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Student Corner

It’s been awhile since I’ve written about the wonderful crochet projects my students were working on and I thought it was about that time. I meant to get this out before the school year ended but better late than never, right? The kids had  really been inspired and their work deserves to be seen.

Student Work

4th Graders

One 4th grade girl made a cute book cover. She asked me to teach her fancier stitches. I taught her how to do alternating single and double crochets and then alternating them in the next row. The book cover came out very cute.

Crochey book cover pouch_2

Crochet book cover pouch_1

After that, she felt ready to make a doll. She’d already tackled working in the round by making emojis so she was definitely ready. She finished the head and body and started work on the hair. She had definite ideas of how she wanted her doll to look.

crochet doll head

I let her know that how the doll looks it’s totally up to her. That’s the fun part of making dolls, they are totally unique to us.

Look at that hair! She’s good. 🙂

Another 4th grade girl has made several scarves but she wanted a pencil case for her brother. She asked me a few questions and then set out to make it.

Crochet pencil case

This will be a pencil case.

crochet pencil case.jpg

Now It’s starting to look like a pencil case! She was adding a Batman symbol to the yellow part before we left for the summer. She even sewed it together to form pencil pockets. I didn’t teach her that!

5th Grader

A fifth-grade girl wanted to try a doll as well. I taught her how to crochet in the round and I don’t doubt she’ll have her own doll pretty soon. She managed to finish the head before we left and hopefully she won’t abandon it now that she won’t be returning (5th graders move on to middle school).

I recently learned about finger knitting and I was able to teach one of my Kinder girls how to do it. With a little guidance, she was able to make herself a scarf. She was very proud of it and I was very proud of her. She wore the scarf all day. 🙂

Kindergartner

Lastly, I’d like to feature one of my transitional Kinders who has mastered the chain in her own way and is itching to move on to the single crochet.

She wants to make so many things and is frustrated that she can’t yet. So far, I haven’t managed to teach a Kinder how to do single crochet. Mainly because they are happy learning how to chain stitch and get impatient that they can’t pick up single crochet quickly. The youngest I have been able to teach that far is second-grade. Even then, that second-grader didn’t master single crochet until she was in third grade. However, this child is so determined, I think she can actually do it. If not this year, I’m pretty sure she’ll be able to do it next year. Transitional Kinders get two years of Kinder. So next year, she will still be a Kindergartner. We will both feel a sense of accomplishment if she manages to learn the stitch. She’s really sharp so I have no doubt she’ll get it.

I am soooooo proud of them all! Watching them make their projects was a revelation to me about how good they’d gotten. I’m constantly harping on about how you can make anything once you learn the basics. If you can dream it, you can make it happen, and they did! I was actually giddy when I saw how little they needed me for these projects. Sure, I guided them, but the ideas and implementation was all their own. So proud.

Crochet- A Distant Memory

I feel like I haven’t crocheted or posted in a long time. It all seemed so distant. It must have been weeks since I made something or posted something. I’ve missed two Freebie Fridays in a row. This I know, which added to this distant feeling I’ve been having. I was all set to post a Freebie Friday this last Friday, but it was interrupted by life. So no post.

Since I hadn’t posted in forever, I decided that today I would sit down and write.

crochet mini me writing.jpg

What should I write about?

I opened up my WordPress account and checked when I had posted last…Um, this is embarrassing. I posted three days ago, which means it hasn’t been forever since I crocheted or posted something.

Not so distant after all. 🙂 But it feels distant. It begs the question (okay, I’m the only one begging) why it feels so long ago? The answer is because I haven’t picked up a hook since I got off of work. How long ago was that? Oh yeah, last Thursday. Three whole days ago! I realize now that I’ve been crocheting everyday for awhile now and with the school year over, I just stopped.

I didn’t consciously decide I wasn’t going to crochet, I just didn’t crochet. Nothing was pressing. No students were barraging me with request. I had nothing specific I wanted to work on and my Bavarian sweater can wait, it being 90 degrees and all. So no crochet is happening at the moment, and it feels weird.

But that hasn’t stopped me from talking about crochet and dreaming and planning about where crochet might take me.

crochet mini me dreaming.jpg

This is how I dream and plan 🙂

I’ve sporadically mentioned that I wrote a crochet book about how to make dolls and hubby and I have been talking a lot about how to finally get that off the ground. We’ve been strategizing and plotting and just having fun. We talked about his stuff too but this post is about me. Selfish, I know, but I didn’t want you thinking I monopolized the conversation. 😉

I’ve also been listening to crochet podcasts. I found one I really like and I’m finding it to be very inspiring. In the past, I subscribed to a few podcasts on the subject, but after trying to listen to them, they lay abandoned in my queue, never to be listened to again. I felt they didn’t contribute  anything or they plum just didn’t grab my attention. It’s been years, so I gave it another try, figuring there was bound to be new podcasts out there and I found one!

I listened to the latest episode and was hooked from start to finish. It was a long episode and I’m usually turned off by long podcast episodes of anything but I gave it a shot and listened to it while watering the grass. It was an interview about teaching crochet, either for profit or for fun. I’ve been toying with this idea for years now and it piqued my interest. Teaching the kids at school has in turn taught me some valuable lessons and listening to the episode just brought home that I might be ready to take it to the next level.

I listened to a couple more episodes and I liked those as well so I’m sticking with this one. I found it in the iTunes store but I’m sure there are other ways to get the podcast if you are on a different platform but here is a link to the iTunes website in case you are interested.

