Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thankful Thursday

BUSY! Life has been crazy busy lately. (Perhaps you noticed that I haven't done a blog post since Thankful Thursday last week?) I started filling in activities on the Master Calendar for May, and I don't see any sign of a letup.

SO--today I am going to be thankful for being busy. I have lots of meetings going on about Miss G's upcoming transition to middle school, and I am grateful for all the teachers and therapists who care about her and want to help her do well. I've got lots going on at church, and I am so thankful we found this church family and how involved and connected we are there. We're having a yard sale on Saturday, and I'm grateful for the abundance of things that God has blessed us with, and perhaps someone else will buy them and enjoy using them. I'm going to a Pampered Chef party tomorrow night, and I'm so thankful for friends and for the chance to have a fun evening out. Work is very busy, but I am SO grateful for a good job and coworkers who are also good friends. The Teenager has lots of stuff going on, and I give thanks that she likes school and has friends and activities that she enjoys so much.

So today I choose to be thankful for my busy busy days, because it shows me how much God has blessed me in all the different areas of my life. And I can use one more blessing--the energy to keep up with it all!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thankful Thursday April 21

Today I am so very grateful for friends. The kind of friends that time and distance seem to have no effect on. When we were in Williamsburg this week we saw some people that were very good friends when we lived there, which was quite some time ago. We haven't seen these people much more than a half-dozen times in the past 24 years, and yet we can sit down with them and chat like almost no time has passed at all. I know that we all have changed, but when we get together it is truly like "old times". Those kinds of friendships are very special and such a wonderful blessing. And that's my Thankful Thursday for this week!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

WIP Wednesday, April 20th

The main thing that is in full swing this week is...


Finally, spring break is here and so is spring. Both have been a long time coming this year. We just got back from four days in Williamsburg, had a very nice time. It's a very special place for us, it's where Man of the House and I met and fell in love (awwww!) and where we spent our first three years of married life. I got my bachelor's degree at William and Mary, and hubby did his graduate work there. We still have some friends who live there and it was so nice to visit with them. And it was our first visit there when the kids were old enough to appreciate the historic stuff, so we did a bunch of touristy stuff in Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown.

We saw lots of the usual sights of Williamsburg:

The Wren Building (on the W&M campus)

The Governor's Palace

The Magazine

Miss G hanging out with Thomas Jefferson

Man of the House ended up in the stocks--well-deserved I am sure!

And there were tulips in bloom EVERYWHERE, it was absolutely gorgeous.


We had a very nice time! And now the Teenager is off to the second half of her excitement, her long-delayed trip to NYC to see Phantom of the Opera. This is the trip that was supposed to happen after Christmas but got wiped out by that pesky blizzard. She is beyond excited! And Miss G and I get to hang out at home by ourselves for a couple of days and settle back in after vacation. I'm looking forward to some down time.

No new crochet to show you today, I made a couple of blanket squares and did a few more rows on the prayer shawl while I was away. I'm hoping to have something new on the hook next week tho--if I can just decide which project I want to make!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Project

If you spend any of your time in the fiber world, you may have heard about the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef project. It was begun by Margaret and Christine Wertheim, two sisters from Australia who wanted to bring attention to the devastating impact that global climate change is having on coral reefs. It turns out that crochet is an excellent medium for creating coral shapes, and at the same time is an excellent model of complex geometry--who knew! Here is a bit of background from their website:

One of the acknowledged wonders of the natural world, the Great Barrier Reef stretches along the coast of Queensland, Australia, in a riotous profusion of color and form unparalleled on our planet. But global warming and pollutants so threaten this fragile monster that scientists now believe the reef will be devastated in coming years. As a homage to the Great One, Margaret and Christine Wertheim of the Institute For Figuring instigated a project to crochet a woolen reef.

The sisters, who grew up in the state of Queensland, began the project in 2005 in their Los Angeles living room, and for the first four years of its life the Reef took over their house, gradually expanding to become the dominant life-form in their home. At the same time the project began to expand into other cities and countries until it has now become a worldwide movement that engages communities across the globe from Chicago, New York and London, to Melbourne, Dublin and Capetown. The Crochet Reef is a unique fusion of art, science, mathematics, handicraft and community practice that may well be the largest community art project in the world.

The Crochet Coral Reef has become a traveling project as well now, with satellite exhibits touring to various cities around the world. One of these shows has been at the Smithsonian in Washington DC for the past several months, and I finally got down to see it last weekend--just in time since it's only there for another week. It was AMAZING. In addition to some pieces from the Wertheim's original reef, local crocheters from the DC area had made pieces and combined them into a huge mound of "coral" in the center of the exhibit. It was so cool! I could have spent hours looking at all the individual pieces that went into making the reef--the colors and shapes and detail were just incredible. I also took a ton of photos but somehow the pictures don't do justice to the three-dimensional nature of the sculpture.

