Category Archives: NaBloPoMo

When Things Are Not Always As They Reasonably Seem…


So here’s a bright spot of news from our household: we’re fostering a litter of kittens!

They were living under our shed and finally came out. The mother (a beautiful white and grey long-hair tabby) and father (red fluffy tabby) are both partially tame, like maybe they were owned once, but were abandoned. They aren’t skittish like most feral cats. And the kittens were much like them, not all too scared of us. They’d come within a couple feet and eat food from us, or watch us while grilling.

So we knew we had to rescue them. There are too many cats in the neighborhood and we don’t need them living under our shed. We knew they’d have a good chance at being tamed and having a great home. 10 weeks is borderline in age as to how easily kittens can be tamed, but we felt it would be worth the effort to save these kiddos. I’ve owned cats all my life and fostered my share of litters before, as has my husband. So we felt pretty comfortable with the attempt. And as one of our 16 year old babies recently died, the timing is probably right too. (Though we can’t take them all.) 

We caught the litter at about 10 weeks I think. They are just losing front milk teeth now, which puts them at about 12 weeks according to the charts.

They were quite scared at first, but we’ve been making a point of handling them all every day. But there’s 5 of them! And 4 of us, not always home.

Three of the kittens have finally been coaxed enough to purr when we hold them.

Tonight, I’m sitting with little Red. She’s the only red kitten in the bunch. A couple of the others have some red marks, but she’s the only total red one. And she’s the sweetest in personality thus far.

I’ve finally been able to get her to sit with me in front of my computer, without freaking out or needing to be wrapped in a towel. and she’s been here purring.

But the cute little thing has been looking up at me, purring away, then laying her ears down and hissing at me. Then she’d hide her face and keep purring.

At first I chalked it up to, well, it takes time and we knew that it would. And I worried that maybe the bonding wasn’t going as well as I thought. Maybe Red wasn’t as comfortable as I thought. Maybe she was about to slap my face or something.

But then when she did it a few more times, I realized that she was seeking out eye contact, and when she hissed, she wasn’t actually quite meeting my gaze. And sometimes she’d turn her head all the way around to look at me upside down, but she wouldn’t hiss until she looked at me straight on.

Then it dawned on me. My glasses! I’m working on my computer and my glasses have the reduced glare coating, kinda looks purplish.

So I took them off. And do you know – that changed everything? She gazed into my eyes and purred, without flattening her ears and without a hiss.

Hello Red...Sometimes the things we assume are completely reasonable. They make sense and it seems we have all the facts to guess just what’s going on.

And sometimes, we don’t have all the pieces, or the same perspective, to know that there’s another reasonable reality. A reality that’s just as logical, and even more accurate and real.

As this little kitten sleeps peacefully in my arms, I’m reminded that no matter how much I know, it’s but a slice. And there’s always room to observe and deepen our understanding of things, of our relationships and of our experience of Life.

 

 

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There Once Was An Asp On My TARDIS…


Here’s something fun.

Asp or puss caterpillarAn asp (or puss) caterpillar, aka the most poisonous caterpillar in North America, decided to show up on my TARDIS (furry white thing on the spider).

I called my pest control guy to come out to remove it safely. I was expecting a bunch of kids and family for John’s birthday party. Definitely didn’t want to have to take anyone to the emergency room!

The pest control guy had never heard of it and asked me how to remove it! Whatever. I started Googling for a removal scenario and could only find instructions on how to remove the spines from your skin, not safely remove the caterpillar itself.

Finally got the caterpillar safely removed by scraping it into a jar and my pest guy took it back to the office.

Unfortunately, we had to toss our spider, as it probably has spines in the fur from removing the caterpillar.

It was one of our oldest props, so we were a bit sad. 😦

 

 

 

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For all the octopi in my life, you are the best. :)


True friends are like octopi...

 

True friends are like octopi…

 

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In my estimation, we’re evolving…


earth_sun_nasa_imageI don’t believe in organized politics anymore than I believe in organized religion.

It’s become our new way to slander and crucify our fellow-man. The excuse we give to act less than we are. Our justification for ignoring what we should be paying attention to.

I suppose it’s born out of my rebellion against anyone trying to force me to conform to a specific label.

I  refuse to join a group, vote a party line, or violate my conscience to keep someone out of office.

