Sculpting with Crochet

This is a current project, one I am not sure I will be able to complete before we leave for the Philippines.
I am making it up as I go along because any pattern for what I want looks too tedious and complicated for my level of understanding. This means I can’t tell you yet what I am making.

I started out with a dragon in mind. For a little while, the dragon looked most like a bear to me, so I decided I was making a bear.

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It’s probably best that it not become a dragon, anyway, I thought, because if I make one, I will have to make two, and I am not sure I can ever do this again.

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And then for a few rounds it looked rather discouragingly like a colourful and somewhat lopsided wine jug potted by a hippie experimenting in pottery for the first time.  But I kept going.

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At this point, I might try and make it a horse or a seahorse, or I could even return to the dragon idea and see what happens next, and whatever I think I have decided on, the crochet sculpture results will have me changing my mind a few times.

Kind of like life.

In order to make the curve necessary for the neck, to create the slight upward slope of the face, which is slightly more pronounced than the downward slope of the jaw and throat, it’s a matter of increasing here, and decreasing on the opposite side.

Kind of like  life.

When you increase, you crochet two loops through the same stitch- increasing the number of chains or loops in just that area.  Most projects I have done are increased evenly. You start with a circle of 6 stitches, then make two stitches in each loop around so you have 12 stitches, then alternate, one normal stitch, 2 stitches in the same loop so you have 18 stitches in your circle, and so on.  Don’t worry if you can’t follow this or you are appalled by my base understanding.  This is going somewhere else and generalities are sufficient.

When you decrease you stitch two loops together (there are two ways I know of to do this and it’s not important what they are).  For the gradual decrease in size necessary to close a ball shaped amigurumi (like an octopus), you do this evenly, making, for instance, 3 or 4 regular crochet stitches, one in each loop, then doing two of them together in a single loop.  When you’ve gone around the circle in this pattern, you decrease the regular crochet stitches by one.  The rate of curve in your circle will be determined by how evenly you do this, and you could also stretch out the curve, flattening it a bit, but crocheting more than one ring in your circle using the same pattern (1 decrease stitch, 4 regular stitches, for two or three rows, etc).

I gradually figured this out by crocheting things like a octupus, turtles, pumpkins, and attempting a hedgehog from this book, free for Kindle, a collection of a baker’s dozen of crochet patterns of things to make for a baby.I had no idea what I was doing, why things turned out the way they did, or how to make them happen the way I wanted.  Mostly, this is still true.  However, as I practiced making the same thing over, as I repeated the same steps and paid closer attention to the connection between what I did and the results, I began to understand the process better, and as I understood more, my ability to deliberately influence the process to make the results mine improved.

Kind of like life.

I am by no means an expert on crocheting or life, nor do I wish the responsibility of posing as one.  But I have a lot of experience on being inept and clumsy.  I have a lot of experience learning things the hard way, on living a messy life full of mistakes.  And trying to incorporate those mistakes into something that looks like a plan is something of a specialty of mine.

Many of my crochet projects begin by me intending to make one thing, and end with me having failed to create that one thing, but having succeeded in making something totally different.  Life is like that, too.  I began college intending to be  teacher in a school for the Deaf.  I never did that, and I never would have been good at it. Instead, I used my small Sign Language skills with the nonverbal Cherub when we adopted her years later, and to make friends with a deaf lady at church years later still.  I never intended to spend any time in formal missions, where our income depended on fund raising.  Yet here we are.   I grew up and spent the first 20 years of adulthood yearning to visit England.  Instead, I spent five years in Japan, visited two other Asian countries, hosting Japanese exchange students, developed a keen interest in Asian culture and language, and now, as grandparents, we are putting our American lives on hold while we move to the Philippines for 2 years.

Things don’t turn out the way you thought you would in life, but you make do and carry on.

When my crochet projects seem to be going awry, I look at them and try to think flexibly.  What does it look like it could be?  What can you do with what you have?

