Wednesday, 5 August 2015

SAL Wednesday 31/15: The Circle

Housewives Tarot

Yep, this is me today, armed and dangerous. 

Well, maybe a bit later when I'm dressed and have had another cup of tea. 

The kids are down at Nanny's, and we all know and quail from what that indicates on the wheel of my life and year - something akin to the Great Migration of Africa, but which in this case is confined to the inside of the house, has never been shown on Animal Planet or NatGeoWild, and has no David Attenborough narration: it is the Great Mucking Out.

I am hoping for less dust, no poop, and no crocodiles

I should have started yesterday, but I'd treated myself to finishing a shawl - I had only 1 row and the bind off to go, and thought maybe an hour would see me done. However, I'd neglected to consider the bajillion stitches, of which every other one had to be beaded ... and of course, blocking took more time than I'd anticipated too. However, I WASHED. ALL. THE. THINGS. Pillows, mattress toppers, blankeys, cushions, random clothes left out in the savannah open to fester (there will be more behind the beds and in the nooks and crannies, I'm sure). They are clean, dry and folded, and the house smells beautifully of clean laundry.

What's this got to do with a WIP ? Well, housework is always a WIP, more's the pity. But I thought if I finished the shawl, then there'd be nothing on the needles tempting me away from my Mission. And since the only other thing I have going is my travel knitting, I can resist:

And speaking of cycles .... this Fitzroy cardigan

thanks to the Mad Unravelling Skillz of my MIL, has been turned into this:

It was always too short, and never fitted right around the neck - it would gradually fall back, meaning I spent a lot of time hitching it back to where it ought to have been. And the buttons were not the best choice. So, now it's gone from a FO to a WIP-in-Waiting. It is lovely soft Rico Aran Cotton, and I'll probably use it to make something for Destructo Boy ...

Monday, 27 July 2015

TABI 10th Anniversary Conference 2015: Summary

Spiral Tarot

Well ! I had NO idea that so much time had passed so quickly and that I have been silent for over 4 weeks; I am so sorry, my dear friends - you'll find the tissues to dry your tears right over there.

I had got sucked into the vortex that is the end of term, feeling like a visitor in my own home as I spent so much time away from it at various school events - two separate sports days, a 'Wimbledon' and other stuff that I've already forgotten; then weekends currently tend to be full of child/cricket club-related activities; and then I lacked inspiration, and thought that perhaps the knitting project posts were all a bit samey and clinical; and then of course I have actually been away !

As in, got on a train and went somewhere !

I know ! It felt odd to me too, I have become such a sad homebody who uses too many exclamation marks, it seems !

But I went to TABI's 10th Anniversary Conference, held at the Aston Conference Centre; superbly organized by my Good Twin Alison Cross and the Treasurer Caroline Blackler, all I had to do was eat, drink, socialize and take photos - I was quite open that I wasn't there for the educational aspects, although some of it seeped in despite my best intentions: Alison's own talk on how to use elemental dignities to aid interpretation of reversed Court cards, Jane Struthers' very useful talk and spreads on relationship readings; and my friend Andy Boroveshengra's introduction to reading Lenormand, which I am convinced made it appear deceptively simple, but is actually just the mere tip of the iceberg. Caitlin Matthews' sung blessing at the beginning of her talk added an unexpected New Age touch to the Conference, and ensured everyone was awake ...

I came away with quite the swag bundle, as you can see:

A custom souvenir tarot bag from AniaM:

 And lastly - and which connects my tarot to my knitting - the thoughtful thank you gift I received for doing nothing:

A gorgeous yarn bowl from the Stone Penguin Pottery.

But the best part of the whole weekend was making so many new friends, and meeting up with old ones:

The Good, The Eviller and The Evil Twins

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Tarot Blog Hop Litha 2015: Star Light Star Bright

Our gracious hostess this time is Alison Cross, currently co-Chair of TABI; you are probably more familiar with her in her Good Twin incarnation rather than the version that came up with this creative topic for the 2015 Litha Blog Hop ...

