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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

My Immobile Life

Word on the street is....when you have a lot of babies...you will most certainly face dire consequences as your body wears out from all the abuse you are heaping on it.  Because everyone knows...a uterus is like a disposable razor.  Only meant for a couple uses ;)  After that, it's worn out...shot...done for.  Right?

Or so I'm told. And this pregnancy just might have convinced me of this if I didn't know better because those last few weeks....

SUCKED!!!! Hard!!!

I've had a few questions I'll address here for my five readers, just to clear the air.

First, am I ok?  Yep.  Perfectly perfect.  The pelvic issues I had suck and dear lord, it hurts, but it does not cause me any long term harm.  I was immobile, pretty much, the last two weeks.  Before that, I still got around, just painfully.  And the truth is...I did *everything* wrong.  I should have known better.  As soon as I started showing, hell, before that, I should have limited my activity to a reasonable level.  That doesn't mean sitting on my duff doing NOTHING, but I really shouldn't have been tearing out walls, shoveling chicken poo, moving hog pens or getting attacked by aggressive goats.  There were so many things I could have done to prevent the pain I ended up in, but I was stubborn.  I felt fine, so I WAS fine in my mind and I shot myself in the...well...you know ;)  If there is a next time, I have been sufficiently scolded in a way my brain finally understands and I won't be doing stupid stuff when growing any future babies.  Lesson learned.

Also, this issue isn't about how many babies you've had.  Women get this with their first, second...and so on.  It's just a thing.  I am really excited that there's even a book (several actually) about this "thing" and in the UK it's such a "thing" that they have charities and websites around it's awareness. Bottom line, I'm not dying, there is much I can do to alleviate any future misery and I'm good.

Now, did any of that have anything to do with my NICU stay?  Uhm, no.  Not at all.  Corban had some issues with his lungs.  I don't know why.  I intend to research until my eyes bleed to get some answers, but my heart is really trying to brace itself for what I'll find.  I think I already know.  Interventions.  He needed to come when he was supposed to come, not evicted BUT supposedly he and I both had high blood counts upon his birth, so maybe he needed to come so he wouldn't get sicker.  I have no idea.  Those are answers I don't have yet, but there was a 19 year old year in the NICU with her first with the same round of issues.  Exact same.  One of those "shiz happens" moments that you just try to get through as best you can and let me tell you I handled it with way more grace than I would have when I was younger.  I was a basketcase over EVERYTHING and with this, I told myself (and I actually listened) "Take it one day at a time...one day...one hour...everything will be okay."

Nothing went as planned, but I am reminded as I follow a friend's blog....building a family is never some quick, easy, always joyous thing.  She's in China right now, adopting their baby boy and they are delayed because he had a mysterious rash that needed cleared up.  They knew they'd be there for two weeks, but that was extended until it was all sorted out.

Two weeks in a different country, with a different language, away from some of your children to bring home a new family member.  I had twoish weeks of sitting around, playing with yarn, being waiting on (which I freaking HATED, but not really a hardship).  I am again reminded of those who travel far and wide to bring home a child, those who spend months and years on a waiting list and spend far longer than two weeks just jumping all the hurdles to adopt here in the states and those who go through the lab rat scenario of doing IVF or any other medical thing to get pregnant...and realize, mine hurdle is somewhat minor.

The juice...yep...still worth the squeeze.  Were my issues something that could permanently damage my body...or if Corban was born with some "thing" that would be repeated....we'd be talking about changing course, but right now, we're still good to go.  Family fully intact, marriage still good, babies still cute.  We're good ;) (By the way....he was met with great fanfare.  I caught the two older girls discussing all the firsts they were excited to see again with their new baby brother.  My teenagers love my babies, though they are on the fence about toddlers and sassy 7 year olds...)

So on one of my last days, I decided to document what I did while I could barely move, for me....for the baby on his way into the world....for my children already here, so we could remember....

That it didn't last forever.  That having a servant heart is the path to blessing, that a short season can be a time of refinement even when you aren't DOING anything, but just being present in every single moment in a way you can't be when you are constantly moving...

All in all, as much as I was ready to be done with the nonsense of sitting...it wasn't that horrible.  I am super thankful I don't live a permanently immobile life, but maybe everyone should take some time to sit and smell the goodness of the lives they are blessed with......


