Mojo Revisited


If you remember, back in June, I mentioned I had lost my mojo for writing. Since that time, I’ve tried a few things to get it back, but my usual tips and tricks didn’t really work that well this time.

So what did I do?

I can tell you what I didn’t do. I didn’t push it. I was nice to myself. I didn’t say I had writer’s block. I didn’t say I was in a rut. I didn’t do or say anything that might indicate I was embarassed or ashamed of not writing.

So I crocheted.

A lot, actually. And I started a mailing list. And I wrote blog posts about crochet.And I decided I’m going to restart my YouTube channel.

You get the idea.

I was still being creative, I just wasn’t focused on writing. And that actually brings me to my point. (Yes, I do have one other than the fact that my mojo is coming back.)

I think it is important to have more than one creative outlet. If I didn’t crochet or do anything else, I would have obsessed over not writing. That would have made it worse for me, I’m sure. Having more than one creative outlet allows you to keep your creative well filled when it could otherwise become drained. It helps you prevent burnout when one outlet seems to run dry. 

Depending on what your creative outlets are, they can even inform and feed off of each other. Although I had lost my writing mojo, I still wrote, but I wrote about crochet. So you could say that crochet both informed and fed my writing. That’s a good thiung.

I stsill say I am primarily a writer, but I’m also fairly confident in saying I’m an avid crocheter/crochet artisan too.

What about you? What are your creative interests? Do you find they influence each other in any way?

Leave a comment and let’s talk.

Cluck, Cluck, Baby!

If you do any kind of yarn crafts at all, you might know about two odd-sounding phrases.

Frogging
Yarn chicken

For those who don’t know, or if you’re new to yarn crafts, let me explain a little bit.

Frogging

Frogs, toads, and the like make a ribbit sound. When you make a mistake or the pattern isn’t working or the yarn isn’t right for that pattern, you rip it. It sounds a lot like the sound a frog makes, rip-it. Pulling back/unraveling a project is said to be frogging it.

Yarn Chicken

This one is sometimes scary. I experienced it just two days ago. Yarn chicken is not a chicken made out of yarn. (Though there are some cute amigurumi chicken patterns available.) No. Yarn chicken is when you think you might not have enough arn left to finish your project without buying more, but you keep going. Sometimes you win. Simetimes you lose. Two days ago, I lost. But the project was large enough that I can call it done and it’s fine.

A Few Other Terms

HOTH/HOTN: Hot off the hook/hot off the needles – a project you just finished

WIP – work in progress

UFO – unfinished object

CAL/KAL/MAL/SAL – crochet-along, knit-along, make-along, stitch-along

I’m sure there are other terms that I’m not remembering at the moment, so if there’s something you don’t know, leave a question in the comments.

How Much Is Too Much?

This morning, I opened up WordPress to see if I had any comments to reply to from yesterday’s post. And there were none. Then I noticed there weren’t any because I didn’t publish it.

Oops!

I went in to publish it and it hadn’t been written.

Double oops!

So here is what I had intended to post yesterday.

How Much Is Too Much?

Center section of Planet Earth afghan

When do you know you have too many projects in progress? For me, it’s usually when there are more than two that are currently on the hook (for crochet).

I can juggle two projects without too much problem. One is usually a big project and the second is a smaller one that I can finish quicker and get that sense of “it’s done” satisfaction while I’m still working on the big one.

Right now, though? I’m not sure how many I have in progress.

  1. Serenity Shawl by TL Yarn Crafts.
  2. Peach Hana Triangle Shawl by BustingStitches.
  3. Monsters for Operation Monster Drop.
  4. A Study in Texture: Planet Earth by The Crochet Crowd.
  5. Headbands for my Etsy shop.
  6. Coasters for my Etsy shop.

I think that’s it. I’m not going to count the things I’m wanting to design that are in the thinking/planning process. Those aren’t on the hook yet, so they don’t count for this.

Ordinarily, I would say that this is too many projects. But… It doesn’t feel like it. It feels just right. I’m loving what I’m doing right now and I think that’s the key. When it starts to feel like it’s too much or overwhelming, that’s when there are too many things going and it’s time to pare back.

What about you? When do you know you have too many projects going? It doesn’t matter if it’s crochet, writing, painting, or something else entirely. Leave a comment and let’s chat.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?


How is that for a throwback to childhood and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood? But seriously wouldn’t it be great to have a large community of neighbors who are interested in what you have going on? I don’t mean in a nosy way, but in a genuinely interested way.

Sometimes I really do.

And the good thing about the internet is we can do that in many ways. True there’s Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, blogs like this…

But then…

A bad thing about the internet is that something that’s here today could be completely gone tomorrow. Then what do you do about those connections? How do you keep in touch with those contacts for whom you have NO contact information?

You don’t own your lists of friends online, no matter what social media platform you use.

Do you kno what you do own?

Your email contacts list.

And so that’s my point today. I would lie to invite you to be my virtual neighbor. Join my community. I’ll send you an email once a week, usually on Friday, to let you know what’s going on. I’ll include a link back to this blog in case there’s something you’ve missed. And you’ll be the first to know when something new is on the way.

(For example, there’s something new that my community list has known about for a couple weeks that I have yet to annouce here. I will soon, though.)

Because of some choices I made when I first set up this website, I can’t just pop a form in for you to fill out. What I can do is give you a link

See? I just did.

Yes, I’m being silly. But serously, you can click the link above or the image at the beginning of this post and sign up. For the rest of this month, you’ll get a free crochet pattern PDF in exchange for your email address. In August, it will be something different. I’ll switch it up between something for people more interested in writing and for people more interested in crochet.