So even though I’ve been lax in my crocheting (for the past three days lol), I haven’t been completely derelict to the spirit of crochet.

Red and Black Crochet Puppet

I handed over my finished puppet to her new 5th grade owner after a day of celebrating our 5th graders. I said a few words about how much I will miss them, because I will. Two of them have been with me since kindergarten. That’s six years with the same students. It’s always bitter sweet to see them go, knowing most of them will disappear without a trace as they move on to middle school. Sometimes, they come back to visit or I run in to them when I’m out and about, but for the most part, on the last day, they’re just gone. I give them a big hug on their way out the door and wish them well.

So I said a few words, said my farewells, handed them their crocheted graduation caps and we partied with cake, pizza and a movie.

Blue graduation caps

I finished the puppet and handed her over to my student before she went off to summer glory.

crochet girl hand puppet

She didn’t turn out exactly as I pictured her but she’s alright.

crochet girl hand puppet 1

She’s kind of sassy!

My student seemed happy with her and I  know the puppet is going to a good home. This particular 5th grader has become a great crocheter and wants to take crochet with her to her new after-school program next year. Some of our 5th graders from our school continue on in our program at our sister school. I had started crochet there years ago when I worked the summer program. Many of the students loved it but it died out quickly with no one left to run it. This 5th grader certainly has the chops to get something up and running over there. She has leadership qualities that I know she’ll put to good use to teach the students there how to crochet.

When we go back in the fall, I’m going to hook her up with the supplies she needs to get started. Hopefully that means I’ll still see her sometimes and she won’t disappear without a trace. 🙂

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.

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

Freebie Friday – Finger Crochet

I’ve been experimenting with finger crochet lately. Mainly, I like a new challenge. I wanted to see how many stitches I could make just by using my fingers. Turns out, it’s a lot! I started with the basics like single, half double, and double crochet. I then moved on the Tunisian crochet trying out the simple stitch and the knit stitch. Those are the Tunisian stitches I use anyway. Then I tired the star stitch and it came out pretty. I only made one round of it but since I’m using my fingers, that round was pretty big. I turned it into a phone case.

Star Stitch finger crochet

Which brings me to my next point. What the heck am I going to do with this technique? I’ve seen people make all sorts of things with finger crochet, but nothing that I would want to make with this method. I feel like I’m in a maze, wondering in which direction to go (I knew I could sneak the word for the daily prompt in there!). Which path will lead me to make the best use of this style of crochet? The phone case is cute and it was fun but what else?

I don’t have much chunky yarn, so I decided to use three strands of regular acrylic yarn (medium weight).  I have plenty of that to work with. Well, after doing a few rows of single crochet with it, my finger started to hurt. What’s going on here? It didn’t hurt when I was using the chunky yarn. It was hurting now, though. It felt like I was irritating my skin. Was all that finger crocheting finally starting to irritate my skin or was it the rougher yarn that was the real culprit. I’m still not sure, but I think it was the rougher yarn coupled with trying to manage three strands of yarn on the finger. I was pulling the strands on the top of my finger versus the side of my finger when I use the chunky yarn. Looks like the top of my finger is more sensitive and more prone to irritation. Either way, it slowed me down a bit. Today I tried it again with the chunky yarn and that’s when I noticed I was pulling the yarn over from the side and there is no pain. I’ll have to consider that before I use the acrylic yarn again.

finger crochet single crochet.jpg

Single crochet in the back loop done with three strands of yarn

I think I want to make a doll or toy next with finger crochet. That’s my thing so I’m going to brain storm. Until I come up with something, here are my quick videos on how I finger crochet.

Crochet Jeffy The Puppet

Jeffy is done and my student said something that made me glow all pink and rosy today. I don’t think he was necessarily giving me a complement (I’m not sure a 5th grade boy is capable of that, even if he’s thinking it) but it was a complement just the same.

jeffy the puppet

I’ve been letting him play with the puppet in all its levels of completeness (or incompleteness as was the case) and it’s been great watching his genuine joy at seeing the puppet develop. Today, I finished it and he and his buddy were having an absolute blast with it.

Crochet Jeffy the puppet

I got a couple of candid shots of them playing with him.

I took a group of kids to the restroom and while we were waiting on some of the kids to come out, he said to me that he thinks this is the only homemade puppet that actually looked like the real thing. That it was the best one.

Well now.

Queue the glowy glow happening. You might be thinking that I directed this conversation and was fishing for complements but I wasn’t even talking about the puppet or even talking to the student. It was unsolicited! It was just true happiness on his part that he had the best puppet! Of course, there’s no way to prove his theory on that, but the fact that he believed that only showed how much he loved it. Believing he had the only existing homemade Jeffy the Puppet that looked like the real thing, well, that made my whole year.

jeffy the puppet_1

jeffy the puppet_2

Do I think it’s the best and most accurate homemade representation of Jeffy the Puppet? Uhm, no. He could have been better. The eyes are too poppy and I never gave him hands. No shoes either. But I will say this, when  I looked him up to do my research, there were only a handful of images of the actual puppet. I didn’t see any homemade representations out there, period, never mind crochet. Mine might be the first crochet version out there, at least that I could find. So my student might be right. That means I’m ahead of the curve!

Was he a success? For my student, absolutely! For me personally, maybe. I know he could have been better. I definitely learned I like making puppets, almost as much as making dolls. I might just make more puppets (not Jeffy though) of all varieties.

And just a reminder of the real thing.