Here is a video of Margaret Wertheim explaining how the reef began and what it has come to mean. It's about 15 minutes but really well worth watching!

(The direct link is here if your browser doesn't like the embedded video.)

And some of my own photos:


Look at the details! In this picture, the piece on the left with the blue and purple is a giant clam:


Part of the reef was done in whites and grays to show the "bleached coral" that happens when sea temperatures get too warm and the coral die and lose their color:


And look at this adorable sea urchin!


Branched coral:


This one is all beaded crochet--WOW.


I love this photo--see the jellyfish hanging in the middle?


I put some more photos in an album over on my Flickr page if you'd like to see those as well, just click here. And if you get a chance to see one of the exhibits, DEFINITELY GO! And if you want to go to the one in DC, move quickly, it closes on April 24th.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for SO MANY things today, and topping my list are:

---An absolutely beautiful spring day today,

---SPRING BREAK FINALLY and the next 10 days off work,

---All of my online friends who understand the excitement of yarn,

---And my wonderful hubby who's having a birthday tomorrow. Love you sweetheart!

Hope you are having a good day today too!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

WIP Wednesday, 4/13/11

Can't believe it's Wednesday again. Time just keeps flying by, we're nearly halfway through April already! (Got your taxes done yet?)

I don't have anything brand new to show you, but I did get a LOT done on my prayer shawl this week! It helped that I had an all day training seminar yesterday and I crocheted for about seven hours during the talks. And I would have gotten more done but I ran out of yarn lol! Here was my prayer shawl last week (13 rows finished):


And now today--37 rows done!


The pattern only calls for 6 more rows before doing the edging, but I think I may want it a bit wider than that. But I feel like a made great progress this week! I'm itching to start some new things but I don't crochet for myself during Lent, so for the next ten days I'll keep working on the prayer shawl and blanket squares.

I also wanted to show you some lovely crochet I found at a thrift store:


It's a dresser scarf, or small table runner perhaps, about 44 inches long. It's in very good condition, but I really don't have any place I would put it on a dresser or table. I'd love to incorporate it into something else, like stitch it to some fabric and make it into a bag maybe? I'd love to hear any ideas any of you might have for something to do with it!

Happy crocheting!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

April Resolutions

Looks like I'm a bit late reporting in on my March Resolutions, the Crochet and Knitting Blog Week took over my regular schedule for awhile there! really doesn't matter anyway because my March resolutions pretty much went unresolved. Oopsie.

Since I have a bunch of new followers recently, I'll fill you in that back in January, I set a couple of long-term goals for the year, and decided to also make a couple of short-term resolutions each month. The long term ones, I'm happy to report, are going well! As the weather is gradually getting better I've been walking outside more, although I must say that Crochet Month and Blog Week did keep my keister (kiester? keester?) parked in front of the computer quite a bit. And for my spiritual goal, I'm still listening to the Daily Audio Bible reading every day, and I am really getting alot out of it. It's helping me recognize some areas in my life where I've been putting in considerably less than my best effort, and I think I'm turning some of that around.

But then there was March. In March I intended to find three more new meals to put into my incredibly boring menu plan, and to get everyone working on ten minutes of straightening up around the house every day. Ummmmm, not so much. So hey, I guess I better keep those goals around for April eh? Maybe some of my newer followers can help me out with the meal thing. In fact, I'll make it a challenge! Post a recipe here, or email it to me, and at the beginning of May I will pick my favorite. Whoever sent it to me will get a small token of my appreciation! (I have no clue what, but surprises are good right?)  And I'll include those who gave me meal ideas last month too. 

Hope you are having a great weekend wherever you are! I'm going to see the Hyperbolic Crochet Reef tomorrow at the Smithsonian, I'm really looking forward to it. I'll be sure to tell you all about it next week!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thankful Thursday April 7th

Thankful Thursday is going to be a weekly happening here on Twisted Strands! Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my hectic life that I don't stop to really be grateful for everything that I have, both the major things and the little blessings that come my way every day. And there is SO much that I have to be grateful for!

