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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Inspiration from old Crochet Magazines

Now, after quite a few years of crocheting a variety of projects from afghans to slippers to baskets I must toot my own horn in that I can follow a pattern.  Pattern language changes over the years and there is a difference in the names of stitches or variations of stitches.  I am quite in awe of  someone who took the time to figure out and make sure of the size and what yarns best suit a project but a project from many years back can often do with modernization!

So, now its time for me try my own hand a creating my own designs and ideas translated into useful crochet items...

So I want to take you through my own process here and perhaps you will take on the challenge of the design process...

I have to say this is not a quick process, because sometimes I get to a point in a project and realize I don't particularly like it -- which means I have to choose to either continue and try to find a way to motivate myself -- that is if I haven't made a glaring mistake that is causing the problem -- or to get out my yarn winder and undo what I have done and at the same time, make that yarn into a nice ball so it is available to reuse.

I must say, I am tired of making afghans so I thought I would try my hand at making a child's sweater or jacket.



This particular inspiration photo comes from an old (30 years old) issue of Magic Crochet Magazine.   And as a PLUG for my ETSY shop, I sell Magic Crochet Magazine issues in my shop as I am able to aquire them, so if you would like to check out some of the listings go to https://www.etsy.com/shop/susanbeingsnippy and check out the books and magazines section.

I am not quite sure what attracted me to this project -- perhaps it looked like it would be reasonably easy (Not so MUCH) or because the "hoodie" has become a quintessential part of today's wardrobe.

So far some of the things that I have had to decide when taking on this project but making it my own design is 
1st -- I didn't like the overall double crochet stitch used -- it looks a bit loose and tho warm, the stitch is not pretty and might just be a nuisance with little fingers getting caught up in those spaces between stitches.
2nd -- I prefer a squared front, so that eliminated a few increase rows to make that rounded front bottom
3rd -- yarn, something that is cosy and many of the modern acrylics are very nice.  The other choice with Yarn is weight and 30 years ago, I can't be sure exactly what some of the weights were and how they compare to today's yarns...

Gauge Swatches.

In order to make a decision on what yarn to use I had to try out a few different yarns I had in my stash -- I started with a "sport weight" which just didn't work well to my eyes....  Then I tried out a scrap that only gave me about 4 rows of 20 stitches, but I liked it very much so decided to head on over to Michael's Store to pick up some "Loops and Threads"  IMPECCABLE, which is a nice squooshy medium weight 100% acrylic.   And contrary to the label I decided to use a 4.5mm crochet hook.  

 And lastly with the yarn -- what crochet stitch?   I definately did not like the obvious rows so my first inclination was to go to what I know as the crochet seed stitch.   1 double crochet, 1 single crochet, repeat to end of row, then the next row is 1 single crochet in the previous row double crochet and 1 double crochet in the previous row single crochet....


So that is the overall stitch I am using which I think gives a nice 'nubby' texture and using a smaller hook size makes it a bit tighter cloth.

My notes, so far are quite a scribble and a jumble and nothing at all like the nicely printed instructions from the magazine...



The most important part of the magazine's instructions is the diagram on the page that gives measurements every which way.   So working from the measurements my hand written notes reflect the changes in the number of stitches, the changes in number of rows.

So up to this point, I have finished up the main body of the "hoodie".   The original pattern here has a border that you can see in the photo -- but again I do not plan to run that border all around.  I plan to add a row or two so that buttons and buttonholes can be placed on the front...


I expect to be able to have the sleeves and hood done and added within the next week or so and if anyone might be interested I hope to have the pattern instructions sometime soon,  or perhaps YOU will find a old magazine with a basic pattern that you want to MODERNIZE.

I gotta say, its not the easiest thing to create an EASY pattern!

Then of course the ultimate test is to find a child to put the finished project onto!

And like most crocheters, knitters, quilters or any other crafter I am looking at the next challenge and I think this also from a old magazine -- Mon Tricot 1980 -- is my next!