When I needed the neck to slope down one direction, or a round project seems to be going off center, I increase stitches on one side and decrease them on the other.   When something in your life isn’t working well for you, you don’t just look at what’s going awry to fix it.  Look at what does go well for you, and try to do more of that, and less of what seems to go into the ‘fail’ side of things.  To do that, you have to take some time examining what you are doing and thinking about the steps along the way that add up to your results.

You need to do something else, too.  You can’t armchair it.  You have to do more than read about it, study it, and watch youtube videos about improving your ….. whatever- tennis serve, crochet skills, cooking skills, Korean language, writing, organization, school schedule, LIFE.  You have to do, and you have to make a lot of mistakes in the process.

 

Posted in frugalities, Philosophical Ponderings and Ideas | 1 Response

Memorization, Part III

Children’s Reasons for Memorizing Many fairly vital motives may be found for little children, to repeat the poem at home, to take part in a program before the school, etc. Perhaps they need the exact words in dramatization, although extemporaneous work is better in the lower grades. It may be they will sing the poem when it is learned. “Sweet and Low” has done duty many times.

The more definite and individual the motive that is assigned, the better the work will be, but it must never be forgotten that willing eagerness to take part in all exercises is characteristic of a well-governed school.

The motive assigned on a lesson plan may be a (print is too faded to read- idol? Desultory? dilatory?) thing, only an added and useless cog in cumber some machinery if the teacher cannot tactfully employ it so as to make the whole operation move rapidly.

Beware of the artificial motive. Above all, beware of the pause when the child contemplates the incentive and decides he doesn’t want to.

Reasons for Requiring Memorizing Repeating the writing of others means using words which one is not in the habit of employing. If the selection is rightly made, these words should be well within the power of comprehension but slightly beyond habitual use. This increase in vocabulary is the weakest and poorest of the reasons for committing to memory.

Another reason is finding expression for one’s own feelings. A famous teacher is in the habit of speaking of our great writers as the Articulate Ones. He says they give words to what others feel. It is much for anybody, child or man, to find words for the gropings toward truth of which we are all conscious.

The strongest reason is the last. One paragraph which has become thoroughly familiar is a center which attracts to itself much which would otherwise be forgotten. “This reminds me of” — and we remember, because of its parallel significance, what we might otherwise have passed over.

 

TBC

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A-Plus Cookies, 1922 Recipe

a-plus-cookies

Shortening, brown sugar, sour milk, molasses, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, honey, flour, nuts.  They sound delicious and hearty and wholesome.

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Free Kindle Books: Insist on reading the great books,

on marking the great events of the world. Then the little books can take care of them selves, and the trivial incidents of passing politics and diplomacy may perish with the using.— A. P. Stanley.

  • Unless otherwise noted, books are free but this can change without notice. Doublecheck.
  • If you click a link and it doesn’t finish loading, just hit refresh. Sometimes the page just kind of hangs for some reason, I am not sure why.
  • If I don’t say, “I loved this book” or “I read this,” Or something along those lines, I haven’t read the book. I haven’t read most of these. I’m just your book bird-dog, sniffing up potential good reads.
  • I use various search methods to come up with titles. Then I read the blurbs, a couple of the best and worst of the reviews, and sometimes scan the free pages.
  • I screen out so many this way that I end up *not* posting more books I’ve looked over than I post. And yet, still some duds slip through.

