Tag Archives: Lion Brand Mandala

FO: Key Largo scarf

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FO: Key Largo scarf

So much fun colour in this week’s projects!

The Key Largo scarf is finished! It turned out about 70″ x 12″ and here it is in all its blocked rainbowy glory.

I used up almost all of one cake of Lion Brand Mandala so there were only two ends to weave in.  The start date was March 9th and the finish date was the 19th, so it didn’t take long. It helps that I worked on it monogamously (surprisingly for me). The pattern was easily memorisable,  and portable, which meant I could work on it anywhere.

What else have I done? Oh yes, the float experience went well. I mentioned last time that I was a little concerned about the green hair dye leaching out into the Epsom salts tank at the float place, but it was ok. And I had a very relaxing hour inside the pod, in the dark, with the music playing. So I would probably do that again.

Yesterday there was a mini challenge in the Party! International Crochet Month group on Ravelry. One of the mods suggested that we might like to make an item of clothing for our Inner Beasts using freeform crochet, and that the first person to post a photo of their beast wearing his/her new garment would win a tutorial on freeform crochet from Prudence Mapstone. Well, Prudence is the guru of freeform and I do like a challenge, so I quickly crocheted up a vest for Brian. I was sure someone would pip me at the post as it was ten hours since the challenge had been set, but I managed to be the first and therefore the winner! Yay! It was a perfect little project for an evening where I was feeling tired from work and not even feeling like picking up a hook.

I even found time for sewing this week and used some fleece remnants to make these cute armwarmers. They are so cosy and comfortable that I almost wish it was still winter…almost! I used a tutorial and downloadable pattern that I printed out. The only modification I made was to trim about an inch off the thumb, as I didn’t hem the ends so the thumbs turned out too long.

The photo on the website shows a curved seam between the hand the thumb, but I sewed it with a V-shaped seam, pivoting the needle at the base of the V. A little snip into the seam allowance meant it turned right side out just fine and I think my version looks great! This is the sort of pattern you could make lots of, as it is quick and fun.

We’ve had a very Spring-like week with temps into the double digits. In fact, on Tuesday, I went out on the back deck which faces south and took a thermometer with me and in the sun, on the deck chair next to me, it hit 36 degrees Celsius! Officially it was probably half that. So that’s two days when I have enjoyed the deck, with my new swimsuit on, getting some rays and making some vitamin D. IMG_8059

This was my spot this afternoon, where I planned the week’s meals. Shame about the shady bits, but it was certainly plenty warm enough to sit out for an hour.

Wednesday I took my car in to the Toyota dealership. There was a passenger side airbag recall, and the car was due for a maintenance check and oil change. Turns out (doesn’t it always) that there was more to do, like a new battery and removing a screw from one of the tires, so in the end they had the car for more than five hours. During that time, I walked the mall a couple of times, visited a few other shops, stopped briefly for some lunch, and later some crochet at a local park, but for at least four of those five hours I was walking. Phew! Didn’t need to go to the gym THAT day.

I’m expecting a busy weekend – work both days with extra sale deals to bring in the customers, so I will really appreciate the massage that I have booked for Monday. Enjoy your weekend!

WIP: Key Largo Scarf

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How’s your week going? Mine has been quite full, and I haven’t been able to get to the gym or a yoga class, which is a little annoying (though my lazy side is okay with it). Today the temperature crept up above freezing to about 7 Celsius, which felt almost warm! We are supposed to have double digits soon – gosh, what a treat!!

There’s been a busy weekend of work, a ‘catching up with stuff at home’ day (while feeling overtired from a combination of the clocks going forward, an early morning, a late night, and a lack of caffeine), more work shifts, grocery shopping, cleaning, bread baking…

This is what my kitchen looked like Monday evening before I crashed out at 9.30.

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This is the product of three large bowls of bread dough, each batch containing 12 cups of flour. Three loaves, 16 hot dog buns, 16 hamburger buns, all rising while the oven heated up. I used to make bread all the time but these days I tend to buy the Silver Hills organic sprouted wheat bread from Costco (it’s about half the price there) and stock the freezer. It makes it easy to grab another sliced loaf when you need it, and it thaws quickly or you can toast it. However I needed the buns for a couple of specific meals this week, and we were on our last loaf of Silver Hills.

