Posts tagged ‘crochet’

I am burdened with glorious breakfast cereal (and other things)

Prompt #9 (my 9th, despite some shuffling) January 9th: Make something with your breakfast before you eat it.

IMG_0096I had postponed this one previously because I didn’t read it until after I’d eaten breakfast and, not being a hobbit, I don’t routinely engage in second breakfast.  I usually have a cup of coffee and a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios, so I tried to think of what I could do with Cheerios.  The obvious first thought would be some kind of jewelry, but a string of Cheerios isn’t all that creative or interesting.  I thought about arranging them on the table in some kind of creative way, and I thought that some kind of cross stitch pattern might be good. The basic ones are just on/off patterns and, if the design were only one color, then the Cheerios would work well.

There was no way that any decent amount of words would fit on the table (Cheerios take up a lot more space than you’d think) so I looked at the few cross stitch patterns that I currently owned, and decided that the easiest one to do would be this Loki one. So here’s the progression:



IMG_0105If you’re wondering when I started to feel a bit silly, it was around here.


Two things occurred to me around now.  1. I should have done some kind of tribute to noted Honey Nut Cheerios enthusiast Omar Little.  And 2. This probably was not going to fit.  At least without using the entire box of Cheerios.  So I decided to do only the helmet and stop there.


If I were to do this again, I would have used regular Cheerios, because my fingers quickly became very sugary.  But who wants to eat regular Cheerios?  They’re really kind of flavorless.  Even Omar will only eat them if he has to.

Prompt #11 (my 10th) January 12th: Work on the other hand. Pick a medium you’re comfortable with, then work with your nondominant hand. If you usually favor your right hand then only use your left and vice-versa.

I decided to try crocheting with the left hand since I’ve been doing that with my right hand for 5 years.  And wow was it ever difficult doing it that way!  I decided to try a granny square. I got through one round before giving up.  And even then, I needed to keep switching hands just to wrap my mind around what I was supposed to do next.

IMG_0115Later in this entry, you’ll see what one of these is supposed to look like. And it’s not like that. At all. Like not even a little bit.

Prompt #12 (my 11th) January 12th: Camouflage. Make something that disappears into its background.

If you ever order something from Bed Bath and Beyond with gift-wrapping, know that they go a bit tissue paper happy.  It’s not even wrapped around anything or crumpled for padding. It’s like someone just throws a bunch of sheets in there on top of things.  So I had a lot of tissue paper. I didn’t want to throw it out, since it was hardly used.  When I read this challenge, I knew I had to use it.  Other than that, I’m not really sure where I got this idea from.  But I like it.

IMG_0131Yeah, I know I have the spoon and knife reversed.  Whatever.

Prompt 13 (my 12th) January 14th: Use tea leaves or tea bags (used or unused) or even just liquid tea (in a cup or not) to create something today.

I had read previously that you could dye yarn with tea, and Tazo Passion tea has a really nice deep red color. (And is delicious.) Long story short, it didn’t work.  I kept some fiber in the hot tea for several days (mostly because I got busy and forgot about it, and obviously it wasn’t hot the whole time) but all I got was a vaguely dusty pink color.  Fail.


Prompt 14 (my 13th) January 14th: Make something microscopic. How small can you work? Can you make something that requires a magnifying glass or microscope to see?

Spoiler alert: the answer to that last question is no.

When Scott’s grandmother passed away, I inherited several craft items, including a collection of very small crochet hooks. Some of them needle sized.  I hadn’t ever used them for anything, so I thought I’d try them out. I used the largest of them and all six strands of embroidery floss, so I’ll start out by saying I could easily go smaller.



IMG_0165And this is what a granny square should look like.

That’s it for the time being. I’m going to try to get caught up before I leave for the cruise and then bring some supplies with me there so I don’t miss an entire week. ETA: Oh! I do have more! I just don’t have photos yet. Next time. 🙂


01/31/2013 at 1:36 pm Leave a comment

First Steps

As promised, here are my first three days of the Make Something 365 challenge.  I don’t have a particular theme, like a skull a day, or a bookmark a day (though I I think someday I’d like to do a green-only [the color] challenge) so I’m just reading the prompts and doing whatever strikes me.

Prompt #1, January 1st: The first step is the hardest, so start small today and make something that fits in the palm of your hand using only the materials in your immediate environment.

I took “immediate environment” to mean my craft room.  Granted,  my craft room is more rich than most environments in terms of the amount of craft supplies contained within.  I don’t know what could be less immediate than in the same room though.  Only things at my desk? I could twist together a paper clip monster, maybe.

