Friday, 12 September 2014

FO Friday: Mermaid Dreams

Crystal Visions Tarot

Over the summer I've been working on a blankey for DD, to go with her newly decorated bedroom: gods help her if she ever falls out of liking teal in all its shades and timbres: teal, aqua, duck egg, turquoise, petrol, to name just I few that I have used to change her room from an unfinished worn room in a rented house to a snug, personal and unique high-schooler's room (don't feel bad for Destructo Boy, his room was done too - our 1st foray into wallpaper).

I mentioned one of the things I liked about the Floreal Dreams pattern was that the creator Deanne Ramsay had clear instructions, including how to re-size easily: which I did, from a baby blanket to a blankey that fits a single bed. Also, for some reason it tickles me that the designer is Australian. No, I don't know why, it just does.

So I changed the original pinks to 3 shades of teal, plus white - Stylecraft Special DK 1708 Petrol, Cygnet DK 211 Aqua, Stylecraft Special DK 1034 Sherbet .... and ended up with this:

pattern detail

If I were to make this pattern in this size again, I think I might carry the colors up the side, as I am not a fan of weaving in eleventy billion ends (I didn't, I cheated and crocheted over them when doing the border). I'd also increase the border so it wasn't so narrow: perfectly in proportion for a baby blanket, but a big blankey needs a wider border. But I also didn't want to buy any more yarn, or run out with inches to go: over about 3 weeks, I used somewhere in the region of 4,441m/4,856yds ..... 14 - 16 balls. and this is what is left:

Otherwise known as a cushion-in-waiting. Pop FO Friday into a search engine and see what others have completed today ....

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

WIP Wednesday 208: Back in the Saddle

Tarot Illuminati

For the first time in my life, I am happy to see the end of summer. Normally, I dread winter, the misery of the cold, the damp and the dark. But this year I want to put the Summer of Death behind me: after my sister died in July, it seemed that there were deaths everywhere, both expected and not - Eduard Shevardnadze, James Garner, a friend lost her father, Robin Williams, Lauren Bacall, Dickie Attenborough, Steven Sotloff, Joan Rivers .... I am just content when I wake up, and there are no deaths on the news.

So, trying not to dwell on my own loss, I was really happy to have the kids back from their summer in Kent with Nanny, and do some fun things with them, as well as kitting Mini Diva out for high school - she is now the same height as me (I am petite at 5'3'', I think), and she takes a size 6 shoe compared to my size 3. Cubs has restarted, both of them are doing rugby, and plans are underway for Destructo Boy's birthday next month, so already there is plenty going on.

Continuing with my crochet jag, I have been wanting to make Destructo Boy a blankey, seeing as I made one for his sister. He would only peg his color choice to 'light red and dark red' - and of course, project gestation includes many quiet enjoyable hours surfing patterns on Ravelry. I was trying to avoid modular afghans/blankets, as I am not enthusiastic about having lots of ends to weave in, but I was really struck by a free pattern I found, available from Caron, called the Spirals Throw.

Once more I wondered why we English have relatively few colorways available in decent acrylic-mix Aran-weight yarn, which is why one ends up using DK - so it'll use more yarn and take longer. But I like it so far:

That great workhorse yarn, Stylecraft Special DK in 1123 Claret and 1083 Pomegranate. At the same time, I had bought two other yarns that I thought were in the red spectrum:

We have 1132 Shrimp and 1246 Lipstick. I really want to use the Shrimp although really it is a coral-orange - I may have to find another dark red like the Claret for the right contrast. And then for the joining borders .... I wonder if there is a red ombre or jacquard DK somewhere .....

In the meanwhile, I must also contemplate whether I shall take part in NaKniSweMo this year .... catch up with what others have been up to at Tami's Amis ....

Friday, 22 August 2014

A Modern Aspect of Grief

Robin Wood Tarot

I feel like I’m not handling my grief for my loss of my sister Halcyon very well. It’s only just over a month since she died, but I find myself crying an awful lot, and frequently. I am so over the stinging red eyes, the sore throat, the permanent lump, the soggy tissues and the ache in my heart. I don’t want to do this part any more.

Since the last death I had to cope with, social media has arrived and become established, and it is having a huge impact on me, one that I had not at all considered.

