Monday, October 29, 2007

Starry, Starry Night

So I have a friend that absolutely fell in love with all the round ripple blankets I've been working on. I promised her one when I was done with all the prayer/Christmas blankets for those kids whose parents abandoned them. But now that I'm finished with those, I decided to go ahead with her round ripple. They usually only take me 2 or 3 days to do one. If I were able to sit down and crochet at will instead of having to chase around and feed and change and bathe the 2 rug rats I have....then it would only take me probably about a matter of 8 or 9 hours per blanket. Anyhow, when this friend and I had lived together, I had made her a pink blanket. And I don't mean just pink, I mean pink! There were at least 3 shades of pink. And that's my absolute least favorite color! LOL So she said she wanted pink and black. (Hey, at least there would be black to break up the monotony of pink this time!) But she changed her mind. She decided she'd rather have the color used in Van Gogh's Starry, Starry Night instead. I think I picked adequate colors....I guess I won't really be able to tell, though, until it's completed and I get the full effect of the blanket. I really hope it turns out well!!!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Prayer Blankets

Since I've had people asking for the story behind it, here's what brought about this massive wave of prayer blankets I've been up to lately.

I made the first one when I'd heard from a friend at Cafemom about Sister Dennis losing her husband. I think I felt I kind of, in a way, identified with her kids. My childhood best friend (who I actually still speak to, to this day) lost her father when we were about 9 (she may have been 8). He father had battled cancer for years and he'd been doing well. He'd gone horseback riding and was thrown. I don't remember if his cancer came back then and it was the combination of the injuries from the horse accident and the cancer, or if was that he'd beaten the cancer and wouldn't you know a horse accident took his life. Either way, that's something that's pretty traumatizing for a child that young. (She also has a brother that's about 2 years younger than her.) So my heart broke for those children, and I just felt that God laid it on my heart to do something for them. I had JUST (and I mean in earlier that day or the day before) seen a new crochet pattern that I'd wanted to try. So I made a prayer blanket. And, as I'd never met Sister Dennis, I met up with that online friend, Tara, to pass that along to the Dennis family.

When I met Tara, something about her captivated me. I'm not even sure what it was. There was.....SOMETHING. A silent crying out? I'm not sure. I do remember though, that I really wanted to give her a big hug. But I didn't because I had read her blog about being a germaphobe and not liking hugs too much. I mean, I give hugs freely anyway. As "hi's" and "good-bye's." But there was just something about her that made me want to just hold on to her and try to...maybe comfort (?) her. So instead, after seeing the comment she posted on the picture I posted of the Dennis' blanket about her wanting one, I decided I would make one for her, no matter how serious she was about wanting it. I got part way into it, and her Nannie died. It was the instant I heard that when the blanket it officially became a prayer blanket. Oddly enough, I'd already been praying over it as I was making it. But once that happened, I had so many more prayers for Tara, so much more urgency in getting it done. Only a couple of stitches separated the prayers, if that. They just kept coming out of me. And I think it was strategy on the devil's part that I couldn't get it to her right away.

Well, after I finished that one, there was another Cafemom friend that I felt I'd grown pretty close to. I decided to make her a blanket as well. I'd originally tried to come up with something creative to try and weave her family into it. I was thinking maybe stitching in her sons' names....but I couldn't leave out her grandson....but there's a grandson that's not hers by blood. What about him? And there were two or three other things like that. That family has been through so much. So I decided against the name idea. Then it hit me. They're Jewish and all have matching Star of David tattoos. I'd make a 6-point star blanket for her! That one ended up being HUGE. LOL To give you an idea, the first two blankets were about 40-ish inches across, point to point. Hers was close to 60 inches. It sounds kind of foolish to say that I just follow what the yarn does, but that's the best way to describe how God speaks to me in making it. Like Tara's. It was originally supposed to be a lot more purple, but green INSISTED on being the main color. I don't know why. Anyway, so I got part way into her blanket, and she finds out that she's not going to be able to make it to her son's wedding. Her oldest son. The first one to get married. They couldn't make it. (Her son and his now wife are active duty Army and getting deployed to Iraq about the time we're moving to Italy. They're stationed in WA state, and she's in OH.) Wow. Let me tell you. And then her second son's life got a little more complicated. The prayers wouldn't stop coming out.

So I finished the 6-point blanket and set it aside to send out when payday rolled around. Then there was another lady at the Cafe that had posted a blog saying she felt led to make prayer blankets. Talk about an epiphany!!! LOL I had such a one right then. I volunteered to help her. She's making them specifically for children with Nephrotic Syndrome. She said she felt led to make 3 girl and 9 boy blankets. I thought, "Hey, I can do a boy one. There's more of those to get done and I have more blue and green yarn than pink and purple." But God had a different idea. He led me to make a girl one. So I get about halfway through that one....and all heck broke loose for me. The overwhelming feelings and overinformation about what I needed to be in the middle of doing instead of just starting for us to go to our next duty station overseas. That kind of cemented to me that I NEEDED to be doing these prayer blankets, because I had to fight to get to work on it. Aidyn got sick. I had appointments right and left. A friend of mine and his wife separated and he was calling or texting me every spare second he had. (I had let him know that I was there for him to lean on. I hadn't quite expected that much of a response from him. LOL But my sister-in-law had said when she was going through her divorce, she spent HOURS on the phone with one of her friends, so....) I got a little further on the blanket. Then I saw a post in another group at the Cafe.