More times than not, reasonable people assume I think exactly as they do, and therefore against anyone they don’t like.

This is only because I am open-minded and more studied than most. I don’t gravitate to media talk shows and labels to judge a situation or person. And I find reasoned discussion, disagreement, and even debate, to be edifying and essential to society.

I believe that as we evolve as a human race, our problems and their answers likewise evolve. It is the way of spiritual maturity.

I cannot agree completely with any one ideology.

And I hope I never do.

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The insurance situation is frustrating for everyone…


family-insuranceThere are some things I’m thankful for now that I have experience to provide perspective.

Under current laws, my husband who was struck suddenly with a terminal brain cancer (there is no cure) cannot be denied health coverage.

I have a lot of anger over this issue, because most likely, the cause is related to his military service, but it hasn’t been proven and all responsibility is denied. And let’s face it, his area of service was not highly covered in the news. Deployment was not easy on our family. It was a destructive time for us emotionally and financially. And now, it’s happening again, only worse.

Statistics say if my husband survives another year, he will be an outlier. Extreme cancers like this are horrifying for both patients and families. There is so much you’ll never understand about something like this, without going through it. And I would never wish for you to know what any of it is like. It’s not something you wish on any human, if you are human.

And when it’s your brain under attack, it’s not like you would imagine. it’s not predictable and it is not kind about how it destroys bits and pieces of your personality and life.

Cancers like this are also orphan diseases. Less than 52,200 case of brain cancer are diagnosed per year in the US, and glioblastoma is only about 15% of those cases. Out of billions of people. I think you might have a better chance of being struck by lightning.  Unlike other diseases, there is no known cause for glioblastoma, other than a handful of connections made to certain types of radiation exposure and agent orange. Not even a genetic cause has been identified.

John has been the poster child of health, good diet and fitness for a man in his mid-40s for years. And yet he was struck with a voracious, fast killing primary brain cancer caused by a series of DNA errors. (It’s been proven to not be connected to diet. This feels very much like being struck by lightning.)

I have hated being forced to pay for things that are not useful to me.  I have resented high costs of insurance that would not cover things I wanted to do, like see a chiropractor instead of have surgery. See an acupuncturist, instead of rely on pain meds (most of which I’m allergic to anyway). Etc.I have not wanted to be forced to pay for something that in my estimation is not in my best interest.  Overall, I believe insurance should be more for catastrophic situations and less for managed care.

However, I do believe that insurance *should* cover things like what is happening to my husband. Because no one understands why some of these things happen. They can’t be foreseen. They can’t be predicted. They’re not even understood at any level. There are no known causes. It literally could be you next. It really, literally could be you. There is no telling where the dice lands next.

Insurance is supposed to help hedge the impact of extreme situations, because illness (and accidents) like this damages communities. It doesn’t just take down a person, or even a family. It takes down an entire sector of what used to be a healthy, productive circle of society.  Car accidents happen, and no one wonders if these should be covered. But being struck with an extreme disease that has no known cause or cure? And we question it?

Everyone who ever depended on John is suffering. He was not a small fish who had little impact on the world. He led and saved so many men and women. Both in duty and on his own time. As recently as New Year’s week, when we were on our 20th wedding anniversary trip, he saved a woman and her dog from an elevator during a snow storm and blackout. We didn’t know it then, but his brain tumor was forming by then. And John, as always, did the right thing. He has always protected and served and with a laid-back spirit and wry smile.

If insurance was allowed to deny him coverage because he’s been diagnosed with a terminal illness, not only does it mean his death, likely in 3 months or less, it means an incredibly torturous death. No one can reasonably agree that this would be a right thing to do.

So I must admit, these are perspectives I never had before. As we all argue over required insurance, coverage laws and costs. All the money we overpaid in our lifetime pales in comparison to the fight we’re in now. As to Obamacare policies, I have learned that many deny treatment at some point. Even Medicaid and Medicare denies treatment past a point to many GBM patients. We’re paying for Cobra so John can continue with treatment from a genuine brain cancer center, not just a generalist who knows very little about his cancer.

There are problems everywhere with no perfect solution. But I thank God for insurance coverage right now.

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Disagreement Is Not A Weakness…


disagreementWhen we project the challenges we feel with our families – onto the world around us – we skew our perception of reality.

We lose our grounding and unfairly accuse others of actions they have not taken and beliefs they do not have.