As promised, I frogged the progress on the Key Largo Lace Wrap and started again with a cake of Lion Brand Mandala in the colourway Gnome. It’s a lovely bright rainbow of a cake – I have no idea who this will be for when it’s done, but I am enjoying the colour progression.

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It started a little slowly as I reacquainted myself with the pattern…

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And it grew…

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And grew some more…

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With DK yarn, a 5mm hook, a scarf width rather than a wrap, and only 10 pattern repeats across the row, it’s growing quickly. Very satisfying! I took this photo at a coffee shop today where my friend and I will be meeting most Thursdays, since she started a knitting group there. I have the four-row pattern memorised now so I don’t even have to get the pattern out of the bag any more.

My plan was to have a gym and sewing day tomorrow, Friday, but I made a start on my intended projects tonight.

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It’s not very sexy but it is functional – a non-slip mat that goes underneath a sewing machine foot pedal. I have to confess, the one I made for myself is not working too well on the carpet, so I’m thinking it would be better on a hard floor. I used a Crafty Gemini tutorial. On this first attempt, I applied the bias binding as I would normally, by opening it out and sewing it on then flipping it to the other side and sewing again. A far-from-perfect result, which is irritating as my intention is to take this one to work to go on the DIY table for fabric shoppers to see. The second one, I attached the binding like Vanessa does in the video, but it was even messier so I am keeping the second one for myself.

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I also made this shopping bag from some decor fabric from work. It was on clearance at $5 a metre, and is a heavy cotton fabric. I wrote down the steps to make it as I went, as I’m thinking this will also make a good display item at the store, but I wasn’t too happy with the stitching. I used a strong thread that’s slightly thicker than the all-purpose stuff, and even though I adjusted the thread AND bobbin tension the bobbin thread was loosey-goosey! Still, it’s usable, and pretty, and I will make another with regular thread in the hope that it will be more presentable, should people look closely at my stitching.

Yes, embracing the imperfections of life here today, that’s me! My other plans include some napkins for a friend, and another apron.

Good night from my windy part of the world (the windchimes are going nuts again). Enjoy your Friday and your weekend.

Bountiful beanies Part 2!

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I have seven FOs to show you since my last post. I’ve been enjoying some destashing and some stash enhancing. Ahem!

This cowl is a basic C2C stitch pattern, worked as a rectangle, joined in a tube, and with a pompom added on (to use up more yarn). That was a cake of yarn finished up.

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The pinks are way more pretty in real life.

Another quick project, again with stash yarn, was this shawl. It’s called the Me Shawl, designed by Clare at bobwilson123, and her video tutorial is here. It’s a quick and easy pattern, only took me a few days, and I just love the way the yarn worked with it (Lion Brand Mandala in Troll). I did make it quite a bit bigger than she made hers. And I took out the lime green section of the yarn cake and used a bit of turquoise from a second cake for the bobble border.

Another way that I reduced old stash was to make some super bulky beanies. I made four of them yesterday (Loops & Threads Zoomba) and the green one is Red Heart Vivid and I made that in about 20 minutes tonight.

The four in the picture above are made from my own pattern, linked in the sidebar – the Gio hat – and the green one is just half double crochet and a 19mm hook. It’s funny to think there are only 23 stitches around that beanie. Talk about fast!

And finally, my new yarn. There’s a smaller city an hour’s drive south of me which has a small yarn shop. They are closing down and going mobile. So all their stock is on deep discount and I thought a road trip with a fellow yarn-loving friend would be fun. Yesterday we drove down there, had a good look around and left with some treasures. We stopped at a coffee shop and pulled out our knitting and crochet, while we warmed up with tea/coffee. Later, we drove back north, stopping at a small town where there’s another great coffee shop (I did suggest to my friend that we make a documentary, Coffee Shops of the Okanagan) where we had more tea/coffee and a snack. Next door is a cool little shop where I bought my vegan leather Espe bag last year, and my friend bought herself an Espe bag to replace her worn out purse. What a great day!

