The 2014 Crochet Games of Ancient Greece

In the forums of the website Crochetville there’s a sort of contest or competition going on during the Sochi Winter Olympics. It’s called the 2014 Crochet Games of Ancient Greece and is open to any crocheter on the planet. During the Games crocheters from around the world will work on a crochet project of their choosing, starting at the time of the Opening Ceremony and finishing at midnight the day of the Closing Ceremony. The deadline for joining is the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Games.

I think it’ll be a lot of fun. I decided to join. One of the requirements is to pick something challenging, and I certainly did that. In honor of my brothers’ Cosmic Wombat Games All Us Geeks Stones of Fate Contest and Kickstarter Campaign this month, I decided to crochet their logo, the Cosmic Wombat. Image

This will be challenging as I don’t have a pattern so will have to make one up. Also there’s color changes, which I’ve never done in an amigurumi (which are almost always crocheted in spirals or unjoined rounds). I’ve only ever done color changes when working in rows or joined rounds. So I get to learn something new. Also I have to figure out how I’m going to do the space helmet (I haven’t decided yet, but I do have some ideas). And then there’s the time limit. All in all this project should prove very interesting and definitely challenging. I can’t wait to start! I will be posting my progress a few times during the games, so stay tuned.

Here’s a picture of a wombat I crocheted to get me started. It worked up very quickly. I was rather surprised about that. I used regular worsted weight or 4-ply yarn and an F or 3.75mm hook. I find using a smaller hook size with amigurumi enables me to crochet tight enough that the stuffing doesn’t show through (and I normally crochet with a tight tension). I’m thinking that sometime in the future I might tweak this pattern and make other animals with it. If you would like to make one yourself, you can find the pattern here: http://amysodyssey.wordpress.com/2009/10/26/wombat-amigurumi/ ImageIf you want to be sure to read my updates on my progress subscribe to my blog over on the left sidebar. You can subscribe by RSS feed to your feed reader or you can get the blog posts emailed to you. Also, if you have any comments or suggestions for my project, please tell me in the comments. And finally, if it’s not too late and you want to join the Crochet Olympics, hurry over to Crochetville and register as an athlete. Then come back here and let me know so I can go read what your project is and root for you during these Games! Enjoy crocheting and enjoy the Olympics!

Stones of Fate Contest

Stones of Fate Contest Graphic

Two of my brothers, Jeff and Nathan Cornelius, started a company called Cosmic Wombat Games. They publish tabletop games. They said their mission is to increase the amount of fun in the world. Right now they are working on a game called Stones of Fate. It’s a card game with beautiful artwork and simple play. If I can play it, anyone can. Just ask my brothers — I don’t normally like games, but I played this one and have been thinking about what strategy I am going to use when I play it next. So if it can keep me interested, it will keep anyone interested. It will definitely not be too boring or hard for you!

They plan to raise money to publish the game on Kickstarter. They will be launching their Kickstarter campaign later this month and as a sort of preview they are partnering with All Us Geeks to give away two signed prototype copies of Stones of Fate as well as one grand prize which will be a signed prototype copy of Stones of Fate, one 4-day badge to Gen Con 2014, and one deluxe mahogany box.

So head on over to All Us Geeks and enter the contest. It will close February 17. After you enter the contest there’s lots to do until the Kickstarter campaign opens February 20. You can check out the Kickstarter page and give the designers feedback on it. Then you can head over to Board Game Geeks to read posts from Jeff Cornelius about it and leave him more feedback. After that, you can watch a teaser video. Finally you can visit Cosmic Wombat Games site or Facebook page. Let the company and designers know what you think about the game! And don’t forget to enter the contest. I hope you win something!

How I Got Started With Crochet

My favorite hobby is crochet. I learned how to crochet in December, 1993. So, I’ve known how to crochet for 20 years now. In that amount of time I’ve gotten to be quite good. I’d tried to learn as a teenager but had gotten frustrated and thought it was boring. I didn’t try again until college. My freshman year I met my best friend. She loved reading and books as I did, she liked science like I did, and she also liked to crochet and knit. I knew how to cross-stitch, but didn’t know how to either crochet or knit. She was working on a crochet project that first semester, and as I watched her crochet, I became interested. I didn’t want to admit I didn’t know how to crochet, so when I went home that Christmas break, I asked my mom to teach me how to crochet. I wanted to go back to college and crochet with my friend and pretend I had always known. When I got back to school I waited until my friend took out her crocheting, and I calmly took mine out too. Apparently my little deception worked. Years later I was surprised to learn that she never knew I didn’t know how to crochet before that first Christmas break. I’d have thought all those questions I had about reading and following patterns while I was still in the beginner stage would have tipped her off. On her part, she was surprised to learn that she had been my inspiration for learning.

My Original Three Granny Squares

Technically, I had learned to crochet in eighth grade. As part of a Home Ec class (short for Home Economics) we had to crochet granny squares. I made three, each a different size, though they weren’t supposed to be. My tension was not consistent (something that comes with practice). I got frustrated and gave up and subsequently forgot everything. So I had to relearn everything when I got interested in college. It did make a big difference learning because I wanted to versus learning because I had to as part of a school assignment.

