Friday, 31 January 2014

FO Friday 170: Rodents Galore

Spiral Tarot

I underestimated the number of size 6/0 miyuki beads in an 11g. tube, so while I wait, panting and twitching, for the arrival of the postman, let's look at another prior FO, a far more attractive picture, I guarantee. 

You'll remember that before Xmas I made a really cute and quirky tea cosy for my allocated Secret Santa SIL. Well, that was so popular, I have received a few requests from other people who feel that their lives are not complete without twinkly rodents - and first to shower filthy lucre in my direction was my friend Michelle, which resulted in this:

  As you can see, I kept the previous modifications of sparkly beady eyes and glossy stiff whiskers; I used some grey yarn for the mice as well as various tones of brown, changed the ribbon, and embroidered 'OATS' on the side in chain stitch, for that realistic sack look.     Mice eat oats, don't they ?

I liked it, but most importantly, Michelle said she loved it.

Much as I wish I could put it off, I cannot find any more excuses not to vacuum the floor while I wait for the postman to ring twice - I can't even find the dog, he is so well-camouflaged amongst the dust bunnies. As you know, he is my lil chihuahua, so rather than cuties like this:

My dust bunnies look are far more like this:

Wish me luck, and escape while you still can, to Tami's Amis where you can see some beautiful projects ....

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

WIP Wednesday 178: Haruni Test Knit

World Spirit Tarot

The last test knit I did was for Emily Ross, and the result was a beautiful Arlington Shawl:

I seem to be kinda sorta back on track, and Emily has a pattern that needs testing, so I thought I'd take part; it's a revision of her free pattern, Haruni, made with a stockinette body.

I have just completed the body section, and am ready to start the beaded lace border. I'm using Regia Hand-dyed Effect in a lilacy-grey-purple colorway, and purple-lined crystal size 6/0 beads from Highly Strung Beads. The charts look a little bit confusing, so I think I'll probably take a nap first, yanno, just so I can devote proper awake attention later.

While I'm doing that, you can pop over to Tami's Amis to see what else is being made ....

Friday, 24 January 2014

FO Friday 169: Penstemon 'Sour Grapes'

Robin Wood Tarot

I am still embroiled in the creative mess process, so I'm cheating again and posting a FO which I finished during the Xmas holidays:

This is a pattern called 'Penstemon', after the flower; I have called mine Penstemon 'Sour Grapes', as my yarn was pretty much the color of that specific cultivar:

pic from

It's quite a recent pattern - the Eviller Twin Ania thought I stood in need of just one more shawl pattern (who doesn't ?) so she gifted it to me.


Her evilness didn't really pan out this time, though - it is not as complicated as it looks, taking me about 3 or 4 days off and on to complete. I used a skein of Fyberspates Cashmere Lace in the colorway 'Plum', which I snatched from a fellow-Raveller's destash for a humungously bargainous price. Yes, I'm sure that those are real proper words, why ?

I've linked to it even though it is discontinued, just so you can envy my luck and be jealous, and plus I need to display my own Evil sometimes, you know. I do have a bit of a rep to maintain. 

I modified this shawl ever so slightly as I prefer a more half-circle shape than the shallow crescent of the original. The pale marks are where the dye didn't take where the yarn was bound, but it actually adds to this particular pattern, so I am more than happy. And wow, the softness ! This cashmere was all that AND a bag of chips. Just saying, yanno ? but I luffs cashmere (and angora) and my birthday is approaching at breakneck speed ....


Now I must run as I have an appointment with a water-lily, and you have one over at Tami's Amis, where the numbering sequence has gone slightly astray .....

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

WIP Wednesday 177: Mind The Gap

Tarot of Durer

I am not a very creative person. I am perhaps a craftsman, an artisan in some ways - I have a little talent, and I practice what skills I have, but with other people's creativity and inspiration. I am unable to turn the rather nebulous ideas I occasionally have into reality, so - ever practical - rather than cover myself with sackcloth and ashes, I forget about it and search for the attractive or beautiful patterns that others have created, and try to do them justice by the standard of my work.

