppet was going to be liked. Maybe love would come later. 🙂 Still, I think my 2nd grader’s mom was more grateful for the puppet than my student. She loved it.

Any art is an extension of ourselves and it can be hard to put ourselves out there. And when our work is rejected (even by a 2nd grader), it can be tough not to take the rejection personally.

My hubby is an artist. He makes a living from his art. He tells me he doesn’t take it personally when a client asks for changes or just doesn’t like something.  He just makes the changes until the client is happy.

So that’s what I did. I  made the change and the client (student) was happy.

And knowing that the other students loved the puppet as it was saved my ego. One of the reasons I get nervous when someone asks me to make them something is because I know that meeting an expectation can be hard. They have something in their mind that they want and it might not be the same as what I produce. I’d rather just make things and if it’s liked, that’s great, if it’s not, that’s no biggie.

But I don’t let that stop me with the kids. Most of the time, they’re extremely happy and appreciative of what I make for them. I’m grateful for that.

Forget the Top Hat

I basked in the glow of student adulation over the Jeffy puppet for about one whole day. Then it was back to business as usual. Back to reality and the typical way my students act when it comes to my crochet.

So, coming off my Jeffy high, came the low of being taken for granted. I finished off the emoji purse for my third grade girl and she happily accepted it and was on her way. No problem there. Seeing her happy with her purse was thanks enough (really😁).

Then, it was time for the top hat for my 2nd grade boy…but he changed his mind. He didn’t want the top hat anymore, he wanted a puppet. Well, of course he did. After hearing how much the 5th graders loved the Jeffy, he wanted his own puppet, one that looked like him, no less.

I explained that time was running out and there was no way I could finish a complicated puppet like Jeffy. It would have to be something much simpler. He said that was fine. And typical, it didn’t take him long to start asking if I was finished. I mean, he immediately started asking if I was done! By the end of the same day that he made the request, he asked if I was done. I know they think I have a magic crochet wand (hook) that I can just wave around and abracadabra, there’s a completed item. I chuckled and let him know that I hadn’t had time to even start it yet.

The next few days were like going on a trip with a child in the back seat who keeps asking if we’re there yet. I kept hearing, “Are you finished yet, are you finished yet, are you finished yet?” Continue reading

Crochet can make you cry…

Crochet Jeffy puppet

I think I just had the sweetest moment in my teaching career this last Friday. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had many sweet moments with the kids at work, but never from such an unexpected source, in such an unexpected way. Those two 5th grade boys (the advocate and the recipient of Jeffy the Puppet) made me cry today. Not the kind of crying where I want to beat my head in frustration, but the kind brought on by a sweet surprise.

In our program, we have Friday movie day with popcorn and a treat. Since we have no homework on Friday, I allow the kids to share anything they like before the movie. This particular Friday was no different. Continue reading

Freebie Friday – Finger Knitting

I’m notorious for telling the kids that if they want to learn something, they need to keep trying, even when it seems super hard. It will get easier.

I’m not a knitter. I wanted to learn, though. I tried, got frustrated, tried again, failed again, and vowed to become the best crocheter ever! Nope, I didn’t follow my own advice. I gave up. The irony wasn’t lost on me. I guess I didn’t want to learn that strongly or I would have followed my own advice. But a good thing came of my failed attempt and that was a deeper love of crochet and a desire to keep honing that craft. Thanks failed knitting attempt!

Then I stumbled upon this video tutorial on how to finger knit. Finally, knitting I can do! It’s also something I can teach the kids. This is the kind of project I think they can all do. I might save it for the next school year but I definitely want to introduce it to them.

In the meantime, I did introduce it to one of my Kinder girls and she got so excited because she learned how to do it all by herself. When it was time to go home, she didn’t want to put it down. I didn’t have the heart to force her to stop so I let her take the ball of yarn home so she could keep working on it.  She wanted to make a scarf. I can’t wait to see it and share in a future post highlighting student work.

But just because I think it would be great for kids doesn’t mean it wouldn’t also be great for adults. Have a go at it and see what you think.

Photo and video courtesy of the web. 

Crochet Fires

Was it me that foolishly uttered I didn’t have any more crochet fires to put out? Yep, yep, that was me. What a farce! I spoke too soon. Luckily, they’re just little fires, easily put out.

I failed to notice (or conveniently forgot) that a bunch of kids were close to our Ultimate Prizebox. Lucky for me, I had a few crochet emojis and a Pokeball already in there.

emojis

These were all in the Ultimate Prize Box plus another heart and small crochet purse. There are only two left.

But one little boy wanted a Popular MMO figure. Those aren’t that hard and I said I’d try but I had to concede defeat.

IMG_0975

This is one I gave to another student last year. H e was already played with by the time  took the picture so he was a little beat up.

He wasn’t technically at the ultimate prize box, he was past it. So technically, he missed his chance to get a custom made crochet piece. He chose something else at the time. So I didn’t feel so bad about directing him to something else. He chose the Pokeball.

red-pokeball

Then, two more kids made it that wanted something custom. I stressed it had to be easy (and small!). One girl picked an emoji purse. As long as she’s not expecting something big, that’s doable.