Two people can disagree and still both be “right.”

Recognizing this is one of the levels of spiritual maturity we must all master.

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NOT A Fortune…


Pick A FortuneWe love fortune cookies in our family.

I know they were invented in America, blah, blah.

I don’t care. They’re so much fun!

We read them together and then collect them in a little shot glass to enjoy again later.

Anytime we need a little pick me up, positive word, a bit of fun when friends come over – just grab the shot glass and Pick A Fortune!

But the last year or so, they haven’t been so much… fortune.

In fact, much of the time, it hasn’t been fortunes inside the cookies. It’s been NOT-a-fortunes.

Don’t believe me? Check it out.

NOT A Fortune!

< Click on the picture to view it in a larger size. >

On the right side, you can see fortunes that actually qualify as “fortunes.” Or at least mostly.

  • “An opportunity will knock on your door.”
    –  General, but OK!
  • “You shouldn’t overspend at the moment.”
    – General advice, but could be a useful warning!
  • “This coming Friday will be an exciting time for you.”
    – Duh, who doesn’t love Friday? But still – I’m really looking forward to the “exciting time.” I think.

Those qualify as fortunes!

These DO NOT!

  • “If a turtle doesn’t have a shell, is it naked or homeless?”
    – Wha? Why?  NOT A FORTUNE!
  • “Love is a present that can be given every single day you live.”
    – I personally believe in Life After Death. NOT A FORTUNE!
    and my favorite…
  • “Eat your vegetable and you’ll grow up big and strong like Popeye.”
    – Seriously, wtf. THIS IS NOT A FORTUNE!!!

FORTUNE COOKIE FAIL!

Someone needs to quit at the fortune cookie factory and hire me instead.
I would write totally awesome fortunes.

My fortunes are inarguably better!

Nailed it.

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Face It…


Stained glass mandala loveSome people think that the best way to fight an enemy is to pretend that it isn’t there.

Or to somehow reimagine it as something less than it is.

I say call that demon by name and face it directly.  With the shield of God’s Love.

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Young Mama…


ReflectionYoung Mama,

Your role in Motherhood,

It should be sacred, it should be good.

But you’ve twisted it right nice,

Doling misery and malice.

Young Mama,

Instead of Loving

As you should.

Written 11-07-2016, 10:58am
Copyright © 2016 by Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved.

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Crochet Skills ≈ Heart Surgery ≈ Life


How Crochet Literally Has Saved Lives

(aka Brilliant People Crochet)

Did you notice the recent news story about the heart surgeon who credits CROCHET and a SEWING CLASS for his surgery skills?

“Dr. W. Dudley Johnson… pioneered and popularized lifesaving cardiac bypass surgery and was considered a healer of last resort for heart patients around the world…. He applied the crocheting skills he had learned from his mother, who was a home economics teacher, and the needlecraft he was taught in a seventh-grade sewing class (he got an A), to perform more than 8,500 heart bypass operations over four decades.” – NY Times, October 30th, 2016.

Unfortunately Dr. Johnson died last week, but his inspiration and legacy live on. Thanks to his mom, and #crochet.

Told ya we can rule the world…

(Check out the full story about this amazing man’s life here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/31/health/dudley-johnson-dead-coronary-bypass.html.)

thread-crochet-hook - tools of a heart surgeon

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An Update For The Friends…


Just wanted to share some positive news with my crochet friends who have followed along from afar.  We had positive news from John’s scans a couple of weeks ago.

After nearly 9 months, John’s glioblastoma is finally stabilizing.  His last scans look a bit better than the scans from 6 weeks prior, but mostly similar. Of course, it’s still way better than the shocking scans from July.

The doctors also describe this improvement as “his glioblastoma is ‘stable.'” Meaning glioblastoma is the kind of cancer that’s never actually gone even when you can’t see contrast, but it’s not growing or moving at this time.

Swelling is a little less too. And the scar tissue from his stroke is starting to be reabsorbed, which they say is also good. Cancer’s still there, and still interfering with the visual pathway for his eyesight on the right side, but it’s a bit smaller and not growing right now. So that’s good. All in all, less contrast is good news!

Not only is the current Avastin/Lomustine combo treatment working for John (it doesn’t for most patients) he’s also tolerating it well. So we’re grateful.

