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‘Tis the Season to be BUSY!

It’s that time of year – the kids are going in 7 different directions while my husband and I attempt to keep up and keep them on schedule, the Annual Meeting at my day job just ended – which included 6 grueling days on my feet. And my favorite part – the temps are dropping, people don’t look at me as a total Christmas freak show for listening to Christmas music as often. (It’s a genre, NOT a seasonal thing!) and Christmas orders are starting to roll in… Yep, the long nights, busy days, and all the yarn shopping I could hope for so that people can have a touch of homemade geekiness under their tree or in their stockings.

How do you stay sane during the holidays?

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Pattern: Chunky Bumpy Beanie

I am 100% ready for cooler weather. Here in Wisconsin we got a small taste of Autumn the first week of September, and I was so excited!

Okay – to be honest, a lot of the excitement came from the clearance sale at Joann Fabrics, in which I was able to purchase several skeins of Bernat Softee Chunky yarn for an amazing price!

IMG_0236In deciding what to do with this great find, my son picked up a skein of “School,” and asked for a hat. How could I possibly say no to such a request from such an awesome kid?

I’m happy to announce that this successful chain of events ends in a happy ending for you! I decided to write down the pattern and share it as a free download for all of my fans.

This pattern is great for beginners, and only uses one skein of Softee Chunky yarn, or about 80 yards of super bulky yarn.

Also, I’ve written up three different sizes: Child, Teen, and Adult, so you can make one for everyone in the family!

ETC_Chunky Bumpy Beanie Pattern_9172017

Please, feel free to share pictures of your finished hats as projects on Ravelry. Also, please leave comments and questions below!

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Details Matter

I love custom orders. I mean really love them. Each one is unique, and nothing challenges me more than someone saying, “Can you make this?”

In June, I received such a request; a stuffed, 3D replica of a beloved pooch, Sam.

 

Who wouldn't love a face like this?

Always up for a challenge, I took to the store to find the perfect shade of gold-blonde and came home to begin this masterpiece. Little did I know that even with over 20 years experience on my side, and having made numerous amigurumi dolls and animals, Sam was going to be my toughest yet!

Dozens of hours went into crafting, shaping, and stitching. All to be ripped and restarted time and time again. Finally, I had finished, sewed all of the pieces together, and took a step back…

This is what was looking back at me. I resemblance of a dog, a confused, tilted head, and front legs that were just too long and misplaced. I was crushed. So I did what everyone does – put him away so I didn’t have to look at him! However, short-term solutions rarely yield long-term results, and I had a customer waiting! I took Sam 1.0 back out and started to really look to see what needed fixed, and if anything needed redone completely.

After a few more hours of work, and some tears of frustration, I had finally finished a Sam I could be proud of -complete with floppy lips and sad eyes.

Going through this process helped teach me more about shaping and positioning. It was awesome to be challenged…really it was awesome to learn the techniques, the process sucked.

What have you learned lately through a challenge?

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How to Crochet in the Right Mind

Happy National Left-Hander’s Day!

As a left handed person, I know the woes of scissors not cutting correctly, ink being smeared all over the side of my hand when writing, and not being able to just pick up a gaming controller and play. Also, hearing, “Oh, you’re a lefty” every time I do anything in front of a person was old 30 years ago.

While being left-handed is considered pretty rare—making up only 10% of the world’s population—being a southpaw does have its perks.

  • Lefties remember song lyrics better than right-handers. The fact that I can remember the words to pretty much every song I’ve heard since 1985 leads me to believe this is true.
  • They have Right-Brain dominance. This means we tend to be more creative and imaginative, are better at expressing feelings even non-verbally, and are great at daydreaming.
  • Left-Handed people are divergent thinkers. They are said to be good at complex reasoning, resulting in a high number of lefty Noble Prize winners, writers,artists, musicians, architects and mathematicians.
  • 20170813_123327There are Stores dedicated to Lefties. These places not only sell novelty items touting our (assumed) superiority, they also have practical items like left-handed scissors, can openers, and notebooks that don’t let the spiral cut into your arm. Honestly, I would hate not being able to drink out of my favorite coffee cup with my left hand.

Crochet with Confidence

Being a left-handed crocheter does come with some challenges. Mainly that most tutorials are made for right-handed people, and crocheting left-handed is more than just doing the mirror of the 90%. Here are few tutorials to help you get started on your hook wielding dreams.

  1. Moogly – One of my go-to places for a lot of things. Great patterns and tutorials
  2. WikiHow – When all else fails, look at life sized, step-by-step photos of what to do
  3. Crochet Guild of America – It has to be official coming from the CGOA, right?

I’d love to hear about any projects you’re working on, starting, or need help understanding. Post a comment, or send me a message!

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Thoughtful Thursday: Creative Therapy

For a long time, I have turned to crochet as a mindful activity to clear my head and to cope with the world around me. Having a mental illness—major depressive disorder and general anxiety disorder—finding coping methods is key to fighting my own head. I figured I would put this information right out there early in my blog because so much of my creativity comes from my internal demons, and my need to craft keeps me as sane as I can be. y illness does ebb and flow, and will always be a part of me, but I am learning to manage it.

I have been lucky. In my life I have been inspired by several people with many different artistic talents. My younger sister can visualize a drawing, painting, or scrapbook page and create it as if out of thin air; my daddy is an amazing woodworker, and I remember watching him completely lose himself in the grain of the wood. Both my mother and my aunt express imagination and beauty through quilts, albeit in very different ways. However, that’s the beauty of art; there is not a “wrong way” to create and through each piece the individual’s personalit shines through.

For me, it’s crochet. With every project I do, I fall into a place of calm. I am able to claer my mind and focus on the fell of the yarn, the color, the texture, the thickness… it’s taking a simple skein and turning it into a beautiful piece, no matter the final product. I am able to completely los track of time and self. Crocheting allows me to think in a different way then day-to-day problem solving we all face.

Crochet doesn’t just satify my creative needs, there is evidence that crocheting has health benefits due to fighting against depression, physical pain, insomnia, and grief, to name a few. In his 2004 TED Talk, “Flow, TheSecret to Happiness”, Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi stated, “When we are involved in (creativity), we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life, you know that what you need to do is possible to do, even though difficult, and sense of time disappears. You forget yourself. You feel part of something larger.”

Become Part of Something Larger

I encourage all of you to try something creative. Start small if you have to or take a class. Find something that speaks to the right side of your brain, and straight to your heart. If you desire, there are groups of all creative types who meet and you can soon build your network of positive, creative minds to challenge and accept you just as you are. Local libraries are a great place to start looking, as well as Meet Up, which allows you to find like-minded creators in your area. I personally will be at the Loops ‘N Hooch Meetup, August 20. Feel free to join us!

Reading List – Great books on the topic and to get you  started

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Crochet Saved my Life by Katheryn Vercillo
Crafting Calm by Maggie Shannon
Art Journals & Creative Healing: Restoring the Spirit through Self-Expression by Sharon Soneoff

 

 

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Welcome!

Hi, I’m Eny Irelan, and I hope you will join me on a voyage beyond measure through giving everyday greater meaning through creativity. This blog is my way to share all of the ways creativity brings joy to myself, my family, and those around me. It’s a place to let my geek-freak flag fly, discuss the crazy ways of marriage, motherhood,  life, and possibly most importantly, how crafting is therapeutic, and for me, crochet is my sanctuary and therapy rolled into one.

Come and join us on this awesome adventure!