You will find a list of the Major Arcana cards below, please pop your name next to the card that you want to write about.... and write about your chosen card! That's all there is to it! But, before you jump in and pick your favourite card... you might want to set yourself a bit of a challenge.
You could pick a card because:
  • You love it
  • You loathe it
  • You think that it's a tricky blighter!
  • You can write a poem about it
  • Your favourite artwork in the whole Tarot world is about one of these cards.
  • You've painted your own version – share it!
  • You can show us a video of your own tap-dancing routine inspired by the card :)
  • You have designed a spread based on this card's energies
  • You want to share your own way to interpret this card etc etc
 Made your decision? Select your card! 

Well, of course I have chosen XVII The Star; astrologically associated with Aquarius, my sun sign, I have always had a soft spot for it. I love its meanings, I love its symbolism, I love the
range and variety of depictions:

Phantomwise Tarot

Hudes Tarot

Such a strong sense of serenity and peace; plenty of life-giving water, a woman alone but not lonely, a comforting blanket of darkness ...

Hanson-Roberts Tarot
Victorian Romantic Tarot

Quiet optimism, hope, renewal, healing - what's not to like about this card ? Titch once told me one of the qualities that I have that he admires the most is my resilience, a word I think encapsulates those meanings.

Of course, you'll recognize my most favoritest Star:

Starlight Arcana

I am involved in organizing the 10th Anniversary TABI Conference, approaching soon, so  browsing the many versions of XVII The Star has calmed me, and I am refueled with peace and quiet - now I can direct you forward to XVII The Moon, or back to XVI The Tower ...

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Friday, 19 June 2015

FO Friday 25/15: The End of Stripes

Housewives Tarot

In amongst the electrical appliance disasters, Cub events, cricket matches, committee meetings, the approach of the 10th Anniversary TABI Conference and domestic drudgery goddessery I completed a great little baby jacket, but forgot to share it with you.

I found the pattern when I was browsing through my knitting magazines (I don't buy them often, but over time they do still amass) in Woman's Weekly Knitting & Crochet Special Jan.2011; it actually is a Sublime pattern called 'Little Bertie' - and it was the colors that caught my eye:

Yes, it does say the yarn should be Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK. I know, there are no limits to the crazy, right ? It says it is machine washable, but we need things that a new mum does not have to think twice about, let alone the cost: even the smallest size will be approx.£16/$25. Our Snowflake will be just as Special in spite of wearing ordinary yarn. So here is my version, using remnants from my yarn basket:

Of course, I like mine more. The shawl collar variation was in the magazine. I loved this pattern: loved the design, the colors, the stripes, and it was an error-free quick knit.

But I won't be making it again, because - all. the. endz. You can't really carry the colors up the side because 4 colors make for a sizeable lump in the seams, and it was a real pain to have to weave in all those millions of ends ...

Pop 'FO Friday' into Google and see what happens ...

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

SAL Wednesday 24/15: It Never Rains ...

Old English Tarot

... but it pours. Let me share with you the list of things that have broken in the last week:

1. Mini Diva's laptop charger. For some who-knows-what reason, they required us to also drop off her laptop for the technicians to look at.

2. Mini Diva's behavior. She hits new pubertal lows. As a result Destructo Boy wants to move out. I do too, but I don't say so out loud.

3. The fridge section of the fridge-freezer that came with the house. I phone the landlady who tells me it's nothing to do with her. I book a repair man for it.

4. The shower. Water comes out fine, but at Arctic temperatures. Landlady agrees to send a repair man. Repair man replaces it.

5. Washing machine packs up. We fix this ourselves - a blocked filter and drain hose. Next time we get a short-haired dog that doesn't moult.