Next steps include chasing down specialized speech therapy and some specialized reading/vision help and glasses. John’s vision loss has so far interfered with his ability to get very far with communication therapy, and sometimes it’s potentially hazardous. So this is an important piece of his recovery for us to address.

We may have to pay out-of-pocket for vision therapy and gear, but trying to see if we can get at least some help from our insurance. With all the unforseen expenses on this journey, I’m trying to maximize whatever we can before the end of the year changes anything.

John’s next scans/evals are scheduled for December.

Last but not least — John turned 48 on October 27th — a date he didn’t initially think he’d get to see.

We are all so incredibly grateful. For the precious time together. For the beautiful friends who have helped with prayers and financial support so we can pay for treatment and gasoline and all the expenses that come with cancer treatment. And for all the words of encouragement that prop us up every single day in this storm.

The battle is not over, much less the war.  But at least the constant shelling has paused, so we can regain our balance and breathe a little more.

xxxooo

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It Begins…


NaBloPoMo November 2016It’s NaBloPoMo time of year again. In spite of the chaos and emotional pain this year has been for me, I’ve committed to doing it. In part because writing is part of my therapy in life anyway.

Creating crochet, writing or music. One of those 3 things has always been present to help me get through, sort through, be through.

In childhood, it was my piano that expressed my soul the most. In early motherhood it was crochet that took the brunt.

As an adult, I haven’t had a lot of time to sit and craft at the piano. It requires a living room monopoly to do it and that’s not always possible.

These days it’s writing and crochet the most. And I so desperately need to find voice in any way I can.

Another reason for me not to give up the challenge though is because of the 8-9 years I’ve participated.

The idea that I’m not giving up all parts of me in this journey as a care partner (better label than care giver I think).

And in all these years of taking on this writers challenge, the only time I lost was one year thanks to Thanksgiving Day and no internet access to post for the day. (I have a smart phone now!)

NaBloPoMo was started 10 years ago. So, it’s kind become a part of my soul, being a part of it for so long.

I did take it a step further this year though. I decided to register and commit to posting every day in November for TWO blogs. My usual Aberrant Crochet blog. But also a new blog I’m formulating about glioblastoma.

I registered Frell Cancer nearly 9 months ago and haven’t written a single post yet. Its purpose is to help others who are desperately trying to get up to speed on what glioblastoma (GBM) is, treatments, studies, reality, etc.. Helping others in the GBM community was the point, because there’s so little support for people in that boat around the world. And most people don’t understand how it’s a different kind of cancer than everything else.

Victims always find themselves grappling with trying to educate their families while enduring the shelling that the glioblastoma fight often is. Such a fast, voracious cancer that threatens to destroy your very personality, identity, your relationships, etc.. Everything about you can change into someone you don’t recognize – overnight.

It’s so hard, and there’s a lot of fear. For good reason.

So…. NaBloPoMo will serve as the fire to propel me forward into assembling those posts for that blog. Besides, while I write whatever I want on Aberrant Crochet, I don’t want it to become all cancer all the time. And frankly, there’s a lot of pain in what we deal with in the GBM world. The posts I need to write will not be the most enjoyable kind.

The daily reality of glioblastoma is like living in a fire. It’s not something you really want to experience, unless you need to help someone. Unless you need to understand what families like ours face. These kinds of posts are the kind aimed at helping those who need it, in spite of how sad or shocking it may seem to others. The most efficient way to help those I seek to help most is simply to isolate those posts in one place that makes sense. So, I set aside a place for it. We’ll see how it goes.

Though to be clear, don’t think I’m never going to write about cancer here. I will. It’s more than just a slice of my reality now. And I have information I’m putting together that will help other cancers too. So there will be some cross posting.

You don’t have to be a seasoned NaBloPoMo challenger to know that unless you have nothing else to do, registering two blogs is stupid crazy. Especially if you’re like me and want every single post to count as a real exchange, or a real article. Not a throw-away post to say I posted, but ultimately, it’s crap.

But I think I have plenty I can share. More than anything, time management and structure will be the issue, not words I think.

So… here goes. Today’s the 1st day.

Wish me luck!

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It’s Coming…


Dude.

NaBloPoMo is coming.

Yes, I registered my blog. I even registered 2 blogs.

After all, the new glioblastoma blog I’m putting together could benefit from daily writing.