Wednesday, December 17, 2014

2015 -- Start the New Year with Remnants of the Old Year


I had thought I would not be writing or continuing this blog --- but it turns out all I needed was a rest from the idea of regimentation!   So.  I am going to continue this as my main way of keeping a personal/public journal of mostly the arty things that I do.

I was going to diversify and include things like recipes or opinions, but my best area is crafty stuff.  I cook because I have to, not because it inspires art in me -- I find my art in fabric and yarn and paper and paint and pens...   So I will stick with what I most enjoy and am somewhat knowledgeable at and in...

And I will, without feeling guilty, remind you about and tell you about the things in my Etsy shop which is aimed at those who sew and have an interest in sewing in all its forms, from quilts to skirts, to spools of thread and vintage notions and crafting books...


My Etsy store is closed right now so that I can concentrate on Christmasy type things -- even tho I do not give or get gifts as part of Christmas, I still enjoy the lights and decorations, the music and the joy of these end of the year celebrations.

My Etsy store -- also called Susan Being Snippy is being organized and I am adding and changing descriptions and adjusting pricing (sometimes lower!)
My Etsy Store will be back online soon, it not only depends on the Christmas season, but also on the renewal of my passport -- so that I can pick up or mail items to my American customers, too.


My Shop started out with quite a wide range of items but through the last year or so I have narrowed my listings and completely eliminated household goods and handcrafted items.   I really do LOVE to make things and I don't seem to know enough friends and family to give the things I make to, but also I don't feel that I can keep an inventory of specific items -- I just don't like to make the same scarf 20 times, or the same baby quilt a dozen times, so I am going to keep my created things to give as gifts and at the end of each year -- well, near the end, what I have I will donate to various local needs.


Now, besides my shop I have been feeling a bit ARTY, so I am in the process of creating an Art Journal.   My husband has a job that uses an abundance of brown craft paper and he mostly puts it into the recycle bin -- but I can recycle it so I keep a stock of it mainly to use as wrapping for the parcels that I send off from my Etsy Shop.  The brown craft paper has some expected, and unexpected uses...



Number 1 is, if you look back up at the top of this blog post, you will see my cat Walter laying on the most recent stack...  So, a kitty bed.

Number 2 is, as I mentioned is used to wrap goods that are ordered and sent off to customers via the mail system.

Number 3 is, to wrap gifts, big or small and I just pretty up the gift by adding strips of fabric for ribbon or even some of the specialty (sparkly) yarns that I seem to find irresistible at the second hand stores...

Number 4 is (and the last for now) is in the making of small crafty arty journals...  And these I have no idea what to do with, except to enjoy the making of....


I have just barely started on this one - it has 30 pages, so there is a fair amount to fill up with any bits that cross my mind or my desk -- and that takes awhile because I have decided to give this journal (6 inches x 6 inches) a Vintage Sewing theme.   I will be drawing on some of my own vintage items from the store, that don't quite make the grade as a saleable item on its own, but in bits and pieces add quite a nice touch to this little book...

Come back again and check out how this project progresses, I have a piece of leather that I am thinking might just make an interesting cover, and I have a couple of very old hand sewing needle packets that will be just the thing for this theme....

Have a Lovely Christmas, everyone!  Enjoy your family time and those extra few days off from the "Daily Grind"....   Best Wishes ALL....

Oh and BTW, I am linking up today with The Needle and Thread Network...  check it out for a link up of other CANADIAN Crafty Blogs...

PS -- not quite sure why the comment box is not showing up... will be working on trying to find a way to fix that, in the mean time if you clik on the little "g+" I think you can leave a comment there if you have a google profile...

And there it is, comment box has reappeared !

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

THE END

For quite some time I have been struggling with content for this blog and I have come to the conclusion that it has run it's course...  I will no longer be updating this blog because even though some of you have come to enjoy what I write, there really is nothing earth shattering or particularly satisfying to me of the subjects that I have been posting.

