Sunday, 28 April 2013

4KCBWDAY7: Do You Know ... ?

Spiral Tarot


Looking Forward:

One year from now, when the 5th Knitting & Crochet Blog Week rolls around, where do you hope your crafting will have taken you to? What new skills, projects and experiences do you hope you might have conquered or tried?

This could be anything from mastering a technique (broomstick lace, entrelac, etc), trying a new yarn or skill, or a long term wish to crochet only from your stash, or knit every stitch in one of the Harmony Guides. Maybe you have no desire or plans for your craft at all, no new element of knitting or crochet that you dream of mastering, in which case write about why that might be. In a year's time participants will be asked to look back to see if they achieved any goals, no matter how general, and see which house conquered the art of looking forward.

Many apologies if you dropped by yesterday in search of my bon mots about crafting tools simply to find a me-sized gap in the blogosphere - there was Destructo Boy's football coaching (aka 2 hours' worth of guilt-free knitting), Mini Diva's new bicycle to collect (reward for a superbly excellent overachieved school report), my MIL visiting for the weekend, and a birthday dinner for Belo. My head is still recovering from the resulting mêlée.

No, I have no idea why I am dropping beaucoup français into today's post. I have just awoken from a nap, maybe I was dreaming or something.

What were we talking about really ?

Oh yes - where I am going in the next year's crafting journey.

The short answer - for I know you wished to be spared from the long and winding one, and I wish to demonstrate my compassion and mercy - is that I have no idea.

It is unlikely to include colorwork, since I don't find the results worth the hassle.

It will not include scary scary obsessive socks. I guess I will fit in new school sweater for both kids for September: Mini Diva will be in 6th grade, and the violent Jade finally turns to sophisticated black, praise whoever listened.



It will definitely include more lace and shawls, because I loves them with a crazy and all of my little black shrivelled heart.

And definitely more things for me - at last, I have successfully tuned into my Inner Child:

Now while I go for a nice calming cup of tea, plug 4KCBWDAY7 into a search engine, with this accompanying tune:

Friday, 26 April 2013

4KCBWDAY5: Something a Bit Different

Victorian Romantic Tarot



 Something A Bit Different

It’s the annual challenge to blog in a way different to how you normally blog. You may choose to create a podcast, or vlog, create a wordless post or write in verse. You've already stretched your wings with an infographic, now it's time to freestyle. You can post on any topic you like, but be sure to post in a style different from your usual blog presentation. There's not too much guidance for this one simply because the more varied the posts are on this day, the wider the sources of information for other bloggers will be. Bonus points if you manage to work your house animal in somehow.

I expect there is far more to be seen on other blogs today - just pop 4KCBWDAY5 into the search engine of your choice (somebody told me there was more than Google, but I didn't believe them).

Thursday, 25 April 2013

4KCBWDAY4: Imagination

Golden Tarot


What are your favourite colours for knitted or crocheted projects. Have a think about what colours you seem to favour when yarn shopping and crafting.

Only after writing this part of your post should you then actually look to see what colours you have used in your projects. Make a quick tally of what colours you have used in your projects over the past year and compare it to the colours you have written about. Compare this, in turn, to the colours that are most dominant in your yarn stash – do they correlate?

Now think back to your house animal - do the colours you have chosen relate to your animal in anyway - if you are in the house of peacock, for example, are your projects often multicoloured and bright?

Well, that whole Infographic thing from yesterday ? A monster has been unleashed - you may wish to start running now.

The simplest way for me to blog about today's topic was with a graph ! You have no idea how much I'm enjoying this scientific geek approach, it has true novelty value for me. Plus, purty colors.

Color Mix: Theory vs. Reality | Create infographics

I was definitely surprised - my estimate of the percentages of color families of my FOs and stash didn't really have a close connection to reality. I was badly out on the greens, reds, pinks and neutrals in FOs; and in my stash (not all of which  is on Ravelry, so I ignored those ones) I was wrong by miles on nearly every color grouping.

This was an interesting exercise, as it dispels one's own assumptions ....

 Even though I got it so wrong, I don't know that there is any real reflection of my own taste in yarn colors, as most of my projects are for other people and so I choose colors I think they will like, rather than what I like. The 70s Horror Cushion was a great example of that:

Having generously shared that pain and suffering with you - there's no need to thank me so effusively - I think we should go soothe ourselves by plugging KCBWDAY4 into Google, to see what everyone else  has said, while listening to this:


Wednesday, 24 April 2013

4KCBWDAY3: Learning New Things

Druidcraft Tarot


There are many ways of conveying information on a blog; text and images being the two most widely used. Many infographics combine both these elements to provide a visual way of presenting text information.  

Make your own infographic (no fancy imaging software needed, you can draw it on paper and photograph it if you want) to convey any element of your craft(s). It can be just for fun or a thoroughly researched presentation of an idea/finding.

 It took me ages to do this post - firstly, brain-fuel in the form of tea and cake was required to come up with some kind of crafting-related information that I could put into some kind of chart or graph or something.