I tried to think of things that are small, and came up with stitch markers.  They’re used in knitting (and crochet, but those have to be slightly different) to mark certain areas in a project, e.g. the start of a round when you’re making a hat, separating the back from the front of a sweater, designating the boundaries of a lace panel, etc.  They’re useful, and small, and I continually misplace them.  Not being a jeweler or beader, I don’t happen to have a lot of these kind of supplies in the house, but I did have a few things I could start out with:

1. An old broken necklace.  The chain broke and couldn’t be fixed.  It was pretty cheap; I think I got it from Payless.  I wore it all the time before it broke, and I loved the colors, so I held onto it.  I figured I could do something with the beads.


2. Stitch markers.  These were given to me by a person on Ravelry and, while I definitely appreciate them, the rocks are a little too big for the stitch markers to be practical.  They’re wide and heavy, and they get in the way.  I figured I could take the rocks off, and attach the necklace beads to the rings.



I started by removing the beads from the necklace, and removing the rocks from the stitch marker rings.

I had four rings, so I rearranged the beads into four different groupings.  I didn’t use all the beads. It would have been too many, and the large wooden beads were just as large as the rocks on the original markers. (And I always thought the red beads looked like half eaten cough drops, which isn’t all that attractive.)

Then I ran into the issue of “How the hell am I going to attach these things?”  I remembered some stretchy bead cord I had bought when I needed to fix a necklace and pulled that out.

I cut a length and looped it through the stitch marker ring, then added the beads.


I wasn’t sure how I was going to secure the end. I was wishing I had more beading knowledge/supplies, when I turned over the package the cord was in and saw that they recommended the very technical method of knotting it a few times and putting glue on it.  That I could handle!  So I did just that, left it to try, and then trimmed off the excess cord.



Voila! Bead stitch markers!  They aren’t expertly done, and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the knots comes undone at some point, but they’re secure enough for the moment.


All together, they took about an hour, not counting drying time.  The only real issue I had was that I needed to replace one of the beads from my original grouping because the hole was large enough that even the knotted cord could slip through it.

Prompt #2, January 2nd: What’s your favorite animal? Use it as your inspiration for today.

I don’t know if this is really my favorite animal, but I do like cows.  Since that’s what popped into my head, I decided to stick with that.

As I went about my business in the first part of the day, I tried thinking of something to do with cows, or cow print.  I came to the realization that after all the crochet/knit toys I’ve made, I’ve never made myself a cow.  I decided to remedy that and looked on Ravelry for a pattern.  I quickly found this one, and decided to go with that.

For the most part, I followed the pattern directions, with a few exceptions:

  1. I made it smaller
  2. I did not put one of those cow noise thingies inside of it (though I do have one, given to me by the other members of the Ultimate Trio of Death or Doom and it scares the crap out of my dog)
  3. Rather than crochet  one spot, I made three fabric cow print spots and sewed them on with embroidery thread
  4. I filled the legs mostly with rice so the cow would stand up properly
  5. I used stick on googly eyes, mostly because I don’t have any of the other kind


I didn’t actually finish the cow in one day, although if I’d started earlier than 3:30 yesterday, I probably could have.

Prompt #3, January 3rd: Make something out of paper but don’t use scissors or glue or draw on it.  What now? (And no, you don’t need to know how to do origami to do this.)

I did kind of cheat, in that I ripped a piece of paper out of a sketchpad and cut the scraggly bits off.  I just didn’t have smaller pieces of paper. Besides, I used an x-acto knife. So there.

I went through several iterations of the same idea before I ended up with what I ended up with.  In fact, you can still see the remnants of my original idea, but I didn’t want to start all over again, so I left it there. Idea #1 was to embroider some kind of checkered pattern on it. It was going to be one color, but then I decided to do a few.  I started on that and didn’t like the way it came out at all.  So I came up with idea #2, to use the same colors randomly to draw a grid pattern.  I did one color that way and realized that I liked the way that looked all by itself, so I left it alone.  Done!


The holes in that one square are leftover from idea #1 that I figured would be covered up by idea #2.  I think it would look better without the holes or, alternatively, adding some more holes throughout.


I’m enjoying this process so far, because it’s forcing me to think a little differently.  Even three days in, though, I’m realizing how daunting of a task this is. Every day?  What about when I drive 8 hours to Jersey? What if I’m sick? What about my wedding day? What about if I *gasp* get hired somewhere? I know the craft police aren’t going to come arrest me if I miss a day, but still.  I’m usually a little short on follow-through, and I want to actually do this one.

