Wednesday, 10 December 2014

SAL Wednesday : Intervention

Tarot of the Magical Forest

I have been absent because I have been feeling very low and dejected, owing to a combination of circumstances - not least of which was completing Mini Diva's Wilde cardigan and being quite unhappy with the result. I might be brave (or resigned) enough to post about it on Friday.

My MIL is our Secret Santa recipient this year, and I determined to make her a gorgeous cardigan. After overcoming such obstacles as picking the color (I took advice from two of my SILs, so I have others to blame if it is wrong) and measurements (again, a devious SIL achieved this - you may admire and envy my foresight, see previous brackets), spending hours searching for exactly the right yarn in terms of weight, color etc to find it and then discover JUST before I clicked the 'buy' button - thank the gods - that it was handwash only .... as I say, all this was overcome, and I selected 9 balls of Sirdar Wool Rich Aran in 'Powder Blue' at what I thought was a really reasonable cost of £43.

So, given the (reasonable yet expensive-for-me) cost of the yarn and for whom it is destined, I spared no effort, and did this:

No, it's OK, I'll wait while you pick your jaw up from the floor.

Yes, it's another swatch. The third in as many months, at least. 

Is it a sign that I am irrevocably doomed to a sensible and unexciting future of being an Engineer rather than an Artiste ? 

Might there be hope for me yet to go back to those freewheeling days of yore when I cared not a snap of my fingers for gauge, where I revelled in the thrill of living right on the Raggedy Edge, when we did not know if something would fit until it was actually Put On.

Oh yes - the swatch results: I got 19 st x 24 rows on 4.5mm needles when the pattern requires 18 st x 28 rows.

What do you mean, did I do another one on different size needles ? 

Are you CRAZY ? 

I'm too busy swigging gin and waiting for you to do an Intervention.

Pop over to Gracey's, to see what else is going on in the mad dash to Christmas .....

Friday, 28 November 2014

Friday Finishes 4: Underwater Cables

Fantastic Menagerie Tarot

Well, I've been twiddling my thumbs a bit aimlessly this week - I've completed Mini Diva's Wilde, except for the buttons - I couldn't find any I liked in the right size, so I blew caution (and cash) to the wind and have ordered a custom set.

I couldn't start the next item on my Xmas gift list as I was waiting for the yarn to be delivered.

So I was really looking for something that was quick and simple to occupy myself in the inbetween times. But I didn't have anything that fitted the bill in my Queue - apart from some fingerless mitts, and I just didn't want to make them: I can knit magic loop, but I don't enjoy it, especially the start.

So I took some yarn my sister had decluttered to me, and a new hot water bottle, and 2 days later we have this:

I'm not entirely sure what the yarn is - it arrived as something that had been knitted in the round but at some point had got unintentionally Moebiussed; during her most recent visit, my MIL had ravelled it all back into a ball for me, so it was once again usable. Anyway. I think it is James C.Brett Marble Chunky MC8 - my sister rarely used anything lighter in weight than a chunky.  

I surfed the stitch patterns over at the marvellous resource that is the Knitting Fool until I found one I liked, cast on using 5.5mm needles ....and hey presto - a completed Xmas gift. Now, while you go check out other lovely things at Chris Knits, I need to go get started on my MIL's Xmas gift, a cabled cardigan - which as you can see means I have no more time to fritter away with you here, much as you know I love you.

Friday, 21 November 2014

FF 3: Christmas Santa Tea Cosy

Prairie Tarot

So remember my recent paranoia ? Well, no need for it any more - the project is completed, and thanks to my Eviller Twin has been turned into a PDF and watermarked and fingerprinted and biometriced and all kinds of things. Well, OK, not biometriced and probably not fingerprinted  ... but you get the idea.

Over in my Folksy shop you will find two marvellous seasonal tea cosies if you want to buy one ready-made - if they are sold out, commission me to make you one. 

Also the pattern is there, if you want to make one yourself and of course is available through my Ravelry store as well. 

Yes, see it and weep with gratitude - that is TWO types of novelty yarn, snowflake and eyelash, so this pattern will help you to use up those odds and ends in the Stash-That-Must-Not-Be-Mentioned ie. the stuff we bought when we were tripping drunk knitting noobs uninfected with yarn snobbery.

I'm proud of this idea and how I turned it into actuality, but I have to tell you that being a slave to tea cosy creation is no walk in the park - already I have 2 more ideas bouncing around which will most likely wait til after Xmas now ....

While I recover from the exhaustion gulping air like a drowning frog, pop over to Chrisknits for more Friday Finishes .....

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Wednesday's Child ....