When I first wake up I stretch, stand up very slowly, take care of business then listen for the sounds of any little person stirring.  When I hear silence I know it's okay to grab some yarny project.  I'd usually read my Bible but I can't find it, must be downstairs.  I only go down the stairs once....and up the stairs once...per day....for now...Right now I am alternating between making granny squares from scrap yarns and weaving in the ends of my big blanket I want to take to the hospital, just to keep things from boring me to tears.....




The girls are already up and milking the goat, which is their chosen farm chore.  Miraculously no one has argued over who does what because they all  had certain preferences for which chore belong to who.  Calla hears me walking around and asks if I want her to "make" (microwave) some breakfast.  She bought foodz, Eli brought coffee which I consumed upstairs this morning because I have several things I need to do up here before I come down for the day....




Soon, I start to have visitors.  A cuddle buddy (Noah), a show and tell, (Eli-he made this chicken all by himself) and someone who isn't quite sure what needs done before her meeting with Dad tonight because they've switched some days around for checking and assigning work.



And then the Roo monster woke up and "chicken littled" Cassidy.  This is what they call it when she sees them first thing and wants only them and no one else, not even Mom.  One day I got so frustrated with her not wanting ME when she woke up that I made everyone stay out of my room and wouldn't let anyone in until she "chicken littled" me.  She does this every morning.  If you happen to be the first one she sets her eyes on, well, tag, you're it....She will throw herself down and have one mighty fit if that person even THINKS about setting her down and walking away. It's weird.


Alright, now time to get some work done.  I have to fix a couple mistakes the girls made on their books, so I am using nail polish remover and q-tips to get the paint off..


I also have to glue in the pictures they drew onto the pages they go with.  When the girls used markers or watercolors, I had them draw on separate paper so that nothing would bleed through the pages.

And since we had no idea if I'd make it to the last few classes, I bagged up all the craft stuff and wrote out instructions for what we'd be doing each class so that a stand in teacher could just pick up my notes and go.


My little helper :)


All done, packed up and ready for my next class.  I felt like it was important to have everything all neat and tidy just in case labor happened and I had to pass my suitcase off to a sub.  I did end up missing the last two classes and I haven't heard anything bad so I am assuming they went well ;)

Now to check on the man-child.  He's been awfully quiet.  He's "caught" doing school.  Pefectly perfect.  Asks if I need anything.  Awesome.  
Now back to my room to start the big dig for some fabric.  Today I told the kiddos I'd walk them through how to make drawstring bags.  We ran out of time before they were totally done so we still need to finish them!


In the meantime Noah has gone potty and gets his bribe.  The bunny is Mom's but I just wasn't into sweets at the time so there it sat.  He got a lollipop. I'm not above bribing children when it works and when you are sick and tired of dealing with icky pants.  Incentive sounds better than bribe, but any way you cut it...it works.  His pants are clean.  


Finally we head down and Cassidy decides to make Ramen noodles for lunch, which....I hate because  it's not even food, in my opinion, but this is the very end of this season and Ramen it is.  I'll make them eat their weight in Brussel sprouts later.  


So I take the high road and eat a hot pocket.  Shut up.  It had broccoli in it.  


Then, WE GOT MAIL.  Not just envelope mail, but PACKAGE mail.  My order from SnugglePunkin has landed.  Oh my!! I did NOT order the bows.  Those were a freebie, which I didn't expect, but hey...no complaints here!!


And they were pretty and the kids loved them (see below) but these....oh my...these...When you've had a lot of children and don't technically NEED anything...and you have clothes and bottles and sheets and blankets, these are a very cool thing to order.  Burp cloths.  Very pretty ones, CUSTOM ones!  They are a pretty print on one side and very super soft terry on the other.  Let me tell you what, if my bean is going to spit up on me or drool or do something gross with snot, I'll still be smiling using THESE to clean up that nastiness.  Gorgeous and so affordable!


Aw, Noah loves the bow.  I personally think he rocks it!


And this picture didn't even GET the bow that she's sporting, but THAT FACE....sigh.  So cute!


Mom, I feel SOOOO Pretty!!!


