Thursday, May 30, 2013

New Amazing Project!!

Two weeks ago, one of the crocheting groups I follow on Facebook posted this picture of a crocheted Frisbee.
I thought it was awesome and something I would try eventually. I reposted it on my wall and went about my day. Not five minutes later, I received the following email from my adorable cousin John Ryun: "Can you make 2 of the coozie Frisbees? I would gladly pay you for them...." Well, if you know my cousin John Ryun, you know he's practically irresistible! He's tall and handsome and funny and sweet -- a Packer fan, but you know what they say: Love the sinner, hate the sin! So I set about to crocheting Frisbees for John's equally adorable children. I asked John what colors he wanted, and he said, "One boy one girl colors... I will leave the creativity up to you." Brilliant! Creative Freedom!!

John's daughter, Grace, is kind of a girly girl like me, so I chose Teal, Yellow, Purple, Pink, and Spring Green for hers. It turned out like this.
Now, I'm not much of a Frisbee-throwing expert (read: I stink at playing Frisbee), but on the test flight down the hallway in my apartment building, this bad boy went about twenty feet! I posted this picture on Twitter and my Facebook page, and my hairdresser said, "I want one! WANT!"

As I said, the Ryuns are Packer fans, so I did the one for John's son, Davis, in Green, Yellow, White, Black and Grey. I couldn't take a picture of it -- my Bears fan sensibilities kicked in and precluded me from creating any photographic evidence of its existence! My good friend Kate Kamphausen gave Davis's Frisbee a toss in her sewing studio, and on its maiden voyage it, too, went at least 20 feet.

These things are awesome! They're fun to make (they take about an hour and a half), they fold up into your pocket, beach bag, or picnic basket, they're safe for doggies and children, they're machine washable, and they're pretty darned cute too! This is the new thing that I make! Place your orders now, boys and girls!! Operators are standing by!

Tonight at 7:00 is Knit and Crochet Night at Squiggly's Yarn Shop and Studio, and that is where I plan to be. You should come too. Until next time, my darlings, Peace, (radical) Love and Yarn!!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Never Say Never Again

You may be asking yourself, What does British Agent 007 have to do with crocheting? Precious little, actually! It's not like the Bond girls bide their time between death-defying adventures with a basket of yarn on their laps - although I would find that hilarious!! What if Miss Pussy Galore made afghans?

No, the reason I refer to this particular Bond film is the origin of the title. The film is based on the James Bond novel Thunderball. The film is not called "Thunderball". That's because the film's title is a good-natured barb directed toward Mr. Sean Connery. He hadn't played James Bond since "Diamonds Are Forever" in 1971. Roger Moore played Bond in six Bond films since Connery's last turn, including "Octopussy", which came out earlier in the same year (1983). In 1971, Sean Connery told the press he would NEVER play James Bond again. And a mere twelve years later, at age 52, look what he did!! "Never Say Never Again"!!

Okay, Dawn-Marie, we've been patient. We get that sometimes you feel the need to impress us with your trivial knowledge. But what has this to do with crocheting? Really! We mean it, now!

I have said that I'll never crochet something larger than 3'X3', and I've done two ginormous baby blankets.

I have said I wouldn't do anything that required excessive counting and/or concentration, and I'm currently working on this as a treat to myself for having made the aforementioned ginormous baby blanket (NB: This project requires both counting and concentration).

I've been crocheting in earnest for five and a half years, and I have recently decided to step up my game. I'm going to tackle projects that challenge me and take time and concentration. And I will make every attempt to never say never again.

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Little Something for Me

My coworker Michelle had her baby yesterday morning! Welcome to the world, Baby Chloe!! Both mama and baby are doing well. Both are going to look so adorable sunggled up in the purple baby blanket I made. 

I finished the blue blanket for Michelle's very pregnant twin sister on Friday night, thanks to a rousing pep rally from my "Oklahoma!" women's ensemble. The ring leaders for said pep rally were my girls from Cincy; Stephanie Park, Christine Smith, and Hannah Freeman. It's much easier to finish the final row of an extra-large baby blanked when I'm laughing uncontrollably at the antics of a roomful of singers and dancers at Lyric!

When I finish a big project like this, I like to make a little something for myself as a reward. I found this beautiful ruana wrap in a pattern book from Red Heart Yarn. 
I'm making it in Caron Simply Soft yarn in Grey Heather. 

I'm glad I decided to make something cozy for myself because I'm feeling a little sad about "Oklahoma!" closing. I got to work with such wonderful and talented people for eight shows a week. Some people I met for the first time and some were folks that I've known for some time and got to know better. And the music was beautiful! It never got old! It's difficult to say goodbye to that. 

So I'm making myself a little something snuggly that has some of that energy in it. It will be like getting a collective hug from all of those wonderful people. And how cute will I be all wrapped up in a soft grey ruana?

That's all the news for now. There's no Stitch 'n' Bitch at the Glenwood tonight because I'm dog-sitting out of town. I'll be back hosting next Monday. Until next time, my darlings, Peace, (Radical) Love and Yarn!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Love is All You Need

This blog post is neither about crocheting nor about bars. It's about love -- Radical Love. You see, I had an epiphany yesterday. I've been doing it wrong!! When someone's views are different than mine and her opinions hurt people I care about, I have a tendency to get angry and judgmental. I rail about how misguided she is -- how dare she not be as enlightened as I perceive myself to be? When, in actual fact, I'm merely the other side of the judgment coin. And please be aware, darlings, that my usage of the pronoun "she" is intended as a universal and gender-neutral pronoun here and throughout.