I’m also going to be setting up a resource library here. There will be items of interest for writers and crocheters. I’ll work on that this weekend. It will be passsword-protected and the onl way to get the password will be to join the newsletter community.

Some of you may be thinking that you already subscribe to my blog, so why do you need to sign up for the community newsletter? Well, one reason is the resource library I just mentioned. Another reason is… What would you do if I had to move this blog and the subscriptions didn’t move with it? How would you know where I’d gone and where to find me?

Signing up for the community newsletter would keep you from wondering if I’d just dropped off the face of the planet….or got helplessly tangled up in a ball of yarn.

It could happen.

Free Pattern: Symmetrical Cuff with Ruffle

I had a rough week last week. Instead of going into details or trying to do a catch-up post, I decided I would just go ahead with this week’s post as planned.

I’ve been going through old patterns that I’ve made in the past. Some I’ve written myself, some I haven’t. This is one that I’ve written. I had found a pattern for a cuff that was meant to be worn under your jacket/coat. It had a ruffle to keep the wind from blowing up your sleeve. But… It was too froo-froo for me. I loved the idea, though, so I decided to see if I could come up with my own.

The result is on Ravelry as a free PDF, but I’m giving it to you here, too.

Symmetrical Cuff with Ruffle

Abbreviations:

ss – slip stitch
sc – single crochet
dc – double crochet
blo – back loops only
flo – front loops only

Materials:

Size H/5.0 mm hook
1 ball sport weight yarn
1 ball contrasting yarn for trip (optional)
Tapestry needle

Gauge:

4 rows = 2 inches, 4 stitches = 1 inch
Gauge is not crucial but is helpful.

Instructions:

Lower cuff:

Chain 30, join with slip stitch in the first chain to form a circle
Row 1: Ch 3, dc in each st around, join with ss in the 3rd ch
Rows 2-4: Repeat row 1
Fasten off and weave in ends.

Working in unused loops of the base chain, connect yarn with sc to any stitch. Sc around

Ruffle: 

Ch 3, working blo, 2 more dc in same space as join, *3 dc in ea st around, join with ss in the top of ch 3.
Fasten off and weave in ends.

Upper cuff: 

Row 1: Join in any st. Working flo, ch 3, dc in ea st around, join with ss.
Row 2: Working in both loops, Ch 3, dc in ea st around, join
Rows 3-6: Rep row 2
Fasten off and weave in ends.

Trim (optional)

Reverse sc in same or contrasting color around all edges.
Fasten off and weave in ends.

Repeat for 2nd cuff

If you have any questions about the pattern, please leave me a comment or send an email to jen@jennippsonline.com. This is one of my very first patterns, so there might be some mistakes in it.

Where Did My Mojo Go?

Today I had planned to invite you to subscribe to my newsletter. But the sign-up form isn’t playing nice with WordPress. So while I troubleshoot that, I thought I would share something else with you.

Even though I don’t usually talk about it online, it’s no secret I’ve been dealing with Wound Care for far too long. Because of that, my writing has kind of waxed and waned during the whole time. (It’s been five years and that doesn’t count the time I spent trying to take care of it myself.)

Now it’s come to a point where I have no writing mojo. None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

My creative efforts have gone to crochet and making a business around that (including blogging, designing patterns, etc.).

I don’t know that I want to get my mojo back. Is that wrong of me? But I have one book at a publisher that I have to finish edits on.

What would you do in such a situation?
Leave a comment below saying what you would do or have done when you needed to get your mojo back.

In the meantime, if you want to sign up for my newsetter, which will cover crochet and writing, email me your email address and I will add you to it. You’ll get a free PDF guide for taking care of different yarn fibers too.

It’s a Monster Invasion!

Have you ever seen someone come up with such a great idea that you wanted to be part of it? Not only that, you wondered how you could be part of it?

That’s me.

A couple weeks ago, I saw a post by a Facebook friend, BeLinda Creech. (She and her daughter CeCe were behind the Elephants for Joplin movement after an EF5 tornado destroyed much of Joplin, Missouri.) She was starting a movement to spread joy around the country.

Monsters were going to be a key part of that movement.

These are no ordinary monsters, though. None of your run-of-the-mill One-Eyed, One-Horned Flying Purple People Eaters here. No, sir! (Or Ma’am.)

BeLinda developed a knit pattern for a monster and posted it on Ravelry.

With support from Maker’s Mercantile, Operation Monster Drop was born. Since then, Amanda King developed a crochet pattern. (Both are available as free downloads in the Maker’s Mercantile shop. Link will open in a new window. NOTE: Please be aware the patterns are only free until the end of June.)

The original idea is to make monsters and leave them in random public locations for people to find. Each monster has a tag describing their mission (to spread joy) and a hashtag (#monsterdrop, #operationmonsterdrop) so the finder can post a picture to Facebook. That way, we can see where our monsters are spreading their joy.

Since Operation Monster Drop started, there have been knit monsters, crocheted monsters, sewn monsters, and even some silver monster pins (so cute!!). All spread their own unique kind of joy.

As BeLinda has said, the monster’s joy is actually double. How can that be, you wonder? It’s simple, actually. The monster brings joy to the person who makes it AND to the person who finds it.

How can you get involved?

Check out the Facebook page, The Monster Drop Project, download the pattern(s) (or come up with your own), and start dropping monsters.

It’s quite fun!

As of writing this post, I have dropped two monsters. They both went to the Wound Care clinic I go to.

One went home in a nurse’s pocket. The other had to get a compression wrap. Poor guy! But afterward, he went home with the Wound Care Specialist where he is getting plenty of TLC.

I have more monsters to make, so I’ll talk to you all later.

Happy crocheting!