Then I found this free online software thingy. Then it took me forever just a while to work out how to work it.

And so now, Wah-lah ! 

Yarns UsedWelcome to Pro! | Infographics

As with other days, pop 4KCBWDAY3 into Google for loads more brilliant graphs today, while I crawl off into an exhausted corner somewhere.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

4KCBWDAY 2: A Mascot Project

Shadowscapes Tarot


 Your task today is to either think of or research a project that embodies that house/animal. It could be a knitting or crochet pattern – either of the animal itself or something that makes you think of the qualities of that house. 

Alternatively it could be a type or colour of yarn, or a single button. Whatever you choose, decide upon a project and blog about how and why it relates to your house/creature.

Well, in a lot of the House of Bee posts yesterday, people were saying about bees having a short span of attention and flitting from one thing to another. Which is kinda true, I guess.

But to me bees are also highly organized and structured - there is a Plan, a bigger picture, behind everything they do; and everything they do has a purpose. Their society and hive living are examples of this: the mathematical perfection of the hexagonal honeycomb, for instance:

 And this is reflected in our crafting lives too - I have just recently bought this book:

For when I have got bored with Granny Squares, my next 'thing' will be hexagons. Which also exist in knitting - a couple of years ago there was a mad trend for the Beekeeper's Quilt, made from Idunnamany 'hexipuffs'. Great for using up leftover odds and ends of yarn (no waste, like bees) but that's what I use for crochet.

So let's talk Bee Queen activity: she's the boss, everyone else lives and dies according to her needs. Yep, I can see the similarity already, can't you ? And as a Boss, I plan. 

I have a queue, recently mostly re-organized, and I have allocated stash yarn to at least the first 6 items. I do trade up and down, and to a lesser degree, swap things out, but it's now largely in order of preference. I have committed to the 'Knit the Queue 2013' concept, meaning that I will try to make things from only my queue, as opposed to some random spontaneous way of selecting a project, but I don't beat myself up too much if I deviate down the scenic route occasionally, as bees do buzz from one flower to the next: not because they are bored, but because they have taken all the nectar that one flower had and need to find something new to satisfy their appetite.

I hope I have managed to convince you that bees really do have Order and Purpose and are no mere grasshoppers, but are closer to ants.

The Ant and the Grasshopper, Aesop's Fable

Enjoy yourself like the Grasshopper by putting 4KCBWDay2 into Google and reading what everybody else has to say.

Monday, 22 April 2013

4KCBW Day 1: The House Cup ...Bzzz

Victorian Romantic Tarot


            KCBWDAY1 The House Cup.


A bit like Harry Potter, but not quite, this year’s Knitting & Crochet Blog Week is split into 4 houses. Don your favourite knitted or crocheted hat and let it guide you to which house you will be in.

The House of Bee: Bees are busy and industrious, but can flit from one interesting project to the next as bright and shiny things capture their interest.

The House of Manatee: Manatees are gentle, calm and cuddly. Relaxed and unflashy they represent the comfort and soft side of knitting and crochet.

The House of Monkey: Intelligent and with a fun loving side, Monkeys like to be challenged with every project presenting them with something new and interesting.

The House of Peacock: Peacocks take something good and make it brilliant. Buttons, embellishments and a bit of sparkle prove that perfection lies in the details – like a Peacock's Tail.

So choose your house. You may be a combination of more than one of these noble beasts, but think about which house best embodies your qualities and declare your place. You can use one of the graphics above to display your house crest, if you like (though this is totally optional).

You could of course decide that you are so unlike any of these creatures in your style of crafting that you set up a rival faction and adopt your own house, though whether you get invited to the end of term disco remains to be seen, you rebel.

Well, really I guess out of that choice, I am a Bee with maybe the tiniest hint of Peacock: I do loves me a bit of sparkle. Although that may be rather more of my jackdaw traits coming through ....

But I am a Bee mainly because I have something doing nearly 99% of the time. And 99% of that time it's knitting, the 1% is crochet - I tend to use crochet as my fallback, when knitterly mojo has legged it. And then - in spite of my promises to the contrary - I find that deadlines (usually family birthdays) pop up on such a regular basis that I am forced, forced, I tell you, into actually planning things and going straight from one item to the next without so much as a breath of fresh air and relaxation in between. I am quite challenged by the idea of spontaneity, natch.

In fact, most of my FOs have been for other people; I have recently made huge strides in selfishness by completing 4 items for myself, and they were 'proper' projects ie. not just hairbands, as well:

Spring Green Lace Cardigan

Slice of Berries (with Sparkle!)



And there are plans for more - especially since an American friend is just in the process of enabling me with Knitpicks yarn .... oh yes, you can see my grin all the way over there. It's quite dazzling, isn't it ?

I really have chuntered on, and wandered off topic a bit, when instead I should be buzzing over that Glam Shells Shawl I ripped back a little while ago. But in my coffee break, I shall be putting '4KCBWDay1' into Google to find the other House Cup posts for today - and read as many as I can. Join me !