After ten rounds of put the bow in and take the bow out...put the bow in and take the bow out, we were all sick and tired of the bows and bribe number 2 for the day came out.  "Peeps Big World..." which I always call "Peep Show..." and let me tell you what...It sounds really wrong to hollar down the stairs "Hey Calla, could you please put on the peep show for Roo?"  Yeah...


With toddlers happily distracted, we get down to business.  Showed them how to cut and sew and iron their bags....



Sat down while they did their thing on the machine and hollered at the walking q-tip to quit chewing my feet.  Thankfully he got busy licking something up off the floor....


Before I knew it....he was home....:) And wondered why the heck I was snapping a picture of him....


Worn out toddler!  Man, I hope she goes to bed okay tonight.  She's in between needing a nap and not needing a nap and she typically falls asleep way too late in the day!


We had dinner which I didn't document and then Dad did the Math routine.  Here, I'm pretty sure he's explaining to Kyle that all those pages ARE necessary because math is a  SKILL you need to PRACTICE in order to "get it..."  I hear this same conversation every single time they go over his assignments.  This time I"m like "Okay, just shush up.  No argument is going to get you out of it, so let's just skip that part...." He shut up.  


As they went through Math and then Bible study, I did this.  What I always do.  Keep those hands moving.


Then I wandered into the laundry room to switch it and took a quick glance...yep more laundry...needs done.  Those baskets should be empty if I was on top of things, which obviously I am not..Want to see??


No idea what has happened here?  I didn't SMELL any kind of explosives, but obviously some sort of bomb went off.  Such a total wreck.  This will be tomorrow's focus....


And then, Emory and I did a quick clean of the bathroom because it just wasn't clean enough for my liking.  I typically get so flipping tired of sitting by this time of night that I have to clean SOMETHING to keep my sanity intact.  


Before I head upstairs, I tidy my little couch nest for the next day, putting things back where they belong....


And tell Noah to pick out a book to bring upstairs...Apparently he's gone a bit pirate for this shot....and is still obsessed with the Halloween I-spy book despite owning 12 others.  No idea....

And then everyone piles into my room, loudly, jumps on the bed, tickling and screaming and going insane...because that's how they like to end the evening apparently...Jamie might be the biggest troublemaker of all and when he starts in, the whole crew just winds up SUPER fast ;)  Sometimes I mind...sometimes I don't....tonight, not too bad because they are filtering into the room in shifts instead of whole huge ball of craziness.


And tomorrow it will begin again....sit, knit, cuddle, talk....rinse, lather, repeat.

Looking back it wasn't HORRIBLE, but I do like being way busier during the day.  I like getting things DONE, getting my own coffee, being outside, etc, etc....

I end each day with a bit of quiet time in my rocking chair, reminding myself it won't be too much longer before I'll be up (half the night) and cleaning and sewing and creating and teaching...once again....











Thursday, May 1, 2014

Like They Do in Prison....

Y'all want to hear something incredible?  I'm 36 in a few months and I have never once had a speeding ticket (or any other kind of ticket, which I am pretty sure they give out for other random dumbass stuff people do in cars, but since I'm such a good driver, I am not entirely sure what all you can get these for....)

And now....I'll probably get one, but I digress.

I think the entire idea behind breaking the law and losing your freedom has always intrigued me somewhat.  It's like you lose the right to be a person when you've been naughty in the eyes of the law and quite frankly, as independent as I am, this concept terrifies me.

Yet...I've been pregnant 9 times now and it seems there are some parallels that people don't tend to talk about.  Once you start growing another human, your own humanity gets shoved a little to the left (or right I guess, if you're left-handed) and you start to become very conditioned in giving up your rights for those of another....and maybe that's not entirely a bad thing because parenthood is full of these types of sacrifices.

However, there's a huge difference between having half your dinner picked at by a toddler and feeling violated while you gestate another human being.  Some things that women go through while pregnant are just so routine that we never really ask why....and yet...we should.  We really should because the experience really is formative as we enter into motherhood.

I've experienced the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to childbirth and it's taken so many years to finally get to a point where I can talk about why I feel the way I do about the things I feel strongly about.....but even after getting to this point, I still feel somewhat under-confident in actually....really....and truthfully...."putting my foot down..."