What's on the top of my thankful list right now? That's an easy one:



It's SPRING!! Spring is my very favorite season. The weather gets warm and everything blooms in gorgeous color. I try not to get too giddy out of sympathy for those who get miserable with allergies this time of year, but spring just makes me happy!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

WIP Wednesday, April 6th Edition

Hi there and happy Wednesday! Now that things have gotten a bit back to normal (or back to the usual state of ABNORMAL) around here, it's time to have a WIP Wednesday. Confession time--with all the excitement of National Crochet Month and then Blog Week, not a whole lot of actual crocheting got done at Chez Twisted Strands in March. But I did manage to fit in a bit here and there. Remember all this pretty wool yarn I got in my playgroup's Yarn Swap last month?


I've started making squares for Knit-a-Square with it:


Not a bad start. I neglected my prayer shawl all month too, but did get some more rows done on it at our monthly meeting last night:


I'm listening to a very good book right now as well that I'd like to share with you, called Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love, by Dava Sobel. It's a very interesting biography of Galileo, and includes a window into his relationship with one of his daughters who was a nun. They corresponded frequently, and over a hundred of her letters to Galileo survive. I'm enjoying it quite alot. I find it interesting to learn that a man as brilliant as Galileo also got a number of things quite wrong! For example, he believed that the tides were caused by the movements of the Earth as it revolved and rotated, and he also thought that comets were not in fact actual physical bodies, but that they were reflections on some phenomenon in the atmosphere.

400 years from now, do you think people will look back at us in 2011 and marvel at our ignorance? Do you think that with all our technology and advancement we are still just completely WRONG about some of the scientific facts we think are true? For me, I don't think that there will so many radical instances in the future of discoveries showing us that we are totally wrong about things. I think our knowledge will continue to grow immensely, and I believe the biggest advancements will likely be in medical treatment and in technology/computers. I just don't imagine such complete upheavals such as in Galileo's time. What do you think?

Monday, April 4, 2011

It's Been a Crazy Month!


Wow--the past 5 weeks since we started National Crochet Month have been quite a ride! I had planned on doing alot of posts for NatCroMo, including the giveaways. And then when Crochet and Knitting Blog Week came along, well of course I had to join in that fun. So I've averaged 4 posts per week since the beginning of March, and I've gone from 25 followers to 70! And there's no telling how many wonderful blogs I have found thanks to my new followers and the other participants in Blog Week.

I just wanted to say how much I appreciate all my readers taking the time to visit Twisted Strands. I have enjoyed all your comments. And wow are there alot of fiber-related blogs out there! I had no idea just how many there are--I have spent SO much time in the past several weeks finding new blogs to read, I have gotten considerably less crocheting done, I know that for a fact. And I have definitely learned that doing an interesting attractive blog post takes time. When I heard about the A to Z Blog Challenge going on in April, part of my brain said "wow that sounds really cool!" and the other part said "NO we cannot post every single day for another month!" Well, sanity has prevailed and I won't be doing the A to Z Challenge, although I still think it's an awesome idea.

So, what's coming up at Twisted Strands now the dust is settling from the past month? Well, look for me to continue with WIP Wednesdays and I'll be adding Thankful Thursdays too. Also, April is Autism Awareness Month, and since someone very near and dear to my heart is autistic, I'll be posting some about that as well. And of course I'll be prattling on about random things that come into my head--don't say I didn't warn you!

Have a great week everyone!


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Books and Hooks WINNERS!!

Thank you so much to all of you who entered my Books and Hooks giveaway! I hope you have had a wonderful weekend. My children did the honors of randomly selecting the two winners, so without further ado:

The winner of "Crochet for Today" and a size Q crochet hook is:



And the recipient of "Geometrics" and another size Q hook is:



Sarah and Enid, please email me your mailing addresses (jbkcrochet at gmail dot com)  and I will get your prizes out in the mail as soon as I can. Congratulations, and thanks to everyone for your interest in my blog!


Crochet and Knitting Blog Week--Day 7

blog week

It's the last day of Crochet and Knitting Blog Week! I've had a lot of fun coming up with posts and reading so many new blogs. And I am so grateful for all of my readers! I hope my blog brings a little bit of pleasure to your day.

Day seven: 3rd April. Your knitting and crochet time.
Write about your typical crafting time. When it is that you are likely to craft – alone or in more social environments, when watching TV or whilst taking bus journeys. What items do you like to surround yourself with whilst you twirl your hook like a majorette’s baton or work those needles like a skilled set of samurai swords. Do you always have snacks to hand, or are you a strictly ‘no crumbs near my yarn!’ kind of knitter.
Tips: Last year we had a topic asking about the actual location of where you knit or craft, this is similar but not the same. Try and concentrate on all of the little aspects that make up your knitting time. Maybe you always head for for your Flaming Lips CD when taking on simple knitting but prefer a bit of Brahms when tackling more intricate work, or maybe you enjoy knitting with audiobooks or complete silence. Perhaps your crochet time is never complete without a cuddle from Tiddles the cat.