01/03/2013 at 5:04 pm 2 comments


I mean….Holy crap! (Found on ewspider’s blog)

According to this article, kids just started climbing on one of her sculptures, so she decided to make some specifically designed for that, and they’re totally awesome! I can’t even imagine a) how long that takes, b) what you have to crochet with in order to make sure it’s sturdy enough, c) how much that probably hurts your hands.

It looks more fun than the average playground.  Kind of reminds me of a bouncy castle; or those huge nets, but better than those, since your feet can’t fall through.  Also reminds me of Elvira Kurt.

And, before anyone asks, no, I won’t make you one.


07/23/2012 at 8:19 am 2 comments

Ravelers Strike Back!

[First, hello to new readers who found this blog searching for info on the Ravelry vs USOC situation. I’m not usually an angry person, so I hope some of you stick around for the more fun side of crafting.]

To be fair to the US Olympic Comission, they have issued an apology.

The commenters [spellcheck is telling me that this is not a word…also that spellcheck is not a word–well played…] pretty much said exactly what I was thinking, but I’ll say it here anyway.

There is no way that the apology was “a standard-form cease and desist letter” considering it included the offending passage that most of the commenters quoted:

We believe using the name “Ravelympics” for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games. In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work.

I can’t imagine that that finds its way into most cease and desist letters.  I don’t think that the USOC really sees just how offensive that comment is.   I can deal with a little bit of gentle teasing from friends about my craft obsessions, mostly because I know that they actually know how much work it takes and, for the most part, actually think it’s kinda cool.  But for strangers to go out of their way to tell me that my hobby somehow disrespects someone else’s work is just plain insulting.

Also, notice the end of the letter where they try to make it up to us, without actually giving us anything.  Instead, they ask for knitted garments for the team.  I am trying to be calm and rational here, but my only reaction is: Whaaa?  I don’t know what kind of things they would expect us to make, since the Olympic rings or anything else is completely out of the question, since Ravelers have been asked to stop making Olympic themed patterns.  And calling a hobby disrespectful to the athletes and then asking for knitted items?  We don’t like making things for people who aren’t going to appreciate them and, while the actual athletes might, it’s clear that the powers that be at the commission do not.

I appreciate that the USOC tried to apologize, but I hope they see how inadequate of an apology it was.  And I’m sure that many non yarny people think that we’re overreacting.  While some may go a bit too far fighting back, the original response on the part of the crochet/knitting community is completely justified.

I’d also once again like to commend The Powers That Be (TPTB) at Ravelry for handling this situation gracefully, as they handle all things.  They have not lashed out at all, and are instead using their legal representation to calmly discuss the situation with the USOC.  Bravo, TPTB!

UPDATE: Holy NPR, Batman!

06/21/2012 at 3:12 pm 1 comment

The US O*y*p*c Commission are a bunch of big fat doody heads

Ravelry, the beloved knitting/crochet website received a letter from the US Commission on a certain summer/winter sporting event that takes place every 2 years.

At the same time aforementioned sporting event, Ravelry hosts an event titled the “Ravelympics”.  Actually, if you want to get technical, Ravelry users sponsor the event, and the Ravelry staff helps promote it like they promote many other member efforts.  The Ravelympics includes events such as “Sweaterboarding,” “Hat halfpipe, ” and “Bag Jump.”  I had a great time participating in 2010.  I made 3 hats, a bag, and a sweater while the games were going on…which is a lot quicker than I would usually do that.

The letter (Which was posted on Ravelry here for those with accounts, and partially tweeted here) goes like this (emphasis mine):

Dear Mr. Forbes,

In March 14, 2011, my colleague, Carol Gross, corresponded with your attorney, Craig Selmach [sic], in regard to a pin listed as the “2010 Ravelympic Badge of Glory.”  At that time, she explained that the use of RAVELYMPIC infringed upon the USOC’s intellectual property rights, and you kindly removed the pin from the website.  I was hoping to close our file on this matter, but upon further review of your website, I found more infringing content.

