A Scarf is Reborn

I was commissioned in December to make a scarf for a family member. I agreed, what knitter wouldn’t, to be asked to knit something the wearer would like is a wonderful compliment. I was also commissioned to make a hat for another family member. Both understood that I needed to finish Granny’s long-overdue gift first. I found a stitch pattern to turn into a scarf, but the more I knit of it, the more I wasn’t sure how warm of a scarf it would make. I set about to work more on the scarf this week, but discovered I placed the pattern in a super secure location so I would not lose it. I didn’t lose it, I just don’t remember where the super secret secure location is at the present moment. That is all right as far as I am concerned, it allowed me to alter the pattern to a new one that I found in one of my Grammy’s knitting books. It’s far too simple of a stitch, but I love the color work for the stripes. The one drawback is working in all the ends. I think I will stop breaking the yarn for the small stripes and run it up the side. Here is a work-in-progress picture:

scarf wip

Project Day

We had a wonderful time with our small group last night and this morning. Last night we met to celebrate a birthday and game night. This morning we continued our study in James, heavenly wisdom and had a time of games after the study and prayer. Jason and I only stayed a little while, we had left Daisy inside due to temperatures.

I decided we’re having calzones for dinner, so the dough is currently rising, it’s just about ready to roll, stuff and bake. I have also become increasingly frustrated with themes for this WordPress blog. I am enjoying the blog, the writing and changing up the look every now and again. I have blogged before about the plugins not working with all the themes. At first, I was positive the plugins were faulty, so I set about to prove it. Unfortunately, it does not seem to be the plugin, it seems to be the theme. I printed out the code behind the current brown, diary theme and discovered that rather than sticking with standard naming conventions, WordPress theme authors are using terms as they see fit, which causes other plugins to display poorly. I am setting out to fix this current theme and documenting as I go so that I can fix others I find. By the time I’m done fixing all the themes I like, it will be time to design one of my own, but I’m just not motivated to tackle that yet. Never mind, after spending several hours pouring over the code, I do not wish to rewrite the entire theme just for a few pretty graphics. I found a theme that is semi-cool and tweaked it to fit what I want layout-wise. I think I will use this one, eventually, as a jumping-off point for other things as I find or create graphics I like.

Hopefully, the weather will cooperate tomorrow. I have accumulated scrapbook pages, stickers and stamps to finally get a wedding scrapbook finished/started. I am downloading pictures from Ruth and Julie so that I can include some of them in the book. As for the weather, I’d like to sit down with Mom Proefrock and select some with her, since she’d like to make a book, too. Mom found a website that prints pictures for $0.06 plus shipping. It seems to be a current sale that may change with time, maybe a special for February.

A quick review of the last week – fun with craft stores in GR with Mom and Julie, I have scrapbooking supplies for the above mentioned project. I spend Thursday in GR catching up with Patty and Angela and drove home in more snow, again on a Thursday. I also upgraded/downgraded another Vista machine to XP. Acers are a challenge, but I’m improving on driver scavenger hunts.

I’ll try to get a few more posts up the early part of the week. Thursday, Jason and I leave for NY for my Grandma’s memorial service.

Family Fun Day, Feb 9

The Proefrocks held a family fun day in Grand Rapids on Saturday. We decided to meet at the VanAndel Museum at 9 and then hop across the street in the afternoon for the Gerald R. Ford. We will have to return to GR to do the presidential museum eventually. The museum is an ABC of Grand Rapids and surrounding communities. Beginning with automobile manufacturers that are or were in Grand Rapids. We followed the letters down the hall, up a few sets of stairs and ended on the top floor mid-afternoon. We looked at clocks, fossils, glass, and city hall. We read about hats and ivory, saw dolls from many nations and read about the furniture industry in GR.

dad stabbing a roll

We stopped for lunch around 11 and found lovely salads and chicken nuggets for lunch. Most of the salads had cheese, which was most unfortunate. The only thing on the menu was chicken nuggets with fruit. They let me read the bag of frozen nuggets. Mine were dinosaur shaped and it came with an explorer’s map and free carousel ride. I ran out of time for the ride, so I’ll go back another day. The salads came with bread products and apparently the rolls were a little difficult to open.

We had a wonderful time in the MAPS exhibit. While it was most likely designed for children to enjoy, we all enjoyed the hands-on activities. I really wanted to knock over the pyramids and rebuild them, unfortunately, there were a lot of children at that one. I played an interactive game that teaches how to read the legends on a map with a taxi game. I earn $79 for driving people around the island in 1 minute and 3 seconds.

jeff

Jeff enjoyed steering a ship, when I reminded him that he should be wearing a PFD, he promptly put it on and continued sailing. More, many more pictures of our fun filled day can be viewed here. We concluded our day with two planetarium shows. I took a small nap during the first one and learned a new constellation in the second one. We parted ways around 3:30 or 4:00 and I remembered to trade a squished penny to Jeff and Jeanne for a taste of summer sausage.

I’m sure I’ve left things out, but I wanted to post and let people grab pictures if desired. I’ll update or edit later as it seems necessary.