However, every now and then I simply cannot find exactly what I want, and nothing else will do. I dislike being in this position, as it makes me face the fact that I might actually be a little less than perfect. I know ! Almost impossible to imagine, I agree. Introspection and self-analysis is also not one of my strengths - but you knew that already. 

You must do the things you think you cannot do.
                                                                                                    Eleanor Roosevelt.

My MIL is worth the grief and hassle of wrestling with An Actual Idea, and as long as I can manage it without the dire consequence of personal growth, I shall make the attempt. Here is what it looks like:

I am prepared for the worst, but hope for the best.
                                                                                                           Benjamin Disraeli

Yes, that is a heap of Summer Garden Blankey in the Time Out corner. It is there to watch and learn from my MIL's project being beaten into submission. 

Go and see some lovely things over at Tami's Amis ....

Monday, 20 January 2014

Le Sigh

Victorian Romantic Tarot

This morning I incurred Destructo Boy's wrath by filling in a school permission form with the incorrect class - I labelled him a Turtle instead of an Octopus. It took me all of last year to get Giraffe (Savannah phase) fixed in my head, and then of course, a new academic year in a new Phase (Ocean) started with the new class name. At least I have progressed from just knowing it was something marine. Had it been something like, I don't know, mako shark or barracuda, maybe I would have remembered better.

Mini Diva is a ... umm ... well, she was a Leopard last year. I want to say she is a Panther this year, but I don't know if that's only because of her feral behavior. 

Anyway. All that fun aside, I'm just popping in to tell you I'm stomping chucking placing the Summer Garden Granny Square Blankey into a serious Time Out for a while.

I finally managed to wrestle the colors into something that was bright, but did not make Mini Diva run screaming from the room with her aesthetics irrevocably mutilated:

Yeah, yeah, rubbish photo, but I had to take it before the cat(s) jumped up and ruined the Plan, which I would definitely not be able to remember without this evidence.

Not content with such agonizingly achieved perfection, I decided to gild the lily by adding a widening and calming border around each strip of squares:


And of course, now I don't like it. 

I am going to have to un-join the blue from the pink, and the russets from the purple. This is after it took me 4 - yes, four - goes to get the blue strip right, as it demonstrated that I had no clue what 'alternating' meant, and had no ability to count up to 10 correctly either. Cuz, yanno, 9 is not 10. And neither is 11, funnily enough.

Plus, I spent all last week ruminating - yes, just like a cow except I can't lick my own nose - and I feel it was wasted, wasted, sadly wasted time. Today I have downloaded a cute frog amigurumi pattern, which I am going to incorporate into my MIL-inspired design. I wonder how long it will be before I start ranting about how I can't turn the picture in my head into any semblance of reality ?

Taking bets ....

Friday, 17 January 2014

FO Friday 168: Ultraviolet

Phantomwise Tarot

I kind of feel like Hippomenes, but instead of golden apples, I am casting previously made but undisplayed FOs at you instead: can you believe I have been paralyzed all week ? I have been unable to progress with the Summer Garden Granny Square Blankey as I have been sitting gazing it at contemplating the Color Conundrum.

But I am unaccustomedly merciful, and shall not make you suffer my agonies. Rather, you may gaze in admiration at the completed Forest Pansy Shawl:

The pattern is by Linda Choo, and the yarn is Jamieson & Smith 2ply Laceweight in the exciting colors of 'L20' and 'L49', or 'purple' and 'lilac'. My MIL had sent me 3 balls of each color from Shetland, and I have a little less than a ball left of each - and the shawl has turned out a goodly size. Yes, you'll gave to take my word for it, as I forgot to measure it again, and can't be bothered to move right now.

This yarn come in a great palette of colors and is easy to work with, if perhaps a tad ... harsh ... for us poor sensitive wussy southerners - but it is much softer after a gentle wash and lots of fabric conditioner.

 While I unresistingly sink back into the mental lethargy induced by too much pondering, you could pop over to Tami's Amis to see everything else that has been finished this week .....