Here’s what I came home with:

The buttons are hand-made in South Africa, giving employment to women in that country. The variegated skeins are Berroco Espresso and weigh 150 grams each. The yarn is a bulky weight blend of cotton and acrylic. The Easter Egg coloured skeins are Universal Yarn Cotton Supreme, 100 grams of soft worsted weight cotton. So pretty.

I was left with small balls of leftovers from the cowl and beanies and I’ve added them to the giveaway bag of yarn and changed their status on my Ravelry stash page to “all used up.”

So it’s definitely been a yarny week. The pile of hats to donate to the needy via a local church is growing by leaps and bounds. Along with the crochet, as often happens, I’ve been delving into Netflix again and have been watching Line of Duty, a British police series. Very gritty! And now I must leave you, for I have work again tomorrow. Have a great weekend, everyone.

 

Post-op

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I am grateful and relieved that the surgery on my right ear is now behind me. As I explained in this recent blog post I have an inherited hearing problem that can be remedied with surgery. Well, Wednesday was the big day.

I went in early Wednesday and had the surgery that morning, and the rest of the day involved mostly sleep, nurses monitoring my pulse, BP and temperature, and an intimate relationship with a bedpan! Couldn’t get out of the bed the first day, which is understandable as a certain amount of dizziness and loss of balance is normal with inner ear surgery.

I have to say, the dizziness is way less acute this time, which made things a lot easier. And Thursday morning, my specialist did his rounds and was happy with my status and confirmed I could go home. Since being home, I have mostly sat on the couch, crocheted, messed about on my laptop, and drunk tea. Ate a small amount but didn’t want to overdo things.

Ah, the joys of sleeping in your own bed and using your own bathroom!

So of course I made plans for the perfect “recuperation project” to do while I am off work for two weeks, and I loaded up my nook next to the couch with DK yarns and opened up a tab on the computer for the Wayfarer Ruana. But first I wanted to make a shawl from a cake of Lion Brand Mandala, for which I chose the Echo Caves colourway. After some deliberation, I chose the Chic and Strong Crescent Shawl (link to my Ravelry project page which includes pattern link).

This took five days from start to finish, and that’s without working on it while in hospital. The first part is mindless half double crochet, increasing at each end of every row, and the lace edging is a more mindful seven rows of paying attention. Quite a good balance, really. I’m not sure about the foundation row, which was foundation double crochet, which makes for an odd shape across the top. If I made this again, I would do a chain start and go straight into the hdcs.

This took less than one cake, though I cut out some of the whitish colour to get to the green for the edging, which meant that I had to steal a little more green from a second cake to finish the last few inches of the last row. But that’s ok, because I had four cakes in this colourway.

Pre-blocking:

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During blocking:

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For the foreseeable future, I will have to keep my right ear dry so will be enlisting Tai Chi Man to help me with washing my hair and supervising me in the bath (in case of dizzy spells). I am now the proud owner of three titanium implants (two stapes and one plate in the wrist). While I would love to claim to be the Bionic Woman, I would rather avoid any more surgeries, thank you very much!

Holiday crochet

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If you’re a knitter or crocheter, you’ll know how important it is to pack the right yarn and tools for your trip, making sure that there is no possibility that you will run out and be left with nothing for your itchy fingers to do while away.

Finding space for yarn in my CabinMax backpack is a priority, with more thought given to what to take than anything else!

What I took: Two cakes of Lion Brand Mandala, from which I had already crocheted some fingerless mitts. I took the mitts too, as I was expecting to need them. In the end, I didn’t.

One cake of Red Heart It’s a Wrap (a fingering weight yarn) with the Key Largo Lace Wrap pattern by Hannah at the Cozy Cottage Crochet podcast.

My Hello Kitty pencil tin with hooks in varying sizes between 2 and 6mm. Nail clippers for cutting yarn. Stitch markers. Ruler, pencil, notebook. Plastic darning needle.

From the LB Mandala, I crocheted a hat and cowl to match my  mitts.

I still had quite a bit left, which I have recaked on my yarn ball winder for another project.