I’m totally insane. But I gotta.

I’ve lost only once in 8 years.

Ain’t gonna be this year.

Therapy, here I come.

Join me.

 

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The Elephant in the Room…


For my last post of the month, I felt I had to address something.

And that’s the explosion of traffic that just manifested in my blog stats the last two days.

There has been more traffic yesterday and today – individually – than any other day of traffic in the history of my blog.

I wish I could say it’s because I’m a rad crochet personality. But that’s not why yesterday and today’s stats have each broken all other traffic records in a single day on my blog.

The last “all in a day” record? Yeah, that was back in fall 2011 when we had the Cama Beach Crochet Retreat and I posted all those photos during the week.  In fact since I posted every day of the retreat as well as during my extra few days stay afterward, the entire week had high traffic stats. So did the video I made (in summer 2011) from the 2010 crochet retreat too.

Makes sense.

And a close 2nd was my article in summer 2012 about The US Olympics Committee bungle with Ravelry.

Again, makes sense. Crochet, crochet, crochet. Check.

And while it hasn’t broken a record for hits in a single day, the absolute #1 post on my blog is my 2011 post on “What Does Frogging Mean?

So what is it that’s breaking all the records this week, two days in a row? And ain’t over yet? (Vast majority of traffic from the US too.)

Tape Ball.

Yep, it’s my article from last year’s NaBloPoMo about the game Tape Ball, aka Candy Ball.  The simple but fun game played with a large ball that’s made with cling wrap/plastic wrap, leftover wrapping paper, candy, prizes, underwear, a sense of humor and a lot of shenanigans.

My phone keeps going off – “Your stats are booming!!!”

Guess I’m glad that I took my time and compiled a complete how-to last year. To be honest, I did it so I could have something to go back and reference for myself. And at least for now it’s turned into a record-breaking post.

In addition, oddly, my 2011 story about accidentally making butter in my Ninja blender when I was trying to make whipped cream for Thanksgiving has also been getting an unusual amount of attention the last two days too. The 4th most popular post on my blog, incidentally. Either a lot of people accidentally screwed up their Thanksgiving desserts, or someone’s trying to get back to their old-fashioned roots – with power kitchen tools.

Gee, you know thinking about it – that’s an awful lot of blog popularity all written back in 2011 right there.

Does that mean I was a better writer then?

I don’t know, but in either case, I predict that this holiday season will be a lot more fun for some strange reason.

And I want pics.

 

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Getting Close Now…


I debated on what to write about tonight.

The only NaBloPoMo I ever lost was because of the Thanksgiving holiday, and unexpectedly NOT having access to a computer before midnight.

And of course, I didn’t have a smart phone of any kind back then.

These last 3 nights, I managed to blog via cell phone only. A neat trick, these new-fangled tech tools.

I attempted useful, meaningful and whimsy.  And overall seemed to avoid any major auto-correct mishaps on my blog.

Not that it would have really mattered for NaBloPoMo.  Since it’s not supposed to be about quality, but instead about commitment.

But if you’ve followed me for any time, then you know that I rather despise the idea of “lazy” posts.

I’ll experiment with writing exercises. I’ll play with different styles.

I’ll tell stories and write poetry.  I’ll share information and play show ‘n tell.

But I’m not a real fan of following the crowd or throw-away posts.

Real writing is about sharing some piece of heart, after all. Right?

Unless there’s nothing else left but sheer commitment to the process.

In the end, perhaps there’s a lesson in that.  As it’s often commitment that keeps the world ticking and that drives us to success.  Not the prettiest, the loudest or the tastiest things that cross our paths.  Simply the steadfast things.  The ones we know we can rely on. That which always has our back. What is it that’s always there, even when things don’t go to plan? It gets us through.

Practice, training, love….  None of these are always easy, always sexy, always fun.  But investment in each pays off in troves.

And to dig further into that… What do we want that foundation that we can rely on to be?  What do we really want to commit our energy to in life?  But likewise, from what do we wish to draw upon to help propel us forward?

It’s all too easy to put off important things, because we don’t think we have time to do it right.  We don’t write that letter, because it won’t be a masterpiece. We don’t make that call, because we don’t have enough patience.  We don’t share that story that’s crying to be told, because we’re not good enough to do the telling.  We don’t invest in the relationships that matter the most.  We don’t plan room in our lives for memories, for smiles, for people, for stumbling, for tears, for sticky fingers and sloppy kisses.