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

WIP Wednesday 176: Color Torture

Fantastic Menagerie Tarot

So you know how it is: you finish a project, the kids want to go swimming and you have no other WIPs to take with you to occupy yourself for the afternoon. You have the yarn but not the pattern for the first item in your queue. You have the yarn AND pattern for the second item, but it also involves squillions of beads - definitely an 'at home' project. 

You settle for another pattern in your queue for which you can make do with some stash yarn. When you print it you notice that also needs lots of beads - which you don't have for this one, plus, same objection as above, if you did have them.. 

You then print a pattern from near the end of the queue that you have been saving for special - and then realize that not only has the printer given up the ghost, you have no laceweight wound. You know there is no point even thinking about winding it as the kids are clamoring to get out the door, down the road and into the water already.

What to do in this dilemma ? Is it the end of the world as we know it ?

No, of course not.

We sigh resignedly and unearth our long-term crochet project, the Summer Garden Granny Square Blanket. The feeling of piety and righteousness endowed by plodding on with an old project is in no way at all ever to be even thought about in the same breath as being anywhere even being near the neighborhood of the excitement of starting a Whole New Project.

At last count we had a random 119 squares completed, theoretically all made from leftovers and scraps. (Just for Titch - I mean, they are all definitely absolutely totally made from leftovers and scraps. Oh yes. Uh-huh.)

We have no idea how many squares we need as we have no real plan in mind.

Yes, I know ! Can you believe it was me talking just then ??

Anyway. We consoled ourself with adding to the total while poolside waiting for the kids to become waterlogged.

This was the first arrangement:

Sadly, it did not meet with the somewhat OCD aesthetic standards of either Mini Diva or Uber Cool Brother - who may now be merely 'Cool Brother' as a result. 

They also strongly disapproved of this arrangement:

Their response might be summed up by:   ''Oh. My. Hmm. Yes well. No. Colors ! ALL THE COLORS ! Next to each other ! ALL THE COLORS ! I'm struck blind !''

This time I ignored them, safe in the knowledge that if I thought I was out of my comfort zone with color usage, oooh, say as far as the Moon is from the Earth, then they are out of their color comfort zone as far as Pluto. So, satisfied with having imposed this level of artistic anguish on at least two people, I got greedy for more screaming and decided to impose it on you, too, Dear Readers.

You're welcome. Just enjoy how subtle everything else is going to look in comparison can check out classy things over at Tami's Amis .....

Friday, 10 January 2014

FO Friday 167: Old & New

Housewives Tarot

Wow, it's been a while - I hope you weren't too bored and lonely hanging round in all this peace and quiet ? But I'm back now, so let the chatter resume, after this quick summary:

My Christmas: quiet and good, thank you for asking. The kids were really super-spoiled, again. My tea cosy was well-appreciated. I ate too much - of course. No different than most people's Xmasses, really. Hence the brevity - without a kitchen disaster or a good family drama, it's hard to make it interesting.

Kids are back at school, Titch is back at work, Auntie Fashion is out of hospital, Uber Cool Brother is still Uber Cool, Belo is playing in his garden, I am working on a knitting commission.

In this new year, I already learned a new thing - I used a photo-montage thingy to make this:

That hat is mine, ALL MINE. What do you mean, orange is a challenging color ? It's cheerful and warm. And very importantly, it fits ! I luffs it and all I need now is some proper cold weather, like freezing snow or something, so that I can wear it without boiling my brain. Which had been previously fried by the cast-on for the hat.

And the Minion Hats were made for my youngest nephews - their Mum thought they were great, which was exactly the response required. I'm not in a great hurry to make any more, I found the pattern quite frustrating in that I kept going wrong, but couldn't find out where or why - hence the fudging.

And on top of that, I have a pattern percolating in the back of my mind - once more, my MIL has inspired me. So really, having brought you in from the cold to thaw, I abandon you almost immediately. Toast yourself in front of the fire while you browse through Tami's Amis to see what others are up to ....