Flaming Lips CD--uh, no. Christopher and/or Jet the cat--sometimes.

Let's see--when do I crochet. I have a full time job, a teen with lots of activities, a "tween" with a different bunch of stuff to go to, a husband, a house, 4 pets, I teach Sunday School, etc etc. Some female comedian once said, "When they make a movie about my kid's life, I'll be listed in the credits as 'Woman Driving Car'." Oh yeah, I can relate!


I try to sneak in my crafting when I can. Definitely while watching TV or a movie after the kids go to bed. DEFINITELY if I have a meeting at work. I usually take a small project along with me anywhere I know I'll have to wait--doctor's office, oil change, etc. Sometimes I even get annoyed if the doctor calls me back too soon and I haven't had any crochet time!

I do love socializing when I craft too, I just don't get many opportunities to do so. I have a Wednesday night "yarn playgroup" but I don't get to go that often, and I go to an annual craft retreat that is an absolute blast! But most of the time I'm more of a solo crafter, snatching bits of time with my yarn whenever I can manage. This is also the primary reason that I haven't gotten to pursue my interest in making jewelry, like I mentioned yesterday (See, I told you there was a good segue!) My crochet time is best suited to mindless, relaxing, uncomplicated work that just lets me zone out. Working with beads and wire and such is going to require some concentrated periods of time when I can really focus on doing something new. That kind of time is tough to come by in my life!

I AM going to make some jewelry tho. I promise, I will! Probably as soon as the kids grow up and move out....

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Crochet and Knitting Blog Week--Day 6

blog week

Day six: 2nd April. Something to aspire to.

Is there a pattern or skill that you don’t yet feel ready to tackle but which you hope to (or think you can only dream of) tackling in the future, near or distant? Is there a skill or project that makes your mind boggle at the sheer time, dedication and mastery of the craft? Maybe the skill or pattern is one that you don’t even personally want to make but can stand back and admire those that do. Maybe it is something you think you will never be bothered to actually make bu can admire the result of those that have.

Oh this is an easy one for me! I want to crochet jewelry. With beads and wire and yarn. I especially want to make necklaces. There are lots of awesome earrings out there but I don't have pierced ears, so I'm not into wearing earrings.

I'm talking about things like this:

Three more

And this:

necklace 024

And this!

Wire crochet flower bracelet

I've made exactly one thing in wire crochet so far, a pendant, and I did this about 2 years ago.


(it's a leaf)

Why haven't I done any more? I think it's a matter of how and where I craft. Which is a perfect segue into tomorrow's topic, so I'll leave you with a cliffhanger until then! Tune in tomorrow, Same Craft Time, Same Craft Channel!

(20 bonus points if you are as old as me and get that pun.)

Have a fabulous crafty weekend!

Oh, and don't forget the Books and Hooks Giveaway! Drawing will be Sunday April 3rd at 5 pm eastern US time.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Crochet and Knitting Blog Week--Day 5

blog week

Day Five: 1st April. And now for something completely different!

HAPPY APRIL!! Now if spring weather would just get off its butt and get here, I'll be eternally grateful. Today's topic for Crochet and Knitting Blog Week:

This is an experimental blogging day to try and push your creativity in blogging to the same level that you perhaps push your creativity in the items you create.
There are no rules of a topic to blog about (though some suggestions are given below) but this post should look at a different way to present content on your blog. This can take one of many forms, but here a few suggestions:
•Wordless, photographic post
•Video blog post
•Cartoon/sketch of an idea
•Write about a subject from a different perspective (for example, you could write about a day in the life of a knitted sock from the point of view of the sock).
•Interpretive modern dance (why does someone always suggest this?)
•A poem or piece of rhyming verse
•Stop motion animation

Cripes! Usually I can be pretty good at this type of thing but my muse must be on vacation in the Bahamas or something. Stupid muse. Anyway, out of this list there wasn't much I could choose from, since I have no idea how to do a video blog or a podcast, and you do NOT want to see me do an interpretive modern dance, trust me.

So, since I'm rather addicted to word puzzles of all varieties, I created a word search for you! I had a lot of fun making the puzzle, and I hope you enjoy solving it.


Now, since this thing looks rather on the small side here (particularly if you have "not young" eyes like I do and spend at least half your time tilting your head every which way in order to read what's on the page in front of you. Not that I'm old or anything), just click on this link here, and then right click on the picture and choose "Print Picture". (If you're in Firefox you may just have to print the Flickr page itself.)

I'm so looking forward to reading other blogs today and seeing what creative things everyone came up with! Have a great Friday.