Look Mom, I’ve Been Published!

November 13, 2006

Many months ago, long enough ago in fact that I’d forgotten it, I submitted a pattern to Accord Publishing for their 2007 beading calendar. When I checked with the publisher, I was informed that my pattern was indeed in, and today I received a copy in the mail. It is the 2007 Bead a Day Beading Calendar. Lo and behold, there’s my pattern, right there on December 3 and 4!! Beading Calendar

I’m excited, to say the least, to have my pattern published in this calendar. It’s full of great projects and clear explanations of the techniques needed to do them. Hours and hours of fun and enjoyment will greet the owner of this calendar. The projects run the gamut from easy to challenging and I’ve already found several that I want to try out. Now, if I could only figure out how to do without sleep.

Until next time…


Quick Knitting Project

November 8, 2006

I was asked by the ladies at my local yarn shop, the Fiber House, to help make some samples for the shop. They were looking for gift items that could be done up quickly. The pattern comes from the book “One Skein Wonders” and instead of the suggested perle cotton I used some gorgeous Karabella Vintage Cotton in a pretty green. Knitted Lace BookmarkThe one on the right is made exactly like the pattern in the book and the one on the left is a minor modification to give the bookmark pointed ends. The beads were added after they were blocked and starched. This knitted up very quickly, I made the first one in about an hour and a half while watching TV. If you didn’t want to add beads, you could just as easily make a tassel from the left over yarn, or from some pretty silk ribbon in matching or contrasting colors.

I have plenty of other knitting projects to do before Christmas, so I’d best be getting after them.

Until next time…

Finishing the Bad Project

October 1, 2006

Oooh, now there’s a sticky subject!! Finishing. Let me be the first to admit, I’m a great project starter. I get enthused about a new concept, technique, object I want to make, and I’m off to the races. I love to try new things. Let me also be the first to admit, I’m not one of those people who finishes one project before starting the next. I can’t begin to comprehend the mindset which makes these people tick. I don’t have the discipline that forces me to finish what I start before jumping head first into another project. To me, life is an adventure, and half the fun of it is rushing off headlong down a rabbit trail (a new project) to see where it takes me. All roads eventually lead back to the UFO pile, though I might have enjoyed a lot of scenery along the way. Sometimes it’s that scenery that gives me fresh perspective or inspiration to get me back on track. Even better, sometimes I learn something new that makes an old project even better than the original plan.

I’d also like to state unequivocally that I don’t think starting projects without finishing the first ones is a character flaw any more than I consider the drive to finish first things first a character flaw. Though, as I said, I can’t comprehend those people.

I mentioned in a previous post that deadlines are often the source of “doneness” in a project such as crazy quilting where there’s no specific “finish line.” For me, a life without deadlines would be chaos, even more so than my life already is, with family, pets, farm animals, a business, playing, coaching, search & rescue… Take out the deadlines and nothing would get done.

Just to prove I do finish things, the purse from the previous post is finished, Pink Evening Pursebecause it had to be at the library yesterday morning for our annual Fiber Art show. This show, like other deadlines, is a great motivator to get projects done so I can participate in the show (aka show off).

Okay, so it’s one thing to finish projects you love, or are at least close to finishing. But what about those projects you really wish you hadn’t started? I sat with a friend at our weekly Threaders lunch on Tuesday and she was talking about a project she hated. The quilt was beautiful, and well worth completing, but she said she detested working on it. I have had projects like that. One I can remember was a mystery quilt which had a design that did nothing for me. Of course, one should go into a mystery quilt with the understanding that you may not like the result. If you can’t handle that possibility, stay home. Early on in the process, I knew I wasn’t going to love the finished quilt, but I forced myself to finish the project without working on anything else. Why? I knew that if I set it aside, I would never complete it. Because of the nature of the pattern, I also knew that mine was going to look just like everyone else’s and I couldn’t have that. So, while forcing myself to finish the quilt, I found a way to put my own personal stamp on it. Oddly enough, I like the way it turned out, and got lots of compliments on it. Sometimes perseverance has rewards beyond the actual completion of the project. Besides, if you bring a 10 year old project to show and tell, people will cheer when you announce you’ve finally finished it.

