Wednesday, 29 May 2013

WIP Wednesday 146: By Gollum

Hanson Roberts Tarot

When is a WIP not a WIP ? 

When it's Pre-WIP, aka stash. 

No, I know it's not as good as the door and a jar joke, but I get points for trying,  right ?
Here we are, half-way through half-term, and I've just popped in to gloat crow tell you about what arrived on my doorstep today, all the way from one of my lovely friends in the USA:

Yep, you're right, that IS a pretty dang mehusive box.

Would you like to see what's in it ?

And wow, that mehusive box was stuffed to the brim with yarn. Yarn from the American company Knit Picks who do not ship internationally, which makes their products a challenge to get hold of here. Which entails all kinds machinations and plotting - something for which I think this shows that I have showed an unexpected talent. I'm expecting a call from MI6 momentarily.

No, I didn't have to sell my soul to make this happen - all I have to do in return for all that lovely swag is make a Mrs.Tumnus Shawl out of this:

Knit Picks Chroma Fingering in 'Seaweed'

I did contemplate selling either a kidney or a child, or a child's kidney, to pay the iniquitous import tax; which in these days of a free trade world, they ought to at least  try and dupe us by calling it something other than a tariff.

What's that ?

What else was in the box ?

I can't give you all the good stuff in one go, now, can I ? You might die from the excitement and then I would feel a little bit bad for a second while, which is not what you want at all, is it ?

So I think in the meantime you should go soothe yourself with pretty things over at Tami's Amis, while I try to control  the almost irresistible urge to behave like this:

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

WIP Wednesday 145: Frustration

Robin Wood Tarot

I've just been to pick Destructo Boy up from school, having received a phone call to tell me he had been sick; which means his half-term has started 2 1/2 days early. The spiky cat, Moonheart, also has an upset tummy, but hers is manifesting at the other end. Do NOT ask me how I know, because believe me, you do not want to know.

My American yarn has landed, but I must give in to the ransom demand, prop up more failure pay the extortionate Import VAT Tax before I can actually have it in my hot, greedy little hands. The tax is more than 50% of the value of the yarn. Which I can totally see why the Americans revolted (revoluted ?) - I surely would too, if they taxed my tea like this. I promise I have learned from this hard lesson, and will not repeat the errors I made this time, ie. being honest.

And above you can see the beginnings of my 4th 'Summer Flies' Shawl, which is definitely not in my KTQ2013 list. On this occasion I am calling it 'Harvest Flies' because of the rich plummy purple color of the Drops Fabel UniColor that I found for the ridiculous price of £1.30/50g/205m (approx. $1.96).

This stunning bargain blinded me to the fact that I thought I was buying 4ply/fingering weight yarn, when I guess really it is closer to a laceweight. I bought 3 skeins, thinking 615m would be ample for this shawl, but now I'm wondering if it is. Serves me right.

You, however, can find some yummy things to look at over at Tami's Amis ....

Monday, 20 May 2013

Monday Mystery Challenge

Goddess Tarot

So I grabbed a lift to Felixstowe to visit the fabulous Fabric8 shop, which has undergone a great big reorganization and tidy up - and looks super as a result.

I had only actually gone for one thing, but because of the outstanding service I received and shiny things catching my eye, I left with this bag full of stuff:

In that bag was all this golden bling:

 I have to turn it into something for someone by Thursday morning. Check back on Friday to see if she (and I) survive the experience in one piece.

 What I actually went for:

Six buttons to go with the Filatura di Crosa Brilla yarn that I am using to make my cabled cardigan. You know, the one that's totally on hold while I make the growing list of items (a minimum of 6 so far) required by other people, deadline date August.

In other news, you may remember that I dramatically reduced my stress levels by deciding not to trouble myself any longer with the actions or behavior of Marcus Katz and his 'spiritually dignified' business, Tarot Professionals.

Of course, that does not mean that I am dead. 

But if I have not changed my inquisitive leopard spots, neither has he changed his underhanded bullying tactics, and outright untruths - this time, about his 'exclusive' 'limited edition' (now in its 3rd edition) Lenormand deck, and his threatening and aggressive behavior towards the creator of the other Game of Hope Lenormand deck that is based on the same original housed at the British Museum (full story available here). It's a good thing I like popcorn.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

WIP Wednesday 144: Winter is Coming

Tarot of Leaves

Sorry, I forgot all about Friday. I was doing something. If only I could remember what it was now, I'd share it with you.

Today's rather autumnal card from the Tarot of Leaves echoes the weather right now: gales, heavy rain, and low temperatures. Totally not May weather at all - we are still wearing our winter coats and boots. So today's post is likely to be a short one: me and the dog need to time our walk carefully, as neither of us like getting wet.

I have cheated slightly on the KTQ13: I moved a shawl that had been in my favorites for a while, into my queue, and then started knitting it as an end of term present for Mini Diva's teacher:

Afternoon Tea Shawl

The main history theme for Grade 5 is Victorian times, and includes at least one dress-up day, so I thought a Victorian-looking shawl might come in handy. This too is made using Sirdar Softspun DK, this time in the colorway 'Faded Jade'.