When one loses someone, one normally has some control over when one pokes at the raw and bloody abyss of one’s grief.

Not so on social media – you switch on in the morning with your cup of tea, to see what’s happening in the world, amongst your family and friends, and – BAM ! – you’re confronted with stuff that you are not in a position to deal with because it is so unexpected: how the hell can the first post you see on your timeline be from your sister  …. seeing as how she’s dead ? How has she managed to comment on that photo ? 

Oh right .... 

It was in May. Or February.  Or April. This year. Or last year. Or the year before that. When she was alive.

Someone else has revived it and refreshed it by commenting on it, or sharing it.

But for that blessed nano-second, your brain and reality lag behind to the time when she was still here. These unexpected emotional crashes take their toll – I am in no way hardened to losing my baby sister, often such a pain in the butt, always so cute and fun, and so I’m pondering blocking people until I can better cope: I need to re-assert that I have the right to try to choose when I am upset and when I cry.

 My middle niece is raising money for the hospice that cared for Halcyon, please sponsor her here.

You may remember the Ruby Shawl I made for Halcy as a late birthday present, for a ball she had been planning to attend - here is what happened to it.

Victorian Romantic Tarot

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

WIP Wednesday: Floral Crochet Blankey

Gilded Tarot

Just so's you know - I'm still here. And just so's you know I'm still alive, here's the proof:

I found a really pretty pattern for a baby blanket - Floreal Dreams, and it includes instructions for upsizing - always great when I don't have to do the math. Of course, you know Mini Diva won't tolerate any shade of pink, so I've adjusted it for the teals she likes: Stylecraft Special DK in 1708 Petrol, Cygnet DK in 211 Aqua, and Stylecraft Special DK in 1034 Sherbet. And white.

I'm about halfway through right now, maybe, and when I've used up the yarns I have, that will be 11 balls. Eleven 100 gram balls with an average meterage of 290-ish metres. And it won't be finished - I'll have to buy more. But we won't tell Titch that.

Friday, 8 August 2014

FO Friday: Halcyon Blues

Mystic Art Tarot

It's been offly quiet round here - the kids are still at their Nanny's, Titch has gone back to work ..... so distract myself and simultaneously do something useful, I crocheted a couple of blankeys for St.John's Hospice, who cared for my sister in the last week or so of her life. The patterns are quick to make and straightforward, but there is a peacefulness in the repetition, a kind of mindless focus, if that makes any sense. Made from good quality acrylic (Stylecraft Special DK and Cygnet DK), they are lightweight but warm, and very easy to care for: machine washable and of course needing no tumble-drying or ironing.

The first Granny Rectangle blanket is approx. 44'' long and 38'' wide, just right to throw on a bed or to snuggle someone up in a chair:


    The second one is a Granny Waves blankey, at 40'' long and 24'' wide,  the sort of size Americans call a 'lapghan' - enough to go over someone's lap and legs whilst sitting, or perhaps to drape over their shoulders:

Really, I'm posting just to let you know I'm still around .... but am off now to open some tins of paint to redecorate the kids' bedrooms as a surprise for when they come back ....

Friday, 1 August 2014

Sad Lammas

Hanson-Roberts Tarot

So today it's Lammas, one of the old cross-quarter days, that marks the first harvest of the year. And in some ways my sister's funeral service was an opportunity to see the harvest that her life brought her: the many, many friends and family that attended - some having travelled great distances - to pay their respects to her, share their memories of her, mourn her loss and show support for her family.

Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery

Mythic Tarot

For me, III The Empress with her prolific bounty is linked in perpetuity with XIII Death, for without one there cannot be the other: without Death, there can be no growth; without growth there can be no Death - and harvest always means death: a scythe cuts down wheat as well as souls.

The star in this card reminds us that in death there is also new life .... which will end in time with another harvest. And that is what makes the Circle.

I wanted to thank each and every one of you who took the time to send me kind words at this time - you do not know how much they are appreciated: thank you very much.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Auntie Fashion

Shadowscapes Tarot

Today my sister, Halcyon, known to you all as Auntie Fashion, has gone to the great catwalk in the sky. I hope they have enough bling for her.