Friday, May 28, 2010


This week, I stumbled across a project on Ravelry. I recently joined this group that specializes in charity knitting and contains a ton of different projects group members can participate in. There are some that are applicable to me and some that aren't, but one really stuck out to me. It's called the Recovery Buddies Project and focuses on creating, basically, smiley face pillows that are sent to those in recovery from various forms of mental illness. It was posted on the Ravelry group because the project leaders have a large wait list and they cannot keep up with the need for these buddies. Since I need a momentary distraction from the Double Vision Blanket, I put these on my to do list. The summary of the project from their blog describes it better than I have:

The Recovery Buddies Project is a team of people from around the world who hand knit "recovery buddies" to help people through a variety of addictions including eating disorders, self-injury as well as others. We strive to remind people that they are not alone in their addictions, and that they don't have to be alone in their recovery.

If you go to the website, you can see pictures of the different buddies that have been created throughout the project. Each buddy has a name and a story in order to make it a more personal experience for the recipients. I made two buddies in the last three days and will send them soon. They knit up very quickly and were a very easy project.

Making these buddies had me thinking - why don't I base their "stories" on people I know? I decided to take my own twist on that and base them off of people that have hurt me and I have had trouble forgiving. Although I didn't name them directly after the people, I won't post any more information on them or the stories because I don't want that information floating around blogland. In addition, I obviously don't want the actual buddies to have any negativity for the people they are intended for, so I wrote stories that pointed out the positive aspects of these people that I need help forgiving. I think that they are symbols about how I can turn my own hurt into something that will hopefully help someone heal from their own struggles. For some reason forgiveness is sometimes a confusing subject to me because it balances on the line of letting go of the pain caused in part by others and protecting yourself from future hurt. I think it's fair to say that forgiveness is a form of recovery, and that we are all in pursuit of recovery in one way or another.

"Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it."
- Mark Twain

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Lost/Dixie/Rainbow Connection

Tonight is the airing of the second to last episode of Lost. It answered some questions (more so than most of the episodes so far) and, I think, did a decent job setting the stage for the series finale this Sunday. Although I'm not a Lost fanatic, I do have some theories that I wonder about for the finale and will try to be concise in explaining. I believe that Jacob and the Man in Black are, in addition to being a "good and evil" pairing, that they reflect both the obsessions with human nature (MIB) and the innate goodness of humans (Jacob). Also, I believe that Kate is going to play an integral role and end up being the "protector" of the island in the end. All of the survivors ended up on the island by accident, so why can't the protector of the island become the protector by accident? Additionally, out of the "flash sideways" sequences, Kate has the least to live for off the island than the other candidates, so it would makes sense that she would rather be somewhere she belongs rather than a pursued criminal off island. In the present time, she took care of Aaron after leaving the island, but without him, there's no reason to go back. That's the end of my Lost rant. I just wanted to write all this down before the finale airs. I'm sure I'm completely wrong on all counts, but at least this show is getting wrapped up before it gets even more complicated (if that's possible).

In random news, I made my first phone call to Indonesia to my friend Diana today. Talk about crazy. I joked with her that 20 years ago it would be much more difficult to even think about making a phone call that far away. It cost me less than $2 to talk with her on her cell phone for 10 minutes. With email, skype, and other technological advances, it makes it feel like she isn't that far away since I can just call her up on my computer (well it's a little more complicated than that, but still, this technology stuff is really great).

The last Netflix documentary I watched was "Shut Up and Sing" about the Dixie Chicks. This documentary follows the group from the time of the start of the scandal to the tour and album afterward. I think the whole debate brings up a great argument of freedom of speech in that an offhand comment at a concert can cause a culture (country music) to boycott and turn their backs on one of their beloved groups at the time. Regardless of how you view the original comment, the media circus that followed and blew things out of proportion threatened to ruin the careers of these women. The comment had happened on their world tour, so it took a while for the group to perform in the United States due to the international tour schedule. Despite their worries, the first concert was greeted with cheers and applause by the audience while a group of protesters practiced their right to free speech outside. Instead of ruining their careers, they come back with a Grammy award winning song and album. The scrutiny surrounding this album put a lot of pressure for them to even decide what kind of music they wanted to pursue. One of the parts in the documentaries describes a death threat Natalie Maines had in Dallas and how they still went on with the show despite the risk. Interesting documentary.