My reading time has been taken up recently with 'A Dance with Dragons', book 5 of George Martin's 'Of Ice and Fire' series, which I had read so long ago I had forgotten all the details (to be fair, there are loads to forget). I had got used to his writing style and repetitive vocabulary- which needs better editing - and had somewhat adjusted to his habit of killing off major characters:

But not only was this particular book very slow in pace, full of details that had little to do with anything that had come previously, the introduction of random new characters that served no purpose to the storyline, but also one of my favorite characters is killed unexpectedly. In fact, you could read just the final 3 or so chapters and save some precious time to do other interesting things in instead of reading the rest of the book.

And to add insult to injury, Martin has still not completed the planned books 6 and 7, leaving so many plotlines hanging in the air it's ridiculous. He's notorious for the time he takes to write the sequels, and now I am worried that by the time he finishes the last 2 volumes of the epic saga, I will have forgotten the story again, and will have to re-read again. In addition, the televising of the books as 'The Game of Thrones' should mean he needs to complete sooner rather than later, so that the TV audiences are not also left twisting in the wind.

So, my grumping over for now,  Sebastian and I must dance between the raindrops all the way to the park; you, however, may stay in the warm and dry comfort of your chair, and check out other lovely things at Tami's Amis ....

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

WIP Wednesday 143: Normal Programming is Resumed

The Whispering Tarot

Well, Knit & Crochet Blog Week 2013 is over; the Beltane 2013 Tarot Blog Hop is over; the Bank Holiday weekend was warm, dry and sunny - and all of that is over too: the temperature has dropped along with the much-needed rain.


Which might also be translated as 'Bleurgh'. Click on this for today's soundtrack and rejoice in my eclectic taste in music:

For those of you who use a vocabulary of actual real words, anti-climax and ennui are two that are most suitable.

I need to kick my own butt and simply get on. But I'm fairly sure that maybe a cup of tea and a slice of cake are called for first, don't you agree ?

While I boil the kettle, you can see this Not In The Queue item - another Summer Flies Shawl, this time commissioned by Destructo Boy in this silvery shimmery dark blue colorway called 'Duskie', Sirdar Softspun DK for his form teacher's end of term gift:

It is incredibly soft, but as an acrylic-wool-nylon blend yarn it is machine washable, which I imagine is quite a necessity for a teacher.

 However, making that (using Thetanull's alterations to enlarge it) means that the current KTQ2013 (Knit The Queue) item is being somewhat delayed:

If you have an exceptionally good memory, you might recall that I received this book (Handknit Style II) from my Blog Hub Swap 2012 partner, Denise. There are actually several attractive patterns in the book, and I thought I'd start with the pink cabled cardigan, as I was able to obtain the specified yarn (Filatura di Crosa Brilla) fairly easily and at a reasonable price - just unfortunately not in pink. But at least the Eviller Twin will be happy about that.

And yes, the cardigan will be for me, while I have received two more commissions for specific shawls, which I am feeling very flattered about, as neither of them are from my children .... I shall have to squeeze them in somehow. It's good to have this kind of challenge, I must admit I enjoy it.

Do pop on to Tami's Amis to see what everybody else is up to today ....

Friday, 3 May 2013

FO Friday 136: Irish Glam Shells

Whimsical Tarot

So, continuing with the spring theme of green, here is my Irish Glam Shells; Irish because of the brilliant emerald shades of the Jawoll Magic Degrade yarn in the colorway 'Parakeet' :

Please to note the artistically placed drainpipe, almost skillfully hidden. Cobwebs ? Not so much ...

I had more yarn than the pattern specified (437yds vs 400yds), so I did an extra repeat of the trellis lace pattern. However, this left me short when I arrived halfway through the shells border, so I bound off on Row 22 with 6 rows of the shell pattern remaining unknitted.

You'll be happy and relieved to hear that this little run of green has come to a temporary halt - on my needles are a cream WIP and a blue WIP; the blue one commissioned by Destructo Boy for his teacher's end of term present ....

Do remember to pop over to Tami's Amis to see lots more yarny goodness ...

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Tarot Blog Hop: Beltane 2013

Baroque Bohemian Cats Tarot


  Walpurgisnacht 2013

The question for this hop is simply this:

 What traditions are important to you in how you read Tarot?

You may arrive at this, the first blog in this year's Beltane Tarot Blog Hop, from Christiana Gaudet's blog; and when you have read my offering, you may continue your journey to John's blog.
Well, writing this on the eve of St.Walpurga's Day, ie. Walpurgisnacht - one is inexorably reminded of how traditions and superstitions can become almost interchangeable, and as irresistible as fetishes and other Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders. This post may seem long, but it does have lots of pictures.