So for the time being, if you really need to see what I am up to, check out my etsy store at www.etsy.com/shop/susanbeingsnippy

or on twitter I can be found as @susanbsnippy

or even some of my photos on instagram  as susanbeingsnippy

and on Pinterest, too!  http://www.pinterest.com/susanbgsnippy/

I have disabled comments so as to avoid spam use as I do not plan to monitor this blog on a regular basis.

Thank you for reading my writing for the past 5 years or so (I haven't kept track) and I greatly appreciate those of you have written comments and encouragements!
Susan being Snippy

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Future of Food - Diet Quality

Earlier this week, I discovered a series being presented on the National Geographic website called The Future of Food...

Whew!  Some of the subjects that involve food are quite intricate and complicated...  Very far beyond just sitting down at your table (here in Canada) to have dinner and as my Dad often said "shoveling it in".

One subject area when it comes to food that is looked into is The Gap in Diet Quality between Rich and Poor

This article  (click on the highlighted text to read it ) takes on the question of obesity because of the poor quality of food that lower income households are forced to consume.  Poor food quality or lack of access to quality food means that if you have a limited income the meats that you buy are poorer quality, more fat content and raised in such a way as to contain the things that make the animal grow or produce faster... In Canada  growth hormones are not legal in animals destined for human consumption, but it is allowed in the USA.   So is the quality of the meat okay in the LONG run for us to eat?

I surely am no scientist and cannot answer that question, but I have come to realize that from being on the low end of the income scale for a number of years that it is often quite difficult to buy the healthy product.   Things often left out of a low income menu plan in any given month is FISH and often Chicken or other Poultry.   Hamburger prevails on a low income diet, and really what is in GROUND MEAT?.   Fresh Vegetables often are lacking simply because access to  a garden or Farmer's Markets may be out of the area.  Vegetables in a low income diet are often frozen or canned, I think, mainly because if fresh vegetables go bad in the fridge, it is waste that a low income household just cannot afford...

I noticed just the other day that two shows NEW (to us) are now on the Food Network Canada, that would be good for those with lower incomes to learn about making good choices -- yesterday was all about using pork shoulder even to making dim sum steamed buns with left over meat! --- Jamie's Money Saving Meals (check out the web site info) In my area the show is on daily at 2 pm (Shaw Vancouver listing -- the time may differ in other areas)  And on at 1 pm daily is Gordon Ramsey's Cookery Course (no SWEARING! hahaha) but you pretty much have to watch the episode because Mr. Ramsey charges real money to access his recipes on his website, so if you watch his show, have pen and paper in hand to write down any hints or tips that you might want to try out.

This week my trip to one of the thrift shops resulted in buying a Company's Coming Meatless Cooking recipe book (by Jean Pare`) for two bucks...  In a way these cookbooks are an easy format to use because of their smaller size and ring binding that allows the pages to lay flat, but I often find miss prints or ingredients that seem to be out of place in many of the recipes.  An often occurring ingredient in many of these recipes is canned soups, so you should note that there is probably more salt than is needed in many of these recipes.  I also wonder if you need canned soups for a recipe, is it economical, or could you use perhaps some milk, chopped mushroom, a bit of nutmeg instead of canned mushroom soup?  Perhaps that would be more economical and more healthy too! Though of course it might take an extra minute or two to chop or mix those things in...

Are you following my Friday is for Food project?  I hope you are finding some of the info and the links that I mention of interest and adds more depth to make the subject useful. Let me know if you are looking for something about food that I might post here, or if you have an idea for me...

... next week I am planning and looking for some breakfast ideas...

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Work in Progress -- Scrappy Bits

Finally! Back to the sewing machine!  This week, I have been working on using all some of those left over bits from other projects...