A lady in TX (who has an 4 y.o. daughter, 2 y.o. son and 5 week old daughter) was going to pick up her nieces and nephew for some time at their home....and walked in on her SIL having sex with some guy (NOT the husband....I guess it's commonplace for this couple to cheat) while the kids were in the other room playing. So she grabbed enough stuff to take the kids overnight. Went to take them home the next day, and the kids' mom was gone. Everything was moved out of the house, it was up for sale/rent. The mom completely DITCHED her own kids! I was in tears, reading this post. So without any extra clothes or diapers or anything, she took them back home with her. So now she has an 8 y.o. niece, 4 y.o. niece, 3 y.o. nephew, and 1 y.o. twin girl nieces, plus her 3 kids all living in her 2 bedroom trailer!!! I guess they worked it out now to where the kids' maternal grandmother (not this mom's mom....the kids' dad is her brother) is going to get full custody of the kids and move into a 3-bedroom trailer next to this other mom (who is also going to move up to a 3-bedroom) and they're going to raise the kids together. The thing she asked for above all else in this post was simply prayer. I got to messaging with her. She and her husband are going to Bible school to become ministers. So for their Christmas, I'm making each of these kids (all 8 of them) prayer blankets.

That's pretty much it! :)

The Home Stretch!

So I took onto myself making round ripple star afghans for 8 children for Christmas. As we're getting ready to move overseas for my husband's next duty station with the military, I really wanted to get them done before we left the States. And I'm almost done! I'm three quarters of the way finished with the 7th of 8 blankets! So close! But I'm having a hard time keeping motivated to finish them. I don't know why. I really do want to do this, but it's almost turning into a chore. I'm soooooo close, and the end is in sight. For both these blankets and for my husband coming home from his year tour in Korea. The end is in sight!.....But for some reason, those last few inches to the finish line look more like miles.........

Sunday, October 14, 2007

5-point-star Dilemma

So I admit it. I'm a perfectionist. And this is not looking enough like the pictures of the lady who posted the pattern in her blog. So I'm taking it all apart and starting it over. (I know, I'm nuts! But I'm not satisfied with it. It's got to be redone.)


So now I'm using an I hook instead of the H and not using any of the modifications to the shell stitch that I had done on the 6-point star. I'd thought the modifications would help it lay flat, when really all it did was make it look like less of a star. (At least to me, it did.) I'm only 8 rows in, and already it looks better to me!


And now that I'm almost halfway done, it's looking sooooooooooooooo much better! It's taking more yarn with the larger hook and more stitches (and I knew it would), but it's well worth it. Even if I have to go out and buy more yarn to finish it (which, with my stash, I highly doubt I will), it's worth it to have a blanket that's done well.....Dang my perfectionism....

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Torie's Pants

My mom taught me how to crochet when I was about 12 years old. I never really completed any projects with just a plain old, double crochet stitch, though. It always seemed so monotonous to me, just to do the same simple stitch, forming rows, back and forth...It wasn't until I was about 13 when someone first taught me how to make a granny square. It was in a van in the 2 hour ride to a youth retreat. I thought they were the coolest things ever! But when I got back home from the weekend, I didn't have any yarn or hooks to use to keep doing it, and quickly forgot how. Eventually, my brother got married, and his wife re-taught me how to make them when I was about 17. I ended up making afghans out of granny squares for my closest friends as graduation gifts. Then, one day, as I was sitting in the college dorm rooms, my best friend and dorm-mate had an idea: I could make blankets, but could I make pants? Only Torie could have come up with an idea like that! She may not be creative in the sense of creating things (like with crocheting) with her hands, but has a true artist's vision. (She can draw like nobody's business, too...) If it weren't for her idea, I likely would never have thought to try. I had no pattern to go with, but the pants began to from under my very fingers. I was actually quite surprised and pleased with how well they turned out. It was the first time I'd attempted anything other than afghans, and it was a major success! In fact, about a year later, when she was living in a 1-bedroom apartment on her own and she couldn't afford a high heat bill (which is inevitable with Colorado winters), she would wear the pants. She said it was like wearing an afghan. LOL To this day, the thing I make most often is afghans, as their the easiest and quickest to make, but I've also learned to try new patterns, try to create patterns with my own ideas, and will very soon be expanding my crocheting projects and abilities. All because one day, she walked up to me and said "Hey, do you think you could crochet me some pants?" So Torie....THANK YOU!