Let us put by some hour of every day for holy things...

I will not doubt, though all my ships at sea
Come drifting home with broken masts and sails.
I will believe the Hand which never fails,
From seeming evil, worketh good for me.
And though I weep because those sails are tattered,
Still will I cry, while my best hopes lie shattered:
I trust in Thee.
--Ann Kimmel

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines, the labor of the olive shall fail and the fields shall yield no meat, the flock shall be cut off from the fold and there shall be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:17-18

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Confessions of a Handcraft Blogger Wannabe

You know the drill.

Pour coffee, fire up the computer, click to see what's cooking on Pinterest, Facebook, and your favorite crafty blogs... and feel incredibly inspired and incredibly depressed, both at the same time. There are some amazingly talented people in the world, making every imaginable (and unimaginable) artistic wonder and making it look simple to boot. Beautiful things, useful things, beautiful useful things, totally frivolous fabulous things...

I am not one of those people.

My crafting claims to fame, such as they are, are of two types. I can make a mean fabric gift bag, and I can crochet rather outlandish hats with huge, gaudy spangles on them. It's all rather hit-or-miss and I confess I feel like a fraud when I think you might be following this blog thinking I am going to be able to teach you how to make something worthwhile. The truth is I am a mere artistic wannabe with little more to my credit than dozens of unfinished projects stuffed in closets, drawers, and plastic storage tubs.

However, I take heart remembering that there are no crafting police. No one is going to come pounding on my door hustling me off to appear on Oprah to confess my artistic shortcomings. And no one is going to pound on your door, either, to shake their finger at you or laugh in your face. We can all bungle about together figuring out how to make stuff and have fun doing it. The blind leading the blind. Or the partially sighted leading the blind. This is the place where the similarly craft-challenged can meet, converse, commiserate, and occasionally--celebrate!

All this is a very long-winded way of announcing I've actually finished a project and that, even though it's a little peculiar, I'm going to show it to you. What it is is my latest crochet spangle hat.

This hat started out as a potential crocheted cloche for my daughter, who has a teal-colored winter coat. I found this pretty variegated wool with some teal in it, and thought I'd play around with it and see what happened. 

I started making a crochet circle. I had a vague formula in my head. Make X number of stitches in the first round, double them in the 2nd round, and fewer and fewer increases with each succeeding round. Usually this ends up being vaguely bowl-shaped in short order and I go from there. But this time, whatever it was I was doing was resulting in a nice, flat, dinner-plate sort of circle. And it was so fascinating, I couldn't bear to alter it. It just kept getting larger and larger. So I decided maybe it could be a beret instead of a cloche.

I threw a couple of rows of loop-stitches-with-bangles around the edge, did some decreases, and then switched to double-pointed knitting needles to make knit 2, purl 2 ribbing to finish. Somehow the overall result was lacking, so I decided to try and make an embellishment of some sort.

I had downloaded free "Croco-Flower" instructions from Bonita Patterns. Using her method but making a few changes (number of petals, etc.) I came up with my own rather bland-looking blossom, to which I added some spangles and a brass button. I attached a pin to the back so that whoever wears the hat can place the flower wherever it suits them.


(You can find the Croco-Flower pattern here:
 http://bonitapatterns.tumblr.com/post/22424919278/here-goes-a-free-pattern-for-a-croco-flower-its )

Here is the final result, shown here on my faithful mannequin heads, worn in a variety of ways.

I have to say this hat didn't turn out at all as I had planned or expected it to, but I'm glad I gave myself permission to keep going with it even though it was something of an oddball. (Okay, another confession... I would have jettisoned this project if the slightly mohair-like yarn would have permitted me to unravel it and start over. But it didn't, so I just kept telling myself, "If this turns out to be really ugly, maybe it will end up on the front page of Etsy!")

I think giving myself permission to make a monstrosity might be a key to eventual success. 

Onward and upward, with--no doubt-- a few unplanned detours on the scenic route. I hope you'll share some of your own Adventures in Craft-Land.  



  1. I love that hat, I think it will suit Madeline. A teal coat....adorable!

  2. After I posted this, I found a dropped stitch in the ribbing!!! Drat and drat!! Now I must fix it. Actually, while I originally intended this hat for Madeline, I have since changed my plan and you will (hopefully!)see why in a day or so.