Crocheting can renew the spirit and calm the mind.

Yarn and crocheting with cat on porch to calm the mind and renew the spirit.

Crocheting can renew the spirit and calm the mind.

It is late summer and in the southeast and that means thunderstorms with threats of severe storms and tornadoes. More often than not, the threat is just that, a threat and we only have a mild storm with a brilliant show of lightening high in the sky. I look forward to rainy days and often find myself sitting on my screened-in-porch during these thunderstorms. I turn on my twinkle lights*, put my feet up, crochet and listen.

I relish the sound of the rolling thunder in the distance and when the rain comes, the sound as it falls through the trees. My cat joins me on the loveseat, curls up next to me after receiving her mandatory three minutes of petting, and falls fast asleep surely dreaming of the yarn just out of her reach. The sounds of her purring and the rain, combined with my silent counting, calm me and quiet my mind. All the stresses of the week fade away and I lose myself in the repetition of the stitches.

It is in these peaceful and meditative moments that I am able re-center myself and restore my energy for the busy weeks ahead. Like the trees and all the natural beauty that surrounds us, I, too, am renewed by the rain.

Before I know it the rain begins to subside and the summer bugs and birds return to their songs. I’ll hear the muted television from inside where my husband is on the couch most likely sleeping through a televised sporting event. And I’ll hear an occasional laugh as one of my sons plays video games online with a friend, and the chink of weights while the other son is working out. Now I am not just renewed but full of love and thankfulness for my amazing family.

I have spent many weekends on my porch crocheting and working on new designs. It is the one place where I sit and am able to concentrate on my projects without the distractions of dishes in the sink or paperwork next to my computer. Many of those weekends have been spent listening to not just the sounds of the rain but the neighborhood as well; grass being mowed in the distance, an occasional dog barking and the abundance of wildlife with buzzing cicadas, birds singing their mating songs, squirrels chattering and leaping through the trees, and the deer rummaging for food while crunching the leaves beneath their hooves.

I am so very thankful for these peaceful moments in my life. It is precious time to reflect and time when I can stitch my designs with love and happiness in my heart.

Happy Crocheting,
Darleen

*If you keep clear holiday lights up year round they are called twinkle lights.

Crochet pattern for a fruit fly trap

The Prettiest Fly Catcher EVER!

Crochet pattern for a fruit fly trap

Crochet a Fruit Fly Death Trap

Every summer we have an issue with fruit flies. As soon as the weather turns warm POOF they appear. And this summer was no different. Most years they aren’t too bad but for some reason they were worse this year. I did some research online and found a few do-it-yourself options for fruit fly control. One that stood out was to make your own trap with apple cider vinegar. The site suggested pouring apple cider vinegar in a bowl and adding a few pieces of fruit. It then said to cover the top with saran and poke a couple of holes in it. The idea was that the vinegar and fruit would attract the flies, they would enter via the holes and then get stuck. Well, this worked for a few days and it seemed like the flies were going away. Then we started seeing more and more and more flies. What the heck? So I looked at my “trap” and realized I WAS BREEDING FRUIT FLIES! The buggers had laid eggs on the fruit and enough had figured out how to get out of the “trap”. So much for that idea. At this point the amount of fruit flies in my kitchen was so bad that I broke down and purchased fly ribbon. You know the stuff. Flies are attracted to the icky sticky goo on the ribbon, get stuck to it and die. Tacky, both literally and figuratively. But desperate times call for desperate measures and I hung a couple strips up in the kitchen. Within 24 hours they were full. Thankfully I was able to get rid of most of the flies but the sight of those nasty strips was beyond GROSS. So I had to come up with a better solution. And back to the inter-webs I went. This time I found a site that suggested a similar method but omitted the fruit (duh) and added a couple drops of dish soap to the apple cider vinegar. I tried this method and it worked! This time the buggers drowned, sorry little guys, and most certainly were not breeding. Yippee! But it was still ugly to look at. Not near as bad as the fly strips, but still, ugly. This is where crochet comes to the rescue.