I Learned the Basic Stitches Making This "Washcloth"

I Learned the Basic Stitches Making This “Washcloth”

So when I asked my mom to teach me to crochet, I started with the basic stitches: chain stitch, slip stitch, single crochet, half double crochet, and double crochet. I don’t remember if I learned the treble crochet (I always think of it as triple crochet) then or not. After I worked rows of sample stitches, mostly single and double crochet, I felt ready to try a project. I found a doily pattern I wanted to try. I’m sure it was too hard for a beginner, but I didn’t know that and dived in. Perhaps that was why my friend didn’t know I had only just learned to crochet — one doesn’t expect a beginner to crochet a doily or even crochet with thread for that matter.

My First Doily. The discoloration and hole are from water damage from having it under a plant for a few years.

My First Doily. The discoloration and holes are from water damage from sitting under a plant.

I successfully completed the doily and found out I loved working with thread. And while I do crochet with yarn, I still crochet with thread quite a bit. For some reason it relaxes me and gives me more enjoyment than yarn does. I’ve made many projects since and have even made my own patterns. This challenges me and keeps me interested. I don’t think crochet is either difficult or boring now. I love it!

How about you? Do you like to crochet? Do you know how? If so, when and how did you learn? If not, would you be interested in learning? Comment below and tell me your story!

I Love Crochet!

A baby afghan I made.

A baby afghan I made. I had a lot of fun learning how to make the raised daisies.

I love to crochet! It’s my favorite hobby. I finally decided that instead of letting my blog go silent for months and months at a time while I thought of something worthy to say, I would just blog about things I like, like crochet. At first I didn’t think I had anything to say about crochet, but after sitting down and making a list of ideas I found I some things to blog about. So I’m restarting my blog – again.

First up is my Pinterest board about crochet. I love thread crochet the most. I love the fact that it’s lacy and dainty and elegant. I love beauty, and crochet can certainly be beautiful. I also love crochet flowers and Irish crochet. So check out my board: http://www.pinterest.com/rachelbicha/crochet/. Some of the things are things I find beautiful while others are projects I would like to try. I also made a board of some crochet humor I found on the Internet and Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/rachelbicha/crochet-humor/. And I am also in the process of making a board of projects I’ve done. I also have plans to make a board about my patterns. Enjoy!

I Fixed My Google Chromecast!

You can see the little reset button in the photo.

You can see the little reset button in the photo.

I fixed my Google Chromecast ALL BY MYSELF! This may not sound like much, but I don’t consider myself to be a tech person. I’ve always depended on other people like my husband or brother to fix tech problems for me. But when it stopped working and no one was around who could help me, I managed to fix it myself. I am so proud of me!

I use my phone to watch Netflix on the TV with the chromecast. Well, for some reason it stopped working. It gave me an error message: 16003. It said that it couldn’t send my selection to the TV, so please select something else or try again later. I did, but it gave me the same error message with everything I picked and every time I tried. And no amount of rebooting the phone, stopping the app and restarting it or unplugging the Chromecast and replugging it in would fix it.

So I did an Internet search. I found several sites of people complaining about the same problem but no solution given until I found one — one site, which said to log into Netflix and sign out of all devices, then do a factory reset on the Chromecast from the app on your device. I had no idea what this meant. But I did manage to figure it out, so in case you ever have this problem, I am writing what I did, so you will know what to do.

I logged into Netflix and went to “Your Account” and towards the bottom there was a list of links, and the last one was “Sign out of all devices.” Interestingly enough, this was the easiest part, and also the only part that I could find any kind of explanation for.

Next, I was supposed to do a factory reset on the Chromecast. I couldn’t figure out how to do this at first. According to the Internet there’s supposed to be a factory reset button or at least reset options in the settings menu or your Chromecast app, but on my phone there wasn’t. But it turns out there’s an actual button on the Chromecast device itself. The button is small, and if I had not unplugged the device from the back of my TV I would never have found it. I pressed the button and held it for 25 seconds. Then I plugged it back in.

When I did this, the TV screen went black. I thought for sure I’d broken it now. So I unplugged the Chromecast device and plugged it back in, and this time the TV screen came on, showing the Chromecast main screen, but I had to set it up again, just like the first time I plugged it in. Fortunately it gave me a website to go to that had easy to follow step-by-step instructions, so setting it up was no problem.

I still couldn’t watch Netflix from my phone, however. It gave me another error message, this time 16001, time out error. I couldn’t figure out how to fix it, and after searching the Internet in vain, even using Google’s help page for the Chromecast, I was really frustrated. I decided to use Google’s help page to send an email asking for help. I needed the serial number, and page told me where to find it on the Chromecast device. I had to unplug to get it. But I never sent that email, because when I plugged the Chromecast back in, this time it worked! And it’s been working ever since. So I don’t know why unplugging it twice after the factory reset worked, but it did. What I do know is I fixed it!