Today.

Today I had to call my doctor's office because I have a weekly check-up, which was honestly scheduled on a bad day anyways.  I was going on Fridays because that is the ONLY day Jamie really can take me and he wants to be there and at this point whether or not he wants to be there is moot because I cannot drive myself. So we moved heaven and earth to make a Thursday appointment and then last night, as I turned over in bed.....CRUNCH.  Oh my God.  Can you GET a Charlie horse in your BACK?  I couldn't move.  And so I got up this morning like "Shit, really?"  I sat on this stupid massage thing I bought a few weeks ago, hoping it would help but everytime the buzzing thing hit a certain point, the muscles went into full on spasm.  I have thrown something out.  And so I needed to get into the chiropractor TODAY, but....I have an appointment at the doctor and unfortunately I cannot duplicate myself.  (Which by the way, I knew where I was going and then remembered I flippin hated this guy last time.....and now I need to find someone else after having already cancelled my appointment....and I cannot even get that appointment made because my phone went dead....I cannot get my shit together to save my life these days....totally not like me..)

Again, I digress.

So I call and ask if I need to reschedule this appointment or just show up for induction if we are doing that and I'm put on hold and The Good Doctor gets on the line and asks what I've done to throw my back out.  I wish it were something awesome like....well....nevermind (wink) but Jamie was asleep when it happened so I have no wonderful excuse (and y'all know me, I wouldn't tell you anyways.  I'll let the fact that we are still having children speak for itself in terms of how satisfying my romantic life is...) And he asks "You going to let me check your cervix..." and I say "Why?" because honestly I don't have a clue why this is routine (more on that later) and he laughs (he laughs a lot...Jamie just loves him) and then....the social filter...which is completely gone now...just completely implodes and I admit, I've been planning THIS blog for a bit now.  I say "I've actually been planning to write a blog about routine cavity searches in late pregnancy..." OH MY GAWD.  I said that.  OUT LOUD. "Cavity searches....." You know, like they do in prison.  Clearly, I've lost my mind.  But in some ways...maybe I haven't because I've been thinking about this A LOT and here's what I do not understand.....

Why?  What is the point of this routine thing that's done at the end of pregnancy?  So I thought back to my first few children and realized at one point, this kind of check was reassuring.  My body was doing something.  Towards the end, the doctor can tell you that you are "softening up..." or even dilating and I think when you feel like it will never, ever end it's good to hear that it can....it will...it's already coming to a close.

The thing is, I just don't need that kind of reassurance anymore.  It really doesn't matter what my cervix feels like today.  I am not having regular contractions. I am not having ANY signs of imminent labor, so really whatever is going on in there isn't something I need to know.  Nor does anyone else.  It's information for information's sake and I honestly don't see the point.  Everything in that area of my body is in such excruciating pain that I see avoiding those checks as self-preservation.

And then there's that elephant in the room that no one mentions.....your cervix is internal, as in, inside your vagina.  To be as blunt as possible, I do not, nor will I ever want that area touched unless absolutely necessary by anyone....that's not Jamie.  Necessary being for tests that tell me I don't have cancer or you know...a baby coming OUT, not "to see what's going on in there..."  Like, seriously my brain cannot even begin to make sense as to why most women just see this as routine and okay.  It's like that story about the girl who always cuts the end off her rump roast before putting it in the pan and her husband asks why...and she doesn't know....just the way she saw her Mom do it.  So the husband asks the mother why she does that and she....doesn't know...just the way HER mom did it.  So they ask the grandmother and she answers "Well I did that because my pan was so small, a big roast never would fit...."  We do things and accept things as they way they've always been done and never really ask why...but now in my old age and wisdom, I simply want to know...."Why?"  And when that question is answered "Just to see..." it's just not good enough.