Here's one of my favorite songs from them that is lesser known (from what I can tell). Slightly depressing, but I think it's thought provoking about things like faith, how we treat those around us, and our legacy after we are gone. It describes a man who was mistreated by his mother, thus taking out the lack of love on his wife and daughter. Even without the music video, the song is really hauntingly beautiful (duh, good music shouldn't need a video). With just the song, it can be a lyrical take on someone who didn't have faith in their life (to a higher power or what have you) and is realizing that they should have done things differently in retrospect.

Top of the World by the Dixie Chicks

This week marked the 20th anniversary of Jim Henson's death (May 16) and the 30th anniversary of the Mount St. Helen's eruption (May 18). I put one of my favorite Dixie Chicks songs up, so now I am putting my favorite Henson song here.

Rainbow Connection with Kermit

And to end this post, I'll add two songs that were sung at Jim Henson's memorial service. I watched a few of these videos and the whole service is incredibly touching. It's both a celebration and a mourning of someone's life.

Friday, May 14, 2010

AHH This Blanket is Nuts!

Good news! The second "L" is done! I had a chance to go down to Texas to visit my sister. We ended up driving there which is both good and bad. It's really bad because it is a very long and (mostly) boring drive from Michigan to Texas and we usually have to split it into two days. The good news is that it gave me a ton of time to work on some more of the double vision blanket. I finished 18 squares total on the trip! With the second "L" done plus one more square, I have 37 squares finished! CRAZY. I still love this blanket so far, although tucking in ends and doing the black edging are both extremely tedious. I'm lucky that the blanket is a complex enough pattern that it keeps me engaged, but is not too complicated to be frustrating. There are times in the pattern I thought "WTF, how do I do that?", but I always seemed to figure it far.


I feel like this blanket is going to be more and more difficult to photograph the bigger it gets. It's supposed to be about 1.4 meters (4.6 feet) square when finished. I already had to stand on a couch to get this picture and if you look at it, you'll realize when I finish the squares, it will be out of this picture. I'll have to figure out something to do. Until then, I'll work on trying to conquer this beast.

I bought some Texas based yarn when I was visiting my sister. It's a Madeline Tosh worsted yarn in a very pretty green. I don't have any pictures of it (or any ideas for it) yet, but soon....very soon I'm sure I'll figure out something.

I also got to go walking with some flamingos at the zoo when I was down there. I'm not going to say what zoo (because it's "behind the scenes"), but those are some of the perks you get when you have a family member as a zookeeper ;).

Thursday, May 6, 2010

This is Getting a Little More Serious

Last time I posted about the Double Vision Blanket, I had just started it and was admiring the yarn I ordered. Since then, I've made about 25 squares and finished the first "L". The way the blanket is put together, there are 10 separate "L"s that have to be seamed together near the end of the project. The first one has 19 squares, the second one 17, then 15, 13, etc all the way down to 1. By finishing the first "L", I didn't complete 10% of the blanket, but 19/100 squares (if that makes sense). I also can't say I've finished 19% of it because there's a lot more work such as arranging, seaming, and borders that are going to take a lot more work to complete. Here are some progress pictures of this enjoyable (so far) blanket.

First side "in progress".

First side complete!

First "L" complete!

At this point, I am almost complete with the actual knitting on the first side of the second "L". Then I will need to make a sort-of border in order to start the second side. It might be confusing to some, but it makes sense in my brain ;). I hope I don't get burnt out on it! So far it's going well! Here's the public link to the project!

In the meantime, feel free to check out some of the blogs that I've linked to on my page!

Evan Lysacek and Charity Knitting Go Together Like...Actually, They Don't Go Together...

Oh wow, I haven't updated since Apr 19th! It doesn't seem like that long ago, but the more I think about it, the more I realize it was a while ago and, yes, I have been working on a few projects here and there, haha. One of the main things is that I finished up another package to send to LOWO on Pine Ridge Reservation. This will probably be the last package I send for a while since it kind of takes some time and resources to organize things, look for cheap (but good quality and sendable) items, the right sized box, etc. Not to mention making any knitting or crochet projects. I've been fortunate with both packages that I had many things that I was able to donate from around the house. My family is in the process of cleaning out the basement and getting rid of all of the items we have been unnecessarily hanging on to for years. We donated a bunch of these items to a garage sale to benefit a young man I graduated from high school with and is currently undergoing treatment for cancer. Getting rid of things to help benefit someone whom you went to high school with is a great motivator for that process. That's a whole different topic, but my point is that you don't realize how much "crap" you don't need until you go through it and put it in bags to give away. That and when you have to move from one apartment to another. That's also when you realize how much stuff you have ;).