Another of those bad, bad projects was a paper pieced Christmas cactus quilt I did for my mother. This is where I discovered I detest paper piecing. Detest might be too mild a word. My mother loves Christmas cactii, and when I saw the pattern I knew it would make a lovely gift. The pattern is really beautiful, but it was the process I didn’t like. OK, hated. But since it was for a Christmas gift, and it quickly became too late to start another project, I persevered. That, and knowing how much my mother would love it kept me on task. I have never paper pieced another thing. It’s just not my thing. I don’t envy the people who do enjoy it, and it’s okay with me not to be one of them.

Sometimes there is value in learning that a particular technique “isn’t your thing.” Say you’ve purchased a few patterns or books on a specific technique, and you feel they are all hanging over your head because you really want to do them. Once you do one, and decide it’s not for you, you can sell, donate, burn, whatever, the other patterns or books, thereby liberating yourself from many nagging, undone projects. Chances are good that if they were good enough to be published, someone else will want to do them and be happy to give your castoffs a home. Thus, by letting go, you have given yourself a break and made someone else happy. What could be better?

So, how to get yourself to complete those bad projects? Well, bribery is a good technique. I frequently use chocolate chips or M&Ms to bribe myself. Work for 15 minutes or get a specific task done, and I get chocolate. Just like the chicken ringing the bell. If chocolate isn’t on your menu, there are other ways to bribe yourself. Is there a project you’d really rather be doing? Something new you want to try? Why not work on the bad project for an hour, or to a certain goal, then give yourself a treat by working on the fun project for a while? In this way, you can create balance between the need to complete and the desire to enjoy what you’re doing. Other than brutishly forcing myself to complete the project, which completely kills it for me, bribery is the best way for me to slog through.

We’ve covered the projects we intend to finish, but what about those that were doomed from the start? Do you need to waste precious time and emotional cash lamenting the unfinishable project? NO, I tell you, a resounding NO!!! Life is too short to regret the unfinishable. Give yourself the gift of letting go!

Okay, but the practical side of you is considering the dollars and time you’ve invested in this project. You can’t just throw it away! Or can you? Call it a waste and move on? This is something a lot of us can’t do. So maybe it’s time to look at how we can recover some of our expense. With beads and yarn, you can snip threads, unravel, and recoup the materials. With fabric it’s not so easy. If you’ve already cut the pieces, it’s pretty difficult to re-use them. Do you know someone who would love this project enough to complete it? Is there someone out there who loves the technique who would be happy to have it? Then make her day, at the same time liberating yourself, and hand it over. You’ll both be better off for it. If you don’t know anyone who’d like to have it, then donate it to your local thrift store. Thrift stores are filled with other people’s good intentions. One woman’s trash is another’s treasure, and I have brought home many a beautiful thread or component donated by someone who has liberated herself from that bad project anchor tied to her leg.

But what about the time you have invested? Time is something you can’t get more of, and what’s the point in throwing good time after bad? Time spent in resentment is worse than wasted. If you have 50 hours into a project and are looking at another 50 to finish it, and you’re still going to hate it when it’s done, I say give it up. Reclaim those would-be hours and spend them enjoyably. I spoke with a woman once who said she was going to take up quilting after she retired. I felt sad for her. I know of too many people whose life after retirement has been brutally short. How sad not to try something new because you were waiting until you had more time. She didn’t know what she was missing. To me, it’s even more sad to spend time doing something I really don’t like, just because I think I have to finish it before moving on to something new. More sad because I do know what I’m missing.

Until next time…

And Now for Something Completely Different

September 17, 2006

I’m off on a different subject today, my other love, knitting with beads. The purse in progress below is knitted with Omega Nylon Crochet Thread (#2) and size 8/0 seed beads on size 0 needles. When completed, it will have a 6″ snap open internal frame that fits in the casing hidden behind the solid strip of beads. I’m shooting for about a 6″ length, so it will be roughly square. sixinchpurse.jpg I tend to alternate between knitting and crazy quilting, with the frequent departures off on tangents of beading, or other needlework related pursuits. The color in real life is quite pretty, a pale pink with amethyst silver lined beads. There really aren’t any patterns for this thread, so I’m designing as I go. I’ve done a similarly styled coin purse that I’m enjoying very much and is holding up very well to everyday use. I like designing as opposed to working from a pattern, though when I knit clothing, I still prefer to have a pattern to help at least form the basic structure, even if I select yarn that is totally different in size and texture.

Until next time…