My crocheting was garnering quite a bit of attention. We were holidaying with family who we don’t see very often, so they are not used to my “productive fidgeting” and with Tai Chi Man’s cousin and his wife being so generous with their time and the offerings of food I decided to crochet them both a hat. I had spotted some gorgeous yarn in the Co-op in St Moritz so I bought two different skeins (Sommer Wolle Carnevale and Venezia) plus I had to get an 8mm hook because it was bulky yarn. I started and ripped out about three times and in the end decided my usual hat recipe of starting at the crown and working down to the brim just wasn’t going to work. What I did was foundation hdc for 18″, join in the round, then work even, decrease for the crown, then work a round of sc around the brim for stability. Once I had the first one made, the second was easy. And I even made a third as my BIL rather liked the colours in the yarn.

So once those hats were done I took a break for a couple of days, then started the Key Largo Lace Wrap. This is a Ravelry download that is $4 US. I have completed a few pattern repeats but this yarn is skinny (1000 metres in a cake) so it will be a longer term project.

Current WIPs, then, are the Key Largo and the basic socks, both fingering weight projects. I have come a long way since the days of wanting to do all projects in aran or chunky yarn to get them done fast!

My focus from September 1st will be the Groovyghan CAL, being hosted in the Vanna’s Choice Fan Club Ravelry group. The designer is offering the pattern free to participants in the CAL. I acquired the pattern ages ago before it became a paid pattern. After work today, I pulled out all my medium weight yarn. After grouping it all by colour, this is what I put together. I took out white, cream and a very light tan. I took out the Red Heart With Love, because it’s quite a bit thicker than the rest. I could use black or grey as a neutral, but the browns seem to fit better.

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I don’t know, I may change my mind on some of those colours after I sleep on it. And sleep I must do. Still somewhat jetlagged, and fighting a cold. Last two nights, I’ve been in bed by 9. TTYL

 

Fire update and FOs

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The valley is less smoky today, but the fires are still burning. The two fires that are burning just south of us on the west side of the lake were merged into one, deliberately, in a controlled burn today. The news article I just read said that this would make it easier to tackle. The one directly across from that, on the east side, is still smouldering, but when we were out walking this evening it didn’t look very active and doesn’t seem to have spread any closer to the southern end of the city.

Two of my sons and I drove down the other evening to a beach where we could see the flames on both sides of the lake. It looks very impressive after dark, with the orange glow, and even more so when you get the binoculars out and can see details of trees and flames even from many kilometres away.

I am currently enjoying a block of days off – my schedule happens to include four days in a row between shifts. It probably had something to do with the mild complaint I made to my boss about working five Sundays in a row. So it’s been a lovely weekend, enjoying a potluck with friends, and visiting a vegan market, and having tea at our favourite tea shop, and going out for a walk around the neighbourhood this evening after the sun hid behind the mountain and it wasn’t too hot.

And there’s been crochet. Just a couple of very small, fun projects which I was inspired to make when I spotted this video tutorial.  It’s for a mini backpack that is really small, keychain sized really, but it still has little shoulder straps to make it look like a real backpack. I made the first one with Red Heart Supersaver Ombre in the colour Scuba  (about 30 grams) and a 5mm hook and it came out about 4.5″ tall. The second one uses Scheepjes Linen Soft in the colour Hummingbird (about 20 grams) and a 3.5mm hook and it is about 3.5″ tall.

 

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The pattern tells you to braid a little cord from three strands of yarn, which I did for the turquoise one, but it was fiddly and annoying so for the pink one I just worked a chain with my hook.

And I almost forgot, but I found Lion Brand Mandala at my local Walmart. I have been enviously seeing other people’s posts in the Canadian Crocheters group on Facebook, where they say they found a display of the Mandala yarn at their local Walmart. The few cakes of this yarn that I have bought were from Herrschner’s online. Well, I bought some this week from Walmart for less money, AND no shipping fees of course. They don’t have the whole range, but I found some I liked. One of them is actually a Mandala Baby cake, but it has the same yardage etc as the Mandala.