 To the public at large, tarot usually has an aura of mystery, with an attraction varying in degree from curiosity through to fear and loathing - with concomitant reactions to those of us involved in such a ‘dubious’ field, generously sprinkled with charlatans.

So if we, the public, have had our interest in tarot sparked and wish to penetrate its mysteries, what do we discover? 
Arcus Arcanum Tarot
Most beginners’ books that we might pick up from a high street book shop tell us there are traditions about tarot; we pick up several different beginners’ books, and find that the 'traditions' or ‘rules’ tend to differ quite widely from author to author – how do we decide who’s right? We are novices, we have no way to judge.

Druidcraft Tarot
Let’s start by trying to summarize the most common “traditions” that will be encountered: you must not buy your deck for yourself (advice ranges from getting a tarot reader to gift one to you, a friend to buy it for you, or even that you must steal it!). Having been the (not ungrateful) recipient of decks as gifts, I find the most interesting aspect is what it reveals about people’s opinions of my tastes, and theoretically these are people who know me well!

I don’t use many of the decks I have been gifted to work with, but am glad to have received them, since it is the thought that counts. The learning experience of this is to always specify exactly which deck it is that you desire. Quite frankly however, if I had waited for a deck to be gifted me before starting to learn about the tarot I probably still wouldn’t have a deck at all - or have learned anything about tarot.

Secondly, we learn we must wrap our deck in black silk and keep it in a wooden box, to avert
negative vibrations; some authors go as far as to say you must make both items yourself – and so I could have done, had I wished my decks to be kept in bloodstained silk in a crooked box that fell apart every time I opened it. Negative influences can affect a deck, but this is far more likely to be a result of someone else handling it than stray emanations homing in on it; black silk and a wooden box will not prevent that. Being discriminating about who handles your deck, and thorough cleansing will.

tinfoil hats can be made in many shapes
 Which brings us to superstition 3: handling our decks. Many authors don’t even discuss this, but simply tell us how the cards should be presented to the querent, and how the querent should shuffle them. In real life, the approaches to this are as individual as the tarot readers themselves – I know of some who never let anyone else handle their working decks (never call them control freaks); at the other extreme, there are some who let their toddler’s sticky hands and mouths add a certain unique 3D living texture to their decks.

Fourth is how to actually go about learning to use the cards. More traditional authors give short (or long) meanings of the individual cards, and say that these must be memorized – the problem with this approach is that they rarely describe how to combine these individual meanings in conjunction with others, what the effect of the position in the spread might be, and how to  interpret these meanings in a cohesive manner that makes sense to the querent. More recent authors adopt a more proactive method, to encourage development of intuitive abilitie , often including meditative and visualization techniques and practice. The theory behind this method is that the new reader, having got a thorough “feel” for each card, will then find it easier to relate them to each other, and to the querent, in a coherent way.

The fifth tradition seems to largely depend on the age of the book: picking a significator to represent the querent. This is recommended in the older books, but is now considered to be old-fashioned; most suggest using court cards but there are a few who suggest using a card from the Major Arcana. How you choose a court card to represent your querent may involve simply physical characteristics, astrological assignments, temperament or a combination of any or all of these. The more modern view is to decide what card represents your querent but not to separate it, which gives it special significance in the position in which it occurs in a spread.

The penultimate rule decreed by many tarot authors is “Thou shalt not read for thyself”. The logic behind this rule is that you can never be truly objective in interpreting a reading for yourself – particularly if you are in any kind of personal crisis; depending on your personality, you are likely to skim over or disregard the things you don’t want to hear, or take the most negative aspects and focus on them exclusively .

All of these traditions, rules, superstitions, fetishes, recur as the subject of passionate debate amongst the tarot community, but perhaps the one that inspires the most heat is that of the purpose for which tarot should be used – divination vs. spiritual growth. Those in the divinatory school say that this is the reason for which tarot decks were originally designed; those in the spiritual growth camp say that this denigrates tarot, and reduces it to mere prediction.

So, having had the stamina, time and money to plough through say, twenty or thirty beginners’ books on tarot, what conclusion do we the novice eventually come to about the rules?

Most likely, we have absorbed both consciously and subconsciously much of the information
presented about the ‘rules’ - and evolved our own peculiar approach, abstracting the things we like and feel comfortable with piecemeal from here and there; together with endless practice, we develop the unique styles and quirks that makes each tarot reader individual. 

And in turn, sometimes become as didactic as those same authors, who usually say that there is no right or wrong way in tarot; that it is totally subjective – just before they present us with their rules.

Hanson-Roberts Tarot

Robin Wood Tarot

I feel I have been provoking enough - so time for you to check out the other blogs today:

Blog before this one: Tarot Trends

Blog after this one: Metaphysical Meanderings

The Masterlist: Tarot by Arwen

Many apologies for the odd formatting, Blogger is odd ....

This post is an updated and edited version of an article I wrote for the TABI Ezine, June 2002.

 © Vivianne Kacal 2002, 2013