By way of review, the USOC is a non-profit corporation chartered by Congress to coordinate, promote and govern all international amateur athletic activities in the United States.  The USOC therefore is responsible for training, entering and underwriting U.S. Teams in the Olympic Games.  Unlike the National Olympic Committees of many other countries, the USOC does not rely on federal funding to support all of its efforts.  Therefore, in order to fulfill our responsibilities without the need for federal funding, Congress granted the USOC the exclusive right to use and control the commercial use of the word OLYMPIC a and any simulation or combination thereof in the United States, as well as the OLYMPIC SYMBOL.  See the Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, 36 U.S.C. §220501 et seq. (the “Act”).  (A copy of the relevant portion of the Act is enclosed for your convenience.)  The Act prohibits the unauthorized use of the Olympic Symbol or the mark OLYMPIC and derivations thereof for any commercial purpose or for any competition, such as the one organized through your website.  See 36 U.S.C. §220506(c).  The USOC primarily relies on legitimate sponsorship fees and licensing revenues to support U.S. Olympic athletes and finance this country’s participation in the Olympic Games.  Other companies, like Nike and Ralph Lauren, have paid substantial sums for the right to use Olympic-related marks, and through their sponsorships support the U.S. Olympic Team.  Therefore, it is important that we restrict the use of Olympic marks and protect the rights of companies who financially support Team USA.

In addition to the protections of the Act discussed above, the USOC also owns numerous trademark registration that include the mark OLYMPIC. These marks therefore are protected under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. §1051 et seq. Thus,’s unauthorized use of the mark OLYMPIC or derivations thereof, such as RAVELYMPICS, may constitute trademark infringement, unfair competition and dilution of our famous trademarks.

The USOC would like to settle this matter on an amicable basis. However, we must request the following actions be taken.

1.  Changing the name of the event, the “Ravelympics.”;  The athletes of Team USA have usually spent the better part of their entire lives training for the opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games and represent their country in a sport that means everything to them.  For many, the Olympics represent the pinnacle of their sporting career.  Over more than a century, the Olympic Games have brought athletes around the world together to compete in an event that has come to mean much more than just a competition between the world’s best athletes.  The Olympic Games represent ideals that go beyond sport to encompass culture and education, tolerance and respect, world peace and harmony.

The USOC is responsible for preserving the Olympic Movement and its ideals within the United States.  Part of that responsibility is to ensure that Olympic trademarks, imagery and terminology are protected and given the appropriate respect.  We believe using the name “Ravelympics” for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games.  In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work.

It looks as if this is the third time that the Ravelympics have been organized, each coinciding with an Olympic year (2008, 2010, and 2012).  The name Ravelympics is clearly derived from the terms “Ravelry” (the name of your website) and OLYMPICS, making RAVELYMPICS a simulation of the mark OLYMPIC tending to falsely suggest a connection to the Olympic Movement.  Thus, the use of RAVELYMPICS is prohibited by the Act.  Knowing this, we are sure that you can appreciate the need for you to re-name the event, to something like the Ravelry Games.

1.  Removal of Olympic Symbols in patterns, projects, etc.   As stated before, the USOC receives no funding from the government to support this country’s Olympic athletes.  The USOC relies upon official licensing and sponsorship fees to raise the funds necessary to fulfill its mission. Therefore, the USOC reserves use of Olympic terminology and trademarks to our official sponsors, suppliers and licensees.  The patterns and projects featuring the Olympic Symbol on’s website are not licensed and therefore unauthorized.  The USOC respectfully asks that all such patterns and projects be removed from your site.

For your convenience, we have listed some of the patterns featuring Olympic trademarks.  However, this list should be viewed as illustrative rather than exhaustive.  The USOC requests that all patterns involving Olympic trademarks be removed from the website.  We further request that  you rename various patterns that may not feature Olympic trademarks in the design but improperly use Olympic in the pattern name.…\…………………

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.  We would appreciate a written reply to this letter by no later than June 19, 2012.  If you would like to discuss this matter directly, please feel free to contact me at the number above, or you may reach my colleague, Carol Gross.

Kindest Regards,

Brett Hirsch

Law Clerk

Office of the General Counsel

United States Olympic Committee

1 Olympic Plaza

Colorado Springs, CO 80909

There are soooo many things wrong with that:

  • They are obviously concerned with money more than anything else, even though the Ravelympics doesn’t make any
  • If the games are really about “world peace and harmony”, this is a great way to disturb the peace and prevent a bunch of people coming together to celebrate an event
  • Quite a lot of people watch the games while they work on their Ravelympics projects
  • The overall tone is just insulting.
  • The games have been going on “over more than a century”…read a book, honestly.

(Note that these are all my own words and, other than being a user, I have no affiliation with Ravelry or its staff, who are being quite gracious about it.)

I do understand to a certain extent that they want to maintain some “brand integrity.”  But Ravelympics isn’t even the same word, and does not make any money.  It’s clearly a fun tie in and meant to pay tribute to the games.  This is childish and silly and, in my opinion, denigrates the true nature of the Olympic Games.

I’m glad I got to enjoy the last one. I always prefer the winter games anyway (which, incidentally, is apparently rare).

06/20/2012 at 1:35 pm 23 comments

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