I'm not crazy, or a prude, or some sort of medical anarchist.  But I am a lady.  And I feel like taking my pants or skirt off, then my underwear....wrapping myself in a sheet and waiting for someone to exam me internally....better be life or death (Life=birth, death=pap smear)

And so, I worry, of course....that I've crossed that line (cavity search may have been too...uhm...what's the word I'm looking for here?  I'm at a loss) but the good news is, the doctor wasn't present my first visit when they did my first ultrasound and I pretty much said that since I didn't play with plastic sex toys at home, I certainly wasn't allowing them to probe me with one in the office.  Yeah, I did.  Sorry to all those who really want those early ultrasounds.  Again, I don't see the point.  Either the baby is doing well or it's not and seeing that on a screen makes no difference in the outcome.  Unless they can DO something about the outcome, I just really don't see the point (again, unless we are talking life and death, I do understand there are exceptions, but a good look at the numbers will tell you how remote the need is for such things)

I suppose I should be long passed (past) the worry that I'll look weird though right? I mean I've already crossed THAT line many times over and well, people still like me, so there's that...

And speaking of which, I promised that my NEXT blog would be about yarn things, and I promise, I'm getting there.  I just had a lot to say (nah, really?) and lots of pictures to take....and then, well, there's that weird thing again because the amount of crap I've cranked out in the past few weeks is a little disturbing (As an aside, I cannot believe they do not have a Project Linus chapter here!  Need to do a little re-configuring on my charity aspirations.  I know there are a LOT of good ones, but being local is really important to me, because well....I live HERE and I want to make a difference where I am....)

Stash and Leftovers and Scraps, OH MY!

So we all know.....it's just a fact of life....that if you become a crafter or artist of any kind....there's an inevitability of.....

Stash.

It happens.  Big or small.  Materials you need for your creations accumulate, especially if you tend towards the thrifty side and find yourself buying ahead for projects that you don't currently have the time for, but know you will in the future.  While some people advocate a type of minimalism that discourages this sort of thing, I tend to disagree for ME.  While I like things very neat and tidy and can get very easily overwhelmed by "stuff" I have found way too big a savings in purchasing ahead to just eschew this method of obtaining supplies.

(So just real quick. I'll give you an example.  The blanket my husband currently sleeps with took 16 skeins of Bernat Waverly yarn which to buy right now is $4.49 per skein.  I purchased it for .88 per skein.  So $71.84 verses $14.08.  I'd say that's a no brainer. Considering how many blankets I have made and intend to make, it behooves me to purchase yarn when it gets marked down that low)

But I digress.  This post isn't about stash...it's about what's left after USING those pristine, perfectly wrapped skeins of beautiful yarn.

The Leftovers.  And the Scraps.  And yes, I differentiate between the two of them. My definition?

Leftovers- When you have enough, uhm.....leftover...to use in a different project.  I consider substantial amounts, like a full skein or a little less, depending on the size of the original ball of yarn. For example in this blanket I recently finished, the two greys were skeins that had 300+ yards to begin with and I still have a good amount left.  I will be able to use these two yarns again in a project I already have in mind, as an accent, not a main color


Scraps:  Well, these...

I usually bag my scraps by color, rather than size, which will change when I get my dang pretzel jars!!


and these:

I throw all my little balls of scrap into this basket until it's full, then I put them into ziplocs.


I've seen so many posts on Ravelry....."What do I do with my scraps?  They bother me...seems like such a waste to throw them away...." and there are LOTS of good suggestions as to what to do with them, but for me, I needed a method.

(I'd like to interrupt this blog with a VERY IMPORTANT MESSAGE from our blogger.  Please, no matter what you do DO NOT THROW THOSE SCRAPS AWAY because you aren't interested in using them.  SOMEONE will want them.  If you have no clue and feel all burdened, email me or leave a comment and I will take them and find someone to use them.  I use every last inch and this blog will prove it! Also, I'm assuming if you do anything with yarn, you are on Ravelry and you can post scraps for free, free for shipping or for sale and you will find someone who wants them.  The group I started The Scrap Swap, although terribly inactive, in the perfect place or Scrap Happy, a group dedicated to busting through scraps.  Point being, someone WILL want them!)

In order to deal with my massive accumulation of scraps and leftovers, I diligently searched through post after post on Ravelry and eventually started to work out my system for dealing with the extraneous little bobs and bits of yarn that were taking up precious stash space.

This post is going to be long and picture heavy, but hopefully helpful for some of you out there, so please bear with me.

Truth #1- Even small scraps can add up to something substantial.  Let's take a look:

Pretty little hexagon.  Make a bunch of these and you have one gorgeous, colorful blanket.  Now, for the good of the blog I painfully ripped this all out to show you how itty bitty those pieces of yarn really are!