And when there’s no extra room, when we live our lives so close to the wire, by the skin of our teeth…

When every minute is spoken for in ways we’d never want for our children, much less ourselves…

It’s time to look up and see the cliff we’re heading for.

Thanksgiving is over and now November NaBloPoMo is winding down to an end. Tomorrow marks the last day of the challenge.

I hope everyone had a marvelous holiday weekend with good memories and camaraderie.

 

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Numinous


nu·mi·nous

ˈn(y)o͞omənəs/

adjective

“Having a strong religious or spiritual quality; indicating or suggesting the presence of a divinity.”

or…

The feeling you get when you’re in the presence of something greater than yourself.

Have you ever felt “the Hand of God” upon you?

Ever known something you shouldn’t.

Had faith without logical reason.

Felt compelled as if it meant life and breath.

Charted a path against all odds, because something called you….

I’m here to tell you that if you can believe.

If you can embrace.

If you can allow yourself to calm the noise and simply Know Thyself.

It’s worth it.

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Is time travel like crochet or like knit?


We just watched the new Terminator movie tonight.

And it got me thinking about the fabric of time.

Is it more like crochet? Or is it more like knit?

If you travel back in time, and something goes wrong and the timeline is changed… is it like a run in your pantyhose?

Something that ripples like a straight line through the entire length of knit fabric, permanently changing the landscape? Erasing an entire line of loops?

Or is it more like crochet?  In that if a loop of the fabric is damaged, its spread remains fairly localized. But the altered appearance in that area is more pronounced, leaving remants of threads and half memories?

And instead of erasing a line of loops, a little pot hole is formed, and the face of the landscape changes across multiple “lines?”

Do you think time as we know it is at risk from time moths?

#musings

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Measure or Weigh? Which Do You Do With Your Yarn?


Do you measure or weigh your yarn?

Or neither?

The obvious reason to do either, is to be sure you have enough yarn for your project.

It’s fairly common for patterns to tell you up front how much yarn you need in terms of yards or meters. Some will also tell you how much yarn you need in terms of thickness and in actual weight.

When you buy yarn for your project, commercially produced yarn will state on the label how much yardage or meters and / or how much weight the yarn has. But even if it doesn’t show the weight, you can easily use a kitchen scale to weigh your yarn.

So what if you’re designing on your own? What if you don’t have a pattern, and you’re making something you’ve never made before?

You could measure length, but for speed, consider weighing your yarn.

How does that help you ask?

The weight of your yarn can be used as a means to gauge where you’re at in a project and how much more yarn you still need to finish it.

Say you’re a fairly experienced crocheter but you’re making your own hat design. You know what you’re doing, but you’re not entirely sure how much yarn you’re using to do what you want to do.

Weigh it. You can weigh both the UFO and the yarn you have left halfway through the project to help you gauge whether you have enough yarn weight left to finish it. If the finished portion weighs far more than the leftover yarn, then you’re probably going to run short on your project.  And if the yarn you have left weighs far more than your project does so far, then you’ll probably be ok.

You can also weigh your completely finished object so you know how much yarn to put down in your notes for the next time you make it.  Or for your pattern if you’re going to write and publish it.

Handy right?

Still, it seems that people have different opinions as to which method is more accurate. Weight or length?

So I put it out to you. Which method do you use? Share your answer in the comments below!

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Filed under crochet, Crochet Education, NaBloPoMo, Yarn

12 Brilliant Ways To Create More Time To Crochet!


1. Sleep in your clothes. You’ve probably heard about laying your clothes out the night before to save time the next morning.  But I say heck – why not cut the time out altogether?  Go to bed dressed for tomorrow.  That way you don’t have to dress when you get up in the morning, thereby saving you even more time.  Note: T-shirts, jeans and knit items work the best.

2. Eat breakfast in the shower.  How long do you take to eat breakfast in the morning?  I’m guessing you probably scarf something down in 5-10 minutes tops, don’t ya?  Well that’s still 5-10 wasted minutes you could be crocheting instead!  Multi-task by eating in the shower.  I know, brilliant right?  Hello smoothie! Instant Breakfast shake! Just pop it in a spill proof container and voilà, suck that puppy down while you rinse and you won’t even taste the suds.