Friday, 19 April 2013

FO Friday 134: Verde Que Te Quiero Verde

Tarot of Dreams

Oh yeah ! I am totally feeling as victorious as this warrior: I have defeated my deadline challenge: woo hoo ! Go me !

I promise you that this looks way better in RL than it does in the photo - the color is far more vibrant, and the cover is not quite so crookedy. I have obviously much more hard work to do in the photography department. Still, I would become boring were I to be too perfect  ....

This is the 'Easy All-in-One Crochet Cushion Cover', a free pattern/tutorial by Emily Rainsford-Ryan; I used a 3.50mm (E) hook because the yarn is on the thinner side of DK - one more item I have used James C.Brett's Moonlight Sonata DK in the colorway SM7 for - you gotta love a bit of sparkle in your yarn. It comes in a 500m ball, and I used most of it - my cushion cover fits a 16'' x 16'' square cushion pad.

And then it took me about a day to make this, which I am calling the Granny Smith Cushion, because it's round and green like a Granny Smith apple, and has the same stitch 'set' as a Granny Square: Oh, yes, you may bow down and worship at the altar of my imaginative wit, if you like. I shan't insist, though.

 I made it with a 4mm (G) hook, using odds and ends from my leftovers pile. The pattern is 'Granny Stripe Round Cushion' by Karen Janine; and I did eventually get to use those cute green heart buttons - you can just about see them in the last picture.

Of course, the mad dash to get everything completed by today has wiped me out, so I am sneaking a nap before taking Sebastian to the vet: this week it got warmer, the sun came out, everything got dry - and all the flowers in the world burst into bloom ... and so his pollen allergy has also busted out all over, and he is scritching like a crazy mad scritching thing losing fur by the pound  ....

Don't forget to check out the lovely things at Tami's Amis.

Title, taken with gratitude, from Federico Garcia Lorca's 'Romance Sonambulo'.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

WIP Wednesday 140: More Amphibian Color

Housewives Tarot

I am turning my back firmly on all the bad news out there this week, and using a birthday deadline as a cattle prod to focus me on completing 2 items this week - one is actually done, and in the washing machine as we speak. The other one ? Well, I have today and tomorrow to start and finish it. We do loves us a challenge, don't we ?

Sleep is only a luxury, right ? I am a big girl and I can stay up all night and still deal with the kids without melting down. Right ?

Well, lessee how we do. Let's not dwell too much about how we have done ...

I had completed all eight pattern repeats and was admiring my handiwork, when my pride wenteth before a fall, and my haughty spirit. ie. the shawl, wenteth before destruction: progress on the Irish Glam Shells is back to square one. Well, OK, actually square two really, but you get the idea. I found a glaring error that I could neither ignore nor fudge, so I had to rip it all out and start again:

This is the Jawoll Magic Degrade in the colorway 85.0075, which is far more interestingly and creatively known as 'Parakeet'. No, I don't know why I am on such a green kick at the moment either, it's weird and perhaps a tad unsettling.

And I keep meaning to remind you that Knit and Crochet Blog Week is back for the 4th year, starting next Monday 22nd April, 2013 ! Woo hoo !

All the introductory posts and instructions are at Mimi's blog. And to enable facilitate make things easier for you because, really, I am a nice person, here are the direct links you will need:

To find out about the Knit & Crochet Blog Week concept.

The daily topics.

To choose a House

How the Tag system works:

 It's a great opportunity not only to get into blogging regularly (and frequently !) but also a great way to discover a whole bunch of new blogs you had yet to discover: I have made some great friends through the last 3 Knit & Crochet Blog Weeks, too. There is a Ravelry community which will be discussing it as it happens here, too, if you are interested.

I am hoping to take part myself, and so I simply must prop my eyelids open with matchsticks and go read those links myself, so I know what to do on Monday ....

Meanwhile, I'm checking out Tami's Amis to see what everyone else is up to this week ....

Friday, 12 April 2013

FO Friday 133: Spring is Green

Inner Child Tarot

I have been hiding out in a very productive way this week - I've started the next item in my Ravelry queue (although I did swap the shawl I originally chose for a different one that I preferred), still using a green yarn as I am on a green kick at the moment.

And yesterday I completed the Spring Green Cardigan. Washed it, and got out the pretty heart buttons I had found for it:

To find that they were way too large for the skinny delicate button band; so a quick run into town this morning resulted in buttons that are an appropriate size, and color. But just boring in style and shape:

The kids are out rollerskating, so I have no-one to either model or take a photo of me modelling it, so I'm afraid will we have to make do with flat photos:

And because I am really trying to become little more adventurous, here is a somewhat arty photo. And I have worked out that I need a big piece of white card as opposed to heavy white paper. In fact, I need two - and then that odd shadowing on the top left-hand corner should disappear .....

I loved this Patons Lace Cardigan pattern: it is so pretty, and the yarn choice in 'Evergreen' has worked brilliantly; it was nice and straightforward without being mindless. Picking up the million or so stitches necessary for the button-bands and neckline were worth not having to sew them on separately. All I have to do now is see if it fits ....

See more successes over at Tami's Amis ....