The Zinnia Votive is a pattern for a sleeve that covers a small jelly jar. I pulled mine off the shelf, replaced the votive inside with apple cider vinegar, added a couple drops of dish soap, covered the top with saran, secured with a rubber band, poked a couple holes in the top and now I have a the prettiest fruit fly death trap that has ever existed. 🙂

Fruit flies enter this pretty trap and never, ever leave.

I keep my Zinnia Fruit Fly Death Trap on my kitchen counter, just behind my bananas. Every couple of days I check it and sure enough, there are fruit fly corpses floating in it. I change the solution inside weekly because dead flies are gross. And I put in just enough solution to catch the files but isn’t visible above the bottom band. If you find yourself with one too many fruit flies in your home, you may want to give this pretty trap a try.

Happy Crocheting,
Darleen

International Crochet Day, Sept 12

September 12th is International Crochet Day

I’m old enough to remember what it was like before the internet; when letters were mailed and phones were attached to walls with wires.  Back then, the world seemed larger.   It was rare to know someone from another country. In elementary school I remember signing up for a Pen Pal.  My teacher used a service to match us up with a child from another country.  A child of the same age and similar interests who was able to write in English.  I remember getting my assigned Pen Pal and writing to her on special airmail paper.  This paper was so thin, it was translucent.  And I remember using special airmail envelopes to mail the letters.  Thin paper meant less weight and less cost to mail.  I remember receiving letters with such interesting stamps.  But the letters took weeks to arrive and unfortunately, I lost interest.

Fast forward 40 years and it is possible to have an online conversation with someone from across the world.  No more waiting for letters with interesting stamps.  You can interact via email or social media with anyone, instantaneously, as long as they have an internet connection.  Current technology is amazing and constantly evolving.  Not only has this opened so many opportunities for us to communicate, it has exposed us to a plethora of information to learn about other countries and cultures.  Opportunities we may not have had otherwise.

The internet has had an impact for crafters as well.  For those who crochet, we are no longer limited to designs printed in publications that arrive only a few times a year or books our local library may carry.   We have an entire world of crochet resources at our fingertips.  Ravelry is a huge resource for those who crochet.  You can search designers by their country, you can search for projects with key words and you can search designs with certain attributes, one of which is “Regional/Ethnic Styles”.

September 12 is International Crochet Day.   Using the internet, you can take the day to learn a new method of crochet that has a history with a culture that is different from yours.  Maybe try beautiful Irish lace crochet, or perhaps try some amigurimi, traditional Japanese crochet.  Or you can find a new crochet designer, one that is either from another country or whose designs are heavily influenced by a culture different from yours.  Check out patterns that are inspired by the Norwegian selburose design or work up some motifs that use the vibrant colors often found in traditional Mexican design.  Do a key word search for a country and see what you find.  Then, take the search a step further and learn the history behind the projects. For example, a key word search of “Jamaica” on Ravelry yields 5 pages of projects.  As you can guess, there are a lot of Rasta hats in that search.  With a quick internet search I learned that Rasta hats represent more than just Bob Marley’s headgear.  They have a rich history and represent members of a religion.  I didn’t know this before.  My interest in crochet has led me to learn more about another culture.

Another idea to celebrate International Crochet Day on September 12 is to learn how to read crochet charts.  Charts are universal to any language.  If you can read a chart, then you can work a charted design by any international designer regardless of the language.  Just be sure to find out if the symbols are written in US terms or UK terms.  Not sure of the difference between US crochet terms and UK crochet terms?  Research it! It’s international!

So, how do I plan to spend the day?  Not sure but one of my favorite Mexican inspired designs are crocheted sugar skulls.  Sugar skulls are used in the Mexican celebration, the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) and are used to celebrate, not mourn, those who have passed.  Perhaps I will spend International Crochet Day making a sugar skull or two.

How will you celebrate?

Spiced Cider-autumn capture the beauty