So pretty. A couple are new to me, and the rest are ones I’ve bought before. But when I ordered from Herrschner’s I only bought one cake of each colour and then realised I wanted to have at least two so that I could have more options as to patterns.

It’s just as well my birthday is coming up and I have money from my mum! I shall choose my projects carefully for these babies!!

 

FOs of the knit, crochet and sewing kind

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Oooh, I do feel productive. A finished hat from the cake of Lion Brand Mandala (the third from that cake, and there’s still some left). Cast on 94 sts with US#4, worked some K2P2 ribbing, changed to #5 tips and increased to 100 sts. When hat was 4.75″ deep, I did the same crown decreasing as in the Vanilla hat, but with hindsight reducing the straight part by a whole inch may have been a little too much as I find it a bit small now. It fits Sally perfectly (see below).

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A finished cosy from a German crochet book that I found at my local library. I learned some new words in German!

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And some finished project/notions bags. First, an unlined drawstring bag with a boxed bottom to which I added a special pocket with a slanted zipper opening. I messed up a little there as I was going to make the bag quite a bit bigger, but then my rotary cutter had other ideas and it ended up being the same size as the last one I made. The pocket dwarfs it a bit, but you get the idea.

This little guy is a tiny version of the triangle bag I made first (as talked about here) with the yarn ball print. I made it to go with the other bag as a gift for a podcaster I listen to a lot. They are now both in the mail. (Tutorial Crafty Gemini)

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And lastly this one from a McCall’s pattern (# M6256) which I bought on sale this week at work.

Oh man, this presented some challenges. Sewing a circle to a tube for the base – eeek! Handsewing the lining inside – grrr! Heat ‘n Bond that didn’t stick when it was supposed to – aaagh! Glad it’s done, and it does do the job – there’s a partial cake of yarn in there and the end is threaded through the top of the “lid” – though it wouldn’t hold a full cake. Maybe it’d work best for a commercial skein of acrylic set inside on its end.

This morning was productive in its own way too. An appointment with a new dentist, in which I had my teeth scaled and polished, and numerous other things they wanted to do as I am a new patient there. No cavities, thank goodness. Dropped bags of stuff at the recycling depot. Mailed a small package to the aforementioned podcaster in Wisconsin. And spent rather a lot of money on a new pair of spectacles. I hope to have them before I go on holiday in August as the ones I’ve been wearing are badly scratched.

What are you making this week?

 

 

The sewing continues…

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The sewing continues…

This Japanese Knot Bag is so simple to make and yet it looks great when it’s finished. I used this You Tube tutorial by The Crafts Channel. The longer handle threads through the smaller one to form a wrist-carrying loop. It has two contrasting fabrics on the outside, and you could also do two different ones for the lining but I just used one. (I suppose you could even use eight different fabrics in all, which would be an awesome way to use up smaller pieces.)

Rather than download and print a pdf, I eyeballed the approximate sizes from the video and drew it out on some Burda gridded pattern paper. I started with a 25 x 25 cm square for the body of the bag, and added handles, making one twice as long as the other.

This is the sort of bag it’d be fun to make in different sizes, which I might just do!

I had a bit of a tidy round today, did the vacuuming, bathrooms, kitchen cleaning etc, and now my three crochet WIPs have been relegated to my sewing room, demoted from their living room spots. I’m not loving any of them so decided to pretend they didn’t exist! Of course my Ravelry project page has them sitting there at the top, where I can’t ignore them, but I shan’t worry about that.

The one yarny project that is active right now is a knitted beanie that I’m making with the last of the Lion Brand Mandala cake (colourway Chimera) with which I knitted/crocheted my FIL two hats. Pretty great yardage, really, to get three hats out of one cake. I started with ribbing this time, on US#4 needles, 94 stitches cast on, then increased to 100 for the stockinette part on #5 needles.

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I found that knitting to 5.75″ last time, then doing the crown decreases, made for a hat that was about an inch too long, so either I will stop at 4.75″ and then start decreasing or, if the yarn looks plentiful enough at that point, I may go even longer and make it a slouchy. Maybe even add a pompom. Anything to finish this yarn cake.

Well, I have friends coming over tonight so I’d better sign off for now. I just couldn’t wait to show you my latest bag! Happy crafting!