6. Freezer section of fridge-freezer packs up. Oh well, at least we've already got a call in for the repair man. Repair man comes and writes off fridge-freezer, a manufacturing fault, reckons it is about 4 to 7 years old. I use Titch's credit card to buy a new fridge-freezer for next day delivery. Thank you, Titch and thank you

We have not yet decided what to do about the old fridge-freezer that the landlady wanted nothing to do with although it's hers. It's on the inventory. As a Zanussi when it is a Hotpoint. If you have advice about this, please share in the comments section.

After all this plus normal chores, I decide to reward myself for my ace survival skillz by finally getting out the sewing machine Titch bought me last year as an early Xmas present when it was on sale in May. I plug it in, I RTFM, I switch it on, I do some straight stitching. I turn the stitch selector dial - and it comes off in my hand, there's a crack in the part that grips the spindle.

I could have wept. And maybe I hid my face in the airing cupboard and did.

So this is what I did after lunch yesterday:

That is the pattern page for Sweet Dreams from The Best of Terry Kimbrough Baby Afghans, a 5.5mm hook, a new ball of King Cole Comfort Baby DK in pale yellow, a COLD gin and tonic, and a handsome gorgeous Sebastian. Note the weather - there's a reason I live here, the driest sunniest part of the British Isles.

If you have made it this far, you too have ace survival skillz, and I salute you. Pop off to Life & Yarn for people with unbroken things ...

Friday, 12 June 2015

FO Friday 24/15: Camel Baby Complete

Whimsical Tarot

We've had some almost seasonal weather this week, so I have spent more time outside with my pots on the patio with lots and lots of washing on the line; of course, it only takes a warm patch for both the shower and the fridge to break down, and Mini Diva's laptop (new at Christmas) is headed back to the shop this weekend too - but if trouble comes in threes, that should be us done, for now.

Like this cute little vintage 4ply baby cardigan (neat segue, huh) :

Somewhere along the line I made an error with measurements, as there are supposed to be 5 buttons but I only had room for four - and nice little unusual buttons they are too. This is a shade called 'Camel', of Sirdar Country Style 4ply - it felt a little scritchy at first (I'm guessing the wool content), but after a wash & fabric conditioner, it gained softness and a bit of bloom.

The color is true in the 1st photo ... but this one shows the detail of the cable pattern, separated with moss stitch rather than boring old purl, and the decorative detail of the raglan sleeves. Altogether a dinky and rather pretty little cardigan, I think: Robin 1139, for Robin Bri-Nylon Supercrimp 4ply.

Today it is FO Friday and Friday Finishes which, when Googled, will give you lots of pretty things to look at.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

SAL Wednesday 23/15: Green Bumps

Deviant Moon Tarot

No, I haven't been doing anything as exotic as learning to belly-dance. Just juggling all the kids' stuff plus home things plus niggly admin things that suck up way more time than they should. I wonder how on earth did I fit everything in when I was working outside the home ?  Of course, Titch was home everyday - the plus of agency work over tramping - so things didn't fall just to me to do. Rather than getting into a rant about the thankless unpaid drudgery that falls to my lot nowadays, instead let's show you the progress on the last of the 4 baby cardigans I'm making:

The pattern is Sirdar Snuggly DK 3946, but I am using 3 balls of Sirdar Tiny Tots in the colorway 987. imaginatively christened 'green': that color seems to be discontinued, but I am glad that 'Pooping Purple' was merely my eyes playing tricks on me. Although it's a blend of acrylic/polyester, it has somewhat of a cotton-y feel; I would prefer it plain without the slubs, I think - I think this was some of my sister's stash. 

Anyway, it was knitting up nice and quickly until having to DO things like take people to school, pick them up from Cubs, go to Parents' Evening (Mini Diva is perfect, apparently, except for Drama - I can't figure out how that can be when she is such an expert in it at home), go to cricket training, do the ironing, do to Share Day ... you get the idea. I thought I was supposed to regain my time as the kids grew older, but I'm not really seeing that yet.

This afternoon, I only have to vacuum, and then my time is my own for a couple of hours, so I'll just recommend that you pop over to Life&Yarn, while I get a move on so I can snatch some knitting time ...