Ansata Tarot

.... is full of woe. And I mean overflowing with rageful woe.

I was all prepared to give you a little contented chuntery post today, but instead my whole day has been completely derailed, as in, a complete train-wreck, by this:

It switches on, but the touchscreen is of course obviously useless. 

Yes, you're right, it isn't as bad as ... say  ... losing your internet. But I am in no mood for your words of comfort and mitigation, I am the mardiest thing that was ever mardy.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Friday Finishes 2: Sweet Dreams

Shadowscapes Tarot

I am afraid this is only a little post today - TABI's AGM is coming up soon (I am currently co-Chair), and we are discussing the future path of our Ezine, as well as all the other reports from the various areas of the organization; added to this, I am collecting three 9-year old boys from school, herding them home, feeding them, and making sure they are ready to go to their school disco on time. After the disco, I predict late-night mayhem, as Destructo Boy's friends are also staying for a sleepover.

What's that ? 

Have a little nip of gin ? 

Two, you say ?

Why, yes, yes, I believe I will, thank you.

Meanwhile, this is Sweet Dreams, a Boo Knits pattern; made with Artesano 4ply Alpaca in the colorway 'Sweetpea' and using lots and lots of size 6/0 rainbow translucent beads. 

The pattern is fairly straight-forward as long as you remember to check things like if the stitch-markers move, or else you will have to tink back. Oh yes, that's how I know.

If you squint for a while, you can see the beads. Whatever I did, I could not get a photo that really showed them up.

To see things that do not require squinting, head over to my friend Chris' blog, where she is hosting 'Friday Finishes' which is replacing the old 'FO Friday' ....

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

WIP Wednesday: In the Grip of The Muse

Victorian Romantic Tarot

I know, I know - you've been grateful for the moment's silence, but too much of a good thing is bad for you, right ? So I'm back. I was quiet because Mini Diva has been far less Mini and far more Diva recently, and my mental equilibrium - always a bit wobbly and teetering on the edge at the best of times - took a bit of a knock.  

Add that to my recent travails with Melpomene, merciless muse of Tragedy, and I didn't have much to write that wasn't as dreary as a sober politician telling the truth.

Fortunately - I hope - her sister Thalia, muse of Comedy, came along, and thus I am immured once more in the creative process. I will never look at a tea cosy in the same way again - and neither will you, if I have my way, and you keep coming back to read.

I sepiad (yes, it is a word now) the photo because I am paranoid - don't you know that people are desperate to steal my amazeballs ideas and with them, conquer the world of novelty tea cosies ? Well, no, probably they are not. It'd be like clowns fighting. But I did say 'paranoid'.

Anyway, you can see that Thalia and I are pretty good pals, and I must go listen to what she has to say. She's one of those high-maintenance friends where it's all about her, but you put up with it because you love the flavor of the dip she brings to the party.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

WIP Wednesday: An Old Dog

Spiral Tarot

I thought talking about an old dog learning new tricks might be a bit less threatening than talking about Armageddon or the End of the World being nigh, as in, right now this minute.

Because I made a swatch:

I made a swatch because I want to make Wilde for Mini Diva's Xmas present. Instead of the Malabrigo Rasta at a cost of nearly £100/approx.$158 and aftercare involving washing it by hand in filtered unicorn pee and drying it with the breath of fairies (but only orange ones) in a south-facing rose garden at dawn, I've substituted King Cole Big Value Chunky for about £25/approx.$39 which can be bunged in the machine and will survive the Zombie Apocalypse along with the cockroaches. Let's set this out as simply as possible:

Malabrigo Rasta recommended gauge:  10st x 18 rows in a 4'' square on 9 - 12mm needles

Pattern gauge:   6st x 9 rows on 15mm needles

King Cole Chunky gauge: 10st x 14 rows on 10mm needles

So from that heap of confusion, you can see the logical thing to do was to knit a swatch and actually do, like, you know, measuring-type things. So feeling very grown-up and sensible and responsible and more of those really unattractively boring qualities, my first swatch on 12mm needles came in at 7.5st x 11 rows. Which means that the item would come out way too small (by about 20% according to the help I got from Ravelry).

So I made the Earth positively rock on its axis by knitting ANOTHER SWATCH.

I know, you'll need more than a moment to recover. I'm not sure if I have even now. Do they even make smelling salts any more ?

This gave me 7st x 9 rows on 15mm needles; but you can see in the photo that the fabric is too holey and loose - it'll sag and let the cold in.

So after all that, and with advised caution, I shall attempt using 12mm needles and make the Large size hoping to achieve a Small in the end. 

You may indeed wish me luck - I am surely going to need it all.