 

vintage BOOK with owls lettering

This book is not free, but D.E. Stevenson is one of my favorite authors, and I am really excited that you can get a Kindle book of hers, Vittoria Cottage, for only 3.99! Amberwell is only .99.  Paperbacks of Vittoria Cottage are around thirty dollars!  If you like Elizabeth Goudge, Miss Read, Angela Thirkell, Janice Holt Giles, you will love D.E. Stevenson.

vintage BOOK with owls lettering

Miss Martha and the Preacher:  Amazon blurb: Martha Vining is happy with the way things are. She enjoys the company of her preacher friend, Galen Greer, and has adjusted to having three foster children in her home. But everything begins to change when Galen hints he’s ready to take the relationship more seriously and Martha faces the possibility that the kids’ mother will soon be taking them back. An old fashioned style 16,500 word Christian novella.

vintage BOOK with owls lettering

Thankful Rest by Annie Shepherd Swann

biography: Annie Shepherd Swan was a commercially successful novelist of the Victorian Era. Her idealized romances, set in England and Scotland, were hugely popular. Her characters often wrestled with questions of right and wrong, and her plots gently reinforced Christian concepts of faith in God and the power of prayer. In all, she produced almost 200 books and serialized novels for magazines.

vintage BOOK with owls lettering

The Enchanted Barn, by Grace Livingston Hill

Housekeeping:

Subject to change without notice: Free Titles were free at the time I copied and pasted the links. But they don’t always stay free. The older, public domain books should, because they are all in the public domain, but sometimes….

Shameless money grubbing: I thought this was common knowledge, but it turns out it’s not- these are affiliate links. If you click on a free title and download it, I get….. nothing. If you click on a free title and while you are at Amazon also buy something else, I get….. something. Depending on what you buy, it will probably be somewhere between 4% and 7.5% of what you spend (I don’t get a percentage on penny sales) but I don’t pretend to understand how all of that side works. People have tried to explain, but they start with numbers and my ears buzz and I can’t hear.

Also, Swagbucks remains my favorite source for free Amazon gift cards. And if you haven’t joined, please click on the link and join so that I can keep getting free Amazon gift cards because I am still shameless. Of course, if you regularly shop on line, you can also sign up for ebates, and then always check ebates first, before you do your regular shopping. You can get quite a tidy sum back on the purchases you were going to make anyway, which is not a bad deal. And then you can use the money for books- or for other things.=)

Don’t have a Kindle? : You don’t have to have a Kindle to take advantage of these offers. You can read them on various free reading apps. I often read mine on my laptop if they are short enough books. Or I will start there to see if I want to finish it later or remove it from my Kindle already. If you’re curious, this is the Kindle I have, and I have used others and mine remains my favorite. Mine has Keyboard 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi and I don’t have commercial screensavers. Personally, I don’t like Kindle Fires because I am a crank like that.

If you like these free listings, you should also like my Facebook page, because I list other free titles there several times each week.

Yes, my Kindle gets slow because I stuff it too full since I have no sense of proportion when it comes to owning books, both real and virtual.

You can left click on a title on your Kindle and delete it from your device, while still keeping it in your list of titles at Amazon in case you want to add it back to your Kindle later without paying for the title all over again. Don’t delete it from folder at Amazon unless you want to rid yourself of it permanently. Now that I have my tricksy little new phone, I have added it to my list of devices to which I can download devices. Woot!

commentary sources: Most of the blurbs and book descriptions above are not mine, but come from reviews on Amazon’s page.

To organize the books on your kindle

Thanks for reading!

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Pimiento Cheese Soup

soup-bowl-2PIMIENTO CHEESE SOUP

2 tablespoonfuls butter

1/4 cupful chopped pimientos

1 tablespoonful cornstarch

1/8 teaspoonful salt

2 1/2 cupfuls milk

1/8 teaspoonful celery salt ‘

1/2 pound soft American cheese

1/8 tsp each onion salt,  paprika

Speck cayenne pepper

Melt the butter and cornstarch together in the top of a double-boiler, add the milk gradually, and heat to the scalding point. Then add the cheese cut in small pieces, stir until it is melted, and add the pimientos and seasonings. Serve with strips of crisp, buttered toast piled log-cabin fashion on a plate. Cleveland, 0.

(1922 Good Housekeeping cookbook)

Posted in cookery | 2 Responses


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