People hate what they fear, and they fear what they don't understand. And they don't understand what they're not exposed to. So I shouldn't judge.

I also shouldn't judge because Jesus said it's not my job -- that's His Father's job. My job, says Jesus in Matthew 22:37-40, is to love God with all my heart and to love my neighbor as myself. "All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments." This is corroborated in Luke 10:25-28.

Radical Love, darlings! This is our job! Someone disagrees with you? Love her. Someone hurts you? Love her. Someone hurts someone you love? This is the hardest one for me, but you know what I need to do?? LOVE HER!! That's my job. That's all! Simple! Of course, my Buddhist friends would remind me that simple isn't always easy. I can't think of anything Radical that's easy. But it's my job -- it's what I'm expected to do. And I'm moving toward embracing that job.

Okay, darlings, Aunt DM is off her soapbox. Tonight is my Stitch 'n' Bitch at the Glenwood. I'm altering my usual signoff ever so slightly today. Peace, Yarn and RADICAL LOVE!! XOXOXO

Thursday, May 9, 2013

What's the Name of the Blog?

<p>I talked about this blog for a long time before I started publishing it. I would be sitting at my neighborhood bar, yarn entwined in my fingers, an adult beverage in front of me, and I would say, "I should start a blog and call it 'I Crochet in Bars!" Because it's kind of a novelty that I crochet in bars. It's kind of unexpected to see someone crafting at a bar. Never was this more true than one Friday night in January.

My friends Jimmy Kays and Lee Trudell are roommates who work at Sidetrack, a behemoth bar and Boystown institution. Sidetrack takes up the majority of the block on which it resides and has for years been the largest purveyor if vodka in the state of Illinois. Lee had gotten a puppy that Tuesday and I was able to meet the adorable pup because Jimmy had invited me over for a movie night. I offered to crochet a sweater for the new addition and said I could deliver it to Sidetrack that Friday. Jimmy would be managing and Lee would be working coat check that night.

Friday night came and I wasn't quite finished with the doggie sweater, so I grabbed a cocktail and found myself a tall table in the front of the room where I could work. In the biggest bar in Boystown. On a Friday night. A parade of curious strangers kept approaching my table to see what I was up to. When they learned that I was crocheting a dog sweater for the guy in coat check, the smartphones came out and pictures and stories of their own doggies, past and present, were proudly shared. And then these people would go and get their friends and bring them to my table. And the friends shared their pictures and stories. It was surreal and rather wonderful!! And, as you'll see in the pictures, Lana looked adorable in her sweater!

And that's why I do what I do where I do it! It's a conversation-starter. I meet fascinating people who tell me their stories. And art gets made.

Today is Thursday, which means Knit Night at Squiggly's. I won't be there tonight -- I'll be frolicking through the cornfields for "Oklahoma!" at Lyric. But you should go. Tell them Dawn-Marie sent you!! And as always, my darlings, Peace, Love and Yarn!!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Do What You Love....

The old adage goes, "Do what you love and the money will follow." I have found this to be true with my crocheting on more than one occasion. My dear friend and colleague Michelle DiBennardi is expecting a baby girl any minute now. No, literally -- she's going to the doctor tomorrow to see if labor can be induced! And I adore Michelle, and I know how excited she is to be having her first child. So I made her a ginormous baby blanket. This is the biggest thing I've ever made -- I tend to lose interest in projects bigger than three feet square. But it was a labor of love for someone very special to me. Below is a picture that Rico Blanco took at Squiggly's Yarn Shop when I finished it.

I have also tended to shy away from pieced Granny Square projects. I love how quickly granny squares stitch up and how portable they are, but I could never find a cool way to piece them together. Never, that is, until now. I Googled "granny square crochet together", and the ninth entry was Carina's Craftblog, in which Carina gives an easy-to-follow tutorial on how to join the squares using double crochet back and forth. I was delighted with the way it turned out! Here's a picture that Rico took at the Glenwood Stitch 'n' Bitch when I was piecing the project together.

Michelle loved the blanket. She texted me and said that she just wanted to cuddle with it herself! And then she texted me and reminded me that her twin sister is expecting her first child -- a boy -- next month and asked if I would be willing to make a blanket to sell to her to give as a gift to her sister. I was blown away! How flattering is that? And then I thought about the pricing aspect. I'd never made anything that big to sell -- I list my 3'X3' blankets for $60. I had made Michelle's blanket as a labor of love! How would I price it? Would Michelle be willing to pay for it? With the help of my dear friend and creative marketing genius Matt Dans, I came up with a price that would be fair to me. I reluctantly quoted the price to Michelle, and she said that sounded great! So I started her sister's blanket on Thursday. The colors I'm using are pictured below. I should have it finished in two weeks.

The lesson I learned is to not undervalue my work. People are willing to pay for quality work. And, of course, to do what I love and the money will follow! I'll post pictures of the boy version of the Michelle Blanket as soon as it's finished!

Tonight is, of course, the Glenwood Stitch 'n' Bitch. I'm going to grab something to eat and head over there in a few minutes. That's all the news for now. As always, darlings, Peace, Love and Yarn!!