The other student asked for a hat or a beanie. Phew! That sounded easy. I asked what kind he wanted. He said a top hat. I laughed. A top hat? I asked him to draw it because I wanted to make sure I was thinking the same thing he was. Uh huh, I was. He’s a second grader so he could be thinking anything. Lol I guess I’m making a top hat 🎩 for a second grade boy. 😁

We’ve got two weeks left of school. I’m going to be busy! Again! LOL

Crochet Fail – Bavarian Sweater/Coat

I normally have no qualms about ripping back work when it isn’t right, but this time, this time, I have a lot of qualms about it. I had set aside my Bavarian square sweater in lieu of other projects. Why? Because it got hot! Who needs a thick and cozy sweater when it’s bloody hot outside! Plus, I couldn’t figure out what to do with the sleeves, so it was easily abandoned.

All my other projects are complete and there aren’t any crochet fires I need to put out, sooo… I picked up the sweater and continued work on the sleeves. One of the problems of working off-the-seat-of-your-pants, on-the-fly, make-up-as-you-go type of creation, is that you don’t always get what you envision in your mind (or is it only me?). I’ve been working the sleeves separately from the main coat in Tunisian Crochet. I ran out of black awhile back and was too busy (lazy) to go buy more. PLUS, I had so much of the grey yarn I’d already used on the sweater (and spent good money on already), I thought it would be good enough. The panels themselves I like. Once I finished them (after trying out different solutions), I sewed one of the sleeves onto the sweater last night and tried it on to see my handy work. Yuck! I didn’t like it.

Tunisian crochet sleeve

Doesn’t look so bad here, but trust me, it’s no good! 

First of all, the sleeve didn’t drape right. I  was still going to make a few rounds of half double crochet with deeper decreases for the cuffs, but after trying it on and not liking the drape, I didn’t proceed with that. No matter how much I tugged and pulled on it, it still looked bad. The problem was that I needed more decreases further up on the sleeves. The sleeves were too big. Second of all, the color just didn’t work. I kept squinting and looking at it from different angles, but I couldn’t make myself like it. Fail!

The only good thing was that I only attached one sleeve. Now I needed to take the sleeve off and rip back both sleeves. That’s when the qualms hit me. I didn’t want to rip back all that work! I don’t usually struggle so much with frogging my work. I’ve ripped back entire queen-size blankets. But I just couldn’t do it. In the grand scheme of things, they are tiny panels that no one would miss (except me apparently).

Tunisian Crochet panel

I suppose it could be a skirt or top instead.

And yet…

Instead, I played with the unattached sleeve (I hadn’t removed the other one yet). I held it up to my chest to see if I could turn it into a top of some sort. I held it like a skirt. Hmmm… nope. Maybe.

I’m trying real hard to turn those panels into something else so I don’t feel like I wasted my time. I’ll probably just set the panels aside and think about them later. That way I’ll have some distance from all the work and I won’t be so torn about undoing them. In the meantime, I’ll start some new sleeves. This time, I’ll might start them straight on the arm holes, in black. I have black now. I probably should just make more granny squares for the sleeves. I was resistant to do that because the coat is already so dense. I thought it would be granny square overload. Maybe I’m over-thinking this. I’m most definitely over-thinking this.

I have until next winter to decide…😀

 

Reflecting

boats

Reflecting can mean different things. When I saw this prompt, it reminded me of these two photographs I took in San Diego. The one on top is a literal reflection but it also causes me to reflect on the beauty  of the ocean and the solitude I felt walking in the wee hours of the morning with only a few people around.

In the bottom picture, I was reflecting about how I was going to finish my crocodile-stitch cloak in time for the Renaissance Faire. I was also reflecting on how relaxed I felt sitting and crocheting, while two ducks were bold enough to approach me and watch me crochet. I pondered the questions of the universe with those ducks.

ducks

I’ve been doing a ton of reflecting lately. One of my uncles passed away a few days ago and it got me thinking about all my loved ones who are no longer with us. With Mother’s Day this past weekend, I was thinking a ton about my my mom and my sister. When my brother told me about my uncle’s passing, my automatic reaction was to ask if anyone had told my sister (the one who passed) about it. I stopped myself before it came out of my mouth. She was older than me and much closer to this uncle and would have been hurt the most by this uncle’s passing. I told my brother what I almost did and he laughingly said I was an idiot. Then he told me he had had the same reaction when he was told about our uncle. I guess we were both ‘idiots’. We reminisced about her for a few minutes before we hung up.

Reflection is good.

Scary Saturday

I love the scary stories featured on Tanglewood Tapestry. This is one of my stories. I hope it’s not too scary for anyone! Take a look if you dare. It’s all true based on how I remember it happening. This isn’t my final story I have to share but it is the scariest one.

Have you ever had anything scary or other worldly happen to you? Do you even believe things like this are possible? Personally, I approach these things with a strong sense of skepticism (question everything!) but I also have an open mind. Enough credible people have told me their stories, so I believe. I don’t pretend to understand, but I believe.

As Featured on Tanglewood Tapestry

Have you ever felt that someone or something was looking out for you? Have you ever felt that a paranormal force has protected you from physical or emotional harm? Have you ever felt your spirit guardian with you? Would you even know if you had a spirit guardian?

via Scary Saturday – Guardian Spirits — Tanglewood Tapestry