Teeny, tiny, itty bits of yarn make up that hexy!



Truth #2- You have to know, in advance, what projects you WILL do....like for real.  I see suggestions all the time about scrap busting/stash busting projects I just cannot and will not do. I see pictures of these "scrapghans" that while inventive and very useful, for sure, I wouldn't be able to make myself.  It would drive me BATTY to make something where colors change mid-row and where the color order is so random, using both solids and variegated colors, that it looks like all the colors were thrown into a blender and pureed.  My eyes just can't handle that particular asthetic of scrappiness.  I need more control in color placement, thus my method.

For me, my obsession and the project I will always be working on is blankets.  I love ripple afghans and granny squares and anything that allows me to play with color.  I will not be making small toys with my scraps and I have no desire to make an entire sweater out of small balls of yarn, so those are out FOR ME.  However, the same principles of using scraps for substantial projects apply across the board.  This is where math comes in. You have to know the weight of the item you want to make.  It's important :)

The "thing" I make the most are ripple blankets from baby size on up to twin sized (sometimes...very rarely.)  Having a postage scale to know the weights of my finished objects helps tremendously, but once you get the hang of using your scraps, you'll find you don't really need the scale.  I can now eyeball leftover balls and see what the scrap can be used for.  I use fruit references to determine how each scrap will be used. More on that  below!

I know this amount can do one, maybe two stripes on a standard toddler sized ripple, which is the size I make the most.  I got EXACTLY two stripes out of it with like 3 inches left for a tail.  This method has really worked well for me.


Some other things I make produce scraps I really have no interest in using, namely, my natural fibers.  I still do make sweaters and clothing type things and because they require special care, I don't want to mess with creating anything with the leftovers.  I toss these into a bag to give away once the bag is full, because like with anything else in crafting, these are PERFECT for someone else's big idea!!

Now for Melissa's Method of Using All the Scraps:

First, whatever is left gets wound into balls.  I can visually determine where to put my leftovers/scraps by how big the ball gets and this works for me because I work with worsted weight 85% of the time.  For anything thicker or thinner, it gets its own bag and I save those up separately.

So now I have bags of balls.  In all different sizes....I call them:

Grapefruit- Big enough to get used in a color controlled ripped, goes into the bins with my regular stash, so no pictures of these.

Orange- Big enough for one to two stripes in a scrap ripple and I also do color controlled projects with this.  So bright colored "oranges" would be added to a bright ripple and warm colors, likewise.  That's the beauty of crochet rather than knit!  You can add to projects without losing a needle like you do when knitting a blanket.  Simply tie off your color and wait for the next.

This is a bright scrap ripple made with oranges :)  I fill up this cute little metal basket with the colors I have accumlated and work from them until I run out!


Plum- Big enough for a three to four round granny square on an H hook.

I love making big piles of granny squares.  No idea what they'll be yet, but I feel very accomplished when I work though a whole bag of plums.


Apricot- The perfect size for a block of in my on-going "Long Live the Scraps" (Also color controlled...brights/neutrals/pastels/or any combo YOU like)

Long Live the Scraps is one of the coolest scrap patterns out there.  The small tiny balls you use really add to the blanket in a significant way!


Grape- Tied into Magic Ball, also color controlled (Control issues much)  So when I just have a bit left I will use (link join) to add to the colored ball I already have going.  Purple scraps gets tied into the purple ball, yellow into yellow.....you get the picture ;)
This balls really are super tiny, but tied together they start to add up quickly!
Four little "grapes" before joining with the Double Knot Join


Very small magic yarn ball, which I then crocheted....

Color controlled granny square.  I am thinking a ripple with either a black or white between colors would look awesome with these magic balls!
Into a granny square.  You really can do anything you want with these....I prefer to do a monochromatic type thing, but if you love a rainbow you can just tie any color into another and have a ball with colorplay!

Here's a picture of all the different sizes of scraps I use:

Okay here we have from left to right: Oranges (stripes in a ripples), plums (granny square or sometimes can be ONE stripe in a ripple), apricots (these are for my long live the scraps) and grapes (tied into magic ball).