I had a Fabric Sale in Mid July as part of a group Garage Sale and did fairly well in selling off some of my larger fabric pieces but the shoe boxes with scrap bits that were usually less than 4 inches in any one direction remained in shoe boxes...

Earlier this week I was thinking about how I can use these bits...  Then I remembered the blocks that people across Canada donated to the flood relief efforts in Calgary back in the spring of 2012 that Cheryl Arkison had organized.   And you can see some of the blocks as they are on the HEADER of her blog at Dining Room Empire  and it even turns out that her current post is about scraps and about clearing them out of her own stash!!  Perhaps this is the season of Scrapping Scraps??  I am not quite ready to get rid of them so....


So I am making some of these "Just One Slab" type blocks. I doing some sewing and might get these odd scrappy bits made into one or two utility quilts or even to use these "slabs" as backing for more 'formal' blocks...

As things go these are IN PROGRESS and I really don't have a final destination for them yet!  I am encouraged tho, that after many months of not being very enthusiastic about sewing some of that joy is creeping back in!


Linking up with the Needle and Thread Network this week...

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Municipal Elections

I must admit I am the kind of person who generally accepts things as they occur.  A very long time ago, I considered myself to be quite political and very interested in the things that the elected people in our municipalities, provinces and country did to keep things running.


The one who really "fired me up" was Ed Shreyer.  He was elected to the riding that I lived in when I was a teenager.   Yes, my Dad talked about him, and was impressed by him and I am sure he voted for him.   From then on, I mainly voted for the New Democratic Candidate where ever I lived, though on occasion I did vote Liberal or even Conservative or whatever the party name was that came closest to what I thought was right for the things I believed in.  Yes, I was and am still pretty much a socialist, but not exclusively, as I think everyone's ideals adjust slightly with whoever is elected and how they conduct themselves during their time in office.


One of the things that I have always been fascinated by is the short memory of the people and that it seems to take a major effort to go and vote.  What motivates a person to vote for or in reality more often AGAINST someone or something?   Do people actually take the time to read and listen and study the consequences or previous actions either of the Party in Power or of the Elected Official.  Or might it be they hear snippets of opinions and look or listen no further to base a decision on?



Strangely, the type of election that is most likely to directly affect you is the smallest election and usually the election that fewest of us vote in.   The Municipal Election.   I must admit to actually not even taking the time to go and vote in past elections.   When I lived in Victoria, BC I never once went to vote in a Municipal Election!  My excuse?  Maybe it was those years were filled with raising teenagers and holding a job and at the same time going to college to learn accounting.   Not too much else could fit into my life!



In more recent years I have gone to vote in local elections, though really I did not necessarily know the 'point of view' of some of the city Councillors.   I was generally satisfied with those who ran our town, through the 1990's and into the 2000's, but now things have changed quite drastically.  



Our council is not something that I can say I am happy with as it stands and with Municipal Elections coming this November -- the third Saturday this year -- just a bit less than 3 months away.... I am thinking that this year I am going to try to keep a bit better informed and if I cannot attend information meetings, I am going to try to find out what is and who doing what, when, where and how...



In my city, Abbotsford, BC  there have been a number on ongoing problems that NEED a resolution, things that need to find a way for our government and citizens to stop chasing their tails like a young dog who is not quite sure what that fluffy thing is just out of reach....



Now, as I was taught many years ago, I do not plan to announce or advertise my position on any of the points that will soon be appearing for local people to think on and vote on come November 15, because I am not running for a position, nor I suspect will I agree with everything one person says over another...



But I am planning to PAY ATTENTION and make a decision and show up on Voting Day...  I am hoping to learn much about my city and maybe about the people who are putting their names forward to attempt to win a position on our city council and hopefully who are accepting the responsibility that their decisions will be affecting many lives as they serve our city for the next 3 years...


** all photos that appear in this posting are taken by ME around ABBOTSFORD, BC during different seasons, doing different things.***