I thought I would never finish, but . . .

cross stitch

I actually did. After a bit over a year of work, nearly 100 hours as best I can estimate and a little discomfort in my arm, the cross stitch is finished and delivered. When originally started, it was a stocking kit with a pair of cardinals in a tree or bush. Last night, I officially finished it by trimming the edges down to a bit over an inch, folding the edges under, backing it with fabric and sewing it all together. I then used some grommets to make it easier to hang with an adjustable string length. Slip knots are fun. Jason helped me by cutting a wire hanger to make a tension rod to keep the top middle from folding in on itself. I presented it to Granny at family lunch at Mom & Dad Proefrock’s.

I all but promised myself I would not do another large cross stitch project, but I found so many projects I had purchased over the years. I have a few knitting projects to work on as well, but I like to have a couple things to go between. I’ll stitch up the advent calendar I purchased and alternate it with a knitting or tatting projects. Since I finished Granny’s project, I am now allowing myself to learn to tat. I want to make snowflake ornaments. It may be cheesy, but I think they’ll be interesting once I learn. Tatting is a certain way of tying string in knots, if I could teach myself to make friendship bracelets, I can teach myself this, though I will probably need to refer to a book. Luckily, I have a book or two.

When I was supposed to make a handmade gift for a very special lady. . .

I chose too big of a project. As explained in other posts, for Christmas, Jason’s family exchanges one name, we make or purchase a gift and may donate the balance of the budget to a charity of our choice. We drew names (were assigned names) in October of 2006 for Christmas 2006, which was eventually celebrated on New Year’s Eve. I searched and contemplated and hunted and stewed to find just the right gift for my person-Granny. There was not doubt in my mind that it would be handmade, I fancy myself a crafter. I don’t usually craft large gifts because of the time involved, but I found a wonderful cross stitch stocking that was solid stitching in a normal sized stocking shape. Granny likes cardinals, so I was on the look-out for birdies. While at a local chain craft store, I happened upon this stocking with a light gray-blue background fabric and two beautiful birds, one male & one female. It reminded me how unfair life seems for the girly birds, so plain. Since discovering a male and female cardinal at my own feeder this winter, I have changed my mind a bit. The female is absolutely gorgeous in her own interesting manner.

Of course I purchased the stocking kit, thinking it would involve a few hours of work, but it would stitch up in now time. The last major stitching project I did took me two years to finish, but I was a kid when I stitched it. I finished most of that project while working in an office at a family camp in northern NY. Needless to say, after putting several months of effort in, it was clear to me that I was not going to finish on time. I had already purchased several small trinkets and treats to put in the stocking and realized I was going to need a new thing to use instead. While visiting my family for Thanksgiving, my mother turned me on to loom knitting. She was hoping to craft with her granddaughter, my niece. After venturing to a local chain craft store the day after Thanksgiving, aka black Friday, we triumphantly returned to my parent’s house with yarn and looms. I was so intrigued by how fast we knit up hats, that I purchased a set of looms when I returned home. After conferring with Jason, I decided to purchase some thick acrylic yarn, I didn’t know if she was allergic to anything, safe than sorry side. I knit up a cute little hat and put all the trinkets, treats and treasures in the hat.

I brought the cross stitch to Family Christmas and showed it to Granny, nearly everyone else had seen me stitching. I put it away every time Granny was around, so that put a slight damper on pace. She graciously allowed me more time to finished and asked for me to make it into a wall hanging instead of a stocking, which was not a problem. I put it down for a few months, my arm was tired to stitching. When I was ready to pick it up again, Jason had proposed, I had a wedding to plan, I had been invited to visit MCF in Africa, and my world was spinning. I stitched occasionally, but not as often as I should have. I even took it to Africa in case I wanted to stitch on the plane or in my free time. I was too tired on most of the planes to do anything more than ready mindless books and sleep. Free time at MCF was spent doing other things, like playing with children, taking walks, and enjoying Africa.

It returned with me untouched, but I had renewed determination to fit it in around finalizing wedding details. My plans never seem to work out exactly the way I hope. I didn’t end up doing the big push to finish until Christmas this year. I told myself I had until New Year’s Eve to finish it, so I took it to NY and stitched in the car when I wasn’t driving. The steering wheel prohibited efficient stitching. I am happy to say that while I haven’t maintained proper verb tense while writing, the end is in sight. My new end date is tomorrow, GR Family Fun Day. I just may make it. The frame and hanger won’t be finished, but the bird stitching is finished, with only the made up border in my head to finish.

On the subject of the border, I am a Photoshop/Illustrator girl. Not because I love it or detest anything else, because it is what I learned. They are the tools I had at my disposal while working as a graphic editor. I have since switched to GIMP for Linux & Windows. The Gfig filter is giving me fits. How does this fit into Granny’s present you ask? Thank you for asking, let me tell you, I decided on a rectangle border around the edges, but since it is a stocking shape, I would have empty space in the top left and bottom right corners and what better to put there than a coolie swirl. I grabbed a compass, printed some cross stitch graph paper and drew and erased and drew and erased and drew and erased. Then I remembered that Jason was playing with a spiral tool on the computer the other week. I popped open GIMP and tried to add the spiral filter to my existing graph paper, no such luck. Because my brain is constantly troubleshooting and comparing, I decided to eliminate variables. The only was to get the spiral tool to work correctly was to draw it in the filter with the graph paper underneath, save it all, close it all, open a new, blank image, open the filter and magically, it appeared. I have stitched one of the spirals and am enthralled with it. I did have a little consultation with Jason, so I may owe him a fee or credit or something.

Stay tuned for pictures . . .