Monday, January 30, 2017

Dragons: What are They, and How do You Find Them

Large, almost insurmountable beasts. They steal and hoard resources, sucking the surrounding areas dry.

This is the year I slay my own Dragons. We all have Dragons. They suck up our time, our energy, our money... And they leave us nothing in return. 

My Dragons:

Schedule - How I plan my time, both work and home. 
Attention - What I do with my time, both planned and unplanned
Ambition - Desire to succeed, level up, do more, learn more
Motivation - What keeps me going, or not going.
Organization - Where things go, and making sure that they are there - both physically, like The Kid's toys and my clothes; and mentally, like my thoughts, and future plans. 

Now, these are more like Dragon Clans - some of the Dragons in each of these clans must go, while others are necessary (maybe even useful, beautiful creatures). The ones that do not need to go, must be saddled and ridden into battle on the next go round. 

Discover Your Dragons:

To make changes previously I would tackle one issue at a time - food, or the gym, or my deep desire to not put my laundry away. I thought about it, and decided to write down all the actions (or inactions) that bothered me. It wasn't as long a list as I thought. 

Then I listed next to each one, what about those items bothered me.  For instance - 

I do not like it when I do not check off all my To Do's for the day. It makes me feel like I am under performing, or over scheduling myself. This affects my motivation for the next day, often in a negative way. 
I looked for key ideas (Motivation, Schedule, Performance) and then looked for patterns. I also made a column for solutions to that issue.

To increase the likelihood of completing all the items on my to do list for any given day, I could use the Cluster concept [where you cluster tasks together based on resources or location. Think multiple errands in one shopping center, or doing all the tasks in your craft room one after the other], and make a note of actual time spent on the task so I can more correctly estimate time required the next time I do a task. Additionally, I could use the Bulk Task concept [Where you work the same task repeatedly at one time. Think folding one shirt vs. folding a basket of laundry] to reduce the times per week the task needs to be done. 
Then I looked in the solutions for key ideas (Schedule, Organization), and looked for patterns. 

I counted up each time the keyword occurred in the lists, and ranked the keywords based on this. The more occurrences, the higher the ranking.

Next I looked for linked keywords. Schedule and Organization came up together frequently. So there is a good chance that if I conquer the higher ranked keyword first, the other keyword in the linked pair would be easier to conquer. This helped me map out my plan of attack. 

Schedule was my number one keyword - which I will from here out refer to as a Dragon. I needed to slay the Schedule Dragons that were in my Issue column, and saddle up the ones that were in my solution column. 

So how do I go about slaying some dragons, and riding others? I guess you'll have to wait and see. 

Blog posts coming on that soon. 

Joyful Darkness. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Seamless Pussyhat Pattern

I made this pattern for the Pussyhat Project, for some friends who are going to the march. All the patterns that I found required sewing, which I don’t like, so I made a pattern that eliminates it.

The hat is very easy to size up and down.

I used less than half a skein for each hat - multiple hats were made from each skein (2 from Sincerely, 1 from each partial skein of Red Heart that I had left from another project)

First here is the recipe for the hat (with pictures), then I will share the exact details of the hats that I made.

1. Chain half as many stitches as you need to go around the head of the wearer, then add one chain.
2. In 2nd chain from hook single crochet in 1/2 of the V of the chain, single crochet along the same half of your chain
3. turn your chain 180 degrees and continue around (do NOT add an extra stitch on the end, or your ears will not be as perky), I recommend that you crochet over the tail, so you do not have to weave that in at the end.
4. join with a slip stitch at the end of the round. Ch 2. turn if you want, or don't  - it's your hat.
5. Round two - double crochet around (ch 2 counts as first DC here and on every round to follow).
6. Continue making rounds until you are 2 inches away from desired length. On next round switch to alternating back and front post doubles to make a nice ribbed band.

7. Repeat the front and back post stitches for 2 inches. Finish off, weave in end.

My hats:
Row 1: Ch 34.  Sc 66 around the chain join to first sc with a slip stitch

Row 2 - 10: Ch 2 at the beginning, DC in the next stitch and DC around.

Row 11 - 13: Ch 2, front post double crochet (FPDC) around next dc, back post double crochet (BPDC) around the next, repeat alternating FPDC and BPDC until you reach the end of the round. Join to top of ch 2, and finish off, weave in end.

Toy Hat:
Row 1: Ch 15, Sc 28 around chain, join to first sc with a slip stitch.

Row 2-5: ch 2, Half double in next stitch, repeat for the entire round, joining to top of ch 2 with a slip stitch.

Row 6-7: Ch2, Front Post Half Double Crochet around next stitch, Back Post Half Double Crochet around the next, then repeat FPHDC and BPHDC until end of round, join to top of ch2 with a slip stitch.

Finish off, weave in end.

NOTES on adding length -

Raveler zephietx asked for a way to get a little more length in the back of the hat. Here are the two ways I thought of to accomplish this.

#1 - I used an additional front post half double crochet at each end of my short row to keep the hat from folding.

If you are going to add additional rounds, you may want to add 2 post half doubles at each end of the short row- when you are connecting it to the previous row - so that you can continue in FP/BP pattern. This is a great way to add a quick bit of length to the back of the hat.

Here is the video that I made to explain how to make a short row in the back of the ribbing.

#2 - Switch to half double post stitches in the front, with doubles in the back. A few repeats of this pattern will add space in the back without increasing your stitch count.

Yarn and More