Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fun With Charts.

Somewhere along the line, I decided that I stink at following patterns. It probably has something to do with the fact that I get distracted between one instruction and the next, which leads to skipping steps. Or sometimes doing steps twice. Which leads to... well, usually a mess, and definitely not what I was hoping the pattern would lead to.

As you may know, recently I decided it's finally time to try again. The first step on my quest to actually follow instructions was the blanket. As I said, I didn't quite manage it. The next thing I decided to tackle was a hot water bottle cover for my grandma. I made her one when I was living in her basement apartment, but it's a little worse for wear and needed a replacement.

So I found a gorgeous pattern* online and decided to give it a try. This is the first time that I've ever followed a chart for any kind of knitting pattern and I was sure that, given my distractable nature, I would screw it up.

I know myself pretty well; I had to rip it down five times.

Part of not having followed patterns properly before is not actually knowing the proper names for anything. Thank goodness for the internet! New skills I learned to make this thing: following a chart, "bobbles", seed stitch, provisional crochet cast on, and making a button band (complete with button holes!). 

In the end, I managed to stick it out, and grandma's water bottle is now properly cozy-d. 

I'm pretty pleased with myself.

*The Haworth hot water bottle cozy is a free download on Ravelry! Easy to follow instructions,even for those of us with short attention spans.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

Lying, to me, has always seemed like a waste of time. It always comes out, and it's always worse when it does than if you'd told the truth in the first place. Which is exactly what I say when I talk to my kids about it. My kids aren't really big on lying anyway, mostly because they just stink at it. Beege turns red and won't look at you. Kee, squirms around the truth like a contortionist, answering every question but the one you asked. See? They stink at it.

Maybe it's because I'm a terrible liar that I find shows about people who do it all the time so fascinating.

Recently, My sister and I became full on addicted to Pretty Little Liars. The show starts out about four teenage girls, beautiful and rich of course, who are being terrorised by a mysterious cyber bully called "A". A knows all of their secrets - holy crap, do these girls have secrets - and is willing to use them against the girls. So do their parents, and all of their friends. As some random artist in season four says, "this whole town is strung together with whispers." A town full of secrets is, by default, full of lies.

I can only think of one person on the entire show that doesn't make a habit of continually lying to everyone around her, and as far as I can tell she is also the most oblivious person in the world. The real miracle is that any of them ever believe anyone else. We've given up trying to figure anything out, and just enjoy yelling "what?!" at each other when they pull out another completely ridiculous piece of 'evidence', or previously unmentioned but somehow pivotal character.

Joking aside, I think that it's important to talk to your kids about lying, and watching a show or movie with them is always a good jumping off point for a discussion. My kids are a little young for it yet, but Mean Girls is an excellent movie to spark questions about bullying, lying and how to be a friend while being yourself. I've said it before, Tina Fey is a genius.

It's an important discussion to have, and a good idea to start early so you can have a continuing conversation as your kids get older, just like anything else.
If you're looking to start a conversation with your little one(s) about lying and its pitfalls, here are some suggestions for your jumping off point:

  1. Super Why!: S1,E15: Humpty Dumpty and Other Fairytale Adventures: Pinocchio
  2. Curious George: S1, E19: Truth about George Burger
  3. Clifford the Big Red Dog: S1, E26: The Kibble Crook
  4. The Adventures of Chuck & Friends: S1, E9: The Pothole / Chuck’s Perfect Plans

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

It's FINE.

I made a blanket recently. Well, I finished a blanket recently. The colours are beautiful, and it's nice and cozy.

I don't usually use patterns. And when I do, I feel the crushing need to alter them in some way. Even when there's nothing wrong with the pattern in the first place... I mean, I bought it, I must've liked it, right? So when I sat down to make this blanket, I decided I would just follow the pattern. I wouldn't change anything, I would just make it as is. No thinking, no figuring, just making.

I didn't manage it.

I ended up changing a few lines of the pattern to make the colour transitions cleaner. I knew that sitting under my blanket and staring at that one row of stitching that leaked into the row above it would drive me crazy.

It took me a few weeks to finish the knitting. Then I had to sew it together, and knit a border around the edges. Finally. Done. I folded it over the back of the chair to take a picture, and realised that on one side, I'd messed up. After all that futzing around to make sure that each colour stayed neatly in its place, I left out an entire effing stripe of colour. On one side. The last side. If it had been the first side, I could have rationalised that I didn't really like that colour anyway and left it off the rest of the border too. But no.

What followed was nothing short of a full blown existential crisis.

After much groaning and tearing of hair, I decided: I was going to leave it. I had to fight against all my instincts to rip that last border down and redo it. I was going to leave it, because as Husband says, "done is better than perfect."

But is it? Is it really?! Because it's a week later, and it's still driving me crazy. I had a dream that I crept downstairs in the middle of the night and fixed it.

I still might.