Now, word to the wise.  If you are gifted scraps from someone else and they are wound into balls, always rewind them.  This is because YOUR tension will be different and if you use this method of eyeballing sizes, it's important that all the balls are wound by the same person :)


True SCRAP like less than 12 inches....into a ziploc.  Yes, even those itty bitty teeny weeny scraps have a use   Some people will actually tie all these tiny scraps together, leave the tails and make some rather funky, crazy projects, using all the ends popping out as a design element.  Clever if you can pull it off!  I think it would make me insane.  There is also talk of birds loving these tiny scraps to help build their nests and I think that is awesome.  Here on my property, however, they need no help from me because we have a huge variety of nest building material and when I tried this I didn't see any evidence of them being used despite having many, many nests on our property. (No worries about my love for the birds though.  We do have a LOT of scrap wood from remodeling and have been building birdhouses with them.  We only have one successfully installed, but within days of it going up a bluebird was happily living in there. Now that we know they are habitable where we put them and how we built them, many more will be going up.)  For me, the perfect use for all those scraps (and I kick myself for not saving these before!! I always tossed them) is for stuffing.  While I won't use the scraps to make a little tiny animals with my scrap yarns, I do occassionally make some knit animals and honestly, yarn scraps make the PERFECT stuffing.  Even more so than the cotton batting you typically buy.  Acrylic yarns scraps inside an acrylic knit stuffie works well! The stuffing is loose and freely inside, making the stuffing feel better and if that animal ever needs washed, those yarns ends behave much better in the washer and dryer than batting does (Have you ever washed a pillow?  Man, that crap gets all bunchy and weird)  Another thing I actually have done is allowed my younger children to do art with the yarn scraps and they had a ball. Just get some cardstock and white glue and show them how to draw with the glue and "color" with the scraps.  Those pictures turned out pretty cool and I wish I had pictures to prove it, alas, I do not.

Now...how does one organize all this craziness?  My grand plan was to use these awesome pretzel jars we get every two weeks....because they are clear, large and would make a perfect display and eventually, oh yes....eventually I WILL have enough of these containers to do this, but for now you might remember that my children have some sort of religious objection to lids and even though I've pleaded every two weeks "Hey guys PLEASE keep the lid for this one...." and even though I'll pass through the kitchen and see that there are like 7 pretzels left and the lid is still present....and get all kinds of excited that this is the time I WILL get that pretzel container....it still hasn't happened for me yet.  When I do, I plan to put pretty labels on them that specify which "fruit" is in the jar and a reminder of what I do with them (like Apricot-Granny Squares)  For now, I put all my scrap balls into that big basket as I accumulate them and when that basket starts getting pretty full I will sort through them and put them into the appropriate ziploc bags.  I try to keep a scrap project going at all times and then I'll also pull out a bag and just do a granny making session.

Obviously the ongoing blankets are completed as soon as they reach the appropriate size, but for the granny squares, I just keep making them and once I have enough to do something with, I'll decide then.  I'll either do a main color like white around a huge bunch of colors, or maybe I'll just do a monochrome project....who knows?? :)

Now for bigger leftovers, which we also tend to accumulate, I use a certain method that employs the use of a postal scale and counting stripes and knowing what a finished project of mine weighs and well, it's complicated, BUT I can point you to a fantastic blog that explains this much better than I can!

Linda74 on Ravelry, who writes the blog Alotta Stitches makes ripple blankets for foster children with both thrifted yarn and donations she gets, so very often, she gets partial skeins and needs to work out how to use these skeins to make a bigger project.  She came up with two methods.  The Scrandom and the Scrimple and they are absolutely brilliant.  You can apply the weight method to any project really.  If you want to make a women's XL sweater in a worsted weight you can simply look up a pattern, get the estimated yardage and weight of the finished project and then weigh enough of your leftovers to be equal (actually you'll want a bit more than you need) to that weight and go for it!

So that's how I handle and use the scraps I either accumulate or am gifted with.  I love, love, love working with color and using every available inch of yarn I can to make beautiful things.  There are many methods of scrapbusting and this is mine.  I hope it was helpful to someone out there and maybe, just maybe, I've saved some beautiful scraps from the tragedy of being thrown away before they reached their full potential!!