F is for Friday, Finishes, Food and Fitness

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Happy Friday, everyone! Thursday and Friday were kinda my weekend, as I’m working Saturday and Sunday. The forecast is for 28 degrees on Sunday.

I finished the hat that I started last night. It went quickly as I had plenty of opportunities to work on it today and I love it.

In the end, the hat incorporated the bright orange and purple parts of the Mandala cake, which is perfect, and used so little yarn that I have about half of the 150 gram cake left after finishing two beanies. It’s not quite as deep as the knitted hat, but I made it the same circumference – eighteen inches.

After a couple of months of more sedentary behaviour (following my accident) and just a few too many cheats and treats, I have been feeling somewhat blobby (proven by the spare tires that were exposed to the sun today). So I am being more careful with my food intake, both quality and quantity. Aiming to keep the Whole Food Plant Based No Oil ethics in mind, I am eating better, and also back to pushing it more at the gym. Yesterday and today I spent about an hour and a quarter at World Gym. I took my iPad which meant I could entertain my brain while I was on the treadmill for 40 minutes, and then followed that up with loose weights and machines. I wore my wrist brace of course but I am trying to do some upper body work, using a lighter dumbbell in the right hand. It’s amazing how a couple of months of injury time really set me back.

Smoothies are back on the menu now that the warmer weather is here. Last night we had one of my favourite meals, tortilla wraps with black beans, tomatoes, avocado, lettuce, cucumber, and my home-made smoky chipotle tofu-cashew mayo. I even had the same thing for breakfast, thanks to leftovers.

Today I baked wholewheat hamburger buns and black bean burgers, and we had them with ketchup, mustard, smoky mayo, avocado, tomato and lettuce.

It was a fabulous Friday. I hope yours was too.

 

 

Thursday thoughts

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With my yarn cakes now suitably dressed, I am able to move on to my next project (because God forbid I should be without a current Make In Progress)! In fact, the smaller of the two Cakeholes (see previous post) has already been pressed into service and is housing the remainder of the Lion Brand Mandala cake that I partially used for the knitted hat.

The next part of the cake is bright orange and magenta so I am continuing on where the light orange left off. This pattern (a simple hat pattern with a single cable running up the side) is a design by Clare of bobwilson123. I’m following her video tutorial here. This is to be a second hat for my father-in-law. I will send him both and see what he thinks. I’m crocheting this one with the same circumference as the first one, about 18″, because the foundation double crochet is  nice and stretchy and I’d rather it was snug.

The hat is just double crochet stitches with the cable being made of front post trebles and doubles. So far it measures about 2 inches, and that’s enough for me for one evening. I had a good long workout at the gym today and the wrist has probably had enough for one day.

So, I’ve been thinking. My method of blogging is usually (a) showing off something I’m making, or (b) showing off something I’ve finished, as and when it happens, plus random extra life comments. I see others where they are more organised, often through themes around the days of the week. What do you think? Do you like randomly timed published posts that just talk about what’s happening right now? Or do you prefer predictable and regular posts within a theme?

I just did a little brainstorming. Now I should say right here and now that any plans I may make to be more regular and predictable in my posting may not come to fruition. My motivation to post usually comes along with my crochet and knitting projects, and depends on the time and commitments I have on any particular day. Also I tend to resist setting goals and sticking to schedules (hmm, guess that’s where my kids get it from).

Looking around the internet for inspiration, there are ways to blog for each day of the week, such as Monday Makes, Tuesday Tips, Wednesday Workout, Thursday Thankfulness, Friday Fun, Saturday Scraps and Sunday Spirituality. (Those are just a few examples from the extensive list I’ve compiled.) Believe me, I have no plans to blog every day. I think it would feel like a chore if I tried to do that. Also I wonder whether losing the spontaneity of randomly timed posts would bother me; I’d have to start keeping notes of things I wanted to post about on the appropriate day.

I’d be interested in hearing your comments. Do you have a blog? Do you have a structure and schedule for posting? When you subscribe to a blog, what do you enjoy  most about it?  Thank you in advance for your input. 🙂