3. “Services will be down for scheduled maintenance.” No seriously! Send this notice to your boss, put it on your website, place a sign on your desk and then get to your scheduled crochet maintenance! Trust me, the world will be amazed at how much better everything seems to work!

4. Skip the makeup. After all which is worth more – Maybeline or Malibrigo. Obviously, when your priorities are straight, there’s no contest.  Use that time to pretty your crochet instead.

5. Have a Cro-Go Bag.  Seriously, I don’t just mean your emergency go bag essentials that you should always have tucked away in the trunk.  I mean get in the habit of keeping a crochet bag packed and ready to go – to take in your car.  *Crochet in the drive-through, crochet in the pick-up line at school, crochet at the red lights.  Crochet in the waiting room at the county tag office.  You never know where you might be delayed and there are moments to be caught anywhere.  Especially if you’re a Mom Taxi.  And if you suddenly find yourself having to wait on someone – no worries, you can be productive.

12 Brilliant Ways To Create More Time To Crochet - photo and article by Aberrant Crochet6. Crochet on the phone.  Blue tooth and speaker phone were made for crochet, unless you need to count.

7. Let Amazon deliver.  Seriously. More and more you can find anything on Amazon.  Even Malibrigo.  Save your gas, let them deliver goods to your door and use that time to crochet!

8. Skip lunch.  Well, is your crochet important to you or not?

9. Cover your end tables with crochet projects and WIPs, thereby eliminating the need to dust.  Ergo, more crochet time.

10. Store your clothes in the dryer. Seriously, why fold and put them away?  You’re just going to put them on again before you go to bed.  So leave them in the dryer, toss them if they get cold and save that folding time for crochet!

11. Better yet, barter for laundry service.  You wash and fold my clothes for me, I’ll totally crochet for you.  Oh here, this one has a wine stain.

12. Barter for meals.  You want more time to crochet anyway, right?  Well cooking eats a lot of time!  Covert that time instead into crochet time.  Find the best foodie cook you know and offer to trade them your time, hour for hour, in crochet.  Make sure they have lots of pot holders.

And there you have it!

12 BRILLIANT ways to increase the #crochet quality of your life.

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Diversify or Specialize: You Can’t Do Both – Right?


“Austin is a smaller version of New York city.”

This is what a friend of mine (from New York) told me once. I’ve heard that Austin and Seattle are similar in personalities, but I hadn’t heard it being anything like New York before.

Granted, I have not yet been to New York.  Still, I’m not sure that I can agree with her.  And certainly, it would probably be best for her to never repeat that to a native Texan who didn’t already love her. In fact, I’m not sure a native New Yorker would appreciate the comparison.

Still, if you stop and think about it, both cities are incredibly diverse in culture. Pretty much every kind of food, every kind of belief system, every kind of hobby can be found in both places. I never think about Austin’s unique nature much until I travel to other areas and suddenly realize that wait – something’s missing. Or when a friend comes to visit and comments on it.

Oddly, my friend’s comment got me thinking about competitive marketing in the Austin area.

Austin is a colorful and amazing city with a lot of talent to offer. And all of the surrounding cities take on a similar general personality. We’re laid back and friendly here.  We don’t take anything too seriously, except our food and our friendships.  And our social demographic is influenced by the fact that Austin/Round Rock is considered one of the most educated cities in the US.

There are so many diverse and interesting things that can be marketed or written about here. I figure working for Austin Monthly magazine must be a great job as a writer. Surely fun and rarely boring.

But then I was thinking about niche businesses. How marketing (and writing) changes when you specialize instead of diversify.

Austin’s happenings and culture seem like bountiful writing resources, where there’s a plethora of colorful possibilities – pretty astounding. There’s so much texture and color to explore here, all unified by the fact that is all quirky Austin.

But if I were to try to switch things up, and dedicate a specialized magazine to say – crochet in Austin – suddenly there is no diversification. Because in spite of our colorful and rich stories, Austin is still essentially a small town community.  We don’t have the kind of population you see in other cities.  Which also means that the amount of crocheters in Austin is pretty small. And hard to find. Or a least, when you need a substantial support system to justify such an endeavor.

That got me thinking.  That in marketing you can be specialized, or you can be diversified, but it’s near impossible to be both.

Unless perhaps if you walk the fine tight rope of specializing in being diverse.

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