In the box are: 5 blankets (4 knit/crochet, 1 fleece), 4 scarves, 6 adult hats, 2 sleep sacks (mentioned in an earlier post), 4 toddler hat and mitten sets, 10 pairs of girls socks (sizes 6-8 1/2), 10 pairs of boys socks (9-11), 6 stuffed animals (only 5 pictured), 1 pair of gloves, and 1 baby sweater (also mentioned in another post). Here's some pics of the LOWO box:

Everything at once:

Stuffed animals I bought on Easter clearance along with some I had around the house. I added one more that's not pictured; a clown fish I got for a dollar, so I couldn't resist. I really like clown fish (random, I know. Don't ask me why).

There's also some hats and scarves. Some of the hats are from around the house or ones that I don't use anymore (the MSU one, in particular) and others I got for 50% at the dollar store for winter clearance. All of the scarves are ones my family doesn't use anymore.

The hats I bought from the dollar store. The toddler hat and mitten sets I bought at the dollar store for 90% off!

Also, I included one of those fleece blankets that you cut, then tie the ends together. The main reason I'm specifically pointing this out is how incredibly cute the fabric is. It has baby-looking lions, giraffes, and elephants eating things on it with various words such as "MUNCH" and "CRUNCH". IT'S SO CUTE. If I knew people with babies, I would've given it to them.

Other blankets I made were the alphabet blanket and the crocheted "bubble blanket" I mentioned together in a previous post. In addition to the blankets I made, my mom also added two blankets. One of the blankets she knitted a while ago (who knows when) and never knew what to do with it.

And she specifically crocheted this blanket to donate. It's absolutely beautiful!

So that's the LOWO box. I feel accomplished to be able to send all of that stuff. My hope is that it gets to the people who really need it and that those people will be able to appreciate it and use the items as much as possible. My next project that I want to do for Pine Ridge (for now) will be to make blankets for the elders. That won't be for a while though, so I'll probably make some blanket squares in the meantime.

While I was getting this box ready, I had the opportunity to take a spinning class at a local weaving store. I told my friend I was taking a spinning class and she said, "OH! Like on those exercise bikes!" :). Nope, I mean with spinning wheels and wool. I have never been able to try it, nor have really never wanted to try it until recently. I figured that a class will be a perfect way to know if it's even something I would want to do in the future. I don't own a spinning wheel and I don't have the means to acquire one at this time, but I was fortunate enough to be able to borrow one for the class. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of the wheel, the wool, or the "yarn" I made (all 6 inches of it). I did enjoy it and would like to possibly purchase a wheel sometime in the future. By future, I mean NOT the near future. It'll be more of when I am more settled and have a "real job". All in all, I am very happy that I was able to try spinning, even if I was terrible at it, LOL.

Another thing I did was make a few squares for another Pine Ridge group. This one focuses on making and donating items for children in need. A lady in this group volunteered to take afghan squares and seam them together to make blankets and donate them in the fall. Her goal is to make and collect a total of 130 sets that include blankets, hats, scarves, and mittens for children. Here's my contribution (bad photograpy - was rushed to take a picture, sorry!). I used a bunch of yarn I had from my stash, instead of buying all new yarn.

On a completely different note, I have been watching Dancing with the Stars (don't hate). It's not the best show in the world, but it is definitely entertaining with the exception of the very drawn out results show. My mom and I decided to go see Stars on Ice, which Evan Lysacek (the gold medal ice skater and DWTS contestant) is currently on tour with. He spends Sunday-Tuesday in LA for DWTS and then Wednesday-Saturday skating for Stars on Ice. We made an entire day out of it and went shopping. We decided to check out a local yarn store, which was really nice! I didn't intend to buy anything, but ended up purchasing a beautiful skein of worsted weight yarn called Het Schaapje (Dutch for "Little Sheep"). It's spun and dyed by a lady in Delaware and the color is stunning. Unfortunately a picture can't truly capture what it looks like in person, but trust me, it's definitely eye catching. I want to make a scarf or a hat out of it (I haven't decided - any ideas?).

Of course, I have to include a picture of Evan Lysacek. We actually had great seats, the pictures just didn't turn out very well. It was a fun show though! This was during the week he was training before he received his first perfect score on DWTS!

That's all! Go Evan Lysacek! :P